Tsue ~ That's What She Said: July 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Style Him Up ~ Men's Jeans from Express ~ Express Giveaway

This post brought to you by Express. All opinions are 100% mine.
Do the men in your life need an infusion of style in their wardrobes?

Men's Jeans: Browse the Hottest Designer Men's Jeans from Express
I know mine does!
If you are in the same boat, you're in luck!  Express currently has a sale on their latest men's jeans offerings ~ Buy 1 Get 1 50% off!
You can save even more (15%) if you sign up for email notifications to get hot off the press announcements about the newest arrivals, as well as special offers and promotions!
Beyond great savings, you can shoot for FREE! You can find the latest promotions, contests and giveaways via Express on Facebook and by following Express on Twitter where new sweepstakes are tweeted out each Friday!
Express jeans are hot, hip and now, with the latest washes and cuts.  Perfect for styling up your guy.
My husband would look fantastic in either the Kingston or Blake Boot Cut styles or the easy look of the Kingston Straight Leg jean.  For the younger jean connoisseur, the sleek style of the Rocco or Zack Straight Leg Jeans would be great wardrobe staples.

Men's Jeans: Browse the Hottest Designer Men's Jeans from Express
For a limited time, you can enter to win a fab pair of Express Jeans!  Express is giving away 50 free pairs, allowing fans a chance to "Rock The Sidewalk" for free!
Don't miss out on the Express giveaway Advertisement.
If you won, which Express Jeans would you pick to style up your man?
Tell me in a comment below!

Saving On Cell Phone Service ~ Top Ten Reasons to Switch to Net 10

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Net10 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I just received my monthly cell bill via email.

I don't even need to open it.
I know how much it is...too much!

Unlike some of my other monthly bills, which occasionally fluctuate and pleasantly surprise me, my cell bill is consistently ridiculous.

While I tend to be one of those gals that drags my feet about switching services,
with college expenses for one child looming on the horizon,
and another child giving me the "puppy plead" for his own cell phone,
there is no better time to look at my options for saving on my cell phone service!

I recently saw this commercial from Net 10 and I have to admit that I am intrigued!


I love all the options and flexibility offered by Net 10!

They offer a wide variety of phones, from top manufacturers like LG, Motorola, Kyocera, Nokia and Samsung.

I can choose touch screen phones with all the bells and whistles for my daughter and myself, with the Net 10 Unlimited Plan, which includes nationwide calling, talk, text and data for only $50 a month!  The Net 10 Unlimited Plan will ensure I can stay in touch with her while she's traveling the country for lacrosse tournaments but won't break my budget with all the texting and minutes we girls rack up!

The boys can pick simpler, sturdy phones with plans more suited for their less intensive use, like the Easy Minute Plan that offers 200 minutes for only $15 a month!  If either of them turn into texting terrors, I can easily switch plans without penalties or fees!
see the Light
With our hectic schedules, last minutes changes and Mom and Dad's nonstop taxi service for all the kid's activities, it's nice to know we can save on our monthly cell service, but still have the No Contract flexibility to make adjustments as our budget demands.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Every Man Sees You Naked ~ A Study of the Way Men Think ~ Book Review & Giveaway

Men.
Hmph.

They don't listen.
They rarely make any sense.
They simply don't understand us.

Or, rather, as author David M. Matthews suggests, it's we that don't understand them.

Matthews, perhaps best known for his Emmy award winning work on The Young and Restless,  as well as screen writing for both The Nanny and Half & Half, has an easy written voice and straight forward wit that leads readers from front to back cover, chuckling all the way.  Now venturing into the wonderful world of relationship coaching, with the noble goal of improving relationships between men and women, Matthews offers a frank, if not somewhat disconcerting, look inside the male psyche.

David M. Matthews leads you on an amusing yet highly informative journey through the seamy underbelly of the male mind.  Shameless in its honesty and lacking any pretext of political correctness, Every Man Sees You Naked explodes the myths about men and women and answers the questions you've been dying to ask...but didn't quite know how.

From introduction to conclusion, Matthews doesn't hold back.  Straight forward in his mission, Matthews' conversational read illuminates, with great clarity, the differences in the way men and women approach a variety of topics and situations, driving the points home with comedic examples.

From the Test Your Man- Q Chapter:

You ask your husband where he wants to go out to dinner tonight and he responds, "I don't care."  What he really means is  
          a.  He's annoyed that after a hard day at work he has to go back out again.
          b. Any restaurant will be fine.  
          c. He has a specific cuisine in mind, but doesn't want to seem pushy.  
          d.  He wants Chinese or Mexican, and knows you prefer Italian, but hopes that if he
          doesn't specify a particular choice you might suggest one of his preferences and he 
          can magnanimously go along with it and earn brownie points for being so agreeable.

 After reading the previous chapters, you'll have no doubt what your husband is really thinking!

Overall, I found Every Man Sees You Naked to be amusing but pointed, covering numerous bases and quite thought provoking.  I do want to issue a disclaimer that Chapter Six, What Men Like In Bed, in particular is very specific.  If you are modest about such topics, you may want to skip that one.

I would love to see Matthews publish a book, scaled down a bit in sophistication, for younger women and teens.  Remember all the angst?  (Of course, the anticipation was usually ten times more fun than the realities!)

At 126 pages, Every Man Sees You Naked will be a quick read for most, but one you'll pass around to all your girlfriends.

Buy Your Own Copy 
On Amazon



***GIVEAWAY***
David M. Matthews is generously offering my readers a chance to win an autographed paperback copy of his book, Every Man Sees You Naked.  To be eligible to enter this giveaway, you must follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect, left sidebar.  This giveaway is open to residents of US & Canada, 18+ and will end on Saturday, August 27, 2011 at midnight, EST.  Winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries and notified by email.  Winner will have 72 hours to respond before I must move on to a runner up.
Please leave your email address in your first entry comment, in anti spam format, so I may contact you if you are the winner.  If your email address is accessible via your comment name, this is not necessary.

