Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SMILE! Crest 3D White Teams With Billboard To Offer Grand Prize Trip to Woman of the Year Award Honoring Taylor Swift

Those who have followed along with my wedding blog know that Taylor Swift holds a special place in my heart, as her song, "You Belong With Me" was one I often thought of my now-husband to before we started dating.

So I am thrilled that Taylor Swift is being given the coveted Woman of the Year Award at Billboard's 2011 Women in Music Event! Better yet, Crest 3D White, the #1 most awarded whitening brand, and Billboard, the #1 name in music, want to see you at the Women in Music Event in New York City on December 2nd!

For your chance to win VIP treatment at this star-studded, ultra-exclusive event, enter the “Smiles that Rock” contest before November 18th by showcasing your smile in a creatively designed Billboard magazine cover featuring YOU!


Ensure you are putting your best “smile” forward by showing off a bright, white smile in your submission. A little tip...when used together, the Crest 3D White Collection can help you achieve a noticeably brighter smile in as little as just one day!


Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips with Advanced Seal Technology:
  • Most efficacious concentration of Crest’s whitening ingredient available at retail – the same enamel-safe ingredient that dentists use
  • Advanced adhesive formulation that temporarily molds the strip to user’s teeth for secure fit
  • $50 per kit, 20 whitening doses

Crest 3D White Vivid Toothpaste:
  • Features a patented dual-action silica system that helps gently polish away surface stains
  • Provides up to 80% surface stain removal for a whiter smile in 14 days
  • Toothpaste-gel hybrid formulation offers the cleaning of a toothpaste and the freshness of a gel, helping teeth feel smooth and clean
  • Radiant Mint flavor, 4oz $3.25; 5.8oz $3.75; 7.6 oz for $4.25

For more information on Crest 3D, be sure to like their Facebook page here, and follow them on Twitter: @Crest!

And don't forget to stop by the “Smiles that Rock” contest page for your chance to win a VIP trip for two to Billboard's 2011 Women in Music event!

Disclosure: I received complimentary products from Crest 3D to thank me for my time in writing this post.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Extraordinary Hair with the HANAair Professional Hair Dryer from Misikko Beauty

As you might have gathered by this site's name, one of my most noticeable features is my hair. Thus, keeping my hair healthy and looking its best is very important to me.

Having been a natural blonde throughout my youth, I've had to get a little help from the salon in keeping that color in my adult years. And as we all know, the coloring process can put a lot of stress on even the healthiest of hair.

So when I was contacted by Misikko Beauty to review the ultra-chic HANAair Professional Hair Dryer, I was beyond excited to give it a try. A hair dryer that promises to actually make your hair healthier with use? I'm all in!

I'll admit I was skeptical at first, as conventional wisdom has always taught that hair dryers are bad for your hair. But from the very first use of the HANAair dryer, I could see a noticeable difference in the look and feel of my hair. It was shinier, sleeker and much more smooth.

What's the secret behind HANAair's performance? It's actually a combination of three things: 2300 wattage power, pure tourmaline crystals and a ceramic heater.

As someone with very thick hair, it usually takes me forever to dry my hair! But with the 2300 wattage power, the HANAair dryer cuts my drying time by at least half. That alone saves my hair from the damage that can come from longer heat exposure with conventional dryers. And the faster drying time has meant that I'm out the door faster and have actually made it to appointments ON TIME (a rarity for me!).

The tourmaline crystals and ceramic heater combine to give the most advanced far infrared ionic heat possible. What this basically means is that your hair will have less frizz, more shine and healthier radiance with each use.

My hair is not only thick, but it's also very frizzy when I use a conventional dryer. Those stray, curly hairs that stand up all over the place after drying have always drove me crazy! But with the HANAair dryer, my hair was much more smooth with just the first use.

Other features include:
  • Silver Nano Technology for anti-bacterial protection
  • Scratch resistant shell with black metallico finish adds durability and is easy to clean
  • Long lasting motor with low noise
  • Gyroscopically balanced for easy handling (note: it is very lightweight too!)
  • Fiberglass concentrator attachment
  • 12' extra long cord, ALCI safety plug
  • Italian design
  • 2 fan speeds, 3 heat settings, plus a cold shot button
  • Two Year Warranty

The extra long cord is another favorite feature of mine. I hate when I am drying my hair and need to reach for something, but can't due to a short cord. With the HANAair dryer's cord, I can move all over my bathroom with ease!

I also used two products that Misikko sent to me for review along with the HANAair dryer (as well as all of that other gorgeous swag pictured above...thank you, Misikko!): HANA Shine Shield Thermal Protectant and Paul Mitchell's Leave-In Conditioner. Between the products and the HANAair dryer, my hair has never looked healthier!

