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Top 5 Unique Hotels

Top 5 Unique Hotels

Planning a vacation can be hard and choosing the ultimate hotel can prove to be even harder. These hotels are sure to make this a vacation to remember!



Giraffe Manor

https://www.thesafaricollection.com/properties/giraffe-manor/

Giraffe Manor in Kenya, owned by The Safari Collection and is set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest in Nairobi. You can vacation with a herd of resident Rothschild’s giraffe’s who may even stick their heads in your window looking for a treat. You can book a room separately or as part of a tailor-made safari from The Safari Collection.



Henn na Hotel 

http://www.h-n-h.jp/en/

Staying at the Henn na Hotel in Japan is like staying in the hotel of the future. The Henn na Hotel is the first-ever hotel to be staffed by robots. You read that correctly, robots! Your stay will start at the front desk where you will be greeted by multi-lingual robots that will help you with your check-in/out needs. It also features a cloakroom with a robotic arm that can store your luggage for you. They also have a face recognition system where you will be free from having to carry a room key around. So take a step into the future with this trip. 

Book and Bed 

http://bookandbedtokyo.com/tokyo/index.html

Become the ultimate book nerd at the Book and Bed in Tokyo. You can literally sleep within a bookcase filled with plenty of reading material. They have over 3,500 books both in Japanese and English. So grab your most comfy PJs and get ready to curl up with a good book and take a vacation to another world within your regular vacation.



V8 HOTEL 

https://www.v8hotel.de/en/informing/v8hotel/

We all know a car lover and this is the ultimate car lover hotel. The V8 Hotel located in Germany has 16 themed V8 rooms. They have the perfect room to cater to just about anyone from a Pan Am room to a Car Wash themed room. This is the perfect hotel for those who want to feel like they are literally driving off into the sunset.



Dog Bark Park Inn

https://www.dogbarkpark.com/

From car lovers to dog lovers. Located in Idaho this Bed and Breakfast is certainly something to wag your tail over! You can stay inside the World's Biggest Beagle. Guests will go into the body of the beagle from a private 2nd story deck and the head of the beagle is a loft room with additional sleeping space with a cozy alcove in the dog's muzzle. This "Dog House" is filled with dog-related memorabilia and furnishings that were sculpted by resident self-taught chainsaw artists Dennis and Frances!



No matter where you want to stay, our Fancy Hands Virtual Assistants can help you plan the perfect vacation. From the unique to luxury vacations, we have you covered! Sign up today and let’s get this vacation going https://www.fancyhands.com/pricing!

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Whacky National Holidays

Over the years the number of “National Holidays” has really gotten out of control, and boy-oh-boy are there some headscratchers. 



There are over 1,500 National Holidays! And if you’re into it, why not try to get your own? If you are a business you can register to have your own National Holiday just make sure it’s something extra whacky and maybe it will make our list next year. 

Here are some of the craziest and absurd National Holidays that we found:



January:

January 3rd is National Fruitcake Toss Day! This holiday is designed to see who can toss their fruitcake the furthest. 

January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day. Created by Christy Hargrove (a wildlife rehabilitator in NC) she states “Celebration of the event itself is up to the individual or group — anything from putting out extra food for the squirrels to learning something new about the species.”

 

February:

February 9th is National Toothache Day so that may be a good day to schedule your next dentist appointment? 

February 28th is National Public Sleeping Day. This is a holiday we can all get down with. You celebrate it by taking a nap wherever you would like so happy holidays and sweet dreams to all.

March:

March 10th is National Mario Day. This iconic character gets his very own special day due to the way the date is abbreviated Mar10 so break out your Nintendos and spend the day with Mario.

April:

Because the lima bean deserves respect, you can celebrate National Lima Bean Respect Day on April 20th. Wait.. what? That’s right folks the lima bean has its own national holiday.

May:

Sorry guys, no photos for this one but the first Saturday in May is the unofficial World Naked Gardening Day so happy planting 🌷🌸.

We use them every day so why shouldn’t they have a holiday? You can celebrate National Towel Day on May 25th. 

June:

You can channel your inner lumberjack and celebrate International Axe Throwing Day on June 13th. 

July: 

They last Friday in July can be celebrated simply by talking in an elevator. Yup, you can celebrate National Talk in an Elevator day because why not? 

August: 

August 8th is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day because everything else has a holiday so why not this? 

September: 

What a perfect day to celebrate during the back to school time. The second Tuesday in September will have you flashing back to your youth with National Ants on a Log Day. 

October: 

Feeling a bit cranky on October 25th? No worries because you are celebrating The Sourest Day so channel your inner sour puss and crank away.

November: 

In case you forgot the rest of the year, November 23rd is National Eat a Cranberry Day so eat up and enjoy this delicious fruit. Until next year, cranberries. 

December: 

It only seems fitting to end your year with a party, right? Well, on December 5th you can do just that with Bathtub Party Day so go ahead and soak up that good time.

