Tween Book Recommendations That Don’t Suck

Is it me, or has the book selection for tween readers gotten really good since we were kids? When I was growing up, the genre pickings were slim. You made a huge leap from kid books to adult books kind of quick. There are some classics, like “Hail, Hail Camp Timberwood,” The Little House series, and “The Westing Game,” but generally? Not much. They were either trashy fiction or over your head. Once Girl Child really started to become a more advanced reader when she was in the 4th grade, I realized how awesome the choices had gotten for this age group. Tween book recommendations can be hard to find, in my opinion, so I sat down with Girl and Boy Child and together we compiled this list of the ones we’ve loved to share.

Tween Book Recommendations

Tween Reading Recommendations

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is an instant grabber.

(note: These are Amazon affiliate links. Help a sister out!)

39 Clues (various authors) – Want to keep your young tween reading challenging, well-written books with decent vocabulary words for a year or more? 39 Clues. Quick Synopsis: When orphans Dan and Amy’s beloved Grandmother dies, they find out their family is historically very powerful and are in a centuries-old race for 39 Clues that are supposed to make them the most powerful people in the world. They just have to find the clues first and outsmart all their crazy and dangerous relatives who are also in the hunt. There are TEN books in this first series. They just keep on going. Boy Child can’t get enough of them.

Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody – A very fun re-imagining of the Robin Hood story centered around a 13 year old boy named Will Shackley. Quick Synopsis: While his father is away fighting in a Crusade, Will is forced to leave his sheltered home and joins a group of bandits you may be familiar with in a forest perhaps you’ve heard of. A great adventure for both boys and girls.

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool – This has been one of my favorites Girl Child has read in the last five years. Such a powerful story that goes back and forth between two times in history. That can be tricky, but the author has done it extremely well here. Quick Synopsis: Abilene Tucker is sent by her father to live in the town where he lived just before World War 1 – Manifest, Kansas – during the Depression. She finds an old cigar box full of mementos and sets out to find the story behind each one. What starts as a child’s imagined mystery evolves into a beautiful story about the past, it’s secrets, and the healing that can happen once revealed.

N.E.R.D.S. by Michael Buckley – There are five books in this series, and they’re all hysterical. Quick Synopsis: A group a geeky fifth graders run a spy network out of their school: the National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society (Get it? N.E.R.D.S.) Each kid has something typically considered a recipe for awkwardness, like braces, asthma, etc. However, they’re the heroes of the whole operation because through the awesomeness of science, their braces, inhalers, and other “nerdy” accouterments become their strengths. Nano-braces, anyone?

Wonder by RJ Palacio – This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Never mind that it’s a kid’s book. The story centers around a boy named August. Quick Synopsis: August has cranio-facial abnormalities that up until we’re introduced to him at the beginning of the book prevented him from attending a regular school. But, he’s ready to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and wants to be treated like an ordinary kid. Told from different perspectives by the people in his life, this book is like a reader’s manual on kindness, compassion, and seeing people for their inside, not just their outside.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead – I loved this book. It’s a mystery, and is SO well-written and interesting. I would read with Girl Child and then sneak off and read ahead after she was asleep. Quick Synopsis: Miranda and Sal are best friends, but when something happens to Sal, he starts to withdraw from her. Other things are happening around Miranda that leave her wondering what is going on. She gets a note scrawled on a piece of paper and the mystery unfolds. Where is her spare apartment key? What does the crazy guy on the corner have to do with everything?

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner – Twists and turns and American history. Quick Synopsis: Anna, José and Henry are kids. They are also strangers stuck at a Washington DC airport in the middle of a snow storm. The news reports say the flag that inspired “The Star Spangled Banner” has been stolen. Can they come together and figure out the mystery? With a cast of memorable characters and nice amount of page-turning intrigue, this one was a quick, absorbing read.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein – Another mystery, this one is packed with funny, eccentric characters, and a race. It’s kind of a Willy Wonka meets board games story. Quick Synopsis: Kyle loves games, and Luigi Lemoncello is his hero game maker. Mr. Lemoncello is also the designer behind the new town library. Kyle wins a coveted spot for an overnight inside the library, but come morning – the doors stay locked. Kyle has to use all his game skills to find an escape. It’s all in good fun, but it will keep your reader guessing.

