Sunday, July 5, 2009

Back in Action

I've been taking a bit of a vacation, in case anyone was wondering if I fell of the face of the earth. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday while I was ignoring the Internet and paying attention to real life!

While I was taking a break I received a product I am excited to try out- the Q-Link necklace. The Q-Link products are designed to help reduce stress, balance and improve energy and increase focus and concentration. While those might seem to be some lofty goals I don't think they are impossible.

I firmly believe that the field of "energy medicine" is one of the least understood areas in medicine right now. I hope that in the future science uncovers some of the secrets of how the energy fields in and around us impact our health and well-being. And I for one am willing to try to improve my energy even if we don't fully understand the physics behind why it works.

I am excited to be wearing the Q-link necklace to see if it helps me at all. I took a brief quiz on-line to measure my attention, speed and reaction time before the necklace. In a week or so I will retake the test and let you know if there is any improvement. I'm a bit skeptical but trying to stay open minded. I will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Working for the Snuggle Puggle- Keeping Cool

Today it was an obnoxious 97 degrees in the Chicago suburbs. Davey and I both hate the heat and have a hard time tolerating it. Here is Dave hard at work to keep cool this evening:

He is such a hard worker that boy. I have my eye on a cooling mat like this one to help the poor puggle get through the rest of the summer.

How do you and your dog deal with the heat?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bil-Jac Dog Treat Review

Bil -Jac's dog treats have recently been added to our ever-growing list of treats Dave can't live without. Of course, Davey's waist line has grown right along with that list, not that HE minds.

Davey absolutely lost his mind for the Bil-Jac Gooberlicious treats. These soft, peanut flavored treats were the first to go in this house. I used them for encouragement to get Davey into his kennel (he always gets a Kong and treats to go in the "Bat Cave, as we call it) and he is thrilled to go in there for a Gooberlicious treat or two.

The Bil -Jac Liver Treats serve a very specific purpose for us- training. The small treats are just the right size and shape for breaking in half. I like that because I can give Davey enough of a reward but not too many calories. Plus all the Bil-Jac treats have a great smell, which helps Davey get even more motivated to do as I ask. For large dogs I would think the Bil-Jac Liver treats would be just the right size for training. They fit nicely in a large kong as well. Neither the Liver Treats nor the Gooberlicious treats dried out in the whole time we had them, which I really appreciate since some of the cheaper treats tend to get hard quickly even if sealed up.

After trying the Bil-Jac treats I saw that they also offer a pizza flavor treat, which I know Davey will L O V E. Pizza is the one food that makes him drool like a fiend. I actually feel bad for the poor guy when we eat it because I know I can only give him a taste. So I am thrilled to find that there is a high-quality treat like Bil-Jac in pizza flavor. Now to just figure out what new trick to teach Dave so he can earn those treats- any suggestions? He knows all the basic tricks, so something fun and challenging is needed at this point.

Bil-Jac products, including their treats, are available at PetCo and Petsmart or you can find a Bil-Jac retailer by visiting their website.

Recycled Post-it Notes

Post-it notes are, to me, one nifty-neato invention. I can't imagine not having them around, and since they were invented just prior to my birth I have never had to live in a world without them. Being a rabid list-maker who frequently misplaces said lists Post-it notes come in mighty handy in my home.

Always the innovators, the people at 3M have again re-invented the post –it with the introduction of a recycled Post-it line.

Post-it notes have always been recyclable, but now is there a Post-it line made from recycled materials. The Post-it Recycled Collection is made from 30% post consumer content and/or 100% recycled paper. The collection includes the lined-page Post-it Note design (my favorite for list making!), Super Sticky Post-it Recycled Notes, Post-it Recycled Notes Cabinet Packs, Post-It Super Sticky Recycled Easel Pads, Post-it Super Sticky Recycled Pop Up Notes and Pop Up Notes in a desk grip dispenser… which gives you plenty of green options to choose from.

I am always happy to see big companies with widely used products making an effort when it comes to manufacturing an eco-friendly product, and for 3M this is not a new initiative. The Post-it products are made from sustainably harvested forests and have long included post consumer content. To learn more about the Recycled collection or 3M's dedication to the environment visits their website here.

Be sure to look for the Post-it Recycled collection when you are buying Post-its and remember to always recycle your used Post-it notes!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Favorite Summer Photo

I absolutely adore this picture of Davey. We like it so much we had a graphic artist transform it into an amazing picture that hangs in our living room.

The picture captures Dave's funny little spirit and spunk, as well as his funny little lovable face. The photo was taken at his 1st birthday party in late July and I will always cherish that summer day, along with this photo. That is why I chose this picture as my entry into's Summer Photo contest.

Thanks for sponsoring the contest, UPrinting!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

UPrinting Winner

Congrats go to Cindi who won my Poster Print Giveaway.

everyone for entering. I have sent you an e-mail Cindi, so if you haven't seen it, please let me know. If you didn't win the poster be sure to visit and check out there fantastic rates for Canvas Printing and Poster Printing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Calypso Studios Giveaway

I am carrying around one of the cutest reusable totes I have seen yet. It's a design from artist Emma Hand sold by Calypso Studios, and is one of three in the "Acts of Kindness" series pictured above. Calypso Studios actually has a slew of delightful totes with styles that will suit just about everyone. I'm eyeing this cute number for this year's Christmas shopping:

Depending on the design the totes are available individually for $7.95 or in sets of three for $20. These totes are the sturdy, water resistant polyester material I like so much. They even fold into a handy little roll that closes with a snap so you can keep one tucked conveniently in your purse. I personally have given reusable bags as a gift with increasing frequency because I think they make such a nice gift.

