Friday, July 29, 2011

House and Senate Both Agree: Nintendo 3DS Price Drop Is Awesome

Tired of hearing about debt ceilings and deficits and defaults? Why not take a break, kick back with a non-partisan beer and play a few games on your Nintendo 3DS. Haven't had a chance to pick one of these beauties up? Well, this is your lucky day - Nintendo just announced they're dropping the suggested retail price for the Nintendo 3DS™ system to $169.99 (from $249.99.)

This bill will no doubt be swiftly passed by all parties in your house.

The price drop, effective August 12, obviously makes the Nintendo 3DS an even better value, and it comes just as some of the most popular video game franchises head to the system – these include Super Mario™ 3D Land in November, Mario Kart™ 7 in December and Kid Icarus™: Uprising during the holiday season.

Also, check out these new features to the system:

The new Nintendo Video™ service, automatically delivering short 3D videos from the worlds of music, comedy, animation and Hollywood.

The Nintendo eShop, a recently opened digital store for Nintendo 3DS owners that provides access to a wide variety of downloadable content, such as original 3D software, classic games that have been re-mastered in 3D called 3D Classics, Game Boy™ and Game Boy Color “Virtual Console” games in their original 2D glory, and more than 350 Nintendo DSiWare™ games.

And don't kick yourself if you purchased a Nintendo 3DS before the price drop – us early devotees will be rewarded with 20 free downloadable games from the Nintendo eShop. These free games are available to anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS system and uses a wireless broadband Internet signal to connect to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Aug. 11. Huzzah!

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I'm very fond of my Nintendo 3DS - you can read all about the beginning of our love affair:

Party Like a Game Star: Nintendo 3DS Launch in Seattle

Nintendo 3DS Launch in New York City

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chillin' At The Got Milk Event

A few weeks ago the fantastic Got Milk? people invited me to a Summer Drinks event to share some of their favorite recipes for cool warm-weather drinks you can mix-up using milk. If you don't think milk is refreshing, then obviously you haven't tried this:

That there is a Red Velvet Frappé, and yes it tastes as amazing as it looks. In fact, when I asked my daughter if she thought it tasted like a red velvet cupcake she said, "No. It tastes BETTER." 

On hand to show us the fine art of summer drink mixing was Heather Perry, who is the two-time United States Barista Champion and who also holds a Guinness Book Record for building the world’s largest espresso machine. Can you imagine what you could do with the world's largest espresso machine? But enough of my deep dark fantasies.

Of course, no Got Milk event would be complete without an awesome spread of food. Here's just a sampling: their clever Chicken Finger BLT Sliders and some cones filled with delicious Spiced Nuts & Popcorn. I may or may not have eaten more than my share.

As they have done at other events, they had these ingenious drink stations set up where you could mix up your own frappés and smoothies. They supplied the ingredients and the recipes and you provided the muscle. Or, in my case my daughters' muscles.

I think I've mentioned before that the Got Milk events always take place at the coolest locations. This one was held at Art Works studio in Larchmont Village. So that while we were sipping on our refreshing concoctions we got to enjoy this as well:

Here's another delicious drink I had, gulped down so quickly I don't even remember what was in it. Some sort of combination of coffee, milk, cinnamon and a few other things that made me glad to be alive.

And because even just writing about these delectable beverages has put me in a generous, giving mood, I'm going to share a couple of recipes we sampled that day.

Red Velvet Frappé
2 oz espresso or strongly brewed coffee
5 oz milk
1 tbsp cocoa
1 oz red food coloring
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 cup ice
whipped cream to taste

Combine espresso and cocoa, stirring until cocoa is dissolved. Put mixture in blender along with ice cream, ice, milk, and food coloring. Blend until smooth. Pour into tall glasses and top with whipped cream.

Bananas Fosters Frappé 
2 oz espresso or strongly brewed coffee
5 oz milk
1 tsp butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 banana
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
1 cup ice

Mix espresso, butter and brown sugar until they are thoroughly combined. Put in blender and add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Top with whipped cream, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a slice of banana.

(These two drinks were my girls' favorites. And since they're their mother's daughters [and teenagers] they love coffee. But you can find coffee-free versions of all the drinks on the Got Milk website. Click on 'Recipes.')

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Road Trip 2011: Now With Less Napkins

This post is part of a partnership with Allstate.

One of my most vivid memories of a road trip with my kids happened over ten years ago while on a drive up to San Francisco. My husband and I had stopped for our fiftieth cup of coffee and we had gotten the girls, around five and three at the time, a couple of cookies. For some reason the two of them started bickering when we got back in the car and a few minutes later it had turned into a full-blown fight. Not over the cookies, but OVER A NAPKIN. My husband immediately pulled over to the side of the road, stopped the car and took the napkin away, resulting in the two of them sobbing uncontrollably. OVER A NAPKIN.

Road trips are a lot different now that they're teenagers. Usually they're both plugged into their iPods, only occasionally taking their earphones off to inquire when we're stopping to eat or to confer with each other on the hotness of the boys in the car next to us. Don't get me wrong – I enjoy the quiet and the ability to have a conversation with my husband while we're driving, but sometimes I almost miss the bickering.

On our next trip, I'm thinking of throwing a napkin back there just to see what happens.


One thing for certain: we have many more road trips in our future, and always at issue is safety while we're traveling. Here's something that has helped eased my mind – a new program from Allstate called Good Hands Roadside Assistance that offers pay-as-you-go roadside assistance. And you can sign up right here:

With Good Hands Roadside Assistance:
  • You do not need to have Allstate insurance to use this service
  • You only pay when you use it, there are no monthly fees
  • Pre-registering for Good Hands Roadside Assistance provides faster service at time of need on the road. Those that pre-register will also receive welcome kit in the mail containing a wallet card, key fob and window cling with the phone number for roadside help.
  • You can register for up to 5 users on your account

From now on, the Good Hands Roadside Assistance number will always be in my glove compartment before leaving on any road trip. Along with a few extra napkins. 

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I was compensated for my participation in this program, but no restrictions were placed on the content of my review. All opinions are solely my own. 

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