***MANDATORY ENTRY***
You must follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect to be eligible to enter this giveaway.
For Mandatory Entry:
Are you perplexed about the opposite sex?  What is one question you'd love to ask relationship counselor, David M. Matthews?  Leave your question in a comment.  Alternatively, you can leave a comment telling me about a time you and your significant other just couldn't quite seem to communicate and understand each other.

***BONUS ENTRIES***
IF YOU ALREADY LIKE, FOLLOW, ETC, PLEASE TAKE THE ENTRIES.
* Like Every Man Sees You Naked &/or That's What She Said on Facebook.  Leave a comment with your Facebook name.  1 entry for each.

* Follow DavidMMatthews &/or That's What She Said (tsue1136) on Twitter.  Leave a comment with your Twitter name.  1 entry for each.

* Tweet about this giveaway.  Tweet must include a direct link back here.  Leave a comment with a link to your tweet.  Limit of 3 tweets per day.  1 entry per tweet.
Please use:
I'm entered to #win the book Every Man Sees You Naked on That's What She Said @DavidMMatthews @tsue1136 #giveaway #book http://bit.ly/nugSn2

* Share this giveaway in some other manner.  Anything goes as long as it includes a direct link back here.  Leave a link to your sharing in your comment.  No limit on sharing.  5 entries per sharing.
Handy share button at bottom of post.

* Enter any of my other active giveaways and leave a comment letting me know which.  2 entries per additional giveaway.

* Subscribe to That's What She Said via email or RSS subscription (left sidebar) or at Stumble Upon.
Leave a comment with your applicable name.  1 entry for each method.

* Put my button (left sidebar) on your blog or site and leave a link in your comment so I can find it.  2 entries.

This giveaway is closed. 
Congratulations to:  Kittenish, comment #65, courtesy of Random.org!

On behalf of David M Matthews and That's What She Said, thank you to all entrants for following and participating!

I was provided with a copy of Every Man Sees You Naked to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  Images and information taken from various David M. Matthews sites.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Facebook is not responsible for nor involved in this giveaway in any fashion.

Pampering in the Bath ~ Dr. Teal's Soothing Solution Bath Products ~ Review & Giveaway

When is the last time you treated yourself to a long, luxurious and soothing bath?

Put your hand down if the source of your bubbles were from a spiderman or barbie bottle...

That's what I thought!





I have recently had the wonderfully, relaxing pleasure of exploring Dr. Teal's Foaming Bath and I'm pleased to  not only introduce but recommend this line to you!

Dr. Teal's offers a full range of soothing bath products specially designed to calm your body and relax your mind, utilizing the tranquilizing strength of epsom salt and infused with aromatherapy science.

The latest offering from Dr. Teal's is their collection of foaming bath products.  Available in four specialized formulas, you can select the perfect product to soak away the stresses and aches of your day.

Choose from

  • Soothe & Sleep ~ infused with lavender
  • Relax & Relief ~ enhanced with eucalyptus and spearmint
  • Comfort & Calm ~ created with chamomile
  • Sensual & Indulgent ~ tempting with amber and vanilla

Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath will melt away sore, uncomfortable muscles and provide a soothing oasis for you to rest, allowing you to replenish your body and stay on track to reach your fitness goals. 

Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath transforms an ordinary bath into a relaxing spa experience by combining the unique, therapeutic benefits of Epsom Salt with luxurious essential oils to relax achy muscles, soothe the senses and provide relief from stress. Soaking in Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath will help to naturally increases the body’s magnesium levels and reduce swelling because of its ability to draw out fluids. 

I was given an opportunity to test the Relax & Relief formula and both my teen diva and I are hooked!

With all of my daughter's sports training, she is often strained and sore.
Her feedback:  It actually worked!  My muscles aren't aching and I feel so relaxed! 

I've tried the Dr. Teal's Foaming Bath after a hard work day and found the experience so relaxing, but it was hard to say, since I don't treat myself to an after work soak as often as I should, how much benefit was attributable to Dr. Teal's.

Fortunately, a perfect opportunity presented itself today.
I fell asleep in our family room, snuggling with my furry son on the couch, while watching a movie.  Of course, the furry one is a couch hog and I woke up, half -on/half-off the couch, with an aching back.  Not just a mild ache, but the kind that puts you out of commission, doing the grandma shuffle.

After trying ice, heat, Aleve and husband massage with no relief, I shuffled up to the bath to give Dr. Teal's Foaming Bath a try.

Twenty minutes later, I feel fantastic!  Not even a residual ache!
I'm confident that the epsom salt in Dr. Teal's is to credit,  with the eucalyptus and spearmint leaving my skin soft and my mood refreshed.
Dr. Teal's offers a full line of pampering products to soothe and relief what is ailing you!

  • Foaming Bath Products
  • Epsom Salt Soaking Solution
  • Oatmeal Bath Soaking Solution
  • Epsom Salt Foot Soak
  • Epsom Salt Therapeutic Solution
Best of all, these wonderfully scentful items are budget-friendly and widely available.  The generous 34oz bottles of Dr. Teal's Foaming Bath retail for only $5.99!  Every woman can squeeze this pampering treatment into her budget!


***GIVEAWAY***
Dr. Teal's is generously offering my readers a chance to win a 34oz bottle of Dr. Teal's Foaming Bath!  Three readers will win!  You must follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect, left sidebar, to be eligible to enter this giveaway.

This giveaway is open to residents of the US, 18+ and will end on Saturday, August 20, at midnight, EST.  The winners will be randomly selected from all eligible entries and notified by email.  Winners will have 72 hours to respond before I must move on to runner ups.  Please leave your email address, in anti spam format, in your first entry comment, so I may contact you if you are the winner.  If you email address is available via your comment name, this is not necessary.

***MANDATORY ENTRY***
To be eligible to enter this giveaway, you must follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect, left sidebar.

For Mandatory Entry, please visit the Dr. Teal's website and
tell me in a comment which product you'd love to try and why
or
explore the information on the Dr. Teal's aromatherapy page and tell me which formula/scent is most appealing to you and why.

