Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To cruise or not to cruise?

The last year has been extremely difficult for our family, and we've long felt the need to simply escape for a few days. On the night before the story of the Costa Concordia broke, I was once again discussing our need for an excursion, and even did a little research on the possibility of taking a cruise. This isn't the first time we've considered a cruise, but we're now in a better position to really consider it. Anyway, I was checking prices and ports and all of the essential information. 

The next morning, I find out about Costa Concordia... It's absolutely terrifying that something like that could happen... I understand an accident as well as the next person, but it's not like this was a small boat that simply got too close... He was WAY too close, and he knew better. An experienced ship captain, he knew he was too close, but took the risk anyway, apparently to salute a friend he was on the phone with!!! It's NOT a car... You can just wave in passing... it's a MASSIVE ship, and you're a speck! You're also in charge of THOUSANDS of lives, and should be more dedicated to keeping those people alive and safe in your charge. But no, apparently captains can salute friends, and pilots can drink on the job, because those massive modes of transportation can control themselves, right? Why do you expect a lifeless object to have more ability to control itself than you have??? 

While I've brought up drunk pilots, how often has this happened? How many pilots trust the plane to stay airborne while they doze or play games or whatever they do in that locked cabin? And people wonder why I will never fly...

Back to the Captain of the Costa Concordia... He managed to get off of the ship. What happened to "the captain goes down with the ship" and all of that? Is that just a thing of the past? Anyway, he managed to find his way to a lifeboat... And when questioned about that, he had a VERY interesting explanation... He "tripped" and "landed" in a lifeboat... Conveniently. Apparently he thinks everyone is actually dumb enough to buy that... The sad thing is, he had almost a week to come up with a decent excuse for his actions, and THAT was the best he got??? 

This is a tragedy, and I expect his selfish actions to be punished. He put thousands of lives in danger, and was the cause of several deaths. Unfortunately, at least 11 people have died from this "salute" and at least 60 others were injured. And the search continues for the missing, though they're not expecting to find any survivors at this point. 

Have you ever taken a cruise? Would you consider taking one now? Has this tragedy changed your mind about a cruise? I would love to hear from you! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Review of Kindle Fire

Okay, I've had my Kindle Fire for a few weeks now, and I've done a LOT of things on it. I absolutely LOVE the Kindle Fire, and it's a very versatile reader. The Silk browser is a bit slow, but if you have a little patience, it's actually a nice browser. It has a Google Chrome feel, which I prefer. You do have access to MOST Android apps and functionality, but not all. Some of the apps won't work.

I do wish the Kindle Fire had a camera and microphone... Those would make this almost as good as a tablet. As for the size, I have no complaints. The screen is a good size for watching videos in full screen mode, and is quite convenient to have around. I love having books and games and all kinds of other stuff right at my fingertips, even when I'm out of Wi-Fi range.

The Cloud Storage is a great feature. You can keep your books and apps in the Cloud Storage and save space on the Kindle... And they download quickly if you have a Wi-Fi connection. As a matter of fact, most apps also download VERY quickly, and I don't have a fast connection. 3 Mbps, to be exact. So, you have unlimited space on the Cloud Storage, and you can always remove something from your Kindle and it will stay in Cloud until you want it again! Download a book to your Kindle, and once you've read it, remove it from the device, and it goes to Cloud for another day... Freeing up that space.

Okay, what else might you want to know??? Yes, you can watch Netflix. Actually, that's one of my favorite apps... The Facebook app is essentially a link to Facebook. Tap the app, and it opens the browser to Facebook.com. T

On the home screen, you see your carousel. This shows you books, apps, web pages, and videos you've recently interacted with. If you drag up, you see your favorites. This is where you can place the apps and books that you would like quick access to. At the top is a search bar, which will search the device, as well as Cloud storage. Across the top are 7 quick links. Newstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps and Web. I'll go over each of these quickly.

Newstand: This is where you can find magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Yes, you can read newspapers and magazines on your Kindle Fire. The prices are VERY reasonable, too. O Magazine is $1.99 per month, for example!

