Thursday, January 28, 2010

Giveaway: Progresso Soup

In the spirit of full disclosure, I received fifteen Progresso Light and 100 Calorie Soups, a Progreso soup bowl, and a digital jump rope. I received no other compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Thanks to Progresso and MyBlogSpark, I'm working on getting back in eating healthy and watching my portions. Let's just say that winter, being busy, and being stressed with work among other things aren't exactly the best combination for me. They were kind enough to send me sixteen different soups, and -- surprisingly -- I actually liked them.

They sent me fifteen soups, about half of which were dairy free so that Little Miss was also able to share with me. I was somewhat surprised by some of the soups that had milk ingredients (vegetable soups that were I making them would have no trace of dairy), but I'm guessing they were there to add a bit more protein.

The soups are generally between sixty and 100 calories per serving, which is a half can. For me, that's a little bit low on the calorie side, so when eating them, I generally ate an entire can for a meal (and with 160 calories for a lunch, that's still totally my idea of a very low cal and healthy lunch). They filled me up pretty well, and they weren't overly salty, which made me happy. I don't eat much salt, and I'm always leery of prepared foods because of the amount of sodium generally in them. These I could handle -- good job, Progresso! I was also very pleased to see that most of them touted having no MSG added.

For the most part, they also tasted pretty good. I won't say it's just like homemade, but I generally am not a fan of canned soups. These I'd buy. The ones with meatballs tasted a little processed to me, but especially the varieties of vegetable and chicken noodle soups were pretty tasty. And yes, Little Miss agreed!

So why should you care?

Progresso Light and 100 Calorie Soups are holding a contest through March 15th for a chance to win a full makeover in New York City. Visit here to enter the Progresso "Souper You Debut" contest.

Three grand prize winners will be awarded a trip for two to New York City from May 21st-23rd. The prize includes roundtrip airfare, a two-night stay in a NYC hotel, a full makeover, a $1,000 wardrobe shopping spree and personal consultation at a New York department store. And yes, of course I'm entering!

To enter, you´ll need to do the following:

Go to here to learn more and enter the contest

Submit your essay (200 characters or less) telling Progresso why you love Progresso Light or 100 Calorie Soups and why you would like a makeover

In addition, please submit a photo of yourself that visually reinforces the theme of your essay

Once you enter, you´ll have the chance for your photo and/or an excerpt from your essay to appear on the website, so be sure to check back frequently! Once the 10 finalists are announced, you can visit the site from March 29 through April 12 to vote for your favorite.

In addition, throughout the duration of the contest you can visit download a coupon for $1 off any three varieties of Progresso Soup!

And beyond that, I'm also giving away a gift pack that contains the mug, jump rope and two cans of Progresso Soup. While I might not have tried out the jump rope yet - I have a good reason - it's pretty cool!

So. How do you win? First of all, let me stress that you must follow all the rules. If you do not follow the rules, your entry will not count!

This contest is open until Tuesday February 9 at 7pm CST. I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via and must respond within 48 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me your favorite Progresso Soup flavor. If you don't do this one, no entries will count.

Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry - if you put it all in one comment, I'll count it as one entry):

1) Earn one additional entry for Tweeting this contest (leave a link to your tweet as your comment).
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly!

Good luck!

Disney on Ice Winner and Monster Jam Discounts

Congratulations to Savannah who won the Disney on Ice family four pack.  She was the lucky (I love that website) integer who gets to go see the show on February 2.  And yes, she's already responded to my email that she can attend for those of you hoping for a second chance.

But there are more shows coming!  Feld Entertainment is also presenting Monster Jam®, the world’s premier monster truck series will take place in Rosemont, IL at Allstate Arena this Feb. 12 - 14, featuring freestyle and racing competition. We once again have discounts for those of you who are interested in attending.

You will receive $5 off adult tickets by using code MOM. The discount is good for the shows on Saturday Feb. 13, at 2PM and 7:30PM as well as Sunday, Feb. 14 at 2:00PM. Tickets for children under 12 are always just $10 and do not require a code to purchase. Enter the code on the Ticketmaster website in the promotions or special offers line. The discount is not valid on the $50 or $30 price levels, and double discount are not allowed. Note that tickets bought the day off at the Allstate Arena are $2 higher than when you buy in advance.

This weekend’s show will feature Grave Digger and for the first time in Chicago, Nitro Circus will be competing! Plus, the Built Ford Tough Party in the Pits is on Sunday, February 14th from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM. This gives fans the opportunity to get a view of the trucks up close and meet the drivers of the massive monster trucks. Free Pit Passes are available at Advanced Auto Parts or they can be purchased for $5 the day of the show at the box office.

