Thank you for the opportunity!

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Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.       #VZWVoices #Boomer

It is so very hard to believe, here at the end of December, that on a hot, summer day six months ago, I boarded a train and left for Chicago. It was there that I met and trained with a dozen or so “Boomer Bloggers.” What a great experience, meeting some of the Midwest’s most influential women on the Web! I felt a bit out of my league, as I am a relatively new blogger, however, these women were more than helpful throughout the entire program. It is great that technology and social media will continue to keep us in contact with one another.

phones

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I have to admit, that playing with the phones and FitBit was a blast. The cameras on both phones are fantastic! And the technology and apps I downloaded made both phones even more valuable in my very busy life! The FitBit certainly motivated me to get moving, as I saw first-hand how little I moved. Now the device is attached to my hip – literally!

The self-facing cameras on both phones were not used for selfies, (okay, maybe once or twice with my daughter!) but to video chat with my husband and son who were stationed in various countries throughout the past year. And my world clock app was a tremendous help, letting me know what time it was for my loved ones where ever in the world they were. Countdown calendars helped the days pass until my spouse got home. Yes, the technology alone made my life as a military spouse much easier.

tree down riser post

broken riser

 

 

 

 

I loaded so many apps on my phone – such as for our insurance company, which made filing a claim due to a severe summer storm much easier. The long battery life was a huge help in staying in contact with the electric company, insurance company and family members, as we were without power for over 70 hours. I became addicted to downloading books onto my Kindle app – and now using the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, reading the ebooks is much easier.

Though the technology and trip were fabulous, I think the best part of being a Verizon Ambassador was meeting so many wonderful people: the tech trainers, the staff at ComBlu, the bloggers and the folks I met via my blog and through other social media outlets. By being a Boomer Ambassador, other writing opportunities came to my inbox! The experience has truly been a blessing.

VerizonBoomerVoices

Oh, how I wish the Verizon Boomer Ambassador program wasn’t drawing to a close! And I know my Boomer Blogger Sisters have the same wish! What a wonderful experience, to share what I have learned with others. I feel that this program gave me the nudge I needed to get out of my comfort zone and learn even more! From making the switch to self-hosting my blog, to hosting both a digital and a blog party, to learning all kinds of techy terms and skills, I know I have grown both personally and professionally.

Yes, we have come a long way from the gigantic bag phones that we plugged into car lighter outlets a few decades ago. And some days the technology seems to be overwhelming and maybe even be a drawback to in-person social skills. However, as a Boomer, a military spouse, a mom, a writer and a blogger, I do believe that used properly, the technology we are blessed with today can be just that – a blessing and a way to be in touch with those we hold dear.

Thank you, ComBlu and Verizon. I am humbled that you chose my blog to be a participant in this program. Thank you for making communications easier and making the world a little smaller. Thank you to my Boomer Blogger Sisters, for all that you did to help this newbie.

Thank you to my readers. May you have a blessed and prosperous New Year!

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

 

 

And the #giveaway winners are…

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product. #VZWVoices #Boomer

Well… I hate to say it, but the party is over! However, for those who entered the Verizon products giveaway, this is the day you have been waiting for!

I must tell you, hosting my first blog party was a lot of fun! It was great to interact with so many people; some of my regular followers, and some new faces in the crowd. Thank you to all who took the time to read the post, comment and enter the drawing. And I do hope that you will return to my blog to keep up with my “random ramblings.” A big THANK YOU to my fellow blogger, the Chief Blonde at Still Blonde After All These Years. She was a huge help to me and this blog party!!! A big thank you to my family for their help and support…especially my little helpers, showing off the cool prizes!

Great prizes!

In a previous giveaway on my blog, I used Rafflecopter, which is an easy and excellent platform for hosting a raffle. However, since this was a party, I had to make it more fun! So, I had my granddaughters don Santa hats and they put names in a basket to help choose the winners. They had a lot of fun, and were pretty excited to be part of “Mema’s work.” And, they enjoyed some cookies at the party.

Who are the lucky winners

So, without further adieu, here are the winners of the Verizon giveaway. Once again, thank you to Verizon for being so generous with the products! Hope everyone enjoyed the blog party!

And the winner is...

Verizon Ellipsis™ 7 Tablet – JJ Caraway

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation ™ – Kaye Newman

             Jawbone® Mini Jambox™ -Ali  Alsaden

Verizon Gift Bags – Kelly Maxwell, Sam Lathrop, Tina Truex,  Motor City Bob, Karen Williams Taylor, Violet Dunnam,  Renee Jollay, Ashley Pomykala,  Karen Albert Winslow, Wendy Scott, Katie and Terr Madden.

