Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Pop Market Prize Pack Giveaway – Ends 01/06

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Pop Market

Daily deal sites are becoming a popular way to save money on a variety of items. And now there’s a daily deal site just for music lovers – introducing Pop Market, a new site that offers deals on music memorabilia. And one lucky Contest Corner will win a Pop Market prize pack including the Billy Joel My Lives Box Set, The Essential Duke Ellington CD, and a Duke Ellington Print Photograph from the Icon Collectibles Collection, so read on!

About Pop Market:

Sony Music Entertainment announces the launch of PopMarket.com, the ultimate online destination shopping club for music fans offering its members limited-time private sales on the world’s coolest music.

A member’s-only online initiative designed for music fans, bargain hunters and serious collectors alike, PopMarket.com offers a 24-hour limited time Daily Deal (changing each day at 12noon Eastern) and five channels (changing weekly) containing a mix of premium music and merchandise available for a limited time at exclusive member’s-only prices.  PopMarket membership is free.

“Sony Music Entertainment is proud to be the first music company to open its vaults to music lovers and provide them with an elegant direct-to-consumer online shopping experience,” said Adam Block, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Legacy Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment’s catalog division.  ”Secure, seamless and convenient, PopMarket is open 24-7, offering fans exceptional values on great music.”

Now live, PopMarket.com provides a rare window of opportunity to purchase rare and collectible albums, boxed sets, memorabilia and more at deeply-discounted member’s-only prices.  PopMarket’s inventory is limited and products are sold on a first come basis.

PopMarket has already offered deluxe boxed sets by Santana, Alabama, Ken Burns Jazz, Simon & Garfunkel and The Clash with future Daily Deals to include albums and collections by Dave Brubeck, Neil Diamond, Billie Holiday, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Aerosmith and many more.

Product channel categories have included Country Legends (classic recordings from American country artists, 30th Anniversary (deluxe box sets of recordings that have stood the test of time), framed Gold Records from music’s biggest artists, Singer Songwriters, and limited edition artist-specific Collector Crates sets including a classic album, t-shirt and branded CD crate.

Upcoming weekly channel categories will include deals from the British Invasion, Romantic Hits, Diva Sets, Folk/Rock Legends, Punk & Glam Rock, American Jazz & Soul, Complete Artist Collections, Pop Sensations and dedicated campaigns focusing on music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

A members-only site, PopMarket.com gives music fans unprecedented access to a limited time finite inventory of the coolest music on the planet.

Special Discount:

Now through December 31st, use coupon code MOM10 at checkout to save 10% off your purchase!


Giveaway time!

One lucky Contest Corner reader will win a Pop Market pack including a Billy Joel My Lives Box Set , The Essential Duke Ellington CD, and a Duke Ellington Print Photograph from the Icon Collectibles Collection! Here’s how to enter:

1. For your first entry, click here to visit Pop Market, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which deal this week interests you the most! This step is required to qualify for the drawing.

Want extra entries? Do any of the following, and leave a separate comment for each one:

2. Write a post on your blog linking to this giveaway and Pop Market. Then come back here and leave me the link!
3. Write about this on Twitter, then come back and leave me the link to your tweet! One Twitter entry per person. You can use the button at the bottom of this post to tweet with one click!
4. Subscribe to my blog updates by clicking here. Then come back and leave me the email you subscribed with!
5. Become a follower of my blog by clicking the “Follow” button in my sidebar! Then come back here and let me know in a separate comment!
6. Post Contest Corner’s button on your website – just copy and paste the following code, and let me know where you put it:

7. Add the Holiday Gift Guide 2010 badge to your website – just copy and paste the following code, and let me know where you put it:

Rules, regulations, and other important stuff: Giveaway ends on January 6th, 2011 at 11:59 PM, PST. Winner will be chosen the following day via Random.org. Winner has 48 hours to respond to my notification email, or a new winner will be chosen in their place. Giveaway is open to US residents. I received no compensation for this post – other than the joy of giving a prize to one of my loyal readers!

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Kritter Kondo Deluxe Review

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Kritter Kondo

When I say “Gifts For The Whole Family”, I mean it – including our furry friends! Whether you want to pick up something for the family dog or just have an animal lover on your holiday list, you might want to check out Kritter Kondo for unique outdoor pet enclosures that your puppy or kitty will enjoy all year long! Kritter Kondo is designed to keep indoor cats and dogs safe while allowing them to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. I received a Kritter Kondo Deluxe to try out, so Jai decided to take it over to Grandma’s house to see how her new puppy would react!

