At Your Fingertips: Services that Make Life Easier

pointI wonder whether it’s easier to be a parent now than it was a generation ago. When my mom looks at all the baby-related items around the house, she laughs, “We didn’t have any of this when I had you.” We’re talking: woombies, hooded towels, a shusher, a diaper genie, a UPF 50+ sun protection car seat shade, night vision video monitor. I mean, our diapers even tell you at-a-glance whether or not your baby has peed. Before I was a parent, I used to shake my head at all the crap babies accumulated even before they were born. I thought the average registry was excessive. But I’ve changed my tune. Every single item has made our life easier someway, somehow.

Another integral aspect of day-to-day living now versus then is the internet! As long as I have access to the interweb, I can live in a bubble and have everything delivered on-demand. I find it hard to believe how easy life is these days. Here are the services that I use.

Amazon Prime

Who doesn’t have an Amazon Prime account these days? Books, vitamins, baby registry gifts, diapers, toiletries delivered to your doorstep in 2 days. Has anyone tried the new Prime Music included in the membership? Lots of good popular tunes. I added a bunch of lullabies for the baby.

Cost: $99/year

Amazon Fresh

Same-day or next-day delivery of groceries (with minimum $35 purchase), currently serving Seattle and California. If Amazon Fresh comes to your city, take advantage of the free 30 day promo. I’m in love with it. Well worth the cost. Mainly, you don’t have to waste your time going to the grocery store, finding parking, and standing in line to pay. Because time is money! I don’t even think the groceries are marked up that much. My litmus is a box of Lean Cuisines which are $2 on Amazon Fresh. I used to buy Lean Cuisines by the cart full when they were on sale at Safeway for $2 or $2.50.

Cost: $299/year (includes Amazon Prime)


This service serves all the major metropolitan cities. It delivers from a whole bevy of restaurants such as Barbacco, Cha Cha Cha, La Mediterranee, and Ramen Underground in SF.

Cost: Delivery charge


I think Instacart is more wide-spread geographically, serving SF, NYC, Chicago, Boston, Austin, etc. You select items from various grocers (i.e., Costco, Whole Foods, Safeway) and you’re charged a delivery fee. I used to be a huge fan of Instacart when they partnered with Trader Joe’s, but now they don’t. Insert big sad face here.


I know there are a bunch of food-delivery sites, but this one is probably the most popular here in SF. You choose items from a daily menu of dishes made fresh that day (sides, salads, entrees, desserts, kids stuff, desserts, fresh-pressed juices, coffee, wine), then schedule the delivery for that evening. There are instructions labeled on each item on how to warm it up (usually a couple minutes in the microwave or oven).

Cost: There’s a delivery cost, but I opted for $39/year for free delivery and no minimum order, which means I can buy one of their chocolate chip cookies and they’ll deliver it to me that evening.


Post any task (i.e., cleaning, moving, handyman, personal assistance) online and errand-runners (i.e., TaskRabbits) will bid for the job. Choose based on price, qualifications, or reviews.

Task: I’ve gotten so many hand-me-down clothes for the baby. I was stressed just looking at all these boxes in the nursery. I posted for someone to sort through and organize the clothes. I chose someone who is a professional organizer. She came and sorted all the newborn and 0-3 month clothes into a dresser, then organized the rest of the clothes into batches based on age. It was such a relief to have that one task done.


Cost: TaskRabbits will bid for the task and indicate their hourly rate.


There are lots of child care sites in the Bay Area, including BananaberryCare, SittercityUrbansitter. I’ve only used Wondersitter, though. I like how their sitters are heavily vetted, and they are the only agency that uses Trustline, the background check service mandated by California. Book a babysitter and they’ll come to you. I’ve only used this service once and the sitter was excellent. Franco was so at ease with her.

Cost: $15 booking fee to the vendor, then an hourly rate paid to the sitter.

Alright, what sites/services am I missing?

Have you tried any of these?


tim howard“I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!”

Who’s got World Cup fever? Even though the USA got knocked out of the Round of 16, you know what? We are all winners. Happy Independence Day to the greatest nation in the world! I’m so proud to live in America, and not repressive Iran or economically unstable Greece or even England with their monarchical system based on the divine right of kings.

A couple stats I’ve heard flying around:

  • - More Americans are watching the World Cup than the Superbowl.
  • - More Americans purchased tickets to the World Cup games than any other country, with the exception of the host country Brazil.

My husband and I are clashing when it comes to which countries we are rooting for. His heritage is British and Italian, so he is rooting for all the European countries. I love Central and South America, having traveled to Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, so clearly I am rooting for the countries on the Western Hemisphere!

Here are some awesome videos:

The American fans going wild in Brazil when Will Ferrell shows up.

I can’t get enough of this hilarious video of Jason Sudeikis as an English soccer coach.

And lastly, unless you don’t recognize him up above signing autographs. That’s a picture of the amazing USA goal keeper Tim Howard who plays for Everton. We saw him when Everton came into town and hosted an event for their fans at Buca di Beppo. Dean is a huge fan!

Quiet Birthday at Home

June 18th was my 39th birthday. Dean kept asking what I wanted to do for my birthday. Umm, completely irrelevant. All that concerns me is keeping Franco from crying. I wasn’t thinking about our wedding anniversary or my birthday! This kid is my main concern.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed a quiet birthday at home. My friend Kitty who was born on the same day was so sweet and sent me a basket of goodies from Mrs. Fields. I was like, no way, I got a prezzie?! I couldn’t believe it. Then Dean came home from the office and spoiled me with hot chocolate and a red velvet cupcake from my favorite bakery, and Three Twins ice-cream and flowers from our neighborhood grocery. Yes, I am a sugar-holic.


