I am injured. My wrist is all messed up and sitting here typing is painful! I have so many things I want to tell you guys about but it's just going to have to wait until the pain goes away some. Pain was not going to get in the way, however, of announcing the winner from the Hug-A-Hero doll giveaway!

When I emailed Jenn at Hug-A-Hero, she let me know that she had totally forgot to tell me they'd offer a gift certificate just like the one I'd gotten for me to host a giveaway. And since I'd already told y'all I'd give out one, on me, I decided there would be not one but two lucky winners of Hug-A-Hero dolls.

For the first one, I did what I had said from the beginning and did a random drawing. Taryn sent me an awesome name chooser that looks like a slot machine. I entered everyone's names in however many times they had entered and then I pulled the virtual lever.

The first winner of a Hug-A-Hero doll is...
*drum roll please*

Hooray!! Please email me so we can you your gift certificate!

For the second doll, I realized there were a lot of stories coming in with your entries. Each one touched my heart and I wish I could give a doll to every one who wants one, especially those kids who don't get to see one parent or another as often as one might wish. So I went through the stories, did a little research and chose my second winner not randomly but on a "She so needs a Daddy Doll" reaction.

This winner is Rachelle Vaughn. Rachelle's husband Sgt Ricky Vaughn was killed April 7, 2008, in Iraq. Like my own daughter, Rachelle's son never got to meet his father. Rachelle had expressed interest in the daddy doll immediately, and even though she doesn't blog she entered by leaving a comment and liking on facebook. Rachelle is also very active with Remembering the Brave, a non-profit organization which hosts an annual banquet honoring fallen heroes. Rachelle, I truly think you deserve a doll of Ricky and I am happy to give you a certificate to order one! You can check out a little more about Rachelle and Ricky at Ricky's memorial site.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered. Like I said, I really wish I could give each of you a doll of your hero. Check over at Hug-A-Hero and see if they have any holiday specials coming up, I heard (after Veteran's Day) that they had a Veteran's Day special to receive a free voice recording with an order made on Veteran's Day (would have told y'all about it but like I said, didn't find out til after - boo me!)

Hopefully my wrist will be healed up soon and I'll be back to tell you guys some neat things (and show you a video of me preparing to fly an airplane!)

Happy 236th, Marines!

Happy 236th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! Woo, you guys sure are getting old, huh? Here's to another 236 good years with the best fighting force in the world!! Oorah and Semper Fidelis!

And don't forget to enter the giveaway if you'd like to win a Hug-A-Hero doll! It closes tomorrow at midnight, EST!

Hug-A-Hero (there might be a giveaway here, wink wink)

I was contacted by the folks over at Hug-A-Hero Daddy Dolls, Inc. to do a product review and there was no way I could turn this one down because, well, daddy dolls are excellent!

Ariana was given a doll similar to those made by Hug-A-Hero shortly after Jonathan passed, although it may have been a different company (I don't even remember where it came from, to be honest). I was excited to be asked by Hug-A-Hero to give a product and review not only because I wanted a doll for myself (yeah, a little selfish), and a back up doll for Ariana (she never goes to bed without her daddy by her side) but I also wanted to do a little comparing with the one we already had.

I am pleased to say that Hug-A-Hero did not disappoint. While there really wasn't much comparison between the two (they were very similar and like I said, I'm not even sure where the first came from) I was very impressed not only with the doll itself but with my complete experience with the company as a whole.

The ordering process was simple and painless. You choose the photo you want and send it in, they do the editing and make sure the background disappears so it is only your hero on the doll. I got to choose one line on the bottom of the doll, and since the first one we have says "Poppa Bear," what we called Jonny while I was pregnant, this one says "To the Moon & Back" kind of our little thing. Then you get to choose the print on the back. The back of Ariana's first one has a pink camo background. I didn't see this available at Hug-A-Hero but that was fine with me because I didn't want two of the same. This time I chose a flag background with stars and stripes. Instead of Jonny in his blues, I chose a photo of Jonny in his camis and viola, all done! The neat thing about the back fabric, is that it is made with a pocket where you can insert little notes or a voice recorded message - very cool.

When my package arrived, it was stamped with an awesome MADE IN THE USA sticker that made me smile. It was wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon tied around it. The packaging showed that care was not only taken in making our doll but packing and sending him to us, as well. I meant to take a photo of that but of course time and thoughts got away from me when tearing into the package.

