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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

McDonald’s Is Looking For The Next Fashion Superstar

April 8th, 2014 by Christen Rochon

McDonald’s USA announced the launch of its 2014 McCafé® Student Fashion Design Competition, in partnership with Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR). Both brands are on a mission to find the next fashion superstar! The nationwide competition, open exclusively to HBCU students, launched with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Howard University students to chat up close and personal with veteran stylist and media personality June Ambrose.

McDonald's

 

The 2014 McCafé® Student Fashion Design Competition is now open! Students must submit at least one sketch of a McCafé®-inspired red carpet look. The winning design will be worn by the red carpet host of this year’s McDonald’s 365Black Awards, which takes place during Essence Festival. In addition to having the sketch come to life, the student will also win an apprenticeship with designer Evelyn Lambert, all-expense paid trip to New Orleans and a $1,000 scholarship.

The launch of the 2014 McCafé® Student Fashion Design Competition is in conjunction with the launch of HFR’s newest initiative Harlem’s Fashion Row-University (HFR-U), which strives to inspire, nurture and advance the next generation of diverse fashion industry talent by offering professional development and networking opportunities to undergradutate students at historically black colleges across the country.

The grand prize winner of the competition will receive the opportunity of a lifetime – an apprenticeship with noted designed Evelyn Lambert; having their design worn by the 11th annual McDonald’s® 365Black® Awards red carpet host; an all-expense paid trip to the 11th annual McDonald’s® 365Black Awards® taping, which takes palce in New Orleans during the July 4th weekend; a $1,000 scholarship; his/her sketch featured on a limited-edtion HFR signature tee.

All students at historically black colleges across the country are encourage to enter. The competition runs from April 3 – April 25th, with the winner announced on April 30th.  For more information on the contest and rules, visit harlemsfashionrow.com/hfru.

Regina Hall Joins Verizon Wireless In The Fight Against Texting And Driving

April 3rd, 2014 by Christen Rochon

According to research, 57 percent of drivers admit to texting while driving.

Regina Hall Joins Verizon

 

Regina Hall joins Verizon Wireless to team up against texting while driving and encouraging drivers to stay safe behind the wheel as part of the company’s It’s Up to Me program. Launched to help raise awareness throughout April, which is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the campaign encourages consumers to help spread the message of responsible driving.

 

Join with Verizon to say “It’s Up to Me.” To participate, fans can take a mobile quiz to test their knowledge of distracted driving behaviors and enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a VIP meet and greet with Regina Hall.  Want to enter to win?  Get started today by texting the word DRIVING to 74579.  The “It’s Up to Me” contest closes April 30, 2014, winners will be announced in May.

 

If you can’t get enough of the “About Last Night” star, you can also catch Regina Hall in the highly anticipated sequel “Think Like A Man 2″ in theaters this summer.

 

 

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE and 3G networks.  As the largest wireless company in the U.S., Verizon Wireless serves 102.8 million retail customers, including 96.8 million retail postpaid customers. For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com.

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Get The Shot With The Nokia Lumia Icon From Verizon Wireless

March 31st, 2014 by Christen Rochon

Thanks to the good folks at Nokia – All month long, I’ve had the chance to really dig into the new Nokia Lumia Icon from Verizon Wireless and it’s one Windows phone with a camera really delivers!

Lumia Icon

 

The Lumia Icon comes complete with Nokia’s 20-megapixel PureView camera, a 5-inch 1080p display, top-of-the-line quad-core Snapdragon processor, 32GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM and a 2,420mAh battery.  All those specs stuffed inside a great device means nothing if you can’t score a sweet Instagram shot (or two).

Lumia Icon

 

Nokia’s variety of camera apps, including Nokia Camera, Nokia Cinemagraph and Nokia Refocus, are designed to give you more control over the shooting experience. The Icon sports a respectable 20-megapixel rear camera, with a 1/2.5-inch sensor and f/2.4 lens. The results produced by the Icon are nice, in low-light and in everyday situations.

 

Lumia Icon

 

Lumia Icon

Nokia Camera is one of the great additives for mobile camera buffs.  Basically, the app gives you deep manual control over the camera similar to what you’d get with a professional DSLR. Most smartphone owners are likely just concerned with point-and-shoot performance, but Nokia Camera offers plenty of controls—manual control of flash, white balance, ISO, shutter speed and exposure—that adds plenty of value to how you capture your surroundings.

 

Lumia Icon

Looking for your best self(ie)?  The 2MP sensor (1.2MP stills) on the Icon captures the true you with one snap.

