I bet you forgot about the draw for the Zuvo Water Filtration System. But I didn't. At all. Really.

Ahem.

I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath for the announcement of who wins the Zuvo Water Filtration System, so that they can have clean, fresh drinking water while the rest of you (as the Didactic Pirate said), let stomach parasites battle it out for supremacy?

I put everyones name in a hat for each of their entries, because I suck at counting and I don't trust that random.org - because everything on the internet is random and therefore nothing is - and let hubby draw the name. So if you have an issue with the result, take it up with him.

Yes, I do often throw him under the bus, why?

Anyway.

The winner is Brandy at You Don't Know! Congrats, lady - send me your info so they can send you your swag! Happy drinking!

Water, water, everywhere, and now you can actually drink it: Zuvo Water Filtration System

Does anybody actually drink their tap water? I don't. I prefer to make myself feel 'safer' by drinking bottled water from our cooler, despite the fact that said cooler never gets serviced, is likely growing all kinds of bacteria, and the water sits there in a plastic jug that is probably leaching BPA.

But actually, tap water is more stringently regulated than bottled water. Bottled water manufacturers aren't required to provide their source, quality reports, or test for e. coli regularly. And I know all this, which means that my penchant for bottled water has less to do with 'safety' and more to do with the fact that my tap water tastes like ass.

So even though I don't really "do" many reviews, when Zuvo contacted me about trying out their Water Filtration System, I said yes. Because it sounded pretty ingenious, and cost-effective as well. Basically, it sounded too good to be true.

They sent me one to test and it promptly sat in my kitchen for a week, because I looked briefly at the instructions and thought I couldn't put it on my tap because you can't run hot water through the unit and I only have ONE tap, because I live in a wartime house the size of a peanut, and now I'm going to have to get a new sink or put it downstairs and run back and forth all the time and aaaaggghhhhhhxxxzzGAH toolazy! can'tfunction!

But, ahem, reading comprehension for the win, because you CAN put it on and just bypass the unit when you're running hot water. Duh.

I wasn't chosen for my technical expertise, okay? I was chosen for my razor wit and environmental alarmism. Anyway, the Zuvo is super easy to install counter-side, though the hoses running to your tap are kind of a pain. You can also install it under the sink, but it's a more complex process, and did I mention I was lazy?

At any rate, if you install it under the sink you don't get to see it in action, which is the cool part. The Zuvo uses a five step process to filter, purify, and generally de-stank your tap water:

1. Ozonation: mixes ozone with the tap water to improve taste & smell.
2. UV Light: kills microorganisms.
3. Photo-Oxidation: ozone and UV! Together! Releases the power of Grayskull! Further treats contaminants.
4. Filtration with lead removal: an activated carbon filter, similar to your standard 'pitcher' filters.
5. Post-filtration UV: More UV! In case you didn't have enough pretty blue light (also stays on for 30 seconds after it's cycle to ensure that things don't grow in the water in the unit...unlike my cooler, ahem.)

...and then you get a tiny trickle of water. That's probably my biggest complaint about the Zuvo, is that the flow? It's pretty low. But I think most on-tap filtration systems are similar.

I'll just resign myself to walking away and having a cup of coffee while my water pitcher fills up, because the results are AMAZING. I had a glass of water from the first batch, and my initial impression was that it tasted better, but still a little like tap water. Maybe, I thought, that's just the temperature? So I stuck it in the fridge and came back later and tried it again, and yeah - that little glowy space-age unit took all the grossness out of my tap water, both the kind you can taste and the kind you can't see.

I drink a lot of water. The Zuvo has been in my house for a week now, and I think I'm in love.

The Zuvo Water Filtration System retails for $300. Which, I know, doesn't sound cost-effective at ALL. However, you only have to replace the filter twice a year, at a cost of $30, and the UV light is good for 10,000 cycles, or approximately 7-10 years (each time you turn it on is a 'cycle', whether you fill a glass or a pitcher). When you stack that up against replacing your Brita filter or buying bottled water, it works out. Here's the math.

And, obviously, drinking any kind of filtered water is WAY better for the environment than drinking bottled water. I mean, I'm sure all you guys recycle, but 4 out of 5 water bottles end up in a landfill. So, be good to the earth, yadda yadda, even though I'm pretty sure she'll be fine after we all poison ourselves with chemicals and die.

(And, as a bonus, the Zuvo doubles as toddler entertainment. My son asks to turn it on about every 3.46 seconds or so. We've probably gone through half of it's ten thousand uses already. Which, now that I think of it, isn't much of a 'bonus'...so never mind.)

So! In addition to saving your health and saving you money, the lovely folks at Zuvo would like to give one away! (I can't help but feel they're shooting themselves in the foot with all this cost-effectiveness and generosity.) Here's what you have to do:

Go over to the Zuvo site and then leave me a comment telling me one thing you learned that you didn't already know about water, water filtration systems, or Zuvo's 5-step process. Make sure your Blogger profile is email-enabled, or that you leave your email in the comment, so I have a way to contact you!

