Friday, January 31, 2014

A Gift He Can Use and Love Every Day

More than Just a Coffee Pot

My brother is the one who started the Keurig coffee maker trend in our family. At first I thought he was crazy because it seemed like those little cups would make drinking coffee so expensive.

Basically Keurigs are coffee pots that brew one cup of coffee at a time (with options for how many ounces you want to brew.) They were made to work specifically with little single use cups that brew the hot beverage and then you throw it away. The idea is that it is easier to make just one cup of coffee if that is all you drink, then it is always fresh. Plus if you have a decaf and a regular drinker then you can make a cup for both, quickly and easily.

My husband and I are not big coffee drinkers so I didn't even consider buying one. But somehow my brother managed to convince our dad and he got one.

Then my husband and I spent a few days at my dad's house…

He let us use his Keurig, and made us several different types of coffee. He even shared his precious Double Black Diamond with us. (That is his favorite, I didn't really like it but apparently it is a really good dark roast.) I thought it was a cool machine because it could  easily make a different type of hot beverage for each of us in less time than it takes a normal coffee pot to make just one kind.

I still wasn't convinced that we needed to spend the money on one though. (We don't even drink coffee every day.) But apparently my husband had a different experience, or had thought it through more than I did, because when we got home he did some research and then ordered one. I'm glad he did for several reasons.

·         Better for Entertaining Guests – I don't think my husband cares so much, but I love it for offering drinks to guests. It is so easy to offer several types of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to our visitors. I love being able to provide them with exactly what they like every time. It is a nice added touch of hospitality.
·         Drink More Tea – This machine is a great way to simply make hot water. We drink a lot more tea than coffee, and we drink a lot more tea than we did before. It is so nice to share a quick and convenient hot beverage with someone special. And for an extra special cup of tea, check out this Death Star Tea Infuser.
·         Don't have to Use K-Cups – The option my husband and I use most is the reusable filter. By using this you can just add coffee grounds instead of using a K-Cup. We like to save money and to drink specialty flavors, so we buy bagged coffee and use the K-Cups for guests or special occasions. This is especially useful for decaf drinkers because there are not as many decaf options in the K-Cups.
·         Customer Service – Some of the reviews say that it stops working after awhile. (To prevent this you just have to clean it out with vinegar sometimes.) But, if it doesn't work anymore or if it is giving you a less than optimal coffee drinking experience you can just call the company and they are great about replacing it.

The Keurig Experience

My dad loves his so much that he even eventually bought the Keurig Mini so that he could have delicious coffee on vacation. We all love to make jokes about "inferior" free coffee at hotels and how we can't drink that stuff anymore. But like so many people, he gets great pleasure out of sitting and relaxing with a nice cup of coffee. It adds to the vacation experience, and to every day moments like reading a book or watching the birds in the feeder. Good coffee really does make a difference.

Another really great thing about getting someone a Keurig K-Cup Home Brewer as a gift is that it provides an opportunity for continued giving. If we ever don't know what to get my dad for a holiday we can always fall back on getting him a box of Double Black Diamond or some other favorite selection of K-Cup.

The nice thing about giving K-Cups is that, although they are slightly more expensive, they make a much classier gift than just a can of bulk generic coffee from the grocery store. It is a special treat, and that is what presents are supposed to be.

Using the reusable filters also allows for a wider variety of gifts. Isn't it great to find little local shops who sell small brown bags of specialty coffees or teas? Those make great thoughtful gifts, sometimes they even come in a gift basket. If the person you are shopping for has the reusable filters they don't have to miss out on the huge selection of specialty coffees available all over the place.

Who Would Appreciate this Gift and for Which Occasions?

Of course coffee drinkers are at the top of the list, but anyone who enjoys a good hot beverage once in awhile will appreciate it, too. This is great for any occasion. It isn't overly personal, but is very useful. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and house warming gifts are just some ideas.

Another great time to give this as a gift is if you are going to stay with someone who doesn't have one already, but you are big coffee drinker. You can get one for them so that you can use it during your stay! It is only a little self-serving, and they'll appreciate it later.

The Keurig Mini is also available in colors! Maybe I will be able to convince my husband that we should travel more if I get him the green one. He loves green.