Throughout the month of March, I got the chance to to put the power of the Nokia Icon camera to the test in low light, high light and all other sorts of settings while traveling.  Since “a picture is worth a thousand words” I took the Lumia Icon for a spin in Austin for SXSW and in Cancun-Riviera Maya, Mexico – Check out just a few of my favorite shots and judge the Icon’s photos for yourself below.

 

Lumia Icon

Even the devil needs to “have a seat” to cool off outside of Xcaret Park in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

 

Lumia Icon

The pool scene is serene at night outside of the LeBlanc Resort in Cancun-Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Lumia Icon

If birds of a feather, really flock together these love birds are my kind of feathered friends.

(Seen at Xcaret Park in Riviera Maya, Mexico)

Lumia Icon

I’d like my soup prepared – Well done.  Just a portion of a 7-course dinning menu at Lumiere Restaurant.

Lumia Icon

An aerial view from the dinner table at Lumiere Restaurant inside of the LeBlan Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

So what do you think?  How important is a having a great camera on your smartphone to you?  Would you use the manual camera features and apps to enhance your photography on the go?  Share your thoughts below.

Tech At Home: Super Spring Cleaning With Soniclean Products [Review]

March 28th, 2014 by Christen Rochon

Don’t pay attention to what your local weather report says – IT’S ACTUALLY SPRING!  With a new season comes a new chance to update, change and super clean your home.  I’m always on the go, it’s easy to say that I accumulate clutter, dust and all kinds of in-home ickiness a little more than most.  So when it comes to spring cleaning – I welcome the challenge with open arms and now that I’m armed with two new Soniclean products, keeping a clean home is easy as 1-2-3.

Soniclean

Introducing the Soniclean Canister Handheld and Soniclean VT Plus S-200

The Soniclean VT Plus S-200 vacuum is much more than your average carpet cleaner.  The first vacuum to combine suction with sonic technology, the Soniclean VT Plus S-200 dislodges and removes microscopic particles embedded deep down in the carpet, typically 0.2 to 100 microns in size.  The vacuum also features a fragrance dispensing system that emits a fresh laundry scent while you clean, leaving both your vacuum and home smelling clean!

As one of the lightest vacuum cleaners in their class,weighing only 10.5 lbs Soniclean upright vacuum cleaners boasts a special low profile design, allowing the me to maneuver the vacuum under furniture with ease.

soniclean

The Soniclean patented SEAL-TECH HEPA filter bag system is designed for anti-allergen filtration.

soniclean

The easy to use vacuum assembles in seconds and glides smooth across hardwood flooring, rugs or in home carpet.

Need to really super spring clean?  The Soniclean VT Plus S-200 gets in there and really gets things cleaner than any other vacuum I’ve ever used before.  Soniclean upright vacuum cleaners are the first and only vacuum cleaners to use sonic cleaning technology. The patented sonic bar produces 200 vibrations per second that dislodges embedded particulate from carpet pile.  With 12,000 sonic vibrations per minute it cleans deep down dust, ground in dirt and the pet hair that other vacuums may leave behind.  (And if you have allergies – those missed particles left in your home could reek havoc on your eyes, nose and throat.)

Soniclean

Soniclean VT Plus S-200 dislodges and removes microscopic particles embedded deep down in the carpet.

 

 

 

Soniclean

Soniclean Canister Handheld cleans big messes in tight spaces including curtains, countertops, upholstered furniture & more.

In case of hard to reach messes (including pet hair on the couch) - Soniclean Canister Handheld, is a great addition for deep cleaning curtains, furniture and more.  It comes with the canister, the flexible tubing, one filter bag, an accessory bag, a strap for the canister, and 7 tools. The tools include a turbo tool, floor tool, upholstery tool, dusting brush, crevice tool, and 2-piece wands. There is a tool for every need, from vacuuming right corners behind dressers to awkward stairs.  It has a powerful 800 Watt motor and a 15-foot cord.

Available for purchase online at www.mysoniclean.com as well as Amazon.com. Soniclean is also available in select Bed, Bath & Beyond retail locations nationwide.

Are you looking forward to spring cleaning?  What are your go to gadgets that help you get the job done?  Share your favorite spring cleaning gadgets below…

Getting Ready For Basketball Madness With Duane Reade #MunchMadness

March 21st, 2014 by Christen Rochon

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This ‘Basketball madness with Duane Reade’ shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Three nights ago, in preparation for the basketball madness that begins this week I was on the phone with my father getting our tournament brackets in order. Of course, when I chose my alma mater MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY [GO GREEN, GO WHITE!] – my dad snickers “So you’re going with your heart huh?” and laughs. I’ve been bleeding green and white for decades and I expect nothing less that Michigan State going to the big dance and and emerging the 2014 champions.

