Category Archives: giveaway

A #SummerCravings prAna Giveaway and Stonyfield Recipe

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 9.39.30 AMIt’s technically not quite summer, but it feels like it, and I’ve been craving the lighter clothes and lighter foods of summer. We’ve already been swimming (in a pond, on the Cape) and eagerly await the true marks of summer, when my farm share starts up and the local pools open and school’s out (Massachusetts schools get out in late June).

Summer Clothes

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my new prAna Quinn dress, which is comfortable, pretty, and sustainably made. It’s nice enough that when I recently wore it with a cardigan to a parents’ event at school, someone asked me if I was heading to work afterward! The dress is equally at home on the beach or around town.

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Serious face due to trickiness of selfie attempts, with the neighbor’s cat trying to “help” by rubbing against the table/chairs on which my phone were propped.

The Quinn dress is made of a stretchy, quick-drying fabric and has a shelf bra (yay! — I hate putting on an actual bra in summer!). Like a lot of prAna clothing, it’s made partly from recycled polyester, and it is made using bluesign® systems, an environmentally friendly and sustainable production system.

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Ready for summer in my #prAna dress!

Summer Food

I’ve long had a bookmark to this great chopped spring salad recipe and finally got around to making it last week. It calls for chopped spring vegetables (such as radishes, scallions, and greek-whole-milk-plain-30ozcucumber) drizzled with a yogurt-based dressing and sprinkled with herbs.

I had only parsley (which I forgot to use) and just used what veggies I had on hand: sweet peppers, cucumber, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, carrots. I only really cared about the dressing, frankly, but modified it (of course!).

I put the chopped salad on top of a huge bed of greens, then put shredded poached chicken on top of that, then drizzled on plenty of the dressing. A quick grind of lemon pepper, and I had a great dinner!

Zippy Summer Dressing/Dip Recipe (adapted from Bon Appetit)

  • 1/2 cup plain Stonyfield Whole Milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1.5 T lemon juice
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, grated or minced (I think more is better, but it’s up to you)
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • a few grinds of black or lemon pepper, for serving

Whisk all ingredients together. Adjust seasonings. Drizzle over salad, toss with veggies, or use as a dip.

chopped spring salad on greens with chicken and a zippy yogurt dressing

chopped spring salad on greens with chicken and a zippy yogurt dressing

Discount Code

Do you have #SummerCravings for something from prAna? Here is a discount code for 15% off of anything at prAna.com! Use code SCS16JUMA.

  • Not valid for Influencers, on Gift Certificates or valid with any other offers
  •  Valid June 1 – July 7, 2016

Giveaway!

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to Stonyfield and prAna, I am giving away one Quinn dress! Winner selects color and size.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Winner will be selected on June 22.
  • Giveaway is only open to U.S. citizens.
  • Prize will be shipped directly from prAna.

Shutterfly and Stonyfield YoBaby/YoTot for the Holidays

Disclosure: As a Stonyfield blogger, I was given a discount code for $20 off a $20 Shutterfly.com purchase. All opinions are my own. 

If you’re like me, most of your photos are on your phone, Instagram, and Facebook. I’m terrible about printing them (I blame you, smartphone camera!).

But my poor kids don’t have tons of baby pictures on the walls or in albums. So I decided to make a photo album for them of some key recent moments. Shutterfly.com made it easy to do. I could pick a design, pull in my pictures from my phone and laptop (actually I think I had to put them from my phone to my laptop and then into the album, but you can probably figure out how to go directly from phone to Shutterfly), and submitted the order. We soon had a wonderful hardback photo book of so many fun memories.

And now I want to make more. Many more. Seasonal books. Key memories. Wall hangings. Plus print pictures to put into the photo album each child was given as a baby gift (I know, I know….but I never print pictures anymore!).

You too can make a great photo album or order prints from Shutterfly. Here’s a discount code for you! Get $20 off of a $20 order at Shutterfly.com when you buy any YoBaby or YoTot six-pack from now through the end of February! Just enter the code on the Stonyfield package to Shutterfly.com to get your discount. With the holidays coming, this is a great deal! Photo gifts? Holiday cards? Cool wall hangings? Calendars? Printed pillows? Don’t miss out! Offer ends February 29, 2016. One offer per household. 

