Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fitness Equipment at Home: Justifying the Cost {#SmoothBlogger}

Smooth Fitness logo
When people ask me about writing a Smooth Fitness review, they tend to have many of the same questions and comments.

Is it easy to use?

That must be nice to have it right there in your house.

How did they get it up the stairs?

And, one of the most practical, That's not a purchase that I could afford.

Smooth CE 8.0LC Commercial Elliptical Trainer

While yes, it does seem like a large purchase (the Smooth CE 8.0LC Commercial Elliptical Trainer that I have has a retail price of $3599, but sells on Smooth Fitness for $1799... and is on sale now for $1599!), breaking down the cost can show how having your own fitness equipment at home may end up being actually quite sensible.

After looking around online, I've found that the average gym membership costs between $40 and $50 a month, but when you add the initiation fee, the price may be as much as $800 a year. I also found that the consensus is that people who buy annual gym memberships often overestimate how much they'll actually use the facilities by 70%.

Seems like a waste of that $800, doesn't it?

On top of the actual membership fees, you have add in the gas spent driving to the gym, the cost of new workout clothes and shoes (because, let's face it, you can't show up at the gym in your sweats), and more.

working out in the gym
I'm not the only one who feels like there's a beauty competition going on in the gym, am I?

In the end, in less than two years you will have spent more money than if you had bought the Smooth CE 8.0LC from Smooth Fitness and had it in right in your home the entire time!

Not to mention the extreme convenience of being able to roll right out of bed and start exercising or fit in a quick workout before going to sleep at night. No need to do your hair or wonder if you really have to squeeze into spandex or bundle up and head outdoors when the temperatures get cold.

While having a home gym may not be a feasible option for many people, if you have been paying for a gym membership and are dedicated to improving your health, the treadmills, ellipticals, fitness equipment accessories and more from Smooth Fitness just might end up being a more affordable option in your life!

Find out more about Smooth Fitness and the incredible Smooth CE 8.0LC Elliptical Trainer on their website and be sure to connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

As a #SmoothBlogger, I have been provided with a Smooth CE 8.0LC Commercial Elliptical from Smooth Fitness. However, all thoughts and opinions shared are honest and my own.

My Image Bracelet Maker {Review & Giveaway}

My Image Bracelet Maker logo
When I think back to the popular fads when I was in sixth grade, I think of slap bracelets, the introduction of Nike's shoes that could be pumped up, and making friendship bracelets during any and all free time.

While the craze over the first two lessened as time went on, I'm pretty sure we had those bundles of embroidery thread safety pinned to the knees of our jeans for most of the year (and probably into the next). There was just something about giving a handmade, custom, affordable gift to your friend that couldn't be compared... and, receiving a bracelet and knowing that your buddy had put in so much time and effort made it all the more special!

Fast-forward to this generation, and it almost seems foreign that kids would focus on something that doesn't require a charger, plug or batteries. Fortunately, there are companies like Choose Friendship that offer creative ways for kids to show their bond with friends or siblings, while displaying kindness, affection and thoughtfulness. Thank goodness!

Choose Friendship

From friendship bracelets to ribbon barrettes and more, the Choose Friendship Company combines simple crafting techniques into their ever-expanding product line to allow kids to engage in self-expression while promoting the message of friendship.

So, while I was familiar with the idea of making a bracelet out of little knots or winding pretty ribbon on a hair clip, even I was intrigued with the unique idea of making jewelry featuring your own custom pictures. But that was exactly what we were able to do with the arrival of the My Image Bracelet Maker!

My Image Bracelet Maker

Designed for ages 6 and up, the My Image Bracelet Maker is one of Choose Friendship's new releases that is sure to please any creative young minds.

Coming complete with images, tiles, elastic, a cutting mechanism and more, all it takes is an imagination and a little bit of time to assemble a personalized, one-of-a-kind masterpiece. As an added bonus, all of the parts and pieces store safely right in the Bracelet Maker so that they are never lost or in danger of spilling out.

