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Family-Friendly Entertainment

The Jane Austen Guide to Life (Giveaway)

6/29/12



The Jane Austen Guide to Life by Lori Smith


Jane Austen has become our patron saint of romance, our goddess of happy endings. Her name is synonymous with romantic sighs, period costumes, and the ideal of what love should be. But if she could give us advice about life and love, what would she tell us? What would she make of Match.com, of our Real Housewives, or of our obsession with finding The One?

Austen’s stories give us relationship advice that still works today, but her life offers us more wisdom than just that pertaining to love. In our fame-obsessed culture, it’s refreshing to think that Austen preferred to remain anonymous. Ironically, Jane Austen—master of love stories—never married and can teach us something about being single. She also endured many painful circumstances and managed them with grace and humor.

In this light biography and guide, author Lori Smith surmises about Austen’s sensible advice for twenty-first-century women—on everything from living our dreams, being a woman of substance, finding a good man, managing money, and more.

As such an astute student of human nature, Austen can teach us much about ourselves and about what it means to live well.



Read Lori Smith's thoughts about the book in yesterday's guest post.


Bio:


authors, Lori SmithAs a child, Lori Smith’s mother had to pay her to read books.  So it’s a bit ironic that she now gets paid to write them.  Lori feels connections to Austen on many levels—as a writer, a single woman, an Anglican, and as someone struggling with a mysterious chronic illness.

For her last book, A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith, Lori spent a month in England tracing Austen’s life and works. Readers voted to give that book the Jane Austen Regency World Award for best nonfiction.

Her writing has also appeared in Washington Post Book WorldPublishers WeeklyBeliefnet.com, Skirt!, and Today’s Christian Woman.  Lori lives in Northern Virginia with her sweet but stubborn English lab, Bess.


Blogs:  www.writerlorismith.comwww.austenquotes.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/writerlorismith
Twitter:  @writerlorismith


You can Buy The Jane Austen Guide to Life on Amazon




Book Trailer:








My Review/Thoughts:


I was first introduced to Jane Austen when I was in college.  I signed up for a semester class thinking that it would be something fun and would fulfill needed credits.  I didn't know how very much I would fall in love with her writing, wit, and the time period in which she lived.  
Since then, I devour as many books as I can get my hands on that give insight into Jane's life, works, or the Regency period.  


I read Lori's book A Walk with Jane Austen several years ago.  It was like being on a journey with her as she traveled to all the places I've dreamed about seeing since I was a teen.  Lori has a gift with words; reading them is like sitting down and having a conversation with your best friend.  


When I heard about her latest work, it piqued my curiosity.  If Jane were here today, what would she think about our modern notions about love, life, womanhood, and pop culture?


This book has many nuggets of wisdom with great examples from Jane's life and works that answers this question.  Lori lays out each lesson with ease and ties it all together for you.  It's almost as though she personally picked Jane's brain.   


My favorite word of advice:  "Don't be afraid of a small life."  Lori writes, "While we may look to fame for significance, Austen found meaning in the things that seem smaller to us--in her relationships with family and friends....The very quietness and smallness of that life might inspire fear in us--fear of not being significant or big enough--but for Austen, it was inspiration itself."


This is a wonderful read that will make you fall in love with Jane's writing all over again.  It inspired me to go back and re-read Austen's novels and see what other lessons Jane whispers from the pages.




Giveaway:


One reader will receive a copy of The Jane Austen Guide to Life



Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  


This giveaway is not in any way associated with or endorsed by Facebook or Twitter.  Giveaway Ends 7/14/12 at 12:01 AM.  US Residents **18 and older** only may enter. One entry per household and IP address.  Winner will be drawn using random.org and will have **48 hrs** to respond to email or another winner will be chosen. If mandatory entry is not completed, additional entries will not count.  No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.  Sponsor is responsible for shipping out the prize to the winner; I will not be liable for undelivered prizes.  


Disclosure:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free for the purpose of review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  




Guest Post Author Lori Smith

6/28/12





Jane Austen’s Fresh Perspective
by Lori Smith

Jane Austen loved to watch people.  She enjoyed going to art exhibits, but watching the people looking at the art was more her thing.  One gets the sense that she was constantly studying those whose lives intersected with hers, seeing in them greed and charity, mercenary marriages and real romance, kindness and pride. 

