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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mostly Settled in to My WordPress Home

So, I have migrated most of my content from here, set up some new things and am in the process of determining next steps for my new blog/website. It is an exciting time and I would be THRILLED if all of my wonderful followers would go and find me there.

My new blog is taking a bit of a different direction as I focus on teaching music, my own music studies, music in general for students (with a focus on the beginner) products for teachers and student and even some freebies such as vocal warm-ups which I will add so that they can be downloaded.  Please come join me!  Hope to see you soon!

bellavocelibera.com

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Aaachoo! So, I haven't been around much... *cough

A couple of weeks back, my daughter, Sarah (AKA Trouble) brought home a lovely virus.  She saw fit to share it with her best friend during their sleep over and with her father for his birthday.  Nothing says Happy Birthday like the cold/flu virus, right?  Well, I am hopefully the last to get it and I was sooo sick. In fact, I pretty much spent the better part of two days in bed, a luxury I cannot normally afford.  Even after that, I was a zombie for another three days and I'm still going through the tissues like mad and coughing up a lung.  Needless to say, I was pretty much not focused enough to do much posting or moving and my first voice lesson of the season was interesting!

That said, I am going forward with the move. Just getting some things set up with my new WordPress blog then I will look into whether I can do the transfer from here myself or whether it would be worth my while to bite the bullet and pay someone to move my blog.  :)  Anyone have any experience with moving from Blogger to Wordpress?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nearly Time to Take the Plunge

I have been thinking of making a move for some time now and the more I network with other bloggers, the clearer it becomes that it will soon be time to make the leap from Blogger to WordPress.  I have a few reasons for this.

One - I am a music teacher and I seem to have blogs and sites all over the place.  I think the time is now to get serious about having not only a mommy blog, but also one that can make me money and promote my home studio. :)  I have a domain over at Go Daddy, which I may or may not keep (we'll see) but it seems like I could put together a much nicer blog/studio website and have it all in one place I am already paying for.

Two- I am tired of having page load and freezing issues. It took me way too long to respond to the bloggers who were so gracious to comment on last week's blog post because of those issues.  If blogging is about relationships, responding to bloggers or followers is crucial and using a platform which makes these things difficult just seems like a waste of time at this point in time.

I am working through one question, however, and that is whether I can keep a section for blogging like I have been doing recently, about my life with my family and the seasons of parenting.  I'll be looking into a way to keep that going because I don't want to stop doing this kind of post after getting such positive feedback and because I really do enjoy it.  :)

Right now, I have been working with the sweet and wonderful Lisa Cash Hanson and learning how I might make my blog/website more profitable.  I am involved with a great group of ladies in a group called Blogs to Riches and am part of the Inner Circle with special one on one training with Lisa.  She is working hard to help those of us who need to make the move to WordPress easier.  I highly recommend the group and the training if you are in the market for some advice and gentle butt kicking to help grow your blog and business.  You can check out the book for yourself here!  Click here to visit Mompreneur Mogul.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why I am a Failure as a Mom

This hop is a great idea.  I can't wait to tell you how I have failed as a mom with my daughters who are now seventeen and thirteen.  I know I have failed because of the feedback I have had from the girls when they tell me what other moms think and from a phone call I got once telling me that my daughter was participating on a website called, of all things, DEVIANT art!  *swoons away

When they were small I failed them by;

-Only breastfeeding Melissa for a couple of months because I was a stressed out single mom
-choosing to give birth to Sarah (DD#2) at home on my living room floor surrounded by peace and quiet and love
-allowing them solid food when they seemed like they wanted it, rather than by the books
-letting them play under the bleachers while Daddy umpired baseball - they were the dirtiest kids around!
-having them with us at the rink when Dad refereed, or the golf course when he played
-giving them the choice to not wear their jackets if it was cold so that they would learn (of course, I took a jacket  in case they needed it)
-pulling Melissa out of second grade and homeschooling her for two years
-teaching Sarah to read, print and do math before she even started Kindergarten because she was ready
-saying "no" even when it broke my heart because it was the best thing for them
-allowing them to dress themselves even if their clothes didn't match
-not putting a block on the tv, but rather monitoring in person what they watched and discussing things that came up
-treating scary questions as teachable moments


As they got older, I got even worse.  I did such awful things as;

-allowing Melissa to pick her own curfew in high school (she picked an earlier time than I would have!)
-allowing them to walk to the store at the corner and not filling them with my fears of kidnappings or accidents
-teaching them about safely searching the internet rather than putting a parental block on the computer -monitoring what they were doing on the internet (Miss is nearly 18 and I still reserve the right to see what she is doing on the internet I pay for although I never barge into her room or Sarah's)
-not only allowing them to go to anime conventions, but going along with an open mind and eventually embracing the community
-allowing them more and more as they get older to face the consequences of their actions rather than bailing them out
-taking them out of school to go to Disneyland

As you can see, I'm a really horrible mom.  It probably explains why my daughters' friends always come over here and why some of Melissa's friends in high school said they wanted to live here.  I blame my husband; he takes a much liberal approach to parenting and I, by instinct, would be a more protective mom, but it's his fault I have learned to be more middle of the road.

Oh yeah. Worst of all; my kids know they can come to be about anything and I will still love them.  Horrible, no?



Missa and me on the evening of her grad dinner


Sarah and me watching 3D movies on Freedom of the Seas

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When the Baby of the Family Finishes Grade School

  On the very same day her sister graduated from high school, our younger princess, Sarah, finished grade seven and prepared to move on to high school herself. Sarah is princess is name and attitude, but not in dress, so she borrowed a pretty black dress from her older sister (who is actually smaller than she is, incidentally). Ever the individual, and finding herself without dress shoes, she wore her winged sneakers. The effect really must be seen to be appreciated.

