Monday, October 24, 2016

Last Minute Halloween Costume Recipes

Not that your kids haven't bugged you enough this month about what they are going to be for Halloween this year, things fall by the wayside when it comes to planning for costumes. My five year old daughter would change her mind daily and by the time Halloween rolled around, I was left scrambling for something that resembled a costume, making sure she wasn't going around in a bed sheet with some eye holes cut out.

The best costumes are the ones you make out of what you have. My kids used to dress up in costumes so often that we now have an entire large plastic bin full of enough props to make things up. Of all the costumes that I have had as a kid, the best ones were those that we made up out of thin air.  And, with some help with Amazon from time to time to supplement those things that complete a look, there are ways to create something meaningful out of nothing.

The trick is to go for the abstract. Think of characters that are popular in our culture right now. Trump is easy enough with a crazy wig and their Sunday best though you may want to look for Clinton signs before you trick or treat or you may end up with a rock. Any of your kids could be a cast member from show like Stranger Things, Care Bears, current movies like Minions, or movies from your childhood like Goonies.

With help from a fast internet speed, like Verizon's 100 mbps, opening multiple browser windows and conducting searches is going to be a snap. Get into the spirit by streaming your favorite show for inspiration or listen to some music. Whatever you do to get motivated, Verizon's Quantum Gateway router is going to handle it all while you Google search, visit your favorite online store, and make that two day shipping happen.

Stuck for a costume idea for your kids? Going to an adult party with no idea what to do? Here are some last minute ideas for you that are fast and simple.


Care Bears : Hoodie, sweatpants, face paint

Searches : Kids colored hoodie, sweatpants, care bears face painting, felt

Ideas : cut out belly badge out of felt and safety pin it to the front of the hoodie

Elliot and E.T. 

Searches: crate, red hoodie, E.T. Plush

Ideas: Attach a strap to the crate so that it can be fitted around your child's neck to make carrying easier

Back to the Future - Marty McFly

Searches : Puffy red vest, Jean jacket, foam headphones, aviator sunglasses kids

Ideas: Have a friend dress up like Doc Brown to go together


Eleven - Stranger Things 

Searches: Stranger Things Eleven dress, blue members only jacket, blonde wig, fake blood

Ideas: Add a little fake blood from your nostril to add to the effect. Carry around waffles

Pablo Escobar - Narcos 

Searches : Nautical sweater, fake mustaches, fake money

Bob Ross 

Searches : brown afro wig, fake goatee/beard, painter's palette

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Verizon FiOS in Philadelphia. All opinions expressed are my own. #FiOSPhilly

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Get In the Halloween Spirit With Netflix

Monsters under the bed. Sounds at night. The wind howling outside. The unknown can be very scary for our children. We tell them that there is nothing to fear. That monsters aren't real and that they are safe. Yet, we are all fascinated by this notion that they are and embrace the possibility once a year on Halloween where we become anything our hearts desire.

I loved Halloween as a kid and still do as an adult. I'm that guy that decorates his front lawn, loads up on candy, and heads out with the kids in full costume with them going door to door. I suppose this fascination started as a kid. My older brothers are eight and ten years older than me so when they wanted to see a movie, I was often along for the ride. 

The first time I really remember being scared was at a drive in movie with my family. I saw part of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in that drive in.  I don't think that I saw the entire movie as my parents must have removed me from the station wagon at some point because I remember playing on the drive in playground the rest of the time and eating popcorn. But to this day, that organ music just stayed with me. 

It's hard as a parent to find movies that walk that line between scary but appropriate. We don't want our kids unable to sleep at night because their closet door is open a crack and they think something is coming to get them. Try these family friendly titles to get in the Halloween spirit instead, with the right amount of scary and a few titles that are just good old fashioned fun. 

For Kids 3-5

Spooky Buddies

Curious George : A Halloween Boo Fest

Casper's Scare School

For Kids 6-9

Pac's Scary Halloween

Dreamworks Spooky Stories

Scooby Doo 1 & 2

For Kids Ages 10-13

R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour

Monster Squad


Find these and other great titles on Netflix and follow this family guide to Stream & Scream for more

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

When You're Kia, You're Family

I've never thought much a Kia. When the Sephia and Sportage came out in 1994, they were a joke. It definitely showed in the J.D. Power initial quality rankings for that year. Kia was dead last in initial quality. As far as grabbing someone's attention, Kia wasn't even on the radar.  Buying an unproven car was a risk that not many people were willing to take.