Calypso Studios also specializes in unique, affordable jewelry like these earrings I got to try out:

Or this great piece from their vineyard collection-

Jewelry starts at just $3 and I don't think I saw a piece over $15! Now that is my kind of shopping; cute and affordable.

Calypso Studios has offered to give one of their adorable reusable totes and a piece of jewelry to one of my lucky readers.

How to Enter

Visit The Calypso Studios website, and tell me what your favorite item is. This entry must be completed in order to gain any extra entries.

Extra Entries

  • Follow Calypso Studios on twitter (1 entry, leave your user id)
  • Become a fan of Calypso Studios on facebook (1 entry, leave your name please)
  • Follow me on blogger, subscribe via rss reader or subscribe via email (links to the left, 1 entry for each )
  • Follow me on twitter and tweet this giveaway (1 tweet per day, link to your tweet please
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post (2 entries)

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents. Entries will be accepted until June 23rd 11:59 PM CST when a winner will be selected by firing up the randomizer. Winner will be notified via e-mail.

Good Luck!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

EyeBuyDirect Giveaway

My Dad is the ultimate in practical. I am pretty sure that every single item in his home has a working purpose and is used for that purpose or it hits the curb with a quickness. That makes him particularly difficult to buy for when it comes to Father's Day, so I know he would approve of my next gift idea- a gift certificate from EyeBuyDirect.

I had the opportunity to go through the ordering process at EyeBuyDirect and receive a fantastic pair of glasses. Here I am with my sharp new frames from EyeBuyDirect:

As you can see Davey HAD to see what we were doing with the camera. With how attached he is to me I am astounded there are any pictures of me taken in the last 2 years without him on my lap.

The ordering and selection process at EyeBuyDirect is easy peasy and even a bit fun. They have a nifty little tool called the "EyeTry now" feature that allows you to try the frames on prior to buying them. Even though I chose the pair I thought I would select before trying them being able to see them on me, so to speak, was very reassuring.

Just in time Father's Day EyeBuyDirect has a terrific special for individuals looking to give dad a Gift Certificate. From now until July 21st you can get an gift voucher for 20% off, which makes an incredibly economical pair of glasses even more inexpensive!

A complete pair of eyeglasses; single vision plastic lenses, frames, scratch coating and case start at just $7.9x plus shipping. So not only is EyeBuyDirect a smart choice for dad it is a brilliant idea if you need a second pair of glasses or even a fashionable, inexpensive first pair. EyeBuyDirect wants to go even one better than cheap, how about free? They are giving away one pair of prescription eyeglass (value up to $100) to one of my readers! And even with frames starting at $7.95, ya can't beat free!

How to Enter

Visit the Eyebuydirect website, and tell me what glasses you would select if you won. This entry must be completed in order to gain any extra entries.

Extra Entries

  • Post your "EyeTry" photo on the "Wall of Frames" (1 entry, leave a link please)
  • Post a comment on the "Wall of Frames about someone else's picture (leave a link, may comment 5 times for 1 entry each comment)
  • Follow me on blogger, subscribe via rss reader or subscribe via email (links to the left, 1 entry for each )
  • Follow me on twitter and tweet this giveaway (1 tweet per day, link to your tweet please
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post (2 entries)

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents. Winner will receive a code good for 1 free pair of eyeglasses with a value of up to $100. Code is not valid for use on designer frames or sunglasses. Entries will be accepted until June 28th 11:59 PM CST when a winner will be selected randomly. Winner will be notified via e-mail.

Good Luck!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Halo Dog Treats- and Great Halo Coupons!

So you may have already read how I am loving Halo dog food since trying it. Well, since Dave tried it since I haven't actually tasted it. If you haven't, be sure to read this blog post.

While trying out Halo's Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken adult dry food Davey also had a chance to try some of the Halo dog treat products, which include some brand new varieties. When we got the treats unwrapped Davey attacked the Liv-a-Littles Chicken Protein Treats first. If you have ever given your dog freeze-dried liver treats the Liv-a-Littles are sort of like that but without any icky smell. The best part about the Halo Protein Treats, besides the fact that I can get Dave to do anything for one, is the ingredient list. Here it is:

Ingredients: Chicken

No preservatives, no questionable additives or chemicals just good ole chicken. Plus they aren't messy, smelly or gnarly in any way they are fantastic to break up and use for training.

Davey also happily tasted the Halo Liv-a-Littles Healthsome Dog Biscuits. Here he is giving me a high five for one-
Now if only I could teach him to pick up his toys…

Halo has offered to give my readers an EXCLUSIVE coupon good for $3 off of any of the dog or cat pet products they sell; including treats, food, grooming supplies, supplements or books. The $3 coupon is good for any on-line purchase at and can't be found anywhere but right here.

Halo will also send you a $5 coupon via e-mail if you sign up for their newsletter, here. The $5 coupon is good in stores where ever Halo products are sold. This coupon equates to some free treats or food considering many Halo products start under $5! I plan to use mine to snag some more Halo Dream Coat for Miss Chloe, a product I'll be talking about soon.

