Friday, November 30, 2012

PREVIEW: Minted Holiday Cards

Are you among those folks still searching for the right place to order your holiday cards?  Let me introduce you to minted.com

"Our purpose in life is to uncover exceptional design from all over the world and bring this to savvy consumers who won't accept anything else." - minted

 
minted has several beautiful holiday card layouts for you to drop your photos into!  They even have postcards that you can personalize, but what I love most about their endless options is the ability to choose a shape for your card.  Yes, that's right... I said shape and I don't mean simple rounded corners.  Some of the templates I looked at had the option to be die-cut in seven different shapes!  On top of that, you can choose to have flat or folded cards.  You can even choose from several different paper types.  Talk about a very unique - and high end - holiday card!  Yours will be the cards everyone is talking about this year!

Paw Print Holiday Photo Cards

If you hop on over to the minted website now, you'll even notice they are offering a  discount of 10 - 15% off plus free 3 day shipping on all holiday cards

Take a peak at minted.com and I'm sure you'll be smiling from ear to ear as you browse their whimsical, funny, enchanting, modern and rustic designs.  There is literally something for everyone's style and with so many customizable options available, there's sure to be a perfect fit for your holiday card needs!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by minted.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: ReUsies

ReUsies

Where to Find: ReUsies.com


ReUsies2

OK, I'm sure you're all shaking your head and saying, What are ReUsies?   
 
ReUsies are a re-usable alternative to snack and sandwich baggies. Each one has the potential to keep hundreds of plastic bags out of our landfills.

ReUsies are 100% cotton, lined with leak-resistant nylon and are secured with hook and loop closures.

Pack It, Snack It, ReUse It...
ReUsies3

I was very excited about the opportunity to review ReUsies!  In a time when everyone is trying to go green and save money, ReUsies are just what we need!  Whether you're packing lunches for school or work, snacks for the road, or just trying to work on your portion control, you're always reaching for those plastic bags, aren't you?  Not only do those plastic baggies add up in spending dollars (something I'm very mindful of this year), they wind up in landfills for years to come.  Enter ReUsies...

ReUsies are available in two sizes, Snack (approx. 6" wide x 5" high) and Sandwich (approx. 7.5" wide x 6" high), and in loads of fahsionable colors and prints.  Yes -- you can even make snacking stylish!  Unlike disposable plastic baggies, ReUsies can be used over and over again!  They are even easy to clean!  You can toss them in your washer and dryer or dishwasher, however for longest life the company suggests simply wiping them clean with a sponge and air drying. 

As mentioned above, ReUsies are 100% cotton and lined with leak-resistant nylon.  They are free of BPA and phthalates, are CPSIA compliant and meet FDA standards for food safety.  The hook and loop closures make ReUsies kid friendly and ensure that your food won't fall out! 

I absolutely love my ReUsies!  In an effort to save, I now buy snacks in bulk as opposed to the more convenient - and costly - "grab and go" sizes.  As a result, we're always packing little baggies of chips, pretzels, Swedish Fish (my fave!), nuts and other snacks.  I can't even begin to tell you how many plastic bags we went through traveling to race tracks all summer long.  I had begun to use reusable plastic containers when possible, or even take along an entire large bag of chips... but that isn't always the easiest to deal with (or pack) at the race track.  I knew there had to be a better way... and now I can not wait for race season to start again in the Spring so I can use my ReUsies (yes, yes... I will be using them for lunches and other road trips over the winter).  They are perfect... in fact, I just might have to go order another set in our racing team colors! 

ReUsiesMake someones holiday a little brighter with a gift of ReUsies this year!  The 2-packs, which consist of one snack and one sandwich size, make a perfect gift for nearly anyone on your list, young or old!  Individual bags and 4-packs are also available.  Learn more about ReUsies on their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter



GIVEAWAY!  The great folks at ReUsies are allowing me to give away a 2-pack (a matching set of one snack and one sandwich size) in the the winner's choice of color/pattern!  To enter:

~ Follow Lapdog Creations publicly (see "Followers" on the side bar)

~ Visit ReUsies.com, then come back here and leave a comment below telling us which prints you like best and why.

