Seattle’s Best Coffee – Giveaway 2

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Seattle’s Best Coffee (A Giveaway)

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It Never Hurts To Be Prepared (A Slim-Fast Giveaway)

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Slim·Fast.

Since I know what I’m about to say is sort of weird, I think the best course of action is just to say it. Put it out there. Jump into the deep end of the community pool that’s chock-full-o-crazy.

Ready?

Here you go.

There are few things I enjoy more than packing a suitcase.

Seriously. I sort of adore it, in fact.

And it’s not that I just like packing my own suitcase. Oh, no ma’am. I like packing suitcases for other people, too. I love the whole process of figuring out what to take on a trip, getting everything organized, sorting all our stuff into categories, figuring out the best bag for what needs to be packed – the whole thing.

And because I love packing so much, getting ready for a trip can be almost as much fun for me as the trip itself.

(Maybe I should stop now.)

(I fear I’ve overshared.)

(My only defense is that I’ve never claimed to be even remotely normal.)

So given all of that, you can probably understand why our recent family trip to see a very large mouse pretty much reduced me to a quivering pile of trip-planning anticipation. After all, there were just so many things that needed to be done ahead of time! So many, very fun things!

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Walgreens Giveaway

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Walgreens.

I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that we are a family that loves Walgreens.

No. Let me rephrase that. We loooooooove Walgreens.

It’s shameful, really. We shop there two or three times a week. We know our cashiers. We know our pharmacy techs. And more than anything else, I know to check out in the cosmetics department when I’m stocking up on shampoo and make-up because they’re always well-stocked with coupons.

There’s one other thing I happen to know about Walgreens – and I know it from first-hand experience.

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Blackberry Style Giveaway

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and BlackBerry.

I’ll be the first person to admit that I was initially reluctant to jump onto the whole smartphone bandwagon. I just didn’t get it, mainly because up until about 2 1/2 years ago, I barely even texted. I just didn’t have the patience to use the keypad on my little flip phone to hammer out an assortment of letters, and as a result of that I texted approximately four times a year. Usually when I needed to say something profound like “Ok” or “Thx.”

But a couple of summers ago, my husband bought me my first Blackberry. I don’t want to overstate it, but it was pretty much love at first sight. The full keyboard completely won me over, and I made a not-so-gradual progression from Reluctant Texter to Texting Machine. In fact, my Blackberry is the very reason why we now have an unlimited texting plan on our phones. Because ever since I’ve had a full-fledged keyboard at my disposal, I LURVE the texting. I love my Blackberry. My husband even upgraded me to a trackball-free model since I gave the first trackball such a workout. I’m an official, devoted Blackberry fan.

I have to say, though, that if there’s one thing I’ve missed since I made the switch to Blackberry, it’s the flip phone option. I used to love ending a call and closing my phone with authorit-TAY. I liked the assurance of knowing that when that flip phone was closed, there wasn’t going to be any pocket dialing, purse dialing or accidental dialing. I’ve even remarked to my husband at time or two that my perfect phone would be a flip phone with a full keyboard, something with all the functionality of a Blackberry and the practicality of a flip. But since there was no such smartphone animal, I’ve been happily content to use my Blackberry Bold.

However.

A few weeks ago I got an email asking if I’d be interested in trying a Blackberry Style for a few months. At first I was sort of non-committal because I didn’t see any need to try a new Blackberry model, but then I read a little bit more of the email. And I saw the part about how the Style is a BLACKBERRY FLIP PHONE. And then I executed a very awkward hitchkick right there in my kitchen because I am deeply mature and not at all TICKLED TO DEATH when my gadget-related dreams come true.

The Style arrived at my doorstep last week, and I’ve had the best time playing around with it. If you’ve ever owned a Blackberry, knowing how to use the Style will be completely intuitive. If you haven’t owned a Blackberry, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you figure out how to use it. It took me less than five minutes to set up my email, Twitter and Facebook on the phone, and I have to say that I think the interface for setting up screen preferences, notifications, etc. is the most streamlined yet (one small exception: the selection of ring tones is pretty scarce, so you have to use the Blackberry app store if you want anything other than the ten or so ring tones that are already on the phone). The menus are specific without being overwhelming, and I appreciate that all of the options have been grouped into easily understandable categories (as opposed to seeing a list with 25 different areas you can customize).

In addition to all of that, there are a couple of things about the Style that I really love: 1) It’s incredibly comfortable to hold when talking on the phone. Because it’s more rectangular and less square, it fits better into the palm of my hand. 2) In terms of using call waiting and three-way calling, the Style is a dream. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to switch from one call to another and accidentally hung up on someone. With the Style there are four options on your screen for the duration of a call (flash, add a participant, mute and speaker), and all you have to do is scroll to one of those options and click. Super, super simple.

In terms of what could be improved, I have a few nit-picky suggestions. I wish the keyboard was just a smidge wider, but that’s something that I know I’ll adjust to over time. I also wish the keyboard was a little bit more raised – it’s not as easy to differentiate between the individual keys as it is on my Bold. If there’s a way to customize the external screen I haven’t figured it out yet (apart from selecting different kinds of clocks), but I think I’d really like that option if it were available (being able to put pictures or text there would be great). And while I don’t know if there’s any such product yet, a colorful skin for the phone would be great. I have a turquoise rubber phone cover for my Bold, and in addition to making it a lot easier to hold the phone, it also makes it super-easy to find the phone in my purse. I’ve had to do some fishing around for the Style, mainly because it’s just not as easy to see when it’s tucked away.

