Sociercise

Good morning! Today I wanted to share with you something that has been in the works for me. I have taken on the task of working with a great company called Sociercise. I will be running things for them on the social media and ambassador side of things, and wanted to share with you a little bit about them because it is an AWESOME concept and phone app!

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What is Sociercise?

Sociercise is a way to exercise socially or a form of social exercise. It consists of the website and the FREE Sociercise Real Time Running Races app for iPhone (Android coming soon) that allow individuals to compete in real time races and virtual charity races.

What does Sociercise Include?

*Real Time Running RacesUsers can run in a real time race against other users from any location. In these races participants can track their progress in real time against other real runners. They can hear audio prompts when they get passed and they can see their course through integrated Google Maps.

* Virtual Charity Races –  Through virtual charity races organizations can raise money through an athletic event without the risks, expenses, and difficulties associated with hosting a traditional 5K or fun-run. Plus the Virtual Charity Races on Sociercise allow participants to collect pledges for each mile that they complete as well as minimum and maximum donations through our Fun and Fair pledge process on our website. As an event occurs virtual charity race participants can run anytime, anywhere, and as often as they want to log miles using our iPhone app. At the conclusion of the multi-day racing period our system will calculate and process the donations based upon the pledges per mile and the distance completed by the runner. Also, there are PRIZES for different categories like most miles run and most money raised.

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Awesome running shoes are one of the prizes for the next race!

*Individual Workouts– So you aren’t in a competitive mood but you still want to run…No problem with Sociercise you can go for an individual workout, set your goal distance or do a free run and the app will track your time, pace, and distance as well as your course on a Google Map.

*Workout History and Goal Setting – What good is a great running app without the ability to set goals and track your progress?Sociercise created several ways to track your progress from graphs for each distance, a complete history log, and a goal setting process that allows you to set and track goals for time, distance, calories, and weight loss.

Want to know more? Here are some videos that show some more about Sociercise:

http://youtu.be/ANh1p2mGuoU

http://youtu.be/rxtgs9vcYds

As you can see, it’s a great concept and an easy way to raise money for charity without having to travel or worry about meeting super high minimums just to compete. You race from home over several days! The charity we are currently working with is the Wounded Warrior project. Won’t you come and support these soldiers? it’s easy to sign up and tell your friends about it via social media and collect pledges!

Want to follow Sociercise on Facebook and Twitter? We would love to hear from you!

QOTD: What are your thoughts on running a virtual race for charity via a phone app? Will you sign up and help us raise money?

Disney MagicBands Review

Last week when I was in Disney World for the Earmarked conference for authorized Disney vacation planners at Disney’s Contemporary resort convention center, I had the opportunity to test out the new MagicBands that are currently in the testing phase.

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They work in conjunction with the My Disney experience phone app which I KNOW all of you have downloaded onto your phones. Smile You can also use your account on a PC if you don’t have a Droid or iPhone.

I have gotten several questions about the bands, what they can do, how they work, etc. so I am hoping to answer those questions here, and of course if you have a question that I don’t answer please ask in the comments, it may be a question someone else has, too!

1.) What do they cost?

Nothing! The magic bands will be standard issue for all Disney resort guests once they go live. You will receive a box in the mail with your customized bands once you order them through my Disney experience. You can customize them up to six days prior to your stay and get the customized bands at check in. Even if you don’t customize them, you can still get them at check in, but they will be grey bands.

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Beautiful box your bands come packaged in, straight to your house!

2.) What do they do?

Oh my friends, they question is what DON’T they do! You can attach your theme park tickets to your Disney MagicBands so you tap your band to get into a park, into your hotel room, through a fastpass line, or when paying for food or merchandise, it’s amazing! If you are using Disney’s Magical Express service, you will also use them to get on a bus to go to your resort. So convenient, but be sure to pack them in a carry on! Since the bands are still in the testing phase, I was also given a regular key to the world card as a backup to get into my room.

