Category Archives: Clever Girls

Women Helping Women – Supporting Heart of Haiti for Mother’s Day!

 I’ve shared with you guys about The Heart of Haiti Project before and I was really excited to get the chance to share more about it with you!  With Mother’s Day around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to get the word out about The Heart of Haiti  products.  I love supporting this project because it’s a great chance to make a direct impact on the lives of artisans in Haiti who are still recovering from the earthquake of 2010. I am especially excited this time around to tell you about the women of Haiti that you will directly support when you purchase something from the HOH product line available through Macy’s. There is nothing more empowering and beautiful than women supporting women across the globe!

I love hearing stories about women helping women. I know I personally would not be the person I am today without the women who have impacted me. Of course my Mom has been my biggest fan my whole life and has always shown me love and support in everything I do. I can honestly say I would not be who I am without her presence in my life. Then there are the Grandmothers who whispered too many prayers to count on my behalf and the Aunts who have been there with an encouraging word and helpful advice. My biggest supporters in my life have been fellow women, whether a family member or just a friend, I believe in the power of women standing together in love. I believe that we can make a difference in the world by simply being kind and supportive of one another.

In honor of women around the world who may not have been as blessed as I have with such amazing support, I would love it if you would head over to Macy’s Heart of Haiti product page and purchase a one of a kind piece of art handmade (and signed!) by local Haitian artisans. Buy a piece for a woman you love this Mother’s Day and you will be supporting the women of Haiti in such a strong and powerful way AND you’ll get a beautiful hand crafted piece to show for it!

This is the one I want for Mother’s Day. (hint, hint)

Because we love ya, the Clever Girls have a special discount just for you! Just enter CLEVERGIRLS when checking out and get 15% off when you purchase items from Heart of Haiti and Rwanda Path to Peace products!!  The discount is only valid from May 3rd-May 8th so be sure to order between those dates to get your discount!

View the Shop for a Better World / Heart Of Haiti collection in it’s entirety (including just added items for Spring!)

Thanks so much for supporting such an amazing cause!

I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.   

My only “payment” for writing this piece is a necklace like this which I love so much that I think you need to go order one of your own right now!

Five Fabulous Bloggers You Don’t Want To Miss!

Thanks to Trop 50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 fabulous wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to help grant a friend’s wish!

Today I’m going to share my five favorite bloggers with you!  As a blogger I really appreciate the “art” of blogging and I honestly read so many great blogs that it was SO hard to choose!  The five I chose are the ones that I always make sure to read first. So if my Google Reader says 200 unread…I scroll through to find these five first and then if I have time, I read the rest!  So yeah, they’re pretty special!

The first Fab blogger I’m going to introduce you to really needs no introduction.  She is a highly popular blogger.  But a few weeks ago I made her Cinnamon Rolls and told everyone that they were from The Pioneer Woman and nobody knew who I was talking about!  I was shocked! So I asked some family members if they knew who she was and they said no!  Do you people live in a hole?!  So, I think she is well known among other bloggers, but not necessarily among the general public.  I thought I definitely should mention The Pioneer Woman because she is obviously not well known by my faithful readers (ie my Mom).  She is by far my favorite!  I love her recipes, her photographs, her humor, and her style!  She chats with you in her posts like you are her bff and you’re sitting down with a cup of coffee.  I think I model myself after her a little bit in that area when I blog. I really do want it to feel like we are friends chatting as you read my words. (How am I doing?!)  The Pioneer Woman just published a book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels which is her and her husband’s love story.  I want it NEED IT as soon as it comes out as well as her cookbook which I am way behind in owning, because, helllloooo, I’m her biggest fan.

My next favorite is a fellow Mom.  She blogs about her life at I Should Be Folding Laundry.  At first, I thought, “Why do I want to read about someone else’s life as a Mom?  I know how that story goes.”  But the more I read, the more I wanted to know about Beth.  When she writes, she bears her soul.  She is real. So real.  Among the tragedy in her life she has found hope and I so admire her for that.  Beth is also an amazing photographer and I just love reading her tips on taking pictures and seeing the amazing shots she takes.  For all my Indiana friends, Beth is in NW Indiana and is always looking for new clients for her photography business, Beth Fletcher Photography.  Read her. Love her. I do!

