Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Old Orchard Cranberry Naturals Review and Giveaway

In my family, both my immediate and extended, healthy kidneys are gold.  So, we drink a lot of cranberry juice around here.  

Last week, Old Orchard sent me their new line of Cranberry Naturals to try out and review, both Cranberry Raspberry and Classic Cranberry.  
Before I even got the bottles out of the box, everyone was trying to stake their claim on the one they wanted, lol.  Now, in all honesty, I am not a big juice drinker and I have a set of the healthy kidneys, but I do prefer cranberry juice to other juices and since it is always around I do drink it a lot. 

I handed the Classic Cranberry over to the "we drink cranberry juice for our health" side of the fam, and kept the Cranberry Raspberry for the "we drink it because we like it" side of the fam. 

Because of higher than average cranberry consumption, my family is very familiar with Old Orchard, and prefer its juice over other brands.  But, their new Naturals line has some interesting stuff I want to mention.  

From the Old Orchard site:

All-natural, reduced-calorie cranberry juice cocktails, sweetened with a blend of sugar and Truvia™ - No HFCS. No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Naturally sweet!

The No High Fructose Corn Syrup bit is something I love about Old Orchard because it is hard to find brands and products that you still like, but help you keep that out of your system.  

In addition to the two flavors we tried, there is also:

Cranberry Apple
Cranberry Blueberry
Cranberry Grape
Cranberry Pomegranate
Classic Cranberry
Cranberry Raspberry

So how did we like it?

Everyone loved the taste, of both!  Even though there is Truvia in the juice, I could not taste the difference at all-- and I always notice those subtle differences.  

What surprised me was that I actually preferred the Classic Cranberry over the Cranberry Raspberry.  Remember what I said about not being a big juice drinker?  Well that is because I do not like how sweet most juices are.  I usually water everything down by half and then drink it.  

The Cranberry Raspberry was not super sweet, but the berry flavor was definitely there and I needed to water it down slightly.  The classic was fine straight and I will most likely continue to buy this flavor over the others in the future-- though the pomegranate variety has me interested. 

And now for a giveaway!

As part of my Cranberry Naturals package, Old Orchard sent me a couple coupons for 64 ounce bottles of any flavor Cranberry Naturals juice.  One of my readers will win both coupons! 

To Enter:
First, if you are not already a follower of Unus Sed Leona, please follow using Google Friend Connect on the sidebar. This step is required.  Then leave me a comment letting me know you want to win along with an email address, so I can contact the winner. 

Some Extra Entries:
Friend or Like my blog on Facebook (1 entry for either)
Follow me on Twitter

This contest runs till 12/5/10. Once the winner is drawn and notified you have 48 hours to contact me with an address.  I will be sending the free coupons to the winner, not Old Orchard.  

*This product was provided to me free for review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.*

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicago Loves Its Christmas Parades!

Parades and fireworks, two things I love lots!  And I love that here in Chicago, we have tons of them all year round.  Right now the twins and I are getting our fill of all the Christmas parades, and lovin' it!

The Millennium Lights Festival kicks things off (that was last weekend), then there is the Turkey Day Parade, and this past weekend the Electric Christmas Parade. It's hard to believe that just a little over a week ago the girls and I, and my best friend, were walking down the same street in long shirts marveling over how warm it was.

Here is a photo of my BFF with Colonel Baker about ten days ago.
And here are the twins with Colonel Baker on Saturday just as the Electric Christmas Parade was winding down.  It was a frigid 30-- barely-- and we were wrapped up in coats and blankets, enjoying the free hot chocolate.

 I took this picture with my cell phone, so the quality is not good at all.  

There is at least one more Christmas Parade in a small town that I know of, and hopefully I will be able to take the twins to that one as well.  Just found a pic of us from a previous year to add here as well.  The twins got to pet the horses that were pulling Santa's sleigh!
I am so ready for Christmas!

Today I am the feature blog over at Follow Us Monday Morning, head over there and join the blog hop if you already haven't!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Silver Jewelry Club Review & Upcoming Giveaway!

I have been ordering free jewelry pieces from Silver Jewelry Club for a little over two years now, and I have loved every piece.  Gemstone pendants, rings, bracelets and earrings all for the price of shipping!

Every year I, and family, have spent a lot of money buying jewelry for each other during the holidays, when the whole time we could have been getting pieces that were just as well made and expensive for free. 

