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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. Optimal sleep is important for all and especially for children. That’s why if your child still encounters any sleeping concerns, it’s recommended to try the ferber method.

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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daylight savings time, kids and daylight savings time, surviving daylight savings time, DST, parenting and daylight savings time

As someone who has a broken internal clock, I never understood what the big deal about surviving daylight savings time (DST) was all about. It had no effect on me. I function on 4 hours of sleep, doesn’t matter when I get that sleep. I had myself convinced that Daylight savings time was a myth and my husband was just being dramatic. Then, I tried to get healthy.

This year, I decided that I was going to get healthy. Sitting on your rump for 4 months with a broken leg will do that to a person. I did what everyone does on the first of the year, I promised to myself that this would be the year that I got “healthy” not skinny, just healthy; no longer obese with a BMI of 33 or something like that. I’d look it up for you but, honestly, I’m just too tired today. Daylight Savings Time, you are killing me Smalls!

See, part of my get healthy scheme included seeing my physician for a physical, to rule out any medical issues, moving more, making better food choices more often and eating in appropriate quantities for my size and stature. It wasn’t a scheme at all; it was a plan to live healthier. No more putting my faith and health in the hands of a diet. I need to do this for myself, the right way.Guess what happened? I lost some weight. Not a lot but enough to get out of my dreaded fat pants and into the regular size section.

But all that working out (I enjoyed it so much that I actually developed tendonitis from working out every day and had to pull back to every other day…that hasn’t happened to me in years) and eating more conscientiously had an added benefit of me actually falling to sleep…by 11 p.m. every night, without any sleep aid. I’ve been a diagnosed insomniac for all of my adult life so this was HUGE.

So there I was thinking I was hot shit with my lower BMI, smaller pants, working out to my CIZE dvd and eating healthier; feeling like a boss with almost 8-hours of sleep every single night. OMG…it changed my life, for real. Life just seemed easier and more palatable. The stressors were not as stressful and I found myself not being a super b*tch and hangry hasn’t hit in a couple months. Then DST came and jacked me all up.

Sunday morning, I slept in until 10 a.m. and I only woke up because my mom and sister were visiting and they wanted to head home and got tired of waiting for me to wake up, but at least I slept in. By the time Monday rolled around, after staying up until midnight because I wasn’t sleepy at my regular 11 p.m. (because it was only 10 p.m.) when my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I could not move, exhaustion had set in. I literally could not wake up and neither could my kids. All bets were off and snooze was on full blast.

I had finally gotten my body to a healthy place of rest, eating and working out and now it was having none of this not enough sleep B.S.! This morning, it was even worse. I lay in bed until 7 a.m. and I still felt like I had been up drinking all night long with none of the great stories to accompany it. Is this what being a healthy grown up is all about? Because if it is, it kind of stinks.

Enough is enough already. I did some research and this is what I found.

Tips and tricks to surviving daylight savings time.

  •  Preparation is the ounce of prevention you need!

Make the time change incrementally beforehand. Set all alarm clocks in the house 15 minutes earlier and earlier for five days or so. This way by the time Monday rolls around, you and the kids can actually wake up and it avoids a lot of morning arguments because, really, who has time for that, especially during the DST transition. Not me.

Begin on Saturday:

  • Around midday, get some exercise. Exercise and sunshine helps advance the body clock, just as bright light exposure does so go outside and play with the kids, go for a walk or do some yard work. Your body will thank you on Monday.
  • Never exercise at night. Exercise raises your body temperature but people fall asleep as temperatures lower so be cool. No exercise at night.

Sunday morning:

  • Get up at your regularly scheduled time— whether you had a good night’s sleep or not. This is tough love for your body.
  • Spend some time outside, preferably in the sunshine to help advance your body clock.
  • Take a morning walk. After a short night, taking a family walk is an easy exercise to help advance your body clock. If your kids are anything like mine, they will jump at the chance because they no all walks lead to the neighborhood park.

Have a bedtime routine for everyone:

  • Don’t eat a heavy meal after 6 pm. Don’t eat more than 3 hours before your bedtime.
  • Don’t drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol.
  • Don’t nap during the day.
  • Stop working on your laptop/computer/phone an hour before bedtime to turn your brain off.
  • Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable.
  • Don’t turn bright lights on at night.
  • Take a warm, not hot, shower.
  • Turn off all electronics and read a relaxing book, no Tom Clancy books at bedtime.