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Me testing out the MagicBand at the earmarked conference

3.) You mentioned fastpasses….how does this work?

There is a new system called Fastpass+. You can go into your Disney account online and set up three fastpasses for the day at one park. No more running to the fastpass machines at park opening, or leaving your family in line for one ride while you go get fastpasses for another. You pick your rides and times online, and show up at your designated one hour window and tap your band to go through the fastpass line. Super easy! ***Edited to add that now once you use all 3 of your fastpasses that you schedule, you can go to any kiosk in the park or park hop to another park and add  more fastpasses one at a time!***

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Fastpass+ to get on Soarin.

4.) Shopping? Food? How! This seems so easy!

When you check in, you will be asked to enter in a pin code that you will use during your trip to make purchases on your account/credit card that you provide. When you go to a store, at checkout you simply tap your band and enter your pin, that’s it! Same thing at restaurants. Servers have a small portable device you tap your band against.

5.) Fastpass+ sounds awesome, are there other things you can use it for besides rides?

Yes! You can use fastpass+ for parade and fireworks viewing areas, as well as character meet and greets. Disney is going to be adding many more experiences to fastpass+ in time, so be on the lookout for these experiences. Also, I was able to attach my annual pass to my band so I can reuse it if I wanted to on my next trip.

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Kelly using her MagicBand to enter EPCOT

6.) I saw you posted a photo on Instagram of some charm looking things on your band. What is this?

These are called bandits. Something fun for you to collect and personalize your band with. There are also fun covers called sliders, so many options and ways to personalize. Also a great way to tell bands apart if your kids order the same color (their names are also on the underside for identification if you customize ahead of time online). You can buy accessories at the resorts where the bands are being tested.

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7.) My family is really active, will we have to take the Disney MagicBands off to get in the pool or what if we get sweaty?

The bands are waterproof and do well in heat, so they won’t melt or die at the waterparks or in the pool. The only thing I noticed is I did get a little sweaty on my arm wearing mine on a hot day, but I imagine if I had a slider on it it would help.

8.) Fastpass+, customizing bands, this all seems overwhelming, HELP!

Absolutely! I would love to book your family vacation for you an walk you through this new process as it rolls out. You can email me at [email protected] for a free quote, or go to travelwiththemagic.com and request a quote. Just be sure to put my name on there so it goes to me. Smile

Want to see what resorts are being included in the testing? Check out this link on Travel With the Magic. 

QOTD: Thoughts on the Disney MagicBands? Any questions?

Weekend Happenings: I’m Going to Disney World!

Guess where I am going today? DISNEY WORLD! This time, I am going for work. There is a special travel agency conference every year and I was invited to go with my boss as a delegate, meaning I will be attending seminars and meetings. We are going a couple days early to have a little fun and do some research before the conference begins, but yup, work trip. Not that’ I’m complaining. Smile 

I will be staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge tonight and tomorrow night, and then will move to the Contemporary until Thursday. I am so excited, I have never stayed at the Contemporary before. I will also be attending Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween party, so stay tuned if you want to see my costume!

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I will have my laptop with me and will still be blogging and on social media thanks to my handy dandy Blackberry Q10 and it’s awesome mobile hotspot capabilities. My husband and I are pretty amazed at the internet speed coming from that little device. It’s super fast!

Speaking of little thing, we are also loving the Blackberry mini stereo speaker I received. Bobby clips it onto his shorts and listens to music from it when he is outside working in the yard of BBQ-ing. It has really good sound quality, much crisper and louder than coming straight out of a phone (especially one in a case).

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! Winner of my Raw Threads giveaway announced soon!

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QOTD: Do you use a special speaker or docking station for your phone? Headphones?

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”  #VZWA #VZWVoices

A Special Connection

Confession: I am a nerd. I love to learn, I love gadgets, and love to see really really “cool” things happening around me. I of course consider technology a REALLY, really cool thing. It moves super fast, there is SO much to learn, and my favorite thing about it: it helps us to connect people to each other.