If you have never heard of Silver Jewelry Club, it is this great online site run by its parent company, Peora.  They offer unique silver jewelry pieces for free to customers in order to showcase just what they can do with the purpose of attracting customers to their main catalog of pieces.

The timed sales are put online for a fifteen minute period, four at a time.  Another 15 upcoming pieces are displayed in a line up so that you can view and get updates on the time of each sale.   

In the last year, they have also added a deal of the day, offering an item from their catalog at a significant discount. Ranging anywhere from twelve to forty dollars, the deals can include anything from Mallorcan pearls to genuine gemstone tennis bracelets.

This year I decided to purchase one box chain for each of the girls through SJC, and then order a few pendants for each of them to kind of make a mix and match jewelry set.  Right now I have a pendant in their birthstone and then different color combinations for each sister so that they can wear two different necklace styles.  I plan on ordering one more for each of them before Christmas. 

So, how does it work?

Well, you just visit SilverJewelryClub.com, pick one of the four pieces that they have displayed.  If you click on each one it will give you specifics as to ring size, gemstone size, silver weight etc.  If you don't see something that you want right away, wait a while and new sale options will be added.  

There is no guarantee that any one item will come back on sale in the future, but I have seen most of the items once or twice and some days all the gemstones are randoms while other days it seems like they are posting different pieces but all the same gemstone.  

Once you have selected what you want you just need to provide your shipping address and pay the $6.99 shipping fee.  I always get mine within two weeks of ordering!

What about other companies?

There is another free silver jewelry site called silverjewelry.com.  I have ordered from them in the past and actually thought that some of their options were better.  That was short lived though, because not only do their shipping prices keep going up, but their jewelry has seriously gone down in quality from fine crafted silver pieces to crude forms of silver.  I don't recommend them at all. 

Silver Jewelry Club even has a newsletter that they send out once a week, letting you know about the upcoming pieces, deals and deals of the day.  I do not get too many emails from them, but enough to keep me in the loop.  

I like Silver Jewelry Club so much that I have decided to sign up as an affiliate with them and offer a couple Silver Jewelry Club gift certificates for my readers during my Holiday Gift Hop Contest. 

Anyone that signs up for Silver Jewelry Newsletters before the hop begins in Dec. will get 5 extra entries into the contest.  

Visit Silver Jewelry Club and click on the link located near the bottom of the page under the jewelry for sale.  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Time for the Turkey Tamales!

Making tamales is a process, and one that when done right, earns you some pretty incredible results.  Every Thanksgiving, well almost every, my family puts a Turkey in the oven for dinner, but we make that turkey into turkey tamales!

They taste delicious, no matter how much work they are.  Actually, the more you do it the less work it is because you get better and go a lot faster.  Anyway, it is near midnight and everyone here is ready to get making.  

We aren't staying up late to make sure it gets done for tomorrow or anything, my family is just a stay up late type of family.  We dine like the Spaniards, late, and believe in three hour family dinners when there is enough to talk about.  

So, tonight we will make the tamales and tomorrow we will feast on them!  I'll be sure to snap some pictures but I can't share the recipe because then I would have to do away with you :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

And don't forget to head over to my book blog, The Opening Lines, to get your entry in for a Borders card before the Thanksgiving Giveaway Hop ends on Friday. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy for $1 on Amazon

Even though I already heard most of it, I have been waiting for the new Kanye album to be released today.  I planned on buying it directly from iTunes, because I have several GCs that I still need to redeem over there, but then I saw that I could grab it for just a dollar on Amazon.  

The entire album is listed at $3.99 right now and there is a new $3 Amazon mp3 code for the Holidays that you can use, making it .99!  To get the code, works with any mp3 purchase, go to the page of the mp3 you want, click on the link that says:

"Redeem a gift code or promotion code & view balance"

It is located directly under the Buy This button, and then enter GET3MP3S.

The credit will automatically be applied and you will only have to pay .99 for the balance of the album. I also have Amazon credit from SB codes so I didn't actually pay anything.

As for the album, I have listened to it twice and I like the album overall.  


Monday, November 22, 2010

Wish for the World

If you had one wish for the world this year, what would it be?

Every year one of my favorite places in Chicago, The Art Institute, gets all decked out for the holiday along with the rest of the city.  Last night the twins and I walked around checking out some of the decorations and lights already up, and it really does put you in the mood for the Holidays.  

*Side note*
The one, and only, thing none of us were happy with was the Christmas windows at Macys.  When Macys bought out Fields, they promised to keep the Christmas window tradition going, but I don't think they quite understood the Christmas magic part. The windows have been seriously boring and completely scaled down.

