Easy, Beautiful Holiday Decorating with Crab Pot Christmas Trees

Crab Pot Christmas Trees

How was your Christmas and First Night of Hanukkah! We had a great time opening presents, watching holiday baking shows, baking cookies, and admiring our holiday decorations. This year we welcomed a new piece of decor -- Crab Pot Christmas Trees sent us one of their sparkly, pre-lit trees, and it is the perfect size for our beloved Derpy Deer ceramic ornament!  Derpy Deer sits outside our home year-round (we love him that much) and welcomes us back home every time we pull into the driveway. The Crab Pot Christmas Tree puts Derpy Deer in the spotlight and we couldn't be happier. This tree is so easy to set up and looks so good outdoors, we will certainly be using it every year from now on!

Crab Pot Christmas Trees

If you don't own a Crab Pot Christmas Tree, now is the time to get one. All trees are discounted right now (gotta love those after-Christmas sales!), and you can choose from trees as tiny as 1.5 feet all the way to a majestic 8 feet tall. Each tree comes pre-lit in a variety of styles. You can choose between colored and white lights, as well as twinkling lights or steady lights. You can even choose LED lights to save energy!

Crab Pot Christmas Trees

The tree arrives in a flat triangular box (keep the box, it's great for storage).  Setting up the tree could not be more simple. Just undo the twist ties that keep the tree closed, then open up the tree in a fan-like motion. Twist tie the two ends together to keep the tree open, and you are done! The tree is already pre-lit so you don't have to mess with stringing and evenly spacing your lights.

Crab Pot Christmas Trees

The finished tree stands all by itself and can be used indoors or outdoors. I would definitely recommend using the tree outdoors, because it's essentially a green chicken wire frame with lights attached to it. You could fill it out with greenery, but it's pretty threadbare on its own.
Crab Pot Christmas Trees

Where the Crab Pot Christmas Tree truly shines (pun intended) is outdoors at night. The green wire frame blends in with the surroundings, so it doesn't intrude on your outside decorations -- but at night, this tree is quite stunning. They fold down so quickly and take up so little space that you can buy lots and lots of trees to create an outdoor holiday wonderland. The tree comes with stakes so you can secure it to the ground and leave it there throughout the season.
Crab Pot Christmas Trees

Save 30%

Right not, Crab Pot Christmas Trees are already discounted, but I have a code you can use to save even more! My Readers save 30% Off Crab Pot Christmas Trees that fold flat and sparkle from every angle Use Code: USFG16

Disclosure: I received a sample Crab Pot Christmas Tree to review. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Give the gift of color this holiday season: Color Blind Glasses

Color Blind Glasses by Vino Optics

Alfie is the most color blind person I know. He was told that he has pretty much the highest degree of color blindness there is. Forget mistaking green for red. He also frequently mistakes pink for brown, and blue or lavender for pink. When we watch soccer, he often can't tell the difference between the two teams playing because they're both wearing dark colors and we're viewing the players from a distance. It's difficult to comprehend exactly what his world looks like, but the closest I've come to understanding it is his explanation: Go to your tv and turn the controls for color way down, just a few steps above black and white. Yikes.

When I first heard about color blind glasses that help color blind people see colors, I was so excited, but Alfie was skeptic. He felt that he was so color blind that he would probably be one of the few people for which the glasses wouldn't work. Also, how could we ever tell that he was seeing the colors that you and I see? Finally, wouldn't they cost thousands of dollars?

Lucky for us, I got the chance to review Color Blind Glasses by Vino Optics for O2Amp. They're available on Amazon for $304, which is significant but not outrageous... if they work. So, did they? I'm happy to report a big, colorful YES!!  Alfie put the glasses on and passed the Ishihara color blindness test with flying colors (pun intended). Glasses off, he couldn't distinguish a single number. Glasses on, he saw them all.

So, what's it like when a color blind person puts on these glasses? When Alfie puts the glasses on, he says amplifies the intensity of everything he sees, even the colors he can identify. He says that objects almost glow neon (or what he identifies as neon, anyway!).
Color Blind Glasses by Vino Optics

How about when a non-color blind person puts on the glasses? The glasses are tinted pink, so when my kids and I put the glasses on, everything turns pinkish. Interestingly, Alfie doesn't notice the pink tinge! We also notice that color intensity increases, but not as dramatically as it does for Alfie. He's really fascinated by how well he can distinguish colors!
Color Blind Glasses by Vino Optics

Alfie's final word? He's still a bit of a skeptic -- he says that we still don't know whether we're seeing the same colors..... but then again, who is to say that any two people see exactly the same colors! Also, these are not glasses that Alfie would wear every day. He already has prescription glasses, so he can't wear both at the same time. Also, these glasses have a distinct style, with a wraparound athletic look that would suit road bikers, but probably wouldn't look good when you are wearing a tuxedo at the opera (unless you're Bono).  They are definitely something every color blind person should get. Whether they wear it all the time is up to them. Anyway, Alfie looks forward to seeing the Grand Canyon wearing these glasses!

Color Blind Glasses by Vino Optics

About the glasses

Looking for “outside of the box” holiday gift ideas to share with your audience? Consider the Color Blind Glasses by Vino Optics for O2Amp. These glasses are a remarkable gift to give to the loved-one in your life who is color blind. Giving the gift of color is a once-in-a-lifetime gift!

