Saturday, November 29, 2014

Con*Quest Journal Review and Giveaway

Today I am beyond excited to share with you this Con*Quest Journal! I started talking about it yesterday in the Convention Goer Gift Guide, but I had to stop myself because it would've given away the surprise! Yes, this is the item you get a chance to win!

I have a deep love for journals, notebooks, scrapbooks....anything that I can turn into keepsake. I've always been like that. I find that as I get older though, I don't have the time to spend to sit down and create the elaborate layouts for scrapbooks like I used to. When Smashbooks came onto the scene a few years back, I really embraced those because the pages already came patterned, and all you had to do was jot down your thoughts, stick in your ticket stubs or what have you, and you were done. Instant memory book. So when I saw that the Con*Quest journal had the sustainability of a scrapbook, but with the ease of a Smashbook, I was sold. I reached out to Shelley, the creator of this fabulous journal, to do this giveaway, and I was floored when she said she'd love to. And then I just about fainted when she said I could have one to review!! 

I had to take my journal outside to photograph, because my house was not built with lighting in mind. But this is how it comes, right out of the box. Theres a Sharpie included, so you can just pick it up and go out onto the convention floor. There's a band on the journal that will keep it nice and closed.

Once you open the journal, there is an introduction page that explains how things work. Then you flip to the next page and you see this guy, Questly. Super fun side note, Shelley recently held a contest to name this little guy, and I suggested Questly. I was so surprised when I found out that she chose that name as the winner! Anyway, each area of the journal is broken up into "quests". First up is autographs, then artists, vendors, cosplay, panel, peeps and city.

There are a few pages for each "quest" and you can buy refill pages on the Con*Quest journal website for just $5.00. I think the Panel Quest pages are especially neat because sometimes celebrities say really memorable things, and later when you want to blog about it, you'll have it written down. I know when I went to a few Nerd HQ panels this year, there were quotes I thought for sure I could remember, and then when I came home I just could not think of them. Luckily they put those panels on YouTube, but that isn't the case for everything, so this definitely comes in handy for those moments.

The City Quest is another one I really like. If you're attending conventions that aren't in your hometown, then this is a good way to remember places to eat, stay, visit, etc that are good. There are also spaces to write down what places are not so good. That way, you don't have to worry about making the same mistake next time you're in town.

In the back on the journal there are four protectors that are perfect for putting 8x10 photos in, plus one sheet for storing business cards. Theres also a huge zip up envelope for ticket stubs, stickers, or any other loose item you want to keep that doesn't have a space on the pages. 

Every page has vibrant coloring, and the paper quality is very good. And since its a binder, there is lots of room for expansion. There are also two buying options, which I didn't mention at the beginning. You can buy the journal with a really neat canvas tote bag or you can buy the journal by itself. The tote bag has an extra long strap (or maybe I'm just short), so you can use it cross body and it will fit over any bulky costume pieces. I don't know about you guys, but I'm a sucker for a bag just as much as I am a notebook, so the fact that you can get both together was a major plus for me :) 

Now here's the super exciting part for you guys. You get a chance to win one of these bad boys!! This contest is open internationally. It starts today, November 29th, 2014 and will end on December 7th, 2014. A winner will be chosen on or around that date. The winner will be notified by email that they've won, and will then have 48 hours to respond to that email. If no response is received within that time period, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway or promo only accounts are not eligible for winning, and if you use one, you will be disqualified. I cannot stress that enough. If you're like me and just love this journal so much that you want it now, use code TURKEY on the Con*Quest website  today until Monday, December 1, 2014 for free shipping on your order. Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Con*Quest Journal around the web:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gift Guide- Convention Goer

Happy Friday! I hope you've all recovered from your turkey comas! Today's gift guide is all about the convention goers in your life. This person could value SDCC more than Christmas! So its even more important to get them something that, come July in San Diego (or whatever their convention of choice is), they'll look at it and think that you're almost as amazing as that photo they just took with Nathan Fillion.

1. Con*Quest Journal. I found out about these bad boys right before SDCC this year and was crushed that I couldn't buy one because I was broke (you know, from saving for SDCC). They are comparable to Smashbooks, so you can just shove your con junk in there and have a pretty decent memory book of the convention with very little effort.