What’s your tricks and tips for surviving daylight savings time?

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Today’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 25 – Get Some Sleep
is pretty self explanatory. We are all better parents when we get some sleep. I know its hard, if not impossible but when we are well rested we think better, function better, react more maturely.
God knows I am guilty of not getting enough sleep ( i.e. regularly posting at 2 am) but with school starting, I’ve been forced to check my routine. There is no way I can go to bed at 3 AM and wake up at 6:30 and be any good to anyone. Plus, I am pretty sure I’d be as mean as a caged animal. So,I’ve been shooting for midnight and waking at 6:30 and it seems to be working. Now, on nights when I’ve actually gotten 8 consecutive hours of sleep, I’ve been told I am pretty damn pleasant to be around.

#25: Get Some Sleep
I realize that it’s not always feasible for us to get a full night’s sleep, but set your Tivo or DVR, put some projects , emails, blog posts on temporary hold, and get some sleep. It’s really quite amazing what an extra hour (or 4) can do.Happy Sleeping, my friends!

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co sleeping, co-sleeping, the truth about co- sleeping, the family bed, parenting styles

Time to give you the real truth about Co-Sleeping and more importantly, how to safely co-sleep with your baby. Since I scared you all straight with my earlier post and all the good news the world has to offer, I’ve decided to redeem the day. I’m a half full kind of gal and I refuse to let the cold hard reality of the world change that.

When I became too obsessed with scheduling and time, I removed my watch. I’ve not worn one in about 5 years now. I was seriously about to get carpal tunnel from all the twisting of my wrist to check the time. So, I eliminated it from my day.I’m about to do the same for CNN. Anyways, in the spirit of redeeming myself, I have decided to write about something that is very positive in my life…co-sleeping. We have been safely co-sleeping since our first baby was out of the bassinet and I’d love to share with you how to safely co-sleep with your baby.

co sleeping, co-sleeping, the truth about co- sleeping, the family bed, parenting styles

Co-Sleeping makes us Closer

Oh, yeah. I know some of you are rolling your eyes and tsk-tsking me for committing such an unthinkable crime against parenting dogma but the family bed is where it’s at for us. I know, I come off as somewhat snarkilicious on here, at times. It’s OK. You can say it, I’m fully aware.

READ ALSO: Co-Sleeping is not for Sissies

But when it comes to co-sleeping, I must admit I become completely full on granola; share my life, share my bed with my babies. Crunchy even. I did not plan co-sleeping. I planned on 2 weeks in the bassinet and then a seamless transition to the crib shortly thereafter. But like everything else in motherhood thus far, I was thrown a curve ball.

co sleeping, co-sleeping, the truth about co- sleeping, the family bed, parenting styles

Co-Sleeping is safe if done appropriately

When it came down to it, Bella would fall asleep in my arms after nursing and when I tried to put her back into her bassinet, she would wake up…always. Tired Mommy say what? I did what most exhausted, “so in love with her newborn that she can’t stand to miss a second of this creature’s life, doesn’t truly know where she ends and the baby begins” Mommy would do…I laid her in bed with me. Right there, between my husband and I..in a positioner ( I know those things have since become about as taboo as those unsafe walkers of the Hewlett- Packard commercials). If your child isn’t potty-trained yet, you must always be prepared with items, like those Monogrammed diaper bags.

I can say that in those first few months, sleep was not the sleep that people without children experience. No, my sleep was half-awake, hearing every single noise, breath, fart of the night, being uber aware of any motion in the entire house and the yard, pseudo conscious delirium…at best.

I was terrified that I’d roll on top of my sweet co-sleeper and smother her. I know you were all thinking it. So, in those first few months I never really got any sleep of any benefit. But what I did get was a crazy tight bond. You know the bond you get from breastfeeding? When you co-sleep, for me, the bond is that times two.

READ ALSO: Breastfeeding Sucks

There is something magical and reassuring about waking up and looking over and seeing that little face so peaceful in the middle of the night.The smell of a little next to you, the feel of little gangling arms and legs, surprise hugs and kisses, even the occasional head bunt, reassuring karate chop and rogue face punch have become endearing to me.

