Comfort – Full Circle

Sealy Says Thanks

True Confessions:  This serendipitous relationship occurred out of the blue in late March. I received an email with the subject line of “Sealy Says Thanks!” Sealy’s Posturepedic Hybrid Series is all about comfort and support, and they wanted to thank me for the comfort and support I was offering through my work here at Sweet Phenomena by offering a mattress: I was floored, and I cried.

The purpose of this post is two-fold: to share a personal story of comfort and support with you and to share my experience with the new mattress. I think you’ll like both. This is written in my own words and contains my opinions, of which there is never a shortage. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent. Not really…

Sealy Says Thanks

I couldn’t be here, doing this fabulous work, without the help of my husband, Vince.

He is the ultimate in comfort and support. He lets me dream big, which is what I do, and he supports me in it.

He may not always understand it, he may not always think it’ll work, but if I am passionate about it and it’s not going to hurt us or anyone else, he helps me make it happen.

He’s my sounding board. He’s my tear-wiper when I’m having a meltdown {but, of course, those don’t happen often}. He’s my financier.

I’m strong-willed and that can’t be easy to deal with. Couple that with my passion to bring awareness to domestic violence and help parents raise girls that are confident, caring, and full of win, and I’m a fierce force to be reckoned with.

Vince knows how to let that force be unless it’s absolutely necessary to disturb it. That’s true comfort and support: knowing when to step back and knowing when to step in.

With his support, I’ve managed to keep Sweet Phenomena alive for almost three years and transform it into something I’m unbelievably excited about.

I’ve got some super-exciting things coming down the pipeline, and when you see them, I want you to remember that it’s all possible because of the unwavering support of my husband.

Now, About That Mattress…

I didn’t know it was possible to be this excited about a mattress.

Back story: We got married in 2001, and we bought a mattress. We were poor, and the mattress was part of a $300 set {boxspring and mattress}. That’s right, it was superior quality and sprinkled with unicorn tears.

Not.

But you know, it was a mattress, and it wasn’t bad.

But, “not bad” isn’t so great after 11 years. The mattress was getting old and so were we.

That not-so-fun old where you “feel” things when you wake up after a night’s sleep on a not-so-great mattress.

A good mattress was just too expensive; it was money we didn’t really have to spend.

I resigned myself to being with that mattress forever.

Then, I got that fateful email mentioned above. And yes, I really did cry.

I even made Vince read the email to see if it was for real.

The mattress was delivered a couple of weeks ago and oh my God people, it is so totally epic.

I’d been mattress shopping, so I had tried out memory foam mattresses. Sure, they were better than what we had, but they just didn’t feel right to me.  Too squishy. Not enough support.

That is my most favorite thing about this mattress: half foam/half titanium-alloy spring construction.

Comfort and support. It’s not a marketing ploy my friends, it’s for realz.

It’s also pretty.needed quality in a mattress? Not necessarily.

A nice-to-have if it’s available? You bet. Look at it up there, it’s SO pretty!!

And that pretty little section is functional: it’s the CoreSupport Center. It supports the heaviest part of my body. *wink*

I’m not fibbing friends: I wake up feeling SO much better. I don’t feel tired and groggy, I feel like I’ve been snugly hugged all night.

I don’t feel old. Hallelujah.

You can read all about the mattress on Sealy’s site. I would definitely, without a doubt, recommend this mattress.  It’s affordable and it beats the sheets off any other mattress I’ve tried.

I am forever grateful to Sealy and Jacqueline Jones for making this possible. It truly means so much to me.

The mattress is awesome, but even more importantly, it’s nice to know that others support my mission.

So send virtual high fives to Sealy, they’re total winners!!

You can find them on Facebook and YouTube.

Mattress image courtesy of Sealy.com

Sweet Critique: Rangoli: An Indian Art Activity Book

Rangoli Art | Sweet Phenomena

I love color and creativity, but I’m not really an artist.  I need books to “teach” art to Babydoll.

But I also believe that creativity isn’t something that can be taught, so I often like to give her a book like Rangoli: An Indian Art Activity Book and let her go to town.

About Rangoli

Rangoli is a type of artwork found in India.  Using colored powder, a design is made in front of a home or building as a way to celebrate and pray.

In the book, a dot grid is used to help with drawing the design.  I love this: there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing something pretty and vibrant and wanting to draw it yourself, but you can’t freehand it.

