Thursday, September 8, 2011

Green Mountain Coffee and Keurig Review and Giveaway




My husband and I are huge coffee drinkers.  I’m not quite sure how people, especially mom’s of young children, are able to function without it.  But what I am even a bigger fan of is when an item or product that I love and consume daily is socially and environmentally conscious. 


If I am going to be spending my family’s hard earned money on a product we use daily, I want to know that I am buying a product that is focused on creating positive change in our world.  Now this is not always possible or necessarily affordable, but it is definitely possible with coffee.


Green Mountain Coffee is Certified Fair Trade and is committed promoting positive change around the world.  Certified Fair Trade is defined as an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards.

As a company, Green Mountain has worked hard to support communities around the world by increasing their health and economic well-being.  To qualify for Fair Trade certification, farmers must belong to an organized co-op. Farmers are able to adhere to the highest business and growing practices because they are paid a fair price for their coffee beans.  Often farmers are forced to use cost-cutting practices when they do NOT receive a fair price for their beans, thus impacting the quality of the coffee as well as causing a harmful effect on our environment. So, not only does Fair Trade promote a better quality of life for the farmers, but it means better quality coffee overall.  I believe all business owners have decisions to be made in regards to where they do their business in such things as harvesting, purchasing, sourcing as well as where they produce their ultimate end product.  But overall Certified Fair Trade benefits everyone.  


Green Mountain has chosen to take a different approach than the majority of US corporations.  Though it may not be the best for their financial statements in regards to profits, they believe it is what is the most socially and environmentally responsible road for their business.  The company is focused on helping under privileged countries develop a vibrant work place and a sustained economic climate while reducing waste and being environmentally responsible.

Green Mountain believes that “what is good for the world is good for business”.  And who couldn’t agree with that statement?  I feel good about purchasing a product that is produced by a company with such high moral and social standards.

Now, let’s be honest, if it wasn’t a good product, then I wouldn’t be buying. But……….Green Mountain coffee is great and the quality is top-notch!  They have a huge selection of all different types of coffee from the light blends to the bold.  You can check out some of their offerings HERE on their website.  I love fall and I think the pumpkin spice coffee might be next on my list.


And I’m not saying Green Mountain is delicious without actually having tried it.  I recently received a Keurig coffee machine and a large selection of Green Mountain brand coffees.  And guess what?  Today we are giving away a Keurig machine and a variety of Green Mountain Coffee to one very lucky The Cottage Home blog reader.  You are going to love this machine and you are going to love the coffee that is coming with it!


So if you would like to support an environmentally and socially responsible company like Green Mountain Coffee, please enter our giveaway for a Keurig machine and a selection of Green Mountain “K-Cups” to use in their new coffee machine.

What do you take in your coffee?  Cream? Sugar? Both?
Do you go out of your way to buy environmentally friendly products?
 
Please read the official rules of entry below:


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


Giveaway will be open from September 8, 2011 through September 24, 2011.

You can also visit the Green Mountain Facebook page to learn more about the product line as well as Green Mountain's Fair Trade certification and to receive free samples!

If you would like to read what other blogger's are saying about Green Mountain Coffee and have more chances to enter to win, please visit the BlogHer.com Promotions and Prize page HERE.

Monday, August 15, 2011

OnStar FMV Mirror: Product Review



Have you heard of OnStar?  Well, if you have then you may only be familiar with it as being a product on GM vehicles and if not, you've got to check it out. OnStar recently came out with a product that can be installed on a wide range of vehicles (does not need to be GM) that will provide the OnStar service.  The product is an after-market OnStar rear-view mirror that is installed in place of the regular rear-view mirror that comes standard on most vehicles. The mirror contains all of the OnStar technology needed to activate and enable all the services they provide.


