Monday, October 31, 2011

Event: Hallmark Between the Moments

I recently attended a breakfast with Hallmark to share their campaign around the Moments Between the Milestones. I love the idea behind it. It's about celebrating the little things and recognizing that they're out there instead of rushing through them as we so often do.

The breakfast event was great. I loved being able to ask questions of some of the writers and marketers about what they're doing with cards and how they're created. Did you know they make step parent cards that don't focus on the evil step mother? If your local store doesn't have them (each store has a different assortment), check online for the perfect card for you - or make your own customizable card.

We spent a lot of time talking about the connection that Hallmark tries to make with their cards, by using photos to evoke emotions without having them be completely apparent who the person is and thus limit the applicability of the card. We were then sent out to create our own emotions with photos by taking photos but not showing faces. I loved the challenge and had all sorts of ideas. What kind of a card would you put this photo into?


Note that the photo is taken vertically. Most of us take our photos horizontally, but for cards, the pictures tend to be vertical. Try flipping your camera sideways to see what comes up.

My favorite part of the day, though, was the writing exercise we did. Apparently this is something they do sometimes at Hallmark itself, and wow did it work. We were each provided with an envelope filled with words. We selected three or four words randomly then spent ten minutes writing. We could write anything so long as it included those words, then we shared them. I was amazed by the heartfelt stories that emerged from these quick minutes. Every one was so different, and many provided some great ideas for future posts for me, as well.

My story actually became a full post here. And I wrote it in ten minutes. I'd never before written down a post longhand, let alone in ten minutes, and I was amazed by what I came up with. I could actually write something that made some sense. I'll be using this technique again - and I'm planning to do a linky like this potentially.... I think it has great potential.

The breakfast was inspiring and educational, with the most awesome slide show of photos and videos from the attendees showing our own perfectly imperfect moments. Mine? Well of course that was a video of my husband playing with Mister Man tossing him over his head and ... promptly being puked on. I still can't believe I caught that on video.

Thank you to Hallmark for including me in their Moments Between the Milestones tour. This is so what I can get behind. And the card I sent to Mister Man congratulating him on his awesome work doing his best at school? Now that made his day when it arrived. Because really, who doesn't love getting a surprise card in the mail?

In the interest of full disclosure, I attended an educational breakfast with Hallmark where I received a gift bag including two recordable story books and a lovebug. I was not compensated in any way, nor was I asked to post about the event. As always, all opinions expressed remain my own.

Winner!

And the Freschetta quick giveaway has ended, and Digital Hope was our winner with the first entry (see, number one does come up in Random.org sometimes!). She is @WindyCityHope on Twitter, and she has already claimed her package. Congratulations to her, and keep an eye here!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Giveaway: Freschetta Proud To Support Pink

It's still breast cancer awareness month, and I am constantly amazed by the unique ways that companies are continuing to find ways to support this campaign. I wrote about Freschetta pizza a few months ago, and now they're back with a slightly different sort of program.

From now through October 31 - so hurry! - every time you purchase a Freschetta pizza or Artisan pizza crust, you can help them achieve a goal of donating $50,000 to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. All you need to do is enter the code from the package into their Proud to Support Pink site. They're only around $15,000 right now, so that's a lot of codes yet to be entered!

If you can't buy your pizza by then, you can still help them reach their goal. You can "donate" $1 with no purchase required with the code FRESCH11 on the same Proud to Support Pink site. Please share this with your friends and family so they can reach their $50,000 goal.

Beyond doing the nice thing, what's in it for you? Each week in October, Freschetta is giving away 50 pink iPods to those who enter the code. You know you want to be one of those 50 this week, right? And yes, Freschetta is also donating 50 pink iPods each week to cancer centers throughout the States for breast cancer patients to use while undergoing treatments. That may be a small measure of comfort, but I love the thought and effort behind it.

Now that I've talked you into buying that pizza, how about you save some money while doing so? Use this $1 off Freschetta coupon to purchase your pizza, and remember to enter your code by October 31!

