Brand · Product · Review · Wedding

Wedding Registries: Amazon & Zola

Continuing from the first part about Wedding Registries Online and Traditional, let’s deep dive into Amazon & Zola! I’ve also updated the previous post with all the ratings if you are curious. I’ve only seen one other couple who also registered on Amazon, and it was so easy to just order something with our Amazon prime account! Most of our friends and my parents specifically are very familiar with ordering stuff from this retailer. It was actually my father that introduced me to this for ordering books over a decade ago. Zola on the other hand I have never seen anyone else use until after our bridal shower. (It’s actually the wedding we will attend this weekend!)

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Brand · Product · Review · Wedding

Wedding Registries: Traditional and Online

Ah registries! One of the many tricky aspects of a wedding (as I’m reflecting on our wonderful gifts from the continued session of Thank You note writing). I honestly had no familiarity with this concept until we started receiving invites directly addressed to us! As a guest, most people don’t start looking at the registry until 2 weeks prior to the event. Be it a wedding shower OR the actual wedding. As the couple getting married, they also must walk the line of picking out appropriate items without coming off as greedy: wide price range and quantity for guests to choose from. For someone who hates surprises, I love registries now!

Do people (our age) still follow the convention of sending a gift even though they can’t attend the wedding? We’ve encountered several flustered friends who when we have talked to them immediately mention they will send a gift without us mentioning. Do or don’t, just be candid with us haha. There’s no need to avoid us over this awkward topic! We enjoy quality time with folks and appreciate friends making the effort to reach out to catch up. Etiquette suggests that they still have up to a year after the wedding date. However, I just learned that it’s a MYTH that you have up to a year from the wedding/receiving the gift to write a thank you note back. Gulp… according to this we have until the end of July!

We set up 4 separate registries with Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Zola!

allregistry

TheKnot website mentioned that they would donate a portion of any purchase made through the website link to a charity of my choosing, American Cancer Society up to 6 months post wedding date. All items purchased after will not be counted. (It’s really unclear if they will show you the actual amount contributed. Better than nothing?) Similar to the wedding website post(s) this will be a 2 parter as well. I will do an actual full blown review next week of Amazon and Zola, as that was where 90% of our items were located.

 

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Brand · Product · Review · Series · Wedding

FREE Wedding Websites TheKnot Part 2

Now where were we from the FREE Wedding Websites Part 1? If you haven’t read all of the different options I laid out, I would recommend reading my previous post before continuing. At this point I’m 99% done with the website and just adding any last minute or day of information along with photos from additional events. I look forward to the day when I will stop receiving these e-mails from TheKnot, stressing me about the endless checklist of tasks for your typical western wedding. We’ve definitely cut out several items we deemed unnecessary.

TKemails
209 days seems like so long ago… Look at how few of these e-mails I’ve actually opened.

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Affiliate · Brand · Credit Card · Product · Review · Rewards

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Review

amex
Send me an e-mail for referral link!

Are you missing out on cash back for mundane tasks such as grocery shopping? I’ve dedicated American Express Blue Cash Everyday card as my default for the weekly chore since it consistently receives 3% cash back (CB)! Also known as the Tina Fey card since she’s been in so many commercials for this… Other credit cards such as (Chase Freedom and Discover It Card) have those annoying quarterly categories that can be quite difficult to track. Confession: I own both of those too and a slew of other cards. At this point I’ve been good and haven’t applied for anymore.

If you want the quantitative break down of the APR, fees and rewards comparisons to other cards then please check out the other resources I’ll list below. (There’s a million and one stats for cards already, not going to rebuild the wheel here.) My review focuses more so on the strategy of using this as a niche card for specific very savvy features that appeal to me and could potentially work for you as well! Of course if you’re not on the market for a new credit card at this point, you could always keep this post on your radar for when they offer even more enticing sign-up bonuses than the current on the left.

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Brand · Product · Review · Series · Wedding

FREE Wedding Websites Part 1

First post in the Engagement/Wedding series from the schedule! Come back every Wednesday for more info. Wedding season creeps over the horizon (if not already here for those living in warmer locations). One of the first places people scour for info aside from your Save the Date or Invitation is your Wedding Website! In New England we’re still waiting for the remainder of the snow/ice to thaw now that’s officially “Spring”. There are plenty of PAID websites that offer services, but I’m just going to focus on the FREE choices since you’ll probably be spending a lot of money in other areas. I’ve linked the sample website demos for you to peruse. However if you want to see the layout options you can check out the main page. After digging into some more research for this post, I’m actually thinking I should have picked a different website… a little too late now!

If you are planning on having an engagement party or a celebration shortly after the exciting news, I advise starting on the website early on! Even though we shared the website link early on (Save the Dates, Invitation response card), it still required a considerable amount of goading for people to actually visit. Hate to break it to ya, but your big day won’t be as important to anyone else so visiting the website can fall to the wayside. You can also buy your own domain name so the URL is easier for your loved ones to remember. Ingrain it into their minds anyway you can.

1. WeddingWire – One of my go to resources for forum Q&A discussion! Love searching for my wedding dilemma issues. Someone else usually has a crazier story on here.

  • No RSVP option online.
  • So many free themes and you can choose whether you want the menu to go horizontally (stacked), vertically (paged).
  • Photo album shows full screen photos.
  • Guestbook & Contact form included!

