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4th of July Party Idea’s

It’s been a while since I’ve thrown a party and I am thinking that I may get one together this year for 4th of July. I love the red, white and blue themes and any chance to drink adult beverages with friends sounds like a good idea to me. I’ve been cruising through my Red, White and Blue Pinterest board  for 4th of July party ideas and I think I found some!

red white and blue 4th of July Party Ideas Pinterest Board

I also came across these awesomely cute ideas in my inbox this morning from Family Fun.

Sweet & Salty Sparklers – 4th of July Snack Idea

sweet and salty pretzel sticks 4th of July Snack Idea


Layered with white chocolate and studded with sprinkles and M&M’s, our pretzel treats add flare to any party spread. Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt 1 cup of white chocolate chips in a medium, heat-safe bowl according to the package directions. Use a spoon to drizzle 1pretzel rod at a time with chocolate (you’ll have enough chocolate to make a dozen), then lay the rod on the prepared sheet and scatter it with red and blue sprinkles and M&M’s. Chill the pretzels in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets, about 15 minutes.

Red, White and Blue Saber Pops

4th of July Snack Idea freezer pops

Feel the force of ice-cold refreshment—and keep hands unfrozen—with these felt cozies. For each, cut a 3- by 4-inch rectangle from gray felt. Fold it over a freeze pop and use fabric glue to seal the side and bottom edges. Clamp the fabric closed with binder clips or clothespins, if needed. Slip the felt off the pop. Glue on stripes and dots of black and colored felt. When your pop is frozen and the glue is dry, you’re ready to battle the heat!

Red, White and Blue Spritzers – 4th of July Party Ideas

red white and blue spritzers ice cubes 4th of July Snack Idea
Tricolored spritzers offer a refreshing way to celebrate the Fourth. Make several trays of ice cubes with beverages colored red, white, and blue (we used cranberry juice, water, and Powerade Mountain Berry Blast). To serve, place the cubes in separate buckets and let guests make their own drinks with plain seltzer.

What about you? Do you have some great 4th of July party ideas? Please leave me a link to your post and I will pin it to my Pinterest Board! 

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Ipsy Review: Inexpensive Beauty Subscription Bag Plan

Do you Ipsy? No? Well, by now I am sure you have seen at least one of your FaceBook friends post that they just got off the waitlist for Ipsy (I’ll tell you that little secret in a minute). So you may be thinking what is Ipsy and why is everyone going nuts for it?

Remember a few months ago when I told you about my obsession with the Glossybox beauty subscription plan? Ipsy is sort of the same thing but on a smaller scale and a much smaller price tag. At $10 (includes shipping) a month you get a cute makeup bag (that is sort of their signature thing) with 4-6 new beauty products, often with just one of them being worth more than the $10 price of the subscription. Basically, Ipsy is the perfect way to treat yourself to something fun and get in on the subscription beauty bag craze at very little cost. I also think it makes a great gift for a college student. And lets not forget all of these tend to be the perfect size for traveling.

At first I was worried that the products in the Ipsy bags would be a bit too “young” for me…like glitter nail polish and the like but I have been pleasantly surprised. I gave the nail polishes to my nieces and the bags are still on the money plus side for me. Here is a look at some of the recent months for me:

may ipsy bag

june ipsy bag

march ipsy bag

If you want to see a descriptions of each of the products go to My Subscription Addiction (link will take you directly to her Ipsy reviews) I think she is the best blogger talking about subscription boxes on the net right now.

Get Off the Ipsy Waitlist

If you are ready to sign up, here is my Ipsy referral link (it just gets me more samples and such, no money). When you sign up you will be put on a waitlist. Once you are on the waitlist then go to this skip the Ipsy waitlist link and connect your Facebook account to it. Let it post to Facebook and you will get a message that you are off the waitlist. Easy peasy! If that sort of post bugs you, you can always delete it once it posts and revoke Ipsy’s access to your page in your Facebook settings under “apps”.

Just a reminder: this is not a sponsored post. I don’t work with them. The referral link above is available to anyone that has an account. I genuinely love Ipsy and wanted to share about it. I’ll be posting more of the subscription boxes I get soon. I have my own subscription addiction problems. 

