New Costco in Woodland Hills [Giveaway]

In celebration of the new Costco warehouse opening in Woodland Hills on September 12, Agoura Hills Mom is giving away a $100 gift basket!

Costco has been courting me with gifts. They arrive at my house in unremarkable boxes, which are filled with the most random assortment of items. Chocolate covered raisins, body wash, canned tuna, granola, freeze-dried apples and grapes, peanut butter. Each time we receive a box I am so delighted that I made a big deal of it, and the kids come running. Yesterday the big hit was an enormous plastic bin of animal crackers.

All this is to build excitement for the new Costco Warehouse opening in Woodland Hills on September 12. This location will provide all the amenities — on top of the bulk purchasing, prepared meals, discounted household items, and inexpensive pizza we know and love — that other newer buildings have. It’s big – 154,000 square feet. There will be an Optical department with an eye doctor, a hearing aid center, and a pharmacy. Plus it will have a 20-pump gas station!

As a Costco member for many years, they had me at “Hello.” However, in Agoura Hills, we have one of the nicest Costco warehouses I have ever visited close by in Westlake Village, so the bar is high for this new location to dazzle me. Gas pumps with less expensive gas should do the trick right there.

A Costco membership costs $55 year for a household, business and executive levels are also available at additional cost. You can sign up now at Nordstrom in Woodland Hills, otherwise the new location at 21800 Victory Blvd. opens at 8am Saturday, September 12.

What I didn’t know because of course before this I barely had time to pay attention — your boxes of nuts and body lotion got my attention, Costco! — is that Costco offers savings on services too, like auto insurance which I am shopping around for right now. There is also Costco travel, which I did poke around on this summer when planning a short family getaway. Costco is also focused on supplying healthier and more sustainable products and food items.

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Giveaway: To get a taste of the eclectic fare they sell, enter here to win a basket of Costco items valued at over $100! Just leave a comment here by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, September 9, 2015. One entry per email address. Extra entry if you share this post on Facebook and tag Agoura Hills Mom. Winner will need to arrange local pickup Saturday, September 12 or later.

I received free products from Costco and an invitation to the VIP opening party to facilitate this feature. All opinions are my own. Follow Agoura Hills Mom on instagram to catch my pics from the party on Friday the 11th.

The Outtakes Are Better Than the Final Shot: Humorous Christmas Card From Minted

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I love Christmas cards so much. I save the ones I receive and bundle them up with a ribbon when I pack up all of our Christmas decorations. At the beginning of December, when it’s time to decorate for the holidays again, I pull them out and leaf through them. Sometimes I go back several years to when everyone’s kids were babies, comparing their little faces to what they look like now.

I love the gesture, the idea that someone was thinking about our family when they address the envelope to us. I hope they feel the love when they receive a card from us. And I hope it makes them smile.

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I quite enjoy going through the photos we take in preparation for our Christmas card. This year the experience was a little bit less hectic because my family knows the drill. As soon as the kids see me setting up the tripod and pulling out different shirts for them to wear, they’re on to me.

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Since the photos we don’t use are often more entertaining than the final one we pick, I decided to go with an outtakes theme. I didn’t force it – I set up the shot, gathered my kids and husband, and let my mom and dad stand behind the camera to press the button. Since I’ve been fussing with camera settings, of course I left it all on the completely wrong settings for the kind of light that was hitting us at Leo Carillo that day, so even after it seemed like we got a nice shot, I made everybody do it all over again.

Then I got all fancy and took more shots of the kids as the sun sank lower in the sky and the light became more golden. And then I got artsy. Well, as artsy as I can get. I’m not very artsy. I’m not even a good photographer. But I always like the photos we get during these shoots. They’re real, and they capture a moment in time, the best way you can pretend to freeze your family in this happy moment.

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Once we get home and I look through the shots, then it’s time to pick a card layout. With so many choices on minted, this year I wanted to use a design with a lot of photos on the front, and one on the back. These are the ones I played around with (also with the help of my friend Desiree who has an eye for this sort of thing): holiday collage our favorite moment

I especially love minted’s option for different backs of cards. The full card printed background is classy, but then you can add a photo and even text. This was one of my favorites:

Front

multi merryxmas

 

Back

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I don’t like to share photos of our Christmas card until after they have been mailed out, so stay tuned for a later post when I add all the photos and a shot of the final card.

Minted is running a special right now – they will address your envelopes for FREE. You just have to upload your address book and make sure all the addresses are correct, and you can pick artsy fonts and logos and such for the front. Also today they have a deal – 15% off and free shipping on all holiday cards!

I received credit at minted to facilitate this 2-part series of posts.

 

The Inspired Tea Collection – Clothing for Children of the World

photo by Cherie Lynn Buchanan
Emily Meyer, photo by Cherie Lynn Buchanan

I met Emily Meyer, founder of Tea Collection, at a creative retreat last month. She is a genuine creative – she sees beauty in the world and is inspired by it to create clothing for children that passes on that feeling. Her company has flourished under her creative direction, and she still gets to travel the world with her children, seeking new inspiration and more ways to share her ideas with people.

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The clothing itself is high quality and just darling. They make great lasting gifts for children. I love leafing through their catalogs (either physically or online) to see the imaginative ways the pieces can be combined and layered. It’s hard, writing this in the heat of early fall in Southern California, to imagine wearing all of those layers, but as the weather turns it will be a delight for kids to frolic around in the latest designs.

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Get a load of these pajamas.

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We never stop thinking of ways to bring back stories to you of our world travels. We dream of cultural connection in hopes to inspire your little citizen to dream big, too. All proceeds from the purchase of these pajamas go to support the work of the Global Fund for Children.

Tea Collection wants YOU to save 15% off any full-priced items on their website! Use the promo code PRINCE15 from October 31st, 2014 – November 24th, 2014. (It cannot be used on any 3rd party merchandise.) You will love the quality and style of this clothing. Here’s another post that shows off more of the adorable designs.