Category:

Tech

Las Vegas, Consumer Electronics Show, Vegas, Tech, CES, #CES2015

Last week, I attended CES! CES!!!! I feel like I’ve been waiting my entire life to attend. Just me and about 170,000 other tech junkies descended upon Las Vegas. It was my first time; I was a CES and a Vegas virgin. Talk about go big or go home? WOWZA!

I could go on for days, hell, weeks, writing about this experience but I will start by giving you the jist of what it feels like to attend CES, it’s like climaxing and then despite your better senses continuing on, in that crazed, hyper sensitive, overwhelming feeling of pleasure and pain overload but you still want more….more….more…THAT.IS.CES!

The next thing you know, your feet are on fire, you drank too much at some VIP event because you forgot you weren’t 21, you want all the tech, you’ve been up til 5:30 eastern time every night because you are so jet-lagged. You really don’t know what time it is anymore and then you find yourself so overwhelmed after 3 days of walking in the dessert of lights with that ginormous fucking badge that weighs twelve pounds that you hit a wall (figuratively not literally, though if you are tired enough you might do that too.)

You’ve seen more hookers than you ever have on HBO real sex and Taxi Cab confessions combined, been given directions by a Mexican Elvis who requests a selfie with you and seen and heard gadgets that have blown your mind.

Next thing you know, there you are crying, stranded in the airport in Dallas, your flight’s been cancelled because of “weather” and you were the dumb ass who “voluntarily” checked your carry on because some smiling flight attendant asked politely in Vegas and when you ask the flight attendant in Dallas to help you find your much needed luggage, she rolls her eyes at you (ROLLED.HER.EYES.AT.ME!!), scolds you and turns you into a sniveling, sleep deprived ball of snot in the middle of the Dallas/Fort Worth airport with TSA eyeballing you like you just smuggled in heroine ( or maybe it was that new Vibe selfie flash) in your anal cavity.

Speaking of strange and weird shit happening, as a stranded traveler living my own personal version of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I ended up in a shuttle with 1) a gentleman from California who happens to be the boss of one of our closest friends from college, who now lives in Colorado but originates from Chicago 2) an ex-lobbyist turned UCLA Poli Sci Professor who has a reoccurring roll on Hawaii 5.0. This trip was all about the surreal.

Finally, around 10 p.m. Texas time, there I was wearing my new scarf as a sarong, in 20-degree weather while washing my panties and yoga pants out in the sink so I had clean clothes to wear the next day. I did this all by hand. A friend told me that MANY people use the in room coffee makers to wash their unmentionables. I didn’t but think twice before you use those to make coffee. That “weird” taste might be someone else’s ass.

Anyways, aside from all the drama of the flight home, CES is awesome. Being that it was my first time there are some things that I wished I would have known going in, so I am sharing them here with you. Yes, I will get to all the really, cool shit I saw tomorrow.

 

  • Wear Comfortable shoes. Repeat after me…WEAR.COMFORTABLE. SHOES! Save your cute shoes for nighttime events. Wearing cute heels to CES means that you are either certifiable, dead from the waist down or a hooker. Go away, P.S. even TOMS can wreak havoc on the feet of sensitive soles. Let’s just say, I somehow managed a blister the size of my baby toe on top and on bottom of said baby toe. I was crippled, people. Gym Shoes, UGGs, Frye Boots, COMFORT PEOPLE but please NO CROCS ALLOWED. If you wear crocs the homeless people will make fun of you.
  • Register early to avoid fees.
  • Pick your badge up at the airport, the line is quicker than at the hotels. But if you are PRESS ( as I was) go to the PRESS kiosk or you may find that your badge was given to someone named Donald.
  • Cabs are expensive and traffic is horrible in Vegas. Take the shuttles. It’s $8 one way or $14 round trip. Very cost effective.
  • If you are a single woman who is looking for love with a nerdy, highly intelligent, somewhat wealthy, possibly a gamer, with a great BIG sexy brain… this is your heaven. The men outnumber the women about 9 to 1. STEM PEOPLE. This needs to be a priority with our girls.
  • Have a plan. Vegas is huge and there were 170,000 attendees and 3600 booths. You do the math. There is no way you can cover every booth in 5 days. It’s not possible. Make a plan.
  • Forget about passing out your cards. This is not a blog conference. Get cards. Give cards if asked or if there is a spot to leave them.
  • Network at events and smaller venues. You are not going to stand out at CES unless you are naked or wearing crocs. Wait, I stand corrected, you are not going to stand out at CES unless you are wearing crocs.
  • Walk the strip. You have to. It’s beautiful at night. Also, #Highroller. It’s bigger than the London eye and the view is not only natural it is fucking spectacular!
  • Schedule down time. I am serious, if you do not, you will hit a wall and end up in your room in the middle of the day in your pjs, eating a slice and taking a nap against your own will. P.S. It’s really hard to network when you are delirious from sleep deprivation.
  • Also, speaking of naps, get some sleep. I’m one of those people who physically get ill after a certain point of no sleep. I have insomnia so my threshold is pretty high but if I stay up past 3:30 a.m., I will literally get nauseated. I guess my body decides it’s had enough and it’s shutting down.
  • Don’t over schedule yourself. I made the rookie mistake of making lots of booth tour appointments. I was just so flattered to be asked but I will tell you, then you find yourself rushing around and not enjoying things. CES is all about flexibility; you need to be able to spend time where you find your interests.

