Tsue ~ That's What She Said: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Important Steps to Battling Degenerative Retinal Diseases ~ VisionWalk

What if you woke tomorrow to discover your eyesight was failing,
permanently, irreversibly...
or your child was diagnosed with a debilitating vision disease?

As a Mom, the thought of not being able to see my children as they grow is saddening beyond measure.  The thought of my children suffering from a retinal degenerative disease is one I do not even care to consider for a moment and my heart goes out to those who will experience devastating vision issues.





Did You Know
Over 10 Million Americans are affected by blinding retinal diseases including macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome.1

Vision Walk - supporting the Foundation Fighting Blindness

VisionWalk, a national movement to support the Foundation Fighting Blindness by raising much needed funds to support crucial research to help those suffering from retinal diseases needs your help!

Walk With Purpose
Join the tens of thousands of people who have taken important steps toward a cure by participating in a 5K VisionWalk! 




FIND A VISIONWALK NEAR YOU & REGISTER TO TAKE PART

     DONATE TO HELP FIND A CURE   
    
SPREAD THE WORD & ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO JOIN YOU


with #GELighting and some quick, simple changes!

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and GE. #CBias #SocialFabric #GELighting.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.   Images and information sourced from VisionWalk.

Memory Foam ~ Hype or Haven of Comfort? Nature's Sleep Giveaway

The Hubs has been insisting for some time now that we need to make an investment in a new mattress.  Although my back tends to agree with him, I'll be the first to admit that the wide range of mattress options on the market have this Mom a bit overwhelmed.  Although I have certainly heard much to do about memory foam mattresses, I couldn't help but to wonder if was hype or truly a haven of comfort.

Nature's Sleep Memory Foam products have this Mom convinced!
Nature's Sleep quality Memory Foam Mattresses ~ Haven of Comfort

Two significant recent experiences with memory foam products have recently swayed my perception.  The first of which being my parent's recent purchase of a memory foam bed.  With significantly different preferences in bed support, they have in the past put two different twin mattresses on one king frame to appease.  Most recently their effort to compromise each of their preferences ended disastrously, with neither being satisfied or getting a good night's sleep.  While their recent new mattress shopping trip began with a wholly different target in mind, a savvy rep encouraged them to try a memory foam mattress.  Immediately, they were decided.  More importantly, after several weeks of testing, they've shared with me that their new memory foam mattress is providing the best sleep of their lives.



More personally, I had opportunity to give memory foam a bit of a test through a pair of slippers from Nature's Sleep, maker of all pampering memory foam mattresses, pillows, mattress toppers, pet beds and more!  Although certainly not lacking in cushy appeal, slippers are slippers, right?

Most decidedly not, I was soon to discover!  Although my schedule traditionally keeps this Mom on her toes, sorely needing some soft comfort for the peds, recent foot surgery has left me a bit off kilter.  Where I used to look forward to popping my day shoes off, as soon as I arrived home, I have for nearly five months been relying on the one good foot.  Said good foot is certainly getting a work out!

A level of cushion above the rest, this Mom loves her Nature's Sleep Memory Foam slippers!
A level of cushion above the rest ~ Nature's Sleep Memory Foam Slippers

Plush comfort and luxury with every step.  Indoors or out, these closed-toe slippers offer the perfect balance of softness and support in thanks to the visco-elastic memory foam inner sole, which cradles and contours to your feet while absorbing pressure and impact. 
Unlike other slippers I have tried, the Nature's Sleep Memory Foam Slippers offer a level of delightful cushion above the rest.  A plush spa quality that simply wraps your feet, or foot in my case, in comfort.  While other slippers may be soft and inviting on the outside and upper, these slippers are just as pampering, if not more so, on the inside.    With other slippers, the minimal sole cushion is deflated and flattened with use, leaving you feeling the hard base more with each step.  Not so with Nature's Sleep slippers!  The support and coziness of the memory foam inner sole maintains its comfort even when put through the rigors of one foot mobilization.

From the soft and inviting fabric, to the oh, so cushy interior, to the generous, supportive base, the Nature's Sleep slippers left this Mom's foot sighing in pleasure.  I can only imagine the full line of pampering products from Nature's Sleep as just as pampering!  Nature's Sleep offers memory foam slippers in two styles, closed and open toe, as well as in an array of colors, suitable for both men and women.

