Tsue ~ That's What She Said: September 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Teaching Your Teen About Safe Spending Practices ~ Expert Advice


Money Doesn't Grow On Trees ~

If you have a teenager, you've likely already had the "money doesn't grow on trees" talk.  In fact, if your teen is anything like mine, having inherited her mother's fondness for shopping, you may very well have that talk memorized.



It is true.  Both Mom and Daughter do love their shopping excursions, however, these trips are funded only by savvy saving, which is a lesson my teen is just beginning to understand.


While my daughter's social life, and spending needs, starting increasing while she was a middle school student, we found her "needs" dramatically increased when she entered high school.  Both her growing fondness of all things glamorous and fashionable, as well as a swell in social activities and mobility, my husband and I soon found ourselves, and our budget, being nickeled and dimed to a point of great concern.

After one very active, and expensive, summer week, upon comparing notes, my husband and I realized with alarm just how pricey funding her "fun" had become.  (Beware of the alternating parent fund request ploy!)  We quickly determined to develop a more budget-friendly plan; one that would allow our daughter reasonable access to the fun she desired, but would also provide her with an education in managing her finances.

Our Plan ~
After much discussion, my husband and I decided to provide our teen daughter an opportunity to earn money helping out at home, as she was too young to seek outside employment.  At the wizened age of 14, she was certainly capable of additional, regular household responsibilities.  Assuming she keeps up her end of the bargain, every two weeks, we "pay" her a set sum.  Some expenses, such as gifts for friends birthdays, spending and meal money for school related trips and for her sporting events, we continue to pay.  However, all other social expenses and shopping "just because" expenses are now her responsibility.  If she runs out of money before her next "pay day", she is simply out of luck for non-essential spending.

The Results ~
From a parent's perspective: this plan has worked wonderfully!
From my daughter's perspective: While I strongly suspect she still considers us to be a bit "Scrooge-like", and likely remembers the old system fondly, she has adapted successfully.  After just one time of not completing her household tasks and missing her "payday", she has been diligent about her responsibilities going forward.  We have also noticed she is much more careful in considering the value of her spending choices.

Only the Tip of the Financial Iceberg ~

Although we have an well-functioning, budget-friendly plan in place for my daughter's non-essential spending, there is so much more ground to cover!  Now a Junior in high school, in a blink of my eye, she will be heading off to college, and much greater financial temptation and responsibility than deciding if she should go out for ice cream or raid the family freezer!

Growing up, my parents never discussed family finances, nor did I receive any education on financial management or safe spending in high school or college.  As a college student, strongly desiring to continue living the comfortable style to which I had become accustomed, I was thrilled to discover the wonderful world of credit cards.  With no thought or concern to the practicality of charging on my starving student budget, by either myself or the issuing card company, I was more than happy to open charge accounts with my favorite retailers, as well as a few financial companies as well.  While I was somehow able to maintain minimum payments on my plethora of plastic, it did not take long to realize the downside of the circle of debt I had created. Fortunately, after painfully realizing the folly of my financial decisions, my credit union was able to offer me a budget-saving consolidation loan, which paved the way for wiser financial management decisions in the future.

With my past experience, and lack of education in mind, I know that my husband and I will be having many enlightening discussions with my daughter, as she approaches her time to leave our nest.

Having expert resources to assist you in educating your teen are so essential!  Through my association with Mom Central, I have been introduced to an exceptional series of financial advise, on a full range of essential topics from American Express, Practice Safe Spend. 

In an effort to arm parents with tools and tips to educate their teens about responsible spending, American Express, along with financial expert Jean Chatzky and  Stacy DeBroff of Mom Central, launched the Safe Spend program. Designed to help parents teach their kids how to "Practice Safe Spend" before heading back to school, the program offers tips to make discussing the importance of money management a little easier.

With specialized advise from Safe Spending, to Holiday Shopping, to specific financial advise and guides for talking to your student of Middle School, High School or College, you will find up to date conversation guides that will make having this talk both painless and productive.  Although I have had a general plan for discussions with my daughter, I found the conversation guides from American Express to be quite comprehensive, as well as complete.  In particular, I appreciate that the guides are designed to encourage open discussion, as opposed to another lecture your student may be inclined to tune out!

