Category:

Tech

your truth is a lie, moms and daughters, comparing yourself to your mother

Have you been wracking your brain and every gift guide on the Internet trying to find  a gift to wow? The holidays are here and everyone is trying to find that perfect gift for the woman they love. It’s no small feat because women are as different as snowflakes and no two are alike. For example, I am a tech lover but I also like beautiful girly things; CES is my Disney World and beautiful things are my weakness.

These are the top things on my list this year.

If the woman in your life is into tech or fashion, she will love almost everything on this gift guide.

marc jacobs, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dreams

Everyone who knows me, knows that daisies are one of my favorite flowers because my Grandma was named Daisy. Inspired by the boundless spirit of daisies and blue skies, Daisy Dream reflects Marc Jacobs’ irresistible mix of intricate details, elegance, and femininity for a fresh interpretation of the iconic Daisy motif. The fruity-floral fragrance has a light and airy touch, bursting with top notes of blackberry, grapefruit, and pear. The heart notes are introduced with a bouquet of jasmine, lychee, and blue wisteria, and a medley of white woods, musks, and coconut water reveal the base notes.

The glass bottle is enveloped in a shawl of laced daisies, topped with a silver cap, and adorned with gold hues and daisy accents. The bottle is as beautiful as the scent inside. I didn’t think that I could love anything more than my Grandma Daisy but this scent comes close.

 

UGG, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

UGG® Australia Simmens Short Leather and Wool Boot

Maximize the fashion potential of your wardrobe with this trans-seasonal boot, crafted from waterproof leather with a wool blend shaft and decorative double buckle detail. The Simmens is lined with luxurious, natural wool for moisture-wicking comfort and features a new outsole design, utilizing cork-infused White Spider rubber for optimum traction in slippery situations. $170.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, Baublebar, misfit flash

Helena Locket by BaubleBar and Misfit Flash

Make a statement with the Helena locket. It features vintage accents with classic BaubleBar sparkle. The fashion –forward accessories are as smart as they are stunning. The BaubleBar Locket opens to reveal Misfit’s sportiest tech- the Flash fitness tracker. Misfit Flash tracks your sleep and activity levels, including calories burned, distance traveled, steps taken and sleep quality and allows you to set your personal goals and check your progress. The Helena is exclusively available at Target. $69.99

STACKED

The first wireless charging ecosystem for iPhone eliminates the need for cords from the lives of iPhone users. The all-too-familiar feeling of sifting through a bag, crawling under a desk or standing tethered to the wall to charge a phone is now obsolete. STACKED advances the busy lives of mobile users by enabling both a full charge and connectivity at all times, without a life full of wires.

The shortest distance between two points is no distance at all. STACKED charges faster than any other technology because it comes in direct contact with the phone. The beauty of the bundle system is that the Power Pack is what needs to be recharged, not the phone itself. The Power Pack is recharged via the included AC wall adapter, which allows up to five Power Packs to be charged at once. Users can now maintain an arsenal of wireless charging solutions at their disposal at all times. $129.

Aventura,  gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Aventura Clothing

Aventura clothing is a lifestyle apparel brand that makes and sells comfortable clothing with an active focus while being thoughtful to both people and the environment. Aventura is family owned since 1965, creating a supportive family-oriented culture where the little details of life (and clothing) are cherished. Aventura makes the perfect every day clothing. It’s well made, quality clothing made to fit a woman’s body.

Aventura is passionate about creating fashionable clothing with low environmental impact. Their eco-friendly styles not only prevent synthetic fertilizers and farm chemicals from polluting the soil, they look and feel amazing. Now through December 31st, free standard shipping is available.

A-Audio: Rose Gold Lyric On-Ear Headphones

These chic Rose Gold headphones with A-Audio’s distinctive silhouette and sound quality can’t be beat for the music lover on your list. The ear cups with memory foam padding for comfort and isolated sound collapse for easy storage and travel. Built with 40mm custom drivers, powerful circuitry and anti-vibration aluminum for premium sound. Bonus, the Lyric has dual jacks for sharing music with friends. $199

apple watch, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

38mm Rose Gold Aluminum Case with Lavender Sport Band

I’ve wanted one of these since day one. I finally got one and I am in love and you will be too. It’s all the quality and ease of usability that we have come to know and love in Apple products, right there at your wrist. Apple Watch Sport features a rose gold anodized aluminum case, retina display with Force Touch. It also has a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope with up to 18 hours of battery life. My favorite feature, aside from voice texting, is that its water resistant so no worries if I accidentally run it under the faucet. It’s beautiful, functional and the perfect gift for any woman on your list this year. $350.

