Today I’m sharing my recent trip to Kansas City, Missouri with Garmin, maker of the new vívomove Luxe hybrid smartwatch! Before I get to that, though, I wanted to talk a little bit about my very interesting background with the company because it involves my dad… and it’s pretty fun!
If you’re new here, a fun fact: I’m an Air Force kid! When I was young, we were stationed at Plattsburgh Air Force Base in upstate New York and then at McClellan Air Force Base out in Sacramento, California. (After my father left the AF, we moved back to Long Island, New York, where I spent half my childhood… and then we lived in Princeton Junction, New Jersey and Yardley, Pennsylvania for the rest!)
My dad is my hero. And if you know me in real life, you know that. He’s just the epitome of goodness, and everyone in my family aims to live like him. He’s fun-loving and hilarious, he works hard but puts family first always, he sees the positive and silver lining in every situation (or at least doesn’t let on when he doesn’t 😉), and he loves life.
He’s also super passionate about his interests and hobbies, and he actively pursues them because they bring him joy. (Sorry. I’m still deeply affected by Marie Kondo. 🙈) So when I was growing up, Dad was always up to something, whether it was flying small planes, building furniture, playing guitar, learning about wine, going on golf trips (with my brothers), speeding around the Jersey Shore’s bays looking for fish, perfecting the art of backyard grilling, learning French, or traveling the world with my mom. And he actually relied on Garmin for a ton of those hobbies!
When he flew, he used a Garmin aviation system; when he fished, he used a Garmin “fish finder”; when he golfed, he used a Garmin golf watch; and when he traveled with Mom, he used a Garmin navigation system. So let’s just say that Garmin’s been a part of my life for a very, very long time! 😂
When Garmin invited Mitch and me on a press trip out to Kansas City, Missouri (near where the company is headquartered in Olathe, Kansas), Dad freaked. I actually felt badly that he couldn’t come along. But I sent him regular updates throughout it, and by the end, the Garmin team knew all about him. ;) It was pretty cute.
My family’s experience with Garmin was a big reason why I was so excited about being invited to test out the brand’s new vívomove Luxe hybrid smartwatch. I actually got the (very pretty) watch a few months before the trip, and couldn’t get over how easy it is to use, even for people who don’t regularly fly planes, drive boats and navigate the world. ;) It’s actually geared toward on-the-go mothers, fitness gurus, business professionals, and fashionistas… and it’s designed to help people keep up with everything you have going on and maintain a sense of calm.
A few cool features:
- Body Battery: The watch tells you what your energy levels are throughout the day so you can identify the best times for activity. It also measures hydration!
- Fitness Tracking: It tracks steps, floors climbed, heart rate and intensity minutes–just to name a few.
- Smart Notifications: It’s customizable, so don’t think that the watch is going to be bothering you every two seconds. But you can program it to tell you when you receive an email or text. (Or communication in another form.)
- Battery Life: It’ll last up to five days without charging. It’s like a Kindle! I never remember to charge the thing and somehow it still always works. 😂 MAGIC!
How it helps me in my everyday life:
- I can monitor communication while outside in the winter without taking off my gloves. This might sound a little ridiculous, but it’s been awesome. I suffer from Raynaud’s, which is a circulatory disease, and I run the risk of frostbite if my hands and feet are exposed for too long. Now, though, I can just look at my wrist–gloves still on–and see if it’s something important.
- I can set timers and alarms without taking out my phone. I mostly use this for work-related block scheduling purposes. (One hour to write a draft, for example, or 20 minutes for a quick shoot.) But I also use it while at the playground, and it’s very useful. I love the playground, and I easily lose track of time. The watch keeps me on schedule and prevents us from being late. ;)
- I can leave my phone in my bag so I’m present. On the flip side, I try really, really hard not to look at my phone very often when I’m with my family. However, up until recently, I wasn’t comfortable with putting it on silent or leaving it in another room in case of emergencies. (Calls re: grandparents, or perhaps Mitch is with one child and I’m with the other and something happens.) Now, though, I can quickly glance at my phone and make an educated decision about whether “it can wait” or I should pick up/respond.
- It tracks steps. I take Lucy on a long speed walk every day, and place a lot of importance on that. Chicago is tough in the winter, and both of us need to see the sun and get fresh air. It is, however, FRIGID. I try to take a different route every day, and the watch essentially tells me when it’s time to go back in and warm up, haha. (Don’t worry. Lucy is nice and toasty during our walks. Wish I ran hot like she does!)