Congratulations to the winners!!! If you need to use an email address that is different from the one you provided, please let me know in the comments below. I will be contacting you for your mailing address.

If you are interested in any of the products, they are available at your local Verizon dealer or at Verizon Wireless. Thank you all for joining the party!

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

It’s a #Verizon Blog Party!!!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product. #VZWVoices #Boomer

958It is really hard to believe, but it has been six months since I became a Brand Ambassador for Verizon. Back in June, I traveled to Chicago to learn about some fantastic devices and programs offered by Verizon. I was more than happy to blog and tweet about my new phone, my new FitBit One and other items.

I really fell in love with my Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD – specifically because of the camera and the ease of use of the phone. Then, about a month ago, I was supplied with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and well, let’s say I am head-over-heels in love with this “phablet.” It is a wonderful phone, and a wee bit smaller than a 7″ tablet, so it makes reading on my Kindle app much easier – no reading glasses needed for me! And let’s just say the camera is amazing, and the stylus pen allows me to use the phone as a note pad. I have scrapbooks and notes set up. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is an amazing piece of technology.

phones

I am so sad that this Brand Ambassador program is drawing to a close. I have met and worked with so many talented #Boomer bloggers. And the staff at ComBlu and Verizon couldn’t have been more supportive or generous if they tried! Truly, a wonderful group of people.

What has really amazed me is how much I have learned in six months! In addition to really learning how a smart phone can enhance and help a blogger’s life, I found myself becoming more interested in how technology can fit into so many aspects of our lives – especially as “Boomers.” There are devices, like “Sure Response” than can assist in the care of aging parents. There are apps for so many areas of our lives: banking, insurance, grocery, health and fitness, shopping – even apps for the NFL and NHL (Go Wings!). I learned how to use Rafflecopter and see the power social media – all in less than a year.

Which brings me to my blog party…

Part of being a Brand Ambassador for this program was to host a few parties. A fellow blogger and I hosted a digital party in October, and now, I am hosting a blog party on my own! Sorry that I don’t have refreshments to serve, but I do have a few “real” gift bags, courtesy of Verizon, for my virtual guests! And, there are three great prizes for three lucky people, whose names will be drawn at random.

gift bags dec

In order to qualify to win a prize, you must be 18 years or older and be a U.S. resident with a street address (no P.O. boxes, please). I also need you leave a comment here on my blog as to why you would like to win one of these prizes, or leave a comment on my Facebook page.  Those interested in being in a drawing need to leave a comment no later than 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 11, 2013. Winners will be announced on my blog on Thursday, December 12, 2013.

So, now that the legal mumbo jumbo is out of the way, here are the prizes! Hope you like them!!

jawbone mini

Jawbone® MINI JAMBOX™ 

Beautiful, wireless sound – small enough to fit into a pocket; super light-weight; connects via Bluetooth or 3.5 mm stereo cable. Retail value: $179.99.

Learn more at Verizon Wireless or Jawbone

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 Verizon Ellipsis 7Verizon Ellipsis ™ 7 

Surf the web, check email, read books and magazines,video chat, watch movies, add your favorite apps and more! Retail value: $299.99 ($149.99 w/two-year agreement).

Learn more at Verizon Wireless and view this video.

***

 mophie juice pack Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation™

This quick-charging external battery gives high-output power for just about any USB charged device. Compact; works with Smartphones, tablets and portable gaming systems. Great as a back-up plan during power outages. Retail value: $79.99.

Learn more at Verizon Wireless and Mophie.

***

If you have any questions on the products, just ask in the comment section. Good luck to all who enter. Feel free to share this post with your family and friends!

Leave a comment below for a chance to win one of these fantastic items, courtesy of Verizon! There will be three give-away winners, and twelve readers will win a Verizon gift bag! 

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

Yes, we hosted a digital party for Verizon!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Well, we did it! The Chief Blonde from Still Blonde After all These Years and I pulled off our first digital party! It was the first time either of us ventured into a digital party, and we certainly learned a lot – especially me.

As part of the Verizon Boomer Voices program, we were given devices and products to test, review and blog about. We also share new Verizon programs through social media. Additionally, we were asked to host a party to share what we have learned with our colleagues and friends. Since we are writing about technology and how it can make life a bit easier, the Chief Blonde and I thought, “Why not try to have a digital party?” And that is what we did!