My View ~

I found the Practice Safe Spend series to be thorough and comprehensive, with sage advice and excellent outlines for those important conversations about financial issues relevant to students, as well as adults.  I look forward to utilizing the student guides in my conversations with my daughter and highly recommend them as a resource to parents.  Read all of the Practice Safe Spend tips at financialtools.americanexpress.com.

I was quite excited to learn about the American Express Card with Custom Limits.  As a budding Lacrosse star, my daughter travels, often out of state, for competitive tournaments.  To eliminate the need for her to carry large amounts of cash during her travels, we linked a debit card to the joint account we opened with her.  The benefits have been outstanding as we are able to move funds to her account if needed, as well as monitor her spending.  However, combined with the ability to adjust her spending limits, as well as the security against unauthorized purchases not available with her debit card, the American Express card offers a safer alternative to our current system.  Certainly worth looking into for helping to manage any students finances!

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of American Express and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate. The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Money Tree, Wallet & Iceberg Images.  .

T.G.I. Friday's celebrates new line of delectable entrees ~ Chance to #win Ultimate Home Theater Makeover Contest

This post brought to you by T.G.I. FRiDAY'S. All opinions are 100% mine.
Are the contents of your freezer uninspiring?
Looking for a way to add some zing to your weekday meal routine without a lot of fuss and bother?
Entrées For One
If your schedule is like mine and whipping up a tasteful, gourmet meal for one is out of the question, T.G.I. Friday's has the answer!
Introducing the new line of T.G.I. FRiDAY’S “Entrées for One”, T.G.I. Friday's offers you a way to experience the famous zest and zing of their restaurant menu at home, via nine new offerings, certain to please.
To celebrate these enticing entrees, T.G.I. Friday's is offering a chance for fans to show their spirit for great food in the Fun Freezer contest!  Visit the Facebook page to see some examples of how other entrants are putting the fun in their freezer and peruse the tempting new entrees for inspiration.
Entrées For One
To enter, just Make Your Freezer "Fun", take a picture and enter it via the link on Facebook for your chance to win!
2 Grand Prize Winners ~ Ultimate Home Theater Makeover
3 Second Place Winners ~ House Party on the House
5 Third Place Winners ~ Date Night Goes All Out
The entry period for this contest ends at 11:59:59 PM EST on September 25, 2011 so you'll want to scoot on over to the Fun Freezer contest and get in on the action!  Community voting runs from 10/7/11 to 10/20/11, with the lucky winners announced on 11/3/11!
Connecting with T.G.I. Friday's on Facebook is highly recommended to stay in the now about the latest taste bud temptations, special offers and other spicy contests!
Entrées For One
If you have a passion for all things spicy, Cajun and sensational, you'll also want to get in on the chance to win 1 of 4 VIP trips to the VooDoo Experience in New Orleans, Oct 28-30, from T.G.I. Fridays's!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Loving My Locks ~ What's New In Hairstyles for 2012

Over the last few years, I've toyed with the idea of having my hair cut into a more modest, mature style. It would certainly be easier in the summer, when the Michigan heat and humidity regularly dictates braids and messy buns. Sometimes, just a mess, period.

Grace Wiederseim, Illustrator
Although, when I start to seriously contemplate that dramatic direction, visions of horrific hair cuts from my youth flash before me. Thoughts of making that cutting commitment pass quickly, as I am left to wonder, just what my mother had been thinking.

There was the very short bob that left me looking much like a classic Campbell's Soup kid. (Thanks, Mom!) Once again, with a curt, cap cut, while stunning on Audrey Heburn, left me me much resembling a pumpkin head. (In Mom's defense, there may have been a large quantity of inconveniently placed bubblegum involved.)



Needless to say, I have been inclined to keep my locks luxuriously long. Although I admire smart, chic cuts on women who have the facial shape to pull them off, I do love the versatility of longer hair. Truly a woman's crowning glory, your hair and style of choice says much about you, reflecting your personality, as well as your mood as you style yourself for your day ahead.


