Tuesday, August 30, 2011






Glee Tackles the Tough Topics 

Helping kids go back to school 

The TV musical sensation GLEE has been a magnificent success in its second series, bringing more show stopping tunes, dazzling dancing and witty one-liners. But most importantly, Glee has also brought to our screens contemporary issues in society and has tackled these tough topics in a sensitive yet effective manner. Here are some examples we have seen this series:



One of the biggest issues Glee has covered this season is bullying. All members of Glee are continually subject to bullying as they are considered to be the ‘school losers’ and are frequently drenched by slushies. The New Directions have a strong attitude against the bullies and stick up for each other. Kurt in particular, played by Chris Colfer, experiences the brunt of bullying at McKinley High to the extent that he decides to move schools to Dalton Academy where a strict anti-bullying policy is enforced. It is testament to Glee and their effective treatment of this issue that Chris Colfer has gained leading status and reputable accolades including a Golden Globe award, demonstrating the worldwide appraisal of the series. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus have admitted that they have been subject to bullying and Demi Lovato has openly spoken about being bullied. Demi has also created a ‘Teens Against Bullying’ video to increase awareness and to help combat the problem. 

Sexual Awareness


The main reason why Kurt is tormented and antagonized at McKinley High is because of his sexual orientation and his strong nature to not conceal this from his peers. Glee celebrates Kurt’s self-assuredness and demonstrates to young teenagers who are confused about their sexuality that they should be proud of who they are. Blaine, Kurt’s love interest who fronts Dalton Academy’s Warblers, provides Kurt with help and reassurance and reinforces the fact that Kurt should be who he wants to be if it makes him happy. Santana and Dave Karofsky both experience mixed feelings about their sexuality and are not ready, like Kurt, to be open about this issue. Glee demonstrates the confusion that sexuality can create for individuals but helps to show the teenage audience that when the time comes, people will be there to help you through. 

Effects of Alcohol


We’ve all been there, having one too many to drink the night before work or school the next day and walking around with your friends wearing matching sunglasses. Ok maybe the last part is just Glee. Whilst Glee portrays this issue in a humorous and light hearted manner, the message is still very prominent about the serious effects of alcohol. Finn provides an enlightening discussion about the different effects of alcohol: Santana is the weepy drunk, Mercedes and Tina are the hysterical drunks who find everything funny and then Rachel and Blaine share a drunken kiss. Yet Finn doesn’t touch a drop of alcohol, showing that teenagers do not have to bow to peer pressure and can abstain from drink if they choose to. During the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, Daniel Radcliffe has also spoken about the damage of excessive alcohol consumption and the destructive nature it can have. Radcliffe states at one point he was dependent on alcohol but since giving it up has become a lot happier. Glee helps to shed light on these issues and have created fantastic role models for teenagers to look up to. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


Cleaning every grape individually, organizing pamphlets on the desk and turning rigid at the thought of anything being messy. These are just some of the examples Emma Pilsbury’s OCD, a condition that is often not acknowledged within TV series. Glee illustrates the different characteristics of OCD and shows the help that is available for those who are living with it, as Emma herself decides to finally accept medical advice to control the disorder in Series Two.  However, it is refreshing to witness Emma’s approach to her OCD, accepting that it is part of her and part of her personality with the overall message hopefully helping those who are dealing with OCD on their own. Several celebrities also suffer or have suffered with OCD, including Jessica Alba, Leonardo Di Caprio and Cameron Diaz but all have made their peace with the condition to prevent it from ruling their lives.

Physical Appearances and Plastic Surgery


Growing up can be an extremely difficult time for adolescents and the pressure of physical appearance is growing to be an ever more increasing concern. When Rachel is hit in the face by Finn and breaks her nose, the singer uses the opportunity to consider plastic surgery to change her features, despite the protests from her fellow members in New Direction. However, Rachel comes to the conclusion that she likes the way she looks and does not want to revert to plastic surgery. However, unlike Rachel, Quinn has had plastic surgery and has no regrets about her decision. It is rare for a TV show to depict a story of someone whose life was changed for the better by surgery, but this further highlights the groundbreaking and genre-defying success of Glee. In fact, it is a more accurate depiction of real life, where plastic surgery can help benefit some but can also go horribly wrong.


