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LifeProof A Year Later – The Ugly Truth

12 Apr

So it took me a long time to write this post. The incident happened July of last year, and I’m just now finally able to put my thoughts together an update post. I was pretty embarrassed. There’s no real sugar coating what happened. After blabbing about how great LifeProof is….

My          LifeProof          case          failed.

Yup. There you have it. Before you write off LifeProof & click away, please hang out long enough for me to tell you the whole story and my thoughts on the case overall.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I received the LifeProof case at the end of February. In my time of owning it, the case successfully passed the water test, survived two mud runs, swam in a swimming pool, runs while shoved in my sports bra, messy cooking in the kitchen, showers and more. The case worked every time without fail. It was amazing. I fell in love.

As one typically does with new, young love, I decided to take my new love on a mini vacation scalloping in the Gulf. I had this grand idea that I would create an instructional post on ‘how to scallop” since I figured many people may not realize how easy and fun it is especially with the Gulf being practically in our backyard.

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On the first day of scalloping, I headed out to get my technique down before I began taking photos. A few hours later, things were going well. I asked my friend, Derek, who was relaxing on the boat at the time to pass me my iPhone. He was really hesitant and even said “I don’t feel good about this…” I of course responded “You’re being silly. It’s Life Proof!”


(source)

The LifeProof and I took a few romantic dives together. We caught a scallop. We took a picture of some fishies. Then suddenly without warning, a SIM card error popped up on the screen. (I admit, I didn’t even know the iPhone HAD a SIM card. I know. I’m silly.) Obviously this was alarming, so I headed back to the boat. Once on board, I inspected closer and realized there was a slight bubble of water on the screen INSIDE THE CASE. I panicked. Ripped the phone OUT of the LifeProof case (which is a bit challenging with wrinkly hands), and carefully wrapped it up in a dry towel.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Needless to say, it was a quiet ride home.

When I got home, I immediately put the phone in a bag of rice praying to salvage it. I turned it on the next day and it halfway worked. The screen was blinking for me to plug it in and giving me an notice to reconnect my iPhone to iTunes. I did this and it began performing an update…. but always disconnected before it could complete.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I unplugged the phone. Looking at the coils where the cord would connect, I could see why it was having issues. There was some corrosion on the phone. THANKFULLY the ‘red dot’ that indicates water damage was not lit up. I looked down the headphone cord area, and the red dot there wasn’t lit up either.

I made a Genius Bar appointment and headed in. Once there, they were baffled as I was. (Of course, I didn’t tell them the whole story. I just told them it was acting funny.) Since there was no apparent water damage, they allowed me to purchase a refurbished phone at a discounted price of… $150.

Ouch. But I needed a phone, so I forked over the cash and headed home with my new phone.

Since I had received the case as a blogger with the purpose of reviewing it, I emailed Lifeproof to try and learn more about what may have gone wrong. They were completely helpful (I’m a blogger, so I’m assuming that may have had an impact). They said it’s not normal proceedure to do so, but asked me to mail in my Lifeproof case so they could inspect it and learn more about what happened.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

A week later, I got an email with this photo. According to the engineer at LifeProof he said:

“It appears as if the case has been well used, but it was a hole in the earpiece vent that was the one item that caused the case to flood.Holes in the vent are an issue that can occur when they come in contact with sharp objects. We continue to look at ways to address this issue. There were also hairline cracks in the frame, which is usually due to multiple drops. LifeProof has made a significant improvement to case materials to alleviate this issue. This change is invisible to customers – the cases look and function the same, they are just stronger.”

Oy. Well, I never denied the fact that I’m rough on my phone. I am sure it happened one of the 1,254 times I dropped the phone on pavement (which the case protected my phone each and every time). Or it could have happened when I shoved my phone in my purse. My keys or some other remotely sharp object may have every so gently rubbed on that little earphone portion causing the small tear.

So, what case do I use for my phone now? Actually, it’s still a LifeProof case. (A teal one like the Jaguars!) I’m still crazy about LifeProof, just a little less bold with it. (No more swimming pools for one thing.) I still honestly believe it’s the best case for me and my phone. I have no plans to go swimming with it, but feel confident in it’s ability to protect my phone from drops and spills. I also feel confident if I were accidentally pushed into a pool with my phone in my pocket, it would survive the few seconds under water. I spill stuff on it all the time while cooking. I still use it in the shower. I still shove it in my sports bra while running.

