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Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA, Paris

Still wondering what to get mom for Valentine’s Day? Wondering what to get everyone you love for Valentine’s Day? It’s hard because once a woman gets to be a certain age (grown) we just kind of buy what we want when we want it, so it’s difficult to find the perfect gift. And after 40, forget about it. We’re tired of waiting. We know life’s too short to not eat the cake and buy the fancy dress.

READ ALSO: When No One’s Looking

My, real talk, advice to everybody who is having issues figuring out what mom really wants is to go deeper than just price tags and popularity. Pay attention to what she says and does. The perfect Valentine’s Day gift guide should include getting her the things she never has to ask for. They should be thoughtful and consider who she is. The best gifts are not the generic gift that everyone else is getting their moms because a commercial told them to. It’s knowing your mom’s heart and giving her something that will be meaningful to her.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything

Tickets to a Broadway Show

I love giving experiences and I love getting them too. Things tarnish, tear and wear but experiences age into sweet memories that are priceless. That is what I want to give. I want my mom to hear a song, see a show, a photo of a far off place or a movie and smile while she remembers to herself, that one time at so and so. One experience I love to give to everyone I know is tickets to a Broadway Show. It is truly an experience that elevates you. Hamilton, anyone? I know for a fact, this mom would never forget seeing Hamilton with her family.

You are Beautiful Cursive wall hanging

Let mom enjoy an artful reminder that she is beautiful inside and out with this hand cut three-dimensional display. There is so much we feel that we never say and sometimes we just need to say them so the people we love can hear them. How many times have we thought how much we love someone or how beautiful they are to us and never say it? This simple, elegant wall hanging will serve as a constant reminder as to how beautiful they are to us. This You are Beautiful cursive wall hanging is also the perfect gift for your daughter.

BOLT 700 Wireless headphones

Sure, at first, these sound like just another awesome tech gift for the mom who dreams of walking the CES floor but it’s so much more than that. BOLT BT 700 are true wireless earphones with a charging speaker case. Mom can get some peace and quiet from the chaos in her world by simply putting these on and shutting it out. They’re the first earphones to have balanced armature drivers which means more detailed sound with less power used. Your sound goes everywhere. The earphones’ case is a portable speaker, too.

Mother Nesting Birds necklace

Help mom keep her flock close with this recycled sterling silver handcrafted mother nesting birds necklace. This beautiful necklace showcases mama and her baby birds. I have this particular piece and it is one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever owned. You know my story. You’ve seen my logo. This necklace makes my heart feel whole again. Every mom would appreciate this meaningful gift.

Nima Peanut Sensor

So this may sound like a weird Valentine’s Day gift but for the mom who has a child with peanut allergies, this connected food sensor detects traces of peanut in food for those with peanut allergies in under 5 minutes. The Nima Peanut Sensor is a quick and portable handheld sensor, easy to use and incredibly accurate and that all adds up to peace of mind for mom. That is absolutely priceless. I’m not one who normally advocates for sensible gifts for mom but this one is absolutely perfect for some moms.

READ ALSO: The Greatest Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA, ParisBring Back the Romance Date Night Package

This is for the mom who has everything but just wants a little grown-up time romance with her favorite person. Like I said, thoughtful. There’s nothing like a night in with a Jameson and Ginger in one hand while snacking on bourbon pecan pie and playing a rousing game of Kinky Truth or Dare with the person of your dreams. Seriously, how much fun could this be? Bonus: Pretty sure that the guy in your life would love this as Valentine’s Day too.

A set of 2  Whiskey wedge glasses it creates an ice slope that chills spirits but minimizes dilution with this rocks glass’ fitted silicone mold.

Sounds crazy but if you have a Valentine with a sweet tooth and a taste for the finer things in life, this decadent Bourbon Pecan Pie Filling will be perfection. Did I mention unique? Mix the contents of this jar with butter and eggs for a bourbon-soaked piece of pie heaven or warm and pour over ice cream for an adult sundae that your special someone will not soon forget.

Last but not least, spice up date night with this adult version of the classic game truth or dare Kinky Truth or Dare. The best part is that this is great for a brand new couple just starting out and even better for those of us who have been together for years. Even at 21 years together, this game could make us blush in the best way possible.

 Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA

Wi-Fi Cloud Picture Frame

The digital frame by Nixplay is a personal favorite. Perfect for children (of all ages) to get for their moms this Valentine’s Day or for that cute InstaCouple who have all those great pics to share. I have taken thousands of photos of my children but they are almost all digital and I never have the time to print them out so I love the idea of this digital frame. Using Wi-Fi, you can instantly display and share your most precious photos/videos sent from anywhere in the world with your friends and loved ones. I think this is something that my mom would love. You can share photos/videos with ease amongst family and friends over Wi-Fi directly to the frame from your phone or tablet and it works with Amazon Alexa. No need for memory sticks or cards.

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs Made My Marriage Sexy

Something Sweet

How about a Macaron Kit? Yes, I know, maybe it sounds a little bit like work but I love Macarons and if my guy ( or my girls) got me a gift and made me these French patisserie-style delicacies at home with this DIY macaron kit, I’d be impressed and happy. They are decadent and dainty and I love them but we all know everything tastes better when someone else makes them. Also, it is really difficult to find macaron’s where I live so having the option of making them whenever I want is pretty sweet to me. While I think this definitely belongs on my gift guide for mom, I actually got this for my macaron loving teenager and I know she’s going to flip.

Surprise Trip to Paris

Speaking of French Patisserie-style delicacies, if you really want to get the mom of your children something amazing for Valentine’s Day, why not whisk her away to Paris (or London , Santorini, Rome or the Grand Cayman islands) for a weekend filled with nothing but her being the center of the world taking all the magical Instagram photos her heart desires or maybe just holed up in a small Parisian hotel room facing the Eiffel Tower. Comme c’est romantique!

Every mom deserves a thoughtful gift on Valentine’s Day. She showers her family with love every single day. If you’re at a loss because she has everything, I’ve got you covered with this list.

Disclosure: Some of the items on this list have been provided to me for review purposes but all, in my opinion, are things that I would want or have gotten as a gift recently and love.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything

What are you getting the most important lady in your life for Valentine’s Day this year? If you are a woman, what would you love more than anything this Valentine’s Day?

 

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Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Need to Know, teen slang words, slang words, parents guide, teens, mom of teens, teenagers, slang for dummies

Ok moms of tweens and teens, I didn’t forget about you. I’ve scoured the internet to compile a comprehensive parents guide to teen slang words. Ever feel like your teens and tweens are talking another language? Well, you’re not crazy, they are. They are talking slang and the meanings have changed just to keep us on our toes. Please don’t out yourself as being out of the know and have your kid tell you to skurt skurt.

My girls and I have a pretty open relationship. They still like me on most days. Though that is not my main concern in parenting, I’d love it if one day we could be friends but for now, I’m their mom. There’s always been a comradery between us that transcended the parent/child relationship. I did that on purpose because I didn’t have that as a child.

