Tag: smart home

Tech Swellness: At home with Amazon

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Now having been home without any international travel for a whole year, I’ve slept in my own bed more in the last 365 days than I have for the past decade or so. Being at home so much has made me want to carve out ways to streamline routines and habits, and make it a little more comfortable. Having routines can help ease stress, and so they contribute to your overall mental health.

I had a chat with Amazon Canada who teamed up with designer Arren Williams several weeks ago and learned about Amazon’s lineup of products and how they could work with my home decor. Although I’ve used a few Amazon products for a couple of years now, I recently upgraded both my Echo and my Firestick. I don’t consider myself a very techy person but the new and improved Echo and Fire TV Stick are such fun and do make my everyday life at home better.

The new Echo, an adorable sphere, fits in better with my aesthetic compared to the previous model I had (a black cylinder), and I’ve set up one routine thus far on it. Each morning, I say “Alexa, good morning!” and Alexa replies with the date (I never know the date so I like this little reminder), the time, the weather (so I know how to get dressed for the day, although let’s face it, it’s pretty much either sweatsuits and running gear now during lockdown life), what’s on my calendar for the day, and it ends with news tidbits from CBC News.

This routine I’ve set up is a quick little rundown that helps me prepare for the day. I left out traffic since I don’t drive regularly. I should set up a bedtime routine, too; that’s next on my to-do list. There’s another routine they suggest, which is for Alexa to share the weather once you turn off the alarm, which is a good one if you don’t have time to do the entire detailed good morning routine. Add in a traffic report if you’re driving, too (I mostly walk or bike so I’ve left that one out). And as always, the Echo is great as a Bluetooth speaker for listening to Spotify or my favourite podcasts (I’m currently catching up on episodes of Conan O’Brien’s podcast, along with Fake Doctors Real Friends, and Office Ladies).

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And the Amazon Fire TV Stick? I got one a few years ago and loved that I no longer had to watch everything on my laptop, which is great since I got rid of cable and  now mostly watch shows streaming from Prime, Netflix and C rave. My favourite thing about the new Fire TV Stick I got to replace my oldie? It has power, volume and mute on the remote, which is extremely handy for me since I seem to have misplaced my TV remote. But even better, it has an Alexa Voice Remote, so I just hold down the button and say, “Alexa, play Superstore” and it automatically finds and plays Superstore from Prime. Helluva lot more convenient than first having to google which streaming service a show is on, going onto the streaming service and then tediously typing in the show and searching for it. The Alexa Voice Remote is a game changer and IMO worth upgrading to the current Fire TV Stick if you’ve got an older model.

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My newest tech toy isn’t that new to the market but I’ve never had any smart lightbulbs until now. I’m excited to test out the Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting because I have a bad habit of falling asleep with the light on. Now I can set a routine for the light to slowly dim (and maybe it’ll prompt me to go to bed at a decent hour!) so that I don’t wake up at 3 a.m. to turn it off. And to help me wake up in the mornings? I can set up a routine to gradually brighten to help me ease into the day (which is especially helpful now in the winter with the sunrise so late). I’m only just getting started using the Philips Hue but I think it’ll really benefit my sleep routine. Stay tuned, I’ll report back on my Instagram!

How smart is your home? The smart home tools I’ve tried out so far really benefit my health and lifestyle (you don’t want to know how often I’ve used it to help find my phone in my place. Sometimes I find myself asking Alexa to help me find everything from my keys (and I don’t have a Tile on them) to my library book, that is how hooked I am!

Disclosure: Amazon Canada gifted me with the Amazon and Philips products.

2 Comments February 19, 2021


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