How to Get your Online Coupon:

  • Visit and select the items you wish to purchase. Keep in mind that any order over $75 will receive free shipping.
  • Proceed to the checkout, entering your shipping and billing information (including your credit card information).
  • AFTER submitting your payment information, but prior to confirming the order, you will see a box to enter a "Coupon Code".
  • Enter "pestka" (without the quotes) to receive a $3 discount.
  • Coupon code expires June 30th, 2009

I would love to hear from you if you are able to make use of either coupon. Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Be The Match Marrowthon

Last year I became a member of the National Bone Marrow Donor regiistry. Although I haven;t been called to donate yet, I am ready and willing when that call does come in. Normally there is a $52 tissue processing fee to join the registry, but starting June 8th resgistration is free. The free registration only comes once a year, so if you have ever considered joing the registry now is the time to do so. Free registration ends at 46,000 new donors or on June 22nd, whichever comes first.

GelPro Mat Review

I have discovered something that actually makes me want to stay in the kitchen a little longer. What is this miracle product, you ask? A chocolate fountain? Self-cleaning dishes? A kitchen nap cot? Nope, Just my GelPro anti-fatigue kitchen floor mat.

That's right, a floor mat. And not just because it comes in the color "truffle", either, since independent testing in my kitchen has demonstrated that the GelPro mat is not edible.

Aside from the yummy color the GelPro appeals to my love of textures. I am entirely tactile when selecting clothing or items for my home. I have to feeeel everything and it was to feel good or I'm not wearing/sleeping/ sitting/standing on it. 'Good' has a variety of definitions which include soft, velvety, squishy, cool, silky, warm, smooth or spongy- depending on my mood.

The GelPro has wholly pleased my texture hungry side from the moment I placed it in my kitchen. It is the only anti-fatigue mat available that is filled with gel. I adore the way it feels under my feet, so much so that I want to spend time at my kitchen counter. Don't let my partner hear that or she might cover the whole kitchen in GelPro mats to keep me cooking and cleaning 24/7.

Oh yes, and I should probably mention the GelPro mat is fantastic for relieving fatigue, particularly if you have a bad back, arthritis, foot problems or anything of the sort that causes standing for periods of time to be difficult. I have a recipe or two I dread making because I know it means an hour of chopping. With the GelPro under foot I don't dread the chopping, it makes that much of a difference.

If you have a foodie, a cook or master of the kitchen that you want to encourage to stay in that kitchen as long as possible the GelPro would make a really wonderful gift (Father's Day anyone?). I think it is a must have for anyone on their feet all day that has to come home and stand in the kitchen.

The mat comes in a variety of styles, sizes and colors and can be purchased online. The Basketweave style that I have can also be purchased at your local Bed, Bath & Beyond. The mats start at $99.95, which is a good price considering the phenomenal quality. I guarantee you no other mat will come close to this one in durability, comfort or quality. If you put one in your kitchen maybe I'll come over and cook for you. Well…at least I will be more likely to cook for you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway- closed

If you grew up in the 80's and 90's like me you might have the opinion that coconut oil is terrible for you, as I did. We were told it is a saturated fat and therefore would clog our arteries and stop our heart. Coconut oil was promptly pulled from baked goods and I always had a twinge of guilt eating any coconut treat.

Like so much of what we hear about our health that information was at best misleading, at worst it was outright coconut slander. The poor abused coconut, however, has made a comeback in recent years. People have recently been proclaiming the glory of the coconut and its miraculous ability to cure a world of ills. I roll my eyes when I hear wild health claims, so I have skipped over all the coconut raving.

Then I was given the chance from a company called Tropical Traditions, to actually try coconut oil and read some literature on it. I figured it couldn't hurt to look into it.

Here is some of the research backed information I found-

  • A study of 40 women concluded that coconut oil does not result in more fats in the blood and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity ( Lipids. 2009 May 13. [Epub ahead of print]). This study affirms what previous studies have stated- consumption of coconut oil does not cause high cholesterol or heart disease.
  • Virgin coconut oil has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that are useful in the treatment of dermatitis (Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15)and acne (Dermatol.2009 Apr 23 [Epub ahead of print]).
  • Animal studies indicate that consumption of coconut oil may actually lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood (Clin Biochem. 2004 Sep; 37(9):830-5).
  • Human research shows that consuming oils such as coconut oil can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (Metabolism. 2003 Jun; 52(6):771-7).
  • A wide variety of peer-reviewed research on the chemical components of coconut oil have hinted that coconut oil may help in reducing weight, slowing tumor growth, preventing obesity and combating a host of other human ailments.

I have actually read the research I am quoting. I never believe what I read (especially on the internet) unless I see the data myself. I spent a few too many years the pharmaceutical and scientific research industries to believe anything 2nd hand. I have included links to the research so you can read for yourself if that is your thing.

All this reading about coconut oil has convinced me it is something I should have in my diet more often. A 1998 article in the Journal of the Indian Medical Association sums up what we now know about consuming only oils we were told were 'healthier' like sunflower oil or safflower oil, stating,

there are numerous research data now available to indicate that the sole use or excess intake of these newer vegetable oils are actually detrimental to health and switching to a combination of different types of fats including the traditional cooking fats like ghee, coconut oil and mustard oil would actually reduce the risk of dyslipidaemias, AHD and Type-2 DM [diabetes] (J Indian Med Assoc. 1998 Oct; 96(10):304-7).

More and more the evidence seems to show that cutting out natural foods completely from our diet does more harm than good. I have come to the conclusion that diversity in diet is the answer, with all things in moderation. I never did understand how plant based oil could be so 'bad', just like I never thought avocados or almonds were 'bad' even though they are high in fat. Well lookie-there, research is now showing that items we were told to avoid are actually beneficial.

