December 05, 2011

Adventures in Budgeting With The American Express Prepaid Card

*see disclosures at bottom of post*

image from i1137.photobucket.comMy new career blogging about technology began after I left full time employment in the field of technology consulting to focus on raising three wonderful boys. Blogging introduced me to an amazing social media community, not only online but also at meetups, conferences and social media events. Even though I had traveled plenty for business before having kids, I found traveling for my own business very different than traveling for an employer. It really started to add up. First a conference ticket, then a hotel and taxi. Add in food and a “must have” new pair of shoes, as well as other assorted travel expenses, and I seemed to always exceed my target for travel expenses. Like others who followed a passion that lead to a business, I too learned a little too late that when running your own company, budgeting is a must.

OK, maybe I did not need the new pair of shoes and a new outfit, but considering I spend most work days at home dressed in sweats, I like to spruce it up a bit for business conferences.

So instead of spending less - I increased the budget. This works for the trip - but when I return home reality takes over. I need better fiscal control.

Enter American Express Prepaid Card for my trip to BlogWorld LA and my first attempt to stay on budget.


Business Trip Tips Using The American Express Prepaid Card from Beth Blecherman on Vimeo.

For my trip to BlogWorld Los Angeles in November, I used the American Express prepaid card to manage my spending and pre-loaded it with, for the first time, only the amount in my budget. Because it is prepaid I could only spend the amount I loaded on the card.

Continue reading "Adventures in Budgeting With The American Express Prepaid Card" »

November 21, 2011

Importance of Live Theater - And A Review of Godspell on Broadway

No matter what content you watch online or on TV, there is nothing like attending the theater or a live concert performance. As a kid, I my mother made a special effort to take me to see local theater shows and then go out for brunch. We had interesting discussions over sandwiches after the show and I was soon inspired to act in the local shows as a tween - a journey that lasted into college. I credit that time acting in local children’s theater as helping me to feel comfortable giving presentations and appearing on video and TV as an adult.

Godspell While the West Coast has great Theater, I decided to enlist a show buff I know near New York City to attend plays and share her thoughts. Her name is DocMamaEast and listed below is her review of the play Godspell - currently on Broadway. Here is a link to the Godspell main page and images. DocMamaEast is a professional mom with four kids who enjoys going to shows with family, friends or even as a date night with her husband. What better way to have a night out?

DocMamaEast's night at Godspell on Broadway

My husband and I saw Godspell on Broadway. We loved it! The show is running at Circle in the Square, an intimate theatre in the round. The staging takes advantage of this small venue; the actors are often in the crowd and audience members are included in the performance in creative ways. The band is scattered throughout the theater. We really felt like we were a part of the show.

Continue reading "Importance of Live Theater - And A Review of Godspell on Broadway" »

November 17, 2011

Tips for No Regrets Holiday Electronics Shopping

image from i1137.photobucket.comThe winter holidays are around the corner, with time split between two of my favorite things: family and shopping. The pressure to find “just the right gift” can change shopping for the worse, causing people to shop impulsively and not look for the right deal. When it comes to consumer electronics, prices may look great on “Black Friday” but waiting for the price drops of early December may be an even better deal.

So what is a bargain hunting consumer to do? I am excited to be partnering with, a company that empowers consumers to make smart electronic decisions with a 60 terabyte historical pricing database, 8 billion price observations and growing.'s shopping service predicts when to buy consumer electronics with no regrets by providing information such as price comparison, average release cycle, last release, device’s age, average rating and product details. Their just announced mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch will enable consumers to have the power of prediction in the palm of their hands while shopping. Here are my no regrets shopping tips to make sure consumers are armed with the right information to make the best decisions.

