Monday, January 25, 2010

L.A. Moms Invade Pacific Waters Spa - AHHH!


The Asian Valley Girls Get Their Spa On!
Bern-Baby-Bern, FunnyYellowMom & SweatPantsMom

This mama is RELAXED! I am not usually a spa girl. Spa treatments are pricey and take a lot of time. I admit, I have a hard time relaxing. As a working mom with a really weird career, there is always something more important to do than getting a mani/pedi. However, last night I was lucky enough to be part of a promotional night of pampering at Pacific Waters Spa at the Huntington Beach Hyatt and oh boy, did I take my time and relax!

A group of us exhausted and deserving (hee hee) mothers were given robes and slippers and ushered into the "Relaxation Room". Then massage therapists and estheticians appeared and one by one called us in for our spa treatments. We received mini neck/back/shoulder massages, hand treatments and facials which were all amazing!

My awesome esthetician, Madea (oh gosh, did I spell her name right?)

We also learned how to make a Coco Mocha Latte Mask and a Peppy Sugar Scrub at home with regular food items from the grocery store. We were given a tour of the entire spa and it was beautiful!


My second favorite part, after the massage, was our own special buffet and a post spa, custom made drink, called the "Momtini". Yes please.

Seriously, I've been to the Burke Williams Spas before and the Pacific Waters Spa puts Burkey-Poo to shame and for comparable prices. Every spa treatment you can imagine is available here including a treatments for men, couples treatments, special soaks, full salon and fitness classes. The staff was professional and capable and the food was amazing.

I can't recommend Pacific Waters Spa enough and I can't wait to go back there. NOW, here's the great news for my friends here in SoCal - become a Fan on Pacific Waters Spa on Facebook and write on their wall, "Referred by Amy Anderson" and they will give you 20% off any 60 minute spa treatment!!! WOOHOO! And if I refer a zillion people to follow/Fan them on Twitter and Facebook, I will get some spa services too! (You didn't think I did this without a motive, did you?) You have until January 31... GO!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Amy Gets Emotional... and she wasn't even on the rag

I'm originally from the Midwest and people back there always ask me if I'm afraid of earthquakes living in Southern California. Honestly, I'm still more afraid of tornados and lutefisk, but I'm not made of stone...


Being a comedian, I fly the friendly skies for a living. This morning, on board my flight home to LAX, waiting for take-off, I decided to read my complimentary hotel copy of USA Today. The Haiti earthquake, of course, is still the biggest news story and while flipping and skimming through the articles and photos about the devastation and relief efforts, the mom in me just couldn't be contained - I started to cry. It's no fun crying in public, but it's especially no fun crying on a plane. In the middle seat. Between two strange men. It's down right embarrassing but I couldn't stop myself.

I, like many self-absorbed Americans and busy single moms, don't have nearly as much time as I would like to read and watch the news. While I had been hearing all about the earthquake through friends and news snippets, headlines here and there, the magnitude of the devastation didn't fully hit me until I sat down with the paper today and really absorbed the figures and photos.

One of the poorest of all nations in the world, flattened by mother nature. The death toll keeps rising and we all know nature does not discriminate. Mothers, fathers, children, babies, dying and suffering and with the collapse of major infrastructure, many more will die. I can't help but imagine my own child in these situations and reading article after article about the devastation in Haiti made me count my blessings. It also made me admit that I am completely unprepared for a large earthquake.

A little over a year ago we had a small, but slightly frightening, earthquake here in SoCal. I was living in Van Nuys at the time and it really shook my three story building. I had felt a few tiny quakes since coming to Los Angeles in 2001, but this was the first one that actually scared me. I yelled to my nanny, who was in the living room with my 1 year old daughter and this is the dialogue we had:

"It's an earthquake and it's kind of a big one!"

"What are we supposed to do?!" (she was from Kansas)

"Um... pick up the baby! Maybe we should put on our shoes?"

And then it was over. Fortunately, it wasn't "the big one", but do you think I've learned any more about earthquake preparedness since then? The truth is, a little, but not much. I did learn that you're supposed to get under something sturdy, not stand in a doorway, don't run outside - but that's about it. Having grown up in Minnesota, I can tell you EXACTLY what to do during a tornado, but earthquakes are a mysterious beast to this Midwestern girl.

