Year End Mini Reviews

Year End Mini Reviews

saddleback-thin There is a running joke in my house around "What did Daddy get in the mail today?"

The truth is that I love trying out new things. Doesn't matter what it is, I want to try it. Keeps life interesting and exciting.

But, while I put my address on my contact page and let agencies and brands know that I'm open to receiving pitches, press trips and items for review, I can't promise that I'll actually get around to reviewing them because that isn't what I do.

Talk to anyone though and they will tell you that I'm very open sharing about the good and the bad about what shows up in my mailbox (or my doorstep).

Today, I wanted to share some of those thoughts on a variety of different things that I've used over the course of the year. All of these items were either loaned or given to me in the hopes that I would share my thoughts. For disclosure purposes I have to say that. but of course all of these are my own thoughts.

Saddleback Leather Thin Briefcase

Shown above in my front yard last week, this is a thing of beauty. I've always wanted a leather briefcase that would last me forever and I found it.

My first impression was that it was too stiff. The quality of leather they use is so high quality that it takes years to properly break it in. My friend who sent me the bag mentioned that the owner always jokes that their bags look the worst on their first day and get better every day after that.

I refer to this as my writers bag because it can't hold too much. My laptop, tablet, notebooks and a few other things fit. I love that it has an outside pocket to slip a magazine or two in. I use it for day trips or when I need to escape somewhere for a short time. There is no room for clothes or anything more so I could never use it as an overnight and is why I have my eye on one of their new carbon front pocket model.

2014 GMC Sierra

While visiting my in-laws in Arizona, we were given one of these beautiful new trucks for the weekend.

I love trucks, but have no practical reason for owning one. I know because I use to have one and while I loved being able to throw whatever I wanted in the back, it wasn't practical for this family.

This truck has everything you'd want and more. The roomy cab provided more than enough room for our family and had every gadget imaginable. The ride was smooth and plenty of power on the highways.

The nice little additions like built in steps on the tailgate and the drop down tailgate that slows as it falls and goes up easy was a nice addition. The whole family loved it.

2 Degree Bars

I'm always looking for a better breakfast bar and not only do these taste good, but their mission is a good one.

For every bar you buy, a meal is donated to a hungry to a hungry child. How can you argue with that?

The best part is that they taste great and the nutritional values are solid.

Six Flags New England

Our family was treated to a day in the park with a personal guide. Somehow in all of our years we had never been there.

Skipping the lines was a huge perk as we went on all the roller coasters. It was a packed day of thrills and funs and I know we walked away saying that we'd be back.

We had no idea how big of a water park they had there and our kids loved it while Laura and I kicked back poolside.

Olympus LS-14 Digital Recorder

As a podcaster I'm always looking for the easiest way to record my thoughts, interviews and more on the go.

This device can handle all of that and more. Honestly it has more power than I needed and as I told them before they sent it to me, I didn't think I wanted a separate device for recording. In the end I gave it to my father-in-law who mentioned he was looking for something to record the concerts that happen in their neighborhood. He loves it.

Moto X and Nokia Lumia 920

Right now, I'm a very happy iPhone 4s customer who is actively thinking of what to upgrade to next.

Both of these phones are impressive in their own right, but both had something that keeps me from upgrading to them.

The Moto X showed me just how awesome Android is. I use all of Google's apps to power my life so having them all right there on the phone was amazing. Being able to customize this phone to be in my signature black and red was a neat option. The battery life is great and the screen is beautiful. The camera sadly is not as good as the iPhone and that is very important to me. Also, the shape of the phone is unlike anything else out there and I hope others will take note.

The Nokia Lumia covers the need for an amazing camera hands down. It isn't the newest model which has been getting all the praise and even then I was impressed. The problem for me is that I can't get use to the Windows OS that is on it. I'm sure if you are a Windows 8 person you'd love it because it looks just like your other devices, but for me this was a deal breaker. Everything else about this device is stylish and top notch.


I'm a big fan of RøDE products. I own one of the Video Mic Pros for when I'm out shooting video and it is a great product.

This new microphone plugs directly into my iPhone and gives studio quality performance on the go. It is small enough to put in my pocket and yet packs a huge punch.

I've also recently received their new Video Mic GO and it is the best entry level shotgun microphone I've ever used. The new shock mounts are something that I hope they roll out in all of their products because it is step up.


I know there has been other items that I'm forgetting about, but I feel better getting these ones up in the hopes that it helps you make some purchasing decisions and as a thank you to the brands who sent them to me.

Who knows what will show up in 2014. I know my kids will be eager to see.

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