Two nights ago, I double checked my 1st and second round picks and begun trash talking with my friends.

And last night, with two major upsets in the south and east – over 80% of sports fans game bracket hopes were destroyed.

But Michigan State University is still in the game and you know what that means?  Time to party!

Basketball Madness With Duane Reade

 

My Basketball Madness With Duane Reade ’Starting Five’ line up:

As an advocate for last minute shopping and party planning at Duane Reade, it’s only right that I stock my kitchen with green and white [MSU inspired] snacks for long tournament road ahead. Discover how I’m planning my tournament fun, my starting five snack picks and basketball madness with Duane Reade below.

 

5. Individually sized Duane Reade deLISH desserts.

Basketball Madness With Duane Reade

deLISH French Vanilla Gelato from Duane Reade.

 

#PowerForward with dessert first!  Yes, I’m one of those people who likes to eat their dessert first.  No matter which half of the game, everyone loves rich and creamy gelato!  Since one of my biggest game day pet peeves is the “clean up” – individually portioned desserts are a slam dunk for game day parties, no mess, no fuss, just eat and toss!  Now that’s basketball madness with Duane Reade too sweet for words.

 

4. Duane Reade deLISH Refillable fat free popcorn.

Basketball Madness With Duane Reade

Nice Microwave Popcorn by Duane Reade.

 

#PointGuard your snacking plans with a quick pick me up snack!  Need to get a last minute party started quickly?  Grab a big bowl and pop in some microwave popcorn.  This light snack will easily keep your guests busy and snacking while you get the rest of your game day snacks and foods ready and that’s basketball madness with Duane Reade done right!

 

3. Duane Reade deLISH Chips And Dip for everyone!

Basketball Madness With Duane Reade

deLISH Restaurant Style Multi-Grain Tortilla Chips

 

#ShootingGuard - Score nothing but net with a game day favorite, chips and dip.  The deLISH Restaurant Style Multi-Grain Tortilla Chips paired with your favorite salsa should be as important to your snacking arsenal as the shooting guard is to your favorite team.

 

2. When game night stress settles in have an arsenal of sweet chocolate dessert ready with Duane Reade deLISH dark chocolate.

 

Basketball Madness With Duane Reade

 

#SmallForward – Complete and petit is what individually wrapped bars of deLISH Dark & Sinful (premium Belgian) Pear & Almond Dark chocolate.  Similar to what a small forward’s position with a team, this sweet treat can fast forward dessert time to anytime!

 

1. Wash it all down with a themed Spartan drink mixed with Duane Reade deLISH seltzer water.

Basketball Madness With Duane Reade

deLISH Lemon Lime seltzer water

 

 #Center – Everyone knows that great drinks is always the centerpiece of a great game day party.  You can serve a variety of alcoholic or non-alcoholic specialty themed drinks with deLISH Lemon Lime seltzer water.

 

Duane Reade has a variety of great snacks and drinks at affordable prices to get your game day festivities started right.  With so many convienent locations, a last minute trip to Duane Reade is within reach for any college basketball and munch madness fan.

 

Disclosure:  I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Duane Reade. #DRMunchMadness #cbias #SocialFabric  To find deLISH products at your closest Duane Reade, check out their store locator online. The team behind @DuaneReade on Twitter and Facebook are always helpful for more information on the finding great deLISH snacks for your Munch Madness fun use the hashtag #DRMunchMadness and #cbias to see how others are using Duane Reade for their tournament party needs.

Six Spring Cleaning Tips To Protect Your Social Life Online

February 20th, 2014 by Christen Rochon

The sun is shining and it appears that the Polar Vortex has said goodbye for good.  Could Spring is on the horizon?  Making Identity Protection a Spring cleaning priority shouldn’t just be a thought by Spring, you should start working on rejuvenating your social and online life now.  We’ve compiled some of the easiest steps that you can begin working on starting with six Spring cleaning tips from the experts at Experian’s ProtectMyID to protect your social life online today.

 

Protect Your Social Life OnlineStreamline your social networking. In this age of social media, it’s not uncommon for people to have hundreds of online “friends” on any given social site. Keep in mind that on many social media sites, accepting a connection request gives that individual access to all the information in your profile. Keep profile information minimal and general, and never accept a friend request from someone you don’t actually know.

Shed, shred, shred. Spring Cleaning creates a good opportunity to get rid of things you no longer need, including old documents. But don’t just throw them away; shred sensitive personal documents you don’t need to keep.

