Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scrubs - Some Do's And Don't's


 Scrubs are a common thing to wear and not just in hospitals! And for good reason--they are comfortable, breathable, loose-fitting and can be fairly aesthetically appealing, with little effort! I like the look with clogs.  It looks really cute, in a casual, working sort of way! 

I, personally, am not in the medical field, but who wouldn't love wearing scrubs?  They are so comfortable!  They aren't form fitting and they are breathable, made almost always with cotton. And with all those gorgeous colors, I wouldn't mind wearing scrub pants as a change from sweats or yoga pants!

What is NOT seen is potentially harmful bacteria lurking in the material of unwashed scrubs.  So, I am making an appeal to any health care workers.  Please, please change your scrubs often!  It's easy to do when you have a place where you can buy cheap scrubs, like at Blue Sky Scrubs!  
One thing I do know...you don't want to wear scrubs that you wear in the hospital as casual attire.    That gets pretty messy.  Read more about that here.  ALWAYS change into clean scrubs when you go to work and don't wear them home or out after you've been working in them.  That's why it is good to have multiple sets of scrubs so that you'll always have a clean pair.  It's not something we like to think about, but when medical personnel wear the same uniforms to work day after day without washing them, they are carrying lots of unsavory germs around. As a potential patient in a hospital and as someone who doesn't want hospital germs at my restaurant table where someone with unlaundered scrubs may have been sitting, I ask all health care scrub wearers to please wear clean scrubs! And may I suggest Blue Sky Scrubs as your vendor for scrub clothing!

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with BlueSkyScrubs in any way whatsoever. I was not compensated in any way for writing this!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Brookstone - A 45 Year Success Story!


 Hi ya'll!  I just discovered a great company that has not only survived, but has become better and better over 45 years in the retail business.  That kind of longevity makes me perk up my ears and pay attention!  I especially pay attention when they offer me a Coupon Code (found at end of this review) for $10 off!
"Brookstone is a nationwide specialty retailer offering an assortment of consumer products that are functional in purpose, distinctive in quality and design and not widely available from other retailers. Brookstone first introduced itself to the world in a small classified ad selling "hard-to-find tools" in Popular Mechanics Magazine. The year was 1965.


Originally a catalog company, Brookstone today operates a multifaceted Direct-Marketing business that includes catalogs, e-mail and affiliate marketing, and an online site offering hundreds more products than are available in our retail and airport stores."
 As I perused their website, I was really impressed with all of the unique and useful items!  For instance, I think it's important to protect your 'toys of summer' when the weather no longer permits you to play with them.  (Note: I'm not saying that summer is anywhere NEAR done yet, oh no! There is too much left to do!) That way, you'll have those nice patio chairs, bicycles and grills in great shape and ready to use once again!  Why leave your stuff out in the weather unprotected?  Brookstone has a great selection of Outdoor Furniture Covers, rivaled by none!  I give it my 'Need' rating!

Not quite in the 'Need' category but nonetheless very smart to pay close attention to because, if acted upon, may just reap huge dividends, is the Gifts For Dad section.  These include really really great gifts for your Dad or husband that are truly unique!  What man wouldn't love the WeatherCast 5 Day Wireless Weather Forecaster?  Out of 346 customer reviews, I loved what one customer said about it:
I bought this for my elderly father 4 years ago. He had no experience with computers etc and thought this was the best gift he had EVER received..just couldn't get over the technology. He kept it near to him until he passed away. NOW my mother has it with her in an assisted living facility and she keeps it right where she can see it at all times. I think it is like a link to the outside world. She ALWAYS knows the weather and somehow that comforts her. I would buy this AGAIN and AGAIN. No problems with batteries, reception, anything! Best [$] I ever spent!!! 
Isn't that sweet?  I love that there are a ton of customer reviews on the products I looked at, so obviously people are buying, using and then interacting with the site!  Features on the site include:
  • Store locator with Google Maps integration on specific devices
  • Product videos with YouTube integration
  • Reviews and expandable product descriptions
  • Guest checkout with multiple shipping addresses
  • Enhanced search
  • Order tracking
  • Email sign up
  • Careers section
  • Catalog request
Brookstone CEO Ron Boire said it best: “It’s just one more way Brookstone is everywhere our customers want us to be.”
Check out Brookstone and see what is there for your needs that you never knew were needs until now! To help you out, Brookstone will take $10 off any online purchase of $70 or more.  Just use this Coupon Code at checkout:  22SAVE