But back to the AIC.

Every year the lions get wreathed, but last year they decided to change things up a bit.  A set of aluminum wreaths hung on In An Attitude of Defiance and On the Prowl for half of the Holiday season and then the traditional wreaths went back on.  

This Friday though, an exciting set of wreaths will hang on the lions for the entire Holiday season, and I can't wait to see them.  Chicagoans Stephanie and Bruce Tharp came up with a not so traditional wreath idea that combines the look of an American cranberry wreath with the idea of the Buddhist wishing tree. 

Each of the two thousand plus "cranberries" holds a Wish for the World, scribed by schoolchildren from around Chicago.  The cranberries with their wishes are then placed in a solar powered globe and strung up on the wreath, which will glow come nightfall.  

I think the idea is a beautiful one. The world needs more good vibes put out there these days.  

But it got me thinking.  If I could have one wish for the world, what would it be?  

In every life experience I have had, every life story I have witnessed and every life that has touched mine or that I've touched, there has been one constant. 


I cannot imagine what it is like to be without hope, but I know that there are some people out there in truly hard or horrible places that feel as if there is no hope for them.  One cause that I am really dedicated to is that of, Free the Slaves, an organization dedicated to ending slavery and human trafficking around the world.  

My wish for the world is that no one living today is ever without hope, that there is hope for the hopeless. 

What would your wish for the world be?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

USL Online Shopping Picks 11/20/2010

I guess before I go into this I should warn you that I have very dramatic tastes, preferring black, red and deep purples.  Also, anything at all flamenco inspired makes my heart beat faster.  

From Rue La La:
BCBGMAXAZRIA Womens "Plisse" Watch
Orig. $125, $50 for the next 2 days
 From Swirl:
Yosi Samra Snake Print Ballet Flat
Orig $65, $29 till 11/24
Make Me Chic has newly arrived ankle boots priced at just $15 plus free shipping, for a very limited amount of time. The styles still available have been seriously depleted just since last night so hurry up and shop! These are my top two picks, but there are about 5 pairs in all that I have to have (even if I can't walk in them for awhile still).  :)

UMI Ladies Crystal Rectangular Wallet in Red
Orig $75, $29 till 11/22
 From Modnique:
Nine West Box Top Satchel Handbag
Orig $69, $34 till 11/23
From Lanvin for H&M:
Now that the craziness of yesterday has passed, I am going to check out the Mag Mile H&M. From the blogosphere, it seems Lanvin for H&M is a hit and I can't wait to see the collection for myself. 
Yellow Lanvin Dress $200

Also today, I will be checking out the new Holiday collection from Brynn Capella, but more on that later.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What is it About Frida?

For a couple of months now I have been left wondering what it is about Frida that attracts so many people.  For me it has always been the color and pain. Those two things brought together by Frida make for some incredibly moving works of art. 

Several months ago I had the chance to go check out a traveling display of photography by Nickolas Muray.  Muray's subject was Frida, the two were lovers, and spanned several years.   I shared some of what I saw here, on my blog, and since then the post has had hundreds of views every week, and sometimes days.  
I Will Never Forget You...: Frida Kahlo to Nickolas Muray 

Just the other day, while picking books for my Chronicle book Haul, I found I Will Never Forget You, a book containing 56 colored plates by Nickolas Muray-- many of the same ones I saw in the exhibit in March. I plan on buying it during one of my upcoming Holiday book splurges :)

For the time being, I will continue to get a kick out of just what it is about Frida that attracts people- compliments of the updated Stats tracker installed on Blogger.  Seriously, everything from "How do I get Frida's eyebrows?" to "die like Frida" show up on the search bar tracker every day. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

EO Product Giveaways on the Net!

I just noticed that there are a lot of new EO giveaways being held on blogs all over the net!  If you are not familiar with EO, you can check out my prior post, where I include some of my favorite products too.  I am pretty sure all of the giveaways listed on that page are over though.

It's okay though, because there are tons of new ones to enter!  Oh, I also read on EO's FB page that they are now sold in Target!!

Direct Links
Show Me Mama
Tatum's Family
One Savvy Mom
The Thrifty Things
It's Me Melbie!
Texas Kitchen
Monkey Mayhem
Mon Cheri
Let me know if you enter and win!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Glencara Jewlery GC Giveaways on the Net

I know that a lot of folks out there are looking for as many deals this Christmas as they can possibly find, so I thought I would do another roundup.  Glencara is an Irish jewelry company with some really nice pieces and they are working with a lot of blogs right now, giving away $50 GCs to their site. 

