Monday, July 25, 2016

{Bay Area Kids Fun} Rebounderz

We had too much fun at this month's Bay Area Kids Fun location!


What mom doesn't love a trampoline park? It's the best way to expend all of your children's seemingly endless amount of energy (and you get to have some fun too)! 

The first time we took Myles to a trampoline park he was almost 2, and in an instant he fell in love. Since then he has only grown more fond of trampolines. Unfortunately, we don't have the yard for getting our own and the only other people that have one is my parents in Illinois. So you can imagine how happy I was when they opened up a new trampoline park within 20 minutes of us (before the closest was over an hour away)!

We love indoor play, but they don't have a lot of it in our area or California, in general. I understand why, but there are times we need indoor options (too hot, raining, night time, etc.), so to have something like Rebounderz as a total indoor play areana, is awesome! It is family owned and operated, so you get a very quality and personal experience. When we went everything was clean and functioning. I felt that Myles was completely safe and had no issues letting him jump by himself (with my just being a watcher).

The main jumping area is divided into 3 sections. One is for dodge-ball and the others are for general jumping. When it is busy or when they have Munchkin and Me (a special jump time for 7 and under), they can block off a section to be used only for the younger kids. Also, the earlier the better for the younger ones, so that it isn't as busy and less of a chance of getting hurt.

Next up is a 4-lane basketball 'court'. Myles tried this out and actually wasn't too far from making a basket (surprisingly), but I would say this is really for the older (7+) kids. Adults can play here too because one side (2 hoops) is taller than the other side (2 hoops). You can also see in the below picture that they have rules posted at each attraction, along with workers who referee/guard each area.

Myles' forever favorite is the foam pit. This one has 4-lanes that all ages can let lose in! I'm quite positive that Myles would spent his whole time in here if he could, but you aren't allowed to actually play in the pit. Still he thoroughly enjoys falling in and trying to maneuver his way out.
Adults beware: it takes the strength of a gorilla to get out of this thing! Thankfully, they have added a rope to assist adults and kids that need a little extra help!
 Not quite big enough to make the jump, more like a running leap!

I was checking the website for details as I was writing this and saw that they added something new since we went: a 14 foot JumpXtreme Tower! I know that Myles wouldn't dare try this, but I sure want to! Just means we will need to make another visit soon!

They also have an open gym for full court basketball that is being turned into a Ninja Warrior course coming Fall 2016! 

When your kids (12 and under) want to take a break from jumping they can head over to the indoor playground. There are some really fun and unique feature in this playworld that I have never seen before. It also has a special area for just toddlers (5 and under).  
 Myles' favorite part:
 He made me go down them and they are fast!

Lastly, is the arcade. It's smaller, but has most of the popular games and is just enough for a little break in between jumping.

  Other amenities: a cafe with food and drinks, an adult lounge upstairs with free Wi-Fi, and several options for parties and private events.

The prices vary by height and jump time. You can also pay to just play basketball or go to the indoor playworld. An hour for over 42" is $15.00 and under 42" is $12.00. You also have to purchase socks (that you can keep and bring back) for $3.00.
For a full list of pricing click here
They also have deals and specials everyday of the week.


The upkeep is great: everything is working and clean.
Safety is a priority: rules are posted, they provide videos to watch, and have enough workers to be watching every area. 
They have certain times and areas designed for younger kids.
They have entertainment more than just jumping: arcade, indoor playworld, basketball.
They have an area just for parents (of older kids) to relax or work with TVs and WiFi.

It can get crowded at certain times, so if you have very little kids, go during the special hours. 

It can get expensive, so try to go on a day with a special deal or don't pay to jump yourself.

Overall review:  

Indoor fun is very hard to come by in this area as it is, but Rebounderz goes above and beyond in the world of family fun and entertainment. I love that they are always adding and changing attractions to keep it new and exciting. It is just a wonderful place for good, clean, and safe fun for the whole family!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

{The Wednesday Hit List}: Top 5 Beauty YouTubers

This week's Wednesday Hit List post will probably come as a total shocker to everyone! But I am pretty excited to share with you all my 5 most favorite beauty YouTubers. 

