Tuesday, July 31, 2012

History and Match-3 Play Come Together in the Awesome Cradle of Rome 2! (GIVEAWAY)

I have to admit to an addiction: I can’t stop playing match-3 video games! I’m especially a big fan of the Jewel Master series, which brings history to life by allowing you to build your own kingdom. So, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review the new Cradle of Rome 2 game for Nintendo DS. This game has everything I love -- colorful graphics, historical information, challenging puzzles, and a ton of fun! I’m currently about halfway through rebuilding Rome. I want to keep playing, and yet I don’t want it to end. Yes, it’s hard to believe I’m a middle-aged mom, but I really do love this game.

Cradle of Rome 2 is, of course, for everyone. And kids will be especially thrilled to hear that there’s a 3D version available for the Nintendo 3DS! As for me, I have my very own Nintendo DSi so I never have to battle my kids to play my Jewel Master games, especially Cradle of Rome 2. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Cradle of Rome 2 for the whole family! (The kids can play after you’ve mastered the game, right?) You can learn more at www.risingstargames.com.


I have two brand-new copies of Cradle of Rome 2 to give away! One winner will receive the Nintendo DS version and one winner will receive the Nintendo 3DS version. (Note: You must use a Nintendo 3DS game system to play the 3D version. It will not show up in 3D on a Nintendo DS or DSi system.) To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, August 16, 2012.

Exclusive Interview with Phillip Frey, Author of "Hym and Hur"!

What is this book about?
In this fantasy-comedy, Hym and Hur are a young couple who never age and have been in love for more than a century. They also possess an array of magical abilities, two of which are either to play pranks on humankind or to perform good deeds. Enacting both at the same time is now what gets them into trouble, especially since it's the unruly character of Death they must deal with to bring their plans to fruition.

How did you get the idea for this book?
I've been asked this before and still can't remember where the idea came from. All I do remember is having two characters in mind, sitting down and writing about them: describing them, playing around with them, and then suddenly Hym and Hur came to life and the story took off.

Is this your first book? If not, what else have you written?
I have another book, Dangerous Times, a crime novel that I had completed just before Hym and Hur. The crime novel is hard-boiled, down and dirty. My guess is that Hym and Hur came out of the need to have some fun, instead of having to think about violence and murder.

When did you start writing? Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
I started writing when I was about 32. I did a little writing before that but never completed anything because I was kind of experimenting and didn't know what I was doing. It was awfully hard to do at that time and I thought it impossible for me. Funny thing is, it's still hard to do, but now I know to forget that and just do it.

What may have finally made it possible was Tennessee Williams, the playwright. His advice: Set a daily start time, then sit there, same time each and every day for a chosen number of hours. For Tennessee it was 4. If nothing happens on paper, it doesn't matter. Just stare at the blank page, daydream about hot fudge sundaes, maybe even daydream about what you're trying to say on paper. The important thing is not to run from it. Whether or not a single word is written, the mind is still working. The writing hours are never wasted. Then, once you have a first sentence down, more will follow.

One amazing thing is that once you've started a story and think you know where it's going, the characters may very possibly tell you you're going the wrong way with them and that you should follow their lead. And well you should. If that turns out to be the wrong approach, you can always go back to an earlier point in the story and start over.

There are times when you won't know what the next chapter is. When that happens to me, I go back and rewrite up until that point (have to rewrite later anyway). Sometimes I'll flow right into the new chapter. That's usually because it's where the characters want to go.

Why did you decide to write a book in this genre?
At first, when I had been thinking about the Hym and Hur characters, I assumed their story would have something like a Samuel Beckett feel, in the line of the absurd. But then when I realized how much fun I could have with the characters I knew that fantasy was the way to go. Also, in some ways, it was the characters who told me they didn't want to take things seriously. It's the old one-thing-leads-to-another, their thoughts and dialogue pulling things along.

Do you plan a sequel or future books?
I've started another crime novel and have been thinking about another Hym and Hur story. Hym and Hur are like good friends that I would hate to abandon.

