May 22, 2015

Ultimate Ears Speakers

FTC Disclosure

I grew up in the era of the boom box. If you don’t know what that is, it’s that giant portable stereo John Cusack held up in the movie Say Anything. If you’ve never seen Say Anything, you really should. Not just for the boom box scene, but it’s a really great movie.

Anyway, teens and young adults in the 80s rarely went anywhere without their boom box. Then the Sony Walkman came along and made listening to your own music portable. I still have two Sony Walkman players. I don’t use them, but they are filled with so many memories.

Today, with smartphones it’s easy to carry our music with us.  The problem with that has been the lack of shareability. Sure you can crank up the volume and put your phone in an empty bowl to act as an amplifier, but who carries a bowl around with them? And while it works to some degree, the lame factor is quite high. And if you’re a parent of a tween who wants to be cool with her friends, a phone in a bowl is not going to do it.

As a Verizon Insider, I was sent the new Ultimate Ears Boom 360º Sound portable wireless speaker to take for a techdrive. Perfect timing for many reasons. Out of the box, the speaker was ready to go in under 5-minutes. I like to work in quiet, but CycleGuy always has something on in his office so we set it up there and he was listening to podcasts and music in no time. As he was heading out of town, he tossed the speaker in his bag because he hates the quiet of hotel rooms, and it’s also a speakerphone so he can use it for phone calls using the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or his Kyocera Brigadier.

Ultimate Ears Boom 360

With Spring in bloom, we’re spending more time outside. In the past we’ve relied on the house speakers, but then we’re kind of stuck having to be near where they’re mounted. Problem is I rearranged our outdoor seating and the sound doesn’t reach the new area very well. The Ultimate Ears Boom speaker was exactly what I needed. It’s designed for any lifestyle, which makes it great for me and my family.

UE Boom Speaker

One of the coolest features, though, is the Alarm. It’s a newer feature that was an update to the app and I’m pretty sure I’m never getting the speaker back from CycleGuy. With all the traveling he does, this new Alarm feature may be his new favorite reason for taking the speaker with him. I know that it’s coming with us to Israel this summer!

So whether it’s for the office, out by the pool, at the beach, or pretty much anywhere you want great sound, the Ultimate Ears Boom is a must-have accessory. I have the Blue Steel color, but it comes in nearly 20 different colors and patterns. Priced at $199 and available from Verizon Wireless or from the Ultimate Ears website it’s a good value for the versatility it brings. These would make a great gift for someone heading off to college or even a recent college grad. Great for work AND play!



May 20, 2015


Anytime you see your child limping and favoring one leg you’re concerned. As a parent whose child is rarely ever sick and has never injured herself I was immediately concerned that BabyGirl was hobbling when I picked her up at school. Sure she plays at recess and things can happen. Of course something could have happened in PE. But I figured someone would have called me if she injured herself. So why was she limping?

When you ask a 12 year-old to explain what’s hurting and where you may or may not get any actual or helpful information. It’s as if she’s trying to figure out what I’m thinking rather than just telling me what hurts. From the way she was limping I was thinking it was her heel or calf, maybe the shin area. But that was all speculation. It took about 20 minutes, a diagram of the foot, and some pointing to determine, well, not much. It was her foot, her heel, the front of her leg, and the back. Ugh! Really?

OK, so I went all Dr. Mom and used my trusty assistant WebMD and started the RICE method – rest, ice, compression, and elevation – to see if maybe that would help. On and off for two days we cycled through the RICE method and saw some relief. Still, she was limping.

At this point, my friend WebMD is failing me. And freaking me out. It could be nothing or it could be a Posterior Tibial Tendon Disfunction, which sounds terrible and from the pictures is not something easily fixed. Keep in mind, this all is happening about three weeks before her Bat Mitzvah trip to Israel. If you’re following along, I have a tween who can barely walk and we’re leaving for a 3 week trip to the Middle East in just weeks. Now you better understand why I’m freaking out, right? You’d be freaking out too!

After spending hours researching what it could be so I can figure out do we go to the pediatrician, a podiatrist, or an orthopedist, I figured none of them could actually do anything to fix her problem without injecting steroids or putting her in a boot. Neither of which would be the best way to spend a Bat Mitzvah trip to Israel. So I called my naturopath and asked if there would be anything she could do if it was some type of tendonitis. In the mean time we head out to the mall to get BabyGirl some sturdy shoes from The Walking Company because I’d read numerous times that heel and arch support are key to healing foot injuries.

