Paid Me

Checking out Xfinity wtih some fun Xfinity Moms

I was recently invited to a holiday party with a group of Xfinity Moms to learn about new and improved Comcast services. I have partnered with them for this sponsored post to share with you a few of my favorite things. As always, all opinions are my own.

So on a very cold night last week, I was persuaded to leave the comfort of my home, and a potential evening of binge watching The Crown, to learn more about Xfinity at the Comcast store in Burlington. Okay, my decision was helped along by the promise of prizes – namely a goodie bag of cute Xfinity swag and time with some bloggers I know in real life and online. Great timing, because we are looking over our phone, internet, and television service and about what is best for our now far flung family. With two kids in college, the daily household internet and television use might be down but only until they’re home again – and in the meantime, we’re not willing to give up fast internet speed and service.

So, what did I learn? A lot, actually. Did you know that 86 percent of in-home broadband use will travel over wi-fi this year, and by 2020 Americans will have an average of 50 wi-fi connected devices in their homes?  What?! I can’t wait to see our future home! Like The Jetsons but without the flying cars.

While we nibbled on yummy food, and as I finally warmed up with a hot cider, I learned about Xfinity XFi and some cool new features. Like what? Well, you can pause wi-fi on your network by device OR user! Hello homework helper! That is definitely a  feature that I wish we had while our kids were younger. So awesome for managing screen time. More features for the younger set?

Comcast has partnered with one of my favorite sites for help in determining appropriate content for kids is Common Sense Media, and now you can get ratings and reviews directly on the TV. And you can set up controls by age – super helpful.

Well, it’s almost Christmas and the Santa Tracker has fun games, music, movies and sing-a-longs, updates how many days until Santa will be here. Year round, The Kids Zone is a safe and secure place for them to explore age appropriate content.

We also learned that voice recognition is here…and it is awesome. Say you want to re-watch (no judgement) Love Actually – just say so and it will play it! And once you’re watching the movie, you can replay your favorite scene… like my favorite performance of All I want for Christmas is You.

Xfinity makes finding your favorite shows a breeze with a very cool user interface that can be set to menu style below or using images – I’m seriously into the visual menu. And for your sports fans – check out the team remotes!

Wait, there’s more! We learned that Xfinity Mobile was the nation’s first wireless service and you can set up your account in different ways – either “By the Gig” for $12 per GB of shared data across all lines per month, or an unlimited plan for $45 per month, per line. If you’re paying by the gigabyte, you can “switch and save” by changing to Unlimited anytime during the billing cycle. Or also “mix and match” so each individual has a data option that makes works best for them. Great idea – our mobile needs seem to change monthly.

My favorite feature? If you’re home and can’t find your phone (phew – it’s not just me), you can ask the tv where your phone is. My kids will really like this feature so I can stop asking them to call my phone for me. Yes, it may happen once or twice…a week.

 

Wow, Xfinity has a lot going on! And I haven’t even mentioned their home security, control and energy management platform called Xfinity Home.  You can stay connected to your home wherever you are. And they have awesome apps for streaming, checking your home security, Comcast account, and connecting to your email and with Voice2go access which lets you take Xfinity Voice virtually anywhere (including overseas). Now that’s a feature your college student  can use if they’re lucky enough to take a semester abroad!

So many features, and such a innovative and thoughtful approach to integrating your tech life with your real life activities. Well done, Comcast!

Need more info?

Follow them on social:

Twitter – @Xfinity

Facebook – Xfinity

Instagram – Xfinity

Best Gifting Practices – Uncommonly Good

For a long time now we have had a present cabinet. Yes, as in gifts. And, no, I am not super organized. It’s for when I need an emergency gift, you know, when you’ve forgotten an event is coming up – What, you don’t do that? Well, I do and sometimes the cabinet is stocked and I breathe a sigh of relief, and sometimes I am down to some hair ties and a pen.

So I clearly can’t leave special events like birthdays, graduations, weddings or anniversaries to chance, those need more planning, and, well, I have that covered, too. Actually, UncommonGoods does. When they contacted me to share my gift giving practices, I was thrilled – I love their site because they have cool, creative gifts in a wide range of prices, and make shopping by occasion super easy. Located in Brooklyn, NY, they select works from talented artists and artisans, and, as an added bonus, they’re a B Corporation. What is that? It means they do work on social and environmental problems, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the community. That’s to the good of everyone.

But you need gifts.

Our family just wrapped up one graduation season, and while the next is a ways off, the holidays are around the corner and I’m betting on UncommonGoods to help with my list. Love this dreamy retro camera that takes romantic, light soaked photos and will charm any photographer, artist or film student. The Diana Camera is super cool, dare I say hipster? – and uses 120 film.

The Diana Camera at Uncommongoods.com from Capabilitymom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Math mug Uncommongoods from capabilitymom

Less art and more math? There’s fun with numbers in this math-y mug or great geeking out clock (equations included).

geek equation clock uncommongoods from capabilitymom

Looking for something a bit more personal? You’re covered there, too, with gifts that can be made to honor a special someone. And I love that the Uncommongoods site lets you search by occasion, interest, price, and category. No small feat, that.

