Entries Tagged 'For Better Life Tips' ↓

Top productivity apps that will improve and simplify your life

Our relationship with new technology is funny. Try watching old clips about the future from the 1950′s and 60′s, and you’ll find innovative and exciting new technologies that make everyday life simple and better. Yet, today a significant portion of folks have a smartphone in their pocket — a device as powerful as a computer, that connects us to all of the information ever known by man —and most of us just use it to play Words With Friends, Candy Crush or catch up with our exes on Facebook.

But the fantastical and awe-inspiring futuristic dreams of generations past is also available, today, on our smartphones. Ignoring the incredible applications like Siri, so overlooked for how they change our relationship with not only our computer devices but also with the world around us, these five productivity apps innovate tasks that will improve and simplify your life … simply.

1. 30/30

3030 Top productivity apps that will improve and simplify your life

Photo Credit: 30/30

Billed as a task manager, but much more than that, 30/30 allows you to define your day and stick to it. We all know the things we need to do, and how long it should take us to do them. But as Parkinson’s Law states, work expands to fill the time allotted to it. If you’re just bouncing from one task to the next, with no sense of how long it is taking you, it can spiral out of control. By the end of the day, you’ll look at your to-do list and realize the first couple items took you all day.

That’s where 30/30 comes in. Define a task, establish how long you want to work on it, and go. When the time is up, it notifies you that it’s time to move on to the next task. But it’s also built for reality, so if you need a little more time on what you’re working on, you can add more in 5 minute intervals right from the app’s home screen.

It’s also a great way to build your breaks into your day. Guaranteeing you give yourself those moments to refresh and recharge that are often skipped because you’re already behind. And 30/30 is free in the App Store.

2. Today

Today Top productivity apps that will improve and simplify your life

Waking up in the morning is not a pleasant experience. But we have the technology to make it better. Portrayed in endless sci-fi films and inspired by J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man, Today gets your morning off to a great start. Waking you with the current weather forecast, top news headlines, most recent emails, upcoming calendar events, as well as other customizable options like Facebook and Twitter feeds, Today speaks to you with uncanny clarity and realism with the advanced speak technology of iOS.
You can construct your perfect wake up call in whatever order you’d like, including soothing ring tones and current time. Today gets your mind working, allowing you to wake up more smoothly, while also providing the current important information you’d have to manually check later. Today is $2.99 in the App Store.

3. Paper by FiftyThree

Wanderlust Top productivity apps that will improve and simplify your life

Notebooks like Moleskines are the idea lockers of the most successful creative and business individuals. Paper by FiftyThree takes that experience and beautifully translates it to your mobile device. Offering six different writing and drawing tools, and an expandable palette of colors, Paper by FiftyThree allows you to get what’s in your brain onto paper for mind-mapping, ideating, and cataloging. I find it works wonderfully on an iPad with a stylus.

Create any number of individual notebooks to keep thoughts organized for work, home, or any other separation your workflow needs. Paper by FiftyThree is free in the App Store!

4. Genius Scan

Once only the fantasy of Cold War-era spy thrillers, the pocket document scanner is now a practical and cheap reality for anyone with an iOS device. Genius Scan isn’t just a camera app – it’s truly a full mobile scanning solution. It corrects for perspective, detects page edges, uses post-processing to enhance the scan for readability, allows you to catalog and tag your Dell latitude d830 battery documents, as well as share them with a long list of cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote.

The uses are endless. Scan expense receipts while traveling for work, archive hand-written notes, capture whiteboard sessions during meetings or classes, or simply have a photocopier no matter where you are. GeniusScan is $2.99 in the App Store.

5. Doable

Doable is sort of the opposite of a to-do list: It keeps track of all those things that you want to do again and again. Want to exercise three times per week? Call your old high school friend once per month? Limit your fast food intake to twice per month? Clean the bathroom once per week? Doable allows you track, chart, and stay on top of your recurring life goals.

When you’ve completed one of your goals, just swipe on the item and it will mark it as ‘done’ and move it to the bottom of the list. Now when your mom complains you don’t call enough, you can see she’s right. Doable is $0.99 in the App Store.

Most popular tech tools that change the way you study

Academic success comes to the students who study smarter, not harder. Successful students utilized technology to achieve their academic goals. Today Battfast rounded up seven tech tools to help you study smarter this semester. And best of all for the college student on a ramen-noodle budget, many of them are free.

Leechblock

The internet provides limitless distractions for the would-be scholar: YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, etc. One of the biggest challenges in studying is avoiding these timewasting websites. Leechblock, a plug-in for the Firefox web browser, makes blocking timewasting sites a breeze. Simply tell Leechblock which sites you want to block and when you want them blocked and Leechblock does the rest. Now when you try to surf over to your favorite timewasting site, instead of the page, you’ll see a message from Leechblock telling you to get back to work. This is a fantastic plugin. It helped me stay focused while I was in law school.

