Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hands On With AT&T's HTC Desire 610

Earlier this month, AT&T provided me with the HTC Desire 610 to review. I spent a little over a week with the 4.7-inch phone and thought the size of the device was perfect. Slightly bigger than my current iPhone 5S (4 inches) and not quite as big as the Samsung Galaxy S5 (5.1 inches), now I know what Goldilocks feels like!

The HTC Desire 610 also has a plastic casing, making it a little safer for those more accident-prone when it comes to dropping phones. My only gripe with the design was that it was a little greasy, which resulted in fingerprints and smudges appearing more often than they should.

The home screen display setup was the same as the Samsung Galaxy (read my review here), being an Android-based phone. It took a little getting used to, but I was able to quickly pick it back up and navigate the phone. In addition to the standard Google apps, AT&T's apps are also available on this phone. Loved being able to utilize the DriveMode app, which keeps those driving more focused on the road (no calls or texts allowed) when this app was switched on.

My dog Sheba volunteered (well, didn't really have a choice) to be my guinea pig in testing the HTC's camera out. I thought the pictures came out well using the 5 megapixel (phone, but the Galaxy definitely still holds strong as the winner.

My favorite feature of the HTC Desire was the Blinkfeed - a screen that allowed you to bring all of the content and news feeds from all of your social sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) along with your favorite news categories, and bring them all into a single view (see below).

The HTC Desire also featured something called "Zoe," offering photo/video editing and soundtracks to help tell your stories a little better. I played around with this feature a little, but I definitely think it'd take a little more time to get on board with it.

The HTC Desire 610 is currently available for just $1 (with a contract renewal) from AT&T. I think this is a great starter option for kids' first phones, or anyone looking to own a smartphone without having to pay hundreds of dollars!

What features are most important to you when choosing a new phone?

*Disclosure: AT&T lent me the HTC Desire 610 for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Read More - Hands On With AT&T's HTC Desire 610

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Tunes: Secrets

My song pick this week has been gaining a lot of radio play time in the past few weeks and is truly the "Do You" anthem. "Secrets" by Mary Lambert is a song all about being yourself and not caring or conforming to the opinions or actions of others around you. Additionally, Mary Lambert rattles off all of her "secrets" and things about herself that she doesn't care if the world knows about. Love it!

Read More - Tuesday Tunes: Secrets

Monday, September 15, 2014

Golden Tote #2: August 2014 Review

Last month I posted a review of my August Golden Tote and as the month went on, I found myself dying to get the Merrick Swing Dress (designed exclusively for GT) after seeing how great other Golden Toters looked wearing it. Since I was able to sell a few of the items in my previous totes, I was able to justify my purchase of the $49 small tote. The dress sold out pretty quickly originally, so when it was restocked, I was ready to go!

Blue Merrick Swing Dress
My one and only pick for the small tote was the Blue Merrick Swing Dress ($78). I believe it was originally in the large tote only, so I was happy to be able to get it, plus another item for $50! The dress runs big, so as per the comments of other GT'ers, I sized down. I probably could've sized down one more, but belted, this dress is perfect! New favorite in my closet!

Flying Tomato Kimono
Kimonos have been popping up quite a bit! Similar to cardigans (this one more so than usual), I was happy to discover that my surprise item was the Flying Tomato Kimono (~$40). I wear cardigans just about every day to work since the office is usually pretty chilly, and this is the perfect ones for my more casual days - or on the weekends/days off!

The value of my small tote was well over $100, and I paid just over $50 with shipping. Not a bad deal at all! September had some incredible picks and I'm so excited that my totes will be arriving tomorrow (yay)! Stay tuned to find out what I received in them later this month!

If you're interested in getting some clothes from Golden Tote for yourself you can shop their boutique at any time. Several of September's items have already sold out, but you can still snag some from the $49 tote (2-3 items) or $149 tote (5-7 items). The next sale will kick off the first Monday of October at noon EST.

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Read More - Golden Tote #2: August 2014 Review

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fun Findings Friday

iPhone 6 & 6 Plus Available for Pre-Order:
For all my fellow techies, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus went on sale early this morning! Although there were a lot of glitches in the systems and things have been moving slow due to high demand, you still have a good chance of getting launch day (Sept. 19) delivery via mail or can pre-order and pick up at Apple stores (depending on which model you order). I had my first pre-order experience and it was kind of a mess, but I'm scheduled to receive my new phone a week from today. Yay!

