Thursday, September 8, 2011

Green Mountain Coffee, Fair Trade and a Chance to Win a Keurig & Green Mountain Coffee K- Cup Portion Packs!



The thing about coffee is that I love it. I have at least one cup every single day. If my husband brews a pot before he leaves for work, then I drink a cup of coffee here. But if he runs out of time, or pours the entire pot into his mug leaving none for me, then I am forced to go out and buy a cup of coffee elsewhere because I do not know how to make a pot of coffee. I mean, I understand all of the mechanics involved. Grinding the beans, putting a filter in, adding water, however, I have yet to make a pot of coffee that tastes right. I get the measurements all wrong every single time, no matter how many times my husband shows me, tells me, makes me watch him make a pot so I "can learn." That is the reason why I jumped at the chance to participate in the Green Mountain Coffee review. A free Keurig (convenient!) and a whole lot of K-Cup Coffees from Green Mountain Coffee to try? Oh, heck yes.




I was provided a case filled with a variety of Green Mountain K-Cup Coffees. I had never tried Green Mountain Coffee, and to be honest, wasn't even aware of the brand. Once we got the Kuerig set up, we each choose a flavor and made ourselves a cup. And then we chose another flavor and a different type and we made another cup and then another. You know what? With the exception of one flavor that was just a little too bitter for my taste, we both absolutely loved the coffee. Even my husband-- who has been addicted to the same brand and has refused to try any other coffee-- loved it and has been drinking it every single morning.


I was impressed by the variety of coffees they have to offer. Flavored, regular, decaf, extra bold, seasonal, Fair Trade & Organic, iced coffees! I have to say, I was also impressed with the company itself. Green Mountain Coffee was one of the first brands to sign on with Fair Trade USA. They now offer the largest selection of selection of Fair Trade coffee in the US. Their coffees are available nationally at most grocery stores and also on their website. (You can also visit their Facebook page, where you can find coupons and free samples!)



What is Fair Trade?

Fair trade is coffee that is purchased at a higher price than standard coffee, directly from the growers. This purpose behind Fair Trade is to promote healthier working conditions and economic incentive for producers.

How does Fair Trade work?

1. Coffee farmers join a co-op with other local growers
2. Fair Trade USA and/or their certifying partners work with coffee cooperatives to certify them as
Fair Trade after they meet a stringent set of requirements, including democratic voting among
members, fair labor practices, and the exclusion of using certain chemicals.
3. Growers are guaranteed a minimum price for their coffee. If market prices exceed the minimum,
they receive current market prices plus a per pound premium for community development and
an additional premium for organic coffee.
4. The co-op members vote to determine how to invest the Fair Trade premiums. They might fund
community projects such as schools, health clinics, safe drinking water or new roads.

I personally am willing to pay a bit more for Fair Trade coffee (but happy to say with Green Mountain Coffee, I don't have to), knowing that Fair Trade is helping to create a better working environment for farmers which in turn creates a higher quality product. Everyone wins! (Especially my mouth because... mmm, good coffee!)

Now that you know a little bit more about Green Mountain Coffee and their Fair Trade practices, I get to tell you something pretty awesome. BlogHer and Green Mountain Coffee are offering one of my readers a chance to win a Keurig as well as a bunch of delicious Green Mountain Coffee K-Cups.



Here's how you can win. Visit the Green Mountain Coffee website and check out the incredibly delicious varieties of coffees (and K-Cups.) Come back here and tell me which one you'd love to try. Or, if you're already a Green Mountain Coffee drinker, tell me which is your favorite. You will then be entered to win! Sweepstakes will run from September 8th through September 24th. SUPER IMPORTANT-- You must include a valid email WITHIN your comment!

Go visit BlogHer's Promotions and Prizes section for more chances to win!

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry
methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.


This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be
selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

Sweepstakes has ended and comments are now closed. Stay tuned for the winner. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011




Just before I headed off to BlogHer, I was asked if I would be interested in meeting with people from Minute Clinic to learn learn about their offerings. I was also asked if I would talk on video to tell my readers what I had learned about the MinuteClinics. I am being compensated to write this post, however, after learning about these clinics (which are located within your select CVS/pharmacy stores) I am more than happy to share what I learned with you.