- It encourages me to drink more water. I swear I could go an entire day without drinking a glass of water. I just never think to do it, even when I’m sitting at my desk with a glass in front of me. Clearly I have some major issues, haha, but the watch has significantly improved my water intake. In short, it is keeping me alive.
- I no longer have to have my wallet on me. It goes without saying that I try to remember it. 🙈 But I’m forgetful, and I often discover that it’s in another bag or sitting on the countertop. (Other times, I totally have it but it’s at the bottom of my tote and I can’t find it. Anyone else with me?!) Garmin Pay lets me load credit cards onto it, and I pay by simply waving it over a store’s contactless payment device. It also works with the subway! Highly convenient.
You never know what a press trip is going to be like. I’ve been on some that have been very tough, and others that have been absolutely lovely… and the Garmin trip falls into the latter category! Because there were a bunch of other bloggers bringing their husbands, Mitch came along, too–and that was wonderful. (My mother-in-law graciously came up to take care of the girls for a couple of days.) Now that I think about it, it was almost like a retreat! So many of the people there were in our same situation–trying to run small businesses while also trying to be great parents for their young children–and it was incredibly refreshing to chat with them. We were like, “YES! You are our people.” Ha!
We also loved getting to know the Garmin team. I can’t tell you how helpful it is to not only get to know products before reviewing them, but also how helpful it is to get to know the people behind them. And wow; the best I can describe the Garmin team is as a family. At Garmin, employees stay with the company for the long haul, and often, their spouses and children come to work there, too! And it’s extremely apparent how much they enjoy going to work and how much they believe in and love the company’s products. Honestly, I was a bit jealous! 😉 It’s clearly a supportive and happy environment. :)
Anyway, I’ll give you a run down on our schedule, in case you’re wondering what press trips tend to look like!
- Fly to Kansas City + arrive at Crossroads Hotel: I really can’t believe how easy flying is without small children, haha. I also couldn’t believe how gorgeous the Crossroads Hotel was! It had a very cool industrial vibe, and it kind of made me feel like I was back in New York. (Also, the bathrooms?! To die for.)
- Dinner at Stock Hill: This was great. It was an intimate dinner, and this is where we really got to know and bond with both the Garmin team and the rest of the bloggers. Mitch and I spent most of the night chatting with Crystalin and her husband, who are apparently our West Coast counterparts. ;) Everyone was so nice, and we came out of there super excited for the following day.
- Drinks at Swordfish Tom’s: Most people went to bed after dinner, but Mitch and I couldn’t give up the opportunity to have a little bit of a date night together, so we grabbed drinks at this cute speakeasy that came highly recommended. There’s just something about enjoying a cocktail on a beautiful sofa or upholstered chair, am I right?!
- Yoga with Garmin Ambassadors and Team: I have’t done yoga in YEARS so I was a little bit nervous about this. But it ended up being so relaxing, and a great way to start the day! I also really enjoyed learning how the vívomove Luxe‘s preloaded yoga app works.
- Brunch + Presentation/Chat at the hotel: This is where we learned about Garmin’s history, the wide range of products that the company carries, and the vívomove Luxe itself. Even though I’d been using it for a couple of months at this point, I discovered a bunch of new-to-me ways to use the watch and make life simpler! As someone who’s really been trying to work living a calmer life, I loved getting tutorials on the watch’s Stress Tracking capability, along with how to use its Sleep Monitoring functionality. Very cool.
- Get ready: After the brunch, we headed back to our rooms to shower and get ready for the day.
- Lunch at True Food: YUM! Almost everyone else went for health food and I got a giant personal pizza. My watch said it was fine. 😎
- Content Creation at Wonder Wonder: There’s a fun Instagram installation in Kansas City called “Wonder Wonder,” so we stopped there for a few hours to shoot fun photos with our Garmin gear. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but it would definitely be a blast to visit with girlfriends or kids if you’re in the area!
- Party at The Fountaine: Later that evening, we gathered at The Fountaine, a nearby hotel, for a little celebration with he Garmin team and other local bloggers.
As you can see, it was an amazing trip, and I’m so grateful for the experience! Thank you, Garmin!
Sponsored by Garmin; all opinions are my own. As always, thank you so, so much for supporting the partnerships that keep Kelly in the City up and running!