The days are flying quickly past, and the holiday season will be over before you know it. If you haven’t completed – or even started – your holiday gift shopping yet, don’t worry; there’s still plenty of time to get everything accomplished.
First, be sure to find an idea for everyone on your list before you even think about shopping. With your ideas written down on a piece of paper, you’ll be efficient in checking each and every name off your list. If the ideas are causing you the most problems, try an Internet search. Keywords to use can include “gifts for mom” or “musical gifts for a teenage boy.” And if your list includes people with hobbies, be sure to try an Internet search using those keywords as well.
Since you’re already at the computer looking for ideas, you might as well continue using it to make your purchase. There’s a good chance you can find the same item for sale on several different vendor sites. A quick online search will help you find the item for the best price, and you might also discover you can get the present gift wrapped as well. When comparing prices, be sure to confirm that the vendor can ship your gift on time, what the cost is for shipping, and whether the company has a return policy.You also can go online to find excellent discounts and coupons for the items on your list. For example, Ebates.com provides discounts and coupons for vendors, and also rewards you with cash back on your purchases once you’ve finished your shopping. So not only are you able to find the item you wish to purchase with a free shipping offer or at a discounted price, but you’ll also receive a percentage of your purchase as cash back to be used however you want.
Before you finalize your purchase, make certain it will arrive before the holiday. Online retailers will provide you with last-minute shipping information so you will know when it’s too late. You’ll also know if you need to pay more for a faster shipping service. Websites like Ebates often have discounts on expedited shipping. The good news is, if you ship the present online while sitting at your computer at home or at the office, you can avoid the long holiday lines at the post office.
If you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet, your secret is safe. With these tips, you can check every name off your list with minimal effort and know that every gift will be delivered in time for Christmas day.
1. Buy Your Ticket For Cheap
When researching your flight, go through the booking process (make sure you don’t click purchase until you’re ready) until you reach the seat selection step. Take a look at the seating chart and see how many open seats are left. If most of the cabin is still available, there’s a good chance that demand is low, so prices may drop. If the cabin is nearly full, however, you’ll probably want to go ahead and purchase at the going rate.
2. Travel Hack Like A VIP
When it comes to traveling by plane there's nothing’s quite as nice as scoring your very own row of seats for you and your travel buddy. Up your chances of snagging this dream come true the next time you’re travelling with a companion by booking the aisle and window seat, rather than two seats next to each other. If someone does happen to book the middle seat, he or she will likely swap with one of you for the window or aisle. If no one takes the middle seat, you’ve just scored yourself your own row.
3. In Case Of Emergency - Protect Yourself
Who needs paper when you have a smartphone? Instead of carrying an extra set of paper copies of your passport, visa, license and other important travel documents, simply take photos, store them on your smartphone and email them to yourself. In case of emergency, simply log into your email or retrieve photos from your phone and validate your identity immediately.
4. Pack a Pillowcase For Almost Everything
One of my must have travel necessities is a handy satin pillowcase. It is the most useful travel accessory you'll use from the beginning to the end of your trip. You can stuff it with clothes or your jacket for a makeshift pillow; cover your hotel pillow with a pillow case you already know and love or use it as your laundry bag and stash all your dirty clothes inside during your trip.
5. Keep A Travel Kit Handy
How many times have you gone traveling and forgotten your toothbrush? Avoid this from now on by creating an extra set of those often-forgotten items. A toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste, razor and Q-tips are trusty stand-bys, as are an extra phone charger, bottle opener and headphones. Keep this stashed in your suitcase so you never have to worry about forgetting these items next time you go to pack for a trip.If you follow these travel hacks, you'll sure to be prepared and ready for your next weekend trip or family vacation this holiday season. What are your favorite holiday tips/tricks for holiday travel survival? Share your favorite tips in the comment section below. Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Amtrak via The Root. With outlets at every seat, conference tables for holding meetings and cafe cars to grab a bite to eat, Amtrak delivers the speed you expect and the convenience you deserve. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Amtrak.
