Friday, September 05, 2014

Review: Bulletproof Picasso by Train

Thanks to One2One Network I have been listening to the new Train CD Bulletproof Picasso repeatedly for the last couple days.  I am seriously loving this CD - from the very first "Hey Baby" to the last "Don't Grow Up So Fast."  This CD has me up and moving like the adorable little girl in this lyric video for the first track Cadillac, Cadillac.  I don't think it's possible to listen to this and sit still.  Seriously - I dare you to try!



This is Train's 7th studio album but the first one I've really listened to all the way through.  Sure, I'm familiar with their hits Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me), Calling All Angels, and Hey Soul Sister.  I mean, who isn't?  I've just never bought an album.  Obviously, I'm alone in that because Train has sold more than ten million albums worldwide, thirty million tracks worldwide, with numerous platinum/gold citations on their mantle, 3 Grammy Awards, 2 Billboard Music Awards and dozens of other honors and nominations.
Love is not supposed to stop. If you forget, I will remember.
Yeah, they're pretty good, and I know you are going to love this album, too.  From the haunting Angel In Blue Jeans to the feel-good, catchy I Wonder What You're Doing For The Rest Of Your Life, this album has a little of everything.  Good music, lyrics that really make you think, and a whole lot of fun.  Of the 12 tracks on this album, I haven't found one I don't like.  In fact, I think I like them better every time I listen.
 This is what happens when you burn a bridge; you jump into the fire or you learn to swim. 
 Bulletproof Picasso releases on September 16th, but you can pre-order it for $7.99 right now on iTunes and Amazon and get an instant download of the first single Angel in Blue Jeans and four other songs.  For more information about Train and Bulletproof Picasso, visit the Official Train web page.  If you scroll down a bit, you can listen to several of the tracks from the new album right now, including I Wonder What You're Doing For The Rest Of Your Life. I really like that one!
Dishes in the kitchen sink like dreams that never fade. 
Right now I really need to get this posted so I can figure out which channel QVC is, because Train is going to perform LIVE for an hour, starting at 5pm ET, as well as offering a special deal on the album (and some wine) - and I want to watch! 



I participated in the Train Bulletproof Picasso album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Orkin Scientific Prize Pack Giveaway

We've all heard myths about bugs, but do you know what's fact and what's fake

Here are just a few of the myths you may have heard:
“Daddy longlegs are poisonous.”
“Mosquitoes prefer adults over children.”
“Ants can survive underwater.” 

Me - fact or fake, I just want those bugs GONE!  That daddy long-legs spider isn't poisonous?  I'm still going to smash it with whatever's handy if it comes in my house.  Or, better yet, get someone to do it for me, though sometimes that's not an option.

Currently those tiny little gnats that love to buzz around fresh fruit or my wine glass are the most annoying bug problem in this house.  Those things are so irritating!

Should you need some help getting rid of bugs in your house, remember Orkin.  Orkin uses the latest technology and unparalleled training to develop a treatment that's right for your home and your needs. To learn more about pest control that's based in science, or to schedule an inspection, visit orkin.com or call (844) 503-8251.

Take Orkin’s Scientific Fact or Scientific Fake™ Quiz to test your bug knowledge. Be sure to watch every clip for the scoop on these infamous bug myths and share the quiz with your friends.


Once you've learned some bug facts, be sure to enter the giveaway. Orkin has agreed to give me and one lucky reader an official Orkin Scientific Back-to-School PRIZE PACK which includes:
  • Clip-on Fisheye Lens (iPhone, Galaxy, Android compatible) 
  • Orkin On-the-Go Drink Tumbler 
  • Orkin Drawstring Bag
  • Orkin “Field Notes” Notebook w/ Pen 
Perfect for your little backyard explorer!  To enter, simply leave a comment here. Tell me how you did on the Fact or Fake Quiz or share your own bug story.