To me, this is still the best iPhone case I’ve used to date.

 

**Lifeproof provided me the case for free in exchange for my honest opinions. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by Lifeproof.**

Popsugar Must Have Box: December 2012

13 Feb

My December Popsugar box arrived right before Christmas! I was excited to open it (as I usually am). It was the perfect pre-Christmas gift for myself. Everyone needs a pre-Christmas gift for themselves, right??

Here are the previous boxes I’ve received:

 

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  1. Must Have Food
    Bogdon’s Peppermint Poles
    I’m not a huge fan of peppermint, but these had chocolate on them so I gave them a shot.
  2. Must Have Food:
    Tea Forte
    Coffee > Tea in my world, so I’m not a big tea drinker. I haven’t actually tried these yet. I never know what to put in my tea? They do look like nice quality though.WP_20121216_004
  3. Must Have Beauty:
    Jaboneria Marianella Soaps
    These smell wonderful!
  4. Must Have Tech:
    GoSwype
    eh. I wasn’t too impressed with this.  It’s essentially a screen wipe with anti bacterial built in. Since I have the Lifeproof case on my phone, I just use a Lysol wipe which just seems more effective (though clinically unproven) to me.
  5. Must Have Home:
    Bodum Bistro Mugs
    I feel like I am being suffocated by all the coffee mugs, cups, and glasses I have in my cabinets…but maybe these will slowly replace some of the coffee mugs that just aren’t aesthetically pleasing and that I have no emotional ties to. I liked the size – enough for a regular cup of coffee without feeling like I was carrying a half gallon of coffee around. I can’t say whether the double wall kept my coffee warmer or not, but it didn’t notice it getting cool super quick.
  6. Must Have Fashion
    $30 to Rent the Runway
    For $30, I could get some jewelry, but not a full dress or anything. I was quite surprised that renting a dress was $100+. I mean, they are quality dresses which are significantly higher in price than that, but I was still surprised.
  7. Must Have Fashion
    Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kit
    They really thought of everything when they made this.
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    In fact a few weekends ago on a Girls Bachelorette weekend in Savannah, we dumped this out on the bed in a search to find bobby pins.
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    (No such luck, but they literally have everything else possible in here!)

If you’re interested in signing up, you can here: http://popsu.gr/rDi

(That’s an affiliate link, so please click through if you plan on signing up so I get credit for any referrals!)

You can also use the code REFER5 when signing up, and get $5 off your order!

Have you participated in any of the monthly subscription services like Birchbox, wine-of-the-month, Omaha steaks etc?

I’m a Verizon Wireless Ambassador x2!

11 Feb

I was, once again, selected to be a Verizon Wireless Ambassador! I enjoyed tinkering around with the Samsung Galaxy S3 last time, so I was really excited to see what I would get this time.

I admit if I’m lucky enough to continue in the program, I REALLY am hoping to get a tablet to test out eventually. I had my fingers and toes crossed that this would be the case.  I waited and waited until this bad boy arrived.

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Hmmm. What could it be?

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Oooh! The new Windows 8x Phone. OK so it’s NOT a tablet, but that’s ok. Maybe next time?? Until then, it’s time to put this phone through the ringer! Where should I start??

 

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Well, this should be interesting. I really don’t know much about this phone! Eek.

What phone do you have? What are your phone’s favorite features?

 


Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

With the Greatest of Ease…

2 Jan

So almost a year ago, my friends and I bought a 90-minute package to Trapeze High Florida in Middleburg via LivingSocial. I’m not sure we really ever thought we would ever use it.

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But finally, on the second to the last day of the year, we finally all managed to get together and show up at the place. I’m still not sure we were expecting to get on the trapeze even though we were there.

The place is literally just an empty lot off the side of the road. There’s really NO curb appeal at all. It’s a lot, a porta potty, a storage  unit, and the trapeze setup. Not really a comforting site to see if you’re already nervous about the situation.

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After the looooong car ride (just 30 min), I was relieved to see they had a porto potty on the property.

Biggest hurdle to overcome?