It's so easy to put things off without daily reminders. As a single mom, it seems like I have a thousand other things more important to do each day. Much more important than assembling an emergency supply kit of things we will probably never use and devising and discussing a plan with my nanny and my ex. But the Haiti quake - the pictures of orphaned children, sobbing mothers, bodies in the street - made me realize that it IS important. Would I ever be able to forgive myself if my daughter or nanny was trapped in our house without at least a supply of clean water? If they were injured without basic first aid supplies? Never. Getting prepared is on my list of things to do tomorrow and if you're not ready, then it should be on your to-do list too. I'm not an alarmist, but I am a realist. A procrastinating one, but a realist, nonetheless.

Every part of the country has it's natural disasters - know your risks and the dos and don'ts for your region. For those of you in earthquake areas, FEMA and MyGreatHome.com are two very informative sites that can help you prepare and maybe even survive someday. Let's hope we never need to use this information!

I always miss my little girl when I go away on work trips, but I have always been lucky enough to come home to a healthy child and a safe home. I hope she never has to experience the terror of a major natural disaster like the one in Haiti, but I can do my best to be prepared and help her through it in case she does. My heart goes out to all of the people affected by the Haiti earthquake and may those who perished rest in peace. Especially the children.

Valentine's Day Is Coming - Are you Fresh & Easy (& cheap)?

OK, more Fresh & Easy! Since I was so freakin' slow getting my post about the holiday treats up, I wanted to get my Valentine's Day treat post up right away. Why? Because I love Fresh & Easy and I'm pretty sure I can convert you too.

F&E just sent me two boxes of their special V-Day nosh and wines and once again they have some really great treats available for you at amazing prices! Check out these products and the other great stuff they have and you won't even have to tell your sweetheart you didn't spend a fortune.

Here's the loot in order from L-R:


Fresh and Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies - $2.59/8 ct
As much as I hate to admit it, these snickerdooodles are almost as good as mine and I'm a damn good baker. Because of my status as Damn Good Baker, I usually can't stand store bought cookies. The kind that come from the grocery store bakery are usually the worst - dry and flavorless - but these are really really good! They are chewy and just the right amount of buttery/cinnamony/sugary/sweet. Buy them.

Montcadi Cava Rose - $6.99 (on sale for $4.99)
I haven't opened either of these bottles yet, but trust me, I will. This is a rose sparkling wine that was a recent Double Gold winner at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Get it while it's only 5 bucks before it goes to it's outrageous regular price of 7 bucks. Bwahahaha!

McGuigan Hand Made Barossa Shiraz - $12.99 (on sale for $8.99)
This is an Australian wine that is described as going well with red meats or strong cheeses. I haven't met a strong cheese I didn't like, so I have plans for this bottle.

Sweet Boutique Gourmet Swiss Truffles - $3.99/6.3 oz
This seems to be a milk and dark chocolate copy cat of the amazing Lindt Lindor Truffles and the good news is they are almost as delicious and for about half the price. My ball split in half when I bit into it, but the chocolate was nice and smooth and tasty.

Fresh and Easy One Huge Hunk Chocolate Bar w Pecans & Fruit - $4.29/14 oz
OK, this one is pretty self explanatory and how can you NOT buy something chocolate named "One Huge Hunk"? Go for it.

You really should stop in to your local F&E if you live in Cali, Arizona or Nevada. You'll be glad you did. And if I haven't raved enough, here's something else, non-food, that I love about F&E... click here to read about their green building initiatives. Helping the environment and saving you money - ahhhh. Refreshing!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Holiday Lattes, Episencial, Fresh & Easy - I'm Fat & My Baby Is SmoothSmooth!


Here are the rest of the holiday events I got to take part in over, duh, the holidays. So much fun and so much to write about...which is why I'm so far behind. I hope you see something here that you like! Well, who doesn't like milk, cookies, wine and lotion?! Sounds like a night of fun to me. Go on people... CONSUME!

2) GOT MILK Holiday Latte Event



OK, so I'm Asian and I'm in my 30s - the lactose intolerance has definitely kicked in over the last couple years, but I was adopted by white people in the Midwest and I grew up drinking 2% milk as a beverage at every meal. I love me some dairy and the GOT MILK people really know how to get their moo on.

