Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sync up your New Year's Resolution to stay on track (and a giveaway)

2015 is officially here.  Now is definitely the time when people set goals to improve their health, get organized or save more money in the New Year. Today’s technology and smartphones, such as the iPhone 6, offer a variety of apps and products to help keep users on track and increase the likelihood of sticking with any resolution throughout the year.

Families are already relying on technology in their daily lives. U.S. Cellular is happy to help people leverage the available technology to enhance and simplify their lives so they can enjoy better moments with family and friends all year long.

In fact, recent survey findings by Prosper Mobile Insights indicate more than one in four U.S. smartphone or tablet owners plan to use their smart mobile device to help them keep on track with their resolutions.

Some examples of apps that can help you start 2015 right are:

The Runtastic Six Pack app is great for those looking to lose weight or get in shape. This free app allows users to work out from home by creating custom work outs with a virtual personal trainer which will show users the proper way to do new exercises.

The Runtastic Six Pack and its 50 workout videos can also be paired with the UP by Jawbone - a fitness wristband. It can track what you eat, any activities throughout the day and your sleeping habits, then suggest small changes that will help you reach your goals.

Getting organized is another popular resolution, and we all know how hard it can be. The Any.Do app is an award winner that’s perfect for enhancing any to-do list. The app allows you to create lists of tasks that need to be completed and organize them by category and importance. You can set alarms and also easily sync your tasks from your mobile to your desktop to help stay on top of any to-do list, no matter where you are.  This just might be the answer for me.  I have notes and lists in my purse, car, and desk.  I can't wait to see how it works for me.

Many people resolve to see more of their family members throughout the year. The GroupMe app allows everyone in the family to stay in touch and make plans, no matter where in the country they are located. This app allows users to create several groups in which each member can share events, photos, videos and texts.  What a great idea for those planning a family reunion this summer (when it's warmer).  It would also be great for graduations, weddings or pictures of that cute new baby!

Saving money is a recurring resolution for many. According to a 2014 U.S. Cellular survey, 43 percent of smartphone users made the resolution to save money in 2014. In 2015, smartphone owners can accomplish this task with the Check app. The free app allows users to link bills, bank accounts and credit cards. The app then notifies users of when a payment is coming up and even lets users set up automatic payments.

New Year’s is a great time to reflect, set goals and decide what you really want to accomplish in 2015, and perhaps a great first resolution should be to explore how using your smartphone paired with these great apps can help you reach those goals in the coming year.  I am amazed at the number of apps available for things I can really use.

Those looking for help sticking with some of the most common New Year’s resolutions can use U.S. Cellular’s [4G LTE network, with speeds of up to 10 times faster than 3G] [high-speed network] to download some of the most helpful apps onto their smartphones and tablets.

So did your kids get a smartphone this Christmas?  Be sure they know your expectations and responsibility that comes with the privilege of owning a phone with a customizable Parent-Child Agreement.

And now for the giveaway:
U.S. Cellular is providing one of my readers with 3 tickets to the U.W. Badgers Men's Basketball Team vs. Indiana game at the Kohl Center in Madison, WI on Tuesday, Feb 3, 2015 at 6 pm.  Easy entry:  In the comment section, let me know what one of your New Year's resolutions are and if you have found an app for that!

One entry per person, deadline is: Wed, Jan. 21st 12 noon CDT.  Winner will be chosen via random number generator and emailed to respond within 24 hours so be sure to list email in comment section as well.  Winner will be sent tickets directly from U.S. Cellular's marketing agency.

Disclosure:  I have been provided the above information by U.S. Cellular and compensated for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

U.S. Cellular #30 Days of Good

During your busy holiday season did you get a chance to check out the Holiday Program U.S. Cellular promoted, called the 30 Days of Good Initiative,” which involved giving away $100,000 across four cities to people who are deserving – whether they are performing random acts of kindness or dedicating their lives to giving back through charity.  It could be something as simple as holding the door open for the person behind you to something bigger, like operating a shelter. A small team traveled to Knoxville, Tulsa, Des Moines and Milwaukee and found these uplifting stories and rewarded people in an effort to spread joy and happiness.

