August 6, 2010

The New Hotmail better than Gmail? For real?

Image from
My husband often sends me links to articles from a blog he follows called I typically find the business hacks and tips they provide there to be very enlightening and usually very helpful. However, I stumbled upon an article on there this evening that completely lacked the insight that I have come to expect from Bnet.

In this article, Rick Broida touts that the new Hotmail interface is superior to Gmail, offering a variety of features that you cannot get in Gmail. My thoughts about his comments are as follows.

*First of all, Gmail lets you theme your account so that it looks like whatever you want it to look like. If your Gmail account is ugly, then that's your own fault.

*Labels are far superior to folders because you can apply MULTIPLE labels to one message and then archive it! I dread the idea of having to open and close multiple folders looking for a specific message. There's no mention here of Hotmail having a search feature as powerful as Gmail's.

*I already view YouTube videos directly in my Gmail every time I get a video link. As well as Picasa Album photos and other media too... it's called Google Labs! Does Hotmail have the track record of infinitely expanding its own features? The capabilities that are existant within Google Labs for Gmail are enough alone to wipe out any current competition for webmail, IMO.

*I have filters set up in Gmail to show me only messages from my Facebook/ Twitter/ eBay/ Craigslist/ YouTube (and many more) accounts already. In fact, they are color-coded labels, so they jump out at me easily when I scan my regular Inbox.

Oh and I was going to fire up my old hotmail account to log in and look at the new features before posting this (SkyDrive integration does sound cool), but after one attempt to log on with an incorrect password Windows Live told me I had tried to sign in too many times with an incorrect e-mail address or password. So I chose to reset my password and get reset instructions emailed to me. Hotmail then told me that they would send those instructions to, you guessed it, my hotmail account.

Enough said.

May 20, 2010

The Rusty Bucket Kids - a new family TV show filmed locally in NC

There's a new kids television show which you may not have yet heard about called "The Rusty Bucket Kids." Being dubbed as an "edutainment" series, it's filmed entirely in the Apex, North Carolina area and stars exclusively local and regional talent. In a "Back to the Future" meets "The History Channel" theme, the gist of the show is that two young siblings learn from their grandfather that they can travel back in time via an old steam train, so they begin to visit famous historical figures as teenagers before they became famous. Set in the small southern town of "Peak City," Roxanna and JohnColeman "Peakssen" (played by real-life siblings, Roxanna and JohnColeman Demers) travel on adventures that are both entertaining and historically accurate, not to mention safe for the whole family to watch.

I've been enlisted to be a part of the creation of this series working on staff as the Graphic Designer, creating posters, CD and DVD artwork, and a myriad of other tasks. It's definitely stretched my design skills to new boundaries, as I am originally a web designer and video producer by trade.

The first show, "Lincoln, Journey to 16," premiered on April 17, 2010 in three markets across North Carolina: Raleigh, Wilmington and Charlotte. We did a big launch for the Raleigh market station, WRAL, in conjunction with the CoolKidz Expo taking place that weekend at the new Raleigh Convention Center, but only a soft launch for the other two markets.

However, this weekend is the big push for Wilmington, NC, as the CBS affiliate, WILM, is re-broadcasting "Lincoln, Journey to 16" on Saturday, May 22 at 12:00 pm (noon). If you're in the Wilmington/Cape Fear area and can pick up WILM, I encourage you to set your DVR/VCR for the show this weekend! (There will be a re-airing of the show in Charlotte on WJZY at on noon on Saturday, July 10.) I have been asked several times about whether the show will re-air anytime soon in the Raleigh area, but I do not yet have an answer about that. Eventually we hope it will be airing nationwide on a regular basis!

This Saturday (5/22), from 4:00-6:00 pm, following the WILM broadcast of "Lincoln...", there will be a massive launch party at the Golden Corral in Monkey Junction (map) with live music by The Rusty Bucket Band, as well as appearances by many of the cast members and directors. Actress Irene Santiago, who plays the infamous "Carlina" in the show, lives in the Wilmington area and has appeared in "High School Musical," "Hounded," "One Tree Hill," and "Touched by an Angel." Sunny 104.5 FM will be on site at the restaurant doing a live remote as well, so it should be quite an event. If you live close enough, or just want to make the drive down to Wilmington, please come join us for the event!

If you live in the Raleigh area, be sure to visit the original location for the show's inspiration - The Rusty Bucket Store on Salem Street in historic downtown Apex. They have "Songs From and Inspired by The Rusty Bucket Kids" on CD as well as "The Rusty Bucket Kids: Lincoln, Journey to 16" on DVD available for sale.

Read more about the show at the (soon-to-be-redesigned) official website: or just ask Google about it.

January 28, 2010

2010 Spring/Summer Raleigh Area Consignment Sales

Well the Spring/Summer kids consignment sale season has already begun! I was hoping to get this post online before the big Kids Exchange sale a few weeks ago, but that didn't happen because I haven't finished sorting through the photos that I want to add from a bunch of the previous sales. Yet still I suppose it's better to go ahead and get this list published ASAP, so here it is below.

Kids Exchange
January 20 - 24, 2010
NC State Fairgrounds
Jim Graham Building & Dorton Arena
With 2500+ consignors, this is the largest sale in the region, covering two buildings/123,000 sq. ft!

