Saturday, June 30, 2012

Traveling Days-Cafe Press Review and Giveaway!!

One thing I have struggled to find is the perfect toiletry travel bag. It seemed like each new bag I tried out was too small, too big, didn't hold up after a few get the idea. So when I discovered that my favorite company ever-Cafe Press-carried toiletry bags, I was delighted!

Cafe Press is my first choice when shopping for gifts, or looking for a unique or personalized piece of clothing. I knew they carried more than just tees and hats, but I didn't realize just how much! I was able to select a personalized toiletry bag for review, and it wasn't long before I found the perfect bag. Most of you are, by now, aware of my love for karate, so it was only natural that I search for a bag that showed my enjoyment of the martial arts. Here's the design I chose:

Coming from Cafe Press I expected the quality to be good, and I wasn't disappointed in the least. I was actually surprised by the size of the bag; unlike many of the dopp-kit-style bags, this one is good size. It measures 10" W x 5.5" H x 4.5" D. Nice and deep, it has plenty of room to hold all your toiletry necessities. I can easily fit shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairspray, perfume and lotion in here, and have room to spare. It's very roomy without being overly large! I also like that the bag features a water-resistant lining, so just in case a bottle happens to leak, it won't destroy the bag. The top zips shut to keep your toiletries secure. All in all, this is the perfect way to pack your toiletries in style! 

One of my readers will receive a Cafe Press Toiletry Bag of their choice!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Traveling Days-LapGear Chill Case Review!!

If you're anything like me, then you're always looking for a better way to keep your computer safe and protected. Especially since getting my MacBook, I am very picky about how it travels, who touches it, and regular maintenance/upkeep. That's why I was happy to review the ChillCase from LapGear!

The LapGear ChillCase is a unique cooling lap desk that also doubles as a carry-case for your laptop. This is literally the perfect solution! I usually place a large book under my laptop if I'm not at my desk, but I know that's really not enough to keep it cool and running properly. The ChillCase is great, though! It's not too bulky, like you'd expect from a 2-in-1 lapdesk/carry case. The case has a built in fan, that is powered by USB. The USB cord can be tucked away when not in use.

I like being able to slip my MacBook into the ChillCase and bring it along on road trips. It's slim enough to fit anywhere, and has a pocket that's just the right size for my cord.

LapGear also sent me their newest product, a Smart-e Universal Tablet Stand/Lapdesk. This is another ingenious product that works for iPads, e-readers and other tablets. It folds down for easy storage and packing, but pops out to hold your device at various angles-you can choose what works best for you! Check this out:

Soft, cushioned underside.

This is great! Perfect for reading books or playing games on the iPad at night! Or, use it while you're in the car. 

You can buy these, or check out other great products from LapGear today! Also be watching, as I'll be hosting a LapGear giveaway in the near future!

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this review; I did receive product for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are mine; all quotes taken from the LapGear website. I was not required to post favorably about the product or company.

Traveling Days-Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player Review!!

"Are we there yet?" Everyone's heard that phrase a time or two while traveling! One of the biggest questions of all time has to be how to keep the kids busy while traveling. Well, I have a solution-get a Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player, load it with music, audiobooks, etc. and let your kids enjoy the trip!

I received the Clip Zip for review, and I was impressed by the size. It's small and lightweight, so it's the perfect size for traveling. I also like the "clip" part-this MP3 player is designed to clip onto your belt, waistband, or any other attaching point you'd like. This is great for keeping it safe, as well as for use during any activity. Jogging, walking, don't need an extra case or armband holster with the Clip Zip!

The Clip Zip is available in 7 different colors, and in 4GB or 8GB capacity. The player features a 1.1 inch screen, expanded memory slot, and a mic input so you can also voice record. I found it very easy to add music, and it has a nice, clear sound. The Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player is the perfect piece to bring along on vacation!

"Because your favorite songs always take you places, SanDisk has created the ultimate on-the-go music experience. As the newest addition to the acclaimed Sansa® Clip product family, the Sansa® Clip Zip™ MP3 Player boasts a bigger screen now with color, expandable memory card slot, added stopwatch, FM radio, and is compatible with the DRM-free iTunes® AAC music format. This feature-rich player is perfect to guide you to the finish or accompany you along your journey."

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this review; I did receive product for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are mine; all quotes taken from the SanDisk website. I was not required to post favorably about the product or company.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Traveling Days-Kid Stitch Personalized Tu Tu Bag Review and Giveaway!!

Not long ago I somehow stumbled upon Kid Stitch-a site that carries some of the cutest personalized gifts for kids that I've ever seen! The Kid Stitch has a wonderful variety of handmade gifts and embroidery that any child would love to receive. One of their newest offerings is the Tu Tu Bag, and let me tell you-these are adorable!

