Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sponsors, Commercialism, and Swag, Oh My!

Although I don't generally do product reviews here, I am going to take these moments to discuss some of the free goods I acquired last week at BlogHer. I felt a little cheap wandering around with my bags of free stuff, but whaddya gonna do? Refuse the free stuff? Not if you're me.

I only kept the things I really wanted. And the things I didn't like, I won't write about. And the products and companies I do like? I will use them to make wordless jokes on my blog.

For example:


I've already written at The Junk Pyramid about some of the swag I gave away, both to the Zwaggle recycle room in San Francisco, and swag that I hauled all the damn way home before giving it away. Because I only have four readers over there, the comments that I do get mean a lot. And there has been some controversy over whether recycling (heretofore known as "Zwaggling") swag before it comes home should count as decluttering. I steadfastly believe it does. Some of you believe that it doesn't. Discuss.

Well, back to the things I kept. Did I mention that my suitcase weighed 68 pounds on the way home? It might have had something to do with the free books I took from the lovely women at MotherTalk and Mom Central. (I'm a little hoggy if there is a table of FREE books in front of me.) I also purchased some books as well. (In my defense, I only bought three, and they were paperback.)

To be perfectly honest, I gave some of the above away too. But not the pens. I'm keeping the pens. There is a pen that Sprout gave out that was particularly awesome. I am also quite fond of the several USB flash drives I picked up. And the Snapfish gift cards. Oh, and I must shut up now before I sell my soul.

But some swag of special interest were these things:

So, really and honestly, I adore the Internet Password Organizer most of all. My current system is a three-column unalphabetized list of websites, usernames, and passwords stored on my computer that I occasionally print out. Unfortunately, my computer seems to have eaten my password column, which is going to be a problem. But not after I have this little baby filled out.

I thought that the peanut butter and honey peanut butter was going to solve all my problems. My kids love peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but lunchtime always ends up very, very sticky. So I brought two jars of this peanut butter home packed in my boots inside my suitcase. Unfortunately, it mostly tastes like peanut butter. Note to Jif: add more honey.

The Boogie Wipes cracked me up because I have Boogie Wipes at home, but they're called tissues. And if I need a little extra moisture, I have diaper wipes. These have saline in them though, so maybe they're better than wipes. I don't know because for the first time in six and a half years, no one has had a cold for an entire week.

The Michelin Man is a tire pressure gauge, which I didn't have. Free stuff that fulfills a need I was going to have to pay to fill? That's the best kind of free stuff.

I put that iRobot flash drive in the picture because I'm mad at iRobot and I told the iRobot PR people standing in the iRobot lounge that I was mad at them, and they couldn't have cared less. So I took this flash drive off the table. Although I'm not sure taking a freebie qualifies as revenge. I should have taken six freebies. Yeah, that would have shown them.

The Yahoo flash drive picture above has many strange and some quite lovely headshots of yours truly. This makeover/photography session was set up by the lovely ladies of Silicon Valley Moms Group. I love them for setting this up. You've seen the best photo from this shoot. Here's another one that I like:

I'm also a big fan of this free hat I picked up for Quinn. And in an unbelievable stroke of serendipity, he likes it too. I finally have a solution to my problem of how to take a fair-haired child outside. I tell him, "It's to protect your yellow hair from the sun, so I don't have to spray sunscreen on your head."

My other kids benefited from SwagFest '08 too:

Jack really loves the flashing rubber necklace from The Karianna Spectrum. Sam wasn't quite sure what to do with the re-headed doll from Headless Mom. "Does she make noise?" he asked. I found her later. Without any legs.

In the spirit of the swag (and to reward those of you who read this far), I am going to be giving away a couple of my leftover luggage tags. If you didn't get a luggage tag at BlogHer, or weren't there, leave a comment telling me what your favorite piece of my swag from this post is. I won't give that item to you, but I will randomly pick a couple of you to receive luggage tags. You have until July 30 to comment.


  1. is that a martini shaker in there? you got more swag than i did...

