tech-section

Category : Tech

tech accessories

Not only have stylish tech accessories become a personal style statement but they’re now seeing seasonal trends of their own. From pastels, to gold and glittery phones, the more unique and attention grabbing the better! Dare we say they are as important as the shoes on your feet!? {gasp!}

Fashion designers like Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenburg and Lily Pulitzer all have a line of fashionable tech accessories that will make you want to change your case every few weeks. That is probably the goal, for us to buy a new phone case or iPad cover with the changing of each season. Buying a new handbag? Why not add a new matching cover for your phone!?

Tech Wristlets

Not only are there phone cases, but now there are clutch purses designed specifically with your phone in mind. I personally love the Juicy Couture Larchmont Tech Wristlet. These wide wrislets will hold all your credit cards, cash, phone and even a lipgloss. These tech wristlets are not just for an evening out either — they are perfect for the day and running errands as a mom. It’s easy to throw a tech wristlet that has all your essentials into a diaper bag or change handbags quickly.

Tech cases have become much more than a safe place to protect your expensive tech, they are a personal style statement that lets you express to the world who you are.

What do your tech accessories say about you!?
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LaptopBags

Don’t leave home without a stylish laptop bag

Work-at-home moms do some of their best work away from home. Whether you find your creative zen in a local coffee shop or the local library, with your kids playing and reading nearby, a protective laptop bag will help protect your computer — and all of the files stored there. Find a bag that works with your style, and you can carry your computer without worry.

More than a protective case

You can protect your tech at home with fabulous products — we found twelve we love — but that doesn’t always help when you need to get out of the house quickly. Laptop covers or sleeves are perfect for around the house, but a dedicated laptop bag really makes a difference if you plan on working outside the home, whether it’s for a full-time position or an afternoon in another location. Your everyday bag probably doesn’t have room for your sleeved laptop unless you juggle the contents — pull out the makeup bag and errant water bottles, add laptop and your favorite highlighters.

Why a fashionable laptop bag is worth the investment

You may have a shelf full of totes, but investing in a laptop bag is a smart move for your tech. Keeping your laptop protected is important, and laptop bags are designed to pad your computer from the jostles, bumps and bangs that occur when you’re standing in line or dropping your bag against the legs of your chair. Stylish laptop bags are available for any budget, and savvy moms know there’s something empowering about feeling proud of the way you look when you walk into the room. We’ve rounded up seven chic laptop bags in a variety of styles and price points.

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festa-lesportsac-laptop-bag
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Slim Tote (Melissa Beth, $129)

LeSportsac Laptop Bag (Zappos, $56)

Vera Bradley Neoprene Laptop Case (Zappos, $54)

Jet Set Travel Tote – MICHAEL (Michael Kors, $300)

Customizable Laptop Bag (Etsy, QUALITYCovers, $38)

Lake Forest Laptop Case – McKlein USA (EBags, $117)

Gamma Ray Computer Commuter – Marc by Marc Jacobs (Nordstrom, $118)

Keep your laptop bag work-ready

If you leave the house for work more than a couple times a week, it makes sense to keep your laptop bag packed and ready to go. Think about what you really need when you’re going to work on your latest projects, and pack accordingly.

Keep these in your bag:

  • Slim notebook for ideas
  • Two or three of your favorite pens
  • Handful of your business cards
  • Chapstick
  • Hand sanitizer

Add to bag immediately before leaving the house:

  • Wallet
  • Small water bottle
  • Phone
  • Laptop
Do you work better in your office — home or corporate — or in a more public place?
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pinterest t-shirtDear Sassy:

It was over a month ago, but I still have a Valentine’s Day craft hangover because of the Despicable Me 2 Twinkie Valentines I had to make for my twins’ preschool class. The girls saw the blog photo over my shoulder as I was looking on Pinterest and I was suckered into being that mom who staples little overalls to each Twinkie to make it perfect. I even bought a hot glue gun. This is so not me, and I hated it. But all those sweet crafts and perfect party decorations people post on Pinterest are starting to make me feel terrible for not wanting to do those things for my kids. Doesn’t anyone just buy stuff anymore?

