Friday, June 29, 2012

My Favorite Things: Part 1

Last year for my birthday, Nathan and I were discussing what I wanted.  He made the suggestion of a tablet, but I didn't understand the appeal.  After much discussing and no decision making, we ended up getting me nothing...

The thought stuck in my brain though as I was traveling back and forth to school with my heavy laptop.  Wouldn't it be great if I didn't have to haul something so heavy along with an 18 month old and pregnant?  I happened to mention my thoughts to a friend in Qingdao, commenting that I didn't really want an IPad, as cool as they are. (You can ask me my opinions on this at another time if you really want to know.)  I also mentioned I was concerned about the lack of keyboard.  She told me she had just the thing- an ASUS Transformer.  The tablet itself hooks right into a full keyboard for whenever you want to do any real typing!  How cool is that?

From Drop Box

Nathan and I started looking into it, and at the time we thought we could get a Transformer for around $300 plus $100 for the keyboard.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, a snag came up.  ASUS was coming out with a new version that had a quad 4 processor and was raved about as being the best tablet of 2011.  However, due to wireless issues, it was delayed...and delayed...and delayed...  I guess because so many people wanted a Transformer for Christmas, but the Transformer Prime did not come out in time, people started buying the original Transformer, bumping the price back up to retail of $399 +$150 if you could even find it.  Since the Prime was so much better for only $100 more and there wasn't any real need for us to hurry, we decided to just pay the extra and get a Prime whenever it (FINALLY) came out.

Thankfully, my mom was coming over for Matthew's birth, and was able to bring the tablet portion of the Prime with her, but since ASUS was still having serious delays, the only keyboards available were at least $189, almost $40 above retail!  We decided to wait until we were home for summer to purchase the keyboard.  Thankfully, my patience paid off as the keyboard had dropped to $110 on Amazon-now $40 below retail!

So now I have the full set and I LOVE it.  It was hard to wait for the keyboard as it really is just a pain to type without it...nothing to do with the Prime, I just hate digital keyboards.  Email,s blogging, writing notes...all a pain, but with the keyboard it's almost as easy as a real computer (although you'll probably notice it is a bit easier to make typing mistakes).  And when I don't want the extra baggage of a keyboard, I just have a regular Tablet, even slightly smaller and lighter than an IPad!

From Drop Box

So cool.

Stick around for Part 2 of my favorite things-my new stroller!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chinese Style Pictures

For Lizbeth's 2nd Birthday my Chinese helper wanted to arrange professional pictures of Lizbeth.  She knew of a company that was looking for a foreign face to hang on their studio wall for advertising, and therefore would give us a good deal.  The following photo shoot and CD, which should have cost $350 USD only cost about 30...even though I'm not a fan of all the pictures, it was definitely a good deal and a pretty good experience.  And they want us to come back when Matthew is a little older for free...

It was a little bit frustrating at first communicating with them through my Chinese helper (who also doesn't speak English).  We were told to bring white leather shoes, which I had to buy, and then they didn't use.  We also were told to bring three outfits, which they also didn't use.  And we were told they were going to take pictures of all of us and so Nathan should come too...but they didn't.  Regardless, it went fairly smoothly and it was a good thing Nathan was there as he is the best at getting Lizbeth to smile and I could focus on Matthew.

As you see the pictures, keep in mind Chinese have a different idea about cute baby outfits and'll notice Lizbeth in a wedding outfit at the end--some of those pictures are absolutely gorgeous but the veil still makes me cringe a little...

Oh, well. 

Since I'm sick and exhausted, the pictures are in a slide show this time.  Hope you can still enjoy, and laugh.  Don't worry.  I did. :-)