Summer is under way so we’re up and at ’em very early. Swim team practices starts at 7:30am and that means mom’s not really in the mood for a big conversation for the short drive to the pool. So when the Clever Girls asked me to review this new app called Cube Dog I figured BabyGirl would have time to try it out to and from the pool for a couple of days.
I gave the phone to BabyGirl and had her search for the Cube Dog App and download it. I do have a MiFi I carry with me so she was downloaded and creating before we got to the corner! In a matter of a few minutes I was informed that her virtual dog was pink (big surprise!) and it’s name was Bubble Gum. No need for mom to help! Shortly after that all I hear is laughter and excitement coming from the back seat.
By time we got to the pool, BabyGirl had created several virtual 3D dogs, which are now appeasing her need to ask me every hour if we can have a real dog. Bubble Gum is pink and she has since created about 4 or 5 additional Cube Dogs to see all the features. Her only disappointment is that within a few hours she wanted to buy the add-on additional features and I said no. I wanted her to try out all the features. And she figured out quite a few.
So far I’ve received about 15 emails of Bubble Gum doing silly things around the house. This is because within the app BabyGirl was able to take a ‘screen cap’/photo and save it to the phone and then email it to me. Lucky me! So now I have several pictures of a crazy pink Cube Dog playing sports, sticking out its tongue, dancing, being a ninja as well as trying to hide.
Here’s a little video introduction. Overall it’s a great FREE app and kids and adults alike will enjoy creating and playing with their Cube Dog. My only disappointment was that within the first few hours of playing with the app BabyGirl wanted to buy the add-ons, saying she was bored.
To use the app you need an iPhone4, iPhone3GS, iPod Touch 3G, iPod Touch 4G and all need to have iOS 4.0 or higher running on the device.
From June 13 – 17, Cube Dog will be running a promotion on the Cube Dog page. So head over and Like the Cube Dog Page now and be ready to learn about the promotion as soon as it launches!
Get started today and download the free Cube Dog app from iTune to begin creating your virtual 3D dog.
Disclosure: While Cube Dog provided me with the app to review, the opinions I’ve expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. Cube Dog, Clever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity.
Thank you to P&G’s Have You Tried This Yet? program and Kroger for sponsoring my writing about trying new things and breaking out of my everyday routine. Click here to find great savings on high-performing P&G products at a Kroger store near you. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.
Seems like I’m always trying something new – makeup, food, restaurant, software. My coupon-lovin’ self enjoys a great deal and that often entails lots of new things. And, really, who doesn’t want to be on the cutting edge and be an early adopter?
I’ve mentioned that I’m learning photography this year and participating in the 365 Project to help myself become familiar with my camera and work on my skills. I’m not a photographer by any means. But I have always admired other people’s photos and secretly wished I could take pictures that people would admire. It’s a process and I’m working on it. Trying something new!
I’m not big on the word can’t. I was always encouraged to try things. And it’s important to me to teach that same open-mindedness to BabyGirl. Although, I do have to say that there are limits to my open-mindedness when it comes to certain types of foods (brains? uh, no!) and dangerous activities (street luge? Don’t think so!). I think that being open to new foods is important because I have friends from many different cultures and I want them to feel embraced and be proud of who they are. Not hide it because I think their food is weird.
But as much as I say that I like to try new things, I’m very much a creature of habit. Like you, I too get lulled into the routine of everyday. Going to the same restaurants, ordering the same thing, buying those favorite shoes in every color, relying on the same people. Yet I secretly wish I was like my friend L who always seems to find a new restaurant. Or B who had no idea that downward facing dog did not involve live, cute puppies but headed to yoga and grew to love it.
And while it seems cool to be like the star of a sitcom in your own life and walk into a restaurant and have the server bring you food without having to order, there’s something to be said about swishing it up a bit like Sue Sylvester says on Glee. Being boring is, well, boring. Predictability lacks conversation.
