Wednesday, December 21, 2016
One, unless I'm staring directly into the sun, I always remove my shades when I'm talking to someone and hope that everyone else does the same. I find it awkward and strange to be carrying on a conversation with a person and not be able to see their eyes. How do I know where to look?
Two, in the past I never found a pair that I really loved and, truthfully, was okay with that. Considering that it required me to put in my contact lenses in order to be able to use them (something that I was often lazy about), I wasn't going to spend any considerable amount of time or thought into finding a pair of sunglasses that I cared that much about.
But now things have changed.
I still abide by my first rule as much as possible, but as for the second? It's out the window. Due in part to first getting laser eye surgery and eagerly ditching my thick prescription as well as any and all eyeglasses and contacts. And second? I've been introduced to edlee.
Created by an ex-mechanical engineer, the edlee brand represents far more than just another generic pair of sunglasses. Instead, their signature lightweight, stylish, and sustainable frames are constructed with the highest quality in mind and include features that easily take these shades to the next level.
As well as making their eyewear out of good-for-the-environment bamboo and wood, each of the 13 styles have flex hinges to ensure they fit any face shape and have polarized lenses to help reduce glare and lessen the harmful effects of UV light. The result is that these sunglasses slip on like a dream, provide wearers with a clear, crisp view, and manage to make you feel like you're relaxing on a sunny beach even when you're in fact just shading your eyes from the reflection off of the cold winter snow.
I have to admit that I was a bit hooked on edlee even before their sleek bamboo boxes arrived at my door!
Although I was enamored with the look and convenience of the box itself, cracking it open and seeing edlee sunglasses waiting inside was just that much better.
First up, the Waves Series and their classic, simple design that appeals to just about anyone and everyone. Is there a way to go wrong with a pair that look this chic?
I have to admit that prior to edlee, I hadn't realized the difference that flexible hinges make on eyewear.
But these high quality hinges really do make it so that these easily adapt to your face — not to mention give the frames a feeling that they won't snap into pieces when you pull them open!
As much as I enjoyed wearing my Waves, Big Sister E was also quick to claim them for herself and wore them just about every moment that she wasn't in the water during our beach vacation!
Fortunately, my eyes weren't left to fend for themselves, as the edlee 10Ks in an amazing shade of light grey have had them protected and happy right from the start.
With frames and temples made entirely of edlee's signature and sustainable bamboo, these sunglasses are the lightest that I have ever worn and I have loved being able to adorn them for long periods of time and barely remember that they are there (nor do they leave any sort of mark from weighing down on the bridge of my nose).
I also hadn't realized what a difference polarized lenses make in sunglasses, but edlee has changed that for me in these 10Ks. The view —of the ocean, of my children playing, while reading, and much more— is always free from glare and any sort of squint that I had been used to!
Added bonus? These frames are so light that if they fall into the water, they float! This unique quality was a main focus of the edlee brand when they first launched on Kickstarter and was a clear hit, as they raised $50,000 in a matter of five weeks and gained adoring fans by the thousands.
These days, edlee is back on Kickstarter to not only share their amazing eyewear with more of the world, but to promote their Shared Experiences campaign. This generous initiative allows backers to not only pick a pair of edlee sunglasses for themselves, but they are given the opportunity to send a pair to anyone they want, anywhere in the world at no added cost. The campaign launched November 10th, and they surpassed their funding goal within five hours!
As much as I was excited to receive my own edlee sunglasses, having the chance to send a pair to a friend made them infinitely better! I loved knowing that the person I chose was going to be surprised to receive a bamboo box in the first place, but that she would then also get to share in the edlee experience with me! How very cool is that!
(Spoiler alert: she was thrilled and I felt even more awesome!)
As if edlee hadn't already included enough reasons for me to be completely impressed with their quality and the Buy One Share One campaign, they put things over the top by including their No Questions Asked and Lifetime Guarantee policies.
It's simple. Once you receive your edlees, simply register them online. If ever damaged, lost or stolen, they will send you a one-time-replacement pair of your exact sunglasses, no questions asked.
Now that is what I call flawless, unbeatable customer service. Who hasn't broken a pair of sunglasses in the bottom of their bag, left a pair behind when they were buried in the sand, or simply set them down to never see them again?
