Thursday, November 8, 2012's Halloween Giveaway Win!

 I was recently chosen as the winner in's Halloween Giveaway, which was for a collection of beauty products worth over $500! I had no idea what was going to be in it, but it came today, and all I can say is WOW! I never expected so many items, and definitely not so many that I could actually use! They went above and beyond with this prize, and it was almost like they knew what I needed the most - I can't find one thing in the collection of prizes that I wouldn't use.

The gifts included everything from lotion, body wash, face creams, serum, lip gloss, nail polish, cosmetics, and so much more! Here's a closer look at all the goodies:

Zoya Surf Nail Polish Sampler - A great collection of 6 gorgeous colors - a $48 value! I've been wanting to try Zoya polishes, as they're Tolune, Formaldehyde and Dibuyl Phthalate Free! 
Laura Geller Bright Lids, Big City Trio of Eyeshadows - These are amazing colors and I can't wait to incorporate them into my night-on-the-town looks. They are baked eyeshadows, which I haven't tried. I do love my baked blush though, so I'm interested in how these perform. They're a $39 value!
It Cosmetics No-Tug Silk Anti-Aging Waterproof Eyeliner in Plum - I don't go anywhere without eyeliner, and having green eyes, plum is a perfect color for me. It came with a sharpener too! $12 value

It Cosmetics Airbrush Blush Stain in Rose Glow - Wow this stuff sounds and looks awesome! Poreless Finish HD Micro-blush with Hydro-collogen, silk and vitamins K, A, C, & E. It's a shimmery rose powder, like a mineral makeup. A $24 value
Artistry Light Up Lip Gloss in Passion - An amazing red shimmer gloss. And oh my goodness - the wand LIGHTS UP! I can see that coming in handy for quick touchups in the car at night! haha! Seriously though, I had to go try it out, and it's a great color that complements my natural lip color well, is not sticky like some glosses, and doesn't clash at all with my intensely red hair. That rocks! It's a $16 value.
Senna Lip Lacquer Ultra Shine Lipgloss in Gorgeous - Mmm a vanilla flavored high shine gloss in a pale rose shimmer - love it! $20 value
Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray - An award winning makeup setting spray that helps keep color vibrant and prevents fading for up to 16 hours. This has rave reviews online and I've been looking for a good finishing spray, so this will definitely be used daily! $29 value

Nuance Salma Hayek Walnut Facial Scrub - A gentle exfoliant designed to smooth complexion and boost radiance. This too has rave reviews online, and I can't wait to try it. I love facial scrubs! $8 value
Likewise Everyday Skincare Face + Body Wash - This product sounds interesting. I like that it can be used on the face or body, and has Malic, Glycolic and Salicylic Acids for gentle exfoliation along with a blend of Amino Acids for moisturization. It has a light citrus scent. $35 value!
Pevonia Botanica Enzymo-spherides Peeling Cream - I am super excited about this! I tried another peeling cream and really enjoyed the results, so it will be nice to try a similar product. Basically you massage it into damp skin, and it helps remove all the dead skin cells and anything clogging up your skin. $42 value!
Pevonia Botanica Radiance Lightening Gel - This is for lightening hyperpigmentation, which I do have a problem with, so again, I am really looking forward to trying this. It's a $51 value!

Apotherderm Firming Serum - This sounds like an all-in-one serum! Not only does it tighten and firm, it reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles, moisturizes and hydrates, and brightens and refine skin texture. Sounds wonderful! - It's a $75 value!
Stages of Beauty Radiance Antioxidant Serum with Red Tea - Extremely minimal ingredients, and improves skin tone and texture, while soothing inflammation and irritation. I'm looking forward to trying it as part of my daily skincare routine. It's a $75 value also!
Pevonia Bontanica Phyto-Gel Cleanser - Claims to foam away impurities and is safe for all skin types. It's non-drying and contains extracts of Ivy, Lemon, Basil, Sage and others. A $30 value.
Lather AHA Facial Therapy with Copper & Borage Extract - A non-greasy cream that will re-texturize skin,  moisturize and promote collagen production. It's a night cream that helps slough off dead skin cells and even out skin tone. Looks interesting! A $24 value!
Restrospect Hand & Nail Reconstructor - A anti-aging treatment for hands and nails. Helps strengthen nails and soften hands. I'm in! A $36 value.

