A practical gift for computer users and “techies” from NetGear



Most people are finishing up their shopping list for the holiday (or at least attempting to). I’m sure there are still some gift that need to be purchased, especially for those hard to buy for people.

Many people stay away from “practical” gifts because they see them as “boring”. That is not always the case. Sometimes the practical gifts are the best gifts of all.

We live in a high tech world. Growing up I never dreamed of type of technology we have now. I still remember my GIANT IBM computer that had a black screen with a yellowish green text. We didn’t’ have smartphones, tablets and the wide variety of WiFi enabled products that we do today.

Many people have routers in their home which enables them to connect to the internet wirelessly – meaning your phone, tablet and laptop don’t have to be connected to the wall outlet where the internet service provider’s line is.

These days many homes have multiple devices, especially if you have a large family. In our family of four we have four iPads, three iPods, four smartphones, five laptops (mine is connected – the other three are wireless), two Kindles and two additional tablets. We also have a few other devices that run off the WiFi such as a recipe reader and a Cube that streams photos off our social networking sites (that review will come at another time).

Routers were not originally made to handle so many WiFi devices at one time, especially is multiple devices are being used at the same time. For this reason you need a router that can handle all the demands of your WiFi enable products.

What you need is a “powerhouse” of a router that can tackle all the demands. You need something like NetGear’s Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router.

I should stop right here and let you know I am not a “techie”. I don’t “get” some techie things. Thankfully my hubby is a computer tech and is able to explain things to me in “layman’s terms.”

NetGear’s Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router has a sci-fi look to it. It looks like some kind of robotic alien bug.


I’d take a photo of ours but it’s buried under the desk. I have a corner desk and it’s underneath towards the corner/wall to keep it way from the cats who love to chew on wires and sit on things.

My husband had no problem setting it up. He’s a computer tech so I asked him if he thought someone like me (a non-tech) could set it up easy enough and he is confident that I could. The only reason why I didn’t is because I wasn’t sure what wires/plugs to unplug and move around since there are a ton of things hooked up under the desk (laptop, desktop, printer, lamp, fan…).

I know he had to do something on the computer in regards to this (configure perhaps?), but whatever it was took just a few minutes. It seemed like the route was up and running in 1-2-3.

Here are more details about the NetGears Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router.

  • Get the fastest WiFi speed available – up to 3.2Gbps
  • Tri-Band WiFi delivers more WiFi for more devices
  • 6 High performance antennas for maximum range
  • Smart-Connect designates slower and faster devices to separate WiFi bands
  • 1GHz dual core processor with 3 offload processors
  • Beamforming+ improves wireless range and reliability
  • USB 3.0 port offers high-speed, USB storage-ready access
  • Easily manage your home network with the NETGEAR genie app

So far we have had no issue with the router. My laptop is connected, which is the device I use most of the time, so it wouldn’t be affected by this router.

When I use my little laptop (it’s more like a netbook), any of the tablets, Kindles or my smartphone I have not had an issue with the WiFi connection. Everything seems to work smoothly and with no lags or failure to connect, even if stormy weather.

NetGear Nighthawk

Our condo is very small so everywhere you go in our  home you get a great WiFi connection. The NetGears Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router works well in larger homes from what I can tell from reading about the device.

I’ve noticed that my little laptop (netbook) and iPads seem to work a bit better and faster then before. My smartphone, tablets and Kindles seem to work the same as they used to.

My kids have not complained of any issues with their laptops or smartphones.

My husband is impressed by the router. He said it’s much better than the “piece of garbage” (to quote him) that we had before.

We watch A LOT of Netflix too and we have had no streaming issues whatsoever which is nice. No one wants any lagging when watching a film.

Overall our experience has been positive. We really like the NetGears Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router.

If you are looking for a practical gift, or a gift for a techie, the NetGears Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router would make a great gift. It might be a bit pricey for a single holiday gift, but you’ll get much use out of it and it’s something that we all need in this high tech world we live in.

More more information about this and other NetGear products visit www.NetGear.com. They have other routers available too.

NetGear can also be found on social media. All links are found on their home page.

Do you ever have issues with your router? Do you find that you have too many WiFi gadgets on your router that is slowing things down or causing problems? Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I received a free product in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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Take the best holiday photos and videos with these great tips


3d illustration: Technique. concept camera

Yesterday I posted about holiday photo cards from Vistaprint.

