Sleep Training: Today’s Moms

I’m reading Today’s Moms to review and I had to put up this post before I’ve even finished (a more thorough review will post later).  I just had to get some other parents’ input on this subject.

The seemingly epic battle is to cry it out, or not to cry it out.  Parents in both camps get pretty fired up on this subject, and I’m no exception.  I do believe that it can be discussed with courtesy and respect, though, so please keep that in mind if you share your story or input.

I’m pretty adamantly against crying it out, especially before the age of 6 months.  Something new that I hadn’t seen before was the reference of 12 pounds as the acceptable benchmark to start crying it out (p. 66).  Both of these benchmarks seem a bit arbitrary to me.  I can’t quite wrap my head around what’s so different about a four-month-old and a six- or eight-month-old, with respect to sleep training.

Yes, the older our precious babies get, the more they learn to be not-so-precious and do things like try to manipulate us.  “If I cry, they will come.”  I’m all about taking a stand against that during the day, and in a safe manner (when it’s crying to whine and not due to need).  But at night?  Not so much.

All I can think of is a baby, likely alone in their room, crying for someone to come and comfort them.  My daughter is a few days shy of being nine months old, and she’s just starting to sleep through the night, from about 8pm to 6 or 7am.  Until now, she’s had the pleasure of feeding on demand 24/7, which means that if she wanted a three minute snack-n-suck at 2am, she got it. I’m not saying that wasn’t frustrating and it didn’t suck – it absolutely did.

But even at my most desperate and tired moments, I have to remember that this time is fleeting, as cliche as that sounds.  That not a lot of kids are still having multiple night wakings after the age of one or two.  That I can manage the sleep interruptions as long as she needs me to, until she’s ready to sleep through on her own.  Sure enough that time came.  It would’ve been freakin’ sweet, had it come about three months ago, but honestly – I’m not much worse for the wear, either way.

My main beef with cry-it-out is the message it sends to the baby.  This quote from Today’s Moms really sums it up:  “She cried the first night for fifteen minutes…the second night for five…and then she gave up.  She figured if no one’s coming, might as well not bother, and by four months, she slept through the night.” (p. 70)

That makes me ache inside.  Especially when it’s just a four-month-old (still so new to the world!), but even age aside…that message just seems horrible to me.  “…if no one’s coming, might as well not bother,…” – that’s just heartbreaking to me.  When it’s spelled out that way, is that the message we want to send our babies?  That they’re crying and in need of comfort, but they might as well not try because we won’t come, anyway?  It’s a tiny baby, for pete’s sake!

The other thing that’s always mentioned alongside crying it out is how unbelievable painful and difficult it is for the parents.  Is it really wise to engage in parenting methods that make us cringe, make us cry, make us feel absolutely awful?  How is that good for us or our babies?  The notion of setting a timer and resisting the urge to tend to our babies is unnatural and painful.  But it’s worth the pain for both parent and child to get more sleep?  I guess it might be for some, or rather, that is must be for some, but again, I just can’t wrap my head around it.

I’m getting a little fired up here.  I think I’ve articulated my beef with cry-it-out.  Babies will sleep through on their own soon enough – is it worth sending that “don’t bother crying, I won’t come” message to get uninterrupted sleep a few months earlier?  I just can’t see how anyone justifies that.

So do tell, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of different opinions on this – what’s your position on sleep training and cry-it-out?

TotRags Winner!

UPDATE: Oh no!  Jen (#61) is in Canada, and unfortunately, this one wasn’t open to Canadians.  So, I had to choose a new winner.  What a bummer for Jen, I’m so sorry!  I’ll have a couple Canadain-friendly giveaways coming up, so check back for those.  In the meantime, our new winner is #24, Hailey! Congrats, girl!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

24

Timestamp: 2009-05-30 20:30:08 UTC

Congrats to #61, Jen!  You’ve won a TotRags DipeWipe Clutch plus either 2 regular bibs or one full coverage bib!  Drop me an email to claim your prize…

Thanks again to Christine at TotRags for this great giveaway! I hope you enjoy your TotRags as much as I enjoy mine, Jen.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

61

Flowerz in Her Hair…

I’m a huge fan of bows and barrettes for little girls.  Given that I had a home-grown mohawk until I was two (for some reason, the hair on the sides of my head just didn’t grow like the top), I assumed it would be a few years before I could start using that sort of thing on my own daughter.

