An Uber Trendy Guide To A 2018 Smart Home



Forty years ago, homeowners created a stylish home by tackling the concept of feng shui. Everything had a purpose and encouraged a vibe which made life easier. Fast forward to 2018 and technology has taken the theory to new heights. Nowadays, everything is connected via the internet. One clap of the hands or a sentence aimed at Alexa can control every aspect of the property.

Do you want to open the gates? That’s no problem because Amazon Echo can handle it without any fuss. Do you need to change the temperature in the living room yet keep the kitchen the same? Hive has you covered with its smart meter. Feng shui has taken on a new mask and it’s incredibly popular.

Of course, a truly smart home has all of the necessary features in the right places. There isn’t one base which isn’t covered. You may think this is straightforward to achieve, yet it’s devilishly difficult. People do say the Devil is in the details. What you need is a guide to an uber-trendy home, and you can find it underneath.

Buy A Central Hub

The reason Alexa is popular is that she can control almost every aspect of the house. She’s a controller which you can rely on when you need her the most. So, it’s essential to start off by investing in a hub that will be the foundation of your smart home. Amazon Echo and the Echo Dot are impressive because they will sync to a variety of features. Should you already have a speaker, for example, then it is possible to upload Alexa without changing products. has more for those who are interested.

Don’t let Jeff Bezos and Co. monopolize your mind, though. Google is another tech giant which has an effective Google Home device. Depending on the products which are already in the house, it may be easier to link Android to Android. Plus, you can log-in to your account to add extra accessibility.

Honorable mentions also go out to the Wink Hub 2 and the Harmony Elite. The latter is a modern remote which controls any device with the right connectivity.

Watch The Exterior

Think smart home and the interior will spring to mind. The dream of having a clapper or a Jarvis-like AI program like Tony Stark’s is strong. And, it also encourages you to focus solely on the inside of the house. One of the pressing reasons to have a smart home, however, is to cover your back. Security is a big deal and the right tech can keep you safe.

Forget about unaffordable CCTV systems which charge a monthly fee because they are obsolete. With the help of the iSmartAlarm team, there is no need to fork out a fortune. Simply place the camera outside at a height and let it take snapshots. Add the iCamera Keep Pro to get motion detection and monitoring capabilities. Check out for a full review.

A readymade camera isn’t even necessary any more. SkyBell is a doorbell which allows you to watch a live feed of the property. And, you can interact with people too. Download the app to access it from anywhere in the world at any time.

Light It Up

A clapper was the in-thing back in the day. Now, lights are controllable with the flick of a switch. No, not the one you use at home but the one on your mobile device. allows homeowners to schedule timers for their lighting system. Even better, you can remotely control them by logging in to the application and playing God. Clappers seem old-school now, right?

Messing around with the lights isn’t just a novelty thing; it’s an extra security measure. Burglars use the cover of night to enter homes without being seen. Even neighbors who care won’t be able to spot thieves. Yep, that goes for the nosey ones too. The ability to turn inside and outside bulbs on at a moment’s notice is an excellent tool to fight back.

Switching the inside light fixtures on may confuse them and make them think someone’s awake. Regardless, they can’t take the opportunity because there is too much risk. Lighting up the interior of the property is another gamble they can’t afford to take because anyone can see their movements.

And Lock It Up

The first thing you do when you leave the house is to put the key in the lock. At least, it should be or else anyone can enter without your permission. Unfortunately, the human brain is remarkable yet not infallible. Plenty of people walk out without setting the alarm and securing the property. Smart locks can change all of that.

HomeKit Enabled is a system which allows you to secure the house retroactively. Go onto the app and tell it to lock the doors and windows right away. Then, there is no need to hotfoot it back home in case of an incident.

What’s amazing about smart lock systems is that they are voice controlled. While this isn’t helpful when you’re out of range, it does add value at nighttime. If you can’t remember if you locked up and set the alarm, then ask Alexa or Google Home to double check.


Your life is constantly moving and there is a lot on your plate. Being a mom and taking care of a family isn’t easy because there aren’t enough hours in a day. As well as picking the kids up and bringing them to practice, there is dinner to cook and homework to complete.

If only there were a way to make time. The good news is that there is more than one. Installing a smart thermostat as well as buying utensils with wifi capability solves the problem. All you have to do is prepare the food in the morning and let the slow cooker do the rest. When it’s done, you can turn it off via an app on your phone.

Are you considering a smart home? How do you plan on putting it together?





If you’re heading off on a far-flung adventure to scale an obscure peak in the middle of nowhere, dive in the deepest oceans with the most tropical of fish or you simply want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in a new culture, you will need some tech to take with you. While many backpackers yearn to escape the technology that is encroaching on their everyday lives, others embrace the positives and use the latest gadgets and gizmos to enhance their travel experience. While you might not want to be a social media fiend scrolling through your Facebook feed and missing the beautiful vistas in front of you, you could be recording the awe-inspiring sunrises you stumble upon using the latest piece of visual wizardry.


It doesn’t matter whether you are heading into the jungles of Costa Rica, taking a jaunt through the tropics of Goa or island hopping in Thailand, take a look at the finest bits of tech that you should be packing for your travels.





Perhaps the most revolutionary bit of gear to explode onto the consumer market, smartphones are so much more than the cellphone of twenty years ago. These little cuboids are finished in gunmetal gray or polished black, or brilliant white and are full of everything you need to organize your life, plan a trip and keep in touch with your nearest and dearest. You can, of course, make calls too, but who wants to do that when you have more advanced methods of communication. Whatsapp and Viber are just two of the latest free methods of communication that utilize wifi technology and don’t eat into your call or text allowances. Head over to HandsetExpert, and you could find exceptional deals on the latest smartphones that suit your lifestyle needs. You could opt for a simple SIM-only deal to save you money when on your travels, yet you’ll still have the same 20MP camera at your fingertips to capture the most wonderful of moments and you’ll still be able to blog away to heart’s content when staying with the most elusive tribe in the outback of goodness knows where.


You shouldn’t fear technology when on your travels, you should embrace it. A smartphone can keep you connected when you need to be and could even save your life should you get lost roaming your new terrain.



Digital SLR


If you adore shooting some awesome pictures when you’re overseas, you may require something a tad more advanced than your smartphone. The Panasonic TZ range still provides an exceptional range of travel cameras for the money with awesome zoom features and stunning resolutions. However, if you want a piece of kit that takes your photos to the next level and gives you even more control, then nothing beats a digital SLR.


Both Canon and Nikon have sound entry models for under $500. They last nigh on a lifetime and are super reliable. There’s no need to worry about poor lighting with a digital SLR and, if in doubt, you can always whack on the auto mode to be sure of a decent shot. The manual controls that a digital SLR affords means you can experiment with exposure times, ISO settings and shutter speeds to create the most atmospheric shots. Coupled with a decent SD card and you could keep your memories in electronic format forever.


Power Pack


If you love nothing more than having a soundtrack to your travels, then you’ll need a power pack for your journey. There’s nothing worse than embarking on a mammoth train trip only for your MP3 player to lose its juice halfway through your excursion. Music can make a jaunt abroad all that more memorable with a specific track evoking memories of times spent on the beach or being out on the open seas. To ensure that you always have your earbuds at the ready to fire on all cylinders with your favorite artists, you need a power pack that will charge up your music player on the go. Some even have multiple ports so you can charge two or three devices at the same time. If you’re a bit of a bookworm, you can charge up your Kindle, if you are a photography whizz, you might fancy keeping your digital SLR fully charged. Whatever pieces of tech you require, it’s vital that they are kept usable and charged up.




If you are still reading this thinking that you can keep shunning technology when on your next foray abroad, you should consider taking a GPS device with you. While it’s admirable to forego the smartphone, use your eyes as your camera and not feel the need for music, you should always endeavor to remain safe. If you’re one of those individuals who loves venturing off the beaten track, you should make sure that you always know where you are, should you get lost.

For those travelers who love spending time on the beach, heading off on more organized tours and staying close to civilization, a GPS unit might not be necessary. You’ll be infinitely more at ease with your smartphone. However, if you relish heading to unseen sights, going solo on your jaunts or venturing to more dangerous spots abroad, you should consider GPS. While you may not want to use a Garmin Foretex to direct where you are going, it’s a good idea to have one in your backpack should you need to notify anyone of your position.

Heading halfway across the globe, exploring the world and enjoying taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of new destinations is life-affirming. However, it’s vital that you are safe, self-aware and willing to embrace technology to enhance and not hinder your traveling experience. Take a look at these pieces of kit and consider packing them in your backpack the next time you are ready to take a jaunt overseas.




If you have an iPhone then you’ll know how great they are. The truth is that your phone can do way more than you’d think and there are a ton of hidden features that you had no idea were present. If you want to find out more about this then you can find out everything you need to know right here.


Recharge Faster


If you are sat waiting for your phone to charge up because you are due to go out somewhere then you’ll be glad to know that there are so many ways that you can speed up the whole process. It’s really simple as well, and all you have to do is enter flight safe mode. When you do this, you will turn off the WiFi for your phone. You can also turn off any data drainage and this will take some of the strain off your battery as well. You will be charged up again in no time and this can really make all the difference.


Shave Seconds off your Searches


Do you want to find out the football scores? Maybe you just want to try and prove a point but you need to do it really fast. Either way, if you hold down the full stop button then this will bring up a huge range of URLs for you. There are shortcuts for just about anything you need and this is great when you are trying to speed the whole thing up.


Your Phone’s Data


Your iPhone is always gathering data about you. Your phone knows how much data you have used, what sites you have visited and even where you are as well. If you want to stop your phone from gathering this kind of data about you then all you have to do is go to your settings, then to privacy and then to location services. When you are here, go to system services and then to frequent locations. Here you can find out where you have been, and even how long you spent there.  Check out Why The Lucky Stiff to find out some more iPhone tips and tricks.


Hidden Spirit Level


Did you know that your phone actually has a ton of hidden features? If you go to the compass app and then go left, you can easily bring up a spirit level and this is one of the best ways for you to really find out if that shelf that you installed in your bedroom is level. The application is surprisingly accurate as well so you won’t have any problems using it at all.


The iPhone really does come with a ton of hidden features and you’d be surprised at how easy it is for you to take advantage of these features. If you want to know more, why not try and hold down the screen to set the focal point on your camera? If you do this for long enough then this will bring up the AF option which will keep the camera in focus even if you turn the screen!


The US States To Visit for Couples




Sometimes you just need to take a moment with your partner to really understand one another and reconnect. One of the best ways to do that is to take a trip together. It gives you that chance to step out of your daily routine and the hustle and bustle of daily life. It gives you the chance to spend some quality time together and experience something new and exciting. Making the memories to last a lifetime. But where should you go? While being based in Las Vegas gives you the fabulous city on your doorstep, there is more to see and do. I thought I would share with you some of the US states you should consider. I hope it gives you the inspiration you need to book your next couples getaway.



Michigan is a Midwestern state bordering four of the Great lakes. It also has a further 11,000 inland lakes, meaning there is plenty of picture perfect opportunities here. The largest city is Detroit, but the capital city of this state is Lansing. For a different location to see why not head to Saginaw? Wirth accommodation options like SpringHill Suites Saginaw you have the perfect place to explore without feeling like you are in a busy city like environment. Michigan has a lot to offer, so definitely should be considered as a place to go in the future.




If both of you are big kids at heart, then I guess Orlando in Florida is an obvious choice to have a fun filled couples vacation. However, I also understand that you may want to do something a little different and Florida is not to be discounted. You have the city of Miami, offering a Latino and Cuban influence and stunning art deco buildings to explore. But you also have some of the best beaches around at Fort Lauderdale and Clearwater. Experiences like heading to the Florida Keys and The Everglades could also be added to your itinerary.




Maybe you want a different type of vacation, perhaps a road trip or just a chance to explore a few destinations in one vacation, then look no further than the state of California. Los Angeles and San Francisco are the two main big cities you will want to add to your bucket list. But you also have some fabulous laid back coastal towns that can offer you a different type of pace on your vacation such as Laguna Beach, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara.




Finally, Texas is one of the Southern states near the border of Mexico. It may not be on your hit list of holiday destinations but there’s so much to see and do you should definitely consider it. Austin is famed for its live music scene and Houston gives you the chance to explore Nasa. San Antonio is the place to go for a more relaxed vibe, allowing you to explore the riverwalk and enjoy the cafes dotted alongside it. Finally, you may not think Texas is known for its coastline, but South Padre island offers a 34 mile stretch of beautiful white sandy beaches.


I hope that this has given you some food for thought in terms of holiday destinations to consider as a couple.



A spring trip when you’re in college is usually somewhere tropical or somewhere where you can party like there is no tomorrow. As you get older, a spring trip usually involves checking off items on your bucket list.


This month I got to check an item of my list when we took a road trip down to San Diego, CA. Although I have been to San Diego before, this time around I went to places I have never been before, one of which I have wanted to visit for years.

In Carlsbad (just north of the city of San Diego) there are The Flower Fields. For over sixty years, the hills of North San Diego County are transformed into a sprawling sea of natural color and beauty unlike almost anywhere in the world. For the past 26 years, for about 6 weeks (March 1st through April 13th this year), visitors have been welcome to visit The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, a truly magical place where each spring over 50 acres on a hillside are painted with the rainbow colors of millions of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers.


The fields we see today are the result of over 85 years of cultivation started by Luther Gage who was an early settler and grower in the ranch laden San Diego of the 1920’s. Mr. Gage planted his first Ranunculus flowers in a small field next to his later partners (Frank Frazee) farm. He so named his flowers Tecolote Ranunculus after the Tecolote Owls that lived in the trees surrounding the farms. Today there are multiple strains of the Ranunculus and the farm has now started growing 5 different types of blueberries and even started a line of coffee beans. Next year they plan on selling blueberry muffins and fresh grown coffee on site at their store. Also available at the store are many different plants and a big selection of garden and home décor items.


The fields also have several programs for schools to educate the students from Pre-K to 2nd Grade and 3rd to 5th grade from September thru April. Students can participate in on site growing program as well as a Investigative program that allows students to learn all the details involved with growing all kinds of plant life. Contact the flower fields today for full details or to book a field trip for your school.


While you are there, be sure to check out the Artists Gardens to see beautiful plant sculptures and flowers of many kinds. The kids will also have fun in the Carlsbad Mining Company to find polished gem stones by sifting sand in water. The Demonstration Garden, Santa’s Village and Sweet Pea Maze will certainly keep the young ones occupied. One of my favorite features is the Bird Atrium with many different types of birds to watch and enjoy.



The Flower Fields make for a peaceful and fun day for anyone with a love of nature. I am glad that I had the opportunity to tour and was even given a personal tour by one of their on-site Ambassadors. He was able to provide a full guided tour and so much information. It would have taken me all day to see half of what we saw with him (Thanks John!). Please know when you look at my pics, that I was provided special access for my blog story and it is very much against the rules to cross the green tape and walk in the actual flower fields. Please stay in the pedestrian area when you visit, so as not to damage the flowers.

I hope you get a chance to visit The Flower Fields in Carlsbad yourself and enjoy it as much as I did one day. If you do, or have been there before, I look forward to hearing from you what you thought. Leave a comment and we can compare notes.

See you online luvies!




As we head into spring time (at least here in Vegas), the evenings are a great time to go for a stroll and especially a good time to take the bubbas out for a stroll. One of the problems with evening time strolls for me is the Hubby is always worrying about me. It’s not like we live in a high crime area or anything, but he still worries. He has made the point many times that you should be safe and cautious no matter where you are. On that, I can’t disagree.

As we head into spring time (at least here in Vegas), the evenings are a great time to go for a stroll and especially a good time to take the bubbas out for a stroll. One of the problems with evenng time strolls for me is the Hubby is always worring about me. Its not like we live in a high crime area or anything, but he still worries. He has made the poit many times that you should be safe and cautious no matter where you are. On that, I can't disagree. Now I can safely stroll at night thanks to these great shoe lights brightening my path. Thanks to Night Trek 270 Shoe Lights!💗 If you have tried these out, tell me what you think. @Nighttechgear @adidas #ImANightRunner #Nighttechgear #gifted #kicks #purplekicka #nightrun #vegaslife #lvinfluencer #adidas #wednesdaypost #walking #instapost #lifestyle #joinstatus

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Fortunately for me, I recenty recievd my Night Trek 270 Shoe Lights. These rugged ultra-light/Ultra-bright shoe lights allow you to see and be seen from all sides. For almost any outdoor activity, these lights brighten your path and allows you to be seen from almost any angle. No worry about tripping over that unseen crack or rock. Also, here in Vegas, we have the additional concern for both myself and my bubbas to look out for scorpions and even snakes. We also are just a block or two from the desert mountains and the wetland park which is home to almost every kind of desert creature, including Coyotes. The bright lights on my shoe lights keeps those creatures far away from me, and allows me to see the more stubborn ones myself before they see me.

Over the years, I have tried carring a flashlight and even wearing one of those headbands with a flashlight on it and neither were convenient and certainly not stylish or practical. With the Night Trek 270 shoe lights it will now be convienent and a bit safer to take my walks on these warm spring nights. Thanks @NightRunner270, from my bubbas and  we appreciate your great products.


I recently shared with you guys, our amazing experience in Antelope Grand Canyon. Of course, staying in Page AZ for a few days meant we needed somewhere comfortable to rest and sleep. I did some research for hotels near our destination and I was fortunate to have chosen a bed and breakfast/Mini-suite type Motel. Our place of choice was Debbie’s Hideaway.

What you get here is hospitality and convenience. Don’t expect a high end mattress or automatic curtains and floor to ceiling windows. Our goal for our trip was to remain on a budget by cooking breakfast and dinner instead of dining out every day and take advantage of the fully stocked kitchen (we actually failed to cook as much as we expected since we decided to eat out more than we had planned). The room is very cozy and welcoming.  For extra guests a Sofa bed is available in the living room. The kitchen comes with a stove, microwave, fridge and coffee maker. Living area is equipped with cable TV and with the Motel has WIFI access.  A comfy master’s bedroom has a queen size bed, 20 inch TV and nothing beats a hot shower after a long day of hiking and exploring. Although Debbie’s is simple in its amenities, we couldn’t ask for more on a reduced budget. Sadly, I failed to take photos of the interior of our room (booh, I know) but the outside garden I did capture and made our stay extra special to enjoy a cup of coffee on a warm morning in the desert.

The garden has a zen feeling and decor. There are several garden areas which you can unwind in while you grill some bbq in the bbq pit. Big trees provided shade cover from the hot sun rays so it was a more comfortable temperature than we expected.




This garden reminds me of home in the Philippines. We didn’t have a clothes dryer so we would hang our clothes to naturally air dry it after washing. It’s so nice to see this back to basic design in a fast pace country once in a while.

Of course, gardens usually have flowers. Flowers make this place feels like more like home than a Motel.

I may not have met Debbie herself, but I did meet and talked quite a bit to her husband (Who introduced himself as Mr. who appears to manage the place on a day to day basis. When we originally inquired thru the phone, one thing that convinced us to stay here was how friendly and welcoming he was. He gave us tips where and when to go to Antelope and more tips like not to miss out on going to Horseshoe Bend. He gave us the best time to see the famous Horseshoe and he was certainly correct as proven by great photos. Mr. Debbie made us feel like personal guests and this birthday trip was amazing and unforgettable because of those tips. Keep an eye on my experience and photos on my next post about Horseshoebend.

Anyway, that’s it for today. If you plan to visit Page and need a place to stay, I will recommend Debbie’s Hideaway and you’ll see why.


Ok, ok, I know! I am a little late on posting this, but, since my husband just gave me a new camera for my birthday, I still have to figure out how to use it and of course to check every photo and make sure they look awesome before I share with the world. So much for the excuses hahaha, yes, one thing on my bucket list has been to go to the many canyons in Arizona and Utah and especially Antelope Canyon. Seeing the photos on Google mesmerized me all the time and always left me with thoughts, “how can we have this kind of place and not everyone know about it?”, “Is it real or trick photography?”. “Do these rock formations really exist?”.  So as my 30-ish birthday getaway, the hubby, our friend and I planned a trip to Arizona and Utah to find out for ourselves.


Antelope Canyon is located near Page Arizona on Navajo Nation land, just outside Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and close to AZ HWY 98 a few miles east of Page.



No stretching, no preparations for me. I had only brought my sneakers and bottled water, dealing with the 100 degree desert weather was not that fun at all. As I got to the spot where we had to wait for our tour guide, I was a little bit disappointed and underwhelmed seeing the entire empty land filled with cactus and desert plants. I was like, “Where the heck are the canyons?!” I totally can’t find a clue where they can be as I was just seeing the entire open space. Was I about to be disappointed by 10 feet of a wall of rock?


As we walked toward the entry area for the canyon, the tour guide was talking about the history, how the Canyons started, yadi yadi yada, I admit I was no longer paying attention (oops, did I just say that?), I just wanted to know, “where are the darn canyons”? After about a 10-15 minutes walk from the parking lot and ticketing area, there was a pathway going down to where there was a big covered waiting area with groups of people with their tour guides lined up and waiting under the scorching summer heat.



Given how hot it was, I was thinking, this must be something special for all these people to be waiting in these temperatures with just a little bit of shade to shield us from the sun. It must have been 110 degrees in the shade! I was surprised at the diversity of age in the group, from Seniors to little toddlers. One couple even brought a baby who was maybe 9-10 months old. Later on, you will see why that might not have been the best idea.

Pretty long wait to enter the Canyon



We’re almost there! (The Stair down to the Canyons)



As we went closer to the front line, that’s the time I realized why we were stuck on the shade. There was a  steep staircase leading from the waiting area down below to the cave/canyon. My excitement started to level up as I started to see the rock formations and I had to face my fear of heights haha. The stairway is very steep leading down to the canyon and at points, turns into a ladder which required me to go down backwards as you would a ladder. The braver people ventured down facing forward. This tour turned out to be more of a hike than I expected. One thing I was very grateful for is that it’s much cooler down in the canyon which is below ground level and mostly shielded from direct sunlight.


Steep ladders, narrow pathways, sweat and muscle pain are all worth it. Just seeing these formations are overwhelming but honestly, I would love to do it again!

I’m just glad that our bed and breakfast, Debbie’s Hideaway, is so close from the Antelope Canyon.


Android Auto Review

As I covered in my last post about the Top 3 rules for purchasing a new car, we recently bought a new car ourselves. One of the great features that I love and the hubby is using almost daily now is the Android Auto app.

As I stated on their website, “Android Auto is a simpler way to use your phone in the car”. I am a Samsung Galaxy user and the App is designed to minimize distraction so you can stay focused on the road. Android Auto (AA) allows you to accept and make phone calls, receive and send text messages as well as doing searches for nearby locations with Google Maps displayed right on the cars Infotainment display screen. Simply click on the voice command button located right on the steering wheel and give commands just as you would to google on your phone.

If your cars Infotainment system is Android Auto compatible, all that is required is a blue tooth capable phone with the Android Auto App installed. You can then use many of the google search and map features using voice commands and have them appear on your cars screen. An additional safety feature is that not only can you send text messages by speaking to the voice command feature, Google will also read your new texts to you while you drive so that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.

For anyone who has not yet used Google Play to stream their favorite music, this gives you the perfect opportunity. Using Google Play you now have access to over 40 Million songs! I venture to guess that even the most prolific music fan doesn’t have one tenth of that selection on their music player. Now its all at your finger tips, or in this case, as a simple voice request. A click of a button on your steering wheel and a quick voice command and you can listen to almost any song ever recorded.

It also gives you access to dozens of music and media Apps which you can access directly from your car. You wont have to ever miss an important message while on the road or miss out on staying in touch with your loved ones, even while you are on the road in your car. For a complete list of Apps that work with AA go to the Android Auto web page or use this link to take you directly to the available  Android Auto app.

I think you will see when you investigate what Android Auto can do for you, and the convenience and safety it offers, you will look for Android Auto to be an option on any new car you may purchase. If you have a current media system in your car and Android version 5.0 or higher, you too can enjoy these amazing features.

As always, I look forward to any comments or questions you may have on this topic. See you online Luvies!


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