Do you have any experience with Keurig Coffee Brewing Systems? Any other thoughts? Share with us in the comments below!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Even the Guardians of Peace and Justice Need to Relax Sometimes

Star Wars Jedi & Sith Bath Robes
A Gift for Lounging, Warmth, and Lightsaber Battles

I found one of the most difficult gifts to select for my man was a wedding present. We had decided to exchange gifts after our wedding ceremony, so I went in search of wedding gift ideas for men on the internet. One idea that I found was to write him a letter every day leading up to the wedding about my thoughts and feelings. I did this (yay free gift!) and he actually really liked it.

I wasn't impressed with the other ideas that my search turned up. A lot of sites suggested I get adult style pictures taken of myself and give them to him. I knew he respected me too much to want something like that, and I wasn't at all interested anyway. I looked at knives, but I couldn't figure out exactly which one he would want. Finally I came across these Star Wars Jedi & Sith Bath Robes.

A bathrobe is personal enough to make a good wedding present. It is appropriate for a man. It is something he will use frequently. And, since it is a Jedi robe (complete with hood and emblem) it gives it the extra touch that makes it a thoughtful gift. He liked it right away, used it on our honeymoon, and still uses it often. Sometimes he uses it because he wants to warm up, or while he is dressing after a shower. But sometimes he just pretends he is a Jedi and walks around with a Lightsaber. (I will post about those soon.)

I asked him if he actually likes his robe, and why. He said:

"It's warm and soft and I look like a Jedi."

What more could a man want, really?

The quality is very good, especially for the price. It has held up really well. It really is very soft. The sleeves have bigger cuffs for a real Jedi look. The hood is a really nice touch for extra cold days, or for looking like a real Jedi, of course. Sometimes prop type items like this are made of low quality material and depend on their novelty to sell. (Like kids' Halloween costumes.) This is not at all one of those times. This is a really great bathrobe that just happens to look like Obi'Wan Kenobi might wear it.

Also, don't worry. If your man is more of a Dark Side kind of guy, there is also a Sith bathrobe available. The Jedi robe is brown and has the symbol of the Jedi Order on it and the Sith robe is black with the Imperial symbol on the chest.

Who Should I buy this for and for Which Occasions?

As I mentioned before, this was a fantastic wedding gift from the bride to the groom. Valentine's Day or anniversaries also come to mind. Really, any occasion is appropriate but it might be best to save it for those more personal ones since it is usually hard to figure out a gift to get a guy for romantic holidays.

It isn't so personal, however, that you couldn't get it for a dad, brother, or close friend who is in need of a good bathrobe. This is great for any guy who doesn't have a bathrobe or who has one that is old, falling apart and is maybe a little moldy. Why do guys keep things like that anyway? Replace it with this one and he won't even notice the old one is gone.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tell Him it is a Tool, Not Cleaning Equipment

How to get Your Man to Help with Housework and Give a Gift He Will Love

I'm not sure why, but ever since my husband got a Dyson he doesn't let anyone else do the vacuuming if he can help it. Maybe it is because a Dyson vacuum cleaner works so well that it seems more like a tool to him than cleaning equipment. He likes the fact that it has a lot of accessories and that "it just works properly" as their tagline brags.

It sounds crazy but he really does enjoy vacuuming now. He just pops his headphones in and vacuums the whole house. It even works great on the tile floors so he does the kitchen for me when I haven't swept in awhile.

Positives and Negatives

Dyson vacuum cleaners really do work better than other vacuums. They are easy to empty and clean. The bagless design is really nice so that you don't have to deal with trying to match or buy specific bags. They come in pretty colors. (My husband doesn't mind that ours is purple.) The ball design makes it easy to steer, push and pull. The attachments work well and are actually useful. The entire cleaning experience is surprisingly much more pleasant.

The only negative I can think of is that they are fairly pricey, especially if you buy a new one. We have a refurbished one that has worked great for several years. It was worth the price to get a high quality vacuum that really works.
Great Gifts

These make great gifts for weddings, housewarmings, and for going off to college. It is really nice to get it for single guys, they need to learn how to clean anyway. Buying one for your spouse as a gift is a great idea. Has anyone else noticed how categories on most websites that say "Gift ideas for her" are mostly cleaning products? A Dyson Vacuum cleaner is an idea for some payback that he will love. 