Many of the pieces I have looked at myself are $25 to $30, so you can get one really nice piece or two equally nice but less expensive pieces to give as Christmas gifts.  

Here are all the Glencara sponsored giveaways that I have found. If you are hosting one and I left you out, let me know and I will add a link.

*Glencara has not sponsored this post in any way, nor has it sent me anything. This is all information I have found on my own. :)*

Shooting Stars Mag, Ends 11/16
Two of a Kind, Ends today 11/15
Daddy Forever, Ends 11/16
Thanks Mail Carrier, Ends 11/19
Canadian Free Stuff, Ends 11/30
Our Ordinary Life, Ends 12/1
JDaniel4's Mom, Ends 11/22
Just Because I'm a Mom, Ends 11/23

Let me know if you end up winning any! I did a round up similar to this for EO Bath and Beauty products last month and I just found out that I won one of them-- the last one I entered!

Chagall Windows in Chicago

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to live in the city of Chicago with all its art and culture.  But then I have a friend visit me for a week and I get the chance to show off and re-explore my favorite artsy places and things, like Chagall in Chicago.  

Public art is huge in Chicago. It's everywhere, all the time.  So even though it was November, I knew that I had to get as much art in when my best friend told me that she wanted to see and do everything in Chicago that I loved and enjoyed myself.  

Of course the Art Institute was on the menu, but I was thrilled when I realized she would be here the very week the Chagall Windows, or America Windows, would be re-installed! After poking around other parts of Chicago, and getting a little shopping in, we headed to the AIC to take a look at the windows and a few other favorite pieces in the museum.  

Here they are!

The color in the room that they are now installed is so intense and I can understand why so many places wanted Chagall windows of their own.  From Wikipedia:

According to Picasso's mistress, Fran├žoise Gilot, Picasso had a great deal of respect for Chagall, and once told her,
"When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color is... His canvases are really painted, not just tossed together. Some of the last things he's done in Vence convince me that there's never been anybody since Renoir who has the feeling for light that Chagall has."
Stand in that room, or in front of anything else Chagall made, and you will know that what Picasso said was true.

Chagall dedicated the windows, which commemorate the American bicentennial, to Mayor Richard J. Daley after completing Four Seasons, a Chicago sculpture that was met with much enthusiasm by Chicagoans.  Even though this piece was done in an entirely different medium, the windows remind me much of Four Seasons.  

After the windows we had time to check out my favorite pieces by Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Monet and others.  I'll share all of those with you guys later. 

Today I am linking up with my good friend JR at Frugality is Free


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saying Hi on Sunday

Just trying to get back into the swing of things this weekend.  Took a long nap after dropping my BFF off at the airport and now it is time to catch up on work, house stuff and get back to life in general. 

If you are stopping by from a hop or any group I have joined, be sure to comment and say hi so that I can drop by. 

Oh, also, going to need help in the next couple weeks.  I got the docs for the vacation getaway and I am too excited by the choices to choose one.  I am totally leaning towards St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands right now, but Aruba and Hawaii are definite runners up.  

Sunday Strolling Blog Hop


Friday, November 12, 2010

Doing Things The Chicago Way & CSN Winner!

I mentioned at the end of last week that I was having a house guest for a week and because of that I would be all over Chicago, and absent from both of my blogs for a little bit of time. Well, she arrived and we have been enjoying ourselves in the city even more than I thought we would.  

I plan on going more into detail later, but we are trying our best to fit in as much of Chicago as we can, including:

One of my favorite night spots for Gypsy Jazz!

 Sue the T-Rex!
 Deep Dish Pizza!
 Chagall's Windows! 
We did tons of other stuff to like went antique shopping, piano bar tonight, played in the Bean, checked out the Leaning Tower, shopped, lol!

Can't wait to tell you all about it later, but we are already leaving for the day to get some more shopping in and art gallery hopping tonight!

Okay, but I did take a few minutes out of my day to draw the winner of the CSN giveaway, its Angelene! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Won a Vacation! CSN Update Too

I have my best friend over for a visit, and I have not seen her in over a year so we are crazy busy catching up and enjoying ourselves. So, I am very behind in blog stuff and other online business, but I did have the chance to check my email for ten minutes before I went to bed last night.  

