#ItStartedWithHello: Lindt HELLO Chocolate

October 1, 2014
Thanks to Lindt for sponsoring today’s post. 

“Hello” is a powerful phrase. It has the ability to help strangers become friends, and it can even transform a friendship into a romance. One year ago, the word “hello” altered my life forever. A friend of a friend said hello, and that was the beginning of my love story. 
My fiance, Jeremy and I share a mutual love of chocolate, writing, gardening and The Big Bang Theory. We met one year ago on a blind date to a festival, and we haven’t looked back. Second only to my son, he is my fondest hello and hardest goodbye. I know he loves me because he is willing to share his chocolate bar.

Lindt Chocolates wants to help make saying hello a little easier with their new line of HELLO chocolate inspired by, “It started with HELLO.” Lindt HELLO chocolates come in four decadent flavors that are reminiscent of popular desserts. 

  • Caramel Brownie
  • Crunchy Nougat 
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Strawberry Cheesecake 
It is impossible for me to choose a favorite, all four were delicious.
Lindt also created an adorable web series, “It Started with HELLO.” A new video with debut every week until October 9th, and showcases some romantic but slightly comedic first connections.

The Lindt HELLO bars are conveniently packaged three ways:

  • Bars
  • Sticks 
  • Mini-Stick bags 
Lindt HELLO can be found at most grocery stores and drug stores. Locally, I found Lindt HELLO at Wal-Mart and Walgreens. 
In celebration of the launch of Lindt HELLO they’re offering a few opportunities to win some fantastic prizes. You can enter everyday for a chance to win. 
To enter the sweepstakes, visit the Lindt HELLO Sweet Connections Sweepstakes Landing Page and enter your email address. The prizes are pretty neat! I would love a shopping spree with my girlfriends or a day at the spa with my best friend/Maid of Honor. 

5 Weeks of Prizes – Connect with Someone You Love, or Someone New!
Week 1: Table for Two (9/10 – 9/16)
• Dinner & a movie with the +1 of your choice!
Week 2: Double the Fun (9/17 – 9/39)
• Say HELLO to a fun double date night + Lindt HELLO chocolate for dessert
Week 3: Girls Just Want to Have Fun (9/24 – 9/30)
• Enjoy a shopping spree with the girls + yummy Lindt HELLO Chocolate!
Week 4: Sweet Staycation (10/1 – 10/7)
• Lindt HELLO treats you to a pampered night in – movies, books + chocolate!
Week 5: Besties Reunion (10/8 – 10/14)
• Reconnect with your bestie at the spa for a day + Lindt HELLO chocolate to sweeten the deal.

For complete rules and details please see their website.

Does anything make it easier to say HELLO? 

Depend wants you to #DropYourPants for #Underwareness

September 23, 2014
Thank you to Depend for sponsoring today’s post about the #dropyourpants for #underwareness movement.

When we were kids my brother Brandon loved to hold me down and tickle me until I had to pee. I’m super ticklish so it didn’t take much before I was screaming that I had to “go”.  Twenty years and a child of my own later, I don’t think I could have made it to the bathroom. It is a difficult subject for most women, and it is often a taboo topic. Who wants to talk about bladder leakage or postpartum urinary incontinence? Depend® wants you to #dropyourpants for #underwareness.

Photo Credit: Depend® 

So what is #underwareness? Did you know that 12 million Americans under the age of 35 suffer from bladder leakage? One out of every four Americans will suffer from bladder leakage in their lifetime. When so many people suffer from an ailment, why do we make it taboo? Depend® wants to create awareness about the realities of bladder leakage and start a conversation. Depend® undergarments can give adults the freedom to not worry about bladder leakage, and live without the fear of bladder related accidents.

When I was in the first grade, I had a horrible teacher. I had frequent urinary tract infections and it was from my teacher preventing me from going to the restroom. She once made me hold it so long that I actually peed on myself. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, and I don’t think I will ever forget it. My great grandmother who was a retired school teacher told me that if I ever asked to use the restroom and my teacher told me no, that I was to walk out of class, use the restroom, and walk to the principals office to explain what happened. It was an incident that made me feel terrible, and I was just a young girl. I spent most of the year hoping I didn’t have another accident. I can only imagine the struggles of an adult constantly worried about bladder control.

