Momentage Shares You Memorable Moments, with Beauty, Elegance and Privacy Controls

For my fellow mom bloggers who are inseparable from their smartphones, constantly taking photos to post on social media — no longer must you choose a single image to share, thanks to Momentage, the new instant photo sharing app in town.  Momentage is a one-of-a kind platform that allows up to 15 uploads at a time to create collages of moments, hence, the name “Momentage.”

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Quantity is a huge advantage over other sharing apps, but Momentage also adds quality and creativity to instant posts, combining still images, video and SoundImagesTM in a beautiful and elegant format.

It’s understandable that Momentage is drawing a community of amateur photographers, but it’s also a refuge for anyone who wants to craft and share their special moments — with family and friends, groups or the community at large.  Part of the beauty is the gorgeous layout, starting with the Discover page spotlighting featured users; and another layer of beauty is in the posts themselves which encompass everything from breathtaking sunsets to cute Chihuahuas and foodies’ fantasies.

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Lastly, the beauty of Momentage is in its community.  As their tagline promises, Momentage is a community for new creatives, which is open to interpretation, but which I believe means creative spirits who have embraced technology and social media to express themselves. The community is overall friendly, supportive, inspiring and, of course, creative.

The app offers a lot that its competitors do not, like up to 30 seconds of video and the ability to record sound under photos. These options are in addition to an assortment of filters and effects.  Unlike other apps that make you choose just one image, Momentage allows you to use multiple images and upload up to 15 photos at a time. You can continuously add to a moment and have the option to edit or delete individual photos if you are not satisfied with a post.

Even if you just want to capture moments to keep private for yourself, Momentage is the app for that.  Best of all, I don’t have the worry about posting publicly and opening myself up to snide and snarky comments.  In fact, I’m impressed with the level of civility and support I see in remarks, including artistic feedback and advice, from, “Love it, your photos are amazing,” to the most common and very simple, “Beautiful.”

 

 

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Thankful Thursday with Reimagine Pillar Guide Cindy Finch

Thankful Thursday with Reimagine Pillar Guide Cindy Finch.

Wellness Wednesday with Reimagine’s Expert Jen Pastiloff

Wellness Wednesday with Reimagine’s Expert Jen Pastiloff.

New Game Bundle Aims to be Netflix of Gaming

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flarePlay gamebundle has a simple proposition:  You buy (or get free through a promotion) a game console and controller, and then you pay a $9.99 subscription fee monthly to get unlimited games.  The set up takes must minutes and is as easy as connecting the console using HDMI and USB ports (or using a work-around if you don’t have a USB-ready TV).  Then sign in and go online via wi-fi, and you can instantly stream video games onto your TV, with no disks required.

The gaming company currently offers more than 100 game titles and has a catalog that  grows with new games  monthly.  You can play as many games as you want for as long as you want, all for the monthly fee, which is actually cheaper than the price of a single traditional video game.

Some of the newly available titles include Lego Batman (5-8years), Lego Harry Potter( 1-4yrs), H.A.W.X.2, Assassins Creed 2, and Rabbids Go Home.

Enrolling is easy. You can sign up online at http://www.playflare.com, and Flare Play will send you a gameBundle that contains everything you need: a microconsole and game controller.

Sign up before December 31, 2013, and pay $30 for 3 months of flarePlay service, and you get a free microconsole (valued at $99).* See the offer here:  http://playflare.com/blogger

As a participant in a test group of bloggers, I was able to try out this new service.  I got the bundle and found the set up to be easy as promised, but so far I have not been able to connect via wi-fi to try it out.  I’m eager to get online, as it seems like an amazing device and offering for avid gamers.

* Offer expires 12/31/13. Offer includes one free microconsole (reg. $99) with 3 month

$30.00 flarePlay basic game tier subscription. Higher flarePlay tiers, rental services, add’l
features, add’l devices, taxes and other fees are extra. After 3 months, your credit card
WILL automatically be charged the $9.99 monthly flarePlay subscription fee.
If service is cancelled between days 31 – 90, the microconsole must be returned in the
original packaging to: New Business, 1400 Lake Hearn Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319. Otherwise,
a $50 disconnection fee will be charged.

flarePlay is available only to California residents 18 years or older. 3 Mbps or higher
downstream Internet, in-home Wi-Fi, and HD TV set with an HDMI port required.
Uninterrupted or error-free service not guaranteed. A valid credit card is required for
billing. Limit one offer per unique email address per account. Offer not combinable with
other flareplay offers, promotions or discounts. Other restrictions may apply.
** 30 day money back guarantee entitles you to a refund of the first month subscription
fee, device charges and taxes. You must claim refund within the first 30 days of service,
and the microconsole must be returned in the original packaging to: New Business,
1400 Lake Hearn Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319.

