Jan 31, 2013 Contest/Giveaway
[This giveaway has now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to Jeannine S, the winner.]
This morning while Fiona was getting ready for school a commercial came on for a dating site, and the people talked about how if it hadn’t been for that dating website they never would have met. Fiona turned to me and said “Did you and Daddy meet online?” I tried to explain to her that “online” as she has always known it (she’s eight) didn’t exist back when Daddy and I met. In the ‘80s if I was “online” I was probably standing in front of Shea’s Buffalo Theater trying to get tickets to a-ha. (If you don’t know who or what a-ha is, just stay off my lawn, OK?)
So how did we meet? There’s this great Facebook app that helps you tell your story through pictures and updates and other events from your Facebook timeline where you and another person have crossed paths. This is amazing. What a thing to be able to see your shared online history in a nice little package!
The only problem? My husband has NO facebook history! None! I got him the account years ago just so that I could grab his name for the custom URL, because maybe some day far in the future he would want it. And the account has just been sitting there.
It’s quite pathetic, really. I’m his only friend. Oh, others have tried. I logged on to his account one day a couple years after I’d created it and he had dozens of friend requests just sitting there, dozens of people thinking that he didn’t care about them enough to click a button and let them into his online life.
So, making our “How We Met” story was fun in an amazing, OMG-I’m-married-to-a-ghost kind-of way. He’s not even tagged in any of our pictures. Why bother, he’ll never see them! You can see our whole How We Met story here, and laugh at the fact that all of the “friends” in our story are mine. For goodness’ sake, he doesn’t even have an avatar. He might as well not exist.
My husband. Isn’t he handsome?
But, since most people are not completely social-media-averse like my husband, you will probably get a story from the app that is less one-sided. And it doesn’t have to be a romantic partner – you can use the app to make a How We Met story with a friend, too! Whoever is special to you.
So how did we meet? It was summer. I was about to start my senior year of high school, he was about to start college. We were both on the verge of breaking up with our high-school boyfriend/girlfriend. And I got a crappy summer job going door-to-door raising money for an environmental organization. And he worked there too.
We were only there together for two weeks, but we exchanged phone numbers. We had a few innocent dinners, and talked each other through the break-ups. And the rest, as they say, is history. :-)
So, what’s your story? Click here to create your own How We Met story! Then leave a link to the story in a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win two fantastic Windows 8 Phones: one to keep, and one to give away to that other person you share so much with! The winner will get a red HTC 8X, and a red Nokia Lumia 920. The winner will get to choose either AT&T or Verizon phones (all set-up and monthly charges will be the responsibility of the winner – I’m just giving you the phones).
You must leave a comment with your story link on this post in order to be entered. You can only enter once. Prize fulfillment will be carried out by the Windows Phone team. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter, and prize can only be shipped within the US. Void where prohibited by law. The giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST on February 13th, 2013.
The winner will be chosen by random.org. The winner will be emailed and the winner’s name will be posted at the top of this post once the winner is verified. It is each entrant’s responsibility to make sure that their entry appears in the comment section, and to contact me before the drawing if there is a problem. Entries that do not follow the rules stated in this post will not be approved. See my complete Giveaway Rules page for more information.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has Compensation Levels of 8 and 9. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Windows Phone.
Jun 20, 2012 Contest/Giveaway
[This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner, Wendy, comment #12. Thanks for entering!]
I’d always assumed that WiFi routers were all pretty much the same: just get the latest one from a known brand name, and you’re good to go. We’ve been using one from our cable company that’s very new. It worked fine, as far as we could tell.
Our main TV, a Samsung, connects to the internet via WiFi. We can access Netflix, Vudu, and lots of other services. The picture is always good. The only problem is that we never hooked it up to our surround sound system (and it would be hard to do at this point), so while the TV’s sound is very good, it’s not surround sound good.
This is why we usually end up watching Netflix through the XBox, which also connects to the internet via WiFi. Only problem with that is, after a few minutes of playing an HD movie or show, it drops down to non-HD. I searched the internet for a solution, and most message boards and reviews discussing my particular situation said the same thing: XBox throttles the signal. I had no idea why Microsoft would do that, but it didn’t seem like there was anything we could do about it. So, we choose between excellent sound, or excellent picture.
Jun 19, 2012 Contest/Giveaway
[This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner, Stephanie, comment #12. Thank you to all who entered.]