There was a strict division between parents and children and while I completely believe that I am my daughters’ mom first and their “friend” second, I want them to trust me and, if possible, feel comfortable not hiding things from me. Teens feel weird about all the changes like they can’t tell us things and then they start to shut down and begin to hide things from us.

READ ALSO: The Ever Changing Rules and Regulations of being a Teen Girl

That’s not to say that I’m not the mean mom on the daily but everything I do, like you, is out of love and in the hopes of raising good human beings. I sit through all the Dobre Brothers, Yoga Challenges and Beauty tutorial YouTube videos with them just so we can have conversations that I can actually understand. Just so I can know how they are doing. Because the important things are peppered in with all the daily stuff. It’s our job as parents to pay attention.

The other day, after watching a YouTube video about slang kids are using these days, I realized that maybe not all moms and dads of teens know what the heck their kids are saying when they are talking or texting. They speak in code you know? Not that I’m an expert but, unlike most parents who don’t actually work in social media, I do know some things. Add to the mix that I am a giant child myself and my daughters have taught me some words I should know for 2019. FYI, fleek is no longer on fleek so keep that phrase out of your mouth.

Here is the Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Need to Know

 Adulting – To grow up and act responsibly

 AF – An acronym for “as fuck”

Almosts- Someone you came close to dating but it never became official

Awk/ Awks – Awkward

Basic – Only interested in mainstream, popular things

Beef- Argument

Beat – To have a full face of makeup

Blessed – Feeling fortunate

Bounce – Leaving suddenly

Bougie – Someone from a higher class

BRB- Be Right Back

Bruh – Another way of saying “seriously?”

Cancel – The rejection of a person, place or thing

Canceled – To reject something because it’s no longer trendy or it’s become too ratchet.

Can’t even – Used to describe someone you cannot handle

Catfishing– pretending t be someone else on social media

Clap back – A comeback filled with attitude

Clout Chaser = someone who tries to latch on to other, more popular people

Clout Demon = a wannabe

Cray – Crazy

Cringey– awkward, uncomfortable, cringe-worthy

Dad – A role model

Dank – Really cool

Dead – When someone is euphorically happy

Dead A–= To be completely and honestly serious

Dime = rating of attractiveness, 10/10

Down in the DM = direct messaging someone privately, usually to hook up

Drip, Drippin = flashy, ostentatious

Extra – Over the top, dramatic behavior

Fam – A group of friends who feels more like family

Finesse – To smooth things out

Fleeky– Amazing

FOMO – Fear of missing out

F2F = face to face, meeting in person

Gassed – When someone has had one too many compliments and is full of themselves

Ghost – When you completely disappear after hanging out and showing interest

Girlfriend tax– The amount of food taken by your female significant other, after you asked her if she was hungry and she insisted she wasn’t.

Glow-Up = an incredible transformation

GMT – Getting me tight / getting upset

Goals – A way of subtly expressing that you’re jealous; Goals = a lifestyle to strive for

GOAT – Greatest of all time

Gucci – Good or cool; Good / doing well / feeling fine

Hangry – When you are angry because you are so hungry

High-key – Straight up truth; a lot, wanting everyone to know something

Hit a lick = to steal something

Hundo P – 100 percent certain

Hunty – Equivalent of friend but said with attitude

IRL – In real life

It’s lit = cool, awesome, great

I’m weak = something so funny it made you weak

JOMO – Joy of missing out

Kickback = a casual get together

KMS/KYS = kill myself, kill yourself, used sarcastically

Lean = an intoxicating drink made using soda and cough syrup

Lit – Amazing

Mom – The most responsible friend in the group

Netflix and chill – Hooking up

OMG – An abbreviation for “oh my gosh” or “oh my God!”

OP = out of pocket, used when something is extreme or offensive

OTP – One true pairing

Phubbing – Snubbing someone to pay attention to your phone instead

Ratchet – Trashy

Receipts – Evidence of a person’s hypocrisy, often pulled from past social media or text conversations

Rides – Sneakers or shoes

 Salty – Acting upset or bitter

Saucy = feisty or sassy

Savage = wild or harsh

Savage – Petty

Shade-Trash Talk

Shipping – Wanting two people to date

Shook – Confused or in utter disbelief

Sic – Something that is cool

Sipping/Sips Tea– Minding your own business

Spilling the Tea– Gossipping

Skurt – Go away

Slay – Killing it / Succeeding

SMH – Shaking my head

Snatched – Looks good, fierce, fashionable. Snatched is the new fleek.

Snack– Cute= tasty treat you’d like to eat; the people version

Spilling Tea – Gossiping

Squad – Closest group of friends

Stan – A combination of stalker and fan

Straight Fire – Hot, popular or trendy

Suh – A shortened version of what’s up

Sus – When someone is acting suspicious or shady

Swerve – Get out of the way

Swol – Someone who works out

TBH – To be honest

Tea -Gossip

TFW – That feeling when

Thicc – Someone with curves

Thirst trap – A sexy photograph or flirtatious message posted on social media

Thirsty – Trying to get attention; horny

Throwing shade – Making a subtly mean comment about someone

Trill – True and real

Trolls – Someone who purposely tries to provoke others

Turnt – Hype for a party

V – very

Weak – Laughing so hard that you can hardly breathe

Wig snatched – Exposing someone to reveal the truth

Wig = when something crazy or unexpected (good) happens

WOAT– Worst of All Time

Woke – Being aware of current affairs

Yaas – An enthusiastic way of saying yes, or as my girls say, Yaas queen.

Yeet – A way to show excitement or agree

YOLO – You only live once

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Need to Know, teen slang words, slang words, parents guide, teens, mom of teens, teenagers, slang for dummies

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words that Describes People or Relationships

OK, parents pay attention. You know relationships are so important during the teens years. Friends are our lifelines and boys, well, the day rises and sets around them when we are first crushing. Our teens find out about themselves through these relationships. They are rocky and scary and unexplored territory.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship Pt.1

Did you know they have a whole slang language for these relationships? They do. I guess we did too. Remember being someone’s “lady”, “boo” or “girl”? Well, move over bacon there is something leaner.

Here are some teen slang words used to describe people or relationships. There is some overlap for the above list.

  • Bae – “Before anyone else” and is often used to describe a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • BF/GF – Boyfriend or girlfriend
  • BFF – Best friends forever
  • Bruh – Same as “bro”
  • Creeper – Someone who is socially awkward or tends to have stalker tendencies
  • Curve – Romantic rejection
  • Emo – Emotional or a drama queen
  • Hater or h8er – Someone who hates everything, even their friends
  • n00b – A person who doesn’t want to learn
  • Ship – Short for ‘relationship’
  • Squad – A group of girls that hang out together regularly
  • Tight – In a close relationship
  • Wanksta – A person trying to act tough, but who isn’t really pulling it off

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words the Compound Version

Yes, this is a thing and we’ve all heard it. Hangry and chillaxin. TBH, I thought I invented Hangry back when I was a teen but perhaps I was mistaken.