Photo credit: Apple
Amazon Original Pilots:
Amazon is hopping on the TV bandwagon and has shot several of their own TV pilots, available for Amazon Prime members to watch. Customers will be able to vote on their top pick(s) and the winning Amazon Original Series will get picked up for a full season! I haven't had a chance to watch any of the shows yet, but it's on my list to do soon. Love that we're (customers) are being involved in the process!

Photo credit: Amazon
Duck Tales Theme Song With Real Ducks:
My coworker shared this video with me yesterday and if you grew up with Disney's Duck Tales show, this is something you must watch! Whoever put this together is pretty brilliant, although I'm a bit surprised it hasn't been done yet! Check out the Duck Tales intro with real ducks below!

Read More - Fun Findings Friday

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fashion Rocks at Macy's!

Fashion Week is in full swing in NYC and we're all getting very excited about fall trends for 2014! Unfortunately, we can't all be in "The Big Apple" at the designer shows, but lucky for us, Macy's is hosting several events across the country, featuring a runway show of the top trends/looks for fall!

Fashion Rocks at Macy's! kicks off this weekend in Albany, NY and will be landing locally (for me)  in Tampa (FL) a week from Saturday! At each location (see a full list here), a special gift will be given to customers who make a $75+ purchase during the event (while supplies last).

Photo credit: Macy's
From tall boots and pointy-toe pumps to satchels and clutches, I'm all in for fall accessories - and I  can't wait to see what clothing styles are modeled for us! To get an idea of what we might see, take a peek at the runway looks from their show at Barclay's in NYC a couple days ago.

If you're in Tampa, I'll see you at 2 p.m. in the Citrus Park Mall Macy's next Saturday, 9/20! And for those of you outside Tampa, I hope you'll stop by to check out the trends at your local Macy's! Be sure to tweet along with #FashionRocks to keep the conversation going!

What are some of your favorite trends for fall?

*Disclosure: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read More - Fashion Rocks at Macy's!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dognition: Life From My Dog's Perspective

I rescued/adopted my dog Sheba from the Humane Society about two and a half years ago and learned quickly that she has a mind of her own. She's come a long way since then, but I still always wonder how her brain works. Cue my stumbling upon Dognition, a cognition and personality assessment for your dog that comes from playing a series of games across 5 categories. The company kindly provided me a free trial of their service and I loved diving into life from my dog's perspective.

We tried a few different games in the memory and it was pretty interesting to see what her actions were when testing her memory against smell, pointing, and delay. In this category, Sheba's results showed that she has an amazing working memory, allowing her to keep information in mind and manipulate it. "For Sheba, out of sight is definitely not out of mind." So true!

How does Sheba use reasoning? I'm proud to say she passed the most difficult games here, and was deemed a Sherlock Holmes among dogs. Here, I learned that she's able to solve things by" imagining different solutions and choosing the one that makes the most sense."

In the communication games, Sheba's responses were wishy washy between collaborative (listening to me) and self-reliant (not listening). I think we were both a bit distracted when playing the games in this category, so I think we'll have to try them again. Communication is very important and I definitely want to gain more insight into how Sheba interprets things I tell/signal to her.

If I played this game when first adopting Sheba, she would've fallen into the far end of the spectrum - wily/super cunning. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she scored trustworthy! When telling her "no" and covering my eyes or turning my back to her, I was sure she'd go for the treat. She was more likely to take the treat when I was looking at her. I did notice that anytime I made eye contact with her she took it as a cue to go ahead.. good to know!

Despite the fact that Sheba's an independent soul, her empathy scores were "off the charts," meaning she's very much in sync with what I'm feeling and is extremely bonded to me. I couldn't stop laughing during the yawn test where I yawned and then Sheba proceeded to. Who knew yawns were contagious to dogs too!?

Overall Analysis
Sheba's overall analysis showed her as a Lone Wolf/Maverick, which wasn't too surprising to me. A Maverick is one who likes to work independently, doesn't conform to anyone's standard, and can hold their own compared to other dogs. Definitely the truth! Dognition goes into a lot more detail on your dog's results as well and at the end of the assessment, a PDF with the results is sent to you to review and save in your files.

A Dognition membership (for one dog) is $29 for the assessment and an additional $5 or $9 per month (depending on which subscription you select) if you choose to become a member. This  includes a new game focused on another category to help you better understand your pup, tips and activities prepared by canine training experts specific to your dog's results, exclusive offers and new research findings and how your dog compares.