The Best Device for Reading

Kindle Paperwhite Really is All It's Cracked up to Be

I think my husband originally liked the idea of having a Kindle because they really resemble the reading devices they have in Star Trek. The amazing thing is that this piece of technology actually works as well as it does in the futuristic TV show.

In case you don't know much about Kindle products or haven't read any Kindle Paperwhite reviews before, the basic idea is that it is a hand held reading device. It can hold thousands of books at one time, but is small and convenient. The feature that sets the Paperwhite apart is the built in light. (More on that later.)

Why This Instead of Other Similar Products?

He has an iPad Mini, which is a small tablet that he loves. It is small, not as light as a Kindle, but still smaller than most paper books. He can read on that device, so why get the Kindle Paperwhite? In this situation the Paperwhite wins out for reading for a few reasons.

·         Easy on the Eyes - Kindle products are designed specifically to avoid eye strain by using e-Ink technology. He can read for hours and not get tired eyes from staring at the screen.
·         Battery Life – Again, Kindles use e-Ink technology which makes the batteries last for weeks or even months. Other electronic devices are good if they last even a couple of days without charging.
·         Smaller and Lighter – Since it is smaller it is much more comfortable for reading, particularly when lying down.
·         No Glare – One of the features Amazon loves to brag about with this product is that it doesn't have any glare regardless of sunlight. I can see why because it is absolutely true. This e-reader is easy and comfortable to read in any light.

He previously had the really old Kindle with the keyboard on it, and technically that still worked fine but he was ready for an upgrade. It is nice to know that generally speaking Kindle products last a long time with no problems, at least based on his experience with the older model. I had the regular Kindle before, and that worked fine as well. So why choose the Paperwhite over a standard Kindle? There are few main reasons.

·         Built-in Light – This is the most important special feature that this product has, especially compared to the older model. He used to have one of those separate lights to read in the dark that clips on. Some of those lights aren't bad, but none of them are really great. Somehow this light makes the screen readable without causing eye strain. Plus, he can read it in bed and it doesn't light up the whole room so I can go to sleep.
·         Time Left in Chapter – There is a small monitor in the corner of the screen that tells you how much time is left until the end of the chapter. Not just pages but actual time. It estimates based on how fast you are getting through each page and how many pages are left. He loves this feature because he can make a quick decision about if he should keep reading to get to a good stopping point or just quit in the middle.
·         Better Contrast – This newer device has a sharper image than the old one. The older one wasn't bad anyway, though.

He sometimes still reads real books made out of paper. That works well for books that are more of a reference style read, so you can flip through pages quickly and even write notes on the side, but for most reading applications the Paperwhite is still a better option for several reasons.

·         Cheaper (or Free) Books – Often, Kindle version books are cheaper than the actual paper book. And, books that are past their copyright date are free to load from Amazon. Libraries also support this platform and books can be "checked out" from the library website.
·         Lighter – When traveling this is especially important. Now he can bring hundreds of books on an airplane instead of just trying to squeeze one or two in a carry-on. It also makes it easier to lay down and read. It is also convenient for waiting rooms.
·         Built-in Light! – I will say it again, this is the best feature. There is no need for a lamp or other light to be on in the room. It illuminates itself and is easy to read in any light setting. Brightness can be turned up or down according to preference, as well.
·         Technology – Some guys just like things because they involve electronics or technology. Why not? Sometimes technology makes things better and more convenient. This is definitely one of those times.
·         Further Gifts are Easy – If you want to buy him more gifts you can buy the code for a book right on Amazon, print it out and put it in a nice gift bag. Or, for real convenience you can just email the code directly to him or have it loaded to his account. You don't even have to leave the house, so last minute gifts are always easy. No more waiting for it to be shipped!

Who to Buy it for and Which Occasions

This is a great gift for anyone who enjoys reading at all, it is especially good for those who love reading and devour books. Boyfriend, husband, dad, brother, son, or friend will all appreciate this. Anyone who can handle a little bit of technology and who enjoys reading is a safe bet. Some people like to collect real paper books though, so make sure your recipient isn't trying to build their own personal library in their house or something first.

We had two Kindle Paperwhites on our wedding registry and got them both. It is another item, like the Hue light bulb, that is good for an item that is more geared towards the man on a registry. It is nice for birthdays, Christmas, or even romantic festivities. Buy him a book that is fitting for the occasion at the same time to help it to meet the theme. (Maybe a parenting book for the new dad on Father's day.) This is a great gift for just about anyone for almost any occasion.