If you don't know me and even if you do, you might be will be surprised to know that I have a huge obsession with beauty YouTube videos/channels. It all started one day when I was at work and I randomly noticed how cheap E.L.F. products are. I decided to Google 'best E.L.F. products' and the first thing that popped up was a Kathleen Lights video... and down the rabbit hole I went. The next thing I knew I was 10 videos deep and couldn't stop. Six months later and not much as changed. The reason why this is so shocking to most people (and to myself as well) is because I rarely wear makeup. Besides mascara (that I wear on days I work), I put on makeup about once a month. It's not that I don't need to, because trust me I do, it's just that I don't make it a priority each day and I don't like putting product on my skin ( I have really sensitive and just overall not good skin). I always feel like putting on make-up is going to make my skin even worse and taking it off every night is too much of a process for me. So it is really absurd and totally ironic that I know more about make-up than 90% of the population, but I rarely ever wear it.
Now that you have that little background, let's get to my list. I am counting down from 5 to 1.

5. Tati: Oh my Tati. I have grown to love this woman. Her channel is all about the products. If there is a new product out and you want to know about it, go to Tati. She reviews more products than I ever knew existed, both high-end and drugstore. She does a lot of first impressions where she tries something for the first time, tests it throughout the day, then checks back in at night to give the full review. She also does a fair amount of disappointing products reviews, which many other YouTubers try to stay away from, but I love. In general, her channel is just chalked full of so much information it's incredible. I love her because she is honest, super hardworking (she uploads a new video every weekday), and classy (but not stuck-up)! 

4. Laura Lee: To be honest I wasn't so sure about Laura at first. It took me a while to really get what she was all about. Some people seem to take issue with her voice, but I adore her accent and have no issue with the tone and pitch of her voice. What I had a hard time with, at first, was her humor. In the beginning, I thought she was just trying too hard to be weird and different and her goofiness seemed forced and unnatural. But the more I watched her, the more I started to see that she was honestly just being herself. I think it helped when I started following her on SnapChat and I was able to see her in her natural environment. It's funny now because I enjoy her jokes and humor; she can get a laugh out of me! Laura does your typical tutorials, hauls, first impressions, etc., but she also does some really fun and unique videos as well. I love when she tests out hacks and she has some great dupes videos. And, of course, she is just gorgeous!

3. Manny MUA: Manny! I had a hard time deciding between my 2 and 3! I adore Manny, like please be my best friend for life, type of adore. He is soo funny and definitely not bad to look at, a.k.a. ridiculously handsome! I love his channel because I just love him. He is so personable and every time you watch him, it feels like you are just hanging out, having casual conversations with him. It doesn't even matter what his video is about, I just want to watch it because I love his presence. He always does a little blooper reel at the end of his videos and I laugh every time.
Even if you don't care a bit about make-up, go watch his videos, it will make you a happier person. Speaking of, I am going to go do that right now!

2. Kathleen Lights: These last three are really all tied for number 1. Like I said earlier Kathleen was the one who started it all for me. I'm not sure I would have fell so hard down that rabbit hole had it not been for Kathleen. From the moment I watched that first video, I just loved her. She is a woman crush for sure; funny, sweet, and gorgeous.  But to be honest my favorite part about her is her Cuban accent. I could listen to her talk all day. I never knew how much I loved Cuban accents before I found her. And the way she describes her family and growing up Cuban in Miami makes her even more likable. If you like more soft, subtle looks, Kathleen is the best one to follow. Although she does do more bold looks sometimes, she nails the natural, but flawless look. And she is the only one that doesn't wear false eyelashes regularly. She does tutorials, first impressions, hauls, etc., but she also does more personal videos as well, which I totally love. She doesn't oversell herself on other social medias. She keeps it to a minimum and really seems to balance her life well.

1. Nikkie Tutorials: I would be surprised if you didn't know about Miss Nikkie. If you don't she is most famous for her Power of Makeup video. It went viral and now has over 30 million views. Nikkie is funny, genuine, and ridiculously talented. She is always coming up with unique content and never disappoints when a new video comes out. I die for her her SnapChat filter series, in which she has created the panda, strawberry, and lion. She also kills celebrity inspired tutorials: Kendall, Kylie, Rihanna, Beyonce, etc. She does a monthly favorites video and has some fun collabs with other YouTubers. I am always thoroughly impressed  at any challenge video she has ever done: full face highlight, full face liquid lipstick, no mirror makeup challenge, you would never know that it was a challenge. You can tell she is serious about makeup and her job, but is also so humble. And, of course, I just love her accent (she is from the Netherlands). 

YouTube is flooded with beauty channels and the information out there can be very overwhelming, so I hope this was helpful in giving some direction! 

What are your favorite YouTube channels, beauty or otherwise? 

