Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gorgeous Signature Black Duffle Coach Bag Giveaway!!!

This post is sponsored by yours truly and a great group of bloggers! Back to School doesn't have to be just about the kids! Moms deserve a BIG thank you for all the hard work they put in year-round, especially at back to school time. And that's why My Boys and Their Toys has teamed up with these amazing bloggers to give one lucky reader this awesome COACH Park Signature Duffle in black. Seriously, I have a fascination and love for Coach products. They are so gorgeous and exude instant style. There is nothing like walking in the streets of Midtown Manhattan with a Coach purse on your shoulder!!
Back to school Coach giveaway

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My first class without my daughter

BabyLinkUp500px

Your Hosts


Shannon at GrowingSlower
Jennifer at Every Breath I Take

Tomorrow is the beginning of a new semester for me. I am an adjunct college professor at 2 area colleges, and will be teaching epidemiology and nutrition to formidable, undergraduate minds. This is my 3rd semester teaching college, and this one is much different than the previous two. Yes, the excitement is there, but (thankfully) a lot of the nerves of how I would be as a teacher aren't. There is also one more notable absence that I can't stop thinking about, however. Tomorrow is the first class I will teach without my daughter inside of me.

The first class I taught, August 29, 2012, was actually when I was 2 weeks pregnant (and even though I wasn't officially preggers at that point, we all know that the first day of pregnancy begins with the first day of your LMP). The last day of the spring semester, which I spent feverishly grading my class' online finals, was also 2 days before my due date (and 5 days before I actually gave birth to my little girl). This past year, I taught in East Harlem, and the commute from where I am to where I teach door-to-door is about 2 hours. Every step that I took, every song I listened to on the train ride, every thought that crossed my mind while passing by all the towns so beautifully placed along the Hudson river, my daughter was in my belly. She was the frequent subject of my thoughts, especially because I didn't find out her gender while I was pregnant.

The bigger I got, the more I enjoyed looking obviously pregnant. The more I enjoyed teaching thinking to myself, "Wow, I wonder if she is absorbing any of this!" and "I bet this will make her one smart cookie!" It was especially fun when I would feel her kick or move around when I was teaching - she never liked when I wasn't talking so she would get active if it was too quiet for her liking!! There was just something so special to me about experiencing the journey of being pregnant for the first time and teaching (almost) every single week while pregnant.  I got to foster a love for epidemiology in my students and watch them grow, and they got to see me grow as a professor and of course, quite literally as a pregnant person :).

But tomorrow, there will be no sweetheart in my womb. She will be at grandma and grandpa's house, having fun with them as well as her godmother/aunt (our blog co-writer, Sara). I am trying to just embrace my enthusiasm for teaching this class, as it will be the first time I am teaching at this particular college. While it may be hard to forget the emptiness of my womb, it is easy to recall how full my heart is with love for my little Valentina. That's an occupation that will never leave :).

~Tia


Monday, August 26, 2013

Samsung Chromebook Giveaway!


Samsung Chromebook Giveaway 8/26 - 9/16


Hosted by: One Punky Mama


The Samsung Chromebook is an awesome machine that represents the future of laptops and working on the go. While it's lightweight and has 2 USB ports unlike the Macbook Air, the highlight feature of this product is the solid state drive (SSD). Having an SSD means your heat output will be greatly diminished, your startup time will be greatly reduced and the likelihood of you having a hard drive failure will be significantly lower than if you just had a regular HDD. This is a fantastic computer for everyone - from the causal surfer to the hardcore college student. 


One lucky winner will win (1) 11.6" Samsung Chromebook with WiFi
Details: - US Only - Ages 18+ - Date August 26 12:01am to September 16 11:59pm -
All entries are optional

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round is not responsible for prize. If you have any question please send an email to nicole@onepunkymama.com. All entries are optional, if you do any of the tasks you can collect the entries, but if the winner task is a task you did not complete, a second winner will be chosen.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Social Post of the Week #3

Sunday Social

Time for yet another Sunday Social post :) I can't believe that I am going back to work this week. I am excited because I am teaching at a new college but I am also sad that I'm going to have to leave my girl to go to work. Love that face!!! Well, doing these posts is something that keeps my mind off of it, at least for now!

enjoy!
~Tia



1.) What do you miss most about being a kid?
I don't really miss too much about being a kid honestly. I had fun but I don't miss it. The only thing I might miss about it is the lack of bills, but that's pretty much it.

2.) Did you have a nickname growing up? What was it?
My nickname growing up was Chrissy. I was called Chrissy probably up until college. For some reason, it gets under my skin now when people call me that!!

3.) What was your favorite thing to do at recess?
Oh, wow, where do I begin? I loved the swings, the slides, the jungle gym, monkey bars, playing manhunt.... growing up from grade 1 through 6, I was in a really small school so we always all played together and had a blast.

4.) Did you participate in any school activities?
Before I moved during 6th grade and went to a different school, I was in girl scouts. I played town league softball in grades 8 and 9 (even though that wasn't through my school). I started the debate club in my senior year of high school but it was super lame so I never really went. I was also in National Honors Society and coordinated the junior class leadership project in 2000.

5.) What i the funnies thing you did as a kid that your parents still remind you about?
There are a few things they often remind me about. Like when my dad was sleeping when he was supposed to be watching me one day, I pulled out all the drawers in the kitchen to help me step up to the counter and get my flintstones vitamin (My mom nearly had a heart attack when she came home).


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Personalized Prepaid Debit Card from Card.com {REVIEW}


I had the pleasure recently of reviewing a personalized prepaid debit card from Card.com. Card.com is a fantastic company that offers you the opportunity to choose from hundreds of designs to grace your prepaid Visa debit card. Its site is incredibly easy to utilize and navigate. Once you select your desired card design, all you have to do is enter some of your personal information (so your name can be properly printed on the card) and you're all set! Your card will be mailed to the address you provided! The only problem you might have is deciding which of the many awesome designs to choose for your card :).

