Christmas Movie Giveaway!

UPDATE: And the winner is .......

Comment #1 ... Amy!!! Congratulations - you've got some movies coming your way!
And if you're not Amy, don't despair, because I have some good giveaways coming up. Including something for the bedroom ... and I don't mean a nice bedside lamp. *wink wink*

When I was little, like a hundred years ago (it might have been closer to thirty, but who's counting?), the Christmas specials on TV were nearly as exciting as Christmas itself. My family and I would fix popcorn and hot cocoa, and cuddle up together on the couch in the glow of the tree lights, and then my dad would take off his jacket and shoes and change into a cardigan ...

 ... oh wait, no, that was Mr. Rogers. Sorry.

Seriously, though, I've always loved me some Christmas movies. And now it's fun to share them with my own kids. Who doesn't have fantastic memories of the Grinch or the Peanuts characters? If you're like me, and love all the classics, do I have a giveaway for you! (With the help of Warner Bros. and PartnersHub, of course.) ONE lucky winner will receive a Blu-ray disc of either the Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection, Classic Christmas Favorites, or Dr. Seuss's Deluxe Holiday Collection! (You don't get to choose which you get, but trust me, they're all awesome.)

All you gotta do is check out this fun little widget ...



Take the Holiday Movie Challenge (scroll down to the bottom of the widget, because my little old blog wasn't big enough to accommodate the entire thing), then leave a comment here with your result. And that's it! You're entered! For an extra entry, you can tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #WBHoliday.

This is a SUPER short-notice giveaway, so you've got like two days - the winner will be randomly chosen on Thursday, December 20th, so get to entering!

UPDATED: NeoCell Blueberry Liquid Giveaway!

Okay y'all ... as much as I wish I could just give a bottle to each of you who entered (and if I were independently wealthy, I totally would) ... I had to pick just one winner. So with the help of Random.org, that lucky winner is ...


Commenter #1 ... TRACY!!!! Yay!!!!

If you didn't win, don't despair ... I've got another giveaway coming up next week. And here's a hint: it's for adults only. Teehee!!!







My face is looking kinda old, y'all.

I think I've blogged before about the lines running across my forehead. They look like I once got into an altercation with some forehead-slashing maniac and now I have scars. I swear I must walk around looking perpetually surprised, judging by the deepness of the creases.

So when a company called NeoCell contacted me and asked if I'd like to review their nutricosmetics - nutritional supplements designed to enhance beauty - you know I was excited. Because the product I chose to review, Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid, is said to help plump up fine lines and stuff. Awww yeeaaah. "Hyaluronic Acid (HA), also known as nature's moisturizer," said the information, "controls tissue hydration and water transport in the body. This helps support the appearance of smooth, supple skin."

Count me in!

The Blueberry HA supplement is a liquid, and you take one Tablespoon per day, either by itself or mixed with a beverage. Personally I really like the flavor (it reminded me a bit of prune juice, but in a good way), so I just took it by itself. It's not thick or gritty or anything - just smooth like regular juice - so it went down easily. I kept it in the fridge and took it first thing every morning, without fail.


Within a couple of weeks, I noticed something that totally surprised me. Not that my wrinkly forehead was as smooth as a baby's bottom - but that I was less creaky and sore after my workouts! Crazy! I hadn't even noticed before that my joints were all stressed out after exercising, but they felt so much better. Another weird thing? I swear my eyes felt less dry and my contacts didn't irritate me as much (usually after wearing them all day I feel like I've got sandpaper eyelids).

I noticed only a minimal difference in my skin ... it may have looked a little more luminous, but not too different overall. HOWEVER, I did do some independent research on Hyaluronic Acid supplements just out of curiosity (and to, you know, make sure it wasn't going to make me grow a mustache or anything) and there are tons of people out there who SWEAR by it as a beauty treatment and say nothing has ever made their skin look better. So I figure that either a.) I need to take it longer to notice a significant difference in my skin, or b.) it works better on joints for some people, skin for others. Who knows?

