Regarding the Holiday Gift Guide, many items were provided to us for review. As I always state, all opinions are 100% our own and honest, that means my son and I. Sometimes my reviews come from a general observation of my son playing with a toy or video game. He generally loves most of what we receive, therefore the reviews and positive outlook are fairly easy for us to convey.
I do sometimes review an item from having been to an event that we cannot use. Like an infant car seat. I am happy to listen to a pitch from almost any company and if I like it, if I hear something interesting, if I have new info from the marketplace to share, then I am able to pass this info along with actually doing a personalized review.
We do on occasion receive things that we do not care for. As an example, a video game related to Lego Battles for the Nintendo DS. It was a different style game from what my son is used to and he did not enjoy it. I did not post that and offered to send the game back to the company. My policy is to advise a company before I post a negative review. If you think our reviews are always positive, they are, because we almost always review things that we already like or fall into categories that we know holds our interests.
In relation to many products, I often asked to be invited to an event if it is a brand that we are already fans of. Hey, I am happy to get extra product and share my likes with my audience. As an example, we love Ragu, Hellmans, and Heinz. We liked these products before we were bloggers. Generally if we are going to an event from a company such as those, we are already big fans and you will hear that from us. I am a shopaholic and a hoarder, therefore I am very involved with many products, blogging just happens to provide an extra extension of the things I enjoy by getting to review them and work with the brands!