Flowerz in Her Hair...

Surprisingly, she was born with a full head of lush, dark hair.  As she’s gotten older, it’s thinned out a bit and gotten lighter, but she’s still got enough for a little bow or barrettenow and then.  Oh, and of course, she’s always been able to wear baby headbands, which I find to be a.dor.a.ble.!

So, I went to find her some cute new bows.  Of course, I went online, because going to the store would mean going, and well…I choose my errands carefully!  I came across Flowerz in Her Hair and was immediately ready to order one of everything.  The little cutie in the photo above is from the Flowerz in Her Hair site – as soon as I saw her, I was hooked, I knew I had to have these for my girl.  Luckily, Amy sent me some things to review, much to my delight!

Flowerz in Her Hair... (2)

Clockwise: Bow holder (pink), Pinwheel Bow, Funky Flower clip,

Simply Clippies clip, Cute As A Button clip,

Super Stretch Headband, Natural Flower clip

There’s a must-have for all the little ladies in your life, the Super Stretch Headband.  They are both super soft and super stretchy, made of something that reminds me of little girls’ tights.

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There’s a little ribbon band at the seam, which is also used to clip on the various bows and flowers that go with the bands.  The cool part about that is that the bows and flowers can also be used as clips on their own, too.  It’s soft, it’s small enough for an infant, but stretchy enough to last well into the toddler years, and perhaps beyond.  I love that you can change the look of it so easily, it’s a super versatile piece.

Flowerz in Her Hair... (4)

The flower clips all work with the headband and on their own.  They come in snap clips, alligator clips, or on a french barrette clip (the kind you squeeze the end together to get it to pop open).  The Achilles heel of the alligator clips on the clippies and flowers is that the bottom of the clip is exposed, meaning it’s just the metal, no ribbon or anything to cover it.  For older kids, or for use with the headband, no problem at all; for use on an infant…I’ll probably shy away from that, I’m a little afraid that the metal would accidentally scratch her.Flowerz in Her Hair... (5)

Amy packages the bows beautifully, too (I love pretty packaging, I won’t lie…=).  As if the bows aren’t cute enough, the packaging it pretty, too.  I had to share this picture that I took before opening everything up.  The sticker warns that these could be choking hazards & not to let little ones mouth on them.  Very sweet looking.

Since I’m constantly fishing through the little box I keep my girl’s barrettes and headbands in, I was thrilled to receive the Clip Holder.  The clips are all in a row, organized and at my fingertips.  It looks pretty cute haning on her wall, too!  The best part?  You get one FREEwith every order!  How awesome is that?!

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You get one of these FREE with any order!

One of my favorite things about Flowerz in Her Hair is that the prices are so fair.  You get a lot of bows for your buck! You’ll have to see it to believe it.  I highly recommend checking out Amy’s site, the little girls in your life will thank you for it!

While you’re there, pick out your favorites, because if you mention them here, you can win a $20 shopping spree at Flowerz in Her Hair!  If you’d like to spend more than that, Amy will even pick up the shipping, it’s 100% free to you!  Here’s how to win:

To enter (mandatory!):

  • go to Flowerz in Her Hair and let me know what your favorite items are in the comments (1 entry)

For Bonus Entries (up to 4!): (leave a separate comment for each, please!)

  • Follow me here, on Twitter, or subscribe via email (you can do all three in the sidebars): 1 entry each (3 entries, total – separate comments for each)
  • Grab my blog button & post it on your site: 1 entry (please leave a link so I can see it!)

Giveaway runs from 5/29-6/15/09, midnight EST.

Gotta have them right now?  Use the promo code HAPPYMOM to receive 15% off of your order! =)

Smart Mom = Happy Babies

My girl is teething right now, and it’s BAD.  Most of the time, she’s been a sport, but there have been some days that had me at my wit’s end.  About three weeks before her bottom teeth came through, she had three days that were just awful.  She was a cranky little bear, much to our dismay and frustration.

That was two months ago.  The time in between has been ok, but the teething is back in full swing now.  She’s working on her top teeth, and she’s taking what I imagine must be a pretty uncomfortable situation like a champ.

