Monday, December 21, 2009

A Mini Blog Vacation

Just an FYI to all, I'm likely not going to be blogging until January 4th. I'm taking a little blogcation and a real vacation to NYC where I will likely freeze into a human Popsicle. I'll be back to blogging in 2010 unless I get super inspired by something and have a bit of time to post during the holiday. Happy Holidays to all and I look forward to sharing more tips in the New Year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

These Cupcakes Really Are Yummy

I wrote about my favorite local cupcakes on this blog, so feel free to check that out, but I realized today that one of the places I mentioned, Yummy Cupcakes, has some innovative sweet cupcake treats -- like Cupcakes on Stick and In A Jar. They are a fun alternative to cookies during the holidays.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free Apps For All

If you have an iPhone and you want to know what cool apps for it you can get for free, check out this post from Gizmodo that lists some of the best picks out there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Great Sweet Treats For Vegans

People that have strict diets can be hard to buy for, but these days that's becoming less and less true. I just heard about a company called Chocolate Inspirations that does all kinds of brittle and toffee for vegans and it all looks really good. If you have a vegan to give a gift to and your at a loss, it's worth checking out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Gift Like No Other

If you or your boss needs to get a gift for that person that truly has everything already, check out the website for Cloud 9 Living that has all kinds of incredible experiences you can pick from for the recipient that's so hard to buy for on your list.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nook Not Yet Ready For Prime Time


My fear of the Nook from Barnes and Noble being a far superior e-book reader and panic over the fact that I had just received a Kindle DX that cost more, seems to be unfounded. The Nook has some cool features, but this review in the New York Times makes it clear that the Kindle is a better device for now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gate Guru


I just read the other day about a great new iPhone app for those who travel often called Gate Guru . It's a great little addition to the iPhone for the frequent traveler that helps you to figure out what food, shops and amenities are available in the airport you or your boss is heading to at the moment. It's not free, but it isn't very expensive, so it's worth a look.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pretzeltastic

Here's another yummy food to send during the holidays that's a bit more fun - chocolate covered pretzels from Pretzeables.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Awash In Email

Are you buried in e-mail and unable to manage it all? I think in this digital age it's hard not to feel overwhelmed by all the ways people can contact you and e-mail especially can get out of hand pretty quick. The Bits Blog of the New York Times has a few ideas how you can arm yourself to better deal with e-mail and it mentions one of my favorite solutions, Merlin Mann's famous strategy, Inbox Zero, that was featured in a talk he gave at Google. Both the article and video are worth taking the time to check out because in the long run they will make you more efficient.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gifts From the Wild


I stole the title from the tagline the NRDC did, but it was so good I HAD TO! If you want to give a gift this season to someone who loves animals and cares about the environment, check out some great options here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just Resize It!


This Adobe Air App called Just Resize It looks like a very easy way to resize an image without going through a big hassle. I think I'm going to check it out and you might want to take a minute to do so as well. I would imagine it would be helpful at work and home.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Iphone Killers?

If you ever read this blog you know that even with all the faults it has - I LOVE my iPhone. If you're sick of hearing about it and/or you or your boss is looking into getting a new device, check out this article from Trend Central that gives you details on a few cool options.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Icetastic

I'm sick and super busy at work, so I literally have about a minute to blog today. If you want to try a fun local dessert I just heard about or if your boss really likes sweets, send them to Ice Pan in West Hollywood where your custom flavored ice cream freezes right in front of you.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Alternative To Candy Canes

I always like to think outside the box with any category of gift, but especially food gifts. I hate giving people the same boring treats even if they're good. At the holidays people often give brownies and cookies and things like candy canes and that's all well and good, but there are so many more interesting options for you or your boss to give these days. Why not try Peppermint Bark from Williams Sonoma:
Or these Juicy Jell candies from the Candy Basket that come in flavors even a foodie would appreciate like Meyer Lemon and Asian Pear:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vinobrary

If your boss or someone close to you loves wine or wants to give a gift to someone who does, the New York Times just did a interesting article about a couple of fascinating wine books that would make great gifts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Computer Chic


I'm not sure why, but I really like this usb glass shelf that goes above a keyboard. It looks sleek, gives you an little extra space to put a few things you need at your disposal and provides you with a few extra usb ports if you need them. The shelf is not that expensive, so it would probably make a good holiday gift for the techie in your life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkinlicious


If you or your boss loves Pumpkin or you have a client that does, the Pumpkin Pie Candy Bar from BonBonBar looks pretty good. I haven't tasted it yet, but they also do Scotch Bars that I've tasted and given as gifts and they're amazing. They have a bunch of other yummy bars, so if any of this intrigues you, check out their site.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Ways To Get Organized

Yesterday I read this article in the Wall Street Journal about various time management systems. If you read this blog at all, you know that I love organization and utilizing anything I can to make myself more efficient. I truly believe that no matter what you do for a living, being on top of your work and managing your time well is really important. The article discusses the system that I'm trying to implement, GTD, but also gives you details on a couple others. Check it out if you have a minute, as I think it will be time well spent.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Need A New Place To Send Your Boss In Beverly Hills?

If you need a new place to send your boss or want to splurge on yourself, check out the newly opened Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills. It's French bistro food from famed chef Thomas Keller (who created the ultra famous and pricey French Laundry). Other locations for Bouchon exist in Vegas and Yountville (wine country near Napa).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Twas The Night Before You Recorded Christmas


Add this to the list of cool gifts to give to kids this holiday season -- Recordable storybooks from Hallmark. This is a great idea to tell your boss about if he/she has kids or you can give them as well if you have kids or a niece or nephew. It's the ultimate in customization and will make the story truly special and unique.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reading The New York Times In A Whole New Way

I love to be well informed and think it's helpful for work and in your personal life to know about the world around you. In my opinion the New York Times is the best paper around (sorry LA Times - you were once great). I read the New York Times online frequently and I recently read about a new idea the paper might be trying that will allow you to consume it in a different format. I love the paper as is, but I'm all for positive change and I'll be excited if they actually do implement this new online news reader.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gifts for Geeks, Foodies & More



If you actually are lucky enough to have a job in this economy and you're planning to buy presents during the holidays, check out this guide from the New York Times.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

YAY - I Actually Took A Lunch Today!!