Cost: Free

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint Noise-Canceling Headphones

 

ath anc1 3 sq sized Most popular tech tools that change the way you study

When a cacophony of noises is distracting you from studying, a pair of noise-canceling headphones can bring silent, sweet relief. Unfortunately, most noise-canceling headphones on the market aren’t in the price range of the average starving student.  Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones are an exception. While the QuietPoint noise-canceling headphones won’t give you complete noise cancellation like their $200-$300 cousins, for $80 you can get an 85 percent reduction in ambient noise. Not too shabby.

Cost: $80

SimplyNoise

Screen Shot 2013 10 01 at 12.07.06 AM Most popular tech tools that change the way you study

If you don’t have the scratch for a pair of noise canceling headphones, but would still like some distraction-free studying, try listening to some white noise. White noise combines all the sounds of the different frequencies a human can hear into a single noise. You’re left with something that sounds like hissing radio static.

There are hundreds of white noise generators out on the web. Some paid, many free. The one I used on a consistent basis while in school was SimplyNoise. Just open it up in a tab in your browser and enjoy hours of free, distraction-smothering white noise.

Cost: Free

Evernote

evernote Most popular tech tools that change the way you study

Smart students take notes. Smarter students take their lecture notes using Evernote. Evernote is a robust note-taking application that allows you to remember and organize everything your professor throws at you.

Evernote is crammed with features that will help you upgrade your note-taking experience. Notes you take on the Evernote desktop app automatically sync with your Evernote account online. If your laptop crashes or gets lost, you’ll still have your notes sitting safely in the cloud. If you like to handwrite your notes, but would like to store them digitally, Evernote makes it possible. Just scan your handwritten notes into Evernote, and Evernote will use the magic of image recognition technology to allow you to search for your handwritten notes within the app.

Evernote works across operating systems and also has smartphone apps that allow you to take notes while you’re rushing from one class to the next. Best of all, Evernote is free.

Cost: Free

Livescribe Digital Smart Pen

live scribe Most popular tech tools that change the way you study

Upgrade your handwritten notes with a Livescribe Digital Smart Pen. Livescribe pens, when used in conjunction with special Livescribe notebook paper, allow you to digitally record everything you write during a lecture. When class is over, just upload your notes from your Livescribe pen to your laptop with Acer as07b41 battery. Not only does the Livescribe pen record what you write, it also records whatever your professor says with its digital microphone. Instead of trying to frantically write down everything that comes out of your professor’s mouth, you can now focus on actually listening and understanding what she says.

Livescribe works seamlessly with Evernote.

Cost: $99

Focus Booster

focus booster Most popular tech tools that change the way you study

Focus Booster is a cross platform application that helps you stay focused and get some learning done by utilizing the Pomodoro Technique. In a nutshell, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that involves breaking large periods of work into several shorter intervals with breaks in-between (for example, working for 45 minutes straight, followed by a 15 minute break). Some studies indicate working in shorter bursts with frequent breaks can improve mental performance.

Focus Booster allows you to set up how long your working and break periods will be. After that, just hit start. As soon as your work time is up, an alarm sounds telling you to take a break. Surf the web, take a walk, do whatever. When the break is up, the alarm sounds, telling you to get back to the books. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Cost: Free

Headmagnet

headmagnet Most popular tech tools that change the way you study

Wouldn’t be cool if you could just download information into your brain like Neo in The Matrix? Until technology develops something that will allow us to hook our brains up to computers, Headmagnet is probably the closest you can get to mimicking Neo’s speedy learning.

Headmagnet is a free online app that not only helps you learn information quickly, but more importantly, store it in your long-term memory so you can hold onto the knowledge and access it come test time. Simply create sets of flashcards within the app and review them. Using algorithms based on research by cognitive scientists, Headmagnet predicts what bits of information in your flashcard set you’ll likely forget and brings those up automatically for review. Instead of wasting your time reviewing information you already know, Headmagnet helps you focus on what you’re struggling with.

Cost: Free

Great ideas for an Inspiring Home Office

Herman Miller Sayl Chair header cropped Great ideas for an Inspiring Home Office
Your home office should be the most inspiring room in your house. It is the adult’s playroom, a creative think tank and a place of productivity that makes work feel less like an obligation and more like “fun” time. With a few smart investments, your home office can do the same. These seven items can turn a stuffy home office into a creative playground, where inspiration and productivity come naturally.

IdeaPaint – Dry Erase Whiteboard Paint

Ideapaint Great ideas for an Inspiring Home Office

The accent wall in your home office can also be a creative canvas. With IdeaPaint, you can turn any flat, paintable surface into a dry erase board. You can customize your color at the paint store or apply it as is to your wall. Then the surface of your choice becomes a massive dry erase board, ready to receive your notes, calculations and drawings. Done with your doodles? Just erase with a standard cloth eraser and your uncluttered canvas is back.