Malin+Goetz Chamomile Treatment Oil - Another great product! You can use it on your Face, body or hair! How cool is that?! You can use it to soothe, calm, and protect dry irritated  or sensitive skin, use it as a facial moisturizer, an after-shower or after-sun body oil, a soaking bath oil, body massage oil, or hair and scalp oil! It says it's beneficial for dry scalp and seborrheic conditions too. This is a $68 value!
Zents Ore Shea Butter Lotion - This smells divine! It's intensely hydrating, and is nurturing with chamomile, St. John's wort, and sage. It also contains antioxidants and vitamins while being free of parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates and dyes. It's a $28 value.
And samples of Boost Pink Lemonade and Acai Pomegranate - I haven't tried these flavors, but love Boost! It's a great vitamin and mineral fizzy drink mix that gives you a boost!

Now comes the hard part, deciding which products to use first! And adding it up, this wonderful prize collection from was worth closer to $700 (going by online retail prices that I found!) Check out and then visit them on Facebook to enter their current giveaway. Good luck! 

I was not compensated for this post by anyone or any company, but did receive the products shown in the's Halloween sweepstakes. The information posted was information from product packaging and retail websites. Any added opinions are completely my own. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ball Park Flame Grilled Beef Patties Review

I recently got accepted into the BzzAgent Ball Park Flame Grilled Beef Patties bzzcampaign and received a coupon good for a free package, along with $2 off coupons to hand out to my friends. I found them at my local Giant Eagle grocery store, in the frozen food section, near the other frozen beef patties. They are priced at $8.99 for a bag of 6 patties and are available in Onion, Cheese or Original. They sometimes go on sale for $6.99.

I grabbed a package of the Cheese patties and game them a try. I was expecting a burger cooked in the microwave to come out either dry or rubbery, but was pleasantly surprised with the actual results. Cooking the patties are super simple. Grab an individual patty out of the freezer, place it on a plate, cover with a napkin or paper towel, and microwave for 75 seconds. The end result is a juicy, fresh-off-the grill tasting burger - from the microwave! In 75 seconds!

I usually buy ground meat when it goes on sale, and spend an hour making a ton of quarter-pound patties, freezing them individually and storing them in a large ziploc bag. It takes about 20 minutes to cook them in a frying pan on the stove, and they are nothing to write home about. Just plain old burgers. And there are many times I just don't want to wait 20 minutes for a ho-hum burger. But these Ball Park Flame Grilled Patties are perfect when you want a flavorful, quick meal that will actually satisfy your hunger. 

I will be stocking up next time they go on sale. While I normally pay about 50 cents a burger when I make them myself, these are a bit more pricey, and even when on sale for $6.99 they still average a little over a buck a burger. But in my eyes, they are worth that. Much cheaper than a frozen convenience meal, and much better tasting. I like that I am able to customize my burger too with whatever toppings I feel like at the moment. The cheese patties were great with pepperoni, lettuce, onion, ketchup and mayo!

Thank you Ball Park and BzzAgent for giving me the chance to try these new Flame Grilled Patties!

Monday, June 4, 2012

McCormick Grill Mates Party

Thanks to Crowdtap and McCormick Grill Mates, I was lucky enough to be chosen to have a Grill Mates Party this weekend! They provided me with Molasses Bacon seasoning, Montreal Steak seasoning, Memphis Pit BBQ Rub, Spiced Brandy & Herb marinade, and Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce.

I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to grilling. I mean, I've grilled hot dogs and burgers plenty of times, but never really experimented with seasonings, rubs, or marinades. I have used McCormick Grill Mates before, mostly to just fry up chicken breasts on the stove. But I was excited to put the two together and be a real pit master this weekend!

The preparation was so easy! I took split chicken breasts and burger meat out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. The burgers were extremely easy to make, just mix 1 TBS of seasoning into 1lb of ground meat, and you have perfectly seasoned meat, ready to be made into patties. I made 1/8lb sliders, so everyone could try both kinds of burgers - Molasses Bacon and Montreal Steak.

The Montreal Steak is a peppery seasoning, bursting with flavor. The Molasses Bacon is a sweeter seasoning, with a delicious traditional BBQ flavor, but with an added bacon kick.
Montreal Steak Sliders
Molasses Bacon Sliders

For the chicken, I did 4 breasts with the Spiced Brandy & Herb marinade. Again, preparation was a snap. Mix the packet of seasoning with 2TBS water, and 2TBS vinegar. I placed most of the marinade and the chicken into a large ziploc bag and let it marinade in the fridge for about an hour. And the two remaining breasts I rubbed generously with the Memphis Pit BBQ Rub. The directions on the packet for ribs state to place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but I just let them sit in the fridge for about an hour. After they were grilled, I sliced the breasts into strips, so everyone could try both flavors without filling up. Most people chose to just eat the strips plain, others used the slider buns to make mini chicken sandwiches.