Except that it makes her behave like a HOLY TERROR.  The screaming. And the whining. And the screeching.  And the….you get it.  It’s noisy around here these days, and not in a very pleasant way.  I count down the hours until Daddy gets home to take over baby duty.  I try to refrain from SOS-like emails that might make him question whether or not I’m holding down the fort.  I am, but it gets pretty dicey sometimes.

I know you moms and dads out there can relate.  We’ve tried a lot of teethers.  Frozen washcloths, soft, hard, fabric, plastic, rubber…the gamut.  She won’t have them.  At least she wouldn’t, until we discovered Smart Mom Teething Bling! Do you see the clouds opening up with the rays of sunshine?  That’s how it felt to me!

Smart Mom = Happy Babies

It’s awesome.  The Bling (it comes in a pendant, bangle, or keychain) is just the right mix.  It’s hard, yet soft; firm, yet pliable.  And most importantly, she loves it!  So much so, in fact, that my husband wore it when he took her to the grocery store one day.  I was quite surprised that he’d done it, but he pointed out that it was unobtrusive and discreet.  He tucked it into his shirt when she wasn’t using it, and it was in her mouth when she was, so it really didn’t look like jewelry on him.  He was just happy not to be bending over a thousand times to pick it up, and that she was content when she was using it.Smart Mom = Happy Babies (2)

Teething Bling is pretty cute, too.  Even celeb mommies wear it.  The necklace I tested is in the jade color, which pretty much goes with everything.  I used to wear a necklace every day, before I had my daughter.  Her constant tugging meant I had to stop, though.  I was afraid she’d break the necklace or manage to get the pendant off and choke on it or something.  So, no more jewelry – or so I thought.  I wear my teething bling when we’ll be out and I know she’s going to want to fuss with something.  The teething bling is pretty entertaining to her.  Let’s face it – ALL bling is entertaining to her, but this one is baby-friendly.  Smart Mom, is right!

It’s jewelry, it’s a teether, and most importantly, it makes my girl happy!  And a happy baby equals a happy mommy, right?!  My daughter loves to take the bangle and play with it, teethe on it, and try to get our dogs to take it (naughty girl!).  I keep the keychain on a link with her stroller toys, so that we always have on when we’re on the go, too.  I’d keep it on my keys, but mine get pretty dirty and it just didn’t seem like it would work for us.  Although it’s worth noting that it’s all dishwasher safe, how awesome is that?!  Like they packaging insert says, “Pretty and practical.  Now that’s a SmartMom.”  So right!

The other thing that makes this mommy happy is that Smart Mom gives back (you know companies that give back are my fave!).  A percentage of their retail sales goes to Dress for Success and CureSearch, both great organizations.  In addition to that, they’ve also paired with the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation, and a portion of the proceeds from this month’s sales will be donated – so get your bling this month, everyone!

Smart Mom = Happy Babies (3)

So you’re thinking you’d like your own Teething Bling….win some!  One winner will receive her very own set of Teething Bling:  the pendant, a key chain, and a bangle bracelet!

Here’s how to enter:

  • Go to the Smart Mom site and let me know what your favorite pattern is in the comments – 1 entry (you MUST do this to get the bonus entries!)

More ways to enter, each worth 1 extra entry: (leave separate comments for EACH, please!)

  • follow me on Twitter (in the sidebar)
  • follow my blog (in the sidebar)
  • subscribe via email (also in the sidebar!)
  • add my button to your site (sidebar, too!)
  • write a blog post on your site about your experience with teething (your kids, what your parents told you about your own teething), and link to this review.  You MUST comment and leave a link where I can find it. =)

Giveaway runs from 5/28-6/12/09 (midnight EST).  Good luck!

Keramikos Kitchen

I don’t keep sharp knives in the house. Seriously. I’m not a chef, and actually, I barely qualify as a cook, even when I’m the one putting dinner on the table (which is most often a TV tray, let’s be real here!).

So…no knives. Until I found Keramikos Kitchen. They sent me a couple of their ceramic knives to test. I’d never heard of, let alone seen, a ceramic knife prior to this. I read about them at their blog and found that they’re not meant for chopping; actually, if you use them like a cleaver, you risk breaking them. I was intrigued. A knife for slicing. I do slice things. I eat a decent amount of fruit, especially in the summer, so having a good slicing knife would be pretty nice.