Dear Anticraft Mom:

Yes. Yes they do. In fact, lots of moms do. Especially because they have busy lives and no time to sit hunched over with a pastry bag and a Cricut paper cutter getting everything just right.

But there are plenty of people who do these things, and instead of letting them make you feel inadequate as a mother – as a person – think of Pinterest as a stack of magazines. Millions and millions of them. When you flip through, say, Real Simple and you see a cute craft for kids’ lunchboxes, do you then scramble to your kitchen and start cutting hearts out of whole grain bread for an adorable PB&J?

No. No you don’t.

(Well, some of you do, but this post is not for you. It’s for you to link and send to your friends who often express jealousy and thinly-veiled rage.)

You might dog-ear that page, or rip it out and pin it on your bulletin board, or let it get lost in a pile of other magazine pages you’ve torn out to save recipes or gardening ideas or a picture of a celebrity hairstyle you might want to try. And then you forget all about it.

With Pinterest, these torn out magazine pages are IN YOUR FACE with relentless cheerful pressure. The bombardment of just-so images can be overwhelming and make you want to curl up in a ball in the corner of the room eating M&M’s (the store-bought kind, not lovingly individually-piped preservative-free homemade chocolate covered candies) or at least running to the drugstore at 9:30 the night before Valentine’s Day to purchase the last 2 boxes of lame cards with Spongebob on them.

But you know what? That’s okay, too.

Parenting is such a stressful job all around. There’s absolutely no reason for you to pile more pressure on top of what you already feel. When you start to feel like a shitty mom because someone posted an edible Bunny Food recipe and you can barely remember the date of Easter, click away, my friend. Click away.

bunny food

(Incidentally, clicking away is the best antidote for most of the ills caused by the internet.)

Pinterest will be there — and it will be billions of pins stronger, like a boil that has swelled during the night — when you’ve regained your sensibilities and you’re ready to poke around again for some ideas for how to decorate your child’s playroom.

Side rant: must we keep using the phrase “bucket list,” even with activities for young children?

summer bucket list

I mean, imagine that conversation.

“Look, kids, I printed out this colorful Summer Bucket List from a blog I found on Pinterest!”

“Mom, what’s a bucket list?”

“It’s a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.”

“What’s kick the bucket?”

“It means DIE.”

(Children are horrified, speechless for a moment.)

“Are we going to die at the end of the summer?”

“No, honey, it’s just an expression.”

(Kids walk away, not believing you, convinced they will die before Labor Day.)

The moral of the story? Be careful what you pin!

Send in your problem for Sassy to solve, whether it’s a parenting question, relationship dilemma, or a snafu with social etiquette and it may get answered in a future column. Sassy is here to help! Submit your question for Ask Sassy here! (Or just email me, darling. We can keep it between us. [email protected]) You can also follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page, where I share pro tips on life every week.

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Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Aetna Foundation.

MckEnnaHudsonSkipping
We travel a lot with our children and one of the biggest concerns when traveling out of the country — or even out of your own state — is if you or your children become sick. You can never be too sure if it was just something you ate or drank or just germs and a common cold.  But what if it is more serious than that? That is why having medical information in the palm of your hand is so important.

This past summer while in Costa Rica our daughter had a very high fever, the chills, and she was sleeping a lot. We were told that there was a very serious strain of Dengue Fever throughout Costa Rica, so we were very concerned. My husband went online to research the symptoms immediately and to see what we should do if her fever didn’t break or she got worse.

Having access to technology and medical websites that can put your mind at ease when your child is sick is so important, especially while traveling. Being able to find a local doctor in the area and emailing them your questions and concerns is such a relief. We even used technology to translate language and to communicate properly with the doctor, making sure nothing got lost in translation! Luckily her fever broke the next day and it was not Dengue Fever, but we were so happy to have medical information right at our fingertips.