U.S. Cellular is committed to its communities and building meaningful relationships and are always excited about the opportunity to give back to our communities where our customers and associates live, work and play.

The team came across a lot of good stories and they hope some of these may inspire you to do good in 2015.

These are two of my favorite, my dad was a U.S. Marine and I miss him everyday.

Day 22: Paws and Effect Service dogs for vets with PTSD

Day 26: No one left behind - Milwaukee Homeless Veterans initiative

What have these stories inspired you to do?

Disclosure:  I have been compensated by U.S. Cellular for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Winterizing Your Mobile Device to Prepare for Freezing Weather

Most people winterize their homes, lawn and garden, hoses, sprinklers or campers before the snow flies and temperature falls. There also are wireless winterizing steps you can take in an effort to keep your smartphone and tablet from freezing up during cold temperatures.
Families use mobile devices to make their lives easier, more efficient and meaningful. During harsh winter conditions, it’s a good idea to keep your device safe from the cold.  During severe weather, it's even more important that you can be in touch with your family if your arrival time is delayed.  

U.S. Cellular offers the following tips to help your wireless device survive this winter.

§  Accessorize: A LifeProof case is rugged and waterproof and can protect your device through inclement weather such as frigid temperatures, ice and snow.

§  App-etizing: AccuWeather, MyRadar Weather Radar, The Weather Channel and WeatherBug are among the leading free apps available on iTunes and the Google Play store to help keep people ahead of winter storms.  I always watch the weather forecast on tv and now I have the ability to download these apps and be able to check the weather anytime at home on my iPhone 5s and even while I am away from home and weather conditions change during the day.

§  Battery Blues: When cellphone batteries are exposed to cold temperatures, their performance dips like the winter mercury. Cellphone batteries that would provide 100 percent capacity at 80 degrees will typically only deliver 50 percent when it’s 0 degrees outside.  That's a very interesting fact I didn't know before today.

§  Cover Up: Prolonged exposure to the cold may affect a cellphone’s display screen. The display cover can become brittle when exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time, which causes the liquid crystals within the display to start freezing.

§  Don’t Fret When Wet: If a cellphone gets wet from condensation or an encounter with snow, power it down right away and remove the battery. You should grab a towel or napkins to get as much excess water off the phone as possible. You should leave a wet cellphone powered down for a day or two to give the internal circuitry a chance to completely dry out.

§  Phone for Cold and Snow: The Kyocera DuraForce is an ultra-rugged smartphone that is certified to operate all the way down to negative 22 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also certified IP68 waterproof, so it can be fully submerged up to 6 feet deep for up to 30 minutes, and with its “Wet & Glove Touchscreen Operation,” you can use the phone while wearing your winter gloves and the touchscreen will continue to operate when the phone gets snow or rain on it.

My husband could have used these tips a few weeks ago when he left his phone in his glove compartment.  Phone got very cold, needed to warm up in house before it was usable.  He makes sure to keep it in his coat pocket when outside from now on!

Is a cell phone on your child's Christmas Wish List?  Make sure your child understands clearly how to use his/her phone safely, by using a customizable Parent Child Agreement.

Disclosure:  I have been compensated by U.S. Cellular for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

5-Hour ENERGY "Yummification" Video Contest Winners

And the envelope please................

The winners of the excitingly refreshing 5-Hour ENERGY "Yummification" Video Contest are:

·         First Place ($50,000 prize): “Pomelimelade” by Tim Merlau, Los Angeles, CA
o   This winning submission mixes a Pomegranate 5-hour ENERGY® shot with limeade, and then takes us on a musical journey through all that can be accomplished over several hours (spoiler alert:  it’s a lot). 
o   “Pomelimelade”
§  1 glass Limeade
§  1 shot of Pomegranate 5-hour ENERGY®

·         Second Place ($30,000 prize): “Ramalamadingdong” by Mark Golembeski, Los Angeles, CA
o   The second place video helps us turn that 2:30 feeling frown upside down by mixing a 5-hour ENERGY® shot with lemonade.  This video has it all: a clown, a puppy, a guy in a tutu, and much more. 
o   “Ramalamadingdong”
§  1 glass Lemonade
§  1 shot of Berry 5-hour ENERGY® 
·         Third Place ($10,000 prize): “Arnold Power” by Zac Sheorn, Lugoff, SC
o   The third place winner reminds us that you don’t have to be good at sports, but mixing a Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY® shot with decaffeinated iced tea helps keep you refreshed while practicing.  And practicing. 
o   “Arnold Power”
§  1 glass Decaf Iced Tea
§  1 shot of Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY® 

Check out the winning videos and recipes for yourself.  What's your favorite flavor combination?