Beauty and Bedlam

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam is one of those blogs that is just all around helpful. Jen provides recipes, inspiring thoughts, fashion advice and lots of practical tips on saving money and living frugally.  Every recipe that I post on Tuesdays is linked to her Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods which is one of my favorite ways to browse for new recipes and new blog friends!

Diary of a Dairy Queen – First of all, her blog title makes me want to get a DQ Blizzard.  But anyway.  I recently met Alison on Twitter and fell in love with her blog right away.  It’s simple but so very full of goodness in every corner!  I especially love that she is a local Vermont gal and I really love supporting a fellow Vermont blogger!  One of these days, I’m going to meet her. Without stalking her, mind you.  Follow Alison on her adventure of living on a farm in Vermont, married to a dairy farmer.  Does it get any more charming than that?! 

Motherhood in NYC is the blog I read for just plain fun. “Marinka”, as she is known on her blog, makes me laugh.  She makes me laugh so hard I cry sometimes.  She is irreverent and blunt and the total opposite of me.  Which is why I enjoy reading her blog so much.  She says things I would never say and then I laugh.  It’s a good relationship we have.  And I will happily share her with you! 

Don’t forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to support a friend’s wish. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.

Heart of Haiti

When I was asked by The Clever Girls Collective to write about the Heart of Haiti project, I immediately said YES.  

I love that this project stands for helping families reclaim their lives together in an artistic way. Since the devastating earthquake that happened one year ago today, Haitians have had a very difficult time trying to make a living.  Raw materials were wiped out and the general lack of sanitary living conditions made it impossible to resume life quickly and easily.

By purchasing a handcrafted masterpiece from Heart of Haiti hosted by Macy’s, we can directly benefit Haitian families.

Each item is handmade by local Haitian artisans.  I love all of the pieces but I think I will get the watermelon bowl and maybe the pineapple bowl too.  They are really beautiful pieces of art!  And the story behind them makes the purchase so meaningful.

You can go to Heart of Haiti – Shop For A Better World to browse all of the products.  They are priced really well (the watermelon bowl is only $16!!) and there is even free shipping with some purchases!  For each purchase you make, 22% of the retail cost goes directly to the Artisan themselves! And I love, love that the items are signed by the Artisan.

It’s such an easy way to help a family thrive in Haiti. And it’s so much more than just a paycheck for the Artisians as well. Check out this blurb from the How It’s Helping section of the Heart of Haiti website:

Heart of Haiti also offers new opportunities for artists to collaborate with US designers, strengthening artisan associations and inspiring and energizing their communities. Men and women are working together, gaining confidence and hope for the future. Master artisans who planned to leave the country are now staying behind to train the next generation. The tradition of rich and unique Haitian art lives on… through the generosity of many like you.

Please consider purchasing something from the Heart of Haiti and make a difference.  Thanks for joining me in support of such a worthy cause!

I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.

Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG Present The Best Gift Ever!

SWAGG is a free mobile app (download here) that lets you shop smarter using your mobile phone. Buy, send or swap SWAGG GIFTS and organize your old school plastic gift cards.

For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) , up to $125,000.

Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.

 I loooove getting gift cards.  It’s a card that gives you permission to shop, what’s not to love!  So I thought this mobile app was an ingenious idea, especially with the holidays coming!

Basically, you can use the app on your smart phone (we use it on our iPhone) to buy, send or even swap SWAGG GIFTS and organize your plastic gift cards.  It’s easy to use and quite handy!  You can keep track of everything right on your phone.  Forget cluttering your wallet with tons of plastic cards!  I love it!

Many people think gift cards are too impersonal but I think it’s a great gift.  I love buying gifts for people but sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to get and rather than just guess and end up giving a gift they don’t love, you can give them a free pass to shop for themselves! 

Last year we gave our boys a Wii for Christmas.  We made a really big deal out of it and their responses were priceless.  I will never forget how it felt to literally make their year!  It was the best moment.  We still talk about it and laugh at how they all screamed and jumped and hugged. So sweet.  It really was the best gift I ever gave because of how much the boys cherished getting it. They were truly thankful and appreciative and that just made it all worth while!  I have a video of them opening it and it is hilarious. I won’t share it with you though because I was in my Christmas jammies and have bed head.  I do have some pride, you know.

