Archives for August 2014

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month & Alex’s Million Mile – Run.Walk.Ride. #Journey2aMillion

ALEXS MILLION MILE

This September, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is going the distance in launching Alex’s Million Mile – Run. Walk. Ride.

With firsthand knowledge of just how far parents of children with cancer would go to find a cure for their child, the Foundation will challenge supporters everywhere to go the extra mile this September, collectively running, walking or cycling one million miles to work toward better treatments and ultimately cures for all kids with cancer.

 

One Month. One Cause. One Million Miles.

 The brainchild of Foundation Co-Executive Director, Jay Scott, a running enthusiast, Alex’s Million Mile invites ambitious individuals, as well as teams, to pledge to run/walk/ride and contribute to the one million mile goal during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Drawing from the inspiration of Foundation creator Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who set out to raise $1 million through lemonade stands in 2004, Jay Scott feels that through combined efforts, reaching one million miles in just thirty days is attainable. The initiative provides a fun, easy and free way for people across the country to make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer.

Alex’s Million Mile will utilize both the MapMyFitness applications and the ability for participants to manually enter the miles they log daily. Individuals and teams who participate can log as many or as few miles as their ability level allows, every mile will count toward the larger goal. For those wishing to push themselves to reach 100 miles throughout the month, individuals will need to average 3-4 miles a day, while teams can split up the 100 miles. For instance, a group of 4 employees can walk a mile at lunch every day and easily reach their goal.

In its inaugural year, Alex’s Million Mile (formerly known as the Million Mile Run), mobilized more than 5,000 participants to log 250,000 miles and raise over $500,000 for the cause. Among the various ways that miles were logged by participants from coast to coast: parents walked their children to school each day, logging one mile each way; families walked to Friday night dinners and back; instead of taking public transportation, individuals ran to work or evening outings. The possibilities are endless, with each step being counted toward the ultimate goal of logging one million miles, and more importantly raising vital awareness of the number one disease killer of children under the age of 15 in the United States.

New to the 2014 event, Booster, LLC  (www.booster.com) will provide participants a platform to easily launch their own t-shirt fundraising campaigns to support their Alex’s Million Mile efforts.Participants who sign up for Alex’s Million Mile will have the opportunity to use Booster to create their own designs and in turn sell custom t-shirts to raise money without buying in advance or holding any inventory.  To learn more, or to launch a Booster campaign to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit: https://www.booster.com/alexs-lemonade-stand.

Individuals and teams who are interested in participating or learning more about Alex’s Million Mile can visit AlexsMillionMile.org where they will find a video detailing the effort, testimonials from those who participated last year, and starting in September – live updates from social media on efforts in 2014 utilizing the hashtag #Journey2aMillion.

 

ALEXS MILLION MILE About Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $80 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 450 pediatric cancer research projects nationally. For more information on Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit AlexsLemonade.org.

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Sweet Sixteen Care of Toyota Venza

Last week, two very amazing things happened. One, my baby girl turned 16! Second,  I received a Toyota Venza to drive for a week which I had to make clear to my daughter she was NOT getting for her birthday but we could use to make her birthday all that more special with so many fun features to get us where we needed to go.

On the day the Venza arrived, it was raining. Uggh, what a yucky day but I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw my test car pull up in same sleek black as the other three cars in our family “fleet.” We have a black Suburban, black pick-up and black sportwagon so a black Venza was like one of the family.

I drove the Venza to work all week,  to the barn on Saturday, to the grocery store for party supplies, to church on Sunday and finally to a WINNING Phillies game on Monday night. The features I liked are as follows:

TOYOTA VENZA FUN FEATURES:

Back-up camera – As you can see in the picture below, the Venza has the camera that shows you what’s behind you when you are backing up. This was uber helpful down a tight driveaway at a friend’s house.

Roomy Interior – The Venza is as roomy as any SUV without the massive feeling of a truck like my Suburban and not as small as the Jetta we have. It was the perfect blend for the tall people in my family.

Phone Charging Slot – It’s a small add-on but totally shows a shift in our modern culture. There is a place near the front console to insert your phone and have the wire go through the bottom to the storage area where the charging slots are available in USB and standard cigarette lighter style slot.

