Her GadgetMatch

High-tech gardening tools for your modern green thumb needs

Get your greens growing!

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Growing up, gardening with my mom was always a fun activity. I grew up and (sort of) inherited this green thumb, as evidenced by a tiny succulent garden we own and tend to.

I remember spending afternoons outdoors digging around in the dirt, watering plants, and patiently waiting for seedlings to grow. Gardening these days though is a lot fancier than it was during those years back. I looked at tools and apps to get your greens growing and girl, there are a lot of high-tech, modern stuff out there to get your garden going. I’ve rounded up a few that will help you get to your gardening goals:

An app to identify flora

 

I discovered that apps like this existed from my mom. She’d walk around unfamiliar gardens or plant stores, take a photo, and identify the particular plant she wanted for her own garden. Picture This – Plant Identifier not only gives you info on each plant, it also connects you to a growing community of plant-lovers worldwide.

Download for iOS or Android.

Know what to do with your plants with this handy guide

Gardening Reference Guide gives you info on each plant, their background, what they need, and how they’ll thrive. This cheat sheet in-app form ensures you give your greens all the TLC they need.

Unfortunately, it’s only available on iOS. Download it here.

Organize your garden with some taps on your phone

Plot your whole garden — the different areas, all the types of plants, details on growth, and even progress photos — in one app. Gardenize is a space that allows you to follow every detail of your plant progress. You can even share your progress and follow other garden friends on this app for more green thumb inspiration!

Download for iOS or Android.

Track sunlight for the happiest, healthiest plants

We all know that most plants need sun to thrive, but did you know that different plants also have different lighting needs? Apps like these allow you to track sunlight so that all your plants get just the right amount.

Download Sun Seeker for iOS or Sun Surveyor for Android.

Make sure you water properly

If you keep forgetting to water your plants, this one’s for you. Happy Plant gamifies watering notifications and ensures your green babies aren’t thirsty!

Download for iOS here. For Android users, check out Waterbot (download here) or Plant Care Reminder (download here).

When in doubt, track your plant progress

This Xiaomi 4-in-1 Plant Flower Care Smart Monitor is pretty easy to use: Just stick it in your flower pot, connect to your phone, and you get info on sunlight, temperature, moisture, and soil fertility. (Get it here.)

The Parrot Flower Power Smart Plant Sensor also works the same way and measures your plant’s health in real time. (Get it here.)

If you want something even more intrusive, the Xiaomi Ropot is literally a pot with built-in Bluetooth that allows you to track your plant’s statistics. (Get it here.)

Take it a step further with self-watering devices

If monitoring isn’t enough for you, don’t fret. This device takes it a step further by even watering your plants when need be. Check out the AquaMose Smart Watering System on Kickstarter here.

The Parrot Pot is also a smart pot that waters your plant for up to a month. Read more about it here.

Go all out with eco-friendly gardening

And if going green full on is your thing, you might want to consider using Alphapot planters which are 100 percent environment-friendly. Check out the Kickstarter here.

Go to the next level with indoor gardening

Plants can also be grown indoors these days — all thanks to grow lamps that can simulate much-needed light. There are many on sale at pretty reasonable prices such as this LED Grow Lamp. Find it here

If you want to go all in with indoor gardening, pots like the Flora Intelligent 4 in 1 Flower Pot not only monitors your plant, it waters and provides needed light, too. All that’s left for you to do, basically, is watch it grow. Get it here.

Even IKEA sells Cultivation Sets that allow you to grow fresh herbs and greens indoors all year round. You can check them out here.

For those who want an even more fuss-free experience, Click and Grow is a ready-to-go planter that simplifies the whole process. Learn more here.

Enjoy your planting!

Features

Peloton vs excuses: Mind tricks that can help you squeeze in a workout

For those struggling to keep a routine

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If anyone tells you that having a personal gym at home will remove all barriers to working out, they’re lying.

The Peloton bike packs an insane amount of tech that should help me stay on track, so I should have no excuses not to exercise, right? With it I can do live and on-demand spin classes, strength training, yoga, even meditation and sleep courses. Having it at home also means not needing to make time to travel to the gym. And yet, despite all of this, I still find reasons to shun fitness on the daily.

If you’re like me who typically gets a good week of workouts and then hits a slump when life happens, I’ve compiled some tips that you might find useful. Here are some ways I tricked myself into working out more regularly whenever I struggle to do classes on my Peloton.

Find the time that makes sense for you

After doing your workouts for a while, take note of when you enjoy it the most. For me, sweating it out in the morning works best. If I tell myself that I’ll workout later in the day, it just never happens. I’m just not someone who enjoys exercising in the afternoon or evening as much.

Make it habit

While some people make plans, I just tell myself that I’ll work out everyday and figure it out later.

Peloton has workouts that are as short as 10 or 15 minutes. Even when pressed for time, 15 minutes is just that — 15 minutes. 

Those days I end up not exercising I would just consider recovery days. Our muscles need time to rest after all.

Take a scenic ride

Another trick I do is telling myself to do 10 minutes of a scenic ride. This is an option on the bike if you don’t feel like doing a class. You can ride at your own pace while the monitor shows beautiful landscapes and cities.

What usually happens when I do this is I end up doing an additional 10 minutes of arm workout. Often, I’ll feel warmed up and ready for a regular class afterwards.

Warming up at my own pace without any pressure to perform gets me in the right mindset to actually do a full workout. There are lots of other warm up rides available, too, but they’re usually pretty tough. Picking something that has no pressure eases me in.

Low impact doesn’t mean low effort

When I discovered the low impact ride, I wondered why I hadn’t been doing them all along.

