Saturday, July 31, 2010

Motown Love: Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell

Click here if video is not shown

Another Great Moment in Motown Music History

Memories are FREE!  So let's take a moment to go down memory lane to celebrate the wonderful Motown Legacy of Detroit with this video featuring Tammy Terrell and Marvin Gaye singing "Aint No Mountain High Enough".

What a great way to start or end the day in the D! So turn up those computer speakers and Enjoy!

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DEALS: Staples Back to School Deals valid 8/1-8/7

Here is a this week’s back-to-school deals at STAPLES, valid August 1st through August 7th

59 cent deals
  • Economy Blue Binder. Limit 3. Sunday to Wednesday only
  • Divider. Limit 3. Sunday to Wednesday only

Dollar deals (offer valid August 1 – August 7):
  • Kodak premium gloss after EZ
  • Staples Dry Erase Eraser
  • Pentel RSVP
  • Bic White Out, 2 pack
  • Staples Pink Erasers, 3 pack
  • Bic Great Erase Fine, 4 pack
  • Staples Gold Paper Clip
  • Avery Glue Sticks, 3 pack
  • Assorted Pencil Boxes

$2 deals (offer valid August 1 – August 7):
  • ¾ Envelopes recycled
  • Expo Dry Erase Cleaner
  • Quartet 8.5 by 11 Dry Erase Board
  • Staples Construction Paper
  • Pilot Frixion Black Pens, 3 pack
  • Avery Note Tabs
  • Energel Deluxe
  • Staples Pencil Pouch
  • Assorted Mini Pencil Pouches
  • Really Useful Box
  • Staples Better Dividers
  • Pentel E Sharp Mechanical Pencil
  • Staples Invisible Tape

Other Deals (offer valid August 1 – August 7)
  • Save 25-50% on ALL backpacks

    #31DBBB Challenge: 31 Days to a better blog - Days 11-13 New ideas, Calendaring, and Mall Tripping

    Problogger 31 Day Challenge to a better blog

    This is my fifth post in the series for the Problogger 31 Day Challenge with the SITS Girls Community.  This challenge gives bloggers 31 activities to do that will improve their blogs based on the e-book by Darren Rowse.

    Day one's challenge was to write an Elevator Pitch for my blog.

    The challenges for day two through day four were to Write a List Post, Promote a blog post, and Analyze a top blog in my field.

    The challenges for day five through day seven were to Email a blog reader, read the Problogger 27 must read tips and tutorials for bloggers, and Write a Link Post.

    The challenges for day eight through day ten were to Link to old blog posts, Join a Forum and Start Participating, Set up Monitor Alerts for your Blog's Niche.

    Day eleven's challenge was to come up with 10 post ideas. Since I mainly blog about freebies and deals, I am usually not in need of things to post - FREE seems to be everywhere. When I write original content, it is usually a review or about a current event in the news. So again, I am not at lost for ideas.  But if you are a lifestyle blogger who has to come up with mostly orginal content on a daily basis, you will probably get writers block from time to time.  Problogger has some great ideas on how to come up with topics from extending a previous post to taking the opposite side of an issue.  I like to look back on old posts and gather information into a new post.  For example, I have a lot of bargain travel related posts on FREEISMYLIFE. So I gathered all the good links together and made a new post called "The Best Travel Posts on FREEISMYLIFE".  This idea can be used for any subject and gets new readers for those old but still valuable posts.

    Day twelve's challenge is to Create an editorial calendar. This is the challenge that I need to do the most, but have the most trouble completing.  One of the reasons that I like blogging is because it is different and I can write about lots of things.  So getting me to put writing into a schedule and pre-fill in days with subject ideas just seems too canned.  But, I have been caught at times with nothing to post, so having something in my back pocket would be a good idea.

    Following Darren's advice, I can do the simple math to figure out how many posts I will need for the week and then pull in ideas from day eleven's challenge with some recurring posts on themes and I am done.  For me easier said than done.  But at least I understand what I have to do.