Lily Bed,  gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Lily Bed for Women

Women need the most sleep because generally we are the caretakers of the family. Yet, we are the ones who get the least amount of sleep. LilyBed has taken this into consideration and designed the first bed made for a woman’s body but strong enough for a man. A few of the amazing features of the LilyBed mattress in a box include premium cover that’s soft, cool and hypoallergenic, super soft layer surface, responsive core for perfect balance and complimentary full body support. Bottom line, it’s the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, , light as a feather, Pandora

PANDORA Light As A Feather Earrings in Sterling Silver

Inspired by the elegance and lightness of feathers, these airy dangle earrings represent stunning, natural beauty. Shimmering stones accentuate the splendor of their stylized form, making them a great choice for eveningwear. Sparkling clear cubic zirconias and swirls of sterling silver depict feathers in these beautiful dangle earrings. $100.00

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, lomo'instant wide central park

Lomo’Instant Wide Central Park Edition camera + lens system

Lomo’Instant’s new wide instant camera lives up the Lomo rep. This fun vintage-inspired camera kit features three creative shooting modes and comes with three cool lens attachments (wide-angle, close-up, and splitzer), a lens cap that double as a shutter remote control and easy-change color gels that add a wash of color to your photo subjects. It’s like Hipstamatic but in real camera form. I’m as excited about this as I am the USB TypeWriter and Qwerkywriter. $259

nuyu sleep system, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,

Health o meter™ nuyu™ Sleep System

Sleep solution made of a Bluetooth® enabled sleep mat and app that cycles through temperatures through the night to mimic your body’s circadian rhythm so that you wake up well-rested. It warms slightly when you are going to sleep; cools you down during the middle of the night, and then warms you back up to mimic your natural circadian rhythm.  Starting temperature range: 69° – 105°

Controlled using free nuyu™ app which can be used with the Activity Monitor to track sleep. It is also machine washable mattress pad and hose, washer bag included. $499.99

Olloclip Active Lens

I have a great Nikon DSLR that I depend on for most of my travel and family photos but, honestly, I am a big iPhonographer. My phone is never far away and always convenient to shoot with so I’m super excited about the Olloclip Active Lens. Olloclip Active Lens is a compact, lightweight, 2-in-1 with a telephoto lens and ultra-wide angle lens that snaps onto your iPhone 6/S or iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus.  It works with both the front and rear facing cameras on the phone too.  Easy to use, just snap it on and snap it off. $99.99

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,  α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

Never miss the moment. When extraordinary happens, capture it with the accelerated α77 II with an astounding 79 high-density AF points, 12fps continuous shooting, and a 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor. Every moment is made eternal. Translucent Mirror Technology enables precise phase-detection AF in live view and movie modes. $849.

Brooklyn Bedding: #BestMattressEver

Built with individuality and simplicity in mind, Brooklyn Bedding delivers personalized comfort with a bed-in-a-box designed for every type of sleeper. Breaking the “one-comfort-fits-all” mold, three sleep comfort levels cater to every type of sleeper with Soft, Medium and Firm options. Luxurious, soft quilted pillow top cover knitted with moisture-wicking cotton for cloud-like feel and breathability. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. $450 – $1,050

xdoria,gps, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,

X-Doria: KidGPS 

Every mom I know will want this palm-sized tracking device that notifies parents of their children’s exact location via companion iOS or Android application, providing peace of mind. This user-friendly device that can be tucked in a child’s pocket or clipped on their backpack

Panic alert button sends the current location of a child to multiple devices.

Battery lasts up to seven days and can be recharged via integrated micro-USB port. Tracking services range from $5.99/month for 12 months, or $7.99/month for 6 months

Polaroid Zip

The Zip is a super-simple, instant photo printer. Turn it on, connect it to your iPhone or Android via Bluetooth and hit the print button on the free app. The result: 2X3” full-color instant prints. The Zip uses special photo paper (a 30-pack only costs $14.99) that’s ink free and comes out dry-to-the-touch. $129.99

zara, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Zara

Zara is my favorite place to buy affordable clothing that is cute and feminine. The inventory is constantly updating for the seasons and I love the feminine fabrics and cuts. It’s a great selection of outfits for work and evening wear.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, dxo-one

DxO One

The DxO One will turn your iPhone or iPad into a DSLR quality camera for less than the price of a DSLR. It pairs perfectly with your iPhone so that you can take amazing photos anywhere. It shoots 2.1-MP photos and 1080p video and you can toggle between the two modes with a tiny 1-inch touch screen on the side of the device. The DxO One gives photographers DSLR-like modes like aperture priority, shutter priority, program and manual. $599.

tipsy elves,gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Tipsy Elves 

If you are looking for something like nothing else, might I suggest an ugly sweater or Christmas jumper from Tipsy Elves. I recently received the Women’s Blue Reindeer Jumpsuit and they are the super cozy and toasty. The design has a bold blue background a white Fair isle design with grazing reindeer. The front pockets include zippers and a red accent color on the cuffs to complete the outfit. This jumper is great for Christmas morning, lounging during holiday break or wearing to your favorite ugly sweater party. Bonus, it also comes in Mens and children’s sizes.

Margaritaville®: New Key West™ Frozen Concoction Maker®
This is the  perfect gift to celebrate at all the holiday parties and will definitley help you ring in the New Year! Refreshed version of this classic now features an extra-large ice reservoir that holds ice for 3 full pitchers so you can enjoy the party longer before it’s time to refill

· Shaves ice, instead of crushing like other machines, for perfectly smooth beverages

· Margaritaville® maritime detailing that features a new silver base to match modern home décor

· Produces 36-ounces of restaurant-quality frozen drinks

· Includes manual shave & blend controls

· Includes a 36 oz., sturdy glass blending-jar and with Easy Pour lid

Price: $399.99

What’s your favorite present on this gift guide?

Disclosure: Some of the products on this gift guide were provided for review purposes but entirely opinions are my own.

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gift guide, tech for parents, girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

This Christmas holiday I’ve put together a girl’s gift guide that my daughters will flip over. They love tech, they love travel and they love fashion and of course, they love unicorns. Don’t we all?