A Holiday Gift Guide for Merry Kids

Children’s Gift Ideas to Bring Out the Joy of the Season

The holiday season is full of merriment and memory making for children.  Here are some ideas for presents that the little ones on your gift list will enjoy and cherish for years.

Railing ‘Round the Christmas Tree

Bring back childhood memories and give the kids a new tradition of an electric toy train circling the Christmas tree with Power Trains.  The Log Loader Express set includes a remote control, a 2-speed motorized engine car with a working headlight, a working Log Loader, four highly detailed and authentic looking rail cars, forklift tractor and more than 15 feet of track to create an awesome train world. Ages 4 and up.  $49.99.  Available at retailers nationwide.

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Just Fort Fun

The kid on your list who loves to build forts will light up over Crazy Forts Fort Lights.  They attach with clips to shine a light inside a secret hideaway and stay cool to the touch and automatically turn off after 20 minutes.  $15.99, www.overstock.com

Mixin’ Xmas

Bring out kids musical mixin’ talent on the turntables with JAKKS Pacific’s EZ Pro DJ. Budding DJs can loop, mix, crossfade and scratch and sample songs to create unique mash-ups using the deck’s two virtual turntables and easy-to-use interface and audio connection for speakers and headphones. Download the FREE EZ PRO DJ app on any iOS device to access your own music collection and get mixing. Ages 8 and up.  Check out EZ Pro DJ demo on YouTube http://ezprodjmixer.com/videos/.  ($49.99), Kmart and retailers nationwide.

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Cuddle Bunny

Your little snuggle muffin will love cuddling up with Sofia’s best friend, the soft and cuddly Talking Clover loves to chat with his friends – simply press Clover’s tummy to hear him say over eight iconic phrases from the show. His hilarious sayings and super soft ears and body will instantly make him any girl’s best friend. The Talking Clover also comes with a free magical lesson card to use in the Talking Magical Amulet, sold separately. Batteries included. ($19.99), Ages 3 and up. ToysRUs and retailers nationwide.

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Splash Happy

The little mermaid on your Christmas list will sing a happy song for Tollytots Under the Sea Surprise Ariel.  When the Princess mermaid is placed in water, her fin lights in rainbow colors.  Ariel also sings and says favorite movie moments in both English and Spanish. $29.99, Ages 3 and up. Target and other national retailers.

Bug Out

Kids will love getting’ buggy with Bugs in the Kitchen, a 3D game where a battery-operated HEXBUG Nano crawls across the game board as players try to lead it into their traps. Players roll the die to see whether they can move a fork, knife, or spoon to make a path for the bug. Players earn tokens and win by capturing the bugs. Ages and up.  $24.99, Target.

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Nail It

Trend setting tweens and teens will wow their friends with Style Me Up! Perfect Nail Markers ($9.99).  The kit comes with 2-in-1 polish pens and brush applicator and five nail polish colors, color instructions and ideas guide. The Style Me Up! Perfect Nail Salon ($29.99) includes the a nail dryer, six bottles of nail polish, 30 nail stickers, three bags of sequins and one of nail glitter powder plus two nail files, a pair of toe separators, 32 nail polish remover pads, and other tools. Ages 8 and up, stylemeup.com.

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Baby You Can Draw My Car

Young car designers can “detail” their rides with the Design Masters sketchbook collection, featuring such classic’s as Lamborghini Gallardo, Aventador LP700-4 and Sesto Elemento. Artists can trace, color and detail vehicles precisely to specifications or creatively interpret their own concept car choosing wheels, spoilers, bumpers and other car parts to create awe-inspiring vehicle designs. Sketchbooks feature 30 pages of stencils, illustrated inspiration sheets and over 140 stickers.  Ages 7 and up. Small format $6.99, large $9.99.  Amazon and other national retailers.

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Tick Toc You Don’t Stop

Fan of the Tickety Toc show will love to play and learn with the Tickety Toc Matching Game where players match and make sets of pictures or their favorite Tickety Toc characters – Tommy, Tallulah, Pufferty and Hopparoo. While having fun with their fave characters, kids develop memory skills and learn to share and take turns as they try to collect the most matches! One to four players. Ages 3 and up.  $9.99.  Exclusively at ToysRUs.

