Wednesday, April 14, 2010

L.A. Blogger Brunch! It was AWESOME!

Yesterday I was treated to such a fun mom blogger event! The L.A. Blogger's Brunch put on by Child's Play PR/Marketing Communications. Mom bloggers from all over SoCal (and beyond!) gathered at the beautiful Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach for a delicious meal and an awesome display of new kids, mom and family products. We even received some great give aways and fabulous raffle prizes. Read on all the way to the end to find out how to enter to win a Bandai toy prize!!

My FAVORITE table... well, after the food table... was the Bandai table. I think most people of my generation think of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers when they think of Bandai, but I was so excited to learn about their newest products especially, my daughter's newest obsession... POCOYO!! He's an beautiful little cartoon that originated in Spain and the reps told me the cartoon has just been picked up by Nickelodeon! My daughter first saw the Pocoyo videos on YouTube and fell in love so I bought her some DVDs and she's hooked.

Bandai's new line of Pocoyo toys are not available in stores yet, so we were lucky to get a sneak peak. These adorable toys include a Bump N' Go battery operated car, Bath Fun toys, Squeeze N' Play plushes and regular character plushes. I can't wait to find these in the stores soon!

Also at the Bandai table were toys from Harumika (awesome fashion design toys for girls), Ben 10 (based on the Cartoon Network original series), Tamatown by Tamagotchi and Chef Kids. All of these toys looked so fun and high quality too!

More toys over at Backyard Safari Outfitters by Summit Toys! These toys will inspire and support any child's natural desire to explore and foster a love of science and the outdoors. Bug Vacuums, Mega Magnifiers, Mega View Periscopes and more all centered around an awesome looking Cargo Vest. These awesome toys are already available at Toys R Us!

We all know Nickeloeon and they are celebrating Dora The Explorer - one of their most popular preschooler shows ever since it's introduction in 2000. I was thrilled to receive a Dora Summer Explorer DVD and I can't wait to show it to my daughter on our airplane trip tomorrow (THANK YOU Nickelodeon)!

Pottery Barn Kids was also present with a new line of beach inspired designs. Their products are so beautiful and durable, I wish I could afford to outfit my daughter's whole room in their stuff! I'll let you know when I get that sit com deal, Pottery Barn! In the meantime, I was really happy to receive a colorful beach tote and a fun, pink octopus beach towel wrap for my little bathing beauty. She LOVED it when I surprised her with it and begged to use it for her bath that night!

My best friend, Jennie (, has been RAVING about her Pajama Jeans. Going on and on about how they REALLY look like a pair of jeans but FEEL like pajamas. Well, the Pajama Jean people were at the brunch and I got to see an actual pair, close up and on a real, live woman! They really do look like jeans and feel like pajamas! No joke. I can't wait to get my pair in the mail!

Cold Stone Creamery was dishing up one of their newest novelties, the Oreo Ice Cream Sandwich. That famous Coldstone ice cream squished between two giant Oreos cookie wafers. I think you get the idea. Yum!

The gals from the Temptress store in El Segundo (cosmetics, perfumery, skincare, gifts) were giving free make up touch ups - something I can always use - and giving beauty tips for the summer.

Toyota and Dyson were also on hand talking up their fabulous products and Dyson even raffled off about $1300 in vacuums to three lucky winners. I can not tell you how much I wanted to win one of the Dysons, but alas, it wasn't in the cards for me. I was happy to just hold one in my hand... yes, I never thought I would fantasize about a vacuum cleaner, but they are pretty darn sexy machines. I hear they clean well too.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and we had perfect weather. Thank you so much, Child's Play, for hosting this awesome mom's event. Even if I didn't win a vacuum... it was a treat to get away and I loved every minute!

And now, it's YOUR time to enter to win a prize! I'm giving away a Bandai toy package valued at over $50! Included are the Ben 10 Spider Monkey action figure, :05 Second Stadium keychain game (I hear it's highly addictive!), Tamagotchi Music Star, Harumika Style Starter Set, A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers DVD episode and book marker!