Babydoll was able to replicate all of the designs in the book thanks to the dot grids.

Culture and Color

Another aspect of the book I loved was the fact that Babydoll not only got to be creative, but she learned about Indian culture.

Making pretty stuff is well and good, but I wanted her to know the “why” behind rangoli.  This led to discussions about festivals in India and more.

Babydoll absolute loved this book.  When we received it, she immediately got started.  And didn’t stop for a couple of days while she finished the entire book.

She even went outside to try to replicate some of the designs on the driveway.  Me, being the stellar mother I am, forgot to take pictures of the artwork.

She did get a little frustrated because she tried to do it without the dots, but I thought it still looked really good.

We’re both girls, so we loved the designs in the book, but I appreciate that the author included more “masculine” designs as well, so this would be a great book for boys and girls.

Definitely check it out; use it as a just-for-fun book, or as a gateway into the Indian culture!

True Confessions:  I was provided with a copy of this book to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

Sweet Critique: Seventeen Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Beauty

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I am so not a girly girl.  I like pink, and I like glitter, and I like sparkly stuff, but I don’t wear makeup and I rarely do my hair.

My mother never really taught me how to do any of that.  And that’s not a dig at my mother; I never asked about any of it.

I just wasn’t interested.  So here I sit, at 31, without a clue as to how to do anything other than straighten my hair, put mascara and lip gloss on, and maybe throw a hairband in.

This is one of the reasons I agreed to review Seventeen Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Beauty.

The other?

If I can’t do it, how in the world will I ever teach my daughter how to do it?

Because really, I’m not anywhere near 17…

I like how the editors of Seventeen have broken down the components into hair, makeup, resources for care of skin, nails, etc.

Also a fave? The gratuitous use of pink throughout the book.

The makeup seemed a bit heavy-handed to me, but you have to take that with a grain of salt {points to the comment about my makeup usage above}.  There was quite a variety of looks, though, which I can imagine is a teenage girl’s dream.

The hair section really shined.  I think hairstyles are something that can apply to a wider audience, as far as age goes, and Babydoll has been tearing up that section of the book.  She enjoys playing around and doing the various hairstyles.

And then there are the sections that have practical information, like how to master the manicure.

Overall, I think this is a great guide to have around if you have teenage daughters.  If “celebrity” bothers you, the pictures of a variety of female celebrities {to illustrate certain looks} might be a bit bothersome to you, although it’s nothing excessive in my opinion.  I do totally heart the fact that Seventeen also included “real” girls, in all shapes, sizes, and hues.  Gold stars for them.

I definitely learned a ton from the guide, and feel much better about Babydoll entering the teen years.  I think the book will be well-worn from use…

True Confessions:  I was provided with a review copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

Sweet Critique: Alpha-Phonics

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In my quest to provide you with as many resources as possible, I’m reviewing yet another learn-to-read program.  While we don’t necessarily need this at this point in our homeschool, I’m sure many of you do.

Up today is Alpha-Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld.  This product is described as “A Primer for Beginning Readers.”  Those of you who are fond of phonics programs will love this one.

Designed for parents, this program provides 128 lessons that require little-to-no prep work.  By introducing vowel sounds one at a time, and the word families that result, each lesson builds on the next.

Extra bonus? Spelling and handwriting can be incorporated as well.

One of the things that struck me about this approach is that the lesson text is really large; something that would definitely catch the eyes of a little person, and wouldn’t seem so daunting.

The back of the book contains the parent handbook which is very straight-forward.  There really isn’t much to complicate this program.  It’s very direct and can be used in as little as ten minutes a day.

At only $35.95, I think it’s a great deal for any parent who is looking to help their child learn to read, supplement an existing program, or just build a better foundation.

I like that you can also purchase a CD with all the phonogram sounds.  You can make sure that you’re teaching your kids correctly!

Definitely give this a closer look if you’re in this stage of educating your child; it just might be the thing you’ve been looking for!

True Confessions:  I was provided with a review copy of this product.  All opinions are my own.

Sweet Critique: A Time Dog Review

Time Dog

I’d like you to bear with me.  Even if you think this post won’t be relevant to you, please, bear with me.

I have wanted to share this with you guys for a while; it’s something I think each and every one of you can use.

Have you ever had a moment {or five} where you think to yourself:

I need an assistant somethin’ fierce.