The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley – a wonderful fantasy series with a sense of humor. The scenario is similar to the TV series by the same name, however this is the G-rated, non-horror version. Quick Synopsis: After orphans Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their enigmatic grandmother, they discover they are descendants of the Brother’s Grimm, and their fairy tale books we all know are actually case files. They come from a long line of fairy tale detectives. What does that mean? You meet a familiar cast of characters as the girls try to keep the fairy world and the real world from crashing into each other.

Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy – Rock n Roll connection alert! Colin Meloy is the lead singer of The Decemberists. This fantasy series reads like a love letter to Portland’s Forest Park and the Wildwood Trail. Three HEFTY books in the series, it’s for a more advanced tween reader, and certainly entertaining enough for adults to enjoy, as well. Quick Synopsis: Prue and her friend Curtis find a secret world full of wild creatures, mystics, and figures – all with dark intentions. Can they save the freedom of the woods the locals call Wildwood?

The school year is gearing up, and those reading logs don’t fill themselves. Hopefully these older reader / tween book recommendations help you out!

Tile Bluetooth Tracker Review: Find my Keys!

Enjoy this Tile Bluetooth Tracker review. AT&T Wireless was kind enough to give me a one to try out and talk about. Thank you!

Can you find my keys?

There was an event in our lives back in 2008 I like to call The Great Key Incident. We went to a Christmas tree farm, happy little family that we are, to pick out and cut our own tree. Typical Pacific Northwest winter adventure. And then…

Capt lost our keys, out in the vast field filled with Noble firs and the sun setting quickly. Thus ensued an episode of, “Things That Only Happen to Us.” The tree farm employees helped us until it was around closing time and then they were all, “Ok! Shift is over! Good luck!” We never found our keys. Good friends who were willing to drive to our house, open our garage, dig through our junk drawer, find our second set of keys, and then drive to the tree farm rescued us.

Did I mention Boy Child was only two at the time? Ya. Good times.

Tile Bluetooth Tracker Review:

Here’s where we all say, “Yay! Technology!” Check out this little Bluetooth gadget. Small, durable, and not just for keys. (Sew it to the inside of your kid’s pants?) The most obvious choice for us, obviously, was to put it on my key ring.

Tile Bluetooth Tracker Review


Download the Tile app, available on both iPhone and Android platforms, and create an account. The app is free, with nice and simple instructions on setting up and pairing the Tile with your phone. You don’t have to go to your phone’s Bluetooth settings, you can pair it within the app itself. It took less than five minutes for me to have it up and running.

Using it

There is a List view and a Map view. See your item on a map, or simply use the list. Once paired with your phone, it can also find your phone. No FindMyiPhone required. What that means is the Tile is mutli-functional; it’s not simply a one-function, one-item “find it” locator. I love that. Here are the basics:

Finding your item with the Tile attached:

  • Open the app. There you see a list of Tile connections you’ve created after pairing.
  • Tap what you are looking for (your phone, keys – whatever you’ve named your Tiled item)
  • Tap “Find” on the next screen
  • A sound will emit from the Tile and there you are. Follow the sound, find your item.

Tile Bluetooth Tracker Review







Finding your phone:

Simply do the reverse: Press the “e” on your Tile, and it will ring your phone. That easy.


Handy little gadget, multiple applications for use, and really simple. There are other features, such as crowd sourcing your Tiled item by allowing it to be “seen” (on a map) by other Tile users, add multiple Tiles to the app for different items, and even press the Tile’s “e” button to make an audible noise while you are out and about. A good safety feature. The Tile Bluetooth Tracker is available at AT&T Wireless for $25 for one, or $70 for a 4-pack. Enjoy knowing where your stuff is.

Tile Bluetooth Tracker Review

Read Watch Listen Ignore

read watch listen ignoreIt’s been a long time! I’m finding my will to blog again. I find such interesting (and sometimes horrifying) things on the internet, I decided just to share it all in one place. Hence, I bring you:

Read Watch Listen Ignore

There’s just so much to ignore I wasn’t sure where to start. But I zeroed in on something. You’re welcome.


