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Archives for February 2012

Princess Leia is my Hero – Win a Star Wars 3D Prize Pack! 3/8

Do you have Star Wars junkies in your house? It could be the kids… Or your husband… Or even you. I know that when I was a little girl, Princess Leia was my hero – She was a pretty princess, but she could also take charge and kick butt. Loved it. I was also a huge fan of Lego’s, and spent hours alone in my room building cities and stuff. {You’ve clearly figured out now that I was a geek…} So, I guess that explains why I absolutely love the Lego-Star Wars videos on YouTube. If they’d had these when I was a kid, I would’ve been in heaven.

Watch The Phantom Menace in 3D!

In theaters February 10, 2012, the first episode, full of awesome action and adventure, arrived in theaters in super exciting 3D! {Wanna check it out? See the trailer for Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.} While I admit, I’d much rather it be one of the older Star Wars movies in 3D, this is still very cool. I can’t wait to take the kids. And, to celebrate the 3D launch, General Mills Big G cereals is featuring collectable Star Wars pens inside of participating cereals. I remember as a kid, there was always totally amazing stuff inside cereal boxes – but not so much these days. So not only does Star Wars make me nostalgic for my childhood – so does finding a rad new collectible inside my cereal. {Am I old? I used “rad”, and “nostalgic” in the same sentence…. Uh oh.}

  • Collect all eight exclusive Star Wars pens that feature iconic Episode I characters including: Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Queen Amidala, Yoda, R2D2, C3PO, Jar Jar Binks and Darth Maul
  • Participating Big G cereals include Cinnamon Toast Crunch® (12.8 oz.), Lucky Charms®(11.5 oz.), Reese’s® Puffs (13 oz.), Cheerios® (14 oz.), and Cookie Crisp® (11.25 oz)

So, look for these boxes next time you’re at the grocery – and surprise the kids with some cool goodies at breakfast this week. Good times.

Big G, Star Wars, Star Wars collectibles

You won’t have to go to a galaxy far, far away to bring the force to your breakfast table

You can WIN a prize package filled with these awesome Star Wars collectible pens, featured cereals with more pens inside, stickers, and magnets. Fun, right? Just use the easy peasy Rafflecopter form to enter. I’ve teamed up with some other blogging buddies to share this giveaway – but you only need to enter on one form! And if you’re feelin’ lucky – check out the rest of the giveaways over in the sidebar – the more you enter, the more chances that you have to win!

{Disclosure: Disclosure:  Prize pack, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.}

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Weekly Bloggertunities – 2/29

Blogging Opportunities, Sponsored Posts,

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordon 

What obstacles have you faced lately? Is it a lack of motivation? If so, that could be because you’ve lost the excitement about what you’re doing. Think back to why you started your blog – then make a list of 5 things you LOVED back then. Then take a couple of days to work those things in again. Or think about your long-term goals…. And dream big. Write down those giant ideas, and smack ’em up on the wall where you’ll see them every day! Is it a lack of time? Maybe you just need more help getting organized. I have a great list of free printable planning sheets, and some sweet tips on setting up a schedule system that goes everywhere you do. What other challenges do you deal with? Share your trouble spots – and any solutions you’ve found! – in the comments. I’m sure someone else will benefit from what you have to say too.

Sponsored Posts

One of the major ways that I earn an income with my blog is through sponsored posts. I’m careful about what I accept – it’s not worth any money to post junk. Your readers will hate it, you’ll hate it, and it’ll make your blog spammy. But – when a brand wants to compensate you for sharing great information that will entertain or educate your readers, that’s a total win-win, right?