I actually took a lunch today, so I have around one minute to blog. Since I don't have time for a long and informative post, busy yourself with the video of director Marc Forestor below where he talks about how important failure can be. I know all of us wish we would never fail, but it can actually be valuable at times.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

These Ugly Truffles Look Pretty Good To Me

Not sure why Chocolate Gourmet calls these Ugly Truffles because they look damn yummy to me. I'm thinking I will send them as a gift soon. This is the perfect gift to give to the chocolate lover who loves to try new things. Click here if you want to read a review. The two that look the best to me are below. Click on the image to go directly to the details regarding that truffle.





Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Free Gift From Google For the Holidays

Google loves you and wants to give you a gift -- Free Wi-Fi at airports in many cities (including Las Vegas, San Jose, Boston, Baltimore, Burbank, Houston, Indianapolis, Seattle, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, St. Louis and Charlotte) from now until January 15th. If you end up at the airport bored or if your family is driving you nuts, feel free to get online and have some fun or catch up on some work.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

For The Bacon Lover Who Has Everything

I've written often about the craze of bacon related gifts. I thought I'd heard of everything, but then this week I found out about two more crazy bacon items: Bacon Vodka and BLT candles. I won't be rushing to buy these items, but maybe you know someone who would love them.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Kinda Like A Little Sleeping Bag For My iPhone


Foofshop makes all kind of cute fabric holders for iPhones, iPods and other Apple devices. As far as I know, they are only available online. They actually take a bit of time to arrive, as they are from Australia. I love mine and I get a ton of compliments on it because it's not the same old boring typical case. Check them out if you get a minute.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Finding Joy At Work

Today has not been such a great day, so I'm going to spend a few minutes at lunch reading this article about how to find joy at work. Hopefully it will help. It's short so take a few minutes to read it and I bet it will improve your day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Quick & Useful Amazon Shortcut

When you're sitting at your desk ordering a book for yourself or a gift for your boss, time is often short, so check out this new shortcut from Amazon called Payphrase. This new feature allows you to create a phrase that is linked to a specific delivery address and billing info and then when you go to check out it can happen even quicker than normal. I love anything that makes things more efficient and I buy from Amazon, so I think I'm going to do this.

Monday, November 2, 2009

High Fashion For Your Little Hipster


If you or your boss is looking for an ultra cute and fashionable gift for a little one, look no further than the Stella McCartney collection for Gap Kids. If I had kids, I would be buying a ton of this limited edition line that's casual, yet stylish. Her collection ranges in price, but much of it's affordable and a few of the pieces that are more expensive look to be worth it. If you want to check out what some of it looks like, here's a peek at stuff for Toddler Boys and Girls. The one piece I really don't like that's kind of overpriced is this Sgt. Pepper style jacket, so take a pass on that.

Great Product Line From San Francisco


I hate to send the same old thing everyone sends in any gift category. One company I really love to send gifts from is Elizabeth W. They sell lotion, perfume, etc. I love the simple but elegant packaging and the fact that it's something a bit different. The prices are also fairly reasonable. My favorite scent they have is called Sweet Tea, but they have a bunch other great options well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Know, I Know - ENOUGH with the Kindle Already

I know the recent deluge of posts regarding e-book readers (Kindle & Nook) might be getting annoying. I'm aware this blog isn't Gizmodo. The thing is that I love to share tech stories and tips and sometimes the geek in me takes over and says MUST BLOG REGARDING TECHNOLOGY and honestly the geeky part of my brain is scrappy, so I have to back down and do what it says. I do promise that this will most likely be the last post about e-readers for a bit -- barring any crazy exciting announcements. All of that lead in for the small but super cool new detail about the Kindle -- there will be a Kindle application for the PC coming soon! Click here to read all the awesome details.

Be Inspired By Others

If you haven't seen the trailer for Avatar, the upcoming opus from James Cameron, you should check it out. It might not be your cup of tea and the jury is still out if it's totally up my alley, but I'm certainly intrigued enough to see it. He has made some cool movies over the years, but the one lesson that is a great take away from him is that he always tries to do something a bit different in terms of story or utilizing a new technology (Avatar is in 3D). It's inspiring to see someone keep changing and trying to keep things fresh. If you are spending time creating something you should keep this in mind and try to bring your unique voice and/or a new take to it to get people interested.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Organization How I Love Thee Redux

People often ask me about being organized at work and to start them off I often send them this extensive post I did about organization when I started this blog. I thought I would post it again for new readers to the blog and to motivate some current readers. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Duck, It's A Marshmallow Flying Towards Your Head


Yes, the Executive Marshmallow Blaster is a frivolous gift, but it sounds kind of fun to use. Wouldn't you love to shoot a few marshmallows at your boss or some assistant that's making your life miserable at work? If you would, it's not available for a few weeks, but it looks like you can pre-order it now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Gift To Get For The Gadget Lover Who Has Everything


I'm a geek, but even a non-geek would have to agree that these glasses from Vuzix that allow you to watch video from a variety of sources (iPhone, etc.) from inside them are pretty awesome. They aren't cheap, but for the right gadget lover who already has everything they are an outstanding idea for a present.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Soup To Cure All That Ails You

Spoonful of Comfort is a website that sells homemade chicken soup. It's packaged really cute and looks tasty. They focused on one thing and did it well. Sometimes that is the key to success. I'm looking forward to finding an excuse to send this to someone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nook Tears

WAHHHHHHHHHHHH. Okay, I'm kinda annoyed. I'm not really crying, but almost. I just got a Kindle DX as a gift and it's AWESOME. I'm so grateful to have it and I've already read books on it. I can't believe though that just as I got it, Barnes & Noble made their e-reader, The Nook, available for pre-order and described some of what it will be able to do. The Nook is able to share books and I really hope that the Kindle will eventually have that feature. It also can read PDFs and is at a lower price point. Your best bet if you want an e-reader is to compare to Nook to the Kindle and choose for yourself.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Comments & Google Maps Tip

Someone left a comment on the blog alerting me to the fact that Google Maps now also offers the ability to add notes to a map before you print it just like Mapquest. I hope I don't lose my geek card over this. I didn't know either one of them did it when I posted about Mapquest last week, but I'm excited to know Google has it because Mapquest is annoying and I'm a Google Girl anyway.

