Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Zoltar

We stumbled upon this guy while walking through The Venetian in Las Vegas. I had to snap a picture of him since it is from one of my favorite movies as a kid."I wish I were big."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Famous Footwear Location Opening in Hartford plus Gift Card #Giveaway

Famous Footwear will be opening a new store in Hartford, Connecticut, its 14th location in the Hartford and New Haven market. The 5,000 square-foot store will open July 31, 2013 and will host a series of grand opening events throughout the day. The new store is located in the Charter Oak Marketplace at 55 William Shirty Cambell St. in Hartford, CT.

To celebrate the opening in Hartford, Famous Footwear is hosting an all-day grand opening event on August 10, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Shoppers are invited to experience fun activities including:
  • A Shoe Crazy® shopping spree where one lucky winner will get 30 seconds to run through the aisles and grab as many free pairs of shoes as possible.
  • Hourly drawings to win a complimentary pair of shoes.
  • An appearance from popular, local radio station, WTUC-FM (96.5), giving shoppers the chance to meet some of their favorite radio personalities.
  • A live DJ.

Right now I am picturing myself running through the aisles and throwing boxes of shoes in a cart. Man that would be so much fun!

Famous Footwear is a leading, easy-to-shop footwear destination, featuring merchandise for women, men and children, making it a one-stop-shop for the entire family. Shoppers can access Famous Footwear’s loyalty rewards program and vast style selection in-store to meet their family’s footwear needs.

With more than 1,000 stores nationwide as well as their website, Famous Footwear offers consumers more than 100 nationally recognized brands through its retail stores and website, including Nike, Skechers, Naturalizer, Puma, Steve Madden, Converse, New Balance, DC, Rocket Dog and Carlos by Carlos Santana, and features a broad assortment of fitness footwear from brands like Reebok, Avia and Ryka. Famous Footwear is also a proud national partner of the March of Dimes.

Connect with Famous Footwear

One (1) winner will receive a $25 gift card to Famous Footwear. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, 18+n and will end on August 10, 2013. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A Drive With Elvis

I had a blast at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas! I may have done some innapropriate things to some of the wax statues, but here is a tame one of myself and Elvis.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Back to School Shopping Cash #Giveaway!

It is that time of yea again: Back to School Shopping time! While there is definitely a fun aspect to it, back to school shopping can also be quite stressful. Especially if you have lots of kids to shop for. Ebates and a bunch of us cool bloggers want to take some of that stress away by hosting this awesome cash giveaway!

Welcome to the Back To School Cash Back Event

Ebates is the pioneer and leader of online Cash Back Shopping. The company was founded in 1998 by two Deputy District Attorneys in Silicon Valley who used to prosecute online fraud & identity theft before starting Ebates (so you can be sure we are very into secure online transactions!). So go ahead, sign up and start shopping now. Joining Ebates is always free - you'll never pay us anything. And four times a year or more, they will mail you a Big Fat Check, transfer the money to your PayPal account or even offer you an Amazon E-Code if you'd prefer. They can even send the money to your favorite charity. How cool is that? No matter your choice it will always be 100% free.

How Ebates Works:

Ebates pays members cash back every time they shop online as well as provide them with the best coupons and deals online. To date, Ebates has paid over $85,000,000 in cash to its members. That's is lot of pocket change and why over 12 million people have joined Ebates. So why wait? Join Ebates today!

Here are just a few of my favorite Back To School cash back deals currently happening over at Ebates:

  • Sears - Back to School savings! Get an extra 15% off clothing, shoes and fine jewelery on orders of $75 or more with code. Plus 6% Ebates cash back.
  • Kohl's - Double Cash Back! Earn 6% cash back instead of 3%.
  • eBags - School and laptop bag sale and clearance! Get up to 65% off MSRP plus free shipping brands like JanSport, the North Face, High Sierra, etc. Plus 12% cash back!