The hot, "new" hairstyles for 2012 are all about you and framing your point of view, stylishly.

ghd ~Glamour Era



Whether your mane speaks of grace with soft waves created by curling and pinning to set,



ghd ~ New Wave Era


the power of big, bold hair, curled and teased to a new dynamic level




ghd ~ Bohemian Chic Era


or the more natural, organic look achieved with hair straighteners,






you can face 2012, or even today, as a brave, true to yourself YOU!

2012 ~ The Year of the Woman (and fabulous hair)
(Alright, I'll confess. I just came up with that. But, if we stick together, we can make it happen!)

This post was brought to you in association with ghd. The opinions above are both honest and my own. Fab hair images and inspiration sourced from ghd ~ ionic eras of style.

Monday, September 26, 2011

SafeKidZone ~ Peace of Mind for Back to School ~ Giveaway Link



The lazy days of summer are, somehow, so quickly behind us.  Full steam ahead with the busy schedule of school days.

Sports practices, games and a variety of after school activities keep my kids on the go constantly.

Add to the mix that my son is riding the bus to school and home for the first time this year, and my daughter is a month away from becoming a (shudder) driver.

I count on the security of my children having cell phones.  Whether my son is walking the two short blocks within our enclosed neighborhood to the bus stop, or my daughter is out for an early evening run, its important to me that they be able to reach me, and me them.


And while the crime rate in my suburban community is not exceptional, my neighbors and I want to keep it that way.  As the block leader of our Neighborhood Watch program, I know how important it is to stay connected and watch out for each other.

We never want to think about our children finding themselves in a dangerous situation.  However, it is vitally important for your children, your family and your community to be prepared for how to handle the unexpected.  As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.   You don't want to be in the position of not having made time for those important safety discussions after an unfortunate event.

SafeKidZone provides you with the tools you need to take preventative measures, to help ensure your child and family's safety, as well as provide direct and immediate resources in the unfortunate event they are needed.  Enabling parents and children to immediately connect in dangerous situations, as well as linking in your pre-designated safety network, to ensure appropriate and informed response to any situation of concern.

Benefits of SafeKidZone
1. Protect kids when they are uncomfortable, scared, or in danger 5. Stop bullying
2. Providing a safety network for at-risk kids that can be instantly summoned using a cell phone 6. Immediate escalation to 911 for emergency events
3. Panic Button in case of danger (including loneliness, suicidal and physical threats) 7. GPS Geo-location
4. Find kids when they are lost 8. Tracking and reporting of all incidents

Learn more about the full scope of features available, as well as avail yourself helpful resource links, at the Safe Kid Zone website.

***GIVEAWAY***
Read a fantastic article about SafeKidZone and enter for chance to win 6 months of Safe Kid Zone Service and a $25 Visa Gift Card at Change-Diapers.com!
Don't hesitate - this giveaway ends on September 29, 2011!


Stay in the know

SafeKidZone
Website 

Thank you to Safe Kid Zone for sponsoring this introduction.  Images and information sourced from Safe Kid Zone.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beauty Alert ~ Must Have Fab ~ Hourglass Script Precision Liquid Liner ~ Sephora

As I am certain is the same for any woman of my age,
(and we decided that was 36, I believe, as my mother has already claimed 29)
I have tremendous experience in applying makeup, being intimately familiar with my face.  Best features as well as those that...appreciate some extra attention.

Even having been trained in applying stage (read: BOLD) makeup,
there are still those irritating moments when a slip can cause all manner of havoc with my carefully crafted look.

None worse than an eyeliner application error,
most of which require, a completely fresh start.

Thanks due to my favorite beauty go-to site, Sephora, I've recently discovered a Must Have Fab beauty tool:

Script Precision Liquid Eyeliner by Hourglass

A micro-fine, easy-glide felt tip liquid liner for the ultimate in precision lining. 

 
Take a finer line to fabulous you, 
with the right tools, 
the first time.




Images and information sourced from Sephora and Hourglass.  Published because it's simply fabulous.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Makeup Image.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tea Collection ~ Hot Styles for Cool Kids at Great Savings








Looking for ways to save on your child's fall wardrobe?


Don't miss the 
Tea Collection 4 Day Sale ~

Thursday, September 22 through 
Sunday, September 25!


