Enter to Win a $150 Tiffany & Co. Gift Card + Flowers From Tarn-X! Ends 02/28/17

Double the Love

This is a partnered post.

This Valentine’s Day was very special for me, because it was the day I sent out the Save-The-Dates for my upcoming wedding! Jai and I are so excited for this next chapter and to spend the rest of our lives together. We met in 2002 and yet it feels like it all happened in the blink of an eye. Life passes by fast and before we know it, we’ll be celebrating our 50th anniversary and wondering where the time went, so we’re making the most of this special moment in our lives!

True love never tarnishes, no matter how much time passes, which is why Tarn-X is commemorating 50 years in business by honoring married couples who have been together for over five decades with a special sweepstakes! Now through February 28th, entrants can nominate a couple who are celebrating a 50+ anniversary on the CLR Products Facebook page and be entered to win a $150 Tiffany & Co. Gift Card for themselves along with a bouquet of flowers for the happy couple! Tarn-X has been helping married couples keep their wedding gifts and jewelry looking beautiful for the last 50 years with its wipe and rinse formula that eliminates tarnish on sterling silver, silver plate, gold, diamonds, copper and platinum. It was also one of the first products to ever coin the phrase “As seen on TV”, which makes them noteworthy in my book because you know I love seen on TV products! I’ll definitely be picking up a bottle before the wedding to get our rings sparkling before we walk down the aisle.

Click here to visit the CLR Products Facebook page and enter for your chance to win a $150 Tiffany & Co. gift card and a bouquet of flowers! Sweepstakes ends February 28th.

Enter to Win a Kenmore Elite Washer & Dryer + 1,000+ Other Prizes!

Kenmore Elite Washer and Dryer
This is a partnered post.

A new washer and dryer are on my home improvement wish list, which is why I’m excited about this new sweepstakes! Through November 30th, Shop Your Way members can enter to instantly win a Kenmore Elite Washer and Dryer bundle along with over 1,000 other prizes. If you’re not a member, it’s free to sign up and you’ll have access to lots of other awesome sweeps, too. Click here to enter this awesome giveaway, and be sure to check back daily for another entry.

Special Extra Entry For Contest Corner Readers

But wait, there’s more! After you’ve played the Instant Win game, you can snag an extra entry thanks to being a loyal reader: Contest Corner readers can use our special Sweeps Code laundryday for another entry. Good luck!

Enter to Win Minions on Blu-Ray From Foster Farms!

Minions & Foster Farms

Coupons provided.

Foster Farms is hosting a fun giveaway on its Facebook page for copies of Minions on Blu-ray, plus corn dogs! Here’s how to enter: Click here to visit the Foster Farms Facebook page, and leave a comment on the weekly Minions post for a chance to win. Ten winners will receive the Blu-ray, which features 3 new mini-movies, plus a box of Foster Farms Corn Dogs – perfect for your very own Minions-themed movie night! The contest is open to US residents and runs from November 30th through December 21st.

Also, if you’re a coupon diva in addition to being a sweeper (like me!), you can snag a $2 rebate on the purchase of Foster Farms Corn Dogs and Minions on Blu-ray by visiting FosterFarmsMinions.com.

How a Frugal Person Shops For a New Computer

This is a partnered post.

As a full-time blogger, nothing is more crucial to my business than my computer. And as a full-time penny pincher, I also have a few tricks up my sleeve for shaving off the cost of this expensive, but necessary equipment!

1. Enter Sweepstakes.

The computer I won in 2011

Well, naturally! One of my favorite prizes is this new $1200 computer that I won back in 2011. It’s still my primary PC 4 years on; but naturally, every computer needs work and upgrades as the years go by. Which brings me to:

2. Use Gift Cards.

Last month, it became apparent that I needed to get a few new hard drives to back up my data, and possibly a new video card. I shaved down the cost of this by using gift cards to Best Buy and Staples that I had received for some blog posts I had written. Gift cards are a very common item to win, also! Which brings me to:

3. Use Coupons.

I further reduce my out of pocket cost on big ticket items by taking advantage of coupon codes. I always do a quick search any time I need to make an online purchase to see if there are any special sales, dollar off coupons, free shipping offers, and so on. One of the newest resources for this is Groupon Coupons, which has a database with thousands of offers for big name retailers, including many in the tech category.

Groupon Coupons

Groupon Coupons is a free listing of promo codes and deals, so there’s no registration required. Here’s a couple of promo codes that could save you some cash on a computer upgrade:

Inspiron Touch Laptop for $379.99 with free shipping after promo code at Dell Home

$15 off your order of $75+ at HP Home & Office Store

It only takes a second to look up what coupons are available, and you might just find something that could save you some cash!

