RSS Email

Ways to Give Back While On The Go #VZWBuzz #MobileLife

It’s the season where we are reminded that there are others in need. The holiday season doesn’t create this sudden need but it creates awareness of what others are missing and how we can help. As a society we can turn any corner and find charity or organization that is in need.  The children come home from school with food drive notices, payroll reminds us of the opportunity to increase a charitable deduction and our churches are asking for “angels” for their more needy members.  There is no shortage of asking.

There are new ways to give now. We live our lives on the go and that doesn’t have to stop when it’s time to give.  There are so many times that I think about a great cause and the efforts they are making in our community or in the nation but by the time I get to my checkbook or computer that thought gets lost with all the other details of the day.Charitable Contributions while on the go. Mobile Apps to Give Back While on the Go

These apps and services below help individuals like us stay on top of what we think is important.

Feedie. For the foodie and photographer in all of us, Feedie has an arrangement with restaurants around the globe to donate to the Lunchbox Fund in exchange for patrons snapping photos of their food. Share that photo on your social media channels and the restaurant donates $.25 to the Lunchbox Fund. The Lunchbox Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing daily meals to impoverished school children in South Africa. We provide a quarter of a million meals a year, and with your help, our goal is to increase that number to 10 million, and ultimately expand our reach globally. If you’re going to eat out, eat a Feedie restaurant or try a new restaurant that supports this amazing effort to feed hungry children.Charitable Contributions while on the go. Feedie donates to feed hungry children

CharityMiles. If you’re active why not earn money for a deserving charity while you get your sweat on. Download the app, choose an organization and start moving. When you’re done your selected charity will earn money for every mile walked, run or biked.  Walkers and runners earn up to 25¢ per mile; bikers earn up to 10¢ per mile.

Donate a Photo. Did you take a photo today? Chances are you did especially with that nifty mini computer/smartphone in your hands.  Johnson & Johnson wants to take those photos and turn them into $1 donations for a variety of causes that serve our communities. A photo a day is all it takes.#VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger

OneToday. Google created this simple way to give to others. One Today lets you easily give $1 each day to causes and nonprofits that inspire you. It’s a community of generous people like you doing one good deed a day. You’ll see others who have given to this cause. Tomorrow you’ll see a new need and a new community of givers. 100% of all donations are distributed directly to the charity.

Check in For Good. Do you check in at your local businesses to show support and loyalty. Turn those visits into dollars for causes in need. Your check in creates exposure for charities not just on the app but through social media.  Create your own cause page for local charities or functions and spread the word to create a buzz and hopefully funds to what you care about.Charitable Contributions while on the go. Mobile Apps to Give Back While on the Go

No matter how you give it’s really the effort you put forth that counts.  These mobile options make giving simple while on the go. Give while you’re thinking about it while at the grocery store or at soccer practice or waiting for the meeting to start.

I am a Verizon Wireless Lifestyle Blogger brand ambassador and will receive various products and other perks as a member of the #VZWBuzz influencer team. Staying connected to the world outside Facebook and text while mobile is important to me. It keeps me organized and aware and focused on real life. Verizon Wireless helps me do this and keeps me updated on the latest trends, products and tips out there to keep informed and entertained.

Tips and Tricks with the New iOS 9 Update

The newest Apple iOS update came out recently and like usual it was full of enhancements and changes that throw users into a panic. We have to search for our favorite apps and programs because names and folders get changed. We are turning off new notifications and authorizations that are switched to a default. We are made to relearn what we love the most.Tips and Tricks for iOS 9 #vzbuzz

With this and any update there are always new ways to work and use your device. I’m highlighting some of my favorite tips and tricks for you.

Add up to 3 hours of battery life with the use of Low Power Mode. Once your battery gets down to 20% your phone will be able to disable some apps and operations running in the background, decrease your visual display a bit which will allow you to save on battery life. The yellow highlighted battery indicator shows when this is on.

