Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Panic.

Today is Towel Day.

I miss you, Douglas Adams.

via Metafilter.

Bicycle Playing Cards: Giving You a Hand for 125 Years

I'm a card player--everything from Solitaire to Texas Hold 'Em--and I've just been reading some fascinating history on Bicycle Playing Cards, which have been around for a whopping 125 years.

For example, did you know:
  • During WWII, American prisoners of war in German camps were allowed gifts of playing cards in their care packages, so the Bicycle secretly worked with the US government making special decks that, when moistened and peeled apart, revealed sections of a map indicating precise escape routes?
  • During the Vietnam War, Bicycle again made up special decks, this time at the request of two lieutenants of Company C, Second Battalion, 35th Regiment, 25th Infantry Division (that's a mouthful!). These decks contained only the Ace of Spade, which was viewed by the Viet Cong as a card that predicted death and suffering. Some were so superstitious that, when these Aces of Spades were scattered in the jungle and hostile villages during raids, just the sight of lady liberty on the Bicycle Ace caused the Viet Cong to flee!
  • In 2003, USPC (The United States Playing Card Company, which owns Bicycle) introduced Iraq's Most Wanted Decks with images of President Saddam Hussein's government. 750,000 decks were sold in just one week.
  • And just this year, USPC have donated all the profits from their "Hope for Haiti" decks to relief efforts.
I didn't know any of these things, and as the Rhino is a bit of a military history buff, he was excited to learn them, too. Apparently, when they aren't having finals during the last week of school, they play card games, like the latest craze, Hierarchy, in the classrooms.

Encore Inc (who publishes and distributes digital home entertainment and multimedia product) and the United States Playing Card Company are bringing out a new series of interactive PC games this year, too, including Texas Hold 'Em, Family Card Games, Solitaire, Blackjack and the Totally Fun Card Games Collection, to commemorate Bicycle's 125th Anniversary.

I'm a little bummed that the games require Windows PCs to play them; here's hoping a Mac edition comes out next!

I've saved the best news for last: Bicycle Playing Cards is giving you a chance to win one of hundreds of prizes with their What's Your Game instant win game! Just click on the link to give it a try.

I received a background package full of interesting information on Bicycle Playing Cards and a couple decks of their cards to facilitate the writing of this post.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Westfield Shopping Centers: Is There a WFamily Program Near You?

I've been to a couple Westfield Shopping Centers here in Florida, and I like the way they set up their malls. Lots of airy space, open floorplans, really nice. Citrus Park and Brandon Town Center are my two favorites here.

They sent me this press release about their WFamily program that I thought might interest you.

"...building off the success of their first year, Westfield has made even more improvements to the WFamily Program to enhance the family shopping experience and to make a day at the mall a pleasure for the whole family. The free program treats families to shopping privileges, events, activities, amenities and retail offers; with special launch events to be held simultaneously across the country on May 22 and throughout the summer, featuring entertainment, prizes and more fun."

Some of the new WFamily program elements are: an event series with partner Radio Disney on “Westfield Family Fridays,” (2nd Friday of each summer month); a Monthly Retailer Calendar highlighting family retailer events, promotions and offers; and the Family Shopping Guide, providing a targeted directory of family friendly retailers, eateries and amenities.

I'm kind of meh about those, other than the Family Fridays, which sound cool.


To kick off these program elements, Westfield has planned a weekend of fun, beginning with the May 22nd launch event in several centers (yes, that's TODAY!), which will "feature music, activities and prize giveaways from Radio Disney (select centers), a new partner for the program."

Now, here's some more about the Westfield Family Fridays. They are going to be held at 15 centers around the country:

WFamily has partnered with Radio Disney and MomsLikeMe.com to create family-friendly entertainment experiences on the second Friday of each month, featuring music, activities, and giveaways, and providing a fun and safe family destination all summer long for parents with children from 5-10 years of age. The current schedule of events is as follows (subject to change):

o June 11 – School’s Out Mom and Me Makeover

o July 9 - Phineas & Ferb Summer Fun

o August 13 – Back to School Celebrity Style Event

o September 10 – Fall Pajama Party

o October 8 – Kids in the Kitchen

Sign up for the program here, through a mail-in postcard, at the Westfield Concierge or management office, or at any of the WFamily events.

