The Christmas rush can drive anyone crazy. It can be stressful to narrow down the list of people you’re giving presents to, on top of actually choosing the best present for them and worrying about the logistics of getting the presents to your loved ones in time for Christmas.
But this shouldn’t be the case.
Gift-giving should be fun and we want to make it easy for you. In the spirit of Christmas, we’ve compiled some of the best gift guides online to make your search for the perfect present easier and avoid last-minute Christmas shopping. Check them out:
Nixplay joined the Brain Injury Alliance New Jersey (BAINJ) last March 27 at their 13th Annual Gala to celebrate Brain Injury Awareness month. The gala honored people who have gone above and beyond to understand brain injuries and learn how to properly care for those who suffer from them. It was an evening that inspired hope and healing, raising thousands of dollars for a worthy cause.
We were able to talk to Kristen Olsen, BAINJ’s Communications Manager, who shared with us the importance of awareness and education in helping patients lead independent and confident lives.
Please tell us about Brain Injury Alliance New Jersey.
Kristen Olsen: The mission of the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey is to support and advocate for individuals impacted by brain injury, and to raise awareness through education and prevention. Our vision is a world where the quality of life for people impacted is maximized, while increasing independence and creating a world in which they can thrive.
What are the organization’s major milestones? Any specific stories you would like to share with us?
Kristen Olsen: The organization was founded in 1981 by a small group of concerned parents of children with brain injury. The first program to go into effect was the Helpline, a Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. phone line through which concerned members of the community could get connected to resources and information. In the nearly 40 years since its inception, BIANJ has received 1,000 calls per year from survivors, family members, friends, caregivers, health and human service professionals, and the community at large.
Our other support programs include: BIANJ CARES, a free care management program for adults over the age of 21 with brain injury; CARES for KIDS, a program for those under 21; an extensive Support Coordination branch that works with the Department of Developmental Disabilities; and Camp TREK, a week-long residential program that provides social and recreational opportunities for adults with brain injury while also giving caregivers a week of respite. We also have support groups in nearly all New Jersey counties.
Can you tell us a little about the leading causes of brain injury? Does BIANJ have programs that minimize the risk of brain injury?
Kristen Olsen: The leading causes of brain injury include falls, motor vehicle crashes, assaults, and self-harm. BIANJ has created a series of programs to address these causes and work towards preventing brain injury.
BIANJ hosts a number of senior fall prevention programs, including Heads Up Seniors and A Matter of Balance. Both help seniors lead independent and confident lives.
The Champion Schools Program was created nearly a decade ago as an opportunity for students and staff of New Jersey high schools to address teen driving safety. Each school chooses a teen driving safety topic and uses different methods to spread the message. A panel of judges review the campaigns and award winners with driving simulators for their school.
Concussion prevention has also become a main focus for BIANJ. Through a concussion committee comprised of community partners, BIANJ has created a number of resources for parents, student athletes, coaches, and school and medical professionals, including online courses that offer CME’s, coaches concussion courses, a concussion-specific website, and more.
Education is another main component of BIANJ programs. Efforts are made throughout the year to ensure that people impacted by brain injury, as well as professionals, have the most up-to-date information. This 2019, the Health and Human Service Professionals trainings will focus on Domestic Violence and Brain Injury. The Annual Seminar for Professionals, which will take place in Edison, NJ in May, is focused on ‘Moving Forward in Brain Injury.” The topics will include yoga and meditation, craniosacral therapy, neurotoxicity, sex and intimacy, neuropsychiatric issues, and more.
In addition to professional seminars, BIANJ also hosts an annual family-centric conference designed to provide the most recent and relevant information. Topics include friendships and relationships, cognition and memory, art therapy, agitation, and consumer fraud awareness.
How can we learn more about these topics?
Kristen Olsen: Free webinars are available 24/7 on BIANJ’s website. Subjects include travel skills, activity recovery post-concussion, voice assistive technology, deep thinking through improved sleep, caring for caregivers, and more. Free in-person traveling workshops for a variety of topics can also be reviewed and requested.
