Archive for the ‘Other Sites/Blogs’ Category

New registrations now being accepted at Stanford’s GSB Behavioral Lab

Stanford's GSB Behavioral Lab

Approximately a year ago, I signed up to participate in online research studies with Stanford’s Graduate School of Business’ Behavioral Lab.

Whenever I have logged in to participate, there has been a note stating they weren’t accepting new registrations. But tonight I noticed they are now accepting new participants!

If you like to participate in research studies and occasionally make a little money, be sure to sign up here. I don’t know how long this will stay open, so if you’re interested, act quickly.

All studies are online and usually take 10-20 minutes to complete.

Some are paid (usually $5-$15 gift cards), but most (in my experience) are not. The unpaid studies have gift card giveaways and usually list what your chances are of winning (e.g. 1 in 4 will win a $20 gift card).

The paid studies tend to fill up quickly. By the time I receive the email announcement about new studies (usually late afternoon), it’s too late to participate, so I highly recommend logging in by lunchtime each day to see if there are any new studies posted.

The GSB Behavioral Lab recently sent out an email to participants stating they were shutting down some accounts due to high participation and the possibility of these individuals’ answers not being entirely genuine. So… in order to stay in their database, it might be a good idea to not participate in too many unpaid studies. Also be aware that if you sign up for a study but do not complete it, it is still counted as a completed study in their system.

DFW Readers: FoundTown Deals

I received an email about another group coupon deal site that will be rolling out soon, but they currently have one local deal available: 50% off chocolate dipped cake balls from Delicious Cakes in Southlake. Pay $14, get $28 worth of cake balls.

Check out the Delicious Cakes deal or sign up to be notified of future FoundTown deals.

Calling all Texas bloggers: New Blogging Texas Forum

If you are a Texas blogger and don’t know about the new Texas Bloggers Forum, check it out and sign up to meet other Texas Bloggers. You can be a new blogger or one with many years of experience – the only requirement is that you live in Texas!

Other ways to connect with Texas Bloggers:


Disclosure: I am promoting the Texas Bloggers group because I recently learned about the group through another blog. By posting this, I am also entered to win a $20 gift card. If you join the forum (it’s free!), you can blog about the group too to enter to win.

20% cash back from Discover on Purchases

20% cash back for Groupon purchases

If you have a Discover Card and plan to buy anything from, be sure to go through first to get a 20% cash back holiday bonus on your Groupon purchase!

And if you haven’t already signed up for double cash back on internet purchases, head over to and register your card. Once you sign up, you will receive 2% cash back on all Internet purchases (up to $1000) through the end of the year instead of 1%.

Don’t have a Discover Card? You can still earn cash back on your Groupon purchases by going through sites like (3%) or (8%). – Toy Reviews

I had the opportunity this week to have lunch with three of the people behind Chris Byrne, Jim Silver and Shannon Eis.

They were visiting Dallas for a toy show and invited bloggers and Website owners to meet them for lunch Dallas Market Center.

I enjoyed meeting them and hearing about their experiences in the toy business over the last 25-30 years.

During the lunch, one of my “hooray!!!” moments came when Jim mentioned that many toy manufacturers are doing away with those annoying plastic covered wire twists that secure products in their packaging. Those things that look like this:

The manufacturers use them to keep their products in tact during overseas transit, but they are extremely frustrating to the consumer. We will still see products that use these twist things, but hopefully over the next few years, more manufacturers will move to the hassle-free alternative.

I had to leave the lunch before it ended in order to pick up my daughter from school, so I missed some of the discussion. But just before I left, I asked for suggestions about toys and games for children without siblings.

Since my daughter is an only child, I was interested to hear what toys they thought would keep her occupied while I cook dinner or clean the house. I was also interested in hearing their suggestions for toys that might be fun for adults and children to play together.

There are some nights when the last thing I want to do after working all day is play with Polly Pockets, but I will sit and play cards or board games with my daughter. Obviously the answer to this question will vary by individual due to personal preferences, but I was curious to hear what they would say.