The Friendship Closet Consignment Sale
February 5 - 6, 2010 (Fri-Sat)
Apex United Methodist Church
100 S. Hughes Street / Apex, NC 27502

Nearly New Clothing Exchange
February 6 - 14, 2010 (Sat thru following Sun)
Falls Village Shopping Center
6675 Falls of Neuse Road / Raleigh, NC
Former Great Outdoor Provision Store 

First UMC Cary Spring/Summer Sale
February 20, 2010 (Saturday morning)
First United Methodist Church, Cary
117 S. Academy Street / Cary, NC 27511

Divine Consign Show - Raleigh
February 23 - 26, 2010 (Tue-Fri)
Falls Village Shopping Center / Next to Tookie’s Toys in the old Dilly Dally location
6675-127 Falls of Neuse Road / Raleigh
Notes: Exclusive Trunk Show & Boutique Overstock and Consignment Sales; Also has a Grandparent Preview Show & New Mom Shopping (must pre-register)

Second Blessings Consignment Sale
February 26 - 27, 2010 (Fri-Sat)
Greenwood Forest Baptist, Cary
110 SE Maynard Rd. / Cary, NC 27511

Church Kidz Stuff
March 4 - 6, 2010 (Thu-Sat)
Hayes Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh

Kidaround Kidsale
March 5 - 7, 2010 (Fri-Sun)
The Factory in Wake Forest (MVP Factory Sports indoor basketball court)
1839 US 1-A /South Main St. Wake Forest NC

Kids Everywear
March 6 - 15, 2010 (Sat-following Mon)
Morrisville Outlet Mall
1001 Airport Blvd / Morrisville, NC 27560-8935
Notes: Probably 2nd largest sale in the area & growing each year! Also has early shopping days for Pregnant & New Moms (must pre-register)

Upscale Resale
March 12 - 13, 2010 (Fri-Sat)
Cary Masonic Lodge
1142 SE Maynard Road / Cary, NC
Note: Trunk Show, Boutique & higher-end consignment sale clothes

Just 4 Kids Consignment Sale
March 16 - 19, 2010 (Tue-Fri)
Life Spring Community Church
501 Wake Chapel Road
Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

Chatham Kids Consignment
March 19-20, 2010 (Fri-Sat)
Lowe's Foods Shopping Center, Cole Park Plaza
11312 US Highway 15 501 N
at Manns Chapel Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Twice as Nice Kids Consignment Sale
March 25 - 27, 2010 (Thu-Sat)
Crosspointe Church (new location!)
6911 Carpenter Fire Station Rd. Cary, NC 27519

TMOTT Sale (Triangle Mothers of Twins & Triplets)
March 27, 2010 (Sat)
N.C. State Fairgrounds
Kerr Scott Building

March 31 - April 4, 2010 (Wed-Sun)
Cleveland Gymnasium
8994 Cleveland Road / Clayton NC 27520

I also wanted to point out a few other resources for those of you not in the Raleigh area. I have a bunch of mom-friends in the Nashville, TN area, and there are a BUNCH of sales, starting in the month of February, for you all listed here.

Another really cool looking resource that I stumbled upon last week is called It's a site that lets you rate and discuss the sales that you've attended, so that new shoppers can get a feel for what it's like before even going! It also has a huge regional listing of sales in the NC, SC, VA and eastern TN areas.

Check back soon for my own evaluations and photos of each sale I've attended in the past 6 months.

January 23, 2010

To Save a Life

Today I took 27 friends to go see a new movie that just hit theaters yesterday titled "To Save A Life." This was my second screening of the film, as my husband and I saw a sneak preview last fall. We went in expecting very little, but were both blown away by the quality and substance of this "indie release" film. The quality of the acting, screenplay, and technical aspects surpassed everything I was expecting. It's the story of a Middle-American high school senior named Jake Taylor, who "has it all"... he's popular, has a cheerleader girlfriend, a basketball scholarship to his dream college, and is living up his senior year. That is, until his childhood best friend Roger commits suicide in the school hallway and turns Jake's life upside down. He begins to question everything about himself and realizes there may be a lot more to life than beer pong and sex with his girlfriend. He learns to reach out to some new friends and finds ways to make Roger's death a legacy, not just a tragedy.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I will say that this movie touches on at LEAST a dozen hot topic issues that modern teenagers have to deal with on a daily basis. This is the most realistic portrayal I have seen of a typical high school in a long time, and as one of my young friends said tonight, "It was TOO realistic." The movie is rated PG-13 for good reasons and I wouldn't recommend it to a younger crowd. However I DO recommend it to anyone in high school or older. It is an EXCELLENT movie that all teenagers need to see... It causes the viewer to reflect on the impact that each person has on others around them and how much difference one person can choose to make in the life of another who is lonely.

Though it's touted as an "inspirational" film, there's absolutely nothing cheesy about this movie. It portrays Christians in a very accurate light, with both good and bad attributes acknowledged (such as hypocrisy & imperfection). It's not preachy or pushy with its message, except to say that you CAN make a difference in the world around you. It's also not without humor that this movie entertains the audience, taking on several twists and turns throughout the plot. If you've seen it already, I invite you to leave a comment below regarding what YOU thought about it!

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