Do you have a website? How can we order this book?
My website: http://www.phillipfrey.com.
To order the book the best thing to do is to go to www.smashwords.com/books/view/122852. Going there will give you the opportunity to download the book in the formats of Kindle, ePUB, PDF, etc. If you prefer, you can go directly to Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B0073IWJBU.

Check Out the New Piazza Vita Tote at eBags.com!

I must admit that I’m a big fan of eBags.com. My husband and I absolutely love their Packing Cubes. We recently purchased more for our travels, and have even given them as gifts. I also reviewed their adorable Terrace Mini Bag for Mother’s Day. So, I’m always checking out their eNewsletter to see what’s new and wonderful. The other day, I got excited about a colorful bag called the Piazza Vita Tote! Check out some of the gorgeous colors of this bag:

I also love how the bag expands so you can hold lots of items. Here’s a shot of the interior of the bag.

Other great features of this canvas bag include:

• Bridged entry with snap closure
• Lightly colored interior lining
• Back exterior zipper pocket with leather zipper pull
• Double leather handles for comfortable carrying
• Logo rivet studs on handles and both ends of bag

And it’s available for only $49! I love all of the items I’ve received from eBags so far, and the Piazza Vita Tote looks like another great product for them -- and for you! Head on over to eBags.com and check it out.

Disclaimer: I have received complimentary review items from eBags in the past but did not receive a sample for this post. All opinions are 100% mine.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Back-to-School Giveaway from Teddy Bears Personalized! (US/CAN)

One thing I dread about the start of school is trying to get my boys to bed (and sleep!) earlier. We tend to get a little lax during the summer about enforcing bedtime, so those first few weeks of going back to school are really rocky in terms of trying to get the kids to stay in bed. If you have the same problem, here’s a suggestion: Give them something to look forward to at bedtime, such as cuddling a new plush animal from Teddy Bears Personalized!

All of the bears at Teddy Bears Personalized are super-soft and cuddly. And kids will love that the teddy’s hoodie comes with your child’s name or message from you! I recently ordered this sweet teddy for a little girl in my family, which is embroidered with her name and birthday.

He is so gorgeous, and I know that Olivia is going to love it! The personalized Funky Teddy Bears at Teddy Bears Personalized come in 8 different colors, with a choice of 13 different hoodies! The custom embroidery, of course, is up to you. And you even get a free gift card to include with your gift!

Giving a personalized teddy is a great way for parents -- and grandparents -- to celebrate going back to school with a child! I hope you’ll check out the beautiful, premium-quality teddy bears and other plush animals at Teddy Bears Personalized!


To celebrate going back to school, the wonderful people at Teddy Bears Personalized are offering a personalized Funky Teddy Bear ($32.99 RV) to one lucky winner! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and will end at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, August 16, 2012.

The Fat Boy Chronicles: An Inspirational Story About Bullying and Surviving High School ~ Enter to Win a Signed Copy! (GIVEAWAY)

Summer is winding down, and we’re starting to get into “back-to-school” mode. But for some kids, a return to school brings with it an extra dose of anxiety because they are the target of bullying. Many schools now have anti-bullying education programs in place to try to deter this cruel behavior. Unfortunately, it’s probably an impossible dream to get rid of bullying altogether, but teaching our kids about empathy and acceptance is a step in the right direction.

I recently came across an amazing novel (inspired by a true story) that’s written from the perspective of a high school boy who is bullied because he’s overweight. It’s called The Fat Boy Chronicles, by Diane Lang and Michael Buchanan. In this book, Jimmy is assigned to do a daily journal by his English teacher, in which he writes about adjusting to a new school and neighborhood, making friends, his relationship with his older sister and parents, his troubled friend Paul, and what it’s like to be ridiculed by other students. I’ve been reading this book, and I really like that Jimmy is a three-dimensional character. Even though some difficult events are happening in his life, I found Jimmy’s attitude to be uplifting and inspirational. He learns to respond to his situation in positive ways and “fight back” in a peaceful and, ultimately, successful manner.

