Thursday, December 16, 2010
SWAGG is a free mobile app (download here) that lets you shop smarter using your mobile phone. Buy, send or swap SWAGG GIFTS and organize your old school plastic gift cards.
For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) , up to $125,000.
Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.
My mom was a pretty outstanding gift giver, whether it was an antique briefcase she found in the closet with my grandpa's initials, or the adorable stuffed animal/poster combos she picked out for my friends' birthday parties. I remember for Hanukkah we wrapped up the 8 days of lights with a big gift. One year I got a bike, my sister got a video player to go with her video camera, and my brother got a big stuffed raccoon. We seriously thought he got the short end of the stick. Of course we said nothing, because he absolutely loved it, had been coveting the guy to go with his smaller animals.
I like to think I inherited her gift giving skills, at least for the first 40 or so years of my life. I'm pretty much burned out now...I gave gift cards to my kids last year for pete's sake. I know that people just love gift cards, and my kids loved them of course, as they were for the Lego store, but I want to make be little more personal. I've really scored in the past, though, and was reminded the other day by my mom of the best gift I ever bought for someone. It was for my mom, and I had great fun reminding her of the story again.
I was a kid, maybe 8 or so, and the family was shopping for each others Hanukkah gifts. I took off with my dad, knowing exactly what I wanted to get for my mom with my saved up twenty bucks. We looked and looked, but I could not find one in the right price range. My dad is not an impatient guy, so we must have planned a meeting time as he started insisting we had to go, we'd come back later. The item I was looking for was an electric nail file, and manicure set. See my mom had, after umpteen years, had finally stopped biting her nails. They were growing out nicely and I thought it would be the perfect gift. I finally spotted it, and we were out of time. My dad wanted to come back another time, the nerve. I can't honestly remember why he wanted to leave, but I threw a tantrum right there in the store. We had to buy this for mommy, she deserved it. Crying and whining, I must have been quite a site. I got my way, though, and snatched up that snazzy kit for $19.99.
My mom used that thing for years. It was a different shape than most, and worked amazingly well. She seriously was never able to duplicate it when it finally died. The tantrum was totally worth it in my opinion, and my mom was not just being nice, she used it all the time and still has great nails.
Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Droid. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
My husband's just a bit fanatical about his Christmas photo cards. Long before I met him, he would send out oodles of Christmas cards to his friends across the earth, each with a photo of himself in some exotic place. I was very proud of myself one year when I sent 15 to friends, I felt like such an adult. Growing up we never sent out cards, and I remember a conversation with my dad a number of years ago when he told me "one day I just decided to stop sending cards, and I've never looked back." Some years when the stacks of cards waiting to be signed and address looms before us during a busy holiday season, I sure can understand that sentiment.
We often just choose the simple one photo one, because, frankly, it's cheaper and we just have to find that one family photo. Plus how cute is that reindeer? It's also got just enough room to scribble our signature, the minimal in personal touches, important when you have 150 to fill out. So imagine this little number,
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
As I mentioned there were a ton of sponsors and giveaways at BlogHer, and while I sent a box of stuff home, only a handful really prompted me to give them a shout-out on my review blog.
One of those was one of my favorite games as a child. It's Mastermind, and the original has hardly changed. The colors have changed slightly, the case is blue and I think it used to be black, but this simple, logic game is still the one I loved. The company just had a small table at the conference, and the great thing was they sent me the game rather than having me haul it home. I also got a new version for little kids, which is absolutely adorable. It's animals placed in a certain order, which makes it a bit easier than remembering colors and location.
There seem to be a whole slew of editions now, the aforementioned classic plus advanced and ultimate, which I'd love to play with my husband or dad. Of course there are Disney and Spongebob versions, but I like the animal the best.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine, Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.
There is absolutely no question what my family's ultimate vacation would be, we're even collecting bottles and cans to be turned into cold hard coin to fund the trip. We're not super confident we'll raise enough in this way, but wouldn't that been a cool story? If you've read many of my posts, you'll see we are a pretty soccer obsessed family. I'm even on a team now, although still not as big of a fan of watching professional games, especially when my husband heckles the opposing team's coach. You may have been swept up in a world-wide sporting event which combines the Superbowl, World Series and a bit of the Olympics thrown in for good measure...the Copa Mundial de Fútbol is what much of the world calls it.
