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Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Landgraff Sweeps & Contest Queen Says "Thank You"!

As my faithful readers know, I am a bit of a “sweeper”, and enter a lot of contests and sweepstakes- usually late at night, when everyone else is apparently playing Candy Crush! LOL I have won a lot of wonderful things, and as 2015 comes to a close, I'd like to thank the individuals and companies responsible for the lovely things I've won- trips and things that Dan and I would seriously never have been able to enjoy if I hadn’t won them!
This spring Dan and I spent an amazing, wonderful month in Vietnam on the trip I won last year from Central Coast Vietnam Tourism on Facebook! My many blog posts earlier this year about Vietnam, and all the incredible things we got to do and see and eat and drink, were from that trip!

Emperor & Empress in Dalat!
Playing gongs in the Central Highlands!
Riding elephants at Lok Lake!
Water Buffalo Surfing: Wet Rice Farming!

Dan and I LOVE Vietnam, and when I entered this we were literally Dreaming about being able to go back some day- if we won Lotto- so my winning this trip was truly a dream come true!  

Please check out my posts on this blog, which have links to all sorts of great things to do in Vietnam, and also see and "like" their page on Facebook for more incredible things you can do in Vietnam:

This year I think my “bestest” win was THE most beautiful handbag ever- a $1200 cerulean blue Stella McCartney “Fallabella” Tote- from LoveGoodly, which, as their name makes clear, has truly lovely things, AND supports good causes:

I won a fabulous $200 Weber Grill in the #MyMahan sweepstakes from the PGA- and Dan got to pick it up at Ace Hardware in Bluefield. WV!

"Tweet-Ups" on Twitter ( are a lot of fun, and this fall I got Really lucky & won a $250 Visa gift card and some great beauty products from UNT a fine Taiwanese beauty brand, in the #UNTbeautytalk Twitter Party hosted by SheSpeaks!

On Twitter I also won a $20 eBay gift card, from, yes, eBay! :-) And as I am a Total eBay Fanatic (if not for eBay, the Elkhorn Inn would look like Wally World!) this will Definitely come in handy!

I won a $50 gift card to C-A-L Ranch Stores  (got a cool, heated seed-starter kit for this winter!) for my photo of the Elkhorn Inn with our sunflower meadow that Dan planted... and then I won $1000 from Marlboro for two projects I submitted: Replanting our sunflower meadow across from the Inn, and building a photography platform for Railfans in McDowell County, West Virginia!

I won the #PSILoveYou box full of pumpkin spice yummies from the Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt Blog: And I have to say that Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter is DELICIOUS!

From Passports with Purpose I won a $169 Travelmate Deluxe Product Bundle provided by the blog Cloud Surfing Kids:

We also got to enjoy the three months of truly beautiful flowers from Bouqs that I won last year when I was awarded “Marketer of the Year” Runner-Up from  (The other parts of the prize were an award, which we have displayed at the Elkhorn Inn, and a $100 gift certificate to Lowe’s- which Dan used immediately!)
Labor day flowers from Bouqs!
Flowers from Bouqs!
My Award

As readers of this blog know, I participate in a number of market research projects, and one of the best is Crowdtap. As a Crowdtapper, Dan & I (and our guests) have been able to try (and then write about) some great new products, including the Litter Genie, delicious foods & sauces from Campbell's, Ricola cough drops, yummy Brookside Crunchy Clusters and Folger's Flavors, Johnsonville "Grillers" Sausages, Kleenex tissues, delicious "foodie" Sahale Snacks, Listerine, and Zep Cleaners- and this Valentine's Day Zep surprised me with a gift bag! Check out and sign up!

I won a great Rose Face Mask from Elvis + Elvin from Beauty Undercover

And I also won an Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVD set from Cartoon Network!
Since I started entering sweeps and contests in 2002, I have won us 6 fabulous trips with plane tickets (Vietnam, Chile, Israel, San Diego, Virginia, and Arizona), absolutely gorgeous  designer shoes, beauty products, makeup, and perfume, fine jewelry, clothing, kitchen things, books, gift certificates, cash, food, and lots of other cool stuff! (My friends all made fun of me until I started winning trips with plane tickets. LOL) Many of my friends insist I must be terribly lucky, but if you enter 100 sweeps and contests a night you'll get "lucky" too! :-) I always tell people interested in entering sweeps and contests my three key rules:
1. Read the rules! I cannot stress this enough, especially with regards to contests. If you are going to spend the time creating an entry, make sure you know the rules so you don't inadvertently disqualify yourself! One entry only, or daily entries? Are you eligible to win? Is it a skill-based, judged contest, or a random drawing? What are you supposed to write or photograph and how? You get the idea! 
2. Check your email- DAILY!  You often have only 24 hours to respond to a winning notification email, or the prize will be awarded to someone else! Thanks to entering sweeps and being on so many email lists, I now have to scroll through about 1800 emails a day, and yes, that it is pain, but the payoff has been pretty fabulous! Consider it part of your "job" and it will feel less onerous. LOL  
3. Only enter for things you Really want to win! Apropos this, my favorite sweeps story is about winning a giant box of condoms! Dan was incredulous- WHY, he wanted to know, did I enter to win stuff like that?! I had actually entered to win the $10K trip to Vegas- but instead of winning the Grand Prize, I had won the First Prize- and the sweeps had been sponsored by Trojan! :-) 
And I also always thank those responsible, and try to give the people and companies who sponsor the sweeps and contests I win publicity and promotion- a "bang for their buck", as it were- on this blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ etc., because sweeps and contests are created to SELL STUFF, and sharing is caring! :-) I learn about a lot of great products through entering sweeps and contests, and we do buy many of them!
Good luck, and have fun sweeping! 
Let me know in the comments if you've won something- whether it was wonderful or just hilarious!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