Crate & Barrel Strut 70-inch Work Table

Crate and Barrel Strut 70 Work Table Great ideas for an Inspiring Home Office

A home office is only as good as its work surface, so it’s wise to make the right investment in a desk or table that suits you. If you’re like me, you’ve got multiple monitors, a tablet device, speakers, a keyboard, a mouse and a camera taking up desk real estate. A bit of extra space for books, paperwork or otherwise is always important too. The Crate & Barrel Strut 70-inch Work Table is a prime option, given the spacious surface on top and the stylish base below. It’ll hold plenty of gadgets and other components and look great doing it.

HP SpectreXT Touchsmart Ultrabook

extended run time hp pavilion dv5 laptop battery Great ideas for an Inspiring Home Office

Creative freedom is an important value for any home office, and the ability to take your work elsewhere is a necessary kind of freedom. An Ultrabook like the HP SpectreXT Touchsmart Ultrabook provides desktop-class HP hstnn-db42 battery power and the option to take your show on the road. A home office should be a privilege, not a prison, so it’s important to be able to get-up-and-go when things start to get stale. In this case, having a multi-touch display, Intel Core i7 processing and solid state storage just makes the whole experience that much more fluid and productive.

Starry Light Pendant Lamps by Anagraphic

Starrylights Lamp Great ideas for an Inspiring Home Office

It’s rare that a lamp can provide inspiration, but this is a very special kind of lamp. The Starry Light Pendant Lamp by Anagraphic features a perforated shade that projects a map of constellations on your ceiling and upper walls. Flip a switch, and the night sky is projected throughout your home office in a way that creates a mystical environment. It’s a great tool for brainstorming, relaxation and personal peace, as well as a design item that improves the look of your home office.

Herman Miller SAYL Chair

Herman Miller chair 600px Great ideas for an Inspiring Home Office

You’ve likely heard of the famous “sitting on air” Aeron Chair by Herman Miller. The SAYL Chair takes the comfort technology of the Aeron Chair but gives it a progressive new look. This chair is the product of design superstar Yves Behar, who turned a utilitarian office object into museum-worthy piece of furniture. It’s comfortable, contemporary and cool, a great mix for making your home office more inspiring.

WindowFarms Indoor Garden

Window Farm Great ideas for an Inspiring Home Office

Every inspiring room needs some greenery, but this idea goes the extra mile. The WindowFarms indoor garden is designed to grow herbs and small vegetables from available light in your window space. It uses hydroponic technology to grow plants quickly and abundantly without soil, needing only a bit of water, nutrients and a power source. It is a joy to watch these plants grow just a few feet away from your desk, a fun and inspiring distraction when you need it.

OfficePOD Prefab Office Space

OfficePOD Great ideas for an Inspiring Home Office

Not every home has the space for a home office, but that shouldn’t necessarily stop you. If you have space in your back yard or patio, you could try the OfficePOD prefab office. It’s a stylish, site-assembled unit that has plenty of space for a home office. Simply set it up, wire it to your power and Internet and you’re ready to go. It can be a pretty costly option, but few home offices look as attractive as this one, and at the end of the day, you can leave your work behind when you lock it up for the night.

How To Use Your Ultrabook to Stay Creative

Whether you’re a full-time artist, photographer, designer or a person who just likes to stay creative, now more than ever you have magnificent, modern day tools like the sleek Sony Vaio Duo Ultrabook to help you in everyday life. Not only is the Duo 13 beautifully designed, but the versatile device packs a one-two punch as it seamlessly changes from a touchscreen tablet to a full HD laptop. The Duo 13 comes with a digitizer stylus that lets you write or draw to your heart’s content, and the pen is so responsive that it allows you to adjust line weight and brush size just by pressing harder or softer. Touch sensors turn off the pen when it’s near the screen so you can write comfortably, resting your hand on the device. Today, we’ll show you six great ways you can use this Ultrabook, and all its great features, to take on a variety of creative projects.

1. Brainstorm Ideas using OneNote and the Digitizer Stylus

Every important invention started with an idea and that’s why it’s so important to write everything down. With a large 13.3-inch screen and a digitizer pen it’s now easier than ever to brainstorm or jot down your next big idea. College students, entrepreneurs, business owners, and graphic designers can all benefit from using the stylus with OneNote, Microsoft’s program that acts like a digital notebook by letting you capture, store and share information. If you’re working on a project with multiple people, you can easily collaborate or, if you’d like to share your important notes from a meeting, OneNote makes that a snap, as well.

