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How To Use Alexa: Top 10 Alexa Kitchen Skills | Nixplay

How To Use Alexa: Top 6 Alexa Kitchen Skills

Your best friend in the kitchen, Amazon Alexa offers a helping hand to both novices and expert chefs. Some of the best uses for Alexa come straight out of the box, but there is also a wide selection of Alexa kitchen skills for you to enable and make the most out of your device. Wondering how to use Alexa to make your kitchen experience that much better? Discover our top 10 Alexa kitchen skills below.

1. Start a grocery list

One of the most popular ways to use Alexa in the kitchen. Keeping a grocery list is a great way to make sure you get everything you need from the store, and to avoid the dreaded feeling of having to “nip” back out for those forgotten items. Say goodbye to the paper and pen and let Alexa keep your grocery list for you. This feature doesn’t even require a specific Alexa kitchen skill either, which is what makes it so great. Simply say “Alexa, add … to my shopping list” and she’ll take note of it for you. Then, as you pull up to the grocery store, bring up the Alexa app and you’ll find all the items you need under the Lists section – it’s as simple as that!

2. Set more than one timer

Save yourself from jumping between your cooker and phone timers, and set all of your alarms in one place with Alexa. So say goodbye to the egg timer and hello to this handy Alexa kitchen skill. To have more than one timer running at the same time, just give them each a name. For example, “Alexa, set a pasta timer for 15 minutes” and “Alexa, start an oven timer for 10 minutes”.

3. Make a fresh cup of coffee

Struggling to get out of bed before your morning coffee? Pair your Amazon Alexa device to your smart coffee brewer and have everything done for you. Simply wake up and ask Alexa to get the coffee brewing. Better yet, prepare the machine the night before and save yourself a quick trip downstairs in the morning to fill up the water or coffee.

With the right set-up, you can also control other smart appliances, like ovens, slow cookers and refrigerators. 

4. Try out new recipes
Getting bored of the same old dinners? Want to try out a fun, new bake? This Alexa kitchen skill is particularly useful for those who dare to try out more, or the beginners who need a little extra help. And it’s also another one of the most well-known ways to use Alexa in the kitchen. Start by searching for “recipe” in the Skills section of your app and browse the options to find your favorites. Some offer new daily recipes, and some even offer catered recipes to the ingredients you have in the cupboard. You’ll find some of these Alexa kitchen skills from Food Network, Allrecipes and Betty Crocker.

5. Convert units

Struggling to follow a recipe? Can’t figure out how many cups are in 250g? Save yourself the trouble and cut the math out of the equation with one of the best uses for Alexa in the kitchen. Simply ask Alexa to convert the units for you, making life that little bit easier.

6. Find alternative ingredients

You know that feeling of getting halfway through dinner prep and realizing you’re out of eggs? Or you’re baking a last-minute cake, but you accidentally picked up the baking soda instead of the baking powder? We’ve all been there. That’s where this particular Alexa kitchen skill comes in handy. Simply ask what you can use in place of the missing ingredient and Alexa will give you a list of potential alternatives. Then, add the missing ingredient to your grocery list for later!

7. Check cooking times

Cooking up a family roast? Trying out a new recipe? If you’re not sure how long something takes to cook, you can ask Alexa. Whether it’s a 20-pound turkey for the holiday season or a fresh cut of steak, this Alexa kitchen skill can provide cooking information for various types of food – including chicken, seafood and vegetables.

8. Get the best wine pairings

Hosting a dinner party and want to find the best wine pairing for your recipe? There are Amazon kitchen skills available to tell you which wines pair with certain dishes – possibly one of the lesser-known ways to use Alexa in the kitchen. Wow your taste buds by enabling the Wine Pairing Alexa kitchen skill and ask which wine goes best with your dish. Your guests will be impressed, and you’ll be the perfect host!

9. Control your smart photo frame

What better way to spend your time in the kitchen than with your favorite family memories? Whether you’re home alone or you’re off to college for the first time, keep your family close with a Nixplay Smart Frame. Experience the latest Alexa software on your digital photo frame, making it that much easier to share your treasured moments with family and friends – all with the sound of your own voice. When you’re cooking in the kitchen and your hands are full, simply ask Alexa to display any of your playlists on your frame. Pair with your favorite music and you’re set for a great time!

And that’s how to use Alexa in the kitchen! Our top 10 Alexa kitchen skills are sure to make your cooking experience that little bit easier, and much more special. Looking for more of the best uses for Alexa? Check out our top 10 fun things to do with Amazon Alexa for more inspiration, and pick up your Nixplay digital photo frame today to make the most out of the experience.

