Princess Time Toys Blog

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Follow Gustav on Twitter!

Hurricane Gustav Twitter Tracking



Worried about Gustav? Here are some links of interest - Take Care!


Photo used with permission from @MarkMayhew Additional Photos

I'll be continuously updating these links - bookmark it to return later. Be careful and we're wishing you well - so worried for you all! We are NOT encouraging the people staying in LA against the evacuation orders by posting them here, we ENCOURAGE them to leave and fear for their safety. Please reconsider your decision. We don't need another Harry Truman!

RED LINKS ARE NEW SINCE LAST TIME PUBLISHED - 1:17 am Pacific Time 9/1

EMERGENCY.Louisiana.gov-Official Website

Texas Responds - This site will serve as the State Portal to receive offers of non-cash donations such as goods and services. For those offering volunteer services, this site will direct you to the appropriate and official locations to do so. Please check back regularly.

Twitterers
:
  • Twitter posts with the word "Gustav" in them. See what's being said around the world about the hurricane on Twitter.
  • Another Twitter Gustav Search
  • @nhc_noaa - Hurricane Center Location National Hurricane Center - FL
  • Chicago Tribune reporters covering Hurricane Gustav @GustavReporter * photos
  • CNN Anchor using Twitter during the show @richsanchezcnn
  • @stbernardnews - looks to be unofficial - St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana
  • @lft411 - LFT411 allows anyone to post news from the area.
  • CNN Breaking News @cnnbrk
  • @urbanreporter Amani Channel - journalist, video producer, blogger, creator of www.myurbanreport.com and Pres. of www.visualeyemedia.com photos
  • @MPBOnline- Mississippi Public Broadcasting
  • @foxnews FoxNews.com
  • @gretawire- Greta Van Susteren Fox
  • @kjserrie - Fox News Correspondent, "Lafayette, LA. Live reports begin at 5 AM on FOX News Channel and some local FOX stations around the country"
  • @lineback - Field Producer at Fox News
  • @NBCNewsCrew - Network Photojournalist with NBC News covering stories for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, The Today Show and MSNBC.
  • @thehomedepot - The Home Depot providing information on how to prepare your home for the storm and where supplies are being replenished in areas not evacuating but needing emergency supplies and which stores are extending hours because of the storm.
  • @RedCross - Official twitter stream for the American Red Cross. Shelter links and donation requests.
  • @hurricanes - Provided by sciencenewsblog.com
  • @NOLAnews - Latest news and updates from NOLA.com and the Times-Picayune
  • @MarkMayhew - Twitterer in New Orleans who says he's staying, photo of Mark Mayhew, Marks Flickr Photos of Gustav
  • @ithinkmedia - Blogger who's not evacuating LA
  • @msaizan- Location Baton Rouge, La.
  • @WestleyAnnis - Twittering as he evacuates
  • @lyndale23- Location Lafayette, LA
  • @Mules -Location the Big EASY
  • @donnagunter- Orange, TX - just informed they must evacuate
  • @kareng - Location New Orleans - as of Sunday morning, "not sure if we are leaving"
  • @GraceWilson - Location New Orleans
  • @ernieattorney- Location New Orleans
  • @GentillyGirl- Location New Orleans
  • @renaissancedoc- Will be tweeting from LA
  • @BFAS- National animal welfare organization on the ground in LA picking up abandoned and chained pets
Twitter Resources:
  • Jott.com - use your voice to leave messages on Twitter, Blogger, Don't Forget the Milk, and Google Calendar.
  • TwitterFone.com - same thing - use you telephone to leave a voice mail that's submitted to Twitter in text with a link to your original recording.
Up-to-date Weather Information
TV Stations Broadcasting Online
Cameras - wanna watch from a safe distance? Here are cams focused around LA
Others:
Special Needs:
Parish by Parish Alerts
See the latest alerts for your area. Evacuation Guide

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Enter to win an act2 GreenSmart Shoulder Bag or Pouch Bag!


We've been given the honor of giving away an act2 GreenSmart Shoulder Bag and Pouch Bag! Yes, TWO different bags! Yea!

We received and reviewed their laptop bag and LOVED it (it's up for grabs, too!) and now we're giving away this fabulous shoulder bag that's perfect for traveling or for a busy mom!

Stylish and resourceful. For everyday. With removable shoulder strap, magnetic closures, exterior zipper pocket, foldout pocket, main compartment with interior pocket, too.




DETAILS:
* Exterior Fabric: 450d 100% rPET polyester
* Interior Fabric: 150d 100% rPET polyester
* Shoulder Pouch Dimension: 7” x 5.5” x 1.5” - Color Storm Blue
* Shoulder Bag Dimension: 9.5” x 8” x 2.5” - Color Olive
* Outer and inner fabric 100% post consumer PET water and soda bottles



Special thanks to act2 GreenSmart for donating these great prizes!



Photos (c) ac2 GreenSmart Prize will be mailed directly to the winners by act2 GreenSmart


New Contest! Win Avon's NEW Clearskin Professional Acne Treatment System!




