Monthly Archives: May 2012

National Strawberry Month- Stonyfield YoKids & Tom’s of Maine GIVEAWAY

Giveaway goody bag

May is National Strawberry Month! 

So, YoKids(c) is teaming up with Tom’s of Maine(c) and starting May 21 each tube of children’s toothpaste (pictured to the left here) purchased on Tom’s of Maine website will come with a $1 off YoKids Greek organic yogurt and you can also save 20% off your entire order with the following coupon code: YOKIDS20 (good through May 21-June 4 only) at Tom’s of Maine’s website.

Also, you have a chance to win your very own earth-friendly, canvas goody bag with all you see to the left (a $30 value)- Tom’s soap, kid’s toothpaste, chapstick, all-natural deodorant and coupons good for 5 free packs of yokids yogurt (regular and Greek).  Delicious! National Strawberry Month never tasted or smelled so good and natural – Tom’s of Maine products are amazing.  Check them out and all their amazing products HERE if you haven’t already.  All of Tom’s products are eco-friendly and natural – all-natural, including the deodorant that adults can use too, their toothpaste (with or without fluoride), dental floss, mouthwash and their soaps are amazing- smell great too!  All natural and how they make their products matters too!  Their prices are very reasonable considering what you get.  So, don’t miss out on this special offer and take advantage of this promotion to get some yummy Yo Kids yogurt- now in a Greek version too (for higher protein content).

GIVEAWAY:

MANDATORY- for 1 entry only

(1) To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below telling us what your favorite strawberry food, beverage, or product is… yummy!

Optional additional entries (leave a separate comment for each one you do – tweet limited to one per day, and all others limited to ONCE for each one during entire contest period)

(2) Tweet the following (Limit: once per day) and then leave in a comment the link to your tweet and your twitter handle.  May is Nat’l Strawberry Month- win Tom’s and Yo Kids goodies http://wp.me/p1dnfM-GV via @getcluedin

(3) Follow @getcluedin on twitter

(4) Like Get Clued In’s page on facebook

(4) Subscribe to Get Clued In! (this blog) via one of the methods listed: RSS, Emails, or through Networked blogs on facebook

*Contest runs from posting through June 4, 10am EST; winner announced and notified by June 5

****AND THE WINNER IS: 

Your Winner

(confirmed)

Author: Leann L (EMAIL REMOVED FOR PRIVACY)
Comment: permalink
Follow vis twitter @barkersmomma
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Hunger Games- a movie review

After months, I finally was able to see the movie and I am so excited to report, I liked it.  Loved it!  I wrote about the entire Hunger Games trilogy here and I really enjoyed the books.  They were an easy read and kept me hooked.  Now, finally, after having seen the movie, I am very glad I had read all the books before doing so.  There were many scenes during the movie that I thought, “wait… that shouldn’t be ’til Book 2 or Book 3 even.”  So, I am actually happy I know what is coming next and what the premise of the book is.  While the movie did a good job of giving you background, premise, and filling you in on many gaps that otherwise would have existed, I honestly think that if I had watched it without reading the book, I would have been appalled more than I was and frankly, a bit confused.

It was tough to see some of the scenes because when I read, I could imagine it the way I wanted to but seeing it portrayed on the big screen brought a harsh reality to what I had read- Panem really treated their Districts and its residents like crap!  Seeing it all come to life on the big screen hit it home with me.  I will not spoil it for you but there are some major differences in the book and movie and of course, to fit it all into 2.5 hours, they had to make some cuts and as always, nothing compares to reading the book.  But, overall, the movie is a well-done adaptation with a few glimpses and more foreshadowing of what is to come in movies #2 and #3 than the book did.  Read my book review, read the books, and then head out to see Hunger Games, or get it on DVD (which is where it is headed in a couple of weeks).   Happy Hunger Games! And remember, the odds are really never in your favor.

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Gratitude and Grace

Two things I have learned very recent in my life come to mind as I reflect. Two simple words, two simple concepts but so tough to execute for so many- “gratitude” and “grace”. What do these concepts, what do these words mean to me? It’s simple, really. And it’s not that you cannot vent about things that are bugging you to your friends or best of friends, and I’m not saying you cannot judge, but, these two concepts, these two words– it’s about what you keep inside. It’s about how you treat your soul that matters.

