Well-Reviewed Speakers And Headphones That Won’t Break The Bank

As the holiday season approaches, and the world continues to endure the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s time to start thinking of gifts for our loved ones that promote staying home, but remaining entertained as we all navigate these uncertain times. Music has become one of the most healing elements for some during this year.

A proper sound system, or personal headphone system, is essential for any music lover in your life, and now that we’re living in an era where the government wants us to stay home and watch movies, there’s never been a better time to upgrade your systems; without breaking the bank either. Here are some of the newest, and most-affordable, speaker and headphones available currently:

Razer Opus Wireless Headphones: These wireless headphones are $200 which is a relatively average price for quality devices such as these currently on the market. Reviews of these headphones suggest that they’re comfortable, have great sound quality, and a long battery life. Added bonuses include a compact carrying case and ear cups on the headphones that can swivel to rest on the users chest.

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Sony WF-XB700Z Earbuds: These earbuds have been highly regarded as one of the best wireless headphones on a budget. Some sale prices have even shown the earbuds costing less than $100, and for that low price individuals get a pair of earbuds that has the ability to increase bass-levels, and latch onto your ears securely without feeling tight. For the price, users claim the sounds quality is just as good as any other higher end wireless headphone on the market.

OnePlus Buds: These earbuds are only for individuals who use a OnePlus phone. If you own an Android they’ll still work, however, reviewers claim you get the best sound quality when they’re paired with their proper counterpart. At just $79 users get a pair of earbuds that look very similar to Apple’s Airpods with just as smooth of a smooth sound quality.

Beats Flex: The new Beats Flex are only $50, a significantly cheaper version of the Beats X earbuds. Beats has long been known for their noise-cancelling crisp sounds quality, and the Flex buds are no different. They offer 12 hours of battery life, and have a remarkably comfortable fit for its low price point.

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Sonos Ikea Speakers: Shifting gears into the speaker market, Sonos and Ikea have been working on their partnership for over a year now, and finally they’re ready to offer you their widely impressive and affordable speaker systems. The Symfonisk table lamp speaker is $179, but there’s also a bookshelf size of the same speaker for just $99. You can pick them up at your local Ikea or on the furniture stores website, but they aren’t available at third-party retailers such as Best Buy.

Marshall’s Emerton Bluetooth Speaker: This speaker is $149 and uses a simple USB-C cord to charge. The controls on the device mimic that of Marshall’s recent line of headphones as well. The buttons on this speaker make it extremely easy for anyone to use as well.

Amazon Echo Dot: The line of Alexa-enabled smart speakers from Amazon have long dominated the market and for good reason. Mainly because the line is quite large and varies greatly in pricing, ranging from $49.99 to $199.99, but all contain the same amazing sound quality levels and smart-home capabilities.

Father & Daugher

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is this Sunday, and with the world in such a chaotic state, many have likely forgotten that it was this weekend! However, there are plenty of last minute gifts you can order or go buy that will show your dad that you’re still thinking about them, especially now. During a pandemic, it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own anxieties, however, if anything it should make us all much more appreciative of the individuals that are still in our lives. So even if some of us can’t hug our dads this Sunday, we can still make them smile. 

Wireless headphones/earbuds are a great gift for any dad. My dad is personally still stuck in the 60’s and using a walkman, however, for Christmas we upgraded him with a brand new iPod to hold all his discographies. Now, it’s time to get him some sleek and portable headphones that he can use wherever and connect to any bluetooth capable device. Airpods are one of the most popular options, however, brands such as Bose, Beats, and Microsoft also have plenty of high quality wireless headphone options. 

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If you’re dad’s relatively active and enjoys basic dad things such as checking the weather, a smartwatch/fitness tracker would be perfect! If you just want to get a device that tracks all things fitness such as heart rate, steps, sleep patterns, etc. then Fitbit and brands like it offer cheap options for the dad who can’t stop moving! If your dad is a little more technologically inclined, something like an Apple Watch that is used for a multitude of things beyond just fitness, could also be perfect. 

A powerful speaker is another great option for the dad who likes to spend his weekends doing work around the house, cooking, or just relaxing in the backyard with an iced cold beverage. Smart speakers especially can help your dad play his music from any room in the house, and most are modernly designed to remain sleek while still delivering loud crisp sound. 

A shaving kit is a great staple gift to get for your dad as well. The Art of Shaving 5-piece Travel Kit specifically offers :4 elements for the perfect shave.” The kit itself includes a razor, black travel bag, pre-shave oil, shaving cream, and after-shave balm. All product sizes also meet TSA guidelines for any future travel. 