If you're a dog owner (especially you new ones), this is definitely a tool I recommend investing in, even if just for one month. Yes, you can pick up on your pup's behavior on your own, but these science-based games are designed by industry experts to really dive deep into different aspects of your furry friend's personality. Currently, there are 9 Dognition profiles - Ace, Maverick, Charmer, Socialite, Protodog, Renaissance Dog, Expert, Stargazer, Einstein. Which do you think your dog is?

*Disclosure: I received a free trial for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Read More - Dognition: Life From My Dog's Perspective

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cause of the Month: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

My cause for September comes due to my heavy heart from the passing of one of my favorite actors/comedians of all time, Robin Williams, which brought into light the serious issue of suicide that many people (including myself) didn't/don't realize is so prevalent today. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a non-profit helping to prevent suicide through research, advocacy, and education.

Photo credit: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
In 2011, just under 40,000 suicides were reported in the U.S., resulting in suicide being the 10th leading cause of death nationwide, most of whom suffered from a mental illness (e.g. depression). Furthermore, only 1 in 5 people suffering from a mental illness get treatment. Whether you know someone falls under this category or not, there are a few red flags to look out for:

If a person talks about:
Killing themselves, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, seeking revenge, feeling trapped, unbearable pain, etc.

If their behavior includes:
Increased use of alcohol or drugs, acting recklessly, withdrawing from activities, sleeping too much or too little, suffering from panic attacks, giving away prized possessions, etc.

Triggering risk factors:
Contagion (exposure to another person's suicide), access to lethal means, prolonged stress factors (e.g. harassment, bullying, unemployment), and stressful life events (e.g. death, divorce, job loss)
You can donate monetarily just like any other cause, or you can sign up for the Out of Darkness Walk nearest you, which start this week in honor of National Suicide Prevention Week.

If you're in crisis personally or are worried about someone who might be, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or consult a mental healthcare professional. Additional resources for emergencies and mental healthcare treatment can be found here.

Read More - Cause of the Month: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Monday, September 8, 2014

Influenster Vitality VoxBox Review

It's been a few months since I've been sent a box from Influester, so I was excited to find out that another one was coming my way! The Vitality VoxBox was filled with Influenster picks of items to help maintain a high energy and manage everyday life. Check out what was included below!

First Degree Advanced Burn Cream
Although I'm hoping I won't have to deal with any burns, I'm happy to now have the First Degree Advanced Burn Cream ($7) stashed in my bathroom. Especially when dealing with hair straighteners/curlers, and cooking with olive oil over the stove (it always splashes at me)! In addition to dealing with burns, the cream is also supposed to help with skin rawness, itching, or minor infections.

Playtex Sports Fresh Balance
Playtex Sports Fresh Balance ($4)is the newest tampon product from Playtex, touting an odor shield and a 360-degree protection, allowing you to stay active. I haven't tried these yet, but the new features sound great to me!

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future
I loved the look of the sample of Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future ($3), but wasn't crazy about the scent. I usually stick to the same companies when it comes to perfume though, so I think I'll pass this along to someone who is a bigger fan of Elizabeth Arden.

Pure Leaf Iced Tea
I try to limit my intake of sugary drinks, but the Pure Leaf Lemon Iced Tea ($2) is SO good. If they come out with a sugar-free or lower sugar version of this, I'm in!

Softlips Cube
The Softlips Cube ($3.50) was hands down my favorite item in the box. I normally use EOS lip balm and this was pretty similar. I received a Vanilla Bean flavored Cube and find myself using it several times a day! Will definitely be picking some more of these up in the future!

Bikini Ready Energy Gummies
Living in Florida, it's pretty much always bikini season (with the exception of a couple weeks out of the year), so I was pretty interested in the Bikini Ready Energy Gummies ($2), which serve as a boost of energy with B-12 vitamins infused. The flavors in the sample were pretty tasty, but there was a horrible aftertaste. Will have to do some thinking on whether or not I'll invest further in these.

Although it's not my favorite VoxBox, there were some pretty awesome items included in the Vitality VoxBox. That said, I love being invited to participate in Influesnter programs and being able to try out new products! If you're interested, sign up or find out more info here.

*Disclosure: I received this box for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Read More - Influenster Vitality VoxBox Review

Friday, September 5, 2014

Touring Alcatraz Island

I was very excited to revisit Alcatraz Island during our family vaycay. Although I've toured "The Rock" before, it's been about 14 years (I feel so old saying that), so I was looking forward to seeing it as an adult. So many things were different visiting the second time around, but the most important was the change in the ticket process.

