Monday, August 30, 2010

Just Eyewear Makes Buying Glasses Easy

Welcome my husband, Aaron, to Mommy's Must Haves today as he provides a review of Just Eyewear glasses!

If you had looked on the dashboard of my car anytime over the past nine months, you would have seen a pair of glasses sitting there – with one lens barely hanging on to the frame. That's because I broke my glasses immediately after losing our vision insurance, and while I needed them to drive, I couldn't afford to replace them. So, in the car they sat, able to sit gingerly on my nose as I drove, but otherwise banished from my face.

Fortunately, I was given the chance to order a pair of prescription glasses online from Just Eyewear, and now I'm able to see well all of the time again. This is a great relief to me, and I have to say that I was very pleased with the process.

The first step you'll need to ordering a pair of glasses is your prescription, and some details about the size and shape of your face. The good news is that all of this information can come looking in a mirror, having a measuring tape handy, and being able to lay your hands on another pair of glasses that fit you well in the past.

With your prescription in hand, you'll head on over to the Just Eyewear website, where they will walk you through the process of choosing frames. This starts by selecting your gender and the shape of your face. Using an old pair of eyeglasses as a guide, you can then use the custom frame fitter filter to help you select frames that have the correct lens diameter, bridge and temple measurements.

At this point you'll be presented with numerous frames to select from, in a variety of colors and materials, all perfect for your face. I was quite pleased with the selection they had, and was able to find something very similar in style to my broken pair (which I liked a lot, other then the fact that they were, you know, broken,)

After you've picked the frames, you'll then fill in your prescription information. One thing that you will need that isn't always included in your prescription is your P.D. or pupilary distance (it wasn't included in my prescription). This describes the distance between your two pupils, and is essential to getting a set of glasses that fit you. Fortunately, you can take this measurement yourself or with a friend's help, and the Just Eyewear website walks you through that process.

Once you have the prescription information in, you then get the option to add customization to the lenses, either by choosing different thickness lenses, special coatings, tinting or polarization, or even transition lenses. Finally, you'll check out and the glasses will be on their way in 5-7 business days.

My glasses took just under two weeks to arrive, and so far I'm very pleased with them. They looked exactly as represented on the screen, fit perfectly, and the prescription matched my old prescription identically. By virtue of these being a review pair, I had up to fifty dollars to spend in picking out my glasses, and while I didn't get transition lenses or prescription sunglasses, it was easy for me to pick frames and lenses that fit into that budget. Honestly, it was easy enough that I intend to order another pair of glasses that are prescription sunglasses – and I'm only too happy to pay for those out of pocket.

There are some downsides to the process, of course. First off, these aren't “designer frames,” although they are clearly modeled after them. So, if having a designer logo on the side of your frames is important to you, then you probably want to look elsewhere. Also, using Just Eyewear doesn't eliminate the need for a trip to the optometrist – you still need to have an eye exam and prescription written out for you. For those with insurance, the trip to the optometrist might cover most of the cost of the glasses, and in that case, there isn't a lot of reason to use Just Eyewear in place of the glasses you could order through your doctor.

But for someone needing a second pair of glasses, or who needs replacements between trips covered by insurance, or someone like me with no vision insurance, buying glasses online from Just Eyewear is a good choice. The glasses are high-quality, the price is inexpensive, and their website is extremely helpful in walking you through the process to ensure that you get glasses you'll be satisfied with. I certainly am satisfied with mine.

Full disclosure: My husband received a complimentary pair of glasses from Just Eyewear to facilitate this review. We received this opportunity through my status as a contributing member of the PRIZEY giveaway community, and no further compensation was received. An honest review was promised, but a positive review was neither guaranteed nor required.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Staples Makes Back To School Shopping Easy

I was not thrilled to receive my daughter's school supply list last week. It was long and very specific and immediately gave me a headache. I mean, for goodness sakes, she's only going into kindergarten! Does she really need two spiral bound notebooks, folders with brackets inside them, glue sticks and headphones for the computer, along with crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissors, erasers, hand sanitizer and tissues? Whatever happened to bringing a blanket, a pillow and some crayons to kindergarten?

However, I know I can always turn to Staples to have everything I need for back-to-school. I love how they have everything on my list, organized in such a way to make shopping quick and easy, with the variety to keep my picky five year old happy. (Everything must be blue this year. Ugh.)

Mom Select and Staples teamed up to send me a small sampling of the great school supplies Staples is offering this year. Some of my favorites:

Do notebooks, folders, and planners - These products are exclusive to Staples and help students stay organized while learning about important issues impacting their communities. Each product features cool designs including background on social issues and tips on how students can make a difference. I'm using the planner to keep track of my daughter's school assignments and school functions, while she was thrilled to find a blue notebook and folder included in the box, and crossed those items off of her school supply list right away.

Westcott KleenEarth products - These products are eco-conscious and include environmental features such as handles made from recycled content. Bonus: they also have Microban antibacterial protection, perfect for using around kids who prefer the back of their hand to a tissue. We received a pair of scissors (checking off the supply list!), a sharpener for pencils and crayons, and a ruler. Cordy already loves the scissors with the bright orange handles!

Staples Soccer Buddy Calculator - Cordy doesn't use a calculator yet, but she wants to learn now that she's found this new blue friend! It's bendy and features a fun mini-soccer ball to help achieve all her math "goals" - OK, bad pun, but she's already named it "Blue number guy" so I think it's here to stay.

Omnitech 2GB Swivel Flash Drive - Another Staples exclusive, this flash drive will make sure you never lose the cap again. Just swivel to click it into place and it's ready to travel in your backpack or purse. This thing is genius - I can't tell you how many flash drive caps I've lost and how many flash drives I've ruined from bending the metal connectors. I wish all flash drives were made like this!

Many of these items are already in my daughter's backpack, waiting for her first day of school on Wednesday. The items we didn't need are being donated to the school to help provide supplies for other kids who can't afford them.

Want to win some back-to-school goodies for yourself?

I've got one $25 Staples gift card to give to a lucky reader! To enter, leave a comment below telling me your favorite school supply to buy when you were a kid. Be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you are selected! One entry per person/household, please - if I find you cheating, your entries will be deleted.

US residents only. Entries will be accepted until Friday, August 27 at 11:59pm Eastern time. One winner will be selected at random from available entries using Winner has three days to respond or another winner will be selected.

Good luck and happy back-to-school shopping!

Full disclosure: I received a box of the supplies listed above from Staples to facilitate my review. No further compensation was received. All opinions of these products are my own - no guarantee of a positive review was promised nor expected.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grasshopper Shoes Provide Comfort For Your Feet

I'm not someone who is willing to accept pain for fashion. I'm also not someone who is obsessed with shoes.

That said, I DO own many pairs of shoes, and I prefer my shoes to be cute, or at least not be mistaken for my grandmother's shoes. Finding shoes that fit both categories of fashionable and comfortable is often a challenge, though. What may feel comfortable at first quickly results in a blister or sore spot on my foot. (My BlogHer heels are a good example of this - what was I thinking?)

However, I have found a perfectly comfortable pair of shoes for late summer/fall from Grasshoppers. These shoes have the PureFit Comfort System to keep you light on your feet all day long. The well-designed flexible outsoles and padded dual-density footbed cushion your foot and require oractically no break-in time - just slip them on and go!

I was provided a pair of the Janey Sneakers in Dark Bown Plaid to try out. I was immediately drawn to these shoes because, c'mon, that plaid is awesome! When they arrived, I was impressed that they didn't feel stiff and rigid like many new shoes can. I slipped them on and was surprised by the targeted cushioning I felt under my heel and the ball of my foot.

It's been nearly two weeks now, and I love these shoes! I can easily wear them with or without socks, and they feel like old, well-loved shoes but still are just as cushioned as the first day. They've survived two days with me walking all day long as well as grocery trips and playground visits without a single ache in my feet. A woman in the grocery store actually asked me where I got my shoes because she liked them so much.

So far I've been very pleased with my Grasshoppers shoes. They're easy to wear, they look good, and they keep my feet feeling happy. If I had any criticism at all, it would be that the sole doesn't have a lot of traction, making wet floors or low-pile carpet a little slippery. It's a minor complaint, though, as I think the chance of slipping in these shoes is minimal.

I'll admit I was a little nervous about the idea of picking out shoes on the internet, but these run true to size for me. I also have slightly wide feet (they're right on the border of needing a wide width shoe), but the standard width worked just fine for me.

If you're looking for comfortable, good-looking casual shoes at a good price, I recommend giving Grasshoppers a chance.

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary pair of shoes from Grasshoppers for review purposes. No further compensation was received. A positive review was neither promised nor expected.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wendy's Fresh New Salads

In this era of food awareness - where we're finally waking up and thinking about what we put in our mouths - it's awesome to see fast food and restaurants quickly responding to meet our needs with food that is fresh and real. For my own family, we've cut back on a lot of processed foods and as a result don't eat out as often.

