My family went on vacation recently, a trip that found us enjoying theme parks for several days. The days were long and filled with photo ops and experiences ripe for video and pictures, which meant my husband and I used our iPhones constantly in a variety of ways: calling each other if we split up to tackle different areas with different kids, checking the parks’ apps to assess wait times/figure out where to go next, capturing memories with the camera, etc.

As you might have guessed, our phone batteries drained steadily throughout the day, but we were prepared, packing two key tools for the trip: portable chargers from Jackery. Inside my backpack was the Jackery Mini, a 3.7-inch lipstick-sized power bank that could quickly re-energize either phone. Weighing just 2.7 ounces, it was a lightweight insurance policy against a drained smart phone battery and missed calls or photos.

Back in our hotel room sat the Jackery Giant+ (left), the world's most powerful external rechargeable battery (yet only 4 inches long with a weight of 10 ounces). With dual USB charging ports, the Giant+ allowed us to power up one — or both — phones a the same time, or any combination of tablets. The Mini and the Giant+ can also charge Apple or Android tablets, most Android phones, Sony PSPs, Blackberries, GoPro cameras, and more.

If the Mini or Giant+ battery needed to be recharged, we plugged them in overnight and they were ready the next day for another round. In my opinion, if you’re investing hundreds of dollars in a smart phone, the first thing you need is a ruggedized case. The second? A lightweight, portable, external battery that can keep your lifeline juiced — whether you’re traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth or your neighborhood grocery store. At $12.99 for the Mini and $29.99 for the Giant+, that’s inexpensive peace of mind that will pay off over and over again. jackery.com

An Alternative Way To Relax
The use of essential oils as a viable alternative treatment for ills such as headaches, stress, indigestion, or blemishes seems to be growing on me.

My sister, a frequent headache sufferer, says that following the placement of a few drops of Peppermint oil on her temples, her headache is gone. My tween daughter, restless at night, delights (and immediately calms) when her auntie scents her pillow with a bit of Lavender spray.

Curious, a hater-of-pills, and a skeptic until proven wrong, I discovered the Everyday Oils kit from Young Living (youngliving.com, $170). Ten tiny bottles promise huge relief: Frankincense can aid with blemishes and guide you to a deeper spiritual connection, Lemon can be used as a dietary supplement, Tea Tree Oil can help calm skin irritations. I’ve tried them all. The essence of these health-promoting botanicals can be diffused, inhaled, applied topically, incorporated into massage, or taken internally. A nifty little book included with the kit will help you get started. In fact, I just put a few drops of Joy — a blend of oils — on my scarf for some enjoyment as I ready for a fast and furious deadline. I’m feeling peaceful already. --HK