I bet you have. I have. Lots of us have.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a busy single lady, a mom with one or twelve kids, a stay-at-home dad, we’re all busy.

Many of us manage to get just about everything done, but there’s always that nagging feeling of the “more” that needs to be done.

What if I told you I knew of a service that could take a ton of that “more” off your shoulders, and do it in the most amazing awesomesauce manner man ever dreamed of?

You’d think I was crazy, yes?

I’m not.

Time Dog has created something truly amazing in a world filled with sub-par junk.

And their amazing is a double-whammy of stupendousness:  not only do they offer you a tremendously valuable service, but they give you unheard of customer service.

The Innovative Service

This was the part that drew me in:  “on-the-go service for personal daily tasks.”

None of us want to pawn off the fun stuff like eating ice cream or playing in the sprinklers.  Time Dog can’t have that.

What they can have, though, is the task of finding the best airfare for a trip you’ve got coming up.  Or the task of getting driving directions.  Or ordering dinner.  Or rescheduling an appointment.

The list goes on and on.

All of us have to-do lists.  Time Dog takes that to-do list and does it for you.

I’ve actually used the service, while I was writing my eBook {points to the right, where you can click and buy it…}.

I thought I was going to loose my mind, I had so much to do.  I didn’t have time to make phone calls or search for things on the internet.  I didn’t want to.

Enter Time Dog.

I bothered them so very much, I felt bad.  They never made me feel bad though.  What they did do was deliver better-than-expected results.

Instance #1:  If you’re a regular here, you know how much I love my dog, Winston.  Well Winston is terrified of the dark, and the car, and the thunder, and everything else.  I bought a Thunder Shirt for him, but it was the wrong size.  I needed to get it exchanged quickly, but didn’t have time to call our supplier.  Time Dog called and arranged the drop off.  All I had to do was show up.

Instance #2:  I needed a haircut.  Bad.  I didn’t have time to call and make the appointment.  Time Dog to the rescue.  Oh, but they didn’t just make the appointment.  No, no, no.  My lady was no longer at the salon I asked them to call {that’s how long it had been since I had my hair did}.

Did they give up? No.  They got the information for where my stylist was now, called the salon up {a couple of times might I add}, and scheduled my appointment for me.

They could have given up when she was no longer where I asked them to call.  They could have given up when my stylist didn’t return the call.  But they didn’t, and I got my haircut.

Instance #3:  Babydoll, like many girls her age, is in love with fashion.  She gets an {age-appropriate} fashion magazine and found a bathing suit in an issue that she just had to have.

It wasn’t on the designer’s website, and there were no stores near us.  Me, the person who can find anything online couldn’t find this suit.

I called Time Dog in to rescue me.  I had to launch my book and get to Reviewer’s Retreat.

I asked them to find the bathing suit for me in the Charlotte area.  They called the stores, there were no suits there.  They then called the designer to find out about getting the suit.

Time Dog found the one place online that sold the bathing suit, and also let me know that the only other way to get the suit was to order from the designer.

This all brings me to my next point…

Awesome Freaking Service

Lots of people could find stuff for you and shoot you an email to answer a question.  But that’s simply not good enough for them.

Their FAST {Family Service Team} members go above and beyond.  Every. Single. Time.

Sometimes you don’t have a special bathing suit or haircut need, you just have a normal everyday need.  They’ll still give something extra, whether that’s a nifty little fact you never knew {related to your request}, extra directions, extra choices, something.

Dude, I could literally go on and on about the times they exceeded my expectations.  This post is already pretty long though…

There are just no words to describe what an amazing thing they’ve got going.  Look at their first core value:

Give them a try, you can do so for free for 15 days, so what do you have to lose?  Nothing, that’s what.  Let them wow your socks off.

Just not sure if you could make use of it, but know someone who needs a break?  You can give them a gift, too.

Is your mind blown? Is your head spinning with the knowledge of this amazingness you never knew you could have?

Check out their FAQ section for even more information!

Oh, and you just HAVE to check this out too

What would you ask Time Dog to do for you?

True Confessions:  I learned about Time Dog at Blissdom this year.  I felt like I was going to tear my hair out when writing the eBook.  I decided to give Time Dog a try.  Then I was talking with the Time Dog guys and was asked if I’d like to mention their service.  I had planned on it anyway, so I said yes.  I feel that everyone needs know about this awesomeness.  So, I’m not being paid off to tell you guys this stuff, I *heart* the service!