But Wendy's recently revised their entire line of salads, and may have won me back at least once a week. I had the chance to listen in on a webinar with Chef Rick Tramonto as he went through the process of creating each of Wendy's four new salads, emphasizing fresh ingredients with the ability to completely customize your salad to your liking.

Their four new entree salads have something for everyone. There's the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, with an all-natural pomegranate vinaigrette dressing for those who like a little fruit with your veggies. (Note: I am not a fruit-veggie mixer, so this one wasn't even tempting for me.)

If you're a fan of Cobb salads, you'll love the BLT Cobb salad with applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese crumbles and an avacado ranch dressing. Personally, I think Wendy's has the best bacon around, so if you like bacon, this salad is a winner for you.

For something with a little more spice, try the Baja salad, with freshly made pico de gallo and guacamole, topped with Wendy's famous chili and a red jalapeno dressing. This salad is delicious, and I can see myself eating this even in the winter thanks to the warm chili on top.

And for a little twist on an old classic, the Spicy Chicken Caesar salad is just like the caesar salad you remember, but with a lemon-garlic punch to the dressing and a spicy chicken breast cut up on top. I love this one, but be sure to have plenty to drink!

I appreciate the variety in these salads, all of which fall roughly in the 550-750 calorie range. They're large enough to be filling, or even enough to split with a friend if you want to enjoy some fries, too. The produce is crisp, the colors vibrant - no stale wimpy lettuce here!

If you're looking for a little adventure for your tastebuds the next time you crave a salad, try one of the four new salads from Wendy's and see if it doesn't change the way you think about lettuce.

Full disclosure: I received a gift card from Wendy's to facilitate my review, but received no further compensation. No favorable review was guaranteed nor promised. Wendy's is a Columbus-based franchise, and I love to support my local peeps. We miss you, Dave Thomas.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Entertainment & Learning On-the-Go with My Living Stories

As an iPhone toting mom, its always fun to learn about the latest apps available both for work and for home. While I used to only have apps for myself on my iPhone, I've quickly learned how valuable it can be for my kids and now they have their own page of apps, too. When it comes to tools for quick entertainment and distraction from the imminent grocery store meltdown, or being stuck in the car when everyone is hungry, I’m sure most of us would agree that they have become a true lifesaver! That's why I was excited to find a fun set of apps called My Living Stories; these animated storybooks bring both new stories and the classics to life on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The My Living Stories apps combine beautiful artwork, narration and interactive features in an easy to use platform that is perfect for preschoolers to read along all on their own, without any help. My Living Stories are a great solution for entertaining on-the-go or as an aid for teaching children to read at home. The apps allow for your child to read along with English narration or read the stories themselves. Interactive sounds and animation bring stories to life. Another great feature is the ability to record your own voice to go along with the story (this feature requires an iPhone or iPod Touch with microphone capabilities). My Living Story classic stories include Princess & the Pea, King Midas, The Tortoise & the Hare, Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

My daughters are just beginning to be interested in technology, and the iPhone is one of their interests. Whenever we're out somewhere that requires waiting, I know I'll probably have to pull out my iPhone and find something interesting for them to watch or play. They often like to watch clips of TV shows on the YouTube app, and while it works in a pinch, I'd prefer they had something a little more interactive and with a little more educational value to it.

I like the My Living Stories collection because they're not just entertaining, they're educational. My older daughter is learning to read, and likes reading along with the story. My younger daughter can't read yet, but she loves getting to "turn the page" for each story as she listens to a classic fairy tale. I also like that there is a little bit of animation on each "page" but overall these are pretty low-key stories that won't over-stimulate your child. (Which means they're great for quiet time, too!) We received three stories for review, and the Princess & the Pea is by far the favorite in our family.

Win an iTunes gift card!

My Living Stories has provided me with a $25 iTunes gift card to give to one lucky reader! To enter, simply leave a comment below telling me which of the My Living Stories you (or your kids) would like the most. Be sure to leave an e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

This giveaway runs until Friday, August 6, 2010 at 11:59pm Eastern time and is open to residents of the US and Canada. One entry per person - duplicates will not be counted. You may enter the contest on multiple blogs but are only eligible to win one iTunes gift card as part of the My Living Stories contest.

One winner will be selected at random and will have three days to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

Full Disclosure: I am participating in the My Living Stories program by Mom Central on behalf of Decode Entertainment. I received 3 free apps and a gift card as a thank you for my participation.