Create new moments with the family at home with Nixplay.

2021 Interior Design Trends: What’s New? | Nixplay

2021 Interior Design Trends: What’s New?

After a year of spending more time at home than ever before, many people have turned their attention to sprucing up their décor. But how are interior design trends going to change in 2021? From the growing importance of sustainable materials to how you should position your smart devices, you’ll find everything you need to know about the latest interior design trends in our guide below.

Classic Vintage

Vintage décor is a timeless classic, with antique, repurposed and salvaged pieces taking center stage. When it comes to creating a vintage theme, the key is to reference the style rather than to reproduce it, using strong colors, contrasting furniture and a less-is-more approach for a vibrant, colorful vibe. But what are the new interior design trends for vintage décor in 2021? 

Retro style is set to make a big comeback, using futuristic styles to create eye-catching designs. From neon hues to vintage typography, retro futurism makes a quirky addition to any vintage theme. Prefer something a little edgier? If so, you’ll be pleased to hear that street art styles will also be making an appearance in 2021. With a nod to the 70s, 80s and 90s, graffiti-inspired pieces will allow you to truly exercise your creativity.

Global Influence

Inspired by earthy color palettes and warm, natural textures, global influence interior design typically pairs well with wooden, woven and rattan home accessories. But what other internationally inspired styles can we expect to see in 2021? We’re all familiar with French style, renowned for its effortless chic and soft colors, or the characteristically minimal and sleek feel of Swedish interiors (we’ve got IKEA to thank for that one!). But what about lesser-known influences?

Spanish interiors are set to fill homes with vibrant yellows and terracotta reds in 2021, adding a touch of summertime to your rooms. Greece is also climbing the popularity chart, with many people opting for whitewashed walls and a mixture of sea blues and turquoise shades to give a rustic seaside feel.

Photo Frames

In recent years, people have decorated their homes with collages of photo frames, carefully positioning them to suit their favorite aesthetic. But it seems that the latest interior design trends are set to change this tradition. Interior designers are now choosing singular photo frames, focusing on one standout piece to make a real style statement. Many people are also turning their attention to digital options, where they have the freedom to change images without needing to fiddle around with the frame or spend time printing new images. Does your shabby chic interior require sepia photographs? Check out our stylish Nixplay Smart Frame, where you can easily upload your favorite memories.

Sustainable Modern Design

It’s safe to say that one of the most important design trends in 2021 will be our focus on using sustainable materials. With heightened awareness around how precious our natural resources are, many people are taking more responsibility for the environment. Reused materials and bioplastics are set to play a big part in sustainable interior design, but that doesn’t mean compromising on luxury. Often the simpler the materials, the more versatile they can be, provide you with a greater amount of design options.

Face Line Art

One of the latest interior design trends to make its way into peoples’ homes is face line art. First adopted by the millennial generation in the online world, this chic style is set to make a big impression in 2021. From bathroom wallpaper to wall canvases and home accessories, these abstract faces make an elegant addition to any interior. Typically designed in black and white, these pieces also offer optimum versatility.

House Plants

You only need to take a peep at Pinterest and Instagram to see that house plants have never been more fashionable, and this is only set to increase during 2021. From retro-style hanging creepers to beautiful blooms, you’re sure to find a plant to suit your style and space. Not only are they a charming addition to your interior, they also bring vibrancy and color to our homes – freshening the air, filtering out pollution and releasing oxygen.

And that’s our guide to what you can expect from new interior design trends in 2021! Do you want to put a personal spin on your home, adding memories shared with family and friends? If so, be sure to check out our smart photo frames, where you can share your favorite memories straight from your phone using our Nixplay App.

7 Apps and Wearables to Help You Reach Your Wellness Goals

7 Apps and Wearables to Help You Reach Your Wellness Goals

As people heed global calls to stay at home to prevent getting infected, a lot of things have been put on hold—including some fitness and health goals. During these distressing times, it’s important to stay active and take care of your health in order to keep any illnesses at bay. However, this is particularly difficult as most gyms and fitness centers are closed to prevent the rapid spread of the virus.

Thankfully, modern technology can help bring the gym closer to your home through apps, wearables, and online workout classes.

Available for Android and Apple

Headspace is a mobile app for meditation. Its library features several free and paid sessions of varying lengths, guiding users through relaxation. Even a daily 10-minute practice has been proven to relieve stress and anxiety as well as boost focus. By doing this, you can achieve a sense of calmness and assurance—something that is important now more than ever.