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Along those same lines, companies such as Birchbox offer a $10 monthly subscription box that will hand deliver your dad a package full of the latest skincare, grooming, and hair styling products for men. Birchbox specifically offers a grooming subscription service for men that mixes up the type of products your dad would receive every month. Once you give him the membership, your dad will be able to fill out a grooming profile online that will allow him to choose from brand name products that he already likes to help Birchbox understand what type of things he’s looking for. The box is equipped with sample sizes of every product but if there’s one in particular that your dad really enjoys, he’ll be able to order a full size easily through Birchboxes website. 

Mugs are so 2005, bring your dad into the next decade by getting him a Yeti insulated tumbler to keep all of his beverages either extremely hot, or extremely cold. Yeti in general has grown in popularity throughout the past few years; they’re most famously known for their industrial coolers. This particular tumbler features an easy to use lid, double wall insulation, and is completely dishwasher safe. 

Regardless of what you get your father this year, make you tell them how appreciative you are more than anything. During times of such uncertainty, it’s important to hold our loved ones as close as possible (or to appreciate them from 6 feet apart).

Fathers Day

Father’s Day Gift Ideas To Get For Your Outdoorsy Dad

If you have a father who enjoys travelling, he’s probably struggling with the thought of remaining indoors for the rest of the summer amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, since Father’s Day is coming up, now is the perfect time to get the special man in your life something that will remind him of life before the pandemic, and also that this will be over soon, and he’ll be able to hit the road soon enough!

This city map glass from the brand Uncommon Goods combines two great dad stereotypes, drinking dark liquor, and cheesy tourist gifts. The glasses are customizable for most US cities, so you can get a different one for every trip you and your dad took together, one for all the places you want to go in the future, your hometown, or all of the above!

A Fitbit Fitness Activity Tracker is a great staple gift to get for any active individual in your life, but if your dad is responsible for walking the family dog everyday, doing the food shopping, or in general just likes going for long hikes, this gift will be perfect for fathers day. The bracelet tracks how many steps you take in a day, your heart rate, sleeping patterns, and even has built-in GPS and Spotify capabilities. 

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The Jack Black Grand Tour Collection of toiletries for men is a widely popular travel grooming kit for middle-aged men (the company’s main demographic) on the go. The kit comes with deodorant, SPF moisturizer, shaving cream, face cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. 

The popular “Better Sweater” quarter-zip pullover from outdoorsy brand Patagonia is a super soft classic long-sleeve fleece that will definitely keep your dad warm during the cooler months of the year. You can wear it by itself in the fall, or under a winter coat for an extra layer of warmth. 

Polarized sunglasses in general make amazing gifts for dads. I think we all know what I mean when I say the term “dad sunglasses” so give your old man some style advice by buying him a fresh pair of polarized glasses. These will not only offer the best protection against the sun, but will also help your dad’s wardrobe upgrade a little. 

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If your dad fulfills every aspect of the man’s man dad stereotype, then this Leatherman Wave multi-tool should be a great gift for him. This sleek and portable tool packs in 16 different tool options, including a serrated knife, saw, pliers, a wrench, etc. 

Dads are also famously known for not knowing how to pack for vacation. Most don’t even have a solid overnight bag for shorter trips, so get your dad a nice new duffle bag. The gear we travel with is a part of our overall travel style as well, so by getting your dad a cool new faux leather bag, you’ll be indirectly helping upgrade his wardrobe yet again. 

Yeti has become one of the most popular cooler brands for the avid traveler/camper. The Yeti Hopper M30 Cooler is one of their more well-known products, and it has the same indestructible easy to carry chilling technology that the brand is famous for. 

Finally, no dad is complete without a solid pair of wireless headphones to listen to his music with. There are many brands of wireless headphones out there, and all are relatively credible, the kind you should get is more dependent on how much money you want to spend. The Bose QuietControl 30 Wireless headphones are very popular at the moment and retail for $300, while Apple’s original Airpod design currently retails for about half of that.

Mothers Day

This California Hotel Is Offering Private Dining Rooms For Families This Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and while we’re all busy trying to make the best out of living during a worldwide pandemic, it’s still important to give thanks to the special lady who raised you and made you the individual you are today. 