If you haven’t joined Ebates yet, this is the time to do it. Ebates offers refer a friend benefits where you traditionally earn $5.00 for every new qualified member you refer. Right now in addition to this they are offering: Refer 3 new friends and we’ll add a $30 bonus in your Ebates account! That’s $45 in total!

Signing up for Ebates is easy and membership is free.

In fact it only takes about 15 seconds. Just enter your email, selected password and who referred you. Then click start shopping and you are ready to start earning cash back bonuses.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Three lucky readers will receive a bit of cash to get you in the saving spirit {$100, $75 and $50 winners}!

Giveaway ends August 12th at 11:59pm, open to US residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.

Disclosure: Marianna did not receive compensation for this giveaway and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest are in no way associated with this giveaway.

Would you like to have your products featured in a similar giveaway event? Want to increase your social media exposure before the holiday season? See how we can help! Contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com to see what Mom Powered Media can do for your company!

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Publishers Clearing House "Win $5,000 a Week Forever" Sweepstakes

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting sponsored by Publishers Clearing House. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

We have all heard of "Win for Life" sweepstakes where you receive a weekly check for the rest of your life. Publishers Clearing House has taken this a step further with their Win $5,000 a Week Forever Sweepstakes. This August, one lucky winner will be awarded $5,000 a week for the rest of their life but they will also get to name an inheritor of their prize who will continue receiving that $5,000 a week. By signing up you have a chance to not only change your life, but the life of someone you love as well. So sign up for the Win $5,000 a Week Forever sweepstakes today for your chance to win!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New England Getaway

I have lived in Connecticut for 10 years now and before that, New York for 14.  Yet even though I live in New England, I've never really seen much. This area is known for its quaint charm and beautiful fall foliage and yet I've barely seen any of it. Yes, I've been to Boston multiple times and I went to Vermont once or twice for skiing (so not a fan of skiing, by the way), but there are still so many New England states I would like to visit. I was thinking how nice it would be to plan a weekend getaway for this fall and finally take in some of the New England sites. Ideally I would love for my husband and I to steal away to New Hampshire for a few days and find a lovely bed & breakfast among the lodging in Lincoln, NH to relax at.

However, since we have already taken one adults only trip this year, I can say with almost 100% certainty that it won't be happening again. So we can pack the kids up in the car and find a nice family oriented destination to stay at for a night. Then we can do fun, outdoor fall things with them like watching people collecting and cooking maple syrup. I remember doing that on a school field trip once and loved it, especially when we were allowed to taste the syrup. So regardless if it is just us two adults or our entire family of six, I'm hoping we can squeeze a little New England getaway into our schedule this fall.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Get School Lunch Ideas from Rock the Lunch Box #Giveaway

Even though we still have over four weeks till the kids go back to school here in Connecticut, there are many regions that head back in the beginning of August. So it is about that time to start planning for supplies and school clothes and also your child's lunches. Every year I start off all gung-ho with my bento style lunches for the kids, but after a month that quickly loses steam. I'm tired of packing the same old thing and my kids are tired of eating it. I tend to mix up sending home lunches with the kids buying hot lunch, but school lunches are the complete opposite of healthy and I'd like to get  back to only doing that for pizza day on Friday. Thankfully now there is a place where you can get tons of lunch ideas!

Four leading natural and organic companies (Stonyfield, Annie's, Honest Kids, and Organic Valley) teamed up to create “Rock the Lunch Box”, a free resource that delivers ideas, tips and coupons for natural and organic products just in time for back to school. The site includes:
  • 52 lunch ideas for what to pack-- including gluten-free, nut free and vegetarian choices
  • Informative, short video clips by parents that explain how to keep menus creative, packing time short, and involve kids and more
  • Ideas for staying connected to children during the day via notes and lunchbox messages
  • Tips for a healthy lunch when dealing with a picky eater or allergies
Gosh you have no idea how much the tip for the picky eater are going to help me. Having one picky eater is hard enough, but four? GAH!