Nature's Sleep Memory Foam Products make this Mom say, "Ahhhh"!

Stay In The Know ~ Nature's Sleep

***SPECIAL OFFER***
Nature's Sleep invites That's What She Said readers to enjoy a 50% savings off any product purchased from their online store!  Simply use code BEARS50! 

***GIVEAWAY***
Nature's Sleep is generously offering That's What She Said readers a chance to win  a pair of Nature's Sleep Memory Foam Slippers (ARV $30)! 
This giveaway is open to residents of the US, 18+ and will end on Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 12:01am EST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway GOOD LUCK!



I received a pair of Nature's Sleep Memory Foam Slippers to explore for the purposes of creating this review.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Some images sourced from various Nature's Sleep sites.  Sponsor is responsible for supplying and shipping the prize.  Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest are not involved in nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion.

Fabulous Finds For Father's Day ~ Winner Takes All Giveaway

Fabulous Finds For Father's Day Winner Takes All Giveaway (ARV $500)

Do you dread Father's Day because you can never find the perfect gift? The Collective Media Magic team, Closer To Lucy, Have Sippy Will Travel, Just Like June, 3 Princes and a Princess 2, and That's What She Said, have found awesome gifts for any dad. Whether he's high tech, healthy, or laid back, we've got a gift that's sure to please. Join us and our friends as we make dads feel like a king! 

One Grand Prize Winner will receive a prize pack of the following items valued at approximately $500:

Linksy EA2700 wireless router Router  with unrivaled speed (value $109) -winner cannot have won a Linksy router in the last six months  

 
A copy of Microsoft 2010 (value $119)
See this Mom's review!




A Cafe Press Gift Certificate (value $50)


A Pair of Shoes from Shoes For Crews - Winners Choice 
(no price limit on the pair of shoes! $100 value)



Plus Work Out Gear (winner's choice of item)  
and a 
Series of Books For Dads (value $30) 

 The Fabulous Finds For Father's Day  Event will begin at 12:01 am EST May 31st and ends at 12:01 am EST June 14th.  This giveaway is open to residents of US, 18+.   


a Rafflecopter giveaway
GOOD LUCK!


I received a copy of Microsoft 2010 and Eat Smart Retro Kitchen Scale to explore for the purposes of creating reviews and hosting this giveaway.  Other giveaway hostesses received products to explore from giveaway sponsors to explore in similar fashion.  The opinions above are both honest and my own.  Images above sourced from various sponsor sites.  Various sponsors are responsible for providing and shipping prizes.  One winner will win all prizes listed above.  To be eligible to win, winner must not have won a Linsky Router within the last 6 months.  Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest are not involved in nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Best Work Out Gear For Women ~ From the Gym To On The Go

No matter the nature of your work out routine, every woman wants work out apparel that works with her.
In fact, let's face it - we expect it.  Of course, expecting isn't always getting and this Mom has had her share of disappointments.

My typically over-booked schedule doesn't allow for time to fuss over details on busy week days and I need active wear that is easy to wear, both in and out of the gym and easy to care for.  A typical tee shirt doesn't make my critical cut, usually looking like it's been through the works after a workout session.  Sweat pants, too sweaty.  Leggings leave no breathing room.



My ideal?  Clothes hold their shape and color through multiple washings, are flexible, breathable and chic enough I can wear them from walking the dog, through hurried errands, store runs and chauffeuring the kids about, as well as to the gym.

As with so many styles, material is the key to a active wear that suits.  Having been given an opportunity to test an assortment of active wear from the Russell Athletic women's collection, I was pleased to note a full line of moisture wicking gear, DRI-POWER®.  Created to help you keep your cool when you are working up a sweat, moisture wicking gear keeps moisture and perspiration at bay.  Available in several desirable colors, I loved the Wild Orchid Full Coverage Performance Tank with its subtle textured detail..  Soft yet sleek, roomy enough to not restrict my movement but cut in flattering fashion, this shirt is certainly perfect for a Mom on the go!

