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Looking for a stocking stuffer that ROCKS?

When Longmont mom Melissa Weisner was faced with planning a birthday party for her geology-crazed then-6 year-old son, she took nothing for granite (ba DUM bum).

It all crystallized for her when she began thinking about a game. She developed one and rolled it out at her son’s party two years ago to great reviews from him and his friends, and now ROCK ON! is being shipped to kids everywhere via Amazon.

Each shoe-box sized game is teacher-approved, made in the United States, retails for $25 and includes:

Amy Michelle Go Totes: The perfect bags for moms on the go (with discount code)

Subtitle: Why I am carrying a diaper bag even though my youngest is in 3rd grade.

If you want a purse for a busy mom-on-the-go, you buy a purse designed by a busy mom-on-the-go.

And if that mom happens to live in Colorado, BONUS.

I met Michelle Herbert in a yoga class. She explained that she and her friend Amy met each other in graduate school. Over dinner one night sans kiddos, Amy was horrified at the disarray of Michelle’s bag when she opened it to get something. Michelle explains:

Think papers, diapers, bottle explosions, food, letters, work documents… all thrown into a black hole.  I told Amy that there were only two types of baby bags. Even in the saturated markets of baby products and women handbags I could not find a bag that was organized and functional AS WELL AS sophisticated and elegant.   If I wanted organization and function, I had to sacrifice style and elegance; if I went for elegance and sophistication I sacrificed organization and function.  Clearly, I was not willing to give up my fashion sense, but the lack of organization was not looking pretty.

Quite simply, we started Amy Michelle to design and manufacture a baby bag to reflect a woman’s style, while accommodating the travel and organizational needs of both baby and mom.  Motherhood requires many important sacrifices, but we did not believe choosing a baby bag should be among them.

That night at dinner we started designing functional and stylish baby bags on a restaurant napkin.

Their functional yet stylish designs resonate with moms everywhere — including me. Amy Michelle bags have been featured by Franklin-Covey, at Bed Bath & Beyond and Babies R Us. In addition, Amy and Michelle were named emerging entrepreneurs by Sam Walton and honored by American Express for women in business.

Disclosure: Michelle let me select any bag from her collection for purposes of sharing my honest opinion with you.  The collection has options for work, travel, and baby. I no longer have babies so I asked Michelle what was the smallest bag that I could fit typical mom stuff in, plus an iPad (which I intend to get one of these days). She steered me toward the New Orleans, which comes in two color swatch options.

You can tell that moms designed these bags because the interior of the bag is a light color so that you can see your stuff against it. On the outside of the bag are three handy pockets for cell phones, keys and, yes, and iPad. On the inside are three pockets in addition to the main chamber, plus two more areas specifically for water bottles, sippy cups, or whatever liquid gets you through the day. One thing that’s quite noticeable is that the material used is very lightweight. My shoulders (and my yoga practice) are grateful.

You can also tell that moms designed the website because of the videos that accompany each bag. Let me show you the video for mine (90 seconds):

This bag is reasonably priced at $59.95.

Michelle and Amy are generous businesswomen. A portion of the profit from each bag goes to help children through the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver.

AND! Amy Michelle is offering MileHighMamas readers a 15% discount plus free shipping in the continental US.  Enter “poppy” when asked for a coupon code at checkout.

Form and function do indeed go together in Amy Michelle bags. Take a look and I bet you’ll agree.

Lori Lavender Luz of WriteMindOpenHeart.com is a mom via open adoption to Tessa, 11, and Reed, 9. She and her family live in the Denver-area where Lori is writing her first book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption in, yes, her yoga pants. It will be published by Rowman & Littlefield and available in mid-2013.

‘Tis the season to get pampered

And I ain’t talking diapers for the baby.

I’m talking a facial for the mama.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Denver is a four-time Forbes Four Star award winning spa (2008 – 2012). And it is currently offering special ways to pamper anyone in your life that may be under a wee bit of stress (you, perhaps?). Or someone who simply deserve an indulgence for being of service during the past year (again, I’m looking at YOU!).

It’s here! Mile High Mamas Holiday Gift Guide. The Baker’s Dozen.

It’s the yearly holiday list of the baker’s dozen of clever, thoughtful and creative gifts for everyone in the family. Black Friday is over (thank goodness) and now it’s time to shop locally. Of course every product or idea on this list is Colorado-based. From coffee and chocolates to theater tickets and donations to charity, please read my favorite picks for the 2011 holiday season. I even included a couple gifts for Fido this year. I always want to include so many more ideas, but I know that I would begin to bore all of you with too long of a list. Again, I’m so inspired by the incredible local entrepreneurs and companies that call Colorado home. From their charity work to their community focus, we are lucky Mile High Mamas to be surrounded by such inspirational people.