Their Holiday Latte event was held at Le Pain Quotidien (HELLO YUM!) in L.A. and it was so much fun! We had delicious pastries and cookies and of course the lattes. My favorite was the eggnog latte - spiked, of course. Really delicious. I also had a pumpkin latte and an amazing hand/arm massage. There were fun wintery themed crafts for the kids and a raffle drawing and goodie bags. The venue was a little crowded so I'm glad Aubrey wasn't with me, but a fun time was had by all!

A giant thanks to Anglina Valencia, our gracious host, for putting together such a great event for all of us. She is one of those people who always makes you smile and remembers your name and face. It was a great way to kick off the holiday treat consumption (like I need an excuse) and it was totally worth the gas (both in my car and in my... well, you know what I mean).


3) Episencial / SproutBaby.com's Sensational Mom Spa Event



When I'm not bribing my child with popsicles to do her poo-poo in the potty or telling jokes in Pennsylvania, I'm hanging out with fancy people at swanky house parties in the Hollywood Hills. Well, maybe not all THAT often, but on December 8, I actually was. Episencial and SproutBaby.com threw a wonderful party to show off Episencial's new babies and children line of skin care products.

The party was really cool - complimentary massages, infant massage demo, delicious vegetarian nosh, fun crafts for the little ones and my favorite part (since I missed the massages) - a sit down with Dr Alan Greene, an amazing "green" pediatrician and author of the terrific book, Raising Baby Green and Feeding Baby Green. He talked about EVERYTHING moms of little ones want to know. Food allergies, organic foods, soy milk, air cleaning plants, picky eaters and food imprinting... he was absolutely fascinating and full of useful knowledge. We also received an autographed copy of Raising Baby Green. Woo-hoo!

Before I go any further, let me tell you that my daughter has had persistent and fairly serious eczema for over a year. I received a tube of Episencial's "Soothing Cream" in my goodie bag and I'm hooked! It has been the best thing I've used on her eczema and she loves the Eric Carle illustration on the tube. We call it "caterpillar lotion"! Cute, huh? Yes, the smart Episencial folks made a sweet deal with Eric Carle and all of their products are designed with his famous, beloved illustrations.

I can't say enough good things about these products. A couple of the highlights:
- VERY reasonably priced
- no synthetic chemicals
- scented with real fruit juice extracts - not fragrances
- all natural ingredients and lots of organics
- packaged in recycled and sustainable materials, phthalate & BpA free
- manufactured under solar power!

Please check out their products and their Facebook Fan Page today!


4) Fresh & Easy - HELL YEAH!


I have been singing the praises of Fresh & Easy since I learned about them last summer. As much as I'd like to keep their store in Van Nuys my own little secret, I can't stop blabbing on and on about them. They have a nice big parking lot (unlike Trader Joe's) and I haven't set foot in a TJ's in ages.

Last month, I was treated to a special holiday sampling of Fresh & Easy's sweets and wines! In order from left to right:

Cranberry & Nut Popcorn Clusters ($4.99): YUM! My daughter begged to eat these from the second she saw them. She LOVES popcorn and, being only two and a half, had never sampled popcorn drenched in a sticky, crunchy, sugary sauce before. Definitely a hit. My boyfriend polished off most of the container and he gives it two thumbs up!

Vine Yard Cabernet Franc ($7.99) & Ogio Prosecco Spumante ($8.99): The man and I drank the cab Franc and really enjoyed it. I'm not a wine connoisseur, but Mr Boyfriend is. While he wouldn't say it was an AWESOME bottle of Cab Franc, it was easy to drink and nice for a casual dinner at home. Bottom line - and I'm a bottom line kind of gal - it costs $8!! WHAAA?!! Even if you hate wine, what the heck? We haven't popped the Prosecco yet, but soon. Soon!

Sweet Boutique Gourmet Swiss Chocolate Assortment ($7.99): I brought this box of yum (and the next biscuits) out at a holiday party and they went over well. There were milk & dark chocolate pieces and while some were a little too sweet or "gourmet" tasting for my personal tastes, overall, very delicious and beautifully packaged. Don't ask me though because I dig a Twix bar like none other... and would eat one off the ground if I were lucky enough to find one.