Oh, and you don’t need to have a little kid in the house to buy YoBaby or YoTot. I’m a big fan of these little yogurts — especially YoBaby Vanilla.

Get Back-to-School Ready with P&G (Giveaway)

Ready for back-to-school!

Ready for back-to-school!

School starts, for us, in a few weeks. I thought I’d messed up Max’s kindergarten registration (and it didn’t help that the registration office always seemed to be closed, so I couldn’t confirm), but I can happily say that he’s in. All paperwork has been filled out and filed. My firstborn is about to begin his school years.

We’re excited, and neither I nor Max is nervous about it. He is looking forward to kindergarten and school and learning and new friends, and I am looking forward to all of that for him. He’s so ready.

And Ben is starting a new preschool, a place he’s really excited about and that I think will be a great place for him to grow and play and learn.

However, I know that shifting from the long, slow, spontaneous, relaxed days of August to a new school year (when we all have to be up and out the door by a certain time, lunches in hand, backpacks holding whatever is supposed to be in them) is going to be tough.

Some of my favorite local bloggers, getting ready for back-to-school!

Some of my favorite local bloggers, getting ready for back-to-school!

Ironically, Thursday I was headed into Boston to meet with some fellow bloggers, including Audrey McClelland of Mom Generations, to talk about back-to-school stuff with Proctor and Gamble. I’d be dropping the kids off with the sitter at 8:30 before heading out for the day. Naturally, Ben ended up sleeping way too late (I hate to wake a sleeping toddler whom I know is tired). I scrambled to pack their lunches, only to find out we were out of bread and pretzels and, you know, everything except apples.

Audrey McClelland giving us some back-to-school tips.

Audrey McClelland giving us some back-to-school tips.

So that was a fun morning, and I got to MiniLuxe just in the nick of time. See, the conversation was taking place at this great nail salon in Boston, where Proctor and Gamble had invited us to get pedicures, enjoy pastries, and chat about getting back into the school routine. Well, it turned out that we — at least I — didn’t talk about back-to-school stuff. We chatted and relaxed and caught up and laughed. A lot.

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So much fun, and so relaxing!

Which is fine, since the point of it all, really, was for parents to be sure to take time for themselves and relax a little before climbing the mountain of tasks known as Getting Ready for Back-to-School: buying school supplies, making sure all your paperwork is in, finding out classroom assignments, buying new clothes and backpacks and lunch boxes and shoes. But oh, there’s so much more!

Fact: Bloggers are always working, even when they are supposedly at rest.

Fact: Bloggers are always working, even when they are supposedly at rest.

For more tips on getting back-to-school ready, check out P&G’s Back-to-School Checklist on P&G Everyday. I learned a few things from the site, things I wouldn’t have considered. I knew some obvious ones: start working on an earlier bedtime a week or so before school starts; get clothes and lunches ready the night before; and….um….hey, we’re just starting school for the first time! Give me a break!

But the checklist has other things I hadn’t considered. Cleaning out closets? De-cluttering your home before the new school year starts? Deep cleaning rooms? It all makes sense, but I hadn’t thought of it!

For many more tips, check out their full checklist.PG_products

To help ease your transition back to school, one lucky reader will win a $50 electronic gift card to the Proctor and Gamble eStore!! You may or may not know that they own several great brands, such as Cover Girl, Olay, Tide (those useful stain pens!), Cascade, Pampers, Duracell, Gillette, Venus, and more. So many back-to-school lists ask parents to bring in tissues, hand sanitizer, wipes. What better way to buy them than on the P&G eStore? With this gift card, you can get everything you need for back-to-school and every day.

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All prizes to be delivered by sponsor.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. While this is not a sponsored post, I did receive a (fabulous) pedicure, gift bag, and gift card from Proctor and Gamble. Many, many thanks to P&G, Flour, and MiniLuxe for a great morning and excellent pedicure!

Potty Time! Potty Training with Stickers (Giveaway!)

