Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The British Are Coming! And They Look Fabulous

I'm not sure if you know this, but we're right in the middle of BritWeek, a celebration of British lifestyle and culture taking place in California. It was started by producer Nigel Lythgoe a few years ago and is being marked by events taking place from April 20 through May 9 in Southern California and San Francisco. I know, technically that's two weeks so it should really be called BritWeeks. You can take it up with the Queen.

If you're a fan of British fashion (who isn't?) Genlux magazine is hosting The BritWeek Designer of the Year Awards and Fashion Show and I've got two tickets to give away! The event will take place on Saturday, May 8 at the famous Smashbox Studios in West Hollywood and will feature designer Matthew Williamson along with a special tribute to Alexander McQueen and will benefit Dress for Success. A little fashion, a lotta bling, and a little rubbing elbows with celebrities -- all for a good cause. These Brits are geniuses.

And Kodak just made it even better --
they've given me a
Zx1 Pocket Video Camera
to include with this giveaway.
Perfect for getting a close-up
of those Manolos as they walk by.

If you'd like a chance win tickets to this event and the camera, here's what you need to do:

1) Leave a comment below telling me your favorite thing British. London in springtime? Tea and crumpets? David Beckham?

2) Follow @Genlux on Twitter.

3) Become a fan of Genlux on Facebook.

Please enter before the contest closes on Sunday, May 2 at 11:59pm. I'll pick a winner using and announce it on Monday, May 3.

Offer does not include parking, lodging or transportation to or from the event.

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Museums Are Good, And This One's Cheap, Too.

It's a proven fact -- kids like museums. Well, they like jellybeans, too, but museums are better for them. And one of the best children's museums in Los Angeles is the Zimmer Children's Museum. What kid wouldn't like a place with interactive exhibits like a giant pinball machine and a flight simulator, and its own Main Street where they can cook a meal at a cafe, work as a grocer at the corner market? They might just forget about those jellybeans.

And even better yet -- for a (very) limited time, you can buy a family membership for $40 -- that's $35 off their regular price of $75. But hurry -- the offer expires at midnight, April 29.

Click here to take advantage of the offer, and to find out more about the museum.

(You must purchase your membership through this link to get the special offer.)

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Monday! Win a Wii and Wii Fit Plus

A winner has been picked -- see below!

I hate Mondays. Who's with me? Well, here's something that might help you pull the day out of the toilet -- the chance to win an awesome prize! Remember I told you about my fabulous Wii Fit™ Plus yoga party hosted by Nintendo? And remember I told you I’d be giving away a Wii™ system and a copy of the Wii Fit Plus video game? Well, seeing as I only lie about things like my weight, and my age and how many cups of coffee I’ve really had, here’s the giveaway.

Nintendo has given me a Wii system and a copy of Wii Fit Plus and I’m going to give them away to a lucky reader who wants start enjoying the benefits of working out right in their living room. That’s right - work on your abs without having to drive cross-town to the gym, or fit in a calming yoga session without having to fight for a parking space at the local yoga studio. That means more time to hang with your family, or play with your cat, or –– pick lint out of your navel – I don’t judge.

Just leave me a comment where you answer the question, “How would YOU fit some fit in with Wii Fit Plus from Nintendo?” Just do it before 11:59pm PST on May 16 2010. To keep things fair and totally random, I’ll use to pick one lucky winner. Winner will be notified by email within one week and the prize will be sent out within two weeks.

A few rules!

1) I only ask that you give me a real answer – no smartass lines like, “When my wife’s not looking,” or I’ll be forced to disqualify you and your cat.
2) One entry per person.
3) No anonymous comments.
4) Entries from U.S. residents only.
5) Employees of Nintendo and my family members are ineligible to enter (sorry mom.)
6) Entrants must be 18 years or older.

So hopefully your Monday just got a little better. Carpe Diem! Seize the day! And the Wii if you're lucky.

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And the winner is:

Megryansmom of Look It's Megryansmom. Congratulations! (Is she really THE Meg Ryan's mom? I have no idea, but she is the proud owner of a brand new Wii and Wii Fit Plus!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

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Monday, April 19, 2010

eatwell: Fresh & Easy's New Line of Healthy Meals Inspires My Terrible Taglines

I love parties. Also? I love food. Apparently Fresh & Easy is aware of this because a couple of weeks ago they invited me out to their headquarters for a tasting party for their new line of healthy entrees, eatwell. I along with a bunch of other bloggers were treated to an incredible meal consisting of dishes from their new line, and I'm here to tell you that along with tasting good, they're good for you.

So not only can you eatwell, you can feelwell, too. Fresh & Easy, there's your new tagline, and yes you can pay me in hummus.

I don't have any problem finding many items at Fresh & Easy in the 'healthy' range, so I wasn't necessarily thinking they needed a line of healthy foods, but the eatwell line is great for those on restricted diets, wanting to lose weight or just wanting to lighten up their diet a bit. The items are all low in calories, sodium and are all clearly labeled with their nutritional information on the front of the package. Best of all, they're fresh, not frozen -- so much more appetizing than reaching for that smashed cardboard box in your freezer that's wedged in between the ice cubes and the frozen peas. Also, with prices ranging from $1.99 to $4.99, they're an economic way to eat healthy. Cheap & Easy! There's another tagline for you, Fresh & Easy. Oh wait, on second thought that has a whole other connotation - I won't bill you for this one just yet.