The Malibu Beach Inn is one of the many businesses throughout the US that’s giving its customers an exclusive Mother’s Day special this year that will make any mom smile while continuing to abide by social distancing policies. If you or your loved ones are currently quarantined in the Malibu/California area, the Malibu Beach Inn will be utilizing its Carbon Beach Club restaurant to provide an elegant Mother’s Day menu for families looking to treat the special lady in their lives to an evening of “dining out” and good food. 

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The packages for the meals start at just $45, and will be available for takeout delivery service all day this Sunday, May 10th. Chef Ryan from the Carbon Beach Club claims that for families in Malibu, he will be preparing a “celebratory to-go menu just for moms that includes tasty treats like crispy fingerling potatoes, heirloom carrots, roasted ora king salmon filet, maple thyme glazed heritage ham, and more.”

The Inn is also providing another dining option for those in the Malibu area this weekend. If you really want to take the dining experience to the next level, patrons can call and reserve an entire private dining suite to themselves for the evening. This way you, your mom, and the rest of your family can take a small trip out for some social distance service and fine dining.

The suites themselves also have a gorgeous view of the private oceanfront terrace that’s been the Inn’s main claim to fame since its opening. 

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For the in-person suite dining experience, the hotel’s personal wine expert will pair a wine with each course, depending on the customers personal taste preferences and what would pair best with the meal itself. However, to start the meal the Malibu Inn’s mixologist will handcraft a signature cocktail using a liquor of your choosing. All service is explicitly meant to abide by social distancing policies as well, and the space itself is set up to accommodate that. 

The Malibu Inn, like other hotel/motel industries in the US currently, is still open and adopting more intensive health, safety, and cleaning procedures to ensure the safety of every guest and all staff as well. If you are currently quarantined to that area and want to book a private dining experience/place a takeout order, you need to give them a 72-hour notice at least, so times running out! You can call them at (310) 460-7509 or check their website for additional information.

For those of us not living in the golden state, California has provided a multitude of 24/7 streaming services so anyone can enjoy the many landscape/beachfront views it has to offer. Beyond that, many hotel/restaurant chains in the United States are uploading their own personal dining room recipes for this Sunday, and there are a ton of online resources available to inspire you to get the perfect gift for your mom this year.

Happy Mothers Day

Gift Ideas Any Mom Would Love This Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and during a pandemic, it can be difficult to give her something really special. If you’re not quarantined with your mother, it can be especially hard to think of a good gift that you can give without physically having to be there. Here are some ideas to help you pick the perfect gift for the powerful woman in your life:

One company called Stride Travel is offering a new contest just in time for Mother’s Day this year. The winner of this contest will be able to take their mom anywhere in the world in 2021; this prize is following the assumption that by Mother’s Day 2021, this entire pandemic will have blown over. 

“Our aims are twofold, to celebrate the women who have raised and inspired us and to provide those with a love of travel a mental reprieve and opportunity to dream and indulge right now,”  Gavin Delany, the CEO of Stride Travel said. 

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All you have to do to enter is become a member of the “Stride Community” on their website and upload a one minute video to the #MomDeservesTheWorld Facebook Group, and tag @stridetravel in your post. Really tell Stride why your mom is so special to you, and make sure to mention where you’d want to take her and why. Good luck!

If you do win the Stride Travel contest, however, you still need something to give to your mom this year. When it comes to giving our moms something, the only option we really have is to ship something directly to their house, again assuming you aren’t quarantined together. 

A great gift idea that’s been trending on social media within the past month is a subscription to the “Good Good Good Newspaper.” With nothing but coronavirus updates constantly flooding our news feeds, it can be difficult to feel inspired or find any good news that’s occurring in the world today. For $7 a month, or $77 for a 12-month subscription, your mom will receive a home-delivered paper once a month with nothing but positive news stories. A weekly email will also be sent to your mother and it will include “tips on making a positive difference in your life” and coupons for sustainable brands. For every subscription, another one is added to be donated to a hospital or school. 

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Glow is one of the cheapest “smart” lighting options for your home. The portable and rechargeable battery-operated bedtime lamp has multiple lighting settings and dims gradually over 15 to 60 minutes, perfect for falling asleep. With the compatible iOS or Android app, your mom will be able to control the light settings to make it as bright, dim, and gradual as possible. 

The Nest Learning Thermostat is the epitome of smart home technology, and if your mom is as particular about the temperature of her home as mine is, this thermostat will be perfect for her. It’s easy to set up, and automatically starts learning your routine once it’s installed. This way, you can set up automatic scheduled temperature adjustments to change how much heat certain areas of the home receive throughout the day. This thermostat is widely popular because of its ability to save you money on your monthly heating and cooling bills. 

