Educate Your Vote

This post is part of my partnership with the
US Cellular Blogger Brigade Ambassador Program.

Does your child have a cell phone?
Make sure you download the Parent-Child Agreement.



I live in Iowa.
{in case you didn’t know}

We are a swing state.
There are signs in every other yard.
Political commercials stream our TV screens.
Candidates visit our state on a frequent basis. {which is pretty cool}.

In February, I joined the masses and caucused for the first time. Traffic was backed up for blocks around my caucus location, the lines extended out the door, and it was hotter than a sauna in the gym where we had to meet.

But even through all the waiting, heat, and craziness, there was an energy that couldn’t be denied. I felt it in my being. No matter what candidate you were supporting, we shared something amazing that night – the ability to add our voice to the cacophony of the election process.

Thanks to my iPhone I was able to document the process in real time. Not only that, but it was exciting to see all my friends and family post their caucus experience. We were brought together in-real-life and through the digital universe.


Iowa Caucus

The process and the people were amazing.

But it isn’t over yet.

Even if you weren’t able to participate in the caucus you still have a chance to add your voice to Decision 2016.  Not sure where to start? Try your mobile device.

This election season, more than ever before, voters are relying on their mobile devices to learn more about the candidates and political issues before heading to the polls.

The increased usage means that voters have faster, more frequent access to campaign information and candidates must expertly leverage digital tools like social media to interact and engage with the American public to win votes.

As we head into the homestretch toward Election Day, many voters are using their smartphones and tablets to gather information about candidates, events, volunteer opportunities and polling results on the news, social media or in online discussions.

In fact, according to the Pew Research, about two-thirds of Americans owned a smartphone in 2015, compared with just 35 percent in the spring of 2011.

That same research tells us that more than a quarter (28%) of registered voters in the United States used their smartphones to keep up with politics in 2014, compared to 13% in 2010.  And 68% of smartphone owners use their phone to follow breaking news and 33% say that they do this “frequently.”

To stay on top of the political landscape with your iPhone or Android U.S. Cellular suggests the following tools for mobile device users:

Election AppUS Presidential Election 2016 App – This helpful app tracks important dates and events, including debates, conventions and primaries by state. It also provides background on all candidates, insights, commentary and news across party lines.





Network News Apps – Use news channel apps like CNN, FOX News or C-Span to get updates, breaking news and round-the-clock election coverage, anytime and from anywhere with U.S. Cellular’s high-quality network with nationwide coverage. These news outlets often delve into political issues, offer in-depth coverage of candidates’ campaigns and viewpoints, provide expert commentary on the political landscape, and provide real-time updates during debates as well as on Election Day.


Periscope and Meerkat – Livestreaming apps let users stream and view live video footage via Twitter. This is significant because voters can now witness campaigns like never before with round-the-clock access to the campaign trail.  Even remarks made off-the-cuff during a campaign can easily go viral and these “behind-the-scenes” moments have the potential to influence viewers’ opinions of the candidates.


Election – As of April 2016, 31 states as well as the District of Columbia allows people to register online to vote. This online registering process is quick, easy and convenient, and is meant to encourage more people to register to vote in time for the upcoming election.


With just over a month to go until the election, you have time to do your research and let your voice be heard.



Rock the Vote 2012



All opinions are my own and an honest view of my story as a US Cellular customer.

Our Answer to School Anxiety

This post is part of my partnership with the
US Cellular Blogger Brigade Ambassador Program.

Does your teen have a cell phone?
Make sure you download the Parent-Child Agreement.




We woke up early, the sky was still dim, and the dew still dripped from the grass. Sleepy eyes blinked open with expectation. “It’s the first day of school,” I cheerfully whispered. Those blinking eyes scrunched shut. “Come on,” I encourage. “You will get to see all your friends and play on the playground.”

Eyes remain scrunched.

Let’s try a different tactic.

“Are you hungry?”

Mumbles under the covers, eyes start blinking again.

Slowly, they make their way downstairs to their waiting bowls of cereal.

I gather backpacks and shoes, hoping our morning routine wouldn’t end in tears.

Once fueled, we snuggle in the chair reading a few pages of Nexo Knights before grabbing backpacks, slipping on shoes and snapping a first-day pic.



Here we go!

The first day of school is filled with emotions, excitement, worry, joy, all the things. It’s enough to tie little people and their parents into knots tighter than a boa constrictor.

My oldest son is especially nervous when it comes to writing. He can read at a sixth-grade level {and he’s only in fourth}, but when it comes to writing he struggles.

Our solution {and his therapist’s}, let him type.

The learning experience for students is evolving as more schools are opting for electronic textbooks and adopting technology like tablets and smartphones as learning tools.

That means wireless devices — like iPads — make it easier for my son to complete his homework assignments without anxiety.

However, with a new iPad comes new responsibilities.