  2. Absolutely Zwaggling swag counts! Re Emma's comment on The Junk Pyramid- I think even though it made it home, it is commendable to dispose of it ASAP. My parents were the lucky recipients of some of my swag! :)

  3. Hey! I read Junk Pyramid, did you count me? It's so inspiring, at least in theory. But tomorrow (it's always tomorrow) I'm going to restart decluttering!

  4. I didn't get to go to BlogHer but I'd love one of your luggage tags. Of all the ones that you showed the Boogie Wipes had me at Boogie =)

  5. I would love a luggage tag! It's hard to pick my favorite swag... excellent martini shaker... Roadmap to Holland is so, so, so good... I actually like the BlogHer tote bag, the most, I think. (I have a Tote Bag Thing.)

  6. I'm all for the password organizer. My current method involves remembering some all by myself, others I put my username and password in my favorites with the link, but I should really invest in something I won't lose through menopause or my computer dying!

  7. I liked the hat best, just because I'm also trying to figure out a way to keep my kids from turning beet red all summer. Do I get to be in the running for a cool luggage tag even though I don't blog? What if I promise to set one up soon?


  8. My mom has one of those scooba things. We never got it to work. I put it together, and it just don't go.

    The password organizer is definitely a keeper. I need one for my mom. And me.

  9. The i robot people were not particularly friendly, although I think they sponsored that free coffee cart so I'm pretty forgiving. I love my Michelin man key chain / tire gauge although I was super freaked out by the actual Michelin man. reminded me of the staypuff marshmellow man from Ghostbusters.

    I also like the essie nail polish from TNT in "closer red."
    xoxo, SG

  10. Oh, I am so all over the pw organizer!I'm forever having to reset mine b/c I can't remember...what was I talking about? Um...I forgot. ;-)

    Oh and I consider zwaggling a form of "proactive decluttering!" Something I need to be better at doing...LOL

  11. Glad you liked the books and thanks for stopping by the Mom Central gathering! :) Did you happen to pick up The Sky Isn't Visible from Here by Felicia Sullivan? I read it on the plane back to Boston--couldn't put it down.

  12. Love Quinn's hat but am just fascinated by the Boogie Wipes. Strange!!!

  13. Abbey, no, I didn't see that there. I wish I had, because I've been wanting to read it!

  14. Hehe - you said boogie. Yes, I'm twelve. I LOVE that hat.

  15. i am totally using that one on my white headed kid. seriously, white.

    and why didn't i meet you?

  16. You look fabulous in your headshot!

    My favorite freebies were the USB memory bracelets. Not sure why they please me so much, but they certainly take less space than all the other stuff that I'm handing out to anyone who stops by. My friends with little girls are getting those cute barrettes!

  17. Hats. I have fair skinned kids to protect as well, so I love all hats. Free hats are naturally better than hats to be paid for. I promise, if I win the luggage tag, to use it on a suitcase full of hats the next time I get up the courage to take my kids to the beach!

  18. How the heck did I miss all this cool swag - HOLY CRUD I MISSED SOME GOOD SH*T. My favorite stuff has already been eaten. I'm also missing stuff so I think I may have left it behind in the hotel room. Big sigh.

  19. You are a riot! Thanks for the linky luv- I STILL haven't gone through all of my stuff. Your luggage tag, though? It will be going to Hawaii this Friday. Thanks!!

    Oh, and your Sam and my Headless Boy 2 are the.exact.same.age. Too bad we didn't get more time to compare notes. Damn those silly sessions! :-)

  20. I love that he pulled the legs off the Barbie!!! The most fun we've ever had in the pool actually came in the form of a headless Ken doll, which we turned into a zombie and chased the Barbies around with, shrieking and shouting. Then we used Ken's head as a squirter. (Did I mention this was Josie's doll? She thought it was hysterical, too.)

  21. i have 2 comments:

    1. for those who haven't know stimey quite as long as me, stimey's book collecting problem has been going on for a very long time. it was already fairly advanced when i met her in 1991

    2. i note that you refer to quinn's hair color as yellow.

  22. Abbey,
    You are amazing! Thanks for the love!!
    Warmly, Felicia Sullivan


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