Starbucks Coffee Fall Giveaway!

standard September 26, 2013 66 responses

This morning I had to turn the heat on in the car. This afternoon it will still be in the mid 70s, this is California after all, but that one twist of the car’s air dial really brought it home.

Fall is on its way.

I know, technically it started on Sunday, or the week before when Starbucks brought out their Pumpkin Spice Latte, but for me, still sporting flipflops, capris, and tank-tops as the temperatures played around in the high 80s, it hasn’t felt very Fall-ish.

Until this morning. When I lamented the lack of sweater in my car and shivered myself through school drop off. You know, until I remembered that the temperature dial on the car has other settings besides “please make this car as cold as possible.”

So there I was, driving home, enjoying the blast of warm air gushing out of the car vents when I started thinking about all the things I love about Fall.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are high on the list.

Want some coffee? 

Starbucks and I would love to invite you to share what you love about the Fall — fuzzy socks? warm woolly sweaters? — in the comments section. A week from today, Thursday, October 3rd, I’ll randomly pick a commenter to win an awesome Starbucks “Welcome Fall!” Keurig coffee package.

 And the winner is #55 Jules McNubbin a fellow honey crisp lover! Congrats Jules!

Come on, you know a warm cup of coffee is the best way to beat the cold on a nippy Fall morning!

Please note: I was not compensated to write this post, though I did receive a pack of coffee of my own. Feel free to come over and share a cup with me!

The Microsoft Stores; A few facts you’d never guess

standard May 14, 2013 37 responses

(Want to win a $100 Microsoft Giftcard? Be sure to read to the bottom!)

I’m writing this post on a laptop. It’s a PC. I bought it on Amazon just over two years ago. How did I pick it? It was the one on super sale on Black Thursday.

No. Really.

I’d tell you what it can do, but really, I have no clue. I just know that it turns on and it works. I need little else.

So when I was asked to go take a spin around a Microsoft store I said “Sure!” because I’m friendly like that, but I really had no expectations.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I expected a few computers, a couple games, and some boxes of software. I’m pretty sure I didn’t expect a clean open space with incredibly friendly staffers who wanted nothing more than to let my kids play with each and every computer and tablet in the store while they answered a million and one of my questions.

You see, here’s the deal.

That oldest kid of mine is turning 8 in four days. At school they’re working on computers, creating Power Point Presentations, writing paragraphs, making flyers. (Whatever happened to teaching a little digital mouse to draw a box? Seriously, kids these days, they don’t know what they’re missing…)

I’m loath to share my laptop at home. Partly because I’m often on it working. And partly because… MINE… not sharing.

I know, I’m mean.

So it’s about time for us to get the kids a computer of their own and since they’re not quite as web savvy as me, it needs to be one with some easy to set up parental controls.

So I dragged the kids to a Microsoft store to see if they could help me on my quest.

It took the kids about thirty seconds to find a computer (each) and to sit down to play.

In no time at all Little L had badgered a store employee into loaning her a stylus.

And I just walked around bug eyed.

Windows 8 was really designed with touch screens in mind, so every single computer (and tablet, duh) in the store has a touch screen.

Every. Single. One.

It was like stepping into the future.

Of course for the kids it’s a no brainer. The fact that my computer doesn’t have a touch screen baffles them.

I watched them play around for a bit before accosting a lovely employee and starting my lengthy series of questions. If you have Windows 8 on a non-touch screen device you know how frustrating it can be. On a touch screen it becomes a thing of beauty.

My kids? Took to it like ducks to water.

While I learned about the Windows 8 Family Safety features they played with games, with the camera, and with the Fresh Paint app.

We left easily an hour or so after we had arrived. The staff let my kids play to their heart’s content and even let me email myself the photos of themselves that the kids snapped.

As geeky as this sounds, we’ll go back. The kids had a blast.

I expected a computer store and we found something much more than just that. Just like the Microsoft people had promised!