Because the Style is so sleek, you can’t flip it open from the bottom – you have to grab it on the sides and then flip. From a design standpoint I get this, though – one of the reasons one of my former flip phones broke at the hinge was because I would flip it open so forcefully, and that’s impossible to do with the Style. You have to hold it securely in at least one hand (two works even better) before you can flip it open, and that’s not a bad thing in terms of minimizing wear and tear on the phone.

As much as I’ve loved my Blackberry Bold, the Style definitely gives it a run for the money. The flip feature is something that I’ve really, really missed, and being able to have a flip with a full keyboard just delights me. And even though the screen on the Style isn’t quite as wide as what I’m used to, it’s a mighty small trade-off in the long run. The Style sounds great, is easy to use and offers all the conveniences of a smartphone (calendar, GPS, mp3 player, 5 MP camera, etc.) in a tiny little package. Plus, you get to end your calls with authori-TAY by flipping it closed.

Surely I’m not the only person who loves that feature.

Here’s the best part: I get to give away two (TWO!) Blackberry Styles so that two of you lucky people can head into 2011 all organized and sassy and dare I say flippy (hooray for the flip!). The phones will come with a month of Sprint service, and at the end of that time you can transfer the phones to your own Sprint plan (these particular phones don’t work on any other network). If you’d like to enter to win, just leave a comment that answers the following question: what kind of cell phone user are you? Are you totally dependent on it – to the point where you’ve contemplated wearing it on a chain around your neck? Do you use it sporadically throughout the day and keep it tucked away in your purse most of the time? Or would you be hard-pressed to know where to even find your cell phone – and if you found it, it might not even be charged?

This giveaway will run from 1/6/11 until 1/18/11.

Good luck, everybody – and Happy Blackberrying!

Visit the Official site

Visit the Exclusive Offers section for even more chances to win!

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

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

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.

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.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be
selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

Reebok Share Your Story

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Reebok.

So if I’m being completely honest, I have to tell you that 2010 was a Major Fail for me in the exercise department. Maybe my worst year yet.

Oh, I did a little walking here and there. And I cranked up a work-out DVD a time or five. But with the exception of a whole lot of swimming back in the summer, the words “daily exercise” weren’t in my vocabulary a whole bunch. And even though I know it sounds trite, and even though I know it sounds like millions of other people, I can’t help but tell myself that 2011 will be better.

(2011 will be better.)

(2011 will be better.)

(If I repeat it over and over, will that make all my fitness dreams come true?)

I have to say, though, that 2010 brought some really good changes in our eating habits. For whatever reason – and this was never anything that we sat down and planned – we gradually made a switch to a much simpler diet. Lots of vegetables, lots of whole grains, plus good-quality meats that are prepared very simply and flavorfully (is that a word?). And as a result of those changes, we’ve felt a lot healthier. My husband paired the smarter food choices with a regular work-out regimen, and he’s entering 2011 about thirty pounds lighter than he walked into it.

But now? It’s time for Mama here to get on board. Which means, among other things, that I may have to dial it back a notch or two on some of my favorite foods.

Oh, it is a blessing.

I know that if I set unrealistic goals (lose 40 pounds and/or fit into a tiny size and/or look like Heidi Klum and/or run a marathon), I’m just setting myself up for failure. I think a better strategy is to find two or three small things that I can do well and do consistently. The mental and emotional battle is just as big as the physical one, so I know that it’s super-important that I take that into account. So here’s what I’m thinking in the way of goals / changes / strategies for a better, healthier life in 2011:

1. Drink more water. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but diet soda and I have a little bit of a thing going on. We’ve had a thing going on for YEARS, in fact, and I really need to loosen my grip on those 12-ounce aluminum cans. The caffeine has a bit of a hold on me as well, so while going cold turkey (I just wrote “gold turkey,” which sounds like a fascinating albeit unrelated issue) isn’t the best option, drinking more water and less diet soda seems wise.

2. Go to bed earlier; wake up earlier. I have an unhealthy relationship with the snooze button. I tend to err on the side of burning the candle at both ends, which means I’m always trying to grab bits and pieces of sleep whenever I can – and because of that I tend to stay up too late and fight waking up in the mornings. This year I want to at least be in the bed at a more reasonable hour, and I’d like to wake up about fifteen minutes earlier in order to make my quiet time more of a priority. I’m a better, more even-tempered, more level-headed person when I set aside that time in the morning, and I want to do a better job of keeping that appointment with myself.

3. Move. I’ve never been a runner. I like the idea of being a runner, but I’ve decided that my transformation into a runner is just about as likely as teaching a cat to bark. However, I’ve had a lot of success in the past with walking. I really do enjoy it when I make a point to carve out the time for it (the time element is huge for me). This year I want to put on my walking shoes again (side note: I’m intrigued by the Reebok Easy Tones – I actually enjoy the process of toning up my legs, and I think the Easy Tones would make that process even quicker) and hit the trails behind our house. Walking three times a week would be a huge improvement for me, and it would also make that second goal I listed a whole lot easier.

So what about you? What’s one way you plan to improve your overall health and wellness this year? Leave a comment with your answer, and you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card. Plus, for more chances to win, just visit the Exclusive Offers section over at BlogHer.com

Visit the official rules.

Visit the BlogHer round-up page for links to other participating blogs.

This giveaway runs from January 4 – January 16, 2011.

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

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

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.

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.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This giveaway is now closed.