WI-Fi Assist is a new feature with 1OS 9. It automatically turns on your cellular data when your device is on a weak Wi-Fi signal. While this is a great option to keep your apps running and reduce buffering for streaming it also means higher data usage when you may not even realize it. Even on your own home network there may be spotty connectivity issues, Wi-Fi Assist will switch over to cellular data without warning when you think it’s safe to stream that movie while lounging on your own sofa.Tips and Tricks for iOS9 Turn Off Wifi Assist

Looking through your Photos you’ll notice a new folder called Selfies.  I laughed right away with this one. It really shows just how self-absorbed we can be at times. At least mine weren’t just of me but also lots of dogs sitting on my lap. There’s also a Screenshot folder too.

Notes just got a boost by allowing users to add photos and take write notes.  This is great when trying to take measurements of potential new furniture or create a shopping or to-do list without using a 3rd party app.

Read the News you want to read with the new app on your home screen. If you’re like me you stow lots of iOS loaded apps into a folder labeled extra or useless.  News would’ve been one of them but I opened it. Your able to design your news footage based on your preferred topics.  Your newsfeed is sourced from multiple channels but will learn your reading behavior and start to become the perfect handheld newspaper.

Six Digit Passcode. Need I say more?  This added level of security keeps unwanted fingers off your content.

Did you find a feature or hidden gem of iOS 9 you love? As a member of the Verizon Wireless #VZWBuzz team I’m much more on top of what’s happening in the tech world especially what’s in my own hands.

#VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger

My only hair regret #SwitchersRemorse

I’ve spent the better part of my adulthood switching hairstyles like I switch my shoes.  I go from long to short to super short to blonde highlights to jet black and back to super short.  I tell myself it’s only hair.  Usually I end up with something I really like.  I’m not scared of a little color or a bit of neck showing. Melinda's Hairstyles over the years #SwitchersRemorse #VZWBuzz

Melinda's Hairstyles over the years #SwitchersRemorse #VZWBuzzMelinda's Hairstyles over the years #SwitchersRemorse #VZWBuzz

This last time though…whoops.  I definitely had some switchers remorse. I thought let’s take this shorter.  You see my hairstylist a couple weeks previously lightly shaved a hidden strip of hair over my ear. It was cute, subtle but still shocking if I styled it the right way.

As it grew in I wanted more shock so instead of going back to her I took it upon myself to shave off MORE. When the clippers made that first pass my eyes got wide and I said “oh well, no turning back now”.  I ended up with an almost bald patch.  I liked the idea but definitively not the lack of length.

Melinda's Hairstyles over the years #SwitchersRemorse #VZWBuzz

Here I am a couple weeks later and I’m happy with it.  I actually love it.  I get compliments all the time especially from people I don’t expect to like it, like my boss or the old maintenance man.

It’s just hair but for a good solid 2 weeks I definitely had #SwitchersRemorse. Will I keep this cut and style going, YES. Will I be going that short again, NO.
Hair today

As a member of a very cool team of influencers for Verizon Wireless I received compensation to share this moment of my life when I had #SwitchersRemorse. The story is true though.

Do you have a story to share about when you were drawn away by the shiny things only to find yourself back to where it started? Have you had your own “SwitchersRemorse?

#VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger

Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz

When you give a child a smartphone the opportunities for fun are endless.  Gaming may be your first thought but my kids take it step beyond that. With my kid’s wild imaginations it was just a matter of time before they figured out a way to create new fun.

Shae has developed a beginning passion for film making, acting and looking into stop motion.  We’ve been downloading apps to create comic strips, short films and photo shoots. The choices are endless in the App Store. While I prefer to shop for free apps especially before knowing what I’m getting into I’m open to spending a couple bucks to ensure the kids are having a great time.

I know that they are using a device but I consider this playtime unplugged.  They are not sitting in front of screen mesmerized, or holding a controller killing fake bad guys or sleeping.  These kinds of apps get them moving, knocking on their friends doors and thinking of storylines and scenarios that make them laugh and smile.