For more information and updated information on WFamily activities, promotions, and services, visit www.westfield.com.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Aveno's Road to Healthy Skin Tour

Right now, during National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it’s more important than ever to be aware that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.

It is also the most preventable and curable if detected early (yay!).

So before everyone runs out to soak up some rays take this opportunity to be screened for skin cancer and grab some of the AVEENO® Brand’s latest sun care products for FREE!

For the third year in a row, the AVEENO® Brand is hitting the road again with The Skin Cancer Foundation and its “Road to Healthy Skin” Tour, a program that has been instrumental in educating people nationwide about skin cancer detection and prevention.

QUICK FACTS and TIPS from Dermatologist Jeanine Downie:
  • You should wear a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher everyday of the year—rain, snow or shine—because your skin is still being exposed to lethal UV rays.
  • Many people believe that they will become Vitamin D deficient by wearing sunscreen; according to Dr. Downie, this is false! As a population, we receive more than enough Vitamin D through our diets.
  • People with darker skin, often believe that they do not need to wear sunscreen. Again false, says Dr. Downie! The threat of skin cancer exists for all skin tones and races.
  • More than 3.5 million skin cancer cases in two million people are diagnosed annually and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • The Tour will visit over 80 locations through September where consumers will have the opportunity to receive a FREE full-body skin cancer screenings in a private room inside of the Tour’s 38-foot customized RV, conducted by local dermatologists (Visit skincancer.org for the full tour schedule).
  • Over the past two years, more than 6,500 people have received free screenings, and of those screened, more than 2,000 potential skin cancers and pre-cancers were found, including 116 suspected cases of melanoma.
  • The AVEENO® Brand will be distributing samples of CONTINUOUS PROTECTION® Sunblock Lotion SPF 55 as well as the new POSITIVELY AGELESS™ Sunblock Lotion SPF 70 for Face, featuring the latest breakthrough in sun protection: ENVIROBLOCK™ Triple defense technology.
  • The AVEENO® Brand has partnered with TerraCycle™ to give new life to empty AVEENO® Product tubes by ‘upcycling’ tubes collected at tour stops into eco-friendly items, such as household items, that will then be available for purchase at major retailers nationwide.
Viv's take: I had an opportunity to try some of the Aveeno Sunblock products. The Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion goes up to 85 SPF and is waterproof; it really lasts! The Positively Ageless sunblock lotion, with the triple defense technology, quickly absorbs into your skin and is oil-free so it won't clog your pores. I tried out the Face version under my makeup and it didn't feel greasy or heavy.

Aveeno says the "anti-aging sun protection helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles." While I wouldn't doubt this, as it is just common sense, I did not use the product long enough to really test that out.

There is a full schedule for the "Road to Healthy Skin Tour" on skincancer.org, so you can check the dates (and even search by state) to see when it is coming to your town!

Aveeno sent me their Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion, ranging from SPF 30 to SPF 85, Positively Ageless Sunblock lotion in SPF 70 (for the face) and SPF 55 (for the body), to facilitate my review. The factual information provided in this post regarding skin cancer and the importance of sunblock in skin cancer prevention was provided by Aveeno and dermatologist Jeanine Downie.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pssst...General Mills Wants to Know What You Think!

Pssst… is all about some of the best known food and consumer brands in the country, and the program is sponsored by General Mills. If you would like to receive news about new products (and even samples and coupons from time to time!), you can become a member.

I've been a member of Pssst... for a while now, and I thought I'd pass on the information to all of you. Right now, they have a thank you sweepstakes that Pssst... members can enter. 100 members will win fun stuff with iconic logos such as Cheerios and Yoplait.

