Being a blogger means I am inundated with emails from PR firms asking me if I will “let my readers know” about some amazing product or another. If hi-res images were a currency, I would be a very rich woman.  Most of these emails are addressed to “blogger” and are for products I would never in a million years use, much less recommend. Some of the gems I’ve turned down posting about in the past year have included a bedazzled jar of Vaseline, a Valentine’s Day special edition Madame Alexander doll, and some bikini trimmers they wanted me to recommend as a mother’s day gift.  (Yes, really).  I’m sorry I held these gift ideas back from you all. On occasion, though, I’m given a product that is actually pretty cool, and I’ve decided to do a round-up post each Friday of products I like – whether they were submitted to me or I purchased them myself.  Here are some of things I’m digging this week. Instagram for Andriod Okay, I’m not even on an android phone and I’m excited about this.  Instagram is by far my favorite social network right now, but thus far it’s only been available to iphone users.  Now that it’s on the android platform, it’s accessible to more people.  It’s been fun seeing a rush of friends joining up this week.  You can find me on instagram as @kristenhowerton. Life with SMS Speaking of instagram, one of my favorite blogger/photographers is doing an amazing series there on life with SMS.  It’s a beautiful and informative photo journal of his son’s unique special needs, and I think it’s such a creative way to bring awareness to this sybdrome.  SMS stands for Smith Magenis Syndrome and it is a rare genetic disorder due to deletions in the 17th chromosome that lead to a number delays and developmental issues, with many of the symptoms mimicking autism.  You can find @thepanicroom on instagram to follow along. image


My book club read this as our selection for March, and it was very good. Different . . . but good. Shake It Up Dancewear Ivivva Athletica send India some outfits from their new dancewear line for girls. It’s based on the show Shake it Up on the Disney channel, and it’s really darling. India loves to dance and I like that this line is cute but modest, and can go from the dance studio to the real world. It’s perfect for yoga or gymnastics, or just lounging as well.
Barry’s Boot Camp I was invited to try a month of working out at Barry’s Boot Camp in March.  I’d heard of this gym and it’s reputation as being a killer workout that many celebrities enjoy, so naturally I was excited completely intimidated.  Despite fearing I was actually having a heart attack in the first class, I ended up really enjoying it.  Let me say, though, this is by far the most difficult workout I’ve ever done.  One hour in Barry’s Boot Camp was still worse than the half marathon I did.  Not quite as bad as labor, but . . . yeah.  Pretty bad.  Still, I liked it because it was a great mix of cardio and strenth traning.  The class format gives just the right amount of peer pressure to keep going, and I really surprised myself in terms of meeting some speed goals on the treadmill in a short amount of time.  I would also say that a class at Barry’s is in every way equal to an hour with a personal trainer, for much less money.  I’m hoping I can keep going a few times a week. image   FitDesk For a slightly less intense workout, I’ve also been trying out a new device called the FitDesk Pedal Desk.  It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like . . . a desk with a fitness component.  I’m really liking it. It folds up very small so it’s easy to tuck away, and it’s actually pretty effective.  I don’t think I can do much serious writing on it, but it’s the perfect way to do a little facebook browing and blog reading while multitasking.  The cure for twitter butt?  Could be. image Once: The Musical So, it’s no secret that I’m a total dork about muscial theater, and Once is one of my favorite movies of all times.  You would think that the combination of those two things would be a sure hit in my book . . . but I’m just not sure how I feel about this. I think the only solution here is that I’ll need to go on and see it when I’m in New York this summer and report back.  It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the sake of research.  You’re welcome.