And having just reached a milestone wedding anniversary, I also know a bit about great gifts for anniversaries (or weddings). Keeping it personal is key, and so easy to do here. My favorites for couples include these gorgeous faux bois personalized mugs, just pair with your favorite fair trade coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new go-to gift: Put together a mixed six pack of local craft beer, the beer labels are cool and the names are usually funny, and if you put that together with these wordy glasses, you have a really thoughtful gift. And you might even pick up a vocab word or two.uncommon goods wordy beer glasses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling the sentiment? Me, too. Love this company,

 

 

Check out their blog  which features their artists, design inspiration, and even more gift guides.

 

Disclaimer: While I did receive payment for sharing this post, all opinions are always my own.

Upgrading with Fios

During my transition from being a Stay at Home Mom to a Work At Home Mom, I have been lucky to have great service through Verizon Fios. We have always had land line, internet, television and wireless service with Fios, and as our family grew and our use of iPads, computers, and cell phones grew with it. Considering that we hadn’t even looked at upgrading speed options since we first got Fios (in 2008), and our usage has definitely increased, I recently upgraded and am thrilled with how fast I can search sites, update blog posts – even with the house full of people streaming on their devices.

The speed and convenience that I now take for granted was highlighted even more  after a weekend at my parent’s house that definitely does not have Fios, and where I had to navigate their patchwork of services. Next project, set the parents up with Fios!

The Verizon representative was thorough, knowledgeable, professional and courteous. After the super easy, non-intrusive installation was complete, he helped me run a speed test on the computers and installed another Verizon router upstairs (we have a weird, old house) so now all of the house is covered. He also patiently answered all of my many questions. Great customer service again. Thanks Verizon!

So, if you have Verizon already – here is the Verizon Speed Test – give it a try. Don’t have Verizon yet? Just click here and see if it is in your area. Verizon Fios Boston

So while I am occasionally still locked out of Netflix, I now have the fastest download speed available and I am never at a loss for something great to watch.

 

Disclosure – I am a member of a Verizon #BostonFios influencer team (a natural for me – a Verizon superfan!) and we are compensated for social shares. All opinions are, and always will be, my own.

 

 

 

McDonald’s In The Kitchen, Fairsted Kitchen that is.

A Surprise From McDonald’s at Fairsted Kitchen

 

When I got the invitation to Fairsted Kitchen, it was a given that I would say yes. Every time I drive by it, I remind myself that we need to have dinner there, then I get home and life happens and I forget, again, at least until the next time I drive by.  And when I saw that McDonald’s was hosting and Executive Chef Stephanie Cmar (yes, foodie friends, of Bravo’s Top Chef and of Stacked Donuts fame), was going to cook only with McD’s ingredients, I was intrigued. How would this work? What would the menu look like? And most importantly…Would there be fries?!

Photo credit: Debbie Grubstein

 

And not only were there fries – there was a bar of fries!  Everyone talked, laughed and nibbled as we circled the table and there were lots of stories because…fries. And I was so excited that the charming and twinkle lighted exterior of Fairsted Kitchen was a perfect preview to the lovely space within –  warm wood tables, lovely vintage mismatched china, and a welcoming staff. What a wonderful antidote to a cold and rainy night.

Dinner was, as expected, fantastic. And made only from ingredients that would be used in a McDonald’s kitchen. The first up: chicken croquettes with cilantro lime sauce, cucumber, peanut salad, and wilted romaine puree and our hosts explained that the fresh produce was the same used in McDonald’s premium salads and McWraps.  I learned that McD’s sources from local distributors when possible.

Next up, gnocchi made with actual McDonald’s french fries that were put through a meat grinder. Wow, super clever Stephanie Cmar! The Bolognese made with sausage and 100% ground beef, was delicious! I also learned that McD’s uses 100% beef that is ground, then formed into patties and flash frozen, and made with no additives or preservatives. Good to know.

Dessert was seriously the biggest doughnut I have ever seen. It’s okay though, years of training had prepared me for the challenge and I was undaunted. Doughnuts with Cranberry and Salted Caramel made by Stephanie (McD’s uses USDA grade A fresh eggs and North American grown whole wheat flour).

 

Served with a perfect cup of coffee (from McCafe) and made with 100 percent Arabica coffee beans. I loved McDonald’s coffee when it was Newman’s Own and I love it now, too. A great price for great coffee.

Stephanie Cmar Fairsted Kitchen McDonald's In the Kitchen

Photos* were taken by Debbie Grubstein, friend, food blogger extraordinaire, and all around wonderful person. Thanks, Deb!

*except the coffee cup so you can see why Deb is good to have around!

This post was sponsored by McDonald’s. All opinions are, and always will be, my own. Thank you!

 

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