Child's Play Bloggers Brunch -- where the grownups get to play, too

The sun was shining, the breezes were blowing, and it was the perfect day to take a stroll along Manhattan Beach with the kids.... NOT! Actually, it was the perfect day for Alfie to take a stroll along Manhattan Beach with the kids, and for me to connect with some great bloggers and companies at the 3rd Annual Child's Play Bloggers Brunch. When I received the invitation I nearly wet myself with excitement, since I know Child's Play PR and Team Mom always manage to round up blogger-friendly companies who want to share their latest product lines with us -- and since the event coincided with the kids' spring break, I found a way to make it happen.

That's Child's Play PR president, Stephanie Azzarone, in the blue suit, surrounded by panelists Caryn Bailet from Rockin' Mama, Ciaran Blumenfeld from Momfluential, MC Milker from The Not Quite Crunchy Parent and SV Moms' very own Jill Asher.

I didn't know anyone except Jill, since all the bloggers present were from Southern California, so I put on my sociable hat and got to meet lots of wonderful women, including (I'm using Twitter names since it's easier to go through my Twitter stream than sort through all the business cards right now!) @mommasinthehous (who fakes the best Filipino accent), @sweatpantsmom (who was looking gorgeous sans sweatpants), @amysfunny (who really is funny), and fellow SV Moms Group bloggers like Elise Crane Derby and Donna Schwartz Mills. I love expanding my network of bloggy friends!

The sponsors were friendly and only too happy to show us their latest product lines:

The Pottery Barn Kids representative admitted that they are just starting to wade into the waters of blogging PR and social networking, but with their awesome products I'm sure it won't be long before the blogosphere is buzzing and tweeting with PB Kids giveaways and reviews.

Bandai had all the latest toys for boys and girls. 3Po and Jammy are really into Ben 10 ever since Santa gave them a Ben 10 Alien board game for Christmas, so I'm hoping I get to review some really cool Ben 10 stuff.

Needless to say, the goody bags and giveaways were awesome. Bloggers received samples from (in clockwise order, from top left) Bandai, Pottery Barn Kids, Summit Toys, Cold Stone Creamery, and Nickelodeon. They also had giveaways for even more prizes, like a $500 certificate to PBKids, a year's worth of Cold Stone ice cream, toys, toys and more toys, spa certificates and 3 Dyson vacuum cleaners. Sadly, I didn't win any of those, but I did win a tube of mascara worth $85. I have no idea what they put in it -- ground up diamonds, perhaps? -- but I will soon find out, and I'm looking forward to dazzling everyone with my $85 eyelashes.

Anyway, no one could possibly be disappointed with the Child's Play brunch: great weather, great food (they served Mom-osas, made-to-order omelettes and Cold Stone Oreo ice cream sandwiches), great people, great companies, great prizes, great giveaways. What's not to love? Oh, and did I mention that I drove all the way down to LA for this*? Yup, 800 miles round-trip -- and it was totally worth it. Thanks, Child's Play, for letting the grownups play too!

* Okay, I didn't really drive 800 miles just for this event. Alfie drove half the distance. And we did go to Disneyland as well. And I did get to walk around Manhattan Beach with my kids for, like, 5 minutes.

** Disclosure: I received a bagful -- okay, two bagfulls -- of goodies from the sponsoring companies (but you've probably already guessed that). I'll blog more about those on my review blog, Bonggamom Finds.

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