Category Archives: Tips & Reviews

360 Chicago – Fun For All Ages

chicago

chicago

Visiting Chicago never gets old. Each time I’m there, I’m amazed at how much Chicago has to offer. During my son’s fall break, we drove from Nashville to Chicago to visit my oldest daughter and son-in-law. This was my son’s first visit to Chicago and he loved it.

If you’re visiting Chicago for the first time, one of the things you should do is step into the iconic John Hancock building, take the elevator to the 94th floor, and enjoy the view 360 Chicago has to offer. You’ll get 360 degree views of the city skyline and lakefront. The John Hancock Center stands at 1,500 feet, making it the fourth tallest building in Chicago.

chicago

chicago

Visiting the observation deck was the first thing we did. After going through the security checkpoint, we moved on to the photo gallery where you can learn about Chicago’s history and communities. The ticket line on that Saturday was long so it took us about 40 minutes to get to the elevators. But once you get to the elevators, the ride only takes 45 seconds to travel 94 floors.

chicago

chicago

The views are breathtakingly beautiful!

chicago

There’s more. If you want thrilling views of Chicago, you need to get tickets to TILT. This attraction tilts visitors out 30 degrees from the 94th floor, providing the most thrilling views. Since I’m afraid of heights, I chickened out. The rest of my family loved it, however.

chicago

This TILT is 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile.

chicago

Our group consisted of a teen, several young people in their 20’s, and a 40+ year old mom. 360 Chicago is a fun experience for all ages. I would highly recommend it. Next time I’m there, I’d love to visit at night.

 

***Thank you #360Chicago for providing the tickets. We had an awesome time.***

Is Your Child Ready For A Debit Card?

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Greenlight, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GreenPMG  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Greenlight debit card

Last month, my son, Daniel, started high school. I still can’t believe it. How can it be that just four short years from now, he’ll be a college freshman?

Daniel loves high school and is eager to join varies clubs and sports teams. I’m all for it . I want him to have a great high school experience. In middle school, Daniel was a member of the school’s Quiz Bowl team. The kids did great – the team won state (Tennessee), which meant they were able to compete in the nationals in Orlando, Florida.

While I prepaid for his transportation, hotel, and admission tickets,  Daniel brought cash for his meals, drinks, etc. And because the team stayed for an entire week, I had to give him a pretty large amount of cash. Teenagers are always hungry and I certainly didn’t want him to run out of food money. Needless to say, I worried he’d lose the money. I also worried he’d spent his money on unnecessary things instead of nutritious meals.

high school freshman

Cash can only go so far and it significantly limits your ability as a parent to stay informed about your child’s spending activity. That’s where Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids comes in. The Greenlight debit card is not only exciting for kids, but it provides extra control and convenience for busy parents who don’t want to miss out on teachable moments. Plus, what child doesn’t want a plastic card like their parents?!

A Greenlight debit card may be safer for kids and teens than cash and prepaid debit cards. Why? Cash can be lost, stolen or spent outside of your agreed-upon spending plan. Your kids can’t withdraw cash or get cash back from their Greenlight Card. And if your child loses a prepaid debit card, it’s as good as losing cash. If your child’s Greenlight card is lost or stolen, you can quickly lock it and block purchases.Greenlight debit card

Greenlight costs just $4.99/mo per family, which includes cards for up to 5 children. It also offers zero-fee loading for parents transferring money into their Greenlight account. You can try it for 30 days before deciding if it is right for you and your family.

Next month, Daniel, turns 14 and he wants to get a job. Although his options are limited at this age (grocery bagger, fast food worker), I admire his motivation and drive.

occasionally, I “hire” him as my blog photographer and “computer person”. Not gonna lie, the kid knows more about computers (and technology in general) than I do. Gone are the days where I could  “pay” him with a slice of pizza.  Now I have to pay him real money. I can give him cash (which I almost never have on me) or I can transfer money from my account to his Greenlight card.

I think it’s important to give your child more independence as they reach a new age and stage in life, and having a debit card is a big responsibility.

Greenlight was made for children and built by parents. Unlike most debit cards, Greenlight supports kids ages 8-18. Greenlight believes that each child should learn the basics of money management as soon as possible, and it’s one of the most important things you will ever teach them.Greenlight

SOME GREAT GREENLIGHT FEATURES:
  • Greenlight offers a convenient automated allowance feature to ‘set it and forget it’ so your kids always receive their allowance on time, with no fees for you.
  • Greenlight allows kids independence to spend their own money while you retain control over where their money is spent and how much they have to spend in certain stores or types of retailers.
  • Greenlight enables you to approve specific stores where your kids can spend money. Simply search for a specific store within the app and add money to your child’s card instantly. Don’t want to set restrictions? Add money via the “Spend Anywhere” Greenlight and your child can spend that money where they see fit. You and your child will receive real-time notifications after each purchase.
  • Whether your child makes a purchase, requests money, or sends you a message, you’ll receive an instant notification of all activity so you’re always in the know.
  • Greenlight is the safest way to give your kids money, approve their spending, and prepare them to become financially smart adults.
  • Greenlight is far safer than cash beyond just having a unique PIN. Even if the card is stolen, thieves will be hard pressed to figure out which stores the card will work at without also having access to the app.
  • Lose a Greenlight Card or want to temporarily disable your child’s card? No sweat. Simply turn the card off within the Greenlight App. Parents can turn a card on or off at any time instantly!
  • Greenlight is available for iOS and Android
FREE TRIAL & A $20 BONUS

Sign up for Greenlight before 10/30 and they’ll deposit a $20 bonus into your account after the 30-day free trial ends. *deposit bonus made approximately two weeks after free trial ends.