Russell Athletic DRI-POWER® Gear for womeni s sleek, comfortable and perfect for women on the go!
Full Coverage Performance Tank                     360™  Round Neck Tee


Also able to test the DRI-POWER® 360™ Round Neck Tee, I found this shirt less silky but still soft and smooth.  The cotton/rayon blend made for a light shirt that did a wonderful job of keeping its shape throughout my day.  It was clear that these shirts were designed with what women want in mind and I appreciate the long-waisted cut.

Women can't get enough of easy active gear bottoms, and, again, I am no exception.  The key to comfort is the right material.  Room to move, stretch, but breathable and ability to hold their shape makes the active gear bottoms from Russell Athletics tops in this Mom's book.  I fell in love with the Semi-Fit Performance Capris, again from the DRI-POWER® line.  A polyester/nylon mix, with back leg vents and a hidden pocket at the back of the waistband, the Teen Diva found herself quite taken with them, as well.  This Mom is savvy enough to know they've been commandeered for her daily runs.

Stylish, yet comfortable and flexible active wear for women from Russell Athletic
Semi-Fit Performance Capri                    Cotton Stretch Capri


Fortunately, the Cotton Stretch Capris, while right up my alley, didn't catch her eye.  Constructed of a slightly denser fabric, yet still soft, flexible and sleek, these Cotton/Polyester French Terry bottoms are the epitome of comfort yet offer a flattering line.

Best of all, these active wear components are surprisingly affordable, especially considering the moisture wicking technology.  With a range of $12.99 to $39.99, these stylish pieces are the perfect addition to a busy Mom's wardrobe!  After numerous washings, they have held their shape, color and sleek fit, making them a savvy and affordable choice.

Russell Athletic DRI-POWER® is a gal favorite!



Stay In The Know

Website    Facebook    Twitter



Russell AThletic - Women's Collection - Affordable and Stylish





I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Russell Athletics and received a product sample to facilitate my review.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Some information and images sourced from various Russell Athletic sites.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Three Easy Tips ~ Putting Your Best, Fresh Face Forward

As much as I hate to admit it, the older I get, the easier it can be to "read" my life on my face.  An unfortunate challenge that we gals of a certain age reluctantly share, skin issues such as wrinkles, fine lines, crow's feet, acne scars and age spots conspire to undermine our outer beauty.

A quick look in the mirror (because let's face it, ladies - most days a quick look is all we can bare) tells the story of not enough days in the week, more errands, appointments and meetings than one gal should ever have on her calendar and not nearly enough beauty sleep.  Add the joys of having a teenage daughter.  Mix in a last minute sheepish request for 2 dozen baked goods at 8:00pm and you have the recipe for a face that doesn't read fresh,  rather frazzled.

In my younger days, a quick cat nap or an easy facial treatment was all this Mom required to put my best fresh face forward.  However now, in my middle-ish years, the simple tricks of yore simply do not meet the challenge.  The older we get, the greater the compounded effects on our complexions.  From the joys and stresses of life, to gravity, pollution, allergies and sun damage, one thing is as clear as the skin on your face - we need help to look our best.  Not the type of gal to go softly into middle age, this Mom is on a mission to fight the good fight and to stay looking as young as I feel (on the good days!)

Three Easy Tips ~ Putting Your Best, Fresh Face Forward

1.   Hydrate, Hydrate and then Hydrate Some More
No, the coffee doesn't count!  Your skin is thirsting for simple H2O!  Adequate water consumption is key to maintaining a fresh face.  Not only does water prevents your skin from drying and flaking, it also maintains proper cell function, reduces acne breakouts and helps your skin stay healthy and radiant.  Beyond the fresh face benefits of drinking plenty of refreshing water, water helps to keep all your body's systems functioning properly, including your kidneys, which remove toxins from your body.  Oh, yes!  The same toxins that can lead to clogged pores!

2.  The New Beauty Must Have ~ Sunscreen
Long gone are the days when we could fool ourselves into thinking a sun-kissed face equated into a healthy glow.  Quite the contrary, unprotected sun exposure is beyond damaging to your skin, leading to premature aging, tanning is dangerous, increasing your chances of developing skin cancer.  The new ideal in facial glow means adding a good bronzer to your cosmetics kit and keeping a quality sunscreen on hand and on your face!