MomentCam– creates cartoons and GIFs from photos. Includes backgrounds, stickers and words.   Not young kid-friendly as there are some inappropriate words on stickers/speech bubbles.  Free

MomentApp, Shae sitting on the moon cartoon #VZWBuzz Apps for Creative Kids

CamStar-your very own mobile photo booth.The Initial download is free with the option to pay $2.99 for FULL version that includes effects and filters.Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz

FriendStrip Kids Pro-an  easy to use comic strip maker loaded with ideas and scenery already. Kids just pose and click to be put right in the story.  Initial download is free with the option to download ALL the collections for $1.99.  Each collection (9) are $.99 when downloaded separately.Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz

Mirror Effect-gives photos a mirror reflection.  Crop a tree, house, pet or flowers and the app creates the effect of it sitting on water, ripples included.  It’s riddled with ads but the full version is just $.99.Apps for Creative Kids #VZWBuzz

PicPlayPost-remember the Brady Bunch squares, this app lets the user create a frame with a combonation of stills and videos that can be played sequentially or simultaneously.  Free initially and $2.99 to upgrade

(still working on the video portion)

The bad thing we are dealing with right now is Shae lost her iPod touch.  It’s time to save up for a new one so her summer isn’t wasted with all her great ideas brewing in her brain.

#VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger

Capture the Moments #VZWBuzz #Photography #Memories

Winter is gone and we’re soaking up the great weather every chance we can get.  One thing our family is obsessed with is firepits. Sometimes we get together with an elaborate spread of food and snacks and invite the neighbors and extended family. But sometimes we just have one to hang out as a family to spend quality time together.

I look around and see everyone staring into the fire, I call it the fire coma. The fire is mesmerizing, it draws you in.  It’s easy to lose focus on a conversation when the night is silent and the fire is roaring. These are the most relaxing moments of the week.  

Friday mornings are filled with anticipation and hope that there will be no winds that night.The kids ask over and over if the weather is right.

These calm, cherished moments are few and far between. We live such hectic lives every day between school, work, activities, errands and other obligations. It mean everything to me to slow down and soak up the attention my kids give to these moments.  Capturing Moments with your Phone #VZWBuzz #photography #memories

These moments are captured thanks to the technology that comes with me everywhere I go.  As a VZWBuzz influencer I’m aware of how much my iPhone can do but one of my favorite features is having a camera at my fingertips. Capturing Moments with your Phone #VZWBuzz #photography #memories

To say I have thousands of photos on my phone is an understatement. I’ve been taking pics as far back as my Blackberry days.  The quality has definitely improved but I wouldn’t trade them in for anything.

#VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger

A Visit to NFL Offices with Verizon Wireless #VZWBuzz

Who would’ve thought that I would one day be a guest in the NFL Headquarters and also enjoy myself.

Even though I’ve watched football most of my life I’ve only been a fan for the last 12 years.You can thank my son for that one. His name comes from hearing a players name while reading a baby name book and instantly turning to Rob saying “That’s it”. My son is named after former Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander. I’ve been a Seattle fan ever since.

NFL Headquarters with #VZWBuzz NYC

NFL Headquarters with #VZWBuzz NYC

NFL Headquarters with #VZWBuzz NYC

NFL Headquarters with #VZWBuzz NYC

Back in November after being invited to be a part of the #VZWBuzz team I was also invited to hang out in NYC with some of the other team members.   I’m always excited to meet other bloggers, influencers and of course great thinkers like Monica Vila, co-founder of Online Mom Media.  Monica is recognized as an expert in marketing to women — the most powerful demographic in consumer spending in the US.

Working with this team has opened my eyes to so much. I’ve learned that little device in my hand can do much more than I ever imagined.  Back to NFL Headquarters.  I always wondered what my husband was looking at on his phone during football games.  I knew he was checking scores but I didn’t know he was getting instant replays, following trades and watching live video feeds from other games.

We also learned of other initiatives from the NFL that bring together the fans and community.

#PassitForward is a way players can directly interact with fans by completing random acts of kindness.  See here how the New Orleans Saints take simple gestures to change someone’s day and motivate them to pay it forward again

On the heels of some devastating footage of domestic violence within the NFL community, Commissioner Roger Goodell has worked hard to learn as much as they can about these issues and how best to address them. With it came a moving and strategic platform called #NoMore as a push to end and bring awareness to Domestic and Sexual Assault. With the start of public address announcements condemning the use of violence came new policy and regulations about such misconduct within the NFL.