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I use my smartphone to connect via text, email, video chat, and photos all day long!

True story: Some of my very best friends in the world I met online. Oh yes. Back in 2006 I was on a message board planning my honeymoon, and I ended up meeting some awesome people. Some of them I ended up staying in touch with, meeting with several times in real life, and now our families go on vacation together. How awesome it that? All because of the awesomeness of technology.

Unfortunately I don’t get to see my friends as often as I would like, but thanks to technology and amazing tools like smart phones, laptops, and video cameras, I am able to do more and we can talk to and “see” each other all the time. I live a good 15-20 minutes from “town” and am in a more isolated neighborhood. It has been hard for me to make as many local friends as I would like because of this, but I have no shortage of friends all over the world due to being connected via technology. Whenever I want to “chat” with someone I can hop on Twitter and see what’s going on around the world with my online buds, get on facetime or skype with a family member, or simply shoot an email to catch up with an old childhood friend. The opportunities are ENDLESS!

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Constantly here. On the laptop.

Technology also helps connect me to my readers. I use my webcam on my laptop a lot so that I can post vlogs. It’s so funny when people say that after hearing my voice, they feel more connected to me and like I am a real person or a friend. It’s also nice to have an on the go video camera/camera so that I can capture things and upload them later for my friends, family, or blog community to see. I can’t wait to see what else is in store in the years to come, and I hope I can keep up, I love having these special connections.

QOTD: How has technology improved your life/made you feel connected to other people?

National Running Day 2013

Happy National running day! Will you be running? Timex is celebrating National Running Day on Wednesday, June 5 by asking YOU to tweet or post to Instagram with #IMARUNNER.

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Every time you do this, Timex will donate $5, up to $15,000, toward One Fund Boston which helps those individuals most affected by the tragic events of April 15, 2013. HOW GENEROUS and awesome of this company. Seriously. Also, there is something in it for YOU! Timex will also be giving away 60 Timex Ironman watches to runners who use the hashtag. Who knows, it could be you, right?

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Ok, so how am I entered to win a watch? easy. For a chance to win a Timex Ironman watch simply submit your unique running story on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #IMARUNNER on June 5th. You can also enter by submitting a photo or story directly on the Timex Sports Facebook page “#IMARUNNER Tab” (http://bit.ly/12qH3Xb). Winners will be selected at random and official rules are located here: http://bit.ly/147ilKy.

I am a bit injured so I am going to run/walk today, at least it’s something! Good luck and happy running!

QOTD: Will you be running today? Do you want to win a watch?

It Can Wait

Is it really that important? Too many people are getting into deadly accident because they just HAD to check that text/text while driving. Most of the time, the text is something like “ok” or even something silly that doesn’t need an answer. Not earth shattering things that have to be addressed immediately yall. I consider myself a very safe driver, but there is absolutely nothing I can do if someone else out there driving decides to do something stupid. Over 100,000 crashes a year involve drivers who are texting!

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I am asking you all to take the It Can Wait pledge with me to not text and drive. The pledge states “no text message, email, website or video is worth the risk of endangering my life or the lives of others on the road.” Amen.

If you go to the website, you will see it’s easy to take the pledge and you can even share a personal story if you would like. There is also a badge you can download and put on a blog, etc. You can also use the #itcanwait hashtag when sharing on Twitter that you made the pledge!

It Can Wait Pledge Logo

Take the pledge, then put the logo up on your site. I am pinning it so you can save it from Pinterest!

QOTD: Did you take the pledge? I would love to know!