By the way, comments are great. I wish more people left them. It makes me feel like more people are reading my little blog. Sometimes I feel like a shopkeeper (oy what am I 90) who has a small general store on a main street that has great inventory and useful stuff that everyone wants, but only a decent handful of people in the town know about it and shop there. Trust me, I'm grateful for any reader and I can't believe anyone gives a hoot (yes still 90) about the knowledge I have to share, but when I read today about another first time scribe selling a script, I thought WHY NOT ME, but then I got over it. Anyway, I'm working on an original tv spec that I actually feel great about and I'm getting some good feedback on, so who knows what might happen someday.

Valuable Lesson About Writing

I have just about a minute to blog today, so here's a quick link to a great article by Junot Diaz about his struggles with writing. It's helpful to realize that even Diaz (who won a Pulitzer for The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) has had his moments of insecurity. It should give hope to everyone who wants to follow a creative path.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An Innovative Way To Keep Your Business Cards Organized

It's more than likely that you often just add the info from business cards directly into contacts and I do the same thing, but I often keep the cards for a bit just to be safe (usually in an envelope or something simple). I just discovered this mini filing cabinet for business cards at Think Geek that can sit on your desk and I love it. It's useful, adorable and easy on the wallet. I'm getting one - if you have a ton of business cards you might want to think about getting one as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ballontastic


If you are an assistant, an exec or an event planner in San Francisco, Balloons Equal Fun seems like a fun & unique vendor. If you are throwing a party in San Francisco, you might want to try them out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Conversation Piece

What should you or your boss buy for the person that has everything? One good idea is a custom designed pair of Converse or a gift certificate to create a pair themselves. It's not that pricey and a very original and fun gift.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Never Send An Email To The Wrong Person Again

This new Gmail feature (you can turn on it on the labs section) that helps to make sure you never e-mail the wrong Bob, etc. in your contacts if you have a few, seems very cool and useful. If you have a minute, read all about it here.

Restaurant Tip Tuesday

If you're looking for a great lunch or dinner location for you or your boss, I just tried a new place that was pretty delish. It's been open about a year I think, so I didn't discover it, but Cecconi's Restaurant in West Hollywood has really great Italian food and isn't insanely expensive (your boss probably doesn't care, but you might). When I went recently, I had an incredible pasta with lobster and a light tomato sauce that I highly recommended. It's a bit trendy for my taste and at times is full of MAWs (model, actress, whatevers), but it's worth sucking that up for the food. Also, even with all of the fancy cars pulling into the valet, they weren't snotty and honored our reservation on time.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Be A Sponge

One of the best things you can do as an assistant (or really in any position) is to constantly be curious about the work you do and try to learn how you can do it more effectively. I'm sure any anyone that reads this blog does it to learn how to be better at their job, a better gift giver, etc. In life, staying static and thinking that you know enough already = death for your career and your life being interesting. I read last year about a book I wish I had when I started as an assistant in this business called The Hollywood Assistants Handbook.
One of the authors is actually a writer on Grey's Anatomy, so he worked hard and actually made the leap others dream about. The handbook seems like a great tool and if you can keep searching out resources like this and keep learning -- it will benefit you now and in the future. I'm still trying to make my dream of being a writer come true, but even when I do, I intend to stay curious and seek out ways to be better at that as well.

Friday, October 9, 2009

An Oldie But A Cookie

I have been sending people Snookies Cookies for years. The cookies taste amazing and they will delivery all over LA. One great option they offer is to have milk come with the cookies and people get a big kick out of that because it reminds them of childhood. The price point is really reasonable, so the next time you want to send a sweet treat for you or your boss, give Snookies a shot.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How To Charge Your Gadgets & Stay Warm At The Same Time

Okay, seriously - this jacket I just read about is genius. It's a must have item if your boss travels to the cold or if you do. The jacket provides continuous heat and allows you to charge your gadgets. If I ever get the chance to go to Sundance, I'm for sure buying this jacket to take with me. If it interests you check out the video review of it below.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quick Little Mapquest Tip

I pride myself a bit on what a tech geek I can be, but I found out something yesterday that I didn't know. After you get directions on Mapquest and go to print them you will get a little text box at the top where you can add notes to your map/directions. I love that idea for adding the telephone number of where your boss might be going or just a note about the location to help them find it. I know it's a simple tip, but it is actually very useful. I don't think I should lose my tech cred for this one though because a big reason why I don't know this is that I use Google Maps.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Way To Eat Well On Assistant Slave Wages

Many assistants are truly being paid wages that one can barely live on for all their hard work. Sign up for Blackboard Eats if you're an assistant in LA and you will get codes that will reduce the price of your meal or give you a free app at various restaurants around town.

Not A New Gift Idea, But An Awesome One

I just opened the new Kindle DX that my grandmother got me a bit early for my birthday and there are no words to describe just how awesome it is. If someone told me I could just have one gadget, I would still probably pick my iPhone, but it would be tough choice. I know getting someone a Kindle isn't a new gift idea, but if you have the cash it truly is an incredible gift for someone who loves to read and an even better gift for someone who is a big reader and also travels, so they don't have to schlep a ton of books around. The other great thing about this new one is that it can also read a pdf. I'm ending this post, so I can go buy a book for it, but if you have the dough and a person you really want to impress, I implore you to check it out.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Extra Mushrooms, Sausage & Frosting??