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The loooooooong ladder. It REALLY shook. I’m told it’s bolted down, but that was still a bit freaky. You wear a harness around your waist. It’s really tight (which is a GOOD thing). When you go up the ladder, you attach to a ‘seat belt type thing’ in case you slip, you won’t go anywhere. I was familiar with this from when we zip lined at the Tallahassee Museum, so that was a little comforting.

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I made my way up to the ladder. When you get up to the top, they make you hold on the white poll (you can see me holding onto it above).

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When it’s your turn, you stand with your toes hanging over the edge. They snap on the trapeze wires to each side of your harness. Your left hand holds onto the white bar. Your right hand reaches out and attempts to grab the trapeze bar all while a girl behind you is pulling back on your harness so you don’t topple over.

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Once you manage to catch the trapeze with your right hand, you’re told to LET GO of the white bar you’ve been desperately white knuckling with your left hand and grab onto the trapeze bar with both hands, bend your knees, and jump…

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oh and hold on tight. so graceful.

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They call this “the banana.” Can you see why? You hold on and swing back and forward, then they yell ‘hut’ or something like that, you’re supposed to let go and fall on your back. If you don’t let go, you continue to swing back and forth. Then he’ll essentially suspend you mid air and tell you to ‘flap your arms’ to get down. Seriously. He will start picking on you. A little weird, but overall it was good.

Letting go of the bar, you experience the freakiest 0.0000021 seconds of your life. You’ve let go of the bar, start to fall.. and fall.. and fall…and start wondering.. um.. where’s the net???  right after, you hit the net.

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Once you land on the net, you’re expected to stand up and waddle over to the guy. You grab two pieces of rope and he helps you flip off the net and land onto the ground.

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After you master “The Banana”, you’re brought over to a side trapeze bar to practice. Here you’re taught how to hold onto the bar, swing back and forth, flip your feet through your hands and hang from the trapeze bar on your knees. Simple, right?

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You do test run to show you’ve mastered this skill. This is also when I stopped trapezing and started watching. My hands were killing me. I typically have problems at Timed Exercise with my hands hurting and getting blisters. I need to get some gloves. I’m not sure if they would allow me to trapeze with weight lifting gloves on though.

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Yup, just like that.

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Anne, me, Lauren, and Tee afterwards took a picture of our accomplishments that day. You can see we’re glad to be alive.

Overall, we had a blast. It definitely challenged some fears, but it was a good time. Definitely something I can check off the list. Would I do it again? After another 6 more months of Timed Exercise, sure! We’d also love to bring our men because we know their monkey toes would LOVE to do this.

Have you trapeze’d before? Did you like it? Hate it?

Influenster – Cosmo Box

27 Dec

I recently signed up for an account with Influenster.com. It sounded interesting, and I saw a tweet online that someone had received a free box of stuff just for signing up. Oh yeah! I like trying out new products, getting free stuff, and receiving mail, so this was right  up my alley.

Sure enough, just a few weeks after signing up, I received an email saying a Cosmo Influenster box was on it’s way! Yay!

influenster

  1. Gillette Venus Embrace Razor
    Not bad. I usually use the Gillette Mach3 which is made of a medal. This razor is a lot lighter. Plus, the razor head is really wide. That helped so that I was actually less likely to nick myself.
  2. Venus & Olay Razor refill
    I was surprised to learn that they have a variety of razor refills you can select from for your razor. That can be pretty convenient if you need certain attention certain times of the year as opposed to others. Anyone get dry skin in the Winter?
  3. Forever Red Exclusively at Bath & Body Works
    This was pretty nice. It wasn’t just a dinky tube of perfume, it’s a nice mini bottle. Perfect to store in my desk at work or purse. It smells a bit more luxurious than my typical flowery fragrance.
  4. Ghirardelli Sea Salt Escape
    Um, they could have JUST sent this in the box, and I would have been thrilled. This lasted about 3 hours before I chowed it down. It was amazing! It’s seriously not something I would typically buy, but the next time I need a chocolate fix, I’m grabbing one of these bars.
  5. FriXion by Pilot Pen
    How cool! I’ve never actually seen an erasable pen before. (I need to get out more). They write smoothly, and I could hang onto these.

How much fun! I enjoyed the nice surprise of the Influenster box. Have you tried any of these products? What do you think?

Do you want an invite to Influenster? Comment below with your email. I’ll choose up to 5 people and send you an invite!

