Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas, Christine!

Congratulations to Christine over at From Dates to Diapers who has won an autographed copy of Merry Christmas, America! Megawatt Displays Across the USA by Bruce Littlefield.

Christine also won the adorable pickle ornament from Bruce's own tree (see this post for details.)

Merry Christmas, America! :)

I'll be taking a hiatus from posting here to celebrate the holidays with my family. Stay tuned for TONS of fun contests and reviews to come in the new year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Giveaway!

Note: This post will remain at the top of my blog for the next several days. Be sure to scroll down for new giveaways and contest updates. Thanks!

It's the best gift book of 2007 (USA Today's "Critic's Pick")! It's pretty and cheery and just plain fun! It's Merry Christmas, America! Megawatt Displays Across the USA by Bruce Littlefield!

(Be sure to read my review of this fabulous book here if you haven't already done so)

Not only do you have a chance to win, here on this site, an autographed copy of this fun book, but Bruce has also generously offered to give away a special, vintage, Christmas treasure!

In case you're wondering, that is a pickle ornament from Bruce's very own tree (I still say he's crazy for giving this up *grin*)! When else will you have a chance to say you have a celebrity's ornament on your tree?! (see You Tube video at the bottom of this post to watch Bruce's latest stint on The Today Show)

In Merry Christmas, America!, you'll read about the fun tradition of hiding a pickle ornament in your tree on Christmas morning. The first person to find the ornament gets to open the first present.

I'd never heard of this until I read the book, but I just saw a whole line of pickle ornaments at my craft store the other day (fashioned as pickle people in various professions). Now I'm hooked on this tradition and wish I could enter my own contest. :)

To enter, simply link to this contest and to Merry Christmas, America! Megawatt Displays Across the USA on your site (I've made it easy for you with the text you can copy below if you'd like), then leave a comment here with the link. Deadline to enter is Wednesday, December 19 at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be drawn at random using on Thursday, December 20.

Create your own post, or simply copy this below and paste it directly onto your site:

Here's a little video of Bruce's latest appearance on The Today Show, where he offers really great decorating tips for the holidays and shows off his own decorations at his home while he's at it:

Happy entering!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bloghunt Party Winners!

Wow! Was that fun, or what? The Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party was a huge success! With over $6,000 in prizes and over 100 entrants, it was quite the party.

So, without further adieu, here are the winners that I selected via Be sure to check MomViews and Mums the Wurd for even more prizes and winners!

Heather from With a Little Luck has won an 8 oz. bottle of skin shielding lotion from Gloves in a Bottle.

Melissa (non-blogger) has won a hardcover copy of Nicholas Spark's latest book The Choice from Hachette Book Group USA.

A Bookworm from A Bookworm's Diary has won a copy of Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter, courtesy of Hachette Book Group USA.

Krista from Welcome to Married Life has won an autographed copy of Merry Christmas, America! Megawatt Displays Across the U.S.A. by Bruce Littlefield.

Cyndi (non-blogger) won a $50 gift certificate to Hanes online store.

Roseanne (non-blogger) won a weekend movie projector rental from

Stacey from The Truest Thing won a 4 oz. bottle of SkinMD Natural skin shielding lotion.

Jennifer (non-blogger) won a personalized tooth fairy pillow from Island Baby Boutique.

Thank you so very much to all of the prize sponsors and to all who entered. Check out the prize page to see all of the wonderful prizes and information on their value and sponsors.

Congratulations winners! I will be emailing you and need you to respond with the prize you have won and your contact information so that I can forward it along to the appropriate sponsor. Thanks!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Odd Mom Out - Review and Giveaway

I've been so busy lately that I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to finish Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter in time for the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party. I couldn't have been more wrong.

The book was so interesting that I couldn't put it down and ended up mesmerized until the wee hours of the morning, turning page after page. I LOVED this book! And I immediately passed it along to my eighteen-year-old daughter Amanda, saying, "You have to read this! You'll love it!"