I was able to personalize a Tu Tu Bag for review, and I knew right away what to get. I had "M and M's Book Bag" embroidered on the front of a black bag, in hot pink thread. The bag has hot pink and purple tulle adorning it, as well as a purple polka-dot ribbon. It is adorable! 

The girls fell in love with it, and have been using it for their almost-daily trips to the library. (With the reading program our library is running this summer, they have been reading an enormous amount of books!). The Tu Tu Bag has garnered quite a bit of attention, and is the perfect way to keep those library books safe and clean. It always is the perfect solution to bringing books along on road trips. Everyone in our family loves to read, and keeping the books organized while traveling can get pretty stressful. Well, part of that problem is taken care of, since M and M have a cute bag to bring their books in!

In addition to the cute gifts at Kid Stitch, I was impressed with the friendly service. Kristi, the owner, was very helpful in designing the bag, and helped out with some suggestions on the ribbon and overall color coordination. Thanks Kristi!

"We’re a relatively new company however, Kristi has been sewing for several years now and has always made handmade gifts for friends and family. We love it when customers tell us how much they love our products! We offer an array of gift options that are affordable yet creative and unique. We can customize any of our products if needed and would love to work with you to create the perfect gift for that someone special."

The Kid Stitch is giving a personalized Tu Tu Bag to one of my readers!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Traveling Days-Idiot's Guide to Backpacking/Family Destinations! R/G

I'm sure you're familiar with the Complete Idiot's Guide books...who hasn't, at some point, seen or read at least one of those popular orange-covered books? My first experience with the CIG series was about 8 years ago, when I picked up a copy of the CIG to HTML. I became a fan right there, and have enjoyed reading books on various subjects since then. Of course, when thinking of guidebooks to include in the Traveling Days event, who should I think of first but Complete Idiot's Guide?

I received 2 books from CIG for review; the Complete Idiot's Guide to Backpacking, and the Complete Idiot's Guide to The Best Family Destinations. 
I was not disappointed in these books, as they read along the same manner as other CIG. Easy to read, funny, yet sharing such helpful information! You're never bored, and you come away from the book with a wealth of information on the subject. 

The Family Destinations book is perfect for anyone looking for that vacation destination. Whether you're looking for a city vacation, something a little more rural, or an in-between area, and no matter what part of the country you'd like to visit-you can learn helpful hints in this book! I browsed some of the areas we've been looking at visiting, as well as some of our family favorites such as Chicago and Branson. Both of these cities are covered with tips for places to visit, popular attractions, and dining options. I love how easy this makes vacation planning!

The CIG to Backpacking, is, obviously, designed for people who enjoy or want to start backpacking. This is something I've always thought would make a fun vacation, so I enjoyed the read. Whether you're a beginning backpacker or an old pro, you'll still find helpful information in here. The book covers everything from equipment to trails to health on the trail. Very detailed, and very easy to read!

One of my readers will receive a copy of the CIG to Backpacking or Best Family Destinations (winner's choice)!!

Traveling Days-Mod Camera Strap Review and Giveaway!!

If you've ever carried a camera around all day on vacation, you know how irritating it can get. Many times the neck straps start cutting into your skin, or they rub constantly. Either way, you end up getting frustrated by the end of the day! No longer do I have to fuss with this though-I discovered Mod, the place to find luxurious and stylish camera straps!

I received the Classic Strap for Digital SLR Cameras, in a Hot Pink Paisley design. The strap is beautiful, and I love the colors! Hot pink, lime green and white mingle in a lovely paisley design. The underside of the strap (the part that rests against your neck) is a plush, velvety-feeling fabric. It. Is. Perfect. No more rubbing and discomfort, with this strap you can't even tell a camera is hanging around your neck! The strap can be adjusted between 42 and 48 inches long, and the decorative part measures 33 inches long. It attaches to your camera easily with straps, and can be adjusted to a comfortable length. The Classic Camera Strap is 1.75 inches wide, so it's sturdy and comfortable. This strap has been tested with up to 90 pounds of weight, so no matter how heavy your camera, this will carry it safely!

"For our fashionista who gravitates to cashmere sweaters, silk pajamas and Egyptian cotton sheets, capture your perfect moments in luxury. mod.’s Classic Strap offers the same style and durability as The Basic, but also comes lined with our opulent, plush signature fabric.  Go ahead: live lavishly!"

One of my readers will receive a Classic Camera Strap!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Traveling Days-eBags Mother Lode Suitcase Review!!

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, then you've probably picked up on two facts. 1, I'm a clothes horse. 2, I overpack. It was those 2 facts combined (I guess fact 2 comes because of fact 1 :) that had me looking for a new suitcase recently. Lately when we take anything longer than a weekend trip, I end up with a suitcase, tote bag, and a separate bag for toiletry items. And, of course, a backpack with books and those little extra "necessities". I'm sure you can imagine the harassment I receive for bringing along so much luggage! Enter eBags, an online shopping dream for luggage! Seriously, if you're looking for ANY kind of luggage, you need to check out eBags.