To be eligible to win, you must complete both steps above. Please be sure your entry includes a way to contact you (i.e. link to your blog or include your email address)

You can get extra entries by sending your friends here to enter (be sure to have them mention your name).... blog, Tweet, Facebook and text away!
Winner will be selected by random number generator.
Deadline for entries is Sunday, December 2nd at 11:59pm EST (midnight)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

'Tis The Season... TSO Style!

Happy Tuesday!  Has everyone recovered from their turkey coma by now?  Did you get your shopping on with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday?  Better yet, are you now in full swing for all things holiday?!?! 

Untitled
 
We have been going to see Trans Siberian Orchestra for several years now, and as of late it seems our show falls on/right around Thanksgiving weekend.  2012 was no exception, as we spent Saturday night witnessing yet another amazing show!

Untitled

This year's tour was a brand new show, as the band is performing the entire The Lost Christmas Eve album.  This meant they brought back some of my most favorite songs that have fallen out of the shows rotation over the past few years... including What Is Christmas and Christmas Nights In Blue...

Untitled
Rob Evans belting out What Is Christmas

Untitled
James Lewis taking charge with Christmas Nights in Blue

My fellow TSO fans know that many of these musicians have been in the rock music world for years.  It's always great seeing them on stage again...

Untitled
Jeff Plate & Chris Caffery

Untitled
Dave Z & Chris (Jeff in the background)

If TSO is coming to a town near you and you have never had the pleasure of experiencing one of their shows, GO!!!! You won't be disappointed!

Untitled

Untitled

Seriously folks, you have to check out a TSO show live...

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

It was yet another impressive TSO show... and yes, I wish I could go see it again!

Untitled

Untitled

Monday, November 26, 2012

REVIEW: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Chicken Jerky

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Chicken Jerky

Where to Find: Chewy.com


46946,1352848396$320x384$

Our friends over at Chewy.com recently asked if we'd like to try Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Chicken Jerky.  Of course we said yes!  After all, the Lapdogs love chicken jerky, however I haven't bought any for them in years. 

Now, I'm sure many of you have the same ban in your house that I do in mine -- no treats from China!  When the issues started with chicken jerky treats from China, I was absolutely appalled to discover that even our favorite "top of the line" brand was made over there.  After all, it was a high end, name brand...   It really left a sour feeling in my stomach. 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Chicken Jerky is made in the USA.  You know what that means, don't you?  I let out a loud WOOT and all 4 Lapdogs let out a joyous howl... they can finally eat chicken jerky again!  And not only is it US-made, it's all natural, grain fee and a healthy treat that I can truly feel good about giving to my dogs!  Blue Buffalo believes in not only treating our pets like family, but in feeding them like family as well (amen).  As with all of their natural pet foods, real meat is the first ingredient.  In fact, the Chicken Jerky consists of just 3 simple ingredients; chicken, dried cane molasses and salt.  There are no grains, corn, wheat, soy or chicken byproducts. 

The Lapdogs have given Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Chicken Jerky their Official 16 Paws Up Seal of Approval!  In fact, they are so excited to be able to eat chicken jerky again, they couldn't wait to wag all about it to all of their doggy friends out there.  They hope all of you that can eat chicken (we know a few of our furry friends are allergic) will be lucky enough to get a bag in their Christmas stocking this year. 

To help the humans out with stuffing those stockings this year, we wanted to also bark all about the amazing Cyber Monday Savings going on over at Chewy.com today!  Chewy and his friends are offering as much as 50% off on everything except for food -- that means 3,000 products are marked down for your shopping pleasure today!  Grab a bag of chicken jerky, as well as all of your pack's other favorites!  Happy Shopping... we'll certainly be doing some of our own online today as well!

Disclosure: Chewy.com sent a bag of Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Chicken Jerky to Lapdog Creations, free of charge for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Shopping...

... from your couch!  It's the best kind out there!  Here are a few of my favorite links to get you started...











Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks...

From the Lapdog Household to Yours...
Wishing Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

4dogs_101312h
 
Gobble, Gobble!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday Starring Lambchop

Is it really time for another Wordless Wednesday already?  We have a new house guest this week... her name is Lambchop and she's a 4 month old, nearly 30 pound cutie pie with a million dollar smile!

Latest #foster #puppy Lambchop has arrived! #dogs #adoptdontshop #rescue #fosterdog #happydog #dogstagram #love #hound #mutt

Untitled

Good Morning! #foster #puppy Lambchop #dogs #happydog #fosterdog #adoptdontshop #rescue #saintbernardmix #mutt #hound

Little Lambchop absolutely loves Zeus!

Lazy Sunday Morning #dogs #hound #mutt #rescue #adoptdontshop #happydog #dogstagram

Untitled

Lazy Lola #dogs #dobermanmix #dobiemix #rescue #adoptdontshop

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Thankful Edition

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is a popular one this week, 10 Things For Which I Am Thankful...
DSC_0474

1. Matt... see honey, you really do come before the dogs. :)


4dogs_101312c




2. Our furkids... Their unconditional love is unmatched.



Parents_AppleOrchard_91612c



3. My immediate and extended family... Although we have disagreements, we are family and life is simply too short to hold a grudge.  That really hit home with the recent passing of my Aunt/Godmother.

4. Friends who encourage and support me... I can't thank them enough for listening to me, giving me good advice when I need it ("You can't reason with unreasonable people." - TS), and just being there. 

Sophie & I, watching #pats & #knitting xmas gifts. #hound #mutt #dogs #paw #dogstagram #rescue #knit #yarn #patsnation #adoptdontshop #lazy #football #sunday #happy5. Knitting... It keeps me sane in an insane world.  Sometimes repetitive stockinette stitch - and a glass of wine - is just what the doctor ordered.  Not to mention it's something I can share with my Mom and my Mom-Sue, as well as many great friends!

6. Photography... Whether I'm snapping away with my phone, point and shoot or Nikon, I just love taking photos.  Bonus thanks for the birth of Instagram!

Untitled
7. Our foster family... It is not easy to foster pups, but the joy in knowing you've helped to save a life means so much.  While our hearts may ache each time we pass one on to their forever family, it's a small (selfish) price to pay.  We have a new foster baby this week, Lambchop, who was saved from a kill shelter along with her brother and sister.  If the rescue hadn't stepped in when they did, these beautiful pups would have died without ever knowing what it's like to be loved and part of a family.  Bonus thanks for for the updates, photos and videos that our foster families send to us, as well as for those fun doggy play dates we get to have with some of them!  It's truly amazing to see our extended furry family grow up!

8. Blogging... I love blogging and I love reviewing products, and I'm super thankful for people like you who actually care to read what I write!

9. Learning the art of a budget... I've been out of work for much of 2012 and never has a budget played such an important role in my life.  I've truly learned the difference between want and need and I've learned I can live without a lot of the frills.

10. Not being hungry... Although I've been out of work, we are able to function and have food on our table, something that so many others aren't so fortunate enough to have this year.  

A little side note... check out my post yesterday about Treat and send a free personalized card to a special someone.  Just hurry... the code is only good through the end of the day today.  These cards are fun to create and very special to receive in the mail!

Monday, November 19, 2012

GIVEAWAY WINNER! Shutterfly

tripleThank you to everyone who entered to win the Shutterfly $50 gift card! the winner has been randomly selected by Rafflecopter...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations to Olivia R!  We can't wait to hear all about the great stuff you are going to create at Shutterfly!

Stay tuned for more fabulous reviews and giveaways coming soon!

Create a FREE Treat Card!

Treat

Where to Find: Treat



Your holiday checklist just got shorter. Create and send a totally personalized greeting card from Treat for FREE. Whether saying thanks for Thanksgiving, wishing a best friend a birthday, or simply sharing the holiday cheer with a just because card, Treat lets you create a one-of-a-kind card that is sure to impress.
 
