January 30, 2011

EatSmart Digital Bathroom Scale {giveaway}

If one of your New Year's Resolutions (see how I capitalized that? like it's important or something...) is to lose weight or at least control your weight, then have I got the product for you!

EatSmart Products' Digital Bathroom Scale is several cuts above your average garden variety bathroom scale.
First of all, it's so sleek! It's made of clear tempered glass with metal and plastic. I've actually been looking for a bathroom scale and this one really gets high marks for sheer beauty and elegance.

Instead of the one flat bed for measuring weight like most traditional bathroom scales, the EatSmart Digital Bathroom Scale has four high precision sensors that give you a weight measurement in seconds down to within 3 ounces. It runs on four AAA batteries (included! yay!) which will last you a long time, depending of course on how often you use the scale. You see the scale turns itself off automatically a few seconds after you step off. I really like that feature.
(Pardon how dark the photo is... I should have turned on the flash.) Setup is a breeze. You simply insert the batteries into the unit from underneath, place the scale on a hard flat surface (carpet and uneven tile may give skewed results), step onto the scale the first time and allow it to come on (automatically! no more tapping!), then after a second or two you will see a big C on the large, easy to read display. This C stands for "calibrating", and it's an important function for the scale to give consistently accurate results.
But you only have to do this once, and then again if you move the scale or place it on a different surface. It's actually calibrating all four sensors to make sure the weight is distributed evenly and being recorded correctly.

Allow the scale to turn itself off after calibrating, then the next time you step on it, it comes on automatically and is already calibrated to your floor, so that it gives a very accurate weight measurement.

I'm trying to remember the last time I stepped on a scale...was it perhaps at someone's house when I was visiting and I stole a peek at my weight on their scales? Or was it at the doctor's office on my last visit?

Anyway I had it in my head that I weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 pounds, and if I wasn't careful I'd tip the scale at 200 pounds soon. I'm 5'6", not exactly tall but not exactly short, and I have a large frame, regardless of what I weigh. But you know and I know that 175 pounds is too much for a 5'6" frame, even if I am a "big girl". :)

So imagine my surprise - and shock! - when I stepped on the EatSmart Digital Bathroom Scale after calibrating it and saw this:
YIKES!! I'm inching toward 200 faster than I thought! Must have been all that delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas food that I just couldn't resist!

Sometimes we need some concrete evidence in order to make changes in our lives. This was a real eye-opener for me. With the EatSmart Digital Bathroom Scale, I no longer have to guess my weight. And I'll be able to actually track my progress with a lot more accuracy. On those old-fashioned bathroom scales, it was hard to tell sometimes if you'd lost or gained a few pounds, know what I mean? But with the EatSmart scale, I will be able to see instant results down to 3 ounces of weight. We all need to see results on the scale to know that our diets or changes are working for us, right?

I couldn't be happier with the EatSmart Digital Bathroom Scale! Now at last I have a real tool to help me track my progress. And seeing that progress - even if it's just a few ounces - should keep me motivated to continue doing what I'm doing.

If you've been looking for a new bathroom scale, you can't do better than the EatSmart! It lists for $49.99 (and that's about the price of the scales I've been looking at) but you can get it at Amazon for only $28.95! Wow! That's a real deal!

And to sweeten that deal, for every scale sold through Amazon, EatSmart will donate 100% of the proceeds in January 2011 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Each month they will be choosing a different foundation to donate to. Gotta love a company that gives back!

Would an EatSmart Digital Bathroom Scale help you keep your resolution to lose weight or at least control your weight? Would you like to WIN one? Yeah, I thought so. :) You're in luck!


~~GIVEAWAY~~
EatSmart Products is giving away a digital bathroom scale to one lucky Shady Lady reader! That could be you! Woo-hoo! This giveaway is open to US residents only please.

Entering is easy. Please do the mandatory first step before doing the extra entries. Winner will be determined by using Random.org. Entries will be verified before winner is contacted, so please make sure you use the same username, name, and/or email address for each entry, or tell me how to identify you. And PLEASE leave an email address in your comment if it is not publicly visible on your blog! Thank you for adhering to these giveaway rules.

