Sameer W

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How Smart is your Home?

Hello Heroes,

I mean hello home! No answer! Well you’re in the same boat as me. I long for my home to speak back to me, like umm in Iron Man, Tony Stark has such a cool house. Jarvis has got it all covered.

Now I know making my home a little smarter probably won’t make it have any more square footage or the view of LA, but it sure will make me feel cooler.

The problem with today’s smart technology is that some products only work with some assistants and some assistants are better than others.

Here is my quick run down of the who, what, where of smart tech.

First, you’ve got to pick an assistant. No, you don’t have to hire someone to live in your house, but more like a virtual assistant to manage your home. There are many virtual assistants out their, but the main three are Apple’s SIRI, Google’s Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa.

Apple’s SIRI Google’s Assistant Amazon’s Alexa


Super Secure – Apple has worked directly with hardware manufacturers, so they can ensure a secure line of communication.

HomeKit – this app is pretty awesome, it merges all your hardware into one easy remote controller.



Smarter – in terms of artificial intelligence Assistant is far superior to Alexa and SIRI.

Cost – it is a lot cheaper to get into the smart home game. (Google Home Mini, starts at $79.99)



Cost – also cheap to get into the game, the smallest speaker is only $50

Setup – so easy to setup, plug in and go!

Skills – it has over 12,000 skills, making it the most versatile assistant

App – works with Apple and Android devices



SIRI – SIRI is only exclusive to Apple Products and sometimes she has a hard time understanding what you’re saying.

Fewer Options – because Apple has its nose in manufacturer guidelines, there are fewer hardware options.



OK Google – is the way you have to call your assistant, kind of weird.

Audio – if you’re an audiophile, this may not be the best route

Privacy Policy – their policy isn’t so clear, what information are they collecting???



Apps – they are large in size, may take up a lot of space on your device.

Privacy – they leave it up to the hardware manufacturers, taking no responsibility.

Quality – speaker quality is fair


Now that you’ve chosen who you want to live with, the next step is to figure out what hardware you want to incorporate into your home.

There are so many hardware options to choose from. You name it and some thing can control it. Some of my favourites are the Philips Hue Bulbs, Nest Thermostat, Lutron Smart Switch, and the Sonos One.

The Philips Hue bulbs are so fun. Basically screw the bulbs into any of your lamps or ceiling lights and you can control when they switch on and what colour they are. Having a dance party, then Philips Hue has got you covered.

My personal favourite and something I live by is the Nest Thermostat. This guy replaces your current thermostat and makes it SMART. With some of the smartest features around this thing can monitor motion within your home so it can control when to turn on your AC or heat. The Nest app is even smart enough to know when you are roughly 3 km from your home so it can get your house to your desired temperature.

The Lutron Smart Switch is similar to the smart bulbs but this is more of a hard wired option. This switch replaces your flick on/off switch. If you forget your lights on and you have left your house, simply open the app and flick them off. When you arrive at home simply ask your assistant to turn on the lights and voila!

I’m a sucker for speakers. I’ve got one in every room. Gone are the days when you need to have in wall mounted speakers installed, the Sonos One replaces all the heartache. This guy is the first of the Sonos line to incorporate Alexa into the hardware itself. I can simply ask Alexa to play my favourite playlist or a specific song. Even better, since Alexa is built into this smart speaker, you can ask her to control any of your other pieces of smart hardware.

All in all there is definitely something to suit your needs. Remember all these items can be controlled by your voice through your specific assistant. My favourite thing is to set up routines. Through my Alexa, I simply say “Alexa I’m home”, and she turns my lights on and starts to play my favourite playlist. How cool is that? Now only if I could get it to make my dinner too!!!

Ok so now that your home is a little smarter then it was, it’s time to sit back and control your throne. “Alexa turn on Samsung TV and play Netflix” See ya later.

Remember, I am always here to help. Shoot me a DM or comment below with any of your questions or concerns.

Instahusband out,

Sameer @playingwithapparelmen

My Credit Card Hacks/Tips and Tricks of 2018

Hello Heros!

As a self-proclaimed credit card GURU, I have had over 8 credit cards this past year (2017/2018). Yep 8, that is a hell of a lot!

I may not be the most credible GURU, since I did just start playing the hack game back in early 2017. But I do know a thing or two.

So you may ask, why the f**k do you have so many credit cards and why isn’t the credit bureau breathing down your neck and taking your house away. Well the great thing about all this, is that it is all perfectly legal.

Ok Sameer, so what exactly are you doing here? Well I use credit cards and their points for FREE trips!!!! Yep FREE!!!

So what’s the deal with these points and where do I start?

My favourite credit cards are by American Express. They have the best welcome bonuses and the easiest way to actually use and accumulate points.

The card I started with was the American Express Business Platinum, now there are both pros and cons to this card and it may not be for everyone. But, if you have some big purchases coming up and your merchant accepts Amex then start here. Now you don’t own a business? That is perfectly fine; Amex Personal Platinum is equally a great card.

