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I Want for My Office
Tuesday
May292012

I Have My Own Cameraman! 

I love to interview people and luckily for me, I'm getting paid to do it as part of a new gig.

In my early days I had to ask a friend to hold the camera.

In this early blogging video interview (2009) with The Voice finalist Chris Mann, I actually start to berate my friend/camerawoman, Dwan.

Then at some point I got smart and asked a PR person or publicist to hold the camera - they have a little more invested in the shot coming out well.

In my new gig I'm the lone reporter, out on the street, with my iPhone. Seriously - it's become my camera of choice. My HD Flip works well too. Yes I still have no one to hold the camera so I balance it on some books or use a tripod. The problem is that if we shift at all during the conversation, we shift out of frame.

And then I have to apologize a 100 times and RE-SHOOT the entire thing.

Enter my new toy and personal cameraman, Swivl.

I most recently shot this interview with the Swivl and you can see the difference:

  • Swivl automatcially moves to where the remote is. If we move or shift during conversation, we will stay in view!
  • The Swivl remote is also a microphone. This is HUGE for us iPhone and Flip camera users. HUGE!
  • Swivl is compact, can adjust to most iPhones, iPods, Droid phones, Flip cameras, and more.
  • Swivl can be placed on a standard tripod if you still need that extra height.

I'll be doing many more interviews with Swivl so be sure to follow my YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/NeenTV/videos

Disclosure: I received a Swivl at no charge. All opinions are my own and this post was not required, reviewed, nor approved by anyone other than me.

Monday
May282012

Lego Desk for When You Want to Share Your Home Office With Your Kids

I was over at my neighbor's house recently and saw the birthday gift she had made for her 7 year old...

This amazing Lego desk not only holds a huge supply of Legos in the drawers, it has a large space on top to build. This could keep kids entertained for hours!

They can 'work' on their Legos while you work in your home office.

She got the idea from the Disney Family Fun website.

Do you have a great kid's desk that you have put in your own home office?

 

Wednesday
May092012

There are many types of expanders, but few that cost $3000

A brief search using my new favorite tool, Pinterest, yields a huge selection of things that expand.

There are
Closet expanders

Mind expanders

Hand expanders

Shelf expanders

And more.

Recently we agreed to purchase not one, but two sets of expanders that cost roughly $3,000.

Any guesses as to where we'll use these?

 

Inside the mouths of our twins.

image via AngelaBecker.com

After meeting with three different orthodontists we chose one who

a) is close to us...very close which is good because in the beginning you are there A LOT

b) gave us a break on price because we have two getting expanders at once

c) is a preferred Invisalign provider (more on that in a bit)

After a series of early morning appointments to discuss a treatment plan, take x-rays, and create molds...
We are the proud owners of four different pallet expanders that will widen our girls' mouths so their adult teeth have a chance to grow in straight, or at least NOT at a 90 degree angle as would be the case had we not sought treatment.

And, this is only Phase 1!

I first heard about new tactics and procedures for orthodontic work at an Invisalign event I went to last Fall.
For us, if we qualify, Invisalign would possibly be phase two or three.  Even if we aren't there yet, it was interesting to see the results of a device that kept smiles free of metal, speech clear, and pain levels virtually non-existent.

After cranking my one daughter's expander every night for 3 weeks I will look forward to a device that doesn't require a pain reliever.

Invisalign is literally a series of clear, plastic covers that go over your teeth and come out whenever you want (though they say to keep them in as much as possible). Every 2 weeks or so you change to a new set of covers.
No cranking
No metal
No Tylenol

And Invisalign doesn't seem to cost any more than other treatments!

Let me know if you have ever used Invisalign. I'd love to hear about it!

For now, I'll keep cranking and letting you know how we progress.

Disclosure: I was invited to an Invisalign event where I received a goody bag and where'd I received a gift card for bringing along some friends. All opinions are my own and the orthodontic bills are too. This post was not required, was not reviewed, nor approved by anyone prior to being published. Some links are affiliate links.

Friday
May042012

I am a School Field Trip Snob

Living outside of Washington, DC means we have easy access to tons of free museums and sites.

In case you didn't know, all the Smithsonian museums are free. The zoo is free. The monuments are free. And many other cools sites in and around the city are free. School kids in this area get to see things on yearly field trip that many people will only see once in their life.

Plus, most kids will get to visit the sites with their families.

Here is where the snobbery comes in.

I NEVER volunteer to chaperone the field trips to the National Zoo.

Why?

We go at least once a year as a family, sometimes more. If I'm going to take a day off of work (and a day away from earning money), I'm not going to spend it driving in a loud, bumpy bus filled with school kids to a place that I already plan to visit.

Here are a few other places I WILL NOT volunteer for if there is a field trip:

The National Museum of Natural History - if I have to wrangle one more group of kids through the mammal section I'll lose my mind

The Air and Space Museum - a favorite of tourists and their fanny packs. I prefer to go late on a summer weekday

Any Theater Production - the idea of chaperoning for me is to experience something new with my child and their school friends. Sitting in a dark room not talking to my child is not experiencing something. I support the arts and theater - just not when I'm in charge of a bunch of other kids. I'd rather go alone with my family.

So you don't think I'm a complete Scrooge, here is a list of places I LOVE to volunteer as a chaperone:

Any site that shows how people lived a long time ago

Full day excursions that tour multiple sites (the tour mobile was great last year) or a place we haven't been yet (Mount Vernon, Annapolis)

Nature centers

Are you a field trip snob?

It's not that I think I'm better than anyone else. It's not that I don't appreciate that someone has to volunteer. And it's not that I don't appreciate the monuments, or the museums or what they stand for. All I'm saying is that if I can have my choice, I'd rather spend a day with my child and her friends on a hot, loud, bump bus going someplace I have never been with them before.

I ask you - If you have a limited amount of time you can give as a chaperone, are you picky when it comes to which field trips deserve your attention? Or do you sign up for as many as you can?

 

Wednesday
May022012

Virtual Office View: Indoor Pool

This is my new virtual office for the next 7 weeks.

My virtual office view of Germantown Indoor Pool

My kids are ramping up for summer swim team and for an hour three times a week, they'll be swimming at the Germantown Indoor Pool.

Pros
Free WiFi
Comfy chairs
Sofa vending machines for when I need that late day Diet Coke

Cons
No coffee, I have to settle for Diet Coke
No food allowed...and usually I'm starving
Guilt- even though I went to the gym this morning, sitting here watching them swim for an hour makes me feel a little indulgent. I really should bing a suit and hop into the pool. But do you have any idea what it takes to swim laps for an hour?!?!