Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sweepstakes: Jamaican Summer or Rum

BevMo! and Jamaica recently partnered to bring a little flavor to the summer season through its Jamaican Summer of Rum Sweepstakes. From now until August, participants can enter the sweepstakes to win an all-inclusive, one-week vacation at the Sunset at the Palms resort in Negril. In addition to the complimentary stay at this tropical destination, the lucky winner and a guest will also receive round-trip flights, courtesy of the Jamaica Tourist Board.

To celebrate the promotion, BevMo! Mixologist and This Girl Walks into a Bar blogger, Jordan Catapano, has created three different Jamaica-inspired cocktails using Appleton Jamaica Rum. The recipes for Jamaican Tide, Mango Dream and Pineapple Tower are available on the BevMo! Facebook page.

Participants can enter the contest from now until August 15 by visiting Facebook.com/BevMo or Facebook.com/VisitJamaica. The winner will be announced around September 1, 2014.  

Sweepstakes: Savor Christmas in July

You could have the chance to win a $50 or $500 gift card to the retailer of their choice just by signing up for Savor, the new completely free personalized coupon service for your iPad, Android tablet or desktop. Savor analyzes your Facebook likes and interests and delivers a curated coupon catalog just for you. 

Beginning on Wednesday, July 23rd, you can sign up for Savor and automatically be entered to win - no strings attached. Every person to sign up between July 23rd and August 22nd will be entered to win the grand prize - a $500 gift card to the retailer of their choice. There will also be $50 gift cards to three runner-up winners.

Visit this link to enter Savor’s Christmas in July contest. You can enter by 1) signing up with Savor and 2) if a friend you invite joins Savor through FB or email (up to 50 entries possible per person).

Shopping Savings: Spa Snoic

Black Friday may be a few months away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start scoping out those holiday deals and begin saving today. Head on over to Target.com on July 25th and 26th for their Black Friday in July sale, which ensures shoppers save both money and face with Spa Sonic’s Skin Care System and DermaLight deals. Designed for individuals who want a full spa experience at home or while traveling, Spa Sonic offers beauty devices that outperform competitors without the hefty price tag. 

Spa Sonic Skin Care System
Regular Price: $64.99
Black Friday in July Price: $37.99

Specially designed by dermatologists utilizing gentle, rotating bristles to offer a deeper clean without irritation, the Spa Sonic Skin Care System removes impurities, exfoliates, tightens and minimizes pores. This waterproof device operates with four attachments: a small brush for the face, a large brush for the body, a pumice pad for rough areas, and a facial sponge for microdermabrasion and reduction of fine lines; all of which are included.

Available in white, lavender, pink, orchid, optic yellow and tangerine.


Regular Price: $169.00
Black Friday in July Price: $139.99
Offering visible results in just a few weeks, DermaLight by Spa Sonic is an LED device that employs low-level light therapy technology to tighten skin, minimize pores and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Non-invasive and non-thermal light energy permeates the skin’s dermal layers to promote cell growth and rapid absorption of skin care products. Compact and user-friendly, DermaLight allows consumers to manage their own treatments and touch ups at home or while traveling.

Parenting Pointers: Encouraging Reading in a Digital Age

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

I just had a chance to review BORN READING: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age—From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything in Between by Jason Boog, former publishing editor at MediaBistro—and proud dad to his own little bookworm, Olive. The book is written to provide information for parents on encouraging lifelong reading and to read interactively. Studies have shown that interactive reading—a method that creates dialogue while reading with a young child—can raise the child’s IQ by more than six points

Reading is a hot topic. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a policy statement recommending “that pediatric providers advise parents of young children that reading aloud and talking about pictures and words in age-appropriate books can strengthen language skills, literacy development and parent-child relationships.” (Read Jason's interview about that here.) Plus, the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the Reading Rainbow app raised well over $6 million!

