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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Web Surfing

I love the internet. I love shopping on the internet. I love planning trips on the internet. I love Facebook. I love proving myself right with the internet :) One of my favorite quotes "I'm gonna Google that!" Today I wanted to share some of my favorite web sites with you. I hope you find some fun, new, valuable resources!

www.goodreads.com

I love to read and Goodreads helps me keep track of all of the books I've read or want to read. Whenever I hear of a book I want to read, or see one in a magazine or in a store I just hop on Goodreads and add it to my list. You can build a list of friends and see what they're reading and if it sounds good with just a click of the mouse add it to your list. The one thing I wish they let you track is whether you own the book. I have a huge library (I'm still an old-fashioned reader) and sometimes when I'm out shopping for books I'll pull up my goodreads list on my phone but that doesn't mean the book isn't already sitting on my shelf.

www.vrbo.com

This is a great place to find rental properties all over the world. I have booked rentals from this website at the Lake of the Ozarks (numerous times!), in Florida, in South Dakota, in Branson, and they have houses, condos and apartments literally EVERYWHERE! I'll be honest, it isn't the most user friendly site as far as search functions go but the volume of properties blows every other site away. For your next vacation, check it out!

www.allears.net

Speaking of vacations this website has everything you need to know about Disney! It is very over-whelming so take it in small doses, when I was planning our first trip 5 years ago I would literally set a timer for 15 minutes and browse away until time was up every day for months. They review every restaurant and food stand, every hotel, every ride, pictures of everything, tons of questions and answers and user submitted tips. A great Disney resource.

www.allrecipes.com

I'm not a big recipe cooker but I still like to read recipes. Especially if I stumble upon something I want to make. Once I went to dinner at Avenues Bistro in Brookside and had the most amazing braised short ribs with risotto. I became obsessed with making those ribs. I must have browsed dozens of short rib recipes on this site before I tackled my own version. If you need a recipe I'm guessing they'll have it here. You can also create a profile and save recipes into an address book.

www.yelp.com

I love giving my opinion and I love getting others. Yelp is great for finding restaurants. I travel a lot for work (and for fun when I can) and I always use Yelp. Just type in what you are looking for, you can be specific like "cheap eats" or "Mexican Restaurant" and what area. It is all user driven so if you like it, sign up and start giving your reviews. These type of sites are only as good as the reviewers. Just on Saturday Haley wanted Chinese food so I went to yelp and asked for "chinese restaurant" in "Shawnee, KS" and we discovered Fortune Palace! It is only 1 mile from our house but we really didn't know it existed. It's our new favorite Chinese place (and I Yelped my review.)

www.tripadvisor.com

Along the same lines as above, this is a website that gives reviews of travel locations. Whenever I'm researching a vacation I'll search trip advisor for reviews of the hotels/resorts before booking. One thing to keep in mind is that there are people out there who will NEVER be happy. I have been to places that I think, How could anyone find anything wrong with this place??? And then remember that 9% of people HATED it.....WHAT???? I would really like to know what those people WOULD like. You can also look for things to do and places to eat. I love to see what the top 10 things to do are in a city before I go.

www.amazon.com

This may be a no-brainer but it is my favorite shopping website. They don't just sell books anymore, they sell just about everything. And if you spend over $25 shipping is FREE. Plus it never seems to take long to get your stuff. I love to pre-order books. As long as your total order is over $25 they won't charge you shipping on anything but they will ship the books as soon as they are available, not wait for the whole order to be available. I also download all my music from Amazon. They offer all the clean versions and it is Windows friendly.

www.sparkpeople.com

This website is amazing. You can set up your profile, put in your height, weight, fitness goals and it will give you a target for each day for calories, fat, protein and carbs. It will tell you exactly what to eat or let you just log what you choose to eat. There is so much information on this site it is crazy, from exercise to motivation to nutrition...... unreal. When I first discovered this site I lost 40 pounds in 3 1/2 months....thinking its time to get back on the Spark. Plus the story about the founder is great. He started an internet auction site which he sold to Ebay for a small fortune and started this site as his gift to human kind....or something like that.

So those are my favorite, go-to sites. If you have a favorite site you want to share, please comment below!

Thanks for reading! Pass it along!

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