Brian Approved: Hipstamatic

A friend recommended this app to me and I love it!  The app allows you to take old school photos with a film camera feel.  In the app, the viewfinder pops up like a camera straight from the 70s/80s.  You can post straight from the app to Facebook.  The only negative is it makes you post the “camera info” (flash, film, etc.) – I wish that was optional.  The way around that is to grab the photos from your regular photo app and post from there.  This app works for all smart phone platforms.  For iPhone users, download here.  You’re welcome.  By the way, this woman/model is the most beautiful person on the face of the planet!

Brian Approved: First book read of 2012…

So I saw this rated the “book of the year for 2011” from a friend of mine whom I really respect.  I figured if it was his #1, then I better check it out.  I’m not a huge war story guy, so before reading it, I had my reservations.. I’m pleased to report that this book was amazing!  I’d recommend it to anyone. It was one of those books where I caught myself not wanting to put it down.  If you’ve ever had a bad day and thought, “My life couldn’t possibly get any worse”, read this book and you’ll never think that again and be grateful for the life you have.  I don’t want to spoil the book if you haven’t read it.  Once you get done with it though, message me. I’d be curious as to your thoughts.

Brian Approved…

I’m starting a re-occurring post called “Brian Approved” aka BA.  These are just some of my recommendations for things having to do with…well, anything really.  Today, I’m going to give you 6 things to help you get started with City living.

*Daily Candy
My good friend, Kelly Rimler, who was one of the first of my friends to move to the City from Cali about 10 years ago sent me this site.  It’s a daily e-mail that you can sign up for which gives you “the insider’s guide to your city”.  From restaurant  recommendations, to entertainment, to fashion and good deals; its chalk full of good tips.

*Open Table
One thing you’ve probably noticed from this blog so far is that food is one of my favorite things.  Speaking of food, who hates having to call a restaurant to make a reservation?  Or worse, who hates going to a restaurant without a reservation and finding out that you have a 1 hour wait?  This guy!!!  Open Table solves those problems.  This isn’t exclusive to NYC but definitely is helpful there since almost every restaurant in the City requires reservations.  Most of the “quality” restaurants are on this site.  It’s free, easy and iPhone users can download the app.  Most cities have at least a few restaurants (even in small cities).  Thank you to my friend, Schae Lewis, for turning me on to this one.

*Immaculate Infatuation
Food app AGAIN!!  This is one of the best restaurant reviews apps/websites I’ve ever seen/read/used.  Most restaurant reviews are boing and they all tend to be the same.  That is not the case with this one.  The reviews are humorous, worded with everyday language and are spot on in their assessments!  Take a quick read of a partial review of a restaurant called “Hospada”:

If there’s such a thing as “fine dining for dudes”, we’ve just discovered it. Welcome to Hospoda, an upscale Czech restaurant that’s just as much a beer hall as it is a culinary destination. There aren’t many places in this city where a guy can order a light beer with his three course meal and not get treated like a redneck that just won the lottery. But at Hospoda, they actually encourage such behavior. As a matter of fact, half the point of this place is to educate you on the nuances of drinking fresh Pilsner Urquell with varying amounts of foam, just like they do back in the Czech Republic. No wonder we liked it so much.

Hilarious writing that hooks you in immediately.  Almost all their reviews are like this one. If you like to read creative writing and want your food cravings aroused, this is as good of a resource as they come.

*HopStop
The subway system is the cheapest most effective way to get around the city.  But how do you know which one to take?  This app helps you get from point A to B and isn’t exclusive to NYC.  It has directions for over 100 cities.  Thanks to my friend, Eric Partin, for hooking me up with this app.

*Zipcar
Another ground transportation option if you’re a local in a big city and don’t want to store your vehicle is Zipcar!  This is a fantastic service.  It’s basically like a rental car service but you sign up for a monthly membership and they have cars parked all over the city which you can grab and drive around.  They give you a credit card looking key that allows you to get into any of their vehicles.  You can rent by the hour or by the day.  The only negative is that there are no 1 way trips…all most be roundtrip.  Still, this is a way cheaper option than a typical rental car especially in NYC.

*Netrobe
Living in a tiny place, you have to be super organized and pack your closets well.  Because your clothing may be stuffed in a container on top of 3 other containers, you might forget what you have to work with.  This app allows you to inventory and catalog all your clothing (by taking a picture of it) and tag it where it’s stored.  And for the ladies (or the stylish fellas for that matter) that want to take it to a whole ‘nutha level, you can “styleboard” your clothing looks so you can plan out what you want to wear and try new looks on your phone before wasting time digging through clothes.  This is ideal for someone like my wife!!   Get the app, whether you live in the city of not.