Category Archives: giveaway

Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep and Serta Pillow Giveaway

Serat's new icomfort store in lombard, IL

photo credit Julia Stotz

As a Serta Blog Ambassador, I had a chance to visit the world’s first and only iComfort Store in Lombard, Illinois. The store features all seven styles of iComfort models on display in an upscale environment.

At the store opening, I mixed and mingled with some of Chicago’s leading bloggers and the Serta PR team, so I asked them to share tips for a good night’s sleep, which you’ll hear in the video below.

 

In addition to helpful tips from my peeps, I received a Serta Gel-Memory Foam 2 in 1 Scrunch Pillow to bring home. And why not? A good pillow is key to a good night’s sleep. I like that the pillow lets me sleep however I want- it supports stomach, back and side sleepers equally well. The pillow is a satisfying mix memory foam and gel-infused memory foam, so my head doesn’t overheat, but is nicely supported (along with my neck). And it’s so wonderfully scrunchy!

One lucky reader will have the chance to win one of her (or his) own Gel-Memory Foam pillow courtesy of Serta. Serta Scrunch pillow

To enter to win a Serta Scrunchy pillow:

1. (Required) Comment once on this blog sharing your best sleep tip. Comment by 10:00 PM CT on July 23, 2012 for a basic entry. US addresses only. No purchase necessary to win, but the winner must be 18 years of age. The prize has a retail value of roughly $79.95.

You can also have up to two optional extra entries; I need a separate comment for each of these items, so I can count each one as an extra entry:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can keep up with Reluctant Renovator video blogs. Come back to let me know.

Winner will be chosen at random and notified by July 21, 2012 and will have two days to respond to me. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen. Prize will be fulfilled by the PR agency.

 

Disclosure: As a Serta blog ambassador, I am compensated for my work with the brand.

Giveaway Round-Up

There’s still time to enter our blogaversary giveaways! Click for prize details and entry requirements (in many cases, only a comment is required to enter).

My Favorite Grilling Cookbook

Type-A Parent Conference Pass

Serta Mattress Set

Lands’ End Swimsuit

Thanks for following along on our journey. Remember, you can keep in touch with Reluctant Renovator on Facebook, too.

So I’m Reading This Book… (And Giving One Away)

Let’s just say “grey” is on the cover. From the very first page it’s clear this book is hot! It’s full of things I never imagined doing. Things that look exotic and dangerous, yet so tempting.

I got so excited, I told my husband I’d try something new for him this week. I mean, this Cooking Light: Way to Cook Grilling, The Complete Visual Guide to Grilling? I can’t wait to get busy with it.

I love the visual emphasis. This books photos are both seductive (you know you want me) and instructive Cooking Light Visual Guide to Grilling(grilled lettuce is supposed to look the way it does in the photo).

The book starts off with a primer on grilling and smoking. The obligatory burger chapter follows, but goes beyond the same old, same old. Spicy Poblano  Burgers with Picked Red Onions and Chipotle Cream, anybody?

The book also includes chapters on meats, poultry, fish and shellfish as well as vegetables and fruits.

Ten days later….

So far I’ve tried the Grilled Romaine (twice), Chicken Shawarma, Brown Sugar and Mustard Salmon, and Grilled Flank Steak with Onions, Avocado and Tomatoes. Each recipe was a hit with three of the four people in my family (the fourth mostly eats hot dogs and pasta, so it’s barely worth counting his opinion).

When the right season hits, I want to try Caramelized Fresh Figs with Sweet Cream.

I like that the recipes are simple and easy to follow. And, hello, Cooking Light! These dishes won’t weight you down.

I appreciate the many photos, or visual guides, in the book. And I’ve learned a few foodie facts thanks to the many how-to tips and tricks sprinkled throughout the book.

Often, the larger food photos are dotted with bits of information about the role of various ingredients, for example, in the spread featuring Grilled Chicken Thighs with Roasted Grape Tomatoes, a blurb on the photo explains that fresh grated lemon rind intensifies the tangy flavor of the marinade.

This book is my grilling Bible for the summer of 2012.

In fact, I like it so much, I asked if I could give one away to a lucky reader (hopefully a carnivore, though as noted above, there are plenty of recipes for all types of eaters). But grilled meat? Yum!

Win your own copy of Cooking Light: Way to Cook Grilling, The Complete Visual Guide to Grilling

To enter:

1. (Required) Comment once on this blog sharing a favorite grilling tip (or whatever). Comment by 11:00 PM CST on May 29, 2012 for a basic entry. US addresses only. No purchase necessary to win, but the winner must be 18 years of age. The prize has a retail value of roughly $24.95.

You can also have up to four optional extra entries; I need a separate comment for each of these items, so I can count each one as an extra entry:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook and come back to let me know.

4. Subscribe to our newsletter, Progress Notes. We send updates every now and then featuring favorite tidbits from the blog as well as tips on home product finds and giveaways. Come back to let me know.

5. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can keep up with Reluctant Renovator video blogs. Come back to let me know.

Winner will be chosen and notified by June 2, 2012 and will have two days to respond to me. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen. Prize will be fulfilled by the PR agency working with this book.

And since I started this post sexy talk, let me end with this shot I grabbed at one of the ethnic markets in town. (Sorry, no butt recipes in the book.)

butt beef

As part of the Reluctant Renovator blogaversary celebration, check out these other giveaways!

Type-A Parent Conference Pass

Serta Mattress Set

Lands’ End Swimsuit

 

 

 

Type-A Parent Conference Pass Giveaway

It’s that time of year. School is almost over and the puzzle of our summer schedule is almost complete. A morning program for this one, and afternoon program for that one. Two weeks away here for one kid, a couple of weeks away there for the other one. And let’s hope those two completely gutted bathrooms are complete by mid-July.

Which is to say that most of my time and money are earmarked for the house and the kids this summer, so I’ll be sitting out the Type-A Parent Conference. Would you like to go? It’s going to be amazing; Kelby always puts together a fun and informative event with a relaxed vibe.

So relaxed that last time I attended the conference, I was looking to speak with Kelby and asked around for her in the middle of the day and was told she was taking a nap…because she was pregnant. (In retrospect, I think that person thought I was looking for Kelly/Kelli, etc.) So later I told one of my friends (the name is repressed rather than redacted) that Kelby was pregnant and when that friend later ran into Kelby, she congratulated her on the pregnancy. Except that Kelby was not pregnant.

If you’ve ever been asked if you’re pregnant, when you are not, you know how horrifying that is. And if you’ve been the person who asked you know how equally horrifying that is. It’s also embarrassing to be a third party in this situation. Sorry, Kelby!

So one lesson I learned from the Type-A Parent conference is to never comment on a woman’s pregnancy unless there is a baby coming out of her vagina.

Also, I should just keep my mouth shut at conferences, except for when I’m speaking on a panel or doing a presentation because I do that well.

No doubt you’ll learn lessons of your own at the conference. Mainly, you’ll walk away with ideas and plans for how to be a better blogger/vlogger/social media rockstar!

Want my ticket?

Please note that I’m giving away a MomImpact t-shirt and a conference pass only; transportation and hotel are on you.

I’m going to keep in simple:

1. (required) Comment once on this blog by 11:00 PM CST on Monday, May 28, 2012 for a basic entry.

Optional extra entries:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and come back to let me know you did. (Bonus: I’ll likely subscribe to yours, too!)

4. Mombloggers, join MomImpact. We’re cutting back on product review tours, but still connect bloggers with opportunities. It’s good to be on the list and the ticket is provided courtesy of MomImpact. Be sure to submit a separate comment letting me know you joined or are currently a member (yeah!).

Winner will be selected in a random drawing using a plug-in called, “And the winner is” and announced on May 29. Conference pass must be transferred by June 1, so if the winner does not get back to me within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Also, as part of Swimsuit Confidence Week and a blogaversary celebration, I’m giving away a Lands’ End swimsuit. And learn how you can win a dreamy Serta Mattress set.

My Big News Might Be a Snooze to You

Serta's Great mattress heistAfter sleeping sitting on this news for a few weeks, I’m delighted to announce that I’m serving as a Serta Blogger Ambassador through the end of the year. It’s been said that I do my best work in bed and I love to sleep, so it seems like a good fit.

From time to time I’ll be sharing news about the Serta and their products, and maybe a giveaway or two.

Speaking of which, after working with Serta last year and giving away an iComfort Sleep System on this blog, not to mention showing off my own, several of you asked if there’d be another chance to win an oh-so-relaxing Serta Mattress.

There is!

Serta recently a new campaign featuring those cute little counting sheep (several of which are scattered about my office).

The Great Serta Mattress Heist

It seems the sheep (which find themselves out of work due to Serta’s dreamy mattresses) have broken into Serta HQ and escaped with a Perfect Sleeper Mattress. They’ll soon be sharing clues on Facebook as to where they are stashing the purloined* goods.

Serta is asking Facebook fans to find and reclaim the stolen Sleeper by decoding clues left by the sheep. In addition to the grand prize, there will be weekly giveaways to fans featuring plush Serta Sheep (so your office can look like mine), Serta pillows and other tokens of comfort (I’m hoping this includes including their super soft plush blanket that I enjoyed until one of my boys snuck it away).

Once all three clues have been delivered, Serta will ask participants to complete a simple form and submit their guess as to the location of the hidden mattress. Correct guessers will be entered for a chance to win a new Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress set complete with a full Sleep to Go top-of-bed pack, a personal letter from Sheep #1 and an exclusive Serta Counting Sheep gift basket.

Speaking of a Serta Sheep gift basket, look what I received gave myself nearly a year ago. I can’t believe it’s almost a year since we bought the house! Though perhaps that’s because we’ve only been living here a few months. At any rate, it sure feels like home now.