I was recently sent the new OnStar FMV mirror to try out on our Toyota Sienna mini-van and I have to admit that it is pretty darn cool!  I had my mirror installed at a local car place in the area that was a certified professional in the installation of these mirrors.  The installation and set-up took a total of about 2 hours.  I was really impressed by the customer service I received from the OnStar folks.  It just so happened that the Director of Sales lives in my area, so because this was one of the first installs of this new product, he personally came by to make sure everything was installed properly and activated correctly.


Once the OnStar mirror was installed into our mini-van, I could start using it as soon as I needed it.  With OnStar there are several different services that are provided.  My favorite one is probably the automatic crash response (ACR) option.  I like knowing that if I end up in a car accident with my children and am not able to dial 911, that OnStar will send help our way.  There is a button for you to push on the mirror to call for emergency assistance, but if you are in such a severe crash that you cannot reach the button or even speak, OnStar can recognize that there is an issue and send help immediately.  This feature is covered by ACR.  The emergency services button gives you a priority connection to an Advisor who can direct emergency service providers to your exact location. You could essentially call for emergencies inside and outside of the vehicle.

Secondly, by having this mirror, you get roadside assistance.  So it's essentially like having AAA, but even better.  OnStar can send someone to unlock your vehicle (should you lock yourself out), change a flat tire or should you run out of gas, they can bring you enough gas to help you get to a nearby gas station.  Pretty neat if you ask me!


My husband and I recently went out for dinner and decided to give the turn-by-turn navigation a try.  Now our car does have built in navigation, but sometimes when we try to use it, it won't recognize our destination (especially if it's a brand-new place).  So I find having the OnStar folks at the touch of a button very handy in these sorts of situations.

My husband and I pressed the "blue" button on our mirror and were instantly connected to a real live person.  He greeted us and then ask us what we needed.  We told him the address of where we were headed and he programed the turn-by-turn directions to be sent to our car.  Several times we veered off the path and the navigation asked us if we needed to update our route or cancel and this was all controlled through our voice commands.  I can see this being a really handy feature if you were on a road-trip in an unfamiliar location and needed help with directions as well.

And finally, another feature is the hands-free calling and blue tooth compatibility.  Personally I try not to chat too often while driving, but if you had a need to do so, this feature would allow you to do that while keeping both hands on the wheel.

Being the mom of two (almost three) young children, I find this product to be invaluable.  I think this would also make a fabulous gift for a new teen driver, an elderly person, a new mom or anyone that may need the added security of roadside assistance, direction assistance or emergency assistance.  The mirror is purchased and then a yearly/monthly fee is paid to keep the service active.

It's been a pleasure to have the opportunity to test out this new product and I think you will really like it too!  To learn more, Visit the official Facebook page or check out the product at your local Best Buy location.  Also you can check out the other blogger's reviews of this wonderful new product through the BlogHer website by visiting the Promotions & Prizes section.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Cleaning - $100 Visa Gift Card AND Libman Freedom Spray Mop Giveaway


I know this is going to sound very strange, but I actually like spring cleaning.  Do I love the everyday picking up of toys, crumbs and other surprises that my girls leave around?......well, not so much.  But I have to admit that a good deep cleaning around this house feels really good (while it lasts, that is).



Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I cleaned all of my kitchen cabinet fronts with help from my little ladies - Miss Savannah and Miss Matilda.  I just used hot soapy water with one of my favorite cleaning products, Dr. Bronners - all in one cleaner (read more about my love for this product HERE).  I used a good, clean sponge and scrubbed each cabinet, rinsed it down and then dried them off with a micro-fiber towel.  And though no one may notice the huge difference in the cabinets, I can notice and they really look great!


Next, I tackled my dusting.  Again, I used my microfiber cleaning cloths.  I just L.O.V.E. these - what a difference they make.  And what's even better is that you can just throw them in the wash and use them again and again!  Now, I'm not saying my family doesn't use paper towels (we do), but you can go through some serious paper towels when cleaning and that can be rough on the budget and rough on the environment.  A good micro-fiber towel will take you along way in your cleaning.  I have about 3-4 of them and then a special towel used for cleaning glass.