2. Handbag of Holding. Its no secret that I want this bag. I even put it on a Monday Mix Up earlier this year. It has a lot of pockets, to hold all the essential convention items (pens, electronics, cords, snacks, etc), and it has the option of making it a cross body bag, which is really nice when those convention days turn into convention nights, and you just don't feel like your predominate purse carrying shoulder can carry anymore. Plus, its a nice brown that can go with several cosplays if thats a concern for you.

3. Comfy pants. I like these Firefly leggings and R2D2 yoga pants for the ladies and these Star Wars lounge pants and Jinx lounge pants for the guys, but you know what your con goer prefers :) Once you're done walking the convention floor or hitting the amazing after parties, you still want to rock your geekdom in your hotel room! 

4. Nerdist Convention Hoodie. This hoodie has all the bells and whistles. Lots of pockets to carry your stuff in, even posters!

5. A backup power source.  The battery life struggle is real at conventions. Sometimes you just can't get one of those outlets on the convention wall, and you know your phone or your camera just isn't going to make it through the day. That's when a portable charger comes in handy, though they can sometimes be bulky. If your con goer doesn't have one of these already, they will love you for this! My husband recently bought a battery charger that similar to this Anker® 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000mAh External Battery Portable Dual USB Charger Power Bank. Its very portable and pretty lightweight. It can charge two electronic devices at once. Just be sure to buy a power source thats compatible with their devices. Not all USB plugs are created equally.

6. Gift cards! If you just aren't sure what the convention goer in your life might need, get them a gift card. Good places are Think Geek and Jinx for apparel and accessories, any craft store if they're cosplayers, Starbucks (because conventions and making cosplays require caffeine), and Netflix, so they can keep up on their fandoms or discover some new ones.  

So these are  my suggestions for gifts to give the avid convention goer. Did I miss anything? Also, you may have noticed that this gift guide was not done in the same way that my other gift guides have been. The reason for that is because I am reviewing one of these items tomorrow, and you get a chance to win it!! Yay!!! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I loled when I Googled cornucopia and this was the first image that popped up. Figured I might as well use it. Google knows me too well.

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the day when we get to eat way too much turkey and pie! I really am not big on turkey, to be honest. I'm more of a sides and pie girl. I like mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, olives (yes, they were presented to me as a side as a child, so I still consider them one), cranberry sauce (only the jellied one that looks like the can it came in) and pumpkin pie buried in whipped cream. Today is also a day to give a few moments to allow yourself to reflect on what you're thankful for. It doesn't have to be anything deep or meaningful. I am thankful for my family and the fact that I'm alive. But I'm also thankful that my cat tolerates me enough now that she'll jump on the couch with me sometimes, and that the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Beverly Hills are back on teevee. See, I have varying degrees of thankfulness, but it doesn't make any of them any less important to  me. And whatever you're thankful for this year is equally as important - no matter what it is.

I know that some of you may be planning to head out to Black Friday sales, or Thanksgiving Day sales (since so many stores are opening up right after dinner time tonight) to start on your Christmas shopping, and that's cool. I have never been one to brave those crowds, I am just not a people person like that. But before you go, I'd like to leave you with these links, and maybe you might like to donate to one of them today (or some time this holiday season). My grandfather believed that if you had even just a little extra to give to someone else, you should. He grew up during the Depression, so sharing with and helping out your neighbors was something that he experienced firsthand. Volunteering and donating has always been a big part of my life, and I try to pass that spirit on to others when I'm able.

*WoW Mom- This Kickstarter is for a documentary about a lady named Terry who has a very serious form of cancer, and uses World of Warcraft to cope with it. Cancer is a subject near and dear to me, and Terry using WoW to deal with what is going on with her health is interesting to me. Backer perks range from online screenings of the documentary to a Skype call with cast members of The Guild. Chris Hardwick is a supporter of Terry and her daughter Andie, and there are Nerdist perks available too. This Kickstarter ends on December 11, 2014. They are hoping to raise $45,000 and as of press time they have raised $23,387.

*Game and Gab for Good- Created by Mariko McDonald of Gamerwife, this event is aiming to raise $2000 to give to Love146, which is an organization that's helping to stop child trafficking and exploitation. The event is December 9th, 2014. Mariko and others will be discussing the evolution of female protagonists in the game industry while playing Contrast in a live stream. You also have a chance of winning some really neat prizes depending on your donation amount, so thats pretty awesome.

*Extra Life and Play Live- I haven't been able to stream much lately, as my laptop is hanging on to dear life, but I am still raising money for these charities. Play Live is ongoing, Extra Life will go until December 30, 2014. Both are great causes that help children dealing with life changing events. Play Live specifically goes to helping St Jude hospitals- for supplies, research, and to make sure that any child there for cancer treatment never receives a bill for their care. Extra Life supports Children's Miracle Network hospitals. The money raised is given to those hospitals and they can use it as they need it. Meaning they can use it to pay for more training, equipment, whatever the hospital is lacking at that time. And there is a giveaway going on here for an in-game pet if you donate to these.......

*Operation Supply Drop- This organization donates games and gaming consoles to the US military. They also hold a gaming marathon once a year, similar to Extra Life. My brother is currently serving in the Army, and while we have been so lucky that he hasn't been sent overseas, we have known so many other servicemen that have. These "supply drops" help the men and women serving our country get a little fun and relaxation in an otherwise harsh environment. If you click on the link, it will take you to my donor page. I would like to announce here that I am also looking to form a team for this cause! Click on the Team KMT part of my profile and you should be able to register if you'd like :)

*Samaritan's Purse- This organization has been in the spotlight recently because they had some of their volunteers in Africa contracted Ebola. I know Samaritan's Purse because of their Christmas Shoeboxes though. My stepmom's church does them every year, and they're a lot of fun to make. You get to choose the gender and age of the child you'd like to make a box for, then fill it will some fun things (small, yet age appropriate toys) and some practical things (soap, toothpaste,etc). The boxes get sent to Samaritan's Purse, who then sends them to countries where the boxes are needed. Their website shows the many ways in which you can donate, including building a Christmas Shoebox online!

And here is a list of sites that the IGGPPC compiled during our camp this year. Its all about donating books. The list is mighty, and doesn't just cover the US.

So these are just a few things that I think are great causes to donate to. But even if none of these causes tickle your fancy, I do hope that you'll find something that does this holiday season, and give a little to it. Whether its time, money, or supplies- anything helps, truly.

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gift Guide- World of Warcraft and Hearthstone (plus a little loot)

Happy Thanksgiving eve to my American readers! And Happy Just-Another-Day to my non-American readers! Today's gift guide is all about WoW and Hearthstone. I haven't done a WoW Wednesday in forever, so its about time right? Keep reading until the end, because there's a little giveaway for those of you who are feeling the Thanksgiving vibes today :)

WoW Gift Guide

These items were found at Think Geek, Jinx, and the Blizzard Store.


Sadly, there isn't much for the Heartstone fan just yet. Everything here came from the Blizzard store, except the tee shirt (Jinx) and the mug (etsy,com).

So here's the fun part for you, if you're in the giving mood. I am giving away an in-game pet of your choice to two lucky readers! Yay! This is an international giveaway that opens right now and stays that way until midnight California time on December 29, 2014! There is no tweeting, no account following, none of that. All you have to do is donate to Play Live or Extra Life. The donation has to be a minimum of $5. You can donate more than that, but it will not increase your chances of winning. You can donate to both charities, and that will increase your chances of winning. The winners will be chosen on or around December 29, 2014. Winners will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond to that email. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gift Guide- Minecraft

I can't believe the time has come to start thinking about Christmas! I feel like just the other day I was bemoaning my way through summer, wishing for fall. I thought I'd start making some gift guides to share with you guys, mostly because I like making things like this, and also because it helps me keep track of things that I might like to buy for someone (or  might like to have someone buy for me!!). Today's gift guide is all about Minecraft. My eight year old son is in love with this game. He plays on the PS3 with some of his friends from school. And when he can't find one of them to play with, he enlists his four year old sister. She is actually pretty good at it too. I have tried to play it, and I suck. I also don't have the patience for it. Constantly breaking all those dirt blocks.....

