Tag Archive for Sponsored

Life in the Backseat with Subaru Forester and a $1000 Giveaway #Subaru

Subaru Forester wants to know what’s life like in your backseat? Is it a jungle back there? A sporting goods store? A motel on wheels?

Or maybe there’s a baby disco in your backseat? This video is 43 seconds of total cuteness. If you are sad, this will make you happy. Forty-three seconds is totally worth instant happiness, right? Read more

Meeting Daddy After Deployment #MissionCare

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Dove Men+Care via MSB New Media. All opinions and words are my own. As always, my time can be hired but not my opinions are not for sale.

Wave after wave of intense contractions and where is that guy who got me into this mess in the first place? Stuck in airport traffic.

That’s probably a nightmare scenario for most first-time moms. The airport for me, though, was Baghdad International Airport.

Read more

YesVideo Video Conversion Giveaway for Military Families

When my husband was deployed, more than any supplies or even homemade goodies, he wanted messages from his family…photographs, videos, video-chats, recordings–seeing and hearing his loved ones. That connection to home is what helps soldiers keep going, during the most difficult conditions.

If you have vintage audio-visual material on almost any format, you can convert that into a special DVD and online digital video for your soldier. Here is a special sponsored message about how you can win a $300 gift certificate to turn your old family videos and other media into DVDs:

Military Families Can Share Favorite Vintage Videos with their Loved Ones Abroad, Thanks to YesVideo’s Holiday Gifting Program

YesVideo is dedicated to bringing joy to military personnel serving abroad through re-living favorite family memories

Santa Clara, CA – January 3, 2012 – YesVideo, the global leader in video and photo digitization, is announcing their Holiday Gifting Program for U.S. Military Families. In January, YesVideo will give away five $300 gift certificates to Military Families. The gift certificates can be used to have their family videos transferred to DVD, as well as online, and materials will be delivered to the winners by Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013.

The contest is open to any U.S. military family who has a loved one serving abroad. Interested families can sign up on YesVideo’s Facebook page.

YesVideo can digitize the following forms of vintage media:

· 8mm film

· 16mm film

· Super8 film

· VHS

· Beta (NTSC)

· VHS-C

· MiniDV

· Photo Prints

· Photo Negatives

· Photo Slides

One $300 gift certificate will cover about 15 videotapes . Once YesVideo receives the footage, the company will transfer it to DVD and store the video in YesVideo’s free, unlimited cloud storage system. Since YesVideo uploads customers’ videos into personal, password-protected accounts, military personnel serving all over the world will be able to view their favorite home movies in time for Valentine’s Day. Links to the videos can be sent via email or shared on Facebook.

“We are incredily grateful to our military for their service to our country, and we want to say thank you to them by delivering special memories to them,” says Michael Chang, CEO of YesVideo. “We recognize that they are not home with their families to celebrate the holidays, and we want to give them the next-best thing – videos of their loved ones.”

The short entry form is located on YesVideo’s Facebook page. The contest will close January 10 at 12:00 midnight PST, and winners will be notified within one week. All media materials must be received at YesVideo by January31 in order to be processed and returned by February 14. Final deadline for winners to submit their videos is January 31, 2013.

To enter the contest, please visit http://www.facebook.com/yesvideo/app_201730886505500

About YesVideo

YesVideo is the global leader in video transferring and sharing. The company’s patented technology allows them to efficiently transfer personal videos at scale. Customers may then view, edit and share their videos in the cloud. YesVideo has unlocked billions of classic family video moments and life events for seven million customers already.

Consumers may drop off their personal film (8mm, 16mm, VHS, Beta, etc), prints, slides and photo albums at one of YesVideo’s 34,000 retail locations, or online at YesVideo.com. All material received by YesVideo go through either the East Coast production facility, located in Norcross, GA or the West Coast production facility, located in Santa Clara, CA.

Thankful for Our Heroes

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, for what blessings will you be giving gratitude?

I am thankful for my family, my home, my health, and the good food I will enjoy. And I am grateful for the freedoms and safety I enjoy, due in no small part to our veterans.

I want to thank my husband, his grandfather (may he rest in peace), and my own grandfather (who turned 96 this week) for their service to this country.

Many of us spend some time this season helping those who are less fortunate. Please do not forget the soldiers who spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in a war zone giving service to our country. Too many of them have been poorly rewarded for their duty.