My takeaway, have a plan but be flexible. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that you can stay comfortable in for 12 + hours. Be prepared to walk because I walked about 15,000 steps every day I was there. Be spontaneous. There are so many cool gadgets and tech and people that you never know where the day might take you and if you have the option, take a friend. Life’s never quite so overwhelming when you have someone with you to help you conquer the world.

If you love playing with gadgets like I do or just love being in the tech know, when given the chance attend CES. It is awesome. Come back tomorrow and I will tell you all about the great new tech gadgets coming out this year.

Were you at CES this year, if so what was your favorite new gadget?

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cameras, DSLR, Best Buy, Nikon, Canon, Samsung

I’ve got a secret; the number one thing that I want for Christmas is a new DSLR camera. Like most moms-to-be since the moment I knew I was pregnant, I knew I that I needed to capture every single moment of motherhood on “film”.

I started out shooting on a Nikon DSLR. It took fantastic photos but I missed the feel of hardcopies in hand of a 35 mm camera so I switched to a Canon 35 mm. It took amazing photos but I was averaging about a roll of film a day. My husband said that I was putting him in the poor house with my mammarazzi habit, so I switched back to a DSLR, this time a Canon. I’ve been shooting with that since 2005. Cameras have come a long way since then. It’s time for a new camera.

Best Buy Holiday Gift Center is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras and camcorders to capture those precious memories so of course that’s where I go when doing research on a new camera.

The three cameras from Nikon, Sony and Samsung I looked into, all come equipped with built-in Wi-Fi so you can share amazing photos with ease. There’s still time to upgrade your camera in time to capture precious holiday memories.

cameras, DSLR, Best Buy, Nikon, Canon, Samsung

Nikon D5300 DSLR w/18-55mm VR Lens·

A DSLR with built-in Wi-Fi so you can capture high quality photos and share them instantly

This Nikon D5300 DSLR camera comes with an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens that enables you to capture sharp photos and video footage. Optical image stabilization helps prevent blurring to ensure image clarity

cameras, DSLR, Best Buy, Nikon, Canon, Samsung

Also available in red or gray

cameras, DSLR, Best Buy, Nikon, Canon, Samsung

Sony 6000 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera·

A compact system camera with the World’s Fastest Autofocus

This Sony Alpha A6000 features a 24.3-megapixel, Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor that makes it easy to shoot scenes in stunning clarity. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share stored content across devices.

cameras, DSLR, Best Buy, Nikon, Canon, Samsung

Also available in White or silver.

cameras, DSLR, Best Buy, Nikon, Canon, Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2·

A digital camera that allows you to shoot, share, and use Android Apps

This Samsung Galaxy 2 digital camera’s 16.3-megapixel, 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor allows you to capture sharp images and high-definition video footage. The 4.8″ touch screen simplifies operation, and built-in Wi-Fi makes sharing stored files easy.

Visit the Best Buy Holiday Gift Center to see more great cameras, whether you’re giving as a gift or upgrading for yourself. (wink*wink*) Never miss a moment of your children’s life.

cameras, DSLR, Best Buy, Nikon, Canon, Samsung

Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

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stocking, stocking stuffers, best buy, gopro, togspa, eyes, joby, gorilla

We’re getting down to the wire and I’ve still not bought stocking stuffers. Why did I think it was cute to buy those humongous stockings? They are literally big enough to fit a small toddler in. Do you know how much stuff it takes to fill those stockings?

For the girls, I can fill it with a stuffed animal and some chocolate with proper placement but for the Big Guy, I need something to impress my techy, metro man. So I made a list of some things that would make the perfect stocking stuffers for him and any adult really because I’d love to see all of these in my stocking this year.

best buy, gopro, togspa, eyes, joby, gorilla, JBL, Stocking Stuffers, Stocking

JBL speakers

 

Not going to lie. I got the JBL Flip 2 as a gift. Never thought it was something I ever needed. I have surround sound in the house BUT this thing is portable and chargeable and syncs with my phone via Bluetooth and is perfect for random dance parties in the kitchen, in the backyard or in the shower. It’s one of my favorite things I own but I never knew that I needed it until I had it. Anyone on your Christmas list would be thrilled to have any of thee JBL products.

JBL Charge 2– Between the twin passive radiators for deep bass, the massive 6000mAh battery and the hands-free conference speakerphone the key benefit is the Bluetooth Social Mode which allows up to three different users to take their turns to play their own playlists on a single speaker.

JBL Flip 2– Aside from the dual performance-tuned JBL drivers and a built-in bass port, the key benefit of the JBL Flip 2 is the SoundClear echo and noise cancellation combined with the state-of the art microphone system to pick up calls on the speaker.