I was asked by Libman to test out their new "Freedom Spray Mop", which was just perfect because mopping the floors was next on my list of spring cleaning "to-do's".  Up until this point I had been using a "Method" brand mop that I purchased at target with a re-usable microfiber cleaning pad.  That mop was really great, but this new Libman mop took things to the next level.


The Libman Spray Mop has a machine washable cleaning pad.  It can be washed up to 50 times which reduces the need to buy those expensive disposable mop pads which is great on the wallet and for the environment.


What I really thought was great was the detachable cleaning solution bottle (this was something my "method" mop did not have).  You can fill this bottle up with any solution you like - maybe you like a more natural approach with just water and vinegar or perhaps you have a "go to" floor mopping solution.......whatever it may be, you can use it with this mop.


There are no batteries needed, you simply squeeze the handle and the solution sprays out of the mop onto the floor - easy peasy!  I am honestly very happy with this spray mop and so happy I was asked to give it a try!

A new product I recently added to my cleaning supplies, is this one........






This is by far one of my new favorite cleaning products - Mrs. Meyers All Purpose Cleaner.  I don't need a ton more cleaning products other than my Dr. Bronners, but I think having great smelling, fun cleaning products makes the job a lot more enjoyable.  And I like changing things up from time to time.

Mrs. Meyers comes in a bunch of great scents (Lemon Verbena, Lavender, Basil, Geranium, and Rosemary) and is great for those of you looking for a more natural cleaning product.  I personally love the Lavender scent.  You use this product a lot like Dr. Bronners.  Just mix a small amount with water and it can be used on floors (like in the Libman Freedom Spray Mop), on countertops, for dusting, ect...



And my final little spring cleaning tip/product, is essential oils.  Again, my personal favorite is Lavender oil.  I particularly love to use this in the bedrooms.  I dab a little of this essential oil on a used dryer sheet and tuck these into baskets or drawers around the house.  They leave the rooms smelling great and add a fresh, spring like quality to the air (without the harsh chemicals of room fresheners).  I've had this little bottle for 2 years now, so while essential oil may seem a little pricey, it will last you forever.

I still have a lot more spring cleaning to get done.  I'm just getting going, but I just wanted to share a few products, tips and ideas that make my life easier and help me to enjoy what could be a not so fun task.


So, tell me.......what is your favorite cleaning tip?

 All comments left on this post will be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card from BlogHer AND a Libman Freedom Spray Mop from Libman (one winner will be selected to receive both). 
Giveaway runs until May 31, 2011.
Rules:
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.
BlogHer.com Roundup Page: Visit the Exclusive Offers section
To view all Official RulesVisit the Official Rules
Official SponsorVisit the Official site

To find out more spring cleaning tips from Libman, click HERE.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway


Today's exclusive giveaway is from Shabby Apple, a boutique clothing company specializing in women's and little girls dresses.  Their clothing is comfortable, modest, and super-stylish!

When I was contacted by Shabby Apple about doing this giveaway, I was given a list of dresses to choose from and I selected the one pictured above, Spanish Steps.  One lucky The Cottage Home reader will win this dress (in their selected size, of course).  How awesome is that?  This is a gorgeous piece that I think any woman would be happy to have in her wardrobe. 


I absolutely love this dress and I wish I had it in my closet.  It has a great vintage feel about it and can be dressed up with a pair of heels for church or dressed down with a sweet cardigan and a pair of flip-flops.  I also thought the lines on this dress would be very figure flattering on many different body types.  The tie around the waist will accentuate curves and the top would be flattering on all different bust sizes.

