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Tips For Winter Holiday Preparation And Organization

*This is a sponsored series.

Holiday PreparationThe Winter holidays are a time for family, friends, and co-workers to celebrate with food, gifts and social gatherings. Behind the scenes is lots of work that needs to be carried out with the utmost precision to make sure everything falls into place.  At the same time, kids are off school so planning activities and keeping them busy is key. Here is a system I used to organize the holidays, please share yours!

 

 

 

  1. Centralize gift and wish lists in the cloud: Gone are the times of separate handwritten notes for gift lists and wish lists. Having the cloud (i.e. storing online) gives us the ability to create a list that can be accessed across devices, whether it be your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Just choose a family digital note-taking app and make sure it is loaded both on the family PC’s and on the family smartphones for mobile access of lists.
  2. Digitize holiday receipts: While some stores now send email receipts, others still use paper receipts. It is important to take a picture of receipts or scan them and retain digital copies online.  For example, while I take pictures of receipts with my smartphone camera or tablet webcam and load to OneNote, my mother has a Neat Receipts Scanner and likes to load her receipts to the NeatCloud. Having digital receipts simplifies both household accounting and returns.
  3. Create central holiday recipe and shopping lists: With  so many recipe websites and apps to choose from, finding recipes to fit the various dietary need of family and holiday guests is easy.  By loading both family recipes and links to ones I find online onto my digital note taking app, I always have the recipes with me no matter where I am. I also maintain a digital list of my favorite local restaurants that offer take-out for those days where cooking is not an option.
  4. Organize travel information: My old habit when traveling was to print out flight and hotel information and carry in a folder, hoping I don’t lose or forget one of the sheets. Some of my friends started using one of the many websites/ apps that help organize trips (such as Expedia or TripIt). Now I use OneNote and load my travel documents in as digital travel “notebooks”. While we try to load all the entertainment in advance of our traveling, my mobile WiFi is really helpful to enable loading of last minute downloads or new entertainment on my kid’s tablets.
  5. Create activity lists for kids, whether on vacation or staycation:  Holidays may mean time out of school for kids, with plenty of time available for activities. With three boys, I research potential vacation activities online in advance (as well as what time they open/close) and create an activity list beyond the regular holiday events. We then sit down with our boys and discuss which activities interest them, which is usually anything outdoors. The weather or strong disagreement between the boys sometimes leads to a “Plan B” requiring more research online.  For example, while a family hike is always a great activity, on rainy days we like to check the schedules for local museums or indoor sports such as trampoline jump parks. If we are visiting relatives in colder climates, then playing in the snow and ice skating are perfect outdoor activities! In San Francisco Bay Area, we enjoy taking winter walks on the beach outdoors with layers of warm clothes. Or indoor activities such as the Exploratorium, ice skating rinks or climbing gyms.  It is also handy to have a list of sites that I can check for family activity ideas such as Red Tricycle, Alpha Mom, Red Rover, Traveling Mom, Parents.com, Rookie Moms and local activity resources such as Bay Area Parent.

 

What are your winter family activities? How do you prepare and organize your holiday fun?

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series. I received an AT&T Unite as part of my sponsorship, which keeps me connected on the move to mobile WiFi. My words are my own. For more information, visit att.com/Unite or connect with WiFi Family  (@WiFiFamily) powered by Netgear.

 

 

 

 

Tips To #NavigateTheHolidays With Gift Offerings at GameStop

*Disclosure: Sponsored post.

 

I am a regular Gamestop customer, whether it’s pre-ordering a new kid’s video game or buying used video games and accessories.  So, I was excited to recently host with Techlicious – a Gamestop event and tour at my local GameStop store. We had a fun group of bloggers, many who were already GameStop customers and excited to learn even more with a tour by the local GameStop team. Beyond being the “world’s largest, multi-channel video game retailer“, GameStop offers:

 

***Video games for  all types of consoles (Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii) along with Video game consoles,  portable gaming devices, tablets and more.

 

 

***Tech accessories including headsets, tech toys such as Skylanders and Disney Infinity and even my kid’s favorite Lego video games (that compliment nicely all the Lego building they do).

 

 

***Gift Cards and Stocking Stuffers.

 

 

Best of all GameStop has affordable “Buy-Sell-Trade programs for video game hardware, software, digital content accessories, consumer electronics (including Apple Devices) and more“. To keep within our budget, we have our kids identify games they no longer play with to help save up for new ones. I was happy to find out that “GameStop also offers more then 2,500 video games under $20″. That also helps with the budget!

 

When looking for video games at GameStop we can always first check if there are used copies available. Long ago my teen figured out that we should sign up for the GameStop Power UP Rewards (customer loyalty program) – so we did. Along with the rewards, exclusives, point earning opportunities and extras, the GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards benefits include earning points towards future purchases.

 

 

 

We also had a lunch where we discussed holiday tech shopping tips, trends, tips on choosing video games and more from Suzanne Kantra of Techlicious and the GameStop team.

 

 

 

GameStop, with research partner Brierley+Partners, asked 500 U.S. gift givers what was at the top of their purchase lists this holiday season (fielded from November, 2013). Listed below are some highlights shared from the event and a press release:

  • 42 percent of shoppers surveyed plan to purchase video game related items for their children this holiday – including video games, consoles, and accessories.” While we’re always thrilled for the holiday season, this one is especially exciting as we welcome the first new gaming consoles in nearly a decade, along with a flurry of new titles to show off the systems’ next-gen technology,” said Ashley Sheetz, chief marketing officer of GameStop. “It seems more people than ever, at almost any age, are getting into gaming, and if this survey is any indication, the number of gamers will keep on growing thanks to the holidays this year!”
  • 84 percent of ‘gifters’ are aware of store and website trade-in programs, and nearly 20 percent are planning to use them to help defer gift costs. We learned that “GameStop offers instant store credit or cash on a vast range of products, from old video games, consoles, to smartphones, tablets, and other electronics sitting in drawers and on shelves. And with special holiday trade-in bonuses, the savings can grow large very quickly!”
  • 82 percent of ‘gifters’ expect to turn to store employees when making purchasing decisions this holiday season. “We know holiday shopping is stressful and even more so when presented with the plethora of gaming choices out there,” said Jason Cochran, vice president store operations and strategic initiatives of GameStop. “Our goal is to relieve some of that stress with our trained employees armed with the latest gaming knowledge, as well as through our loyalty and trade-in programs that can make the financial strain of the holidays less stressful.”

 

When it comes to video games for my kids, I spend the time to gather information about the game by using not only sites like Common Sense Media and ERSB, but also knowledgeable GameStop salespeople. Over lunch, we had a chance to talk about screen time and tips to understand if a game is appropriate for kids/family use:

 

  • Current state of kids & technology:  83% of parents set rules or have a conversation with kids about the safe use of technology, with the majority of parents setting limits starting at ages 5-8*, Overall daily screen time for kids under 8, 1 hour 55 minutes, decreased by 21 minutes per day vs 2 years ago.** More time on: mobile devices, Less time on: TV, DVD, Computers, Video Games.*From Microsoft/Comscore study 2013 .
    **From Common Sense media 2013 survey: Kids 0-8.
  •  Games are social: 40% of gamers play with friends with 17% playing with their spouse or significant other and 34% playing with other family members. Video games are a family activity: 40% of parents play video games with their children at least weekly. Most video games being sold are appropriate for kids with 73% of the 245.6 million video games sold in 2011 rated Everyone (E), Teen (T) or Everyone 10+ (E10+). Ninety-one percent of games evaluated by ERSB in 2012 were rated E, T or E10+, From Entertainment Software Association.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations : Establish screen-free zones, turn off electronic devices during dinner.  For children and teens: limit entertainment media to no more than 2 hours per day (does not include homework). For children under 2: no TV and entertainment media.
  • Recommendations to help find the appropriate video: Common Sense Media offers the ability to search game titles for younger kids and drill down by age, content, educational benefit and more. PluggedIn.com offers the ability to sort by rating, platform and genre. ESRB rating search app (and website) flags “Interactive Elements” so you’ll know if the game shares location, personal information or user habits. ESRB recently expanded search filters for exclude/include content type (violence, language, nudity etc) or a specific rating, plus access to rating summaries for packaged games.

 

How do you choose which games are appropriate for your family? What types of family technology are on your holiday shopping list?

 

Here are some posts from other bloggers at the event:

Mom With Apps: Three Tips for Family-Friendly Gaming
ParentGrapevine: GameStop – The Place to Shop, Sell, Trade-in and Buy for the Holidays
 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own.

