Pen of the Day #PenOfTheDay

It’s your fault…

You encouraged me…

and now you’ve created a monster!

pen of the day sami cone 768x1024 Pen of the Day #PenOfTheDay

What started as a bit of  joke as I tried to garner support after my Black Friday Sharpie shopping spree has now turned into a digest of my ultimate pen collection: Pen of the day (you can follow my posts on Instagram & Twitter along with the #PenOfTheDay hashtag).

If you’re the kind of person that has to try out a pen before you buy it to see how it feels, how it writes and how the color looks on paper, then you’ll LOVE this new feature on!

Some are pens from my collection, some are pens I find on the road and some are just pens I wish I owned icon wink Pen of the Day #PenOfTheDay

If you want me to check out a specific pen, just leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to try it on my trusty pad and share it with all of you.

Pen of the Day: #PenOfTheDay Archives

December 23, 2013: The Uni-ball Vision Elite in purple

 Pen of the Day #PenOfTheDay [Read more...]

pin it button Pen of the Day #PenOfTheDay

Top “25″ Albums

No, this is not a list of my top 25 albums, but rather a list of my top picks for albums titled “25″.

Who knew, right?

I never imagined “25″ was a popular album title. But I stumbled upon a greatest hits compilation from one of the first Christian artists I came to know and love, Crystal Lewis, and when I went to search for the album on iTunes, I discovered that some of my other favorite musicians also had albums titled “25″.

Some refer to 25 years of music, some to their top 25 songs.

Whatever the reason, I felt compelled to not keep these masterpieces a secret any longer, so here you go:

Top “25″ Albums

 Top 25 Albums Top 25 Albums

1. Crystal Lewis – Twenty Five

Crystal Lewis was one of the first artists I heard once I became a Christian and her powerful voice and piercing lyrics grabbed from from the start.
 Top 25 Albums Top 25 Albums

2. Harry Connick Jr – 25

I’m still a sucker for a Harry Connick Jr. song. Not only does he have one of my top Christmas albums ever, but this album is a culmination of some of his best songs ever.

 Top 25 Albums Top 25 Albums
3. Blues Traveler – 25

Even though I’m not a fan of the blues or bluegrass per se, I fell in love with the sounds of Blues Traveler in college. “Hook” and “Run Around” are still some of  my favorite songs of all time!


 Top 25 Albums Top 25 Albums
4. Sting – 25 Years

During my sophomore year of college when my roommate wouldn’t let me fall asleep to a movie each night like I was used to, I pretty much drifted off to dreamland to the sounds of Sting.
 Top 25 Albums Top 25 Albums

5. Thriller – 25 Year Anniversary Edition

I will never forget the purple plastic purse I had in third grade with this album cover on it. Today, it’s still possible to appreciate the best elements of this album without making such a big fashion faux pas icon wink Top 25 Albums

and a bonus title for the kid in all of us…
 Top 25 Albums Top 25 Albums

* VeggieTales – 25 Favorite Silly Songs

pin it button Top 25 Albums

The mCAM iPhone Camera Cover every Blogger needs

mcam iphone camera cover The mCAM iPhone Camera Cover every Blogger needs

Have you heard of the mCAM yet?

I was on the verge of buying a DSLR because I knew I needed to take my blog photography up a notch.

But then I ran into a professional photographer/videographer at an event and my jaw dropped to the ground. I literally grabbed him by the shoulder to find out what he was using to turn his iPhone into a professional camera with removable lenses!

It turns out he had the mCAMLITE from Action Life Media. Not only did his mCAM boast removable lenses, but also a detachable mini boom mic!

I immediately came home and googled this miraculous little contraption. Why hadn’t I heard of it before? Why weren’t more bloggers using this beauty already?

My Operation Christmas Child trip to Ecuador was coming up and I absolutely had to have this device before leaving. I was about to purchase the mCAM myself when I thought I’d reach out to the ALM Marketing Coordinator.

Turns out they were able to send me the mCAM just in time for my trip…and I was more than happy to share my experiences in return.

But as it turned out, I didn’t have to say much at all…the mCAM did most of the talking for itself!