Save 15% on orders of 3 or more items from any of their chic kid collections with code: YAYPICK3

 
Enjoy free shipping on orders over 

$150, as well!








Tea Collection
~
Globally Inspired Clothing 
for Modern Kids

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pamper Him With The Ultimate Shaving Kit ~ 2011 Holiday Gift Guide



Too early to think of holiday shopping?  I think not!  Not when you have as many to shop for as I do!  While I'm hunting for the perfect gifts for this holiday season, I'll be sharing them with you and including them in my 2011 Holiday Gift Guide.




I recently found a wonderful site, full of high quality shaving items perfect for holiday gift giving, The Art of Shaving.



Whether you are shopping for father, husband, son or brother, any man would appreciate the high quality and ensuing shave from any one of the special shaving kits that are available.



Lemon Shaving Starter Set






From modest starter kits and travel sets,




4 Elements of the Perfect Shave Lavender Kit






to generous, 4 Elements of the Perfect Shave shaving kits, complete with Pre Shave Oil, Shaving Cream, After Shave Balm and Black Pure Badger Shaving Brush.






He'll appreciate the professional quality and smooth shave  achieved with these high quality shaving implements and the chance to show off the sleek, polished him.



Make sure he has all the tools he needs by including a Merkur Chrome Long Handled Safety Razor or Chrome Moustache Razor.



Classic, desirable quality.
The Art of Shaving has something for every man on your list this season.







I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was compensated.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images sourced from The Art of Shaving.  Gift Image.


Fight Childhood Obesity & Support Your School ~ Danimals ~ Rally For Recess Campaign





With our family schedule filled by my children's sports and other after school activities, we are constantly a family on the go.  Keeping my athletes fueled up and finding healthy snacks to go is a priority.  One of our staple go-to options for a quick, healthy snack is yogurt; my refrigerator is regularly stocked with cups and tubes in a variety of flavors.  Portable, healthy and most importantly, desirable to my children's taste buds!

Danimals has been a long time favorite for breakfast, school lunches, after school snacks and on the go pick-me-ups.  As a Mom, I appreciate that Danimals contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors or flavors, but does provide Calcium and Vitamin D!




Hands down, my families favorite Danimals flavor is Strawberry Banana, which is available in all the great tasting Danimals products:  Crush Cups, Smoothies and Coolision Tubes.  However, my son recently tried the Strawberry/Very Berry variety in Coolision tubes and reports it is a serious contender for top flavor position!

Beyond convenience and great taste, as Mom, I now have a new reason to feel good about Danimals: the Danimals Rally For Recess Campaign!  In response to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States, Danimals is currently offering an opportunity for communities to join in the fight, as well as support their local school.   Simply enter codes from specially marked Danimals packages and your local school will be in the running to win one of five $20,000 school playground makeovers and an Ultimate Recess Day!

Participating is easy.  Simply watch for Danimals packages with the Rally For Recess logo at your grocery store.  You'll find a Rally For Recess code on the inside of the Danimals cardboard package or wrap that you can enter at the Rally For Recess site, providing credit for your school.

At the Rally For Recess site, you can also keep tabs on your school's progress and rank, as well as print or create posters to inspire others in your community.  Kids will have a blast exploring the Danimals Playground Builder you'll find at the Rally For Recess site.

It is no secret that school districts across the nation are struggling under restrictive budget cuts, in many cases, necessitating funding of only the barest of essentials.  The national childhood obesity crisis is increasing at an  alarming rate.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years.  The Journal of the American Medical Association and the US Department of Health and Human Services have reported that in 2008, more than one third of the children and adolescents in the US were obese.

The Danimal Rally For Recess program offers an excellent chance to make a difference in your community that will be appreciated by students now and in the future.  Take a stand in your community for children's health, facilitate a focus on active, healthy lifestyles and encourage a community effort to win a playground makeover for your school!

Start a Rally for your school and find the official rules at the Rally For Recess website.
Rally ends on February 8, 2012. 

Health Tips For Children:
Source: The Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation
  • Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
  • The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.
  • Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.