Most people use photos of their family taken throughout the year, however others love to pose for the “perfect” photo under, or around, the Christmas tree.

I have a few photos of my kids in front of our tree, but mostly from when they were little. It’s not always easy to get little ones to sit still for photos so I didn’t bother to try and prefect it. I figured any picture was better than no picture at all.

If you are planning on taking a lot of photos this holiday season, here are some great tips to help you get the “picture perfect” shot.

Please note that the text might be a bit hard to read. Simply click on the image and it will bring up a larger one that is much easier to read. With the larger image you should get the little magnifying glass pop up. Simply click on the image and it should get even larger.


In case you are planning on taking plenty of videos this holiday season to capture each and every precious moment, here are some additional tips to help you take a quality video that you’ll enjoy year after year.

As it was with the above graphic, if you click on it you can get a larger view so it’s easier to read.

Video Tricks_en

Do you have any additional tips you’d like to share?


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers.

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Penclic Bluetooth Mouse Giveaway (ends 12/12/14)



Are you looking for a unique, yet practical gift idea for the computer lover and/or techie in your life? If so, how about a cool Bluetooth mouse that works almost the same way as a pen?

Penclic is a Bluetooth mouse that is shaped like a pen, and moves the same way. It replicates an actual pen in both the feel and the design. It provides the user with comfort and a highly ergonomic browsing experience.

Here is some additional information about the Penclic Bluetooth Mouse.

Lightweight, Bluetooth mouse functions like a pen for quick, precise movement

  • Bluetooth capability frees up coveted USB ports
  • Penclic Mouse looks, feels and acts like a pen, placing superior navigation at your fingertips, allowing for laser-focused precision, thus leading to better results and quicker movements
  • Penclic Mouse’s ergonomics create a relaxed working position, enhancing user experience and allowing forearm to relax on work surface. Sleek, Scandinavian design counteracts static tensions in arms, shoulders and neck, reducing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) associated with typical mouse products
  • Features 5 buttons, scroll wheel and laser sensor which operates on almost any surface without pad or tablet; intended for right-handed users
  • Rechargeable battery lasts 2 months before additional charging is needed.
  • Wireless range up to 16 feet; compatible with Mac and PC products

Available: The Human Solution, Amazon.com, Brookstone.com

Price: $89.95

Website: www.penclic.se

This would make an interesting gift this holiday season. It’s also great for yourself, especially if you want or need a mouse designed with ergonomics in mind.

Penclic Giveaway

I have two Penclic Bluetooth Mouse products to give to two lucky readers (each winner gets ONE Penclic). Keep it for yourself or give as a gift. 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 12, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winners will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winners will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen on their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win the Penclic Bluetooth Mouse and if you plan on keeping it for yourself or giving it as a gift?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I was not compensated for this post, nor did I receive anything in exchange for my participation. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. 

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“Best for Pets” Sweepstakes from Neato Robotics®


If you follow my blog on a regular basis you might recall the review I did for the Neato™ Robot Vacuum. In case you missed the post here is the link – Hate to vacuum? Let the Neato Robotic Vacuum do the work for you.

We have five cats and a dog (not to mention a couple of fish). I know a thing or two about pet hair and how it gets all over EVERYTHING – furniture, the carpet, clothing and more.

I do my best to keep my home clean. I am proud of the fact that you can’t smell that we have pets. I even have some real estate agents and neighbors tell me that you would never know we had pets with the exception of seeing my pets or their accessories (toys, cat tree, pet beds…).

I can keep the pet odor out of my home, but the pet hair is another story. No matter how much I clean the hair does tend to get everywhere. It either sticks to the carpet or it balls up and blows around the wood flooring. We refer to it as “tumbleweeds”. LOL!

Our Neato helps me out a lot – especially when I’m not at home. I can set the vacuum to go off during the day to vacuum up pet hair and other debris while I’m not at home or while I have other things I need to do.

This little powerhouse goes from room to room and sucks up all the loose pet hair.

I tend to use the Neato when I’m at home because due to the amount of pet hair I need to clean it out frequently so that it performs properly.

To give you an idea of just how well this vacuum cleans, check out these photos.