What We Did To Prepare:

The Chief Blonde is more social media savvy than I, so she gave me a crash course in RaffleCopter (which we used for the giveaways) and how manage several open Twitter screens at the same time. We were both familiar in using online meeting rooms, so there wasn’t a huge learning curve there.

After inviting Michigan bloggers to the party – via Facebook – we sent out a PowerPoint presentation,  which was used as a teaser, to gauge what products our guests were interested in, and to get the party RSVPs. Additionally, we took photos and downloaded images to use throughout the party. Using RaffleCopter, we were able to draw the prizes for the guests, plus we fielded some questions about the products before the party began, which was a huge help in explaining each device. We had notes on the three devices each of us presented, and opening/closing words. We created Tweet templates ahead of time, and edited them with the names of the prize winners as the party progressed, so we could posts Tweets while the party was in session.

The Party

I admit, I wasn’t nervous until the party began! As soon as guests began to electronically arrive, the butterflies began to take flight in my stomach. Then, I felt like I was on stage and would “mess up my lines!” All in attendance could see us through a webcam! But once I relaxed in front of the camera, I enjoyed chatting with the group. The Chief Blonde and I took turns presenting the devices, and whoever was not in front of the camera monitored the “chat” for questions and comments. The guests were so gracious and added so much to our experience. Everyone who attended received a nice goody bag filled with fun items from Verizon. And there were several winners of some great products, like the FitBit One, FitBit Flex, Tagg Pet Tracker, Sure Response, Belkin Digital WebCam and more.

swag1  prize collage

A whole lot of work went into this digital party, probably as much as with a traditional party – but we didn’t have to clean the bathrooms before the guests arrived! It took many hours to tweak and practice to make sure we had no technical issues, but the pay off was big! We both learned so much, and believe our guests did as well. It was wonderful to connect with so many talented bloggers.

After the Party:

packing day

My dining room table mirrored a warehouse as I was busy packing up the goody bags and prizes for our guests. After shipping all the boxes and reviewing the entire process, I have to say that the Chief Blonde and I had a wonderful time learning together. We made a great team, and had we not been invited to be part of the Verizon Boomer Voices program, we would not have had the opportunity to work together – and become friends in the process.

Have you taken a leap and ventured into unchartered technological waters? How was your experience? Feel free to share in the comments below.

 

Taking the opportunity to help a caregiver

brick

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Today has been “one of those days, ” a day when I feel like no matter how hard I try, I keep smacking into the proverbial brick wall.

One positive thing that happens from “a day as such” is that it tends to put things into proper perspective, and I can usually find motivation to put one foot in front of the other and keep on moving. For me, that usually comes with getting outside of myself and trying to help someone else.

Several months ago, when I was contacted to be a brand ambassador for Verizon as one of the #Boomer #VZWVoices bloggers, I often wondered why I was chosen. My blog isn’t as big or as well-known as some of the other’s who were chosen. When we all met in Chicago, I was floored by the success of these talented women bloggers, who were more than willing to share their lives in person and through their blog posts. They have also been generous in sharing their areas of expertise. It is really nice to “see” them again when we have our Webinars.

A few weeks ago, while in a conference, we #Boomers were introduced to some Verizon products, which will be highlighted at the gatherings each of us will host in our home areas. One item really caught my eye, as when I had started blogging, it was because I was looking for support, and used writing for therapy, as my dad suffered with Alzheimer’s.

Anyhow – back to my frustrating day. I took a call from a colleague who presented another brick-wall-challenge that I get to hurdle. Yippee! (Good thing I have a #FitBit!) She knows some of the craziness our family has gone through in the past few years, and though she called me with news I didn’t want to hear, she also took a few moments to just chat and listen to me vent. Bless her heart!

I returned the favor, and asked how she was doing, as I know she struggles daily, caring for her spouse who has Alzheimer’s. And though she has a network of support throughout the work-day, I know that when she is at work, she worries about her husband.