*Di you know Fitfluential has a new phone app for Android and iOS phones? Check it out!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”  #VZWA #VZWVoices

Accessories for a Healthy Lifestyle

As a very “connected” people, we are always finding new ways for technology to help us improve our lives. One thing a lot of people have begun to do is use it for health and fitness, which I think is a fabulous idea. Verizon has a ton of accessories that can be helpful in achieving the fitness level you desire, and to also help you keep your weight on track. Check out some of my favorite cool accessories that Verizon offers:

Fitbit Zip: This is a simple tool to help keep you on track with how much you are moving during the day. It tracks your steps and your distance, as well as calories burned. I love mine! It easily clips onto your belt loop or shirt, and it doesn’t bother you at all during the day. (At least not me!) I have even heard people say they accidentally put it through the wash and it came out ok!

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Smart Scale: My favorite thing about this scale is that it updates your stats to your fitbit dashboard so you can keep track. It also measures body fat and BMI (honestly I hate BMI though, so don’t get me started.) This bad boy is wi-fi enabled for easy tracking and recording. Pretty nifty!

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MotoACTV Bike mount: I don’t really ride, but I know my husband would love this. It easily attaches to your handlebars so you can clearly see your stats as you go. It has a GPS in it, so you can track your training and also put it online on your personal training log. You can also sync this to your android phone and be alerted when you get texts, tweets, etc. I love that!

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QOTD: Which of these three would you like to try?

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”  #VZWA #VZWVoices

Top 5 Smart Accessories

Good morning! I am hopping on a 7:15 flight this morning and heading to Orlando! I will check into the Grand Floridian, and then the press event will begin after lunch. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, instagram, and Facebook via the social media icons on my right sidebar of my blog. I will be live tweeting/etc. the event Thursday and Friday and you won’t want to miss the new information I will be posting! Also don’t worry, while I am gone I have some great guest posters who will be taking over my blog (I will also be popping in on a couple of days to post about press event info I learn). Be sure to show them some love!

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I recently spoke about getting the new Blackberry Z10 smart phone. There was a bit of a learning curve, but I have enjoyed getting to know my phone. Now that I have used it a good bit, it’s time to think about accessories! here are five accessories that I found that I would love to try out for various reasons:

Nokia JBL Power Up Speaker– This is a wireless charging speaker with Legendary JBL® sound in a compact design. You can wirelessly charge your device simply by placing it on top of the speaker. It is also compatible with any Bluetooth®-enabled device.

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LG wireless charging Bluetooth headset- This accessory features a solid, durable look and feel built into a compact and lightweight design. The geometric mesh surface is the contact point for Wireless Charging. The Power/Call button and Volume buttons are placed well for easy access while wearing the device.

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Fitbit one- I have the FitBit zipp, but would love to try this one! During the day, it tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. At night, it measures your sleep cycle to help you see how to sleep better; and it can even wake you in the morning without waking other in your home. Your stats upload wirelessly to your computer and select mobile phones.  You can set goals, and track progress while competing with your friends.

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Lifeproof armband- I already have a lifeproof case, so this armband would be great to have so I could wear it while I run instead of holding my phone. Made from breathable spandex, the wide strap and non-slip silicone dots keep it stable and comfortable as you move. The Velcro strap adjusts to fit most, and it’s also lightweight. Reflective markings make you more visible when training after dark.

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Tagg pet tracker- This is a purpose-built tracking device that helps pet owners find and track their pet. The pet owner tells the Tagg system where they want their pet to be, and  if the pet ever leaves the Tagg zone, the owner receives text and email alerts. Tagg’s innovative technology quickly pinpoints the pet’s location using a mobile device or computer. The Tagg master kit includes three months of service. After the first three months, service costs $7.95/month and includes unlimited alert notifications

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*Do any of these accessories look interesting to you? You can now save 25% on these and many more Verizon accessories by texting heatherslg to 22699. You will then get a barcode to use in store, or you can use the code online when you shop Verizon.

QOTD: What accessory looks the most interesting to you?