Kritter Kondo Deluxe

Kritter Kondo Deluxe – $154.99

Assembling the Kritter Kondo took Jai about ten minutes – the Kondo includes a leaflet with instructions, but it took longer because there were no diagrams. There are several pins which hold the Kondo together, and three metal tubes that fit into the canopy portion; it was confusing at first, but once Jai figured out where everything went, the Kondo came together pretty quickly. All of the pins are used during assembly, so there are no spares included. But if I had checked the website first, we could have watched this Set-Up Video that walks you through the assembly!

Kritter Kondo package

Kritter Kondo, pre-assembly

Kritter Kondo assembled

Kritter Kondo, open

Once the Kritter Kondo was assembled, it was time to let Grandma’s Labrador puppy, Bob, try it out!

Bob in the Kritter Kondo

Bob

Bob in the Kondo

The Kondo was certainly more spacious than we had pictured. Bob did not mind being in the Kondo – at one point Jai opened the door at both ends, and Bob had fun running through it, so it wasn’t at all like a scary cage.

Bob running

Bob is a ten week old lab who probably weighs around 25 pounds, and he was pushing the limits of what the Kritter Kondo could handle. The Kritter Kondo Deluxe is recommended for dogs and cats 35lbs and under, but I think it’s important to bear in mind the strength and temperament of the animal as well. Bob still had plenty of space in the Kondo to wander around, but when he decided that the wanted out, he could deliver some force. Once the doors closed and Bob decided he wanted to go back out, he got pretty aggressive with the Kondo – it became a game for him.

Bob plays with the Kondo

I couldn’t imagine a bigger pet enclosure that would be this portable. It’s not really durable enough to be used as a long-term kennel, but rather as a portable option for taking your pets outside.

When we received the Kondo initially, Jai assembled it inside Grandma’s house, and it got red paint flecks all over the carpet. We then realized that there were large areas of rust on all four corners of the Kondo, so I sent an email to the Kritter Kommunity to alert them to the problem. They were very sorry to hear of the defect and let me know that there was a bad batch of about 14 Kondos – they thought they had pulled them all prior to them before they could hit shelves, but one of them slipped through and was sent to me. They immediately sent out another Kondo and there were no issues with the second one. Kritter Kondo comes with a 30 day warranty – click here for all the details.

I think the Kritter Kondo is a thoughtful gift for pet lovers, especially those who have indoor cats. I am passing on the second, brand-new Kritter Kondo to some friends for Christmas – they have several pets, so I think they will appreciate having this enclosure on hand!

Kritter Kondo Deluxe is available on KritterKommunity.com for $154.99 – click here to order!

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Photo Gifts From Kodak Gallery

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Kodak Gallery

Kodak Gallery recently invited me to create my own photobook on their website so I could share the experience with my readers. They sent me a $50 American Express gift card to order my creation with, and I figured it would probably be enough to pay for one book plus shipping – $45-50 seems to be a fairly standard price for photobooks on many websites. (Which is why I always wait until I can find a great deal! ;) ) But once I saw the prices on Kodak Gallery, I realized that I’d be able to make much more than one photobook:

My Kodak Gallery Order

This is my total haul: 8 photo gifts! Thanks to sales on the Kodak Gallery website and a free shipping promotion, I was able to get all of the above for $50 exactly – and was able to cross several people off my Christmas list without spending a penny out of pocket! After all promotional discounts were deducted, I saved a total of $46.94, or 93%. I’d like to show you each item that I purchased:

Engagement Photo Book

This is a Black Leather Medium Picture Window Hard Cover photo book. I used this book for our engagement photos which we just had taken at the beginning of the month.

Engagement Photo Book

Engagement photos

Engagement photos

Engagement photos

Engagement photos

Engagement photos

I love the high quality leather cover – this photo book is a beautiful way to preserve our memories and show off the photos. One of the photos looked a teensy bit washed out, but I was very pleased with how crisp and clear all the others were.

Together Forever Photo Book

For my next creation, I made a 5×7 Together Forever photo book as a wedding present for a family member. I have a gift card for the couple, and wanted to find something else to go with it – so this was just perfect. In order to surprise them, I pulled photos off the bride’s Facebook page, and was warned during the creation process that they would look grainy because of the low quality. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how well these pictures turned out – it’s a really cute little book! The reason why I blocked the photos out in these examples is for the couple’s privacy.