    Today is day thirteen and the challenge is to Take a Trip to the Mall.  As much as I like shopping, anytime someone tells me to go to the mall, I am so there.  But this challenge is not about shopping.  The reason that I like the mall is because the atmosphere is completely setup to put people in a great mood and to make shopping fun.  Those small tactics used at the mall can be employed in a blog to make people want to read it. Is your design colorful and pleasing to the eye?  Is it simple to get around and find things?  Do the titles of the blog posts make folks want to read the meat of the post?  Just like in a mall, your marketing messages need to make people want to linger.

    Although my blog design is not custom, I like it because the colors are pleasing and the design is very simple.  I like only having one side column because it forces me to keep things sparse. I try to use color to draw the eye to in and make people want to linger and stay awhile. So on your next mall trip, notice all the small marketing messages, write them down, and figure out how to employ them in your blog.

    So that's it for this blog post. Come back on Tuesday to check out the following challenges:

    Day 14: Update key pages on your blog
    Day 15: Find a blog buddy
    Day 16: Solve a problem for a reader

    Follow the Twitter hashtag #31DBBB if you want to see how the 500+ woman bloggers are doing that are part of this challenge.


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    FREE MP3's from Beyonce, Chaka Khan, Trin-I-Tee 5:7 and more on

    FREE MP3's of Performers from the Essence Music Festival

    Music featuring performers from the Essence Music Festival like Beyoncé, Solange, and Chaka Khan are part of the Music World's Essence Collection and this collection is available free for a limited time on  HOLLA to the FREE!

    I would hurry if I were you since FREE on Amazon does not last forever!

    1. Wishing On A Star - Beyoncé
    2. Would've Been The One - Solange
    3. I Decided - Pt. 2 = Solange
    4. Power Of God - Ramiyah
    5. Covered - Ramiyah
    6. You Care For Me - Michelle Williams
    7. Just Love - Brian Courtney Wilson
    8. Believe - Brian Courtney Wilson
    9. Love - Trin-I-Tee 5:7
    10. Get Away - Trin-I-Tee 5:7
    11. I Believe - Micah Stampley
    12. I'm In The Mood For Love - Chaka Khan
    13. Diamonds Are Forever - Chaka Khan
    14. Peace - The Pastor Rudy Experience Vol. 1: Touch
    15. Celebrator - The Pastor Rudy Experience

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    Friday, July 30, 2010

    FREE Apple Gift Cards with the Apple Recycling Program

    Get an Apple Gift Card for the value of your old computer

    Turn that computer you’re not using anymore into a brand-new Mac, iPod, iPhone, or iPad. Whether it’s a Mac or a PC, working or nonworking. It doesn’t matter. Apple will take it and determine if it qualifies for reuse. If it does, that means your computer has monetary value that they apply to an Apple Gift Card.

    You can use the gift card for purchases at any Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. If your computer doesn’t qualify for reuse, Apple will recycle it responsibly at no cost to you.

    Click here to learn how to get your gift card


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    DISCOUNT 25% off at Deli Unique West Bloomfield 7/30-8/1

    25% off In Store Dining at the Deli Unique West Bloomfield during the West Bloomfield Art Fair

    I received the following email today from Matt Prentice, the owner of the Deli Unique West Bloomfield.  I love sharing discounts with everything, so if you are in the area of the West Bloomfield Art Fair this weekend, you can get 25% off your total in store dining bill at the Deli Unique West Bloomfield by presenting this email (link here). Enjoy...

    The West Bloomfield Art Fair Begins Today (Friday, July 30,2010)...

    We have been very communicative this week, but there is a lot going on! We want to make sure you have access to wonderful dining options and discounts.

    The West Bloomfield Art Fair begins today. Join us for the fair and a great meal at our Deli Unique West Bloomfield (in store dining only), present a copy of this e-mail and you will receive a 25% discount on your total bill.

    We have recently updated the West Bloomfield Deli's Menu . Our new salads, led by an Heirloom Tomato Tower, are receiving raves. No deli in town can compete with these great salads. Try one this weekend and walk the fair on Orchard Lake Road for a perfect summer experience.