Sometimes I believe that if I don’t “swish it up a bit” I might become like Howard Hughes. And as much as I like a nice box of tissues, wearing the boxes as shoes is a fashion statement I’m not interested in making. I’m probably right in thinking you’d agree with me.
I’m not bold and brave and here to tell you I’ve tried things so new and different my life has been changed. Instead, it’s the times I’ve decided that my little neat box needed to be huffed and puffed down and I’ve forced myself to try something new that I’ve surprised myself. I’ve built my confidence up because the something new turned out to be awesome. Like the time when I was in my early 20s and I decided I’d go for a brighter lipstick. That’s not changing the world. But for me, it was a huge confidence builder.
Every once in awhile though we need to step out of our comfort zone, swish it up, grab the bull by the horns, latch ourselves in to that crazy roller coaster and say Let’s Do It! And if you’re wondering what that Let’s Do It moment might be, here’s a suggestion for a dessert you may never have thought of trying – Strawberries and Cream and Sugar! You’re welcome!
Thanks to Trop 50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 fabulous wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to help grant a friend’s wish!
Tomorrow I’m heading to Nashville for the Blissdom Conference. And while I’m there I have a list of workshops and discussion sessions I’m planning to attend. Oh, and I’ll be leading one of those fancy-pants sessions too. (no pressure!). I’ll be meeting up with people I met last year and haven’t seen since. There are also a few that I’ve seen at other conferences and always love to see. And, of course, there are those I only know because of their blog and Twitter.
I’ll be surrounded by fabulous bloggers. Women I admire for all sorts of reasons. Some for their ability to face difficulties with grace and elegance, others for being at the other end of Skype whenever I’ve typed in ‘Hello’. I have about 100 different blogs in my Google Reader, many of them that no matter how frequently they post or what it’s about as soon as I see it I click on it and go to their blog because I know that whatever they write will be as if they’re talking with me.
There are two women I met at Blissdom last year that left such an imprint on me that I often wonder what I had done to deserve their friendship. I was, after all, only about a month into this blog. But each of them, rock stars in their own right, welcomed me like I was family.
Meeting people at a cocktail party can be a bit unnerving. You’re standing up (in heels!), starving and dying of thirst. Yet trying not to slurp down your drink like you just finished the Ironman or pile your plate high like you’re practicing for some Fourth of July eating contest.
So there I was, knowing no one, saying hi and trying to fit in when Heather Sokol puts down her drink and asks me what’s good to eat. That’s gluten free. Lucky me! Because I know the answer and I could actually have a real conversation. So even though Heather is this big time blogger about money saving ideas, she’s talking to me! And talk we did. And have ever since. Heather’s one of those bloggers who is confident and sure of herself, and it shows in her posts. And while Heather can talk about SEO, how to budget, and make a grocery shopping list seem like something all the cool kids do, she is the epitome of the down to earth midwestern girl she strives to be. She has been a mentor and a friend not only to me, but to quite a few others. She definitely puts the social in social media!
And there I was with Heather at the Jack Daniel’s Saloon at the Opryland, talking like we’ve known each other for, well, for definitely longer than 20 minutes and up walks Mary Anne. Wearing gorgeous shoes and sporting the most welcoming smile, I had to say hi! And there we stood for the next half-hour or so talking about all kinds of things not related to blogging. So much so that all I knew was that her name was Mary Anne, until we were about to leave and exchanged business cards. I had been talking to The Stiletto Mom! Mary Ann is fabulous because she makes this blogging thing look so easy. She doesn’t stress about who’s reviewing what or taking a trip to awesometown this week. She writes because it matters to her. And that’s why it matters to other people. And while I will try to act all cool when I see her at Blissdom, I really want to tell her that she’s like my fairy blogmother and that I’m glad she helps me focus on why I blog.