Anyways, the point is that they love lots of things. In fact, did I mention they’ve put a Storm Trooper Dress, luggage and a trip to New York at the top of their list? Every child is different and every child likes different things but I think this list covers the spectrum of interests for little girls of all ages and interests.

Here are my top picks for the 2015 girl’s gift guide.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, unicorns

Main Sail Studio Plush Unicorn Head Taxidermy

My girls LOVE unicorns and this handmade soft unicorn faux taxidermy mounted on a ready to hang wooden plaque does not disappoint. You choose the colors for the unicorn head and mane and the plaque. Plaques can be a solid, a two-color ombré with or without glitter. The head is machine sewn and hand sculpted from soft fleece. The horn is made from a textured satin and then coated with a sparkly glaze. It comes with a repositionable butterfly or flower clip. The mane textile varies based on color choice. The mouth, nose, ears and cheeks have hand painted subtle blush color. The eyes are embroidered. At purchase you can send a note with your color ideas. This is the perfect present for every little girl. I can’t wait to see my daughter’s face on Christmas morning when she sees this beautiful piece of unicorn art.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze,xdoria, kid's fit

X-Doria: KidFit

KidFit is a wireless activity and sleep tracker for ages 5-13 that encourages and motivates kids to play hard and get enough rest.  The KidFit wristband is a one-size-fits-all slap bracelet and is IPX3 (Splash Proof) rated. A daily activity target is customized for each child and scored out of an easy to understand 100 points.

With each sync, the KidFit app motivates and encourages your child to reach their activity and sleep goals.  Built in goals keep kids challenged and parents can set custom goals tied to real world rewards.  The free KidFit app is available for iOS and Android.

chooze,girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion,

Chooze backpacks, lunch boxes, split leggings and shoes

Chooze is a brand that recognizes children’s innate desire to express themselves through unique wardrobe choices. The freedom to express themselves is the key to unleash their potential. The collection of mismatched shoes, split leggings and reversible backpacks and lunch packs empower kids with creativity, confidence and the power to have a positive impact on the world.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

American Girl Mary Ellen Larkin

Maryellen Larkin, the newest character to join American Girl’s popular BeForever line, is an energetic and optimistic girl who follows her heart instead of the crowd growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida, in the 1950s.

The Maryellen doll is 18” tall with warm brown eyes and strawberry-blonde hair in a high ponytail and sideswept bangs. Maryellen’s authentic 1950s outfit features a striped dress, a lacy-knit shrug with a monogramed M, black shoes, underwear, and a ribbon bow for her hair. Includes the paperback book, The One and Only, the first novel-length volume of Maryellen’s classic series by Valerie Tripp.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin, Julie Albright

American Girl Julie Albright

Julie Albright is bright and sunny on the outside and a fighter on the inside. She likes school, hanging out with friends and playing on the basketball team in 1974. This beautiful, blonde flower child will stand up and fight for what’s right.

American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

Maryellen’s Television Console

A large television console was truly the entertainment center in Maryellen’s day. This set features a 1950s-style TV console with a built-in make-believe record player and encyclopedia books. Plus, your girl can create and watch her own original videos on the console with her iPad!

The Care and Keeping of Us Book Series

This kit includes twin books, one for girls and one for moms, filled with dozens of how-to-say-it scripts to get the conversations going. These scripts give girls the words to talk about all the big topics from body basics, hygiene, and healthy habits to friends, first crushes, clothing, and more. And mom’s book gives her the actual words to respond to her girl’s questions, as well as scripts to initiate important conversations with her daughter. Plus, a sharing journal lets both moms and girls jot down thoughts, memories, and questions. Two bookmarks are included to guide each other to the latest entry or point out something they don’t want the other to miss.

Disney Playmation

Disney Playmation is a connected wearable experience that triggers imagination and play in children. It’s high tech meets old school and the bottom line is that your child will be moving and using their imagination. The starter pack comes with a arm-mounted Repulsor Cannon that acts as your interface to the imaginary Marvel world.

Little Passports World Edition

Explore the world, one country at a time. Each month, your child will receive letters from Sam and Sophia. The monthly package arrives with fun souvenirs, activity sheets, photos and stickers for your suitcase, map and passport. Your child can also access Boarding Zone for more online games.

How to Survive Anything

Let’s face it. With school pressures, social pressures, parental pressures…the teenage years are tough. Your best friend is with you one day, dating your crush the next. But it could be worse! You could be face-to-face with an angry grizzly, or chest-deep in quicksand. Never fear, National Geographic has the solution! In this hilariously informative take on surviving the trials of middle school and the jungles of South America, we combine our expertise on nature and adventure with the fun-and-learning approach of our Nat Geo style…and voila, the perfect advice to conquer any obstacle, whether it threatens life or social status or both. Edgy, young, authoritative, and amusingly illustrated, this title will grab the attention of young teens and gift-buyers alike.

A Friend for Lakota

The Dutchers have the unique experience of living in a tented camp in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains among a pack of wolves, observing and documenting rarely seen social behavior, including bullying.

Treasury of Norse Mythology

Beautifully told by author Donna Jo Napoli, this book is a gorgeously illustrated compilation of Norse myths of gods, goddesses, monsters, and heroes. If your kids are fans of Thor, Vikings, and more, this Treasury contains more of the lyrical tales of the Norse gods, goddesses, trolls, and giants that are perfect for bedtime–or anytime–storytelling.