Just follow my blog and leave a comment telling me YOUR favorite childhood toy, by Midnight (PST), Saturday, May 8, 2010! Be sure to leave your email address so I can let you know if you won! Winner will be chosen using and announced on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 9, 2010. (*I will ship to the winner within the US only.)

Prize Package:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Alone With Strangers... At Last!!

Aubrey and I had a HUGE mommy/daughter breakthrough last week. There was crying, paranoia, fear, sweat and grunting. Sounds psychotic enough for you, or what?!

Early childhood is full of so many big milestones. First solids, first tooth, standing, crawling, walking. We're in full blown toddler time, so getting my daughter potty trained was the biggest thing to make the headlines over here recently. As the Target lady rang up those adorable packages of Elmo and Hello Kitty underpants, I didn't think anything could quite top this feeling of motherly accomplishment... until today.

Today, I left my child in the care of a complete stranger for over an hour and she (my child) only cried for about 5-8 minutes. YES!

This may not seem like a big deal to many parents. Especially if your child has been in daycare or preschool already. My daughter is almost three and has had a one on one nanny, mommy or daddy with her 24/7 since she was born and the only other people who have watched her for an hour or two have been a couple girlfriends of mine whom my daughter knows very well. My kid has never been left alone in a new situation, in a strange place, with a person she didn't know. This was big and I didn't think I was going to get away with it.

I gave my nanny the day off and was racking my brain for a morning activity for Aubrey and me. I get bored easily and the thought of doing the zoo, the park or the mall again was making me ill. I had been toying around with - or rather fantasizing about - the idea of taking her to the gym. Every time I managed to get to the gym, I would see parents dropping their children off at the Kids' Club (only $2 for up to 2 hrs) and the room looked really fun! A bouncing/climbing contraption, cartoons, toys, crayons and a miniature toilet. What more could a kid want? She has the time of her life while I get a work out in - mother and child in perfect harmony and I also felt it was a good way to get her prepped for some pre school action which will be happening for the first time in a couple months.
As I got us dressed for our big gym outing, I told Aubrey, "You get to go to the gym with mommy! I'm going to exercise and you'll get to play in a kid gym with other kids! Doesn't that sound fun?!" She replied, "Yes! I want to go with mommy!" So I made it clear that she would be in a room without mommy, but I'd be just in the next room and she would be having so much fun, she wouldn't even notice I wasn't there, to which she replied, "No, I want to stay with mommy! I"m going to exercise with mommy." She didn't seem to be buying it, but I pressed on.

I kept reassuring her during the short car ride to the gym. When we got there, I asked the young woman watching the kids if I could hover a while and let her play. She said yes, so I plopped Aubrey on the inside of the play area and encouraged her to introduce herself to a girl who looked her age. There was a brief freak out - Aubrey begging me to pick her back up and "get her out of here". This was not encouraging. But after she calmed down, she started to play, all the while checking to make sure I was still there. I waited and watched another 10 minutes and just when she seemed like she didn't care whether I existed or not I did the sneak out.

Whether to sneak or say good bye. An ongoing parental debate and in this case, I'm not sure what would have been best. The young woman watching the kids said it's pretty 50/50 - what the parents do and what the kids respond to best. I have never been a sneaker, but I felt she would never let me go if I tried to say good bye.

I quietly let the door close behind me and did a set on the military press, right next to the kid room. Then I looked through the window to see my child screaming, bawling and trying to throw herself over the gate of the play area. Awesome! This is going great. Ugh.

Before I snuck out, the young woman asked me how long I wanted to let her cry. I told her I had no idea. What did she suggest? She said they usually let it go on for 15 minutes before they page you OVER THE PA SYSTEM or pull you out of your class. So on to the treadmill I went. I left my earphones off and set the timer for 15 minutes knowing a mile and a half was all I was going to get in anyway.

Running and running as fast as I could, straining to hear my name each time I heard a PA page, I was shocked to see the timer run out and oddly, they never called for Amy Anderson. I hopped off the treadmill and headed back to peer through the window only to see my sweet girl playing with the other children, smiling from ear to ear. This was the moment I had been waiting for! The moment when my child finally didn't care if I was there or not.

