Thursday, December 18, 2014

Consumer Critique: Seriously Funny Gowns

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 

It has been said that 'laughter is the best medicine' and entrepreneur Jody Barrett of Seriously Funny Gowns has taken that concept and turned it into quirky hospital wear that is sure to bring a smile to the faces of your loved ones who are (unfortunately) in the hospital. 
 
Seriously Funny Gowns offers patients a little humor and brightness to a sometimes sad situation through its decorated range of hospital gowns and accessories.  Forget boring old flowers…your readers need to know about their alternative, the first fun get-well gift on the market for medical patients from tweens to seniors.
 
The idea behind Seriously Funny Gowns was developed when Jody visited a close friend in the hospital and they joked about her hospital gown being so depressing. It was there that Jody identified a unique void in the hospital market, and immediately got to work to help change the way people viewed hospitals and hospital stays.

I had a chance to check out one of these gowns. They are cute and positive - it's a great way to make a fashion statement even while in a situation where it's impossible to wear regular clothes. They can also help a patient showcase his or her personality, providing a conversation starter and a way for patients and hospital staff to relate to each other. If you have a loved one in the hospital, this would make a unique gift.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Freebies!

Drop2o Water Enhancer (Facebook)

Contest: Boogie Wipes

From wiping gunky noses to changing diapers and years of lost sleep, Boogie Wipes® knows that motherhood is snot easy. To honor moms and create an opportunity for priceless home video footage, Boogie Wipes® is launching a yearlong “Motherhood’s Snot Easy” contest. Each month starting last May 2014 for Mother’s Day, ten families will win a year’s supply of Boogie Wipes®, one case per month. And, in May 2015 a grand-prize winner will be chosen to win a 7-day Walt Disney Cruise for four.

Soul Sustenance: Reducing Holiday Stress

Barb Schmidt is author of THE PRACTICE: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace and Uncovering Happiness. She has some great tips, including how to change your perspective to enjoy the holiday season and not fall under its pressure and stress.
 
1. Meditate. No matter how busy you are, spend 5 minutes first thing every morning sitting quietly with yourself, letting the thoughts in your mind come and go by focusing on the breath. This gives your mind a chance to find your heart. Then, when you enter into your day, you are connected within, ready to face the tasks of the day with your mind, body, and heart in alignment. You are complete.
 
2. Practice Focused Attention. Throughout the day, focus your attention and be in the moment. When your mind starts to wander to the past or future, bring it back to the moment—to your intention to experience the spirit of the season. The holidays are here to remind us to honor, be present, and celebrate who we are as individuals, as families, and as part of our communities. So remember: when your head starts spinning and your heart starts racing, gently bring your attention back to the spirit of this beautiful holiday season.
 
3. Be Mindful. Getting the house ready for guests might sound like a chore, but when you approach it as a mindful activity, it can be just as rewarding as when your guests come through your door. As you clean, cook, decorate, and make other preparations, focus on the selfless generosity of your actions and the wonderful opportunity you have to care for your home, yourself, and those you love.
 
4. Express Gratitude. If you get overwhelmed by the thought of finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, remember that your presence is much more valuable than the presents you give. Create a thoughtful list of those you purchase gifts for and jot down a few notes about how each person on your list has touched your life in a positive way. Then, along with whatever gift you give, include a note expressing your gratitude for his or her special place in your heart.
 
5. Find the Humor. Shakespeare said all the world’s a stage, so keep this in mind as you get in full swing with the hustle and bustle of the season. Seek out opportunities to be entertained by your fellow players on whatever stage you are on: whether in the grocery store, in long lines at the mall, following services, at the dinner table, or at the office party. Seize opportunities to laugh with others and imbue your experiences with a delightful sense of levity. Really lighten up!
 