Now, what if you find out that the authors of a magazine column you read have a blog. Well, you go read the blog too. Right? I no longer needed to wait for my monthly lawyer magazine to read about lawyers and work/life balance. Every day (or almost everyday) I could get my own personal little article from Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple from their blog The New Perfect. Hollee is a lawyer like me. She’s also a professor of law (like me in my dreams). I’ve gotten to know both of them through their blog and twitter and it’s like we’ve been friends for years. They’ve spent years encouraging women to allow themselves some breathing room. And not be so hard on themselves. I felt like they were talking to me. And, well, now they do!
Had I not gained the confidence these four women encourage in my blogging, I’d never have met Annabel Candy of the internationally read Get In The Hot Spot. Like Hollee and Becky, Annabel encourages her readers (and friends) to ‘empower your life‘. I met Annabel in Las Vegas, which is nearly halfway around the world from her slice of paradise in Australia. At a party where I was the least recognized person, Annabel embraced me, laughed with me and encouraged me to make this, my Year of Awesome, one where I would ‘get the life you want‘. She lives half a world away but she still finds time to send me encouragement. She’s honest and blunt, but never to make you feel bad. She truly does want me (and you!) to succeed, not just in blogging but in those areas of life I choose to focus. Annabel knows that we don’t go it alone in this world. Meeting her and becoming friends is one of the highlights of my Year of Awesome.
I could go on and on with a long list of fabulous blogger. But what I’ll do is for the next several weeks I’ll introduce you to the bloggers – both men and women – that I find interesting, inspiring, funny, smart, and are good people. But before I close, I have one other blogger I’d like to add to this, my first list of bloggers I think are pretty fabulous.
With readers on every continent (and probably other planets even), Darren Rowse definitely puts the pro in Problogger. An unassuming gentleman, I had the pleasure of meeting Darren (no, we’re not BFFs but I do’t think he’d mind my calling him Darren) at Blog World Expo in Las Vegas. I actually met him twice there. The first time was at a private party that CycleGuy was invited to attend for his media company. There were a bunch of ‘big time’ bloggers there. I recognized Darren because he looks like he does on his website. The second time I met him was at a party he hosted. Just a casual get together to thank his readers and hang out with his friends. And while I’m a lurker and attempt to implement all of his blogging tips, I’ve also had the chance to tweet with him socially. I’m up late and because of the time zone I’ve found myself exchanging tweets with Darren periodically. He’s is what every blogger should strive to be. Not the monetization stuff or the blogger with mega stats. I mean, the genuine and real person. A rock star who replies to tweets from someone with a few hundred followers. Someone who when meeting a total stranger makes you feel like you’re important. And Darren is fabulous for any number of blogging-related reasons. But for me, he’s fabulous because he made me feel that I belonged in the blogging world. And for that I will always be thankful.
It was so difficult to limit this to just 5, which is why I’m turning this into a series. Who would be your Fave 5?
Don’t forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to support a friend’s wish. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.
Would your football watching parties make you a contender for the Pro Football Party Hall of Fame? If so, I bet your party has great snacks like Pop Secret, Emerald Nuts and Kettle Brand Chips. And because you’re a party pro, Diamond has brought together these great products for a fabulous trip giveaway – SNACKBOWL 2011 – BE THE ULTIMATE PRO FOOTBALL PARTY HALL OF FAMER!
You’ll want to upload your photo or video to the Snack Bowl 2011 site for a chance to win a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a special event, or one of 1,000 prizes. You can visit the site daily for an improved chance at winning.
I’m not a party pro when it comes to football, but I know quite a few of you are so upload your video or photo and let me know so we (my great readers and me!) can vote for you – and of course, have a chance to win a $50 gift card for the Pro Football Hall of Fame online store.
The contest runs through February 7th, and you can vote up to three (3) times a day. You will be able to play the game one time each day. The contest is open to legal residents of the 50 US States, age 18 or older. The contest is also open to legal residents of Canada. If you’re not sure if you can enter, read the contest rules.
Also, Diamond Snackbowl has a custom facebook video called EndZone Weekly. It can superimpose your name into the news, on jerseys, on a birth certificate, even shows if you’re having a house party. It also features your Facebook friends. After you do it, it feeds to your Facebook wall showing “I was featured on EndZone Weekly. Check out my video.”