One lucky winner will receive:

Clearskin® Professional Acne Treatment System - Retail Value: $34

A powerful three-step regimen working together to fight all phases of the acne cycle—before, during and after a breakout. Clinically proven as effective as Proactive® Solution 3-Step System**, at a smart price! Clearskin® Professional Kit includes:

  • Deep Pore Cleansing Scrub, 4.2 fl. oz.
  • Clarifying Toner Pads, 45 pads
  • Daily Correcting Lotion, 2 fl. oz.

Visit our Avon Store to shop online, sign up for our newsletter, or to win more fabulous prizes for member's only!

Shop for AVON online!

Prefer to shop by catalog? eMail us, we're happy to send you one.

Sign up for our bi-weekly Avon Newsletter by registering on our Avon site for more opportunities to win prizes for member's only!

**Proactive® is a trademark of Guthy-Reneker® Corporation
© 2008, Avon Products Inc.

We are an Independent Representative


My Family in Cartoons

Pyzam Family Sticker Toy
Create your own family sticker graphic at pYzam.com

Watch Out for the Mobile Pie Hole!


If you love Pushing Daisies then you'll know about the Pie Hole and now's your chance to get a pie from the traveling Pie Hole as it tours 10 cities to promote the October 1st premier of season 2! It's been 10 months since the last new episode aired!


The Mobile Pie Hole will be serving up free pie, magnets, pie-cutters, and spatulas.



Here are the cities Pushing Daisies will visit (for times visit http://www.pushingdaisiestour.com/):

  • Aug. 31 - Anaheim, CA - Downtown Disney
  • Sept. 7 - San Francisco, CA - Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival
  • Sept. 10 - Los Angels, CA - Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade
  • Sept. 12 - Las Vegas, NV - Fashion Show Mall
  • Sept. 14 - Phoenix, AZ - Westgate Complex
  • Sept. 17 - Denver, CO - Larimer Square
  • Sept. 20 - Dallas, TX - Addison Oktober Fest
  • Sept. 24 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Park
  • Sept. 26 - Philadelphia, PA - The Shops at Liberty Place
  • Sept. 29 - New York, NY - Times Square

Also find Ned's pie recipes, photos and videos from the tour stops, and links to past episodes to catch up at http://www.pushingdaisiestour.com/.



I LOVE Pushing Daisies and can't wait for its return to TV. Unfortunately, I don't live near any of the places the Pie Hole will be visiting....can anyone spare a slice?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Flower by Cynthia Rowley Eau de Parfum Spray & Umbrella Winner Announced!


Marlene Pool (poolm1@********.net) was chosen out of the 633 correct entries. She has 3 days to send us her mailing address. If we don't hear from her in that time, we'll select a new winner.

Congrats Marlene!

A new contest will be posted soon. Thanks to all who participated!

Idina Menzel - Loving her New Music - Check it out!

I've loved Idina since her "Rent" days and had the grand pleasure of seeing her in "Wicked". If you haven't heard her music yet, click on the link below, you'll love her, promise!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fairies & Mermaids On Sale Now!


Celebrating the new Little Mermaid movie, we've discounted all Little Mermaid costumes for adults and children! Also on sale are our adorable Pink Fairy & Woodland Fairies for moms & girls.

Shop now for best selection & prices! Don't miss the matching American Girl Doll size costumes also!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Grand Opening Winners Announced!



We're
celebrating our Grand Opening with several great
giveaways!
Click here
to see the WINNERS of the Disney MixMax, Puppet Show
and Coloring Pads and find more giveaways!



Thank you to
everyone who participated! Please remember
that we have member-only contests so

register
for our website and sign-up for our
newsletter to participate!



WANT
MORE CHANCES TO WIN FUN TOYS?
CLICK
HERE
!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Win this act2 GreenSmart 17" Laptop Bag - It's Stylish and Durable!


I received a act2 GreenSmart Laptop Jacket as a gift. The only stipulation was that I write an honest review. No problem, because I honestly love this jacket! (Please note: many o f the photos are of a smaller black bag - we'll replace them as soon as our camera returns from a trip to France - yes, without us)



I'll admit, when I first saw it I didn't love the color. I picked the color, so I really shouldn't complain, but it was the only color choice available for a bag that fit my 17" widescreen laptop. The color, Toasted Almond, is a sedate brown with just a bit of sheen to it. I prefer more vibrant colors, but I quickly noticed the sturdy and decorative zipper pull's fabulous lime green color which hinted to the surprise inside and realized I loved the color after all. The more traditional medium brown gives way to an explosion of fresh lime with tiny recycling symbols. It's stunning!



The bag fit my 17" HP laptop beautifully by the use of four small elastic straps on each corner. I did find it just a bit annoying that the straps covered about 1/4" of my screen on each side, but think I would be able to get used to it.



My laptop worked seamlessly with it on, opening and closing unimpeded. The only issue I had was that my laptop vents where there's solid material, and since built-up heat is a laptop killer, I wasn't able to keep it on while working. I simply pulled the top two loops off and flipped the case back over on itself, thereby having two layers of the slightly padded case between me and my notebook.




The handle was found in one of the three outside pockets. It's adjustable and has a slip-proof slider. I'm 5'10" and found that fully extended, I could wear it across my body, which is the way I prefer to carry my laptop. If feels more secure and distributes the weight better. The handle clips on each side with sturdy clips - they're very secure and almost difficult to get off. The O-rings are well done and extremely sturdy. I have no doubt that they will not rip out or fall apart.