~~Mandatory~~
Just leave me a comment sharing why you want to win this awesome scale. Are you dieting as part of your new year resolutions? Or just want to keep an eye on your weight? Or do you want this for the whole family, for instance recording your children's weights? I'm not asking for personal info. :) Just leave a general comment on how you think the EatSmart Digital Bathroom Scale will make your life easier. This step is required before extra entries will count. Please don't copy from someone else's post.

Extra entries - please leave separate comments for each:
*One extra entry if you follow my blog through Blogger or Google Friend Connect. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow me on Twitter @tnshadylady Leave your Twitter id. Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you friend me on Facebook. Current fans/friends/followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow with Networked Blogs. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you like EatSmart Products on Facebook. Get an extra bonus entry if you leave a comment on their wall that you entered to win a Digital Bathroom Scale at Shady Lady (http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com)

*One extra entry if you follow EatSmartScales on Twitter. Leave your Twitter id.

*One entry each if you are a subscriber to my email updates and/or rss feed. (see sidebar) Tell me what email address and/or reader you use. Current subscribers qualify also.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Help me spread the word! Post this giveaway on your own blog or giveaway site or linky or other social networking site. Leave me a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Add my blog link to your blog roll http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Post my button on your blog main page. Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

Giveaway closes midnight CST Wednesday, February 16, 2011. Giveaway open to US residents only please. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.

Remember to leave separate comments for each method of entry! This is the only way to be sure that you get all your entries. And if you are already a subscriber or follower, you still get those entries! So be sure to get all the entries you are entitled to.

Disclosure: I was provided a digital bathroom scale gratis in exchange for providing an unbiased review of the product. (Thanks Karen!) No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.

JustPaperRoses solves your Valentine dilemma! {giveaway - open internationally!}

Ah, Valentine's Day... the one day every year when you go out of your way to show your loved ones how much you care.

Traditionally, handmade cards were the preferred love token. But nowadays, it seems that everyone expects flowers, candy, perfume, or jewelry.

Expensive! And just... well... ordinary.

You want your Valentine's Day gift to be remembered, right? You want to show your affection but at the same time show it with something different from what everyone else is doing.

Step outside the ordinary! JustPaperRoses.com has some terrific ideas for gifts for your special someone.

I received this nice little round gift-wrapped... something from JustPaperRoses.com and I confess it had me a bit baffled at first.
The tag appears to be handmade paper. Here's a closer picture so maybe you can see it.
I'm a sucker for handmade paper! That little detail right there really showed me that JustPaperRoses.com is all about quality and presentation.

And here is what was inside the package......
Yes! Valentine's Day toilet paper! Isn't it awesome! Sure to put a smile on your loved one's face! Lasts longer than flowers, and unlike candy it has NO CALORIES! :)

This isn't some flimsy roll of toilet paper, either. It's a full roll, nice and thick yet soft, just like the plain white kind you always buy. Only this one sends a little love note everytime it is used!
And talk about a conversation piece! Just put one of these rolls in your guest bathroom and reel in the compliments next time you have anyone over. This is definitely an attention-grabber and so unique!

The great thing is this is just ONE of many, many unique items you can get from JustPaperRoses.com - not just paper roses, as the name would imply. For your anniversary needs, there's a "just____roses" for every anniversary - JustCottonRoses, JustWoolRoses, JustSilkRoses, JustCrystalRoses, JustSilverRoses, etc.

If you want to give a Valentine's Day gift that will be remembered for years to come, take a look at what JustPaperRoses.com has to offer. I know you'll find the perfect thing for your loved one!

JustPaperRoses.com ships all orders over $60 standard shipping for free! Shipping is based per order, not per item. AND...they ship to APO/FPO military addresses for FREE! That's right! You can send a gift to your loved one stationed in the armed forces and APO/FPO military shipping is FREE! You can't beat that with a stick!

Speaking of sticks, Jeff Block - the mad genius behind JustPaperRoses.com - has written a book about his entrepreneurial experience called "Steel Wool on a Stick - My Hobby on Steroids". It is loaded with bits of wisdom not just for business but for everyday life too. And chockfull of humor! Jeff is truly following his heart with this venture. His story is inspiring, entertaining, and enlightening. You can get a copy of Jeff's book at the JustPaperRoses.com website.

Now that I've got you thinking about "alternative" Valentine's Day gifts, would you like to win a $50 gift certificate to JustPaperRoses.com? Of course you would! To get your purchases to you in time for Valentine's Day, this will be a quickie giveaway. Read on to see how you can enter to win!