Our family spends Thanksgiving morning helping an organization prepare meals for people who are homeless or under-housed. Unfortunately, some of these people are veterans. According to Rosanne Haggerty, President of Community Solutions, “Right now, on any given night, roughly 68,000 veterans are homeless in the United States. Within that number, a group of at least 14,000 have been homeless for a year or more and suffer from at least one chronic — and costly to treat — health condition. These long-term, chronically homeless veterans typically don’t make it off the streets without specific, targeted help. Communities must commit to identifying them by name and making them a priority, along with veterans who have life-threatening health conditions, for housing assistance and access to an organized support system.”

Please, enjoy your blessings on Thanksgiving, then thank a veteran, and make a commitment to helping these men and women who gave so much to us.

I am partnering with Brawny® to spread the word about how you can help these Wounded Warriors. Brawny has made a donation of $500,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® to benefit Wounded Warriors and their families. You can join 516,648 people, and counting, who are grateful for our veterans and share your thanks for our nation’s heroes on the Brawny® Towels Facebook page.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Brawny® Towels. All opinions are my own.

Help Wounded Warrior Project

Living life to the fullest–despite traumatic brain injuries or loss of limb–that’s what Wounded Warrior Project is about. As of last fall, the Department of Defense reported 1,288 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn servicemembers with major traumatic amputations. Harder to diagnose but perhaps more prevalent is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Also of great concern is the “invisible” injury of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Our wounded warriors return home and find it difficult to walk, to climb the stairs to their bedrooms, to hug their children. Those with less visible injuries may also suffer from crippling headaches, erratic behavior, depression, and lack of focus. These heroes may have difficulty returning to a normal home and work life.

That’s where Wounded Warrior Project steps in:

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) takes a holistic approach when serving warriors and their families to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment and engagement. Through a high-touch and interactive approach, WWP hopes to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.

Read more about how Wounded Warrior Project succeeds in its mission.

I am partnering with Brawny® to spread the word about how you can help these Wounded Warriors. Brawny is making a direct donation of $250,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® to benefit Wounded Warriors and their families. From May 1 through December 31, 2012, the maker of Brawny® paper towels will also donate $1 up to an additional $250,000 for every individual who joins us and shares their thanks for our nation’s heroes on the Brawny® Towels Facebook page (www.facebook.com/brawnytowels).

Help Brawny® reach their goal of $500,000 for Wounded Warrior Project by Veterans Day — they are just 2,874 likes away!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Brawny® Towels. All opinions are my own.

Purple Hearts Touched Mine

At Fort Hood, I had the privilege of watching several soldiers receive their purple heart awards. I was there to receive an award for my service to the Family Readiness Group and did not even realize that I would also be witnessing such a testament to bravery and sacrifice.

I watched as each wounded warrior stepped forward with such dignity and as much military bearing as they could muster with their injuries. Several of the less catastrophically injured were heading back to Iraq, despite having the option to remain home for the rest of the deployment. They just could not rest easy until all of their comrades were home, safe.

I thought of my husband and the husbands of my friends, going out on daily missions, escorting convoys throughout the Baghdad area. I put myself in the boots of these soldiers and the shoes of their families–grateful that their lives were spared but also overwhelmed by all the details required for adapting to life with a severe injury. I was so incredibly grateful for their sacrifice and in awe of their strength.

The soldiers I know often say that aiming to be a hero gets people killed. These purple heart recipients were not trying to be heroes. They were doing their duty. Their duty, however, was 1000% beyond what most ordinary people are called upon to do. When it counted, these soldiers kept their calm, made good decisions, and even saved the lives of their fellow soldiers. No, these soldiers were not trying to be heroes. They just simply were heroes.

After watching them, I felt embarrassed getting up to receive my award. How could my work be mentioned in the same ceremony as their sacrifice? The applause from the heroes was so touching. When the soldiers came over at the end to thank us–these heroes were actually expressing gratitude for our small contributions!–I nearly lost it. The only way I kept the tears from spilling as I told them how grateful and proud of them we all were was to remember that these soldiers wanted to see a strong home front united behind them.


I am partnering with Brawny® to spread the word about how you can help these Wounded Warriors. Brawny is making a direct donation of $250,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® to benefit Wounded Warriors and their families. From May 1 through December 31, 2012, the maker of Brawny® paper towels will also donate $1 up to an additional $250,000 for every individual who joins us and shares their thanks for our nation’s heroes on the Brawny® Towels Facebook page (www.facebook.com/brawnytowels). They are almost at their goal of $500,000. Will you help them reach it?