By bed-sharing, when my little one wakes in the middle of the night, they put a hand out to find me or the Big Guy and they are reassured and go back to sleep. There is something to be said for being within arms reach. It makes me happy. I  never planned to co-sleep but co-sleeping found me. It took hold and it is one of the best parenting decisions that I have ever made up until this point. I’m just exhausted of people making co-sleeping parents feel like it’s some sort of dirty secret. I think it is natural, beautiful and amazing.

Both girls, ages 3 & 5, are currently still co-sleeping with me during the weekdays, while the Big Guy is out of town. On the weekends,  they sleep in their own bed…at least they start out there. I don’t see a problem with it. I think it is every parent’s decision. It’s more about what works for your family. For ours, we’re doing it the Jolie-Pitt style..for now.

My plan is once we are all back in the same house to put the girls in a bed together and me and the Big Guy in one. What are your thoughts? How old is too old to co-sleep? Are you absolutely against co-sleeping? Why? Why not? Do you do co-sleeping? When did you stop co-sleeping? When will you stop co-sleeping? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on co-sleeping?

Co-Sleeping is Natural

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As a mom, how often have you felt overwhelmed and overworked in your life? Most moms will acknowledge the responsibility that is motherhood, and no matter how much help you have, it seems mothers are hardwired to carry the weight of motherhood physically. All the parts you can see and the parts you can’t see. Even if you manage to share the load with your other parent, husband, partner, chances are most moms will still feel the stress that comes with parenthood.

“A mom’s work is never done.”

More so now, during a global pandemic, moms and dads alike often forgo what they need themselves as they strive to provide for their family and keep everyone happy, safe, and healthy. Sadly, this means as parents, more often than not, your needs come last. But all the stress, worry, heartache, and mental juggling of tasks can take its toll on your mental and physical health.

Even those pushed for time need to take some time to make sure they don’t burn out and make themselves ill. Your family needs you to be healthy, and this means looking after yourself as much as everyone else. Even if you feel like you don’t have the time or you shouldn’t. Self-care needs to be standard and not classed as a luxurious treat. You can learn new ways on how to take care of yourself by visiting aromatechscent.com.

Self-care can simply be the act of putting makeup or completing a full skincare routine with cream, oils, and face masks. You can also treat yourself to facials and other cosmetic procedures at a dermatology center. Whether you’re treating yourself, or shopping for a significant other, you’ll love West Dermatology’s Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide. Check out these FAQs on the best type of oils to use for your skin. It can be reading a book or taking a long hot bath in peace. It doesn’t matter what it is or how often you do it, as long as you do it, and it makes you feel better.

Accept help

You may be able to do it all on your own with no help, but that doesn’t mean you should. New moms, let someone take over the small tasks for you. Sure, you may not want to leave your new baby, but having someone come over to help clean up, put the dishwasher on or washing machine or simply make you a hot drink and some food can be a huge help during those first weeks of getting used to life as a new parent.

But as your family grows, learn to accept the help for what it is and not as an attack on you and your parenting skills. Having the kids go for a playdate for an hour or two can give you breathing space to do something you need to do. Be it a nap, drink a hot coffee or binge watch that show on Netflix everyone is talking about. If it makes you feel better, do it and don’t punish yourself for accepting help – a happy parent is a much better parent, don’t you think?

Eat well

How often have you tricked your child into eating healthy food to make sure they are getting all their vitamins and minerals? When was the last time you checked to make sure you were getting all of yours? Neglecting your diet can lead to unhealthy choices and a lack of energy as your body isn’t getting what it needs. If you are struggling with choosing the right foods, try meal planning, and prepping to make sure you have healthy meal options available at all times.

According to Functional Medicine Associates, supplements can help boost your required daily intake but not replace them. You shouldn’t rely on vitamin supplements to get what your body needs each day. Keep a fruit salad prepared in the fridge for a go-to snack or have healthy nuts and seeds for you to snack on during the day. Look after your body, and it will look after you. After all, as a busy parent, you need all the energy you can get.

