Want a Free Car? Throw a Party.

October 16, 2008

Today I’m heading over to the Saturn dealership to pick up a brand new car – for free.  And just how did I get this car?  I threw a party – a House Party to be exact.

House Party is a grass roots campaign that partners common people like me with companies trying to promote their products.  The companies send samples of their products to hosts (like me).  In turn hosts throw a party where they share the product – and sometimes other goodies – with friends.

The Saturn is a party favor for my latest House Party – the Saturn House Party.  The party is sponsored by Saturn to promote TLC’s new show Real Simple. Real Life.  As a host of the party I get a brand new Saturn for my use for the weekend.  I also got a gas card and a cookbook for entertaining.

All I had to do was throw a party for at least 10 of my friends on a given day (or sometimes they give you a range of dates to choose from).  In this case my friends will be gathering Friday night to view the premiere episode of Real Simple. Real Life.

But I’m not the only one who benefits, so do my friends.  In my care package from the sponsor are goodies for my guests.  For this party, they are getting canvas bags, water bottles, recipes, a coupon for an oil change and a discount offer for a subscription to Real Simple magazine.

This party is actually my third House Party.  The first was also for a television show.  In September 2007, I got to preview the Season 2 premiere of Friday Night Lights two weeks before it aired.  Party favors include megaphones, rally towels, kuzies and stadium seats.

Then last spring I hosted a party for Hershey’s Bliss – what’s better than a party for chocolate or for that matter any excuse to eat chocolate.  I combined two of my favorite things and we made our party into a wine and chocolate tasting.  My guests each brought a bottle of their favorite wine to share and Hershey provided the chocolate.  Each guest also got their share of chocolate to take home among other goodies.

That party was such a hit that it inspired my friends to host similar “tastings” – even without the free party favors.  In fact we just went to a beer tasting/cook out last month.

My friends love these parties too.  They are always asking me when I’ll be hosting another one.  As for me I love any excuse to throw a party.  And the swag is a bonus.

They have House Parties for everything.  You can view a list of upcoming parties at houseparty.com/events.

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What Are Your Super Bowl Plans

January 31, 2008

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner.  Are you ready?I grew up in a household where Super Bowl Sunday passed by like any other weekend (Nascar weekends were another story).  My mother went to an all-girl’s Catholic school with 12 in her graduating class so you never developed a taste for the sport.  A childhood injury that left my father with severe knee problems prevented him from playing football as a child; thus, football was never a priority for him.  In fact, football was a sport I never even watched until I hit high school.  

Now I live with a man who plans for the Super Bowl like others plan for Christmas dinner.  He’s been mulling over the menu for weeks.  A menu for our family of four – we aren’t even having a party.  Sometime on Sunday he’ll rearrange the furniture for optimal viewing.  He might toss around the football with the kids for a little bit, but by 2 p.m. he’ll be settling in for pre-game, venturing from the TV only for the preparation of game snacks.

Me personally, I’m somewhere in between the two.  I enjoy a good game, can’t wait for the parade of Super Bowl commercials, loved the camaraderie of a party and will sit and watch the half time show.

What about you?  What are your Super Bowl plans?

What is your favorite part of the Super Bowl?  What is your favorite Super Bowl snack?


10 Steps for Surviving the Writer’s Strike

November 9, 2007

I watch too much TV.  I’m the first to admit  it (the first step for conquering any addiction is admitting you have a problem).  That said, I don’t actually see myself giving up one of my favorite past times.  At least until this strike hit.  But as my favorite TV shows go dark one by one, I find myself in quite a quandary.  So I’ve come up with my own 10-step (I know it really should’ve been 12) plan to avoid the withdrawal symptoms and help me survive the strike.

1.  Clear the Backlog on my DVR
Over the last few weeks as my DVR has closed in on capacity, I’ve wondered about giving up on some of the more mediocre shows.  Did shows like Cane, Journeyman, Moonlight and Private Practice actually deserve a coveted place on my nearly full DVR?  Normally, I’d have cut the ties on at least a couple of these shows weeks ago.  But the strike has me running scared, so I saved them.  While these shows haven’t wowed me they are still better than endless hours of reality TV.  So I will fill my cold, dark winter nights clearing out the drudge on my DVR.  What can I say?  I can’t go cold turkey.  

2.  Catch up on Summer Blockbusters
This summer we were actually treated to some great new television shows.  Add the great summer fare to a busy summer with the kids and there was little time left to hit the theaters.  Now all those movies I wanted to see over the summer are being released on DVD.  We’ll be adding a few of these to our DVD collection and will spend several evenings catching up on what we missed this summer.  Yes, I know I’m subbing one addiction for another.  But hey, it’s baby steps!

3.  Hit the Theatres for the Holiday Movie Season
The holiday movie season has already started and I actually think there might be a few good selections out there.  Our outing to see the Bee Movie with the twins was successful so I’m encouraged.  See I’m progressing.  At least now I’m off the couch.

4.  Get a Jump Start on Christmas
Since I’m already at the mall for the movies, I might as well get a jump on my Christmas shopping.  Hmmm, I might be able to finish my shopping before December this year.  With such an early start, I might even make a few gifts this year.  And while I’m at it, I might as well get my decorations up early (that way we can look at the pretty lights on tree when there are no pretty lights coming from the TV).  There are Christmas cards to write and goodies to bake.  This step could keep me busy for a while.

5.  Blog More
Without all that TV watching taking up my time, I might actually get a chance to do some more blogging.  I always fall back to writing about my favorite shows.  Now I’ll be forced to conquer new topics.  Watch out world, you’ll be hearing my opinion on everything.  See that in itself, might be enough to stop the strike.

6.  Learn a New Hobby
Now is as good of time as any to pick up a new hobby.  Hmm . . . I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy.  If I start now, I can use it for #4.  Won’t all my friends and family be impressed when they get hand-addressed Christmas cards done in calligraphy?  Okay, maybe I’m pushing myself a little too much here.  I must keep expectations realistic.

7.  Read a Good Book
I haven’t picked up a book since this summer.  It’s a real shame, because I really enjoy reading.  Here’s my chance to catch up with my reading list.  And what’s better on a cold winter night than curling up with a good book and a hot drink.  If I feel adventurous and want to multi-task and combine books with another step like #5 or #6, I might give audio books a try.

8.  Enjoy a Good Meal
No more microwaved meals in front of the television.  Instead, I can sit down at one of my favorite restaurants and enjoy a good meal.  Better yet, I can try a new restaurant.  Or since I just bought Jessica’s Seinfeld’s new book, I can take another go at learning to cook.  But due to my level of domestic challengeness, it might need to be a really long strike if I’m going to make any headway in that department.  It might be safer for all if I just hit the restaurants.

9  Enjoy a Good Night’s Sleep
No more staying up to watch late night talk shows.  No more trying to keep my eyes open for that 10 o’clock show.  I’m off to bed for a good nights sleep.  With a little rest, who knows what I’m capable of!

10.  Throw a Party
Sure I could have put something healthy here like start a new exercise program, but hey a party would be more fun.  What a better way to touch base with my friends then to invite them over for a night of stimulating conversation and fun antics (read beer and chips over a game of Taboo).

Just writing this post as helped quell the panic that’s been building ever since the writers picked up their first picket sign.  You know, I think I’m going to be okay.  I will be able to survive this strike. 

Now tell me about you.  What will you be doing to get through this strike?