A few facts for you about the Microsoft stores

– There are 66 stores so far and more opening soon.
– Of those 66, 35 are considered “full line” stores and offer a “theater” in the back of the store.
– In these “theaters” the stores offer workshops to train people on various Microsoft softwares or other helpful things.
– These workshops are free. (Check the website for your local store’s calendar.)
– If the store doesn’t offer a workshop you’d like to take, talk to the manager. They’ll create a workshop for you (and your team if you want!)
– These personalized workshops are… you guessed it… free.
–  Many stores offer summer “camp” options for kids!
– These camps are free.
– All the stores offer persona shopping sessions. They’ll help you chose a computer, set it up, and customize it.
– Personal shopping sessions are free (you know, other than the price of the computer…)
– You can even host events in the “theaters.” Events, like birthday parties, MNOs, scout gatherings, or just get togethers. You can play games on a huge screen and enjoy some refreshments. You don’t even have to clean up.
– You guessed it. These events? Free. 
– Want an XBox game, but want to try it first?
– You can try it for free in the stores. 

Basically, all the services are free. You can even bring in a computer you bought elsewhere and they’ll be happy to help you configure it.

I like my tech as much as the next gal, but I’ve never been drawn to hang out in computer stores like some people in my family. I have to admit that might just change now. It’s refreshing to be greeted by staff that seemed genuinely happy that we were in the store without feeling like we needed to spend money to keep them that way.

Want to win a $100 Microsoft Giftcard? 
Leave me a comment below telling me what you hope to find in a Microsoft store!
(Winner will be drawn at random Monday, May 20th at 9pm PST and announced on this post. US residents only please.)  (All the bloggers listed as co-hosts below are also hosting giveaways! Feel free to enter as many as you wish!)

Congratulations Mama V! According to Random.org You’re the winner of this giveaway!

Want to know more?
Join me and other bloggers along with official Microsoft representatives for  a one hour #GoMicrosoft Twitter party on Tuesday, May 14 at 1p ET/noon CT/10a PT (you know, today…). All of the bloggers participating have checked out their own local Microsoft store and they‘ll be able to back up everything I’ve said!  RSVP via this Twtvite:  http://twtvite.com/GoMicrosoft

What: Microsoft stores across the country have more to offer than just tech products. Many Microsoft locations offer an Answer Desk, in-store events, personal computer training and much more! 
During this Twitter chat we’ll be exploring all of the ways that the experts at Microsoft can help make your life easier. Your Microsoft store isn’t just a place to shop, but a fun place to visit – for both you and your kids! 
Prizes: We will be giving away six prizes to randomly selected winners. Five winners who answer trivia questions during the party will receive $25 Microsoft retail store gift cards, and one grand prize winner will be chosen for a $500 Microsoft retail store gift card!

Hosts: @MicrosoftStore, @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Co-Hosts:
Heather, Sprittibee@sprittibee (THAT’S ME!)
Candy, Mommypalooza@mommypalooz
Kelly, Kansas City Mamas@KCMamaKelly
Kristen, Dine and Dish@DineandDish
Mara, Kosher on a Budget@kosheronabudget
Claudya, Unknown Mami@UnknownMami
Heather, Rookie Moms@rookiemoms
Jessica, It’s My Life@kikarose
Jen, The Mom Reviews@themomjen
TerriAnn, Cookies and Clogs@cookiesANDclogs
Divina, Dancing Hot Dogs@DancingHotdogs
JessieLeigh, Parenting Miracles@micropreemies
Marianna, Green Mama’s Pad@GreenMamasPad
Rachel, Rachel Ferrucci@RachelFerrucci
Sarah, Sarah’s Cucina Bella@SarahWCaron
Lisa, Crazy Adventures in Parenting@crazyadventures
Clay, Dad Labs@daddyclay
Kim, Prairie Mama@prairiemama
Stephanie, The Candid Pastor’s Wife@stephaniepete
Christine, Boston Mamas@bostonmamas
Christy, Quirky Fusion@QuirkyFusion
Mackenzie, The Centsible Family@TheCentsibleFamily
Erika, Musings of a SAHM@MusingsSAHM

Please note: I am being compensated for this post by The Motherhood for Microsoft. As always all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Earth shoes for the winter (and a giveaway!)

standard September 21, 2012 166 responses

So, a while back, as spring was starting to break, I wrote a blog post raving about how Earth Shoes was going to make my summer, but how I couldn’t really demonstrate how gorgeous they would look with my summer wardrobe because all of my summer clothes were still in boxes.

I have good news. My summer clothes are no longer in boxes. Neither are my winter clothes. Though, to be fair, I live in California where it neither gets really hot nor really cold, so all my clothes are the same no matter the season.

