Wednesday, July 27, 2016

National Geographic KiDS: Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas

Summer is a great time for family road trips and some of the best experiences from these excursions can be the result of taking some time to view the artwork, landmarks, and scenic landscapes that dot the map along the path of your journey.  Whether it is a giant rooster standing on top of a restaurant or a giant statue in a park, every community has something interesting or different to see that makes it unique from your own hometown.  National Geographic KiDS has compiled the Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas to help make your family's next trek into a wondrous adventure.



The National Geographics KiDS Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas is a 128 page soft-cover book that can easily be brought along with a family as it travels.  This book features information and fun facts about all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., to help your family make the most out of its road trip and keep children interested in your travels and learning about new things.  Each geographical profile provides an overview about its official bird, flower, animal and tree plus gives the location's nick name.  Washington D.C. is "our Nation's Capital" while Arkansas is "The Natural State."  Each section also includes a map that pinpoints 5 cool things to do while visiting and highlights the national parks and forests that may be located there.  Additionally, there is a Roadside Attractions column that highlights out of the ordinary and whimsical things to do during a road trip ranging from engaging in educational opportunities to taking in folk art to checking out a must-see tourist trap.  Of course being a National Geographic publication there are also lots of nice photos to look at throughout the Ultimate U.S. Roadtrip Atlas as well.


One of the worst ways to damper a family road trip is for kids to get bored and start barraging the driver with inquiries of "are we there yet?!"  In addition to this book providing entertaining and educational material children can read while traveling about the places they'll be going, the National Geographic KiDS Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas is full of games and activities that can keep children occupied for hours of backseat fun.  There are Boredom Buster activities that are unique to each state which challenge kids to participate in scavenger hunt type challenges. For example in Florida the kids are challenged to take a photograph of every wacky road sign they view and see at the end of the ride who in the car collected the most pictures and the funniest.  Each profile section also provides a listing of either weird  traffic laws or fantastic facts that will wow kids or make them giggle. For example,  in Indiana "don't pass any horses you see walking on the street -- it's illegal" and "Eastern Kentucky is home to so many country-music stars that a stretch of highway was renamed the "Country Music Highway."


CAR TRIP FUN! is a section at the back of the book that provides a "Stump Your Parents" True or False game, picture puzzles and other activities to keep children amused during a road trip.  The best thing about this Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas is it is written specifically for a young audience taking cues in making its text and layout attractive to children from the popular National Geographic KiDS Magazine. When taking your next family road trip make sure to bring this great resource along for the ride!

You may also want to pick up National Geographic KiDS awesome 8 to help distract your kids during a long family road trip.  This book of photograph filled top 8 lists of weird and cool topics will keep curious kids attentions focused on flipping through its pages.  awesome 8 lists include Coolest Roller Coasters, Haugtiest Hotels, Wicked Water Slides, Perilous Predators, Remarkable Ruins, Wackiest Weather Events and Weirdest Wonders among numerous other topics.  Both my kids love reading this 112 page soft cover book that is also easy to pack so it is convenient to take along when traveling.


A Geek Daddy is a member of the National Geographic Kids Insider blogger program. Insiders get a behind-the-scenes look at National Geographic’s resources, activities, content and projects for kids and families. They also review copies of books, magazines and toys, and are offered interviews with authors, explorers and editors. I do not receive any financial compensation for my participation as a National Geographic Kids Insider. #NGKInsider

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Breitling Jet Team To Fly At The Thunder Over Michigan Air Show

As a kid our house was located under the path that the jets performing at the annual Thunder Over Michigan Air Show at Ypsilanti's historic Willow Run Airport would fly their practice routines leading up to the event.  I used to run outside when hearing the jets approach and gaze up at them in fascination as they passed over.  My dad would also routinely take me to go see the show at Willow Run, which was the site of the world's largest bomber manufacturing plant built by Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh during WWII, which was always a lot of fun.  It's been awhile since I've been to this airshow but with the Breitling Jet Team headlining this year's event taking place on August 20 - 21 it seems like a good time to go again.