Sweet Boutique Belgian Biscuit Collection ($7.99): I really loved this one and so did my party guests... and my daughter when she snuck one behind my back at our annual holiday party. Cookies covered in chocolate in a pretty gold tin for only eight bucks... Enough said.

Fresh & Easy is awesome and this isn't the last you'll hear about them on my blog. The employees at my local store are always kind, polite and helpful. The food is great and most of all affordable. I especially love the way they are taking simple steps to conserve energy, help the environment and ultimately, save you $$!! Simple. Great! Thanks F&E!








Monday, January 11, 2010

Post Holiday 2009 Roundup

Now that "the holidays" are officially over, I'd like to recap some of the awesome holiday events I attended. Then next several posts will be dedicated to the holiday treats and surprises Aubrey and I were so fortunate to receive and experience. Happy 2010 everyone!

1) Help A Mother Out Playdate at the Treehouse Social Club



It was INSANE and awesome! The Help A Mother Out playdate charity event at the Treehouse Social Club in Beverly Hills. This super cool organization does diaper drives to support homeless and poverty stricken mothers and their children. Could you imagine not being able to provide clean diapers for your baby? Unfortunately, many mothers face this reality in the US and the babies suffer and often become ill from being in a soiled diaper for hours, sometimes days at a time.

Super awesome mom blogger, Kim Tracy Prince organized this diaper drive (and then got so sick she couldn't even attend her own event - boo!) and it was a great success. The kids were treated to live music, awesome kid snacks (Goldfish, mini cupcakes, gluten free cookies, juice boxes and more!) and there were grown up appetizers and wine for the parents. Aubrey played, snacked and danced like a maniac and she was excited to donate our diapers too. It was Aubrey's introduction to formal philanthropy and I think she really understood why we were giving the diapers. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity to help our community of moms and children and have fun at the same time! Please support this amazing organization... oh and on a side note...

I read an ignorant comment on a post about this organization on LAist.com. As you can see, this idiot, "claw" said, "People should just NOT HAVE BABIES if they can not provide for them!!!" It really infuriated me. This charity is not about judging people, women, mothers or parents. It is about helping members of our communities who are in need. Period. People who think homeless women are all slackers, drug addicts, people of color, uneducated, etc - you are wrong. Especially in this economy we are ALL only steps away from homelessness ourselves. Be grateful for what you have right now and do what you can to support others. It's so easy to do. If you have nothing to say but ignorant and hateful comments, just shut the fuck up.

Aubrey Gets Her Dance Groove on to Help Mothers & Children
video

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ahhhh... SLEEP!

After a very stressful and sleepless Christmas time with a super sick toddler, I'm VERY glad to be enjoying a two night getaway with my guy at an undisclosed location. I don't want people bugging me, so don't worry about where I am. Let's just say there's a hotel here with a bed and it's getting REALLY slept on! YEAH!

I knew I was tired going into New Year's Eve, but I was exhausted. I needed this catch up sleep so badly. Especially since I was finally feeling 100% healthy for the first time in over a month after a couple, back to back, long lasting colds.

I rang in the New Year in bed, slept late today, ate a breakfast big enough to feed a family of four, went back to bed, got up and wend to an afternoon movie where I ate candy and popcorn and then, I actually went to the hotel fitness room and worked out! For real, like ran two miles and lifted weights, did dips, abs, all that good stuff. Why? Because I then went to dinner and ate a dinner big enough to feed a pack of wild boars. I had a beer too.

I can't believe that sleeping in a hotel and eating like a pig has become my dream get away, but for now, I can't think of anything else I'd rather do. I can't think of anything else I'd have the energy to do either. Later this winter, I'd like to go snowboarding, maybe take my little Aubrey sledding, but for now, I'm all about sleep.

Oh and I did make a New Year's resolution and, like my current location, I'm not sharing that either. It's personal and needs to stay that way. 2009 was both wonderful and horrible for me and I hope I learned from the horrible and enjoyed the wonderful as best I could. My best friend made a list of her 2009 accomplishments and I thought that was such a cool thing to do. We often get caught up in the negative in life, focus on the "should haves" and forget to stop and appreciate how far we've come. I was a little upset that some things I really wanted in 2009 didn't happen, but it's a new year and there's no use dwelling on the past. Onward to 2010! Attack attack attack... right after I'm done sleeping for one more day.