When I sat down with the nurse practitioner, I asked specifically about Sports physicals. If they preform them and if so, how much they cost, etc. Let me tell you why this was interesting to me. My son wanted to try out for the high school basketball team. During that time, my oldest son was graduating from high school. I was so busy with preparation for his graduation, I hadn't paid attention to much else. I was reminded the day of my son's graduation that Ethan's physical needed to be completed BY THAT VERY SAME DAY. I panicked. I called my doctor's office to see if I could get him in. No. I could not. Not only that, I couldn't get him in for THREE WEEKS. (The first tryout was the following week.) Now, had I known about the MinuteClinic, I could have walked my son into the local CVS/pharmacy store, without an appointment, and had the physical completed there for a low cost THAT DAY.

I know that many of my readers have children in sports. Most sports teams (and sports camps) require a sports physical. That is why I thought this would be interesting for you to learn about. Physicals do not require an appointment and start at around $59. This is great if you do not have insurance and need for your child to have a physical. It's also convenient because you don't have to wait for three weeks like I did.

Here are other points that I learned about MinuteClinics.

*They are open 7 days a week.
*No appointments are necessary
*They accept most insurance
*if you do not have insurance, you can pay via cash or credit and prices for services are posted outside each health care center (most treatments start at $79-$89)

If you'd like to learn more about MinuteClinics, you can visit their website.

Here's a fun little video I made after learning about MinuteClinic at BlogHer.



Now that you too know about MinuteClinics, tell me-- is this type of service something that would be beneficial to your family?

Please visit the BlogHer Promotions & Prizes section to read what other bloggers learned about MinuteClinic.




Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I Moved, I Earned, I Entered-- Degree Get into the Move with motionSENSE Challenge



For the past two weeks, I've been tracking my movements using Degree's Get into the Motion Facebook app. Every evening, I'd enter movements that I made throughout the day and earn motionMILES for those movements
.
MotionMILES are a fun way to earn prizes. Here's how:

When you're ready, you can redeem your motionMILES in one of four ways.
Play instant win game- this is where I spent the majority of my motionMILES because you get to spin a wheel that has some pretty cool prizes- like Amazon & iTunes gift cards. I'm ashamed to admit this is where I spent most of the motionMILES I had earned. I couldn't stop spinning that wheel and thinking "this time, the Amazon gift card will be mine!" (This is why I only go to Vegas once a year.)

Enter weekly drawing- Each week there will be a drawing for some great prizes (Fingers crossed I win one!) There's a Fun in the Sun package, a Shop-til-you-drop Package which includes a J. Crew $500 gift card and a personal shopping session at J. Crew! (WANT.)

Enter a grand prize drawing- There are three grand prizes. A surfing trip to Hawaii, a ski trip in the Alps, and yoga immersion in Costa Rica. Why WOULDN'T you track movements and enter to win these fabulous prizes?

Donate motionMILES to charity- There are two charities to choose from. Challenged Athletes and Girl's in the Game. The goal is to reach 50,000 motionMILES which will turn into $5,000 to put towards the charity.

I plan on continuing to track my movements using this app as I continue to strive to reach my personal fitness goals. I love the idea of chances to win really great prizes by simply entering my movements here. Simple, fun and easy.

I do want to talk about something else I've learned over the past two weeks while I've been moving and sweating in order to lose these last 40 pounds-- I LOVE LOVE LOVE Degree with motionSENSE deodorant. The first and only deodorant that is activated by movement and not perspiration-- I notice the difference in how fresh this deodorant keeps me and how long it lasts. It feels just a liiiiittle bit awkward talking about my love for deodorant, but you guys, I love how fresh it keeps me throughout the day and especially the workouts.

Now, the fun part. I'm giving away one more $100 Visa gift card! All you have to do to be entered to win is tell me how you're staying motivated to move during these hot summer days. Be sure to leave a valid email address within your comment. Good luck! (Sweepstakes dates are: 7/19-8/15/2011: 5pm PST.)

