Tsue ~ That's What She Said: January 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mom's List: Choosing A DSLR Camera ~ Amazon Gift Code Give Away

Although I have never been one to set resolutions each year, I do try to take time to set and re-evaluate my personal goals when my schedule allows a moment or so of breathing room.  With my children seemingly aging years and growing by the foot before my eyes, I know it is important to devote more time to myself and explore my own interests.  These few fleeting years left before they embark on their own journey into young adulthood will be precious, however I have no interest in wasting time being taken by surprise by empty nest syndrome.  My furry son and I have had ample opportunities to stare at each other over the last couple of years during my recuperation periods.

One of the hobbies I am passionate about exploring in more depth is photography.  Having an opportunity to take a basic Food Photography course last year was such a treat I found myself looking forward to my assignments each week with great anticipation.  I was amazed by all I was able to accomplish with my simple point and shoot digital camera.  While it works quite well for simple shots at home, I am well aware of its limitations for outdoor and action shots.  With the Teen Diva's lacrosse season starting soon, I know I need to upgrade to a more functional and flexible DSLR camera in the near future.

Canon Entry Level DSLR Cameras, Beginner DSLR Cameras, Best Starter DSLR Cameras Under $1000

Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18 MP Digital SLR Camera

Of course, determining just which DSLR to purchase is a task all on its own, particularly when I consider how reticent I was to explore the features of my digital point and shoot, after an initial glance at the included directions placed further reading solidly on my "to do tomorrow" list.  Particularly when looking for a product or item whose features I need to research, I prefer to explore online rather than in store.  I like to take my time in learning which features would be the most beneficial to me, rather than be encouraged by a well meaning store employee.  Amazon is always one of my favorite sites to explore online, simply because I can find so many options in seemingly any category I want to explore.

I have heard a great deal about the Canon EOS entry range DSLR options, however I began my photographic journey many years ago on a decidedly non-digital Nikon model and loved it.  I love that I can do a quick search on Amazon to see which DS:LR models are the most popular purchases, as well as read buyer's reviews to learn their take on usage and function.  A great place to begin my search.  I'll be exploring a selection of the best entry level DSLR cameras in upcoming posts, including the Canon EOS Rebel t2i and the Nikon D5100.  Stay tuned to find out what I discover!

Best Entry Level DSLR Cameras, Nikon Beginner DSLR, Best Starter DSLR Cameras Under $1000

Nikon D5100 16.2MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera


Online Shopping, Easy Entry Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate Code and shop for your heart's desire! 

This Facebook Blast is hosted by Makobi Scribe and is open Worldwide to those 18+.  This giveaway will end on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.  Bloggers interested in participating can find sign up here.

Follow the participating sites and earn bonus entries via this convenient Pinterest List!

I received no promotional items or compensation for promoting this giveaway event.  Sponsor is responsible for supplying and shipping the prize.  Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ are not involved in, nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion. Images sourced from Amazon.com.
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Educational Kid Projects: Hands-On Exploration of Energy Savings @GELighting

GE Lighting, energy efficient soft white, incandescent light bulb law, energy saving light bulbs, energy saving calculator

Before the holidays, my son and I decided to take a bit of time to work together on educational green project t help our family green up our eco-footprint for the new year.  After taking stock of just how many light bulbs we have in our home, we could not thing of a better place to start.  We were surprised by all the energy efficient bulbs we found at our local Walmart store, particularly the wide selection of energy saving specialty bulbs!  We picked a selection of styles to test out at home to aid us in making our savvy, green decisions. 

Do you know how much your family could save 
by greening up your home's lighting?

GE Lighting, energy efficient soft white, incandescent light bulb law, energy saving light bulbs, energy saving calculator

For the hands-on and visual part of our experiment, we inspected the light output of four different bulbs in the same lamp and same lighting conditions.  A GE Energy Efficient Soft White Halogen Bulb, a GE Soft White 2x Life buls, a 75 watt equivalent standard sized CFL we had on hand and a GE Energy Smart Mini Spiral CFL bulb.  Both Soft White bulbs appeared to give off a similar amount of light and certainly of a pleasant and sufficient quantity.  The Energy Efficient Soft White Halogen bulb's advantage is that is uses 28% less energy.  Although the Soft White 2x Life bulb costs more per year to operate, it's life span is an average of twice that of the Energy Efficient option.  After some quick lighting calculations, we realized that the cost of use was less over the life of the 2x Life bulb by approximately one third, however the halogen bulb would use only approximately three quarters of the energy in the same period of time.

The big surprise for us was the brighter output from the Energy Smart Mini Spiral CFL!!  With the power of nearly 100 more lumens, the glow was noticeably brighter, however the wow factor was in the energy consumption and cost of use combined.  At a cost of approximately one third of the Soft White bulbs and one quarter the energy usage,  the Energy Smart CFLs were the clear winner for us!  Brighter output, lower energy usage and a life span that could lead to us forgetting how to change a light bulb?  We're sold!