My Image Bracelet Maker review

Big Sister E and Little Sister B were immediately excited about the prospect of designing and creating a bracelet that would truly represent themselves and it wasn't long before we were getting started.

After Big Sister E selected the colored tiles that she liked best (they are included in six different colors)...

tiled bracelet

...we measured the elastic bands around her wrist to see just how long the bracelet should be for the best fit.

elastic bracelet

After popping the tiles onto the elastic bands, it was time for Big Sister E to decide on what images to use to make jewelry that would be all her own.

I love that the My Image Bracelet Maker not only comes with six pages of preprinted image cards featuring letters, icons, animals, food, flowers and much more...

My Image Bracelet Maker images

...but that you can actually use just about any pictures that you choose. Select your own photographs, magazine pictures, internet images, drawings — whatever your heart desires!

My Image Bracelet Maker even includes easy-to-use online software that allows kids to upload and crop their favorite photos, then simply print them from a home printer (or send them to a local photo processing center) so that the options are pretty much limitless.

When it comes to cutting out the images, I also appreciate that the My Image Bracelet Maker includes an enclosed cutting mechanism right on the top.

My Image Bracelet Maker cutting mechanism

Simply place the image of your choosing right into the box (which helps show exactly what will be cut), and push down on the yellow lever on the side. The cutter safely trims your picture to precisely the right size to fit on the tiles, while small fingers never come into contact with a blade. Perfect!

craft bracelet

After Big Sister E had cut out all of her images and arranged them in the order of her choosing, it was time to use the included child-safe glue stick to adhere them to each of the tiles.

image bracelet

As these colorful tiles are reversible, we then flipped the bracelet over and she was able to affix images to the other side for a completely new look!

Once the tiles were finished, I simply tied the elastic strings together and trimmed the excess. While I attempted to use the included Knot Key Tool to slide the knots into one of the tiles to keep them hidden, I found that simply pulling on the strings also did the trick (although you definitely have to be careful to not pull the knots out, as then the tiles end up sliding off and the trimmed elastic is difficult to thread back through).

After repeating the process with Little Sister B, we set the bracelets aside to dry... although both girls were more than excited to get to wear them right away. We did find that the glue didn't end up holding some of the images on and we needed to reapply a few more layers, but it wasn't long before we were ready to show off our finished creations!

Choose Friendship My Image Bracelet Maker

Too cute!

The girls love the way that the elastic strings make these bracelet easy to slip on and off and being able to flip them over to have a totally different look on the other side ends up with twice the fun. Similar to a charm bracelet that tells a story, these Image Bracelets have a way of inspiring and telling all about the owner. Plus, what a great gift to give to a favorite friend to let them know that you care about their interests!

Sold in the Mindware catalog and online at, the My Image Bracelet Maker retails for $29.99 and refill kits (sold separately) sell for $12.95. To find out more about this innovative new product (it has already won the Creative Child Magazine Kids Product of the Year Award 2012 in the Creative Play-Accessories Category!) visit the My Image Bracelet Maker website.

And, thanks to the generosity of Choose Friendship, one person will soon have a great gift for the crafty kid in their life as well, because...

One lucky person will win a My Image Bracelet Maker!

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below. If you have any questions or problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Choose Friendship for providing a My Image Bracelet Maker for me to review as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Become a Scentsy Master Fragrance Chef with Pink Pepper {Review & Giveaway}

Scentsy logo
At some point in my life I found that I prefer things non-mixed.

I like peanut butter and I like chocolate, but please don't mix them together. I enjoy seeing my kids happily play with Play-Doh, but oh geez, I can't take it when they mix the colors into a greyish lump. Heck, I even prefer watching singles over mixed doubles in tennis.

(I know, I know, that last one was a bit dorky).

So when it comes to aromas, I've always assumed that I prefer individual scents. If I'm in the mood for floral, I just want to smell a single flower. When it's time for citrus, the smell should be grapefruit, not an entire jumbled fruit basket.

However, that has all changed thanks to the look, smell and safety of Scentsy, their fabulous line of wickless candles, ceramic Warmers and delicious fragrance products, and the introduction of the amazing Pink Pepper.