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry
methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.


This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be
selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

(Visit BlogHer's Prizes and Promotions section for more chances to win!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Conversations With Coca-Cola



On Sunday I boarded a plane headed for Atlanta to take part in Conversations with Coca-Cola. What I did know is that I am a fan of both Coca-Cola and McDonald's and I was looking forward to learning more about both companies. I know it's not popular to admit that you are a fan of McDonald's or Coca-Cola, because, you know, obesity! Fattening! Sugar! But you know what? There is a thing called "moderation" and it is wonderful because it allows you to enjoy things that you love, that may be fattening or sugar-y every once in a while.

True, yes?

The event started bright and early Monday morning with a lovely breakfast inside the World of Coca-Cola building. After breakfast, the lovely Elisa of BlogHer led us in a Vision Board Exercise. Let me tell you, nothing stresses me out more than having to "craft like" things. I am the worst, THE WORST! With a little help and guidance from Jenny, who lovingly demanded that I stop tearing photos out and start cutting/gluing, I was able to quite accurately represent, through old magazine clippings, what was holding me back from being successful with my blog (in my life) and a clear visual of what I hoped to be able to accomplish with both in the future.



We were asked to stand in front of the group, explain our vision boards and choose one word to represent it.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't think of just one word because, you guys, life is stressful for me right now and I'm feeling lost, overwhelmed, guilty, stressed, and like I'm doing it wrong. I stood up there, shaking and trying so hard not to cry as I explained my board. I tried to make sense of it all, but I couldn't. And right then I realized how very lost I feel in my life, both online and offline right now. And right then I realized that I needed to be there with people who could relate and who could offer words of support and encouragement. It probably sounds cheesy, but it was pretty awesome.

Shortly after that experience, we were introduced to four incredible women who were part of the women's leadership council. I was still feeling emotional about my near break down during the vision board session when Jenny asked the panel a question.

"How do you balance it all?"

I will never forget the response.

"Balance is a false goal. I am unwilling to put a job I love against a family I love."

Whoa.

She spoke about managing your life in slices-- work, kids, home, marriage. I hate to go All Oprah on you, but that was definitely an "a-ha moment" for me. I have been trying to balance it all-- my job, my time with my children, household chores- and have been failing miserably. Her words helped me see things from an entirely new and wonderful perspective.



That session alone was worth the trip.

Later that afternoon, we were treated to a tour of The World of Coca-Cola lead by archivist, Phil Mooney! Mr.Mooney was a wealth of information and a pure joy to listen to and learn from. I have to be honest, I did not know that The World of Coca-Cola existed. What a fun place! I would love to be able to take my family there some time. If only so that I can get my chance on the machine where you get to try to replicate the Coca-Cola logo. (Didn't get a chance while I was there, two little adorable girls were hogging it up the entire time. I may still be bitter.)



After the tour was over, we got to enjoy samples of Coca-Cola products from around the world. THIS IS A REAL THING! WITH REAL BEVERAGES FROM AROUND THE WORLD! What a great place.

Day number two was spent a Coca-Cola headquarters where we learned about the company and some of their community and health initiatives. The most discussed program was Sprite Sparks Parks.

Sprite Spark Parks Project to invest $2 million to construct, refurbish and refresh more than 150 neighborhood parks, athletic fields, playgrounds and basketball courts in 2011


While in a session while we were learning about things like "aspartame" and how the body processes it, I noticed some rumbling on Twitter about the event. I was confused because no one from Coca-Cola had made any health claims about their product other than "it was safe to consume in moderation." Which is true! I do not allow my kids to drink Coke or any soda on a daily basis, but they are allowed to have a glass/can occasionally. It's the same with candy or cake or cookies.

I was impressed with Coca-Cola's willingness to answer our questions, to provide us with their research, and to allow us to have a frank and honest conversation. They were definitely there to engage us in conversation, not sell us a product. It was, dare I say it, I'm going to say it, refreshing.