6. Look for the Middle Ground. When some families get together, even for joyful occasions, disagreements have a tendency to erupt. Anticipating unrest can certainly be a big producer of stressful feelings! If this describes your family, set the intention to remain neutral at the family gathering and keep your “buttons” in the off position. While this might feel like a tall order, know that a daily meditation practice can help you accomplish this.
 
7. Focus on Abundance. Especially around holiday time, it might feel like you are squeezing the very last cent out of your budget. Aside from taking actual steps to balance your budget, worrying about your finances at the expense of your peace of mind will not bring you into an easy, joyful mood, and honestly will not help your finances. Worry never helps! When you find yourself stressing over your expenses, refocus your attention instead on what is abundant in your life, such as the love of family and friends, the comforts of home, enough food to eat, and whatever else makes your life possible.
 
8. Let Go of Expectations. We often think that if we do and prepare everything just so, the celebratory gatherings will go according to our expectations. But let’s revisit Shakespeare here for a moment. He said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” And how right he is! If anything goes wrong when our expectations are high, we can be negatively affected. So the lesson here is to approach the upcoming days without expectations. While you may still prefer things go your way, this slight change in vocabulary can be the difference between a humorous chuckle and tears.
 
Barb is founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful World, a community outreach program through Florida Atlantic University (FAU) designed to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace by incorporating workshops and weekly teachings with Barb and many of her esteemed mentors, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Andrew Weil, and many others. 

Barb is also the founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life, a non-profit organization through which she teaches The Practice, a three-part guide to practical spirituality in the modern world and her tool for spreading her belief that “outer peace begins with inner peace.” Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life has rapidly expanded to include an online community via Facebook (with posts reaching over 10 million people), through their daily inspirational emails and weekly blogs. She is on the board of the Schmidt Family Foundation doing incredible philanthropic work.

Consumer Critique: Tattoo Sales

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 

I recently got to review products from TattooSales.com. The tattoos I got were great. They lasted significantly longer than any other temporary tattoos we've used. Plus, they have something for everyone. There are cute kid-friendly designs, freaky Halloween-appropriate designs, and even designs that are detailed enough to look like a real tattoo. My daughters loved them, and so did the friends I shared them with. And, as mentioned, I was extremely impressed with how long they lasted - through three baths on my daughters!

Right now you can take 20% off your entire order and receive a free gift! Use promo code TM121014. Offer valid through 12/17/2014.

Healthy Habits: Opioid Dependence

I recently had the chance to interview Dr. Adam Rubinstein and patient John Friend about opioid dependence, treatment options, and ways to support those who are seeking treatment.

Consumer Critique: The Monsterator

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 

Monster books can be great picture books to read to kids. Some kids love goofy monsters. For other kids, reading a friendly book about monsters can help them conquer their monster fears.  The Monsterator is a delightfully spooky interactive picture book that includes a mix-and-match your own monster element at the end that is fun for young readers.

My girls loved this book. My younger one is a little afraid of monsters, but she thought it was adorable and funny and loved making her favorite monster in the back!

Amazing Apps: The Counting Kingdom

Independent game studio Little Worlds Interactive is pleased to announce their award-winning math strategy game “The Counting Kingdom” is now available for mobile iPad and iPhone devices in the iTunes App Store. Featuring addition-based math puzzles designed with kids between six and eight years old in mind, “The Counting Kingdom” offers strategic tower-defense gameplay that makes learning fun. “The Counting Kingdom” debuted on Steam in August.
Little Worlds Interactive founder Jenna Hoffstein offers, “Today’s mobile platform, specifically tablets, is a fantastic, easily-accessible place for kids and parents to enjoy games together, so I designed ‘The Counting Kingdom’ from the start with touch-screen controls in mind. Being able to take ‘The Counting Kingdom’ mobile means more opportunity for our audience to have fun learning at home and on the go.”
The energy and effort that Hoffstein has put into developing the studio’s debut game has resulted in praise since the game’s earliest stages. “The Counting Kingdom” won several game industry awards at events and conferences in 2014, and was most recently included in the PAX 10 Indie Showcase at PAX Prime.
A recent 5-star review from Examiner.com wrote, “‘The Counting Kingdom’ is an excellent game for all ages and one that I have little doubt will help youngsters with number manipulation and basic math skills.”