And as a side note, when you are ordering you will be able to choose between "with special offers" or "without special offers". This means that when the Kindle goes to the "screensaver" it will either display and ad or it won't. I haven't found the ad to be bothersome. The only time it is there is when the device is not in use anyway.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Hassle-Free Affordable Printer that Works!

After working in an office for four years I developed a healthy hatred for printers. I even owned one for a couple years, though can only remember using it a couple times because, as you well know, printers never work properly. This comic sums up my feelings about printers.

So when my dear husband announced to me that we needed to get a printer I was concerned. I understand the desire for the idea of a printer. It would be nice to be able to print things conveniently and cheaply. I thought it would be nice to print recipes for my collection, tax forms to bring to the tax guy, or whatever else comes up randomly. But surely, buying a printer is a waste of money! Right?

The Printer that Actually Works

He agreed that buying a printer is a dangerous risk indeed and started doing research. He ended up researching printers more than just about any piece of technology he has purchased. Other than avoiding the common situation of buying a printer and then never using it because of the cost and endless frustrations involved, he had several other specifications that he wanted met.

·         Google Cloud Print – He wanted it to be compatible with Google Cloud Print. He explained that this means it can print from your Google Drive (documents and spreadsheets and such that you can save to your email account, basically) right through your email. And, it means that you can print from anywhere in the world to your home computer. I guess this would be helpful if one of us is far away and the other person needs something from our email printed? It seemed important to him, so why not?
·         Air Print – This means that you can print from any Apple device. This is especially useful to him to print from his iPad Mini, MacBook, iPhone and any other gadget I don't know about.
·         Duplex Printing – It can print on both sides of a piece of paper all by itself. So you don't have to figure out if you need to load the paper back in face down or face up to get it to print on the back. (I always guess wrong.)
·         Wireless – Desk space is a hot commodity for any guy who loves technology, and printers are big. They are probably the only type of electronic device that doesn't get smaller and better over time. Our printer lives in the closet with the modem, router and other things with flashing lights.
·         Low Cost Per Page – I thought of it in terms of, why would I print a coupon if it cost more to print it than the amount of money I will save on ground beef? It also seems pointless to print something if it costs less to drive to Kinkos and have them print it out there.
·         Ink Jet – I don't know much about the difference between Ink Jet and Laser printers, but since we don't print very much he didn't think it was worth it to spend extra money to get a laser printer.
·         Single Feature – It is surprising how hard it is to find a printer that isn't also a scanner-copier-fax-coffee-pot-all-in-one. Who uses fax machines anyway? He already has a scanner (here is a link to the cool scanner he already has) and we didn't need a bunch of extras that we would never use.

After much diligence he found the one! This printer can do it all. Much to my shock and delight, it actually works. I hit print, and it prints. When it runs out of paper I add more and then it prints what I asked it to. I've never seen it print that page of Wingding happy faces and hearts or even an ink test page. It does good work and even functions without jams using cheap paper we bought at Walmart.

I am very happy to say that I don't hate this printer, and the best part is that he likes it, too. He does not approve of technology that doesn't work properly and will fidget with it until it does. This printer has been perfect ever since we got it. He did put a lot of work in to finding it, but it was all worth it in the end because he found the one printer that is actually worth buying.

A Printer as a Gift?

Okay, a printer isn't exactly exciting, fun or romantic. It meets more of a need than a want, but one that actually works correctly is a rare gift indeed. I suggest this printer for anyone who needs to do at home printing, anyone who has always wanted a printer but is tired of the frustration that comes with bad ones, and someone who is going off to college. This printer works even right before deadlines. (Many evil printers stop working right before term papers are due.)

As for occasions to give this as a gift, going off to school as stated above, a birthday or Christmas gift for someone who is more practical than emotional about presents, starting a new job etc. It is also a good add on gift for someone getting a first computer.

What is Included

This printer comes with everything he will need to get started. No need to run out for cables, paper or ink. The paper pack it comes with is just a sample pack so that is the first thing that will be needed. It is nice sample paper, though. The ink it comes with can print about 1000 pages, but when you need more you can buy whichever one you need here.