The Spiced Brandy & Herb chicken was the star of the show! It's a sweet and spicy mix, with ginger and cinnamon hints. The flavor was absolutely amazing! I brushed the remaining marinade I had saved onto the chicken several times during grilling.  The Memphis Pit BBQ rub has some heat to it - Chili pepper, onion and garlic combine into a delicious spicy BBQ flavor.

Spiced Brand & Herb chicken, going fast!

Memphis Pit BBQ Dry Rub Chicken

I didn't cook anything with the Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ sauce, but served it as a condiment for the dogs, burgers, and beans. I think it would be fun to try a split chicken on the grill, using the Brown Sugar Bourbon as a baste during the grilling process.

The corn was soaked in water for an hour before being placed on the grill - it steams right in the husks, and the kids get a kick out of holding the corn by the peeled back husks when served. We also had grilled Kielbasa, hot dogs, macaroni salad, baked beans, tons of fresh fruit, snacks, and all the fixings!

It was a gorgeous day, so everyone made their rounds to the food and were off playing, or socializing both inside and outside the house. We also celebrated our daughter's 6th birthday with cake, cupcakes, and ice cream. Now that I've tried my hand at spicing things up on the grill, I think we're going to have more cookouts this summer! And I know my guests were sold on McCormick Grill Mates - everyone raved about the flavors and ease of use. We all agreed that the flavors were perfect, without being overly salty or 'fake' tasting. 

Thanks Crowdtap & McCormick!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Old Navy Shorts sample & share

Thanks to Crowdtap, I got to sample and share their new styles of shorts! Summer is just around the corner, and I was in desperate need of shorts that actually fit and looked good. My weight fluctuates a lot, and all my shorts are from shortly after I had my youngest. So....I have lots of shorts in my closet, but not too many that I actually wear in public!  Crowdtap and Old Navy sent me two coupons for a free pair of shorts. One for me, and one for a friend.

I chose my friend Rose to go with me again. We have totally opposite styles, and it's always fun to see if Old Navy offers styles for both of us. We had a great time today trying on lots of shorts, and we did find shorts that we loved!

Like these - I never thought of myself as a board-short kinda gal -
 but I did like them on!
First thing first - grab tons of styles, even ones that you're not sure of. If there's one thing I've learned shopping at Old Navy, is sometimes you have to try something on before you judge it!
Or these - the pattern was interesting,
but I ended up not liking the tie - I can never tie those things right!

Rose goes for comfort when it comes to shorts. We weren't sure if the bed shorts or active wear shorts were included in the sample and share, but she tried them on anyways!
She really like the material of these - so soft!
She liked these for workout wear!

We did have a few styles that looked great on the rack, but not so great on us. Don't you hate when then happens? But I love that Old Navy offers so many, because I know these shorts would look great on someone out there!
I wanted to love these, really I did! They are the
same style and material as my favorite yoga-pants
from Old Navy. But I'm just NOT made for capri-length shorts!

We both LOVED the color of these shorts (I am addicted to Old Navy Purple), but on....ehhh she wouldn't even allow me to take a picture of the front!

What I found hilarious is that my favorite pair, ended up her least favorite! (And we totally didn't plan the photos to  match - I just happened to snap the picture the same time she put her thumb down!)
I LOVE them! So comfortable and a great fit!

Rose hated them - she doesnt wear much denim, and
these just didn't match her style at all!

She decided on the super soft comfy shorts....but....

After we checked to see if her favorite pair, the super soft sleep shorts were included (they weren't...), we had to scramble back and get the other pair she liked (sadly I didn't get a photo of her wearing them - not sure what happened!)

Ended up going back for a pair that were included in the regular line of shorts.

I spotted a beautiful gauze tank top while shopping (on sale!!!) and decided to try the whole outfit out.
Oh yeah! I bought the top too! It's Old Navy Purple - I had to get it!

We had such a great time trying on the shorts today. I even called my mom and suggested she try out Old Navy shorts because she likes jean shorts, but hates trying to find a pair that doesn't look to young for her. Several of the pairs I had on would be perfect for her, including the ones I went with! Thanks again from both of us to Old Navy and Crowdtap!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Social Marketing and You

I often get asked how I get so many free products and win things on Facebook all the time. It's not hard, but it is time consuming. Companies are focusing on social marketing so much more now. Information travels faster and farther than ever before. So when a company puts a new product in a consumer's hand - his or her impressions of the product can easily reach hundreds, or many more, potential customers in the short time it takes to tweet 140 characters, or make a simple Facebook post.

