Scraps of My Geek Life

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Be The Change You Want To See In The World (and Your Life)
2015-04-22 17:20 UTC by Michele

Full Post: Be The Change You Want To See In The World (and Your Life)

Yep…changes are tough, but a necessary part of life. This post is my way of telling you that things are changing. The quote below is one of my favorite quotes because you can apply it to your own life or the world. You must be the change first.

If you want the world to be more peaceful, you must be more peaceful. If you want to be a leader, you must lead.  Take action in your life to see a difference in the world.

Be the change you want to see in the world quote.

 

My personal interpretation of that quote means I must take action and do what I can to make the changes happen in my life. I know it seems” that I’ve slacked off lately, but that is so far from the case. I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes work on myself, my blog and my life. So let’s talk about those changes and the actions I’m taking.

I’m Doing B School

I am taking B School with Marie Forleo and it's worth every penny!

Yep, Marie Forleo’s B School. I finally did it. I’ve looked at it for the last 4 (maybe 5) years and every year I regret when I don’t do it.

I have so many plans in my head and feeling very overwhelmed when it comes to trying to get them out of my head and into my blog. I just completed module 5 last night and I know that this class is definitely worth the high price tag. I already feel like I have a better plan.

This change will bring my blog and business to a whole new level.

I’m Doing #50WorkDays Too

ByRegina.com Blog to Profit class #50WorkDays

Because taking 1 class wasn’t enough now, I’m also taking the Blog to Profit (#50WorkDays) class put on my Regina of ByRegina.com. I LOVE LOVE LOVE her classes because she breaks things down into very easy simple steps. This class is a small one which I really do prefer because I get to know people better that way.

This change will give me a process to follow to get my ideas out of my head.

Rebranding My Blog

Working hard on changes at Scraps of My Geek Life

You saw the new logo, but that was only the beginning. I’m working on a new theme and I’m going to have a style guide and be all official! My goal is to get back to the roots of what I love about blogging. Sharing what I know with you. I got away from that recently. But no more. You will see less sponsored posts and more of me sharing my knowledge of tech, scrapbooking, running and blogging.

A layout I did with the Project Life app on my iPhone.
A layout I did with the Project Life app on my iPhone.

This change will breathe new life to my blog.

My New Logo

Scraps of My Geek Life new logo

The colors you’ll be seeing a lot more of here are orange, pink and gold. That combination of colors makes me so happy. I’m also loving circles. Everything seems to happen in circles in my life.

This change makes me happy because I was tired of the old logo.

Working On Some Products

I have always wanted to write an ebook and I’m going to do it this year. This is one of those “stuck in my head” projects that I is bursting to get out of my head.So many ideas to get out of my head.

This change will let me do something on my goal and bucket list.

Changes In My Personal Life

I’m still dealing with some of my pancreatic health issues, but going at it from another angle. This seems to consume a lot of my life if I let it. I’m trying hard to not let it.

Getting rid of 40 extra pounds.

And I’m working really hard on getting rid of the 40 extra pounds that have slowly been added to my body since my total hysterectomy (and immediate menopause.) I’m headed to the doctor next week for a full physical to be sure there isn’t a medical reason that these pounds aren’t budging (other symptoms too.)

These changes will make it easier for me to do all I want to do because I will have more energy.

Family Life is Changing Too

My kids are all getting older (but I’m not.)

  • My oldest is finishing up his Freshman year of college. He is living at home so the change wasn’t huge, but he is now an adult. This change I liked. I love seeing my kids grow up.
Nate in GMU play
Nate in a play in college.
  • My daughters are still very involved in dance. We are headed to our first big dance competition this weekend. I’ll be doing a lot of my classes from the competition this weekend. There is so much down time, so I’m making good use of that time. I guess this isn’t really a change, but I need to be fair and include all my kids in this update.
Megan after her solo dance at competition.
After her solo dance a few weeks ago.
Sami performaing her solo at competition.
Sami performing her solo at competition.
  • My other son is about to test for his red belt in TaeKwonDo. He has just one more belt after that and then he begins his Black Belt training. Watch out!! This change is going to give me a kick a$$ body-guard!
Nicky at Brown Strip Taekwondo testing.
Testing for his current belt.
  • This school year is also my last in grade school. YAY!!! I will have NO kids in grade school and after 14 years of having at least one kid in grade school…I’m done! This change signifies a change in our family. Our kids are all growing up and becoming their own people. I love it!!
My kids at a movie over the holidays.
My kids at a movie over the holidays. We were seeing Into The Woods at a new theatre newar us with reclining seats.
  • And my husband is still running trade shows and very supportive of all my projects! This isn’t a change, but that’s good. I don’t need to change husbands…I love the one I’ve had for 20 years.
My family at a Washington Capitals game.
My family at a Washington Capitals game. This was about a week after my sinus surgery.

That is my life in a nutshell now. Changes and all.