Some moms get teary eyed over this milestone. They feel hurt and less needed. For me, it was truly one of the most exhilarating moments of liberation I have ever felt in my life. I'd rank it right up there with getting my driver's license, throwing my high school mortar board up in the air and getting my first apartment after leaving my ex.

As much as I love my daughter, being a traveling, late night, career minded comedian AND a mother has been challenging for me. The loss of my former self, my former life, was harder for me than I had anticipated. I know it's a challenge for many mothers, but they don't like to admit it. It makes one look like a bad mother. I don't see anything wrong with mourning the spontaneous, self-absorbed life I once led every now and then. It doesn't make me a less competent mother now or love my daughter any less, but it does make these breakthroughs of independence all the more exciting.

I enjoyed a great, full workout and when I stepped back in the kids' club to pick up Aubrey, she seemed completely non-distressed but happy to see me all at once. The end result I was hoping for. Our gym adventure was a complete success!

I'm so proud of my daughter for taking on this scary new challenge head on and coming out of it like a champ and I'm proud of myself for having the mom-balls (I'd like to trademark that please) to push her at just the right time. It was something we both needed. I'd just like to add this final thought - WOOHOO!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Joke Joint, April 22-24! Woohoo Minnesota!!

I can't believe my trip to Minnesota is only a week and a half away. I'll be heading to the Land of 10K Lakes on the 15th (Got those taxes done? I don't even want to talk about it.) to showcase at the Northern Plain NACA (Nat'l Assoc for Campus Activities) Convention, down to Iowa for a show at Wartburg College and then on to The Joke Joint in Bloomington to headline a weekend of five shows. I'm so excited as these are the first club dates I'll be headlining in Minnesota. Up until this point I've only performed at colleges, private events and theaters.

Please come out to support me and this great club if you get a chance. There are FIVE shows to choose from so unless your dog is having a hip replacement surgery, I don't want to hear the excuses! HA! Seriously, it would mean the world to me to see YOUR smiling, laughing face in the crowd. I hope you can come - and bring everyone you know. If I can put butts in the seats, the club owner will invite me back next year. That's how this business operates. Here are the details:

April 22-24
The Joke Joint
(Inside the Ramada at the Mall of America - the old Thunderbird Hotel)
2300 E American Blvd
Bloomington 55425

CLICK HERE to buy tickets online - these shows will sell out - I hope!

Box Office: 612-327-0185

Thurs, April 22 @ 8pm
Fri, April 23 @ 8pm & 10:30pm
Sat, April 24 @ 7:30pm & 10pm

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Moving Stuff & Other Stuff

It is finished!!! And this is NOT an Easter reference. I'm talking about an annual (dreaded) tradition of packing up all my earthly belongings and moving them to a different part of the city. This time, let's hope I get to stay in one place for longer than a year. MUCH longer. I've had it! Read on...

Man oh man oh man do I NEVER want to move again. I have moved almost every year (or more) since college and I've had it! There were only a couple years in there, since 1994, that I stayed in one place for over a year. Every year, I have more stuff too because my career gets a little busier and now I have a kid. Kids require stuff.
Yesterday, I was reminiscing with my friend about the old days when life was simpler. She remembered the time she and one other person unpacked all her belongings in her new, one bedroom apartment in 90 minutes. I was recalling when everything I owned fit into a Ford Festiva. Yes, I was only 17, but there is so much freedom in not having things.

I've never really been a "stuff" person and if it were just me, I'd be pretty happy in a studio or small one bedroom. Internet connection, somewhere to cook and bake a little, my own bathroom and a small bed are all it takes for me to feel content. I don't collect anything, I'm not a clothes or shoe hound, I don't even like to keep books when I'm done reading them. I LOVE getting rid of stuff and the older I get, the harder a task this has become. Motherhood has certainly taken a toll on my simple living and I yearn for the day when my living room isn't a parking garage for various plastic toys, a midget sized kitchenette and a play tent (aka as "The Circus").