Toyota Venza

 

OTHER IMPORTANT TOYOTA VENZA POINTS:

Starting price: $28,915 MSRP

Engine: Available in 4-wheel & V6.

Features: low center of gravity, wide stance and available 20-in. wheels.

Hill Start Assist Control: Keeps car from rolling backward on a hill.

Amenities: Dual zone automatic climate control, Star Safety System including 6 active safety features, seven airbags, blindspot mirrors and so much more.

Smart Key System with Push Button Start (at $31,960 price).
The smart key system took some getting used to. You set the key somewhere near the starter in a cup holder or door holder and push the start button. It was very easy to leave them in the car, shut the door and have to reopen to get them out so I could lock the door. The week the Venza arrived, we had just had several cars stolen in the neighborhood (and returned by the police since the joyriders left them in the next neighborhood) and I was very conscious of needing to lock the car.

Then, before we knew it, it was Party-time for my Sweet Sixteen daughter — look how much room in the back! (Gif image by my techno-savvy daughter). We loaded up with each stop for more party supplies and we had room to spare.

Thank you, Toyota, for a fun ride. Perhaps when one is two years old and has a few miles on it to bring down the price, maybe we’ll invest.

toyota venza

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CLOSED: BACK-TO-SCHOOL GIVEAWAY: DECK wireless speaker @SolRepublic & Motorola

sol republic deckRecently, I received a DECK — the portable wireless speaker by Sol Republic and Motorola – and I LOVED it so much I am giving a brand new one away too! If you can’t wait, Best Buy stocks these nifty little devices too.

(Photo Credit: Yellow DECK pict offered by Sol Republic for this review)

Let’s talk nitty gritty now. This little device retails full-price just under $200 and as sound afficionados may wonder, I hear you asking — what do I get for that?

I’ll preface my comments by saying – I am NOT a sound expert. I am your average user who can’t tell you if the lows are better than the highs but I can tell you that the Sol Republic DECK was designed for mobile convenience not high-def surround sound and therefore met my goals for this product, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

For the techies in the crowd, let’s start with some product details:

  • Package includes DECK wireless speaker, carry case, USB Cable AC adapter, 3.5 mm audio cable.
  • Charges via mini USB cable for 10 hours of play
  • Powered by large R2 Sound Engines and a bass port for bigger sound
  • NFC or Bluetooth pairing: Supports A2DP, HandsFree & AVRCP Profiles
  • Offers Heist Mode (TM) for multi-device pairing – up to 5 devices.
  • Speakerphone for hands free calling
  • 360 degree full sound
  • Outdoor boost with extra volume
  • Acoustically transparent slim-fit case lets you listen to the DECK while you protect it
  • Original retail price $199.99 but check around for several places selling for lower.

So how does the SOL REPUBLIC 1500-10 DECK Wireless Speaker work?

DECK SOL

STEPS TO OPERATING Sol Republic DECK: (Note: I was using a MotoX smartphone also made by Motorola to test this device.)

  1. Charge your device via the USB cord.
  2. Turn on the Bluetooth option on your device.
  3. Turn on the DECK. Pairing Mode starts automatiically.
  4. Go to the Blue-Tooth Menu on your device and select DECK. (Note: You may need to search for a new device for the option to come up. Enter 00000 if prompted.)
  5. Once the two pair, you will get a pairing complete tone.
  6. For NFC enabled devices, simply tap your device to the top of the DECK or if that doesn’t work on your device, use the above EASYPAIR(TM) method.
  7. Adjust sound using the plus and minus buttons on the top of the DECK. (Note: Thanks to wireless wonder, your device does not need to touch the DECK for sound to project.)
  8. Use the Motorola button on the top center to play & pause music, answer & end calls, change to Outdoor mode and Heist(TM) Lock.
  9. Use selector switch on side to change between single user and multi-user.

Final Comments: 

I used the SOL REPUBLIC 1500-10 DECK Wireless Speaker effectively in two scenarios over the last week: playing an audiobook wirelessly while cleaning around the house and in playing the playlist of my daughter’s friend off her tablet using the 3.5 mm audio cable.