Supported by Breitling, the independent Swiss watch company, the Breitling Jet Team is the largest professional civilian jet team in the world, flying seven L-39C Albatros Jets within just a few feet of each other at speeds up to 565mph in precision routines.  This is the team's first ever performance in Michigan and they will be heading back to Europe at the end of the year as they wrap up a two year tour of the United States and Canada.  So if you want to see these highly skilled fast flying aerial acrobats first hand you'll want to catch one of their final tour performances which also includes a September appearance at the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto and an appearance at San Francisco's Fleet Week in California during October.


The Breitling Jet Team promises to amaze the crowds at the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show with stunning acrobatic maneuvers including Apache Rolls, Barrel Rolls, Loops, and their awe inspiring Vertical Split.  Imitating the precision of a Breitling Chronometer, the flight team's rapid succession of aerobatic maneuvers and gravity defying moves strives to provide audiences with a seamlessly performed ballet in the sky.

In addition to the Breitling Jet Team, the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show will also include appearances and demonstrations by the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, U.S. Navy's F/A-18 Hornet, a Russian MiG-23, a Russian Mi-24 Hind "flying tank" helicopter gunship, and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin search & rescue helicopter, among other aircraft.  Also the Batcopter from the 1960s era Batman television shows that starred Adam West and Burt Ward will be on display at the airshow alongside a replica of the Batmobile from the TV show as well.


For more information about the Thunder Over Michigan 2016 Air Show taking place on Saturday, August 20th and Sunday, August 21st please visit yankeeairmuseum.org/airshow. Kids 15 years old and under are FREE!  Tickets purchased in advance of the show online for adults start at $35.

2nd & Charles: Harry Potter Midnight Book Release Party

2nd & Charles, a retail chain which specializes in trading and selling books, audio books, CDs, DVDs, and video games, isn't waiting for its newest Metro Detroit location to officially open to welcome visitors.  While its brand new Utica, Michigan location's grand opening isn't until Saturday, August 6th, the store will be hosting a special countdown celebration this weekend for the release of the book formated script of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child -- Parts I & II," the theatrical eighth installment of JK Rowling's series that delves into the wizarding world.



From 2 pm to 9 pm on Saturday, July 30, 2016 visitors to the new 2nd & Charles store located in the Utica Park shopping center at 45290 Utica Park Blvd. can take a photographic journey throughout the store for a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt.  The official countdown party begins at 9 pm featuring a Sorting Hat ceremony for guests to discover their Hogwarts house perfect pairing.  Every half hour leading up to the midnight book release, visitors can join in the various interactive activity stations leading up to the midnight release of the book compilation of the "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child -- Parts I & II" theatrical script.  Special activities will include face painting, a coloring station, Harry Potter trivia and a wand-making session.

Beginning at 11 pm, Harry Potter fans are encouraged to don their best Hogwarts robes with brooms and wants in tow for a costume contest.  You can also register to win an ultimate Harry Potter prize pack while you are at this event; plus while supplies last attendees will receive and exclusive swag bag filled with enchanted Harry Potter-themed goodies!  When the clock ticks midnight, the newest edition of the Harry Potter saga will be available to purchase.  Are you going to be going out to get a copy of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child -- Parts I & II" during the Witching Hour?


If you don't live near Macomb County, Michigan's M-59 shopping corridor, 2nd and Charles has locations throughout the United States holding similar events.  CLICK HERE to find out if there is a location near you and contact the store to see if they are hosting a Harry Potter Midnight Book Release Party on Saturday, July 30th.  You can also arrange to pre-order the book from these stores and submit your voucher in an express lane to quickly pick up your book at 12:01 am.

For more information about the new 2nd & Charles location in Utica, Michigan, visit 2ndandcharles.com/locations/utica-mi. This will be the second location in Metro Detroit for the eclectic retailer joining a store near Great Lakes Crossing Outlet Mall in Auburn Hills2nd & Charles draws a diverse audience of gamer fanatics, pop culture junkies, movie buffs, and bookworms that are drawn to the 300,000+ items that are available from more than three miles of stocked shelf space at each store.  Whether it is a classic vinyl record, used video games, collectible toys, or a brand new Harry Potter book, 2nd & Charles has something for most everyone no matter his or her age or interests.  Check them out and see for yourself!


