December 17, 2015

Tek Shouts! Reviews Fun Holiday Apps

By Amy Y.

Are you feeling the holiday spirit? Pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate or whip up a peppermint mocha and get ready to unwrap an early present this holiday season.  Tek Shouts! has found the best apps that can make your holiday merry and bright.  

v Pandora 5/5

Image from Pandora.
Though originally Pandora was not on our list, it has weaseled its way to number one. What’s the holiday season without holiday tunes?  If you haven’t updated the app lately, do so, and then tune into their brand new “More Recommendations” section.  

As you scroll through your personal recs, tap “Genre Stations” and then choose “Holiday.” They have 32 stations that will surely appeal to a variety of ears.

I was personally excited beyond belief to discover the “Hipster Holidays” station. You laugh, but up until this year, I went through the unbearable struggle of adding bands you’ve never heard of to a playlist one by one. It was intense. I think it took me a whole hour or two. Though the Holiday options are dominated by Christmas carols, there is a Hanukkah station as well.

v Allrecipes 5/5

Image from Pinterest.

Originally, Allrecipes has grown into a massive hub for chefs, home cooks, friends, family—anyone— to submit personal recipes. Allrecipes is, if not the number one recipe site, one of the top recipe sites online. They boast 40 million users worldwide.  If you’re already a committed frequenter of their website, consider downloading the app for use around the kitchen.

If you’re new to Allrecipes, create an account and type in any dish you’re curious about trying. Their recipes come with a rating system, rather like Yelp, so that you can see how others liked the dish and whether they had any problems following the recipe or made any important substitutions. You can also save any recipes you fall in love with forever!  Not only is this great for holiday dinners and sweets, it’s useful all year long.  

Not necessarily a holiday recipe, but my favorite discovery from the site is Moist Yellow Cake by Isaiah. Try frosting with some peppermint buttercream for a holiday twist. It’s my most used cake recipe for every occasion.

v Snowflaker 3/5

Image from the Huffington Post.
Not gonna lie, Snowflaker is a little bit weird.  I couldn’t figure out how to use it at first. It is a digital recreation of cutting out a snowflake from a triangle of paper, but there is no tutorial, so you just jump right in without a clue what to do.

If you’re a patient person, draw geometric lines around the paper’s exterior. This is probably easier on an iPad, or if you’re just really in love with snowflakes. 

Once you’ve butchered your paper, tap “Snowflake” and your hot mess will be transformed into a lovely snowflake which you can save as a digital picture or reset and try again.

While this isn’t as sophisticated as Adobe Photoshop by any means, it’s a fun little distraction that I personally found rather zen as I was waiting in line to buy Christmas cookie ingredients. However, it can become frustrating as it ultimately stopped functioning and would only “Snowflake” a circle without any cutouts. I think that the concept is better than the execution.

Snowflaker is available for iPhone only, but there is a variant called Snowflake for Android. I was unable to test this, but if you have, feel free to let us know about the experience in the comments!

Honorable Mentions

Ink Cards
Ink Cards is a greeting card service. They offer a huge variety of holiday photo card options so that you can make your order quickly and easily from the images you already have saved on your phone. It appears to be fairly easy and efficient, but I didn’t go through the order process.

Santa’s Bag
This app is an efficient list to track holiday gift buying. Though, to be frank, I’m not sure how it improves upon Evernote or the standard note apps that come with your particular phone model. It looked rather convoluted, but it’s cute and it’s themed so if you just love Christmas, you might like it. The app is currently only available for iPhone, but Google Play assures me there are many variations for Android.

Have you tried any of these apps, for the holidays or otherwise?  Let the Tek Team know in the comment section about your experience!  Feel free to also list any other holiday apps that have brought you joy during the holiday season. 

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