Tag Archives: music

Tech Tuesday: Roku 2 XS

This review is for the Roku 2 XS. Roku offers other device options, which are available with different features. Visit shop.roku.com to find the device that best suits your needs.

Roku Screen 1

Until Christmas, I had never heard of a Roku. That was when I got a tour of my dad’s Roku (which kind of confused me–I got that he was excited about his sort-of-new toy, but he was really going in depth to be just showing it off). Later that weekend, when I opened the box to my very own Roku 2 XS, I totally got why he showed me all those features.

Now, thanks to my dad and stepmom, I no longer have to use this…

Computer 1

And this…

Comp Cord 1

And this…

VGA 4

To stream video on this:

Roku Screen 3

(Seriously, though, don’t all those cords look beastly? And don’t get me started on how long my computer takes to boot up.)

Roku Device 3Roku stays put. No more plugging and unpluging the VGA cord from my computer and TV. No more sound cord to deal with. Just a little black box. Simple.

Roku comes standard with a video cord, but Josh and I plugged it into the TV using an HDMI cable instead. With the standard video cord, we had problems buffering some shows on Netflix, and the HDMI cable solved that.

Roku also comes with a little remote. I like it (I find it comfortable and easy to use), but not everyone is a fan. When you download the Roku app (available in iTunes or Google Play), you can program a remote to sync with your device, allowing you to use your smartphone or tablet as a remote for your Roku (though I imagine the phone is much less awkward than the tablet remote).

Roku Remote 3There’s even a USB port on the side, where you can plug in and watch digital copies of movies you own, listen to music or view your photos.

My initial excitement over my new Roku came from a want to easily stream Netflix, but Roku can do so much more. If you prefer Amazon, you can stream Amazon Instant Video movies and shows to your TV too. Or you can stream from Hulu Plus. Or Crackle, Vudu, Vevo, HBO GO, Epix… the list goes on.

Roku App 1Some websites have jumped on board too. You can watch cooking videos from allrecipes.com—convenient if you have a TV located close to your kitchen. And some fitness subscription sites like Gaiam and YogaVibes give users unlimited access to workout videos via Roku.

Though Roku is built for streaming video, it can bring other forms of entertainment to your TV as well. In fact, one of my favorite ways to use my Roku is for streaming music from Pandora—perfect for when I’m cleaning up around the apartment or chilling with friends (kidding—no one shares my taste in music).

Roku also acts as a sort of gaming device. Much like Wii, Roku allows the player to interact with the screen by using the remote, which also acts as a mouse at times. However, I haven’t had much experience playing games on my Roku (I spent maybe five minutes testing out the Angry Birds game that came  preloaded on it). Honestly, my fascination comes from streaming shows and movies.

Roku Device 1So far, I’m completely loving my Roku. Since adding the HDMI cable, I’ve had no complaints. (Josh’s only complaint has been that the TV repeatedly switches to the video setting for Roku whenever he turns on the TV, which is frustrating when he wants to play his Playstation instead. But I’m pretty sure that’s an issue with my TV, not Roku.)

Now the only problem is I only have one! (Gosh, I’d love to have a Roku in the bedroom too. One day.)

I was not reimbursed or rewarded in any way for this review. These thoughts and comments are my own and have no reflection on Roku, its employees or its affiliates.

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You’re invited: Halloween dance party

I know I said Halloween isn’t my thing, but I’m sure you’ll also remember that I said I’ve tried. Yeah, I wasn’t kidding.

Since this is the first year Josh and I have shared an apartment, I thought it would be fun if we threw a Halloween party together. We’d decorate the apartment and have our friends come over (in their costumes, of course) and enjoy some finger foods and fun Halloweeny music. Of course, my delusional self thought I could do all this for cheap. Like, recent-college-grad-still-job-hunting cheap.

Since food and decorations can get pretty pricey–and since we didn’t know Josh’s work schedule until this week–the idea of throwing a Halloween party fell through. But that didn’t stop me from virtually planning.

Although nothing else worked out, I did get one thing right: the music. After some brief research of the best Halloween music and some collaboration with Josh, I created an online playlist. And don’t think I haven’t jammed out to it every day.

Now you can join me. Find these songs and dance your little heart out this month of Halloween:

  1. Time Warp (from Rocky Horror Picture Show)
  2. The Headless Horseman (by Bing Crosby)
  3. Love Potion No. 9 (by The Searchers)
  4. Werewolf (by the Frantics)
  5. This is Halloween (your choice: from Nightmare Before Christmas; or by Marylin Manson)
  6. Monster Mash (by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt Kickers)
  7. Ghost Riders in the Sky (by Johhny Cash & Willie Nelson)
  8. Jump in the Line (by Harry Belafonte)
  9. Rock Lobster (by The B-52s)
  10. Ghostbusters Theme (by Ray Parker Jr.)
  11. I Put a Spell on You (your choice: from Hocus Pocus version; or by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)
  12. Thriller (by Michael Jackson)
  13. Remains of the Day (from Corpse Bride)
  14. Dinner with Drac: Part 1 (by John Zacherle)
  15. Superstition (by Stevie Wonders)
  16. Howlin’ for You (by the Black Keys)
  17. Halloween (by Bing Crosby)
  18. Castin’ My Spell (by Marci Lee & Johnny Otis)
  19. What’s a Girl to Do (by Bat for Lashes)
  20. Bad Things (by Cults)
  21. Grim, Grinning Ghosts (from Disney)
  22. Moanin’ at Midnight (by Howlin’ Wolf)
  23. Zombie Jamboree (by Harry Belafonte)
  24. Psycho Killer (by Talking Heads)
  25. Zombie Dance (by The Cramps)
  26. Riboflavin (45 Grave)
  27. Little Demon (by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)
  28. Sympathy for the Devil (by The Rolling Stones)
  29. Helter Skelter (by The Beatles; though the Across the Universe version is pretty good too)
  30. Little Drop of Poison (by Tom Waits)
  31. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (by Johann Sebastian Bach)
  32. My Body’s a Zombie for You (by Dead Man’s Bones)
  33. Iron Man (by Black Sabbath)
  34. Devil Went Down to Georgia (by The Charlie Daniels Band)
  35. I See Hell in Your Eyes (from Queen of the Damned)
  36. Monster (by Kanye West, feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nickki Minaj & Bon Iver)
  37. I’m Your Boogie Man (by White Zombie)
  38. Howlin’ for My Baby (by Howlin’ Wolf)
  39. Bad Moon Risin’ (by Creedance Clearwater Revival)
  40. Addams Family (from The Addams Family)
  41. Phantom of the Opera (your choice: from Phantom of the Opera; or by Nightwish)
  42. There’s a Nightmare on My Street (byDJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince)
  43. Welcome to My Nightmare (by Alice Cooper)
  44. Werewolves of London (by Warren Zevon)
  45. Sweet Dreams (by Marilyn Manson)
  46. Hurt (by Johnny Cash)
  47. Boogie Nights (by Earth, Wind & Fire)
  48. The Raven (by Alan Parsons Project)
  49. Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard (by Tom Waits)
  50. The Struggle (by 30 Seconds to Mars)

{infatuation friday}

A few things I like this week:

  1. Both of Us. I really love the contrast of Taylor Swift’s sweet-sounding voice with B.o.B.’s raps. But maybe I’m biased because I like both of them anyway.
  2. My new dress. I was having a bad day earlier this week, so I decided to try some retail therapy (something I rarely do). I tried hitting up the sales racks at Target (they had a huge sale, with several items up to 75 percent off!), but they had been picked over. I looked around anyway, and saw this dress. It was still full-price, but when I tried it on I fell in love. It’s super cute and feels phenomenal. Normally, I never buy clothes at full-price–I always wait for dresses to fall below $20 (sometimes less, depending on the material and season). But I knew I’d wear this dress again and again, so the $25 tag was okay with me.
  3. Cuddles and Rage. I feel like I’ve heard of this blog before, but I am now totally obsessed. I posted the “Supper with a Sloth” photo to my personal Facebook last week. I’m telling you, these characters are hee-larious.
  4. Exercise. We’ve been trying to come up with fun new ways to exercise since neither of us really likes to run. We’ve talked about Parkour and CrossFit, but I’m kind of a wimp so that hasn’t happened. Instead, we hung out at our apartment’s playground yesterday . Unfortunately, it’s built for kids ages 5-12, so it’s too small to do anything productive. However, there is a huge grassy area next to the playground. So we decided to bust out some old gymnastics/cheerleading moves (in the spirit of the Olympics?). The result? Two injured fingers. I bruised my pinky. Josh did something to make his ring finger swell. My guess is he just bruised it pretty badly, but we’re keeping an eye on it to be safe. I tell ya, we get into the weirdest shenanigans.
  5. Chuck. I started watching this around Thanksgiving(ish) when I was visiting family and my uncle was watching it (he owns all fives seasons). I watched probably four episodes in one day (45 minutes long, each). I was obsessed, so he sent me back home with the first two seasons on DVD. Josh started watching it with me somewhere in season two. Now I’ve borrowed season three, and it’s become a nightly thing for us. One episode per night. We usually reluctantly stop there.
  6. Seinfeld. I’ve been a Seinfeld fan for years (I think I started watching it when I was in junior high). Josh, however, grew up disliking Seinfeld. But I think I’ve converted him! We watch it almost every night after Chuck. We’re actually going through the episodes in the order they aired. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before with this show.
  7. Rubbermaid Easy Find LidsI got a set of these for Christmas, but didn’t open them until we moved into the new apartment. I am in love. They’re great for storing leftovers, but even better for packing lunches to take to work. The only problem? I need more!
  8. Facebook Pages Manager. I’ve heard a little about this app over the past few weeks, but there hasn’t been much hype about it. I downloaded it Wednesday night (since I recently created a page for this blog) but haven’t had much of a chance to use it. I’m not sure if there’s any more incentive to use this app than there is to use the regular Facebook app. It seems to me it would be easier to keep everything on one app. If you’ve used it, I’d like to know what you think.
  9. The PolishAholic. I rarely paint my fingernails. That’s because I’m usually too busy biting them. But on the off-occassion that I quit for a few weeks and let them grow a little, I get obsessed with nail polish. This blog is almost inspiration enough for me to quit again (for good? probably not…) so I have a reason to buy pretty new polishes, like the Super Mario Bros Collection from Dollish Polish (yes, I want them all).
  10. Dutch Treats. I saw some hagelslag on Pinterest a few days ago, and it reminded me of the times when my dad would bring some to me and my sister after his trips overseas. That made me really, really want some. So he sent me a link to The Little Dutch Girl, a shop that sells lots of things from Holland. Now I also want some stroopwafels. Yum!

Did I miss anything good? Let me know in the comments!