That night we were treated to a variety of foods ranging from Teriyaki Salmon to Spicy Tuna Sushi to a Veggie Hummus wrap (my favorite), and I don't think there was anything that I had that I wouldn't readily buy and serve to my family. Also, I like the idea of being able to buy healthy, reasonably-priced, fresh entrees for my vegetarian teenager on those nights where the rest of the family is having a meat dish. (The items come fresh, but can be frozen, too.) I think she'd be much happier having their Singapore Noodles or Tuscan Vegetable Soup than a packet of macaroni and cheese, and the rest of us carnivores don't have to feel guilty about digging into our steaks. Well, I should say more guilty.

Check out this spread -- the presentation was beautiful. I asked the Fresh & Easy employees if they always ate like this and they just laughed and said of course not, they always got to eat off the good china.

The items are meals in themselves (for instance, the Teriyaki Salmon is served on a bed of brown rice with broccoli and bell peppers) so they're great for keeping on hand for lunches on the go, too. Wouldn't you rather take Creamy Basil Chicken over pasta to work than one of those pre-packaged sandwiches from the vending machine? How long have those sandwiches been in there, anyhow? Why don't we actually ever see anyone filling that thing up? Are there zombies involved?

Wait, I feel another tagline coming on: eatwell, Now With 50% Less Zombies. Okay, that one might need a little work.

After our great meal, we were treated to a tour of the Fresh & Easy offices and test kitchens. Further proof of the healthy nature of the eatwell line -- usually I can't move after I've eaten, let alone get up and walk around and take some pictures. And as I've said it before -- I want to work for this company. Not only are you surrounded by food all day, but you can park your rad bicycle in the hallway:

The eatwell line is available now at all Fresh & Easy stores. Taglines not included.

Important Disclosure-ish Jibberish I was not given any monetary compensation for attending this event or writing about Fresh & Easy's eatwell products, nor was I required to write a review. I've already talked about my love for Fresh & Easy here on this blog, so really it wasn't like they had to twist my arm to come out and sample some of their food. You can come over anytime and see my refrigerator stocked with Fresh & Easy products. Wait - did I just invite a bunch of strangers to my house to poke around my kitchen? On second thought, don't come over just take my word for it. We did receive a very nice gift bag at the end of the evening containing a bottle of wine and a gift card. But I repeat -- do not come over to my house.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bosch Tassimo: The Coffee Maker That Inspired a Movie

I love getting products to review, but my favorite has got to be coffee makers. I've gotten a few, and it's safe to say I don't think I've ever met a coffee maker I didn't like. There's something instantly appealing about a machine that dispenses my favorite beverage at the touch of a button, and without smacking its gum or glaring at me when I ask for extra foam.

A few weeks ago I was sent the Bosch Tassimo Single-Serve Coffee Brewer. And while every machine I've reviewed has its strength and weaknesses, the Bosch was the only coffee maker that inspired a movie.

The Bosch works on the popular 'pod' coffee system, but one of the unique things about it is that you can use milk pods and the machine will produce frothy steamed milk. And you know what that means -- kids can make their own hot cocoa! I don't know about you, but to me this is an amazing thing! A revelation! I don't think I've been this happy about a child milestone since my youngest learned how to trim her own toenails.

And speaking of my youngest, that would be my 11-year-old Kiyomi. She was so moved by the Bosch that she made a movie showing how easy it is to make a cup of hot cocoa. I am in awe of her mad iMovie skillz -- with that and the fact that she can make her own hot beverage, I told her she was probably ready for a job at a major studio. Plus she can trim her own toenails which makes her over-qualified.

I give you, "Hot Cocoa."

And here's the small print that would normally roll by quickly along with the closing credits:

Aside from hot cocoa, the Bosch makes an excellent cup of coffee, and also has its own built-in water filter. I've picked up Tassimo pods at Target and online, but the milk pods are harder to find and are quite a bit more expensive than the coffee varieties. I would say the biggest drawback is the inability to use your own coffee -- some one-cup brewers come with small filter baskets that you can fill with your own grind and use in place of a pod. I really like that feature. Also, there's the environmental impact of disposing of a plastic pod with every cup of coffee -- developing a filter basket for the Bosch would at least alleviate part of this problem.

Like credit cards and black leggings, I say coffee makers are something you can never have enough of (I've got four on my counter right now.) And if you're looking to splurge on a new kitchen accessory, I think the Bosch would be a good choice. Besides, when was the last time a toaster inspired a movie?

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Oh look, more small print: I was not given any monetary compensation for writing about this product, nor was I required to write a review. I was given a Bosch Tassimo Coffee Brewer and three packages of coffee for the purposes of this review. No animals were harmed in the making of the movie or in the brewing of the hot cocoa, although the cat had to be put in a headlock a couple of times when he tried to lick the milk pod.

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