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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Britax Baby Carrier {Review}

I am a baby-wearer. Not quite as much as Stephanie, but I definitely have had my own adventures.

I have a Baby Bjorn, three ring slings, a borrowed Ergo (thanks, Jody, I love it), and a few assorted pouch slings.

I regularly wear my baby, and I've worn all of them - often at work, and often to lead services for Sunday School or at camp (see this post for me at camp, wearing Solly in my sling).

I started out with the Baby Bjorn, because that seemed the simplest. It had latches and things. I loved carrying my first-born around in it, and my second as well. For my third, I started to branch out and that's when I found the ring slings, which I really love. I find them to be comfortable, simple to use, and really all-purpose.

When I was offered a chance to review the new Britax carrier, I was really excited. Read the specs here:

Solly and I liked this carrier. I thought it was comfortable for me to wear, and he seemed pretty happy in it too (sorry, the pictures just didn't come out for some reason). As much as I like the Ergo, this one was much easier to put on, the straps and hooks were really simple to maneuver. (Funniest thing - there are directions for putting it on but they're printed inside. Once you do the first step, you can no longer read them! Luckily, there's a manual and once you've done it once, you can easily figure it out. It did cause me a bunch of giggles, though.) It's a very comfy carrier, and I think it is perfect for first-time baby wearers, because it feels very secure and safe.

All that said, I am going to stick with my ring sling and send this beautiful carrier off to a friend who is expecting her first baby very soon. I think she will really appreciate it, and I know that it will be going to a good home. You will appreciate this carrier, too, and just so you know, Amazon is running a sale where you get a discount plus a free bib set. If you sign up for the Amazon Mom account, then shipping is free too! (I'm a sucker for free shipping.)

Full disclaimer: I got a free Britax carrier. I didn't get paid or anything else. They were really nice and sent it to me and didn't tell me what to say or anything.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Viovio Photobook Review

I put up this post, reviewing photobooks from Picaboo and Shutterfly.

In response, a very lovely email came to me from Viovio, another photobook service. They offered me a $50 gift certificate to create a book and review their site. How wonderful!

So I made Solly's first book and it arrived last week (sorry for the delay, there's this whole baby thing going on...)

This is what the front cover of the book looks like.
The website was relatively intuitive, but clumsy to arrange the layouts. Once I got the hang of things, though, it was a little easier. It was hard to figure out how to put captions in and change the number of pictures in a layout, etc. What is really cool about their system is that you create a book based on a ratio size rather than choosing a specific size. This lets you choose the binding, size, etc, after you've created the book. So in theory, you could order multiple books in different sizes and bindings all with one layout experience. That's a great feature, if you wanted to make a bunch of books for grandparents and stuff. (And the list of choices are overwhelming - almost too many to figure out!) The book arrived quickly (I did pay for expedited shipping) and I love the cover, it's simply gorgeous with the full-wrap image. It didn't let me put words on the spine because the book had less than 35 pages, which annoyed me, since I thought I could do that. (Who knew that feature mattered so much to me?) The paper weight is similar to Picaboo's book and the printing came out lovely. There are a few places where things got cropped or cut-off from the edge of the book, including some of  my captions. You can share previews and even sell your books, so this might be a great place for professionals. The price is very comparable to Shutterfly and Picaboo, but I wasn't able to find any discount coupons online for shipping or anything. There are also many layouts that are available to "buy" for your book - with scrapbook-like backgrounds and stuff.

Overall - I got a really nice book. I am pleased with the product that I received. If you're looking for a service that is very versatile and offers a lot of different book printing options, then you should definitely check out Viovio's service!

Do you create photobooks? Anyone else have an opinion on their favorite service? (I know my Aunt Bobbi makes the most beautiful books on Kodak Gallery...anyone else?)

*Full disclosure: I received a $50 gift certificate for Viovio in order to facilitate this review.