Tech To Bring Music to Your Ears and Light Up Your Life

As we spend more time outdoors, we look for ways to bring some creature comforts with us.  Check out some of the gear that makes outside a little more modern.

Do you love a good run? Maybe hike, kayak, or even just some time in the gym. Finding good earphones that can deal with sweat is not always the easiest task, but most of us like to bring music (or some form of audio) with us for our workouts. The new PaMu TWS wireless earphones are easy to wear, truly have no wires (really, Pinocchio) until you have to charge them, of course, and are sweat-proof and water resistant. They have some must have features, including Hi-Fi Sound, Auto-connects,Touch Control, Auto Pairing that lets you make calls and listen to music while your phone is in your pocket (or beyond), an In-Ear Mic, they come with a portable Charging Pod that neatly fits your buds and doubles as a travel case, and more. They are reasonably comfortable for ear buds. To me, while wearing them, they reminded me of a Dr. Who episode of Cybermen- that’s how it all started. Giant ear buds, then you become a Robot working for your new alien overlords. Ah, maybe not- but it makes me laugh. You can grab yours before they even hit shelves on indiegogo.

Always on the go?  AdventureJumpStart is a great option for those of us who are constantly on the move- it can not only recharge your tablets and smartphones, but it also has the ability to jump start most cars, trucks, boats and ATVS. Really. And? It’s small. Best. Gift. Ever.
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Spring into Fitness with this Gear

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, we are excited to be headed back outside more often. Here are some of our favorites for ready-for-Spring fitness wear.

Ready to hit the trails? Us too! This has been a long winter (thanks, Phil) and we are more then enthusiastic about warmer weather and more outside time. If you are a runner, walker, or hiker, you will love these new sneakers from Brooks Running. The Launch 5 is a lightweight shoe with a mesh outer layer that keeps things airy. It has a “BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning and rebounding rubber create a springy feel underfoot”. (What does that mean? It’s basically providing adaptive cushioning throughout the midsole as well instead of just the usual support only in the heel and forefoot. The more you know.) It’s a truly comfortable shoe for everyday wear as well as for running. It works well for the gym (even if the treadmill you get stuck on is a bit shoddy), trails, and sidewalks- we’ve had no complaints over here. $100 at http://www.brooksrunning.com

Another option is the Adrenaline GTS 18, which is extremely supportive and well cushioned. These shoes are known and trusted for their amazing fit, and we completely agree.  One of their features that helps with this is an “asymmetrical 3D Fit Print and TPU saddle pulls from the heel and wraps around your midfoot for a secure fit”.  It also has the BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning that we had mentioned above, as well as an integrated Segmented Crash Pad that cushions your feet as they land.  If you are all about support and soft landings, this is the shoe for you. We’ve used these on about every terrain you can think of, both running and as casual wear, and they have been holding up extremely well and have become the favorite sneaker of a very, very picky runner.  $120 at http://www.brooksrunning.com

For ladies’ support without the underwire, check out the Fiona Bra. This bra is easy to get on and off, comes in a multitude of colors, and is easy to wear for a long day. It has molded cups, velcro adjustable straps (which actually stay in place, surprisingly) and a padded back hook-and-loop closure. The sides come up high enough so there is no leakage, and it will hold you in place as you move about. The compression is excellent. These run from $30-$50 depending on size and color preference on http://www.brooksrunning.com

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In a New York State of Mind

Looking to spend some time in The Big Apple with the family? Here are some great places to visit while you are there.

LEGO’s are fun for kids of all ages, and the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in NY is a great place to spend the day for LEGO lovers of all ages.  The adventure begins by learning how Lego bricks are made and a kiddie-version of the history of  little plastic bricks. After this interesting introduction, its time to ride some rides and visit some attractions. The first ride (one that brings you into the main area) is a sit down guided laser shooting tour, where you save the castle by defeating tons of baddies. After your victory, you head into a mini-brick version of New York City and the LEGOLAND area. Push buttons for lights and sounds, and well as mini-animations. The details are pretty amazing, and the spoofs will keep everyone giggling. Fans will find quite a few “Easter Eggs” as they walk around the town.

