How do I get back to “normal”?

The world as we know it has changed forever. As we are longing for a sense of normalcy, what we are finding instead is an adaptation we can learn to live with. As we have gotten back to work, and school, we realize it is not the work or school we left. Meetings are virtual, classrooms are online, and when you see people it’s either through a screen or a mask.

Nevertheless, we learn to adapt. As we have returned to a sense of normalcy, we are beginning to realize the materials needed to return to work have adjusted. We realized that what we need for school has adapted with the times as well.

With that being said, I have compiled a list of a multitude of items designed to make work and school in this crazy time a little bit easier, more fun, and more productive.

Satechi Stand & Hub 6-in-1

This little tool has proven incredibly handy. It turned my iPad Pro into an IO dream. All in a crazy compact, yet useful form factor. Satechi with this unit, Satechi has made a portable stand and hub all in one. It fits in my pocket or backpack with ease, yet can fold out to hold my iPad Pro at a desirable viewing angle while allowing access to 6 additional ports. This hub is great for a set-up/tear-down iPad Pro desk setup, for a coffee shop work session, or for adding a storage device (via USB or SD/MicroSD) on the go. I even used this on my home office desk for a while to plug my iPad Pro into my monitor and external storage.

Logitech StreamCam

With the rise in virtual meetings, having a quality webcam you can rely on is vital. This camera can be plugged in via USB-C, and boasts full HD 1080P at 60FPS. This is also a camera that has the native ability to run portrait or landscape mode. Allowing for easy recording for social media. Another thing to help make the StreamCam even better is the smart auto-framing feature. This feature can “automatically keep you framed front and center in all your streams and videos”. One more huge feature to mention is that Logitech included Logitech Capture software with this camera. This is not a classic free included software. I found myself shocked at how robust this software was, and how many applications there would be to utilize its features. Last but not least, there are dual microphones on the front of this camera, allowing for a quality audio input to your computer.

Yeti Blue Mic

This mic has been rated the World’s #1 USB Microphone for years now. The reason for such high praise is the phenomenal audio with minimal setup. This is a USB Microphone, meaning that it literally is as easy as plug and play. What’s crazy is that though it is that easy to set up, there are professional level settings you can play with to help with whatever you are doing. There are distinct pattern modes allowing for dialed in audio recording. This could potentially be overkill for someone who is jumping into the occasional virtual meeting. However, if you are recording classes or meetings, it’s perfect. This mic is also great for recording instruments, conference calls, interviews, and more. Onboard controls for gain, pattern settings, and mute make input super easy. Controls for zero-latency headphone output volume makes referencing a dream.

Logitech Pebble

I love a good quality mouse and keyboard setup. I still use my Logitech MX Master series mouse and keyboard on my desk every day. When I saw the Logitech Pebble, I knew it was something I had to check out. I now utilize my Logitech Pebble anytime I’m not at my desk. It’s minimalist, lightweight, and it’s simple. It is also the first mouse designed for iPadOS. As I am a heavy iPad Pro user, I was intrigued immediately. After using this mouse for months now I absolutely love how quiet and light it is. The ergonomic shape fits my hand comfortably, and the battery life is phenomenal. All around, this is a great little mouse. My only wish is that it was rechargeable!

Kensington StudioCaddy

Kensington absolutely shocked the iPad Pro users of the world a few months ago with the StudioDock. More recently, they came out with the StudioCaddy. Completely designed around the Apple Ecosystem, this caddy perfectly holds a MacBook, iPad, iPhone and AirPods. There are two sections that magnetically stick to each other (if desired). One half of the unit is a two spot wireless charger, one angled for an iPhone and the other for your AirPods. The second half to the unit is designed to prop your MacBook and iPad vertically to store away safely and elegantly. The side with the wireless charger also has a USB-C output and a USB-A output.

Satechi 108W USB-C 3-Port GAN Wall Charger

Regardless of where you are working from home, a coffee shop, co-working space or your office, one thing remains constant — the need to charge. Our smart devices are getting upgraded with every new model, but what always remains a necessity is the need to charge our devices. With USB-C becoming more and more popular,  I am switching over from USB-A charging bricks to USB-C bricks. This Satechi brick is small and compact. Yet, as the name alludes, produces an enormous 108W of power. This brick can charge 3 USB-C devices at once, and is remarkably handy to have in my bag.

