Tech Tuesday: Spring into Travel Adventures with Verizon Tech

Verizon Tech provided me with products for the purpose of testing and sharing my experience. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.

If you are planning a spring (or summer) getaway, what are you packing as you plan your travel adventure? I absolutely must pack technology even when vacations are a time to get away from it all. There’s always a plan to blog more (especially now that I have a second blog), so I do usually bring my computer, but the technology I must bring along is usually geared toward making the trip a bit more hassle-free and fun, bonus points if it’s an active trip!

Spring into Travel Adventures with Verizon Tech

I’m not alone in my desire to be active on vacation – Verizon shared with me that the American Society of Travel Agents found we are moving away from “fly-and-flop” trips and looking for adventure! Verizon Tech offers a few pieces of technology that can make those active adventures a bit more fun.

Here are some of the technologies they suggest for spring travel adventures:

·       For road trips, jam out with the UE Wonderboom 2 — portable, loud and waterproof speakers for big sounds on the go.

·       Whether traveling by plane or on the road, JBL Free wireless in-ear headphones provide a great sound and added bonus: they are splash-proof.

·       Track all the walking you will do while sightseeing with the Fitbit Alta HR.

·       Charge both Apple and micro USB devices — and do it without having to carry around multiple cables with the mophie powerstation.

·       From sandy and wet beaches to rough, rocky hikes or the ski slopes, this LifeProof Fre case will protect your phone from the elements.

·       Use your Tile Sport for luggage, passport holders, wallets, purses, bags, and more.

Travel Technology and the Kiddos

I got the opportunity to test out the Tile Sport, mophie powerstation, and JBL Free headphones. My more detailed review on these technologies and how I’m personally using them can be found here, but I found ways to use each with the kids, too!

  • Add a Tile to your child’s must-have toy just in case it gets left behind- we have paid $48 (not kidding) to get a favorite lovie shipped back from a hotel. (We didn’t know it would cost that and just told the hotel “send it”.) This way, if it happens to you, you can see where the lovie is and not have to stress on your ride home.
  • For the car ride to your destination, let the kids us the mophie to keep their gadgets charged and ready to go!
  • When you need some quiet time, give the kids your phone and a good playlist then have each take one of the JBL Free headphones and jam away (note – with four kids, this only worked for the older two).

What ways do you integrate technology into your travels?

Tech Tuesday: BlackBerry z10

Disclaimer: While I was at Blogher ’13, I attended a #VZWTechTalk with Verizon Wireless and BlackBerry. I got to see the BlackBerry z10 in action and then entered a Twitter contest to win one. As a winner, I was not obligated to post about my experience with the device; however, I decided to share a review with you. All opinions are 100% my own.

It’s hard to believe, but I am a proud owner of a BlackBerry Z10. Since getting the device at BlogHer, I’ll admit that I complained a few times (I’ll get to that), but at the same time, I’ve gone off the beaten path (of Droid or iPhone) and am loving it. Truly.

Source: BlackBerry

First, the things that BLEW ME AWAY about the z10 at the Tech Talk:

  • Time Shift Technology on the Camera: The camera has a mode that is perfect for moms with ‘lil kids–Time Shift mode. I’m able to take one photo of my kids and pick the best faces and background. With my kids not being able to look at the camera at the same time, this is HUGE. (Check out the video in the link because I am sure it will blow you away, too.)
  • Story Maker: If you are at an event, say a baby shower, you can snap several photos, put them in Story Maker with some music, and share the “show” with the soon-to-be Mama as a parting gift. I’ve yet to make an official, pretty one, but I did throw my three first pictures in one to demonstrate to my husband and he also agreed it is a great feature.
  • Sleek screen: The screen is bright, smooth, and clear. Maybe it’s the glass, maybe it’s the way you swipe from the Hub to the apps to the home screens, but whatever it is, the display and movement is a big win. (BBM folks know this as “Flow”.)
  • Keyboard: The main reason I always HATED (yes, HATED) BlackBerry was the keyboard. I simply couldn’t use it. Fat thumbs? I don’t know, I just didn’t like it. With the z10 keyboard built into the touch screen, all that has gone away. Honestly, as a blogger and share-a-holic, this is what made the phone for me. It has learned my typing style. It suggests words based on the sentences I am typing and people I talk to. I am in loooooooove. (Check out this demo video to see what I am talking about.)

That was a lot of information to get in the 10 minutes of the Tech Talk, so in the time since getting the phone activated and running, I’ve learned quite a bit, too. Tom, from BlackBerry, suggested the following:

  • Remember: This app syncs with my Outlook (on my work PC) and my Evernote (my personal organization tool of choice) and puts all of my notes, pictures, and more in the appropriate folders (based on what I tell it). Most recently, I used the app to refer to notes I put together for my status meeting with my boss. I’d already moved from a notebook, but had been carrying my laptop to his office for these meetings. Now, I just use my phone, update, and have nothing to lug around that I don’t normally have with me.
  • Waze: Social GPS! I love using this to see if an accident, police, or debris on the road is what is holding up my day.
  • BlackBerry Travel: I am looking forward to using this for upcoming work trips because it arranges your travel information all in one place.
  • HDR mode on the camera: In natural light situations, I can take non-flash photos in HD with this feature.

I’ll admit, the z10 has grown on me. Sure, I still don’t have all of the apps I had on my Droid (Nike+ and Feedly, do you hear me?), but I am working through this. I’ve found a new running app I am okay with, and I am able to read through Feedly on other devices. For the past few weeks, I’ve carried my old phone in my bag (because it can be used on WiFi if I have issues); however, I haven’t used it but one time.

At this point, I’ve been blown away by the features and ease of using the BlackBerry. As a working mom, the ability to smoothly transition my work and home life together has been the biggest wow of the BlackBerry.

If you’re interested in learning more about the z10 (or what info on the Q10, which has the physical keyboard), you can check out If you’re on BBM, let me know so we can connect–I need to learn more about this part of the phone!

Thank you to Verizon and BlackBerry for this prize. 

T-Mobile Event #TMobileSummer — Things to Share! #Burgh

I know most of you are spending today outside or poolside (like me, come on over!), but I am thrilled to share with you some things I learned a few weeks ago at a T-Mobile Safe Summers Event, hosted by Rachel of BacknGroove Mom (you can read her awesome write up here).

Rachel invited myself and other bloggers to learn about how to stay safe this summer, specifically through the use of apps that T-Mobile is promoting. While I am not a T-Mobile customer, I was excited to check out what they had (and let’s be honest, I could probably easily be swayed to join them since my current provider, Verizon, is being sticky with replacing Greg’s not working phone, ahem). First, I was enticed by pink balloons, prizes, and some amazing Greek food. I even got to buddy up with my PCPGH pal, @techburgh.

See, we had a good time. 🙂 (Photo compliments of Rachel–but if the Samsung rep has photos, I’d love to see those, too!)

During the event, we played some games (see above!) and learned about T-Mobile’s apps for safety. Here’s a rundown of what I learned:

* FamilyWhere lets you and your family send text message check ins when you arrive at pre-determined places, or even locate family members via GPS. My mind immediately went to my husband. He (currently, ahem) doesn’t have a smart phone, so would it work for him? YES! I could get this app and then locate him–no, it’s not that I want to follow his every path, it just would be handy when I am at the office waiting for him to pick me up and he’s running behind (ha). In all seriousness, we don’t have kids with phones, yet, but we could even download the app to our iPad or Kindle and have them located based on where that device is. It sounds a little like FourSquare, but so much more secure.

* LookOut Mobile Security helps you find your lost phone (as long as it’s powered on). It will scream OR you can use GPS to locate it (if you cannot hear the scream…say you left it in the apples at the grocery store).

* Family Allowance and Web Guard are two apps that keep your family’s browsing and phone use safe. You can limit the number of texts, minutes on the phone, or sites your kids (or other family members) access. What I loved, and I think that Sharon mentioned this, is that sure, you could set a text limit of 100 texts per kid and you could use the slider to take them away…but what about as a reward? You did your chores all week? You get 20 more texts this month. I think it’s a great way to set limits and still be a cool parent. (By the way–you can even limit when the phone is in use, so it can become inactive during the school day. Genius.)

* MobileLife Family Organizer by Cozi has seriously revolutionalized my life. It’s a shared to do list, calendar, meal planner, and shopping list. Greg and I used it to get our acts together and pack everything for our trip to Kansas. It helped so much, and we didn’t forget anything. Greg packed the birth certificates while I was at work, and I checked my phone and saw it was done. Breathe a sigh of relief. Instead of asking me in the morning what to prep for dinner? He just looks at the notes on the app. You can sign up for this app and share with your family members here, and the best part is you don’t have to be a T-Mobile customer to get it. We have it on all of our devices (except Greg’s phone), so we can constantly be in touch. I seriously had big love for this app. My favorite!

Thank you, Rachel! Love my safety swag, especially the bag and water bottle.

What a great event! I hope I can go to more events like this and meet up with fellow awesome bloggers. This day was a great break for me, and I seriously can’t thank T-Mobile and the ladies of Waggener Edstrom enough. Thank you!

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Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this free event, but I was not obligated to blog about it. I simply loved it so much that I wanted to share with you. I did receive a bag of swag and a super cool flying/screaming monkey to share with the kids. You’ll see me rocking my PT appointments with the tote in tow–it’s a great bag for the beach. Thank you, T-Mobile, Rachel, and all the other sponsors!