3.  Microdermabrasion ~  Spa Treatments At Home
Removing your abused outer layer of dead skin cells is key to letting your fresh face skin through, letting your inner skin beauty shine.  Although one could pay a small fortune for professional services, following simple tips for microdermabrasion at home will produce results you'll love at a fraction of the cost!  Microdermabrasion products are well worth the modest investment and many products are designed to be used alone, no equipment required.  Be certain to thoroughly read and follow the product directions to ensure best results.  You'll also want to keep in mind that your fresh new layer of skin revealed will be initially extra sensitive so you will want to take care to avoid sun exposure immediately post your home treatment.

Reveal 'N' Renew Thermal Micro-Dermabrasion Mask ~ Available online at ShopNBC.

3 easy step for a fresh face, ShopNBC, Reveal 'N' Renew, Anti-aging, Skin Care, Beauty Tips

What tips or tricks have you found help you to put your best, fresh face forward?
Have you tried facial spa treatments or microdermabrasion products at home?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you to ShopNBC for partnering on this introduction.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experience.  Image sourced from ShopNBC.

Tips For Choosing The Best Game System For You

One of the largest industries of computer applications is video gaming.  Countless games have been developed since the invention of the modern computer.  Children who wish to play video games and their parents who are charged with purchasing them can be easily overwhelmed by the plethora of choices available on the market today.  Beyond the challenge of navigating through the selection of video games choices, the decision of what gaming system to purchase can be equally daunting, if not more so.

Explore the pros and cons of gaming on PC, Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3.


If you in the process of seeking the right gaming system for your needs, read on.  To date, there are four major gaming systems to choose from for the aspiring serious gamer:  the PC, the  Xbox 360, the Sony Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii.

PC
The PC is a viable gaming option for gamers of any level.  It can be fitted with a controller and nearly all game genres.  The main advantage of the PC is the mouse and keyboard which makes it ideal for first person shooters. If you are into this type of game, the PC is the best choice. The downside of gaming with the PC is that it has limited exclusive titles, unlike the PS3 which has a great number of amazing series available, such as God of War and the Final Fantasy series. The PC is also not big on RPG's. If you want your PC to be modestly up to date in five years, you will need to be prepared to pay for top of the line currently available.

PS3
In terms of game selection, the PS3 has more games than the PC and the list of titles continues to grow.  In regard to graphics,  the PS3 has exceptional graphics, especially with exclusive titles like Metal Gear Solid, Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Grant Turismo 5 and God of War III, Uncharted series. These are debatably the best looking games available at the present time. In terms of gameplay, the PS3 offers a great balance of different genres but is particularly strong in regard to RPG's and action games.

Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is PS3's main rival. In considering graphics, the Xbox 360 has better graphics on most multi ported games, such as Mass Effect 2. However, a high-end PC beats both the 360 and PS3.  In terms of exclusive titles, the Xbox 360 has its own great titles like Halo, Gears of War and Blue Dragon. In regard to  game play, the Xbox 360 offer a wealth of action games and a strong selection of RPG's (but not as wide as the PS3's).

Wii
The Wii console is particularly popular with Japan and fitness enthusiasts. Its controls often use the whole body, requiring moderate physical activity during play. In terms of graphics, the Wii is fairly outdated. It offers a huge selection of sports and recreational games.  The Wii offers a number of exclusive titles, such as Mario, Zelda and  Xenoblade.  Some of these titles are the best RPG's although it is a shame that Wii does not offer more of them.

System Pricing
Of course,  a primary factor to consider in purchasing a game system is budget.  The PS3, the Xbox 360 and the Wii can be purchased for $100 - $150.  The PC can be more expensive if you are going high end, easily reaching retails above $1000.  If you are buying any of these consoles, I suggest using Target coupon codes for better deals.