I could totally relate to the mom in this book and the cliquish, snooty moms that she has to deal with. I kept rooting her on, waiting to see how she'd handle her various encounters with them. And every time she faced them down, I found myself cheering her own and wishing I had her courage and confidence.

Odd Mom Out leaves you with a new appreciation for single working moms and the challenges they face as well. Marta, the main character, has several obstacles she has to overcome throughout the book, from family to career to her love life. And you won't be disappointed with how she juggles it all.

I admired her ability to forge her own identity and be confident in who she is, something I'm not always so good at myself.

My daughter Amanda is so like Marta, though, in her independence and she's very "anti-boy" right now ("I'm NEVER getting married!" she tells me often) so I know she's going to enjoy the book too, and maybe even take away some lessons from it.

Would you like to win a copy of Odd Mom Out for yourself? Head on over to the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party and enter for your chance to win the book and other fabulous prizes! Hurry, though. The deadline to enter is December 9th. Happy reading!

Thanks to Hatchette Book Group USA for the opportunity to review this wonderful book, and for sponsoring the giveaway!

Gloves In A Bottle - Review and Giveaway

Now that cold weather is here, my hands would normally be taking a beating. I have such dry, sensitive skin year-round, but winter is the worst for me.

Gloves In A Bottle is an excellent solution for such problem skin, though. It's different from moisturizers in that it is a skin shielding lotion. It keeps moisture in and damaging, harsh irritants (like cold air) out.

It feels quite silky after application and once you keep applying it regularly, you need it less and less often. My hands have been so much more healthy since I started using it and so far, the harsh cold air has yet to affect my hands.

Want to win a bottle of this innovative product? Just head on over to the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party and enter away! Gloves in a Bottle is one of many fabulous prizes up for grabs. But hurry! The deadline to enter is December 9th!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Merry Christmas, America! Second Chance

UPDATE: Bruce just informed me that USA TODAY has named MERRY CHRISTMAS, AMERICA the "Critic's pick" for gift books of 2007!!!!!! How cool is that?!!! And wait until you see what you can win along with an authographed copy of the "best gift book of 2007" here at So A Blonde Walks Into a Review next week! It's gonna be fun, so keep a lookout for it!

Did you miss out on winning an autographed copy of Bruce Littlefield's latest book Merry Christmas, America!

Head on over to the great, big Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party for another chance to win!

And did you miss the review of this fabulous book? Click here to read all about it!

Stay tuned here for a special surprise giveaway from Bruce next week. This is one you DON'T want to miss!

Happy hunting (and reading!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

From Dates to Diapers to....Free Gifts!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Christine over at From Dates to Diapers is having some fabulous giveaways and gift ideas!

You could win goodies from EricaLyn Designs, Michabella, and more!

The giveaways continue through this Saturday, so head on over and check them out!

While you're at it, don't forget about the fabulous "12 Days of Christmas Shopping Event" going on at Skimbaco! Details on all the fun can be found here. Happy shopping!

Hanes Kids! Review and Giveaway

Note: I apologize for the lack of clarity in the photos..I'm in the middle of trying to get a new Memory Stick for my camera.

If you're looking for comfortable, stylish and affordable clothing to put under the tree for your kids this year, you must check out Hanes!

Recently, Hanes contacted me and offered me a huge box filled with apparel that my kids and I fell in love with, along with different styles of undergarments and tees that are extremely comfortable on my kids.

These outfits aren't your plain, every day sweats that you may be used to (although we love those, too). You can pair such sweats, though, with tops and bottoms to make them more "dressy," as we learned after receiving the Hanes package.

Check out these gorgeous outfits:

For this look on Natalie, I paired a white, tagless, cotton-rich fleece sweatshirt with a pair of stylish, yet comfortable, pair of stretch-cotton, cropped leggings.