Read text out loud—iPhone can read text out loud in apps like Mail, Safari, Messages, and iBooks. Just turn on Speak Selection in Settings > General > Accessibility. Then go to the app, highlight the text you want to hear, and tap Speak.
Multitasking — Double-tap the Home button to view a screenshot preview of all open mobile apps.
Change the way Siri pronounces a name — If Siri mispronounces a name, simply say “that’s not how you pronounce that.” Siri will ask you for the correct pronunciation, then say the name back to you three different ways so you can choose the one you like. Undo text — In case you just wrote a lengthy text or email you'd rather not send? Just shake your phone to prompt the "Undo" button instead of having to select the entire text and delete it. It'll alleviate text-remorse later.
Musical landscape — While browsing your music collection, switching to landscape view displays a mosaic of your album covers. Swipe to scroll, pinch to zoom in and out, and tap to play.
What are some of your favorite iPhone tips, tricks and shortcuts? Share them below! .
10. Undo sent messagesSometimes you click "send" too soon and have a mini panic attack. But did you know you can undo sent messages? Here's how you unlock the option: Click on the gear icon on the righthand side, and then select Settings. Go to Labs, scroll down to Undo Send and choose to "enable." Once you've saved that feature, test it out. (For Gmail newbies, the Labs section is where the creators test out new or interesting features, which could "change, break or disappear at any time." However, this feature has been around for at least four years.) After sending a message, a yellow bar will appear at the top of your Gmail and say "Your message has been sent," and will offer you the option to "undo" or "view message." If you choose "undo," your message turns back into a draft. But be swift — the option will only hang around for a few seconds.
9. Custom ThemesThis is a tip that's hidden in broad daylight. If you're bored with your current Google background, upload one of your own images instead. Go to the gear, click "Themes," then scroll to where it says "Custom Themes." From there you can click "Light" or "Dark," which refers to the color you want your emails and font to be. Then click "Select a background image," and you'll be able to drag or upload whatever image you want, and voilà — makeover complete. [Just in case you're interested in this year's April's Fools Day prank by Gmail --- get your personalized "Shelfie" here.]
8. Gmail Star PowerGmail power users are more than familiar with the star function, which lets you quickly mark important messages. However, Gmail also has a broader star system with a wider range of star colors and symbols. Head to your Settings, then hop down to "Stars." You can choose from a list of colorful stars and symbols such as exclamation points and check marks. If you're the type to color code everything, this will be a helpful tool.
7. Add / Subtract Inbox TabsIn May 2013, Gmail updated its inbox by adding new tabs at the top. They filter your emails into "Primary," "Social" and "Promotions." However, those options are totally customizable. If you hate the look of the tabs, click on the gear icon on the righthand side and select "Configure inbox." A box will pop up that allows you to deselect "Social" and "Promotions," leaving you with just your "Primary" inbox. However, you'll also notice that you can select those three boxes, as well as "Updates" and "Forums." Tabaholics of the world just got a little happier.
6. Inbox Count in your Browser TabHere's another tip for tab lovers. If you have dozens of tabs open in your browser and you want to find out how many emails you have without needing to click on the page, enable the "Unread message icon" lab. Click over to your settings, click on "Labs" and scroll down to "Unread message icon." Enable and save the option, and a little number will pop up on the tab containing your inbox. That way, you'll always know how many emails you have while you're busy with other tasks.
5. Those Dots Just Don't MatterThe email service has a bit of a blind spot when it comes to dots and plus signs in address usernames. It doesn't recognize the symbols, thus making them pretty pointless. However, you can use these blind spots to create ultra specific filters, according to this blog post from Gmail's official team. If you put a plus sign after your email address, it doesn't affect anything (for example, if your username is firstname.lastname@example.org, it would be the same as email@example.com). This can help if you're signing up for something, such as subscribing to a newsletter or a new social media account. You could sign up with the username firstname.lastname@example.org, or myaccount+socialmedia.com, thencreate a filter for those emails. The same goes for dots; using email@example.com is the same as firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Keyboard ShortcutsHave you ever wished you could press a few quick keys to do all of your Gmail actions? The email service has you covered. Here's a detailed list of keyboard shortcuts you can enable, from selecting and deleting contacts to opening your drafts.