There are three outside pockets. One in zippered, the other two are scooped-out reach-in pockets, perfect for a cell phone, cords, or other objects you need to grab quickly. The main case has a double zipper which is convenient and well made. There are no pockets inside the main case which is fortunate as it won't impede getting your notebook in and out quickly.



The case has just enough padding to feel protected without being bulky. It's extremely light, under a pound, so it won't add to your carrying load. But, it's incredibly well made so it doesn't look or feel flimsy.



It's earned it's "green" label because it's made from recycled bottles and since you all have read about our soda addiction, you probably know we've committed our share of bottles to a landfill. This is one way to use those bottles (although we've gotten off the bottle here at Princess Time Toys) for something good.



The zippered port in the back makes it easy to access your computer's outlet and connections if it's not wireless. For me they weren't in the right place. My computer plugs in on the side and vents in the back. This is better suited for one that vents on the side.



I did check out the waterproofing capability by accidentally spilling a Diet Coke on it. It came off easily, did not seep into the material, and didn't stain. A huge plus!



DETAILS
  • Outer and inner fabric 100% post consumer PET water and soda bottles
  • Uses 11 to 17, 16 oz. bottles and saves 7,500 to 11,500 Btus, labeled on each product
  • Padding made from 100% post industrial material

I wholeheartedly recommend purchasing this bag because it's a well-made bag, and the price is $39.99 - that's a fabulous price for a bag that's good for you and the environment!

I love this case but I'm giving it up to one of my readers. One, because I work for home and don't need to transport my computer very often, and two, because it's so cool someone else should get to enjoy it every day. All you have to do to win this bag is link your blog or website to this review. The winner will be randomly drawn from all completed entries. Want an extra chance? Twitter the contest!



Enjoy!



Connie, The Queen of Princess Time Toys



*We received this bag to review it honestly


**Photos (C) act2 GreenSmart - we'll be adding our own later.


Use Mr. Linky to post a link to your webpage or Twitter account so I can verify your entry. Contest ends 8pm Pacific Time, SEPT 5th


Official Rules



  • Void where prohibited or restricted by law. All entrants must be 18 years of age or older.


  • Odds of winning depend on the eligible number of entries received for each drawing. Enter as often as you like but each entry must be unique.


  • Prize winners are responsible for all federal, state and local taxes.


  • Prize winners will be notified by their registered e-mail. Winners must respond within a timely manner (3 days) with their valid shipping address, or the prize is forfeit and a new winner will be selected.


  • By accepting a prize, all winners agree that Princess Time Toys may post his/her name on the "Previous Winners" page and in any and all media, including future advertising or publicity, without further consideration or compensation, unless prohibited by law.


  • By accepting a prize, all winners agree that Princess Time Toys, affiliated merchants, and all of the officers, directors, employees, representatives and agents of the Princess Time Toys, will have no liability whatsoever for, and will be held harmless by winner for any liability for any injury, loss or damages of any kind, to winner or other persons, including (without limitation) injuries, loss or damages arising out of or relating to death, and, injuries, damages or losses to property, due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of the prize or participation in this promotion.

We're Addicted to Finding New Flavors


So, we've already told you how much we love our new home soda machine, now we're addicted to trying new flavors. Not just those from Soda-Club.com, but others that aren't meant for this particular use.



The first is Water Sensations. Meant as a water enhancer, it's a clear liquid that promises to be free of carbs, calories, sugar, and caffeine. Since we're also trying to up our water intake, if it doesn't work out in the soda machine we'll be able to enjoy it as intended.



It's sweetened with Sucralose and like all artificial sweeteners we should be avoiding them, but since we don't care for plain water, this may be what we need to get started. It is certified Kosher which is a plus. It's not available in my area, but is currently only available in the NE except through their website.



They have an offer to try two of their flavors for $1.75. I purchased Lemon and Mixed-berry and will report on them when they arrive. It appears we'll need two packets per liter (if my math is right). Being in liquid form is a big plus for the addition to the soda water. I have some crystal lemonade that I'm going to try mixing with a small amount of soda water before I add it to the full container, but it clumps so much in regular water I'm not holding out much hope that it will work.



For $1.75 it'll be worth the try. To order your own samples, go to http://www.watersensations.com/sampleprocess.aspx?USER1=2553



Enjoy!

Connie, The Queen of Princess Time Toys

We're making our own Cola and LOVING it!





Soda Club USA


A week ago we posted about the cola machine we purchased from

Soda-Club
. At the time we'd received the machine and one
container of carbonation, but that was it, leaving us feeling a little wary of
the company and their ability to deliver. At the time I told the others that the
soda better be worth the wait because I wasn't happy so far with their customer
service.


Well, the soda syrups and spare canister arrived on Friday and we've been
enjoying home-brewed soda ever since. I hate to say it, but WE LOVE IT! We
wanted to hate it because of our poor experience with the company, but we have
very little bad to say about the product.