Available for Android and Apple

Sticking to a diet can be hard. Luckily, the main features in the food tracking app MyFitnessPal are free. It’s ideal for people who want to monitor their calories and macronutrients. Stress can cause cravings and unhealthy urges—tracking what you eat can help you be mindful of your eating habits and achieve your weight management goals.

NSCA Global
Available for Android and Apple

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) has its own app that provides detailed steps on performing strength-based exercises correctly to boost efficiency and reduce risk. NSCA Missouri state director Victor Kizer, who also serves as a director for online exercise science degree programs at Maryville University highlights on their official website the importance of research-based fitness in the Human Performance Lab, which helps train exercise physiologists and personal trainers. This app provides a convenient way for you to get similar training right at home, with step-by-step videos on proper form.

Lumo Lift
Available for Android and Apple

Lumo Lift is a small sensor for improving your posture. Simply attach it to your clothing and you’ll receive notifications telling you to correct the way you’re sitting or standing. Not only is posture important for boosting bone health, but it can also alleviate stress and improve mood. Studies have linked mood to poor posture, and by correcting it, you might be able to take the edge off during these harrowing times.

Focus To-Do
Available for Android and Apple

Though technically a productivity app, Focus To-Do reminds you to take breaks from your desk and get stretching. Working from home makes it easy to sit—or even lie down—for long periods of time. With this app, you can stick to adequate breaks to stretch your muscles and give your mind a much-needed release.

The health features of Fitbit make it a reliable smartwatch. It provides insights like heart rate and steps, which you can use as a reminder to stay active even while stuck at home. It even has a built-in sleep tracker, so you can improve the quality of your sleep.

LogicInk is a unique product that sticks on your skin. This temporary, stick-on ‘wearable tattoo’ changes colors to show you whether or not you’ve had enough sunlight for the day. Its outer blue ring slowly changes into pink as you absorb UV rays throughout the day, with an entirely pink ring indicating that you’ve had enough. Meanwhile, the inner circle shows your real-time exposure to the sun – invisible under full shade and bright pink under direct sunlight. It’s a simple and highly effective solution for people who both love the sun and have sensitive skin.

There’s definitely no shortage of useful apps for anyone who wants to improve their life. Hopefully, this list gets you started on your health goals for this year and beyond!

Baby’s First Photo Album Checklist | Nixplay

Baby’s First Photo Album Checklist

The first year with a newborn baby can be daunting, and it’s a pretty hectic and confusing time. But it’s also magical, precious and incredibly rewarding. And you’ll want to remember every last detail. So what’s the best way to document their development? Your brain can only hold so much information – so why not make family memories that last with a baby’s first photo album? The perfect way to store those valuable flashbacks and follow your baby’s first year in photos.

Baby’s First Year Book Ideas

Baby years fly by so fast, so it’s important to document all the special memories while you still can. And that’s where our baby’s first year book ideas come in – complete with a photo checklist and top tips for how to take good baby photos at home, so you can make sure that your baby’s first photo album is perfect.

Baby’s First Photos Checklist

Organizing a photoshoot with your baby can be tricky, which is why we’ve pulled together a baby’s first photos checklist – a selection of events, moments and concepts that you need to capture as your little one grows. So why not document your baby’s first year in photos with our checklist?

Baby’s first…It’s all relativeMajor milestones
First dayFirst visitorsFirst smileFirst haircutFirst toothFirst birthdayPhoto with momPhoto with dadPhoto with siblingsPhoto with grandparentsPhoto with god parentsGroup family shotBringing them homeSitting upStanding upLearning to walkThe first day they started to talk
It’s the little thingsThese are a few of their favorite thingsAdorable outfits
Little hands and feetHospital name and cardHolding handsBath timeFamily kissesNo.1 teddyFavorite blankieAfternoon snackFurry friendsBedtime storyFirst outfitAnimal printFancy dressSunday bestMatching family ‘fits

Happy Holiday

Celebrate the seasons with your baby’s first photo album – making the most of every holiday. Top tip? Flowers make for great baby’s first photo props. Some of the holidays that are a must for your baby’s first year book are:

  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day party
  • Halloween celebrations 
  • Happy Thanksgiving
  • Merry Christmas
  • Meeting the Easter bunny

How To Take Good Baby Photos At Home

For the best baby’s first photo album, follow our simple tips on how to take good baby photos at home:

  • Follow a color theme – you can also progress the tone and shade as baby gets older to follow their progression.
  • Use fun positions and angles – just make sure you’re being safe.
  • Involve yourself – it doesn’t just have to be baby in the photo. Document your growth and theirs together, and make the most of this time.
  • Capture the real-life moments. Not every event in life is the perfect photo opportunity, so don’t spam your phone or followers. Just focus on the touching moments that you experience with baby – for example, snuggling up for a nap with dad.