You can earn extra entries by tweeting about this giveaway and using the #OrkinMan hashtag.  Shares on Facebook and Google+ will be counted, too,  Just be sure to link to this giveaway and make sure I can see your post so I can count it.  You can tweet and share once per day per social network.  Be sure to leave a separate comment for each tweet, post, and share.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents, and all entries must be received by 11:59pm ET on August 31 2014.  Good luck!

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Orkin Fact or Fake School Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Nothing BUT Empty Promises

We have had a long relationship with U.S. Cellular.  Up until recently, they had been our only cell phone provider.  Ever.  We were always happy with them.  When it was time to upgrade our phones, we usually got better deals as current customers then they were giving to the new customers.  Customer service was always great, both in the store and on the phone when we needed something.  I even worked with U.S. Cellular last year as part of the U.S. Celular Better Moments Blogger Brigade, sharing my experiences and opinions of U.S. Cellular.


But then we moved to Indiana, where there is NO U.S. Cellular coverage.  I continued to use my U.S. Cellular phone for a while, and it worked fine, but apparently more than 50% of your usage needs to be in a U.S. Cellular coverage area.
At least 50% of your monthly voice usage for each device on your account must be used in U.S. Cellular's licensed markets. No more than 200 MB of your data usage in any month for each device on your account may be used in U.S. Cellular's non-licensed markets.
 So, when my contract was up in May, we switched to another provider.  Cory and I both got a new Samsung Galaxy S5, and we decided to use some of our U.S. Cellular Belief Points to order new cases for our new phones - before completely canceling the U.S. Cellular account.  We earned them; we might as well use them, right?

The day after we got our new phones, Jeffrey got a call from U.S. Cellular because we had ported our numbers to the new provider.  They wanted to know if he wanted to change the plan - from a family plan to a single line plan, because his phone was the only one still active.  He told them No, we were going to have to cancel the entire account; we were just waiting for our Rewards order to come.  The customer service representative he talked to seemed very friendly and understanding.

Then we waited.  And waited.  I kept checking the status of our Rewards order, but nothing seemed to change.  In the meantime, our current billing period came to an end, and a new one started.  We were halfway through the next month, no one was using the U.S. Cellular account (Jeffrey's phone was still on it, but he hasn't used it since we moved here because he has a company phone.  It should have been canceled ages ago), but a payment would be due very soon.  At this point, Jeffrey called customer service several times.  First he was told the cases we ordered were out of stock, even though the web page still showed them in stock, and we had been able to order them.  He was told that if we canceled our U.S. Cellular account now, to avoid further charges, that the Rewards order would be canceled too.

A few days later, he tried calling again to see if we could perhaps order a different color case or something - anything to get the order shipped so we could go ahead and cancel the account.  This time he was told, not that the items were out of stock, but that the order had been set aside because we ordered cases for the Galaxy S5, and we did not have any of those phones on our account.  Which, in a way, is very nice of them - except that they didn't call, email, or otherwise contact us to see if we did indeed mean to order those particular cases.  They just did not ship our order.  So, the person Jeffrey talked to that night promised to send them out right away, and we would have them by the end of the week.  Only the end of the week came, and still no cases.

So he called, again, and got some other story.  This time they told him that our order got held up because the computer couldn't make sense of our account.  We had a family plan, but there was only one phone line on the plan.  So the order just got - lost? ignored?  - something.  He was promised that we would have our order by the end of the following business day.

Guess what?  Nothing!  At that point, Jeffrey called again, told the supervisor he asked for to just cancel our account, effective at the end of our last billing cycle, because the only reason the account hadn't already been canceled then was that we were waiting on this order.  A couple of phone cases - paid for with Points that we had earned by being long-term U.S. Cellular customers - worth about $80 retail, just weren't worth the headache and hassle, and paying for an extra month of service that we weren't using anyway - which would have cost us more than the value of the phone cases.  It just felt like they were dragging their feet, stalling, and doing whatever it took to keep from sending us our order - and keeping our account open.  So the account was closed that night.

The next day we got these:


They had been shipped the night before.  Why did it have to take almost a month?  And multiple phone calls?  Either they are just extremely incompetent - and the term 'customer service' is a joke - or they were taking it very badly that we had to leave them - even though it had been explained to them multiple times that we were only changing providers because they do not offer service in this area.

