INKtastic Custom Screen Printing and More

December 10, 2011 by  
Filed under product reviews

It’s very rare that I’m totally wowed by a process that involves me getting creative.  While I have my moments of being artistic, I’m also the kind of person who can stare at a blank page {or screen} for hours debating before I finally get around to creating.  This wasn’t the case as I set out to make something special for my little guy a few weeks back at INKtastic.

Literally, it was minutes on their site and I had the two perfect creations ready to submit.  The first one was a sports-inspired shirt that we designed with a big image of my son’s birth announcement.  The birth announcement is a faux movie poster announcing that he was “now showing” in an old action movie style design.  We love the announcement so much that we thought about blowing it up to movie poster size for his room, but when I heard that you could upload images to INKtastic to print right on your shirt, onesie, etc, I knew it was perfect.

INKtastic lets you upload just about any image so it makes it easy to take any special picture and create a really fun keepsake.  It took longer to find the digital image of the announcement than it did to actually create my shirt, and it was mere minutes after I had located the file that I was looking at an image of the finished product on the screen.  I could see how the image was going to be placed on the shirt and get an idea of how it would look in terms of sizing and coloring.  The only thing I would have liked to see different is a way to resize the image on the shirt.  The inability to resize might have something to do with the image size we uploaded, but either way I would have liked to see more sizing controls even if they had a message stating that they were not available with this image.

For the second shirt, we decided to use the fonts available on the INKtastic site and create a shirt with a heart icon that says “I heart Danger” which describes my son to a T.  I love that there were numerous fonts to choose from as well as built in icons and even images if you didn’t want to upload your own.  While most of the images were a bit on the young side, they would be perfect for a kid who wanted to try their hand at designing.  We did use their “heart” for our design and it was perfect for what we were looking for.

When the shirts arrived I was so incredibly excited that I made my son model them immediately.  Even my husband agreed I had outdone myself and they were even cuter than I had described.  I don’t normally pat myself on the back, but even I had to agree with him.  Every time our son wears either design he is guaranteed compliments, and that’s even before they realize that we made them personalized just for him.

One thing to note is that the sizing seems to run a bit small.  Both shirts were ordered in a 24m for our 13mo and they both fit him perfectly right now with maybe a few more months of wear, but not a full year.  If you are ordering for a small child that grows quickly, that’s definitely something to keep in mind.  I imagine that is not the case with their adult sizes as those are pretty standard, but with kids clothing that varies so much by brand it was really apparent.

With many choices available for your “canvas” including onesies, t-shirts, sweatshirts and more, there’s really limitless creations you could make for any age.  In addition to limitless options, INKtastic also stands apart with its completely reasonable prices, which would make them a great option for family reunions, sports teams, and more.  This is great because now that we see how cute the shirts are from INKtastic, we want to get the next biggest size in both designs as well as something for our daughter.

This post was written for INKtastic who provided the complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.

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Sims 3 and Sims 3 Pets

I will admit it, I love The Sims.  I’m not a computer game person, in fact, I’m not really into games at all but I have one game I will play and that’s The Sims.  When it first came out, I was in college and since Facebook wasn’t created yet, I needed a way to put off doing my school work.  The solution?  The game The Sims loaded on my school computer.

I got so hooked on the game that I would actually give it to my sister just to keep myself from playing it when I had a big paper due.  The problem with that was that my sister also became hooked, thus giving her a good way to put off her High School homework.  Since then, we’ve both been closet fans of The Sims {except for that one October when we came out of the closet for one night and actually went as Sims for Halloween… yes, really} and we still hold a special place in our hearts for the game.

If you haven’t played it before, it’s basically a game that allows you to create people – Sims – and then build them a house before you let them loose into the Sim world.  Whether you create a world of chaos or order, the real fun is when you perform social experiments with all your Sims and see how they react and interact in certain situations.  For instance, if you remove the door to their house.  Or you create Sims that are attracted to each other who live next door… and are both married.

Even as much as I love The Sims, once I had children back in 2008, I kind of abandoned the game as I really couldn’t afford to lose hours out of my day playing.  While I have had a half hour of Sims here and there, I really haven’t played much since I became a mom.  Or, at least I didn’t.  Now I have The Sims 3 to distract me, and it’s the best reason ever to waste a naptime.

It might just be the fact that I haven’t played the game in a while and my life has had a huge hole ever since I stopped playing, but Sims 3 is like 100x more fun than the original game used to be.  You can customize your Sim more than ever before, you can control personalities better, and you can really direct Simville as I always wished you could.  And, the add-ons!  Even better than before, you seriously can get anything for your Sim that you can buy at the store, create, or dream up in your wildest imagination.  When you add in their expansion packs, the fun is almost too much to handle.

