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Review: Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum

Over the past 45 days, I’ve been testing the Roomba i7+ from iRobot. Overall, awesome vacuum, especially great for bungalows, love the self-cleaning feature. ūü§ď

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I’ve wanted a Roomba or years and talked about it on Twitter back in 2012. Hello, who wouldn’t’ want a little cleaning robot?!

We have quite a few stairs at home, so I decided Roomba would live at the 1188 office. Honestly, it’s been such a hit with everyone, they were all so excited when the big box arrived. It feels like we have an office pet again!

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Welcome to our lives little guy!

I would say the only downfall about the Roomba Robot Vacuum is that it can’t do stairs, yet! It does have Cliff Detect so it won’t fall down or take a tumble should you have some stairs around.

Once I got everything set up, it was really quick to download the app and connect the device. The Roomba i7+ is the smartest robot vacuum yet. It has a cleaning dock to empty itself plus an app that lets you control it and see where it’s cleaned.

You can see it was super quick to set up. I snapped these screenshots all in the same minute! My favourite part aside from clean office floors is the app. I’m able to see if there’s an issue, what’s been cleaned, or set it to clean at any specific time.

Cleaning

Two features that make this an amazing machine are 1) Dirt Detect‚ĄĘ Technology and 2) The Edge-Sweeping Brush. Dirt Detect gets to know areas that need more cleaning like high traffic spots and prompts the robot to be more thorough when cleaning there. The magical Edge Sweeping brush gets into the edges and corners. I found this quite useful in the kitchen and around office chairs.

Self Cleaning

This is a handy feature. The robot cleaned 4h 57minutes before needing to be emptied. This feature means you don’t have to worry about emptying the little robot once it’s full saving you time and energy. It’s really easy and not messy to take out the full bag, toss, and put a new one in. The vacuum set comes with 2 bags and it was about a month before I needed to empty the bin. You can order new bags from the iRobot shop.


Smart Mapping

I love this feature. Some people mentioned it’s ‘kinda creepy‘ that it makes a map of your space but honestly, that doesn’t really concern me when I arrive at the office and the floor is tidy.

The Roomba i7+ robot uses Imprint‚ĄĘ Smart Mapping technology to learn the floor plan and it gets better over time. You can set it to just clean certain areas, pick specific times, or set to a schedule. Watch the video below to see how it works.

Another really cool thing is that the Roomba connects to Alexa enabled devices or Google Assistant. The joy of saying “Alexa, run the vacuum” makes me so excited for the robot future.

Great vacuum. Highly recommend.

casie stewart, roomba, toronto, review, tech, blogger

Also, this is my favourite comment from Sean about the new Roomba, haha.

“I dropped some chips so I woke up the Roomba”

casie stewart
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Disclaimer: iRobot sent this for me to review in exchange for my honest opinion and that's exactly what you've got here! 

Unpopular Opinion: I Like The New WordPress 5.0

Unpopular Opinion: I Like The New WordPress 5.0

I installed the new WP 5.0 that came out last week right away. I like to be the first to try things out. I’ve always been an early adopter. There are a few glitches but I believe this is the start of a new, modern, flexible WordPress. It gives you so much more customization in the way your work is displayed, photos, galleries, quotes.


Ok there was an issue…

I ran into an issue when I first installed WP 5.0 where it reverted me back to the Classic Editor. I¬†lost Gutenberg when I installed 5.0 then I installed the Classic Editor and couldn’t get Gutenberg back. I searched a whole bunch of WP developer forums and it was VERY CLEAR, people HATE Gutenberg and they HATE Blocks. To fix it I disabled the Classic Editor plugin, and deleted, reinstalled the Gutenberg editor. I also disabled Page Builder (Site Origin) and a couple other plugins that I wasn’t using and probably weren’t updated for WP 5.0.

I blogged about my fav parts of the new Gutenberg Editor back in August when it was released here.


One of my favourite things in the new editor is how you can display images wide across the page. I love the way galleries look stretched out instead of just within the pixel width of your blog text. So pretty. These photos are from Ashley Longshore gallery in New Orleans, LA.

