Flashback to the late '90s: Carley Knobloch, the lifestyle and tech blogger behind Carley K, found herself building some of the first-ever websites for TV and movie studios on the West Coast. “I had just moved to L.A. and really fell in love with the web in the era of 1.0,” she says. “I wasn’t coming from MIT, but I learned how to code and build websites and got a job working as a graphic designer.”
As much as she enjoyed the work, when she had kids, Carley decided to pause for a bit and reinvent herself as a life coach and a yoga instructor. “My clients included a lot of high-functioning women and moms, who were all trying to figure out how to balance work and life and home and kids,” she says. “I started consulting for them, which turned into a newsletter, then a blog where I wrote about those exact topics.”
Then something major happened: the iPhone. “The minute it came out, all my clients instantly had one and they turned to me to ask, ‘But how do I use this to manage my life?’” she says. “I started writing about it on my mom blog and that kind of morphed into what I do now.” Carley even started a video series to cover common lifestyle headaches and how tech could solve them, which got the attention of two very important women: Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. “The next thing I knew, I was a regular contributor on Today talking about tech while they sipped wine,” she says.
Now Carley’s full-time gig is her blog, where her number-one goal is to help people improve their relationship with technology and stay well in a hyper-connected world. “Balance is an overused word, but it’s really about how we work to be sure technology helps us improve our lives without overtaking them,” she says.
On the top three most useful apps on her smartphone. “First, Life360. It’s a tracking app that I use—and my kids are aware that I use—that allows me to see when my daughter gets to basketball practice or when my son gets home from school. I just get a little ding, which saves me from having to hound them with: ‘You have to call me when you get somewhere!’ Another good one is 1Password, which is almost like a secure little address book for my passwords. Not only that, it helps you make really complex ones that you don’t have to remember because it auto fills them whenever you visit a site where you set one up. Last, I’m a huge fan of Headspace and Inscape. I have a yoga teaching background, but meditation has always eluded me. These apps are really helpful to ease you into it in a relatable way.”
On how to manage technology with kids. “My general advice is to trust your own instincts. Still, do I really think a small child—as in elementary school-aged—is ready to have the entire internet in their pants at all times? No. But there are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if they’re ready: Are they deceitful with you or open and honest with you? Do they feel social pressure? Do they lose things all the time? For example, when my daughter was ten and some of her friends started getting phones, I asked her, ‘How many lunch boxes have you lost this year?’ She replied, ‘Three.’ I was like, ‘OK, well, lunch boxes cost me $20 bucks, but a phone costs $700, so we’re done with this conversation until you can be more responsible.’”
On a gadget (besides her phone) that she can’t live without. “My Vitamix. I use it every morning. The new version, part of the Ascent Series, is 'smart' and comes with different containers (one for a personal serving, one that’s tiny for making chopped nuts or salad dressing), and the blender can tell which container you’re using, then adjust for the rest, like the speed of the motor, so it operates more efficiently. It’s an example of an intelligent device that doesn’t have an app for no reason but is legitimately smart.”
On something no one knows about her. “I’m into really dirty hip-hop. My son and I actually have the same taste in music with a mutual love of Chance the Rapper, Run the Jewels, Kanye and more. It’s the stuff I listen to when no one’s around. In fact, when the kids were little, they knew that on our shared Spotify account, there was a playlist called ‘Bad Mommy’ that they weren’t allowed to listen to.”
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