To see the winner, scroll to the bottom.
This is an interesting time to choose to write. This past Thursday was originally supposed to be my first day back from maternity leave, but the reality is I've been working in a part-time capacity for the last two weeks, taking Tuesdays and Thursdays off so we could ease back into the timesuck that is the Real World. And of course, there have been challenges. Learning to be away from my kids again, for one. Waking up with Liam and then getting up for the day at 5:30, for another - though we now have three consecutive nights of sleeping through the night under our belts, so maybe that problem is behind us (for now). Meanwhile, Luke's been managing drop-off and pick-up for Kara's and Nathan's school shenanigans two days out of the week, three starting next, and overseeing dinner while I'm navigating an hour-long drive home from my employer's new headquarters. Plus, we are once again maintaining a delicate balance on the budget tightrope, waiting patiently to receive my first full paycheck and build up our savings once again.
That last bit is partly why I agreed to take on my first sponsored post for a clothing boutique called Tea Collection. Fall wardrobes don't pay for themselves, you know.
Here you see Kara donning a lovely floral top/ribbed tee combo. She is so wearing this for preschool pictures next month.
Nathan, meanwhile, scored a long-sleeved hoodie, perfect for the rapidly changing weather.
Pros for Tea: Beautiful colors, incredibly soft fabric, items true to size. The company has a fun story - designing collections inspired by the different cultures they encounter while traveling around the world (their fall line is "Modern Mexico"). Plus, they're involved with a charity called The Global Fund for Children; according to the "Our Values" section of their site, they donate all proceeds from their Little Citizens line to this fund. That's one of the reasons I was drawn to Nathan's hoodie.
Cons: Price. In our current situation, Luke and I couldn't justify buying more than one or two Tea pieces for the kids once or twice a year. Tea granted me a $100 gift certificate in exchange for a review, and it was just enough for the three shirts/tops pictured here. I do, however, love the idea of occasionally splurging on Tea presents for nieces, nephews, and the other special children in our lives. Especially things from Little Citizens, with its philanthropic ties.
Another reason I agreed to the review is that the good people at Tea are allowing me to raffle off a $100 gift certificate to one of my blog readers! And because they also have a women's line, all the ladies can join in the fun.
Here's how this will go down:
Each day, I inch ever closer to finishing The Happiness Project, and one of the concepts from the book that's most resonated with me is Gretchen Rubin's attempt to follow her twelve Personal Commandments (find them here), to the point that I've started a list of my own affirmations to maintain perspective and hold onto my Zen in challenging situations. Some I've stolen from people I admire (Gretchen included), some are universal cliches that are especially meaningful to me, and others are just plain old common sense. I'm not always good at minding them, but hey, it's a place to start.
Bree's Affirmations (so far)
Just for today.
Put down the (smart)phone.
Quality, not quantity.
Be the bigger person.
Make the time.
Cleaning doesn't count.
Let it go.
Don't make it my problem.
It's not about me.
View everyone as a "10."
Go to sleep.
Act the way I want to feel.
Consider the spirit.
Know when to follow and when to lead.
Speak less, listen more.
Other people's choices are not a judgement on me.
I realize some of these are vague upon first read, so if you want explanations on any of them, just let me know.
Why you care: To enter the giveaway, share one of your own affirmations or feel-good type sayings in the comments by Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST. That night, I'll jot down all your names and have Luke draw one from a hat, the same way I distributed my Kevin Smith goodies a few years ago. I'll update this entry with the winner and let you know via Twitter and Facebook once it's been posted.
So! There you have it. My first sponsored giveaway. I didn't even have to use my A-K!
Updated 9/27/11: Wow, you guys. I had no idea that Tea was so well-known in the blogosphere. Or that my readers had such a vast amount of wisdom. I loved reading all your affirmations; I'm even going to add a a few of them to my own running list. But you don't care about that, do you? Alright, alright, here we go.
In total, there were 38 entries submitted for the Tea giveaway. Paper slips were made, names were written, and one husband was used to draw a winner. And that winner is:
Congratulations, Maddie! I'll e-mail you with more details. And THANK YOU to everyone who participated. I was really nervous about doing this, but you made it so much fun.
Disclosure: In case it wasn't supremely obvious, I received a $100 gift certificate from Tea Collection to buy the clothing mentioned in this entry and to share that glorious tidbit with you. My thoughts and opinions are my own.