3. Quicker Email LoadingIf you need to check your email right this minute, but it's taking a while to load, switch over to the service's basic mode. By adding "/?ui=html" to the end of your url (using mail.google.com), it loads the version without Java Script. However, that means many of your modern Gmail features won't function, but it will pull up your email in a shorter amount of time and allows you to employ basic actions.
2. Search For Attachments QuickerIf you're hunting for an email that had an attachment, add the code "has:attachment" to your query in the search bar. That way, your search will only pull up emails with attachments, so you don't have to wade through a sea of empty messages.
1. Quicker Email ResponsesIf you find yourself sending the same email over and over, you might want to set up some automatic responses. Once again, click the gear icon and select Settings. Go to the Labs section and scroll down for "Canned Responses." Once you enable the option and save, compose a new email. In the bottom right corner of the message box will be a small arrow (right next to the trash symbol). Click it and a list will pop up, with "Canned Responses" now showing up as an option. From there, you can create any automatic message, so it's right there waiting for you whenever you just want to click and go. [BONUS: Deep Clean Your Gmail Inbox in Three Easy Steps] via
Hacking Through SXSW Sessions
A sad fact of SXSW is that you can’t attend all the sessions. Do your research now and find three sessions a day that you must hit in order to get your return on investment. As a friendly reminder, you’ll need to walk between hotel convention centers, restaurants, and the main convention center, which takes time. So, plan your priorities and backup options because popular sessions will reach capacity. Here are a few can't miss sessions that are sure to be informative as well as entertaining... How Twitter Humorists Landed Sweet Real World Gigs (Friday) When: 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Who: Jenny Johnson, Josh Hara, Matt Silverman and Megan Amram Where: ACC 12AB Why: Learn how funny people leveraged social media in order to land their dream jobs and high praise from Rolling Stone, TIME and the Wall Street Journal. They’ll give you inside tips and ideas for how to use digital media to build a personal brand — while undoubtedly cracking you up in the process. All the speakers are terrific, making for a great end-of-day panel. Fearlessly Funny: The Women Changing Digital Humor (Saturday) When: 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Who: Issa Rae, Jane Pratt, Kristina Wong, Mandy Stadtmiller Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 18ABC Why: This panel, convened by xoJane.com’s editor-in-chief, promises to be sassy, funny and honest. Bring smart questions to the Q&A and expect to spend some time laughing.
Hacking Through The Connections
The Gadgets: Stay charged and connected. A mobile battery is a great way to stay on top of your game. You’ll be Tweeting, checking emails, consulting the SXSW app, texting or Snap-chatting people you just met over free food and drinks. If you’re not sure which one you should buy, I'd suggest two external battery options that'll keep you powered throughout SXSW. Mophie's Juice Pack Plus is a great source for power on the go. The 2100mAh battery case with added power and protection is equipped with up to 120% extra battery to make it through the busy SXSW week. The Samsung Universal USB Extended Battery Pack isn't just for your smartphone, but it's also portable power for your tablet (or any devise with a USB port) when you need, it where you need it The Networking: Looking for a few SXSW tips from a Pro? Here's one! TIP #4 – Be OUTGOING, but don’t be a DOUCHEBAG! You’ve seen those people that just have to be the center of attention, yeah – you don’t want to be them. Be unique, humble, memorable but most importantly – be yourself! [Discover more tips: SXSW Survival Of The Fittest Tips To Make Your Experience Unforgettable!]