Together Forever - Back Cover

Next, I made another 5×7 photo book filled with family photos as a Christmas gift for my future father-in-law and his wife:

Family Memories

Family Memories

Family Memories

Family Memories - Back Cover

I was impressed by the quality with which these old, grainy family photos printed out.

I made a similar 5×7 photo book for an uncle:

Family Memories Photo Book

Family Memories

Family Memories

Family Memories - Back Cover

After creating four photo books, I still had money left on the gift card, so I decided to check out the other photo gifts offered on Kodak Gallery:

Photo magnet

I made this magnet bearing a family photo for Grandma. It turned out even better than I had expected – the magnet is high-quality and the photo looks great. This is the perfect gift for someone like Grandma who doesn’t need or want a lot of “Stuff”, but can always use something practical like a magnet, and will enjoy seeing this photo of the family on her fridge.

Photo Prints

I had $1.04 left on the gift card, and figured I would find another small gift and pay the difference. But believe it or not, I found that I could actually order 2 photo prints for $1.04 – which would make my total $50 exactly! I chose to make two prints of our engagement photos – one for a relative who wanted one, and one to frame and display in our home:

Framed Engagement Photo

But that’s not all. I was still able to add another item to my cart without spending a cent! This is because Kodak Gallery offers 50 totally free photo contact cards. The cards print out with the Kodak Gallery URL on the back of the card. Of course, I couldn’t turn down something totally free! I came up with a great use for them:

Contact Cards

I made these cute contact cards to promote aunt Kim’s D.O.G.G. Etsy shop. I used a photo of one of the products for the front of the card, and added her name, shop URL, and email on the back. I think they turned out great and I know she will be very surprised to get them! If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to promote your online shop, it doesn’t get any better than this!

All in all, I was very impressed with my Kodak Gallery experience. I got way more out of it than I expected, and I was so thrilled to take care of so many gifts in one fell swoop! I had a blast making my photo creations – it was so much fun! I really enjoyed deciding on the products, choosing the photos, and customizing them. The website can be confusing to navigate at times, and some of the features are counter-intuitive, but in all I found it fairly quick and straightforward to create my items. I would certainly be happy to shop with them again!

There’s still time to make a fabulous photo gift just in time for Christmas! Visit Kodak Gallery.com and place your order by December 23rd to receive it by Christmas Eve with expedited shipping.

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: SodaStream Review

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Are you looking for a unique present that the whole family will enjoy? Soda Stream is a special machine that allows you to make your own soda – now that’s a present that will be used year-round!

Fountain Jet - Seltzer Starter Kit
Fountain Jet – Seltzer Starter Kit – $79.95

We love soda in our household, but I don’t buy it often – it’s not cheap, so I usually wait until I have a coupon; not to mention, we go through it very quickly, and I’m trying not to add empty calories to my diet at the moment! So when SodaStream invited me to try out one of their units along with their new, all-natural line of flavors, I was glad to take them up on the offer. Prior to reading about this company online, it never occurred to me that you could even make your own soda at home. I knew this was going to be a fun treat!

Our SodaStream kit

SodaStream’s machine is very simple to use. The unit is lightweight, easy to move, and does not require batteries or need to be plugged in – which is perfect for my kitchen, which is crammed for counter space!

The machine comes with two one-liter bottles and one 60 liter Carbonator. You simply insert the Carbonator can in the back of the Soda Stream unit, fill one of the bottles with water, and screw it into the machine. You then press the button for carbonation three times until you hear a loud buzz – and hey presto! Instant club soda.

Next, you have the option of adding syrup to the carbonated water to make your own soda. To do this, you take your syrup bottle of choice, fill up the cap, and pour it slowly into the one-liter bottle. I highly recommend refrigerating the syrup beforehand – and mix the soda over the sink, because I had a few eruption disasters when I was learning how to use it! You have to pour the syrup slowly to avoid the soda bubbling over, but it can be tricky to do this without slopping the syrup everywhere. However, I’m starting to get the hang of it. You add a large capful to the soda, which seemed like an awful lot, but trust the directions – it’s not too much!

SodaStream carries every kind of soda syrup you can think of: Root beer, cola, ginger ale, and many more. They sent us their new line of Sparkling Naturals to try:

Pink GrapefruitLemon LimeApple MangoOrange Pineapple

Apple Mango: I love mangoes, so I enjoyed this fruity soda!
Orange pineapple: A nice orange soda with a pineapple kick.
Lemon-lime: A classic soda flavor that we enjoyed.
Grapefruit: Jai and I both thought this would be our least favorite, because we’re not huge grapefruit soda fans. But I must say, this is the best grapefruit soda I’ve ever had – it has all the tartness of grapefruit without the acidity. This actually ended up being Jai’s favorite of all the syrups we tried!