Treat is Shutterfly’s exciting new greeting card brand that makes it easy for people to create and send one-of-a-kind greeting cards. It’s crazy fun. It’s super easy. And it’s totally personal.... and best of all, it's totally free to try! That's right, head on over to www.treat.com now, create a card and use the code TREATBLOGR for one free Treat card.  But hurry, this offer is only good today and tomorrow, November 19 & 20!
 
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Treat/Shutterfly.
 

Friday, November 16, 2012

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Kmart Gift Card

Thank you to everyone who entered to win the Kmart Gift Card! the winner has been randomly selected by Rafflecopter...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations Sue B!  Happy Kmart shopping!!! 

Thank you again to everyone who entered... be sure to check out the $50 Shutterfly Gift Card giveaway currently going on and stay tuned for some more great reviews and giveaways coming soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

REVIEW: What's a Dog For?

What's a Dog For?

The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man's Best Friend

by John Homans
Hardcover: 272 Pages
Publisher: The Penguin Press (November 12, 2012)

166604275

More than your typical memoir, What's a Dog For? is a well written history of the ever-evolving bond between humans and dogs. 

What's a Dog For? was inspired by the author's adopted lab mix, Stella.  Living in New York City where his neighbors dressed their pooches in expensive clothing, threw them lavish birthday parties and shelled out thousands of dollars for medical treatments, John Homans was determined to avoid the trend.  After all, he had fond memories of his very own childhood dog who ran around unleashed, enjoyed the backyard and slept outside.  She was a companion, but not a family member.   

After Homans adopted Stella from a local shelter for his son, things quickly changed.  He soon found himself not only treating her like a member of the family, but questioning her diet and exercise plan, and trying to analyze her emotions.  This sparked Homans' curiosity about the relationship between dogs and their owners... and What's a Dog For? was born.

The following is an excerpt from What's a Dog For?...

Chapter 1: ENTERING THE WORLD OF DOG

Stella’s world is in turmoil—not that you’d know it by looking at her. She’s on her spot on the rug, looking at me, waiting for the next thing, as usual. A couple milk bones that I gave her earlier are arrayed in front of her. She took them somewhat reluctantly, knowing I had steak in the refrigerator—sometimes she refuses such offerings altogether, turning her head away in what I imagine is disdain.

All seems placid, a dog on a rug, but beneath this tranquil scene, large forces are at work, and Stella, I’ve been learning, is at the center of them. The very definition of who she is, what goes on in her head, how she should be treated, and what rights she might deserve have been shifting rapidly. Today the dog world is in the throes of political and ideological convulsions of a kind not seen since Victorian times, when the dog as we know it was invented. Put simply, the dog is now in the process of being reimagined.

I wasn’t aware of any of this when she arrived in our home. Stella was, to begin with, just a dog—although in many quarters these days, “just a dog” are fighting words. She came into my life for the usual reasons. My wife, Angela, and I had an acute sense of time passing. Our son, Charlie, was about to turn ten, hurtling toward teenage-hood and then God knew where. We’d had a dog when he was born, a West Highland terrier named Scout, a proud ridiculous creature who’d tried not to let on just how upset he was when this squalling interloper and rival for our affections arrive. But Scout was old—thirteen at that point—and was dead before Charlie’s first birthday. If Charlie was ever to have a childhood dog, it was now or never.

The dog we planned to get was, like most things we wanted for him, as much for us. We wanted another family member, someone to fill out the cast, a supporting actress. And while our son would one day inevitably spin out of our little nucleus, we could count on the dog to stay. After dropping Charlie off at college, our dog would, in all likelihood, come back in the station wagon with us—a reassuring thought. It was all pretty simple.

Stella was going to be a New York City dog, and in this she would be joining a large and growing population. Our downtown street is a nonstop dog parade, part of the urban scenery along with New York University students and hipsters and men at the garage on the corner and the guy in the grungy gray coat and taped-up sneakers who shouts “Zirzu!” at the traffic passing on Bowery with an emphatic, not-unhappy certainty.