Hacking Through The PartiesFood and drink. If you do it right, you shouldn’t have to pay for a single meal or beverage. Luckily, there are entrepreneurs who streamlined the unofficial and offsite SXSW parties. There are plenty of SXSW party source sites. Do512 is a pretty good source and you can check out the parties here. Also, you can find events on Gary’s Guide, RSVPters and even Eventbrite. The same rule with sessions holds true with parties—find a few that you need to attend and make them a priority. Are you a SXSW pro? If you're a returning SXSW attendee and want to help our readers get the most out of their experience, share your survival wisdom in the comments section below.
1. Stop Keeping Your iPhone Plugged in Overnight...Letting your iPhone charge while you sleep at night might be convenient, but it's not the best way to keep your iPhone damage free during this busy week. Leaving your iPhone plugged in after it's already fully charged can damage your battery over time and it could start dying more quickly. Try charging it throughout the days you can unplug it once it's fully charged.
2. Give Your iPhone a Time Out...You really should be turning your phone off periodically, or your battery will die faster than it should. Leaving it on and idle stresses the battery, experts say. If you, like me - use your phone as an alarm clock, consider picking up a cheap desktop alarm and shut your phone off at night (you'll save radiation exposure AND give your smartphone the break that it deserves.)
3. Stop Leaving the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Enabled All the Time...When your iPhone has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled and isn't using one or both, it's just wasting energy. As you wander around, navigating throughout the city for your next show, you're not likely going to need or want Wi-Fi or Bluetooth all the time. You're better off leaving both off and just turning them on when you need them.
4. Filming shows in portrait mode...Hey you! Did you know that you're actually supposed to film videos horizontally - not vertically? You've seen those videos filmed in vertically mode - not cute. Film your awesome fashion week moments the correct way, so that your friends and family can enjoy them without the "black frame of death".
5. Protect Your iPhone With A Passcode...According to Apple, half of iPhone users do not lock their phones. If you don't have a passcode on your iPhone and it's stolen, your identity and personal information is completely open and available for the thief to grab. And while you're at it - quit walking around with your iPhone in your hand. Around 40 percent of the robberies in major cities (including NYC) now involve mobile devices, so it's actually pretty dangerous to walk around carelessly with your iPhone out. If you keep these tips in mind while navigating through the fashion week chaos, your iPhone will thank you and last as long as you do! Did we miss anything? What are your favorite smartphone tips and tricks you use during New York Fashion Week? Share your ideas and tips below.
1. Pack plenty of snacks! “Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to eat!” bemoans celebrity fashion stylist, Robyn Goldberg. To combat those unwelcome ‘hanger’ pains, she suggests packing a protein bar in your purse. International celebrity stylist Ann Caruso adds in her two cents, advising others to pack “healthy snacks in [your] bag like walnuts and almonds.” Seems easy enough!
2. Hydrate. Let’s face it – running from show-to-show is exhausting! Don’t forget to give your body the fuel it needs to recover. Caruso recommends, “drink green juices as much as [you] can and lots of water!”
4. Invest in a portable charger. With all the tweeting, texting and Instagramming, there’s no telling how long your phone will weather the storm! Best be safe and pack yourself a back-up charger. You won’t want to miss out on that perfect Instagram-worthy runway moment! [Check out my favorite universal portable charger here.]
5. Uber is your friend. “If you can afford it, try to get a car service or hook up with friends who do, [especially] when you have back-to-back shows in difference places,” Caruso advises, “so you are not killing yourself trying to find taxis and then being late to shows!” [Sign up for Uber and get a special discount here.]
6. Bring flats! Your feet deserve it. Really! “Keep a pair of flats in your bag for running around in between shows. Those heels can get your feet after a full day of running back and forth!” says Goldberg. Now that you have these useful New York Fashion Week and busy, non-stop week tips - where are you off to first? Are you planning to enjoy New York Fashion week? Share any of your favorite survival guide tips or links below.