Monday, July 25, 2016

LEGO Dimensions Announces New Wave of Exciting Expansion Packs

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has announced several new expansion packs for its popular LEGO Dimensions video game will be arriving at stores on November 18, 2016 just in time for the holiday shopping season.  For those of you who already own the LEGO Dimensions starter pack you'll be pleased to know that no updated master game software or new toy pad hardware will be needed to incorporate these expansion packs into your existing game play.  When you purchase the new expansion packs you'll find your new characters, accessories, and environments are fully compatible to mix-and-match with all those previously released for use within the LEGO Dimensions which utilizes LEGO toys to create a hybrid video game experience.

The upcoming expansion packs will introduce my son's favorite video game character, Sonic The Hedgehog, to LEGO Dimensions.  Characters from two iconic movies of my youth, E.T. and Gremlins, will also be joining the LEGO Dimensions cast of characters.  For those of you looking forward to the upcoming Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them you'll be excited that LEGO Dimensions will be incorporating elements of the movie into the video game as well.  Plus all of these new expansion packs will include golden Toy Tags which unlock special, all new Battle Arenas.  These Battle Arenas will offer first-to-LEGO video games competitive split-screen gameplay for up to four players.  Each will have four gameplay modes and come with its own traps, special powers and interactive environments that make every Battle Arena unique.



The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack will be the largest of the new expansion packs providing a complete movie-based gameplay experience with 6 levels and comes with new LEGO Gateway bricks to build the Magical Congress of the United States of America on top of the LEGO toy pad. Players can build a Newt Scamander LEGO minifigure and help him find his escaped magical creatures in New York City and use a variety of spells, including Diffindo, Reparo, and Lumos.  The pack will also come with a 3-in-1 Niffler which can be rebuilt into two other creatures from the movie, the Sinister Scorpion and Vicious Vulture.  A Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Fun Pack will also be available which will include a Tina Goldstein LEGO minifigure and a 3-in-1 Swooping Evil which can also be rebuilt into the Brutal Bloom and Crawling Creeper creatures from the movie.


The Sonic the Hedgehog Level Pack will allow players to race as the Blue Blur at lightening speeds through favorite locations from his previous SEGA video games including Green Hill, Emerald Coast, and Labyrinth.  The pack will include a Sonic the Hedgehog LEGO minifigure, a 3-in-1 Sonic Speedster, which can be rebuilt into the Blue Typhoon or Motobug, and a 3-in-1 The Tornado, which can also be rebuilt into Crabmeat or Eggcatcher.



The Gremlins Team Pack includes LEGO minifigures of Gizmo and Stripe. Gizmo's Combat Roll and Dash Attack abilities can be used to get him out of sticky situations and Stripe uses his claws and his Vine Cut ability.  Players can also rebuild the included 3-in-1 R.C. Racer vehicle into the Gadget-o-matic or Scarlet Scorpion and the 3-in-1 Flash 'n' Finish into a Rampage Record Player and Stripe's Throne.



Phone home with the E.T.: Extra-Terrestrial Fun Pack that includes an E.T. LEGO minifigure with Illumination and Fix-It abilities, as well as special Stealth and Telekinesis skills that can be used throughout the LEGO Dimensions multiverse.  Players can also build E.T.'s iconic Phone Home device, then rebuild it into the Mobile Uplink and Super-Charged Satellite for additional in-game abilities.



These all look to be great additions to the LEGO Dimensions video game! Which one is your favorite?  LEGO Dimensions is now available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii U.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Super Pets Helping People In Distress

**A Geek Daddy received the featured products free to review**
What if pets had the power to save the day for humans in distress?  That is the theme for a line of books by Capstone Publishing called the DC Super-Pets.  In these stories the pets of the heroes and villains from the DC comic book universe have their own super powers which are demonstrated through their embarking on various adventures and challenges.  My seven year old twins really enjoy the DC Super-Pets books and are just the right age for this series which is written for children six to nine years old who are in first through third grade; though I have to admit this 40 year old dad enjoys reading these stories just as much as his kids do.

