Friday, July 15, 2011

Welcome to the Summer Block Party!

Happy Summer! I hope that you and your loved ones have been making the most of this wonderful time of year, enjoying the extra day light and (hopefully) a vacation or two. As some of you know, my family and I are packing and preparing to move into a new house next week, so this has definitely been a unique and overwhelming summer for us so far.

Since this can be a pretty quiet time of year here in the blogosphere, some fellow bloggers and I are celebrating summer by throwing a virtual block party! Parties are always fun with gifts (especially when they are free), so we decided to have a giveaway with lots of prizes and lots of chances to enter. I am so excited to be co-hosting my first giveaway here on One of a Kind Reviews! I teamed up with five other bloggers and AboutOne (you can read my review about their web service here) to bring you:

So pull up a lounge chair, grab an icy cold one and join our block party!


5 winners: will receive a one year subscription to AboutOne
1 winner: $25 Gift Card to complements of AboutOne
1 winner: awesome custom blog bling button from Plaid House Designs
1 winner: one dozen delicious cookies from Frank's Big Ones Bakery 
1 winner: adorable custom embroidered birthday shirt from Little Star Shop
1 winner: beautiful custom necklace from I'm Not THAT Pregnant

Please Note: This giveaway is open to US residents only and you must provide a valid e-mail address.


• MANDATORY ENTRY: Check out AboutOne's site and leave a comment telling me what feature looks the most interesting to you. Note: You can only get credit for this entry on one of the six Summer Block Party Neighbor Blogs.

• Follow me in one of three ways: follow me on Google Friend Connect (see the right side bars of both of my blogs) or subscribe to my feed for my review blog One of a Kind Reviews, my main blog Four of a Kind and/or my follow Twitter account @FourofaKind2009 and leave a comment to that effect. Note: Though I would love for you to follow both of my blogs and my Twitter account, I can only give you one "bonus entry" here, regardless of which/how many you choose to follow.

• Check out my main blog Four of a Kind. Read one or more blog entries there and choose one to comment on. Then come back here and leave a comment with a link to the blog entry that you chose and tell me why that one caught your attention to read/comment on. Note: I would love for you to read and comment on as many of my blog entries as you like, but I can only give you credit for doing so one time here.

• Sign up for AboutOne's totally free trial by clicking here and leave two comments letting me know you signed up (the two comments will make it easier for us administratively at the end of this giveaway). Note: You can only get credit for this entry on one of the six Summer Block Party Neighbor Blogs.

Now let's get this party started!! After you enter as many times as you are eligible/choose to here on my blog, you can go visit one (or all) of my neighbors co-hosting this block party for more chances to win one of these fabulous prizes (you can click on the blog buttons below to go directly to the other Summer Block Party Neighbor Blogs):

Are You Listening?Dragondreamer’s Liar

I’m Not THAT PregnantHere We Go Again

One of a Kind ReviewsThe Smartness

There are TEN more ways to enter! Check out one or more of the other Summer Block Party Neighbor Blogs and find out how!

This giveaway ends on Sunday, July 31, so be sure to party hop to and from as many of the other blogs co-hosting this event with AboutOne between now and then to increase your chances of winning!

Good luck, have fun and I hope you enjoy getting to know all the wonderful ways you can use AboutOne to organize your life and family, as I have been finding out this summer!

Disclaimer: This contest is sponsored by AboutOne and the participating bloggers. All participating bloggers were given a free one year service but all opinions in their posts are their own. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BlogHer Book Club: The Beach Trees

I am very excited to share that my first BlogHer Book Club Review for The Beach Trees by Karen White has been posted on BlogHer today! Here is a little preview of what I thought about the book:

Have you lost a loved one? I believe that those who have will really be able to connect with and find solace in The Beach Trees by Karen White. As a bereaved mother I could appreciate and relate to how the author described the main character Julie's experience of grief and loss, especially some of the physical ways we respond and feel when a loved one dies or you lose contact with them.

Please click here to read my full review on BlogHer and feel free to share what you think over there in the comment section. Thank you! 

Note: This is a cross post with my main blog Four of a Kind, as I know that some of you who follow this review blog, may not also follow me over there and I thought you might be interested in reading what I thought about this book.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

AboutOne: Helping You Manage What Matters Most

Welcome to my very first review here on One of a Kind Reviews!

Thank you to those of you that have come over from and have been following me over the years (or more recently) on my main blog Four of a Kind!