The ability to play Netflix movies and show the pictures from my laptop on a TV is so prevalent at this point, I get annoyed when I can’t. With the WD TV Live Streaming Media Player from Western Digital selling on Amazon for a price so low they wouldn’t even show it to me unless I put it in my cart, there’s little excuse not to have every TV in your home connected to the internet and your home network.
My favorite thing about this box is its size. Its footprint is smaller than a standard square napkin:
In fact, it’s so small and light that you can hang it on the wall with just a couple of screws or nails.
Setup was extremely easy. I hooked up the included power cord and RCA cable and put the batteries into the remote. It scanned for WiFi signals (you can also hook it up directly to a modem if you don’t have WiFi), and I chose mine and put in my password. I have to admit I was worried at this point – the WiFi signal was only showing one bar. I’ve never gotten anything to work on one bar. To compare, my laptop in the same location gets four or five bars.
I went right to Netflix and signed in with no problem, and started streaming an episode of The Office I’d been watching the night before. It loaded quickly and played all the way through! On one bar!
Jun 18, 2012 Randomosity
This is just weird. It’s so bizarre I can’t decide if I like it or not. Basically, it’s art in the form of battering and deep-frying gadgets. I’m leaning toward liking it, because I get a sick satisfaction from seeing so many Apple products destroyed by hot oil. See more of them at Cool Hunting.
This study fascinated me: when signs were posted near sugary soft drink displays translating the number of calories into how many minutes it would take to jog them off, teenagers were half as likely to buy them.
So apparently Special-K is going to start using plus-sized models in some of its ads, but frankly, this woman doesn’t look plus-sized to me. In fact, she looks about 20 pounds lighter than my goal weight. Still, I guess it’s a step in the right direction.
My friend Amy wrote a great post about her thighs, and the lasting effect it can have when you’re labeled as “big.” Plus, it includes an awesome picture of her as a cheerleader.
Apr 28, 2012 Contest/Giveaway
[UPDATE: Congratulations to the winner, comment #177, Jarvis. Thanks so all who entered.]
[UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered. The winner will be chosen and announced on Thursday, May 10th. If you do not see your comment listed, it is possible that you did not follow the instructions for answering the question posed in the post. There was an unusually high number of entrants for this giveaway who did not pay attention to the instructions and just commented in the manner of "pick me! pick me!" which, unfortunately, disqualified their entries. I tried to be as lenient as possible in my interpretation of the rules but some simply could not be approved.]
Back in January when I was at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Nokia Lumia 900 took “Best in Show” in the very competitive smartphone category. I got to play with one for just a couple minutes before the other people jostling to get a look made it clear that my time was up. But in that brief time I fell in love with it: the feel of it, and the look of it. I can’t wait to give a real try, which will happen in a few days when I get one to review. But why should I have all the fun with this amazing phone? Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win one too!
The great reviews for the Lumia 900 keep rolling in. Pretty much everyone agrees that it’s a fantastic phone. Why? Because Windows started from scratch, designed an entirely new and exciting smartphone operating system, and then worked closely with Nokia to make sure their phones were designed specifically for this new OS. I’ve reviewed three other Windows phones in the past sixteen months, but nothing from Nokia, so I’m really excited about this one.
Why do I love Windows phones so much? Here are some highlights.
Several other phones that I’ve used recently don’t have a camera button, which frankly just sucks. It’s harder to take a picture one-handed. On the other hand, WP cameras have a nifty little feature where you can tap on the screen, and the camera will focus on that spot, then take the picture automatically. This is great for those times when you don’t want to the camera to shake at all.
The very best part about having a dedicated camera button, though, is that you can wake the phone up, bypass the lock screen, and go right to the camera by just holding down on the camera button. I can’t tell you how many times I missed shots with non-Windows phones because I had to go through too many steps to get to the camera. But with Windows phones, you’ll be ready to take a picture in about two seconds or less. When my kids are doing something adorable I don’t have to fumble – I get the shot in time.
Uploading to Facebook and Twitter is super easy, and can be done right from the picture screen – no need to leave the camera and go open another app. Keep the grandparents up-to-date on what your kids are doing on the fly!
And if you’re worried about losing your photos before you can get home and sync them, you can choose to automatically upload to SkyDrive.
Dec 13, 2011 Contest/Giveaway
UPDATE: I’d like to congratulate the winner, kim/reluctant renovator, comment #16! Thanks to all who entered.
I’m going to be making one of my readers very happy next week. Microsoft Windows and Lenovo are giving away the brand-new, just available today IdeaPad U300s, in a strikingly gorgeous tangerine color.
This is the computer that can boot up in as little as 10.5 seconds, and they proved it by dropping it from an airplane attached to a parachute that would only deploy once the computer successfully booted:
And if you’re tempted to call shenanigans or assume that they used some kind of digital trickery to simply make it look like they dropped it out of a plane:
Pretty cool, huh?
From the Lenovo website’s description of the U300s:
- Slim, Ultrabook™ design for easy mobility, from just 0.6” thin
- Minimalist, one-piece aluminum shell, available in Graphite Gray or Clementine Orange (coming soon)
- Long battery life* with up to 30 days standby time
- Lenovo RapidCharge brings battery charge to 50 percent in 30 minutes
- Boot in as little as 10.5 seconds with RapidDrive SSD technology**
- Breathable keyboard uses Intel® Advanced Cooling Technology to improve airflow so PC can run cooler on your lap
- Cool-touch palmrest and intelligent glass touchpad with easy scroll, zoom and rotate functions
- HD graphics and stereo speakers with SRS® Premium Surround Sound™
- USB 3.0 port, HDMI output and 1.3M (720p HD) webcam
- Intel® Wireless Display (WiDi): wirelessly stream content from your laptop onto a big screen (requires TV adapter)
- BIOS-embedded anti-theft protection
This computer is light, super-thin, gorgeous, fast, and packed with features. I had the opportunity to keep it for myself and review it, or give it away, and the Christmas spirit smacked the sense right out of me.
So enter to win by leaving a comment on this post telling me what you would do with this computer if you won. Would you keep it? Would you give it away? Don’t worry – I’m not judging the entries. The winner will be chosen by random.org. So go ahead and be selfish if you want. :-)
For a second entry, you may tweet about this contest with a link back to this page. Or, you can copy and tweet the following:
Want 2 win a super thin, light, fast, & gorgeous #Lenovo IdeaPad U300s laptop? Head over to @SelfishMom’s site & enter: http://slf.sh/sSEIT2
Make sure to leave a second comment with a link to your tweet, or it won’t count (instructions on how to find and post the url of your tweet can be found here).
So, that’s a maximum of two entries per household please! This contest will close at noon-ish on Tuesday, December 20th. The winner will be chosen by random.org. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter. Prize may be shipped within the continental United States only. See my complete Giveaway Rules page for more information.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 9. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Nov 22, 2011 Paid/Sponsored Post
[The following post was commissioned by “The Smurfs” on Blu-ray™ + DVD Holiday Combo Pack]
So I’ve been tasked with getting together a gift guide for Gutsy Smurf, the tough, brave and adventurous Smurf from the new Smurfs movie, coming out on Blu-ray™ on December 2nd. This was a very easy task, since Gutsy Smurf reminds me very much of my son Jake, minus this kilt, sideburns, and Scottish brogue, of course.
Document your adventures
Before Gutsy Smurf sets off to do anything gutsy, he needs some way to record what’s happening. At under $100, this Sony Cybershot camera is the perfect entry-level camera for someone with no photography experience. With Sweep Panorama Mode and SteadyShot image stabilization, this camera helps ensure dramatic, sharp pictures, no matter the conditions.
This camera is so smart, it can even detect if the subject is smiling or blinking!
Protect your tech toys
This gift is very basic, but very important for anyone setting off on an adventure: proper cell phone protection. Smurfs – and tweens – can be very rough on their phones, but Otter Box provides the solution with their Defender Series cell phone cases. These cases provide superior protection against bumps and drops.
They come in a wide variety of models, for everything from iPhones to Galaxy Tabs. The front has a clear protective screen, and all buttons and ports are easily accessible.
Learn how to fly
Next up, Gutsy Smurf needs an adventure to take his protected phone on. What takes more guts than flying through the air? Trapeze Experience offers lessons for anyone over five years old and under 250 pounds. With locations in New York and Florida, you can live out your dreams of swinging and flipping at this acclaimed trapeze school.
Even if you’ve never done anything like this before, Trapeze Experience will get you started. With two-hour lessons for $100, you can give your little Smurf a taste of what it takes to become a trapeze artist.
A skateboard on steroids
Skateboarding is so 20th century. If you want your Smurf to get a real workout while he rolls, get him a Shred Sled. These affordable, wheeled toys take skill, balance, and ab muscles to ride. I’m grateful nobody was videotaping me when I tried Jake’s Shred Sled, because I lack all three – it was not pretty.
Jake took to it quickly though, and after a couple weeks’ practice it became his favorite mode of transportation, even more than his bike. Shred Sleds mimic the “carving” motion of snowboarding, and you can even propel yourself uphill without pushing off. I’m sure Gutsy Smurf would have no trouble mastering it – I just hope he remembers to wear his helmet!