All middle-school and high-school kids should be required to read The Fat Boy Chronicles. It’s an eye-opening look at bullying through the eyes of the adolescent being bullied. There’s also a teachers’ guide available for teachers, parents and youth groups to facilitate discussion about bullying. This amazing book was even made into a movie! I hope you’ll order a copy of The Fat Boy Chronicles for the tweens and teens in your life today. Visit www.thefatboychronicles.com to learn more about this life-changing book and movie.

Movie trailer:

[Email subscribers, please click on the title of this post to view the video online.]


One lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of the book, The Fat Boy Chronicles, by Diane Lang and Michael Buchanan. (This book is signed by both authors!) To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, August 16, 2012.

The Lust Garden Book Tour: Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and Autographed Books! (GIVEAWAY)

The Lust Garden
With her perfectly tousled blonde hair and pink, pouty lips, Gianna Salvani is the girl everyone loves to hate. She has it all -- fame, fortune and unrivaled beauty. But behind the seductive smile is an insecure girl who still grieves for the father she lost years ago. With a controversial new film in the can and the release of her debut album looming, Gianna is poised to take center stage. But when a shocking secret leaves her exposed, her fame will bring her face-to-face with a nightmare she never saw coming. Lurking in the shadow of her spotlight is an obsessed killer with plans of his own for Gianna. Ignited by his first conquest, Gianna’s greatest admirer begins a brutal hunt to claim her as the ultimate trophy in a string of look-alike murders. Motivated by envy, he forces himself into her seemingly untainted world and threatens to ruin everything she’s built by revealing a hidden tie that binds them. And if you knew his secret, you’d want to kill her, too.

Promotional Book Tours and author Billy Jolie are giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card and 5 autographed copies of The Lust Garden!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Winners for the Weeks of July 15 and 22, 2012


Congratulations to the winner: Ericka K.!

(This giveaway was hosted at Susan Heim on Writing.)

Congratulations to the winners: Jennifer C. and Rhianna W.!


Congratulations to the winner: Sheila T.!


Congratulations to the winner: Paige J.!


Congratulations to the winner: Sylvia W.!


Congratulations to the winner: Kathy P.!


Chooka Nobotana Alana Skimmer

Congratulations to the winner: Debbie E.!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (July 28, 2012)

It’s hard to believe it’s the last weekend in July! It seems like this summer is just flying by … but I’m sure we say that every summer! Soon we’ll be getting into the back-to-school giveaways (and some have already started), so hurry to celebrate summer by entering the giveaways below and on my right sidebar. If you’re hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, please share them with us in the linky. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Are You Sweet or Cool? Ice Breakers Duo Mints Wants to Know! (GIVEAWAY)

You can often find a container of Ice Breakers mints in my purse -- that is, if my boys haven’t taken them all! They’re great for freshening the breath, and they taste wonderful, too. So, I was really excited for the opportunity to try new Ice Breakers Duo mints! They have fruit flavor on one side and mint flavor on the other! Ice Breakers Duos come in two flavors: Raspberry and Strawberry. I gave them to my sons to try, and one preferred the Raspberry while the other preferred the Strawberry! As for me, I love them both. They taste fruity, but with a minty tang. I wasn’t sure how they’d taste, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really like them!

To celebrate the launch of Ice Breakers Duo mints, Ice Breakers is teaming up with Pandora radio for a fun Facebook event! When you visit the Ice Breakers Facebook page, you can do the following:

ANALYZE: Are you Sweet or Cool? Have your Facebook profile analyzed to determine if you are “sweet as a puppy parade” or “cool as a cucumber”!

LISTEN: The DUO IT BETTER Pandora® station features special mixes, collaborations and covers picked for your two sides.

MIX: The DUO IT BETTER Pandora® station is pretty sweet and pretty cool, but can you do it better? Submit your own mix!

CREATE: DUO your profile better. Combine your sweet side with the cool side of a friend (or the other way around)!

WATCH: Check out the ICE BREAKERS DUO video!

I hope you’ll join Ice Breakers in celebrating their new and delicious Duo mints! Head over to their Facebook page for some fun … that is, after you enter the exciting giveaway below!


One lucky winner will receive a tin of Ice Breakers Duo Strawberry and one tin of Ice Breakers Duo Raspberry! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end at 11:59 PM EDT on Friday, August 10, 2012.

