Friday, November 18, 2011

Review - Brookstone Rover Spy Tank

Here's a cool iPhone/iPad controlled device that's sure to please kids of all ages.  I always had my eye on the  AR.Drone Quadricopter, but really, who can afford a RC helicopter?  The Brookstone Rover Spy Tank is the next best land-based option.  Check out the fun my kids had with it.

Rover on the prowl

Adam loved to get up close and personal to it.

Adam up close to the Rover

Yup, that close. The wi-fi connection to my iPhone was super easy to set up and the Rover was super easy to control, even by 7yo Dova. The streaming video was great for giggles and the snapshot button was well used. Over and over.

Dova eats the Rover

Sneaking up on the Rover

Jumping in the kitchen

Mom jumping

Wait, did the Rover spy mom jumping in the kitchen? This super shot was taken by Dova the controls. See? Super easy to use.

In addition to the all important snapshot button, the Rover's movements are easily controlled by using the touchscreen arrows or by G-drive which uses the iPhone or iPad accelerometer. It also has a night vision mode which lights the way in the dark to sense ghosts, or in this case, ghostly kids.

Ghostly Adam

After playing with the Rover, I had a little trouble hooking back up to my home wi-fi, but after a quick reset of my router, it was smooth sailing.  For a fun family toy for the holidays, you can get the Rover Spy Tank at Brookstone for $99.99.

Special thanks to Brookstone for providing the Rover Spy Tank for review as part of the Brookstone Review Crew.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Try It On at GlassesUSA

My new glasses

I've been a long time online shopper of inexpensive prescription eyeglasses for my kids and myself.  The kids still go through glasses every 4 to 6 months and at buying glasses at a tenth of retail is a no-brainer.  But my own eyeglass prescription is very strong, requiring significantly more expensive high index lenses.  The last time I purchased glasses online, I went for some fashionable rectangular lenses, forgetting the fact that a wide frame make high prescription lenses extremely thick on the edges.  Plus the wide lenses gave my face the "smashed in" look on the sides.  If I had the opportunity to try these frames in a store, I may have realized that the frames would not have worked on my face with my prescription.

When I had the opportunity to review glasses from, I was glad to search for some smaller frames.  The one thing that I really liked about GlassesUSA was their virtual mirror. Other sites also allow you to upload a photo, but you can never really tell the scale of the glasses in relationship to your face.  GlassesUSA provides a pupillary distance ruler so you can scale your photo to match the size of the frames.  See how exact it is?

You can also compare eyeglasses easily and send photos to friends to check out. Yes, those are the real prices for the frames and basic lenses at $38!

I received my glasses within a week and was extremely pleased with the quality of the frames and workmanship. With my new smaller frames, the high index lenses were the thinnest on the edges that I've ever seen.  When I wore my new glasses to work, my co-workers complimented me, saying that my face no longer looked "smashed in" and that I didn't look extremely near-sighted anymore.  Wow!

Next time you are looking to buy glasses, check out  They are high quality, inexpensive and delivered lightning fast.  Also check out these coupon codes!
  • Buy one pair of glasses and get any other pair for FREE! Use code: BOGOUSA
  • Take 10% off any order. Code: Blog10

Disclaimer:  GlassesUSA provided a gift certificate to cover most of the cost of my glasses for review.  No other compensation was provided.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review - Brookstone Rechargeable iPod and iPhone Battery Backup

Brookstone Rechargeable iPhone Battery Backup

If there's one thing the iPhone lacks, it's a long battery life.  I charge my phone every night, but if I forget, I am in trouble the next day.  Or if I'm traveling and my main connection to the world is through my phone, it will drain down long before the day is done.

That's where Brookstone Rechargeable iPhone Battery Backup comes in.  It's small enough to carry in my handbag and in a pinch, it provides many more hours of charge depending on what I'm doing.  With the handy retractable USB cord, you can charge both the battery and the phone at the same time.  I've found that battery provides enough power to operate your iPod or iPhone, but doesn't really charge it.  Once my phone was completely dead, and it didn't turn on after several minutes on the battery alone.  But once I plugged the phone into an A/C outlet for a few seconds to revive it, I was able to unplug it from the wall operate on just the battery.

If you're like me and can't live without your iPhone or iPod working at all times, the Brookstone Rechargeable iPhone Battery Backup will definitely come to the rescue.