****UPDATE: We have our winners! Katie V., Samantha P., and Alicia, please check your email and respond by Wednesday at 5 p.m. to claim your prize!****

Diaper free! It’s a standard goal for any parent — getting the kids to learn to use the toilet.

Ben has been using the regular toilet for what seems like forever; when he started using the potty, he wasn’t so into the kid-sized potty that we had. This is probably because he wanted to be just like his real-toilet-using big brother.

But for the past month or so, he’s been having some pee accidents. He stays dry (and diaper-free) all day at his daycare — even through nap time! — but at home he’s been having some accidents. I started bribing him with chocolate chips to use the potty (by which I mean “actual flush toilet,” but that doesn’t really matter). Brilliant, right? And then Max wanted chocolate chips, too.

See, I enlisted Max’s help to encourage his brother to stop playing and take a pee break. If I suggested Ben try the potty, Max would chime in: “Ben, I’ll wait to play this game until you come back!” or “I’ll watch your cars for you while you use the potty!” So I ended up offering Ben a chocolate chip every time he used the potty and Max a chocolate chip every time he encouraged Ben.

Do not try this at home. First of all, your kids will soon make a small dent in your own chocolate supply. Also, I don’t love giving my kids sweets–no matter how small–several times a day.

Then I got a chance to try Potty Time Stickers and Chart. It’s a sticker chart designed to hang right on the doorknob, with a sheet of stickers that also hangs on the doorknob. Now that is brilliant, especially for us craft-challenged people who never make our own sticker charts (seriously, I don’t even know where to start!). We switched to the Potty Time sticker chart and abandoned my chocolate stash.

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There are four different colored smiley-face stickers. On the chart, which has 40 squares, every tenth square has a star. You can do a bigger treat (a chocolate chip! A sticker! A small toy! A triple hug and big tickle session!) when the child gets to a star. You can give a sticker for sitting on the potty and trying; washing hands; peeing in the potty; or pooping on the potty. It’s up to you if you want to assign a color for each “task” or just let the child choose the sticker.

Ben was sort of into this at first. Unfortunately, since he’s already potty-trained and was being bribed with chocolate for awhile, a sticker chart wasn’t as enticing for him. We got to twenty and then went away for the weekend, not using his chart all weekend.

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The Potty Time Stickers and Chart would be fantastic for a child who’s just starting out on the potty or early in the learning. Ben was too far along, I think, to really get into it. But since these charts can be found at CVS for a mere $2.99, I recommend them to any potty-training family!

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Potty Time!

They were designed by a mom who didn’t like have the potty chart on the fridge (not terribly convenient to the bathroom) and the stickers on top of the toilet (ick). So she made a chart to hang at kids’ eye level on the doorknob. She showed them to a buyer at CVS, which is where you can find these charts. You can also check out the Tick Tock website to order these and other products.

THREE lucky winners (U.S. only) will receive a Potty Time Stickers and Chart! Giveaway ends April 8 at 8 p.m. Winners will be notified by email.

Easy entry!

Just leave a comment on this post with your first name and last initial (and your email address).

Bonus entries, for more chances to win!

1) Leave a comment on this post: Do you have a trick for potty training? Is there some aspect of it you’re nervous about? Any advice for other parents?

2) Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment below telling me you did so.

3) “Like” my Facebook page and leave a comment below telling me you did so.

That’s it! Thanks for entering, and good luck!

 

Disclosure: I received Potty Time Stickers and Chart for my review. I was not otherwise compensated. All opinions are my own.

 

Facing Down a Bully: “Bitopia” Review and Giveaway!

Have you ever been bullied?

Bullying can be as one-time as the mean girls who kept pushing me off the swings one day when my mother took me to an unfamiliar playground. It can be as subtle as someone spreading rumors about you. It can be as ongoing and blatant as the threats, shoving, and assaults I faced during my brief tenure in a public high school.

[Turns out the toughest girl in the school “didn’t like the look on my face” and felt threatened by me, so she set her whole tough-girl posse on me, one of whom jumped me one evening at the mall, leading to my Very First Fistfight.]