A screenshot from the Card.com Home Page. The site is so simple to navigate - and if you see a particular design you are fond of and want to tell your friends about, each card has social media buttons that make sharing a cinch!


I ended up choosing the fractal card because it's pretty groovy (just like me!), and it came in the mail relatively quickly after ordering it.The card comes pamphlet-style with tons of useful vital information. For starters, all of your funds on the card are FDIC insured and you automatically get Visa's zero liability policy fraud protection. What's super cool about this card is that you can use it for direct deposit for your paycheck. All of the instructions in how to use this card for direct deposit can be found in the pamphlet. This is particular useful if you want to put money in your paycheck away for savings and use the rest for spending on this card!

The pamphlet your card comes in is pretty cool! 
Very informative and has super easy to follow direct deposit instructions

When you active your card, you choose a PIN just like you would with any other debit card. I ended up using this card both as a debit card and as a credit card at two different locations - a local deli and a Sonic drive-thru. Using it as a debit card at my local deli was fast and simple, and it was fun to pay with a card that was personalized to my style. When I used it in the Sonic drive-thru, the cashier complimented me on how cool the card was! It definitely is an attention-getter, which is awesome because it's super cool to be able to make a statement without saying a word :).

All in all, I am super impressed at how easy it was to order the card, how quickly it came in the mail and how simple it was to use at any of the countless locations Visa is accepted. I am definitely a fan of Card.com :)!


While I was received the product in question as compensation, 
the opinions stated in this review are 100% honest and completely my own.



Friday, August 23, 2013

Finish the Sentence Fridays - I wasn't really myself when... #ftsf

Time for another entry in the "Finish the Sentence Friday" blog link up!!

It's a fun weekly event hosted by a bunch of great ladies, click on the button above to learn more about the hosts and how you can join in the fun!
This week's theme: I wasn't really myself when...

...I took my first qualifying exam for my doctoral program. I'm not sure if my doctoral program is identical to others, but I am going for my Doctor of Public Health degree with a concentration in epidemiology. In my program, you have to take your first qualifying exam about 3 semesters into your studies to basically prove you are ready to study at the "next level" (e.g. propose new theories, challenge existing correlations, etc.) I had always thought that the big scary monster in the closet for me would be the dissertation defense. But once I settled into the program and heard stories about the first qualifying examination, I had a much sooner nightmare to contend with.

The reason why this exam is so frightening is that it determines your future in the program and basically, your life! You have 2 weeks to answer 3 questions - easy enough, right? For our program, there was a basic public health theory question, a track specific question and a question on public health leadership. Doesn't sound so bad! Well... you have 5 pages, double spaced per question to basically synthesize every single article you've ever come across in the realm of the question. If you think you can summarize these articles and simply report back, you're wrong! It's like baking a cake - you have to take all of the ingredients (e.g., important parts of an article from author X, a helpful chapter from a textbook written by author Y) and synthesize it into a tasty concoction of current information and trends. Did I mention that you only have 1 chance to retake the exam if you fail and if you fail that attempt, you have to leave the program?!
Sounds about right :).
If it sounds overwhelming, that's because it is! From the moment the exam was emailed to me, all I did was eat, sleep and breathe "first exam". Like the rest of my classmates, I abandoned non-essential internet usage (especially Facebook and Twitter!!), and completely dedicated myself to completing the exam to the best of my abilities. When I realized I couldn't resist the temptation of having a television in the same room as the room where I was doing most of my work, I ended up using the computer lab of my undergraduate alma mater (whose students were on winter break so it was relatively quiet there) to re-read articles I had saved that I knew would be important as well as those on our official reading list, scouring Google Scholar for articles to support a point I KNEW that I had heard before and typing/highlighting my draft answers in more colors than a bag of jellybeans!!

Even though 2 weeks SEEMED like a long time, it wasn't. Especially considering it took me a week to write out an answer to the first question that I was confident about (and still had the other 2 to go). Getting 8 hours of sleep suddenly became a distant fantasy, the likes of which was only forgotten by consuming massive amounts of Diet Mountain Dew. Also, my dinners consisted of whatever was in the nearest vending machine, most often doritos or fritos. I was a walking zombie, but even though I was incredibly sleep deprived, I had to use my brain MORE than I would have on a full night sleep. I was a machine - a nutty, sleep-deprived, malnourished studying machine!!

It got so nuts that I didn't sleep for almost 40 hours straight as the deadline approached. The icing on the cake was that I still had to get my butt up after only sleeping a few hours once I officially submitted the exam to get on a train back down to NYC (to Lehman College in the Bronx) for my first day of class. Wow! 
I am happy to report back that I passed the exam as of March 2012 :). But unfortunately, more scary hurdles are ahead in my academic career (my second comprehensive exam in February, and dissertation-related fun for the remainder of 2014/2015). Although now that I have a baby, I think I have more training in how t handle that "functioning on little sleep" thing :)

Thanks for reading :)

~Tia

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Social Post of the Week #2


Hello everyone - happy Sunday! Can you believe the summer is really winding down? It seems like it was the first day of summer just yesterday - wow! Well, I hope you enjoy this week's installment of the Sunday social, brought to you by Ashley Lately and Neely from a Complete Waste of Makeup. Happy reading!
Sunday Social

~Tia




1. What is something you've always wanted to do but are afraid of?
I've always thought scuba diving looked really cool but there is no way I'm ever going to do it because deep water (and the huge scary creatures within it like sharks) scare the bejeezus out of me!