MADD and the National Football League joined forces in 2010 to collaborate on player and employee programs, game day initiatives, community relations and awareness programs to promote MADD’s efforts to prevent drunk driving. As a first step in this partnership, MADD representatives presented to incoming NFL players at the 2010 NFL Rookie Symposium.

NFL PLAY 60 is the National Football League’s campaign to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.  It’s time to put the electronics down, put the snacks away and get outside.

Verizon is more than just a communications company. The NFL is more than just football. Together they bring people together, create awareness for causes all over the world and show  you new ways to play smart in this thing we call life.

#VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger

ORGANize winner of Powerful Answers Award #VZWBuzz

I decided long ago that when I die my body is of no use to me anymore so I want it used for good. I am an organ donor. My husband is an organ donor too.  We both know that there are so many people in need of something in the world and while we do our best while alive to contribute to charity and church our giving doesn’t have to stop there.


This statement should resonate with you.  It did with Jenna Arnold and Greg Segal. They’ve put together, an easier way to not only become an organ donor but a way to share it with everyone that needs to know.  No more making sure your driver’s license has a little sticker. No more worrying your family won’t know of your wishes after you pass away.

ORGANize is still working on getting every state to participate for nationwide recognition.  Right now 44 states are supporting the cause.



Lets help ORGANize make it 100%.

Be the kind of human that gives till you can’t give anymore, literally.  Verizon recognizes ORGANize as not just an innovative and technologically advanced company but one that is making huge strides to create an awareness to a problem that shouldn’t be.

Stay tuned to ORGANize as they continue to build their database with the help of Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award. The Powerful Answers Award is a multi-million dollar challenge to entrepreneurs, companies and thinkers worldwide to provide innovative solutions in Education, Healthcare, Sustainability, and Transportation. ORGANize created a solution where one was needed. Information can get to patients and doctors faster for better diagnosis, treatment and usable outputs for better wellness and health in the Organ Donation field. This will hopefully mean a stronger organ donation community and more lives saved.

How Do You #GiveBack

How To #GiveBack for the HolidaysEach holiday season I think about our kid’s holiday wishlists and immediately get overwhelmed. This year I didn’t let that happen because I stated early on that we’re doing a simpler Christmas.  This is an punishment for them. It was a way to open their eyes to see what was really needed in their lives.

Instead of pages and pages of gift ideas the kids really thought about the things they needed and wanted. The lists are short, deliberate and well thought out.

Even though our own gift giving is smaller scale this year that doesn’t mean we aren’t giving to others. Hasbro included me in their holiday review opportunity but instead of showering my kids with more toys that they don’t need I decided to give everything away to children in need.

Rob’s employer set up an angel for children in the community that weren’t expecting a very good holiday season. We pulled 5 names and donated everything (but 1 thing) to those children.  I’m hoping our small gesture brings a smile to their faces. Every child deserves something of their own, not just on the holidays but every day. As a family we give what we can.  Some weeks we are donating to the food bank or toiletries to the women’s shelter or blankets and towels to the pet shelter. Every donation is helpful.

We also give when we can to Child Hunger Ends Here. As a young child I often didn’t know when and where my next meal was coming from. This shouldn’t happen. No child should ever know what hunger feels like. There are too many resources in this country to allow this to happen. We incorporate efforts in our everyday. Our children always have an extra snack in their lunch box just in case a classmate goes without. Our grocery shopping includes brands that stand for the same cause. We’ve helped grow a community garden.

Do what you can to #GiveBack this holiday season. But remember others need help all year long. Choose a cause or two that you are passionate about and give them your attention for 2015.

This is in no way sponsored by #VZWBuzz but as a collective we are sharing our stories, efforts and organizations on how we want to #GiveBack this holiday season. Find inspiration from other members of the team.