At Rock the Lunch Box, parents can also submit their own lunch box creations and be entered to win goodies from each of the participating companies. Plus you can browse lots of ideas from other parents and hopefully find a lot of lunch ideas that will work for you and download coupons.

I was sent some products from Stonyfield, Annie's Honest Kids and Organic Valley to put together my own lunch ideas:

This is an example of what I would send in for my eight year old son. He loves when I send in leftover cold pizza (pssssst, Annie's makes frozen pizzas now!!). Along with the pizza I have mixed fruit of watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries; cucumbers; Honest Kids juice pouch; Stonyfield YoKids yogurt and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies.

Now this lunch would be for my three year old. We have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into a shape with a cookie cutter; raspberries; cucumber; Organic Valley shelf stable milk box, Stonyfield YoKids yogurt and again Annie's Cheddar Bunnies. My kids love those Cheddar Bunnies!

Are you ready for back to school time yet? What do you pack for your child's lunch?

One (1) winner will receive a "Rock the Lunchbox" lunchsack filled with coupons and/or products from Stonyfield, Annie's, Honest Kids, and Organic Valley. Open to US residents only, 18+. giveaway ends on August 1, 2013. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

I received sample product for use in my post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Hummingbird Moth

There are tons of these suckers hovering around my ginormous butterfly bush in the yard. They fascinate me for some reason, but I wish I saw more butterflies.

Relax & Stay Cool with Daily's Cocktails Frozen Pouches #Giveaway

It has been crazy hot and humid in Connecticut lately and I've pretty much had my fill of it. Relaxing with a tasty, frozen cocktail at the end of a long, sticky day feels great. I don't know about you, but I stink at making frozen drinks and smoothies in my blender. They always come out watery with huge chunks of ice. OK and I'm a little bit lazy too. With Daily's Cocktails frozen cocktail pouches, I never have to battle with my blender again.

Daily's has 13 cocktail flavors and new for 2013 they added three new tropical flavors - Bahama Mama, Blue Hawaiian and Hurricane; and three new Light flavors - Light Pink Lemonade, Light Margarita and Light Mango Passion Fruit Daiquiri. The Daily's Cocktails rack at my local liqour store was pretty sparse, which goes to show you how popular these are for just $1.99 per pouch. So I grabbed two flavors that I had a feeling I would enjoy: Frozen Lemonade and Strawberry Daiquiri.

So on a hot afternoon when I was free of kids, I laid back next to our pool and enjoyed a nice frozen cocktail. And by pool I mean the 5 foot in diameter kiddy pool. Hey, when the heat index is 100 and it is so humid you can't breathe, any size pool will do!

These pouches are 10oz with a 5% alcohol by volume, which isn't too strong for this lady. And the Light pouches have only 180 calories. They were super easy to put together. I set them on the counter for a minute or so just to thaw a bit, you can also run them under cool water, then I cut the pouch open and squeezed it into my cup. Voila! All done and no messy blender to clean up after the party is over.

As I predicted, the Frozen Lemonade and Strawberry Daiquiri that I picked out were delicious and just what I needed after a hot week with 4 kids running all over me 24/7. (Is it time for school yet?) I'm hoping I can find the Pina Colada one around here because I would love to give that a try.

Connect with Daily's Cocktails
Daily’s Cocktails Website
Daily's Cocktails on Facebook
@DailysCocktails on Twitter,
Daily's Cocktails on Pinterest

One (1) reader will receive a Daily's Gift Pack which include a $10 Walmart gift card, Daily's Cocktails beach ball, beach towel, and tumbler, plus a pair of sunglasses and a tropical beach bag. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 21+ only. Giveaway ends on July 27, 2013. Please use the Rafflecopter form below.

colors of prizes may vary

I was provided with a gift pack for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please drink responsibly. 