If you or your boss wants to send someone a really inventive sweet treat, I love these cakes that look just like pizza. You have to pay for shipping, but they aren't that crazy expensive, so it might be worth it for the right person.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

iGlasses

Here's a quick tip that might be helpful to iPhone owners. If you lose your glasses or your boss forgets to bring their glasses to work, you can suggest they buy an app called Eye Glasses that utilizes the camera in your iPhone to help read small text or more clearly display imagery. If you are interested read more about it here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

**See Your Name In Coffee**

If you have a coffee lover in your life and you're sick of buying them Starbucks gift cards, I recently read about these cute custom coffee stencils that would make a great gift. You could get a few other items with it to make it a gift with a bit more substance like a milk frother, beautiful coffee mugs/cups from Bodum or Nambe and a gourmet coffee like this one from Mariebelle

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Flip Through The News On The Go

I pretty much never shut up on this blog about how important it is to stay on top of what's going on in the world no matter what job you have. You need to be able to join in the discussion, have ideas and opinions if you want to impress people and it's harder to do that if you are only reading one source or just reading gossip. Technology has made this so much easier. There are million ways to keep on top of everything in an efficient way. A few weeks ago I wrote about about a new beta google site I like called Fast Flip that allows you flip through tons of news articles on every topic and see what's most popular and current. You can now also utilize it on the go on your iPhone. All you have to do is create a shortcut from this url to your phone.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ummm, What's Your Name Again?

The title of this posting would the least sophisticated thing to say when you don't remember the name of someone you run into. Yesterday, I read this interesting post on the Happiness Project blog that gives you tips on how to handle the situation with great tact and savvy. It's quick and for sure worth checking out. The impression you make on others as an assistant or an executive is vitally important and this really could help you make an uncomfortable situation have a much better outcome.


Texas Treats


I have no time today, so I'm just going to do a quick post. I know it seems like I'm fixated on doing food related gifts lately and truly, I'm not, but today I decided to send cookies to a friend in Austin for his birthday at the last minute and I found a great place to use. It's called Tiff's Treats. The deliver cookies in Austin and Dallas and their website was fast and easy to use. I logged on a few hours ago placed an order and he already got it by this afternoon. If you need to do a cookie gift in those areas, give it a shot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Redesigned Site Worth A Second Look

I've blogged about Foodzie before. It's a great online marketplace where you can buy really amazing food related gifts from small passionate food producers and growers. The reason I'm mentioning them again is that they recently redesigned their site a bit and it looks great. On Twitter today Kevin Rose mentioned that if you enter KROSE at the checkout right now you get 20% off. I have no idea how long that code will last, so take advantage of it while you can.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Blankie & Stuffed Animal Rolled Into One Cute Gift

I have had to buy gifts for babies a million times in every price range for friends and bosses and it's always hard finding new ideas. In the last year or two I found this adorable blanket/mini stuffed animal combo that every baby I get it for adores.

It's sweet and relatively inexpensive, so if you or your boss need to get a gift, I highly recommend it. If you need more ideas, check out this post or this one that I did about gifts for babies.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Cutest Cake Toppers I Ever Did See

If you or your boss really wants to blow someone away with a unique wedding gift or one of you is getting married soon, check out this article in the New York Times from the weekend about custom cake toppers that look like the couple getting hitched. The article lists a few different companies that do them and I've included a sample from one of the vendors below.

This type of cake topper isn't cheap, but the wow factor alone that these will provide make it worth every penny.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bring Your Own Vino

Work is insane, so I only have time for a super quick tip. If you or your boss like to bring your own wine to restaurants, it's good to know which places you can do it and how much the corkage will be. Try this new site that has info for many cities. It's a useful tool if you are into the vino.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Take Me To Your Wi-Fi

I found a really cool new iPhone app that doesn't come out is the US until later this year, but I think it's worth keeping an eye on. The app is called Work Snug and it couldn't look easier to use. Once you launch the app you raise it in the air around you and it will tell you the best places nearby to work and rate various aspects of the places (noise, wi-fi, power outlets, etc.). The best part is that it's free! Check out the video below for a little preview.


Bake & Celebrate

I know that it seems like I'm focused on baked goods this week, but I read about a cute local kids party idea that I thought I would share. If you can't think of a good theme for your event or something fun to do , try hiring Play With Your Food Party to facilitate the whole thing for you. They come to you, bring the ingredients and make the whole thing happen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When You're Short On Time, Flip Through Your News

I'm a geek, but even if if you aren't, you will probably be excited by the newest experiment from Google Labs called Fast Flip that allows you browse sequentially through recent news, headlines and popular topics. The interface is really seamless and the site allows you to review articles at a quick pace until you find something that interests you. It's worth taking a minute out of your day to check it out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Custom Cookies On The Spot


How awesome would it be if you could go into a little shop, pick out the dough and mix in ingredients for a cookie and have it baked on the spot? Believe it or not, such a place exists, but unfortunately it isn't in the US (one can only hope it will come here soon). If you are visiting Toronto or perhaps your boss is going there for business, make sure to tell him to stop by Sweet Flour Bake Shop and create his own cookie that will be ready in only 2 minutes!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tech Tip Friday

This truly been an insanely bad day at work. If you're an assistant, an executive, no matter what you do I'm sure you've been there. Anyway I have like a minute to do a post, so here's my tip of the day. If you love Flickr and you have an iPhone, you might want to investigate the new iPhone App. It allows users to share photos, and videos that they take with the phone, geo tag them, and instantly upload them to the Flickr.com.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Something Old Becomes New Again


I've been so busy at work and with my writing that this is the first year in a long time that I didn't watch the Apple Keynote online the day it happened (yes, I'm a geek and if you want to make something of it we can take it outside and go pocket protector to pocket protector). If you want to check out all the new offerings, view it here. One thing I did hear about that gives a fresh perspective on a gift I once gave pretty often is the announcement of the new iPod Nano. The new Nano has a bunch of new features, but one of the coolest is that it records video. If you're thinking of buying a gift for a gadget lover this might be just the ticket. A few other added upsides of it are the cute colors it comes in and the fact that even the one with the larger memory is under $200.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hassle Free Art