In her writing, she loved to skewer the ridiculous, to isolate and display the character flaws of people at every level of society—the bombastic nature of Pride and Prejudice’s Lady Catherine de Bourgh, the faithless grasping of Northanger Abbey’s Isabella Thorpe, even the vanity of her dear Elizabeth Bennet.  Which is why, if she were here today, she just might rejoice at the sheer amount of absurd behavior on display.

Hook-ups. Reality TV. Everyone looking for their 15 minutes of fame. Maxed out credit cards. Overwhelming debt.  Our obsession with romance and finding “the one.”

Maybe we’ve been going along with the flow long enough that these things don’t seem crazy to us.  Which is why stepping back and looking at things through Austen’s eyes can provide a fresh dose of valuable common sense.

Austen relished life, truly, without ever having much money. She’s one of the greatest writers in the English language, but she never looked for fame. She was a woman of substance—thoughtful, continually seeking self-knowledge—and expected that of both her fictional characters and her friends.  She thought romance should involve the mind as well as the heart.  She wanted to be happy, and believed that happiness and contentment were to be found primarily in sound moral character.

She represents the wonderful, sensible antithesis to so much of what we believe today.

Two hundred years after her novels were released, Austen is still extraordinarily popular.  Maybe because her stories embody what we have lost.  I think she still has so much to teach us.


Bio:



As a child, Lori Smith’s mother had to pay her to read books.  So it’s a bit ironic that she now gets paid to write them.  Lori feels connections to Austen on many levels—as a writer, a single woman, an Anglican, and as someone struggling with a mysterious chronic illness.

For her last book, A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith, Lori spent a month in England tracing Austen’s life and works. Readers voted to give that book the Jane Austen Regency World Award for best nonfiction.

Her writing has also appeared in Washington Post Book World, Publishers Weekly, Beliefnet.com, Skirt!, and Today’s Christian Woman.  Lori lives in Northern Virginia with her sweet but stubborn English lab, Bess.



Time article:  entertainment.time.com/2012/06/04/jane-on-the-brain-austen-advice-book-trend-peaks/

World Magazine review: www.writerlorismith.com/2012/06/world-magazine-review/

Blogs:  www.writerlorismith.comwww.austenquotes.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/writerlorismith
Twitter:  @writerlorismith




You can Buy The Jane Austen Guide to Life on Amazon






Book Trailer:  








Thank you Lori for your insights into your latest novel!  

Are you a Jane Austen fan?  Stop by tomorrow for my review and a giveaway of Lori's book The Jane Austen Guide to Life.








Win Karina Smirnoff's Fendi Spy Bag from HipSwap

6/26/12
 
Welcome to Week #1 of Win This Bag sponsored by HipSwap hosted by Sidetracked Mom’s Blog

I am joining many other bloggers for this great giveaway event!

“Win This Bag” is a 6-week event that will feature 6 weekly giveaways. There will be one designer handbag given away every week! Each bag will be an authentic, recognizable designer brand such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Coach, or Fendi. Our 6th week will feature a highly coveted designer handbag and you will have the option to claim bonus entries for each of the 5 weekly "Win This Bag" giveaways you entered leading up to this grand finale! So, enter each weekly giveaway to increase your odds of winning!


Here’s what really separates this event from any other handbag giveaway you may have seen before… some of these handbags will come to you directly from a celebrity’s closet! That’s right –
Thanks to HipSwap, you have the opportunity to win the exact bag that may have been on the arm of a famous celebrity! PhotobucketAbout our Sponsor:
HipSwap is a mobile and web marketplace that connects buyers and sellers locally and nationally. It enables people to discover what's inside the most fabulous closets, homes, and shops in neighborhoods and cities across America. HipSwap currently offers delivery service in Los Angeles and New York with its iconic pink delivery van.
This week’s prize:
Photobucket
Do we have any Dancing With the Stars Fans out there? How about fans of Karina Smirnoff? Fendi? All of the above!? Then YOU are going to love this prize! We are kicking off our 6 weeks of giveaways with Karina Smirnoff's Fendi Spy Bag!)


How to Enter:
1. Create a HipSwap account. You will be asked to enter your name, email and zip code. If you do not live in the United States, please enter your City and Country in the Zip Code field.
2. Once registered, you can earn additional entries by:
a. Pinning your favorite HipSwap bag on Pinterest
b. “Liking” HipSwap on Facebook
c. Following @HipSwap on Twitter
d. Tweet with the hashtag #winthisbag for daily bonus entries
e. Following the blogs who are bringing you this awesome giveaway

To be credited, all entries must be completed using the Rafflecopter form below. You can complete as many or as few entries as you’d like but remember, the more you do, the better your odds of winning! Plus, once you are following all of your hosts, entering each subsequent weekly Win This Bag Giveaway will be even faster and easier!
Good luck!