This post was sponsored by Brawny® Towels. All opinions are my own.


Image credit: Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Navy 1st Class Petty Officer Mollly A. Burgess

When the Soldier’s Away, the Gremlins Will Play

Just after sunrise on a Sunday, my 90 year old grandfather knocked on the door and said, “You need to come down. We have a problem.”

Grandpa was staying with me while my husband was on a two-week National Guard drill.

I put the baby back in his co-sleeper and followed Grandpa down the stairs. He gestured to the closed dining room door. I opened the door, with a chill of dread.

Then, I saw them.

Wasps.

Hundreds of wasps.

Swarming all around my chandelier.

Before I slammed the door shut, I got a glimpse of a gaping six inch hole in my wall, where the wasps had broken through. I could hear the buzzing through the closed door.

My grandfather picked up a newspaper and rolled it up. “What are you doing with that?” I asked.

“I can swat them,” he replied.

After taking the newspaper away from him and making him promise to not try to deal with the wasps himself, I called every exterminator in the phone book. Since it was Sunday, at least half did not even pick up the phone.

Finally I got someone on the line who wanted to schedule an appointment…for Tuesday. A cat batted at a wasp that had escaped the confines of the dining room while my grandfather swatted at another.

“Please,” I begged, “I have a three and a one year old and my husband is on National Guard duty.”

They sent over what, I imagine, must have been someone’s cousin’s neighbor. The “exterminator” sprayed something all over the dining room, which killed the wasps but also killed all my plants and left a powdery substance, mixed with dead wasp carcasses, all over my dining room.

We ate take-out on the living room floor.

My grandfather cleaned most of it up, avowing that, at 95, he had little to fear from long-term toxin exposure. The next day, the company sent someone who knew what they were doing to clean up the rest of the mess.

When my husband finally called to check in from drill, I told him the story. His response: “Did you take pictures?”

Photo by Flickr user Brenbot.

In honor of Life Insurance Awareness Month, the nonprofit LIFE Foundation is giving away great prizes for the best Life Happens moments. You can enter the contest any time before Friday, October 7th. Make sure to encourage your friends and family to vote for your story as the Life Happens moments with the most votes will win (voting ends Friday, October 14th). First place will receive an Apple iPad® , second place will receive a $350 Apple gift card and third place will receive a $150 Amazon gift card.

Life Happens. And while you can’t control the future, you can take steps to protect the good things in life. Take a look around The LIFE Foundation website and learn more about how life insurance can help safeguard a secure financial future for those you love.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The LIFE Foundation. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Contest Rules

Real Military Spouses Know the Meaning of “Community”

If there is one thing I know about this wild journey as a military spouse, it is that I could never have done it alone.

When my husband took that bus ride to Basic Training in Fort Benning back in 2003, I felt so very alone. Here I was, in New York, surrounded by friends and family, at the start of a fulfilling career in teaching and I could barely sleepwalk through my day. What would my life be like? What was expected of me? What would I do? Could I keep working? Would I be able to do this…any of this?

So, I turned to what would soon be called “social media and networking”. I joined discussion boards and I found people like Katy Jane (aka Mommy CPA) and Homefront Six and so many others who I still chat with on Facebook almost a decade later.

My journey brought me to Fort Hood where I met the women who would stand by me and yes, sometimes even carry me, through the next four years. These are the women who would join me on my quest to find the best Thai food in Central Texas, select the perfect gown for the military balls, cry with me through deployment, swim with me while I did handstands in the pool at 38 weeks pregnant to try to turn the baby, and even drive me to the hospital when my water broke at 3 a.m.

During this time, I started this blog, my first blog, about the Military Spouse Experience, the “Army Wife Life”, before I ever knew there was such a thing as blogger communities, before I ever knew I would one day be paid to blog.

How much easier would this all have been if I had women like Krystel, publishing tips and telling it like it is on Army Wife 101 and RealMilitaryWives.TV, and Traci, sharing guidance for FRG leaders along with her personal journey on Fabulous Army Life.

To this day, it is these women I turn to when I need to know just about anything…from the mundane (how do I get stains out of my daughter’s tutu?), to the frivolous (does this dress hide my mommy belly?), to the essential (how do I get in touch with my husband during an emergency?). These are the women who will reassure me that if we’ve been through a deployment, we can do anything. And they are also the same women who will tell me that, um, maybe I need a new shade of make-up that doesn’t make me look like a ghost.

This is what Word of Mouth Marketing is about–real people, giving real advice. This is my Circle of Influencers…these are my friends.

