Foodie Pen Pal Reveal for January

After taking December off, Foodie Pen Pal was in full swing in January! I missed it! This month I was fortunate enough to meet Dena who was my foodie pen pal! Dena blogs at and she won we over with her selections! They were from Trader Joe's (shocker, as I beg people to shop there for me) and had a nice mix of things like Farra which is an Italian grain that I am looking forward to trying! I have been dying to try cooking with coconut oil and squealed when I saw a jar in there. The gorgonzola chips were great, the sunflower seeds are a staple and I have sanctioned off a couple of squares a day for my luxury. Dena also included some samples of yummy smelling beauty products...I can't wait to try them!! 

My Foodie Pen pal was Melissa who has the cutest blog! She got into the Dumbo Double Dare...I am jealous!!

Here is her review of what I got her!!

And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE ( to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by February 4th as pairings will be emailed on February 5th!

*If you're from Europe, please CLICK HERE ( to signup.

The Lean Green Bean
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Social Media in Triumph and Tragedy

It has been a whirlwind end of 2012 and start of 2013. For the world to see on Facebook, I have celebrated and mourned. It has made me realize how much I value this platform. 

It is an understatement to say I am overwhelmed with the unbelievable amount of love and well wishes we have received since announcing our engagement. I told my beau last night when we were at an event and everyone was so sweetly STILL extending well wishes that I almost don't want to get married because eventually this will stop!! I know that it is like the second coming of Christ, but really my heart is so big and warmed at the congratulations. It is unreal.

I really don't want to be that girl that plays it out on Facebook but it is really hard not that my Save the Dates are out and about, people are posting pictures of THOSE, and Steve FINALLY clicked confirmed that yes, we are indeed engaged and the love fest starts over again. I hope I don't sound like I am complaining but I really am so surprised that everyone is so gracious. And cares that much...But, mostly I am glad that there is a platform for it all to take place on such as Facebook! Its a documentation, I hope to have for quite some time! 

I know my best friend is having the same kind of thoughts. She is not as nerdy as me, but I know her phone is going nuts with notifications since she posted about the amazing arrival of her son Crosby. Overwhelming sweet words that validates the struggle and the long road they traveled to have this miracle in their lives.  Facebook was also an easy way to share the wonderful news on a massive scale for both of us.

Crosby and I

So that is the triumph, where is the tragedy? A courageous battle with pancreatic cancer was lost when a friend of ours Sammy Gonzalez passed away last week. I didn't get to see him often, but my heart is broken for my friends who will suffer through this loss on an daily basis. It questions my faith, because there are so many pieces of dirt in the rob this world of such a good guy makes me feel a little helpless.

The only positive was the Power of Facebook. Through his Facebook page, his wife and family and friends took the time away from their own grieving and gave us daily updates. I can only speak for myself, but I was so grateful that I had this consistent update to his progress. When he had good days, it gave you a little hope and when he didn't have the greatest of days, you said a little prayer. 

This Facebook page was watched and commented by all, and it is hard to believe with all those people so openly pulling for you, his life was still lost. Even my friend who (God Bless Him) was so against the intrusion of social media started his own Facebook page, because in his words: "I wanted to tell everyone in the world about my friend Sammy G". So this sad time has its benefits (and miracles, haha). 

Towards the end, I was going on his Facebook page pretty regularly because it was my easiest connection than bothering my friends who were grieving. I am sure I was not alone.The last post to announce the unthinkable, I had the sad misfortune to see it seconds after it was posted.

To leave this on a positive note, I hope like our triumphs-Sammy's family can use this Facebook page as a way to heal, to know that so many people loved and cared and was pulling for him till the end. 

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Super Bowl Madness WIth A Wholly Guacamole #Giveaway!

Can you believe the Big Game is upon us!! Although I am a born from birth/be ousted from my family overwise New York Giants fan...the fact that I am going to be in Washington DC the night of when the Ravens play the 49ers makes me a Baltimore fan for sure!! I think we are gonna be in for some fun. We are staying with friends so I know that I will be packing some Wholly Guacamole supplies for the party! Want to be a winner of your very own Wholly Guacamole prize pack?? Here is what I have in store for you!! 

Grand Prize (1 winner)
- 10 Wholly Guacamole tshirts
- Variety of Wholly Guac and Wholly Salsa flavors for your whole team
- other Wholly promotional goodies
- 10 Wholly coupons to hand out to your friends

Game Day Prize Pack (2 winners)
- Variety of Wholly Guac and Wholly Salsa flavors for your whole team
- other Wholly promotional goodies

Of course you are still drooling over the Wholly Awesome Corn Dip I made earlier in the season, but if you need some more inspiration...why not try and impress your guests with some deep fried Wholly Guacamole for the Super Bowl party! 