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dividing The Family Pie

We are influenced by news that we hear and read about.  National and World events are happening at an ever-increasing rate of speed!  Often I count on my husband to update me on major happenings in the world.  I want to make sure I am getting the right story and the right take.  For me, the best way to understand an event is to recount my understanding of what happened.
So, how concerned are you about property or money settlement issues within your extended family?  I know it can be a sore spot.  When a parent or relative gives out holdings in an unfair way or in a way that people don't agree with, tensions within families can mount.  But is it worth killing your own family over?  C'mon, that is going waaaaay over the line in terms of my own understanding.  I say, just let them have the heirloom china and wish them good luck with it.  You can't take it with you anyway!

But that is exactly what happened over the weekend in Louisa, VA.  A man shot and killed his own son and nephew in an ongoing dispute over a piece of property, not to mention the 4 others that were wounded in the fray.  Then police shot and killed him after he fired on two deputies and released his pit bull on them. Apparently, this 1.5 acres was a real hot commodity among family members. Police were called on multiple occasions to settle disputes amongst the clan.  But it never got violent until yesterday.  Well, sir, I hope you are happy.  You're dead, your son is dead, your nephew is dead and that ought to be a fun little party on the other side!  And who gets the 1.5 acres?  I guess whoever was left alive!  I hope the remaining relatives will be a little more wise.  Wow!  I used to live in VA.  I'd have to say you might be a redneck if... you bring out the .22 caliber when your limited vocabulary of "Thisheer is ma land, ain't no one else's!" fails to bring about a unanimous agreement!
May I suggest a few ways to insure a peaceful estate settlement when the time arrives?

1.  Only involve the individuals who are named in the will or trust.  The fewer outsiders and outside opinions, the better! Spouses and children who are not directly a part of the settlement don't need to be involved.

2.  Start the conversation!  Many times it is awkward to even mention that someone won't be around forever.  Many times people are afraid that they will sound greedy when talking about estate affairs.  A possible good start to this conversation might be:  "Mom, Dad, I know you love us. You have taught us how to be thoughtful, caring people, by example. I am reasonably certain that you want us to care for you in your old age and for each other when you are gone. You could do a lot to keep the spirit of our family alive and healthy after you are gone by talking to us now. You could make it immensely easier on all of us by giving us some information about your wishes and plans. This is not about money. It is about relationships and trust and responsibility.”

3.  Establish trust between family members - Family history and child rearing methods of prior generations can foster distrust between siblings. Competition among siblings is common. Although it might not be the easiest time, it is a crucial time to build trust among family members.  Do so with open dialogue and transparency of intent.  Now is not the time to have hidden agendas.  

4.  Learn as much as possible - Usually there is one primary executor but if the work is shared, not only is it easier on the executor, the beneficiaries will also have a better understanding of what is involved and have a greater stake in the best resolution for the whole family.

5.  Create unity by assuming the positive intent of others, not the negative, being open-minded and knowing that everyone doesn't see things in exactly the same way, not allowing bullying, keeping things confidential between those involved, stay involved in the decision-making even though it may make you uncomfortable, have a sense of humor and stay connected in between official meetings.

6.  Have regularly appointed meetings to keep everyone abreast of developments and decisions.  It can be done in person, with conference calls or whatever way is best suited to your situation.

7.  Have fun in the process!  Make mundane things like moving the folks into the board and care home an adventure.  Have events where everyone can have fun interaction.  Great memories make great relationships that last beyond the first generation!

Hopefully this will be a guide so that when you have to divide up the assets from the sale of the family home, you'll know exactly what to do!