Please note that in this incident (above) I had just received the Neato and I didn’t know that I should empty the collection container frequently. Most people should be able to clean their whole home without emptying this out but if you have a lot of pets like we do you’ll need to clean it out a few times when you vacuum your whole home. We are used to doing this. We do this when we use our regular vacuum too.

Just look at all that hair! And I vacuum (regular vacuum) 2-3 times per week. I use our Neat on the days I don’t vacuum or simply don’t want to vacuum.

Neato robotic vacuums are super easy to use. You can schedule what day/time you want the vacuum to clean for you. Or you can have it vacuum whenever you want.

The vacuum makes its way from room to room. It knows where it’s already cleaned and once it’s done in one room it moves on to another room.

It’s smart enough to know when it needs to recharge and will make its way back to its charging dock. Once it recharges it continues vacuuming and picks up where it left off. Talk about a smart robot!

What I love about Neato is that it helps me keep on top of the pet hair. Even when I don’t have time to do a full cleaning the Neato helps keep the pet hair in check so it doesn’t get out of control.


Of course Neato is great for picking up other things on the floor and carpet including crumbs, kitty litter, people hair and dust.

If you have pets and would like more tips on what to do about pet shedding please visit the Neato Pet Shedding Solutions page.

For more information about Neato products, including their newest vacuums models BotVac 80 and 85, please visit Neato.com.

Neato Robotics have been recognized as being the “Best for Pets” (indoor dogs and cats) and busy, pet loving households like mine.

Publications such as PCMag.com, CNet, PetGuide.com and Daily Tekk recognize Neato vacuums as one of the best products around for dealing with pet hair.

Neato is hosting a “Best for Pets” Sweepstakes. You could win a Neato Robot Vacuum!

Entering is easy. You enter with your name and email address. You can get extra entries by tweeting about the contest, sharing on Facebook and more.

If you would like to enter the “Best for Pets” Sweepstakes please visit the official contest page.It’s so easy to enter. And if you win you’ll be glad you did especially when you see how well Neato vacuums help you deal with pet hair.

Will you be entering? I hope so!




Visit Neato for more information on why the Neato Robot Vacuum is best for pets! And be sure to enter our sweepstakes for a chance to win your own Neato Botvac™ Robot Vacuum!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Neato Robotics® Best for Pets Vacuums. The opinions and text are all mine.

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A fun new app for children – Little Luna – Big Talent


Children - Technology

It’s amazing how much technology has changed in just a few short years. When my kids were little we had cellphones but not smartphones. You could make phone calls on your cellphone but that was it. Kids could not play games on their parent’s phones back then.

These days there is a wonderful array of kid-friendly, parent-approved educational applications available that children can enjoy on their parents smartphone or a tablet.

I’m a bit jealous in a way. I wish we had these amazing things when I was younger. I would still opt to play outside or with my cousins, but on those rainy or snowy days when I was stuck inside I would have loved to have some fun games to play by myself.

There is a new app from Bastei Entertainment called Little Luna, Big Talent that is worth checking out.

Little Luna Big Talent App

Little Luna, Big Talent is an adorable, interactive game geared towards little ones (3-8). It’s about a little Bombardier Beetle named Luna.

I have never heard of a Bombardier Beetle before so I looked it up. These little beetles have an interesting defense mecchanisim – when they feel threatened their bodies products a noxious gas that they aim towards the predator. In a nutshell they omit a foul-smelling gas from their bodies to defend themselves against enemies. I’m guessing the smell must be pretty bad if it would make a predator flee.

So Little Luna is a beetle that has a foul smelling “gas”. Most parents might be grossed out by the idea, but let’s face it, kids LOVE farts. They find them funny. Admit it, chances are you thought they were funny too when you were little. We’re only human. Except in Luna’s case – she’s a Bombardier Beetle.

Check out this trailer for the Little Luna, Big Talent app from Bastei Entertainment.


I love the graphics. What you see in the trailer is just like what you see in the app.

I think Luna and her family are adorable. I know it sounds odd but I would love to see Little Luna books. I think her character and her family could make for a lot of darling children’s books.

The Little Luna – Big Talent application includes:

- Interactive storybook with games and more!

-Simple navigation for a smooth-running interface.

-Beautifully designed with delightful music to match.

-Timer for parents to monitor a child’s screen time.

-Designed for preschoolers and elementary school aged children.

-Narration in English, Mandarin Chinese, and German.

