Category Archives: sponsored

Tons of Fun at the First Ever Hasbro #HasCon

 

If you’ve been reading here for a while, or if you know me, or if you’ve ever passed me on the street and noticed my T-shirt, you know that I’m a bit of a man-child, as excited about Star Wars, Marvel superheros and all the rest as I was thirty five years ago. When I was offered press credentials for myself and my daughter for Hasbro’s first ever HasCon convention in nearby Providence my excitement levels were off the charts.

The plan was to wait until after the weekend to tell you all about it but after day one I’m all jacked up and ready to share. I want anybody that is on the fence, debating about whether or not to attend, to know this : it’s fantastic, exceeding all expectations. We spent nine hours today going back and forth between the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, a long day for any six year old (or forty-something year old) and there wasn’t a dull moment throughout.

For those interested in the behind the scenes stories there are some fantastic panels and Q&A sessions. Today we listened to the artists and writers of IDW’s Transformers comic books talk about the various ways that they bring these characters that I grew up with to life. The highlight of my year was listening to Marvel legend Stan Lee talk about his creations  Spider Man, The Incredible Hulk, and all the countless others that are still such an enormous influence in all aspects of pop culture.

 

HasCon

 

All of the Hasbro brands are here and feature hands on experiences. We threw Nerf footballs, played with Play Doh, built a Star Wars lightsaber and spent almost an hour playing with the fantastic people at the Furreal exhibition, who also taught this dad how to braid hair. It was on a unicorn, but the unicorn was moving and I think that I’ve really got the basics down. She fell in love with virtual reality while exploring the world of Hanazuki and played over sized carnival-style versions of all of Hasbro’s games, classics such as Monopoly and something new called Toilet Trouble that has already been added to her Christmas list.

 

HasCon

 

Face painting and makeovers are everywhere. She got a new do courtesy of the girls at Tangled: The Series, died it purple with DreamWorks Trolls, and got further ponified at My Little Pony and Equestria Girls.

 

HasCon

 

Never known for her shyness, she charmed all the extremely pleasant people holding open auditions for Hasbro’s toy commercials. The girl that I jokingly call “Hollywood”, never one to pass up a photo opportunity or perform her antics for total strangers, may have just found her true calling in life.

 

hascon

 

All the toys that I grew up with were represented and still going strong. GI Joe, Transformers, Star Wars, Marvel. Photo opportunities and movie props that had me taking more pictures today than I usually do over a six month period.

 

hascon

 

As if all this wasn’t enough, the evening ended with a concert by Grammy winning recording artist Daya, one of my daughter’s favorites. If you don’t recognize the name, you know her songs: “Hide Away”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Words” “Feel Good”, and “Sit Still, Look Pretty.” Her stage name is Sanskrit for “compasison” or “kindness” and even if her music isn’t what would be typically on my playlist, her lyrics of female empowerment and self-reliance have made me a fan.

 

Daya

 

So what could possibly be left for us to do today? I’m looking forward to listening to James Gunn, writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, as well as learning more about IDW’s line of Hasbro comic books and Hasbro’s philanthropic initiative, “Be Fearless, Be Kind”, two of the lessons I try to teach her daily.  There are still Baby Alive and Littlest Pet Shop experiences, as well as Sesame Street and Dungeons and Dragons. She wants more purple in her hair to look more like Evie from Descendants 2, also represented here, and Flo Rida hits the main stage at 5:00.

Hope to see you there.

 

My daughter and I were provided three day complimentary passes for the purpose of spreading awareness of this event but all opinions are my own, as always. 

 

 

Come Play With Me

 

If you are anything like me, or have kids that eat anything like mine, chances are that you also hit several different stores over the course of an average week. Target, Wal Mart, Aldis, Dollar General, Stop and Shop, somehow I seem to be in one or the other just about every other day.

If you are a fanboy like me, or have somebody in your household that is, you probably made sure that stop this weekend was a store participating in “Force Friday”, the annual unveiling of new Star Wars toys and merchandise. You may have been getting a start on Christmas shopping, using the new toys to find clues about the new movie, or simply picking up some cool stuff to play with. I saw you, I was there doing all three.

