Katie S

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Tips for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Posted by Katie S

Apr 25, 2017 10:19:41 AM

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Did you know that “Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day” is actually a program that is part of a legitimate foundation? Who knew? I always assumed it was a great excuse to save on a day of childcare and cause a little chaos in the office. However, according to the organization’s website, the intention is to show kids the value of their education and to help them discover the possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life. Not a bad sentiment. So, in case you are planning to bring your child to work in participation of the event this Thursday, April 27th, I thought I might help out. Below are some tips for a successful execution of the day and a few important lessons your child can learn while in the workplace with you. My seven-month-old son, Walter, obligingly came in for a “practice day” to the Nite Ize offices.  Here is what we learned:

 

1.SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS 

Kids and meetings don’t mix. If the actual day falls when you have a lot of important meetings scheduled, maybe pick a different day, or see if you can reschedule the meetings. On our practice day, Walter immediately hijacked my meeting and was, frankly, a bit of a dictator in the board room.

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2. COMMUTE THE FUN WAY

Even if you wouldn’t normally walk or ride your bike to work, wouldn’t it be great if we could teach the next generation to do it better? If you live close enough, plant the seed early and make it a fun, active commute that day.

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3. IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO TEACH THE IMPORTANCE OF COFFEE

Moms and dads who keep it together with herbal teas and green smoothies, more power to you, but this tip is for the rest of us. The kids are going to learn sooner or later what keeps mommy, and the world running, so you might as well use this opportunity to teach them how to brew a good pot of coffee for you and their future coworkers.

 

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4. EVERYONE STARTS IN THE MAIL ROOMMailroom_Shorter.jpg

It’s just a fact of life, and an important one at that. Whether your mailroom is theoretical or actual, take your kid through all the processes where you work and talk to them about the important relationship of hard work, accomplishment and reward.

 

5. THE ART OF CONVERSATION IS ALIVE AND WELL

It’s a digital era and sometimes terrifying to see “zombie” kids with their eyes constantly glued to screens. Regardless of whether you work in a traditional business setting or not, very few jobs are devoid of interaction, and none that I can think of where you wouldn’t at least have to successfully communicate in an interview. Be a good example and include your child in the conversations you are having at work, introduce them to your coworkers with handshakes and eye contact. If you have a phone call, put it on speaker so they can experience the full interaction and better understand the types of healthy communication expected in a workplace.

 

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6. BECOME AN EXPERT – READ UP

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received in the work place was from a boss who told me to become a voracious reader. Whatever your profession, reading up on what is happening in your industry, what competitors are doing, and what are the best practices can only help you do your job better. Alright, maybe seven months was a little early to be trying to impart this lesson, but I do hope to pass this practice on to Walter at some point!

 

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7. TAKE ACTIVE BREAKS

At Nite Ize, we are fortunate enough to have a gym on site where we can go to break a sweat, and we have some nice walking trails around with views of Boulder’s Flatirons. Where ever you work, chances are you’ve got somewhere you can walk, or a park nearby where you could go to for a quick break with your child. Remember they are used to having recess, and it’s not a bad thing for adults to take a little recess too. According to a Harvard Business Review article, regular exercise leads to improved concentration, sharper memory, faster learning, enhanced creativity, lower stress and other benefits to a productive, happy life in and out of the workplace.

 

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8. LET CURIOSITY DRIVE THE DAY

What you think is interesting about your workplace might be different than what your child finds interesting. Make sure to give them plenty of opportunities to ask questions, explore, and tell you what they find interesting. I never would have guessed that this display of our key accessories would be Walter’s favorite part of the day, but he could have played with these DoohicKeys all day.

 

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9. MAKE IT FUN!

This is the most important tip for you both. Okay, maybe butt-Xeroxing is going to warrant a call from HR, but you get the gist – make it fun for them and make sure they see you enjoying your day too.

 

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Well, maybe seven months is a LITTLE young for Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day, but hopefully you were able to glean some useful information from my and Walter's day together at the office. If you have helpful tips of your own for taking a child to work and would like to share with our readers, please leave them in the comments section below.

 

 

All images © 2017 Nite Ize Inc, all rights reserved.

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How to Throw an Epic Dog Birthday Party

Posted by Katie S

Aug 12, 2016 3:42:56 PM

 

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A little background for you before I get into the nitty gritty of dog birthday planning - let me introduce you to the birthday girl, Daisy:

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In case it's not immediately apparent from the photo, Daisy is the best Labrador-mutt sidekick of all time. She hikes, fishes, naps and cuddles like a champ. For the past 11 years, Daisy has been an "only child", but life is about to change drastically for her as she's going to get a human sibling this fall. So, we (and I use the term "we" generously as my husband is more of an obliging enabler to my crazy dog-loving antics) figured, "what better reason to give her a big ole birthday bash before she relinquishes her only child status?" Meanwhile, I thought I'd share a few tips with you about what I've learned.