Orbitkey Deskmat

I’m a fan of keeping my things nice. Regardless of the category of the item, I like making sure that I treat the item well. One of those things has always been my desk. I want to keep the desk scratch free and keep my products from getting scratched too. Orbitkey announced their Deskmat and I knew it was something I wanted to check out for that very reason. This desk mat not only protects my desk but also has a multitude of other useful tricks up its sleeve.

It has a top quick access toolbar designed to hold your pens (or Apple Pencil) in a convenient location. There are also cable magnets designed to hold a charging cable within reach. Lastly, Orbitkey devised a way to be able to easily store papers between the top layer and bottom layer of this mat, allowing for a perfect paper stowaway. This is perfect for keeping your desk looking neat and clean, while actually getting work done at the same time.

Oakywood Laptop Sleeve

Carrying a laptop from place to place is part of the beauty of a laptop. The portability is wonderful, however all that transporting from place to place can damage your beloved laptop. OakyWood created a solution to this problem with their felt MacBook cases. These cases also include a little front pocket, perfect for a charging cable or anything else you might need to carry with you. This sleeve protects my MacBook and allows for peace of mind when putting it in my bag, setting it on a table, or carrying it outside.

The felt material is comfortable to the touch, and smooth against my MacBook. All while remaining durable enough to hold together well even against some heavy usage.

OWC Envoy Pro FX

Calling all Thunderbolt 4 adopters. OWC has done it yet again. This external drive is Thunderbolt 4 exclusive and continues the legacy of OWC on to another level. This drive is remarkably quiet, durable, small, and fast. All things I want from a portable drive. I have no issues trusting my files, no matter how precious, to this drive. I know that even in the case of a coffee spill, I can trust that my OWC Envoy Pro FX will not only survive, but remain unphased.

Soundcore Motion Boom

Something that makes college so incredible is the ability to create a gathering with a simple speaker. I’m pretty sure that I carried a speaker with me everywhere I went in college because I never knew when I’d get caught up in a Spikeball game, pickup football game, or intense chess match (if that’s what you’re into). If your goal is to have a speaker, you should probably have a pretty good one. For the weekends on the boat, spontaneous camping trips, or hiking adventures, you want to make sure your speaker of choice can actually perform. That’s why I started using the Soundcore Motion Boom. Being a father of two, running two companies and being a key player in two more, I don’t find myself wandering about a college campus looking for ways to spend my afternoon. However, when I have my beloved family time, or take my son to a park to find sticks, I want to be able to bring music along occasionally. I’ve also used this speaker as a way to amplify whatever Blippi song is the fan favorite while playing in the backyard — sorry neighbors. I love how durable and rugged this speaker is, all while also being oddly refined for it’s sporty design. All around, if you are looking for a portable speaker, make sure to check out Soundcore Motion Boom. It will probably stop your search — because you’ll just decide on this one.

Dell 27” USB-C Hub Monitors

I have a problem. I always try to find a better way to be more productive. This spans to nearly every aspect of my life — but let’s not get into that at this time. Regarding products, I love discovering tools and gear to make my everyday life easier and more efficient. I rebuild my desk once a week at a minimum. When I found that I could have simply a USB-C Monitor with a hub plugged directly into my iPad Pro while still being able to plug in my (somewhat obnoxious amount of) accessories, I was sold.

I tried out two different versions of Dell’s 27” USB-C Hub Monitors. First, their basic model. Second, their FHD model. Both were remarkable to use. The utility was there in both models. The picture quality was obviously better in the FHD model. Both models had convenient USB-A ports on the bottom left of the monitor. I was able to use this port to conveniently charge my iPhone, AirPods, and more. I even used this port to plug in my Blue Yeti Mic to record a few times. These monitors take productivity to a whole new level and I cannot get enough of them. 

Nomad Laptop Sleeve

Laptop sleeves are made of just about every material you can think of. That doesn’t mean they are all created equally though. Nomad is notorious for utilizing genuine Horween leather for their products and this sleeve is no exception. What is exceptional, however, is the design of this product. My MacBook Air sits inside while perfectly allowing access to charge via the cut out Nomad designed. Additionally, the magnetic clasps nomad added help me feel as though my MacBook is not going to fall out of my case, because if it did that, well then what is the point of a case in the first place I ask you. Nomad’s leather laptop sleeve makes me feel elegant and like I want to show off my MacBook.

