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I’m totally into Yoga now. The Lenovo Yoga 11s that is!

I’m totally into Yoga now. The Lenovo Yoga 11s that is!

As a writer and blogger, one of my biggest challenges when traveling is which electronic devices to bring. I do all of my blogging and writing on a laptop. I read on a tablet which of course can get very heavy on my arms. I even like to watch movies to pass the time when insomnia kicks in and that can lead to over heating my laptop if I’m not careful about how I set it on my lap or the bed. This usually leads to a VERY heavy laptop tote and the joy of unloading all of it when I hit airport security. Or at least it did.

A few months ago I was sent a Lenovo Yoga 11s to try out. It was love at first pose. Check out what this amazing machine can do. (Warning! You  may geek out like I did.)

Just a glimpse of its 360 degree movements.
Just a glimpse of its 360 degree movements.

There are 4 modes (or poses) the Yoga 11S works in that make this machine truly a 4 in 1 machine that I can’t believe I ever did without.

There is the laptop, tablet, tent and stand.

Now it is obvious what the laptop mode does. It is a laptop for those of you who haven’t had enough coffee yet to have figured that out.

The tablet is just what you think it is. The machine completely folds over 360 degrees to a tablet mode. My first worry was what about the keyboard while in tablet mode? Well, the Yoga actually disables the keyboard when it goes into tablet mode and gives you an on screen touch keyboard.

These two features alone would make it a must have for me but after working with the machine, I realized how much I like the tent and stand modes, too.

The tent mode stands up so that you can use the touch screen to scroll through information (such as instructions or recipes) while you multi-task. (And if you know me, you know I need ALL the help I can get in the kitchen.) It can also  be one of the modes you use to watch videos. YouTube is great in this mode.

And finally, you have the stand mode. This is my favorite for watching movies. Put simply, you fold the keyboard under so it is lying on a surface and you have unrestricted access to the screen. I, personally, do not like trying to watch a movie or tv show on my laptop and dealing with the keyboard getting in the way. This solves that problem. (And helped me watch every season of Breaking Bad without getting mad.)

Lenovo 11s 4 modes
A brief look at the modes the Lenovo Yoga 11s has to offer you

Geek speak:

The first thing I should tell you was this was my first experience with Windows 8 on one of my computers. I just jumped right into the fire with this. However, with the touch screen and ease of use in all modes, I am getting used to it and really enjoy it for this machine. So just to recap, let me share the highlights.

  • A unique dual-hinge design allows for 360 degree rotation allowing you  four different “modes” or Yoga poses. (If you do that to your laptop, you’ll probably void your warranty so I recommend only doing it with the Lenovo Yoga.)
  • It comes with 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3339Y Processor (Meaning, you’ve got some powerful performance here.)
  • Lenovo® Motion Control lets you flip through photos and pages or rewind/fast forward music and videos with simple gestures. (I know! I totally geeked out at that, too!)
  • Integrated stereo speakers supporting Dolby  with 11.6″ multimode high-definition (1366 x 768) display, 16:9 widescreen with IPS technology (In non-geek speak that means it can ROCK a movie or music!)

And the more details tech specs  can be found at Lenovo online.

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Disclosure:  Now, y’all know I don’t do many reviews. In fact, I hardly ever do them anymore. It isn’t some big stand I’m making. I just choose to use this space to only review things I personally love and have either bought myself or would buy for myself because it is something I believe in.  I received the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s in exchange for participating in this campaign. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own. I am also part of the Lenovo INfluencer Network and have worked with Lenovo as a brand ambassador since 2009. 

Lenovo-IN logo

 

You’re never quite ready for what life delivers you: Delivery Man- The movie

You’re never quite ready for what life delivers you: Delivery Man- The movie

I have one brother and one sister. Growing up I wish I had a lot more of both. I had a best friend who came from a family with six kids and I thought that would be cool. Eight is Enough? That show made large families seem fun and full of activity. With three, you play odd man out. I knew when I grew up I would have at least four kids (and probably a lot more) to keep it even and fun. (For the record, I have three kids. When you make plans…)

But what happens if you find out you have 533 kids? That is the premise of a new Vince Vaughn movie DELIVERY MAN to be released this November 22.  In the film, Vince Vaughn plays an affable underachiever looking for his purpose in life, when he finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them want to meet their biological father. As the movie trailer says, “You’re never quite ready for what life delivers you.”

VVaughn-1

As Vince Vaughn’s character struggles about whether to be a part of these kids’ lives and if so, just how much he should be involved, it comes back around to the question, “What makes a family a family?”