National Geographic’s Guide to Photography

This amazing book has tips and tricks on how to take great pictures, with advice from Nat Geo photographer Annie Griffiths as well as My Shot kid shutterbugs.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, unicorns, sony cyber shot

Sony Cyber-shot QX10

Most tweens and teens use their smartphones to take photos and if they want to improve their images, then a camera that affixes to the phone could be an ideal present. This will give better image quality and most importantly, more optical zoom to images.

The Sony Cyber-shot QX10 adds a 10x optical zoom lens, fullHD video recording, and an 18 megapixel sensor to any Android or iOS smartphone, significantly upgrading the camera on most smartphones and giving the extra clarity and reach of 10x optical zoom to boot. Paired with the National Geographic Guide to Photography book and you just may have a little Annie Leibovitz on your hands.

What’s at the top of  your child’s Christmas list this year?

What would you have included on this girl’s gift guide?

Disclosure: Some of the products on this list were provided to me free of charge for review purposes for this gift guide.

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LG appliances, laundry, family, travel,tech, parenting, make life easy

Disclosure: This is a compensated post written by me on behalf of LG Appliances but all opinions on parenting are my own.

Life is hectic when you have children who are involved in everything and parents who are equally as involved. My husband works as a global business analyst; his work comes home with him, but it also takes him away from home.

I work from home full-time as a writer which also takes me on lots of travels (which I love!) but I’m also a member of the school board, room mom for both of our daughter’s classes (party days are a workout for me), a member of the junior league and a volunteer for every activity and field trip there ever was, is or will be at school. Yet, this is the life we chose. This is our version of happiness. What’s the saying? Busyness is close to Godliness? Oh wait, no, that’s cleanliness. Oops!

LG appliances, laundry, family, travel,tech, parenting, make life easy

However, now the girls are following suit and they’re involved in cheer, gymnastics, ballet, tap, robotics, choir and violin plus they both secured parts in the city’s Nutcracker ballet this year. Of course, I volunteer for that too. We’ve always said that we’d encourage them to go for whatever they wanted to try but it leaves us really busy with no time for the everyday chores like dusting and laundry.

Don’t get me wrong, we still wash clothes… so many clothes (all of those uniforms and never ending unpacked luggage. We have tutus and leotards coming out of our noses) but it doesn’t necessarily always get put away.

To add insult, in a crazy turn of events (and a terrible twist of my ankle) I took a tumble on my sister’s wedding day (in which I was the maid of honor) while we were taking wedding party photos (no cocktails were involved) and I broke my leg (while spraining the other one). It’s left us in a terrible debacle because now all of the chaos has fallen onto the shoulders of my dear husband, who at this point can barely see straight he is so exhausted.

The other Saturday, amongst all the chaos that is our lives these days, as we were rushing to get the family out the door for a football game at 8 a.m. in the morning before heading off to pointe class and then on to Nutcracker fittings and before celebrating a particularly peculiar distant relative’s toddler son’s birthday, grape jam dribbled from my daughter’s toast down to the bib of her cheerleading uniform! The humanity!

I heard the screech of my daughter, the moan of my husband and I knew surely something terrible had befallen the house of Cruz. I wheeled myself into the kitchen as quickly as possible to find our not so cheery cheerleader. I immediately insisted that she shed her uniform as I went into full-on manic spot cleaning and continuous praying.

After a rigorous hand washing with vinegar and cold water, I was able to throw it in the washer on delicate and maintain my reputation of super (ordinary, extremely exhausted) mom. Thank goodness for quick thinking and short timed wash cycles. She may have been a little damp but thankfully, it was a beautiful, sunny autumn day!

I’m not sure what would have happened had I not had a good washer and dryer to remedy the situation. I shudder to think of the drama that might have befallen our home that morning!

Thankfully, LG Electronics is devoted to creating home appliances that help simplify household chores while focusing on creating feature-rich appliances, with stylish designs that push technological boundaries to improve the home appliance experience as well as save them time and energy.

LG’s Mega-Capacity Top-Load laundry pair (Models WT7700 and DLEX7700VE) offers enhanced convenience and performance, helping save both time and energy. Users can wash a king size comforter and full set of bedding in a single load; saving time.  With the washer at 5.7 cubic feet of mega-capacity and dryer at 9.0 cubic feet of space, consumers have access to the largest capacity top load washer in its class* possible for loads of laundry.

Top-Load Washer incorporates LG’s time-saving TurboWash®, which provides 30-minutes of time savings on every wash cycle, while the dryer features TurboSteam™, which works gently but powerfully to refresh fabrics and reduce wrinkles in half the time of other steam settings. Both settings deliver greater efficiency and world-class cleaning performance. Perfect for school morning cheerleading uniform emergencies.

LG’s EasyLoad™ Dryer is the first to open two ways, from the top (hamper style) to easily toss in wet clothes from the washer and sideways to quickly unload dry clothes into the laundry basket. This unique setup allows users to easily transfer clothes through the top to minimize bending and dropping clothes on the floor, makes it easier than ever to drop in and unload laundry. If only the dryer could fold and put the clothes away, the world would be a perfect place.

What would you do with the 30 extra minutes in your day thanks to LG’s TurboWash® technology? Tell us in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

*Based on manufacturers published specs of top load washers with a width of 29 inches or less.

