I wrote these notes in 2019 and never published them. I wanted to make a book out of it, but nothing ever came out. So here you have them….hopefully you find some inspiration.
How happy couples use technology to love each other even more
Messaging with your Partner
My wife and I spend a lot of time chatting. We end up organizing most of our activities via messaging platform.
We have lots of groups with my wife…just me and my wife
This might sound counterintuitive at first but it is crazy simple to implement, it’s free and it’s a lot of fun. My wife and I use whatsapp, and we created tons of groups with just me and her.
We have a group to discuss
- Wedding Organization
- Sexy stuff
- And more groups with friends and family.
Here is how it works and why it’s so much fun. While we have our main 1-1 flow where we message most of the time, we have separate groups where we discuss specific topics. This is very useful not only to keep similar discussions in one place easy to search, but also to make sure the boring stuff doesn’t pollute our romance. Why this is fun it’s because while I chat with my wife in one group, she might send me a message into another and so we have 2-3 different conversations going on.
Open as many groups as you need. Some of them will be permanent (Travel, Finances, Kids…) others will be one time projects like Weddings, a specific trip and so on.
We have two special ones worth telling you more: the emotion one and the sex
Love and Other Emotions: this is the group where we discuss when we fight. We might be discuss in our 1-1, and the first one who realizes that this is getting out of hand, goes and write in the Love and Other Emotions groups. Here we are nto allowed to fight,but we kind of analyze the situation as if from an external prospective. THis is pretty powerful and 99% of the time gets things resolved fairly quickly, while also providing a deeper understanding of why we are fighting.
The sex one is called Love gets dirty sometimes. This is the one we use to send each other dirty messages. This is normally muted, meaning that you can’t accidentally open it at work. This is also the most fun group I have.
This simple trick will had so much variety into your couple life. Now you don’t have to look for other people to chat with, you can just open multiple 1-1 instances with your partner, add a different profile picture for those groups (at least you can do this in whatsapp) and enjoy the ride.
Create groups with your friends & family
We use lots of groups also with our friends. Instead of having one person coordinating dinners and nights out, we created several groups with couples we hang out with, so that we can share photos, links, videos but most importantly make plans to hang out.
Emoji, Audio messages and videos
At least on iPhone, you can easily create an emoji version of you and use it to send funny videos to your friends/partner. My wife and I use it sometimes, and it’s a lot of fun.
We also send audio messages via whatsapp. We use it for short messages, and sometimes for videos.
We don’t use video call so often, but when we do we use whatsapp or messenger.
If you don’t get to spend tons of time together, video call are a great substitute.
There are also ways to get your partner/friends directly on TV, using for example Facebook portal.
3 Shopping & Cooking
Many people say that you should make sure you have a geat time at dinner with the people you date, as you will spend a lot of time eating together. My wife and I love cooking and eating together, and these are some of the tricks we use to make it easier
Shopping for Groceries
We use a simple app called OurGroceries. You can make a list and share it with multiple people. So everytime we are at the store, either alone or together, we can pick stuff from the list and shop much fast and efficiently. The app is very simple, and it makes it easier to re-add ingredient bought frequently.
For online shopping, we use Amazon Prime, or simply amazon. Amazon prime makes it easier to re-order previous ingredients, even if it’s annoying they don’t have a recipe section, where you could re-add entire recipes, or at least suggest items you always buy together. I am sure they will get there someday. For now, at least we get to order food and get it deliver in two hours, at our door. We order it while we are at work, we get it delivered when we get back home ready to cook.
If you can’t use amazon prime, try amazon fresh or any other grocery delivery service. It will save you 30 min to 1h time every time, and it’s simply perfect to make sure you don’t have to carry home heavy stuff.
Subscribe to get things delivered on a schedule
For things like olive oil, toilet paper, soap and other similar things, we have subscriptions on amazon so that we get them delivered on a schedule (like every month) and we don’t have to think about it. Automation is amazing, especially as you can always cancel when you want or just skip a delivery and postpone to next period.
Our favorite recipes
We created a trello board (trello.com) wit our favorite recipes, the ingredients and a photo.
Every week we pick what we want to eat that week, and this way we get 60% of the meals decided, and we only have to improvise on 2 or 3 meals every week. We haven’t yet found a way to automate how to buy the ingretiends once we pick the recipes, but I am working on it.
4 Smart home
Unless you live in a cave, you have heard the term SMART HOME. Smart home is a term to describe all the way you use technology to make your home/apartment more comfortable, exciting, alive.
