Techie Stuff

Cox Smart Home at Canopy at Esencia

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post to spread the word about the Cox Smart Home and Amazon links in post are affiliate links.

Did you know that the average household connects six devices to the internet these days? We are talking phones, laptops, tablets, gaming systems, etc. and that number is expected to increase to 50, yes 50, devices by the year 2022.

I don’t  know about you, but my Wi-Fi can be S-L-O-W at times and it drives me crazy. Lots of spinning rainbow wheels and error pages on dropped web searches. Lagging Wi-Fi can also result in a very irritated 5th grader when it inhibits her from posting one of her fabulous videos on

With the need for internet connection and speed increasing and our tolerance for slow connection decreasing, Cox Communications and Warmington Residential are paving the way to the future of digital living at one of Orange County’s new master planned communities, Canopy at Esencia in Rancho Mission Viejo with gigabit-internet speed.

It’s the future people.  And it’s here.


This week I got to preview Cox Communications and Warmington Residential’s Cox Smart Home in Esencia where they have designed a modern living space to showcase all of the different ways families are going to be using technology in the future and all that is possible with gig-speed internet. The Cox Smart Home will be open this weekend to the public and I urge you to go  see it for yourself.

Cox Smart Home at Canopy at Esencia Powered by GIGABLAST Internet Speeds
Open to the public
Sat. 10/1/16 and Sun. 10/2/16 from 10am – 6pm
100 Vasto Street, Rancho Mission Viejo, CA 92694

For those of us that are not super techie, let me tell you what living the Gig Life means. Gigabit connectivity gives customers internet speed that is 100, yes 100, times faster than the average speeds offered today. Now that is what we call GIGABLAST!  Sign me up Cox!

With gigabit internet service you can run all your devices at the same time, download an HD movie in less than 60 seconds, upload 1,000 photos in about a minute, download 100 tunes in only 3 seconds, stream live video, do anything that requires heavy bandwidth, and do it at lightning speed.

My Top Five “That is So Cool!” Moments at the Cox Smart Home

I saw so many cool things in every room of the gorgeous three story home, my head was spinning with awe and the times I said, “That is so cool!” were countless. Please just go and see it for yourself because it was impossible to cover everything in this post so I will highlight some of my favorites.

1. Wemo Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Slow Cooker

It’s on Prime mamas, might as well just buy it now.

I didn’t know such a dreamy slow cooker even existed! With three heat settings you can control with your smart phone from wherever you are, you can adjust the temperatures or settings and never risk overcooking a dish again.

Here is fabulous flood blogger Whitney Bond demo-ing the cooker, powered by Gigablast.

Whitney’s tagline is “Traditional Recipes with a Bond Girl Twist.” Check her out, I adore her site. In fact, I am making her One Pot Italian Sausage Shells and Cheese dish tonight. YUM.


2. Amazon Echo and Philips Hue Smart Bulb

Echo is a hands-free speaker that connects to the Alexa Voice Service and can control things from playing music, reading books, looking up the weather, and even turn on thermostats and lights with compatible devices.  All you have to do is ask her. Do you guys have one yet? It’s on my birthday list. Honey, are you reading this? Honey?

For example, “Alexa, play me Justin Timberlake!” Done. “Alexa, turn on the light in the kid’s room.” Done. Feels very George Jetson, doesn’t it?

Just another device making our lives easier, powered by Gigablast.


3. Virtual Reality Gaming

Welcome to the future of gaming – virtual reality –  where you are not only playing a video game, you are immersed in it. Moms everywhere will be thrilled to learn this technology can also be educational, in a highly entertaining way.

At the Cox Smart Home, I got to meet two young men from Labcoat Studios, an app development company behind virtual reality games and experiences.  They were showcasing one of their virtual reality typing games to help develop keyboard skills.

It was so cool I was squealing with delight as I tried to burst the words with my mad typing skills. See the word “rain” on the screen? That word was coming towards me and I had to type it as fast as I could. SO fun.


4. House Calls of the Future

How many times have you sat there looking at your sick child and wondered if you should take them in to the doctor but dreaded the idea of getting them there?

The telehealth program at CHOC Children’s Hospital has a system that uses modern, digital, communication technologies changing the way patients are able to access care, remotely, 24 hours a day. With the use of the InTouch mobile robot, the technology enables secure, real-time connections between providers and patients.

The telemedicine field is rapidly growing so one day we will be able to see our doctor from the comfort of home, on your device, without leaving the house. Again, powered by Gigablast.