Anyways, eBags generously sent me the Mother Lode TLS Junior Wheeled Duffel for review. This is an amazing suitcase, and they couldn't have sent a better fit for me! 

First of all, this is a larger bag than any I've owned previously. When I examined it for the first time, I kept exclaiming over the amount of pockets and storage room! Check this out:

I used this on a trip soon after, and loaded my clothes in for a 4-day stay. Usually, this would fill my suitcase. (I said I packed too much :). I didn't even fill one section of the Mother Lode Junior Duffel! In fact, I was able to pack all of mine and M's clothes, shoes and toiletry bag in here! That is seriously amazing, and for anyone who knows me, that is saying a lot!

See? Everything fits, nice and neat and organized! No more fighting to zip a bag shut because it's overloaded, and no more struggling with 3 or 4 bags to unload! 
In addition to all the room, the Mother Lode Junior Duffel offers great quality at a great price. On sale right for now at eBags for just $159.99, it's much more reasonably priced than many comparable suitcases. Check it out; with a suitcase like this, you're all set to travel this summer!

All packed and ready to go!
With the wheels and telescoping handle, this bag is easy to bring along on any trip, and makes packing and traveling easy!
You can stay up to date on eBags sales and news through the eBags Facebook page, or follow eBags on Twitter! And be sure to check out eBags on Pinterest!

"When we set out to design the new Mother Lode wheeled duffels, we first turned to the experts – our Customers. Combing through thousands of testimonials, our goals were to identify the most (and least) loved parts of the bag, what were the key missing features, and what was the over arching mood of our customer. After 12+ months of development, we're confident the TLS collection will exceed your expectations. We kept the best parts of the orig. Mother Lode and added a number of new features: add-a-bag strap, expandability, compression straps, more zippered pockets, a flexible bottom compartment , an innovative patent-pending backbone for rigidity, and beautiful fabric. Enjoy!"

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this review; I did receive product for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are mine; all quotes taken from the eBags website. I was not required to post favorably about the product or company.

Traveling Days-HTC Titan II Smartphone Review!!

A smartphone is an important tool even when you're not traveling, I know, but the HTC Titan II is so perfect for a road trip or family vacation that I just had to include it!

The first thing I noticed about the HTC Titan II is the size. It has a 4.7 inch screen, and while I would consider it the phone's only downside, it also increases the enjoyability! Confusing I know, so let me explain...the phone is too large to fit in the holster/carrier that I attach to my waistband. It's a little bigger and a little heavier than my previous couple of phones. BUT, it is also nice, because the bigger screen means videos are clearer, text is easier to read, and overall it's nicer whether you're making a call, browsing the web, or playing a game! 

The Titan has an excellent camera on it (16MP!) that takes beautiful pictures. When you're on vacation and don't feel like lugging a camera around all day, just pull out the Titan II-you'll capture those memories in stunning detail and clarity! It also offers HD video recording. Here are a couple random shots I took with the phone:

M being silly

Homemade Key Lime Cheesecake

The HTC Titan II is a Windows-based phone, and features Windows Market. This allows you to purchase and download games, Google Maps, an dvarious other apps. For example, I downloaded Adobe PDF Reader from Windows Market, so I was able to open and read pdf documents. 

If you, like me, have big fingers and you're constantly having to edit and correct text messages, emails, etc. then the Titan II is the perfect phone for you. It features a full "virtual" QWERTY keyboard with large "keys" that make typing easy. I was able to quickly and painlessly respond to emails and texts, with hardly any typos!

One other aspect of the Titan II that I really like is the fact that you can connect it to your computer (PC or Mac). May sound like a small detail, but I have had smartphones in the past that won't connect to a computer. With this feature, you can sync music, videos and pictures to/from the phone, as well as download any pictures or video captured on the Titan II. It's a very easy process with the Windows Phone Connector App, available through the Windows Market!

To keep this review from getting too wordy, I'll just breeze through some other features I really liked. A full battery charge lasts all day plus, even when I spend oodles of time playing games or browsing the web. Speaking of games, the Shuffleboard Party game became a family favorite! Perfect for keeping kids entertained while on road trips! I also liked being able to stay in touch with family and friends through calls, emails, and Facebook messaging. With 4G, you have access to all this anytime, unless you're way out in the country somewhere! The last thing I'll mention (although I could go on and on :) is the memory. The Titan has 16GB of built-in memory, so you don't need to worry about running out of room! I take a LOT of pictures, and I didn't come anywhere close to filling the memory!

Shuffle Party!

So, if you can't tell by now-I totally love the HTC Titan II! I'm actually getting ready for an upgrade soon (remember I told you my old smartphone finally died?) so I'll be checking into pricing for the HTC Titan II

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this review; I did receive an HTC Titan phone on loan for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are mine; all quotes taken from the HTC website. I was not required to post favorably about the product or company.