Now, on to the nitty gritty of dog birthday planning...

The key to throwing any successful party is to go big or go home. So, chances are Step 1 will be easy for you (you are, after all, the person reading an article titled "How to Throw an Epic Dog Birthday") it is simply to embrace your inner-crazy dog person. Will your friends think you're crazy for throwing a dog birthday party? Maybe. But, chances are they already know you are, and trust me, they're still going to come because let's be honest, who doesn't love free beer, snacks, and a reason to celebrate - especially a cute, fluffy reason?

Step 2: Choose a Location

You may love the idea of a bunch of dogs galloping around your house, or it might be your nightmare. If it's the latter, maybe look into hosting it at your local dog park, or there are even doggy day cares that will let you rent out their pools and host a doggy pool-party. We decided to go with the backyard party and to keep the chaos at home.

Step 3: Plan Your Activities

You are going to have a host of people and pets looking to be entertained. Lucky for you, just throw on some music and the people will probably be entertained, or at least preoccupied enough with their pets not to think about much else. We did set up a little makeshift station in the yard for folks who wanted to get a family portrait taken with their dogs which seemed to be a hit.

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For the furry guests of honor, we held a little "doggy rave". I work for an awesome company called Nite Ize, who sponsored our activity for the night with a host of LED dog toys and lights for our guests. Each four-legged guest received a Nite Howl LED Necklace, a SpotLit Collar Light, a GlowStreak Ball, and a Flashflight Dog Discuit. So, once the sun set, we lit up the backyard, cranked the music, and let the dogs run wild with their new toys.

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Step 4: Invitations & Guests

I like to use PaperlessPost for online invitations, they have a lot of cute easy-to-design options but there are tons of other user-friendly email invite sites out there as well.

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Step 5: Food & Drinks

Let there be cake! You can find dog bakeries everywhere that make great birthday cakes specifically for dogs. If you happen to be in the Boulder, CO area, our favorite is P.C.'s Pantry which makes these apparently delicious "Barkday Cakes" and we found out their most popular selling flavor is liver - yum.

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On the "people food" front, we made it easy on ourselves going with pizza, beer, and cupcakes. One thing I recommend doing before planning your menu though, is to check out the ASPCA's website, they have a helpful list of foods that can be toxic or harmful to pets that you’ll want to avoid. (Ok disclaimer - so beer is on their list, but just make sure your guests are responsible and not giving beer/alcohol to dogs - hopefully this shouldn't be a tough request).

Step 6: Puppy-proofing & Decorating

If you're having the party at home, be sure to do some puppy proofing. A roving hoard of dogs can get into all sorts of trouble. Check the fence for anywhere little dogs might escape and block off areas like stairways and carpet to keep all your fuzzy friends in an easy-to-spot area. It's also a good idea to set up a little "time out" area for dogs that might be getting a little over-excited or worn out during the party.

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Step 7: Party Time - Sit back and let the chaos begin!

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Topics: LED Pet Products, LED Dog Products

Preparing Your Car Emergency Kit for Winter

Posted by Katie S

Nov 24, 2015 11:01:02 AM

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In the wise words of Game of Thrones - winter is coming. As I look out at a bluebird-Boulder day from my office, I know it’s only a matter of time before our first big snowstorm hits. Which reminds me, I still need to clean the gutters, replace my balding tires, and blow out the sprinkler system - oh, and update my car emergency kit which somehow always falls to the bottom of my list, even though I know it could be the most important item on there.
Having worked in the survival industry for five years and now at Nite Ize where I have access to myriad products which are specifically designed to perform in a pinch, and on top of that having a dad who always gives us “kids” Christmas presents like 2-way crank radios and “Avian flu emergency kits” (everyone’s dream gift - thanks, Dad!), I have no excuse for not having an up-to-date, comprehensive emergency kit in my car.  So, as I am getting ready for my annual kit update, I’d like to share some preferred kit items and other great resources to check out that I hope will help you to build or update your own car emergency kit.

What to get:

  1. A sturdy container

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    Once you have all your items, you’ll have a better idea of what size this should be, but make sure it’s something you can close like a rubber bin or sturdy nylon bag that zips shut. You can also use a good backpack in case you need to carry it, however it’s important to note that if you are stranded on the side of the road, it is NOT recommended that you leave your car. Your car is the best protection from the elements and where rescuers are most likely to find you - so, hunker down for the long haul. If you are in an accident on an icy road, you also should NOT leave your car, if an icy patch made your car spin out, it’s very likely that other cars will do the same, if possible move your car out of that trajectory.