As a part of the BlogFrog Influencer Circle, I have the chance to create meaningful, authentic content for brands I love. If you’re a blogger interested in new opportunities, join BlogFrog’s Influencer Circle and check out some of the top brands already working with BlogFrog.

If you’re a brand looking to work with online influencers, learn more about BlogFrog’s Brand Solutions here.

Now, I’m curious. What do you love most about blogs and blogging? How does social media and the connections you’ve made enrich your life?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BlogFrog. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tokens of Love

“Here, open it once the bus is gone.”

I noticed he didn’t say, “once I am gone,” which would have an entirely different meaning to us as a military couple, and put the small box in my pocket.

He leaned in for one last bittersweet kiss and I desperately tried to memorize his scent, the feel of his freshly shaven cheek, the look in his eyes. Then, reluctantly pulling away, he reminded me, “No crying,” and climbed the stairs onto the bus that would take him on the first leg of his journey to Iraq.

Once the bus was out of sight, I hugged the sobbing spouses and fought back my own tears. Beginning the lonely walk back to my car, I thought about all the times I would now be alone. Climbing into the driver’s seat, usually his seat, I shut the door.

I removed the neatly wrapped gift from my pocket and tugged on the bow. Inside was a shiny custom Italian charm bracelet, personalized with his unit crest, our names, our anniversary date, a dragonfly to remember our nature walks, and so many others. That’s when the waterworks started, when I saw the beautiful jewelry with personalization, made just for me.

That my macho soldier had personally selected each charm just for me so that I would have a gift to hold onto when I could not reach out to him.

Before riding off into battle, medieval knights used to exchange tokens with their lady loves… and now I know why. Along with a t-shirt of his I never washed, our wedding photograph, and the note inside the box, that bracelet became one of my most treasured possessions.

The note?

It read: “Until I return, may this bracelet encircle your wrist the way I hold you in my heart.”

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Actonia PR Agency. All words and ideas are my own.

Photo by Breanna Walton

Let’s sendCheer to the Military!

My husband deployed at the beginning of December in 2005. Although we did not realize it at that time, I was pregnant with our first child.

I packed up a miniature Christmas tree, tiny little ornaments, and my best cookie recipe in a Christmas Stocking to send him a little Holiday cheer. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all.

Six years and three kids later, we treasure each Holiday we have together.

There are many soldiers who have spent most of their special days apart from their loved ones. You can show appreciation for their sacrifice with a care package or even just a handwritten note. It is a small thing but it may mean the world to a deployed soldier and his family.

Cheerios and the USO have made it even easier to sendCheer with postcards on specially marked boxes of Cheerios.

On the way back one night, the kids fell asleep in the car. So, I popped into Walmart while my husband waited with them.

I searched and searched and even asked at Customer Service but no luck! This Walmart did not have the Cheerios in the specially marked box.

This minor setback turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I was able to go back the next day with my kids! Involving them was much more fun. I told them that we had a special mission to find boxes of Cheerios with a postcard to cut out. I explained that these boxes help sendCheer to soldiers, like Daddy, who are away from their families.

Success! My daughter spotted the boxes and the kids counted out ten.

Uh, oh. I think we need a cart!

Locked and loaded and ready to head for the checkout counter…

The woman at the checkout counter saw the loaded cart and asked if we were making treats. “Yes!” exclaimed the kids, “For the soldiers!” I pointed out the postcard on the box and explained that we were going to send off the card and bake some treats.

Once we loaded up the car, we dropped a few boxes off at friends’ houses so that they can send their own postcards. We are also donating two boxes through my daughter’s school’s food drive.

When we got home, my daughter cut the card off the box and wrote a little note to a soldier.

She wanted to write a longer note but there was just enough room for “thank you!” and some drawings.

After, we baked some treats that we’ll send off in a carepackage.  Cheerios has a great website with recipes.  We decided to make the marshmallow bars and add a little hazelnut spread to the mixture.

My kids were so pleased to have completed their special mission to help soldiers, like Daddy! I told them the story of Daddy’s Christmas Tree in a stocking and now they want to send carepackages to lots of soldiers!

Here’s your mission: Next time you are in your local Walmart, keep an eye out for the special displays of marked packages of Cheerios. Cut out the card and write a little note.  When you drop it in the mail, you’ll sendCheer to a servicemember and General Mills will donate $1 to the USO.


This post has been compensated as part of a sponsored charitable opportunity for Collective Bias.