Archives for November 2011

Barbie A Perfect Christmas DVD {Review and Giveaway}

The weather here in New Orleans has finally gotten colder (we even had to wear a jacket today!), so it is getting easier to find my Christmas spirit!  Last weekend, we started shopping for gifts, putting up our holiday decorations, unpacking our winter clothes and breaking out the Christmas music and DVDs.

While our favorites are Rudolph and Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (anybody remember that one?), we are excited to add “Barbie: A Perfect Christmas” DVD to our collection.  Because I have two daughters, we are no strangers to Barbie and all of her accessories, so my girls couldn’t wait to see her come to life in this Christmas movie.  About the DVD:

The all-new DVD, “Barbie: A Perfect Christmas” stars Barbie and her three sisters – Skipper, Stacy and Chelsea, whose holiday vacation turns into an unexpected adventure filled with new friends and magical experiences. In the end, the sisters learn a heartwarming lesson that the joy of being together is what really makes A Perfect Christmas! Released November 8th at all major retailers.”

We received the DVD today and my daughters could not wait one more second to watch the movie, so we decided to have a Wednesday night movie before bedtime.  The DVD has a runtime of 1 hour and 14 minutes, so I was a bit concerned that it wouldn’t hold the attention of my 3 year old.  I was wrong.  Very wrong. Both of my girls (ages 3 and 6) loved the storyline and the music.  Their favorite parts included the “raindogs” and the snowball fight between Barbie and her sisters!

As a Mom, I liked that the movie showed the importance of family at Christmas and downplayed the idea of receiving material items.  Barbie’s two youngest sisters remind me a LOT of my two daughters….they tease each other just like the movie.  I was glad to see scenes where the sisters learn to get along and love one another.

As a blogger, it was fun to watch because one of Barbie’s sisters, Skipper, is a blogger, too!  It was funny to see Barbie and Skipper talking about podcasts and websites.  That’s a far cry from the Barbie of my day!

Overall, both my daughters and I enjoyed the movie!  I would definitely recommend it as a gift or stocking stuffer this Christmas for girls who love Barbie and friends.  In fact, you can even purchase the Barbie and Sister dolls from the movie exclusively at Target ($49.99)!

GIVEAWAY

One reader will receive the “Barbie A Perfect Christmas” DVD (ARV $14.95)!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me your favorite Barbie memory!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on December 14th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of One2One Network. I was provided with the Barbie “A Perfect Christmas” DVD. All opinions are my own.

5 Tips For Cozy Winter Sleepwear

by guest writer, Cindy Prosser

There’s nothing better in the winter than climbing into a warm cozy bed and snuggling under the covers just before falling asleep. However, if you’re like most people who end up tossing and turning half the night, you could wind up in the cold after you’ve kicked off those covers if you’re not wearing the right type of sleepwear. Use these tips to find yourself the perfect type of sleepwear and you’ll find yourself well rested and ready to tackle your day, no matter what the weather.

Go Natural

That’s natural, not au naturele, so keep your clothes on! While you want to stay warm and cozy while you sleep, you don’t want to wear fibers that lock in heat — the night sweats that come with wearing polyester and nylon aren’t cool. Instead, go for sleepwear with natural fibers like cotton and silk to keep you from overheating. Other natural choices are pajamas made from organic cotton or even bamboo. Pajamas made from these fibers are excellent for anyone who’s trying to become more eco-conscious while staying cozy throughout the chilly nights.

Don’t Get Cold Feet

It’s hard to get comfortable when your feet are cold, just ask anyone who’s ever spent a day with cold, wet feet after stepping in a puddle of cold water. Instead of being uncomfortable, slip on a pair of snuggly socks. Some soft, fuzzy socks are made from wool, while others are microfiber that have been infused with shea butter to keep your feet moisturized while you sleep. These come in bright colors to add a bit of whimsy and fun to your PJs. After all, just because you’re going to sleep doesn’t mean your sleepwear should be yawn inducing.

Another fun option that will help your feet stay warm is footed pajamas. These one-piece jammies are an updated, grown up version of what little kids wear to bed and are sure to help you stay warm and cozy throughout the night. Just make sure to buy a pair that’s long enough — you want to able to stretch out and not have your feet feel restricted as you sleep.

Stay Warm With Flannel

Flannel is one of the most popular materials for sleepwear. Some women prefer long flannel nightgowns, but others worry that their legs will get cold if the nightgown migrates up or that they’ll get tangled up between the sheets.

If a long, plaid flannel nightgown is a little too ‘granny-ish’ for you, consider a two-piece pair of flannel pajamas. An easy fitting pair of flannel pants and a flannel button down will keep you warm and cozy, even if you kick off the covers in the middle of the night. If head to toe flannel leaves you running a little hot, replace the top with an easy fitting sleep T made out of 100% cotton.