Either way, it's a good product and I'd definitely recommend it if you're into supplements (especially if you're pretty physically active). And you're in luck, because NeoCell has agreed to give away a bottle of their finest Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry Liquid to one lucky reader! Woohoooo!

Just follow NeoCell on Twitter OR "Like" them on Facebook and then let me know in a comment below. I'll randomly choose a winner on Wednesday, October 10th! Good luck, y'all!






Review: Photo-Canvas

I have approximately two bazillion pictures of my kids. Problem is, they're all on CDs or hard drives or in Facebook albums or something. Up until a few weeks ago, I had literally zero photos of my children hanging on my walls, despite all the cute photo frame arrangements I'm incessantly pinning on Pinterest (follow me?).

It's partially because my boys sometimes double as human wrecking balls. We had these nice family portraits taken once in like 2008, and they were once hanging in proper frames ... until Cameron thumped into the wall especially hard and knocked them down, and broke every. Single. Frame. So I figured until someone creates cute frames out of, like, rubber ... there's no use hanging any on my walls.

But then I was contacted by the kind people at Photo-Canvas.

They asked me if I wanted to review one of their photo canvases and I was all, "Duh!" (Okay, perhaps I was slightly more professional in my response, but that was my general feeling.)

From start to finish, my biggest problem was choosing which fabulous picture of my boys to immortalize on a canvas. Because I have so many gems ... like this one, for instance:

That brown blur tormenting Curtis is Josie, our chocolate Lab. And yes: the boys are indeed naked.

Finally I decided which photo to use: a picture I'd taken of my three oldest boys in the spring, where all of them are miraculously looking at the camera. I tweaked it with a free photo-editing website (I think it was picmonkey.com, one of my favorites) to make it mostly black and white. And then I began the process of getting it made into a canvas.

And y'all? It was so ridiculously simple. Literally all I did was upload the picture to the Photo-Canvas website and enter my shipping info. That's it! Of course, if you want to do something special with your canvas - like make it all pop-art a la Andy Warhol - you can do that right on the site. They have a bunch of cool "tweaking options." But since my image was pre-tweaked, I didn't have to do much at all.

I got an instant confirmation of my order via email. Since Photo-Canvas is UK-based, I figured it would take a while for my canvas to get here ... so imagine my surprise when it showed up in like three or four days! I was floored. 

Thanks to Photo-Canvas, my wall now looks like this:


Isn't that awesome? I love my canvas! And the best part is, there's no way my destructive little heathens Cameron can destroy it. It doesn't scratch and it won't shatter or break like a picture frame can. The print quality is fabulous, the wooden frame is durable (and made of laminated pine from a renewable, sustainable farm partner - woot!) and it even comes with special wedges that can help keep the canvas stretched tightly over the frame as the years go by.

So even when they're annoying me as teenagers, I'll still have a perfectly-preserved reminder of how cute they used to be.








Dove Nourishing Oil Care Conditioner Review

Nobody would ever invite me to be in a shampoo commercial. Because unless I do a ton of stuff with it, my hair naturally looks like this:


This picture is like three years old (I was approximately sixteen months pregnant with Coby when it was taken), but unfortunately I've still got the same frizzy mess going on. It's big, it's dry, it's like somebody roughed it up with some steel wool. There are some products and tools that help - I don't know what I'd do without my flat iron - but it takes some heavy-duty bidness to tame this beast. And there begins a vicious cycle: the tools and stuff I have to use can sometimes do more damage, making my hair worse, requiring the use of more damaging stuff.

Plus, it's summer. And we won't even talk about the ugly things humidity does to a pre-existing 'fro like mine.

So I have to admit that when I was asked to review Dove Nourishing Oil Care Conditioner, I was more than skeptical. In fact, I was 100% positive that it'd be just another product that failed to smooth my Brillo-pad hair. I mean, that's just the norm for me. And I've been disappointed in salon conditioners that I paid out the nose for ... so I wasn't expecting big things from a drugstore brand. 