Popsugar Must Have Box: November 2012

4 Dec

My November Popsugar box arrived, but things have been a little crazypants around here so I just got around to posting about it.

Here are the previous boxes I’ve received:

Onto this month’s box. I’ll warn you. This wasn’t a good month (in my personal opinion). I guess not every month can be great. I’m hoping December will redeem itself. I have been pleased with the past two months thankfully!

 

  1. Must Have Food:
    Stonewall Kitchen Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Mix
    hmm. so are they assuming I have a doughnut pan? And is it donut or doughnut? I made them this morning in a muffin pan and realized that doughnuts are just fancy cupcakes.. baked in a different pan. These were delicious and the cinnamon glaze was fabulous.
  2. Must Have Food:
    La Boîte Spice Mixes
    I received 3 different kinds (Reims, Cancale, and Yemen) plus it came with a suggestions card on how best how to utilize them.  These should be fun. I like trying new flavors and spices out (but I honestly often forget I have them in my pantry).
  3. Must Have Fashion:
    gorjana “Parker” Black Leather Wrap Bracelet
    Thank god I read the description of this one b/c I thought it was a necklace at first. Oops! I guess wrap bracelets are really trendy right now. This really isn’t my personal style, so I’m not sure I’ll ever wear it, but you never know!
  4. Must Have Home:
    Snow & Graham Thank You Notes
    Seriously, you can never have too many blank thank you cards. These are always great to have around, and these are pretty cute. There’s just something special about getting a hand written thank you card in the mail.
  5. Must Have Fitness:
    Mandy Ingber’s Yogalosophy DVD
    I don’t own any yoga dvds, so this could be handy to have on a yucky day!
  6. Must Have Beauty:
    Mor Lip Macarons
    Hmm. To me, this is just another lip balm. I hate sticking my finger into lip gloss, so I’m not sure this will get much use. Maybe it’ll be a backup to leave in my car.
  7. Special Extras:
    Stylemint
    a) I honestly have no clue what this really is, because every time I try to load the site, they want me to enter the passcode and my credit card. I’d really prefer to at least see an “about us” page first before I give away something so important to me. I’m going to file this away in my trash can, unless you want it?
  8. Special Extras:
    CanvasPop
    I was the most excited when I saw this one. I’m on a big decorating spree right now, so this would be perfect to go over the headboard we just madeexcept…I absolutely hate gifts that require me to spend money to redeem. This is just that scenario. First, I priced out what I wanted, and it came out to $300! Holy balls. Next, I went ultra conservative, and priced out their cheapest option possible. Their cheapest option starts at $39.95 PLUS shipping is a flat rate of $14. Subtract the $30 gift card, and you’re still paying $24 for this one. Sad face.I do have to say one thing they do that is totally awesome. They have filters (that sadly aren’t available on their cheapest option), that allow you to make a canvas out of a low res photo from Facebook or Instagram. These filters are sketch or oil painting, which would be perfect for a canvas print.

Obviously, this month was not a ‘must have’ for me and not my favorite.  The cost for me to participate was $35, and I’d say I got the following return:

Doughnuts $10
Spice Mixes $30
Bracelet $55
Thank You Cards $15
Yoga DVD $7
Lipgloss $10
Style Mint $? I have no idea since no helpful info would ever load
CanvasPop $-23.95 Minimum order plus shipping & gift card
——————- ———— ————————————————
Total: $103.95
My Total: $38.05 doughnuts, spice mixes, cards, yoga, canvas pop

Considering the box cost me $35,  this is ok.  I’m not sure I’ll redeem the CanvasPop (I have until the end of January to officially decide), so if I don’t, I actually received around $62 in usable items. (Note: I also know this comparison is SLIGHTLY off since I didn’t include shipping in any item other than the CanvasPop, but I’m bitter, so I can do that.)


If you’re interested in signing up, you can here: http://popsu.gr/rDi

(That’s an affiliate link, so please click through if you plan on signing up so I get credit for any referrals!)

You can also use the code REFER5 when signing up, and get $5 off your order!

Have you participated in any of the monthly subscription services like Birchbox, wine-of-the-month, Omaha steaks etc?

Virtual Shutterfly HouseParty

25 Nov

Ahhh. It’s the Holiday season.

A time for cooking (and cleaning), friends (and family), holiday parties (and work parties), decorations (and burned out lights), peppermint tea (and colds), crisp fall days (and sleet and rain), red starbuck’s cups, presents (and bills), and dog sweaters with bells.

