Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Posts tagged ‘mom blogger’

Bright Future, Brighter Shades

Disclaimer: I received two pairs of Knockaround Premium Polarized Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Winter is finally fading away, Spring is ramping up, and Summer is right around the corner.  What does that mean?? It means the SUN is coming out and shining brighter than ever (for real, the sun shines bright at 5:30 am here in Japan). So it’s perfect timing to test out some new shades! I chose the Rubber Mint/Aqua Preumium Polarized Knockaround sunglasses to try, but I also received a bonus pair!  Yay for SWAG! 🙂

IMG_6116

I’m all about wearing sunglasses and I feel like you can never have too many pairs!  Another fun fact about Japan – people here don’t wear sunglasses! That’s right, even on a bright day you’ll see most people wearing hats or holding umbrellas to block the sun.  If you catch anyone in shades, chances are they are a tourist, an expat, or Yakuza (Japanese mafia).  It’s also Wisteria season here and these flowers create very whimsical scenery!

When I first saw the black frames, I kind of thought they had a masculine appearance…but I actually liked how they looked with the green lenses! I always like to have a black pair of shades in my stash because black goes with almost anything!

After “knocking around” in my black frames, I took the Rubber Mint/Aqua shades for a spin! I took them around Japan and despite the light-colored lenses, these did a really great job of blocking out the sun! And even though the word “rubber” is in the description, they are really smooth and don’t pull your hair or anything.

IMG_6133

Then I had to put them to the true test – How would they do on a RUN? 

IMG_6125

These sunglasses are super lightweight, so I was surprised that they didn’t budge during my run – and they even held up in the wind! I also didn’t have any issues with the lenses fogging up which is something that can be super annoying.

And the best part about Knockaround sunglasses?  They are SUPER affordable! The  Polarized Premiums are only $20!  I’ve lost expensive sunglasses in the past plus I have small children who have complete disregard for my accessories, so I don’t have to stress too much if I lose these guys (although I would still be sad).

Here are some other things I love about these Polarized Premium Knockarounds:

  • Bigger frames – I like larger lenses so it blocks out more of the sun!
  • Reflective lenses – My kids really enjoy making faces at themselves. 😉
  • Polarized lenses and UV400 protection
  • Fun Colors – They come in lots of fun and bright color combos!
  • Includes pouch – This was a really nice touch – most sunglasses at this price point don’t come with any type of extras
  • Born in San Diego – The company is headquartered in San Diego and this beautiful city will always have a special place in my heart!
  • Snoop Dogg – Even celebrities are rockin’ the Knockarounds!

Overall, I really like these sunglasses and plan to wear them frequently!  The only negative I found was that the lenses weren’t the easiest to clean, but I may try a different cloth and see if that works.

And just to make things sweeter, you can save 20% on your own pair with code “BIBRAVEKNOCKS”!  Plus free shipping on orders over $50!

And join me on #Bibchat on Twitter on 5/8/18 at 6PM PST for your chance to win a pair! 🙂

So are you ready to “knock around” in a new pair of shades?? This guy is…

IMG_6571

~SM

Advertisements

Building Bricks in Tokyo

There seems to be plenty of options for kid-friendly entertainment throughout Japan – including museums, huge playgrounds, and themed restaurants. If you are looking for something fun to do with the kiddos while visiting Tokyo, then I suggest making a visit to the https://tokyo.legolanddiscoverycenter.jp/en/!

IMG_2642

Just to be clear, this is a LEGOLAND Discovery Center and not an actual outdoor LEGOLAND Theme park.  They do have one of those a few hours south of Tokyo, but a Discovery Center is a little different.  It’s more like a snapshot of what a LEGOLAND theme park is all about – it’s completely indoors, much smaller, and a great way to spend the day with the family!  This one is inside of the Odaiba Mall so you could spend part of the day at the Discovery Center and the rest of the day exploring and shopping.

IMG_2643

So what should you expect from a visit to a LEGOLAND Discovery Center?

Well, when you first arrive you can a pay little extra and receive a lanyard with scavenger hunt stamp cards.  You look for stamp stations throughout the center and stamp your card at each station.  They are easy to find and the kids will enjoy stamping their little cards.

We spent the first part of our visit learning about different weights and the kids seemed to be really intrigued by this station.