Scentsy pink pepper

Providing everything that you love about candles but without the features you'd like to avoid (e.g. flames, heat and the dangers that come along with them), Scentsy’s wickless candles make a home smell great, accent a room's décor and provide a safe alternative to candles.

The fragrant wax is heated in an elegant Warmer using a low-watt light bulb, so there is no flame, smoke or soot. The long-lasting wax slowly melts, infusing a room with fragrance.

With more than 100 ceramic Warmer designs, there is sure to be at least one that works for the size of your room as well as your personality. The options include modern, traditional, nursery-inspired, seasonal and the college-themed Campus Collection... or you can even create your own Warmer design with DIY Scentsy Warmers and rub-on transfers.

Scentsy warmers

As if making the decision on the style and color of the Warmer wasn't difficult enough, there are then dozens and dozens of different fragrances to go along with them. Containing 3x as much fragrance oil as regular wicked candles, Scentsy wickless candle Bars include scents that are reminiscent of the spa, a corner café, romance, baked goods and much more.

This year, however, Scentsy teamed its in-house fragrance experts with prominent international fragrance houses to name the inaugural ScenTrend – the trendiest fragrance of 2012 – Pink Pepper. Pink Pepper is sweet and spicy, mixed with hints of floral, and is ideal for mixing with fragrances of all kinds.

As I'm already a fan of just about every Scentsy home fragrance that I've tried, I was excited to step up to their challenge of creating my own ScenTrend fragrance recipe using the warm, bold notes of Pink Pepper.

Scentsy box

After having a difficult time selecting my favorite Full-Size Scentsy Warmer, I was thrilled to open up Scentsy's classy box to find the stylish Ashbury warmer, a large variety of fragrances and two Pink Pepper bars all ready to mix together to find my own preferred signature scent.

Scentsy review

After taking less than a minute to assemble my warmer, I put the Ashbury on my kitchen counter and was ready to add the warm, one-of-a-kind scent of Pink Pepper to the other bars.

Scentsy Ashbury Warmer

While I was initially hesitant to mix the scents, I found that I immediately loved the full-bodied, feisty, energy-filled fragrance of Pink Pepper and the way that it enhances and enriches the other aromas. Instead of acting as if the two (or three) different bars were individual scents put next to each other, they all seemed to blend with one another for a unique, slight-spicy result.

Check out an example of what Pink Pepper can do in these great fragrance fusions:
  • Paradise Punch + Pink Pepper: Pink Pepper makes this fresh, tart punch a refreshing blend of sweet and spicy.
  • RU N2 Me + Pink Pepper: RU N2 Me is brightened and amplified with an extra burst of Pink Pepper.
  • Ace + Pink Pepper: Pink Pepper adds a sharper edge to this contemporary, masculine fragrance.
  • Zephyr + Pink Pepper: Add an undercurrent of spiciness to this sophisticated, manly fragrance with Pink Pepper.
Scentsy Bars

While I had a great time combining bars and adding a dash or two of Pink Pepper to the mixes, I found that one of my favorite sweet, soothing scents came from mixing one bar of Transcendence and one bar of Pink Pepper.

Scentsy bars and warmer

Together, these two aromas make me feel as though I'm relaxing in a spa and am surrounded by crisp, sweet-smelling flowers.

The Transcendence brings soothing peppermint, crisp apple, deep green cypress and brisk eucalyptus, while the Pink Pepper's spicy warmth enhances the overall result and causes me to take a deep breath each time I walk by or smell the fragrance wafting through the house.

Scentsy melting


Scentsy products are not available in retail stores but instead through home parties, open houses, fairs and shows, and fundraisers. But with 145,000 Independent Scentsy Consultants, there is sure to be one in your area to help you order just the right Warmer (retailing from $20 - $40), fragrance and more that is right for you or as a gift.

As for your fragrances, finding your favorite might be difficult since they're all so amazing... but I encourage you to add in a bit of Pink Pepper to really get a sense of what it can do! In terms of my mix of Transcendence and Pink Pepper, now all that's left is to give my signature scent a name. It is soft, sweet, a little spicy and ends up a beautiful light aquamarine color - what should it be called?