The one drawback of the CFL design is in its appearance.  Although my son finds the swirly bulbs incredibly "cool", the appearance is less than ideal for certain light fixtures.  For those fixtures with more visible bulbs, the Energy Efficient Soft White would be a great choice and certainly a greener, yet visually similar option to traditional incandescent bulbs 

GE Lighting, energy efficient soft white, incandescent light bulb law, energy saving light bulbs, energy saving calculator

Our next stop was to one of the most wasteful lighting fixtures in our house - the large eight bulb light bar in the children's bathroom.  Although switching out this bar is certainly on my husband's Honey Do list, after learning how much our family could save by switching out these bulbs, and being painfully familiar with my husband's pace, my son and I made certain to include testing a greener option of these large, decorative globes.  What a difference the GE Energy Smart globes made and such a clean, white light!   

Beyond the visual improvement, these bulbs are super savers.   Using only 15 watts of energy, the annual cost of using these new GE light bulbs will be about $14 per year, as compared to over $50!  Although the initial purchase price is a bit higher than traditional alternatives, these beautiful globes have a life span of eleven years on the average!  My son was amazed and quick to point out that he, himself is eleven years old.

Eco Friendly Educational Projects, Energy Projects For Kids

Keeping all this great, green information to ourselves just would not do!  My son and I worked together to create a project board to share our exploration and findings.  While I prepared facts and details, he worked on the creative portions of our display.  After tracing our test light bulbs, he cut out the pieces, added essential details and glued them to a background he trimmed with decorative edged scissors and then to the project board.  For his favorite choices, he could not help but to add a bit of pizazz after finding inspiration from some of his frame trimmings.

With each test bulb represented on our project board, we used the helpful facts we gathered from the GE packages to chart out the differences to double check our hands-on exploration.  We compared  watt usage to cost of use per year, watt usage to lumens and cost of usage to life span of each bulb.  Although we did not include the GE Energy Smart decorative globes on our charts, it was fascinating to realize how much light could be sourced from these bulbs at such a low energy rate, with wattage and cost of use so similar to the Mini Spiral CFLs!

Eco Friendly Educational Projects, Energy Saving Projects For Kids

Our fun not yet complete, we reviewed the data from our comparison graphs and my son doled out awards for the following categories:  Eco-Friendly Winner, Best Value and Best Light.  As predicted, the GE Energy Smart Mini Spiral CFLs and decorative globes stole the show!  My son is looking forward to sharing his green lighting findings with his science class to help inspire others to go greener this year!

Eco Friendly Educational Projects, Energy Saving Projects For Kids

Although my family'e primary lighting choice for green savings are GE Energy Smart bulbs and CFLs, I was glad to learn that the GE Energy Efficient Soft White Halogen bulbs are a greener option for our fixtures with more specific needs.  We are thrilled that the specialty energy savings bulbs we need are so much easier and convenient to find.  Most importantly, with a bit of focus, we can make a significant difference in greening up our family's eco-footprint this year and save a surprising amount of our budget in the process!

Have your read about the new legislative changes 
in regard to light bulbs?

What are your family's plans for greening up this year?
Have you tried different types of energy efficient light bulbs?
Which are your preference?
Tell me in a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and GE Lighting #CBias #SocialFabric. The opnions above are both honest and of our own experiences.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Best Smart Phone For Tweens ~ @Verizon Droid Razor HD

Upgrading my family's cell  phones recently was a process blended of adventure, as well as a bit of a mystery as we tried to find our way through the myriad of smart phone options available.  Although it seemed each of us was after something a little different, one thing we readily agreed upon was that our choices needed to be decidedly smarter than our old models.  If you have been shopping for or simply just considering new phones as of late, you likely appreciate that this one point did not narrow down the field a great deal.

Smart Phones for Teens, Best Smart Phones for Tweens

With an older teen daughter, my husband and I have been through the gambit of cell phone catastrophies already and are less concerned about damage, wear and loss as we perhaps were with our daughter's first phone.  After the first phone sank to the bottom of our in ground pool, we never once questioned the importance or necessity of purchasing cell phone piece of mind by way of extra coverage.  Although, true to her teen nature, our daughter was quick to point out that her first phone was a lower end model with firm use limits, this second time around, our son will reap the rewards of our generous plan allowances  As far as we are concerned now, you can never have a large enough data plan.

So many changes and tech improvements in cell phones since our daughter was first granted her own.  The right smart phone actually saves money, to our minds, as with the ability to play games, communicate, access shared data and download entertainment, the need for a separate handheld game system or portable entertainment system is nullified.  Simple, streamlined and convenient.  One or more less expensive items to care for, to keep track of, to fund with accessories and add ons.  That is certainly a win in this Mom's book.

