Wedding Wednesday: Are You Going to Tweet That?

We have all seen the viral video of the bride texting down the aisle (well, at least now you have). Classy stuff! But it’s not all bad… really.

We are using social media and tech gadgets in all facets of our lives from guiding us on the road to planning our busy social calendars. Another way technology is helping make our lives a little bit easier: planning what might be the most important day of your life, your wedding day. We aren’t advocating having your phone in hand while walking down the aisle… but going online just makes the headache of wedding planning and coordinating a little more manageable (you can only work so many miracles!). Did you know 1 in 5 couples now use a mobile app to help plan for the big day? A lot more organized than having a Filofax stuffed with Post-its and vendor cards. Brides going viral even made our top 11 moments of 2011 list!

Let’s take a look at how social media is reinventing the wedding game as we enter 2012:

A whopping 65% of couples create a site to manage RSVPs, stream video and keep guests in the loop. That is just one of the staggering statistics about how modern brides are incorporating social media into their big day.

Including out of town guests

Probably one of the greatest things about technology is the ability to connect with loved ones who are long distance. Sometimes we have friends or relatives who are unable to attend the big day. Programs, such as Skype, are helping change that. Now you can Skype in bridesmaids to the ceremony or live stream the big day for those unable to attend. About 10,000 weddings have been broadcast live from the site — Ustreamtv.com — over the last 12 months.

Facebook Page

How many of us liked the Royal Wedding Facebook page? Guilty! You don’t have to be Kate and William to create a Facebook Page for your wedding day. In fact, it is a lot easier than setting up a website. Odds are most of your guests are already on Facebook and Americans spend nearly 11 hours a month on the site so why not be where your guests are? There are tons of widgets and apps to allow for fun interaction on the page as well. They include a wedding day countdown, a map widget that displays the event venue’s locations, an RSVP widget, and we could go on and on. It can be the hub where you update guests on the planning, such as a cake tasting or posting a teaser picture of the centerpieces. They also make those who are unable attend feel part of the big day.

Going paperless

Nearly 1 in 5 couples go paperless for invitations or save-the-dates. Remember this awesome 90s rap music video invite? Going digital allows guests to easily add it to their online calendars. (I’d be lost without my Google Calendar!) You can add QR codes, which allow your guests to scan by phone and automatically be directed to your wedding page. Or you can also conduct the entire ceremony via your iPad with the sermon or the reading of the vows.

Interactive seating charts

Creating an online seating chart allows guests the opportunity to get to know each other before the big day. You can manage RSVPs, meal choices and hopefully prevent awkward conversations. There are many free sites to browse, such as Wedding Mapper.

Let your guests be the photographer

Your wedding photographer can only cover so much ground during the ceremony and reception. Let your guests get involved and share their own pictures. uSnap.us is a mobile app that your guests can download to view a slideshow of the event. They can submit their own pictures, which are then aggregated into one presentation for all your guests to enjoy.

Social media allows for brides and grooms to add personal touches to their ceremony in a way never thought possible. Embrace the opportunities but also remember to keep the phone tucked away while you enjoy your special moment down the aisle. We don’t want to see you on YouTube! Unless you’re these guys.

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Prius: Not As Safe As You Think

We all want to do our little part to help the planet. Bring our own bags to the grocery store, buy organic products, recycle. But for those of us who want to go beyond those small acts – we would buy a hybrid car. Well, new information reveals that you may be doing more harm than good. Many of the hybrid cars on the market, Prius, Honda Insight and Ford Focus, all use a “rare earth” mineral known as Neodymium (or Nd). The Prius is the largest user of rare earth minerals of any object in the world.

Mineral doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, minerals are found in the ground, and how do we get things out of the ground? Mining. Remember off shore drilling? These mining practices are causing major environmental damage and leaking radioactive waste. China, the largest producer, is limiting how much it supplies because it is concerned about the damage it is causing, unlike the rest of the world.

Rare earth minerals are used in batteries of hybrid cars,  magnets in wind turbines and even in your smart phones and iPads. This mineral is in high demand which will cause producers to go dangerous lengths to find it. Japan claims that they found a rich source off the Hawaii coast.

Why should you be concerned? The radioactive leaking has reportedly increased cancer cases in the surrounding areas and exposure to Neodymium dust cannot only cause skin irritation but repeated exposure can cause respiratory problems including asthma and lung inflammation.

Yes, it’s another tricky environmental catch 22 – will we ever be able to get it right? We need to find a more environmentally friendly way to create these products, especially when they claim to help our planet. But the question remains: how?

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

While we were tweeting our little hearts out at our Media Event last night… we read breaking news about Steve Jobs. The irony of learning the man who invented the iPhone had passed away… on our iPhone. We were all in disbelief. People were whispering amongst each other “is it true?” We didn’t want to accept it. Apple’s CEO and mastermind had given us so many great gifts that we didn’t want to let him go.

Today, you probably already have touched your fingers on one his inventions or have seen someone walking by you with one in hand. The iPad, iPhone, Mac, and iPod have all changed how we interact with technology and enriched our lives. Just like the colored TV changed the way people watch television. Steve Jobs changed how we interact with technology, and thus, with each other.

