I had the pleasure of attending a lunch hosted by Techlicious and TravelingMom.com here in Portland, featuring some of the new trends in technology in time for the holidays. In addition to the gracious hospitality of the Westin Portland, we were treated to information about new interactive tech toys, a video editing service, travel tips, and ways to update old cars with new technology.
I’m a fan of the Westin brand, which is a member of the Starwood Preferred Guest program. Because I choose Starwood hotels when I can, I recently had enough points accrued which I was able to redeem for a free night at the Westin Seattle. The Westin Portland is very different from other Westin hotels. Where the Seattle property is vast and cosmopolitan, the Portland Westin feels much more like a boutique hotel, right in the heart of downtown. It is physically smaller and more intimate, and is filled with unique, original art. Like, REAL art. Picasso art! I took a tour and was delighted to learn that the Westin Portland maintains that boutique sensibility while still delivering on the brand promise of a Westin. Luxurious robes and bedding, heavenly mattress, tasteful decor, and even rentable workout gear (you get to keep the socks!) – all typical of Westin, but combined with a feeling of being in a unique, truly local place. It seems like a great marriage, and I hope to stay there soon to test it out!
The chef treated us to a cooking demonstration, an easy Thai lettuce wrap recipe that I plan to try at home. My kids would love this! I have to admit, I took seconds.
The tech toys were presented by Hasbro. My favorite was the “Scrabble Twist.” It’s kind of like a one-player-at-a-time boggle game. You twist the game, get a series of letters, and quickly pick out a word… twist again to set that word, then find another word with the same set of letters. When your time runs out, it tells you your score. You can play in several different modes, allowing for many different players, or just challenge yourself. I love word games, and am practically undefeated at Boggle, so I’m already a fan of this game.
My kids’ favorite toy is this Fur Real Friends “JJ” pug. He totally reacts to your movements, which would be terrifying for a Luddite but we find endearing.
The Consumer Electronics Association presented a variety of products that can be used to upgrade older cars with new technology. I’m always impressed with the technological capabilities of the new cars that I test drive, like rearview cameras and the ability to sync up phones to play music. Every time I take a road trip with the kids (which is a lot – we go to Hood River area at least once a month!), they ask me to play specific songs for them. My car, a 2001 Jetta, has nothing fancier than a tape player, so we are stuck with the radio until about Cascade Locks, when everything gets staticky. New products that work in older cars include dash cams, rearview cameras, and total smart phone integration systems for navigation and music. Love it.
Disclosure: I was treated to lunch and a goody bag with some sample products, but no other compensation was received. I was not required to write about any of the products in exchange. All opinions, as always, are my own. While many more products and services were presented, I featured the ones that are the most interesting to me and my family.