Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Chelsea on May 28, 2010

So, we’ve cleared out our old bed and rug. The rug got tossed in the trash, and the bed, I sold on Craigslist, which the journalist in me now feels sorta yucky about because my husband says it essentially single-handedly ruined the newspaper business. Sorry, Professors Trimble and Lule from the Lehigh Univertily School of Journalism - I just wanted to unload my old bed! I’m thinking I’ll put the old night tables in my downstairs guest room. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Now our old mattress and box-spring are on the bedroom floor, white-trash style. The boys love the new set-up, as it makes for quite the trampoline/wresting ring. I think my husband is as into the idea as they are - for the exact same reasons.

In retrospect, this process was SUPER simple, not to mention really, really fun! Using American Express Membership Rewards Points to makeover my bedroom was a snap. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d be happy shopping solely at mall staple furniture stores like West Elm, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. However, as I discussed yesterday with Momtourage member Alison, when I think about it, even if I wasn’t using store gift cards purchased with Rewards Points, that’s most likely where I would have shopped anyway, really. And sure, I could have used points to purchase an AmEx shop card, which is accepted anywhere AmEx is, but like I said, I probably would have taken said card right to PB anyway. Those stores just have great stuff, and their “look” - well, it’s what I and really, most folks my age, like. Guess there’s a reason they do so well. 

And cashing in the points to get gift cards - a total no-brainer. and the points redemption process were really easy to navigate. I’m not just saying that; really, if the experience was negative, I’d surely write about it, but it wasn’t. At all. And perhaps it’s because I redeemed a lot of points in the last two weeks (100,000 and 150,000, respectively), the standard seven business days wait time was upgrade for free to a three-day wait. Who doesn’t feel honored and valued when offered a free upgrade?

So thanks, Amex and Membership Rewards! I had a blast with this challenge. Again, I’ll post pics when all is delivered and made over. Next week, they’ve provided me with a GREAT giveaway for all of you, just so you can do the same with a room in your house! More details on that later….ya’ll are in for a real treat! 


Posted by Chelsea on May 26, 2010

Here’s the most recent update in my adventures participating in the American Express Membership Rewards “Live On Points” challenge to revamp my bedroom using points only:

So you know how I said I needed a place to put all of my clothes? Scratch that. Storage is highly overrated. What I really need is a new bed and new night tables! The ones I have just arent right for my room. Well, at least that what I realized when I saw this stuff (that’s clearly soooo much better!) over the weekend:

Inspired by these super-cool mirrored night tables I saw in an InStyle magazine spread on Ashley Tisdale’s home (I know, I know…LAME), I am presently in love with these from Pottery Barn. They’re catalog/web only, but I saw a set in the store that someone was returning because they were damaged and realized I had to get them. Fortunately, my second round of 100,000 membership rewards points would cover them, as I could use them to purchase $1000 worth of PB gift cards (as I did to buy the rug). Once tax, shipping and handling was added in, I’d be right at $1000.

Park Mirrored Bedside Table, $399 each

And, of course, to go with those new night tables, I need a new bed. Honestly, the one we had never really worked in our room - it was way too big for the small space, and like all of the other furniture in the room, it was dark wood, and I wanted something in that room to be “lighter” looking. I’d always thought an upholstered bed might be nice, but nothing that was too frou-frou-ish. I’m thinking clean, modern, yet still “pretty”. When I was at C&B over the weekend, I saw this bed, which I LOVED:


Crate and Barrel Colette Bed, $1599-1799

I’ve got 150,000 points to work with this week, which normally wouldn’t quite cover the cost of this, but I asked the salesperson at C&B if they had any floor samples or if they were running any specials and she told me that they were having an upcoming Memorial Day weekend sale and that she could give me 15 percent off, which gets me right in at my $1500 worth of C&B gift cards $150,000 membership rewards points can purchase. Woo hoo! Bed is ordered, and I’ll post photos once everything’s in!


Posted by Chelsea on May 22, 2010

Here’s the most recent update in my adventures participating in the American Express Membership Rewards “Live On Points” challenge to revamp my bedroom using points only:

So, we checked out the furniture at the outlets and ultimately, it was a big ‘ol bust. There was lots of good stuff, just nothing like what we were looking for. Oh well. We tried, right? Back to the drawing board.