The book is really helpful. It includes smart strategies for interactive reading in the digital age, including making informed decisions about using apps and eBooks; storytelling lessons to help parents be more dramatic and engaging; and book recommendations for young children that match their interests and abilities.

There are also some great tips in every chapter, some of which I'll share with you know. 
  • Read together.
  • Ask lots of questions.
  • Be dramatic.
  • Discuss your own feelings about the book.
  • Help your child make predictions.
  • Compare the story to the real world.
  • Encourage children to retell the stories.
Check out the book to learn more and start your kids on a great foundation for lifelong reading!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thrifty Thinking: The Retro Budget Prescription

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

Recently I read The Retro Budget Prescription by Nora D'Ecclesis. This ebook is a fantastic value at just $2.99 for kindle or $8.96 for paperback. It is short and written more for the budgeting beginner, but veterans will still find helpful tips and reminders. She incorporates the spiritual side of finances, for a holistic view of prosperity, which is nice to not make it just about cold, hard cash. I had a chance to interview her to learn more.

1. What was the inspiration behind writing this book?
"The ancestor of every action is a thought" - Emerson

My thoughts went to the teachings of Sir John Templeton when I worked as a mortgage banker and saw dozens of people without written budgets have great difficulty achieving their financial goals.
I enjoyed learning from the work of John Templeton as a young graduate student and his philosophy was my motivation. In the book I explain that using a budget creates a framework for our future. By putting numbers down on paper we deconstruct our fears which helps to move forward toward financial wellness. By writing down a budget, and following it, stress is mitigated.  We all know that relieving stress improves our health. I have written extensively on the topic of stress management in all of my non fiction publications.
2. Why is there a link with spirituality and finances?
The great financial advisor John Templeton was asked about the best financial advice he had ever given anybody. Sir John replied, " Tithing." He said, "I've never known anybody who has tithed (given away) at least ten percent of their income to good causes who didn't have it coming back tenfold. Just reaching out and helping others brings that energy back to you. And I firmly believe that. Don't wait until you have a lot of money. Reach out and help somebody now." It has been the way I have lived my life and I find value in his words and suggest we all consider the concept in my book.
When we are in good spiritual shape we are far better able to withstand life's vicissitudes and create the lifestyle that best suits who we truly are in everything from relationships to finances to career.
3. What makes this budget idea "retro?"
It is an enlightening and educational perspective on an old topic especially regarding spiritual practice and its effect on financial planning. In “The Retro Budget Prescription”, I suggest a written budget plan without the use of software. The book outlines the concept of helping others, writing a plan down on paper, committing to self-control and shedding faddish ways of managing money. It is back to basics of another time, when budgeting was done without spreadsheets or computers. The simplicity of a pencil and paper and a plan combined with a spiritual program that suggests giving helps money management.
4. Can you share a few tips from the book?
It is a tool for teaching children good basics in understanding what to do with their money and responsibilities that go along with that. These concepts should be taught in school at an early age and right through high school. I devote several chapters on how to get youngsters off to a good start and focus intently on the young college age men and women. I caution on the profligate use of the ATM cards and traditional credit cards and suggest we learn to focus on wants vs needs.

Giveaway: Natural Child World

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

I recently had a chance to check out a digital copy of the publication NCW Magazine (a flip issue that also includes pet tips). It's refreshing to see another magazine out their dedicated to eco-friendly family living - there aren't many options for that!

The magazine was informative, and very high quality layout and contents. I really enjoyed reading it! I even enjoyed the pet side, although I don't have a pet.

I have a chance to give away three print one-year subscriptions. To enter, like NCW Magazine on Facebook. You can also learn more when you follow @NCWmagazinefind NCW Magazine on Pinterest, or follow NCW Magazine on Instagram. The NCW Magazine Youtube channel also has relevant videos and announcements.

Leave a comment with your email and best green living tip, and the social media you followed (you'll get one entry for each). Separate comments are not necessary but you may if you wish. Deadline is July 25th.

