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Stay Connected Using Technology

By Kristi Simmons-Olson

I’ve only lived in New Braunfels for a little over a year now, but one thing I’ve learned quickly is that New Braunfels is a tight-knit community. Meeting a wide range of people through networking, school functions, fundraisers, happy hours, holiday parties, and nights out on the town was a priority for me since I came from a small town with equal social opportunities. Long story short… my friendships and the connections I’ve made in my new town are growing, and it helped me a lot with my relocation blues.


Keeping connected with my friends back home in Bend, Oregon through the use of technology, and apps was important to me. Not only do I use technology for socializing with family and friends in Oregon, but I work remote for a company based out of Chicago.


With the emergence of COVID-19 and quarantine, I am in a unique position to now share ideas and my experiences to help us all feel less isolated.


Book Clubs


Book Trade

When I first moved to New Braunfels, and hadn’t met anyone local yet, I did a book trade with friends. Five of my friends committed to sending me a book, if I mailed them one. I sent mine directly from Amazon. The books chosen were ones I had read, and I chose specific books to send to each person. Soon after receiving theirs, they mailed books to me. This was a great way to connect and it was awesome to get mail and correspond through texts about the books we were sharing.


eBook Club

A lot of people are still into their bound and printed books, but I fell in love with my Kindle long ago. It’s convenient and I am able to borrow eBooks, and audiobooks for free from the library. Not only can you download many books easily onto your compact devise, but with a Kindle Paperwhite you can read at night, without a bedside lamp keeping your partner awake.


The New Braunfels Library is currently closed, but I emailed: reference@nbtexas.org to get my library card and they responded quickly with a library card number and pin to login to the New Braunfels Public Library. I was also provided with easy to follow directions and a video on how to utilize the site.


There’s nothing stopping you from reaching out to a group of friends and setting up time to virtually chat about experiencing a good book together.


Make sure to send this info in your email request to the library:

Name

Email

Phone (Make sure to let them know if this is a cell or landline)

Address

Driver’s License #



Happy Hour

There’s no need to forgo the Friday Happy Hour with coworkers while at home. You can pick up Margaritas and Daiquiris through a drive though with Rock n’ Ritas in New Braunfels or have you ever thought of joining Wine of the Month Club? So many options right now for deliveries, but with Cocktail Courier you could have craft cocktails delivered to your door with all the ingredients and recipes for a delicious at home beverage your coworkers will envy.


Virtual Bar

Picking up an Oculus Rift headset might not be in the budget for all of us, me included… but my Brother-in-law has one and had told me about a virtual bar he experienced. If the quarantine lasts longer than a couple weeks, we might all have them sold out, like toilet paper.


For more information on Virtual Bars visit The VR Bar, The World’s First and Greatest VR Bar. Let me know how it goes, and then maybe one day I’ll be joining you for a cocktail in VR too.


Gaming

In all honesty I am not a gamer, but I have a lot of gamers in my family and I hear them chatting, talking and sometimes yelling at their friends through headsets. Below are the most popular multiplayer games in my family and most likely yours too:


Fortnight:

A free (sort of) multiplayer game with lots of challenges, battle royals, viral dance moves and plenty of fun. Beware of the constant request for v-bucks though!


Minecraft:

The favorite of some of the older kids is back and in a big way. It’s also fun for the whole family and every age group. From creative mode, to playing on a multi-player server there are plenty of opportunities for children to learn responsibility and real-world problem-solving skills.


Common Sense Media recommends that parent should spend a few hours playing on the server and studying the server's website before allowing a child younger than 12 to play. Make sure to check their reviews and recommendations on any online games for more details.


Words with Friends 2:

Give your brain a workout while playing a scrabble game on your phone. I have played this game with my mom, my husband and other friends, but gave up because I hate to lose!


Pokémon Go:

Get your family motivated to move and search out hidden Pokémon. You will be surprised at how many you can find lurking under trees in your neighborhood. You can create a friends list and gift or trade in-game. New features have made it easier to find monsters close or even in your home!


Must have Apps for Staying Connected:


For video chats:

FaceTime, Skype, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google Duo


For Multi-chat, Groups and Collaboration:

WhatsApp, Facebook, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Chat


Video and Photo Sharing:

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik-Tok


Please send us an email with your ideas, we would love to hear from you!


Kristi Simmons-Olson is a Graphic Designer in New Braunfels, Texas, where she lives with her husband John, four kids and three fur-babies. She is co-founder of the Digital Marketing Agency Honey and Hare, she also writes blogs at Adventure in Momsville. In what little spare time she has, she enjoys getting together with friends for brunch, coffee and happy hour.


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