Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Business: Microsoft Store offers excellent customer service!

Usually, I don't buy video games or other merchandise in stores such as Microsoft or Apple, instead I tend to go to Best Buy, Game Stop or another one where you usually get points for carrying a loyalty card. However, browsing one day at the Microsoft Store in the Galleria Houston, I was pleasantly surprised.

We were looking at some upcoming video games and were going to pre-order at Best Buy because they were offering a good deal. However at Microsoft Store, the very nice and friendly associate who approached us, started to chat about video games in general and mentioned their pre-order deal: $10.00 to pre-order the game, and upon picking it up, 1600 Microsoft points (which is a $20.00 value) and another $10.00 discount valid for the purchase or to pre-order another game. She also offered 2 free coupons worth $25.00 each for us just to try the Bing/Google test, and then exchanged the $50.00 free coupon for a 1 year X-Box live membership (a $60.00 value which I paid only $10.00 for!). The fine prints? None. Pure marketing and a way to win a customer. Deal.

When I picked up the game 2 weeks later, I got the promised perks: 1600 points and $10.00 off. However, while playing the game, the disc got damaged!!! I returned to the store the next day to explain I had just purchased the game the day before and could not play it due to a malfunction. It was in fact the easiest even exchange ever. The associate simply accepted the defective merchandise back, no questions asked, didn't even open the package to make sure all was inside, and just handed me the new game. Way to keep a customer!

We just returned to the store yesterday to pick up the newest game we pre-ordered and again got all the perks: another 1600 points worth $20.00 and another $10.00 off. Very good deal, and all the associates very helpful, friendly and chatty! Great way to treat customers, Microsoft. I'm game!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Restaurants: Getting a freebie on your Birthday!

Yes, you're celebrating another wonderful year and getting younger! So why not celebrate the child you are by receiving freebies for your birthday for just signing up to a few places? And it's all free!

There are several restaurants offering something free to help you celebrate your birthday, and severalof them also have an introductory offers just for subscribing! Check out some of them on the list below - and believe me, it's free and no strings attached. You can just print the coupon you receive and bring it to the place and you will be served your freebie. What would you like on your birthday?


IHOP: join their Pancake Revolution and for signing up, you will receive an email within 24 hours for a free breakfast. Then a free breakfast email will arrive around your birthday too!


Which Wich: the sandwich chain also gives you free food! Join the Vibe Club, and as an introductory offer you will get a free sub with a purchase of a drink and chips (about $2.80) and an email for a free sub on your special day! 

Dessert and snacks for after lunch, after dinner, and in between:

La Madeleine: upon subscribing for their e-club on their website, you will receive an email for a petite Salade or cup of Soupe and they will also send you an email for a free pastry for your birthday. Delicious deal! 

Baskin Robbins:  join their birthday club on their website and get a coupon for a free scoop of ice-cream on your magical day! You will also receive coupons for other promotions throughout the year. Sweet!

Marble Slab Creamery: didn't get enough ice-cream with Baskin Robbins? Get another one from Marble Slab, and splurge on your birthday! Subscribing to their Mable Mail will get you an introductory offer for a free cone with the purchase of another one, and a free cone on your birthday!

Cinabbon: by joining Club Cinabbon you will receive a coupon for a free minibon as your welcome to the club offer, and a freebie on your birthday (a Mochallata chill drink - delicious!)


Red Robin: join their Eclub and you will receive a free burger on your birthday! 

OK, got enough free food for a day? Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in-between. So feast for free and enjoy the goods. There is no age limit for any of these deals - so celebrate the child you are!!! If you know of any other sweet deal, feel free to share on the comments session below! Have fun!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lifestyle: - a platform for doing good!

If you have a Facebook account, have you ever noticed a posting on your wall by one of your friends, stating they're passionate about a particular cause and would like you to join in their efforts? You may have disregarded it or you might have been curious enough to open the link and click on it. I hope you did, and you should. is a website created to help people like us make a difference in the world. Be it by creating a cause or participating in the awareness of a particular cause, there's always something to be done. Participation is free. You can create you own cause or a pledge, or join in any of the thousands of causes from helping feed the hunger to petitions for governments to stop cruelty or abuse to animals. There is no limit to the amount of good that can be done by building awareness and making a positive impact.