Teens often create shortcuts by combining two words together. To understand what they mean, you need to know the definition of each word. Here are some examples of compound teen slang:

  • Chillaxin – Chillin’ and relaxing.
  • Crashy – Crazy and trashy
  • Hangry – Hungry and angry
  • Requestion – Request and a question
  • Tope – Tight and dope

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Should Pay Attention To

Be on the lookout for these slang words which could indicate your teen is bullying someone or that getting bullied by someone:

  • Bye Felicia – A disrespectful way to dismiss someone who is unimportant
  • CD9 – Code 9, parents are here
  • POS – Parents over shoulder (often used when texting to warn friends that mom or dad is reading) I thought it meant Piece of Sh*t.
  • Throw Shade – Give someone a dirty look
  • Tool – Refers to someone who is stupid or a geek

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Should Definitely Keep an Eye Out For

I am so thankful that social media wasn’t around when I was a tween and teen. When I think of all the stupid things I did that could have been captured and lived on in infamy, I cringe. I was naïve and dumb and did a lot of dumb things; made a lot of mistakes. By most standards, I was a good kid and I still did some really dangerous, thoughtless things.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship Pt.2

Social media, text messaging, and online dating can lead to sexual conversations over the computer. And if you’re not sure what to look out for, you might not even notice what your teen is saying right under your nose. Sneaky little boogers.

Drug conversations are also something you need to be aware of. Here are some teen slang words that may indicate your teen is being pressured or experimenting with sex, drugs and alcohol.

  • CU46 – See you for sex
  • GNOC – Get naked on camera
  • Molly – MDMA, a dangerous party drug
  • NIFOC – Naked in front of the computer
  • Netflix and Chill – Used as a front for inviting someone over to make out (or maybe more)
  • Smash – Casual sex
  • Turnt Up – To be high or drunk
  • Tweaking= high, usually on amphetamines
  • Zip Ghost – Someone who is high on marijuana and having a hard time functioning
  • Dexing – Abusing cough syrup
  • Crunk – Getting high and drunk at the same time
  • X – Ecstasy
  • 53X – Sex
  • WTTP – Want to trade photos?
  • LMIRL – Let’s meet in real life

Not going to lie, I check my kids’ phones every night. They are still pretty young. We’re at the beginning and I’d rather be a smother than be sorry. I’m totally upfront about it so I’m not invading their privacy all sneaky squirrel. They know I check their phones. This is not to be nosey, this is to make sure they are safe.

Sometimes kids wander into unfamiliar territory and, believe it or not, they want someone to put the brakes on because then they can hide behind their “mean mom” saying no, rather than having to tell someone that they don’t want to do something because they feel uneasy or too young. I’m fine with being the bad guy.

Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words You Need to Know, teen slang words, slang words, parents guide, teens, mom of teens, teenagers, slang for dummiesI made this Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words so we can understand and communicate with our teens.

I’m sure you already know this, but some parents don’t, beware of Finsta accounts on Insta. You know, you think that you are watching your kid’s account but really you are only watching the one they want you to see. They’ve got 2 more that you have no idea exist and they are doing crazy sh*t like having full on conversations full of innuendo with strangers and taking pictures half naked with suggestive faces and captions. The point is that teens these days are so smart and tech savvy but they are still young and naïve to how the world works so it is our job to keep them safe not give them enough social media rope to hang themselves.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship Pt.3

Another good idea, check out Gryphon. It’s a smart home device that allows you to monitor, block, and even turn off the internet on your child’s device, all from your phone. (Yup, you can turn off their internet during dinner time, homework time, etc. so you no longer have to nag them to put down their devices). I like to turn off the Internet when the girls are supposed to be in bed because I don’t want them up getting into trouble. I’ve noticed that kids seem to get a little braver when they have sleepovers and are staying up. This is when prank calls and text take place. I get it. We used to do it but we didn’t have sexting and the Internet. It wasn’t forever, just for a while. I need to think of their future and their safety even when they aren’t. Sometimes we need to save our kids from themselves.

Are there any words that I forgot on the Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words or that you have heard your kid use and need an explanation

 

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air fryer, air fryer recipes, best air fryer, how does an air fryer work

Are you looking for a way to improve your health? Was one of your New Year’s resolutions a new you? Want to lose weight but don’t want to give up some of your favorite foods? Ever considered buying an air fryer? Then wonder to yourself, how does an air fryer work? What’s the best air fryer? Looking for all the best air fryer recipes? Well, you are not alone sister.

I’d been on the fence about getting one for a long time. I had no idea how it worked or which one was the best? BTW, how the heck do you fry with air? Is that even possible? More importantly, why would you want to? What kind of witchery is an air fryer?

Then one day on a complete impulse buy between drop off and pick up at ballet, I found myself looking squarely in the direction of an air fryer and something compelled me to buy the dang thing. With no idea what to do with it and absolutely void of any Pinterest research on air fryer recipes, I did it. I bought the damn thing.

In my gut, I assumed it would end up in the back cabinet with all my other expensive cooking impulse buys; the pasta maker, the ice cream makers and the panini press keeping the Belgian waffle maker company. But, we all know how much I love French fries. For me the worst part about fried foods (aside from the health risks) is the guilt so why not go the healthy route, especially if the air fryer recipes make the food tastes as good as their fried counterpart and, as hard to believe as it is, they do!

READ ALSO: Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe

An air fryer is a game changer! For most of my adult life I’ve been teetering between baking everything and totally chucking my diet and eating all the McDonald’s French fries. But then we got the air fryer and we’ve made things like French fries, onion rings, fish fillets, chicken tenders and French toast sticks and it tastes great, crispy and has that crunch that I’ve been missing in my life all these years. Hard to believe, right?

Why Invest in an Air Fryer?

Well, you know the difference between frozen waffles and homemade ones or a cold cut sandwich and one on the panini press? That’s the difference. Who would believe that such a subtle difference can have such a flavorful impact? Who’d think that something as simple as a golden brown crunch can make all the difference?

Compared with deep-frying, air frying significantly reduces calorie intake. It can help reduce caloric intake by up to 70-80 percent.

Air fryers are time-efficient. You can actually bake a chicken breast faster in an air fryer than you can in the oven. Just imagine crispy fried chicken without all the grease. If you have picky eaters, you can make crispy veggies as snacks.

READ ALSO: Simple, Easy and Delicious Avocado Toast Recipe

One perk for me, because I hate the smell of fried foods in my house, air frying eliminates that odor.

Just because you are not using oil, you can still burn your food. The air fryer heats up really fast and it’s easy to burn yourself and char your food, so pay attention to time, as charred food is carcinogenic.

Bonus: Easy Clean Up

How does an Air Fryer work?

It uses hot-air circulation. The air fryer cooks your ingredients from all angles- with no oil needed. Compared to deep-frying, using an air fryer can reduce the amount of fat, calories and potentially harmful compounds in your food

air fryer, air fryer recipes, best air fryer, how does an air fryer work

Air Fryer Sriracha-Honey Chicken Wings via Karenskitchenstories.com

Best Air Fryer Recipes?