We purchased three flavors - Diet Cola, Caffeine-Free Diet Cola, and Diet
Pink Grapefruit. Since we only drink sugar-free here it was an easy decision for
us. I personally prefer soda with caffeine in it in the morning and then later
in the day switch to caffeine-free because if I don't, I'm up until 4am with my
mind racing.


HOW IT'S DONE


Soda Club USA
I
tried the Diet Pink Grapefruit first because I was here alone and I was
"coked-out" for the day. I'd watched their 4-step, 30-second video previous to
buying the machine, so I didn't need instructions, but had I required them they
were attached to the bottle. I used filtered tap water that I keep in the
refrigerator in a large Britta pitcher. You don't need to use filtered water but
using cold water certainly helps as it makes it ready to drink instantly.




I
loaded the canister in the back of the machine by depressing the two buttons on
the side of the machine and then pulling backwards. I pulled too hard and pulled
the entire back off, nearly breaking the nubbin on the bottom that held it in. I
probably should have read the directions and that wouldn't have happened.


I filled the plastic container with the filtered water but wasn't careful
about the "fill line". Something I learned quickly is important. I loaded the
jar onto the machine by pushing the top button in, which tilts the top of the
machine toward you, and then screwing the bottle into place. I have a
neurological disorder so this wasn't particularly easy for me, but a normal
person shouldn't have too much trouble. I found that if I pushed the top back to
the fullest position I could use both hands to screw the bottle on. I'm very
grateful that the containers are only 1 liter. I couldn't have done it with a
larger container.


Once the container is in place, you simply press the top button down until it
makes a horribly loud noise. Once that happens you press it approximately 3 more
times to obtain the correct carbonation. I found that the amount of carbonation
depends on the flavor used through trial and error.




When
you push the release button to pull out the container it gives off a refreshing
pssssssssssst sound and your waters shows bubbles. Next you add one cap full of
the syrup of your choice, cap the bottle, and GENTLY rock it back and forth to
mix the soda and syrup. The entire process take 3 minutes and that includes the
clean-up time because I spill almost every time.


SHORTFALLS

My one and only complaint about the process is the syrup cap. The design is poor
and it makes me spill every time. I've resorted to using a separate measuring
cup because of it. Well, I do have one other small complaint - the coloring in
the pink grapefruit syrup. My 1970's white counter top keeps getting stained
pink from my spills. Luckily my Caldera scouring powder takes care of it.


WHERE YOU CAN GO WRONG



  • Don't fill the container with water above the fill line. The results are
    an overflowing container when you pull it off to add the syrup.

  • Don't add the syrup too quickly - it causes it to fizz-up and overflow.

  • Don't try to make it when someone's on the phone or sleeping because
    it's LOUD!

  • Be cautious "shaking" after you add the flavoring. Just enough movement
    to mix it, but not enough to cause it to explode upon opening.


OUR PERSONAL MIXES



  • For the staff members that like Diet Coke, the 3-press carbonation and 1
    cap full of syrup is just right. We've done blind taste tests and most
    everyone finds them to be comparable and couldn't tell which was which.

  • For those that prefer Diet Pepsi, we found the perfect combination to be
    5-press carbonation and 3/4 -cap syrup.

  • For the Diet Pink Grapefruit the standard 3-press carbonation and 1 cap
    full works perfectly. It smells and tastes just like pink grapefruits and is
    so refreshing!


Overall we highly recommend this. Will we save money? Most assuredly. If we
were just can drinkers maybe not, but we were soda fountain, Big Gulp and Mc
Donald's drinkers, and at $2.00 for a McDonald's soda every day (sometimes 2
times a day) we're definitely going to save big. But more importantly, the
amount of garbage we're going to produce will be greatly reduced. The amount of
cups and cans in our garbage had grown to embarrassing proportions.


So, after the bad customer service I've forgiven them because the quality of
the product is so fabulous. We can't wait to purchase additional flavors and
containers so we can have fresh soda for on the go as well.


Soda Club USA


Enjoy! We are!


Connie, Queen of Princess Time Toys

*Photos (C)

Soda-Club


**We were not compensated by the
company in any way for this review, however, if they'd like to send us
sugar-free syrups to taste-test, we'd be happy too!




Friday, August 22, 2008

Please Vote for me for Home-Based 100 Contestant

I'd appreciate a vote -thank you!

Connie

An afternoon of sheer delight - Harvesting the Garden & Eating with the Youngest


My youngest is away at college 5 hours away. He left a week ago Wednesday after being home for three weeks in the summer. When he left I went through the whole separation anxiety again...missing him and missing the family that we were. Being new to the whole empty nest thing last January, and having dealt with it for months, I was surprised at how much his leaving bothered me.




He calls regularly and thank goodness for the internet, but it's not the same as being in each others life and space everyday. I've been melancholy since he left and it was compounded by his older brother heading to France for an extended stay. So, in my state of blueness, imagine my surprise when he opened the door on Wednesday and said, "What's for dinner!", as if he'd never left at all.



Of course, he drove home to return his girlfriend, but I'll take a surprise visit any way I can get it. I rarely get to cook any more, so I was delighted that he was here for dinner. I'm a vegetarian, he's not. After checking out the garden to see what was ripe and ready to eat as well as the pantry for staples, we settled on steak for him and a Garden Burger for me. We then took the ripe cherry tomatoes, lettuce, blue berries and some very ripe raspberries and made two side dishes.



