I’m apparently impossible to shop for.
In the nine years we’ve been together, Sarah’s seen firsthand how I operate. When I need something, I usually get it myself. My purchases usually involve a ton of research and consideration before committing, but when I’m ready, I’m not one to wait for permission to add a new tool to my life.
Which makes it really hard to get me Christmas gifts when I’ve already bought the things I’d put on my wishlist months in advance. But my fierce independence didn’t dissuade Best Buy Canada who approached me with a mission—to choose a cool gift for myself from their Top 20 Under $200, a list curated by my helpful local Best Buy Blue Shirt, and find someone on my “nice list” who’d get something too!
I guess there’s plenty of people I could’ve chosen for my nice list, but really—the more I hustle, the more I realise how important my family is to me, and whether good times or bad, they’re always the ones I’ll think of first.
So after making a list (and checking it twice), I saw something I’d always wanted to try, but never saw reason to buy for myself, and added the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit to our home!
Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting — What is it?
The Philips Hue White and Color Starter Kit is an entry point to Hue Personal Wireless Lighting, a Philips product line that lets us do so much more with light than what Thomas Edison introduced all those years ago. (I mean Humphry Davy. Warren de la Rue? No wait, Joseph Wilson Swan. Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans! Eh, let’s just go with Thomas Edison.)
- paint with light, using colour to change a room’s entire mood;
- sync your lights with your music and movies to add another layer to your home theatre experience; and
- schedule light to illuminate your home as needed, whether you’re there or not.
I’ve had hits and misses with making my home smarter—smart plugs that need manual restarting after a power outage and smart locks that won’t fit my hundred-year-old front door come to mind—but the Philips Hue lights are easy to use, and even the kiddo has a hoot seeing all the different colours available to change up the room!
But enough of my illuminating option courtesy of the Best Buy Blue Shirts—let’s talk about what I chose for the rest of the fam!
Some of the Best Gifts from the Best Buy Blue Shirts!
First off, though Best Buy has a plethora in stock for infants and their healthy development, there was simply no toy I could imagine buying our baby that our toddler wouldn’t claim as his own, so we’ll give him something shiny next time.
As for the toddler, choosing his toy had me question what kind of parent I am! Am I the parent who grooms his children for success from early on and get him something educational like the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar ($59.99)? Or do I recognise that we all live but once and get him something I know he’ll love, like the Zoomer Paw Patrol Interactive Robot Dog ($89.99)? It didn’t take long, but imagining the smile on his face eventually won out, and I’m sure I’ll have one happy boy when he unwraps his new Marshall toy come Christmas!
Sarah, I tried to prod into getting something fun for herself (a nice Fossil Emi Leather Crossbody Bag, anyone?) But ever the pragmatist, she chose something that’d bring her joy each and every time she used it. So, with her socially-acceptable caffeine addiction in mind, we saw a Keurig K200 on our doorstep, ready for the day she gets back to the office!
But that’s just it—Best Buy’s more than just the electronics you’d expect: the TVs, the computers, the phones. With its diverse product lines, it really got me thinking—if I’m so hard to shop for, why not take a look at the site myself to see what’d make my ultimate wishlist?
And with the numerous parts of my life in mind, that’s exactly what I did.
My Wishlist — Because EVERYONE Should Have a Plan Just in Case They Win the Lottery.
#1 — Casey Palmer, Photografather
I already see my infant son suffering from “Second Child Syndrome”—Daddy took far more photos of his first kid with his fancy gear than he does with his second. But though I take most shots these days by smartphone, you just can’t compare to the image quality you get from a good SLR camera!
My Canon 60D’s been by my side these past five years, and while it still takes a mean photo, I could always do better.
My photografather wishlist’s crowned by the Canon 5D Mark IV, essentially the gold standard for Canon full-frame photography amongst serious enthusiasts, and fleshed out by lenses and other accessories that’d really help make my visions reality when I’m snapping away.
- A Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera ($4499.99) (or a Canon EOS 6D DSLR Camera as an alternate if necessary—a mighty full-frame camera in its own right, but not nearly as powerful as the 5D Mark IV ($1599.99))
- Whenever anyone asks for advice on SLR cameras, I always say the lens is infinitely more important than the camera body itself, so you should figure out what you want to shoot and tailor your kit around that. These are lenses that fit what I do:
- A Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens to capture the finer details of artwork, toys, or the latest mess my boys somehow managed to make ($1039.99)
- The Canon EF 16-35mm II USM Lens ($1499.99) — it’s wider than my go-to lens, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens, so I could capture more of our adventures inside the house the first time instead of spending my time stitching it all together in Photoshop
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II Lens ($2199.99), the next logical progression from my 24-70mm lens, is a boss lens when you need to get those distance shots in a stadium, on safari, or wherever else you might be. I wouldn’t use it as often as these other two, but it’d still be great to have!
- A better flash, the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT Flash ($699.99), which can also control other flashes remotely when you really need a great handle on light!