2. Where do you see yourself in five years?
With my completed doctor of public health degree, hopefully working as a tenured professor of public health somewhere awesome!

3. What are you looking forward to before the end of 2013?
My baby daughter Valentina's first Halloween and Christmas :) haven't been this excited since I was a kid

4. What are your hopes for your blog?
That it grows into a really awesome place that people will looking forward to reading day in and day out

5. Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?
Sometimes I have wanderlust and I really don't want to live here anymore (usually during a brutal cold winter!) but I honestly can't imagine raising a child anywhere else but here since it's what hubs and I really know

6. What is your morning routine?
Nurse the little one, eat an amazing breakfast made by the Hubs (he really missed his calling as a chef - he is fantastic!) and if I'm not working in the morning or going to NYC, watching the Price is Right (have always loved that show!!)


Maternity Hospital Labor Gown Giveaway, ends 9/1! US only, Part of the Great Expectations Blog hop!


Welcome to the great expectations giveaway hop hosted by princess among superheroes!

The great expectations giveaway hop is a fun way to not only celebrate belly3.0, but also get all the things a new mom/dad could want in one place! All participating bloggers have secured awesome prizes worth at least $25 fit for a baby shower! Don't forget to hop around and to enter to win the GRAND PRIZE sponsored by  project pomona, daddyscrubs, buttons diapers and tiny love worth over $200!


Great expectations bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.


Think back to your baby shower (or a baby shower of a friend or family member if you've never had one)... do you remember the types of gifts that you/that person got? Most of the time, people get a lot of clothing for the baby, diapers and other very useful stuff, but don't often think of getting something for the mama-to-be. It's important to be comfortable in your remaining days of pregnancy, ESPECIALLY while giving birth!

That's why I have teamed up with Prazequilts on Etsy for offer a giveaway for one lucky reader to win a pink and blue maternity hospital labor gown to give birth in both comfort and style! This gown has velcro closures on the back and shoulders for easy access for monitors or medication, to nurse your baby or for the very important skin-to-skin contact postbirth. I mean, why wear an ugly, thin and uncomfortable hospital gown during a time where you want to be comfortable while you work hard to get out your baby? :)

Don't delay! Enter for your chance to win now through September 1st!
Entry-Form

Please remember to check out the other great giveaways as part of this awesome giveaway event in the linky below. Happy winning!

~Tia

Friday, August 16, 2013

Finish the Sentence Fridays --- I used to love... #FTSF

Today is my first entry in the "Finish the Sentence Friday" blog link up!!

It's a fun weekly event hosted by a bunch of great ladies, click on the button above to learn more about the hosts and how you can join in the fun!

This week's theme: I used to love...

going to concerts! Man, it wasn't that long ago when I was going to a concert in the Tri-State (NY/NJ/CT) area... or was it? I haven't been to a rock concert since 2011 and I haven't frequented the concert circuit since 2009/2010 but I still used to have a blast at them and look back on those times pretty fondly! It all started, honestly, when I used to be the chaperone for my sister Sara who used to go to a lot of metal/hard core/punk concerts at a famous area concert hall called The Chance. I ended up going to a LOT of concerts in 2006/2007 because of her and then started browsing Ticketmaster regularly for bands that I liked or were similar to bands that I liked.
Once I started dating the Hubs in July 2007, we quickly discovered that we had similar tastes in music. It wasn't before long that we started going to a lot of concerts ourselves. The best concert I've ever been to was MuteMath at the (then called) The Filmore at Irving Plaza (NYC). They became my favorite band that night and they are an AMAZING live show - I have never seen anything like them. If you have never heard of them before, I highly recommend you check them out!!

(l to r) Mute Math playing songs from their self-titled debut album,
and the future Hubs and I posing before the show began.

If there was a great concert I couldn't get the Hubs to go with me, my mom was awesome enough to go with me!! She was a good sport - she's seen some pretty awesome bands with me and enjoyed them a lot. But I think the most fun we ever had at a concert was seeing Michael Buble' back in 2008 at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY. We were sitting in the 4th or 5th row (I can't remember now) but we were SO close. It was fantastic... what a show. He's quite the artist.


(l to r) Michael Buble' doing it up like a classic crooner,
and my mom and I taking "selfies" in between sets.

 When the Hubs and I moved in together back in 2009, we still went to a couple concerts here and there because we were making good money. But then money got tighter when we got laid off and once we got new jobs, we were engaged and then married and then pregnant and now new parents :). I still have a strong desire to go to fun concerts, but I don't think I'll be able to really go to concerts regularly until Valentina is old enough to come with :)


(l to r) Mom and I at a Mae concert at Irving Plaza in March 2008, my friend Michele and I at Jones Beach in 2010 seeing 311 and the Offspring , and the Hubs and I waiting online for doors to open to see Saliva and Sevendust in April 2008.


Hey Sevendust fans! The band is giving away tickets to their shows for their current tour!
check it out on their Facebook page here!
Thanks for reading! 
Sincerely,
Christina

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Matilda Jane Children's Clothing Giveaway! Ends 8/30

Go Back to School in Style with Matilda Jane!

Hosted by More Than Mommy

and co-hosted by

Mommy's Craft Obsession and Simply Southern Couponers


Matilda Jane is a wonderful children's clothing boutique. They are the 'Unpredictable Clothing Company’! From the style, to the colors and craftsmanship, you won't find clothes like these anywhere else!
Matilda Jane reflects the uniqueness of each child who wears their clothes in a fun and fabulous way. You can check out a full review by Renae from More Than Mommy HERE.