The first this yummy pasta salad - A tomato and basil pasta salad. We used the cherry tomatoes and left out a few ingredients (onions) which he doesn't like and basil since we didn't have any. I also added a generous helping of black olives to change it up just a bit to make it ours. I served it on a bed of fresh lettuce...yum! The second dish was a mix of apples, raspberries, blueberries, and yogurt topped with chopped pecans.


It was just the two of us because the DH was on duty, but it was just like the old days, kinda. I knew he was leaving in the morning and I'd miss him all over again.



I hope that it was a good memory for him, it sure was for me. I enjoyed the salad for a few days after he left and cried every time I ate it. Time for a hobby.

Connie

Thursday, August 21, 2008

MAD MEN has moved from the TV to Twitter and We're LOVING IT!


We love Mad Men here at Princess Time Toys. We've been fans since the first show which hooked us in with its story line, spot-on characters, and amazing sets. Yes, some of us lived during that time, so we're experts on the look and feel, and Mad Men covers it perfectly. We would caution however, that if you're a new non-smoker, this may not be the show for you. Every scene is a smoking-fest which was so true in the 60's.

It looks like the show's marketing team has jumped into our favorite social media space - Twitter. We assume it's AMC, if not, it's someone with a lot of time on his hands. We've been tweeting with the characters and find them to be deep into their storylines and characters and we're loving it. In fact, we're having a love affair with Don Draper, but don't tell the King of Princess Time, or he just might retaliate with the lovely Joan Holloway.

If you don't already have a Twitter account sign up for one. It's free and you'll be able to chat with the following characters (but keep your hands off Draper, he's mine!).

Currently on Twitter (more are being added often):
Their profiles link to www.sterlingcooperadvertising.com. There's an active community forum there as well as show blogs (but they're not as fun as interacting with the character's themselves). Smart move AMC :)

Princess Time Toys is Cookie Powered! Enter to win some!

The Platinum of Cookies *Giveaway*

We are cookie aficionados here at Princess Time Toys. We don't nosh on those gross grocery store bagged treats, we go for the full-fat, real-sugar, yummy wonderful cookies only found at gourmet shops and online webstores of deliciousness.

So, imagine our delight when we ran across a review of Platine Cookies by Tres Fun . They claim that Platine Cookies, a Venice, CA based cookie company, "offers the most fabulous, fresh, all-natural gourmet cookies we’ve ever tried! Freshly made in small batches and carefully hand packaged, these cookies come ready to present as the ultimate edible gift. We recommend the Platinum Standard for those I want to get you something really fantastic and clever kind of gifts. Trust me, your recipient will be impressed."

Tres Fun goes on to entice us with this description, "Chocolate gingersnaps! Ohhhh… chocolatey and a little spicy. I personally am still in a joy coma after having eaten them. We were lucky enough to have been treated to several varieties of their cookies and believe us- they were all out of this world, but I find myself having afternoon daydreams about the gingersnaps." Now who could resist that? Not us!

Want to experience your very own Platine Cookie joy coma too…for free? They’ve generously offered a fabulous prize for our Tres Fun readers: The platinum standard –an assortment of 2 dozen of our favorite cookies nestled in their signature platinum tin and shipped anywhere in the US!

We're bound and determined to win these cookies - if not, we'll be ordering them asap. There's nothing like a good cookie to get you through the day.

Giveaway closes August 21st

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Have you entered to Win our Disney MixMax Video System Yet? Tick Tock...

Disney MixMax Video Player Giveaway!

STORE GRAND OPENING CONTEST
Register for our website and write a review on any one of our products, and you'll be automatically entered into a drawing for one of these prizes!
  • One Grand Prize: Disney Tinkerbell Mix Max Video Player and Stereo Speaker System/Charger! Retail Value - $100!
  • One First Place Prize: Guidecraft Tabletop Puppet Theater and Melissa and Doug Knight Puppet! Retail Value - $62
  • FIVE 2nd Place Prizes: Melissa and Doug Jumbo Princess Coloring Pad (may substitute another Melissa and Doug pad if you don't have any princesses) and a set of 12 Melissa and Doug Triangular Crayons. Retail Value - $8
When you register, consider signing up for our newsletter
Have a blog or website and want to host a giveaway? eMail queen@princesstimetoys.com for information.
WANT MORE CHANCES TO WIN COOL PRINCESS STUFF? CLICK HERE!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fatwallet & Big Crumbs – You shouldn't be shopping online without them!


I love shopping online. I purchase my business supplies - boxes, tape, labels, tissue, ink, printers, monitors, business cards, etc. - from large online retailers and small mom & pop stores. In fact, I can't think of the last business-related purchase that I didn't make online. But lest you think online shopping is for businesses only, I'll tell you that I've purchased personal products, furniture, rugs, and even artwork online! All at fantastic prices and all delivered to my door and most carried up our steep front steps as well! Now that's convenience that you can't get from shopping at your local stores. Even my groceries are delivered to my kitchen and I'm working on getting the delivery guy to put them away and start dinner.

