Tuesday, November 30, 2010

five helpful tips for holiday tech shopping

Undoubtedly, if you have a list of people to shop for this holiday season, you will have some tech items on your "to buy" list.  Many people feel overwhelmed when it comes to buying technology related items.  Are you one?  Here are some tips I have to help you make your purchases:

1.  If you don't really know much, if anything at all, about the item you are setting out to find, take along someone that does.  Its a terrible feeling to be standing in a store and have no idea which item is what you want, which item is better, or which item is the best deal.  If you have a tech savvy person with you, it will help take the guess work out of your purchase.  Don't rely solely on sales people.  Sometimes they have no more idea than you about items in the store, although they will seldom admit it!  They may also try to sway your purchase to something that doesn't exactly fit your needs just to make a sale, or lead you to a more expensive item just to boost their commissions.  So take a buddy!

2.  Ask the intended recipient a lot of questions (or if its to be a total surprize, ask someone who knows just what the recipient would want).  For example, you might know someone wants a computer...well do they want a desktop model?  Are they hoping for a laptop?  Maybe they are wanting one of the very small notebook types?  Do they have a certain brand in mind?  What will they be using the gift for exactly?  Do they have color preferences?  Clearing up questions like this will prove to me most helpful when you arrive at the store.  Arriving at a store these days just to say "I want an Ipod" will no longer cut it!  Wayyyyy too many choices out there!

3.  Comparison shop for your item.  Watch sales ads and commercials.  Check the internet.  There can be huge price differences on identical tech items out there.  Ask stores if they are willing to price match as well.  Many will do that these days.  It might make it easier on you to be able to buy your tech item at a store where you will be purchasing other items as well.

4.  Find out the return policy before you buy.  What if, despite all your advance preparations you find out what you bought wasn't quite what the recipient had their heart set on?  Will the store you bought it for accept a return?  Will they return it for cash?  Will you have to take a store credit?  Does the package have to be unopened?  How many days do you have to make the return (very important when buying a gift ahead of time!)  Will they need a receipt?  Do they offer gift receipts?  Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions.

5.  Find out if there is anything else needed to use the item or if everything is included.  Did you ever open a toy as a child and find it was just what you were hoping for....only to find out it didn't come with batteries and there were none of the size you needed in the house and no stores open?  Do you remember that disappointment?  I sure do!  So find out if there are chargers, power cords, memory cards, lenses, software, hardware....whatever else you could possibly need to make the item ready to go once recieved.  You don't want to make your recipient have to wait for stores to open to be able to use their much appreciated and loved item!!

Yes, sometimes tech shopping can feel overwhelming, but with just a few simple steps you can take a lot of the "scary" out of it!  So now, go on out and get those tech items crossed off your shopping list!!

About Staples:
Staples, the world's largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products and services. Our broad selection of office supplies, electronics, technology and office furniture as well as business services, including computer repair and copying and printing, helps our customers run their offices efficiently. With 2009 sales of $24 billion and 91,000 associates worldwide, Staples operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia serving businesses of all sizes and consumers. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today ranks second worldwide in e-commerce sales. The company is headquartered outside Boston.

More info: www.staples.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/staplestweets
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/staples
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rayovac contest!

Rayovac wants to power your holidays with fun new contest. To enter, just visit the Mom Rocks the Holidays with Rayovac contest tab on Facebook, like them and tell them how you or your mom makes the holidays rock for a chance to win the Grand Prize of $1,000 cash! There will be 3 Grand Prize winners and 20 Runner Up winners will take home a Paper Jamz guitar, amp, drum kit, guitar strap, and two Rayovac Alkaline AAA 24 packs of batteries.
Also, be sure to visit Mommy Goggles ‘Moms Rock the Holidays with Rayovac & Paper Jamz Giveaway!‘ where you can win 1 of 5 Mom Rocks the Holiday prize packs that include a $50 Visa Gift Card, Paper Jamz guitar and Rayovac Alkaline AAA 24 pack of batteries.
Disclosure – Followers who promote the Rayovac Mom Rocks the Holidays Sweepstakes may receive gifts from Rayovac.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 tips for stylish layering techniques for all occasions

I often dress in layers.  I H_A_T_E hate being cold.  I find layering my clothing to be a great way to stay warm.  I even have to layer in the summer a lot.  We don't have air conditioning in our home so I am dressed for the heat.  When I go somewhere I find not being used to the cold air makes it feel even colder.  I often wear sweaters in the summer!

