Review: LeapFrog Touch Rockin’ Guitar

Upload a video of your kid jammin’ & learning with Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar for a chance to win a $500 gift card. Visit touchmagic.leapfrog.com for detailed contest information and rules. #LFtouchmagic #spon

I’m not gonna lie: Ellie has been playing games on my iPhone since she was a year old. It started with a super-basic coloring app, but nowadays she’s playing all sorts of somewhat complicated games. It’s pretty amazing, actually. But here’s the thing about Ellie playing iPhone games: I want to use my iPhone, but she keeps hogging it. This is a problem.

First thing in the morning, this kid is jamming to the Alphabet Song. Watch out, Karen O.

Enter the Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar. The kind folks at Leap Frog sent us one to review, and to be honest, when I first looked at it, I thought it might be a little over Ellie’s head, as it doesn’t have depressible buttons. (That’s why it’s called “Touch Magic.”) But, like I mentioned above, Ellie is a gosh darned professional iPhone-er, so wouldn’tcha know it? She took to the guitar in no time. When I showed her how to strum the guitar by running my fingers across the “strings,” Ellie said “Cut Rope!” (As in the game “Cut The Rope.”) She TOTALLY gets it. And? She kind of rocks it.

The guitar has 10 built-in songs (the Alphabet Song is Ellie’s favorite, probably because she already knows all the “words), along with guitar, percussion and special effects sounds. Aside from me being able to reclaim my iPhone from the hands of my 2 year old, my favorite feature of the guitar is that the song speeds up and slows down, depending on how quickly Ellie is strumming, which is a great way to introduce the concept of tempo control to a kiddo who’s a bit too young to comprehend actual musical concepts. Also? When she touches the applause button, her face LIGHTS UP, and she starts clapping for herself, which is a hoot, let me tell you. (How wrong is it that I hope she keeps responding that way to applause well into her teenage years?)

[Edited to add that Ellie just discovered how to play the guitar with her nose. This is HILARIOUS! Hopefully I can catch her doing it on video. :) )

The verdict? My iPhone has become MY iPhone again (at least for the next couple of weeks), Ellie's practicing to become our family's first rock star, AND I get to watch her wiggle around to music she's making "by self" (aka, "all by herself" in Ellie-language). All good things!

I want one of you to win one of the $500 gift cards. Call me selfish, but I want it to be someone from my audience. SO. Here's some details to keep in mind about the contest:

  • Visit touchmagic.leapfrog.com and upload a video of your kid jamming & learning with Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar or your own play guitar that you can create out of your own materials.
  • Promote your video by sharing via Facebook and email with friends and family to view and vote.
  • Each video will be judged by the following criteria: 50% based on the highest number of votes from viewers on the website, 30% originality/creativity, and 20%-­‐relevance to theme. The five videos with the highest consumer votes and LeapFrog Panel votes will each have a chance to win a $500 gift card!

And here are some guidelines to ensure that you have the best possible chance of winning:

  • Try to find a well­‐lit place to record your video
  • Keep your video to a maximum of two minutes
  • Avoid using a lower pixel quality camera (i.e. cell phones with video recording capabilities) (If you're using an iPhone 4 or 4S the quality will be great and you don't need to worry about this one.)
  • Check the video before posting – Can you hear yourself? Is the picture clear enough?

I've been a bit too slow on the draw to get a usable video, but you better that as soon as I do, we're entering. You will die of cute when you see Ellie playing and dancing. It's just too much.

Singing along to the Alphabet Song, like a boss.

That’s all for now! See you all again on Friday morning, with a long-overdue post about the Makeup-Fast (it’s over THIS WEEK).

xoxo,

mj

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Let’s be friends!

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This post is sponsored by LeapFrog. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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My Ultimate Girls’ Night Out

Thank you to Hpnotiq for sponsoring this post. Visit http://hpnotiq.com/danceoff to enter to win the ultimate VIP weekend in Las Vegas for you and your friends!

Sometimes (all of the time) I take myself a bit too seriously. So when I have the opportunity to write about something that’s purely fun, I’m alllll over it. Especially when that something involves dreaming up my ultimate girls’ night out. I mean, that’s not even work. Take a mini mental-vaction with my girlfriends, in which the world is our oyster? Don’t mind if I do!

The Crew

The cast of characters for my ultimate GNO includes my real-life friends, some of whom live far-far away, my mommy-group, and an internet-friend that I’ve never met in real life, but would love love love to hang out with, IRL. (Is that weird?)

  • All of the mommies in my Monday-morning moms’ group – I’ve known most of these ladies since our childbirth education class, and our kiddos have grown up together. Collectively we are a hilarious, intelligent, ambitious group of women, and I would love to whisk them away for an amazing night on the town.
  • Karina – (San Jose, CA) Real life friend, former housemate, and my main partner-in-crime from back-in-the-day. We once hosted a “popped collar party” that was pretty darn amazing. She’s freaking adorable, has killer style, and is one of the sweetest girls you’ve ever met.
  • Niharika – (Atlanta, GA) Real life friend, and my favorite sleep-over buddy. In the slideshow below you can see us in what might be the greatest photograph ever taken.
  • Jess – (Weston-super-Mare, England) Real life friend, and the only person in my friend-group to also have a kiddo. She and her family are moving back to the states very soon! YAY!
  • Sam – Internet friend, founder and editor of the style blog, The Peak of Très Chic, and basically the most glam person I know. Oh, and she is a knockout, to boot.
  • You (Surprise!) – If you’re a lady who has left a thoughtful, encouraging comment on my blog/twitter/facebook/whatever, you are SO invited. I have “met” so many amazing women here that I think it would be totally awesome to get to hang out you in real life!