Looking for a Mother’s Day hint to drop?

It’s never too early to start dropping hints for Mothers Day. If you’re like me, you collect little ideas in the weeks leading up to mid-May, but then when asked what you want, you draw a blank.

Here’s a luscious idea that has fewer calories that chocolate, smells as good as a bouquet of flowers, and always fits the giftee perfectly.

How about a day of pampering, a few hours with no cares or concerns, a time when you are the center of the universe?

And how about doing all that at the very posh but not outrageously priced Four Seasons Spa in downtown Denver?

I erroneously thought that hotel spas were for hotel guests. Only.

But after doing some, uh, “research,” I recently found out that about half the people who take advantage of The Spa at Four Seasons live in the Denver area and visit the hotel just for The Spa.

Upon arrival I was immediately pleased to find that valet parking ($10) is validated with any spa treatment. Nice touch.

I kept wondering why they called it “spa treatment” when it was really just a massage. Sounded highfalutin to me.

And then I found out it wasn’t just a massage.

When I checked in I was greeted by name (“Ms Lavender Luz,” my blog name, which I rarely hear vocalized) and offered a flute of champagne. I was given a brief tour of the gorgeous facility so I could find my way around and know what amenities were available to enjoy. My concierge left me in the changing room with a luxurious bathrobe that would be mine for the next couple of hours.

The massage itself was divine. Mine was billed as a Rose Quartz Massage and Scalp Treatment ($110 for 60 minutes). The special scent used was particularly appealing to me: rose petals, lavender, jasmine, ylang ylang. The oil is also reportedly infused with “rose quartz crystal energy.”  I was so besotted with the aroma that I bought a bottle to bring home.

Susan was the perfect masseuse — she applied just the right intensity in each of my muscles, and she gave a quiet massage (although she’s so intuitive that if you were the type who wanted a chatty massage, I’m sure she would oblige).

The massage was just a part of the spa treatment. After my massage I was free to take advantage of all that The Spa has to offer.

And take advantage I did.

I meditated in the caldarium (steam room) and then soaked in the whirlpool. Take. Me. Away…

I had arrived without any sundries, now knowing exactly what I was in for. But no worries — towels, toiletries, high-end shampoo and conditioners were provided.

I’d never experienced such a fancy shower. Note the multi-directional water spray — from both sides and the ceiling, in addition to the traditional nozzle:

There was a wide selection of make-up, hair products and sanitized styling tools at my disposal. But have you seen me? Then you know that I had little use for them. But I’m sure the typical Spa visitor would enjoy having such conveniences.

Soon I needed to be back on Mom Duty again, so I donned my clothes and prepared to leave Eden. On the way out, Spa staff continued to treat me like a VIP, inquiring about my experience and making sure I was sent off  by name. I felt, for a few hours, that I got the movie star treatment, without the annoying paparazzi.

If you are interested in enjoying your own Spa Experience, the Four Season’s current special is the Spring Renewal Package, which offers access to the state-of-the-art Fitness Centre featuring TechnoGym equipment, and either a Yoga or CrossFit Training session (60 minutes) paired with an Organic Detoxing Slimming Wrap (75 minutes). It includes a healthy Spa Lunch served on the rooftop pool terrace (weather permitting) or in the Spa’s Relaxation Lounge. $200

For more information or to make a reservation, visit The Spa at Four Seasons Denver or call (303) 389-3025.

I know what hint I’ll be dropping.

How about you — what would make your Mothers Day perfect?

PeeKoo—Making life a bit easier in the morning (and receive a 35% discount!)

Spring is finally here! I know most moms are feeling the same way I am right about now: bring on the warm weather! I don’t think I have ever had such a serious case of spring fever in my life. However, with spring comes the spring ahead in time change and it is quite a challenge to get up in the morning. It will be dark much later than usual for a couple months to come and the adjustment is hard on both kids and moms.

I thought about what could I recommend to moms to help make things easier this spring? Then, a lovely product came across my desk, The Peekoo. It’s a combination duvet cover and zip-on top sheet made in Boulder, Colorado. The product was inspired by the European-style of bedding (sans the top sheet) and provides for a simple morning of bed-making. Kids pull up the comforter and adjoining top sheet, throw on the pillows and wahala—the bed is made. It’s perfect for anyone running late in the morning, especially during those dark spring mornings.