JBL Reflect Earbud headphones– Sweat proof ergonomic design.  With a 5 hour rechargeable battery and a reach of about 40 feet, the JBL Reflect BT’s key benefit is the design of the ergonomic ear tips along with the built-in magnets which keep your buds on standby without loose cables.
best buy, gopro, togspa, eyes, joby, gorilla

Eyes by ToGoSpa

(Formerly known as Eyedews) are moisture packed collagen gel pads that provide instant, cooling relief for eyes suffering from dark circles, under-eye bags, fine lines, stress and fatigue, or to help you feel refreshed from a late night of too much fun, hangover, allergies or headache. They work, I use them all the time.

 

best buy, gopro, togspa, eyes, joby, gorilla, JBL, Stocking Stuffers, Stocking, veet, infini silk

Veet Infini’ Silk

Ok, so I am really into personal hygiene. I also would prefer not to grow hair from my eyebrows down, honestly. So,when I was asked to try out the Veet Infini’ Silk, it was like Santa and the universe got together and decided to give me something that I really needed. I was a little skeptical because I’m afraid of pain. Remember, I’m the girl who it takes ten minutes to remove the wax strip above my lip but if this thing worked it could be a game changer. Well, it didn’t hurt but it did startle me when it popped the first time. That’s totally normal.

Why not give your favorite girl or guy the experience of touchably smooth skin everyday with Veet Infini’Silk™, the FDA cleared IPL hair removal system for both women and men designed to help give you Veet’s longest lasting, smooth skin.  Veet Infini’Silk Light-Based IPL Hair Removal System for Home Use harnesses the same technology found in clinics and salons, so you can enjoy hair reduction results — in the comfort of your home.  Simply treat your skin with the intensive pulsed light IPL hair removal technology, which is different than laser hair removal, and promote results in as few as 4 – 5 treatments.

Veet Infini’Silk is ideal for your underarms, arms, stomach, bikini line, legs, back and chest.  You are only 5 easy steps away from full body hair reduction!

 best buy, gopro, togspa, eyes, joby, gorilla, JBL, Stocking Stuffers, Stocking

Garmin and TomTom

This is the perfect stocking stuffer for any person that drives. We used to move quite a bit and we still travel a lot so having a GPS system is imperative for us but to be completely honest, we’ve only lived here for two years and I use it just to get around town quite frequently. This stocking stuffer is especially nice for the man who has everything but no desire to ever ask for directions. He’ll be so excited about the new tech toy; he won’t even notice that he’s being given something useful.

The Tom Tom and Garmin also both feature bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling, traffic and weather updates.  Lane assist, Lifetime traffic and map updates.   Voice Recognition Technology.

ShaveMob

Quality shaving at a low price delivered to your door with no shipping cost. Yes, this is the best invention since sliced bread, in my book. I get so busy that I often forget to buy new razors. ShaveMob solves that problem by shipping fresh, blades ( for men and women), handles, and cream to my door monthly. No more worry about getting flesh eating disease and it beats the hell out of the jelly of the month club.

One Night stay at a hotel

Who doesn’t love a night of uninterrupted sleep? I sleep best in a king-sized heavenly bed at the Westin. Just in case you were wondering what I’d like in my stocking this year? 😉

alex and ani,best buy, gopro, togspa, eyes, joby, gorilla, JBL, Stocking Stuffers, Stocking

Alex and Ani bracelets

Each bangle is expandable ensuring the perfect fit for every wrist. This completely original design allows everyone to have a piece of jewelry, which is truly customized. I love the look of Alex and Ani but more importantly I love the fact that each bangle was chosen with thought and love by someone who loves me. It’s more than a bracelet; it’s a testament to the relationship. They are very affordable, deeply meaningful and every woman deserves an Alex and Ani bracelet in her stocking this Christmas.

 

best buy, gopro, togspa, eyes, joby, gorilla

Go Pro Hero4 Black

The first thing everyone asks when you get a GoPro is,”where are you going to use it?” I got one, my answer, “Everywhere!” Life’s an adventure and who doesn’t want to remember every single moment of it from a first-person, candid viewpoint?

With stunning image quality and powerful new features, HERO4 cameras take Emmy Award-winning GoPro performance to a whole new level. The HERO4 Black has incredible high-resolution 4K30 and 2.7K50 video and high frame rate 1080p120 video.

 

best buy, gopro, togspa, eyes, joby, gorilla, JBL, Stocking Stuffers, Stocking

Joby GorillaPod Hybrid

For the photographer who wants to get those hard to get, one of a kind shots. With over two dozen leg joints you can set it up anywhere you want, the rubberized ring and foot joints give it great stability and the quick-release clip and bubble level make sure that you always get level shots.

best buy, gopro, togspa, eyes, joby, gorilla, JBL, Stocking Stuffers, Stocking, tory burch, fitbit

Tory Burch for FitBit in Rose Gold

Because everyone these days owns a fitbit but the rubber fitbit band is not the most fashion forward thing to wear, this may be my favorite thing to find in my stocking. Just because you’re trying to get healthy doesn’t mean that a grown woman should have to wear rubber with her cocktail dress, she also shouldn’t have to give up those steps!