I’m on the DEW CREW! You Can Join, Too! #DewCrew #spon

I love Mountain Dew, and I’m a NASCAR fan, too, so joining the DEW® CREW, a group of #88 Diet DEW® Chevy driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans on Facebook, was a no-brainer! What do you get as a member of the DEW CREW? Amazingly, you help call the shots for the #88 team and have access to awesome Dale Jr. and #88 team content! To see for yourself, check out the DEW® CREW app!

And watch this video featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. inviting you to the DEW CREW!

[Email subscribers, please click on the title of this post to go online and view the video and graphics in this post.]

If you love Mountain Dew and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as much as I do, then get your engine started! Click on the link below to join the DEW CREW!

#spon I will receive some awesome Dew Crew swag as a thank-you for joining and sharing this information.

Guest Post by Skip Quimby, Author of "The Sword of Oranam"!

The Sword of Oranam is set in another time and another world full of fantastical places, beasts, warriors and sorcerers, it's the story of Kashy, a young girl who during a quest for a legendary magical sword comes to believe she has a destiny beyond her tiny village existence. When Kashy saves her friends from a grisly death at the hands of the feared and filthy desert Golags, it leads her to a fateful encounter with Hendra, a mighty swordsman and protector of merchant caravans plying the desert trade routes across the land of Bunaka. From this chance meeting springs a trail of adventure and personal awakening for Kashy, as she, Hendra, and his trusted friend, Dola, are set in pursuit of the legendary Sword of Oranam. Does it actually exist? Or is it but the stuff of legend? No one knows for sure, but the evil sorcerer, Brod, who has returned from exile more powerful than ever before, has kidnapped the daughter of the ruling King Maysius and demands the Sword of Oranam as her ransom.

Skip Quimby, the author, comes to his first work of fiction by way of being an award-winning writer, designer and creative director in the advertising agency business for over 30 years. This fantasy for young people was originally written in 1991 at the request of his then 9-year-old daughter.

"Daddy," she said, as she crawled up into my lap, "will you write a story for me?"

"Sure, sweetheart. What should it be about?"

"Well ... it should be about me, and my friends. And it should be like a fairytale, you know, with weird places and creatures, and maybe some monsters."

"Anything else?" I asked, just to make sure I covered all her bases.

"No. I think that's enough."

About three weeks later, my daughter came to me and asked me when the story I was writing for her would be done.

"Oh, you mean that story I said I'd write, but haven't started on yet," I thought to myself. "Soon, sweetheart. Very soon."

Okay, I thought. I'm a writer in the ad business. I write every day about this or that product or place or person. I've been writing ads for 20 years. Short ads. Long ads. Brochures. Television and radio spots. Speeches. This shouldn't take long. She wants herself and her sister and her friends from school to be the characters. No problem. A fantasy setting here. An otherworldly character there. This shouldn't take long. 500 words or so should take care of it.

Six weeks and 27,000 words later, The Sword of Oranam, was done. And what a wonderful, magical experience it was for me. From the first sentence until the words "The End," it was as if the story kept revealing itself to me, page after page, day after day. As Kashy and Hendra searched for the sword, overcoming danger and obstacles along the way, it was like my daughter and I were sharing a real growing up experience for her. At least, it was my imagined version of her growing up experience and I got to be along for the ride.

Now, like I said, I'm in the advertising business. In 1991, I was working on my own as a freelancer, which means if I wasn't working on a project then I was looking for a project. When you're on your own like that, work is good and no work is very, very bad. But I did carve out time for trying to find a literary agent who might represent me and see if this book of mine was worth publishing. As any aspiring author knows, finding an agent and getting published is a heck of a lot harder than writing a book, and not nearly as satisfying. Needless to say, that effort went nowhere and the box full of mailable manuscripts of The Sword of Oranam went into storage.

Today, however, we aspiring authors have a lot more resources at our disposal -- resources like self-publishing, particularly through the wonder of eBooks, which is what I've done. Inspired by the success of authors like Amanda Hocking, I've made my book available as an eBook through Kindle Direct Publishing. Now anyone ... you perhaps ... can go to Amazon.com, perform a search for The Sword of Oranam, and purchase a Kindle-ready copy for $2.99. Or if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can read it for free.