After that, we moved on to the Kingdom Quest ride.  It was a laser car ride where you had to shoot your laser gun at projection screens and everyone in the car racks up points each time they hit targets.  Then we checked out the 4D show.  Even though it was in Japanese, because it was a 4D Show (i.e. you wear 3D glasses and get sprayed with water and such), my kids were still entertained.

IMG_2693

Next, we hit up another ride called, “Merlin’s Apprentice”.  You get in a car shaped liked a magician’s hat and then go around in a circle and up/down simultaneously.  You could probably get the same effect by spinning around in a computer chair, but my kids really liked this ride and wanted to ride it multiple times.  There was also a third ride at the park, but it was closed for renovations.

IMG_2692

After all that, we decided to stop at the café for a snack and a drink.  There really weren’t a lot of options, just a few basic snacks, juice, water, coffee, popcorn, and vending machines. They also had some Lego Brick lunchboxes you could purchase, but my kids weren’t interested.  Fun fact about Japan: Fountain sodas aren’t really a thing so vending machines are typically a cheaper option for beverages.

We opted for the popcorn so could keep the bucket (SWAG) and get discounted refills.

legopic3

My favorite thing about the café was the location.  It’s situated between the Lego Ninjago play castle and the Duplo play area (which is for kids under 5).  There were lots of tables/chairs and it was a nice place to take a break.  This is a great spot for kids to run around and burn off all that energy.  There were a couple of employees walking around the climbing area to make sure everyone is safe, but it’s required to sit inside and supervise if you have littles.  My kids spent a TON of time at this station, so plan accordingly if you have some active children in your party.

IMG_2689

The employees were pretty friendly and even helped my son put his shoes back on! 🙂

IMG_2690

The other cool thing about this particular area was the bathrooms!  Once you have kids you become more appreciative of bathroom layouts and cleanliness.  I love that most bathrooms in Japan have an area that’s kid-sized.  There are also directions on how to use the toilet. 😉

And just like any LEGOLAND theme park location, there is a MiniLand! This is my favorite part of any LEGOLAND.  I think it’s fascinating that people have patience to build entire cities out of Legos with such detail and precision.

Afterwards we checked out the Lego Friends area, but it really wasn’t anything special.  Just some benches and a microphone for the kids to talk and sing.  I imagine they use this area for performances or shows, but there weren’t any going on that day so we didn’t spend much time there.  Then we moved on to the Racing & Building Station.  You could build a little car out of Legos and then race it on a couple of courses.  I think older kids would really enjoy this area – my kids kept getting frustrating that their cars kept crashing.  There was also a nice employee that helped my daughter build her car which was very much appreciated.

Then we headed over to the Creative Workshop area.  You will need to check the schedule as there are projects all throughout the day.  The teacher seemed concerned that we didn’t speak Japanese, but there are plenty of instructional photos and thankfully “Lego-Building” is a universal language.  My daughter was able to build her pirate ship with no problem.  And you don’t actually get to keep your creation, but there is a spot in the classroom where you put it in action.  In our case, the pirate ship set sail in some Lego water.

It was getting close to closing time so we made our way to the exit and discovered another fun area – Train World! This included a couple of giant tables where you could build your trains and planes and then test it out on the tracks.  I think my kids would have spent a lot more time here, but we ran out of time.  It’s also located right near the exit, so once you leave there’s no turning back since they don’t allow re-entry.

After all of the interactive fun, we showed the stamp cards to the gift shop cashier so we could collect our prizes!

And besides that sweet SWAG, you also get this amazing view of Tokyo when you leave the Discovery Center!

legopic10

Overall, my kids had an AWESOME 😉 time and we plan to take them back in the future. *Also when we went earlier this year the Dino Explorer Exhibit wasn’t opened yet, so we definitely plan to go back for that!  Here are some tips to make the most of your experience:

  • Book your tickets online. Price tickets range between 1950-3200 yen, but purchase your tickets at least 24 hours before your visit to save some dough.  They also have a Parent/Toddler, Toddler Time, and Combo option.  The Combo option saves you money on admission to both the LEGOLAND Discovery Center and the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum which is also located on the same floor of the Odaiba Mall.  We had already visited Madame Tussauds in Hollywood so we decided to skip this experience.  And Bonus!  If you don’t have kids but still want to check out all the fun, they offer an Adult Night a couple evenings a month.
  • Drive or Train?  This is really up to you.  Most people prefer taking the train and the Discovery Center is close to a train station.  We opted to drive and parked in the Odaiba Mall parking garage.  We also had our parking ticket validated at LEGOLAND which saved a lot of money.  However, I’m not sure if you could have your parking ticket validated if you purchase your park tickets online.
  • Pay attention to the hours.  The park stays open until 8:00 PM during the week, but the rides and shows will close down earlier.  There is also a spot where you can purchase your photos.  This will also close early and cannot be re-opened.  And they will not email your photos to you either (we learned this the hard way).
  • Try to go during the week.  We visited the park on a weekday afternoon in January and there really weren’t much people there.  No lines, no crowds – it was like having the place to ourselves!  I would imagine they would be much busier during the weekends or summer break so keep that in mind when planning your trip!
  • Not a lot of food options.  Like I mentioned earlier, there wasn’t a large food selection in the café.  The good news is that the Odaiba Mall is pretty large and has multiple restaurants and a food court!
  • English.  Most of the employees we interacted with spoke enough English to have a conversation so don’t be afraid to ask questions!  Again, everyone who works there is really nice, energetic, and eager to help!
  • Have fun!  Most importantly, have fun!  There are lots of opportunities for kids to express their creativity and engage in STEM activities – you should join them and build your own creation! Because at LEGOLAND everything is…AWESOME! 🙂

And if you’re at the Tokyo location, head outside to enjoy the view!

legopic11

Have you visited a LEGOLAND Discovery Center?  What did you think?

~SM

13 Surprising Things About Sanrio Puroland (Hello Kitty Land)

In case you didn’t know there is a magical place tucked in the little town of Tama – located within Tokyo, Japan.  It’s where a special lady lives with all of her best friends!  Her name?  Hello Kitty!  And yes she is a lady and not a cat.  Make sure you tell your friends that,  I get the feeling she doesn’t like being referred to as a cat.  😉  She lives in a castle called “Sanrio Puroland” although many people refer to it as “Hello Kitty Land”.

You might be familiar with Sanrio, they have locations all over the world and you can’t miss them – they are small, but colorful and bright stores. They sell lots of stationary, school supplies, and accessories as well as stuffed animals and apparel. We took our kids here during Thanksgiving week to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and I was pretty excited to go as well since I loved going to the Sanrio store when I was a kid.  So here are a few things I learned about our adventure!

IMG_0532

  • Take the train.  It’s a fairly easy train ride and the park is only a 5 minute walk from the Tama train station.  You even get to walk down Hello Kitty Street. 🙂

IMG_0826

  • Buy your tickets beforehand.  I got our tickets on GoVoyagin – it’s like the Groupon of Japan.  We ended up paying $19.50 for each adult and my daughter. Kids under 3 were free. You don’t even have to print anything, you can just show the barcodes right on your phone. If you plan to go frequently or want to purchase a Puropass (like a FastPass), then you may want to get your tickets from the park’s website.  Keep in mind, the price increases for weekend and holiday visits.

IMG_0533

  • It’s indoors.   One thing that might really surprise you is that the entire theme park is indoors!  I think this is pretty awesome since the weather conditions aren’t always great here in Japan.  You don’t have to worry about your kids being too hot or too cold and you can leave the ponchos at home. 🙂

IMG_0722

  • It’s kind of small.  Since the entire park is inside, you can imagine that this place isn’t all that big.  It’s four stories high but doesn’t really have a huge circumference and there’s an escalator and elevator.  But the steps are kind of built into the enchantment of the place so my kids loved going up and down the stairs.  They do have a large stroller parking area and locker rentals so you don’t have to lug around your bags and coats.
  • The details are amazing!  No Hello Kitty detail was left behind here.  You will see prints of Hello Kitty and her friends all over this place – down to the wallpaper and the vending machines!
  • Even the food is themed!  There are a few cafes/restaurants located throughout the park.  They serve all types of Japanese cuisine as well as French fries, pastries, and ice cream.  But you will see that Hello Kitty has made her mark on the food (and snacks), too!
  • There are rides.  Even though everything is indoors, there are a couple of rides within the park.  One is a boat ride that takes you through a land of mechanical characters and the other is a little car ride where you take photos in different themed rooms.  We had to wait about 25 minutes for each of these, but the PuroPass will get you in faster in case you’re in a time crunch.
  • There’s an arcade.  If you need a break from the rides or want to play some games, there’s a spot for that.  The park has an arcade area with a small carousel and little 100 yen arcade style rides.