Any foods that are good when fried like potatoes and chicken cook amazingly in the air fryer. Sweet potato fries are a favorite of ours. Also, fish and chips come out lovely and delicious in the air fryer.

Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp and Apricot Sauce

Avocado Fries

Copy Cat Chik Fil A Sandwich

Mexican Street Corn/ Elote

 Air Fryer Donuts

 Air Fryer Sriracha-Honey Chicken Wings

 Air Fryer Fried Nashville Chicken

Easy Air Fryer Crispy French Fries

The possibilities are endless. Are you considering buying one now? Understand how the air fryer works? Have you tried a few of the best AF recipes out there?

I’m addicted to our Air Fryer and everything I can make with it.

I’m doing this new year, new me thing slowly. This is one of my favorite things to help make healthier foods crispier. This is NOT a paid campaign. I am just really addicted to my air fryer and moms of little kids or kids on the go who need snacks after school, chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, even crispy Brussels sprouts, and grilled cheese sandwiches can be made deliciously and with less fat in a matter of minutes.

I’m looking for new things to cook in my air fryer. What’s your favorite air fryer recipe? Please share a link in the comments.

 

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weight loss, Getting Healthy is Nothing a Little Blood, Sweat and Tears Can't Fix, SWEAT app, weight loss tech, weight loss wednesdays

If you read my post yesterday, you know that I have had a change of perspective. A way of thinking shift. A come to Jesus meting with myself, if you will. And the truth hit me like a throat punch, getting healthy is nothing a little blood, Sweat app and tears can’t fix. Weight loss is an investment in your future. 

I no longer believe in “try” only “do.” I’ve been telling the girls for years that we cannot control how people react to us or what we do, we can only control how we behave and what we put into the world and so now, I’m focusing on what I’m doing. I’m taking a more active role in my own life. Sounds stupid right? Shouldn’t I have been doing this all along? I should have but I’ve spent the past 13 years taking a more active role in my daughters lives, and lets be honest, before than 20 years putting my husband first.

READ ALSO: Bringing the Feisty Broad Back

I’ve made a conscious decision to look at the world more positively. In that spirit, I am choosing to see the good in other and in myself. I deserve to be happy and I have the power to make it happen. Only I can do this.

It’s pretty liberating because when you choose to be positive, it lightens your load and enables you to stop worrying and start focusing on the people and things that matter. I know that I want to make friends, family and myself a priority in my own life ( something that I have neglected for literally years). I met with some friends on New Years eve and it reminded me of something that I’d forgotten, friends fill up your soul. We need to make time for them. They are not an option.

Another thing I really want to focus on is better spending habits. I have a terrible habit of spending when I am stressed. I really do use retail therapy to make myself feel better ( at least until I get my credit card bills) and that has to stop. I want to learn to live within my means and that is not a bad thing. It’s nothing to be embarrassed or feel bad about.

I also want to waste less and live with more purpose and intention. Patience is a virtue that I am trying to embrace and minimalism is a way of life that I’d like to learn to live. For me, chaos in my home breeds chaos in my mind, in my heart and in my soul. I don’t want chaos. For once in my life, my manic mind is willfully choosing focus and less “stuff.”

READ ALSO: How to Conquer to Succeed

But the thing I want to really focus on this year is my health. Nope, I’m not talking about getting skinny. I’ve been there and I’ve done that. I did it the wrong way for many years and it backfired on me. Big Time. So if you know anyone thinking of doing it the wrong way, warn them, it doesn’t work in the long run. You end up one of two ways, either you stop abusing your body and your metabolism mutinies on you or you get to be a really tiny corpse. I chose the former.

For many years, getting healthy equated to being skinny but thats not what I think anymore. I think healthy is my knees not popping, my ankle not hurting, not getting winded riding a bike too fast, not being diabetic, not having high cholesterol or high blood pressure. I just want to get back to normal and be able to buy my clothes off the rack and have them look great on me.  I want to be able to go for long walks with my girls and talk about everything. I want to walk under the starts with my husband on a beach somewhere without it taking forever and leaving me exhausted. I don’t ever want to wear Spanx again. I want endorphin highs back in my life.

The problem is that even though I know how to be healthy, I don’t really. I’ve read the books but I can never translate it into a functioning part of my life. I’m not a fan of deprivation but I’m cool with moderation but I need to be conscious of portion sizes. Also, I love to work out but I never make time for it. I have to make time for it. And since I am embracing doing and not trying, I’m doing it.

READ ALSO: The Burden of Being a Fat Woman

My fellow blogger and someone who inspires me every day, Ana-Marie Klizs of Bluebird Kisses, has had her own weight loss journey to get healthy and she has done it all with adjusting her diet to a healthier version and by using the SWEAT App.  I’ve been laid up for about 8 weeks from the surgery that I had in November and I was just released from the physical restrictions yesterday so I’ve been waiting for that day to get active again. Following along on Ana’s blog and Instagram has kept me inspired. She is an amazing human being and if you’re not already following her, you should be. She lit a fire in my soul and gave me the confidence to know I could do it. So, I’m doing it with he help of SWEAT app.

For now, I am starting off with walking ( per doctors orders) and in a couple weeks I want to start a more organized workout program program. The SWEAT app  is at the top of my list so I wanted to share the app with you all in case you are looking for a way to start.

Train Your Way

SWEAT recognizes that women want flexibility, variety and support when working towards health and fitness goals.

We understand that your goals are personal and always evolving so we put the choice in your hands! Offering flexibility and variety through multiple styles of training, SWEAT connects you with the best female personal trainers in the world. Choose the trainer and training style that fits you and your lifestyle! Whether you take your first step with yoga, post-pregnancy workouts, weight training, power-training or high-intensity workouts, SWEAT is right here to support you. We are always adding new workouts and exciting features to ensure you find your fit!

Join the SWEAT Community and set off on your fitness journey!

Start Your Fitness Journey At Home

With various options, there is something for everyone.They offer BBG (Bikini Body Guide), BBG Stronger, PWR ( weight Training), Post-Pregnancy, BAM (Yoga), Fierce (varied workouts) and Build (Power building).

Kayla Itsines – Bikini Body Guide (BBG)

Changing the way women around the world exercise, Kayla Itsines’ 28-minute BBG workoutscan be done at home with or without equipment. (Perfect for me!)

Start your fitness journey with Kayla and feel your body become stronger each week as you progress. With each workout, Kayla helps to encourage and educate you to take charge of your health and fitness. Use the planner to schedule your workouts for the week, including your HIIT and LISS sessions, resistance, rest and recovery.

The high-intensity BBG workouts are designed to build your strength, fitness and bikini body confidence!

Track your progress and plan your workouts!

SWEAT encourages you to get stronger week by week! You progress gradually, increasing the intensity in each workout. When you’re ready to take on fresh challenges and step up your workouts, SWEAT has you covered.

Weekly meal plans and shopping lists!