2. Create Art Using ArtRage Studio Pro

Pre-loaded on the Sony Vaio Duo 13 are many exciting apps including ArtRage Studio Pro. New to digital painting? For beginners, ArtRage has a Tracing Image system where you can import a photo as a guide for your painting. Traditional artists will find ArtRage’s software intuitive and easy to use as it lets you lay down blobs of color and blend them with a palette knife, much like you would if you were actually painting. The program even lets you pin a reference image onto your canvas while you work. Finally, digital artists will enjoy this program immensely as they’re able to add natural paint to their images, like oils and watercolors, while still working with familiar digital tools like layers and blend modes. All in all, it’s powerful digital painting software that lets you create natural looking art on your computer.

3. Make a Movie Using VAIO Movie Creator

What better way to assemble all the photos and short videos you’ve taken of your friends and your family than by making a quick movie with them? VAIO Movie Creator comes with 45 design themes and music so you can enhance your short films. It also lets you easily add transitions and effects so your home movies look like professional productions. When you’ve finished your project and you’re ready to share it, you can upload your creation to Facebook, YouTube or a number of other social networking sites in a snap.

4. Clip Images for Your Inspiration Board with Active Clip

sony How To Use Your Ultrabook to Stay Creative

Putting together an inspiration board for your next design project? Active Clip lets you cut out any image that you see on the web. Using the digitizer pen, you just have to trace or draw a freehand outline around the image and the intelligent edge detection will let you crop it. You can save your image to any of your desired programs like clipboard or Note Anytime where you can then write notes on it, save it or send it to a colleague or friend.

5. Shoot Travel Photos and Share Them Quickly

travel2 How To Use Your Ultrabook to Stay Creative

As a photographer, when you need to pick up and go there’s nothing like a light, compact device to handle both your creative and professional needs. Both professional and amateur photographers will love how portable and light this Ultrabook is. The Duo 13 weighs a mere 2.2 pounds but it has everything you need to take pictures and then share them with your fans. The display is incredibly clear, providing true shades of colors that are brilliantly natural.

6. Snap a Picture of a Document, Then Write Over It

One of the final features we wanted to highlight is called CamScanner. The VAIO Duo 13 is your own portable scanner. Using the 8M pixel rear camera, you can take a picture of any document, photo or whiteboard note and then convert it to a digital format for writing on or sharing. Keystone correction automatically straightens the document or picture for you. This comes in particularly handy if you’re working on a team project and need to quickly save it for working on later.

Good Partner Power in Your Life

I was growing by leaps and bounds.  My weekends were spent in various staff development seminars or sitting at the kitchen table planning lessons.  I received The Teacher of the Year award. Every year, I received glowing reviews. One year, I received a promotion.  Ah, the good life.

Meanwhile, my partner CJ navigated carefully around the prickly, often frigid, and always exhausted person he did not marry.  The old me had left the building, and it seemed I had taken fun with me.  While we still loved each other, our relationship revolved around work and talk of work.

power of good partner Good Partner Power in Your Life

By Tammy Renzi

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. – Dr. Seuss

My pant size increased while my enjoyment of life steadily decreased.  I justified staying late and working weekends with shoulds and oughts.

I continued to hop on that hamster wheel year after year.  What else could I do?  This is life.  Deal with it.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Model

Six years ago, I was curled up on the couch most of the hours I was away from school.  A medical mishap, a toxic reaction to an antibiotic, wreaked havoc on my nervous and skeletal systems.  For a year and a half, I did little but work, attend doctors’ appointments, and fight with the insurance company about approving MRIs.

Yet, here on the same couch sat a man who took back his life.  Two years prior, CJ declared he had enough and left an elementary music teaching position to start his own guitar studio.  He cut his work hours in half, and I was so excited for him.  Although the money was trickling in, I loved having clean laundry, prepped meals, and shiny floors.

Only now, as a 35 year old who ambulated as if I were 80, did I admit what I had been denying for several years.  Something had to give.  In addition to my poor health, I was bigger than I ought to be, our sex life was non-existent, and my anxiety was through the roof.

Complacency was no longer an option.  I had to make a change.  And I was scared to death.

Collaboration and Conversation

I loved being with CJ more than anything in the world.  Our conversations satisfied everything from my desire to my intellect.  The obvious solution was to move toward more time with him and less time with work.  But how?

We took our conversations from bitching to action.  During any free moment, we talked about how we would make a life together and still afford to keep the lights on.  There were wild schemes, lame schemes, and everything in between.

A coffee van for teachers!  We could under-price Starbucks and drive their morning cup right to them!

You’re a guitarist!  Compromise your principles and write the One Hit Wonder.  We’ll live on an island like…

Eventually, we found the answer in a closet.

One afternoon, I was talking with CJ about how a colleague wanted me to tutor her son.  School policy forbids teachers from making extra money on their property, so I needed another place.

What about the guitar studio? 

Guitar and reading.  Um, probably not going to work, honeykins.