See for yourself how fast my hair dried and how sleek, smooth and shiny it looked with the HANAair dryer:

I honestly never would have invested much money in a hair dryer before (the HANAair dryer retails for $314 but is currently on sale for $194.99 with free shipping). Now that I've seen the difference firsthand, though, I could never go back to my cheaper, department store dryer.

The HANAair Professional Hair Dryer is the only dryer I will trust my hair to from now on!

For more information, follow these links:
~HANAair Professional Hair Dryer
~HANA Salon
~Misikko on Twitter
~Misikko on Facebook
~HANA Salon on Twitter
~HANA Salon on Facebook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary HANAair Professional Dryer to facilitate this review, as well as other complimentary products to thank me for my time.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg

Forget Paranormal Activity 3. If you really want to get your scare on, you have to check out Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream in Williamsburg, VA! With elaborate haunted mazes, scare zones, realistic zombies and ghouls, rides, and more, you're bound to have a good time!

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to Busch Gardens' Fright Night social media event and got to experience all of the scares first-hand. The theme this year is "The Dark Side of the Gardens - Fear Grows Here" and the star was this creepy, scary, eerie "Lady of the Garden"...

Oh sure she may not look as scary during the day, but stand next to that statue at night, with rain drizzling down and fog surrounding you and she gets even creepier! The same goes for the rest of the park:

The scare has been so ramped up this year, in fact, that the park advises parents NOT to bring children after 6 p.m. (when Howl-O-Scream officially starts). There are no safe zones this year and the scares are not designed to be child-friendly. (The screaming little kids I saw being dragged by their mother across a bridge with bloody, chainsaw wielding zombies chasing after them is just one example of parents ignoring such the detriment of those poor kids!)

One of the best shows this year, Fiends, is also adult-oriented and my husband and I got to watch from the balcony of Das Festhaus:

We even got to meet the members of the cast after the show and they were so friendly!

Notice our face paint? Here's a close-up:

We stopped at one of several kiosks throughout the park to get our faces done and our artist did a great job! It's so much more fun enjoying all the festivities decked out in face paint (or horns as the case may be).

The best part of the night for us, however, was winning a chance to go through the Deadline maze BY OURSELVES with a camera attached. Here are clips of us in Busch Gardens' promo video:

Here's the full footage of just us (yes, I was scared, lol!):

Want to get in on the scare? Sunday, October 30 is the last day you can enjoy it, so hurry over if you haven't already.

And if you miss it this year, don't worry. Howl-O-Scream is an annual event so you can always go next year. I know we definitely will!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Talking Turkey With Jennifer Garner and Frigidaire

It's hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner! On September 21, Frigidaire and Jennifer Garner hosted a holiday discussion with food/mom bloggers to talk turkey, traditions and keeping family dinner a priority during the busy holiday season.

The event celebrated the launch of Frigidaire's new Gallery Range with Symmetry Double Ovens. The new, freestanding range helps families cook their holiday meals faster thanks to its huge capacity (each oven holds a 28-lb. turkey), faster preheat time (4 minutes), and easy, one-touch options. It also features a Keep Warm Zone that will maintain the temperature of your food while you prepare your table for dinner.

Most importantly, the holiday round-table event also kicked off Frigidaire's latest campaign to support Save the Children's U.S. programs. And it's not too late for you and your family to join in and support the cause!

Just visit, where you can see Jennifer's top turkey tips and fabulous holiday recipes, as well as videos of the round-table discussions. For the first 550 visits, Frigidaire will donate a turkey to a Save the Children Family, and for every visit, $1 will be donated to Save the Children to support their U.S. Programs.

Helping others has never been so easy, has it? With just a click of a button, and never having to leave your home, you can help feed hungry families across the country this holiday season, at no cost to you whatsoever.

In addition to supporting a worthy cause, visitors are entered for a chance to win a Range with Symmetry Double Oven of their own from Frigidaire! So hurry over to right now and check out the great videos and tips!

Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of the Frigidaire Test Drive program and received a gift certificate to thank me for my time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering Francine Virgilio

This post was originally published on "So a Blonde Walks Into a Blog" (no longer active) on 9/11/06 as part of a blog project to honor each victim of the September 11 terror attacks.

Our family is reading about the life of Saint Frances Cabrini, an Italian-American saint (the first Italian-American to become a saint). Her real name was Francesca.

So while I was searching for information on Francine A. Virgilio, who died in the Twin Towers on 9/11, I found a message board in which she is referred to as "Francesca."

I don't think that's coincidence.