I like 5-Hour Pink Lemonade ENERGY in Lemonade.  What a delicious way to watch our exciting Green Bay Packers game today.

Disclosure:  I have been compensated for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tips to Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday like a Pro

Black Friday and Cyber Monday often provide the best deals of the year and with USA Today predicting that Cyber Monday will outshine most of the offerings on Black Friday this year, the lines between the two continue to blur. Shopping in stores during this busy season is a highlight of the year for some, but it can be stressful. Likewise the number of online sites and web-only deals can be enticing, but can also overwhelm. Fortunately, the holiday shopping experience doesn’t have to be either stressful or overwhelming, thanks to some strategic tips from U.S. Cellular on how your smartphone can become your best shopping pal.

Whether you like to shop from your couch or visit all of the stores during busy shopping times, smartphones can assist in ensuring you are efficient in your purchases, leaving more time to enjoy the rest of the season’s offerings. Below are examples of great apps that can assist in your shopping, no matter where you are checking out:

In order to find the best deals around, the Slickdeals is one app bargain hunters will want to have at their fingertips this Black Friday. Millions of users submit, vote and comment on deals across the nation SO the best deals rise to the front page. Of the millions of sales and promotions across the web on any given day, the 30 best deals across the nation make it to the Slickdeals Frontpage every day. This app will help you find the best deals on Black Friday, as chosen by fellow deal seeking shoppers.  Using this app can be used on Androids or Apple phones and saves time by helping users determine where to get the lowest price.  Finding the best deal has never been easier, which is perfect for those who want the top sought after popular items.

Navigating through stores on Black Friday is sometimes half the battle, which is why some prefer to do their shopping online. However, Google Maps offers store-specific maps for stores known for their Black Friday deals, including Macy’s, Best Buy and Toys R Us, among others. The app will show where sale products are located in the store so users spend less time searching the aisles.  So after waiting in line, you know directly which way to go once you enter the store.  Sounds fabulous.  We've all seen news tapes of shoppers waiting in lines and when the doors open, go running wildly into the store.  Now they will know which aisle to go to first.

And for those of you like me who prefer to skip the crowds altogether and shop online on Cyber Monday, the Amazon Mobile app presents users with amazing deals and can help them to get the best price for the item they are shopping for, all in one place. With Amazon Mobile, users are able to zip through their shopping from home on their smartphones and tablets, with [Wave 1, 2, 3: the 4G LTE network, with speeds of up to 10 times faster than 3G] U.S. Cellular’s high-speed network so they can finish shopping and spend more time with family and friends.  I sure can use that.  I look at Amazon a lot anyway, and this app helps me get the best deal, which is why I shop Cyber Monday and avoid the lines, and spend more quality time with family during the busy holiday season.

For those a little less prepared for Black Friday 2014, the Shopkick app can help you out the moment you enter the store. Shopkick helps discover all the best products at stores closest to you. Various stores like Target, Macy's, Best Buy, Old Navy, American Eagle, JCPenney, Sports Authority and Crate & Barrel have partnered with the app to give you instant deals the moment you walk into their retail store. Plus, the more you visit the stores, you receive more as it rewards you with kicks (points) just for walking in the door. Get even more kicks when you scan items and make purchases. Points can then be redeemed for gift cards at your favorite stores. The more you use the Shopkick app on your Androids or Apple phones during Black Friday and throughout the holiday season, the more rewards you gain, helping you get even more deals for all your gift shopping.  This app rewards you for shopping, how cool is that?

Remember if a new cellphone is on your child's Christmas wish list, consider a personalized and customized Parent Child Agreement to ensure your child understands expectations that comes with the privilege of using a cell phone.  

Disclosure:  As a member of U.S. Cellular's Better Moments Blogger Brigade, I have been compensated for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.