This giveaway is open to entrants worldwide 18 years of age or older, except where prohibited by law. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. This promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook and is Facebook-compliant. To qualify to win, you must complete, at minimum, the mandatory entry on the Rafflecopter form. All entries will be forwarded to our sponsor for the purpose of randomly selecting a winner. Winners will be notified by email from a HipSwap representative. Winners will have 72 hours to respond or risk forfeiting their prize. Prize may re-awarded solely by the Sponsor's discretion. Prize fulfillment is the sole responsibliity of the sponsor. This blog may not be held liable for Sponsors who do not fulfill prize shipments. The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We reserve the right to publicly publish winners' names and/or likeness. By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.


Disclosure:  I am joining other bloggers to help promote this giveaway event.   I was not compensated for this post.  Prize fulfillment is the sole responsibility of the sponsor. This blog may not be held liable for Sponsors who do not fulfill prize shipments. The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post.

Summer Fun at the Library

6/25/12
One of the ways we beat the summer heat is by taking trips to the library.

This year, I signed up two kids for summer reading.  I have signed my son up since he was little.  We love the program; there are some great rewards including restaurant coupons and baseball tickets.  And for my little bitty, she is working towards earning a cute rubber duck too.

Our latest trip was a play date with my friend's little boy to the baby program.  (He is only four months younger than little miss though you can't really tell when looking at him!)  

The library programs are free and lots of fun.  Great for a family on a budget!






This was our first visit to the baby program that is held once a month.  It was a pretty big group and ranged in age from newborn to 23 months.  When we arrived, we saw fun mats to sit on and beach balls!


They did finger plays....watched puppets...




Sang songs...



And played musical instruments





We can't wait to go back and play with new friends!  Do you sign your kids up for the library's summer reading program?  Have they been to any fun events?

Free Blogger Opp: Join for Eight Consecutive Weekly Giveaways of High End Designer Handbags

6/22/12
Attention Bloggers:

Do you love handbags?  Sign ups are open for this free blogger event:
























Eight Consecutive Weekly Giveaways of High End Designer Bags




Join here and please tell her that Shelly from The Attic Girl sent you.

Road Trip Giveaway



I am excited to partner with Mudpies and Tiaras to share this fun ROAD TRIP giveaway:


ROAD TRIP!!!!  Those are some pretty famous words.  My family and I have been known to jump in our van and take a mini road trip before.  We have gone to the zoo, rock climbing and a few other neat places.  But to get there...you need some gas and some spending money.  Well, Belinda and I here at  Mudpies and Tiaras would love to give you a free Road Trip this summer.  We started this blog just a few months ago.  Now we have over 4000 Facebook Fans and Twitter followers,  an active Pinterest Board and we are getting more great reviews and giveaways lined up. BUT, we could not do it without you all.  To show our appreciation we are self-hosting this giveaway.

The package will include a $50 gas gift card.  The winner can choose between Shell or BP gas gift cards

and

a $25 prepaid Visa card...good for anything!

What would you do with a free road trip?  A movie?  A trip to a local fruit farm?  Let us know and then enter to win on the Rafflecopter form below.

THANK YOU!



Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. The Attic Girl is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  



Melissa & Doug's Camp Sunny Patch

6/19/12

Are you looking for some fun ideas to keep your munchkins busy this summer?  Then you will want to check out Melissa & Doug's first Camp Sunny Patch!

All summer long, the Melissa & Doug blog will feature FREE weekly original play ideas from their favorite bloggers.   These will be creative ways to get your kids moving and using their imaginations without having to leave your back yard!

Parents can download a weekly badge for each session your children complete and paste it on the printable Camp Sunny patch poster (available exclusively on their blog and to email subscribers).  If you haven't already, download your June activity calendar and start enjoying Camp Sunny Patch today.  There will also be special camp-themed surprises on their Facebook page!

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  For sharing info. about Camp Sunny patch, I will be entered into a drawing to win Sunny patch toys.  All opinions are my own and I would share regardless because I am a huge fan of Melissa & Doug!

My Thoughts On Disney Pixar's BRAVE

6/18/12
 
Disney movies, family friendly movies 


 “Some say our destiny is tied to the land, as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one’s destiny intertwines with many others. It’s the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it. But there are some who are led.” 
  ~ Merida
                                                                                                                    

Set in the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland, Disney•Pixar’s “Brave” follows the heroic journey of Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to change her fate, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) andcantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane), unleashing chaos in the kingdom. 