What are your thoughts on the new WordPress, do you love it or do you hate it?

Comments open!

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TELUS Friendly Future Foundation: Helping Youth & Communities Across Canada

TELUS Friendly Future Foundation: Helping Youth & Communities Across Canada

Across Canada, 1.5 million children go hungry without access to nutritious food every single day, 30K Canadians are homeless (mostly young people), and 40% of low-income families don’t have internet access putting kids at risk for falling behind in school. We can all do something to help and this year Telus launched the Friendly Future Foundation putting $120 million into addressing the social and economic challenges facing Canadian youth.  I am proud to work with Telus and have been a #TeamTelus partner for the last 8 years.  


The Foundation will give grants to grassroots charities in communities across Canada who really know their community and how to help. By partnering with smaller charities, they’re able to help out groups that might be missed by huge corporate donors and make a big impact in small communities. I think this is an amazing approach. I work with Brands For Canada, an organization that provides new clothing & basic needs supplies to people across Canada and this method of working with local charities has worked great for them. 

The Friendly Future Foundation funding will help kids build up digital literacy skills, get basic healthcare and mental health support to the homeless, and open up other educational opportunities. Here’s an example of doing good in a community not too far from us, Telus donated $20K to the Women’s Shelter in Barrie.


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The $120 million TELUS has provided for the Friendly Future Foundation is the largest donation made by a publicly traded Canadian company in history and one of the largest ever in North America. Way to go team!

Over the past two decades, TELUS, team members and retirees have contributed more than $1 billion of value to Canadians, through $530 million in financial support and 1.21 million days of volunteerism. Last year alone they (we!) volunteered 1 million hours. 

I’m continuously impressed by how Telus gives in communities where they live. I’ve had the opportunity to do some giving back of my own through volunteer programs and they have made over $21,000 in charity donations on my behalf. This year my donation went to Cambridge Montessori (where I went!) and last year my donation went to SKETCH, an art based program for kids in the GTA.  I’m hoping to do more with Telus and local programs for 2019.


Have a project that could use some help? You can APPLY for funding here. The deadline for Toronto applications is January with different deadlines across Canada. So, if you want to make a difference, learn more about community grants here and get on it.

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For more information about the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation visit friendlyfuture.com/en/foundation. And for some inspirational stories about people Telus has already helped, check these out.


This post is part of my long-term partnership with Telus sharing great stuff the brand is doing, my favourite things about being a customer, and tech gadgets I love (or want!).

Instant camera photos of children faces in heart-shaped pile
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Review: Dyson Cyclone V10 Cordless Vacuum

The vacuum is incredible. Best I’ve ever had. I love it. The end. 

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VROOOOOOM, this baby has some POWER.

Ok jk jk.  I received an email about a month to review the new Dyson Cyclone V10 and was 100% down. In exchange for my review, I get to keep the unit and my house had never been cleaner! This thing has some SERIOUS power. It’s also easy to use right out the box (once charged!) and if you have kids around, a great motivator to clean.

I love that it’s cord-free. You can just grab it and go¬†for quick clean ups around the house, the couch, kitchen, stairs, baseboards. I’ve been using it almost daily as a small dust buster style like the photo above.¬†This weekend we had my sister and her step-daughter over for movie night and DIY pizzas complete with chips and popcorn. I usually can be kinda crazy about not making a mess but I didn’t freak out,¬†Dyson to the rescue!¬† The V10 is a godsend for the area around the couch and kitchen. How do they always get so messy?!¬†We have dark hardwood floors in the living room and I find the area around the kitchen stools needs to be cleaned daily, the V10 is especially great for this.

The dusting wand is amazing for corners by baseboards and other hard to reach areas like the ceiling vents. In other news, Emily has cleaned her room every weekend since we got it.