(I would love to share with you all of the information that I learned about their beverages, including research on aspartame, but their informative website- TheBeverageInstitute-- will do a much better job than I can in this blog post.)

I would like to end this by telling you that this event was inspiring, informative and well, fun.
I enjoyed the company of the other women in attendance (who are all way smarter than me. And if you don't believe me, go read their posts and you'll see what I mean.) Many thanks to Coca-Cola for inviting me and to BlogHer for making this happen.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

On Living Positively



I've been invited to take part in a blogger event sponsored by Coca-Cola next week. (Super! Excited!) One of the cornerstones of Coke's philosophy is Live Positively. I've asked myself the question-- Do I live positively?

The honest answer is I'm trying.

Living positively is not something that comes naturally for me. I have struggled with negative self, body image since I was a teenage years and that negativity had spilled over into other aspects in my life. When you view yourself as "not worthy" of good things, it's hard to live positively.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. My perspective on life and the way that I live it changed drastically. I've learned that in order to live life to the fullest, I would have to let go of the negativity and embrace positivity. I had to change my attitude about myself and the body that I live in.

I take practical steps towards living a more positive life.

I take care of my body. I exercise daily, allowing myself one day of rest. Moving and pushing my body has made me stronger physically (and helped me lose 59 pounds!) I run, I lift weights, I take Zumba classes. I also play outdoors with my children. Riding bikes, basketball with the teenagers, etc.

I surround myself with friends and family who are loving and supportive. I try to spend as much time with those people as possible-- Dinner, dancing, eating good food, getting the kids together. Life is good when you're surrounded by good people.

I treat myself kindly. This may sound cheesy and I'm okay with that. I spent most of my teenage and adult life putting myself down. I decided I may not be the most fabulous person on the planet, but I am deserving of love and kindness.

I'm looking forward to attending this event with Coca-Cola and would love to be able to take some of your questions with me. If you have any questions you'd like for me to ask on your behalf, please leave your question in the comment section and I will do my best while I'm there to get an answer for you.

(Disclosure: I have been compensated by BlogHer for writing this post. Additionally Coca-Cola will be paying for my travel, lodging and activities while in Atlanta.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Degree motionSENSE- Join the Movement!






I've recently lost 59 pounds. For health reasons, I have to lose another 35 pounds. I know that the only way this will be possible is by moving my body and staying active. Exercise has been the key to losing weight and it will be the key to getting to my goal weight.

When you're active, you need a few things. Comfortable clothing, a good pair of shoes, motivating music on your ipod and a good deodorant. I was sent a sample of Degee motionSENSE deodorant and truth? I loved it.

MotionSENSE technology is different in this way-- most deodorants/anti-perspirants release fragrance upon contact with sweat. motionSENSE is designed to start working when you start moving (tiny capsules break and release once friction takes place) keeping you fresher for longer. Longer Underarm Freshness= good.


I have set a few fitness goals for myself that I want to achieve before the end of August.

* lose 20 pounds.

* Run 2 miles outside (not on the treadmill.) I have such a hard time running outdoors and I want to overcome this. I want to be a Real Runner-- not a treadmill runner! (The only 5k's I have ever ran have been on a treadmill.)

* shrink my waist by 3 inches.

Here's the problem: My life has become busier than normal and it's becoming harder and harder to find the time to fit in an hour workout each day. But I have a plan!

I will go to bed earlier so that I can do my workout before the work day begins. This means going to bed before 10pm and getting up at 5:30 am to be sure I have eaten, worked out and recovered before 9am.

Degree has a new app-- a Facebook app that I plan on using as I work to achieve my goals. It's called "Get into the Move".

About the app:

About the app:
Move. Earn. Win*. In celebration of the launch of Degree Women with motionSENSE, register today for our Get into the Move app to start earning motionMILES for all the ways you move & redeem them for the *chance to win great prizes!

By registering for the Degree Women “Get into the Move” application on Facebook ,fans can start earning motionMILES, virtual currency redeemable towards chances to win thousands of prizes. Earning motionMILES is easy - eligible activities include going to the gym, taking Zumba® or yoga classes and various other activities women already do, like grocery shopping or catching the bus. Fans can also earn motionMILES by answering daily trivia questions on the Facebook application, inviting friends to “Get into the Move,” and even logging in daily.

