Disney-Pixar’s BRAVE – Review and Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed and a winner will be chosen and notified shortly. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Disney-Pixar’s newest animated film, BRAVE, packs a dramatic and thrilling punch. I really enjoyed it the first time I saw it, but after reading the concerns of others about the film’s content, I wondered if maybe I had missed something. So when Disney contacted me and asked if I would like to receive the soon-to-be-released 5-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition, I jumped at the chance.

Since receving the movie last weekend, I have watched it twice with my youngest child. (Remember when you were a kid and could watch movies over and over…and over again?) I have to say, I don’t share the concerns voiced, though I do respect them.

BRAVE is ambitious in a lot of ways. We’re faced with a bold and brash Princess who doesn’t want to get married. This, of course, isn’t the first time Disney has explored that storyline (Aladdin’s Jasmine didn’t want to be forced into marriage, either. I know my Disney movies…) But for the first time, a Disney Princess movie doesn’t involve any sort of love story whatsoever.

Honestly, I found that refreshing.

Merida is not pining for a fella. She wants to grow up more. She isn’t opposed to marriage – she’s just not ready for it. I think this is a good message for little girls…if they even pick up on that theme at all. Chances are, most young ones won’t get the underlying messages of this movie, and that’s okay. Because it’s a fun movie to watch.

(Never before has an animated film left me with such a desire to travel. The scenery is so gorgeous that I’ve got half a mind to pack my bags and move to Scotland.)

BRAVE is a little scary in places. The evil bear, Mor’du, makes several gnarly, growly appearances and the much of the movie takes place at night, which adds an air of tension. This has not affected my children in the slightest, but if you have kiddos sensitive to those sorts of things, you should be aware. It is not, in my opinion, any scarier than other Disney movies (a gigantic octopus witch getting stabbed in the stomach with the mast of a ship anyone? It’s a wonder any of us ever slept again after that one…)

I also enjoyed the complexity that BRAVE explores in the relationship between mother and daughter. Merida and her mom, Elinor, fight almost non-stop the first half of the movie. A few years ago, when my own daughter was younger, this may have bothered me. But considering I wanted to bash my head against the wall this morning due to a battle over shoes (SHOES! JUST PUT THEM ON PUT THEM ON PUT THEM ON!), I get it a little more. This mother daughter thing is give and take and I loved the resolve at the end of the movie on the part of both characters.

BRAVE is a little…um…braver than other Disney films. In one scene, a bunch of the men walk by having shimmied down the palace walls using their kilts as ropes, and we are greeted to our first ever Disney butts. I found this hilarious – you may not. But at least you know. I also enjoyed the relationship between Elinor and Fergus, Merida’s wily, burly father. Yes, the Queen comes off looking more polished than her husband, but he is also a very strong character who fights bears and protects his family without fear. And I love the sweet bond that is shown between father and daughter.

In all, I found BRAVE to be delightful and fun and I’m thrilled with the bonus features on this five disc combo pack (which includes 1 Blu-ray 3D disc, 2 Blu-ray Discs, 1 DVD and 1 Digital Copy). The bonus features further solidify my longing to visit Scotland.

Today, thanks to Disney, I have the privilege of offering one lucky winner their own 5-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition of BRAVE. Simply leave a comment to enter. You can leave a comment about anything at all. But if you have been to Scotland before, would you please tell me in the comments section – is it as beautiful as it seems in animation?!

There are four ways to earn additional entries:


– Share this giveaway on Facebook, then come back and let me know you shared it.

– Share this giveaway on Twitter then, you guess it, come back and let me know about it.

– Post this giveaway to Pinterest, then come back and leave yet another comment.

– Post about this giveaway on your blog for a final entry.

This giveaway will be open until Tuesday, November 13. I will draw a winner at 12:00 PM EST. I am working with Disney-Pixar in promotion of the release of BRAVE on DVD. I was provided a copy of the 5-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition for review. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Meet the newest American Girl

Comments are now closed. Winner will be announced tomorrow. Thanks everyone!

You would be hard pressed to find another toy company that has come up with a more creative and lucrative idea than that of the American Girl doll. Blending history with all things girly, they have the market on quality toys for little girls. I mean, really – they put Cabbage Patch Dolls to shame.