Please see my disclosure policy here.  
Game Controller Image
Guest Post

Monday, May 28, 2012

Gain Blog Followers with Take Over Social Media Tuesday ~ #CMM



Welcome to 

Take Over Tuesday Social Media Hop
Gain Friends and Followers 
In All The Right Places
Your Hostesses are:
     Closer to Lucy             
 Have Sippy Will Travel       
 3 Princes and a Princess 2         
Just Like June      
Close To Home






             


Add your link to any or all of the Social Media Follow Groups below!  Follow as many people as you would like and be certain to leave a comment on their page to let them know you are a fan!

Please be certain to follow your hostesses.  Your presence and participation is appreciated and we will always follow you back!


We'd love for you to grab the Take Over Tuesday button to display on your site!  
The more the merrier!


Welcome to our Guest Hostess for this week's edition ~ 
Maria of
Close To Home



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Please be certain to join us again next week for 
Take Over Tuesday!
~ Guests welcome ~


Would you like to be our Guest Host?
Please fill out our Guest Host form to be included in our weekly 
Take Over Tuesdays Social Media Hop!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Expert Editing for Food Photography with Sony

If you have been following my progress in my adventures in food photography, I promise you won't be disappointed with the results of my latest lessons.  Our most recent focus: expert editing of digital food photography.  Although I have edited some of my prior photos using simple online editors, through my Food Photography course with Sony as a student of Social Fabric University, I have been introduced to Pixlr.

The Lesson
Although initially a bit intimidating, Pixlr offers all manner of professional level editing options, a far cry from the simplistic editing system I had previously used through Picasa.  Far beyond simple push bars, Pixlr contains a plethora of sensitive, detailed controls to help even an amateur shutterbug like myself take my photos to the next level!  Although I still have much to learn and wouldn't classify myself as an expert, I am now quite comfortable in utilizing most features available through the Pixlr editor, including such handy controls as:
  • level adjustments: hue, output and input
  • brightness and contrast
  • dodging and burning images
  • unsharp mask: amount, radius and threshold
  • creating layers
  • modifying image size 
Before
As much as I dislike sharing my prior work, primarily due to the cramp I now have in my neck from hanging my head in embarrassment, I feel the new level of quality I have achieved through this course is best evaluated with a base line for comparison.

Food Photography, Online Course, #CBias, #SocialFabric, Sony,
Photos edited in Picasa prior to course.


After

Food Photography, Food Photography Editing, Sony, Pixlr, Online Course,
Photos from course, edited in Pixlr

Not only does this course provide a comprehensive exploration of all topics essential to improving my food photos, all students are encouraged to explore, evaluate and provide insight and constructive criticism of each others projects.  My fellow classmates represent a wide range of pre-existing skills levels and photographic viewpoints.  The interaction and exposure to other photographer's work is thoroughly inspiring, encouraging me to try new techniques.

Reflection
Although the commitment to this course is real and requires a good deal of time from my busy schedule, I find myself left in awe of my new photographic skills.  While far from expert, I cannot help but to be pleased with my progress and find myself looking forward to each new lesson and assignment!

Online Courses, Blogger Education, #CBias, Collective Bias, #SocialFabric



Are you a photography pro or a photographer in training, like me?
What challenges you in achieving great shots?
What do you think about my first step improvement?
Tell me in a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!


I was giving an opportunity to participate in this free photography course through my association with Social Fabric, a community of Collective Bias.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experience.  Some images and information sourced from course and various sites related to Social Fabric.   Although my enthusiasm for this course is sincere, posts and badges related to SoFabU on my site are placed as part of the requirements of participating in the course.  #CBias  #SocialFabric

Friday, May 25, 2012

Simple Home Recycling Solutions ~ Rubbermaid

Has your family taken your recycling efforts as far as they can go?

Our Problem
If your family is like mine, we are full of passion for greening up our eco-footprint however making recycling the natural reaction has been an ongoing project.  This Mom can be frequently heard shouting about the house, "Who put the ........ in the waste basket?!?"  What's a green-minded Mom to do?

With a bit of extra spare time on my hands, at home recovering from foot surgery, I have taken up temporary residence on the first floor of our home, in our family room, which happens to be adjacent to our kitchen.  That's right!  Strategically placed in view of both the kitchen waste receptacle as well as the interior door to our recycling center in the garage.  The view has been illuminating, to say the least.