For a lower spend and smaller but great benefits the Amex Gold card is also an option.

If you decided to go balls deep, and sign up for the Amex Platinum, then you will love the benefits, especially if you are an avid traveller. First off, you get access to most airport lounges, and this is now a must for Filipa and I. Why wait in a terminal for 2-3 hours, when you could recline in the airport lounge with free grub and booze.

You also get some amazing insurance options, you get it all; travel insurance, baggage insurance, flight delay insurance, and a cool one is product purchase insurance. Basically they’ve got you covered. No need to buy any additional insurance when travelling, unless maybe you’ve got some crazy ass disease that no one will cover (hopefully not).

The Amex Business Platinum has also teamed up with some other big brands in the hospitality realm. So when you sign up, you automatically get upgraded to Gold membership at both SPG and Marriott hotels. This is amazing because if you were just a mere civilian it would take you 25 nights a year to maintain a gold status, but with this card it’s included. The perks of having gold at these hotel chains are free upgrades, breakfast, free WI-Fi, 4pm late checkout and bonus points.

With the Amex Personal Platinum you get a $200 travel credit annually, so you book a hotel or flight through the Amex Travel Portal and within 2 business days you receive they credit on your statement.

Also, if you fly with Delta, you will also be eligible to upgrades and preferential boarding.

All in all, this card has it all and if you’re always travelling like us, then it makes sense.

Now like every pro there is a con. The Platinum Business just changed their annual fee to $499. Now you may be thinking, WTF!! I read all this and now you tell me it’s going to cost me $499. Hold up, yes it does have a steep annual fee but in addition to all the benefits I listed above, you also get 60,000 Amex points as a welcome bonus. Now these points at minimum would be worth $600, if you learned a few tricks and trips, they could be worth double if not triple. So at minimum $600-$499 = you’re still up nearly $100 just by signing up for this card. AMAZING!!!

If you go for the Personal Platinum then the annual fee is $699, but with the 60,000 points and the $200 travel credit, you’re still up $100. So win win!

Ok so how do you grow your point balance? If you’ve got some friends and family that want to get into the point game, then that would be your best place to start. Referral bonuses under the Amex Business Platinum are 15,000 points. So for every referral that signs up, you get enough points for a short-haul national flight. Crazy right! But true…

Now if I’ve convinced you, remember to sign up with this link to get your 60,000 points. Yes, I do get a referral bonus, but we’re all friends and some of you my family. If you don’t sign up with this link, you only get 40,000 points, now that is not nearly as fun nor does it cover your annual fee.

Plus, if you guys have any questions or concerns you can always contact me. I am more then happy to help.

Happy shopping, and safe travels!


Instahusband out,

Sameer @playingwithapparelmen

The Man Behind the Lens: HAHAHA!

Hello Heros!

So some of you may have noticed that I am now being tagged as photographer on Filipa’s Insta posts. Woohoo I made it! Although, I don’t consider myself a photographer, there have been some tricks and tips that I have learnt on this journey… and oh boy what a journey it has been. I swear at one point I couldn’t pick up the camera without us getting in a fight… being an instahusband sure has its perks but it most definitely has its struggles too.

Anyway therapy session over, lets get to the point, what you’re all here for.


You might be surprised by how much equipment we’ve gone through, I would like to say I graduated from each level but really it’s been a struggle to find the perfect match.

We began with the Nikon D6000. Oh boy, we were super excited, it was our first camera that wasn’t a point and shoot. But did we use it any other way, NOPE! I had no f**king clue what I was doing, I think we thought get a DSLR and everything will just change automatically. Yeah, we were wrong, after shooting in AUTO for so long, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. So after a few months, hundreds of fights, and knocking my head on the wall, the next obvious thing to do for a man is not blame himself but the equipment. So what did we do, yep you’re right, get another camera.

You would think I would’ve learnt my lesson but after a Canon and a Sony later I found my perfect match, the Canon 6D Mark II. Wow, was I blown away, everything just worked. Maybe it was the fact that I actually was interested in how to take pictures or the fact that I figured out what the “M” meant on the scroll wheel (thanks to @mvandersluis for some much needed coaching), it means MAN right!! Lol.

So once I learned what all the settings under the MAN function meant, it was a walk in the park. HAHAHA! I wish! Yes, things made more sense, but what I didn’t realize is that every location, every shot, every subject, had to be set up completely different. And for the guy who loves his favourite pair of jeans, and has his butt imprint on his couch. I know what I like! But back on my horse I went.

List of Equipment we use NOW:


Instahusband’s out there, this is key! The amount of shit I got for just pointing and shooting at eye level is definitely not worth it. I now enjoy being knee deep in sand, covered in ant bites to get the perfect shot. Did I mention my instahusband squat is on point?!? Now that is a workout on its own. Remember it’s worth playing around with angles; every angle has a different effect. For us, Filipa might kill me for saying this but, she likes to look taller, who doesn’t? So I usually end up on my knees or in a squatted position.