***BONUS ENTRIES***
IF YOU ARE ALREADY LIKING, FOLLOWING, ETC, PLEASE TAKE THE ENTRIES!

* Like Dr. Teal's &/or That's What She Said on Facebook, leave comment here with your Facebook name, 1 entry for each.

* Follow Dr. Teal's &/or That's What She Said (tsue1136) on Twitter, leave comment here with your Twitter name, 1 entry for each.

* Tweet about this giveaway.  Leave comment here with a link to your tweet.  Limit of 3 tweets per day.
1 entry per tweet.
Please use:
I'm entered to #win @DrTeals Epsom Foaming Bath from That's What She Said! @tsue1136 #beauty #giveaway #bath http://bit.ly/oyQuM5

* Share this giveaway in some other fashion!  Anything goes - Alexa, Stumble, Digg, Blog it, Giveaway linky. Just be sure to include a direct link here in your sharing.  5 entries for each sharing method.  Leave a comment here with a link to your sharing so I can find it.

* Enter any of my other active giveaways and leave a comment letting me know which.  2 entries for each additional giveaway.

* Subscribe to That's What She Said via email or RSS feed, left sidebar or follow me on Stumble!  Leave applicable name in your comment.  1 entry for each.

* Put my button on your blog (left sidebar) and leave a link in your comment so I can find it.  2 entries.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.  THE WINNER HAS BEEN EMAILED AND WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON.

On behalf of Dr. Teal's and That's What She Said, thank you to all entrants for following and participating!

I was provided with Dr. Teal's Foaming Bath to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images and information taken from various Dr. Teal's sites.  Bath Image.  Facebook is not responsible for nor involved in this giveaway in any fashion.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Celebrating the Woman Inside ~ Pampering Collection




Even with back to school shopping and preparation looming, its so important to not forget to take time out for you!






Whether you relax with a luxurious bath,



giving yourself a revitalizing facial,




an afternoon floating at the pool or basking at the beach,



or a few quiet evening moments, enjoying the warm night air.





Treating yourself require a huge time commitment or even a big dent in your budget, but the rewards are priceless, for both you and your family.







With that in mind, we will be offering a wonderful collection of budget-friendly options for pampering, to celebrate the woman inside, as well as opportunities to win some terrific products for you to personally test!

Keep an eye out for new features to publish in the coming days and be certain to check the That's What She Said Giveaways link for fun chances to win!

Spa Image.  Beach & Sunset Images.  

Watching People Cook On TV



Guest post written by David Foster

I was so surprised when I went to college and I was the only roommate that couldn't cook. The only thing I had mastered in the kitchen was frozen chicken strips and microwave popcorn. Since then I've thought about all of the things that I should be learning how to cook. I'm slowly but surely learning how to feed myself with something that isn't from a fast food bag.

I've taken to watching a whole lot of TV shows with people cooking on them because of it, trying to pick up some tips and inspiration. I was online about a week ago trying to find a recipe for something that I saw them cook on Master Chef when I ran across the websitewirelessinternet.net. I showed it to my roommate and we decided to change over our home internet service to it.

Sometiems I worry that instead of watching people cook on TV, I should probably just go and cook myself in the kitchen. But I am picking up a lot of cooking tips that way.

Thank you to Wireless Internet for sponsoring this guest post.  Vegetable Image.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dressing our Outdoor Oasis ~ Eco-friendly, Recycled Furniture


With our in ground pool, my husband and I spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, on life guard/kid control duty.  One thing is certain ~ with the combination of teenagers and a pool, you can never have enough seating.

Polywood Rockford 72" Bench


In particular, I've been looking at Park Benches as we have the perfect spot at the back of the pool area, under some flowering trees, which would make a nice spot to relax out of the sun.







I discovered a wide selection of eco-friendly options at Terra Bound Solutions.  The Polywood Rockford bench, made from High Density Polyethylene is a piece I can leave out for the season without worry of wear because it contains UV-inhibited pigment systems.  I love that it's constructed of 90% recycled materials and that I can choose from six finishes.

While I wouldn't likely put cushions on this bench, due to the placement I'm considering, I appreciate that several Polywood bench models offer cushions, with several fabrics to choose from.

Siesta Adirondack Chair




I also found Adirondack Chairs, constructed of recycled plastic at Terra Bound Solutions.  Mold and mildew resistant, these poly chairs stand up to the weather and would be perfect for lounging closer to the pool.    The choices of colors is outstanding and I can match my existing pieces while adding additional eco-friendly seating!

Siesta Chair Color Choices









Recycled plastic, or HDPE lumber is made with over 90% recycled plastic material (like milk jugs, and other similiar plastic waste).HDPE lumber or recycled plastic lumber that is used is as strong if not stronger than the best hardwoods. It also outperforms wood in many ways. Your pieces will never rot, mold, or splinter. It will not attract mildew like wood. It stands up to the harshest of weather conditions. These types of plastic picnic tables will never need to be refinished, varnished, or painted because the color is embedded in the actual plastic, throughout. It is also easily cleaned with mild soap and water. Graffiti is easily removed. And last but not least, you are supporting American made quality manufacturing as all of our recycled plastic outdoor furnishings are made in the USA.

Terra Bound Solutions has a fantastic selection of recycled plastic outdoor furniture, with additional offerings in their Picnic Table and Playground Equipment Collections.  Certainly worth exploring for your outdoor oasis needs!

 Images and information sourced from Terra Bound Solutions site.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Five Tips for Home Buying ~ advice from experience

Five Tips for Home Buying

Another glorious vacation from the day job!  A stay-cation this time, working on some outdoor projects while the weather isn't 100+ degrees!

It's hard to believe we've been here three years already, but, at the same time, it feels as if we've been home forever.

Oh, those much anticipated house hunting days,
full of excitement and more stress than I could have imagined possible.  Despite initially thinking that our pre-hunt research prepared us for the home buying experience, we would have been lost without our agent!