The doll itself is in the most pristine condition. The ink is very clear and vibrant, his photo stands out and is just so crisp and clear. The editing done is perfect and you can't see a hair of the background. Even the flag pattern on the back had vibrant and beautiful colors.
I wanted to sneak a photo with Ariana holding it in her sleep but that is dangerous to put a flash on a sleeping baby so I had Z sneak it out for a minute to snap these then stealthily replace it

Speaking with Jenn from the company was also a pleasure. She was so kind and so excited to be working with me on the review. All-in-all an awesome experience with Hug-A-Hero.

I used my facebook page to talk to some of you about what daddy dolls meant to you. I think they are such a great little creation and my thoughts are confirmed by the testimonials you all left me on the facebook page:

"The daddy doll my kids got before Zack deployed last summer seriously was a god send. I cant tell you how many times one of the kids would cry for dad but as soon as they held the daddy doll for s little while, it just seemed like their world was ok again." - Bonnie H.

"My boys both have daddy dolls. They go everywhere with us, and get hugs, kisses and noses every night before bed. My oldest (3 years old) says that his daddy doll keeps the monsters away at night. I would buy them over and over again. The only complaint is they are getting DIRTY and I can't get them away long enough to get through the wash." - Heather D.

"It is the only way Julia knows her daddy." - Ally E.

And that's only a few testimonials, the rest can be seen on the facebook page, or if you have your own please leave it here or on the facebook page.

So, with all this talking up the daddy doll I'm feeling the need for a giveaway. Because the people at Hug-A-Hero treated me so well, I'm going to treat one of you so well! In honor of veteran's day coming up, one lucky reader will receive a gift certificate for a Hug-A-Hero doll, on me! The gift certificates do work, it's the way I got mine, and it's way easier than having to mail anything - you'll get to pick out just exactly how you want it to look!

There are lots of ways to enter. If you are leaving all your entries in one comment, please number each one (i.e. 1. leaving a comment 2. I'm a follower 3. Follow you on twitter @dddd).

Enter this giveaway by
1. Simply leaving a comment (Yo! I'm here! I want this daddy doll, man!)
2. Following me (Please leave the name by which you follow)
3. "Liking" Little Pink on Facebook (Dude, I totally gave you a thumbs up!)
4. Following my silly little Tweets (And again, please leave your twitter name so I can follow you back!)

That's it - Easy peasy!! Hope you all enter and good luck to everyone!!

OOPS - forgot to mention - this giveaway will close at midnight on Veteran's Day! That's 1200am EST on November 11!

West Side WHAAAT? Pound Sign BWELA

Woooo I've been hashtagging it up with BWE the last few weeks and it's because I'm pretty stoked about heading to Los Angeles for Blog World Expo.

Last year, BWE was hosted in Las Vegas and it was beyond fun. I learned a lot about blogging, met some super awesome mil bloggers and non-mil bloggers, had fun in the city of sins, and got to speak about social media and the military from a spouse's point of view.

This year, I'm very pleased to have been asked to host a panel on Blogging Through Loss, which you guys know is basically my specialty (ok, my specialty is too fancy of a word, life is more like it). Of course I said yes and am honored at the invite, the folks at BWE work very hard to put on a great conference/expo whatever you want to call it, and it is loaded with awesome folk that you don't typically get to meet except in the virtual sense.

Speaking of meeting virtual people in real life, I'm also super-de-duper excited to announce the my bestie, once just a virtual friend, now heterolifemate, Mandy, will be speaking with me. I am beyond excited to have Mandy by my side for this, and I'm sure our session will be a whirlwind of widow weirdness - one to not be missed out on.

It is not too late to register or virtually register. If you are military, military related, or military supporter, you can even come for free. Mandy and I speak on Thursday. If you can't make it, you can get a virtual conference pass as well and watch our session online. I'm hoping at least a few people will be there, it would be great to meet some more bloggy friends in person! If you're interested in registering, contact for your free registration code.

I'm also super excited to learn more about blogging and social media. It is so fascinating and last year I learned there's so much to it than just writing on blog spot like I do (and since then I've grown to get more involved in social media, hence my pound-signing everywhere).

Well, I should head off to pack now (procrastination at it's best...). Stay tuned for news from BWE, and I'm going to work my hardest to hashtag it up over on twitter (stay tuned by following RachelMrsP or A Little Pink in a World of Camo on facebook!).

Wish us luck and maybe we'll see some of you in LA!

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