IMG_0676

  • There are plenty of opportunities for character meet-and-greets.  If your little ones aren’t afraid of giant and crazy costumes, then they will love the characters at Hello Kitty Land!

IMG_0595

  • Catch the parade.  There are a few shows that happen throughout the day.  You’ll want to pick up a show guide at the front, but make sure to watch the parade!  They will start roping off areas (just like they do at Disney) long before the start of the parade, so make sure you grab your seat early.  They also sell light up wands for 1500 yen and your kids WILL want one so they can interact with the performance.  Since we were there the day after Thanksgiving, the show was Christmas themed and it was a mix of Japanese and English songs.
  • She’s worth the wait.  You will have the opportunity to meet Hello Kitty herself!  She has her own wing of the castle and it’s extra magical!  We waited about 30 minutes, but I did see the wait times increase at times.  You can also skip the line with the PuroPass.  Once it’s your turn, you are ushered into her special house.  There are lots of photo props and interactive areas – and it’s beautiful!  Then you wait in another short line to actually meet her.  You have the option to purchase a rose for 500 yen to give her during your meeting.  In exchange she will give you a gift as well.  We didn’t purchase this option so I’m not sure exactly what the gift was although it appeared to be a small notebook of some sort.  Also, this was the only spot where personal photography was not allowed.  We bought our Hello Kitty photo with the frame for 1600 yen.
  • There’s SWAG!  If you are celebrating a special occasion, head to the Information Desk when you first enter the park.  They will give you a card that you wear around your neck with your name and celebration date.  Then when you walk around, everyone will give you a sticker for your card and in our case, wish my daughter a Happy Birthday.  It really made her day extra special!  They even gave one to my son so he wouldn’t feel left out.  Instead of ‘Happy Birthday’, his occasion was ‘First Visit’.

IMG_2101

  • Everyone is super friendly!  Okay, maybe this isn’t surprising since it is Japan and all.  But everyone was very friendly – not just the employees, but the people in the park too.  It’s a pretty crowded and busy place, but anytime my son had a meltdown or fell (he falls a lot) – someone would stop and check on him.  Also, everyone that worked there spoke enough English to communicate basic instructions which made things a lot easier.

Overall, we really enjoyed our day at Hello Kitty Land!  If you plan to go, check the park schedule because it does close fairly early so you’ll want to give yourself enough time to explore everything.  And if you don’t have kids, don’t let that stop you from visiting this little gem.  We saw a lot of couples there without children and they looked even more excited than the kids we encountered.  🙂

Have you been to Sanrio Puroland?  What did you think?  Would you go if you had the chance?

IMG_0822

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

From Japan with Love

You may have noticed that the scenery has changed a bit in my pictures and that’s because it HAS! That’s because a few months ago I relocated from sunny Southern California to The Land of the Rising Sun (seriously, the sun rises crazy early).

So I thought I would share what I’ve been up to and what I’ve learned over the last few months!

Trains are the way of life.  I’m still trying to navigate the train systems – like figure out if I need to be on a local or express train.  I had never been on a train before living here, so this has been quite the experience.  There is also train etiquette – everyone is pretty quiet and you don’t invade other people’s space.  They are also very clean!  This is kind of surprising since public trash cans aren’t as common as they are in the U.S.

IMG_6826

Noodles are on every corner.  You won’t find many drive thru fast food restaurants here with the exception of a McDonald’s here and there, but you will find sushi and noodles spots everywhere!  And ramen is amazeballs here!

No drink refills.  Unlike dining in the U.S., you will have to pay for each cup of soda in most restaurants.  But you will get unlimited water and many places have pitchers of ice water right on the table!  Also, there is no tipping and the servers rarely check on you because they want you to enjoy your meal without being interrupted.

IMG_6863

Treats are everywhere!  While we are on the topic of food, you will also find donut shops, ice cream, pastries, crepes, etc. on almost every block.  Sweets are a big deal here and it’s all delicious!  You will also find KitKat bars in all types of flavors like wasabi and wine flavor!

Starbucks isn’t the same.  You will find Starbucks all over Japan, but their drink options aren’t quite the same as they are in the U.S. (no pumpkin spice lattes here) 😦 And the drinks are also a little sweeter than they are back home, but I’ve tried some interesting flavors as well like the Almond Milk and Granola Frappuccino!

starbucks

Vending machines.  Speaking of coffee, you can find it in any vending machine.  Cold or HOT!  That’s right, you can get hot coffee, tea, or hot chocolate right out of the vending machine!  And you literally can’t walk more than 10 steps without passing a vending machine in Japan.

coffee boss

Toilets.  Toilets are either really fancy or really primitive.  😉

Playgrounds.  The parks in Japan are unlike anything you’ve ever seen!  So much larger and complete with streams, bouncy areas, zip lines, roller coaster slides, etc.  Even the adults have a great time!