I'm an avid online shopper out of necessity, but shopping online can be a budget-stretching activity as well! We all read the headlines, finances are tighter than ever for many Americans, but are you doing everything you can do to save when you shop online? All you need to do is know some of the tricks and where to look first for bargains.

I'll be sharing lots of money-saving tricks in the days and weeks to come, but for now we're going to talk about my two favorite personal shoppers - BIG CRUMBS and FatWallet. Both offer similar benefits. They offer cash back for purchases made through their links. The difference between the two are the retailers they offer and the structure for offering cash back.

FAT WALLET

FAT WALLET is a straight single-user plan - you find a retailer selling the item you want, you click on the link of FAT WALLET, and in a few weeks the percentage promised is deposited into your account ready to be withdrawn at your convenience by check or PayPal.

FAT WALLET has been around for years. My lifetime payout with them is $597.65, but the even bigger benefit are coupons which can be used in addition to the cash back. For example, on my last VistaPrint order I snagged a 50% off coupon and then shopped through the link which resulted in an additional $9.60 in cash back, so my total order was $79. A fantastic buy for 1500 postcards!

I've also purchase back-to-college clothes for my son with free shipping links and cash back from Zappos, Aeropostale, Nordstroms, and more. Cash back amounts range from 1% to 20%, with 3-5 being the average.

FAT WALLET has an active savings community and specials and deals from all over the Internet are posted by members in the forums for all to share. The community is very helpful and friendly, as the focus is on saving money and there's no competition for the dollars.

BIG CRUMBS

BIG CRUMBS is mostly based on referrals. When you sign up you decide what type of saver you want to be - single or multiple. Chose to be a single saver and you'll receive a larger cash back percentage As a multiple saver, you'll receive a percentage of the cash back earned by anyone you refer. The trade-off is you'll get a smaller percentage back on your own purchases. Only you can decide which is right for you. If you're not into trying to get people to sign up for things (think Amway of old) then single saver is probably best for you.

I know of several people who have referred thousands of savers and they're now making $600-$800 a month on those referrals without spending a dime. I believe I'm a more realistic saver - I earn about $40 a month for doing nothing but clicking on a link and referring one person.

BIG CRUMBS has many of the same retailers as FAT WALLET, however, the percentages are usually less than those offered at the FAT WALLET site and coupons are not as easily redeemed. They do however, offer users a percentage back on eBay purchases. I'm a frequent eBay shopper and coupons are rare, so this is a great way to save a bit on those purchases.

BIG CRUMBS has initiated some social networking but it's become a signpost to get others to sign up. They've tried to curb it, but they've not been very successful. I don't find it useful and the competition for referrals is fierce. I've not found the community to be friendly or helpful. I use the site to save money and do absolutely no social networking there.

WHICH TO CHOOSE?

Percentages and offers change constantly so before shopping any retailer I check both websites to see if they offer that webstore, what the percentage of cash back they offer is, and then shop through the best offer. Be careful though, if you use a coupon other than the one provided on the site, it may cancel out your link savings. I always calculate the savings between coupon farm coupons (sites that advertise coupon codes, many untried, and not meant to be shared) coupons and cash back links, and cashback-only links, and take the best deal.

Whether you're shopping online out of necessity, or just to have more choices than your local stores can carry, you can save money on your purchases with a little planning and a few minutes of research. I've been using my FAT WALLET checks for extra cash around the holidays and the monthly automatic deposit by BIG CRUMBS is a nice addition to my bank account.

I recommend you sign up for both and start saving!

Connie - The Blogging Queen at Princess Time Toys - "Behind the Pink Tissue"

BigCrumbs and the BigCrumbs Logo are trademarks of BigCrumbs.com\

FatWallet and the FatWallet Logo are trademarks of FatWallet, Inc.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My First Avon Order as a Representative - So Much for Going Green!


Imagine my surprise when my shipping person called up to say to me, "So much for going green!". I had no idea what he was talking about as he mumbled something about catalogs and then hung up.

Yes, I'd been expecting catalogs with my first Avon order, 60 of them in fact, not something I'd call a crisis. I was also expecting lots of samples to send out, but surely that couldn't be the cause of his snarky call.

I hastened to the loading area to find him chucking boxes, and boxes of Avon product into the storage area. Wow, I must have ordered way more samples than I realized! No wonder my first order was a whopping $254!

As I got closer I saw with dread that save for two boxes, the rest were all catalogs! Worse yet, they're time sensitive and only good until September 9th! Trying to quell my sense of panic, I asked him if that was it. "Nope", there's 3 more waiting to come in.

Yep, I ordered 600, time-sensitive catalogs! He was right, so much for going green! I've been hassling the staff to reuse, recycle, and work smart and then I pull this EXPENSIVE blunder. When I told him it was a mistake, that just threw him into fits of laughter. I didn't think is was so funny - what to do with this massive pile of catalogs?

I thought about how to get rid of them. I imagined sitting in front of a grocery store begging people to take one (or 5), I thought about rolling them into fire logs for the winter, I even started sending them out to the people on my mailing list until I realized at $2.20 each for postage that was going to compound my mistake into one that could break the bank!