A special place where disabled animals enjoy life

Made the Switch to Droid Turbo #VZWBuzz

As a self declared Samsung smart phone lover I’m shyly saying I’ve made the switch to the Droid Turbo. I said it. I even said it out loud. Six years ago I went from a dumb phone to a Blackberry. It was great for email and text but as my blog grew I needed more so I went to the original Samsung Galaxy. It was great and I upgraded with each new release, that is until now.

Just as the S5 was released I was invited to be part of the #VZWBuzz team. This is a group of specially selected bloggers, social media authorities and tech enthusiasts. How did I get chosen? Anyway. As part of this group I was invited to NYC to learn more about Verizon Wireless and their newest gadgets and services.  The timing was right on with the holidays RIGHT NOW.Droid Turbo #VZWBuzz Influencer #Droid #Motorola

As I said I never thought I’d sway from the Samsung Galaxy family. In fact I was getting ready to upgrade to the Note 4 when I was handed a brand new shiny ruby red Droid Turbo. We were told all about the improved battery capacity, 21MG camera , crystal clear screen resolution and the advanced operating system. That’s all great information to hear but I wanted to see it in action. The first thing I did was take a picture.  I was in NYC after all so I looked up and snapped away.

This is the Empire State Building on a dreary night, just at dusk. No filters or editing at all except for size to fit on the blog.Droid Turbo #VZWBuzz Influencer #Droid #Motorola

The Droid Turbo features a super quick and easy launch. Just pick up your phone, twist your wrist 2 times and the camera comes on. It takes a little practice. I was shaking the phone in the wrong direction the first few times and it was taking a little while to turn on but once I figured the “twist” action I was snapping pics of my dogs so much faster. My dogs are notorious for moving before I was able to get a pic of their absurd behavior but now they are none the wiser.

This is one dog snuggling up to another’s dog’s butt. It’s not the clearest photo but I was able to take the shot before they noticed and got up to run over to me. Mission accomplished.Droid Turbo #VZWBuzz Influencer #Droid #Motorola

The Active Display is a real time saver for me. With just a wave of my hand I can check the time and see if I have missed calls, text messages or emails waiting for me without turning on my phone. This easily saves on battery plus it doesn’t light up a room during the night. Doesn’t everyone check their phone in the middle of the night?Droid Turbo #VZWBuzz Influencer #Droid #Motorola

The Droid Turbo claims to have a battery that lasts 48 hours.  I haven’t seen it yet. I tend to get 28-36 hours on a full charge. This is definitely better than my previous phones but with what I consider normal use I haven’t been able to get anywhere close to 48 hours. I’ve also not seen the 8hour boost from a 15 minute charge but then again I never need anything that quick. Between a charger in my car and a portable battery in my purse I never worry about being without a charge. This is something I’m going to monitor a little more closely.

Something I did notice that is totally phone related is the volume while on an actual phone call isn’t very loud.  I actually talk to my husband, best friend and father on a regular basis each day so I hope for good sound quality.  I don’t use a bluetooth ( i keep running them through the washing machine) so it’s the old fashioned phone to my ear for me. I’ve used speaker phone and have played videos and music with other people listening with zero issues.

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve been using the phone. I’m over the learning curve. I have all my needed apps installed. I’m loving my new phone. Droid is back.

For you more techy folk here are the specs to give you a more indepth idea of the changes that come with the Droid Turbo.

STANDBY TIME – UP TO: 675 hrs.
USAGE TIME – UP TO: 48 hrs.
WIDTH 2.89 in.
WEIGHT 5.96 oz.
HEIGHT 5.56 in.
SCREEN 5.2″ Quad HD Super AMOLED™ Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 Display with 2560 x 1440, 565 ppi
BATTERY 3900 mAh
OPERATING SYSTEM Android 4.4 Kitkat®
NETWORK LTE Band 13/4 (700/1700 MHz), CDMA/1xEVDO Rev. A (800/1900 MHz); Global Network: EDGE/GSM (850/900/1800/1900), HSPA/UMTS(850/900/1900/2100)
SAR 1.39 W/kg Body: .50 W/kg