Nomad Universal Cables

When it comes to cables I have an abundance — and then some. I have a full pouch of just cables and power bricks that I carry with me everywhere I go in my backpack. When I saw Nomad release universal cables I was sold. I have had cheap Amazon or Target attempts at universal cables and they had always worked great for a few weeks then the universal adapter tips would loosen or give out entirely. And that is with me treating them really well. Nomad’s quality cable build and rugged adapter tips create a beautiful combination in a universal cable. Now, I can cut down on the cables I carry with me because I have these cables that can be a handful of combinations in one cable. From USB-C to USB-A to Micro-USB to Lighting. It’s beautiful, simple, genius, and quality.

Pluggable USB-A Hub

In a world where computers are taking over how we live our lives in and out it seems like there are peripherals for everything. Depending on how up to date you are on technology, that can be a lot of things to plug into one machine. For those times that you need more USB-A ports, Pluggable’s USB-A 7-port hub is a phenomenal option. The fact that it is powered means that there isn’t going to be a drop in connection, but rather each USB-A plugged into this hub will operate as though it was connected directly to the machine the hub is connected to. Personally, this is great for one of the desks I run. I have an external microphone, camera, disc drive, iPad charger, audio interface, and USB-A Bluetooth dongle, all plugged into one machine. This Pluggable USB-A hub is perfect for that. In a past job, I had all of the above with an additional 4 midi controllers plugged in at all times as well. Being able to have that many devices plugged in (via two USB-A hubs daisy chained) without any speed or connection loss made my desk setup possible, when it otherwise would require a lot of time consuming and annoying plugging and unplugging devices.

Anker Nano II

I have 8 billion devices I need to recharge throughout my days. Okay maybe not 8 billion but I have a lot. When I am on the go, I need something that is small enough to not take up too much valuable bag real estate, but can also actually get the job done for something bigger than an iPhone mini (sorry stock Apple brick). That is where my Anker Nano II comes in as reigning champion. This tiny little brick puts out an impressive charge speed, regardless of what I plug into it. My iPhone charged significantly faster than with the stock Apple brick. My iPad Pro even charged quicker than I expected. Since this product literally just charges your items when plugged into a wall, there isn’t much to say about it other than it works as described and does a very good job at it.

Eufy RoboVac X8

I’ve used my fair share of robot vacuums and I have not been impressed. Don’t get me wrong, I want to love them. The idea of not needing to vacuum, yet having a vacuumed house is remarkably intriguing. And since I can’t afford my own private cleaning staff, I turned to finding a good robot vacuum — if there is such a thing. I have tried other big brands and was not impressed with the random patterns and bouncing off of walls. Then I found it. I found Eufy’s RoboVac L80 (X8). This vacuum actually systematically cleans the entire space. I should specify, it can even define spaces. I had to allow it to freely map my entire living space. Once it did that, I was able to mark off different rooms, different places to not go and clean (like my baby’s play mat) and do-not-cross lines. Now, I can set it to clean different rooms, in whatever order I want and let it get to work. I can also, from my phone, select a place to have it spot clean, or even draw out a rectangle of a zone to clean. Additionally, if needed, I can manually drive my vacuum from my phone as well. All around, this vacuum has exceeded expectations. My only qualm is that it does not tell me when the tank is full, or at least it hasn’t yet. And I have purposefully tried to give it every opportunity to tell me.

Nebula Capsule

I remember growing up and my uncle had a projector movie room in his basement. Granted, rather than movies I spent most of my time near that projector playing Rockband on Xbox 360, but a “movie” room nonetheless. Projectors can still reach astronomical prices, but they have also slowly become more affordable as well. Of course, if you are looking for a production level model, that is where the prices skyrocket. But, if you just need something for your backyard movie night, a personal drive in theatre, a game room, a portable movie, or projecting a virtual meeting, Anker has you covered with their Capsule line of projectors. This beast is the size of a soda can, yet boasts a 1080p picture quality, has a smart Android OS built in and can actually be streamed to as well. I was able to AirPlay YouTube kids to my projector in my son’s playroom this morning without any issues. And I almost forgot to mention, this projector also has a surprisingly quality speaker built in as well. So, rather than needing to lug around a screen, speakers, etc. or have everyone crowd around a laptop or phone to watch whatever content is being enjoyed, pick up an Anker Capsule and solve your content sharing conundrums once and for all.

