Tuesday, December 23, 2014

5 #Tips for Hosting Great #Holiday Parties ~ #Holidays made brighter with #MoreLumia #sp

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I love the holidays. They're always a great excuse for spending time with good company. It's always easiest heading over to someone's place. I dread hosting. I worry about the clean before, the preparation during and of course, the mess afterwards. For that reason, I typically hate being the host and even avoid hosting altogether. This holiday season, I've changed my mind thanks to the convenience of Microsoft Devices. The Nokia Lumia 830, its apps and accessories has made planning and hosting easier than ever and it makes me look fantastically smart while doing it.

The Nokia Lumia 830 (70.7mm x 139.4mm x 8.5mm) uses the Windows system, which has quite a few useful features, perfect for daily use and for holiday party planning. Take for example, Cortana, your personal digital assistant. She even tracks where you are at home most evenings to guess where you live. Viola, home is set! Well, that wasn't it, Cortana is somewhat of a power secretary.

I was able to use Cortana, powered by Bing, to make calls, send texts, set reminders, alarms, and even do dictated notes. Talk about convenience!
Utilizing smart phones, Windows devices, Nokia Lumia 830 and accessories to simplify party hosting
Cortana also keeps her own notebook with your interests, reminders, favorite places, searched music, your quiet hours and inner circles. It's so she can personalize her suggestions and reminders to be specific and unique to you.

The Windows phone systems has a variety of apps to make hosting even easier. I mentioned dictating notes with Cortana but if I was on public transit or a busy room and wanted to jot things down, I could use Evernote.

One of my absolute favorite apps on the Lumia 830 is MixRadio. It offers free music streaming without any advertisements, either from pre-created playlists or your own creations. MixRadio already has an assortment of Classic Christmas songs, perfect for me because I don't typically keep any holiday music on my cell. If you get sick of the holiday tunes, there are pre-made playlists in all genres.
Nokia Lumia 830 and Nokia MD12 bluetooth speaker review
I can even download the mixes for offline listening so I can have the playlist available while offline. Best thing is, offline playlists update themselves every 20 days when the app is open and has an internet connection. The only caveat I found to MixRadio was that you can only skip 10 songs in 1 hour. There is a preview the lyrics option as well but downloading the full lyrics will cost you. Pair MixRadio up with Nokia's Portable Wireless Speaker MD-12 and you've got a party going! The speaker works via bluetooth, is rechargeable, lasts up to 15 hours on 1 charge, and comes in gorgeously bright colors. Speaking of colors, did I mention that the Lumia 830 has colorful interchangeable back plates that easily pop on and off?

BigOven is another fantastic app that features over 350 000 recipes for you to search and use for inspiration. Or if you've got inspiration to share, you can always share your recipes free as well. Use the grocery list and menu planner to keep your party well organized!

Fireplace was the one app that actually confused me. It was neat and cool but at the same time I wasn't sure what it was for. It's a virtual fireplace that provides a nice visual along with wood burning sounds to effectively simulate the cozy feeling of being near a fireplace minus the warmth. It puts a spark in the overall holiday theme even if there's no live fireplace, pun intended.

The Nokia Lumia 830 is fantastic for taking holiday pictures with its 5" display and 10.0MP main camera that features optical image stabilization. With 16GB of memory already available and a miniSD card slot for further expansion, there's no need to worry about memory allotment. Afterlight is another handy Windows app that allows you to quickly edit holiday pics right on the smartphone.

As someone who's used an iPhone for the last 5 years, there was a slight learning curve with the Windows system but it was pretty user friendly and straight forward to figure out. Use your Windows phones and follow my 5 Tips for Hosting Holiday Parties to make your life easier.
Holidays made brighter with #MoreLumia
5 Tips for Hosting Great Holiday Parties
1) Stay organized -With all that you have to do, there's nothing worse than a mess everywhere. Create lists to stay on task. Use the tech you have available. Smart phones like the Windows phone Nokia Lumia 830 can help with creating lists and setting reminders so you don't forget things. Our cell phones are the one things we never part with so they're fantastic for grocery lists as well.
2) Set up a drinks station -A decorated drinks station creates a holiday feel and contributes to the overall holiday party atmosphere even if done cleanly and simply. It also helps to keep the clutter and guests away from the dinner table until it's time to eat. This way, guests can grab their drinks and coasters and bring it with them to any social space.
Drinks station and party favors
3) Party favors -Add a few classy party favors to contribute to the overall feel. Party favors make for adorable little gifts and fun conversational starters for your guests.
4) Music -Music is always a must. These days, a portable bluetooth speaker is a necessity! My latest favorite is the Nokia MD12 as above. 15 hours of music playing on one charge and tiny enough to sit in a corner without taking up too much counter space. It all contributes towards the festive atmosphere.
5) Oven to table serving ware -I'm a huge fan of presentable and gorgeous cook ware that can be used on the stove top, in the oven, on the grill, and then easily transferred to the table for serving. No need for extra plating, work, or stress for that matter.

Use these tips to reduce stress this holiday season. Looking for a delicious winter soup recipe to serve? Check out our Carrot Butternut Squash Soup Recipe.

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                                                         Until next time,