IMG_6988

Manhole covers. You can find art everywhere you look, including the street!  Even the manhole covers are beautifully painted!

Nature.  You really don’t have to go far to appreciate the nature in Japan!  There are gardens everywhere, beautiful forests, and the trees are so unique and gorgeous!

Temples.  Temples are everywhere and they are quite sacred so do as the locals do as respect the grounds.  Also visit the Big Buddha! It looks just the way it does in the history books!

Narrow Roads.  The roads are pretty narrow here which takes some getting used to…as well as the whole driving on the left side of the road deal.  There’s also tons of pedestrians so you gotta watch out for people riding bikes and crossing the street.

IMG_6917

Tokyo.  Tokyo is enormous.  There are so many different districts and things to look at…you could easily get lost for days in this city.  Harajuku has some pretty amazing shopping spots and the architecture is unique and beautiful!  Shibuya Crossing (Pedestrian Scramble) is insanely busy and a great place to sit and watch all the traffic!

The people.  The people here are so friendly and many will try to speak as much English as they can when speaking to you. They are so polite and will help you if you are lost!

I’m still adjusting to this new life, but trying to enjoy the ride. 🙂  Stay tuned for more updates on Japan and I will continue to share the SWAG as much as I can!

And continue to enjoy the view! 🙂

mt fuji

Have you been to Japan?  What was your favorite part?

I’m off to explore!

~SM

Going Natural

There are lots of natural product lines on the market now, so it can be a little overwhelming to choose the one that fits your preferences.  I’ve tried a few different brands over the last couple of years, but I recently had the chance to try out a few items from the Logic Products line!

FullSizeRender

As you can see they offer a broad line of products that benefit the home, kids, and even pets!  To give you an idea as to what sets this line apart from other brands, here are a few facts about their products (via logicproducts.com):

  • Plant and Mineral Derived Formulas
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty Free
  • Pthlalate Free
  • PEG Free
  • TEA Free
  • No Synthetic Dyes
  • No Noxious Fumes
  • No Methylisothiazolinone
  • No Benzisothiazolinone
  • No Petrochemicals
  • No Synthetic fragrances
  • No Phosphates
  • Chlorine Free
  • Bleach Free
  • Recyclable Packaging
  • Made In U.S.A.
  • And more!

Wow, reading this list makes we want to check the labels on some of my other leading brand household products under the sink. Overall, it seems that the goal of Logic Products is too keep the ingredients in their products simple and pure.  I slowly began switching to natural cleaning products when I started having kids.  I worried about them inhaling/absorbing harsh chemicals and of course I didn’t want them ingesting any dangerous cleaning solutions.  But depending on where you live, natural products can be in limited supply and pricing can be a little higher compared to average products.

I found that Logic Products are pretty comparable to other natural brands.  They usually have a good selection of sale products and they offer free shipping for orders over $49!  They also offer a quality guarantee…but this part was a little confusing – You can return “new, unopened items sold and fulfilled by Logic Product Group within 15 days of delivery for a full refund.” But, “new and unopened” would mean that you didn’t get to try out the product so how would you know if you liked it or not? Maybe this applies if you ordered more than product, tried one and wanted to return the rest?  Hmmm…

Anywho, here is what I thought about the products I tried!

Barklogic Wipes ($12.00):  I liked the tangerine smell,  but I don’t think my pets really liked being wiped down. 😉

Totlogic Sunscreen ($16.95): This didn’t really stand out to me compared to other natural sunscreens.

Licelogic Prevention Spray ($16.95): I liked the smell and the concept of this product (especially with little kids), I just had a hard time remembering to take the extra step and actually applying it to my kids’ hair.

Homelogic Dish Soap ($7.95): Loved the scent and it left my hands feeling soft while getting the job done on the dishes.

And my favorite item from this set?!

FullSizeRender - Copy

Homelogic Hand Soap ($5.95): I really enjoyed the light and refreshing scent!  And the kids loved that it was a foam so they thought it was fun to wash their hands!

