Ever since I was I child, I’ve loved going bowling. This love is in direct correlation between how many episodes of The Flintstones I watched and now much I loved wearing funky retro bowling shoes. Bowling with friends gives you the chance to strut your stuff in front of others while hurling a heavy ball down a glossy lane of ten pins. It’s fun, it’s retro, and it’s recreational.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try to get a good score in bowling, I’m lucky to break 100.
While I was in college, I took a bowling class to sharpen my skills. On the first day of class, before learning any rules or basics of the game, we got to play a free round of bowling. I scored 111, which ended up being the highest score I achieved in 4 months of bowling classes and volunteering with the Special Olympics bowling league. I gained some good techniques, learned the lingo of the game, and am aware of physics of being a good bowler. But the more I focus on technique, the worse my score is at the end of the game.
Therefore, I’ve learned to play for the fun of the game, and to wear rocking bowling shoes.
I was contacted by BowlingShoes.com to review a pair of shoes. Although I’ve had my own pairs of bowling shoes in the past, they were cheap, uncomfortable, and had an unnecessary amount of velcro. When I searched their site for a pair of shoes to select, I focused immediately on the Elite Neon Sun Ladies’ Bowling Shoes. Why? Because they GLOW IN THE DARK. If you know me at all, you know that I can’t resist the glow. I think that nighttime cosmic bowling is the most fun, and these shoes are perfect for it!
The shoes are matte black with a neon yellow/green tongue, logo, and laces, with white contrast stitching. When under black lighting, the shoes glow a cool greenish tint. The shoes are lightweight with a felty-bottomed universal slide sole. The fit is a little wider than the shoes you would rent from the bowling alley, which is good for my feet. I am not sure if the shoes are genuine leather or some type of vinyl composite…the descriptions on the product box and on other websites do not specify the materials.
In wearing the shoes around my hardwood-floored home, I did find them quite comfortable. The soles had just the right amount of grip/slide that I like for my game, and there was adequate support within the shoe. My only complaint is that the back heel portion of the shoe is very stiff, and made my skin feel raw after a few minutes. I think I’m more prone to that shoe/heel rubbing than the average person, so next time I’ll wear some padded athletic socks to minimize the friction.
The Elite Neon Sun shoes are available for $49.99 through BowlingShoes.com, which is an affordable mid-range price for the casual bowler. Owning your own bowling shoes means that you don’t have to deal with the germs that the rental shoes can have. I’ve always hated watching bowling alley employees “spray and pray” away the germs with aerosol disinfectant, so I’m happy to only deal with my own foot germs.
I can’t wait to try these shoes out in action. I found a bowling alley less than a mile from my house that has cosmic bowling and karaoke on the weekends. Paired with some funky socks and a striped shirt, I’ll be glowing with pride in my new bowling shoes.
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary pair of bowling shoes from bowlingshoes.com in exchange for a review. Images in the review are property of their website, but opinions are all my own. Retail value of the shoes is $49.99.
Music, movies, television, live performances, and more. 2013 was a great year for culture in many genres, which made this raving pop culture junkie a happy girl. What were my favorite pop culture experiences of 2013*? Here’s my recap.
Favorite Television Shows of 2013
Breaking Bad (I still can’t believe it’s over)
The Mindy Project
Orange is the New Black
House of Cards
Favorite Concerts of 2013
Muse – Rose Garden, Portland, OR
Muse – Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Tegan and Sara with Walk Off the Earth – The Fillmore, Detroit, MI
Empire of the Sun – Twilight Concert Series, Salt Lake City, UT
Keane – Live from Berlin (it was a concert movie, but it was amazing)
Favorite Albums of 2013
Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
Imagine Dragons – Night Visions
Keane – Best of Keane
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Phoenix – Bankrupt!