Everywhere I went, from the airport to the hotel and even the restaurants in between, someone would stop me and ask what kind of camera I was using. Everyone seemed just as shocked as I was that they hadn’t heard of such an amazing device!

And the pictures you ask? Take a look for yourself:

ecuador street rio villorita The mCAM iPhone Camera Cover every Blogger needs

This street was our very first distribution stop in Ecuador

occ ecuador girls The mCAM iPhone Camera Cover every Blogger needs

Just two of the sweet faces we met during one of our shoebox distributions

ecuador mountain The mCAM iPhone Camera Cover every Blogger needs

On a mountain top over 2 miles into the Ecuador sky!

ecuador boys hot wheels cars The mCAM iPhone Camera Cover every Blogger needs

 It seems that boys and cars seem to transcend any language barriers icon smile The mCAM iPhone Camera Cover every Blogger needs

Of course, this is straight out of the box without any direction at all. The mCAMLITE even comes with a case for your iPhone so when it’s not in the camera, it’s still protected.

Pretty amazing, right?

You know I wouldn’t dig something like this up without getting a discount for you all as well. Even without a discount it’s a good deal, but now I think you’ll find it irresistible. Here’s the details:

mCAM iPhone Camera Cover Discount Details

What it is: the mCAMLITE
Discount: 10% off (retails for $129.95)
Code to use: SAMICONE
Where to buy:
What you’ll get:
• Billet Aluminum Body
• 37mm Wide Angle/Macro Combo Lens
• 180° External Microphone
• Silicone Case
• Accessory Pouch

There are also other accessories you can buy, but this has been a great starter set for me.

Are you as excited about the mCAM as I am???

pin it button The mCAM iPhone Camera Cover every Blogger needs

LEGO Star Wars Christmas Advent Calendar 2013

Getting the LEGO Star Wars Christmas Advent Calendar 2013 was a MUST for our family, since the LEGO Advent calendar has become a tradition in the Cone Home ever since Britton won one at a Christmas party a few years back.

 LEGO Star Wars Christmas Advent Calendar 2013 LEGO Star Wars Christmas Advent Calendar 2013

You can watch the big reveal when we gave our kids their 2013 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar:

Every year, we love seeing how the scene unfolds as the days progress towards Christmas. We have a daughter and a son and they both LOVE it!

Though they both wish they could rip all the doors open right away, we’ve devised a pretty brilliant (in my opinion) system: Since my son’s birthday is on an odd number, he opens the odd days…since my daughter’s birthday is on an even number, she opens the even days.

By the time all 24 doors have been opened, they’ll have a new LEGO playset that will occupy them throughout the year!

IMG 0166 768x1024 LEGO Star Wars Christmas Advent Calendar 2013

I’ve also been informed by my daughter that there’s a new LEGO friends Advent Calendar, but I’ve yet to see it.

You can buy the 2013 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar at Amazon or wait for a BOGO 50% off sale at Toys R Us, but these usually go quick (we know, since we tried waiting for an After Christmas Sale last year!)

Do you do any sort of an Advent calendar with your family?


If you purchase this through the Amazon affiliate link I provided, I make a 6% commission – it’s not much, but every little bit helps me continue to bring you great deals and reviews! LEGO provided the 2013 Star Wars Advent Calendar for our family in exchange for this display of our honest experience with it icon smile LEGO Star Wars Christmas Advent Calendar 2013
pin it button LEGO Star Wars Christmas Advent Calendar 2013

How MyPoints Rewards Earned Points in my Marriage

Do you remember a time before blogs? Before Twitter? Before Facebook?


These social media tools have become such an integrated part of our everyday lives, especially for me as a blogger, that it is hard to remember life without them.

But believe me, I was finding ways to win things, get stuff for free, and eat out with gift cards way before the insurgence of social media.

Travel back with me in your mind to the turn of the century (2000, not the 1800′s people…). I had just moved back to the states after living in Mexico and the Bahamas. I was a 25 year old single woman living in a new state after my tennis career ended due to a back injury. 