DC Super-Pets stories are designed to help early readers transition to chapter books.  Each book is normally three chapters long and filled with large-sized text and colorful illustrations so they aren't overwhelming for young readers.  In fact the fun illustrations of the Super-Pets combined with goofy scenarios attract children towards wanting to read these books.



While DC Super-Pets are of course fictional creations there are animals in the real world that help make a positive difference in people's lives.  For example K-9 dogs are trained to help police search for illegal drugs or explosives and service dogs can provide assistance to people with disabilities.  Therapy dogs can also play an important role in helping improve lives by providing affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, schools, and disaster areas and to those with Alzheimer's Disease or Autism.  For example, therapy dogs were brought in to help the survivors of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut cope with the incident and are credited with providing peace of mind to the shocked and devastated children and adults these real life super pets interacted with.

Our local public library incorporates assisting with the training of a therapy dog into its children's summer reading program.  Reading to therapy dogs helps kids practice their literary skills over the summer while helping train the animals to be comfortable interacting with people.  It also gets children excited about reading over the summer which is a time when unfortunately books are often tossed aside for other activities.  My kids really look forward to these reading sessions and take a lot of pride in they are helping a dog so that it can help others.  They've been really excited to share their DC Super-Pets stories with a real life super pet who will one day be helping people in distress when reading during the therapy dog training at the public library.

My daughter has been reading DC Super-Pets BACKWARD BOWWOW during her therapy dog training sessions.  In this story, when Bizarro Krypto crash lands on Earth, he can't believe his eyes.  Humans own dogs as pets! On his Bizarro planet, everything is the exact opposite -- canines rule the world! Before returning home, he promises to make things right ... or maybe wrong.  Can Krypto the Super-Dog intervene and prevent Bizarro Krypto from making a huge mess?

 My son has been reading DC Super-Pets THE AMAZING MINI-MUTTS as he helps train the therapy dog.  In this book, Krypto, Ace, and other Super-Pet pooches visit the Bowwow Boot Camp to show a new breed of heroes a few tricks.  But the evil Brainicat wants to teach the canine cadets a lesson as well.  When he shrinks them all to microscopic size, the prep-school puppies must quickly learn to step up!


There are more than twenty DC Super-Pets adventure books by Capstone Publishing to choose from plus a super-sized Character Encyclopedia that provides interesting facts and descriptions of each animals unique powers in the profiles of more than 200 pets.  All of these DC Super-Pets books feature quirky artwork from Eisner Award winning artist Art Baltazar.  The Eisners are the comic book industry's equivalent to what the Oscars are for the movies so only the most talented and creative professionals are honored with this award.  Baltazar's artwork provides a zany vibe that makes reading each DC Super-Pets an amusing endeavor that kids are sure to enjoy.  As a parent, I appreciated that the illustration are numerable enough to capture children's attention and imagination but not so overpowering that they distract a child from immersing themselves into the text of the story.  Adorable characters and amusing plots will have children wanting to pick up a DC Super-Pets book to read.  For more information about this great early readers children's book series visit capstonepub.com/library/products/dc-super-pets


If you'd like to know more on how you can contribute to training therapy dogs or for a referral to obtain the services of one, please visit the Therapy Dog International website at tdi-dog.org.

DOCTOR STRANGE TRAILER & MOVIE POSTER

I've enjoyed following the adventures of Doctor Strange ever since flipping through the pages of Marvel's THE DEFENDERS comic books as a kid.  In these comics, the mystic wizard Doctor Strange led a super powered team consisting of the Incredible Hulk, Namor, the Silver Surfer, and a female Asgardian named Valkyrie, who could give Thor a run for his money in a duel, that took on extraterrestrial and supernatural threats to the Earth.  So I'm really excited that Disney's Marvel Studios is releasing an origin story movie featuring the Sorcerer Supreme that will arrive on November 4, 2016 at movie theaters across the United States.

