Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Apple Watch

So...this is my post about my Apple Watch :).

Things to note:
1. I am probably the worst person EVER to discuss an Apple product with anyone...because I'm not techy at all.  My friend Lori has to help me with my iPhone all the time.  The minute it starts acting up, I call her...which is more often than she would probably like.  Lori was among the many surprised by this purchase :).

2. "How do you like your Apple Watch?" is now the number one question trending on my blog, IG comments and email ;).  Okay, maybe not the number 1...but it's pretty darn close!  Since so many of you are asking, I thought I should probably share.

3. I'm really hoping some of you Apple Watch owners will share tips/tricks/advice because I know I'm not maximizing my watch to the fullest...so any other info would be great!

Remember way back last April when I asked you guys if I should get a Fitbit or not?  I had been contemplating this purchase for sometime, so I did what I often do...I polled you guys :).  The response actually really surprised me.  The Fitbit is slightly polarizing with you ladies.  Some of you swore by them, some of you were not happy with yours, some of you didn't know what a Fitbit was...the response was fierce and all over the place.  And because the "do you love Fitbit?" answers were so diverse, I decided against it at the time.  I did have at least one person comment and another person email me that they would invest any Fitbit money I had into an Apple Watch instead...and for some reason, those comments stuck with me.

Fast forward to October...

...remember when we were in New York and randomly ran into two friends walking down the street in Soho?  Stephanie (in the middle) lives in NYC and our friend Laura was there visiting her.  Well, they had just come from the Apple store because Stephanie apparently had been flipping out over her Apple Watch so much that Laura had just purchased one too.  So, when we bumped into them, they were on an Apple Watch high...and apparently, it was contagious.

After we parted ways, I told Andrew that they had basically convinced me to get an Apple Watch.  His response?  You wouldn't know how to work it. #thetruthhurts #yetthetruthisthetruth

So, I once again, I put the Apple Watch thought out of my head.  Fast forward two weeks and...the speakers on my iPhone stopped working (I had no sound coming out).  I made an appointment at the Apple Store and took my phone in.  They do what they do there...they take your product that needs to be repaired in the back and then they park you on a stool next to some sort of Apple product...and as luck would have it, they parked me next to the Apple Watches where there was a video explaining the watch and how you basically can't live without it.  I sat there and watched that video play over and over and over again for 45 minutes.  And then I knew I needed one.  Product person placement works like that in the Apple Store.

So, the first week in December, I bought myself an Apple Watch.  I remember it clearly...I met Erika at the mall that day and I told her I was buying an Apple Watch...and she looked confused.  Friends, apparently my technology ineptness is apparent to everyone!  That being said, I bought myself a watch and took it home.

I went home...I opened the box (it does NOT come with instructions), I went online to Apple's website and watched every video they had on using your watch...and about 1½ hours later, I was obsessed with my watch. OBSESSED.

Andrew came home from work and saw my new watch, pretty sure he called me a dork and we sat down to dinner.  By the time dinner was over, Andrew wanted a watch too.  He had watch envy.  So, I bought him one for Christmas...'cause the watch is cool y'all.

You can send another Apple Watch little drawings, handwritten pictures, your heartbeat and such...so, pretty much all day long, I'm sketching him a heart or a smiley face.  He's really good at drawing pictures and sending them to me on my watch.  He laughs because I can pretty much just draw a smiley face, a heart and XOXO.  I like to hold my finger down and send him my heartbeat.  It's easier than drawing a picture and it's sweet :).

Okay, that's how I ended up with the watch...this is why I love the watch...

1. I hardly ever look at my phone now.  It's weird but true.  The watch DOES NOT replace your phone...they work together.  My phone can be anywhere in the house (like at the bottom of my purse in my closet) and my watch will ring if my phone is ringing (and I can answer and carry on a conversation with someone from my watch), it notifies me of everything from email to text messages, FB notifications, Pinterest repins, Instagram likes...whatever you have it set for, it will notify you.  And it's so much easier and less distracting to glance at your watch on your wrist then check your phone or computer.  I even have mine set to notify me of Red Sox news.  So, during a game, if I'm not watching, I can still get quick notifications without having to look at my phone.  I don't know about you...but most of the time, I don't need to be looking at my phone.  I just hear it ping and I wonder if it's a client getting back to me about a vacation...when it's usually something like this...

...an email that doesn't require my immediate attention.  I just glance at my wrist, see that it's not important and keep on doing what I'm doing (which at the moment is typing this post for you!).  And if I'm upstairs folding laundry and hear my phone ringing downstairs...instead of running down the stairs and across the house to see if it's a client/a doctor/my kids' school (you know, someone important that I need to speak with right away) I can just answer on my wrist...or, if I see that it's let's say my dad calling for the 12th time that day to talk about the Red Sox, I can hit "decline" and either call him back later or talk to him when he calls the 13th time ;).