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No Sugar No Grains Day 8 Weigh-In and Update #NSNG

It has been one week since I started my No Sugar No Grains lifestyle (I refuse to call it a diet) and I have definitely seen some positive changes. Avoiding sugars and grains hasn't been too difficult, I've been eating way more proteins and veggies which is a great thing. I have not eaten a single grain, which is challenging when you are surrounded by pasta, bread, crackers, etc. and the only sugar I have been consuming is a little bit in my coffee and sometimes in salad dressing. My next step is researching some yummy NSNG meal ideas and recipes so I don't get bored with what I'm eating. This is where my new NSNG Pinterest board will come in handy.

So without further ado, let's get to the numbers.

Weight (lb)
Waist (in)

Day 1
Day 8

-3.5 pounds
-.5 inch
-.75 inch
-1.25 inches

OK, so I am thrilled with my one week results! I honestly wouldn't believe these numbers if my new shorts weren't falling off of me yesterday. I expected to lose a few pounds right off the bat, but I was not expecting to see any inches come off. So that is a nice surprise for me. With such a great change in just one week, I can't wait to see what a month will do!

And yes, I realize I should be posting a before picture, but I'm not sure my ego could handle that. It's one thing to post my numbers without a horrifying photo to go with it. But I'll think about it.

Who else is working on fitness and weight loss this summer? How is it going?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Go Further with Ford 2013 Trend Conference #FordTrends #FordGreen

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of heading out to Dearborn, Michigan for the Go Further with Ford 2013 Trend Conference. This was my second year in a row attending and I was so excited to be invited back because I love learning about what car companies are working on on the green front. Obviously making more eco-friendly cars is a trend we are all very much aware of. We were all able to attend several of the trend sessions at the conference and I want to briefly touch on some of what was discussed at the Greentopia panel, which was of course the most important one for  me.

Greentopia - "Global sustainability. It's not just a concept; it's a reality, in which like-minded companies combine resources to be agents of change fore creating a sustainable world."

Andy Hoffman, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan
Erin Simon, Manager for packagin & material science at World Wildlife Fund
Scott Vitter, Manager of the PlantBottle program at The Coca-Cola Company
John Viera, Global Director of Sustainability at Ford Motor Company

You may be surprised to know that we did not discuss alternative fuel engines during this session. Instead we focused on materials used in manufacturing vehicles and how they can be more sustainable. Ford uses 41 Fabrics with recycled content across 15 of its vehicle programs. For example, in the Ford Fusion, the seat fabric contains up to 40 recycled PET plastic bottles. Currently, Ford is looking at the potential for using retired and shredded U.S. paper currency in some of its components.

Going forward, Ford points out that collaboration with other automotive manufacturers as well as companies from other industries is how they can continue to grow sustainability. With others car companies, they discuss issues such as recycling lithium batteries. And outside of their industry, they currently have partnered with companies like Coco-Cola and Nike with regards to using Plant PET (plastic) technology.

They key to all of this will be developing profitable sustainability, because obviously a company can't go with something that will end up hurting their bottom line. It will be interesting to see how this progresses and how sustainable they can make each part of their vehicles.

On a side note, I have to praise John Viera, Ford's Global Director of Sustainability. This is the third time I have been able to listen to him talk and I just love how animated and passionate he is about this topic. It gives me hope that he can help Ford go a lot further with sustainability.

Ford brought me out for the Go Further with Ford 2013 Trend Session. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Green Giveaway Friday 7/12

Please add both your green and non-green giveaways and contests into Mr. Linky below so we can do some giveaway hopping! Be sure to include the expiration date. Thanks!

You can also submit your green giveaways to me during the week for me to feature on Fridays.