 

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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Connected home, tech, Phillips, Hue

Disclaimer:  I’ve been compensated by Best Buy in the form of a new Phillips hue A19 Starter Kit, Phillips hue Go personal wire free smart lights and a Netgear Router with DST adapter and Geek Squad service for free.

Technological advances are making life so much easier than it used to be. One of my favorite technological advances of today is the smart home. We live in such a busy world, getting busier every single day, that anything that makes life easier is a good thing in my book especially if it makes life with my family better.

The new Philips hue A19 Starter Kit and hue Go personal wire free smart lights 800 lumens are part of a Connected Home Story.  The kit enables you to experience home lighting in a new way by adjusting colors, timers, alerts and more from your phone. It’s more than just the ability to turn lights on and off, it’s freedom from having to argue with your kids whether or not they turned their bathroom light off before they left the house.

It’s the ability to schedule lights to come on when you are traveling to deter burglars. It’s the ability to set wake up sunrises for the children by allowing lights to gradually come on at a set time versus the harsh blare of an alarm clock and it completely avoids the frustration that tends to ensue when a parent has to continually return to rouse an overtired child or belligerent tween or teen from bed after a late night of talking on the phone with friends.

The A19 starter kit allows you to experience home lighting and transform the way you use light by adjusting colors, timers, alerts and more from your phone or mobile device. The bulbs, accessory lights and bridge work with your Wi-Fi to let you create mood-setting color schemes, or enjoy the right light setting for reading, relaxing, concentrating and many more. You can also easily maintain an automatic schedule while you’re vacationing – so that it looks like you’re home.

It works with Apple HomeKit so you can control your lights with Siri voice control on your iPhone. Turns your existing hue lights into HomeKit controllable lights and discover exciting new use cases through 3rd party homekit apps that also control door locks thermostats and more.

It’s so versatile, you can use it as personal reading light in a dark room, create bright lighting in a room with little existing lighting or no electrical outlets, use it as a kid’s night light, or take it outside to provide ambience on the patio. It also helps you to wake up fresh and energized in the morning with deep dimming. The gradually increasing light intensity gives you the feeling you are waking up from sunrise – gently and naturally. My kids love this and it’s so much gentler than startling them awake by turning on bright lights.

The lights offer 5 patented “natural dynamic effects”: Cozy Candle, Sunday Coffee, Meditation, Enchanted Forest, and Night Adventure. Each dynamic effect has its own mix of colors to set the right mood. You can also choose from fine-tuned shades of white including the soothing “Relax” setting, the vibrant “Energize” setting and more – no need for buying different white bulbs

The Netgear® Nighthawk™ DST Router and DST Adapter with Geek Squad included, new and exclusively at Best Buy provides an easy, all-in-one solution to support your home’s connected devices.

As the number of Wi-Fi dependent products increase in a home they put a strain on the home’s network, especially the router. With the interest in online gaming and 4k TVs, connected devices such as smart thermostats, plus the need to stream shows from Netflix or hulu, it places even more demands on the network. Many households may experience slow Wi-Fi, dropped calls, or experience “dead zones” – which could be improved upon with an “AC” router, Wi-Fi extenders and expert help.

The AC1900 comes with one DST, or “Dead Spot Terminator,” adapter – to eliminate your Wi-Fi dead zones. Additional adapters can be purchased for other dead zones.

This high-performance router was built to support 10+ connected devices – you can also prioritize devices for streaming videos or music, and included advanced features for lag-free gaming. So the girls can be streaming Netflix, I can watch a movie on PLEX while the Big Guy plays Call of Duty and all the laptops and iPad are charging and there is no worry about lags in show playing.

We love having a connected home. Lights are just the beginning. We can control the thermostat, the electronics and make our home safer for all of us.

 

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lightroom, photography, photoshop, photography software

Disclaimer: I’ve been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received Lightroom for free.

Since having my children, the quality of photos I take has taken on a greater importance. A photo is no longer just a snapshot; it is a memory of a moment of my child’s life. Everyone knows that when you are a parent, childhood is fleeting and every second together counts.

During my childhood, I remember my father taking loads of photos and video. This is probably why it is so important to me to do the same. I love looing back of old photos of my childhood. It jogs memories and brings on the warm and fuzzies almost always. However, the photos are not of the highest quality.

There are a lot of snapshots from my toddler years where I look like a flicker of light or as a teen where the shadows are wreaking havoc on the photo making it almost unrecognizable. This is why I am so excited about the software available for photos these days.

I am finally at a point in my life where I own a high quality DSLR and I’ve had enough experience to know what components make a fantastic photo. However, even after a decade of shooting almost daily, I still need to tweak and adjust after shooting. This is why I was thrilled when I got the chance to use Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.

It’s a 1-year subscription (encompassing Photoshop Creative Cloud and Lightroom Creative Cloud). This software plan is all about enhanced photo editing and convenience with the multi-screen capabilities provided by the Cloud. It allows me to take my best shots and make them even better.

The Creative Cloud Photography plan is all about enhanced photo editing and convenience with the multi-screen capabilities provided by the Cloud ($119.99 regular retail for a 1-year subscription). It allows active photographers who want to be able to create and access their vision on any device, to do so anywhere.
It allows me to perfect my photography from everyday edits to total transformations, the Creative Cloud plan lets you retouch and manipulate images in just about any way you can imagine.
It allows me to organize, edit and share images from anywhere, on my computer, on the web, on my iPad and even on my iPhone or Android device. And when you make an editor flag a favorite in one place, it’s automatically updated everywhere else through Adobe CreativeSync technology.
Lightroom creative cloud is my favorite new software to use to edit the photos of the moments that mean the most in my life; the photos of my family. I want these memories to be as vivid in frames on my wall as they are in my mind.

