tech-section

Category : Tech

If you are anything like me, then you take way too many pictures of your kids. I believe that you can’t possibly take enough because they change so fast. Even though we swear we are going to remember every special moment forever, I promise your memory will fail you once or twice as the years go by. While you probably don’t have your camera on you every second of the day, you most definitely have your phone… and I’ve found the perfect app to go with those pictures you take on the go!

Baby Pics is an app designed for new parents and parents-to-be to document all of the exciting milestones that they’ll never want to forget by adding the cutest artwork to your photos. While I am creative in some ways, I am not in others. (Thank goodness for friends who have Photoshop and put up with my incessant messaging and picture sending to make my photos just right!) The Baby Pics app is completely foolproof and has become my go-to for editing pictures of my kids. And, at less than $5, it’s such a steal!

How to Create Cute Baby Pics in an App

Getting started

Start by downloading the app via iTunes or Google Play.

From there, it’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Take your photo with the in-app camera or import a photo you have already taken.
  2. Choose the artwork you want to add and/or add text to personalize.
  3. Save and share!
Let your creativity go wild

The artwork is divided into groups to make your selection easy:

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DATES: Months (1-24), days of the week, due in, birthdays, weeks (1-42), weeks of pregnancy by fruit (Love this!), weeks of pregnancy by junk food (Even better!)

FIRSTS: All the firsts you can imagine from pregnancy firsts to big kid firsts, including first holidays

ON THE DAILY: Cute descriptions of your little ones such as Chubby Cheeks, Bath Time, and Messy Hair Don’t Care… to name a few

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PREGNANCY: The cute sayings and pictures in this section will have you taking pics of your belly just so you can use them!

HUMOR: These are exactly what it says… humorous! Poop Explosion, Party At My Crib, and Daddy’s Drinking Partner are just the beginning of these goodies.

BIG KIDS: This section covers milestones such as moving into a big kid bed, potty training, and the first day of Kindergarten.

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DOODLES: Add a variety of cute art to your photos when there isn’t any other more specific category to fit.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and besties are all taken care of!

Not sure what you are looking for? Browse through all of the options in the “All Artwork” section to find something you love or to get inspired.

More to love

Not only can you save the photos, but you can also print them directly from the app. Choose from two styles — square prints or retro-style prints — and two sizes. You can also print stickers and magnets, which I definitely see in my future!

I have so much fun with Baby Pics and find myself using it on a daily basis. The best part is going back through my pictures and putting artwork on old photos!

Here are a few of my Baby Pics favorites:

Wanna have some fun? Take the Baby Pics Challenge! When you join, you will receive a daily prompt with a new theme for seven days. Create your best pic to match the theme, share it on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag #BabyPicsChallenge #BabyPicsApp @babypicsapp

Have fun with this app! I certainly do!

What’s your favorite way to take pictures of your baby?
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Tech to Soothe Sore Muscles

So… how are those New Year’s fitness resolutions going? If you’re like millions of other moms, there’s a good chance you made goals last month of getting back to the gym, upping your daily runs, or finally trying that new fitness class. The potential problem? People who jump into things too quickly can often leave themselves injured instead of with improved fitness.

I once jokes with my Pilates teacher that January must be a busy month for her. I was wrong. “It’s February and March when I get busy,” she told me. People often jump headlong into a new fitness plan in January and then either get injured or realize they need to pair their workouts with the core strength and low-impact muscle building of something like Pilates or yoga.

If you’re like me, you don’t have time to be slowed down by a stiff back or sore muscles after exercising or *cough* sitting at the computer all day writing, but also (sadly) don’t have the time or budget to fit in a weekly massage. Luckily, there are high and low tech ways you can soothe sore muscles at home.

How to soothe sore muscles

Tech to Soothe Sore Muscles

InstaShiatsu+ Massager

I laughed when I first saw this massager… that is until I used it. Holy mother of massagers! This thing is truly amazing. I love a pretty hard massage and many devices like this seem to be pretty wimpy or require too much of your own strength to make them effective. Not this one.

The InstaShiatsu+ has two rotating, multi-knob massagers that magically combine to work out knots and ease post-workout pain. I love that the massager can be used corded or cordless (and has an amazing battery life!), can be used all over the body (neck, shoulders, back, legs and more), and has a heat button for added muscle relaxation. Everyone who has come over to the house recently has tried it and I know of five different people who immediately bought one. It’s that good and that effective.

The Best Way to Soothe Sore Muscles

Melt Method Roller and Balls

Dealing with muscle tightness and pain makes day-to-day life difficult. Designed by Sue Hitzmann, the MELT Method is a program designed to help you lessen and even eliminate your muscle pain by using gently compression to create rehydration of the connective tissue, the supportive, flexible scaffolding that keeps body stable and balanced.

Her method includes a soft foam roller, a hand and foot kit, and instructional DVDs. Hitzmann’s book also provides lots of background on how she developed the MELT method, why and how they work to eliminate pain, and how to do many of the key exercises. After using her foam roller for a few weeks, my masseuse even asked what I had been doing differently at my last appointment!

The Best Tech to Soothe Your Sore Muscles
TENS Handheld Electronic Pulse Massager

Have you ever tried a TENS machine? TENS is an abbreviation for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which is the use of electric current to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes. While it may look like some kind of torture device, this TENS unit is similar to machines used in doctors or chiropractors offices and is designed to help relieve pain, stimulate muscles, and help with relaxation.

The portable device has five auto-stimulation programs and three massage settings to select speed and intensity that is comfortable for you. My husband has had great luck using a TENS unit for back pain and after recovery from knee surgery. I love its compact size and how versatile it is for treating pain all over the body.

How do you soothe your sore muscles?
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Everywhere you look someone is sniffling or sneezing and there’s no escaping preschool germs, which only means one thing: It’s cold and flu season again. Have no worries, Mom, for I’ve put together a list of five really awesome thermometers for babies and kids that just might make this round of fevers a little less terrible for everyone.

The Best Thermometers for Babies

1. FeverFrida by FridaBaby

From the people that brought your the NoseFrida comes the FeverFrida Thermonitor, a wearable thermometer that gives continuous monitoring for up to 24 hours. Worn just under the armpit, this thermometer sends your app-enabled device a new reading every 4 seconds. Plus, it will also alert you of a fever spike and even remind you that Baby is due for a dose of medicine. 

I will warn you that getting started is a bit tricky and, at times, confusing. The app is a tad bit hard to understand at first. However, there is free online chat help via the Fridababy website, available Monday through Friday. They are super helpful and very patient… trust me.

Overall, once I got the hang of it, I found it to be pretty accurate and definitely a step up from a traditional thermometer. My favorite thing was being able to check the reading log to see her changes in temperature over night. So handy. (FeverFrida Thermonitor, $70)

 Which Thermometer is Best for Your Baby?
2. Pacif-i

They say necessity is the brith of invention and it’s certainly true for this husband and wife team out of the UK. With zero engineering experience (she was a teacher and he a banker), they set forth to create the first thermometer housed inside a baby pacifier. What they came up with is a sleek Bluetooth and GPS-enabled pacifier that links to an app on your smartphone.

Other awesome perks of the Pacif-i is the ability to keep a record of your child’s medicine, track historical data and send this information via email to your pediatrician directly from the app, and if you ever, ahem, misplace the Pacif-i, it will beep to let you know where it’s hiding. Too far far to hear the beep? Track your Pacif-i through GPS on the app. Genius.

In the end, if your child is a binky baby, this is an truly game-changing way to take their temperature. However, keep in mind that if they are partial to a certain brand or type of pacifier, this might be a hard sell. The Pacif-i is available in green or orange, works with both iOS and Android and comes with a 1-year battery. (Pacif-i, $59)

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3. Thermo by Withings

The Thermo by Withings was the talk of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, even being awarded a 2016 CES Innovation Award Nominee and for good reason. The Thermo takes temporal thermometer technology to a new level with its modern design, ease of use and increased accuracy thanks to its 16 infrared sensors, which take 4000 measurements in only 2-seconds. The Thermo will be available to the public March 2016, but be sure to sign up on their website to be informed of updates. (Thermo, $100)

5 High-Tech Baby Thermometers

4. FeverScout

The Fever Scout is another wearable thermometer, but what sets this one apart is that it’s a single, low-profile sticker (unlike the FeverFrida which is a plastic disk under an adhesive patch) that can be worn up to 3-days on a single charge. So yes, it’s rechargeable. Other features that make this thermometer outstanding are the history log, journal option, alerts and notifications of fever spikes, a share button that will allow you to text, email, or airdrop tempature information, and a connectivity range of up to 16-feet. Fever Scout comes with the patch, charging dock, 10 adhesives and the free Fever Scout app. (Fever Scout, Spring 2016, $59)

Thermometers Your Kids Will Actually Want to Use

5. Kinsa Smart Thermometer and Smart Ear Thermometer

The Smart Thermometer and Smart Ear Thermometer have become the go-to fever-takers in our house and I’ll tell you why: With a fast and simple setup and an easy to use app, this is just one of those things that’s a no-brainer. Everytime you grab it you know it will work and you know it will be accurate. Like the others on this list, the app allows you to log medications, keep temp records and give each family member their own profile for quick and easy reference. On top of all that, there is a fun interactive bubble popping game that kids can play while waiting for their reading to be done. It seems like such a small thing but becomes a game changer when you’re dealing with an unhappy and sick child. (Kinsa Smart Thermometer, $25 and up)

Which one are you excited to try?

 

 

 

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What is Flipboard?

Flipboard is the latest and {greatest!} way for you to see and organize online content that you actually want to read. Because let’s face it, there is just too much content in our faces every day and it’s impossible to see it all. In order for you to filter out all the junk and items that you’d rather not ever see you really have to create your own carefully curated online magazine and Flipboard is helping you do just that! Flipboard is the one place where you can bring all of your interests and the topics you care about together into an online space you want to read.

Getting started and using Flipboard

Getting started with Flipboard is easy. The first step is signing up for an account and selecting categories that interest you — fashion, food, cooking, travel, lifestyle, entrepreneurship, social media, productivity, parenting, and photography. Then, when you open the app, only those types of articles show up in your feed.

This has been life changing for me. Every morning, I wake up and open the Flipboard app and I only see content that I want to see! Before Flipboard,  I would open Facebook first and go down that deep dark rabbit hole of scrolling and scrolling…. seeing things that I wasn’t really interested in, that annoy me, or news I wasn’t really ready to hear before I’d even had my first cup of coffee!

Now my mornings have changed for the better. I get up, make my coffee and open Flipboard to scan topics and read articles that help me start my day. My Flipboard is filled with positive content that matters to me.

How to Add Flipboard to your Toolbar

Install the Flip It Web Bookmarker

Not only can you create a custom magazine for your own interests, but you can create your very own magazines dedicated to the things you love! It’s a bit like curating your very own digital magazine pile or clipping articles from all around the internet into on magazine and not just from magazines, but your favorite blogs, too!

Once you’ve added the Flipboard app to your phone or tablet, you should install the “Flip It” toolbar bookmarker next. This will allow you to “flip” articles into your own magazines on Flipboard. So when you are reading that awesome article on how to make baby food over on the BabyCenter Blog, you can “flip it” into your magazine for Baby, Kids or Parenting. Simply grab, drag, and drop the Flip it Web Bookmarklet into your toolbar.

Flipboard for bloggers and content creators

If you are a writer, blogger or content creator then you’ll definitely want to take note! Flipboard is a great way to get your articles and content seen and shared on another platform! You can flip all your articles onto Flipboard and they will link directly back to your website, getting fresh eyes on your posts and content, all within the Flipboard platform.

Since this is a social sharing platform as well, you will also want to follow other content creators that have similar interests to you… or you can simply just follow one of their specific created Flipboard magazines. For example, i just followed Skimbaco Lifestyle’s Christmas Around the World Flipboard magazine, which is such a fun new way to learn about how other countries celebrate Christmas!

Follow me and see my magazines here!

Give the Gift of Flipboard This Holiday Season

Give the gift of Flipboard

Now is the perfect time to give the gift of Flipboard!

The gift of Flipboard gives your friends a way to get started on Flipboard with a curated set of stories about a specific interest. Flipboard’s editorial team has preconfigured 21 special packages, for everyone from travelers to tech enthusiasts. Anyone can “gift” these packages to friends or family to get them started on Flipboard with pre­loaded sections that make Flipboard instantly more useful. Each preconfigured package has about 25 sources to get people started with content that fits their interests.

The holiday season is a popular time to start dreaming about travel for the year ahead, so why not share some holiday wanderlust by sending them a gift of a beautifully curated magazine that will inspire their next big adventure!

You can follow Flipboard on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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Brought to you by VTech. These days, it seems like there are more activities than ever to keep kids entertained. From outside games to ultra-cool apps, there’s truly something for every personality. And as society progresses, the best kids activities do, too. Want to know more? Take a trip down memory lane and learn more about how children have spent their time through the past five decades. Activities for Kids Through the Decades with VTech

1970-1980

Most ‘70s children enjoyed long summer days and cool winter nights in the great outdoors. Whether they were running with the neighborhood kids playing tag, playing hide-and-seek between houses, or riding their bike around town, children in the ‘70s were all about adventure.

1980-1990

Did you know that this era is known as the golden age of arcade video games? In the 1980s, kids everywhere spent time at their local arcade competing against their friends (and foes!) in the games of their choice. The lucky ones had their own shiny gaming system at home — complete with rapidly evolving hardware and ultra-cool concepts. While the quality and speed wasn’t the greatest, video games were played regularly by children of all ages.

1990-2000

In the 1990s, the Internet was a foreign concept to most. Many kids just couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea that they no longer required that trusty encyclopedia to get the information they needed. Whether it was surfing the web or sneaking in a fun computer game, this is the time when children really started to grasp how truly innovative the computer can be.

2000-2010

It was around this time that kids really started to get social. Services that allowed children to exchange messages with friends, family, and users around the world started popping up, and the younger generation couldn’t get enough. Soon, people were able to share photos, games, and more! Instant messaging language was a big thing, too — kids around the world used acronyms like BRB (be right back), LOL (laughing out loud), and OMG (oh my gosh) to convey thoughts, messages, and more.

2010-Present day

Today, kids are all about the apps! And with so many cool new tablets, children are opting to take their fun on the go. The solution? VTech’s InnoTab MAX! Complete with an expert-supported learning library and carefully selected apps, it’s perfect for kids of all ages. It also allows children to connect with friends and family using the VTech Kid ConnectTM App, unleash their creative side in an easy-to-use art studio, play videos and MP3 songs, and so much more! VTech’s InnoTab® MAX is the fastest 7″ kids’ tablet that gives your child the best of both learning worlds with a unique combination of an educator-supported learning library and carefully selected educational Android apps for years of learning fun! VTech’s 4th generation kids’ learning tablet has a variety of great new features including a multi-touch screen with a high-resolution display, and a kid-safe Wi-Fi and Android™ operating system. Its adaptable design also boasts a tough, kid-friendly cover that can be easily removed for a more grown-up feel. Plus, the InnoTab MAX has a huge library of expert-supported curriculum with more than 650 age-appropriate apps including an ever-expanding selection of hand-picked Android learning apps that are perfect for kids of all ages. Plus, there’s the VTech Kid Connect™ app. In addition to being able to exchange text and voice messages, photos, drawings and fun stickers with smart phones, VTech Kid Connect has been enhanced with new features such as a family group chat and bulletin. For more information, visit VTech.

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Online safety for kids

Why parents worry about how to keep kids safe online

My kids’ online activity used to be easy to monitor. I kept kid-friendly apps ready for them to use, or we’d go to certain websites where they were happy to play games without me having to worry about what they’d see or click next.

As they get older — and much more digital savvy than I could have ever imagined — they’re looking for songs and videos from their favorite artists, checking out tutorials for American Girl doll hairstyles or finding new ways to put together their favorite LEGO sets. I know, eventually, they’re going to be using social media — a world where negative experiences lurk around every click.

Online parental controls

How Familoop Safeguard can help parents navigate online safety

Familoop Safeguard offers parents a combination of monitoring and tracking for kids of any ages, with controls that work for your family’s unique rules — and it can all happen in real time. Protecting my kids through the cloud-based program makes me feel like I have a little more insight into what they’re using, and when they’re using it.

Instead of setting up separate Android, Mac or Windows parental controls, cloud-based Familoop Safeguard automatically sets up protection rules chosen by parents at every kid’s device. With Familoop Safeguard parents get age-based protection rules – a set of customizable templates of protection rules for kids of a different age. Familoop’ smart Internet parental controls block inappropriate websites, searches, pictures and videos and notifies parents about any suspicious activities in real-time.

Familoop Safeguard has its own Digital Parenting Expert, and we love her five tips for keeping kids safe online.

Familoop Safeguard
Familoop Safeguard grows with your kids

My kids are younger — early elementary aged — and I know I worry about limiting their screen time, in addition to being sure they’re accessing safe digital content. Monitoring, tracking and (let’s be honest) restricting their time helps me have a little piece of mind, especially when they’re using the computer on the weekend or while I’m making dinner.

Parents of older kids will appreciate Familoop Safeguard‘s social media monitoring. As a child registers new social network Familoop Safeguard starts safeguarding it right away. The tool analyzes what kids post and chat about across social networks and highlights red flag signals of cyberbullying, online predatoring, sexting and more.

Familoop Safeguard

Get connected with Familoop Safeguard — and a limited-time offer for Savvy moms

Familoop Safeguard is launching at the end of November 2015, but they’re offering (smart) parents the opportunity to opt-in early. You can watch a demo of the product now — we know you’ll love it. Get a 60% discount when Familoop is launched, which is an incredible deal on a product parents can use for their kids at any stage in their online lives. Find, follow and chat with Familoop online:

Do you use online parental controls for your kids? Why or why not?
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Let me first say I’m not a “techie” and the idea of a wireless baby monitor really had me baffled. But as we’re getting ready to welcome our third son, a new baby monitor has been at the top of my list, and I’m realizing just how far the options have come over the years.

I recently had the opportunity to try the WiFi Baby and, I must say, I am surprised by how much I love it. I’ve been testing it out with my big boys (in their new bunk beds!) and just recently put a camera in baby’s room (which feels exciting). After over five years of parenting and several video monitors, here are seven of the many reasons I’m a WiFi Baby convert and you may want to consider it too:

Why We Are Using a WiFi Baby Monitor

Why we’re using a wifi baby monitor

 

1. No range limits

One of the challenges we’ve had with our previous monitors is that they’ve had very little range; it was challenging to even get reception in our front yard. With two older kids now, our new capabilities are going to be a lifesaver.

2. Amazingly clear picture and sound

I’ve truly never had a monitor that offers such clear picture and audio! Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to the constant static coming from my bedside, but the WiFi Baby system is such a welcomed improvement. It sends both HD video and audio through the wireless network, not analog signals like traditional monitors, which receive constant interference. WiFi Baby 4 offers 8x zoom and also has a range of up to 30 feet in complete darkness.

3. Security

This is a big one, as security questions were a part of my initial concern with using a wifi baby monitor. WiFi Baby is a non-cloud-based monitor that connects via your local WiFi network (LAN) and sends password protected video and audio to your device anywhere — you don’t have to have a computer on to for it to be operating. Traditional monitors use analog signals with several open and unprotected frequencies. You can read more on the security and privacy of the WiFi Baby system here.

What You Need to Know About WiFi Baby Monitors
4. Viewing options

No more missing monitor! (This happened all the time to us in the past…) We can now check-in on our kiddos with each of our phones, our iPad, and even securely on our computers, which will be huge for our busy family five. I can’t even tell you how much time we’ll save not having to hunt for the monitor screen!

5. Multiple camera viewing

With (soon-to-be!) three kiddos and a busy house with multiple floors, clear viewing of multiple cameras is an important feature. The WiFi Baby App that comes with the monitor supports monitoring up to four cameras at once with simultaneous video and audio. You can also view these cameras from as many as six accounts for easy viewing at home or remotely. (Grandparents love this feature!)

6. Slim and sleek design

The WiFi Baby Camera is just 3-inches square and 1-inch deep, which is quite compact considering all its capabilities! The system comes with mounting brackets, if you chose to attach it to the wall like we did, and it also comes with feet should you want to have it free standing. The WiFi Baby 4 is available in your choice of white, slate gray, or sand dune, depending on your nursery style.

7. Friendly and truly knowledgeable customer support

WiFi Baby is a family business, started by parents who wanted a more reliable and innovative system to watch over their own little ones. The quality and care is evident in all aspects of their business including their top notch customer service. If you have a customer support request, you’ll receive a quick response from a knowledgeable and product savvy rep, all US based, that provide you with an email and phone number for easy communication. During the initial set-up, I admit I was a bit confused, but I had an appointment with a rep who walked me through the process step by step.

The options for baby gear these days are plentiful and overwhelming, to say the least, and baby monitors are no different. Taking the plunge to go WiFi is not cheap, but you get what you pay for with the quality and capabilities of the WIFi Baby system and the immense benefits it offers. The WiFi Baby 4 system can be purchased directly on their website; retail cost is $249, or $449 for twin cameras.

What do you think about taking the plunge to WiFi?

 

This post was contributed by Rebecca Spear as part of Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts. You can find more from Rebecca on her blog, Mainely Mama.

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Celebrating their 10 year anniversary, eneloop, a line of rechargeable battery products from Panasonic, is giving away prizes that are sure to help recharge your own batteries… and just in time for the holiday season!

Kicking off on October 5, 2015, their 10 for 10 Tenth Anniversary Giveaway is a sweepstakes that features 10 days of giveaways, plus a chance to win the grand prize, a trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Daily prizes include items from Panasonic such as a LUMIX G7 Interchangeable Lens Camera Kit ($800 value), a MAX DJ Jukebox Stereo System ($300 value), a Panasonic A1 Ultralight Wearable HD Action Camera ($200 value) and more.

10 Days of Giveaways from Panasonic

How to win from eneloop and Panasonic

To enter, visit the Pansonic Batteries Facebook page and LIKE or COMMENT on the sweepstakes photo. Winners will be chosen randomly from each sweepstakes post throughout the giveaway period.

eneloop Batteries from Panasonic

More about eneloop

Launched in 2005, eneloop batteries were created so that users could recharge the same batteries over and over again… in fact, they can be recharged up to 2,100 times, all while maintaining 70-percent charge for up to 10 years. eneloop batteries and chargers were recently named Best Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers of 2015, perfect timing for their 10th anniversary celebration! Check out this video about eneloop for more details.

You can follow eneloop on their website, as well as on Twitter and Pinterest.

This is a sponsored blog. While the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by Panasonic eneloop to review this product.

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findery-platforms
On Findery, one person’s local is another person’s travel. The social network for travelers that invites users to share stories and explore places near and far, announced today the availability of its latest mobile app: Findery for Windows.

Findery users can discover and share local knowledge about their current location through personal travel stories, hidden histories and local tips left by the extensive and active community. Findery users can also share their experiences and leave notes and photos about meaningful places they’ve found and love, both where they live and where they travel.

I have been using Findery for almost a year now and have left 89 notes about the places I’ve been. Adding notes is easy and can be a bit addicting!  As a frequent traveler and travel blogger, I like to be able to share little secrets or tips for other travelers in my notes. I hope that when a family is visiting Madrid they will look at my Madrid Notemap to see where we went and the places I recommend.