   I was feeling quite emotional since older sister was having “real” grad, but also feeling like my sweet baby had grown up far too quickly as well. Sarah is the daughter I don't talk about as much, but she is as much blessing as her sister. She is my homebirth baby, my lawyer to be (the girl can argue anything!) my beauty queen in skinny jeans and with the biggest attitude. It's not that she necessarily believes the world owes her, but more that she simply doesn't care what most people think about her. I wish I had been more like that when I was a teen! She has always been the child to present her case when she wants something and is concerned that we might have objections. She carefully researches and explains her point of view. Smart little stinker!

   At any rate, this same little girl (who is nearly taller than I am!) was leaving her elementary school and, through a series of district wide changes, being separated from several of her best friends. Not easy for most kids, but for one who loves from the deepest part of herself, very difficult.

   We arrived at her luncheon ceremony to find that there were not enough chairs. Interestingly enough, I attended school here from the age of 13 and graduated from one of the local high schools, but this small town's flavour has changed so much with the migration of city people to the area. I had not bonded with the mothers of her school even during the years of standing outside making polite conversation with some but mostly being ignored. I still find that ironic, given that I am from here! We did finally find her best friend's mom and I sat near her.

   There was an award ceremony during which the two teachers presented certificates both serious and silly. Sarah even earned a new award – The Silver Shoe Award – for her crazy shoes! Then came the moment which shocked us both. Sarah had received 100% on her science exam and thus earned the Science award for the grade! :) There was then a very sad few moments as the class took time to remember a young lady who had died in a car accident during the course of the year. When her grandmother made the presentation, I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. It had been difficult even for us parents to see our children grapple with this kind of loss at such a young age.
The ceremony ended with a fun AV presentation some of the boys had put together. Included were baby pictures and current ones of the class and even a photo of the girl who had been lost to that car crash. Again, probably not too many dry eyes in the room.

   Afterward, there was much picture taking on the part of proud parents, cake eating by all, and good-byes between staff and students. I was so proud to see the pride in Sarah's teachers' eyes as they congratulated and encouraged her. I hope that she won't waste her not unconsiderable intelligence (inherited from her father) during her high school years. I am also glad that in all of the separation which took place, she is still in school with her best friend and that she has chosen her friends wisely. In the next few years with all of the growing up and craziness, she will need steady and reliable friends.

   And so begins a new chapter. One child embarking on her journey as a young adult and the other foraying into the wilderness which is high school. ;) I am so proud of them both. 

  Sarah on the right sporting her winged silver shoes.
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

When your Baby Graduates


June 27, 2012 was the end of a stage of my daughters young life and the beginning of another one. She had found the “perfect” dress in her grade eleven year while out shopping with one of her closest friends, and had called excitedly to ask if we would allow her to buy it. Ever the bargain hunter, Melissa had found her dream dress at a consignment shop for a mere $50. She had already texted us a photo of her wearing the dress and her friend insisted that if Miss didn't buy it herself, she was going to buy it for her!

Now, more than a year later, I helped her by carefully curling her freshly dyed hair into a pile of ringlets and pulling it back. She slipped into her dress and added the tiara she had found the week before ($11!) and declared herself a “freaking pretty princess”. I had to agree. I carefully applied make up leaving her to do her own mascara. This princess is far too jumpy for anyone else to apply her mascara!

Her Royal Highness allowed me to take some photos in the back yard before I rushed off to her sister's grade seven graduation (which merits its own post :) ) Her grandmother was coming soon to pick her up and take her down the mall for the classic car parade, a tradition which began after I graduated in this town some years ago. She would be met there by her biological father who had flown out from Alberta to be here for her grad. :) It would be some hours before my husband and I would see her again.

When we got to the school it was HOT. I found myself sitting between my ex and my husband and was struck that, even though I wish her biological father had been more involved when she was small, Melissa is blessed to have two dads who get along and I am also blessed to think of my ex as a friend. I did wonder if I would have to send the two of them to time out, however, as they got sillier and noisier as time went on. Excitement and shared pride, I guess? At any rate, the grads finally filed in and the ceremony began.

As a side note, I should add that sitting in bleacher for any amount of time is agony for both my ex and my husband. They are both prone to bad knees and hubby even had hip replacement surgery when he was only forty! The great Canadian game has really done them both in. Hockey is dangerous for more than just concussions. ;)

Anyway, the time was finally nearing for Melissa to take her walk. Both dads positioned themselves in the aisle and with not a little difficulty, got down on their knees to take photos. Miss later told me that they had her in stitches of laughter calling eachother old and wondering who was going to help whom up off the ground!

When she turned the corner to cross the room, I was there waiting to take her picture and give one last hug. She had tears in her eyes and reached for me. Talk about bittersweet! My little girl, the one with whom I lived alone for two and a half years is now in a position to leave me. I know that I will always be her mother and she will always be my baby and that we have a special relationship which won't ever end, but I also know that it will change. Perhaps more gradually, since she is not in a hurry to leave home, but it will change. Mixed with the pride is a little melancholy. Her sister started high school and it won't be long before she has her time of leaving. I guess to everything there really is a season, and motherhood has been such a blessed time for me.  


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Away from my blog for far too long!

I apologize profusely for my long absence.  I last posted just before my daughter graduated, but I had no idea how my life would blow up in my face for a few weeks!  I want to be careful to keep this from getting too personal, but let's just say that my husband and I looked very hard at whether this marriage is going to continue to work out or not.  I am in counselling, he is making some changes and we are taking it one step at a time.