So you’ve never been to a monster truck rally (ok, neither have I!). What do you need to know, other than my assumption that they’re loud from what I’ve seen in movies? Approximately 12 feet tall and about 12 feet wide, monster trucks are custom-designed machines that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and weigh a minimum of 10,000 pounds. Built for short, high-powered bursts of speed, monster trucks generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Monster trucks can fly up to125 to 130 feet (a distance greater than 14 cars side by side) and up to 35 feet in the air.

Disclosure: I haven’t decided whether my family will attend this event or not (mostly due to the noise concerns with Mister Man), but we have been offered tickets to the show. I received no other compensation for providing this information.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Giveaway: Disney on Ice Tickets in Chicago

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been given four tickets to go see Disney on Ice on February 2 for my family. I have not received any other compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Call me a bad parent, but I haven't been one for taking the wee ones to go see many shows. When Thomas came to town, my parents bought tickets and I volunteered to stay home. Ditto with ummm another show I know my parents took them to.

However, earlier this year, I took the wee ones to go see Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic. Ohhh the wee ones loved it. And I have to say that I had a blast, too. Best of all, they had a discount available with four tickets for $44. Now that, I couldn't pass up.

And Disney is back in Chicago. And they have a deal again. This time, they're here for Disney on Ice's "normal" show. They are going to have over 50 characters from sixteen Disney stories performing, including Tiana and Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog.

They are performing Jan. 20 – Feb. 7, 2010 in two different venues. January 20 – 31 they are at the United Center, and February 2 - 7 they will be at the Allstate Arena (which I'm sorry, I still need to point out that this will forever in my mind be The Horizon).

Any interest in attending? I thought so. You can again purchase 4 tickets for $44 for weekday shows (Monday through Thursday and Friday matinee) and get $4 off on the weekend shows (Friday night through Sunday). Simply input the code MOM in the MC Promotion box on

And for those of you not in Chicago, they are touring elsewhere! You can still go see the Let's Celebrate! show in Little Rock, Columbus GA, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Boston, Auburn Hills, St Louis, Toronto, Dallas, Fort Worth, Hidalgo TX, Houston, San Antonio, and Wichita Falls. And I have a feeling you're going to want to.

Even if you can't go, your kids will enjoy coloring this sheet. I'm afraid to show it to the wee ones until we go, as this is a surprise for them, but you can bet that Little Miss will be all over making this as "pretty" as she can!

Better yet, would you like to win a family four pack of tickets to go see the show on February 2 at 7pm at the Horizon?

This contest is open until Wednesday January 27 at 9pm CST. I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via and must respond within 24 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner. Please be sure you are available to attend the performance on Tuesday February 2 at 7pm.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me your favorite Disney movie, and why it's your favorite. If you don't do this one, no entries will count.

Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry):

1) Earn one additional entry for Tweeting this contest (leave a link to your tweet as your comment).
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly!

Good luck!

Allstate Arena

Monday, January 4, 2010

Review: Sensodyne Toothpaste

Yay! The winner of the $200 LOFT Gift Card per was number 89 - Missris. (Make sure you do the mandatory entries, everyone!) She responded with her information just under the wire before I selected a new winner, and her gift card is on its way. I'm still tallying the entries for the $200 VISA gift card giveaway that ended on Friday, but I'll post the winner of that one soon!


In the spirit of full disclosure, SheSpeaks sent me a tube of Senodyne toothpaste an two freezer pops. I received no other compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

I have very strong opinions on toothpaste. This is one of those purchases I make where I don't go for the cheapest one. There really is a difference between one brand and another.

I don't like a toothpaste that has disappeared into the ether before I've finished brushing. I don't like gritty toothpastes. I want my toothpaste to taste minty, but not toooo minty. And I want the clean feeling in my mouth to last for more than five minutes. I found my brand, and I tend to stick with it.

As I've gotten older, I've noticed that my teeth are sometimes sensitive as I'm eating especially cold items. It's enough to annoy me when eating a particularly good ice cream, but it isn't serious.

Sensodyne has a toothpaste that is aimed at people just like me, and SheSpeaks sent me some to try out to see how well it worked. I was to use the Sensodyne toothpaste for two weeks and then see how my sensitivity had changed.