In reading about this amazing woman's life - her kindness, acts of charity and love of others, I think you could say she was a saint on earth.

Born June 7 in Brooklyn, NY, Francine was 48-years-old when she died in the World Trade Center. She worked there as Vice President of insurance claims for Aon Corp. Francine lived for a short time in Sicily, but always considered New York her home, so much so that she was a devoted New York Yankees fan.

Though she wasn't married and had no children, she served as a "surrogate mother" to her four nephews, who considered her "cool" enough to hang out with without being embarrassed in front of their friends.

As a NY Times article noted:

One Christmas, Francine Virgilio treated her nephews to a show with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and dinner afterward at Mickey Mantle's. She even hired a limousine to take them around.

Cool aunt, indeed!

From an article:

"If there was a second mother to us, she would be it," said her nephew, Kevin. "She would always come up from the city to visit us. We are like the sons she never had."

Her other nephews are Salvatore, Joseph and Paul Virgilio.

The NY Times article goes on to describe a little about her life:

An Aon executive, Ms. Virgilio started out as a secretary after high school and worked her way up. She was just as disciplined about her favorite team, the Yankees. She followed them through the bad years, and kept an autographed photo of Lou Piniella on her desk. Last year, she snagged a ticket to the Subway Series and had it framed for a place in her home on Staten Island.

Generous does not seem an appropriate word to describe how incredibly giving Francine was. Her sister-in-law Susan was quoted as saying, "A lot of times it was more fun to watch her give the gift than to watch the person she gave it to open it."

From the article, writer David Andreatta summed up Francine's generosity perfectly:

She spent nearly 20 years caring for her ailing parents in their Queens home before settling on Staten Island in 1993. A humanitarian who rarely asked for favors, Ms. Virgilio donated her time and resources to several charitable organizations, including the Alzheimer's Foundation and Save the Children, through which she adopted a little girl.

Even on the day she went missing, Ms. Virgilio had planned to meet her sister-in-law, Susan Virgilio, for lunch in Manhattan, and to give her a 35mm camera so her nephew could take a photography course at his high school.

Unfortunately, that lunch would never happen.

According to the SLive article, at 9:05 a.m., just two minutes after the first plane crashed into the first tower, Francine called Susan from the 98th floor of the building where she worked.

In her seemingly understated way, she phoned Susan and told her she wouldn't be able to make it for lunch, but she would call her later that evening. I was struck by her words. It appears as if she is once again thinking of others instead of herself, not wanting to worry her family.

On September 16, 2001, firefighter John Caputo found Francine's checkbook among the rubble. In the book were photographs of her loved ones as well as a blood donor card, just another symbol of her generous spirit.

In addition to her sister-in-law and nephews, Francine is survived by her mother Josephine Sorrentino Virgilio, and her brother, Nunzio.

If you have the time, please visit this message board to see how loved Francine was by so many.

Also, the SLive article has more detailed information on Francine's life and is very well-written.

God bless you, Francine. God bless you, your family, friends and loved ones. I will never forget you and feel so priviledged to have learned about your wonderful life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Game Time: Tackling the Past - P&G and Walmart's Family Movie Night Review

The next movie in Proctor & Gamble and Walmart's Family Movie Night will be premiering on September 3 at 8/7c on NBC and it is just as moving and wholesome as the last one!

Game Time: Tackling the Past is a sports-themed movie, but don't let that fool non-football fans (such as myself!). As always, there is something for everyone in this movie and I found myself glued to the set the entire time!

The movie stars well-known actors Beau Bridges (as dad Frank Walker) and Catherine Hicks (as mom Anna Walker) as well as Ryan McPartlin (as Jake) and Josh Braaten (as brother Dean Walker). Here's a synopsis of the movie:
"Pro football star Jake Walker is just one season away from setting an all-time receiving record that will guarantee him a spot in the Hall of Fame. But when he gets news that his father has suffered a serious heart attack, Jake leaves training camp and returns to Riverton, the small hometown he's avoided for nearly 15 years. Past memories of glory and regret resurface as Jake is forced to reconnect with the family and community he abandoned in pursuit of his career.

A call from his agent delivers another crushing blow - Jake's contract will not be renewed. Stripped from the thing he cares about most, the real Jake begins to emerge from behind his armor to see that life proves more than the accumulation of personal stats. But when he's offered a lucrative new contract with another team, he must decide whether to go back to the career he thought he loved, or stay in Riverton and embrace the people who have always been there for him.

As a Family Movie Night Mom Ambassador, I was able to preview the movie with my family. Watching the scenes of the fallout from Jake's father's heart attack were particularly hard for my fiance to watch, as he lost his father to a sudden heart attack many years ago and rushed to his hospital bedside as well (in his father's case, however, he never regained consciousness).