Enjoy the fruits of my husband's weeks of research about printers. Buy one that actually works and enjoy it for years to come!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Pebble Smart Watch is a Smart Gift

My husband has several watches so when he bought the Pebble Smart Watch I wasn't surprised. I was surprised that he actually uses it and has forsaken all of his other watches. (Although, he hasn't sold them yet.) This watch must be really remarkable to end the daily debate of, "Which watch should I wear today?"

What is so special about this watch?

In case you haven't heard of it or read any other Pebble Smart Watch reviews, the basic idea is that it is a watch that connects wirelessly to your cell phone using a Bluetooth signal. As if we aren't already too attached to our cell phones as it is, right? But, the men love it for lots of reasons.

·         Two-Way Communication with Phone – The phone sends updates to the watch about text messages, emails, phone calls, Facebook messages and anything else he chooses. He doesn't even have to take it out of his pocket to read the text. All the important features of different apps can be controlled on the watch.
·         More Polite & Convenient – My husband is often on call for his job. I appreciate this watch because it is much more polite to look down at his watch and push a button to decline an incoming phone call if it isn't important than it is to pull his phone out and check. It draws less attention. He can even read my text messages when he is in meetings at work. Granted, he can't respond until he can take his phone out, but it is nice that I can contact him in an emergency or just to text sweet nothings.
·         Looks Good for Any Occasion – My husband has the black one, but there are lots of colors like red, white, grey and even skins to protect and change the color. (Skins come in many different colors including brushed aluminum, silver carbon fiber, red carbon fiber, glossy green, and glossy blue.) He wears his all the time. He even wore it to a formal event and it looked good. They say you can wear it to work out as well, but he hasn't done that.
·         Plugs in to Charge – Instead of having to constantly buy those little expensive batteries this watch just plugs in to charge. The company says it lasts 5-7 days without a charge. I know my husband can go at least three, but he usually charges it up along with his phone at night anyway.
·         Change the Look – The watch face itself can be changed to a lot of different things. My husband had one for awhile that looked like a Star Trek computer console. There are lots of various styles that can be downloaded constantly free of charge. That makes it a little more fun. Guys love customizing their gadgets.
·         Control Music – Just about anything on the smart phone can be set up to be controlled on this watch. It is really convenient for music (even Pandora) because if the phone is in a pocket or armband for working out he won't have to pull it out and look at it to change a song or setting. (That's what I would use it for, my husband isn't much in to working out.)
·         Male Bonding – It is funny, but true. On several occasions I have witnessed spontaneous male bonding because of this watch. A water purification system salesman, the desk clerk at an oil change shop, a waiter, and even some strangers have randomly commented by saying, "Is that the Pebble watch?" Immediately he grins because he gets to show off this toy and what it can do. The boys are BFFs from then on.

Some other things to note:
·         If you send the little Emoji pictures in a text message they show up as squares on the watch, but he can still see them on the phone.
·         It will work with iOS (Apple products) and Android phones. There is a complete list in the details on the webpage linked here but basically it works with any of the more recent operating systems.
·         The screen is dark until you shake it slightly or until it gets a message. This helps with battery life and it looks good.
·         Vibration alerts can be turned on or off.
·         The charging cable is included and can be plugged in to anything that accepts a USB cable. Typically that means a computer or a USB wall adapter (that is usually what is used to charge an iPhone, or a USB wall outlet reviewed here).

This is a great gift for…

Buy this for any man who loves watches and technology. (That's all of them, isn't it?) Make sure he has a compatible smart phone first, but this is nice for husband, boyfriend, dad, brother or any other special guy. It is a really nice gift for any occasion. The price is right for a watch, especially compared to some of the other watches these guys buy, and it can do so much more!

This Valentine's Day if you are asking yourself, "Which watch should I buy for my husband?" The Pebble Smart Watch is the answer. Now you will just have to figure out which color he would like best!

Oh! And by the way, if you want one for yourself they have separate skins you can buy in pink and purple.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Smart Light Bulbs - What a Bright Idea!

"Why doesn't anyone buy me light bulbs?"

This is an actual whining lament from my husband on Christmas night after all of his presents were opened. Sure, he got some really good stuff, but no one had bought him the light bulbs that were on his wish list. A short time later, almost as a joke, I bought him one of these bulbs for his birthday. Much to my delight it was the first gift he "played" with, and I think one of his favorites.