Findery Madirid Notemap Savvy Sassy Moms

The new Windows application opens up a bright new world for Windows users, allowing them to connect with other travel minded individuals, whether they’re planning trips or just dreaming of exploration.

“We’re the social network for travelers,” said Caterina Fake, founder and CEO of Findery. “We offer a location travel discovery solution that appeals to arm chair travelers and world explorers alike.”

Since the app was formally launched for iOS back in March 2014, Findery users have posted notes to share travel stories from each of the 196 countries across the globe. The platform makes it a snap for users to discover treasures in countless places – from those they have been to those they dream of visiting.

windows available now

With Findery for Windows, you can plot all of your travel stories and travel dreams on a map and explore the world from New York to New Delhi. Pin a Findery note or notemap to your Start Menu or ask Cortana to “Explore nearby” to see interesting notes around your location.

Findery is about uncovering hidden secrets and local knowledge, all of which is entirely sourced from Findery users themselves. Members follow each other and receive notifications when those new notes or comments are posted. Notes can all be shared to Facebook, Messaging, OneNote, Mail or NFC.

Findery for Windows is available for free from the Windows App Store.

Findery Travel AppAbout Findery 


Findery, on the Web, iOS, Android, and now Windows, strives to create meaningful products for people who want to experience the world and connect with a global community. Founded by serial entrepreneur Caterina Fake, Findery is the place for people passionate about discovery, travel, personal stories and technology.

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Choosing a Family Friendly Refigerator

In the market for a new refrigerator? It can be a little overwhelming wandering through the aisles of a big box appliance store. What features do you really need? What layout will best serve your family? How do you even know where to get started?

Recently, our fridge of 25-years (13-years in my parents’ house + 12-years as a hand-me-down in our house) died. It died slowly, in phases, and with dignity (the freezer side of our side-by-side worked as a fridge for the last 2-months). But really, after 25-years, what more could we ask?

So, having never purchased a refrigerator in our married lives, my husband and I started the process of learning and researching. Wandering the aisles of a store first because overwhelming — everything we saw looked equally nice and shiny and new. So instead, we went back to my trusty research roots. With a Lowe’s right down the street from me, I started at Lowes.com with a mind-boggling 767 refrigerator options! I could already feel my head spinning. Luckily, I had a game plan. Here are my helpful tips for narrowing down your options to find a family-friendly refrigerator:

 1. Choose your fridge layout and look

Side-by-side or French door? Freezer on top or the bottom? Deciding on the layout style of your refrigerator is an easy first step to narrowing down your options as is deciding if you are matching it to other stainless, white or black appliances in your kitchen. Side-by-sides generally offer more freezer space while French door fridges provide more space and accessibility to fresh foods. Our previous refrigerator had been a white side-by-side, but as a family of five, energy efficiency was key for me so we opted for a French door design (freezer on the bottom = less energy to stay cold) in stainless steel to match our other kitchen appliance. Stainless steel can be tricky with little kid fingerprints, but we’ve had great success keeping ours clean with these Weiman wipes.   Lowes.com search results: 130

2. Research brand reliability

The prettiest, most efficient fridge on the market is worthless if it has a record of breaking down regularly or a short lifespan. Once you’ve narrowed down the style of fridge you want, do your research to find out which brands have the best track record. We did research with both a month-long subscription to Consumer Reports and websites like JD Power. With this step, we narrowed down our search to a Samsung or an LG which are both ranked highly in the French door design (Note: Brands rank differently depending on the fridge layout). Lowes.com search results: 51

3. Measure your space

When we started looking into replacing our fridge, I was amazed at the variety of sizes that they can come in. If your refrigerator needs to fit in a pre-existing space, making sure that you choose the right size is key. So before getting all gaga over gadgets and features, narrow down your search field by those fridges that will actually fit in your space (and, important to note, through doorways to get it into your house). We headed to Lowes.com and inputted the dimensions to find the biggest fridge we could fit to help feed our family of five (three boys = always hungry!). Lowes.com search results: 36