I'm reviewing the Brookstone Rechargeable iPod and iPhone Battery Backup as part of the Brookstone Review Crew, but I actually purchased it on my own.  Well worth it!!

Review - LELO Personal Massagers from Brookstone

LELO Alia Personal Massager from Brookstone

If you're looking for the regular family fare review, you can skip this post.  But if you're looking for a something a bit more spicy yet classy, look no further than this line of LELO personal massagers from Brookstone.  After all, Brookstone has all the gadgets to make every man in your life happy, why not reciprocate for the women?

The first question that I had was, "Why would I want to spend over $100 for a vibrator?"  First of all, Brookstone sells personal massagers, not vibrators.  And the fact that I can post these photos of the LELO line of personal massagers is a testament to their beautiful Swedish designs.  Simply holding a device that is beautiful rather than grotesque or vulgar one sets you up for classy experience instead of a embarrassing one.

The LELO Alia Personal Massager is rechargeable and waterproof.  It looks nothing like a personal massager, but works wonders with its six adjustable vibration modes (especially the random pulse one).  The lowest setting teases and purrs and the highest setting is plenty powerful yet amazingly quiet.  The hole in the middle is perfect for holding on to; it simply won't slip out of your hands.  Plus, it's fun for men and women alike.

The aptly named LELO Gigi Personal Massager is shaped to for those who prefer G-spot stimulation. The five adjustable modes (unfortunately it doesn't have Alia's random pulse) also range from a slow purr to a powerful yet quiet roar.  The rechargeable battery and body-safe, phthalate-free silicone are testament to LELO's thorough design process.

So do the LELO personal massagers deliver a $100 "experience"? Considering that of all the free products I've gotten from BlogHer have all been left in the dust, absolutely. It satisfies and is definitely worth the money.

LELO Gigi Personal Massager from Brookstone

Special thanks to Brookstone for providing the LELO Gigi personal massager for review as part of the Brookstone Review Crew.  I loved it so much that I purchased the LELO Alia personal massager myself.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Review - Vinturi Wine Aerator from Brookstone

Vinturi® Wine Aerator from Brookstone

I’ve always known that you need to let wine “breathe” before you pour and drink, but I never had to patience to wait before indulging.  Now with the Vinturi Wine Aerator from Brookstone, I can finally taste what I’ve been missing.

In a side-by-side taste tests, the Vinturi consistently makes red wine taste smoother and more flavorful.  From bottles of fine wine to less expensive “box” wines, it works with everything.  It does require two hands to pour and hold the aerator, which can be challenging with box wines (where you have to hold the glass as well).  Otherwise, it is well worth using and takes no extra time to produce better tasting wine.

One drawback is that you really wish to have it while dining out.  Thankfully, Vinturi now makes a travel wine aerator, so you can be a wine snob wherever you go.

Vinturi Travel Wine Aerator from Brookstone

For the geeks, the name Vinturi is a brilliant play on words between “vin” (wine in French) and venturi, the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section of pipe.

Special thanks to Brookstone for providing the Vinturi Wine Aerator for review as part of the Brookstone Review Crew.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review - Brookstone Universal Phone Holder

Brookstone Universal Phone Holder

Normally, I carry my huge hobo handbag which has a pocket for my iPhone as well as a slew of other items including...  Wait!  A women doesn't disclose what's in her handbag!  But sometimes I just want to travel light.  The Brookstone Universal Phone Holder is the perfect solution.  I can take my phone, my license, and my credit card and go without the extra weight of every store card from my area, hand sanitizer, dental floss (I'll stop here).

The description on the Brookstone site states that the Universal Phone Holder fits the BlackBerry® smartphone and Android™-based phone. But I can tell you that it fits my iPhone perfectly, even with a thin hard shell case. There is a slick pull tab on the backside to pop the phone out quickly.  It is made with quality leather and is minimalist yet stylish.

If you're looking for the perfect gift for a gadget-obsessed mate or friend, the Brookstone Universal Phone Holder will not disappoint.

Special thanks to Brookstone for providing the Universal Phone Holder for review as part of the Brookstone Review Crew.

