Gismos & Gadgets

Tossing Business Cards, Notes, & Manuals – Minimalism

By 30 Day Challenges, Articles for Performers, Gismos & Gadgets, Inspiration, Minimalism & Zero WasteNo Comments

When it comes to notes, instruction manuals, business cards and really anything else with a potentially useful bit of information, I had the worst sorting habits for years. I refused to get rid of any scrap of potentially useful information for fear I would be at a loss without it. However, since I did such a terrible job of organizing any of it when the time came to find something I would end up digging through boxes, not finding the stupid thing and making a giant mess.

When I had a meeting at the bank last month and could not find a single file they requested, I realized that something had to be done and with the help of Evernote I managed to digitize absolutly everything into a searchable database of secure files I can access anywhere in just 3 days.

Evernote is a program that uses image capturing, audio recording, tags, and notebooks to digitize, store and organize your information in a way that makes it searchable as hell.

Business Card Capturing

One of Evernote’s best features is business card capturing, which is perfect for helping you remember the people you meet at events of conventions. The business card camera capturing feature takes the clearest possible image of the card, reads the data and adds it in the appropriate fields then finds that person’s Linked in profile and saves everything into a contact note.

This feature alone is worth the price of admission, which can be as little as free depending on which features you need.

Notes & Document Capture

No scanner? No problem. Scannable is a sister app created by Evernote’s that captures paper documents quickly and sharply and creates high-quality scans you can sort, save and share with the touch of a button. Alternativly you can also scan documents into the Evernote app directly, but there are a few extra features with Scannable that are worth considering, including a crop feature.


Once in a while a product actually comes with an electronic copy of the manual, yay! You can file any of these immediately in your Evernote storage. I created a Notebook just for the manuals, then tagged each with a “type” (#tools, #appliances, etc.) to make them easier to find when I need them.

If you don’t have a digital copy of the manual, it’s time to go on the hunt. We can start by visiting the manufacturer’s website since most companies have a cache of docs going back years; as long as you have a model number for the product—usually printed right on it—it is typically easy to find. If that fails you can search manual collections online. ManualsLib is my preferred hub for product manuals, I am always surprised how few people have heard of them since they are likely the largest online database of product manuals.

When you’ve got all your documents digitized and sorted you can go ahead and recycle the original paper copies saving space in your office and your mind.

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Tossing my Bills & Recipts – Minimalism

By 30 Day Challenges, Articles for Performers, Blogs & Vlogs, Gismos & Gadgets, Inspiration, Minimalism & Zero WasteNo Comments

After tossing all my membership and loyalty cards, the next thing to downsize was the pile of business receipts and bills that had been accumulating for years. Every little write-off since I started the company years ago, I was overwhelmed.

In just 3 days, I use 3 killer tools to climb out of the pile of paper and into a clutter free office. (Note: please recycle the paper you declutter)

Automated Book Keeping

Gone are the days of paper bookkeeping, although I loved my paper accounting ledgers I am now a complete Mint convert. Mint is a free online bookkeeping system that automatically pulls transactions from all your accounts in real time. The super clean and easy to use interface allows you to sort and categorize purchases, build budgets, search past transactions and even creates little charts that help you to visualize your spending habits. You can add cash spending transactions manually and the program even starts to learn how to automatically sort your purchases over time.

Easy Receipt Management

Of course with all your bookkeeping migrating online, what do you do with those pesky receipts? Expensify is by far the best app for keeping track of your recipes! Their “SmartScan” system reads your receipt and uses OCR technology to automatically scan for details that allow it to sort and categorize them in an instant.

Paying Bills Online – Go Paperless

The last major change was to make sure all my bills were available online and were no longer being mailed to the house. Phone, internet, power and gas, they can all be paid online which would avoid the extra filing and the extra paper waste. Some companies want you to switch to paperless billing so badly they even charge a small fee, so check your statement to make sure you’re not getting dinged for paper bills you didn’t want in the first place.

Staying on Top of Paper Clutter

The best part of this deliberate purge and move towards digital solutions is that with Mint tracking my bookkeeping, Expensify sorting my receipts and no new paper bills coming in, keeping on top of the office paper clutter is remarkably easy.

If you want more tips and tricks about minimalism, travel, life hacks and more, join the “Tips & Tricks” mailing list. No spam, no ads and I’ll never sell your info, just good clean fun.

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If you want more tips and tricks about minimalism, travel, life hacks and more, join the “Tips & Tricks” mailing list. No spam, no ads and I’ll never sell your info.

Tossing my Loyalty & Membership Cards – Minimalism

By Blogs & Vlogs, Gismos & Gadgets, Minimalism & Zero Waste, Travel & AdventureOne Comment

I’ve spent a lot of time today getting on top of my paper clutter by creating clear management systems for everything from mail to loyalty cards. This has been a huge relief and I want you to experience the same freedom I am now enjoying. All you need to get started is a smartphone and a couple of minutes.