~~GIVEAWAY~~

Want to win a $50 gift certificate to JustPaperRoses.com? Then you're in luck! One lucky Shady Lady reader will win! Lucky you!! This giveaway is open internationally!

Entering is easy. Please do the mandatory first step before doing the extra entries. Winner will be determined by using Random.org. Entries will be verified before winner is contacted, so please make sure you use the same username, name, and/or email address for each entry, or tell me how to identify you. And PLEASE leave an email address in your comment if it is not publicly visible on your blog! Thank you for adhering to these giveaway rules.

~~Mandatory~~
Visit the web page on JustPaperRoses.com for the Valentine's Day toilet paper and tell me who this would make a great gift for! Do you think it is humorous? Inappropriate? Something you'd only give as a gag gift? Or suitable for anyone? I want to hear your opinion, so be honest! You don't have to purchase the toilet paper with your gift certificate. But if you know someone this would be perfect for, let me know in a comment. This step is required before extra entries will count. Please don't copy from someone else's post.

Extra entries - please leave separate comments for each:
*One extra entry if you go to the Valentine's Day collection page at JustPaperRoses.com and tell me another unique gift you'd love to give to someone special.

*One extra entry if you follow my blog through Blogger or Google Friend Connect. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow me on Twitter @tnshadylady Leave your Twitter id. Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you friend me on Facebook. Current fans/friends/followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow with Networked Blogs. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you like JustPaperRoses on Facebook. Get an extra bonus entry if you leave a comment on their wall that you entered to win a $50 gift certificate at Shady Lady (http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com)

*One entry each if you are a subscriber to my email updates and/or rss feed. (see sidebar) Tell me what email address and/or reader you use. Current subscribers qualify also.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Help me spread the word! Post this giveaway on your own blog or giveaway site or linky or other social networking site. Leave me a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Add my blog link to your blog roll http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Post my button on your blog main page. Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

Giveaway closes midnight CST Saturday, February 5, 2011. Giveaway open internationally. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.

Remember to leave separate comments for each method of entry! This is the only way to be sure that you get all your entries. And if you are already a subscriber or follower, you still get those entries! So be sure to get all the entries you are entitled to.

Disclosure: I was provided a roll of toilet paper gratis in exchange for providing an unbiased review of the product. (Thanks Jeff!) No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.

January 29, 2011

Win XBox Kinect bundle from Gorton's Seafood! {giveaway}

Gorton's Seafood is currently having a great giveaway on their Facebook page! They are giving away 1,000 free product coupons {wow!} AND a grand prize of an XBox Kinect bundle!! Woo-hoo!! I've been wanting one of these ever since I first heard about it!
Entering this promo is easy - just like Gorton's on Facebook and then submit your personal information. They've already given away 750 free product coupons, but they will be giving 250 more PLUS the XBox Kinect bundle. You've got until 1/31 to enter, so don't delay! Enter today!
In the meantime, I've got some free product coupons to give away to FIVE lucky Shady Lady readers! Yes, five of you will win TWO free product coupons from Gorton's Seafood (US only please - Gorton's is only sold in the US at this time).

~~GIVEAWAY~~

Want to win TWO GORTON'S SEAFOOD PRODUCT COUPONS? Then you're in luck! FIVE lucky Shady Lady readers will win two free product coupons from Gorton's Seafood! Lucky you!! This giveaway is open to US residents only please.

Entering is easy. Please do the mandatory first step before doing the extra entries. Winner will be determined by using Random.org. Entries will be verified before winner is contacted, so please make sure you use the same username, name, and/or email address for each entry, or tell me how to identify you. And PLEASE leave an email address in your comment if it is not publicly visible on your blog! Thank you for adhering to these giveaway rules.

~~Mandatory~~

Just leave a comment letting me know whether you have ever tried Gorton's Seafood before, if you're a loyal fan, or if you've never tried Gorton's, what you would like to try first with your free product coupons. That's it! Simple!

Extra entries - please leave separate comments for each:
*One extra entry if you follow my blog through Blogger or Google Friend Connect. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow me on Twitter @tnshadylady Leave your Twitter id. Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you friend me on Facebook. Current fans/friends/followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow with Networked Blogs. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you sign up for Gorton's fun newsletter. Leave the email address you used.