So, the #1 reason I love my watch is because I am less interested in my phone now. #amen

2. I love the fitness app!  Okay, I'm totally into the fitness app on the watch.  It is constantly monitoring my heart-rate, tells me when I've been sitting too long (it will buzz and say that I need to stand up and move around), counts my steps (A-mazing!  I'm now totally aware of the days when I move less then other days.  Counting my steps daily has really helped my overall fitness because you know what...some days, I just don't move enough).  It counts my calories, measures distances for me (like when I walk or run), tells me how many calories I burned/steps I took/what my heart rate was in fitness classes...the app is so helpful!

3. Siri is my new bestie.  I don't really use Siri on my phone, but on my watch, I use her all the time!  I can be driving and while holding on to the steering wheel with both hands the whole time, I can just say, "Hey Siri, text Andrew that I'll be there in five." and bam, it's done without ever glancing down.  (I know Siri works like this on your phone too...but your wrist is just way more convenient than picking up your phone!).

So, these are the three things I love most about the watch.  I would say that if I could make any improvements to my watch they would be:
1. Longer battery life.  My watch works for about 1½ days (I charge it every night before bed and the battery is typically around 45%).  I wish the battery lasted two full days without charging.

2. I wish it were waterproof!  If my watch was waterproof, I wouldn't take it over.  I would shower and swim with it on :).

So, your watch face can be very basic (with just the time), you can put a picture on there (maybe of your kiddo along with the time)...there are a million ways to customize the watch face. I like this as my watch face...

#1: The date
#2: The red dot lets me know that I have a notification waiting for me (in case I missed it). I just swipe up to see what it is (an email/text/missed call/Red Sox score/etc)
#3: The time
#4: I have my fitness app info on the watch face to let me know how active I've been that day.  Calories burned (on this day, I set my active calories to 300), number of minutes I exercised so far that day, and number of hours I've been standing (it recommends you stand at least one minute of every hour, so I had done that at least four hours that day).
#5: My timer/alarms.  I bake and cook so much that I love being able to set the timer on my watch and then walk away from my kitchen.  This way, I know I won't miss my timer when my food is done cooking...my watch will beep and vibrate!
#6: The battery life left on my watch.
#7: The current temperature.

You can click any of those options and it will open up and show you more info.  Like if you click on the temperature, it will open the weather app and show you the 24 hour forecast/7 day forecast/radar/etc.

If you press that top button on the right then all of my apps open up.  There are so many great apps! I have it synced with my phone, so that all of the apps on my phone that are Apple Watch compatible will automatically show on my watch.  If I wanted to, I could scroll through Instagram on my watch, get directions (the navigation/direction app is awesome! It vibrates every time you need to turn, so in NYC, it was super helpful!), you can sync music on here and then when you're out walking/running, you can hear songs off of your watch and don't have to carry your phone.  It syncs right up with your Bluetooth device.  Love!  Pandora plays through your watch, there's Twitter, my Bible app (for daily verses or looking up scripture), my Fox News app is on here (so I get notifications when something around the world happens right to my wrist), my Starbucks app is on here so I can pay right off my wrist when ordering a drink...and those are only a few!

Now, I'm old-fashioned and still use a regular planner instead of my planner/calendar on my phone...but that is an option too.  Andrew has his calendar synced with his watch so that he gets reminders, alarms for appointments and such right there on his wrist.  He can also scroll through and look at other dates as well (the whole app opens right up).

A few more basic facts before I finish...

1. There are two sizes of watches and I bought the bigger size because I like big watches.  The guy at the Apple store said the size I bought is typically bought by men instead of women...but I like my watches big so I purchased the 42mm case instead of the 38mm.  Same watch, two different sizes.

2. I bought the gold aluminum case (it also comes in silver, black and rose gold).  The aluminum cases are the least expensive options.

3. My watch came with a navy band, so I bought one white band and a taupe band to use instead (and gave Andrew my navy).  It's super, super, super easy to switch out bands!

4. I bought the Apple protection plan for my watch and I'm glad that I did because about four weeks after purchasing mine, it stopped working and Apple just overnighted me a new one.  I've had my new one now for over four months and haven't had a single problem.

Whew!  I think I've covered pretty much everything!

I hope this helps some of you out who are trying to decided if you need one or not.  Please feel free to leave comments below if you have questions and again, if you have an Apple Watch, please, please, please feel free to leave other tips and tricks that I left out!

Annnnnd...don't forget to check out my foodie blog today...