I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Danimals and received a gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate. 
The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images and information sourced from various Danimals sites.  Statistics sources cited within feature.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fashion Alert ~ Calvin Klein ~ Style

With all eyes to the Emmy's, most importantly, to what's hot on the red carpet, fashion is in the air.

Have you seen the latest from Calvin Klein ~ the 2012 Spring Collection?

Fresh.
Clean.


Fantasy.

Makes me glad to be a woman.
I absolutely adore the jacket play in this collection.

Of course, spring is yet a few months off, especially so, here in Michigan.

However, I found a fabulous seasonal piece to include in this year's holiday Must Have Gift Guide!

For very good, chic girls.
calvin klein jeans ~ ellie sueded kid leather wedge boot

(looking around for Santa's email address so I can ensure he knows my shoe size)

Find the That's What She Said Holiday Must Have Gift Guide via tab at top of page. Be sure to check in often for the latest additions!

Information and images sourced from various Calvin Klein sites. The opinions above are both honest and my own. Published because the above is simply fabulous.

Social Media Boost ~ iPad 2 Giveaway


Are you looking to increase your Social Media followers? Join me in the Social Media Boost iPad2 Giveaway. The holidays are coming and what a better gift than a brand new iPad2 and all your readers will need to do is follow you on Twitter or GFC or like your Facebook page to do so. The giveaway will run for 3 weeks.  Staci will be submitting the event to over 100+ giveaway sites and am anticipating plenty of entries.
Details:
Entry fees:
$20 will give you 3 links into the giveaway: GFC is mandatory and Twitter and Facebook are optional.
Participants:
We need a minimum of 30 bloggers to cover the cost of the iPad2 and the giveaway will cap at 50 participants. {If we end up with less than 30 bloggers we will giveaway a cash Grand Prize according to the amount of entry fees obtained. Grand Prize will be 50% and blogger’s prize will be 35% of entry fees}.
Dates:
11:59 pm {EST} on Monday ,October 3rd – 12:01 am {EST} Monday, October 24, 2011
Prizes:
Grand Prize: 1 winner of an iPad2 will be chosen through Random.org using the community Rafflecopter form. {US only due to Apple shipping restrictions} Participating Bloggers are eligible for Grand Prize as long as they enter via Rafflecopter form as well.
Blogger Prize: The Blogger who refers the most participants will win a % of the total entry fee. This amount will be established after all entry fees are tallied depending on number of entries purchased. More bloggers joining means a bigger cash prize for the winning referrer. Plus, if we get all 50 bloggers signed up, 1 random participant will be given $50 in PayPal cash. Therefore, if we get 50 entries at $20, then the winning Blogger will receive $200. And, yes, you have a chance at the Grand Prize as well simply by following the participants on the Rafflecopter form! So please tell your fellow blogger friends to join us using the share button below!

Please be certain to indicate that you were referred by Terri of That's What She Said when you sign up!


SM Boost Giveaway

Grab the button and spread the word! Link it to: http://wp.me/P1AU78-DB
How to sign up:
Sign up using this entry form and submit your “gift” via PayPal by Tuesday, September 27th{upon sign up I will send you information that includes my PayPal address}. Sites will be listed on the Rafflecopter form in order of entry. After tallying all the entries and gathering everyone’s information Staci will send out an email including the winning referrer, prize amounts, post details, giveaway button, and any other pertinent information. Please feel free to contact hostess Staci with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Sedation Dentistry ~ What To Expect From Your Dental Procedure



My teen is soon to have her wisdom teeth removed.  It would be fair to say that she has some anxiety about the dental procedure.  As she has been fortunate, without any cavities to date, this procedure will be a very new experience for her.






Fortunately, her dental experiences thus far have been wonderful ~ our pediatric dentist's office and staff very friendly, sensitive and, most importantly, gentle.

To help ease her anxiety and prepare her for this dental procedure, I've done a fair amount of research on the topic of sedation dentistry to help quell her fears, as well as assure myself.

My younger sister, in fact, was able to share her experience with sedation dentistry in Nashville.  Unlike the days of old, when gas and Novocaine shots were the only pain relief options, sedation dentistry is truly the way to go!  One little pill and she essentially napped through the procedure.  No experience of ongoing, conscious anxiety during the work.  In fact, she had no memory of procedure afterward, at all.  My sister shared that, unlike the loopiness and lurching one experiences with gas and Novocaine, she found the sedation dentistry experience significantly more dignified.

