Monday, October 21, 2019

#SNAPSTAR Born to Be Stars Music Video is Live! New Music Video Reveal!

My favorite social girls the #SNAPSTAR dolls by YULU dropped their new music video that today, and it's a smash hit. Watch Born to Be Stars and share with your friends! The song is an original song written and produced especially for the video. The hook is really powerful, and just a lot of fun!

Screenshot of new video, Born to be Stars!

The tune is catchy and has an amazing message, as said by YULU co-founders Jochem van Rijn and Thijmen de Schipper,  “The song is representative of every kid’s dream of being heard and understood.”

The music was produced using cutting-edge cinematic-quality avatars of the dolls dancing to the music - all of this was done with real dancers. Get a behind the scenes look of how the video was made here

Hundreds shared their talents from dancing to acting to bring this magical moment in toy history from real life to digital. #SNAPSTAR is a content-driven brand, which fully supports the girls (all seven dolls) niche in the social media world. The song and music video features Echo and Yuki the DJ to bring this performance to the big screen. Expect to hear and see more from #SNAPSTARS very soon!

Once I started playing the song, my son Marcello started to sing and dance immediately, it’s that catchy! Let’s clap back with some positive energy and share Born to Be Stars! You can find the #SNAPSTAR collection at Walmart and Target from dolls to now play-sets. Fans of the music video can bring the video to life at home with Echo’s Debut on the Pink Carpet that is for sale at Target for $24.99. 

Let me know what you think of the new music video in the comments below!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Black Friday is November 29, 2019 Are You Ready?! Tips for a Fulfilling Shopping Experience

Black Friday is November 29, 2019, and with less shopping days until Christmas, I’m sure many shoppers will be out and about this year looking for the best deals.

Black Friday shopping is my Super Bowl – the event I look forward to all year long. Like any sporting event, it’s what leads up to it that makes it the event so magical. The game itself is important too, but you’ve got to plan your plays and do it early. I used to buy a lot of junk on Black Friday, and I don’t want new shoppers to do what I did.

Let’s Jump Right into the Deals

Black Friday ads aren’t leaked until late October, but there are many ways to figure what is on sale and where it will be on sale through historical data. As an example, video game consoles and video games rarely go on sale, so this would be the time to snag some games or even grab the gift card deals that coincide with the sale. Nintendo products are rarely on sale throughout the year, but during Black Friday there are gift card deals paired with sales, meaning you will get possible a $50-$100 gift card to return to that store to buy more products. This is a great strategy for gift buying if a console or any other electronic is on your list because you can use the gift card on your next purchase. You should buy the gift card deals first, then use the gift card to help pay for the next round of purchases. I keep focused on sale items using deal sites like SlickDeals. I find their articles on Black Friday rich with information without the fluff like historical data, store opening times, and when ads are released.

Portion of Target's Black Friday ad from November 2018

One for You, Two for Me!

I shop for everyone on Black Friday, but I give myself some treats, too. It’s the only time of year I go shopping for myself. I think it’s because I can shop in the middle of the night. I have been a Black Friday shopper since I was a kid. My mom and I would get up very early Friday morning, and be at the stores by 4:00 AM. The doorbusters back in the day really were at the door, so once you busted through you could stand to get $15 VCRs and $30 DVD players (big ticket items back in the day!). We would hit up Toys R Us, Macy’s, and then when the Shopping Gods brought Target to our neighborhood, we would be there, too. When I started working, I learned what the meaning of Black Friday was to retailers, and to them, it’s actually called “Green Friday.” This is the one sale period where everyone wins - the customers and retailers.

Blurry photo of my mom and her Black Friday deals! Everyone is smiling!

There is a world of information to get you started for Black Friday. One of my tools to help me plan for Black Friday are through deal websites, one of which is SlickDeals. All year long they have a team of people who monitor ads and sales providing historical data of previous sale items.

Go with a game plan.

Would you go food shopping without a shopping list? I hope not. Make a list, and stick to it. I would also choose a backup product just in case your first choice sells out, and do this backup for multiple stores. Also, according to SlickDeals staff writer Johan Mengesha, take note of the exact model number of a product, which I find to be excellent advice. Often times store displays of heavily slashed merchandise are mixed in with other sale items that are slightly higher in price. Last year, I made the mistake of purchasing the wrong printer for my mother—it was a Canon Pixma for $19 that I was planning to purchase, but I bought a similar Canon Pixma, a different model, for $34. Do your homework a bit before to save big. A $15 mistake isn’t huge, but when you’re looking for the best deal like I am, it was a big mistake.

Go Solo

Keep the kids at home, if you can. I have kids, I know how hard it is especially with little ones. I have missed a lot of sales at the store opening for this reason, but unless you have to have that big screen 4K television, you won’t have to visit the store at opening anyway. Plus, a majority of things that parents shop for are top toys (stay tuned to my must-have toys list for 2019). That being said, if you can’t head to the stores without the kids, then I would suggest taking advantage of Black Friday deals online. Cyber Monday, which is December 2, 2019, has proven to be another great sale day, and you don’t have to leave the house to do it. If you’re at work that morning, take a coffee break if you can to peruse the deals. Often times you can check the site of your choice the night before for some pre-sale items. SlickDeals has some great information about Cyber Monday and you should stay tuned to that space to learn more. 