Chris suggested that my daughter create a play for her dolls or puppets to perform – either for me or with me, once I am finished cooking dinner, cleaning or whatever I need to do. I loved this idea! My daughter takes theater classes so she is familiar with the process and loves when we make up songs, dances, and stories together.

Chris also suggested either buying or making a small stage on which the dolls or puppets can perform. My daughter will spend hours drawing and doing crafts, so the idea of making the stage sounded like something that would appeal to her. We will get started this weekend by making a stage using a cardboard box. I see all sorts of creative possibilities with this suggestion. Thanks, Chris!

Have questions about toys? Contact!

Chris and Jim have several decades’ worth of experience in the toy industry and are eager to share their knowledge with you. In addition to having a large selection of written and video reviews for toys, movies, books and video games on their Website, they also welcome questions from readers, so don’t hesitate to contact them!

Check out some of these areas of their Website:

Most Wanted List for 2010
Real Reviews (from parents whose kids tested products)
Video Reviews
Daily Giveaway - Chris and Jim at MomTV

You can also catch them live on MomTV every Friday at 12PM Eastern, or watch taped episodes.

At the end of the lunch, Chris handed me a bag of toys geared toward different age groups. I wasn’t expecting to get this, but I appreciated receiving it.

My daughter wanted to play with several of the toys, but we agreed that they will be donated to the 2011 Children and Arthritis Jambalaya Jubilee raffle in addition to any advertising dollars I make through my blog. Whoever wins these toys in the raffle will be thrilled!

A few quick tips from me for saving money on toys

There are many toys out there that are cheap, but aren’t worth buying. And then there are more expensive toys that will provide long-lasting value. How do you decide what to spend your money on? Here are some of the things I do when buying toys:

1. Shop the twice-a-year Target 75-90% off toy sale
Usually in January and July. I stock up on birthday presents for my daughter and her friends, as well as Christmas presents. Read some of my past Target toy sale posts: January 2009, July 2009 and July 2010.

2. Buy items that are durable and have a high resale value at kids’ consignment events like Just Between Friends
When I buy toys, I consider what the resale value might be. I am willing to spend more on a toy if I know it will:
– be fun for my daughter
– last until she outgrows it
– sell well at a consignment event.

Think LEGO, LEGO Duplo, Barbie, Leapster, Little Tikes, Step 2, Disney Princesses, etc.

3. Don’t rush to buy the hottest new toy that your child asks for.
My daughter wanted Bendaroos for several months (thanks to one of the few commercials she saw), but I didn’t want to spend $19.99. I eventually found them on clearance at CVS for $4.99, but I don’t think they’re even worth that much. They caused my daughter (and me!) a lot of frustration and I’m glad I didn’t spend full retail for them.

4. Check the Public Library First and “Try Before You Buy”
Before I buy a DVD, book or video game, I check my public library’s Website to see if I can borrow it first. The Dallas Public Library allows you to search the entire system and request the item be delivered to the library nearest to you. It is very convenient!

5. Set up “Deal Alerts”
Many sites like allow you to set up deal alerts. Whenever someone spots a deal on a certain toy, you will receive an email so you can try to take advantage of the deal. This is how I got my daughter the Leapster 2 in November 2009.

6. Follow Toy Stores and Toy Companies on Facebook and Twitter
Last year, I noticed on Facebook that Toys R Us was going to sell a limited number of Zhu Zhu pets in their stores starting at 6AM the following morning. I decided to go and found there were hardly any people waiting in line! I got the Zhu Zhu pet at regular retail price, while many people were paying crazy prices on Ebay to get one of the hotest toys for Christmas 2009. I would never have paid more than retail for the Zhu Zhu pet (or any toy for that matter), but I liked the challenge of trying to get this sold out toy at the regular price (I did the same thing for the Wii a few years ago – silly, I know!).

Also, some toy manufacturers offer printable coupons on (Leapster and Hasbro, for example), so be sure to look for them. I have gotten some cheap toys using these printable coupons during store sales or by finding the product on clearance.

How do you save money on toys?

GEM: Tomato Research Study for Dallas and Denver women

This looks like a fun study! Get paid $150-$200 and get a video camera to keep in exchange for participating in a Fresh Tomato Research Study with GEM.