I also have bad news. Today, on the day when I’m to write a blog post raving about how Earth Shoes are going to make my Winter, my lead photographer, C, fell off the monkey bars and broke her arm.

It is rather hard to take photos with just one arm.

She’s feeling fine, but we did have to enlist the little sister’s help with the photos and, even though the photo shoot proved highly entertaining, I didn’t have it in me to attempt more than one outfit.

So, in short, I love the adorable shoes that Earth sent me to see me through the winter. I’ve always had a soft spot for loafers and I love how these are so grown-up all while being a fun reddish shade of brown aptly called “Merlot.”

In my past lives I’ve always looked to loafers to carry me through the winter. In recent years I’ve somehow fallen prey to other, less classic, styles of shoes and I’m thrilled to be getting back to my roots.

Look how great I look in these? (Please to remember that the photographer is 5 and that her broken 7yo sister was laughing and distracting her. Plus, I think I look cute fuzzy and/or without a head. No?)

Alright, alright, I’m kidding. Here’s my winter uniform: my new jeans (not Mom Jeans thank you!), a cute t-shirt, and my new Earth shoes. Guarantee that if you see me about town, and I’ve had a chance to shower already, that’s what I’ll be wearing!

Cute, right?

Earth Shoes giveaway!
Would you like a pair of Earth shoes to carry you through winter too? (So sorry, the photographer isn’t part of the deal.) If so, and if you live in the continental US (sorry everyone else!) leave me a comment letting me know what size shoe you wear, which Earth shoes rock your world, and what outfit they’d match perfectly. I can’t guarantee that these are the shoes you’ll receive, but I can promise that whatever shoes you receive will be super comfortable! You can’t go wrong with Earth shoes!

For an extra entry per day Tweet this giveaway and come back to comment that you’ve done so.

Giveaway starts today 9/20 and ends October 4th at 10pm. Winner will be announced October 5th. 

Congratulations to Amy Pugmire Commentor #77 for winning! Here’s hoping her Earth Shoes make her winter extra awesome!

Please note: this post was sponsored by Earth Shoes. I was given a lovely pair of shoes to tell you about. All thoughts, stories, opinions, etc are mine and mine alone.

Legos on Vacation at the Brickation!

standard July 30, 2012 84 responses

You know what the best part of summer vacation turns out to be? Those long afternoons with nowhere to be and nothing to get done. Mommy has no deadlines. Daddy is on vacation. As for the kids? They’re just begging to be entertained.

And what better way to entertain the whole family than with a nice big bucket of Legos?

OK, maybe an afternoon eating ice cream trumps that, but now we’re just being nit-picky.

I’m not the only one who thinks that Legos and summer vacation are a match made in heaven. Lego themselves agrees with me and has planned a few fun events around the country around the Summer Brickation theme.

If you’re a lucky Bay Area resident who happens to be heading up to Lake Tahoe to soak in some rays and some sights this summer or you’re a resident of the gorgeous lake, you’re in luck. One of the Lego Brickation events is taking place at the Heavenly Village all summer long through September 4th.

A few more details as per the Heavenly Village:

Shop #8 (on Highway 5) 10-8pm. Open 7 days a week thru September 4. The LEGO Summer Brickation will showcase the best of what the LEGO group has to offer. It will enable children and adults to benefit from a fun, hands-on experience of building and creating LEGO bricks and products. Different activity areas will be featured, providing families enjoyment in everything from building, games and challenges, to photo opportunities with life size LEGO models. Activity areas will include DUPLO® Boat, Build Tables, Creation Station, Race Ramps and LEGO Challenge Zone. Other notable experiences offered will be a LEGO South Lake Tahoe Mosaic, along with Life Size LEGO Models and a LEGO Cityscape.

Sounds like fun, right? Bummer we weren’t in Tahoe quite long enough to make it to the South Shore! That’s ok though, I think we have enough Lego bricks right here at home to attempt our own lake view reproduction!

Want to win this prize pack? See below for details!

GIVEAWAY:
As for you, the fun can start even before you get there! Enter below to win a fun little Lego prize pack to get your own Lego collection started or to add to your already existing stash! As a bonus you’ll also win a $20 gift card which you can use to add to that collection or to get that ice cream we were just talking about… hey, I’m not judging!

(Giveaway starts right away and ends on Sunday, August 5th. Bear with me as I try out Rafflecopter!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note: this post is part of a Gigcoin campaign for Lego.