But that's not the whole story...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Win a Copy of The Lego Movie! #Giveaway


Have you seen The Lego Movie?  I haven't, but I've heard great things about it.  And I've always loved Lego, so now that it's out on Blu-ray and DVD, I am going to have to check it out.

About The Lego Movie:
The LEGO® Movie, the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO® adventure, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller is an original 3D computer animated story that follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

Chris Pratt (Moneyball) stars as the voice of Emmet. Will Ferrell (The Campaign) stars as the voice of his primary adversary, President Business, an erudite, anal-retentive CEO who has a hard time balancing world domination with micro-managing his own life; while Liam Neeson (Taken) voices the president's powerful henchman, known as Bad Cop, who will stop at nothing to catch Emmet.

Starring as Emmet's fellow travelers are Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby), as Vitruvius, an old mystic; Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Emmy nominee for 30 Rock), as tough-as-nails Lucy, who mistakes Emmet for the savior of the world and guides him on his quest; Will Arnett (Emmy nominee, 30 Rock), as the mysterious Batman, a LEGO minifigure with whom Lucy shares a history; Nick Offerman (NBC's Parks and Recreation) as a craggy, swaggering pirate, obsessed with revenge on President Business; and Alison Brie (Community) as a sweet, loveable member of the team, with a powerful secret.
You have a chance to check it out, too by winning your very own copy!!  That's right, one lucky reader will win a copy of The Lego Movie on Blu-ray!

Just check out this Everything is Awesome Blog App and create a mini 6 second LEGO GIF Video! Get creative!  Videos instantly get posted to YouTube for everybody to enjoy!  Then all you have to do is leave a comment with a link to your Lego video, and you're entered to win.  How easy is that?


Once you have shared your short Lego video, you can earn extra entries by tweeting about this giveaway and using the #TheLEGOMovie hashtag.  Shares on Facebook and Google+ will be counted, too,  Just be sure to link to this giveaway and make sure I can see your post so I can count it.  You can tweet and share once per day per social network.

Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada, and all entries must be received by 11:59pm ET on June 30, 2014.  Good luck!

Each household is only eligible to win The Lego Movie Blu-Ray via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review: David Gray Mutineers

I received a free download of the new David Gray CD Mutineers to review from One2One Network.  All opinions are mine.

David Gray is best known for his hit Babylon from the album White Ladders, which I had to look up on YouTube because I hadn't heard it. I really don't think I've heard any of David Gray's music before.  That's OK, though, because I always love discovering new music and artists, and this album is a bit different from David Gray's previous albums.  Mutineers "finds Gray steering into unfamiliar territory while cultivating a pugnacious but respectful relationship with his own history."   The album stretched David's creative boundaries as he strove to create music that he had never made before.

I've now listened to the entire CD several times, and I am really enjoying it.  Here's the official video for Back in the World, the first track on the CD.  I really like this song.  I'm not sure I understand the "naked as a tree" thing, but the song is really catchy.


Mutineers track listing:
  1. Back in the World
  2. As the Crow Flies
  3. Mutineer
  4. Beautiful Agony
  5. Last Summer
  6. Snow in Vegas
  7. Cake and Eat It
  8. Birds of the High Arctic
  9. The Incredible
  10. Girl Like You
  11. Gulls
  12. Nearly Midnight (bonus track)
I'm also really enjoying Beautiful Agony, Snow in Vegas, Gulls, and pretty much all of the tracks.  Give it a listen.  I think you'll like it, too.

Mutineers is singer/songwriter David Gray's tenth studio album, his first in four years, and it will be released in the U.S. on June 17.   You can pre-order your copy here:

 OR, buy tickets to see David Gray in person, and get a free download of the CD on June 17.
Concert goers will receive a digital download of "Mutineers" out June 17. Please note: Valid for tickets purchased online only. One download per ticket. You will receive an e-mail on June 17 with instructions on how to redeem your album. If you purchase your tickets after June 17 you will receive an e-mail within 24-48 hours after your purchase.
How cool is that?  Check the Official David Gray website for the tour schedule and for more information about David Gray and his music.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Score Big Savings on Concert Tickets and More!