Plan your meals for the week with ease using SWEAT! All our recipes have been designed to help you achieve your health and fitness goals while enjoying delicious and convenient meals. Select meal plans to suit your dietary preference and find hundreds of recipes to match. Food shopping is a breeze with the automated lists, so you’ll always have something healthy to eat!

Journey With Like-Minded Women

We know how important it is to feel supported throughout your fitness journey.

The SWEAT forum is the perfect place to connect with women who are focused on their health and fitness. It’s a place where you can share your experiences and aspirations, as well as encourage and motivate each other.

We’ve long understood how important it is to feel supported in your workout program. Through your connections with like-minded women around the world, together you can build confidence, power, balance, performance and courage to reach your fitness goals.

To connect, motivate and share experiences with other women, join the community for FREE today.

Full disclosure: I’ve tried many other fitness programs with limited success. But I don’t think it was them…it was me. I need a program that allows me to eat real food and exercise when I can without involving a lot of expensive equipment or health club fees. I need guidance and fellowship. I need support.

I’ve done all of it. I’ve been anorexic and bulimic. I’ve worked out 3 hours a day. I’ve had a personal trainer.  I ran ( I don’t like it). I’ve done Weight Watchers. I’ve done Nutrisystem. I’ve had the BeachBody channel. I’ve done Zumba. I’ve done Cize (my favorite) and several other Beach Body workouts. I’ve juiced (not for the manic prone). I’ve tried all the tech. I’ve even tried Medical weight loss programs but meds are not the way for me. They cause their own issues. They’ve all worked but none of them got me to the finish line. Well, anorexia did (if the finish line is being 103 lbs at 5’7.5″) but it almost got me to the ultimate finish line so we’re never going down that road again.

This is where I am today. Enthusiastic and out of shape. I’m hoping the SWEAT app is the beginning of a new way of life. Not a diet. I never want to diet again. I want to learn to be healthy. So, I’m going to start a new instagram page if you want to follow along with my progress and I will be posting updates, recipes, tips and inspiration to get us all through this on Wednesdays. If you’re still here ( after this very long post) I hope you’ll stop by on Wednesdays for some encouragement and to share your own journey with me.

Have you tried the SWEAT app? What are your thoughts.  Me?

Getting Healthy is Nothing a Little Blood, SWEAT and Tears Can’t Fix

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5 steps for self reset break, meditation, introspection, self-care

As many of you know, I had surgery last week. It’s left me in a recovery state so I have invited a few of my favorite writers to write a guest post here. I think it’s a wonderful way for me to introduce you to some awesome writers. Today’s guest writer is my dear friend, Kelly Pugliano of Eatpicks and owner of amazing subscription box company RoosteCrate. She’s written something we all need to read, 5 Tips for a Self-Reset Break.

It is so important to give yourself a do-over every once in a while and I’m going to share 5 tips for a self-reset break. It’s like a self-imposed “easy” button, only better.

Life can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming with all the to-do lists and responsibilities that go into making days churn along. Ever feel like some days feel more productive than others despite having the same number of hours? I know one day is never the same as the one before and think it has a lot to do with the self-imposed expectations that it ALL has to get done- and now!

READ ALSO: I’m no Beauty Queen, I’m Just Me

When I start to feel that way, I give myself the permission to have a moment to “reset.” It helps me to feel less overwhelmed. I try to incorporate as many mini-breaks as needed and they really do make a difference.

When you feel like you’re on the never-ending hamster wheel, then incorporate these 5 tips for a self-reset break.

Meditate

I started this process over the summer and it has done wonders. Every morning I light a candle, find a quiet spot to sit and set a timer for 10 minutes. Deep breathing, or “belly breathing” is hard to practice, but once you get it, it is really relaxing. This practice can be done in the morning but is not limited to that time of day. If it works better for you at lunch or in the evening, then, by all means, fit it into where it works best for you.

Take a Walk

If feeling frustrated or stuck with a task, sometimes taking a walk break is all you need to get back in control. Take a walk around the block or even to the mailbox to get the blood flowing and stretch. Walking is great for fitness, but also allows you to clear your thoughts; it’s a win-win!

Change Location

As a person who works from home, being in the same spot day after day can be stifling.  If having writers block or finding that you are surfing social media for hours, try changing your location. Find a quiet spot in another room or sit on the floor near a sunny window, even if it’s only for a short while, it can do wonders for productivity to have a change in your surroundings.

Call a Friend

 Have a lot on your mind or need to get some things off your chest? Call a friend who is a great listener. It will feel so good to share your woes with a friend and have the time to connect with another person, laugh and visit. Sometimes hearing someone’s voice is all you need to help lift your spirits.

Enjoy a Glass of Water, Coffee or Tea

Feeling tired and in a slump can indicate dehydration. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Love coffee or tea? Take a few minutes to really enjoy your cup of warmth while it is still hot. Close the computer and allow your eyes to rest. 10-15 minutes and you will feel refreshed to get back to your to-do list.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to my 13-Year-Old Self

These 10 minutes to hour tips don’t need to be complicated, just effective. It really is a self-guided way to take a moment to stop, re-group, and start again. Whatever you need to be able to take a moment to reset so that you can feel accomplished by days end!

What do you do to take a self-reset break?

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WH-1000XM, best buy, noise canceling headphones

Disclosure: I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation from all the craziness surrounding you? Sometimes things are just a bit much and an escape is just what you need.

As a mom, I love doing all the mom things but sometimes quiet is more than a luxury, it is a necessity. I remember the days when I had control of the music in the car, in the house and in my world.

Music has always been a big part of my life. I come from musicians on my dad’s side. I need music like I need air. I need the soundtrack of my life playing loud and audibly enough for me to be able to hear it. Sometimes that soundtrack is what gets me through the day.

Music can lift your mood, elevate your spirit and take you away, deeper and more completely into a moment. Some songs can move you to cathartic tears of sadness and others to tears of joy. Music is a way that you can express every single emotion that you feel and we all need that release.

Like I said, I’m a mom. My time, my day, my life and certainly my music are not always mine these days. I share it with the people I love and sometimes that means relenting.

There is a way to have both; your music, your family and the occasional moment of much-needed silence. Sony’s new industry-leading noise canceling WH-1000XM3 headphones has evolved to further immerse you in your music with a proprietary noise cancellation processor, quick charge capabilities, and an updated comfortable design.

You can listen all day with up to 30 hours of battery life and quick charging gives you 5 hours of playback with just a quick 10-minute charge. I wish my phone could do that.

Sony’s proprietary HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 brings WH-1000XM3 to the pinnacle of noise cancellation. Instantly, you will be able to shut out the world for a moment’s peace and much deserved quiet.

The 40mm drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms are Hi-Res Audio compatible, reproducing a full range of frequencies.

The WH-1000XM3 headphones also provide smart listening via adaptive sound control which automatically detects your activity and balances noise canceling levels accordingly. Now, that is smart listening.

What would be your favorite WH-1000XM3 noise canceling headphones escape destination? Favorite song? Or just enjoying the silence?

