Saturday, December 25, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations to Lesley on winning the first ever "Get To" Giveaway. The two finalists were only separated by 25 votes. Votes were cast from across the country and even in Europe, Asia, and South America!

Thank you to both of our finalists, Lesley and Jennifer, for having the courage to share your stories. We sincerely believe that 2011 will be a great year for both of you and we look forward to following up with you to see where your journey takes you.

We would also like to thank The Heldrich Hotel for their generous contribution to our "Get To" Giveway. Their philanthropic spirit of supporting the local community is admirable and we truly appreciate their generosity. Courtesy of The Heldrich Hotel, Lesley will receive a one-night stay, as well as breakfast for two the following morning at Christopher’s Restaurant and Bar.

During this holiday season and beyond, we hope that everyone "pays it forward".

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries for the "Get To" Giveaway and also to all our voters! Great things are coming in 2011. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

And The Finalist Are...

Thank you to all who submitted entries for the "Get To" Giveaway. We are excited to announce our 2 finalists, Lesley and Jennifer (who is submitting on behalf of her parents Leigh and Paul). The winner will now be decided by you, our readers. The poll is located at the bottom of this post, as well as on the sidebar of our homepage. You can only cast one vote, so choose the most compelling story. The poll will stay open until 11:59pm on December 24th.

To read the submissions by Lesley and Jennifer, click here or follow the link to Meet the "Get To" Giveaway Finalists under the picture on the home page.

The "Get To" Giveaway winner will receive a one night stay generously donated by the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ, as well as an opportunity to become a biweekly contributor to our blog.

Good luck to our finalists!

--- Voting Is Closed ---


Monday, December 13, 2010

Quick Contest Q & A and DEADLINE EXTENSION!

We've received a few emails from prospective "'Get to' Giveaway" applicants and thought it might be helpful to post a quick Q & A for our readers.

Q) I'm not unemployed, but I've had a rough year. Can I apply?
A) YES! Although the focus of our blog has been on our journey through employment struggles, this contest is not limited to those in the same situation. If you've had a rough year, apply!

Q) I don't think I'm a good writer. I'm not sure I would be the right person to win the "guest blog" opportunity.
A) We recognize that not everyone likes to write and not everyone is comfortable making public of their personal issues. We, however, have found the process to be cathartic and will gladly edit and provide content suggestions for you (if you win!). However, don't let this be your deal-breaker. While we think it's a nice thing to offer and we're happy to share your story, if it's way beyond your comfort zone, we can let you slide.

Q) I just found out about this contest and don't know if I can make the deadline.
A) In the spirit of the season, we are going to extend the application deadline to NOON on Saturday, December 18th.

So... there you have it! We know it's been a rough year for so many people, let us help you forget your worries, if even only for a night!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Paying it Forward - A Contest

This has been a rough year.

But, this year also provided many moments of greatness. In January, my husband and I were the lucky recipients of a weekend of respite, thanks to the philanthropic spirit of a local establishment. We, along with 11 other couples, won the opportunity to participate in The Blue Bay Inn’s, “Hotel for the Holidays”.  For two nights, we joined others in a similar situation.  We stayed in a boutique hotel room, were treated to delicious meals from The Copper Canyon, were visited by Human Resource representatives to provide job-hunting tips to the group, relaxed to performances by local musicians and were inspired by the voices of a local children’s choir. At this time, my husband had been out of work for four months and we had no idea how long and trying the months ahead were going to be.

We also didn’t know, and couldn’t anticipate, how much my husband and I would learn about each other during this time – about our priorities, our fears, our passions. We worked well together as a team and spent a lot of time talking, and soul-searching and talking some more. We were inspired by the comments of our readers and humbled by their shared experiences. In a strange way, we found comfort in knowing we weren’t alone.

And now, almost a year later, things seem to be looking up for us. Yet, we know so many families still struggling. Although there is a lot of legitimate focus about how unemployment or underemployment contribute to the sacrifice of basics such as food, utilities, etc., we have first hand experience at understanding the stress of not having sufficient income to maintain (or advance) our quality of life. This stress limits the frequency of date nights, family adventures and opportunities to relax. When times get tough, our relationships are what help us keep it together. But, often our relationships become secondary to employment struggles. Now we have a chance to pay forward the gift we were given last season.

In the spirit of the holidays, A Life Unexpected is pleased to announce “The ‘Get to’ Giveaway”. One lucky winner of “The ‘Get to’ Giveaway” will receive:

1)      A gift certificate from The Heldrich Hotel (New Brunswick, New Jersey), good for a one night (weekend) stay at this luxurious hotel. In addition to the overnight stay, our lucky winner will also receive breakfast for two the following morning at Christopher’s Restaurant and Bar.

2)      A bi-weekly (every-other-week) guest blog spot on “A Life Unexpected”, providing an opportunity to share your perspective on your “unexpected life” for the next three months.

3)      If unemployed/underemployed, an opportunity for you to post your resume, personal/professional statement and cover letter on our blog, to increase your visibility and job prospects.

Submit your story to us via email and explain why this year has been difficult and what this opportunity could mean for you. Be creative! We welcome photo montages, videos, poems, artwork, songs, etc. Please conclude your submission with at least five reasons for which you have to be thankful, despite the difficulties you’re experiencing (think back to our “I Get to…” blog entry). 

Do you know someone who has had a rough year and could benefit from the "Get To" Giveaway? Feel free to submit on his/her behalf. In addition to your submission, please include a signed letter (from the nominee) authorizing permission to be entered in this contest.

A Life Unexpected will pick the finalists for the second round of the competition, during which our readers will have an opportunity to vote for the most compelling submission and ultimately help determine our winner!

Important dates to know:

1)      Round 1: Submissions due by 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, December 15th
2)      Round 2: Finalists will be posted by 11:59pm Eastern Time on Sunday, December 19th
3)      Voting for Round 2 will end at 11:59pm Eastern Time on December 24th. “The ‘Get to’ Giveaway” winner will be announced on Saturday, December 25th!

Send your Round 1 submissions to us at: 

 Good luck! 

For complete rules and regulations, visit:
or click on the "Get To" Giveaway link on our homepage.