Tomorrow my plan is to drag my poor husband (and visiting mother-in-law and the two boys) to Crate & Barrel to look for dressers, night tables or a bed. We may never get invited back again.




Posted by Chelsea on May 21, 2010

Here’s the most recent update in my adventures participating in the American Express Membership Rewards “Live On Points” challenge to revamp my bedroom using points only:

I might think I know most everything (at least my husband likely would say that I think so), but sometimes, you guys know the real deal. A reader recently left me a comment suggesting I could get more bang for my Pottery Barn/Crate & Barrel/Restoration Hardware buck if I check out these stores’ furniture outlets. I did a little research on Membership Rewards and realized that the PB, C&B and RH store gift cards you can purchase using points CAN be used at factory stores. Awesome! I did a quick search for outlets in my ‘hood, and all of the Big Three have outlet outposts at the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets in Leesburg, VA, which is only about 45 minutes from my house! Woo hoo! Guess where I’m heading this weekend?


Posted by Chelsea on May 19, 2010

Here’s the most recent update in my adventures participating in the American Express Membership Rewards “Live On Points” challenge to revamp my bedroom using points only:

This week, I’ve got 100,000 points to use, which is essentially the equivalent of $1000. A lot of money, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to purchase chat I really want to get, which is some dresser-like storage for our bedroom. My husband and I have an older house, so we have teeny, tiny closets. I don’t have enough space on this blog to reveal how bummer-fic this is for me, a real-life, Jewish Carrie Bradshaw - at least when it comes to clothing consumption. My shoes and clothes are all squeezed into the little space I have like commuters heading uptown on the 6 train at 6 p.m. It ain’t pretty.

Since we can’t make closet space, I’m going to look for a dresser of sorts, but a tall, multi-drawered one, because we have a big wall where we can fit a decent-sized piece of furniture. But it’s can’t be too big, or it would be pretty overwhelming for the room, which isn’t exactly huge. Ultimately, I’d like it to be something with lots of drawers like this Marston 8-drawer tall dresser from Restoration Hardware:

Unfortnately, the price ($2150) is outside of my alloted points range for this month, so I am going to visit some more furniture stores and hit the internet for the next couple of days to see if there’s a cheaper alternative. Got any suggestions? If so, let me know, y’all!

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Posted by Chelsea on May 14, 2010

I’ll be co-hosting “Broadminded” today! You can listen in from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST on Sirius 102 and XM 155. Fun!

I’ll be announcing the start of our “Get Your Summer Started” Giveaway, which is SO AWESOME this year! We’ve collected 30 of our favorite summer beauty and beach essentials and have gathered them all together to create 30 gift bags - one of which we’ll give one away each day in June (‘cause there are 30 days in June, right?). Here’s a preview of just some of the things in this year’s gift bag:

Diva Tweezers
MISSION Skincare Ultra Lip gloss in Strawberry Pomegranate
Eos Lip Sphere in Lemon with SPF 15
a Beautyblender makeup sponge
Supergoop! Sunscreen Swipes
H20+ Face Oasis Shine-Neutralizing Gel
a Tweezerman Sole Mates foot file
Twist Organic Water
Mineral Fusion Hydration Mist, Blow Haircare Beach Blow Texturizing Mist
a Gaiam aluminum water bottle
a sampling of summer haircare products from Elie Elie salon
a SurgiCare Shower Off Body Cream Kit
a lip glaze from Make-up Designory
Boscia Blotting Linens

...and tons more that we’ll talk about later (I can’t spill all of the beans now!)

To enter to win, sign up to follow me on twitter (I’m @chelseakaplan) and then send me a tweet!


Posted by Chelsea on May 13, 2010

Here’s the most recent update in my adventures participating in the American Express Membership Rewards “Live On Points” challenge to revamp my bedroom using points only:

So, for my initial 50,000 ($500 value) points purchase, I decided to get myself a new rug to replace this positively nauseating one my husband and I have had for years. I actually think the “rug” is a banded piece of carpet we got a like, Home Depot or something. Both of my kids have barfed on it at some point or another, and our dearly departed cat peed on it a few times too. Lovely, no?

I don’t think this photo does the stains justice.

In order to find a nice replacement, I went to the mall to look around, stopping in at Pottery Barn. I’m a big fan of PB’s rugs - they’re really pretty and durable, and I figured that they’d likely have one that matched the robin’s egg blue and khaki color scheme in my room. They can be expensive, but the other day when I was in there I noticed that they were having a really good rug sale, and found one that I knew would be perfect for the space, not to mention my points budget.

So, once had made my decision to purchase the rug from Pottery Barn, I knew I had to cash in my first 50,000 points for a Pottery Barn Gift card. I logged onto and saw that with my points I could actually get two $250 egift cards, which would allow me to get them within a few hours and then use them immediately in-store or online. The online points redemption process was super simple - after creating an account, I went to “use points”, then to the “shopping” section, then “gift cards”, which is where I found the PB ones. I picked the ones that equaled 50,000 points (the two $250 egift cards) and then a few hours later, the link to print them out appeared on my membership rewards account page. Really, it was as easy as pie. I’ve had online Target shopping experiences that were more labor-intensive.

Here’s the rug I’m going to get (as well as a rug pad to go under it to keep it from slipping around!):


Granada Rug,

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Posted by Chelsea on May 10, 2010

Okay, so how cool is this? Check it out:

I was recently contacted by the folks at the American Express Membership Rewards Program, who asked me a) if I had an Amex (Um, totally - in fact, I use it way too much and often get “Honey, this month’s Amex bill is kinda ridiculous” talks from my husband) and b) if I used their membership rewards program (Yes, all the time - those points aren’t just for frequent flyer miles and stuff, sisters - you can get Saks 5th Avenue gift cards and all sorts of other cool things with those points!). After I passed muster, they asked me if I would be interested in taking part in their “Life On Points” challenge. The task at hand: revamp a room in my home using only Membership Rewards points to pay for the things I want and need for the project, and document the experience as I go along.  They’ll credit my account with 300,000 points (roughly $3,000), alloting 50,000 points to use in week one, 100,000 in week two and 150,000 in week three. On week four, they’re giving me an awesome membership rewards prize to give away to one of you so you can begin using points to get your home spruced up for summer!

Who am I to refuse a challenge, Amex? I’m in! Bedroom, you’re about to get a much-needed facelift. (And sorry, honey, but this won’t include items from Victoria’s Secret.

So, for the next few weeks I’ll be blogging about my experience using American Express Membership Rewards points to purchase some new goods for my bedroom. Namely, a new rug to replac a seriously disgusting one we’ve had for years, some new night stands to replace the ones that absolutely do NOT go with the rest of my bedroom furniture and some new bedding to replace my mismatched sheets.

Fun! Stay tuned…...


Posted by Chelsea on May 05, 2010

One of the most-asked beauty-related questions I get from you guys and everyone out there in radio land is “How do I get rid of these damn lines and bags around my eyes?”. Trust me - I get is. What a drag it is getting old…and having kids who wake up at the crack of dawn.

Today, I’ll be joining Broads Molly and Christine of Sirius XM’s “Broadminded” to highlight the new Clarisonic Opal, which totally gets the job done. If you’d like to listen in to hear our complete review, tune in Wednesday to XM 155 or Sirius 102 at 2:30 PM EST.

The latest product from the wizards that created the Clarisonic skincare brushes, this eye-area age-fighting innovation combines sonic infusion technology with an anti-aging serum to dramatically reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around your peepers. Kinda like a vibrator for you eyes, its gentle sonic massage infuses serum into the outer layers of the skin for 30 seconds, immediately rendering visibly smoother, firmer, more hydrated skin and minimized appearance of under-eye puffiness. With repeated use, the claim is that you’ll notice the kind of difference an extra four hours per night of sleep gets you. Sound too good to be true? We’ll be checking it out to see if it is, in fact, that miraculous!

Wanna get one for yourself? They’re $245 at Or, if you’re feeling lucky, we’ve got one to give away - as well as one Clarisonic Plus Skincare System to banish your body blemishes, just in time for tank top season! To win both, here’s what you need to do:

I’m in the process of writing a book about the infertility process, and I’m looking for women who’ve gone through it who will share some of their stories about the craziest thing they did or felt while they were going through it (Me, I wanted to shoot Britney Spears after hearing she got knocked up. She was pregnant and I wasn’t? WTF?). If you’ve got a wacky story like that, send it along to me at, and that will be your entry. If you haven’t, no worries! Just send me a story of what it was like watching or supporting a pal going through the infertility process.  Again, email me at and that will be your entry.

The winner will be chosen at random this Friday - good luck!

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