Here's the description of the "Spanish Steps" dress from Shabby Apple:

Some things are just better together: peanut butter and chocolate, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, Rome and Vespas.  We decided to pair two things we love—the soft, cotton jersey of our favorite t-shirt, and the gorgeous sateen of the dresses of yesteryear—to create the Spanish Steps, an indispensably comfortable-yet-elegant summer frock.  A luxe jersey cap sleeve top is gathered at the waist with a wide satin sash, and a veritable bouquet of appliqu├ęd, ruched flowers and leaves adorns the full sateen skirt that swirls just below your knee.  A truly inspired combination,the Spanish Steps has star potential. Dress made from Pont de Roma knit with a matte satin skirt made of a poly rayon spandex blend.


One of my favorite features on the Shabby Apple website is the "shop by body type" tool.  They ask you a series of questions, determine your body type and then pull a group of dresses perfectly fitted for you.  Shopping online can be a little tough so their style tools definitely ease the anxiety over wondering if something is going to work for you or not.



In addition to the beautiful women's clothing, Shabby Apple also carries a line of dresses for little girls as well as maternity.  I think the dress above is just adorable.  The colors are so pretty and the wrap style dress is timeless.

Shabby Apple is also offering The Cottage Home blog readers an exclusive 10% off discount code to be used on any purchase in their store.  Enter THECOTTAGEHOME10OFF at checkout. 

So here's how to enter to win the "Spanish Steps" dress:

One entry per person - leave a comment and let us know where you might wear this dress.  
**Open to US residents ONLY**  
Giveaway will be open until Wednesday, April 6 at midnight (CST).

To find out more about Shabby Apple and learn about exclusive sales and discounts, check them out on FACEBOOK.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Sponsor and Giveaway - Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops


When Terri, owner of Fairytale Frocks & Lollipops, contacted me about becoming a sponsor of The Cottage Home blog, there was no question in my mind - it was an absolute, yes!

Fairytale Frocks & Lollipops in an online store that has one of the largest selection of boutique sewing patterns around.  Terri has impeccable taste and her selections of patterns, fabrics and notions are top-notch.  She carries many of the fabrics and patterns that I use for my sewing projects.  It's hard to believe that one shop has it all, but Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops does! 

Many of you have emailed me about patterns and I am telling you this - go check out Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops!  There are so many different options from children's sewing, to adults, to accessories.  And while your there, pick out some fabric to use with your beautiful pattern.

Here are a few of the patterns that caught my eye while browsing Terri's shop:


I'm loving this apron skirt and embellished tank top.  I think this would be adorable for Spring!



And what about this "Huck Finn" hat for a little boy?  Can we say A-dorable!


This Amy Butler bag is just beautiful.  I love the fabrics and the simple lines of this bag.


I think this coat might be calling my name.  I don't do a ton of sewing for myself, but I might just take the time to make myself this one.


And this, well this just had The Cottage Mama written all over it!  Love the A-line top and the ruffle bloomers!!


And finally, what about this amazing "sewing kit" for an Easter dress.  This kit comes with the pattern AND the fabric to make the dress.  It doesn't get a whole lot easier than that.

Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops has hundreds of patterns to choose from.  Terri is giving away one pattern (of your choice) to TWO of The Cottage Home readers.

Here's how to enter (leave a separate comment for each entry):
1) Visit Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops, come back and leave a comment telling us what pattern you would choose if you won.
2) For a second chance to win, become a fan of Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops on Facebook.

Giveaway will be open until Friday, April 1, 2011 at midnight (CST).  Two winners will be selected.  Each winner will get to choose a pattern of their choice.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hair Bow Along with Me?


Birdsong Bows is a fabulous new sponsor of The Cottage Home and I can't wait to give her patterns a try.  I already have my 24+ page pattern printed out and ready to go for the Funky Loopy Bow (picture below).  I will be reviewing this pattern next week, but I can already tell you that it looks like one of the nicest PDF patterns I have ever received!


So, what about you........want to make some hair bows with me this weekend?  I so wish that we could all get together and have a hair bow party or craft night, but alas, I don't think it's very feasible with us all living across the world.  So let's just pretend!  Go get your Birdsong Bows pattern and let's make some hair bows together.  We can show each other what we came up with next week!!