We held hands tightly through those scenes and shed a few tears. That's how real they were. The actors did an amazing job of portraying such a crisis.

Our whole family loved the movie and once again, it was nice to sit back and enjoy entertainment that I know is free of inappropriate or adult-oriented content. Game Time: Tackling the Past teaches the importance of family, helping others and what really matters in life, lessons that are so crucial in raising good kids, and it does so without being preachy or overbearing.

Check out the trailer below:

For more information on Game Time: Tackling the Past, visit the official Family Movie Night website here.

You can also visit the Family Movie Night Facebook page here.

Be sure to tune in on Saturday, September 3 at 8/7 C to see all of the action, drama and fun Game Time: Tackling the Past has to offer!

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of P&G and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fun With Disney Interactive Studios

It's no secret that my family and I are HUGE Disney fans! Our trip to Disney World this past spring was amazing and brought tears of joy to my little girl's eyes since it was her first visit there ever and also her first vacation since being diagnosed with diabetes several months ago.

So she was overjoyed when Disney Interactive Studios recently sent us two video games for us to review: Cars 2: The Video Game and Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension.

The original Cars movie has a lot of meaning to my three kids because it was the last movie they watched with their grandfather before he passed away. He was a race car driver so it was the perfect movie for them to watch with him.

We haven't had a chance to see Cars 2 yet but we are definitely planning on it! I am sure it will live up to the Disney name and deliver wholesome, fun entertainment as all Disney movies do.

Disney's video games are no different and Natalie has had so much fun playing the Nintendo DS version of Cars 2 (the game is available on all major gaming platforms). Here's a description from Disney Interactive Studios:
"In Cars 2: The Video Game, players prepare to become a world-class spy at the international training center C.H.R.O.M.E (Command Headquarters for Recon Operations and Motorized Espionage) and then take on dangerous spy missions. While using their new spy skills in exhilarating, action-packed combat racing and battle arenas, players compete to become the best race car in the world.

Fans can play in either single or multi player modes with up to four people to unlock new tracks, characters, events, and thrilling spy missions. Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, DS, and PC/Mac.

Developed by Avalanche Software in collaboration with filmmakers at Pixar Animation Studios, the team brought in a former CIA agent to ensure some of the spy elements in the game (from training to gadgets) reflect what spy agencies might implement, with an animated twist, of course. Check out this cool video on the making of the game:

The DS version includes exclusive global locations not seen in the film. Natalie's favorite character to play as is Holly Shiftwell and she really had fun with the different maneuvers only Cars characters can do, such as backwards driving, air tricks, sidestepping to avoid obstacles and two-wheel driving.

The console versions are rated "E-10+" and retail for $49.99 while the DS version is rated "E" for Everyone and is available for $29.99.

Natalie enjoyed playing Phineas & Ferb: Across the Second Dimension just as much! This game just hit the shelves earlier this month and comes on the heels of the Disney Channel Original Movie of the same name.

The game continues and expands the movie storyline and fans can play as their favorite characters from the series, including Phineas, Ferb, Agent P, and the all-new Agent T who is introduced for the first time in the game.
Here's a description of the game from Disney Interactive Studios:
"Players will adventure through unique worlds of gelatin, bouncy balloons, old-school cartoons and more as they utilize all-new and upgradeable gadgets such as the Carbonator, Ninja Glove and Jetpack. These items will be utilized to battle new adversaries,, as well as familiar foes, while engaging in epic boss battles against enemies like the Goozim and Giant Normbot.

The game is available on PlayStation3, Wii and Nintendo DS platforms. The console versions are rated "E-10+" and retail for $39.99 and the DS version is rated "E" for Everyone and is available for $29.99.

Here's a trailer that shows how much fun the games is:

Natalie's favorite part of the game is traveling through the dimensions and her favorite character is Perry the Platypus. She also loves the different robots found on each level of the game.

For more information on Cars2: The Video Game, click here. And for more information on Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension, click here.

Disclosure: I received two complimentary video games from Disney Interactive Studios to facilitate this review.

Monday, August 8, 2011

MagnetStreet Weddings


With only a little over a month left until my wedding, I am scrambling to take care of last-minute details! One thing I don't have to worry about anymore are the invitations, thankfully.

I stumbled upon MagnetStreet Weddings while searching for our wedding invitations awhile ago and I fell in love with this design immediately.

Our wedding, as you probably already know from our wedding blog, is taking place on the beach in the Outer Banks, so we wanted a beach-themed invitation. Hot pink and white are our wedding colors so that made these invitations even more perfect, but we could have changed the colors if we had wanted to.