I know I am grateful for the ability to iChat with my nephews in California while I’m in New York. I don’t get the opportunity to be there on a daily basis but I can be invited into my sister’s home with just one click. When I see my 2 1/2 year old nephew in person, he points to the computer “You are in there.” Technology can help you reach loved ones when you are miles apart.

His success story is a great one filled with many lessons, especially “don’t take no for an answer.” At 13, he coerced the head of Hewlett-Packard to give him free computer chips and would later get a job with the company. He believed in himself, his vision and wasn’t going to let anything get in his way. We all should live with such passion.

He leaves behind a wife and four kids. He was 56. We’ll miss you Steve.

Linklove: Go Green with 10 Ways to Win an iPad

The iPad has not only revolutionized homes and businesses—it has helped revolutionize the way they go green. This recent Mashable article highlights iPad apps people and companies are using to manage energy usage and conduct environmental auditing, as well as reduce paper usage. Featured above is the Lutron Home Control+ iPad app, $19.99. For those of you who have an iPad or other type of tablet, how are you using it to live a more sustainable life?

In honor of Earth Day, step up to the environmental plate and treat yourself to that iPad you are coveting. If not for you, for Mother Earth. If it’s not quite in the budget right now, here are 10 (more) easy ways to win one.

1. Win an iPad on EForCity

2. Win 1 of 2 iPads from Scribendi

3. Win an iPad from I Could Use a Deal

4. Win an iPad2 from Dagmar Momsense

5. Like the PTS Multimedia Facebook Page and comment to win an iPad

6. Win an iPad2 from The Washington Examiner

7. Win an iPad2 on Blogelina

8. Win an iPad2 from 11 Alive Atlanta

9. Enter Discovery’s Deadliest Catch Giveaway for a chance to win an iPad

10. Enter the Fast Five Giveaway for a chance to win an iPad

Image via Mashable

Massage Envy Supports the Troops

Massage Envy is a big spa with a big heart. Specifically, the chain’s Branchburg, New Jersey location ran a raffle contest over the holidays where the selected grand prize winner received the highly coveted 16GB Apple iPad. People of all ages have been doing just about everything possible to get their hands on the must-have gadget of the year.

Proud Mom, Louise Fischer (left) with Massage Envy manager Cindy Ryan-Nannen (right)

While home for the holidays, Michael Fischer, Petty Officer 3rd Class of the Navy entered the contest on a whim. Little did he know he would soon become the lucky owner of a new iPad. Michael returned to active duty before the drawing was held on December 28th making him unable to hear the big announcement. When Michael’s mother Louise told the Massage Envy at Branchburg all about her son, the location wanted to do something even greater to benefit this family. “In support of the sacrifices our military families make, especially during the holiday season, we have elected to award an iPad® to Louise—the mother of our contest winner—to recognize her efforts as well,” said Teri Jenkins, owner of the Massage Envy Spa locations in East Brunswick and Warren in New Jersey and wife of Bob Jenkins, who owns the spa in Branchburg. “She was so elated because this will help them keep in contact while he is stationed away from home in Bridgewater, NJ.”

We all love a good massage, but there is no greater feeling than selfless acts of kindness. The acclaimed spa chain has always taken an active interest in supporting our troops by offering a military discount to those who serve. The holidays maybe over but it’s never to late to spread the love. Do so by gifting a family member, a co-worker, or a friend with a Spa Week Gift Card, accepted at any of the Massage Envy locations below.

Check out the chatter on the web, here some some Massage Envy reviews from Yelp:

Massage Envy Hoboken, NJ

Amanda is my therapist at the Hoboken location and she is amazing. She starts the session asking me if anything specific is bothering me she then asks about the type of  pressure I desire. Don’t expect your therapist to know what type of pressure you need it is what feels comfortable to you. Amanda is attentive and will point out specific stress points if any. I just wish I could take a little nap after my massage because it’s so hard to get up after you are totally immersed into a relaxed state of mind and body. – Kendra T. Jersey City

Massage Envy Edgewater, NJ

Convenient, ample parking outside. The place was very clean and quiet; it had maybe 10 treatment rooms for singles and 2 rms couples. Totally affordable with the promotional rate. They had a clear sign about the % for gratuities (which is great so I don’t have to do math in my head). The membership sales weren’t too pushy, which was smart on their part! Staff was overall helpful, friendly and attentive (we got a tour at the beginning). My massage therapist knew her stuff, and had strong hands. The massage table also moves up and down so she can adjust the pressure accordingly. - Graciete L. New York

Massage Envy Florham Park, NJ

This is a great place, providing excellent massages (and now facials) at a good value. The staff is incredibly friendly and will work with you to find a masseuse who fits your needs. Booking is a breeze – they usually have times available for the next day, if not the night of the day you call, if you’re not a person who plans in advance. Although they do sell products like candles and oils, I’ve *never* *ever* had anyone try to sell me anything, or upsell me time on a massage. – Tae E. Madison, NJ

Massage Envy Westwood, NJ

I’ve been getting massages there for nearly a year, and have never been disappointed.  It is clean, quiet and soothing, and the front staff is welcoming and friendly.  The massage rooms are serene and relaxing. Every therapist I’ve experienced has been extremely respectful and talented, although naturally there are 1 or 2 that I prefer.

Images Courtesy of cafepress.com and healthyjersey.com