*One extra entry for leaving a comment saying which recipes are your favorites from the Gorton's suggestions here.

*One extra entry if you like Gorton's Seafood on Facebook. Get an extra entry if you leave a comment that you entered to win at Shady Lady (http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com)

*One entry each if you are a subscriber to my email updates and/or rss feed. (see sidebar) Tell me what email address and/or reader you use. Current subscribers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow Gorton's Seafood on Twitter. Leave your Twitter id.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Help me spread the word! Post this giveaway on your own blog or giveaway site or linky or other social networking site. Leave me a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Add my blog link to your blog roll http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Post my button on your blog main page. Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

Giveaway closes midnight CST Friday February 4, 2011. Giveaway open to US residents only please. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.

Remember to leave separate comments for each method of entry! This is the only way to be sure that you get all your entries. And if you are already a subscriber or follower, you still get those entries! So be sure to get all the entries you are entitled to.
Gorton's Gift Application for Facebook

January 26, 2011

Getting away from it all

America the Beautiful! No matter where you live in this great country, there are sure to be a number of attractions close by that would make for spectacular family getaways.

Treating your family to a great getaway doesn't have to be expensive. You don't have to shell out for airline flights to visit outside your backyard. Stick an imaginary pin in your hometown on a map, then expand outward in a circle, like ripples on a pond. Depending on how far you are willing to drive, you will be amazed at the number of attractions and sights to see within the radius you just defined.

When I did this, I found some great places for exciting family getaways within driving distance!

The one that intrigues me the most is Hannibal, Missouri - home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, since the age of four when his family moved to Hannibal from Florida, Missouri, about thirty miles to the southwest.
Using Memphis as my starting point, you can see from this map (courtesy of mapquest.com) that the trip is very doable for a family getaway. Hannibal is approx. 386 miles from Memphis and would take about six hours to drive. That's not allowing for all the stops in between when you find something along the way that sparks your interest!

Hannibal fascinates me not only for the history but for the attractions it offers to everyone of any age. Children and grandparents alike will find something to do in Hannibal. And it is small enough to maintain that small town America feeling of warmth and hospitality.
Mark Twain's boyhood home
Becky Thatcher House
Mark Twain Museum Gallery
Aside from Mark Twain's boyhood home - and the house across from it where his childhood friend Laura Hawkins inspired "Becky Thatcher" - the most fascinating stop on a tour of Hannibal has to be the Museum Gallery. With scenes and exhibits from most of Twain's books and events from his life, there's definitely something for everyone here!

From Tom Sawyer, visitors can "whitewash" the fence, see Tom's schoolhouse, meet Injun Joe, and get lost in the cave as Tom and Becky's candle goes out.

From The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, visitors can step onto a raft tied at the river bank and watch a film clip of Huck and Jim on the raft.

From Roughing It, visitors can climb into a stagecoach and share the mining experiences of Sam Clemens and the characters, both human and animal, that he brings to life.

From A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, visitors travel back in time as the Yankee saves himself from burning at the stake by predicting a solar eclipse, test the "modern" inventions that he brings to the Knights of the Round Table, and view the social injustices and political inequities of the time through original pen and ink illustrations by Dan Beard, founder of the Boy Scouts.

Sam Clemens was a riverboat pilot from 1857 to 1861. Celebrating this portion of his life, there's a replica of a steamboat pilot house where visitors can view the great river that had such an influence on Clemens and his later writings, grasp the pilot wheel and tug the steamboat whistle or engine room bells. You can almost hear the call Mark Twain!

The Norman Rockwell Gallery is a special treat for visitors. In 1935, Norman Rockwell was commissioned by Heritage Press to illustrate special editions of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Rockwell donated the 15 original paintings to the museum and they are on permanent display here. The special editions of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn illustrated by Norman Rockwell are only available for purchase in the museum gift shops.

The Museum regularly hosts writers', young authors', and teachers' workshops, as well as art exhibits.
For a leisurely way to spend an afternoon or evening, try the Mark Twain Riverboat. You can enjoy one-hour sightseeing cruises, two-hour dinner cruises, and two-hour jazz/blues cruises. The whole family can enjoy the sightseeing tours and dinner cruises, but the jazz cruises have a cash bar and are for adults. Perfect way to end a day in Hannibal!