Meanwhile, my daughter graduated in a lovely ceremony where she looked in her words; "like a pretty freaking princess!"   I'll be sure to post more about that later today.  Brag pics WILL be included. ;)  We also took a trip (surprise, surprise!) to the Edmonton area where she visited with her biological father. I drove (roughly 1200KM each way - somewhere in the 750 mile area) and it was a really cool experience. More blog material! Yay! :)

Some exciting things are happening.  I will be teaching a series of music classes at our local rec centre starting next week.  My younger daughter started high school at the high school from which I graduated (some) years ago.  My older daughter decided to stay with us for at least the next year and has begun a job search.  I have also joined Lisa Cash Hanson's Blogs to Riches Club where I will learn a lot more about blogging for money and how to be a successful blogger.  So here is to a really exciting fall!  Hope you all had a wonderful summer!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Aeropostale $250 Giveaway!

Welcome to the $250 Summer Wardrobe Giveaway!

AĆ©ropostale is a mall-based, specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories. AĆ©ropostale provides customers with a focused selection of high-quality, active-oriented, fashion and fashion basic merchandise at compelling values. Products can be purchased in-stores and online at Aeropostale.com and ps4u.com.   You can find exclusive Aeropostale Coupons and discounted gift cards on CouponTrade.com, your only source for both! Now you finally have a way to stack your savings in a whole new way!!!

Great! Now log you entries in the Rafflecopter form below and don't forget to come back for your daily entries!

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How can you cruise for free?

From my Expedia Cruiseship Centers Website; "If you're a member of a team, organization, group or family that wants to take a holiday, why not suggest a cruise and save with the incredible group rates available. Take the initiative today and become a cruise tour conductor. Tour conductors work with CruiseShipCenters to make travel arrangements for large groups in exchange for a discounted rate. They're responsible for reserving a group of staterooms and recruiting enough people to occupy them. Whether for a corporate retreat, family reunion, team event or just plain fun, it's most efficient and cost effective to book everyone together and take advantage of the exceptional rates. As a tour conductor you can travel on the cruise of your dreams for free or for a significantly reduced price. You may also receive additional compensation for your efforts. The exact compensation will depend on the size of the group, duration of the trip, the destination and other factors. Tour conductor compensation may be kept as a reward for your effort, shared with members of your group to reduce everyone's cost (common with family reunions, or friends and family groups) or used as a prize giveaway. Most cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Princess Cruises, require that a minimum of eight staterooms and 16 guests are booked to constitute a group rate. Please refer to the individual cruise line, as each will have their own set of conditions. As a tour conductor, it's your job to round up the troops and to do a thorough job ensuring everyone is onboard. Once you've established a committed group, the rest is up to us. We'll do our best to find you the best sailings and negotiate the best deals. Groups are often eligible for special perks including hosted cocktail parties, stateroom upgrades and shipboard credits. If you've got a group in need of a vacation, contact us for further information and save on your cruise today." I keep thinking this would be a fun way to do a family reunion if I could convince them to do it. Hmmm... ;)

Monday, June 4, 2012

10K Giveaway!

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It's official, Bbproductreviews has reached 10,000 fans on facebook and had to celebrate this joyous event with all of you beautiful fans! A big shot out to all the great blogs who have come together to help me sponsor this event. I never in a million years thought I would reach this goal! Thank you all for being a fan, reading my blog, and supporting me by entering these wonderful giveaways provided to you.

Please take a moment and check out the blogs below that helped make this celebration possible.

Savior Cents, Thrifty Mom Reviews and More, Crafts-Things, Living Frugal With Erika, A Song Bird Takes Flight, Single Mom Saving Money, Giveaway Promote, My Boys and Their Toys, Sister Saving Cents, The Frugal Free Gal, Pittsburgh Frugal Mom, Cny's Extreme Couponing, Chant3llo's Blog, and So Cal Coupon mommy.

Now for the prizes. There will be three winners.

The grand prize winner will be receiving this Phillips Blu Ray player.

*If not available another Blu Ray player of equal value will be awarded.

2nd Prize will be an Ozeri electric wine opener

3rd Prize is a handbag from Twisted Orchid, Winners Choice (up to $75)

Giveaway will run from 6/5-6/19. Open to US residents 18 and older. International readers may enter for the grand prize but will be rewarded by either $70 paypal or Amazon (equal to the value of grand prize). All entries are optional but will be verified. Entrant must like all facebook and twitter fans for first two options to be valid. Good luck everyone! <---End HTML---> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Travel pics... how many do you have?

I always think I take so many pics until I get home and realize I really have hardly any.  My 17 year old daughter is an amazing photographer and I think she took about 200 on our recent Caribbean cruise. :)  I have been thinking that my blog has been too much business and not enough fun lately, so I am going to see if I can find travel pics in my old photos.  You know, the ones before digital cameras? Wish me luck. Hopefully, I find some fun stories to share with you! 

River Cruising Check it out!


River cruising is a growing industry.  Why not?  Prices appear higher but actually include airfare, excursions, all on-board activities and even beer and wine.  No other form of cruising includes all of that at the base price.  Below is an article about river cruising from my Expedia Cruiseship Centers Website.