Oh, and did I mention that I moved back in with my mom too?

Suffice it to say, my future was not looking bright.

But like always, I was determined not to let my financial status influence my level of fun!

Luckily for me, I discovered a secret gold mine called MyPoints.

All I had to do was click on emails and accept a few free trial offers to collect virtual points that I could redeem for gift cards.

Obviously I’d spent most of my life trying to win things I couldn’t afford, but this was the first time I felt like I could actually take an active part in my ‘winning’ ways!

I honestly hadn’t ever seen any similar concept where I had a say in not only what type of offers I’d get emailed to me, but I could also dictate the frequency of those offers. 

Sometimes I earned 5 points just for clicking on a link in the email, other times I’d earn 2,000 points for taking advantage of a free AOL trial or the like. (Someone else PLEASE tell me that you remember what AOL is…and that annoying sound of your modem connecting to the internet before that iconic shout of “You’ve Got Mail!”. I’m not that old, am I?).

Before I knew it, I was regularly earning gift cards to my favorite stores (like the GAP which was great since I didn’t work there anymore icon wink How MyPoints Rewards Earned Points in my Marriage . I also loved getting gift cards to restaurants and, of course, Starbucks.

You could even say that MyPoints played a large role in the year leading up to my marriage. Before getting married, my fiancee (now husband) and I had to take a prep for marriage class every Wednesday night at our church. With the class came homework…but of course, we’d typically wait until the last minute to discuss our answers before showing up for class.

After the first week, we decided to make a date out of it. We started heading to the bar area at Chili’s the hour before our class because you’d get free chips & salsa when you sat in the bar. Then, we’d split an entree. Thanks to the MyPoints gift cards I earned for Chili’s, our entire meals were covered for six weeks in a row!

That type of thinking, planning and executing laid a foundation for fun we still follow today and our marriage and that, ultimately, led to me creating so I could teach others the same tips & tricks to maximize their time and money. 

These days, MyPoints has not only expanded, but they’ve also added so many ways to earn and redeem points, including coupon prints, online shopping and refer-a-friend. You can even earn points just for taking surveys and playing games!

Of course, with the holidays coming up, you want to make sure you make the most of every purchase, so if you can save money, save time AND earn extra points by shopping through MyPoints, why not try it?

I did mention it’s free, right?

And new Members earn $10 fast – just make your next two online purchases through MyPoints in your first 30 days of membership and MyPoints will deposit a bonus $10 worth of MyPoints rewards into your account!  Those Points are more than enough to give you $10 towards very popular merchants and restaurants, such as Amazon, Overstock, Gap, Olive Garden, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Sears, Kohl’s, Regal Entertainment – and so much more!​

So come on, give MyPoints a try and start earning points for EVERYTHING you do online!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MyPoints. The opinions and text are all mine.

pin it button How MyPoints Rewards Earned Points in my Marriage

Saige American Girl Doll Giveaway (+ Saige Paints the Sky DVD!)

IMG 8779 225x300 Saige American Girl Doll Giveaway (+ Saige Paints the Sky DVD!)

You may remember not long ago when I shared about the Saige American Girl doll scavenger hunt I came up with to surprise my daughter with the 2013 American Girl Doll of the Year.

I also had the pleasure of hosting a Saige American Girl Doll giveaway earlier this year. I received SO many amazing responses, both here and on my YouTube channel, from loved ones who wanted to win a Saige doll for that special little girl in their life that I asked my friends at American Girl if I could giveaway another Saige doll in time for Christmas…and they agreed!

But the difference with this time around (other than the fact that one of you is going to make some little girl VERY happy just in time for Christmas!) is that I also get to give away the “An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky” DVD.

saige american girl doll giveaway dvd Saige American Girl Doll Giveaway (+ Saige Paints the Sky DVD!)

An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky was the first American Girl movie we actually got to see in the movie theater. The first very first American Girl movie we ever saw was “McKenna Shoots for the Stars” last summer (which we based Kariss’ American Girl Gymnastics Birthday Party on). Then we got to catch up on some of the ‘classic’ American Girl movies on our #GirlMom American Girl Weekend in Atlanta this past spring…those seriously made me cry!