14 years ago, the internet was nothing like it is now, and we just showed up at the ticket stand and purchased our tickets the day of. Now, tours are selling out about ONE MONTH in advance online and once the availability shows as "sold out" online, they really are sold out - you won't be able to buy tickets in person. Definitely keep that in mind!

When you arrive at Alcatraz Landing (aka Pier 39), you can see a small model of the island with fun facts and Alcatraz history. Here, you wait in line to board the ferry from Alcatraz Cruises at your tour time. This is the official company for Alcatraz tours - and the only one that stops AT the island, running boats about every half hour.

We grabbed a quick snack and some drinks on the quick ferry ride (about 15 minutes), since we boarded at 10:30 and knew we'd be getting hungry later during our tour. Also, water is the ONLY food/drink item allowed on the island, in hopes of keeping "The Rock" clean and litter-free. As we got closer to the former prison, we caught our first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Seeing the two side by side was kind of eerie but absolutely beautiful at the same time.

The first thing we saw when pulling up to the dock was this old building, originally created in 1854 to house soldiers in the war days - this island wasn't always used as a prison! But talk about creepy! A night tour of the island is offered. As scared as I'd be, I think it'd be a pretty cool tour to take at night. But definitely with a big group of people!

I loved the step back in time feel of the island. Many of the artifacts are still in place - or new ones from the time period placed in for added effect to show us what life was like in prison "back in the day." This old truck was so cool to see! Obviously had to pose with it and the Guard Tower.

We opted for the free audio tour of the cellblock, where the prisoners were housed, after hiking up a pretty steep hill. I thought having to walk the hill would've been punishment enough - what a workout! Once we entered the building, we walked through the clothing assignment and shower area. This long room houses a line of very open showers and little bars for holding soap. Zero privacy at Alcatraz!

If you were thinking Alcatraz might not be kid-friendly, think again. My sisters Riley (9) and Carmody (6 at the time) couldn't be more excited to see what this infamous prison was all about - and more importantly, to learn about the prisoner escape decades ago.

Our audio tour was narrated by some of the former guards of Alcatraz with some guest quotes by some of the infamous prisoners. Hearing them talk as you walked around the prison gave it so much more life and was so interesting hearing the people who were there firsthand versus a tour guide narrating it.

Two of the cells were open for tourists to pose as prisoners. This was a major hotspot. Kind of funny that everyone was excited to pose in a prison, but considering the history behind the location, it's understandable... I guess?

To me, the creepiest thing was going inside the solitary room. For the prisoners who got in trouble at Alcatraz, they were taken from their normal cell and placed in this dark room which had a gate and two doors, where they had to wait in pitch black until their time in solitary was up. Although the doors remained open while we stepped inside, it still gave me the chills!

The Recreation Yard was a sight to see. Although there are only tiny little patches of grass here, this is where the "good" prisoners would get to spend some time during specified days. To the right (not pictured), there was a small field where the inmates could play games of baseball. To the right, some steps allowed inmates to sit and take in the fresh breeze coming from the Bay and the breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The sound effects we heard allowed us to picture what a day in this courtyard might've looked like.

For the "good" prisoners, hobbies were allowed, and this cell depicts what an inmate's "home" might have looked like, with paintings, games, or some other way to pass time. Kind of bizarre seeing it all jazzed up (the majority of the cells we passed had cots with no bedding - or nothing in them). You can almost picture someone sitting in there!

We got a kick out of the visiting area. Separated by a thick wall and glass, inmates were able to have visitors sit on the other side of the glass. Naturally we had to take advantage of this photo opp, so Carmody and my mom visited Riley and I like we were prisoners.

Now for the really cool stuff.. The famous case of the 3 prisoners escaping and never being found? We heard more about it and were able to see the dummy head used to fake out the guards AND the hole carved into the wall that the prisoners slipped through. I couldn't get a good picture of the narrow utility hall behind the cell that they supposedly climbed up to get out, but it's pretty mind boggling to think that actually happened. And YES the hole in the wall looked as small in person as it does in the picture. I can't imagine trying to squeeze through it!

Our last stop on the tour was the Dining Hall, which still has the menu from the very last day Alcatraz was open before being shut down by Robert F. Kennedy in 1963. Supposedly the food in the prison was so good that both the guards and the prisoners ate the same thing. Pretty crazy!