Want to catch some theater? There are several in Hannibal, each with a distinct flavor for discriminating palates. Tour Hannibal's Historic District aboard the Mark Twain Clopper, a horse-drawn carriage perfect for relaxed sightseeing. Or try the Hannibal Trolley for a different sightseeing experience.
 
Another famous resident of Hannibal was "Unsinkable" Molly Brown. She was supposedly on her way to Hannibal when the Titanic went down. There's a museum at her birthplace that is worth the visit for the history alone.

Then there's the Big River Train Town Museum, the Tom Sawyer Diorama, the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse, and so much more.
And when the kids get cranky after so much "culture", you can indulge them with a visit to Sawyer's Creek, a large complex with a Fun Park complete with miniature golf, bumper boats, arcade, bounce house, and "tootoo twain" among its attractions. There's a sweet shop, wine shop, gift and Christmas shop for all your retail therapy needs. The Riverview Cafe offers delicious dishes with a great view of the Mississippi River.

Hannibal, Missouri offers a great family getaway in America's Heartland that is accessible by car within a day's drive of just about anyone. When thinking about your next family getaway, at least put Hannibal on your list of possibilities. There is tons of information online, plus you can request an information packet through the mail.

Have you found any family getaway spots within driving distance that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about them!

[I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.]

January 21, 2011

New CMT sitcom Working Class is worth a look

WORKING CLASS focuses on Carli Mitchell (Melissa Peterman), a single mom from a rough and tumble background trying to give her kids a better life by moving them to an upscale suburb. She quickly finds that making the transition to "the good life" is harder than she thought.

She's unwittingly befriended by her cranky neighbor, Hank (Ed Asner), her only "career" prospect is a glorified deli job at the local grocery store, and the man she falls for not only already has a girlfriend – but he's also her boss, Rob (Patrick Fabian). With her ladies-man brother, Nick (Steve Kazee), to help her out (when he's not acting like one of the kids himself), Carli faces the challenges of parenting, dating, and making friends in her new community by doing more with less, staying true to herself, and approaching each day with a touch of working class.


I had the chance to preview a new CMT situation comedy called "Working Class" which stars the always gruff but lovable Ed Asner and Melissa Peterman, who most of you will remember as Barbara Jean from the sitcom "Reba" starring Reba McEntire.

As Barbara Jean, Melissa Peterman was a hoot playing a ditzy blonde Amazon. She had a busload of witty one-liners and it wasn't surprising that many of them were repeated around water coolers to the amusement of many. After "Reba" was cancelled, there was a big hole left when we couldn't get more of "Barbara Jean".

Well, guess what? Melissa Peterman is back with a brand new sitcom on CMT (Country Music Television) called "Working Class". In "Working Class", Melissa plays Carli Mitchell, a single mother trying to raise three kids on a meager deli clerk's salary. She also has a brother living with her who is... well, something of a "moocher" since he won't - or can't - hold a real job, and is less than satisfactory when he's left in charge of supervising Carli's kids while she works.

None of which is anything original. But by casting Melissa Peterman as Carli and Ed Asner as her co-worker Hank, there is plenty of opportunity for lots of sass and zinging one-liners.

In the season premiere, Carli's old flame from high school shows up hoping to re-ignite his "spark" with Carli — even if it means humiliating her in front of her new boss. To make matters worse, Carli is attracted to her new boss and flirts outrageously with him before she knows his real identity.

I can see where this is going, can't you? But I'm okay with it, because Melissa and Ed will be a pleasure to watch each week as we take a peek into the life of a single working class mother with a very witty sense of humor.

"Working Class" premieres January 28 at 8:00 pm ET/PT on CMT, followed by a second all-new episode at 8:30 pm. Catch the premiere and see if you agree with me that this one holds a lot of potential!

Disclosure: I am a member of the One2One Network and will be entered into a gift card drawing for posting about this new show. My opinions, however, are my own.

January 19, 2011

Resolution Revolution

It happens every year: as the clock ticks down to the new year, I start thinking about new year resolutions.

Or rather, I have no choice but to think of them because the idea is rammed down my throat at every opportunity for about a ten-week period.

Make a resolution - any resolution - or you're swimming against the stream.