How are you preparing your children to become financially savvy adults? I’d love to hear from you.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Snapshots from Twitty City

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #SamsungGS8atSamsClub   #CollectiveBias

samsung galaxy s8

samsung galaxy s8

Like most people, my phone has become almost an extension of myself. I use it to keep track of upcoming events, keep in contact with friends and family, blog, tweet, pin, share, stumble … and I’ll occasionally make a phone call with it too.

However, the thing that is used the most on my phone is the camera. My kids’ high school and college graduations, birthdays, music performances, sporting events, proms, travels … I have to photograph everything.  I love taking photos … they’re priceless memories I can never recapture. I like to photograph to remember it all.  I have to preserve it all.

So, when the opportunity to test the new Samsung Galaxy S8 came up, I was ecstatic, particularly so I could try out the camera function.

The camera quality is superb. I wish I had this phone when my kids were little. Oh, the photos I could have taken!

samsung galaxy s8

Although I’m not very tech-savvy, I was impressed by what the Samsung Galaxy S8 offers:

  • The world’s first Infinity Screen. This is amazing as the screen stretches from edge to edge, giving you the most amount of screen in the least amount of space.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is even more expansive. This is Samsung’s biggest screen yet.
  • Water Resistance- A phone that can handle a splash or accidental dunk.
  • Fast Wireless Charging-  You can power up without having to plug in. Charger sold separately.
  • Micro SD Card- You can expand your storage up to 256GB with a microSD card. MicroSD card sold separately.

It’s a beautiful design (available in several colors) with sleek lines and fits in the hand reasonably easily.

One of my favorite places to visit in Nashville is Twitty City. This place is beautiful in the summer and pure magic during the Christmas season. Here’s  where I put the camera to test. This time I was in front of the camera and my son was the photographer.

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The camera quality is a dream come true for anyone who enjoys taking pictures of places or loved ones.  As an amateur photographer, I like to be able to point and shoot at something within a moment, without having to spend a lot of time messing around with different settings; and this camera allowed me to do just that.

IMG_1385

samsung galaxy s8

samsung galaxy s8

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samsung galaxy s8

The camera captures colors beautifully. The colors are vibrant and crisp, no editing necessary.

samsung galaxy s8

Of course, I had to take selfies. The camera softens and brightens your skin, making you look almost airbrushed in the best way possible.

samsung galaxy s8

Here, I wanted to see how well the camera captures motion. Really sharp, I do say so myself.

samsung galaxy s8

Do you see how well the camera captures the tree leaves on the right? You can see every detail.

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What I also love about this camera is that it is incredible at creating a shallow depth of field (with an aperture of 1.7,), which gives almost a professional SLR quality to the images.

samsung galaxy s8

The images it takes are sharp, the colors are beautiful, and each photo comes out Instagram-ready, little editing necessary. Even though it was a cloudy day, the colors are rich and balanced and the camera focused precisely.

samsung galaxy s8

samsung galaxy s8

samsung galaxy s8

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I’m impressed with the camera’s macro capabilities. The rose in the foreground is crisp and in focus, while the rest is blurred.

samsung galaxy s8

Sometimes kids (especially teenagers) get annoyed with their parents for taking so many pictures.  It kind of grates on their nerves. Let me tell you, someday, they’ll be extremely happy to have piles and piles of gorgeous, carefully considered photos of their childhood, through the lens of their parent’s eye. My two grown children look at some of the old photos and cry. Those photographs capture everything that was beautiful about their childhood, and they give permanence to their past.

My kids are the best thing I have in this world, and moms get to be a little nutty about it all sometimes.  Someday your kids will thank you for all the pictures you’ve snapped, for the beauty you saw in their every gesture, and for preserving those ordinary, extraordinary moments of their childhoods.

samsung galaxy s8

samsung galaxy s8

If you are interested in the GS8 or GS8+ check out Sam’s Club Mobility Center which takes care of all your mobile needs with VIP treatment and excellent customer service.

  • You can get phones and plans for the major carriers in your area such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and  U.S. Cellular.
  • You can purchase a new line or upgrade
  • Change your carrier or your plan on your carrier
  • Single use or multi-line available (not business)

 

ONE DAY Special – August 5

Receive a $350 Sams’ Club Gift Card plus free activation when you purchase a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ on installment or U.S. Cellular 2-year agreement.* Installment contracts not available in clubs for U.S. Cellular. In club offer.

 

Are you that mom who takes lots of photos of their kids?  What device do you use to capture it all?

 

 

*One gift card per activation on installment. Limit five gift cards per membership. Gift card will be provided at the time of activation and may not be used toward same transaction or to pay for membership fee, or select services. Subject to all terms of Sam’s Club Mobile Secondary Retail Agreement. This offer may not be combined with any other offer promotion. Limited time availability. Offers subject to change. Carriers, coverage, and products may vary by location. Devices may require select plan and data subscriptions, credit approval, activation fee and termination fees. Upgrade eligibility may vary. 4G not available in all markets. See club for details. This offer is not valid online. Limit of five phones per membership.