Monday, January 30, 2012

There's an App for that!

I'm definitely guilty of downloading too many apps on my phone since I upgraded to an Android last summer. Of course they are cool and can be fun, but honestly, most of them are pretty useless. I have found a few though that have been really helpful and are worth downloading (and FREE!) so I thought I'd share some that are really useful to have here in Raleigh (or anywhere!)

1. Redbox. We use this one all the time! Download it for free, set up a password and ID with a credit card number (you may already have this setup on their online website). This app allows you to search your local area or set up your favorite pick up spot and check out what movies are actually in that box and reserve your copy, all through the app. Very helpful for checking out whats available before wasting time going to a box that has no selection. Or, if you are road tripping, you can check for a box close to where you are and reserve a movie or check selection. Definitely a time saver!

2. Starbucks. If you are a Starbucks junkie like myself, this is very handy. If you go in and register any gift cards or if you are a gold card holder, set up your password and ID, download the FREE app and you can scan with your phone to pay for your coffee! You don't even need your wallet when you pop in to get your coffee. When you scan from your gold card account, you are also earning free drinks (1 free for every 15). Time saver and I love running in without having to take a purse or looking for cash or card.

3. Michaels. Every time I run into Michael's for art, party or craft supplies, I am always without the Sunday 40% off coupon! Download this FREE app and you will always have your 40% coupon with you as long as you have your phone!! Set up your account and they will scan it anytime you are in the store. Not to mention there are great craft ideas and you can find out what local craft events are going on at your local store.

4. Weather Channel. Great instant weather/temperature check.

5. Flixster. FREE app. One stop shop to get all the movies playing at the theatre closest to you any date, time and you can even buy your tickets here too. Very handy when you don't have the newspaper or a computer to see what's playing near you.

6. Yelp. FREE app that lets you get all the details on almost any business within  a few miles of your location. Check out local restaurant, business reviews on the spot. Search and check out new businesses and read what people are saying before you eat, purchase, etc. You can share your own opinions as well.

7. Gigbox. FREE app that lets you see if your favorite artist is playing in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham or anywhere. Check out venues like Koka Booth  to find out who's in concert. Search by date, venue or artist to see who's got an upcoming show.  Never miss a show again!

8. iNorthHills. If you are a North Hills groupie, download this app to get all the shopping, dining locations, services, and all current events in this area.

9. TripAdvisor. Great reviews on hotels, restaurants. Check out what people are saying before you book that hotel room or trip. Write your own reviews on places you've stayed, visited, dined, etc.

10. FitnessConnection. This is my gym and I can use it to get the class schedule. That's about it. Check to see if your gym has an app that may be useful.

Let me know if you have an app that you would add to this list. Hopefully some of these apps will get you out and about Raleigh a little easier and a lot more efficiently!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Beer O'Clock

Well, its 5 o'clock somewhere (actually here) and its Friday and I'm thinking about a cold beer. No worries, Raleigh is now home to many new local shops where you can easily find a delicious locally crafted beer of your choice on draft or in a bottle. Whether you are looking for something brewed in the area or crafted somewhere else, there are lots of cool new options in Raleigh!! Suddenly, Raleigh has several new beer boutiques popping up all around the area and they are sure to satisfy any style/flavor of your liking. What I especially love about these bottle shops is that they are well organized and fun to shop and when you walk in you really enjoy the many decisions at your hands without feeling overwhelmed by too many choices.

Don't get me wrong, I love choices but personally a Total Wine or big box shop can be a little hard to make an easy decision. Another great thing is that these people are very well informed and can help you make a knowledgeable decision or turn you on to trying something new.

We checked out Tasty Beverage Co. last weekend in downtown Raleigh (across from the Pit and next to Jibarra). Its so great because its small, well organized and has an awesome selection (especially Belgian and German beers) and there's even a tasting bar in the back where you can sample some brews while you are there. Bottle Revolution on Lake Boone Trail has a similar set up (still need to get over there to check it out but looks very cool). Barley & Vine although specializing more in wine, is also a great place to do a little shopping and sampling and the owners are very well educated and friendly.  The Raleigh Wine Shop on Glenwood South also features beers and is a relatively new location to make purchases. And don't forget when you visit the new Tyler's Tap Room at Seaboard to pop into their bottle shop as well and do a little shopping. They just opened this month. There is also a really helpful and knowledgeable guy at Whole Foods on Six Forks (he's a Virginia Tech Hokie) and he can tell you everything about any beer in their extensive beer cooler). Its incredible all the small craft beers that are being produced in the US these days, and it's great to see the smaller businesses really reaching out there and making their mark, And I love supporting the smaller businesses as I mentioned it being one of my New Year's resolutions. I will be continuing to explore this cool trend (someone has to do it) as it grows in Raleigh but right now, I need to go pour myself a nice IPA....TGIF!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

As we usually do, I resolve to lose weight and get organized. Aren't those the two things that are typically at the top of everyone's lists for the New Year? Well, to help me get started on number two (since one is no fun), I have discovered some great new consignment shops in town that are going to help me unload some of my clothing items that are continually filling up my closet and not getting worn. I already took some items to Adore, which is located on Creedmoor Road near Strickland. They also have a shop in Cary if you are over in that area.  It was easy to make an appointment.  Your account is all online so you can easily track your sales. The cool thing to don't need a lot to consign. Quality versus quantity is often the ticket. A nice jacket, a great handbag or pair of expensive shoes worn only once can bring in some quick cash. The second shop I discovered this past weekend is in Cameron Village. Its called Fifi's. This is on my list to explore further. I love their facebook postings when they get new cool items in the store. What a great way to sell! Another local shop is Revolver on Glenwood Avenue near all the restaurants. This shop has been there for a while and always has very cool, unique items, (although they are much harder to get an appointment with so I am there more to shop then sell). Villa Consigna on Fairview Road at Five Points is another one I need to investigate further.

An additional New Year resolution is to find some great vintage/fun items to add to my wardrobe and these are the perfect places to scout them out! I need a break from the mall and the usual shopping destinations. I also have resolved to shop locally and support the smaller businesses in town, so these locations fulfill several New Year's resolutions all at once!

Don't forget when you are going through your items and cleaning out closets, these shops don't just take clothing. If you have some great jewelry, hats, hand bags and shoes, they will usually take those too. Adore takes men's clothing as well which is hard to find. Some shops even take home decor items but I'm still looking into that (more to come on that in the near future).

So, I'm going to resolve this month to take more items to a couple of these shops as well as make a big donation to the Goodwill. 

Now if I could just shop my way through that losing weight resolution....