I know I should just relax and enjoy having a circus in my living room, because it won't last long. The toddler years really are magical and I'm loving the humor and communication between my almost three year old and me, but I just can't stand the stuff.

I've always known I didn't want any more kids, so every few months or so, I purge my daughter's closet and room of things she's outgrown, both physically and intellectually. I have a few friends who have younger girls so it has always been easy to hand them down. I feel great making more space and it feels nice to be able to share with good friends too.

But back to simplicity. Is it possible to live simply when you have a young child? I haven't indulged my child beyond reason. She doesn't have a ton of toys and is not obsessed with her belongings. In fact, she is just starting to understand that we can buy the things we see at the store. I've always told her that things on the shelves were just for looking at and she never questioned it. SUCKER!

But now that she's figuring out how retail works, will she go nuts not having "things"? Will the peer pressure be harder on her once she starts school? Am I setting up my daughter to be the subject on a future episode of Hoarders? I doubt it. But if she does end up on that show, I hope I at least get a consultant credit.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eating WELL at Fresh & Easy!

Bloggers at Fresh and Easy

My readers know how much I LOVE Fresh & Easy and for those of you not in California, Arizona or Nevada, I really hope they decide to open a store in your hood soon. They're such a great company and I'm happy to support them!

Last night, a group of local writers/bloggers were invited to the Fresh and Easy offices in El Segundo for a tasting party, introducing their new EatWell line of prepared, individual meals, soups, salads, sandwiches and sushi. If you're one of those people eating a microwaved Lean Cuisine or Lean Pocket every day for lunch at the office, listen up! Fresh and Easy is pioneering a new way of daily eating that is convenient, REAL food on the go. Grab and go meals that aren't frozen, all natural and no preservatives.

Based on a 2000 calorie diet, these meals have limited calories, sodium and fat while still providing taste and filling portions. Yes, people, it can be done so why settle for crap? With prices ranging from $1.99 - $4.99 you have no excuses. Jamie Oliver is revolutionizing school meals, you can revolutionize yours!

Mmmmmm! Food!

We were treated to a lovely sampling of seven of the seventeen new EatWell items that will launch next week on April 7:
- Arroz con Pollo
- Creamy Basil Chicken
- Bruschetta Chicken
- Teriyaki Salmon
- Turkey Chili
- Spicy Tuna Sushi Square
- Veggie Hummus Wrap

They even had nice plates & silverware

I can honestly say that every single item was delicious! The Spicy Tuna Sushi and Teriyaki Salmon were among the best tasting items, however, I do have some concerns over the seafood suppliers - not just for Fresh and Easy - but from any grocery store and restaurant. Most shrimp that we eat is farmed in Asia and is full of anti-biotics and most of the salmon we eat is farmed as well which contributes to the destruction of our oceans and total ecosystem. Wild salmon is healthier than farmed salmon but is being fished to near extinction. We are destroying our oceans! OK, this is a whole other blog entry, but you can read more about salmon here and about the overfishing of our oceans at

Bottom line, I personally, would not purchase the seafood items, nor do I eat seafood in restaurants anymore unless I know it's a sustainable seafood that's not endangered or farmed. As much as I love Fresh and Easy, I hope that they will put some consideration into the sustainability and healthfulness of the seafood they choose. It's a really serious issue and they've been outstanding leaders in other eco/green/health areas. I LOVE seafood, but I love the ocean and the 70% of the oxygen it supplies us even more!

So back to the EatWell line. The chicken dishes were great. The Veggie Hummus wrap was awesome and fresh. Fresh and Easy hummus is one my daughter's and my favorite. Yum! The list of new items also includes a few I can't wait to try, like Singapore Noodles and the Veggie Breakfast Bowl! Cool, huh?

Please visit Fresh and Easy and check out their new Eat Well products. Americans are obese and diseased and I firmly believe it's mainly because of the "food" we eat. Or actually, the real food we are not eating. It's time Americans realize we have real, healthy, delicious food options and we should demand that our stores do better. Enough is enough folks! Thanks Fresh and Easy for taking the lead!