Oakywood Desk Shelf

About 6years ago when I first got into desk setups I bought a monitor riser off of Amazon. I wanted something big enough to hold the monitor base, but also be multi-functional to hold other things as well. A few months ago I decided to upgrade the well-used cheap purchase to something of a bit more size and quality. I decided to go with the OakyWood Desk Shelf and I love it. It’s large enough that I can put my monitor on top and still have space on either side to place other things of importance. I also have enough clearance underneath the riser to store some things I may not need access to immediately. There isn’t much to say about a piece of wood on two metal legs, but what I can say is that I was thrilled with my purchase, and I plan on keeping this on my desk for quite some time. It works wonders and does the job in a beautiful way.

OWC Thunderbolt Hub

I have a lot of devices. And while my primary device is an iPad Pro, all of my current devices are USB-C or Thunderbolt. The bummer about the iPad Pro is that there is only one port. So if you want to utilize a monitor, or external storage, or an audio interface, etc while also charging, or any combination of these things, there’s a problem. I’ve been an avid user of USB-C docks for years. But now that everything can be (and should be) done via USB-C / Thunderbolt I needed a solution. That’s where OWC’s Thunderbolt Hub came in as the perfect solution. This Hub turns one USB-C / Thunderbolt port into 4. All this while also powering the host device, and allowing an easy access USB-A port on the front of the hub. So, for an example, on my desk right now I run my iPad Pro as my main device. I plug my iPad Pro into this hub, and it is then able to easily connect to my USB-C monitor, my external storage, and a USB-A hub. This allows for me to plug in all of my devices with a single USB-C cable, and for that it could not be made easier.

Twelve South HoverBar Duo

My iPad Pro is by far the most versatile device I have ever owned. One minute I am writing a review, the next I am editing 4k video, the next I am editing photos, and yet then the next I am able to edit audio files. I can record videos, I can video chat, I can do everything off of my iPad Pro. The only downside for working from an iPad Pro primarily is that the angle is not always the best. That is where Twelve South created a beautiful solution. Their HoverBar Duo is an arm that can be supported by either their weighted base or a clamp. The other end is brilliantly designed to support everything from an iPhone to the iPad Pro. Now, regardless of the device you are utilizing, you can have it positioned as you desire. I have used this to hold my phone to show me DailyTekk on YouTube while doing the dishes (by clamping the arm to a cabinet). I have also used it to create a perfect camera placement while working from the couch in sweats. Currently, I use it to hold my iPad in perfect position for virtual meetings while at my desk. I have the arm clamped to the back of my desk so I can push the arm out of the way when not in use, and then pull into place when needed. For such a simple concept, Twelve South did a phenomenal job designing this versatile arm.

Twelve South ParcSlope

If nothing else, I think that all these virtual meetings have taught laptop users that their camera angle is not exactly ideal. Additionally, while the form and function of a laptop is wonderful, the angle you have to look to view it can be painful after a short while. That’s where Twelve South comes into play. The ParcSlope gives a perfect lift to your laptop, elevating the camera to a much more flattering angle while subsequently raising the screen closer to eye level. This makes the overall viewing and use of your laptop much better. This device could also be used to put an iPad in drawing mode, giving a slight angle while supporting.

CARiLOHA Weighted Blanket

I don’t know about you, but blankets mean comfort to me. My wife and I have blankets on every couch, in every room of our entire home. We love blankets, even in the middle of the summer. But for those colder months, I was looking for something extra cozy. That’s when I found CARiLOHA’s weighted blanket. I tried out their sheets a while back, so I knew the quality would be phenomenal. I am officially happy to say I am converted and I actually really like this weighted blanket. Previously, the idea freaked me out as it does many — an extra weight literally holding you down — but I can say I use it and love it. It’s not too warm, and not too heavy. It folds up nicely and stores away quite nicely. The material is wonderfully soft and comfortable, all while cleaning easily too. I was never a fan of weighted blankets until I tried CARiLOHA’s.

Nomatic Navigator Collapsible Backpack

I’m a huge backpack nerd. I’ve tried a very wide range of backpacks and yet this one absolutely shocked me. When I first saw Nomatic’s Collapsible Backpack I thought to myself that there is no possible way that it can do both well. I’m happy to report I was very wrong. This backpack folds down to be able to almost fit in my pocket, yet folds out to be a full size, fully functional backpack. This is perfect for when I travel and I want to bring a backpack — because I always bring a backpack — but I don’t want to or need to carry it through the airport, or pack it in my car. This bag is also the perfect backup bag, or perhaps bag to keep just in case. This bag also is perfect for those short on space, because storage when not in use is very minimal.