Sleep

Easier than it looks. Parents sleep if their kids sleep at night. And if they don’t, coffee is your best friend! The baby and toddler years can be rough when it comes to sleep deprivation – especially if other parents brag about how their child sleeps through the night! You may feel like you will never get a good night’s sleep again. But little things can be done to help you fall asleep faster and make the most of the time you do have to sleep. You can even opt to visit a nearby Sleep Therapy Center if you want to eliminate any possible sleeping disorders you currently have.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” Possibly one of the more ridiculous things to say to parents. As much as you may want to nap, chances are you will have other things that need taking care of instead.

Try to find a good bedtime routine that works for you and your family. Take note of advice such as removing electronics from the bedroom, keeping the tv off at night, and having a bath before bed. Practicing yoga can help to relax you as can meditation if you can find time to get into the right mind space for it to be effective. Lavender works wonders for inducing a calming night’s sleep – for you and children too, as can using a sleep mask and the right bedding for your bedroom for any given season. You can also apply a mānuka essential oil before you sleep to combat the signs of many common skin issues such as anti-aging and acne. Read more here about it. Exercising in the evening can help you to burn off any pent up energy and allow you enough of a release to sleep better at night. But, working out too close to bedtime will have the complete opposite effect—trial and error but always worth trying out.

Exercise

Taking the baby out for a walk in their stroller is exercise, as is chasing a toddler around the local park or even jumping in the pool with the family on a hot summer day. You can use the altitude sneakers perfect for your routine, and here is a Cold Weather Running Guide so you can be prepared with no excuse !
It isn’t all about hitting the gym and pushing yourself as hard as you can. But if that is what works for you, then it can be that—a dance class with your friends or a neighborhood basketball game. Get out, get moving, and raise your heartbeat. If you’re someone who enjoys working out in the comfort of your own home, you can check out https://wodreview.com/equipment/best-air-bike for great exercise equipment. The wonders those feel-good endorphins you release when you workout can have considerable benefits to your physical and mental health.

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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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bedtime

bedtime

Bedtime: The Most Wonderful Time of the Day

Bedtime at our house has always been a chore. I have two little girls who are, more often than not, co-sleepers. I won’t lie, I do love the cuddles and snuggles that come with having my children in bed next to me. Of course, now that they are respectively seven and four, the once adorable cuddles and snuggles are escalating into flailing arms and kicking feet, usually to my torso or face. Ouch!

We put the girls in their own room at night but some time between bedtime and dawn, one or both always finds their way into our bedroom. This almost always ends with either us pulling them into our bed with us or one of us walking half-asleep back to their room, snuggling in and staying for the duration. It’s not a bad deal but some times the Kung Fu fighting antics makes it a bit difficult to get any quality sleep for the adults. Apparently, they lose no sleep over the fact that they are sleep Kung Fu Masters.

The girls know that they are at an age now where we would prefer that they stay in bed and fall back to sleep, preferably on their own. After all, waking themselves completely up and then proceeding to wake us up provides for a not so restful sleep for any of us.

Bedtime: Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures

One night, my four year old ran from her room and jumped in our bed. Literally, jumped completely over me and landed between the Big Guy and I. It startled me and woke me from a dead sleep. She was crying. I asked what was wrong and her answer was , “Mommy, there were lemurs dancing around my room and jumping on my bed. They came from under my bed. I can’t sleep in there any more!!!!” So much for letting a four year old watch Madagascar.

She was very serious. I cuddled her and reassured her that there were no lemurs dancing around her room. There were no lemurs jumping on her bed. There most certainly were not any lemurs living under her bed. But, I told her just to be sure that I would spray under her bed with “Lemur spray” in the morning. She was sufficiently satisfied,cuddled into me and fell back to sleep.

You know? Lemur spray. It looks like Febreeze but it has a lemur skull and crossbones on the label and reads “Kills Lemurs dead!” No? You don’t have this at your house? We also have Chicken spray, creepy doll spray and boogie man spray. Are you sure you don’t keep some in your laundry room for just such occasions?

The next morning, I sprayed that bedroom down like Father Michael McFlannigan; blessing every nook and cranny while exorcising all rogue dancing lemurs, for good measure. I prayed and blessed and then repeated the entire process until my four year old was sufficiently satisfied that her room was lemur free.