Not in the same room. What about that closet off the waiting room?   It’s kind of small, but so are your kids.  You only need a little table.

And so it came to be.  Now in its sixth consecutive year, we enjoy the fruits of an idea born out of conversation.  No incompetent coworkers.  No staff meetings.  Decreased pant sizes.  Good health.

Doing Whatever Works

The facts are a bitch and so hard to deny.  In fact, to this very day, I occasionally slip into rationalizing my past behavior.  I had to stay late.  I wanted to advance in my career.

But I got sick.  Only then did I change.  While the catalyst for CJ was anger, mine was pain. Different strokes.

What I realized in this transformation from merely existing to living is what everyone keeps saying ad nauseam.  Change takes time.   What some fail to mention is that it is fun.  It is damn fun to change and craft yourself into a better you.

List of some great e-reads for creatives

e reads for creatives List of some great e reads for creativesCreativity comes in many forms and offers a myriad of solutions to the practical, mundane problems we’re faced with daily. However, we’re not always equipped with a constant flow of new and exciting ideas. Often times, we don’t even feel like we have the time to engage in artistic activities. Many people are too busy commuting to their jobs or simply don’t know how to tap into their own potential. Luckily, there are a number of literary resources to guide, engage, and ignite our creativity. It’s especially useful, in this digital age, to have a selection of reading materials conveniently in our e-readers. So, while you’re traveling or simply taking a break from your busy schedule, we’ve got a list of some great e-books worth reading to unearth the secrets behind creativity and jolt some innovation out of you.

1. Steal Like an Artist
 List of some great e reads for creatives

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative is an immersive New York Times bestseller by artist and author Austin Kleon that exposes the truth about creativity: it’s everywhere and just about anyone is capable of attaining it. As the title suggests, Kleon recommends “stealing” ideas and not simply recreating them. Nothing is original. Everything has been done before. Now, it’s time to creatively reintroduce art to the rest of the world. Without giving its readers step-by-step actions to strictly follow, it lays out a list of ten simple rules to trigger, guide, and focus a person’s artistic nature. Steal Like an Artist offers a positive outlook on successfully awakening one’s artistic side with the aid of first-hand examples.

2. Ignore Everybody

ignore everybody List of some great e reads for creatives

Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by copywriter-turned-cartoonist Hugh MacLeod offers a humorous outlook on honing in one’s own creativity in this mad world we live in. MacLeod tackles a creative’s worst mind-blocking obstacles like the pressures of coming up with new ideas, finding inspiration, and the stress associated with trying to stand out in a crowd. He uses his own experiences as a former struggling copywriter who began doodling on the back of business cards as a guide for readers looking to apply his forty keys to creativity. Using his practical advice, sprinkled with his clever wit, MacLeod provides a useful set of tips to allow one’s personal creativity to bloom.

3. inGenius

 List of some great e reads for creatives

Like Imagine, inGenius: A Crash Course in Creativity strives to prove that everyone has innate creative potential. Author Dr. Tina Seelig, who is the executive director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) at Stanford University’s School of Engineering, suggests that creativity is fundamental in leading a successful and fulfilling life. Luckily, she also believes that everyone is capable of innovative thinking and anyone can unleash their inner creativity. Seelig delves into how this spark of artistic thinking develops from within and how to access it in our lives. In the book, she discusses the inner thought processes and outer world influences that affect one’s creative abilities, both as positive and negative stimulants.

4. 344 Questions
 List of some great e reads for creatives

344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment by writer and graphic designer Stefan G. Bucher takes a different approach to helping you unlock your creative potential. Rather than simply giving you a set of rules or a list of steps to follow, Bucher proposes a series of questions to consider. The whole idea behind 344 Questions is that creativity is achieved not by knowing the right answers, but by knowing the right questions to ask yourself. Similar to the flow chart quizzes you may be familiar with in magazines, this book offers a series of questions to help readers figure out where they are in their lives and where they would like to go. Ultimately, these questions could be just the thing to break through your creative block and spark some artistic innovation. MacLeod discusses how he incorporated creativity into his daily life and allowed his artistic side to free himself.

5. Freedom is Blogging in Your Underwear

 List of some great e reads for creatives

Freedom is Blogging in Your Underwear is another wittily insightful book by Hugh MacLeod that has the ability to transform a person’s creative outlook on life. Working a desk job can be stifling, but the former advertising copywriter says, “Having a blog, a voice, having my own media, utterly changed my life.” Not everyone is a writer, but most everyone can be a blogger. Blogging can, if nothing else, open one’s mind to new ideas. In this book, MacLeod addresses the numerous merits of blogging that have personally given him the freedom to share his art, build a community, and become self-sufficient without having to appease a higher authority on a daily basis.

5 Smart Apps for Planning the Perfect Date

Whether it’s a first date with a gal you’re just getting to know or the 800th with your sweetheart of twenty years, planning and smoothly executing a date can be daunting. It’s hard to come up with ideas that both you and your partner will enjoy. But with today’s technology, creating memorable dates has never been easier.

smart apps for plan date 5 Smart Apps for Planning the Perfect Date

Below we highlight 5 smart apps that will help you plan and carry out dates that are bound to make your main squeeze swoon.

flowersmeaning 5 Smart Apps for Planning the Perfect Date
Flowers Meaning

While bringing flowers on a first date might be seen as over the top, once you’ve been going out for awhile, few women can resist the charm of a beautiful bouquet. But let’s face it…giving a woman flowers isn’t too original. So infuse the gesture with a little more uniqueness, fun, and romance by taking a cue for our Victorian brethren. Back in the day, flowers had certain meanings and the flowers a gentleman selected for a lady were designed to communicate his thoughts and emotions. These flower meanings are still around, and you can find them with the Flowers Meaning app, and then put a unique bouquet together to express your feelings for your sweetheart. Giving her a bouquet like that, instead of grabbing one from the refrigerator case at Wal-Mart, will surely get your date off to the right start.

Free

 5 Smart Apps for Planning the Perfect Date
UrbanDaddyNextMove

The gents at UrbanDaddy have one mission: helping people living in the biggest metro areas of the U.S. find the best bars, restaurants, and events. Their Next Move app makes finding a place to take a lovely lady on a date as easy as a few taps on your phone. Just tell the app what city you’re in, the neighborhood you’re near, and whether you want food or drinks. UrbanDaddy then goes to work spitting out the perfect location for you to visit. Date planning has never been easier.

Free

what is spotify aom 5 Smart Apps for Planning the Perfect Date
Spotify

A well-planned music playlist can create the perfect mood for your date. Plan your date night music list with the Spotify app. With access to hundreds of thousands of songs, you can construct a romantic date night playlist that will make the evening even more memorable. Stick with some classic jazz or crooners like Frank Sinatra or Bobby Darin. The music is pleasant, warm, and doesn’t distract from conversation.

$9.99 a month for unlimited song downloads

dropp 5 Smart Apps for Planning the Perfect Date
Dropp App

Dropp app allows you to send messages or photos to other Dropp users as soon as they arrive at a specified location. The app uses the iPhone’s GPS capabilities to deliver the location-based messages. You could use the Dropp app to create a romantic and fun scavenger hunt date. The clues will appear on your date’s phone as she arrives at the locations you specified in Dropp. Have the clues lead your date to a park so you can watch an outdoor movie using Brookstone’s iPhone Pocket Projector and a sheet hung between two trees. Your date will think you’re the bees knees.

Free

movies app aom 5 Smart Apps for Planning the Perfect Date
Movies App

While the movie date often gets criticized for being too conventional, sometimes a relaxing evening taking in a film is just the thing you’re both in the mood for.

Make your movie date even easier to plan with the Movies app from Flixter and Rotten Tomatoes. The app gives you the showtimes of movies at theatres nearest you. Browse the ratings from Rotten Tomatoes to make sure you don’t waste your money on a dud. When you’ve decided which movie you want to see, you can buy your tickets in the app and they’ll be ready for you to pick up when you arrive at the theater.

Top recommended modern tech tools to take on your next vacation

Whether you’re planning a once-in-lifetime trip with friends or a yearly excursion with family, now more than ever it’s easy to stay connected with those back home while on a vacation. Both fun and useful tech tools have been created that will help you do everything from show your latest photo to your friends to checking in with your boss. Being on a vacation requires that you enjoy both those quiet and crazy times, we’ve put together this list of 8 modern tech tools we think you should take on your next vacation.

1. iPhone 5

If there’s one smartphone that can do it all, it’s the iPhone 5. Why lug around an expensive camera when you have an 8MP one right at your fingertips? The sleek, lightweight smartphone boasts a Retina display so you can check out your images on the super-high resolution display before you share them with your friends via apps like Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget that with the iPhone 5 you can also take panoramic pics at 240 degrees or take an HD video of those moments you want captured forever. The iPhone 5 also now has Passport, which lets you store your electronic boarding passes all in one place.

Price: From $199

2. CB2 Universal Travel Adapter

universaltraveladapter Top recommended modern tech tools to take on your next vacation
When traveling overseas, don’t forget your travel adapter! The Universal Travel Adapter by CB2, comes in eye-popping colors like orange, green, blue or pink and is compact and portable enough to take with you anywhere. It works all around the world, or in more than 150 countries including Australia, Europe, India and China.

