Dark Parables: The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide Collector's Edition #BigFishGames

Dark Parables: The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide Collector's Edition #BigFishGames
Thank you to Big Fish Games for providing a complimentary game code to facilitate this PC game review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Being a casual gamer, I am a huge fan of Big Fish Games.  They have such a vast inventory of PC games for people like me, who only have time to play once a week (or sometimes less).  I have played many different hidden objects games before, but this new release, Dark Parables: The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide Collector's Edition, has been my favorite thus far.

For this game, I played in "casual" mode, which let's me ask for hints and allows me to use a map that indicates in which locations I still have pending business.  The game is quite intricate.  There are multiple buildings and many different rooms to unlock in each one.  The hidden objects portion is split into two facets.  There are hidden objects throughout the regular game areas for which you can earn achievement awards when you find them and there are hidden object mini games.  In the mini games, you must search for pieces of three objects and when you've found all the pieces, the fractured objects reassemble and then join together to make one item you need for the game.  Much of the game is collecting objects to access another key item or to unlock more content.  For myself, I did not find the hidden object mini games to be extremely challenging, but there were always 1 to 3 objects per game that were a challenge to find.

In addition to the hidden object games, there are a variety of mini games.  Usually, the hidden object games are what I enjoy the most, but this game offers mini games that I found to be quite unique and challenging because they mostly involve problem-solving.  See the example below . . .

Dark Parables: The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide Collector's Edition #BigFishGames

As you can see, the graphics are quite beautiful for this game, which adds to the magic.  The storyline is about a detective (yourself) who finds herself in a fantasy world with mermaids, man-eating eels, and sorcery.  I would say it took me approximately 6 hours to play this game from start to finish.  During the last two hours I had 3 children glued to my side because they started watching me and got hooked by this game.  In my opinion, young children might be frightened by the eel and some of the evil-doers, but I think a child who is 9 or 10 years old or older would enjoy this game as much as an adult.

I also want to point out that my Windows tablet with an Atom processor ran this game just fine, although it was much easier to find the hidden objects on a 22" monitor than on a 10" screen.

If you have some time to kill at night or on the weekends, I highly recommend this game.  It was quite entertaining all-around.  You can try Dark Parables: The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide Collector's Edition for free and then purchase the full version if you like it at www.BigFishGames.com.

Game System Requirements:
OS: Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8
CPU: 1.6 GHz
RAM: 1024 MB
DirectX: 9.0
Hard Drive: 862 MB

Game Manager System Requirements:
Browser: Internet Explorer 7 or later

Disney FROZEN Holiday Gift Ideas for Under $50 at Kohls! #FrozenFriday #MC

Disney FROZEN Gift Ideas for Under $50 at Kohl's #FrozenFriday #MC
I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Kohl's. I received Kohl's gift cards and merchandise to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

Christmas is only 4-1/2 weeks away!  Where did the time go?  It seemed like back-to-school was just yesterday . . .

Speaking of time, did you know that this weekend is the last to vote for your favorite of the 10 finalist in the Kohl's FROZEN Sing Your Heart Out Contest.  I was sad to see that the trio I was rooting for did not make it to the final round, but many talented people of all ages did.  In fact, there is such variety in the singing styles of these 10 finalists that I found it extremely difficult to choose just one.  I ended up voting for Chantal, who adds a soulful rock sound to the song "Let It Go".  However, the duets Katherine & Kelly and that of Kevin & Matt were close seconds.  Which one is your favorite?  Voting ends on Sunday, November 23rd at 9:30pm EST, the same night that the winner will be revealed in a Kohl's holiday commercial at the end of the 2014 American Music Awards.  I'm going to have to rush home from an event just to catch the winner's announcement!

I hate having to rush in general, but especially when it comes to my holiday gift shopping.  By Halloween, if I'm not mostly finished with my shopping, then my gift radar turns on and I'm on high alert for gift ideas for the remaining people on my list.  As always, I'm happy to share gift ideas with 3G2S readers.

Disney's Frozen Olaf "An Expert On The Snow" Pendant Necklace from Kohl's #FrozenFriday #MC

Kohl's is your destination for FROZEN gifts this holiday!  They have such a huge selection of FROZEN merchandise, including toys, clothing, electronics, home furnishings, and more.

Disney FROZEN gift ideas for under $50 . . . 

