Blog Posts by CaRoLyN cLaRk, Serendipity & Spark

  • Jump Start Your Morning With Tech

    Let the morning rush begin!

    With school back in session, many families are once again facing the challenge of getting everyone up and out the door on time. Luckily, this school year, there are some cool ways technology may be able to help your household head off some of the typical snags.

    It's obvious that getting up earlier will help everyone be more calm and relaxed in the morning. But that is easier said than done. Lots of families are trying to figure out how best to wake up as the days get shorter. Searches for alarm clocks of every form and function are trending high on Yahoo! right now including online varieties, the Sonic Boom line of products, clocks for kids and even a clock that cooks breakfast for you a-k-a the Wakin' Bacon clock.

    A lot of people are simply turning their smart phones into waking devices with free or inexpensive apps that offer both the time and the weather. The Alarm Clock Rio app for iPhone looks like a digital clock and updates the

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  • 5 Ways To Clear Out The Clutter Are You A Digital Packrat?

    Spring cleaning has long passed me by. Now it's the height of summer and the email inbox that needed a serious purge months ago is still overflowing with unopened newsletters, notes that still need a reply and stale back and forths that should have been trashed months ago. Let's not even talk about the state of my iPhone photo library or the glut of texts that I can't seem to delete. It seems that I'm not alone in my resistance to organize and clear out all of this electronic clutter. When given a choice between cleaning the toilet or cleaning out their email inbox, 20% of Americans told Yahoo they'd prefer to pick up the scrub brush. Let's face it, sometimes it's just hard to let go.

    It's not surprising why. The sheer volume of email that we are sending and receiving each day is hard to manage. The tech marketing research firm Radicati Group ( estimates that this year, 155 billion personal and business emails will be sent and received worldwide. That's up from

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  • Mother’s Day Gifts For The Tech Savvy Mama

    Time was, you had to show your mother how to use "reply all" on email. Now she totes around a smartphone, gets her New York Times via tablet and effortlessly video chats with your kids. Or at least, my mom does. She's an example of a growing number of baby boomers embracing technology and I'm so proud of her. I realize that while most older Americans are slowly adopting mobile web, an increasing number is using the Internet the traditional way on a daily basis. And they are open to trying new gadgets and apps when they understand how they will improve their lives, including staying connected with family and friends. In fact, a 2010 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that the number of people over age 50 using social media has doubled to 42% - up from 22% just the year before. So this Mother's Day, there are lots of options to help your modern mom feel like she's really "with it" and also terrific gift ideas for the younger mom who personifies "geek chic." In

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  • Long Distance Parenting: 6 New Ideas For Staying Connected

    Divorce, long commutes and business travel can make modern parenting tricky. But today's tech savvy moms and dads are finding new ways to stay connected with their kids. Many of us have the tools at our fingertips: A new Yahoo!/Reader's Digest survey finds that 95% of those surveyed own a laptop or desktop computer, 86% have a digital camera and close to half use a smart phone. From Blackberries to iPads to social gaming platforms, there have never been more ways to bridge the miles. As I discussed on the Today Show, here are five high tech ways to help you stay plugged into your family's lives from afar.

    1. Give Real Time Updates

    A photo is really worth a thousand words and thanks to wireless technology, you can literally show your child what you are up to instantaneously. With the Vizit photo frame, you can send images from anywhere anytime in REAL TIME and your child can send a reply or a photo back to you. All do you is plug it in and invite friends and family via email to

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  • Apps To Make Your Garden Grow

    I never thought the day would come when I would consider planting my own garden. It's not that I don't appreciate nature. It's just that I've been an urban dweller for most of my adult life. But with kindergarten on the horizon for my twins, a big move to the suburbs is imminent. It wasn't an easy decision. Yet now that we've taken the steps to make it a reality, I've started to think about our new backyard and how fun (and relaxing?) it might be to make it look pretty and maybe even grow some of our own food. Luckily, for a novice like me, there is no shortage of resources to help me get started, especially apps to consult on my smartphone while the kids and I enjoy the great outdoors.