 

 

 

 

Tame Holiday Chaos With OneNote Cookbook

The day to day adventures of a family with three boys is best described as controlled chaos. Adding the November/December holidays to the mix results in wonderful family events wrapped in noise, toys and meals best described as “feeding time at the zoo”. Trying to tame the chaos, I try to plan ahead and organize whenever possible.

 

One of the biggest challenges is the various food requirements of family and friends. I am starting down the road of plant-based Vegan diet as are several other members of my family. My three sons are happy to eat plant-based foods as long as they can have meat and fish in the mix. They especially love vegan Indian food with creamy coconut and curry sauce.  Another family member has Type 1 Diabetes so he needs to have non-starchy foods, lots of veggies, plant-based drinks like Coconut milk and protein. Other family members and friends have different food related requirements, including some with serious allergies. Everyone has found their personal balance with their diet, so I wanted to find a process to support them in their efforts. My solution is to use OneNote http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/ to organize recipes to be used for different events. I found this blog post on the OneNote blog that explains how to create a OneNote Cookbook that includes a template to get started and ideas about using different tabs for different types of food:

 

 

 

Because I already use OneNote for digital note-taking and organization, creating a holiday cookbook was both easy and efficient. I created separate tabs in my Holiday Cookbook Notebook for each of the categories required for a flexible menu: Chicken, Fish, Beef, Vegetarian, Vegan/Plant Based, Gluten Free, Nut Allergy Friendly.

 

 

 

Within each category/notebook I add “pages” of different recipes and sub-categories including “Vegan Appetizers”. All the pages have live links to the recipes online so I can check back when needed and create shopping lists. The OneNote screen clipper tool makes capturing what I want to add to my cookbook easy, especially when I am clipping from an online recipe because it brings the URL with the picture so I can click through to the recipe online.

 

I always try to have vegan dishes available for the Vegans and Vegetarians. For those who need protein I also include dishes with lean meats cooked without dairy plus a creamy cheesy dish (or at least a cheese plate) for those who love cheese! Providing a big salad, vegetable and fruit plate with hummus and olives also helps a variety of diets. Nuts are served separately to help those with a nut allergy stay safe.

 

Best of all, my husband also has OneNote on his mobile phone so we can share shopping responsibilities. Our OneNote Notebooks are synced via my cloud storage on SkyDrive, where we also store holiday photos and albums to be shared with family and friends. I can even share my OneNote Holiday Cookbook via Skydrive with family if they want to add recipes.

 

Getting organized in these ways helps gain some control over my busy holiday schedule. How do you tame your holiday chaos and manage a holiday menu to support different nutritional needs.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series. All of my words are my own.

 

For more Holiday tech tips check out the one stop shop #MadePossible on who other people are preparing for the holidays and to show how anything is possible with Microsoft Products.

 

 

 

Curious.com Launches Video Seminars With Sunset Magazine

After years of school it was not until college that I realized I was a visual learner. Now as a mom with three kids, I found out that my kids are also visual learners. I have also come to the conclusion that many people are also visual learners. Just ask someone how they learned to make their favorite meal. For me it was watching my Grandmom make chicken soup which now I make the same way.  Or watching my Pilates teacher demonstrate what using “core” stomach muscles really means (i.e. – not the cheater’s sit ups I have been doing for years using my back instead of my stomach).

 

 

That is why I have been so excited to see all the new learning options online using visual platforms such as video. Curious.com is one of those exciting websites with video lessons that inspires their online community to learn, teach and share a wide range of topics. They also believe that learning should happen beyond the classroom: “At Curious we believe in lifelong learning. Learning for its own sake. Learning that happens beyond classrooms, and not only in academic subjects (unless you count beer brewing, pipe soldering, and organic gardening as academic). Learning as a necessity of living “.

 

The new announcement out today is just in time for the holidays, especially those “Turkey cooking challenged but have lots of family coming over” like myself. Curious is collaborating with Sunset Magazine to create Sunset Seminars: “Sunset Seminars” will initially contain lessons in three courses: Sunset’s Perfect Holiday Meal, Sunset’s Essentials of Wine, and Sunset’s Guide to Container Gardening.  See the press release below. Looks like there will be Turkey (and lots of other holiday) cooking and entertaining video lessons in my near future!

 

What are you Curious to learn?

 

 


 

PRESS RELEASE:

IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, CURIOUS.COM LAUNCHES “SUNSET SEMINARS” IN COLLABORATION WITH SUNSET MAGAZINE
Sunset and Curious.com Share Food, Wine and Garden Inspiration through Interactive and Entertaining Video-based Lessons

 

Menlo Park, CA, November 21 – Curious.com, Inc., the marketplace for lifelong learning, today announced the launch of  “Sunset Seminars” on Curious.com. Created in collaboration with Sunset magazine, the premier guide to living in the West, “Sunset Seminars” will initially contain lessons in three courses: Sunset’s Perfect Holiday Meal, Sunset’s Essentials of Wine, and Sunset’s Guide to Container Gardening. Available now, Sunset Seminars can be accessed by going to www.curious.com/sunsetmagazine.

 

Each course, which is taught by one of Sunset’s expert editors, consists of 6-8 video-based lessons. In time for the holidays, Sunset’s Perfect Holiday Meal features Sunset food editor Margo True sharing invaluable insights on everything from a 1966 recipe for Thanksgiving stuffing that’s withstood the test of time, to how to prepare the perfect bird on the grill. In Sunset’s Essentials of Wine, a comprehensive primer on wine appreciation, wine editor Sara Schneider takes wine lovers on a journey of “Old World” and “New World” red, white and sparkling wines, plus takes a trip to the supermarket wine aisle. In Sunset’s Guide to Container Gardening, garden guru Johanna Silver teaches everything needed to cultivate a vibrant container garden from choosing the right containers and, selecting the best plants to maintaining a beautiful garden.

 

As with all lessons on the Curious platform, Sunset Seminar learners will have the means to ask their instructors questions and receive input on their own creations, providing a rare and intimate level of access to some of the world’s leading food, wine, and home and garden experts.

 

Sunset Seminars represent Curious’ first co-branded lesson collection giving Sunset a new platform through which to share their expert editorial content, while also infusing Curious with more lessons from the world’s best teachers. Curious already allows learners to browse over 3,000 lessons by theme through other collections, including such favorites as Languages, Art & Photo, Tasty Treats, Green Thumb and Learn to Code. Adding quality co-branded content is the next logical step.

 

“Sunset’s readers don’t want to just read our content. They want to live it,” said Peggy Northrop, Sunset Editor-in-Chief. “This collaboration with Curious.com allows us to give our fans–plus millions of passionate consumers who are actively seeking quality DIY instruction on the Web–what they want: new ways to access and learn from Sunset’s trusted experts anytime, anywhere.”

 

“Sunset is an iconic brand, known for covering the West’s best flavors, destinations, design trends, and innovations. Sunset’s content and amazing editors are ideally suited for the Curious flavor of video-based lessons,” said Justin Kitch, founder and CEO of Curious.com. “But even more importantly, the Sunset team shares our vision and passion at Curious for helping people achieve, grow, and learn.”

 

How it works:

 

Beginning today, anyone can go to Curious.com to access Sunset Seminars. The Sunset Seminars will initially feature 19 lessons on food, wine, and gardening. Designed specifically for learners, all lessons on Curious are comprised of interactive videos broken into “bite-size” conceptual sections. They also include exercises and additional resources, such as recipes, product and book recommendations, and a special Sunset magazine subscription offer. The Sunset Seminars can be accessed 24×7 via computer or iPad so that people can tap into Sunset’s expertise anytime.
To access Sunset Seminars at Curious.com go to www.curious.com/sunsetmagazine, or view other lesson collections at www.curious.com/learn.

 

About Sunset
Sunset (www.sunset.com) is the leading lifestyle brand in the West. Through magazines and books, events and experiences, and digital and social media, Sunset covers the West’s best flavors, destinations, design trends, and innovations. Sunset engages and inspires an audience of over five million educated, active and affluent consumers every month through its five regional print editions—Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Southern California, Southwest and Mountain—as well as via all tablet devices and its website. In addition to its print and digital publication, Sunset showcases the region’s unique lifestyle and noteworthy destinations through its flagship events, established home programs, licensing partners, books and International Wine Competition. Sunset is part of the Time Inc. Lifestyle Group.

 

About Curious

Founded in 2012, Curious.com, Inc. offers an innovative and engaging marketplace that connects lifelong learners with exceptional teachers around the world. Curious is home to short-format video-based interactive lessons that help anyone learn about anything on their own time. It also provides a range of free, easy-to-use tools for teachers that enable them to market, share, and monetize their lessons to millions of learners. Curious is a private company funded by Redpoint Ventures, Bill Campbell, Jesse Rogers and Justin Kitch based in Menlo Park, CA. For more information visit www.curious.com.

 

Disclosure: This is a press release.

 

 

 

AT&T Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Holiday Deals

The AT&T gift guide includes handsets, emerging devices, U-verse, Smart Controls and Accessories. The holidays are a great time to make gifts not only fun but practical (like upgrading to a smartphone for you or a loved one). Some of the handsets listed on their holiday guide are Nokia Lumia Smartphones, Sony Xperia TL, HTC smartphones and the LG Optimus G.  Some of the accessories listed on their gift guide are iFrogz Boost Plus Near Field Audio Speaker, iGrill Thermometer, Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, and the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth Speaker (red is a nice holiday color!). I will update this post with more of their accessory and stocking stuffer recommendations.

 

 

CURRENT DEALS (from the press update):

  • $100 Off any Tablet (including iPad!):  Customers will receive $100 off any tablet purchased at an AT&T company owned store or online at www.att.com or at selected agents or retailers with a two-year data plan agreement. Details.
  • Windows 8 smartphone + Tablet: For a limited time, AT&T customers will receive a $100 off the ASUS VivoTab, after purchasing any Windows smartphone and an additional $100 off any tablet, purchased at an AT&T company owned store or online at www.att.com with a two-year data plan agreement. Details.
  • Samsung BOGO: For a limited time, customers who purchase a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, including the Galaxy Express, will receive up to $100 off a second connected Samsung device. Details.
  • Exclusively at att.com, AT&T will be ringing in the value with a series of revolving online promotions kicking off on Black Friday, Nov. 23 and continuing until the last chime on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26. Here are a few:


Black Friday Weekend: Nov. 24&25
HTC Vivid is just $.01
Rugby Smart is only $.99

 

Cyber Monday: Nov. 26 (begins 12:01 a.m. ET)

Some of AT&T’s most popular smartphones for just $.99 — the Pantech Renue, Motorola Atrix HD, HTC One X (gray only) Samsung Galaxy S II and the Nokia Lumia 900.

 

As with all deals, quantities are limited.

 

 Disclosure: This is a press update.

 

 

 

Sprint Cyber Monday and Holiday Deals

Sprint just updated me on their Cyber Monday promotion – but they also have a Sprint holiday cell phone deal page on their website that lists deals on phones, tablets, hot spot devices and accessories.

 

Listed below is the Cyber Monday press info Sprint sent my way:

 

“The ‘Unlimited Edition’ savings continue from Sprint. On Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, and continuing through Monday, Dec. 3, Sprint customers activating a new line of service can buy Samsung Galaxy S® II and Galaxy Nexus for FREE1 exclusively online or by calling call 1-800-Sprint1 with a two-year service agreement2.

 

1Device pricing excludes taxes and surcharges and customers must purchase with a new line and two-year service agreement.

2Qualifying smartphone plans include: Simply Everything, Simply Everything Share, Everything Business, Everything Data, Everything Data Share, Business Advantage Messaging & Data, Business Share Plus with Pro Pack Plus.”

 

Sony Holiday Tech Deals and Gift Recommendations

There are some great Sony products on sale during Black Friday. The Sony blog published Editor’s picks that help point out some great holiday gifts or the opportunity to give a gift to yourself.  Some items may be limited quantities. I bought my Sony Vaio laptop over 2 years ago and it is still going strong! The Sony Handycam I bought a few years ago is also going strong – and is the camera my son used to launch his YouTube channel with skating videos.