So what are some layering tips from a self proclaimed layering expert such as myself?  Here are 10 that I can share:

1. One time I layer is when shopping.  I find that sometimes stores are just so overheated.  This is especially true near the entrances it seems.  Near the entrances where the cash registers are.  So there you are in a long line, actively bouncing a crabby baby, and it feels like it is 100 degrees.  I love to be able to pull off that warm fuzzy fleece sweater and wear my light weight tee.  I also like to leave my coat in the car when going into stores so I don't have to worry about lugging it around when its too warm to wear it inside.  I really appreciate that fleece sweatshirt walking into the store.  But once it gets warm inside, I really appreciate a much cooler shirt.

2.  Consider making your wardrobe based on a single basic color.  I like to wear black.  I think it looks good on me and I love the versatility of it.  I purchase most of my skirts, pants etc in basic black.  I try to choose black for my sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets etc too.  I can then layer a turtleneck or tank in a fun color.  Using a base color like black means that I can pretty much mix and match everything i own to create a bunch of great mix match and layered looks making my clothing selection seem much bigger than it is.

3.  Are you a Breastfeeding mom?  I have been breastfeeding for many years of my life now.  Layering is a great way to build your confidence for breastfeeding in public.  I was always pretty good at being able to get a baby latched on without flashing boobage to anyone, however what always made me feel pretty self conscience was wondering if anyone could see my no longer perfectly flat tummy exposed from having my shirt lifted.  What about that back fat?  Is it sticking out anywhere?  My children were never still nursers and would like to rub their hands all around often lifting my shirt in the process.  A great layering solution is to wear a tank under your shirt.  They do make special nursing tanks that work wonderfully.  They can be a bit costly, however, and you can still layer with tanks on a much lower budget!  Just buy a tank that is a little big for you.  One with some spandex type stretch is great.  You can pull the neckline under your breast before unlatching your bra.  This will eliminate all those tummy exposure worries!

4.  Layering can make that low cut blouse or dress wearable!  Have you ever seen a really cute dress in the store only to try it on and find it too immodest for your taste?  Or maybe you bought a top and when you tried it on it seemed great but once you actually wore it you found that it slipped down in front or having to bend over and lift your children ect. left you exposed?  Layering a nice fitting tank is the perfect solution.  You can pick a color that blends well with the garment or you can pick a contrasting color for an extra fun pop!  This is great to eliminate too much cleavage or droopy armhole issues.  Modesty restored!

5.  Do you live in a cold winter climate?  We do.  Layering is really important for your comfort when participating in winter sports or taking care of winter chores like shoveling snow.  It will be cold so you want to be warm, but as you get active you will begin to sweat.  Wet, sweaty clothing will then make you freezing cold.  Its important to make your first layer something that can wick moister away.  Layering garments can be made of different fabrics.  Looking over Cuddl Duds website I found that they make layering garments in Bamboo.  I love the feel of bamboo clothing.  What a great layering option!

6. While there are times when you want your layers to show, there are times when you won't.  Sometimes you are layering only as a way to control moisture (you don't want to sweat on your clothes!) or make a garment that may be scratchy or uncomfortable on its own more wearable.  In that case you are going to want to make sure you match your necklines well!  If you have a V neck top layer, choose a under layer with a similar neckline so that you don't have to keep trying to adjust your under layers to prevent  it from showing.  Constant clothing adjustments is a pain and will look rather awkward.

7.  Get cold feet?  I do.  So I layer my feet too. Buying a great pair of dressy boots is a great way to be able to wear socks all the time.  I wear my dress boots with a pair of socks inside to Church or any other dress occasion, all winter long.  It so much more comfortable than shoes that would leave me with cold feet!

8.  Wear layering pants under your skirts.  A pair of tight fitting pants made for layering is a perfect way to add warmth under your skirt.  A skirt that goes to at least your knee and a pair of boots means that no one will be able to even see your secret under layer.  Coordinate your pants to match with your skirt and any time your pants do show everyone will think they are your tights.  Cold drafts up your skirt are definitely no fun.  What a great solution.