My Discovery
Taking advantage of both my time and location, this Mom employed a bit of stealthy spying at strategic times of peak kitchen activity and came to a disturbing albeit not completely unexpected conclusion.  The culprit  - the whole family.

After witnessing each member of my family, both casually and not so casually, toss recyclable items in our kitchen waste receptacle, I found it necessary to hold a green family meeting.  While giving my crew the full force of my sternest "Mom look", one by one the members of my family muttered and stumbled on with pleas of


"I forgot we were recycling those"
"I don't have time to go to the garage in the morning"
 and even a sheepish 
"Sorry, Hon"

To be fair, our family does have an incredibly hectic weekday schedule and are constantly on the go.  From the Hubs to my youngest, especially during my recovery, they've all done a fantastic job of stepping up.  With the kitchen waste so accessible, how is a green Mom to tackle the lure of quick convenience and make it easier for my family to do the right green thing?

The Solution
In truth, everyone in the family is a fairly good "shot" and with less than 15 steps additional steps required to travel from the kitchen waste to the interior door to the garage and our recycling containers, I could stand firm with my family, however the big green picture is truly most important.  Making recycling easier for my family, so it becomes the norm rather than an extra effort is key.

Rubbermaid, In Home Recycling, Green, Storage Containers

Having the right convenient tools to help my family recycle is key to our efforts and consistency.  With high hopes, I was thrilled to be given an opportunity to review a new product from Rubbermaid, the  2-in-1 Recycler system in our kitchen.


Made from Recycled Products, Rubbermaid, 2-in1 Recycler System, Recycling At Home

Flexibility and convenience is what this recycling unit is all about.  With two handy containers, this unit is perfectly suited for whatever your kitchen needs might be.  The large lower compartment holds a standard eight gallon trash bag and works well for either an out of sight waste receptacle or for recycling.  The upper unit is deep and generous, perfect for holding even recyclable gallon jugs.  Both compartments are removable, with convenient carrying handles for transporting your items.  The LinerLock™ feature prevents slipping, holding your liner bags firmly in place.  A foot release bar allows for hands-free tilting of the lower unit.  Best yet, this recycling solution from Rubbermaid is made of recycled materials!

Rubbermaid, Easy, Convenient, Recycling Solutions

My Take
I appreciated the compact, non-obtrusive size and design of the Rubbermaid 2-in-1 Recycler but was impressed by just how much each generous compartment held.  For the time being, we've elected to maintain a separate waster receptacle and use the 2-in-1 Recycler for the two recyclable items my family most commonly has forgotten to put in our bins: tin cans and paper waste.  Having found room for both our regular waste container and the Rubbermaid unit within the kitchen, I plan to replace the old waste container with another Rubbermaid unit, allowing for waste to be stored safely out of site (and from the interested nose of our Lab) and another recyclable compartment for plastic containers.

Rubbermaid, Recycling, Green, Simple Steps


The LinerLock™ is a great feature, enabling me to keep the compartments clean when family members cut corners in rinsing out recyclables, by keeping our liners in place.  Both compartments are easy to remove for transporting the recyclables when its time to make a run to the recycling center.

The Result
Although this Mom still maintains a close eye on the waste receptacle for recyclables, I am happy to report my family has really stepped up, with additions placed in the convenient Rubbermaid 2-in-1 Recycler system daily!

Stay In The Know
Rubbermaid on Facebook   on Twitter   
Purchase 2-in-1 Recycler system at the Rubbermaid website and in Meijer stores.

What challenges do you face in encouraging your family to recycle?
How have you made recycling easier at home?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I was provided with a Rubbermaid 2 -in-1 Recycler free of charge to explore for the purposes of creating a product review feature and giveaway.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Some images of Rubbermaid products sourced from Rubbermaid.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Weekend Family Fun ~ For One

What an atypical Memorial Weekend this is turning out to be.

Usually filled with all manner of hustle and bustle, with the whole family in an excited frenzy opening our in ground pool for the season.  This Mom bustling to keep the crew in line, fending off my furry son's attempts to paw test the water and the the kids' friends efforts to draw them away from their outdoor work detail.  Despite the consistent distractions and largely due to the Hubs perseverance, our outdoor living area become, by some magic combination of sweat, tears and no small doses of the 'Mom eye", transformed into our backyard oasis.