But I promised I'd review it, so I did my good-blogger duty and gave it a whirl. Even though I knew it wouldn't work. Its texture did nothing to squelch my skepticism: I thought it'd be a thick, rich cream - like most frizz-fighting conditioners are - but it was much thinner than I expected. (Because of that, I probably gooped it on a little heavy.) I shouldn't have been surprised, since the bottle was touting its "Weightless Nutri-Oils. I liked the smell, which wasn't overpowering like some conditioners. 

I didn't have much time to leave it on because I heard a ruckus beyond the shower curtain. Having four boys, a ruckus beyond the shower curtain is never good news. So it was probably only on my hair for, like, a minute (as opposed to the ten or fifteen minutes that I usually try to "marinate" my hair in conditioner to get it to behave). Inadequate conditioning time: just another reason why I was sure it'd be ineffective.

But then? I noticed something. Usually, even my wet hair is frizzy - there are little curly, fuzzy strands popping up all over the top of my head. But they were conspicuously absent. Hmmmm.

I still wasn't convinced it had worked, so I blow-dried my hair. And I was floored. Floored, y'all. After blow-drying it, which usually makes it worse, my hair was nearly as smooth as it usually is after I've flat-ironed it. I seriously couldn't believe it. And this was after only one (quick) use.

So then I used the flat iron, as usual. My hair is always much smoother after that, but this time it was tons softer and shinier AND NO ANNOYING LITTLE FLYAWAY BABY HAIRS STICKING OUT ON TOP! (Yes, that totally deserved all-caps because anyone with bad hair knows how amazing this is.) Check it out:


Is that seriously what I look like?

Anyway ...

Consider me completely impressed. For real. I liked it so much that I went out and bought a bottle of the Dove Nourishing Oil Shampoo, too ... so they can do their thang as a team. Soft shiny frizz-less hair FTW!!!

Now: want a sweet coupon AND a chance to win a thousand bucks worth of spa-treatment goodness?? Then read on, people. Read on.

Enter to win a $1,000 Spafinder gift certificate!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY

COMMENTS TO THIS POST ARE NOT SWEEPSTAKES ENTRIES. PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR ENTRY METHODS FOR THIS SWEEPSTAKES.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt ( .... which is, "What is the most annoying thing about your hair?")

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 9/4/2012 - 9/30/2012

Be sure to visit Dove®Hair.com to get a coupon for $1.50 off Dove Hair Therapy products.

Simply Swim Giveaway!

UPDATED: The winner of the giveaway, according to the ever-impartial Random.org, is comment #7:


Which means that The Weiders is our winner! Congratulations - you'll be receiving a special email shortly! :) And to everyone who didn't win ... don't worry, I'll have more giveaways coming soon!




Raise your hand if bathing suit shopping scares you!

*hand raised*

*other hand raised*

The last time I wore a swimsuit was, like, 2008. And that was only because I went to Cancun and had no choice. (I stayed in the water practically the whole time so I wouldn't ruin anyone's vacation with a view of the ample junk in my Spandex-clad trunk. Thank goodness for the swim-up bar). I bought the suit just for the occasion, at a department store where my choices were black, black, purple and black, or bikini.

But maybe if I had shopped for my suit at a place with a really big - no, huge - selection, I'd have been happier with it. And because I want you all to be happy - and because swimsuit season is in full swing - and because swimwear supersite Simply Swim is so extremely generous - we're teaming up to offer one lucky reader a £50 voucher! That's right: someone will receive £50 (which is somewhat in the ballpark of like $77, for anyone who's curious) to spend at Simply Swim.

Simply Swim - Speedo swimwear! One-pieces! Tankinis! Bikinis! Body shaping! Maternity! They've even got swimsuits with legs, y'all.


