Category Archives: sponsored

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I found the perfect gift for the sports fanatic in your life

Disclaimer: You Gotta Know sent Nichole a product to review here at Butterscotch Sundae and compensated her for her time. All opinions are Nichole’s own.

You know that person in your life who always wears their team’s colors on game day? The guy who can recite their favorite point guard’s stats from the 1987-88 season? The girl who can rattle off every minor league ballpark affiliation in the National League? You Gotta Know has the perfect gift for that person. (It is too early to talk about holiday gifts, friends, but sports fans also have birthdays.) I know several such people, and I also know they don’t read my blog so I feel pretty safe telling you I’ll be buying a couple of these later this year.

Pop quiz!

What three-word Ernie Banks catchphrase typically followed “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame…”?1)“Let’s play two!”

What Wrigley Field staple was planted in 1937 by manager Bill Veeck?2)Ivy!

What team defeated the Bulls in the Eastern Conference playoffs three seasons in a row from 1988-1990?3)The Detroit Pistons!

In 2013, who started in net for all 23 Blackhawks playoff games?4)Corey Crawford!

You Gotta Know games sports triviaYou Gotta Know Games send me a copy of their Chicago Sports Trivia Game (The Ultimate Trivia Game for the Chicago Sports Fan!), and three of the questions above were some of the only ones I could answer. And you guys? There are 500 questions in the game. Uber-Cubs fan Rockford won pretty easily, but there were definitely some Blackhawks questions that tripped him up.

You don’t have to be a Chicago fan to play, though. There are more than 20 locations in their portfolio, so you and your favorite sports fan are covered all the way from Boston to Seattle!

I can see this being a lot of fun to play at a sports bar or during commercial breaks when you’re watching a game at home. Game play is really straight forward: You read the questions, and the first player to get 21 points wins. Easy-peasy — so long as you know everything about your area’s sports teams and their history, of course.

Please know, dear readers, that it took a lot of restraint for me to use neither “touchdown” nor “homerun” to describe these games. Whoops, so much for that restraint. One might also call them a 3-pointer at the buzzer or a reverse breakout ice razzamattazz. (One might be correct in assuming I don’t know anything about hockey.)

You Gotta Know sports trivia games are only $20 each, and you can get them at You Gotta Know Games or at Rally House.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. “Let’s play two!”
2. Ivy!
3. The Detroit Pistons!
4. Corey Crawford!

Hitting the floor with Sharks. Sometimes literally.

Disclaimer: SharkNinja sent Nichole products to review here at Butterscotch Sundae. No money changed hands, and all opinions are Nichole’s own.

Our most recent vacuum purchase was on Black Friday about five years ago, when Amazon offered a crazy vacuum discount on the very same day that the vacuum that came with our house finally died. The New Vacuum lasted a couple of years before it started getting a little fussy. It would pick up a thing here and a thing there, so long as we dumped it if it was more than half full and we cleaned the brush off regularly. It gradually did less and less as we babied it more and more, and just as I was about to start searching Amazon for another amazing deal, I got an email from a Shark representative I’d met at the Type-A Conference. “Would you be interested in writing about the Shark Rocket and the Shark Genius?” she asked. Thus continuing my weird but welcome tradition of the vacuum stars aligning right when I need it.

The Shark Rocket shows Nichole that her house is grubby.

The New Vacuum and I had vacuumed the bedroom literally two days before the Shark Rocket arrived on my doorstep, and it still picked up at least half a Marsha T. Cat’s worth of dust. I took this as both a repudiation of my homemaking acumen and a recommendation of the Rocket’s worthiness. I was surprised at how powerful the pull was when I switched the Rocket on. Between the vacuum’s pull against the carpet and trying to navigate the swiveling head, it felt like walking a rather insistent chihuahua. Which has not been my experience with previous vacuum cleaners. It didn’t take long to adjust my expectations, so I wasn’t terribly taken aback once I bumped it up to second gear, which felt like walking a rather insistent and very muscular chihuahua.

We recently pulled the carpet up in the living room and dining room, but we have some area rugs out there. So the Rocket and I wandered that way. I kind of enjoy the zen of sweeping, so I’ll probably keep sweeping the hardwoods with my trusty broom. But I was astounded to realize that I didn’t need to change outlets to reach the hall, living room and dining room. Granted, our house isn’t very large. But the cord on the Rocket is ginormous — 30 feet long! — and will cut down on outlet-switching even if you live in the Biltmore Estate.

