As women, we are often pigeon-holed into absurd double standards — just because we’re interested in our beauty, what we cook in the kitchen, and where our kids go to school, doesn’t mean our intellect is limited and inflexible.

If we enhance our bodies, rely on make-up and fashion to help form part of our identity, we are thought of as vain vixens. If we wear pants and little or no make-up, we are called butch and thought of as masculine. As we climb up the ladder to rise past the glass ceiling, we are called power-hungry and ruthless because of our management style.

We’re judged by the fact that we have chosen to find babysitters and day-care centers for our children while we earn money for the family. As stay-at-home moms, we struggle with the eternal question, “What do you do?” Isn’t being a mother enough? Is motherhood merely an asterisk in our life resume? What started me on this rant was a visit to local electronics retail store.

I walked through the store hoping that something, anything, would trigger an idea for a gift for my husband’s upcoming birthday. As I walked through the store, I overheard a conversation between a sales associate and a bewildered customer.

They were looking at speakers and the sales associate was incorrectly telling the customer about surround sound. Having been in the business of speaker manufacturing for a couple years, and living with a confirmed audiophile and executive at a speaker manufacturing company, I was sure of my facts.

Unfortunately, I was met with bewildered looks as the sales associate told me that I must be mistaken and that I would be assisted shortly. He and the customer sort of snickered and continued with the conversation as if I’d never said anything.

Why wouldn’t I know what I was talking about or why wouldn’t I have any interest in speakers? Was it because I am a woman? When people think of gadgets for women, they equate these gadgets to anything beauty or women-related, like zit zappers, at-home facial brushes, kitchen gadgets and bathroom trinkets. But there are gadgets out there that will make your life easier and are not gender specific:


There are many pictures my parents have not seen of my children. There are those silly ones from Halloween last year where my son, as Spider-man, was wrestling with his princess sister. There are the pictures taken by other friends and family that are not sent digitally and sit in a box, waiting for new eyes to smile at them.

With a scanner, however, you can scan your photos quickly and store them on your computer desktop, digital photo album, or external hard drive.

The process couldn’t be easier. You place your photo on the scanning tray, press one button, and similar to a photo-copier, the scanner scans your photo into a digital image. Now you can finally email that picture of your child with his hand in the toilet to everyone you know.

GPS Navigation

On long summer vacations with my parents where we’d trek across states in a car, I could rely on several things: being bored, having heated arguments about what radio station we would listen to, and being entrusted with the revered road map.

My dad would ask me which exits to take, how many miles until we hit a particular city, and where the nearest Best Western was (I had to use the Best Western directory and cross reference that with the map — take that, Google Maps!). It was an unforgiving job and my mom refused to do it.

Then Google Maps and MapSearch came into existence; I have not held or seen a map in at least six years. Just type your start and end destinations and within seconds your route is calculated for you. Just print the directions and go. But what do you do when you’re in your car already and need to find a place?

That’s where GPS navigation comes in. The newest GPS nav systems come with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, lasting four hours, and allows you to use your voice to find addresses, use hands-free calling, and get movie times for the hottest movie in town. Never get lost again trying to find one of five exits to DisneyLand. Both Garmin and Tom-Tom offer a variety of GPS navigation devices that can make life a little easier.

Amazon’s Kindle

Launched in 2007, Kindle allows you to read e-books through its Kindle format. You don’t need to sync up to your computer to use Kindle. Easily download and read almost 100 current New York Times Best Seller books, newspapers such as The Washington Post, and magazines like Forbes.

Buy a book through and you can start reading it within one minute. At 10.3 ounces, Kindle holds over 200 titles and uses the same technology as cell phones, so you don’t have to find a particular environment to download your books and periodicals. Kindle costs $359 at Amazon.

Multiple Device Charging Unit

I don’t know about you, but the husband and I have too many things to charge up. Our outlets look like deranged spiders with adapters and cords connected to them. We have Blackberries, several different kinds of iPods (some for the car, some for travel) and Bluetooth headsets. You’ll see adapters in the bedroom, home office, and kitchen. It’s an irritating maze of cords that I’d rather never see again.

Then I discovered a charging unit that allows me to charge up to six different devices and our lives have changed. Gone are the days of looking for an adapter, running over cords with your office chair and tripping over them. Most of these charging units are compatible with most devices and have multiple adapters available for charging.

Freedom at last. There are quite a few companies that offer these devices, but the most well-known are from Callpod and Red Envelope. All of these gadgets will help you save time in your already busy life and keep you organized. That’s a definite plus in my book.

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