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Google, Be Internet Awesome, Se Genial En Internet, Gallistel Language Academy, Chicago, Keeping kids safe online, Teaching kids how to navigate the internet, Online Safety for kids

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign and I was hosted by Google and #WeAllGrow Latina Network to experience the Be Internet Awesome / Se Genial en Internet program and get pointers on how to stay safe online firsthand but all opinions are my own.

Trying to teach your kids to be internet awesome and stay safe online? Are you amazed by how tech savvy and online in tune your children are? I am. I didn’t use the Internet until the late 90’s when I was in college. In fact, the word processor (for you people too young to remember it was a really fancy, digital typewriter) that I owned had to be pried from my hands and I went kicking and screaming. My then tech-savvy boyfriend, now husband of 20 years, chided me for holding on to such an antiquated and outdated piece of machinery. Hey, it did the job of typing up my college papers and that was all I needed. Or was it?

I mean, I had no idea the scope of what the Internet could be. I definitely had no idea how to be internet awesome or safe. The internet was all new when I was in college. I existed before social media and the internet. Nobody was Googling me before an interview.

Google, Be Internet Awesome, Se Genial En Internet, Gallistel Language Academy, Chicago, Keeping kids safe online, Teaching kids how to navigate the internet, Online Safety for kidsGoogle, Be Internet Awesome, Se Genial En Internet, Gallistel Language Academy, Chicago, Keeping kids safe online, Teaching kids how to navigate the internet, Online Safety for kids

Now, I could not survive without being able to Google everything. Like what actor played in that movie that we saw last week who played in that other movie? You know the one. Or being able to Google the passage in the Lord of the Flies that reminds me of that other book? You know the one. Or what was the name of that restaurant that we ate at in the little city when we took our road trip that one year? The one with the weird foods but the really cool assortment of craft beers.

I Google everything and everyone. Google everyone, how scary is that? Most people Google you now before they even meet you. Our children live in a time where very little is private, most relationships begin online and they are slowly forgetting how to interact face to face. The thing is while I am wowed by evolution, I sometimes feel like maybe we’ve gone socially backward while thrusting ourselves technologically forward. This is what scares me.

READ ALSO: Protecting Your Privacy Online

I know to be wary. I went to college before social media. And while I live and thrive in social media now, I am forever grateful that it did not exist when I was a teenager. I did enough ridiculous things that I wish I could forget. Things I would never want to be living forever on the Internet. When I think of what could have ended up online, I cringe. This makes me really want to protect my children from the Internet and themselves. But how do I do it?

How do I teach my kids to be internet awesome and stay safe online?

Yes, there are many ways to put parental restrictions on the Internet and you can try to limit your child’s exposure but the fact of the matter is that you can’t keep them in that internet bubble forever. The best thing that we can do for our children is to teach them to use the internet responsibly. We won’t be there forever so we need to teach them to make good choices. Respect themselves. Respect others and to have a healthy distrust in people that they have never met in person because a person behind a screen can pretend to be anyone and people aren’t always who they pretend to be online, or in person for that matter. It’s basically like teaching them about sex, drugs and alcohol. The internet can be an amazing place but it can also be that dangerous in the hands of unsuspecting, naive children.

When our children are young, we do our best to help them get the most out of the internet while protecting them from the risks and downsides of the online world. As children mature into the tween and teen years, our roles shift from helping them learn to make their own safe and thoughtful decisions as they begin to navigate their digital lives.

Google, Be Internet Awesome, Se Genial En Internet, Gallistel Language Academy, Chicago, Keeping kids safe online, Teaching kids how to navigate the internet, Online Safety for kids

Google believes in partnering with teachers and parents to prepare students to be internet awesome:

Think critically and evaluate websites, email and other content online.

Protect themselves from online threats, including bullying and scams.

Get smart about sharing: what, when, how, and with whom.

Be kind and respectful toward other people online, including respecting their privacy.

Ask for help with tricky situation from a parent or other trusted adult.

Google, Be Internet Awesome, Se Genial En Internet, Gallistel Language Academy, Chicago, Keeping kids safe online, Teaching kids how to navigate the internet, Online Safety for kids

To aid parents in this new milestone, this year, Google has developed a multifaceted program, Be Internet Awesome/ Se Genial En Internet designed to teach kids the skills they need to be safe and smart online. This FREE digital citizenship and online safety program are available to everyone.

READ ALSO: Cyber Fan or Cyberstalker and how to know the difference

Google, Be Internet Awesome, Se Genial En Internet, Gallistel Language Academy, Chicago, Keeping kids safe online, Teaching kids how to navigate the internet, Online Safety for kids

One of the resources, Interland, is a browser-based game that makes learning these skills interactive and fun – just like the Internet itself. Developed by Google in partnership with educators, researchers, and online-safety experts at iKeepSafe.org, Be Internet Awesome/ Se Genial En Internet provides fun, age-appropriate learning experiences built around five foundational lessons:

  • Share with Care | Online Reputation
  • Donʼt Fall for Fake | Phishing & Scams
  • Secure Your Secrets | Privacy & Security
  • Itʼs Cool to Be Kind | Online Harassment
  • When in Doubt, Talk It Out | Inappropriate Content

Smart, safe technology usage can enable students to help drive their own learning and help schools function better. It is a definite step toward ensuring that all students learning, exploring, and staying safe online, inside and outside school walls.

Google, Be Internet Awesome, Se Genial En Internet, Gallistel Language Academy, Chicago, Keeping kids safe online, Teaching kids how to navigate the internet, Online Safety for kids

Last week, I saw the program in action at an event hosted by Google for students and their parents at Gallistel Language Academy in Chicago. It was moving to see all these parents show up for their children on a weekday, in the middle of the day. They know that it’s important that we teach our kids to be safe online because we can’t watch them every minute of every day.

Google, Be Internet Awesome, Se Genial En Internet, Gallistel Language Academy, Chicago, Keeping kids safe online, Teaching kids how to navigate the internet, Online Safety for kids

The event was packed with eager children and willing parents, experiencing the Be Internet Awesome program; playing Interland and learning valuable lessons about the digital world. Google had plenty of staff on site to walk families through the program. The kids even received a certificate once they completed Interland and were certified to be internet awesome. It was a great learning experience and I loved seeing how proud the families were of their children.

But Be Internet Awesome/ Se Genial en Internet is not just for those who could attend the event, you can teach your own children to be internet awesome by visiting the Be internet awesome website and letting your kids learn how to navigate their digital lives safely.

Google, Be Internet Awesome, Se Genial En Internet, Gallistel Language Academy, Chicago, Keeping kids safe online, Teaching kids how to navigate the internet, Online Safety for kids

What’s the most important thing you think your child needs to know to be internet safe? Does your child know how to be awesome online / se genial en internet and stay safe online? Are you sure?

How do you teach your kids to be internet awesome/ se genial en internet and stay safe online?

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Disclosure: I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card but all opinions about camping and the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST and BLAST portable speakers are my own.