In a school like McKinley High, being popular is a massive issue and the school social ladder is a continual theme running throughout the whole of Series Two; several characters including Santana and Quinn are desperate to be at the top and be the most popular girl in school. Yet Glee and the members of New Directions show that as long as you have a caring group of friends that will always stick by you and you are happy with yourself if doesn’t matter what your school status is. Being popular isn’t everything! And the ‘Born This Way’ episode epitomises this as the Glee members all wear t-shirts with their insecurities written on them. For instance, Finn’s says ‘Can’t Dance’ and Mike’s says ‘Can’t Sing.’ Parents should remember that Glee shows teenagers that they should embrace these and be proud of who they are!

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One LUCKY *ace and friends* reader will win 


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Summer w/ The Kids Guide: Nostalgia Electrics Old Fashioned S'Mores Maker {Review & Giveaway}

 Featured Sponsor

We are enjoying our last week home before school begins and as we do that we are spending some fun time in the evening creating some new amazing treats courtesy of Nostalgia Electrics' Old Fashioned S'Mores Maker!
The Story of Nostalgia Electrics

In April 2001, a table top hot air version of the full size, turn of the century popcorn carts was developed. With its old fashioned looks and trying to carve a niche in the market, Gregg Bond, president and inventor, coined the brand, Nostalgia Electrics.

After the initial delivery of the hot air popper in October 2001, the success was immediate with goods selling out faster then Nostalgia Electrics could replenish them. It was at that point they  knew they had a successful product line. So Gregg Bond and his team developed a line of products that was geared towards old fashioned family fun, keeping the focus on its niche and keeping price points affordable. Items such as snow cone carts, hot dog carts, cotton candy carts, etc were developed and launched.

In 2003, Nostalgia Electrics introduced the worlds first home version of the chocolate fondue fountain. From there Nostalgia Electrics has been true to its niche and has developed over 100 innovative and old fashioned design products that are shipped to over 27 countries worldwide. Today, the same development team is working on many more products to help make your life a party. 

About the Old Fashioned S'Mores Maker

The enjoyment of roasting marshmallows over a campfire flame can be brought to the comfort of your own kitchen. The Nostalgia Electrics Old Fashioned S'Mores Maker has a charming appeal and roasts up to 9-12 marshmallows at a time. No more splintered fingers or dropping marshmallows in the dirt with this convenient device. Each marshmallow evenly cooks to a crisp golden brown outside, gooey-sweet inside. Add graham crackers and chocolate squares to make a delicious s'mores treat. 

Product Details:

  • includes 50 bamboo skewers
  • 2 minute cooking timer with automatic shut-off
  • No pre-heating required
  • Removable drip tray
  • Power on/off light

ace and friends thoughts

As we don't have access to a campfire or firepit, the Old Fashioned S'Mores Maker was perfect for us, plus as an added bonus, we could roast marshmallows in on pajamas. What's not to love about that?!! It definitely roasted our marshmallows perfectly and heated them in virtually no time at all. There is a timer on the side of the S'more Maker that can be adjusted to your roasting pleasure. There is a drawer located on the front of the machine to store your extra supplies and s'mores ingredients. This machine looks pretty sleek and it performs as it claims.... we love our s'mores at our house and now we can enjoy them ALL year long! Final thoughts: The Old Fashioned S'Mores Maker made an ooooeeee, gooooeeeey deliciously good treat!

Buy It 

You can visit  Nostalgia Electrics to locate a retailer near you.