  1. Post Genius: I just signed up with them, so I don’t have a ton of feedback to give – but it looks interesting. You sign up your blog, and set a price per post. Then, if brands would like to work with you, they’ll make an offer. If you’re using them, I’d love to hear what you think… Leave a comment with some tips.
  2. Social Fabric: My. Favorite. Network. Seriously – they rock. They’re open to very limited new members right now – Gulf State Bloggers (from these states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi). They’re are also recruiting bloggers in Mexico, specifically Guadalajara and Mexico City. If you fit any of these categories, shoot me an email {Meagan at sunshineandsippcups@gmail.com} with your blog and a little about you, and I’ll send your info to their recruiting team!
  3. Social Spark: Get fun paid posts, and get paid quickly with PayPal! This is one of my favorites – and I totally recommend it. I make a few hundred dollars a month her on a good month – Love it.
  4. Blogvertise: I’ve been having more luck here lately – The payouts are usually kind of low, but they’re very simple posts. I don’t get a ton of offers emailed to me, so I pop in each day and get the grab bag tasks that are a good fit for me. Doing that daily earns me a couple hundred bucks a month, and isn’t too time consuming. Check it out – Earn Money Blogging.

If you have any other great networks that you use – feel free to share them in the comments. {Yes, it’s ok to post a referral link, as long as no one else has posted it yet. If I’m going to join something, I love to be able to benefit another blogger with my sign up!}

Reviews & Giveaways

Here are some great places to find new products and services to review, as well as opportunities for sponsored giveaways. Giveaways can be a ton of work – but they also are a great way to say Thank You to your readers for being such loyal fans!

  1. Giveaway Blogs: This is a great network – You can meet great bloggers and connect with new brands. I’ve found some very cool opportunities with them – The forums are filled with fun companies looking to connect with new bloggers. Sign up here – Join Giveaway Blogs.
  2. Doc Milo: Click the link to see their totally gorgeous products – then up in the right corner, you’ll see a big yellow link for Blogger Sign Ups. Click there to be taken to the blogger partner application.
  3. MyBlogSpark: Sign up for a free membership with this site to do fun product reviews and giveaways – See an example here – I’ve been a member for a year, and have had some fun opps. Nothing huge, but very fun. Blogger Program Sign-Up.
What other networks do you use for review and giveaway sponsors? Share in the comments! And, if you’re a review blogger – You do NOT want to miss the biggest event targeted towards us this year – Reviewer’s Retreat 2012! Will I see you there?

Events and Fun Stuff

Here’s an assortment of cool happenings around the web, for moms and bloggers. If you’ve found something cool going on – I’d love to hear about it!

  1. Mompreneur’s Challenge: Join this 30-day challenge from Business Among Moms – Small Steps to a Big Business. Each day you’ll get a new tip or trick emailed to you. Then challenge yourself to do that task, and watch as your business improves day by day!
  2. MamaCon: This is a SUPER fun event coming up – and it’s not just for bloggers, so plan to attend with some of your best girlfriends too. You can learn more, and enter to WIN tickets and a stay at the totally gorgeous Hilton Bellevue too, from The Maven of Social Media.
  3. LeapPad Explorer Giveaway: This sounds like a totally amazing event – $10 bucks gets you any two links you want. The giveaway is HUGE – full LeapPad Explorer set, games, accessories – the works! Learn more here – LeapPad Giveaway.
  4. The Mommy Club: Each week Crystal & Co does my favorite link up of the week – Share Your Mommy Solutions! Totally me, right? Check it out, find some amazingly cool info, and link up your own favorite posts too!
  5. Furst:Access: Sign up for an account here to get notification of new movie screening events. Very cool, right? Furst:Access Sign Up.

Who loves to party? This girl! Are you hosting a Twitter party? Share the info with us in the comments. Excited about a cool conference or event coming up? Let me know about it!

Networks

Here are a few of the cool networks that I’m in, that I thought you guys might want to check out too. They’ll give you new ways to network, find cool partnerships, and more.

  1. Zurker: This is a really cool idea – they want to let users be more in control of this social network, and give you ownership in it. So – for inviting friends and helping to build up the site, you are actually given stock in the company! How cool might that be, right? Check it out and sign up here – Zurker, new social network sign up.
  2. SheSpeaks: Join their Blogger Society – You get to share opinions, try new products and give feedback, and participate in cool events.
  3. Blogaholic: I’ve been featured here a few times, and realized lately that I’ve kind of been a stranger over there! It’s a really great place to connect with other bloggers, and learn a ton. Everyone interacts so much – You’ll love it. Join Blogaholic Social Network. Already a member? Connect with me too!