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”  #VZWA #VZWVoices

Cleaning Your Computer and Mobile Devices

It’s spring cleaning time! While sprucing up your yard and house are great things that need to be done, what about cleaning your computer/cell phone/tablet? If you are anything like me, you use your phone and computer a lot. While this is great for my job and my blog, it’s not so great when it comes to wear, tear and well…germs.

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I am guilty as charged to a lot of things that contribute to a dirty computer/phone. I eat at my computer, I get makeup on my phone, I get smudges on my laptop screen, and dirt on my mouse and I use an extra large gaming mousepad, meaning I have to defend a much larger area from dirty invaders. I also run with my phone so I get sweat all over it. Sometimes the dust and grime is hard to see, but trust me it’s there. These un-cleaned devices can be contributing factors to sickness and germy messes, so be sure to clean regularly with these easy tips:

1.) Buy some canned air.

This will help you get dust, food particles, and other dirt out from underneath the keys of your keyboard. Be sure to bring the laptop or desktop keyboard outside to clean, and power off your equipment. I turn my laptop on it’s side and use the canned air. Aim for once every other week, or whenever you do your regular dusting of your home.

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2.) Buy an electronics cleaning cloth

I wouldn’t use anything other than a cloth made specifically for cleaning electronics, but some people use old t-shirts to clean with as well. Power off the computer and dip cloth in a tiny bit of water (distilled works best) and wipe down the computer and screen (or other device). Be especially careful with the pressure you put on the screen, and do not spray water directly onto the screen of a computer or phone from a squirt bottle.

3.) Get a screen protector for tablets and cell phones

My iPhone is in a life proof case, and my tablet has a film/screen on it for protection, so for cleaning I just wipe down the cover/screen and don’t have to worry about the actual screen itself getting dirty or damaged. Worth it in my option! If you still have dirt or grime on certain spots of your phone or computer use a toothpick to get into small spaces. Since I do have a waterproof life proof case, I feel safe wiping my phone down with an antibacterial wipe.

4.) Wash your hands before you get on the computer

This will cut down on the amount of dirt that gets on your keys and under them, as well as on the mouse/mouse pad. This can also save you from getting sick!

5.) Clean your mouse and mouse pad

Your mouse is constantly rolling over the mouse pad, so whenever dust and dirt get on the mouse pad it can cake up on the bottom of your mouse. If you have a ball on your mouse take it out and clean it. Also be sure your hands are clean when using the mouse so you don’t cake up dirt on the buttons on top.

So, take this post as your reminder and motivation to clean your devices!

*Don’t ever spray harsh chemicals onto your screen. You can use wipes to clean the keyboard but not the scree itself.

QOTD: How often do you clean your computer or cell phone?

Blackberry Z10

I so so excited to be asked to be a Verizon Wireless Ambassador again, and was stoked when I found out we were getting the all new Blackberry Z10!

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I am pretty stubborn and set in my ways, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this new phone. I have never owned a Blackberry before, but I can honestly say I really like this phone!

I have a ton I want to say about this device, but for today I just wanted to share a couple of my favorite features:

Blackberry Hub

The Blackberry Hub is where all of your notifications go for accounts you add to it such as Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter. You can see all of your recent notifications with the swipe of a finger and decide who you need to respond to. Not only do you get to see your recent notifications, but you can respond to these notifications RIGHT FROM THE HUB without having to then go and open that app or e mail account. it’s pretty epic and makes my life so much easier.

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Time shift camera mode:

This is by far my favorite feature. Basically the way it works is when you take a photo in this mode, it takes the photo over a period of a few seconds and then you can go back and pick the exact second where the photo is the best (no blinking, perfect smile) and save that as you final product. LOVE it especially for my husband Mr. blinky. It’s also great for those action shots of kids or pets.

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QOTD: Would you ever part with your current phone? Ever had a Blackberry?

*Disclaimer: I was provided 3 months of free service as well as the Blackberry Z10 phone from Verizon, however all opinions are 100% my own.