A lot of Minecraft stuff can be found at You can find some of Jinx's stuff at Target though, and sometimes its cheaper than actually buying from Jinx. At least when it comes to the shirts- toys are the same price (unless Target is having a sale or has a Cartwheel for them). Etsy is also very good if you're looking for something with a homemade touch. Think Geek and Barnes and Noble are very good places to find Minecraft items that may be sold out on other sites. Today's gift guides are kind of a mishmash for any age/any gender that likes to play the game.

Minecraft Guide 1

Minecraft Guide 2

Friday, November 21, 2014

Poppin' Off- Big Hero 6

There might be tiny spoiler's in this one. Sorry! I tried really hard not to!

Big Hero 6 is everything you could ask for in a superhero movie. Except, when you purchase your ticket, you probably aren't expecting to watch a superhero movie. I know I wasn't.

Hiro and his brother live with their aunt in San Frantokyo because their parents passed away when they were young, and Hiro is kind of a boy genius. He gets into trouble, and his brother ends up convincing him to go to "nerd school" with him. Then something terrible happens, and Hiro gets into a funk. This is when he finds out that an invention his brother had been working on, Baymax (the big marshmallow guy) is there, and everything starts to change.

If you think back to every great hero's origin story, it pretty much goes like this: death and/or extreme wealth, superpowers (accidental or self-given), sidekick, villain to ruin, life to live normally. Right? Well, that's pretty much Big Hero 6. Except Hiro gets five sidekicks (he basically gets a set of Avengers), and more than one of them has an origin story thats worthy of superheroness (or villainy), which makes me wonder (hope!) if they have a sequel in the works. As far as characters go, I think that Baymax is the new Groot. Hes so lovable, especially doing a fist bump! And Go Go is going to a new cosplayer favorite.

The movie was really compelling though. It was an emotional rollercoaster for sure. So many moments to be happy, but just as many moments to be sad. I felt like I was watching a Marvel movie, it was just animated. And speaking of Marvel, a very special person *cough*Stan Lee*cough* makes a cameo in Big Hero 6. Its quick, and I know that a lot of people in the theater that I watched it at didn't catch it. Also, just like a Marvel movie, stay until the very end of the credits, there's a bonus scene there thats pretty awesome. I would have left during the credits if I hadn't seen a tweet earlier that day saying that there was that bonus scene. Some of the theater workers didn't even know it was there, and tried to kick the few of us that stayed out of the theater so they could clean it. [Side note: I've been reading this paragraph for a few minutes now, seeing how many times I wrote how it was like Marvel. So after spending some time with my best friend Google, I learned that the Big Hero 6 were in fact Marvel comic books.So theres that. The more you know. ]

The movie was really good, my kids are already asking when we can buy it, and if you go to see it in theaters, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Immortals by Fall Out Boy 
From the Big Hero 6 soundtrack

Monday, November 17, 2014

Animals by Maroon 5 vs Desire by Meg Myers

Maroon 5 and I have a long history. Meaning, I loved their Songs About Jane CD in its entirety. Then loved some singles off of everything else they did. Adam Levine....there's just something about him. He's like the guy you know is all wrong for you, and yet you keep going back.

I started hearing really bad things about their video for Animals. Admittedly, the first time I had heard Animals was on SNL, and then on the radio not too long after. I hadn't seen the video. And after the way people way overreacted to Taylor Swift's Shake It Off video (and to briefly touch on why I think that- she had all races, colors, and creeds dancing in all different ways. I don't think she was appropriating anybody's culture.), I figured that this too was another overreaction. Then I actually watched the video for Animals. Holy mother of fill-in-appropriate-expletive-here.

Watching it made me feel a little dirty, but I couldn't look away. And I can't hear the song on the radio now without thinking of this video. The stalker vibe was strong with that one, but I don't agree that it glorifies the practice in any way. And in one article, someone had pointed out that if it had been a movie, you would pay to see it. That is a valid point. I've seen similar plot lines on teevee. Hell, Law and Order SVU is a franchise based on plot lines like that! There is also an accusation of rape. In the video, he isn't actually forcing himself on her, hes fantasizing of amazing, yet bloody, consensual sex. So there was no actual rape, but I do know that fantasies can be just as harmful in those situations. The video as a whole left me feeling very conflicted, because I like the song but I just felt so confused by the video. Like am I a creepy stalker just for watching this?