As the boys get older I foresee buying gifts will get more difficult.  That is when the gift cards will really come in handy!  For now I will enjoy the easiness of making their day with video games and tape.  Yes, I give my kids tape and paper in their stockings and they love it!

I’m pretty excited to share this fun app with you and I hope you take a minute to check it out!  Especially because SWAGG has partnered with non-profit Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C).  For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to SU2C up to $125,000. Awesome, right?! Visit the SU2C site for more info!


Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a lucky pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! The sweepstakes is offered exclusively through the Clever 1000, and it has a pretty amazing prize, including:

* 2 night/3 day stay at Yarrow Hotel in Park City Utah (Jan 21 – Jan 23, 2011)
* Ground transportation to and from hotel to airport in Park City, Utah
* Dinner for two at Tao Lounge, including 2 nightclub passes
* All access to The House of SWAGG Gifting Suite
* 2 tickets to a movie premiere on Saturday, January 22nd — movie tbd
* $4,000 value

NICE!  (More info on the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes)

Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Droid. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses  Blog With Integrity

While this was a sponsored post, the opinions are my own and honest, as always!

Video Game Review: Battle of Giants – Dinosaurs Strike for Wii

I have three boys. I think it needs no explanation that they love two things: video games and violence.  I try my hardest to channel the love of those things the best way I can.  I avoid letting them play the really violent war type video games and stick to fiction games like the Lego games. The only thing they are doing is “destroying” legos, not killing people.

So when I heard about the game Battle of Giants – Dinosaurs Strike for Wii. I loved it right away.  A chance for my boys to get out some aggression and “fight” in a video game without pretending to kill people? Perfect.

In this game from Ubisoft, up to four players can customize their dinosaurs and then face off in a fight.  The more you win, the more items you can unlock to customize your dinosaur.

Charlie is showing me how he’s customizing his dino.

 I liked that the boys tended to be up on their feet while they were playing too.

 Here is Charlie giving it all he’s got to get his dinosaur to rebound from a “KO” (knock out for my non-moms of boys).

My boys are ages 5, 7 and 10.  They figured the game out very quickly and had no problems understanding what to do.  Even my 5 year old who can’t read yet figured out what to do without help.  Our 12 year old neighbor came by and played with us and he thought the game was fun and challenging, even for him!  So I was happy to see that the game can be enjoyable for such a wide variety of ages.  My younger boys did seem to enjoy the game the most though.

I had to pry the controllers out of their hands at bedtime and they laid in bed talking about the game. So I think that pretty much spells success! 

Battle of Giants – Dinosaurs Strike for Wii by Ubisoft is available just about anywhere.   You can get it at for only $28.99 and it qualifies for free shipping!

Thanks so much to Ubisoft for sending us this game to review.  It came just in time to wrap up and give to Chandler for his 10th birthday! (Shhhh, don’t tell him!)

Easy To MakeThank You Card and Bonus Scotch Tape Giveaway!

Thanks to Scotch(R) Double Sided Tape for sponsoring my writing about crafts! 
Add your comment below to be entered for a chance to win free sample rolls to help with your upcoming holiday needs!

I’m a scrapbooker. I love the art of taking pieces of paper and my favorite pictures and turning them into pieces of art. I also love card making and prefer to make a card over buy one any day! I always use Scotch brand products for my scrapbooking and card making adhesives (and I’m not just saying that because they are sponsoring this post, I swear!)

With Thanksgiving come and gone and plenty of people to thank for a wonderful meal, I thought it would be fun to show you a quick and easy Thank You card that even a beginner can make. In fact, this card can be easily made by the kids too! You can change the colors and words as well very easily to make it appropriate for any occasion. A friend of mine made a thank you card like this for me a long time ago and ever since I use it as my go to template for a quick card.

So here is the end result:

Here are the directions typed right on the pictures below for easy follow along instructions!

Easy right?!