So now, with the help of others who encourage new authors and the power of the internet, I'm promoting my book. And I've started the sequel. Some of the same characters will appear, along with new ones, many of whom will take on a life of their own as I work through the story, and even into a third book in the series. In fact, just for snicks and grins, here's the short prologue to the sequel. It's titled, The Temple of Ruark. I'd love to know what anyone thinks.

The Temple of Ruark


“So, Anichampas -- at last we speak.”

“I am sorry, tall one, I know not who you are. But I am old and forget many things. Did we meet in the past?”

“Oh, no, Anichampas. We have never met, but I have known of you for many, many years. You are the last of many kings who once ruled this land. Lords of the Faithful. Kings of Mamurabbi. The grandfathers of your grandfathers ruled a great civilization and amassed great wealth, only for it all to disappear into the jungle, never to be seen again.”

“It is true. I descend from kings. But that time reaches back beyond memory. Generation upon generation has come and gone. I am the last of the line, and one day soon, the jungle will consume my body as it has everything else from the past. But tell me. Who are you and how do you know of me and my past?”

“My name, Anichampas? Yes, I will tell you my name. For it will mean nothing to you. But you should know the name of he who will learn what you know -- and find what you hide. For you, Anichampas -- you will show it to me. And all that was once yours will be mine.”

“You speak in riddles, strange one. Who are you? What is it you speak of? As you can see, I have nothing. I am a poor, old man who lives in the jungle with his people. We have but what we need that the land provides. I hide nothing, for I have nothing. Why have you brought me here? What do you want?”

“There are many stories from the dark past, Anichampas. Many superstitions and legends and tales of things mysterious and grand. Most have no truth about them, but give old men and children much to share as the campfire dies at night. But a few, Anichampas -- a few are true. Such as the one you know. The legend of the Temple of Ruark.”

"The legend of the treasure? I only know of the old stories. That is all. My people have lived in these lands for more than a thousand years. If there is a temple still and a treasure inside, it is owned by the jungle, strange one. Nothing more. We hunt along the rivers and streams. We harvest from the trees the land provides. We live. We have never seen such a temple. We do not believe it is real.”

“You are wise, Anichampas. And clever. But I am not deceived by your small diversion. I know you will give me what I want. It will be an easy thing for you to do. For if you refuse me, your people will begin to die before your eyes. You will guide me, and you will show me what I wish to see, lest your people suffer at the long, sharp blades of my warriors. Because you see, I know it is real. For I have this -- the golden scepter of your god, Ruark. It has come to me from the temple. It tells me the temple, and its treasure, are real. So do not deny me, Anichampas. I, too, am wise and clever. But unlike you, I thirst for the treasure.

“My name is Prince Al-Atari, the last descendant of Cephus The Great. But I am called The Beast. And I will drink the blood of those who oppose me to quench my thirst for that which is mine.”

Copyright © by 2012 Skip Quimby

You can learn more about me and my career at my website, SkipQuimby.com. If you like, you can contact me via email at skipquimby@gmail.com.

Link to my book page at Amazon:

Disclosure: This page contains an affiliate link.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Enter Your Dog in the GUND Top Dog Photo Contest!

GUND’s first ever “Top Dog” Photo Contest has begun! Inspired by the hugely popular “World’s Cutest Dog" Boo stuffed dog from GUND (shown below), the “Top Dog” Contest invites pup parents from around the country to submit photos of their own four-footed friends on the GUND Facebook page. You can submit your dog in one or all of the following four categories:

Most Beautiful Dog
Ugliest Dog
“Doganista”/Best Dressed Dog
Dog That Most Resembles Its Owner

The Grand Prize? GUND will create a limited edition model of the winner’s dog! The dog will be available in gift and toy stores in 2013.

Submit your dog photos via the contest tab on GUND’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/GottaGettaGUND).The contest will run July 16 through August 15, 2012; winners will be chosen the week of August 20th and announced the week of August 27th.