The accessories include a little motorized brush that’s meant to pick up pet hair and dander from furniture and a gizmo that lets you easily clean underneath furniture and appliances. I used the brush to vacuum the couch, and I used the under-appliance wand to vacuum under the couch. And now the general couch region is probably the cleanest area of the couch, which is definitely a first for general couch regions in my house.

I don’t love that the Rocket can’t stand up on its own — it’s top-heavy because of the engine placement — but that’s pretty much all I don’t like about it. Other than the fact that it showed me how much dirt I’ve been leaving in the carpets, of course.

The Shark Genius puts Rockford on the floor.

The marketing materials for the Shark Genius say it’s the company’s “smartest steam mop ever.” I’ve proven to be terrible with the latest in mopping technology, so I was a little wary of that. I bought a fancy mop with a self-wringing mechanism awhile back, and the whole thing falls apart literally every time I’ve tried to use it. I don’t know if I’m twisting when I’m supposed to pull or pulling when I’m supposed to twist or what, but if you’ve ever seen an infomercial, you have a pretty good idea of what it looks like when I try to mop.

It isn’t pretty.

So I approached the Shark Genius with very cautious optimism. It came with two washable “dirt grip” pads, and one of them was already attached to the machine so I didn’t have to worry about infomercial-failing that part of the equation. I used the included pitcher to fill the basin with water, and the Genius and I headed off to the bathroom.

Someone very helpfully tracked a good bit of mud into the bathroom a few days ago, and I decided to leave it there because I knew the Shark Genius was on the way. (Let’s all agree to believe that I wasn’t just willfully ignoring it, OK?) So the floor was pretty filthy. The head of the steam mop is too big to get around the toilet, but it did a great job on the parts of the floor I could reach.

Grimy as the bathroom floor was, it wasn’t bad enough to require the Shark Genius’s “Steam Blaster” feature. So I took the mop out to the kitchen. The linoleum in our kitchen is decades and decades old. The pattern is a floral-leafy design, and it’s sort of stamped on and has lots of little divots and ridges that make it tough to clean. I was hopeful that the Steam Blaster would be able to get into those little dirt-magnet areas and blast the grime out.

You activate the Steam Blaster by flipping the mop’s head over and angling the handle downward a little, and a blast of steam charges forth, just as advertised. It looks about as cool as a mop is allowed to look, like a miniature, land-bound, domestic version of a space shuttle about to achieve liftoff. And it works really well. Maybe even a little too well. I think it may have steamed away 50 years of grime, which led to a kitchen floor that was now too slick for Rockford to casually lean against the counter whilst wearing socks without crashing to the floor.

That’s right. I cleaned the kitchen floor, and as a result Rockford fell down.

The cleaning pad was, as you might guess, pretty grubby by the time I’d finished. I followed the instructions, pushed the appropriate buttons, and prepared myself for an epic battle. But instead of the mop imploding or flinging the dirty cloth across the floor, it unfolded like a beautiful, disgusting gift.

I wish the Shark Genius was a little easier to drain the water from it once you’re done mopping, but that’s a pretty minor complaint. It’s really easy to use, and it does its job very well. Maybe even too well, if you ask slippery socked amongst us.

An opportunity to partake in Black Friday without leaving your house

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Mabel’s Labels. Nichole was compensated for this post. All opinions are her own.

Remember back in June when I told you the kids were going to camp? And I told you I was labeling everything? Specifically, that I was labeling everything with Mabel’s Labels because they stay on for.ev.er?

I was not kidding. The soles of the sandals that Pete wore all summer and most of the fall have started to come off, but the label remains. Poppy’s water bottle survived a season of soccer, and her Mabel’s Labels-affixed name tag is steadfast. These guys don’t give up.

I’m pretty excited to be including goodies from their stocking stuffer combo pack in several of my Christmas gifts this year, and I’m even happier to offer you the chance to win a set of return address labels! Enter here for a chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It may be too late to label all of your Tupperware ahead of turkey time — Happy Thanksgiving, by the way! — but it isn’t too late to get them ready for your holiday get-togethers. Mabel’s Labels is currently running a Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale. It includes 40 percent off of Tag Mates, mini custom name stickers, preschool shoe labels and the starter label pack. The sale runs from 9am Eastern time today until midnight on Monday, November 28.