9. Pregnancy...the perfect time to layer.  I always get quite the belly when pregnant. Its not long and I find that I have outgrown my maternity clothing.  Over the belly pants are too tight and my shirts no longer are long enough to make all around the very large protruding belly I have and often leave my belly showing if not all the time, at least when I move around.  They now have great layering options for pregnant women.  A tube like band (think tube top looking) that you wear under your shirts will provide you complete coverage.  No more belly flashing.  These bands also work great in early pregnancy when you just can't quite button your regular pants anymore.  You can leave them unbuttoned and cover with this band.  It will also help hold up maternity pants in those beginning weeks of wearing them when your regular pants are too small yet maternity things are a bit big.  After you have your baby you can wear those  pre pregnancy jeans earlier leaving them unbuttoned again and wearing your band over them.  No one will realize your secret but they will be amazed you are in your old clothes already!  This is a highly recommended must have maternity item in my eyes!

10.  If I had to pick the one most important must have layering piece it would be a turtleneck.  i love turtlenecks.  The only reason I would even consider liking cold weather, it would be because I get to wear turtlenecks.  I love the comfort.  I like the secure feeling of having my neck covered.  Another great thing about the turtleneck is they are inexpensive to buy.  You can have a nice selection of colors and prints.  So when you plan to layer, never overlook your turtlenecks!

Cuddl Duds designs and manufactures high quality intimate apparel. As the leading warm underwear maker in America, Cuddl Duds has become synonymous with comfort and “feeling good.” Cuddl Duds is a wholly owned subsidiary of Komar.

Komar, the 102-year-old privately held apparel, consumer products and distribution services company, designs, markets and manufactures women's and children’s sleepwear, loungewear and lingerie. Komar is a progressive company with a global sourcing network that includes factories in fourteen countries andstate-of-the-art distribution facilities. Founded by Charles Komar in 1908, who stated “you only have one reputation,” the third-generation Komars adhere to this guiding principle while running the company today

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Cuddl Duds blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zoobie pets

You probably are aware that Pillow Pets are all the rage this year.  If you watch the kids channels on TV you will notice many a commercial breaks feature the Pillow Pet commercial.  Each time the commercial shows, my children all awww  and ohhhh and try to pick their favorite.  Each time we are in a store that has the pets they beg and plead.

Want to know what I find even better than Pillow Pets?  Zoobie Pets~!  Zoobie Pets are
plush animals that turn into pillows and blankets. They’ve won over 45 industry awards and can be found in over2,500 US stores.

If find them not only  practical, but simply adorable!!  I entered to win one here at Blessings Abound

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Need this bike!!

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

You too?  Just use the link to get your chance to enter too!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ten tips for new moms who are bringing a baby home

You spend months preparing for your baby.  You sit and wait and wonder will your baby EVER come as days pass and you are still pregnant.  Sure enough, your baby comes.  After a couple days in the hospital, suddenly you are sent home.  After all the worrying you did making sure everything was perfect and ready for the new addition, now your attention shifts to keeping baby safe, healthy and happy.

What can you do to be confident that you did everything possible to ensure baby is safe, healthy and happy?  Here are some tips from a me, a mom who has brought many babies home over the years!

1.  If you have other children they most likely will be in love with this new tiny little life.  Even if they haven't hit that madly in love point quite yet, they no doubt will be quite curious about this interesting new creature.  Right away teach your children to touch baby on places other than the hands and face.  Keeping baby from being touched helps keep baby from getting germs but also protects the baby from things like eye pokings (whether accidental or not quite so accidental).  Have other children rub baby's back or hold baby's foot instead.  You can encourage the child by saying how much baby likes his/her back rubbed or how baby is looking right at the child while the child holds baby's foot.

2.  Perhaps people will want visit you in your house after baby.  This is great because often they will be bringing food or gifts for the baby.  Its perfectly acceptable to request visitors wash their hands before holding baby.  You should never feel akward requesting it.