What’s your favorite Lightroom feature?

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Nielsen, Nielsen App, Tap Influence, How to partner with your dream brand, Entertainment

As a brand influencer, I have worked with a lot of brands; little ones and huge ones and each one is different and each one was important to me for some reason or other. In the beginning, I accepted campaigns that maybe were not my dream campaign but they were something my kid’s would actually play with or I would use in my everyday life but I was just so excited that someone wanted to work with me. I was excited by the thought of being wanted as an influencer. I think we’ve all been there.

I’ve never taken a campaign that I wouldn’t use in my every day life. If I’m against cigarette smoking and the Marlboro man offered me a million dollars to write about how great his cigarettes were I couldn’t take the money because it doesn’t fit my brand, my blog or my life and if I took campaigns just for the money, I’d lose my credibility with my readers. If I lose my credibility with my readers, well, then brands won’t want me so the key is to be true to who you are and eventually, things will fall into place. If you want to work with brands on your blog, you need to stay true to who you and your brand are.

I was asked who would be my dream brand to work with. For me, it’s simple. If I had the chance to work with my dream brand on a dream campaign, it would be either Apple or Nikon. What can I say? I am a very loyal brand consumer. These are two of my favorite brands and I use them every day in my life and I make no secret about that.

My dream brand partnership would involve first and foremost, me partnering with a brand that I truly love. For example, I currently use an iMac to edit my photos, apple TV to view my home movies and photos, my mac mini to store my movies and music, an apple laptop to complete my daily assignments, I use my iPad for when I travel and I never leave home without my iPhone. Apple is a very important brand in my life.

I am a writer and it is my dream job, without Apple products, this dream would not be possible. Well, it could be possible but not as easy, professional and cohesive as it currently is.

My dream partnership with Apple would look a little something like this; me as a brand ambassador, speaking on behalf of a company that I truly love. You’ve heard that saying, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life? Well, that’s what a partnership between myself and Apple would look like because I would just be expressing my authentic, organic love for the products; products that I have known and used in my own home with my family for years.

None of this is possible without first knowing; using and supporting the brands you love. It all begins with being true to yourself and then just naturally writing about those products and services. I always feel like it is my duty to my readers to share the products that I know and love, like I would do with any of my friends. It is not my duty to be a commercial. I don’t want to sell my readers anything but I do love to share the things in my life that I know work for me, especially when my readers ask.

By working with Tap Influence over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many great brands that I have loved. This would not have been possible, or at least less probable, had I not been affiliated with Tap Influence.

It’s so easy. I signed up, years ago. I set my rate and my profile is always available for brands to peruse. I never have to waste time filling out applications or looking up my statistics because they are always available through the back end. I set my own rates and if a brand wants to work with me, they contact me. It’s that easy.

Who would be your dream brand to partner with? Maybe Tap Influence can make a connection with you and your dream company.

Brands are searching for voices like yours. A TapInfluence profile is a great way to attract attention from top brands who are eager to work with influencers on sponsored content. To get started, create your free profile here. What are you waiting for?

Tap Influence, How to partner with your dream brand

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of TapInfluence, the leader in connecting influencers with opportunties to collaborate with brands.

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blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

Blogging changed my life. They say the truth will set you free and, boy, is that ever true in my case. I’ve spent most of my life feeling like a fraud; a child living in an adult’s body or vice versa. Even when I appeared to be in the know or popular, I felt like I wasn’t and at any minute I would be found out and revealed for the dork I truly was. I’m very social and I appear to be confident but really, I spent most of my life feeling like I never truly fit in because very few people ever really knew the real me. I had secrets, like we all do, but by not sharing them they were weighting me down, choking me out. This left me feeling like I was living a lie. I needed to be me, in all of my glorious imperfection.

Then I started blogging (like no one was reading because back then no one was) and I decided that I was going to go big or go home and I wrote my truth with no filter and it felt amazing. It only got scary when I realized that people were reading. The first time I went to BlogHer people, strangers by all rights, came up to me and hugged me with knowing looks in their faces. They had read my stories. They knew “Truthful Mommy” more so than some of the people who had known “Deborah” my entire life. That was a humbling and overwhelming feeling for me. I realized that my words were powerful and meant something to somebody because someone else understood and had felt what I felt. We were linked forever by our words.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

I used to be afraid to dream too big. I was afraid that letting myself wish too hard would only end in failing catastrophically. This was my life. Sounds sad, right? But after a lot of letting down and disappointment, I learned not to want for more. In all honesty, I was terrified of trying and even more so of failing.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a small child. It was a grandiose, unattainable goal in my mind. It certainly wasn’t practical. I couldn’t allow my heart to want it, though it longed for it with every fiber. I wrote words like I breathed air. I had to, it was compulsory. Words are how I process emotion, without them, it would all be too much.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

I take the world and all that’s happened to me in it, I take it inside to my quiet still place and I sort it, making sense of life by spitting it back out onto paper. When I think of the moments of my life that I’ve shared with the universe simply because it was the only way to survive it, I lose my breath. I am exposed and vulnerable. But isn’t that what it’s supposed to feel like when you make the decision to take the blind leap in pursuit of happiness?

