August 12, 2016

Fitbit Blaze Sweeps Graphic

This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Verizon and OM Media.

A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. ~ Chinese Proverb

Fitbit Blaze 3

As a reluctant exerciser, this phrase motivates me daily. And while I’m just working toward 10,000 steps each day, meeting that goal begins with just one step. Whether it’s walking in the neighborhood, pushing through the pre-set workout, or just being active around the house, seeing those steps add up on my fitness tracker is motivation to keep going.

With so many fitness trackers on the market it’s hard to know which one to choose. Well, I’ll make it easy! How about a Fitbit Blaze? One of the newer fitness trackers on the market, the Fitbit Blaze is a fitness watch that looks like a watch so you don’t look like you’re wearing a fitness tracker. Designed more like a watch, it allows you to see text and call notifications.

While I have a different fitness tracker, I love the sleek and versatile design and function of this smart fitness watch. And did you know that the Fitbit Blaze automatically recognizes and records your exercise for you, so you’ll get credit for a workout even if you forget to log it? My tracker has a similar feature, and I love it because at the end of the day when you’ve put in your steps you want to get credit for them, right.

Fitbit Blaze Track Progress

One really important feature is the continuous heart rate monitoring. This will help maximize the benefits of your workout. I thought I was getting the most from my workout until I found out about the heart rate monitoring feature and now I can really focus on getting the best workout. Another feature I really like about the Fitbit Blaze is that it gives you music control so you don’t have to fool with your smartphone to get to the song you want!

A new feature from Fitbit is the FitStar workout, which can be used right on your screen. It’s like having a coach right on your wrist! You’ll get step-by-step instructions right on the screen so you don’t have to keep doing the same few exercises you’ve always been doing.

I know you’ll love the Fitbit Blaze as much as I love my fitness tracker. It’s stylish, versatile, and can likely help you reach your health and fitness goals. As always, before you start a new fitness program consult with your personal health professional. And always be careful if you’re outside with your earphones on. So, what are you waiting for?

  • No purchase necessary to enter.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
  • Open to US Residents only.
  • Void where prohibited.
  • See Official Rules for details.

Enter now for a chance to win a Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

Fitbit Blaze Sweepstakes

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Verizon is working with a few of my friends to bring you other great tech. Check out their posts and enter for a chance to win.

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July 24, 2016

Garage Door App

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Insider team, I am sharing my experience with the Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Opener and how it helps me with home automation.

These days home automation seems to be getting easier and easier as new apps and connected products are released. I have a few home automation solutions in my house. I have WeMo light controllers, a Belkin Netcam, and a Canary Home Security System. I love them all. They make managing important parts of my home very easy.

One home automation product I’ve had my eye on for quite some time is the connected garage door opener. There are a few out there, but when I was at my Verizon store recently swapping out devices I saw the MyQ Garage Door Opener. Part of me was just passing time as I waited for my turn, but I’ve always wanted a connected garage door.

It seems weird since it’s just a garage door opener, but my old school touchpad died awhile back and since I have an older model they don’t make replacements for it. So that touchpad mounted just outside my garage mocks me every time I pulled in the garage. Even more so, it would just stare at me the several times I was dropped off by a friend and had to text CycleGuy because he was out and I didn’t have my keys.

That all changed in June when Verizon sent me the MyQ Garage Door Opener to add on to my existing opener so I could now operate my garage from my smartphone and get notifications. It took less than an hour to install once I actually followed the instructions and mounted the sensor instead of having it on the stepstool next to me. Learn from me, read the directions and follow them step by step and you’ll be up and running in no time.

MyQ Garage Door Opener

MyQ WiFi Hub

MyQ Door Sensor

CycleGuy and I worked together because you have to press the training button on the unit mounted to the ceiling and then follow the directions on your smartphone at the same time. You can install it yourself, but make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk when you’re up on the ladder.

So why do I love this so much? Seriously, it just opens and closes the garage door with your smartphone and provides notifications. If you’re in the car you likely have an opener, so you wouldn’t really need your smartphone. If you’re dropped off, you probably have a key (unless you’re like me and thought you had the key in your purse but didn’t). So why automate something as mundane as a garage door opener?

  1. If you lose your opener or have a rental/loaner car you can still get in your garage.
  2. When you head out to run, bike, walk, do exercise, or just visit the neighbor you don’t need to take anything extra besides your phone.
  3. If you’re half way to work and can’t remember if you closed the garage door, in about 30 seconds you can find out. And if you didn’t close the garage door, with a push of a button you can close the garage door. No being late for work. No driving back only to see it closed.
  4. If you have kids who walk to/from school, if they have a smartphone you don’t need to give them a key they may lose. For me, this wouldn’t work because we lock the door from the garage into the house. Then again that would be the perfect reason to buy a biometric door lock or some type of automated door lock.

In my neighborhood, if your garage door is accidentally left open and the police come by they’ll come to your door and let you know. If you’re not home they’ll close it (doing that whole “run and jump over the beam” move) and send you a letter, which may include a fine.

Accidentally leaving your garage door opener is a common reason people report when they file claims for stolen items. Criminals don’t need to do anything to get to your stuff if you accidentally leave the garage door open.

I’ve been using the MyQ Garage Door Opener for about two months and here are my key takeaways.

      • Easy to install. It’s compatible with most garage door openers made since 1993.
      • Alerts you if the garage door is accidentally left open. Or you can go into the app and check so you don’t make a trip home to find it closed.
      • Remote open/close the garage door. Lots of reasons this is great.

        myQ App


      • Alerts you when the garage door is open. This is great for me because sometimes I’m in a zone when I work at home so I don’t freak out when CycleGuy is all of a sudden in my office.

MyQ App Alerts

MyQ App New Alert Setup

MyQ App Notification

One of the drawbacks of the app is that it’s not unique to the smartphone. I love everything about the opener and most features of the app, don’t get me wrong. But it would be great if the app allowed each user of the opener to set up their own account and profile. Just like with a home security system, knowing who activated the system gives you important information.

If you want to get one of the MyQ Garage Door accessories, they’re available at your nearest Verizon Store for just $129.99. While it may seem like a nice ‘toy’ to have, it really is a quick and easy way to automate your home and put an important part of your property on your smartphone. If you’re a renter, it’s a great way to add home automation and still be able to take it with you when you move.

Pin MyQ Garage Door - Saving For Someday

Image Credit: Garage photo used courtesy of Kevin Wolf



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Save Your Sanity with the Tile Bluetooth Tracker

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The Silence of the Stanford Sexual Assault Victim’s Parents

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Alice Through the Looking Glass is Over the Top but Still Entertaining

Photo Credit: Disney You cannot change the past. It always was. It always will be. Although I dare say, you might learn something from it. ~ Time Alice Through the Looking Glass (PG) is this summer’s sequel to Tim Burton’s 2010 colorful and spectacular remake of Louis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”. With all the familiar […]

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6 Fitness Tips From a Reluctant Exerciser

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5 Tips to End Distracted Driving Among Teens

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Disney Park Tips From A Tween

For many years BabyGirl had a blog. While she still loves to write, it’s not her primary space so I’ve decided to share some of her posts. This is one she wrote awhile back, from the perspective of a pre-teen about spending time at a Disney park. I think she hits the highlights. Here are […]

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25 Slang Terms Teens Use Online That Parents Need To Know

Disclosure: The following post about teen slang and digital parenting is provided as part of my relationship as a Verizon Insider and sharing about digital technology. When it comes to teens, most parents will probably agree they have their own language. It’s been the case for generations. It’s often associated with societal changes. So it […]

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