...for the easiest little pasta salad recipe ever!  My Bleu Cheese & Cranberry Pasta Salad will have everyone around you jealous during lunch.  It's just so darn good!

If you're doing our Every Day in May challenge, it's up today!  Click here to see today's challenge.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 2, 2016

When you need a book...on a topic

Okay...I get questions all the time about what to read for certain things?  Pregnancy. Faith. Raising kids. Adoption. And lots of other random topics.  So, today, I'm sharing some of my favorite books that I always recommend when people email me.  And as always, if you want to contribute to my list, please do so in the comment section!  In my opinion, you just can't have too many book reviews.

And pssssst...don't forget about this...

If you missed Friday's giveaway, click here to enter to win!

And one more thing...

...our Every Day in May challenge started yesterday on Facebook.  Follow along here.  I'll recap them each Friday, but to see the daily do something good for yourself suggestion, see my FB page.

I mean...holy pregnancy :).  This is me with Kensington (and my oldest and dearest friend in the world KARA!!).

When people ask me what they should read when pregnant...I always say these two...

I mean to tell you...The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy says it like it is (which often isn't pretty!).  I read it with both pregnancies...and loved it both times!

And then if you like blunt, honest, shockingly truthful...

...you can count on Jenny McCarthy.  Belly Laughs is not only hysterical but helpful!  I found it to be very genuine and accurate (and slightly disgusting...but hey, pregnancy is sometimes yucky!).

So those are my two favorite pregnancy books.  Next up, child raising books...

Bringing Up Girls and/or Bringing Up Boys both by James Dobson
Pray Big For Your Child by Will Davis Jr.
The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic

...are all the ones I recommend over and over again.  There are a million great books on raising kiddos but I always come back to these.

If you need some good girl books that will encourage/inspire/uplift you (the ones you would recommend to your best girl friends)...here's what I love...

Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs 
Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle
Nobody's Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson
Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

If you need some books on faith...I have a big list :).

First of all, The One Year Bible is my favorite way to read through the Bible.  You can read it through in one year or inside, it explains how to read it through in two years.  Each day, the reading segment will only take you about 10 to 15 minutes if you're reading it through in one year.  I like the New Living Translation the best.  If you just want a good Bible to read (that's not broken down like the One Year Bible), then I love the Life Application Study Bible, also in the New Living Translation.

Okay, on to other faith-based books I love...

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
Radical by David Platt
God is Able by Priscilla Shirer
So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore
Breaking Free by Beth Moore
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen Kendrick

If you're looking for books on adoption...my very favorite is Forever Mom by Mary Ostyn.  I believe I read 11 books on adoption before I read this one...and then, I felt silly because I really only needed to read this one book.  This author knows her stuff and covers everything.  Love this book!

I get asked a lot what I read when I was struggling with infertility and honestly, I didn't read anything besides my Bible and different Bible studies I was doing at the time (I did a lot of Beth Moore studies during that time).  I wish I had a great recommendation for you, so if you have one, please share!  I get asked this question all the time!

Whew!  So, these are my favorite topical books.  Again, if I missed something, please let me know.

  Tomorrow, I'm going to talk about something I get asked about all the time.  It's currently trending as my number one question via email (and often comments too)...it's the one thing that makes people who know me go, huh?  Really?  She's so not techy at all?  This doesn't make sense?
Tomorrow, I'm talking about my Apple Watch :).

Check this out for Meal Planning Monday...

...or this...

...or my other yummy recipes for the week!

You don't want to miss any of them!  Click here to see them all!

Happy Monday friends!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Favorites with a Giveaway!

It's an extra special Friday Favorites because it's a giveaway day!


As always, I'm linking up with Andrea, Narci and Erika and sharing my favorite things from this week...and one just happens to be a Mother's Day giveaway.  Get to reading friends!

Don't forget if you're local, come support Manda and her family tomorrow at a Matilda Jane event.  This is being held at a kids' play area, so you can totally bring your littles with you.  Kensington, Ashby and I will be there checking out the new Matilda Jane stuff because 40% of our total purchase will go straight to Manda (our precious friend with cancer).  I hope to see many of you there!  

So, this is the second time around that I've named these a favorite...but I feel like they deserve a mention yet again today...


We have had swim lessons every day after school this week, so I have been bringing my kids their Snackeaze filled with water and a snack for the car.  One cup holds both a drink and snack.  

Freaking genius.  

My mom bought my kiddos these at Target and we seriously use them all the time.  I even use them when I'm out and about and know I'll need a snack.  Love, love, love.  

Speaking of my mom...