Loyalty & Membership Cards

Stocard, Key Ring & UGO Wallet are the top three apps for lightening your wallet, they allow your to quickly and easily digitizing all your Loyalty and Membership cards. All three are avilable for android or IOS, all three are totally free and all three are currently sitting on my phone. Yes, that’s right, I downloaded all three apps and uploaded each and every one of my cards to get an idea of the quality of these three apps and to determine if there was one outlier in the bunch.

The answer is yes, after playing with all three and using them in stores I can definitively say that Stocard is the superior app. You can upload your cards at twice the speed of the other two with the impressive barcode reader, the interface is clean and simple and is has the largest database of shops.

Highly recommended!!!

If you want more tips and tricks about minimalisum, travel, life hacks and more, join the “Tips & Tricks” mailing list. No spam, no ads and I’ll never sell your info, just good clean fun.

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If you want more tips and tricks about minimalisum, travel, life hacks and more, join the “Tips & Tricks” mailing list. No spam, no ads and I’ll never sell your info.

Easy Caramel Macchiatos at Home with an AeroPress

By Gismos & GadgetsNo Comments

I was the only big coffee drinker in the house. Since I’d rather not make an entire pot every morning, I usually went without.

I kept hearing buzz about this cute little AeroPress unit that made rich coffee with less bitterness and acidity, one cup at a time. I was skeptical. It was a press system and I had a bad experience using my friend’s French Press and getting a mouth full of grit in my last few sips, yuck.

I was on the fence until Lifehacker got on board. Suddenly I needed one now, express shipping please!

Now 2 months later, I am glad to say there are no signs of buyer’s remorse. I have found a few little hacks that allow me to make myself fantastic frothy lattes every morning in under 4 minutes. The coffee is as good as the hype and pleasantly grit free.

If you want one for yourself the AeroPress is usually sold for less than $35. I’ve seen them at high end coffee shop but you can also just grab it online.

Here’s a video I put together showing how to make a 4 minute Caramel Macchiato. Enjoy 🙂

5 Great Cord Management Systems for your Gadgets

By Gismos & Gadgets, Top Ten, Travel & AdventureNo Comments

I can’t wait till everything goes wireless, since I am awful to my cords. They get stuffed into luggage or left to tangle in a drawer and now I have to pay the price, literally. Recently I lost a couple cords to my negligence and found out it’s gonna cost me $80 to replace my iPhone earbuds and another $35 to replace a charger cable. Time to invests in an ounce of prevention.

These are the best cord management systems (CMS) that I found or were recommended to me, in no particular order.


1. The Cable Clip by Blue Lounge

Blue Lounge makes a lot of really cool gadget helpers, one of which is the cable clip. This cord solution doesn’t add a lot a bulk, making it great for travel. Cooler still, the shape allows you to stack unused cords or line them up neatly in a drawer. Comes in 4 colours: light grey, dark grey orange and green.

They come in 3 sizes:

Small (25 x 26 x 11 mm): Ideal for thin cords such as earbud cords, small data cables and charger cords. Sold in packs of 6.

Medium (39 x 36 x 16 mm): Ideal for USB & data cords, small power cords, audio cords and phone cables. Sold in packs of 4.

Large (61 x 51 x 29 mm): Ideal for thick or long power cords and ethernet network cables. Sold in packs of 2.

Cost: $9.95 for a pack

2. The AppleCore by AppleCore International

The Applecore is basically a spool for your cords, you can’t get more simple than that. This fun, simple design makes me think ‘playful minimalist’. It comes in a bunch of colours and holds cords securely, very well designed.

Cool Fact: The AppleCore won the 2010 DaVinci Institute Consumer Product of the Year Award

Also comes in 3 sizes:

Small: Ideal for thiner cords, like earbuds, small data cables and charger cords. $1.99

Medium: Ideal for shortening or storing small appliance and household item cords, such as hair dryers, kitchen mixers and AV cords. $2.99

Large: Ideal for shortening or storing thick or long power cords such as power tools. $4.99

Cost: $1.99 – 4.99

3. The Bobino Cord Wrap

The Bobino cord wrap is designed by the same folks that did the ultra clever Driinn Phone Holder. This CMS is tiny, thin, and simple to use. Six colours to choose from, all really nice.

Small (L 6.3″ x W 3.15″ x H 0.2″): Ideal for thiner cords, like earbuds, small data cables and charger cords. $2.95

Medium (L 6.3″ x W 3.15″ x H 0.2″): Ideal for shortening or storing USB & data cords, small power cords, audio cords and phone cables. $3.95

Large (L 6.69″ x W 3.15″ x H 0.2″): Ideal for shortening or storing thick or long data cords and phone cables. $4.95

Cost: $2.95 – 4.95


4. The Sumajin SmartWrap

The soft silicone has a great feel in your hand, it’s durable, tiny and comes in a ton of colors. The cords snap in at each end for extra security so no worry about it unraveling in your bag.