The home market today offers an overwhelming amount of choices, not only a plethora of homes and styles to chose from, but financial options as well.  There is simply so much to consider!  Whether you are looking to buy your first home in Boston, upgrade or relocate to Dallas, considering a foreclosure in Boise or a short sale in Las Vegas, you'll want to ensure that you follow:

Five Tips for Home Buying

1)  Take a really close look at your household budget before shopping!  Create a list of all of your household expenses.  Spend some time considering the non-bill expenses that occur regularly and irregularly.  Take a peak at your bank statements from the last few months, taking note of meals out, vacations, birthdays, holiday shopping, seasonal clothes purchases.  Consider any possible employment changes or large purchases in your future.  Will you be replacing a vehicle in the future and how will that impact the flexible portion of your income.  Are you saving monthly?

Once you have a full picture of your income and where it goes, you'll be in a much better position to speak with your lender about what amount of mortgage you'll be comfortable with.

2)  Ensure you have money set aside for down payment and all the add on expenses.  Even if you work out a special deal with a buyer to pay all or some of your closing costs, you'll still have big expenses when it comes time to commit to your new home, many of which may come as an unpleasant surprise if you're not prepared.  From earnest money to submit along with your bid (at least $1000) to home inspection fees ($500 and up, depending on the depth of inspection you desire) a full year of home insurance, as well as appraisal fees, you need to have money set aside strictly for these purposes.  Even FHA mortgages for first time home buyer's require a 3% downpayment, which you may or may not be able to get assistance from seller on.  As with any financed purchase, the more you can pay down the principal, the less you will pay in the long run for your new home!

3)  Clean up your credit.  Even with today's low interest rates, you want to put your best financial foot forward when applying for a mortgage.  Check your credit reports for errors.  If you find any errors, be aggressive in contacting the companies and credit bureaus to get them removed.  Pay down all debt and credit cards.  Ensure you are paying your bills on time.

4)  Make a list of must-haves for your new home, but be prepared to compromise.  Consider neighborhoods, not only for the atmosphere and schools, but also for long term value outlook.  Up and coming or under revitalization may be a better long term choice than a bargain in an older neighborhood with excessive properties for sale.  Once you've created your list, run back through it thoughtfully, separating the "dream" points from two or three truly "must have" points.  Take a look online at what is available in your target areas to see the reality of what is available in your price range, with your top few "must haves".

5)  Find a reputable lender and buyer's agent that you are comfortable with.  This is too big of a commitment to go it alone.  Don't be afraid to interview a few before you decide who you'll work with.  Look at their track record, and, most importantly, your comfort level with them.  You need professionals who are available and will take the time to ensure you not only understand all the steps in buying your new home but further aren't rushed into this important decision.

My family was fortunate, in the end of our house hunt, although, in the beginning, we never thought we'd find "the one".  After "falling" for houses from online listings, only to discover they weren't right in person, to finding several that were "okay", we finally found our dream home.   My husband and I were growing weary of the hunt and had decided to view just a few more before taking a break for a few weeks when we found it.  A neglected foreclosure in a wonderful neighborhood, only blocks from our children's schools, with a large fenced yard  for my furry son, an in ground pool with mature landscaping creating a private, suburban oasis, fireplace, large master and finished rec room for the kids to entertain.  Of course, all the money we saved on the bargain price is being reinvested in renovations (refer to prior posts about the wonderful world of brass) but it's home.

As a participant in the Bucks2Blog campaign, I have been compensated in exchange for creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Swatch Image.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fotobounce ~ Securely Organizing Your Photos with Face Recognition ~ Review



As a Mom and a blogger, I work with a large number of pictures online.  Keeping them organized can be a bit of a chore.



In particular, I'm very cautious about pictures of my children. I don't use them publicly, except on rare occasions, and I want to ensure that they are stored in a way that keeps them as they should be ~ private.





Upon receiving an invitation to explore Fotobounce, I  was both intrigued and excited to see how I could apply it to my particular situation!



First of all, while I do share personal photos with family and friends, not everyone gets access to the whole enchilada.    Fotobounce rates highly in this area as they offer the Fotobounce Private Network feature, allowing me to create groups and designate which photos are shared with which users.  I can send invitations to family and friends to view and share our collections.  Read the Fotobounce Sharing Tips for some sage sharing advice!



Another feature of Fotobounce that I appreciate is the Fotobounce Viewer!  With all the activities and sporting events my family participates in, I love that I can access my collections via mobile devices or utilize the Fotobounce Mobile option, which can be viewed from any web server.  To add to the diversity of the Fotobounce system, it is the only system to allow both individual pictures and full albums to be added to a tweet via Twitter!  My teen loves that!

Adding pictures to my Fotobounce account is very flexible.  I can email pictures to my Fotobounce account, as well as allow friends and family to do the same.  At home, I can organize the new arrivals into whichever albums they belong or create new ones.

Without a doubt, one of my favorite Fotobounce features is the handy time-saving benefit of their Face Recognition and built in Tagging system!  Love it!  Once you've originally tagged faces, Fotobounces recognizes your stored faces and auto tags new incoming pictures.  Not only that, but when pictures are shared or uploaded by members of your private network, the tagging remains.  No more re-tagging for Grandma!

The Fotobounce system is well integrated and very user-friendly.   Read a more detailed outline for users here.

Get Fotobounce
You can upload Fotobounce and start organizing and securely storing your online picture collections, choosing from two options, for either Windows or MAC users:

Free version (with ads)     Licensed version (no ads) $49

Don't forget to add the free Fotobounce Viewer, which can be installed for either Android or Windows.



Thank you to Fotobounce for sponsoring this introduction.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images and information sourced from various Fotobounce sites.

A Serving of Delicious Watermelon Lemonade

Guest post written by Candace Hankins

While I was on vacation with my family, we found some random little locally owned cafe that looked so cute that we sat down and ate there. It ended up being one of the absolute best restaurants that I think that I've ever eaten at, I have to say.

It was just that there were so many little unexpected things there to eat and it was a huge taste experience! But my favorite was some watermelon lemonade that I had to drink there. It was even more amazing than you could imagine!

So I had to try and recreate the recipe at home. I looked online for a while to find a recipe that sounded as close to the one that I had. During my search, I ran across the website CLEARWIREINTERNET.com and after that I decided to sign up for one of the internet packages on there for our home service.