So please leave a comment below letting me know you entered and we’ll get some votes out for you!
Disclosure: I was selected to share this promotion with you by Collective Bias. All opinions are my own. Your chance of winning is not influenced by any links from this blog.
BabyGirl and I are up in the Bay Area staying at CycleGuy’s condo. Well, I guess it’s our condo. Anyway, it’s in a nice little complex which is gated 24-hours a day. Every time we come home we’re greeted with a wave or nod of the head, which is a nice welcome.
Lately, it’s been a bit cold but the guys at the gate house are always friendly and pleasant. So BabyGirl and I decided we’d make them a little treat to say thanks and introduce ourselves.
BabyGirl said she’s like to make her Famous Peanut Butter Brownies. I didn’t realize she had this recipe but she told me it was super easy and kids can help. So, it’s famous brownies they’ll get! BabyGirl said this is an easy recipe and grown ups can cook with their kids and let the kids do a lot of the work. Sounds like a plan!
At the condo here the kitchen is small and I don’t have all my baking things. Actually, I don’t have a lot of things here so we do a lot of make do. I’m not complaining. It’s just taking some getting used to.
Prepare Brownie Mix as indicated, using oven temperature indicated on box. We used Wesson oil because I had been watching ‘vintage’ ConAgra commercials and saw the one with Florence Henderson doing the ‘Wessonality’ jingle and BabyGirl thought it was funny so she picked out Wesson at the store.
Spread prepared brownie mix in 8×8 pan. Drop peanut butter dollops onto brownie mix using two spoons. Dot the mix with about 9 dollops.
With a blunt knife swirl the peanut butter through the brownie batter
Bake according to directions on the package
Truly these are super easy to make and BabyGirl had a great time helping because she could pretty much do everything but take the brownies out of the oven. If we had hot pad here she could probably have taken them out too. Instead, I did the professional trick of using a kitchen towel!
Of course we had to taste them and they were delish! Some peanut butter was still in large dollops so you get a nice bite of it, kind of like a peanut butter cup. BabyGirl really liked those. I like the ones that had ribbons of peanut butter and were more chocolatey. I don’t think the guys at the gate house had a preference. We dropped them off an introduced ourselves. They recognized us, which was a pretty neat. Afterall there are like 500 condos in the complex. But they’re great guys and now they know us and know we’ll bring them treats when we’re in town.
Here’s a picture of me at the the gate house being a good neighbor! BabyGirl was the photographer.
CycleGuy’s home for the Christmas weekend. This has been a very busy week for him at work. Actually, busy doesn’t even explain! As many of you know, CycleGuy works in San Francisco for a beverage company. This week they signed a major NFL quarterback to be one of their spokespeople.
What was going to be a relaxing weekend turned into a quick turnaround, but it’s all going to be fun. As part of this huge deal going on with CycleGuy’s company they’ll be running ads during the BCS games. So this weekend turned into an impromptu gameday party. CycleGuy needed to invite a few people over to watch games — all in the name of work!
I couldn’t have people over and not have something for them to nosh on. But with big dinners in the plans, the traditional big gameday snacks were going to be too much. Also, I would be preparing food to take to Mama-San’s and I didn’t want to make a huge effort for an impromptu football-watching party.
I was going to Michaels to get some things to decorate cookies, so I’ll stop at Walmart next door and grab a pizza and some salad or fruit or veggies and dip. I’ll see what catches my eye.
Oooh, something different in the pizza aisle! I love those rising crust pizzas. I discovered them a few years ago and renewed my love of pizza. I like non-traditional pizzas — BBQ Chicken, Artichoke & Spinach. Unfortunately, frozen pizzas are usually the traditional pepperoni, sausage, supreme varieties. But this? Buffalo Chicken? Now that sounds like something I could dig. And it would save me a zillion hours of making wings!