For years I picked the obvious and easy ones, like getting more organized and losing weight. But these "resolutions" disappeared like morning mist under the onslaught of a Southern summer sun.

This year, once again, I was forced to consider what my "New Year Resolution" would be. Since none of the other resolutions had worked for me, it seemed time to come up with something new.

This year, my resolution is to pay off all my credit cards and stop using them except in emergencies. And I mean real emergencies. Charging that Michael Kors bag because it's marked on sale is not an emergency. Being caught without cash and with a car needing a fill-up and running on fumes is.

It's not like I haven't tried getting out of debt before. Seems debt follows me like a heavy shadow. But then I've always worked at a day job (and sometimes a night job as well) so paying the minimums on the credit cards wasn't a problem. But getting them completely paid off was.

Thing is, as long as you pay the minimum payment each month, the credit card company would prefer that you take years to pay off that Michael Kors bag you charged on impulse and are still paying for, even though the bag has long since outlived its usefulness. Why would they want you to pay it off sooner? They are earning a hefty profit from the interest they are able to charge for loaning you the money to make that purchase.

Sometimes credit card companies will run special promotions, such as especially attractive interest rates if you transfer an amount from a higher rate account. But once you've done this, be sure to pay off the balance within the time period of the discounted interest to take best advantage of this feature. And resist the temptation to max out your old credit card that now has a zero balance.

Cherish that zero balance! Fall absolutely in love with it! And accept nothing less. Using your card just for emergencies means you should (in most cases) be able to pay off the balance when the statement comes around without having to spend a penny on interest. Try adding up your interest over the course of a year and I think you'll be shocked at how much money is just flowing right out of your pockets on a constant basis. Now times that by the number of years you've carried a balance on your credit card.

Quite an eye-opener, isn't it?

This year, I vow to get all my credit card debt paid off. It's especially important to me now because I will be losing my day job due to downsizing as a result of the current economic climate. Being able to keep food on my table and a roof over my head is going to be stress enough without the added stress of worrying about where I'm going to come up with the money to pay even the minimum amount due on my credit cards. I'm going to have enough to worry about without credit card debt too.

But I have from now til around early July to accomplish my goal. And since I've been steadily whittling down my debt year by year, it's around the $3,000 mark now,
which means that in five months, if I pay about $600 a month on my credit cards, I can have them paid off by the time my final paycheck comes. I should be able to draw unemployment, but as everyone knows that's not even enough to supply your basic needs, so forget scratching around to come up with credit card payments.

No. This time I'm going to do it. This time my resolution is going to stick. This is the year I get rid of credit card debt. I'll keep my cards, because they are an indicator of my credit worthiness and everyone does need an emergency fund they can call upon. But no more impulse spending. No more buy now pay later.

So if worst comes to worst and I can't immediately find a suitable job, I will be able to at least survive on unemployment until something comes along for me. It will mean scraping and scratching and scrimping every penny just for basic living expenses. But what a relief to only have to worry about rent, utilities and food. Payments to a credit card company for purchases that I can't even remember now will no longer be a concern.

It's not going to be easy finding another job. But at least the stress and urgency won't kill me, because I will have eliminated my debt and lifted that burden from my shoulders.

July 4th will be my independence day! And that will be something to celebrate!

What are you doing to help yourself create real change in your life in 2011?

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Simply Orange® blogging program. If I am one of the first 65 blogs received by SocialsMoms, I will receive a $25 Target gift card and a gift pack that includes a Simply Orange® cooler bag and logoed fleece.

January 9, 2011

Lotus Water Treatment System {review & giveaway}

If you read my review of the Lotus Cleaning System, then you know how ozone works with water to sanitize and destroy bacteria and germs and chemicals and other nastiness that you don't want in your home.

Tersano, the company behind the Lotus Cleaning System, is light years ahead when it comes to providing consumer products that exceed expectations.

If one of your New Year resolutions was to keep a cleaner, safer home, then you should really look into the Lotus Cleaning System. But did you know that your drinking water could harbor contaminants that you weren't even aware of?

Filtering is a good step toward cleaner drinking water. But filtering alone doesn't remove everything that could be harmful to you and your family. Some chemical contaminants and most pathogens pass right through the filter and into your drinking water.

Bet that comes as a surprise, doesn't it?