Need a Good Movie Recommendation?

projectorAs new parents, we spend a lot of time at home with the baby. Dean and I are always debating what movies to watch next. We end up watching some real duds!

Here are really great movie recommendations that are also a little under the radar. Hopefully there are several you’ve never seen before and can watch next time you’re in a bind. Also, would love to hear your movie recs in the comments please. Help a new parent out!


All About Eve - If you haven’t seen this, make it your next movie. Great acting, excellent quotable dialogue. This is a favorite from our movie club.


Clerks – One of my favorite comedies of all time.

The Tao of Steve - Cracking up throughout the film.


Spellbound – My very favorite documentary about the national spelling bee. These kids are genius.

Fruitvale Station - More a docu-drama. Depicts the life of Oscar Grant. Oscar was unarmed and killed by a BART security agent on NYE.


Ain’t Them Bodies Saints - Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck give stunning performances. Modern day remake of Bonnie and Clyde.

Short Term 12 - SXSW audience award winner about a foster care center.

The Spectacular Now - Wonderful coming of age story.


13 Assassins – This is an action-packed Japanese thriller. Thumbs up from everyone in our movie club.

The Attack – Suspenseful film depicting the conflict between Israel and Palestine. I watched this a while ago, but I remember it made me realize that every side has their convictions—and for good reason. Painful and heartbreaking.

Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur) – One of my favorite romantic comedies. Stars Vanessa Paradis.


Two soccer recs as we gear up for the World Cup!

Damned United - Fast-paced, inspirational British soccer movie.

Rudo y Cursi – Another soccer film in Spanish about two brothers vying for soccer stardom and fame.


Deceived – Not sure why the ratings are so bad on Rotten Tomatoes. This is a fantastic thriller starring Goldie Hawn. The ending is unexpected.

Trance – A Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) film that we recently watched. Loved it. Had me guessing until the very end.

Pregnancy: What I Wish I’d Known


Here’s what I wish I’d known about being pregnant and having a baby.

Pregnancy brain does not apply to everyone. I kept hearing that pregnancy caused forgetfulness or momnesia, but I was never in a fog during pregnancy. Tired, absolutely. Unable to focus and concentrate, not really. Probably because my job demanded a lot from me, I didn’t have time to make mistakes and redo shit.

Go on a babymoon. I’m all for vacations, specifically one big vacation before the baby arrives. We didn’t really have time for one and I regret that. There’s a lot of talk about birthing classes and lactation consultants. I say forget that stuff and go on a babymoon. You’ll never have a chance to sleep in again!

Setup a registry on Amazon. I can’t believe I considered not registering for anything. I figured we could simply buy everything ourselves. But friends and family will want to help, so do yourself a favor and register. Everyone seems to have an Amazon account these days which makes registering on that site convenient for everyone.

The best indicator of when you are going to deliver may be genetic. Apparently first time moms tend to deliver past their due date. I honed in on this metric, even though my mom and sister both delivered a week to 10 days early. My life would have been much easier if I had planned around when my own family members delivered.

Work until you deliver. I’m a proponent of working until the baby comes. It kept me from stressing too much over the pregnancy and labor. Otherwise I would have spent my days counting kicks and obsessing over minor details like nursery decorations. Also it doesn’t hurt to get paid your full salary versus a fraction of it through state disability.

During labor and delivery, you will shake violently. I read how many pregnancy books and blogs, subscribed to several pregnancy newsletters, and not once did anyone mention that I was going to have the shivers. I thought there was something wrong with me (like I was potentially dying), until the nurse told me that everyone has that experience due to the rush of hormones.

Ask for supplies and take everything from the hospital. Someone did tell me this and I’m glad I took it to heart. You’re paying for it; take it: sanitary napkins, diapers, wipes, vaseline, medical supplies. Ask for more. We took all that loot home.

Labor is nothing compared to post partum pain. I was told I had level 2 lacerations (level 4 being the worst) with cuts near my urethra and rectum. Considering I have a high pain threshold, I cannot even imagine what level 4 feels like. If I could only go through labor and not have to deal with post partum pain, I could imagine having a soccer club of babies. But I was in so much pain a good week post-delivery that getting pregnant again is the furthest thing from my mind.

Be prepared for your hospital bill! Know what your health insurance’s out of pocket maximum is because you will be paying it. Mine is $4,000. By the time I gave birth, I’d already paid $2,300 out of pocket. The hospital called me to collect the remaining $1,700. Even though we have the money, I still cringed when I got the call. I asked if it could be paid in installments. Of course not!

Your employer will disown you during maternity leave. I’ve been with my company for 10 years. My life is pretty much commingled with work. For example, they pay my cell phone bill and all of my contacts and calendar items (both personal and professional) are in Outlook. Unbeknownst to me, all of my work access was deactivated. My Blackberry did a complete reboot and I no longer have access to any of my contacts. In other words, I can’t make a phone call without emailing someone and asking for their phone number. It has been a big pain in the ass.

Lastly, this is a message for visitors.

Be helpful. In no way should you be inconveniencing parents who are sleep-deprived. That means holding the baby for an extended period of time, offering to run errands…anything but hanging out and expecting to be entertained. It’s hard to say no to visitors since you’re clearly home and have no excuse to give, but some of the visits have been more stressful than they should have been.

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