7 Times You Should Just Say Thank You

How many times have you said “I’m sorry” instead of “thank you?” “I’m sorry” is a reflex for a lot of women. We’re taught to be self-deprecating, minimizing compliments, etc. What if, when someone tells us they like our sweater, we say “thank you” instead of “Oh, this old thing?” This author makes a really strong point about not deflecting praise. Read the point he makes about what to say when you run late. (Hint: it’s not “I’m sorry.” *I KNOW*) Oh, and when you’re comforting, guess what not to say? (HINT: “he’s in a better place,” or “At least _____” <— Big fat no)


John Oliver keeps hitting every single thing he chooses to deconstruct out of the park. I loved this piece on credit reporting. (*runs off to check our reports….)


Barns Courtney, Fire. Ooh this is a good song. He looks like a teenager, so that means I could easily be his mom, but whatever. That’s something I have to get used to. In my brain I’m perpetually about 27. Sadly, I am not. Anyway, this kid’s fantastic. Take a listen:



Anything that comes out of this woman’s mouth. Forever

Trends I Don’t Get and Won’t Touch

Trends I Won’t Touch.

I’m noticing as I age, I’m better able to assess the rank stupidity of fashion and beauty trends. Follow along:


Not even happening.

1. Face contouring. I’m not drawing various shades of brown and beige clown makeup on my face, then “blending” it in. I have 10 minutes in the morning, TOPS. The world is just going to have to deal with my sub-par, non-contoured face.

2. Armpit Hair – I’m just gonna go ahead and keep shaving my armpits, mmkay? (see also: legs)

4. Grey hair on purpose – Already got it, not on purpose.

5. Neon anything -Been there, done that, circa 1984. See: Madonna, Borderline video. The only way neon is going to be on my body anywhere is if I’m running outside at night and I don’t want to get hit by a car.

6. “Chaotic” mascara – Tammy Faye Baker? Paging Tammy Faye?

7. High-waist pants – I’ve had two children. Need I say any more? The higher the waist, the bigger your ass looks.

8. Bell-shaped sleeves. Listen, I’m a spiller. You don’t want me at your dinner party with sleeves on that can drag food and red wine all over your house. Trust me on this. I will take one for the team here and be hopelessly out of style so I can eat and drink and come home minus a cleaning bill from my host.


Comfy! Not!

9. Waist Trainers – So, I thought we let those all go in the early 20th century, right around the time women achieved the right to vote. Back in the day, they were called “corsets,” and they actually contributed to the oppression of women. YOU try breathing in those things. Go ahead. I’ll just be waiting over here in my yoga pants, you know, breathing.

10. Denim overalls. Flashback to Weezer and her tomatoes in Steel Magnolias.

11. Period-stain Instagrams – I’m not ashamed of my period. Never have been. However, I don’t need to broadcast on social media that I’m in the middle of it. Nor do I need to run an entire marathon bleeding freely to make a point. I get through it, take care of business, and move on. No public documentation necessary. Note: Nor will I Instagram my hot flashes. I won’t be ashamed of those, either. Just gonna get through them and move on. Try it.

12. Thong or thong-ish underwear. Now, this is a perpetual trend that I have abandoned. I’m no longer willing to wear dental floss in my ass to avoid VPL (visible panty lines.) At 46 years old I don’t care if my panty lines show. My ass comfort is more important. If you notice my VPL, quit looking at my ass.

I am un-contoured, comfortable, hair-free, stain-free, I can breathe freely and drink my wine without adding sleeve to it. In other words, I’ve reached a point where trends that don’t fit into my life are trends I don’t follow. FREEEDDDDOMMMMMM. Try it.

Review time! Battery Pack Jump Starter. Yes, Really.

As long as we’re on the subject of cars and tech goodness for them, I was ALSO able to try and review the Cobra JumPack – a battery pack jump starter. I was really interested in this product because if you’re ever stuck on the road with a dead battery, you wouldn’t have to depend on anyone else to help you – your phone is charged and you can jump start your car by yourself.