I admit, I have often been a little afraid to share posts about products, as I don’t want to come off like a salesperson. However, there is a great product through Verizon that would really make this woman’s stress level a bit more tolerable, so I took the opportunity to share it with her. And she was very receptive and wanted to know more about the product.

sure_response_200x200

For caregivers, the Sure Response mobile response system may be that piece of technology that will make their lives a bit easier. It has GPS tracking, emergency phone service and several other features that would help in the care of a loved one in the event that he or she wandered off or needed assistance in their home due to a fall or sudden illness. This video explains more detail on the Sure Response program, and of course, the product would work for anyone of any age – those living alone, those terminally ill, dementia patients, and children.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that God places us where He needs us to be. Maybe that is why I was “chosen.” Maybe watching my mother care for my dad has been put to good use. Maybe it makes me more sympathetic to caregivers. Maybe my rough day turned someone else’s bad day into a better one. Maybe I gave someone hope when I just couldn’t feel it myself.

Maybe I will never know.

All I do know is this: some days, it may be that we are just a shoulder to lean on. Other days, we may be more proactive in how we can help. In either case, when I have a bad day, I will do my best to step outside myself and realize that someone else may have it worse.

I will not ignore the nudge to help, even if I sound like a salesperson 🙂

If you live in the metro Detroit area and are interested in attending an upcoming event, let me know in the comments below. As the date nears, I will be posting additional info. If you are not from this area, but are interested in attending an event, let me know that as well, so I can direct you to another #Boomer blogger in your area.

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

 

The day I lost my #FitBit

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

It is no secret…I am not a big fan of exercise. In fact, I have injured myself more than once trying to stay fit! However, I know that staying active – when I don’t hurt myself – is really necessary to good health, both physically and mentally. Especially as a boomer.

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While in Chicago for our Verizon training and kick-off, we #Boomers were given a FitBit One wireless activity and sleep tracker. Jokingly, I called it my fitness stalker, because it records every step you take, every move you make…

Anyhow, I took me a while to muster up the courage to activate this very small, high-speed device, because – well – I was afraid it would show me just how inactive I can be. As I writer, I am on my rump a good portion of the day. So, sometime during mid-August, after the crazy summer started to settle down (storms, power outages, daughter being very ill, etc.), it was time to get into gear and see how much I moved – or didn’t move – in a day.

Seriously, if it took ten minutes to sync the little tracker to the laptop, create an account and download the mobile app to the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD I am also reviewing, then I would be surprised. I clipped the tracker on, and away I went.

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Always wanting to know how close the grocery store is to my home, off I walked to grab a few groceries. Then, a little yard work, up and down the steps to do laundry and a short bike ride with my granddaughters. Quickly it was revealed to me that I didn’t move as much as I thought. I synced the tracker to see my stats throughout the day, and realized I needed to move a bit more.

As I am really competitive with myself, my goal was to break the previous day’s step record. That would’ve been ideal had I clipped it on before I walked out the door! Ugh! You can bet that the next morning, I didn’t forget!

And then, I was hooked.

I received a badge for over 5,000 steps. The next day, I walked over 6,000 steps. The day after that, I was trying get to over 8,000 steps. The tracker really did motivate me, and I walked the entire floor of two super-sized stores, ran many errands, did laundry, walked to the grocery store and then walked to my neighbor’s for a knitting group. Secretly, I wondered if my stitching would record on the FitBit.

The world will never know.

At 10:45 p.m., exhausted yet exhilarated, I grabbed my FitBit to sync up and view my amazing, awesome, physically active day.

It was gone.

Gone! I searched high and low until midnight, digging through the laundry, crawling around the yard with my awesome flashlight app. I contacted my neighbor, who didn’t see the tracker. I texted texts, posted posts and tweeted tweets.

Gone. I am still stunned, because the clip was extremely strong. A little bump wasn’t going to budge or nudge it off my pocket. I am thinking I was pick-pocketed!

Feeling deflated, I crawled into bed. I couldn’t even track my sleepless night with the FitBit because, dang it, I had lost it!

The next morning, I was again walking through the yard, down the street, up and down the steps, digging through my knitting bag, climbing under the car, moving furniture, checking dog crates, warning my son to look for it while he cut the grass. I probably tripled my activity as I re-traced my steps, trying to find my FitBit. I bet I had a better workout just trying to find the tracker than if I had been wearing it!

It took a few days to resign myself to the fact my FitBit was gone. Oh, and to add insult to injury, my FitBit stat report arrived via email, showing all the progress I had made, up until my “inactive” period. I wanted to cry! I could have had some really great numbers to post, if I hadn’t lost my tracker.

fitbit

So yes, the FitBit works. That device will motivate you to move, whether it is attached to you or laying in a parking lot somewhere, waiting to be found.

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

Do you use a fitness tracker? If so, which one? Has it motivated you to move? Share in the comments section!