If you're ready to see the world through a pair of edlee lenses with me, head over to their Buy One, Share One Kickstarter campaign to find out more and join in this special shared experiences initiative. It ends January 9th, so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to not only treat yourself to an incredible pair of sunglasses (at a great discount), but a lucky person in your life as well!
You can also find out much more about edlee, their beach culture, and their full collection of high quality eyewear by visiting edlee.com and connecting with them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Other than the sunglasses that I was provided by edlee in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about these products and this company.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Well, sure. But...
What about something a little more unique? Something that I knew would make her eyes open wide and her jaw drop to the floor? Something that would hold her attention long past when her taste in one type of toy has changed or has long been outgrown?
That's why I was so excited to be introduced to the huge selection of high-quality mermaid tail designs from Fin Fun!
As I mentioned last month, Fin Fun offer a vast selection of mermaid tails to choose from, making it easy to shop simply by selecting one of the categories. For instance, the Fin Fun Mermaidens collection features tails based on the beloved Mermaiden Princess characters, each with a unique personality and story, which can be found on the kid-friendly FinFriends.com site.
Or, for a brighter, more eye-catching option, the Limited Edition collection combines fantasy with nature's beauty in spectacular designs that have a shimmery, shiny look and feel. I found that no matter which category I browsed, each of Fin Fun's tails were even more incredible than the next!
Which is why I couldn't wait for one to arrive and for Little Sister B to be just as excited!
Does anything warm a mother's heart more than seeing her child so happy?
Right away we were elated to see the Bali Breeze Mermaid Tail and accompanying Fin Fun Swim Monofin in their stylish packaging...
...and I appreciated that both pieces were ready to use right out of the box.
The Mermaid Tail itself is, quite simply, gorgeous. The colors are bright and shiny as they gradually change from yellow to green to blue scales down its full length and the whole overall effect is a shimmery, sparkly texture.
As the fabric is made from a high-quality, breathable, 4-way stretch poly spandex swimsuit material, there is no problem pulling this lightweight, stretchy tail right on!
At the same time, the tail is open at the bottom so that it not only aids in getting it on and off and makes it so young mermaids can shuffle/walk, but it also makes it possible for the Monofin to be pulled on and off with ease.
Simply pull the mermaid tail up enough to pop your feet into the Monofin holes and then stretch the tail down and around to complete the full effect!
Is it any wonder that Little Sister B is so enamored with her Fin Fun Mermaid Tail and Monofin that she hasn't worn it once without a HUGE grin on her face? When we were packing for our beach vacation she questioned me time and again as to whether I had packed it because she just had to have it with her!
I really don't know if she could love this any more than she does, both for the incredible, attention-grabbing, realistic way that it looks as well as for the fact that it allows her to glide effortlessly through the water when swimming with it!
From top to bottom, Fin Fun has impressed us from the start!
I appreciate the attention to detail that goes into their products as well as their focus on comfort, performance, and safety. I don't have to worry that Little Sister B cannot get the Bali Breeze Mermaid Tail or Monofin on or off on her own, and the tail itself can even be machine washed on gentle to keep it clean and ready for the next use.
It really isn't any wonder that Fin Fun's award-winning products have become a celebrity favorite, as well as the best-selling mermaid tail brand in the world!
Do you have a mermaid fan in your life? Fin Fun offers amazing options in sizes for kids through adults, so you're going to want to head over to FinFun.com and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to see their full lineup of incredible mermaid products.
While a complete mermaid transformation is a little on the expensive side (the Bali Breeze Mermaid Tail and Monofin retail for $54.95 each), I am quite positive that Little Sister B will be using these gorgeous pieces for years to come!
But, wait! Why not save a little on your purchase? If you have a young mermaid fan in your life that would love Fin Fun products just as much as mine does, enter the coupon code USFAMILY16 to save $5 off of your order today.
Other than the Mermaid Tail and Monofin I received from Fin Fun in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about these products.
Monday, December 12, 2016
However, I have to admit that we were all especially anticipating our time visiting The Windy City because of one particular destination that we were finally going to get to experience and check off of our bucket list.
Because truly, if you're in the Midwest and have young children, you've got to make time for the unique, original, creative, constructing fun that is to be had at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago!
