See a Health Care Provider From Your Smartphone With Health eXpress

Health eXpress

This is a partnered post.

I didn’t have health insurance for most of my 20s, so any of my doctor’s visits came out of pocket. Anyone without health coverage will know the feeling of putting off hospital visits and waiting to see if an annoying condition like a sore throat is really “Bad enough” to have to make an appointment. I became very familiar with the rates for local walk-in clinics in order to cut costs when I had to go in for something, but would still easily have to pay $100 just to have a doctor write a prescription. So when I heard about Health eXpress, an app that allows you to see a health care provider from your smartphone, computer or tablet, the first thing I noticed was that it only costs $39 per visit.

HealtheXpress App

Health eXpress is a very futuristic way to see a provider. This app uses secure technology to connect you live to a Providence doctor or nurse practitioner, who can see and hear you through streaming video. You don’t need an appointment and can connect usually within 5 minutes. You will only be charged the $39 if your condition can be treated by Health eXpress, so if they can’t provide you with a diagnosis, treatment recommendation and/or a prescription, you will be advised to seek immediate offline treatment and will not be charged. This is a great option for conditions such as cold/flu/cough, allergies and urinary tract infections – things that are easy to treat, but are often tolerated over paying hundreds to see a provider.

Health eXpress is specifically for people in Oregon and Washington and is a part of the Providence family, accepting Providence insurance and other select health coverage plans. Although I’m in my 30s and have fantastic health insurance now, I can still see a number of situations in which a “Virtual” appointment with Health eXpress would be preferable to a standard appointment:

  • Getting a doctor’s note: Many employers require a doctor’s note before they will allow an employee to call in sick, resulting in many people going to the hospital for the common cold – and spreading their germs to everyone in the waiting room. Through Health eXpress, you can have a health care provider confirm your cold and write a note to your employer while you sit comfortably on the couch and keep your germs at home!
  • Help for busy moms: Through Health eXpress, moms can check in with a provider without trying to wrangle their children into the car and doctor’s office, making life that much easier.
  • Seeing a provider after hours: Murphy’s law seems to dictate that we will always get sick at the most inconvenient time. When I was younger, I remember counting down the hours over a weekend so that I could see a provider without racking up thousands for an ER visit. Health eXpress is open from 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday and from 8 AM to 8 PM on weekdays, giving you a lot more options!

To learn more, visit HealtheXpress.com to create a free account and download the app on iTunes and the Google Play store.

Have you ever paid a virtual visit to a health care provider like this? Would you use Health eXpress?

Taxes, Blogger Friends & Dead Whales

Today has been quite interesting. I headed to my accountant’s office this morning to pick up my finished tax return so that I could mail it in time for today’s deadline – Jai dropped off my taxes while I was in Florida and this was my first opportunity to pick them up after I returned. After I got that finished, Jai and I met up with my friend Jen of The Mom Reviews, who just happened to be in town with her husband. It was so wonderful getting a chance to meet her in person and we had a lovely time over coffee!

After I got home, Jen sent me this link – apparently, a 40 foot dead whale had washed up this morning and was beached near the turnaround, while we were having lunch at Sam’s totally unawares. So, Jai and I headed back down to the beach. Since I’m pretty much the only blogger in Seaside at this point, I try to report on our local news. You’re welcome:

Dead whale in Seaside

Whale tail

Sad whale photo

Dead whale

No official word yet on cause of death or how the whale will be removed; hopefully, dynamite will not be involved.

How to Drain a Hot Water Heater

How to Drain a Hot Water Heater

Hot water heater and accessories provided for review by Ecotone Products.

Last month, Jai embarked on the project of installing a new hot water heater in our home – a first for both of us. We anticipated it being a big project, and while it is a lot of work to move and install large appliances – especially when it involves plumbing! – this actually went more smoothly than anticipated. Jai learned some new skills from this project, which took about 2 days to complete from start to finish. Jai wanted to share a helpful tip on how to drain a hot water heater, so he filmed a short video for those of you who are about to install a new hot water heater in your own home. You can also get a look at our sleek new Rheem Marathon Hot Water Heater!

How to Drain a Hot Water Heater

Ecotone Products are a local business based out of Fairview, Oregon. Their online store, GP Conservation Products, carries a slew of hot water heaters for every need – check them out at GPConservation.com or give them a call at (503) 907-2899.

Do you have any hints for installing a hot water heater?