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All the parts that come with the Dyson V10 

Size wise, is a bit bigger and heavier than the V6 which is likely¬†due to the larger bin and additional battery power. Also, I kind of wish it had an on-off¬†switch, you currently¬†have to hold your finger on the trigger to use it but I do like that¬† I’m always in control. The battery lasts up to an hour which is really handy. You can vacuum up almost anything other than dirt like, cereal, sugar, popcorn, paper scraps from crafting (as long as it’s dry). ūüôā The V10 can hold more dust and debris with¬†it’s 40% larger bin and has hygienic¬†bin emptying making it super easy to empty without making a mess. I love this feature because that last thing you want is get stuff all over the floor AFTER after you just vacuumed.¬†

Dyson V10, review, influencer, blogger, toronto

Learn more about this great little machine at dysoncanada.ca or order your very own on Amazon.


I previously had the Dyson V6 which was an incredible vacuum and after getting the V10 I gave it to a friend. I am a huge fan of Dyson products and also have the Dyson Pure Link Fan and use it daily (read that review here). 


Dyson gave me the V10 vacuum but all the cleaning was done by me and this is my honest review! 

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Smart Tech to Help You Through The Winter

We all know it’s coming, the dark and cold months of winter where all hibernate a little more and give thanks to the Netflix gods. I’ve been trying to stay on track with working out and am determined this winter to exercise just as much time as I spend binge-watching. Scroll down for tech accessories I find help me through colder days.

I love my FitBit.

Finess Tracker: FitBit

I have been using a Fitbit on and off for the past 5 years. I love the reminders to move every hour and getting those steps in each day. It’s a small thing that keeps me accountable to move. I also love seeing my heart rate, the interval tracking, and getting text messages on my wrist. The weekly reporting is a great way to motivate yourself to be more active. I’m currently using the FitBit Versa and Sean has the FitBit Iconic. I still use my FitBit Alta HR¬†sometimes because it’s slimmer and looks more like a bracelet. Telus also has Apple Watch if that’s more your speed.¬†

M fav picks for a FitBit from Telus

FitBit VersaFitBit IconicFitBit Alta HR

A Home Assistant: Alexa

I love her, I ask her things every day. Mostly ‘what’s the weather’ so I know how many layers to put on and what type of jacket to wear. I love the weekly email from Amazon telling me with ‘What’s¬† New with Alexa?” and all the skills you can add to help her help you. I am particularly¬†fond of CBC News and Entertainment Tonight. Check out her top & trending skill here¬†and pick up an Amazon Eco that suits your needs and budget. The Echo Dot is a great entry level device at $54.99. ¬†I don’t have a Google Home but same kind of thing!¬†

Amazon Echo Dot near laptop on stand

Smart Lights: Phillips Hue 

Last winter I added Phillips Hue Smart Home Lights and I love them so much. Almost every night I set them to a certain mood before bed, they’re also timed for sleep and wakeup. I spend a lot of time working from home and during the day I can set the white to a bright daylight that makes me forget it might be gloomy outside. This may seem like a small thing but it really helps my mood when I’m feeling down. My favs are the Phillips Hue starter pack of 4 lights and the Hue Go portable LED. Sometimes I want to concentrate or be in a tropical¬†paradise, a millennial pink world, or be reminded of a cottage sunset on the lake.

Wireless Speaker: UE Wonderboom

Get a good speaker so you can have dance parties, listen to your fav podcast or escape in an audiobook with great sound. These are lots of different available depending on your budget, see here.  

I’ve been using the UE Wonderboom for the last couple months and it’s got great sound and is surprisingly loud for a little guy. It’s small enough to pack in your purse for outdoor hangs or in your suitcase for a getaway.¬† It also has a¬†10hr battery, is waterproof, and you can pair more than one for surround sound. So, go ahead, play your fav music in a relaxing bath and pretend you’re on vacation at a sunny resort.


All my¬†recos¬†can be found online at telus.com or your local Telus store. They have heaps of other cool tech things for holiday and gifting your loved ones, or yourself ha! I’ll be sharing my¬†holiday¬†favs soon, how is it almost NOVEMBER!