Books: This is where all of your books will be easily accessible. You can view the books in the Cloud, or just the ones on your device. Very neat feature if you're without internet connection, and want to see what you've already downloaded to your device.

Music: You can buy music from the Kindle store, or you can connect your Kindle to your computer (requires a USB to USB 2.0 cable) and you can upload some of your favorite music to your Kindle.

Video: This is where Amazon Prime comes in... Amazon Prime is a really cool feature, but it's $79/ year. You get instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows instantly for free (I haven't actually sat down to compare, but it seems VERY similar to Netflix in availability... Maybe even a little more limited) but you also get some other great features! Free 2 day shipping on most Amazon purchases (US and select countries)... 1 free Kindle book to borrow per month from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. When I got my Kindle Fire, it came with 1 month free trial of Amazon Prime. I was able to choose a book to borrow from the Lending Library, and I picked "Water for Elephants" to read. Maybe I should review that book as well. LOL

Documents is the next link, and includes your Kindle Fire User's Guide. There are apps for making documents, but to be perfectly honest, I have yet to think of anything I would need to make a document about on my Kindle... Maybe a notepad, or post-it section would be helpful, but not really documents.

Apps: Everything from document apps to games can be found here... Some of my favorites include the Netflix app, iHeart Radio, and Speedx 3D.

And last but not least, the Web link. This simply opens your chrome-like browser, known as Silk. The browser comes preloaded with several bookmarks, most of which I deleted... ESPN, MyHabit, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Youtube, Wikipedia, Twitter, Craigslist, LinkedIn, and IMDb.

Overall, I'm extremely happy with my Kindle Fire. Battery life is kinda short, but it fits the same charger as my cell phone, (usb 2.0) so I can charge it in the car... I love the feel of it... It feels very solid, and sturdy, but not extremely heavy. If you compare to an average book, it may come out a little heavier, but about the same size. It has 5.37 GB of memory available on the device to hold content for the Newsstand, Music, Books, Docs, and Videos, so  that Cloud Storage is a GREAT feature. There is 1.17 GB set aside for app storage. I love my Kindle! I use it several times a day, and find it very convenient to carry it with me. As for those of you who think you'll miss turning a page, and the feel of a real book in your hands (ahem), I've got to tell you... This is AMAZING, and you can carry WAY more books than you could possibly carry in paper form. And you do can drag the pages in a very similar movement... LOL You can change the look of the page, the font, the color, the spacing and letter size... I HIGHLY recommend the Kindle Fire!!!

**Disclaimer: I purchased this product myself, and was not in any way compensated for my review.**

New stuff coming...

First of all, I want to apologize for disappearing. The last few weeks have been very rough on us. A dear friend of ours passed away on January 2nd... She had cancer, and while we knew it was coming, it was difficult to deal with. The fact that I was very sick and couldn't visit before her passing made me even more depressed than I was already... and I couldn't even attend the services for my lovely friend. I miss her greatly. She was a huge comfort to me after mom passed away. And she had a beautiful voice... She was even able to get her last wish! Her family made it possible to get her on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and sing a song! So glad she could get her last wish.
On January 9th, my uncle passed away from Alzheimer's. Again, we knew it was coming, but he went down EXTREMELY fast, and we weren't ready for it. It was exactly 11 months to the day since my mom passed, and my dad's oldest brother, so it's been devastating to our family. I'm sorry I haven't blogged in a while, and I hope you'll all understand that it was simply more than I could handle for a few weeks. HOPEFULLY nothing else will happen! I don't think I could handle anything else right now!!!

Okay, I've had a few reviews I've needed to do for a while, and I need to get them out... I'll do one a day, because I do like to give each review time to be seen before I do another. That may sound weird, but if my product was the one being reviewed, I'd want it to have as much time as possible on the top of the blog... LOL
Anyway, I promise to get a review out today! Stay tuned!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Drive 12-18

Here we go!!! It's time to hop on and take a Sunday Drive Around the Blogosphere! I hope you're all ready to link up and hop! Please follow at least 2 people, as well as the hostesses and BOW...