While research is amazing and fantastic and gives me warm fuzzies it often fails to take into consideration real life situations such as how people consume foods, how the food is prepared etc, so I never make a big change and eliminate any whole food based on some rat study. Nature knows best, I believe, so if it grows in the ground, tastes good and people have been eating it for thousands of years then it is good enough for me.

I won't be switching to using only coconut oil I have found that it is a great oil to cook with- clean tasting (no coconut taste at all), versatile and easy to measure. Plus Tropical Traditions coconut oil is certified as USDA organic, which gives it an advantage over 98% of oils on the shelf in stores.

Interested in trying coconut oil for yourself? Or perhaps you are already a fan of coconut oil and have a thing or two to teach me. In either case you will want to enter this giveaway for a quart of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. Also, if you are interested in reading more about the potential benefits of coconut oil be sure to check out this book, chocked full of great information, personal stories and a bit of history on the coconut oil revolution.

How to Enter

Visit the Tropical Traditions website and tell me what product you are most interested in trying. Or if you already have tried coconut oil tell me a little about your experience with the product. This entry must be completed in order to gain any extra entries.

Extra Entries

  • Follow Tropical Traditions on twitter (1 entry, leave your user id)
  • Fav my blog on technorati ( Link to the right, please leave your user ID)

  • Follow me on blogger, subscribe via rss reader or subscribe via email (links to the left, 1 entry for each )
  • Follow me on twitter and tweet this giveaway (1 tweet per day, link to your tweet please)
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post (2 entries)

The giveaway is open to both U.S. and Canadian residents. Entries will be accepted until June 13th 11:59 PM CST when a winner will be selected randomly. Winner will be notified via e-mail.

Pinecone Research- CLOSED

EDIT- This has closed already. Didn't even last 24 hours! Told you they close quickly...hope some of you got in.

Pinecone is one of the best, and hardest online research companies to get into. They only accept individuals for a limited time and you have to 'find' a banner or have an invite. Well thay are accepting applications and I have the banner!

They typically pay $3 per survey as a flat rate plus they send great products to try if you qualify. The payment comes via paypal rather quickly and I make a few extra bucks every month with them. Pinecone is honestly one of the only research companies I ALWAYS always always take the surveys becasue I know it is easy money. If you aren't a member, I highly recommend you give it a try.

Here is the link:

I think they are looking for people 18 to 24, but be sure to try even if you are outside that. Let me know if you have questions. Good luck getting in!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Father’s Day Poster Print Giveaway- closed

Looking for something unique, original and meaningful to give dad this Father's Day? Something he might appreciate and even cherish for years to come? Oh and affordable too, right?

How about a custom made Canvas Printing or Poster Printing of your favorite photo? I love to receive photo gifts, so I have given more than my share of gifts with personalized photos. I find it really is something you aren't going to toss in the junk drawer or sell at your garage sale. And don't we all want someone to cherish or gifts? is giving away one fantastic 18 x 24 poster print to a reader. Just follow the directions below to enter!

Don't want to wait to see if you're a winner? Head to UPrinting and get started on building your own Father's Day gift. They have fast service and superfast shipping to assure your gift will be to that special someone in time for Dad's Day.

To Enter

  1. Leave a comment telling me how you would use your 18 x 24 poster if you win. You don't have to use it for Father's Day.
  2. Blog about this giveaway and leave me a link to the blog. You must also include a link to in your blog post.

Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM CST on June 9th, 2009. Winners will be chosen by the randomizer and will have their prize shipped for free to them by UPrinting. Free shipping is valid only for U.S. and Canada winners.

Thanks for entering!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Halo Dog Food Review and $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway

It is a well established fact that Dave likes food. An item doesn't even have to be actual food for Davey to want it. He has done many a trick for pocket lint, as a matter of fact.

So the real struggle in choosing a dog food is not in finding what Davey likes, it is in finding what I like. I want the food he eats to be high-quality, human grade ingredients. I don't want a food full of cheap filler and I want a company that pays attention to quality so that I never have to panic about a recall. There are many foods we have tried that meet these requirements, and Dave often has treats from fantastic manufactures such as Life's Abundance, Mother Hubbard and Nature's Variety.

I have fed Davey the same dry food since he became an "adult" dog. And even though we have tried, reviewed and liked several great foods we have never officially switched dry food, until now. Why did I decide to switch? This:

The above is a picture of Halo Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken adult dry dog food in Davey's bowl. You can see actual dried whole foods in it and I truly believe the claim that that Halo is human grade dog food based on the look and smell of the food. We regularly supplement Davey's daily diet with things like carrots, berries, apples and other whole foods. So having an actual whole food in Davey's daily meal makes me feel great about what I feed him. The Halo dry food ingredient list reads like a healthy grocery list and not a chemistry experiment. Here is a sample of the first few ingredients:

Ingredients: Chicken, Whole Dried Eggs, Pea Protein, Oats, Vegetable Broth, Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Pea Flour, Chicken Liver, Wild Salmon, Flaxseed, Salmon Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Pea Fiber, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Green Beans, Carrots, Cranberries, Zucchini…

The dry food also contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and probiotics- important extras for a pet that eats the same food every day.

The Spot's Stew line is available in both dry and wet varieties and is competitively priced. Halo also has recently introduced yummy treats which I will be talking more about soon. Watch for the post this week because it will include instructions on how to get an exclusive $2.50 coupon on Halo treats which start at just $3.99!