The movie will tell the story of how Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange transforms from being a brilliant surgeon to becoming the world's Sorcerer Supreme after a tragic car accident ruins his medical career.  Doctor Strange travels the globe looking for a cure to restore his damaged hands from the car accident and while traversing through Asia encounters the Ancient One who teaches him to be a master of the mystical and martial arts.  Doctor Strange uses his new talents to take up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme setting up residence in a New York City mansion he calls the Sanctum Sanctorum and focusing his life on defending the world from dark magic, demonic intrusions and super villains.

Marvel Studios has just released a new trailer and movie poster to help build excitement for the movie.  Check them out below!



By the Flames of the Faltine!  Nobody is going to need to conjure up a spell to enchant me into going to this movie, I'm raring to go!  If you are as excited about going to see this movie as I am, or have no clue who this comic book character is and want to learn more, visit the official Marvel website or follow the movie's social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter for updates on DOCTOR STRANGE.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

BLOGGER BASH 2016 WAS A REAL BLAST!

  **  A Geek Daddy has been financially compensated as a BLOGGER BASH Ambassador. Opinions are honest and my own  **

I recently spent a few days on a yacht docked off a pier in New York City for the annual Blogger Bash conference.  This two day event provides an opportunity for online influencers to network with brands and each other to assist with enhancing the content and quality of their blogs and social media channels.  I've always found this conference an excellent opportunity to develop contacts, educate myself on new topics and of course have some fun.  This year was no exception providing me the chance to learn about products I wasn't familiar with, renew existing connections and build some wonderful new relationships.  There are innumerable professional benefits to attending Blogger Bash, but interestingly enough you can't take the event too seriously and must allow yourself to be a bit silly or goofy to really maximize the opportunity.  Whether it is hugging a Care Bear, hitting the dance floor with brand representatives or totally going out of your comfort zone by eating a cricket; embracing the fun atmosphere of this event is a key element to having it be a successful function to attend.


The highlight of Blogger Bash is the SWEET SUITE toy exhibition that provides a preview of the hot new products that will be showing up on store shelves for the holiday shopping season. Many of A Geek Daddy's toy reviews and giveaways are the result of networking at the Blogger Bash's Sweet Suite function which in addition to featuring a suite filled with great toys includes an evening of sweet dinner and desert options for its  participants to enjoy.  It was very nice to have some face-to-face time with representatives from brands such as Educational Insights, Hexbug, Skylanders, Spin Master, Uncle Milton and WowWee who have been very supportive of A Geek Daddy since I introduced myself to them during my first Blogger Bash experience.  Stay tuned because ageekdaddy.com will be having some new reviews coming up featuring toys from each of these companies throughout the remainder of the year!

I have to say my favorite toy on display at this year's Sweet Suite was WowWee's CHiP the robotic puppy.  Last year's WowWee MiPosaur robotic dinosaur was my daughter's all-time favorite toy review by A Geek Daddy and they've expanded upon that concept making it even better with CHiP. This robotic dog incorporates artificial intelligence that allows it to adapt to its owners favorite preferences.  It also comes with a recharging bed that when the toy is low on energy it will  independently curl up on to energize its depleted battery.  An included smart band allows CHiP to uniquely recognize its owner and provides new exciting avenues for interactive play.

One of my personal favorite recent toy reviews by A Geek Daddy focuses on Spin Master's RC Batmobile replica from the Batman v Superman movie and they also provided the toy for one of my son's favorite reviews which featured Legendary Yoda.  Because they've been very generous in sharing with us both their staff's time and products for reviews, I wanted to give them some special recognition acknowledging the Guinness World Record they achieved this summer for the Most People Drawing on an Etch A Sketch Globally at the Same Time.  Spin Master acquired the iconic brand earlier this year from The Ohio Art Company and celebrated the addition to its product family by accomplishing the Guinness World Record on Etch A Sketch Day (July 12) which marks the date in 1960 that the first Etch A Sketch was sold.  Since July 12, 1960 more than 175 million Etch A Sketches have been sold around the world!