These are just a few of my favorite stocking stuffers this holiday season, or anytime really. Think if I buy all of it, I can fill the giant stocking?

 

Disclosure: I have  been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free but all opinions are mine.

 

 

 

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GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list

Can you believe it’s already almost Halloween? This weekend, we’re doing the city’s zombie walk at the girl’s request (because we are the coolest parents ever) and then it’s hay rides and pumpkin carving at the neighborhood fall festival. Before too long, I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Christmas??? I’m still dreaming of beaches and water parks! Where did summer go?

Every year, I know that I am going to get lost in all of our “obligations” that I purposely focus even harder on making sure the girls remember baking cookies with grandma, making fudge with daddy, singing carols and just a general feeling of warmth rather than the chaos. I try to make each holiday season fondly memorable even if that just means the four of us preparing brunch and watching Christmas vacation together. What I inevitably forget to do every year is give my family a list of what I’d like for Christmas.

Sure, I can say that all I really want is my family to be healthy, happy and together and that is true but of course, there are things that I would like but who ever has time to make a list. It feels so unimportant amongst everything else but really, it would be nice to actually get something that I’ve wanted. The thing with moms is that we are so busy taking care of others that we often forget to take care of ourselves and while we’ll bend over backwards to make our family happy, we just never seem to take the time to do the same for ourselves.

GoPro Hero4Black, GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list

Not this year. This year, I am not only making a list. I am making a pin board of all the stuff I’d be thrilled to have and a lot of it is tech toys like the GoPro HERO4 Black, an iPhone 6 Plus, a conference ticket or two and a few other tasty treats to kick my blog up a notch.

GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list, GoPro Hero4Black

 

GoPro has unveiled its new line of action cameras at Best Buy stores, just in time for the holidays. Best Buy will also have the latest accessories and mounts to help you capture immersive footage of the moments that matter most like skiing in Aspen,  ringing in the  New Year some place warm or maybe spring break at Disney World.

GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list, GoPro Hero4Black

GoPro cameras make the perfect holiday gift for everyone, my girls would love it to take action video while flipping on the trampoline. I’d love it to take stunning action photos for my blog. GoPro’s new line of cameras allow you to beautifully and authentically capture and share the experiences that bring purpose, adventure, and joy to your life.

GoPro has 3 new cameras out this holiday season:

  • GoPro HERO4 Black is the most advanced GoPro ever, featuring improved image quality and a 2x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates1, HERO4 Black takes award‐winning GoPro performance to a whole new level.

GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list, GoPro Hero4Silver

  • GoPro HERO4 Silver is the first-ever GoPro to feature a built-in touch display. Controlling The camera, playing back footage and adjusting settings is ultra-convenient—just view, tap and swipe the screen. With 1080p60 and 720p120 video, and 12MP photos at a staggering 30 frames per second, HERO4 Silver combines powerful, pro-quality capture with the convenience of a touch display.

GoPro, tech, blogger, camera, photography, action photography, video, holiday wish list, GoPro Hero4

  • GoPro HERO: Featuring high‐quality 1080p30 and 720p60 video, and 5MP photos up to 5 fps, HERO captures the same immersive footage that’s made GoPro one of the best-selling cameras in the world.

It has 12x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates. This is action photography at its best. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Well, I’d better get back to sorting my Blogger’s Wish list Pinterest pin board

Learn more at www.bestbuy.com/GoPro or visit your local Best Buy to check out the latest cameras in person.

 

 

I’ve been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card , which I am putting towards buying myself the GoPro HERO4 Black.

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type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards

I am in the airport in Atlanta, coming off the high that is Type-A Conference. This was my first time attending the event and I loved the community. I’ve never felt so among “my people” as I did this weekend.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

The feel was casual and easy going and the people were fun, open and laid back. It just felt like we were all there to grow, not just a brand or as a writer but as people. I have never had so many ‘real’ hugs, real conversations and felt so at ease at a conference for that I thank you Kelby and I thank each and every one of you who I met, shook hands with, shared a meal with, a laugh or just a friendly, sincere hello.  You made this trip. I felt safe.  And I’m glad that I did because it came in handy on Sunday afternoon.

A few months ago, on a whim, I submitted a post to the We Still Blog Awards. I wasn’t going to win because, let’s face it. I drop a few too many f-bombs and sometimes can be a little too controversial for some people’s palate. I get that. I’m a bit of an acquired taste but I had to try because, well, if you don’t try, you fail. Imagine my shock and awe when I found out that I was to be a finalist. I mean, this was a big freaking deal to me to be one of 10 people chosen.for.my.writing. This was an honor and to be chosen by my peers, to have the honor of reading to my peers was indescribable. It was incredible.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

Just so you all know, I am an extrovert in every sense of the word BUT I get a little nervous when I have to speak in front of large groups, especially when the group is a bunch of talented writers/bloggers and even more so when the piece is something deeply personal.