And here is my new haircut….just because it’s another change! My attempt to “be the change” on the outside too.

My new haircut.

Let’s talk about “Be the change!” How do you “be the change” personally to make a difference in the world?

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The post Be The Change You Want To See In The World (and Your Life) appeared first on Scraps of My Geek Life written by Michele.

        
 
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Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to Safely See Visitors #SkyBell #Giveaway
2015-04-10 16:12 UTC by Michele

Full Post: Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to Safely See Visitors #SkyBell #Giveaway

This is a sponsored post.

Is safety a priority in your house? Do you worry about safety when answering your front door? I do! I like to know who is at my door before I answer it for two reasons:

  1. If they are selling me something, I’m not going to answer it.
  2. If I don’t know who they are, I don’t want to open the door to find out who they are.

The Skybell WiFi Video Doorbell gives you the opportunity to see (live video action) and have a conversation with the person at your door without unlocking and opening your door. You do not need to be home (but they don’t know that.)

Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to safely see who is at your door before you open the door. #SkyBell #Giveaway

What is a SkyBell WiFi Doorbell?

SkyBell is a smart video doorbell you answer with your smartphone. You can see, hear and speak to the person at the door. They can talk back to you (but not see you.)

Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to safely see who is at your door before you open the door. #SkyBell

How Does a WiFi Video Doorbell Work?

The first thing you need to do is replace your current doorbell with the SkyBell Doorbell. Installation was fairly easy. The location of our doorbell made it a bit tricky, but my husband easily followed the directions and figure out how to install it correctly on our door.

Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to safely see who is at your door before you open the door. #SkyBell

Then download the SkyBell iPhone or Android app. Once the app is installed on your phone, set up the WiFi. You will manage your new doorbell from your phone.

Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to safely see who is at your door before you open the door. #SkyBell

When someone comes to the door, they ring the SkyBell Doorbell just like a normal doorbell for the visitor. They push the button and you will hear a digital chime in the house and get a notice on any phone with the SkyBell app installed (can have multiple users.)

The first person to go to the app will see live video of the person at the door. You can talk to them by pressing the button in the app. Anyone else who tries to answer the doorbell will get a message that someone is using the app.

Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to safely see who is at your door before you open the door. #SkyBell
Live Video in Landscape mode

The visitor talks when they want to respond. You can also snap a photo from the live video feed by pressing the camera button. Here is a photo I took.

Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to safely see who is at your door before you open the door. #SkyBell

We loved that when we weren’t home we could still answer the door. I’m always carpooling kids somewhere and I used the SkyBell app often to see who was at the door. I liked that they didn’t know I wasn’t home, so it appeared that someone was home.

I also used it to check on my kids playing in the front yard.

Additional SkyBell Features

If someone comes to the door, but doesn’t press the doorbell, you will still be notified with the app after 10 seconds. The WiFi doorbell has a motion sensor so a visitor can be detected even if they don’t press the doorbell. You can turn the motion sensor off if you don’t want to use it. We had to do this during a 50 mph windy day.

Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to safely see who is at your door before you open the door. #SkyBell

Want to see if it’s raining at your house? Open the SkyBell app and you can look at the live video anytime. I like to use it to check on my kids walking home from the bus stop.

Want to take a nap and not be disturbed by your doorbell? No problem. There is a silent mode which turns off the indoor chime so SkyBell will only notify you with the app. You can take a nap and have others in the house get the door. We’ve been testing ours with and without the indoor chime. I don’t like the sound of the indoor chime, but unless I have my phone right with me, it’s a necessity for us.

Want to know who is ringing your doorbell at 11pm at night? You can see that someone up to 5 feet away in low light. We always have the front lights on for safety anyways, so we never had a problem seeing who was at the door.

Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to safely see who is at your door before you open the door. #SkyBell

Did We Like It?

We love being able to see who is at the door and talk to them. I do not like the sound of the digital chime, but when we turn it off and are not near our phones, we don’t know someone is at the door. But the sound isn’t enough to keep me from using it.

We had problems with hearing our old doorbell in certain places in the house, so now when I’m working out in the basement, I don’t miss a package that needs signing.

We have had some rain and the SkyBell is still running.

SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell Giveaway

SkyBell is providing one(1) SkyBell WiFi Video DoorBell to one(1) lucky reader.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway Fine Print:

  • No purchase necessary to enter. Purchase will not affect chances of winning.
  • Taxes are the responsibility of the winner.
  • Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia, Eighteen (18) years of age or older.
  • Void where prohibited.
  • Approximate retail value of the prize will be $199 USD, courtesy of SkyBell. No substitutions or cash exchanges.
  • Winner may be required to provide email, shipping address and/or phone number for shipping purposes ONLY. Information will not be used for anything else.
  • Winner is selected by a random Rafflecopter drawing.
  • Winner will be notified via email ONLY.
  • Winner has 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
  • Each entrant into the giveaway completely releases Facebook.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, nor associated with, Facebook.
  • Odds of winning depend on number of entries received.
  • Entries must be received within contest period.
  • Entrant bears risk of lost entry ticket.
  • Winner list is available upon request.
  • Company bears no liability for winners’ use of prize.
  • Acceptance of prize is waiver/release from liability.
  • Complete contest rules, prize description/value/number of prizes available upon request.

