Xanadu: Insanity Disguised as an Absurdly Huge Mall

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What the world needs now is another shopping mall. No? Enter Xanadu, the biggest, most obnoxious commercial real estate project in the country. Yes, for a cool $2.2 billion this eyesore is supposed to be opening this summer. Perfect! It’s opening just in time to close.

In addition to 200 lame retail shops, this mall will feature an indoor ski hill, a 2-story chocolate waterfall, a 36,000 sq ft “city” made of candy and America’s tallest Ferris wheel. It’s nice to know Willy Wonka is alive and evidently loaded and possibly on crack.

First of all, the one thing I always miss when I’m shopping is the ability to ski. Nothing makes me want to put on heavy ski boots and hit the slopes more than shopping for a new bra. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, “Shopping just isn’t the same without skiing.” They really do go hand-in-hand.

And what about a 2-story chocolate foundation and a little city made of candy? This is the absolute worst thing to happen to chocolate since “dark.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of hot, melty, yummy chocolate. If there’s a chocolate fountain at a wedding, I’m the one standing beside with a big grin and lots of strawberries. But a 2-story waterfall? I’m thinking you won’t be able to eat the chocolate and probably can’t bathe in it – so what’s the point? It just seems like an enormous strain on our most luscious resource.  The candy city….ah, yeah, that’s already been done.  It’s called CandyLand.

And last but certainly not least, another Ferris wheel. Yes, folks. Nothing make for a lovely shopping experience like swaying a trillion feet in the air in some kind of metal cradle, just hanging out waiting to die. Mmmmm, MommyQ loves me some Ferris wheels.

It’s a 4.8 million-sq-ft “shoppertainment” center, mind you. Seems a wee bit large. Oh, and it’s in New Jersey.  The economy just can’t support this ridiculously tacky project and the scaling down is already fully underway. If it ever opens, it will be nothing more than a Payless with a hot dog kiosk and a fake candy cane sitting askew in the lawn.

Read the full story in Business Week here.  I heart consumerism and megalomaniacs.

7 Black & White Crib Bedding Sets

Colorful is so overrated! Take a look at eight clean, crisp and sophisticated crib bedding sets in black and white. From tasteful toiles to fun prints and stripes, you’ll surely find one that suits your baby’s style. One organic solid white set is included because simple is beautiful too!

Tadpoles 4-pc Crib Bedding Set – $150 – Target

Chic Swirls 4-pc Crib Bedding – $490 – Kool Roomz

Black French Toile 9-pc Crib Bedding – $170 – JoJo Designs

Versailles 4-pc CribBedding – $160 – Laurens Linens

Maddie Boo Amanda 4-pc Crib Bedding – $586 –  JRenee

Baby Toile Black 4-pc Crib Bedding – $311 – Carousel Designs

Bright White Organic 4-pc Crib Bedding – $599 – Kitsel

Hanging Letters: Buy ‘Em or Make ‘Em

These playful wooden letters can be upper or lower case and measure 10″ H.  All of the letter are hand-painted in black and white with either a red or black ribbon. Expect 12-14 weeks for shipping, so order early to make sure they arrive before baby! Retails for $78 at Post Tots. If you’re the creative type, keep reading…

I decided to do the letters in my son’s room myself. I found some big wooden white letters at Michaels and bought a bunch of paint colors. The hardest part was deciding what to paint, not how to paint it. I couldn’t get too creative because my painting skills aren’t that great. I also decided to do it all free-hand instead if drawing on the letters ahead of time.

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I chose camo because it matches his existing wall art and then went with a few things my son likes. I chose flames to represent NASCAR and lightning bolts for Lightning McQueen. And so on for a few more letters. It took a while and I struggled with the cheapo paints. I suggest buying the good paint, not the tiny little sets.

But there’s something to be said for buying them too. They are quite beautiful, especially the black and white. Either way, you and your child will certainly enjoy them!

Wearing White Shoes after Labor Day: Experts Weigh In

MommyQ attended a wonderful luncheon today hosted by the Austin Chapter of PRSA.  It was a huge success based on the turnout and although the food was late making its appearance, the Butternut Squash Ravioli was yummy enough to make you forget.

Anyway, the focus was the Austin fashion scene and it’s thriving. Thanks to all of the creative souls living in Austin and all of the good karma, the ATX has carved out its own little paradise in the fashion industry.

The panel of experts did a great job offering helpful advice to all of us overly confident, chatty PR folks. One panel member stood out to me, as one often does. Lance Morgan, founder of Brilliant Magazine, was quick to respond with some funny quips and a few requests for cash and cashmere. A definite crowd pleaser!