Mealtime Magic: Reducing Salt

Most people consume far more than the recommended salt intake each day. I had a chance to interview  Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, Cordon Bleu-certified Chef and best-selling author of “Clean Eating for Busy Families,” Michelle Dudash about ways to reduce salt intake without sacrificing flavor.

Caring Causes: Fifteen's 5K

Minnesota Twins fans who dream about competing on Target Field will have their opportunity on Sunday, August 17 at Fifteen’s 5K, a downtown Minneapolis running event that will finish inside Target Field.

The event is hosted by Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins – number 15 – and his wife Alisha, and will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Twin Cities In Motion, the organizers of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and an array of year-round running events in the Twin Cities, organizes the event.

Fifteen’s 5K will start on South 2nd Street near Gold Medal Park in Minneapolis at 8:00 a.m. on August 17.  The finish of the event will again be located on the playing surface inside Target Field.
“Alisha and I are pleased to offer runners the major league opportunity of finishing inside Target Field as part of a fun-filled event for Twins fans,” Glen Perkins said.  “We’re also pleased to offer a big league opportunity to run for a worthy cause – the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  It’s a chance for runners to do something for themselves and for others.”

Last year, the event donated more than $30,000 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Registration for this year’s event and additional information can be found at tcmevents.org

Learn more: follow @Fifteens5K@RunLikeaMother (Alisha) or @Glen_Perkins 

# # #

About Twin Cities In Motion (TCM):  Twin Cities In Motion organizes the region’s premier running events, including the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, a Top 10 U.S. Marathon. With a mission of promoting healthy lifestyles through running events and community outreach, TCM contributes a portion of every race dollar to local youth and professional athletes and helps raise more than $800,000 annually with its charity partners. For more information, visit us at tcmevents.org, or find us on Facebook and on Twitter @tcmarathon.

Parenting Pointers: 4 strategies for talking to teens about drugs

According to the CDC, 40 percent of teens have used marijuana and 66 percent have drank alcohol. That’s why more than ever, open communication with teens is key to preventing them from developing an addiction or other unhealthy behaviors.
Consistent messages to teens about addiction can help prevent substance abuse – one study found that when a parent talks to their teenager regularly about the dangers of drugs and alcohol they lessen the chance of their child using drugs by 42 percent!
Josephine Healy is a primary therapist at the Lighthouse Recovery Institute, a licensed drug, alcohol and eating disorder treatment center in Delray Beach, Fl., that specializes in recovery for women. Here are some of her tips on how to talk to teens about addiction:
·         Keep it honest - Honesty is always the best policy when speaking to teens, especially regarding sensitive subjects. Parents should educate teens on the consequences of use.
·         More communication is better - Open up a line of communication with the teen and let them know that no question is off-limits. It’s vital that they know they have a nonjudgmental resource to communicate with regarding substance-abuse related topics.
·         Utilize resources - Self-help groups and addiction treatment organizations such as DARE can provide resources for teens regarding substance abuse.
·         Show your support - Ensure the teen that, as a parent, you are coming from a loving and caring place.
Healy has worked at a variety of levels of care in both substance abuse and dual diagnosis facilities, providing her with an interdisciplinary approach to client care. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, she utilizes a variety of therapeutic techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, solution-focused therapy, and holistic approaches to treatment.
At the Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our mission is to help each client attain peace, happiness and permanent sobriety. With over 30 years of experience in the treatment of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, eating disorders and trauma, our passionate team of doctors, therapists, and specialists provide nothing but the highest quality of care for every woman who walks through our doors.


Pet Pointers: Summer Safety

This week, Pet360.com moves into their #SummerOfPets Safety and Wellness week, providing pet parents with the resources and products they need to have a safe and healthy summer with their pets. Our Chief Pet Parenting Expert, Rose Hamilton, partnered with SheKnows to compile a Summer Safety Tips infographic of our top recommendations for keeping your furry friends out of harm’s way. You can share your own #SummerSafety tips or enter the weekly #SummerOfPets giveaway!