Each of the Sparkling Naturals syrups are made from all-natural ingredients and contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors and no artificial sweeteners.

In addition, SodaStream also sent us 3 bottles of MyWater Essence Flavors, which create flavored waters with zero calories. I love this, because it makes a very enjoyable drink without the added calories!

I think the SodaStream has been a wonderful addition to our kitchen. It’s a pleasure to use and handy for so many situations – we use it almost every day now! With so many syrups, there’s a drink for every meal and mood. I even used the orange-pineapple soda in a meat marinade for steak recently! Having plain club soda on hand any time you want it is also very handy for a refreshing drink, and great to have on hand when you’ve got the flu or feel otherwise under the weather. You can even use it as a mixer for cocktails! This unit would be absolutely fabulous for parties – I can’t wait to show it off the next time we have company over. The syrup bottles start at $4.99 and make 12 liters of soda – that comes to about .42 cents per liter. Carbonator refills start at $29.99.

SodaStream is so versatile and fun, I think almost any family would be delighted for receive it as a holiday gift!

SodaStream machines start at $79.95 and are available at stores like Macy’s, Bed Bath And Beyond, and Sears – just in time for last-minute Christmas shopping! Click here to locate a retailer near you.

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: El Monterey Family Size Entrées

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

 El Monterey Family Size Entrées

With the holidays comes hustle, bustle, and a longer to-do list. Wouldn’t it be great to cut down on chores this holiday season? One of the most thoughtful gifts you can give is something that will make the recipient’s life easier. And that’s where El Monterey Frozen Dinners come in! El Monterey Family Size Entrées can feed a household in the push of a button on your microwave. Busy moms (And dad, grandparents, college students…) would welcome an economical night off from cooking, so why not treat them to a box full of El Monterey?

El Monterey did just that for me, and it couldn’t have been better timing. I was under the weather and did not feel like shopping or cooking, but our bare fridge necessitated it. But then a big box arrived from FedEx:

El Monterey

Is that a sight for sore eyes, or what?! This bounty of food kept us well fed for some time…and all I had to do was stick it in the microwave! Jai and I thoroughly reviewed all of these meals. ;) Here’s what we thought of the many varieties:


Cheese Enchiladas with Rice & Sauce

Cheese Enchiladas

The first variety which we tried was the Cheese Enchiladas. To cook, you simply slice the plastic on top of the meal and microwave for around 17 minutes; you can also cook it in a conventional oven. We usually cooked ours for less than 17 minutes, since our microwave is so powerful – I just cooked it until it looked ready.

Cheese Enchiladas with Rice & Sauce

These enchiladas had a deliciously cheesy flavor, and made for a satisfying meal….mmmm!


Chicken Enchiladas with Rice & Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas & Corn

The Chicken Enchiladas were one of my favorites. As you can see, you can serve it straight from the tray it cooks in – no fuss, no mess! I served this with two ears of corn on the cob and soda (Side note: Never cook corn on the cob in a slow cooker!). We definitely enjoyed the tasty chicken!

Spicy Beef Enchiladas with Rice & Sauce

Spicy Beef

I don’t have much of a tolerance for spicy foods, so I thought the Spicy Beef Enchiladas would be too much for me – but they were actually not too hot and I was able to eat them. I served it with a nice refreshing salad to balance out the mild spiciness.

Chicken Mexicana

Chicken Mexicana

Chicken Mexicana

Chicken Mexicana is a pasta and chicken dish. Surprisingly, this was way spicier than the Spicy Beef Enchiladas! The box made no mention of it (The beef enchiladas had “SPICY” written in big, fiery font), but this dish is HOT. I did a lot of choking and guzzling water, and Jai – who is a lot more tolerant of spicy foods – agreed that it was very spicy. I wasn’t a big fan of it the first time I tried it, but the second time it actually grew on me a lot, although I would enjoy it more if it weren’t so spicy. Once again, I served this with a fresh salad as a counterpart to the heat of the meal. Jai loved this and said it was his very favorite out of all the meals.

Chicken Mexicana

All in all, we loved the great taste of El Monterey Family Size Entrées and the utter simplicity of preparation. One entrée provided both Jai and I with dinner as well as leftovers for lunch the next day. For larger families, you’ll likely want to serve it with a side dish or cook two entrées at a time to ensure there’s enough.