 Saige American Girl Doll Giveaway (+ Saige Paints the Sky DVD!)

I have to admit, after seeing “Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front” & “Kit Kitredge: An American Girl“, I wasn’t as impressed with Saige’s movie debut, but it did have an amazing musical finale coupled with a great anti-bullying message…and my daughter loved it, so that’s what was ultimately important.

So if you want to watch Saige’s DVD yourself while snuggling up to your favorite little girl while she cuddles her new Saige American Girl Doll, you’ll definitely want to enter my giveaway below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! And if you’re looking for one of the most unique ways to play with and store your girl’s American Girl dolls, check out the FIRST dollhouse made especially for 18″ dolls, My Girl’s Dollhouse! (use code SAMICONEMGD13 from Nov 15 – Dec 15 to get an extra 5% off)

shareasaleasset Saige American Girl Doll Giveaway (+ Saige Paints the Sky DVD!)

Disclosure: American Girl provided the Saige doll & DVD for me to giveaway to one of you, but I was not compensated for this post otherwise…I was just excited to be able to bless one of you with this special gift! However, if you do purchase the My Girl’s Dollhouse or the American Girl movies through the affiliate links in the post above, I will make a small commission that helps me continue to bring you great opportunities like these.
pin it button Saige American Girl Doll Giveaway (+ Saige Paints the Sky DVD!)

Waterpik Handheld Shower Head gives Kids Power in the Shower! {$100 Home Depot Giveaway}

Bath time can be a funny thing with kids.

When they are firstborn, you feel like you are torturing them by giving them a bath.

As they get old enough to sit up by themselves, bathtime becomes a cherished playtime.

As my kids grew into their toddler years, it seemed to return to a struggle again.

While they loved being in the bath, they didn’t so much enjoy the part where I needed them to wash their hair.

My kids have so much hair that simply filling a cup and pouring it over their head never seemed to suffice.

For a while, I would try to get them to stick their head under the faucet itself, but that was not only painful for them, it was annoying to have to keep turning the tub faucet running during the entire bath.

The best solution we eventually came up with was a hand held shower head. It provided the flexibility of still leaving the shower in their bathroom, while also providing enhanced control when washing my kids’ hair in the bathtub.

The only problem was that most of the handheld shower heads we found when our kids were younger were fairly bland, both in look and function.

Obviously we weren’t trying to turn our kids’ bathroom into a state of the art spa, but we also wanted to make it fully functional and welcoming, especially since guests made use of that bathroom too.

But, as we do so often, we got used to what we had and stayed in a shower head ‘rut’, so to speak.

Until now.

4ce4214a 427d 11e3 b696 22000afd2dc7 Waterpik Handheld Shower Head gives Kids Power in the Shower! {$100 Home Depot Giveaway}

When the opportunity presented itself for our family to receive a Waterpik’s new PowerSpray+™ EasySelect® Hand Held Shower Head in return for our honest opinion of the product, I immediately got exited. After all, until this came up, I never even knew Waterpik made shower heads.

The Waterpik brand has been a staple in my family ever since I can remember. My father has always had a Waterpik Water Flosser, but I never knew they branched out beyond the dental care products!

Now you have to understand, I’m not normally the one in the family who walks down the aisles of our local home improvement store dreaming up alternate designs & renovations for the various rooms of our home (that’s my husband). However, when you consider how much time you and your family spend in the shower, you want it to be the best possible experience, right?

We’ve found the new Waterpik’s new PowerSpray+™ EasySelect® Hand Held Shower Head to be the best of both form and function. Not only does it boast FIVE custom spray settings, but the most impressive feature is that the selector is right on the handle…so easy, even the kids can use it!

df0903f0 427e 11e3 9b11 22000afd2dc7 Waterpik Handheld Shower Head gives Kids Power in the Shower! {$100 Home Depot Giveaway}

Now, everyone in the family can achieve ‘Power in the Shower’, each customizing our own shower ritual with one of the aforementioned custom spray settings:

  • Full-Body Spray
  • PowerSpray
  • Water Saver
  • Mist
  • and the new Circular Massage!