Pssst… also offers a behind-the-scenes look at General Mills and occasionally an opportunity to give your opinion about products and initiatives. Pssst… is fun and it’s free to Join.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Seventh Generation Giveaway!

Replacing what’s currently under your sink with products that are non-toxic and safe for the environment is easier than ever with Seventh Generation’s environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Leading the “responsible cleaning” charge for the past twenty years, Seventh Generation has tapped into the disinfecting power of the herb thyme, to introduce an EPA registered line of disinfecting sprays and wipes that kill germs* naturally! The new line of botanical disinfectant cleaners includes a multi-surface cleaning spray, bathroom cleaning spray and wipes.

I had a chance to try out some Seventh Generation cleaning products, including
a disinfecting multi-surface cleaner, bathroom cleaner, wipes and two rolls of 100% recycled, unbleached paper towels.

First off, I love the paper towels, because who needs bleach in their paper towels, for heaven's sake? All it does is make them white. These paper towels are brown, and that's fine with me. I'm going to use them to wipe up stains, after all!

The bathroom cleaner and disinfecting multi-purpose surface cleaner definitely do the job.

One caveat: the scent takes some getting used to. I don't care for it, myself, but knowing that it is
thymol, a component of the herb thyme, that can be used on hard surfaces including counter tops, plastic cutting boards, highchair trays as well as children’s toys makes it more palatable. I like the idea of going as natural as possible with cleaners, especially for anyone who has kids and pets in the home.

Seventh Generation has partnered with eco-lifestyle consultant and author, Alexandra Zissu, whose new book, The Conscious Kitchen, discusses what’s good for your health, what’s good for the planet and what tastes great. Her book also includes great tips on maintaining a green and healthy kitchen, including:

Change is Good
Choosing cleaning products without indoor air pollutants like volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, is a simple and effective way to reduce your indoor air pollution. If you’re not prepared to switch everything overnight, start by swapping out the one product you use the most, and moving forward from there.

Think before you spray
Residues from cleaning products can last on a surface for longer than we we’d like to know and travel to areas that we sometimes don’t intend them to. Don’t contaminate your food by prepping it on a surface that may contain harsh chemical residues - rinse cleaning products from food preparation surfaces carefully or use botanical disinfecting cleaners that do not require a rinse step.

Home is Where the Clean Is
Your standard cleaners are good for removing soils and dirt from kitchen surfaces, but to tackle germs you need a cleaner that is effective against microbes like bacteria and viruses. Many cleaners contain ingredients that have antimicrobial properties such as vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, but the germ killing power of these is not necessarily guaranteed. To be sure you are killing germs, use an EPA registered disinfectant. Seventh Generation tapped into the disinfecting power of the common garden herb thyme, to provide a disinfecting cleaner that kills germs* naturally.

Make the Old New Again
Think twice about the items that you’re using to clean and dry your kitchen equipment and dishes. Use rags (like old t-shirts and washcloths) instead of paper towels. If you aren’t prepared to kick your paper towel addiction just yet, use only recycled versions that are unbleached or haven’t been whitened with chemicals containing chlorine and see how long you can make a roll last.

The Writing is on the … Sponge
Be sure to read the fine print on sponges and only purchase those that do not contain antimicrobial pesticides. Remember to store sponges in a dry place and frequently clean them by popping plastic sponges wet in a microwave for two minutes or boiling sponges for three minutes in water.

Mom Was Right, Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands with soap and water before and after prepping food, and always before eating. So much of what can be potentially harmful in a kitchen can be reduced by this simple act that doesn’t require any harsh chemicals whatsoever.

Seventh Generation and BlogSpark want to give one lucky Cool Moms Rule! reader a complete cleaning kit! The "Disinfection Cleaning Kit" includes the multi-surface cleaner, bathroom cleaner, two rolls of unbleached paper towels, wipes, a cleaning caddy to hold it all, and a copy of The Conscious Kitchen!