How can we join your cause and be advocates for people with brain injuries?
Kristen Olsen: BIANJ offers advocacy services to the brain injury community and the state of New Jersey through our Advocacy and Public Affairs department. Through the department and CHIC, the Council for the Head Injured Community, BIANJ works to champion and publicize the advocacy, rights, and needs of people who have been impacted by brain injury. Members of CHIC are active in New Jersey and the national capital to ensure the voices of the brain injury community are heard.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the impacts of brain injury, you can contact BIANJ Helpline at 1-800-669-4323 or visit their website at https://bianj.org/.
The way we recall important events is dictated by our senses: What we saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted. These memories, more often than not, become less reliable with the passage of time.
As such, it’s vital that we find ways to preserve them. The year 2019 is just beginning but, surely, some of us would experience an important milestone sooner than later. We all have a sentimental side that tells us it would be great if we could revisit the memory of the birth of our first child, our daughter’s walk down the aisle, or even last year’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Since we don’t have time machines yet, what can we do to go back to our fondest memories?
Weave your story
For writers, the best way to immortalize memories is through the written word. No wonder memoirs are such a hit! However, the pitfall for some biographies is their inability to keep things consistent. We live in moments and, sometimes, it’s beguiling to leave them fleeting and unrecorded.
Services like StoryWorth could help you when you’re in a writing slump. They send weekly prompts for you to reflect on, similar to how a writing community operates. Each week, you get to share these with your family. You wouldn’t even notice how these granular snippets have turned into a beautifully bound keepsake book with a year’s worth of stories!
Print a photobook
This one is a no-brainer. One of the most common ways to experience memories is by sifting through printed photos of your younger days. Even better to pore over are photo albums published with a touch of creativity. Some go for the traditional design of scrapbooks. Others, in this digital age, prefer to use publishing software tools like Blurb’s Bookwright. Bookwright is free and easy to use for laying out and editing your first photobook project. And if you’re out of design ideas, the software also has templates for beginners to get those creative juices flowing.
Scan your old photos
What may be a reverse approach to the first two points is to digitize your memories. Remember those photos from the ‘80s inside your treasure box that you kept safe at the back of your cabinet? Those pictures deserve to see the light of day again. However, placing them in a photo album might mean eventually shelving them again.
By digitizing your photos, you have a way to easily access them on your phone, computer, or even your digital frame. Take advantage of apps like Photomyne, which allows you to quickly scan dozens of photos with just a tap on your phone. These photos will then be backed up on the app’s cloud base, granting you easy access to your most important memories wherever you are in the world.
Display your memories on a digital frame
Remember the photos you scanned earlier? How about all those photos long buried in your social media feed? Digitizing your photos is one, but it’s another to share them with your families and friends. Fortunately, it’s now possible to display all these with a digital smart frame like the Nixplay Seed Wave.
Music has an uncanny ability to trigger specific memories. There are times when you’d hear a tune and remember a special moment you shared with your loved ones. With its 2×5 watt Bluetooth speakers, the Nixplay Seed Wave can now enhance your memories with playlists of the songs you love.
Overall, there are various ways by which you can relive your best moments. But perhaps the outcome isn’t really the point. Whether it’s a photo book, a memoir, or a slide display of your scanned photos on your digital frame, what should really matter is your renewed appreciation for the moments that defined you, kindled by the process of preserving the highlights of your life.
It’s said that you should never work with children or animals, and this certainly rings true when trying to conduct a photo session with one of your pets. You may know them and their behavior like the back of your hand, but when it’s time to look good in front of the lens, pets can be rather difficult to work with.
Here, we have compiled four animal photography tips that you should try with your pet. Let us know if they work!
1. Use treats
Although your dog or cat may have an idea as to what’s going on when you try to get them to do certain things, they definitely don’t understand the notion of “posing”, let alone animal photography. Because of this, the easiest way to get them to look in a certain direction is by luring them with treats or toys. They’ll be camera-ready in no time!
