Wednesday, January 13, 2010

10 Ways to Stay Connected in '10

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Sprint

Everyone does a list at the end of the year, right? Resolutions. Things to Accomplish. Things Finished.

Here at the Hotfessional household, the five of us are scattered to the winds. One away at grad school, one at EMU as a Freshman, one a senior at WVU, Mr. Hot holding the fort with the pets at our house in Michigan, and me - working and living part-time in Chicago.

The older ones are fine. Mr. Hot and I are on the phone three or four times every day. The problem? The 18-year-old freshman, living alone for the first time. I know he doesn't think he needs his mom. As long as he has a supply of sports drink and a Subway Sandwiches gift card with an automatic refill, he's happy. I, however, don't believe that because he's off on his own that he's done hearing my nagging advice. So, this year, I'm going to make sure that we stay more in touch.

How? Well, that's where MY list comes in.


  1. Phone calls. I know he doesn't like talking to me while he's in his room with his roommate, but he has time between classes when he's out on campus walking around. Surely he'll think he looks cool (or at least like everyone else) if he keeps his phone plastered to his ear?

  2. Texts! I am hopelessly slow, but it's worth it to know how his Sociology test went.

  3. Video? Maybe. I'm not sure I really want to see the state of his dorm room via webcam, but to see his smile, I can overlook the dirty underwear on the floor.

  4. Instant Messaging worked for me and Mr. Hot when my phone wouldn't work while I traveled through India last month. Wonder if I can get the 18 year old to tell me his screen name.

  5. Good old fashioned written notes - tucked into a care package! Hey, I'll resort to paying postage for a dozen candy bars if it means I can nag encourage him to study!

  6. Smoke signals? I'm not sure they'll make it across Lake Michigan. Which way do the prevailing winds blow?

  7. Conference Calls! We can talk as a family with three-way calling! I can listen to Mr. Hot and our son argue just like they do when we're together! It'll be like being right there with them.

  8. Email works when I have specific questions. Questions like, "Do you need money?" ALWAYS get a response. It may only be a single-word answer, but if he types "yes", then I at least know he's alive.

  9. With a campus job, there's not an unlimited opportunity to come home on the weekends, but that doesn't mean that we can't get together for a meal at a nearby restaurant. Hugs make everything better!

  10. Phone calls. Oh, I know I already had this one on the list, but really, if you can't be there, the next best thing really is hearing a loved one's voice. Schedule the call. Make sure it happens. I'm thinking Tuesday night as he's finishing work and walking back to his dorm.

How to pay for the care package postage? For the gas money to get those hugs? Well, do I have a deal for you! You can:

Just tell me your best tips for keeping your family connected in the New Year.

Leave your tips as a comment or leave a link to your post on your own blog in the comments section. The contest will begin January 13, 2010 and will end February 9, 2010. (Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.)

In fact, you have 9 chances to win $200 at the special offers page. Go see other great tips!

Check out the Family Connections Group at BlogHer.

======Don't forget to read the rules!======

* No duplicate comments.
* You may receive an additional entry by linking on twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
* You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
* This giveaway is open to US-residents, aged 18 and older
* Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
* You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
* Please see the official rules here: Official rules

Now, how are you planning to stay connected in 2010?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Estée Lauder - Part Deux

BlogHer Reviewer

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Launch Event

Thursday, July 23, after a horrendously rainy walk from the wrong (oops!) Macy's to the Watertower Place Macy's, I looked pretty much like I felt. Exhausted. Drowned-rat-like. My feet were dying (it's not good to walk over a mile in 3 1/2 inch heels) and I really could have used a bit more anti-perspirant that morning. Or a long soak in a hot tub.

But I was determined to participate in the second half of our Estée Lauder review - the party at Macy's for the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Launch Event. And man, oh man, was I glad I made it.

First, we all gathered around to hear the story of Estée Lauder.

We learned how Mrs. Lauder stood outside a department store for 8 hours trying to convince the store's buyer to allow her six inches of space for the original Youth-Dew product. How she wasn't allowed to give away samples so instead, dropped an entire bottle so that the beautiful Youth-Dew scent brought buyers running. How important she felt it was to touch her customers.

We all received a gorgeous gift bag - full of sample products and as well as a full sized sample of this:

And it? Is awesome. My lashes have never looked this long without looking clumpy. I'm a convert for sure.

Best of all, though, we also learned how important that personal touch really is. Every one of us got a makeover. My makeup artist, (and really, she was...I was a wreck by that time, she had her work cut out for her) Sorka, asked me about my skin, chose a foundation and a concealer that was the most perfect match I'd received (and yes, she gave me a sample!)...dotted my cheeks with blush and my eyelids with a beautifully natural tawny color that didn't crease at all.

The icing on the cake, though, was her application of lipstick (I never wear lipstick) that didn't make me stare at myself wondering, "Where did these lips come from?". It was perfectly natural and had just the right amount of shimmer.