What are your favorite networks, and what do you love most? Are you a part of other networks, outside of the blogging world? I’m looking for some new places to join, for moms – something fun, where I can meet some new faces. Any suggestions?

Cool Tools

Are you ready for the big Facebook change? Here’s a tool to help you prepare. And another great tool that can help you build your Twitter presence too.

  1. Facebook: Are you ready for the new change? Yep – On March 30th all Facebook pages will switch over to the Timeline format. Are you ready? If you want to get started now, so you can optimize your layout before it goes live, this might help – Free Facebook Timeline Cover Templates.
  2. Paper.li: You’ve probably seen these on Twitter – and they’re a great way to share posts of people you follow, meet some new faces, and share your own best posts.  People can subscribe too.  Want to see an example, and get your own? Here’s mine –The Daily Sunshine. {Tip, when you set it up, make sure to click the settings button that has it go out automatically. I missed that the first time I did mine.}

Share your favorite tools too. I am ALWAYS looking for the newest ways to rock my social media. So…. Yep, you guessed it – share your tips in the comments!

Love it? Share it!

I love to be able to help out my blogging buddies – which is why I put together this resource each week. So, if you found something helpful – pass it on! Use this easy button to retweet it out to your buddies too, or share the link to Facebook, StumbleUpon, Pin it, or whatevah! You’re welcome to post it wherever you think it’ll help out more peeps! Thanks for reading – and I look forward to reading YOUR comments and tips too.

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Smart Solution: Seriously Simple Shared Schedules

Is the Mister going to be home for dinner? Does that business meeting conflict with basketball practice? Game night, girl’s night, date night… keeping everyone’s schedules straight in my work and family life is a herculean effort. To manage everyone’s coming and going, I need something more than just a place to jot things down (sorry, paper calendar). What I need is a system that truly supports me and helps me get through my day, one commitment at a time.

Google Calendar

That’s why I can’t live without Google Calendar. Let me count the ways I love it: I can use it anywhere (so every device I have gets me where I’m going), it’s easy to share schedules, so I can coordinate efforts with co-workers and significant others, aaaand it’s free.

Watch this week’s Twirl to learn to see why gCal and I have a standing appointment….

Um, can you say life changing??

Ok, maybe that sounds dramatic. But for me – it’s true. Let me tell you a little story about how I found out about Google Calendar…. I have an incredibly packed full calendar. Between my family, freelance work, my Examiner column, and work for this site – there are a lot of deadlines, appointments, and commitments to keep track of. I was struggling to keep it all straight – and had asked around for suggestions. Google Calendar sounded like the best fit for me, so one night I open it up, and add a couple of things to it to see how it worked. Seemed cool, figured I’d mess around with it later the next day, when I had some free time.

Technology is Freaky Smart

The next morning, an alarm went off on my iPhone, reminding me of a conference call I had in an hour. Whaaaat the? I did NOT add an alarm for that??!! Then I realized, I had put that on the gCal. How the heck did it sync itself to my phone? I have no idea. Seriously, I’m tech challenged like that. {Which is why the tips from Digitwirl are so perfect for me} – but now, I’ve been sloooowly learning how it all works, and I can’t believe how much more organized I am!

Are you a gCal girl?

I can’t wait until Digitwirl shares some user tips about gCal, to help me learn all of the cool tools better. Do you use it too? If you’ve got questions – Head over to their Facebook wall to post ’em up! They are SO great at helping me whenever I need a great product suggestion, or when I need help figuring something out. These ladies are total genius rockstars, no lie. Check them out – Digitwirl on Facebook.

Find more Smart Solutions for Busy Moms, and Tech Tips Made Simple on Pinterest!