One of ten LEGOLAND Discovery Center locations across North America (with even more throughout the rest of the world), LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago opened in 2008, 50 years after the LEGO Brick as we know it was invented and patented in 1958.
After having visited LEGOLAND Florida as well as LEGOLAND California and having a blast at both, it wasn't at all a surprise that we couldn't wait to step inside our first Discovery Center to see the exhibits, life-size models, 4D Theater, rides, building opportunities, and more.
First up, Miniland!
I find it incredibly fascinating that builders are able to turn LEGO bricks into miniature replicas of just about anywhere in the world — and seeing famous Chicago landmarks built from almost 2 million LEGO bricks was no exception!
From Willis Tower to Navy Pier to the Wrigley Building, I could have examined Miniland Chicago for hours to take in all of the intricate details included on each and every structure. There was even a group of LEGO minifigures taking a segway tour of the Chicago scenery, something my husband and I did in real life years ago!
Plus, as Miniland is updated seasonally, Big Sister E and Little Sister B had a great time pointing out when they found a tiny Santa Claus or decorated tree. I would love to come back and see the changes that occur throughout the other seasons!
After oohing and ahhing over Miniland, we stepped into Jungle Expedition and continued to be amazed at all that can be built from LEGO bricks.
As well as pointing out the extraordinary tigers, monkeys, hippos, and more, we had a great time guessing at the answers to the various quizzes posted around the room. I found out a lot of fun facts about jungle animals that I previously hadn't known (or even thought about)!
The remainder of our time on the first floor of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago was spent in the interactive LEGO City Builder room, riding the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, peeking in at a Master Builder hard at work, and marveling at some familiar faces portrayed as astounding life-size LEGO characters!
Both of my girls could have spent hours making their own creative pieces in the LEGO City Builder zone (we did return to this room multiple times throughout the visit), because who doesn't love the open-ended creativity that comes with sitting down with unlimited LEGO bricks? Not to mention being inspired by the LEGO City and LEGO Friends skyscrapers, police and fire stations, cafes, suburban streets, beaches, and more!
As well as wanting to build over and over, my girls happily rode the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride time and time again (if there was ever a line at all it was very short, which made Mom happy, too)! This is one ride that is very appealing to all ages, as my husband and I got into the action of zapping the skeletons, trolls, spiders, boulders, and more in an effort to rack up more points. It was definitely a favorite for all four of us (and, ahem, I believe I'm the undefeated champion in the family)!
While we had already had a blast on the first floor of LEGO Discovery Center Chicago, once we went upstairs we found an entire second level of entertainment awaited!
After eyeballing the tasty options for sale in the Cafe; marveling at the idea of having a party here in the Birthday Rooms (Little Sister B immediately declared LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago as her upcoming birthday party location of choice); and discussing how neat it was that the LEGO Master Builder Academy allowed kids to learn building tips from the LEGOLAND Discovery Center model building team; we headed in to experience Pirate Adventure Island.
This HUGE climbing structure spans multiple rooms and offers all sorts of active, free play! Climbing, constructing, sliding — there is even a DUPLO Village section for the younger crowd and a giant water table where kids can construct their own LEGO boat and see how smoothly it can sail through a variety of obstacles.
For older kids, or simply when taking a break from Pirate Adventure Island, Merlin's Apprentice Ride and the LEGO Racers: Build & Test area were both big hits with my girls!
I lost count of how many times Big Sister E and Little Sister B rode Merlin's Apprentice Ride, as they would hop off when the ride stopped, hurry back to the entrance, and get right back on again! But considering that it was not only fun, but also good exercise in that riders have to keep pedaling for their seats to stay up in the air, I was happy to see them love it over and over again.
When they weren't biking their way through the sky, the girls also spent quite a bit of time building large and small vehicles to race down the ramps in the Build and Test zone. Their creations ranged from very basic to fairly complicated and it was great to see what LEGO bricks and wheels they picked out to work with next!
To complete our visit to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago, we were sure to also visit the LEGO 4D Theater and take a tour of the LEGO Factory.
In all prior 4D shows (the 4th dimension is an added experience such as wind or bubbles) Little Sister B has never enjoyed the experience and ended up removing her 3D glasses and/or hiding her face in my arm.