My favorite of all the outfits, this is actually a skort paired with the cute owl puff-sleeve shirt ("Hoot Parade - Yellow Star")...again, all soft and comfortable (in fact, ALL of the apparel that Hanes sent us was super comfortable so I won't keep repeating myself with that particular quality...just assume - Hanes=comfortable!)

Now that winter is approaching, I plan on having Natalie wear tights and boots with this outfit to keep her warm.

This rainbow sweatshirt ("Super Shine - Jubilee Red") reminds me of a cool 70's look, again paired with stretch-cotton, cropped leggings.

Matthew loves his gray, tagless sweatshirt and Natalie is wearing a beautiful, blue, puff-sleeve shirt ("Crown Town Hanes Navy") with blue, tagless, cotton-rich sweatpants (pairing the plain sweats with a matching print).

Then there's the fabulous assortment of underwear and tees:

All cotton, all tagless and all with a comfortable waistband.

The classic A-tank tee, perfect for showing off those muscles!

I myself love the prints available. The tagless, knit boxers are Matthew's fave. He couldn't get over how comfortable the waistband was.

For those who prefer "hybrid" underwear....the popular boxer briefs.

Matthew's favorite of all is his comfy, blue hoodie:

He wears it to go skateboarding outside with his friends all the time. It's easy to just grab it and throw it over whatever he's wearing.

For fun and play, or casual dress, you can count on Hanes to provide you with comfort, style and affordability!

Want a chance to try out Hanes' fabulous line of apparel yourself? Hanes has offered to provide a $50 gift certificate to one lucky winner of the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party. So click on over to enter! Happy hunting!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Prizes!

This week, I'll be reviewing a few more of the prizes being offered in the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party so stay tuned.

If you haven't entered yet, head on over and do so. Your odds of winning one or more prizes totaling over $6,000 are VERY good!

Once the party is over, I'll be offering you more fun contests and giveaways here on this site so stay tuned for that as well.

Happy hunting!

12 Days of Christmas Skimbaco Style

Have you checked out Skimbaco's 12 Days of Christmas Shopping? You still have until December 4th to take advantage of this hip, upscale boutique's steals and deals!

Today's deal? Check it:
On the third day of Christmas,
my favorite aunt sent to me
Three warm scarfs,
Two owl shoes,
And an Eiffel tower in a pink dress.

Up to 65% off prices on children's designer
clothing, shoes and accessories.

Hurry over to Skimbaco before the 12 days are over!


Don't forget to enter the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party!!! There are over $6,000 in prizes! Hurry, as the deadline to enter is fast approaching (December 9).

I Got to Test Drive the New Dodge Grand Caravan!

Thanks to a connection in the DC Metro Moms Blog, I was given an opportunity to test drive the all-new Dodge Grand Caravan (the one on all the commercials and television shows like The View). Only 50 moms in the DC area were given this opportunity so I was very lucky (wooo hoo!)

From the start, I felt like I was cheating on my mini-van. I had a fling with a definite upgrade, and only came back to my van because I couldn't keep the Dodge Grand Caravan. My Chevy Venture was pretty ticked because it decided to no longer provide me heat when I drove it again (hubby's working on making it feel better and I think it might be coming around).

All those commercials that say the Caravan is a home on wheels? So true! You can eat, play board and/or card games, video games, watch television, eat on a table, watch movies, tailgate, use GPS navigation, make phone calls from a built-in dashboard phone service, and more.

The middle sweats swivel to face the back row and you can put a table up in between for games and eating. This picture is bad because there was no flash, but this is after a trip to McDonald's and my kids are eating using the table:

There are TWO...count 'em.....two pull down screens with two separate, wireless headphones. I can listen to Sirius satellite radio in the front, Matthew can play Playstation or watch a DVD in the middle, while Natalie watches Sirius Satellite television in the back (it comes with three channels....Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon).

Even the puppy enjoyed the ride. :) We took her along on a trip to my Grandma's too (an hour and a half away) and it was like packing for a newborn! But everything fit perfectly in the spacious trunk:

There was plenty of room for the dog's crate, supplies, groceries (for lunch) with room to spare.