Everyone loved the pizza! I whipped up a ranch dressing dip to help cool down the spiciness. It was just the right amount of spicy and the coolness of the ranch was perfect. I happened to have everything in the house to make the ranch dip, but it would be great if they included a packet or two with the pizza.
I really wish there were more ‘non-traditional’ flavors of these rising crust pizzas. I really like them and they’re more economical than delivery. But, I think a lot of people would like the non-red-sauce kinds of pizza.
I did a Whrrl story about my little party, check it out. But beware, you’ll wish you had smell-a-webz!
More check-ins at Walmart Supercenter #4232
Powered by Whrrl
Disclosure: I was compensated for my time by Collective Bias. All images and opinions are my own. This is also my pizza, so go get your own!
Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.
It’s big-time gift shopping season for many people. For me, Hanukkah is over and it’s not a big shopping time anyway. But I do buy gifts for other people for Christmas because they celebrate. And, like you, I try to get something meaningful and fabulous.
So as I’m reading my friend’s tweets and Facebook venting about finding ‘the perfect gift’ I got to thinking about gifts I’ve given in the past. Like the time I sent my sister a huge box of body washes and lotions and all kinds of stuff and a video camera, none of which arrived in the box except for a few stray bottles of smelly stuff. Or when I had a pretend book made for a friend when he graduated so it would look like a real published book with a fancy title and professional binding, but it was just a bunch of blank pages inside.
Sometimes, though, it’s not about ‘the perfect gift’ but more like The. Best. Gift. Ever. These are the gifts that take a lot of thought and become the talk of every gathering for the next few months. The gift to our friend Ken was one of these. He was at Home Depot several times a week so we decided to give him a sizable gift card. But who wants to just hand over the plastic equivalent of cash? So I taped it to a brick and wrapped the brick then put the brick in a gift box and wrapped it nicely so the brick wouldn’t shift around. He had no clue but it was perfect and we talked about it for months.
If you ask my grandma or my mother-in-law, they’ll tell you that the best gift ever is pictures of BabyGirl. And they’d be right, because to them life is all about their sweet BabyGirl. I guess that’s what being a (great) grandparent is all about though.
But looking back at the past several years, the best gifts I’ve ever given have been anonymous gifts. This past April, my friend Valerie (she blogs at Gluten Free in AZ and also has a personal blog because she’s an author) and I did a Random Act of Kindness Challenge. For 30 days we did kind acts for other people, often anonymous. These, to me, are The Best Gifts Ever. Because they’re given with a pure heart, with no expectation of the recipient. To be filled with that much gratitude seemed impossible. But I’m here to tell you it is very possible.
Doing for others is the best gift you can give. I do a lot of anonymous giving. My mom did too. She taught me that it’s not about being recognized for giving a gift. If you give so you can get recognition then you’re giving for the wrong reason. I adhere to that and teach it to my daughter.
“There is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving”
SWAGG has partnered with non-profit Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to SU2C up to $125,000. Awesome, right?! Visit the SU2C site for more info http://www.standup2cancer.org/
Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Droid. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.
35 days! That’s how many days until Hanukkah. And I’m trying not to freak out. Besides the gifts and having people over to celebrate, I like to send out cards. Hanukkah isn’t as big a card-sending holiday as Christmas, but I like to send holiday photo cards. Between my Hanukkah cards and ‘holiday’ cards, my list is up to about 200.
I was recently looking for my cards and wasn’t finding anything I like from the site I’ve shopped at the last few years. On a whim, I tried Shutterfly. I used to shop there a lot but they didn’t usually have a wide array of Hanukkah cards.
This year with Hanukkah coming early, I’m having trouble finding cards I like that are new and fresh. Not just Hanukkah cards but my holiday cards too. Sending out holiday cards is something I really enjoy doing, but they can’t have any reference to Christmas. Usually, if I have one or two choices I’m pretty happy. I was really surprised that I found 7 cards at Shutterfly that I think fit my criteria of being new and fresh. This year, though, I’ve been looking for holiday cards that are also connected to a cause that I support.