Price: $22.95

3. New Trent: iTorch Charger, External Battery Pack

newtrent Top recommended modern tech tools to take on your next vacation
If you own a smartphone like the Apple iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S3, chances are you’ve run out of battery somewhere in your day. This can be especially frustrating if your phone’s battery keeps dying on you while you’re on vacation. Now, with New Trent’s iTorch IMP52D Charger, you won’t have to worry about that problem. This sleek, pocket-friendly external battery with built-in laser and LED flashlight is compatible with most Apple and Android smartphones and can increase its battery life by up to three times. For those who do everything on their phones, this is a must-have gadget.

Price: $37.95

4. Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

bose Top recommended modern tech tools to take on your next vacation
Why settle for anything but the best when it comes to noise cancelling headphones? TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice 2012 winner for best headphones goes to the Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. The best Bose headphones that can reduce noise across a wide range of frequencies, these headphones will not only give you that peace and calm moment when you need it, it’ll also let you enjoy music or movies in crystal clear sound. These headphones also come with a cable customized for Apple products so you can make calls or listen to your iTunes music all with ease.

Price: $299.95

5. Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook

acer a32 f5 battery Top recommended modern tech tools to take on your next vacation
Made of finely textured aluminum, glossy white Gorilla Glass 2 and powder-coated magnesium alloy, the Acer Aspire S7 is one beautiful looking machine. The incredibly thin and light Ultrabook™ isn’t just pretty to look at, it can handle even the highest demands by those who need to work within Windows 8. What’s truly impressive is that this Ultrabook packs a punch given its design; it’s razor-slim at 0.47″ and light as a feather at 2.86 lbs. The S7′s display opens flat and is a 10-point touchscreen so that when you’re ready to relax, you can do that in a snap.

Price: $1199

6. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

paperwhite Top recommended modern tech tools to take on your next vacation
Though there’s a lot of touch-based e-book readers out there, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite consistently stands out among them. Why? First, it has a patented built-in light that evenly illuminates the screen, meaning you can read your e-book under virtually any lighting conditions. Next, Paperwhite has an astounding battery life of up to 8 weeks from a single charge. Finally, Amazon’s e-book has access to about 1.5 million books and can hold up to 1,100 titles. That means that on your next trip, when you need some downtime, you can just sit back and read your favorite book anywhere, anytime on your PaperWhite.

Price: $119

7. Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II

bise Top recommended modern tech tools to take on your next vacation
The ultimate traveler speaker, the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II, lets you play the music on your phone, laptop or tablet in a quick and easy way. Just pair the speakers with your Bluetooth device and you’ll be able to hear your favorite songs wherever you are. Weighing less than 3 lbs, the compact speaker is easy to carry around in a backpack or in the palm of your hands. Best part? Sound quality is incredible and will far exceed your expectations.

Price: $299.95

8. Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad

logitech Top recommended modern tech tools to take on your next vacation
If you must take your iPad with you wherever you go, make sure to also take its better half, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. Not only does this device protect your iPad’s screen, it also doubles as a wireless keyboard. Designed to fit perfectly with your iPad, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover securely attaches to it by magnetic clips. Also, just like Apple’s Smart Cover, it automatically wakes ups and sleeps when you open or close the cover, which will help preserve its HP 484170-001 Battery Life.

Price: $99.99

Fun gadgets for your summer journey

It is officially summer here in Southern California and I am ready to get outside!  From camping and hiking, to beach picnics and barbecues, I can’t get enough vitamin D in my system.  And along with the outdoor activities, summer brings with it some fun gadgets.

must have summer gadgets battaussie Fun gadgets for your summer journey

Whether it is water-resistant, solar powered or just a useful item to keep you cool during the summer heat, there really is some fun technology to enjoy during the summer months.  I’ve rounded up a couple of my favorite below, and even throw in a few apps that may be of use to you this summer.

summertech1 thumb 580x650 7111 Fun gadgets for your summer journeyIf you are hitting the road or just staying active outdoors this summer, check out some of these great items.
1. bike ipad case, $180
2. camera, $89
3. solar charger, $79.99
4. waterproof ipod case and speakers, $41
5. jambox, $199.99

If your planning some great barbecues and parties, these summer gadgets are a must.
1. Terra Cotta Oven, $1,900
2. wine chiller, $49.95
3. lantern, $40
4. fan, $329
5. candle, $89.95
These apps will have you hiking, hitting the beach and staying protected all summer long.

beachfinder thumb 580x418 7115 Fun gadgets for your summer journey

Beach Finder App, $.99

With more than 5,300 hundred beach locations in North America to choose from, this app will get you to the beach this summer no matter where you are!  It even helps you choose the best ones with the user-generated rating system.

ohranger thumb 580x418 7117 Fun gadgets for your summer journey

Oh Ranger! Park Finder App, Free

Not only does it help you find a park anywhere in the US, it also helps you find recreational areas based on the activity you want to do.  Looking to do some bird watching or go caving, Oh Ranger! can help you do it!

3 Steps to Creating Your Dream Life

Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe. — Mark Victor Hansen

When I was born, something strange happened. I didn’t cry. The doctors thought I was dead.

Alarmed, they picked and prodded at me to see what was going on. After a few moments of their panicking, I started to cry. I was not dead. I was born asleep.

steps to creating dream life 3 Steps to Creating Your Dream Life

In some ways, I stayed asleep for the first twenty-four years of my life.

I think I was a good kid. I grew up without too much fanfare. I got good grades, had nice friends, did my homework on time, and excelled in college all on my own. I enjoyed a happy life within a happy family. I followed the path given to me without a hitch.

Do you know what happens when you’re good at following a path? You continue to follow it, no matter where it leads you.

After college, though, I ended up in jobs that felt stifling, and I began to experiment with reading books written by entrepreneurs. After reading a few success stories of people who created their own dream life, I began to wonder…

Could I do this for myself, too?

The jury is still out on that one. I work every day to try to make it happen, but I wonder how it got started. I wonder what exactly was the one thing that led me to actually start creating that dream life I had cooked up in my mind for so long.

One thing comes to mind: thinking about my ideal.

We’re not trained to think in terms of ideals. To describe my ideal life implies that there is another option out there, and that I deserve to live it.

The first time I pondered my ideal life, I was blown away. It’s a simple concept but not easy to decipher by any means. To describe my ideal life goes against the decades of societal training I’ve undergone.

To make it easier to answer, I’ve broken down my ideal life into three categories: my ideal day, my ideal work, and my ideal experiences. Defining each makes it easier to come up with the whole: my ideal life. Once I knew what fit into these three categories, I had a more concrete direction to head toward.

If you are looking to create your dream life, these three categories may help you get there:

1. Your Ideal Day

What is your ideal day?

As children, we were allowed huge amounts of playtime — to tire us out, to allow us to learn, to give parents some time to breathe. As we grow up, though, the time allotted for playing dwindles quickly. By our teenage years, we are asked to do so many routine activities, most of which feels unnatural to us at the time. Finishing high school, going off to college, choosing a place to work, finding a BattAussie partner, picking a retirement plan — and the list goes on.

Digging inside myself, I realized that I could construct my ideal day down to the minute if I really let my mind and heart roam free. This is what I wrote down:

6AM: Wake up to write

11AM: Exercise by either running or doing bodyweights

1PM: Lunch with family or friends, catching up and sharing experiences

4PM: Spend time with my husband working, conversing, having dinner, and sleeping.

None of that is too rigid, as most things in life feel better when they are flexible and free, but that is a day that leaves me feeling refreshed, fulfilled and loved.

Once I knew what my ideal day looked like, I set about achieving it. It led me to quitting my job and making various other drastic career moves.

2. Your Ideal Work

What is your ideal work like? Who is your ideal client?

I can’t tell you how much these two questions changed my life and my career. When I read this question for the first time, I thought to myself, “Wait a second. I get to choose who I work with?!”

Why did nobody ever teach us to stop and think about who we take money from? Why did nobody ever teach us to be as picky with our clients as we are with our significant others?

Most of us would never do business with a drug cartel or a thief, but the filter of who we do work with stops right around that legal barrier.

We usually don’t take it much further than that, do we? It may be time to start.

As I answered those questions, I thought back to which clients I had enjoyed the most and why. At the time, I was only a few years into business and a bit green. I answered these questions for myself early on in my career, and, as I’ve grown my business and worked with more people, I’ve been more careful about who I allow in my path and in my business.

Just to give you an idea of what an ideal client might be like, I’ll share with you what I answered a few years ago:

“People who teach me things, share great articles/books, like to bounce ideas off each other, share experiences and try to help me better myself through their experiences. They are also open to my suggestions for new ideas in bettering themselves. Happy.”

It’s a small sort of revolution when you realize you don’t have to take all the paid work that comes your way. The change is extraordinary.

3. Your Relationship With The World

What are your ideal experiences? When was the last time you experienced something amazing?

You know that moment when you accomplish something amazing, and you throw your arms up in blissful triumph? I love that uphill battle to the top. That is one of my ideal experiences.

You know that moment when you step out of somewhere — your home, a bus, a plane — and you look out onto a beautiful, breathtaking paradise? I love that moment when awe smacks me in the face. That is one my ideal experiences.

You know that moment on Christmas morning when the entire family comes together to share laughs and wonderful food? I love that moment when love is so thick in the air it’s almost palpable. That is another of my ideal experiences.

The trick behind identifying what your ideal experiences is figuring out how to repeat them over and over again. Once you know what you enjoy most, you can work toward building them up again and again.

Some experiences are meant to be rare and difficult to attain, but others can be replicated almost daily. I can’t tell you how much better my day is when I begin it with the warmth of family.

In the words of Michel de Montaigne:

“No wind works for the man that has no intended post to sail towards.”

By Marcella Chamorro

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