Of course, which model would be best suited for our tween?  As parents, our primary concern is that the smart phone be durable, easy to use, especially should an emergency arise and with a long battery life to help ensure the device is functioning should it actually be used for a call for help.  My son, of course, held a different set of top concerns in choosing his ideal smart phone model.  For him, graphics, screen size and storage capacity, in addition to cool factor, were the most important considerations.

In the past year, he had an opportunity to test the Motorola Droid Razor with Verizon service and was quite taken with it, both in function and with the sleek design.  It made sense to take a closer look at the newer model, the Motorola Droid Razor HD.  It did not take long to realize we had discovered the winner!

Smart Phones for Teens, Best Smart Phones for Tweens

Why My Tween Loves The Droid Razor HD
from the tween's mouth

Bigger Memory
Bigger Screen
Easier To Use
Easier To Manuever 
One Hand Navigation
Better Graphics
Full Day Use From Single Charge
Beam Sharing

Although the Droid Razor HD is not the cream of the current smart phone crop, it is the perfect choice as a first smart phone for my tween, providing him with the cool factor, ease of use and all the features that are important to him.  Better yet, the Droid Razor HD is priced a bit friendlier, giving the family budget a break when upgrading contracts or starting a new line of service.

Learn more about the features of the Droid Razor HD 
and and the family budget friendly service options 
from Verizon 

Are you considering a first cell phone for your child?
What features are important to you?
Tell me in a comment below.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I receive Verizon products to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Images sourced from Verizon.  Opinions shared in this post are may not be the opinions of Verizon or Verizon of Michigan.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Womens Health Tips ~ Smarter Eating With @EatSmartScales Give Away

No matter which point you consider the onset of middle years, one truth is consistent.  The middle years are sneaky.  One day you are enjoying your young adult life, full of plans and dreams and the next, you are finding you need to do a bit of simple math to remember just which birthday is upcoming this new year.  The sneakiness is not limited to the fleetingness of years, the average middle years Mom, even as she maintains the same healthy diet and exercise routine, gains an average of 1.5lbs a year and potentially loses 2.5lbs of muscle mass in the same.  A viscous cycle to be certain as muscle is the, well, muscle your body uses to burn calories.  Of course, if your commitment to eating healthy or to your physical activity routine slacks off over the years, the impact of each additional year can lead to even greater concern.

Gravity and time - 
not friends of the middle years Mom

In fact, doing a bit of research into the fun of what is to come, the laundry list of possible symptoms of pre-menopausal and menopausal women are all things I'd rather avoid.  Slowing metabolism, weight gain, muscle and bone loss, shrinking, deteriorating eyesight, increased moodiness and irritability, gray hair - where is the silver lining?  Never having been one to easily accept a lack of easy options as a stopping block, I must conclude that if one does not want to give into the impending joys of middle years, a Mom must be prepared and fight back.

Lightweight Digital Kitchen Scale, Compact Digital Kitchen Scale

Rather than allowing yourself to take a lax approach to your diet and even maintaining your eating habits, becoming more diligent in your daily diet and exercise routine can help to boost your metabolism and prevent the natural process of weight gain, as well as help to improve your mood and energy level.  Arming oneself with the right information and healthy tools for success are key in fighting the good fight.  Having an opportunity to test the Eat Smart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale, I would certainly place it on my recommended short list.

Healthy Mom aids, Healthy Kitchen Tools,

Focuses on the inclusion of more of the right foods in a middle years Mom diet and calorie control works hand in hand with an increase of productive physical activity to best the aging process.  Drinking more water, consuming more lean proteins and fiber as well as boosting the variety of your diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can make a tremendous difference.  I appreciated the my Eat Smart scale came with a comprehensive guide, outlining all the important food groups I need to be focusing on.

Eat Smart Kitchen Scales, Large Digital Display Kitchen Scale

As with any health effort or maintenance program, the ease of using a system helps to ensure you will stick with it.  The Eat Smart Precision Elite features a large, easy to read display and function buttons.  I loved that I can easily switch from weights by pound, to ounces and grams.

Compact Digital Kitchen Scale, Healthy Kitchen Tools

As is likely the case in any busy household, keeping my kitchen counters free of clutter can make an important difference in sticking with my family's busy schedule.  The Eat Smart Precision Elite scale is sleek, trim and lightweight.   The weight tray generous enough to accommodate whichever dish whose contents I might desire to weigh, yet unobtrusive on my kitchen counter.  While a solid and well-constructed unit, its light weight makes it easy to store away in a cupboard or move about the kitchen for convenient use.

Wide Top Digital Kitchen Scale, Easy Use Digital Kitchen Scale

Eat Smart

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Eat Smart is generously offering That's What She Said readers an opportunity to win an Eat Smart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale, ARV $59.95!