Do you have bladder control issues and you aren’t sure if Depend® is the right product for you? Visit the Depend® website and request your free sample. Information about requesting a free sample is located on the upper right side of the website, just click the get a sample link.

Photo Credit: Depend®
Photo Credit: Depend®

The aspect of this campaign that I really love is that they are willing to donate $1 to charity with a maximum donation of $3 million over 3 years to charities that advance the research, education, and awareness of bladder leakage.

Photo Credit: Depend®

You can help raise money for charity by participating in the campaign two ways.
  • Share a photo or video on Instagram using the hashtags #underwareness and #dropyourpants.
  • Share a video on Youtube explaining what #underwareness means to you and using the hashtags #underwareness and #dropyourpants. 
Photo Credit: Depend®

Here the photo that I donated? Are you going to #dropyourpants for underwareness?


What Stresses You Out? Hyland’s 5-Day Stress Challenge

September 18, 2014

This post is sponsored by Hyland’s

Trying on wedding gowns after gaining
a few pounds is a stressful experience.

This past year has been of the most stressful, but it has also been one of the most rewarding year’s of my life. I wrapped up a painful divorce, moved with my 4 year old son, changed careers, and gained a few pounds in the process. I also met an amazing man that I plan to marry in a few short months, and wedding planning has its own set of highs and lows.

There are so many factors that influence stress, and everyone handles stress differently. For example, an old colleague who lives in Canada likes to use cannabis from an online dispensary. Products containing cannabis are widely used to help people relax, and there are a lot of places in the world where it is now legalised. So much so, that more people are starting to make a living through selling medical marijuana, by opening their own dispensaries, (get more info here). Due to more physical and online dispensaries distributing these types of products, more people who suffer with anxiety, stress or any other health condition will see their symptoms relieved at a quicker rate. If you’re like me and don’t like the thought of smoking, I found there were other ways to consume it such as using a quartz enail to create a rosin was a much easier way of consuming it. And isn’t that what we all want? I certainly do. As for me, I soon found the only natural way I knew to de-stress was to run, but I suffered a hip injury which completely prevented me from running for a few months. Personally I tend to overeat when I’m dealing with an unusual amount of stress. Chocolate becomes my “nerve pill”. The added calories makes me gain weight, and that just adds to my anxiety. Weight gain is rarely a good thing, and especially not before you get married. Since I couldn’t run, a friend of mine suggested I try mushroom edibles, which she said could help with my anxiety and stress. I told her I wasn’t sure about them and had to Read more before I decided to try it. I did end up reading more about it and found that mushrooms were good for stress and anxiety, but I decided it wasn’t for me, and I had already decided that I wanted something familiar.

This is why I am excited to participate in the Hyland’s 5-day Stress Challenge. I am hoping that if I can de-stress my life that I can gradually lose the weight I gained from stress eating.

What is the Hyland’s 5-day Stress Challenge? Hyland’s will feature daily challenges, and offer information about natural solutions for stress reduction and how to cope with stress on their Facebook page.

Participants will have a chance to win a Hyland’s Stress Less Duo which includes Hyland’s Calms Forte and Hyland’s Nerve Tonic. Each day they will post a question about stress and ten winners will be chosen at random. On Saturday, October 4th one lucky participant will win the Grand Prize basket filled with various Hyland’s products and a $100 Spafinder gift card.

Registration for the challenge begins on Wednesday, September 17th at 1pm EST. The challenge begins on Monday, September 29th and ends Friday, October 3rd. The first 1,000 participants to register for the challenge will receive a 32 count box of Hyland’s Nerve Tonic®.

You can learn more about the Hyland’s 5-day Stress Challenge here.

What stresses you out? What do you do to cope with stress?

Don’t let a big move leave you #SheetOutOfLuck

September 8, 2014
This post is sponsored by Angel Soft® as part of #SheetHappens and #SheetOutOfLuck campaign. 