Cobra JumPack Battery Pack Jump Starter


battery pack jump start

Photo: AT&T Wireless

This product appealed to me right away, largely because I’m staring at the age my teenage daughter will start to learn how to drive. Capt and I agree there are certain life skills that are absolutely necessary for our kids to have before they leave home; knowing how to jump start your car is one of them. I always carry jumper cables in my car, but the problem with that is the fact that you have to rely on someone else – frequently a stranger – to help you get your car started again in the event of a dead battery. The thought of my teenage daughter, or my currently-driving teenage nieces relying on random person in a parking lot to help them get their car started appeals to me not even a little. Not a bit. No.

I also see how Girl Child drains the battery on her phone with all her favorite apps and such. That’s one reason why we bought her a battery phone case; so she would have a battery boost in case she needed it. Because this product also charges your USB device, that is another potential problem this product solves.

We made sure we brought it with us on our recent road trip to visit my brother and his family:

battery pack jump starter

Don’t leave home without it.

What’s in the Box:

The battery unit, a car power adapter cord, jumps, and a standard USB cord for charging the battery. Sorry, iPhone users – this one is BYOC (Bring Your Own Cord) for charging your phone.

battery pack jump starter

Product specs:

  • Jump-start your car multiple times on one charge
  • 360A Peak Current
  • 2.4A USB output for rapid charging of mobile devices
  • Convenient built-in LED flashlight
  • Jumper cables included

We opened the box, charged up the main unit (required) and had no trouble powering up our devices. When we took our trip to visit my brother, I pitched this product to him, as his daughters are drivers and have their own cars. He loved the idea. See? Tech meets safety meets life skills. The Cobra JumPack battery pack jump starter is available at AT&T Wireless for $99.00.

Speaking of Life Skills:

It’s never too early to learn.

battery pack jump starter

Remember kids: negative to negative, positive to ground.


Thank you Andy Colley at AT&T Wireless for this fantastic product.

Teaching My Old Car New Tech Tricks

At the end of January, I attended a event hosted by AT&T Wireless all about Connected Cars. It was awesome. Afterward, I got in my old 2003 SUV and thought, “blah.” I think it’s time for my old SUV, that we call “Beastie,” to learn a few new tech tricks. Here’s what I got to learn about in the world of connected cars.

Connected Cars

Auto makers are increasingly partnering with technology and wireless companies like AT&T to make their cars connected, safer, and better. Imagine all the accidents prevented when your car corrects itself?

Car Autocorrect GIF Car EntertainmenT GIF Car Nav GIF Connected Car Growth GIF

My fellow attendees and I were also given a tour of a sweet, brand new connected Volvo. It parks itself, you guys. I must own a car that parks itself because I’m not known for my parking prowess. It comes with a hot spot, GPS, sensors all over the car so you don’t hit anything or ANYONE, cameras on the back and sides, just everything cool about new car technology. Cars are rapidly becoming rolling homes.

Sigh. I mean, LOOK:

old car new tech

Some of the awesome features of this car include being able to switch from electric, gas, and hybrid on the fly, the ability to start the car from your phone, and “off-road mode which raises the car 1.5 inches, a 360 degree camera, sensors all the way around the car that will warn you if you are in a potential collision situation, and even cross traffic alerts. It’s like your driving brain. And as I mentioned above, it can park for you, too, which, let’s face it, I NEED DESPERATELY. Volvo worked with AT&T and integrated a hot spot in this car, and it allows you to connect up to eight devices, unlimited data, for $230 a year. So much awesome. I love this car so much.

I would love to buy one, but the fact is, that gorgeous car isn’t in our budget at the moment.

So here I am in my 2003 SUV with a just-ok aftermarket stereo dreaming of a new car. Enter:

Old car new Tech: Teaching the ol’ Beastie Some new car Stuff.

Andy Colley at AT&T Wireless was kind enough to offer me a few products to try so I can tech out my old auto. One is the ZTE Mobley mobile hot spot device. You guys. I love this. The kids love this. Here’s how easy it was to install:

old car new tech

Turn your car on, let it run for about 30 seconds, and then add it through your phone’s wifi connection.


Set up and go. It connects up to five devices. No more complaining from Boy Child that he can’t connect his wifi-only tablet while we’re out and about, and no more draining my phone by using it as a hot spot. The real test came, though, when Girl Child and I went on a road trip to visit my brother. Streaming city, baby. No dropped internet. My 80’s Spotify playlist got a workout. This is worth it. When I review products I do my best to be honest and disclose if there’s anything I’ve found not-so-awesome about it, but I had this up and going in less than five minutes and it hasn’t stopped working since. It’s a solid little piece of equipment that is perfect for road trips, long commutes, and car offices. If you want to take advantage of this cool device, AT&T is offering it for free with a 2-year commitment.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to test these products out. It’s been fantastic. Thank you, AT&T!

Remembering the Pain of Postpartum Depression

postpartum depressionRemembering Postpartum Depression

We were digging through a drawer looking for something in our bedroom this weekend, and underneath the junk in the junk drawer, a piece of paper with my handwriting on it caught my eye. I didn’t recognize the paper at first, so I couldn’t remember how it got there or what was written on it.

I pulled it out of the drawer and then sunk down to the bed when I saw the date: 8/1/03.

I knew exactly what was on it. A long-ago forgotten letter I had written to myself when our daughter was 11 months old. This was during the peak of my lingering bout of postpartum depression. All the feeling I poured out into this letter is totally foreign to me now. And yet, at the same time, achingly familiar.


It’s been a really long time since I kept a journal. I started on my first journal (that were written in non-third grader complete sentences) here in 1986. I was 16. I kept them for several years – through college and even a little beyond, but stopped in about 1995. I just lost the desire to write about my life. When I look back on those journals, especially the early ones, I kind of laugh. It was pretty much all about boys. I wrote down poems that I liked, and song lyrics, too. Sometimes other writers could express the feelings that I was feeling.

A LOT has changed since I last kept a journal. It’s some of these changes that are compelling me to start again. I’m married to a wonderful man, and we have a little girl. She will be one in three weeks. To say that becoming a mother has changed our lives is probably the understatement of the century. I knew that I wanted a child, but I was unprepared for the rigors of what being a parent entails. It’s changed everything. I love my daughter more than anything. She is so beautiful and sweet natured. What I’m struggling with right now is that I feel somewhat like I’ve lost a sense of myself. I’m not working right now – I’ve taken the last year off. I’m finding that my days stretch out in front of me. As much as I hate to admit this, being with her is boring for me sometimes. I crave company.

Here’s the problem: I don’t have a job to focus on, I’m not a big hobby person, and I’m finding it difficult to NOT feel sort of lost. [My husband] has hobbies that take him away from home, like waterskiing, golf, etc. I don’t. I like to exercise, and want to focus on that, but I have to find childcare, which is a big pain. Juggling her schedule can be tough, too. I look at these obstacles and talk myself out of doing things that make me more ME. The weight of the responsibility feels very heavy.”

What I couldn’t find the words for, or maybe couldn’t handle seeing written on black and white, was the conflict I could feel tearing me apart inside. I had everything I had ever wanted, really. Why did I feel so trapped and heavy? Why did I feel so sad?

Shortly after writing this, I basically hit bottom. I went for several days either crying or nearly crying. I had intrusive thoughts about escaping. I knew I needed help, so I made an appointment with my doctor. I told her, weeping, “I have everything I’ve ever wanted. Why do I feel like this?” She handed me a tissue and told me, “Because you’re depressed, and it’s not your fault.” We talked some more, and then I agreed to start taking antidepressant medication and come back for follow-up.

Within a few weeks, the fog had begun to lift, and I started to make a plan. I realized that prior to the medication, I wasn’t even able to make a plan. I was stuck.

How did I get myself back? Medication, more exercise, a part-time job that involved doing something I used to love but had lost in the preceding years (singing) and that’s what started the slow but steady climb out. Looking back, I know that it was the combination of those things that began my rise out of the dark.

Thirteen years later, sitting on the edge of my bed remembering the pain in my words, I got a sense of just how far I had come. The next years weren’t without setbacks, to be sure, but I am healed. I may have times of sadness and depression again, but the difference today is that I know what to do about it: lean on my tribe. Take action. Ask for help. Reclaim something that I enjoy. Ignore the voice in my head lying to me, telling me “I can’t.”

I can. And I did.