Family travel is our life. There is nothing that we love more than the four of us jumping in a plane, train, automobile, boat and in this case, an RV and going on an adventure. Yes, today we go on our first ever RV trip and we are ecstatic.

Last year, we went on our first ever camping trip. Though it was more like glamping because we stayed in a parked model, which is basically a beautiful cabin with all the amenities of home sweet home. Seriously, there was air conditioning, television, a full-size bathtub, stove top, microwave and full sized refrigerator. We even had a pergola and a deck with a built-in fire pit just outside our door. It was glorious and, for a first camping trip, I’m pretty sure we were spoiled rotten.

We spent our nights roasting s’mores and playing games and our days exploring Traverse City, Michigan; taking in the sights and soaking in the sun and playing on as many of Traverse City’s beaches as we could get to. It was unforgettable and it made me a convert from a strictly 5-star resort girl to a camping enthusiast. There is just something about being outside alone with your thoughts and your family that does the heart good.

Now, if you’ve never been camping you may not know what you should bring. Really, every person needs different things but there are a few things that I think every single person should bring to have the best camping experience possible. Here is my list.

Many campgrounds have a small store on the premises with some of the basic supplies in case you forget something and you will have to buy wood for campfires where you camp because it is illegal to transport campfire wood across state lines. Some campgrounds even have cafes, ice cream shops and souvenir shops

Basic Grocery list:

Cereal / Milk

Eggs / bread / bacon

Sandwich meats / chips

Steaks / chicken / hot dogs / hamburgers – anything you want to grill

Ketchup / mustard / butter / salt / pepper / spices

Any veggies or salads you’ll want with your barbeque – or shop at local farm stands for really fresh, local ingredients. This is our preference.

Sodas / beer / wine / bottled water

Snacks

Coffee / tea/ cream / sugar

Charcoal (or you can buy it at the campground store)

Chocolate bars, marshmallows, graham crackers, long skewers for s’mores, because let’s be honest, you’re not camping until you’re eating s’mores fresh off a bonfire; bonus points if it’s on a beach.

What else to bring:

Soap, shampoo, toiletries

Bug spray, sunscreen

Music / iPod and wireless speakers

Cell phone and charger

Camera / video recorder and charger or fresh batteries

Portable grill – not all campgrounds include them. Luckily, we double checked this year because we had just set our portable grill out to the curb!

Spatula or tongs for grill

Pots, pans, pots, mixing bowls

Paper towels / foil / plastic wrap / paper plates / napkins / plastic ware

Toilet paper

Wet wipes

Garbage bags

Dish detergent / dish towel

Matches / lighter for grill

Bottle and wine opener / can opener

First aid supplies

Flashlight / battery operated lantern

Folding chairs and picnic blanket

Games / cards / puzzles

Binoculars

Pillows, sheets, blankets / sleeping bags are great if you have them!

Bath and beach towels

One of the most important things for my family is the wireless speaker.  We love music. The new features of the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST and BLAST portable speakers make them the perfect summer accessory.

Features of MegaBlast:

Ultimate Ears most powerful speaker with stunning clarity and deep, heart-pounding bass, brings music to life. Absolutely perfect for sitting around the campfire with friends or a day at the beach.

Taking camping to the next level, Mega Blast hands-free Amazon Alexa built-in lets you have more time to enjoy your summer. Ask Alexa to blast tunes, discover new music, crank the volume and find new restaurants.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capable

Wi-Fi connection range for the speaker is 330′. Bluetooth range is 150ft.

Rechargeable battery

Enjoy up to 16 hours with a large built-in battery. Play and charge the speaker simultaneously using the optional cradle or included wall charger. You can sit around that bonfire way into the night.

Features of the Ultimate Ears Blast:

Blasting 360° intensely rich sound with stunning clarity and deep, heart-pounding bass, brings music to life. You will never forget these summer nights camping with friends.

Water-resistant and dustproof design. The IP67 rated speaker can be immersed in liquid up to 1m for up to 30 minutes. No worries if there’s an unexpected downpour.

Two 35mm active drivers alongside with two 81mm x 39mm passive radiators provide crisp and clear sound.

Multiple microphones with beamforming technology and noise cancellation enable a smooth far-field voice recognition and control experience. And that’s not all.

 

A better way to listen with Spotify Connect (coming soon): MEGABLAST and BLAST will be the first Ultimate Ears speakers to integrate Spotify Connect. When on Wi-Fi, open the Spotify app on your phone and play music directly to our speakers (under “Devices Available”) without the need to pair through Bluetooth. Music fans can also stream the highest quality sound possible from Spotify. With Spotify Connect, text message or make calls without interrupting the music and save your phone’s battery.

New grouping experience for smart speakers (coming soon): You can group up to eight MEGABLAST and BLAST speakers on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Stereo mode is supported when you connect two MEGABLAST or BLAST speakers. Optimized to take advantage of the speakers’ built-in Wi-Fi capability, you will experience greater range for grouped speakers and improved connection reliability. Grouping is expected to be available later this year.

What do you think is the most important thing to take with you on a camping trip?

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HP Envy x360 Laptop, back to school, tech, best buy, back to school supplies

Disclosure: I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card but all opinions about back to school shopping and the HP Envy x360 Laptop.

Can you believe it’s almost time for back-to-school already? Here, we have less than 2 weeks left to soak up the last bits of summer. However, thanks to the back-to-school supply list in hand, I’ve painfully aware that school is happening sooner than later. Enter the HP Envy x360 Laptop.

The thing is every year we’re provided with this basic list of things our children need and then we use our best judgment and our budget to decide what we do with that list. For example, if it says 20 pencils, do you buy 20 generic #2 pencils or do you let your child express themselves by picking out 20 pencils with designs of their choosing? It’s these little touches that change everything.

Our family is pretty tech savvy. The Big Guy works in IT and I live in tech. These things trickle down. The girls have been surrounded by the latest high tech gadgets their entire lives. We limit their usage but they have high expectations so our tech can’t be basic. It needs to be better than that.

READ ALSO: Must-Have Gadgets for Tech Savvy Parents

As the girls get older, their tech needs to have more capabilities. Being the children of tech-savvy parents, they’ve got different standards. My girls do more than just play games and do homework on their laptops.

They’re into coding and building. The girls have a blog, YouTube channel and other social channels. These kids are trying to build a brand. That means editing videos and photos. Yes, they do still play games and watch Netflix on their laptops too. On top of all of this, they are still children so I need a laptop that is durable and capable of being a good fit for the user.

HP Envy x360 Laptop, back to school, tech, best buy, back to school supplies

I’ve been considering upgrading my 13-year-old’s laptop, a back to school contender is the HP Envy x360 Laptop.

Here are some of the features and customer benefits of the HP Envy x360 Laptops

Windows 10 operating system

Windows 10 brings back the Start Menu from Windows 7 and introduces new features, like the Edge Web browser that lets you markup Web pages on your screen. This is a great feature for taking notes when reading or studying for exams.