Here are some pictures, so you can put faces to the names.

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The Plan

So now that we’ve got my crew settled, let’s talk details. I’ve never been to New York as an adult, and as a lover of musical theatre and exciting nightlife, New York would be our destination. We’d all fly in, and stay in an amazing suite at The Palace (of course!). (And we send the daddies and kids to Disneyworld or somewhere so we don’t feel guilty. :) )

Half of the fun, at least for me, is the pre-GNO primping. I’m not sure what this says about me, but I swear I’d spend twice as much time getting ready to hit the town with my girlfriends than I would spend getting read for a date. But, because we’re in my fantasy-land, we would definitely not be doing the primping ourselves. We’d have a spa-day leading up to our GNO, and bring in stylists to do our hair and makeup. (Taking a cue from the girls on Gossip Girl here.) Bear in mind, that in my fantasy-land, I am not fasting from makeup. :)

From there we’d grab dinner, and catch a show. I’m not sure what could be more fitting than seeing “Bring It On: The Musical.” After the show, we’d find a spot to get some tasty desert, and sing karaoke and dance, and take silly pictures until the wee hours of the morning. The best part? The next day, we’d sleep in until whenever the heck we naturally wake up, because that, dear friends, is the ultimate luxury.

Contest Time!

So, whaddaya think? Sound like fun? Just thinking about rounding up all of my favorite people for a guilt-free good-time makes me excited. (I do have a 29th birthday coming up…maybe I should plan a party!) If the thought of planning the ultimate girls’ night out has you excited, maybe you’d like to enter the Live Louder Dance Off contest for a chance at winning the ultimate VIP weekend in Las Vegas! All you have to do is upload either a photo or a video of your best dance moves/pose. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Hope you enjoyed this brief departure from taking myself too seriously. (I sure have.) Rest assured that I will be back on Friday with an update regarding that darn makeup fast. (Will it never end?)

xoxo,

mj

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Let’s be friends!

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Thank you again to Hpnotiq for sponsoring this blog post! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own.

Eazy-Breezy Beach Packing: Just The Basics

This post is underwritten by Old Navy. Whether you’re looking for a tankini, bikini, or a one piece, Old Navy has you confidently covered at a great price.

You may not know this, but I’m a beach-girl. Always have been. I grew up in beautiful San Clemente, California, and almost three decades later, here I am, nested in Shell Beach, another California beach town. I’ve tried other places (Portland, Chicago, Paris), and as beautiful and inspiring as those places are, I simply cannot do it. I cannot live too far from the ocean. The Pacific is in my blood, and there’s not much that I can do about that.

It took me a long time to fully accept that, as much as I might want to be a hipster-cool Portlandian, or a tough, edgy Chicagoan, or a chic, multi-lingual Parisian, I always have been, and always will be a blonde beach-girl from Southern California. But embracing my somewhat clichéd background has made life so. much. easier for me. I quit straightening my naturally wavy hair, I no longer attempt to cover-up my freckles with makeup, and I wear my Rainbow sandals daily. I even admitted to my husband that I really do like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I don’t care how profane Sublime is, those are my people. It feels good to stop trying to shove a square peg (my innately California-casual style) into a round hole (every other style identity I’ve “tried on”). So on that note, today I’m going to share with you some beachy favorites of mine, designed to keep a jaunt to the shore inexpensive and eazy-breezy.

Call me shallow, but the first and biggest concern for me, when planning a trip to the beach, is what to wear: my primary concern, nowadays, is whether or not I’ll be wrangling kiddos. Since I became a mama, my priorities in swimwear have changed. A teeny-weenie bikini used to do the job just fine, but nowadays I need a swimsuit that can handle chasing a toddler around, without the risk of accidentally flashing anyone. (I will NOT be that mom.) So swimsuit-wise, I’m looking for something a little more athletic, but still stylish. When I saw this little blue tankini, I knew she was the one. The style is retro-cute, and the color looks great on me (if I do say so myself), so 90% of the time, this would be my go-to suit.

But on the off-chance that I’m at the beach with out little Elle, then it’s bikini time! Gotta get rid of those tan-lines when I have the chance, right? I love this one because the pattern is safari-cute, and the gold accents make it a little bit glam, without being super over-the-top.

Some people bring an entire room’s worth of beach furniture, and while that does seem comfortable, I’m not one for schlepping a bunch gear all the way to the beach. (Ours is just down the street, but there are about fifty stairs down to the shore.) I pack light. Here are my essentials, all of which fit in my tote bag.

I have this in red, and it’s super sturdy, and fits all of my beach gear.

The BEST beach blanket out there. Sand doesn’t stick, stays cool to the touch, and folds into itself.

Bobble reusable filtering water bottle

This stuff just SMELLS like the beach. I love it. I use higher SPF on my shoulders, decollate, and arms though.

And of course, a book. Right now it’d be this one by my bff.

Ellie, of course, gets her own bag for her sunscreen, snacks, pail and shovel. She’s pretty low-maintenance too though, so I can easily carry my stuff and her stuff down to the beach. I’ll admit that we do have it easy, because if we get too hungry, or Elle has had enough of the sun, we can just walk home. That’s pretty convenient.

It’s funny to me, looking back on it, how much I used to over-do it when packing for the beach. It was like I was moving there or something! Nowadays, when I go to the beach, I want to be at the beach, and that means leaving some of the comforts of home behind, and actually relaxing. Do you have any beach-essentials. Did I forget something? Holler in the comments!

Thank you again to Old Navy for sponsoring my post. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

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