In playing the audiobook, I found the sound to be completely sufficient to hear the narrator throughout each room where I carried the DECK. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I could start the book via my charging phone in the bedroom and carry the DECK into the bathroom while I cleaned there. There was no change in sound resolution from room to room over bluetooth wireless even when I charged my phone downstairs and carried the DECK upstairs. How cool is that!

At a recent birthday party, my daughter wanted to share her friend’s playlist stored on her tablet. We tried pairing via bluetooth which did not work since the profile wouldn’t come up on her device but the 3.5 mm audio cable worked perfectly. We have great speakers for playing music in our house and normally wouldn’t use a portable device for a party but in this case, for a group standing in the kitchen,  it was a perfect quick solution and you know kids these days – everything needs to be easy and fast. It was also great for outdoors when people went out on the deck for an hour and made s’mores in our fire pit. My husband is a sound snob but he wasn’t there at the moment to hook up his variety of sound options. I like easy and fast too so it totally worked for me.

On using multiple devices, we found when pairing to both mine and my husband’s phone, that you pair to one for phone calls, etc., and then to multi-devices for music only. I could receive a call coming through my phone but my husband could only join in with music. The DECK did not answer incoming calls from his device while mine was still paired as the primary user. We did not test further but he was able to play music effectively from his Amazon music app. Being a sound snob, he always prefers the surround sound he installed for us around the house but comparing our hardwired home system to a portable device is apples and oranges and not really fair when they are used for different scenarios.

Ultimately, the device achieves its goal. It’s a bit pricey but you can already see prices coming down around the web, making this item affordable and desirable as an easy-use speaker in individual rooms throughout the house, in the car, in a dorm room or other.

Join Sol conversation on Twitter & Facebook.

Check out the options for entering to win your own Deck wireless speaker below. Giveaway is for U.S. and Canada only.

You can also enter to win one over at Cira’s Lyrics!

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CLOSED: Massive Disney GIVEAWAY: Multi-Pack DVD/Blu-Ray Movies: Tarzan, Hercules, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, The Three Musketeers, Fun & Fancy Free and Ichabod & Mr. Toad

disney blu-ray giveawayGIVEAWAY is closed and 10 winners were notified of their prize. 

In honor of the time of year we are all thinking Back-to-School thoughts, I am giving away not ONE set of the following movies but MULTIPLE sets of 5 classic Disney movies on BluRay™ for the first time. Each title has been digitally re-mastered with high-definition picture and sound.

MOVIES IN THE SET:

    1. Tarzan – Disney’s magnificent adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ story begins deep within the jungle when baby Tarzan is adopted by a family of gorillas. But his “Two Worlds” collide with the arrival of humans, forcing Tarzan to choose between a “civilized” life with the beautiful Jane and the life he shares with his fun-loving friends and his gorilla family. Enjoy this wild and wonderful adventure in a whole new way on Disney Blu-ray!
    2. Hercules – Taken from the gods as a newborn and adopted on earth, Hercules is just an awkward pillar of strength trying to fit in. What he wants most is to impress his father Zeus. When Hercules discovers Hades’ sinister plot to take over Mount Olympus, he goes from zero to hero and, with the help of his pals Pegasus and Phil, discovers that real strength comes from the heart!
    3. Bedknobs & Broomsticks – Disney legends Angela Lansbury (“Beauty And The Beast”) and David Tomlinson (“Mary Poppins”) star in this beloved film about an apprentice witch who reluctantly takes in three orphan children. Though her first spells create more laughs than magic, Miss Price and the children soon find themselves swept away aboard a fantastic flying bed – their ticket to fun-filled excitement and adventure. Take the ride of your life with “Bedknobs And Broomsticks.”
    4. Mickey Donald Goofy: Three Musketeers 10th Anniversary –  Best buddies Mickey, Donald and Goofy are small-time janitors with big dreams of becoming Musketeers. They may not look like heroes, but, powered by teamwork and friendship, they soon discover they can accomplish anything if they work together. Packed with six rousing songs and now fully-restored with new and classic bonus features, this heartwarming family film is better than ever on Disney Blu-ray and High-Def Digital. It’s “All For Fun And Fun For All!”
    5. Adventures of Ichabod & Mr Toad / Fun & Fancy Free – First, hang on for a wild ride with the fun loving Mr. J. Thaddeus Toad. When his passion for motorcars lands him in hot water, he must rely on his faithful friends to clear his name. Then meet the infamous Ichabod Crane whose comic rivalry for the affections of the town beauty leads to a heart-pounding race with the legendary Headless Horseman. Share these high-spirited adventures with your whole family on Blu-ray and Digital HD.