The next day we go in to see the naturopath and find out, luckily, it’s just soft tissue damage and with a few treatments of acupuncture, some massage, and anti-inflamatory supplements BabyGirl should be on the mend. Phew! That’s good news, although the acupuncture part isn’t sitting so well with BabyGirl. After a few minutes and the promise to hold her hand we get started. To say it was like a miracle is telling the truth. Within 24 hours she was walking with almost no pain.

As a parent, you don’t want to see your child in pain. And you’d do anything to make the pain go away. And while I know acupuncture is not something many people consider, for us it was the best possible solution. Not only was it easy to get an appointment, but it didn’t require multiple appointments – and the associated co-pays – just to be told we needed to see someone else or go get an x-ray or MRI. And wait longer. While she’s still in pain.

I’m definitely one who believes in taking control of her health care. I spent too many years taking care of my mom and grandma to just go with the flow. And with such immediate results that acupuncture provides, it’s an easy decision. I believe in integrative medicine and treating the whole body. I also believe that I am the owner of my health care, which is why I like my naturopath. I realize alternative medicine isn’t for everyone. However, I will say that if you’re not getting the results you think you should be getting don’t hesitate to take your health care into your own hands.

As for BabyGirl, while she still does have some tenderness in her leg at times for the most part she’s fully recovered from the soft tissue injury. Does that mean she’s healed for good? Probably not. Then again, I’m sure that would be the same statement after any type of treatment. For now, though, she’s bounding around getting ready for the trip and looking forward to walking around Israel.

Do you use acupuncture? Are you a follower of alternative or integrative medicine? What’s your experience with taking control of your own health?



What To Do In Phoenix and Scottsdale

While the temperatures are well into the 100s, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and the surrounding area is a great place in the summer. Honestly, it’s great all year ’round! From the city-run splash pads and pools to the fun indoor activities, there is something new to do every day! Whether it’s a staycation at one of the […]

Read the full article →

Totally Taken Care Of This Summer With Listerine

Disclosure: I received several products from Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. and The Motherhood as part of my participation in the LISTERINE® “Totally Take Care Of” campaign. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.  Spring and Summer seem to be busier than ever when it comes to family and kids. Between […]

Read the full article →

5 Out Of The Box Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

It’s the first week of May and for many that means Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s a time to let those who spend hours with our children ever week know that we appreciate them. And hopefully, an opportunity for our children to say thank you to the men and women who are trying to make a positive […]

Read the full article →

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Review – Sometimes You Just Want To See Things Blow Up

 Image Courtesy: Marvel Studios Guest Post by CycleGuy who attended the screening as a member of the press!  Hi There!, My lovely wife has decided to let ME talk about The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Sara asked me if I would be interested in attending the screening and was really surprised when I told her yes.  We’ve […]

Read the full article →

Remembering Oklahoma City 20 Years Later

Twenty years ago as I got ready for class, my apartment in Norman, Oklahoma rattled a bit. Definitely an odd experience, but when I turned on the TV there was nothing on the news. I knew something happened but I didn’t know what it was. As I did most days, I called my husband, who […]

Read the full article →

5 Low Tech Tips For Monitoring Your Kid’s High Tech Life

For those of us in our 40s with kids who are on the cusp of becoming teens, when it comes to social media and the online world of teens we are, in some ways, our parents. All those times we said we’d do things differently, and tried really hard not to hear the words of […]

Read the full article →

National Sibling Day for An Only Child

She stopped asking for a brother or sister. It’s been years since she’s said anything, really. But when she was little, every once in awhile BabyGirl would look at me and ask. After a few times I’m sure she knew the answer but she’d ask anyway. Evidently April 10th is National Sibling Day. Most likely […]

Read the full article →

14 Awesome Ways Anyone Can Use Meerkat or Periscope

Live streaming video just came to our phones in the form of Meerkat (currently available only for iOs) and Twitter-owned Periscope (available for iOS and Android). Launched first, Meerkat had its big coming out party at South by Southwest. It was quickly downloaded by celebrities and non-celebrities alike. Periscope followed close behind and has its […]

Read the full article →