All around, this backpack functions as a standard backpack when fully unfolded. It has phenomenal storage, pockets, etc. as I expect from Nomatic. But, the fact that it can do all that and still fold down to such a small case is dumbfounding to me.

EcoVessel TheBoulder

I love reusable bottles. I have one with me every day, all day long. I use it for water mostly, however I rotate to other bottles I have when I want something else to drink. I never found myself loving using a typical bottle for beverages outside of basic water until I found EcoVessel’s TheBoulder. This bottle has a built-in strainer designed to catch anything that might be inside from hitting you while drinking. To put this practically, you can now drink fresh tea without having to hold anything back. Or perhaps iced coffee without the ice hitting you in the face when you sip. Maybe you are into water but you want fresh fruit in your water, maybe still you simply want lemonade with fresh lemons. There are a plethora of options regarding how to use this bottle, and all work wonderfully!

OXO 8-Cup Coffee Maker

Everyone knows coffee is a near essential. Okay maybe not everyone, but if you’re a coffee lover, you understand. I wanted to find something that would be perfect to put in my office — the one that isn’t in my basement — to help fill the need I have for frequent refills. OXO’s 8 cup coffee maker fits the bill. It’s simple, it’s compact, and it’s wonderful. I didn’t need anything overly fancy, and I definitely didn’t need anything overly pricy. This coffee maker has been my reliable go to for a while now, refilling my mug and addiction flawlessly throughout my day.

Function101 Cable Blocks

I don’t know about you, but I have cables on my desk. While I try to avoid being able to see them, I do have them on my desk still. What’s really annoying is when you need the cable to rest on a desk or nightstand and then it falls off. Enter Cable Blocks from Function101. These simple little weighted grips hold cables in place with ease, allowing them to stay where you left them. While they’re not overly fancy or complex, they are a phenomenal addition to nearly any person’s workflow or setup.

Orbitkey Key Organizer

Returning to the office reminded me how there is a need for keys. However, there is an easier way to carry them than just a key ring in your pocket. Orbitkey has a key organizer that is designed to be the perfect solution to the muti-key problem. This lay flat design stacks all the keys in a protective sheath, allowing for a clean carry in your pocket, without any bulk, jingle, or excess weight.

OXO Brew Venture Travel French Press

OXO created a line of coffee products designed for camping. I saw it as a perfectly designed set of tools for college as well. It’s rugged design is ready for anything, no matter if that is a dorm room, apartment, campsite or house. The travel French press makes French press easy, and while it may not be the fanciest of those on the market, it stands in a lane of its own with a beautiful hybrid of usability, durability and affordable price.

OXO Brew Kettle

OXO’s coffee line doesn’t stop there. They also have a kettle which is perfect for just about anything you’d need hot or even warm water for. The newest model of the Brew Kettle has a temperature adjustable knob. This allows for you to choose boiling, hot, or even just warm. The ability to choose the exact degree is baffling to me. However, it has been incredibly handy, even in strange situations. The most unconventional way I’ve used this is to get warm, but not scalding water for my daughter’s bath. Mostly I just wanted to because I just got the kettle, but knowing it can help heat water to temperature very quickly is a huge plus!

OXO Brew Pour Over

OXO saw the pour over market and decided to take a swing. Let’s just say they hit it out of the park. Not only is this a super simple and clean pourover, but it also has an innovative water tank on top that allows for a more balanced brew. This cuts down on needing to try and pour as evenly as possible from a kettle. Granted, you can still use your kettle (perhaps your OXO brew kettle above) to fill the water tank, you just don’t need to stress over an even pour any longer.

OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew

…And that’s not all! OXO also has a product for cold brew coffee. OXO’s compact cold brew system is small and simple enough to store in your fridge, even a mini fridge, brew on the counter and store all together in a tiny cabinet or on the counter. This setup is perfect for a college student or office dweller who loves their cold brew and wants to be able to make it on their own. This system is ingenious and works together so eloquently. The brewing canister drains automatically when placed on top of the carafe. Then, if not in use, the carafe can actually be stored in an empty brewer. All around this system is remarkably simple, easy to store, easy to clean, and aesthetically pleasing!

OXO 20 Piece Prep & Go Container Set

When headed back to work or school, you may be tempted to just start eating out again. Maybe you’ll want to DoorDash, UberEats, PostMates, GrubHub, (insert whatever name you prefer) your lunch. Maybe you’ll be more like me and you’ll simply become aware of how often you would stroll into the kitchen to get a snack (or 5th lunch). Regardless of your reason, OXO has it covered. I love this meal prep set because the containers actually make sense. It’s not a generic square or rectangle I hope works. These have purpose and fulfill that purpose very well. This set has everything from sandwich containers to salad containers, pasta containers, squeeze bottles, berry baskets, snack packs, and divided lunch containers. I am shocked at how much of a difference these specialized containers make!

OXO Aluminum Fold Flat Dish Rack

Doing dishes in college usually does not include a dishwasher. Maybe your experience is different than mine was, but for those who are used to hand washing and then drying, maybe you should try this product out. OXO has an aluminum fold flat dish drying rack. So right off the bat, you don’t have to worry about storing a behemoth on your limited counter space. This folds flat and can fit under the sink or in a cupboard. Expanded to full size, this rack has two tiers, and a silverware cup. The top tier has slots perfect for plates, lids, bowls and more. The bottom is perfect for everything else. When folded flat, this can also be used as a drain board for those bigger clunkier items. This dish rack is perfect for those smaller spaces, where you still need to get some drying done.

OXO Water Bottle Drying Rack

Calling all water bottle collectors! I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of water bottles. I have ones I use daily, ones I use traveling, ones I use on Monday, one I use in August, (okay not really, getting a little too out there). Nevertheless, I have a lot. Not to mention my family’s water bottles. So, when we have multiple to wash and dry, we all know how much of a pain it is to shove a towel down into the bottle, and you don’t want to put it into your cupboard while still wet. So, I started using OXO’s water bottle drying rack and I love it. This rack can hold 4 bottles/mugs and lids, and even has a spot to hold straws too.

OXO Straws

SAVE THE TURTLES. If you are one who believes this to their core or not, reusable straws just simply make sense. OXO released a 5 piece set that fits the needs of most people quite nicely! It has two smaller straws, two larger straws and a cleaning tool. The straws have a comfortable silicone tip that is easy to clean and can be used to extend the straw and have a bent end.

Solo New York Thompson Briefcase

I’ve always been a big backpack guy. However as I age, and for some professional meetings, a backpack just doesn’t seem to cut it. I started looking for a good briefcase that would still hold the things I needed, without breaking the bank. That’s where I found the Solo New York Thompson Laptop Briefcase. This briefcase has the ability to hold my MacBook, my iPad Pro, some files if I’m feeling old school and plenty of room for more. I can fit my cables, headphones, or whatever else I may need for a day of work in this briefcase with ease. Plus, because of its classic leather design, I can bring it into a business meeting and feel like it belongs there. This briefcase also has an adjustable shoulder strap if desired. All around, this briefcase has been surprisingly great to use and I highly recommend!

Anker PowerConf S500

I’ve been in more than my fair share of virtual meetings over the last year and a half. In that time I have experienced the drastic difference between quality audio and poor audio. The worst example of this is when someone uses their laptop mic and is typing on that laptop while talking. I started using headphones to boost audio quality, however that is not always the most convenient. Then I found AnkerWork’s PowerConf S500. I have used their older model, and occasionally still utilize it as a backup. However, this new model is well worth the upgrade. Not only is this model Zoom certified, but it also has AI built in allowing for VoiceRadar technology. This focuses on voices and blocks other noises. Additionally, due to duplex communication, there is no fear of echo — as I have learned to loathe. On even the strictest of tests, these mics have been rated for up to 12 people in a room, with the ability to pick up and transfer their individual voices into whatever platform you may be using. The speaker on this model is remarkable, allowing for crystal clear playback of your team or group on a video conference or FaceTime. For those who are less tech savvy, this can be easily set up via an included dongle, or USB-C. No setup required. Lastly, for those conference rooms that are quite large, this can be doubled up wirelessly to cover up to 20 people. Personally, I utilize this daily at my desk, with just me. Having the built in mute and volume controls is just too handy. I also take this with me to any group meeting I may have as it seems that every meeting these days is hybrid, if not entirely virtual. This allows for me to utilize a better speaker than my iPad, iPhone or MacBook, and a better microphone all in one.