We were fortunate that the day we visited, a former inmate, Bill Baker (Inmate #1279) happened to be doing a book signing, of his book about life in prison and at Alcatraz. We felt silly being excited to meet an Alcatraz prisoner, but with so much history that we learned, it was crazy to meet someone who was really there (and that he voluntarily came back)! He was in prison for most of his life due to cashing fraudulent checks (ironically mastered the trait during his time at Alcatraz) and other money schemes, so he said he was "happy to be making money legally," which gave us a good chuckle.

Meeting former inmate Bill Baker at Alcatraz
It was such an awesome experience to be able to walk around Alcatraz and learn the history of the most famous prison in history, housing names we all know so well, such as Al Capone, Robert Stroud, and Mickey Cohen (to name a few).

If you find yourself in San Francisco, this is something I definitely recommend doing! But remember - you'll want to reserve your tickets well in advance! Also, wear tennis shoes! I usually only wear mine when working out but the amount of walking you do on the island is insane and your feet will thank you later! And last but not least, layer your clothing. San Fran has a reputation for being chilly but when we were in town it happened to be a little warmer. Since we were by the water we still wore pants but with the combination of the sun shining down on us at the top of the island and all of the walking, we were dying of heat!

Have you visited Alcatraz? What was your favorite part?

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket to Alcatraz Island for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Read More - Touring Alcatraz Island

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chatting With Jill Schulz + A Charlie Brown Christmas Giveaway

I'm SO excited to be a part of Peanuts Worldwide's campaign celebrating 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas this year - what an honor! Everyone has memories and traditions with their friends and family during the Christmas season, and A Charlie Brown Christmas is such a huge part of them across generations, a timeless classic that everyone can come together to watch and appreciate.

To kick off the campaign, I (along with some other bloggers) dialed in to chat with Jill Schulz, the youngest daughter of Peanuts creator, Charles M. Schulz. It was really cool to hear from Jill firsthand what life was like with her brilliant dad, and what some of her favorite/memorable Christmas traditions are.

The Schulz Family (Jill's on the right)

What was it like to celebrate Christmas in the Schulz family?

Jill: I always had great memories of it, but to us, that’s just how our Christmas was. Back then, there was not as much merchandise, publicity, worldwide status for Peanuts and Snoopy. We had a pretty typical Christmas, except that we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. Typically, we’d have neighborhood friends and kids coming over and my mom cooked a great big dinner. Then we’d wait for Santa Claus, I’d always sneak back down and open a window because I thought there was no way he could fit down the chimney.

In the morning, we’d get a special present. One year I got a puppy, but it was a little disconcerting because I thought I was getting an Old English Sheepdog like the one from Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, but my puppy wasn’t furry and didn’t have a tail.

Once the TV show came out, that became a tradition: both Christmas and Halloween, they became something we’d gather around TV to watch. But to me, it just seemed like a normal family Christmas.

Was there anything in the special that was similar to your childhood?

Jill: There are elements that are supposed to come from my family. Like Lucy’s crabbiness came from Meredith. I’m told that Linus has a blanket because I always had a blanket. Dad was active in Sunday school when we were much younger, he taught there on Sundays for many years. So the Linus speech was something very important to him.

Lee Mendelson tells the story of meeting with the top guys at CBS—they said they loved the special, ‘But you need to take the Linus’ speech out.’ When Lee told Dad that he said, ‘Tell them to just forget it then.’ Now it’s become the most iconic part of the entire TV special. It’s one of my favorite parts because I know how important it was to my father.

Why do you suppose after 50 years, it’s still resonating with people?

Jill: Because the characters, the experiences they have, in the strip and the TV show are things that every generation has, does, and will continue to experience in life. Football with Charlie Brown. Everyone experiences losing. Everyone comments on commercialism. It’s been happening for years, will continue to happen. Siblings teasing each other, fighting, even if they love each other.”

“All of these things are extensions of his own personality or things he would observe in others. He was always observing everybody, whether in the coffee shop at the ice rink, or on trips. He was a great observer of human nature. Like many of us, he hung onto and had a clear vision of his feelings as a child. That comes across in the strip and the special.”

What is Christmas like for your family today?

Jill: After those big Christmases as a kid, I had to get adjusted to having Christmases with just my husband and my two kids. It felt so small. I tried to do the same traditions, watch the special, do the presents. For a while would go to Utah with my sister Amy. Amy and Monte are more sentimental about the past. She has nine kids, she tried to and successfully created the same kind of big family meal, friends coming over. It was great to do that for a while. Now we invite good friends and go to Utah to go skiing, have snow, make snowmen, do all of those traditional Christmas things we’ve heard of, even though we live in California. One tradition I didn’t keep: My parents always put an orange in Christmas stockings, I switched that to chocolate.