Great Giveaways!

i felt it was ceramic
Win a $50 Gift Card to Paperspring.com at Keeping My Cents!   Ends 8/23/10!
Win a 3-pack of UGLee pens in your choice of color at Tatum's Family Reviews!  Ends 8/2310!
Win a $40 CSNStores Gift Card at Bo's Bowl!  Ends 8/25/10!
Win a free Mystery Tee or a $15 Gift Code from Crazy Dog at Susie B. Homemaker!  Ends 8/28/10!
Win a $60 Gift Card to CSNStores at Bassbiraffe's Thoughts!  Ends 9/10/10!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The All Encompassing Question

As I listen to news reports of enraged groups of people who are calling out for punishment because of perceived or real injustices, (Dr. Laura's dilemma, "honor" killings of women, ever increasing heated political debates and rumors of imminent war are brought to mind today), I wonder "What happened to Love?"  As I look at my own reaction to a haughty BMW driver who thinks he owns the road and therefore is enraged because he thinks I cut him off!  (He tells me as we are stopped at a red light, side by side, to get my piece of shiz off the road and calls me every name in the book...and my reaction is NOT nice.) "What happened to Love?"  And even as I look at comments on another blog,  making fun of another blogger and making light of her posts, I wonder,  "Whatever happened to Love?"  As that question swirls around in my mind, I happen to see a tweet on Twitter asking 'How Comfortable Are You?' with a link posted beside it.  It piques my interest.  I click on the link and the story there amazes and touches me.  Ah....that is where love is.  In a world that is teeming with misery, unhappiness and for the lucky few, mere inconvenience, love is still here, alive and well.


So I now resolve to do just a little more than what I have been doing lately, to do my share to contribute to the love in this world.  Now I am probably the most preoccupied person on the planet.  When I get involved in something, everything else can wait until I'm done.  But these are a few things I can do:  Intentionally carry some spare change around to give to those in need.  (It's not my place to judge how they will use it or whether or not they really need it--just give out of goodwill!)  What about being a more thoughtful driver?  Maybe I didn't technically cut the BMW off, but maybe I could have been more thoughtful about using my blinker?  Did I secretly want to show the BMW that just because he is driving a Beamer doesn't mean that he's going to be ahead of the pack all the time?  (No, really, I'm not that person, swearsies.)  And here's one--keep in touch with friends, even if it's a quick hello on Facebook, e-mail, or phone.  I may not have the time to personally visit or write a letter all the time, but I can show concern and interest.  You never know when you will talk to someone for the last time. Another thing I can do is encourage my children to act respectfully and kind toward all people.  One may disagree with another opinion without acting out hatefully.


And just because I need even more inspiration on the subject, I found these quotes on what others' views of Love are:
Ann Landers
If you have love in your life it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you don't have it, no matter what else there is… it's not enough.
 Karen Sunde
To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven.
Phil Collins
Love can make you do things that you never thought possible.
           Mother Teresa
           Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
         
          Meriel Stelliger
         Love burns across the infinitude.


I may not have everything figured out, but this is at least a start for my part in making the world a better place to live! 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Great Giveaways

 Here is a group of giveaways that  I found on the Friday, August 20th giveaway linkys found on these great blogsReview Retreat, A Hen's Nest, and Robyn's Online World!

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recliner Nation - CSNStores.com $70 GC Giveaway!

A Huge Thank You to Alexandria at CSN Stores and to everyone who loves CSN for entering this giveaway!  The winner of the $70 Gift Card is #101, OhhhFire, who said: i follow you on networked blogs  You will be notified by e-mail and have 48 hours to claim this wonderful prize!  



As I was browsing the CSNStores.com website, I got hung up....  Really hung up on recliners.  I really believe this would be a more peaceful world if everyone had their own special recliner, where they could go and relax for a few moments.   Imagine, your own special area, with your own recliner - not too soft, not too hard.  It would be just right and when you settle into it, your mind and body know automatically that it's time to relax.  Sometimes all it takes is just a few moments to gather yourself and feel total relaxation.  Then you are ready to jump up and tackle the next big project that life has in store.  Wouldn't your world be more peaceful?  I know mine would!

