Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Prep With Premium Rum

This post brought to you by Diageo. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hurricane Irene is getting ready to hit the East Coast this weekend, so everyone has gone into full hurricane prep mode.  I had to laugh at how many comments I saw from people that went something like "I went out and bought a bottle of _____ at the liquor store, so I'm good to go".  Not the worst plan of action, I say.

Personally, I'm a rum girl, and luckily I've got a bottle of Zacapa premium rum ready to go. This rum is special because the part of Guatemala where it's made basically has the perfect conditions for cultivating sugar cane.  It's even grown in volcanic soil, which just sounds cool.  It's also unique because they use only the concentrated first press of sugar cane as a base for their rum, while most other rums use molasses as a base.  And did a I mention the special aging process that has been used for 500 years?  Yeah, this stuff is just really cool.

So I've got my premium dark rum and my flashlight and I'm ready to survive Irene.  If you want to learn more about Zacapa rum, just click on to join the Zacapa Society.  You'll be very glad you did.


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Friday, August 19, 2011

Straight Talk All the Way

This post brought to you by Straight Talk. All opinions are 100% mine.

Awhile ago I mentioned that my cell phone contract was about to expire, so I was looking at new options.  After doing a bunch of research I've decided to go with Straight Talk.  There's no contract required, and with all of the research that I did I started to feel like the whole contract thing is on its way out.  Why be tied down by one when you can get everything you need without it?

Of course, price is a major deciding factor.  I could get unlimited service (with calls, texting, everything I need) for just $45 a month or $499 a year, with none of those pesky activation or termination fees.  The also have an affordable plan for international long distance, so I can call a friend anytime no matter where they are. (In fact, it was actually a friend's mother who first mentioned Straight Talk to me because she likes her plan so much. Guess it's true that mom knows best.)

Even though Straight Talk is really affordable (I'm spending my future cell phone bill savings in my head already), that doesn't mean that they only offer cheap or outdated phones. They've got a great selection of phones to choose from with all of the features that you could ever want.  If I want to I can get the same LG phone I'm using now, and great coverage too.  Really, the only downside is that I didn't switch to Straight Talk sooner.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Military Friendly Education With The Martinsburg Institute

This post brought to you by Martinsburg Institute. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was talking to a friend of mine last night about taking classes online.  It was kind of funny, because he's in the military and I'm a bohemian writer type, but online learning fits really well into our totally different lives. 

He was telling me about this really cool thing called the Martinsburg Institute. They have a bunch of different programs specifically intended for military personnel.  They can all be done online from wherever in the world you happen to be, even if you don't always have internet access.  It's all designed to provide the support and flexibility that members of the military and their families need to be successful.  (If you've ever been in the military or you know someone who has, you can imagine how challenging it can be to work on your education at the same time.)

My friend is still thinking about which program to go with, but he's leaning towards a degree or certificate in something business-related because he thinks that will be the most helpful as far as his post-military career.  I'm happy to have a friend to compare online learning notes with, and I'm really happy that he's got a program like the Martinsburg Institute that fits his unique situation so well so that he can continue his education.  Now, I need to get back to work because if he ends up getting better grades than me I'm going to look like a slacker.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Unilever's Back To School Bash

I was recently invited to a "Back to School Bash" in NYC hosted by Unilever and PR firm Weber Shandwick. The party was a back-to-school fashion event for tween girls to promote Unilever's newest scent for Dove® gofresh(TM), Rebalance. I brought my daughter and my niece, who are both 11.

The company really went above and beyond to make the guests feel special and pampered. Servers circled the room with trays of delicious, finger foods like mini-hamburgers and tiny grilled cheese squares and fruity mixed drinks like pink lemonade and citrus punch. A fashion consultant introduced the girls to the newest trends in tween fashion, showing off racks of clothes and rows of shoes.

Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous MaterialsParenting expert and author, Rosalind Wiseman gave back-to-school tips and signed free copies of her books Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials and Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and the New Realities of Girl World (the book that helped inspire the movie Mean Girls and personally helped me get through a tough situation with my daughter a few years ago).

Professional stylists did the girls' makeup and hair, before they had a fun photo shoot courtesy of Stardoll. Each guest went home with a copy of their best photograph in a picture frame decorated with stickers, jewels and pom-poms, a mini Caboodles makeup case, and free samples of gofresh Rebalance deodorant and body mist.

I have to say that the event was amazing... both of the girls had a great time.

The brand really made them feel special and grown-up and important. They couldn't stop gazing at their photographs - marveling at how pretty their hair and makeup was - and raving about how delicious everything tasted. On the ride home they both devoured the first two chapters of Wiseman's book and both mentioned that they can keep the mini deodorant sample in their lockers when they start middle school this September. 

Shortly after dropping my niece off at her house, I received a call from her mom thanking me again and again for bringing her, saying how she wouldn't shut up about what a great time she had.

The event was part of Unilever's "Don't Fret The Sweat" campaign, the mission of which is to help parents and children to "successfully navigate the tricky tween years". Unilever has aligned with community partners to provide parents with the tools they need to help build their tweens’ confidence during these critical years and help their children transition into confident and self-reliant teens.

Disclosure: There was no charge for this event. I was invited by a representative from Weber Shandwick. I was not compensated for this blog entry and all of the opinions stated in this blog entry are my own.