Deep Fried Wholly Guacamole 

Wholly Guacamole® dip
3 eggs
3 Tablespoons water
1 cup flour
3 cups crushed tortilla chips (great way to use up those chips in the bottom of the bag that are too small for dipping)
vegetable oil, for frying (I filled my pot with 48 ounces)


The day before the big game:

  • Fill ice cube or baby food freezer trays with Wholly Guacamole dip. Spread out evenly with a spatula and tap on countertop to get rid of any air pockets. Cover & freeze overnight.
  • Decide how many cubes you want to make and just mix up more egg-wash and add more flour and chips to bowls as needed. The listed ingredients will be enough to coat about 2 trays of cubes.
  • After you try this recipe you will probably want to make extra guac cubes to keep on hand in the freezer for whenever you have a Wholly Guacamole dip deep-fried craving.

About an hour before the big game:

  • Line a cookie sheet with foil, prepare egg-wash in a small bowl by mixing eggs and water with a fork, crush tortilla chips (I put in a zippered bag and crush with a rolling pin), put flour and crushed tortilla chips in separate bowls.
  • Pop cubes out of trays and into flour, coat each cube with flour, dip each cube in egg-wash, then roll in crushed tortilla chips, dip in egg-wash again and finally coat with the crushed tortilla chips again. Place coated cubes on cookie sheet and return to freezer while you heat oil. Heat oil in a deep pot (to minimize splatters) to about 350 degrees. Line a plate with paper towels. Fry each cube in oil until it turns a nice golden brown. Remove deep fried guacamole from oil and let it set on the paper towel lined plate before transferring to another dish to serve.
  • For a thicker center, you can mix cream cheese with Wholly Guacamole before freezing in trays to achieve desired consistency.

Time for the drawing! Enter below and Good Luck!! Hurry! Drawing ends on Thursday! 

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Brianna's Salad Dressing, How I Love Thee

A slight confession, I would love to be a cute salad eater...dining politely on my lettuce and oil and vinegar with a squeeze a lemon while I am on the quest to eat healthier...but I. Just. Can't. 

I am so thankful that there are a lot of options to get your greens and I am very thankful for salad dressings like Brianna's Rich Poppy Seed, which I would like to make a fifth food group. Yes, I love it that much. 

Here is my favorite way to use Brianna's Poppy Seed dressing, it is a big hit in our house and I hope you like it!


Mixed Greens
Goat Cheese
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Randi Zuckerberg Welcomes You To Dot Complicated!

Welcome to Dot Complicated said my email this afternoon! YAY! Dot Complicated is the new brainchild of Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media. It will be a biweekly newsletter and website for techy busy people like me and according to the website promises to help  navigate and “untangle” your complicated, modern life.

Sounds like a plan to me. At the risk of being annoyingly obvious, I think she may have a good track record. Way to go Randi! 

For more information, head over to the website to request an invite. Here is a link to most of the text in her video below. 

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Taste of the 24-Unique Dining Experience During the Rolex 24 to Benefit Local Charities

This weekend officially kicks off the racing season in Daytona Beach. It seems like just a minute ago that we were in Homestead as I am sure my friends who work in the sport will agree!

The Rolex 24 means different things to me as an adult. As a lifelong resident, this weekend meant a fun weekend as a high schooler/college student...pretty much the largest campground night out/sleepover ever. But as an adult, I have the pleasure of the bigger experience than in the infield over a campfire watching the cars go round. 

Out of all the events that are held this 24 Hour Weekend, by far The Taste of the 24 has become one of my favorites. This event gives you an opportunity to sample food and drink from 24 of our best restaurants while visiting the gorgeous backstretch corporate suites of the Daytona International Speedway. It is a great view to watch the race, see your friends and get a Taste of what Volusia County's restaurants have to offer.

Also as exciting- my friends from S.R. Perrott will have their amazing wines at this event!! They have an amazing selection which you can peruse here. I can't wait to see what they they feature!

Racing enthusiasts from around the world and local residents alike will converge on Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 26, 2013 for the fourth-annual Taste of the 24. The event, which benefits The NASCAR Foundation and the Daytona State College Foundation, features a unique blend of food from 24 of the area’s finest restaurants, a cigar bar, live jazz and a chance to win a Rolex watch.

Taste of the 24 will take place in the Backstretch Grandstand Corporate Suites on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 6 to 10 p.m. during the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. 

“Taste of the 24 is a great opportunity to support local charities while enjoying outstanding food from 24 of our area’s finest restaurants during the Rolex 24 at Daytona,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “The suites high atop Daytona’s backstretch provide a superb view for fine dining as well as all the drama that unfolds during North America’s premier endurance sports car race.”