Now, I wouldn't say that my version of the watermelon lemonade was as good as what I had on vacation, but I think that it ended up being almost as good.

Thank you to Clear Wire Internet for sponsored this guest post.   Watermelon Image.

Stretching Your Shopping Budget ~ Plastic Jungle Review & Giveaway

Whether you are starting your back to school shopping, working on home improvement projects or just treating yourself to shopping, finding ways to stretch your shopping budget are always welcome!

I've recently been introduced to a great way to do just that...
Plastic Jungle ~ a site where you can buy, sell and exchange gift cards!

While my initial reaction to sites such as these is a bit leery, I was pleased to discover that Plastic Jungle is a Better Business Bureau accredited business.  Further, your privacy and security is ensured on their site by Trust e and GeoTrust, two names that as an avid online shopper, I am well familiar with.


How can you stretch your shopping budget with Plastic Jungle?
Whether you have gift cards you really don't want or need to use or if you are planning a shopping trip, you can save! 

We are all guilty of the quick gift fix of gift cards!  Even me!

I love hunting for unique gifts online for the multitude of occasions that I need gifts for.  Even so, there are times when my schedule simply doesn't allow me the time to wait for shipping or, forbid, I actually forget!
Invariably, you have also received well-meaning gift cards for stores that you really don't need or plan to shop at any time in the near future.

What happens to them?  Forgotten in a thoughtful card, buried in the bottom of your purse...I even found one in my dog's cave, under his bed! (I'll be checking in there more often, the little scavenger!)

Don't forget them! Use them!  At Plastic Jungle you can turn many of your mainstream store gift cards into instant (yes, instant) shopping "cash" in your Paypal account.  For retailer cards not on the "instant" list, you can choose to:
  • donate your value to charity
  • receive an e-code Amazon certificate one day after the receipt of your gift card
  • receive a check which is mailed to you within two days after the receipt of your gift card
Does it really work?
Before sharing this site with you, I thought I would put the "instant" offer from Plastic Jungle to the test.  With a card I found at the bottom of my purse, I instantly converted it to "cash" in my Paypal account.   As is very clearly stated on the site, while you won't get full face value for the gift card you sell, you will get up to 92% of the value, varying by retailer.  All the same, money in my Paypal account for shopping I want to do is better than a forgotten card at the bottom of my purse!

Multiply your savings by purchasing discounted gift cards!
Are you planning a shopping trip?  Have a big purchase to make?  Just as you check for sales, coupons and special discounts before hand, you'll want to look for a discounted gift card from Plastic Jungle before you shop!  Plastic Jungle offers gift cards for sale at up to 35% savings, varying by retailer.  If you know you'll be spending a certain amount at a particular store, whether on one or multiple shopping trips, you can save big by combining your gift card discount with in store specials, ads and coupons!

Some of the current, great discounts:
  • Victoria's Secret ~ save 9%
  • Lands' End ~ save 9%
  • American Eagle Outfitters ~ save 12%
  • Aeropostale ~ save 14%
  • Kohl's  ~ save 15%
Looking for a really hot deal?  Sign up for email notifications, by retailer, by discount! 


Plastic Jungle:

  • All Transactions Guaranteed! 
  • Always Free Shipping
  • No Fees!
  • No Expiration Dates!


***GIVEAWAY***
Plastic Jungle is generously offering my readers a chance to stretch their shopping budget!  One lucky reader will win a $25 gift card to their choice of retailers (chose from Target, Walmart, Sears, Home Depot or Lowe's)!

You must publicly follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar) to be eligible to enter this giveaway.  This giveaway is open to residents of the US, 18+ and will end on Saturday, August 6, 2011 at midnight, EST.  The winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries.  The winner will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond before I must move on to a runner up.  Please leave you email address, in anti spam format, in your first entry comment, so I can contact you if you are the winner.

***MANDATORY ENTRY***
You must publicly follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar) to be eligible to enter this giveaway.  For mandatory entry, please visit the Plastic Jungle website and come back and tell me in a comment here which retailers are your top three shopping destinations and how much you would save by buying gift cards from Plastic Jungle.

***BONUS ENTRIES***
IF YOU ARE ALREADY LIKING, FOLLOWING, ETC, PLEASE TAKE THE ENTRIES!

* Like Plastic Jungle &/or That's What She Said on Facebook.  Leave a comment here with your Facebook name.  1 entry for each.

* Follow Plastic Jungle &/or That's What She Said (tsue1136) on Twitter.  Leave a comment here with your Twitter name.  1 entry for each.

* Tweet about this giveaway with a direct link back here.  Leave a link to your tweet in your comment.  Limit of three tweets per day.
Please use:
I'm entered to #win my choice of $25 gift cards from @PlasticJungle & That's What She Said! #win #cash #giveaway  http://bit.ly/qpFAFE 

* Share this giveaway in some other way ~ anything goes!  Must include a direct link back here.
Blog it, post on Facebook, review this blog on Alexa, Stumble It, Buzz It, Post to giveaway linky.  No limit to sharing!!  Leave a link to your sharing in your comment.  5 entries per each sharing!

* Enter any of my other active giveaways and leave a comment letting me know which.  2 entries per additional giveaway.

* Subscribe to Plastic Jungle Blog via RSS feed &/or That's What She Said via email or RSS feed (left sidebar).  Leave a comment with your applicable name.  1 entry for each.

* Put my button on your blog or site (left sidebar) and leave a link to where I can find it in a comment.  3 entries.

* Tell me in a comment what you are dying to shop for,  what shopping your have planned in the future, or a purchase you are plotting to save BIG on!  2 entries.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.
CONGRATULATIONS TO:
Gayle, comment # 209, courtesy of Random.org!

On behalf of Plastic Jungle and That's What She Said, thank you to all entrants for participating and following!


I have received a gift card from Plastic Jungle for the purposes of exploring to create this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images and information sourced from various Plastic Jungle sites.  Dog Image.  Facebook is not responsible for nor involved in this giveaway in any fashion.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Natural Vitality Kids ~ Better Health For Our Children ~ Review & Giveaway

My family has challenged ourselves to not only make our household greener,  our shopping habits more eco-friendly, but to become healthier.