Lorde – Pure Heroine
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
John Mayer – Paradise Valley
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
Favorite Movies of 2013
Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Great Gatsby
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Man of Steel
Oz the Great and Powerful
Favorite Songs of 2013
Imagine Dragons – Demons
Sara Bareilles – Brave
City and Colour – Thirst
The Killers – Miss Atomic Bomb
The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather
M83 (featuring Susanne Sundfor) – Oblivion
Lorde – Royals
Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness
Daft Punk – Get Lucky
Biffy Clyro – Biblical
The 1975 – Chocolate
OneRepublic – Counting Stars
Barenaked Ladies – Odds Are
Bastille – Pompeii
Favorite Performances/Exhibits of 2013
Florencia en el Amazonas – Utah Opera
Watch Me Move – Detroit Institute of Arts
The Heidelberg Project – Detroit
The Fargo Tourist Bureau – Fargo, ND
Chris & Kevin’s Batman Wedding – Dana Point, CA
Favorite YouTube Videos of 2013
Hashtag – Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake
Walk Off The Earth – Red Hands
Tegan and Sara – Closer
Ylvis – The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)
Prancercise: A Fitness Workout
The Ragtime Gals – “SexyBack” and “I Wanna Sex You Up”
*note: Some songs, albums, and movies were released in 2012, but they were heavily enjoyed in 2013
November was a month of transition. Packing, driving cross country, starting a new job, finding my way around, and trying to catch my breath. We were fortunate to be able to stay with the Mero Family in Plymouth for a few weeks, who we knew from our time in Michigan back in 2008. We did the one-car double-commute thing for two weeks, where we’d leave Plymouth, drop Taylor off at the airport in Romulus, I’d drive to work in Troy, and then go back to Plymouth. It was 120 miles round trip, and very exhausting and time consuming. I flew back to Salt Lake two weekends in a row to pack, attend a going away party, and get some last visits in with friends and family. On the second trip back, Rosie returned to Detroit with me.
I began working as an SEO specialist at Moncur Associates, a digital branding agency. I will be focusing on SEO, but working with the social media team to integrate social and content strategies for our clients. It’s been an interesting transition to go back to SEO after doing full-time social media at my last job, but I know that my social media experience makes me a better SEO, and vice versa. When I began working, the office was in Troy. Three weeks later, the office had relocated to Southfield. It’s a convenient location to my house, and a pretty snazzy contemporary office.
On the last day of November, we got the keys to our new house in Berkley. Our house is a cozy blue 1920′s bungalow with a white porch, squeaky wood floors, and a good backyard. Berkley is a suburb 11 miles north of downtown Detroit. I know this because we live off 11 Mile Road. When we drove out from Utah, we packed as much as we could into the cars. Because we had to coordinate the moving truck with Taylor’s company, we knew it would be a while before our stuff was delivered. Right now, the estimated arrival date is December 30th.
Our Black Friday was spent furniture shopping. We got some fantastic deals, and purchased a dining room set, couch, and beds. Other than our new furniture and the miscellaneous STUFF we’ve purchased on our multiple Target/Meijer/Costco/Walmart runs, the house is otherwise empty. It will be nice to have all of our dishes, kitchenware, dressers, linens, decorations, and clothes, but for now…we have enough to get by.
We debated over a real vs artificial Christmas tree this year. I was set on getting a real tree…until I went shopping for a real tree. I don’t consider myself OCD at all, but I started getting frustrated at the “fresh” trees I saw in tree lots. Most were severely asymmetrical and patchy, and really didn’t look very pretty. The ones that were full and looked nice had very sharp needles. Four lots later, I gave in to Taylor’s pleadings and got an artificial tree. As a consolation, we bought a lovely fresh fir wreath. With the tree set up, full of lights and ornaments, this alone has helped our house feel like a home.
Christmas will be simple this year. Taylor will be on a 4-day trip, so Rosie and I will be on our own. Luckily, many new friends and people in our ward have invited us to celebrate with them, so we’ll have ways to be merry in our new city.
As a blogger, I get a fair amount of emails from brands and PR agencies to do product reviews on my blog. Recently, I was asked to do a review of Six Nutrition Vitamins for Men. I replied to the email saying, “I am not a man, but my husband is. And he is willing to do a review.” They were happy with that response, sent the vitamins, and Taylor has been taking them for the last month.
So, ladies and gents, here is Taylor’s first product review!
In my career as an airline pilot, health and fitness are vitally important. In addition to very long duty days in stressful conditions, I am required by the FAA to have a comprehensive medical exam annually. If I do not keep my health in top form, especially my weight and cardiovascular health, I can risk my license and career.