Since we didn't find out the gender of our baby before we gave birth, we didn't have any dresses or anything at home once we had our little girl. I kindasortamaybe went on a spending rampage which hasn't really ended yet (and she's 11 weeks old now) that consisted of buying any and all adorable dresses I could get my hands on. If you are looking for adorable clothes for your baby or toddler, Matilda Jane is the place to go! The clothes in their collections are so adorable and well made, and most certainly a great addition to any children's wardrobe.
One lucky winner is going to win 2 outfits from Matilda Jane! That is 4 pieces of clothing, which will make a great addition to your back-to-school wardrobe. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I have not received compensation in return for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own, and yours may differ. More Than Mommy and Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round is not responsible for prize shipment. This promotion is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest in any way. The winner will be given 48 hours to claim their prize, or another winner will be chosen. Entries will be verified.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

{Post By Sara!} Buying the Best Food for Your Pet



I subscribe to a Flame Point Siamese cat group on Facebook since I own a 9 month old. Today, one poster said she was at the vet all day and just found out that her cat Elliot’s kidneys were failing. He was only 5 years old. She came to the conclusion that her mistake was feeding him Blue Buffalo brand food, which she found out later has been known for causing diarrhea, vomiting, and the worst: kidney failure like what happened with Elliot.

There’s nothing more heart wrenching than indirectly being the reason why your pet got sick. I can’t imagine how she must feel. You want to rewind time and pick up a different bag of food, but unfortunately there’s nothing that can be changed except how act in the future. All pet owners must research brands before they buy and try their hardest to get the best food within their budget. It could save an animal’s life. There are some steps you can take in order to stop unknowingly giving companies that poison pets your money and start giving it to companies that care.

Here are three tips to ensure you are well-aware of what you’re feeding your pet:


1.) Know what your pet is eating. Ingredients in pet food are listed according to the greatest amount to the least amount – the same with how human food is labeled. Chicken, lamb, and turkey listed as the first few ingredients is a good sign. Brown rice, grain, corn, and soy products placed before the meat is never good.
Here are lists of good and bad ingredients for cats: Happy Cats HavenBetty Vine
For dogs: The Dog Food Project.

2.) Pay attention to food recalls. Sometimes newspapers run stories on recalls but companies often have ties to other companies that run the journalism world (it’s the sad truth). Your best bet is to do a monthly Google search on the brands you buy. Simply search “Cat food recalls 2013” or “Alpo recall 2013” to come up with more than enough results to satisfy your worries.

3.)  Join an online pet group. Whether it’s a message board, chatroom, Facebook group, or Meetup.com event, it feels go to have a group of animal lovers to go to if you have an issue or question. You could be concerned about your pet because she hasn’t eaten in two days but don’t have enough money for a vet visit or life gets in the way. Proposing questions to a social group by no means should be a replacement for a veterinarian consultation, but it can ease your worries or tell you that it could be an emergency.

What furry friends do you have at home? What brands do you feed them? Let me know in the comments!

~Sara

Where were you 10 years ago today? Remembering the "Big Blackout" of our generation

So ten years ago today, something happened that was kind of a big deal in the Northeast. If you lived here during that time, you will remember that today marks the 10th anniversary of the biggest blackout of our generation. Wow! In many ways, I can't believe it was 10 years ago already, but in other ways, it feels like a life time ago!

Ten years ago today, I was:

  • A teenager just wanting to move out of my parents' house! Ahh, life without bills. How naive I was!
  • Working at a gas station/convenience mart when the power suddenly went out. People were pumping gas on our digital pumps and they all ended up getting free gas because we couldn't 'prove' how much they got. 
  • Listening to our customers' moods go from excited about the monumental event unfolding to annoyed about how crazy people were driving on the roads without functional traffic lights to worried about how long a blackout during the dog days of summer would last to relaxed and wanting to buy and subsequently drink all the beer we had in the store.
  • Counting money by candlelight scared out of my mind that area knuckleheads would try to break into the store since our security system was down (we only had a simple deadbolt on the front door, made of glass).
  • Wanting to go home because work was driving me crazy, only to get more annoyed once I got home since I was trying to read books by candlelight.
  • Hoping the store would be closed the next day so I wouldn't have to go in.
  • Waiting to hear from my aunt who was going into labor with my baby cousin!


So where were you 10 years ago today? Were you affected by the big Northeast blackout of 2003? Leave your story in the comments :)

Awesome Pretty Mommies Products Giveaway from the Blogging Mamas Network! Ends 8/25, Open US/CA!

Pretty Mommies is the #1 physician recommended maternity skin care line on the market.
Pretty Mommies Mom and Baby
Although it's aimed at those who are pregnant or nursing - it's natural, safe, skin care that's great for ANYONE - men included!.
It's a simple three step system - Cleanser, Skin Brightener, and Sunscreen - it'll cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, brighten, soothe, provide high levels of antioxidants and anti-aging properties, as well as, physical broad spectrum sun protection. If you're curious about how these products work, be sure to check out the review on According to Jenny.
Pretty Mommies Products
There are lots of new things happening at Pretty Mommies. If you're a Zulily fan then you might have noticed them pop up there this past week! Not only are they now reaching their target audience online, you might also see Pretty Mommies in your OBGYN's or Midwifes office. And if you're in China - you can now get Pretty Mommies there, too!
Pretty Mommies Girl
Pretty Mommies feels so deeply about educating women on the importance of safe maternity skin care that they've created a campaign on www.causes.com to raise awareness of this important issue. You'll also soon find them offering up educational resources on http://safematernityskincare.com/ and they support an open forum for Q&A for anyone who has questions about skin care during pregnancy, nursing - or just in general.
To celebrate all these new and exciting events (and their newly redesigned website) Pretty Mommies has partnered with the Blogging Mamas Network to answer your questions about safe skin care and giveaway LOTS of Pretty Mommies products!
Pretty Mommies Giveaway August2013
Giveaway is open to US/CAN, 18+, and ends on 8/25/13

**Ready to purchase Pretty Mommies for yourself?? Use code pretty20 at checkout for 20% off through 8/31/13!**

Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round, The Blogging Mamas Network and participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Participating bloggers did not receive compensation for this post, although they may be eligible for a reward upon completion.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Introduction from Our New Co-Blogger, Sara!