Food: It’s the holiday gift that keeps on giving!

El Monterey Family Size Entrées are available in the freezer section at grocery stores nationwide – click here to locate a retailer near you.

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: $15 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway From Bestcovery.com – Ends 12/09 – Worldwide Entries


Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Bestcovery.com

When it comes to holiday shopping, there’s one gift that you just can’t go wrong with: Gift cards! Whether you give a gift certificate directly to your recipient to choose whatever they want, or just use it to offset the cost of the perfect present, a gift card has universal appeal for everyone. So how would you like to win an Amazon Gift Card to put towards your holiday shopping? Bestcovery.com, a new consumer-oriented site that offers product recommendations and “Best Lists”, would like to give one lucky Contest Corner reader a $15 Amazon Gift Card, so read on!

About Bestcovery.com:

Bestcovery.com aims to help consumers by providing product recommendations and “Best Lists”, covering everything from “Best Cosmetic Brushes” to “Best Dishwasher” and even “Best Cornbread Recipe”! These lists and product picks are written by “Bestcovery Experts”, users who apply to be site writers and share their opinions. Bestcovery also has a “Shop and Compare” feature as well as a list of Black Friday deals.

I spent some time clicking around Bestcovery, and what I like about the site is the fact that they cover topics above and beyond product recommendations – they also provide articles about well-loved recipes, favorite websites, best browser plug-ins, and so forth.

Giveaway Time!

Bestcovery.com would like to give one lucky Contest Corner reader a $15 Amazon Gift Card! Gift Card will be sent directly to winner via email. Here’s how to enter:

1. For your first entry, click here to visit Bestcovery.com, then come back here and leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite product or Best List on the site is! This step is required to qualify for the drawing.

Want extra entries? Do any of the following, and leave a separate comment for each one:

2. Write a post on your blog linking to this giveaway and Bestcovery.com. Then come back here and leave me the link!
3. Write about this on Twitter, then come back and leave me the link to your tweet! One Twitter entry per person. You can use the button at the bottom of this post to tweet with one click!
4. Subscribe to my blog updates by clicking here. Then come back and leave me the email you subscribed with!
5. Become a follower of my blog by clicking the “Follow” button in my sidebar! Then come back here and let me know in a separate comment!
6. Post Contest Corner’s button on your website – just copy and paste the following code, and let me know where you put it:

7. Add the Holiday Gift Guide 2010 badge to your website – just copy and paste the following code, and let me know where you put it:

Rules, regulations, and other important stuff: Giveaway ends on December 9th at 11:59 PM, PST. Winner will be chosen the following day via Random.org. Winner has 48 hours to respond to my notification email, or a new winner will be chosen in their place. Giveaway is open to worldwide entries – entrants outside the US, please note the Amazon Gift Cards Terms of Use and International Shipping Rates.

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: CSN Stores

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

The CSN Network is providing me with a complimentary gift certificate in exchange for this coverage on my site.

CSN Stores has become one of my favorite places to shop online. As a CSN Preferred Blogger, I work with them frequently on reviews & giveaways, so you’re going to be seeing a lot of items from their 200+ stores featured in this year’s gift guide. Watch this space for an upcoming review of some of my top gift picks from their kitchen outlet, Cookware.com – but in the meantime, here’s a quick gift suggestion from CSN that could work for several people on your list: leather messenger bags!

Alberto Belucci Verona Bari Messenger Bag

Luggage.com carries a variety of messenger bags, from chic totes for women to school packs for kids. Check out the Alberto Belucci Verona Bari Messenger Bag pictured above – I can think of several ladies on my list who would enjoy finding that tucked under their Christmas tree!

So what’s on your wishlist from CSN Stores this year?

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: World’s Best Origami by Nick Robinson – Ends 11/30 – US & Canada

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

The art of Origami delights both young and old alike. So what better gift for the whole family to enjoy than a how-to book that will teach you the A to Z of folding paper? One lucky Contest Corner reader will win a copy of World’s Best Origami by Nick Robinson, so read on!

About World’s Best Origami:

Remember folding paper into a hand-held fortune teller, paper airplane or secret note square? Whether a fortune teller novice or a seasoned paper-folding expert, the new book World’s Best Origami (ISBN: 9781615640539, Alpha Books, November 2010, $19.95) challenges readers with more than 100 of the most unique and best-loved origami patterns ever created.