Those dolls grew in the ground and had yarn for hair. The ’80’s were a strange time, folks…

Had American Girl been around when I was little, I would have been wildly in love with the dolls. Instead, I am just wildly in love with them as an adult, and thankfully I get to share them with my own daughter and watch her imagination bloom as she plays and learns through their vastly rich historical stories.

Well done, American Girl. Well done.

The newest American Girl historical figure is Caroline Abbott whose story takes place near Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. From the American Girl press release:

“Living with her family in Sacket Harbor, New York, Caroline loves sailing with her shipbuilder father, and she even dreams of captaining her own ship one day. But after British sailors capture her father and cousin, Caroline does her best to keep the promise she makes to her father to stay steady and ride storms through the better weather. In the end, Caroline finds – and proves – her own steadiness and strength as she navigates the challenges of wartime.”

Caroline launches with six historical books written by author and social historian Kathleen Ernst and they follow Caroline’s adventures through this rich moment in American history.

“Our newest historical character, Caroline, is a brave, independent girl who teaches girls today that they can navigate life’s challenges by staying strong, making good decisions, and taking action,” says Jean McKenzie, executive vice president of American Girl. “We know our fans will be inspired by the stories of Caroline, who shows girls that they can set their own course to help make changes for the future.”

With Christmas quickly approaching (I know, WHAT?!), Caroline Abbott would make a great addition to your American Girl’s collection. She has an array of historically accurate clothes and accessories that represent her time period and the books are sure to enthrall your daughters as they learn more about our country in a way that interests them.

Today, thanks to American Girl, I have the privilege of offering one lucky reader Caroline Abbott’s six book box set. You can share with your daughter (or granddaughter, or niece, or cousin, or neighbor, or sister-in-law’s Aunt’s second cousin’s daughter…) these fun and lively tales that bring American history to life in a way that they can all love and understand.

There are three ways to enter:


Leave a comment. Any comment will do.

– Send out a Tweet letting people know about the giveaway and come back and leave a second comment letting me know you tweeted and you will earn a second entry.

– Post this giveaway to Facebook and come back and leave a third comment, letting me know and you will receive a third entry.

This contest is open to US Residents only and will end on Monday, September 10, when I draw a random name from the list of comments. You will have twenty-four hours to respond to the email telling you you’ve won. If you do not respond, I will choose another winner. The winner will receive the box set directly from American Girl.

Ready to enter?




Oh, and please…have a lovely Tuesday. It’s September people! SEPTEMBER! Which can only mean one thing…pumpkin spice lattes and (hopefully soon for us Floridians) scarves and boots. That’s enough to make me unendingly happy today…

disclaimer: I am working in conjunction with American Girl to promote the launch of their new historical doll and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I received the Caroline Abbott doll in exchange for writing this post. I was not compensated.

Softer, Younger Looking Skin? Yes, Please!

I don’t do a lot of reviews around here, but every once in awhile the product is either fun enough, or catches my eye enough to make me holler Yes! And then I share it with you.

This product is not a new one to me as I’ve been using Dove products since I was in high school. (Or since the “olden days” as my children like to say when referring to my youth. *eye roll*) But when the tag line of Dove’s new line of body wash is Visibly more beautiful skin from a body wash, well, I am all in.

Remember, I am the girl obsessed with all things skin related. If a product promises me younger looking skin, I buy it hook, line and sinker. And I like to think my obession is paying off. Just this week two different people told me I didn’t look old enough to have a nine year old. I shared this with my husband in an attempt to get him to quit trying to add up how much I’ve spent over the years on skin care goodies.

It’s best for everyone involved if we not focus on that aspect…

Me being dorky with my Dove Body Wash, which is very photogenic, I might add...

I’ve been using the new Dove® Visible Care Renewing Creme Body Wash for a week now and I love it. First and foremost, it smells delicious, both clean and pretty. But not so pretty that Lee couldn’t use it – cause my man likes to smell like a man.

Honestly, I can’t say that I’ve noticed a huge difference in my skin since I began using it, but I do love how I feel when I get out of the shower.

Yesterday we spent the day at the beach and I came home sandy and salty and dirty. The Dove® Visible Care Body Wash was especially reviving afterward and I could see it being extremely useful during those dry winter months when your skin threatens to grow scales.