When I did I discovered that I was the winner of a two day getaway for two that I had entered last week!  Orelia, my best friend, and I are trying to decide where it is that I want to go, but I can't decide yet until I find out the destinations that my voucher is good for. 

Anywhere warm is good for me at this point!  I didn't get my beach vacay this summer and I am dying to be somewhere, anywhere but cold Chicago.  

As for the CSN giveaway, I need to go through and verify all the entries because there are several that were entered after the deadline when I neglected to end the contest last night.  I will be doing that tonight as soon as I get my BFF to go to bed and jump back on the laptop to work. 

A big thank you to everyone for helping. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Amazon Video Purchase, The Gift That Keeps on Giving!

I know a lot of folks are bargain hunting right now with Christmas right around the corner, and I appreciate all the deals that bloggers post. A couple months ago, I took advantage of one of those deals and pre-ordered Toy Story 3 on DVD (which arrived this past week) at a super price.

Toy Story 3 
Because the original price actually was reduced, I got an email stating that my Amazon account had been credited the difference, making it an even better deal.  I did not pay anything out of pocket, because I had a $5 amazon credit from Swagbucks and shipping was free.  

Anyway, as soon as the DVD was shipped I was notified that as a reward for purchasing a DVD I earned a $4 Video on Demand Credit.  I love getting these credits because it is a cheap movie night for the girls and I without ever having to go anywhere or choose something else because the movie we want is gone.  

We ended up watching Seraphine, and I still have a dollar credit that we can apply to the next movie night.
This morning I received yet another email letting me know that Amazon customers that purchased videos were eligible for a $1 subscription to Rolling Stone, US Weekly or Men's Journal! I love Rolling Stone magazine, and even though I get a lot of magazines for free because of the business, this is not one that is offered.  
Rolling Stone (1-year auto-renewal) 

The promotional code that is given is worth $9 so all that is left is $1, which was already in my Amazon account! 
This one purchase is really the gift that keeps on giving. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Simple Green, Puttin' it to the Test

I have to give a huge thank you to, Anne from Mommy has to Work

In case you don't know, Simple Green has an entire line of green, natural cleaning products for your entire home.  Anne hosted a giveaway, and I won a complete set of the Simple Green Naturals Household Cleaning Product line!

My family has been green since before it was a thing-- hehe.  We were a super scouting family and practice what we preach.  Also, because many of us had a lot of allergies to mainstream products available, my mom had to hunt down green, natural products to use in the home and it was not so easy back then.  Shaklee cleaning products have regularly been in our home, but because of the price we do try other brands.  

Three thing I love about Simple Green right off the bat:
- It's all non-toxic and biodegradable!
- They are lightly scented (herb scents people!)
- Simple Green is made in the USA (super biggie in this house)

The twins would also like to add that they are very happy that these products are not tested on animals :)

Right now I am expecting an out of town guest for a week, and we are in full cleaning mode. So, my box could not have arrived at the door at a better time.  Window cleaner and dish soap were already on my shopping list-- the kiddies are upset they did not get away without doing the dishes-- so the Simple Green is already being put to the test. 

The bottle of liquid hand soap is installed in my bathroom, I like a nice full bottle when guests are around, and the window cleaner, floor cleaner and bathroom cleaner will all get a workout by the end of the day.  Catherine has assumed possession of the multi-surface cleaner because it is her job to scrub and disinfect the kitchen.  

I'll let you all know how the products hold out in an upcoming post-- probably not till after my bff leaves.  Side not: I can't remember the last time I was this excited about cleaning products and cleaning, lol.  Maybe it has to do with the whole winning aspect, IDK!

Blog Giveaway Events for Christmas!

So many blogs are hosting some serious Holiday giveaways, and there are some very neat prizes to win.  Here at Unus Sed Leona, and The Opening Lines, I will be participating in two different Holiday giveaway hops including:

Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop

And the following are some of the other Holiday Giveaway Events I have found and entered myself.  I will keep updating this as I go so keep checking back and good luck!

Mimi Loves All 8
Grab my button for Christmas

It's My Life

  Scooby Doo Nintendo DS game! 


Win a Kitchen Aid Mixer!

Looking forward to Geek Chic Cosmetics!
House to Home guide
Brother Sewing Machine & Towel Warmer!
Powered by BannerFans.com
$100 GC to Tea Collection, $25 B&N GC! 

Simply Stacie's Holiday Gift Guide

Mama Must Have It

2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Win a Laptop!