Regardless of whether or not you want to take my advice and invest in your own special chair, CSN has been ever so kind and  has allowed me to offer a $70 gift card (excludes shipping costs) to one of my followers! I know that if you take the time to visit CSNStores.com, you too will become immersed in browsing through one of their many stores!. You may even get hung up in the Recliner section, like I did!

To earn this $70 gift card, you must first do the following:
Be a Google Friend Follower of AGalNeeds... and visit CSNStores.com. Tell me what store (Careful! It's not the item, it's the store) YOU would most likely get hung up in!
1 extra entry each, leave a comment for each entry:
  • Follow CSN on Twitter
  • Tell me about a special place you have to unwind!
  • Follow me @Melahelen on Twitter!  Leave me your Twitter name!
  • Follow me on Networked Blogs (on right side bar!)
  • Tweet the giveaway!  Once per day for an entry each day! Leave your tweet status here!
2 extra entries each, leave a comment for each entry:
  • Like CSN on Facebook AND leave a comment telling them you're visiting from here!
  •  Blog this giveaway, leaving a link back to here and telling me where you did!
  • Grab my Blog Button and post it on your blog!
  • Subscribe to this blog through e-mail (on my right side bar)!
  • Be my friend on Facebook!
Well, that's it!  Good luck with another great giveaway from CSN! I give them my AGalNeeds...endorsement.  We all definitely need CSN in our lives.  Thanks!

This giveaway is open to both U.S. and Canada and will run until 9/10/10!  Winner will be chosen through Random.org Thanks so much!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Great Giveaways!

These are giveaways I found from my Google Friend list!  I follow quite a few great giveaway sites and so I thought I'd feature some of them today!


  • Win 2 fabulous hair care products courtesy of Misikko and Deb's Here!  Ends 9/1/10!

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Monday, August 16, 2010

CSN - A Place for Exploration

  Have you ever been to the Mall Of America located in Minnesota?  I haven't and I can only imagine how huge it is!  I understand that it is so crowded with people that they don't even use heat in the main mall area during those cold Minnesota winters because the body heat of the crowds is enough to raise the temperature to a comfortable level! CSNStores.com is just as huge, and you can shop in the comfort of your own home minus the crowds!  You can browse through whole stores of  bedroom furniture sets or look at the many cookware stores, baby supply stores, etc.  You name the product, and you will find it.  They are second to none in customer service and they are very generous with their shipping.  You can find many products that have free shipping.

 Here are just a few examples of the many beautiful 4 poster beds that I found at first glance!  Gorgeous!

I have had the privilege of working with CSNStores.com for awhile, doing various reviews and giveaways.  I am going to be doing so again, with a $70 Gift Card to one of my readers!  Please check back within this week because I will be posting that giveaway soon!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Great Giveaways!


  • Get the Tonique Mat Workout DVD at Huff and Buff!  2 winners!  Ends 8/18/10!
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hot Giveaways!

I am listing all giveaways today from my Reader, where I've subscribed to these blogs' RSS Feeds.  Check them out!


  • Win a copy of  'The Reluctant Entertainer' by Sandy Coughlin at Capitally Frugal!  Ends 8/19/10!


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Working Directly With A Company vs. PR Firms

I've been happily doing reviews and giveaways on my blog for a few months now (less than a year still) and have enjoyed most of it.  I have had the chance to work directly with a lot of companies and have also worked with PR firms who represent certain companies.  Let me tell you, folks, from my experience, I prefer working directly with the companies, hands down.  Can I just tell you a few reasons why?

When I work directly with a company, I am not going through a middle man, trying to get me connected to the company through them.  I am able to speak directly with a company employee, who can then expedite my requests immediately.  I am also able to tailor my blog article more specifically to that company's needs, based on my conversations with the company rep.    It's so much more involved to request your review product through a PR Rep.  You generally have to visit the review site, use a separate form to go back and tell the PR Rep and then hope that they go back to the company and get your order correct.  The order usually comes much later than I had hoped.  Mistakes are bound to happen because PR Firms represent multiple companies and it's hard to keep every company's policies and procedures accurate. 

