Blockbuster’s Summer Escape Pass

July 30, 2009 by Mariana  
Filed under entertainment, reviews & giveaways

July is coming to a close. That means the kids that went to camp are starting to come home, and those that stuck around are bored. Maybe even bored enough to wish they were back in school… {gasp}

But summer’s still in full swing! To make it more affordable for families to fight the couch potato blues, Blockbuster has come out with a special summer promotion. Available for $10 a week, the Summer Escape Pass allows you to rent as many DVDs and video games as you’d like from your local participating Blockbuster store. The catch is you can only have one rental out at a time. Considering just a video game rental could cost you up to $8.99, this could potentially be a really good deal, especially if you live near a Blockbuster.

Blockbuster gave me a complimentary Summer Escape Pass to use for a week, and it couldn’t be easier to use! With this pass, you can choose from thousands of movies in the Blockbuster library – from classic family favorites to animated kids films to the hottest new releases. It’s also been a great way to try out new Wii games that I’ve been hesitant to rent, much less buy.

My only disappointed lies in the fact that my week just ended. :(

To get more information on how the Summer Escape Pass works, or to buy one of your very own, just visit your local Blockbuster. This promotion ends September 7th.


Salba - Nature’s most perfect whole food.

July 29, 2009 by Mariana  
Filed under Food, reviews & giveaways

Have you heard about Salba? Don’t worry. I had never heard of it either until I was given the opportunity to try several Salba Smart products. It’s a whole grain that’s touted to be nature’s perfect whole food.

So what is it exactly?

Grown exclusively in Peru, Salba is:

  • The trademarked name for the white seeds produced by a variety of Salvia Hispanica.
  • All-natural.
  • Higher in Omega-3 than flax and salmon.
  • Higher in anti-oxidants than blueberries and pomegranates.
  • High in dietary fiber.
  • Free of trans-fats and gluten, and has almost no carbs.
  • Great for cardiovascular health.
  • Good for controlling Diabetes.

Just so you can visualize the nutritional aspects of Salba, ounce for ounce it provides three times more iron than spinach, 15 times more magnesium than broccoli, and six times more calcium than milk. Isn’t that incredible? It’s actually the only food that is part of each of the six groups of the USDA Food Pyramid.

Whole grain Salba and ground Salba are sold in small packages and can be added to everyday foods such as cereal, pancake mix, and smoothies. Basically it increases the nutritional value of meals and recipes without changing the flavor of the food.

I’ve been using the whole grain Salba wherever I can sneak it in these past two weeks, mostly in breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, after all. The true test was whether my girls could tell that I added something to their breakfast! Salba passed the test with flying colors. My toddler eats everything, so I know that she wouldn’t mind, but my 4-year old is very picky. Because Salba doesn’t really have much flavor to it, she didn’t notice a difference in her morning oatmeal or buttermilk pancakes, even though I added a generous amount of grain. This is what sold me on Salba!

As for myself, my favorite way to use the whole grain Salba is sprinkled over a salad. It gives it a nice crunch, and knowing I’m making a somewhat healthy meal even more nutritious is quite satisfying! I’m also looking forward to using it in muffins, but 90 degree days aren’t really favorable for baking. I’ve read that Salba develops a nutty flavor when baked, however.

We also sampled a variety of other Salba Smart products, including organic blue corn and yellow corn tortilla chips, organic salsa, pretzels made with organic flour, and the new Baked Potato Crisps.

So what do I think? I prefer the flavor of the blue corn chips over the yellow, but they’re both good. The chips are very filling and hold up well to dipping. The salsa I wasn’t a big fan of. Perhaps it’s because I generally prefer hot salsas (the spicier the better!) and very rarely buy it pre-made, but I found it to be very bland. And the pretzels… oh. Those were gone within minutes of me opening the bag! My girls loved them.

But my absolute favorite Salba Smart products have to be the new Baked Potato Crisps. In Original, Bold Barbeque, and Sour Cream & Onion, they’re similar to Baked Lays, but with a nicer texture and much more flavor. Each variety is all-natural, containing just 2 grams of fat, and boasting a whopping 300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per serving. Plus, these new chips are kosher, wheat free, gluten free, and contain zero grams of trans fat. Only problem is that they’re not available until Fall! So I have to make my 3 bags last.
For those of you looking for snacks to put in your kids’ school lunches, look no further. Salba Smart’s Baked Potato Crisps will be available in 9oz snack-size bags! Salba Smart also offers 100-calorie Bite Size Organic Tortilla Chips, whole wheat tortillas, and pretzels.