Like I said, I have one brother and one sister that I grew up with my entire life. As an adult, I have made friends that have become like a family to me. Family is not just biology. Family is what you make it. Family is the place you go when you need to be loved and accepted for who you are. Family is your safety net. No longer does the definition of one mom, one dad, and kids fit for family. The basis of all families, true families, is love, not biology.

I love the family I have grown up with and the one I have created with my husband but I also love the one I’ve created with the people I have met over the years who have become family. I am grateful for each and every one of them. However, I am also very grateful I am not one of 533 children. That would make Thanksgiving awfully crowded! The movie looks like one that will not only be laugh out loud funny but tug at your heart strings as well.

What is your definition of family? Biology or the people we choose or some amazing combination of both?

I choose both. What do you stand for?

vincevaughn2

 

Rivet & Sway Review – Buying prescription glasses has never been so cool & easy! (And inexpensive with this 20% off code!)

Rivet & Sway Review – Buying prescription glasses has never been so cool & easy! (And inexpensive with this 20% off code!)

I’ve worn glasses since I was in junior high. And if you do the math, that was a few years ago. *ahem* I wasn’t a fan because there really weren’t any cute frames at the time. I also played sports and hated wearing my glasses.  Let’s face it, add to that, I didn’t appreciate how expensive they were. I remember one basketball game in particular when I took to the court with my glasses still on my face. As soon as I realized that, I took them off and slid them across the court to my Dad. You could hear the collective gasp of every parent in that gym for miles. Seriously, it was as if all the air was sucked out of the gym in that moment. Because scratching or breaking glasses back in the day, was expensive and quite the ordeal. But not anymore, ladies. Now we have Rivet & Sway.

I’ll be honest. I usually wear contacts. Not because I dislike glasses but because my glasses were 11 years old. And dated. And gave me headaches. So when I was offered an opportunity to be a Rivet & Sway Original Blogger and receive a new pair of prescription glasses for free in time for BlogHer a conference that can’t be named, I jumped on that. I knew I needed a new pair. But truthfully, I hate getting new glasses. I stand there staring the eleventy billion choices with no guide as to what would look good on me and usually just walk out without even purchasing any. Rivet & Sway not only takes all the mystery out of shopping for new frames, they make it fun! AND they customize it so well, they can offer suggestions based on your face shape and width. From there, you choose the color you like best. Once you have narrowed it down to your favorite 3 pairs, you order the Try On At Home Kit. Yes, you read that right. They send trial pairs right to your house. You can go shopping for frames in your pj’s, y’all!

This is the what you see when you open the box (after FedEx 2 day shipping!):

rivet & sway try on kit
Photo courtesy of Teresa of makingitallwork.com (Thank you!)

The packaging itself grabbed me from the beginning. Now that I had my 3 pairs I could try on to find the perfect match, I did what all good bloggers and those who use social media do, I took to Facebook and Twitter to get the opinions of the masses. Here I am in my 3 different try-on pairs:

They are Derring-Do/style – Licorice/color (top left), Little Voice/style – Rip Curl/color (top right), and Sweet Spot/style – Copper Penny/color (bottom left)

As chance would have it, Facebook and I chose the same pair. Are you sitting on the edge of your seat wondering which pair I chose?

Rivet & Sway Choice #2

I chose the second pair. The  Little Voice in Rip Curl color which basically means with a blue & white swirlish design. I love them! I wore these all over NYC and BlogHer a conference that can’t be named. That is saying something for a gal who used to only wear her glasses in emergencies or when I knew no one would see me. With my new Rivet & Sway glasses, I wanted to show off my swagger. (Because trust me, I have swagger in my new glasses!) I even wore them to one of the largest parties at BlogHer a conference that can’t be named.

Showing off my glasses swagger at a party with my peeps!

But how easy is it really? VERY!

Getting new frames in these easy steps:

  1. Go to Rivet & Sway and create your account.
  2. Use their online tools to choose what you feel are the best for your face shape/width.
  3. You will need to provide a credit card but it is just for a 99 cent deposit. I mean, they are sending you hundreds of dollars worth frames, y’all.
  4. FedEx sends you your try on kit with 3 pairs of frames within 2 business days.
  5. On the  Rivet & Sway website, enter your prescription (You’ll need your PD, too. You can find that here if your doctor is weird about giving it to you.) and the super styling frame you chose. (*Note: If you love one frame and a different color, you can change that up, too.)
  6. Once you choose your favorite frames, you simply ship back your kit of trial frames. 
  7. For just $199 you get the perfect frames for you brought right to your door in 2 business days.
  8. Get your swagger on and enjoy seeing life in a brand new way!
But wait! This gets so much better. See #7 up there? Let’s change that! Use the following code and get 20% off! YES! This gets even better. (I love this company, y’all!) This is the code: CWHOUB1237B13B but it expires on August 26, 2012. That’s soon so get moving over to Rivet & Sway. I know you’ll love it as much as I do. The entire experience from start to finish was so easy! It’s what all the cool kids are wearing. (Truth be told, when I shared this story with a friend of mine, she actually told me she wished she wore glasses so she could go this. For real, y’all. We’re some serious trend setters here!)
rivet and sway original bloggers
These are the group of Rivet & Sway Originals.
We have swagger!
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In the interest of full disclosure, I received a free pair of Rivet & Sway glasses in order to  review the product. As always, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are honest and my own.  I received no monetary compensation for this review. 

Mechatars Robot Review (plus your discount code)

Mechatars Robot Review (plus your discount code)

My daughter absolutely loves to build things. Her favorite project in school was building a robot from scratch. I thought what better toy for her would there be than an interactive toy robot that is also an online game? It seemed like a perfect fit! She was overjoyed to be included in this product review. (She is very adept on the computer and loves interactive games. She has outgrown some online and then there are some that she fully enjoys but the inaction with the other players is too free and advanced.  This online portion of the game seemed to be a great fit- not too young for her and not too interactively advanced.

What makes these robotic warriors unique is they exist in both the virtual world and the real world. Meaning you can play both online and offline which is good because like most parents, I don’t want my child tethered to a computer all day or during her all of her free time. If both your child and your child’s friend have a Mechatar they can use their remote controls to actually battle each other while offline. When your child is online, she can complete online mission and choose to ally with other players  battle their rivals.  Once your child actually completes some missions online, you can teach your Mechatar to complete missions offline.

What we liked about our Mechatar:

  • We didn’t have to have two Mechatars to have fun. We could do solo missions such as the Swarm Hunter mission. This is much like a came of “hot/Cold” but with a robot. (You drive your robot around to find an object and it lets you know through beeps whether or not you are close.)
  • We had a blast scaring the dog with the Mechatar. (I am not suggesting you torment your pets with this robot. I am merely saying it was an awesome side bonus for us.)
  • The remote control is easy to use (even for a mom, duh!) and most importantly, there is no antenna to break. (I have a collection of remotes with broken antennae.)
  • You actually have to use strategy to play with your Mechatar.
  • There is a “hint” button to help you figure out what to do next when you get lost on what to do next.

What limitations we found with our Mechatar:

  • It didn’t automatically shut off which caused a constant draining of the battery until she remembered to turn it off.
  • There wasn’t as many options online to keep her entertained for extended periods. She felt though you needed strategy to complete missions, there wasn’t a lot of creativity needed.
  • The Mechatar’s mechanical voice is very loud. (Not to mention how loud it is on my wooden floors as it slams its “wheels” down.)
  • Though you don’t need two Mechatars to play, it would add to the fun to be able to battle another one. This is more a suggestion if you want to get the most out of it.

Final Verdict:

The Mechatar is a lot of fun and does a wonderful job of using blended reality. None of the things we mentioned that were less than positive would keep us from recommending this amazing toy to other children.  I believe this will become a must have toy for boys AND *girls this Fall. It is fun to play online and offline. You can play with your friends. You have to use logical thinking to be successful. Most importantly: IT IS FUN!

*(Originally this was for boys to review but my daughter loves robots and all things robots. So, do not let the fact that it is marketed to boys keep you from this amazing toy. My daughter enjoyed it and your daughter just might have as much fun as well!)

 

Save 10% on your purchase of a Mechatar Robot
Use the coupon code MECHMOM to receive 10% off your purchase at iloverobots.com. This code is good until November 30, 2011.

Availability: Mechatars is launching nationwide in Fall 2011 at stores like Target, Radio Shack, Amazon, Toys R’Us and iloveRobots.com (MSRP: $39.99)

Disclosure:  I was selected to participate in this sponsored post series by Clever Girls Collective.

 

 

How email brings friends together again and brings back the laughter!

How email brings friends together again and brings back the laughter!

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Email. When you have been blogging as long as I have you tend to get a love/hate relationship with email. On a typical day I receive hundreds of emails.  Some days it can get overwhelming, but some days it can bring people into your life that have been away for so long.  I admit there are times that I have let relationships drift away. In fact, I have let that happen entirely too frequently. Yet, there are times when you least expect it you receive an email that brings you such joy you actually laugh out loud. I am blessed to have friends who can come to me through an email– whether they live down the street or across the county. When I’m really blessed is when old friends are brought back into my life through email.