 

Disclosure: I participated in the Skybell WiFi Video Doorbell blog program as a member of One2One Network. I received compensation but all opinions are my own.

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The post Use SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell to Safely See Visitors #SkyBell #Giveaway appeared first on Scraps of My Geek Life written by Michele.

        
 
 

Dell XPS 13; A Day in My Life With the #XPS 13
2015-03-22 21:39 UTC by Michele

Full Post: Dell XPS 13; A Day in My Life With the #XPS 13

This is a Dell sponsored post.

Last month I told you all about the new Dell XPS 13. I’ve had another month to use it and the best way to show you how it will fit into your lifestyle is to take you through my day with the XPS 13.

Dell #XPS with @Intel fits my digital lifestyle. It's light enough and small enough and fits nicely in my purse. The infinity screen means I get a nice size screen in a small package and I love it. I also noticed that there are not any scratches on the laptop. I am constantly moving it around and taking it in and out of bags and my purse and no scratches. #spon

My day starts at 6:15 am and I wake up my youngest to get her to school. Once she is off, I get the rest of the kids up and I sit at the kitchen table with my XPS and check email, news, social media and read a few blogs.

Dell XPS 13 with Windows 8 and full back-lit keyboard. #XPS

I’m available for my kids, but getting some of the business tasks out-of-the-way. My battery power on my Dell XPS 13 starts between 9 and 10 hours.

TIP: I found turning down the brightness on the screen saves a LOT of battery power. It’s the biggest drainer for me. If I turn the brightness up, the battery in the morning goes down to about 5 hours. 

After I workout and shower, I run errands and usually spend some time working at Starbucks or McDonald’s. I find I get a lot done in an hour or two away from home because I’m more focused. I bring my XPS with me while I run errands so I have it if I decide to stop and work.

Dell XPS 13 side view of closed Ultrabook. #XPS

It’s light enough and small enough and fits nicely in my purse. The infinity screen means I get a nice size screen in a small package and I love it. I also noticed that there are not any scratches on the laptop. I am constantly moving it around and taking it in and out of bags and my purse and no scratches.

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook with sleek outside (which doesn't show fingerprints.) #XPS

I head home for lunch and I have my Dell XPS 13 on the kitchen counter while I make lunch. I’m usually binge watching a TV show on Netflix.

After lunch, I work for a few hours in my office. I use my desktop primarily at this time, but my XPS is on the desk right next to me because that’s how I roll! No, seriously, I keep my calendar open on my XPS so I can easily see it while I’m working.

working-on-Dell-XPS13

I will often plug it in while it’s on the desk because I want to turn the brightness up, but then sometimes I forget. Either way, it’s still juiced with about 3-4 hours to go.

Once the kids are home, I will work in the kitchen or family room with my XPS and when I drive the kids to activities, I take the XPS with me and often work in my car while I’m waiting to pick someone up.

Dell #XPS with @Intel fits my digital lifestyle. It's light enough and small enough and fits nicely in my purse. The infinity screen means I get a nice size screen in a small package and I love it. I also noticed that there are not any scratches on the laptop. I am constantly moving it around and taking it in and out of bags and my purse and no scratches. #spon

Once again, those times I’m in my car are very productive because I’m more focused and not distracted by anything in the house. I keep the backup battery in my purse so that if I run out of juice at any point, I have more with me. Most days I don’t need it. But as I said before, it depends a lot on how I use the brightness.

While I’m making dinner, the Dell XPS 13 is once again on the kitchen counter. I may work or watch a movie or help kids with homework. While we eat dinner the XPS gets plugged in because I’m usually at less than an hour (if I didn’t recharge with the backup.)

Dell XPS 13 working with my tea by my side. #XPS

Typically, that is the end of my work day, but often I’ll use the XPS for shopping, editing family photos or working on one of the many school or dance projects I volunteer for. I try not to take it to bed with me, but if we are researching a vacation, new car or something else, I will bring it upstairs.

So, as you can see, this Dell XPS 13 with Intel gets carried around a LOT! I wish I could say I’m really careful with it, but I’m not. I don’t have a cover on it and I carry with my keys and in a bag with notebooks and other things.

Dell-XPS13-side-view02

It has become my favorite laptop because it’s so small and light and the battery life fits in with my daily lifestyle. Having the backup battery is a tremendous help because I don’t worry about not having the cord with me and having to find a place to plug-in.

