Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chicago Blogger Event and A Very Cold Christmas Giveaway!

On November 20th, I had a Fabulous Opportunity to attend My First Ever Blogger Event in Chicago, hosted by Team Mom and Child's Play.  It was a wonderful opportunity for me, and I am SO EXCITED to share my experience with all of you and a Giveaway for my FABULOUS readers! 

The Event kicked off with an Open Panel Discussion with several Popular Mommy Bloggers answering questions and offering advice on their experience and inspiration on blogging.  It was a fabulous meet/greet, followed by many great questions, and honest, open, direct and informative discussion from some Top Mommy Bloggers.  I really enjoyed being able to participate and simply having an open ear to all they had to say.

It was their First Ever Chicago Blogger Event, held at fabulous Navy Pier, on the same weekend as the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, which was right next door.  When Nik gets older, I would love to bring her back for the Toy and Game Fair event!  It looked like a lot of fun. There were kids running everywhere!  It ended up being a beautiful day, and I really enjoyed the venue.

They had a fabulous Brunch for us after the Panel Discussion.  Complete with Mimosas.  Mmm..  Look at that spread!

I by-passed the Food and moved straight to the Vendor tables!  Shocking, I know. I was so excited to get to speak with all these fabulous vendors.  My first stop was Playtex Baby.  She showed me their new sippy cup, called the "Sipster", and gave me a free sample (I of course picked out the pink/purple cup for Nik, which is going in her stocking), along with some other goodies, including another cup, spoons, and a little portable computer mouse that the hubs snatched up as soon as I got home, he uses it constantly.  He knew I had brought it home specifically for him, ha!  I raved to them about how Playtex are the only cups we use. They are the only ones I have never had problems with, and they are completely leak proof!
The Sipster was designed by a feeding specialist and a Pediatrician to help foster independant drinking skills. It would make a great first sippy cup for you little one!
My next stop was  I have heard of, but have never researched the organization before. They are a resource/referral network for thousands of restaurants across the US.  Just go to their website, and type in your city, and they will connect you with loads of restaurants in your area, even providing menus online.  You can earn discounts and rewards if you dine out often.  You can also earn Gift certificates by shoppping at your favorite places including, Gap, Blockbuster, Sony, Mac, and Discover. They gifted the bloggers a $50 Gift Certificate out to eat, and hubs and I are so excited for our night out on the town!  Gift someone a "Dinner of the Month" Club for Christmas this year, where they receive a $25 Gift Card Each Month!  You can find out more about HERE!!!

My next stop was Cold Stone Creamery. Ironically the night before the event, I really had a craving for Cold Stone and was going to take the pumpkin in there to share some ice cream. But, I was able to wait knowing they would be in attendance at the Event. I was so excited for a free sample!  I first learned about Cold Stone while in Arizonia with my extended family and In-laws who have a home there. I had no idea what flavor combination to chose, so my niece stated that she would pick for me, and we sat and ate our ice cream in the Shopping Courtyard, and I remember how incredibly fabulous it was!  I wished that we had one where we lived, and then a couple years later, one opened in our town!  Everyone in town was so thrilled, and it is always packed!  Coldstone introduced us to their Eight Layer Ice Cream Cake and they brought two flavors for us to sample. I had the Health, and it was to die for. Great to pick-up for birthdays, anniversarys, a work event, or for the Holidays!  How can you not like candy ice cream, ice cream should also be accompanied by candy and chocolate!

My next stop was Toy State. If you aren't familiar with the Brandname, they make those battery operated trucks, cars, and excavators that are probably roaming around your house.  I recognized the CAT Symbol/Brand immediately. My Mother-In-Law purchased a motorized, remote-control CAT Excavator/Digger that my triplet nieces/nephew and Nikolina are obsessed with. They all go crazy over this toy and can't wait fo their turn to make it move themself, and to be a mini-operator and pick random toys up and drop them back on the ground. They gifted us a truck to take home that lights up and makes noise. They also all play a different song. I already wrapped it for Nik, and Josh, especially is super excited to open it with Nik.

My next stop was MEGA Brand Toys. I was really excited to stop here as well.  Our old daycare provider gifted Nikolina a set of Mega Blocks  for Christmas last year (the pink and white ones).  She was a little young at the time, and mostly she just put them in her mouth bc she was teething at the time. But as she got older, she has become obsessed with them. she plays with them EVERYDAY and I am constantly picking them up and finding them up in random places of the house, ha!  She says "blocks" or what sounds like the word, blocks, and then motions for you to sit with her, saying "sit" with a little lysp, and you have to sit and build with her. She loves to build, but she also loves to knock them down, and thinks it's the funniest thing ever, and she laughs out loud when they go tumbling down.

See those boxes stacked up on the side. You will never believe this, but they hold a Mega Blocks "Thomas and Friends Adventures on Misty Island" that you may have seen advertised on TV lately for the Christmas Season.

They gifted one of these to every blogger there. Can you believe that!  I literally hugged the representative right there!  I was so excited to show the hubs, and neither one of us CAN WAIT to open this on Christmas with Nik.  Well worth the trip.  My mom (who came with me for the day, and we seperated and met back up after the event)couldn't believe it when I showed it to her. And, the woman at the restaurant that we went to later that day, saw it, and said, "Wow, that looks like something, I would want to play with."  We said, "I know, right. How fun is this!"  Nik loves looking at Choo Choos in her picture book, and can even make the Chugg A Chugg A Choo Choo motion and pulls the whistle too!  She is going to love this. I already have it wrapped and ready to open!

The next stop was Backyard Safari Outfitters and Zillionz Brand Toys. I had not seen this brand, but I also have a 20 month old Girl. I asked her if they were at Toys R Us (our only toystore) and she stated "Yes," so I am definently going to look them up next time Nik and I are at the toystore. They had some fabulously fun products for camping that looked liek so much fun.  Nik has a bug net/bug container, and she loves it. These toys would be right up her ally.  And my mother-in-law is gifting Nikolina a tent for Christmas, so I know come Spring/Summer next year we will be looking into some of their imaginative "Safari" toys.  They gifted us a little green lantern, that will be perfect for Nik's new tent. She will be so excited.  I'm sure she will turn it on and off constantly and want to hide/play in the tent, read books etc. The lantern is going in her stocking for Christmas.

Zillionz Brand makes a lot of educational toys that help children count and learn about saving money, including banks, cash registers, vault and ATMs.  Must have been developed by a banker, ha!  But their products are really great, and I already have three piggy banks for Nik and a talking play pig piggy bank. I think teaching kids about money and the importance of saving money is a great value to have. I had several things like that when I was little, and they are a great educational, but fun way for children to learn about money.

The next stop was In Zone Brands Beverages. I have seen these beverages at our local toystore and grocery store. A little boy at Nik's daycare always has one. Nik LOVES juice. We try not to give her too much, but she is obsessed with it, second only to milk.  She says it so cute, like "Juze" and makes the sign for drink in Sign Language, and it's so adorable. I usually try to buy watered down juice for Tots or water down juice myself when she's sick or for a special treat. In Zone, not only has juice for big kids, but they also had little juice containers for Tots, with less sugar.  I was so thrilled!  And, they have all your children's favorite characters too!  There are so many to choose from. Nik's is going in her stocking,a dn she will LOVE it!  I'm sure she'll want to drink it right away, right then.  The reps said that you can even wash them out, and re-use them as well, so one will last you longer than a one time use.

Mary Kay was also there.  The food was wonderful, and I sat by some wonderful ladies. I really enjoyed talkkign with all of them, and hearing about their lives and blogs. We shared some great conversation and lots of laughs. I was so thankful to have had this opportunity to attend this event. What a great event, than you Child's Play and Team Mom!  Your event was a True Success!  It's going to be a wonderful Christmas at our house thanks to this event!  Be sure to check back for any add reviews after Christmas of these fabulous toys!  At the end, they raffled off some prizes. I won a Playtex Diaper Genie, and since the Hubs and I already have one, I will be donating mine to our Local Baby Fold. I can't wait to drop it off. Hopefully, it will make some New Mom's Christmas!

AND NOW, for my very FIRST GIVEAWAY!  Cold Stone Creamery  gifted us bloggers a $20 Gift Certificate to Cold Stone, but...they also gifted me a $20 Gift Certificate to be raffled off to one of my LUCKY READERS, and that's....ALL OF YOU!!!

So, to win this Fabulous $20 Gift Certificate to Cold Stone:
Leave a Comment for Each Entry.
1. For one entry: Become a member of my Blog. If you are already a member tell me!
2. For Two Entries:Tell me Your Favorite Flavor/Coldstone Ice Cream Candy Combination.
3. For Five Entries: Blog or Facebook this Giveaway!

  If you LOVE Coldstone, Have a event that you need a Cake for, or this Gift Card would make a Great Christmas Present as well!

I have never used Random.Org, but this how I will chose the winner, if I can figure it out, ha!

Contest ends Friday December 10th!!
Good Luck!

Disclaimer: I received gifts from all these vendors for attending this event.