So, those are three ways I shave down costs on this spendy, but crucial item! Tell me, do you have any strategies for saving cash on PC purchases?

Thrill The Blogger on Your Gift List With a Canon Rebel From Best Buy!

Canon EOS Rebel T5i

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Do you have a blogger on your Christmas list this year? It might be hard to know what to get them, since bloggers are often immersed in new product ideas as part of their job. If you’re wondering what would be really helpful to a blogger, I can personally vouch for this excellent gift idea: A Canon EOS Rebel T5i.

I bought a Canon Rebel last year – my first DSLR camera – and it’s made such a huge difference for me. Because photography has become such a large part of this job, having a DSLR camera is crucial for shooting product photos, recipes, and crafts. Thanks to my Canon Rebel, I can take the quality photos I need to deliver for work; there are so many things you cannot do with a point and shoot, no matter how good the lighting is or how well you dress up your props, simply due to technical limitations. A DSLR is a game-changer and I am so happy with my Canon Rebel!

And it’s not just a work tool, either – as someone who’s always enjoyed taking pictures as a hobby, it’s great to have a quality camera on hand to capture special moments. The Canon EOS Rebel T5i has an 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor, a DIGIC 5 image processor, HD video with continuous autofocus and a 3″ vari-angle touch screen, making it an amazing gift for any blogger or amateur photographer on your list. And through December 20th, you can save $150 on the T5i at Best Buy, so click here to learn more!

Do you own a DSLR camera?

Last-Minute Holiday Shopping? Best Buy Has You Covered!

Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

So Christmas is next week….and I haven’t had time to wrap any presents or mail cards yet. Whoops! I know I’m not the only one who is caught in this last-minute scramble! If you’re like me and need some quick inspiration, Best Buy is your one-stop shop for everyone on your list.

For Mom & Dad: A GPS

TomTom Go 50s

A navigation system is an invaluable thing to have – especially this time of year, when you’re trying to remember what street Aunt Susan lives down. For the GPS-less, the gift of navigation is a thoughtful one that will help them all year long. Consider the TomTom Go 50s, which comes with lifetime access to TomTom Traffic and Maps, or the Garmin 52LM with lane assist. Best Buy has them all on sale!

For Tweens & Teens: JBL

JBL

Tweenagers can be tough to shop for, but fortunately, Best Buy has you covered with a wide range of products from JBL. Between the Charge 2 and the Flip 2, young music fans connect their Bluetooth devices to these speakers and play their favorite tunes with great sound. Or, if they’d rather listen privately – say, on the school bus, or to stop sibling fights about what music to play – the JBL Reflect Earbud headphones are a great solution.

For The Whole Family: Xbox One

XBOX

The Xbox One is a gift that will keep on giving well into 2015 and beyond, offering something for every member of your family. You can play almost any game you can think of: Mom can play Call of Duty, Dad can play Halo, your teen daughter can play Just Dance; whatever your tastes, there is a game to suit them! Beyond that, the Xbox One serves as a vessel to watch movies and more through a variety of apps, so the whole family can gather together to watch their favorite shows. Click here to save $50 on Xbox One consoles at Best Buy!

Are you picking up any last-minute gifts this week?

Get More Uptime With Dell Storage

Dell Storage SC4020

This is a sponsored post.

As those of us here at Contest Corner headquarters can tell you, server uptime is very important. There’s nothing worse than a server crash causing your website to go down for hours! At times in the past, we have toyed with the idea of creating our own server to host this site on, but that would require an array of hard drives, stacked together and sharing information. That way, if one goes down, your data – and website – still remain up. And that is exactly what the Dell Storage SC4020 does!

This mega-storage is perfect for businesses, serving as a SAN entry point that has been receiving a lot of praise. And although it’s probably out of my budget at the moment, it is an affordable option for small businesses, with 0% financing available (A 36 month finance lease is required) and lower pricing. Honestly, I’d love one of these just to store my personal files on as backup, but maybe that’s overkill. ;)

Are you a blogger/business owner and if so, how do you deal with data storage? Have you ever had a major crash and burn with either data getting lost, your site going down, or both? Would you consider something like this?

Chaotic Cookery With Cutthroat Kitchen!

Cutthroat Kitchen

This is a sponsored post.

You guys know that I’m a reality TV junkie, so I’m always anxious to find new programs to follow. The more outrageous the premise, the better – so I think this season of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage is going to be a fun one to watch! Cooking shows tend to have a bit of a slow pace, which isn’t always exciting to watch; but this show will be anything but dull. 16 chefs have to whip up fabulous meals while also avoiding traps and dealing with tricky kitchens. Ever cooked on a floating prep station, or had to stir food with a utensil made from cheese? How about cooking on a treadmill, or being forced to hold hands with another chef while you simultaneously try to whip up your dish? All of these and more are real challenges that this season’s contenders will face!