There’s got to be an easier way to get my girls to go to sleep, stay asleep and prevent scary dreams. What do you do to alleviate the stress of scary dreams? How do you soothe your child’s irrational fears in the middle of the night?

What are your top bedtime tips?

Here’s a new tool for your bedtime treasure box, The Pajanimals, available only on 24-hour preschool television channel Sprout, features four fuzzy friends who wind down for bedtime in a cozy and reassuring way. The show helps you tackle common bedtime issues like getting out of bed, bad dreams and scary monsters. Check out Sprout’s bedtime tips! Seriously, they are so simple and very effective. Also, by replying below four of my lucky readers will win a prize package – including a Pajanimals DVD and The Sleepeasy Solution book, proven by Hollywood’s celebrity parents and written by the sleep experts at Sleepy Planet.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sprout. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules. The bedtime drama, all mine.

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Ok Ladies, I know I am not alone in this phenomenon. But I don’t understand it! I am not afraid of the dark, things going bump in the night, people breaking in, kids not breathing, becoming a random murder victim. Ok, now that I think of it…. maybe I am. I suppose all of those years living so close to Gary, murder capital of the universe, eventually had to take its toll on my poor psyche! But I’m not there anymore, no where near. I am in suburbia heaven! Lush green grass, lots of family neighbors, cul de sacs, SUVs, playdates, etc. I am in the land of La La! Maybe I just need to be perpetually cuddled? I don’t know but what I do know is I need some freaking sleep!Immediately! This is what happens, my husband goes away on business and I can’t sleep. Absolutely can not sleep. I’m talking full on insomnia in rampant proportions. What makes it worse is that this is NOT a temporary situation, this is the situation. Last week, I was up every night until at least 2 am. The only reason I went to sleep was because I forced myself to shut down all mental functioning in the name of sanity, and for my children’s safety. I am not a morning person when I’ve had less than 6 hours of sleep. 6 hours is the minimum sane functioning level for me, anything less for more than a day and I am full blown, off the reservation crazy. I do not jest! What do you ladies do to curb this insanity? I’ve spoken to several friends and it seems the only cure for what ails me is my husband, and that is not a possibility at this point. He’s there working, I’m here…NOT SLEEPING! Sleep medication is not an option because I have to be somewhat  lucid in case the girls need me in the middle of the night, however, a friend of mine recommended to take a few drops of the best CBD oil, I like to get it from https://cannacured.co/. So, here I am, Sleepless in South Bend. I really wish I was a sleep camel, storing it all up on the weekend to get me through the week. Think that’s an option? It is a nifty concept. Of course, when would I fit my husband cuddles and conjugal visits in if I were practicing my sleep camel antics on the weekends? If you have any suggestions for helping me to catch up on my rest, please share. I know a lot of us could use the advice! If not, I say Who’s up for midnight chats? LOL Stay tuned, as the week goes on and my sleep supply dwindles, God only knows what may end up in these posts. Toodles! I need a nap before Big Daddy leaves the building.

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I know many of us have picky eaters. My 3 year old would be perfectly happy to exist on nothing more than chicken nuggets for the rest of her life. Most days I fight with her, barter with her, do anything I need to do ( Dance monkey dance) to get her to eat something different..but some days….I don’t. I know. I am horrible. My kid’s going to turn into a giant chicken nugget. But the nuggets, or Nuggies as they are affectionately called in my house, are just a symptom of a much larger problem…Second Baby Syndrome.

Ahhh, I feel a weight has been lifted just by simply saying the words aloud.Many, if not all of you, know exactly this syndrome of which I speak. I’m not proud to admit this but it is the truth. With Bella, everything was perfect. What I mean to say is that I did my best to do everything right! She was always dressed adorably, not a hair out of place, all meals were up to food pyramid standards, just the right amount of sleep to play ratio. I read to her, I sang to her, I engaged her, TV time was limited, classes were taken, play dates were made and minds were expanded.I used to turn my nose up to those Moms that I saw in the grocery store, who looked like they had no mirrors in their house and so obviously should not have been parents..as they were yelling at a 3 year old at the top of their lungs because the poor kid wanted granola bars. Then we were blessed with Gabs.

