These days, I can’t fathom not being able to reach for a camera and capture a moment or a feeling. Which is crazy because three years ago I didn’t even own a camera. Shortly before my father in law passed away he purchased a DSLR, began taking photography classes and rediscovered a passion he had many years back. In the handful of years I was lucky enough to have him around he made a huge impact upon my life. Several months later I inherited that camera and felt a serious need to have it do what I think he would have done with it. Capture amazing moments with his family and in particular his grandchildren.
I searched for a cute very portable Bluetooth speaker like the Carbon Pocket Speaker as part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias and their advertiser. #PocketBoom
At one point, travel was my life. So much so that I could tell you where within several airports to get a manicure, the best cup of coffee (without the Starbucks airport line) and plug in all of your gadgets without a crowd of looming plug-hunters giving you the stink eye. For obvious reasons I’ve cut back in the last few years but this last month, wow. I’ve made 4 trips in 3 weeks. And when your life pretty much consists of packing and unpacking you need to know what to pack to travel smart and say see you later to the suckers stuck at baggage claim while you’re already hopping in a cab.
As someone who is sort of the opposite of a minimalist in general it still shocks me that I manage to become one when packing. So here are a few of my tips to get through the holiday travel season, help you become a work-travel warrior or to make your weekend getaway seem like a getaway and not a stuff schlepping extravaganza.
One of my favorite recent finds it the Carbon Pocket Speaker. We have a couple of iPod docking stereo/speaker getups in our home, one of them is even a nice Bose one. However, it’s not very portable and I hate that since I use my iPhone for music, it has to be docked while playing music. Totally annoying when your job is social media and you want your phone in your hands most of the time. The Pocket Speaker is super small, uses Bluetooth to connect to your device and produces some pretty serious sound!
I like having it on my desk while I edit photos for the many photo gifts I give to the grandparents and aunts over the holidays. The small footprint leaves me lots of room for all of the impromptu must-do craft projects that take over my desk on a daily basis. And Legos. Yep. I like to play with Legos. Go on and judge.
And of course I’m super excited to take my Pocket Speaker on the road this year. I’ve got an aggressive travel schedule booked including lots of trade shows and blogger conferences which means lots of time with the many super talented friends. It also means late night pizza, music and girl talk. Yes, the rumors are true. Those conferences are a lot of work but also quite a bit of fun. In fact I’ve heard you can pair two of these little speakers together. Impromptu dance party anyone?
So, if you’ve got a stylish traveler or a technology diva on your hands I happen to think the Pocket Speaker makes a pretty neat gift. From what I saw it was one of the most reasonably priced, very portable speaker options at the Apple store where I picked up mine. They come in a bunch of colors, retail for under $100 and are exclusively sold at the Apple store right now. That’s right, under $100 in the Apple store. Seriously, what is under $100 there other than a phone case? Sort of a steal for something extra small and extra loud!
Tiggly sent us a set of their Tiggly Shapes to try out and I think they are the best iPad toy for preschoolers and toddlers.
At this point I think it’s silly to try to deny the way things are moving and say you refuse to let your child engage with electronics. Stick them in front of the stupid box while cartoons play endlessly? Obviously not. But once you get over the playground mom stigma of preschool iPad possession (which I’m still working on) you realize there are lots of truly educational apps out there. Where things are lacking are those add on toys for kids. I’m sorry, but the reality is that most of them stink. Which is why I was surprised and delighted when we got our hands on Tiggly.
Tiggly is the first truly interactive (and non crappy) iPad toy for toddlers. Personally, I think they are short changing themselves by saying that because I figured my almost 5 year old would be too old for it. She’s not. See those shapes? They are big soft easy to grip shapes that your child can use to stamp and play on the iPad with some free Tiggly apps.
I’m not a fan of letting my child put anything but her fingers on the iPad and have heard the nightmares of scratched screens from iPad toys of the past. Tiggly Shapes are designed differently so they really don’t scratch your iPad. I know, because if they did, we’d have a screen that was scratched to bits by now since Kayla’s been playing up a storm with them.
There are a few free Tiggly apps out there which you can easily download from the App Store. Tiggly Safari seems to be the one aimed at the youngest children (if you ask me) and is pretty basic but cute and fun. Your child stamps the tiggly shapes as directed on the screen and….
A few shapes put together become an animal! It’s really quite adorable and I think the perfect challenge for a 2-3 year old.
What my giant child loved most was Tiggly Draw. Think thumb print art on the go, but without inky fingerprints everywhere. Kids stamp shapes of their choice and then add all sorts of features to the shapes to turn them into creatures.
Kayla was fully focused on this one and I like the very open ended aspect of it. You see, what makes Tiggly different from other iPad apps and toys (at least in my mind) is that your child actually has to actually use their brain and determine what goes on the screen.
I learned this the hard way when I stopped paying attention while Kayla was playing another “educational” app a while back. She could simply tap the screen enough times to proceed to the next level/question without actually learning anything. Bummer. I’m a fan of the fact that Tiggly incorporates a tactile aspect to iPad play instead of the typical mind numbing tap, swipe tap.
Before I knew it we had a full on party going on. The Tiggly apps also talk and make cute sounds (which obviously you can mute) but the noises produced some serious giggles from this child. First we had a square party. Then it was a group of triangles. Then she realized she could mix them and her mind was blown.
And then we found Tiggly Stamp. I’ll call it the mid point between Tiggly Safari and Tiggly Draw. You stamp shapes on the screen and they are magically transformed into relevant objects or animals based on the shape chosen. It’s pretty cute and kids enjoy the element of surprise.