Automate vacuum Cleaning
When my wife and I started living together we moved to a new place with a dark wooden floor. On day 2, I noticed how easy it was to spot dust. On day 3 we got delivered from ebay this cheap robot to automate vacuum cleaning. Our Beetle (this is the nickname we gave to it) has been nothing but amazing. Yes, it does get stuck once in a while, maybe once or twice a month, but it consistently provides 2 or more hours of daily cleaning. It is so efficient that you can’t spot dust anywhere. It cleans under the bed, on the corners, under the sofa, under the table…everywhere. And the most amazing thing is that it requires only few min of my time every week. All I do is to empty it once a week. It is programmed to start cleaning at 2:30pm, and it does clean for almost 2 hours. We don’t have a big place, but I am 100% sure I will buy more than one if we will ever move to a two floor apartment.
- 2pm to 4pm everyday
- Yes it does get stuck, but it still manages to clean 8 to 10 hours a week, on average.
- No dust
- You have to keep the floor cleaned
- It’s only $150!!!!!!
The second thing we automated is lights. We use a philips system, connected to the wifi. \You need a bridge, that communicates with the lights, and then buy the special `philips lights that you can turn on/off from your phone. Why this is incredibly beautiful? Let me explain.
You can control your lights from your phone, either by clicking or voice control
You can setup scenes, with specific combinations of lights, colors, intensity.
You can time your lights, or you can turn them on/off using motion sensors.
1 Our lights turn on automatically based on my wife alarms. She finds it easier to wake up if the lights are one.
2 When we are in bed, all we have to say to our phone is “Good night”, and Siri turns off all thel lights. No more standing up when you foget a light
3 We have a sensor in the bathroom that triggers a light behing out bed. It turns on the light only between 9pm and 11pm, with the light being at 20% so that is powerful enough to get back to bed without banging into any corner.
4 We have specific scenes for different situations. When we cook, all I have to tell my phone is “let’s cook” and the lights in the kitchen turn on. “Let’s watch a movie” turn off all lights except one behind the tv. “Let’s go to sleep” turn off all lights except bathroom and the bed. “Candle light” setup a light lilght in the bedroom, so that my wife and I can talk while looking at each other. “Sexy time” is all another set of light…mostly red!
We use scenes to complement different moods. It’s fun, easy to setup and very effective.
We also automated our blinds, but only in the bedroom. We keep the blidngs on the living room always on, since we have a breathtaking view all over New York city. But in our bedroom the blind goes down automatically at 9:15 every night.
\We use hello axis. Its not the cheapest but it does the job. In fact the blind opens up every morning at a specific time (when my wife needs to wake up). This way there is no stress over opening and closing, who does it, and you always get the optimal amount of light or darkness.
No more suffering around the temperature being too high or too low. \We installed a Ecobee and not only it learns our habits and adapt, but it’s simply so easy to configure and regulate te temperature according to our needs. It is so easy that you can also set specific temperatures for specific scenes, so once again, you don’t have to think about it.\You can also control the temperature from your phone, making it easy to turn it off when you are not at home (it is smart enough to figure it out itself) but also turning it on when you are on your way home and you want to make sure to come back to a warm house)
I love music, and I bought 4 Sonos speakers. We have one under the TV, two behind the sofa and one in the kitchen. The quality is incredible, they were easy to setup and you can control them using your voice. So I simply have to say “Alexa, play some jazz” and two seconds later I am listening to some jazz. You can also setup specific scenes to play specific music. I have some of that in the bathroom for example When I turn that scene on, our bathroom speaker (we have a google speaker behind the mirror) is playing either white noise or some dance music. We always turn this on when we have guests over, or I do it in the morning with the white noice not to wake up my wife. Again, those things are automated, small little comforts to make life easier.
My wife and I worked on some shared playlist we used on our wedding. They are on Spotify, and we played those when we are at home together. Spotify playlist are easy to share, and all people can add songs in there.
5 TV & Movies
We have a big TV. We decided not to go to the movie theatre anymore (in NYC we ended up paying close to $50 each time) and we bought a big TV with an amazing sonos sound system.
We use Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV when we want to watch something. For Netflix we use my sister account (you can use up to 4 screens with Netflix), Amazon comes with our prime subscriptions, YouTube is full of amazing free content and every now and then we buy a movie from Apple TV. We also use the TV to watch our photos and vidoes, but I will tell more on another chapter.
How to pick a movie
The hardest part is always to decide which movie to watch. Endless nights are spent watchign trailers, checking out Netflix/Prime home pages, until an hour later you end up with 3-4 movies and you don’t know which one to watch. Once you pick one, you start watching, realize you don’t like it and it’s time to go to sleep/. Have you been there? Here is how to solve it.