Digitwirl.com, Carley KnoblochDigitwirl is the weekly web show that offers simple solutions to modern day problems. In 3 minutes, Digitwirl brings busy women the very best time, money, and sanity-saving technology, and then teaches them how to use it, step-by-step. Digitwirl was created by technology lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch, who uses lots of technology to manage her busy life as mom of two and entrepreneur. Become a subscriber to get weekly show alerts and exclusive deals at Digitwirl.com, or follow Digitwirl on Twitter at @digitwirl.

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Baby & Kids Shoes Event: As Low as $5 Bucks!

White Smiley Sports

 

ShooShoos USA – Giant Clearance Sales on Baby & Kids Shoes

Ok – this is a site that I just found today – My little girl has outgrown all but ONE pair of shoes, so I was looking for some sweet deals. {Plus, we seem to lose shoes non-stop, so I really need more than one pair…} ShooShoos USA has some super adorable styles for babies and kids – and check out this awesome deal:

Buy one regular price pair of soft sole or Smiley sole shoes – and then get up to THREE pairs of clearance shoes at prices up to 50% off!

Here’s How it Works:

If you need to stock up on some kids shoes for spring and summer, this is an awesome time to do so! Learn how the deal works, and how to get some sweet savings –

  1. Head over to the huge baby and kids shoes clearance sale
  2. Buy one $19.95 soft sole or one $27.95 Smiley sole shoes – there are tons of great styles to choose from.
  3. That one regular price purchase allows you to choose up to 3 clearance shoes (at bottom of page) that are all priced at up to 50% off – starting at just $5 bucks!!

Make sure to read the details: If you put ONLY clearance items in your cart, you will pay the original price, NOT the red half off prices. BUT – Buying 2 regular priced items qualifies you to buy SIX clearance items. That’s pretty awesome. The clearance shoes start as low as $5 bucks for little cupcake slip-ons for girls or adorable sneakers for boys. The totally versatile white sneakers up top are only $8 bucks!

Ruby Smiley / Orange

 

What will YOU buy today?

I’m ordering this super cute pair of sandals for Abby for spring – they’re my regular price purchase, at $27. Then I am picking up the cupcake shoes for $5, the yellow and beige giraffe shoes for $8, and some super cute polka-dot boots lined in fleece for only $11 – that’s 4 pairs of high-quality, super stylin’ kids shoes for a little over $10 bucks each – and you just can’t do much better than that! If you order too – I’d love to know what you get!

This sale ends very soon – and styles are selling out quickly at these prices – So don’t miss out!

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Sunshine is on the Way: 3 Spring Looks for Busy Moms

I looooove warm weather fashions. As I told you before – I live in flip flops and sandals year round. Love ’em. And no, I don’t live somewhere sunny and warm like California… I’m actually a couple of states higher, up here in the Pacific Northwest. The part of Washington that I live in sees big snow all winter – but that still doesn’t stop me from wearing open-toed shoes even when everyone else has their toes bundled up in 3 pairs of socks and chunky boots. So, I’m excited for the sunshine to come back again and warm my poor frozen toes…. {So I’m a little quirky – aren’t we all?} I recently received a new pair of totally amazing sandals from Earth Footwear, and wanted to put together a few great looks to feature the shoes for spring….

Pretty Beachy


“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel

In my “old life”, pre-baby and blog, I used to work in Fashion Merchandising and Retail Management. While I don’t miss the long, unpredictable hours, or the high stress levels – I really do miss the creativity. Which is why Polyvore is one of my favorite new sites – It reminds me of putting together new fashions for display windows in the boutiques I used to work in. I used to LOVE dressing up each day – but as a busy work-at-home mom, that’s not exactly practical, right? {When will a designer make fashions that looks good with peanut butter and dried cheerios stuck on it?….} So I’m all about looks that are pretty, but still super easy to wear. This picture above perfectly captures how I feel about the warmer months – and features the super comfy Jacaranda sandals from Earth Footwear that I told you about! These shoes are a total shocker – they look like they’d be tough to wear, right? With the straps and heel and cut-outs? But they are one of THE most comfortable shoes I have ever worn, no joke. I love the way that they’re just dressy enough to work with the pretty accessory pieces to boost this casual denim short look up a notch. Love this.