But here's the thing about being on the bottom, you can only go to the top. Devoted to rejuvenating their image and climbing the scales, Kia has dedicated its efforts since 1994 to making people see that they just aren't a blip on the screen but here to stay.

I first test drove a Kia at the Philadelphia Auto Show in February of 2016 with Jeff Bogle of Out With the Kids. It was my first taste of what Kia was all about. I had reservations based on what I knew already about the car, which wasn't much. When I initially thought of Kia, I imagined a tiny car that I couldn't fit into so I was prepared to sit in the back and lament at the lack of leg room. This was not the case, and I was pleasantly surprised.

My wife and I had started to look at cars and I thought that maybe, Kia would be a good fit for our family. That is, if I could fit in the front seat. At 6'6" car buying isn't all that easy. Before I even sit down with a salesperson, I just sit in the front (with the seat as far back as it will go) and see if my kids can sit behind me.

In February of 2016, I attended Dad 2.0 Summit and had a chance to drive around Washington D.C. in my second Kia Ride and Drive experience. I started to think that while talking about my kids in this video, that this WAS my car. At the end of that month, my wife and I bought our first Kia, the Sorento, and I officially became a #KiaDad for real.

This summer, I spent three wonderful days in San Diego with Kia doing another Ride and Drive event, learning all about #TheNewKia. Do you realize that Kia went from the bottom of J.D. Powers Initial Quality to #1 ? They are one of the top ten best brands in the industry today and #1 in the entire industry for the number of owner satisfaction APEAL (Automotive Performance Execution and Layout) awards as stated by J.D. Power.

How did they do this? With a massive investment in operations her in North America. 2.5 billion has been spent to on proving ground, headquarters, design studios, and maufacturing plants, the main one operating out of West Point, Georgia. That's 15,000 jobs created here in the US for American workers. Over 40% of the vehicles sold here are made right here in the U.S.A.

Kia cars just make you feel good about driving them. They went from a joke to a head turner. They are that quiet girl that on one noticed until she showed up to the ball as Cinderella. Kia re-hauled their image with a dedication to design.

Who wants to drive a car that doesn't make them feel something? Their dedication to the design and their signature "tiger grille" grabs your attention and the details from body shape to interior features shows a real love for their craft. Here's the part that sealed it for me. At 6'6" I can actually fit!

 Kia's are just fun to drive for the whole family. My kids and I enjoyed a trip to Baltimore this summer in a Kia Sedona SXL. Our girls were enthralled with the second row moon-roof and enjoyed seeing the sky in a different light. We headed to Baltimore to explore the city in the new Sedona. My youngest daughter saw the car in the driveway and said "People are going to think we are famous!" Kia is luxury. Kia is dependable. When you're Kia, you're family.

Most of all, Kia isn't done with you yet. They are planning to lauch 20 new or redesigned vehicles in the next five years including the first of it's kind, the Niro, a HUV (Hybrid Utility Vehicle) which will change the way we look at the efficiency of cars with up to 50 mpg. In fact, innovation of their brand means innovation in car making. By investing $12 billion by 2020 by investing in development of green car and autonomous driving technologies.

But beyond that, they are a car company that cares. James Bell, Director of Corporate Communication for Kia Motors America said it best "We aren't happy until you are happy." So I spent a part of my summer taking photos of the people who interacted with a Kia and this is what I found. Kia can make you happy. They can make you happy because they care about the community. They can make you happy because their cars work for your family. They can make you happy because they care about your well being. That's what being a part of a family means. Safety and support to keep you happy, that's the Kia difference.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

From Wentz He Came

Fly Eagles Fly. It's everywhere. Fans are asking "If not now, Wentz?" It's a good thing Teddy Bridgewater went out with an injury because right now, Bradford might be the Eagles quarterback.

I'm no Eagles fan. I've been suffering in relative silence since 1985. Okay, that's not true. My hometown franchise, the Chicago Bears have hung their hats on our Superbowl team for a long time, probably too long. My only saving grace living in Philadelphia is that Eagles fans have been waiting longer.

As a transplant from another state, I never adopted another team based on where I live. There is a relative discomfort when I go into any store and am visually attacked by the sea of forest green and have to endure the Fly Eagles Fly mantra everywhere including the grocery store where I might see a life size cutout of Carson Wentz trying to sell me some Pepsi for the upcoming game.

When I moved here five years ago, I wasn't sure what to expect. Philly fans had a certain reputation about them. Still, I proudly flew my Bears flag on every Sunday despite the questions and the gentle (boy was I surprised) ribbing from neighbors.  The first time the Bears and Eagles met, I made a bet with my neighbor for $1 that we'd come out on top. I found a dollar bill under my windshield wiper the next morning.