Get the Good Stuff

The deals are aplenty during Black Friday sales. Why not take advantage of all of the great sales, right? A lot of these deals aren’t really a deal, though, and often times can be purchased during regular sales. Slickdeals has great historical data on electronics and small appliances as voted by the SlickDeals community. From Nintendo’s Switch to an Instant Pot, be sure to find considerable savings to help build your strategy. 

Do I have to Go to the Store?

Yes, you should definitely go to the store! That’s the best part of Black Friday shopping. I love finding deals that are not even advertised, which are usually products like towels. The absolute best savings I have found are on bath towels, and this is a deal only in-store. Large bath towels for as little as $4 are huge cost savings. Crafters usually gobble these deals up faster than their Thanksgiving meal. They are great for embroidery and gift baskets. I also like to grab board games as they as a little as $5 each, and are great ways to round out a gift. Bigger items like electronics usually only have the best deals in-store too, and as I said before going in with the model number to ensure that you’re getting the correct model and the correct price. If you go to the store, get a shopping cart. See below for why.

Some goodies from a past Black Friday shopping trip. 

There are also shoppers that line up for hours for a $50 television. Honestly, that’s not worth it to me, but if you have your hopes set on getting a PS4 or Nintendo Switch at a great deal, then going early may be worth it in the long run. Keep an eye out for the ads and compare the prices for in-store deals vs online deals. Sometimes online deals and in-store deals differ slightly. You have to know your worth. Is your time more valuable than saving $20-$50 and getting the item that day?

Also keep in mind that some stores have a give-aways at the opening of the store. If you’re in line early, you’ll get a ticket to enter to win a door prize, and sometimes they are handheld electronics like Gameboy Advance. Clothing stores use this strategy to get you in the door, so they don’t lose out on the green of Black Friday.

What are your plans for Black Friday? Let me know in the comments. Keep in SlickDeals mind when making your shopping plan -- for Black Friday and every day. SlickDeals takes the guesswork out of what to buy when to buy, where to buy for Black Friday. They have done all of the legwork for smart buyers like you who want to walk away with the best Black Friday deals.

Happy shopping!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Bicycle! Bicycle! The Perfect Gift: A Shiny, New Bike! | Phoenix Bike Review

Looking for the perfect bike for your kiddo? Well, look no further because I have a glittering diamond in a sea of bike frames and handlebars for you. 

When buying a bike for my son, I felt that wave of dread similar to that of car buying. I went to the store and all of the bikes lined up were not good enough for him. The bikes with the cool characters were too small. The bikes with the fun colors were just a little too big. The seats were shaped funny, or the handlebars even after adjusted were weird. It was like the Goldilocks of bike buying. Even going to purchase online proved to bring the same struggle. Coincidentally, I was contacted to work with a company offering a bike for review, so I took them up on the offer.

We were sent the Phoenix bicycle that is for sale on Amazon, and it may just be the bike you need for your kiddo. Phoenix is not a brand that I am familiar with but I learned it’s actually the oldest bicycle brand in China dating back to bike production since 1897. There’s your bike history for today. To cut to the chase - this is a great bicycle offering safety, quality, and a very sleek appearance. Read on to see what's included as it comes with a lot and provides a big bang for your buck!

The Phoenix bikes are available in a variety of four sizes: 12”, 14”, 16” and 18”, which makes it very easy to choose based on your child’s height. I requested the 18” bike and it is the perfect fit for my growing boy (he’s 4’2 now).  You can check out a bicycle height chart below. The Phoenix comes in three vibrant patriotic colors red, white, and blue. I chose the blue and was so impressed by the paint - pristine paint job overall and a very good looking bike. 

credit to Schwinn

The Phoenix also comes with training wheels, which is a nice touch and adds some cost savings. Opening the box, you’ll find a bike that it pretty much put together, you just have to attach the pedals to the frame as well as the handlebars and training wheels, mudguards, and basket.  The basket adds some nostalgia and gives kids the chance to store stuff safely while they ride, and baskets that are actually useful are rarely found on some bikes today. Since the bike has no decoration or extra frills, it gives a crafty person like me some creative license to spruce it up. I have plans for adding some custom decals on the frame and basket to personalize his bike. Also included is the bike pump to fill the tires with air, which you will need to do.

One thing I must add is that we ran into a bit of a problem with the front brakes, and the customer service team was very helpful providing a video on how to adjust the brakes. After adjusting the brakes, the bike was ready to ride. Usually, my son is sort of clumsy when it comes to bike riding, but the ride is very smooth on the Phoenix, so he was off and riding like a little pro. He has been riding it now with no complaints. The size is perfect for his height and will grow with him. We're almost at the point where we can take the training wheels off already, which seems to be very easy to do with this bike. 

You can get the Phoenix on Amazon from $119 - $149 depending on the size, and you get what you pay for in terms of quality, safety, appearance, and the ride. Make sure your kiddo wears a helmet when riding, and ride safely! 

Thank you, Phoenix for sending us your fabulous bike for us to review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Kindly note, there are affiliate links in this post.