A Change in Traditions (Black Friday)

Every year since I was a tween, I’ve “had” to go out Black Friday shopping.

I remember my first big experience…I scored Adidas windpants in navy blue and a pair of teal Airwalk skater shoes (my first real stick out name brand items) that I always wore…together. Yup, no shame in admitting my crazy here. 

The year Arianna was born, Mallory was working so I strapped Arianna to me in her carrier and we braved Toys R Us.

Last year, I met my neighbors shopping in the middle of the night and they helped me navigate a mixed up map  the store provided. I shopped most of the night, slept 3 hours, then put in a full 8 the next day at work. Dedication.

This year, however, I have a feeling things are going to be a bit different, a change in traditions. You see, I’ve heard that a lot of stores are opening on Thanksgiving. That day is going to be busy for me as it is, but there’s a bit of anxiety for me this year when it comes to shopping on Black Friday.

It seems I am not alone when it comes to shopping anxiety.

A new survey by Kelton Research for T-Mobile uncovered that early 9 in 10 (88%) people find winter holiday shopping stressful, with close to half (42%) saying it’s due to trying to find a good deal on gifts for others.

This study also found that:

  • More 50+ Americans are not excited about the prospect of holiday shopping vs. 18-49-year-olds (61% vs. 36%)
  • Almost 9 in 10 (89%) have encountered a gift priced too high, while 72% would sacrifice at least one thing to get a good deal on a winter holiday gift, 47% of them would even give up half of all their presents
  • 43% find shopping for technology more confusing than putting together a child’s toy with multiple parts. Yet, 69% would like to receive something wireless, like a tablet or smartphone, this holiday season
  • 67% of people have participated in Black Friday at least once in their lives, but participation is less common in the West than in the rest of the country (58% vs. 69%)
  • 63% say they have seen people getting pushed or shoved, and 44% say they’ve seen people stealing a place in line while Black Friday shopping

Wow! So, I am with 36% of people my age who aren’t excited about holiday shopping (I really just want to avoid crowds and have been working on shopping throughout the year). Thank goodness I don’t find technology all that confusing! And yes, I’ve seen people get pushed and shoved as well as stealing a place in line, which is part of the reason why staying home might just be worth more to me.

Plus, with technology, there are all kinds of options for shopping from the comfort of my couch this year. T-Mobile has a way for you to avoid the bustle this holiday season and shop early!

On November 16-17, T‑Mobile is offering a better-than-Black-Friday deal — a week early. During the ‘Samsung Pre-Holiday 4G Smartphone Sale,’ customers can purchase any Samsung 4G smartphone, including the Samsung Galaxy S® III, for free or $0.00 down on qualifying Classic or Unlimited Value™ plans, after mail-in rebate card.

You know, I wish Santa would bring me a few things, including the Samsung Galaxy S® III, so if you have an in with Santa or want this deal for yourself this weekend, click here http://t-mo.co/REeges for details about this special promotion. Plus, they sent over this fun infographic about holiday shopping, “HOHOHO or NONONO” (click here for the large version).


Thanks to T-Mobile for sharing these metrics with us! I love numbers, shopping, and deals. If you’re a betting person, what do you think the odds are that I’ll continue my tradition and be back to Black Friday shopping next week? 😉 

Spooktacular Apps for Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner, and our ‘lil ones are trying to decide between being pirates or Dora/Boots. While I am not sure that we’ll actually Trick or Treat yet (the kids can’t eat the candy, I don’t need the temptation in the house), we have being having some Halloween fun like going to the pumpkin patch.

T-Mobile recently shared with me some spooktacular apps for Android and Windows to celebrate Halloween. Trust me, these apps are as fun as they sound:

Spooky Sounds – Scare your coworkers and friends every time you get a notification or phone call on your Android phone with scary ringtones and sound effects. Official movie theme songs from Halloween, The Exorcist, and Psycho.

Scary Cam – Watch out! There is a ghost behind you! Freak out your friends by taking a picture of them with your Android phone and using the Scary Cam application to add a creepy image to the picture, for free.

Carve a Pumpkin! – Avoid the mess, use this free Android application to carve an interactive jack-o-lantern right on your phone and save it as a picture!

M.A.S.H. Halloween – Find out what Halloween has in store for you with the classic M.A.S.H. game on your Android phone!

Yumm Halloween – Play this fun and free game on your Android phone by removing your finger from the monster’s mouth just in time! Remove it too late and get a bite from this creepy animal.

Martha Stewart – Need some decorating ideas this Halloween? You’re in luck! The homemaking media maven provides you with her latest recommendations in creative arts & craft blogs directly to your Windows Phone.