On November 6, “The Counting Kingdom” will be available for $4.99 in the Educational Games and Kids categories of the App Store for iPad and iPhone iOS mobile devices.
About Little Worlds Interactive:
Little Worlds Interactive is a game development company founded in 2012 with the vision of making educational games that kids want to play.  Led by founder and game designer Jenna Hoffstein, the team has a deep background in creating entertaining games and a strong panel of advisory educators. Together they are making games that are engaging, educational, and just plain fun.

For more info on Little Worlds Interactive and their games, contact Jenna Hoffstein at jenna@littleworldsinteractive.com or 508-525-5157. More information about the game can be found at www.countingkingdomgame.com.

Sweepstakes: South Moon Under

South Moon Under & Mexico Grand Hotels announced today the launch of a nationwide text-to-win mobile SMS contest to “Win a Stylish Getaway.”  Starting November 17, 2014, South Moon Under’s fans and customers can enter for a chance to win a 5 night all-inclusive stay for two guests at Hacienda Encantada Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and $1,000 to spend at any South Moon Under location.  Customers can enter by texting ‘TAKEMETHERE’ to 33233 or through a simple entry form on www.southmoonunder.com. Contest ends January 4, 2015 at 11:59pm Eastern standard time and is open to the residents of the United States only. 
 
South Moon Under is running this sweepstakes through mobile SMS and across all of their social media platforms, online, and in all 22 brick and mortar locations in order to engage visitors with the brand as well as offer a unique opportunity to invite followers to visit and explore the destination resort & spa.  For more details about the giveaway, prize and official contest rules visit http://bit.ly/1sKTUy9.
 
About South Moon Under (www.southmoonunder.com)
What began as a small surf shack in the summer of 1968 has since evolved into an upscale clothing retailer. Still privately owned, South Moon Under offers a well edited selection of men’s and women’s apparel, swimwear and accessories.   Whether online or in any of the 22 east coast locations, customers experience the  fun, comfortable, and high service environment instilled in the founding store over 40 years ago. By providing ever-evolving, carefully handpicked collections, South Moon Under is able to provide customers the opportunity to experience the excitement of confidently expressing their individual style. “Inspiring self-expression since 1968.” South Moon Under is a multi-brand boutique: Free People, Citizens of Humanity, Dolce Vita, UGG, FRYE, House of Harlow, RVCA, Swell, J Brand, Eight Sixty, BB Dakota, Nixon, Anna Beck, Scotch and Soda, Project Social Tee.
About Mexico Grand Hotels (www.mexicograndhotels.com)
With a long family history and deep-rooted tradition in Mexico, Mexico Grand Hotels is home to five star, four diamond resorts complete with breathtaking locations and panoramic views.  Offering guests a "home away from home" ambiance, Mexico Grand Hotels collection provides truly unforgettable experiences with extravagance and luxury at every turn. The hotel group owns and operates a wide-variety of hotels, resorts, condos, restaurants, exclusive spas and retail shops throughout the beautiful destination of Mexico. Located in Cabo San Lucas is the new Hacienda Encantada Resort & Spa, the Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa, and a collection of restaurants and retail shops at the Marina Golden Zone, located in downtown Los Cabos. Puerto Vallarta is home to the Marina Las Palmas, full ownership condos and world famous restaurant, Senour Frogs, all operated and managed by Mexico Grand Hotels. For more information and reservations, visit www.mexicograndhotels.com or call (624) 163-5555. For additional up-to-the-minute details, connect with Mexico Grand Hotels via Facebook, via Twitter at @mxgrandhotels or via YouTube at Mexico Grand Hotels1.