Hearing of her aunt's experience, my daughter is much calmer about her upcoming extraction.  She is quite relieved to know that she won't have to endure the stress of being awake during the process or receive any shots.  As her mother, her relief, is my relief.

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was compensated.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Dental Instrument Image.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quality Halloween Costumes At Lowest Prices ~ Costume Discounters Review



Now that the back to school rush is over, its time to move on to the next Mom project ~ Halloween!

While my family loves all the preparations involved in Halloween preparation,  from selecting the perfect pumpkins and adding more pizazz to our decorations than the year before, the most crucial element is finding the perfect Halloween costumes at affordable prices!

I used to make my children's costumes when they were younger, but now our busy schedules demand pre-made costumes.  While my kids' enthusiasm for costume hunting is boundless, this Mom hated the annual trip to the local Halloween store.

Hundreds of people crammed into the narrow aisles, desperately seeking this year's hot costume among the abused and torn packages. Unless you have the time to wait an hour to get into one of the two "dressing rooms" with a plastic tablecloth for a curtain,  you are left with the option of trying to gauge the appropriateness of the size in the aisle.  Invariably,. we could never find the right size. We'd either leave with a young trick-or-treater's hopes dashed or a costume that Mom would have to try to re-size.  (insert miserable groan)

To add insult to the injury of shopping at this season stores, if you arrived home and found missing pieces or the wrong size in the taped up package, you were out of luck!  Don't even bother trying to appeal to the store's sense of responsibility by trying to even do an exchange.

Thank goodness for online shopping at Costume Discounters!
Costume Discounters offers an extensive selection of both the latest, hot Halloween costumes as well as clearance options at even greater value.  Browsing their costumes, you'll find sizing recommendations, as well as a wide selection of accessories and costumes for the whole family and even for your family pets!

As a Mom, I love that they appreciate the one challenge of online shopping - buying without being able to see your selected costume in person.  Whether the fit isn't quite right and you need a new size, if your costume arrives uncommonly damaged or missing an element or if the costume you selected just isn't making your trick-or-treater's eyes sparkle, you can utilize Costume Discounters free exchange program and the shipping is on them!

It is this Mom's opinion that the nominal flat shipping rate of $4.99 for ground and free two day shipping for purchases over $70 (use code FREE70) is well worth never setting foot into one of the local costumes shops again!

Zombie Ghost Face Costume
This year, my son had a blast browsing Costume Discounters for his costume, possibly even more so, exploring their full line of accessories!  After much debate (with Mom free to do other things, none of which was pulling my hair out) he decided upon one of the Scream costumes.  My son is destined to be a giant, already taller than his mother, so I appreciated the online sizing guide to help us determine the best size to order.

The costume arrived well packaged, in good condition and as we expected, courtesy of the descriptions and great photos on the Costume Discounters website.  One hint, however, if you order a costume that contains a mask:  the masks do arrive folded and require a day or so to "unfold".  We simply dressed my son's Darth Vader helmet with the spooky mask to allow it to breath and "reset" sans the fold.  While I had initially suggested we store it inside my son's closet, he gets a huge kick out of moving it to different locations in his room, startling his unsuspecting mother!

Due to the dark fabric of this particular costume, for trick-or-treating safety, we will add some reflective tape, as well as carry flashlights and use our glow in the dark treat buckets when we go out on Halloween night.
I received a costume from Costume Discounters for the purposes of exploring to create this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images and information sourced from Costume Discounters site.  Pumpkin Image.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Keeping the Mosquitos At Bay ~ Coleman SkinSmart Insect Repellent ~ Review & Rafflecopter Giveaway



With all the wet weather we experienced in Michigan over the past several weeks, the mosquito problem has been terrible!  The humid weather, likely compounded by the draw of our inground pool made my backyard especially susceptible to infestation.  There were actually a few warm, humid weeks when I couldn't open the sliding door to our portico without being attacked!