Although my children are quite active in a variety of sports, with our crazy schedules, its often a challenge ensuring they only get healthy meals and snacks.

It's so tempting, on those days when our schedule is measured in precious minutes, to grab a quick meal to go or resort to a pre-made microwavable quick meals.

While family sit- down meals are not always possible, in our two income household, with the kids always on the go, I was excited to explore the Natural Vitality site for kids.

This site is packed full of a plethora of helpful information for parents who are concerned about doing all they can to promote their children's health!   With over seven categories of articles, there is no shortage great reading and quality topics!  You can peruse some of my favorites below:


Education

  • The School Lunch Revolution
  • Organic Food: Cutting Through the Confusion
  • How to Get Your Kids To Become Environmentalists


Environment
  • An Environmental High School
  • How To Avert Allergies
  • Little Green Thumbs


From The Experts
  • Family Diners: A Life Saver For Your Family
  • Organically Raised: A Hip and Healthy Guide for Parents


Kids Nutrition
  • Doctor Prescribes Nutrition For Kids Health
  • The Eco-Friendly Lunch Box
  • Dr. Susan Rubin:  Slow Food For Children's Health


Natural Vitality offers a liquid multi-vitamin for kids that I have had the pleasure of testing out on the "home crew":  Natural Vitality Kids Natural Calm Multi.  

This 30oz bottle provides a generous number of servings that infuse your child's diet with magnesium and 24 organic fruits and veggies!

As we know, fruits and vegetables are fundamental nutritional factors in a healthy diet. Kids Natural Calm Multi incorporates superfruits (organic pomegranate, açaí, goji and noni) and fruits (tart cherry, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, banana, blueberry, apple, aronia berry and sweet cherry), plus vegetables and sprouts(carrot, pumpkin, pea, spinach, tomato, broccoli, broccoli sprout powder, onion sprouts, daikon radish, kale and alfalfa). We took extra care to use organic produce to ensure no pesticide, herbicide or fungicide residues, chemical fertilizers or genetically modified ingredients were included in our formula.
As for myself, I was curious about why the inclusion of magnesium was important.  What I discovered, is not only is preventing magnesium deficiency vital for my kids to be stress-free, but Mom and Dad will certainly benefit from attending to our magnesium needs!  (We can use all the anti-stress help we can get!)

MAGNESIUM-DEFICIENT KIDS
It’s not just adults who can get anxious because of magnesium-deficient diets. Our children are also susceptible when their favorite foods are magnesium-deficient—hot dogs, pizza, and soda. The stress in their lives—from peer pressure, academic and athletic performance pressures, worries about body image, the changes and hormonal fluctuations of puberty, exposure to negative events and violence through the media—also contributes. Even playing in a band can be a risk factor! Children are underdiagnosed when it comes to magnesium deficiency, but they can have magnesium deficiencies for the same reasons as adults.
—Carolyn Dean, MD, ND
Author of the book The Magnesium Miracle

Magnesium helps your muscles and nerves function properly; it keeps your heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system and also assists in keeping your bones strong. This essential mineral helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and is required for producing and storing energy. It’s easy to see why many researchers say that no single dietary factor is as critical as magnesium. 

My 10 yr old's recommended dosage was 2 tablespoons, added to either water or juice.  While the Natural Calm Multi has an "organic orange splash" flavor, my son found it a bit intense and prefers it added to a glass of orange juice.  I love the assurance of knowing my children's nutritional needs are being met every day, especially on those oh-so-busy days that seem to be increasing in frequency!

Natural Vitality offers healthy solutions for the whole family, like Natural Calm, winner of the 2011 Vity Awards and Organic Life Vitamins, winner of the 2011 Essentials Awards.   Recommended by physicians Ashley Koff, RD., Mommy MD Guides and Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND.

I feel good about recommending Natural Vitality.  I applaud their efforts to educate us and provide quality, health-promoting products to help battle the tide of unhealthiness rampant in the United States. As well, I appreciate the Natural Vitality position on social responsibility and the groups the company supports.


Peter Gillham’s Natural Vitality is a purpose-driven organization.
We believe that the general level of health Americans experience today is far from ideal. What is considered “normal” constitutes the acceptance of aches and pains, lack of energy, the aging process and a long potential list of non-optimum conditions.







***GIVEAWAY***
Natural Vitality is generously offering my readers a chance to win Natural Vitality Natural Calm Multi for Kids!  To be eligible to enter this giveaway, you must publicly follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar).

ONE WINNER will receive a 30oz bottle of Natural Vitality Natural Calm Multi and a copy Carolyn Dean's booklet Kid's Health, A Doctor's Guide for Parents (combined retail value $39.90).  TEN RUNNER UP WINNERS will receive a sample pack of Natural Vitality Natural Calm Multi as well as the Kid's Health Guide!

This giveaway is open to residents of US, 18+ and will conclude on Saturday, August 6, 2011 at midnight, EST.  The winners will be randomly selected from all eligible entries and will be notified by email.  The winners will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond before I must move on to runner ups.  Please leave your email address, in anti spam format, in your first entry comment, if it is not available via your comment name.

***MANDATORY ENTRY***
To be eligible to enter this giveaway, you must publicly follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar).

For Mandatory Entry, please visit the NaturalVitalityKids website and tell me in a comment what you like about their offerings and why, your favorite product and why, or something you learned about nutrition or your favorite article and why.

***BONUS ENTRIES***
* Like Natural Vitality Kids & That's What She Said on Facebook, leave a comment here with your Facebook name, 1 entry each.

* Like Natural Vitality &/or Natural Vitality Sports on Facebook, leave a comment here with your Facebook name, 1 entry each.

* Follow That's What She Said (tsue1136) on Twitter, leave a comment here with your Twitter name,  1 entry.