Oh, and did I mention there is a giveaway associated with this, too? I have a coupon for a free Freschetta pizza and two sets of pink earbuds - one for you to keep and one to make someone's day by sharing with them (or be like me and replace the earbuds you lost ... again).


So what do you have to do to 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 Sunday October 30 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 random.org and must respond within 24 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me who you would share your extra pair of earbuds with.

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 following me on Twitter, then tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Think Pink with @FreschettaPizza and win yourself pizza & pink earbuds #giveaway from @honestandtruly http://bit.ly/vFt0DH" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.

And no, you won't earn any extra entries for it, but you will get good karma for liking me on Facebook!

Good luck!

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a coupon and two sets of earbuds as described above. I was not compensated for this campaign. That said as always, all opinions expressed remain my own.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Winners!

I have winners for three different giveaways to announce today. And yes, I have more giveaways coming soon - hopefully one later this afternoon, too. Yay, right?

Elisabeth (no blog) won the Pink Together giveaway and has 48 hours to get back to me before drawing a new winner.

Kristy from Momma Loves 2 Shop! won the tickets to see Ringling Brothers in Chicago. Because of the timely nature of this one, she has just 24 hours to get back to me.

Susan from Susan's Disney Family won the $100 Red Envelope gift certificate and also has 48 hours to get back to me. BUT I have another $100 gift certificate from Red Envelope coming soon, so stay tuned!

Congrats everyone!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Giveaway: 4 Pack of Ringling Bros Tickets (Chicago)

This year, Ringling is coming back to Chicago for their annual trek through the United Center and the Allstate Arena (so hard for me not to call it the Rosemont, STILL). Fully Charged - the name of this year's Ringling Brothers show - is at the Allstate from November 3 to 13 and at the UC from November 17 to 27.


The show includes the usual suspects from animal trainers to clowns, but the focus is on the power of the circus. You will see Tabayara with his animal acts from riding a rearing stallions to performing with twelve tigers. There is also the strongmen with their feats, including acrobats balancing on the very items they're lifting. Personally, I can't wait to see the human crossbow. And yes, yes there will be clowns, as always!

One of the parts that really makes the circus special for the wee ones is the all access pre-show where all ticket holders are invited into the floor for an hour before the circus to meet selected performers, try on clothes, and more. It's always a highlight - and another reason to be sure we get there early!

Does it sound like a show you want to attend? Get your kids excited about it, too. Tell them that you're going by printing out the coloring sheet so they have something to get excited about. I know this is one of Little Miss's favorite things to do.


I know you've been waiting for the "what's in it for me" moment, and there is a great discount available again this year. You can get 4 Tickets for $44 on Weekday Shows OR Save $4 on Weekend Shows! (Weekday shows include any performances Monday through Thursday. Weekend shows include any performance Friday through Sunday.) To take advantage of this offer, use the offer code "MOM" at Ticketmaster.com, at the box office, or call 800-745-3000. Note that this offer is not valid on Circus Celebrity, Front Row or VIP seating. No double discounts. Service Charges, Handling and Facility Fees may apply.

And don't forget my very favorite part of seeing family events at the UC - free parking! Yep, you don't have to pay an additional fee to park when you see the Fully Charged show downtown, and that's something that I know makes lots of people happy, not just me.

There's more than just the discount though! I have a family four pack of tickets to give away to someone. The winner gets to choose the date: Thursday Nov. 3 @ 7:00 pm, Wednesday Nov. 9 @ 7:00 pm, Wednesday Nov. 10 @ 7:00 pm, Wednesday Nov. 16 @ 7:00 pm, or Thursday Nov. 17 @ 7:00 pm. So what do you have to do to 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 Monday October 23 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 random.org and must respond within 24 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me what your favorite circus act is.

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 following me on Twitter, then tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Ringling is coming back to #Chicago, and it's time for a ticket #giveaway from @honestandtruly. Win a 4 pack http://bit.ly/qpWQab" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.

And no, you won't earn any extra entries for it, but you will get good karma for liking me on Facebook!