There is a great free service called MovieLens. This is done by a University in America, and what they do is to analyze your preferences and guessing how much you will like a specific movie. So instead of giving your the average, they tell you how much you, specifically you, will like it. So movielens has all my 5 start projected movie, and so far they haven’t disappointed me. \they don’t have an integration with Netflix or Amazon rpime, so i still have to search manually if the movies are available. But it still much more effective than trusting Netflix/Amazon recomendation engines, that are nothing but a disappointment.
Are you wondering how technology can help you with sleeping? This might be the most important chapter of the entire book, so read carefully.
Lights & Scenes
Go back to the chapter on lights, as this will help you creating the right atmospheres in bed
I wake up much earlier than my wife. On a good day, I wake up at 4:50 while my wife wakes up at 8. So instead of using noisy alarms, I wear a device I paid $10 dollars that vibrates when the alarm goes off. This normally does not wake up my wife. Highly recommended if you don’t wake up at the same time.
My wife loves to sleep in 1000 degrees. I love it cold. And yet, we love to sleep together, cuddle, and hug all night. Chili pad has been the solution. Chilipad has a cube that keeps water at a specific temperature, this water is pushed witha tube to a pad placed over your matress. So when you sleep, your bed is kept at a specific temperature, normally between 56 and 108 F.
Why I love it is because my side of the bed can be freezing cold, while my wife side, without any technology, can be hot. I don’t wake up anymore because of high temperature, and I get to sleep next to my wife for most of the night. This is incredible.
All I have to do is to turn it on when I go to sleep (unfortunately I can;t schedule it), and then enjoy cold temperature when I am in bed. I have automated the switch off part, using a smart plug on the wall that turns it off at 5am during weekdays, and 9am on weekends.
Music in bed
We placed a google speaker behind the bed. Those things are like $20 and you can go to bed playing spanish guitar, romantic music, the sound of the forest, sexy time…whatever. Sometimes a great soundtrack can help create unforgettable moments.
7 Google Drive / Notes
We use Google drive for this and that
Store all important documents / take a pic and store
Travel notes (peoople will ask you what to do)
Shared notes on Project, what to do, how to do it
8 Photos and Videos
With our iPhones, we take a lot of photos and videos. We then use technology (apps and devices) to extend the amount of pleasure we get from those memories.
Our photos are automatically updated on Google Photos from our phones. Not only this serves as a backup, but Google can automatically tag the other person and share with them photos and videos. So if I forget to share a photo or a video with my wife, she gets them automatically from google. Google photos makes it very easy to search things, as you can type “Greece”, “Pizza”, “New York” “photos with my wife” and google will pop up only those photos.
My wife and I also share one Album called Time of our Lives, with the best pics and videos. We update it every one or two months.
Upgrade your videos
I decided to buy a Osmo Pocket after a colleague told me how amazing this device is. And honestly, I am extremely happy with this purchase I recommended it to all of my friends.
Osmo Pockets as a mechanical gimble, stabilizing the videos in a professional way. So when I record videos of panoramas, or my wife walking around a city, first of all I can just tell Osmo to follow my wife, so I don’t have to stress about it. And them Osmo keep the shooting very stable, with the footage looking so professional it’s hard to believe I made it.
It’s easy to connect to my phone, easy to download those photos to back them up.
Google Home, to show always the most amazing pics
We installed a Google Home in the kitchen. It has a tiny screen, bigger than a postcard, showing every 10 seconds a new picture from our Google Photo album Time of our lives. It’s nice to constantly see new pictures while we cook, or while we walk by. As mentioned, those photos are easy to updated and we have so far 2 years of our lives flashing at all time on this beautiful screen. Guests like it very much.
Calendars and Albums
With technology, it’s very easy to print calendars and albums from favorite moments. A few clicks, and you get them delivered at your home in a week.
Cinematic Holidays Videos
As you can imagine, my wife and I take a lot of photos and videos when travelling. In fact i can take more than 5000 pictures/videos on a 7 days trip. The problem is: when are we going to watch them? I recently started using freelancer, found online, to produce cinematic 4 min videos of our holidays. All you have to do is
- Share your expectations (4 min videos, combining best photos and videos, using this music)
- Find a freelancer (we use upwork)
- Agree on a price (we pay around $100 per video)
- Let them send you a draft
- Tell them what you would like to change
- Get the final video
We now have amazing 4 min videos we can share with friends and family, but most importantly we can add them to a youtube playlist we can keep playing on our TV when we don’t watch anything else, so that we can be constantly grateful for all those incredible moments we have in our lives.
9 Events and Calendar
Google offers incredible free tools to organize a couple life.
We rely on Google Calendar to share events, to make sure we always updated on what is going on in our lives.