Entries: July 16–August 5
Voting: August 6–August 15

In addition, GUND is holding a “Most Pinteresting Dog” Contest on Pinterest! Entrants can post their entry on their own page, “tag” @GUNDMostPinterestingDog and submit the link to GUND at MostPinterestingDog@GUND.com. The “Most Pinteresting Dog” Contest winner will be selected based on the number of times the entry is “liked” on the GUND Pinterest board. The winner will receive a selection of GUND products valued at $250 retail!

For complete rules, see “Top Dog” Contest and “Most Pinteresting Dog” Contest rules at www.GUND.com.

Disclaimer: As a thank-you for sharing this information, I will receive a GUND plush dog.

Family + Parents + Kids + Education = Jobs

Guest Post by Dr. T. William Hefferan
Author of
JOBS: How the United States Can Reach Long-Term Full Employment

Education no longer resides in the same nice neat box it once comfortably found itself. Given the contemporary job market, education is a lifelong process. And here’s some old news that’s more important today than ever before: learning is not always found in the classroom.

Continuous education is exciting particularly if it fits your passion for work. The human spirit is based on a yearning to satisfy wonder, on inquiry, and on the need for discovery of new things. One field of inquiry leads to another. The fun part for me is “The more I learn, the more I discover how much I don’t know.”

Learning is not just a means to satisfy our need for excitement, fulfillment, growth and satisfaction; we need a dedicated focus on continuous education to survive in the competitive global marketplace. However, securing a job does not automatically mean a four-year college education. Community colleges, for-profit learning facilities, and nonprofit training facilities will continue to provide low-cost training and education alternatives.

Education continues to evolve -- but we need to expand even further how we think about education. What you get out of education directly relates to how much work you put into your education. In my book, JOBS, I discuss innovation and entrepreneurship in relationship to the evolution of education. I make the case for parents to have a bigger role in educating their children to begin thinking about employment much earlier than tradition suggests.

While I’m not trying to copy the strict educational systems used in South Korea and Japan, I feel that parents need to be more in tune with helping to plan their children’s future at an earlier age. Our current lingering high unemployment is due to a number of factors including globalization, our transition to a more knowledge economy, and lack of innovation to name just a few. Our unemployment issue is not going away until we make significant social changes that include early parent involvement in children’s education about employment.

Parents should introduce their children to the fundamentals of money-management if nothing else so they know how to handle a checkbook when they leave the home. This can begin with the concept of allowance and what that allowance means to the family as a whole. I’m not suggesting that children should be given the idea that everything they do in life relates to money.

When money enters the family equation concerning allowance, money should relate directly to the needs and wants of the child in meaningful ways. The amount of the allowance, in part, needs to relate to an amount of work that it takes to create the money to make purchases for those extras like an iPod. Children begin to relate the way they think about buying things to the value of money relative to how hard it is to earn those dollars.

Yes, they can have everything they want, but do they actually need the item of their dreams? You would be surprised how quickly your child decides against a purchase that costs 6 hours of sweeping the garage! It is such a simple concept, but unless kids really learn that direct and vivid relationship between work and need/want, they never grasp the economic value and importance of work itself.

Many high school students today, ready to graduate, lack the fundamentals about how they will earn a living and someday support a family. Currently between 40% and 50% are graduating from college with a degree that does not translate into employment. Because our society continues to become more complex, this task of preparing kids for the cold, hard world has to begin in earnest much earlier than ever before.

Parents need to have a continuing dialogue so that work, money and responsibility are part of the family experience like family dinners used to be. And that dialogue has to begin as early as when children are 7 or 8 years old.

Parents can help children relate their interests and passions with what could translate in the future into real-world employment. If parents see that their youngster has a passion for music, drawing or making things, kids will benefit from learning how those interests relate to a job and what that job is all about. Mom and Dad can serve as a role model by explaining what they do at work and what work means to them in their lives.

This early education in the family ultimately helps the student better connect the dots between what they learn in school and how it relates to the employment picture in their future. The earlier and more meaningful are these learning experiences, the better prepared kids will be when they face the competitive global economy that grows fiercer every day.