Go on a high-tech scavenger hunt
The Apisphere Geomate Jr. is a handheld geocaching GPS game that the whole family can play. What is geocaching? It’s a world-wide scavenger hunt that’s catching on with adventurous Smurfs everywhere. For about $65 Gutsy Smurf can hunt for a quarter million different clues hidden in all fifty states.
No internet connection is necessary. The battery-operated unit will direct you to the nearest geocache, which can be hidden almost anywhere. The unit also logs which ones you’ve found, and can direct you back to your starting point so that you don’t get lost.
Read the adventure
Of course even Gutsy Smurf needs some down time, and this spectacular book will keep him transfixed for hours (my little guy has read through it several times already). “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” tells the story of an orphan in Paris, partly through words and partly through exquisite drawings that bring the characters to life.
At over 500 pages, this book might look imposing, but Smurfs of all ages will soon be sucked into the story of a broken mechanical robot that holds a secret, if only Hugo can get him working again!
I hope I helped you with some shopping ideas for the adventurous kids on your holiday list! And to help some other deserving kids have a good holiday, just leave a comment with your best suggestion for a gift for Gutsy Smurf. I get to decide which gift I think is the most creative, and a Smurf backpack and Smurf toys will be donated to Toys for Tots in the commenter’s name.
As part of this campaign I’ll be receiving the new Smurfs Blu-ray™ + DVD Holiday Combo Pack, and knowing my kids (who are Smurf crazy) it will be played until it is memorized. I think it would make a great gift for your little Smurf.
Brought to you by The Smurfs on Blu-ray™ + DVD Holiday Combo Pack! Includes the never-before-seen The Smurfs Christmas Carol, an all-new Smurftastic adventure! Get more at www.smurfhappens.com, including games and other Smurfy goodies!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1 (Shred Sled, “The Smurfs” on Blu-ray) and 13. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Nov 22, 2011 Product Review
My husband, son and I have been fighting over a pair of Sol Republic Tracks headphones since they arrived from the company for me to review a few weeks ago. At a retail cost of around $100 they would be a fantastic gift for someone in your life who really appreciates good sound.
Luckily I had them to myself for the first day, since my husband was at work and Jake was at school. I put them on, adjusted the headphones – I’m sorry, the “sound engines” according to the box – and cued up “Defying Gravity” from the Wicked soundtrack on my computer. Now, this is a song I’ve heard probably two hundred times, mostly in my car or through earbuds (and I don’t use cheap earbuds, I’ve got good ones). But from the first notes I could hear the difference. I could hear a string bass line that I’d never heard before, deep and rich! A few more songs had me convinced that these headphones were worth the size. Normally I go for whatever’s tiniest, but I don’t think I’ll ever wear earbuds in the house again.
When I was done listening I started doing other things on my laptop. It wasn’t until I got up about half an hour later that I realized I was still wearing the headphones; they’re so comfortable I hadn’t even noticed I’d left them on. That’s kind of a big deal for me, because most headband-style headphones give me a headache. The ear pads are big and cushiony and fit snugly over my ears without squeezing my head.
These headphones have a unique design that allow them to feel just as comfortable on my daughter’s little head as on my son’s larger one. Instead of the headband part being adjustable, the sound engines slide up and down. They even come completely off, and the cord can be removed. This would be extremely handy when traveling, since wrapping the cord and squishing the headphones in to a suitcase or bag would make me nervous.
For what it’s worth, the website claims that the band is nearly indestructible. Having lost a couple pairs of pricey headphones to a cracked headband, that’s rather important to me (although I’m not willing to sacrifice mine in order to test that claim – sorry!).
They have several features that I don’t think I would ever get any use out of, since I don’t think I’d ever use these out of the house (like, on the subway or walking around), and I rarely use Apple products. But they have a microphone that can be used with most Android and Blackberry phones to take calls, and a three-button iPod/iPad controller for iTunes. There’s a list of compatible devices here.
So now, my husband can sit on the couch while someone else is watching TV or playing music, and listen to his own stuff on the iPad. They don’t cancel out all outside noise, but they muffle it enough that I have no problem hearing what I want to hear through the headphones when the kids are being their crazy selves or the TV is blasting. I’m able to work on podcasts or videos without having to tell everybody else to quiet down.
These would make an excellent gift for that person in your life who cares about the sound coming out of his computer or phone, but values comfort first and foremost. I really love these headphones and highly recommend them.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.