Halo products are available at a pet store or Whole Foods Market near you or you can purchase on line. Halo has been totally fantastic to work with and has generously offered to give one of my readers a $50 Gift Certificate to use on-line for any Halo product! Dog food, cat food, treats, supplements, grooming products…there are a ton of possibilities a cool 50 bucks could get you! Here is what you have to do…

How to Enter
Visit Halo Pets site and tell me what one Halo product you would most like to try. This entry must be completed in order to gain any extra entries.
Extra Entries
  • Follow Halo Pets on twitter (1 entry, leave your user id)
  • Become a fan of Halo Pets on Facebook or Myspace (1 entry per action, leave your name please)
  • Sign up for the Halo Newsletter, which has coupon offers! (let me know you signed up, 1 entry)
  • Enter any of my other pet-related giveaways (Pet Scribbles or Big Paw Designs giveaways only, 1 additional Halo entry per giveaway)
  • Follow me on twitter and tweet this giveaway (1 tweet per day, link to your tweet please
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post (2 entries)

The giveaway is open to both U.S. and Canadian residents. Entries will be accepted until June 12th 11:59 PM CST at which time someone's fur baby is going to be might spoiled! Winner will be notified via e-mail.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fairytale Brownies Father’s Day Giveaway- CLOSED

If you have a Father, Husband, Grandfather with a sweet tooth I have the perfect gift for them- the most amazing brownies you have ever had in your mouth. Although I believe one or two of you might have a grandma or aunt out there that could make brownies as good, I doubt anything could be better than Fairytale Brownies.

I had the chance to try the Father's Day dozen and let me tell you, they were gone in 2 days. My partner cursed while she ate the first bite, as in "Holy &%$# these are some $%#& good brownies". Oh yes indeed, they are so good they cause spontaneous swearing.

I was pleased as could be and we had some serious Halloween-tummy in the house during our brownie binge. Dave, however, was one unhappy puggle since I informed him "brownies kill puggles". Poor guy, even this crazy-eyed, flippy-ear "I'm wild with brownie-need" look garnered him nothing:

Not only do the brownies taste incredible but they come beautifully wrapped with great attention to detail…a great gift to send for any occasion. A dozen brownies, such as the ones I tried, runs around $37 but there are a variety of gifts available starting at under $30.

The amazing people at Fairytale Brownies would like to give one very lucky tummy of a reader (not for puggles!) the Father's Day Dozen gift pack that I received. Make sure if you win you have it shipped right to dad or I guarantee you it will never reach his hands. Not that I will tell a soul if it doesn't.

How to Enter
Visit The Fairytale Brownies website and tell me which flavor you would like to try the most. You really can't go wrong considering how phenomenal every single one is. This entry must be completed in order to gain any extra entries.

Extra Entries

  • Follow Fairytale Brownies on twitter (1 entry, leave your user id)
  • Request a catalog from Fairytale Brownies. You have been warned, it is the ultimate in explicit food porn. (1 entry, leave the e-mail addy you signed up with)
  • Enter any of my other giveaways (listed to the left, let me know which you entered, 1 additional Brownie entry per giveaway)
  • Follow me on blogger, subscribe via rss reader or subscribe via email (links to the left, 1 entry for each
  • Follow me on twitter and tweet this giveaway (1 tweet per day, link to your tweet please)
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post (2 entries)

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents. Entries will be accepted until June 9th 11:59 PM CST at which time someone's Dad is gonna be mighty happy. Winner will be notified via e-mail.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Big Paw Designs Collar Charm Giveaway- CLOSED

If Dave could talk I know there are times that he would say exactly what his Big Paw Designs tag, above, says. even when caught red-pawed, like this...

Or this

Or this

Perhaps you have a Dave of your very own? Or maybe you have a squirrel stalker like Davey's sweetheart, Ruby, who would wear this with pride:

Or is your furry pal is none of the above because they are simply the...

Big Paw Designs would like to give one of my readers an exclusive Big Paw Designs pewter collar charm of their very own. The charms are high-quality, lightweight, sturdy and come in a multitude of whimsical choices. I also love that you have the option of getting them with a variety of ways to attach to the collar, like the nifty clip option.

Big Paw also sells a ton of great pet products, gift items and more… including the ONLY toy in our house that has a squeaker- the Katie's Bumper tug toy. I consider it a miracle toy since it has managed to retain said squeaker for at least 4 months and still gets played with often. Be sure to check out the Katie's Toys if you have a destructor like Davey.

Onto the good stuffs, the giveaway!

How to Enter
Visit Big Paw Designs and tell me which tag you prefer. This entry must be completed in order to gain any extra entries.

Extra Entries

  • Follow Big Paw Designs on twitter (1 entry, leave your user id)
  • Become a fan of Big Paw Designs on Facebook (1 entry)
  • Follow me on blogger, subscribe via rss reader or subscribe via email (links to the left, 1 entry for each)
  • Follow me on twitter and tweet this giveaway (1 tweet per day, link to your tweet please
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post (2 entries)

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents. Entries will be accepted until June 7th 11:59 PM CST at which time the winner will be notified via e-mail. Woofs and kisses!

Bunches of winners...

Care4Hire- madly59

Thanks everyone for entering. I have sent you all e-mails so if you haven't seen them, please let me know. If you didn't win the poster be sure to visit and check out there fantastic rates. Plus there is a UPrinting Father's DAy giveaway to be posted soon!