After an array of questions from the audience, including one “panel stumper,” I decided to take advantage of the fashion expertise sitting stylishly at the font of the room. I had a burning question that just had to be addressed…

I asked Lance Morgan and Lauren Smith Ford, Managing Editor of Tribeza, the big question, “What are the rules about wearing white shoes?” They laughed at first, but offered a thorough answer.

If you don’t what I’m talking about, it’s the whole notion that you should never wear white after Labor Day. I’m not sure where that came from and I’m too lazy to Google it. Anyway, I grew up knowing two things. #1. -You can’t fly down a flight of stairs no matter how much you think you can. #2 – You can’t wear white shoes after Labor Day.

But celebrities do it and they’ve done it for years. Doesn’t that mean the rule no longer applies?

According to Morgan, the rule does apply. The only time you can circumvent it is if you live somewhere tropical. But Austin is like 105 degrees most of the year. Doesn’t heat have something to do with it? Morgan added that last year it was around 100 degrees in September (in Austin), so in that case you could wear white shoes two weeks beyond Labor Day. Miami and LA, however, are immune to this rule. But that’s an entirely different slice of cheese.

If there is a pair of white shoes in your closet, imagine an expiration date and wear them accordingly. And thanks to Lance and Lauren for enlightening us all! (Told ya so!)

Autism Rides Off Into The Sunset

Last night my 4-year-old son rode a bike. It probably doesn’t sound like a huge accomplishment to most parents, but it was a pretty special moment for us.

This time last year my son wouldn’t touch a bike. He hated all moving things – swings, tricycles, scooters, wagons, etc. We just thought he was scared, but it turns out most kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have balance problems resulting in motion aversions. It doesn’t feel right and they don’t fully understand what’s happening. Our OT therapist explained it to us as an uncomfortable feeling – like an itch you can’t scratch. ASD kids also have trouble with activities that require sequencing of little events like getting dressed, potty training or riding a bike.

My husband got home from work early yesterday, so we took the kiddos for a stroll. And a certain someone got to ride his bike. He can pedal and steer and stays on the road, although he thinks off-roading is much more fun. Watching him ride his shiny red Lightening McQueen bike (with training wheels that look like tires) and even steer it without any help, was kind of like watching autism pedal out of our lives.

Sure, he needed help from his daddy along the way when he would start going fast downhill and couldn’t quite figure out the brakes. From my perspective, he was just a normal kid riding his bike and were just a normal family enjoying a beautiful evening. These are the small triumphs that give us hope. We look forward to many more.

Valentine’s Day Isn’t Quite the Same, But Still Just as Sweet

It’s funny how things change when you become a parent. Before we had kids, my husband and I celebrated Valentine’s Day to the fullest. We were Hallmark’s dream. A special lunch together that day, dinner that night and lots of extravagant gifts along the way. We always tried to outdo each other -who could come up with the most thoughtful, unique and personal gift. You know, really tug at those heart strings. Ah, those were the days.

Today we celebrated Valentine’s Day a bit differently. Like in a huge room of screaming kids with enormous colorful inflatable slides that practically touch the ceiling. Babies bouncing off of big kids, toddlers jumping wildly to the point of exhaustion, boys and girls bludgeoning each other with big foamy blocks….total chaos. Had someone from the future told me how I’d be spending Valentine’s Day now, I would’ve laughed. (And asked how I would look in my 30s!)

Anyway, the holidays aren’t really about us anymore. They’re about our children. And spending a few hours at the coolest bouncy house in town was exactly where we needed to be. Laughter, smiles, squeals of excitement, happiness and a few impromptu hugs between siblings made for a special day.

Tomorrow Mr.Q and I will celebrate Valentine’s Day minus the crowds and the kids. We’ve agreed not to go overboard with gifts this year and I’m proud of us for being so darn mature. Maybe we’re finally turning into the responsible adults we’ve always aspired to be. Then again….maybe not! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tutu Much! Tutu Halter Dress for Baby Girl

If you are not smitten with this lovely number, you aren’t human. Get a load of this perfectly prissy dress!

What’s more fun than dressing up your little princess as well….a princess! This Chocolate Halter Tutu Dress features a hot pink peony flower for an extra splash of splendor. If my mom had given me one of these when I was a little girl, I’d still be dancing around in it today! What a fun outfit for portraits or even a special Valentine’s Day dinner! Available in size 9 months up to 4 toddler. And once your mini fashionista outgrows it, you can remove the halter ribbons and she can just wear it as a tutu skirt. Happy, happy! Joy, joy!  Shop The Frog and The Princess for tasty baby treats.

Don’t forget to check out Princess Baby book too.