1.  Disney's FROZEN Olaf "An Expert on Snow" Pendant Necklace - Black Friday Preview Pricing just $8.99.

2.  Disney FROZEN sleepwear - Black Friday Preview Pricing from $12.00.

3.  Disney FROZEN Olaf Snow Cone MakerBlack Friday Preview Pricing $24.74.

4.  Disney FROZEN Elsa Musical Light-Up DressBlack Friday Preview Pricing $29.99.

Of all the gifts we previewed from Kohl's, my FROZEN-obsessed daughter was most delighted with the musical light-up dress!  As a size 7/8, she was still able to fit into the 4-6x gown.  A huge smile appeared on her face when she pushed the button and heard the song "Let It Go" and the blue lights started flashing on her bodice and snowflake-covered skirt.

To see the full selection of FROZEN merchandise at Kohl's, please visit Kohls.com/frozen.  Which gift idea would your little girl love the most?

For even more gift ideas, read 12 Disney Frozen Gift Ideas for Girls at Kohl's.

Disney 'Big Hero 6' is Genius! {plus a DIY Hiro Costume}

Disney Big Hero 6 Movie - Hiro with Baymax at Advanced Screening  |  www.3Garnets2Sapphires.com
Our family was invited to attend a press screening of Big Hero 6 prior to the Disney movie opening in theaters.  All opinions expressed are my own.

My family and I had the opportunity to see Disney Big Hero 6 in 3D last week during an advanced screening. I can tell you I have been bursting at the seams waiting to tell the world about this movie. I’m not going to beat around the bush: Big Hero 6 is spectacular and is destined to become a mega blockbuster. Everybody should see this movie, young or old, . . . everybody. As a matter of fact, it should be mandatory!

I first heard about Big Hero 6 on YouTube where I saw the trailer months and months ago. I could not wait to show my kids as I knew they were going to be as excited as I was to see it. To be honest, whenever Disney announces a new animated movie we are giddy in anticipation (who isn't?), but something about this one really appealed to us and we were especially excited for the release.

One of the reasons we were so excited to see the movie, was that one of the main characters, Hiro, looks exactly like my oldest son Jake. Dead ringer. It didn't take us long to realize that Jake had to dress up as Hiro at some point (see the how-to below). I think we nailed the costume and Jake was able to wear it to the screening! However, Jake is not the only person excited enough about Big Hero 6 to dress up….. I will be attending a comic convention event later this month dressed at the villain, Yokai! As you can probably tell, we really loved this movie.

Big Hero 6 takes place in San Fransokyo (how awesome is that?), a hybrid city made up from San Francisco and Tokyo. I was absolutely mesmerized by the scenery of San Fransokyo. The visuals were breathtaking. I would love to be able to navigate around that city and really take it all in, but the movie is so fast paced and exciting, you hardly get a chance.

Hiro Hamada is a young boy genius with an older brother who is also gifted. Both are into robotics and have developed some amazing technology. I don't want to say too much more, but as you can guess, the other main character of the movie, Baymax, was one of their creations.

There is no doubt Baymax is going to become one of Disney's most loved and cherished personalities. The entire theatre was in love within seconds of his entrance. His sole purpose is to heal and protect people, even to use humor as the best medicine for the job and he does it so endearingly you can't help but to love him.

In addition to Hiro, his brother, and Baymax, there is a team of other cool and interesting characters that keep the story moving right along. I can honestly say that some of them could star in their own movie, but Hiro and Baymax clearly own Big Hero 6.

It's tough to say much more about the story without spoiling the movie, but you can expect things to get action packed and exciting. Nobody in the world manages emotions like Disney does. We were laughing, jumping in our seats, and crying at very comfortable intervals throughout the entire movie. The kids were truly moved throughout with just the right levels of emotional stimulation.

The scary parts were enough to give the kids (ages 7, 7, and 10) a jump (and net me a hand squeeze) but not too much to make them upset. The sad parts were enough to shed a light tear, but they were followed by humor and warm feelings to bring them right back. I am not ashamed to say I was just as emotionally moved as the kids were. In fact, the entire theatre was. We all laughed out loud, gasped in unison, and cheered regularly.

Although this is a Disney movie, the story is Marvel. So make sure you look for all the little treats and Easter eggs you’d expect in a Marvel movie. They are there and you are going to love them.