I would really like to try more of their products from the Homelogic line, like the Odor Eliminating Spray and the All Purpose Cleaner.  I also would be interested in the shampoo, conditioner, and bubble bath from the Totlogic line.

You can purchase any of their products directly from the website.  You can find the Barklogic products either online or in PetCo stores nationwide.  And you can also Contact Logic Products directly to find the nearest store where their products are sold!

What do you think?  Have you made the switch to natural products yet?!

***Note: I was given free products from Logic Products in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own and no other compensation was provided.

I’m off to review some more products!

~SM

Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo Review

Earlier this year, I attended the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo (GFAF Expo) in San Diego and it did not disappoint! The GFAF Expo is a two-day gluten free and allergen friendly event that comes to cities all over the U.S.  I also had the opportunity to attend as an official blogger which meant I got a little extra swag. 😉

Processed with MOLDIV

It was held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds which would normally mean that there were some nice views, but it happened to be raining this day so everyone pretty much ran inside to dodge the rain.

IMG_1996

Since it was at the fairgrounds, there was plenty of close parking and I arrived early enough to avoid any traffic.

Before I get into the review, I will disclose that I do not have any food allergies myself.  However, when attending many get-togethers or playdates involving foods, coordinators will often ask for people to be considerate of others’ unique dietary needs when bringin snacks.  So I thought this would be a great opportunity to not only score some swag, but find out what types of tasty and allergen friendly foods were out there!

The morning started out with a free breakfast hosted by BFree Foods.  They talked about their company and offered us coffee, bagels, juice, and fruit.  We were then free to network with other bloggers and vendors before the expo officially opened.  Then they gave us our own swag bags and we were off to explore!

One cool thing about the expo is that each vendor has an information card on their table that lets you know if their product contains a particular sensitive ingredient.

IMG_2001

The event also featured authors and speakers that presented information all throughout the day.

There seemed to be a good attendance at these classes since I saw several people standing for the presentation as the chairs filled up.  I listened in on a couple of presentations and the presenters seemed enthusiastic and informative.

There were TONS of vendors at this event so I won’t be able to mention every single one, but you can go to the GFAF Expo website to learn more.  I will, however, touch on the ones that stood out to me!

Enjoy Life Foods  had a cute little set up, where you could score goodies along a maze-type structure.  I also think their products are super tasty, especially those chocolate chips!

IMG_2007

Garden Lites offered up some pretty sweet waffles and Namaste Foods gave out delicious cake samples!

One of my favorite vendors was Brazi Bites!  I love these little bread balls and I’m hoping they come out with a cinnamon flavor at some point.  You may have seen them on Shark Tank, but if not…definitely check them out in your freezer section!

IMG_2020

There were a couple of different Kombucha brands, but I enjoyed the ginger-lemon sample from Health-ade the most.  Sunbutter had a pretty big presence at the event and they were generous with their samples and also handed out some little coloring books for the kids.

Keli’s Hawaiian Sauces were pretty dope and I thought they would be great on all different types of foods. The folks over at RP’s Pasta were also very friendly and generous!

I enjoyed the flavors from Rise Buddy Snacks, but unfortunately my kids weren’t too thrilled with this snack.  Smart Flour Foods gave out yummy pizza samples and this also something that I would purchase in the future!

 

I tried an interesting sample from Natti Bar.  They’re basically bananas mashed into bars.  Personally, I would prefer just eating a regular banana but others may dig these little things.  Betsy’s Best offered samples of different types nut butters, but I just didn’t think it tasted much different than other brands.

Glutenberg Craft Beers were one of the gluten-free beers representing at this event.  I thought it tasted okay, but I’m also not big on craft beers so I’m sure others would enjoy this.  It also looked like many people were skipping over the beer booths so I’m not sure gluten-free beer is a super popular thing.

IMG_2065

Another vendor that I really enjoyed was Aleia’s Foods.  They offer a variety of gluten-free stuffing, bread crumbs, croutons, and cookies.  I almost devoured a whole box of chocolate chunk cookies by myself.  I couldn’t even tell they were missing any gluten!  And use code “GFAF17” to save $1.00 on your online purchase!

IMG_2052

Towards the end of the day, I got to try a decadent German chocolate brownie from Coronado’s Gluten Free Pantry.  I was also really drawn to their packaging so I definitely recommend checking out their products!