Filtering doesn't remove bacteria from drinking water. You have to kill bacteria to make the water safe to drink. And ozone is one of the most efficient and safest way to do that.
The Lotus Water Treatment System may look complicated, but it's really a simple concept. Water is actually treated twice - once with ozone to kill bacteria, and then with carbon filtration to remove impurities.

It also has different filtration modes depending on your water source. The factory default mode is municipal water - what most of us will have. But you can also set it for lake or well water, which takes a bit longer to process but certainly helps give you peace of mind that the water you are drinking in your vacation cabin is the purest available.

One word of caution, though... the Lotus Water Treatment System is not designed to make just any water drinkable. You can't put contaminated water in it and expect it to miraculously make it pure. This is a home consumer product after all, not a municipal water purification system. Same goes for salt water. If your water supply is deemed fit for human consumption, the Lotus system will work for you to give you clean, delicious drinking water.

The Lotus can eliminate up to 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses, then employs a custom formulated carbon-block filter to capture any remaining contaminants and excess ozone. I'm certainly no scientist and I think I slept through chemistry class in school, so let me just grab some tidbits for you from the Tersano website which explains a little about how ozone works in this system to purify your water:

Ozone’s power as a sanitizing agent comes from its unstable molecular structure, creating a powerful sanitizing force. In fact, ozone is over 50% stronger and 3,000 times faster acting than bleach and reverts back to oxygen once the sanitizing is done.

When you expose bacteria in water to ozone, they begin absorbing ozone molecules immediately. Those ozone molecules break apart within seconds, and when they do the bacteria literally explode, leaving only oxygen and purified water behind.

And the Lotus Water Treatment System is remarkably easy to use. Simply install the carbon filter (an easy 1/4 turn to lock it in place) then fill the processing carafe to the fill line with tap water. Place the processing carafe on the base and give it a slight twist to lock it in place. There are even visual guides to help you get this right.
Turn the unit on. A green light will illuminate during the whole process. You can readily see bubbles in the water, which is ozone being put into the water to kill bacteria.
The sanitizing process takes about six minutes for municipal water, and about twenty minutes for lake or well water. Once the sanitizing is complete, the process light goes off and the manual dispense button turns green.
At this point, the water is ready to pass from the processing carafe through the carbon filter, which removes any remaining contaminants. It's all so easy and simple to use. Simply place the clean water pitcher next to the unit so that it is snuggled up against the button at the bottom, and the unit will automatically send the sanitized water from the processing carafe through the carbon filter and out into the clean water pitcher. It also automatically shuts off when done. Simple!
If you want to manually dispense water, you can do that too by simply pressing the dispense button. Put a glass or container under the spout before you do this, however, or you will dispense water onto your countertop. Like I did. :)

I love drinking water and I can honestly say that I'd rather have water than soda or tea any day. And now I can get rid of my old-fashioned water filter pitcher with the expensive charcoal filters, because the Lotus system makes me feel better about the water I'm drinking. That filter pitcher system is better than nothing, of course, but does it remove bacteria? No, it doesn't. And those expensive filters have to be replaced too often.

With the Lotus system, the filter is good for 365 gallons. Three hundred and sixty-five gallons! And it automatically alerts you when the ticker is counting down, letting you know that you have 100 more gallons to go, then 50 more gallons to go, then time to replace. I love this feature! Instead of buying pitcher filters every few months, I only have to buy one Lotus filter maybe - maybe - once a year.

I couldn't be happier with the Lotus Water Treatment System! It is a bit bulky and takes up quite a bit of counter space, but that's a small price to pay for a system that makes me feel so much better about my drinking water.

Get your own Lotus Water Treatment System from Tersano by visiting their website for more information and to place an order. If your home filtration system is sufficient for your needs, consider getting one for your vacation cabin or weekend hideaway. It would also make the perfect gift!


~~GIVEAWAY~~


Want to win a Lotus Water Treatment System? Then you're in luck! One lucky Shady Lady reader will win the same system I reviewed! Lucky you!! This giveaway is open to US residents only please.

Entering is easy. Please do the mandatory first step before doing the extra entries. Winner will be determined by using Random.org. Entries will be verified before winner is contacted, so please make sure you use the same username, name, and/or email address for each entry, or tell me how to identify you. And PLEASE leave an email address in your comment if it is not publicly visible on your blog! Thank you for adhering to these giveaway rules.