4. Decide on non-negotiable features

While the long list of shiny fridge features can all sound enticing, decide which features are truly non-negotiable for your new refrigerator. For me, this meant three things: I wanted our new fridge to be ENERGY STAR Qualified, have a water dispenser, and have a dual ice maker. Our last fridge was old and a huge energy suck so I wanted to make sure any new appliance we purchased was rated highly for energy efficiency. An in-door water dispenser was key for encouraging water drinking and ensuring my kids could get their own drinks. As for the dual ice maker, between sports practice for three boys, trips to the beach with the cooler, and regular entertaining, I knew we’d need the extra ice production power.  Lowes.com search results: 7

5. Read reviews… with a grain of salt

Dealing with seven refrigerator options was a whole lot more manageable than 767, but I still wanted to see if I could narrow it down even more. So I clicked through the reviews of those seven fridges on Lowes.com. It’s important to take appliance reviews with a grain of salt because if someone has had a particularly bad experience, they will likely log on and write about while many perfectly satisfied people may never think to log on and write about how much their fridge is working just as they expected. Still, when I saw that four of my seven remaining had 4.5-5 stars and glowing reviews, I put those in my final category. Lowes.com search results: 4

Ultimately, we ended up with this Samsung French Door Refrigerator, and it’s been a great fit for our family. Here are five features I especially love:

Which Refrigerator is Best for Your Family

1. So much space

With 27.8 cu ft of space, there is plenty of room to keep my family of five fed. It advertises that it can hold up almost 28 bags of groceries! I also love how versatile the space is, allowing me to move shelves higher or lower or even slide them in to create the space I need for whatever I happen to be storing.

5 Family-Friendly Refrigerator Features

2. A spot for everything

Two humidity-controlled drawers keep my fruits and veggies crisp and clearly organized, and the bottom WideOpen CoolSelect temperature-controlled pantry drawer lets me choose from three different temperature settings to store deli items, beverages or safely defrost meat in a designated space. I’ve also been toying with using half of it (it comes with a handy divider) as a clear Kid Snack Zone – a you-can-have-anything-you-want-to-eat-in-here area filled with mom-approved anytime eats like baby carrots and cheese sticks.

Which Family-Friendly Refrigerator is Best for You

3. In-door water & ice dispenser

The clean LCD display keeps the fridge looking modern, but the controls are simple enough for my three boys to get their own drinks (woo-hoo for independence!). I can’t believe how much more water my kids drink now.

How to Choose a Refrigerator for a Big Family

4. Door-in-door accessibility

The door-in-door option means that it’s easy to grab those often-needed items like drinks, salad dressings and kid snacks – without having to open the entire fridge. Genius! The mini door opens with a separate hidden latch on the main handle, and the trays pull out for easy access.

Cool Tech Features on Refrigerators

5. Door alarms

One of the problems with my last fridge was the fact that the doors didn’t always close securely — especially if closed by one of my three kids. This led to regularly coming across a cracked-open fridge and slowly thawing food. With this Samsung refrigerator, there are door alarms that alert me if the fridge or freezer have been left open long before my milk is room temperature.

Newest refrigerator technology and features

During our fridge shopping, I was impressed with all the new tech and features available today. Here are a few of my favorites.

Measured fill: A water dispenser that allows you to select the exact amount of filtered water you need — in ounces, cups or liters — that automatically dispenses without having to stand there in front of the fridge. Genius!

Door-in-door: A mini-door on the main door that allows easy access to quick-grab items like beverages, condiments, and snacks without having to open the entire fridge.

Convertible doors/drawers: A versatile door or drawer in the refrigerator can be set as to freezer temps or a refrigerator temps depending on your storage needs.

Herb storage container: A specialized compartment that keeps herbs like rosemary, oregano and thyme fresh with an angled floor to keep the stems wet without covering the leaves.

If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, head over to Lowes.com to start your search!

Thanks to Carol Holt Photography for the product photography! This post was created in collaboration with Lowes. Savvy Sassy Moms was not paid for this post. Product samples were provided.

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