One by one, phenomenal blogger after another approached the podium to read their post. They made me cry, then they made me laugh, then I cried and laughed again. Then Amanda Henson read and we all cried. All I kept thinking in my head was, “PLEASE GOD don’t let me go next. NO ONE can follow that!” Plus, I was sobbing and snotting all over the place. Every writer that took the stage, moved me. Words are powerful. They called the next name. It wasn’t me. WHEW!

That reader wasn’t there. Then, they called the next reader. IT.WAS.ME. I wiped my snot nose, tried to tidy up my mascara and made my way to the podium. I began to read, slowly because everything was feeling a but heavy and fuzzy and my voice started cracking and the eyes started leaking.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

I made it about two paragraphs in and then I just sobbed. I couldn’t speak. ME. I .WAS.SPEECHLESS.If you know me. have ever met me or been in my general vicinity, you KNOW that never happens. Cecily came to my rescue and I will always hold her in special place in my heart for doing that.

My heart broke, right there on stage. Right in front of everyone. I was surrounded by the only people in the world who could understand what that moment was like for me; the people who process life’s moments with words, by writing it out.

To all the attendees of Type-A, it was an honor to share my piece with you. To my table, my tribe, my cheering squad, tissue handing, nose wiping, hugging me as hard as I needed to be held and Cecily, helping read when I could not regain my voice….YOU ladies are more special than I can ever tell you. We came as friends, but we left as family.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

To the people who I was allowed the privilege of sharing the stage with that Sunday afternoon in September, your words touched my heart. You are what blogging is about for me; people connecting through words and shared experiences. Last but not least, Kelby, thank you for hosting such an amazing conference and the We Still Blog awards the honor of being a finalist is something that I will always hold dear.

Here are all the We Still Blog Nominees:

I urge you to take the time and read everyone of the written pieces above. Each one of those writers are a rock star.

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Go Math, Go Math!, Academy, tech, teach for children, tutoring

My family partnered with the Go Math! Academy program to review the program.

Go Math! Academy is an online, at-home learning program based on Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s enormously successful GO Math! textbook curriculum, used by over 7 million kids worldwide. Go Math! Academy offers thousands of math practice problems, hundreds or help videos, and plenty of games and rewards to make learning fun! My daughters are in 2nd and 4th grade and they both love the program. Go Math! Academy is lively, and engaging online experience that lets children select a theme to launch their own personal math journey. My girls love it because it allows for independent learning, which empowers children to complete the grade-level curriculum in order to select the skill they wan to practice. Go Math, Go Math!, Academy, tech, teach for children, tutoring I love that Go Math! Academy allows for a skill-boosting approach that offers step-by-step math problems to support practice and entertaining help videos feature expert instructors (and loveable puppets to engage younger kids) who make math concepts clear and fun! My girls never lose interest because the program is not just a great practice program but it is fun and engaging.Go Math, Go Math!, Academy, tech, teach for childrenGo Math! Academy is available in your choice of three payment plans (access for up to 5 children):

  • Monthly: $9.99/month
  • 6-months: $49.99 ($8.33/month) – a 17% savings
  • 1-year: $79.99 ($6.67/month) – a 33% savings

My girls do very well in math and like math but using Go Math! Academy has made them excited about practicing because it has made it fun and animated.

Go Math! Academy has brought math to life for my girls.

I have been compensated by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to share my thoughts and opinions on this topic/product. My opinions are always my own and cannot be bought; no matter how much money they offer or how awesome they might believe the product or service to be, if I haven’t tried it myself or don’t truly believe in it, love it or would not use it in my own home with my family, I will not support it on my site. ~ Deborah

What is your child’s favorite educational site? Have you tried Go Math! Academy?

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Monday envelope, tech, organization

Tonight is my first meeting as a member of our School Board. I’ve been a perpetual room mom for the past 6 years, for both girls; sometimes manning two parties at exactly the same time. Oh yes, I am doing it again this year because I am “that” mom. Anyways, at the end of last school year I decided that I wanted to be the change I wanted to see in the school and instead of just complaining about everything; I put my money where my mouth was. I did what any sane mother with too many obligations already would do, I went for the school board.

Anyways, this school year is going to be crazy for me. Maintaining two classrooms as room mom is hectic enough but add to it more obligations, I am in desperate need of some streamlining, organization and control; at the very least some organized chaos. We can’t afford another unfortunate “reply all” incident like the Halloween party of 2013 scandal. Thankfully, I was asked to try Monday Envelope.

Monday envelope, tech, organization

Monday Envelope is an all in one group manager for any device that allows you, as a parent, PTA leader, room mom or Girl Scout troop leader (among many other things) to control and organize (streamline) all of your communications with all the people you need to be in contact with, at all the right times and at all the right places.

Parent involvement is crucial to the success of any school and a big part of that is effective communication. It is the perfect tool for the busy, on the go, involved mom. It means that this mom will never have to miss another out of uniform day again and that makes all of us happy! It’s everything, you never knew that you always wanted in organization.

Finally, I won’t have to worry about sending BCC emails from my address that trigger spam filters or worse CC everyone and the thread is 800 emails long and sometimes inappropriate. Refer to scandal of 2012. This allows everyone to be on the same page without the insane email tread. Tastes great; less filling.

The best part is that it is simple to use. Simple is my favorite word these days because with school back in session, my life has gotten exponentially more complicated with schedules and classes and meetings. It saves a ton of time that you can spend actually enjoying parenthood and these precious fleeting moments with your little ones.  It frees up our time so that we can be engaged.

If you think this is a great option for your school, room mom, team mom, PTA president or girls scout mom friends have them check out Monday Envelop for themselves https://mondayenvelope.com/tell-your-group-leader/ .

This post was sponsored by WOMWomen.com on behalf of Monday Envelope. All opinions are my own.

 

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frugal living, Savings Catcher, Walmart, saving money, best deals

I have partnered with Walmart to bring you this sponsored post and information about this awesome new program Savings Catcher ; as always, all opinions are my own.

Back to school has had me steadily spending money; tuition, backpacks, school supplies, clothes, uniforms, gym shoes and don’t even get me started on all the groceries for the school lunches and did I mention, SCHOOL.SUPPLIES??  I know this happens every year but still every year, I get sticker shock.

It’s not that I don’t want to spend money but there is a thrill I get from finding the deal and saving the difference for family vacations or home renovations. Life is expensive but that doesn’t meant we shouldn’t get to enjoy the finer things in life, right? I’m frugal and always looking for ways to save money so for school supplies, I always hit Walmart first because they usually have the best prices and on those rare occasions that they don’t they will price match so I always know that I am getting the best price when I shop do back-to-school shopping at Walmart. I mean $.25 crayons, how can I beat that? I’ve got two words for you; Savings Catcher!

What is savings catcher, you ask? Is it like a dreamcatcher but instead of  bad dreams it filters out bad prices? Exactly! Savings Catcher compares your receipt to advertised prices from top stores in your area, and if it finds a lower advertised price, you get the difference on an eGift Card. It started August 4th and now all you have to do is enter your receipt and Walmart does the work for you. No more shopping around town or dragging in all the circulars from all the stores so that you can ad match. No more holding on to your receipts for 14-30 days and running all over town to get your receipt “adjusted” because the $200 lamp you bought yesterday went on sale today. I hate when that happens.

Basically, this is what happens; you log into www.walmart.com/SavingsCatcher , enter your receipt number from within the last 7 days, Savings catcher checks it and if you there is a better price, you get the difference credited to a gift card. What do you have to lose?

Savings catcher is awesome and really easy to use. Here is a demo video that shows you how easy it is. https://walmart.box.com/s/fl8fe85r6sfk8w63g9sl I can’t wait to enter my receipt from last week’s back-to-school shopping and see if I earned any credit. What a great, you get the best price and maybe even get to save a little money to buy yourself a little something special.

Have you tried Walmart’s new Savings Catcher Program yet?

Photo: RapidEye

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Jessica Escobar, Jess in the ATX, This Blogger's life, blogging, people behind the blogging

This week, I am so proud and excited to welcome Jessica Escobar of Jess in the ATX to This Blogger’s Life. It’s not often that I gush about anyone ( other than my kids) but Jessica truly is my Latina sister from another mister. Aside from being a whip smart lawyer by day and superhero mom & wife by night, she is an amazing woman who writes from the heart. In her quiet, classy way ( yes, she is my complete opposite in this area) she is fierce and loves and lives BIG. She is an all in kind of woman with a heart as big as Texas. When you talk to her, she is one of those rare people who actually listens and is present. She makes you feel like you matter and this is a gift that many lack.

I don’t know exactly how many years that I have “known” Jessica but it feels like I have known her forever. That’s what it feels like reading her blog, like you are sitting down at the kitchen table with a dear old friend you’ve grown up with and know one another’s secrets. That is the beauty of blogging friends, they know the secrets that you might not tell your in real life friends because it’s just too damn hard to utter the words of weakness or fear but online, for me anyways, I can speak freely and never hold my tongue. I appreciate that in other writers as well because then I feel like I know the real them; flawed and imperfectly awesome. Jessica is so much more to me than what a quick blurb could ever describe so I will leave you with this, please check out her blog Jess in the ATX and see for yourself what a true warrior looks like; quietly stoic and ever pressing on, never giving up. I admire this Jess more than she knows. You will thank me for having the chance to get to know such a truly, strong, amazing and authentic woman. Jess is more than just one of my favorite people on the Internet, she is one of my people in the world. She’s the real deal and you will be a better person for having known her. I dare you to see her smiling avatar and not have a better day. That’s Jess, she lights up the world.

Jessica Escobar, Jess in the ATX, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

This Blogger’s Life… Jessica Escobar

 

Jessica Escobar, Jess in the ATX, This Blogger's life, blogging, people behind the blogging
Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging a few years ago as a way to share my stories about my daughter. It was a way to share her funny moments and my proud mommy moments. It was less about me and more about her.

What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?