Of the 748 cards in the Christmas cards grouping, Shutterfly has a few Livestrong cards, and they donate 10% of net sales to Livestrong. CycleGuy and I are big supporters of Livestrong so I was thrilled to see these cards on Shutterfly. I like this Believe card, but the inside ‘Happy Holidays’ is a bit boring, but it doesn’t look Christmas-y so it’s a definite possibility. Then I also like the Livestrong Peace Collage cards, but the ‘Happy Holidays’ inside is in red which screams Christmas to me. Ugh!
But I really think this Gear Tree card is so cool. Being cyclists I’m partial to things like this. If only it wasn’t a christmas tree. So I still search.
If I don’t get one of the Livestrong cards, I’ll probably get this Retro Love card. It’s colorful, cute and holiday-ish without being christmas-y. Or maybe even this Giving Squares one for Heifer International, because 10% is donated for this card as well. Decisions, decisions….
Now, for the Hanukkah cards. I’m not used to having much choice. However, there are no Hanukkah cards linked to any causes, which is very disappointing. Shutterfly has 56 cards in their Hanukkah collection, but about 20 are basic cards and not really very Hanukkah-ish. The prices are good, though. Most are under $1. Although it is well over $1, I’m kinda partial to the Many Memories Menorah card. What do you think?
Which ones do you think I should get?
Do you want 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly? Click here to go to Shutterfly for information on how you can get 50 free cards this holiday season, and make sure to select Clever 1000 as the referral source.
This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.
I don’t know about you, but my keychain looks like I’m the super of a large complex. Only, instead of keys it’s all those little plastic loyalty and membership cards. And that doesn’t include the stack of them in my purse for all those places that don’t even have the keychain cards. Funny thing is, I have 22 loyalty cards on my keychain but only 2 keys.
In addition to all the loyalty cards for the various stores, I have several membership cards too. You know, library, rental car, airline frequent flyer card, hotel cards. You name a place and I probably have a card. Bet you do too! They may be tiny pieces of plastic but they hold our access to great deals! But sometimes I don’t want to look like Schneider from One Day At A Time (yes, I’m dating myself!). I want to grab that cute purse and be stylish. Not with loyalty-card-a-palooza keychain, though!
And, do you think I can get CycleGuy to remember all these cards? No way! He has enough to carry his debit card and ID, much less grocery cards and who knows what all else.
Enter CardMobili, an online website and smartphone app to help organize and manage all those loyalty and membership cards. I have an iPhone so I downloaded the CardMobili app directly from iTunes on my phone. It took about 3 minutes.
I actually set up my account online because for me it’s easier to type. And for CardMobili you will need to wait for a confirmation email before your account is activated. The email is almost instantaneous.
I found it easier to add all my cards from the their website. I had quite a few and I’m a better typer on the computer than I am on my phone. It was pretty quick. Although, I would like to have an alphabetical listing of the cards rather than having to type in the store name and hope it matches or scroll through all of the cards. It would be much faster to just click on ‘S’ and find Safeway rather than typing it in the search box or scrolling through, page by page. I’d also like for it to know which cards I use most and have those at the top. Maybe as more people use it they’ll add that feature.
I added the personal iPhone PIN feature to my app. It was easy to set up and requires a 4 digit numeral and will ask for you to confirm it on set-up. Now, when I launch the app I enter my PIN and I’m in. It adds a few seconds, but for my peace of mind it’s worth it.
You’re supposed to be able to scan the barcode that is loaded into the app. So off I went to test this out. My library card wouldn’t scan but that could have been my issue in not setting it up correctly or their system not being able to read this type of barcode. I was able to scan at CVS which was pretty cool. Now I may actually use the loyalty cards I’ve got stashed away!
I know you’ll like the convenience of this app, so head over to CardMobili and set up an account. If you want to do it from your phone, check out the free CardMobili app on iTunes.