-No in-app purchases.

As a parent I appreciate that there are no “in-app” purchases. I just had a discussion with my son recently about that. He wanted to make an in-app purchase for a game he enjoys playing and I refuse to spend the extra money on it. I also worry about my kids accidentally clicking on in-app purchases and charge money to our card unknown to us. I wish they didn’t have in-app purchases. That is a feature I really like about this cute game.

As I mentioned before the illustrations/animations are adorable. Even if there are a lot of references to “farts” I didn’t mind. I still found the games to be really cute.

Bastei Entertainment Little Luna

Even though the games are geared towards little children, I found some of them fun as an adult.

There are several mini-games within the application that will keep your child entertained for a long time.

Even though this is considered a “storybook” it’s not one in the true sense of the word. There is no real story. You child can create their own story as they make their way around the app. It’s more about exploring Luna’s world then it is an actual story.

I like the parental control option too. You can control how long your child can play the game. I wouldn’t think this would be needed for very young children, but I guess some do need something like this set up so they don’t spend their entire day on the game.

I’m very impressed by the app. I love the graphics, music, ease of use and parental control. Plus it’s a fun app with a lot of things to see and do in Luna’s world which is sure to keep the little ones fully entertained.

Little Luna – Big Talent is available on iTunes for $2.99.

For more information about  Bastei Entertainment visit BasteiEntertainment.com.

What do you think about Little Luna – Big Talent? Does it look like a game your child or grandchild would enjoy? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Little Luna Big Talent


*I received a free code to download the game for review. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Great gift idea for Hello Kitty fans – Dancing Water Speakers!


Hello Kitty Water Speakers

Do you have a Hello Kitty fan in your life? Hello Kitty is not just for little ones. I know plenty of adults who absolutely adore that sweet little kitty.

My daughter loves Hello Kitty. She has a few Hello Kitty branded items such as plush toys and a bedside lamp.

One of the things my daughter has had on her “wish list” for the past year is water speakers. If you are not familiar with what water speakers are they are speakers, filled with water, that change colors and “dance” to the beat of the music being played through them.

I think it’s a super cool idea but once I started to price them I knew that it would be a long time before she could get a set. Water speakers are NOT cheap. Not only that most of the ones I looked into are rather large and there is very little available space in her room.

Thankfully I was sent to review something that is the best of both worlds – water speakers from Hello Kitty! They are appropriately called Hello Kitty Dancing Water Speakers. These speakers are USB powered which makes them very portable and easy to set up just about any where you go.

The Hello Kitty Dancing Water Speakers feature;

  • Multicolor LED lights that change color in response to the music being played
  • Speakers that can be powered by any USB port (a connection cable is included)
  • The ability to be used with just about any device with a headphone jack (smartphone, tablet, hand held gaming device)
  • 3W x 2 output power
  • 2.0 channel stereo speakers

Hello Kitty Speakers

Set up was a breeze. My daughter (17 1/2) set them up by herself. Within minutes she was up and running.

Once they are set up sit back and enjoy the colorful show.

I was rather impressed with how well these work. As far as speakers are concerned the music is crisp and clear and the volume works very well. We live in a condo so we don’t blast our music for obvious reasons.

I have some expensive stereo speakers and I was impressed with how well the sound quality is with these adorable speakers.

The “dancing water” and colorful lights are really cool. Now I can see why my daughter has been asking for water speakers. They are really cool and fun to watch. We purposely change the type of music we play through them just to see how the water/colors react to it. We’ve played heavy metal, pop, slow songs and even Vivaldi (classical). Watching them with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is awesome!

We get a lot of light during the day. It’s not easy to see the colorful lights that much with sunlight filling the room. For us it’s best to use these in the evening or at night if you want to catch the light show. If you just want to listen to the music then they are fine to use any time of day.

These are super cute speakers that would make an ideal gift for a young girl, teen or even an adult.

If you would like to check out other available Hello Kitty products visit www.SparkleBee.com. You can also find SparkleBee on Facebook and Twitter (@SparkleBee).

You can find these cute speakers at  www.ToysRUs.com and Target. You can find a great video that shows you how well they work on the Toys R Us product page.

What do you think about these fun speakers? Do you know anyone on your holiday shopping list that would enjoy these?

Sparkle Bee Logo


*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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