In fact, the personalization tools at MagnetStreet are what we love the most about them. Not only can you choose your own colors and add a photo, but you can also change the font type and size and you can even mix and match fonts as we did.

We created an online invitation for our friends who can't be there in person (click the photo to enlarge):

But the "real life" invitations are even more amazing and all of our friends have raved about how beautiful they are! They are very high-quality and are printed in full color on linen paper and, like the online version, contain our phrase "So Much" as well as one of our favorite quotes:
"He loved the beauty of the sea for its own sake and asked nothing more of it" -Thomas Steinbeck

(I am not posting a photo of the actual invitations since they contain personal information)

MagnetStreet ensures that your order is exactly how you want it...not only are you given an online proof to review to ensure accuracy, but they also double-check your order for you. They contacted me after I placed my order to let me know that the photo I had uploaded wasn't large enough and would appear pixilated in the invitations.

I was able to send them a larger version and it turned out perfectly! It's rare to find that kind of customer service and with something as important as wedding invitations, it's comforting to know that an actual human being is quality-checking each, individual order.

There is such a wide selection of products that MagnetStreet offers, from save-the-date magnets, to reception favors, place cards, thank you notes and more. I was able to order address labels and thank you cards that match our invitations:



In fact, most of MagnetStreet's invitations come with matching sets as well as a variety of ordering choices (layered, tented, flat, etc.).

For more information on MagnetStreet, follow these links:

~MagnetStreet Weddings' website
~MagnetStreet Weddings' Facebook page
~MagnetStreet Weddings on Twitter (@MagnetStreetWed)
~MagnetStreet Weddings on Pinterest

Disclosure: I received complimentary products from MagnetStreet Weddings to facilitate this review, but chose them as our invitation vendor before comp products were discussed.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who Is Simon Miller? P&G's Family Movie Night Review

Finding something on television that everyone in the family can watch is a tough task these days, especially when it comes to movies. That's why I'm a huge fan of Proctor & Gambles' Family Movie Night. As a mom, I love it when my entire family can sit down to watch a movie without having to worry about inappropriate content.

Thanks to Mom Central and P&G, I was fortunate enough to be selected as a Mom Ambassador for Who Is Simon Miller?, the newest movie from Family Movie Night. Airing August 6 at 8/7 central on NBC, Who Is Simon Miller is a fun, action-packed adventure that celebrates families without being boring.

Here's a synopsis:

When unassuming geologist Simon Miller mysteriously disappears one night, the Miller family is thrown into a desperate search to find him. Simon's wife Meredith and their two kids, Sarah, 18, and Kevin, 15, frantically search Simon's office for information. When they find a stash of passports, all with Simon's picture but each with a different alias, they realize that their father has been keeping more than a few secrets.

Who is Simon Miller? And what has he gotten himself - and now his family - into? Not sure they can even trust the Dad they thought they knew, the Millers embark on an international mission to get him back. It's a heart-pounding adventure that tests the limits to which families will fight for each other. (The movie stars Robyn Lively, Loren Dean, Skyler Day, Drew Koles, and Christine Baranski.)

I was able to preview the movie with my family and we all loved it! My daughter and I even watched it twice. Robyn Lively participated in one of the screenings and gave some interesting insight from behind-the-scenes.

If you watch carefully, you'll see that she is noticeably absent from one scene and in the movie it is explained as her being tired and needing to sleep. But in real life, Lively was stuck in her trailer with a major migraine and was unable to work (she said that everyone was very sympathetic and caring about it).

Lively's character (she plays Meredith) was my favorite, but that might be because I'm a mom. ;)

Take a look at the trailer to see all the action and fun that Who Is Simon Miller? has to offer:

Exciting, right? If your family is anything like mine, they are sure to love it!

Check out Family Movie Night's Facebook page for more information. Enjoy!

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of P&G and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Flavor Over Fizz with Crystal Light

As temperatures in my area have hit 100+ recently, hydration is more important than ever. Crystal Light has made staying hydrated easier with their Flavor Over Fizz Challenge. To take part in the challenge, you simply need to trade in your diet soda for the delicious taste of Crystal Light. With more than 30 flavors to choose from, you're sure to find one you love.

Hungry Girl's Lisa Lillien held a video conference call with bloggers recently to get the word out about the challenge. One of the best benefits of replacing your diet soda with Crystal Light is the fact that you will consume more water, and at only five calories a serving, you won't have to sacrifice your diet for flavor.

Participating in the challenge is free, and Crystal Light is giving away one amazing prize per day, including a Michael Kors watch, gift cards, a bicycle and more!