Spin Master also teased an exciting new product that will be hatching this fall just in time for the Christmas shopping season.  Hatchimals will be interactive animatronic creatures that hatch from eggs which children have to raise.  After breaking out of a shell these creatures behaviors and personalities will change as they grow up from baby to adult modes.  Spin Master is being hush hush on what these Hatchimals will look like until the first one hatches later this year but they did show off what the egg these creatures will emerge from will look like.  From my discussions with Spin Master this looks to be a toy to keep an eye out for when it arrives at stores later this year that will incorporate lots of advanced features that are sure to delight kids.


I also made some nice new connections at Sweet Suite this year with brands A Geek Daddy hasn't worked with in the past such as Bachmann Trains, Carrera of America, LEGO Dimensions, Magformers, Sony PlayStation, and USAopoly that will hopefully lead to some upcoming toy reviews and giveaways for our blog readers and social media followers.


The most exciting and enjoyable aspect of this year's Sweet Suite for me had to be the opportunity to spend some quality time playing video games.  Skylanders brought out the new game it will be launching this October called Imaginators and allowed attendees an advance opportunity to play it well before it will be available to the public.  Instead of purchasing action figures to serve as your characters within the game, players obtain devices which allow Portal Masters to sculpt their own individualized digital characters to play with.  Imaginators lets players imaginations go wild in customizing their very own character creations to play within the game.  Every year Skylanders strives to incorporate an innovative new aspect to its game play and this year's Imaginator feature really should make a lot of this video game franchise's fans happy.  I know customizing the characters and surroundings in video games is one of my kids favorite part of playing video games and they are going to be overjoyed with what they can do in the newest installment of the Skylanders franchise.



I also had the incredible opportunity to spend some time playing LEGO Dimensions' Mission Impossible and PlayStation's Ratchet & Clank with some of the developers who worked on creating the games giving me some one-on-one tips while I played.  That really was an AWESOME experience!


With 27 companies showcasing hundreds of products at Sweet Suite, it would be overwhelming if I discussed all my experiences from this amazing night but keep returning to A Geek Daddy as we continue to share my family's experiences with toys, video games and other fun things.

In addition to Sweet Suite, Blogger Bash also provides a variety of other functions for attendees to participate in.  This year Blogger Concentrated provided a seminar that provided tips and guidance on expanding a blog's audience, improving website layouts, and generating income as a social media influencer. The Ride took attendees on a entertaining bus tour of midtown Manhattan.  Enterprise Ireland sponsored a session that showcased Irish businesses that would have an appeal to parents such as Arckit, Easydry, Lottie Dolls, Solvar, The Irish Fairy Door Company, and Writing for TiNY.  They also provided some incredible Irish coffee.  I had mine with whip cream, Tullamore Dew whiskey, and just a hint of coffee.

Blogger Bash started off with a brunch sponsored by the Care Bears where Sean Gorman, President of American Greetings Properties -- did you know the Care Bears originated not as toys but as greeting cards? -- discussing current products and projects involving Care Bears ranging from an original cartoon series on Netflix to plush animal dolls from Build-A-Bear Workshop.


The second day's breakfast was sponsored by Disney Junior's hit animated cable TV series Kate & Mim-Mim.  The breakfast included a discussion with the show's creators Scott and Jule Stewart who discussed their creative inspirations and provided a sneak peek of an upcoming Wizard of Oz themed Kate & Mim-Mim musical special.


Blogger Bash's keynote lunch was sponsored by the PEANUTS.  It included a panel discussion moderated by Good Morning America's Ginger Zee featuring some of the children who voice the characters in the brand-new animated Peanuts cartoons now airing daily on the Boomerang and Cartoon Network cable television channels.  The luncheon also promoted the PeanutsRockstheVote campaign which is a partnership between Peanuts Worldwide and Rock the Vote which is a non-partisan effort to increase participation by eligible voters in 2016's presidential election.


