Is There Such A Thing As 80s Remorse? #SwitchersRemorse

Switchers Remorse

Disclosure: As part of the Verizon Influencer team I have been compensated to share with you a situation in my life where I made a decision I later changed or wish I had. Because, really, who among us hasn’t had at least one of these?

Have you ever listened to Snap Judgement? It’s a show on NPR and I love it. It’s addicting (fair warning)! Mainly because I think the stories are so different than anything I would do. It’s stories of people who make decisions that take them down a path they never imagined. It’s so fascinating, and usually throughout the entire show I’m on edge and my heart is racing.

I’m not a seat-of-the-pants decider, but I know how to make a quick decision. I’ve had my fair share of times when I’ve over analyzed or have gotten into that “analysis paralysis” mode and have made decisions I regret as soon as the words come out of my mouth. That being said, I will never have a story on Snap Judgement. Ever! Really, those stories are just that weird. Anyway, …

When I look back, I don’t have many regrets for the decisions I’ve made. That’s probably because I was raised to make informed decisions and believe I made the right choice. My grandfather was a missile instructor. Making the wrong choice when you launch a missile can have grave consequences. And since I lived with my grandparents, my grandfather had a lot of influence in my formative years.

The interesting part is that he believed you can correct course on most decisions when it came to life. And that’s what I was taught. Few decisions in life are fatal and those that are require serious attention. I’m a “serious attention” person for almost all the decisions I make. Although I can make quick decisions, I don’t make them without consulting as much information as I can within the time I have.

There are a few decisions I’ve made that I regret, but there are a few I wish I would have done differently. Fortunately, most are pretty low-level. But still, let’s take a look at a few decisions gone wrong. And don’t say you can’t relate.

SFH 1990Totally 80’s hair – Probably the best decade for hair. Unfortunately, some of us kept it well past its prime.

Shoulder pads – Melanie Griffith in Working Girl I was not. But I loved that “put together ” look. Looking back, I was probably a big ol’ “fashion don’t”.

Blue eye shadow – make that cheap blue eye shadow. Although it’s starting to make a comeback, no one ever really needed opalescent powder blue eye shadow.

Bonfire in the desert – maybe your high school wasn’t near a desert so you don’t know about these, but in parts of Texas they’re pretty popular. And by popular I mean a place for doing things you know you shouldn’t but you’re in high school so you know more than everyone else. Thank goodness there was no social media back then.

SFH 1987Hideous prom dresses – what were we thinking? These were more confections than clothing. No wonder there are websites now that totally mock our 80s clothing choices. Just wait, though, they’ll come back in style. Mark my word!

The Brick Phone – Please don’t make me feel old by saying you don’t know what I mean. First mobile phone, my friend. OK, I didn’t have enough money to afford one so I had the lame cousin of The Brick Phone, The Bag Phone. Yep, mobile phone in a leatherette bag. As if I was some undercover agent or something. I probably still had the 80’s hair and thought I was totally stylin’.

People who don’t understand distance – I’m serious with this one. The first month of college I needed to go to Target. I couldn’t get a ride so I figured I could walk there. I asked a few people who said it was “not far”. So I set out. About an hour later I stopped in a store along the way, and asked where the Target was. “Just up the road a few blocks” is what I was told. Liars! They’re all liars! If I was in a car I’d have been there in 20 minutes. But I was being transported by two size 8s and that darn Target store was like 5 miles away. And so now I rarely ask people for directions (thanks GPS!), because I walked 10-freakin’ miles for a stupid laundry basket and other random junk I likely didn’t need. Could I have turned back at any time? Sure. But the call of Target was strong! Not far, huh?

Volunteer MugHalf the times I’ve said “yes” to volunteering – Ugh! When people ask me if I’ll volunteer for things because I can’t say no. I grew up in a house where service to others and volunteering were part of the fabric of our lives. It’s so ingrained in me, it’s taken me until recently to actually say “no” or ask if I can get back to them. I’ve said yes to standing in sweltering heat handing out water bottles to band kids, of which I had none. I’ve said yes to getting up when it’s still night-time to help set up, and then when other people didn’t show I stayed despite being so tired. And while I always had a positive outlook and did my best, after a while I just started to feel like I was being asked because they knew it was more of a rhetorical question. But then my friend staged an intervention and gave me this mug.  Which I love!

Hitting send – I think we all have a story about hitting send when we shouldn’t have. Whether it’s work-related or personal, there really needs to be an “undo” button on anything we can send. In my younger years, it wasn’t all that much an issue because you had to schlep yourself to the post office and that time gave you an opportunity to think about all that would go wrong. But these days it’s so easy to be “keepin’ it real”. But “keepin’ it real” does go wrong. And while my moment of regret when I hit send wasn’t all that bad, it did require a meeting with one of the firm’s partners and an apology letter to a client. Which I why I never participate in those stupid forward-this-to-5-people-and-Bill-Gates-will-send-you-$5 million schemes. And why Snopes is one of my favorite websites.

I’m sure you have decisions you regret. Hopefully they’re nothing major and you were able to change course pretty easily. Or, at least, learn from them.

If you switched away from Verizon and are regretting it, don’t worry. They’re making it easy for customers to come back. For more information, head over to your local Verizon store and tell them you have #SwitchersRemorse.


Take Sound On The Go With Ultimate Ears Boom Speaker

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!


New Year 2014 Says Goodbye to 2013

New Year 2014 New Year 2014

As the year closes, we tend to look back on the year and reflect. It’s normal. We grow up hearing about new year resolutions, listening to adult talk about how things didn’t turn out as planned, and what they’ll do differently in the coming year. It’s a lot of pressure for a kid, or even a young adult.