As Seasons Change, So Should Passwords. Passwords are an important part of your identity in the digital age. How well you protect them directly affects your ability to protect your identity. We recommend changing passwords with the change of every season. Strong passwords have at least eight characters, including numerals, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters. They should never be obvious – like part of your name or your mother’s maiden name – and you should have a different password for every account.

Clean out your wallet. What you don´t carry in your wallet or purse is just as important as what you do carry. For preemptive protection, only carry what you need on a daily basis. If you have multiple credit cards, only carry the one you use most often. Don´t write PINs or passwords on the back of your credit or debit cards or on pieces of paper you keep in your wallet. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet – keep it filed in a secure place at home along with other sensitive documents like passports and birth certificates. Further, if any of your identification cards from a school, library or gym use your SSN as your member number, ask the organization for a randomly selected number and a new card. Be sure to shred the old one.

Protect your phone. Your phone allows access to important information and accounts. Be sure to activate a few safety features on your phone. For starters, set your phone to lock automatically after just a few minutes of inactivity. You’ll also want to establish a password or PIN that’s needed to unlock the device. Then enable remote finding and wiping software that will help you track your phone if it’s missing and, in the worst case scenario, wipe all of the data from it if it looks like it’s gone for good.

 

Get serious about security software. Most computers purchased today come with some security software on them, but often people allow product trial periods to expire – leaving their computers unprotected. Make sure you have up-to-date virus protection, anti-malware and anti-spyware software on your computer. Check to make sure your computer’s software is current and set it to update and run automatically every day.

 

Comcast Is Acquiring Time Warner Cable (And I’m Ready To Cry!)

February 13th, 2014 by Christen Rochon

Have you had it up to _HERE_ with your cable provider recently?  Well things are about to get more interesting and I’m seriously ready to give up for good!  It’s been announced that Comcast has plans to acquire Time Warner Cable and become a super sized cable giant, and all I want to do is cry!

time warner cable

A cable monopoly is the LAST thing cable customers need right now…

Comcast is the biggest cable provider in the U.S. with 23 million subscribers.

Time Warner is the second biggest with 12 million subscribers.

 

Monopoly Anyone?

 

If you’ve ever been a scorned cable customer, then you know that this merger isn’t going to be in the best interest of the customers.  As a former Comcast cable customer, I loathed customer service with every fiber of my being.  I haven’t had the greatest opinion of Time Warner Cable’s customer service in the past and with my recent experience, I’m sure I’m TWC’s least favorite fan.  [at this very moment, I'm in a very heated customer service DM battle with Time Warner Cable on Twitter] trying to figure out why isn’t my HBO Go app working.  [Hey, a girl needs to catch up on Game of Thrones - this is a VERY serious issue.]

 

Time Warner Cable HBO Go App

My HBO Stop app isn’t working on my iPhone or computer…where’s Direct TV when you need them?

 

The company said its merger would close by the end of 2014. But federal regulators could challenge the deal, just as they have pushed back on mergers of big mobile service providers such as AT&T and T-Mobile.

So what does the acquisition mean to you?  This would create the biggest pay-TV business by a mile. There’s not exactly a ton of competition in the world of cable, but this would effectively make it nonexistent. Can we say cable MONOPOLY?  And whenever a monopoly is in play, abysmal customer service isn’t far behind.

Are you a Time Warner Cable or Comcast Cable subscriber?  Sound off on your best [or worst] cable experience below.

 

Getting Big Game Ready Like The Pros With Pepsi #DRBigGame

January 29th, 2014 by Christen Rochon

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

It’s getting closer and closer to kickoff time and you haven’t even began preparing for your Big Game plans.  That’s where your neighborhood Duane Reade and Walgreen’s comes in.  I am an absolute last minute party planner, so when it comes to grabbing up the snacks and treats that will make any big game party a hit – my first stop is always Duane Reade or Walgreens!  

#DRBigGame

 

In celebration of the big game coming to NYC – Pepsi and the New York Jets own Jeremy Kerley brought the party to Union Square at Walgreens with some amazing freebies, autograph signing and fun prizes.   NYC game fans were greeted by cool referees keeping guests warm with complementary cups of gourmet coffee and hand warming-gloves.  Fans got a chance to get up close and personal with the Texas native Jeremy Kerley, who made no qualms about having a hard time getting used to the frigid New York temps.