 

 

River Cruises

River Cruising Faq  |  Rivers Of Europe
Discover all the luxury and services River Cruising has to offer. Experience exceptional value through these complimentary amenities included on most river cruises:
  • Experienced guides will lead daily, enriching shore excursions
  • All meals including complimentary wine, beer, sodas with lunch and dinner
  • Bottled water, specialty coffees and teas
Looking for an alternative to contemporary ocean cruising? Just like traditional ocean cruising, river cruises are an ideal way to visit several countries in a short time to discover the heart of a destination.
River cruises ply the waterways of essentially every continent including the world's three largest rivers: the Amazon, Nile, and Yangtze.
From its beginnings in the mountains of Qinghai Province, the Yangtze flows to Shanghai on the East China Sea. The Yangtze is the third longest river in the world, flowing 3,690 miles - longer than the car trip on Interstate 80 from New York to Los Angeles.
The heart of this cruise runs through what is known as the Three Gorges with walls that rise as high as 1,000 feet above the riverbank. The site is also a cradle of ancient, Chinese civilization where travelers take in thousand-year-old temples, spectacular mountain vistas, and local village life.
Europe presents a variety of options for river cruising. From the rich history of the Rhine and the Danube to the untouched Douro that meanders through Madrid and Northern Portugal. Glide through colorful waterways and visit many of the gems often overlooked by other travelers. Enjoy the atmosphere of Amsterdam. Discover the wine country of France, the renaissance of northern Italy, the spectacular castles along Germany's Rhine River, the romantic Danube as it flows to Vienna and Budapest, and many other treasures of the Old World.
Russian river cruises are also very popular. They take you to the center of one of the most fascinating cultures in the world. Cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg through picturesque waterways. Explore medieval towns, quaint villages, and the breathtaking scenery of a country locked behind the Iron Curtain for most of the 20th century.
Set sail on the river of your choice aboard any of these fabulous River Cruise Lines:
AmaWaterways
AmaWaterways features upscale cuisine, enriching ports of call, and an international feel. With unique amenities such as bicycles free for use by passengers, to allow them to venture out on their own in each port of call, AmaWaterways is committed to providing a river cruising experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Uniworld River Cruises
Uniworld River Cruises offers many voyages so that you’ll have the chance to sail when and where you please, aboard one of their comfortable and intimate ships. You'll enjoy extra-spacious cabins with picture windows, attentive service by English-speaking staff, and superb dining with panoramic views. With staff to attend to your every need and whim, you’re sure to have a relaxing and enriching vacation.
Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises provides a superior travel experience, from one end of your trip to the other. With the intimate atmosphere aboard all Viking ships, it’s easy to make new friends, while the spaciousness enables you to enjoy some quiet time as well. Guests enjoy all the amenities they might expect in a fine hotel, plus expansive, panoramic views throughout.
For a truly unique experience, CLICK HERE to contact one of our Cruise Consultants to plan your very own river cruise to Europe, Russia, or China.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NY Dad's Kind of Luau Giveaway!

HEY DAD IT"S 5 O'CLOCK SOMEWHERE!!

DO YOU HAVE THAT GREAT DAD THAT DESERVES HIS FUN TOO?

ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY BROUGHT TO YOU BY

COUPON HAULS AND DEBBIE DOES COUPONS

ALONG WITH THE MANY OTHER GREAT BLOGS LISTED BELOW

ONE LUCKY PERSON WILL WIN A

Margaritaville Frozen Blender

Jimmy Buffet Greatest hits CD

Margaritaville Mixers

Margaritaville LOGO shirt for Dad

To all the Dads that were our 1st love: THANK YOU!!

The First Man That I Loved is so special to me

You are the first man who cared that I was here

held me so gently and wiped away my tears

a shoulder to lean on, and chase away my fears...

All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter entry form below!!!

**This giveaway is open the U.S. only. The prizes are going to be shipped directly to the winners from the page owners of Coupon Hauls. The other sponsors in this giveaway are not responsible for the shipping of these prizes. This giveaway is also in no way sponsored or endorsed by Facebook or Twitter.. This giveaway is sponsored by all of the participating blogs.** Void where prohibited.
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Monday, May 28, 2012