Fit Is Important

Too tight? Too loose? Ah, just right. The right fit will keep you from being tangled up in your sleepwear (too big!) or constricted as you sleep (too tight!). Go for an easy fit that’s neither oversized nor skin tight to help you sleep restfully all night long.

 Cozy Can Be Sexy

Staying warm doesn’t mean that you can’t feel a little sexy during the night. However, instead of a short silk nighty, consider a spaghetti strapped flannel one that reaches to your knees. If you get a little chill as the night goes on, snuggle up to your significant other or add an extra blanket to your bed.

Another option for keeping warm while still remaining in style is to wear an oversized men’s flannel nightshirt or a plain white men’s dress shirt. Many men report that this is actually one of their favorite looks on their significant other and women love it because it allows them to stay cozy throughout the night. Consider buying one pair of men’s pajamas for the two of you to share and you’ll be both sexy and frugal.

Many people report that they prefer to sleep when it’s a little chilly, but that doesn’t mean you need to be uncomfortable. Find the perfect pair of pajamas and you’ll sleep like a baby night after night.

About the Author:

Cindy Prosser modeled underwear until the baby… now she’s a part time freelance writer and full time mom. And yes, that most certainly DOES qualify her to work in her nightgown! When baby’s asleep she keeps herself busy writing for Bare Necessities.

BeautyMint Skin Care by Jessica Simpson

As much as I hate to admit it, 40 is just a few short years away.  My Mom is blessed with amazing skin, and I am hoping I got those genes!  In the meantime, I want to do everything I can to take care of my skin and keep in healthy and beautiful. For a few months now, I have been looking for a skin care regiment but haven’t found anything I am particularly excited about.

Recently, I was asked to check out the personalized monthly skin care program, BeautyMint, so I couldn’t wait to test it out!  About the company:

BeautyMint is founded on the concept that every person is different with varying skin issues and goals, so no one product or system of products will work for all people. BeautyMint takes a distinctly personal approach with customized skin care systems that match specific problems with targeted solutions. Behind the unique brand is international superstar Jessica Simpson who has joined forces with renowned celebrity skin care expert Nerida Joy. Together, they have made BeautyMint’s personalized and luxuriously efficacious line accessible and affordable to all women.

Customized? Accessible?  Affordable?  I’m in!

Because I expressed interest in working on fine lines and wrinkles, I received four products (pictured above) for review.  They are:

1. ESSENTIAL CLEANSER WITH ALOE: Nothing is more important than properly cleansed skin when it comes to bringing out the best in all your skin care products. Our gentle fragrance-free, paraben-free cleanser lightly foams to wash away dirt, makeup and impurities, leaving skin feeling fresh and soft.

2.  ULTRA-REPLENISHING SERUM WITH MARINE COLLAGEN Over time, the body’s natural collagen supply depletes, sapping skin of its youthful firmness, smoothness, and glow. Many collagen products contain just 2-4% collagen. Our revolutionary serum is comprised of an incredible 50% marine collagen, targeting visible and future signs of aging from every angle.

3.  STRENGTHENING HYDRATOR WITH SPF 15 Well-hydrated skin means skin that’s strong, toned and radiant. The right type of protection helps keep it looking that way. Our quickly absorbing lotion, rich in moisturizing amino acids, works with BeautyMint’s patented technology to deliver an intense power- load of active ingredients applied to your skin.

4.  SCULPTING TREATMENT WITH PEPTIDES When it comes to fighting signs of aging like diminished firmness and tone, peptides are some of the most powerful ingredients in skin care. They support the body’s natural collagen and elastin production, helping keep skin well hydrated, nourished and fit. Our revolutionary serum boasts a combination of not just one, but four power-packed peptides.

I have been using the products for about two weeks so far and I am impressed.  None of the products have a strong fragrance and none leave my skin feeling greasy.  My favorite product is the cleanser which manages to effectively remove my makeup and leaves my skin feeling fresh (but not tight).  I also love the moisturizer not only because it has SPF to protect my skin, but also because it feels very light on my skin.

Want to learn more?  Check out the BeautyMint You Tube Channel for videos from Jessica Simpson and Nerida Joy! Ready to try it for yourself?  Take the FREE skin care consultation survey and use code MINT10 to get 10% off your first order!  Don’t forget to “like” BeautyMint on Facebook so you don’t miss any of the latest news and savings!

This post is the opinion of Experimental Mommy.  Others may have a differing opinion of the product.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Space Adventure {Giveaway}

There are so many cartoons on television now that we don’t approve of for your young children in my house.  The new movie from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is called Space Adventure and is perfect for the entire family.   Your favorite Disney characters, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald and Daisy set out on an adventure through the planets to find a hidden treasure.  