This summer, Crystal Light has introduced three, limited edition "mocktail" flavors: Appletini, Mojito and Margarita. My personal favorite, and one that Lillien raved about on the call, is Appletini. My kids loved it as well, so I will be buying it all summer until it's no longer sold. And as a mother to a Type 1 diabetic, having a flavorful drink that won't add to my daughter's carb count is a HUGE plus (all Crystal Light drinks are considered a free exchange for diabetics).

Check out Crystal Light's Flavor Over Fizz Challenge here (to enter, click on "Flavor over Fizz" on Crystal Light's main Facebook page).

Disclosure: I received samples of Crystal Light from Kraft Foods to facilitate this review/post.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interview with HGTV's Star of Design David Bromstad

An all-new season of HGTV's Design Star premiers on Monday, July 11, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and design guru David Bromstad will mentor the show's finalists as they compete for a chance to win their own show on HGTV. Bromstad was the winner of the first season of Design Star and now hosts his own show, Color Splash. He also appears in the new series HGTV'D.

Check out this sneak-peek from the new season of Design Star:

I already have my DVR programmed to record the show and can't wait for the first episode! I had the privilege of participating in a conference call with Bromstad and I can tell you that he exudes the same energy and friendliness off-screen as he does on. He was an absolute delight to speak to and he gave me some personal tips for making my temporary living space feel like home.

Here's a transcript of our conversation:

Blonde Blogger: "I have moved from a home into a rental townhome, and I’m finding it challenging to make it feel like a home—with such a smaller space, not being able to paint. I’m wondering what your advice...would be to someone like me who wants to make it feel like home."

Bromstad: "Well, I’m probably going to give horrible advice right now because I’m sure everyone out there is going to be like, what? But, I think in every lease, every rental agreement that I was in before I bought my place, it always says don’t paint, but I always did. It was the first thing I did before I even moved in just because that is one way that you can just put your stamp on it and make it feel cozy. And all they want to do is have it look nice and have it be painted white when you leave.

"So, if you’re willing to paint it white when you leave, that’s just fine. So, I was always willing and you know what? Every time that I did paint it, the landlord would come in and would be like, 'You’re not supposed to paint, but it looks really great.' And I’m like, 'well do you want me to paint it back?' And they’re like, 'no.'"

Blonde Blogger: "Yes. That’s what I was thinking too..."

Bromstad: "And if you don’t want to take the time to paint, just bringing in personal effects and just hang things on the wall—hang pieces of art, hang mirrors, make sure that it looks lived in.

"My house, honestly, is all white...and it’s very comfortable and it’s very cozy, and I’ve done a lot of homes that are all white with all white walls. You can still make it look sheik and still make it look amazing. Don’t let the white walls fool you."

Blonde Blogger: "So would you say that paint though, is the most important?"

Bromstad: "Yes. I think it’s the easiest and the fastest and the cheapest way to transform your house for sure."

Great advice, wouldn't you say?

Tune into the new season of Design Star on July 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT to watch Bromstad in action as he uses his talent and energy to mentor contestants and give them the guidance he wishes he had when he was a contestant himself. You can check out the show's page here for more information.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tree Hut Summer Skin Care Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Rachel R. who was selected at random via as the winner of the Tree Hut Summer Skin Care Giveaway!

Thanks to all who entered and to Tree Hut for sponsoring this great giveaway. Stay tuned for more contests to come!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eating Fresh with Frigidaire and Jennifer Garner

You may remember my previous post about Frigidaire's wonderful Kids' Cooking Academy with actress Jennifer Garner. Now that summer's here, Frigidaire has kicked off their Kids' Cooking Academy Summer Session!

In an effort to teach the importance of eating fresh, Garner and Frigidaire joined parents and kids on June 9 for a day on the farm at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY. Garner and a group of children picked fresh vegetables from the farm and discussed ways to prepare meals with their hand-picked ingredients.

Now, Frigidaire and Garner are inviting families everywhere to commit to eating fresh by visiting the Kids' Cooking Academy Summer session online. There, you will find great tips, videos and recipes for enjoying farm to table meals.

You can also learn more about Frigidaire's continued effort to support Save the Children's U.S. Programs. To help give more children access to fresh foods, Frigidaire has teamed up with the popular check-in app Gowalla. Simply check in at your local farmer's market via Gowalla and Frigidaire will make a $1 donation to Save the Children as part of their $500,000 commitment to the cause.

Frigidaire will also donate $1 to Save the Children when you commit to eat fresh on the website. Entering is free and everyone who registers will automatically be entered to win a brand-new Frigidaire Gallery French Door Refrigerator! The new refrigerator is packed with features that make it easier than ever to preserve your farm-fresh produce, such as the Effortless Glide Crisper Drawers.