Snowy St. Johns

Snowy St. Johns

This past week has been quite an adventure! I flew out to Chicago last Wednesday for the Chicago Auto Show Media Preview, and arrived back in Portland on Friday night. During my brief absence, a freak snowstorm hit that eventually resulted in an emergency alert being issued and made it impossible for me to get back to Seaside until Monday morning. Fortunately, I have awesome family in Portland who had a place for me to stay during “Snowpocalypse” and even loaned me clothes so that I could venture outside – all I with me were business skirt suits, since I had packed for a warm indoor conference, not a snow avalanche!

Bridge railing

Snow-covered train

Pine cones

Snowman

Clumps of snow

Snow-Covered street

LEGO® KidsFest Portland: Recap

LEGO Indiana Jones

Media passes provided for this event.

Jai and I spent Friday afternoon at LEGO® KidsFest Portland at the Oregon Convention Center. This event is a LEGO lover’s dream, with all kinds of exhibits and activities for the whole family! There were all kinds of hands-on activities, from a station where you could build and race LEGO cars to a LEGO art gallery where you can let your inner Michelangelo out. (If you want to let your inner Jackson Pollock out, just dump a box of LEGO bricks on the floor. ;) )

LEGO Art Gallery

There was also a giant LEGO replica of the US map, and attendees were invited to build cityscapes to fill in the map, which LEGO staffers then fit into place. It was fun to watch the map grow over the course of the evening, and see LEGO replicas of things like the “Hollywood” sign pop up!

LEGO US Map

Kids could compete in several competitions, from building the largest tower to creating LEGO Krabby Patties just like SpongeBob. Many of these contests gave out little LEGO toys as a prize to everyone who participated, which I thought was neat for the kids.

LEGO SpongeBob Poster

There were lots of little LEGO comics and posters dotted around to take home as free souvenirs, a raffle for LEGO prizes at 6:30 (Which drew a crush of people!), and a store to buy LEGO playsets at. There were also a few vendors providing samples for grown-ups, from free pens and frisbees from Connections Academy to tea samples and upcycled bracelets from Honest Tea.

Bissell were also on hand with some fun activities for kids and a demo of their Perfect Sweep Turbo, which can suck up LEGO bricks. Impressive!

There were tons of fun LEGO statues on hand for visitors to marvel at. Here’s Jai striking a pose with Gandalf and Bilbo:

LEGO Hobbit

We saw Batman and hung out with Superman:

LEGO Batman

LEGO Superman

The Star Wars gang made an appearance:

LEGO Darth Maul

LEGO R2D2 & C3PO

Even Johnny Depp showed up:

LEGO Johnny Depp

And of course, I had to get my photo with SpongeBob!

Posing with LEGO SpongeBob

There was a surprising variety of things to do at this event – kids could choose between everything from watching a show about how LEGO statues are made to getting their picture taken at the LEGO Friends photobooth. For all of the unique activity stations they had at the event, some of the most popular seemed to simply be the gigantic piles of LEGO blocks! Two friends I ran into both said that their kids were having so much fun playing on the huge pile of bricks that they had been there for an hour or more and hadn’t even seen the rest of the displays.

Huge LEGO Pile

Many local bloggers were in attendance, so it was great fun getting a chance to catch up and chat with my PDX pals!

LEGO Bloggers

From left to right: Crystal of Eccentric Eclectic Woman, Mary Ann of A Cloth Life, Carol of All Mommy Wants and myself.

In all, I think LEGO KidsFest is a great night of fun for families. All the kids seemed to be losing their minds with excitement, and I know I would have gone nuts for this when I was little! All the attractions were super cute, and there was more going on than I had really expected. You definitely won’t be at a loss for things to do while you are there! There were a TON of people there, so you might prepare for it they way you would for taking your kids to a super popular amusement park: Make sure everybody stays fed and watered, take a break to sit down if you need to, and be prepared for a big nap when you’re done! The event does not allow food and drink to be brought in, so you may want to prepare for this. There is a full food court on site, which Jai and I hit up since we had a packed day and hadn’t gotten a chance to eat. The selections were high in price, but not necessarily taste.

LEGO KidsFest is going on all weekend, and tickets are still available for Sunday, October 13th: Session 1 runs from 9 AM to 1:30 PM and has limited ticket availability, and session 2 runs from 3 PM to 7:30 PM and has normal ticket availability as of this writing. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for children and seniors with free admission for children 2 and under – click here to buy now!

LEGO® KidsFest – Tickets Selling Fast!

LEGO KidsFest

Complimentary event admission provided.

If you’d like to attend LEGO® KidsFest on October 11th, hurry and get your tickets – they’ve been known to sell out in the past, and I just got word that Saturday Sessions 1 has limited availability. Snag your tickets on the LEGO® KidsFest website by clicking here.