The easiest way to join Causes is through Facebook. Visit their website where you will read about real life stories of passionate people who created a cause and achieved their objective and a myriad of suggestions on how you can help. Pick a cause that talks to your heart. Choose something you're passionate about. Is it starving children? Environmental issues? Gay rights? Abused animals? Disaster relief? Education? Pediatric cancer? By just watching a short video, Dell will donate $1.00 to Pediatric Cancer Research, for example. Simple enough and powerful enough to raise a whopping $42,965 - the goal is $50,000 and I'm sure it will be met soon! 153 million people in 142 countries are part of, and 1 billion actions have been taken as a result! That's power!

It's amazing how a seemingly insignificant act can make a HUGE difference! I hope you join one of the causes. Doing good has never felt so good!

(Just on a side note, I created my own pledge on causes to bring awareness about hunger. I believe  if each one of us does our part in helping feed a starving person a day, we can make this a better world! There's abundance, we just have to share! Hope you can join it - thanks!)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Music: New Artist: Eric Mbadinga-Nzamba's debut album

New artist: Eric Mbadinga-Nzamba's debut album Continuum

There's a lot of new music to be explored and most of what we are exposed to comes from massive radio manufacturing, bombarding the waves with the same rhythms and beats which makes you wonder if you're not hearing the same music over and over non stop. There seems nothing new to listen to.

Thus, it's refreshing to find a new artist who comes up with an eclectic sound - his album is a mixture of slow beats, rock, alternative, sounds reminiscing of bossa nova and even flamenco. You don't know what to expect when you're coming upon the next track (sort of like the chocolate box concept: each chocolate is a surprise - get it?)

Each track is carefully weaved with instruments that complement Eric's mellow and soft voice in a myriad of languages that truly transforms his album into a worldly composite of great sounds and surprising beats.
Cover of Continuum, Eric's debut album

All the lyrics were composed by the artist. I was marvelously surprised by the track "Timeless" sung in Spanish, in a Flamenco style that is alive and exciting! The track just transports you to Spain - it's a great around the world sound experiment! The track "Hold on" reminded me of Metallica, not so heavy metal but enough for Eric's voice to be raspy and effective, and there's also more ballad driven, inspirational and sentimental tracks like "I'm a Daddy", which conveys the artist's own astonishment at the fatherhood adventure awaiting for him.  The catchy track "Bafana Bafana", a tribute to Africa during the last Soccer World Cup held in the continent, ends the album with a festive and winning tone.


For more information about the artist and his recording company, visit the site highlighted below. As a reward, you will be able to download a free track (for "Bafana Bafana" - the video is also available on the site as well as links to purchase the CD or the album download).

I personally know Eric and he's a delightfully positive soul - couldn't have expected anything greater coming from his creative mind and talented persona! Two thumbs up!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book: Secrets of Meditation by davidji

Secrets of Meditation, a practical guide to inner peace and personal transformation by davidji.

The first thing that called my attention when I received this book and started leafing through it was a comment most readers will miss: "The author donates all proceeds from this book to charity". How would you not want to read a book whose author is so caring and giving? It showed me that every page of this book is filled with hearty advice and a genuine desire to help the reader achieve a state of deep meditation and understand the benefits of this ancient practice.

The language is easy to follow, davidji is down to earth, engaging, and guides the readers in a very interesting path highlighting different types of meditation techniques and what to expect from each of the meditation styles. He tells his own story about his spiritual journey and illustrates it with many examples on how he achieved his proficiency in meditation.

It is the first time I read davidji and I'm hooked! It's not easy to follow a book about meditation, it becomes dull and boring at times, however, this book is exciting and inspiring! It's a great read and will really prompt you to try meditation. You can choose one that fits you better from the different kinds described in this volume: bodymind, visual, sound, energy, sensory, Buddhist, mantra and chanting meditation. Each is described in detail and each chapter explores the best technique on how to practice them, with very helpful hints and encouragement.

At the end of the book, davidji explores the myths around meditation and demystifies some beliefs about its practice, with accessible and easy to understand questions and answers.

This is a great book for those who want to start exploring the benefits of meditation and also for those who have been already practicing it. If you're serious about understanding what meditation is and how it can transform you, don't miss this jewel of inspiration and guidance to a better lifestyle!

I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.