Gratitude

Gratitude is defined as “a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation.” I think it’s so much more than that. I think it’s more than waking up and feeling gratitude for all you have. It’s more than just saying, “oh that was so kind of you… I really appreciate it.” It is about feeling it. When you truly feel gratitude, when you truly think about the good in people and forgive their trespass, your soul feels the side effects of gratitude. Again, is it okay to be frustrated when someone invites you to a party the night before the party? Sure, it’s okay and you should vent and move on. But the key is to move on – to feel the other side of that invitation; the kindness, the gratitude that you were even invited. This gratitude is what keeps your soul free from demise. But you see, gratitude alone is not enough. It goes with grace. I think of gratitude as the “Thank You” before the graceful “You’re Welcome.”

Grace

Grace has many definitions and the word is also rooted in Christian philosophy. The two definitions of grace that I think apply for me are, “a disposition to kindness and compassion” and “a sense of propriety and consideration for others.” But again, I think it goes deeper than that. It is about composure, about how you handle a situation on the outside and inside. I think, that in any situation, depending on how you (not others around you) handle what is going on, you display grace which brings up this third definition of grace that I think is fitting: “Be beautiful to look at.” No matter how dissatisfied you may be with how you look on the outside, if you handle yourself with grace, you look beautiful. So true! For example, a few years ago, I finally learned about grace. A mom RSVPed very late (the night before) for my daughter’s birthday party. It chapped my hide. I did not handle it with grace. I basically replied back, “you replied too late. Sorry.” I learned about grace that day even if the other person never did. I can vent all I want and should vent about how disrespectful that mother was towards me but then the proper response is, “of course, we’d love to have JOE join the party. Thank you for your RSVP.” That is grace. That is kindness and compassion. Fast forward two years later, and a different mother, two hours before the party, called me to say, “RENEE is coming to the party and we are sorry to RSVP on the day of but I just saw the invitation.” Then, that same mother and her child came to the party an hour late. You know what? It’s okay. Does that mother know about grace? Maybe. Maybe not. Her disrespect is not my concern. If you have grace in you, peace with your soul, peace with the fact that others can be as rude as they want, you will nonetheless be gracious, and say, “of course, you are always very welcome.”

Now, I am not saying roll over, play dead, let others take advantage of you or mistreat you. I am saying that in small situations where it really doesn’t matter, be graceful. Move on. Fight where you need to fight and put your energy where it counts. Not everything requires a battle and you do not always have to be right.

Another example of grace is not being afraid to admit that you were wrong. Admit when you make mistakes and don’t try to cover them up by blaming external factors or others. Always look within first to see what you did to cause this and then handle it with grace. And most importantly, give others the benefit of the doubt. Life happens and people are not like you. So, how you handle the situations that life presents will dictate how joyous your soul can be…. how beautiful inside and out you not only appear to others, but how beautiful you truly ARE — for me, gratitude and grace go hand-in-hand. I may stumble along the way and I may vent to my friends, but I will always try to have gratitude and grace. And when I falter because I will, I will remind myself that I am human, look within at what I did wrong and strive to handle it all with … Grace!

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With Mom on Mother’s Day

This mothers day is both special and different for our family. Both hubby and I get to spend Mother’s Day with our moms, separately but still special. My in-laws had planned a trip to our home for sometime now and I’m so sorry I missed them but as you read, some family emergencies happened for my side of the family, and my plans changed a bit. So for this Mother’s Day, I get to spend time with my mom, helping her and my dad and enjoying mother’s day weekend with them. All the while, hubby and daughters get to spend it with my mother-in-law, who is quite amazing, and they can celebrate as well, but in Denver.

Family is so important to both of us so it’s okay that we are not together but it is important that we all get together even a few thousand miles away from each other. I have to say though it has been extra hard on me to be away from the little one… I really, really miss the girls especially the little one because she still needs me. But, I remind myself that I am here with my mom because she needs me too and that soon I will be with my kiddos again until, alas, they become older, fly the nest, and may no longer need me for a bit. I am hoping that I am able to use this to teach my girls an important lesson – that we put our needs aside to help others, especially our aging parents when they need us, and that love and respect are important even as our parents grow older. That no matter what we live, what the cost, we help our family.