There were also some non-food exhibitors such as: Beautycounter; Hands for Life Ocean Beach (They gave me a demo and I was informed that I needed an adjustment); San Diego Meditation (which I probably need); and some massage people that wanted to sell me a $200 device that felt like a shock treatment.  The authors also had a few booths where they were selling their books.

I only attended on Saturday, but I was able to hit up pretty much every booth.  The place got pretty packed throughout the day, but I didn’t have to wait at the booths for very long.

IMG_2099

So what was the SWAG?!

Every attendee was given an Enjoy Life reusable bag with some samples and coupons when they first walked in the door.  Sprouts Farmers Market also gave out reusable bags with some greek yogurt samples as well as fresh fruit.  I also received the BFree swag bag that included full-size bread samples, coupons, an infuser bottle, and a selfie stick!  And because I was an official blogger, many of the vendors gave me some extra swag as well as their business cards for future networking.

And here are the goodies that I collected…

IMG_2459

Yep, it was a pretty large haul!  So much that I could barely fit it all in one picture!  I also scored a huge stack of coupons for discounted or free items so that definitely added to the value.

Overall, I really enjoyed this event!  I learned about a lot of new brands and I was introduced to some interesting food items.  However,  I did feel that one genre of brands was missing.  And that was cleaning products!  I was really surprised that I didn’t see any natural cleaning product brands represented at this event.  I also think they should have put our blogger names or social media handles on our badges since that’s what most of us go by in the blogger world.

I recommend this event to anyone with a food allergy or that has a family member/friend with a food allergy.  I also recommend this event to anyone that just wants to learn about new products or about healthier living in general!

If you are planning to attend this event in your city, I do have a few tips!

  1.  Arrive early!  There are so many booths that it can seem overwhelming so give yourself enough time to get through most of the expo and catch a couple of presentations.  Even better if you can attend both days!
  2. Come hungry!  I literally just ate samples all day and I was full for the whole day.  I even had to turn some samples down at the end because I was pretty stuffed.
  3. Bring water!  There were only a few beverage vendors along with some water fountains at this particular venue.  Bring enough water to get you through the whole day because you will be tasting lots of yummy foods.

Be sure to check out http://gfafexpo.com/ to see if this event is coming to a city near you!  Tickets run about $5-$35 which is totally worth it for what you get at this event.  The price does not include parking so make sure to check your venue for parking details.  You can also get involved by volunteering, blogging, or presenting at this event so be sure to check out the website for more info.

I really enjoyed blogging for this event!  I was able to connect with some other local bloggers as well as network with some pretty amazing brands.  I would definitely attend this event in the future.  You can also follow @gfafexpo on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!  And thanks again to all of the sponsors! 🙂

IMG_2101

 

Did you attend the GFAF Expo this year?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

***Note: I was provided free admission to the Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo in San Diego as part of being an official member of the 2017 GFAF Expo Blogger Team.  All opinions are my own.

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo

Do you have a food allergy?

Do you enjoy eating healthy foods?

Do you enjoy learning about new products?

Do you like networking with bloggers and authors?

Do you LOVE scoring SWAG?!

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you won’t want to miss the upcoming Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo (GFAF) in San Diego!

gf_expo2

The event will be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on February 11-12, 2017.  More details about the time, location, and parking can be found here.

I am really excited to attend this event not only to score SWAG, but to also learn more about healthier food choices and to network with other health-minded individuals.  There will be tons of samples as well as classes and presentations!  Check out the schedule here.

As a bonus, the event is being held in a beautiful location! The Del Mar Fairgrounds offer great views and are located within walking distance to the beach!  So snag a hotel and check out the sights after the Expo.  It would make for a pleasant weekend getaway!


So what should you expect from this event?

  • You will get to explore over 100 vendors and brands!
  • Samples and Coupons!
  • Discounted items to purchase at the expo!
  • Classes and presentations about living a more gluten-free and allergen-friendly lifestyle!
  • Free bag to carry all of your SWAG!
  • An opportunity to meet authors and bloggers!

This will be an amazing event that you won’t want to miss!  I hope to see you there!

Tickets cost between $5-$35 and you can purchase them here!

And the sooner you purchase, the more you save! Use code “ADVANCE” to save 20%!


As an added Bonus, I will be giving away tickets this month on my Instagram so make sure you are following me (@theswagmama) so you don’t miss your chance to win!

***Note: I am receiving complimentary admission to the Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo in exchange for participation in the blogger program.  I am also associated with the affiliate program for ticket sales.

~SM

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: