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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

Holiday Tech Etiquette: How I Stay Tech Savvy (And Not Tech Obsessed) During The Holidays

December 3rd, 2014 by Christen

Holiday Tech Tips

Adding tech to your holiday gatherings can help capture great memories... just try not to get too obsessed with holiday tech...


Have you ever found yourself wondering if it was appropriate to check your work email during a holiday party? Do you feel guilty about entertaining your kids with technology during the busy holiday season? Is it hard for you to live in holiday moments without over-sharing on social media?  In a recent survey by Microsoft, Americans shared their anxieties and concerns about holiday technology. Luckily for you, you’re not the only one sending your thank you notes via text and even better, most people think it’s completely acceptable. Still wondering about holiday tech etiquette? Here are some tips to help guide you this season.


1. Go ahead, take a holiday selfie! You’ll be in good company. According to the survey, 75 percent of American parents are likely to post to social media during a holiday gathering, so whether it’s a video of your favorite sister unique approach to a selfie or pictures of the annual neighborhood Thanksgiving football game, share away!  I set up my Cannon camera on a tripod and my entire family got in on capture their favorite Thanksgiving dinner moments.


[Must Read:  Best Buy Is The Ultimate Destination For The Latest Cameras And Camcorders]


2. Happy holidays, world! If you’re in the mood to spread holiday cheer to everyone on your contact list, pen and paper aren’t your only option. Although according to the survey, 43 percent of people still send cards via traditional mail, more than half of Americans are OK with sending mass holiday well wishes via text message. So it’s OK to forget the stamps and hit send instead to share the joy this year.


Holiday Tech Tips

The holidays are the perfect time to set up a camera and take a good selfie!


4. Don’t stress about keeping the kids entertained. When traveling for the holidays, 72 percent of parents use technology to entertain their kids. And don’t feel guilty about letting them watch or play what they want. Only 7 percent of parents restrict kids to educational shows, movies and games compared to 40 percent who aren’t worried as much about the content, as long as it keeps kids busy in the car or on the plane.


5. Use tech to make thank you’s more personal. If you’re not into writing thank-you notes the old-fashioned way, consider sending a quick video message using Skype or Qik instead. That way the gift giver can see and hear how much you appreciate the gift. You can also share a story or two about everything the family has been doing this holiday season.


Holiday Tech Tips

Auntie and Uncle are too busy checking social media to notice baby Abby demolishing the dinner roll...LOL


5. Don’t fret, you aren’t the only one checking your phone at the holiday table! If you find yourself sneaking a peek at your phone during the family holiday dinner – you’re not alone. Forty-one percent of Americans admit to checking their phone secretly under the holiday table, according to the survey. But phone checkers beware, while a majority of Americans feel it’s completely appropriate to check social media during holiday gatherings, only 34 percent approve of people looking at work email. If the dings of incoming emails are too enticing, use a digital personal assistant like Cortana to set quiet hours on your phone so incoming calls go straight to voicemail and all notifications are silenced.


You have enough to think about during the holidays. Don’t let technology etiquette add extra stress. So, go ahead and post a holiday selfie, overshare your favorite moments and create long-lasting holiday memories! (You won’t be the only one.)  How do you stay tech savvy (without being tech obsessed) over the holidays? Share your stories and tips below.

Kitchen Technology: How Modern Parents Use Mobile Devices For Hassle-Free Meals

November 25th, 2014 by Tech Staff

Between managing careers, navigating the rigors of parenthood, handling the daily to-do list, and finding time to stay in touch with friends, it’s no wonder modern moms and dads are always on the lookout for simple solutions to make life a little less hectic. Luckily, the age of mobile technology brings ultra-convenient apps and Bluetooth-connected devices for everything from shopping to banking and, of course, cooking.  Discover the kitchen technology that you can put to good use this Thanksgiving below.

kitchen technology

Today, more people than ever before are diving into their smartphones and tablets fingertips-first to remove a bit of stress from their day-to-day routines, according to recent study from Flurry Analytics. Findings indicate that, in 2013, the use of apps for productive purposes such as managing finances and other family needs increased 149 percent compared to 2012. Only messaging programs and social networking apps saw a more significant jump.

Cooking is the focus of many apps that help people increase productivity. Any parent who has rushed home from work and raced against the clock to put dinner on the table will appreciate the unique ways in which mobile devices have made preparing nutritious meals for their loved ones a bit more simple.

Mobile technology makes magic in the kitchen

Planning and cooking family meals presents an ideal opportunity to pick up a smartphone or tablet and remove some stress from what can be a complicated part of each day. New for 2014, iDevices’ smart cooking thermometers - the iDevices Kitchen Thermometer and Kitchen Thermometer mini- are two of the most innovative examples of cooking accessories in the ever-expanding mobile market.

Sure to become a staple in any cook’s kitchen toolkit, iDevices Kitchen Thermometers pair with the iDevices Connected app to allow users to monitor the temperature of food from up to 150 feet away through the use of Bluetooth wireless technology, removing the need to hover near the oven or grill to ensure poultry, meat and seafood always turns out tender and tasting great.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of these high-tech cooking accessories is that they take the guesswork out the important food safety practice of cooking foods to the recommended temperature, a simple step that not only ensures a safe meal, but also makes it easy to put delicious, never-dry poultry on the table time and time again.

Smart cooking thermometers make poultry perfection easy for busy cooks

When it comes to preparing poultry, many cooks may rely on the color or texture of their meat to determine if it’s cooked thoroughly enough to serve. Some may even choose to overcook poultry to ensure it’s completely done, a decision that can result in a dry, disappointing meal. However, iDevices Kitchen Thermometers make it simple to determine when poultry is fully cooked to the proper temperature.

Recently, iDevices took the convenience of its smart thermometers to a new level by partnering with Jennie-O, a brand on a mission to show the world how easy it is to eat well with the great taste of turkey, to make it easier than ever for busy cooks to prepare delicious turkey meals.

By selecting the “Turkey” preset in the free iDevices Connected app, users can overcome any worries they have about under- or over-cooking poultry simply by monitoring their iDevices Kitchen Thermometer via any iOS or Android compatible mobile device from wherever they may be in the home or yard. Once turkey is fully cooked to a safe 165 F, the app sends an alert letting the user know their poultry is ready to serve. The iDevices Connected app even comes complete with a variety of simple, yet creative JENNIE-O turkey recipes, giving busy parents a collection of great ideas sure to please even the pickiest eater.

With a world of groundbreaking smart mobile apps and accessories now available, the sky is the limit for busy parents with a penchant for trying exciting new lifestyle tools. Visit the iTunes app store or Google Play store to download the iDevices Connected app and explore all the great new cooking resources out there. The iDevices Kitchen Thermometers are available for purchase online at

How To Prepare For The Ultimate Black Friday Shopping Experience On A Budget!

November 22nd, 2012 by Christen   Shopping for deals and steals post-Thanksgiving has become a custom for many families and shopaholics alike, with shoppers frequenting their favorite stores with stacks of ads and coupons clutched to their chests.   With the biggest holiday shopping sale moments away, like many Americans (your budget is limited...)  but being the savvy shopper you are, you refuse to wait to plan your shopping strategy and that's why you're here!  In addition to the latest Black Friday strategies and sale information, we've got that one tip that is sure to keep you out of long lines while getting the big savings on Black Friday below.  

Black Friday Sales

From free toys to cheap electronics, find some of your tops wish list gifts on  Looking for that 60" VIZO television for $688? Walmart's got it!  What about 50% off top toy brands and $30 of stocking stuffers for the kids for FREE? Toys R Us has you covered!   TIP #1  MAKE A PLAN: Once you identify what you want to buy, which stores have the best sales on Black Friday and what time they open, make a decision about when and where you want to shop first. This year, many stores such as Macy’s & Kohl’s will be opening as early as midnight, but depending on your mall, the next batch of stores may not be open until 4am-6am. Plan accordingly so you’re not waiting in the cold for the next four hours!   DEAL FOR A STEAL:  Looking for free money to add to your holiday spending?  H&M is offering the first 100 customers in line scratch off cards with values of up to $300 for store spending!  With sweaters & dresses just starting at $5 each, you can buy gifts for everyone, no matter if they've been naughty or nice this season!  Most free-standing H&M stores will open up tonight at midnight, you better get in line early!  (Check your local mall for correct Black Friday shopping hours.)   TIP #2 DON’T DRESS TO IMPRESS: Loose-fitting or comfy clothing (such as a jogging suit) and sneakers could possibly be the best Black Friday shopping outfit ever. Not only will you be spending a lot of time on your feet, but no one wants to wake up at 4am and get all gussied up. Do yourself a favor by keeping your outfit relaxed and nixing those heels!  

SKIP THE LINES:  Several stores (including Walmart) will let you put the Black Friday Sale items on Layaway today and get them out for the Black Friday price on Friday! If you want to avoid the lines and still get the deals, drop everything and shop now

    #TIP #3  THERE’S POWER IN NUMBERS: Go with a team and attack separate stores or sections of the same store. Distributing the list by items (electronics, fashions, etc.) is also a good plan. Designate a meeting place and time to check out so you can find one another amongst all the craziness. The faster you can shop, the sooner you’ll be nursing a hot chocolate back in bed!   LESS-QUANTITY ITEMS ARE NOT WORTH YOUR QUALITY TIME: Be wary of Black Friday deals with quantity limits. If a store only has 10 items at that price, go elsewhere. Time is money and you don’t want to miss out on Black Friday sales that are actually worth waiting for!   TIP #4 HARNESS THE POWER OF YOUR SMARTPHONE: From following local stores via Twitter, double-checking ad sales via mobile internet or simply dialing a friend to lend a helping hand in carrying five flat-screen TVs home, smartphones are your BFF on Black Friday.  Make sure yours is fully charged…and use it wisely!   USE TIMING WISELY: By 8am, many of those door-busting earlybirds who have been shopping since 4am have left to go home and crawl back into bed. Meanwhile, the later shoppers are just getting dressed and making waffles, preparing to hit the malls at 10am. If you wait until 8am or so, you can find empty parking lots of stores where there are still plenty of deals to be found, but nearly no lines!   TIP #5 BRING A SNACK: Only amateurs stop at the food court on Black Friday. If you think the lines are bad in the stores, you won’t believe the crowds around McDonald’s come noon! Keep granola bars or pre-packaged snacks in your bag to fight off those mid-shopping munchies. You’ll stay satisfied and can eat a healthier meal at home!     What do you think of these Tips for Black Friday success? Have you ever gone shopping on Black Friday? Will you be going this year? Where are you off to?

Five Must-See Blockbuster Movies This Holiday Weekend!

November 22nd, 2012 by Lifestyle Staff Thanksgiving is here and what’s better than ice cream and apple pie after stuffed turkey and mashed potatoes? You guessed right; A movie. This November encompased some incredible films with breaking records in the box office and top list celebrities to ensure the attraction. Here’s a top five list of must-see movies this holiday weekend.  

1. Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II 

Coming in as number one on the box office chart after its first weekend’s release, the highly anticipated finale to a five part film brought the rivalry “Team Jacob vs. Team Edward” to an end.  Now Team Bieber can continue to prevail. Breaking Dawn Part II, directed by Bill Condon, presents Kristen Stewart, Robert Patterson and Taylor Lautner on screen for one final time.      


2. Lincoln

Steven Spielberg’s narrative feature about president Abraham Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, proves its relevance by making the number two spot in the box office for its second weekend in theatres. Hopefully you and the family are fans of the 16th U.S. President because there are two hours and thirty nine minutes of him in store.      

3. Skyfall

Sony Pictures’ movie, Skyfall is appearing in theatres for its second weekend and holding the third spot in the box office. Directed by Sam Mendes and starring lead actor Daniel Craig, Skyfall is the last film of the series for Judi Dench who played the character M. If you’re interested in some good ol' fashioned action, deaths, and interracial love this is definitely the movie for your holiday weekend!      

4. Wreck it Ralph

Can we ever get enough of Disney movies? Disney Studios has done it again with the light-hearted film, Wreck It Ralph. A story of heriosim and happinness about an arcade game player who is tired of playing the assigned game and decides to stop playing to explore other games. After its third weekend in theatres, Wreck It Ralph is holding on to fourth place in the Box Office. Check this movie out during the holidays with the entire family and all are guaranteed to be entertained.      


5. Flight

Make sure you don’t drink and drive during the holiday! ...and certainly don’t drink and fly a plane. Paramount’s drama, starring Denzel Washington is about a well seasoned pilot suffering from alcohol abuse who during flight magically lands a crashing plane saving many lives. This is definitely a must-see including great actors like Don Cheadle and John Goodman. Flight is in its third weekend holding on to the number five spot in the box office.   Grab one of these, popcorn, and the rest of the crew for a gauranteed good ending to a great holiday. Let us know which November box office chart topper was your favorite below. No worries you can thank us for the list later... Happy holidays!    

Don’t Come Empty Handed! ‘Tis the Season for Giving The Best Gifts For Your Holiday Hosts!

November 22nd, 2012 by Lifestyle Staff This week has officially brought the holiday season upon us! Help make hosting holiday events easier by bringing gifts that showcase style and functionality. Host gifting should and can be fun and simple. Pick up a few items to have on hand for those last minute invitations or even go all out for those annual events you’ve looked forward to all year. Host gifting should help fill in those small details that may be overlooked by hosts during planning for the event. It’s also a great way to show appreciation for being thought of during the season of giving, thankfulness, and togetherness. Here are a few ideas to make sure you’re prepared to give this holiday season. Snowflake Coaster Sets, C Wonder ($12). Simple, easy and always needed, coasters can be used year-round and add a nice touch to any holiday decor. These chic table protectors, available in gold or silver, can be used for cold or warm drinks and come in a pack of 15. Perfect for any gathering.   Goodie Two-Shoes Pinot Noir, Middle Sister ($12). This California Pinot Noir pairs well with just about any dish, from fish to chicken, steaks to pastas, pizza to grilled cheese sandwiches.  Readily available across the US, Middle Sister also blends Forever Cool Merlot, Smarty Pants Chardonnay, Sweet & Sassy Moscato, and Glamour Girl Bubbly, among other favorites. Keep a few bottles of any variety in the trunk and you’ll always be prepared for those last minute invites.   Winter Holiday Collection – 3 Soap Wrap, Mistral ($17.50 - $27). A sampling of scented soaps quickly adds to the jovial spirit of the holidays, even for a trip to the powder room. Warm, woodsy fragrances are included in this collection of French soaps with one bar each of Winter Berry, Winter Pine, and Winter Spice covered in glitzy, bright colored wrapping. You can also try these beautifully molded Snowflake Guest Soaps or Ornaments in Apothecary Jar holiday soaps from Gianna Rose.         Diva tip: Scented holiday soaps are affordable for all budgets; simply select your favorite winter or holiday scents from your local retailer or gift shop and wrap in a decorative bow, ribbon or tinsel. Groupings of these items work best when bundled together in odd numbers (such as 3, 5, 7, etc.). The same applies for scented candles.   Beehive Cake Stand, West Elm ($39). Such a posh and decorative cake holder would be a delight gift for any hostess to receive. Roughly 12” x 12” in size, this cake stand has a ceramic base and beehive-shaped glass dome with a knob handle. Pair this with your favorite dessert and you’re all set to go. Try the Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake or the more seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory for a sure win!

Whisky Advent Calendar from Drinks by the Dram, Master of Malt ($238). Looking for a modern, sophisticated twist to the traditional chocolate advent calendar? For the days leading up to Christmas, this Whisky Advent Calendar houses 24 different samples of delicious whisky.  For the palette more accustomed to gin, try the Ginvent Calendar ($127).    

Holiday How To: Last Minute Holiday Home Decor for Less

November 21st, 2012 by Lifestyle Staff As the popular Christmas carol goes, “There’s no place like home for the holidays”. But with your shopping list filled with people who you have to find gifts for, you may be wondering how to cut back on your decorating expenses this holiday season. Once the turkey settles this weekend, most us will move on to decking the halls and trimming the tree in our homes. We’ve found simple, yet savvy ways for you to decrease spending for your holiday décor.   Give Your Home a Little R&R While rest and relaxation may be two “R” words you’re thinking of at this time of the year, when it comes to holiday décor for your home, recycling and reusing decorations from Christmases past is never a bad idea.

Interior designer and former guest designer for The Nate Berkus Show, Rashon Carraway, says “Ornaments are one of the most versatile elements in the Christmas arsenal.” Last season Carraway, also known as Mr. Goodwill Hunting, showcased his custom holiday chandeliers made from ornaments and ribbon. “You can also personalize each one with a monogram,” he says. “The possibilities are endless!”     Do-It-Yourself Projects One of the easiest ways to save money is to do something yourself. Carraway says one of this year’s popular do-it-yourself décor elements is chalkboard art. You’ve seen them in coffee shops and cafés each time you’ve visited the mall for shopping. Carraway suggests bringing out your inner artist or letting the children have fun with Christmas inspired doodles for your guests to admire. We've found The Writing Wall, like below, at Target for just $9.99 .         Your Home Makes Scents Even though candles can be inexpensive, they can also play a major role in sprucing up your home during the holidays. Not only does their illumination add to the overall ambiance of your space, certain scents can instantly put you and your guests in the holiday spirit. Retailers like Bath and Body Works now offer three-wick candles in holiday fragrances such as Vanilla-Bean Noel, Twisted Peppermint, Frosted Cranberry, and even ‘Tis the Season. Any of these selections would be a great and festive choice for your home. Carraway suggests using popular spruce, pine, or balsam scents for an outdoor/wintry aroma. Bath and Body Works candles can be purchased in-store or online for only $20.   So get to preparing that Thanksgiving dinner and now that you have a few ambient tips for your holiday festivities, get to work!

Tis The Season: Three Money Saving Tips To Finance Your Holidays

November 21st, 2012 by Lifestyle Staff If you're anything like most Americans, you might be wondering if there are any creative ways to get your coins up before Christmas that doesn’t include retail or hospitality work. With the holiday season well underway you might be looking for ways to boost your cash flow over the next few weeks. According to a consumer survey by BIGinsight, shoppers will spend on average $749.51 on gifts, holiday cards, and decorations this holiday season.  That's A LOT OF GIFTING!   Check out a few innovative ways to make some extra money before the holidays as well as after. Who knows, maybe you can use the extra income to go back to school, start a business or finally pursue your passion if you're already prepared for holiday spending!      

1. Rent your home.

Going out of town for the holidays?  People are constantly looking for a good deal on vacation homes. To date Airbnb is already in 30,374 cities in 192 countries and they will even have a professional photographer come out to take pictures of your place. You list your house or appartment, set the price per night and see what happens.        

2. Share your car.

Make up to $1000 a month by renting your vehicle when you're not using it. Relay Rides gives owners the luxury of choosing who rents their vehicle, and both renters and vehicle owners are covered by insurance provided by Relay Rides. Renter reps are built by the reviews left by the car owners and with the holidays rolling in and traditional car rental prices at a premium this is a prime opportunity to make extra cash if your car is normally parked.    
Check out this video to see how easy it really is....

3. Surf the Web. (No, really!)

Google's cute, but I’ve never gotten paid by using the site to search the Internet. Switch to a site like SwagBucks that reward points or "bucks" to your account, which can be exchanged for gift cards or actual cash.  Notably, the Store offers many gift cards that can be delivered in an electronic format. These gift cards can then be spent on other vendors (Amazon, iTunes, Paypal, etc.) to receive a wider variety of rewards.   These are just a few ways you can earn some extra cash without much interruption to your already established lifestyle.  So start financing your holiday season now and who knows how much extra change you may have earned by December!

Are You Ready For Black Friday Shopping? (Checklist)

November 18th, 2011 by Christen It's the single biggest shopping day of the year and you don't want to be caught slipping at the malls, department stores or electronic stores.  Did you know that prepared shoppers get the best deals on Black Friday?  Are you prepared?  Here are a few tips we shared with on how to prepare for Black Friday Shopping/Sales and get the biggest bang for your buck! RESEARCH: Start your Black Friday 2011 sale research the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day. Many retailers publish their Black Friday sales online or via the local newspaper. Look around and print out/cut out any coupons you’ll want to redeem! Researching what will be available for how much and where will also help you decide where to go. MAKE A PLAN: Once you identify what you want to buy, which stores have the best sales on Black Friday and what time they open, make a decision about when and where you want to shop first. This year, many stores such as Macy’s & Kohl’s will be opening as early as midnight, but depending on your mall, the next batch of stores may not be open until 4am-6am. Plan accordingly so you’re not waiting in the cold for the next four hours! DON’T DRESS TO IMPRESS: Loose-fitting or comfy clothing (such as a jogging suit) and sneakers could possibly be the best Black Friday shopping outfit ever. Not only will you be spending a lot of time on your feet, but no one wants to wake up at 4am and get all gussied up. Do yourself a favor by keeping your outfit relaxed and nixing those heels!

Looking for the juicy tips?  Check out the rest of this article at

Macy’s & JC Penny Gets Digital For The Holidays…

November 15th, 2011 by Fashion Staff This year, your favorite department stores are getting a digital makeover including QR codes and augmented reality apps into your holiday shopping experience. Ready or not, Tis the Season for Digital. If ever there was a cool use for QR codes (not just practical), this might just be it. JCPenney’s new “Who’s Your Santa” campaign has a QR code extension for 2011, where everyone who buys a gift for Xmas will receive a unique QR code Gift Tag or “Santa Tag” as they are calling them… That QR code allows the gift giver to scan and record a personalised voice message for the recipient… Once they are done, just stick the QR code Santa Tag on the present and you’re done! It’s actually a pretty innovative way to utilise QR codes, particurally in such a personalised way, and for me, this is a super smart experiment for JCPenney. 20111115-004002.jpg With Macy’s the latest brand to release an AR app for the festive season. This time, it’s a Christmas Card App, where you can turn up at any of the Macy’s “Believe Stations” to post your kid’s letters to Santa, only this year, if you’ve got the app on iOS or Android, the little ones will be in for a nice surprise, with Virginia and her friends to life… Check it out here.The app lets you choose your favourite characters, take photos and then customise virtual cards… I quite like the functionality, it’s empowering the kids to do something a little more engaging once they’ve had the AR experience, and makes perfectly shareable content on the fly!   source

D&D Guide to Black Friday Shopping

November 22nd, 2010 by Christen The biggest shopping day of the year is upon us and if you want to score the biggest deals easily and keep your sanity - these quick tips are for you! TIP #1 - Strategize.
  • Compare the prices at the stores. You can research on the Internet as well as look through the circulars that you receive in your Sunday paper.
  • Choose which stores have the most savings for you.
  • Plan to hit only one store for the morning sales. The long lines will prevent you from getting the best deals at multiple stores, plus usually the items are gone within the first hour.
TIP #2 - Work as a team.
  • Shop in group of 2 or more - and have your team split up for items and carts for easy shopping.
  • Try getting the cart after you have gotten your first item or split up and send your partner to get the cart.
  • Use a partner so that you can hit multiple areas of the store at the same time.
TIP #3 - Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Black Friday Sales are like marathons, so you must dress accordingly.  Wear walking shoes like New Balance or Nike.
  • Try adding insoles to the shoes for extra added comfort (especially when standing in those long lines.)
  • BONUS NOTE:  If you decide to hit the sales line directly from the "After Thanksgiving Nightclub Excursion" here's a bonus tip - to avoid blisters in your high heels lather your feet in vaseline, the coating will prevent any extra rubbing after a long night of dancing.
TIP #4 - Stick to a budget.
  • Go for your big items first. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by aisle displays or other items.
  • Stay on budget by shopping with a specific list in mind. In the madness it is easy to come out with ten items that you didn’t mean to purchase and blow your entire budget. The sale is only worth going to if you manage to stick to your budget, otherwise you would be better shopping online without the temptation to splurge.
TIP #5 - Shop at MIDNIGHT.
  • Some twenty-four hours stores will offer their Black Friday deals starting at midnight. Look for the item and place it in your cart before midnight. Although they may have certain big-ticket items covered before then.
  • Most people do not realize you can hit the sale that early, and so it is a lot less crowded. Contact your local store to see what their policy is regarding these sales.



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