When she turns to an eccentric Witch (voice of Julie Walters), she is granted an ill-fated wish and the ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her resources—including her mischievous triplet brothers—to undo a beastly curse and discover the meaning of true bravery. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, “Brave” is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humor. 

Opens on June 22, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.



(For another sneak peek at the movie, view the trailer The Prize.)

This is one movie that I knew that I had to see after watching the trailer many months ago.  Merida is not your average Princess in a ball gown singing and waiting for her Prince to come (though I love those princesses too).   She is a straight shooting, horse-riding, hair in the wind free spirit.  And that is what made me fall in love with this film!

This girl has backbone.  She has the fierceness of her Scottish Highland warrior dad and the wisdom of her corset-laced manners loving mother.  Merida knows what she wants and what she doesn't (and has some great stubbornness with those gorgeous red curly locks to boot).  And that is what drives her throughout the film.  But she also finds out more about herself, her position in life as a future leader of her people, and her relationship with her mother.  


The backdrop of the Scottish Highlands is absolutely gorgeous!  Scottish culture and lore are woven throughout the story line.   You will probably come out of this movie wanting to visit Scotland ( I know I did).   The animators did not disappoint in the lush scenery and beautifully captured characters.

BRAVE has many themes about character, loyalty, finding ones way/purpose in life, family love, mother-daughter bonds, and strong female roles (though I think they could have made the men a little less ridiculous; they are warriors after all).   On the family-friendly scale, I should warn you there are some kilt jokes and some cartoon naked bums (which had a lot of the crowd in stitches with laughter).  It also has a few intense scenes that might frighten your little ones under 5-6.  

And please don't be deterred by the fact that this film has a Princess and think it is only geared toward girls.  Your sons will have plenty of action and humor to keep them thoroughly entertained with none of that mushy "true love" stuff (my 13 yr old son came out of the movie saying he loved it!)    Also, be warned:  your child will probably want to take up archery after seeing this.


To keep up with the latest news on BRAVE coming to theaters June 22nd:

Like BRAVE on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PixarBrave 
Follow BRAVE on Twitter: twitter.com/disneypixar


Thank you to Shannon and Allied-THA for providing the tickets for my son and I to attend this screening.

Disclosure:  I received an invitation to attend this screening for free.  All opinions are my own.

My Magical Mama Moment and Disney Baby Little Character Contest #spons

6/16/12
A big thanks to Disney Baby for sponsoring this post and the Disney Baby “Little Character” Contest!


It's every parents' dream to hear their child's first words, especially if those words involve "mama" or "dada".  My baby girl said "dada" as her first word, which was no surprise to me.  She has been a daddy's girl since the moment he first held her.  I expected that and I love that they are so close.  But I have been waiting 17 months to hear that magic word.  "Mama."

I thought for sure "mama" would be at least her second, third, or maybe even fourth word.  However, I've heard "dada", "whoah", "yipee", "yay", "shoes" and a few more.  Every time she would say "dada" I'd also encourage her to say "mama."  No success.  I didn't think it would take this long.  (My son said "mama" shortly after he said "dada" so I expected the same with my daughter)


But magically, my baby girl said "mama."  It just came out, and it was music to my ears and warmed this mama's heart.  I had to ask my hubby to make sure I'd heard right.  He had heard it too.  And then she said it a few more times with the sweetest little smile.  This was well worth the wait and definitely at the top of my list of magical mom moments.


Disney Baby wants to celebrate your magical moments with the Disney Baby 'Little Character Contest'.  Submit a photo of your child ages newborn-24 months for a chance to win some fabulous prizes like a crawl on role on ABC Family and photo in a national magazine!

May 15 through June 18, Disney Baby will choose one winner a week for a total of five finalists.  These finalists will receive Deluxe Disney Baby packages (including Huggies diapers) and will be eligible for the Grand Prize.  Voting for the Grand Prize winner will begin on June 28.  The Grand Prize includes a $10,000 college scholarship!

To find out more, visit the contest page and check out all the prizes.

What's your magical moment as a parent?  


Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post on behalf of DisneyBaby and Splash Creative Media.  All opinions are my own.

Change is a Good Thing

6/14/12


Change is a good thing.  A really good thing.  My blog has been growing in new directions and I'm really excited about that!