 

 

I had a lot of Star Wars toys as a kid, as well as a ton of GI Joes. They each has their own base in opposite corners of the room, the Joes augmented by some Marvel super hero help, Autobot and Decepticon Transformers adding their power to the fight between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. Like many others I kick myself for how few of those were kept over the years but feel fortunate to be able recreate those battles now, my daughter constantly amazing me with her imagination and story telling. So much else has changed in the world in the thirty six years since I was her age, there is something comforting about the sight of her running around the house with a Stormtrooper in one hand, Optimus Prime in the other.

 

 

Next weekend we will be totally immersed in GI Joe and Transformers, as well as Star Wars, Marvel, My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop and all the other great Hasbro brands at the first ever HASCON at the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  Creator panels, hands on toy demonstrations, character meet and greets, autograph sessions with celebrities like Mark Wahlberg and David Ortiz, live performances by Daya and Flo Rida, the amount of coolness they are offering over three days is staggering and too much to list here. The full schedule can be found here. It has to be seen to be believed.

Tickets are available here as well as through the Groupon banner at the bottom of this page.

 

 

Being able to share our favorite things of our youth, to be able to recapture some of that magic, is a pretty cool part of parenthood, but let’s face it, many of us never really stopped acting like kids. Like many dads I know, I still read comic books, play video games and know the release dates for all the upcoming Marvel and Star Wars movies.

All of these things are acceptable to do without our kids, what about playing with toys? Nobody thinks much of it when we go to the movies or get together to game, what would happen if I asked another dad to come over and play while our kids were at school? I’m not sure I’ll ever have the nerve to find out, but if anybody is interested, I just picked up some pretty neat new stuff.

 

Disclaimers: We were provided tickets to HasCon in exchange for promotion and review. Any products or services bought through Groupon via the link on this site result in a percentage compensation

 

8/20 20% off Local, promo code: SMILE20

 

Fueling Her Need For Speed With NASCAR and Acceleration Nation

 

 

My daughter loves to race.  It doesn’t matter if she’s in the pool, on her bike, or going upstairs to brush her teeth, she wants to be first. It’s the easiest way she’s found to satisfy her unending competitiveness. I’m not proud, but it’s been an effective way to get dinner finished more nights than I’d care to admit.

She’s especially fond of racing cars. She’s constantly yelling at me from the back seat if we get passed on the highway and I’ts become a challenge to avoid tripping over the variety of tracks that are spread throughout the living room. She’s excited about the growing size of her toy car collection, I’m excited that cartoons have now been replaced by NASCAR races every weekend.

 

 

NASCAR has recently introduced a new way to encourage this new love of motor sports, the NASCAR Acceleration Nation website and app, available on both Android and I Phone. There is info on races, details about cars and educational videos about the science of speed. Her two favorite features are the ability to read more about her favorite diver, Danica Patrick naturally, and the racing games that I’ll admit to playing quite often myself.

 

Acceleration Nation

 

The app is FREE and can be downloaded here

The Acceleration Nation home page for Mac or PC can be found here

 

There is also this fantastic giveaway, a first prize of $400,  second of $150, and third of $75 NASCAR gift cards, open to residents of the US and Canada, eighteen and over. The contest ends on September 8th.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s always fun to find new activities that we can share together, things to bond over. I’ve been surprised by how much a mutual love of sports has been a part of that. Kids twelve and under are always free to all NASCAR INFINITY and Camping World Truck races. I think we may have something new to add to our list next summer.

 

 

NASCAR® and it’s marks, including NASCAR AccelerationNationTM, are trademarks of the National Association for Stock Car Racing,Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their perspective owners.

I was provided compensation for this post, but as always all opinions are my own

 

 

Unconditional Love

 

From time to time I’m fortunate enough to be invited to join sponsored campaigns, brands offering goods and/or compensation for help in spreading their message, often about a new product or service they are providing. By far my favorite one that I have worked on was last Father’s Day, partnering with Pampers and Life of Dad on something called #ThanksBaby, a post all about that incredible feeling that our children bring into our lives, thanking them for making us feel exceptionally special and empowering us to discover new roles in life through fatherhood.

It was my favorite because I love the idea of turning Father’s Day around. I don’t need cards or ties or pats on the back for being a good dad, I’m just muddling through, doing the best that I can, for better or worse. It’s all any of us are doing. I don’t need a day of appreciation for that but I like the idea of taking time to appreciate my kids, to thank them for making me continually strive to be a better person, a better father.