My parents came in to meet with the principal and the guidance counselor, who suggested that the best way to combat the harassment and attacks would be for me to eat my lunch in the guidance counselor’s office every day.  That’s it. That was their solution.

At the time, I wouldn’t have called it bullying. I just thought that Sammie and Rickie and Karina (not their real names) were crazy and mean and needed someone to pick on and for some reason had chosen me. Rickie’s the one who sat next to me in the grass one sunny morning, out by the soccer field, when I was about to return to the Catholic school I thought I’d hated so much, and she told me that they didn’t really hate me, but they thought that I thought I was cooler than them, and they felt threatened by me.

She was honest and quiet and genuinely sorry, and I think we could have become very good friends if I weren’t, by then, sick of being jumped every day at school, shoved against my locker, and regularly harassed in the cafeteria. Plus the academics at that school were a joke and I was learning nothing.

In Bitopia, Ari Magnusson’s new fantasy novel geared toward young adults, Stewart is regularly bullied by some mean kids at school. He’s afraid of them, always watching his back and thinking about his next move. Stewart, while fleeing from Frankie and Dirk and Judd one day, ends up in a strange new land populated only by children…and scary, evil creatures called Venators.

The children of this land have built a fortressed city, one where each has a job and duty. Stewart eventually figures out that all of the children of Bitopia ended up there while fleeing bullies. But how can they all get home again?

In trying to find the answer to this question, Stewart finds a way to face his greatest fears.

Though geared toward young adults, this debut novel is fast-paced, suspenseful, and compelling for readers of all ages. It’s hard to put down, actually, with tense moments interspersed with wit and humor. 

Magnusson has also created a discussion guide, Understanding Bullying and Ways to Make It Stop!,  that goes along with the novel. The discussion guide, geared toward grades 5-8, provides topic questions and solutions to recognize and prevent bullying as well as to empower kids (and adults, for that matter) to confront bullying behavior and to build strong friendships.

I daresay this discussion guide would have been mighty useful to all of me, my parents, and school officials when I was in high school.

Pilot programs based on Magnusson’s anti-bullying course are will be run in two public schools in 2014, and five other schools are currently considering the program. the program is one every school can use, and the discussion guide is a handy tool for any teacher or parent to use. It’s not just about coping with bullying. It also has really useful tips for developing strong and healthy friendships–tips that can be useful for adults, too!

Understanding Bullying and Ways to Make It Stop! is a must-read for the parents of any school-aged child. And Bitopia is a delightful read for kids and adults alike.

Want to check it out? One lucky reader will win both a signed copy of Bitopia AND a signed copy of Understanding Bullying and Ways to Make It Stop! Enter below! (If you don’t win, you can order the book on Amazon!)

[Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own. The author of Bitopia and the accompanying discussion guide is my brother. Even if he weren’t, I’d still say that these books are awesome, because they are. Kirkus Reviews agrees: “All the fun of a children’s book, coupled with the razor-sharp wit and potent insight that seasoned readers crave.”] a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Forgot I Had My Period: DivaCup Review and Giveaway

Oh, DivaCup, where have you been my whole life? Or at least all my menstruating years? The company calls it the “world’s leading menstrual cup,” and I can certainly understand why!

I’ve been getting my period since I was about 12 or 13 years old. First there were bulky pads. Then slender tampons. Then regular Tampax, then the happy discover of o.b. tampons.

There was also bulk, fears of odor, some discomfort, worries about tampon leakage, and needing to do something period-related every three hours or so. Five, if I doubled up on tampons.

Let’s not forget trash, discretion, being out somewhere and realizing you forgot to bring an extra pad or tampon, getting your period unexpectedly and finding no supplies at home, and what else?

I wanted a new solution. I also wanted to stop having to spend so much money and generate so much trash. (That is a heck of a lot of bleached cotton to go through each month, isn’t it?)

I got to try the Instead Softcup recently. I liked it, but it wasn’t quite it. It fits like a diaphragm. I had a constant fear of spillage (I also had a big spillage experience!) Also, because it’s so high up, there’s really no way to get it out without spilling blood all over your hand (at least, I couldn’t seem to do it!). Maybe I was doing it wrong, but I never could change that without a mess. Also, it is disposable–not quite as eco-friendly as I’d like.