Flowers, Flower Beds, Outdoor Living, Memorial Weekend


The work of a long day and effort into the next makes such a significant difference.  Seasonal flowering plants chosen with care and placed strategically, serve to set the welcoming and festive tone.  Sparkling and inviting blue ripples of the pool replace the month's long eyesore of the hideous winter pool cover.  The welcome site of the Hubs busy at the grill, preparing an outdoor meal for the family to enjoy.  Cozy and invited wicker chairs placed to at a safe distance from the splashes certain to rule the summer season, as well as a ready rank of chaise lounges on the deck, soon to be filled by the Teen Diva and her friends.  My son thoughtfully exploring all things inflatable and capable of shooting spray, seriously considering what new water toy additions are needed for his summer arsenal.  The familiar clink of the gate, as the steady stream of guests begin to arrive.

This Memorial Day weekend, however, there is a stillness about the house, uncommon and somewhat unsettling.  My furry son, Rex, considers me with doubtful, doleful eyes, as he considers the level of play I might be capable of, yet on restrictions, only just beginning to wobble about in my blasted boot.  Beds yet wait for their blooming new residents and the ugly winter cover remains in place, hosting all manner of birds for a drink and a quick bath, much to our senior cat's delight, as she watches from her favorite wicker chair.

With the rest of the family away for the weekend, attending a family wedding in Chicago, the pets and I are left to our own devices.  A mother's weekend of peach and quiet - certainly something I would crave and delight in, under normal circumstances.  Months of slow down, due to the surgery, have had a dramatic impact to my welcome of this respite.

I will, no doubt, find enjoyable ways to fill my time.  The uncommon quiet will allow for a book or three, a movie of my own selection, rather than the usual compromise and certainly a welcome opportunity for luxurious late morning sleep, as well as the luxury of an unfettered bath.

Despite the inherent benefits of this weekend on my own, I predict that Rex and I will look out longingly at the pool and backyard frequently, thinking ahead to next weekend's family activity with no small amount of anticipation, just as we'll keep a ready ear for sound of the door on Monday as our family returns.


Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gain Blog Followers with Take Over Social Media Tuesday ~ #CMM


Welcome to 

Take Over Tuesday Social Media Hop
Gain Friends and Followers 
In All The Right Places
Your Hostesses are:
     Closer to Lucy             
 Have Sippy Will Travel       
Just Like June      






             


Add your link to any or all of the Social Media Follow Groups below!  Follow as many people as you would like and be certain to leave a comment on their page to let them know you are a fan!

Please be certain to follow your hostesses.  Your presence and participation is appreciated and we will always follow you back!


We'd love for you to grab the Take Over Tuesday button to display on your site!  
The more the merrier!


Welcome to our Guest Hostess for this week's edition ~ 
Maria of
Close To Home



Google + Linky



Facebook Linky



Twitter Linky



Pinterest Linky



GFC Linky





Please be certain to join us again next week for 
Take Over Tuesday!
~ Guests welcome ~


Would you like to be our Guest Host?
Please fill out our Guest Host form to be included in our weekly 
Take Over Tuesdays Social Media Hop!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fabulous To Family Friendly Give Away Collection ~ Explore the Give Away Gala #CMM




Welcome to the Giveaway Gala. 
A collection of featured giveaways from five blogs including a linky for you to link up your giveaways!

This linky will be hosted on all five blogs giving you the benefit of reaching all of our combined readers. So feel free to check out giveaways and link up your giveaways. We only ask you link directly to your giveaway, any links to your homepage will be removed.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Mastering Food Photography with Sony ~ Lesson One

Having recently shared my enrollment in a fun, online course from Social Fabric University,  Mastering Food Photography with Sony, I wanted to keep you updated on my progress.  Having completed the first lesson, I simply have to share that I was thrilled with the results of my first shoot!  Granted, I have a tremendous amount left to learn and miles of improvement needed ahead, considering the depths of dismal results I was achieving before, I cannot help but to be very encouraged!