Dell #XPS with @Intel fits my digital lifestyle. It's light enough and small enough and fits nicely in my purse. The infinity screen means I get a nice size screen in a small package and I love it. I also noticed that there are not any scratches on the laptop. I am constantly moving it around and taking it in and out of bags and my purse and no scratches. #spon

The life of the battery does depend greatly on what I’m doing, the programs I have running and the brightness of my screen. But I can tell you that the battery lasts longer than any other laptop I have used even before the battery backup.

Dell #XPS Battery power. I start my day with 9-10 hours of battery life. #spon

I haven’t traveled with the XPS yet, but I can’t wait to try it out on a trip. Especially on our long 10 hour flight to Hawaii this summer.

Let’s Talk! Do you use a laptop throughout your day? How often do you need to plug-in? 

Disclosure: I received the Dell XPS 13 with Intel for this review. All opinions are my own.

Dell #XPS with @Intel fits my digital lifestyle. It's light enough and small enough and fits nicely in my purse. The infinity screen means I get a nice size screen in a small package and I love it. I also noticed that there are not any scratches on the laptop. I am constantly moving it around and taking it in and out of bags and my purse and no scratches. #spon

 

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The post Dell XPS 13; A Day in My Life With the #XPS 13 appeared first on Scraps of My Geek Life written by Michele.

        
 
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Brain Chase; Online Summer Learning Adventure With Coupon Code #BrainChase
2015-03-19 22:24 UTC by Michele

Full Post: Brain Chase; Online Summer Learning Adventure With Coupon Code #BrainChase

This is a sponsored post.

Have you thought about summer learning for your kids? I know, I know…it’s only March. But I just looked at our calendar and the end of the 3rd quarter is next week. Summer will be here before you know it.

Brain Chase is a 5 week online learning adventure for kids in 2nd through 8th grade. It is a treasure hunt where kids read, write and do math to progress through the adventure. This helps prevent the summer brain drain. The adventure is personalized for each child as they hut for a golden mechanical treasure. #BrainChase #spon #AdventureLearning #couponcode

I’m not big on making my kids do worksheets all summer long. I do believe that kids need time to be free and have adventures. That’s why I was very curious and excited about Brain Chase when I first learned about it. I was skeptical at first, but after hearing more about it, I can’t wait to get my kids started. This is very different. It’s more of an adventure that uses learning as the tool to discover more adventure.textbooks during the summer? Brain Chase instead! #BrainChase #AdventureLearning

What is Brain Chase?

Brain Chase is a 5 week online learning adventure for kids in 2nd through 8th grade. It is a treasure hunt where kids read, write and do math to progress through the adventure. This helps prevent the summer brain drain. The adventure is personalized for each child as they hunt for a golden mechanical treasure.

The prize? $10,000 scholarship and a trophy

Sunstone of Cortes Brain Chase. A 5 week online summer learning challenge for 2nd through 8th graders. #BrainChase #AdventureLearning

Here is a video that shows you how the game works.

Now doesn’t that look like loads of fun?

The Nitty Gritty Details for Your Summer Learning Adventure

Starts at 9:00 am ET on Monday, June 22, 2015. It begins with an animated webisode where you’ll meet Me Merriweather, the star of the Brain Chase game.

Mae Merriweather, star of the Brain Chase game #BrainChase #AdventureLearningEach week, your child will have 4 tasks. When they complete those tasks, they unlock the next webisode. Follow the story of Mae and her friends as they hunt for the Sunstone of Cortés.

•	5-week online summer learning challenge for 2nd through 8th graders #BrainChase #AdventureLearningFind the buried treasure which is a real Sunstone of Cortés and $10,000. Every 24 hours, the adventurers can log in and enter a guess. The first one to guess the location within a two-mile radius will travel with their family to claim the prize.

Brain-Chase-character---Max

Here is another video about the 2015 challenge:

The Brain Chase was started by a husband and wife team, Allan and Heather Staker, after trying to figure out how to keep their five kids from suffering the summer learning loss. They wanted to create an academic challenge that kids would love. Allan remembered a book he had read in second grade, Masquerade by Kit Williams and that book sparked the Brain Chase.

Girl-on-computer

Brain Chase Coupon Code

Before April 15, the cost for one child is $149 ($100 for each additional child.) Use the coupon code GEEKLIFE15 to get an additional 15% off. That brings the cost for one child down to $127. After 4/15, the cost for one child goes up to $199 (but the coupon code is still good.)

Looking for some answers to your questions? Check out the Brain Chase FAQs.

Brain-Chase-logo

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Motherhood and Brain Chase. I received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

Let’s Talk! What do you do to ward off summer learning loss? Let me know if you sign your kids up for Brain Chase. My son is going to have a blast this summer with this and I can’t wait to follow along with him.

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The post Brain Chase; Online Summer Learning Adventure With Coupon Code #BrainChase appeared first on Scraps of My Geek Life written by Michele.

        
 
 

Visual Goal Setting With Netflix and Vision Boards #StreamTeam
2015-03-01 03:00 UTC by Michele

Full Post: Visual Goal Setting With Netflix and Vision Boards #StreamTeam

Just bear with me for a moment, I will explain how Netflix helps with goal setting. But first, let’s talk about visual goal setting.