Weekend Date Night


“While clothes may not make the woman, they certainly have a strong effect on her self-confidence — which, I believe, does make the woman.” – Mary Kay Ashe

I love how The Jacaranda works just as well with a dress as they do with cut-off denim shorts! The laser-cut design is so delicate that it makes it more of a dressy sandal – but it’s got awesome features like a cushioned footbed, padded heel area, and reinforced arch support which make them feel as good as your favorite sneaker. Seriously. This shoes comes in 3 other color choices too – Black, White, and Regal Red. But I’m lovin’ how this neutral color works SO well with everything for spring! A dress like this would be so simple to throw on for a night out – the ruffled neckline brings attention to your face and away from trouble spots, and the tie-waist will define your middle. The bright accessories add a pop of color, and make sure you don’t feel like a boring mom. And the shoes give you the comfort to dance all night – {Or, as long as the baby sitter is available. But you know what I mean.}

Spring Flowers


“A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous.” – Coco Chanel

Another perfect spring look that anyone can pull off – Can you believe how these great sandals from Earth’s Spring Collection work perfectly with this look too? Shorts, dresses, and now capris – these shoes work great with any spring length. They’d even work well with some skinny jeans or a long summer dress too. And – the best part about these sandals?  The Spring/Summer 2012 Earth Collection is all under $100!  Prices range from $79-$99, and you can check out the full collection here: Earth – Step into Wellness! A well-made pair of shoes that is this comfortable and versatile is well worth it – you can wear these all spring AND summer.

Perfect Way to Celebrate Springs Arrival – Spa Sweepstakes!

Earth Footwear would love to have you register as part of their Inner Circle – and you’ll be eligible to win various contests and prizes that they offer to their most loyal fans throughout the year. Don’t want to miss anything? Follow Earth Footwear on Facebook to learn about their latest contests and winners – and be the first to learn about new products and promotions. {Check out all of the comments from amazingly happy fans on their wall too – If I haven’t convinced you to get a pair of these shoes for spring, they will!}

Spa Sweepstakes – Enter to win a Trip to a Special Place on Earth!

What is YOUR favorite spring fashion?

Are you a sunshine girl like me – or do you prefer cozy sweaters and warm boots? Are there any other crazy ladies out there who wear flip flops in the snow too? What fashions are you most excited about this spring – Neutrals? Bright colors? Dresses and skirts – or cut-offs and swim-suits? Share in the comments – I love to hear from you guys! And to see more of my favorite Busy Mom Inspired Fashions, check out my board on Pinterest!

{Disclaimer: I was compensated by Global Influence as part of a Bookieboo LLC campaign w/ Earth Footwear. All opinions are 100% mine, and the spring looks created here are my own design. I really do love the heck out of these shoes, and I know you will too!}

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Win a Gevalia Luxury Prize Package {3/5}

 

My name is Meagan, and I’m addicted to coffee….

If you’ve read even a couple of posts on this blog, then you know I am a total coffee junkie. I drink a full pot in the morning by myself. I like an iced coffee in the afternoon. Sometimes, when my darling toddler is in full-on adventure mode and I have more piles of work to do than usual – I’ll just keep that pot brewing me new cups of dark & delicious liquid-energy all darn day. And, being such a serious coffee lover, I can tell the difference between different cups of coffee. I’m always looking for new brands to brew, but as a budget momma, I just can’t justify the high-cost on some of the premium varieties, you know?

Tall, Dark, Rich, & Smooth – What more can you ask for in a cup of coffee?

I used to order Gevalia coffees by mail – back in my early 20’s. I loved the flavor of the coffee, and loved the convenience of having it shipped right to my door each month. I had kind of forgotten about that experience until I got this fun package from MyBlogSpark a few weeks ago… As soon as I opened it I remembered how fun it was to get a monthly delivery of amazing new varieties of coffee, and hoped that the products were as good as they used to be. They had sent me over a couple of types to try out –

  • House Blend: A Gevalia favorite, House Blend is a robust yet never bitter coffee. This roast has a captivating aroma that is only matched by its exceptional flavor. (Medium/Dark Roast).
  • French Roast: Gevalia French Roast is a coffee of impressive richness and dimension, expertly crafted from prized Arabica beans grown in Colombia and Brazil. Hints of aromatic smoke give this dark-roasted French Roast blend an intense, yet uniquely satisfying flavor. (Dark Roast).