Don’t make it about trying to be like “that other blogger over there who does that big stuff”. It isn’t about trying to be big. You can’t compare yourself or try to copy their style. You have to have your own voice and speak from your heart.

What are the three words that describe you best?
proud, strong, caring

What is your favorite website?

Hmmm that’s tough. I really don’t have one! I really don’t surf the net. I have a very small list of blogs I love. It’s definitely not the mainstream ones.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

Running. I’m out of the habit but it’s something that I’m working to get back into it. It’s my release and my me time. Self care is VERY Important and something that often gets neglected as a mama.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself from blogging?

You have to find your voice. It’s easy to be scared of what the people in your “real life” will think of you. It’s so much easier to build a community who truly understand and support you. I’m proud to share my experiences because you never know who is reading and understands what you’re going through.

How do you balance life and blogging?

Right now I’m on “hiatus.” That’s a nice way of saying I’m having a dry spell. And I’m ok with that. Sometimes you just don’t have the words and when you aren’t trying to be the next big thing that’s fine. You can’t be hard on yourself and force the words out or you won’t enjoy yourself. You have to make the time when you want to and it’ll just balance yourself out.

How has blogging changed you or your life?
It has given me an absolutely amazing community of women who have been the most wonderful support system and group of friends that I wish I had in my community. They are the best bunch of women that I’ve never met. It’s so true that some of your best friends can live in your computer.
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?

They are definitely similar but not necessarily the same, not to me. A successful blog is the one that gets all the big traffic and the one that people know. They have all the “big sponsors” and they’re the ones that people want to be like. That’s all good and great. And there’s the GREAT blogs. It’s being awesome but more than hits. They’re the ones like Deb who truly speak they’re minds and are real and open and about LIFE. Many bloggers speak from the heart.  Sometimes you blog for the hits. We’ve all done it and it happens. No harm no foul.

If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

I would be fine. I would look back at what I wrote and be proud. But I would never let go of my blogging community.

 

How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 

That’s the hard part. I have to balance my true story with the privacy of my family. I struggle with that a lot. I really censor myself because I fight depression and anxiety. I don’t want people in my personal life to read it and judge my husband or my girls and think they are getting less than a wife or a mother. It’s also why I’ve pulled back on what I say about them. It’s a hard road to walk but it really is up to you as a blogger to decide how much you share and who your audience is. I’m very weary of my real life people, and that’s just because I am reserved with them in real life. I’m not one way online and different in person.

Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed?

Blogging seemed to be a lot more carefree. Then you go through the phase where you want to really grow and get big. Then you get over it and just want to be.

 

How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?

I really try to speak from the heart. A lot of that has to do with parenting, because damn that shiz is hard work! I think that’s something a lot of other women struggle with. We question our skills but often we just underestimate ourselves.

If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?

OMG, Steve Jobs. I just finished his bio and I’m obsessed. My mom. She passed of cancer in 2006. DEB! Damn I love that girl. She’s so real. Three other computer friends. 🙂 I’m not a star gazer, so no one famous.

What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m actually on a social media hiatus and that kind of happened during my depression. I’m just removed from social media and not really interested and that’s ok! The people that I’m connected to know where to find me and I know where to find them. I think that’s why I’m disconnected from the internet right now.

 

What’s the one post that you are most proud of?

The one where I laid it all out about my postpartum anxiety. I was really scared to hit publish because I had to admit that I’m human. What’s more? I sent it to a few people in my family.

https://justjessatx.com/postpartum-depression-maternal-mental-health/

Jess, Thank you so much for letting me interview you on This Blogger’s Life! You truly are one of my favorite people in the world and you know I am not about blowing smoke and rainbows up butts, so you when I say it, you know I mean it. Keep on keeping on, mama! You are an extraordinary woman and I feel blessed to be called your friend. XOXO
If you want to know more about Jess, check out the blog, JESS in the ATX on Facebook and @Jessesco on Twitter.

You will wonder why you didn’t have Jessica Escobar in your life sooner:)

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

Today’s guest on This Blogger’s Life is the delightfully funny and super stylish, Vera Sweeney of Lady and the Blog and Getting Gorgeous with BFF Audrey McClelland. Did I mention they also run the Permission to Hustle Group and the PTH Retreat?

I am fairly certain that the woman never sleeps. I’ve never met Vera but she is a powerhouse blogger who has been rocking the blogging world for nearly a decade. She takes her businesses seriously but she is a wickedly funny, lighthearted lady with a great sense a humor. I’ve learned that just from watching her youtube channel.

The more I learned about Vera through the interview the more impressed I was not only by how she’s built her business but her dedication to her family. Finding the balance between family and career is something I struggle with and I love seeing moms who figure out that happy medium. Go Vera! I truly loved getting to know Vera Sweeney through her interview and I know you will too.

This Blogger’s Life…Vera Sweeney

vera sweeney, lady and the blog, This Blogger's Life, the people behind the blog, Getting Gorgeous

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in 2005 after the birth of my first child. Blogging became a way for me to reconnect with the world during my daughter’s naptimes. It was my little escape from isolation.