~~Mandatory~~
Visit the Tersano website (makers of the Lotus Water Treatment System) and tell me something you learned about the product. This step is required before extra entries will count. Please don't copy from someone else's post.

Extra entries - please leave separate comments for each:
*One extra entry if you follow my blog through Blogger or Google Friend Connect. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow me on Twitter @tnshadylady Leave your Twitter id. Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you friend me on Facebook. Current fans/friends/followers qualify also.

*DAILY ENTRY - Tweet this giveaway and leave a link to your tweet. Feel free to copy and paste:

#Giveaway #Win Lotus Water Filtration System dual purifying system for drinking water @tnshadylady @mytersano http://bit.ly/huXBZX ends 1/31

*One extra entry if you follow with Networked Blogs. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you like Tersano/Lotus on Facebook. Get an extra entry if you leave a comment that you entered to win the Lotus at Shady Lady (http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com)

*One entry each if you are a subscriber to my email updates and/or rss feed. (see sidebar) Tell me what email address and/or reader you use. Current subscribers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow Tersano/Lotus on Twitter. Leave your Twitter id.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Help me spread the word! Post this giveaway on your own blog or giveaway site or linky or other social networking site. Leave me a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Add my blog link to your blog roll http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Post my button on your blog main page. Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

Giveaway closes midnight CST Monday January 31, 2011. Giveaway open to US residents only please. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.

Remember to leave separate comments for each method of entry! This is the only way to be sure that you get all your entries. And if you are already a subscriber or follower, you still get those entries! So be sure to get all the entries you are entitled to.

Disclaimer: I was provided a Lotus Water Treatment System gratis in exchange for providing an unbiased review of the product. (Thanks Melissa!) No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.

January 7, 2011

Win a Blackberry! {BlogHer promotion}

Want a chance to win one of TEN new Blackberry Style phones for the Sprint network? Check out these blog posts and enter to win!

Bakers Royale

Healthy. Happy. Life.

Super Healthy Kids

Totally Together Journal

BooMama

January 5, 2011

Become "Pair Savvy" in the new year! {review}

I've always envied those knowledgeable about wine, beer, and cheese. Those cool, sophisticated folks who know precisely what to order or what to serve and it is always spot on and perfect. Me? I just get lucky sometimes. :)

But one of my new year resolutions is to try to eat better, and that doesn't just mean losing weight through proper nutrition and diet, but it also means being good to myself. I firmly believe that I overindulge in "comfort food" because my taste buds aren't being challenged and satisfied. So the dishes I truly love (mashed potatoes and gravy anyone?) I turn to again and again because they are familiar and beloved. Time to step out of that...ahem...comfort zone.

If I had a better understanding and knowledge of "what goes with what", I would become not just a better hostess but also more contented on a personal level. So when I heard about this new phone app called "Pair Savvy", it was with a great deal of expectation and excitement that I tried it out.

Pair Savvy couldn't be easier to use. Take a look at this Web mock-up of the actual app for your phone. You'll instantly see just how simple and useful this is.

As you can see, you can search by cheese, by wine, or by beer. Or you can click "Surprise Pairing" for a...surprise pairing. :)  You can even save favorite pairings in "My Pairings" for easy look-up later.

This is a simple but effective tool for taking the guesswork out of what goes with what. I love Swiss cheese. So when I search by cheese and click Swiss, I get this:


In an instant, I find out that Swiss is best paired with Champagne or Riesling wine, as well as appropriate beers and fruits. Champagne and Swiss? I'll definitely have to try that combination!

I love Beaujolais wine too, so when I do a search by wine, I get suggestions for pairings that are best for Beaujolais.

Camembert and Port Salut are two of my favorite cheeses, so these are definitely pairings that I will be doing in the future. I think I'll click "Save" to save this info for later...

Well, as you can see, the concept and execution of this little phone app are just brilliant. No more searching gourmet websites or trying to decide if you trust the salesclerk's recommendations. Just refer to Pair Savvy anytime you need help and it's like having your own personal gourmand and connoisseur on speed dial.

Get the app for your phone here!

Disclosure: I am a member of One2One Network. By posting this, I am entered to win one of five gift cards. No other consideration is implied. My opinions are my own.