During the luncheon, attendees were able to ask questions to the Peanuts cast.  I asked how interacting together while recording their lines impacted how they voiced the characters.  Interestingly, the kids told me they don't get the chance to interact as they have their segments done in separate recording sessions instead of together as a group.  They interact instead with adults on the production company staff who read the other characters lines from a script as the kids recite their own at the studio.  In the end product all the taping sessions are merged and only the kids voices are used. Watching the Peanuts on Boomerang or Cartoon Network you'd never guess that these kids weren't taping their lines together at the same time as smoothly as the conversations flow together.  See you always learn something new at Blogger Bash!


Blogger Bash also featured a day long non-toy related products expo featuring more than seventy brands.  I learned a lot of new things walking through the expo talking with the people staffing booths there.  I've always respected Kohler for the high quality kitchen and bathroom fixtures produced by this Wisconsin company named after the town it is headquartered in but did you know the company also runs a number of golf and resort destinations plus has its own line of chocolates?  Do you know what the UL certification sticker on products you purchase stands for? Wow! there's a 5K running event now where where people are challenged with inflatable obstacles -- that's insane! -- well actually that is the Insane Inflatable 5K.  They have a one mile version too called the Krazy Kids Run!

There were a variety of challenges attendees could take on during the expo to win prizes including the Boudreaux's Butt Paste Diaper Changing Challenges.  While I narrowly missed out on winning the prize, A Geek Daddy did show up some trash talking mammas with a dominating performance in this diaper changing competition.



While blogging is often associated with women there was a decent representation of prominent men bloggers joining A Geek Daddy at Blogger Bash including The Architechnologist, The Rock Father, and BenSpark.com.


I have to admit that I'd thought of Armitron as being a line of plastic digital watches aimed at teen audiences before seeing their display at Blogger Bash.  Chatting with disabled Army veteran Noah Galloway who lost a leg and arm in Iraq, I discovered that Armitron really is an impressive brand.  Galloway, who has overcome his handicaps to become a respected personal trainer and recently finished third on the television show competition Dancing with the Stars, is a brand ambassador for the company.  He told me his story of how he was wearing a $20 Armitron watch on the wrist he lost to an improvised explosive device in Iraq and that same watch which was recovered by Army medics and returned to him still runs!  You can't dispute a brand's durability after hearing a testimonial like that!


Armitron displayed a variety of men's watches at Blogger Bash that not only are durable but are very stylish.  There are a variety of watches available to fit a variety of needs from athletic training to casual wear to professional fashion accessory with prices ranging between $20 and $200 dollars.  I saw Armtron watches that would be perfect for casually throwing on while working out at the gym as well as some really nice ones that would match very well with the suits I professionally need to wear to work.  If you haven't taken a look at Armitron watches lately you really should!


Speaking of fashion accessories, I also discovered a great brand of sunglasses called Soleurs.  They had a variety of shades that not only will protect my eyes from UV rays but also looked rather nice on my face.  I had a nice experience talking to the company founder while testing out a few varieties of Soleurs sunglasses on the deck of the ship that Blogger Bash was taking place at.



I love ice cream! So I was so happy to see Ben & Jerry's at Blogger Bash!


I also ate something a bit more unique enjoying some cookies made from of all things crickets.



Aketta maintains cricket farms which they harvest to produce a protein-packed, nutrient-rich and environmentally friendly flour that can be used in baking.  You can also purchase whole crickets from Aketta if you just want to pop them in your mouth as a snack or add them to trail mix, salad and other creative recipes.

After spending a days docked at Pier 81 learning about a variety of great brands, Blogger Bash concluded with the yacht leaving the dock for a nice cruise along the Hudson River to see the Statue of Liberty.  Not only was Blogger Bash a very productive opportunity to discover ways to enhance and improve my blog but by allowing myself to be silly and goofy during my visit to New York City I also had a lot of fun during my time there too.  I really had a blast at Blogger Bash!

That's not the end of the story though as every Blogger Bash attendee also gets a Sweet Suite box of swag filled with samples from various event sponsors mailed directly to their home's front door.  One last great perk of going to Blogger Bash.


For more information about Blogger Bash and how to attend in 2017, please visit bloggerbash.com.