    If you have a group of six or more, please call in a reservation ahead of time at (248)737-3890.
    I hope you enjoy the new West Bloomfield Menu and look forward to your comments.

    Bon Appétit!
    Matt Prentice

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    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    FREE 2010 Jazz on the River Festival 7/31 8/1 Elizabeth Park Trenton

    Wayne County Parks
    The 15th Annual Jazz on the River for 2010
    Elizabeth Park in Trenton, Michigan

    Saturday, July 31st

    1:00p - 2:00p 
    Duane Parham
    2:30p - 3:30p 
    Metro Jazz Voices
    4:00p - 5:15p 
    Tim Bowman
    5:45p - 7:00p 
    Euge Groove
    7:30p - 9:00p 
    George Duke

    Sunday, August 1st
    1:00p - 2:00p Sean Dobbins

    2:30p - 3:30p Gwen Foxx
    4:00p - 5:15p 
    Nick Colionne
    5:45p - 7:00p 
    Alexander Zonjic & Friends with
    Thornetta Davis & Motor City Horns
    7:30p - 9:00p 
    Rick Braun and Richard Elliot (R n R)

    The event is free to the public; however, there is a $5 suggested donation for parking, which benefits Wayne County Parks. Free parking is available in downtown Trenton with free shuttle provided by Smart Transportation at the corner of Jefferson and West Road, also Jefferson and Elm to the entrance of Elizabeth Park.

    The park will be open to the public on both days beginning at Noon, and will close after the final performance.

    Elizabeth Park is located off of Jefferson, east of I-75, south of West Road in Trenton. Take I-75 South to the West Road exit and follow West Road east to Jefferson. Take Jefferson south into the park.

    Questions? More info? 

    Living for the (FREE) Weekend in Metro Detroit- July 30th - August 1st

    Here is a highlight of the FREE activities you can do this weekend in the metro Detroit area and beyond:

    On Friday, Wayne State will have their weekly FREE Planetarium Show in the lower level of the Old Main Building on the corner of Cass and Warren. The show is called "Wonders of the Universe".

    The movie Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore opens in theaters on Friday.  Read my review and play FREE online movie games.

    Also on Friday, the movie Charlie St. Cloud opens in theaters so be sure to read this great review by guest blogger Liz Parker.

    On Friday and Saturday nights, the Ren Cen 4  Movie Theater is having their "Over 21"Movie Night Tix (Appetizers and a Movie) Only $7 - When You Click here while supplies last

    Friday is also the opening day for the new movie Dinner for Schmucks.  Read this review before you go.

    The  FREE Rockin' on the RiverFront Series continues on Friday night with Blue Oyster Cult with Solid State at 8pm.  Come on down to the Detroit River Front with your chair and party on.

    On Saturday morning, make sure you take the kids to do FREE Kids Crafts at Lakeshore in Sterling Heights.  Activities start at 11am.

    Don't miss the FREE outdoor concert at 12 Mile Crossing Novi. Grievous Angel will be doing their Americana tunes.

    Saturday is the  LAST DAY to use the BOGO COUPON for a FREE Entrée at Andiamo.  Hurry before it is all over. 

    Saturday is also the LAST DAY TO ENTER the Employment Make-over Contest. Local Michigan residents should write a 200 to 500 word essay (photos welcome) describing why they deserve an employment make-over and how you think it will benefit you in looking for a job.   

    On Saturday and Sunday make sure you go to the 2010 Jazz on the River Festival in Trenton where you can hear jazz legends play for FREE.

    Have a wonderful and blessed weekend,

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    MOVIE REVIEW: Charlie St. Cloud

    Guest blogger Liz Parker is back from an advance screening of Charlie St. Cloud.

    How does Zac Efron do in this dramatic role?  Let's see what Liz thinks....

    I went in to this movie not knowing much about it, except that it is based on the book, entitled The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud. Zac Efron is widely known for his roles in the "High School Musical" movies, so I was also wondering if he'd be able to pull off acting in a dramatic movie. His acting was average, but the movie itself was a pleasant surprise.

    Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron, "17 Again") seems to have it all - he's just graduated high school, he has a sailing scholarship to Stanford, and he has a little brother (Charlie Tahan, "Nights in Rodanthe") who adores him. All of that changes, however, after a fatal car accident, in which he survives but his brother does not. Charlie defers from Stanford, and we then flash-forward to five years later, in which he is working as the groundskeeper at the local cemetery where his brother is buried. He reunites with Tess (Amanda Crew, "Sex Drive"), a high school classmate of his who intends to sail around the world, and there seems to be something between them; she is leaving for her journey soon, though, and she will be away for six months.

    Zac Efron is not a great actor, but he is handsome enough that most of the time we can forgive him for his so-so acting. There were many good supporting actors in the film, including Dave Franco (TV's "Scrubs") as a friend of Charlie's who ships out to the military, and Kim Basinger ("The Informers") in a small part as Claire St. Cloud. Ray Liotta ("Date Night") also plays a good part as the paramedic that brings Charlie back to life after the car accident, and from whom Charlie learns a valuable life lesson.

    I would say Yes, see this movie. Although many parts were sappy and seemed like a Lifetime TV movie, the movie was overall interesting and had a nice message. There's also a major plot twist about halfway through the film that I did not see coming. Although a movie about a boy losing a close loved one may not be very original, "Charlie St. Cloud" has a lot of heart, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

    "Charlie St. Cloud" hits theaters this Friday, July 30.

    Click here if video is not shown

    Liz Parker is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan. She currently works as an Assistant Medical Editor for a pathology website. Visit her at her movie blog Yes/No Films.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    MOVIE REVIEW: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore in 3D + free games

    Not the Best Kids Movie of the Year, but OK

    On Tuesday, I and my son went to an advance screening of Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore at the Emagine Theater in Novi.

    The story is about a police dog named Diggs (voiced by James Marsden) who has been thrown off the police force because he went "rouge", did not follow orders, and accidentically blew up a car dealership.  He is banned to the kennels until one day a secret under cover dog named Butch (voiced by Nick Nolte) shows up out of no where to recruit him for a top secret mission. A former cat agent named Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler) was chased into a vat of fur removal gel by a guard dog and now wants revenge on dogs and mankind.  The movie follows Diggs, Butch and their animal posse as they try to take down the evil Kitty Galore and save their beloved humans.

    I have to admit, that I went into the movie thinking it was going to be dumbest movie that I seen in a while.  I am not a big fan of talking animal movies and the first 40 minutes proved that I was right on the dumb part. Everyone wanted to laugh, but there was just not much to be excited about. The entire movie theater was in dead silence. The movie mocked every James Bond movie ever made and the action was decent at best.  But as the movie moved along something strange happened: it got funny and it was exciting! Those dogs and cats and that crazy pigeon actually had me enjoying myself and getting into the plot. Bette Midler as Kitty Galore was too funny. But Katt Williams as Seamus, the stool pigeon, had the best lines in the entire movie.

    Don't go expecting the best kids movie of the year with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.  My son actually loved this movie since the end was good. If you can stand going from boring to decent to exciting, then this movie is for you. Otherwise, go see Despicable Me in 3D and wait for this one to come out on DVD.

    Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore opens in theaters Friday, July 30, 2010.

    Click here to Play FREE online Cats and Dogs Games

    Click here if video is not shown

    FREE DFCU KIDS Money Summer Camps in August - Dearborn, Livonia, South Lansing & Grand Rapids - RSVP