  2. Flashlights

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    Most references tell you a flashlight - I may go a little overkill, but I have three flashlights. For my primary light I use the INOVA X3R LED Rechargeable Flashlight which I can recharge through my car’s USB port. I also keep an INOVA STS Headlamp in my bag in case I need to be hands-free for looking under the hood or under the car. Lastly, I have the Nite Ize 3-in-1 FlashStick, which can be used as a flashlight or lantern, but most importantly in an emergency it has a glowstick on one end which can be set to SOS mode to signal for help. In addition, I stock extra batteries for the two non-rechargeables.

  3. High-visibility Vest - In the case that I do need to get out of my car on a roadway, you better believe other motorists are going to see me. I keep a Nite Ize LED Run Vest in my bag which is neon yellow, has two bright red LEDs that glow and flash, and reflective accents. Paired with my 3-in-1 Flashstick, I feel confident that I will be seen and therefore safer on the side of the road.

  4. Chargers - If you have cell reception, your phone will be your lifeline, but it won’t do you any good if it has a dead battery. There are classic chargers to plug into your car or innovative external batteries and battery-integrated phone cases like the LifeProof FRĒ Power that can be life-savers in a pinch.

  5. Shovel and/or Kitty Litter - If you are stuck somewhere safely away from traffic, a shovel to dig yourself out and kitty litter or sand for traction can help you get moving again. If you don’t have either of these things, you can try wedging your floor mats under your tires to help them gain traction.

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  6. Blankets or Bivvies - Wool blankets are a classic staple for a reason - they are really warm. I keep two heavy wool blankets in my car - they’ve never been used in an emergency, but have come in handy for many a road-trip naps and as extra layers on camping trips. The one downfall of wool, is that if it gets wet, it’s miserable. That’s why I also keep two Escape emergency bivvies in my kit as well (so my husband and I don’t have to have that awkward conversation about who gets the bivvy to survive the night). These bivvies reflect 75% of body heat back to you, but are also breathable so you don’t get sweaty which is a pitfall of traditional mylar. In general I recommend staying away from mylar blankets and bivvies as they shred very easily and are flammable - it’s worth spending a couple bucks more to get a durable upgrade. Along the lines of warmth, I always make sure that I have a hat, gloves, and extra socks in my kit - even in the summer months here in Colorado it can drop below freezing at night, these don’t take up much space and are probably at the top of the list for most used items in my kit.

  7. Other Warming Items - I keep fire starting supplies in my kit (fire cubes and a sparker in case I need to start a fire outside my vehicle), one family in Nevada survived two days in sub-zero temperatures, building a fire inside their spare tire to help keep warm. Some people suggest using emergency candles as well for warmth and light inside the vehicle, though I’m noticing them mentioned less and less on recommended lists, probably due to safety concerns. If using one, you should crack your window to avoid possible asphyxiation, and ideally burn the candle inside a coffee can or tin because many parts of your car (and your kit) are flammable.

  8. First Aid Kit - This is essential, don’t bother with kits that are just chock-full of Band Aids, take your time researching kits and find one that meets your needs. If you have kids, there are family-focused ones that have kids’ dosages of meds and more often-needed items for them. As someone who does a lot of camping and fishing in the backwoods, I carry an Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Kit which has comprehensive medical supplies in case of an emergency including QuikClot, and most importantly, the kit includes a book on how to use all the supplies in there in case I am far from medical care.

  9. Water - For drinking, for wound cleaning, for staying alive - I keep a gallon of human-water in an unopened jug, and then I also have a liter of water in a separate Olly Dog container/bowl combo for my pup since most often she is along for the ride too.

  10. Food - Food isn’t essential for short term survival (you can theoretically go for three weeks without it), however, eating does allow your body to produce more heat, and it can make a huge difference in your mood and attitude which will often determine how well you handle an emergency situation. I go for the classics like jerky and energy bars (peanut butter is a popular choice too), and then swap them out annually (or if you just plain get hungry and eat them then replace as needed). A good rule of thumb is to go for items with a long shelf-life that are high in protein, and that you actually like. If you have an ever-hungry dog like mine, make sure your food bag is securely enclosed in your kit, or they might just rip open your kit and gleefully eat all your jerky when you’re not looking.

  11. Car Essentials - Jumper cables, Fix-A-Flat, ice scraper, a siphon (hopefully you’ll find a friendly motorist who doesn’t mind sharing fuel), a tire iron, and jack are some basics that I keep because honestly, those are probably the only tools I would know how to use in a break-down situation. For those of you who are more handy with cars, the DMV has a helpful list that includes more suggested car repair items: http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/emergency-kit.php

  12. A Knife - You won’t find this on most lists, but my grandfather taught me that the most useful item you can have on you at any time is a knife, and throughout the years it’s a piece of advice that has served me well. And so, I am passing it on to you. One small one in your pocket or purse, and a utility one in your car kit - just trust me on this one, they come in handy!