We’re expected to make each year better than the one before. But how is that possible? It’s only possible if you look back at the prior twelve months and see them as needing to be changed. We’re conditioned to focus on the negative and change it instead of looking at the positive and perpetuate it. The conversation turns, in an instant, from “the joy of the season” to 101 reasons we need to change ourselves, our lives, our circumstances.

Although trite, we can’t change the past. We can, however, reframe it and see it for what it is. A moment in time. Sometimes we just need a little perspective. My aunt relayed a story to me about the opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. Many years ago she and my uncle were invited to be among the special guests at the United States Holocaust Museum before it opened to the public. They were two of about 100 people, most of whom were Holocaust survivors. It was cold and rainy and dreary as they all sat under a tent listening to various speakers, including the President. My aunt looked at me squarely and said “It was cold, but we didn’t complain. How could we? We were among people who survived the Holocaust, surely we could bear a little rain and cold.”

Perspective. It’s easy to head down a rabbit hole of negativity, “what if”, or “why me”. Our minds can pull us away from the light and positive thoughts if we allow it. We can judge ourselves harshly if we read social media or look at all the photos posted and question why our lives aren’t as fabulous, interesting, or filled with new and sparkly things.

We’ve allowed technology to give us a glimpse into a world that used to be private. We’ve used technology to put our lives out there for others to see, and judge. We love our tech. I write about it here.

But I also hope that I encourage you to look ahead and plan for a life you really want. Use technology to amplify and beautify your life. Put away the technology and look inside yourself and see what others see. Find a way to make 2014 more about you sharing YOU with yourself.

It doesn’t matter if you have a basic flip phone or a smartphone, use it to connect with others. No camera phone? Doesn’t matter, you can still document your life. And share it. No money to buy apps? Grab the free ones and us them to your advantage. Whether it’s to be more fit, get daily affirmations, or play games to pass time waiting at places you’d rather not be, use technology to your advantage.

We look around and see what others have and think we’re missing out. We compare ourselves and what we have. Or don’t have. We get stuck looking in the past and lamenting what wasn’t. We look forward and hope and wish. Yet we don’t breathe in and enjoy the present.

We all have 24 hours each day yet we choose to spend many moments staring down at a screen or looking through a lens. Technology can’t give us more time, but it can help us better use our time. We can carry all those great books with us, easily. We can listen to brilliant people share information. We can speak to people we miss dearly.

The beginning of 2014 isn’t about looking back at 2013 and lamenting how it wasn’t the year we hoped for. It’s also not a time to look ahead and hope for things to happen. If we resolve to take each day as it comes and make it the best day possible, we won’t have to look back or look forward to find times for joy and happiness.

Look back at all the photos you took in 2013. Do they represent the people, places, things, and experiences that brought you the most joy. We’re quick to click, post, and share so others now see how cool we are. In life, though, it’s not about the photos. They’ll fade (or, in our case, more likely become inaccessible as technology advances), we’ll forget the names. We’ll be overwhelmed by the thousands of photos that we’ve saved to document how wonderful our life is.

In the end, though, it’s the pictures in our mind that stay with us. The stories we can share over and over again. The people who will listen and laugh and cry. Some for the first time, and others who were there the first time.

Don’t look back. Don’t look forward. Look around and appreciate right now.

Disclosure: This post is part of a series on lifestyle technology I write as a Verizon Insider. No compensation was provided, but I do have a business relationship with Verizon Wireless and am periodically provided products to sample.



LG G2, The Device For Everyday Superheroes

Hermione Halloween

Low light photo of Hermione taken with LG G2, unedited

Just as I felt I’d finally mastered my Samsung Galaxy S4, Verizon Wireless asked me to “tech drive” the new LG G2. Who says no to being one of the first to use this cutting-edge device? Not this Verizon Insider! Besides, CycleGuy’s been eyeing my S4 for awhile. So, with the LG G2 in hand I quickly discovered this isn’t like other phones. In a good way!

I’ll leave the tech specs to the experts. You don’t come here for that anyway, do you? The LG G2 has a nice big screen and the lack of buttons on the front really gives it a clean look. The toggles on the back are really easy to use, especially if you have smaller hands. People like the Incredible Hulk, Tron, or Iron Man really shouldn’t get this phone. Besides being hard on their tech, I really think this is more for the Wonder Woman or even Katniss types. A device for smart women who are busy trying to save their world from all kinds of craziness.

If you’re looking for a mobile device that calls people, texts, checks email, and gets online this LG G2 can do that. It’s typical of Android phones in that regard. Where it stands out as unique among Android devices is the camera and several key features.

With a 13MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization, the LG G2 rivals most decent point-and-shoot cameras. I actually like it better than my stand-alone camera because of the image stabilization and several other camera features. You may wonder when you’d use it, but I’m here to tell you that audio zoom makes this camera unique. Audio Zoom allows you to zoom in on the audio you want to hear. You know, like when you kid is in the play or talking outside and others are around. I used it at a robotics tournament to pick up the kids from my team when they were talking to judges in an auditorium filled with other teams. It was much more clear, making the video usable. I also used it at a youth symphony concert to get better sound.

And speaking of my daughter, do your kids want to use your phone in the car or while waiting? BabyGirl has her own tablet but it’s a wi-fi only device. So when we’re out doing errands and she wants to look something up she’ll use my phone. Only problem is that I don’t want her being distracted by all of my apps. Enter Guest Mode. While I’d never hand over my phone to just anyone, knowing that I can set up a profile just for my daughter and limit her access to a few apps while she’s on my phone makes it easier to allow her to use my phone. And the phone size is perfect for her smaller hands and I don’t worry about her dropping it.

This phone may be the one to make me give up my iPhone for good!

Disclosure: As stated above, Verizon Wireless provided me with an LG G2. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third-party. I do, however, have a business relationship with Verizon Wireless and thus I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.