Post by Gadabout
Post lets you create beautiful, quirky e-invitations and thank you notes on what looks like real stationary, without the hassle of having to find a stamp. Choose from a wide range of options organized by style and theme, and easily send directly from your phone or iPad. Post is available for iPad and iPhone, although the iPad version is easier to work with. Also note that in order to locate Post in the apps store, you will need to search for Gadabout (the company name) rather than Post (the app name). Post retails for $.99.
Martha Stewart Living Magazine for iPad
One of the real perks of an iPad is that it makes carrying your reading material so much easier. You can download an ebooks app (we prefer the Kindle plug in for the iPad over the buit in reader) or you can get your favorite magazines. Martha Stewart's iPad app offers all the content of the paper version of the magazine plus various extras, like live polls and videos. This is a nice way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Martha Stewart Living retails for $3.99 (about the same as buying the magazine on the newstands).
Party Tricks: The Ultimate Entertaining Guide
Are you resolving to entertain more in the new year? Then this is the perfect app for you. Party Tricks helps you plan your event by type or theme (holiday open house, block party) or by menu (brunch, appetizers). Everything you need to stay organized and focused as you plan your soiree is right here in this app. Think of it as your own digital party planner! Best part: Party Tricks for iPad costs $1.99, which is substantially less than hiring a real party planner (and it won't argue with you about what kind of flowers you should have in the centerpiece).
Cozi Family Organizer Premium
Gadgets should make our lives easier, and here's an app that actually does that. Cozi's family organizer helps you to keep track of where everyone in your house needs to be at any time, with family calendars, to-do lists and shopping lists -- all right in your iPhone or iPad. You can also use Cozi's Family Organizer to store photos and notes about events, creating a simple family journal. For busy parents, this is a terrific time saver and a real help. Cozi offers a free version of this app, if you want to test it out before you commit; the premium version will run you $5.99.
Making dinner reservations just got easier with OpenTable's iPhone and iPad apps. Choose your location, filter by type of cuisine, price point, or neighborhood, and OpenTable will show you your options. Book your reservation via OpenTable's app and earn points that can be redeemed at participating restaurants. This is by far the simplest way to plan a night out. OpenTable is available for both iPhone and iPad; we prefer the iPhone app, as we're typically using our phones when we're making dinner plans anyway. OpenTable's apps are free, too, which means you can save your pennies to pay for your steak.
Already a Netflix subscriber? Then download the free app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and make your subscription go even further. Manage your queue or -- even better -- watch movies on your device (we recommend the iPad for movie watching; the iPhone screen is a bit small for our over-40 eyes). This is a great way to keep the kids occupied, or to give yourself a break from the family.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention Angry Birds -- after all, we're assuming that this game is why you wanted an iPad or iPhone in the first place, and any game that spawns Halloween costumes and Christmas ornaments is right up our alley. This simple game -- you slingshot various kinds of cartoon birds at cartoon pigs who are hiding in various structures -- is surprisingly addicitive. It's also one of the few iPhone games out there that is both fun and appropriate for kids and adults, which makes it a perfect additon to your app library. Again, we recommend the iPad version, but if Santa brought you an iPhone or iPod touch, it's still worth purchasing, especially since it will only set you back $.99.
Don't forget to test your iPad's video capabilities -- perhaps with this fun clip of New Yorkers singing "Jingle Bells!"