  13. The add-ons - A few other items have accumulated in my kit over the years: Duct Tape (need I say more?), a hatchet which most often doubles as a hammer (this particular Gerber hatchet also has an integrated handsaw that slides out of the handle which is a nice bonus), a poncho, CamJam Tie Down Straps and Bungees, Gear Ties because they are just too useful not to have a handful, and lastly, a quality whistle for signaling in an emergency.

Pre-made kits and other helpful tips for safety on the roads:

There are pre-made kit options on the market as well, some are decent some are very cheap and not worth the money. Do your homework, and if you do go with a pre-made kit, remember that you will still need to personalize it to you - if you are frequently on the road with your spouse, kids, and a dog, you need to remember to add supplies for them. If anyone in your family has a serious medical issue always pack extra medication and supplies - you never know when a quick trip can turn into an overnight on the side of the road.

Other helpful resources:

    American Red Cross, Red Cross Recommends Preparing Your Vehicles for Winter:
http://www.redcross.org/news/article/pa/bethlehem/Red-Cross-Recommends-You-Prepare-Vehicle-Now-for-Winter-Weather

    The CDC, Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter:
http://www.cdc.gov/features/winterweather/

    Chicago Tribune, Tips to Keep You Going When Your Car Stops:
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-01-03/news/8902220535_1_trunk-car-candle

 

That’s all I’ve got - I hope you found this useful, I hope you won’t need it, but I know you will be glad to have it if you do!

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Topics: Emergency Preparedness

Back to School & On-the-go LED Safety

Posted by Katie S

Aug 20, 2015 3:46:00 PM

Back to School

There is an almost imperceptible shift in the days, nighttime falls sooner, the leaves are still green yet somehow seem crisper. The summer heat is at its peak, and still a suggestion of change is in the air, a new season is approaching.

The end of summer is a bittersweet time for parents. We all want our children to have the same fond memories of their summers that we do: feelings of unburdened freedom that can only come with youth, sunshine, and carefree fun with their friends. We feel a bit bad for looking forward to our own adult freedoms that come with the fall, until we remember a different kind of excitement and trepidation – back to school.

We can’t prepare them for everything they will face in the upcoming year, the challenges this “tech” generation faces we can only begin to imagine but, as parents, we do our best to send them off with smiles on their faces and the right tools for success.

Back to school shopping starts with the usual supplies, and then we move on to new shoes and outfits for the ever-growing crew. I can’t claim to have the faintest idea what new gadget or device is the cool, must-have item for 10-year-olds this year (I am certain that saying “cool” is also considered very lame by 10-year-olds), but I’m sure I will find out soon enough. However, these are the types of items that concern me the least. As someone whose background is in the preparedness industry and now works at Nite Ize, my mind goes to the “in between times”. These are the times when the kids are heading to and from the bus, the times when they are waiting to be picked up after soccer, the times when riding their bikes or walking to a friend’s house, the times when I need to know that they are safe.

As you may have guessed, I am an anxious mom! Fortunately, working for Nite Ize, I have knowledge of, and access to a lot of products that help to put my mind at ease. Fortunately for my kids, Nite Ize has done a phenomenal job of disguising these safety products to make them look really “cool”.

Exhibit A: The See ‘Em, TwistLit, and SpokeLit LED Bike Lights:

LED Bike Lights

I guarantee, no one can ever claim they didn’t see my kids coming! We have their bikes lit up like Christmas trees! They love it, and I have peace of mind that I’m doing my part to keep them safe.

Exhibit B: Backpacks – as far as I’m concerned, the brighter the better.

BugLit and SpotLit BugLit SpotLit

I have SpotLits clipped to their bags, to our keys, and to just about anything that’s portable. They’re helpful when you need a light, but also add another spot of visibility on the kids as they’re walking home on these shorter days. For the younger kids, I like to wrap a BugLit or two around the straps on their bags. They are cute and fun little characters crawling up the strap, but can be used as a flashlight, or put in strobe mode to give the kids important visibility.

Exhibit C: I like to save the best for last.

SlapLit

SlapLits are my kid’s favorites. That’s right, remember slap bracelets? They’re baaaack! And apparently kids still love them as much as we did growing up (OK, I’ll be honest I might still really love them too). The Nite Ize SlapLits use the same “slap it to snap it” style, but have the added benefit of being illuminated by a red LED that glows and flashes – so as you can imagine, endless fun, and not just for the kids, I wear mine any time I go jogging in the evening.

Whatever your back to school shopping list looks like this year, just remember it’s not only about the “cool” stuff and the new stuff, it’s about the important “stuff” too. So, we do our best to prepare them, send them off with that smile, and now, it’s time to sit back, relax, grab a cocktail, and enjoy the peace and quiet of autumn. Happy back to school everyone!

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Topics: Visibility and Safety, Games & Toys

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