Friday, October 26, 2012

Walgreens Introduces Balance Rewards

If you haven't been to Walgreens recently, you may not know about their new Balance Rewards program. Walgreens is just down the road from us, so I'm there all the time for shampoo, vitamins, moisturizer, and of course prescription medications.

While I've always liked Walgreens for their product selection and great prices, I've wondered why they didn't have some kind of loyalty club like other stores. A loyalty club isn't going to make me switch where I shop, but with the right incentives it might encourage me to shop more at a store I already like.

Apparently they were listening to my thoughts, because just recently Walgreens launched their new Balance Rewards program. This new program is so easy to use, and just by shopping for the products you already use you can earn points to redeem towards cash off coupons.

Points are awarded for purchasing certain featured items each week, and you can combine offers to earn thousands of points in a single purchase. You always earn 500 points for any prescription or immunization. Plus there are sale prices that are available only to Balance Rewards members.

For example, this week (sale ending tomorrow) I can earn 1000 points for buying two bags of select  Halloween chocolates (Mars, Hershey's or Nestle). I needed to buy Halloween candy anyway, so why not get the bonus points, too? My daughters' vitamins are also currently on sale for buy one, get one half off, plus get 1000 bonus points. On sale AND I get extra Balance Rewards points!

You can earn points on or in-store. Once you reach 5000 points, you can redeem them instantly for a $5 reward - good for anything in the store - or continue saving for greater rewards.

I've already been earning lots of points without making any unnecessary purchases and I love it. I get points for my prescriptions, points for buying our everyday items, and I can even earn points for logging any walks I take using the Walk with Walgreens program.

Signing up is simple and FREE. You can sign up in the store, online, or download the mobile app and register right from your smartphone.

 There are several cool features on the app.

With Christmas shopping getting closer, I need to get the most out of every purchase I make and save every dollar I can. The Walgreens Balance Rewards program makes saving money a little easier for me, and I'm stockpiling my rewards for Black Friday shopping. If you have a Walgreens or Duane Reade near you, stop in and see just how fast you could be earning rewards!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Walgreens as part of a partnership to promote the Balance Rewards program. All thoughts and opinions stated above are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Walgreens. But my local Walgreens will tell you just how often I'm there buying that "one more thing" I need.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bibbidi, Bobbidi, Boo: Cinderella Is Back!

When I was a little girl, before Disney had the long string of Princesses for girls to choose from, Cinderella was the one everyone loved. Unlike Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, she wasn't a princess to begin with. She was a mistreated girl who worked hard yet never let it crush her dreams, and then with the help of her fairy godmother met her Prince Charming and fell in love. Most little girls loved the story and, at least in some way, identified with Cinderella.

The movie has just been released again for the Cinderella: Diamond Edition on Blu-ray, featuring a digitally remastered version of the film along with loads of extras.

I watched it again with my daughters and realized how much of the movie I had forgotten. Everyone remembers the iconic fairy godmother scene, and of course Cinderella at the ball, but both of these happen much later in the movie than I had recalled. The stepmother's cat, Lucifer, has a larger role than I remembered, as he and the mice take up a large part of the subplot, even involved in the final rescue attempt to unlock Cinderella from the tower.

The movie has a slower pace than many of the newer Disney films, a hallmark of the time it came from. A lot of time is spent showing the audience the daily life that Cinderella endures, giving us plenty of information to make our minds up about the nature of her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Even the songs are slower and dreamy in quality. It was fantastic to relive my memories of the film while watching it with my two daughters.

Beyond the film itself, the Diamond Edition Blu-ray is filled with additional fun. The best extra (in my opinion) is the addition of the Tangled Ever After animated short. If you liked Tangled, you'll love seeing how their wedding day was nearly a disaster but, like many moments in Tangled, all turns out OK in the end.

There's also a never-before-seen alternate opening sequence, showing a series of storyboards that detail one proposed opening for Cinderella, and two deleted scenes. I also really liked the feature on the new Disney Princess Fantasyland being built at Walt Disney World. The amusement park is expanding to bring the worlds of Disney Princesses to life and it looks amazing. The first section just recently opened - I can't tell you how excited I was to see the new attractions, especially since we're planning our first family trip to Disney in the spring!

This Blu-ray also includes the Disney Second Screen experience - you can download the app onto your computer , iPad or iPhone and then sync the app with the start of the movie when you're watching it. This lets you interact with the film as it's playing: see additional information about scenes, play games and more.

Overall, the Cinderella: Diamond Edition Blu-ray is a great addition to any collection. It's fantastic nostalgia for parents and grandparents, and a sweet fairy tale for kids. Who doesn't wish their fairy godmother might pay them a visit someday and make all of their dreams come true? OK, it's probably won't happen, but that's no reason to stop dreaming, right?

Cinderella is available on DVD and Blu-Ray just about everywhere now for a limited time before it's back in the vault again!

PS - Want some coloring pages for your kids, too? Click the button below for some free Cinderella coloring sheets!

Download Coloring Pages!

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this Blu-ray to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed here are my own. And if I could get a wish granted from my fairy godmother, I'd ask her to cover the costs of our trip to Disney next year, because vacations aren't cheap.