I’m an old lady, or at least my body feels that way. I’ve gotten injured a few times riding the bike: the tendonitis in my thumb flared up, and the muscles that aren’t used to being used so much protested.

You still get a great workout when you choose low impact, but you’ll never achieve a personal best — and that’s perfectly okay.

Put the leaderboad away

Now we’re going to dip into the tech side of things. The leaderboard pushes you to get your personal best, which is great. But when I don’t want to work out, I’ll tell myself that a 45min class will be more doable if I take the leaderboard away. As a competitive person, I always get horrified at my performance when I check it because I don’t push myself nearly as hard apparently.

Pick a class with a gimmick

Peloton offers so many kinds of classes with different genres of music. I’ve done Guns N’ Roses as well as Madonna rides. Jess King has a show tunes series, and there are rides with a DJ.

Whenever I don’t feel motivated to exercise, I think of it as entertainment first and that’s how I trick myself into doing a full workout.

Save classes that made you feel good

When you save classes that made you feel good, you’ll be reminded of that feeling when you see it again on the monitor.When struggling to pick a class, I choose from a bunch of saved classes that I don’t mind doing again.

If I can’t bring myself to face a new challenge, doing one that I’ve already smashed is the best way to go!

Lower the instructors voice

If you have classes where you loved the soundtrack, save them and then choose to have more music and less instructor. It’s amazing how much having motivational music blasting helps.

Forgot how to change the audio mix? Hit the volume button on the right hand side of the display and then change the mix. You have to do it each time as it always resets back to an even mix of music and voice.

Find more tips and tricks on how to maximize your bike here.

Do a class with weights

Doing weights is challenging, but it gives your legs some rest. A 45-minute class is sometimes better than 30 minutes because I know I’ll get breaks to do weights.

Pick your feel-good instructor

Sometimes, picking an instructor that fits your your mood is all you need. When I just want to do a feel good class, I pick Cody because he’s like my gay best friend and his classes are always entertaining. Seeing instructors have a bit of a hard time with the workout is also the energy that motivates me to give the workout everything that I got.

Should you be taking workout advice from someone who struggles with working out? Probably not. Was this entire article about how to work out a little less hard? Maybe.

It would be unfair to say that fitness isn’t a big part of my life. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about working out more than working out itself. It’s one of my favorite past times.

Keeping a consistent workout routine is what I’m struggling with right now. These mind tricks have at least helped me get my ass on the bike and squeeze a workout in even when I don’t feel like it. And for someone who isn’t a disciplined fitness freak, that’s all that matters.

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Her GadgetMatch

Breakfast Diaries: No-Frills Baking with the Panasonic Croustina Breadmaker

Wake up to the smell of freshly-baked bread

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Waking up to the smell of freshly-baked bread can do wonders for your mood and how you take on the day. In this video, we’ll be making a simple loaf with nuts and olive oil using the Panasonic Croustina. The fresh, homey scent will fill up your home once it’s ready.

Here’s the recipe featured in the video:

Ingredients

1 cup of bread flour
1/2 cup of wholewheat flour
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of bread machine yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of warm water
1/4 cup of nuts

Procedure

Add the water, sugar, and yeast into the Panasonic Croustina’s pan.
Let sit for 10 minutes to let the yeast dissolve and foam up.
Add the olive oil, bread and wholewheat flour, and salt to the pan. No need to mix.
Set the bread machine to the White Bread setting and press start.

Et voila! In 4 hours, you’ll have your artisanal-style loaf. We recommend doing the preparations the night before and just set the timer of the breadmaker to end right when you wake up. This way, you get to enjoy your loaf fresh and warm.

SEE ALSO: Breakfast Diaries: Freshly-pressed celery juice with the Panasonic Slow Juicer

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Accessories

Happy Plugs introduces a new chic, affordable true wireless earphones

Meet the Air 1 Plus

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Fostering a culture of fashionable, comfortable, and untethered life, Swedish lifestyle brand Happy Plugs introduces a new generation of true wireless earphones.

Arriving in contemporary colorways, the Air 1 Plus is the perfect earphones for those who want to look fashion-forward in whatever style. It comes in White Marble, Gold, Pink Gold, Black, and White — perfect neutrals that can match any outfit.

Moreover, you can choose two fit options — Earbuds or In-Ear — ensuring optimal comfort and security for any ear shape. This also makes it the perfect accessory to accompany you in your everyday life or workout sessions. You choose what’s comfortable for your aesthetics and lifestyle.

But it’s not just the earphones that comes in a hip design, its charging case is so stylishly smart, too!

The Air 1 Plus offers a whopping total of 40 hours of playback through its charging case! Its earphones can stream for 6.5 hours when fully charged, and its charging case can hold another 5 charges. If you’re ever in a hurry, you can do a 10-minute quick charge using USB-C, giving you up an extra 90 minutes of playtime.

It’s also equipped with XTM-codecs for clear wireless sound across iOS and Android devices. Additionally, it uses Qualcomm’s CVC 8.0 microphone technology, ensuring a clear voice whilst reducing wind noise for better communication. It promises seamless connectivity, too, thanks to the latest Bluetooth 5.1.

Furthermore, Air 1 Plus features 14 distinct touch controls — making it easy to manage music, calls, adjust volume, or access voice assistants with just a single touch.

Price and availability

Happy Plugs offers the Air 1 Plus for US$ 100 (EUR 100 / CAD 100 / GBP 90). Presale starts from May 13, 2020, at happyplugs.com. The Air 1 Plus will be available officially in Happy Plugs’ worldwide retail accounts and via shipping from happyplugs.com starting on May 27, 2020.

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