4Moms MamaRoo: The Baby Swing to End All Baby Swings

4moms mamaRoo (Image: 4moms)

4moms, a small company based in Pittsburgh, is combining technology and baby products in the most amazing ways. One of these tech-babies mash-up items  is the mamaRoo.

The mamaRoo is so much more than a swing or a bouncer. 4moms describes it as “moving like you do” and it comes pretty darn close. It has five different settings and to each setting, different speeds. There are also pre-loaded nature sounds that you can play as loudly or as softly as you want while your baby is moved around in whichever motion you choose. You can also connect any device with a headphone jack directly to the mamaRoo to personalize your baby’s listening experience.

I received a mamaRoo Plush to review and the first thing I can say is what a breeze it was to set up. Really, the instructions were only pictures and I still set the thing up in minutes. In fact, I disassembled it to take it on a trip and my two-year-old daughter tried to reassemble it (so her brother could go night-night in his “car” as she calls it) and she definitely had the gist of it. Continue reading 4Moms MamaRoo: The Baby Swing to End All Baby Swings

Birthday Week –A Quinceañera: the Biggest Birthday Bash of Your Life (if you're turning 15, Latina and willing to participate)

I'm somewhere under all that tulle. Image: Cindy

Quinceañeras are a big, big, big deal in Latino culture.

It’s something like a Sweet 16 but it happens at the age of 15 and, if the family is Catholic, often involves a mass in the Quinceañera’s honor. The entire ordeal takes months of planning, from the tremendous wedding-worthy sized cake to the dresses for the “damas” and the souvenirs for the guests. The celebration varies from country to country so, I’ll just give you the rundown of what it is like for me, a born and raised New Yorker with Salvadoran parents.

At the age of 14, my mother started asking me if I’d even want a Quinecañera; this celebration does not come with a cheap price tag, which is why some families opt to have “godparents” sponsor the purchase of pricier items for the party. By the end, the Quinceañera can have a madrina de zapatos, de anillo, de vestido, de comida, de bebida y de pastel (a godmother for her shoes, ring, dress, food, drinks and cake). My mother considers this tacky and prefers to pay for the entire thing herself so, a consenting teen was preferred. Unfortunately for my mom, I was going through a “goth” stage at that time. I wore massive amounts of black  make-up and listened to Korn and Marilyn Manson — so being clad in a pink ball gown was not my idea of a good time and it HAD to be pink.

These days the hues of Quinceañera dresses are much more varied; I’ve even witnessed a black one (jealous!). On the other hand, as much as my mother gets on my nerves I love her to pieces and if this was going to make her happy, then I was willing to “suffer through it.” I agreed to a Quince, but a Quince MY way. I chose navy blue as the color for the party (as close to black as I could get before my mother firmly put her foot down), which meant the damas in my court wore navy blue dresses and the caballeros wore navy blue cummerbunds and ties. The damas are something like bridesmaids and the court consists of 14 of them, representing my first 14 years and each of them is accompanied by a caballero. The damas and caballeros vary in age, however no one is older than 14 (I think the youngest in my court was 5 years old).  My partner and I are the 15th members of the court and since this is the celebration of my coming of age, only I am allowed to be 15.

For the mass, my court entered before me much like in a wedding. I entered last accompanied by my father and had a seat at the alter. During the mass, my godmother  presented me with a blessed ring and a bible.

The reception was held at a banquet hall and the entrance was the same: damas and caballeros first from youngest to oldest, ending with my father and me.  As the court entered the hall they formed two lines; boys on one side and girls on the other.

The Damas. Image: Cindy

My father and I danced a waltz between the two lines and each couple had to join us in the dance as we passed them. Once we were all dancing my father passed me to my partner and we ended the waltz this way. After the traditional waltz, we are supposed to choose a song of MY preference to dance to. Since I was not into any typical Spanish music, a popular song was chosen for me and we danced. Somewhere around this time, I started to realize I was really having fun.

There is a tradition representing the girl’s passage from childhood into adulthood in which the girl’s father changes her shoes from flats to heels. I chose not to do this, I didn’t like the idea of my dad changing my shoes, in my head it was tantamount to him being a servant. So instead we danced some more and this was when my quince really began. I brought my own CDs to the hall knowing any DJ hired by my mother would not have any kind of music I really liked. I sauntered over to his station, handed over a heap of late 90’s angsty teen music including Garbage’s Version 2.0 and Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill. I head banged the night away.

My tiara stayed in place.

Google Turns 13!

Image: Google.com

“Hmm, I’m not sure…Google it!” is a phrase I utter probably on a daily basis. Obviously, as a writer for GeekMom, I’m a nerd, a geek, a brainiac; what ever you want to call it and as such I tend to be the go-to gal for everyone in my office whenever they have a question. For instance,

“What’s that thing called that the Monopoly guy wears on one eye?”
“Ask Cindy!”
“A monocle.”
“Told you she’d know.”

But I’m not omnipotent and so when I’m stumped I go to Google.