One child is ONE CHILD but two children feels more like ten! I naively thought that having two would be as easy as one. ( What I meant to say as easy as my one was.)What did I know?  Suddenly, my days went from doting, anticipating every need, hitting every milestone in stride and ending the day patting myself on the back for a job well done to feeling like I couldn’t can’t keep up. It all became a blur. A fog filled with love and clamor.Noise.Chaos.More love. It enveloped me.I fell into it willingly.But somewhere along the way, I got lost. I lost sight of all my expectations. I think I evolved (or perhaps devolved ) in my parenting skills, however you want to look at it.Somehow I became , what I now know to be, the exhausted, sleep deprived Mom whose husband travels for work all the time and who has not had a shower  or shaved her legs for 3 days. And after a testing morning trying to get her older child off to school, she NOW is standing in the middle of the grocery with her 3 year old tantruming over the exact same granola bars that Mommy had to throw away this morning because said child had spat it out all over the new carpet because…it tasted “bad”. All I know is that it was not humanly possible for me to keep up at the pace I had been doing with one child. There had to be a give and take.

It’s a hard moment in motherhood when one has to accept this fact.It feels like defeat but really what it is IS growing pains.It’s you growing into your role of motherhood. I am certain I experienced the 7 stages of grief when letting go of my expectations of motherhood. First there was shock and denial. What? Both kids won’t nap at the same time?I can handle this.I don’t need sleep! 2nd stage, Pain and guilt. I can’t take this any more.Mommy needs some time to decompress too.Please go to sleep. Oh, no don’t cry. It’s OK. Say awake.I’m such a crappy Mommy trying to force my toddler to go to bed, just so I can have some alone time. I suck! 3rd stage, anger and bargaining. GO TO SLEEP!!! Just be quiet and go to sleep. Please go to sleep! If you go to sleep, I will take you to Chuck E. Cheese tomorrow. 4th stage, depression, reflection and loneliness. Crying because you feel overwhelmed. During this time, you finally realize the magnitude of your loss and it depresses you.You can’t be the parent that you had expected to be..because it’s impossible. You may feel isolated, left to reflect alone on your lost expectations and focus on what you thought things could have been.( Cue the montage of you and your pre baby body running in a field of lilies with your perfectly coiffed matching dressed little girls.) You may sense feelings of emptiness, failure or despair.5th stage, the upward turn. You begin to adjust to your new role with new expectations.Life will become calmer and more organized. What that really means is that your house will be dirtier, the meals will be less food pyramid organic and more chicken nuggets for the finicky pallet of the most distinguished toddler connoisseur. Mommy guilt will begin to lift. Stage 6, reconstruction and working through.As you become more functional, your mind starts working again ( mommy brain may have lifted a bit but, let’s be honest, probably not.It’s a slippery slope from pregnancy brain to Mommy brain to full on forget where you put your vajayjay this morning.. sun downers.I’m just saying). You will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by motherhood. For example, the 5 second rule becomes perfectly acceptable.God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt, may be heard around the house.Summer afternoons in the pool may begin to qualify as bath time. And finally, you will reach stage 7, acceptance and hope.You learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. This in no way means instant happiness. There’s no magic pill for motherhood. Once you give in to the reality that parenting two babies is exponentially harder than one, you can adjust your attitude, your expectations and your technique. You can have hope that one day, you will sleep again.Someday…maybe when they are married and sleeping safely in their bed with their husbands. (Sucker, She’s your problem now!)

And so as I sit here, stuffing more random pieces of paper with notes scribbled on them into Gabs’ baby book, I am reminded of the quote ” Don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it happened!”~Seuss Be glad that you cared enough to have the expectations and to impose them on yourself in the first place. Then, go feed that kid some chicken nuggets before they throw a tantrum in the middle of the store:)

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CES, 2015, tech gadgets, tech

I can’t believe that a week ago, I was walking around Las Vegas completely enchanted by the lights and immersed in all the tech that CES had to offer. It was my first trip to Sin City and I wanted to take it all in. I have to admit Vegas is grandiose, vibrant and beautiful in a really overwhelming, surreal kind of way. The entire time I was there, I felt like I was walking around in a dream; a dream with Elvis taking Selfies and more amazing technology than I could ever imagine, but a dream all the same.

CES 2015, the Consumer Electronics Show, had some really cool things this year. Things that were genius, things that were Jetson-like and some things that were so technologically advanced that my brain nearly exploded right there in the convention center. Then there was the “ A-ha! I wish I would have thought of that!” gadgets and things that were so over the top and technologically advanced that it was downright creepy, Toshiba….I’m talking to you and your humanoid, but cooler than the flip-side of my pillow, nonetheless.

Here’s my list of favorite new tech gadgets at CES 2105:

CES, 2015, tech gadgets, tech, Las Vegas, Lenovo Vibe, sleep number, sleepPhones

SleepPhones Effortless: Headphones that are thin and comfortable enough to be worn while sleeping. Think of them as pajamas for your ears, only way cooler. The company aims for the headphones to provide music or ambient noise to users who need soothing sounds close by as they fall asleep. This is perfect for me because while I LOVE falling asleep to music (a bad habit from my teen years) my husband likes quiet…well, except for the roar of a fan. Finally, a compromise that will make us both happy. The best part, SleepPhones block out snoring.

SleepPhones Effortless are Bluetooth® enabled headphones inside a soft satin-thin headband, complete with induction charging technology for a completely wireless experience. In addition to its 100% wireless
design, the product was designed to provide the ultimate comfort .

The unique induction charging feature allows users to effortlessly charge the product’s lithium
ion battery by simply draping it across its charging stand, eliminating tangled wires and saving
time. Once charged, SleepPhones Effortless users can enjoy up to 14 hours of their music,
meditation sounds, or binaural beats all night, enhancing their sleep and general health.

CES, 2015, tech gadgets, tech, Las Vegas, Lenovo Vibe

Lenovo Vibe Xtension Selfie Flash: This is the ultimate accessory for anyone who takes Selfies and the mom who NEVER gets in the family photos. It’s pocket-sized flash plugs right into the headphone jack on your phone and casts an even, diffused light over a one meter radius to ensure that you get the perfect lighting for your selfies. The flash has eight white LED bulbs in a ring, claims to sync perfectly with your camera shutter, and can brighten up as many as 100 selfies on a single charge.
CES, 2015, tech gadgets, tech, Las Vegas, Lenovo Vibe

Acton RocketSkates: Perfect for urban cities, these skates let you explore the town without ever having to slow down, even allowing users to tip toe up stairs instead of taking them off. Perfect for the parent on the go who has a lot of things to do and not enough time in the day to get it done.

Tech Armor RetinaShield Blue Light Filter Screen Protectors: A screen protector that gets rid of the blue glare on phone /ipad that tricks our brain into thinking it’s day time, allowing the user to shut their brain down and go to sleep. It’s not going to do squat for that magic laundry list that appears every night the moment your head hits the pillow but it will help eliminate the computer as the culprit.

Polaroid Socialmatic: The best of both worlds, the Polaroid Socialmatic combines vintage Polaroid instant print cameras with the ability to share using the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi and Android™ interface. It’s like the Hipstamtic app in 3-D. I love it and it’s way more fun to play with than my DSLR. It’s perfect for the parent who wants to capture their child’s childhood memories but isn’t all hung up on the perception of perfection.

CES, 2015, tech gadgets, tech, Las Vegas, Lenovo Vibe

Sleep Number Kids Sleep IQ Bed: 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.

CES, 2015, tech gadgets, tech, Las Vegas, Lenovo Vibe, sleep number, sleep IQ for kids

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!

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.

CES, 2015, tech gadgets, tech, Las Vegas, Lenovo Vibe, sleep number, sleep IQ for kids

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.

SleepIQ Kids, which ships later this year, is priced at about $1,000 and will come in twin, full and queen size options.

These are a few of my favorite tech products for parents this year at CES 2105! There were so many great things that I just have to break it up into more than one post or I’ll be writing a pamphlet. Stay tuned for more must haves. I can’t wait to go back next year to see what the hottest new tech gadgets of 2016 will be at CES.

Disclosure: I attended CES 2015 with Sleep Number but all opinions and the love of all things high tech are my own.

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