The other non-tech thing I recommend for winter is to get outside. Even if it’s cold, bundle up and get some fresh air. A 15-minute walk is great to start your day or clear your head at any other time. I try to get out for a few minutes in the morning so I don’t fall into a work-from-home hibernation slump. It’s the little things¬†that make all the difference!¬†

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I am a #TeamTelus partner and this post was all my idea and these are my fav things. Stay warm out there. Love you. 

 

 

Why Don’t You Have a Will Yet? Get One Today, Meet Willful.

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Do you have a will?¬†No, of course, you don’t!¬† Who thinks about that while you’re out living your best life?¬† Hate to remind you but along with taxes, we can’t avoid death.¬†You should have a will and you can get¬†one with Willful in 20 min for less than $100¬† today.¬†¬†


This weekend my friends got hitched, Erin Bury married Kevin Oulds, the creator of Willful. I’ve knows this duo for 10 years and am not surprised that they had the most unique wedding guest gifts I’ve ever seen, they gave every one of their guest a will. Till Death Do Us Part, right?¬†

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The happy pizza loving couple, congrats Erin & Kevin! 

Kevin created¬†Willful¬†after dealing with a difficult family situation, something none of us¬†wants to deal with. To be honest, I’ve learned anything from TV or The Young & The Restless, it’s really important¬†to have a will.¬†Do you have any idea what will happen if you don’t? Read this.¬† If you’re common law, your partner gets nothing, the government will¬†get involved in your finances, your family could have to vacate your family home, it’s not pretty.¬†

I saw first hand what can happen to families when certain aspects are unknown and what happens when there’s not a proper plan in place. I set out to make that experience easier to navigate and make it more affordable and accessible for people.

Kevin Oulds, Willful Founder & CEO

Their mission is¬†to move estate planning from the back of your mind to the same spot as insurance, retirement, or financial planning. Stuff we might not want to think¬†about and but get more intense the less attention you pay to them.¬† Even if you don’t have a lot of stuff, you still have something, protect your future and the ones you love. I made special notes for who gets my notebooks, tech, sunglasses, vintage clothes, and shoes. That stuff is important to me!¬†

Over 56% of Canadian adults don’t have a will. 

If you don’t have a will, don’t worry, you aren’t alone, 56% of Canadian adults don’t have them. Mum had me make one when I was 21 before moving to Australia, it was with a lawyer and I don’t have any idea what it says or how to access it. This year Kevin gave me a code to set up my own will on Willful and it was so easy. I was done in 20min and can access or change it anytime. Willful helps you create a fully legal will and gives you the ability to add anything¬†you own that’s important including house/car, electronics, clothes, and pets.

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What if something happened to you, what would happen to your stuff?

Today is Willful’s 1 year anniversary and they are offering 25% off all plans. Their Essential¬†plan is $99 at¬†full price and gets you Last Will and Testament so you can take care of your estate, children, and final wishes with unlimited changes.

USE THIS CODE TO SAVE AN 25% OFF ANY PLAN: ANNIVERSARY25

Code will expire on October 25th, 2018
11:59 PM Eastern Time


Congrats Kevin on your success with Willful and marrying Erin! Learn more about willful here or ask me about mine anytime. 

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Vancouver: The Telus Innovation Centre

Vancouver: The Telus Innovation Centre

Earlier this year I was in Vancouver for a city planning conference and stayed an extra day to pop by the Telus office and have lunch with a friend. I’ve been working with Telus since my days at Much/MTV Canada, about 8 years ago.¬† I’ve had the opportunity to do some really neat stuff like volunteering, videos, city adventures, and making friends.

A couple years ago I helped them with some ideas to create their influencer program and it’s really grown into something awesome. Next month, they’re taking the ENTIRE GROUP of Canadian influencers (including me!) to their HQ in Vancouver.


Telus Garden

I was really stoked to visit this building. I remember when it started in 2012 and was opened in 2016. The Telus Garden building takes up an entire city block downtown Vancouver, totalling 1M sq ft. It has amazing energy saving features, a fantastic garden, and has won a bunch of awards for the design and sustainability. Unfortunately, I was there in winter so I didn’t get to see the outside areas, it snowed!¬†¬†

‚ÄúTELUS Garden is Canada‚Äôs most beautiful and ambitious LEED Platinum building, and one of the most environmentally-friendly developments in North America,‚ÄĚ Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO


Telus Innovation Centre

I met up with Ana from Telus (check out her IG @msanadouglas) and she took us up to the Innovation Centre where. I was amazed to see a beautiful bright space filled with technology.