Thanks to the generosity of Scentsy, one person's fragrance name will not only show off their creativity, but they will get to enjoy it in their home as well, because...

One lucky person will win the Scentsy Warmer of their choice along with Transcendence and Pink Pepper Scentsy Bars!

Scentsy giveaway

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below. If you have any questions or problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Scentsy for providing a Scentsy Warmer and multiple Scentsy Bars for me to review as well as the Scentsy Warmer of choice and two Scentsy Bars for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.   

Monday, October 29, 2012

Admire the Beauty of Fall with Avas Flowers {Review & Giveaway}

Avas Flowers logo
In my next lifetime, one job that I want to be sure to try is doing deliveries for a florist. Being able to see the looks on the recipients' faces when they find a beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting at the door... is there someone out there that isn't amazed and delighted when that happens? If so, I haven't met them yet.

However, there is always a risk to ordering flowers, as how do you know how long they have been sitting in the case (not to mention the travel time from the farm to get there) before making their way on the truck to your recipient's door? I don't know about you, but if I send someone flowers, I want to be sure that they are going to be high quality and fresh and will last for as long as possible.

And no one agrees with that more than Avas Flowers.

flower delivery

For over three decades, Avas Flowers has been proud of their unbeatable commitment to customer satisfaction and the way they understand the importance of every floral order.

As well as working with local florists, this brick and mortar company offers nationwide delivery through their "direct from the farm" program. What this means is that only the freshest, highest quality flowers will arrive at your recipient's door, but instead of being sent through the florist, they will arrive via UPS or FedEx in an award-winning gift box designed especially for floral deliveries.

This allows Avas Flowers to deliver high quality, premium flowers at discount prices — which is something we all can appreciate, right?

Having always been impressed with their beautiful flowers in the past, I was beyond giddy when one of Avas Flowers' signature boxes arrived to celebrate the fall. Opening it up, I was impressed immediately with the overall presentation and just how well the bouquet was laid out.

flower delivery box

After pushing back the packaging (under the smooth gold fabric I found that the vase of flowers was very securely fastened, eliminating the possibility of damage to the flowers or the vase itself), I sat back to admire what had arrived.

With so many amazing arrangements on their site, I had no doubt that what would arrive would be beautiful and festive... but I still couldn't help giving a sigh and a smile to just how nice the Sunflower Bouquet — Fresh Farm truly was.


Due to the sunflowers being so fresh, the yellow coloring was vibrant and bright and the packaging had kept each flower in great condition. The combination of the flowers themselves, the lush green accents, and the decorative, unique vase resulted in an arrangement that is cheerful, sunny and full of happiness.

Is there a better way to celebrate autumn than with a bouquet that is so simple yet so heartwarming?

yellow sunflowers

During the time that the Sunflower Bouquet — Fresh Farm has been in our home, the flowers have continued to bring an added does of joy every time I walk into the room. No matter how chilly or dreary it might be outside, there is still always a ray of sunshine right here with me.

fall flower bouquet

As an added bonus for anyone that doesn't like overpowering floral scents, these sunflowers just have a slight sweet aroma when you put your nose right up to them and breathe deeply. So whether you have someone in the household with allergies or you just don't like when the smell of flowers knocks you over when you walk in, this bouquet is a simple, elegant, eye-catching way to celebrate autumn.

With all of the possible occasions that would be made better with flowers (birthdays, anniversaries, sympathy, weddings, new babies, and much more) Avas Flowers has an arrangement that your recipient is sure to love.

Plus, with their affordable prices, you'll know that you've sent something beautiful and saved money in the process. The Sunflower Bouquet — Fresh Farm retails on Avas Flowers for $29.99 for 8 stems, $37.99 for 12 stems and $44.99 for 16 stems and is pretty much guaranteed to brighten someone's day!

Their dependable commitment to customer service and your complete satisfaction ensures that you will be happy with your Avas Flowers selection and, with flowers available for delivery the very next day, you know that your recipient will receive a bouquet that will be extremely fresh and long-lasting.