Head on over to the Kids' Cooking Academy Summer Session for more information and to make your commitment to eating fresh!

Disclosure: I received a $25 gift card and tote as part of the Frigidaire Test Drive program.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tree Hut Summer Skin Care Giveaway

If you read my previous post about the wonderfully luxurious skin care products by Tree Hut, then you already know how much I love them! Now, thanks to Tree Hut, you have the chance to try them for yourself!

One lucky ready of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review will win a full line of summer skin care products from Tree Hut, including:

~Shea Moisturizing Shower Wash
~Shea Sugar Scrub
~Shea Extra Rich Lotion
~Shea Body Butter

The winner will be able to choose whichever scent they prefer and can even mix and match scents if they wish. Scents include Coconut Lime, Brazilian Nut, Almond and Honey, and Hawaiin Kukui.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post with the scent you'd most like to try (you can always change your mind if you win). Be sure that there is an email address that can be found with your entry or your entry will have to be disqualified.

By entering, you automatically agree to all the rules and disclaimers listed here. Please also see my disclosure policy here.

You can receive additional entries by doing one or all of the following (one entry, one time, for each step):

~Tweet with a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with your Twitter link. Feel free to use the Twitter share button at the bottom of this site.

~Follow BlondeBlogger on Twitter. Then leave a separate comment on this post with your Twitter name.

~Follow Tree Hut on Twitter. Then leave a separate comment on this post with your Twitter name.

~Become a Facebook fan of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review. Simply click here and like the page, then leave a separate comment on this post letting me know your Facebook name.

~Become a Facebook fan of Tree Hut. Simply click here and like the page, then leave a separate comment on this post letting me know your Facebook name.

~Blog about this contest with a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with the link to your post.

~Follow this blog. Simply click on "Follow this blog" found near the top of the sidebar to the right (under "The Blonde"). Then, leave a separate comment letting me know you are following.

~Post the button below on your blog and then leave a separate comment here letting me know it's posted and where. Here's the code for the button:

So A Blonde Walks Into A Review

Deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Winner will be selected at random using Good luck!

Disclosure: I received complimentary Tree Hut products to facilitate this giveaway

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer-Ready Skin With Tree Hut

It's swimsuit season and that means it's more important than ever to take care of our skin. Nothing worse than that dry, alligator look on our legs, ladies...right?

I recently tried a new product that is perfect for moisturizing my skin and keeping it beach-worthy. Tree Hut is an amazing skin care and lotion line that includes lotions, shower washes, body butters and sugar scrubs.

And all of their scents are from the tropics! I tried the new Tree Hut Shea Moisturizing Shower Wash in Coconut Lime:

It definitely smells tropical! Every time I shower, the smell conjures up that beachy, fun, summery feeling. And it is so nourishing to my skin. No alligator skin for my legs at the pool!

I also tried their matching Shea Body Butter in the same scent and it makes my skin even more silky-smooth. It's not too heavy like some body butters can be, which is a huge plus.

All Tree Hut products are made with 100% certified organic shea butter and they also include other natural extracts and oils. New mothers use Tree Hut products to combat stretch marks, another important benefit to consider.

Find out more about Tree Hut's wonderful line of products here. You can also find them on Facebook here and Twitter here.

Disclosure: I received complimentary products from Tree Hut to facilitate this review.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So a Blonde Walks Into a Wedding

There's a brand new blog in the "So a Blonde Walks Into..." series, and it is the most exciting one yet to me! Check out So a Blonde Walks Into a Wedding!

Yes, that is my WEDDING blog!! I am so excited! I'd be so happy if you'd sign up to follow in the sidebar and join us as we count down the days until we say, "I do!"

Tomorrow is a big day for us as we meet with our wedding vendors and do tastings in the Outer Banks. Follow our Twitter accounts for live updates and pics: BlondeBlogger and Boobtubious. We'll need help choosing which foods, cake, flowers and decor we want so definitely tune in and give us your opinion!

Thanks for joining us on our journey! :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

He is We "My Forever" CD Winner

Congratulations to Erin whose name was selected via as the winner of the He is We "My Forever" CD giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered and shared their happily ever after stories!

I am aware of the huge Blogger glitch that occured this past week and apologize if your entry/comment did not appear or if you had difficulty with entering. I know other review sites on Blogger had similar problems and it was a Blogger-wide issue. Hopefully this has been resolved by Blogger for good and that it will not happen again! Thank you for your patience and continued readership!