Want to bookmark this post on Pinterest? Here is a great image:

Ipsy Beauty Subscription Review. Is it right for you?

 

 

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Jawbone Up24

A couple of weeks ago Verizon sent me up to San Francisco to meet with other bloggers on the #VZWBuzz team and visit the Verizon Innovation Center. Geeks beware. If you ever want to just truly geek out on the new tech things coming to market you may want to score an invite here. I saw so many cool things being tested, some I can talk about and some I can’t. Some are things just in conception and others are full blown and already on the market. One of the biggest areas of tech innovation is in sports and personal health. Some tech I was blown away with are meant for the NFL and a little hush hush so instead I will tell you about the innovations in personal health that are widely available to the market.

jawboneup24One of these little goodies is my new constant companion. The Jawbone Up24. While its being marketed as a fitness device I’m actually using it to help me track how I feel and what effects my lupus. Yes, I know the purpose is to get me moving more but right now I am just mining data about my body from it and its been really useful.

I wear the Jawbone Up24 24 hours a day and in addition to giving me data about how little I move…which is a scary little amount (averaging around 4500 steps a day and having my periods of movement be an average of 7 mins a piece) I also get data on how well (or not) I sleep. This has been the goldmine of information I have been looking for. Let’s take a look at last night. The information from my band is being constantly uploaded to the Up app on my Samsung Note 3. Jawbone Up24 is compatible with most iOS and Android devices.

jawbone up24 sleep data

Pretty interesting info, huh? So how does this help me? Well. Through using the section of notes that you can leave on each one of these I can look back at last week and realize I am probably going to feel like crap today. Any day where I get less than 7 hours and 30 mins I have documented significant pain. What was I thinking  getting into bed at 11:22 pm? I know if I want to function the next day I need to be in bed by 9. Yes. I am turning into an old person OR be able to sleep through that period in orange in the morning where the dogs get up. Bob is out of town and handles that for me usually. So, here I have concrete info about how him traveling effects my body. LOL. He should bring me gifts now.

My sleep data is actually pretty similar to the night before so I can show you yesterdays movement data which will likely be similar to today.

jawbone up24 movement data

You can see my movement significantly drops between 10 am and 5 pm and according the notes I am leaving myself this is also the time period where I am in the greatest amount of pain. This tells me if I took something at 9 instead of when I first get up maybe I could reduce that. I am trying it this week actually. It also tells me I need to make a constant effort to get UP during that time and move. I have set my Jawbone to vibrate on my wrist every 30 mins as a reminder.

About wearing the band: it’s actually quite comfortable. I have had it on for 10 days straight except for showers and I haven’t had any issues. I have the black in large and its goes with everything. It has slipped off my wrist two nights in my sleep. It is very hard to write with a pen and paper with it on but I have no problem typing.

I think the data I am gathering about myself is priceless in helping me understand what is happening with my body. I need to find ways to sleep better. I need to move more between 10-5. This sounds dumb and simple and why would I need a device to tell me this? Because, really? I don’t think many of us are as in tune with our bodies as we think. I would have never guessed that the times I am up and moving about is really only about 7 mins. It feels like forever. Especially when I am hurting. I know most people use these devices to help them lose weight (you can track what you eat with this as well) and hopefully I will get there but right now I think its interesting to see how these devices can help anyone understand their body and use that information to make small, but potentially, life changing decisions.

Important Info & Disclosure: Average price for the Jawbone Up24 is around $150. It’s big competitors are the FitBit, which is a bit more social and gamified and the Samsung Gear Fit. I fell in love with Connie’s in San Fran. Her review is in the link. I received my Jawbone Up24 as gift from Verizon Wireless. I have an ongoing relationship with them through the #VZWBuzz program.

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May Came. I Survived.

Wow….did May just happen? REALLY? It was a BLUR!

Quite frankly it was the month I have been dreading for years. The month I never thought I could get through. Yet, somehow, miraculously I survived. Barely. But I did.

I am dragging around the battle scars of my oldest’s 18th birthday, high school graduation, a house full of family staying with us, and a great trip with long weather delays to San Francisco. All wonderful things. All a lot on me physically and/or emotionally.