Me and My Mom- February 19 2012, photo credit: Purvi Shah

Still, it breaks my heart to be away from my daughters this Mother’s Day and while my heart is with my parents, it also belongs to my daughters now too, and I am torn in two. I really wish we all lived closer and then, we could see each other more often, or not have to worry about the distance. Technology keeps us closer together including seeing each other on the webcams, and talking everyday but nothing replaces the touch and feel of mom, the hugs from our kiddos, and just holding a hand or putting an arm around a person. This mother’s day if you are remembering your mom, remember the greatest moments with her and how much she touched your life. If you are with your mom or with your own kids, don’t take a second for granted, and hold those moments in your heart forever… every second is a gift.  And as I posted previously in my post, In an Instant, it can all change so quickly so try to enjoy every moment and have a Happy Mother’s Day!

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The 4-1-1 on Wireless & Data Plans

photo courtesy of East Chapel Hill Observer (ECHO) Click here to view article

So, here’s the scoop.  “Like, OMG” you will not want to miss this post and will want to bookmark it before you head out to change phones, or plans.  The different plans and services out there will make your head spin and what I went through may make you think twice about ever switching your wireless service but read on… you will not regret it.

This is your 4-1-1 – everything you ever wanted to know about the following three companies when it comes to mobile, wireless service:  AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon.  So, I ventured out in April, as if I needed another distraction in my life – at a time when I didn’t have time and things were not going well is when I decided to add more to my plate and took on changing of my wireless service.  Huge mistake!  Huge! GIANT!  It ends well, but the road was rocky and entailed some restocking fees.  All in all, it was okay and an experiment but alas, a bit inconvenient at a time when I really didn’t have extra time to throw around.

I have had AT&T since March 4, 2010- before then, I was a loyal T-mobile customer since my days with Deutsch Telekom (yes, I was stationed abroad in Germany) and when I returned state-side I went to T-mobile for my cell phone.  I had an old antiquated cell phone but I loved T-mobile and the price was right.  I had what I needed for the time in question- cell phone calling, very limited to NO texting (who texted back then? HELLO!), and some data but not really – who had the nerve to call it data back then anyway.  Before my Germany days, I was a loyal Sprint customer for several years – remember when cell phones were first introduced? Yowsers— we’ve come a long way folks since 1997, huh? In 2010, I wanted to try the new Iphone 3GS so, I took the huge leap and decided to try out Apple products even though I despised Apple and kinda still do – a little.  Okay, Okay, I was a computer science undergrad major and Mac products were not on the top of my faves list.   In any case, I did it- I switched from T-mobile to AT&T after 8 years of loyalty just for the stinking IPhone.  I have to say, I was hooked to the Iphone despite its poor battery life, expensive accessories, piss poor software known as Itunes, and general bulkiness of said phone.  Ah well — there are pros and cons but I love having the Internet and the world at my fingertips.

Despite what plan or company you choose mentioned here, keep in mind that almost all of the companies require 2-year contracts and I don’t know about you but that pisses me off a bit because contracts drive me nuts and they are binding, blah blah blah and yeah, they lock you down.  That makes me mad because I am a mind-changer (ha) but in any case, unless you want to do pay-as-you-go (my husband does it and is fine with it), you will want to know some of these features and facts before you run out and change plans.  Keep in mind as I learned, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and all the companies have pros and cons that come attached to their contracts as well.

AT&T prices for data, messages, and voice- almost looks identical to Verizon's offering