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Space Adventure is educational while still being fun to watch.   The characters meet up with several additional friends that help Mickey’s crew fine the treasure stars.  Our favorite thing about the movie was the songs, my son loves to sing and dance around the house and enjoyed dancing with his favorite characters. He also enjoyed counting as all of the treasurer stars started to appear.

The DVD includes a never before seen episode entitled “Goofy’s Thinking Cap,”  which will thrill all the little ones in your house.  The second DVD in the combo is a Digital Copy of the film which allows you to watch Mickey and friends anywhere on our computer or portable device.  Blast off with Mickey and friends for over 70 minutes of a space adventure. 

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Space Adventure DVD!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me Mickey Mouse Clubhouse character your child loves the most!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on December 14th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This post is the opinion of Beth of the Experimental Mommy.  Others may have a differing opinion of the product.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

 

Gift Idea for Mom: Cutey Charm Bracelet {Giveaway}

I was shopping with a friend this morning and she was all excited because she got a charm for her niece’s charm bracelet as a Christmas gift.  The reason she was excited is because she got it half off.  While impressed with the charm, I had sticker shock, even at the half off price!  These popular bracelets can break you!  I told my friend it was too bad she didn’t already know about Cutey!  Based in the UK and founded in 2011, Cutey provides a quality range of customizable jewelry. Their initial range is designed as an everyday accessory that can be used at any time.  The range is designed with the ability to be easily changed, allowing the jewelry to be changed based on mood, time or outfit.  Best of all, Cutey is affordable!

With a wide variety of charms, all at an affordable price, Cutey bracelets would make a perfect gift for anyone on your list, or as a treat to yourself.  I received a Moirae charm bracelet and I love it!  I can easily change out the charms to suit what I am wearing and it goes perfectly with a variety of things I wear on a regular basis.  It’s well-made and not so heavy that it weighs my wrist down.  Another favorite is the Aether bracelet.  I love the combination of colors on this one!

Right now, Cutey is offering 10% off orders until December 30, 2011!

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win one Cutey Charm Bracelet!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which bracelet you love the most!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @CuteyJewellery on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog and Cutey on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on December 12th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This post is the opinion of Jennifer of the Experimental Mommy.  Others may have a differing opinion of the product.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Techy Gift Ideas: Microsoft Touch Mouse for Windows 7

As my kids get older, their Christmas wish list gets longer and more expensive!  One of my daughters is enrolled in the first grade and I am continually amazed by her proficiency on the computer.  I know before too long, it will be time to get her own personal PC.

Are you shopping for a PC this year?  As a Microsoft Champion, I am privvy to some of the newest technology, announcements, experts and sales.  The best part?  I get to share it all with you!

If you are not willing to hit the stores during this crazy shopping week, check out the Microsoft store online for some amazing deals.  One of the biggest values is the Samsung RC512; normally priced $799 on sale for $499. Microsoft Stores on Facebook will also announce flash PC deals on Cyber Monday, too!

If it’s a student that’s on your shopping list, check out the Sony VAIO SA.  At only 3.6 pounds and a thin one inch profile, this laptop is ideal for hauling around campus.  And with the 7 hours of standard battery life, this computer will get your scholar through the most demanding study session.  Did I mention there is a built in HD webcam, too?  Perfect for those homesick days and getting a virtual hug from Mom!

If you are already sporting a PC equipped with Windows 7, you have got to look into Arc Touch Mouse.  I recently received one as part of the Windows Champion program and I am having a blast learning all of it’s features.  The mouse is wireless and has nice shape and weight to it making it super easy to control.  You can power on/off through BlueTrack technology as well.  By learning key finger strokes on the mouse, you can control your desktop in a variety of ways.  Minimize your windows by using a three finger sweeping motion down or use just your thumb to return to your previous webpage.  Once I get the hang of the motions, I think this mouse will make Windows 7 even more functional.  The Microsoft Touch Mouse can be purchased for $79.95.

What’s on your techy wish list?

As a member of the Windows Champion program, I received the Touch Mouse free of charge.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Gorgeous Christmas Mantel Ideas

I am hosting Christmas dinner at my home this year for my family of more than 20 people. Last year was my first attempt at playing hostess, but it was rather last minute and left me little time to worry about perfecting the experience. For some reason, I have been channeling my inner Martha Stewart and have already spent countless hours searching for the perfect menu, decorations and table settings. In my searching, I found some real gems and decided to share them with you. Today, I give you holiday mantel ideas that will knock your socks off!

1. Light up your mantel with lanterns.

2. I love the idea of a gated mantel!  Gives it a rustic feel, I think.

3. Using wooden accents makes the mantel feel cozy.

4.  Get your message across with a chalkboard? Using the chalkboard to count down the days till Christmas would be so fun!