2. Play the waiting game
If you want to take a certain picture of your pet but they’re just not playing ball, consider simply waiting around nearby with a camera in your hands. You cannot communicate what you want your pet to do, and it may be a good idea to wait for them to “naturally” pose before taking that elusive picture.
If you’re taking part in a professional animal photography shoot, then the pet is likely to be excited or nervous at first, so be sure to remain patient and allow them to get the nerves out of their system.
The nicest animal photography shots are usually taken at the most unexpected moments.
3. Use natural light
If you’re new to animal photography or just photography in general, you’ll quickly learn that natural light is one of the easiest and best light sources to work with. It’s especially nice when the daylight is naturally soft and diffused on a cloudy day, making for a pleasing picture. Windows and windowsills are also great for this purpose, as the glass tends to soften the daylight even further, making for a flattering photo.
4. Take notes from sports photography
When photographers are taking pictures of sporting events, they tend to use fast shutter speeds, burst mode, and continuous autofocus. Despite the fact that we’re talking about animal photography here, the ethos is very much the same.
A fast shutter speed (preferably at least 1/250) allows you to capture still-looking pictures of a pet that won’t sit still, while activating the burst mode means that you’ll take a flurry of pictures, at least one of which will hopefully be perfect. The continuous autofocus mode is designed to prevent your images from lacking sharpness, making your animal photography as hassle-free as possible.
Animal photography is no walk in the park, but with these top tips, you should be able to get that perfect snap in no time! Besides, taking photos of your cute companion will never be a waste of time. They love you unconditionally, and it’s nice to always be reminded of your furry best friend. Don’t forget to display your pet photos on your Nixplay Digital Photo Frame! Take advantage of our back-to-school sale and buy the Nixplay Seed 8-Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Frame to get up to 30% off!
One of the most humbling experiences as developers come from the raw emotions seen by the joy people get at connecting with memorable, oftentimes intimate moments on their digital frames. This is why we at Nixplay cannot stop from continuously pushing boundaries and making our product more interactive. This is why we transitioned to a cloud WiFi infrastructure, connecting our Iris frame to the world. Now, with the much-anticipated launch of the NIX LUX, we are enabling video sharing from your app to any of your connected frames through the use of the Ios app.
The video feature, a beta release, will allow you to connect with your nephew’s first word or your other half when hectic business trips call. It is also good for viral content that will give a good and more dynamic, yet personalized experience. Of course, the folks at Nixplay are busy trying all sorts of stunts and will be coming out with some nice suggestions for 15-second clips soon.
This new feature takes into account those who like sharing things media heavy. It’s comments from folks like London based Simon Taylor that really put a smile on our faces, as he noted:
“Video is everything, especially for a thrill-seeking traveller like me. A successful adventure for me can be made in seconds from white water rafting in Thailand to my cross-country biking trip and share it with my 84 year-old mother who awaits in anticipation of every single photo.”
Thrill seekers like Taylor can now make this a reality by being able to send the video directly from their camera or phone’s photo library. As long as you are connected to a wireless network, that trip can be viewed by friends and loved ones in real-time.
It also won’t sound like a movie from the silent era, as Nixplay’s beta video capabilities are supported by sound, which comes out on your digital frame’s speakers. Available on most of Nixplay’s core products (see list below), the frame user would need to adjust the sound from the pre-set default by going into ‘Frame Settings’ as the default sound volume is set to zero. It is also not available on desktop, staying solely on the mobile app.
As a beta product, we have also left plenty of room for comment by going to the Nixplay app, and selecting the ‘Feedback’ button under the ‘About’ button in the dropdown menu.
For the likes of Taylor, he just has one concern: “taking a video of a clear sunset that evokes strong memories for my mum, who is no longer as physically mobile and will evoke memories of her singing to me as she used to do that all the time when growing up.”