I recently received an email asking me if I had ever tried ScoreBig.  I replied that I had not, but I would be happy to check it out, see how it worked, and share my experience.  I was provided with a coupon code to use toward the concert or event of my choice.  The experience and all opinions are mine.

You may not have heard of ScoreBig.  I hadn't.  To tell you the truth, we don't really attend many concerts, shows, or sporting events, so I'd only heard of the main ticket outlets like Tickemaster and LiveNation.  And, to tell you even more truth - we don't attend many events because it just plain costs so much!  That's why I was quite interested in ScoreBig because they promise you can save up to 60% on sports, concerts, and theatre tickets.  I love saving money!  Don't you?
Quick Facts about ScoreBig:

  • You are guaranteed to save on each and every ticket on ScoreBig.com
  • Tickets for sports, concerts, theater, Broadway, family shows, and attractions
  • No fees – free delivery
  • Choose Your Seating Area – all seats ordered together will be next to each other
  • Tell us what you want to pay – you have all the control, it’s thrilling!
  • Get an instant answer – you find out right away if your offer has been accepted

The way ScoreBig works is that you find the event you want to attend, choose your seating area (by choosing a seating area rather than an exact seat, you're giving the ticket providers the flexibility they need to give you great deals), and then make an offer for how much you want to pay for those seats.  They tell you how much full-price tickets in that seating area are, and give you an indicator of your offer's potential for success.  It's all up to you - offer what you want to pay. You'll know immediately whether or not your offer has been accepted.  If your offer is declined, you may not be able to make another offer on the same seat rating for 24 hours. You can still make an offer on a different seat rating, if available for that event, or you just wait and see if you'll have better luck the next day.

I decided to make an offer on some tickets for a Brad Paisley concert, which is coming up really soon.  (We haven't seen Brad since the Walworth County Fair way back in, well, a number of years ago.  Anyone remember when the Mud on the Tires tour was?)  My first offer was not accepted, but they gave me another chance - so I did not have to wait 24 hours.  That offer was not accepted either because I intentionally went in with another low offer, though it was higher than the first one, to see just how much I could save.  When that second offer was declined, ScoreBig told me I could still get those tickets and made me a counter offer.  While the price they quoted me was below full price, the savings weren't significant, so I decided to pass on those seats and try a different seating area.   I went from what they call the 5-star seating area (closer seats, highlighted in purple on the seat map) to a 3-star seating area (either sections E or G on the seat map).  My offer on those was declined, too, but I decided to go ahead and grab the tickets for the counter-offer quote ScoreBig gave me.  Full-price tickets in both areas cost exactly the same if you go to Ticketmaster or LiveNation (yes, I checked),  but the ScoreBig savings on the 3-star seating area were much better.  Instead of saving almost $5 on each seat, which is what they offered me on the 5-star seats, I saved almost $20 on each seat.  My husband said I should have grabbed the better seats, because with the coupon code ScoreBig gave me, the actual cost to us wasn't much.  But I was doing this to test the site and see how much I could save.  Once my order was confirmed and my tickets ready to ship, I found that our tickets are only 6 rows back in Section E, so I think I did pretty good!
 
Less than 30 minutes after I placed my order, I had a FedEx Shipment Notification in my email, and my tickets were delivered 5 days later. It probably would have been quicker, but there was a holiday weekend in there.  Note: your tickets may or may not come via FedEx.  ScoreBig will decide the best way to get your tickets to you, whether shipping them to you, providing e-tickets, or having them for you at Will Call, they will be sure you have them in plenty of time for your event.  And did I mention that there are no fees, and shipping is free?

So, if you're looking to score some big savings on tickets to events in your area, be sure to check out ScoreBig.  It's fun, and you could just be seeing some great concerts, or sporting events, or theatre, for a lot less than the people sitting all around you! I know I'll be checking it for future concerts I want to see.