They are nice. I cut up some fresh strawberries last night and the paring knife made it a piece of cake. Actually, the biggest advantage I saw was how thin I could slice them. Not only could I slice them really thin, but it was a uniform slice (instead of the kind of slice that starts out thin and gets progressively wider as you make the cut).

I read on the Keramikos blog that ceramic is “chemically inert,” so I did a little experiment. I tried the 6″ chef’s knife they sent on a head of iceberg lettuce. Usually, lettuce browns shortly after it’s cut with a metal knife. Sure enough, no browning with the ceramic blade. All this time, I assumed I was getting crappy lettuce!

The other thing that won’t happen with ceramic knives is the transfer of flavors from one food to another. You can go from slicing garlic to fruit and since the blades don’t absorb the juices of what they’re cutting, the flavors won’t mix. That’s one less thing to wash when you’re done!

Speaking of washing, these should be hand-washed to give them the longest lifespan possible. They’re guaranteed for five years (sweet!), too. Personally, I hate having to hand-wash anything, so these have been through my dishwasher. They did fine.

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One thing that struck me when I opened the package was that one blade was white and the other, black. I checked out the Keramikos Kitchen site and found out that the black one is made of zirconium carbide, which turns black when it’s fired in a kiln. The harder material makes them less likely to be damaged from misuse. I was pretty glad they sent that, because (like when I put them in the dishwasher), it’s pretty likely that they’ll see some misuse here (even though I’ve banned hubby from using them).

Ceramic blades will break if they’re dropped or misused (ahem, husband!). On the other hand, they’re a lot lighter than their metal counterparts. If you approach this from a “right tool for the right job” standpoint, I think most kitchens could benefit from having a couple, especially the paring knife for fruit. Since the ceramic blades are about 50% harder than stainless steel, the blades keep their edge much, much longer than a metal knife.

If you’re interested, I highly suggest reading this blog post at the Keramikos site for more info on why you should use ceramic knives. (It’s also a way to enter to win some of your own!)

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Want to win your very own?! Of course you do! You can win the utility and paring knife boxed set, here’s how:

  • leave a comment on this post about why you’d like your own ceramic knives

Bonus entries:

  • go to this post at the Keramikos blog and leave a comment about what you like best about the knives (you MUST come back here and let me know that you did it, please!) – 1 entry
  • follow me here (sidebar) – 1 entry
  • follow me on twitter (sidebar) – 1 entry
  • subscribe to the blog via email (new! sidebar) – 1 entry
  • put my blog button on your blog (you MUST leave me a link to it!) – 1 entry

You can enter up to SIX times for these babies! Leave a separate comment for each, please. Giveaway runs until June 10, 2009, 11:59pm EST.

Giveaway Rule Change!

Important note – instead of me emailing giveaway winners, winners will need to email me after they’ve won. So, check back and see if you win! I’ll also tweet whenever I post winners, too. I just need to hear from you all within five days of when I post the winners. K? K. Seriously, though, if you have any major objections to that, drop me an email or leave a comment, I want this to be fun & enjoyable for you all! =)

PS – This applies to giveaways going forward, I’ll email the winners of all the giveaways prior to this post. =)

We interrupt this blog…

..for a quick note from me, Amy (the Happy Mom!).  Don’t jump ship yet!  I promise to be back tomorrow.

I think most, if not all, of you will understand when I tell you that life has just gotten to me over the past few days.  Things pop up (don’t they always?), the regular grind stuff still needs to be attended to, and then…WHAM!  You turn around and realize that there’s so much going on that your head is spinning and you’re in up to your neck.  The long weekend was supposed to be my big catch-up bonanza, but I fell quite short of that.  So sorry!

I’m going to dig out and be in top form ASAP…please stick with me for a couple days while I get life all sorted out again.  Bear with me in the meantime?

Since you’re being so patient, I think we’ll have a celebration week of BIG giveaways.  Stay tuned…

With much love for all of you out there reading this!

~Amy

Oh so Lush!