Ahhh! It’s the Holidays! Where did this year go?

I had signed up to host a Shutterfly House Party, but everyone was just too busy. One friend had to go out of town for work, another was having a baby (yay!!), another was up north helping family after Hurricane Sandy.. really… it’s almost like the crazy hustle-and-bustle from last year’s Holiday season never stopped.

The bad –> I was supposed to host a party, it bombed hard just like that one I hosted in 7th grade. (That’s not a pic of me in 7th grade, but it was the closest I have).

The good –> Shutterfly and Houseparty me a pretty slick party pack , which I would like to share with you! I also feel all guilty pants for not actually hosting the party which was apart of my agreement with Shutterfly and Houseparty, so I’m trying to make up for it…help me out?

[commercial interruption]

Holiday Cards

My friend Erin over at Erin B. Fashion does this every year, and I just love it. Fill out this form with your mailing address, and I’ll send you a personal holiday card! If you want, you can send me one back!

Yes, I’d love to get a Holiday Greeting Card!

[and on with the show]

Here’s some of what the Shutterfly family has to offer…

photo books

I honestly love photo books. A version of digital scrapbooking, they’re a great way to capture memories.  Plus, since you don’t have to have all the supplies (books, paper, scissors, etc.), I think it could even be a bit more cost effective (and you don’t have to have room to store all the paper, scissors, and other crap).

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I’m amazed at how simple they are to make these days. When you first begin, you have two options to choose from to make your book.  Custom Path (You do the work: you pick the theme, you pick each page layout, you lay out your pictures for each page etc.) or the Simple Path (you still pick your theme, but shutterfly does the rest. You an still modify everything afterwards).

As for themes there is quite a variety available for you to select from like “Halloween Spooktacular”, “Noel”, Confetti Splash”, “Through the Seasons”, “Pictogram”, “Chalkboard Chic”… you get the point.

holiday cards

When it comes to birthday cards, I try to find the most ridiculous card in the rack. If it has a monkey on it, even better. When it comes to Christmas, I’m sold if it has a snowman on it. I just love them!

One thing I hate is standing in the aisle at the store trying to find a card. It takes forever. Plus if you want to buy them in bulk, the selection is minimal. With Shutterfly, you can quickly find the card you want, and even filter what they have available to make finding what you want faster.

What makes them even better is you can personalize your cards. I like to add my own photos to make the cards a bit more friendly. (Who doesn’t want a photo of Vegas dog dressed up for the holidays???)

photo prints

actual, real, tangible, hold-in-your-hand photos. Yup, Shutterfly will mail you actual photo prints. The digital age has really changed how we look at photos, but you just can’t beat an actual photo. Shutterfly has done photo prints for years, and continues to do so this day.

personalized greeting cards

They’ve also partnered with treat.com to offer personalized greeting cards.

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(source)

You can personalize them to include someone’s name on the front. This is a card that feels entirely custom made which is always pretty awesome.


the good stuff

Want your chance to personally test out some of the products mentioned above? Comment below with what product from Shutterfly you’re most interested in and I’ll send you a code for the following:

  • One free photobook from Shutterfly
  • 10 free personalized holiday cards from Shutterfly
  • 101 free prints from Shutterfly*
  • One free customized greeting card from Treat.com

*There is one catch in this. It appears Shutterfly requires you to send 5 friends an offer for a free photobook in order to qualify for the 101 free prints. Honestly, that’s not THAT bad, but I wanted to be upfront about it. All the other above offers are “without a catch”.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays!!

Popsugar Must Have Box: October 2012

31 Oct

I came home yesterday and had a huge surprise!! My Popsugar Must Have Box for October was waiting for me! The September Popsugar Must Have Box was decent, so I kept my subscription going.

One thing I noticed this month, is they categorize the items.

  • Must Have Home
  • Must Have Entertainment
  • Must Have Fitness
  • Must Have Beauty
  • Must Have Food
  • Special Extras (you know the one’s that don’t really fit a category)

This is probably a good idea so it doesn’t end up all beauty or all food.

Adam was kind enough to lug the sucker onto the kitchen table. He mentioned approximately three times how heavy it was. Hmmmm curiousity…

Onto this month’s box….