The importance of travel insurance

In the past, I never bought travel insurance. I just decided that I was going and that was it. It seems I never really thought about all of the possibilities, like illness or injury in a foreign country. When I was in the Caribbean on my first cruise, I ended up with ear problems and needed to see a doctor on board our ship. It was a shock to me when I was told that rates for seeing the on board doc started at $100. That was before any kind of treatment. Now, I am from Canada, and unaccustomed to paying for medical services, at least directly. However, I needed to see the doctor and get things straightened out before flying home. So, I sucked it up and paid. I was fortunate that it was not worse and I can tell you that I will always buy travel insurance from here on in! In our travel agency we use RBC insurance and I have read and heard about many stories where people were not only reimbursed their lost trips, but had medical coverage and support in foreign countries. I have friends who were involved in a car accident in the US and had to pay tons of money for treatment. It's just good sense to have coverage. Following is an article I borrowed from MSN.ca about the value of travel insurance, particularly for us Canucks.
By Gordon Powers, March 17, 2010 Why you need travel insurance If you plan on traveling outside Canada, consider getting the best medical insurance you can afford. Provincial healthcare plans rarely cover the full cost of medical care. Gordon Powers Thanks to a rapidly rising Canadian dollar, more families are choosing U.S destinations for their March break vacations. If you're one of them, make sure you pack more than just sunscreen for protection. Spending an extra $150 or so on travel insurance could save your family thousands in medical expenses related to illness, injury or death while heading across the border. Bing! Where can I find financial counselling? Step one in shopping for a broad-based plan is to determine if you're already covered. Your employee health plan or credit card coverage likely includes some form of group health insurance and that's a good place to start. If you're self employed though, chances are that you're on your own. Find out the details, including whether family members are covered (many employer plans have an age limit for children) and any restrictions on the length of the vacation. Many insurers, for example, won't pay for emergency hospital stays lasting more than three weeks. Be sure to shop around — there's a wide range of possible policy features and costs. You may, for instance, be able to get lower rates from some carriers if you work with a familiar company or from organizations like the Canadian Automobile Association. And consider one policy that covers the whole family, rather than buying one policy per person. Once you do buy a policy, carry proof of your insurance with you on your trip. Getting good medical coverage is probably a smart idea every time you travel, even if you're just entering the U.S. on a day trip. Even though it costs several thousand dollars a day for hospital care across the border, provincial healthcare plans will pay only as much as that service would have cost in Canada. Ontario's OHIP, for example, only covers up to $400 per day and BC's plan covers less than half that. You'll be responsible for the rest. The cost of your policy depends on several factors including your age and health, the duration of the trip, the extent of coverage and deductible amount. Some policies contain clauses that require you to pay part of the costs of any medical treatment you receive, expressed as a deductible clause. For example, if your policy calls for a $250 deductible, you'll have to pay the first $250 towards any claim. You may be able to reduce your premiums somewhat by agreeing to a higher deductible, which some companies will waive if you're under a certain age. Standard plans should cover unexpected illness, disease or injury, emergency transportation, doctors' fees, hospital stays and medication. More elaborate plans may also include X-rays, diagnostic tests, dental treatment, air and ground ambulance, paramedic fees and private nursing. Some plans also cover transportation and related costs if you, your spouse or dependent children have to return home or stay at the bedside of the hospitalized person. They may also provide a per diem allowance for meals and accommodation, if the medical emergency prevents your return to Canada. Most insurers have a 24/7 toll-free number you must contact prior to seeking medical treatment. From there, they'll coordinate treatment with an approved network of medical providers, arranging emergency transportation, and making billing/payment arrangements. If you visit a doctor outside the approved network, you may end up paying these expenses, then claiming them from the insurer - not a smooth process. Be aware of what else may not be covered. Standard limitations include emergencies due to political unrest, suicide, high-risk sports, and alcohol or drug abuse. Pre-existing medical conditions are also often not covered and there's little value in playing dumb here. Before paying anything, the insurance company will ask to check records with your local doctor if they suspect problems are due to a pre-existing condition. Ask questions if you're not sure exactly what the pre-existing limitations refer to, how they apply to your medical history or how they affect your coverage. Some policies will still cover you, but at a higher price. The terminology in travel insurance policies is open to interpretation, so you have to study the fine print in order to discover what a "medical emergency" means to each company. When examining different policies, ask the following: What won't be covered? Is there a deductible? In the event of an emergency, do I have to pay upfront or will the carrier pay direct? What procedures need to be followed to obtain medical attention? Is childcare covered if I or my spouse is hospitalized? Will someone drive our vehicle back to our home if we're not able to? What happens if one of us dies while travelling?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Noxicare Giveaway!

Guest post on behalf of: NaturalHairLatina

Source
In 2005 I encountered a serious medical injury which effected majority of my right side. Due to the injury, I suffer serious residual and have a difficulty performing various task due to chronic pain and serious discomfort. So when given the opportunity to review Noxicare Natural Pain Relief,  I became excited.


Product Claim: 
Noxicare™ Fast Acting, Long Lasting, Natural Pain Reliever

Top Ingredient:
  1. Turmeric: one of the powerful healers found in nature, recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  2. Willow Bark: has been used to treat pain and inflammation since the time of Ancient Egypt and Greece.
  3. Ginger: helps alleviate muscle strains, arthritis and rheumatism, and is a catalyst for improving the effectiveness of other herbs.
  4. Holy Basil: properties include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral.
  5. Rosemary Extract: has served a variety of purposes including topical use for joint or musculoskeletal pain.
  6. Alpha Lipoic Acids: antioxidants used to treating diabetic neuropathy and increasing blood flow to the nerves.
  7. Boswellia Extract: an anti-inflammatory used to treat arthritis and joint pain.
Uses:
Source
  1. Acute and chronic inflammation: your body’s immune response to irritation or other injuries with features like redness, swelling, warmth and pain.
  2. Muscle aches: Muscle aches can be acute (as a result of athletic injury) or chronic (experienced by fibromyalgia or cancer sufferers) and involve ligaments, tendons, bones and organs.
  3. Nerve pain: Painful nerve endings in the layers of your skin can cause burning, throbbing and stinging.
      
    Price:  
    3.5 fl oz 19.95

    Pros:
    Odorless
    Non-Greasy
    ParabenFree

    Cons:
    No deep tissue penetration

    Conclusion: On a scale of 1-5, I would give the product a 3 and a half stars. Used product for 6 consecutive days, morning, noon and night. What I did like odorless, non greasy or menthol smell. Also, the product is formulated with natural ingredients. From personal experience. Natural formulated items take longer to work in my opinion
Tip: Read directions and clean area prior to use.

Our friends at Noxicare would like to offer: 
3 tubes for 3 winners
Also, we will be giving away t-shirts as well for the winners.

Source: Noxicare.com (Italic)

Please, complete Rafflecopter
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*Disclaimer NaturalHairLatina or Event Bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. Full disclosure on rafflecopter

Friday, May 18, 2012

June Fan Appreciation Event

Are you a blogger? Do you want to increase your social media exposure by rewarding your fans with a chance to win a cash giveaway?

If you answered yes, then you should join our upcoming cash giveaway event, which will run from June 1-11th.

Sign-ups are open now!

Prize: Cash sum which will be determined by participation - the more bloggers that join, the larger the amount of the cash giveaway.