I’ve always struggled with how to get my kids to eat more foods rich in Omega-3. Now I have the solution. I’m happy to say that Salba - and Salba Smart products - will be part of our diet from now on!

Salba Smart can be found at Whole Foods Market, Hy-Vee, Central Markets, United Supermarkets, Vitamin Cottage, Wegman’s and other natural foods stores. It can also be ordered online at or The bags of whole grain and ground Salba are a little pricey, but the other Salba Smart products don’t cost much more than their less-nutritious counterparts.


Lisa Reviews

July 27, 2009 by Mariana  
Filed under review blogger

This week’s Review Blogger of the Week is Lisa, from Lisa Reviews.

Tell me a little about yourself and how you started reviewing products.

I actually am from Green Bay, Wisconsin and now live in the Chicago area with my husband and two children.  I started blogging in April of 2006, as a means of keeping in touch with my long-distance family and friends.  In September of 2006, I figured out that I could make a little money and review products too through companies like Izea.  I did this on my personal blog until July of 2007 which is when I started Lisa Reviews.  I found that my reviews were taking over the personal aspects of my blog, so I created a new blog.

What’s your favorite product that you’ve reviewed and why?

That is hard question, because I have reviewed so many great products.  I’d have to say all of the Leapfrog products I’ve reviewed (and paid for myself too).  I love their products, and I love how they’ve helped my kids learn.

In addition to Lisa Reviews, you have 3 other blogs - My Thoughts, Ideas, and Ramblings; Lisa Cooking; and Lisa’s Travels. How do you manage them all?

I don’t sleep.  Much.  LOL  I also had to learn to say no.  I will admit it was hard, but it’s the only way I keep my sanity.

I see you’re going to BlogHer ‘09, and carpooling with some other bloggers. How fun! Is this your first conference?

Yes, I am a BlogHer virgin.  I was hoping Leapfrog was going to be there, so I could tell them how much I love their products (but I’ve heard they won’t).  Besides that, I’m just going to learn and have fun.  I have been to several conferences (Izeafest, Blogworld, etc).  but this my first BlogHer.

Ultimately, what are your goals as a blogger?

I guess my main goal is to have fun with this.  Blogging has opened up so many doors to me.  I’ve been invited to so many awesome trips and the bloggers I have met have all been awesome.  I’ve been interviewed by two local newspapers.  I can honestly say that when I started blogging I never saw myself where I am now.  I guess I hope just to build upon it, get more traffic, and most of all, have fun!

Thank you to Lisa for sharing her story with us this week. Be sure to visit one of her many blogs, including Lisa Reviews, to read her great reviews and get to know her even more!

If you’re a product review blogger and would like to possibly be featured here, please let us know by filling out the contact form above. We look forward to hearing from you!


My Sentiment ExactLee

July 20, 2009 by Mariana  
Filed under review blogger

This week’s Review Blogger of the Week is Lee from My Sentiment ExactLee.

Tell me a little about yourself and how you started reviewing products.

Well, I’m the mom of two little boys. Jason is 4 1/2 and Spencer is 16 months. Back in October my friend Sarah from The Ohana Mama told me she thought I’d do a great job reviewing products. I have a pretty raw sense of humor and I don’t worry too much what others will think about my opinions. I applied to be a product review columnist on Peekaboo Picks and although the owner, Megan, turned me down at first due to having too many entries, she stumbled across mine later in the week and was impressed. It all kind of snowballed from there. I began reviewing for her, started my own blog and have had a pretty lucky time of it so far. I was recently voted a Top 50 Power Mom by Nielsen Ratings so I assume someone is reading My Sentiment ExactLee and likes what they see.

What’s your favorite product that you’ve reviewed and why?