If you’re reading this and think you may need some help, you’re not alone. Here is a link to resources. Please reach out. You are NOT “crazy” and there is help. 

Last Minute Gifts for the Chronically Behind: Part One

Is it me, or did this Christmas sneak up on you, too? I swear, yesterday was Halloween. Capt and I have been furiously texting back and forth on what to get the family, and it occurred to me that a few of these might be really handy for YOU, too. So, here’s a two post run down of some of the items I was able to review this year that I think would make awesome last minute gifts. Best part? Still available to reach you before Christmas.

I was provided with this super-cool iPhotoFlash from The Hoffman Agency to try out and review. Thank you! 

Last Minute Gifts #1: PhotoFast MAX 32gb

(affiliate link)

last minute giftsSeriously awesome. Easy stocking stuffer. If you have limited storage on your iPhone, this is fantastic. It has a lightning connector on one side, USB on the other. I recently changed to a new computer, and using this drive, I was able to quickly and painlessly transfer the files I needed from one computer to the new one. In this scenario, the drive worked exactly like a USB key.

i-Flash Drive App

Screen capture of the app

For using with your iPhone or iPad, there is an app needed, available for free from the App Store. The great thing about this little device is simply how many formats it can support, including music, photos, video, zip, Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud, It can also back up your photos, Dropbox, Facebook albums, Tumblr, and Drive. We have 16 gig iPhones. Girl Child loves to take videos and burst selfies. (Typical Gen-Z, I guess) and she is able to take photos off her phone to the PhotoMax to keep from filling up her iPhone’s storage. Recently, at one of Girl Child’s vocal performances, we were able to take a video, transfer it to the PhotoFast, delete it off the phone to make room for more. Another very cool feature I like is the ability to load music onto your iPhotoFlash, connect it to your iPhone or iPad, and then play it without hogging up space.



  • Connections: Lightning and USB 3.0
  • App: Free App ‘i-FlashDrive ONE’
  • Compatibility: iOS 7/8, Mac OS X, Windows 7/8/XP, iTunes synch not available
  • Supported models: iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPad Air/Air 2/mini
  • Color: White
  • Weight: 7.5g
  • Size: 51.2×22.5×7.8mm
  • Performance:
    • USB 3.0: 80MB/s
    • Lightning: 10MB/s write, 15MB/s read
  • Warranty: 1-year

You can still order the 64gb version of the PhotoFlash Max through Amazon Prime and it will arrive by Christmas! 

What’s a Sinsta and Why Should You Care?

SinstaGirl Child came to me the other day and asked if she could get a “Sinsta.” I thought, “What the hell is a Sinsta?”

The Current Social Media Rules

She doesn’t get an account without permission from me. End of story. No exceptions. Yes, EVEN IF she already has an account on the social media platform in question. I get all up in her social media business. We went over the rules when she got her Instagram account. We went over them again, in very direct terms, when she got a Snapchat account. The work of constructing a pause button in her brain has barely begun.

So, What’s Sinsta?

Yes, there’s a new thing now with Girl Child’s Instagram crowd – a “Secret Instagram” account, aka “Sinsta.”

What’s the difference between that and regular old Instagram, you ask? The secret part. Apparently the kids have grown weary of perfectly curated and edited versions of their Instagram lives, and are creating these “secret” accounts where they can post stuff they normally wouldn’t post on their regular Instagram account. So far, for Girl Child’s circle of friends, this is where you get to dork out “secretly.”

Why This Could be a Bad Idea:

As we saw recently in that high school in Colorado, secret apps and accounts play perfectly into the teenager’s penchant for bad decision making. This isn’t your 1970’s call and hang up on your crush kinda thing. This is, “I’m going to give myself a place to make horrible decisions that could last forever and let people watch.”

The bigger potential problem I see with a “Sinsta” is kids hiding their problems behind this “secret” account. You don’t want to be the parent who finds out their child has amassed pro-ana followers on their secret account because they are posting Thinspiration photos on it. There’s also the idea of having two lives: the life you want people to see and the life you let your guard down to live. If a teen has an Instagram account that is full of sweetness and carefully edited light, and then they let the tougher and uglier parts out on the alternative account, they are creating a fake self and a real self. They are creating an inauthentic way of living, which at best is a bad habit that wears thin over time, or at worst, carries through to adulthood and makes knowing who they truly are harder to figure out. Is the pressure to show their lives on Instagram as perfect so great that they feel compelled to create a secret account for relief?