If you want to do a whimsical and unique gift for the person who has everything, try one of the two photo sites below:

Photo Wow


Be Funky


Both sites allow you to create all kinds of art with your image and then put it on various products (mugs, t-shirts, etc.). You can create a bit of a masterpiece without every going to art school or lifting a paintbrush.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Trades Schmades

These days with all the ways you can get entertainment news -- holding the physical trades in your hands to get up on all that's current is becoming passe. The content within the trades might be valuable, but waiting until you get to work to sit there and flip the pages is often a waste of time (especially if you're an assistant, but even if you're an executive) that you just don't have. The best solution to this dilemma is to get the Film News Briefs daily e-mail that consolidates all the info from the trades. I wrote about the site back in March, but they just relaunched with a great new look and new features and I hear even more will be coming in the future. It's invaluable to be able to read all important entertainment news in a quick digest e-mail and be completely informed before you even get to work or within a few minute of arriving. The site's creator, Jess Kantor and her Editor, Neil Turitz are a part of a growing community of people that are creating sites that want to inform, but also help up and coming creative types who haven't totally gotten their big break yet. If you're on Twitter, you might also want to follow Film News Briefs.

If you don't get the e-mail yet, take a minute to subscribe and check out the site, it will be well worth your while and you'll wonder after how you ever lived without it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Book Recommendations

I thought I'd share a few book gift ideas today, since I don't do that very often:

I'm really excited about Kathy Griffin's new book that sports the hilarious Official Book Club Selection as a title. If you like her humor at all or watch her show, you know that she truly is laugh out loud funny. This would be a great gift for anyone that likes comedy or is just having a hard time right now and needs a laugh.

The other book is one I just heard about today on a podcast and it sounded so great, I'm planning on getting for my stepdad. The book is called Are You Kidding Me? and it was written by golfer Rocco Mediate and John Feinstein, a well known sports writer, about the June 2008 US Open where journeyman golfer Rocco almost beat Tiger Woods. Any sports lover would probably be into this book and be inspired by the story of what happened during that fateful tournament, but for a golfer the gift would be a hole in one. Oy, even I cringed at that, but how could I resist.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Big Thumbs Up On One Toy For Kids & A Big Thumbs Down On Another

Tegu makes cool wood blocks for kids that have a little twist (hidden magnets that make them stick together). They aren't cheap, but they seem like a classic toy that a child would use forever and then pass down to a sibling or another generation. I give this gift a big Friday stamp of approval.

It's still unclear if this toy that Gizmodo wrote about is real, but if it is, I implore parents not to buy their daughters the Pole Dancer Doll unless you want them to change their name to Candy someday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tech Tips Thursday

Here's two little useful tech tips to help you out in your daily life:

Did you hear that Google Translate has added 9 new languages to the list it already was able to translate for you? Check out this article re the update and see if a language you need is among the ones they have available. This is a simple and quick way to translate a bit of language or a website when you need to do it in a timely manner.

A few days ago I heard about Howcast and it looks pretty cool. I'm always saying that it's important to stay well informed and be an interested and interesting person and this site can help you. They have videos that can help you learn how to do all sorts of things. Check out one of the videos below about how to type faster on your iPhone.

Boss Dossier

I'm not including a link today, but instead sharing a simple, but really useful tip that I have always had success with as an assistant. From day one on a job, make sure to keep what I call a Boss Dossier. It's so useful to keep little bits of information that you will likely need again in a little password protected document, so that you don't have to ask your boss time and time again for the same information. If your boss always gets the same thing for lunch at a few places, write down the specific order with whatever preferences they may have (dressing on side, etc.) and then you will have an easy shorthand when they want to order or if you have to make a decision to get something for them and can't ask them because they are in a meeting. This is a simple idea and most people I'm sure already do it, but try it if you don't already, as it's an effective and simple tool.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A New Twist On An Old Favorite

I was eating an apple at lunch today and realized that I have not blogged about a food gift idea I love that's yummy, fun and has a reasonable price point - Caramel Apples. Now there are so many different types of apples that companies do and caramel is just the tip of the iceberg. My favorite company is Candy's Apples, but Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory also has some delicious flavors. In my experience, people are thrilled and surprised to receive them. It's a fun change from the typical cookies or brownies, so the next time you have to do a food gift for your boss or want a sweet treat for yourself, check them out.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just Poynt Me In the Right Direction

I'm continuing to try and do posts not just about the gadgets I love and/or have, but for anything that's popular. I'm sure plenty of assistants reading this and/or their bosses have a Blackberry. I recently read about a free app for the Blackberry called Mypoynt and if you have one you might want to check it out. The app helps you to find businesses and movies in your area by utilizing your GPS information. I viewed the video demo of the app on the Blackberry Storm and it seems useful and pretty easy to use. I will say that I have some apps like this for my iPhone and they seem to be a bit more visually dynamic, but most of the info you can find is similar. What the video below if you're curious and see if it might be right for you.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Here Come The Geeks

Thinking outside the box is often a crucial component to making your dreams come true. You have to be persistent, creative and willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. I laughed out loud when I read this article in the New York Times about a couple who is asking for things for their new Start-up company called Aboomba on their wedding registry instead of traditional gifts, but truly it was kind of a genius move and proves they might have what it takes to succeed. The unique idea also got them press, likely gifts from people they don't know and maybe interest from investors. If you want to see more about them, check out the video below.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Brittle Me This




If you read this blog at at all you know I go on and on about finding something new and surprising to send as a gift. When it comes to food gifts just about everyone does cupcakes, cookies, etc. I'm always looking for something new to send and I recently I read about a great brittle from Morning Glory Confections that comes in all sort of unique flavors (Cocoa Nib, Coffee Bean & Pecan, Chai Tea & Cashew and others). Someone I know tried it and said it was spectacular and then I read this review that also raved about it. I plan on ordering some to eat or send as a gift soon. You can buy it online or see what stores it is available in near you.






Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Travel With A Side Of Maps

If you or your boss is going on a trip soon, you might want to check out these A La Carte maps that have a local touch. They include little notes and tips that only a insider in the area would know. Currently they only have six locations to choose from, but I imagine as they become more popular there will be more to pick from.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You'll Probably Say Yahoo If You Use Yahoo Calendar & Have An iPhone

It's quick tech tip Tuesday because I don't have much time to blog at lunch today. I made it pretty clear in this post that I'm a Google girl tried and true, but I try to make sure to share info about things I know will be helpful, even if they don't apply to me. If you use an online calendar I do wholeheartedly recommend you switch to Gcal, but if you're sticking to Yahoo calendar, you might be excited to know that if you have an iPhone -- the Yahoo calendar now has over the air sync.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gifts For A Mini Foodie

If your boss wants you to help find a gift for his kid or you just need a gift for your niece or nephew, it can be hard to find something great when a child isn't into the same stuff most other kids are into. Impressing the kind of kid that comes out of the womb already pretty formed is a tough challenge. I was writing and telling stories when I was very little, Arlo Weiner, the son of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner has already been featured in GQ magazine for his style and he isn't even 10 years old. These days many kids are very sophisticated about cooking and food at a young age and many parents who are foodies are cultivating highly developed mini palates instead of sacrificing the food they love for mac and cheese. One couple wrote a book about helping to broaden the eating horizons for the little ones called Gastrokid. You can even buy kitchen utensils that are specially built for kids, so that you can get them involved in cooking at an early age. Like all other people who are hard to buy for, all it takes is a bit of imagination to find a fun and exciting gift even for a picky kid.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Drunk Fudge With A Spiritual Twist

I don't have tons of time to blog today, but here's an interesting sweet treat that you or your boss can send to that person who has had gotten everything already and is kind of jaded -- Fudge with Bourbon in it made by the Trappist Monks at Gethsemani Farms. I have not tasted it, but the person who told me about it said it's very good and odds are you will really surprise the recipient.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New & Improved Google

As an assistant you can never have too many resources. I would imagine most of you use Google fairly often. If you haven't heard, Google has been testing it's next generation web search called Google Caffeine. I'm always up for trying to new things, so I tested it and it's unclear how big of an improvement it is thus far. It might be a tiny bit faster at times and the results might on occasion be a bit more refined or accurate, but there isn't a really discernible difference yet. I'm going to keep testing it for now and see what I think in about a week. You might also want to try using it and see what you think. If you want to read more about it, this article is relatively short and full of information.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another Great Way to Stay Informed

I always stress how important it is to stay informed about the business you're in and the world around you. You don't want to be the one person that says huh when your boss brings up something he/she read in the New York Times that morning or heard about on NPR on the way in to work. You're in luck because now NPR created it's very own iPhone app to help you out. You can read and listen to stories, listen to various shows streaming live and much more. Click here to read more about it or just go right to the itunes store and download it. You might just hear a story that will inspire you and then you will not only be informed but on your way to creating something new.

Success Doesn't Always Happen When You Expect

Most of the people reading this blog probably don't want to be an assistant forever (and if you do - that's great as well). It can be really tough at times to keep your spirits up and believe you will succeed at what you want to do, whether it's writing, acting or whatever creative pursuit you aspire to. The thing is you never know when or how you might break through and it doesn't happen for everyone at a young age. This weekend I saw Julie & Julia (which is AMAZING - Meryl Streep truly is the greatest actor alive) and it made me really reflect on the topic of success and when it happens. Julia Child succeeded professionally and personally later in her life. Julie Powell, the girl who started the Julie and Julia blog/cooking project that inspired the book the movie is based on, also didn't hit her writing stride and have success until she was about thirty. This issue really hits home with me because I didn't really give writing a shot until a few years ago. I also left the business for quite a few years to go up to the Silicon Valley and then ended up coming back, but I'm trying to still have a tiny bit of hope, so if you can, try to as well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Drunken Dessert

I've written before that wine lovers are a hard group to buy for because they are passionate bunch and often they get themselves the things they want, as they just can't wait. I get super excited when I see a wine item that is semi under the radar that I can buy for a wine lover as a gift. I recently read about these wine cellar sorbets and them seem like a great item for someone who loves wine and dessert. It looks like currently you can't order online because they are changing that part of their site, but you can call them and place an order or find a local store that sells it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

LA Times Redo

I have to be honest and say I'm a New York Times kind of gal. I think it's a great paper and it's one of the few really well done newspaper websites out there. The LA Times on the other hand just isn't the paper it once was and the site has been AWFUL for years. The jury is still out on the content (it's getting better, but often still pales in comparison to the New York Times), but the recent website revamp is pretty great, so check out the entertainment section if the mood strikes you. It's always great to be reading a ton of resources to stay informed and you just might want to add the LA Times to your list if they keep up the good work.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Ways To Think About Success

I have written before about the Ted conference and all of the awesome videos they post during the year of people who speak on a variety of different topics (tech, creativity, etc.) at the event. I just recently watched this video by writer Alain De Botton about success and found it truly refreshing. It will make you think about success and what matters in a new way and I think it's really worth taking the time to watch. If you don't know about Ted and weren't reading the blog back then, check out my original post.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Apptastic

These days there are enough apps for your iPhone or Blackberry to make your head spin. It's hard to know which ones are worth paying for and even with the free apps it's difficult to be sure if one is worth spending time installing on your device. Now you have some help. Revision3, the site that brings you cool shows about gadgets and technology like Diggnation and Tekzilla, have a new show called App Judgment that you can use to help you make decisions. Even if you are not a big geek like me, you will probably find it pretty useful.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Great Alternative to Cupcakes

Just the other week I blogged about a place in LA that has gourmet churros and how they would be a unique change of pace if you are in the mood to give a food gift. Just today I remembered another alternative that seems to be getting more popular by the day - mini and regular bundt cakes from Kiss My Bundt. They have a zillion yummy flavors of bundt cake and they ship or you can pick up locally. It's an inexpensive and whimsical way to celebrate a birthday or send someone a sweet treat just because :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Save A Tree & Clear Your Mind