There are also a bunch of other attractions to check out, like the racing course where you build your own racecar to pit against everyone else- there are several tracks to choose from. There is also a magic couch ride where you jaunt around on a flying couch. Really.  You move it up and down by pedaling, and it goes around in a circle. Make sure you check out the 4D movie, a must for all LEGO Movie fans. Of course, there are tons of LEGO to build, Masterclasses to take (and you can take your creations with you for a fee), and obstacle courses to try out. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is located at 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710
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Candy Free Easter Baskets

It’s that time of year again, when Peter Cottontail and all his bunny helpers hop into homes with baskets filled with treats and toys for good little boys and girls. Here are some of our favorite non-food items to fill your kiddo’s baskets with.

PLAYMOBIL has created even more figures to inspire imaginative play- Figure Series 13: Blind bags will continue to be a hit with the kids.  The latest series features 24 different figures that can be collected, assembled and are interchangable.  Each figure comes unassembled which adds to the fun- your kids can put them together or mix and match the interchangeable parts with other figures to create an entirely new and original character. $2.99 each

It’s Spring- ready for bubbles? These are cute, and can be less messy then a bubble wand. Glove-A-Bubbles Bunny (or 7 other animal options) puts the bubbles onto a little glove and lets them wave their hands around, creating waves of bubbles with each swipe. These ‘gloves’ come with two packs of bubble solution in each package. A parent can pour it into the pouch, dip the glove into the bubbles, and send the kids out to run wild. While there are 8 animals total, Bunny is egg-stra cute for Easter, we think.  $2.99 each.

We LOVE Smooshy Mushy, I’ve got to say. If your kids have not begged for a squish toy yet, we don’t know how you have escaped this craze. It’s not one I personally mind terribly- they are inexpensive, smell nice, and are adorable, so not a craze that this mom minds.  As we had mentioned in out Toy Fair columns, The Squish trend is continuing, for sure. These scented, “slow-rise,” squishable animal toys come in a variety fun food and pet themes, each packaged with an itty-bitty collectible squishy best friend, adding levels of surprise. The packaging itself is super cute, often an ice cream cone, soda bottle, milk carton, or the like. Very sweet. $9.99
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Toy Fair Trends 2018 #NYTF

It Febuary, so you know what that means. [email protected] was at the New York Toy Fair, checking out all the newest and best toys and games that are coming out this year, and we think it will be a fantastic year for toys. James Hamilton, of the popular pop-culture website http://geekstronomy.com was there to lend a hand covering the massive show floor (and we thank him for his contributions to this coverage). 

We found that some of the trends for the next year are somewhat of a continuation of old trends, albeit slightly updated. Some of these continuing toy trends do venture into new territories, and it’s always fun to see what the year will bring to our families. 

blister packs

One of the continuing trends has to be the “blind boxes”. While these have been growing in popularity, one of the variations on these “blind box” items is that the blister pack will show some of the toys or contents with one or more figures being obscured. The remaining contents are visible to the consumer, and the hidden toy is often a “rare” item.  The other big news in blind boxes is the packaging has gotten very creative, having the packaging serving a dual purpose such as being used as a Christmas ornament, storage tin, or as part of the toy itself. We LOVE this, and we think your kids will, too. 

kids coding toys

One of the other trends we witnessed is expansion of STEM based products. If you are not familiar with the term STEM, it stands for Science, technology, engineering and math (another variation is “STEAM”, where the “A” stand for Art- which we like better). Build a robot, learn to code, build atoms, mix colors, new takes on old classics like volcano building- there is no shortage of truly fun with learning options.  Starting from months old and up, the child can learns coding though programming a robot’s actions, how to use a musical instrument, and so much more. This year, education is king, and we are happy to see that trend. 
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Healthy Food You and The Family Will Love

Looking for healthy food you and the entire family will love? These fun finds will keep everyone happy, and taste as good as they are good for you- which isn’t easy!

We have been fans of noosa yoghurt for a while now, and were excited that they have introduced both new flavors and new combination yoghurt/topping combinations, which are delightful.  These mix-in-style yoghurts are called noosa mates, and pairs the creamy noosa whole milk yoghurt we already enjoyed so much with delicious, high-quality toppings like crunchy granolas, roasted nuts, pretzels and premium chocolate. Just pull off the top, flip the “mix in” side into the yoghurt, and stir.  It’s very satisfying and satiating- not to mention it just tastes great.  They have also added apple and pumpkin flavors to their growing line. 

Available nationwide in many groceries and super stores in single packs, four packs, and larger sized 24 0z containers, prices vary.  Visit https://www.noosayoghurt.com for varieties and to find a store.

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, you will need some great snacks on hand. What’s a tailgating party without chips and dips? Heluva Good! is perfect for your favorite dippables or to be used in a recipe for game day (or any day). It’s the perfect take along when you get invited to a party as well- there is never anyone who will turn town a friend who brings snacks to the festivities. Available in French Onion, Bacon Horseradish, Buttermilk Ranch, and Jalapeno Cheddar, there is a flavor everyone will enjoy.  You can find fun recipes and creations to try out on their website as well- there is a potato skin concoction that looks amazing (and I’m going to try it for the big game day)- take a look and see what tickles your fancy. Visit http://heluvagood.com for info, where to buy, food ideas, and more, then head to your local supermarket to pick some up and try some for yourself.
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Walking In A Winter Wonderland

The weather has been all over the place this winter, and that means so has your wardrobe been. Shoes are the hardest part to figure out- no one likes wet, cold, uncomfortable feet- that makes for a long day. We are loving this footwear, and we thing you will, too.

winter shoes for men

 

Waldlaufer has a huge variety of women’s shoes- but did you know they offer mens, as well? It’s a great time to check them out. We have been wearing the Men’s Jack Hayo Waterproof Oxford Schiefer shoes for about two months now, and using them for everything from daily wear to hiking and even to the gym a few times- they remain sturdy, easy to wear for long days out and about, supportive, and they do keep your feet dry.  They are a bit heavier then your average shoe, but they are also pretty rugged since they offer so much protection.  This ankle high waterproof boot will protect your feet all winter long- and beyond.  You won’t be leaving these in your closet when the season changes.  Since it is made with a waterproof membrane, it prevents moisture from entering the shoe.  The soles have great traction and durability as well as a supportive footbed. Get yours at https://www.waldlaufer.com for $190.

Perfect for winter (or any season but summer, I’d say) are the water-resistant and insanely comfortable new Luana ankle boots from Arcopedico.  These have very fast become my favorite boots, and perhaps my favorite shoes in general. So soft, so comfortable- and ethical as well. Made entirely of vegan materials (that never hurts, a “good for the environment” choice) they are easy to pair with almost any outfit, or to dress up and dress down.  These look like suede, but are actually Lytech with a self-adjusting side elastic for a super comfortable fit. With rounded toes and a slight wedge heel, these are actually machine washable as well. Really. Three colors available, Black, Brown, or Burgundy. Get yours for $105 at http://arcopedicousa.com
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Holiday GIft Guide- Hot Toys For kids

With only about a week to go, you will be on the lookout for the hottest toys for the little ones in your life. These are a few we think will make those kiddos shriek with delight as they tear off the wrapping paper.

Last year’s hit toy, Hatchimals, are back with an ever bigger surprise inside. The all new Hatchimals Surprise have let you hatch two sweet and cuddly Hatchimals out of the same egg- that’s right, you get twins. As you play with and hold your colorful egg, the Hatchimals inside make all sorts of sounds to let you know they are trying to hatch. When they are about ready, you will see their rainbow eyes and they will begin to “push” their way out of the egg. Even though they are twins, they are unique in personalities. As you interact with them, they learn new tricks and habits, like how to talk, dance, sing, tell jokes, play games, repeat what you say, and more. They also interact with each other, both being sweet and occasionally arguing, like any siblings will. Get yours for around $60 in stores and online.

Did you ever want your own droid? I know I have. Now you can, which is very cool and interactive- Droid BB-8 . It is pretty lifelike in scale, at 16 inches tall (19 inches with antenna) so it will feel like you are a true Jedi or padawan. BB-8 glides about just like his movie counterpart and can have pretty realistic interactions, as well as lights and sounds. Put on the “Follow Me” mode and have him roll next to you. You can use voice recognition (which is pretty sticky sometimes) and it has remote control capabilities as well. Hero Droid BB-8 is a great gift for any Star Wars fan, young or old, new to the films or long time aficionado.  Grab yours quickly (these run out at times) for about $150 in stores or online.
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