HP Envy x360 Laptop, back to school, tech, best buy, back to school supplies

Built for Windows Ink

Quickly jot down notes and ideas with ease. My daughters are very much like me in that they get ideas and they need to jot them down immediately before they forget. When inspiration strikes you will always be ready.

Full HD touchscreen

The 1920 x 1080 resolution boasts impressive color and clarity. Natural finger-touch navigation makes the most of Windows 10. IPS technology for wide viewing angles. Energy-efficient WLED backlight. This is so nice for my girls. They are very tactile and they are so comfortable with touchscreen usage from their phones.

8GB system memory for advanced multitasking

Substantial high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run your games and photo- and video-editing applications, as well as multiple programs and browser tabs all at once. Perfect for those of us who keep a minimum of 13 tabs open at all times.

HP Envy x360 Laptop, back to school, tech, best buy, back to school supplies

360° flip-and-fold design

Offers versatile functionality with laptop, audience, tabletop, presentation and tablet modes. This is one of my favorite features of the HP Envy x360. I feel like this versatility makes it easy to use anywhere and virtually indestructible, at least much less destructible.

READ ALSO: Back to School Made Easy for Parents

The HP Envy x360 comes with either a 15-inch screen or a 13-inch screen so you have your choice for whatever screen works best for your family and the AMD processors make them fast and thin so you can take them with you anywhere you go!

***Bonus: there is a back to school offer to save $100 on the HP Envy x360 until 7/28.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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lil Miquela, Miquela Sousa, AI Influencer, Artificial Influencer, Digital Influencer, Instagram Influencer

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the next logical step in technology, right? We knew it was coming. We’ve been waiting for Rosie from the Jetsons to be a real thing forever but what happens when AI becomes our normal reality and can do almost everything humans can do?

We’ve all seen the movies but I’m here to tell you that the future is now. While listening to Dr. Michio Kaku give his keynote at LiveWorx in Boston last month, I was blown away. It made me start really thinking about how long it would be until humans were useless because let’s face it, humans are flawed.

Humans are by design flawed by emotion, memories and physics. A human body wearies. A human brain is imperfect and, in many cases, damaged by chemistry. We love, we hate, we worry and we fail. In the end, we live on a curve. We peak and then we decline.

We gain wisdom. We grow. We experience. We emote in a way only human beings are able to do. We are perfectly imperfect and for all of our flaws, this is the very thing that makes us special and irreplaceable on some level. Our humanity makes us indispensable.

Perfection has always been our goal as human beings. At least, it’s always been mine. Logically, I know it’s impossible and unattainable but that has never stopped me in my pursuit. Therein lies my flaw; my failure. Chasing a ghost.

lil Miquela, Miquela Sousa, AI Influencer, Artificial Influencer, Digital Influencer, Instagram Influencer

Then, this past week I learned about Miquela Sousa, aka Lil Miquela internet phenomenon with, at last count, 1.2 million followers on Instagram. Meanwhile, I’m stuck at around 3.5K Instagram followers. Oh, did I mention that Miquela is an AI Influencer created by BRUD, an artificial intelligence startup?

lil Miquela, Miquela Sousa, AI Influencer, Artificial Influencer, Digital Influencer, Instagram Influencer

She has a backstory and everything. She’s a 20-year-old, Los Angeles-based Brazilian/Spanish model rocking streetwear and couture alike with brands like Chanel, Heron Preston and Supreme featured. It’s easy for her to look perfect, say all the right things and wear all the right things because she has been created out of thin air; the fantasy of some human’s imagination.

Lil Miquela has been vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement and Families Belong Together and has even caught the eye of beauty guru Pat McGrath becoming his latest muse. Miquela updates her followers on her everyday “life”, inserting relatable captions in her photos, hanging with her “friends” and eating froyo — completely ignoring the fact that she does not actually exist. Apparently, so do many of her followers even after she outed herself as an AI Influencer.

 

Virtual influencers are labeled as the start of a new chapter in influencer marketing, peaking the interest of major brands. The thing that bothers me is that she’s influencing humans and she’s not human. It’s a manipulation by a tech startup on all of humankind.

What I mean is that it’s easy for an AI influencer to be flawless because they are computer generated, the creation of a human in the pursuit of unachievable perfection. Miquela can easily have a perfect body and flawless skin because reality has no bearing on her existence. She will be perfect in perpetuity.

Which makes me sad because if you think girls/ women have been unfairly influenced by anorexic models who are airbrushed sending many regular girls into spirals of depression from not being able to attain the perfection of an airbrushed human existence, what the hell do you think is going to happen when our little girls are trying to look like an AI Influencer? Is it even possible? Probably not without extreme body modifications and even then, most likely still impossible.

Setting aside my own experience with body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia, ignoring my entire parenting lifetime of actively raising little girls to love themselves in a world where they are objectified like pieces of meat, what about the ethical fact that the people who created these AI Influencers are trying to dupe mankind? The stakes have never been higher for our little girls and now, we go beyond the human situation into the AI existence? We are systematically making ourselves irrelevant.

Our collective obsession with technology continues to increase daily as we push the boundaries of what technology can do. Building online connections is the norm. People don’t bother with face-to-face anymore because digital is faster, more efficient. Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, birthing “influencer marketing” with many people looking to mimic the unattainable lives of celebrities. In response to this behavior, a never-ending quest for authenticity has emerged as we look to follow those who have lifestyles that are more relatable to our own. We’ve come full circle. Does that mean that influencer marketing is dead? Nope, it’s here to stay. But instead of following photoshopped influencers we’re being manipulated into following AI influencers; avatars who have human-like characteristics, both physically and emotionally.

The thing is that compared to human influencers, who are more susceptible to criticism, unpredictability and drama, there lies an opportunity here for brands to develop virtual content with AI Influencers with none of those issues. Which means that now, instead of human influencers gaming the system with airbrushing, professional photographers and perfectly staged photos of a life that doesn’t exist we’ve moved on to actual fake people because they are easier to control. We can order them up to our specifications eliminating human flaw from the equation. Sounds good, right?

Nope. We are being lied to and we are punitively relating to the human existence.  But there is something that an AI Influencer cannot do, it cannot relate on a human level. Meaning, sure Miquela can put in her Insta bio that #BlackLivesMatter but doesn’t exist and has no idea what life even means. She can’t understand the concept of oppression and the desire for equality because she can’t feel; the very thing that makes us human. Maybe we humans are imperfect, flawed and messy but there is nothing like it. Until we live in a world where only AI beings exist there will always be a need for humans if only to create the AI influencers that we can relate to because without a human driving the experience, it would be completely unrelatable. A complete disconnect.

The way that computers have become invaluable in our pursuit of efficiency and knowledge, I do believe AI will be indispensable in these same ways but an inanimate object will never be able to empathize in any meaningful way and what is our world without that connection?

How do you feel about AI Influencers, virtual influencers, not only taking jobs from human influencers but actually influencing our children who are manipulated into believing that an AI persona is an actual human being?

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