You need some fun in your shower.  We all do!  Now wait, before you click away from my page because you think I’m some kind of freaky mommy blogger, just hold on a sec.  Let me rephrase that, you need some fun bath products in your shower.  Sound a bit better? Let’s get right to it…

As soon as you reach Lush’s website, you feel the fun.  It’s happy, lively, and brings out the kid in you.  It’s like…comic book meets eco-friendly meets the bathtub, all in one.  This graphic from their website pretty much sums up all the great things I love about them:Oh so Lush! (5)Oh so Lush! (5)

The graphic pretty much says it all.  They get fresh produce delivered, which gets peeled, chopped, juiced, and all that other food-ie stuff.  And by “they,” I mean the people you see on the products, at right.  Want to know who handmade your product?  You can find their smiling face right on the bottle (a little strange, but kind of nice?).  Lush is environmentally conscious and actually tests their products on human volunteers (novel idea, huh? testing products for humans,on humans?).  And they give back to various charities via their Charity Pots, a unique product that’s developed for each charity.  All the proceeds from Charity Pots get donated, which is awesome!  I loves me some companies that give back.Oh so Lush! (5)

Know what else I love?  I mean, LOVE?  The fizzy little man that came in my gift pack!  (The white, round thing at left).  You put the Emotibomb (technical term for the fizzy little man) on the floor of your shower and he fizzes up, releasing the yummiest citrus scent you’ll ever smell.  It was delish!  Like being transplanted to a citrus grove, but all steamy and wonderful, too.  I don’t get to take baths very often, so having this for the shower was awesome!  It lasted for a pretty long shower (but probably would’ve made it for 2 shorter ones…ah, we’ll never know!).Oh so Lush! (5)

The entire Happy giftpack was so yummy.  My second favorite was the Lemslip, a lemony cross between a soap and a gel.  Of course, it smelled lemony and fresh, which was great, but it also left my skin smooth, soft – it didn’t even need lotion when I got out of the shower.    It’s a really rich, nice creamy-gel  that can be used at room temperature, or you can chill it (I couldn’t wait to dig in, so mine didn’t get chilled!).  It’s quite the unique product, definitely worth trying out.

I also got a shower gel (the Olive Branch) and a hair and body gel (Happy Hippy).  I liked the grapefruit scent of the Happy Hippy (I’m no hippy, far from, so I questioned whether I’d like a product named Happy Hippy, but sure enough, I did!).  The hair and body gel had some more complex scents that I found to be a bit masculine, so I left that for hubs to test.  The other thing that came in the pack, the Sandstone Soap was fun.  It’s actually got a layer of sand on top, a great exfoliator.  Oh, and it works perfectly to scrub grass stains off of your feet after you mow the lawn barefoot.  That genius move was performed by hubs.  I was happy to have a soap to de-green his feet!

The only thing I really fault with Lush is that their products contain sulfates and parabens, which are some nasty buggers. I was pretty surprised to find that they use them, giving how eco-conscious they are.  I’m thinking that might be something to look for in the future from them, sulfate and paraben free products.  They’ll be a homerun once those are out of their goodies!  I still love that the packaging is so bright and fun (and green friendly!) – have a look:

Oh so Lush! (5)

I really enjoyed these bath products.  I’ll be asking for some more of the Emotibombs, for sure (hubs, are you reading?).  If you’ve got a citrus fan to shop for, the Happy gift would be perfect!

the very first Etsy Friday!

the very first Etsy Friday! (5)

Thanks to Christine at TotRags, I’m kicking off my very first Etsy Friday!  On Etsy Fridays, I’ll feature my favorite picks and finds from Etsy and the lovely folks who are behind them.  So, meet me here every Friday to see what’s new and great in the world of handmade.  It’s a date!

Considering my girl is almost 9 months now, I’ve been a bit slow to catch on to the whole diaper clutch thing.  I’ve been lugging around this huge diaper bag that could sustain the whole family for days, if need be.  Not exactly the most convenient thing to schlep around, especially on smaller errands.

I’ll schlep, no more!  Christine’s fabulous TotRags DipeWipe Clutch has become about as attached to me as my purse.  I love it!  It’s cute, it fits my Pampers wipes case and 3 to 5 diapers.  If we were using it, I could fit a tube of diaper cream in there, to.  Big enough to fit everything we need, small enough to still fit in my purse.  Have a look:

the very first Etsy Friday! (5)

how cute is this?!the very first Etsy Friday! (5)

and it’s not even full yet!the very first Etsy Friday! (5)

the boxed sides are awesome!