For the remarkable 8 percent of men and .5 percent of women with Northern European ancestry who have the most common form of red-green color blindness, they no longer need to let their vision impairment hold them back in life or career. The Color Blind Glasses by Vino Optics for O2Amp further enhance color vision signals, thus aiding those with color blindness to see proper color, perhaps for the first time.

Disclosure: . I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. Product information (in italics) is provided by the featured company/product. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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SAP Center hosts Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular

I've been to SAP Center in San Jose many times and I've seen many kinds of performances -- pop concerts, ice skating shows, the circus, ice hockey, indoor football, motorcross stunt shows, even animatronic dinosaurs! You'd think by now I'd have seen every different kind of show you could possibly put on in a large concert arena, but you'd be wrong. Last night we saw something at SAP that we've never seen before -- a live orchestra.

We took the family to see Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular, a one-of-a-kind holiday show that combines acrobatic circus acts and live holiday music. The show had about a dozen acrobatic circus acts (I lost count!), each set to a different piece of music. The orchestra is seated at the back of the stage, and the acrobats perform their acts at the front of the stage. The stage backdrop features winter-themed animations that constantly move and change.  Here's a description from the show producers:

Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular is a fun filled family holiday event featuring the cast of Cirque Musica together with all-time favorite holiday songs performed by a live orchestra! Cirque Musica is a concert and visual experience where audiences journey into a world of high-flying adventure with amazing acrobats, aerialists, hilarious hijinks and holiday cheer, too! The show blends the spell-binding grace and dare-devil athleticism of today’s greatest circus performers with the sensory majesty of the greatest holiday music of all time.

Acrobatic Performers
The acrobats were some of the best that I've ever seen. There is nothing to distract from their performance -- no flashy lights or colorful props or scenery, and there are just one, two, or three on stage at a time. So they really have to be good in order to capture the audience's attention! We were on the edge of our seats the entire time, hoping and praying they wouldn't fall. The strength and skill required is astonishing.

All my kids play a musical instrument, so they were just as excited to hear the orchestra as they were to see the acrobats. Hearing a live orchestra is always a treat, and hearing them play familiar tunes is a nice bonus. I was a bit worried that they'd be playing Christmas carols throughout the show, but it wasn't like that at all. They did play some carols and Christmas songs, but they also played classical music by Johann Pachelbel, Rimsky Korsakov, Franz Schubert, and John Williams. My daughter recently danced in The Nutcracker, so we were thrilled to hear two selections from Tchaikovsky's famous score. The musical repertoire was a great mix of classical, pop, and holiday, and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Insider Tips
The stage was about the size you would see in a concert hall, so it was a smaller performance area than I'm used to seeing at SAP center, which is a big concert arena.  They had chairs out on the arena floor, so for the best views of the acrobatic acts, those were definitely the best seats to get. You'll probably get a better view if your seats are in the 10th row or farther so you don't strain your neck looking up at the stage. The side rows are also good but the regular seats (not on the arena floor) are quite far away. However, every single seat in the arena is a good seat for appreciating the wonderful music!

One final tip, I definitely recommend getting a programme. It only costs $5, and you get a list of all the acrobatic acts and all the music performed during the show.

If you've had your fill of the usual holiday shows like The Nutcracker, Handel's Messiah, A Christmas Carol and the like, Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular is a refreshingly different kind of celebration! It's also a great way to introduce your kids to classical music, because many kids get distracted when listening to an orchestra with no visuals. At Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular , they can watch the acrobats while listening to the music, and it all combines for a wonderful experience.

Tickets and performances
Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular runs till December 18 in California, Texas, Washington and Arizona. Purchase tickets at Ticketmaster.com or on http://www.cirquemusica.com/holiday-spectacular

Disclosure: I received tickets for my family and I to attend the show. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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AdoramaPix photo books: the perfect present

Looking for the perfect present? Check out AdoramaPix photo books. Friends and family will love these photo books are holiday presents, birthday presents, anniversary presents, or any time of the year! They are the perfect way to capture special memories of a trip that you took together, a special event (like a wedding, a birthday party, a concert, etc...) or just a chronicle of how your relationship has grown over the years.

AdoramaPix makes it so easy to create a gorgeous photo book. You can customize everything from start to finish -- choose from gorgeous linen, hardcover and leather covers as well as a variety of finishes, great layout options, fonts, and stickers. You can even choose the level of customization. If you want to work on every last detail, AdoramaPix's photo book creation software lets you start with a completely blank page and design every single aspect. They have a huge selection of digital stickers, borders, embellishments, and fonts that you can resize, flip, and position anywhere on your layout. If you are pressed for time or don't trust your layout skills, you can choose from several premade templates and trust in the impeccable sense of style of AdoramaPix's designers. Just select which photos you want to include, and AdoramaPix will populate your photobook for you! Or you can go somewhere in between - use one of their templates and tweak it so it reflects what you want. The software is really easy to use, and it lets you spend as much or as little time as you want to create your perfect photo book.

These photo books print out so well and they last forever. There's no better present to gift your loved ones with than the gift of memories preserved in an AdoramaPix photo book!

Disclosure: I received a credit on AdoramaPix to help me write this review. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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