Finding The Right Baby’s First Year Picture Frame

Baby’s First Year Picture Frame

Looking for a baby’s first year picture frame that holds all the memories in one place? As well as your baby’s first year photo book, you need a digital photo frame. The perfect keepsake to store all your baby’s first photos, a Nixplay smart frame comes with 10GB free cloud storage, meaning you’re never short of space. Got long distance family? You can easily share your baby’s first year progress with them using a Wi-Fi frame from Nixplay. And if you upgrade to Nixplay Plus, you can help your whole family stay closer. Browse the collection and order yours online today.

The Transformation Of Halloween Technology | Nixplay

The Transformation Of Halloween Technology

Halloween is a time for fun-filled adventures, costumes and spooky celebrations. Over time, October 31st has been revolutionized, from the original homemade décor and costumes, to high-tech drones, extravagant lighting displays and tech Halloween costumes. But while the freshly carved pumpkins and handmade costumes still live on, technology has truly transformed the way we approach the Halloween festivities.

Halloween technology and the internet

Technology and the internet have benefitted many of us over the years – from businesses and organizations to students and families. It has also had a positive effect on the holiday seasons, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween.

Wondering how tech has transformed October 31st? Technological devices have become a huge part of the whole immersive experience – from home decorating to showstopping party tricks. Here are just a few of the Halloween technology and internet features that have helped to transform the way we celebrate the spooky season:

  • Tracking apps: Apps like Find My Friends now mean that parents can be stress-free and let their older children go trick-or-treating safely with their friends.
  • Social media: Combined with the internet, social media has transformed Halloween forever. You can find haunted house reviews, costume inspiration, and spooky décor ideas with the click of a button.
  • LED bracelets: Make sure your little one is in sight throughout the night with a light-up bracelet that stands out in the dark.

Tech or treat: Fun Halloween tech ideas

The spooky season is the perfect opportunity to show off your creative side – and Halloween technology makes it even easier. Here are some of the Halloween technology ideas that have developed over time:

Tech Halloween Costumes

What about wearable Halloween tech? Over the years, and as technology has become more prominent in our everyday lives, more and more people have decided to design their own tech Halloween costumes. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Use your smartphone or tablet to develop your dramatic tech Halloween costumes. Check out this YouTube video posted by Mark Rober, where he creates the effect of a hole in his stomach using two tablets!
  • Implement LED lights into your Halloween costumes. How about creating a hat with flowing LED strips to turn you into a jelly fish? Or use some wire to form light-up fairy wings?
  • Robot suits! The ultimate tech Halloween costumes. These are more on the pricey side, but they’re definitely worth it. What’s not to love about turning into a robot for a fun-filled evening?

While Halloween technology is great for costumes, it can be dangerous to wear – if it’s not done in the right way. So remember to stay safe when wearing your tech Halloween costumes!

High-tech Halloween decorations

There are many digital Halloween decoration ideas that have been developed over the years. From spooky animations to hang around the house, to ghostly drones and holograms to haunt the exterior of your home, but here are a few of our favorites:

  • LED light shows: Outdoor lighting displays aren’t just for Christmas – these technology Halloween decorations are completely versatile. Use a projector or some string LED lights to spruce up your front yard and make it Halloween-ready.
  • Haunted moving paintings: Perfect for an authentic haunted house experience.
  • Halloween photo displays: Whether you’re celebrating with a party, trick or treating or a cozy night in with the kids, a great way to get in the spooky spirit is by displaying some of your favorite Halloween snaps – past and present.

Looking for a way to show off your spooky surprises at home? Make your Halloween memorable with a digital photo frame – the perfect way to display your favorite family photos, no matter what time of year. Browse our range of Wi-Fi photo frames and Smart Frames online today to complete your Halloween technology decorations.

Things might be a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate. Why not get the whole neighborhood to decorate their front lawns and have a virtual Halloween party to keep up the spooky spirits? Whatever you do, make sure you have a happy Halloween at home with your family and carry on the festivities. 

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