PR Reps are getting paid by the companies that are being reviewed.  They want to get the job done so they can get their payment.  I have found that these companies will promise things to you and not follow through with their verbal/written agreements.  If they can get you to produce a great review, all bets can be off once the review is up and running.  Sadly, I know this through experience.

A great example of working directly with a company is CSNStores.com.  They have PR reps who work directly for CSN and are on their payroll.  They are apparently given a lot of freedom to offer great incentives for bloggers, who can choose to either do a review or a giveaway, depending upon what they would like to do.  They generally don't pay cash for these services, unless you are an affiliate.  I appreciate CSNStores.com because they actually look for blogs who might be interested in doing this.  I was approached by a CSN rep early on in my blogging experience.  They asked me if I'd like to do a giveaway and they told me that it would help drive traffic to my site.  I was SO excited that CSN would have the faith in me and my new blog to let me host a giveaway!  It really validated me as a blogger and yes, it drove traffic to my site!  So, naturally, I am a HUGE fan of CSNStores.com in general.

Another similar online firm who I won't mention by name, has chosen to hire a PR Company.  This PR company who I will not mention either, approached me and asked me to do a review on said anonymous company.  I had actually had experience with this particular online company.  The PR Rep asked me to put up 5 links, for which they would pay me a certain amount per link.  I wrote up the review and submitted it for approval.  I heard nothing.  I again e-mailed and said that the post would not go up until approval and payment.  The PR rep then e-mailed me back telling me the post was perfect and could I add one more link. I did so....and then my mistake.  I put up the post.  (I was just so happy with the post!)  I never heard anything back after that.  So basically, this rep got paid and I got nothing.  I am obviously ticked.  It's not necessarily because I didn't get paid, it's the fact that the PR rep worked me.  I will never work with that PR rep again and not sure if I'll work with that company again.  I will certainly not post ANYTHING until they come up with their end of the bargain, whatever that may be. 

Another example of a PR Firm, although not so dramatic, just annoying--A PR Rep contacts me and we actually put together two reviews and giveaways.  Although it is a much more tedious process to go through this PR Firm and not work directly with the company, it worked out alright.  But then I am asked to do and am assigned several more reviews and giveaways, which I indicated I would do.  I made the appropriate arrangements, etc.  I just never heard back. Kind of nonchalant about the whole thing is what my sense is from this guy. So any schedule planning I might have for giveaways and reviews or any sense of timing is out the window.  Phoooey on that!  I will blow that one off too.

What I have learned through all of this is that I need to come up with a firm set of guidelines myself and stick to them, certainly not give things out before the companies themselves have produced their end.  It's a sad fact of life, you will get worked if you don't protect yourself.  I am a believer that my little piece of the internet, albeit a very small piece, is valuable!  My time is also valuable and I won't be taken advantage of again!  If a company comes to me and asks me to put up a coupon code or do a review, I had better know something about it first with at least a product experience and maybe even some cash for my time.  After all, companies are saving millions of dollars by using bloggers to reach their extensive sphere of influence for comparative pennies. An ultimate goal for some would be to just find the right blog that will do it for nothing! Some bloggers are willing to prostitute their blogs for nothing--a cyberspace wink and pat on the butt is all they need!  It might even get them a couple more followers!  Wow!  And combine that with the million blog hops that are now going on, they could get to 1000 followers easy.  Just cut and paste this - "Hi I'm your newest follower!  Please follow back at http://...."    But I digress.  I have no problem with blog hops when I have the time and interest.  I certainly am not a cut and paste commenter and don't welcome those on my own blog.  (Although, some of the biggest blogs out there are cut and paste blog hop commenters, sorry to say!)

I hope that you have been or will be wiser than I was when dealing with those who approach you with great "opportunities"  to promote them on your blog!  I know I have learned---BIG time!

Hugs,

Helena

Disclaimer: This is just my own opinion and does not reflect all people's experiences.  There are many GREAT PR Firms out there and I've worked with a few of them.  I value them even more!  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

E-Shakti August Coupon Code

I am so pleased that I am an affiliate with eShakti.  Earlier this year I did a review on them.  Please check it out here.  I really love their dresses!  Then go to eShakti  and pick out your beautiful outfit!