However, whether it was because she was already having such a great time at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago or because she was so excited to see familiar LEGO Movie and LEGO Chima characters on the screen, she ended up loving the shows — we went in multiple times to see the different movies being played throughout the time we were there!
For our final experience, our tour of the LEGO Factory was a short presentation of the entire LEGO brick creation and all of the kids involved were riveted hearing about each step of the process. How cool that the tiny plastic granulate turn into such a beloved toy! And, as an added bonus, everyone on the tour left with a special souvenir LEGO brick and who wouldn't be excited about that?
With unlimited access to all 11 different attractions, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago has more than enough to keep kids entertained for hours. We never once felt rushed and the kids loved the ability to be able to go back and forth (upstairs and downstairs) whenever they felt like it!
The Discovery Center does a great job regulating the number of people who are visiting at any given time, meaning little to no lines, and the entire place isn't so massively monstrous that it becomes overwhelming. Every staff member we interacted with was extremely gracious and friendly and even the restrooms were spotlessly clean and LEGO-themed!
All in all, our entire family had a great time and the whole visit was a welcome change from 'typical' museums or attractions that we know. I'd love to visit again in the future to take part in some of the special events that they host throughout the year!
To find out much, much more about LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago and all of the Discovery Center locations, visit their website and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. If you live in or are visiting the Chicago area, be sure to add this must-see attraction to your list!
I was provided complimentary tickets for LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago in order to help facilitate this review, but they in no way affected the amazing time that we had and my honest opinions in this post.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Plus, along with having just about everything that we could ask for right here in the 'burbs, we also have the added benefit of being within driving distance to larger cities for whenever we are looking to head over for a visit.
Case in point, our recent jaunt to Chicago to check out the fun and excitement of Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament!
As I mentioned last month, there are 11 Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament locations throughout North America that provide far more than a simple meal and show for their visitors.
Instead, guests are transported back in time to the age of heroic knights on spirited horses, thrilling swordplay, a master falconer and his gorgeous flying companion, javelins being thrown, a "hands-on" feast (who needs silverware?), and much more.
It definitely didn't take any convincing for the entire family to be excited for our own visit to the Medieval Times castle in Chicago!
After we arrived and were checked in, we marveled at the wide array of items and beverages for sale before being invited in to the arena. It was time to head in and get ready to cheer on the Yellow Knight (when you receive your tickets, guests are assigned to one of the six different color areas and the corresponding knight)!
While we had discussed what the evening would ensue, Little Sister B still had lots of questions pertaining to the horses, knights, and more. What was going to happen? Would people get hurt? Would there be real horses? Were they real knights? When was the food going to be served?
Fortunately, not long after we were seated our friendly server appeared and the night was underway. I couldn't get enough of seeing the looks on both of my girls' faces as they took everything in in complete amazement!
I have to admit that as much as I chuckled at Little Sister B's incredulous looks, I too had a difficult time tearing my eyes away from the showmanship and performance that is Medieval Times from start to finish.
The king and princess, the falconer, the knights' authentic armor and real metal weapons... when jousting, they charge at speeds of approximately 15 to 20 miles per hour and reach an impact velocity speed of about 30 to 40 miles per hour! Where else are you going to see something like that?
Not to mention that while all of this incredible performance is happening, we were served course after course (each quite a large portion) of delicious foods. I was thrilled that Medieval Times also caters to vegetarians, as our plates were far from empty.
Definitely plan your visit to the castle when you are hungry, because there is a lot of eating to be done!
By the time the night was coming to an end, both Big Sister E and Little Sister B had eaten their fill and were fully into the action of cheering on our Yellow Knight as he worked to defeat his enemies — not only did they love him because we were assigned to his section, he had thrown each of them a carnation at various times during the show!
Besides, just as Big Sister E said when she turned to me partway through with a glint in her eye, where else would they be encouraged to scream and yell as loud as they could while indoors and in public?!
For a completely unique experience that your family is sure to be talking about for quite some time to come (we still like to randomly pull out our yellow flags and towels and cheer for the Yellow Knight while at home!) check out Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament at MedievalTimes.com.
Plus, now is a great time to buy tickets with this money-saving promotional offer! Right now you can purchase adult tickets for $36.95 and child tickets (12 and under) for $29.95 by using the coupon code MT3629 through February 28, 2017. Simply click here to take advantage of this great offer!