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

A couple weeks ago, I went to a the BlogHer conference in New York City. You know those moments when the stars align and you find yourself in this surreal, magical place in the world where fantasy meets reality and you can feel the momentum pushing you forward to chase those dreams? That is what BlogHer is for me.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

For some, a blog conference is a place to learn to blog or a place to network with companies, in the hopes of making a hobby a career or for some, a dream a reality. Some people come for the swag and others for the parties. I come for the people.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

For me, it’s more than just a place to learn about SEO, social media and translating your metrics. It can be about finding your voice and honing your craft and for some, it’s all about business connections. But for me, it’s a place to be amongst my people, my friends; a place to feel I belong completely.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

The people who held my fragile heart while I tried my hardest to survive my miscarriage, these are the same women who helped me navigate the toddler years and now the tweens. Women who held me in their virtual and real arms as I wearily bared my soul and shared the story of my diagnosis.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

Women who look to my stories of surviving eating disorders and embracing forgiveness after years of being abused as a child for their own inspiration. These are people who have read my inner most thoughts and most personal stories and not judged me. My fellow bloggers, my readers, they know me on a level that most people in real life don’t. This is why I go.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

It’s not like going to a conference with a bunch of strangers; it’s like going home. It took me a long time to find my people, years. I didn’t go to my first blog conference until 2013 and when I did, I knew, this was where I belonged. These are my people and even though it might be expensive and inconvenient to travel in the middle of the summer, away from my family, I need those connections with my blogging world. I need to go to this place where people really get me and what I do; a place where I can say I am a blogger and not get dismissive or bewildered looks. Go to a place where other people write their vulnerable truths and understand the power of honesty; the weight of words. It is everything.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

Because of blogging, I can answer anyone who asks the question, “What do you do?’ Proudly and with confidence, “I am a writer.” I used to be embarrassed to say it because it was like saying, ” I am an artist or I’m an alien.” People just look at you like you’re touched in the head and not based in reality but because of blogging, I have a resume, I have bylines all over the Internet and I actually get paid to do what I love from the comfort of my own home office. I travel and I work with amazing companies to change the world, in some cases, all because I dared to dream. Blogging gave me the courage to follow my dreams because it allowed me to share my stories and find my people. Blogging changed my life.

Where do you belong? If you’re a blogger, how has blogging changed your life?

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tech, sleep, sleep number, sleep iq kids, bed, comfort

There is a new bed in town, the Sleep Number Sleep IQ Kids Bed and it’s not only intuitive, it keeps your kids in bed so they can get the rest all growing children need, allowing you to get the sleep you need. This amazing new smart bed knows when your kids are sleeping and when they’re awake. It even has a monster detection feature on the accompanying app, so kids feel safe from unwanted visitors. Now, only if it had an invisible force field to keep kids in bed, right?

This revolutionary new kid’s bed monitors sleep cycles and can help parents decipher if diet, stress or other activities throughout the day are impacting the quality of their day. I experienced the Sleep iQ Kids bed for the first time at CES in January and it was amazing.

A monster detector deciphers when under the bed is clear of even the scariest of boogie men. By hovering a smartphone or tablet in the direction of the bottom of the bed, a small monster icon will appear and determine if the coast is clear. This would have been amazing when Ella was having nightmares about chickens and lemurs under the bed!

tech, sleep, sleep number, sleep iq kids, bed, comfort

The bed, equipped with tiny hidden sensors, uses digital-signal capture within the mattress and processing techniques to pick up on motion and pressure. It tracks a child’s breathing and heart rate throughout the night too, and blends that data with other factors to determine a SleepIQ score in the morning; the higher the number (based from 1 to 100), the better the quality of sleep.

It’s also interactive. A sleep dashboard (available via an Android app or desktop) shows parents how well each child slept and alerts them in real-time if they need attention and are out of bed. The bed can also tilt if a child wants to read or has a stuffy nose from a head cold or allergies. Meanwhile, soft lights around the bed glow when kids get up or want to read and parents can turn them off remotely when it gets too late or little people nod off to slumber.

The bed is designed to grow with a child. Once they hit 10-years-old, they can manage their own SleepIQ score and see for themselves how exercise, sugar and TV time impact how they feel in the morning. This is intended to teach kids how to make better choices throughout the day and absolutely for newly crowned tween who thinks she knows everything.

tech, sleep, sleep number, sleep iq kids, bed, comfort

SleepIQ Kids, available in stores now, is priced at about $799.99 for the twin size mattress and will come in twin, full and queen size options.

In conjunction with the retail launch of the only smart bed for smart kids, the SleepIQ Kids bed, Sleep Number is rewarding kids who sleep well with six college scholarships! With all the talk about the ballooning cost of college, this contest will truly make some lucky kids’ (and their parents’) dreams come true.

Sleep Number, the sleep innovation leader whose mission is to improve lives by individualizing sleep experiences, is helping make kids’ college dreams come true. In celebration of its new SleepIQ Kids™ bed, which is available today in all Sleep Number® stores and online, the company is launching a contest to give away six college scholarships and six SleepIQ Kids beds.

Sleep Number understands the correlation between sleep and performance, which is why they are recognizing good sleepers who have big ambitions with the opportunity to win one of six college scholarships.

To help parents achieve their kids’ dreams, Sleep Number is hosting SleepIQ Kids Scholarship Contest at all Sleep Number stores, and will award six kids with a college scholarship and a SleepIQ Kids bed – total prize value is $134,000.

