Posts Tagged ‘toys’

Rupert the bear’s giant uncle

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

Back when I first got Missy and Molly from the shelter, I also added Rupert to the family and eventually deemed him Missy’s boyfriend because she loves to massage him so much. A few weeks ago, Panda and I were at Costco (check out their cute video) when we came across what can only be described as Rupert’s uncle. Or granddad.


giant teddy bear at costco

This guy is impressive. He is absolutely MASSIVE at 93″ tall and who knows how many pounds. I could barely lift up the top half that I’m holding here. There’s no way I could have dragged him out of the bin without assistance. You could potentially use him as a backup mattress if you ran out of guest beds. I mean, I had an easier time dragging my LoveSac around. Poor Rupert looks measly at just 53″ tall (feel free to send him condolences if you’d like). Check out how his cousin of identical size, Gogobear, compares to us human folk.

As you might suspect, the price tag on this giant teddy is hefty too, at just under $180. But gosh, think of the awesome things you could do with this guy, including some pretty awesome photo shoots. Costco has sold out of their first batch, but promised more to come this spring. In the mean time, get your fix on the Facebook page for this guy! You bet I’ve liked it. 🙂 Since I have Rupert though, I won’t be getting one of these

Escape Monthly October: London Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alright, London time! I can hardly believe it’s been a year since we went there, so I’m certainly happy to get products from there. I hope to learn some good spots to hit up next time we go there. In the mean time, products from across the pond are a welcome sight and I look forward to try them all.

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly october london box products showingescape monthly october london box info card escape monthly october london box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

Everything here was new to me, so that was great for introducing me to different items. I like that some of them went full out with the British look while others are just products you might go for any day as you shop around.

Here’s what came in the box:

Rick Steves’ Pocket London – I’m sure Panda and I can make good use of this guide next time we venture to London. I’ve never looked at a guide for London, so it should be fun to read about some hidden gems and go find those. I wonder if they chose this brand because Moon Handbooks doesn’t offer a general guide to London (instead they appear to have the guide to living abroad there).

Walkers’ Nonsuch English Creamy Toffees – I love candy like this and the flavor of this was yummy. Nice and chewy without being so soft it gets stuck all over your teeth. It’s basically like eating a caramel candy and I’m a huge fan of those. I wonder if this is related to Walkers the brand that’s the British version of Lays.

Hill Biscuits Custard Creams – I’m saving these for a rainy day, when I want a sweet snack to go with my tea. It just seems like it’d be a good companion for that sort of thing. I did bring them with my on my travels in case I want to eat them on the plane. They’d make a nice snack in flight when I get hungry.

Orico Rush Hour Vibrant Dry Body Oil – Good thing they put these in plastic baggies, because one of them leaked in transit. Luckily, it was all contained in the pouch and was just enough to permeate the label, but not create much of a mess. This is excellent timing as the weather gets cold and my skin dries more quickly. I’ve switched my lotioning to body butters and oils, so this fits right in to my routine.

Soapsmith soap samples – I always enjoy a little bit of soap and I look forward to using these. For some reason it feels really satisfying to finish a bar of soap, so these will certainly offer me that satisfaction faster. The scents are pretty strong and I like how refreshing it is to get a whiff of them. I expect they’ll foam well, which is always entertaining.

English Tea Gifts London English Breakfast tea caddy – What a cute container! I’ll have to think of how to reuse it when I drink up the tea. I generally prefer green teas rather than the darker teas the Brits like. I never really learned to add milk and sugar to my tea, so these are rather bitter. I might just try to lightly brew them (or this would make an excellent gift for someone).

London Taxi diecast – Panda got all excited when he saw this. It’s right up his alley along with toys, trinkets, and random collectibles. I think we should get him a bookshelf to showcase his little collections and we can add this mini taxi! I remember my first impression of a taxi just like this when I arrived in Scotland. I marveled at how much space we had in there, luggage and all.

Corkers Pork Sausage and English Mustard crisps  – These made a good snack, though I’d definitely opt for another flavor. The meat flavor thing seems popular in the UK, but it’s a bit strong and salty for me. Or maybe it’s overwhelming with intense umami sensation. I did like the texture of these a lot so the whole sunflower oil thing works for me. I also happen to love Hula Hoops, which are snacks they cook with sunflower oil too. It gives a crisper, crunchier finish.