If you are here for the first time, I have been blogging regularly for over four years now about parenting, secondary infertility and loss at my main blog Four of a Kind (formerly Three of a kind working on a full house...).

I recently have gotten more involved in the blogosphere, beyond my own little corner of it at Four of a Kind, including joining the team at Exhale Magazine as the PR person (doing most of the Facebooking and Tweeting) and as a regular contributor to the quarterly issues (our Summer Issue will be out later this month), as well as the BlogHer Publishing NetworkBlogHer Book Club as a Reviewer (my first book review will be posted on BlogHer next week) and BlogHer Reviewers Program (a component of the BlogHer Publishing Network). In doing so, I decided that it made sense to start a separate blog for me to be able to share my thoughts and opinions about products and services that you might also be interested in learning more about. From time to time I may also have the opportunity to do some "giveaways" and pass some product and service discounts that I am able to receive as a reviewer on to you, as my readers.

Today I am excited to tell you about a new web service that I have been using lately and share a way for you to check it out and try it too! A friend of mine recently started working for a company called AboutOne that has created a really interesting and unique website for busy moms, parents and families to organize their lives in one central location online. As an avid computer and smart phone user, that seemed like a technology and service that would be right up my alley!

I love one of AboutOne's tag lines "helping you manage what matters most," which I included in the title of this post, as I think it really captures what they have to offer you through their service. This is how they describe themselves on their Twitter and Facebook pages:

AboutOne makes managing family memories & household information fast, fun, and easy – while saving time and money, and helping you make informed decisions.

AboutOne is a secure web service that helps busy families manage what matters most: family memories and household information. Customers enter pieces of information as life happens, from any location, with any device, at any time.

AboutOne is a practical online service that was designed by moms for moms (and dads too) to help manage household information and special memories in a fun way.

I recently had the opportunity to get a free year long trial membership to AboutOne and have really enjoyed my experience exploring and using this service so far. Since they are still developing AboutOne to reach its full potential and meet the needs and desires of its customers, they welcome and encourage users to to give feedback and suggestions. I have been very impressed with their customer support service. They are timely and thorough in their replies.

Right off the bat when I was getting started entering information about my life and my family on AboutOne, I realized that they didn't have an option for indicating if one of your family members is deceased. As a bereaved mother, I wanted to be able to include our infant daughter Molly who was born and died in April 2008. I also imagined that there would be other AboutOne users that would want to be able to record the deaths of their immediate family members if sadly that was also a reality in their life. I submitted this feedback to their support team and was very impressed with the response I got. From what I understand they will be rolling out a new version, with updates, including this suggestion that I (and apparently other users made) later this year in September!

I look forward to using AboutOne more in the days and months to come, especially in light of our upcoming move to a new home in our neighborhood. I love the way we will be able to use AboutOne to keep track of important details and even documents related to this huge milestone in our life and family!

Now I have something exciting to share with and offer you, as my readers! You are invited try AboutOne out for yourselves for free and if you like it as much or more than I do at the end of your free trial, you can use this discount code FOURKIND714 to get 25% off your membership! The discount code expires on 8/31, so the sooner you get started, the sooner you can take advantage of and enjoy your free trial! Click here to get going with AboutOne.

As I mentioned earlier, AboutOne is on Facebook and on Twitter! Check out their pages and "like" or "follow" them to learn more about what they have to offer.

If I haven't already convinced you to try AboutOne, or even if I have, check out the cute and informative YouTube video below that explains the service really well. I showed it to my husband Bob for the first time this morning on my iPhone, while we were waiting for his train to arrive, and he was very impressed. As the Assistant Controller for a big law firm here in Chicago and the money/budgeting point person in our marriage, he is really interested in how AboutOne will be able to help us manage our finances and organize important documents in one central location, while minimizing the amount of hard copy paperwork we need to hold onto. So I also look forward to exploring AboutOne more with Bob, as well as getting his feedback.

Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think about this new service and my first review here on  One of a Kind Reviews. If you decide to use the free trial for AboutOne, please come back here and let me know what you think. I am interested to hear about your own experience using AboutOne and compare notes! For those that might be interested, AboutOne is also currently recruiting writers for their Contributing Blogger Program. I am considering applying to participate myself and thought that it might be something that you might also want to check out.

Finally, I just found out that AboutOne wants to give five of you, as my readers, a year of free service! So I will be running my first "giveaway" here on One of a Kind Reviews next week. Stay tuned to find out how to enter for a chance to win a year of free service with AboutOne