- But of course, you’re not going to wind up with great shots if your camera’s shaky, so a tripod like the Manfrotto MK190X3 Tripod ($369.99) is key to success, or even a monopod like the Vanguard VEO Aluminum Monopod with 3-Leg Base ($119.99) if you’re willing to hold it while you shoot
#2 — Casey Palmer, Domestic Dad
You might remember how much I was freaking out when we were getting ready for our first son, but I’ve come a long way since worrying my life was ending. In fact, I’ve embraced several aspects of the #DaddyLife, realising there’re probably a few things I’d like to take my domesticated life to the expert level.
- A new vacuum: While Sarah insists that our 20-year old Filter Queen still works perfectly fine, I know I (and our housekeeper) would appreciate not spending half the vacuuming time trying to reattach the felt pad to its bottom so it doesn’t scratch the floor. The Miele Complete C3 PowerPlus Canister Vacuum – Racing Green ($1149.99) has been a bit of a “dream machine” for me, with a sturdy build and suction power that’ll leave no dust mote unscathed! But of course, we have a healthy amount of Dyson in our lives already, so the Dyson DC77 Upright Vacuum – Nickel/Red ($799.99) would be more than welcome in Casa de Palmer as well!
- A pro-grade blender: I mean, we’ve wanted a proper blender in our house for some time now, so why not do it right the first time and get a Vitamix Heritage Collection Professional Series 750 Blender ($699.99)? There’s seriously nothing this bad boy can’t blend!
- An unbelievable sound system: This won’t be the first I’ve espoused the need for some SONOS in my life, but once I made it clear to Sarah the difference between playing jazz from the next room and having it stream through every room in the house, I knew we had to make it happen! The real question is—what size suits you best? The small Sonos PLAY:1 Wireless Speaker ($219.99) that you can fit anywhere, the Sonos PLAY:3 Wireless Speaker ($329.99) which can fill a room with crystal-clear sound, or the Sonos PLAY:5 Wireless Speaker ($599.99) which will rattle windows. The next block over.
#3 — Casey Palmer, Dad Blogger
The longer you blog, the more you realise that you can’t evolve your brand without evolving the tools you use to build it. Though my stockade of gadgets and various tricks up my sleeve are good enough for my #BloggerLife right now, this hustle’s always changing, and while you shouldn’t needlessly hop on every trend you come across, it’s always good to know what’s available to you so you can achieve what you want.
The list below outlines the tools I think would be handy for the blog, helping me expand what I’m capable of when it comes to storytelling.
Check it out!
Music plays one heckuva role with my blog—I write at my best when I’m deep in my zone, and that’s when I’m awash with dope beats that inspire me to keep pressing forward.
Between my toddler playing with my audio-technica M50s so much that they only play in one ear and Shure SE535s being so dang fragile, I need some headphones I can believe in.
And that’s why I put the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 2 Over-Ear Sound Isolating Bluetooth Headphones ($549.99) and the Klipsch Reference Sound Isolating In-Ear Headphones ($599.99) on my list, built well enough to satisfy my audiophile needs, but also solid enough that I’d hope to avoid getting anything new for quite some time.
But the right mindset’s only part of the equation—in our digital world filled with glossy visuals and all manner of entertainment, it’s best to have gear that can keep up:
- While I already own a DJI Osmo, the DJI Osmo Mobile Gimbal Stabilizer for Smartphones ($429.99) is a great smartphone companion, and with its Active Track making light work of keeping your subject in frame, it’d prove a welcome addition to a device I always have with me anyway.
- But for more rugged videography, I’ve always wanted to get my hands on a GoPro, and the GoPro HERO5 Black Waterproof 4K Sports & Helmet Camera and GoPole Reach Extension Pole Bundle ($599.98) makes for a great starting place. Who wouldn’t love 4K video that makes you feel like you’re right in the action?
- I recently blew Zach’s mind when I reminded him that I write my blogs out by hand before typing them up, and he suggested I cut out the middleman and invest in a smartpen like the Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition ($333.00)! Able to convert handwritten notes to editable text, it could possibly save me enough time to do other things with my life!
CONTEST: Get YOURSELF a Best Gift with a $100 Gift Card to Best Buy!
Now all this wishing’s fine and dandy, but not everyone gives great gifts. If you don’t find what you want under the tree, I think you’re still in luck—one lucky Canadian’s getting a $100 Best Buy gift card so they can buy themselves something nice! You just need a click and a valid email address to enter, but there’re plenty of ways to improve your chances if you want to get a little social! Good luck! (Contest open to Canadians aged 18+ living outside of Quebec. Contest ends January 13th, 2017 @ 11:59 PM ET.)
The Best Gifts from Best Buy — It’s Time to Move Beyond a World of JUST Tech.
In conclusion, there’s no such thing as “the man who has everything”—simply men who haven’t thought hard enough on what they actually want. But no matter what you’re hoping to find under the tree this Christmas, you can be sure that Best Buy’s probably got it! From watches to colognes, baby gear, luggage and more, Best Buy’s the place to go for whatever your little heart desires!
And so, more than 2000 words deep, I bid you adieu. I wish you all a Merry Christmas—I’ll catch you on the flip side!
Until the next,
Disclaimer: In exchange for a gift for myself, and another who made my “nice list”, Best Buy wanted a post featuring their diverse product lines and give consumers some ideas of what they could get their loves ones for Christmas.
I absolutely went 100% overboard.
Good luck to all who enter!