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.