 

 

 

 

EDITOR’S PICK (from the Sony Blog):

  • Save $50 on the VAIO E Series 11 Laptop (SVE11125CXW) now $399.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/SJijGd
  • Save $100 on the VAIO T Series 13 Ultrabook (SVT13122CXS)now $599.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/WlrxY4
  • Save $400 on a 50″ (diag.) LED EX645 Internet TV(KDL50EX645) now $899.99: http://bit.ly/SoJLX6
  • Save $200 on award-winning NEX5NK/B now $499.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/OILpmn
  • Save over $340 on NEXF3K bundle, includes 2 lenses, 8GB mem card, and case, only $649.99 (over $300 in savings, excl tax): http://bit.ly/Wh1i4W
  • Save  $100 + get a free case and free 8GB memory card with the purchase of the Sony Alpha NEX-5R with 18-55mm Lens $649.99 (excl tax): http://bit.ly/Sd7NGa
  • Save up to $200 on select HD Handycam camcorders plus get free case, starting at $179.99: http://bit.ly/R1h0Ew 

 

 

I also received a press update on Playstation Hardware recommendations. Here is the information I was sent:


o   The 3G Vita offers an unparalleled combination of rich gaming and social connectivity delivering something for gamers of all ages and interests. It is the highest definition handheld gaming experience possible, featuring a stunning 5-inch OLED touchscreen, front touchscreen, a rear touch pad, dual analog sticks, motion sensors, and front and rear cameras, result in game experiences not possible on any other handheld gaming device.

o   PS3 offers a complete entertainment home entertainment hub comprising a Blu-ray player, HDMI output and 1080p resolution, 3D gaming capabilities, and an integrated Wi-Fi connection. The 320GB built-in hard drive offers plenty of storage for games, videos, and other content downloaded from PlayStation Network, as well as personal digital content such as music and photos.

o   PS3 owners also have free and unlimited access to PSN, the online entertainment hub for all PlayStation platforms, which delivers on-demand content like games, movies and TV shows, sports and music straight into your living room—unmatched entertainment value for the entire family.

 

NEW Playstation Software

  • Wonderbook: Book of Spells($39.99; $79.99 for bundle pack)
    • Brings exclusive content in immersive new ways by putting you at the heart of the action, using augmented reality technology to transform the world around you by tilting, rotating, or simply turning the pages to bring stories to life like never before
    • Reveals original content from J.K. Rowling – you’ll will be able to read and practice 20 spells, just like the students at Hogwarts
  • LittleBigPlanet Karting ($59.99)
    • Get behind the steering wheel and get ready to race through fun-filled tracks, discover unlockables in 3D environments, and battle in karting arenas filled with pick-up items and weaponry
  • Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale($59.99; also available on Vita for $39.99)
    • Play as your favorite PlayStation characters with all their signature moves, including Kratos, Fat Princess, PaRappa, Colonel Radec, Sweet Tooth, Sly Cooper, Nathan Drake, Sackboy, Big Daddy, Heihachi Mishima, and Toro Inoue.
    • With Cross-Save and Cross-Play between PS3 and PS Vita you never have to stop playing
  • Sports Champions 2($59.99)
    • Features six events including five new games and an update to the popular Archery event from the first title. New games include Skiing, Tennis, Boxing, Golf, and Bowling
  • Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault($59.99)
    • Ratchet and Clank Return to the classic camera, weapons and third-person Ratchet gameplay, while adding a new base defense element.
    • Intense, strategic and “Ratchet-y” experience that combines classic Ratchet & Clank mechanics with MOBA-style head-to-head action

 

 

Vita Software

o   Local multiplayer via 2-4 players same screen, online gaming for up to 4 players, and more than 45 new story levels and games to play across 6 themes.

 

Disclosure: I am in a Sony Blogger program where I receive products to review. This is not a sponsored post, all of my words are my own.

 

Microsoft Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals

With Windows 8 out, the holiday sales are an exciting time to invest in a new Windows 8 device. My shopping strategy recommendation is to first decide what you need and then look into the sales – which go on throughout the holiday season. For those that want to get started, Microsoft has a blog post that summarizes the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. It is important to note that many sales have limited quantities. But I also find that new sales happen so other opportunities will present themselves.

 

Some of the key sales from the blog post are:

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals from Dell: Dell’s Black Friday deals hereCyber Monday deals here.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals from HP:  HP’s Black Friday deals here,  HP’s Cyber Monday deals here and at @HPdeals on Twitter.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals from Lenovo: You’ll find Lenovo’s Black Friday deals hereCyber Monday deals here  and on Twitter at @lenovo , @lenovodeals.

Black Friday Deals from Toshiba: · Find great prices on Toshiba laptops here running Thursday 11/22 6pm PST and through Monday evening 11/26.