This season though only in week three has already been deemed a lost year for the Bears. Cutler is hurt though most of Chicago is not concerned. It would be nice to have a quarterback you can trust. Jay Cutler isn't that guy. Though he hails from Santa Claus, Indiana whatever carryover magic he once had is long gone. The Bears failed to resign Matt Forte who is flourishing in New York, of course and our receiving corp while centered around Alshon Jeffrey is missing the one two punch that we had with Brandon Marshall. It's time to rebuild for us. Cutler is the oldest player on the roster at 33 and has no one on the team with him since cutting Robbie Gould, that played on the NFC North Division Champion team that went 11-5 under Lovie Smith.

As bad as the Eagles have been in past years under the help of Chip Kelly whose coaching style was attack, attack, attack, at least this year they have decided to roll the dice on Wentz who through two games, though against two weak defensive teams including my beloved Bears who looked more like the Bad News Bears, has shown poise in the pocket and is making things happen on the field.

What a difference a good quarterback can make for your team. I've been watching football this season on Verizon with my son, who is now part of a Dads and Kids Fantasy Football League that I started. It's a great way to bond together as he learns more about the game and maybe he'll understand why daddy is always yelling at the television now.

The Eagles look pretty good this season and it's not just about Wentz though Jon Gruden may want you to think otherwise. If he didn't ask Carson Wentz to the prom after Monday Night Football, I would be shocked. A team win means that all aspects of the game are managed including offense, defense, and special teams and the Eagles have done that. The Bears' new kicker missed a field goal, the Philly defense kept them out of the end-zone. Sacks and interceptions on defense lead to opportunities on offense. The Bears only scored in garbage time when none of that mattered.

This Sunday becomes the true test for Wentz. After facing the 19th ranked Browns defense and 16th ranked Bears defense, he will face the interstate Pennsylvania showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Neither the Browns or the Bears had any sort of pressure on Wentz in either game and it showed. You bet I'll be watching this Sunday on Verizon FiOS to see if the mantra Fly Eagles Fly really does stick.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Verizon FiOS in Philadelphia. All opinions expressed are my own. #FiOSPhilly

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Name is Mod, Moto Mod

We already know what the future holds. We've drawn them out on pieces of paper and lovingly colored them paying attention to detail. When our teachers asked us to predict the future we would come up with wild ideas that seemed unreachable. Flying cars, living in space, and computers that could fit in our pockets. We've always been obsessed with gadgets that could transform our very life. The cool thing is, we live in a world where those ideas have become a reality.

As a kid I'd marvel at characters like Dick Tracy who wore a computer on his wrist. I loved to see what would come out of Batman's utility belt. He had some sort of gadget for every predicament, even a giant pool of hungry sharks!  And then there was James Bond, the ultimate gadget aficionado. It was important for a spy to have access to the latest technology. Of course, Bond had Q making all these cool things like watches that could double as dart guns or cuff links that could turn into explosives.

While I don't have much use for dart gun watches or exploding cufflinks the people at Verizon have their own personal Q in Motorola with their invention of the Moto Z Force Droid. You probably thought it wasn't possible to improve on smartphones. Each year cameras get better and batteries get bigger while phones get slimmer. But the people at Motorola have revolutionized the way you will think about phones with Moto Mods. Every person has a need for Moto Mods from the everyday civilian to the secret agent in you.

1. Moto Insta-Share Projector

Have you ever wanted to share photos, videos, or presentations with other agents but hate passing around your phone? Take the Moto Mod Style Shell off and snap on the Moto Insta-Share Projector and you can share photos you snapped while doing surveillance. Do you have someone in your family who has bad eyesight or an elderly person who has trouble seeing images off of your phone? Project your summer photos or the plans that Professor X has for his ultimate weapon on the wall and start the slideshow. Did you forget your jump drive at home and need to share your presentation with a client? Pull it up on your phone and impress everyone in that boardroom. You could even watch movies with it after a long day at work with the kids on the ceiling!

2. JBL Soundboost Speaker

Agents, need a distraction so you can find the entrance to the hidden base? Maybe you are just headed somewhere but you'd like to bring your tunes with you? Usually that would require you to bring a Bluetooth speaker and carry it separate from your phone. Snap the speaker onto your phone and cut out the middle man. There is no pairing required and no hassle. Listen to the video below to get a sample of what the speaker does for your music after attaching it as opposed to playing it through your phone. Remember, that agents need to keep their cover and everyone likes a good party.