So then I'm left to wonder, in a world where things don't seem to shock anyone anymore, why is this video so shocking? Is it really that bad, or is it an issue because people are making it an issue?

Or is this an issue because its a man singing about a woman? What if the roles were reversed and the woman was hunting the male? Another song I really like is Desire by Meg Myers, and in it, she voices a similar notion to that of Animals. I think the song is supposed to be about a girl that really wants to get some and is just throwing it out there to this guy, but it comes off a little bit.....creepy.For comparison, here are excerpts of Animals and Desire:

"Yeah you can start over, you can run free/
You can find other fish in the sea/ 
You can pretend it's meant to be/
But you can't stay away from me/
I can still hear you making that sound/
Taking me down, rolling on the ground/
You can pretend that it was me

Baby, I'm preying on you tonight/
Hunt you down, eat you alive/
Just like animals, animals

Maybe you think that you can hide/
I can smell your scent for miles/
Just like animals, animals, like animals."
-Animals (full lyrics here)

"Honey, I wanna break you/
I wanna throw you to the hounds/
I gotta hurt you/
I gotta hear it from your mouth

Boy, I wanna taste you/
I wanna skin you with my tongue/
I'm gonna kill you/
I'm gonna lay you in the ground

Desire, I'm hungry/
I hope you feed me/
How do you want me?"
-Desire (full lyrics here)

Nobody has said anything about her song, but its in the same vein as Animals, don't you think? She wants this guy, she needs this guy. Shes not acting like a stalker in her video though. This could be the difference. She seduces an invisible man, so theres nothing to see, literally.

So what do you guys think? Is this a case of issues made from nothing, or do you agree that Maroon 5 is out of line? Or what about Meg Myers? Is her song empowering, or is it as creepy as Animals? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jordandene' Shirt Review and Giveaway (CLOSED)

I have said it before, but it bears repeating, the Female Geek Blogger group has given me the opportunity to meet so many talented and cool geeky chicks. It has been such a treat to see what these girls have been writing and creating. One of these ladies is Jordan, owner of Jordandene'. She makes discreetly geeky shirts, tanks, and sweatshirts, and some not-so discreetly geeky aprons (that are amazing!).

I was fortunate enough to receive a tank to review, and let me just say, I love it! I chose the Carl Sagan Something Incredible Tank and it is so soft. The construction is on par with something you'd purchase in a store, the lettering is great quality, and did I mention how soft it is?! I really can't say enough great things about this tank, its fabulous! 

Now here's the super exciting part for you guys. You have the chance to win one! Starting today and running through November 23rd, 2014, you have the opportunity to win either a shirt or a tank top of your choice from Jordandene'! And if you just can't wait to see if you've won, use promo code FANGIRL2014 for 20% off of your order on her site.

This giveaway is international- yay! Just remember, no giveaway or promo only accounts are allowed for this giveaway, or your entries will be disqualified. Also, the winner will be notified by email on November 24th. Winner will then have 48 hours to respond to said email or a new winner will be chosen. Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(And for some reason, the picture on the Rafflecopter widget for my FB page is not the correct one, but it does take you to my page. Don't know what's up with that, but feel free to stop by and say hi!)

Friday, November 14, 2014

ModCloth Holiday Guide

**This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

'Tis the season for gifting! And ModCloth wants to help you find the perfect presents for everyone on your list with their 2014 Holiday Gift Gift. Shop using their handy categories, or check out presents inspired by trendsetting bloggers, including A Beautiful Mess, Oh Joy!, Girl with Curves. Utterly unique and endlessly fab. 