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  1. Special Extras:
    Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar Puffs
    I’ve seen this in the store before. I always thought this was popcorn, but it’s really a white cheddar flavored cheese poof. (Sorta like a non-crunch Chester Cheetah Cheetos) It wasn’t bad. If I’m craving something to much on like chips, I *might* pick these up. The flavor was good too.
  2. Must Have Entertainment:
    The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
    This box was heavy.. NOW I know why! I’d heard about this book, but hadn’t thought to actually buy it. It’s J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults. I’m looking forward to starting it. I personally would have preferred a credit to download it on Kindle. I’m not sure what would be easier though. Paying the extra shipping for the heavier package, or coordinating with Kindle for the downloads. Plus, having the actual book in there did make me feel like I got more out of the package. Has anyone read it yet?When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

     

  3. Must Have Home:
    Red Flower Spanish Gardenia Petal Topped Candle

    This smells soo nice! I love the flowers on top. The instructions DO say to remove the flowers BEFORE burning the candle. (uh.. good thing I actually saw that..I am that dumb). I think the flowers are a nice touch too because they’ll cover up any dust that might form on the top if I haven’t burned it in a while. They’ll keep it looking sharp and new.
  4. Must Have Food:
    Gummy Bears from Dylan’s Candy Bar
    I’m a gummy bear snob. I even love making Party Bears (these did not last that long enough). I love gummy bears! I definitely chowed down on these right after dinner. From all the different types of Gummy Bears I’ve tried.. these were definitely in the top 5 all time best gummies I’ve had.
  5. Must Have Beauty:
    Opi Pink Hearts Nail Polish Duo

    In the set are “You Glitter Be Good To Me” and “I Think in Pink”. This is actually pretty cool because I just started growing my nails out again. They are looking great and seem decently strong. I can’t wait to put some polish on them!
  6. Must Have Fitness:
    Crescent Moon Yoga and Pilates Socks
    socks w/ grippy nubbins. interesting. I didn’t think it was a big deal, until I saw they’re good for yoga. I’m about to cash in on a Groupon, so these will probably be useful!
  7. Special Extra:
    Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy
    This stuff smells great. Adam even said it reminded him of herbal essences (only it doesn’t make you start awkwardly moaning in public or anything).  It made my hair feel really light too. When we went to New York a month ago, I LOVED the water because of how it made my hair feel. This shampoo/conditioner made my hair feel just like THAT.

I’d say this month’s box was pretty decent! The cost for me to participate was $35, and I’d say I got my monies worth. Just the book ($25), nail polish ($12), candle ($35) and socks ($8) totals around $75.


If you’re interested in signing up, you can here: http://popsu.gr/rDi

(That’s an affiliate link, so please click through there so I get credit for any referrals!)

You can also use the code REFER5 when signing up, and get $5 off your order!

Have you participated in any of the monthly subscription services like Birchbox, wine-of-the-month, Omaha steaks etc?

 

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

A Few of my Favorite Things: Samsung Galaxy S3

25 Oct

Before Verizon sent me the Samsung Galaxy S3 to tinker with for 3 months, the cell I have been using is an iPhone 4. I’ve had the iPhone for almost 2 years now. I remember when I finally broke down and bought it which was definitely on a whim.

I had a phone through my current job at the time, an HTC Android of some sort, but knew I needed to really get a personal phone.  One day Adam mentioned he could add me to his plan. Woah, this was a game changer. OK deal! (Boyfriend perks!) We headed to the AT&T store THAT DAY and I got “hooked up”. I still pay him for my portion of the phone, but it’s a lot more affordable this way. I got my phone about 2 hours before we got on a plane for Chicago to visit my parents for Easter (and I still needed to pack), so essentially, I enjoyed about 10 minutes to play with it between packing. Plus I almost made us late for the flight.

Having had a smart phone for quite some time now, I am surprised that the Samsung has influenced me to make a resurgence out of some of the things I used to do on my phone, but just haven’t recently for whatever reason. So in general this is a collection of some of the things the Samsung has inspired me to check out, new apps I like, and also, a comparison in some cases to the iPhone. Since I have an iPhone, it’s almost impossible to avoid a comparison or two!