Hello everyone! I figured I’d introduce myself before I started writing about my daily life as well as sweeping and reviewing. My name is Sara and I’m the younger sister of Tia.  She’s basically my third parent being that she helped raise me and also named me! In return, I gave her the nickname “Tia” which started out as “Ca-Tia” since I couldn’t pronounce Christina as a toddler. Funny enough, Tia means aunt in Spanish. So maybe she isn’t a third parent; she’s a hybrid sister-aunt.


Not sure if the older sister is mimicking the younger or if the other way around…

I have a journalism and public relations background but my true passion lies in fiction writing. I have a million and one projects lined up but my main focus at the moment is my sci-fi/fantasy novel set in an alternate desert world. I would love to travel around for inspiration before I have to settle down, but unfortunately money plays a big role in everything (or lack thereof). Until I’m the next J.K. Rowling, I’ll have to click around on Google Earth or the Universe Sandbox until I can satisfy my wanderlust.


 I lived in Scotland for half of 2012, so I can’t complain too much. 
Photograph featured is me at Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands

In my spare time, I’m a writer, artist, a gamer, reader, and cheapo. The latter meaning I’m disappointed if I don’t have enough food at a restaurant to bring back home a doggy bag so I can have it the next day for lunch. I currently write for Girl Gamer Vogue and Tomodom, both gaming websites. I’m also a proud mom to a Flame Point Siamese kitten named Grenwauld aka “Grenny.” I started running a store called Delicabella which you’ll definitely see a lot more of on here.


From kitten to full-grown menace

For five minutes a day, I enter sweepstakes. I win an average of three things a month and I think that’s a good pay off considering how little I invest into it. Off the top of my head, I’ve won: a snowboard, Dyson Bladeless Fan, concert tickets, a year’s supply of Perrier seltzer, gift cards, shopping sprees, an espresso machine – you name it. I consider myself really lucky. My Italian last name “Ventura” comes from Bonaventura which translates to good fortune or luck. I give my namesake credit whenever I win. Luck is in my blood.

What I want from blogging on Sweeps Go 'Round is to give everyone a different perspective. My sister and I share a lot of the same ideals, but since there’s an age gap, I’ll always be in a different chapter in life than her – maybe even a different book all together. Right now I’m on the cusp of a three-year-relationship turning long distance while my boyfriend starts his first year of law school four hours away from me. I also graduated college last December and then recently left my job for personal reasons, so I’m in a huge transitional phase. What’s next?

I look forward to starting my new chapter with an audience.


Sara

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fun new Blogger Opp!! Sign up today!

2013-08-08_22.15.22_20130808223507377

Free Blogger Opp

Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest Link with Promotional Post

At LEAST 2 Winners!!!

Top Referring Site Gets Free Co-Host Spot --- Please say that you were referred by Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round!

Event Will Run October 7-30

Click HERE for details!!!

Sunday Social Post of the Week #1

Hey everyone! Hope you guys are having a great weekend!! Here's a new blog hop I'm participating in that's simply fun :) It's called Sunday Social. Easy to link up if you're interested :) just click the picture below ~Tia

Sunday Social

1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veternarian or a cardiologist (my grandma is a nurse practitioner who specializes in cardiology, so that's where I got my inspiration). Even as a child, I had dreams about having "DR." before my first name :)

 2. What was your favorite way to kill time as a kid?
I had a big imagination as a kid. Before my sister was born, I loved playing with my ninja turtles figures with my barbies (I was a good mix of tomboy and girlie girl, I think). I also loved playing video games. Once my sister was born, I loved hanging out with her. (still do!)

 3. When did you get your first cell phone? 
I got it for my 18th birthday in November 2001. I was commuting to college and would have to stop by the nearest payphone on my way home to let my parents know I was on my way home. My parents didn't like the fact that I had to rely on 25 cents to communicate home easily, so I got a simple cell phone and have had the same # ever since :).

4. What is your favorite magazine to read? 
I really like Oprah's magazine and In Style. They are both really great to bring on my commute to NYC for work and school. Usually gives me a few train rides' worth of reading (which is a big bang for my buck! Makes the ride go so much quicker)

5. What is the one random object people would be surprised to find in your purse? 
An expired Epi-Pen. I have it because I had a bad reaction to being stung by a few bees back in 2009 but it expired last year. I really need to get that refilled. I also have a turtle flash drive... it's pretty cool :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Weekly Wednesday Roundup #4 - Week of August 7th, 2013


Hey everyone! Sorry for the delay in my posting... we are taking Valentina tomorrow to get her tongue tie evaluated by an awesome doctor on Long Island who uses lasers to correct the issue. She's been having some discomfort with breastfeeding so we're taking her to get a consultation (which I will post more about once we come home). Here is our list of some fantastic sweeps from around the web that you NEED to check out, besides the ones we are hosting and promoting on our own blog, of course!!

Have fun entering one or them all :) and I hope you win big!!!

Happy winning!
~Tia

Facebook Sweeps:
You could win a trip to Nashville and a chance to pick an item from Mike Wolfe (from American Pickers)'s collection from American Vintage Hard Tea!

Enter to win $300 for back to school supplies from Purex :)

Lance Snacks is giving away $10,000 to use towards tuition, and other great prizes!