Once earned, fans can use motionMILES for a shot at winning instant prizes by spinning the prize wheel or by entering weekly and grand prize sweepstakes. Prizes include a surfing trip in Hawaii, designer shoes, gift certificates for Zumba classes and much more. Fans can also choose to donate motionMILES in a dollar amount to one of two charities: The Challenged Athletes Foundation and Girls in The Game.



It's easy!

I "liked" the page, then I filled out the information to get started. It took me less than 2 minutes to get started.



For the next 2 weeks, I will use this app, track my movements and will report my results back to you in a follow up post. I encourage you to sign up and do the same!

Do you have fitness goals? How do you plan on achieving them? If you're willing to share your answers in a comment on this post, you will be entered to win a $100 Visa Gift card! Please be sure to include a valid email address within your comment! (Sweepstakes dates are: 6/20-7/18: 5pm PST)

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry
methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.


This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be
selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

(Visit BlogHer's Prizes and Promotions section for more chances to win!)

Good luck!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gatorade, Sports Moms and Your Chance to Win a $100 Gift Card to Dick's Sporting Goods



Congratulations to commenter #5 on winning this sweepstakes!

Last week I was lucky enough to join a call with Gatorade and Stephanie Hamm-- mother of retired American soccer player and U.S. Olympian, Mia Hamm. Our time with Stephanie was short, but she was effective at communicating valuable advice about balancing it all. Because anyone with children in sports understands how difficult that can be.

(Watch this video with Stephanie Hamm!)

The most important thing that I took away from our conversation with Stephanie is that we should let our children try as many sports as they want to so that they can figure out what it is they love and thrive at.

My boys have played sports since they were three years old. And they have loved it. The Middle Child is the one who is passionate about sports.



When he was just a toddler, he fell in love with the game of basketball. He's played city league every single season (with the exception of the one season he broke his toe playing soccer.) He played on the 7th and 8th grade middle school team. And he has big plans for high school basketball, starting this summer.



This call with Gatorade was eye opening and full of extremely valuable information. I Thought I had been doing it right when it came to nutrition and hydration for my (not so) little athlete-- turns out, I wasn't.

I was taking notes so hard while listening to Lisa Esposito from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.

Here are the key things that I learned during this part of the call

*Most athletes start practice already dehydrated. It is important that kids start drinking fluids that contain electrolytes 4 hours before practice.

*It's important that athletes have 10--20 grams protein at least 30-60 minutes after a game for muscle recovery.

*It's important that athletes have carbohydrates before a game and even during. This is where Gatorade is so beneficial. Not only is your child staying hydrated, but they are getting electrolytes and carbohydrates to keep them fueled up.

Gatorade has developed an amazing site for Sports Moms. From the main page:

The vital role you play in your young athlete’s achievement and success is immeasurable. Here you’ll find expert advice, insights and information to help you give your athlete the support they need at every stage of competitive development.


You should visit the site to check out all of the great resources. The thing that I most love about the site is Gatorade's BECOME campaign. This campaign is using real moms in their ads as well as real and celebrity moms in webisodes. I know how hard it is to be a Sports Mom, so it's great to see Gatorade recognizing these women and their young athletes with this campaign! You should definitely go take a look at these videos-- they are touching and inspirational. (I MAY have cried little bit a couple of times.)

I'm proud to be a part of this campaign, to help spread the word about Gatorade and what they're doing with Sports Moms. I'm also happy to be able to offer you a chance to win a $100 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods. (Be sure to visit BlogHer'sPrizes & Promotions section for more chances to win!)

Here's what you need to do. Answer this question in the comment section.

If you had a chance to talk to the mother of a professional athlete and you could ask them one question, what would that question be?

You MUST include a valid email address within your comment to be entered to win. Sweepstakes dates are 6/1-6/30.

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry
methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.


This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be
selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

Good luck!