Don't just take my word for it though. Read about the rest of the BlogHer Reviewer's experiences at the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Event at Macy's!

Now, seriously...could you tell I had walked 10 blocks in platform heels in the rain?

What's your favorite makeup product and how does it make you feel?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Inhabited World by David Long

I devoured this book. It's a glimpse into the mind of a spirit left to wander the house where he committed suicide. He watches the people who inhabit his home - trying to piece together what happened in his own life. His story stays just out of reach until Maureen moves in.

Long's writing is descriptive and deceptive in it's ability to drag you in.

Leave me a comment here if you'd like this book - my buddy the Random Number Generator will choose the lucky recipient on Wednesday July 22nd.

Love, The Hotfessional

UPDATED: The winner is witchypoo! Congratulations witchypoo!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Estee Lauder is my new BFF

BlogHer Reviewer

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair

I turned 46 years old in May. Forty-six. How did that happen? I look in the mirror and see the same face that looked back at me when I was 26. I never paid much attention to my skin aging before, I was more worried about the zits that I couldn't seem to grow out of, but once I got closer to 50 than 40, I figured it was time to change my tune.

(Okay, that and BlogHer and Estée Lauder invited me to review Advanced Night Repair. But really! I was going to look for something to use to combat years of ignoring sun and pollution damage when the offer came, and who am I to say no?)

My usual skincare routine is lazy at best. I wash my face, throw some toner at it, and then...if I don't see any new pimples, I moisturize. Making the commitment to pay attention while using this product meant really PAYING ATTENTION.

And so I did.

I washed my face with my usual cleanser, used my toner, and then applied the Advanced Night Repair. Estée Lauder recommends using their moisturizer afterwards, but since I didn't have any, I used my regular moisturizer.

It's amazing. Well and truly - even though everything else about my skincare routine was the same, my skin does look younger - it feels firmer and has a glow that it hasn't had since...well, since I was 26. I no longer have dry or blotchy patches - my face is evenly hydrated and evenly toned. I can only imagine what I'll look like when I pick up more of the line. (Dare I say it? hot?)

Retail Price: $47.50 --- For more information, click here.

The packaging is great. The logo on the brown and gold bottle is pure Estée Lauder. The dropper dispenses just the right amount of the serum. It's a small enough package to get through airport security (important since I travel weekly)!

The liquid is a clear, creamy-ish gel with a slight fresh, citrusy scent. It smooths over skin easily and absorbs quickly.

If you're ready for healthier, younger-looking, glow-tacular skin, this is definitely a product worth considering. Don't just take my word for it, though. You can read other reviews here.

Even better:

Estée Lauder invites you to AMERICAS NIGHT TO REPAIR. On Thursday, July 23, 5-9PM, visit any Estée Lauder Counter and get a free 10-day supply of New Advanced Night Repair, no purchase necessary (while supplies last).


How about you? What skin problem would you like to repair?

Monday, June 8, 2009


So, is this thing still on? No, really. October 16, 2008 was the last time I posted here? I guess my whole idea of pointing you to good books kinda fell by the wayside, eh? Must have something to do with the whole losing my job, finding a job, outrageous travel schedule, etc, etc, and whine, whine, whine.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm doing a review for BlogHer soon (and hope to do more) and their rules are pretty stringent about having a DIFFERENT site for some of the products. Plus, I'm all about ME on My Life as a Hotfessional (well, okay, that and bitching about others), so reviews don't really fit there.

Anyway - my way of saying, "Stay tuned".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chicken Soup WINNERS

Commenters 5... 7... and 4!

Now, I crossed my fingers that you wouldn't all want the same book - and I got lucky. Only one of the winners asked for a specific edition - so y'all made it easy on me.

Thank you. Sincerely. Because for a minute there, I panicked.
  1. Moms & Sons - Stories by Mothers and sons, in Appreciation of Each Other Pamela, yay you! Pamela - you get the sons one. Remember. Tissues.
  2. Like Mother, Like Daughter - Stories about the Special Bond between Mothers and Daughters - Deb gets this one. Deb, I don't have an email for you, so please get in touch soon!
  3. Moms Know Best - Stories of Appreciation for Mothers and Their Wisdom - Goes to Pam.

Winners - please email me with your particulars so I can get these in the mail. (BTW, anyone who knows me knows that getting me to the Post Office is like pulling teeth, but I promise it'll be before the end of the month!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chicken Soup

Honestly y'all. I'm nursing my first head cold in years - and it's a doozy. As soon as I posted that I never, ever get sick in a meme on "My Life as a Hotfessional", Karma decided to kick my butt to the ground with the hacking and the sneezing and the swollen eyes.

What's the best thing in the world for a cold?

Chicken Soup!

And when it's in print form - and you're reading it - and your nose is running and you're tearing up and reaching for the tissues and your family is laughing at you for crying about a book, you can pretend it's the stupid head cold. (Not that I would ever do that, you understand!)