Every day between now and August 20th, Pottery Barn is offering you a chance to win a $2,000 Pottery Barn gift card!

American Airlines is offering you a chance to win a trip around the world! Fun game to play in order to enter!

Bare Snacks is giving away a case of their yummy snacks :)

Web Sweeps:
Enter to win a $5,000 scholarship and other great prizes from Little Debbie!

Bali Total Comfort is offering $10,000 for you to create your own comfort zone in their Comfort Zone Sweepstakes!

Win a trip to NYC and some spending money from Garnier USA!

Scholastic is giving away over $16,000 in prizes in their Fit & Fresh Be Cool for School sweepstakes for your school AND family!

Enter to win 2 tickets Gustavo Dudamel's performance of Verdi's Requiem performed on August 13th at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA.

Glow Bug Cloth Diapers are giving away a diaper to one lucky reader!!

Blog sweeps:
Enter to win a Ryobi Hybrid Power Trimmer from Powered by Mom!!

Check out this awesome giveaway from According to Jenny for a chance to win a Rock-a-bums 5 in 1 Diaper with a wetbag and inserts!

Awesome giveaway!!! Enter to win a 1 night stay at the SpringHill Suites in Philadelphia from Mama Goes Bam

Parenting with Purpose is offering you a chance to win On the Farm with Farmer Bob: The Prodigal Pig DVD

Thank you Ma'am, The Baloney Bug, My Jordanian Nugget, and Granolaish are teaming up to give away a $50 gift card to Amazon for World Breastfeeding Week!

Pandora's Deals is offering 2 lucky readers a $10 iTunes gift card and 3 children books

Momma Rambles is offering an awesome opportunity for one lucky winner to get a Bear Grylls survival bracelet!

LOW ENTRIES!!! Adventures of Mommyhood is offering you a chance to win $50 gift certificate to Ausangate Socks
Gator Mommy Reviews is giving away an AWESOME Nickelodeon Back to School DVD Bundle to one lucky winner!!

Enter to Win a $60 GC from Nicki's Diapers courtesy of Cloth Diaper Addicts!

This is awesome! Enter here for a chance to win a super cool large silver locket with beautiful charms from the Michigan Mom!
Mama Bee Does is offering one lucky reader a chance to win a variety of canned Libby's fruits and vegetables along with a Pottery Barn Montana bowl!

Want to win 2 cases of organic chewy barnana bites from Emptynester Reviews? Click here!

You could win Land O’ Lakes Butter, a Le Creuset Two-in-One Pan, a serving bowl and butter dish from Anthropologie, a cheese grater, and wooden serving set from 2 Peas and their pod!

Lynchburg Mama is giving away a polar bottle for back to school!

Wow!!! Be sure to check out this amazing Coach bag giveaway on Jenn's Blah Blah Blog!

Enter to win a $50 GC to Soap Hope from Game on Mom!
Oh la la! Madame Deals is giving away a sexy hips and curves plus size corset to 2 lucky winners :)

Enter to win an item on your myperfectgift.com registry up to $150 in value from Down South Savings!

HUGE giveaway of an awesome Canon Powershot G15 camera! from Dear Crissy

Diva Fabulosa is giving away $99 worth of sustainable wood products from be Good!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

$50 Wazoodle Gift Card Giveaway! Ends 8/21, Open WW

Button Created By: Tia's Sweeps Go Round
Wazoodle Fabrics is a family owned and operated business and is the leading manufacturer and distributor of quality textiles, notions and other items. Eco-Friendly fabrics is the main focus of Wazoodle, especially those that will help to reduce the use of disposable items. Wazoodle is the #1 source for cloth diaper making supplies!


Wazoodle offers fabrics and notions for cloth diaper making as well as other items, they also have precut diaper making kits, premade diapers, and a whole lot more! Have you ever wondered about making your own diapers? Didn't know where to begin? The pre-cut diaper kits from Wazoodle would be perfect for a first timer or even if you've sewn your own diapers before!


Read Mami's 3 Little Monkeys full review of the precision cut diaper making kit she received HERE!

I have always wanted to get crafty and try my hand at sewing some cloth diapers myself, but have been very intimidated to try it. The diaper making kit from Wazoodle makes cloth diaper making completely doable, even for someone who doesn't have a lot of sewing expertise like myself :).

Giveaway!
Mami's 3 Little Monkeys & Wazoodle have teamed up for this awesome giveaway! One winner will receive a $50 Gift Certificate to use at Wazoodle and 10 additional winners will each receive 1 yard of fabric free with their next order from Wazoodle! This giveaway is open Worldwide and will end on 8/21 at 11:59pm CST. All winning entries will be verified. The winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. To enter fill out the form below, you do not need to do all of them, but the more you complete the better your odds of winning!
Good Luck!

Entry-Form

Disclosure: Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round and other participating blogs are not responsible for the fulfillment of any of the above prizes. I received no monetary or product compensation for this publication. If you are a brand and would like to see your product(s) in a giveaway similar to this one please contact Sarh at mamis3littlemonkeys@yahoo.com.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Island Dreams - A Motivational Photography Book {REVIEW}