Their vast collection of utterly unique gifts is the perfect place to find something to wow your favorite gal (or guy)! Plus there is always something fun on sale, be sure to check back often -

My top three gifts from this gift guide are:

Modcloth Gift Guide Picks

Aren't they just so cute?! I'm not even a dress wearer, but these are just too cute to pass up. Check out the gift guide for more super adorable and quirky gifts. And they're not just for girls, they have a selection of gifts for guys too :)

Five Fandom Friday- Apps I Can't Live Without

It's time for another Fandom Friday!! This time its for five apps that you just can't live without (and mine came out to like seven, and a bonus app). I mean, I'm sure I could live without these, but its easier not to :)

 1. Candy Crush and Candy Crush Soda.
These games are so addicting! I just found out about Candy Crush Soda the other day, but I've been playing Candy Crush for a long time. I've never made it past level 100 though. Thats about the time I break whatever phone I'm playing it on, then have to get a new one and start all over again. I don't have it linked to my Facebook because I do think those requests are annoying. The fun thing about having the two games is that while I'm out of lives in one game, I can always play the other. 

2. Epocrates.

Many people will find this app boring if you're not in the medical field, but its actually pretty handy. I first started using it while in school to become a pharmacy tech, and while I'm not currently employed in that field, I still use this to make sure I'm not taking any meds that are interacting with each other, etc. I don't recommend that you use it for its dosing calculator if you don't have any experience with that, but it does come in handy if you like to snoop through people's medicine cabinets or hear a name of a medicine on a teevee show. Don't know what that generic medicine's brand name counterpart is? Epocrates will tell you. It will even tell you what that medicine is used for :)

3. Cartwheel.
I am a Target-aholic, so anything that can save me money while I'm there is A+++++ in my book. This app is very handy, although most of the savings are on Target brand items, There are fun little badges to earn that unlock more spots, which comes in handy as well. You can also use Cartwheel at the same time as coupons, the 5% off card from the pharmacy and your Target Red Card, which saves you 5% every time you use it, so the potential savings are huge if you use it right. (And I promise you, Target did not pay me to write that! I just shop there enough that I've learned it all lol).

4. Instagram/ A Beautiful Mess Photo App. 
Instagram is my favorite timewaster, and A Beautiful Mess is my favorite way to post photos there. I don't use Instagram as much as I used to, but its still a favorite when I get a chance. And I love ABM for making a decent Android app that allows me to modify my photos and isn't super expensive.

5. Pandora.
I like Pandora the best for music. I used Slacker for a while, but then it started asking for all kinds of crazy permissions that a music streaming service shouldn't have. Pandora also has some that are a little questionable, but  not as many as Slacker. Plus, Pandora seems to understand my musical tastes just a little bit better. It also comes in handy for those dodgy spots in road trips where you can't get a radio station, but you can still get cell service.

And the bonus app- Nerd HQ!
This app really made my SDCC experience something special last year. I was able to get tickets to see some of my favorite actors because of it, and overall, it was just great. Its a must have app for anyone attending SDCC, or anyone trying to tackle the activities outside the convention.

So those are my favorite apps! Thanks to Megan and Kristin for coming up with these Fandom Friday topics!

Poppin' Off- The Book of Life

Halloween was a weird one. All day it had been so hot and muggy. Even while my kids were trick or treating it was pretty warm. Then, right after we had wrapped up our evening, it starting raining  so hard. We had horrible wind, thunder, lightning. It was a true storm and it was fantastic. The next day my son had an early morning soccer game and I thought for sure it would be cancelled. If not for that weather, then surely the fields were wrecked. Nope. We woke up, the sun was shining, and the fields were fine. He played his game just fine and then, right when it was over, it started raining. The kids had wanted to play on the toys at the soccer park after his game, but since it was raining, we couldn't. So instead we went to a movie theater thats close to the park and saw The Book of Life.

I got excited to see this movie during the summer when I first saw the trailer for it for a couple of different reasons. I have loved Dia de los Muertos for quite some time. I think its a beautiful holiday. I love all the vibrant colors, the flowers and the sugar skulls. And I love that the deceased get a day to be celebrated. Without getting ultra into it or anything- its been my experience that people show up for a funeral, then have some kind of meal afterwards, then for the first year or two after the death they call and say how they miss so and so, and then you never hear about them again. I, personally, hate this. I think this is why I love Dia de los Muertos so much. They even have shrines for their deceased. I think its sweet. I was also excited for my children to see this because they are half-Hispanic. My husband is Hispanic, but I often joke with my husband that I'm more Mexican than he is because I'm always asking for Mexican food and want to buy all the brightly colored sugar skull things lol. His family doesn't really celebrate any of the Mexican holidays, so I was hoping my kids might learn a little something from this movie. Or at least get interested enough in the holiday to find out what its about.