The shiny Instagram life, as we see with many teens, often belies a deeper problem underneath. Instagram is sometimes where social warfare takes place. (See: The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram by Rachel Simmons) So, this new trend of a “Sinsta” makes me wonder what the spin-off consequences will be and how they will manifest themselves in the lives of our kids.

Teens spend a lot of time trying to skirt adults who they believe simply don’t understand; I want to make certain that my kids know that I DO understand. The venues may have changed, but the feelings remain the same. So, TALK. A few minutes of uncomfortable conversation for you could mean theirs or their friend’s lives. Sit down and find out what’s going on, learn their social media platforms, get on them, and get up in their business. Their “Sinsta” account should not be a secret from you. If you get there and find out all they are posting is picture outtakes and bad Dubsmash videos, at least you know.

LG Wireless Tone Headphones REVIEW: Back To School with Bluetooth

AT&T Wireless was kind enough to give me a pair of LG Wireless Tone headphones for review. Thank you, Andy Colley (@AndythePRguy) 

Bluetooth and Back To School

I’ve always looked at Bluetooth headphones and wondered how they would work, if I could run with them, and if they might be helpful for Girl Child in her school work. I can wonder no more!

The Product:

LG Wireless Tone Headphones:

LG Tone Wireless Headphones

I was provided a pair of LG Wireless TonePros for review. They’re really nice looking, first of all. Pretty discreet, too. It may be a status thing to wear gigantor, over-the-ear headphones, but where on earth do you store them when you’re on the go? These have a low profile, in-ear, cushioned ear buds, and they’re portable. They came with a few different sizes of ear bud cushions for comfort and sizing. I have a hard time with those sometimes, and so does Girl Child. They come in several colors, including the standard black and white. The pair I got are dark pink. Snazzy. I’ve seen them in green, blue, red, etc.

The controls are on the part of the headset that sits around your neck. You can click on the silver strip and answer your phone, summon Siri if you have an iPhone (Siri and I are not currently on speaking terms, but if you are in a steady, mutually beneficial relationship with her – more power to you.)

My favorite feature is the magnetic docks for the ear buds. They don’t have to trail behind you when you aren’t plugged in. Check it out:

Connecting and Pairing and Running OH MY!

I was hooked up and ready to roll within two minutes after they were charged. The first thing I wanted to do was find out if I could run comfortably in them. I was unsure because they sit on your neck near your collarbone, which, if you’re running can be really annoying. I was pleasantly surprised. They didn’t bounce on my neck, making me insane. Plus, it was really nice not to be tethered to my phone with the chord. So, for running, I like them – comfortable, non-bouncy, great sound, chord free.

LG Wireless Tone Headphones

School Use

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to test these out is because Girl Child has a provision in her 504 plan that allows her to bring her own headphones for activities that involve the use of the school’s technology. Girl Child’s middle school is a 1:1 iPad school – meaning each student is provided with an iPad for use during the school year. She has had a few incidences of using the school’s over-the-ear headphones that proved to be really uncomfortable and potentially harmful to her prosthetic ear. I thought this would be a great solution – the headphones pair easily, they are compact and easy to transport, and my daughter, who is hard of hearing on one side, can use them for the side that she can hear out of.

We paired the LG Wireless Tone headphones with her iPhone and they worked great:

LG Wireless Tone Headphones

The Summary:

Really easy to use, setup, and they are portable. I personally hate being tethered with headphone chords, so this is a nice alternative. I couldn’t really find any specific critique about these headphones. I thought they were comfortable, easy to use, they stayed in my ears while I was running, they sound great, and my daughter likes them. They fit well with her headphone requirements for school. Win.

The Offer:

AT&T Wireless is offering a 10% discount on any LG Wireless Tone headphones – plus free shipping (YAY FREE SHIPPING) when you purchase them now through September 24th. Great for early Christmas shopping, too. Act now!

Thank you again to AT&T Wireless for generously allowing me to try these out. They’re really cool.