And, thanks to their generosity, one person will get to enjoy a bit of a brighter fall as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Sunflower Bouquet — Fresh Farm
from Avas Flowers!

sunflower bouquet

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below. If you have any questions or problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Avas Flowers for providing a Sunflower Bouquet for me to review as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.   

Making Laundry Day Easier with the Maytag Bravos XL High Efficiency Washer and Dryer {#MaytagMoms}

You know that feeling of looking at a massive mountain of laundry that's waiting to be done and thinking that there's no way that you're going to make it to the bottom?

And the sheer exhaustion that goes along with calculating just how many hours you're going to spend pre-treating stains, washing load after load, checking them when the dryer is done (and hoping that you don't have to restart it due to items still being damp), folding, ironing...

The word that sums it all up is overwhelming.

Considering how busy our lives already are, anything to make life easier is appreciated... but that is especially true when it comes to laundry. That's why when it comes to laundry tips, there are quite a few that can help ease the burden for all of us. Here are my top three favorite!

laundry tips

Do a little bit a lot more often. Don't let the pile turn into Mount Everest, that will just make you want to avoid it even more! Instead, stay reasonably caught up and soon you'll realize that doing a load every day or every other day feels much less stressful than spending one day doing six loads.

Have your appliances and supplies as handy as possible. Moving our washer and dryer from our basement up to the second floor (where the bedrooms are) was one of our best household decisions. Instead of it being a chore to lug everything up and down multiple flights of stairs, it is no problem to throw in another load of laundry whenever I feel like it.

At the same time, having a shelf or cupboard above or near your washer and dryer means that all of your detergent, bleach, stain removers and more can be easily accessible. You're much likely to take the time to wash clothes if everything you need is all in one place!

The internet has the answers to everything! Chances are, even if you're thinking that you're the only person who spilled that particular wine on your blouse or that only your child would get a stain from blue JELL-O, it's not the case. From questions on cleaning your dryer vent to what to do when that pesky red sock turns your white shirts pink, the answers are out there to help you through.

But the most important tip of all? Have a washer and dryer that you can depend on to keep your clothes clean and like new!

Maytag repairman
© Maytag
I've mentioned it before, but joining the Maytag Washer & Dryer Test Drive Campaign was a dream come true for me and the Maytag Bravos XL High-Efficiency Top-Load Washer and Maytag Bravos XL High-Efficiency Electric Steam Dryer have taken much of the chore out of laundry. I depend on these appliances to not only keep our clothes fresh and clean, but to help limit shrinkage, remove stains and more.

In the washing machine...

Overdosing on detergent can make clothes stiff, as well as unnecessarily increasing detergent costs. Instead, the Maytag Bravos XL utilizes PowerSpray Technology to ensure even detergent distribution for enhanced cleaning performance. A mixture of water and detergent is sprayed directly onto clothes to instantly start cleaning soils and stains!

Maytag Bravos XL washer review

In the dryer...

With the Advanced Moisture Sensing system, the Bravos XL High-Efficiency Electric/Gas Steam Dryer evenly dries large, heavy loads and reduces the risk of shrinking. The Auto Refresh cycle additionally helps relax wrinkles and uses steam to refresh clothes.

Maytag Bravos XL dryer review

Just like you depend on your car to start up and get you where you need to go, you should be able to depend on your appliances to live up to your expectations. Therefore, in the same way that a car needs an oil change, appliances require regular maintenance.

You can help keep increase the life of your washer and dryer and keep them running smoothly by following common and not-so-common routines:
  • Clean the washer regularly.
  • Similarly, leave the washing machine lid/door open between washings to let the drum dry and help prevent mildew and odors.
  • Check and replace washing machine hoses to help prevent leaks and flooding.
  • Empty the lint filter on the dryer after each load.
  • Check and clean the duct vent twice a year to prevent lint buildup.
No matter how much you enjoy or detest doing laundry, there is no getting away from it! That's why investing in a high quality, dependable, reliable, money- and time-saving washer and dryer is extremely important. I'm completely pleased with the way that the Maytag Bravos XL HE pair has met or surpassed each of my expectations and look forward to utilizing them for laundry days for years to come!