Pet Scribbles Greeting Card Giveaway- 6 winners! CLOSED

I am more excited than usual about my latest giveaway, which is saying a lot for me as I am pretty dang excitable in general. In fact I am so excitable my partner insists that the "dog voice" (the voice only dogs can hear that I get when worked up) not be used in the house.

I had a hard time reining the dog voice in when I got these in the mail-

You see, I stalked the owner and designer of Pet Scribbles greeting cards and begged her to let me feature her fantastic work. Laura went above and beyond just allowing me to gush over her- she offered to give cards to SIX of my readers.

Pet Scribbles cards are the cards I have long been searching for. You see, we are those pet parents. We always give cards to one another from our pets. Often times we only have a few to pick from at the store. The fact that there are any at all means there has to be more of those pet parents out there than just us, right? Pet Scribbles has charming designs just for pet people like me. Cards like this Father's Day card from the cat:

You don't have to be a kooky pet parent to love Pet Scribbles. Laura has whimsical, beautiful and totally pet-less card line called "Purrtea" that feature Victorian era designs, like the "Birthday Time" card:

The picture simply does not do this card justice. The design is delicate and beautiful with just the right amount of girly glitter that I so love. The details are amazing and the quality is some of the best I have seen. All the cards are lovingly made to order and trust me; the attention to detail really shows when you hold a Pet Scribbles card in your hand.

Pet Scribbles has a card for every occasion; new pet announcements , tea themed cards, "just because" cards and pet sympathy cards. My favorite line has to be the hard to resist "Apawlogy" line, for those moments when you need to work the puppy eyes for forgiveness.

The cards average about $3.30 per card with a 3 card minimum per order if you order direct. The Pet Scribbles and Purrtea lines are also available at a number of online boutiques and retail locations nationwide.

I bet you are wondering about that great giveaway right about now, aren't you? Pet Scribbles has offered to give 2 lucky readers their choice of 1 Fathers Day card plus 3 cards of their choice from any of the individual cards Pet Scribbles offers. Additionally 4 readers will win their choice of Father's Day card. That is 6 winners total which ups your odds of snagging one of these gorgeous cards.

How to Enter
Visit the Pet Scribbles Card CATalog and tell me which is your favorite Father's Day card or your favorite design in general. This step must be done to be eligible for extra entries.

Extra Entries

  • Follow Pet Scribbles on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (1 entry per day, leave a link)
  • Tell me if there is a retail location that sells Pet Scribbles near you (1 entry)
  • Make a purchase from Pet Scribbles (5 entries, tell me what you bought)
  • Follow me on blogger, subscribe via rss reader or subscribe via email (links to the left, 1 entry for each )
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post (2 entries)

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents. Entries will be accepted until June 8th 11:59 PM CST at which time the randomizer will choose the winners. Winners will be notified via e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond so we can get the prizes out in time for Father's Day. Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pevonia Botanica Giveaway- CLOSED

Any day a box of girly spa products arrives in the mail is a good day in my house. So you can imagine my excitement recently when I got not one, not two but THREE high quality spa products from Pevonia Botanica. I will admit I did a little happy dance.

Pevonia makes high-quality, green, beauty products for use in spas and your home. These products and beauty treatments aren't just any ole facial masks and soaps- they are THE products used by some of the finest resorts and spas in the world. Not only can you get these products applied at spas, you can have them in your very home, like me, who you now envy for her luscious skin and scent.

Of course I loved the products I tried; they smell fantastic, work like magic and look so purty on my sink. But there is so much more to Pevonia Botanica products than meets the eye. Here is a sampling of facts about Pevonia:
  • Made with organic extracts and essential oils
  • Packaging is eco-friendly, that is it is post-consumer recyclable and biodegradable
  • Pevonia is "cruelty-free", the products are never tested on animals
  • The ingredients are the safest I have seen- no formaldehyde, mineral oil, alcohol, lanolin, PABA or sodium lauryl sulfate in anything.
  • The formulas for all the products are tested and proven effective, so you know they'll work.

I was able to try products from the in-home "oily skin" line, including the Phyto-Gel cleanser, the Mattifying Oily Skin mask, and the Mattifying Oily Skin Cream. This was an amazing trio of products I never would have discovered if not for Pevonia. I can rarely afford to go to a spa for a treatment, but with these products I absolutely felt like I had a high quality spa treatment.

Jealous? You don't have to be. Pevonia Botanica is giving one lucky reader a Bathing Renewal Kit valued at $60.

The kit, pictured above, includes the Dry Oil Body Moisturizer, Silky Skin Body Scrub, and the Seaweed Exfoliating Soap. I know you are lusting after that little beauty of a pampering-kit, so let me cut to the chase…

How to Enter

Visit Pevonia Botanica's website, click the "Recommended For You" tab at the top and take the quiz. Then head back here and tell me one of the recommendations. This entry must be completed in order to gain any extra entries.

Extra Entries

  • Follow Pevonai Botanica on twitter (1 entry, leave your user id)
  • Sign up for Pevonia Botanic's newsletter (1 entry, leave the e-mail addy you signed up with)
  • Enter any of my other giveaways (listed to the left, let me know which you entered, 1 additional Pevonia entry per giveaway)
  • Follow me on blogger, subscribe via rss reader or subscribe via email (links to the left, 1 entry for each
  • Follow me on twitter and tweet this giveaway (1 tweet per day, link to your tweet please
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post (2 entries)

The giveaway is open to both U.S. and Canadian residents. Entries will be accepted until June 7th 11:59 PM CST at which time the randomizer will do its thing and pick a luck winner. Winner will be notified via e-mail.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My 1st Week Working with the Snuggle Puggle

Dave here, wanted to let you know about all the hard work I have been doing. You see this puggle, Eduardo, puts all us dogs to work in the Snuggle Puggle Work Force. Isn't that brilliant? We get to do things we like as work too.