Setting goals with Netflix and vision boards. Find streaming shows to help you set and achieve your goals. Visual goal setting with Netflix. #StreamTeam #spon

Setting Goals With Vision Boards

I’ve discussed using vision boards several times in the past. Having something visual in front of you reminds you daily of what your goals are. Going through the process of creating the vision board can also help you refine your goals. Visual goal setting can be done in many ways.

Here is a Pinterest board with several vision board samples including one created for Netflix.

Follow Michele McGraw, Scraps of My Geek Life’s board Vision Board Samples on Pinterest.

Be sure to check out the DIY “Create Your Own Destiny” Vision Board with Netflix instruction.

Visual Goal Setting With Netflix

Now you have created a vision board and you have it in front of you every day. What other tools can help you with visual goal setting? Visualization also involves imagining yourself completing those goals. Imagine what you will look like and feel like when you have reached your goals.

This is where Netflix can help you. It may be difficult to imagine something if you are unsure of what is involved. For example, my girls want to be dancers. Watching shows about dancing helps them visualize themselves in those same roles.

Here are some great shows to watch for different goals.

Becoming a Dancer

Watch Dance Moms on Netflix to help you visualize becoming a dancer. #StreamTeam #VisionBoard

Dance Moms may have a lot of drama, but it does show how hard the girls work to be top notch dancers. Both of my girls like to watch Dance Moms not for the drama, but for the dancing and seeing girls like them themselves excelling in dance.

First Position is all about ballet and how difficult it is. It takes a lot of dedication and practice to be a ballerina. #StreamTeam #VisionBoard

First Position gives dancers a first hand look at the inside world of being a ballerina.

Dance Academy shows you the dedication it takes to be the best of the best in dancing. #streamteam #visionboard

Dance Academy give you a look at a school for dancers. These dancers are giving it their all to be the best of the best.

Visualize Becoming A Gymnast

The Gabby Douglas Story shows how hard you have to work to become a gymnast. #StreamTeam #VisionBoard

The Gabby Douglas Story is a documentary showing how hard Gabby Douglas worked to become the first black gymnast to win the All-Around Championship in the Olympics.

The American Girl story of McKenna who wants to be a gymnast. Goal setting by visualizing what you want to be. #StreamTeam #VisionBoard

 

McKenna is an American Girl story. McKenna wants to be a gymnast and it takes a lot of dedication and determination.

Become a Baker

Cupcake Wars will show you all the skills you need to become a first class baker. #StreamTeam #VisionBoard

 

Watch Cupcake Wars and you will find out all the skills needed to become a top notch baker. There is definitely a lot of artistry that goes into baking.

Running a Business

Undercover Boss shows all sides of running a business. From CEO down to the janitor. Find out what it takes to run a business. #StreamTeam #VisionBoard

 

Undercover Boss shows all sides of running a business. Find out what it’s like to be the CEO and the janitor. This show also shows the back side of many different businesses. It’s really fascinating to see how a business is run.

Have you created a vision board for 2015? What shows or movies do you watch to help you set your goals? Netflix has a huge variety of shows and I’m sure you can find something. Let me know in the comments below what you watch. 

Netflix Stream Team #streamteam #spon

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I receive product in exchange for my monthly series. All visual goal setting opinions are my own. 

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The post Visual Goal Setting With Netflix and Vision Boards #StreamTeam appeared first on Scraps of My Geek Life written by Michele.

        
 
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Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook With Intel For Your Mobile Lifestyle #XPS
2015-02-24 14:23 UTC by Michele

Full Post: Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook With Intel For Your Mobile Lifestyle #XPS

This is a sponsored post. 

The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook is like no other laptop I’ve seen yet. Since I’m always on-the-go, mobility is my #1 priority when looking for a laptop. What makes this one different? There are three features that stand out for me.

  • The infinity screen
  • The battery life
  • Smallest 13-inch on the planet!

The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook fits your mobile lifestyle. It is the smallest 13-inch on the planet. Fits the size of an 11-inch laptop. Weighing 2.6 lbs, it is light enough to carry around. With up to 11 hours of battery-life, the XPS 13 will last all day too. #XPS @Dell @Intel

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook in Pictures

Let’s start by looking at some photos. The XPS has all the features of a full laptop, but yet it’s compact enough to fit into a purse and light enough at 2.6 lbs to carry with you all day.

The Dell XPS 13 from @Dell with @Intel inside. Packs a punch with an infinity screen and up to 11 hours of battery life.

The infinity screen (think infinity pool with no edges) goes from edge to edge so a 13.3 inch screen fits in the size of an 11 inch Ultrabook.