Sensodyne does some cool stuff. It starts as a gel and then turns into a foam once it hits a warmer temperature (inside your mouth). The foam then does a better job of actually cleaning your teeth. This took a little bit of getting used to, but I actually really like the foam because it doesn't dissipate the way so many regular toothpastes do.

The toothpaste is a mint flavor, but it took me awhile to get used to it. After the first couple of times using it, I was pretty sure that I'd do my two week trial and then be done with the toothpaste. It had a bit of an odd aftertaste and wasn't quite as minty as I was used to. Apparently I'm used to it now, as I really like it, and I don't notice the aftertaste anymore.

The toothpaste seems to work really well, and it definitely keeps my mouth feeling fresh. Again, it isn't super super minty, but I feel clean. Even at the end of the day, my teeth still feel like I brushed them not that long ago.

The toothpaste comes in a cannister, which has its pluses and minuses, to be honest. I like the ease of pushing a little button to get the toothpaste out, but I also feel like I won't get as much toothpaste from the cannister as I would were it a tube. I've also noticed that there is a bit of extra gel that collects at the opening and dries up so that I end up with a little bit of dried up toothpaste each time. Not a big deal, just a little annoyance.

And at the end of the two weeks? I wouldn't go so far as to say that I have no sensitivity at all anymore, but it has definitely lessened. I can still feel a chilled sensation in certain parts of my mouth, but it's more like I can tell it's there than something that causes me any discomfort.

It's been a little over a month now, and I'm still using the Sensodyne. I still enjoy the Sensodyne. And I'm probably going to start buying Sensodyne - especially since it's a brand that Costco carries!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Giveaway: Aloutette

In the interest of full disclosure, SheSpeaks and Alouette sent me a coupon for a free wedge of Brie.  All opinions expressed here are fully my own.

I am a fiend for cheese. I love cheese. LOVE cheese. When a good friend of mine went to Italy, she brought me a huge hunk of perfect Parmesan. When said friend visited a great deli in Michigan, she brought me back more cheese. At any given time, I have five to six different kinds of cheese in the fridge.

Alouette is a brand that I have purchased in the past, but typically only when I'm entertaining. One of my favorite appetizers to make it to take a circle of Brie and cover it with swirls of caramel and chocolate sauces (trust me, it's so much better than it sounds) and serve it with graham cookies. It's a heavenly and oh so easy sweet appetizer.

Beyond that, I haven't purchased much from Alouette, mostly because I tend to either purchase my two pound blocks of cheddar from Costco or my other cheeses from a local produce market that makes great cheese.

But I think I might have to buy some more after sampling what they sent me. I purchased the wedge of smoked baby Brie, and it was good. It tried it first just by itself, and wow could I taste the smoky flavor. It was subtle, but it really added a lot to the complexity of the cheese. Then I had to have a few small slices of it on some crackers. Mmm, I'm sensing a new treat for me when I "don't have anything in the house" for lunch. And really - the grains in the crackers and the dairy and protein from the cheese make it a really healthy choice, right?

I tried to save as much of the wedge as possible though, as Alouette also shared some recipes for cooking with their cheeses. Silly me, I never thought to actually make something with the Brie other than the traditional baked Brie or my yummy appetizer listed above. I know better now.

I love potatoes au gratin, but so often they just fall a little flat, even when I make a great cheese sauce. The potatoes just don't absorb enough of the flavor to satisfy me (and it's possible that I also tend to forget to season the potatoes themselves sometimes!). Alouette included several recipes with their coupon, and one of them was for the Smoked Brie Potato Gratin. Any guesses what I was trying to save my wedge for?

Fortunately, I was able to save most of it, and ohhh was this a good gratin. I'm saving this recipe to share on a Tasty Tuesday soon, but I promise I'll put it up. With pictures even. This recipe alone will get me back purchasing more from Alouette!

They also had recipes that I haven't yet tried for crumbled goat mini tacos (which have no meat in them - they just use the crumbled goat cheese from Alouette) and a dijon chicken that uses their spreadable garlic and herbs cheese. I have a feeling that people at my Super Bowl party will get a chance to taste the tacos at the very least!

If you want to try some of their cheeses for yourself, I have five booklets that include the recipes I mentioned above along with three $1 off coupons in each booklet.

If you're interested, simply leave me a comment letting me know your favorite cheese. I'll leave this contest open until Friday January 8, 2010 at 9pm CT. One comment per person, please, and US residents only (I'll be mailing these myself). I'll use to choose a winner from all entries and notify the winners. They will each have 48 hours from the time I notify them to respond, or I will draw a replacement winner.

Good luck!