In a recent U.S. Cellular survey, respondents said the average age of children getting their own cell phone from a parent is 11, whereas five years ago this age was 14.

That same survey showed that safety was the primary reason. The appropriate time varies from family to family, and parents can be challenged with how best to introduce their child to their first phone.

How parents can ensure this transition goes smoothly

To make this process as easy as possible for both parents and kids, U.S. Cellular recommends that families work together on guidelines for cell phone or iPad usage to ensure that children are using their devices responsibly, courteously and safely.

That’s why U.S. Cellular created the Parent-Child Agreement. It provides customizable suggestions on safety and etiquette and shows how technology can enhance time spent together as a family. It is designed so that each family can choose the guidelines that fit their specific needs.

Take the time to set up your child’s phone to ensure they only have access to phone features and apps that are appropriate for their age. There are apps available that help parents monitor their child’s mobile web usage and allow parents to block certain websites and restrict the downloading of applications.

Tablets are being used in the classroom in a variety of ways. Access to e-books, learning apps, online educational videos, and the Internet can all enhance the learning experience.

With this small addition, my son can finally write his story.


Disclaimer: Through the rest of the year I’ll be sharing some more of My BETTER MOMENTS as a US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade Ambassador. All opinions are my own and an honest view of my story as a US Cellular customer.

Save your phone from the KERPLUNK! {#BetterMoments}

This post is part of my partnership with the
US Cellular Blogger Brigade Ambassador Program.

Does your teen have a cell phone?
Make sure you download the Parent-Child Agreement.

US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade


That dreaded sound I’ve unfortunately experienced at least a dozen times. A few swear words fly from mouth as my heart drops from chest, and I start hyperventilating

My hand moves so quickly, that my brain barely has time to register my hand is plunging into toilet water to rescue my drowning cellphone.


Save you Cellphone from Water


Don’t judge me.
You’d do the same thing … admit it.

Just like me, you’d reach into about any body of water to retrieve that valuable device that holds your entire life in its digital little body.

After so many kerplunks we’ve become experts at salvaging our water-logged phones.

Because I will not allow one drop of water to steal my 2,000 photos, including that perfectly snapped selfie or the video of my youngest riding his bike for the first time.

According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 65 percent of people would rather live without TV than without their smartphone.

So how do you ensure you phone is safe after it takes the plunge?

Well, here are a few things we’ve learned.

Cat-like reflexes are helpful.
Once you’ve fished it out of the watery depths, quickly remove the cover and take out the battery. My iPhone 6s, doesn’t have a removable battery, so I just power off the device right away to prevent a possible short circuit.

Remove any accessories.
Take off any cases or covers, and remove all memory cards, headsets or other accessories. Take out the SIM card and carefully dry it off with a soft towel or cloth. The SIM card may retain data even if the waterlogged phone itself is damaged.

Wipe down the smartphone.
Carefully wipe the phone with a clean, soft towel or cloth. Try to avoid getting water into the phone’s cracks, indentations, ports or other openings. If water is trapped in a crevice, use a can of compressed air to blow it out, taking care not to blow the water further inside the phone.

Use a fan, not a hairdryer.
A fan can blow air across the phone’s openings to help dry it out, so keep it blowing for at least a few hours.

Take the phone to your wireless carrier.
If these methods don’t effectively fix the phone, don’t despair. Sometimes it can be fixed even when home remedies haven’t worked. Be honest about what happened and walk an associate or technician through the steps that were already taken to try and fix it.


What NOT to do:

Frantically press buttons, because this could push liquid further into the device.
Don’t use heat. It may be tempting to use a hair dryer, microwave or oven to dry off the phone, but the heat can quickly warp the phone’s circuits and melt its delicate internal components.


It’s always helpful to have a backup plan.

First and foremost before the phone gets wet, make sure important data, photos and contacts are backed up. If the phone is not recoverable, at least your important information and memories are saved.

Save your Cellphone from Water


Be prepared by stocking up on products that have been proven to work. Solutions like the Bheestie Bag or Dry-All are specifically designed to dry out wet mobile devices. These products can often prevent lingering moisture that can do further damage to the phone.
Save Cellphone from Water

We hoard desiccant packets for this specific reason…and because my son’s shoes are sweaty and smelly, but that’s a different problem. These handy silica gel packets that come with orders of shoes, electronics or other products, are miracle workers. You can pour their contents into a container with an airtight seal. When a wet phone needs rescuing, place it in the container and the desiccant can help absorb the water.

You may want to consider insuring your device.

U.S. Cellular offers Device Protection+, which not only replaces a water-damaged phone, but also comes with tools to backup your data and protects against Malware.

Hopefully with these tips and tricks that KERPLUNK won’t be so terrifying anymore.


Disclaimer: Through the rest of the year I’ll be sharing some more of My BETTER MOMENTS as a US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade Ambassador. All opinions are my own and an honest view of my story as a US Cellular customer.