That is a hard question because I love everything I review. I reviewed a full bedding set from Olive Kids which has now turned my son’s bedroom into the gem of our house. It was the Out Of This World bedding set. Jason and I compromised because he wanted Buzz Lightyear bedding and I feared he would grow out of it too quickly. The space theme is perfect and we have purchased numerous extras and now his room looks like you would have taken a space shuttle to arrive. A product that I firmly stand behind is I live in Orlando and I am constantly in the theme parks. SafetyTat is a tattoo that allows you to write your cell phone number on your child safely, so that if they get lost someone knows how to contact you. I am lucky that the nice people at SafetyTat are impressed enough by me to send me on a full paid sponsorship to BlogHer ‘09.

Any one person you’re hoping to meet at BlogHer ‘09?

I can’t wait to meet my two closest blogging friends Sarah with The Ohana Mama and Allie with No Time For Flashcards. I think I’ll have the pleasure of meeting nearly everyone though because my sponsor SafetyTat is giving away a MacBook computer. In order to enter, all the bloggers need to find me and sign up. I have a feeling I’ll be pretty popular and I’m thrilled. I can’t wait to make new friends!

I love how you incorporated your name into the title of your blog! How’d you come up with that idea?

It took me 5 seconds. It just came to me. There is a funny story behind it though. Originally I came up with “MySentimentsExactLee” but when I typed it out all lower case “sexactlee” was glaring at me. All my friends and family thought it was hilarious but I couldn’t stand it. I changed it to “MySentimentExactLee” and never regretted the choice. I tend to lean to the side of common sense in most situations. You often hear people say “my sentiment exactly” so it just fit.

Ultimately, what are your goals as a blogger?

I want my voice to be heard. I want to become a household name. I realize I have a long way to go but I think I’m on the right track. When people need to buy a baby gift or are wondering what someone really thought of a certain product I would love to know that they came to My Sentiment ExactLee to find out what I thought because they respect or at least enjoy my opinion. Of course a movie or mini series starring Kate Winslet wouldn’t hurt either. ;)

Thank you to Lee for sharing her ’sentiments’ with us this week. Be sure to visit My Sentiment ExactLee to read her great reviews and get to know her even more!

If you’re a product review blogger and would like to possibly be featured here, please let us know by filling out the contact form above. We look forward to hearing from you!


Mommy Niri

July 13, 2009 by Mariana  
Filed under review blogger

This week’s Review Blogger of the Week is Nirasha from Mommy Niri.

Tell me a little about yourself and your blog.

I, Nirasha Jaganath, a mom to 2 little girls, exchanged my rat race life as a software engineer for my rug rats. Having had a love for journalism forever but not daring to pursue it in the turbulent South Africa (where I was born and bred), I am now writing to my heart’s content from my current hometown of Boston. You can also find me writing at (as a parenting angle on technology) and (featuring women of color) and working with companies like Hooked On Phonics and Disney. I have been featured in several newspapers including Parent’s And Kids Magazine. You can find me speaking at the upcoming Blogalicious conference. My writing has gained me popularity as Mommy Niri has been nominated for the Nickelodeon Parent’s Pick Award. I don’t do anything I’m not passionate about (except maybe diapers)!

What’s your favorite product that you’ve reviewed and why?

The Karito Kids dolls. In fact I just put a contest for a winner to get one. Being a woman of color and having 2 little girls it is important that children see dolls that look like them. It helps with their self image and also allows other kids to get used to having toys of color.

Any advice to those who strive to become successful product reviewers?

People can read all the specifications and features on the product site itself - leave it to the manufacturers. You can link to it so people get to know more. Write from your personal view what works and what does not. People come to your blog to read YOUR review of it. Be honest and people will trust you.

I see you’re going to BlogHer ‘09! What are you hoping to gain from the experience?

To make new acquaintances and strengthen older ones. I am looking to learn and absorb as much as I can. I am also looking at having a bed to myself (read more at Friday 5: 5 Reasons Why I Can’t Wait For BlogHer ‘09).

Your love for journalism is obvious in your writing. What are your other passions?

I love volunteering, though I have not done too much recently (note to self need to get back to it) and I have a strong fervor in my kid’s upbringing and education. I also love making friends and the parties that we attend and host is a testament to that.

Thank you to Nirasha for sharing her story with us this week. Be sure to visit Mommy Niri to read her great reviews and anecdotes, and get to know her even more!

If you’re a product review blogger and would like to possibly be featured here, please let us know by filling out the contact form above. We look forward to hearing from you!


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