 

#DRBigGame

 

#DRBigGame

 

Since Duane Reade and Walgreen’s is a great resource for all your game day needs, it’s only fitting that Pepsi had some great specials for fans to stock up on.  I scored eight 2-liter bottles of Pepsi for only $10 bucks!  Plus all the chips and dip that my party can handle.  Now if only I could enlist a sanitation committee for post-game clean up :/

 

#DRBigGame

 

Stay in the know for all the big game planning fun inside the hub at DuaneReadeBigGame.com where you’ll find the latest pro athlete store appearances, NFL inspired manicure stations and more!  Connect with @DuaneReade and follow all the fun online all week long via #DRBigGame.

 

Spotify Predicts GRAMMY Winners

January 23rd, 2014 by Christen Rochon

Jay z beyonce concert

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards is just days away here in sunny LA and the anticipation for big performances and the big winners is growing with each passing day. Performances by Jay Z, Beyonce and Macklemore has already been confirmed, but now Spotify is once again getting into the mix by predicting this year’s Grammy winners!  In 2013, Spotify accurately projected that Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” would win the gilded gramophone for Record of the Year and that Mumford & Sons would take home the Album of the Year prize for “Babel.”  Spotify’s users have once again spoken and their streams have been tallied. The digital music service analyzed data on its top song and album streams to predict which nominees will win big at this Sunday’s highly anticipated GRAMMY Awards.

Key predictions include:

Record of the Year

1. Radioactive, Imagine Dragons

2. Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell

3. Locked out of Heaven, Bruno Mars

4. Royals, Lorde

5. Get Lucky, Daft Punk Feat. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers

Record of the Year: Radioactive (Imagine Dragons)

There were no blurred lines in this category – the hit from Imagine Dragons has one-third more streams than Robin Thicke’s summer smash, which came in second on Spotify.

 

Album of the Year

1. The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

2. Random Access Memories, Daft Punk

3. Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, Kendrick Lamar

4. Red, Taylor Swift

5. The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles

Album of the Year: The Heist (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)

The Heist has over 40 percent more streams than Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, and more than three times as many as the other three nominees combined.

 

Best New Artist

1. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

2. Kendrick Lamar

3. Ed Sheeran

4. James Blake

5. Kacey Musgraves

Best New Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This pair is the clear favorite, beating Kendrick Lamar by 70 percent and fellow newcomer Ed Sheeran by nearly triple the number of streams.

 

macklemore

 

Best Pop Solo Performance

1. Royals, Lorde

2. Mirrors, Justin Timberlake

3. Roar, Katy Perry

4. When I Was Your Man, Bruno Mars

5. Brave, Sara Bareilles

Best Pop Solo Performance: Royals (Lorde)

The race for Best Pop Solo is close, with Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors and Katy Perry’s Roar duking it out for second place.

 

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

1. Get Lucky, Daft Punk Feat. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers

2. Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell

3. Just Give Me a Reason, Pink feat. Nate Ruess

4. Suit & Tie, Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z

5. Stay, Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Get Lucky, Daft Punk Feat. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers

Daft Punk did get lucky with 20 percent more streams of this hit than runner-up Blurred Lines.

 

Listen to the full playlist here:

GRAMMY nominees

 

Who are you looking forward to seeing at the GRAMMYS this weekend?

The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards air Sunday, January 26th on CBS.

How To Get Fit With Karina Smirnoff And JCPenney

January 20th, 2014 by Christen Rochon

In celebration of all things new and fit, JCPenney and Dancing with the Stars’  Karina Smirnoff partnered together to host the ‘New Year, New You’ fitness event in NYC.  Karina looked radiant and fit in JCPenney’s Xersion and CityStreets Activewear lines as she led dance classes and juiced healthy treats with JCPenney’s Bella High Power Juice Extractor and Magic Bullet Blender.

 

I’m excited to partner with JCPenney to showcase ways to feel great from the inside out.  These clothes are comfortable, super cute and sexy, and fit the body in all the right places.  It’s great that JCPenney has such a wide selection from activewear to healthy home items to keep the entire family feeling fit and healthy in the new year.

 

JCPenney New Year New You

 

So what happens when my fitness comes into play?  After changing into my CityStreets Activewear, I got the chance to interview Karina, take a few healthy juiced shots  and get “down” in a dance class.  Check out the full (hilarious) video below…

 

JCPenney New Year New You

 

 

 

As you can see, I clearly have a long way to go on the road to fitness – but hey,  looking cute at the gym is half the battle right?  Problem solved with my new gear from CityStreets Activewear. Check out more from Karina Smirnoff, the Xersion and CityStreets line and photos from the fun fitness night out below.

 

 

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