The doctor will see you now…


5. Distance Learning

With Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. there are so many opportunities to have face-to-face instruction by experts around the globe and the opportunities for education are endless.

At the event, I had the privilege to see the legendary violinist, Jason Yang (who has toured with Madonna!), demonstrating with the use of technology, how he can teach students and stream live seminars in high-definition to his students and fans internationally.

Just think of all the opportunities we will have for children to take music classes from amazing instructors anywhere without the need to chauffeur them. Once again, at speeds powered by Gigiblast.


You guys, please go and check out the Cox Smart Home this weekend with your families.  It will be such a fun outing and you will be in awe of all the amazing things available to residents when you have Gigablast internet service.

Some other amazing features you will get to see are a Wi-Fi BBQ smoker, Wi-Fi vacuum, Wi-Fi pet and pet feeder, Wi-Fi weighing scale, Wi-Fi drawing robot, Cox’s new, Voice Remote Contour TV system and more. (And you might even get the chance to WIN one!!) Go, just go!

About Esencia

Encompassing nearly 23,000 acres, Rancho Mission Viejo (The Ranch) is planned to provide multiple villages which could consist of up to 14,000 homes as well as sites for parks, playgrounds, trails, clubhouses, farms, schools, shopping and entertainment and more in beautiful South Orange County.

The community of Rancho Mission Viejo currently includes villages of Sendero (sold out homes) and Esencia (homes now available for purchase.)

The hillside village of Esencia is the second village on The Ranch and is planned to inlcude 2,810 residential units. For more information visit

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Stow and Go

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 Affiliate links are used in this post

Incipio Stowaway Case

I love my Incipio Stowaway case for my old iPhone 5 and get a ton of comments on it when I open the back compartment to show my ID when using a credit cards at stores.

It’s surprising to me how many people aren’t familiar with the super fabulous Incipio Stowaway case which meant it was time for me to blog about it.

I always have my phone on me most all the time these days, especially when the kids are at school just in case.

In the back compartment I keep my ID, so when I just have to jaunt over to school for a drop off or pick up, I can simply grab my keys and phone, and go.

The case, (Incipio Stowaway Case iPhone 6 also now available), has a compartment in the back that can fit up to 3 credit cards, license, or even cash.

It is really durable, I have had it for quite awhile and it has held up great. I have dropped it on numerous ocassions and my iPhone has survived every drop without a scratch.

Past cases have fallen apart on me, so I am VERY pleased with the Incipio durability and functionality.  Thank you Incipio for making a great product.

You can find all sorts of Incipio Cell Phone Cases Incipio cases here on Amazon.

Happy Friday Mamas! Wishing you a great weekend!

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Carpooling? There’s an App for That

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shared calendar carpool app

This post is on a shared calendar carpool app called the Cozi Family Organizer ~ a total and complete life saver for me this school year because 2 kids + 2 different schools + 4 different drop off and pick up times = a whole lot of chauffeuring.

So myself and two neighbors got smart and decided to organize an official carpool schedule of who could do what “leg” of the drop offs and pick ups for the week. What was simple in concept turned out to be not so simple to keep track of. One mom doesn’t have a car to fit everyone (there are four carpooling kiddos), so some days she takes three kids, some days two and the other mom takes one or two.  To make things more complicated, some girls go straight to gymnastics some days, the others home.

This is not even accounting for the days when you have last minute changes like, “grandma is actually going to pick up Emma today, she doesn’t need a ride home” sort of thing.

It gave me a headache and I wondered how we were going to keep it all straight? Then I thought, they MUST make shared calendar carpool apps, right?

I soon discovered carpooling apps definitely exist, but finding one that met our needs was a little more challenging.

First off, I needed an app where at least three moms could all share the same “live” calendar to stay up to date with the latest.

Secondly, I needed an app where I could enter more than one person’s name for any given leg, since some days there are two moms driving to drop off or pick up.

I finally found her, the best carpool app and my new best friend Cozi.

It is actually meant to be a shared family calendar, but the three of us use it like a little carpooling family.

Every person is color coded, you can see a description of what kids are riding in what leg and who is driving, you can view by the day or week. It’s awesome.

The app is FREE, but we ended up splitting the $29.99 yearly upgrade fee to get Cozi Gold. Having this app ad-free alone is worth $30/year along with the monthly view, but the most important feature of Cozi Gold is the “alert feature.

That means when I go into Cozi to take my daughter off of pick-up because grandma is getting her, I can click to “Alert” whomever I select and they will get an email notification of the change. Brilliant.