Eligibility: This giveaway is open Worldwide, prize is in US dollars, Paypal account is required.

Cost: $5 per entry link - Facebook, Twitter, Email subscription, RSS subscription, or other (could be either a voting link, entry into a different giveaway you are running, etc. whatever - your choice). Each type of link will be listed together in categories on the Rafflecopter form beginning with Facebook pages and moving through all the options in the order listed above. Each entry link in the category will be listed in the order payment was received. Sign up and pay as soon as possible for your chance to be near the top of the list.

Payment: Accepted via Paypal - send to frugalexperiments@gmail.com.

Blogger Prize: There will be a cash prize for the participating blogger that refers the most participants. Total prize amount will depend upon the number of participating bloggers. Minimum prize amount of $10 and will go up $1 per participating blogger that signs up after the initial 10 so this would be a progressive prize amount.

Requirements: You will be required to post twice about this giveaway. Once before the giveaway begins, to announce your participation and to tell other bloggers how they can participate also, this is to help drive new traffic and hopefully get more bloggers involved. Your second post should go live after the contest begins, detailing the giveaway and containing the Rafflecopter form so your visitors can enter this awesome giveaway.

Sign-up Now Through May 28, 2012

Your payment will be pooled with the payments from all other participating bloggers and will go toward the total prize (minus Paypal fees, blogger prize and administrative fees). In exchange, your blog will be included with all other participating blogs in the Fan Appreciation Giveaway as an entry method.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What Women Want Giveaway!

A new season of fashion and beauty if quickly approaching. Butler Bag, Karren's Avon (creator/writer for Oh! My Heartsie) and Mom to Bed by 8 (the Iowa-Mom)want to offer one lucky reader a prize package that is sure to tickle your fancy and bring joy to your wardrobe and skin all at the same time.
Butler Bag, "The World's Most Organized Handbag"
The Butler Bag Everyday Tote is a perfectly versatile back. Offered in three colors and create from genuine Nana leather. This bag offers two zippered pockets outside and a compartmentalized interior with zippered "privacy pocket" inside. This is a true organizer's purse dream come true.
Karren's Avon is generously providing a bath and body package plus a few accessories extras to make you smile.
Odyssey Cologne Spray, Odyssey Roll-On Anti-Perspirant Deodorant and Odyssey Perfumed Skin Softener
RARE DIAMONDS Body Lotion, RARE DIAMONDS Shower Gel and RARE DIAMONDS Eau de Parfum Spray
SKIN SO SOFT Signature Silk Moisturizing Shower Gel, SKIN SO SOFT Signature Silk Gelled Body Oil and SKIN SO SOFT Signature Silk Replenishing Hand Cream
Florence Gift Set
Leading Love 2-Piece Gift Set
Silver Coin Purse and Black Wallet
Finally Mom to Bed by 8, the Iowa-Mom wants you to enjoy your stylish night out and is bringing a $50 Visa Gift Card to the What A Woman Wants party for you to do just that.
Giveaway starts on May 11 at 12:01AM and ends May 25 at 11:59PM. Open to the US residents only; must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Enter to win the What Women Want Giveaway below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

HP Home Office Giveaway!

Coupontrade.com and HP are offering the biggest giveaway event so far! HP Omni 27t series including Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010, Norton Anti-Virus, keyboard, mouse, 3 Care Pack House Service, Windows 7 Home Premium Founded in 1939, HP is the world’s largest IT company and brings to market a vast array of innovative, advanced, and reliable products that continuously improve the way their customers live and work. At the HP Home & Home Office Store you will find an unparalleled selection of notebooks, desktops, printers, accessories, and more! Whether shopping for your home or small business, HP has a solution for you.     CouponTrade.com is your new source for discount gift cards and NAME brand coupon codes. Now you can combine these discounts in ONE place to save more than ever before! Now you can SELL your unwanted gift cards too! Are you sitting on any unclaimed cash?   Entry is easier than ever! Check out the Rafflecopter form below!  

Monday, May 7, 2012

When Should You Use a Travel Agent?

Robert Reid from The Lonely Planet's Blog has this to say about using travel agents.
27 April 2012 5:41am Filed under news When should you use a travel agent? Robert ReidLonely Planet author That tiresome argument between what makes a ‘traveler’ different from a ‘tourist’ is sometimes split along the lines that the latter used a travel agent. A tourist goes where he or she’s led by an agent or package tour, the traveler does it all on your own. Yeah, well… While the number of travel agents have dropped by two-thirds in the past couple decades, the news of agencies’ death, per a recent New York Times article, has been greatly exaggerated. The 14 to 15,000 still-active agents have racked up two years of growth, and actually make up a third of the US$284 billion travel market still, particularly regarding ‘complex leisure travel’ like cruises, per this PhoCusWright study. (According to a 2010 Travelmole piece, travelers aged 16 to 24, often first-timers surely, are the most likely to use an agent.) When should you use a travel agent? Here are a few reasons why an agents are working for some travelers. 1. Saving time and money Some travelers just don’t have time to plan for themselves, or they hate the time and effort it takes. And at the end of sorting through the myriad options online, it’s hard to be confident that you’ve found the best deal. We wondered how much of the Lonely Planet community would be willing to pay for five hours’ of saved online planning time, maybe just $30 to $50, and our poll (below) showed a nearly 50-50 split: It’s worth noting that over half of the US responders (52%) said ‘yes,’ while just about a third (35%) of Brits would. One of the Americans who said yes was Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown, who told me, ‘I like planning myself, but if they can save you five hours, sure, I’d pay $30 to $50.’ 2. Special access The Times article suggests that agents with specific niches have the relationships built to offer travelers access to places DIY planners couldn’t find on their own, like a special after-hours tour of the Sistine Chapel. That’s a temptation, surely. Even if you could find some of these special experiences yourself, they can save hours of research. 3. Building on your research What’s most interesting in the Times article is how agents are changing how they work. Travelers know much more what they want before going in than before. According to one upscale agency network, the better approach today is to say, ‘You’ve done a lot of research, now how do we work together?’ It’s frequently like that for guidebook authors when we meet fellow travelers. People sometimes ask what’s cool or new, but just as many already know the basics already and ask for a recommendation for a specific need, like a beach hotel with nanny service and oodles of kid-friendly activities so the parents can feel like they’re on vacation too. 4. Help with difficult/remote locations The more challenging the place, the more useful an agent can be. Even intrepid guidebook authors find agents useful in certain circumstances. I’ve relied on agents for a number of things, such as add-on trips to river lodges and river cruises in eastern Siberia, or transport details and tickets from a private agent in Myanmar. Local agents are often invaluable when there are language barriers or when it takes someone with connections in the local community to facilitate travel or lodging. How about you? Do you, or would you, use a travel agent? Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/blog/2012/04/27/when-should-you-use-a-travel-agent/#ixzz1uDwknGWJ

