Gadgets for entertaining at the cottage – The Digital Life


The summertime means spending more time with your friends and family, so head to the cottage ready to entertain with some of my favourite tech gadgets!

A party isn’t complete without margaritas! If you want to make sure every guest has a drink in their hand, be sure to have a margarita maker (like this Margaritaville Frozen Drink Maker) that will dispense the ice and blend the drinks just for you.  Simply booze it up to taste!

For the kids and dogs, the Sphero robotic ball is a multi-coloured, smartphone-controlled ball that is great for play around the yard.  The robotic gaming system is pet-proof and waterproof, and you can download up to 20 different games to play from “Etch-o-matic” to “Sphero Golf.”

If you’re looking for a new way of monitoring your home while travelling, the Withings Video Wi-Fi Monitor is an excellent solution— whether you want to check in on your pets, kids, or even your front door.  This handy wireless camera easily connects to your home internet system, and an app on your smartphone will allow you to access a live feed 24/7.

When on the beach, the hipKey Proximity and Movement Alarm will protect anything from your purse to your expensive digital camera.  This is an iPhone-activated alarm that can be attached to virtually anything, and you can set the parameters that will trigger a jarring sound.  Parameters include motion-activation and distance-activation (great for making sure your child doesn’t run too far away from you).

For the photographers out there, Lomography’s Horizon Kompakt camera is a fun way to take panoramic photos, and it pays homage to classic film photography in an age of digital photography.  Just remember to buy the film!

And lastly, if you’re an audiophile, the Klipsch Music Centre 3 is an audio system that promises to deliver on stellar sound quality.  It runs plugged in or on battery, so it’s ideal for around the house or for jamming to tunes on the beach.

Gadgets for summer entertaining – Cityline

We take you through 2013’s hottest summer tech gadgets, plus we take a trip back in time!

As aired on Cityline, Tuesday, July 9, 2013, on City.

As always, you can watch previous episodes of Cityline at Citytv.com, or via the City Video iOS or Android apps! Cityline airs 9 a.m. on City across Canada. Check Citytv.com for all television air times across the country.

Show notes:

Best Buy


– Margaritaville

– Sphero robotic ball

– Withings Video Wi-Fi Baby Monitor



– hipKey Proximity and Movement Alarm

– iGrill



– Horizon Kompakt camera



– Klipsch Music Centre 3

Holiday de-stressing tips

The holiday season can be a stressful time for all with the pressure of buying gifts, planning holiday events with friends and family, all on top of the regular hustle-and-bustle of everyday life.

Here are four easy and helpful ways to find serenity and sanity during this busy time of year.

Plan events in advance:

The longer you procrastinate and let your list grow, the more stress you are building for yourself.  To minimize that, schedule the extra time to plan your events and holiday shopping.  Prioritize and figure out what needs to be done straight away, versus things that can be done a couple weeks down the road.

Delegate tasks to family members:

Spread out your must-do tasks on a calendar and split what up needs to get done between your spouses, or even your kids!   That way, you’ll get more done – minimizing the stress you put on yourself.

Accept that traditions can change:

While traditions are important, realize that things can change, too.  Don’t be afraid to shy away from the same-old and start new traditions, particularly if they better fit your family’s lifestyle and dynamic.  Whether that’s changing the food you serve, or when and where you have the big family gathering, be sure that everyone enjoys themselves – including yourself.

Set aside time for yourself:

This would have to be the most important tip – block out time for yourself.  The holiday season means you are constantly on the move, so it’s crucial you find a moment to stop, reflect on what the holidays mean to you, and give yourself a chance to relax.  Perhaps treat yourself to dinner at your favourite restaurant, or pamper yourself with a day at the spa.  As insignificant as these indulgences may sound, they’re really helpful in boosting your mood come holiday time.

Things you can do to dress up your outfit for a post-work party

Holiday work parties are fast approaching, which means you may find yourself rushing from the office to the venue with little or no time to change. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out how to transition from your work wardrobe to an after-five outfit, here are a few helpful tips as to how you can glam up your office style for evening.

Select a little black dress and have it ready to go – Be sure to choose one that is appropriate to wear at work, paired with a cardigan or blazer, and can be worn alone when heading to the after-work party.

Keep a change of shoes under your desk –
Plain old pumps are fine for the office, but you may want to dress up your shoe choice at night. Keep a spare pair of evening-appropriate footwear at the ready so you can swap them out on the way to your evening event.

Keep a set of after-five accessories – Along with your little black dress, keep a set of earrings and evening accessories in a handy clutch.  You can keep them inside your work bag, and take the clutch straight to your event.

Add some shimmer to your makeup – The holidays are a great time to add some sparkle, so remember to bump up your look with some shimmer.  Your favourite blush and glittery eye shadow are two easy ways to easily add sparkle to your overall look.

Choose your clothing and accessories according to your style –
Be it playful or traditional, sophisticated or out-of-the-ordinary, remember to be you.  Dress stylishly yet comfortably, so you can allow yourself to let loose and enjoy yourself responsibly.  Just remember, it’s a work party!

Fun Halloween mocktail ideas

Throwing a Halloween party can be a lot of fun, and figuring out what to serve at your party can be a little intimidating.  A party would not be complete without mocktails so the non-alcoholic drinkers can have a fun, too!

To help you along the way, here are five Halloween non-alcoholic mocktail recipes to include in your party this year – ideal for adults and teens alike!

The simple, non-alcoholic fruit punch
For a fun twist on a classic fruit punch, mix half a gallon of sherbet ice cream and two litres of ginger ale.  This non-alcoholic fruit punch is a refreshing mocktail, full of bubbles and zest.

Pomegranate Bellini
Heat the pomegranate juice in a saucepan until hot, but not boiling.  Whisk in half-a-cup of blueberry jam until it is smooth and combined.  Strain the liquid through a pitcher.  Put the syrup into the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

To serve, pour two or three teaspoons of syrup into champagne flutes and fill with non-alcoholic champagne.  Float a few blueberries on top to garnish, and enjoy.

“Monstermash smoothie”
In a blender, combine fresh strawberries with a splash of orange juice, set aside.  Blend a handful of blackberries and blueberries until you get a puree consistency.

To serve, pour one layer of strawberries, followed by a layer of blueberry/blackberry mash.  Top with a blended orange juice and vanilla yogurt mix.  This drink is thick, creamy, and refreshing.  Serve with a spoon so your guests can mix the drink, giving it a layered and marbled look.

“Zombie eye punch”
Pull out the stems of 10 cups of cherries, and insert a chocolate chip in each cherry.  These will represent your zombie eyes.  Add all of the zombie eyes into the bottom of a punch bowl.  Combine three cups of ginger ale, 10 cups of cherry cola, five cups of red fruit juice concentrate, and three cups of pineapple juice.
Chill and serve.

“The Vampire Bite”
In a large pitcher, combine two cups of cranberry juice, half-a-cup of apple juice, and a quarter-cup of grenadine.  Top it off with two cups of seltzer water.

Squeeze one tube of red candy gel on a plate.  Rim the edges of four low-ball glasses and pour the prepared drink evenly into the glasses.  Garnish with gummy vampire teeth and serve immediately.