Tell me about ice skating and Snoopy.

Jill: Way back when I was 9 or 10 and ice skating, they decided to build a Snoopy costume to have him in the ice show. My mom made the first Snoopy costume. Someone else was supposed to be in it, and he didn’t show up. So I was the first skating Snoopy, skating to Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head. It was hard to see—I remember falling over on the ice, but I got up and waved. I’m too claustrophobic now, so can’t do it anymore.

Did any other parts of your life show up in the comics or in your dad’s shows?

Jill: One of my favorite things that showed up in the strip and in a Broadway show was when my brother Craig was in high school, he had to do an art sculpture made from a coat hanger. He came home 2 days later with his grade, and it was a C. My dad said, ‘How can you grade a coat hanger sculpture?’ That became a funny scene in the show and the strip.

My sister Amy always talked too loud, so she had some Lucy qualities. One time she was told to be quiet, and she started buttering toast, and looked up and said, ‘Am I buttering too loud?’ I said, ‘If you pray with your hands upside down, you’ll get the opposite of what you pray for.’

Did your Dad think the special would be around 50 years later?
Jill: He wasn’t one to predict. The most important thing to him was drawing the comic strip. He’d always say, ‘I’m just a cartoonist.’ He was not setting out to make his cartoon famous, or sell merchandise. Those were everyone else’s ideas.

One thing he never understood was when people would say to him, ‘Mr. Schulz, you’re so successful now, why don’t you retire?’ He’d say, ‘Why would I spend my whole life to become successful at doing the thing I love to do, and then not do it?’ He passed away immediately after he decided he could no longer draw the strip. To him, it was all about drawing the comic strip.

Where do you see the franchise in 10 years?
Jill: We’d like to see it grow, to continue the legacy of my dad and keep the characters out there. But there’s a careful line between keeping the integrity of my dad’s characters and creating enough new material to keep it fresh for new generations.

New movie in fall of 2015. Brother Craig Schulz and his son worked on the script with Fox Studios and director Steve Martino. This movie, with the new technology of 4D, mixed with 3D and 2D, is fun and new, done with a lot of class. Hoping it will generate interest from new generations. We have to keep up with where the kids are today—social media, apps, movies. You can’t expect to introduce kids to it without all that.

The TV special is the one thing that continues to stay with us, which makes it even more amazing. People say, ‘I want my kids to know it.’ Even with all the other media out there for kids, parents are surprised how much it means to them.

Who’s your favorite Peanuts character and why?

Jill: My absolute favorite is Snoopy because I like his imagination and his free spirit, how he imagines whatever he wants to be. I had a pretend friend as a kid that everyone teased me about. And because he’s a dog and I love rescue animals. Then it would be Linus, because I like how calm he remains, how philosophical he is.

When was the first time you realized who your dad was, did it affect you?

Jill: He was my dad first, but I can’t deny there were lots of opportunities that have come out of the fact that Charles Schulz was my dad. Things I’ve learned. He was successful with what he did, but I never wanted to feel like I wanted to use that, or that I’m any more special than anyone else because my dad was well-known. I’ve always wanted to carve my own path – such as the shows I produce that have nothing to do with Snoopy. It helps that none of us could draw at all

Once I became a teenager and in my 20s, I did get a greater awareness of the difference between people who are your real friends and those who just want to be your friend because of that. But everybody’s life has an advantage and a disadvantage, no matter who they are.

There are too many people who do things because they want to be famous. My dad always said, ‘The joy is in the process, not the end result.’ I’ve always kept that in my back pocket.

Favorite merchandise item?
Jill: There was a board game called the Pursuit of Happiness – don’t know if it’s still out there. And I probably have 200 stuffed animals at home; the 5-foot stuffed Snoopy is one of my favorites. I did get a new sno-cone machine. And the Happiness Is a Warm Blanket book series. Those were great.

Stay tuned for more exciting posts and giveaways to celebrate 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas and enter below for a chance to win a vintage Snoopy plush and the "Be Joyful" Peanuts book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?

*Disclosure: I was provided with the information, video, and images as a Peanuts 50 Years on TV Brand Ambassador

Read More - Chatting With Jill Schulz + A Charlie Brown Christmas Giveaway