And for an extra twist, this time it’s an all-star season featuring celebrity chefs competing for a good cause. The last chef standing will receive up to a $75,000 donation to a charity of their choice – so everyone’s a winner! Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage is hosted by Alton Brown and will premiere on The Food Network on Wednesday, October 8th at 9 PM PST/EST. The season finale crowning the grand prize winner will air on Wednesday, November 5th at 9 PM PST/EST.

What shows will you be watching this Fall?

My Experience at Bloggy Boot Camp/Invisalign Straight Talk

Invisalign Teen

This post is sponsored by Invisalign.

On May 31 I got an opportunity to attend Bloggy Boot Camp in Seattle. The 8-hour round-trip drive from my home here in Oregon isn’t something I take lightly, but I’ve been wanting to get more of a perspective on blogging beyond just the technical aspects. I was also intrigued about Invisalign from just what little I had heard about it. The whole trip ended up being even more fun and informative than I could have imagined. The SITS Girls and Dr. Ataii are fantastic speakers and really know their stuff!

It’s been a few years since having my teeth straightened has even crossed my mind, but in my teens/early 20′s I thought about it quite a bit. My big problem was more sports related than aesthetic. My front two teeth are well aligned so they look OK as long as I don’t open too wide. Even my friends and family seem not to notice my teeth alignment problems unless I go out of my way to show them. (Perhaps they’re just being polite!) My problem is mainly that both the upper and lower teeth immediately to the left of my front incisors (Google tells me that these are my lateral incisors) jut forward. Years ago, as an aspiring martial artist, this was a situation that led to me having what seemed like a permanent fat lip. Any time I’d get hit on the left side of my face my lip would get pinched on those crooked teeth and I’d end up with a fat lip. Mouth guards would help but not 100%.

Back in the early/mid 90′s the only option I had was traditional braces and that opens up a whole new problem. Dr. Ataii even mentioned sports injuries that involve braces and I’ll spare the gruesome details. I’ll just leave it by saying that you do *not* want to take impact to your mouth while wearing fixed wire braces. Invisalign’s alternative to traditional braces for pre-teen & teen patients, Invisalign Teen, would have been the perfect solution for me back then. One common myth is that all teeth straightening treatments pose this sort of injury hazard, but Invisalign can be used without adding risks in sports, and even playing musical instruments. Back in high school I had a friend who played the trumpet in marching band and I remember the anxiety he had about having the trumpet “Bumped” while playing. I’m sure you can imagine how easily that can happen while marching in formation, and how painful it would be to have the metal mouthpiece jarred right into your mouth. It makes me shudder to imagine that happening with wire braces. Since the Invisalign aligners are removable, all of these problems with sports, music, and other activities are just not an issue. This also makes flossing and cleaning easy when you can take them out. It’s also worth noting that Invisalign Teen comes with several aligner sets in case some are lost or misplaced.

Another impressive moment in the talk was when they demonstrated the iTero scanner. When someone is fitted for Invisalign the providers can use either a traditional impression, or an iTerro scanner. You can check to see if your local provider uses iTerro by clicking here to pull up the Invisalign Doctor Locator and looking for the iTerro symbol. The iTerro scanner is able to make a digital impression of your teeth unobtrusively in just minutes. I took this picture of an audience volunteer trying out the iTerro scanner. I can’t remember the exact time it took to complete but it was less that 6 minutes.

iTero Scanner in action

There were so many good questions from the audience and Dr. Ataii and his assistants were able to answer all of them clearly. I couldn’t possible remember all of the great information that they covered so here are some links that would better answer any questions you might have:
 
Invisalign Website
How Invisalign Works
Invisalign Infographic
Invisalign on Twitter  
Invisalign on Facebook  

My biggest takeaway from the the talk was that I not only wish that this had been available when I was in high school, but it’s something I would consider now.

If you or someone you know had traditional braces as a teen, were there any activities that were disrupted which wouldn’t have been a problem with Invisalign?

Beats by Dre Solo Headphones Giveaway From Rock Your Vacation – 7 Winners!

#RockYourVacation - Vote & Win!

I was invited on a press trip courtesy of Experience Kissimmee in conjunction with the #RockYourVacation campaign.

Experience Kissimmee is currently hosting the Rock Your Vacation contest, where 8 finalist videos have been selected and put up to a public vote. By voting for your favorite, you will be entered to win one of 7 pairs of Beats by Dre Solo Headphones! You can vote daily through April 20th, and each new vote counts as an extra entry towards the headphones. To vote, simply click here to visit RockYourVacation.com and click to vote for your favorite via their Facebook application.

Let me know who you voted for! And check out my adventures in Kissimmee over at MomStart.com.