2. eWedding – Easy layouts to navigate, not very many theme options! Everything is on the main page, so many unique features!

  • Photos allow guests to “like” with a heart and leave comments.
  • Share other forms of media video
  • RSVP online option available.
  • Fun polls to add on your website for guests to interact, timeline of your love story
  • Guests can submit information such as song requests, collect their addresses!
  • Blog feature, really nifty if you want to post what you are up to and events leading up to the wedding. (I love writing! This would have been great for announcing wedding website updates.)

3. SayIDo – streamlined interface of all your key info in one place! Cool flash features. Not too many people are using this so your website will be unique and you can have a simple and short URL!

  • Minimalistic layout. Sleek design looks great on mobile interface.
  • RSVP feature for guests.

4. Weduary – are all of your contacts on Facebook? This website integrates all of your contact info already on Facebook to allow you to send out invites.

  • Obviously this is an issue if not all of your guests are on here, but for the very social media active this could be a very easy option!
  • Privacy control integrated with Facebook so only those invited can see the wedding details.

5. TheKnot – most popular/default option I’ve seen used among friends, colleagues. There are a few annoying glitches, but overall it’s reliable!

  • Variety of themes, some of them also have matching stationary available from Minted to order.
  • Custom pages for you to share your love story and other fun tidbits & guestbook.
  • Wedding Checklist & E-mail reminders
  • Guest List Manager / Collect Addresses / Online RSVP
  • Registry integration, donation to charity of choosing for guests who purchase through the link. (No specified % or amount though.)
  • Photo albums feature drives me crazy since the size of the photos is so small.
  • Privacy protection, you can set a PIN for guests to enter. Also your website will not be searchable if you’re paranoid like me.

Drum roll please… no surprise for my friends and family but I chose TheKnot! Don’t pick it just because it’s the default option though! Take a moment to look through all the features of the other free websites to decide which one would be best for you. You don’t need to to go with the mainstream choice like me. Hope you found the options useful. I hate it when the movie industry splits the last movie into 2 parts to get more revenue (when they could have made a slightly longer final movie), but expect the FREE Wedding Website TheKnot Part 2 for next week!

App · Brand · Product · Review · Series · Social Media

Instagram: At least it’s not as bad as Snapchat

Ah Instagram (IG)… it makes our mediocre photos look slightly better with their array of filters. Anyone can be “artsy”. I’m not quite sure why I even signed up for this app in the first place? I attempted Twitter too and failed at having engaging posts that weren’t laundry lists of my life. The app has drastically changed since I first joined in the tail end of 2012 for APO Nationals photos on a horrible LG Virgin Mobile phone! The premise is that you take photos and “instantly” share your photo “gram”. IG used to have a strictly square interface, where users would use apps to fill in the background with negative space to bypass the limitation to upload landscape or portrait shots. Nowadays they have copied Snapchat basically feature for feature (aside from the range of wild overlay masks i.e. flower crown, dog mask, face swap) allowing me to consolidate and delete the latter.

 

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Guest Author · Product · Review · Series · TV Show

Super Mario Bros Z (Exactly What it Sounds Like)

Full disclosure: I once donated money to the Patreon page of this series to help fund an episode. Now that that’s out of the way…

Ever wanted to see a Sonic and Mario crossover cartoon series? Officially, we probably never will due to licensing issues. Unofficially, a lot of fans have made a lot of series with this premise. The one that continues to stand out, however, is Super Mario Bros Z by Mark Haynes (AKA Alvin-Earthworm).

In 2006 on Newgrounds.com Haynes released the first episode of this series. It was okay with 2 main draws. The first was the crossover of the two franchises with the arrival of Metal Sonic in the Mushroom Kingdom. The second was the humor from poking fun at the formula seen in the Mario games.

Image result for super mario bros z
Who told you I want to kidnap Peach?

The next episode was significantly better and showed what Haynes could do with fight scenes. Both the humor and action improved as the series went on, with the final episode having a fast-paced, creative, and hilarious battle against Bowser’s army. Unfortunately, it ended in a cliffhanger which was never resolved. Years later the series has now been rebooted, which I think is a mistake. Yes, the animation has gotten even better with the newest episode, but I’d rather have seen that quality go into finishing the story that fans have wanted to see for a decade.

The work that was put into this series is astounding, especially when you consider that it wasn’t made by an animation studio but instead by some very dedicated fans who, at least at first, probably weren’t getting paid. Production time for each episode could take months due to the effort necessary to make the animation work, as well as writing the script and dialogue for the characters.

Haynes is clearly a knowledgeable fan of Sonic, Mario, and Dragon Ball Z as elements from all three franchises are present throughout the series. Sonic and Shadow’s personalities are tweaked enough to make them more closely resemble Goku and Vegeta, respectively. The chaos emeralds are a stand-in for the dragon balls, though a lot of fans have pointed out that this is the intention of the Sonic series anyways. The fighting abilities of all the characters are more fast-paced using techniques from all three series and even a little bit from Super Smash Bros. A fan of any one of these series, or better yet a fan of all three, can enjoy all the references and how the environment and characters are combined to make new possibilities for storytelling.

Image result for shadow super mario bros z
CALL ME VEGETA ONE MORE TIME!

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