...in honor of Mother's Day today, I'm kicking off a giveaway with Nordstrom to celebrate mamas!  You can enter to win today a $300 Nordstrom gift card to give to your favorite mama.  This doesn't have to be your actual mom...just your favorite mom (maybe an aunt, your sister, your grandma, your daughter...just a mom).  Enter to win at the bottom of my blog post today.  The winner will be announced next Friday.  Thank you so much to Nordstrom for making this giveaway possible!

And speaking of Nordstrom and mamas...I rounded up some of my favorite skin care (and scent!) products that your favorite mom might like this Mother's Day.  

Things to note: 
1. I did not mention wrinkle cream because no woman wants wrinkle cream gifted to her :).  My friend Farah gave her mom wrinkle cream as a gift one time when we were in high school and her mom was so mad.  #justsayin' #irememberitclearly #nogood
2. I did mention sunless tanner because my own mother will love that as a gift so your mama might too!
3. I'm going to try and share only Mother's Day gift ideas that are not size related...because guessing on sizes really blows...so let's just avoid that altogether.

Here are some of my personal favorite beauty products from Nordstrom...all of which I've bought multiple times over the years because they're just darn perfect...

#1 & #2
My two favorite scents are Burberry Brit and Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb.  I've been wearing them both for years and years and in my opinion, neither can be topped.  Don't believe me?  Read both of their reviews online...people love these two fragrances!

I've shared my love for this lip scrub a million times, but it's just the perfect little bit of whimsy meets necessity.  Dry flaky lips have no chance against the tiniest amount of this Sara Happ scrub.  This is my fourth bottle in about as many years to buy (I can get a bottle to last about a year).  Rub it on, wipe it off, and your lips and flake-free.  Bonus, it comes in amazing scents!  I've purchased this Vanilla Bean, Peppermint, Grapefruit and Creme Brulee before.  All fantastic!

Speaking of scrubs...my favorite face scrub is Bobbi Brown's Radiance Boost Mask (it smells like orange peel).  A little drop of this on your face and you're good to go!  About twice a week, I'll rub it in and then wipe it off...my face feels so nice and smooth after this!  And then you guys know how much I love my Moisture Surge Overnight Mask.  Thanks to your recommendations, I bought some this winter and it completely revitalized my skin.  The results were actually quite shocking.  The first morning I woke up after using it, I could instantly feel that my face was more hydrated.  This was one of the best tips I've ever received from you ladies!  And then, everyone is talking about Glam Glow...so I tried their firming mask (warning: comical and scary picture ahead)...

...hahaha!  I wanted you to see how the mask is silver.  I was totally intrigued by this stuff!  It goes on silver and then dries completely before you peel it off.  It smells insanely delicious and left my skin more firm and feeling fantastic.  It's like totally silver though and that kind of freaked me out at first...now that I've used it four or five times, I'm obsessed.  I'm using their Gravity Mud Firming Treatment.

And then, my favorite skincare/beauty item to receive, and let's face it, my mom would love to have these gifted to her, are...

The glow pads for body and face.

These pads make you look tan.


I've tried everything and every year, I get sucked back into creams and lotions and then every year, I just throw in the towel, buy these wipes and have a great little faux-tan.  The face wipes I uses year around, but the body towels, I only use during the spring/early summer.  You open up the box, pull out a packet, open it, remove the baby wipe type towel and then rub it all of yourself...and then the next morning, you're tan.  I always take a shower, dry off, apply a tanning towel, wait about 3 or 4 minutes for it to dry and then put my pjs on.  The next morning, tan.  Legit tan.  These are AMAZING.  Like, the Dr. Gross people should get me to be their spokesperson...I'd make them billions ;).

So, those are a few of my favorite little skincare/scent products to give or receive for Mother's Day.  I'm going to share more stuff next week, and don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter below! 
 One lucky winner will receive a $300 Nordstrom gift card for their favorite mama!

On Wednesday, I got to spend the day with my favorite kindergartner at the aquarium for their field trip!


Smith had been looking forward to this day for such a long time, and I'm happy to say that it lived up to his expectations!  Hooray for field trips! 

I have the perfect recipe for you on my foodie blog today...

Oh friends, you need to check this recipe out.  

Sunday is May 1st and we're kicking off our Every Day in May challenge (read more about it here).  I thought we should just go ahead and rip the band-aid off...how about we kick off May 1st without any caffeine?  

I know!!! 

I'm upset already!  

Let's be honest...there is no way we can do that on a Monday, so let's just do it on a Sunday and see how we feel.  Based on your feedback, eliminating caffeine is a big goal...so let's do this.  We can make it one day friends. #ihope   And if we do, who knows?  Maybe we'll attempt it on Monday too?  #doubtful

Leave or read the suggestions here.

Have the best weekend!  See you guys on Monday!

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