* Tweet about this giveaway. Leave a comment with a link to your tweet.  Limit of one tweet per day.  1 entry per tweet.  Please use:
Add Natural Vitality to your kids' daily routine & enter to #win! #healthykids
#vitamins #giveaway @tsue1136 http://bit.ly/oueyTb

* Tell me in a comment what health challenges your family faces and how you are trying to overcome them or leave your best tip for getting healthy, 1 entry

* Subscribe to That's What She Said via email or RSS feed (left sidebar), leave a comment here with your applicable name, 1 entry for each method.

* Put my button on your blog or site (left sidebar) and leave a comment here with the link so I can find it, 2 entries.

* Share this giveaway, must include a direct link back here, leave a link, as possible, to your sharing so I can find it.  No limit on sharings!  Blog it, post on Facebook, Stumble, Technorati, giveaway linkies, whatever you can come up with!  5 entries per sharing!

* Enter any of my other active giveaways and leave a comment letting me know which, 3 entries per additional giveaway.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.  
Congrats to: 
Grand Prize - tdean30 comment #30
Runners Up -
Jesse comment #21
Mvernox comment #10
E comment #48
Erin Cook comment #45
Lauren comment #27
Monique comment #8
Sweeter comment #33
Diane 52 comment #36
Gianna comment #50
Erika comment #42
courtesy of Random.org!

On behalf of Natural Vitality and That's What She Said, thank you to all entrants for participating and following!

I was provided Natural Vitality Natural Calm Multi to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images and information sourced from various Natural Vitality materials and sites.  Facebook is not responsible for nor involved in this giveaway in any fashion.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Eating Healthier ~ Five Reasons Why Natural Beef Is Better

One of my family's favorite things about summertime ~ enjoying barbeque outside.  My husband considers himself a premiere barbeque chef and I couldn't be more thrilled, enjoying a break from cooking family meals!
Ribeye with Truffle Butter

With this in mind, as we strive to be more selective in the meals we plan and the foods we buy, I've been researching organic beef online.

My father was actually the first person to educate me about the differences in meat and poultry sourcing.  After retiring, my parents moved from the 'burbs to the country and my father decided to be a free-range (small scale) chicken farmer.  (rolling eyes sideways - remind me sometime to tell you about chicken- sitting!)

 I appalled to learn about some of the practices in the meat and poultry industries and highly motivated to not support such businesses with my purchases.  Further, I was pleased to discover a pleasant difference in quality and taste in truly natural meat raised with strict humane protocols.

Whether you're looking for natural beef or steaks online for your barbequing, you'll want to keep in mind these important points:

Five Reasons Why Natural Beef Is Better ~ 
Practices of Responsible Ranchers
Sourced from premiere natural supplier
              ~ Niman Ranch ~
raising livestock traditionally, humanely and sustainably to produce the finest tasting food in the world. 

1) Natural Beef is raised using strict protocals and humane practices.
 livestock are raised outdoors or in deeply bedded pens and are able to express their natural instinctive behaviors;  animals have continual access to food and water and they spend their entire lives with their litter mates and natural social groups

2)  Natural beef ranchers utilize eco-sustainable practices.
methods of farming and ranching that allow for the production of crops and livestock in such a way that it does not damage the land or its natural resources, preserving it for future generations

3)  Natural beef ranchers utilize economic sustainable practices.
 ranchers efforts to bring wholesome all-natural meats to your table will also provide them with a livelihood that will sustain their families

4)  Natural beef ranchers pledge that their meat is natural.
stock is never given antibiotics or growth hormones

5)  Natural beef ranchers feed their stock only 100% vegetarian feed.
Cows in nature eat only plants - they're strict herbivores. Cows' digestive systems are unequipped to ward off disease from infected animal tissue. For this and other reasons, we have mandated 100% vegetarian feed.

Ranch Beef Kabob

When you are shopping for beef online for your barbeque, be sure to look into the source, to ensure you are supporting the right practices and you'll end up with more than a delicious meal, but a meal you can be proud to serve.


As a participant in the Bucks2Blog campaign, I have been compensated in exchange for creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images and some information sourced from Niman Ranch online site.

Special Day Out with My Daughter ~ Winnie the Pooh Movie

My 15 year old daughter called me at work yesterday.

She asked me out
on a date
to see the new Winnie The Pooh movie!

Awwwww....
Be still, my neglected mother's heart!

When she was much, much younger,
Pooh was one of favorites,
to read,
to watch,
to play.

Back in those golden days,
our relationship
felt like this:

Now that she's
"15, MOM!",
most days,
it feels more like this:
I can't wait to go this weekend
for some special time
some quiet time
some Mom and Me time.

True to my inner nature,
not wanting to let the moment end,
I'll probably try to tempt her
into letting it linger a bit longer.

Recipe ~ Winnie the Pooh Cake Pops

Maybe we'll make some treats,
just for us,


before the inevitable pull
of her friends and busy social schedule
bring our special moment
to an end,

as she heads off to her future

and I watch her go

humming Pooh songs
and remembering.
True story!  Opinions above are both honest and my own.  I received no compensation for this post.  Images and recipe sourced from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.  Winnie the Pooh opens in theaters July 15! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blue Sky Scrubs ~ Quality and Comfort for Men

  
I've mentioned before how I became hooked on fashion scrubs for casual wear during my college days and now my daughter loves wearing them, as well.  I was completely taken by surprise today when my husband sheepishly mentioned that he would like to try a set himself!

While my daughter and I love shopping for clothes and accessories, neither my husband or son care for it a bit.  In fact, I usually pick up selections for them on shopping trips with my daughter.  This system works out very well and the boys always seem pleased with the new items for their wardrobes.




Finding a great set of quality scrubs for him is no problem!  I discovered Blue Sky Scrubs some time ago and they offer an incredible line of stylish scrubs.  In fact, I found a great discount offer via their Facebook page: save $10 on orders over $50 until July 31st!  I'll be certain to take advantage of that!




Wouldn't you know, as we were looking over the mens selections at the Blue Sky Scrub site,  http://www.blueskyscrubs.com/categories/Scrubs/Scrubs-for-Men/  my son decided he wanted a set just like Dad!