Again, please let me know if you are interested in this becoming a link-up or even better, co-hosting! It would be open for old and new posts alike; the only requirement is that the post contains a list like a ranking or favorites.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Is the Bloglovin' App Stealing Your Page Views? And How to Fix That

Most likely... Yes. 

If you promote Bloglovin' as a way for people to follow and read your blog, you may not be getting credit for tons of traffic. Likewise, if you use Bloglovin' to read blogs, you may be missing out on giving credit to your favorite and most read blogs.

If either or both are the case for you, keep reading! In this post, I will show you how you can test if your blog is losing page views with Bloglovin' and how you can go about fixing that.

Now let me start by saying that the purpose of this post is not to bash Bloglovin'. It is what I use everyday to read blogs and I honestly think it's a great tool for managing and reading blogs

It allows you to:
1. Keep all of your favorite blogs in one central location. I like the app for reading blogs when I am out and waiting at places like the doctor's office. And for the most part, it is very easy to use.

2. Manage your blogs by placing them into categories. I love this feature because it helps me stay organized and keeps me from getting overwhelmed with content. I read my fellow mommy blogs everyday. I keep those in an 'everyday reads' category. Then I have categories for 'new reads', blogs I just started to follow, and my 'occasional reads', which are mostly store blogs (target deals, etc.) and celebrity blogs.

3. Search for new blogs. I really like that they have this set-up in three ways: search blogs, search posts, or browse categories. What I like about the categories option is that they list  every single blog registered in every category, no matter how big or small. I like browsing for blogs in my category that have around the same amounts of followers or less. I just feel that I can connect with them better than bigger bloggers (I do follow some of them too, though). 

Now to the things I don't like about Bloglovin':
1. Accounts are set-up in different ways: for those that have a profile for only reading blogs and for those that own/write a blog. This can get rather confusing when you follow someone.
You can follow a profile, but you can also follow a blog linked to a profile. On the left, you can see that I have 322 followers on my profile, but on the right you can see that I have 418 followers on my blog. I'm not entirely sure it even makes a difference, but it's confusing nonetheless.  

2. You don't have control over your own feed; mostly meaning you're not able to delete your blog posts on your feed. They can be deleted, but you have to email the company and ask them to remove it for you. If you have ever accidentally published when you meant to save, need to rewrite something, published on the wrong date, etc. you can't just fix that on your own. You have to contact Bloglovin' and it can be a bit of a pain to go through the process.

*Update: You can delete posts on the website now, but still not on the app.*

3. Lastly, and the real point of this post, the Bloglovin' app steals your blog page views. Now let me clarify a bit. If you use the Bloglovin' app and have never changed any settings, your reader view will be in 'standard view'. This is the default setting when you download the app. The problem is, the standard view is a pre-downloaded version of your post and that means when someone reads your post in that 'view' you are not getting credit for that page view. 

Here is how you can test it yourself:
Try to do this at a time when you have the least amount of traffic. Then you will definitely know if it is registering your page views or not. If you never changed your Bloglovin' settings, then go to step 2:

1. Make sure in you Bloglovin' settings you have "open posts in web browser" turned off.

2. Open up the Bloglovin' app and go to your blog. Click on one of your posts so that it is opened.

3. Open you Google analytics page. Click on 'Real Time' on the left side bar. Then click "Overview". If your viewing of your post on the Bloglovin' app is registering as a page view then it would be listed as an 'Active User'. You will see that it is not.

4. Now to test if the 'Active Users' is working. Go back to the Bloglovin' app and and scroll to the bottom of your post. Click on 'View Original Post'.

 This will take you to the web browser view. Once that comes up, check back in your Google analytics page. Now you should see that there is an active user on a mobile site. 
 Unfortunately, there is no absolute or easy way to remedy this issue, but I have two things to share that can help.

1. To make sure that other blogs you read get their page views:

Make sure you go back into your Bloglovin' settings and click on yes to 'Open in Web Browser'. That way the blogs you read will all be opened in web browser view and will register page views. 

2. To help you get page views if others are still reading your blog in 'standard view':

This is the tricky part. There is no setting that makes your post open in web browser view on other people's app. The only way I have learned to fix this issue, is to insert a page break in your post. That way if a person is reading your post in 'standard view' they will see this:
Once they click on 'read more' they will be taken to the the web browser view and the page view will be registered.   

To insert a page break on blogger, click on the icon that looks like a ripped piece of paper. The most common place for a page break is after your first picture. 

I know this was a lot of information and I hope it all made sense. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment or email me. I'd be more than happy to help!