Win It 

One LUCKY *ace and friends* reader will win
an Old Fashioned S'Mores Maker  of their very own

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Back To School Guide: BOGS Footwear {Review & Giveaway}

Featured Sponsor

Rain, sleet, snow... we get a variety of FUN weather here in the Midwest. Ok, maybe it's not exactly fun, but {a} will be prepared for that kind of weather and more with her new boots by BOGS.

About BOGS

From the wet, windy coastal gales to the knee-deep mud and snow of the Willamette Valley and the Cascades, BOGS® quality footwear roots itself in Oregon -- and its weather. With their forty years of shoe industry experience, they strive to produce the most comfortable footwear for the most uncomfortable conditions, keeping your feet warm and dry -- all day long. Whether it's on the farm, in the forest or a night out on the town, BOGS® designs integrate ground-breaking function with style. 

BOGS® unique footwear is 100% waterproof, offering unsurpassed comfort and warmth, even in sub-zero temperatures. Using non-slip technology to release mud and snow, their soles guarantee the traction you need, specializing in designs for agriculture, hunting and around the town. They have also enhanced some of their designs with new, breathable materials to give you even greater, moisture-free comfort.
ace and friends thoughts

Remember when you were a kid and you’d come in from outside - your feet felt so frozen, the only way you thought you could thaw them out was to run them under some warm water? Or maybe you mom was like mine and made you wear plastic bags over your socks before you put on your boots to prevent your feet from getting wet. Luckily {a} won't have to suffer like that because BOGS are not only insulated to keep your feet warm, but they are also waterproof. Finally, a boot to do it all!

The generous folks at BOGS sent over the Classic Tuscany (in Pink) boot to help {a}'s rain or (need I say) snow-filled days so much easier. {a} thought these boots were not only very cute, bus very comfortable. She mentioned they felt a little heavier than her winter boots of the past, but not so much as to be awkward. The boots were very easy to get on and off which I found to be a HUGE benefit!

In addition to kid's boots, BOGS also have a wide selection of styles for women and men. They offer a variety of solid colors as well as some delightful prints. If you are in the market for a reliable, functional and unique all-weather boot, make sure to get yourself a pair of BOGS, your feet will be happy you did!

A little more about the Class Tuscany for Girls (in Pink)
  • Comes in Black, Violet, Aqua and Pink
  • Waterproof breathable construction is comfort-rated from mildly chilly to -30F
  • Handles make it easy to pull these boots on
  • Aegis antimicrobial insole fights odor

Buy It

Get the BOGS Classic Tuscany Boot in Pink ($68) or other styles HERE.

Win It

One LUCKY ace and friends reader will win their very own pair of designer BOGS kid's Classic High Boots (Retail up to $68). 
(winner's choice -dependent upon availability)

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tune in for Family Movie Night “Game Time: Tackling the Past” September 3rd at 8/7c on NBC

We love a good Family Movie Night at our house! On September 3rd at 8pm ET/7pm CT, “Game Time: Tackling the Past” premieres on NBC.

Pro football star Jake Walker had the perfect life. A Hall of Fame career, millions of dollars, and thousands of adoring fans. That is, until the life he thought he knew took an unexpected turn. Now Jake is forced to return home to the town that once revered him—and face the people and unresolved events from his past.

This gripping sports drama confirms that a person’s real worth isn’t defined by what they accomplish, but rather by who they are to those who love them.

Get a sneak peak of movie below:

ace and friends thoughts

Overall, the film was well made with a well-known leading cast, including Catherine Hicks and Beau Bridges who play the parents of Jake Walker (Ryan McPartlin from the TV series Chuck). They kept the flow of the movie moving along and definitely kept my interest. I (as well as) my family enjoy sports movies because there is usually a well-intentioned and good message(s) delivered throughout the movie and Game Time: Tackling the Past, did just that and more. There were several messages and life lessons about integrity and unselfish actions that I really appreciated and enjoyed. It's a definite must see Family Night Movie, so make sure to set your DVR on September 3rd  at 8pm ET/7pm CT, “Game Time: Tackling the Past” to catch the movie premiere on NBC.