Now for some fun! Leave a comment to be entered to win a roll of Scotch Double Sided Tape from 3M!  Simply tell me what your family uses tape for the most (and include your email address please!).  You can enter once a day until December 3rd when I will select TEN WINNERS!!  

It will only take a second to enter and you’ll be ready for gift wrapping! I’m really saving you about $50 here because you will inevitably be wrapping gifts and run out of tape. You will run to the store. You will leave with about $50 worth of stuff that you probably don’t need and you may even forget the tape!  So just enter to win some here and we both win! 🙂

Please learn more about Scotch(R) Double Sided Tape and other Scotch(R) Products, and join the conversation on the Scotch(R) Brand Facebook Page and via Twitter. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

UPDATE: Contest Closed! Winners are listed HERE!

American Express Small Business Saturday Featuring Italian On The Run!

Thanks to American Express for sponsoring my writing today about small businesses.  American Express is presenting Small Business Saturday, a way to honor the local merchants who are the backbone of the economy, this Saturday, November 27.  They’re offering statement credits to people who shop at small businesses, advertising for small-business owners, and donations to Girls Inc. for “Likes” of the Small Business Saturday page on Facebook.  Join the celebration by clicking the “Like” button and then visiting the Facebook page to learn more about the program and read the terms and conditions that apply. 

When I was asked to highlight American Express’ Small Business Saturday, I was all YES.  I much prefer to shop and dine at local businesses than big box stores and chain restaurants.  

The small business I want to share with you today is from my husband’s home town – Massena, New York.  It’s where we met, fell in love, got married and had our first son.  It’s a special place to us for sure and full of so many memories!  My very good friend (and Bellaziza’ buddy!) Crista and her husband made the daring move one year ago to purchase a failing restaurant in Massena.  It was a great deal but a scary proposition at the same time as they knew they faced an uphill climb in order to resurrect it.  They believed in their vision and knew that with lots of hard work, smart marketing through social media and of course their amazing homestyle Italian cuisine, it could come back better than ever.  It was a big undertaking like all small business ventures are, but only a year later with tremendous community support, Italian On The Run is a booming local success story and better than ever! 

Italian On The Run offers superb homemade Italian cuisine to their loyal customers.  Although many people do dine in, they are primarily a take out and delivery place that focuses on quality… but with convenience.  Forget about just your standard pizza and wings (although they are amazing in their own rite!) “IOTR” has an impressive menu that would rival many fancier places.  They have a great variety of gourmet pizzas like the new Mediterranean Chicken Pizza, and their most popular, Buffalo Chicken Pizza made with their homemade Buffalo wing sauces!  Beyond mouthwatering calzones, strombolis, subs, salads, and gourmet pasta dinners, they have the most exquisite homemade desserts around, fresh and made from scratch!   Our pick?  The Italian Cream Cake and the Cannolis.  OMG.

Thanks to Crista’s entrepreneurial genius and social media suave, Italian On The Run has brought a major Facebook explosion to Massena!  As her and other small businesses work hard to connect within their community, customers are “liking” their way through the small town of Massena at a record pace!  Liking IOTR’s Facebook Fan Page is all the rage right now too. 🙂 Crista offers Facebook specials and hosts giveaways regularly which keeps things fresh and their fans always coming back for more!  Go ahead and LIKE them too! Once they get to 2,000 fans, amazing things are gonna happen and they’re less than 50 away!!  That’s pretty amazing if you ask me!  While you’re at it, go ahead and follow IOTR on Twitter too!

At Italian On The Run it’s not all about them, and they know it.  They are very community focused and create as many collaborations as they can with other local small businesses.  IOTR is diving into Small Business Saturday head first by posting about many of their fellow small businesses on their Facebook page to try to lead their almost 2,000 local fans to other local small businesses on Facebook!  Is there anything better than a small business supporting other small businesses?!  I think not.

Make it a point to visit as many small businesses as you can on Saturday, November 27th.  American Express is ready and willing to reward you for doing so too, so check out the links below and LIKE Small Business Saturday on Facebook!

Small Business Saturday

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

*Disclosure: While I was compensated to write this post, all opinions are 100% honest and mine! All mine!*