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Monday, June 02, 2014

Win a Prize Pack from The American Bible Challenge

Do you watch The American Bible Challenge on Game Show Network?  How do you think you'd do if you were on the show?  It would be fun to get the chance to try, wouldn't it?  If you're not familiar with The American Bible Challenge, it's a game show that celebrates the Bible and its place in American culture. Bible enthusiasts from all across the country compete in a variety of challenges that put their knowledge of the Good Book to the test.


5 Things you didn’t know about The American Bible Challenge:
  1. All the money won in every single episode is donated to charities
  2. All of the questions come from the Old and New Testament
  3. Your Bible knowledge will be tested in physical challenges as well
  4. The American Bible Challenge is the highest rated TV program in Game Show Network history
  5. It is nominated for two daytime emmy awards: Outstanding Game Show, and Outstanding Game Show Host Jeff Foxworthy
Or did you know?  For even more information, be sure to keep up with The American Bible Challenge on Twitter & Facebook.

I didn't know any of those things, though I was hoping that #2 was true! What I do know is how you can win a great Prize Pack from Game Show Network and The American Bible Challenge.  It includes:
  • 1 official “The American Bible Challenge” Tee-shirt 
  • 1 11x17 official Season 3 poster 

To Enter:
  • Leave a comment!  Tell me what your favorite Bible verse is or which charity you'd play for if you could be on The American Bible Challenge.
  • Extra entries:
    - Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this post and the hashtag #BIBLECHALLENGE
    - Share on Google+ and/or Facebook
    Leave a comment for each entry with a link to your tweet, post, or status update (once per day per social network) and be sure I can see your post, otherwise I cannot count it.
Giveaway is open to U.S. residents, and all entries must be received by 11:59pm ET on Tuesday June 10, 2014.  Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Game Show Network & The American Bible Challenge.
Each household is only eligible to win One (1) The American Bible Challenge Prize Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Remember


Thank you to all those who have served and all those who have waited at home.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Free Audiobooks All Summer Long

Once again SYNC is offering two free audiobooks - a current Young Adult title paired thematically with a Classic or Required Summer Reading title - each week all summer long.

It begins the week of May 15 – May 21 with
  • WARP: THE RELUCTANT ASSASSIN by Eoin Colfer, Narrated by Maxwell Caulfield (Listening Library) and
  • THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells, Narrated by Derek Jacobi (Listening Library)
and continues through the week of August 7- August 13.  Here's the entire Summer 2014 Sync title list.  There are some I'm really looking forward to!

Be sure to sign up for email and/or text alerts to get reminders when the new titles are available.  Just enter your email address on the site or text syncya to 25827.

Please Note: Signing up for the alerts will not send you the titles.  The alerts will simply tell you when and where the title is available to download.

Download Details
• Downloads are in MP3 format, hosted by OverDrive, and are Mac and Windows compatible.
• Downloads will operate through OverDrive’s Media Console.
• Most listening devices are supported.
• Each SYNC audiobook will be available for download for a period of 7 days (only).
• Titles, once downloaded, are yours to keep.


I'm currently listening to one of the books I got from SYNC last year, but I can't wait to download some new ones this summer.  How about you?

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Monday, April 28, 2014

You Need to See This!

My son Cory says that I should probably change the name of my blog since I never seem to talk about either of my kids anymore.  I guess that's what happens when they grow up and we move away.  They aren't part of our daily lives, and I don't really have much to share about what they're doing.  They're the ones who need to share with me!

There is one big thing (or two) coming up:


Cory will be performing in Romeo & Juliet in his last show at UW-Whitewater.  The show opens tomorrow night and runs through Saturday night, so if you're in the area - Eagle, Palmyra, anywhere in Wisconsin - you will definitely want to call that number and get your tickets.  I know it's going to be a great show.

And that other big thing coming up?  My boy will be graduating from college next month.  Wasn't it just yesterday we were moving him into the dorm for the first time?