My favorites are M.A.S.H. Halloween (loved that game in High School) and Spooky Sounds (the bats are super freaky, plus I somehow let the app freeze the first time I used it, realizing how fun it would be to loop the sounds while passing out treats).

But, Halloween isn’t  just about tricks and treats. Just like when T-Mobile promoted summer safety, they’re also suggesting some apps to use to stay safe this fall:

  • FamilyWhere can help you keep track of where the older kids are while they are going door-to-door (or the other parent when you’re stuck back on the porch passing out treats). It runs $9.99 a month, but worth every cent for the family on the go.
  • Flashlight is a free app (that I use every morning to find my clothes and let the husband sleep). It emits a super bright light, perfect for navigating the dark streets.
  • Lookout™ Mobile Security protects your phone from viruses and malware PLUS it can help find your phone if you lose it while enjoying the activities of Halloween.

Stay safe this Halloween! Thanks to T-Mobile for the tips!

T-Mobile Event #TMobileSummer — Things to Share! #Burgh

I know most of you are spending today outside or poolside (like me, come on over!), but I am thrilled to share with you some things I learned a few weeks ago at a T-Mobile Safe Summers Event, hosted by Rachel of BacknGroove Mom (you can read her awesome write up here).

Rachel invited myself and other bloggers to learn about how to stay safe this summer, specifically through the use of apps that T-Mobile is promoting. While I am not a T-Mobile customer, I was excited to check out what they had (and let’s be honest, I could probably easily be swayed to join them since my current provider, Verizon, is being sticky with replacing Greg’s not working phone, ahem). First, I was enticed by pink balloons, prizes, and some amazing Greek food. I even got to buddy up with my PCPGH pal, @techburgh.

See, we had a good time. 🙂 (Photo compliments of Rachel–but if the Samsung rep has photos, I’d love to see those, too!)

During the event, we played some games (see above!) and learned about T-Mobile’s apps for safety. Here’s a rundown of what I learned:

* FamilyWhere lets you and your family send text message check ins when you arrive at pre-determined places, or even locate family members via GPS. My mind immediately went to my husband. He (currently, ahem) doesn’t have a smart phone, so would it work for him? YES! I could get this app and then locate him–no, it’s not that I want to follow his every path, it just would be handy when I am at the office waiting for him to pick me up and he’s running behind (ha). In all seriousness, we don’t have kids with phones, yet, but we could even download the app to our iPad or Kindle and have them located based on where that device is. It sounds a little like FourSquare, but so much more secure.

* LookOut Mobile Security helps you find your lost phone (as long as it’s powered on). It will scream OR you can use GPS to locate it (if you cannot hear the scream…say you left it in the apples at the grocery store).

* Family Allowance and Web Guard are two apps that keep your family’s browsing and phone use safe. You can limit the number of texts, minutes on the phone, or sites your kids (or other family members) access. What I loved, and I think that Sharon mentioned this, is that sure, you could set a text limit of 100 texts per kid and you could use the slider to take them away…but what about as a reward? You did your chores all week? You get 20 more texts this month. I think it’s a great way to set limits and still be a cool parent. (By the way–you can even limit when the phone is in use, so it can become inactive during the school day. Genius.)

* MobileLife Family Organizer by Cozi has seriously revolutionalized my life. It’s a shared to do list, calendar, meal planner, and shopping list. Greg and I used it to get our acts together and pack everything for our trip to Kansas. It helped so much, and we didn’t forget anything. Greg packed the birth certificates while I was at work, and I checked my phone and saw it was done. Breathe a sigh of relief. Instead of asking me in the morning what to prep for dinner? He just looks at the notes on the app. You can sign up for this app and share with your family members here, and the best part is you don’t have to be a T-Mobile customer to get it. We have it on all of our devices (except Greg’s phone), so we can constantly be in touch. I seriously had big love for this app. My favorite!

Thank you, Rachel! Love my safety swag, especially the bag and water bottle.

What a great event! I hope I can go to more events like this and meet up with fellow awesome bloggers. This day was a great break for me, and I seriously can’t thank T-Mobile and the ladies of Waggener Edstrom enough. Thank you!

+ + +

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this free event, but I was not obligated to blog about it. I simply loved it so much that I wanted to share with you. I did receive a bag of swag and a super cool flying/screaming monkey to share with the kids. You’ll see me rocking my PT appointments with the tote in tow–it’s a great bag for the beach. Thank you, T-Mobile, Rachel, and all the other sponsors!