Woo whoo! The folks at Verizon/ComBlu took mercy upon me and sent another FitBit One! Look what arrived today! Thank you!!!! 🙂

new fitbit

No power? No problem!

“Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”

A few weeks ago, my husband and I headed out to meet some friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. The sky was stormy-looking, and it had just started to rain. We both commented that had we grilled, like we originally planned, our burgers would be a tad bit soggy. A few moments later, we could see the lightning putting on a great show, as the rain came down in torrents. There were a few good, strong wind gusts, and by the time we got to the restaurant, the skies were clearing.

But the damage was done. We were about two miles from home, trying to enjoy the time with our friends, and all of our phones were buzzing with texts from the kids at home and at work.

“We don’t have power,” and, “Did we really lose power at home?”

Great! We really did pick a good night to go out to dinner! Sometimes our timing is good! We ate and drank in air-conditioned comfort, and our dinner companion’s received the good news that their power came back on. Our teens were at work, so we didn’t get any further updates on our power outage.

But…we did get texts from the kids telling us not to take certain roads home because of downed lines and trees.

Wow – the storm was that bad? Oh yes – and then some. Trees and power lines littered our neighborhood – uprooted, landing on roofs, blocking major roads and knocking out power. The storm, quick as it was, packed quite a punch.

The power was not on by the time we got home.

tree down     damaged fence

Our neighbor’s tree fell in the back of her yard, crushing the cyclone fence that divides our property, and narrowly missing another neighbors’ brand new garage. Whew. But, what we weren’t expecting was that same tree would pull the electrical lines from our house.

broken riser  riser post

The weekend we had planned just took a complete, 180-degree change. And that’s when my Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD proved its worthiness.

First and foremost, the phone call-quality is top-notch. That was proved when I started making calls to the utility company. Then to the fire department, which deemed our house un-safe, which prompted a call to the insurance company, which prompted more calls to several area hotels, because we weren’t the only ones who sustained damage and in need of a safe haven. Oh yes, then a call to an electrician. On and on and on.

Thank goodness I had added the flashlight app to this phone! During our #VZWVoices #Boomer training in Chicago, one of my fellow bloggers was raving about her flashlight app. I am so glad I listened! We were able to find all the lanterns, candles and flashlights using this great feature.

Let’s not forget the awesome camera that I used to capture a zillion photos from all angles. The pictures could be directly uploaded from my phone to our insurance company – using their mobile app – which I had downloaded a while back! Additionally, any receipts could be photographed and uploaded for the claim.

As we waited for news on the lines being fixed and power being restored, I installed the DTE app to track progress and report additional problems. (Kudos to DTE, as their app features a flashlight, too!) And, of course, I just had to check email and Facebook and Twitter. Plus, I used the mobile hot-spot feature so that my husband could use his laptop.

But wait? Didn’t I say we had no power? I did. That’s why this phone was a God-send. In the 70 hours we had no power, I charged my phone once, while we were at the hotel! The extended battery life on this device made using all the apps, hot-spotting, phone calls and more totally do-able. It made navigating the power outage so much easier.

The only thing it couldn’t do was make a great espresso. And my soldier used his Army survival skills to conquer that problem. Which I captured with my phone…

espresso

How has technology made your life easier? Share in the comments below!

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

A brand new opportunity!

“Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program, and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”

VerizonBoomerVoices

Yep! It is true! I have been approached and asked for my opinion! So, you will see this disclaimer on my blog when I write about my adventures with the new device.

How cool it that?

I am really excited on so many levels. One, a new tech toy to play with! Two, my opinion will matter to someone other than me! Three, I will get to meet some other “Boomer” bloggers, which is really going to be great. The chance to meet new friends – fellow writers – and network and pick their brains about the blogging world is just wonderful.

It has been a crazy few years. In fact, I started this blog to help journal my feelings with my dad’s Alzheimer’s. Then, he got so sick that I didn’t have the heart – or the time – to write. After my dad died, my blog kind of morphed into my own little “column” of random ramblings, grief therapy and observations.  I have shared some ups and downs, and I am happy to say that, yes, sometimes, out of the blue, an opportunity lands in your lap.

So, stay tuned. I plan on capturing the moments and sharing them with you. The journalist in me can’t wait to investigate this product! The writer is dying to know if I can blog from it! The traveler in me can’t wait to get to my destination and meet everyone!

And the blogger in me can’t wait to share all of this with you soon, soon, soon!

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

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