To enter:

Comment on this post: What's the best thing YOU'VE done for the environment this year? (required for initial entry).

Additional Entries:

Tweet about this giveaway and provide the link in a comment.

Subscribe to the Cool Moms Rule! feed.

Blog about this giveaway.

Contest Ends Wednesday, May 26th at noon EST.

Good luck!

I received a Seventh Generation “Disinfecting Cleaning Kit” that includes to facilitate this review. This is the same kit that Seventh Generation will be giving away to a commenter on this post.

iFrogz Delivers Sound Comfort

I don't like many headphones. The earplugs that have to stick in your ear canal? They fall out of mine. Or they hurt, because I feel like I kinda have to screw them in.

Stop looking at me like that.

My oldest son, the Owl, the musicphile, the metalhead, the one for whom music is as much a necessity as food and water, is extremely picky about his headphones.

The Owl also has the earplugs-falling-out deal (see? It's not just me!), which is why he usually has to buy headphones with extra small earplugs, and some of them only come with two or three sizes when they should go one size smaller than that, and on top of that he NEEDS that really strong bass.

It's important.

So when I was offered a chance to review a pair of iFrogz headphones that fit not in your ears but on them, I jumped at the chance, but I didn't exactly expect the Owl to like them, too.

But these headphones are different.

iFrogz new CS40s headphones have an unbelievable comfort level.

The “CS” stands for “comfort series” and they are the stylish new addition to the EarPollution headphone line by iFrogz.

These lightweight, on-ear headphones are a great alternative to earbuds and other headphones that fit too tightly (or too loosely!), and also feature ultra-cushioned ear cups for all-day wear.

And oh, wow, are they comfortable! They adjust to the appropriate head size, and the soft, cushioned cups do NOT hurt your ears.

And the CS40s sound is spectacular. You can blast the bass and the person sitting right next to you can't hear a thing. I experimented with them myself, then let the Owl have a chance.

He went from, "I only like the ones that go in your ear, for the sound," to, "These are pretty comfortable," to, "Hey, good bass!"

And the Rhino, who is not as much as music conosseur but still likes to play his tunes through his laptop, also took a turn, and he enjoyed the iFrogz CS40s as well.

Plus, the guys liked that they didn't look too "kiddish." Which, since these are primarily marketed to parents who want comfort and don't really care if they look less than stylin', is good too know. I don't have to feel dorky for rocking out in my iFrogz.

Yes, MY iFrogz. The kids are going to have to wait. These headphones are just that comfortable.

Mom is rocking out today.

The CS40s are currently available in five colors – white, black, blue, red and pink – for an MSRP of $39.99. Each pair has an adjustable headband and folds into itself for portability.

I received a pair of stylish red iFrogz CS40s to facilitate this review. I'm currently listening to "Falling Slowly" from the movie soundtrack Once.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Psst! Tropicana Juicy Rewards point hoarders!

Have you been saving those Tropicana points like I have, going after some really good rewards?

I recently used just 3 points to save myself $10 and get free shipping of EA Sports Active (more workouts) for the Wii, the exercise program I do 4-5 times a week.

I LOVE working out (never thought I'd hear myself say that) with EA Sports on the Wii. The workouts are fun, it's different every day, and it keeps me active!

Of course, I had no problem spending those points, because I still have 21 points left from all my Tropicana Juicy Rewards.

But if you are hoarding your points, then today is your day, because today only, Tropicana is offering all of us Tropicana Juicy Rewards folks ONE FREE REWARD!

Just head on over to the Juicy Rewards site to claim your FREE REWARD. But remember, it's good today only!

So get going!

I wrote this review while participating in the Tropicana Juicy Insiders Ambassador program by Mom Central on behalf of Tropicana. I received 12 free Juicy Rewards points and a $50 Visa gift card to use in redemption of the points and to facilitate my review

Review: Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock (SPF 70!)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.