From the survey page:

The project will consist of an in-person interview lasting 1 to 2 hours, followed by an online video blog and simple follow-up exercises which will take about 2 hours in total for you to complete over the course of a week. Complete the project, and you’ll receive $150-$200 (depending on the length of the in-person interview), plus you’ll get to keep the video camera that we will provide (valued at $150). Plus, you’ll get the opportunity to share your ideas!

GEM has been taking submissions for a few weeks, but they are still looking for some specific demographics. If you are interested to see if you qualify, fill out this survey. Use the code CTST when they ask for it.

Good luck!

Discover Card holders: Sign up for July-September 5% Cashback Bonus

If you have a Discover Card, don’t forget to log in and then sign up to receive the July – September 5% cashback bonus on gas, theme parks, hotels and movies.

The 5% bonus is only good on the first $300 worth of purchases during July, August and September, but it’s better than nothing, right? And the 5% bonus on groceries returns in September too! Sign up for that starting August 1.

Tropicana Juicy Rewards

Tropicana started a new program in January called Tropicana Juicy Rewards.

When you purchase specially-marked Tropicana juice products, you will get a code that you can enter on the rewards Web site. The codes generate points that you can redeem for discounts at participating:

– Retail/Online stores
– Salons
– Performing Arts Venues
– Classes & Lessons
– Amusement Parks
– Home Improvement stores
– Travel
– and more.

I’m excited about this program because we purchase a lot of Tropicana juice and it’s always nice to have an extra bonus when purchasing something you consume regularly!

Do you plan to travel before the end of the year?

Save your rewards points and get discounts for your destination city! Be sure to read the offer terms & conditions before redeeming, but I didn’t see anything that would prohibit me from redeeming points to get discounts in Philadelphia this summer when we attend a conference there.

For Dallas readers, here’s a fabulous offer that I’m going to take advantage of this week…

As soon as I replace my printer’s ink, I will redeem 3 points for a Dallas Children’s Theater voucher to buy one adult ticket and get one child ticket free. This will be a savings of $16-21, depending on whether we sit in section A or section B. I usually try to get to their Target Saturday performance since the tickets are $10 each, but we missed it last month, so I was thrilled to see this opportunity.

Check out what rewards are available near you.
I just looked through the Dallas-area ones again and noticed several new ones, so keep checking back if you don’t see something that appeals to you.

Check out the program’s FAQs

Register here and enter the code MOMCE-NTRAL to get a free point.
This one-time use code is valid for new accounts ONLY. Must be entered within 6 hours of creating your account.

– Get free codes by following Tropicana on Facebook and Twitter.

All points must be entered by November 15, 2010, but you can redeem your points until December 15, 2010.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in the Tropicana Juicy Insiders Ambassador program by Mom Central on behalf of Tropicana. I received 12 free Juicy Rewards points and a $50 Visa gift card to use in redemption of the points and to facilitate my review.

Bizzy – New site for local deals

I saw a Facebook post from The Cultured Cup (tea, coffee, chocolates store in Dallas) that stated they only needed three more people to register to become a featured business when Bizzy launches in a few days (2 now since I registered). The first 25 people to register will get a free cup of tea or coffee on their next visit. Since I like The Cultured Cup’s tea, I registered, and then I looked into Bizzy a bit more.

It’s a new site that will connect consumers with their favorite businesses and give consumers access to exclusive deals, including birthday surprises. The site is in beta, and I can’t see any way to connect with any other businesses yet, nor can I see which cities will be able to participate in Bizzy, but I’m guessing everything will be more clear on March 2 when it launches.

If you are in Dallas and want to connect with The Cultured Cup on Bizzy, register here. The free cup of tea or coffee is good for the first 25 people that “connect” as a customer, so you’ll have to check the “customers” number to see what number you are.

DenTek Nation

If you use DenTek products or would like to learn more about them, sign up for their email list and be sure to join the DenTek Nation.

I took one of their surveys a few weeks ago and today, I received two Custom Comfort Nightguards, a sheet of coupons and an envelope full of samples (multiple types of floss, floss picks, easy brush cleaner and floss threaders) – many with a $1.00 off coupons on the back of them. Nice!

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