Other than the tickets I was provided for my family to experience Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, I was not compensated or enticed to do this review in any way. This post is solely my honest opinion about our experience.
Monday, December 5, 2016
These days, even though we've come a long way, I'm certain that many of the items we use now will someday also be obsolete dinosaurs. Will my own kids look back and scoff at having had a plain old toaster? A television that is simply flat? A car that doesn't hover?
For me, one thing that I already know I won't miss as more advancements are made is wires. There are so many cords running to and from just about every device that they make me crazy. They're always tangled, being yanked on, catching on things, and, in general, just in the way. Can't everything be wireless?
Although that time hasn't yet been reached, at least I have now found the absolute perfect way to enjoy music in unmatched comfort, incredible clarity, and the utmost in cord-free convenience thanks to the JBL Everest 700 around-ear wireless headphones.
Known for turning every moment into an extraordinary experience by making your music come alive, JBL's Everest 700 headphones are the perfect holiday gift for music lovers and iPhone 7 owners everywhere. Why deal with the hassle of wires (or wonder why Apple removed the headphone port) when you don't have to?
Instead the Everest 700 connect instantly to Bluetooth, deliver spectacular sound, are ergonomically designed to fit the unique contour of your ears, include a built-in microphone, and even feature Share Me 2.0 technology (enabling multiple pairs of Bluetooth headphones to connect to each other to share music, videos, and games). There's nothing more that I could ask for!
Considering that everything I read about the Everest 700 made them sound like a spectacular pair of wireless headphones, I knew that I needed to see them in person to give them a try.
Even before I had them out, the Everest 700 were making a great impression simply from the stylish and impressive box. I love companies that create packaging that not only keeps their products safe and secure, but also make users excited just from the way they look!
As soon as I removed these headphones, however, it was clear that JBL went much further than a snazzy box. The clean lines and classic design of the Everest 700 are highlighted perfectly by the crisp black all-over coloring (these are also available in a sleek gray) and the sculpted ear cushions are the softest that I have ever felt.
All that was left to do was charge these up (they have a 25 hour rechargeable battery, so one charge is all you need for quite a while!) and they would be ready to deliver my tunes.
JBL really couldn't have made these headphones any easier to use!
Once charged, it took less than 10 seconds for me to have them paired with my phone's Bluetooth — there are even simple voice instructions that come through to help out just in case.
Then simply adjust to your size and start wearing! The large L and R make it a no-brainer which direction is front and back...
...and the controls for power, volume, answering calls, skipping tracks, and more are right at your fingertips.
Although we don't own another pair of Bluetooth-enabled headphones to test out the ShareMe 2.0 option, I also love that the Everest 700 have the ability to connect wirelessly this way. I have no doubt that at some point in the future we will be using these to share audio with another set of headphones (of any brand) so that multiple people can listen in to music, movies, and more!
Overall, I love the power, sound, and comfort that the JBL Everest 700 headphones provide and I couldn't be happier not having to deal with the hassle of wires getting caught, twisted, knotted, pulled, and more. Add to that having the ability to wear these just about anytime, anywhere due to their lightweight feel and it's easy to see why these can go from work to play to sport with ease!
In fact, the only issue that I initially had problem with was the one second delay in the sound when watching movies or videos. No one likes it when the actors' lips don't match up with their words, right? Well, a simple visit to the JBL website to download an update to the firmware and install that to my Everest 700 and these now match the audio perfectly. I'm 100% thrilled!
Clearly, I've been extremely impressed with the comfort, fit, and feel of the JBL Everest 700, the convenience that they provide for all aspects of a busy life, and the overall amazing clarity and sound that they provide. I will never travel, work out or pump up the bass without them!
This holiday season, whether you are shopping for an athlete, a workaholic, a commuter, a music-lover, an iPhone 7 owner or more, the JBL Everest 700 around-ear wireless headphones would make an absolutely amazing gift. Your recipient is sure to love the sleek look, custom fit, and great sound no matter if they're going for a run, rocking out or jumping onto a conference call!
JBL Everest 700 headphones are available now for $199.95 directly from JBL or on Amazon. For more information and to find out more about all of JBL's innovative and award-winning products, visit JBL.com and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Other than the JBL Everest 700 headphones that I was provided in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about this product.