Good luck!

In the interest of full disclosure, I received tickets for my family to attend the circus. I was not compensated for this campaign. That said as always, all opinions expressed remain my own.

Winners!

I have several winners to announce, and there are more giveaways coming so keep checking back!

The Hallmark cards pack was won by Summer of A Mom Less Ordinary.

The Purse Perfector was won by Susan from Susan's Disney Family.

And Lexiquinn (no blog - and no, having a blog is not a requirement!) won the Big G prize pack, including the $25 gift card.

All winners have 48 hours to provide their contact information, or I will draw a new winner but I'm hoping I won't have to!

Congrats to all the winners, and check back soon for more fun here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Giveaway: $100 Red Envelope Gift Card

Little Miss has been in a big girl bed since she was ninteen months old when she started crawling out of her crib, took a nap in Mister Man's bed one day when he was at preschool and promptly refused to set foot into the crib again. Needless to say, her room was set up quickly and not quite perfectly. While we've added various touches to it over the last four years, there's still more work to be done to make it the perfect room for her.

Enter Red Envelope, which is adding almost 400 new items this fall. They have everything from Beer and Wine Accessories to Men’s Gifts to Kids Room D├ęcor and more. When offered the opportunity to choose something from their new product line, I jumped at the chance, and Little Miss's room was my first thought.

After looking over some of their new products, I decided upon one of their personalized pillows for kids. I love that the pillows allow you to share your child's personality with the pillow. The base is always white, but you can choose either a boy pillow or girl pillow. I would have loved to see multiple hair and skin color choices, but fortunately Little Miss is a blonde haired little girl, so it worked out well for us. You then choose your child's name, and a sentence that best describes your child.

Little Miss is frequently called Peanut by me and others because she's so skinny and tiny. I also call her my "perfectly pigtailed person" - something left over from my childhood. Since the picture on the pillow doesn't have pigtails, I decided to stick with Peanut, and now she knows that she's the best little peanut in the whole world. I like the script on it, and I think the stylized all lower case really works for this.

Note: I placed the black line over Little Miss's name to protect her privacy, but trust me that it looks cute in all caps block letters.

When the pillow arrived, it was packaged quite well. It was wrapped tightly in a plastic bag to ensure that it didn't get dirty or damaged while shipping. I opened it, and I will admit that I was surprised by the fabric the pillow was made from. It is a canvas type material, and I had expected something softer from a pillow. I would also have loved to see the cover with a zipper so that when we have the inevitable stains, it would make it easier to clean.

That said, Little Miss loves her new pillow, and it helps finish off her bed. I keep trying to explain to her that it's a decorative pillow, but so far she's insisting that she sleep with it. Too cute!

I have something for you, too: a $100 gift card to RedEnvelope.com to give away to one lucky reader. Note that the gift card is a one time use gift card. You must use the full amount in a single purchase. So what do you have to do to 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 Friday October 21 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 random.org and must respond within 48 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me what descriptor would you put under the name for your pillow.

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 following me on Twitter, then tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Have you ever shopped @RedEnvelope ? Now's your chance to try it. Win a $100GC from @honestandtruly #giveaway http://bit.ly/nvOfnG" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.

And no, you won't earn any extra entries for it, but you will get good karma for liking me on Facebook!

Good luck!

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a customized pillow as shown above from Red Envelope for review purposes only. I was not compensated for this campaign. That said as always, all opinions expressed remain my own.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Giveaway: Pink Together

I hate being sick. For me, sick is a few days of something that makes me feel cruddy before it goes away. That's not what being sick means for Brandie and far too many others. For them, living with breast cancer is a daily experience, and a miserable and painful one at that. October is - as you'd have to live under a rock not to know - Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So many brands do so much to try to raise awareness and funds, and General Mills is no different.

For the fifth year, they're working on the Pink Together campaign. There, you can share your personal stories as well as messages of hope. The stories aren't just to go into the ether. General Mills will donate $1 to the Komen organization for each Message of Hope that is sent to someone who has shared their story on PinkTogether.com (up to $25,000) during October. This is in addition to a $2 million donation General Mills is making to the Komen organization.