So, here I am, surrounded by 500 catalogs - 100 are on their way to new homes. Got any ideas on what to do with 500 dated Avon catalogs? If you'd like one (or 10) email me at queen@princesstimetoys.com, I'll be happy to send them on.

Preview of our next Avon Giveaway Prize!

One lucky winner will receive:

Clearskin® Professional Acne Treatment System - Retail Value: $34

A powerful three-step regimen working together to fight all phases of the acne cycle—before, during and after a breakout. Clinically proven as effective as Proactive® Solution 3-Step System**, at a smart price! Clearskin® Professional Kit includes:

  • Deep Pore Cleansing Scrub, 4.2 fl. oz.
  • Clarifying Toner Pads, 45 pads
  • Daily Correcting Lotion, 2 fl. oz.

Watch for it to be posted after the existing giveaway is complete.

Visit our Avon Store to shop online, sign up for our newsletter, or to win more fabulous prizes for member's only!

Shop for AVON online!

Prefer to shop by catalog? eMail us, we're happy to send you one.

Sign up for our bi-weekly Avon Newsletter by registering on our Avon site for more opportunities to win prizes for member's only!

**Proactive® is a trademark of Guthy-Reneker® Corporation
© 2008, Avon Products Inc.

We are an Independent Representative

A Blog Cut Short - But Worthy of a Read

My Cancer

The Koppel Group/Koppel on Discovery

By Leroy Sievers

"After that day, your life is never the same. "That day" is the day the doctor tells you, "You have cancer." Every one of us knows someone who's had to face that news. It's scary, it's sad. But it's still life, and it's a life worth living. "My Cancer" is a daily account of my life and my fight with cancer."

Leroy Sievers appears to have lived a life well-lived and full of adventure, and when Cancer attacked, he shared with others and formed a community. His blog is so beautifully written, and his weekly podcasts so full the everyday details of living with cancer, but told with wit and warmth.

He became the leader of a community of people supporting each other - 30,000 strong. He was often quoted as saying that he was most proud of his blog, because of the community that formed around it. He blogged on his good and bad days in such a eloquent fashion. His wife's thoughts are posted as well and are such a deep and honest insight into what it's like to support your spouse while he fights for his life.

My own father died of cancer and was also a tall man like Leroy. Reading his blog reminds me so much of my father and our journey with cancer over 20 years ago.

Sadly, Leroy died today. Just days after making the decision to sign up for Hospice Care. His writing will be missed, but his blog is a living archive of his life, his loves, and those he left behind. His podcasts are still available and worthy of a listen as well as a video (posted above) along with his entire body of work.

Rest well Leroy and blessings to his wife and family. Thank you for caring enough to write for all of us - a primer of how to handle the end of life when it comes. You were a class act.

With love and remembrance.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Have you entered to win our Flower by Cynthia Rowley Eau de Parfum Spray & Umbrella Set Yet? Retail value $55!!!

Enter to win this fabulous Flower by Cynthia Rowley Eau de Parfum Spray & Umbrella set! $55 value! Just answer a simple question http://is.gd/1r93, One entry per email address. The winner will be chosen at random from all of the correct entries.

Additional contests are running at our website - visit Princess Time Toys for the current giveaways.

Sign up on our Avon site for our newsletter and you'll be automatically entered for all future contests as well as member-only contests!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Greening Up the Office - One Soda Can at a Time via Soda-Club.com

We're

trying to "green-up" around the office and so we've stopped buying bottled water
and switched to a Britta pitcher and filter. We use all-new packing materials in
our shipments, but we try to buy those made from recycled materials whenever
possible. We also shred our documents and then send them out to recycle as well
as sort our trash.


We do a lot, but one area we are really terrible on was soda cans. Yep, we
have a huge soda drinking habit here in the office and it's quite normal for us
to go through a 24-pack a day. That's a lot of cans! We do send them out for
recycling, but it just didn't seem enough. We wanted to do more.


We researched soda machines because giving up our habit wasn't an option. We
quickly ruled out the soda guns, the cost was staggering and the technical
knowledge needed to install and maintain them, was more than we could manage. We
looked at "home" versions selling in the $600 range - still too pricey, although
they seemed manageable. We figured there had to be another way, or we'd wait it
out until home soda was more popular and thus it would bring down the prices.


Imagine our surprise when one day while hanging out on
Twitter
, someone mentioned they owned a home soda machine! We were thrilled
at the prospect but also knew that our hopes had been dashed several times. We
were given the link to

Soda-Club USA
and was pleasantly surprised to find they had a home
machine for under $100! Granted, it wasn't the same instant tap machine as the
others, this one required you to make a liter of soda water and then add
flavored syrup to it to make your drink, but it was promising.


After checking out the how-to videos and reading about the different models
and options (a great

guide to help you choose the right model
is provided), we decided to
purchase the less expensive of the two models, the Fountain Jet. The more
expensive model is more streamline and self-contained - perfect for someone with
a fabulous kitchen.

Diet caffeine-free cola
This
isn't a small machine, it's 17" x 5 x 8 so it needs a bit of counter space. We
chose the silver/black model because it fit our decor better. It also comes in
white. We purchased a starter package which included our choice of 3 flavor
syrups, and extra carbonation cartridge, and extra lids for the bottle.