Mobile Hotspot

To say I’m obsessed with the mobile hotspot would be an understatement.  I use this all the time, especially on trips! I’m able to get a lot of work done riding in the car which made a 2+ hour drive to Tallahassee or Titusville a lot easier. It really made the train ride from New York to Connecticut a lot easier over labor day!  It also saved a presentation I had a few months ago when the venue’s wifi was being wonky.

Podcasts

I was able to find a really simple Podcast app, Podkicker,  to listen to right off the bat. One of my absolute favorite Podcasts is the Today Show.

In the mornings, I typically get ready in a flash, am at the gym, or am commuting to work, so I miss the Today Show since it starts at 7 a.m. my time. Several years ago, I learned the Today Show uploads their first hour of their daily broadcast as a Podcast. The iPhone didn’t have a good app for Podcasts (I’d checked several times). I actually had to download the podcast to my computer and sync my phone each morning. This was kinda annoying, so I stopped watching/listening to Podcasts.

When I got the Samsung, one of the first things I did was download a Podcast app. Unfortunately, this was when the Olympics started and the Today Show wasn’t uploading their first hour. Argh. I checked back once the Olympics were finished, and they were again. Jackpot!

Coincidentally, during the past few months, iPhone updated the IOS and magically a Podcast app has appeared.

Size

There is no ignoring the screen size of the Samsung S3. It’s really impressive (and it’s even their biggest phone)! The size makes several things easier to do. If you would have asked me before the Samsung arrived, I would have said it would be too big of a phone.  Since using it, I think the screen size is great. It really makes watching movies and reading a lot easier. Plus it is really slim so it doesn’t feel clunky at all.

One thing that DOES drive me a bit batty, is the buttons. I seem to accidentally hit the buttons on the bottom and sides of the phone all the time. They’re very responsive. I really think this is mostly due to the fact I don’t have a case on the phone.

Netflix

Since the screen size is so awesome, I’ve definitely taken advantage of watching TV Shows on Netflix. After Adam and I went to New York City for the first time over Labor Day, we’ve been making a mental list of all the shows and movies we want to watch based in New York.  (Yes, Sex and the City is up next, but NOT on Netflix Instant. Boo.)

My current obsession? I admit, I’m watching all the episodes of Felicity. Felicity used to be my favorite show, but now I can’t believe how obsessed with it I was. Felicity is so annoying sometimes. Just stay out of other people’s crap, geesh! Plus the whole Ben…Noel…Ben…Noel saga. Plus the last season, the show went all scifi, which I’m dreading. I know it’s coming.

Kindle

I received a Kindle a few years ago for Christmas (pre-smart phone), and I really do love it. It’s great for traveling in the car, reading outside at the pool, or even while doing my hair. Problem is, it’s another device I have to carry. I just never seem to remember it.  I’ve read books on my iPhone, but it’s just not the same as the easy to read Kindle screen. With the Samsung, the screen is so big, it makes books really easy to read.

One itsy bitsy (ok massively huge) complaint I have is the screen just does not get dark enough. I love to read in bed before I go to sleep, and it’s just too bright. Comparing it to the iPhone, it really is a LOT brighter. (& I think my iPhone screen is too bright!) You’ll have to take my word for this because I couldn’t get a picture to come out clear enough to demonstrate.

Google Reader

I use Google Reader a lot. I have about 10+ blogs I read daily, and several others I read occasionally.  Google Reader definitely lets me keep up with everything without having to individually pull up each website.

Huge time saver and it’s really mobile friendly. Since the Samsung is Android, it’s google-friendly, so I can actually download a Google-branded app. (On the iPhone, I use Byline which integrates with Google Reader) I mean, it’s not a HUGE difference since Byline works fine, but it’s nice to use the actual app for the website.

Flashlight

All I have to say is “Wow!”.  It’s REALLY bright.

Free Wallpaper

Every day the Verizon app updates and provides a new wallpaper that can be downloaded free-of-charge. I know this doesn’t justify buying the phone by any means, but it’s a fun perk!

Easy Brightness Widget

The android allows you to install not just programs but “widgets”. These are essentially short cuts for apps which help save time or fun features. Some widgets scroll through a display of photos while others make it easy to play music or see Twitter updates.

Personally, one of my favorite widgets is the Brightness widget which allows you to update the brightness on the phone in two easy steps without having to dig into the settings options. Because I read at night, I’m constantly darkening and brightening my screen. This is REALLY nice to have. Just a quick click, and I can easily change the brightness of the screen using one of the presets or custom set it with the slider.