3. TUMI Power Pack Battery

We've all been there. We are out with other secret agents and our phone battery is about to die. We can't run apps because they just drain it so we have to go to airplane mode to be safe. The evil villain is sure to get away because we won't have battery enough to record that incriminating evidence. Have no fear agent, the days of walking around with an external battery charger in our pocket or are scoping out the exterior walls for an outlet while we fret from across the room that someone is going to swipe it are over. Don't be a slave to your battery. Pop on the Power Pack wireless charging and be confident that your battery life is intact. Battery mode can be run as the default where the Moto Mod keeps your phone battery at 100% but shortens the life of the battery pack or you can run it in Efficiency Mode to keep the battery at 80% and keep the Moto Mod battery in reserve in case you need to take photos of the secret plans later.

4. Moto Mods Style Shells

Every agent knows that to keep the bad guys guessing, you have to constantly keep changing your appearance. This is easy to do with the Moto Mods Style Shells. They snap on and off just as easily as the other mods and you aren't tied down to any one style. Change your shell to match your outfit. Headed to a black tie affair and don't have anything to wear? Make a quick change with a shell with fabric, wood grain, or leather styles and keep everyone guessing.

5. Phone Features

The people at Motorola have thought of everything agent. The 2nd Generation ShatterShield glass is guaranteed not to break and the phone is water resistant. The 21 mp camera with optical image stabilization and laser autofocus will ensure that we get clear images of those dastardly villains or your friends if that's what you are into.

Security with this phone is the utmost importance. We can't let anything fall into enemy hands. That's why the Moto Z Force is enhanced with fingerprint recognition to wake and unlock your phone. Want to use your camera quickly but don't want the hassle? Use MotoActions and with the flick of your wrist or chop of your hand, turn on the camera or flashlight. No more fumbling with apps for you.

Battery life is rated up to 40 hours. Have you run down your battery with heavy use? Recharge the phone with TurboPower charging and get 15 hours in just 15 minutes! If I haven't convinced you yet then maybe you aren't cut out for this spy life. If I have, head over to your local Verizon store and pick up your own Moto Z Force Droid and transform your life.

This message will self destruct in 10 seconds....

As a member of a great group of Verizon influencers, I occasionally receive cool products to test drive and share my honest thoughts on. I was provided with the Motoroal Moto Z Force and Moto Mods.  No additional compensation is provided, neither were any favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Finding the Right Time

Where does the time go when you have three kids? I can remember back to a time when I was going out at 11 and hitting concerts with friends until the wee hours of the night. I was different. I was unique. I had my own sense of style and I rocked it!  That all changed after kids. My concert tees got smaller and my tolerance diminished. Pretty soon, I was trading late nights out with friends for late nights in with our babies.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Parenting  changes a person. Parenting is about sacrifices and sometimes that means you temporarily lose that which made you different.  Now,  I'll sometimes stand in the middle of the house trying to remember "What was that thing I was supposed to do?" only to remember that it was actually using the bathroom.

As the start of school approaches, you might begin to wonder where the summer went but only need to look back in your hard-drive  to remember all the fun you had on vacation this year. The problem with the transition from summertime digs to our everyday uniform often means that we, as parents, especially stay at home parents, usually dress down for comfort.

If we are wearing pants that day, and you are a mom, they are probably of the yoga variety. Spandex is like your own personal Kevlar against any would be spills or errant Starbucks. If you're a dad you've probably put together the standard issue cargo shorts and superhero T-shirt. When we know that we are likely to change a shirt at least twice a day because of spit up and airborne sweet potatoes are in our future, suddenly that orange camouflage we saw in Target is making much more sense.

But there are sometimes, where I am sick of doing a Fred Flintstone and I want to break free of the norm. That's when I realize that the baseball cap and tennis shoes just aren't going to cut it that day. That's when I get crazy and pick some shorts without pockets on the side! When it comes to completing the look with a wristwatch,I know my digital watch just doesn't fit with my look. I want to be seen as the cool dad. I want to be that guy that stands out for all the right reasons.

I don't want to be the dorky dad with socks and sandals. I want to be the dad that people notice. I want what I'm wearing to elicit a positive response.  That's when I ditch the digital watch and turn to my JORD Wood watch for a change of pace. JORD wood watches are unique for their craftsmanship. Made with the finest woods, the contrast in grains and colors are stunning. They are the best watches for men who want to get noticed for flaunting their distinctive style.