    FREE DFCU Financial Seminars for Children 
    DFCU Financial believes educating our youth about money management is essential and should begin at an early age. DFCU Financial offers seminars for both kids and teens to teach them the basics of money management that will serve them well as they grow into adults. 
    Wise Kids Club
    2010 Summer Financial Boot Camps
    For children ages 7 to 12
    Savings Safari
    The camps are interactive, fun and, most important of all, educational! This year the camp will be a Savings Safari packed with adventure and information on how to save money and keep it safe.  Snacks and pizza will be provided.  All camps are identical, so please sign up for only one. 
    Reservations are required.
    400 Town Center Drive
    Dearborn, MI  48126
    Dates: Wednesday, August 11;  Wednesday, August 18
    Times: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Reservations: 313.322.8225
    37373 Seven Mile Road
    Livonia, MI 48152
    Date: Tuesday, August 10
    Times: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
     Reservations: 313.322.8225
    South Lansing
    4510 S. Pennsylvania Ave.
    Lansing, MI  48910
    Date: Thursday, August 5
    Time: 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m
    Reservations: 800.739.2779
    Kelloggsville Middle School
    4650 Division Ave. S.E.
    Grand Rapids, MI  49548
    Date: Tuesday, August 3
    Time: 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    Reservations: 800.739.2780

    #31DBBB Challenge: 31 Days to a better blog - Days 8-10 Interlinking, Forums, and Monitoring

    Problogger 31 Day Challenge to a better blog

    This is my forth post in the series for the Problogger 31 Day Challenge with the SITS Girls Community.  This challenge gives bloggers 31 activities to do that will improve their blogs based on the e-book by Darren Rowse.

    Day one's challenge was to write an Elevator Pitch for my blog.

    The challenges for day two through day four were to Write a List Post, Promote a blog post, and Analyze a top blog in my field.

    The challenges for day five through day seven were to Email a blog reader, read the Problogger 27 must read tips and tutorials for bloggers, and Write a Link Post.

    Day eight's challenge was to Interlink my old blog posts.Interlinking with your old blog posts does a number of good things. If you are writing a series (like this challenge), linking to the prior post in the series and the next post will allow your readers to easily follow along without having to to a search. Also, when readers click on the links to other blog posts, your number of page views goes up and improves your blog stats. Interlinking also increases your blog's number of links which improves your Google Page Rank.

    Most bloggers are already using code to add links from older blog posts at the bottom of each new post. Installing that code has helped my page counts to go up significantly. If you don’t know about Linkwithin, go to this link for more info

    Day nine's challenge is to Join a Forum and Start Participating. Forums are online communities where bloggers can ask questions of other bloggers and learn from each other. Forums also expose your blog to a wider audience. There are many blogger forums- too many to list. This 31 day challenge is being sponsored through the SITS Girls Community Forum. For this challenge, SITS Girls setup a list of all the participates Twitter ids, and because I joined the challenge, another 300+ bloggers are now following me on Twitter and know more about my blog.

    Other than SITS Girls, I am not a big forum participant because I don't have the time. I do love following because Chris Brogan give lots of insight into the tools and techniques that he is using to grow his blog and businesses. Following Chris is like learning through watching someone else doing.

    Today is day ten and the challenge is to Set up Alerts to Monitor Your Blog's Niche.  I use Google Alerts to monitor the name of my blog so that I know what is being said about it in the bloggerspere.  Darren Rowse's book says that you should monitor other blogs in your niche, but unless you are a fan of those blogs, looking at what other folks are doing instead of focusing on doing what you do best can become very time consuming. So proceed with caution in deciding what to monitor.

    So that's it for this blog post. Come back on Saturday to check out the following challenges:

    Day 11: Come up with 10 post ideas
    Day 12: Create an editorial calendar
    Day 13: Take a trip to the ‘mall’

    Follow the Twitter hashtag #31DBBB if you want to see how the 300+ woman bloggers are doing that are part of this challenge.


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    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    FREE Bic Pens this week at Target


    I do so love Target and this week they have Bic Pens for 99 cents.  Use the online $1 off Bic coupon on the Target website and they will be - what's my favorite word - FREE!

    Follow the link to the Target coupon website.  Pick the category "Stationary" to get the the $1 Bic coupon.  Sometimes it is the small freebies that make me happy - like have a working pen in my house.