And those back seats? With a push of a button they automatically fold down into the floor to make even more room, or you can have one side up and one down, favorite setting...they fold back and down to provide tailgate seats! Again, all with just a push of a button.

There's also storage in the floorboards if I had needed more room, a feature I used when I had a few grocery bags to toss into the van (closer to me in the front and easier to get to than the trunk).

The side doors automatically open and close and the windows on the doors automatically roll down, as well. I can't tell you how many times my kids wanted the windows down in the back in my old van. I really loved this feature! There were also pull-up screens for when the sun was shining too brightly, something you usually have to purchase separately and install with an ugly suction cup on the window.

The only problem I had with the van was with the passenger-side back door. My driveway slopes uphill a bit and there was one day that I could not get the door to shut automatically. I sat outside in the cold for about twenty minutes trying to get it to close.

I finally got it to shut by hitting the button and waiting until it was almost closed, then hitting it with my butt so that it was forced close. That wasn't fun! I thought it was because of the hill but when it happened again, I pulled into the road (which was a level surface) and tried to close it there with no luck (and had to go back to the button/butt trick again).

I have heard that mine was not the only one with this problem so hopefully Dodge does something to fix it.

Despite the one flaw, I would still buy this beauty if I could. I'll take a little door trouble for all the entertainment it provided to my kids and for all the features I personally loved.

Look how perfect the van looked in my driveway:

It was totally my trophy van! We were meant to be! How could it leave me?

Devra and I were *this* close to running away in the van together but she didn't want to miss reruns of Punky Brewster. ;)

Natalie summed up my feelings pretty well with this expression the morning that the van left us:


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Daring Book for Girls - Review

Oh how much fun it is to be a girl! Proof can be found in the fun and exciting new book The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz (who I'm proud to say I know through the excellent group MotherTalk).

Published by Harper Collins, this book is filled with a mix of old-fashioned and modern content that will both fascinate and entertain girls of any age.

The design alone captured my eye. The 50's style makes you feel like you're reading an antique book, but the message for girls is both modern and meaningful (not to mention fun!)

The book is packed with games, stories, activities and more. My whole family (both male and female) kept passing it around, perusing through all of the interesting content.

Girls can learn old-fashioned activities such as making friendship bracelets, daisy chains and lemonade stands, or they can venture into modern fun like karate moves, yoga, changing tires, and how to be a spy.

They'll read stories about women spies as well, and also ancient queens, women leaders and inventors, and more.

While reading the book, I kept saying to myself, "How in the world did they come up with all of this?!" You really cannot believe how much there is to learn until you read the book yourself. Which I highly recommend you do.

It's a perfect gift for any girl and you'll find that anyone who gets their hands on it can't put it down. It also makes a great book to read to your little girl at night (my daughter particularly likes the stories on ancient queens).

This is a must-have for any holiday shopping list! And also be sure to check out the authors' appearance on The Today Show if you need more convincing on how awesome this book is.

The book reminded me how much fun it is to be a girl and that the fun goes beyond frilly, pink and glittery stuff. It dares girls to go beyond stereotypes and challenges them to believe in themselves and have fun while doing it. All in one book. You really can't beat that!


Microsoft Student - Review

As a homeschooling mom, I'm always eager to check out new educational products for my children. When I was offered an opportunity to review Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008, I was really excited to try it out.

Now? Now I can't imagine never having it! My kids have been having so much fun exploring all that the software has to offer, learning while playing (and not even realizing that they're learning).

It's appropriate for all ages, as each of my children have been able to utilize it (ages 18, 11, and 7). My youngest and I were just having fun playing with the Encarta Kids 2008 feature in which we had to identify different dog breeds (you can also play the cat version).

Matthew, my 11-year-old, explored all on his own, having the most fun with the Encarta encyclopedia section on wars (World War II being the most interesting to him).