Tickets are $95 per person and include premier event parking, Taste of the 24 event admission, a weekend pass to the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Sprint FANZONE access and a chance to win a Rolex watch. Tickets for children 12 and under may be purchased at the door for $24. Seating will be limited.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit, call (386) 310-5742 or email the Foundation:

About Daytona International Speedway

Known as the “World Center of Racing,” Daytona International Speedway has activity nearly every day of the year hosting stock cars, sports cars, motorcycles and karts.  Daytona International Speedway has at least eight major race weekends a year with premier events such as the DAYTONA 500, the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Independence Day holiday weekend, the Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car event, the Daytona Supercross By Honda and the Daytona 200 motorcycle classic. In addition, Daytona International Speedway showcases daily track tours and is home to the winning Daytona 500 car.

About The NASCAR Foundation

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Inc., (NASCAR) launched The NASCAR Foundation in January 2006. The foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit entity that embodies the compassion of the NASCAR family and its commitment to serving communities. The NASCAR Foundation seeks to raise funds and increase volunteerism to support nonprofit charities and charitable causes throughout the nation with an emphasis placed on initiatives that affect the ability of children to live, learn and play. For more information on The NASCAR Foundation, please visit the website: NASCAR.COM/foundation

Follow The NASCAR Foundation on or on Twitter: @NASCAR_FDN.

About Daytona State College

For more than five decades, Daytona State College has provided a path for thousands of people from all walks of life to reach their dreams. Whether to earn their college degree, prepare for new careers or advance in their jobs, students choose from 100 programs, including bachelor’s and associate degrees and certificates. Daytona State alumni are health-care workers, teachers, public safety officers, business owners and managers,  technologists and many other skilled professionals. The Daytona State College Foundation’s mission is to provide financial assistance to students and funding for critical needs that are beyond the scope of the college’s budget. Visit us on the web,, on Facebook and Twitter, or call (386) 506-3000.

You can buy your tickets to the Taste of the 24 by clicking here
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Connect 2 Happiness with GaiamTV

The week to get happy is finally here. During Hunt for Happiness Week, everyone is encouraged to actively seek happiness. When I was meeting with girlfriends last night we were talking about how the third Monday in January is known as Blue Monday,” the exact day is derived from a scientific formula that takes into account the factors of weather, debt, time since Christmas, and motivational levels. So in the middle of Hunt for Happiness week, comes Blue Monday...makes no sense. 

On a happiness platform, for me, this comes at a good time. I have a lot of happiness in my life, a wonderful family and friends, but the stress of wedding planning will suck that right out of you in no time. I have been doing whatever I can to keep the bridal nerves at bay..but this week, I have hit a wall...I imagine a first of many! 

So, I have been looking for some help on the path to happiness and was really excited to find GaiamTV and its Connect 2 Happiness Challenge. I am addicted!! Gaiam TV is the first streaming video subscription service designed to reach those interested in health and happiness. With over 2,000 titles, Gaiam TV is like Netflix for the mind, body and spirit! Who doesn't need that in their life!!

To get you started on the path to happy, GaiamTV introduces the Connect 2 Happiness Challenge. For the next 30 days, they want to bring YOU happiness. I am excited to take a part in the challenge and I hope you will join me. 

By taking the Connect 2 Happiness challenge, we will create vibrant happiness for our friends, family, community and ourselves!

Gaiam TV’s entire library of thought provoking movies, top documentary films and fitness videos is available anytime, anywhere.  Streaming capabilities for Gaiam TV include personal computers, iPads and smartphones. I like whatever you are in the mood for whether it is to nurture your mind, body or spirit, Gaiam TV has an option. 

Take the 30-day challenge to receive daily tips that inspire happiness, from walking in the grass to writing love notes and hugging a friend. Be a part of the community and help transform our lives, our community and our world with happiness. Learn More

Gaiam TV’s $9.95 per month subscription fee allows subscribers to stream unlimited content. The subscription to Gaiam TV is no strings attached, there is no commitment, and members can cancel at anytime. Gaiam TV offers a free 10-day trial.

Click here to participate in the Connect 2 Happiness promotion and check out GaiamTV

You can follow GaiamTV on facebook by clicking here and on twitter by clicking here. This post was sponsored by GaiamTV The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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Bring It On Down To Justinville, Finally!!

Quoting Today's Show Willie Geist: Have you felt a little in empty inside since 2006? Well, prepare to be made whole again because is SEXY IS BACK!