If you've been a long time reader, you probably noticed that I've changed styles and formats a few times.  It's good to change things up now and then, and I am in love with this new look from Busy Brandi Design!


Busy Brandi Design


I had a basic idea of what I liked and didn't like.  And Brandi was able to make a clean and fresh design in no time!  She was very easy to work with and answered all of my questions by email (I don't know a lot about html coding so she was really helpful and patient to boot).  She is incredibly talented!  

She can do designs for Blogger and Wordpress. And her prices are really affordable!  Right now, she's having a $10 Express design sale through June 15th. So if you're looking for a new design, you should definitely check Brandi out! She made the process very easy and had everything installed all in one afternoon. For examples of her skills, check out Brandi's design portfolio.  You can also find follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

What do you think of the new design?  I'd love your feedback (and I'm sure Brandi would too)!




Wordless Wednesday: Guess Where We Went

6/13/12





For more Wordless Wednesday, visit Five Minutes for Mom.  You can also share your W/W post in the linky below.

Teaser Tuesdays: The Jane Austen Guide to Life

6/12/12


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser:


"Whatever our faults and failings, whatever scrapes or difficult situations we get ourselves into, however serious we may be about making sure our character is sound and our actions right, Austen would never want us to lose our sense of humor--or to deprive others of theirs.  A woman of substance would never be too serious to laugh, especially at herself."


--pg. 39 The Jane Austen Guide to Life by Lori Smith


Stay tuned for a review and giveaway of this book!



What are you reading? If you have a teaser, you can head on over to Miz B's blog or share it here by leaving a comment.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Blog App And a Giveaway

6/7/12



Journey 2:  The Mysterious Island was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Warner Brothers on June 5th.

Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games) finds a hidden signal that he believes will lead him to his long lost grandfather (Michael Caine, Miss Congeniality). With the help of his new step father (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Scorpion King), Sean finds a map and starts his adventure which leads him to Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical) and the island of Atlantis! Sean and his friends battle giant bees, killer lizards, a volcano of gold, and electric eels to escape the lost city and make their way home!



In celebration of this release, Warner Brothers has also produced this fun Blog App:





  • Activities: Choose Your Own Adventure! Spin the wheel to get your own personalized adventure!  Will you brave the wilds of Family Movie Night or map your house and have your own treasure hunt?



  • Quiz: Would You Survive The Mysterious Island!? Are you a Wilderness Warrior or a Timid Trekker?  Take the Mysterious Island quiz and find out how you would fare in the outback of Atlantis!



  



I haven't seen this movie yet, but we saw the first movie, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and my son loved it!  We are looking forward to watching the sequel.



Giveaway:  One reader will win a Journey 2: Mysterious Island DVD!


Just use the Rafflecopter form below.  


This giveaway is not in any way associated with or endorsed by Facebook or Twitter.  Giveaway Ends 6/15/12 at 12:01 AM.  US Residents **18 and older** only may enter. One entry per household and IP address.  Winner will be drawn using random.org and will have **48 hrs** to respond to email or another winner will be chosen. If mandatory entry is not completed, additional entries will not count.  No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.  Sponsor is responsible for shipping out the prize to the winner; I will not be liable for undelivered prizes.  Prize may take 6-8 weeks for delivery. NO P.O. BOXES PLEASE.


Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.  The sponsor is providing the giveaway prize.

Wordless Wednesday: Flutterby

6/6/12


 For more Wordless Wednesday, visit Five Minutes for Mom. You can also share your post in the linky below.

Step2 My Clubhouse Giveaway

6/4/12

My Clubhouse - Hours of Pretend Play




Mom to Bed by 8 and Mom Does Reviews are happy to bring you this fun My Clubhouse giveaway!


Do your children love to play make-believe? Do they need a fun, durable and safe toy for ages 2 and up? My Clubhouse is the cutest playhouse on the block!
  • Play make believe in this unique backyard edition perfect for multi-child play
  • Features a peephole, chalkboard, picnic table, and secret hiding compartment
  • Fabric roof is durable and weather resistant
  • Personalize the clubhouse by writing your child's name on the doorway
  • Opening side wall for hide and seek fun
  • Dining accessories not included
  • Adult assembly required
  • Clubhouse can be used all year long. Bring it inside in the winter so the fun can continue.
Giveaway is open to US residents only ages 18 and over. Giveaway starts June 4th and ends June 25th.
Enter on the easy rafflecopter below. Remember, you can't win if you don't enter.


Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. The Attic Girl is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  

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