No emailing or texting changes, they are all made directly in the calendar!!!!  I LOVE IT.

So if you are a carpooling mom, cozy up to Cozi. You will heart it as much as I do.

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Your Opinion Earns You Rewards at iPoll

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Paid online surveys

What if I told you there are paid online surveys that could start earning you rewards just by offering your honest opinion ~ sounds like music to your ears, right? 

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to iPoll, a genius tool that pays customers to communicate with corporations and market research firms in an easy and modern way.

By joining iPoll you get paid to voice your opinion to the retailers, restaurants and places that you frequent most often!
ipoll mobile 2

What is iPoll?

iPoll is an online and mobile community that rewards customers for their feedback on products and services that they use everyday.

How to Sign Up:

Sign up online for free here and follow the easy instructions on downloading the iPoll app. Yes, it is free to sign up for these paid online surveys.

Once you download iPoll to your phone you can immediately start earning rewards. 

You earn rewards by completing “missions” (by the way, don’t let the word mission scare you, it might involve a trip to Target!)

All missions are based on information you supply at registration so each survey is tailored to fit your interests and experiences.

Taking the Surveys:

You can choose to take a survey online or one that requires you to visit a local store or restaurant.

The paid online surveys are kept brief, usually between 15 – 20 minutes and you’ll know up front the expected time each survey will take to complete.

It is important to note that your reward compensation will be based on the length and complexity of the survey. Some surveys may involve taking photos, videos etc., which will have a higher reward than those that are short and sweet and require less of your time.

The great thing is – you choose what you can participate in based on how much time you have to devote to the mission.

What can you earn?

iPoll offers a diverse reward program so you can get paid in a variety of ways.

Some that jumped out at me are Amazon gift codes, deposits to your Paypal account and if you’re feeling generous, iPoll can even donate your reward to a wide variety of global charity organizations – I love that!

So, now that you have the skinny on iPoll, go start earning those Amazon gift codes – happy earning! 

 [Disclosure: We’re thrilled to announce that iPoll is a new Tiny Oranges sponsor and happy to spread the word about their $$ earning app!]

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Video Monitors: You’ve Come a Long Way Baby

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Today’s post is a Motorola video baby monitor review and I have one thing to say about video monitors, you’ve come a long way baby!

I bought my first baby monitor seven years ago with my firstborn. It was massive walkie talkie like device, with constant static.

Even though my girls aren’t babies anymore at ages four and seven, I still use a monitor with my little one because our bedroom is upstairs and we cannot hear her during the night without a monitor.

The last one I was using was not great, audio only, and again, a lot of constant static. The static drives me CRAY CRAY.

I have been known to sleep with a pillow over my head to escape.

So when a Motorola representative contacted me about doing a Motorola video baby monitor review I said, “absolutely!” as I was actually in the market to try a new one.

Even though at this stage I would not probably have opted to buy a video monitor, I can’t wait to share the features with you because it is AWESOME (I am singing the word “awesome”  just so you know.)

It is SO clear – I am happy to share zero to minimal static! Woo hoo!

Motorola Video Monitor Features I Love

~ Nice display: It has a nice 3.5 inch diagonal color display with great clarity that allows you to ZOOM for a closer view and has good night vision.

~ Parent unit rechargable battery: Rechargable battery allows you to use it plugged or unplugged.

~ Temperature: Baby’s room temperature displays on the screen. Great for checking to see if room is too hot or too cold.

Additional cameras can be paired to the parent device. We don’t use this feature, but if you have multiple children, this would be a super cool feature to monitor both in different rooms from the same monitor.

~ Plug in and go: Super easy set up and operation. I am not a “read the manual” type of girl, I like to plug something in and have it work fairly easily, which is the case with this monitor.

Handy travel case: My model came in a handy travel case for easy transport anywhere it needs to go.

Motorola MBP34T Video Baby Monitor

And my very, very, very favorite feature…

~ Two-way communication! With the push of a button, I can talk to my daughter in her room if I am upstairs getting ready without having to YELL down from the top of the stairs to say things like, “Put on your shoes!” It is like a walkie talkie in this sense, only she can just talk back to me from her room without having to do anything.

I give this product two huge thumbs ups for anyone looking to purchase a video baby monitor. I hope you have found my Motorola video baby monitor review helpful!

Disclosure: I was sent this monitor complimentary to facilitate a review. All opinions are 100% my own, genuine ones as always. Thank you Motorola!


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