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook with infinity screen. A 13 inch screen in an 11 inch Ultrabook. #XPS

When closed, the XPS has a sleek and stylish look. One thing I love is that fingerprints don’t show up on the aluminum outside. Believe me, I tried. I hate that look of smudgy fingerprints all over my nice sleek laptop.

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook with sleek outside (which doesn't show fingerprints.) #XPS

You will notice that at the back of the XPS, it is wider than at the front. This allows for the needed USB, SD card slot, headphone jack and even lights to show the battery life.

Dell XPS 13 side view of closed Ultrabook. #XPS

Dell XPS 13 side view with USB slot, headphone jack & battery lights. #XPS

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook side view with USB and SD card slot. #XPS

Dell XPS 13 Mobility

The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook is compact as I said earlier (smallest 13-inch on the planet,) but it still has a full keyboard and I had no problems using the keys.

Dell XPS 13 back-lit keyboard #XPS

The keyboard is back-lit so when you touch a key, lights underneath the keys light up. It’s great for working in bed (which of course I “never” do ::insert wink::)

Dell XPS 13 with Windows 8 and full back-lit keyboard. #XPS

With a battery that lasts up to 11 hours and a small compact battery charger (extra accessory,) the XPS should be able to power my day.

Working on the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook #XPS

Over the next month, I’ll be using the Dell XPS 13 as my primary laptop. I tend to use a laptop at home a lot because I move around the house all day.

Checking email on the Dell XPS13 #XPS

I start in the kitchen in the morning as the kids get ready for school,  to my office, to the family room to catch up on the news during the day, back to the kitchen after school. Then it’s to the car and activities and back to the kitchen, the family room and finally working in bed.

Fixing photos using PS Express on the Dell XPS 13. #XPS

I will show you how the XPS fits into my daily life and how I used the accessories that I received with the Dell XPS.

Dell XPS 13 working with my tea by my side. #XPS

Be sure to check out the Dell XPS 13 page to see all the features and accessories.

Tell me in the comments what you look for in a mobile laptop? What features are important to you? I’ll test those out during he next month and report back here with my findings. 

Disclosure: This is a Dell sponsored post. I received the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook and accessories in exchange for this series. All opinions are my own. 

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The post Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook With Intel For Your Mobile Lifestyle #XPS appeared first on Scraps of My Geek Life written by Michele.

        
 
 

ME Days Are Essential To Work/Life Balance #MEday
2015-02-15 18:49 UTC by Michele

Full Post: ME Days Are Essential To Work/Life Balance #MEday

This is a sponsored post.

The words, work/life balance seem like a contradiction in terms so much of the time. But it all depends on how you look at it. You can find balance between your life and career if you tweak the definition and add in a dose of ME.

Me Days are Essential to Work/Life Balance #MEDay

What is Work/Life Balance?

I found this definition on Wikipedia:

Worklife balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).

I think that is a pretty good definition, but for me, it needs a bit of clarity. That clarity is what helps me remove the guilt of the work/life balance juggle.

You can have balance between your work and family, but not at the same time.

That is where the prioritizing comes in. There will be days where you will miss out on a lifestyle event because of a career choice, but there will also be days where you have to choose your life over your career.

AMD Face Login on HP Envy

The Importance of ME in That Balance

There is one important piece that is often missing when we try to balance our lives. ME! Yes, you!

I know from experience when I don’t take care of myself, nothing else seems to work right. I can’t seem to find balance in anything and I feel very scattered.

summer reading challenges

It’s important to take care of you first. You need to be happy to be ME! When you are feeling happy and healthy, it’s easier to prioritize what is important at that moment.

Here are a few ways I take care of ME each day:

  • Have a cup of tea after everyone has left the house and read blogs.
  • Take a nap for 20 minutes in the afternoon to recharge my energy for my kids after school.
  • Read a book before I fall asleep.
  • Take 5 minutes to write my daily gratitude.
  • Go for a run by myself.

So, as you can see, it doesn’t mean you need to take off to Tahiti for a week (although that would be nice too.) You can carve out small moments in your day.

virginia beach half marathon
And I did it! Celebrating on the beach.

March 16 is ME Day

I like to take a full day to myself every few months and just do whatever I want and not feel guilty.

  • Maybe spend the full day on the couch with ice cream and chick flicks.
  • Or get out my planning calendar and make 1, 5, 10 year plans (I love to plan.)
  • Read all day.
  • Get a pedicure and massage.

ME Day was created by domain .ME to promote the values of  tolerance, diversity and freedom to make our own work and lifestyle choices. Self preservation and taking care of ME is a very important part of that choice.

sony tx20
Taken from our balcony at the hotel after a pedicure. I would love to wake up to this view every day.

Let’s Talk About Taking Care of ME to find work/life balance.

What do you do to take care of you? Do you have a  daily routine or save it up and do something big? How do you define work and life balance? Have you found balance in your life?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by domain .ME; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

domain.me for personal branding online

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The post ME Days Are Essential To Work/Life Balance #MEday appeared first on Scraps of My Geek Life written by Michele.