You might not know this, but we dogs love to work. Oh sure it might look like I am napping in bed with mommy but really I am working! So let me get right to it and tell you how hard I worked this whole week.
My most important work this week was done in the "Keeping Mom Occupied" department. I started out my work with a bang and a stink.
On Wednesday I decided Mom was getting a little too bored with our dog park visits, so I thought I would mix it up. I found a large pile of lovely poop and rolled and dove in it about 10 times. Smart, aren't I? I thought that would make her happy!
I was jumping and bouncing and swirling my head in that glorious stench when Mom comes running from across the park screaming her brains out. I think maybe she was jealous cause she wanted it for herself. She took the poo and put it an a bag to save for later I'm sure
That's OK because I was good and covered in it already and that poop was all used up. I had such lovely stink on my head, my ears, both sides my feet and even all smooshed into my collar! Hey, I'm a hard worker.

I ran around that park greeting every single person with my new stank-coat and they all screamed in sheer delight when they saw me. Mom even tried to take some more of the stuff for herself by wiping me all over in baby wipes and a wet towel but haha, I still stank when I got in the car.

Then mom did some crazy stuff when we got home. She gave me THREE baths. And it wasn't even time for my bath. Why on earth she would want that nasty orange soap smell in her bed instead of my carefully selected poo-essence is beyond me. Anyway, after the bath I made sure to bark out the window at dogs going by while mom was mumbling about "bad dogs" (the ones outside I bet!) and cleaning the bathroom. Here I am, post bath, guarding the living room window from neighborhood dog menaces:

Note that I am totally naked in that picture cause Mom took my collar and made it smell like orange soap too! That lady is crazy for the soap, I swear.

All in all I would say I kept her dog park visit interesting that day. I think it was too much for the poor delicate creature cause we didn't go back for days after that.

I also kept Mom busy through the week by acting very puppy-like. I know how she loves the puppies so I gave her some reminders like stealing pens and trying to chew them, grabbing food when I could and making small but well thought out messes. When she started yelling at me for this mess I looked around to see who she was yelling at:

Then I figured maybe I should play along and give her a sad puppy pose for her picture box, she loves those.

Aren't I a great worker?

Quantum Life Settlements- money when you need it most

The economy has taken its toll on this household, that is for sure. Although we are holding our own quite nicely under less than ideal conditions we have made a number of lifestyle changes in order to cope, including dumping our pricey cable service; lowering our electric, phone and insurance bills and making cuts to our entertainment expenses. So far none of these things have been particularly painful (no, not even the cable) and I think overall they have been really great changes I am glad we made.

We haven't yet had to cash in any assets, but no asset is totally off limits if good jobs stay so difficult to find for very long. I am not at an age where I could cash in a life insurance policy just yet, I thought some of you might want to know about a service I recently learned about- Quantum Life Settlements.

Quantum Life Settlements works to get individuals the highest possible settlement for their life insurance policies. Although it isn't something one might want to consider, I think it is a smart option if there is a genuine need for money now, while you are still around to see it go to good use. If I was eligible and needed it, it is something I would absolutely keep in mind, just in case.

Cashing in a life insurance policy isn't an option for everyone, but it is a good idea if your premiums have become too costly or you no longer need as much coverage. There are some criteria you must meet in order to be considered including having a death benefit of at least $500,000 and are 70 years old or have a life expectancy between 2 and 15 years.

It is something worth looking into if it fits you, and Quantum Life seems to be a good company to consider. You can take their free on-line qualifier quiz to see if you meet the criteria or you can learn more information at their website. If there is one thing the recent economic issues have taught me it is to be flexible and keep all my options open. I see cashing in a life insurance policy as just one of many options to consider if the need arises.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Coastal Contacts Review

I am by no means a vain individual. I'm well aware that the vast majority of the time I look like a frazzled soccer mom minus the rug rat, and that look is when I am showered and wide awake. I've been told more than a few times that when I first get up my appearance resembles this:

 stock photo by winjohn

So it is with well-worn humility I say the following- I look fierce in my new Kam Dhillion glasses from Coastal Contacts. OK, well maybe not fierce. But cute, definitely cute.


I probably shouldn't tell you this but those glasses? Yeah they are under 20 bucks with standard plastic lenses, scratch and anti-reflective coating. Add shipping and the whole package is under 30 bucks. Try and top that at any local optical, I would love to see if you look as cute as me for under 30 bucks.

I'm not just any old eyeglass shopper taking my chances on internet glasses either. I started working as an optician in college and have been in the optical field in some capacity for much of the past decade. I have helped thousands of people select, purchase and adjust to eyeglasses. When I have attempted to buy glasses off the rack at some random shop I often leave the local optician more than a bit flustered. I want high quality plus I want the lens material, brand name, coatings, size, warranty, cool-kid frames at an amazing price and I don't want any lip about it, missy. I know how much those products cost the shop and I know they can get that frame in green if I want it so dang it, give me what I want!

*Sigh* needless to say I often just go to my friends in the business to get my glasses because they put up with me. Until recently I have not been a fan of the online optical market. That change with my first online order from Coastal Contacts.