I had the opportunity to recently review a beautiful coffee table book with beautiful pictures from the Islands of the Bahamas. “Island Dreams – A Motivational Photography Book” is the work of author Suzy Liebermann, which many of my readers who are parents of young children may recognize as the author of the adorable “Hugo the Starfish” series. This book is filled with gorgeous photography that truly comprise the stuff that daydreams are made of. What makes these photographs in this book so stunning is the unique perspectives offered by the author that beautifully differs from the tropical photography you may have encountered previously. From a gorgeous pair of starfish to a seemingly unknown beach cove with serene turquoise blue water, it is more than easy to picture yourself in the tranquil bliss that is displayed on these pages in the Bahamas. To me, that is the perfect definition of a relaxation book!
What makes this book extra special is that each photograph is paired with a rousing motivational quote. Similarly to the aforementioned unique perspective of the photographs throughout, each quote is markedly touching without actually being cliché. You could imagine your mother, sister or best friend saying any one of these beautiful quotes to you when you might be in a rut or having a bad day. Personally, that’s exactly what I find inspiring about this book – each quote was honest and inspiring, and the photograph alongside it complimented it so well. It really makes an excellent motivational photography book.
I don’t know if I will have the chance to travel to the Bahamas anytime soon to scour the Islands to see if I can locate any of the beautiful locations documented here having a newborn baby girl, but the photos have definitely given my daydreams some material to work with :). The quotes also really put a smile on my face, something a new mother who gets very little sleep every night could really use. Certainly, this is one of the better dream books I’ve ever come across. I highly recommend it.
If you'd like to purchase this book, you can do so on Amazon here.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Samsung ChromeBook Giveaway BLOGGER OPP


Organized by One Punky Mama
Prize:  Samsung Chromebook
Event dates: 8/26 - 09/16
Free & Paid Options Available


Thursday, August 1, 2013

An Awesome Upcoming Blogger Opp!

I'm teaming up with the Blogging Mamas Network for a great, free Event to promote and redefine healthy and natural skin from Pretty Mommies!
The Event is free for bloggers and in exchange for hosting the Giveaway Form and information on your blog, you'll receive 2 free Social Media links of choice!
Be sure to sign up soon, as the Event begins on August 14th and will end on August 25th!  Blogger with the most Sign-Up referrals gets a Follow Page during the Event.
We'll be giving away a full set of Pretty Mommies to 2 winners and a YEARS SUPPLY (that's 6 sets) to 1 winner. That's $1,264 of Pretty Mommies products!  Plus, there's a prize up for grabs just for bloggers, too.
The blogger who has the most entrants from their blog during the giveaway will also get a set of Pretty Mommies. So if you wouldn't mind, please tell them that Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round sent you

To sign-up for this Event, go to the so easy being green blog!

Building a Solid Foundation for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center
Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!
This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.
***

I have to admit, years before I had my daughter when I was in my early 20s, the thought of breastfeeding was a concept that was hard for me to truly fathom. I had so many questions – how would my body know when I gave birth to start making milk? How would my baby know that my breasts were supposed to be her all-important food source? And would I experience that bond I had heard so many herald before when looking back on their experiences with fondness?
                Many of these questions became some of my biggest fears once I became pregnant with my first child in the second half of last year. Breastfeeding was always part of the expected journey of motherhood in my family, as my mother and paternal grandmother were very vocal in their admiration for their experiences breastfeeding. My mother, in particular, had always offered advice, anecdotes and “best practices” from her experience breastfeeding my younger sister and I. For certain, I always anticipated that breastfeeding would be a significant part of my mothering journey.
But once I became pregnant and joined popular pregnancy and childrearing social media sites, I became surrounded with countless stories of mothers who tried breastfeeding and failed because of a lack of support. Or because their milk would not come in. Or because their baby would not latch properly. Or because their baby had reflux. I also work in public health, and have access to hundreds of academic journals riddled with studies pointing to the many issues that could plague a woman from successfully breastfeeding. Although I am sure these websites had other intentions for their attentive members, I had been instantly engulfed by a fear that I would be an inadequate mother if I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed as so many others before me had.
As I got closer to my due date with my daughter, I began to embrace the idea that although I wholeheartedly wanted to breastfeed, I would not be disappointed in myself if various circumstances prevented me from successfully doing so. I wanted to do everything in my power to take care of my baby, and nourishing her however I had to (breastmilk or formula) would be my top priority. My fear gave way to an acceptance of whatever was to come. I completely cut myself off from the bulletin boards and social media pages teeming with posts of “horror stories” and only tapped into personal resources that I knew would offer me positivity during my time of preparation.
I have been able to successfully breastfeed my daughter since the day she was born as a result, I believe, of many factors. Firstly, it’s important to make sure your partner is vested in your desire to breastfeed. A 2004 study by Wolfberg et al. in the American journal of obstetrics and gynecology found that expectant fathers can be influential advocates for breastfeeding by playing a critical role in encouraging a woman to breastfeed her newborn. (1) In addition, a 2011 study by Rempel and Rempel found that fathers can serve as members of a successful breastfeeding team by being breastfeeding savvy, by using their knowledge to encourage and assist mothers in breastfeeding, by valuing the breastfeeding mothers and by sharing housework and child care. (2) I personally feel that this is a huge contributor to why I’ve been able to successfully breastfeed – if my husband was not supportive, I don’t see how it would have been realistically possible to exclusively breastfeed. Normalization of breastfeeding as a way to nourish your child primarily starts at home. If your partner is not particularly breastfeeding savvy, consider taking a course with him or her. Many Bradley Methods courses, like the one my husband and I took, will often have a breastfeeding module built into their series.
Secondly, it’s important to tap into family members and friends to learn and understand their breastfeeding experiences. Even if someone was not able to successfully breastfeed or didn’t even try, these types of individuals can still be a great support system for you. Why? Because even if a mother doesn’t understand the pain of an engorged breast or a cracked nipple, what mother truly doesn’t understand the sacrifice another mother makes for their child? Sharing my breastfeeding woes with my friends, like my daughter’s mild case of tongue tie, my engorged rock-hard breasts and my sleepless nights feeding my daughter on demand in the first 2 weeks of her life because of her high bilirubin count, literally saved my sanity. Being able to share your inner feelings, including fears, expectations and hopes for yourself, will be ensure that negativity doesn’t build up inside of you while trying to establish a breastfeeding routine with your child. Negativity can affect your milk supply, can limit your patience to help make sure your child latches firmly and consistently and can influence an overall poor breastfeeding experience for you. It’s better to be able to channel it elsewhere, believe me!
Lastly, be sure to ask those in your life who have successfully breastfed what resources they have utilized when they have had questions about breastfeeding. I wouldn’t have learned about “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” (a must-have book!) or Kelly Mom.com if I did not ask my friends what resources helped them throughout their journey. Things may come up while breastfeeding with your child (“Could ice cream make my baby gassy through my milk?” “Could I be making too much milk?” “How much spit-up is normal?”) in the middle of the night, and having these resources at your disposal are invaluable. They may even make the difference between a woman having the answer to a difficult predicament and giving up breastfeeding overall.
 I hope my story and advice has helped you in some way. Breastfeeding is a wonderful, beautiful part of motherhood for me, and I am really happy to have the opportunity to share my experience thus far, even though my journey is still rather fresh. Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,
Tia