Or at least mine does…

Here are a few of the benefits you will reap when using Dove® Visible Care Body Creme:

  • You will be using a revolutionary line of premium body wash.
  • It contains the highest concentration of Nutrium Moisture techology across the Dove portfolio.
  • It gives you visibly more beautiful skin in just one week.
  • It is available in three different variants – New Dove® VisibleCare Toning Crème Body Wash (helps to promote skin’s elasticity and strength), Renewing Body Wash( nourishes and replenishes skin), Softening Body Wash (softens skin and dry spots).

Now this blog post is not just another product pitch. Oh no. There is potential involved for your endurance in reading through my love of all things skin related.

First, visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off so that you can try out their new line of skin renewing body wash for yourself!

And second, who wants to win a $500 Spafinder Gift Certificate? Anybody? Anybody?

Enter to win one of two $500 Spafinder gift certificates!



You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 7/18/2012 – 8/22/2012

Be sure to visit the Dove® VisibleCare™ Crème Body Wash brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

May we all now raise our glasses to the promise of younger, healthier, more beautiful looking skin! Visit Dove’s site for more information on their products.

Disclaimer: This is a paid promotion on behalf of Blogher and Dove. I was provided a sample of the product to try out. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Doctor is In

First, let me start off by saying I thought up all manner of cheesy titles for this post involving doctors.  I finally settled on this one – the most cheesy and least inappropriate of them all.

Disclaimer #2: I really try hard not to push a lot of products on you all over here.  I’ve never been a big fan of product pitches myself so, for the most part, I aim to not recommend or talk about a product unless it’s something I really love and feel would be beneficial to you all.

With that said, when the Rug Doctor contacted me several weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in coming to St. Louis to learn more about their product, I initially said no.  To be painfully honest, I simply didn’t care about the Rug Doctor.  However, when they sweetened the deal by offering to fly the kids up with me, I decided to jump on board, not because I had a sudden change of heart but because I wanted to go back home for a visit.

And I really struggled with this decision.  It was a gamble of integrity and I wondered if I’d made the right choice.  Sure I got to go home, but I also had to write about a product now that I knew nothing about.  What if I hated it?  And worse yet, what if my readers felt duped and used?  All because I wanted a free trip to St. Louis.

After arriving, I set the kids up with sitters in our hotel room and I joined the Rug Doctor team and several other bloggers on a tour of the Fenton factory where Rug Doctor develops, tests and assembles their product.  And it was here that I got my first real glimpse at the Rug Doctor and the quality of the product.

From the Rug Doctor website: From its beginning, Rug Doctor has serviced both the professional and the Do-It-Yourself carpet cleaning market through the manufacture, sale, and service of carpet cleaning products and machines.

During the factory tour, we had the opportunity to see scientists testing and developing the carpet cleaning solutions with the intent of creating a superior product that truly does what they claim it does.  Rug Doctor’s products are made with a specific ph range that is effective for deep cleaning without damaging the fibers of your carpets or upholstry.  If a batch of product does not test to standards it is thrown out and they begin again.  Quality is of the utmost importance and the employees took great pride in that.

We were given the opportunity to speak with a number of different people from the head of the company to the head engineer in charge of building, testing and improving the features of the carpet cleaning machine.  And I actually found the whole thing very interesting.  It was nice to see a company take pride in who they were and what they offered.

At the end of the day, Rug Doctor informed us that we would each receive a Rug Doctor machine and a box of product so that we could try out it on our own carpets.  I must confess, this actually excited me a little.  The people that owned the house before us had animals and they weren’t big on the whole cleaning thing so our carpets are nasty.  Not to mention the fact that the Rug Doctor can also be used to clean upholstry, area rugs and cars.  Did you hear that?


I have used my Rug Doctor in several places around the house and I can honestly tell you that I no longer question my integrity for recommending this product to you.  It is, no doubt, amazing.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this picture:

People of the world, that is a picture of the water that came out of my machine after I used the Rug Doctor on my couch.  MY COUCH!  The place where guests sit when they come to visit.  This is what it was hiding.