After teasing us with this video (below), Justin Timberlake released his first single in seven years over night on  iTunes overnight: 


According to Mashable, "Suit and Tie," which is now available on iTunes, marks Timberlake's first song as a lead artist since 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds. He was featured on Madonna's "4 Minutes" in 2008, and kept my love for him in check with multiple appearances on Saturday Night Live and some fun with Lonely Island.
"Suit and Tie" is the lead single from The 20/20 Experience, an album title he also revealed Sunday in an open letter to fans (also on his website). He says the album will come out this year. The new song features Jay-Z.
Timberlake produced his latest track with Timbaland and J-ROC. They also co-wrote the song with Jay-Z and James Flauntleroy.
Timberlake tweeted to announce "Suit and Tie." The announcement includes a link that leads his 15.4 million followers to, a website he teased Jan. 10.
I love Justin Timberlake more than most people. As much as I light candles and pray (not really, that would be weird) for him to be a regular on SNL, new music will be awesome and I can't wait!! YAY!

You can get Suit and Tie by clicking here.
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January Cravebox: Say, You Want A Resolution?

So, I am on shopping lockdown. Allegedly I am planning a wedding and some people in this decision making process think I need to stop spending and start saving.

I am painstakingly deleting my Ann Taylor Loft daily emails (I lost my Foursquare mayorship there,  thank you very much).

I am honestly now spending a lot of time looking at wedding stuff online because I feel like these are things that I won't feel guilty buying. Its for the cause right?

However, perhaps maybe someone really doesn't know understand about my secret subscription stash!!!! Maybe perhaps someone thinks is led to believe that I am an awesome blogger and these monthly packages of awesome are along some of the other things that I am sent regularly. Don't judge for hiding this, I need the new product escape!

This month, Cravebox really outdid themselves with their Resolutions Cravebox. I loved everything about it! First, I love when I get sent new meal replacement bars to try because I am terrible about eating breakfast. I am excited to try the ZONE PERFECT NUTRITION BAR and SUNRYPE FRUITSOURCE. The  MARS BOTANICAL COCOAVIA According to their website, the cocoa flavanols in CocoaVia® cocoa extract supplement are scientifically proven to help support cardiovascular health by helping maintain healthy circulation. Your heart, brain, muscles, skin - even exercise performance - all depend on a healthy circulatory system for support. Chocolate for Good? Sounds right to me! Also, came in my Cravebox were the new Ten line from A&W and &7Up! Can't wait to try them! 

To beautify myself, the Cravebox contained Mary Kay's new TimeWise Repair Eye Renewal Cream. The metal applicator is genius, it gives you a little cool relief as you apply the soothing eye cream. Definitely gonna make a go at trying to remember to use eye cream every day. Wedding pictures aren't gonna make themselves beautiful, now are they?! Also in this package was a treat from Pantene-Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Whip which will help my hair shine even during a damaging blow dry.

Most of all I was proud like a Mama Bear to see Wholly Guacamole participate with a cool chip clip and a coupon for free Guacamole! I love those Wholly folks and am proud to blog for them!

Thank you Cravebox for giving me my fix on new stuff, keep em coming it's gonna be a long 4 months! To find out more about their monthly program click here.

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Why It's Important To Only Be Good At What You Do

When I meet with someone for the first time to discuss their social media, what comes up once we establish a relationship almost every time is if I can help them with some of the other internet based issues they are having: 

Do I do websites? Do I do email newsletters? Do I do graphic design? 

One of the most important lessons I have learned as an entrepreneur is to not let greed and dollar signs spread myself too thin. It is incredibly important as a new or nearly new business owner to spend your time on one, two, maybe three areas of expertise until you grow enough to have the staff to handle such volume. 

If it is just you, how on Earth would you feel comfortable selling your ability when you claim to handle 6, 7, or even 10 areas of expertise? What exactly are you good at? Will you come mow my lawn in addition to all these skills?? It is very easy to say yes, yes, yes to get the deal, but what kind of service are you providing if you are doing a little in a lot of different areas? Wouldn't it make sense to hone your skills in only a couple of areas you enjoy the most? It is a really important lesson.

My business proudly only offer a handful of social media services at a reasonable price. Because it is very important to be THE person your client turns to and asks for your opinion when making advertising (or your field) decisions-I have a list of people that I trust that are in similar fields that I can recommend. 

Spend some time when you start your business networking with like minded individuals that will be good referrals when you are asked. Do not view them as competitors. If you choose wisely, these will also be a great source of leads and new business for you! 

For the first time or two, I would oversee slightly. At the very least, you want to make sure that when you refer them, they contact your client in a timely manner. In the same manner, when you are referred business in the same manner, please make an effort to contact them as close to immediately after you are referred. It is the right thing to do. 