Crunchy Beach Mama
Good Earth Beauty Natural Shampoo & Bug Mist 7/16
i play Ultimate Swim Diaper 7/17
A Slice of Delight Handmade Soap 7/23

Family Focus Blog
Nourish Organic Skincare Giveaway 7/19
Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air Cleaner 7/23
Dhana Eco Kids Clothing 7/23
Natura Veda Age-Defying 5 Step Skin Care System 7/24

Thursday, July 11, 2013

iPad Mini #Giveaway

Who is ready for an awesome summer giveaway?! My iPad is one of my favorite gadgets. It helps feed my Internet and social media addiction while making blogging on the go that much easier. Yes it is one of those things I'm not sure how I lived without. Now you have a chance to win an iPad Mini for yourself Check out the details below and good luck!

Welcome to Bay Area Mommy‘s 2nd anniversary iPad Mini Giveaway! Cohosted by Milk and Cuddles, Shortcut Saver, and Java John Z’s!

One lucky reader will win an iPad Mini (winner’s choice of color)! Giveaway runs from July 10, 2013 at 12:01am EST through August 4, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. Open worldwide. Void where prohibited. Must be at least 18 years old to be eligible. No purchase necessary. Please see full terms in the widget below. To enter, use the GiveawayTools widget below. Good luck!

Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment. For questions regarding this giveaway or if you notice errors in the links, please contact Bay Area Mommy at isis@bayareamommy.net.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Check Out My New Book Review Blog!

Because obviously four children and one blog do not keep me busy enough (insert sarcasm), I decided to go ahead and start a second blog. It is no secret that I love reading books on my Kindle. With the speed I am plowing through them, I thought it would be fun to blog about them. So on Monday I launched A Lust For Reading, where I will be reviewing and recommending various romance novels. So if you could head on over there and take a peek around, follow me there and all of that good stuff, I would be forever appreciative. In time I'll start having giveaways and it will all be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Vegas View

This is our view from our room at The Bellagio in Las Vegas. My husband and I went on a 4-day weekend trip to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and had an amazing time!

Day 1: No Sugars No Grains Diet #NSNG

Two weeks ago I read and reviewed the book Fitness Confidential. Now that I am back from all of my trips (which I will be blogging about soon) and the 4th of July holiday is over, I am going to start putting into practice what I learned in that book. And what exactly did I learn? That I need to completely revamp my diet. Now when I say the word diet, I don't mean a temporary change to the way I am eating. This is not a quick fix; it is a lifestyle change. What Vinnie Tortorich explained in his book is that the key to losing weight and keeping it off is eliminating sugars and grains from our diets. Our society has gotten it completely backwards. We avoid foods with fat in them and instead eat foods loaded with sugar to make up for the lack of taste. Fat is the human body's natural source of fuel. Yet we skip that and load up on sugar and carbs, which actually just turn into fat in our bodies.

Now technically, yesterday was my day one since I didn't eat any grains and just had the tiniest bit of sugar in my coffee. But I forgot to weigh myself in the morning, so I am officially starting today.  I have a good 30 pounds to lose and I am anxious to get started. Now in all honesty, my piece of junk scale is off by at least 5 pounds; meaning I weigh 5 pounds more than it says. But since it is what I have daily access to, we will just go with it. So here are my numbers:

Marianna's Day One Numbers
Date: July 9, 2013
Weight: 149 pounds (so I'm actually about 155)
Waist: 35 inches (gah!)
Hips: 42 inches (double gah! this is what we call birthing hips)
Thigh: 25.25 inches
Arm: 12 inches

Gosh those numbers are depressing and I am hoping to make some real progress with this big change. In February I joined a local gym, where I spent one hour a day, 3 to 4 days a week working the hardest I have in my life? And do you know what I lost in 4.5 months? 2 pounds. After reading Fitness Confidential, I realized that exercise, while important, is not enough, It is all about what you eat. And since I now have 4 boys home from school, making it impossible to get to the gym, I am really going to focus on the food.

So stick around and see where this takes me. I figure I will do weekly updates and hopefully I will have some progress to report. 

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