My experience with Coastal Contacts was stellar. The glasses were flawless- and I am a tough cookie. I know if that prescription is off by even one degree. I reject any lens that is not fit perfectly in the frame with unblemished edges. My glasses far exceeded my expectations. I thought internet glasses would mean subpar work. Man was I wrong. I am so ready for another pair. Eyeglasses are like shoes to me, and at these prices I can so afford a pair for every season!

Did I mention they have brand names like Prada, Gucci, Calvin Klein and Armani? It might seem hard to believe but those brand names are there at prices you could never find locally. Their inventory rotates frequently, so keep an eye out for frames you like. For example, you might not know the name Koali, but they are my MOST favorite line ever in all of the eyeglass frame world. You see the middle frame in the picture below?

That is the Koali 6058K that Coastal carries for just $68! I paid well over that AT COAST for a frame from that line when they first came out, and the frames are every bit as cool today as they were when I got them. I do so love glasses. Couple that with a great deal and I am hard to shut up…

Purchasing Your Glasses Online
The ordering process at Coastal Contacts was super easy; I think anyone could do it without a problem. Although I do have a few tips if you are ordering glasses online:

  1. Go into your doctor's office to get a copy of your prescription. This way you can assure that the "PD" measurement is on the Rx, a measurement you will need when you order. If you already have the prescription and the measurement is not there you can go into any optical and ask for them to take it for you, most will gladly oblige.
  2. Have an optician look at your current frames and tell you the size of the frame. In general there are three numbers that are important, the "eyesize" the "bridge" and the "temple length". When you select glasses online try to choose frames that are similar to a pair of glasses you have worn or you have tried on. The numbers of those measurements are in millimeters, so a few millimeters difference between what you are wearing and a new frame is no big deal, but beware if you are looking at something +/- 5 millimeters or more from your current glasses.
  3. Use the online tools such as the "size info" and "how to read your prescription" videos. These tools are very useful and can help you avoid errors.
  4. Check your prescription THREE times- once when you enter the data, once on the confirmation page and once when you hit send. If you see any errors after you have placed the order CALL right away, as sometimes the lenses are cut quickly after your order.
  5. Follow the recommendations for lens type if you want your glasses to look their best. If you are simply ordering glasses to slip on after your contacts lenses are out for the day than the cheap option is just fine. But if you have a -8.00 prescription and you expect to wear those glasses out of the house go with the lens that the site recommends. Trust me on this one. The cost is SO minimal compared to what you would pay at a local store it is well worth it.
  6. If you absolutely cannot select a frame online go to a local chain and take pictures of frames you like, then try to find the closest match online.
  7. If you order something and aren't pleased with it contact the company immediately. Coastal has a fantastic guarantee and will gladly help fix the problem, but they can't fix it if you don't tell them. If you order elsewhere read customer testimonies on an independent site before you order. I can't assure you every online optical is going to be on the up and up.

I am interested to know, have any of you out there ordered glasses online? Have you had success or issues? Send pictures if you have a super cute find, I would love to see them!! Poster Giveaway- 2 Winners

If you have ever been on my gift list you might be aware of how very much I love to give personalized items as gifts. My absolute favorite gift to give is something photo related. In this house alone we have mugs, mouse pads, collages and posters that have all been made a bit more special with a great photo.

So I was thrilled when offered to give 2 of my readers custom 16 x 20 printed posters.

UPrinting has a vast array of printing options for business or personal use. I love the poster option because it is an inexpensive way to make a memorable decoration for any room. Your options for a great photo poster are limited only by your imagination- so be creative or stick with a beautiful portrait of that adorable baby, child or furry friend.

To Enter

  1. Leave a comment telling me how you would use your free poster if you win. Go hog wild with imagination since I won't actually hold you to it if you insist Aunt Millie's big toe would make a great poster.
  2. Blog about this giveaway and leave me a link to the blog. You must also include a link to in your blog post.

That's it, pretty simple huh? Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM CST on May 26th, 2009. Winners will be chosen by the randomizer and will have their prize shipped for free to them by UPrinting. Free shipping is valid only for U.S. and Canada winners- readers in other countries may enter to win a poster but will be responsible for the cost of shipping.

Good luck!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

SparklePaw Pocket Mirror Giveaway

I love etsy for gifts, particulary gifts for pet people. I can always find something perfect, handmade, unique and affordable. That is if I can keep from shoping for myself for more than 2 minutes.
One of my recenty etsy discoveries is the shop SparklePaw, appropriatley billed as "all things adorable". Adorable indeed. The shop features greeting cards, pocket mirrors and recipe cards with loveable, original animal artwork. Case in point, this dog card:

and the beaver card:

The above cards are available at the SparklePaw etsy store for just $3.50 each, or a pack of any 6 for just $18. Cuter AND cheaper than any old thing you will find at the drug store.

I also adore these recipe cards. I would love to get a stack of these filled with someone's personal best recipes (plenty of time till September kids, hint hint).

Leslie of SparklePaw has graciously agreed to give one of my readers this "you're such a hoot!" owl pocket mirror. The mirror would make a sweet little gift or a nice addition to your handbag.

Here is how you can win-

Main Entry (U.S. only please)
Visit the etsy SparklePaw shop and tell me which product or design is your favorite. This must be completed in order to receive extra entries.

Extra Entries

Good luck everyone! I will randomly select a winner on May 27th, you can enter till May 27th at 11:59 PM.