And to further keep you on track this season, founder and CEO, Bogumila Sobiczewska, shares essential tips for stress-free holiday shopping. Check them out below: 1. Check out holiday markets. Holiday markets in December are the perfect place to spot something beautiful and unexpected. Usually it's something handmade. I found tiered serving plates decorated with decoupage in New York's Grand Central Holiday Fair a couple of years ago. It made a cute gift for my friends! 2. Search pre-holiday sales. When shopping for myself – i.e. holiday and party outfits – I look for sales and promotions that start before Christmas. I have quite a bit of experience when it comes to sale shopping. 😉 To save time, I go to department stores because of their wide selection of products and brands. It's easier to match shoes with dresses under one roof! 3. Chat with salespeople. I try to be open and talk to sales associates – not only because the right person can make me choose the right things, but also to score better prices. A nice chat sometimes gives me an additional discount, or inside information about when I should come back. 4. Create a shopping route. Since I started ShopTrotter.com, I ALWAYS make my own shopping route. Now it's even easier because of the mobile app – I can look for the stores in my area anytime. Sometimes instead of running to a remote boutique in search of a particular piece, I open the information card on the ShopTrotter App, and make a call asking if they still carry it. It saves me a lot of time and frustration! 5. Do a closet check. When it comes to shopping for myself, I try to remember to check out my own closet. It's a good idea to review it once or twice a year, just to make sure if there’s anything missing, and – of course (!) – what is forgotten. Sometimes, it turns out that I just need something small to complete an outfit, rather than spending a fortune on a new one. And, of course: 6. Remember the essentials. Last, but not least: I wear comfy shoes, pack some water and snacks and make sure my cell is charged in case I need to take some pictures and send them to a friend for quick advice! About ShopTrotter: ShopTrotter (www.shoptrotter.com) is a navigational shopping website and app that makes shopping trips stress-free by finding users the stores they’re most interested in (based on product type, price and brand), and then providing them with a customized route to their destinations. ShopTrotter currently features route-planning capabilities for over 80 cities worldwide. Download the app on both Android and iPhone. These are just a few tips for stress free holiday shopping - but there are plenty of tips and tricks to make the most out of your holiday shopping this season (stress free). Do you have your favorite tips for stress free holiday shopping? If so, share your favorite tips below.
The Jawbone UP™ uses Motion X technology which when paired with the accompanying app for your iOS orAndroid device gives you a completely new outlook on maintaining an active & healthy lifestyle. Track your weight, map your bike rides, access extensive food libraries and more, and that data will be seamlessly integrated into your UP feed, lifeline and trends. You can also view detailed UP sleep, movement, food and mood data within selected apps to make those experiences even better.
Did you know that there are a host of apps and hacks that will enhance and take your daily Jawbone UP™ use to the next level?
TOP Jawbone UP™ TIPSIFTTT TIP 1: Use popular IFTTT recipes to automatically log lunch schedules, email your partner when you're not getting adequate sleep or share your gym checkins (or lack thereof) on Facebook. TIP 2: Also use IFTTT recipes to to receive nudges based on your UP activity, like texting you to go for a run if the weather is sunny, or tweeting at your workout partner when you reach 15,000 steps. Download IFTTT on your smartphone now. Map My Fitness TIP 3: Use Map My Fitness app to import workouts, track your workout route, distance and even elevation for those that take their fitness records seriously. Download Map My Fitness on your smartphone now. Withings Smart Body Analyzer TIP 4: Step on your Withings Smart Body Analyzer and automatically import your weight into UP to track it in the context of how you sleep, eat and move, and get support from your UP teammates as you work toward your goal. BUY your Withings Smart Body Analyzer on your smartphone now. Wello TIP 5: Complete a workout with a live personal trainer in your home or hotel room using Wello, and log the workout directly into UP. Sign Up for Wello on your smartphone now. Now that you've got the tips that'll take your Jawbone UP™ to the next level, how would you like to win a new one? Enter for your chance to win a brand new Jawbone UP™ (size M) from Best Buy below.