If you love trying new products before your friends, or find it important to try before you buy, then Social Marketing could be a perfect match for you. Most companies don't require any feedback, but they certainly do appreciate it! And they love when you tweet or post your experiences with their product to your followers. Some companies offer perks for those customers with large twitter or blog followers, or who will host parties for 10-15 friends showcasing their products. In those cases, you are required to post followups, and sometimes even photos, of your participation in the campaign.

Here are links to legit sites, who team up with leading manufacturers to promote their products.

BzzAgent - By taking surveys, and participating on their Facebook and Twitter pages, you can start to build your BzzScore. The higher your score, the more likely you will be invited for BzzCampaigns - with these, you could receive free (or deeply discounted) product to try and then "Bzz" (tell) people about. You are required to submit BzzReports explaining the who, what, where, when , and how you shared your experience with the product. You can tell friends, family, neighbors, or even complete strangers you see out and about, about the item you are Bzzing.

HouseParty - With HouseParty, you apply for parties you are interested in by filling out a short application. After the application period, they accept a limited number of applicants to be hosts.  If accepted, you are required to invite a certain number of friends immediately, so make sure you have friends and family members' emails handy!  Shortly after that, you'll receive your party pack in the mail - which could contain free products, coupons, hostess gifts, and sometimes small guest gifts. The contents of the party pack is listed under the party's FAQs usually.  You are also required to host your party within a certain time frame - usually they give you 5 or so dates to chose from, and usually include weekday and weekend choices. They have a great invitation program, which simply requires you to fill out your info, and enter the names and emails of the people you are inviting. You can also invite others, through Facebook events, or even other online party invite services if you want. During the party take note of activities you do with your guests, and take lots of photos! Afterwards you are required to upload photos, and take short survey, which you will also forward to party guests so they can give feedback on the party experience as well. They'll want to know how many time you tweeted or posted to Facebook an other online forums about the party as well.  There's tough competition, but so worth it when you do get a party - they are a lot of fun!

Influenster - I just recently signed up with them, so I don't have much info. You sign up, and then take surveys to earn "badges". They seem to have campaigns similar to BzzAgent, as well as offer "VoxBoxes" which are sample filled boxes that you are asked to try out the products and then submit feedback on, as well as recommend to others those brands and products you liked. I'm looking forward to my first VoxBox and hope I qualify for one soon.

Crowdtap - Crowdtap is a little different, in that you mostly just answer questions and share online pages with your Facebook or Twitter friends. Answering questions and getting friends to interact with those pages you share earn you points. The points can then be cashed in for gift cards, donations to charity, and other items. Certain actions also earn you donations to your chosen charity, from which they have many to choose.  Some companies do offer incentives, like Old Navy, who often hold Sample & Share events in which you and a friend get to go shopping at Old Navy. I've seen flipflops, tanktops, jeans, winter coats, and other items featured. When they offer one, you'll be required to take a short survey, and then be notified if you are accepted as a Sample & Share host. They then mail you out coupons so you and your friend can pick out one of the featured items for free!  I'm looking forward to see if more companies start offering the same incentives, but so far I've only been involved with the Old Navy programs.

Klout - Klout measures your social reach by giving you a Klout score based on your linked accounts. Accounts that can be linked include Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and others. Klout then lists topics you are influential about, the number of people you influence, your true reach, and the type of influencer you are. Klout then offers Perks, which can be anything from new products, books, concert and event tickets, or discounts for online shopping sites. Each Perk has a required minimum Klout Score and topics that you must be influential about at a certain level. Your friends can give you boosts in topics, which help move your topics up in levels. After you receive a Perk, you are not required to do anything - but it's nice to give shout-outs to the companies on Twitter and Facebook, thanking them or giving feedback.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Listerine Total Care Zero - Less Intense Product Review

I recently received a bottle of Listerine Total Care Zero from Listerine and Crowdtap. I've used several different brands of mouthwash in the past, and while I enjoy the benefit of a cleaner feeling, and smelling, mouth - I hated the crazy alcohol burn they all have.

Thankfully the new Listerine Total Care Zero has absolutely no alcohol, and a much less intense feeling in your mouth. But you don't have to worry about it providing less intense cleaning - it works amazingly! I received so many complements from my family members on the scent. It's not the typical crazy mint or fire cinnamon flavor. It has a spicy scent, my son said I smelled like cloves, my daughter said I smelled of eucalyptus. Both of which are favorite scents in our house!

Listerine Total Care Zero made my mouth feel fresh and clean without the burn, and I will definitely be purchasing it in the future.