Review - Brookstone Compact Rolling Traveler Suitcase

Brookstone Compact Rolling Traveler with Removable Laptop Sleeve

Having to travel a fair amount for work, I have settled on a routine using a rolling carry-on suitcase for my clothes and shoes and a large backpack for everything else.  The backpack contained my laptop, separated liquids and gels, books and magazines, iPod, noise cancelling headphones, sweater, food, water, and anything else I needed for the flight. The rolling suitcase went in the overhead bin and the backpack went under the seat in front of me. I was an expert at looking the part of the hip professional traveler. Little did I know there was a much better way.

When I first received the Brookstone Rolling Traveler, I was apprehensive about having to pull two rolling suitcases.  But it turned out to be much easier than I thought.  In fact, my back and shoulders were suddenly liberated from the often crushing weight of my backpack.  Sure, I could piggyback my backpack onto my rolling suitcase, but that often made the suitcase tippy and I was always wary of dragging it through puddles. Now with two rolling suitcases, I was able to whiz through airports and parking lots with ease.

The size of this compact rolling suitcase is designed so that it can fit under an airline seat.  It fit even on a small commuter jet with plenty of foot room.  The suitcase held everything that my backpack used to hold, but with much more flair.  There is a perfectly sized magazine pocket in the back and the side zip pockets are great for accessing smaller items.  The front top pocket is perfect for holding essential items such as your wallet, passport, cell phone and boarding pass.  It is a bit tight to pull out the whole suitcase in the middle of a flight (especially if you're in the middle seat), but it is doable and all items are fairly accessible.

The laptop sleeve worked well for pulling out and replacing the laptop quickly during the security scan.  On my outgoing flight I put the laptop sleeve in the back of the suitcase, which left some dead room around the retractable handle, and on the return flight I put the laptop sleeve in the front of the suitcase.  Leaving the laptop in the front left much more usable room in the suitcase as whole, but it did make reaching the items behind it more difficult during the flight.

The construction of the suitcase is top notch and has survived a cross country flight as well as an overnight stay without a scratch.  Now this hip traveler has finally graduated from the backpack to this Brookstone Compact Rolling Traveler.  Hooray!

Special thanks to Brookstone for providing the rolling travel suitcase for review as part of the Brookstone Review Crew.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Giveaway - Propel Zero Gift Pack (10 Winners)

Through April 24th, Propel is giving away more than 3 million samples of the new Propel Zero at participating Walmart stores. Propel Zero has no calories while keeping the same great, natural fruit flavor. Propel Zero offers a great way for active women and men to replenish (vitamins C & E), energize (B vitamins) and protect (antioxidants) their bodies.

Propel Zero is also holding an online sweepstakes where one lucky winner and their referring blogger will each win a year’s supply of Propel Zero. The winner will be selected at random from their Facebook page.

Here is what you need to do to enter their sweepstakes:
  • Find Walmart sampling locations and dates here
  • Snap a photo of yourself with your favorite Propel Zero flavor at a sampling event (or wherever you happen to be)
  • “Like” Propel Zero on Facebook
  • Upload your photo to the Propel Zero Facebook wall and answer the question: “I stay active by… ” (running, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking my dog for a walk, etc.)
  • Tell us the name of the blogger you heard about the sampling from – (in this case “Stretching a Buck”)
  • Check back on April 29 for the lucky winner 

In the meantime, I have 10 Propel Zero gift packs to give away!  The gift packs consist of:
  • Two 20 oz bottles of Propel Zero
  • A Propel Zero t-shirt 
  • Three coupons for a free single-serve Propel Zero 
  • All in a drawstring backpack.

*** If you'd like win one of the 10 Propel Zero Gift Packs, like Propel and mommy bytes on Facebook and leave a comment below. Please include your email address in your comment. ***

For extra entries, promote this contest by tweet (using @mommybytes and #propelzero), Facebook, StumbleUpon, or other social media and leave a separate comment for each with the URL or username. Up to five entries per person.

This giveaway ends April 15, 2011 at 11pm EST and is open to US residents.

Special thanks to Propel Zero for sponsoring this contest.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review - Donsuemor Valentine Hearts

Looking for a way into your Valentine's heart? These Donsuemor Valentine Hearts will be sure to please. These heart-shaped madeleine cookies are dipped in chocolate and are beautifully presented in their own gold-embossed gift box.

Donsuemor hearts

Just look how beautiful they are! They have a delicate taste that everyone in my family loved.  If you're adventurous and would like to try making a madeleine parfait, check out this video with Jennifer Bushman.

Special thanks to Donsuemor for providing Valentine hearts for review.