Wednesday, November 25, 2009

EA Games Winter Gaming Wonderland: Our First Holiday Party of the Year!

A few weeks ago my daughters and I went to the EA Games Winter Gaming Wonderland event. This was the first holiday-themed party we were invited to, so the excitement level was high. Let's face it - once you have kids, the holidays and video games go hand-in-hand. Like juice boxes and pretzels. Know what else goes hand-in-hand once you have kids? Room cleaning and whining. Just thought I'd get that in there.

EA Games throws a great party - besides the huge room filled with numerous gaming stations and big screens, they have things to make the adults happy, too. Like food catered by Chipotle.

While my daughters and their friends battled each other in Harry Potter and Hasbro Family Game Night 2, I got to nosh on some tortilla chips and killer carnitas that I didn't have to cook. That never happens at home I can tell you that.

My youngest daughter and her friend spent almost the entire night playing Charm Girls Club, and after they were worn out they started hanging around the sno-cone cart.

A LOT. I told them twenty sno-cones was going to freeze their stomach solid and that seemed to scare them away for awhile. But then they drank a bunch of hot chocolate, which they argued had thawed their stomachs enough for more sno-cones. Damn them and their science!

The girls even made the local news that night, which was a huge thrill for everyone. Let's just say my youngest has learned the fine art of following the camera crew around and inserting herself into the shot. Is there a video game for that?

A couple of other games my girls and their friends liked were Littlest Pet Shop Friends and The Sims 3. I tried a little Harry Potter but it was too hard to play while balancing a burrito and a cup of coffee, and my daughter said I had to choose between eating and gaming. I told her that sustenance is necessary for skill, thereby throwing that science right back at them!

I lost the game, but I still had my awesome burrito. Everybody wins!

Thanks to EA Games for kicking off our holidays with a great event!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On Momicillin: Who would have ever thought I'd be writing about anti-bacon?

I just wrote a guest post on Momicillin, a new site that features reviews and articles written by parents, intended to "help cure what ills the everyday (or any-day) Mom." I decided to write a review on something that has been saving my sanity at dinnertime lately, a line of meatless products. It's true - there was a time I considered a tofu hotdog sacrilegious, but I've had to change my tune ever since my 13-year-old turned against me and became a vegetarian. Please note, though - I will never, ever, not in a million years, buy a Tofurky.

So here’s the thing – I could never relate to those parents that complained about not getting their kids to eat, because my daughters, 11 and 13, will eat just about anything. And it’s always been that way - even when they were babies I remember friends and relatives coming over and it would almost be like a game. “Hey, let’s see if they’ll eat THIS,” they’d say, and then proceed to drop pieces of liver, or anchovies or cigarette butts onto my kids’ plates (Okay, I just made up the part about the cigarette butts, but you get the picture)...Read More...

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Bliss & Broads: My Nintendo Wii Fit Plus Yoga Party

I love throwing parties, but anyone who knows me is familiar with the torture I put myself through - the agonizing over detail, the hours of preparation - and that's just putting together the vegetable tray. So I was pretty excited when Nintendo and Brand About Town contacted me about throwing a yoga party and told me they'd be doing all the work - I told them that was a fabulous idea, but I still wanted to show up a couple of hours early to vacuum, scrub all the toilets and obsess about the placement of candles. Oh, and no party of mine would feel right unless I spent a few minutes yelling at my husband to go buy ice.

But I didn't have to worry, because they handled everything down to the last detail. I was able to invite twenty girlfriends to spend the evening with me getting to know the new Wii Fit Plus, the newest version of Wii Fit that features new strength and yoga exercises as well as new balance games. The location was a photo studio in Hollywood that was converted into a yoga studio for the night - check out this beautiful scene - just knowing I didn't have to Swiffer those floors makes me all choked up:

Upon arrival, everyone was greeted by the Nintendo staff and after a round of delicious smoothie shooters we were all invited to relax on the cushions and make ourselves at home (some of us were embarrassed to learn to that "at home" didn't mean laying down, loosening our pants and tuning the TV to CNN.) After a little socializing we sat down to watch a demo of the Wii Fit Plus by our Nintendo coach, the incredibly fit and energetic Natalie. Here is my group of amazing girlfriends, looking captivated - I can safely say I haven't seen a few of them look this enraptured since that time at the club where that guy did that thing with his whatchamacalit. You know who you are.

Earlier we were each given a stone with a word such as 'balance' or 'calm' inscribed on it and that determined who your partner was once we were let loose to try some of the exercises and games on our own. My partner was my friend Krista, who also taught both my daughters in elementary school. Needless to say I was on my best behavior. We spent some time going through a basic yoga routine on the Wii Fit Plus where I quickly discovered how uncoordinated I really am - I think I actually heard the virtual trainer snickering when I was attempting the Tree Pose. (But the great thing about the program is that it tells you when you're off balance, or not putting enough weight on one of your legs during the pose.) The only thing I was good at were the Torso Twists, and that was only because I told myself I was turning and bending to reach a bag of french fries that was just out of my reach.

After yoga we moved onto the Training Plus feature - Wii Fit Plus has some great new games including one called Obstacle Course, where you try to avoid being knocked into oblivion by a huge ball (me = dead) and my favorite, Perfect 10, where you use your hips and butt to hit bumpers that add up to 10. Not as easy as it sounds, since it requires some serious swiveling action while doing math - this game illustrates why my accountant friend Dan is such a lousy dancer.

Alas, no party post of mine would be complete without showing you the food. After all of our hard work they brought out trays of delicious sandwiches, cheese, hummus and fruit. For dessert there were cookies and strawberries, and glasses of wine. I know wine isn't considered part of any fitness routine, but I'm thinking my tree pose might have been more successful had it come post-cabernet.

The biggest surprise of the evening came when our hosts presented me with a brand-new Wii Fit Plus and Balance Board...and then gave one to every single one of my friends at the party! You should have heard the squealing - again, haven't heard anything like it since the guy did that thing - oh never mind.

This party was to kickoff my designation as an official Brand Enthusiast for Nintendo. What does that mean? I'm not exactly sure, but for the next year I'll be sharing with you - my friends, family and unsuspecting public - all the goodness that is Nintendo. And around our house, where the Wii is the most frequently used appliance (next to the espresso machine) that won't be hard to do. After the party I had quite a few people call to tell me they were already using their Wii Fit Plus daily, and two of my friends, who didn't have Wiis, went out that weekend and bought the consoles. I guess this means my hypnotizing powers as an Enthusiast are already doing their voodoo.

And stay tuned because I have an amazing giveaway coming up, courtesy of Nintendo. Hint: It's not one of my impressive vegetable trays.

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