Even as the weather is cooling off, any spike in temperature seems to wake the flying pests with a fury.  My husband and son went fishing this past weekend and, with the balmy temps, wouldn't have dreamed of going with out mosquito protection.  Likewise, as my son attends football practice, with the practice field often moist and a bit on the shaggy side, or my daughter treks through wood and dale on her cross country runs, we make certain they are "treated" with repellent before hand.

Recently given an opportunity to test the Coleman SkinSmart line of family friendly (DEET free) repellents from Coleman, SkinSmart has been put to the test for all our outdoor adventures over the last few weeks.
Coleman SkinSmart is a patented new answer to protection from mosquitos and other biting insects.  Formulated with active ingredient IR3535, SkinSmart is just as effective as products containing DEET, but unlike DEET based products, is safe for the whole family.  SkinSmart is designed to be effective for up to eight hours and to dry quickly, without leaving any residue.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feed Your Fall Fashion Flare ~ Express Jeans Giveaway

This post brought to you by Express. All opinions are 100% mine.
Looking for ways to add a splash of fall color to your wardrobe?
Love jeans and looking for the latest cuts and colors?
Express jeans fall styles are in, with all the flare and style you crave in styles for women!
Choose from classic cuts and washes, in boot cut, flare, wide and straight,
REROCK FLARE LEG EXTENDED TAB JEAN at Express
that compliment your casual side.
REROCK FLARE LEG JEAN - LIGHT WASH at Express
Express knows women's jeans
and you'll find jean leggings for a slimming, sleek look with your fall tops and sweaters.
EXTREME STRETCH STELLA JEAN LEGGING at Express
For when you want to stand out in the crowd,
ZELDA JEAN LEGGING at Express
Express has the right power color jeans to stand with you.  You'll fall for the Express Color Block Couture Collection!
***GIVEAWAY***
Head over to the Express giveaway for a chance to win Express jeans!  You can enter daily via the link on the Express Facebook page and earn up to 20 extra entires for sharing the giveaway with friends who also enter! 
***SPECIAL OFFER***
Save on your Express purchases!  Sign up for the Express updates by mail for the latest fashions and notifications of sales and specials and you'll get 15% your next order!
Which style of Express jeans are your favorite?  Tell me in a comment below!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Staying Green On The Go ~ Solar Powered Battery Charger For Your Cell Phone

My family is always on the go.  When we get a break from supporting our children on the sports field, we often escape to nature, to provide a respite from our hectic daily routines.

Whether our excursion is for a relaxing day at the lake, a fishing or camping trip, or a day of hiking in the forest with our Lab, we are always glad we took the time to refresh together and recharge.

While our outdoor activities are certainly centered around all things un-technical, we do need to stay connected, which is often a challenge.

It seems, no matter our best intentions to to ensure our cell phones and cameras are fully charged at the onset of our adventure, which requires no small amount of coordination en route to our activity, at the most crucial moment, we are doomed by the ominous red battery warning light!  Curse you low battery warning light!

Invariably, just as my daughter is making a wicked lacrosse goal at a huge tournament, the playing field a ridiculous distance from my car (and ability to recharge), it strikes.



Or, just as my son, who has been putting up the determined battle of his young life, lands his first trout, it strikes.


Not to mention the times when, caught up in the beauty around us and following our enthusiastic Lab on a trek, we find ourselves in need of some GPS assistance!


No matter the circumstances, my family wants to stay connected.  While we may pause from our techy distractions, when we are on the go, we want to be able to rely upon our devices to be charged and functional.


As one who is always striving to green up our family  in all aspects, I was very intrigued by a product I recently heard about from Goal Zero, that offers solar powered battery chargers for your cell phone and other electronic devices!

They offer a Guide 10 Adventure Kit, a solar powered charging device for cell phone, iPods, cameras and GPS units.  Capable of functioning as both a power pack and battery charger, the unit is lightweight and perfectly portable; small enough to fit in our pocket!

That's green power on the go!  The Guide 10 Adventure Kit may well be the solution to my family's need to stay connected.

I am participating in a blog campaign from Bucks2Blog for a portable solar panel company and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are both honest and of my own experience.  Lake & Kayak Images
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