Twelve South StayGo Mini

Twelve South knocked it out of the park with the StayGo not too long ago. Recently, they decided to create an even more accessible version dubbed the StayGo mini. This tool has four ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-A 2.0, HDMI, and USB-C Power pass through to device. What this tool has been able to do is create a super simple, yet brilliantly efficient. This can be left in a bag, case or on a desk without worry of if it will get the job done. I personally have swapped out a handful of other dongles I had tucked away for a rainy day for my StayGo Mini.

Nomatic Tech Case

The Nomatic Tech Case comes at an interesting time. Right now, people are starting to travel again, some are headed back to work, or school, some are traveling by planes, trains, and well you get the drift. Where I have found a gap is in a bag this size. When leaving my home office to head to my other office (or office office if you will) I bring one of my many backpacks packed with the gear I will (and most definitely will not need but I feel compelled to have with me anyways). However, if I’m headed to a quick meeting, or if I admitted to myself that all I really need is the essentials, then my backpack becomes too large. That is where the Tech Case by Nomatic thrives. It fits this niche quite beautifully, with a laptop sleeve, room for internal organization, and an all around slim profile. If you are looking for a phenomenal slim carrying case, to carry just the bare essentials, this bag is the answer to your quandary.

Nomatic Planner

When I say I’m a digital and paperless kind of person, I don’t think you quite understand. Unless there is a very specific reason why I need a paper copy of something, it is immediately digitized and thrown away (recycled). If I ever need to print something I first question why and then if I have paper. That is the kind of life I happily live in. So when I found myself drawn to a paper journal I was taken aback. However, there is just something about this journal that even techies like myself on the never ending quest to digitize everything, feel the need to check out. This planner has sections to help plan out goals, your month, has a whiteboard portion and a pen holder as well. Additionally, this notebook has beautiful lay flat pages and dual elastics. As this is the only paper I have on my desk, it shows how much I truly love it.

Logitech Combo Touch

Logitech’s Combo Touch has been a staple for my iPad Pro since it was first released a little while back. I absolutely love the functionality, the versatility, and usability of this keyboard case. It truly turns my iPad Pro into my computer for daily use while keeping it an iPad for fun. Recently, Logitech released a few new colors to their lineup, making this an even more obvious choice. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be as productive as I am without my Logitech Combo, which is why I can recommend it from personal use. This is a keyboard case I have a hard time saying anything negative about, because it solves all of my problems.

Orbitkey ID Card Holder Pro

Orbitkey saw the classic name badge as something worth updating. Especially now, with people wearing masks at work, having a way to identify people quickly is a huge win. However, normal name badges are not great. They break, they flip over on you all the time, and they are only good for that one badge. Not anymore. Now, with Orbitkey, you can have a badge, a card, and more tucked away in a unit that will only flip when you want it to. Additionally, this is a badge that won’t break on you with simple daily use. This cord is significantly stronger! Another huge feature of this ID Card Holder Pro is that it can be used in either portrait or landscape orientation. Personally, I have always preferred my ID badge on my belt, or pocket. But, if you are one who prefers or needs to have it around your neck, Orbitkey has a model that includes a lanyard attachment, making this a perfect solution for both scenarios, or even day to day switching depending on your outfit of choice.

Acer Aspire 5

Regardless of if you are returning to school realizing the online demand is higher than before. Or if you are returning to work and realize that taking everything down on pen and paper might not be the best solution like it used to be, a quality laptop that doesn’t require taking out a loan is always worth looking at. The world is changing, we are needing to be more technologically depenant every day as the world continues to evolve. If you are like many others at this time of year, you have returned to what you thought was normal, back to familiar, yet realized things had changed. For those who were shocked at the demand of digital resources and connectivity, the Acer Aspire 5 might be the perfect tool for you.

This is technically considered a more budget friendly laptop, coming in around $400. But what is great about this laptop is that the price is the only thing budget about it. This laptop is still quite professional looking, has a large, quality screen, and has everything under the hood the average user would need. There is a few choice options for processors and storage, as well as graphic cards. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, even all day long as many of us do. The trackpad is large and easy to maneuver and the screen is bright, colorful and only slightly impeded by a bezel. While some companies are quickly converting all ports to USB-C and Thunderbolt, Acer has kept some of the now “legacy” ports available for ease of use. This model has the beloved USB-C port, and also has a few USB-A’s, HDMI, Ethernet, Headphone jack (3.5mm) and a Kensington security lock port.