Find out much more about Maytag, their dependability and their long line of amazing products on as well as by connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

I wrote this post participating in an Maytag Moms Dependable Laundry Ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with the Maytag washer and dryer set to facilitate my post.

Sharing the Love and Kindness this Halloween with Kleenex and the Softness Worth Sharing Initiative {#KleenexCares}

Kleenex logo
This fall, we were introduced to the fact that Kleenex launched the Softness Worth Sharing initiative, and I was immediately impressed with the thought behind the campaign. Based on showing how the moments of unexpected thoughtfulness can make all the difference in the lives of others, I'm proud each and every time my girls show that they are receiving the message.

With Halloween upon us, I'm already counting on my kids to not let their love of candy overpower their deep-seeded knowledge that caring for others is more important. After all, even though the holiday focuses on things that are spooky and scary, that doesn't mean that love and kindness can't win out, right?

Last year was Little Sister B's first year really getting into trick-or-treating, and each time that Big Sister E would go to race to the next house, it warmed my heart to see her thoughtfully stop and wait for (and encourage) her younger sister to come up and ring the doorbell with her. I couldn't have been more proud of my Very Hungry Caterpillar looking out for her favorite little Pink Crayon!

cute Halloween costumes

As well as the sweet gestures between my girls, this holiday I also plan on surprising them with a few of the cute Halloween ideas that I've got up my sleeve.

Pumpkin-shaped pancakes for breakfast, perhaps? A ghostly marshmallow treat in their lunch, by chance? Or maybe just a quick bite of some yummy Halloween Dessert Cups before they bundle up to head door-to-door?

Halloween dessert

This year, I have no doubt that when we head out to walk the neighborhood, I will have Kleenex tissues in my pocket to prepare for the runny noses and sniffles that will come along with the chilly weather that we've been having.

Our current weather forecast here in the Midwest shows a high of 46° on the 31st, so if your fall is anything like ours, don't leave home without enough Kleenex brand tissues!

Thanks to the Softness Worth Sharing initiative, we won't be the only ones prepared with the softness of Kleenex tissues at our disposal. Recently we were able to share one of Kleenex's great little Care Packages with someone in need of it — my mom!

teaching kindness in kids

We all love when my mom comes to visit us and she (hopefully) enjoys spending time with us as well... but, what she doesn't always appreciate? My kids passing their germs to her. It seems as though by the time she is packing up to leave, she is coughing and sneezing right along with them!

Therefore, as we know that Kleenex brand is America's softest tissue, we were eager to share it with her (as well as other cold and flu sufferers, friends and strangers alike) as a way to show that we care. These Care Packages are such a great way to extend a little extra kindness that there's just no reason to not pass that along to someone you know!

Kleenex Care Pack contents

Remember, right now Kleenex brand is giving everyone the opportunity to make sure that doing something nice for others is easier than ever with their Kleenex Brand Care Pack. To participate, simply visit your local retailer, purchase a Kleenex brand bundle pack and redeem the code on the box.

Then visit and follow the directions to send a Care Pack to someone who needs a little care, while supplies last. What a great way to put a smile on someone's face and let them know that you are thinking about them... while being practical at the same time!

This Halloween, be sure to take a moment to step back from the costumes, face paint and candy to give your kids an extra hug and remind them that it is the moments of unexpected thoughtfulness that can make all the difference.

I wrote this review while participating in an ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Kleenex brand and received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

10 Things to Love About Winter {#SmoothBlogger}

Although the only weather conditions that I've had to complain about lately here in the Midwest are the chilly temperatures (my heart goes out to everyone that has been dealing with so much worse lately!), I've been trying to think of the positives that will come along with the impending winter months and have come up with the following 10...