        
 
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DIY: Print Wrapping Paper At Home For Valentine’s Day
2015-02-13 19:18 UTC by Michele

Full Post: DIY: Print Wrapping Paper At Home For Valentine’s Day

This is an Epson sponsored post.

Valentine’s Day is all about making someone feel special. Making Valentine’s Day wrapping paper especially for your love will make them feel very special.

You can print wrapping paper at home with Epson DIY Wrapping Generator. Print the gift wrap on your printer at home.

Epson has a DIY Wrapping Generator for Valentine’s Day. You can add any words you’d like, an image, background design and color. Then you can print wrapping paper at home on your printer. (I’m using the Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One All in One Printer I received.)

Epson DIY Wrapping Generator to make wrapping paper at home. Print the gift wrap on your printer at home.

The gift wrap I printed looks like this:

Epson DIY Wrapping Generator to make wrapping paper at home. Print the gift wrap on your printer at home.

You could write anything in there although it should be short. How about, “Will you marry me?” I printed this on a plain sheet of white paper on my Epson printer.

Printing gift wrap on my printer. Epson DIY Wrapping Generator to make wrapping paper at home. Print the gift wrap on your printer at home.

And wrapped a gift for Valentine’s Day.

Epson DIY Wrapping Generator to make wrapping paper at home. Print the gift wrap on your printer at home.  The final wrapped present.

If you had a larger present, you could print off several sheets and hide the seams with ribbon.

Epson DIY Wrapping Generator to make wrapping paper at home. Print the gift wrap on your printer at home.

There you have it. Print wrapping paper at home, made special for your loved one.

Disclosure: I received the Epson printer in exchange for sharing my printing crafts with you. All opinions are my own.

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The post DIY: Print Wrapping Paper At Home For Valentine’s Day appeared first on Scraps of My Geek Life written by Michele.

        
 
 

Print Valentine’s Day Cards At Home For The Classroom
2015-02-11 18:24 UTC by Michele

Full Post: Print Valentine’s Day Cards At Home For The Classroom

This post is sponsored by Epson.

It’s the night of February 13 and you are putting your child to bed and she tells you she needs Valentine’s Day cards for class the next day. WHAT?!!! Believe me, I’ve been there. Now, you could run to the store, but chances are pretty good that they are out of Valentine’s Day cards for the classroom. Been there! Instead, you can print Valentine’s Day cards at home.

Need last minute Valentine's Day cards for your child to take to school? Print them at home. I'll show you how I printed them with the Epson Expression XP-860 Small-in-One All-in-One printer. #Sponsored

I’m going to walk you through the steps here so you can easily follow along at 11:00 pm.

Printing Valentine’s Day Cards At Home

Step 1

Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than you usually wake up. Why? Because your child will need to fill out the Valentine’s Day cards before school in the morning.

Step 2

Download the classroom Valentine’s Day cards from the Epson CreativeZone. There are 2 options, kids and robots.

Print last minute classroom Valentine's Day cards at home.

Step 3

Remember where you downloaded the file and open the PDF file with Adobe Reader. Print the PDF file onto cardstock paper.

Printing classroom Valentine's Day cards at home.

I used the Epson Expression Premium XP-860 Small-in-One All-in-One printer and Epson Presentation Paper Matte.

Printing classroom Valentine's Day cards on Epson XP820 at home.

Here is the full sheet:

Printing classroom Valentine's Day cards on Epson XP820 at home.

I love the way the Valentine’s cards came out. My daughter was worried they wouldn’t look the same as the ones you buy, but she was really happy with them. The colors were vibrant and the ink didn’t smear across the paper when she was writing them out.

Step 4

We printed both the kids and the robots versions for variety.

Printing classroom Valentine's Day cards on Epson XP820 at home.

Cut out the Valentine’s Day cards. I had my daughter do that, but if you are doing this late at night, you’ll need to do this yourself.

Printing classroom Valentine's Day cards on Epson XP820 at home.

Cutting Valentine's Day cards we printed on our Epson at home.Step 5

Go to bed knowing your child will have her Valentine’s Day cards tomorrow. Goodnight!

 

Step 6

Good Morning! This is the step your child can do in the morning. Fill out the Valentine’s Day cards with the names of the kids in the classroom (hopefully the teacher sent you a list.)

Writing names on Valentine's Day cards we printed at home.Here is my daughter filling out the cards for her friends who are not in her class.

Writing names on Valentine's Day cards we printed at home.And you are done!!!

The Epson CreativeZone had so many projects that you can do with an Epson printer and paper. I spent hours searching it the other day and found so many fun crafts.

Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One All-in-One printerThe Epson Expression Photo XP-860 is also a copier, scanner and fax machine. It is wireless so you can print from any phone or tablet.

Tell me about a time you had to create a last minute project for your kids. Do you keep supplies at home so you don’t have to run out? We use our printer a lot to create posters for projects at the last minute.