Today, my favorite search engine (and so much more) becomes a teenager. Google was founded in a basement in California in 1998 and 13 years later it’s the super-company it is today. By the age of 13 I cut my own hair,  wore a bicycle chain bracelet and way too much glitter on my face. At the age of 13 Google has brought forth Android-powered phones, Google+, Gmail, Google Chrome, Google Maps and a slew of other things. At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if they took over the world one day. And as long as they stick to their unofficial motto “Don’t be evil,” that’ll be just fine by me.

Happy Birthday, Neptune!

Image: Wikipedia

No, we’re not celebrating the Roman God of the Sea’s birthday today but the actual planet Neptune, although the planet was named after the Roman god. Also, technically we’re not celebrating Neptune’s birth but the anniversary of it’s discovery. July 12, 2011 (at 2:38 PM according to one blogger , his article is really in depth) will be exactly one Neptunian year since Neptune was discovered 164.79 Earth years ago on September 23, 1846 (some say it was September 24, 1846).

Neptune is currently the furthest planet from the Sun as it had been until the discovery of Pluto in 1939. However, when Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006, Neptune went back to being the farthest planet in the Solar System.

When I told my friend yesterday that the following day would be Neptune’s first birthday, she replied “I wouldn’t want to live on Neptune in that case!” When I got to thinking of it, I started to wonder, if life were to exist on Neptune how would Neptunians celebrate? With it’s 13 moons and freezing temperatures I’m sure they’d be pretty interesting shindigs!

How about you? How would you celebrate on Neptune?

Image: Wikipedia

Simon Pegg, Supergeek, at Strand Books Today

Simon Pegg, Supergeek

Self-proclaimed supergeek, Simon Pegg, has added a new title to his already impressive list: author.

Pegg, best known for co-writing and starring in the quirky comedies  Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Run Fat Boy Run and for his recent portrayal of Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in the 2009 Star Trek movie, will be in New York City today at Strand Books reading excerpts from and signing copies of his memoir Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy’s Journey to Becoming a Big Kid.

Pegg’s memoir tells tales of his geeky childhood in England, of running into brick walls, discovering Star Wars, Star Trek and comic books, eventually guiding readers through his life as a successful supergeek.

Strand Books is located at 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003. The book signing starts at 7:00 PM, but seating commences at 6:00 PM. Seating is reserved on a first come, first served basis.

Image: Amazon

The GeekMom Way to Pamper Yourself for Mother’s Day

Newsprint Nails – Photo via passionnailart.com

Last week was a horrible week for me at work and I was so overwhelmed that I decided to go get a manicure. I’ve been getting my nails done since I was in high school and have always stuck to a very simple french manicure. This time though, I really didn’t want something boring and average. So, I did some research. Initially I was looking for Hello Kitty nail designs (I’m a HUGE fan of that adorable mouthless kitty) but nothing really caught my eye. I switched gears then and started searching for nerdy/geeky nail designs and stumbled upon several different kinds of nail art that would be just perfect for GeekMoms, especially with Mother’s Day right around the corner.

For the Lego afficianados among us: the Lego manicure complete with blocks and Lego logo:

Lego Nail art photo via daily-nail.blogspot.com

For the superhero fans, why not pay an homage to all your favorites on your corpus unguis?

But if you don’t have time to head over to the nail salon and request any of these outrageously nerdy nails there is an easy DIY manicure that will do the trick. Newsprint Nails (pictured in the beginning of this post) are so easy I could probably have my 17 month old daughter do them for me (except, not really because she’d  probably try to eat the newspaper). I originally found this manicure on a blog called La Passion du Nail Art and the instructions were all in French, with only three years of college French under my belt I copied and pasted the instructions into a word document and hit “translate.”

All you need for these super-easy and totally geeked-out nails are the following materials:

  • Nail polish, preferrably in a light or nude tone so the print really shows up
  • Alcohol (for some reason the french blog says to use vodka but I just used regualr rubbing alcohol and that worked just fine)
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Clear topcoat

I had to try this for myself since, when I went to the salon armed with my own newspaper and clear how-to instructions, the manicurist was not too willing to experiment. I went home and tried to dip my already top-coated nails into alcohol and apply the newsprint to get the desired effect. I pressed as hard as I could but still got nothing. Not wanting to ruin a manicure I paid for, I recruited my boyfriend into being my guinea pig. I grabbed a bottle of Pepto-pink nail polish and polished one of his nails with two coats. After letting it dry for a few minutes, I dipped his nail in alcohol and pressed a newspaper clipping to his nail (I chose the crossword puzzle section — but imagine the possibilities; horoscopes, comic strips, sports section what ever suits you best). A few moments later I peeled the clipping away and it did smudge a bit but that’s because I’m overly-enthusiastic and didn’t let the nail dry completely.

my boyfriend’s pepto-pink newsprint nail

Ultimately, the manicure is an exceptionally easy one and it would be something nice to do for yourself for Mother’s Day, or you can get your little geeklings involved if they’re old enough to know not to drink the alcohol or eat the newspaper.