Do you have a travel bucket list?

If so, what is on it? Have you ticked many places off that list yet or are you just beginning your journey? Travel for me when I was young was done mostly by car, but my dad grew up taking trains everywhere. Now, I fly at least twice a year and will likely continue to do at least that now that I am in the travel industry. I don't know if there is anywhere in the world I don't want to go. I have been doing my Princess Cruises training and I get giddy reading about each and every single itinerary. Don't even get me started on the world cruises! Whoa! Truth be told, I haven't been to many places, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I do know my own country very well and have been to several American cities, but my recent cruise was my first trip outside of Canada and the US. The thing is, the more I travel, the more I want to. If I had to come up with a short list for the next couple of years, I definitely want to go to; Alaska - My parents cruised there and my father came home with the most amazing photos. Everything I have seen about Alaska suggests rugged beauty. It is also a highly accessible destination for me, since sailings go from Vancouver and Seattle, both of which I can get to within the day. Then there is the fact that, as a travel agent, I feel I should know the areas which are accessible to my clients. Western Caribbean Now that I have done the eastern route, I really want to go back and try the western. I loved the people, the sun and the beautiful blue waters. I can't wait to go back one day! The Caribbean is more accessible than ever with more ships and flights going there than ever. There are amazing all-inclusives and so many great cruise itineraries, some combining land and sea adventures! MexicoI remember studying the ancient peoples of Mexico in grade seven and ever since then, I have wanted to go. It is also very accessible to the people in this area with choices abounding when it comes to west coast departures. So, this is my short term bucket list. That said, I want to go to Russia, The Med, Asia and Australia so very badly I can taste it. Better get to making some money so that I can support my travel habit!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother's Day Giveaway Courtesy of iheartgiveaways! (rafflecopter)

"Mother's Day... a time for warm thoughts and fond memories, for expressing the feelings and words that often go unspoken, for letting those special people in our lives know that they are loved and appreciated - always."

Great mothers deserve a treat on their special day! I Heart Giveaways, together with other awesome bloggers, is hosting a brand new giveaway especially made for moms. Seven lucky winners will be randomly chosen to win these exciting prizes:

  • $320 Paypal Cash
  • Avon Cosmetics *Imported*
  • Red & Black Tiger Dichroic Glass Pendant
  • Belleza Box Massage Kit
  • Coupon Binders
  • Pirate Party Games Pack
  • Ravishing Rose 6 Pair Earring Set
 

Click here to see the images and value of the prizes listed above. Note: All items will be shipped to the winner within one to three weeks after the end date of this giveaway. Non-cash items are not convertible to any form of money.

What are you waiting for? Enter on the rafflecopter below for a chance to win! Mother's Day Giveaway will accept entries until May 18, 2012. Open worldwide.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I won't ever leave home without this app.

I am a light sleeper. Have been since I can remember. People snoring, hotel room doors slamming, that low rumbling bass? Those things make me crazy. In fact, some of the worst nights' sleeps have happened in hotels I paid the most money for. Talk about frustrating. When my mom and I were planning our recent cruise to the Caribbean, I did some research on white noise machines. I wanted something small and portable that wouldn't set airport security into a flat spin (I've seen some really benign things confuse the heck out of them before!) something digital, so that we aren't dealing with something that will wear out, and something that could be really loud if I needed it to be. Enter the TMSoft White Noise App. I already have both an iPod Touch and an iPhone, so why not an app? I love this app. It comes with a variety of noises to suit pretty much anyone's taste including airplane noise, camp fire, air conditioner, rain, thunder storm, ocean waves... The list goes on. Even better, you can mix sounds and add your own. I slept like a baby on Freedom of the Seas by putting my app on Airplane Noise and popping ear buds in but my first experience with it was when I worked midnight shifts over Christmas and I needed something to quiet my mind enough to sleep during the day. It worked like a charm. This past week, I even used it while the Canadian aerobatics team, The Snowbirds, practiced over my house. Now, that is impressive! :) Check it out. If you try the free version, you lose nothing! :) White Noise App

Saturday, April 28, 2012

10K Giveaway. Check it out!