#Kleenex Pocket Packs: Sharing the #Love!

I recently had the opportunity to sample and share Kleenex Pocket Packs through Crowdtap, and while we've used Kleenex tissues "forever", the new pocket packs are different, and really cool! The colors are bright and cheerful, and  each one has a sweet expression of "Kleenex Care" on it- on one side in English, and on the other side in French! They basically make you want to share them, and I think that's the whole point!
The cute sayings are in English on one side...

...and in FRENCH in the back!
As a result of the French on the back, I now know how to say  "Hard Times Call For A Soft Touch" in French:  "On A Tours Besoin De Douceur Dans Les Mauvais Monments"! :-)
On one there is a space to write a personal note!

The one that states "Just Wanted To Say..." has a place to write a personal note, so I wrote "I Love You!" and gave that one to my chef hubs!

The plastic wrappings are strong, and the resealable flap reseals well, and keeps the tissues from getting soiled in one's purse or briefcase.

As I said, we've used Kleenex tissues for Many years, and we always have them on hand, both in all the Guest Rooms at the Elkhorn Inn, and for our personal use, in my purse and briefcase, in our car for road trips, and in our ATV packs for when we go out riding!

Kleenex Pocket Packs are great products, and it was fun to try them and share them! Thank you, #Crowdtap and #Kleenex!

Gave that one to hubs!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

#ATV Leaf-Peep & #Railfan Site Scouting! It's fall, y'all!

Next month!
This week hubs and I did a wonderful, easy ATV ride through the mountains to scout out the best places to "leaf peep" in October. Because it's gloriously LEGAL to ride ATVs on our roads here in McDowell County, WV, we  rode right from the Elkhorn Inn in Landgraff, WV, all the way to Lashmeet! It was a long, lovely ride, and although it is fall now, it was warm enough to wear sweatshirts, and our mountains are still 80% green! The best  leaf-peeing here is in October, and the foliage here is usually beautiful all the way through Halloween! (We often get calls at the Inn asking what the best weekend for leaf-peeping will be, and if I knew the anawer to that question I'd be a Very rich woman! We get similar calls in the winter, asking which spring weekend will be best to see the Rhododendrons flower! I wish I knew! Like the cherry blossoms in Japan, foliage and flowers are a giant Mother Nature Crap Shoot! LOL)
We rode from the Elkhorn Inn through Eckman, WV stopping first to take some photos of one of Sky's great new organic farms, which is literally one minute from the Inn. What was once an unsightly field of overgrown weeds is now squash and corn and beans, thanks to Sky and "McDowell County Farms"! :-)
 As you can see, our mountains have Just started to change color! Wait 'till next month!!

Then we rode through Crumpler, WV...
 And started riding 'round and 'round, up into the mountains...
See- it really IS still green!

Looking down to where we started!

Bear Town Church, Herndon, WV
 One of THE most gorgeous "leaf-peeping lookouts" we know of in Herndon, WV! Wait 'till next month!
Turkeys in the yard!

Herndon, WV

 Another gorgeous "leaf-peeping lookout" for October...
Dan feeding "Cheetos Dog"!

We found some great "railfan photo spots" along the way, too; these were near Giatto, WV.

An old RR line...

Elisse, at a great "railfan" photo spot!

Made it to Matoaka!

Another great railfan photo spot...

Lashmeet, WV: Pizza and Hoagies!
After Matoaka, we kept going to Lashmeet, WV, but just as we got there it began to drizzle! Fortunately, it was 4pm, and the Pizza/Hoagie place was just opening up for the evening, so we ran inside and had hoagies! And the rain passed us by!
On the way home... wait 'til next month!

On the way home, we stopped to take photos of some of the fall decorations in Keystone, WV...
Keystone, WV

Our last stop of the day was above our Theatre, where Dan took me to pick the cattails that I love to have to decorate the Inn in the fall!
Dan found THE Mother-lode of Cattails!

Then we came home, and DIY Dan decorated the Ekhorn Inn with garlands of leaves and wreaths and scarecrows- 'cause it's fall, y'all! :-)