About Dr. William T. Hefferan
With over 23 years of experience as President/CEO of a 100-employee company, Dr. Hefferan decided to put his corporate work experience together with his academic background and solve one of our most significant societal problems. His unique approach to explore ways to end the persistent ups and downs of unemployment includes a peer-reviewed research study he designed specifically to discover ways to solve the problem.

Dr. Hefferan shares with readers his life-changing event that compelled him to dedicate over three years of his life to find these sound solutions, creating a blueprint for America to reach long-term full employment.

Jobs and unemployment concerns are definitely some of the biggest issues facing the United States at this time. If you would like more information about JOBS by Dr. Hefferan or about his organization, Wisdom in the Streets, please visit his website at http://drhefferan.com/. Order your copy of JOBS: How the United States Can Reach Long-Term Full Employment today on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Celebrate the Debut of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" at Theaters August 3rd with a Fantastic Giveaway (3 Winners)!

My boys and I are so excited about the coming of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days to movie theaters on August 3rd. My son, Caleb, has read all of the Wimpy Kid books (so far), and we absolutely love the movies! Many of us can totally relate to Greg’s misery in middle school, struggling to be cool. And, of course, parents and siblings are an added source of angst to a middle-schooler! I can also relate to the mother’s quest to raise a family of boys since I have four of my own. My sons love nerdy Greg and his band of misfit friends, and can’t wait to see their new adventures! Here’s what you can expect from the new movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

During his summer vacation, “Wimpy Kid” Greg Heffley, the hero of the phenomenally successful book series, hatches a plant to pretend he has a job at a ritzy country club -- which fails to keep him away from the season’s dog days, including embarrassing mishaps at a public pool and a camping trip that goes horribly wrong.

Judging by the following trailer, this movie is going to be HILARIOUS! Check it out:

[Email subscribers, please click on the title of this post to view the video online.]


To celebrate the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days movie, I’ve been given the opportunity to offer this fantastic giveaway! Here’s what you can win:

One (1) grand prize:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (book)
The past two movies on DVD (Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules)

Two (2) runners-up will receive:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (book)

Prizing courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EDT on Wednesday, August 8, 2012.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Enter to Win a New Frigidaire Affinity® Washer and Dryer, Plus Follow These Stain-Fighting Tips!

To celebrate Frigidaire’s new Affinity® washer and dryer collection, they’ve teamed up with actress and mom, Jennifer Garner, as well as laundry expert, Tara Aronson, for the “Adventures in Clean” contest! Right now on Fridgidaire’s Facebook page, you can share your own “Adventures in Clean” and be entered for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Affinity® washer and dryer featuring Ready Steam™. To enter, simply upload a photo, and the online app turns it into your very own movie poster! In addition, for every entry, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children as part of its $750,000 commitment to the cause.

Getting rid of stains is an adventure, but with the right maneuvers, you can remove stains and save your clothes! Here are some timely tips from Tara to make sure stains come out in the wash the first time and for treating common summer stains!

5 Steps to Cleaner Clothes for Frigidaire by Tara Aronson

1. Immediately rinse or blot away spills on your clothes with cool water to prevent stains from setting.

2. Before washing stained garments, pretreat or prewash the spot using the Affinity’s Rinse & Spin cycle. If at first you don’t succeed, wash, wash again.

3. To keep snags and lint to a minimum, zip zippers, button buttons, empty pockets, and brush away lint before tossing duds in the hamper.

4. Check wet garments for remaining stains, and re-treat as needed before drying. Heat will set stains.

5. Dry only full loads. Tumbling a handful of garments prolongs the drying time by reducing the tumbling.

5 Summer Stain Tips for Frigidaire by Tara Aronson

Smudges, drips, drops and smears -- no matter what their source, the key to keeping them from ruining your favorite shorts or T-shirt is to take quick action -- before it gets a chance to dry. For most fabrics, this means blotting up the excess or rinsing the discolored area with cold water (hot can set a stain.) Don’t rub: this spreads the spot and grinds it deeper into the fabric. Summer spills are especially tough. Here’s how to remove the five most common:

1. Crayon.
Scrape off as much of the colorful surface as possible using a plastic picnic knife. Apply laundry detergent directly on the stained area. Gently rub the detergent into the fabric then let sit several minutes. Launder using the hottest water the fabric can handle -- or the Sanitize setting of your Frigidaire Affinity washer. Dry as usual.