Need More...

[Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of P&G and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.]
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back To School Guide: Sugarbooger Day Tripper Tote, Matryoshka Doll {Review & Giveaway}

Featured Sponsor
I've been on a quest for a new everyday bag that would be just right for running the kids to their activities and very, very soon, taking them to school. A purse isn't quite big enough, but a diaper bag is just too big. Sugarbooger by o.r.e. offers the Day Tripper Tote that I have found to be perfect bag.
About o.r.e.
Lisa Lowe started o.r.e. with a bold line of graphically innovative recycled-rubber bulletin boards that were designed, assembled, and shipped from her garage in Long Beach, California.
Fast forward nearly 20 years, o.r.e.'s focus of fun + functional has not changed and they have grown their brand collections above and beyond bulletin boards to include lots more items  for everyday living. Whether you’re a mom needing to be fashionably organized, a pet-owner looking for a better feeding solution, a college student in need of cool shower curtain to spruce up an apartment bathroom, or you’re just looking for a functional bag to take on vacation,  their hopes is that o.r.e. is an easy place for consumers to find all their products you have in mind – and then some. 
So what does "o.r.e." mean? It's simply their way of saying, "All Designs Are Original." 
About the Day Tripper Tote
(source: o.r.e.'s website)
For Mom, try the Matryoshka Doll Collection Day Tripper bag. A downsized version of the popular Weekender Bags, the Matryoshka Doll Day Tripper is sized right for daily use and functions equally well as a diaper bag, errand tote, small travel bag or even a daily carry purse. The Matryoshka Doll Day Tripper has an 18-inch top opening and measures 11 ½ inches square (bottom).

Product Features

  • Cotton canvas and lined with nylon canvas
  • 3 inside compartments - 1 middle zippered compartment and 2 open side pockets for easy access
  • Outside pocket and inner zippered pocket
  • Sturdy handles
  • Machine wash cold, tumble dry low
ace and friends thoughts 
If you haven't noticed, I have a small obsession with Matryoshka Dolls (more commonly know as the Russian stacking dolls), so I was immediately drawn to this delightful print. As I perused the expansive collection on o.r.e.'s site, I immediately fell in love with the Day Tripper Tote. Based on the measurement, I felt this would be the bag I needed for my everyday errands. When it arrived, I was even more impressed with the print, the style and durability of the bag than online. So, was my first impression long-lasting. I took it with me to a family picnic and felt that would be the ideal opportunity to give this bag a run for it's money. After an all-day affair at the state park, the bag worked out perfectly. I was able to fit my main necessities such as phone, wallet, camera, wipes, sunglasses and water bottle with LOTS of room to spare. The kids had left over crafts from the day at the park and upon leaving, I was able to a carry four big drawing books and markers too. I never knew I could LOVE  a bag, but the Day Tripper Tote has won my heart. xoxo.
Buy It

Buy your very own Sugarbooger Day Tripper Tote ($41) or many other amazing products at o.r.e.'s website HERE.

Win It

Thanks to o.r.e., one LUCKY ace and friends reader will win their very Sugarbooger Day Tripper Tote. (winner's choice)

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Enter To Win A Copy of "Win Win" on DVD {Giveaway}

Get Into The Ring With

Win Win available August 23rd 

Win Win comes to Blu- Ray and DVD from twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on August 23.

Win Win is the story about a struggling lawyer and suffering high school wrestling coach Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) delivers an amazing performance showing that in the game of life you can’t always lose them all. Mike struggles through life as a lawyer who in his spare time is a wrestling coach for the local high school where they can’t seem to win a single match. One day Mike comes across a teenage runaway named Kyle (Alex Shaffer), who through some investigating finds out he is a champion wrestler and the team begins to win. With allot of nagging he finally gets Kyle to join the team but his mother who is fresh out of rehab and flat broke looks to mess everything up.

Win It
One LUCKY *ace and friends* readers will win
their very own copy of Win Win. 


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