    By the way, I'm far from the only person seeking gardening advice on the Web. Searches on Yahoo! for "gardening tips" jumped 284% this week. Queries for "vegetable garden" are up 183% and "vegetable seeds" spiked 458% in the last seven days. In terms of vegetables, Yahoo users want to know most

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  • Elizabeth Taylor: Honoring An Icon

    Sad news today about the passing of Elizabeth Taylor. To honor her I took a look at Etsy to see what is out there. Found a couple of super awesome things. The first is a pop art print from the shop of Media Graffiti Studio.

    Check out this super cool sterling silver pendant necklace from Ohana By Lee.

    What a beautiful woman...a true icon.

    Check out more at Serendipity & Spark here:

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  • No Need to Suffer In Silence: Web Replaces Face-To-Face Support Groups

    When my friend Allison Gilbert lost her mother in 1996, she was just 25 years old and a newlywed. One of the most valuable things she did to cope she says was attending weekly meetings of Gilda's Club, a support group for families living with cancer. Back then, the idea of finding help and connection online didn't really occur to her. Social networking wasn't even invented and the Internet was just starting to be accessed from homes. But when her father was diagnosed with lung cancer just a few years later, the Web and cyber support groups became essential partners as she faced her dad's rapidly deteriorating health.

    "I'd talk with strangers via email and direct messaging about surgical procedures and medicines. We'd exchange details about doctors and hospitals. This was done at all times of day and night, seven days a week. I didn't have to wait for a once-a-week support group. And I didn't have to leave my house, which at the time was also very important for me because

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  • What Your Searches Say About Your Relationship

    In these wired times, it's not surprising that increasingly, people turn to the web for gift ideas, inspiration and advice once Valentine's Day rolls around. But you can tell a lot about the state of romance and relationships by looking at the millions of love-related search queries that pop up in February and in some cases as early as Christmas.

    First off, the 705% spike in searches this month for "romantic ideas" on Yahoo! shows lovebirds are doing some homework to find unique ways to display their affection. By the way, ladies, a majority of those questions originate from men ages 25-44 years old. Seeking ideas from a search engine may sound a little lazy to some but on the contrary, it could be a signal that your partner is actually putting in more thought so that he gives you an item or plans a special event he knows you'll actually enjoy says psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman.

    "Just because they get to wear their PJ's while they do it doesn't mean they don't care,"

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  • What to Do With Old Gadgets?

    If you are one of the lucky people toting around a shiny new smartphone, iPod or laptop, chances are there might be an old cell phone, batteries, cables and the like gathering dust somewhere in your home. It always seems easier to just stick those things in a drawer and forget about them, right? But as I recently showed Natalie Morales on the Today Show, one person's trash is another person's treasure. You can really do a world of good by taking the time to donate, trade in or sell gadgets you regard as passé.

    Of course, you know it's never good to throw electronics in the garbage. The metals and plastic will just end up taking up space in a landfill when those materials can actually be recycled. Yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told me that only 10% of cell phones, for example, are turned in for recycling or reuse each year. In fact, just this week, Yahoo! searches for "how to recycle cell phones" spiked 800% and "how to donate laptops" surged 600%. Clearly, now that it

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  • Get Fit With Tech

    For most of us, the hardest part about exercise is just lacing up and getting out the door. The phone rings, you have kids to get ready for school, meals to prepare, bills to pay, e-mail to return…Motivation isn't always easy to come by when you have a slew of responsibilities hanging over your head, waiting impatiently for the minute you return from your jog or bike ride. Still, as more of our busy lives move online, many people in pursuit of fitness are finding that technology can provide a real life kick in the pants.

    While fitness gadgets and apps can't do the workout for us (at least not yet!), they can provide a necessary psychological boost to help many people take the initiative to get moving. A recent Yahoo!/OTX survey found the number of people turning to the Web to research fitness has more than quadrupled over the last 15 years. More than a third of the 2,016 Americans we polled in May say they use an activity tracker to keep tabs on how many calories they are

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