Let me tell ya ladies – these totally did not disappoint me. I’m not sure if it’s just that I appreciate things more now in my old age, {lol, but seriously – I’m over 30 now. With gray hairs and frown lines. I’m creeping up over that hill…} or if they’ve made changes to their coffee, but it was even better than I remembered it. The French Roast was especially impressive – I love a dark coffee, but hate spending a ton on the couple of expensive brands that I liked best. And so many affordable dark coffees have a burnt or bitter taste to them. But this was perfect – a totally smooth French Roast. A dash of vanilla creamer, 10 minutes of quiet “me” time with my newspaper = total heaven.

Gevalia Kaffe, Johan vs Joe, coffee, luxury coffee

Gevalia brings Swedish-style luxury to the Supermarket

Now, coffee of any type is a Busy Mom Solution. It helps you get things done – it gives you the energy for 204 more rounds of peek-a-boo, the strength to not smack your husband when asks why you’re wearing two different shoes {we all have those days}, and the courage to grab the cleaning spray and tackle that horrible odor coming from under the kids beds. But what makes Gevalia extra special is that it’s a seriously good, total luxury product – but you can now find it right at your local Safeway or other supermarket, at an affordable price. Most of us don’t have the money for a ton of premium brands in our lives, and cut a lot of corners to make ends meet. I love that this new selection of Gevalia Kaffe is a perfect solution for every mom – fabulous living on a frugal budget. {Still not convinced? Check out the comments on their Facebook page too – there are some great ones from fans!}

Win Your Own Gevalia Package Too!

One lucky winner will get a sweet shipment of the exact same goodies that I got –

  • (1) sample of the House Blend from Gevalia Kaffe
  • (1) sample of the French Roast Blend from Gevalia Kaffe
  • A Gevalia Kaffe branded coffee mug

Sounds good, right? Use the easy peasy Rafflecopter form below to get your entries in. I’ve partnered with a few other of my favorite blogging buddies for this giveaway too – if you see this on their pages, don’t worry – you only need to fill out the form on one site, and it enters you on all of them! And if you’re feelin’ lucky, check out the rest of the giveaways in my sidebar – the more you enter, the more chances you have to win!

{Disclaimer: Kraft Foods through MyBlogSpark has provided sample product to me and is providing the prizes for this program at no cost to me. This program is not administered or sponsored by Kraft Foods or its affiliates, but
solely by me.}

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Tell a Friend that She Rocks…

teleflora flowers

“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”  – Emma Goldman

Valentine’s Day has come and gone… and every girl wanted to get a great big bouquet of pretty Valentine flowers, right? Candy is great, but fattening. Jewelry is beautiful, but hard to shop for. A giant stuffed teddy bear is only a good choice if you’re incredibly handsome and you just started dating someone – and have the charm to pull off a cheesy gift. But every girl loves getting flowers, and they’re always even more special when they are a surprise delivery. I’ve only had flowers delivered less than a handful of times – but every one made me feel amazingly happy. It’s like a little delivery of sunshine into your day.

“Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom.  They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.” – Jim Carrey

So if you have any special ladies in your life that you forgot to get a gift for on Valentine’s Day, or if you know of a totally awesome gal friend who didn’t have a sweetheart, and had a bummed out day – why not send a better-late-than-never flower delivery her way? You’ll brighter her whole afternoon, put a big smile on her face, and guarantee your best-friend status for life. So, whether you’re sending out some belated flowers for a missed gift, or just to tell your bestie that you think she totally rocks – flowers are always the perfect gift, and they always fit. Love it, right?

{Disclaimer: This promotional sponsored post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. I was compensated for my time investment and work on this campaign. Thoughts are my own, as always.}

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