Last week my son, fiance, and I moved into our new home. Moving is a stressful experience. No one wants to be #SheetOutOfLuck when you relocate and you are trying to adjust to a new place. There are certain supplies that you must have when you move in.

  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Window Cleaner
  • All-purpose Cleaner
  • Disinfectant
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Dish Soap
  • Hand Soap

One of the first items on my list of household supplies to buy when we moved in was toilet paper. Sometimes the previous homeowners may have left you a courtesy roll or two, other times there may not be anything. In fact, some people might find that the toilet doesn’t work at all once they moved in, especially if the house has been empty for a while. If this were to happen, a local plumber would need to be called from somewhere similar to mrquikhomeservices.com/category/plumbing/, for example, to make sure everything is working as it should. Once this is done, it is time to pick up some essential supplies. We live about 10 minutes from the nearest store to purchase toilet paper or other household items. I bought Angel Soft® jumbo roll toilet paper which has over 2x more sheets than regular rolls. Who has time to constantly run to the store to pick up household supplies? These Angel Soft® jumbo rolls last longer than your typical toilet paper roll. 

Here are a few photos from our move.

My 4 year old son Gabriel is always the one to inform us that we are out of toilet paper, he is usually the person who uses the last of a roll and doesn’t tell us when he does. 

Congratulations to the winner of the one year supply of Angel Soft® toilet paper Susan C. from Wichita, Kansas. She shouldn’t be #SheetOutOfLuck. 

My stockpile of Angel Soft toilet paper. 

Follow the hashtags #SheetHappens and #SheetOutOfLuck, and join the conversation with Angel Soft® on Facebook and Twitter because Angel Soft knows their #sheet.

Chili’s® at Home Heats Up the Frozen Food Aisle

August 25, 2014

This post is sponsored by Chili’s® at Home

It is hard for me to eat a decent lunch. I am always busy, and I hate typical fast food. When I can’t find what I want to eat, I will skip lunch altogether. These new Chili’s® at Home meals caught my eye when I was shopping at both Wal-Mart and Kroger. I found the single serve meals for less than $3 each, so the price point was good.

Jeremy and I had been busy working on the new house. We were trying to do some of the finish work ourselves to speed up the process so that we could move in sooner. It isn’t uncommon that we get busy working and miss lunch. I grabbed these two Chili’s® at Home meals from the freezer and heated them up. It was a very quick way to have a tasty lunch.

We had the Chicken Bacon Ranch and the Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese, both meals were delicious. The flavors were similar to those found at Chili’s® Restaurants.

Chili’s® at Home comes in several delicious varieties.

Single serve meals:

  • Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese
  • Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo
  • Cheesy Chicken Pasta Florentine
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch
  • Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl
  • Island Chicken & Rice
  • Mango Chicken with Rice
  • Pepper Jack Mac ‘N’ Cheese
  • Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch
  • Chicken Fajita Rice
  • Nacho Potatoes with Beef and Bacon
  • Seasoned Chicken Bites with Honey Chipotle Sauce 

You can head over to the Chili’s® at Home website for more information and to download a coupon for $1 off any one entree. In my hometown Wal-Mart and Kroger both had them in the freezer food aisle but they are carried in several other grocery stores in the freezer aisle. 
What type of meals do you serve or eat when you don’t have time to cook? 

Have you tried Fruit Shoot or joined in the #StuntHunt fun?

August 16, 2014
This post is sponsored by Fruit Shoot.

We live in a rural area. The nearest neighborhood playground is a considerable drive, so we like to find activities to keep us busy on the farm. My son is also an only child, I have to participate in most of his activities. Gabe is 4.5, so it can be a challenge to find something that both of us enjoy. We love anything that involves tossing, throwing, or rolling a ball. Gabe and I were excited to hear about the Fruit Shoot #StuntHunt.  