 

ThanksBaby
I cant decide if this feels like yesterday, or a lifetime ago

 

It was my favorite last year, and may be my favorite again this year, as I’ve been asked once again to contribute my thoughts. This Father’s Day and everyday, Pampers is celebrating that incredible feeling little ones bring to the hearts of dads through unconditional love.

Unconditional love.

It’s a concept that has been on my mind a lot lately. We live in a dark world, a scary time. It’s hard to watch the news anymore, to browse online or to check your phone. It’s a time dominated by headlines of bombings, shootings, wars, nonstop bickering about who’s to blame, what needs to be done. Maybe it’s always been this way, maybe I’ve just never noticed, never paid attention, but it feels like a time of such unmitigated hate. It’s easy to feel down, to question where we are as a society, to wonder why we bother.

It’s hard until I come downstairs on a Saturday morning and see this. It’s a simple picture, nothing more than a little girl watching cartoons. Yes, she’s sitting too close, television is bad for kids, blah, blah, blah. What I see when I look at this picture is innocence. I see a little girl who wants nothing more than to love and to be loved in return. My heart swells.

 

thanks baby
the innocence of childhood

 

Eventually her sister will make her way downstairs and they’ll hug, they’ll laugh, they’ll play. For a brief period in time the teenager will forget about school, forget about boys and friends and drama. Forget about the world. She’ll forget about everything but the unconditional love that one sister feels for another. I’ll watch from afar and I’ll smile, enjoying just watching.

 

thanks baby
a picture of love

 

I want to thank my children for loving each other, for loving me.  For being a constant reminder of all that is good, sweet and innocent in this world.

Enjoy Father’s Day. Spend it with your family, the ones you love, the ones that make you who you are. Take a minute and reflect. Think about that first time you held them, the first time they smiled, the first time they told you that they loved you. Tell them how much you love them and thank them for the unconditional love that they give in return.

 

thanks baby
#ThanksBaby

 

Share your story with us. Instagram a picture of the ones that you love, tweet out a short story. Tell us about how Father’s Day makes you thankful for the unconditional love of your children using the #ThanksBaby.

Pampers has released a new #ThanksBaby video that captures the amazing relationship that is created between a dad and his baby when a baby is born and the beautiful journey of fatherhood begins.

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers on this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Customize Your Memories With Amazon Prints

 

When you’re a kid there is nothing better than receiving a package in the mail, seeing your name printed on that plain brown box. In the late 80’s that was a three times a month treat for me. My father belonged to a book of the month club, military thrillers featuring Mack Bolan, Able Team, and other cheesy escapist titles that I devoured when he was done.  Most of my allowance and odd job money was spent on music cassettes and later CDs, music clubs promising me twelve for a penny if I agreed to spend the next three years paying exorbitant shipping fees until my obligation was fulfilled. The end of the month meant my favorite package of all, a box full of new comic books.

Those days are long gone now, an Amazon Prime membership offering instant access to thousands of movies and television shows, ad free music and the unlimited reading of books, magazines and even my comic books.

Fantastic services that I confess to not taking full  advantage of. I’m an old timer who still likes to have things that he can hold, pages to turn, shelves to browse. I still like seeing my name on a label, having a brown box full of goodies to open.

 

 

I also like having albums full of pictures to flip through, something that I have been desperately trying to keep up with as the amount of pictures that I take continues to increase dramatically.

Amazon is helping me with that too, having launched a photo printing service that allows all customers to print their memories. Prime members can upload images to their Prime Photos account, print the product of their choice and receive free delivery. If you’re not a Prime member you’ll still receive 5 GB of storage free on Prime Photos and be able to print your favorite pictures. Prints start at $0.09.  You can create custom photo books, cards, canvases and large prints right from your computer, customizing your theme, paper types and print sizes. Mugs, mouse pads and wall calendars are all available.

 

 

It’s the perfect way to keep yesterday’s habits using today’s technology and add some personal touches to that shelf full of old movies.

 

 

Amazon Prime Photos is available on computers, iOS and Android phones, laptops or tablets. You can download the app here: Amazon Prime Photos APP and be sure to visit the Amazon Prints Page

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway. Enter below for your chance at a $500.00 Amazon gift card.

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. For further information, please feel free to  visit the Disclaimers Page