And then I tried the DivaCup. It sits much lower, fitting in the lower part of the vagina instead of sitting up right under the cervix. It’s made of a durable silicone. I was afraid that it would be uncomfortable, because of where it is located, but I couldn’t feel it at all!

The DivaCup holds a lot, and it fits very securely. To feel confident, I wore a pad when I first tried the DivaCup. There was no need. Then I just wore a liner. No need for that, either. Yes, really. It’s that good. (I didn’t even skip a liner when I used tampons!)

I slept with it in. I went for a run with it in. No leakage, no discomfort. I forgot about it. I was so excited about it that I told another woman–who was buying one–about it, and she said, “Wow! I can’t wait to get my period!”

Best aspects of using the DivaCup: 

  • No mess! I never had to worry about when I needed to change something; I never felt seepage, and I never felt discomfort or dampness. I’d completely forget about it (the DivaCup, my period) for hours. And then I’d simply remove the cup, empty it, wash it, and put it back in. My hand didn’t look like I’d just slaughtered something. It was shockingly non-messy!
     
  • Comfortable! Did I mention I couldn’t feel it at all? I know tampons are comfortable, but I could always feel the string. Not so with the DivaCup! I know some find the stem a bit “pokey” and need to trim it, but I didn’t have this problem (OK, I felt the stem a tiny bit when I was running, but that’s because I’d reinserted the cup in a hurry and hadn’t put it in quite far enough).
     
  • No odor! Not on me, not in the bathroom trash (I know, gross, but let’s be honest!). 
  • Outdoors-compatible! Have you ever had your period on a backpacking trip? Don’t you just LOVE having to pack out your tampons? No longer a problem if you’re camping with the DivaCup!
     
  • So ecofriendly! You can wash and reuse it for years! 

 
Cons: I really cannot think of any at all, except maybe not having it with me when I first get my period again. But that’s really not much of an issue. 

One lucky reader can win her very own DivaCup! Trust me–it’s like not having your period at all!

If you don’t win one here, use the DivaCup’s store finder or buy it online. I cannot recommend the DivaCup enough!

(It comes in two sizes: Model 1: Recommended for women under 30 years old who have never delivered vaginally or by caesarean section; and Model 2: Recommended for women over 30 years old and/or for women who have delivered vaginally or by caesarean section. If you win, I will ask you your preferred size when I ask for your mailing address.)

[Disclosure: All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was given a DivaCup to review but was not paid or compensated for this review.

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Iced Coffee and Bagels Time! Review and Giveaway

He likes coffee. Any kind of coffee. I only let him have decaf, though.

Summer’s almost here, and it’s iced coffee season!

I usually enjoy my coffee hot year-round, to be honest, but I do appreciate iced coffee on a really hot day.

Last week I brought Ben to an iced coffee tasting at Bruegger’s….complete with bagels and their new Better Cheddar breakfast sandwiches (more on those in a minute). I don’t normally like flavored coffee, but the new Kahlua iced coffee is really good (sorry, it contains no alcohol; you’d have to add that yourself). We also tasted French Vanilla and Hazelnut iced coffees, also tasty.

Our friendly and informative host told us about the company as well as its current charitable campaign, “Clicks for Kids.”  Right now Bruegger’s–based in Burlington, Vermont–is raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, with the “Clicks for Kids” campaign. From May 29 through June 21, for every “Like” that the Bruegger’s Facebook page receives, the company will donate $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network. All proceeds from the Clicks for Kids campaign will go to benefit children’s hospitals. 

June 21, the last day of the campaign, is Free Iced Coffee Day at all Bruegger’s locations. This is another Children’s Miracle Network fundraiser. To get a free iced coffee, you need to download a coupon from the Bruegger’s Facebook page. If you’re on their “Fresh News” email list, Brueggers will email you the coupon (you need to join that email list by June 19 to get the coupon. The iced coffee is free, but you can donate in canisters at the registers.