2. Iced coffee.
Sponge the stained area with cold water. Apply a pretreater to the blight. Wash as usual and air dry.

3. Grass.
Prewash the garment in warm water in your washing machine -- the Rinse & Spin cycle on your Affinity washer -- and a laundry detergent containing enzymes. Launder as usual (normal setting) with detergent and chlorine bleach if safe for the fabric. If the garment’s care label instructions advise against it, use oxygen (color safe) bleach instead. Dry as usual.

4. Juice.
Soak for a minute or so in cold water. Remove excess water, and then apply a pretreater directly on the stained area. Wash with detergent as usual. Air dry. Do not place in the dryer until the blight is completely gone -- otherwise the stain is likely to set.

5. Chocolate (or chocolate ice cream).
Prewash the garment in warm water with a laundry detergent that contains enzymes using the Affinity’s Rinse & spin setting. Launder as usual, using the washing machine’s Normal setting. Dry as usual.

Visit the Frigidaire website to learn more about the new Affinity® washer and dryer featuring Ready Steam. And don’t forget to enter for the chance to win a set on Fridgidaire’s Facebook page!

DISCLAIMER: I am a member of One2One Network. As a thank-you for posting, I will be entered into a drawing for a gift card. All opinions are my own.

Carmex Sticks Are a Must-Have for Your Lips This Summer ~ Enjoy New Pomegranate! (GIVEAWAY)

I’m a huge fan of Carmex Sticks. These lip balms are super-moisturizing and contain an SPF 15 water-resistant sunscreen. I love them because they seem to stay on my lips longer than other brands I’ve tried. They go on thick and creamy, and they protect and moisturize my lips for a long time. In fact, I keep a stick on my desk at all times so it’s handy whenever my lips begin to feel dry. I also love that they come in six different flavors: Original, Cherry, Strawberry, Vanilla, Lime Twist, and Pomegranate. For a long time, the Lime Twist was the flavor of choice on my desk, but now I’m a big fan of the new Pomegranate, too! In fact, I’ve tried all the varieties, and I like them all.

Carmex Sticks are a must-have for summer when the wind and sun can really do damage to your lips. Keep them in your beach bag, purse, car, and anywhere else you can think of because you never know when you’ll need them! Get into the habit of using them throughout the day for healthy and protected lips.


As a member of the Carmex Blog Squad, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to offer the following prize to one lucky U.S. winner!

This prize pack consists of the adorable beach tote featured above (it’s a great size for taking to the beach), along with all six Carmex Sticks (original, cherry, strawberry, vanilla, lime twist, pomegranate) with SPF 15! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM EDT on Tuesday, August 7, 2012.

Book Review: Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters, by Ann Voskamp

Each moment of life is a gift, and yet how often do we fail to find the joy in each moment because we’re on a rat race through life? Ann Voskamp’s beautiful gift book, Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters, reminds us through poetic words and photographs to slow down and appreciate the gifts we are given. She tells us how her life has changed since she took on the challenge of making “a list of a thousand things I love … one thousand blessings -- one thousand gifts.” She calls them “God-gifts.” Here is some of Voskamp’s wisdom:

“The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.”

“The list is God’s list, the pulse of His love -- the love that thrums on the other side of our prayers. And I see it now for what this really is, this dare to write down one thousand things I love. It really is a dare to name all the ways that God loves me.”

“The counting of all blessings is ultimately summed up in One. All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him. For in Him all things were created, are sustained, have their being. Thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember.”

“God gives us time, but do we have time for Him?”

If you’re lacking joy in your crazy, busy life … if you’re having trouble feeling God’s presence in your life … if you desire to learn more about the practice of gratitude, begin by reading Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters. Voskamp’s words will instantly slow you down and refocus your thoughts on what life is really all about.

Visit the author’s blog at www.aholyexperience.com and the book’s website at www.onethousandgifts.com. Follow Ann Voskamp on Twitter at @AnnVoskamp.