Are you going to LEGO® KidsFest? Say hi to Jai and I if you do!!

I Don’t Mind Spending Every Day Out on Your Corner in The Pouring Rain

Maroon 5 Ticket

She’s got tickets to her own show…

Yesterday, I traveled 2 hours to Ridgefield, Washington to watch Maroon 5 perform at the Sleep Country Amphitheater. I knew I had to see this show – it was happening 2 days after my 30th birthday, it’s Maroon 5′s biggest tour ever, and it had a great lineup. In true Oregonian fashion, I drove through a storm and picked up a poncho at Dollar Tree since my tickets were on the lawn!

Rozzi Crane

The first act was Rozzi Crane, who is signed to 222 records and did a song on the “Hunger Games” soundtrack with Maroon 5 last year. She did a great set – she’s a very talented vocalist and I enjoyed her songs. I wanted to get her CD after the show, since you can’t buy it online yet and she was going to be signing copies, but there was such a crush at the merch stalls that I couldn’t even see the front. I waited a few minutes but decided it would be wise to leave because I didn’t want to be walking a long way in the dark by myself (More on that in a minute).

Rozzi came back out during Maroon 5′s set to duet with Adam on “Wake Up Call” and “Moves Like Jagger”. I was surprised that they didn’t play “Come Away to The Water”, but it made total sense to have her on “Jagger” and I thought it was fun and different hearing her do some of the verses in “Wake Up Call”.

Sadly, the battery on my phone died, so I didn’t get any photos of Kelly Clarkson or Maroon 5, but I did manage to snap a pic of me huddling on the lawn in my Maroon 5 hoodie and necklace. Normally, I like to glam up for concerts, but since I was quite literally sitting in a rainstorm watching the show, I was a little limited in what I could wear!

Kelly Clarkson was the next act up, and she was great! I’ve always enjoyed her songs, and she had a great setlist of all her big hits. I don’t follow “American Idol” so I didn’t really know what her personality was like, but she is so cute and funny on stage. She kept cracking jokes during her show and her enthusiasm is contagious. At one point, she flubbed a line in “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and joked, “Ooops, I totally messed that up! At least you know I’m not lip-synching!”. It was a really fun set, and she is of course a fantastic vocalist.

All of this led up to the culmination of the night with Maroon 5′s show. This is the 4th time I’ve seen them live, and the biggest show they’ve ever done. In fact, this whole concert had the biggest production values of any show I’ve personally gone to – there were maybe 6 big screens showing the concert and pre-recorded footage/effects, tons of lights and lazers, and even a virtual appearance from Wiz Khalifa, rapping on the big screen during his portion of “PayPhone”. It was all pretty impressive – my favorite part of the whole show was during “Lucky Strike” when they threw a bunch of inflatable beach balls into the audience that changed colors under the lights. It was a joyful moment to be standing there singing and dancing in my rain poncho and batting these beach balls around!

Of course, Maroon 5 are epic live performers, so the show was flawless as ever. During the intermission, there was a nice lady sitting next to me who invited me to sit on her tarp (Thanks!), and she had never seen the band live before and wasn’t sure if her nosebleed seats in the lawn section would be worth it. I assured her that she would have a fabulous time because Maroon 5 are amazing live. So a few songs into the show, she turned to me and said, “They ARE really good!!”

It was great hearing material from Overexposed live in person for the first time. The first time I saw Maroon 5 back in 2004, they had time to play Songs About Jane in its entirety, plus cover songs – now they have so many albums out that they can’t even scratch the surface of all their work! It’s interesting to see the vibe and expanded fanbase from The Voice. All the acts had a bit of a hard time getting the crowd involved, maybe because the weather put a damper (literally) on it for a lot them. When Adam led the crowd in singing “She Will Be Loved” (A concert tradition), he split the audience up into Group A in the covered section and Group B for the lawn section, or “Grass people” as he called us. Naturally, he gave us grass people the verse, “I don’t mind spending every day out on your corner in the pouring rain,” since we were quite literally standing in the pouring rain as we sang!