The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Information and images sourced from Blue Sky Scrubs sites.  Compensated Post.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Clothes Bargains and Back To School Shopping

Luscious Blues Crinkle Top ~ Cotton


One of the best parts of shopping for the upcoming school season, aside from sneaking in new looks for Mom, is taking advantage of all the terrific bargains on summer pieces while the weather is still warm and inviting! 





New Celebration Skirt ~ Cotton









Whether I find a light and breezy top, or the perfect skirt for beach combing, I tend to lean toward funkier, marine inspired casual clothing.








I love that by mid summer, I can pick up the latest styles and still be able to wear them for a good part of the season, at prices often half price or even better!  The perfect timing for picking up summer pieces for this season and next, as well as adding some fabulous new sandals to compliment.



With back to school shopping in the days ahead, thoughts turning to the crisp, fall days, and my days of sun kissed beach walks numbered, I do love to get a look at the new trends for the upcoming season.



Waterfall Poncho



While the kids hunt for the perfect new hoodies and jeans, I take the opportunity to pick up a few perfect pieces for my cool weather wardrobe.


Sensational Knit













 My fashion philosophy for cooler weather dictates one can never have enough stylish, casual sweaters,
the perfect toss on whether you are off on a shopping excursion, enjoying a meal with the girls or off to one of the many school related meetings!


A cardigan with a bit of flair, with the right necklace or scarf, over an easy t shirt or cami can create an excellent casual look that is as quick and easy as my demanding fall schedule requires.  Paired up with a favorite pair of boots and you're ready for whatever the day brings,

Brought to you by Joe Browns ~ visit Planet Joe.  View my disclosure policy here.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Fashion images sourced from Joe Browns..

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fun Summer Reading for Kids ~ The Greatest Food Fight of All Time ~ Giveaway


The single most important thing you can do with you child this summer is engage them in reading.  Not only is it crucial to read with them or have them read regularly to maintain their current fluency level, but the often relaxed atmosphere of summer break is a wonderful time to foster and encourage love of reading.

Hectic school year schedules temporarily forgotten, no homework to fit in before bedtime, what better time to explore their reading interests and keep a ready supply of enjoyable reading material available.

Turn off the computer, TV and game systems and send them out into the green, with a fresh fruit snack and blanket, to lose themselves in a wonderful book.

Although we encourage our children to include non-fiction titles in their personal areas of interest, we primarily look at summer as a time for fun reading.

To this end, I was very pleased to be given an opportunity to provide in house review crew member, my 10 yr old son, a chance to review Jamie Nesvold's book,
The Greatest Food Fight Of All Time.  Nothing says fun more than the freedom of a food fight!

Whether at your school, camp or in your own kitchen while baking cookies, chances are you remember to unabashed joy of a single, brilliant food fight in your collection of  childhood memories.  This is a read that you'll enjoy sharing with your child, as Jamie Nesvold walks us through the adventure of the ultimate food fight, with a humorous eye at all the steps along the way to the marvelously messy finale!

Jamie Nesvold, a DJ in Fosston and father of four, says he has enjoyed writing "weird" things since high school and drew much inspiration for his book from his children, ages 6 to 16.


My two older children make brief appearances in the book as supporting characters, and my son is the inspiration for the cover art and pictures of Tucker.  It's a fun little book, I think, and Jake did a great job with the images.  It's great for all ages.
Mom's Take
I truly enjoyed sharing this book with my son!  Not only did it bring back fun memories from my childhood, but it was wonderful to see his eyes light up with glee as he imagined the food flying shenanigans!

Expert's Advice
In between chuckles and big belly laughs: "You have to read this book!!!!"

Take the Expert's Advice and get your own copy:
Autographed copy directly from author and "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" guest, Jamie Nesvold on
Amazon

***GIVEAWAY***

That's What She Said readers are invited to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Greatest Food Fight Of All Time, courtesy of author Jamie Nesvold!  To be eligible to enter this giveaway, you must publicly follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar).

This giveaway is open to residents of US & Canada, 18+ and will end on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at midnight, EST.  The winner will be selected randomly from all eligible entries and notified by email.  The winner will have 72 hours to respond before I must move on to a runner up.  Please leave your email address, in anti spam format, in your first entry comment, if it is not available via your comment name, so i may contact you if you are the winner.

***MANDATORY ENTRY***
You must publicly follow That's What She Said via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar) to be eligible to enter this giveaway.

For mandatory entry, please tell me in a comment your favorite food flinging memory, something crazy your kids have done or what your favorite food arsenal would consist of!

***BONUS ENTRIES***
IF YOU ARE ALREADY LIKING, FOLLOWING, ETC, PLEASE TAKE THE ENTRIES!

* Like The Greatest Food Fight Of All Time &/or That's What She Said on Facebook.  Leave a comment here with your Facebook name.  1 entry per each.

* Follow That's What She Said (tsue1136) on Twitter.  Leave comment with your Twitter name, 1 entry.

* Tweet about this giveaway.  Limit of one tweet per day.,  leave a comment with a link to your tweet.  1 entry per tweet.  Please use:
I'm entered to #win #fun #summer #reading in The Greatest Food Fight Of All Time at That's What She Said!  @tsue1136 http://bit.ly/nTX1zc
* Enter any of my other active giveaways and leave comment letting me know which.  2 entries per additional giveaway.

* Share this giveaway!  Just leave a link to your sharing in your comment.  You can take 3 entries for each time you share with a direct link here!  Blog it, post to Facebook, Stumble It, Technorati, Digg, post to a giveaway linky!

* Subscribe to That's What She Said via email or RSS feed (left sidebar),  1 entry for each method.

* Grab my Button for your blog (left sidebar) and leave a link in your comment so I can find it! 3 entries.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.
Congrats to mverno, comment # 12, courtesy of Random.org!

On behalf of author Jamie Nesvold and That's What She Said, thank you to all entrants for participating and following!

Enjoy this blog?  We would love a review from you, our cherished reader at Alexa!

I received a copy of The Greatest Food Fight Of All Time to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are honest and my own.  Images and information taken from various Jamie Nesvold sites and communications.  Giveaway prize is provided and shipped by sponsor.  Facebook is not responsible for nor involved in this giveaway in any fashion.
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