(Although if my bod permitted it, I would totally choose this cute little number):



And for those of you who still aren't into the pool scene? There's swimwear for the rest of the family, too. The dudes, the kids, even the babies. Or there are goggles. Or swim caps. Or those crazy aqua-sock thingies. And a whole plethora of other swimming equipment. Basically anything you'd ever need when entering a pool. EVER. Heck, with your £50 voucher, you can pick up a couple of things!

Here's what you can do to enter: visit SimplySwim.com and leave a comment telling me what you'd choose if you win (and your email address, so you can get your code!). Then either like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. That's it! You're all set to dominate the pool for the rest of the summer! I'll randomly select a winner next Monday, July 23rd.

Aaaaaand go!



eShakti Clothing Giveaway!

UPDATE: I was going to wait until the morning of June 1st to choose a winner, but I'm kinda gonna be, like, in labor and stuff. So I figure the evening of May 31st will suffice. Anyway, according to Random.org, the big eShakti giveaway winner is .........


Commentor #16 ... Clair! YAY CLAIR!!! 

I can't find your email address, so hit me up at ritatempleton(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll get your info. And if I don't hear from Clair in, say, three days or so ... I'll choose another winner.

Thanks for playing, everybody! More giveaways coming soon! :)



I'm tallish, for a girl - 5'8" to be exact. With small boobs and a short torso. And hips that, given too much chocolate, are prone to looking like I'm smuggling two hams in my pants. So sometimes, clothes just fit me weird. Even stuff that looks cute on somebody else looks a little too short on me - or a little too tight in the hips - or a little too roomy in the chest (damn you, genetics!).

If you can sympathize, check this out: imagine a place where you could not only find cute, trendy clothing - but then get it custom-sized to fit your exact body, as though it were tailored specifically for you. And then take that one step further and change the design if you want: say you like this certain dress, but sleeveless is scary? Then slap some sleeves on that sucka. Too short for your liking? Take it below the knee! Less shaving that way!

That's exactly what eShakti.com women's clothing can do for you. Choose from their huge selection of adorable, fashionable stuff and then customize the crap out of it! You'll get exactly what you want, in exactly the right size, and look great all the time. And then you can thank me by sending huge monetary donations my way. Right?

... Right?

Ahem.

Anyway, if this all sounds good to you, it just might be your lucky day. One winner will get to choose anything she wants from the eShakti site (except for the Overstock and Accessories sections) for free! It is as awesome as awesome gets. You'll have until June 1st to enter - and all you have to do is:

- Visit the eShakti website and leave a comment here, telling me what you'd choose if you won, and

- Follow eShakti on Facebook and Pinterest

Then you can win something super-cute, like this:







So get to visiting and following, and then let me know here in the comments section! The winner will  be randomly chosen on June 1st. Good luck y'all!

Glasses USA: "Spec"-Tacular!

I can't see. Like, at all. Rob me of my corrective eyewear, and I turn from a graceful, gliding swan into a chicken with its head cut off. (Okay, so maybe "graceful" and "gliding" aren't the best descriptions, but you get the idea.)

Here I am in various photos with various eyeglasses frames:

Oooh-weee-oooh I look just like Buddy Holly ... 
that's a Green Day reference for anyone unfamiliar.

Typical picture of the boys ... but hey, don't my specs look spec-tacular?

I've worn glasses since I was in the fifth grade. Before that, I had perfect eyesight. So how does one go from 20/20 vision to blind-as-a-bat in the blink of an eye, so to speak? Well, let me tell you the embarrassing true story.

I ruined my own eyesight. On purpose.

I'll let that sink in for a minute, for those of you who thought I was a smart girl. 

......................

When I was eleven, I really reeeeeeally wanted glasses. But it didn't for a moment cross my mind that I could get, you know, non-prescription ones. Oh no. I thought that there was only one way to get them: to fail my eyesight test at school. And that's exactly what I did. I blurred my eyes and pretended I couldn't see. I was stupidly overjoyed when I brought home the "failure letter" for my parents to read, my ticket to glasses-town. 

So like any good mother, she took me to the eye doctor. And like any moronic eleven-year-old who is determined to have glasses, I failed the test. (To this day, I can't imagine how I was that convincing.) Anyway, I got what I asked for. Glasses. 

I couldn't see out of them, of course, but I wore them anyway. And gradually, my perfect eyes adjusted until they could see out of the glasses. But that meant I could no longer see without them. After a few months, I was over the whole "glasses" thing, but alas, my eyesight had other plans for me. And here I am, *coughcough* years old, still wearing them. Ah, the irony.

Anyway, between glasses and contacts, I spend a lot on my precious peepers. So when GlassesUSA.com contacted me, I was interested to check them out. I don't do sponsored posts unless I really and genuinely believe in the service or product they're offering - but I dig GlassesUSA's perks: great-quality frames and lenses, a 110% lowest-price guarantee, a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and a sweet refer-a-friend program. Plus you can buy your glasses online so you never have to get out of your pajamas - and try out your new look before you buy with their super-fun Virtual Mirror!

If you're cheap thrifty like me, you'll love this: right now you can take 50% off any pair of prescription eyeglasses or sunglass frames, with FREE shipping! Just use the code SPRING50FS. And if you use the code BLOG10, you get 10% off any order of prescription glasses. 'Cause y'all know I wouldn't do this without a little somethin' somethin' in it for you. 

So what are you waiting for? Take a look at GlassesUSA.com and get your eyewear savings on!

   

  

Need College Textbooks? Check This Out ...


Back in the day, like before Colin was born, I used to write a regular website column about how to save money on college expenses. Because y'all? I've always been cheap frugal. Especially about stuff that's no fun to spend my hard-earned dough on, like college textbooks. I mean, you wouldn't even spend that much buying the entire Twilight series so it isn't cool to spend it on something you probably won't even enjoy reading. I know I wanted to just throw my textbooks out the window, most of the time.

Whether you're an actual young just-out-of-high-school college student on a Ramen-noodle and beer budget (or the parent of one) or an actual adult returning to college after a years-long hiatus, books are expensive any way you slice it. And in writing my column, I've researched all the options, like online booksellers, buying used, begging on bulletin boards and Facebook. Those are all okay, but these days there's a new method: renting your textbooks, and typically paying less than half the price you'd pay for new ones. Awwww yeaaaahhh.

That's where CampusBookRentals.com comes in. When they contacted me about doing a post, at first I was all, "Ehhh ..." but then I actually looked at them and figured out it really and sincerely is a pretty great thing. So I see this as, you know, a sort of public service announcement.

You can get the books you need and not break the bank: renting saves you from 40 - 90%. And with no fees to sign up, free shipping both ways, and a referral program where you can get $5 for each friend who also rents, CampusBookRentals.com saves you even more.

The premise is pretty straightforward and ridiculously simple. You rent the book for the desired length of time (a quarter, a semester, or for the summer). You can even highlight in it, just like it's yours. It comes with a handy-dandy return envelope, and when you're done with it, you just send it back. FOR FREE. If you decide you like the book and want to keep it, you can do that too - all you pay is the difference between your rental fees and the value of the book.

See? Totally easy. And everybody likes easy.

Check this out: my (and arguably most people's) favorite college textbook, Our Sexuality by Robert Crooks and Karla Baur. (What? Don't tell me you wouldn't be interested in thumbing through it, you pervs.) It retails for $153.95. But by clicking on this link and renting it from CampusBookRentals.com? You can get it for as little as $29.90. Suh-weet.

Even better, CampusBookRentals.com has partnered with Operation Smile, an awesome organization that provides much-needed cleft lip surgeries to families who can't afford them. For each textbook rented, a portion of the proceeds are donated to Operation Smile. So while you're saving money on books, you can help a child who needs a life-changing surgery. TOTAL win-win situation (insert good karma here).

Anyway, if you or someone you love is in the market for college textbooks, renting them is a much cheaper (and risk-free-er!) option. Definitely worth a look, at least. And that, ladies and gents, is my two cents.

PS - you can also follow CampusBookRentals.com on Twitter to get access to giveaways, secret coupons, and a whole bunch of other fun stuff! Woot!










Giveaway - My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software

So as you know, I'm currently pregnant with Baby #4 - who is pretty much doomed as far as loving documentation of his or her baby-and-childhood is concerned.

It's not that I won't take a bazillion pictures of this child. I will - just like I have a bazillion pictures of my other children. But it's what I'll do (or, more accurately, won't do) with these pictures. As my first child, for example, Colin has a full baby book (ultrasound pictures! shower invitations! snippets from his first haircut!) and no fewer than two scrapbooks devoted to his life from birth to, oh, when his baby brother came along. They're all cutely arranged with paper embellishments and adorable photos. That's because when I only had one baby to wrangle take care of, I had time. And energy.  

But as our family expanded to three children, I found myself with less and less time (and/or motivation) to painstakingly put together the photos, the memories, the information for each child. Poor Coby has little more than his name and birth statistics written in his baby book, and nothing even closely resembling a scrapbook.

Until now. Because y'all? I've got a secret weapon: the My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software.

I was contacted by the company to do a review and giveaway, and I have to admit - I was a little hesitant at first, afraid I wouldn't be able to do the product justice. I figured it'd be better suited to someone like my sister, who has a whole room devoted to her various crafty projects and cute little die-cut scrapbooking endeavors. But I agreed, and I'm so glad I did - because it's gonna make nicely preserving my children's memories much easier.

First of all, it's scrapbooking software, which means it's on my computer and not all over my counter/crammed in a drawer/spilling out of a box in my closet. Anything that doesn't mean more cleanup or organization for me is a plus in my book, yo. It was a snap to install, and the software is totally user-friendly. You're able to click-and-drag most of the time, and everything is easily identified and self-explanatory. 

I used to fancy myself a somewhat creative individual, but it seems like either a.) adulthood, b.) children, or c.) some combination of the two has sucked all the innovation from my brain. But check this out. I made these pages! All by myself! In minutes! 

Our dog Josie, who is lucky she's cute.


My parents, just because I love this picture.


Our trip to the pumpkin patch, because I'm that behind in uploading pics.

These weren't even the pre-made templates, although there are tons of amazing layouts to choose from. You can choose from a huge variety of backgrounds in different colors, textures, and patterns, play with the text (change the font, the color, the size, make it 3D, put in a shadow ...), and add near-endless embellishments to spice things up. 

While I've only shown you scrapbook layouts, you can do all kinds of other nifty stuff with the My Memories Scrapbooking Software - like make videos, photobooks, greeting cards, and whatever else your brain (which is hopefully a bit more inventive than mine) can conjure up! (Check out the My Memories blog for tons of sweet "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" ideas.) And although the software includes enough stuff to keep you scrapping for a long time, there are a bunch of AWESOME new digital software packs available at their site for, like, super-cheap.  

Anyway, ONE LUCKY READER gets their very own FREE My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Suite! To enter the giveaway, all y'all gotta do is go to their website (www.mymemories.com) and pick your favorite album template or digital scrapbooking kit - then tell me in the comments below. That's it! I'll pick the lucky winner on January 18th, so get to entering! Don't forget to include your email address if it's not linked with your signature somehow!

Even if you're not the winner, it's still your lucky day - because I've got an exclusive coupon code for you! It's good for $10 off the My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software AND a $10 coupon to the My Memories store - a twenty dollar value, y'all! Just enter the code STMMMS34726 at checkout to receive your goodies. (Hint: copy and paste the code for accuracy!)

Happy scrappin'!