I myself played around with the tutorials and created a PowerPoint presentation on the water cycle. I've never used PowerPoint so the tutorial provided by Microsoft Student was perfect for me. I learned all the basics of preparing a presentation in a matter of minutes.

My oldest is in her senior year and finds math to be the most challenging subject. Microsoft Student helps her with several of their tools, her favorite being a calculator ("calculator" really does not do this justice) that utilizes 3D technology to help her visualize whatever equation she's working on. It will also show graphs to further help her understand the problem.

This software is packed with other useful features, including homework help, geography, foreign languages, dictionary, thesaurus, and more.

My only complaint with the software is that it doesn't support Windows 2000. The only computer with Windows XP in our home is my laptop, which I use all the time. So I am battling with my kids constantly over who gets to use my computer.

Also, if you're interested in purchasing the software, I recommend that you purchase the actual CD rather than downloading it from the site, since I had problems downloading it (and I know others did too).

I highly recommend it for students of all ages. It's going on my "most valuable" educational resources list for sure!

For more information and/or to order, just click Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008

Monday, November 19, 2007

Entertainment Software Rating Board

With the holidays fast approaching, most parents are scrambling to search for the perfect gift for their children. At the top of most lists are, of course, video games.

How will parents, or Santa for that matter, know which ones are appropriate? Thanks to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, it's easy to find out.

The ESRB is a "non-profit, self-regulatory body" that provides information on content and age-appropriateness of games. You can find such information by simply looking at a ratings box on the front of almost all games on the market. Ratings range from EC (Early Childhood 3+) to AO (Adults Only 18+).

On the back of game boxes, you'll find a more detailed explanation on the game's rating, such as "language," "violence," or "blood."

Newer game consoles, such as Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PlayStation 3, come with ESRB parental controls that can help a parent protect their child from inappropriate content.

ESRB offers detailed explanations on how to set up these controls.

For example, on the WII system, you simply do the following:

  1. Access the Wii System Settings.
  2. Click on the blue arrow to reach the Wii System Settings 2 menu options.
  3. Choose “Parental Controls” and select “Yes.”
  4. Enter the 4-digit PIN and select “OK.” If you have forgotten the PIN, select “I forgot” to answer the secret question.
  5. Now you can adjust the “Highest Game Rating allowed” to be played on the Wii console.

Find more information on WII parental controls here.

For Microsoft Xbox 360, use the following guide:

  1. Using the Xbox 360 controller, select “Family Settings, Console Controls.”
  2. Select “Game Ratings.”
  3. Select the maximum ESRB rating category you deem appropriate for your children.
  4. Select “Set Pass Code” and insert a password.
  5. Select “Done” from the Console Controls screen to lock settings.
  6. Select “Yes” to activate.

More information on Xbox settings can be found here.

With so much violence plaguing today's games for children, the ESRB rating system can be an invaluable tool for parents, especially during the holiday season.

Santa's Big List Winners!

Congratulations to the three winners of an "Official Santa Landing Zone" yard sign from Santa's Big List:

~Candes from The World According to Candes.

~Melissa from Melissa's Research Links *On This Journey of Learning*.

~Pickel from My Two Boys.

And thank you to Santa's Big List for sponsoring this fun and festive giveaway!

If you didn't win but would love a sign for your yard, you can purchase one at a 10% discount using the code "MomsBlog"....but HURRY as supplies are limited and going fast!

And don't forget to head over to Santa's Big List to use their FREE online registry for Christmas!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sitewide Disclaimer

Disclaimer: So a Blonde Walks Into a Review and its author assume no liability for damages associated with any prizes awarded here or contents contained therein. Prizes lost in the mail or those not delivered by sponsors are not the responsibility of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review or its author. Prizes not claimed within two weeks of notification to the winner will have to be forfeited.

Entrants must be 18 years of age or older to enter, and entrants must follow state and local laws concerning sweepstakes.