Our dream would be to fly to Brazil in 2014, world cup soccer tickets in hand. The soccer games would be awesome, of course, but we are also in love with the country and people. One son has included becoming a Brazilian citizen and playing for their national team in his life plan. My husband's been twice for coaching clinics, and I joined him once and found the laid back lifestyle, the warmth in the people and the diversity just wonderful. We spent one evening at a coaches house, where he was throwing a party for his girls team. An incredible display of food was laid out, and when I mentioned I had not yet tried the national drink, the host walked across the street for a lime, muddled it up with some sugar and voila. The kids plan to learn Brazilian Portuguese over the next few years, but given that many people there speak Spanish they will be our tour guides.
We don't want to just see games and indulge in buffet style eating, there are the beautiful beaches, where my kids could join the locals in a rousing game of futbol, the world-famous Brazilian celebrations and the sites such as the incredibly gorgeous Iguazu Falls. This means of course many plane tickets, as Brazil is a huge country. This is a dream vacation, though, so let's throw those in as well. And who wants to wait four years, so nothing wrong with a trip before then.
Don't forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as do I.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
ASSETS by Sara Blakely
In 2006 Spanx founder Sara Blakely brought her shapewear know-how to more women with the national launch of ASSETS, a collection of expertly designed shapewear and legwear available at an unbelievable value. Delivering best in class shapewear, legwear, and foundations at approachable prices, ASSETS is sold in the following stylish retailers women love to shop: Target, LOFT, David’s Bridal, and Motherhood Maternity.
Disclosure: I got a pair of mid-thigh shapers at Blogher but was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions are my own.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Keegan, Age 7
"I like those other toys, but these are clearly much more fun for everyone"
Nieve, Age 8
"They look like cockroaches, mommy does not want one."
Most of the moms
Want a toy you might have to chase around the house, looks like a cross between a bug and an electronic circuit and your kids will absolutely love? Let me introduce, the HEXBUG Nano. Actually, they come in all shapes (the Nano is the newest) and my first introduction to them was as a giveaway from my company. We're even selling them on our company website so you know they're going to appeal to the nerd in all of us.
Watch them in action and tell me you're not impressed - my apologies for the sideways video
Last week I threw a hexbug party for a bunch of families from our school. I stayed up late the night before putting the maze of interconnected pieces together, the buggy habitat, to prevent a repeat of the ZhuZhu pet habitrail nightmare. I put a couple sets together on the coffee table, and the next day my sons managed to cover the floor with an elaborate maze in like 5 minutes. It snaps together easily and is easy to take apart.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
You may have heard of Kiva, a microloan program helping to alleviate poverty around the world. NOVICA, in association with National Geographic, combines that concept with an Etsy type platform, connecting buyers with artists and artisans around the world. They have a loan program and the most beautiful handmade jewelry, paintings and home decor. You can find artisans who's family have been in this business for years or generations, young woman who love to make beautiful pieces, from exotic locations like Thailand, Mexico and Brazil, for which I have a special place in my heart living in a house of soccer. Each piece also seems to have a unique and interesting name.
I was given a generous gift certificate and encouraged to find something in the necklace section, although it wasn't mandatory. Fine with me, boy was there a lot of absolutely gorgeous stuff to choose from. What a fun task ahead of me, although at some point it was all too much, there is so much to choose from.
Check out these bright-colored necklaces from Brazil, these are small rolled up magazines.
You can shop by material, by region, new items or most popular. The website it beautiful and really easy to navigate. One of the best parts is each artist tells their story, and each piece comes wrapped in unique packaging with a handwritten note. You can also personalize your own site, add something to your wish list or email to a friend with a single click. There's a gift finder and featured artists, everything you need for a pleasant experience. And if an artist really touches your heart, you can make a small (or large) loan. The whole site touched me so much I made a member page.
I finally chose three pieces. I don't have a lot of jewelry but have been wearing more lately and I tried to find something fun and something more classic. This is from a lovely woman in Peru, with geometric silver shapes and an unusual chain. Appropriately, this is named "Pride" - simple and bold.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Disclaimer: SHNSF provided my family with four tickets to see the show. They also allowed us access to some of the cast members and yummy refreshments after the show. I was under no obligation to write this review, but really appreciated the opportunity and had a great time.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
My kids are all about the goofy, silly and crazy looks. Not only did Anna capture these, but the kids look incredibly happy underneath it all. My husband loved them, although he now thinks he needs a little botox to get his eyes to open more...I'm signing us both up next year. This guy certainly needs no such thing.
Disclaimer: I received a free photo session and five web resolution photos from Images by Anna as well as a discount on orders from her site of those photos. I was under no obligation to write a favorable review, this is all my own experience.