I’m a fan of all the food items provided as well as the body products. The miniature diecast is cool for display, but I don’t know what to do with it. I would have been interested in something like that that also can serve a purpose. Perhaps as a little container or pencil sharpener or something. What’s your favorite from this London Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): RICOESCAPE, CARIBBEAN, or LONDON for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

Next up is Hawaii (again). Funny since I’ll actually be in Hawaii right before this box is shipped. It’s been just over a year since they previously did a Hawaii box and this is the first repeat theme, so I expect a new set of items to show me even more of what the islands have to offer. Either way, I do believe I’ll enjoy the products. There’s all sorts of goodness in the middle of the Pacific!

escape monthly october london box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of hawaii

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

The best cat toys you already own

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

box with paper scraps, packing peanut, q-tip, pen cap, bottle cap, and toilet paper tube that make great free cat toysAny cat owner (servant) will know that it doesn’t take much to amuse those cute little creatures. In fact, you pretty much never need to buy toys for them to play with, because basic household items are more than enough to keep them entertained. Smokey loves all the little knick knacks around the house and we often find her batting something across the floor. Check out some of the things she’s been playing with: a box (of course, even when she only fits her front half in it), scraps of paper, packing peanuts, q-tips, pen caps, bottle caps, and even a toilet paper roll tube. Most of these items were headed for the trash or are otherwise useless to us… but for Smokey, they make amazing little toys.

I’m pretty sure any cat toys we do buy are really more for us humans than for the cats. I’ve certainly purchased things I thought looked fun, cute, or somehow worthwhile, only to find it was a complete waste of money. Why even bother when all it takes is random things you probably didn’t even mean to drop on the floor? Smokey is particularly good at getting what she wants and she tears right into my subscription boxes with their fun strips of packing paper or peanuts. I never have to worry about her not having something to play with.

So what do your cats find to be the best toys in your house?

365great Day 265: wave boards

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 265: wave boardsWave boards are one of those cool things that require a very strange sort of physical motion. I’m told the motion you use is similar to surfing or snowboarding, but I’ve only ever gone straight and never tried to carve with those. I did carve with my skateboard a little bit, so I think I understand the feeling. But then again, I find it most effective to sort of wiggle my back foot back and forth to propel myself on these things. I’m not sure if that’s a technique that is part of wave boarding well. My friend Ninja here is super adept at things like these, so he picked up right away. My wave board has these awesome wheels that light up when you move, so we watching flashes of blue and red go off into the darkness. It’s one of those random toys that is novel for everyone when they first see it and most curious people will want to try it out for themselves. I’ve had many a fun bonding session with friends that way. It’s a great way to be entertained and challenged!

Battle of the Brawn

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , ,
nerf gun held up at the ready prepared to shoot

Ready for an attack.

Sometime last week, I found myself getting involved in the Nerf gun battles at work. One of the fun parts of working at a tech start-up are these random breaks we can take. Today I really got into it after being attacked (for no reason!) by Brawn. We had some back and forth attacks in the afternoon and towards the end of the day, I found myself holed up in a room with Jokester as Brawn tried to barge in. We have these doors that are glass with a wood frame, so it was pretty terrifying to be facing the enemy with just glass between us. I couldn’t help shrieking and squealing a few times – hopefully I didn’t disturb many people! A lot were wrapping up for the day or gone already, so I think it was fine. Then again, I was having too much fun to care enough… 😛

bloody fingers cut in multiple places

Battle wounds.

I’ve managed to be a pretty worthy adversary, though I’m all paranoid about being attacked now. So anyway, there I was stuck in a room with Jokester (who, by the way, was attacking me from behind). I managed to shove my foot in the door to prevent it from opening too much as Brawn and I shot at each other through the crack. I held off pretty well and was having a grand old time until I felt my finger get wet, which was really weird. My first thought was that somehow they’d spilled water on me (or did Brawn spit on me?!). Alas, when I looked down I found my finger was covered in blood. I hadn’t even felt how I cut myself, but apparently my finger got caught on the trigger and got a little shredded up. Ouch. I let Brawn in the room at this point since he seemed to feel bad for me, but then he turned around and shot me in the gut! That guy can’t be trusted, lol. But hey, at least then he went and got me a paper towel to clean up my blood. My right hand will have to be out of commission for a little while now, but I’m sure I’ll make do with my left.

365great Day 139: fuzzy

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 139: fuzzyOne of my all-time favorite textures has got to be fuzzy. Fuzzy usually means soft as well, and it’s such a fun thing to stroke, whether the fur on an animal’s back or these super comfy shorts that I got! It ranges from short little fuzzy bits like this or really long shaggy bits like on some rugs or teddy bears. The softness and warmness make it so cozy to snuggle with (and partly why Snuggies are such a fun invention!). What child doesn’t enjoy getting a nice fuzzy stuffed animal to hug and sleep with? I know I certainly did; I had a bear that was the very first gift I ever got upon arriving in the US and I was nearly inseparable from it for years, even bringing it with me to trips to China. Since then I’ve had various pillows and other stuffed animals, all of which I love to touch. It feels so great!