I found great Black Friday Deals from Sony at their website.

 

The Microsoft Website has the XBox bundle deals listed, including Xbox 360 4 GB Kinect Sports Dance Central Bundle.

 

HP Black Friday and Holiday Tech Deals

The press release just came out for HP Holiday offerings. The first step as I mention in my shopping strategy post is to decide what your families needs are, what devices have the features to fit those needs and then investigate what sales are available.  It is also important to understand that many sales are only “while supplies last”. Here are some of the sale and holiday recommendations from the HP press release:

 

 

BLACK FRIDAY:

 

–Save $150 on the Windowws 8 Touchscreen HP ENVY 20 TouchSmart All-in-One Desktop PC, now only $649.

–Save 40% on Photosmart 6520 e-All-in-One Printer. Only $89.99 after a $60 savings.

–Save 41% on Officejet 6700 e-All-in-One Printer. Only $99.99 after a $70 savings.

 

CYBER MONDAY:
Receive a free gift valued at $99 with an PC purchase at HPShopping.com (while supplies last).  Plus, great deals on PCs including:
–HP ENVY Ultrabook 4t @ $599.99 (Everyday Price is $729.99)
$130 Savings on PC
–HP Pavilion 23-b030z All-in-One Desktop PC @ $499 (Everyday PC price is $599)
$100 Savings on PC

 

Here are some of their recommendations for those that need the flexibility of a laptop:

  • “The HP ENVY x2 is an ultraportable and ultrathin hybrid PC weighing a sleek 3.1 pounds,(8) and offering the advantages of two devices in one. The HP ENVY x2 has a detachable screen that becomes a full tablet when separated from the keyboard via a seamless magnetic latch, transitioning from a productive workspace to entertainment powerhouse. Starting at $849.99. A video tour of the inventive HP ENVY x2 is available at HP’s TheNextBench.com.
  • The HP ENVY SpectreXT Touchsmart Ultrabook™ features an all-metal design and 15.6-inch diagonal multitouch Radiance Full HD(9) display with IPS technology, making it the ideal mobile companion for those who seek sophistication and substance. The HP SpectreXT TouchSmart Ultrabook is HP’s first notebook with Intel® Thunderbolt technology(10) for blazing-fast transfer of music, movies and data to external devices. Starting at $1,399.99.
  • The HP ENVY Touchsmart Ultrabook 4 delivers powerful performance in an eye-catching metal design that measures 23 mm thin and weighs 4.77 pounds.(8) The HP ENVY Touchsmart Ultrabook 4 features a 14-inch multitouch HD(9) display, a booming subwoofer with Beats Audio and optional AMD graphics with 2 GB of graphics memory. Starting at $799.99.”

 

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. This is a update from a press release I received.

 

Dell Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Holiday Tech Deals

Here is the holiday (press) information I received from Dell on the Black Friday Deals. As I said in my first post, there will be deals all throughout the holidays so the most important step for technology shopping is choosing what fits with your technology need then finding a deal on those items. It is also important to understand that many holiday deals are “while supplies last”.

Dell has a Black Friday  www.dell.com/blackfriday and CyberMonday www.dell.comn/cybermonday websites. One pick is the XPS 13 which will start at $799 on dell.com/blackfriday, starting at 12:00am CST 11/23, for limited time and quantity.  There will also be three-hour door busters at 12am EST on Friday, November 23 on systems such as XPS 13 will be offered for $799, Inspiron 14z laptop is available for $299.99, Inspiron 660s on sale for $249.99 and Inspire One 20 all-in-one for $399.  Dell also has the Dell’s Holiday Catalogue.

 

 

Black Friday details from Dell (per their email with press info):

Dell has a new line of Windows 8 devices and Dell’s premium XPS-branded devices: systems in an array of sizes:  XPS 12, XPS 13, XPS 14, XPS 15, including our newest, fabulous XPS One 27 All-in-One.

 

More budget friendly options for students and families can be found with Dell’s Inspiron products. Latest includes the Inspiron 14z and 15z Ultrabooks.

 

The line for gamers is the  Alienware M14x for  powerful gaming performance in a portable, 14-inch form factor, while the Alienware M17x, M18x or X51 mini gaming desktops are customizable entertainment centers.

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