The movie follows Manolo and Joaquin, two boys who are best friends that are fighting for the heart of Maria. Each boy is special because spirits have bet on them. La Muerte, the ruler of the Land of the Remembered, has chosen Manolo and Xibalba, the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, has chosen Joaquin.There isn't much to say about the bet without giving the rest of the movie away, but if you're curious, you can click here :) The movie is very good if you need to explain death to a child, because there is a lot of it in the film. Its not in a gory or painful way, its very practical. The Land of the Remembered is very vibrant and there is a party every day. Its where the relatives live that are remember by people that are living. The Land of the Forgotten is gray. There are no parties. Its where the people who nobody remembers go, and eventually they turn to dust. Its a very pragmatic way to look at it, because its true. If nobody remembers you, how can you live on? It also deals with children trying so hard to live up to the expectations placed on them by their parents, only to realize that they need to live life for themselves. For an animated movie, there were a lot of deep themes. But it wasn't so deep that kids won't understand, and there's still a good amount of humor mixed in too.

The movie is every bit as visually stunning as the previews makes it seem. Even more so once they get into the Land of the Remembered. The colors are so vibrant, and the details are ridiculously amazing. The soundtrack is very good as well. It takes a lot of "adult" songs and gives them a Hispanic twist and changes them a little to make it kid friendly. I especially enjoyed the remake of Mumford and Sons' I Will Wait. Very Good.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

#BraunTherm from Influenster

When you become a mother, people love to throw out cliches and unsolicited advice at you. One of the things you hear most often is that your life will never be the same again.  Depending on old you are when you're pregnant with that child,  hearing that can evoke a lot of things. The first time I was pregnant, I was 21 years old. When people told me that, I thought "duh" because of course having a child is life changing. And then it also terrified me. Would I not get to do things I loved anymore? Listen to my favorite music? I had my son, still did what I wanted to do (within reason), still listened to my favorite music, life moved one. Same thing happened when I had my daughter at 26, I had momentary panic, but not nearly as much. By then, I felt like a pro at having children, and didn't really think I'd changed all that much. I still listened to my music. Still wore my band shirts and jeans. Even knew what teevee shows the kids thought were cool. So what does this have to do with a thermometer, you ask? Everything.

Because I have changed, and I hadn't really realized it until Influenster sent me this thermometer. Sure, I still wear my Converse and watch The Simpsons. But when I go to the bookstore, I get more excited over Better Homes and Gardens then I do over Cosmo. That wasn't me at 21. And if you had sent me this thermometer at 21, I would have rolled my eyes, left it in its box, and never given it a second chance. But today, at 30 years old, when I found that black box that said #BraunTherms in my mailbox, I got super excited.

My kids hate having their temperature taken at home because I use the ones that you stick under the tongue or under the arm. They have to sit still for minutes sometimes for the thermometer to read properly, and they just don't have the patience for it. With this one from Braun, all that goes away. You just touch it right in the middle of the forehead, and within seconds it gives you a temperature reading. Super, super easy. You can even use it as a no touch thermometer, placing the thermometer a few inches away from the center of the forehead, but I will say that there is a four degree difference. I tried it a few different times (both of my kids and my husband got sick right after I received this, great timing!), and the no touch option always read four degrees cooler than when I placed it directly on their forehead.

The thermometer itself is really lightweight and very easy to use. Press the power button, press the temperature button and you're done! Its also color coded for fever severity. I noticed that when my daughter's fever was 101, it added an extra beep in addition to the color on the screen being yellow and not green. It retails for about $40-50 in stores, depending on where you get it. That is pricey, I get that, but if you constantly fight your kids to take their temperature like I used to, the price might be worth it. Also, it seemed to take adult temperatures just fine too :)

I am very lucky to have received this product free from Influenster for testing purposes. While the product was free, the opinions here are my own. 

If you are interested in joining Influenster, leave your email in the comments below, or shoot me an email at jenarynkrystelle(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll invite you.