Each title has been digitally re-mastered with high definition picture and sound Available on Blu-ray Superset (BD + DVD + Digital Copy) August 12th

Also Available August 12th:
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad/Fun and Fancy Free 2-Movie Collection on Blu-ray Combo Pack (BD + 2 DVDS) & Hercules, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, & Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers On Single Disc DVD

You can see a number of options for entering in the Rafflecopter below – tweeting, Facebooking, leaving a comment, etc. and you have until August 31st to do them for more and more chances to win your own set of 5.

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Bloggers Discuss Healthcare Insurance Options w/ Experts Via Google Hangout

Take Care PeopleGoogle Hangouts are expanding to include everything from the silly to serious. This particular Google Hangout below covers the very serious issue of healthcare insurance and the many who don’t have a way to pay for medical bills.

Below you can see an interactive Q&A session about “qualifying life events” and healthcare enrollment led by Annette Raveneau, the National Latino Press Secretary for Enroll America’s “Get Covered America” campaign.

To learn more about these issues, head over GetCoveredAmerica.org and or join the Twitter party coming up following the hashtag #TakeCareChat on Twitter – Tuesday, August 19, 2014 1-2 PM EST.

Where can I find more information about specific “qualifying life events” that would allow you to enroll NOW:

o    Getting Married

o    Having a Baby

o    After Divorce or Job Loss

o    College graduation

How do you enroll? Visit GetCoveredAmerica.org to learn how to enroll in health insurance and to get answers to common questions.  The site’s content is also shareable via Facebook and Twitter at Facebook/GetCoveredAmerica and Twitter.com/GetCoveredUS.
What if I can’t afford health insurance? Financial help is available. In fact, over half of Americans under 35 could get covered for under $50 a month!  More than half of all uninsured Americans can get covered for under $100 a month. And 4 in 5 people, who have already signed up, got help paying for their insurance. Use the “Get Covered Calculator” to see how much help you could qualify for to cover your monthly insurance cost.

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Summer Highlights: #SweetSuite14 at Blogger Bash #BBNYC

Blogger Bash 2014What a summer. I knew it would fly by and it certainly has but not without the most awesome, amazing mid-summer event called Blogger Bash event in NYC this last July.

Between running kids to camp and traveling to my mom’s and to the mountains, I had the opportunity to swing up to New York for a quick overnight stay. I wasn’t 100% sure I would be able to attend Sweet Suite on the first night since it came down to the wire the day before when my teenager took her driver’s license test. The entire 2nd half of the summer rested on whether she passed and … wait for it… she PASSED and YES, my freedom to attend Sweet Suite and head out for travel plans for the next two weeks were an official GO. Yay!

Now, on to the party. The two day event started with a VIP experience with several guest appearances including Big Ang from Mob Wives. During the day, we also received a lovely handbag from MZWallace.  We also heard the latest from the Disney Infinity peeps and got a sneak peek at new characters being added.

mz wallace #bbnyc

You can see above a couple of PSMM (Philly Social Media Moms) ladies with our MZ Wallace bag swag. (Instagram photo by Whitney of Mommies with Style.)

I also talked to the one and only amazing my social media hero Ciaran Blumenthal, founder of Hashtracking, in the hallway and over dinner that night. Love the site for tracking hashtags, love her.

hashtracking

In the evening, everyone was treated to the one and only Sweet Suite with vendors of all sorts who came out to show off the hottest new toys.

Loved the idea of these new Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatches for kids — bringing kids into this generation in a fun way; though, knowing the propensity of kids to focus on the gross and bizarre and embarrassing, the photo-taking & video options worried me a little.

vTech watches

 

Loved these quality costumes by Just Pretend Kids. Check out their site for new all-in-one party box options.

costume

 

And, the awesome cold tea options by Rooibee Red Tea made the event that much sweeter! So very delish.