Here's an excerpt (reprinted with permission):

In Mom We Trust
The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.
~James A. Garfield

My mom embarrassed me. In fifth grade, she was the
mom interrupting sex education with my birthday
cupcakes. In seventh grade, she picked up the phone
and told me it was bedtime at 9:30 on a Friday night when I was on
the phone with Eric, the cute boy in art class. And after Sam stood
me up on the night of winter formal, my mom stormed into his work
and made a scene, demanding he pay for my unused dress and shoes.
Although (I must admit) it would have been classic to see the look
on his face had I been there, I was furious with her for making matters
even more humiliating. Mom was always there to serve and protect.
She was like a superhero who just seemed to make everything

During the middle years when every month brought changes
in bra size, boyfriends and hair color, my mom was as impossible to
hide from as puberty. She was like a supernatural force, a divine spirit
with psychic abilities. If I made any sort of mistake, she knew about
it before I walked through the front door. She had a sixth sense, and
it wasn’t fair. My friends could experiment and lie and be out past
curfew, and their parents would never in a thousand years catch on.
As for me, if I were to even sample a beer or inhale one drag of a cigarette,
my mom knew. As a result, by high school I had learned that it was best
for me not to lie — after all, I knew better. I had a mom who
knew everything, anyway.

And then there was a night when I couldn’t be honest. All my
friends were making a journey down to Mexico for the evening. The
boy I especially liked invited me to come along. He was older and
had a car. I really, really wanted to go. I had resisted in the past,
but this time I found myself agreeing to the invitation. (My parents
thought I was spending the night with my best friend.) We went, and
it was fun and dangerous and stupid, and GREAT! Luckily, we made
it home safely that night, and I spent the night at a friend’s house.
His parents weren’t home, but if they had been, I have a feeling they
wouldn’t have cared that ten high-schoolers were gathered in their
living room after a night in Tijuana. They were the type of parents
who just didn’t seem to care all that much about anything, which at
the time I thought was pretty cool.

The morning after my little rebellious experience, my dad opened
the front door to greet me.

“Hi Bec,” he cheered. My mother put down her dishtowel and
kissed me on the cheek. I waited for her to notice something different
about me, something that might lead her to believe that I had been
up to no good.

“I’m gonna take a shower now,” I began.

She didn’t say anything. She just hugged me tightly and asked
me not to forget to clean my room. I spent twenty minutes in the
shower wondering what I should do. My mom would surely figure it
all out sooner or later. Should I tell her?

I decided to stay rigid. I was a good little actress. I could cover
for myself if I needed to. A lie (just this once) couldn’t hurt anyone.
When I came down for breakfast, I waited for the inquisition, but to
my surprise, it never came. Mom’s crystal ball must have been cloudy
that day, and for once, she didn’t suspect a thing. I was in luck. I was
relieved. I was shocked. I was guilty.

My conscience caught up with me after a few days. I couldn’t
stand it anymore and I told Mom everything, every detail. She cried,
of course, scared for my life, afraid of what could have happened to
me, and through her gentle tears she grounded me — for an entire
month! Why, might you ask, did I tell her? Trust me, I asked myself
that same question every day of that miserable month. I could have
gotten away with it. I know that for a fact — or do I?

Sooner or later she would have probably found out about everything.
And if that had happened, she would have not only grounded
me, but would have lost all of her trust in me, as well. You see, after
the Mexico incident, after I had confessed and then served my sentence,
I eventually earned back my parents’ trust. In return, I was
given a later curfew, not to mention more privileges.

I didn’t tell my parents everything after that. Instead, we had a
system. I told Mom and Dad where I was going, when I would be
back and the important things that were happening in my life. It
turned out that superpsychic mom was cooler than I had originally
thought. I liked that she cared about me and my life, and I really
liked being able to share with her.

Over the years, Mom’s embarrassment factor has dimmed like
an old night light, but she remains the raging superhero she always
was. Even though I’m living one hundred miles away, she brings me
soup if I’m sick, helps with my work when I’m swamped and makes
sure that boyfriends are treating me right. She still has her crystal
ball on hand and will often call me on a bad day to cheer me up even
before I tell her that I was just fired, dumped or just plain lonely. She
has grown to be my best friend, and even though I don’t live at home
anymore, I still confide in her and tell her everything. Well — almost.

~Rebecca Woolf
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

I have THREE (count'em! THREE) Chicken Soup for the Soul books to give away.
  1. Moms & Sons - Stories by Mothers and sons, in Appreciation of Each Other
  2. Like Mother, Like Daughter - Stories about the Special Bond between Mothers and Daughters
  3. Moms Know Best - Stories of Appreciation for Mothers and Their Wisdom
(Yes, it was the first one that caused me to go through a box of tissue last night while pretending that it was my cold. Don't tell Mr. Hot!)

So, all you have to do is be leave me a comment and tell me which book you want. I'll randomly choose the winner on Shortman's birthday - October 16th - in honor of the day I became a mom!

The Hotfessional