BEFORE

(blushing)
LESSON
This online photography course is well constructed and considered.  Encouraged to explore the work of other photographers, both amateur and professional, rather than becoming discouraged my current (lack of) skill, I found myself enchanted and inspired.  Frankly, it was quite a treat to explore the masters, observing various techniques in lighting, staging and style.  Two professional photographers really caught my eye,  Michael Ray and Lou Manna.  True to my personality, their styles are quite dissimilar and I'm curious to see which will have the greatest influence over my work as I move forward.  Michael Ray's photography style is quite fresh and clean, with Lou Manna's style much more dramatic.


For creating my first shoot, after exploring quality photos and skilled masters, my reading assignment was a comprehensive path into lighting techniques, with detail and examples of what works, what doesn't, theory and tips.  I was beyond thrilled with my improved shots, although I need to spend more time fine tuning my shots by experimenting with different light source details, reflections and the positioning.

AFTER


Photo Credit:  © That's What She Said
REFLECTION


Photos of food that actually look appealing, tempting and edible?  From me?  Why, yes!  Thank you for asking!  As is evident, I have more work ahead, in fine tuning and experimenting with lighting however the improvement is evident!  This photographer in training is thrilled and encouraged!

Stay tuned for more updates in the future!


Are you a photography pro or a photographer in training, like me?
What challenges you in achieving great shots?
What do you think about my first step improvement?
Tell me in a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I was giving an opportunity to participate in this free photography course through my association with Social Fabric, a community of Collective Bias.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experience.  Some images and information sourced from course and various sites related to Social Fabric.   Although my enthusiasm for this course is sincere, posts and badges related to SoFabU on my site are placed as part of the requirements of participating in the course.  #CBias  #SocialFabric

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gear Up For The Perfect Date Night ~ This Means War Movie Giveaway


Looking for the right ingredients for a perfect in-home date night?

Just add equal portions of action, comedy and romance to taste and you'll be well on your way to a night you'll both enjoy!

Available in stores everywhere on May 22
To help you set the scene, That's What She Said is offering readers a chance to win their own DVD copy of This Means War, starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gain Blog Followers with Take Over Social Media Tuesday ~ #CMM



Welcome to 
Take Over Tuesday Social Media Hop
Gain Friends and Followers 
In All The Right Places
Your Hostesses are:
     Closer to Lucy             
 Have Sippy Will Travel       
 3 Princes and a Princess 2         
Just Like June      
P.O.V.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Free Event For Gaining Followers ~ Fabulous Finds For Father's Day #CMM


Dads are special to us at the Collective Media Magic team. We’ve teamed up to bring you one fabulous prize pack to tempt dad, whether he is techy, health conscious, or free spirited. Just Like June, Have Sippy Will Travel, Closer To Lucy, 3 Princes and A Princess 2,  and That's What She Said would love for you to join us for this fun, free, follower boosting event! By participating you receive one free link of your choice on our rafflecopter form.

Fabulous To Family Friendly Give Away Collection ~ Explore the Give Away Gala #CMM



Welcome to the Giveaway Gala. 
A collection of featured giveaways from five blogs including a linky for you to link up your giveaways!

This linky will be hosted on all five blogs giving you the benefit of reaching all of our combined readers. So feel free to check out giveaways and link up your giveaways. We only ask you link directly to your giveaway, any links to your homepage will be removed.


Love Is A Battlefield ~ Top Ten Angry Love Songs List





Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy Form the
Perfect Love Triangle in this Action Packed Comedy
Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download May 22

THIS MEANS WAR shows audiences that love is dangerous, makes people do crazy things, and brings the fight out in us. In this feature, we will countdown our ten favorite angry love songs for all the relationship warriors out there. Songs will include "Heartbreak Warfare" by John Mayer, "What About Love" by Heart and, of course, "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Top Six Triple Threat Films ~ Packed with Action, Romance & Comedy




Best Triple Threat Films




Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy Form the
Perfect Love Triangle in this Action Packed Comedy
Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download May 22

THIS MEANS WAR is a triple threat film, full of action, comedy and romance! In that same vein, this feature will highlight other great films that also offer a triple threat of entertainment, including Knight and Day, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and The Bounty Hunter.

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