 

(Please not that the giveaway mentioned in the video was held in 2011.)

As a Serta Blogger Ambassador, I will be receiving compensation as well as Perfect Sleeper mattresses for my boys, making us an all-Serta house (except for in our guest room, where we have a lumpy old futon–sorry guests!). All opinions are my own unless my husband writes a guest post in which case all opinions are his.

* Seriously, have you used that word since high school?

Are you still reading? Go channel your inner Nancy Drew and find that mattress!

Swimsuit Confidence Week with Lands’ End and a Giveaway

WLands End Swimsuit Confidence Dayant to find me at the pool or beach? Let the picture on the right be your guide. At least, it would have been in 2011: floppy sun hat and oversized cover-up. But last winter I dropped a few pounds and more recently I was selected to participate in Lands’ End and SELF Magazine’s 2nd annual Swimsuit Confidence Week.

Swimsuit Confidence Week spurs dialog to help women of all shapes and sizes feel confident and beautiful so they can enjoy all summer has to offer.

Um, okay, beautiful might be a stretch. In my mid-40’s, I think more about acceptance- the faded stretch marks, scars, freckles, wrinkles, and skin that while not sagging, just isn’t as taut as it used to be. These are the chapters and footnotes in the story of me.

I’m still here living my story, aware of what a privilege it is to doing so.

Painfully aware.

So though it’s tempting to consider an eye lift, a boob lift or whatever surgery helps disguise the effects of gravity and aging, can’t we just celebrate the joy of being alive and work to be our healthiest selves instead of pretending we’re still 25?

That said, I’d love to wake up Freaky-Friday style inside my 20-something-year-old body. I know from old photos that I wasn’t as fat as I thought, plus my hair was fuller and skin clearer. I would ban all thoughts of bodily insecurity (and maybe exercise a bit more).

I wasn’t exactly a shrinking violet back then. I mean, I spent a summer as an intern at a dolphin cognition research facility in Hawaii and went to work in a bathing suit. Every Day. But I generally had a negative body image from junior high school on up.

****

Earlier this year one of my friends proclaimed that while committed to healthy living, she refused to spend any more time obsessing over her body.

I appreciate her sentiment. Like many of my mid-life peers, I’ve wasted days (weeks?) over the course of my lifetime worrying about my weight, the size of my ____ (fill in any one of numerous body parts). Enough of that thinking, let’s move on to something more affirmative, more productive.

It’s no longer a battle to fit into skinny jeans or a size 0 (Seriously, what the hell is a size 0, anyway? Who made that up?), it’s about being healthy and staying fit so that 20 years from now I can not only hang out at the pool with my grandkids, but swim and splash alongside them.

Lands End Swimsuit Confidence

Lands End Self magazine Swimsuit confidence week

Okay, I doubt I’ll be posing like that anywhere but on our deck. I’ll probably look more like this:

Swimsuit Confidence Week 2012 Lands' End SELF Magazine

I can’t see much without my glasses and it’s hard to lose the floppy hat. I’m trying to protect my aging and ever sensitive skin. That summer in Hawaii followed by a summer in Israel, not to mention the fact that people slathered themselves in tanning oil, not sunscreen, when I was a kid, means I got all the sun my face ever needs.

Boost your swimsuit confidence with a new swimsuit compliments of Lands’ End!

To enter:

1. (Required) Comment once on this blog sharing a tip to boost swimsuit confidence or letting me know what bathing suit you’d pick if you win. Comment by 11:00 PM CST on May 29, 2012 for a basic entry. US addresses only. No purchase necessary to win, but the winner must be 18 years of age. The prize has a retail value of roughly up to $150.

You can also have up to four optional extra entries; I need a separate comment for each of these items, so I can count each one as an extra entry:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook and come back to let me know.

4. Subscribe to our newsletter, Progress Notes. We send updates every now and then featuring favorite tidbits from the blog as well as tips on home product finds and giveaways. Come back to let me know.

5. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can keep up with Reluctant Renovator video blogs.

6. Follow @RenovatorKim on Twitter.

Winner will be chosen and notified by June 2, 2012 and will have two days to respond to me. If no response if received, a new winner will be chosen. Prize will be fulfilled by the Lands’ End PR team.

Lands’ End will also be hosting giveaways Twitter this week. Search the #LandsEnd hastag to play along. And check out the Swimsuit Sweeps on the Lands’ End Facebook Page.

Our model, Kim, is wearing a Women’s Petite Beach Living Princess  Tankini Top in Riviera Rose and the Beach Living Floral Swim Mini in Riviera Rose Floral. Lands’ End swimsuits come in a wide variety of sizes to fit bodies from small to tall, from A to DD and even mastectomy suits. Lands’ End swimsuit specialists are available for online chat and phone calls to help you find the right suit. Customer reviews of items listed on the site also help you pin down your selection.

Lands’ End provided me with the swimsuit of my choice to facilitate my participation in Swimsuit Confidence Week.