Life & Beauty Weekly: Life & Love

By Catherine Ryan for Life & Beauty Weekly

Are you still using your smart phone just for texting friends and updating your Facebook status? Start putting it to work for you by downloading apps that can help you make the most of your jam-packed life. We’ve found five of the most practical — and free! — mobile apps out there, all tested and recommended by busy women.

H&M (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch)
The H&M app shows what’s in stores now, plus it lets you check out the latest campaigns, news and videos from the store. You can also get interactive and feature your own wish list, offers and updates.

“I like to see what’s available so I can look for it in when I shop, or look for similar items in other stores seeing as Winnipeg doesn’t have a H&M yet,” says Ashleigh Kelman, a busy stay-at-home mom of two. “I wish other stores offered this — I don’t have a lot of time to shop and I love shopping. This is just as good and cheaper!”

TripIt (iPhone, Android)
Gone are the days of printing out every flight, cruise and hotel, and dinner reservation confirmation. This app compiles all your itineraries so you can look them up with a touch. Many airlines now let you scan your phone as your boarding pass — which means you don’t have to worry about stuffing your purse with cumbersome papers that can easily get lost. And best of all, paperless trips are better for the environment!

Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List (iPhone, Android)
Search for the perfect enchilada or chicken noodle soup recipe from this foodie site’s database — which features over 30,000 recipes — and then watch as it creates an aisle-by-aisle ingredients list. Back at home, follow the recipe right from your phone. (No more stained cookbook pages!)

“When I’m browsing in the grocery store, if there’s something — be it meat or vegetables — that looks really fresh, I can use the app to find a recipe that uses those ingredients instead of the stuff I was originally going to buy,” says Rachel Boone, a biophysical analyst for Manitoba Hydro.

AroundMe (iPhone)
When you’re in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, you may not have the patience to drive around in search of a gas station or takeout. Instead, pull up this app, which will find the closest bank, post office, restaurant, grocery store and more. Then browse to choose the one you want and you’ll get a map with the business’ phone number and directions to get you there ASAP. AroundMe is like a phone book, map and GPS all in one.

Dropbox (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry)
This file-sharing app acts as a go-between for your phone and computers. Save your cell’s videos and photos to Dropbox to access them from your computer later, and open documents, presentations and spreadsheets you stored there from your desktop. Dropbox works like a hard drive so you can access files you saved from home or work, no matter where you are. No more emailing yourself photos and important data!

Catherine Ryan
is a freelance writer and editor who writes on health, nutrition, beauty and green living for such magazines as
Self, Ode and
Parents. She is a frequent contributor to

Life & Beauty Weekly.

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