One of the coolest features were the doors. Telus has created a set of doors that have screens instead of windows. Hello, why didn’t I think of that!? They’re the only 4 doors like this IN THE WORLD and they’re right here at Telus in Vancouver. A couple of them have cameras where you can host meetings and have the person you are talking with will show up on the screen. Other ones have touchscreen and heat sensors, so they can tell when there’s a person standing in front of them. This blew my¬†mind. Imagine the possibilities? Our guide said they were originally developed for hospitals (Telus Health does heaps in healthcare, telushealth.co).


The space has a number of workstations, fully equipped with pop-up monitors for video conferencing. They pop up OUT of the tables! The card with wifi details doubles as seeds you can plant later at home. As a lifelong lover of tech, this was like being a kid in a candy store! 

They also have a 3D printer where they create and test out innovative ways to make our lives easier. For example, this small purple object made with PLA plastic could never be made by hand but it is 3D printed in a way that makes it unique and super strong, you can stand on it without it breaking. It can hold up to 300lbs!

I was really impressed to¬†check out the mock apartment¬†they have to test smart home technology. I’m not just talking a couple smart lights, they’ve got smart home everything. It’s not just the appliances and light bulbs, there’s a laser that reads prescriptions in your cupboard, smart pillows, smart bed. It was like living in the future and tbh, I’m totally into it.¬†


I can’t wait to be back on the West Coast with the #TeamTelus crew. There’s some really rad people on the team, a few I’ve known for years and some I’ve never met. I’ll be documenting as I go next week and fill you in on the details.

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The Internet of Things – Protecting Your Smart TV

The Internet of Things – Protecting Your Smart TV

We just got a new Smart TV and I’m super stoked. Sean and I worked from home the day it arrived and we also ordered tacos which turned into a great game of tv or tacos?! It’s my first time having a *brand new* TV.

Our previous model was bought 2nd hand years ago, we’re retiring it to the cottage now.  The Sony 4K Android Smart TV is so clear and it was really easy to set up. It comes with Google Play, Netflix, and internet connectivity making it easy to watch your fav shows, download movies, or watch videos on YouTube.


Over the last year, I’ve been making our home smarter with the addition of Hue Lights, a Dyson fan, Alexa, and now an Android Smart TV.  As we start to make our home smarter, we’ve got so many entry points putting us at risk for privacy and hacks.

90 percent of Android TVs are reportedly vulnerable to hacking

The solution is to make sure we can browse the internet and watch all our fav shows without having personal data compromised. ESET is a leader in security solutions for home computer & mobile.  They’ve created the world‚Äôs first ever security solution for Android Smart TVs, using tech to guard against cybercriminals with their eyes on connected TVs.


I quite like their i-Robot style dude below. 


There’s a free version available for download as well as a paid version that gives you premium features for a year at $14.99. I went for Premium. If you have a Sony Android TV, the app is already downloaded you just have to pop into the HOME section from the remote and click Accept.

Android TVs are run on the Android OS used for phones and tablets meaning the software can extend to more of your devices. ESET can be used on up to 5 devices under one Google Account.

You wanna watch more Wild Wild Country tonight, honey?

There’s Anti-Virus and Anti-Phishing and the ability to set up regular scans anytime. It also keeps an eye on any browser you might be using on your tv. One thing that really peaked my interest was the ability to watch for spying using TV sensors like the microphone and camera. Audio spies really creep me out, we’ve all seen ads on Facebook after having a conversation about something. 


In a time where we’re getting smarter with our gadgets, it’s time to get smarter with our home security. 

 

 

 

 

 

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This post is in partnership with ESET. Smart home security is important. Take the time to secure your networks and always use a smart password!

For more information about making sure your Android Smart TV is secure, check out ESET for a free download.