App Review: Good Reads

I first learned of this app from my brother. He knows I’m an avid reader, at least when I’m not in school, and thought I would enjoy it. Boy was he right!

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Good Reads has several different functions, all of which any fellow bibliophiles will love.

My Books: On this tab, you can track all books you have read, want to read and are currently reading. It’s a great way to keep track of everything.

Recommendations: I love this feature. I tend to read every book an author has written, but eventually I need a change or run out of books. This is a great way to find similar books that you’ll enjoy. And the more you use it, the better recommendations you get.

Reviews: Sometimes I’m unsure if I’ll like a book or author. Having the reviews by other readers is a great way to tell if a book will appeal to you.

Scan: I haven’t used this feature yet, since I’m on an ebook kick, but I imagine you could use it to see if you’ve read the book before or to see the reviews.

There are lots of other great features, including challenges, searching (by title, author or ISBN), and the ability to interact with friends and fellow readers.

I find the app very easy to use and would recommend it to anyone who loves to read. Check it out!

Michael’s App Review

I have been in a super crafty mood lately! As such, Michael’s has become one of my favorite stores, partly because of their awesome app.

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PROS
Coupons – Honestly the coupons alone are enough to make the app worth it for me. There is always some kind of coupon, usually 30-40% off a regular prices item. And the cashier can just scan it right from your phone – no need to print!
Weekly Ad shows you what’s on sale throughout the store, in every department.
QR Scanner – I haven’t tried this out myself but it’s a pretty cool feature. You can scan an item and get the price, without having to wait in line or ask an employee
Size – the app only takes up about 27MB, which is great for me considering I only have the 16GB iPhone!

CONS
Products i.e. Shopping is difficult to do on the app. I find it easier to just go to the website.
Speed – the app can be a little slow sometimes, especially the (very pretty) opening. If you don’t have good cell service, you might not be able to open the coupons very quickly – something to keep in mind!

Overall, I’m a fan. It’s a simple app but it gets the job done for me – namely pointing me in the right direction of great savings!

Venmo – Pay Friends Back Easily

Last weekend, I went away with 6 of my friends to Napa. We had an amazing time (more on that later!). But one of the most difficult parts of the trip was coordinating who paid for what and making sure that everyone was paid back fully.

Luckily, a friend suggested we all download the app Venmo to pay each other back, rather than us all carrying lots of cash across the country.

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This app reminds me in some ways of Paypal, at least in concept. You can easily transfer money to and from friends, even if you have different banks, etc.

The most difficult part (which really isn’t hard) is setting up your account. I would recommend linking to a bank account, since you need one in order to cash out when someone pays you. It’s also easier if you link it to your Facebook, so your friends can find you easily but that’s totally your call! You can request to be friends with people in other ways, such as finding them through their phone number.

Once you’re all set up, you can start sending money back to your friends – or even requesting they send you a certain amount. If you have a balance in your account, you can “cash out” and have the money deposited directly into your bank account. The transfers only take a few days, at most.

This is a great tool for twenty-something’s. Whether you’re splitting a meal, cab or even apartment utilities, it’s a quick and simple solution to make sure you don’t forget to pay someone back!

App Review: Jo-Ann Fabrics

I have been on a crafting spree lately and as such, Jo-Ann Fabrics has become one of my favorite stores. Unfortunately for my wallet, there is a store right on my way home so I’ve found myself making almost weekly visits!

It was on one of those trips that I first heard about the app for Jo-Ann Fabrics. I was surprised to hear they actually have one, since a lot of my favorite stores still don’t, so I was really interested to check it out.

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Perks
•The simple app layout makes it easy to navigate, unlike some other stores apps I’ve seen

•Coupons! You don’t have to create an account or log in to have access to these coupons.

•Plus, the app shows upcoming coupons. This way if you know you need something soon but not right away, you can plan your trip around the best upcoming coupon.

•Easy-to-view sales flyers let you see what’s on sale at the moment, which is great if you’ve had your eye on a certain item but don’t want to pay full price

Disappointments
•You can’t shop directly on the app. However, if you select the “Shop” app, it does open their site in your browser.

•Most of the coupons on the app don’t work on sale items. It is written in the fine print of the coupon itself but still something to be aware of when you’re shopping!

•The downside to the simplicity of the app is that there aren’t all that many features. There isn’t much to see beyond what I already listed above.

Overall, I think this app is a good start for Jo-Ann Fabrics. It gives shoppers the essential features upfront and allows room for growth and development over time. I look forward to seeing the app progress and will be taking advantage of what it does offer in the meantime!

App Review: Spotify

Working at a desk all day can get pretty tedious. To break up the monotony of my day, I usually listen to music either on my iPod or through different apps on my phone.

A few months ago, a friend suggested I try the free Spotify app. I had heard of Spotify before but never really got into it, especially since the mobile app used to only work for paid customers. But now it’s free and with some exploring, it has become one of my favorite music apps!

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Pros
-Playlists allow you to put all your favorite songs in one place, so you have a go to soundtrack for any occasion.
-You can “follow” friends and other users, meaning you can listen to playlists they make public and share your musical interests. You can even share what you’re listening to on Facebook.
-The “Browse” section allows you to choose music based on your mood or for a certain occasion.
-There are lots of playlists already created, both by Spotify and other users, so even if you don’t feel like making your own, there’s plenty to listen to.
-The radio option (similar to Pandora) lets you listen to songs of the same style as your favorite artists or songs

Cons
-Because you’re streaming music, the app can definitely drain your battery and use up a good amount of data if you don’t have an unlimited plan
-You only get 6 skips per hour, which gets annoying
-Unless I’m missing something, you can only “shuffle” playlists, not choose which song you want to play next

For the most part, I really enjoy the Spotify app. I personally find it easier to use than their website. What do you all think of the Spotify app?