So basically, Tiggly gets my paranoid parent stamp of approval. It certainly came in handy during our very long Thanksgiving weekend when with no preschool for almost a week I was in search of a variety of educational activities.
You can snap up Tiggly on Amazon.com and have it in your home in 2 days with Prime (take advantage of that free trial, yo!) Which quite frankly is my favorite way to shop…in my pajamas, on the couch at night.
And, rumor has it that Tiggly has got a cute as can be Christmas app coming. Which apparently will be more Christmas-y than the one pictured above. I’m not quite sure how, but I’m excited to find out!
Want to know the best way to shop for a tablet during the holidays? Here are some tips! I checked out the Dell Venue Pro 8 this week as part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias® #IntelTablets #cbias
The holiday season is upon us. Which means it’s incredibly easy to get your Grinch on. No, I don’t mean going around town taking the last can of Hoo Hash. I mean that point where your blood boils and you start to hate gift giving while you’re waiting for the really un-helpful “salesperson” to help you pick out your techie gifts. You know, the one who keeps answering the phone instead of helping you? Can you tell I’ve experienced this lately? Yes, I’ve gone Grinch, but I’ve got a few tips to help you avoid turning green this holiday season.
I think it’s safe to say that tablets are the top of most people’s holiday lists this year. Heck, even my 4 year old wants her own. But while there are just a few that come to mind immediately are you sure they will fit the needs of your gift recipient? I’ll tell you this much, I’ll choose to do my own research and comparisons rather than rely on the college student manning the electronics section any day.
This year I was looking for a tablet that could do more for Craig. We’re traveling frequently these days and quite frankly it’s hard to find something portable that can serve the needs of an institutional trader. At home he has multiple screens filled with stock charts that make me woozy just glancing at them.
On the go he’d need something that has the speed and power to pull up those charts just like he was on his PC. Most of the systems he uses are not even supported by Mac, so anything of that realm was out of the question. Which lead me to Dell a brand he trusts, where I did some comparisons and well, educated myself a bit. And yes, my coffee cup has a tutu, just in case you were wondering!
There is nothing more annoying than a slow computer. Or is there? How about a slow not-so-smart phone or a slow tablet? During my less than stellar customer service experience I mentioned above I watched a woman ask questions of a sales person in a big box store about a tablet that retailed for $59. I wanted to cry watching this. I am all for finding yourself a deal but eeeekk. Yes, she could download apps from Google Play, but let’s talk about how quickly those apps are going to
That’s right. You can’t use programs or apps that need speed on a tablet that um…doesn’t have it? It’s like buying bargain detergent that you use 3 times as much of only you CAN’T add anything to fix that problem on a tablet. Which is precisely how I found myself with the Dell Venue Pro 8. It seemed like a good balance of performance with Intel Inside, price – coming in cheaper than any device with an “i” in front of it, and most importantly with Windows 8 Craig could download any program he might use on his regular desktop computer but take it to-go.
And of course, I wanted something that I could
steal borrow for those weekends away where I vow not to bring my laptop but want to be able to at least check on my blog, post an image to Facebook, etc.
I received my Misfit Shine activity tracker for free to facilitate this post. And I certainly wouldn’t share it with you if I didn’t think it was fashionably awesome.
If you’re anything like me then you have a sneaking suspicion that you’re not quite getting enough exercise. How much is enough exercise these days? Seriously I don’t even know. Probably because all of my focus is split between work and trying to be a decent mother and wife. Which is exhausting. And precisely why I am truly, madly, deeplyin love with the Shine by Misfit…which you can very conveniently find at Best Buy.
No, that is not a robotic macaroon. Although, that would make for an interesting FedEx delivery. This piece of awesome is probably the sleekest, most elegant little activity monitor I have ever seen. And I adore that it can be worn in a variety of ways, so you’re not tied to wearing an awkward (and not so fashionable) man-bracelet like some of the other fitness monitors out there. Yes, I am
vain fashion conscious.
Shine is just a bit larger than a quarter in diameter and incredibly light, thin and sleek. Setup is a breeze and trust me I have NO patience for products that have time intensive setups. I popped the battery into Shine, downloaded the app on my iPhone and had my mind blown when I was prompted to place Shine on the iPhone screen for it to update the software and activate. Which only took about a minute.
You can wear it as a watch with the included sport band or in about 35 different places on your body with the little magnetic adapter that’s also included in the package. I attached it to my favorite pair of Lululemon yoga pants while walking the dogs and wore it as a watch while hitting the mall with the included watch band. You can even pop that sucker onto the back of the neckline of your favorite dress and carry on in style at a cocktail party. Walking in heels and gabbing over drinks will earn you points. Not that I know from experience or anything. Nope.
Earn points you say? Yes. Shine keeps track of youractivity and converts it into points that you rack up during the day and week toward the fitness goal you set based on your height, weight, age and level of activity. You can check in to see how close to meeting your daily goal you are by tapping Shine twice. It will display your progress in some very pretty lights AND serves as a watch by showing the time right after yourprogress. Like I said, it’s awesome. Tap 3 times and it Bluetooth syncs with your iPhone and updates your progress in the Shine app.
If swimming is your thing or you have a spouse that thinks pushing you into the pool is “cute” then rest assured, Shine is also waterproof. If you have an excessive need for accessory options like I do, you can also purchase a leather band or necklace accessory to change up your look. I totally plan on using some hot fix metal stones on my sport band to customize it…once I dig myself out from the endless trips I have planned.