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It’s Catching

Young anglers will love to cast out their lines with the Shakespeare Catch More Fish Series.  Choose from a variety of complete fishing packages that includes a two-piece rod, reel spooled with line and assorted tackle.  Each kit is customized for the type of fish and setting, whether its fresh or salt water, Fly, Crappie or just about every fish in the sea, or lake. $29.99-$49.99.   Bass Pro and other sporting goods stores.

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A Visit to Santa Claus and HGTV HOME Showroom at Santa Monica Place

Last year I waited three hours for a visit with Santa at a mall in LA.  After about two minutes with Santa, my son was rushed out the door, and I was presented with options of print packages that were somewhere between $45 and a million bucks for an 8×10 and a sheet of wallet-sized photos.  Five years I had gone to that Santa, because I thought his decorations were most beautiful, the atmosphere was the most charming, yadda yadda ho ho ho, until I strolled into Santa Monica Place last week.

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In the middle of the mall was an adorable life-size gingerbread Santa’s house.  Instead of a long line of fussy kids and aggravated parents, there was a play area with giant coloring books and a field of Christmas trees made of colored lights.

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Two cheerful Santa’s helpers invited us in for photos.  Santa was jovial and took his time to hear my suddenly shy son mumble his wish list. We were given a proof of the photo on the spot and the option to buy a digital file for $9.99 so that I could make as many copies as I wanted.  As we exited, a light show – repeated hourly from 6-9pm – choreographed to holiday music flooded the plaza.

You would have thought it was Christmas!

As we wandered the mall, which is undoubtedly one of the loveliest around, the crowd was scant, which was great for us since there was no waiting anywhere for anything.  Hot cocoa at Chocolate Opulence, some sundry gifts at Bloomingdale’s, browsing at Tiffany & Co. and Swarovski – we practically had the place to ourselves.

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Upstairs HGTV—the architects of the Holiday House for Santa, had taken over one of the store fronts to create a pop-up showroom, full of HGTV HOME decorating items featured on the channel.

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Some of the HGTV talent were hanging out at the showroom offering decorating tips, free demonstrations and complimentary consultations by walk-in or appointment.  HGTV also created backdrops of the Santa Monica Pier and a wintery sledding scene where the kids could pose for fun pictures.

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I almost forgot about the parking, which was remarkably easy in the structure adjacent to the mall.  Granted, it was a week night, but with green- and red-light system that identifies vacant spots, we found parking within minutes.

Certainly crowds will pick up at Christmas draws closer, but the layout of the mall and the outdoor open space makes the shopping experience pleasant, sans fighting the hordes of people at some of LA’s other popular malls.  But hurry, because Santa departs Christmas Eve, though the HGTV activities will operate through January 1.

Santa Monica Place is located at 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401.  For more information go to santamonicaplace.com.

Home Goods for the Holidays Gift Guide for Happy Homebodies

Make the holidays homier for homebodies on your gift list with these gift ideas that make the home a great place to be.

 Baby its Warm Inside

Warm up a loved-one’s holidays with the Space Saving Heater from BrylaneHome.  This quick-to-heat compact heater will make any home warm and cozy while taking up minimum space. The energy-saving 1350-watt heater features high, medium and low settings and is crafted of steel and glass with natural looking logs and moving flames for a bit of ambience with your heat.  $99.99, www.brylanehome.com

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Booked Up

The bookworm on your list will love to shelve their favorite reading material between the quirky White Wooden @& Bookends (Set of 2). Finished in a classic white, these bookends feature an ampersand and at symbol typography. $51.29.  www.Overstock.com

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 Sitting Pretty

The home-office exec on your list will love driving a desk when they are in a seat like the super comfy Extra Wide Deluxe Padded Office Chair from BrylaneHome, an affordable executive office chair that looks great behind a desk and features a comfortable padded headrest and padded armrests, adjustable height and extra lumbar support.  Available in brown or black.  $199.99, www.brylanehome.com

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Cozy Up

Wrap up your best squeeze in luxury in the snuggly Soft Indulgence Blanket from BrylaneHome.  This luxuriously thick and silky blanket will keep her or him warm at night and look elegant on a bed with its shimmery two textures of rich plush easy-care polyester. Available in five colors.  $39.99-$59.99, or feel pamper loved ones with an oversized Soft Indulgence extra-large bath towel that will cover them from head to toe,  $14.99, www.brylanehome.com

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