Monday, May 9, 2011

He is We - My Forever Review and Giveaway

My fiance and I recently took a road trip to Florida with our kids and there was one CD that played on repeat for most of the trip: "My Forever" by the amazingly talented band He is We. Having received the CD for review just before leaving, I played it for everyone to see what they thought. Everyone loved it and my soon-to-be stepdaughter Kylie begged to borrow the CD after the trip.

"My Forever" is a perfect road-trip album. In fact, it's a perfect-for-anytime album...while cleaning the house, relaxing on the deck with friends over, by candlelight while snuggling up with my fiance on the couch...I could go on and on. It is, by far, one of my favorite CD's now and I never get tired of it.

I had never heard of He is We before this review but I am a huge fan now! The band was formed when music store coworkers Rachel Taylor and Trevor Kelly felt like outcasts and collaborated on a song ("Such a Beautiful Sound") together.

The duo's quirky songwriting gained attention when they posted their song "Pardon Me" online. When the song received thousands of hits, Rachel and Trevor were encouraged to write more, deepening their musical connection with the birth of each new song.

And their relationship with their fans was solidified when they began touring in early 2009, as the two never leave a shirt unsigned or a fan unhugged. By 2010, they wanted to have something more to give to those fans than just a few online songs so they began recording the ten tracks for their debut album with several different producers across the country. Working with so many producers created what the band feels is a sense of open-minded diversity on the record.

The final album is a delightfully eclectic collection of acoustic songs that shine with enthusiasm and passion. "Happily Ever After" is a subtle pop song that showcases Rachel's soothing voice perfectly. "Forever and Ever," is a sweet, intimate song that Rachel says is about "learning what unconditional love is." The last song, "Fall," is haunting and has a palpable ache. It's one of my favorites, and Rachel wrote it while in the hospital, watching too much "Maury" on TV and thinking, "Why in the world do girls go for douchebags?"

My most favorite (and it really is hard picking a favorite as every song is just so good) is the bonus track, which is the acoustic version of "And Run."

The album as a whole is lovely and inviting and one the whole family can listen to. "Making the album turned our little demos into exactly what we were hoping for," Rachel says. "It made our little babies grow up into beautiful young songs."

And He is We is just getting started. Expect more releases in the future from this fabulous band. As Rachel promises, "It's only going to get better."

For more info on He is We, follow these links:

Official Website

I have one copy of "My Forever" by He is We to give to one lucky reader of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post sharing a "happily ever after" moment in your life.

Be sure that there is an email address that can be found with your entry or your entry will have to be disqualified.

By entering, you automatically agree to all the rules and disclaimers listed here. Please also see my disclosure policy here.

You can receive additional entries by doing one or all of the following (one entry, one time, for each step):

~Tweet with a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with your Twitter link. Feel free to use the Twitter share button at the bottom of this site.

~Become a Facebook fan of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review. Simply click here and like the page, then leave a separate comment on this post letting me know your Facebook name.

~Blog about this contest with a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with the link to your post.

~Follow this blog. Simply click on "Follow this blog" found near the top of the sidebar to the right (under "The Blonde"). Then, leave a separate comment letting me know you are following.

~Post the button below on your blog and then leave a separate comment here letting me know it's posted and where. Here's the code for the button:

So A Blonde Walks Into A Review

Deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, May 16, 2011. Winner will be selected at random using Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of "My Forever" by He is We to facilitate this review, and a free copy will be sent out to the winner as well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Frigidaire Wins ENERGY STAR Partner Award

Readers of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review already know that Frigidaire dishwashers save you time, energy and money. Now, I'm excited to let you know that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have named Frigidaire an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for Appliances!

The award recognizes Frigidaire for increasing their selection and delivery of environmentally-conscious ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and helping to educate consumers about the ENERGY STAR program.

Frigidaire's new kitchen and laundry collections include ENERGY STAR qualified appliances in every product category where applicable, offering a wide variety of stylish appliances that are from 10 to 80% more energy-efficient than non-ENERGY STAR qualified appliances.

As I stated in a previous post, I had to say goodbye to my amazing Frigidaire dishwasher when I moved and I miss it tremendously. I've never owned a more quiet, efficient, and roomy dishwasher than my Frigidaire.

Here's a video I made showcasing some of its features:

The dishwasher in my townhouse rental (NOT a Frigidaire) is loud, doesn't hold a lot of dishes, and often does not clean very well. When I purchase a new home, I am going to make sure I have a Frigidaire dishwasher again!

Frigidaire's award comes at a perfect time as April is Earth Month. One easy way you can celebrate Earth Month is to take the Eco-Friendly Options Poll on Frigidaire's Facebook page. You can also enter to win an eco-friendly Frigidaire appliance while you're there! Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a $50 gift card to help facilitate this review as part of the Frigidaire Test Drive program.
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