In the dog parade were dogs from all walks of life: a pair of glossy brown-and-gray Great Danes as big as ponies; a gorgeous orange chow, as cheerful a dog as you could find despite the fact that she had three legs, always accompanied by a little Maltese wingman; and a thirteen year-old German shepherd mix who made her circuit with impossibly dignified slowness, still sniffing at all her favorite spots. On the next street over, in front of the most glamorous building in the neighborhood, we sometimes ran into a pair of yellow Labs that spend weekends at their owners’ spread in Montana, then returned to the city for their work week—a dog’s life. Some dogs were walked with orange smocks that read “Adopt Me.” There were plenty of pits, some from a little dog rescue place on Fourth Street, others from Alphabet City to the east, where the pit could serve as the neighborhood emblem, much as the bulldog does for England. And there were a good number of dogs that looked a lot like Stella, Lab mixes, many whippier than Labs, with white blazes on their chests and white toes.

It was not my imagination that the parade was getting ever more crowded. Something has been happening with dogs in the last couple of decades. New York, along with just about every other city in the Western world, is overrun with them. There were some 77 million dogs in the United States in 2010, compared with about 53 million in 1996. Pet food and products were a $38 billion industry in 2010. At the Greenmarket one afternoon, I bought some lamb chops from a woman who told me wonderful stories about the intelligence of her border collies, their foresight and uncanny responsiveness. There were qualities I wanted to believe my own dog possessed, if only I’d take the time to develop them—but I couldn’t see how Stella would use such qualities in her mostly urban world, even if she had them, which I sometimes questioned.

But the numbers tell only part of the evolving story. Dogs have been moving into households in ever more intimate arrangements. Close to a hundred percent of dog owners talk to their dogs (and the few who say they don’t must be lying). Eighty-one percent view their dogs as family members, according to one study. And many of these family members, I began to notice, were sleeping right in the bed, a privilege Stella didn’t get and, at any rate, didn’t seem to want—she prefers a floor based lifestyle. But she gets plenty of human privileges, starting with her diet, which features leftovers—sometimes, I’m sorry to say, straight from the table. A shockingly high number of people say that in life-threatening situations they would save their pets before they would save a fellow human. I hope I know what I’d do if facing that choice, but I’m glad I’m not likely to be put to the test.

Because immediately, Stella was a family member. We couldn’t deny it. All of us spent a lot of time walking her, talking to her, analyzing and reanalyzing her quirks, her combustible mix of fear and excitement in the dog run, her dislike of the car, her abject terror of thunder, her varied and exuberant vocabulary. We worried about how she would spend the weekend if we weren’t with her. We imaged what her concerns might be and tried to accommodate them.


Excerpted from WHAT'S A DOG FOR? by John Homans. Reprinted by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright (c) John Homans, 2012.

About the Author: John Homans has been the executive editor of New York magazine since 1994, and previously worked at Esquire, Details, Harper's, and the New York Observer.  He lives with his wife, son and dog Stella in Manhattan.  What's a Dog For? is his first book.

Disclaimer: The Penguin Press sent Lapdog Creations a complimentary copy of What's a Dog For? for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed in the review are my own.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Notice Anything?

Happy Wordless Wednesday! **If you only stop by for WW, be sure to check yesterday's post for the $50 Shutterfly giveaway we're doing!**

This is what happens once we put the flannel sheets on the bed... Zeus unmakes it and climbs in! #dogs #bigdog #happydog #fall

First #snow fall last night... Now #freezing #rain  #ugh #driveway #newhampshire

Making lemon honey tea base for the first time. #tea #honey #homemade #winter #teabase #diy #masonjars #lemon #cozy #cold

#llbean #waterfall #christmas #maine #water

It's a Good Morning in the USA #coffee #morning #dogs #allmychildrenhavepaws #adoptdontshop #rescue

More of the awesome #Target #knit theme bathroom #christmas stuff! #holidays #knitting #knitstagram #happy

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies for #racing banquet tomorrow #peanutbutter #brownies #yumo

Lambchop