Data- AT&T had some great plans back in 2010 when I got the Iphone 3GS and I was “grandfathered in” when AT&T decided to change all its data plans and screw new customers last year.  So while I had unlimited data, (and trust me when I say 3G on the AT&T network with the Iphone is UBER FAST because I have compared it to other the networks I mention above), new AT&T customers are paying about as much as they would on Verizon – of course, both Verizon and AT&T have limited their data plans and Sprint is the only one that offers unlimited data and 4G on some pretty awesome droids which can be FREE after you enter into the 2-year agreement.  All companies including T-mobile offer the 4G network which I hear is super cool but alas, the IPhone only operates on 3G on Sprint, and Verizon.  AT&T is the only one that offers the 4G network for Iphones 4 and higher but I really do not see much of a difference for the iphone on the 4G network versus the 3G.  If you have Iphone 3GS, then you are stuck with the 3G network but trust me, when I say, I have compared all three- Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T on the 3G network and AT&T is the fastest.  You can stream movies, shows, and videos on the Iphone with no issues.  Sprint 3G works just as fast but you have to all 5 bars.  If you have less than 5 bars or try to stream movies and shows at peak hours, it will not work!  Not even a little.  In any case, as far as data goes, the cheapest is Sprint with their 100% unlimited data plans and they are reasonably priced.  Below are some snapshot of prices for data and voice plans with all three.  Keep in mind that these prices do not take into account, corporate, government, or military discounts.  Please call business care for each company to find out what the specific discounts are.  I found the most expensive service to be Verizon and no unlimited plans.  Of course, the new AT&T is comparable to Verizon in that there are no unlimited data plans any longer.  So, looking at the AT&T chart above, Verizon’s 450 minute voice plan is $39.99 and add to that either of the following data plans for Verizon’s network:  5G for $50, 2G for $30 and you could do the 75 MB plan but that is only for basic phones (not smart phones) and that runs $10.  The truth is all you really need 300 MB unless you are streaming video, etc., then you should consider 2-3Gs but anything 5G and over is a lot.  The best thing is to get a 2-3G data plan and check your usage for a couple of months to help you decide what is best for you. If you are under the old AT&T and were “grandfathered in” I would recommend not leaving AT&T because their data speeds in some instances are faster than Verizon’s even.  I would do the same for voice and messaging.

Sprint plans which are bundled with voice, data, and messaging

Voice- Of course, with any positives come some cons… for me, with AT&T while data is very fast and reliable, I do drop a lot of calls at random times and even when I report dead zones or dropped calls, it seems very predictable where the calls are dropped and I can almost tell someone on the phone with me.. “hey I am about to lose you… so I will call you back.”  I know, that is just not good but it’s Colorado.  Sprint and Verizon seem more reliable for the calls and no dropped calls but then again, the cons are higher prices (Verizon) and possibly low data speeds if you have the Iphone or Ipad.  For voice on AT&T, 450 minutes rollover + unlimited mobile to mobile and 5000 nights and weekend minutes are $39.99.  Verizon offers the same 450 mins but nights start at 9pm and there are no rollover minutes.  Messaging-wise, I have an old plan that AT&T no longer offers at 200 minutes for $5.00 and overage text messages are only 10 cents.  Unlimited text messaging like Verizon on AT&T is $20 which I find a bit steep especially if the usage by month does not reach 200 generally.  Verizon does offer 1000 text messages (which is a lot) for $10 which I think is a great deal.  I remember at one time AT&T offered 500 for $10 but all their plans have changed now.  As far as messaging, I love that Sprint offers unlimited text messaging with all their bundled plans – see below.  For $79.99 (which includes the $10 fee for smartphones) you get it all!  450 mins but anytime mobile-to-mobile minutes, plus unlimited data and messaging.  That is the best deal I have seen!  So if you are not using an Iphone or don’t care about your download speeds, Sprint’s your best value!

source: fightback.com

Overall Customer Service– I am very happy with AT&T and was sad to leave it for even a few days but Sprint had some great customer service when I dealt with them  too!  If I had more bars for Data, 3G in my office, I have no doubt Sprint would have worked out for me and my needs and their prices are just right for what they give you.  Verizon’s customer stores are always busy too but they seem more guarded with their information.  For example, when I called them and asked about corporate discounts, I got transferred like 3 times and no one could tell me what the discount was then they disconnected me “by accident”.  In the store, the Verizon guy looked up the discounts for me but then didn’t give me a brochure with all the information on it like AT&T and Sprint did.  It was all hidden and weird.  They may be the most reliable 4G network but I did not get the same touchy, feely feeling there that I got with both AT&T and Sprint.  No one explained the accessories and the discounts or all the features of the phones and droids that were on display.  Since I do not have a brochure, I could not even share it here so I am just comparing where I can and trying to point out the differences but mainly the plans for Verizon are almost identical to the new AT&T plans and just as pricey.  I know many Coloradans love Verizon because of its reliability and coverage.  That being said, the east coast friends love either Sprint or T-mobile’s coverage better, and then I have friends on the west coast who swear by AT&T so again, it depends… but once you find something right for you, don’t think the grass is greener on the other side – it isn’t and everyone doesn’t have the like the same thing and what may work for one person may not work another.

Bottom Line: When it comes to cell phones, wireless devices and smart phones and PLANS, it’s important for you to love the one you’re with!

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