365great Day 102: Legos

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 102: legosOne of the greatest toys of my childhood (and I’m sure many others) was Legos. They are at their core such a basic concept, yet with that simplicity comes great complexity. You take a few blocks of varying sizes and colors and combine them in countless ways. Before you know it, amazing things are being imagined and built, like this magic carpet. I love how the constraints of rectangular pieces allows for some pretty amazing creativity to flourish. I’m a fan of the classic Lego set, with just the standard pieces, but the kits that they’ve created in the years since I last played with them are quite inspiring in themselves. Still, what I find to be most valuable with Legos is the ability to imagine endless possibilities. For a simple toy, that’s pretty great!

In the mail: kitty toys, free stuff, and the SunVoxBox

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In addition to the subscription boxes and trades I already mentioned receiving, here’s what’s been filling up my mailbox!

powerbank backup battery in boxI did a review of this external battery and charging accessories I got from nomorerack so you can read more there. When I first got this I was concerned whether it’d be some knock-off brand that is shoddy work that won’t last, but I’m happy to report that while the packaging is “meh” the item itself and its performance are great.

cat feeder and toy collageSince I was given an Amazon gift card as part of a focus group (mentioned in this post), I decided to splurge on my cats and get them these fun toys. One is a feeder where the cats need to paw around through the holes to push the food so it falls through the holes in each level until it is caught at the bottom. I’ve included a video below at the end of the post so you can see Missy at work! She really enjoyed it at first but I think both cats are lazy now and just wait for their daily wet food feeding to get them through the day. Maybe if they are desperate enough they will learn to use this properly. At least I know they aren’t overeating now, right?

The other item is a pretty standard track with ball that you can piece together in many configurations. Once again, this is something Missy has enjoyed and will play with, but Molly kind of just looks at it and walks away. Alas, Molly is like 14 and declawed, so it makes sense she wouldn’t want to play with this. At least Missy likes it!

sample of pad, l'oreal revitalift miracle blur, and pampers sensitive wipes
I got a couple of random samples that I had requested from various sites, including a sanitary pad, L’Oreal’s Revitalift Miracle Blur finishing cream, and Pampers sensitive wipes. I’m always on the lookout for free samples to help me find products that I want to adopt into my life! That’s probably why I love subscription boxes so much. 🙂

physicians formula bb powder and letterA long time ago, I entered to receive a free BB powder from Physician’s Formula. This was similar to the first contest I entered (which I wrote a tutorial about), but suddenly there were a lot more people contending. When I went to submit the form, it froze on me and I never got a success message, so I crossed my fingers hoping I was one of the lucky 1000, but I didn’t count on it. Then just a few days ago, what shows up in my mail but this?! I was pretty thrilled since I’m obsessed with trying BB creams and I’ve never seen a BB powder. Can’t wait to test it!

trade with skin, hair, and body products

I already wrote about my previous trades, so here’s just a quick look at the last trade I got. A bunch of lovely samples that I am looking forward to trying. I sent over some L’Occitane stuff and a set of Angry Birds lip balms that I had in exchange for these.

influenster sunkissed voxbox

And finally, my Influenster Sunkissed VoxBox, which I’m sure I will write about coming up. I am very happy with everything I got and I am so thrilled to try them out!

cat eating from food maze from Mary Qin on Vimeo.


365great Day 18: dust plugs

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 18: dust plugsDust plugs are pretty popular in Asia, probably because they love to bedazzle and bling out their devices. They’re a fun and creative way to add some personal flair to your phone, tablet, or miscellaneous device with a headphone jack. You can get everything from really large, flamboyant, dangling ones to small, cute, “barely there” ones (or something in between). Whether you want to add a subtle accent to your device or you want to be noticed, there’s probably a style for you. Just check out some of the examples I have: little gems, adorable plastic animals, super shiny dangly ones…

These accessories take advantage of an often-ignored part of the phone that sits empty a lot (except for those of you who listen to music incessantly). And since they’re really easy to interchange, you can update them frequently based on your mood. If you’re interested, I’ve started to list some for sale over on so you can join in on this newest craze!

365great Day 4: Squishable

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 4: squishable

Wrap your arms around some cuddly balls of love!

Squishable makes adorable, huggable stuffed animals. These aren’t your typical children’s toys, however – they’ve got an avid adult fan following. The appeal might be the almost perfectly round shapes that the characters take on, or the extremely soft and cuddly materials. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but when I discovered them I knew I had to have one for myself, even though I had never spent anywhere near $38 on a plush animal before. You just can’t help but love these balls of fluff that are practically begging for a hug!

There’s something magical about wrapping your arms around a cute character that’s soft AND fills up your “arm space.” I mean, think about it: how many things actually fill up that large circle that your arms can create? In fact, I can’t think of a single other product that does that. Perhaps that’s their secret! Combine that with high quality products, great service, and a well-managed online presence to get a serious near-cult following. The brilliance of the simplicity of their presence yet effectiveness of their brand is what makes them great to me. And of course, Squishables themselves are great in and of themselves!

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