Have you heard about Fruit Shoot? It is a tasty, new kid’s fruit drink. Fruit Shoot has no high fructose corn syrup and has no sugar added varieties. It comes in four delicious flavors: strawberry raspberry, berry blast, apple, and orange; the strawberry raspberry is so popular around here that all of the local stores were sold out of that flavor. I have to agree with the general consensus, it is my favorite flavor too. The juice bottles have a no spill top, so it is great for most children. Fruit Shoot is a great way to keep kids (adults too) hydrated without lots of sugary additives.

If you purchase a 6-pack of Fruit Shoot or 6 individual bottles you can send in for a free Waboba ball. 

We combined one of our favorite fruit drinks with one of our favorite activities, and entered it in the Fruit Shoot #StuntHunt video challenge.

Here is how the challenge works:

  • Pick up a few of your favorite Fruit Shoot drinks and any ol’ ball will do. 
  • Make up a game or a stunt using the Fruit Shoot drinks and your ball. 
  • Video it and upload to Fruit Shoot (both can be done with a smartphone, no fancy equipment necessary). The video must be shot in landscape mode and not portrait (don’t hold your camera phone upright). The video can’t be more than 30 seconds long.
  • Fun isn’t optional! It is also a great form of exercise.
  • Have your friends and family vote for your video on the Fruit Shoot Stunt Hunt page.
  • One video per week will be selected and will receive special Hollywood style special effects. 
  • You get a coupon for a free bottle of Fruit Shoot instantly for registering.
You can watch this video from Shoot Fruit for more information about the #StuntHunt.

Here is our #fruitshoot #StuntHunt video:
Even our rottweiler Chief had to get in on the #fruitshoot #StuntHunt action.

What is your child’s favorite drink and playtime activity?

Thanks to Fruit Shoot for sponsoring today’s post, but all opinions contained herein are entirely truthful and my own. 

I pledge to have the Merck for mothers PEP talk: Thoughtful Thursday

July 31, 2014

Merck PEP talk

Did you know women still die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth? Globally, every 2 minutes a woman dies from problems that occurred prepartum and postpartum. Preeclampsia, embolism, and postpartum hemorrhage are serious and occasionally fatal complications from pregnancy and childbirth.

I had hyperemesis my entire pregnancy, but it was otherwise unremarkable. My labor was equally uneventful, other than my blood pressure dropping; I delivered my son after 12 hours of labor and 2 good pushes. I was in awe over how perfect he looked, in a flash, the room started to go dark. I was fine seconds earlier. My nurse midwife had just started to suture me up when I began to hemorrhage. She asked my husband to take my son, while she began working on me. I kept hearing her repeat, “Stay with me, don’t shut your eyes. Focus across that room on that beautiful little boy.” I fought as hard as I could to stay awake. I had never felt more tired. The nurse pushed fluids through my IV, while the midwife attempted to stop the bleeding. The bleeding abruptly stopped, just in the nick of time; they were preparing to whisk me away. 
When I became coherent I realized there was blood everywhere. It looked like a trauma zone instead of a delivery room. The staff was so frantic over my postpartum hemorrhage that they lost the needle to suture me up, but I didn’t care. I was happy to be alive and overwhelmed that I had a healthy baby boy.

My son, Gabriel Christian

My situation could have had a very grave ending. If I had not been in the care of trained medical professionals who acted quickly, I could have died. Postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality and estimated to kill a postpartum woman every 4 minutes. Death from post-partum hemorrhage has declined greatly in developed nations

I had seen television episodes that included women suffering from postpartum hemorrhage, but I never thought it would happen to me. Surprisingly, my mother also had a postpartum hemorrhage when she delivered me. She is a nurse and we never had a discussion about the complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

My friend Sarah from Finnegan and the Hughes shares her preeclampsia story here

In conjunction with Merck for Mothers, I pledged to have the PEP talk. There are three potentially fatal outcomes from pregnancy and childbirth. Death from these three complications is rare, but everyone should know the signs and symptoms of:
  • Preeclampsia
  • Embolism (pulmonary)
  • Postpartum hemorrhage  
Will you take the pledge to give someone you know the PEP talk? 
You can learn more by visit their website and following them on social media.