Cool Fact: The SmartWrap won ID magazine’s Design Distinction award
Cost: $5.00


5. Cableyoyo by Blue Lounge

The Cableyoyo is shiny, super thin and a bit more high tech than the other systems. Two small inbuilt clasps hold the cord at the right length when you have finished coiling. To unravel it, you squeeze in the center hole and just pull the end of the cord, brilliant and easy on the eyes.

Cost: $4.95

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10 Great Travel Gear & Gadget Essentials

By Gismos & Gadgets, Top Ten, Travel & Adventure2 Comments

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent pouring over the inventories of online travel shops, ‘best of’ gadget lists and, I hate to say it but, Sky Mall.

Since beginning my travel lifestyle, travel gadget and gear have become a passion. Here’s a list of the gadgets I love the best.

Enjoy 🙂

1. Cocoon Innovation’s Grid-It Organizer

Cocoon Innovation has created a simple little unit that will clean up and organize your luggage while keeping all your gagets and loose items easy to find and grab at a moments notice.

We initially pack our bags with organization in mind, but what happens when you get to your destination and have to churn up the bag to find your camera? Grid-It, get it organized and stay that way.

Cost: $19.95 – $25.95

2. Portable Purse Hanger

Slip this great little gadget into your bag and use it when sipping espresso on the boardwalk or enjoying a beer on the patio during your travels. Portable Purse Hanger will keep your bag from getting dirty or wet on the floor at your feet and you won’t be leaving purses out of sight on the back of your chair where is may get bumped off or worse, stolen.

This item is one I never knew I needed till I had one, now I can’t do with out it.

Cost: $5.95 – $19.95

3. ChicoBag Messenger Bag 

This bag is among my favorite possessions and not just because is created with 80% recycled materials, although that’s pretty cool.

The ChicoBag is a great, fashionable and convenient option. It expands from a little pack into a full-size messenger bag. It features two separate zipper pockets, flexible lycra bottle pockets, an adjustable strap, and a sleek magnetized closure system.

Cost: $19.95 – $29.95

4. OHSO Pocket Toothbrush

The OHSO travel toothbrush is the first really sexy looking oral care gadget to catch my eye. The best feature is the automatic toothpaste application. All you need to do is turn the bottom knob and toothpaste, stored in the handle, is dispensed. How cool is that??? It even has a gauge to tell you how much paste is left.

Cost: $19.95

5. Victorinox Hanging Toiletry Kit

Toiletry kits, like this one, help you keep all your make up, shower and bathroom items organized. The real advantage to having a kit where everything has it’s place is how much easier it is to remember all your little items when it’s time to go home. I have a bad habit for leaving tooth brushes and perfume bottles behind when on the road. Before zipping up your kit it’s easy to see at a glance whether or not something is missing.

Any toiletry case big enough for your essentials will work for you. The Victorinox Hanging Toiletry Kit is something special though. The antibacterial inner lining prevents the growth of odor, mildew and mold-causing bacteria. The large main compartment has a mesh divider, coated water resistent side pocket with loops for toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, and other little items. The top hook allows you to hang the kit from the shower or towel rack and tucks away when not in use.

Cost: $54.94 – $58.00

6. Diva Cup, for that time of the month 

A friend of mine, who travels extensively suggested I try the Diva Cup. The cup is an alternative to tampons and pads which is comfortable, reusable and more eco-friendly. I had no idea how great this would be for travel. No more running around looking for a pharmacy in an unfamiliar city and way more comfortable than the alternatives for long flights.

It takes a while to get used to it, but once you have you’re unlikely to go back.

Cost: $24.95 – $39.95 

7. Over the Door Hook

When traveling in hotels you get used to having ample hooks and hangers for all your storage needs. When your staying with friends or billets however you’ll notice that guest rooms are not so well equipped. Having a little door hook tucked away in your luggage is well worth the tiny space and weight it adds.

Cost: $4.95 – $9.95

8. Solio Classic Hybrid Solar Charger 

This award-winning, compact and versatile solar charger is the bomb. The Solio Classic collects power from the sun, a USB, or wall socket; you can recharge almost any of your travel gagets super conveniently. One hour of sun = 15 minutes talk time or 40 minutes of MP3 music. Free and clean energy immediately, awesome.

Cost: $75.95 – $95.95

9. iPhone Mobile Tail by Studiooo Factory

One of the newest iPhone stand designs. With the suction cup back, you can easily attached it to most mobile devices. The mobile tail is made of high quality liquid silicon rubber. It packs small and allows you to use your iphone as a bedside clock with the addition of one funky little app called “Alarm Clock Free“. Also it’s makes your phone look adorable.

Cost: $5.95 – $9.95

10. Carzor Credit Card Razor

The travel razor comes with its own mirror and will fit in your wallet, since it folds flat into a credit card shape. The blades can be removed and stashed in the card so it won’t cut up your wallet. Seriously Cool!

Cost: $12.95 – $17.95

= Eco friendly product