Rooibee Red Tea

On day two, participants were treated to more events, speakers and sponsor highlights. Starting mid-day, I excused myself from the masses and join in the prep for #EAEvents from 4-6 pm after quickly jumping into the Bloganthropy awards to check out all the awesome bloggers nominated and recognized for using social media for good, run by Debbie Bookstaber.

bloganthropy awards

 

And, then in the middle of the events, I got a call to come pick up the MiP Robot! My card had been drawn from the bowl where I dropped it earlier. How totally fun. I love winning things. The MiP is equipped with GestureSense™ Technology and responds to hand motions & objects to move.

MiP Robot

Returning home, I left for two weeks of travel, during which my very special Sweet Suite Box arrived! I don’t have room in one post here to list every single vendor but below you see listed my 10 faves from the event and/or box. You may see some more of the products showing up in upcoming posts and you can see both links to the companies and to where you can buy most of them on Amazon below.

Sweet Suite Swag #BBNYC 2014

10 of my fave items from the event/swag box included:

1. Skylanders by Activision – a hot item with my nephew. He went nuts over the one that came in my box.

2. Creativity Can by Faber-Castell – My girls were immediately drawn to the variety of materials and at separate times, created their own imaginary figures from the items in the can.

3. Disney Infinity (We actually received a Tinker Bell at the party to carry home.)

4. SpinMaster Kinectic Sand which I saw at the event or SandsAlive by PlayVisions which we received in our box.

5. SpinMaster Zoomer – a fun robot dog you can train to do tricks.

6. Banagrams WildTiles – The game is changing! Try your hand at the new WildTiles version.

7. Blox & Bits by Goldie Blox – The toys for future innovators and engineers! Book set meets construction set for girls.

8. Kidz Bop 26 Biggest Hits sung by kids for kids. Despite all the ways to get music out there, it’s still nice to get pre-made compilations you can trust and pop into the car CD player when out and about or in the boombox at home.

9.  Minecraft Toys by Mojang – My teen daughters love collectible items representing their favorite games. Minecraft, which takes up plenty of their time, is not exception.

10.  Reverse Charades by USAopoly. With older kids, we love all the games we can get. We haven’t tried this one yet but I am looking forward to it.

Here are the items (or similar) listed above on Amazon:

What fun, huh?! What is a favorite item you see pictured here?

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Meet the stars of The Giver in Cherry Hill this Friday. @thegivermovie

Come meet the stars of The Giver this Friday in Cherry Hill. Here are the details:

Friday, August 8: Cherry Hill Mall
4:00 PM – Color Party Activities begin
5:00 PM – Q&A with Brenton Thwaites and Odeya Rush
5:30 PM – VIP autograph signing
6:00 PM – Event ends

*Event will take place by the Cherry Hill Mall Macy’s.

*Activities to include photo booth, hot pink candy bar, hair chalking and nail painting, spin art, a special art wall, Q&A with the stars and lots of fun giveaways!

Event is free and open to the public!

Movie opens nationwide on Friday, August 15.

ABOUT THE GIVER MOVIE:

The haunting story of THE GIVER centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. The film is based on Lois Lowry’s beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

thegiverfilm.com/
facebook.com/TheGiverMovieOfficial
twitter.com/thegivermovie

The Giver

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Smokey Bear will be on Twitter today at 2 PM EST #SmokeyBDay

After 70 years, Smokey Bear continues to share the message: “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” Did you know that 9 out of 10 forest fires are started by humans? Thanks to Smokey and his familiar phrase, we have reduced the number of acres lost to wildfires from 22 millions to today’s yearly average of 6.5 million. That is amazing.

smokey bear

Help us celebrate Smokey Bear, a classic figure in American culture and key messenger for fire safety. First, sign Smokey’s birthday card! It would mean the world to him!

Another way is to get your kids familiar with Smokey. Teach them his ABC’s: Always Be Careful with fire!  He also offers great resources and activities for children: http://smokeybear.com/.

Lastly, join Smokey for a Twitter Chat today, Wednesday August 6, from 2pm-3pm EST. Follow @smokey_bear with hashtag #SmokeyBDay. Come chat about your outdoor activities this summer and how you are helping keep our great outdoors safe for everyone!

You can connect with Smokey on  FacebookYouTubeInstagram, and Twitter.

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