Staying healthy in an environment where I can’t get consistent sleep and be in a regular routine can be difficult. I try to eat healthfully, but I am often at the mercy of packaged meals and airport restaurants. I’ve tried to make up for that by taking a multivitamin on a daily basis. When asked to try Six Nutrition Vitamins, I was willing to see if this made a difference in how I felt.
I had never heard of Six Vitamins before, but their product philosophy makes sense. Six Nutrition believes in pinpointing 6 areas: heart, joint, sex, muscles, mind, and energy.
My first impression of the product was the slick packaging. After taking generic Centrum vitamins in a giant bottle from Costco, this was a nice change. I wasn’t thrilled about taking 6 pills a day, but the packaging made it easy to rip open and throw back the pills with a chug of water. The individual packets were much more convenient to pack in my suitcase than a large bottle.
One funny note: the foil packaging is similar to a condom One morning when I opened up a package in the cockpit to take my vitamins for the day, the pilot I was flying with heckled me a bit.
It’s difficult for me to decide if Six Vitamins made an impact on my health in the last month. There were a lot of stressful factors that I dealt with: cross-country commuting, preparing to move, and recovering from a head cold. It’s possible that the vitamins made me healthier, but I can’t say that for sure. I feel like I had more energy after a few weeks of taking them, but it’s difficult to quantify energy levels with my varied sleep schedule. There is an element of placebo affect whenever you take a pill…I felt like a healthier man by taking the vitamins, but I don’t know if I truly improved my overall health.
All in all, I think these vitamins are a quality product. I haven’t spent a lot of time researching vitamins and supplements, but they seem more targeted to active men’s health than most of the vitamins on the shelf. I liked knowing I was taking a product developed to improve total body health. The price of the vitamins is a more than I’d personally like to pay, but the Six Nutrition website offers some deals for multi-month discounts. If you’re looking for a better pill than a generic multivitamin, give Six Nutrition a try.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Six Vitamins for Men for free from Six Nutrition as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication.
We know that a lot of our Christmas shopping will be done online this year.
I was contacted by UncommonGoods to see if I would be willing to feature some of their products in a holiday gift post. I was already a fan of their site, so I was excited for the opportunity to explore their products and review some gifts that called my name.
UncommonGoods is an privately-owned retailer that features unique products and handcrafted gifts. They specifically showcase products that are created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people. Most of the products they carry are created in the USA, and about one-third of their collection incorporates recycled and/or upcycled materials. I love the variety of items on the website, and found some things that you can’t just buy at a big box store.
The Pick Punch
The first item I selected was the Pick Punch, which calls to the inner band groupie in me. The Pick Punch allows you to make your own guitar picks by recycling old credit cards, ID cards, plastic lids, and gift cards. Although I don’t play guitar myself, I have a lot of musician friends. I plan to use the Pick Punch to make some custom guitar picks for them.
To make the pick, you position the credit card (or other card) in the device so that you see the design that you want, and press down. It takes a little bit of muscle, but it pops through quickly.
To demonstrate, I used a hotel room key card. I liked the pink designs on the card, so I positioned the punch to make a pink kaleidoscopey pick.
Have you ever seen a pick like that in a store? I haven’t.
The Pick Punch is available on the site for $25.00.
The next item I chose were the Uncle Goose Elemental Blocks by Uncle Goose. There are 20 hand-crafted wooden cubes with the entire Periodic Table of the Elements printed on them. The building blocks are non-toxic, use child-safe inks, and are good for children (and other budding scientists) aged 2 and up. These blocks are created out of replenishable basswood and made in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It seems like so many children’s toys are made out of plastic now. It felt good to play with wooden building blocks. Not only does it help your dexterity, you learn all about the elements in the Periodic Table. I love bright colors of the ink and the printing is very easy to read. Who knows…maybe the world’s next Einstein will get his start playing with these blocks.
The Periodic Table Building blocks are $31.00.
Other Gift Ideas
Needs some other ideas? There are plenty of options for adults and children. Check out some of these products. Happy shopping!
Disclosure: I received free products from UncommonGoods for the purpose of this post. I received no other financial compensation. All opinions are my own.