Some of the referrals don't work out but it is beneficial to keep an open communications with these like minded businesses...I promise it will lead to new leads, more accounts and good karma. 

An added bonus, by referring someone responsible to help your client does them a huge favor and the trust they have for you and your business has grown.   

PS-As a business, be weary of the one to man operations that offer you tons of skill sets, especially in the area of social media and internet marketing. Bravo on their tenacity but its best to work with people who spend the time making themselves the best in ONE area, i.e. social media, email newsletters, web design...not all three. It is great to try to be an all-in-one stop, but make sure they have the staff to handle it.

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Manilla Launches 'Get It Together Challenge' to Help Consumers Get Financially Organized in 2013

Very excited for my friends at Manilla, that are encouraging us to Get It Together in the New Year!

Manilla, the leading, free and secure service that allows consumers to manage their bills and other personal accounts on desktop, tablet and mobile devices, launched today the Manilla Get It Together Challenge, a quarterly promotion that will help people across the nation become more organized in 2013.
The first round of the Get It Together Challenge will kick off with a New Year's theme, encouraging challengers to use Manilla to simplify and organize their lives. Challengers will be competing to win the I Got It Together $2,500 Grand Prize and other partner prizes, including shopping sprees at home, sports and clothing retailers. People can enter the Challenge on Manilla's Facebook page and share their progress with friends by posting badges on their Facebook walls. 

They can also enter directly at

"We like to engage both our existing users and prospects to provide them with new and exciting tools, like the Get It Together Challenge, to help support their financial goals for the new year and beyond," said Marc Karasu, VP of marketing for Manilla.
The Challenge's launch syncs up with New Year's to help consumers keep their organizational and financial resolutions. The launch also coincides with Manilla's milestone of delivering 5 million transactional emails since it came out of beta in 2012, which further establishes Manilla as the nation's leading digital mailbox service.
"The milestone of delivering more than 5 million transactional documents is another proof point of Manilla's customer value," Karasu said. "Customers are becoming more deeply engaged because we are making it easier for them to stay organized, feel empowered and use Manilla as part of their daily account management routine. The Get It Together Challenge will help take that interaction to the next level in 2013." 
In addition to the offering the Get It Together $2,500 Grand Prize and shopping sprees, Manilla's partner companies and content experts have provided prizes for the challengers that will help them get it together in a variety of ways. The list of prizes includes:
  • Prizes from select partner companies
  • Five Marketing for the Chic CEO e-Books from
  • A toolkit from retail savings site Hukkster (includes a portable iPhone charger, disposable flats, umbrella, NARS lipstick and more)
  • $100 pre-loaded debit MasterCard from online and mobile banking service
  • Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe, a book by award-winning author Lisa Klug
  • $25 Target gift card from
  • How Hot Is Your Product program from Tamara Monosoff of Mom Invented (includes a book, DVD and workbook set and a free Mom Inventors Handbook)
  • 20,000 Shopcade bonus points to use on shopping site
  • 2013 inspirational calendar from Kesha Brown of
  • $100 to use at Sweet Stella's Etsy shop from designer Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei
  • $25 American Express gift certificate to use at the store of your choice on retail savings
  • 60-minute phone consultation on home or office organizing with professional organizer Monica Ricci and a copy of her book, Organize Your Office In No Time
  • Diva Mama Aromatherapy set from Shira Adler of
Manilla's platform provides convenient, secure online access to all household accounts and services for more than 3,500 businesses. The free service helps consumers manage all of their household accounts, including financial accounts, utilities, subscriptions, daily deals and travel rewards programs, as well as personal accounts, like rent, babysitters, dog walkers or even the local dry cleaner, making Manilla's account coverage for customers complete through or via the Manilla Android or iOS mobile apps. 
About Manilla
Manilla organizes and simplifies people's lives by providing one secure access point to all household accounts and services. The free service helps consumers manage their household accounts, including financial accounts, utilities, subscriptions, daily deals, and travel rewards programs, all through Consumers can also use all of the Manilla features on the go by using Manilla's 4+ star customer-rated Android and iOS mobile apps. Under a single password, Manilla gives customers an automated, organized view of all of their account information, text and email reminders to pay bills, renew expiring subscriptions, and manage soon-to-expire daily deals, all with unlimited storage and seamless document retrieval.
Manilla is a company incubated within and backed by Hearst Corporation. Manilla is the recipient of the 2012 Webby Award and People's Voice Award for Best Banking/Bill Pay Service, was chosen asABC News' App of the Week, and was named one of Top 100 Websites of 2012. For more information, please visit

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