(1) Wolfberg, AJ, et al. "Dads as breastfeeding advocates: results from a randomized controlled trial of an educational intervention." American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 191.3 (2004): 708-712.

(2) Rempel, Lynn A., and John K. Rempel. "The breastfeeding team: the role of involved fathers in the breastfeeding family." Journal of Human Lactation 27.2 (2011): 115-121.

***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 1 with all the carnival links.)

  • If You're Worried About Your Kid Seeing Me Breastfeeding, You're Doing It Wrong — Dionna at Code Name: Mama is living the breastfeeding-as-a-cultural-norm dream. She has first-hand experience that kids, teens & adults who see breastfeeding accept breastfeeding.
  • Supporting Breastfeeding Online — Wendy at Breastfeeding Utah reaches out to birth and breastfeeding support professionals who are interested in knowing more about supporting their clients online.
  • Breast Friends — Mama Bree, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center, shares a baby's journey to blissful breastfeeding with a little help.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Online Breastfeeding Support — Other than buying and reading up on books, Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy finds that it is useful to read up on other mums’ breastfeeding experiences and how they deal with their obstacles.
  • It Takes a Village... — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am talks about the support she got from her family, especially from her own mom, who is a lactation consultant.
  • Community Support — Ashley at ModerationMama tells about her supportive community surrounding her breastfeeding journey, and she talks about the importance of the breastfeeding class she took while still pregnant.
  • Finding a Nanny to Be Part of My Village — Before returning to work, Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen, posting at Natural Parents Network, needed to find a trusted caregiver for her daughter. Someone who supported her parenting goals and was ready to become part of a family.
  • A Nursey Love Letter — When asked about her nursing support group, KassK of Get Born Tribe surprised herself with the answer: her husband!
  • We are mammals. — To be a mammal . . . what does that mean? Practicing Mammal educates us.
  • Building a Solid Foundation for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey — Tia at Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round shares how she built a strong support network to help her successfully breastfeed her newborn daughter.
  • Stubbornness and Support: My Breastfeeding Journey — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her breastfeeding journey, from unhelpful nurses to a gentle guide, and her sheer stubbornness.
  • Looking online for breastfeeding support — The author at "Just" A Mom has found many ways to use the internet to support her mothering and breastfeeding journey, and she has learned how to keep her online experiences positive.
  • The Village that didn't feed — Nona's Nipples at The Touch of Life explains how our communities influence our choices. She explains how she came to breastfeed and how it was taken away.
  • Nursing By Example — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births decided to nurse through a pregnancy and to try tandem nursing thanks to the support from her La Leche League leader and another mother in her community. Read about the resources that were helpful and the lessons she learned on her journey into tandem nursing.
  • A Burden Shared: How my IBCLC Lightened my Load — My IBCLC rocks!! smscott at In All Things...One Step at a Time's journey would not be possible without a huge contribution of time and energy from her IBCLC. Her difficult times were measured in weeks and months instead of moments.
  • Fathers Need Breastfeeding Support Too — Destany at They Are All of Me recalls that the biggest detriment to her breastfeeding success was her husband's strong disapproval.
  • Breastfeeding Support Over the Years — Valerie at Momma in Progress discusses the range of support she received over her seven-year breastfeeding journey.
  • Uncharted Territory: Breastfeeding — Michelle at Oh, The Simple Joys describes her change of heart regarding breastfeeding and the kind souls who helped along the way. From thinking formula was the norm to extended ecological breastfeeding, this is her story. Her story also includes breastfeeding after a hospital birth, dealing with inverted nipples, and the lactation consultant who helped to name her daughter.
  • Online Breastfeeding Support: Finding Success, Acceptance and Friendships — Author and CLEC Lara Audelo of Virtual Breastfeeding Culture shares how online breastfeeding support changed her entire life, and why so many mothers are drawn to it, rely upon it, and place such value on their virtual mother-to-mother connections.
  • Staying Connected---Online Breastfeeding Support for AD Military MomsBreastfeeding in Combat Boots shares how important online support is to the success of breastfeeding for mothers serving in the military.
  • Breastfeeding and Community — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work discusses ways in which community affects breastfeeding dyads and makes suggestions for accepting and supporting nursing as normal and necessary.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Community Support — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has been breastfeeding NON-STOP since 4th March 2009, the day her first child Benjamin was born. Jenny shares who has been in her community of breastfeeding supporters.
  • Oversupply as a Blessing in Disguise: Milk Sharing and Wet Nursing — Tooele Birth and Breastfeeding, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, tells how she ended up donating breastmilk and wet nursing several babies. She shares the benefits from both a recipient and a donor.