Families can visit a Sleep Number store to find their Sleep Number® setting and learn how a better night’s sleep helps kids succeed. Depending on their age, children will either draw a picture or write an essay about why sleep is important to them and how it helps them achieve their dreams.

After visiting the Sleep Number store, parents will receive a special code and Web address to submit their child’s entry online; a piece of artwork (for ages 4-9) or 200-word essay (for ages 10-14). Contest-entry details are available July 31. To find a Sleep Number store, visit SleepNumber.com.

The SleepIQ Kids bed is truly revolutionary. Not only does it offer kids comfort and adjustability with DualAir technology but it also tracks their sleep so parents can help their kids improve both at sleep and in life because the better you sleep, the better you perform. Plus the app includes a monster detector, which is really cool.

Disclosure: I attended CES with Sleep Number to see the bed in person but all opinions of the tech and coolness factor of the Sleep IQ Kids bed are all my own.

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UMIGO, tech, apps, tech for kids
This post is sponsored by UMIGO but all opinions are my own.

Does your child struggle with math? Or are you just concerned that maybe math will suffer next fall due to summer brain drain now? Like any body part, if the brain is not used it loses a little of it’s ability to react as quickly.

I am always looking for creative and fun ways to keep my kids brains’ stimulated during the summer time. I think of it as calisthenics for the mind. So, when I was asked to check out UMIGO – You Make It Go – I was pretty excited for my 2nd grader to give it a try.

My girls always prefer to be outside playing over being inside on computers or watching television and I’ve worked hard to make that so but aside from fresh air and imagination play, I do need them to keep their minds sharp during the summer. I require that they both read for a bit on their own every day, I’ve even created cozy reading nooks and outdoor spaces for it but math is another story.

Both girls do well in math but I really wanted something that they could work on at their own level that didn’t require a whole lot of screen time or being locked in the house out of the fresh air and sunshine. UMIGO is awesome because you can start at your child’s level and if it’s really nice outside, the girls can take it on the deck on the tablet. It’s like those 20 minute workouts but for your brain.

It’s a fun, vibrant world of adventure that uses the building blocks of math to engage early elementary age kids in narrative-driven “appisodes.” Helping children develop the math skills they need for effective reasoning and problem solving.

UMIGO, tech, apps, tech for kids

But really, what exactly is UMIGO, you ask?

UMIGO’s free downloadable at-home activities engage families and educators in the child’s development of math and reasoning skills and are designed to make learning easy and fun. It feels more like play than work and that makes it a lot easier to engage your child, especially when they’d much rather be at the pool with their friends.

UMIGO’s educational content is aligned with the Common Core Standards for Mathematics for first and second grades. Which is perfect for my daughter.

On Friday June 19th, UMIGO kicked off the Summer of UMIGO on National Summer Learning Day in an effort to help combat the “summer slide.” In partnership with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), UMIGO will bring its narrative-based appisodes, interactive games, activities, and educational resources to more than 70 communities around the country. You can find a location close to you by looking on the NSLA’s interactive map at SummerLearningDayMap.org.

UMIGO, tech, apps, tech for kids

To Find Out More about UMIGO :

Get social with UMIGO

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Umigo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/umigo

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/yoUMakeItGO

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/113522959963140582658/posts

If not UMIGO, how do you avoid the summer slide?

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3D robotics solo drone, drone

Have you heard of the new 3D Robotics Solo Drone at Best BuySolo, the Smart Drone arrived in over 400 Best Buy stores on June 8 Just in time to be the perfect tech gift for any dad.

You all know that I love tech. I have a sickness really. I can’t get enough of it and I always want to know what’s new and what’s on the horizon. I didn’t use to be like this. I was the girl who had to convinced to use a computer to write my papers in college because I was totally happy typing it on my typewriter and I really thought I had hit my technology ceiling when I was using a word processor. But look at me now, playing with drones, GoProing or Periscoping my every move. I’m not even sure I could function without my iPhone because I’m pretty sure that it’s become an appendage.

I find drones particularly fascinating because a drone takes technology to the next level. Drones are the future. It’s hands free filming of the future. When I think that just 20 years ago most people still didn’t have cellphones, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Periscope and Pinterest weren’t even a “thing”. No one could have dreamed of what technology would look like today.

3D robotics solo drone, drone

Solo Drone is the first-ever drone powered by two integrated Linux computers, making capturing the perfect shot easy for anyone. The drone handles the positioning while you get to focus on the composition of your photo or video. The Solo retails for $999.

The Solo drone can define its own flight, freeing users to focus on getting the shot.

This intelligent drone is also the first to support full control of GoPro® cameras and deliver live HD video either wirelessly to your mobile device or through the controller’s HDMI port for live broadcasts. How awesome is that?

3D robotics solo drone, drone, Best Buy, tech

There’s a great deal going on right now; get a FREE Solo Smart Battery (Reg. Price: $149.99) when you purchase the 3DR Solo Drone (Sku: 5354101). Valid 6/7-7/11 at Best Buy. Disclaimer: Offer valid with purchase of the 3DR Solo Drone SKU: 5351035

Just think of all the possibilities and amazing shots and videos you can catch with your own Solo Drone. If you could film or take a shot of anything with a Solo drone what would it be?

Disclaimer:  The have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card but all opinions on the Solo 3D drone are my own.

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