Kristin at Whole Lotta Momma is working hard to get 10K followers! Let's help her out and get our blogs and pages hopping too! Prizes for blogs who promote this as well as people who enter! Details below; Let's get this PARTY started!!! Please refer to my youtube video for instructions. Random Drawing Grand Prize:
  1. GC to Healthy Herbal Nutrients ($30.00 value)
  2. Bardot Spiral Bracelet ($49.00 value)
  3. Dr. Loretta Skincare System ($50 value)
  4. $25.00 Passionately Rivalicious Gift Certificates
Referral Grand Prize:
  1. GC to any Mary Kay Product ($30.00 value)
  2. Sweet Souls Birthstone Color Set March & Pear-Shaped Ring with Jacket Set ($49.00 value from AVON)
  3. OcuFresh tote bag filled with natural eye care products ($50 value)
  4. $25.00 Passionately Rivalicious Gift Certificates
Rest of the prizes:
  1. Full Size Bottle of Imari
  2. Paypal Cash ($25.00 value)
  3. Pig-Scriptives Wrinkle Warfare ($72.00 value)
  4. Flip Flop Hair Bloom
  5. Coupon Envelope ($30.00 Value)
  6. Amazon Gift Code ($5.00 value)
  7. Fabric Rosette Necklace
  8. One Spittie of Choice and Free Shipping ($14.00 value)
  9. Paypal Cash ($10.00 Value)
  10. Loaded Coupon Binder
  11. Children’s Book Bundle
  12. Let Go & Let God Necklace
  13. Restaurant.com GC ($25.00 value)
  14. Coupon Envelope ($50.00 Value)
  15. Dr. Loretta Skincare System tote
  16. OcuFresh tote bag filled with natural eye care products
  17. Teach My kit of choice ($50 value)
  18. Sterling Silver Ring
  19. Heart shaped sugar cookies (2 Dozen)

Giveaway will be open from 4/23 12 pm EST and close when Whole Lotta Mama! hits 10k on facebook. Just wait for the Rafflecopter to load and enter below! Good Luck!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

This week's Caribbean Cruise Specials!


Cruise the Caribbean or Mexico in style from $56 CAD per night

Indulge in a fabulous cruise vacation to the Caribbean or Mexico where the beaches are endless, oceans are crystal blue and sunsets are breathtaking. Featured Itineraries include exciting ports of call in Mexico, Jamaica, the Netherlands Antilles and more. Your Caribbean or Mexico adventure awaits, book today to receive the best deals available!

 Check it out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blogger sign up for a free $100 giveaway!

Gretasday.com has a new giveaway for bloggers.  Free is always the way to go when you can to help promote your blog.  I have gone that way with my other blog; Gluten Free Songbird and had some pretty nice results.  According to Gretasday, the details are as follows;

Event Details:
- The giveaway will go live on Chic Algene's birthday (May 8, 2012)
- Open Worldwide
- Prize: $100 Paypal Cash for One Winner
Sign Up Fee & Info:
- NO COST for the first link (Facebook Page only)
- To participate, please share this free event on your site and complete the form below.
If you would like to include more links (Twitter, Pinterest, Votes, etc.) for this giveaway, then please send the fee to chicalgene@gmail.com via Paypal. Each additional link will cost $2.

Check out sign up details here.

A love of travel fostered

Growing up, we always traveled.  Sometimes it was to visit family members. Sometimes it was because my air force father was posted to a new location.  Pretty much every summer we camped, because a Master Corporal in the air force did not have the kind of money to stay in hotels. 

When I was really small, we had a motor home which my father regretted selling until his final day on Earth.  After that, we got a more practical Chevy Suburban and trailer.  I was born in a small town in Alberta named Cold Lake because the lake was THAT cold. It was a large lake even by the Lakeland region standards and it never warmed up in the summer after being frozen over in the winter.  I spent many, many hours in that freezing cold lake when we returned to live there while I was between the ages of 8-12.  We would camp at the local Provincial Park every summer and sometimes we would just go down for the day.

When we moved to Bagotville, Quebec, we would park the trailer at the military campsite which we had to drive across the runway to access.  I didn't think about it until recent years, but camping could not have been all that fun for my mother who had to cook outside or on our gas stove and do dishes with water she heated on the stove. 

Spending most of my childhood in Alberta, I have many memories of camping in such beautiful regions as Jasper Provincial Park. It was nothing to see caribou wander through the campsite or to see big horned sheep hanging off the edges of the Rocky Mountains. As a child, I did not realize how privileged I was to see such beautiful parts of my vast country of Canada. 

My father was from British Columbia.  At least, he grew up in Vernon in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, the only desert area in Canada.  My husband has told me repeatedly that the Okanagan reminds him of the hills and vineyards he saw when he was on a three week exercise in Sicily with the Air Force. :) 

I feel honoured to have had an introduction to the beauty of various regions through my upbringing.  My mother was from the east coast of Canada as a child, and my brother and I were exposed to life in Nova Scotia when we were still quite small.  My uncle worked on a lobster boat and I remember being horrified by the sight of what looked like giant bugs on the dinner table. ROFL 

I toured old forts, explored beaches and woods and wildlife and learned to have keep an eye out for nature because you just never know when you might see a fox running alongside the highway, or a beaver in a pond or some other wild creature.  My parents have pictures of me feeding a chipmunk before I was school aged for Pete's sake! 

My husband experienced a similar upbringing on the east coast, spending summers on the beaches of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  I feel that we were very fortunate children and have tried to share our love of travel, in a different form perhaps since we are not really campers, with our wonderful daughters.  It's as intrinsic as my love of music and it is here to stay, along with many wonderful memories. 

New Blog

I decided that it would be really great to have a blog exclusively for talking about my travels, past and present and my experiences as a travel agent in training. Heck, travel agents are always training as far as I can tell and with travel as part of the training, I am on cloud nine.