Your kids won’t be

Valentine’s Day Product Picks: Goodies for the Family

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and while I am not one to give into the Hallmark holiday, this year, I couldn’t resist, but only because of Hank the Tank. It’s like once you have kids, you kind of see what Hallmark is all about. I have found two delightful Colorado-based companies that will bring a smile to your family’s faces. I feel if I am going to splurge on this holiday, I have at least got to keep the money pumping into the Colorado economy; it makes me feel better for my retail therapy.

JJ’s Sweets
Boulder, Colorado

Not too many kids can claim their day is a candy man, but 7-year-old Liliana is one lucky gal!

J.J. of J.J.'s Sweets

Her dad is the modern-day version of Willy Wonka. After years as a musician, educator and other assorted career ventures, JJ Rademaekers had an epiphany one night during a dream and wahlah—JJ’s Sweets was born. His Boulder-based company creates delicious delicacies for all sweet-toothed lovers. And it wouldn’t be a Boulder product if it weren’t produced with biodegradable packaging, cardboard and recyclable materials.

With the crazy amount of allergies present in diets today, JJ wanted to take into account everyone’s needs and produce a candy that is not only unique, but contains healthy fat. His

I Like the New Year and I Like this Book!

Let’s start out the New Year right! That’s why I chose the i like book for kids. What a clever little endeavor for the New Year. It’s more like a workbook for parents and child. Spiral bound and available in four colors (pink, purple, blue and green), it’s the modern day version of a choose your own adventure . . . better yet, memory.

The book is dedicated to honoring the love within families in a 12-month journal format. Each day there is a page for parents to write what they like about their child. You start by labeling the month and year you would like to begin the book.

Day 1: i like . . . the way Max cleans up his room. Day 2: i like . . . how thoughtful Max is with his peers. It goes on like this for the entire month with space for each day and two comments from the parents. At the end of each month is a multitude of pages. Some months include cute little facts, others have quotes from children and places for photos, others include a story.

It’s pretty darn precious and thoughtful for the family. Children will always be able to

Product Review: Oprah magazine-recommended Ambajam’s clothing & accessories (with discount)

I decided to take a field trip this month for my product review. I have been scouting local children’s stores to get ideas for Colorado-based companies, and my recent trip to The Nest on 6th Ave had a plethora of very cool local products. It was hard to pick just one, but I gathered my list and hit the Internet when I got home. It was a no-brainer who I picked first, Ambajam. When I found out the studio was right here in Denver, it seemed to mesh well with the field trip theme this month.

Hank the Tank and I headed to the Taxi Development where Ambajam’s studios are located. It was simply precious from the moment we walked in—from the cutest wall decals to adorable children stopping by, owner and founder Alessandra Mayer has got something very special going on! Her products are truly unique, made from the heart and original.

Ambajam was created the way many companies are created, to put a product out there that people simply weren’t able to buy. As a child, Alessandra received a handmade quilt from her Godmother that she always treasured and wanted to do the same as a Godmother herself. Four years later, Alessandra has over a dozen products. She stocks modern-day versions of the cherished child’s quilt from yesteryear (made by her Godmother and mother), accessory pouches for moms on the go, t-shirts and onesies, hooded towels with adorable embroidered images, belts and

Product Revew: Hurtie Hug for Hurt Kids

I usually try and pick edible products or items that might accessorize my or my son’s wardrobe for the product review. This was not the case for October. It’s back to school and I got an adorable e-mail from Katie of Hurtie Hug and I have soft spot for local entrepreneurial moms . . so I agreed to give the Hurtie Hug a whirl. There was no food involved but there was an accessory!

The purple Hurtie Hug ended up sitting on my counter for two weeks, my 1-year-old was not big enough to wear it. He had gotten plenty of bruises, cuts and bumps during those two weeks that would have benefited from the sample product, but alas, I had no need for it. Then I thought; we are the wrong demographic. The Hurtie Hug is adorable and girly, why not see if Emma, my 12-year-old, soccer-playing neighbor could benefit from the product. Ahhhaa.

The Hurtie Hug is the ultimate stylish accessory for the young girl, boy and tween who injures herself during a soccer practice, jazz class, Kung Fu session, Emma informed me. She liked it because it stayed in place and did not allow her ice pack to leak anywhere. Emma also liked how the ice pack did not have to come in direct contact with her skin since it was in the Hurtie Hug pouch. There’s the entire product perfectly explained by Emma!

Basically, it’s a fleece pouch that holds a hot or cold pack for injury.