5 Great Fitness Apps for Women

You don’t need a gym membership to look great and feel fabulous. Over the past few months, I’ve been test driving fitness apps for the iPhone and narrowed it down to my favorites: the ones that were easy to stick with, most user-friendly, and most helpful in meeting my fitness goals.

Here they are, 5 Great Fitness Apps for Women

Yes, yes, it’s all about the fitness, not about how you look in your birthday suit. BUT, if you miss the days when you always left the light on, Look Better Naked might help you regain your confidence. Adapted from the book of the same name by Women’s Health editor-in-chief Michele Promaulayko, Look Better Naked features a customizable diet and workout plan, a calendar that syncs with iCal, and helpful reminders.

See below the jump for more great fitness apps. (more…)

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Best iPad Apps for Writers

These great ipad apps won’t write your book for you, but they just might make the process of drafting your magnum opus a bit less daunting. Every app on this page is one that I’ve used

Hey, if you can’t imagine parting with your moleskin, I totally understand. But if you’re ready to take the leap from “don’t I look spiffy in my beret at the cafe” to “I actually wrote 1500 words today and I know where they are,” you might want to consider Notebooks. I came to Notebooks reluctantly after misplacing more physical notebooks than I care to count. Sometimes I think of all the novels I started, all the chapters lost somewhere in the labyrinthine cabinets and closets of my home, and I get very melancholy. So recently, I bought a stylus for $1.49 off the Internet, purchased the Notebooks app, and now I have a dozen beautifully arranged notebooks, ranging from novel ideas to complete short stories, on my iPad that I will never lose. (Even if I lose the iPad, the notebooks are still in the ether.) For a cheaper and less glossy but nicely functional alternative, try Penultimate ($1.99 instead of $5.99.

Writing is all about associations. The magical ithoughts Mindmapping app helps you to gather your thoughts and see where they lead. A great tool for novelists or essayists who want to open up the creative process. Remember when your high school English teacher told you to brainstorm? Mindmapping is basically a fancy brainstorming app. If you’re a visual thinker, this app is a must.

Don’t be scared away by the alien-looking dude holding the giant pen in this app’s icon. My Writing Spot is an inexpensive, simple tool for writing your book on your iPad. There are fancier apps out there, but this one offers good bang for the buck.

Are you writing a novel? Drafting a screenplay? Pricey but utterly worth it, Autereist, billed as “a writer’s companion,” allows you to create all sorts of juicy content–novels, screenplays, story collections, blog entries, journals, and more–in an organized, intuitive way. Include web pages, audio and visual content, and research materials by project. If, like me, you’re a Scrivener junkie, you’ll love the “export to Scrivener” feature. And if you’re whiling away your writing time on social networking, you’ll love the integration with Facebook, Twitter, etc. I just wish the spelling weren’t so tricky.

We all love the giant, weighty, nuanced American Heritage Dictionary, but you can’t really take it to the coffee shop. Unless you have this app. Never use the wrong word again.

Have you set up your author website yet? This is an essential part of any writer’s online platform (see my author website).The best bet is to register your name as a domain (i.e. janedoe.com). If your name isn’t available try janedoewriter.com or some variation. I also register the individual titles of my novels. The simplest way to do all of this in one place is through GoDaddy–where you can quickly search and register your domain names and choose a hosting package for your website. . New hosting are currently on sale at GoDaddy.com.

It’s easier than ever to publish a paperback edition of your book. One relative newcomer to the scene that’s very user-friendly and cost-effective is Blurb. Publish your ebooks and paperbacks directly from MS Word with Blurb. You can also use the simple interface to create a beautiful, functional custom notebook.

Get your free website in minutes with Webs.com!

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7 Great Apps for Kids

I have a 7-year-old who, like most kids these days, is utterly enamored with technology. Fortunately, there are a number of learning apps that take the edge off the guilt most of us parents feel about screen time. Below you’ll find my favorite reading apps, math apps, creativity apps, and music apps for young kids. Click the icon for each app to see it on the iTunes store.

BEST APPS FOR KIDS:

: My 7-year-old can’t get enough of Rocket Math. Kids can choose additon, subtraction, multiplication, or division, but if they just want to shoot off the rockets (my son is an expert at trying to navigate around the education aspect of any game to get to the blasting part), they actually have to think about how much fuel the rocket can carry, how different boosters affect takeoff, etc.

I found the Bob Books to be an amazing introduction to reading for my reluctant Kindergartener. I bought the boxed sets, which are quite expensive, but then along came the Bob Books app–all of the books in Set 1 for $1.99 total, and the books in set two for $3.99 total. That’s just six dollars for both sets, a terrific bargain. Even though we already had the actual books, we purchased the app as well, just because our son thought it was so much fun. The pictures are bright and clear and the books build on each other in a way that takes the “scary” out of reading. Bob Books and Starfall (see below) helped our son go from fear of reading to love of reading in a single summer. I absolutely love the Bob series, and can’t recommend them highly enough. If you want to go the more traditional route with a great set of well-designed books, I highly recommend New Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read. Click here for Hooked on Phonics.

Research in education tells us that one of the most important ways children learn is through creativity, but class time in school is often spent on meaningless worksheets. Drawing Pad lets kids’ imaginations run wild with dozens of bright, beautiful colors and a simple, beautiful toolkit of markers, paintbrushes, pencils, and erasers. They’ll also love stamping their artwork with stickers. You can also brighten grandma’s day by simply hitting “send” after your little one has drawn a picture. It’s not surprising that this one has won a slew of awards.

One of Apple’s All-Time Top 20 Apps, Smule’s Ocarina turns your iPhone into an ancient flute. Blow air into your mic to create music • Touch combinations of holes to play notes• Tilt to change vibrato rate and depth. Like so many of the SMULE apps, this one is pure magic.

: Like the Bob Books, I can’t say enough good things about the Starfall app. A great reading program for preschool and kindergarten kids, based on the star fall book series. In conduction with the wonderful Bob Books, this app helped my struggling kindergartener learn to read in a fun, engaging way. One of the keys to early reading is developing confidence; this app helps kids do just that.

: Budding crooners will love recording their own songs, then playing their synthesized voices back. They can sing a cappella, or load songs from your itunes library to sing along with.

Chore Hero: Does your kid think chores are some strange think Opie did on the Andy Griffith Show, as old-fashioned as CDs and commercials? With Chore Hero, you can choose which chores are supposed to be completed by which family members, on what day, and assign points for each chore. For some reason, making the bed is less daunting for a 7-year-old if it’s a competition, particularly if he gets to declare total household domination at the end of the week.

More great stuff for mamas & papas: Photobooks by Tiny Prints.

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