I have also used the Rug Doctor on the kid’s mattresses after bed wetting and it lifted the stain and odor out immediately.  The only stain I haven’t been able to get out is the bright blue one on my office floor, which occurred when I dropped the paint brush while painting the room.  So let the record show that the Rug Doctor can’t correct stupidity.

I can now honestly tell you that I love my Rug Doctor machine.  It is absolutely worth both your time and your money to rent and use one.  I plan on using it on every piece of fabric in my house and I am oddly excited about that.  It was extremely easy to use and it absolutely did what they claimed it would do – deep cleaned my carpets and couch without damaging the fibers.

The best part of all this is you don’t have to actually own a Rug Doctor to use one.  You can rent one at grocery stores across the nation for anywhere from $20-$32 for a 24-hour period.  Add in the cost of product and you’re looking at no more than $50 for the opportunity to deep clean everything in your house.  The Rug Doctor machines are serviced regularly and are quick and easy to rent, use and return.  For more information about what Rug Doctor can do for your carpets, from removing allergens and pet dander to eliminating stains and odor, check out this page.

Disclaimer: Rug Doctor flew the kids and I up to St. Louis for the blogger outreach event.  I was not compensated for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.  And yes, my couch was actually that dirty.

*hangs head in shame*

Bounce Dryer Bar: A Review


It’s no secret that doing laundry is not high on my “Things I Love To Do” list. In fact, it happens to hold steady on my “Things That Feel Like Legalized Torture” list right in between cleaning toilets and painting. Remember this picture?

When a person hates laundry, she tends to put it off until it turns into this...

Right. It’s safe to say that the laundry and I are not BFFs. But, like anyone else, I have a family that prefers wearing clean clothes on a daily basis and my husband, for some odd reason, will not include buying new clothes and getting rid of the dirty ones into our monthly budget.

Weird, huh?

So anytime I hear of any product that has the potential to make doing laundry even one step quicker/cheaper/easier, I’m all game for giving it a try. Which is why I was pleased to try out the Bounce Dryer Bar.

In the grand scheme of doing laundry, pulling out a dryer sheet and tossing it in with the clothes is not that great of a time suck. However, the Bounce Dryer Bar, by eliminating the need to reach for a dryer sheet, has given me one less thing to think about and as a busy Mom with a 100 thousand things on my mind, that actually provides a tremendous amount of freedom. With the Bounce Dryer Bar, all you do is peel the backing off of what feels like a big bar of soap then stick it inside your dryer and voila! Laundry just got one step easier. It’s simple, convenient and automatic. There may also be a cost benefit as the dryer bar will last up to four months leaving your clothes smelling fresh, feeling soft and controlling static cling without the need to constantly run out for more dryer sheets.

This is the part of the review where I confess that I am actually a liquid softener kinda gal. I love how good my clothes smell when I use liquid fabric softener as opposed to dryer sheets. So I was admittedly a bit skeptical when I began using the Bounce Dryer Bar. But I needed not fear (and neither should you). The Bounce Dryer Bar not only makes my clothes smell amazing, but it also acts as an air freshener for my entire laundry room. And, oddly enough, that actually makes me enjoy doing laundry a little bit more. It’s a miracle! And look at how much my family enjoys their clothes after using the Bounce Dryer Bar!

See how happy they are? Look at their smiles!

So this is the part where you get the chance to win a Bounce Dryer Bar and see just how right I am about this new product. You may also win a $50 Visa gift card from BlogHer! To enter, leave me a comment or answer this question: What do you like the least about doing laundry?

If you would like more information about the Bounce Dryer Bar before giving it a try yourself, you can visit their Facebook page here. For more opportunities to win, visit the Bounce round-up page on BlogHer.com to read other bloggers’ reviews!

Rules for Entry: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.

This promotion will end on Tuesday, December 6 at 5:00 PST.

Disclaimer: This is a paid review for BlogHer on behalf of Bounce Dryer Bar. Although I was compensated, the opinions expressed are my own, which means that yes, I actually have become that girl who gets excited about laundry products. It’s official…I’m a grown up.

Disclaimer #2: While I was not in any way swayed or coerced in my review of the product, my family was totally and completely bribed with the promise of cupcakes if they complied with my request to look like they were madly in love with their freshly cleaned clothes.