So A Blonde Walks Into A Review

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Right Words at the Right Time

Words hold extreme power. The power to hurt, the power to offend and the power to heal. We often see and hear how words are used as weapons in today's world.

That's why Marlo Thomas's new, inspirational book The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2: Your Turn (published by Simon & Schuster)is so refreshing. The book is a follow-up to the popular first volume, in which celebrities shared how words were used to uplift, challenge and change them.

In this second volume, the stories are instead from everyday people who share their experiences with Thomas. The book is broken into easy-to-digest chunks and is perfect to take along to a doctor's office or any other place where you need an easy read to help pass the time.

Don't be fooled by the "easy" part. The segments may be fairly brief but the message they hold is very powerful and very moving. You'll be amazed at how something as simple as words can change someones entire life.

I loved this book and was encouraged to see kindness and humanity played out in each story. And I was reminded that each of us, including myself, should be aware of what we say and how we say it so that our words encourage others.

You'll find yourself looking for opportunities to reach out to those around you with a compliment, sympathy, encouragement, advice, etc.

As a mother, those opportunities can be found in my everyday life, as well. My children and my husband are the first people that my words touch, and I want to make sure it is always in a positive sense.

If we all followed the message in this book, the world would be a much more peaceful place, in my opinion.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Santa's Big List Giveaway!

Note: This post will stay at the top of my blog for several days. Be sure to scroll down for new posts and contests. Thanks!

Well, friends, Santa has finally gotten with the times and is now making his list and checking it! Santa's Big List offers a free Christmas online gift registry with instant access to over 75 popular retailers!

Santa's also gone high-tech with email service. You can now email your child's wish list to Santa, and they will receive an automated, personal reply within 24-hours. When the wish-list is received, a secret registry is created that only parents can see, so Santa AND you know what your child wants and can share it with others.

Now, when Aunt Carol, Uncle Joe, Cousin Jane, Grandma Barb (and on and on) ask what your child wants for Christmas, you can direct them all to your free online registry that you created. That takes a lot of the hassle out of the holidays for you and your family.

Your family and friends can be granted private access to your registry where they can utilize the "pick a present" feature to choose which gifts to buy your children.

If you want to get really fancy (and who doesn't at Christmas?!), you can enroll your child on Santa's naughty or nice list and purchase a certificate that he/she can proudly display (well, that's if he/she makes the nice list, of course *grin*)

Also available for purchase are unique, creative and fun "Santa Diplomas," as well as a popular "Official Santa Landing Zone" yard sign:

Santa's Big List is offering all of you a chance to win a free sign! There will be three winners in all!

To enter, simply leave a comment here. Contest will run until Saturday, November 17 at 11:59 p.m. Winner will be drawn and announced on Sunday, November 18. Good luck!

And while you're entering, get your naughty or nice self over to Santa's Big List and start making those lists! :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks - Review and Giveaway

If you're a Nicholas Sparks fan like I am, you know that he has a special way of wrapping up the beginning, middle and end of his book all together in a neat, little package that has a special meaning to all who read it. I have yet to read a book of his without coming away without being surprised, touched and teary.

His latest book, The Choice, didn't let me down. Just when you think you know what the plot is about, Sparks pulls the rug out from under you and leaves you doing a double-take. And the tears. They were quite copious this time (but I don't think anything I've ever read has ever made me cry as hard as "The Notebook").

Hope and love were the eminate themes in this book, as well as choices. The book will speak to your heart and make you wonder what your choice would be if you were in Travis's and Gabby's shoes.

Travis and Gabby are next-door neighbors, and despite Gabby's best efforts to push Travis away, he feels a pull toward her that he can't ignore. Their love takes them, and us, on a beautiful journey and asks the question, "How far would you go for love?"

If you'd like to win a copy of this book, just enter the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party hosted by So a Blonde Walks Into a Review, Mom Views, and Mums the Wurd. The book is one of dozens of prizes being offered (with a value of over $5,500!)

Happy reading!
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