Big Hero 6 officially opens in theaters today, November 7th!  I can’t wait for everybody else to see this movie so I can talk about everything without spoiling it! If you haven't guessed, I wholeheartedly recommend this movie. I cannot think of one type of person who would not enjoy it.

TIP:  Don't be late for the movie because the animated short that preceded Big Hero 6, Feast, was awesome!

DIY Big Hero 6 Hiro Costume How-To . . .
  • Navy blue zip-front hoodie (lined inside in white with white contrast stitiching, if you can find one)
  • Red Transformers Optimus Prime (or another similar robot-like character) t-shirt
  • For accuracy, layer a white t-shirt under the red one
  • Long pair of khaki-colored cargo pocket shorts (or cut a pair of long cargo pants to hit halfway between the knee and ankle)
  • Black canvas high tops with the tongue folded down
  • Golden yellow shoelaces
  • Lots of hair gel (and some hair spray) to create a full head of tousled hair
Aside from accidentally forgetting the white t-shirt to layer underneath (due to our attempt to not be late for the screening), we were pretty pleased with our DIY Hiro costume!
Disney Big Hero 6 Movie - DIY Hiro Costume  |  www.3Garnets2Sapphires.com

I hope I can take the family to see Big Hero 6 again soon…. or sneak out and see it again alone!

To learn more about this movie, visit Big Hero 6 on Disney.com, Facebook, and Disney Animation on Twitter.

"Music Made Me Do It" . . . Share Your Story with SOL Republic! {Holiday Prize Pack Giveaway - ARV $700+}

Tell SOL Republic how music made you do something awesome #MMMDI  |  www.3Garnets2Sapphires.com
Thank you to SOL Republic for providing the Music Made Me Do It prize pack for our #MMMDI giveaway.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Music is a time machine.

Almost every memory I have ever had has a soundtrack to it, the good times and the bad. How many times has a song on the radio teleported you back to a time in your life? How many people have you known that you think of whenever a certain song comes on the radio? Many for me.

When I hear Journey, Zeppelin, and Hall & Oates, I am sent back to the 70’s riding on the school bus (with the coolest driver ever!) and hanging out with my brothers in Tennessee.. Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, U2, and Run DMC send me back to high school and all the lifelong friends I made there. As I got older I realized how much music I had missed before my time and started listening to CCR, The Beatles, Elvis, Cream, Hendrix, and on and on.

I am convinced every phase of my life is represented by the music I was listening to at the time. I think back to all of the things I used to do when listening to music. Drawing, studying Karate, driving, spending time with friends at the beach, and bicycling. Oh boy, the hours and hours I spent on my bike when I was younger listening to music that shaped my attitude and spirit.

I would ride up and down the Charles River all day long listening to the entire albums by U2, Pearl Jam, and anything else I could get my hands on. Of course, back then I listened on my portable CD player….. but that's another story. There is nothing like blasting Pearl Jam’s Even Flow while speeding 30 miles an hour down a steep rocky hill or catching a little air to Van Halen’s Jump.

Share your story with SOL Republic about how music made you do something awesome #MMMDI  |  www.3Garnets2Sapphires.com

Today I listen to everything, whether it's through my SOL Republic Relays on my bike or with my Master Tracks at the office. As I age, I start to appreciate skill and talent over genre. I appreciate the quality of the sound. If its good music by a talented artist then I like it, whether its opera, rap, country, death metal, or ska it doesn't matter. And with thousands (millions?) of songs just a touch away, I can teleport back into any time of my life in an instant.

This year, music made me get back on my bike. Something I haven't done in years and years. I have a thousand reasons to get up and do something, but only music can do it every time.

Does the video above make you think of the amazing things you've done in your lifetime?  Find more Music Made Me Do It stories on www.solrepublic.com.  3G2S readers are invited to share your stories for a chance to win ALL the SOL Republic products listed below (colors may vary) . . .

Our 'Music Made Me Do It' SOL Republic Prize Pack (ARV $700+) includes:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck in the drawing!

TERMS & CONDITIONS:  This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian entries only. You do not need to be a blogger to enter, but you must have a valid email address and be age 18 years or older. A random drawing will be held shortly after the contest closing. The winner will be announced here and will be contacted via email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. Although every effort will be made for the winner to receive the prize pack by December 24th, 2014, delivery in time for Christmas is not guaranteed. The prize pack image found in the contest post is only an example. The products in the prize pack may vary from the colors shown in the image and will be sent based on availability.

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