All so many things I have gotten through but haven’t processed. And I am not ready to quite yet. Not ready to put those feelings out there. Suffice it to say that I have always been dangerously close to my kids. Losing one, even if just for 9 months to Omaha, won’t be easy for me and each day that passes this summer just brings that closer.

This summer I plan to treasure a  healthy Carter (who is in a Lego Robotics class as I type this) and  Connor who is getting ready to leave my nest, while working at least 3 jobs this summer and trying to cram every last second with his friends at the gym.

I am immersing myself in travel and life and getting out there. I am also starting to concentrate more on me and my health . Figuring out what I am going to do when half my chickadees fly the coop. That’s the sucky part of having two kids.

San Francisco was a nice start to my travel and I gained quite a few tech tools for taking care of myself and making life easier at the Verizon Insiders Event. I had lunch with a great, old friend and hung out with so many of my like minded online buddies. Not to mention I received (free) so many great tech things it will take me all summer to tell you about. Tomorrow I will tell you all about how I am starting to use them. But today, I will just leave you with a happy May memory.

This was taken at the Baccalaureate Mass after Father Steele mentioned that Connor was recognized by his friends as being the kind of kid who could always lift their spirits and make them laugh. I am so proud of that quality in him. He has gone through a lot, that kid and if he can keep that attitude through college and his life, I will know I have equipped him well for being the man I always hoped he would be.

mass

 

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Samsung Note 3: My Personal Assistant & BFF

I have had a lot of phones. I test them for Verizon Wireless as a part of the #VZWBuzz team and love most of them to some degree or another but its rare that I love a phone in its entirety. You might remember I just compared my last three phones and ended up liking the Droid Ultra the best. But now a new heavy weight champ has entered the ring and I love, love, love it- the Samsung Note 3 Phablet.

What’s a phablet? Its a phone and tablet crossover. I admit it is big. Compared to an iphone it looks ginormous. One of the #VZWBuzz Insiders Tommy did a great video that shows you how the Samsung Note 3 stacks up to the other devices in the market

 

But even with it’s bigger than average size I can still easily slip it into the back pocket of my mom jeans (don’t judge) without its case. With it’s white leather and rose metal look it is simply the most beautiful phone I have owned and to be honest, I often go naked (the phone) with it because I love showing it off. But for those occasions when a case is absolutely required like traveling and going to sporting events or concerts I rely on my handy, sporty Spigen in orange. Here you can see both completely different looks.

samsung galaxy note 3

By the way, that screensaver is a picture I took in Jamaica with the Note 3. Pretty awesome, huh? The camera is great, has all the features I talked about in my review of the S4, easy to use and makes it super easy for me to auto upload all my photo’s to Dropbox and keep them safely tucked away in the cloud in case I lose my phone on vacation.

So what really makes this phone the BEST answer for me? Really its 3 important things:

  • Note 3 S-Pen Note sampleSize: I have been able to replace having to take both a phone and my iPad on trips.
    The 5.7 inch AMOLED screen makes it really easy to watch movies and read books on it. With the recent craziness of airlines starting to charge for carryons the less, and smaller, devices I can get away with that perform triple duty are essential.
  • The Pen. I write myself notes with it all the time. Often more serious than this one. It’s been great for jotting down phone numbers, quick to do’s and more.
  • Battery life and how it keeps up with me. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled to take it out of the box and find another, different looking charger. But then I did some reading and found out that the supplied charger is really just a super charger and the phone is backwards compatible with the regular android chargers (although slower) which leaves me with lots of options. I can easily make it through 24 hours of use without having to charge.

In short, this is my go-to device for just about everything. Many people on the #VZWBuzz already have the new Samsung S5 in hand but to be honest, I am a little bit dreading it coming my way because I just am so much in love with the Note 3. For those of you curious about the S5, Beth Levine is one of the first on the #VZWBuzz team to write about it here: Capturing Natural Beauty on the Go. But if you are a blogger, work online or travel a lot, I really think you need to get your hands on the Samsung Note 3. It is a workhorse in a beautiful package that does not disappoint!

 

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