5.  A winter wonderland mantel might be the only way we see snow here in the NOLA!

6.  I love the elegance of the shabby chic candle holders.

What do you think?  Do you have a mantel “theme”?

Make sure you follow me on Pinterest and check out the other holiday ideas I am pinning!

Rudi’s Organic Bakery: Review and Giveaway

My children prefer to bring their lunches to school on a daily basis.  The only downfall (besides the fact that this means I pack 360 lunches in a school year) is that they get sandwich burn-out.  I am always looking for ways to vary it up so that they don’t get bored.  One great way to add some variety, nutrition, and taste to your sandwiches is Rudi’s Organic Bakery! Never heard of Rudi’s before?  They’ve got 30 years of experience!  From the website:  “Over 30 years ago, the founders of Rudi’s Organic couldn’t find a bread that was good enough to make their families happy. They had a healthy, holistic & optimistic approach to life and believed that eating healthy went along with being happy. They wanted food, and specifically bread, that fit this belief.”

Not only does Rudi’s sell organic breads, rolls, and buns, they also have a gluten-free line for individuals who need gluten-free foods as part of their healthy diet.  Recently, they were also recognized as one of the top foods for vegetarians.  Why buy Rudi’s organic?  Rudi’s breads are free from potentially harmful synthetic ingredients, chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Rudi’s  products are USDA Certified Organic, which tells you that at least 95% of their ingredients are organic. This is good for you, your family and the environment.

Em is loving her ham on Rudi's toasted Sourdough bread!

Rudi’s sent my family a loaf of Harvest Seeded Bread and Rocky Mountain Sourdough.   My kids both loved the Harvest Seeded Bread, which is baked with pumpkin and sunflower seeds with organic whole wheat flour, oat bran and cornmeal for an incredible texture and taste.  The Sourdough is delicious too, and it’s easy to see (or taste) why it’s one of Rudi’s most popular breads.   We thoroughly enjoyed both during a recent Saturday lunch!  The kids asked if I could send “that good bread” in their lunchboxes on Monday!

What I liked the most about both varieties is that the list of ingredients was easy to read and pronounce!  Check out Rudi’s Website for a store near you where you can be tempted by their delicious variety of breads.

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive two coupons for a free loaf of

Rudi’s bread and 2 sandwich boxes!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which variety of Rudi’s breads that you are most excited to try!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @RudisOrganic on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog and Rudi’s Organic on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on December 12th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

Ease New Parent Worries with Walmart Baby Steps

BabySteps My husband and I were married for 4 years before we decided to try to expand our family.  After about 6 months, we were overjoyed to learn we were expecting our first child.  Even though our baby was planned, we were undeniably scared to become parents.  Neither one of us had ever really been around kids and had never done any extensive babysitting.  How would we know what to do with our new baby?  How often did we feed her?  How do we change a diaper?  What do we do if she gets sick?

In order to calm my fears, I immediately stuck my nose in a book and started reading every shred of advice I could get my hands on.  A few of those tidbits proved invaluable and gave me (an albeit false) sense of security and confidence.  Thankfully, I had a wonderful Mom and Pediatrician that helped ease me into Motherhood.

For those of you just making your way on the journey of Parenthood, now you can find some great videos at Walmart’s Baby Steps!  Baby Steps covers it all from tips on how to change a squirmy baby, to how best to introduce solid foods. Find the answers you need in the form of quick and entertaining videos. Some topics include:

Changing Solutions:

• Baby Potty Basics
• When to Call the Doc
• Changing a Diaper
• Diaper Challenges
• Diaper Essentials
• Potty Training

Feeding Solutions:

• Good Nutrition
• Formula Feeding
• Bottle Basics
• Solid Food

Not only can you find invaluable info at Baby Steps, but you can find all of the products to satisfy your baby’s needs at Walmart.com!  While parenthood can indeed be scary, it is by far the best experience of my life….dive in with both feet and don’t look back!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Walmart.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Black Friday Deals {Free Shipping and Coupon Codes}

With the onset of the holiday season, I have been getting tons of emails with the best Black Friday deals. So, I thought I would compile them and share with you!

1. Looking for a computer this holiday? Check out the Microsoft Black Friday deals!

2. Get 40% off Sony Internet TVs!

3.  Get free shipping on orders over $49 using code HOLIDAY at Kmart.com!

4.  Get 15% off on orders over $85 at One Step Ahead with code 15RMN.

5.  Get Free Shipping at Baby Banz using code THANKS.

6.  Get Free Shipping plus 40% off at American Eagle.

7.  Save with this Bloomingdale’s promo code.

8.  Kohls Coupon Code

9.  Crate and Barrel Coupon Code

10.  Enjoy free shipping from Lands’ End plus 30% off your entire order.

And some of my favorite Amazon.com deals: