Category Archives: Random

M&M’s Pixel Art Contest – Win a Xbox One and Forza 5 Gaming Package!

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and its client.

If you’re up to speed with the latest in video games, you’re most likely aware that the new Xbox One just came out, along with the Forza 5 video game, and they are all the rage right now! Well I am so excited to share with you, an awesome contest where you can use M&M’s® to enter for your chance to win one of these Xbox consoles! Now, it’s not your ordinary contest where you just enter your name and hope that you get lucky. No, this one has a really neat twist that I think you and your family will really enjoy!

#shop gaming with m pixel art contestContest Details – Gaming is Better with M!

The M&M® pixel art contest is a really neat concept! The goal is to create a pixel art image (aka a sprite) using just M&M’s®. Your masterpiece should be racing and/or video game inspired to celebrate the launch of the new Forza 5 game.

You will need to get creative! To get your brain going, think about your favorite characters, car logos, game symbols, race cars, etc. Have fun with it!

When you’ve created your image, snap a pic and share it on Instagram with the hashtags #FueledByMM and #Contest. Then post the image on Instagram and Twitter.gaming is better with m #shopDATES:  Contest runs from December 4th to the 18th, 2013.

PRIZE:  One lucky entrant will be chosen at random to win an Xbox One gaming pack (contains Xbox One, Forza 5 and a 14 oz bag of M&M’s®) or cash equivalent which is around $600.

Here are more details on the #FueledbyMM contest!

My Contest Entry

I thought taking on the challenge of creating pixel art would be kind of a fun activity to do at our house, especially since the weather is cold and there’s not much to do outside! So I headed to Wal-Mart and purchased a big bag (38 oz) of Peanut Butter M&M’s®. These are my husband and mine’s favorites and I knew they’d be a great snack for after we created our art.

I also purchased a large piece of white poster paper at the store too, so that the M&M’s® would really pop and the photos that I took would show up nicely as well.

When I got home, I explained to my husband what our task would be. He willingly joined in and we had a grand old time! We turned on some music, and put on our thinking-caps to try and come up with our very best pixel art ideas. After some brainstorming, we came up with a few ideas.

#shop gaming with m pixel art contest imageThe first pixel art image I created was a racing helmet, because what is a race car driver without their helmet? I chose green because that’s the color of the Xbox One and so it seemed fitting!

#shop m&m racecar helmetThe next pixel art image was a race car! When I looked up the Forza 5 video game images on Google, I seen a very sharp-looking red Mercedes-Benz car that I wanted to duplicate. Since the cars are obviously cruising at high-speeds, it was only right to add some flames coming out of the back as well.

#shop racecar gaming with m pixel contestLast but not least, we created a replication of the Forza 5 logo. I think this one turned out awesome, it’s surprisingly close to what the logo actually looks like!

#shop forza 5 logo gaming with mAfter we made a few extraordinary pixel art images, we had some fun creating some other masterpieces as well. Of course, I won’t be entering these into the contest, but it was a fun little activity anyways! #shop pixel art with m&ms contestYes, that is the state of Minnesota, me as a sprite, and hubby’s rendition of the Xbox logo. We had a ton of fun making pixel art! And after all was said and done, we maybe had a little snack afterwards too. But shhh, I didn’t tell you that!

Buy, Snap, Redeem – M&M’s® and Forza 5

If you decide to go out and purchase the Forza 5 video game, you could score a $10 eGift card to Walmart. Here’s how you can Buy, Snap and Redeem.

  1. Purchase the Forza 5 video game.
  2. Purchase $8 or more of participating M&M’s® products.
    1. These include: M&M’s® Peanut 42oz Stand Up Pouch, M&M’s® Milk Chocolate 42oz Stand Up Pouch, M&M’s® Peanut Butter 38oz Stand Up Pouch, M&M’s® Pretzel 30oz Stand Up Pouch, M&M’s® Peanut 19.2oz Large Laydown Bag, M&M’s® Milk Chocolate 19.20z Large Laydown Bag, M&M’s® Peanut Butter 18.4oz Large Laydown Bag, M&M’s® Pretzel 15.4oz Large Laydown Bag.
  3. Snap a photo of qualifying items on the receipt on your phone and text it to 811811 with the term “M&M”.
  4. You’ll receive a text back with a reward code valid for a $10 eGift card to Walmart.

Get more details on the Buy, Snap and Redeem program here.

#shop xbox one pixel art contestGet Going!

So get out there and grab yourself a bag of M&M’s®! Get the family together, or make a little date night out of this fun, creative little activity. It’s sure to be a hit at your house, just like it was at mine!

I am looking forward to seeing your entries!!

Hearts,
Sarah

10 Ways to Get Rid of a Cold

I have had the nastiest cold this week, and it’s been kicking my butt since Saturday (that makes this fight 5 days old now) and I’m absolutely tired of it, and tired in general. So after doing some research, I’ve found some sure-fire ways to help you get rid of your cold and move on with your life.

how to get rid of a cold

But first, the annoying symptoms

(I got the following info from MayoClinic.com:

  • Stuffy nose or a runny nose
  • Sore or itchy throat
  • Mild body aches or minor headaches
  • Minor fever
  • Tiredness
  • Cough
  • Sneezing

Check, check, check, yes I have all of them. Lucky me! I’m a Bingo winner of head colds.

When to see a doctor?

This is for adults…

  • If you have a fever of 103° F or higher
  • That same fever coupled with sweating, chills, and a cough with discolored phlegm
  • Major swollen glands
  • Severe sinus pain

I don’t have any of those painfully torturous symptoms so there’s only one thing for me to do; let it run it’s course. But with what I’ve found, I can hopefully make that course run a little faster and get done a little sooner.

Here are 10 tips to help you get rid of that nasty cold:

  1. Drink warm fluids. It helps to relieve sinus pressure and congestion.
  2. Get plenty of rest. Duh, I know you hear this one in every list but for real, how is your body supposed to work overtime if YOU are working overtime? Let your body do it’s thing and stop getting in the way.
  3. Get a humidifier. Dry air is not going to help you with your cold, in fact it will do the opposite and make you feel worse (adding to a stuffy nose and a dry, scratchy throat). Get a humidifier and let it work wonders for your head cold.
  4. Stock up on cough drops. These are great for sore throats and can even help clear up your nasal passages. Look for different kinds with extra vitamins in them as well.
  5. Eat chicken noodle soup. There is just something about it, no really, studies have shown that chicken noodle soup can help provide anti-inflammatory properties along with relieve congestion.
  6. Take some Tylenol. But don’t overdo it as it can have negative effects on your liver if you use it for a long period of time. Tylenol contains acetaminophen that can help to reduce a headache, your sore throat, and even a fever.
  7. Drink orange juice and lots of water. Orange juice contains vitamin C and water will help your body stay well-hydrated to best fight the cold.
  8. Minimize dairy products. Believe it or not, consuming dairy products can add to your mucus level. It’s best to just stick to the basics for a few days.
  9. Take your exercise level down. Take it easy on your body right now because it’s doing some serious work inside. Switch your run for a walk, and your weight-lifting for some yoga or pilates.
  10. Take a long, hot shower. Let the steam naturally act as a decongestant and loosen up your nasal passages and sinuses.

I hope these tips help you combat your illness as I combat mine! Here’s to us! :)

Hearts,
Sarah

Bloggy Boot Camp Recap: Minneapolis 2013

Last weekend, I attended my first Bloggy Boot Camp. Usually this time of year, I was gearing up for the MN Bloggers Conference, but unfortunately they fell on the same day – such a bummer! So, this was the first year that I missed #MNBlogCon but hopefully next year I’ll be able to make up for it…

Bloggy Boot CampAnyways, back to Bloggy Boot Camp (BBC), it, was, awesome. I walked out of there with so many notes and to-do’s that I honestly didn’t know where to start. Which, I see as a good thing because at least I know what now needs to be done to make my blog even more awesome :) A big shout-out to the SITS Girls for putting that on, it was such a great learning experience! And, a big shout-out to a great couple of sponsors, Collective Bias and Mirassou Winery. They helped to put on an awesome event!

minnesota blogger sarah

My special namecard for the day!

Key Takeaways

I couldn’t possibly even begin to tell you everything that I learned that day on blogging, because I think I would get carpal tunnel! Instead I’ll highlight one key point that I got from each presentation that day.

YouTube –> 25% of YouTube views are on mobile!

Instagram & Pinterest –> Interact if you want people to interact with you

Google+ –> Use hashtags at the ends of your posts

Business and Blogging –> Your disclosure needs to travel with the post

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what I learned at Bloggy Boot Camp. I have 8 long pages of notes that go much more in depth with everything that they taught us that day. From 9am to 5pm, we were provided some of the best information that is out there for bloggers in our niche. It was wonderful.

Other Awesome Stuff

After all was said and done, Mirassou sponsored a wine tasting with some tasty hors d’ oeuvres. So yummy!! They also had a little photo booth set up where we got some awesome photos. Here are some fun ones:

bloggy boot camp photo booth

Sheila and I – Sheila runs a bunch of awesome websites, but my favorite is LivingSmartGirl.com… Be sure to check it out :)

And another fun photo:

bloggy boot camp minneapolis

Myself with a good blogger friend of mine, Jamie from Toysinthedryer.com

 After I got home, my husband asked me to tell him a few things that I learned. I looked at him and said, I don’t think I can even think about my blog for another year! I’d worn out my ‘thinker’ from all the tips, tricks and updates that I thought about all day long. Don’t worry though, after about a day, I was pumped to start implementing all the things that I had learned. Now I’ve been avidly working on my site almost every single day since the conference. It was definitely worth my time, worth the money, and worth the drive.

So, hopefully you’ll be seeing a good change in pace on my site and I start to tweak things here and there. I want to focus more now on sharing great content with you guys, along with personal stories and new things in my life. I hope you’ll stick around to see me through :)

Well that is all for right now. I just want to thank you guys, you there, who is reading this, for stopping by and checking out my site. I’m so thankful that after almost 3 years, I’m still here, blogging away :) So thank you for the support and thanks for being awesome!

Until next time.

Hearts,
Sarah

This Everyday Life: What’s New!

My oh my, I feel like it’s been ages since I wrote a post just about my life in general. Hubby and I have had a lot going on lately and it’s been tough to sit down and just write. But here I am, and I’m excited just to recap the last few months.

Wicked at the Orpheum

wickedFirst off, I’ll start with last night since it’s so fresh in my mind. I went to see Wicked at the Orpheum with my mom, sisters and brother-in-law. It was soooo good. I really didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t really know the storyline, but I love musicals and this was a wonderful one.

I was so impressed with the actors and actresses and how amazing of singers and performers they were. The play flew by, and it was really fun. They even let you bring in snacks and drinks into the theater which is a new one for me! It was a great time, and I would recommend going if you have the chance. They are still in town for another week, so check it out!

New Book: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

wedding night sophie kinsellaAh yes, my absolute favorite author, Sophie Kinsella, has written another book called Wedding Night (it’s her newest novel) and I, of course, snagged it and have been reading it since last week. I’m almost done. I am just in love with her writing, she’s my favorite. If you haven’t read anything from her before, I’d highly recommend reading her Shopaholic series and then progress from there. Yes, that is the book that inspired the movie, which was also wonderful, though I still liked the book better.

I’m a Goodwill Blog Writer!

goodwill

I have recently been asked to help write some content for the Goodwill blog, which they have just redone and launched. So far it has been a blast! I love coming up with new crafts and ideas, and it’s always fun to go thrift shopping for items to upcycle for your home.

Go check out the Goodwill Blog to see some of my craft ideas. They are still adding them to the mix, so if you don’t see them right now, check back again later. But of course, there’s some great stuff on there currently so it’s a win-win either way for you!

I’m Freelance Writing

Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a journalist. My dream job was to work at a fashion magazine and write my own column. Maybe someday… but I decided there’s only one way to get there; write! So I’ve started freelance writing for a few different places and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and dare I say it, I think I’m pretty good at it! :) It’s fun to take that first step towards something you have always wanted to do, it makes me smile! I guess this is the part where I say, if you know someone (or if you personally are someone) who needs a writer for anything fashion, beauty, shopping, saving money or anything of those sorts, you know where to find me! (realhousewivesofmn@gmail.com)! Was that a shameless plug? Yes. Yes it was.

Bloggy Boot Camp Minneapolis

BloggyBootCamp

I am so excited for this Saturday, I’ll be attending my first Bloggy Boot Camp (put on by the SITS Girls). It’s a conference for bloggers like myself who want to learn and take their website to the next level. I can’t wait to meet fellow bloggers and learn lots of good stuff to make my blog better! :) I’ll let you know how it goes!

Well that is all for now!! I know, lots going on over here. If you’ll be attending BBC or have anything to add to this post, please leave a comment!! :)

Hearts,
Sarah

Breaking the Stereotypes

Image by Lin Pernille PhotographyWhen people first meet me, they usually try to segment me one way or another. I’ve heard things varying from, “Oh, you’re so quiet! Are you shy?” to “You are so outgoing, I love it!” How do those things even match up? Why do we have to be one thing or another?

Let’s go into this further, shall we?

People after they get to know me will say, “You are so not what I expected” or something to the extent of that. They have often said at first, “I don’t know what to think of you!” and when I ask what that means (because honestly, what is that supposed to mean??), they say that they just don’t know how to categorize me… Whaaaat? Why do we need to categorize people? Very rarely have I met someone and they fit a stereotype to the exact description. And why do they have to? They don’t. But it makes life easier for us to stereotype people or judge them just by looking at them.

Many times have I thought something about someone when I first looked at them, and they turned out to be something completely different. So hey, I’m guilty too! But when you stereotype someone, you don’t give them a chance to show you who they really are.

Study Kids

Image by woodleywonderworks on FlickrPut ten kids into a classroom with a few toys and leave them be. They all start to talk and work together amongst themselves with the toys and play together.

They’re too young to judge or know stereotypes. They just go about their ways and find common interests. Let’s picture that with adults.

Study Adults

Put ten adults into a classroom with a few toys and they won’t move. They’ll look around and create ideas of the other people in the room. They might say something to their neighbor about what’s going on, why they’re there, but probably not.

Follow Up Lesson

What’s the difference between the kids and adults? It’s plain to see that we learn as we grow to judge people. We look at what they’re wearing, what their hair looks like, what their face looks like, how they act. Then we choose what stereotype they best fit. We best categorize ourselves, and then we talk to those who we think are most like us. Bam. True story!

Who Cares?!

Why am I doing this post? Mostly because I’m so tired of being judged as one thing or another. Why can’t I be everything that I am and not have to be grouped into one stereotype or another? I fight with this battle as a blogger because I want to be so many things to you guys, but I don’t want to confuse you. “Oh I thought she was a MOM blogger, but she like doesn’t even have kids!” Yeah, I’m aware. “Then how does she even know what kids like?” Really? I have to be a mom to know what kids like or how they think? I don’t have any nieces or nephews, neighbors, or youth that I mentor? Why do I have to be a mom to be able to write about kids? That’s just stupid.

“All she wears when I see her is yoga pants and baggy tops. She knows nothing about fashion.” Really? You’re right, a person can’t ever get out of jeans and bedazzled tops or else they are not stylish. I can’t imagine what Rachel Zoe wears to bed if this is the case.

Anyways, I’m getting carried away. The main point is, try to be less judgmental. Am I saying to stop stereotyping and just befriend everyone? No. I’m not. If you see a man running at you in a black ski mask and his hand in his front coat pocket, you have my permission to stereotype him as a crazy man and get your pepperspray ready.

What I am saying, is that just because you think someone might be one thing, give them a chance to show you whether you are right or wrong. Doesn’t that sound easy enough? Then why don’t we do it?

Food for thought.

Hearts,
Sarah