Healthy Aids for Women, Healthy Kitchen Tools

This giveaway is open to residents of the US, 18+ and will end on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.   Winner will be selected randomly from all eligible entries.  Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours or an alternative winner will be chosen.  If you email address is not available through your comment name, please leave it in your entry comment in anti spam format.


Explore the Eat Smart products on Facebook and share with me which would be the most helpful to you in your healthy endeavors this year via a comment below.


*Like on Eat Smart on Facebook, leave comment here with Facebook name, 1 entry

*Like That's What She Said on Facebook, leave comment here with Facebook name, 1 entry.

*Follow That's What She Said (@tsue1136) on Twitter , leave comment here with Facebook name, 1 entry

*Enter any other active That's What She Said giveaway, leave comment letting me know which, 1 entry

*Enter or share the Health Gear for New Year Giveaway Extravaganza, ends on 1-16-13, leave comment here with applicable name, 1 entry


I received an EatSmart scale to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Sponsor is responsible for supplying and shipping prize.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ are not involved in nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Healthy Choices For Middle Years Moms ~ Mastering Pre-Menopause

Each New Year offers a new beginning of sorts and one in which many resolve to make changes to their lifestyles and routines.  Resolutions to make healthier choices are among the most frequent pledges, although,  like many New year vows, they can be difficult to maintain without a firm commitment and plan in place to ensure success and continuance throughout the year.

This year, as I reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new, maintaining healthy choices is even more important than ever before. Why?  Another birthday is just around the corner and as a Mom who has no interest in going softly (further) into my middle years or allowing the natural tendencies of my metabolism to work against me and my goals.  In many ways, aging for women is not unlike going into battle, however one can give into nature or use it to her advantage.  Understanding the challenges ahead is an important first step in staying fit, healthy and active, as well as developing a practical strategy and arming oneself with the necessary tools.

Know The Facts

Women approaching and entering their forties may begin to experience pre-menopausal symptoms which may include unpredictable changes in menstruation, hot flashes and night sweats as well as anxiety and irritability.  Other potential joys likely include slowing metabolism, increase in weight gain and lose of muscle mass.  Bone mass density reduction, deteriorating eye sight, creative block and graying hair round out the pending treats to come for the middle years Mom.

Fighting The Good Fight

Although genetics certainly plays a significant part in each woman's individual aging process, understanding what may lie ahead can provide opportunity to make important changes or to reinforce healthy routines to reduce the effects facing middle years Moms.

coated hand weights, set of varied weight handheld dumbbells
Altus 32lb Dumbbell Set
Maintaining at least thirty minutes of sustained activity every day, such as walking or swimming, will go a long way to keeping unwanted weight gain at bay.  Mixing up daily routines with simple muscle promoting exercises, such as light weight work, will counteract muscle loss.

Consult with your physician about which supplements may be needed for your current stage in life.  Many middle years Moms should add calcium and potentially vitamin D supplements to prevent bone mass loss and deterioration.  The frequency of recommended health screens also increases with age; ensure you are are up to date including mammograms which should be performed every one to two years beginning by age forty unless family history indicates an earlier starting point.

healthy eating for women, smart eating for women, K Sullivan Photography
Photo Credit:  K Sullivan Photography
Maintaining a healthy diet is vital to a women's health at any age, however dietary needs change as we move through life stages.  Middle years Moms should consume three to four servings of low-fat dairy, a serving of lean protein at each meal, increase fiber intake and ensure their diets are well-diversified, with minimal or no processed foods and rich in grains, fruits and vegetables of all colors.  Drinking plenty of water, becoming more adventurous in meal choices and eating slowly to savor your meals will also promote healthy eating.

Smart Kitchen Tools, Healthy Eating Tools
Digital Kitchen Scales
In addition to selecting the right foods to keep you fueled up in the right manner, limiting portion sizes is equally as important.  Take care in filling your plate as most will finish their portions, no matter how generously over-sized, even after becoming full.  In creating new dishes, utilize a digital kitchen scale, like the EatSmart Precision Pro, to ensure you are adding the right quantities of important diet essentials to your meals.

As is true at any age, getting a full night's sleep regularly carries tremendous benefits.  Ensuring a full eight hours daily will help in your efforts to maintain a healthy weight, as well as assist in reducing stress, help keep senses sharp and that you are ready to successfully tackle your everyday challenges, including taking time out for that still important meal - breakfast.

healthy eating for women, fresh fruit breakfast, SweetOnVeg Photography
Photo Credit:  SweetOnVeg Photography

Are you a middle years Mom?
Any tips for staying in front of the challenges of pre-menopause?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

EatSmart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale Giveaway

I received an EatSmart digital scale to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Non-original images cited above.  Resources used in creating this text include: WomensFitness.net   SkokiePatch.com
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