I know next Sunday is Christmas, but I do try to post the hop on Saturday evening anyway... I didn't tonight because of my 100th post... But, I will be posting the hop next weekend, for those of you who want to hop :)
Also, I'll post it for New Year's as well!

Okay, let's get right down to it.

This weeks BOW is:




Hellofromthekings

This is a lovely blog about a family who wanted to keep their family up-to-date on their lives when they moved out of state. Now, she enjoys sharing her recipes, and lots of other fun stuff! Make sure you check out her super cute blog!

The rules are simple...

1. Follow your hostesses, Through the Eyes of a Tiger AND My Crazy Life, as well as the Blog of the Week (BOW) listed above. If you're new to our blogs, leave us a comment and we WILL follow you back! 
2. Enter your link(s) in the hop below. (If you're linking your blog, please link ONLY your main page) Link up your blog, Twitter and/or Facebook! 
3. Follow at least 2 other links... The more links you follow, the more followers you get!
4. Leave a comment stating that you're from the Sunday Drive Hop, and make it RELEVANT to the post you're commenting on (PLEASE)
5. HAVE FUN!!! 


If you'd like to be our Blog of the Week, simply fill out the form under the BOW tab at the top of the blog! We'd LOVE to showcase your blog, and make you a mandatory follow!




100th post!!! I can't believe it, but I've already reached that 100th post, and I wanted to do something to commemorate this moment! I was going to answer 100 questions about myself, but I'm just honestly not very interesting, so I decided to go with 25 questions about myself, and a few other lists of 25 things! I hope this is much more interesting!

What is your name?
Crystal

What is your favorite color?
Purple and Pink

What's your favorite food?
Chicken and Rice

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Ireland

What is your favorite movie of all time?
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

What about your favorite show?
Cupcake Wars!

Favorite drink (alcoholic or non)?
Margarita!!!

Where do you like to shop the most?
Walmart... Affectionately referred to as "Hell"

What is the name of your best friend?

What is your eye color?
Blue-Gray

What is one thing you could not live without?


Favorite animal?
Striped Dolphins

Relationship status?

What's your favorite clothing item?
Something comfy

Who are you with right now?

Who is your celebrity crush?
Ian Somerhalder

What's your best feature?
I like my eyes

If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Scatterbrained!

How do you feel right now?

What is one thing you're involved in?
Homeschooling!


Okay, that was 25 random questions... Now for 25 things I've learned about blogging...

1. My posts aren't read as often as I would like, but that's the life of a blogger.
2. Anything I say CAN and WILL be taken the wrong way by someone, so as careful as I try to be, I can't make a post without stepping on any toes.
3. The more boring your life is, the more you have to work to make an interesting post.
4. I have met some of the coolest people, and seen some of the most awesome blogs since I started! 
5. Knowing that I will attempt to make a post before the day ends makes me want to do more interesting things with my day... 
6. Those bloggers who get the awesome giveaways like Kindles and iPads have worked their rear-ends OFF to get where they are, and I've got serious respect for that!
7. The giveaways that I really expect to take off don't do as well as I thought, and the ones that I am concerned about do better than I thought they would.
8. Manipulating the HTML of your blog can be a VERY scary experience... and when it goes wrong, the panic that ensues is NOT lessened by the fact that you downloaded your template.
9. Blog hops gather lots of links, but no one reads the rules.
10. Finding cute backgrounds for your blog for free is NOT easy.
11. You can contact 15 companies and only hear from 1 or 2...
12. Getting readers isn't easy
13. There's a wealth of information on blogs, and it's fun reading!
14. I have no idea how anyone can make a blog about only 1 thing, and keep it interesting. It's not easy.
15. A blog can be a great way to express the things you can't explain out loud.
16. Getting comments lowers your Alexa ranking
17. I need to get business cards to share my blog address.
18. Self-hosted blogs are more appealing to companies, but making it worth it isn't easy.
19. Nothing about blogging is easy.
20. Doing special events for your blog is hard work
21. I've been trying to write this post for a while, because I knew this was coming
22. Writing a blog can show you exactly how uninteresting you are
23. People are much more willing to be rude or crass online than in person.
24. Keeping your readers happy is hard!
25. Coming up with 25 things about ANYTHING isn't easy!!!