My favorite expansion pack is the Sims 3 Pets which allows you to actually customize the pets your Sims adopt.  Now you can create pets that truly are members of the household, they look just how you like, have the personality you choose, learn tricks, and even are able to leave the house – a feature I love!  From horses to kittens to tigers, you can now have the pet you always wanted… and you can make your Sim clean up after it.

Sims 3 and Sims 3 Pets are available for PC and Mac and are a great holiday gift for the gamers and non-gamers on your list!

Purchase your copy of Sims 3 and Sims 3 Pets at Amazon.com.

This post was written for Electronic Arts who provided the complimentary copies in exchange for my honest review.

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Just Dance 3 for Wii

November 18, 2011 by  
Filed under electronics, entertainment, product reviews

I’ve been eyeing getting a dance game for the Wii for quite some time as one thing we do a lot in my family is have dance parties where we turn up the music and dance together in our living room. My hesitation initially was with whether we would actually play it or if it would just be added to the stack of games we forget we have. But, once I saw the music selection of Just Dance 3 and realized it had three of our absolute favorite dance songs, I knew it was perfect for us.

The day it arrived, I decided to pop it in and see if we took to it or not and within seconds we were all dancing and laughing hysterically in our living room. One song in and I looked at my husband and said, “It doesn’t look like we’re going to need to workout tonight!” and he agreed. Seriously, it was actually a lot more physical than I had thought it would be, but then I hadn’t expected we would be twirling, bopping, shaking it, and getting our groove on to this level with a simple video game.

The game basically has you dance as a mirror image to your character on the screen, moving with the beat in a dance routine that fits with the music you’ve selected {anywhere from alternative to classic rock to pop and every genre in between}. Moving as a mirror image was a bit difficult to get used to as this isn’t something any of us had done before, but by the second song we had acclimated well and were even getting some “perfect” marks and moving up in score.

Since I like to sing along, I also love that the lyrics are on the bottom of the screen so you can really pretend you’re a rock star. Even though three songs in we were all out of breath from dancing so hard, we were having so much fun we barely noticed and still managed to sing along at the top of our lungs. I like that the game has various tempos of music ranging from really fast to medium beats that make it easy for any level of player. Really, the only thing we didn’t love was the Simon Says mode which we thought was a bit silly, musically and in terms of the game.

Ever since we opened the game, our daughter has asked over and over to play Just Dance 3 and even has added a few new songs to favorites list, something we are all excited about. After seeing how much fun we all had playing with the game, I can’t believe I held out getting a dancing game as long as I did. But, then again, if I had bought any earlier I wouldn’t have been able to get one with all our favorites, so I guess it’s for the best. Clearly, this is not going to be a game that just sits on our shelves!

Purchase your copy at Amazon.com for $34.99.

We received a complimentary copy in exchange for our honest review.

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Zubels Organic Hand-Knit Toys

November 15, 2011 by  
Filed under games & toys, kids, product reviews

When searching for organic toys, many of the selections that pop up are for babies. It’s extremely rare that you can find organic toys that can grow with your child and go from rattle to playmate, but that’s exactly what Zubels do. Their organic cotton hand knit toys are made with eco-friendly dyes and are squeezably soft and ready for snuggling, but they are also ready for play time.

Their newest line is especially play-ready with the addition of the fall characters that includes football players, cheerleaders, and more to get your child imagining and playing. We got to check out a football player from their line a few weeks back, and even though my son has no idea what football is or why his new little friend is wearing a helmet and protective gear, he does know how super soft and snuggly he is. My daughter, on the other hand, realized quickly what he was and began showing him how to play {in her limited view of how the game is actually played}, which was pretty cute.

Since he has arrived, our football player has been a constant during play time and at naptime as everyone wants to play with him and snuggle him. I love that it’s such a quality made toy that I don’t worry about seams ripping, ends fraying, or anything else you run into with lesser-quality toys. This is a truly awesome thing as I see a whole lot more play in his future.

In addition to being eco-friendly, organic, adorable, and fun to play with, Zubels are also incredibly affordable. I personally love this as it means that I can get more of them for my little guy and really add to the playtime fun. And, judging from how much both of my kids love the Zubel we received, we will definitely be getting more. For instance, that adorable pirate. And Red Riding Hood. And the mermaid. Simply swoon-worthy, right?

Zubels start at under $15, which makes them completely affordable for stocking stuffers and more this holiday season. Most designs come in various sizes as well to add to the fun.

www.zubels.us

We received a complimentary product in exchange for our honest review.

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