Ben liked the sesame bagels with strawberry cream cheese….until they brought out the breakfast sandwiches. Bagels with herbed cream cheese, peppered bacon (yum!), cheddar, and egg. He took a bite and declared it “Picy!” (that would be the peppered bacon, methinks) and thereafter insisted only eating the egg, leaving me to eat the bagel, cheese, and bacon. I didn’t mind, though the egg certainly completed the sandwich.

Why else would they put a hole in a bagel?
Since 2009, Bruegger’s has contributed more than $100,000 to the Children’s Miracle Network. Go click on Facebook, then get your iced coffee, and help them make this year stronger than ever!
And…..for one lucky reader…..I’m giving away some Bruegger’s treats! 
* Free Big Bagel Bundle (dozen bagels and 2 tubs of cream cheese
* $5 Bakery Bucks
* Free Lunch Sandwich
* Free Bagel with Cream Cheese
To win: 
Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite kind of bagel is; be sure to also leave your email, so I can contact you if you win!
For additional entries, “Like” It’s Not Like a Cat on Facebook and leave a comment below, telling me you’ve done so. 
“Like” Bruegger’s on Facebook and leave a comment below, telling me you’ve done so.

Follow me on Twitter (@notlikeacat) and leave a comment below, telling me you’ve done so.

Winners will be chosen at random on June 20 at noon!

Contest ends June 20 at noon. One winner will be chosen. The winner will receive a pack of selected Bruegger’s certificates. Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours to receive the prize, which I will mail to you (or deliver, if you live nearby, or which you can pick up from me, again if you live nearby!).

The opinions in this review are entirely my own. I did sample bagels, sandwiches, and coffee at Bruegger’s free of charge. I was not compensated for this post.

UPDATE: Rachel is the winner! Thanks, all, for participating!

Adora, I Adore Ya: Giveaway!!

You might call it a calcium supplement. I prefer to think of it as “Mommy’s Morning Chocolate.”

Adora Calcium Supplements come in Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate. Note I don’t say “Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Flavors.” These are actual chocolates. Each foil-wrapped chocolate disk contains 500 milligrams of calcium, as well as Vitamin D3 and magnesium.

Otherwise, the ingredients are the same as on any decent chocolate bar: chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin. They are tasty. They aren’t chalky, which I had feared when I heard “calcium supplement.”

And we all know how much I love my chocolate. I enjoy a daily fix, and Adora lets me justify getting that chocolate fix first thing in the morning (I mean, come on, it’s a supplement, right?).

But you can wait until afternoon. Or evening. It doesn’t matter. Adora Calcium Supplements are tasty any time of day.

You, too, can enjoy Adora Calcium Supplements! I’m hosting a giveway, and the lucky winner will win a 30-disk bag of each kind–milk chocolate AND dark chocolate!

Giveaway ends at midnight on February 16! I will announce the winner (randomly chosen by Rafflecopter) the next day.

[Disclaimer: Adora sent me two bags of calcium supplements to sample for this review and giveaway. I was not otherwise compensated. All opinions are my own.]

Here’s how to enter to win!


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Shhhhhh….It’s Oh….So……Quiet

Going more than week without posting is kind of a long dry spell, I realize. Sorry, ya’ll.

Here’s the thing: I’m working these days. A lot. I know, we all are. But a lot of things have not changed in our daily life, and then you add a job, and, well, sorry blog. I’m really sorry. I still haven’t sent thank-you notes from Christmas or my birthday, either. I’m really behind. And we’re beyond living out of laundry baskets. More like laundry piles. I keep the cat, kids, and husband fed, but if it weren’t for C’s frequent efforts, we’d all be wearing towels and boots these days.

It is too cold to wear towels and boots.

Also, I am about to do my very first giveaway! Exciting, no? And it is chocolate-related. It’s like the PR people know me! I’m still thinking about how best to approach that (for chrissake, don’t overthink it–just do it!). I could write a whole bunch of blog posts about freezing under pressure and such.

But anyway, stay tuned! A giveaway is coming right up, right here! Check back this week for details!