For an additional entry, you can tweet this giveaway. Leave me a comment saying you did, and either include the link in the comment or include my Twitter handle (@superkeely) in the tweet. You can enter this way once per day.

The contest will be open for one week, until July 21st at midnight CST. Open to US and Canadian residents.

...Aren't you thirsty now?

And the wiener is...

I almost forgot about the giveaway of the earrings. Something shiny distracted me! (I think it might have been earrings.)

In the interest of fairness, I got the cleanest member of our household to make the draw. (Really clean, he just came out of the bath.) I think if anything is obvious from this video, it's that I'm CLEARLY destined for great things in cinematography.

And MrsBear from Outnumbered Two to One is our wiener! Mrsbear, I don't have a completed dossier on you yet so please email me your address and I'll get em in the mail! Cheers!

Things I get in the mail: the “sometimes I get extra” version

A few weeks ago I read Sophie Kinsella’s new (possibly? I’m out of the loop) book, Twenties Girl. It was a cute story. I’m sure there was a moral in there or something, but all it taught me was that I really wanted a long, flapper-style necklace.

So I hit Etsy, because y’know, that’s what I do. I don’t actually go to stores anymore.

And anyway, it was 11:30 at night.

I found lots of lovely necklaces but chose this one from Ropes of Pearls:

I adore it. I wear it at its full length and toy with it in (what I presume) is an endearingly quirky manner. (In reality it probably just annoys the crap out of people, but shut up. I’m a flapper.) The pearls are maybe a little small for the full “flapper” effect, but that’s okay, that just means I need to get another one, and wear them both.

Anyway, in addition to my lovely necklace, Jenifer from Ropes of Pearls sent me these cute little earrings as a bonus. Except I don’t wear earrings.

Do you guys wear earrings?

(If you do, go on over to Ropes of Pearls’ Etsy shop and check it out. And then leave me a comment telling me one thing you’d like, which is kind of silly, because what I’ll be sending to one person is these earrings, duh. I think it’s to prove you went over there, or something. Obviously I’m not really clear on the giveaway formula. I just thought someone might like these earrings.)

(You know what? Just leave me a comment telling me if you’d like the earrings. And maybe mention how many times you think I said the word earrings. And then I’ll pick someone, based on who I think is coolest something random, like which piece of paper the dog sniffed first.)

(Shut up, I’m totally a professional.)

I swear there was a time I could travel without even having to check any luggage

I had a lovely little phoned in "Google Analytics" post all scheduled and ready to go, but suddenly I find myself unable to sleep. Wide fucking awake. And then I remember, oh, hey! I guzzled an entire Coke slurpee less than an hour ago. So not only am I wide awake, but excessively flatulent as well. You're welcome.

Anyway, when caffeine-induced insomnia strikes, brain will wander. And right now my brain is wandering forward a week to our upcoming vacation. And then brain is freaking out a little. Okay, a lot.

See, we're terrible parents and we don't really take our child anywhere. He's never been on a plane, let alone one that will be TAKING OFF, and one that will be DEPARTING RIGHT AT NAP TIME. So really, that has enormous potential to go badly, don't you think?

And the primary reason we're going to Vancouver is to visit some friends, with whom we intended to stay. When I called to confirm that the invitation was still standing, my friend said "Of course!" and then added casually, "But my inlaws will be here as well so as long as you don't mind sleeping in the living room."

Which, of course, we don't, except that I did a quick mental calculation and came to the conclusion that six adults and three children (and a dog and 3 cats) in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house ALSO has the potential to go badly.

We'll be getting a hotel room. (Which mostly only has the potential to end expensively.)

A hotel room means we have to bring a Pack n' Play, which brings the toddler accessories up to, oh, about a metric tonne, and means we can't rent a car so we'll be bussing it with a toddler that likes to dart into traffic and OMG WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T WE JUST STAY HOME.

Sob.

So, um...yeah. That wasn't much of a post either. Don't worry, I'll still post the whacky google searches. Probably tomorrow, along with the winner of the Must Have Mom Manual giveaway. Because nothing says "parenting resource book" like baby spiders and threesomes.

Book Review & Giveaway: The Must-Have Mom Manual


I don't talk about 'mom' stuff much on this blog - hence the name. But books? Books I can get into. Even parenting books.

I'm sure most of you moms and dads have had them. Those moments when you're on your last nerve, there's a pile of laundry that appears to be multiplying, and for some reason your kids are refusing to eat their chicken nuggets? When you just want to scream, "FOR THE LUVVA ALL THAT IS HOLY, IF ONLY THERE WERE A FREAKIN' MANUAL!"

Well, now there is! Sort of. (They're more like guidelines, really.)