Okay... How about 25 Useless Facts?! I know all kinds of stuff that will never be of use. LOL

1. The first product to have a barcode was a pack of Wrigley's chewing gum.
2. Daylight Savings is not observed in parts of Arizona and Indiana.
3. Every time you lick a stamp, you consume 1/10th of a calorie...
4. Ants appear to stretch and yawn upon waking.
5. 1 in every 4 Americans has appeared on television in some way or another
6. That dip below your nose is called a philtrum.
7. There was never supposed to be an answer to the riddle "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" but because he was inundated with requests for the answer, Lewis Carroll finally made one up. The answer? "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat. And it is 'nevar' put with the wrong end in front!" Unfortunately, and editor caught the misspelling, and not the joke. It was printed as "never" instead.
8. According to some studies, people with naturally red hair have a higher tolerance to pain.
9. The average human can only access 10% of their brain at any time.
10. Da Vinci could write with one hand while drawing with the other. I think he was using more than 10% of his brain.
11. Birmingham, Alabama is the only place in the entire world where significant amounts of the three minerals needed for steel production can be found in close proximity.
12. After sending frogs to space, scientists learned how frogs vomit. They vomit their stomach out of their mouth, and using their forearms, scrape the offending content out of the stomach, and then push the now empty organ back into their mouth and swallow it. Yummy.
13. Dolphins sleep with one eye open.
14. Men's buttons are on the right side because most people are right handed... Women's are on the left, because women used to be dressed by maids, most of which were right handed. They would face the woman they were dressing, and thus, the buttons were placed for their ease of use.
15. You should cut the stem of a rose under water, because the stem will inhale when cut, and if it inhales air, it will start to wilt faster.
16. Your thumb and your nose should be the  same length. (My thumb is longer)
17. According to legend, the wedding ring is worn on the left ring finger because it is the only finger with a vein straight to the heart.
18. 14 years before the Titanic sank, a book was written about a ship called Titan that hit an iceberg in April, and sank.
19. There isn't an English word that rhymes with the words month, orange, silver or purple.
20. Your stomach must produce a new lining every 2 weeks, or it will digest itself.
21. A time between a person yawning, and someone in the vicinity yawning is relative to the relationship between the two people. Basically, if you are close (friends or family or whatever) and they yawn, you will yawn quickly in response. But if the person that triggers your yawn is a stranger, it will take you a little longer to respond.
22. There are 13 bell tolls at the beginning of "Hells Bells" by AC/DC
23. The proper response to the Irish greeting "Top o' the mornin' to you" is "And the rest of the day to yourself!"
24. The name "Wendy" was never seen in print before the book "Peter Pan" and is thus believed to be the creation of the author, J.M. Barrie.
25. Beauty products contain disgusting ingredients. Lipstick has fish scales and lead. Perfume has whale vomit, and some red blushes and lipsticks have boiled bug insides in them... NASTY!


And finally...

25 things I would like to do before I die... Because everyone needs a bucket list. :)

1. Visit Ireland (I have a real fear of flying, so this is definitely a bucket list item)
2. Publish a novel
3. Adopt at least one child
4. Own my home outright
5. Go on a cruise to the Bahamas
6. See the Grand Canyon
7. Renew my marriage vows on the beach
8. Go on a cruise to Alaska
9. Be able to say that I've stepped foot in every single state in the US
10. Experience New Year's Eve in Times Square, NY
11. Experience Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama (where it started)
12. See the Northern Lights
13. Learn another language to fluency
14. Explore Brazil
15. Assist Habitat for Humanity on a build
16. Homeschool my daughter through high school
17. Design my own home
18. Swim with dolphins
19. Hit the jackpot (Lottery or gambling)
20. Visit Disney World again
21. Learn American Sign Language fluently
22. Break my caffeine and sugar addictions
23. Get a tattoo
24. Get my knee fixed
25. Purchase gasoline for under $1.00 per gallon


I really hope you've enjoyed these lists! It took me a LONG time to write them! :)