1. My kids love it. Although it isn't my idea of fun to go stand outside in the cold or roll around in the snow, seeing the joy that my kids get out of it does bring a smile to my face (as I watch from the window - Daddy's in charge of playing outside in the winter).

playing in the snow

2. Cozy sweaters and stylish scarves. Although I'm sad to put away my beloved sandals and flip flops, I have stacks of sweaters and scarves that I'm happy to pull out and wrap up in. Once the weather gets cold, it's like I have a whole new wardrobe to choose from (considering that I have a bad memory, I often find things in my closet that I didn't know were there anyway)!

3. The darkness makes bedtime easier. Although I complain about Daylight Saving Time every year and I'm not a fan of the sun going down earlier and earlier, I do have to admit that it makes it much easier to get my kids to bed when it is pitch dark out by 6pm!

4. Cooler nights for sleeping. Along with the darkness, I love the feeling of snuggling down under my blankets in bed and not worrying about having to put on a fan or wake up multiple times during the night due to being too hot.

5. Hot chocolate with marshmallows. Mmmmmm, enough said!

hot cocoa

6. Curling up by the fire. We have two fireplaces in our house and there is just something about grabbing a good book and a cup of hot cider and enjoying the warmth and crackling that comes along with the flames.

7. No mosquitoes. Although this summer didn't seem to have as many pests as there have been in the past, I'm still not sad to say good-bye to the buzzing and itching.

8. No shaving until spring. Even though I know that there are others out there that keep their legs smooth and hair-free all winter long, I opt for the lazy, they're-going-to-be-covered-so-why-bother? route.

9. The crisp, clean air. Although the wind is often brisk, there's something about the lack of humidity and the cool, freshness that comes along with the snow that I love.

10. My gym is in my house. When the temperatures drop, I find that I will make just about any excuse to not have to bundle up and venture out into the cold. Why not pull on my sweats and let the extra pounds hide? But this year I have no reason to end my workouts thanks to my Smooth CE 8.0LC Commercial Elliptical Trainer.

elliptical machine

I've been writing for a few months about this solid, stable, commercial grade elliptical trainer and how it truly is the same as what you'd find right alongside rows of other machines in the gym (that all cost two or three times as much).

So, while I've been enjoying the convenience of having it in my house for a while now, when there are three feet of snow piled up outside my door, I know that I'm going to appreciate it even more!

What do you like about winter?

Find out more about Smooth Fitness and the incredible Smooth CE 8.0LC Elliptical Trainer on their website and be sure to connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

As a #SmoothBlogger, I have been provided with a Smooth CE 8.0LC Commercial Elliptical from Smooth Fitness. However, all thoughts and opinions shared are honest and my own.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Chuggington Traintastic Adventures Sweepstakes is on now!

Last month I shared news of the Chuggington Traintastic Adventures Sweepstakes and, if you haven't entered yet, be sure to head over and take part in this great contest!

Chuggington vacation sweepstakes

As a reminder, the Traintastic Adventures Sweepstakes is running now through December 31st and gives fans the chance to win weekly Chuggington prizes, as well as one grand prize of a trip for four to Colorado, courtesy of Delta Vacations.

Including roundtrip airfare, hotel and rental car accommodations, and the opportunity to ride the rails through the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, this trip is a traintastic excursion for any family that's a fan of Chuggington!

But that's not all. Sweepstakes entries will also be eligible for traintastic weekly giveaways, which include prizes from Mega Bloks, Anchor Bay, TOMY, and more! One entry per person per day is allowed, so be sure to keep your bumpers crossed and stop by daily for more chances to win!

Chuggington characters

This fall, be sure that your wheels are on the right track as you watch Chuggington all week long and enter to win their amazing Traintastic Adventures Sweepstakes!

I was not compensated in any way for this post, but am sharing this great information as a part of my role as a 2012 Chuggington Conductor.


The lucky winner of a $20 Domino's gift card is...

The lucky winner of a Pink SKIL iXO Palm-Sized Screwdriver Kit is...

The lucky winner of a One Year Membership in the LifeLock Plan for proactive identity theft protection is...


The lucky winner of a Play-Doh Prettiest Princess Castle is...

The lucky winner of a Kraft Foods Halloween Prize Pack is...

Thanks to everyone who entered these fun giveaways! Have a great weekend!