Top 5 Picks for the Week, March 9, 2012

Life Hacks, Computer Glasses, Salt Art, Audio Books, and Beautiful Stores

1. Lifehacker

Photo Credit: Lifehacker.com

I’m always looking for new ways to improve my life and make things easier.  Lifehacker.com is a website chock full of tips, tricks, and “hacks” focused on taking the stress and complication out of daily tasks.  Throughout the day they feature different ideas to help with everything from easy exercises, to what to buy at shopping clubs versus grocery stores, and even which pasta is right for a particular sauce. Lifehacker does a great job of presenting innovative ways to approach traditional chores, and they also pride themselves with staying at the forefront of technology, frequently offering solutions for upgrading electronics and the best apps and wallpapers available.  Lifehacker is one of those sites that truly does have something for everyone.  Whether you are preparing for an upcoming job interview or installing insulation in your home, this site is worth following and adding to your feed.

2. Gunnar Technology Eyewear

Photo Credit: Gunnar Glasses via framesdirectblog.com

Totaling the hours with a desk job, personal computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and TV monitors; it is easy (and quite disturbing) to think we can average up to 10 hours per day staring at various screens.  Working on Excel sheets all day, then coming home to edit, create a website, and finish online courses, left my sight blurry, eyes bloodshot, and head throbbing.  Searching for a little relief, we came across Gunnars, “high tech computer eyewear designed to protect, enhance and optimize your vision.”  An avid gamer, on top of extensive computer use, my husband read some rave reviews and put them on his Christmas list.  The lenses are tinted a yellow hue, and I was not expecting much.  I often resigned to reading glasses while working on the computer, but decided to give his pair a try.  After my first night of use, I was sold.  A noticeable difference in strain, fatigue, and I didn’t leave the computer feeling like I had sand in my eyes, even my headaches were better.  Being a skeptical person, I brushed it off to a fluke but continued to use the glasses whenever my husband wasn’t.  We now have 3 pairs of glasses, the original ones he received which we both use, and recently we each ordered a second pair while Fab.com (a site previously mentioned in the top 5) was holding an online sale.  At full price they can be a little steep starting around $80, so I’d suggest watching sites such as Fab for deals.  However, for me the benefits constitute paying the money.  I have received more relief from the Gunnars than my reading glasses, eye drops, and trips to the optometrist combined.  In addition to glasses catering to computer use, Gunnars also has lines for gaming, 3D viewing, sunglasses, prescription compatible, and clear lenses for people focused on color balance in photography, video, and other creative arts.  Stylish and the best accessory for protecting your vision in this monitor-focused society, Gunnar Technology Eyewear has changed my life.

3. Motoi Yamamoto

Photo Credit: Makoto Morisawa, Motoi.biz

It is nearly impossible to pinpoint what constitutes a great artist since it is a subjective matter.  For me, however, I am drawn to people that stretch the boundaries of what was once considered impossible, implement unique mediums, and execute their works with precision and skill.  Motoi Yamamoto, a Japanese artist, caught my attention this week with his installations made out of salt.  He spends hours and weeks meticulously building up and sculpting blocks of salt in addition to designing intricate labyrinths and organic scenes with thin lines drawn on the floor.  Yamamoto uses traditional wood rakes and brooms when working in garden scenes.  To get the clean lines for mazes and other floor installations he funnels the salt through a tube resembling that which a pastry chef would use for cake decoration.  Precision is the key as even the slightest grain of salt a few millimeters out of place could disrupt the visual effect of the entire installation.  Visiting his website, you can view his various works and a video of his process is available through YouTube.  Yamamoto is exploring new horizons and proving that art can be made from anything.

Source: My Modern Met

4. Audible.com

Photo Credit: Audible.com

There are never enough hours in the day, and multitasking has become the norm for most of us.  I often hear friends talking about the latest novel that I must read, or see reviews for the best sellers of this month.  With limited time, and an ever-growing list of books to read, I needed something to start combating this uphill battle.  Audible.com is a service where you can sign up to be a member and purchase audio books from their vast online library.  You can register for memberships on a monthly or yearly basis.  This will allow you to download anything from the free section, as well as give you 1-2 credits per month (depending on the level you have selected).  Most books are only 1 credit to purchase, therefore equating to a minimum of 1 new book per month, in addition to the free section (at the lowest level subscription).  Monthly fees start at $14.95, but if you sign up for the year the price break equals 2 free months ($149.50 for all 12 months).  If you wish to purchase books and other audio programs beyond your credits, they run specials all of the time, often selling popular books for under $5.00.  Once you have set up your membership and downloaded your selections, the audio files can be stored on your computer, burned to a disc, or you can listen to them on a handheld device thanks to their intuitive app.  Available for both Android and iOS, logging into your account will automatically sync your library, making all of the files available to listen to while driving in the car, exercising, cleaning the house, or on your lunch break.  If you don’t have the time to sit down and read, for less than $0.50 a day Audible.com may be the solution for you.

5. Anthropologie

Photo Credit: Anthropologie.com

Moving to a bigger city has introduced me to some of the finer things in life I was missing out on, such as the fantastic store Anthropologie.  This is one of my new favorites.  Carrying clothes, accessories, candles, beauty products, and décor for the house, Anthropologie is at the top of my list.  Fresh colors, luxurious bedding, a great sale section, and a beautiful store design invites shoppers to come in and feel at home.  Anthropologie style is a brilliant combination of vintage, shabby chic, world-traveler, and country living all amped up with a modern twist.  It is one of those stores where I immediately feel relaxed, refreshed, and wish I could transport the entire atmosphere, clothes, furniture, mugs and all to my house.  They have stores throughout the country in most of the major cities, but if you are a little ways away, you can always shop their online site, and request a catalog there, as well.  Feminine, charming, and alluring Anthropologie is the ideal place to shop now that spring’s just around the corner.

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