Disclosure: I received the Epson printer in exchange for my posts. All opinions are my own. 

Amazon Affiliate Links:

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Red Gadgets Valentine’s Day Gift Guide
2015-02-09 16:11 UTC by Michele

Full Post: Red Gadgets Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly. Have you bought your love a gift? Does she prefer gadgets over gold? Then she is like me. Getting a red or pink gadget for Valentine’s Day is the best gift!!

Red Gadgets Valentine Gift Guide; If your Valentine prefers gadgets over gold, then this gift guide is for you. #GiftGuide #ValentinesDay

Here are a few suggestions…

Keys-To-Go Portable Keyboard

I have tried a LOT of portable keyboards and most of them are bulky and add weight to my bag. If they are light, then they are hard to use. I tried the Logitech Keys-To-Go portable keyboard and it is PERFECT for carrying with you everyday.

Logitech Keys-To-Go portable keyboard. Perfect to carry with you everywhere and easy to use.

The keyboard is very thin. I slip it into my purse and I don’t notice a difference in weight. It doesn’t take up much space at all. I use the keyboard with my iPhone or a tablet. Sometimes I’m using my phone and I have a lot to write. I can easily whip out the Keys-To-Go and type up an email.

It connects to your device with Bluetooth. You can turn the keyboard on and off to save the battery when you aren’t using it. The battery is supposed to last 3 months, but since I’ve only had it about a month, I have not tested that. I do know that every time I turn it on, it works.

It is also very easy to clean up if you spill something on it. So don’t worry about pulling it out at the coffee shop if you need it.

I received the Keys-To-Go to test out before I added it to my gift guide.

UE MEGABOOM Portable Wireless Speaker

I got the UE MEGABOOM last week and my daughter and I fell in love with it. It’s very stylish. It’s the type of gadget that you want to put out on your table and decorate around it.

UE MEGABOOM portable wireless speaker for your love on Valentine's Day.UE MEGABOOM portable wireless speaker for your love on Valentine's Day.

The huge + and – are the volume up and down buttons. It’s a small detail, but we thought it was brilliant. I hate searching for a small toggle switch when I want to turn the sound up or down.

But if that wasn’t enough, the UE MEGABOOM has an app for iPhone and Android. You can control the volume and sound from the app.

UE MEGABOOM app for iPhone and Android

The sound is beautiful. We listened to Phantom of the Opera and the UE MEGABOOM did the music justice. No scratchy sound….just beautiful music.

Want to take the music to the beach or in the shower? No problem, the UE MEGABOOM is waterproof too.

I received the UE MEGABOOM to test out before I added it to my gift guide.

Nokia Lumia 1520

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a 6 inch Windows phone. It comes in this gorgeous red color.

 

Lumia 1520 for Valentine's Day

 

I love when a phone is so beautiful, you don’t want to add a case to it. I’m a huge fan of the 6″ and up phones and this one feels awesome in my hands. It is very light at about 7 oz.

The best feature for me is the 20 mp camera. I use my phone as my main camera because it’s with me all the time. The Lumia phones have an extensive choice of apps for your camera and photos too. I like that you have control over many features when you take the photos such as brightness, etc.

I received the Lumia 1520 phone to try out before I included it in my gift guide.

Bemo Social Video Camera

I’ve talked about the Bemo before, but it’s getting another spot on another gift guide because I love it.  It’s a very small camera that you can wear around your neck or click to your shirt or use with your hand.

Bemo Social Video camera

It takes 8mp photos and HD video. Download the Bemo app for the iPhone and edit the video or photos on the spot and share. The app connects your phone with the Bemo. You can save up to 3 hours of video on the Bemo. I like that this is very small and light and fits easily in your pocket. It’s great for capturing your everyday life.

I received a Bemo last Fall to try out before adding to my Holiday Gift List, but I love it so much, I’m including it in my Valentine’s list too (and it comes in Moraccan Red.

Fuji Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera

My daughter wanted the Fuji instant camera for Christmas. It is a fun little camera. The quality of the photo is not going to be anything like a DSLR, but for instant fun, it’s perfect.

Fuji Instax Mini 8 instant camera

Great for instant craft fun too. The photos you get with an instant camera have a “feel” to them that can’t be duplicated with a filter. For me it was a bit of nostalgic fun, but worth it.

Selfie Stick & Wireless Shutter

Selfie sticks are all the rage now. If you pair the selfie stick with the wireless shutter, it’s tons of fun. You connect the shutter to your phone via Bluetooth so you can press the button and take the photo while you have the selfie stick way out away from your hand.

Selfie stick and wireless shutter

If you don’t know what a selfie stick is, let me explain. At one end, you put your phone (it’s in tightly, so it won’t fall out) and the stick telescopes out. It’s for taking selfie shots of groups. Sometimes your arm isn’t long enough and you can’t get everyone in the photo. But with a selfie stick, you can.

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