Remember back in college when you liked that band that no one else really knew about? You can probably remember a live show at a venue where you saw them play or remember sleeping outside in a line waiting for tickets just to see them. You can recapture that feeling of being one of a kind with JORD wood watches, unique wrist watches for men. When you have ditched that baseball cap for something a little more sophisticated or you are looking to dress up your wrist for a night out, JORD watches are a conversation waiting to happen.

My favorite watch is the featured Dover Series with Zebrawood and Dark Sandalwood. It's a watch that just begs to be touched. The pronounced hardwoods balance each other harmoniously yet still contrast. JORD watches are like those bands that no one knew about. They are the visual representation of who you are as a person. It's a watch I feel good wearing and any person in your life would too.

Visit JORD Wood Watches to learn more and enter my giveaway for your chance to win a $75 gift card from JORD,  Leave a comment below telling me which style is your favorite and what you would get if you won. One lucky person will be chosen at random by JORD and will be contacted by email at the conclusion of the giveaway. The giveaway will run from 9/12/16 to 9/25/16 and anyone who enters will receive a $20 e-gift code just for entering!  There's finding time and then there's finding the right time just for you. Help someone find the right time with a JORD men's watch just for them.

Luxury Wood Watch

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches who supplied me with this unique watch that makes me unforgettable. All opinions expressed are solely my own. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Top Ten Movies I'd Like to See on Netflix

We've spent many a night on the couch as a family, soaking in everything that Netflix has had to offer from original shows like Beat Bugs, Project MC2, Ask The Storybots, and Popples to classic movies like Jurassic Park and Back to the Future that our kids must see.

But Ted Sarandos and Netflix aren't satisified until we are, so that's why they have been working hard to get score the biggest names and titles for little and big kids everywhere. That's what is happening with Netflix and Disney. That's right, THAT Disney. In addition to Disney classics like Tarzan, Holes, and Pirates of the Carribean, in September, Netflix will be bringing you titles from Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar!

Here are my top ten, in no particular order, movies I hope Netflix will have for us this month:

1. Toy Story 

If you didn't cry once during Toy Story 1, 2, or 3 you are a liar! I still get choked up every time Woody looks at his boot and I think about the toys in my attic languishing away with no one to play with. Excuse me, I just remembered a very important thing I was supposed to be doing...

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

Yes, I did follow a story about a cowboy and a spaceman with the ultimate segue to talk about Star Lord. Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie I can watch over and over again for the jokes, the action, and most of all Groot. I do gravitate towards those tall, lanky characters for some reason.

3. Star Wars Trilogy

Notice I am not saying complete saga up above. If you're going to make it happen, let it be so, but the trilogy is where the real action is at. While most of us self respecting nerds already own it on DVD, I'd rather not have to unfreeze them from carbonite. I quite like my newest decoration. Ho, ho...Apparently, I need to watch this ASAP because I just reverted to Jabba the Hutt there. Send help Netflix.

4. Zootopia

The place where anyone can be anything they want is coming to Netflix on September 20th! This is really happening! This is such a great movie with an even greater message. Even Flash can't wait, and he's a sloth.

5. Thor

The world could use someone like Thor  around these parts and I know at least one woman (my wife) who would appreciate seeing him over and over in our Netflix queue. I couldn't call myself a respectable Norwegian descendant without putting in a call for The God of Thunder.

6. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton is a genius and Jack Skellington is a one of kind character that exemplifies the unexpected when it comes to this amazing film. Using a character from a land of Halloween to tell the story of Christmas is just plain fun.

7. Peter Pan 

Off to Neverland! Where you never have to grow up! We have tons of stories about Tinker Bell on Netflix. I think it is time to show the kids just where she came from in this classic story.

8. The Lion King 

Is there any animated movie that didn't grab our attention and hold onto it the entire way through like The Lion King? If you don't agree, I'll just say Hakuna Matata! My kids grew up watching this movie. My son, used to walk around with mini stuffed animals of all the characters. Do it for nostalgia Netflix!

9. Frozen 

Let it go! Let it go! You don't want to hear that song anymore... Sorry for the earworm but this movie was awesome. Olaf is just too darn irresistible and girls everywhere learned that there is more to true love than just a prince. 

10. The Jungle Book

Back before every movie from my childhood was made into a scary live action movie using CGI, we had lovable characters like Baloo trying to teach us all about the Bear Necessities. I'd love for my kids to see the classic before the remake and these older versions of Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and others are just the way to introduce them to your family.