Tripod Bob

Now most of us husbands out there know a thing or two about a machine involved in your relationship. HAHA, what do you think happens when you’re away at work or travelling?

Well this is a different kind of contraption. It actually helps me out, and gives me a break every now and then. My suggestion, get a good tripod, something that doesn’t blow over in the wind and is sturdy. We have the Vanguard Espod CX204AGH, it works great. We either have the camera set on timer or use the iPhone as a remote trigger. Check out these fun shots with Tripod Bob.

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 5.39.19 PM
Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 5.39.02 PM

You can find our tripod bob here.

Man vs. Auto

Ok I admit it, it’s not called Man it’s Manual. I know right, weird! Anyways, with camera tech these days Auto is a great setting for people who don’t want to learn anymore then pointing and shooting. It’s pretty fantastic. But if you want a bit more customization or personalization then the manual function is where you want to be. Learn how changing the ISO, shutter speed, or F point will alter the effect of your shot. Heck, I even turn my lens to manual so I can focus on what really matters, the beautiful woman I call my wife! Brownie points anyone!!!


Wait, what, all that info wasn’t enough and you want more. Phhh, well that’s enough for me. I leave the editing to Filipa, as far as I know she uses Lightroom. Now I refuse to learn that, I got to leave her with some work!


So I hope this was helpful, heck I feel like I’ve learnt a thing or two. And as always, feel free to DM me with any questions or comments you have.


Instahusband out,

Sameer W @playingwithapparelmen

My Boy Blue! – Blue Mountain Review

Hello loves….wait I mean! Hold up, I need my own catch phrase. Ummm hello heros! Yeah, that works. So you guys must be wondering who the heck I am, and where is the beautiful Filipa. My name is Sameer, the famous man behind the lens and honourable companion to the girl I call my wife but you all call Fil!

So what am I doing here! Well I thought I would give this whole blogging thing a go, so far so good, so you’ll be seeing a lot of me. It’s my first crack at writing thing so be gentle, please. Anyways, enough rambling, lets get onto the topic…skiing.

Canadian skiers and snowboarders have quite the option when it comes to choosing a location to head down a snowy hill. I don’t know about all of you but if skiing was in a tropical climate, I think I would participate more. I think my once a year trek down the hill is usually good enough for me.

Although, I don’t choose to get out in all my layers and attach two carbon fibre skates to each leg and head down a mountain, I love the vibe and the atmosphere. There are always things to do around resorts that cater to the sports of snow.

We usually visit Blue Mountain a few times a year and it’s pretty amazing. Head down a hill, grab a drink, fall down a hill, grab two drinks, you get where I’m going with this. I think food and beverage go hand in hand with the wonders of skiing.

Only a quick hour and a half from Toronto, Blue Mountain seems to have it all; shops, bars, places to stay, and I guess most importantly a mountain (or hill). Having over 40 runs, I think Blue Mountain has a run for every level, not to mention a fantastic beer selection.

Blue Mountain Village definitely caters to most picky eaters and has quite the selection of fast food options as well. My main go to is MJ Byrnes, it’s kind of like the local (local pub). Grungy and grimy, it has 28 beers on tap, a descent spread of pub eats, and some meaty entrees.

Just this past season though, the new boy in town just opened, North Winds Brewery. Some of you may know it from its location in Collingwood, but they wanted a piece of the pie and there new location is quite the sight. They cater well to vegetarians like myself, but also have carnivorous options too. But the words brewery means they’ve got beer and the best kind, CRAFT. All of there beers are brewed in house and they’ve got a flavour that suits you. They take their beer so seriously, that each of their staff members have to be certified Cicerone.

Staying at the Blue Mountain Village can sometimes be a challenge. They’ve got plenty of options but they aren’t the greatest. You can rent a condo/chalet, stay at the Westin, or even the Blue Mountain Inn. If you don’t mind the drive in, Collingwood also has some budget friendly options. We usually stay the Westin, because they are SPG members and I have loyalty membership with them that offers me breakfast and upgrades etc… If there is a big group of you, say 5-15, then it is definitely worth looking into a condo/chalet. They are very cost effective and best of all they have living rooms and kitchens.

Check out this awesome Airbnb that we may or may not own.

If you don’t have an Air Bnb account, sign up here to get a discount on your first stay!

Ok so I guess I should talk about the skiing a bit, seeing as that’s the whole point of this post. I would definitely suggest ordering your passes online prior to your stay. You can save nearly 25% vs. the ticket booth. You can check get your lift tickets here. Sometimes they offer descent deals and packages, but not often, you can find those here.

Although skiing isn’t always our main attraction to Blue Mountain, we love spending time there. It also has something to keep us occupied. Not to mention it is quite romantic.

We definitely recommend it!

If you have any questions feel free to drops us a line below.


Instahusband out,

Sameer @playingwithapparelmen