If you read this blog at all you know I'm pretty obsessed with organization and finding new ways to keep the paperwork and clutter of life that we all face in order somehow. It's impossible to be perfect at it and even as diligent as I am, I still have a pile of things to be filed right now and some items in my inbox. The best thing you can do is chip away at it, so that day to day you are living in a less chaotic and more streamlined environment. This guide from Lifehacker about going paperless is another way to reduce the amount of paper stuff around you and save the environment in the process. If you can implement even a few of the strategies and free your mind from the chaos that surrounds you, it just might help you make the time and gain the focus to create your masterpiece.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Study People Who Do What You Want To Do

I always say how it's important to not only develop your own style and habits, but to study people who are successful at what you want to do. On that note, watch this video interview from Making Of with John August (screenwriter of Go, Big Fish, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and writer/director of The Nines) to see him talk about his process. You never know what you might learn or how it will inspire you.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Importance Of Being Different

I did this post in June about how being creative with your business card is a good way to stand out and have people remember you. It's so key to find a way to be clever and not seem like everyone else when you are in a crowded field like entertainment that's so competitive. I recently saw this business card sample by a designer that I thought was truly genius. This work reflects that the designer can clearly think outside the box and for the right person it would be a great card to have.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Realizing You Are Meant To Do Something Else

Here's a hilarious clip of Judd Apatow from his Inside the Actors Studio episode last week. He has talked often about how failing -- well not failing, but realizing that he would never be as good a stand up comedian as the people he was coming up with (Sandler, Jim Carrey, etc.) and how it helped him to get on the right path. It took him not really getting what he wanted to help him find his way to being a writer/director and that's taken him pretty far. I left the entertainment business in 1999 for about 5 years or so and headed to the Silicon Valley during the first boom because tech and business had always been my two other passions. I had burnt out on the business and thought I would get on a new track to happiness. I did well and got promoted at a at a big media company, but I wasn't really that happy. I would go to see a movie and my heart would ache a bit to be back in LA and in the business. My promotion proved to be a mixed bag, as I had ended up in a much more vulnerable position and many rounds of layoffs later, I lost my job. I thought about staying up north, but eventually I found a job back in Los Angeles working for a director and came home. At that time, I finally really got my nerve back to give writing a shot. I still haven't quite succeeded yet, but I'm making some progress and working as an assistant to pay the bills. I'm hoping that I ended up not staying in the Silicon Valley because this is where I'm meant to be and that I will eventually succeed. Who knows, but I still have a tiny bit of hope. Keep this all in mind when you get thrown off your path a bit because you might end up right where you belong.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sugar Rush

I seem to be on a food gift related run, so I'm keeping it going. Today I need to send a gift to a friend that loves candy and I have two favorite websites I use for gifts like that. Plenty of stores and websites do candy gifts, but these two have a real sense of fun and whimsy, so check them out and see what you think:

This site has a great selection of hard to find grocery items and nostalgic candy. I often send this item from them.

I also love Dylan's Candy Bar (which has physical stores as well). This Sweet Tooth gift that is packaged in a giant plastic tooth always makes people laugh and they get so excited about all the candy inside.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ummm, Yum - I think??

Over the last few days I have read about a couple of interesting food ideas that would make a unique gift for the right foodie with slightly eccentric taste. The jury is still out on whether they sound good to me, but I'm a fussy eater. Check them out yourself and see what you think:

Ben & Bill's Lobster Ice Cream - I think you obviously have to like more savory things to appreciate this, but it certainly is unique and it's really popular, so I bet it's pretty good.

Food Should Taste Good makes lots of interesting chips, but the chocolate ones sound kind of yummy to me.

Vosges Chocolate has a big hit on their hands with their chocolate bacon bar that I've mentioned before, but now they are selling a bacon chocolate pancake mix that honors the origins of how the bar was created.

Friday, July 31, 2009

No Post Friday

Hi All. I'm heading out of town and leaving work early, so sadly :( no post today. Perhaps, I can post over the weekend. If not, regular posting will resume Monday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

These Items Might Help You To File More Often

I'm a bit of an organizational freak, but even I don't really love to file. When I find products I like though, it does help me to get more in the mood. I recently discovered these Pendaflex polyjackets at work and I love them. If you really want to up the ante on your filing, get some of these sophisticated and elegant looking file folders from See Jane Work. It won't make it an exciting event to file, but it might inspire you a tiny bit more and that's a step in the right direction towards getting organized.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

PC Mag Top 100 Sites List

I don't have time for a long post today, so I thought I would quickly share a good resource to check out for all sorts of things on the web, PC Mag's Top 100 Sites list. You will actually know many of the sites, but you might not know all and it's a great resource to bookmark and keep on file for the future.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

00Geek

I did this posting on good gifts for your favorite geek before, but today I thought I would do a spy geek edition that I'm calling 00Geek. Impressing geeks can be hard to do and they often have all the cool stuff they want, so here are a few ideas that might surprise a geek in your life or a client that your boss needs to buy a gift for:

These sunglasses with a camera in them from Think Geek are pretty cool and they're under a $100 bucks.

This Russian book spy camera from Uncommon Goods is also pretty fun and it's under $50

This Bluetooth handset that looks like a retro phone handset (also from Think Geek) isn't really on the down low, but it's so funny and will make people think you are so crazy that one could really go into spy mode and get away with anything.

