Tsue ~ That's What She Said: December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Speaking Out For #BraveWoman ~ Looking Back, Moving Forward ~ #CBias



Just before I agreed to participate in the Brave Woman campaign, to spread awareness and support women in abusive relationships, I learned that a friend was struggling.  While not the victim herself of domestic abuse, someone very close was in an abusive relationship.

Understandably, she was frustrated, concerned, bewildered, but most importantly, incredibly frightened for the victim.  While I had never been in her shoes, I was filled with sympathy for her plight; wanting desperately to intervene, to protect, to shelter.




Out of compassion, I shared with my story, from what seem like so long ago, another lifetime truly, to help her understand; to help her find a way to help.


My Story
I grew up with privilege, in a small, exclusive community.  Our family dynamics were peculiar - with three sisters, we all grew up to be very strong women, but my father was very rigid.  My home was an extremely stressful environment during most of teenage years, my family not physically or verbally affectionate.  Perhaps for that reason, I had a tendency to form very strong relationships with boyfriends, often spending significant time with their families.  


Although the atmosphere in my home was a bit frigid, there was no physical abuse.  I can recall seeing talk shows, where battered women were guests and not for the life of me understanding why they didn't just leave. 

When I was...a sophomore in college, I met my first "bad boy".  The "adventure" of that was thrilling and opened me up to an entire world I never even knew existed.   Unsure of what I wanted for my future, changing my major several times,  it provided a wonderful distraction from concentrating on what I should have.

The exposure to this one desensitized me to all things that should have left me running scared in the other direction.  As the oldest, I grew up under the greatest amount of restrictions, the least freedom.  I somehow thought I was...beyond my peers in my ability to connect and interact with all kinds of people...seeing what was inside them, as opposed to the way their appearance and actions appeared to the rest of "my world".

Retrospectively, out of my need to feel loved and coddled, I had a tendency, especially post high school, to become involved with "project" boyfriends.  Their need meant they needed me = belonging, self worth = love.  Faulty, true, however, a window into my mindset during that time.

My first husband was devoted to me and pursued me relentlessly, feeding my ego to no end, until I relented and began dating him.  His family was the complete antithesis of my own.  Again, in retrospect, his constant attention, in addition to perpetual plans with his circle of friends served to separate me from my existing friends, as well as pull me farther from my family.  I was warmly welcomed by his close knit group of friends, all couples.  I continued working and attending college full time and within a matter of a few months, we had moved in together, announcing our intended year long engagement.

During this time, he was still totally devoted, things began to change, but slowly, subtly.  His inability to leave me in peace while I tried to study began to negatively affect my classes, as well, his endless need to be the center of my attention.  By this point, I never saw any of my friends; my friends were his friends.  Although, retrospectively, warning signs were present, there was only one incident prior to our wedding that truly scared me.  

In a quarrel, two days before the wedding, after deciding I was finished with the senseless argument, I turned my back to walk away.  My soon-to-be husband grabbed my arm and spun me around, essentially flinging me to the ground.  I remember looking at him with new eyes in that moment, but uneasily pushing aside the internal alarms.  It was, after all, only two days before our wedding.  It must simply be pre-marital jitters.

I was wrong; So very, very wrong.
It was a prelude of what would lie ahead.

Of course, almost immediately after we were married, things got worse.  Looking back, I believe it was a combination of pride and commitment to my marriage that kept me silent.  Not trusting myself, I avoided my family and had long since been isolated from my prior friendships.

Within two months, he quit his job and the full scope of his financial responsibility became painfully clear.  Although I struggled for nearly a year, attending classes and working two jobs to keep up with his never ending needs, my education was eventually abandoned.  As quickly as I earned, he spent, however the money never went towards minor concerns, like rent or utilities, rather for his own personal amusement.

The sweet, affectionate attention was gone, and with it, my sense of worth and self preservation.  The verbal abuse, the process of breaking me down, began almost immediately.; the physical abuse,  six months later. By   that time, I was so broken, I was a empty shell.  I wasn't raised to live this way and I could never tell my parents.  They would have been so disappointed.  I don't think I visited with my family more than twice, despite living within 20 minutes of them, the whole of our marriage 

Out of financial desperation, I asked my parents for some assistance.  While they helped willingly, they said they would rather help us in a way that would have a long term impact.  I talked to my husband about taking some classes at the local community college, to which he readily agreed.  Of course, upon receiving the check from my parents to pay the fees, he decided to only take one class and spend the rest on his latest hobby.

I was devastated, reaching to last of any sense of hope that anything would ever change.  Shaking, I refused to give him the check, the money I had humbled myself to ask my parents for.  The battle that ensued literally brought neighbors out of their houses.  Even so, it wasn't until after he had finished with me, leaving me in such a state physically, but more so, emotionally, that I truly think I could have laid on the floor until I just died, he started hitting the dogs.

His anger seemingly spent, he called to one of the dogs to leave with him, as was his typically pattern.  When the dog only cowered at my side and refused to come to him, his anger returned, full fury.  Only this time, my beloved dogs were the target.

I don't know where I found the strength to even move, but I threw a nightstand at him, ran to the phone and called my father, who called the police and came to me immediately, to bring me home. 

I found out later, my parents had been waiting months for that call. 

Of course, as soon as I was gone, he began calling, and apologizing and swearing everything would change.  However, I was the one in power at that point; a power I had no intention of relinquishing.

I was nothing but a shell.  No emotions, barely any thoughts at all.  I experienced some guilt over my failure in marriage, over my mistake.  I did agree to meet with him, but insisted upon marriage counselling.  I met with the counselor privately for an initial session and told him everything.  His words were few, but they hit home
He may need you, but you don't need him.  You have to do what is best for you.
In the days until our joint meeting, those words kept running through my head.   Likely, because nothing else was.  In our joint session, I let my husband speak first.  I didn't even listen to what he said.  When he was finally done, I turned to him and told him that I wanted a divorce and walked out of the room. 

He called and called for weeks, harassed the counselor, but in the end, he gave up. 
I saw the friends, a couple of the girls in particular from his circle, a few times afterward.  They told me that he was like that with all of his other girlfriends.  When I asked why on earth they didn't tell me, they had no answer.  I never saw them again. 


I am not the same person I was before.  It is harder for me to let people in, to have meaningful, rather than superficial friendships.  Now married to a wonderful man and looking forward to our millionth anniversary in just a few weeks, despite his inherent machismo, as a former Marine, I will always wear the pants in the family.

So long ago, a different life, a different person.
A Brave Woman.



Share your story.  
Speak out,  
Stand Strong.


Brave Woman
Website  

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.#CBias #BraveWoman  The opinions and experiences above are both honest and my own. Images sourced from Brave Woman.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Ultimate Puppy Birthday Cake and Sharing the Puppy Love #ILoveMyk9 #CBias




Our furry son, our Labrador, is truly an important part of our family.  Not ones to discriminate based species, he has enjoyed all the privileges of full member status since is entrance into our home and hearts almost three years ago.




Just as the needs and wants of his two legged siblings dictate family schedules, so do his.

He "owns" a side of the master bedroom bed.  Unfortunately, that leaves either my husband or myself in the less desirable middle, dependent upon who is the slowest in the evenings.

Just like the Teen Diva, there is seemingly no end to his ready supply of conversation topics, whether he has grave concerns over look of a visitor to the neighbors house, or if the toddler from a few houses down the road looks sneaky, riding by the house on his little bike.

With his birthday on New Year's Day, the family is all a frenzy in preparation, to celebrate this important milestone, his third.  After careful consideration, we'll be creating a canine appropriate culinary masterpiece, the Ultimate Pup Birthday Cake.  To accomplish this tasteful feat, in addition to the healthy ingredients from our pantry, a shopping trip to replenish our stores of Pup-erific treats, both for within the cake and as decorative and edible accents.

http://www.facebook.com/CAHSLansing
Beyond giving birthday love to our beloved furry son, we'll be sharing the love to other pups in need of some holiday cheer and comfort.  Each holiday season, with generous monetary gift checks from Grand and Great-Grandparents, we've challenged our children to select a charity to donate a portion of holiday haul, with my husband and I matching their contribution.  This year, their hearts filled with sympathy for less fortunate pups from our volunteer work as local animal shelters, the children have decided to donate to the Capital Area Humane Society.

With giving hearts, we explored the pet department at our local Walmart, looking for just the right toppings to make our furry boy's birthday treat a success, as well as items to make the wait for a loving, forever home, just a big more enjoyable for some pups with plenty of love to give.



With aisles full of all manner of treats and goodies

we were able to find our favorite standard treats,

Milk-Bone®



as well as tremendous savings with on package coupons, allowing us to pick up some new selections in treat lines we already know our boy loves,

Pup-Peroni
in addition to brand new delectable goodies to put to the pup test!

Milo's Kitchen

See all of the tempting treats we found, as well as other great picks from the Walmart Pet Department through our pictorial shopping trip on Google +!

Shopping together for two heartfelt reasons, both our furry boy's birthday surprise, as well as for the lonely pups waiting for their forever homes, was meaningful for the whole family.  Stayed tuned for an upcoming post, in which we'll share our Ultimate Pup Birthcake Recipe, as well as the gift basket we created, overflowing with love and goodies, for the canine residents of the Capital Area Humane Society!

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  The opinions and experiences above are both honest and our own.  Puppy Image.  CAHS Image.  #CBias #ILoveMyk9

Making the Grade ~ Maximizing Online Success

As a relatively new blogger, I often struggle with the overwhelming areas I need to focus upon, to maximize my online success.  Although writing, otherwise known as blathering on, comes naturally, understanding the complex ins and out of internet marketing strategy can be a bit daunting.

Although, when this site first launched, I was blissfully unaware of how deep into SEO, ranking and traffic my blogging would take me, the full scope of my education, or lack thereof , is now painfully evident.  Fortunately, just as I can have the shopping world at my fingertips with a few keystrokes, the same can be said for all the information necessary for running a successful site.  In fact, as daunting as the learning may be, there seems to be no limit to the vast number of sites, claiming to know all the tricks of the trade.

I have found the most peace, by allowing myself the freedom to not be in the know, of every bit and parcel of relevant knowledge, rather take each process a step at a time.  As is true in so much of life, a little knowledge in a large number of areas cannot compare to in depth knowledge in a few.

Perhaps this week, I'll explore the tips and information I can discover from a search engine marketing company, finding the best phrases and word choices to inject in my work.  Even so, in the end, the force that will drive this site, is my passion, through the word, whichever one I may chose.


I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog  for an SEO company and was compensated. The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Keyboard Image.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Growing From A Boy Into A Man ~ Milestones





With my son's birthday looming on the horizon, this Mom is bittersweet about the aging of my youngest.  Now ten but soon to be eleven years old, I am already seeing signs of the man he is, all too quickly, becoming.



Although I know he will carry the characteristics I have so appreciated, from boyhood to manhood, like his giving  heart, his diplomacy and his sense of humor; a very proud mother of him, I will be.  Even so, I have no doubt I'll miss the hugs and snuggling together to watch a movie or read a book, activities that will very likely continue to diminish, as he ages.

Yesterday, I found him in the master bath, the counter strewn with my husband's shaving brushes and shaving soap.  As he peered closely into the mirror, examining the faint shadow that will soon launch him into the realm of  manhood, my heart was, at all once, bursting, yet melancholy.

Finding my son, experimenting and exploring all of my husband's shaving supplies, is not the first sign I have noticed, that this inevitable change is soon coming.  Over the past year, I watched as my son height overtook my own and ruefully learned that I had been put on hug rations - a mother's bane.

As a mother, I do not desire to hold him back from his journey into manhood, rather celebrate his milestones with him, as well as cherish the moments of childhood, before they have all past.

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

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Top Five Last Minute Holiday Shopping Tips - Finishing Up Your List Just In Time



Every holiday season, I vow to myself that I will start earlier for next year.  While I usually let myself down, finding myself yet again shopping for Christmas up until the last minute, I have gleaned some tips and tricks to ease my shopping pain.



1)  Know Your Deadline
Whether the lingering items on your list are many or few, take a few moments to explore online how late your targeted stores are open on Christmas Eve.  While most retailers start closing down between 5 and 6 pm, specialty and small business may shut their doors sooner.  Other retailers, such as Macy's, Kmart, Walgreens, Target and Toys R Us historically stay open later to accommodate straggling and struggling shoppers.

For the 2011 holiday shopping season, most Target locations will be open until 9pm, most Kmart locations and some Toys R US stores until 10pm.  Most 24 hour Walgreens stores will stay open throughout the holiday.  Confirm your local store's holiday hours before you head out, saving you from wasting time and leaving empty handed.

            Check Holiday Hours
Macy's       Target        Walmart       Kmart       Toys R Us      Walgreens

2)  Develop A Plan of Attack
Armed with your list and targeted store closing hours (if you don't have a list - see tip #5 and good luck to you!) develop your strategy for hitting each store, starting with those the close the earliest.  Additionally, you will want to consider travel time, as well as which stores will likely have the most traffic (those that offer general merchandise as well as grocery).  Although I've been hesitant to step foot in the mall, I've often found that the traffic is much more shopper friendly, with shorter lines than at single store locations, enabling me to knock out several items from my list in short time.  

3)  Do Your Research Before You Leave
Checking store stock levels online, as well as comparison searching for features and prices will save you tremendous amounts of time.  When your list is very specific, the last thing you want to discover is that the store is out of your desired item, after you arrive.  Just a few moments online and you'll be able to see who has it, as well as compare prices, leaving you time to alter your shopping game plan as needed.  If a store shows low stock levels, you may want to bump it up in your stop itinerary.

4)  For The Love of Pete, Grocery Shop Ahead of  Time
Nothing will drive the holiday spirit from your person more than trying to grocery shop and gift shop at the same time.  Although the draw of the possibility of killing two birds with one stone may be attractive during other times of the year, stores that allow shopping for both are the busiest during the last hours of the holiday shopping season.  If you find that you need to pick up groceries last minute, make that your first trip, as early in the day as possible, leaving the rest of your day free for stress free gift buying.

5) Conquer Gift Idea Crisis
Whether you are in short supply of great gift ideas or the gift you were hoping to grab is not available, no need to panic.  With retailers already anticipating your querying, simply browsing your favorite stores will inspire your gift giving muse, as all will have no shortage of gift themed displays.  Again, I highly recommend a mall or multi department store, supplying you with the largest variety to meet the most of your needs.  If this is the direction you select, be certain to check targeted retailers online sites, as many will offer special discounts and coupon savings to entice you to spend the last of your holiday shopping dollars with them.

Can't find the all important gift your recipient is hoping for in stock?  Is the present you ordered online delayed in shipping?  While having the actual gift in hand is certainly ideal, printing out a picture of the gift online, and including the anticipated delivery date in a handwritten note will certainly suffice and your recipient will appreciate your efforts.

Bonus Tip:
Most importantly, remembering the reason for the season will help you to put your last minute shopping into perspective and de stress your shopping adventure.  What to do for those on your list that have everything?  A donation to a local charity in their name is a wonderful way to both give, as well as give back.

What are your tried and true holiday shopping survival tips?
Share them with me in a comment below, I'd love to know!

 The opinions above are both honest and of my own experience.   Gift Image

The Low Down on the Hoe Down: Gaming Expert Review Country Dance 2 for Wii

What He Said - 
Insights from the That's What She Said Gaming Expert:

Admittedly, my crew is more Hip Hop than Hoe Down, but our Gaming Expert is up to any game review challenge.  For expert insight, he took our copy of Country Dance 2 on a recent visit to see his cousins in Alabama to see just what these country kids thought.

Hey, y'all! These are all great songs!
With a huge list of music selections from top country artists, this second version of Country Dance for Wii is top of the charts.  Artists featured include: Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Billy Currington, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Montgomery Gentry, just to name a few!

We need to start on the lower level so y'all can follow along (sigh).
With big doses of patience, the cousins helped my children get their virtual boots wet for a boot-stomping good time.  Fortunately, multiple skill levels gave them a fighting chance to keep up.



With thirty top County chart hits, as well as multiple selections, such as freeze dance, sing along and even a calorie counting exercise mode for burning while you are churning up the dance floor.  Country Dance 2 allows for multiple dancers with up to four dancers, as well as special duet mode with individual choreography for both partners!



Said to my sixteen year old, "Let's try the dance off.  You can dance with my little brother (age 5)!"

Solo dancing, group line dancing and even dance off duels make Country Dance 2 a rollicking good time for the whole family!  (You can just imagine the fun, with eight cousins, ranging in ages from five to sixteen, many of whom were city slickers!)

Widely available, you can easily pick up a copy of Country Dance 2 for Wii from Walmart, Target, Best Buy, or Amazon for around $39.99.

Overall Rating:
Big Thumbs Up
Levels: Many modes to choose from
Challenge: Multiple skill levels
Rated: E10+
Comment:  Great for Country Music Fans

I received a review copy of Country Dance 2 for Wii to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions and experiences above are both honest and our own.  Images sourced from Country Dance 2 and Game Mill Entertainment.

From the Game Expert: DaGeDar for DS Game Review

What He Said - 
Insights from That's What She Said Gaming Expert



If you are on the hunt for a new game this season for your Nintendo DS player, DaGeDar is the way to go!  DaGeDar is a name well known by kids all of ages and offers fast paced excitement and multi levels of challenges, to meet the demands of any age range.




              Its fun.  Its fast.  Its awesome!

 Begin by choosing your character, which is always a fun way to start and make the game your own.   With over thirty racing tracks to compete on and up to 100 balls to collect, the challenge never ends.
I like that this game has so many levels and balls to collect.  Games that keep challenging you and take a long time to beat are the best.
This game can be played solo or you can hook up with friends to take the DaGeDar challenges to a whole new racing level with the single card download option that is included.
Its fun to race my friends and see how we do, but I like to practice on my own before I do that!

I really like the fact that all the balls have different abilities; it makes the game more interesting.  They have Attack, Acceleration, Top Speed and Defense modes.  
DaGeDar for DS is available for $19.99 at most major retailers, including Walmart, Target, Game Stop, Best Buy and Amazon!  A quick solution for your gifting need!

I love to collect things and this games lets me collect the balls and battle the evil spirits!

Overall rating:
Big Thumbs Up!
Action: High
Challenge: High
Most Like: Sonic
Rated: E for Everyone


DaGeDar for DS - highly recommended by our gaming expert and an easy gift solution for your gaming gift recipient! 

I received a review copy of DaGeDar for DS to explore for the purposes of creating this review.  The opinions and experiences above are both honest and our own.  Images sourced from Game Mills Entertainment.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Puzzling A Last Minute Gift? Put A Spin On Their Holiday With Perplexus #Giveaway



Looking for a great last minute family gift?

Have you  been searching for a fun activity to help bring everyone together in a fun and challenging way during family time?




Award winning PlaSmartToys, the makers of the Plasma Car, offer a fantastic family maze game that is sure to leave your family challenge, as well as entertained.  With different maze games for varying levels of difficulty, the Perplexus is an excellent choice for this holiday season, any gift giving occasion or just because.

Inspired by 3D design teacher, Michael McGuiness, Perplexus has undergone decades of development, from  its origin as a 3D art project to realization and  introduction at the 2009 New York Fair by PlaSmart, in conjunction with Busy Life, LLC.

Original Perplexus
What On Earth Is Perplexus?
PERPLEXUS is a maze game where players maneuver a small marble around challenging barriers inside a transparent sphere. Unlike traditional flat-surface mazes that are composed of one path, PERPLEXUS houses various challenging tracks with 100 barriers providing a frustrating three-dimensional experience. Players select the track they would like to attempt and must work with gravity to carefully shift, flip, and twist the sphere to guide the marble. Players can race each other or the clock.

Perplexus Rookie
Plasmart Toys offers three levels of Perplexus fun:

The Original, shown above, is eight inches in diameter, is rated for ages six and up, with a challenging track length of twenty three feet! Difficulty level rating of the Original Perplexus is six..

The Rookie, shown on right, is rated for ages four and up, is seven inches in diameter, has 70 challenging barriers, with a difficulty rating of three.




For the ultimate family challenge, daring Perplexus masters will want to tackle the Perplexus Epic, shown below.    With a diameter of 8.5 inches, 125 challenge barriers, this ultimate Perplexus puzzle has a difficulty rating of 8 and is suggested for ages eight and up.
Perplexus Epic

PERPLEXUS assists in child development allowing children to exercise their motor and dexterity skills, as well as improve their hand-eye coordination. Its small size makes it easily portable. No batteries required.
View From The Crew

My family put the Original Perplexus to the test and we are hooked!  As a group, we are enjoying exploring the challenge barriers, encouraging each other on to new levels of accomplishment, as well as enjoying spending fun time together.  While its all in good fun, admittedly, there is a bit of a competition going on among the crew, with my 10 yr old son well in the lead!  As we experiment and improve our techniques, sharing in each others accomplishments, as well as minor setbacks, each member of the crew is looking forward to mastering the Original Perplexus and moving on to the increased challenge of the Epic Perplexus!


***VOTE FOR PERPLEXUS - 
EDUCATIONAL TOY OF THE YEAR
and SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY***
Perplexus is currently nominated for Educational Toy of the Year, 2011, in the TOTY Awards.  The crew of That's What She Said is beyond taken with both the ingenious design, as well as the hours of fun we've had with the Original Perplexus and have cast our vote!

Along with PlaSmart Toys, we invite you to cast your vote, as well as participate in an opportunity to enter weekly giveaway to win your own Perplexus Puzzle!   Stop by PlaSmart Perplexus on Facebook, please consider voting and register for the celebratory Day of Giveaways if PlaSmart Perplexus wins, as well as weekly fan giveaways up to January 15th!   Voting is quick and easy, simply:
  •     Go to 12th Annual Toy of the Year Awards
  •        Select Perplexus
  •        Click Submit My Vote at the bottom
  •       Register your information to complete your vote.
  •    Go to Perplexus Facebook to register for Perplexus Fan Appreciation
The voting ends on Janaury 10, 2012, with TOTY award winners announced in February.  Stayed tuned to PlaSmart Perplexus on Facebook for updates!


***THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID GIVEAWAY***
PlaSmart is generously offering That's What She Said readers a chance to win an Original Perplexus!

This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada, 18+ and will end on Sunday, January 22, 2012 at midnight, EST.  The winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries and notified by email.  The winner will have 48 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.

***MANDATORY ENTRY***
Please visit the Perplexus site and explore.  Come back and tell me in a comment what intrigues you about the Perplexus Maze Games or something you learned.


***BONUS ENTRIES***
* Like Perplexus on Facebook, leave comment with your facebook name, 2 entries

* Vote for Perplexus in the 2012 TOTY Awards for Best Educational Game, leave comment with applicable name, 3 entries.

* Like That's What She Said on Facebook, leave comment with your facebook name, 2 entries

* Follow Perplexus on Twitter,  leave comment with your Twitter name, 1 entry

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

* Tweet about this contest.  Limit of 3 tweets per day, at least an hour apart,  for 1 entry each.  Leave link to your tweet in your comment.
Please use:

I'm entered to #win an Original 3D Maze Game from @Perplexus & @PlaSmart! @tsue1136 #giveaway #toys #family 
http://bit.ly/t75YAa

* Follow That's What She Said on Google +, leave comment with G+ name, 2 entries

* Share this giveaway in some other fashion, anything goes: Blog it, Post to your Facebook, Stumble, Digg, Technorati, post to giveaway linky!  Leave a link to your sharing in your comment.  Handy share button at bottom of post.  5 entries per each way you share!

* Subscribe to That's What She Said via email subscription (left sidebar) or RSS Feed, leave comment with applicable name, 1 entry per method.

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

* Follow That's What She Said on Stumble Upon, leave comment with Stumble name, 1 entry.

* Follow That's What She Said on Pinterest, leave comment with Pinterest name, 2 entries.

* Like That's What She Said?  Review us on Alexa and leave your applicable name in your comment, 3 entries.

This giveaway is closed.  

Congrats to Erin, comment #167, courtesy of Random.org!


On behalf of PlaSmart and That's What She Said, thank you to all entrants for participating and following.  You are appreciated!



I was provided with an Original Perplexus  to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experience.  Images sourced from various Perplexus  sites.  Facebook is not involved in, nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion.  Sponsor is both supplying prize and responsible for shipping.

Adding the WowWee Factor To Kids Holiday Gifts ~ Lite Sprites, Paper Jamz and Light Strike

The Christmas countdown is well under way, but if your family is anything like mine, the season of family gatherings and gift giving extends well beyond December 25th!  With multiple destinations, with various friends and family, we enjoy flying wrapping paper and smiles all around, even into January.






While we always try to complete our holiday shopping before the melee, invariably we find ourselves pacing our shopping, selecting gifts for the earliest scheduled gathering first.  This year, our giving events are stacked fairly tightly; we'll be shopping straight through the end of the year!

One of the benefits of staggered shopping, as well as staggered giving,  is the chance to get an inside look at what sets kids eyes sparkling, as well as the gifts that just don't seem to make the mark.

With insight from my in house toy expert, as well as my observations thus far this season, read on to find some of the hottest toys on the market for 2011 from WowWee to ease the pain of your last minute shopping!

Lite Sprites
Eye Sparkle Factor: Lit a licious


Recently having an opportunity to donate a collection of Lite Sprites and Litopia accessories to a well deserving four year old girl, the sparkle factor was rated off the charts!





I've been waiting my whole life for Lite Sprites!

With a collection of five color themed Lite Sprites, as well as a full line of lite-i-licious accessories, the rainbow's the limit for imaginative play.  With an adventurous story, complete with a mission as well as a villianess, each Lite Sprite has a special skill in spreading lite throughout Litopia.

With use of the Lite Wand, children can get in on the action, helping the sprites keep Litopia glowing and spreading lite love to everyone.  Interactive possibilities are endless, as your little sprite can use the Lite Wand's stored colors to share or "grab" up to forty additional colors for the Lite Wand library from virtually anywhere in your home.




Paper Jamz
Eye Sparkle Factor: Rockin'




My ten year old son and his friends have been jamming out with Paper Jams guitars since my son received his first pair last Christmas.  These young rock stars are certainly a sight to behold when the rockin' muse takes hold.

While we are intimately (and audibly) familiar with the Paper Jamz guitars, I was surprised to discover that Paper Jamz has a new collection, Paper Jamz Pro!  With revved up effects and functions, your rock star in the making with flip when presented with the latest musical offerings in the Paper Jamz line up.

With all the features of the original Paper Jamz guitars, but with added flexibility, musical control, in addition to the ability to download songs to your Paper Jamz Pro components, your young musicians jam sessions will reach new heights of stardom.

Paper Jamz Pro Series Offerings:

  • Paper Jamz Pro Guitar
  • Paper Jamz Pro Drum
  • Paper Jamz Justin Bieber Keyboard
  • Paper Jamz Pro Microphone
  • Paper Jamz Amp


With increased musical flexibility for your rock star to express himself and many of the products offerings multiple designs and styles to chose from, Paper Jamz Pro Series is a excellent choice for under the tree or any gift giving occasion.




Light Strike
Eye Sparkle Factor: Out Of This World
Among my son and his friends local destinations is the local laser tag arcade.  For adventure filled with strategy, stealth and good times, they love to experience live video game type action in a safe environment.  The line of Light Strike products allows users to experience the fun of laser tag at home, adding flexibility and boundless possibilities to their battles.


With the ability to pit up to four teams in a fierce laser battle, the Light Strike collection offers all the accessories your warrior needs to defeat the bad guys, as well as secure the zone, including two different laser Light Strike models, Enemy Scanner to give his team an advantage, and Light Strike Scope to hone in on the opposing team.
Add extra challenge and change up the game with the addition of the Light Strike Intelligence Targeting System, a fully interactive component that will keep the competing teams on their toes!





Add the WowWee Factor to your Holiday Gift Giving
While you can find WowWee Products in person numerous mass retailers, such as Kmart and Walmart,
That's What She Said readers can enjoy a 10% discount when they buy directly from the WowWee Toy Shop and use code: blogpromo1 at checkout!  If you are still seeking the ultimate in kids holiday gifts or your child has holiday money burning a hole in their pocket, take advantage of the code until December 31, 2011, as well as free shipping on orders over $70!

What are the top gift picks this year on your list?
Did you find them in person or online?
Did you have difficulty finding them?
Tell me about your holiday shopping experiences in a comment below: I'd love to know!

I received WowWee products to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images and information sourced from various WowWee sites.  Gift Image.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dragons and Unicorns and More, Oh, My! Spark Their Imagination with Safari LTD Museum Quality Creative Toys #Giveaway

There's no denying that kids of all ages love figurines.  Whether their passion is dinosaurs, horses, dragons or mythological creatures, figurines provide an outlet for creative play and inspire learning.


When my daughter was younger, her obsession was in collecting cat figurines and segued into horses and fantasy figures; for my son, dinosaurs, dragons, as well as  sharks and other sea creatures have been all the rage.


These durable, plastic playmates knew no end of varying adventures, accompanying the children on all manner of adventures, from complex scenes played out all over the house, to the bath and beach, to the yard and sandbox.



This Mom always appreciated the durability of these toys, as well as how easy it was to clean them up, with a rinse in the sink.  Exploring their individual and common qualities often led to questions, prompting educational  research and investigation.




Treasured, shared, collected and, often slept with, these figures, both in miniature sizes as well as larger display sizes have provided hours of entertainment, imaginative play and creative inspiration.

Safari LTD offers a massive selection of all manner of desirable figurines that is nothing less than impressive.  From their special line of Toob minatures collections, like this Rainforest Toob


to collections of larger figurines, such as Mythological Creatures,






With most individual figures retailing at $15.99 or less, and even the Mega Toob collections available for only $19.99, Safari LTD offers an inexpensive way to help your child expand their imaginary play world affordably.  Lend a hand to the learning and avail yourself to the educational information found on the Safari LTD website!


Order Imagination from Safari LTD
Order directly from Safari LTD and enjoy free shipping on all orders over $50 or take advantage of their In Store Pickup option with free shipping!

Get your order fast, with no shipping fees!

Just select In-Store Pickup at checkout. If a store near you has your items in stock, they'll set them aside. We'll tell you where your order is and you can go pick it up. It's that simple. 
In-Store Pickup is powered by Shopatron to ensure safe and secure order processing. Every order is backed by Shopatron's $20 In-Store Pickup Guarantee. 

Safari LTD is a Green company, so you can feel good about your purchase, knowing it is sourced through sustainable business practices.  Perfect for the holidays, for stocking stuffers, for birthdays or simply for encouraging creative play, Safari LTD offers a collection full of creatures and figures your child will treasure.

***GIVEAWAY***
Safari LTD is generously offering That's What She Said readers a chance to win a collection of Mythical Realms figures!  This collection includes: Unicorn, Pegasus, Mermaid and Poseidon (value $37.96)!

This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada, 18+ and will end on Sunday, January 22, 2012 at midnight, EST.  The winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries and notified by email.  The winner will have 48 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.


***MANDATORY ENTRY***
Please visit the Safari LTD site and explore.  Come back and tell me in a comment which collection or figure you find most intriguing.  Also share with me who you would give the Mythical Realms Collection to if you won and why.


***BONUS ENTRIES***
* Like Safari LTD on Facebook , leave comment with your facebook name, 2 entries
Feel free to tell them which rugs you love on their wall; they love to hear from you!

* Like That's What She Said on Facebook, leave comment with your facebook name, 2 entries

* Follow Safari LTD on Twitter,  leave comment with your Twitter name, 1 entry

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

* Tweet about this contest.  Limit of 3 tweets per day for 1 entry each.  Leave link to your tweet in your comment.
Please use:

I'm entered to #win a Mythical Realm Collection from @SafariLTD! @tsue1136 #giveaway #toys 
http://bit.ly/uYU1DU

* Follow That's What She Said on Google +, leave comment with G+ name, 2 entries

* Share this giveaway in some other fashion, anything goes: Blog it, Post to your Facebook, Stumble, Digg, Technorati, post to giveaway linky!  Leave a link to your sharing in your comment.  Handy share button at bottom of post.  5 entries per each way you share!

* Subscribe to That's What She Said via email subscription (left sidebar) or RSS Feed, leave comment with applicable name, 1 entry per method.

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

* Follow That's What She Said on Stumble Upon, leave comment with Stumble name, 1 entry.

* Like That's What She Said?  Review us on Alexa and leave your applicable name in your comment, 3 entries.


This giveaway is closed.  

Congratulations to Valerie, comment #110, courtesy of Random.org!

On behalf of Safari LTD and That's What She Said, thank you to all entrants for participating and following.  You are appreciated.

I was provided with Safari LTD figures to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experience.  Images sourced from various Safari LTD sites.  Facebook is not involved in, nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Must Have Fab Alert ~ Samsung Galaxy Nexus with Verizon 4G

Thought you were up to date in the mobile tech department?

Thought you were finished with your holiday shopping?

Think again.

Samsung and Verizon have just launced the latest in their collection of light speed 4G LTE smart phones, with the introduction of the Galaxy Nexus.


First Smartphone to Combine Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and the
Power of America’s Fastest, Most Reliable 4G Network
While I am intimately familiar with the Android Honeycomb operating system and have been dazzled by increased communication and connection capacities it provides, as compared to my less than bright Reclaim, I simply cannot wait to test the revved up Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich capacities.


What does the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich system offer?  
The moon and the stars!

While we'll be personally exploring the features of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich offerings in greater detail in the future, I'll simply tempt your techy taste buds with a peek at some of the fabulous highlights.

  • Face Unlock - open your phone by looking at it!
  • Android Beam - quickly share Web pages, apps, contacts and YouTube videos with friends by simply tapping two compatible phones together.
  • Improved Camera Capabilities - with no shutter lag, this unit offers panorama mode, 1080p video capture, as well as the ability to edit in special effects.
  • Enhanced Contact Connections - stay up to date with the latest from your contacts, as you view their statuses on multiple social media networks in one convenient location.



It simply goes without mentioning that as soon as the teen diva's radar divines the presence of this techy treasure, it will become her new must have mission; she will be bonding with this device on a cosmic level.

Fortunately, Verizon is Mom Friendly, offering this latest techy marvel for $299.99, with Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plans starting at $39.99 monthly access and a smartphone data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data.   Although, savvy mobile shoppers will want to take advantage of the data sale offered by Verizon this season.  When you purchase a smart phone from Verizon, you can double your data for the same price!  In the words of the teen diva, "Winning!".


Take advantage of the special pricing and service agreements available this season at Verizon and explore this phenomenal mobile device at a Verizon store near you!
Learn more at Verizon.com
Thank you to Verizon of Michigan for this introduction.  I am provided with Verizon products to explore for the purposes of creating relevant features.  Images and information sourced from Verizon or its representatives.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.
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