The Must-Have Mom Manual by Sara Ellington and Stephanie Triplett is, well, just that. It covers everything from breast vs. bottle feeding, to teaching your kids good values, to organizing your closets, to what to tell the kids when the family dog dies. It's all presented from both points of view, and the two authors couldn't be more different: one is super organized, the other is messy; one left her career to stay home, the other went back to work; one breast fed her children and the other bottle fed them. And yet they remain great friends, primarily because they believe in the theme of this book: that there are plenty of ways to be a good parent. No one choice is good for all families, and it's about time people started respecting that.

A lot of this book is just good, solid, practical information. Secrets to make your hospital delivery more tolerable, tips for new dads, what to pack in your diaper bag, how to organize your car. And some of it is advice: take time for yourself, don't try to be perfect, keep the home fires burning. It's all delivered with spark and wit, and you get the benefit of at least two different perspectives (Sara: "Key rack! Shoe rack! Purge your clutter! Label it! Color-coded calendars!" Stephanie: "I'm gonna go have a cocktail while you alphabetize your daughter's Barbie collection."). Above all, it's very, very readable. At the end of each chapter is a short list of resources to make it easier for you to find more information.

Sara and Stephanie offer up products they've found work the best, and cut to the meat of all the other popular parenting advice books out there, giving a fast little summary of what the book is advocating, so you can get an idea of whether it's "for you". It makes the overwhelming amount of conflicting information available to parents a little more manageable.

Some of the chapters in this book don't really apply to me at the moment. I don't think my toddler cares where babies come from. And some of them may never apply to me (A whole chapter on going to Disney World? Really?). I was a little disappointed that certain things were never addressed (home births? Co sleeping? Where's the love for us hippie moms?), but generally, there's something for everybody in this book.

Obviously not all of the advice in this book is going to work for you ("Become an Early Riser"? Uh, hell, no). And that's kind of the point. There are lots of ways to be a good parent. There are lots of great suggestions, and if even a few of them are something you hadn't thought of yet, or saves you endless googling, then it's worth it.

So, do you guys think you know it all? Or could you (or someone you know) use this book? I have one to give away. All you have to do is have a look at the book's chapter list and leave a comment telling me which chapter looks the most interesting or useful to you. For an extra entry, tweet about this giveaway. Be sure to leave me a comment with the link to your tweet (or include my twitter handle - @superkeely - in the tweet).

And then, head on over to Nic at My Bottle's Up to read her review and enter her giveaway, too! We're all about the multiple perspectives around here. Uh, and the wine.

(PS - I shouldn't post things when I'm so, um, tired. I totally forgot to tell you to check out the mastermind behind this book review carnival, Heather from Maternal Spark! Also, I'll be picking a winner by random integer on Friday, so git yer entries in before then!)

Some stuff for you guys, because I'm in a giving mood and you're all pretty cool

Remember the online game, Faunasphere, that I posted about a while ago? Well I'm still playing it. Because it's still totally addictive. Really, what other game gives you goals like "Breed an all-white 'Hugger'"?

Okay, so the one I bred had 7 eyeballs and homicidal tendencies. Whatever, it met the criteria.

Because I like to push my addictions on other people, Jenny from Big Fish Games has given me 10 beta accounts to give to you guys! She even pre-made them with cute and cool screen names. Which, trust me, is preferable to having ME choose your screen name. You just wouldn't get any respect with a label floating over your head that said "Flaccidophalus" or "Princess Pherschnoogenfailure".

Trust me on that one.

So let me know if you want to play via comment or email, and I'll hook you up!

And, because so many of you asked (well, there was that one person, shut up), the recipe for 5 Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake in a Mug:

5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (MicroSafe)

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT ! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous)*.

Let me know how that goes, since I am microwave-free myself. And that is all I have for you today. I think next week there's a book giveaway, or something. I don't know, I'll have to check with my people.**

*You're making chocolate cake in five minutes in your microwave. Just go for broke, yo.

**I'm just fucking with you. I don't have people. I used to, but I didn't feed them and they died.

Connoisseur du Jour

Some of you may remember last week how I was whining about my blog direction and meaning in life, and whether or not you all liked me REALLY and whether you'd continue to like me if I sold out reviewed a few products.

I know, it was pathetic.

But - luckily for me! - other people are way more proactive. Sherendipity was facing the same blogging malaise and rather than bemoaning her circumstances, she set about launching what is going to be the coolest review & giveaway site out there. And she was generous enough to let me and Michelle tag along.

There may have been, um, "favors" promised. I can't say.

Anyway, we're calling it Connoisseur du Jour, which means I'm going to have to remember how to spell connoisseur*, and we're kicking off the launch with a great giveaway of Mr. Clean products!

Yeah, okay, it's cleaning products. Good thing Sher posted that one huh? But you know you use them anyway, so why not get them for free? Check it out and follow us on Blogger and Twitter for future hilarity and free shit!

*I'm a bad Canadian. I can't speak french.