  1. Don't be a sale chaser – while it's true that a few select products go on sale in the wee hours of the morning, you’ll likely regret rushing out to fight the crowds at 5am only to discover there were only 5 TVs available at that price. Spending hours chasing down a special holiday deal can be a big cause of buyer’s remorse. Do your homework and find the real holiday sales.
  2. Stock up and save on electronics for the family – wait for the holiday season to upgrade on the latest gadgets and electronics for her family. For practical and smart gift giving, holiday is a great time to stock up on those items that your family needs – a family computer, TV, other devices for family – and save big.
  3. Don't be fooled – buying an older product model at a fire sale price is not necessarily cheaper. For example, by doing a search on cameras I realized that some of the newer models have better pricing then the models they replaced.
  4. Arm yourself at the moment of purchase: With Decide's new prediction app for iPhone, when you're shopping in the store this holiday, you can know if that product is a deal or not by simply scanning the barcode for an instant prediction.  You don’t need to give up on finding a deal even if you are making a spontaneous purchase (like we all do).

Disclosure:  This post is in partnership with

Win a $5K Shopping Spree Contest: Download and install the App for iPhone and iPod touch for your chance to win an American Express gift card for $5,000. Contest ends December 25th, 2011. More information on the contest can be found on the blog.

November 11, 2011

Technology Enabled Remote Working

image from i1137.photobucket.comLike many in the technology industry, I gave up my desk long ago and adopted the lifestyle of a mobile worker. First as an international auditor for a large pharmaceutical firm and then as a consultant for Deloitte, I was frequently traveling and remote work was just part of the job.  Clients’ offices were frequently outfitted with all the technology and infrastructure to get the job done. It wasn’t a struggle at all. Now, as a work-at-home mom and entrepreneur, I continue to see the value of working remotely and the need to create a professional remote work infrastructure.

The recently published a study on remote work that found “Almost one-third of firms cite costs or limited funds as obstacles to implementing workplace flexibility arrangements. However, the benefits of adopting such management practices can outweigh the costs by reducing absenteeism, lowering turnover, improving the health of workers, and increasing productivity.”

Continue reading "Technology Enabled Remote Working" »

October 25, 2011

ESRB Website & Mobile App- Parent's Best Friend For Video Game Decisions

ESRB RatingsFor parents, the job of helping kids navigate the decision process around whether or not a video game is appropriate is not easy. Online reviews indicate the “maturity” level of a game, while a kid’s peers provide a rating of "cool" or “not cool”, and balancing the two is tricky. As a technology blogger and a mom with a tween boy & twin boys in elementary school, one of my "go-to" resources to learn about video games is the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating and website. They are the wonderful people who create the rating that shows up on video game packaging (i.e. E for Everyone, EC for early childhood, E10+ for children above 10 years of age, T for teen, M for mature).

I had the fabulous opportunity to talk to Patricia Vance, President of the ESRB, while I was at the CTIA wireless conference in San Diego . The conversation with her helped me learn more about the ESRB rating process, enforcement, and resources as well as some of the newer features like the mobile app.

Continue reading "ESRB Website & Mobile App- Parent's Best Friend For Video Game Decisions" »

October 18, 2011

TechStyle: Ann Taylor Opens New Concept Stores

As a mom in the social media field that also attends lots of tech conferences, meetings and press events - my fashion style is important. I tend to mix it up with styles that include classic, sophisticated and edgey. Ann Taylor is one of my go to sources for stylish clothes that have a great fit. Last week Ann Taylor celebrated the opening of their new Palo Alto concept store with a fashion show in Menlo Park, California. Some of the new features of the store include a private lounge area with an oversized touch screen monitor that provides access to image from

I coveted many of the new looks, including a beautiful cape, cool blue shirts and dresses, shimmery black Gigi Paillette Skirt, accessories and more. Above is a picture of the lovely models that showed off the outfits at the event. 

Photo Credit: Colson Griffith for Gustavo Fernandez Photography

Press release:

Continue reading "TechStyle: Ann Taylor Opens New Concept Stores" »

September 15, 2011

Fun At The Sony Photo Fun Mom Event And Using The Cyber-Shot WX9

image from When I received the invite from Kimberley Clayton Blaine (TheGoToMom) and Sony Electronics to attend a day of photography and pampering I was excited to enjoy the event and see my fellow bloggers. But my tech obsessed side was looking forward to checking out the new Sony Cyber-Shot WX9. The Sony Photo Fun Mom Event inspiried me to get out of my "work at home" sweats off and get my fashion on. Or - at least - attempt to.

Here is a video from the Event:

Sony Photo Fun Mom Event from Kimberley Blaine on Vimeo.