Take for instance one of my dearest friends from high school. I’ll call him Harvey.  We were kindred spirits.  He was even in my wedding. Time passed and we lost touch. I thought about him often but I had no idea where he was or how to reach him. You see there wasn’t a person on Earth who could make me laugh like Harvey. In fact, people used to be around us just for the laughs. No matter how bad things were, we could laugh.  You know that comedic duo that can just play off of each other all the time? That was the way we were. We hung out on weekends, during school and pretty much anytime we could. Many times I would come home to find him there with my mom laughing and I wasn’t even there. We were just that close.

It had been well over a decade and I had no clue where Harvey was or how he was doing. Time had passed. Life had been lived. I now had three kids and lost my Mom. These are things he should know. He would love to hear about the kids and would remind me how funny Mom always was and how much she loved him. He would laugh at my motherhood predicaments and cry with me over my Mom (if I needed it) but mainly, he would make me laugh just by being the man I adore. I missed Harvey. I really wanted him in my life again.

Then, one day in my Yahoo! email box- as I am scanning through so many emails I need to attend to– I see the subject: “Harvey sends his love!”

I knew it was my dear sweet friend. I immediately replied. That started a chain reaction of emails that kept me laughing, crying and feeling so close to my dear friend. Email brought us together again.  Now, we will send each other emails, chat or just remind each other that we will always be in each other’s lives now that we found our way back to each other.

For that, I am forever grateful to email. Yahoo! mail brought my comedy BFF Harvey back to me.

This video is more about people in love being brought back together, but when Harvey was brought back to his Vicky, all was right with the world again.

 

Family Traditions- The New Meets the Old

Family Traditions- The New Meets the Old

Thank you to Log Cabin for sponsoring my post about updated traditions in my household. To learn more about Log Cabin Syrups (which are all free of High Fructose Corn Syrup), breakfast for dinner, and other new ways to update traditions in your home, click here.I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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Even though this is a sponsored post by Clever Girls Collective, anyone who knows me knows I love traditions! Some are big productions and some are just small things we have been doing over the years that have become new traditions.

By far our largest yearly tradition is when we meet up for a family reunion at the beach. We look forward to this special time every summer. It gives us all a chance to come together and enjoy seeing each other and spending fun times in the sun and sand. I can say for certain that when you have 23 people to feed, breakfast is most definitely the easiest meal to arrange. That of course means pancakes and waffles are a must. Log Cabin syrup is a staple in our beach house!

On Christmas we all jump in the biggest vehicle we have and go look at the lights in the neighborhood. When we get home, the kids open one gift, leave magic feed for the reindeer and leave milk and cookies for Santa. Even my teenagers get into this tradition and enjoy the excitement it. It is fun for all of us.

On a smaller scale I have carried over a tradition that my parents started when I was young. Every year on a family member’s birthday, we cover the house in signs wishing them a happy birthday. Some signs are handmade. Some signs are printed. Some are sweet. Some are funny. Every one looks forward to waking up and racing through the house looking for the signs and cherishing the reminder that it is their special day. (Truth be told, I become a giddy child when I go looking for my signs, too!) We usually have to convince the kids to take them down a couple of weeks later. They always save at least one. I have a folder of many of my favorites from over the years. I love looking back and seeing the years pass through notes that went from simple to funny to marveling over how fast time flies. I hope the kids carry this tradition on with their own families.

Having kids ranging in age from 17 down to 10 it can be hard to get everyone together. I have found one surefire way to get everyone together and look forward to it. We have made it a tradition to have game night or movie night and to ensure that no one tries to skip out, we bring in the never fail ace up our sleeves: Brinner. That’s right. Breakfast for dinner. We all look forward to breakfast for dinner! The kids start asking for dinner way earlier than when we usually eat. A must for our breakfast for dinner is pancakes and bacon. We all have a part to play in preparing the brinner. And for at least that one night, I am guaranteed to have my whole family gathered around the dinner table to talk, laugh and share our lives. It is the most sought after dinner we have. If one of the kids have had a bad day, we cheer them up with Brinner! Without fail if we have a night without dinner plans, at least one kid will request breakfast. Sometimes we go one step further and make it backwards day. The kids can have dessert for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. They love it! I love that our family has this tradition and that it means so much to my kids.

As they age, our traditions morph and evolved but I am certain one that will never change is breakfast for dinner. It’s our favorite!

What are some of your favorite family traditions?