Professional origami artist, Nick Robinson, guides readers through the process of folding paper. Projects are rated from beginner to advanced and include everything from the traditional swan and poppy box to truly amazing pieces such as a geodetic tower and a jet plane! Each diagram is clearly displayed with easy-to-understand folding instructions for a perfect outcome every time.

About the Author:

Nick Robinson (London, England, UK) is a professional origami artist and author who has been folding paper for 30 years. A member of the British Origami Society who edits its magazine and maintains its website, Nick has written over 30 books on origami, as well as numerous articles, and done several commercial and charitable origami commissions involving origami and paper art over the last 20 years. Nick has created several hundred original designs and teaches origami in schools, arts centers, and many other venues.


Giveaway time!

World's Best Origami

One lucky Contest Corner reader will win a copy of World’s Best Origami by Nick Robinson! Here’s how to enter:

1. For your first entry, just leave a comment on this post and tell me: Have you ever tried folding origami before? This step is required to qualify for the drawing.

Want extra entries? Do any of the following, and leave a separate comment for each one:

2. Write a post on your blog linking to this giveaway. Then come back here and leave me the link!
3. Write about this on Twitter, then come back and leave me the link to your tweet! One Twitter entry per person. You can use the button at the bottom of this post to tweet with one click!
4. Subscribe to my blog updates by clicking here. Then come back and leave me the email you subscribed with!
5. Become a follower of my blog by clicking the “Follow” button in my sidebar! Then come back here and let me know in a separate comment!
6. Post Contest Corner’s button on your website – just copy and paste the following code, and let me know where you put it:

7. Add the Holiday Gift Guide 2010 badge to your website – just copy and paste the following code, and let me know where you put it:

Rules, regulations, and other important stuff: Giveaway ends on November 30th at 11:59 PM, PST. Winner will be chosen the following day via Random.org. Winner has 48 hours to respond to my notification email, or a new winner will be chosen in their place. Giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents. I received no compensation for this post – other than the joy of giving a prize to one of my loyal readers!

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Flip Mino HD Review

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Flip Mino HD

Flip Mino HD – $179.99

Last summer, MyBlogSpark sent me a Flip Mino HD to record my first v-log with. Since then, the Flip has become an invaluable tool that I have used countless times – so I wanted to take a moment and tell you about my experience with it, because I think this would be an excellent holiday gift that the whole family could benefit from.

Before I got the Flip Mino HD, I wasn’t really interested in having a dedicated camcorder. I didn’t think it was something I would really use, and I figured if I really wanted to film something, I could always use our digital camera’s movie function. I mean, how often do I even take movies?

But as soon as the Flip arrived, it seemed like I was using it constantly! It’s small and totally portable, which means I can slide it into my tiny, overstuffed purse with no problem. It turns on in seconds, making it easy to capture interesting things before it’s too late. I’ve grabbed it to record footage of funny things (Like a frog hopping through our house), family events (Like birthdays), and I use it on a very frequent basis to record v-logs. I used it to record concert footage during the Goonies Rock Concert, and we’re using it every week to film our videos for the Love Story online reality show! This is also the same camera that I used to record the video that won me $10,000 – so yeah, I’d say it’s been extraordinarily useful to me!

One of the many videos I have recorded using the Flip Mino HD

And the quality is amazing. The videos are just beautiful – YouTube doesn’t do it justice, since the files which the Flip outputs are such high quality. I was blown away by how crisp, clear, and detailed the footage is; you can see items in the distance that would be a blurry blob on a camera. In fact, the picture is so good that I’ve used stills from the camcorder in the place of photos for a few blog posts when the digital camera’s batteries were low. The Flip also has a lot of memory, and can record 1-2 hours worth of footage, depending on which model you get.

There are only two possible improvements I could think of for this camcorder. First, I think it would be nice to have some way to lock the Flip, because it’s easy to hit buttons on accident when it’s turned on. I think because it only takes a few seconds to power on, they assume that you’ll just turn it on and off in between videos, but if there’s something neat happening I often like to leave it on so that I can take a few videos sequentially, and I find myself hitting buttons on accident because they’re so sensitive and almost deleting files. The other improvement I would suggest is in the software, because I find the way it saves files to be very confusing; I can’t control where it exports the saved files to, and it doesn’t tell you where on the computer they are, so it makes them very hard to locate.

I used to think I didn’t need a camcorder – now I don’t know what I’d do without it!

The Flip Mino HD can be purchased online at Flip’s website, Amazon, and many other retailers – click here for a full list.