Beyond the fact that the donation comes from something I can do rather than requiring me to make a purchase appeals to me. Even better? For the first time, we can choose how $1 million of this donation will be shared between two different Komen programs: the Treatment and Assistance Program, which assists women in securing care they otherwise may not be able to afford, and Prevention Research, which helps unlock the keys to preventing breast cancer. You can vote from September 19 to April 14 next year on the Think Pink site. Results will be announced on Mother´s Day 2012 - Sunday, May 13, perfect timing, I think!

In support of this campaign, General Mills via MyBlogSpark is offering a giveaway, and I have a prize pack to give to one lucky reader. The prize pack includes a box of Total cereal, coupons valid for one box of Cheerios and Multigrain Cheerios cereal and one cup of Yoplait yogurt, a Betty Crocker Living with Cancer Cookbook Pink Together Edition, a water bottle and removable silicone awareness bracelet, a sport backpack, and rhinestone ear buds. So what do you have to do to 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 Thursday October 20 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 random.org and must respond within 48 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me how you have been touched by breast cancer.

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 following me on Twitter, then tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Think Pink and share your breast cancer stories. Learn how via a #giveaway from @honestandtruly http://bit.ly/rohgcu" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.

And no, you won't earn any extra entries for it, but you will get good karma for liking me on Facebook!

Good luck!

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a prize pack as described above for review purposes from General Mills through MyBlogSpark. I was not compensated for this campaign. That said as always, all opinions expressed remain my own.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Giveaway: Big G Prize Package With Gift Card

We are Star Wars fanatics around here. Last year, both wee ones were Storm Troopers for Halloween. (I learned the difference about this time last year between a Storm Trooper and a Clone Trooper.) This year, Little Miss is a Storm Trooper again - yay reusing costumes - and Mister Man is going to be a Jedi knight. I hear about Star Wars morning, noon, and night. The release of the complete saga last month, I've heard nothing but Star Wars everywhere.

While I won't let the wee ones watch all movies yet, we're finding ways to incorporate Star Wars into the wee ones' lives where we can. There are Star Wars books we've gotten from the library and the Star Wars Legos we play with constantly. The other day, I received a package that more than made the wee ones' days.


As thrilling as they found the gift card - they've learned already that gift cards mean money to spend in stores, though I'm not sure this is a good or bad lesson. Ok ok, I admit, this wasn't the view that thrilled them, as happy as they've been for the past several days to have Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast, along with a large scoop of peanut butter, half an orange, and a glass of milk (or rice milk in the case of Little Miss).

This was the view that enthralled them:


I made the mistake of putting together this little panorama during dinner. It was too tempting not to. Unfortunately, it also proved to be too tempting for the wee ones, who kept trying to get up from the table to stare at the "very most coolest ever" cereal boxes. I've had to promise that when we finish the cereal, I will cut out the backs of the boxes and let Mister Man hang them in his room.

These cereal boxes can be found exclusively at WalMart on specially marked boxes of Big G cereals - including Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The front of the boxes show if they are part 1, 2, or 3, so you can make sure the cereal you purchase makes the full panorama (or two, if you have multiple children requesting them on their walls, ahem.)

I have a prize pack to give to one lucky reader. The prize pack includes three Big G cereals - Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch that together form the panoramic poster, plus a $25 gift card to WalMart. So what do you have to do to 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 Monday October 17 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 random.org and must respond within 48 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me your favorite Star Wars character.

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 following me on Twitter, then tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Love Star Wars? Win a Big G prize pack & make a panoramic poster +$25GC via #giveaway from @honestandtruly http://bit.ly/rhVIcY" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.

And no, you won't earn any extra entries for it, but you will get good karma for liking me on Facebook!

Good luck!

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a prize pack as described above for review purposes from General Mills through MyBlogSpark. I was not compensated for this campaign. That said as always, all opinions expressed remain my own.