Research shows that one in three cell phone owners have used their phone to access health information (Pew Research Center). The Aetna Foundation just announced  a $1.2 million digital health initiative to support the use of digital health technology. The Aetna Digital Health Initiative’s mission is to help leverage the best technology and provide access to high-quality health care for everyone. One of the main goals is to improve health in vulnerable and minority communities. They believe that everyone should be able to gain access to their health questions and concerns whether it’s emailing a doctor, researching symptoms of illnesses or downloading an app that helps them keep track of their fitness goals.

The Aetna Foundation’s support of mobile health and technology is part of a larger $4 million, three-year digital health commitment to implement and evaluate innovative technology to help address public health concerns all over the country. Technology can be a great asset, motivator and reminder to stay on top of your family’s health no matter where you live.

 Digital Health Infographic

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How do you use technology to help you and your family stay healthy?
Have you used your mobile device to access health information?

 

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Aetna Foundation.

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swaddletechMost of us know SwaddleDesigns‘ iconic label that shows three baby images in various stages of swaddling, so parents always have a quick reference of how to wrap their babies in cuddly closeness. But now they’ve come up with something even better.
swaddleclub-logo

A smart swaddle?

Meet the world’s first tech-savvy smart swaddling blanket. In a world where we are literally glued to our smartphones — this only makes sense. Right next to their patented 1-2-3 swaddle instruction tag, you’ll find a separate tag with a QR code that can be scanned with your smartphone to get exclusive access to the SwaddleClub which contains sleep advice from The Happiest Baby on the Block author Dr. Harvey Carp, calming MP3s like white noise and rain on the rooftop, plus lots more.

swaddledesignsscreenshot

How It Works

That square image on the tag? It’s a QR code — a scannable barcode that downloads information direction to your phone. It’s the same technology that we use in apps to download music, nutritional information or games from other labels. If you don’t have an app for scanning QR codes, you can download one for free on iTunes or GooglePlay.

Scan the label with your phone and you’re now a part of the SwaddleClub. You can stream calming white noise, instructional videos, quick tips and parenting references, all in the palm of your hand.

Moms, what do you think of this new tech-savvy baby product?
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kid with ipadLast week a new product prompted us to pose a question to you on Facebook: “Do we have to have an iPad strapped to everything, even a stroller?”

I want to take it a little bit farther.

How much is too much when it comes to kids and digital devices?

Many of us have allowed or encouraged the use of digital devices by our children, and not just for educational purposes. Raise your hands if your kids are under 5 and even have their own tablets or phones or other touch-screen gadgets that they play with when you need them to can it.

Listen, I didn’t want to do this, but I am going to use the “Back in my day…” argument because it’s a good place to start.

My kids aren’t babies anymore, but I remember all too well the incessant whining and attention-grabbing they would turn on just when I needed to have an adult conversation, or eat a meal at a table, or stand in line in an orderly fashion at Target. Back then I didn’t have a touch-screen cell phone, so I had to resort to more primitive methods of distracting the children so we could get through something. And every time I found an easier way, I used it.

Moms today get easier and easier tools dangled in front of them all the time. When you are sleep-deprived and on your last nerve, you’re sure as hell going to stick that phone or tablet in the baby’s hands so you can finish the phone call or read the label on a package of gluten-free cookies.

Ten years ago it was Baby Einstein. Now it’s Dumb Ways To Die. I mean, moms hear “you’re letting your child [insert guilty parenting cheat here] too much!” all the time, right? What difference does it make if it’s the TV or the tablet?

Mobility. You can pop a phone into a baby’s hands as soon as she is able to grasp objects with them. You can use it in the car, at the store, wherever, not just limited to home.

So beware. Children’s affinity for a digital device starts early, and you might find yourself relying on the electronic babysitter too often. The kids get older, develop the ability to talk, and with it, the ability to whine for the little screen. They see you using it all the time: while you’re making them dinner, as you’re talking a walk, and even when you’re retiring to your bedroom for the night.

So maybe you want to go easy on starting them off with a phone/tablet addiction too young. Be mindful of how much your children see you using one, and try to rely on it less for “babysitting.”

Here’s what some of our Savvy Sassy Facebook friends had to say:

Watch and rollWe asked: Do we have to have an iPad strapped to everything, even a stroller?

Laura Fransen That is ridiculous. Kids need to be unplugged and taught to enjoy life without electronic distractions.

Franki Arnold No. Absolutely not. Let your baby enjoy their surroundings — the grocery store, the park, wherever you are — they don’t have to be glued to a screen from the get go. It’s not healthy.

Valerya Rose Baker My kids don’t use my iPad. They play games on their LeapPads sometimes, and my oldest is starting to play the Wii U. But phones and iPads are off limits for them. Also, I agree with the other two ladies, when the kids are outside, they enjoy it by actually experiencing it. They don’t “endure” it because they have entertainment on a screen.

Carrie Ross  I think technology is wonderful. I know I couldn’t live without it. It’s an extremely useful tool for SO many things in life… Including learning. However, NO. Absolutely NOT. We don’t need iPads and tablets attached to everything. UNPLUG! You can’t experience life staring at a screen. It’s a wonderful thing to see my little one experiencing things in a store. Colors, people, noises, etc. I can’t wait for all this snow to be gone so I can get my little one outside to experience grass, trees, the squirrels, birds, dirt even! REAL life things.

Katie Young Lehuta Watching the world around around them is educational – we are gonna end up raising a generation of idiots that don’t know what to do with themselves.

Erin Stern Why even have a stroller where your child can face you if you aren’t going to engage with them?

Deanna Doherty Desarro No. In a stroller while outside for a walk is too much. I have let my kids use my phone while in a stroller at the store so I can actually shop without a bunch of whining.

Sherri Kuhn Seriously, this bugs me to no end! Saw a mom on a beautiful trail with so much to look at and an iPad in her 2-year-old’s lap.

The Beverly Hills Mom The ONLY reason I can see to have it would be in an airport or something where you’re held captive.

Like us on Facebook to see other comments or continue the discussion right here. What’s your family technology policy?

Send in your problem for Sassy to solve, whether it’s a parenting question, relationship dilemma, or a snafu with social etiquette and it may get answered in a future column. Sassy is here to help! Submit your question for Ask Sassy here! (Or just email me, darling. We can keep it between us. [email protected]) You can also follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page, where I share pro tips on life every week.

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Have you been keeping up with your new year’s resolution to get organized and stay organized? These 4 apps to keep you organized are designed to help you manage day to day appointments, calendars and keep your life on track.

Life Noted

Life Noted AppLife Noted merges calendaring, note taking, PDFs, photography and video all into one app. Start each day by viewing your notes, events and photos all in one screen. I love that you can customize your calendar by adding photos. You can manage multiple calendars and can choose to either show or hide each one. You can create a custom tag for certain events which helps searching for it that much easier! And how about those times where you have a baby in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. We all have those moments where we need to write a note before we loose the thought, don’t we? You can record your note to Siri and it will instantly be saved to your calendar — hands free.

Life Noted app is free and available for iOs

Mynd

Mynd App

The Mynd app not only keeps your calendar and appointments organized, but it takes care of everything in between. Mynd alerts you when to leave for a meeting based on current traffic conditions and launches a navigation app to get you there on time. It syncs with all your current calendars, Evernote meeting notes, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The attractive home screen shows you what time your next meeting is, the location of meeting, current weather and more. It’s an intuitive app that is very helpful for personal and work life.

Mynd app is free and available for iOs

Any.do

Any.do App

Any.do is an organizational app that categorizes your to-do lists by today, tomorrow, upcoming and someday. You can set reminders for a certain time or date or just for a particular date. Once you are done with a task or event, simply swipe to cross the task off your list. It easily syncs your tasks from your mobile phone to your home computer. This app sends you a friendly reminder to enter your to-do list for the day.I really love the no-frills, simple and clean design of this app.

Any.do app is free and available for iOs and Android

Cozi

Cozi App

The Cozi app allows family members to stay organized by sharing calendars, appointments, shopping lists and to-do lists. The app color codes each user, so you can see where the kids are and where they need to be next at a glance. You can send reminders to your self or other family members so they don’t forget important appointments. Another great feature is the Family Journal, you can quickly add notes and photos about a special family moment and share them via email or Facebook. The Meal Planner and Recipe Box feature allows you store save and store your favorite recipes to make family meals super easy. Family members can even see what’s for dinner each night. These features sync with mobile phone and a web version of Cozi as well. I love that this app covers everything a busy family needs.

Cozi app is free and available for iOs and Android

 What are your favorite apps that help keep you organized?

 

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MakeYourBedroomTechFree
Is technology ruining your sex life?

With the internet buzzing on our nightstands and smartphones in our hands when we turn out the lights, technology might be driving a wedge between your and your spouse. TVs in the bedroom used to be a novelty, but now a whole slew of gadgets are littering nightstands. TV remotes, smartphones and tablets pile next to our beds, the glow of a blue screen taking the place of couple time. An expert weighs in on why you should keep your bedroom tech-free.

The connection between too-much-tech and not-enough-sex

Blaming a lack of sexual intimacy on a slim, sleek device that feels so perfect in your hand might seem far-fetched, but even the slimmest smartphone can interrupt a healthy sex life. Maybe you’re in bed, waiting for your spouse to brush his teeth, when you remember you haven’t checked Instagram to see if your friend posted pictures of her daughter’s first dance recital. Soon you’re scrolling through six hours of pictures, getting distracted by hashtags, and after a few minutes of staring at you with bedroom eyes, your husband grabs his own phone to check the score of a game on the opposite coast. He clicks on Facebook to heckle a friend about the game, you remember an email you’d meant to answer all day, and suddenly sex becomes something to put off for another night.

The concern with technology in the bedroom

Amanda Cherian, LPC is a marriage and family therapist who expresses concern about the number of gadgets couples are bringing into the bedroom. While working with couples, she says, “Excessive phone and iPad usage is a source of contention for a lot of couples.” The devices, designed to keep people connected, can drive a wedge between couples. Dinner table conversation tapers off as our phones call to us, and she adds, “Bringing them into the bedroom robs couples of precious alone time that could be used to communicate and focus on each other.”

tech-free

 Tips for going tech-free in your bedroom
  • Set up a charging station somewhere other than your bedroom, like the kitchen or a home office. Plug in the cords in a way that makes it inconvenient to move them around, so that you really need to make an effort to charge your devices somewhere else. The Vintage Samsonite Train Case Custom Charging Station is available in your choice of colors (Etsy, $98).
  • Designate a time each night to retire phones and tablets to the charging station. Start with doing it right before bed, but consider doing it an hour or more before bedtime. Having time to unwind with your spouse is beneficial outside the bedroom as well.
  • Buy or dig out an actual alarm clock so you don’t have to rely on your phone’s alarm to wake up in the mornings.
  • If you or your spouse like to read before bed, start bringing physical books into the bedroom instead of a tablet or e-reader. If you’re dying to read your latest Kindle find, discuss guidelines before carrying the device to bed. Consider turning off Wi-Fi so you’re not tempted to check email or Facebook “just for a minute.”
Do you think checking your tech at the bedroom door would help recharge your sex life?
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Your Instagram feed tells a story

Whether you’re conscious of it at the time you upload your photos or not, your Instagram feed tells a unique story. Your feed contains different threads. You take photos of your kids having fun, so you don’t forget their laughter. You snap sunsets, so you remember the way the waves chilled your toes as the air cooled. You click on the glass of champagne that accompanied your first date night in… well, too long.

StickyGram

StickyGram magnets ($15 for 9 mini-magnets)

StickyGram lets you share your stories

With all of the different themes winding through your feed, your photos may seem haphazard. Even your closest followers may not immediately pick up on the way your preschooler went from clinging to your hand at drop off to running straight for his carpet square or how your date nights have expanded to date afternoons now that you can meet for lunches while the kids are in school. StickyGram lets you comb through your Instagrams and choose the memories you want to share and gives you a physical way to share them.

StickyGram

StickyGram iPhone case ($35)

Why StickyGram is perfect for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate the love that makes your family strong. StickyGram is a tool that lets you choose your favorite Instagrams to personalize magnets, phone cases, and iPad covers. They’re a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for someone who seems to have everything — they’re a love note in images, a way to say “I love you” without saying a single word.

StickyGram offers custom magnets and cases for several phones and tablets. Android fans will love that StickyGram isn’t only for Apple lovers — Galaxy S3 and S4 covers are also available. If you’re unsure about designing a cover, you can start smaller. Nine little magnets are a great way to add a bit of fun to a gift without the commitment of a tech cover.

StickyGram

StickyGram Galaxy S4 case ($35)

Choosing your StickyGrams

Choosing the love story you want to highlight will depend on who will receive the gift. We know you have some fabulous Instagrams if you’re following The 10 Commandments of Instagram, so you might want to use StickyGram to spread Valentine’s love to several people.

Let your kids pick out their nine favorite shots of themselves and send the mini-magnets to grandparents or a special aunt. Spending the time to select the photos will be a gift to you, too, as they talk about why they like the photos they do and what memories arise as you browse through your feed.

StickyGram

StickyGram iPad cover ($45)

Designing an iPad cover for your spouse might involve finding date night photos, times you had fun together as a whole family, or a few favorite pictures of the kids he commented on when you posted. Try to find a combination of photos that tell him how much you love and appreciate him — it will be a Valentine’s Day gift that makes him smile all year.

Do you exchange Valentine’s Day gifts with your spouse?
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Putting together a baby registry can be a very overwhelming experience. There are so many stores, boutiques and websites to choose from leaving you with multiple registries to manage. BabyList has simplified your baby registry experience with a unique website that is free and easy to use. BabyList is a beautifully designed site built by a mom for moms.

BabyList

When ex-Amazon software developer Natalie Gordon was pregnant with her son she wanted a way to avoid going through a department store with a price gun and be able to include “nontraditional” items on her list. BabyList was born!

BabyList is a free online service. Like Pinterest, you simply add a button to your web browser. Then you are ready to begin adding to and managing your registry list. It is that simple! No matter where you are on the web you can add any item to your BabyList registry, from cribs and bottles on babiesrus.com to frozen meals or money towards an eco-friendly diaper service.

BabyList

What makes this universal registry stand out is the easy to use and very practical features:

  • You can categorize or reorder your registry by clicking the Organize List button.
  • Automatically show all of the stores that offer an item.
  • Set your list to be private or public.
  • Show what has been purchased and who purchased it.
  • Share your registry by email, on Facebook or Pinterest

BabyList

Still feeling overwhelmed on what to put on your registry list? BabyLists features a collection of lists to inspire you. See what giggle, Women’s Health, The Land of Nod, and others say are must-haves for baby.

The BabyList Registry Checklist is a simple quiz with questions like, “Will you use cloth diapers?”, “What will the weather be like when baby is born?”, or “Which Friends character are you most like?” Once you complete the quiz BabyList will personalize a product list of items that fit your needs.

BabyList

Already have multiple registries set up? Don’t worry the BabyList staff will merge your registries for you! They can either add a link to your current registries, or move over each individual item to your new BabyList registry.

To make your life even easier, BabyList is now available for iPhone and iPad! Don’t worry Android users, you can sign up for a beta version now.

Read More →

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