Neutrogena recently released survey results which show that 1 in 5 people will get skin cancer in their lifetime, yet only 1 in 5 people wear sunscreen on a daily basis.

That's really gambling on your skin, assuming that you won't be one of the 20% of people who won't get skin cancer!

Some more survey findings:
  • 94% of Amerians know that prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin damage and even skin cancer, yet only 1 in 5 people (20%) wear sunscreen on a daily basis.
  • 33% of Americans don’t think it’s necessary to wear sunscreen every day.
  • 1 in 2 dermatologists (51%) report that their patients only seek information on their skin when they think something is wrong.
  • Nearly all dermatologists (93%) note that skin cancer most often develops on the face, more than any other place on the body. That is likely why 100% of dermatologists recommend their patients put sunscreen on their face daily or whenever they are going to be exposed to the sun.
I trust Neutrogena because I already use their products. The only two makeup foundations I wear are Bare Escentuals and Neutrogena's Healthy Skin liquid makeup. I take care of my skin because Rosacea runs in my family and because, of course, living in Florida, I am very aware of how vulnerable my skin is to the sun.

So I tried out a sample of Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock, which has an SPF of a whopping 70 (!) to review for all of you.

You just put on a light layer beneath your regular makeup when you are getting ready to go out.

The Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock is virtually invisible. I didn't notice it under my makeup at all, and I wore it all day as I went out to run my errands, like grocery shopping, picking up the kids from school, and even out to dinner that evening. I found it very light and not at all greasy; my skin didn't feel oily or clogged.

As I said, I think skincare is really important, but I've always been a soap-and-water kind of girl; I don't go in for all the toners and clarifiers and expensive skin treatments. Like most of you, I'm on a budget!

But adding Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock to your daily routine, especially during the summertime when you are out in the sun more often, is so effortless, that I *definitely* think you owe it to your skin! And the good news is that, at just 11.99 for a 1.4 oz bottle (which will last you a while), it won't break your budget.

I received one bottle of Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock, with 70 SPF, to facilitate this review.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day from Cool Moms Rule!

I hope you all have a lovely day with your families.

Here are some Mother's Day specials to share with the Moms in your life!

This weekend Macgamestore.com is offering a special Mother's Day game bundle featuring 5 amazing Mac games for just $19.95! This bundle offer ends Monday, May 10, 2010 at 12:01 AM Pacific.

Bundle Includes:
  • Cake Mania 2
  • Drawn: The Painted Tower
  • Luxor 3
  • The Price is Right
  • Wheel of Fortune Super Deluxe
Pureandlittle.com is having a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY 2 DAY SALE! You can save a whopping 40% off all merchandise May 9th and 10th while creating a happy, healthy and safe environment for a baby with eco-friendly, natural and organic products!

Over at Newport-News, just use code 562 to get 20% off site-wide through Sunday!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month!

UV Skinz recognizes the importance of sun protection every day with their line of sunblock, uv protection clothing. Just think how much much easier it would be to slip a shirt on your child rather than continuously re-applying sunblock to your wriggling, active kid's stomach or back.

UV Skinz swim shirts carry a UPF rating of 50+, which blocks out over 98% of the sun’s harmful rays, protecting delicate skin from damaging sunburns.

And right now, to commemorate Skin Cancer Awareness Month, UV Skinz is giving away FREE Baby Swim Shirts to every customer who places an order during the month of May.

In addition to the swim shirts, which your child will practically live in during those hot summer months, UV Skinz has bucket hats, long-sleeved shirts and board shorts--everything you need to keep your child's skin protected from harmful UV rays.

I'm a huge believer in sun protection of all kinds. In the interest of full disclosure, UV Skinz has offered bloggers covering their promotion a $5 gift card to Target, Walmart or Starbucks for help in spreading the word through blog posts, carrying their button on blogs, etc.
Cool Moms Rule! is in full compliance of the new FTC rules concerning Bloggers. I disclose on all posts where a product was received for free and/or if there was any kind of financial compensation involved.