Sunday, June 20, 2010

Small Luxuries -- Would You Belive I Won?!?!

My home team, the Lakers, won the NBA championship! Fantasizing about watching them court side, à la Jack Nicholson, I entered the Right Guard "Win a Trip to the Finals 2010" Sweepstakes. While I won't have the luxury of sitting close to Jack, I did win Second Prize -- a $50 Gift Card from Walgreens! So people, it does pay to enter!

And speaking of luxuries, Small Luxury Hotels of the World via Elle Decor is giving away one four-night stay at one of their charming independent hotels located in more than 75 countries around the world. Choose from a variety of luxurious accommodations, from a serene spa retreat, to a rustic country villa, or an old English country house. You know I'm going to Paris. St-Germain-des-Prés's L'Hôtel, a dramatic expression of Parisian panache with decadent décor, a Michelin-starred restaurant, a romantic small pool and sauna in the cellars, and original works of art by Jean Cocteau, sounds tempting. So does the Relais Christine, a 16th century mansion turned hotel, which is hidden behind pretty entrance gates on the Left Bank. Then, there's the Hôtel San Régis, a lavishly decorated townhouse hotel, converted from a prestigious private mansion near Avenue Montaigne. Decisions, decisions. What would you choose? Jump into the lap of luxury and enter.

Voilà - the link to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World Getaway contest:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Caution Ahead: Never Pay To Win

Yesterday, I received a promising announcement letter stating I have "been officially awarded eligibility totaling $2,034,887," accompanied by a claim form that could easily be misread. After sifting through the fine print, I discovered this gobbledygook required a $20 fee. For what??!! The Las Vegas address was another tip off that something wasn't quite right. (Florida addresses also set off warning bells.) I don't care how official those forms look, if you have to pay to win something, you're getting ripped off! Turns out the company listed "is a reporting service that provides information on various sweepstakes that are managed by separate corporate entities." So, you're ultimately buying a report of available sweepstakes. When in doubt, Google. Looks like I'm not the only one to have received one of these tempting missives. To avoid scams, only contests with reputable companies are mentioned here. Yes, when you win, especially something big, you may have to sign some kind of form and declare your prize on your taxes, but you won't have to "buy" anything. Fly away if someone ever asks you to pay for something you've "won". If you don't, chances are you'll lose.

And speaking of flying, Saveur magazine and AT&T are running a World Traveler Sweepstakes. The grand prize winner jets off with a $1,500 Gift Certificate redeemable for air travel purchases. That ought to cover a flight to Paris. Soar on over and enter.

- the link to Saveur and AT&T's World Traveler Sweepstakes:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How To Become Parisian In One Hour

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with Paris. If you've never been there, it helps to get the inside scoop about contemporary French mores early on in your trip. Learn How to Become Parisian in One Hour. Check out French comedian, Olivier Giraud's, hilarious one-man show while you're in Paris. It's in English, so you won't get lost in translation. Giraud pokes fun at his countrymen by showing foreigners exactly how to behave as rudely as Parisians in a shop, a restaurant, a taxi, the metro, and even in the bedroom. By the time it's over, you'll out French the French.

HBO, the home of some of my favorite TV shows - Entourage, Hung, and the long gone Six Feet Under - knows how important it is to feed your obsession, so they are giving away $10,000 to do just that. It's plenty to cover a trip to Paris and Giraud's show. Feed your obsession and enter.

Voilà - the link to HBO's Feed Your Obsession Contest:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Living Like A Star

Come summer, most Parisians ditch the city, especially during August. Sure, you'll have the metropolis to yourself, along with a bunch of other tourists, but not everything will be open as usual. St. Tropez or Provence are popular getaways, but if you really want to splurge, live like a celebrity. According to Star magazine, you can rent Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's Malibu mansion for $90,000 a month, while Stephen Dorff's beach retreat is a mere $50,000. Prefer something hotter, like Penelope Cruz's Los Angeles home? Pony up $112,000 a month, and it's yours. Or head to the Hamptons, where two Real Housewives of New York have their dwellings up for grabs. Kelly Killoren Bensimon's palatial estate rents for $300,000 for the season, while Ramona Singer's is on offer for $295,000. Just looking for a brief getaway? The Jersey Shore's cheesy ex-MTV pad is listed as $6,500 a night. Yup, that's the situation.

Time is money. Where you spend it determines the cost. The Trump Time is Money Sweepstakes is giving away $100,000, which ought to buy you a short respite in a beautiful place. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's South of France Chateau Miraval in Brignol is not on the market, but you're bound to find something enticing. Time to enter.

Voilà - the link to The Trump Time is Money Sweepstakes:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A River Runs Through It

Gliding down a peaceful waterway sounds like an idyllic way to see a country. Fodor's is giving away an 8-day Viking River Cruise in their To Europe! Sweepstakes. Your Rhine Getaway starts in Amsterdam and winds through Kinderdijk, Cologne, Koblenz, Rüdesheim, Heidelberg, Speyer, and Breisach. If you're a Francophile, take an excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar, France, which is the home of the sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, who designed the Statue of Liberty. Be sure to visit la Petite Venise, or "little Venice," the area crossed by canals of the river Lauch, which formerly served as the butcher's, tanner's and fishmonger's quarter. Since Colmar is considered the capitale des vins d'Alsace (the capital of Alsatian wine), you may want to pick up a few bottles for the rest of your trip. Then, cruise to Basel and disembark. You can always head to Paris when you're done. Paddle on over and enter.

Voilà - the link to Fodor's To Europe! Sweepstakes:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Picture Perfect: Paris In Love at the Hôtel de Ville

Paris and love seem synonymous. No wonder Paris' City Hall, the Hôtel de Ville de Paris, is holding an exhibition of photos of "Paris in Love" through July 3lst. If you miss this one, you may want to check out the ornate venue in the future. Originally, it took 95 years to build the this administrative hall, then, in 1871, extremists burnt it to a stone shell. Rebuilding this glorious structure required another 19 years, and it's been the site of many historical moments. During the Liberation of Paris, Charles de Gaulle gave his speech from the front window.

Picture this: Parents magazine is running a Picture Perfect Summer Sweepstakes, and the winner receives $5,000. That's enough to cover a trip to Paris and see the exhibit. Click, click, and enter.

Voilà - the link to the Parents Picture Perfect Summer Sweepstakes:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wine Not? Tasting the Fruit of the Vine in France

Think you know a lot about wine? Play France Guide's French Wine Quiz, and you could win a 3-night trip to France, where the Savoy vineyards in this distinctly alpine landscape hang from slopes or clutch at the hillsides in little islands to produce their rare varietals. In addition to 2 round trip plane tickets on Air France, the winner will receive two France Rail Passes to travel by train to the Rhone Alps. You'll stay in a charming guest house at a vineyard, be treated to discovery and wine tasting tours, and have a wine-specialist/mountain guide and driver. Two local, copious picnics with wine, three dinners, and three breakfasts are also provided. You'll even look like you know what you're doing when you wear the professional wine tasting glass with a neck support that you're given. Drawing air into the mouth enhances tasting ability, so don't be afraid to gurgle. Chignin Bergeron or Mondeuse d’Arbin? Bone up with Corkscrewed: Adventures in the New French Wine Country (At Table). Finish your wine and enter.

Voilà - the link to the French Wine Quiz: