June 19, 2014

We’re excited to announce the first addition to our Ellie Collection, the Zip Around Clutch. To celebrate this collection’s arrival, we’re giving one away to a lucky follower. Enter to win below. Hurry, the sweepstakes ends June 26, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE: The sweepstakes period is over, but you can still get your hands on a case from our new Ellie Collection. And, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog or follow us on social media to learn about upcoming giveaways.

June 16, 2014

Amazon’s no stranger to the world of streaming music. However, the e-commerce giant has been struggling to compete in the space that’s crowded with popular options from Apple, Google, Spotify, and Beats, to name just a few.

But don’t count Amazon out just yet because they’ve just unveiled a new plan to lure its Prime members to its music streaming service. With the $99 membership, Amazon Music can now stream millions of songs and hundreds of pre-made playlists for free. From Daft Punk to Band of Horses and many more, Prime members now have access to it all through their existing membership.

“Today we’re introducing Prime Music—more than a million songs from some of music’s best artists, plus hundreds of expert-programmed Prime Playlists, all at no additional cost,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Prime Music is the latest great addition for Prime members and we think they’re going to love it.”

Among the features Prime Music brings to users is the ability to enjoy millions of free songs, with new music added regularly. Prime Music can also be mixed with music already on various devices to create more personalized libraries. You can even download your favorite songs and playlists for offline playback on mobile devices. And, unlike other free streaming music options, Prime Music provides an ad-free listening experience with unlimited skips and repeat plays.

Chances are you’ve already settled on a particular streaming option. But if you’re an Amazon Prime member, be sure to try out Prime Music to see if it’s right for you. It’s available now on just about any device, including Kindle Fire HD/HDX, iOS, Android, PC, Mac and any Web browser.

June 9, 2014

While the recent WWDC 2014 event didn’t bring news of the rumored iPhone 6 or a smartwatch, it certainly offered no shortage of new product announcements. Most notably was the unveiling of iOS 8, which received a subtle but significant overhaul that may change the way you use your device.

According to Apple, iOS 8 offers a simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience than the current operating system. New features include the iCloud Photo Library, a new Messages app, the QuickType keyboard and an entirely new Health app.

ios 8The iCloud Photo Library will give users the ability to share photos and videos anytime, anywhere, and across enabled devices. Updates to photos will be reflected across devices automatically, giving users Dropbox-like flexibility.

Messages was also revised to include a more immersive experience. Users are also given more control over group conversations, and there are more options for sharing videos and photos. Active lifestyles will benefit from the addition of a new Health app that allows health and fitness apps to communicate with each other—ultimately providing app developers with more tools and giving users more detailed insights about their health.

Arguably borrowing a bit from the Android ecosystem, Apple has also created a smarter and more personalized keyboard called QuickType. The keyboard offers predictive typing and even suggests favorite phrases, promising quicker messaging with fewer taps.

Apple hasn’t forgotten about Siri this year either. For starters, Siri can now identify whatever song you’re listening to using Shazam. Additionally, music and other content can now be purchased from iTunes through Siri, without requiring a visit to the iTunes app. In iOS 8, Siri can also post what you say to your Facebook or Twitter account, perform simple math, and find movie times, all hands-free without opening another application.

By no means is this an exhaustive breakdown of Apple’s latest generation iOS platform. It’s merely a hint of what exciting changes are in store for iPhone and iPad users. Although developers can get their hands on the beta software and SDK now, consumers will be able to take full advantage of iOS when it launches as a free software update this fall.

June 4, 2014

Plants should not only be incorporated into your diet, but just being around greenery could be good for the mind as well. In a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, researchers found that office plants helped improve attention and prevented fatigue.

In the workspace, we’re surrounded by an array of artificial elements. The study supports the Attention Restoration Theory, which asserts that a bit of nature can help people concentrate. The reason for this is that the mind is only capable of taking so much artificial simulation—such as gazing at a computer monitor for hours on end.

Simply having a few plants in the workplace has proven to improve the attention and focus of employees in several studies. It’s important to note that not all studies have necessarily showed increased productivity. This study suggests that mixed results on this topic is largely due to the variety of methods in which researchers used to determine plant-associated benefits.

Scientific American summarized this study’s particular approach:

To test their hypothesis that plants in an office setting would lead to benefits, the authors placed some participants in an office with four plants placed around a desk, and others in the same room without plants. All the participants first took a Reading Span Task to establish a baseline measure of attention capacity, then a proof-reading task, followed by another Reading Span Task to establish any change in their attention capacity.

And the results? Those in the office with plants improved their performance during the second Reading Span Task. Those without plants did not improve.

Based on the unique way in which this study was conducted and measured, it did find real cognitive benefits. So whether you’re decorating your workspace at home or at the office, don’t forget to include some leafy greens. Just a touch of nature can help you stay focused throughout the day.

A complete copy of the study can be found in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Image credit: joseph14078

May 29, 2014

Father’s Day is nearing and it’s a fun holiday to treat our dads. They’ve taught us valuable lessons, helped us through troubled times, and given us a hard time when we we’ve gotten out of line.

Buying a gift for Dad isn’t easy, but he deserves something more special than a tie or a coffee mug. Whether he’s a sports fan, a movie aficionado, or a technophile, we have a few suggestions that might make shopping for Father’s Day a little easier.

But don’t forget, whatever you decide on, just make sure the old man knows he’s appreciated on his special day.

 

 

ipad-air

iPad Air

For the Apple lover, the iPad Air certainly won’t disappoint. It’s unbelievably lightweight and comes with a 9.7-inch Retina display, ultrafast wireless, 5 MP iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, and much more. With up to 10 hours of battery life it’ll keep your Dad occupied for hours.

 

 

beats-by-dre powerbeats

Beats Powerbeats

If your dad loves to run, cycle, or hit the gym in his downtime, help him stay connected to his favorite tunes. These in-ear headphones will stay in place during his workouts and will always sound fantastic thanks to noise isolation.

 

 

roku 3

Roku 3

What dad doesn’t like watching TV? The Roku 3 is arguably the best Internet media box available. It will give your dad hundreds of channels to enjoy. Make sure to set him up with Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and Amazon Instant for the optimal streaming experience.

 

 

lexington collection

Art of Shaving Lexington Flexball Razor

For the dad who relishes a perfect shave, you can’t do much better than the Lexington Flexball Razor. The razor pivots to responds to facial contours, helping shave more difficult areas. A sleek handle wrapped in a satin black finish gives it that added premium touch.

 

 

chromecast

Google Chromecast

If your dad is fanatic about his Android smartphone or tablet, consider Google’s Chromecast. Unlike other media streaming devices, Chromecast lets you stream online shows, movies, music and more to your TV using your Android device, all for just $35.

 

 

sonos

Sonos Play

Is your Dad always glued to his iTunes library? If so the Compact Wireless Speaker from Sonos Play is perfect. Whether he’s tinkering in the garage or barbequing on the patio, he’ll always be able to connect to his music wirelessly.

 

 

Nike FuelBand SE

Nike+ Fuelband

For the health conscious, the Nike+ Fuelband is a fun gadget. It automatically tracks your physical activity all day, every day – counting calories, miles, dancing, you name it. By logging on to the Nike+ FuelBand mobile app iOS app or website, Dad can set goals, see his progress, and even get a dose of motivation to keep moving.

 

 

My-Paris-Kitchen

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories

If your Dad is an aspiring chef, keep him inspired with this insightful book on Parisian food. Author and Chef David Lebovitz includes 100 French recipes and incredible photography that will trigger your Dad’s appetite for traditional French dishes. Lebovitz also shares his stories and humorous observations on living in the culinary capital of the world.

 

 

tsovet jpt-pw36

Tsovet JPT-PW36

Perfect for dressing up or dressing down, Tsovet’s latest timepiece offers classic styling, a hand-stitched “Horween Leather” strap, and a price that won’t break the bank.

 

 

heritage pouch

Heritage Pouch

This is just one of several genuine leather cases in our Father’s Day Gift Guide. Part of the new Heritage Collection, this pouch wraps the Samsung Galaxy S5 in leather with a unique finish to build character with natural scuffs and markings. It also boasts a lush herringbone printed lining that adds style and protection.