If you want to take the 00Geek gift theme further, add some martini ingredients, glasses and a shaker to one of the items above.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ideas Besides Cologne & Ties

Cologne & Ties sounds to me like a British rock band from the 1980's, but really it's the two gifts I think most people buy for men because they can't think of what else to get. I consider myself an expert gift giver, but even I have had a hard time finding just the right thing for certain men on occasion. The basic gift tips I always mention apply with guys, of course, to listen to what a person talks about often and enjoys, but another way to find great gifts is to cultivate resources that will help to inspire you. A few months ago, I heard actor Neil Patrick Harris mention in an interview how he really likes a site called Uncrate that has all kinds of ideas for gifts and things that interest guys. I'm really enjoying checking it out and I will for sure keep my eye on it for gift ideas. It's a great resources for a gift for your dad, a male boss or clients who are guys. Take a few minutes and check it out.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Be Looking for New Info & Ideas to Inspire You Everywhere

I do many different things to stay up on all that is going on around me. I listen to NPR, read a million magazines, read Time and the NY Times, I'm on Twitter, etc. If you really want the full list, read the post I did about it months ago. As an assistant, you never know where you will find out about great new ideas that might inspire you or where you might hear about a cool new gift, so you always have to be open. Just the other day, my Twitter friend (sounds weird, but it's true) Karyn Murphy tweeted about a cool new daily e-mail called Very Short List. I just signed up for it and so far it seems really cool. Very Short List sends you an email about new music, books, etc. Karyn who is always in the know is a producer who was once a personal assistant. She writes a hilarious blog, so check it out here. She's also on Twitter, if you want to follow her.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Churrotastic

Okay, I only have a minute or two today, so here's a quick tip. If you are sick of getting people cupcakes or cookies and you want to do a sweet treat that's a bit different, if you are in LA try these new gourmet churros from Xooro that I just heard about. They sound amazing. I haven't tried them, but I have heard good things. Once I try them, I will do an update.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Can't Get All Yahoo Over The Changes To the Yahoo Page

I know I share many opinions on this site, but I often also try to share information regardless of whether it is something I will use personally. Often I do talk about the stuff I like and get excited about, but tonight I'm sharing info about something I'm not yet convinced I will use. The thing is, I'm a Google girl. I have Gmail, a Google Calendar and I have an iGoogle main page, so no matter how much Yahoo tweaks their home page and adds options, I don't think I'm switching. Check out this piece from Lifehacker if you want to know more about it and make a decision for yourself. For now, I'm still going to keep my iGoogle page with my insane amount of Rss feeds within it as my homepage.

Can You Hear Me Now??

In order to do your job as an assistant, you must be able to communicate well and have technology that facilitates that. As I have stated before, I LOVE my iPhone -- even with it's flaws (oh battery life how you make me cry), but I will tell you that the headset that comes with it STINKS! The headset is basically a set of iPod earbuds with a tiny speaker on one side. I had avoided getting a Bluetooth headset for as long as I could because I thought it made people look crazy and it seemed sort of obnoxious to me, but I recently decided that I had to relent and go get one. I was dying to have the Jawbone because it's beautifully designed, but it's very over priced, so I decided to be practical. After much viewing of reviews, I ended up getting the Plantronics Voyager 510. It's reasonable (under $40 bucks) and it works great. If you have been resisting getting one for cost reasons, hesitate no more. If you do end up needing to get your boss one and cost is no object, the Jawbone is a great choice.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chocolates On Riverside Drive

If you work at Disney or Warner Bros. and you have a sweet tooth or your boss needs a quick chocolate gift for an actor coming by at the last minute - you're now in luck. I just found out last week that there's an artisanal chocolate place right on Riverside called Amber Chocolatiers. People in my office had them last week and seemed to think they were quite good.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gifts For Your Favorite Cinephile  

True movie lovers can at times be a hard group to please. They often have seen every cool Criterion Collection DVD, purchased the vintage poster for their favorite movie and gotten movie tickets as a gift from others a million times. Here's a few fun gift ideas for the cinephile in your life that they might not have yet received:

The United Artists Prestige Collection of 90 films
isn't new, but I think it's a great gift. It also is a bit on the pricey side, but if budget is no object it's a unique and exciting gift.

Zagat Movie Guide - This handy item that comes out each year is helpful when people are adding to their queue on Netflix or even if they leave the house and go into an actual video store.

Netflix Subscription - Even though physical dvds will eventually cease to exist in the not that distant future, they are here right now and a Netflix subscription is always a good idea.

Gourmet Popcorn is great if the movie lover is also a foodie. 479 Organic Popcorn has a flavor with Black Truffle and White Cheddar and Popcornopolis makes a flavor they call Zebra that is caramel popcorn with white and dark chocolate on it. They both also make a bunch of other unique flavors.

One last idea that's simple, but has a sweet charm to it, is this movie reel tin filled with cookies from Snookies Cookies (scroll down to see it).

Hopefully one of these ideas will work for you or inspire you to come up with a unique idea of your own.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Creativity Trumps Perfection Most Of The Time

I seriously laugh out loud every time I read about the new Food Network show called What Would Brian Boitano Make. I would have to assume that the people at the Food Network are making a bit of an inside joke with the title, but they might not have a clue. Most people my age would remember that in the original South Park video Christmas card that went around town (and eventually launched the creators into the stratosphere) -- the kids are struggling with something and they ask what Brian Boitano would do. Moments later, he skates by to talk to them and it's random and hilarious.

As I reflected on that original South Park video from way back it made me realize something that is helpful to assistants who eventually want to do something creative like writing and that's that generally creativity trumps perfection. If you look at the old video it certainly is not the best animation you have ever seen (far from it - it's actually fairly crudely done), but you can see the spirit of the eventual show within it. Even that short video is controversial, irreverent and pee in your pants funny. This concept is hard for me, as I'm a bit of a perfectionist, but I know if I will ever thrive I have to let go of that and get out of my own way. Try to embrace this and it might just free you to create your masterpiece.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Google Voice App Coming To You Soon Perhaps, But Not Me Yet

Google Voice (the original product was called Grandcentral) which is really useful and allows you to route all your numbers through one number and get your voice mails transcribed to read via e-mail has an app coming soon to the Android and Blackberry. Yay for you if you have one of those devices, but *sigh* for me and my iPhone. You can still utilize the service via any phone, but it's fairly clunky in some ways without the app. If you want to read more about it, the New York Times has a good article about it that clarifies the differences. I shouldn't complain because my iPhone still does some pretty amazing stuff. I think most assistants and truly almost anyone would find this free service useful and a great time saver.