Finally, it’s important that your mom is keeping herself just as entertained as you’re keeping yourself. With a Roku Streaming Stick Plus, your mom can simply plug the USB-like device into her television, and she’ll automatically have access to practically every streaming-service on the market today. She’ll simply have to log into the accounts she has (Netflix, Hulu, Prime) and she’ll be good to go! The best part? The Roku Streaming Stick is only $50, which is relatively cheap when compared to its counterparts.  

Regardless of where your mom is spending her quarantine, you should always be reminding her that you’re thinking of her and appreciate everything she does, even if you can’t be in her presence for a little while.

Technology Gifts

The Best Tech Gifts That Won’t Break Your Bank

With the new decade right around the corner, it only seems fitting that this year everyone’s Christmas list seems to be filled with the latest and greatest pieces of technology. While smart watches, phones with a better camera quality than the human eye, wireless earbuds, and so on would make perfect gifts, they also are expensive. Technology is diverse and innovative, but it comes at a price. Instead of buying the major big ticket tech gifts and spending thousands of dollars, there are plenty of tech stocking stuffers that any lover of all things technology will definitely enjoy and use. 

AirPods, and wireless headphones in general, has been one of the most popular Christmas gifts within the past few years as the technology has grown and become more popular. If you know someone who owns wireless headphones, AirFly might be the perfect accessory gift for them. AirFly is a small device that’s made for plugging into any wired headphone jack and would allow you to connect your bluetooth headphones to whatever the jack is attached to. For example, if you’re on an airplane and don’t want to buy a pair of headphones just so you can watch a movie, you simply can plug AirFly into the TV’s headphone jack and then connect your bluetooth headphones to AirFly. Airplane use was what the original purpose of this device was; hence, the name AirFly. However, you can also use the device to plug into jacks in your car, at the gym, on a public computer desktop, and so on. AirFly is currently on sale for $27 on Amazon but is normally priced around $40 – $50 depending on where you buy it. It’s definitely cheaper than a standard pair of wireless headphones. 

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One of the biggest problems we all can relate to is not having a charger when we need it the most. A company known as Native Union has a line of personal charging cables for all of your devices on Amazon. The best part? They’re all made for on-the-go travel to ensure that you always have a charger on you just in case. One of their most popular products is their key cable, which simply attaches to your keychain. The cable itself is wrapped up tightly, so it’s not too bulky, and if it’s attached to your keys, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll always have a charger on you. Pricing ranges from $30 to $50. 

The perfect gift to go with some new portable charging cables would be a portable charger! This option really does make a perfect stocking stuffer and again, is universal enough for anyone to get use out of. The best part is stores such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart all have options under $25! Portable chargers are pretty much sold everywhere online; a simple Google search will lead you in the right direction and ensure that you won’t be breaking the bank. 

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A classic tech accessory that’s perfect and universal to give this year is a phone case! Beyond that, any type of personal device case would make the perfect gift this year. Silicone cases are generally the cheapest and can be easily found on any tech accessory website. There’s also a ton of customizable resources you can use online to buy cases that match anyone’s personality. A fun recommendation that I can give is to buy your loved one a plain case in a color that you feel they would love. Then, look up modern/trendy sticker variety packs such as this pack of over 2000 from Urban Outfitters. This way, the individual receiving the gift can make the case their own in whatever way they choose, and it takes the pressure off of you for finding the case that would best fit their personality. 

Finally, if you have someone in your life who is obsessed with all things TV, movies, and streaming, an Amazon Fire TV Stick is the perfect option. The Fire Stick is filled with all of the most popular streaming platforms: Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Prime Video, Disney +, etc. Additionally, if you have a standard cable package you can log in with your provider’s information and have access to all cable channels that have a viable app on the Fire Stick App Store (most standard channels have an app). Currently, Amazon is offering an amazing deal in which their fire sticks are only $25! If you want to spice it up a bit you can also get their holiday bundle which includes a third generation Echo dot for an additional $25 (for reference the Echo Dot is normally $50 on its own). 

Regardless of what you get for the tech nerd in your life, there’s plenty of options out there that will be sure to give them some Christmas cheer without breaking your bank. If you’re still struggling with what to get, don’t hesitate to go to the retail location for any tech store and ask an associate for recommendations on accessories to get for your loved ones below a certain price point. They’ll be happy to help you find whatever it is to stuff your stocking this year.