It takes just minutes to install and features a flexible 5-foot hose. If you’re ready to buy one for your family, you can find the Waterpik’s new PowerSpray+™ EasySelect® Hand Held Shower Heads at Home Depot…and make sure you take advantage of the $10 rebate Waterpik is offering right now.

UPDATE: I can’t tell you how thankful I’ve been to have this shower head now that I’ve broken my foot. If not for this and a shower seat, I’d be one very unhappy (& stinky) individual! icon wink Waterpik Handheld Shower Head gives Kids Power in the Shower! {$100 Home Depot Giveaway}

And I’ll be helping one lucky reader out. That’s right, one of you will win a $100 Home Depot gift card!
We all have our morning routines; taking a shower is one of them. The NEW Waterpik PowerSpray+™ EasySelect® Hand Held Shower Head makes showering easier than ever.  From the 5 shower settings including the water-saving trickle feature to the anti-clog nozzle, this shower head has it all!  Do you want to experience it for yourself?   Answer the question below for a chance to win a $100 Home Depot gift card to purchase your new Waterpik PowerSpray+™ EasySelect® Hand Held Shower HeadSweepstakes Rules.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Waterpik®. The opinions and text are all mine.

pin it button Waterpik Handheld Shower Head gives Kids Power in the Shower! {$100 Home Depot Giveaway}

Wailani’s Body Scrubs Review

I’m so proud to bring you a Wailani’s Body Scrubs Review!

Coconutty Calm Wailanis Body Scrubs Review

As a woman who used to find much of my identity in the work I did, it was hard to come home and “just be a mom”.

It’s a privilege for me to now be a working mom, but working at something I love to do and following my passion.

So when I have the chance to support moms who are doing the same, it is my honor to do so!

It is so beautiful when anyone can take something that they are passionate about and share it with a broader audience. That is exactly what my cousin Lisa has done with Wailani’s body scrubs.

Having grown up in Hawaii, Lisa has always embodied the best of what the state represents. And even though she lives quite inland now with her husband and three children, she is sharing the feeling and sense of Hawaii with all of us through her homemade, tropical body scrubs.

Lisa started Wailani’s because she desired healthier skin and believes using all-natural ingredients is the way to accomplish that goal…and, in her words, “I want my routine shower to feel like a mini vacation”.

After battling different skin issues during her teen years, three pregnancies and now as a busy mom, she’s found an answer through all organic and natural ingredients that are safe enough to use on her children, yet strong enough to renew tired and aging skin.

Kona Coffee2 300x200 Wailanis Body Scrubs Review

Take a closer look at what exactly goes into these indulgent scrubs:
Pure Cane Sugar, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, Kona Coffee, organic dried flowers, honey, green tea leaves, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Sunflower, Soybean and Canola Oils that are a natural source of Vitamin E, organic and natural fragrance oils, essential oils, and organic color rich in antioxidants.

I’m not one who takes a lot of time on my personal skin care routine, so I especially appreciated that I could use the scrubs in the shower and feel like not only was I cleaning and exfoliating, but my skin felt completely different for the rest of the day, even without applying lotion afterwards. Even when just washing my hands, using the Wailani’s Body Scrubs affords me the opportunity to have a mini-spa experience in the middle of my otherwise hectic day.

If you’re interested in joining a community built around living healthy, by relating the all natural ingredients in the body scrubs to cooking, encouraging exercising, staying hydrated, taking time to destress, then be sure to check out Wailani’s enthusiastic following on their Facebook page.

If you want to get a piece of Hawaii in your home today, visit Wailani’s website.

pin it button Wailanis Body Scrubs Review

Green Giant Veggie Chips Review: Kids Say “Not Bad”

 Green Giant Veggie Chips Review: Kids Say Not Bad
When I was approached to write a Green Giant Veggie Chips review, it didn’t take long for me to sign on. I’m always looking for new snacks for my kids that are healthier than the standard fare.

