We're all spending more time at home during the pandemic, and just about everything we're doing would be impossible without technology. That's why we asked lifestyle & tech expert Chi-Lan Lieu to give us a tech tour of her home in downtown Los Angeles and show us all the things she uses to make each day a little easier — and even a bit more fun.
"I know everyone's spending so much more time at home, and you're probably trying to figure out better ways to make your house work for you," Chi-Lan says. "So I thought I'd take you on a tech tour of my house, so you can see what makes the cut in terms of smart home gadgets."
"It has the mechanism of a doorbell on [one] side and the brains live on [the other] side of the door," Chi-Lan explains. "With this device, you can easily interact with all of your visitors online, via the app. You can record video of anyone that walks by your house, just for that peace of mind and you can still use the peephole."
2. High-Speed Brother Scanner
There's no time like now to clear that paper clutter, right? But that starts with making sure you digitize important documents that you may need in the future. (We'll get to the actual shredding in a second!)
"This is a high-speed, 50-page double-sided scanner that helped me digitize about eight or ten years of all of these financial records into nothing," Chi-Lan says.
3. 100+ Page Swingline Shredder
"Just imagine all the time you'll save being able to put an entire 100-page stack in here and then have it go to work," the tech guru says, "shredding it all into these tiny little pieces."
4. Minted.com Artwork
"Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with artwork," the lifestyle expert says. "And I love buying my artwork — whether it be art prints or framed artwork — from Minted. Minted is really easy to use, because it categorizes everything. You can find things like children's artwork, photography, abstract [art] — even filter by color — so it makes putting together artwork in your house super easy. They offer framing services [and] they even help you build a wall collage."
"I've given a ton of gifts in my day, but these photo books from Chatbooks have been the most popular gifts," Chi-Lan says. "And let me tell you — it was super easy to do. Instead of spending hours uploading all of these photos and then reorganizing them and writing captions, I connected the Chatbooks app to my daughter's Instagram page, and voila, I was able to make a chronological book in no time."
"Having 20-foot tall windows in the living room is an absolute luxury, but it's a nightmare if you're trying to open those blinds every day," the tech guru says. "We made our roller shades smart by installing Somfy myLink Motorized Roller Shades, so now I can open the blinds with the app. I can use a remote control. But my favorite feature is setting it on a schedule, so when the sun rises, those blinds go up."
You can turn a traditional lamp into a smart lamp with a smart light bulb, Chi-Lan says. "Once you switch out the light bulb, you can actually control different things, like the brightness of the light and the color temperature of the light. And if you forget to turn off your light when you leave the room, you can, of course, control it from the app."