Holiday Tech Gift Guide

So as many of you know I live in San Jose, which is pretty unglamorous (well compared to where I used to live, San Francisco).  But San Jose is part of Silicon Valley and with a lot of my friends working in tech and my husband being a gadget nerd, I learn more than I need to about tech and I have a lot of pretty cool gadgets.  Here is my list of tools (not all are considered tech but I lumped these in since they're super useful) that I use weekly if not daily.  Consider them for yourself or for your friends

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1) Apple AirPods

I purchased a pair of these after my husband got his pair and I saw just how awesome they are.  I've tried wireless bluetooth earphones before but they were always bulky and falling out of my ears.  Well not these!  I have yet to have one fall out of my ear, even when working out.  But that's not even the best part.  The thing I love the most is the simplicity of these earbuds.  You just have to open the case and it will automatically pair with your phone (well it did for me because I have an iPhone but I'm not too sure how they'll work with other brands).  And once the bluetooth is connected, the connection never drops (never!).  To charge, just put them back in the case (the case will need to be charged periodically).  To find out how much battery is left, just open the case and cool graphic pops up on your phone letting you know how much juice is left in your airpods as well as the case.  Oh and if you take out the earbuds, the music/sound will automatically pause, and when you put them back in your ears it starts back up again.  It's like magic, lol.  The earbuds can also be used for talking on the phone (and they have noise interference cancelling so you sound super clear on the other end).  The only drawbacks to these is that they don't have the soft rubber tips, which usually fit my ear the best.  And the sound quality isn't amazing, but to me they're just fine (but I'm no music/sound aficionado).  

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2) Awair

My husband purchased this for me as a present and to be honest when I first saw it I thought 'what the heck is this?  another sleek looking useless gadget?'  But we've been using it for several months now and I love it!  So what is it you ask?  It's an air quality monitoring system that measures temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, chemical levels and dust levels.  Since I've been suffering from crazy allergies, my husband though this monitoring system would help.  And well it's been pretty essential since our Airstream is so small that air quality can quickly go down if we're cooking or in the winter months when we keep all our doors and windows closed.  You can connect your Awair to your Nest or Alexa to automatically control say your air purifier, but for the most part whenever I see a low air quality score on Awair I just open a window to ventilate.  This is a great tool to be mindful of your general air quality.

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3) Voloom Volumizing Hair Iron

I've been using this hair iron for probably 5 years now and it's a pretty essential hair iron for those with thin hair that tends to lie really flat (like me).  Also since I have a round face, my hair just looks better when I have a lot of volume surrounding it.  But I'm not one to tease my hair or use hair spray (I don't even blow dry my hair).  But if I want to get my hair looking good and I have about 5 minutes to spare, this hair iron gives me about twice as much volume than my normal hair when air dried.  The trick is it's like a crimper but better (due to the really odd-looking but effective square iron shapes) and you essentially crimp the layers under the top layer of hair.  It's basically like teasing but twice as fast.  I usually just crimp about 3-4 thin layers of hair on each side and since I've been using this for so long, I'm quite fast at it.  I've also tried using a regular crimper in the same way but I don't get as much volume for the same amount of work.  The qaulity of the hair iron is also really good and I haven't had any issues with this even after 5 years of weekly usage.

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4) Coravin Wine System

You might have seen this on my Insta-stories but basically since my husband doesn't drink alcohol and I drink a little too much alcohol, this Coravin wine system has been essential.  This fancy gizmo has a needle that draws wine out of the bottle and a trigger system that replaces the displaced wine with argon gas so that the wine inside won't oxidize.  It allows you to try a glass of wine without committing to opening the whole bottle.  It's also a great way to enjoy several glasses of different wines for tasting without wasting!  You can easily buy replacement argon capsules from amazon and once you get used to it, it's really easy to use.  Also since the needle is so thin, the cork reseals itself (but only if it's natural cork and not the rubber faux cork).  The only drawback to using this wine system is when you use it for wine that tastes best when opened and let sit (but you can always let your one glass pour sit before imbibing so really it's not that big of a deal).  This is the perfect gift for a wine-loving friend or family member!

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5) Amazon Echo Dot with TP-Link Smart Plug

Amazon echo and Google home are both really good voice-command systems.  We just used the Amazon Echo Dot since we don't need the added speaker that the regular Echo and the Google Home have (we connect the Echo Dot to our built in Airstream speaker system through bluetooth).  I usually ask Alexa (the woman personified by the Amazon Echo system) the time, the weather and have her set a timer when cooking.  But my favorite function for Alexa is telling her to turn on/off the light in our Airstream, and that's where the TP-link smart plug comes into play.  If you want your house light to turn on/off with Alexa then you will need to use a smart switch like this one.  With this function, it's like the clap on/off system except you're not stupidly clapping for lights.  Instead you can just tell Alexa 'turn off the light' and presto you don't have to get up to turn off the light.  It's great for lazy people like me!

Anyway I hope you enjoyed this short gift guide and I know that some of these items are discounted for the Black Friday-Cyber Monday shopping period so hope you're able to snag one at a discounted price.  I swear by all 5 of these items and they are all super useful.  What are some of your favorite tech/gadgets that you swear by?

P.S.  The results for the giveaway will be up later today!  Thanks to all those who entered!