The event brought together a fun group of bloggers to enjoy San Diego, experience the Cyber-shot WX9 and get headshots from celebrity photographer Brian Smith.  His project/book, "Art and Soul", has the goal of raising visibility and funding for the arts and art education.

image from

All the event pictures from the day were taken with the Sony Cyber-shot WX9 camera and I enjoyed experimenting with some of the special features. The WX-9 has 16.2 megapixels, 5x optical zoom, 3.0" screen, Full HD 1080 video, "Exmor R" CMOS sensors and my favorite settings: 3D Sweep Panorama and a "soft skin" setting. Best of all, it is small and light enough to pop it in the back pocket of my jeans or in my smallest purse. No more lugging my heavy DSLR camera around.

Starting off the Sony Photo Fun Mom Event was a during the first night dinner at Anthology.

Continue reading "Fun At The Sony Photo Fun Mom Event And Using The Cyber-Shot WX9" »

September 06, 2011

MAC vs. PC vs. State Of Confusion

IStock_000016330003XSmall At one of the Labor Day barbeques I went to this weekend, a friend came up to me and said the words that I live for: "Your tech advice really helped me". So of course I said "What did I tell you to do?"

My friend, a fellow mom, has an (Apple) iPhone as her smartphone and one family PC for home use. Syncing her iPhone calender to her PC was a challenge, so she asked me for help. I showed her different ways to sync smartphone calenders with her PC desktop and websites on the cloud, but we could not find a solution that worked for her daily routines.  She was confused - even though her husband preferred a PC - should she get a (Apple) MAC for herself?  In the world of PC versus MAC, it is ok for a family to have both in the same household? So I gave her my word of advice:

Continue reading "MAC vs. PC vs. State Of Confusion" »

August 31, 2011

New Tech Product: Striiv Portable Fitness Device - Rewards Thru Everday Exercise

Striiv Device Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with the team and see a demo over at Striiv, a new Silicon Valley Start-Up that developed a portable fitness device for the "rest of us" (Please check out my post at Cool Mom Tech for more details).

What does "rest of us" mean?

There are already great devices for runners but how about the "rest of us" that count running in and out of the grocery store or up and down the steps to their office as their only exercise? Striiv is a device small enough to hang on your keychain but is filled with big features that everyone can use to fit in more exercise into their daily routine.

The device follows your movement (including steps,  cadence and more) assigning points to track personal goals, unlock rewards, progess steps in a gaming environment and best yet contribute to charity in what is considered a "walk-a-thon" in your pocket. Future features inlcude big plans for social.

The age range is from kids to adults, so the whole family can use the device. I will be testing a Striiv device very soon and can't wait to share more details. For now, here is the press release for today's announcement.

Press Release:

 Silicon Valley Start-Up Unveils Product that Motivates and Rewards Exercise through Games, Challenges and Donations

Continue reading "New Tech Product: Striiv Portable Fitness Device - Rewards Thru Everday Exercise" »

TECH NEWS: Sony Announces Market Launch of Sony Tablet

S1_S2_01_0726_2011_LowRes No matter what mobile devices I carry, I will always have a laptop with at least a "17inch screen or desktop for my home office. I am typing this post on my 17" Sony Vaio that has Windows 7 and at the time I bought it one of the fastest processors (Intel i7).  But when it comes to mobile use, when I am doing mobile work I carry a 13" laptop and my smartphone. But for everyday mobile use my power duo lately seems to be a smartphone and a tablet. This morning I recieved an email with a press release with specifications and pricing for the newest tablet to hit the market: The Sony Vaio Tablet. I have not had a chance to try the Sony Tablet yet - but it sure seems enticing and in the world of accessorizing, a Sony Tablet to match my Sony Vaio would be a fun treat!

Here is the press release for more details:


Sony Announces Market Launch of Sony Tablet

Continue reading "TECH NEWS: Sony Announces Market Launch of Sony Tablet" »



My New Gig

Current Projects

Video Fun

Follow Me

Twitter Updates

Worthy Causes

  • I am a ONE Week Team Member banner


  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage

  • Subscribe in Bloglines

Speaking At:

So Honored

My Life Scoop Posts

I Blog With Integrity