No Ordinary Light Bulb

Of course the light bulbs in question aren't just any old standard bulb. These are Philips Hue smart bulbs! They are extraordinary and worth the extra money, especially for the tech nerd on your list. They have special features, and of course, can be controlled with a smart phone. This is why they are so magical:

·         LED – As near as I can tell, LED means that they are high efficiency so they cost less in electricity over time than the older style bulbs. LED light bulb also says to me, "not dangerous like those curly bulbs if they break, and they don't make annoying high pitched noises when they are on." (I have annoyingly good hearing so this is important to me.) LED also means that it isn't fluorescent so it is less likely to cause migraines. (You know what I mean, fellow migraine sufferers.)
·         Long Lasting – Again, because it is an LED bulb it will last a very long time. They say 15 years or 15,000 hours. Some sites suggest even longer, but these numbers are a good minimum to expect. The initial investment doesn't seem as bad when you add up how much money you spend on replacement bulbs in that amount of time. (Or so my husband convinced me.)
·         Colors! – With the Hue light bulbs you don't just get a plain old yellow or white light. You get every color on the spectrum. This is the fun part. Changing the color theme of the bulbs in a room is how my husband likes to "decorate" for different seasons or events. We had two of these bulbs in the living room (now three thanks to the birthday present) so he could change them to red and green for Christmas, blue and white for Hanukkah, or any other colors to match the theme of the day. (Think favorite sports teams etc.)
·         Themes and Dimming – There are some premade themes available which indicate which light is best for reading, energizing, relaxing etc. It is perfect for an analytical perfectionist like my husband. He loves having things "just right" for every situation. The dimming is a great way to compromise for a couple where one likes the lights on and the other partner likes them off. You can even create and save your own themes.
·         Technology Controlled – This is his favorite part, and probably the reason every guy loves these light bulbs so much. He can control them from anywhere with his phone or iPad. As long as the switch is in the "on" position he can turn the lights on and off, change the colors, and even set up a schedule.
o   Text Your Bulbs? - He even figured out some way to basically send the light bulbs a text message to tell them to do something. So now when I am home and I don't answer my phone (who leaves a ringer on anyway?) he can flash the lights at me until I look and see I missed a call. He loves playing with the lights this way.
o   Don't get out of Bed – I think sometimes he leaves the living room lights on just so he can get all snuggly in bed and then say, "Oops I left the lights on" and then hit the "All Off" button in his light bulb app to turn off all the lights in the house. I'll admit that this has come in handy many times.
o   Lights at Home while You are Away – Even if we have already left home he can make sure we turned all the lights off. I wish we could say the same for all the appliances. And if we go on vacation he loves to turn the lights on and off sometimes so it looks like we are still at home. They can even be set to turn on when you get home by detecting the proximity of your cell phone.
o   Color Match – We haven't used this feature much, but you can match the light bulb color to pictures you have. The example the company uses is a picture of a sunset. You can match different bulbs in the same room to different colors in the photograph you have in order to recreate the sunset experience. This is one of those features that guys love to talk about even if they never use it.
o   Music and Other Extras – You can even set up the bulbs to flash or change color according to the music that is playing. You or your special guy can have your very own dance party. They can also flash on and off or slowly rotate through all the colors. These are some of the features that make it a toy and not just a light bulb.
o   Third Party Apps – There is an app that comes with it to control the light bulbs, but since the company decided to make their material available other people have come up with their own apps to control these lights. Some are simply easier to use, while others add features that control the light bulbs in whole new ways. My techy husband loves the idea of continued development.

Why HUE Over Other Brands?

We first came across the idea for a smart light bulb on Kickstarter. (It is a pretty cool idea development website if you've never heard of it before.) Someone was asking for money to develop and market their smart bulb idea. It seemed like a great idea right from the start.

My husband of course did meticulous research before he bought anything. He decided to go with the Philips brand because an established company would provide support and continued improvements if anything did go wrong with this very new idea. He also liked the potential for third party apps mentioned above. These bulbs were also slightly less expensive.

How They Work and What You Need to Buy

The light bulbs connect through a "bridge" device that connects to a wireless internet router. If you have wireless internet in your house, you will be able to use these bulbs.
If you don't already have any of these bulbs you will need a starter pack, like this one. It comes with a bridge that will connect all the light bulbs to your control devices. One bridge can control up to fifty light bulbs so if they are just for your home one is probably sufficient, meaning you only have to buy one pack with a bridge and then just individual light bulbs from then on. The starter packs also come with three bulbs to get you addicted.