    FREE OF CHARGE: The Most INTERESTING Blog Posts of the Week - a la Lady Gaga

    Hmmm.... Interesting....

    I read a lot of blogs in my Google Reader and I usually find the information to be useful, interesting, or funny.  So I decided to list the most interesting blog posts that I have read this week.  I especially like the post teaching marketing a la Lady Gaga.  These posts also have the most creative titles that I have seen in quite a while.  I hope you like them...

    Dear Car Dealerships – Stop Sucking by Chris Brogan

    The Worst Button in the World from Blue Sky Factory

    Competition, Slush Piles and Cavemen: Converting Your Novel to ePub from BlogWorld

    9 Proven Tips For Creating An Extraordinarily Successful Blog [Lady Gaga Edition] from ProBlogger

    Have you read any interesting blog posts this week?  Add a link in the comments if you want to share...

    REVIEW: I took the Xtend Fitness Class at Equilibrium Studio - and all I got was a Toned Body


    In June, I blogged about the FREE week of Xtend fitness classes at the Equilibrium Studio in Bloomfield Hills. The Xtend Barre Workout is a new sculpting fitness workout and Equilibrium Studio is Michigan's exclusive Xtend training studio and the first studio is Southwestern MI to provide Xtend classes to the public.

    I used to do pilates a few years ago and my body was in the best shape of my life during that time. All the isometric moves really tightened up my body.  The only thing that I did not like about Pilates was that it tended to be a little boring at times. So I wanted to try an Xtend fitness class because it is billed as a lively, but tough sculpting ballet barre workout packed with isometric exercises to tighten and tone the body.

    To Bloomfield Hills we go...
    The Equilibrium Studio is housed in two buildings in the Bloomfield Medical Village. Upon arrival, I filled out an evaluation questionnaire about my health and also a release form.  One thing that I did not know was that I needed socks to do the workout so don't forget to bring some if you plan to go.  Equilibrium does have socks for purchase.

    The Xtend class was in the studio next door to the main desk.  There is a place to put your shoes outside the door and cubbies inside the studio to store your purse.  The studio walls are covered in mirrors and there is a ballet barre on opposite sides of the room. Each participate is given a mat, weights, a resistance ball and stretch bands.  The weights range from one to two pounds. The instructor told me that using the one or two pound weights instead of higher pound weights will sculpt the muscles without building bulk. Xtend instructors are required to be trained in Pilates, making this the safest and most challenging barre workout available. Between the weights, stretch bands, resistance ball, the ballet barre and Pilates moves, I figured I was in for an exciting exercise session.

    Sweating to Michael Jackson
    The instructor put on some high energy Michael Jackson music and we were all ready to go. The Xtend workout starts with warm up stretches, weighted arm curls, and bouncing to the bass pumping music.  I was already sweating just from the warm up. The class then broke up into two groups to go to either ballet barre.  We went through a series of ballet like moves that stretched our muscles and worked the arms, legs, thighs and butt. You don't have to know anything about ballet to do these moves, but they will work you out, test your balance and get you really sweating.  There was one move where I had to hold the resistance ball between my thighs while doing a squat and holding on the barre.  I need some water just thinking about it.

    After the ballet barre, and a water break, we went to the mats to do push ups, stomach crunches, and leg lifts.  We ended the workout using the stretch bands on our feet to stretch our legs in various directions and then a Zen cool down using deep breathing.

    By the end of the 55 minute Xtend class, I knew, and felt, that I had had a total workout.

    Now it's Your Turn!
    Want to try an Xtend class for yourself?  Just follow Equilibrium Studios on Facebook where they have been offering introductory classes for FREE. Now you cannot beat that!

    Equilibrium Studios
    6405 Telegraph, Building G Bloomfield Medical Village
    Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48301

    Disclosure: I participated in a FREE Xtend Class for the purpose of writing this review and my butt is still sore - but in a good way :)


    In October the Xtend Barre Workout founder Andrea Rogers will be stopping by Equilibrium to share her moves.  You can watch Andrea in action in the video below...

    Click here if video is not shown

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