After the show, I decided to bid a hasty retreat back to the street to meet Jai, since my phone died and I didn’t want to get stuck walking a long way alone in the dark. Because the parking situation at this venue is a bit of a nightmare, we decided to just have Jai drop me off nearby and meet me there, and I am so glad we did. There were 6,000 cars in the parking lot and they estimated that it wouldn’t be cleared until after 2 AM – some people got out quickly, others ended up sitting in the parking lot for an hour waiting to leave. The show started at 7 PM, and the person I was sitting next to at the show told me they had left for the concert at 3:30 PM, and they lived in Portland, which is only 20 minutes away from Ridgefield – to put that in perspective, I also left at 3:30 PM, and I was coming from Seaside! So with Jai dropping me off, I bypassed all the crazy standstill traffic. I’m not sure why it was like this, because we saw Nine Inch Nails at this same venue in 2006 and had no problem – it must have just been the volume of people, because there were literally double the amount of people as there were at NIN (Maybe more) and just trying to walk through the grounds was challenging.

This was another memorable adventure, like the first Maroon 5 concert when I took a bus to Puyallup to see them. Great times, amazing shows, and fun way to ring in my 30th year!

Don’t Text And Drive: #ItCanWait Blogger Event in Seattle

It Can Wait Seattle Event

Complimentary refreshments & goody bags were provided.

I have never operated a phone while driving. When I see people cruising down the freeway while texting in one hand, eating a slice of pizza in the other, and looking everywhere but the road, it terrifies me. I think people forget that when they step into a car, they are operating a huge machine that could easily cause countless deaths. I’m not trying to be a downer, I just wish people would take driving more seriously.

Texting while driving really blows my mind. Honestly, if I’m a blog event or conference, I often don’t tweet very much until the end of the event because I have a hard time concentrating on two things at once; and I’d rather concentrate my attention on the great people I’m talking to in person and share all my fun photos later. So if I have a hard time simply sending an Instagram photo while having a face-to-face conversation with someone, how in the world could anybody focus enough to text and drive? Answer: They can’t. Here’s just a few links to statistics on cell phone usage and cars:

So when Jai and I were invited to a blogger event sponsored by AT&T in Seattle for National Pledge to Wait Day on September 19th, we were pleased to get involved since we both feel very strongly about the importance of paying attention while driving. Jai is actually the one who taught me how to drive, so I guess his anti-texting stance rubbed off on me since we’re both cautious drivers. ;) The “It Can Wait” event was held at the beautiful Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Washington.

The event was hosted by Louise of MomStart, and I was so excited to finally meet her in person! Louise and I have been reading each other’s sites since we started blogging, and I also began contributing to MomStart earlier in the year. I also got to meet other Seattle bloggers including Saving 4 Five and fellow MomStart contributors Emily and Lynn – it was wonderful hanging out with these great women!

We ate some delicious food over great conversation. One of the things we discussed were the powerful short documentaries that AT&T have put together, sharing the stories of those whose lives have been changed forever due to accidents caused while texting. You may have seen clips from these documentaries aired during TV commercials – you can see the full AT&T Don’t Text While Driving Documentary below, but make sure you have Kleenex handy:

There was also a texting and driving simulator game at the event, so guests could see first-hand the effects of distracted driving – you can try the simulator out for yourself by clicking here.

No Texting on Board!

Jai and I got to take home some fun little swag bags after the event. There’s a “No Text on Board” t-shirt – I’m totally going to wear this the next time I’m in charge of driving people somewhere! – a handy screen cleaner, “It Can Wait” thumb rings, stickers, temporary tattoos, and tasty candy.

So how you can you get involved to stop texting and driving?

Take the pledge at ItCanWait.com and vow never to text while behind the wheel.

Put your phone away when you’re getting into the car to avoid temptation.

Encourage your friends to learn the facts and stop using their phones on the road.

I also think that the culture of “Instant access” puts pressure on people to reply to messages immediately, even when they’re driving or otherwise occupied. Now that cell phones keep us connected 24/7, people have started to confuse promptness with responding to a query within 30 seconds. I have had people start to panic if they can’t get ahold of me for a very mundane matter within half an hour. Remember, people still need to drive, shower, work and sleep; I think if we stop putting so much pressure on each other to be instantly accessible, anytime, anywhere, we can reduce the number of people who feel like they simply must text while driving. I remember the days before cell phones, when you could leave the house and nobody knew where you were; somehow, we all survived just fine! Even if there is a true emergency, the person who is trying to call or text you should be calling 911, not you. So turn off that phone when you get into the car and let people know that you refuse to text and drive – because really and truly, it can wait.

Will you take the pledge with me to stop texting and driving?

LEGO® KidsFest Winner!

LEGO KidsFest

I will receive complimentary admission to LEGO® KidsFest for my participation in this campaign.

Congratulations going out to Brian, the winner of our LEGO® KidsFest ticket giveaway! If you didn’t win today, you can still snag a $2 discount through Friday by using promo code USFG13. And don’t forget to visit the official website for more info on the event! See you there!