3.  Sooner or later you are going to have to wander out of your home with your infant in tow.  A baby in a carrier seat placed in a shopping cart is a total invitation for strangers to invade the baby's personal space zone.  Even if you have your baby covered over with a blanket, strangers see the need to remove the blanket to not only gaze at your little miracle but also to touch.  One of the first times I took out my first born son out a complete stranger actually went up to him leaned over and kissed his face!  I stood there shocked and realized there had to be a better way to protect baby.  Using a baby carrier worn on your body really solves this issue.  Most people won't invade your space nearly as quick as they will invade baby's.  There are lots of carrier options available.  A perfect one for very small babies that really covers and protects them in a wrap style like this:

4.  Speaking of going out, Dr. visits will be a big part of your life with a baby.  Even if baby is very healthy, well child appointments are very important.  When making your appointments consider choosing the first appointment of the morning.  First, the waiting rooms should have been freshly cleaned overnight.  minimal germ exposure there.  Next, they will probably be least busy at this time.  You will get in and out faster and be exposed to less waiting people.  I have found that the worst time to schedule a visit is late in the evening.  Parents often wait till the end of the day to take a sick child in hoping as the day goes on they feel better.  Sometimes a sick child isn't really discovered until the parents return from work.  Many offices will add sick children in at the end of the day even beyond their normal work hours so that they can be seen.

5.  The same principal applies to running other errands in your day.  Consider going during the least busy times.  If you have the kind of luck I do, you will soon discover that every time you get into the check out line, your baby will wake and insist he/she has never been so hungry.  The shortest time you have to spend in that check out line, the better.  Less busy times of the day ensure you will get through that line quickly.  You will also be exposed to much less people/germs.  One area you really want to avoid in a store is the pharmacy area.  Many people picking up prescriptions are sick!  If you do have prescriptions to get, take advantage of the drive thru line!

6.  Although I try to avoid cleaners in my home on a daily basis, there are times when disinfectants are necessary.  If any of your other children, or anyone in the household is sick, its time to break out the Lysol.  Go through each room and wipe down any area that's a frequently touched surface.  Suggestions:  lightswitches, door handles, cabinet handles, soap dispensers, faucet knobs, toilet flush handle, refrigerator handle, etc.  Wash your dishes on the sanitize cycle in your dishwasher.  Clothing, sheets and towels should be washed in hot water.  If you like to use towels a few times before washing, during sick times you should abandon that practice and wash after each use.

7.  Boost up your family's immunity but making sure they are eating good healthy foods.  Try to prevent your family from even getting sick in the first place so that baby doesn't get exposed.   Include lots of fruits and veggies.  Try to totally avoid processed foods.  Also, give your family vitamins and consider herbal supplements that boost immunity.

8.  Baby's bathtime can be very enjoyable but there are steps you should take to make it safe.  First, turn your water heater down so that water will not get scaldingly hot.  Make sure your baby's portable bath tub is on a very stable surface.  Have all your supplies ready and within an arms reach before you get baby in the tub.  NEVER EVER take your hands off baby or let your eye divert away.  Once water starts to cool off, remove baby to avoid chills.  Quickly dress baby while keeping as much of baby covered at all times.  Doing these things will keep baby from any harm.

9.  Don't ever allow your pets to be left alone with the baby.  A nice warm snuggly baby looks like the perfect place for kitty to take a nap on.  Dogs may love the baby but could cause accidental harm if they jumped up on the baby carrier or swing to take a look.  Also, watch your dog closely when guests come over.   Some dogs immediately recognize this baby as their's to protect.  A normally very laid back people loving dog may not be at ease with visitors touching "their" baby.  When I brought my first born home, he would cry when he got his diaper changed.  I had a cat that would come running into the room and actually attack my legs, biting and clawing me.  I guess she thought I was hurting the baby!  I soon began closing the door to the room before I started changing baby.  When I brought my 4th child home my one dog sat outside my bedroom door and decided it was his job to keep the other dog away.  He would guard the door and allow other people in without issue but whenever the other dog came around he'd start growling and block the doorway.  So just beaware that a new baby is an adjustment for the furry members of your family as well.

10.  Finally, realize that no matter how much you try, things are going to happen.  Sooner or later your baby will get sick.  Don't feel guilty about it.  You can make your home as safe as possible but accidents will happen.  When I was carrying my sleeping 5th newborn baby into my bedroom one evening my pocket on my shorts got hooked over the door handle to the bedroom and suddenly jerked me backwards and downward and I fell to my knees.  I swore the baby would end up with shaken baby syndrome from the impact even though she never left my arms and didn't even wake up.  I called my pediatrician in tears.  She said she was sure the baby was just fine.  If there was anything unusual that came up to call right back, but she was sure things were just fine.  So try to relax.  Remember you did all you could to make baby as healthy, safe and happy as possible.

Arriving at your home with a newborn is certainly and exciting, happy time.  Do all you can to make sure its a safe, healthy time as well!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Lysol® Wee Wisdom blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.