 

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

PopSugar Must Have Box September 2012

9 Oct

The Lean Green Bean

I’d been a participating member of the Foodie Penpals for a few months, but to be honest, I’m a horrible Penpal. You do not want to be paired up with me. With Foodie Penpals, you are paired up with two people.  One person sends you a box full of food goodies valued around $15, and you send the other person a box as well.

My boxes were always sent late, and I struggled with coming up with unique ideas to put in the boxes. I don’t bake often, and that’s essentially a big part of Foodie Penpals – sending unique, home-crafted goodies.  On the flip side, there was even a month that I didn’t receive a box. [sad panda] It typically cost me around $45+/month to put together a box and ship it out. (Shipping is expensive!!) Don’t get me wrong, Foodie Penpals is great, it just didn’t work for me and my interests personally.   

That’s why when I learned about Birchbox, I was interested. Even better, it’s only $10 a month! Problem is.. I don’t really care about beauty products. Birchbox briefly describes themselves as “the best new grooming, beauty, and lifestyle products.” My nails are too short. I have no idea what someone would need three eye shadows for when one works perfectly fine. I strongly believe your lipstick color should match the inside of your cheek. Sorry Birchbox, I’m just not your girl.

So.. I continued looking around and finally stumbled upon PopSugar Must Have Boxes. It wasn’t all beauty, it wasn’t all food. At $35/month, it’s more expensive than the Birchbox, but still cheaper than Foodie Penpals. Plus, I can just sit back, relax, and wait for my box to arrive. This Goldilocks may have found her match. So I signed up.

20121009_065516

FYI, my fancy schmancy camera broke again, so these two pics were taken with my Samsung Galaxy SIII. Honestly, it did a fairly decent job. What do you think?

20121009_065804b

 

  1. Rifle Paper Co.’s Lined Notepad:
    meh. It’s cute, but I don’t need another notepad.
  2. Brokedown Scarf:
    YES! This is as amazing as PopSugar said it would be. It also came with a coupon to buy another one for 50% off which I have ALREADY USED to buy the Taupe one. I actually really needed a nice scarf like this, so this was a nice surprise. This scarf is $84 online.
  3. A zipper makeup bag:
    I’ll hang onto this and probably use it at some point.
  4. Trace Martin Skin Care Salon gift card:
    meh. Seriously. If someone wants this, comment below, and I’ll mail it to you.
  5. yes to cucumbers facial towelettes:
    These will definitely come in use at the gym. They’re already in my bag.
  6. A cookie from Pop-Up Pantry:
    This was surprisingly good. A great post dinner snack. Pop-Up Pantry is “…like a wine-of-the-month club, but for amazing gourmet dinners crafted by top chefs!” They included a coupon for a free dinner, but I’m not sure if I’ll sign up or not.
  7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower Movie Tickets and Book:
    Interesting way to market a book/movie. The movie was released on September 21, and does not appear to be playing anywhere near me. Maybe they’ll expand their reach. I looked it up on their website, and it doesn’t look promising. According to Fandango, Fans say “Must Go!” and Critics say “Go!”. The movie stars the Harry Potter actress in it, Emma Watson.
  8. Benefit Cabana Glama
    meh. The box is cute, but I highly doubt I’ll ever use this. I probably should, but I doubt I will.
  9. Kitsch Hair ties.
    Sure.. whatever.

There were two items I dug into immediately after my half marathon on Saturday, so they didn’t get included in the group shot.

  • Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips:
    If I need a chip and I’m at Native Sun, I might grab these, I might not.
  • Becky’s Blissful Bakery Original Sea Salt Caramels
    These were delicious! If my entire box had been crammed with these, I would have been happy. (As long as the scarf was in there!)  Did I mention they’re gluten free?

Overall, I would say I’m pretty happy about it.  I’m fascinated with knowing a little package is headed my way each month and I have no clue what’s in it!

If you’re interested in signing up, you can here: http://popsu.gr/rDi

(That’s an affiliate link, so please click through there so I get credit for any referrals!)

You can also use the code REFER5 when signing up, and get $5 off your order!

Have you participated in any of the monthly subscription services like Birchbox, wine-of-the-month, Omaha steaks etc? 

 

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

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