There are tons of flavors to choose from but we only drink Diet here so we
chose from that realm. There were still many options. We chose Caffeine-Free
Diet Cola, Diet Lemon-Lime (their version of 7UP/Sprite), and Diet Grapefruit
(their version of Squirt/Fresca). There are many more we'll try in the future,
but you can also make your drink with tea, fruit juice, and other natural foods.
I did like that they use Splenda in their syrups which I think just tastes
better than the commercial sweeteners used in others and they're certified
Kosher. They claim that each bottle of concentrated sodamix contains enough
syrup to make about 12 liters of fresh soda and that each bottle will retain
it's fizziness for up to 1 week.




Home Soda Fountain Jet Black/Silver
We
received our soda machine today and let me tell you there was a buzz in the air.
We've been waiting over a week. Strange when I read the packing slip it's been
mailed from the same city we're in. In fact, they're about 7 miles away. That's
a long time for an order so close in our opinions.


Still, we were excited to finally be able to ditch the can habit so we ripped
into the box. We opened the large outer carton to find another smaller box, with
no packing material to keep the smaller box from banging around inside. We're
professional packers - this was a poor packing job. We also found an invoice
noting that everything else was on backorder. WHAT? A soda machine with no soda
syrups? Yes, that deflated the mood quickly.


We called the 1-800 number from the packing slip and found that the person
answering the phone wasn't able to help. Seems he can only pass on the
information to his supervisor who will then call us back with the ETA of our
syrups. Wow, that's a crazy way to run a business. We empower every employee to
help our customers when they call so they're never passed around or kept waiting
for 24 hours for a simple question.


So, so far we're not impressed. We haven't even tried the soda and it's
already gone flat. Slow and poor shipping, backorder of important products
without any notice, and no customer service. Luckily the machine has a 30-day
money-back guarantee. If it doesn't work or taste as good as our regular drinks
it's going back and we'll search again.


UPDATE 8/16: The day we inquired about our backordered items we
received an email stating they'd been mailed the day before. No promised phone
call and now we have another 6 days before we can try out the machine. Blah!


UPDATE 8/17: Ok, so I just received the following UNSIGNED email
(sorry, that's a personal peeve of mine, especially coming from someone
representing a business), "The backordered portion of your order is being
processed now and will ship shortly via UPS. Tracking will be sent to your email
when the order leaves our warehous." The spelling error is hers (I know it's a
female by the email address. Ok, so which is it. Did it leave Friday or am I
still waiting? This company needs to do some improvement on their delivery
skills. I'm hoping the wait will be worth it, if not, I'm going to be very
annoyed.

UPDATE: We received the machine and LOVE IT! Read all about it here

Images © 2008 Soda-Club, USA. All Rights Reserved. Used here under the
fair use doctrine - we were not compensated by the company to review this
product, in fact they're probably not going to be very happy with us, but then,
we're not happy with them either.


Disney MixMax Video Player Giveaway!

STORE GRAND OPENING CONTEST

Register for our website and write a review on any one of our products, and you'll be automatically entered into a drawing for one of these prizes!

  • One Grand Prize: Disney Tinkerbell Mix Max Video Player and Stereo Speaker System/Charger! Retail Value - $100!

  • One First Place Prize: Guidecraft Tabletop Puppet Theater and Melissa and Doug Knight Puppet! Retail Value - $62

  • FIVE 2nd Place Prizes: Melissa and Doug Jumbo Princess Coloring Pad (may substitute another Melissa and Doug pad if you don't have any princesses) and a set of 12 Melissa and Doug Triangular Crayons. Retail Value - $8
When you register, consider signing up for our newsletter

Have a blog or website and want to host a giveaway?

eMail queen@princesstimetoys.com for information.

WANT MORE CHANCES TO WIN COOL PRINCESS STUFF? CLICK HERE!

Review of Glazewear Liquid Lip Color by Val of Val's Views

Purcahse Avon's Glazewear Liquid Lip Color online now!

I came across a great review of Avon's Glazewear Liquid Lip Color. I'm a new Avon Representative so I'm excited to see and try all of the things Avon offers. I'll be doing my own reviews soon, but in the meantime, I thought I'd search out other reviewers and see what's available.

Enjoy her review, and if you have questions or would like a catalog and samples mailed to you, please email queen@princesstimetoys.com, I'm happy to take care of your Avon needs.

Currently on sale! 21 shades available: Blushing, Boysenberry, Brown Sugar, Buttered Rum, Cantaloupe, Chic Mauve, Chocolate Fling, Clear, Crimson, Darling Pink, Gold Digger, Honey, Iced Pink, Nude Attitude, Peach Fizz, Punch, Raisin Glaze, Real Red, Rosebud, Teddy Bear
SAVE 66%! price: $6.00 $1.99


PRINCESS TIME TOYS

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PERSONAL BLOG



MiscFinds4u is the work of a middle-aged mom with grown children, who enjoys cooking, baking, home DIY remodeling, gardening, and blogging. Specializing in Once a Month (OAMC) and bulk freezer cooking for two for meat eaters and vegetarians. Specializing in product and online shopping reviews as well as contests and giveaways. We work with Disney, Warner Bros, and other companies to bring you fun prizes.