Since discovering the TotRags DipeWipe Clutch, I’ve done some investigating.  Lots of diaper clutches don’t have the boxed sides like Christine’s do.  You want boxed sides!  Everything lays so much flatter in the TotRags clutch.  There’s no ugly taper to the bottom of the clutch, and hte boxed sides really allow you to fit a lot more – while still remaining small and fairly flat.  Christine’s work is top-notch, the quality is amazing.  Each piece is handmade by her, and the care and effort she puts into her work really shows.

I’m loving the pattern mine came in, Summer Stripes.  It’s really cute and…summery!  What’s even better, though, is that most of the TotRags products are made from up-cycled, salvaged, or thrifted materials.  Cute and good for the environment!  And you’ll love Christine’s prices.  Get this – spend $25 on any of the other fabulously cute stuff at TotRags, and she’ll send you her signature DipeWipe clutch FREE!

Know what else is awesome about TotRags?  Christine is giving back – $1.00 from every purchase goes to the Lance Armstrong Foundation to support cancer research.  Buy an awesome product and help support cancer research?  That is awesome.

the very first Etsy Friday! (5)

These very baby-hip bibs came with my DipeWipe clutch.  They are a must-have!  Lots of bibs start out cute, then end up a tattered mess after one wash cycle.  Not these!  The long velcro closure stayed closed when I washed them, and they came out in exactly the shape/form they came in.  Not a bit of twisting or shrinkage.  I was thrilled!  They’re also really absorbent and have good coverage.  You’ll love everything Christine at TotRags has to offer!

 

Want your very own DipeWipe Clutch, plus either 2 regular bibs (shown) or 1 full-coverage bib?!  Here’s how to win:

  • go to TotRags and check out the cute stuff, then let me know what your favorite item is in the comments – 1 entry
  • follow me here & on Twitter follow in sidebar) – BOTH = 1 entry
  • go to the TotRags blog and tell Christine how cute the DipeWipe Clutches are! = 3 entries! (just be sure and leave a comment to let me know you left some love at her site!)

Giveaway runs from 5/22-5/29/09.  Winner to be chosen via random.org.  If you don’t leave me an email, you can’t win, so be sure to leave one!

Made in the Shade

Made in the Shade

I am so excited to share this awesome line of clothing with you, Happy Moms!  I discovered Shade while I was searching the interweb for clothes.  Clothes that wouldn’t have me mistaken for my daughter’s babysitter.  Clothes that are tasteful and modest, yet still hip, young, and fresh.  I found ’em!  And they’re at Shade.

Shannon at Shade was kind enough to send me an outfit to test-drive – more on that next week, though (so check back!).  I fell in love instantly.  Everything fit, it looked great.  I was thrilled!Made in the Shade (2)

Something had me even more pumped about Shade, though.  It’s their The Bright Side campaign.  After seeing the economic downturn affect people she knew, CEO Chelsea Rippy decided to do something at Shade to give back.  And so The Bright Side tee’s were born.  These shirts are very cute and wearable fitted tee’s that you’ll really want to wear, go have a look!  You’ll love wearing these shirts and you can feel great about buying them, because – get this! – FIFTY percent of the net sales of these shirts goes to the United Way.  Fifty percent!  How awesome is that?!Made in the Shade (2)

I’ve been wearing this one all the time since it arrived, I love it!  I especially love that it’s long enough to kind of pile up at the bottom for a faux-rouching effect, which is fabulous for hiding my post-baby tummy.  Everyone asks,”What’s The Bright Side?” and I get to tell them all about it, which I love.  Buy a cute tee and give back?  Count me in!  I hope you’ll go there and do the same.

 

Want to win a $20.00 gift card to spend at Shade?  Here’s how:

  • comment on this post and tell me which The Bright Side tee you like best – 1 entry
  • be a follower – 1 entry
  • post my blog button on your site – 1 entry
  • follow me on twitter – 1 entry
  • BONUS: for 2 extra entries (you must follow directions exactly!) – go to this post on Shade’s blog and tell them why you think The Bright Side is awesome! then come back here and let me know you did it so I can count your entry =)

Giveaway runs through Sunday, May 31st, midnight EST.  There will be a post coming up that can get you extra entries, so check back! =)