What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?

Don’t expect to break through and hit 6 figures in your first month. I feel like that is the new wave of thinking these days. People assume that if they start a blog they will immediately earn some sort of revenue. It took me several years before I received my first paycheck.

Start because you have a passion to write or to connect – not because you are looking for a “get rich quick” scheme.

What are the three words that describe you best?

Type A, Semi-Manic, Hilarious (what? too much?)

What is your favorite website?

That’s a hard one! I don’t know. I’m going to go with Pinterest since that’s where I spend the vast majority of my day.

READ ALSO:  This Blogger’s Life, Ree Drummond

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

I would say traveling with my family. But honestly, when I travel I usually end up blogging about the adventure. So, I guess that’s not the greatest answer. Anything is fair game because I write a lifestyle blog. If I watch a movie, take a pottery class, or spend the entire day napping in my backyard, then I can mold each and every one of those experiences into a potential post.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself from blogging?

I am a workaholic and that’s not a bad thing. I used to wear that word with shame – especially when my children were younger. I have learned through time that it is simply who I am and that doesn’t make me a terrible person. I enjoy putting in the effort and the long hours. Some people can’t understand this about me. They see a work-from-home mom of three and they expect a different type of person when they meet me. I’ve stopped worrying about them.

How do you balance life and blogging? How has blogging changed you or your life?

Life is blogging. Everything I do is content for my blog. I’m really lucky in that sense. If I cook a great meal for dinner (AS RARE AS THAT IS), I take pictures as I go and then I post it the very next day. It’s just part of our lives.

I truly believe blogging has made my life 100% better. My husband quit his job in 2007 and has stayed at home ever since. He manages our 4 websites and takes on the kids when I am away. We have been a true partnership for many, many years.

My children get to see their dad 24 hours a day. Not many families are lucky enough to have this set up and I never let that escape me. I am always grateful for our lives. I am so thankful that he is home with us and that wouldn’t be our reality if it wasn’t for blogging.

READ ALSO: This Blogger’s Life, Jill Smokler

What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?

Honesty. A real voice. No filter. And excuse me, I don’t mean Instagram filters because I use a million of those. I mean giving your readers a TRUE LOOK into your life.  Get rid of the pixie dust. I think people have moved beyond that and are ready for a dose of reality. People want something that they can relate to. Everyone is looking to connect. Be that friend.

A great blog vs. a successful blog? I don’t know. That’s a hard question for me. Money comes to mind when I formulate my answer but I know plenty of successful fashion bloggers in NYC that aren’t making a lot of money. They have a ton of klout during fashion week though. It depends what the end user wants. I think this is a really personal question. Each blogger needs to define this one on their own.

If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

There are two things that I still have to do before my time is upon this Earth. I have to write a book. I started one already and I will leave it at that. It’s completely unrelated to this field just in case you thought I was going to go there.

The other dream I have is to open up a little shop in town. I have always wanted to do something like that but I know that it will require a lot of time and I don’t want to give that up while my children are so young. So, I think the latter will happen when all my babies are in college.

How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life?

I’m an only child. This is actually really easy for me.

Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days?

When I first started blogging in 2005, there were maybe 15 celebrity gossip bloggers. Imnotobsessed.com used to get around 7 million impressions a month. We were ROCKING big time and I loved every second of it. Now, everyone has a blog and I mean everyone. My mother, my daughter and the crossing guard at our school – everyone has a blog. So, the playing field is absolutely saturated which means it isn’t as easy to hit those numbers. I have to work a lot harder to get noticed by brands. I miss being one of the only few doing it. Is that so selfish of me to say?! I told you I am an only child! HA! My celebrity gossip site gets about half the amount of traffic it used to… so you can see where I am coming from!

What do you love that has changed?

I love how big the community has grown. It’s sort of the double-sided coin if you read my previous answer. I have met SO MANY PEOPLE that I would have never known. TRULY! My favorite part of my job is meeting other bloggers. In fact, I met my best friend through blogging – Audrey McClelland from Mom Generations.

How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?

I live a full life. I lived in NYC up until 7 years ago when we moved to Long Island. We are constantly going into the city to watch new shows, attend previews, parades, try out new restaurants or walk through festivals. We also travel a LOT. Live a rich life and then document it.

If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?

Honestly – I’m not the best person for this question. I’m just not that deep. It’s somewhere between Jensen Ackles and Matthew McConaughey. You don’t want me to fill up this table. It would be obnoxious.

What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I believe in the zombie apocalypse.

What’s the one post that you are most proud of?

Hmmm… good one.  I wrote this one about my baby boy and it got some traction. I guess if I had to pick… https://www.ladyandtheblog.com/2014/04/28/41-reasons-why-you-should-have-that-last-baby/

Thank you so much for letting me interview you, Vera. I know you are super busy but I loved getting to know you better through this interview. Keep rocking the blogging world!

READ ALSO: How Blogging Changed My Life

If you’d like to know more about Vera Sweeney check out her blogs ( listed and linked above) and Facebook!

 

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