The light bulbs fit in standard light fixtures so you don't have to buy any new ones. We have some in ceiling fan lights and some in standing lamps.

Hue was designed specifically to work with Apple products, but there are apps available to make them work with Android and other platforms (certain Kindle devices can even control them.) If your special guy has an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or other iOS device that is relatively new then he should have no problems. There is a list here if you scroll down and look under "Specifications" in case you want to double check before you buy anything.

Another important note is that even if you aren’t as tech savvy as your man, or you don't like the idea of using your phone to control the lights (a switch is good enough!) then you can still turn the lights on and off using the same light switch as before. They have a standard looking light color that turns on automatically when you use the wall switch.

Appropriate Gift Occasions

This is a fantastic gift for any guy who loves the latest technology. If he hasn't heard of them before he might raise an eyebrow when he opens his present and it is a box of light bulbs, but pretty soon you'll be scolding him like a child playing with the lights. He will love them and will want to show them off to all of his friends.

·         Birthdays – The box isn't very big to open, which is always a little disappointing when you spend a decent amount of money on something you want it to be bigger for them to open. But, he will use them every single day, and enjoy them the whole time.
·         Wedding – It is hard to find things to put on a wedding registry or to buy someone as a wedding gift that isn't specifically geared towards the woman. This is something both the bride and groom will love, but it leans towards being for the man.
·         Baby – I think the slow color changing feature and the dimming feature make these bulbs great for a baby's room. We put them on our baby registry, much to the delight of my husband. Like most guys, he gets more involved and enthusiastic if he can find a way to incorporate technology.
·         Anniversaries & Romantic Holidays – Valentine's Day and anniversaries are easy for guys; they can just buy flowers, chocolate, a stuffed animal etc. Everything is geared towards buying for girls. But what is the girl supposed to get the guy? If he already has all the watches he could ever need (if he doesn't, check out this Pebble smart watch) then it can be a tough decision. These light bulbs are a fun gift that he will really enjoy. They are practical but sweet because they are different and unique.
·         A Gift You Can Keep Giving – The initial starter pack is around $200 which includes three light bulbs. After that you can keep buying him single bulbs for various occasions until the whole house is replaced. He will feel like the king in control of every aspect of his domain.

These light bulbs are a great gift for any guy who loves technology including: husbands, boyfriends (whether you live together or not), dads, brothers, and good friends. They will thank you every time they turn the lights on and off, and now that they are grown up they can play with the lights all they want.

Other Options

The links above are for normal light bulbs. If you prefer directional bulbs, you can click here for the starter pack or here for an individual directional bulb. Directional light bulbs are nice for kitchens or desk lamps where the light should be focused on one area instead of spreading out to the sides.

Shopping for Men Made Easier

If you have ever had trouble selecting a gift for a special man in your life, then you're not alone! Lots of women ask, "What should I buy my husband for his birthday?" or say, "What should I get my boyfriend for Christmas?" Sometimes it is a question of whether we should settle for getting Dad a gift card for Father's Day yet again. Why is it so difficult to select gifts for men?

I have had the same problem, of course. But, now that I've been observing things that my husband puts on his wish list or buys for himself I'm starting to see what sorts of things he really likes. I wanted to set up this blog to help other people who are looking for a perfect gift for a special guy.

Just for some background, we have been married since June of 2013 and dated for two years before that. My husband is most interested in technology, guns & tactical gear, and some games & movies. I find that most guys have an interest in some or all of these things, so you should be able to find a post about something your guy will like, as well. I'm using mostly experiences about my husband, but I will add information about my dad, brothers and friends as it comes up.

I'm also writing from a perspective of not completely understanding the products my husband loves so much. I have found that a lot of people don't have a firm grasp on the gadgets they are buying as a gift, so they want to make sure they are getting the right thing and all the required accessories. I make an effort in each review to include the type of information you will need to make sure the present isn't just something he will like, but something he will be able to use without having to buy a bunch of extra stuff.

Shopping should be fun! I hope you enjoy searching through these tech gift ideas, tactical presents, and other interesting items that men love to receive and use.