Green Giant Veggie Chips Key Visual 2 224x300 Green Giant Veggie Chips Review: Kids Say Not Bad

Of course, having the Green Giant name attached didn’t hurt with the credibility either icon wink Green Giant Veggie Chips Review: Kids Say Not Bad

I received two varieties of Green Giant™ Veggie Chips: the Green Giant Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chip – Garden Ranch and Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chip – Barbecue.

Initially I was disappointed to find the veggie chips were flavored; I’m not really a fan of any kind of flavored chip. But then I realized they may appeal more to the kids.

While my kids don’t agree on much, they both love BBQ chips. So I decided to bring them out at lunch one day, of course without mentioning the fact that they were veggie chips.

They both really enjoyed them.

After that, I expected the Ranch tortilla chips would be an easy sell. My 9 year old daughter gave it a quick, “Not bad”, while my 7 year old son was a little less impressed. “It’s just a little bit under like,” he admitted. Of course, he’s not a big fan of ranch either, so I’m not sure if his review is as fair.

I put the bag of Ranch Veggie Chips away in our pantry and didn’t give them much thought again…that is until tonight when I realized I needed to take a picture of my own for this post. Guess where I found the bag:

photo 225x300 Green Giant Veggie Chips Review: Kids Say Not Bad

That’s right, it was in the trash, but not because they were not liked. No sir.

Yes, I stuck my hand in there to find out why they were in the trash. Take a look at what was left inside:

photo 1 225x300 Green Giant Veggie Chips Review: Kids Say Not Bad

That’s right: NOTHING!!!

It seems my husband came home from work, found the bag of opened chips, grabbed some hummus and went to town! As you can see, barely a crumb was left over.

So it’s up to you who you listen to: the kids were split, my husband was sold. Obviously, Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips are not a replacement for your veggies, but they are a great option for snacking between meals, especially if your kids come home from school ‘starving’ like mine icon wink Green Giant Veggie Chips Review: Kids Say Not Bad

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

pin it button Green Giant Veggie Chips Review: Kids Say Not Bad

The Smurfs 2 Wii Game Review: a Home Adventure!

 The Smurfs 2 Wii Game Review: a Home Adventure!

This is THE Smurfs 2 Wii Game Review – just done a little differently than you may have seen a video game review in the past.

IMG 2848 300x225 The Smurfs 2 Wii Game Review: a Home Adventure!

In fact, I’ve never seen a Wii game review done before since we’re not a huge ‘gaming’ family, but when I had the opportunity to review The Smurfs 2 Wii game, I happily accepted it since my kids have been dying to see the new Smurfs 2 movie all summer.

As I mentioned, our kids don’t play a lot of video games, but my favorites are the ones that I can also enjoy watching the story of as they play along.

I was hoping this would be one of those such games.

IMG 2846 300x225 The Smurfs 2 Wii Game Review: a Home Adventure!

The truth is, the kids said they really enjoyed it, even though the graphics were not comparable to what we’ve come to expect in the film (especially after experiencing it in 3D) and it took them awhile to figure out the goal of the game (they’re only 7 & 9).

SMURFS2 DS01 The Smurfs 2 Wii Game Review: a Home Adventure!

The Smurfs 2 Wii video game takes participants over 30 levels of gaming in 6 environments. Players can choose to be one of nine Smurfs featured in the movie, including Jokey Smurf, Hefty or Brainy Smurf. Even better, the full adventure is playable cooperatively with up to four players – perfect for the whole family (at least our whole family).

Check out The Smurfs 2 Wii game review straight from the mouth of my kids:

You can buy The Smurfs 2 The Smurfs 2 Wii Game Review: a Home Adventure! Video Game (by Ubisoft) for $29.99 at Amazon right now.

I’m hoping the Smurfs 2 Wii game will tide over my kids until they see the new Smurfs 2 movie. I can’t say it’s my new favorite Wii game, but the kids say it’s theirs; of course, the kids said the last movie they saw was their favorite before they ever actually saw it icon wink The Smurfs 2 Wii Game Review: a Home Adventure!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

pin it button The Smurfs 2 Wii Game Review: a Home Adventure!