The 5 Craziest Airbnb's

The 5 Craziest Airbnb’s

Summertime is here and it is time to pick the perfect destination for your summer vacation. Are you looking for a destination that is just a little bit whacky? Let us explore some of the weirdest Airbnb’s we’ve found.

  • Have you ever been told you live in a bubble? Well, now you can do just that, at least temporarily, thanks to the Campera Hotel - Bubble Suite 2. Campera is a ten bubble hotel and each room has its own full-size bed and private bathroom. 

Source: http://bit.ly/2KbqvlL

  • You can vacation in a fairytale in this hobbit style Airbnb in Orondo, Washington. This one bedroom and one bath vacay will set you back around $400 a night but with its charm and beauty, it is definitely worth every penny. 

Source: http://bit.ly/2wOg3Yu

  • Vacationing under the stars is a dream for many and with this Airbnb, it can become a reality. You can rent the Off-grid Adobe Dome in the Desert in Terlingua, Texas for only $88 per night! This amazing vacation spot is completely off the grid and powered by solar power so cozy up with your loved ones under the stars this summer.

Source: http://bit.ly/2XzMtC0

  • It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s an Airbnb? You can actually vacation on a plane that was turned into an Airbnb. This truly unique experience is located in Saint-Michel-Chef-Chef, France and will cost around $101 per night and can fit up to 4 guests. It's pretty fly if you ask us!

Source: http://bit.ly/2KbHDI8

  • Are you tired of the same old 4 walls? Then the Cube House in Rotterdam, Netherlands is the perfect choice for you. With its unique shape and design, this will be a stay you never forget so stop being a square and plan your trip today!

Source: http://bit.ly/2X3aTqw



There are so many unique experiences out there and our Fancy Hands virtual assistants can help you find and plan your next trip. Let us help you take the stress away plan the ultimate vacation. Learn more about Fancy Hands by visiting our website https://www.fancyhands.com/pricing



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Teacher Gift Ideas

Teacher Gift Ideas

Can you believe it? It is the end to yet another school year and boy did it fly by. But what should you get for the teacher that taught your child all year? Let us take the guesswork out of it for you and give you some great ideas

What teacher wouldn’t benefit from an Amazon gift card and Amazon now has a bookmark shaped card which is perfect for any teacher!

      • We all know a teacher who deserves the “Golden Apple Award” and now you can give it to them

      • This adorable book that can be filled out by your student (or you can get the entire class involved) would make the perfect end of year keepsake for any teacher

      • Teachers truly can be the angels among us and what better way to show your appreciation than with this amazing figure they can display proudly year after year

      • Let’s face it teaching can be a tough job but you can help ease the stress with this morning and afternoon cup duo

These are just a few quick ideas we came up with for you but with Fancy Hands the possibilities are endless. Our amazing virtual assistants can help you find and order the perfect gift for any occasion.

To learn more about some of the common tasks we can help you with please make sure to visit our website here https://www.fancyhands.com/common. Remember no matter what it is Fancy Hands has you covered!

Hilarious Father's Day Gifts

Hilarious Father's Day Gifts

With Mother’s Day just having passed, graduation season upon us, and Father’s Day quickly approaching, you are probably in gift buying overload mode! Check out these ideas for hilarious Father’s Day gifts. Need help ordering something for the father in your life? We’ve got you covered!

-Custom Super Dad Face Socks $15.95

-Dad Joke Uploading Mug $8.60

-Tattoupees for Bald Guys $6.99

-Emergency Beard Guards $5.99

-Manly Mints $2.99

-Goodnight Brew Book - A Parody for Beer People $16.95

-Instant Underpants $3.99

-Borrow My Pen? $7.99

-Gin And Titonic Ice Tray $9.99

-Bad Dog Wisdom Tumblers $35

-Beeropoly $35

-Classical painting, King, Renaissance portraits, Medieval portraits, Victorian portraits $41.61

-Dad Jokes: Terribly Good Dad Jokes $4.99

-Compendium Of Lines For All Occasions: Insults, Excuses, Rejections, Mind Games, Put-Downs, Cop-Outs $15.99

-Soap For A Man’s Man $9.99

-Are You Dumber Than A Box Of Rocks Game $14.99











Memorial Day Festivities

Memorial Day became an official holiday in 1971 and celebrates U.S. military members that have given their lives to fight for our freedom. It is also generally thought of as the start of summer. Besides the traditional cook-outs and fireworks, see what else you can do for the holiday:

  • On Memorial Day Eve (5/26/19 at 8 pm EST on PBS), check out the national concert. You can expect to see performances, watch documentaries, and hear stories about honoring the military

  • Organize a “thank you” letter event from the children in your neighborhood. Check out A Million Thanks for more information

  • Send a care package from Operation Gratitude

  • Honor the veteran in your life with a patriotic dish

  • Listen to veterans share their stories on StoryCorps

  • Participate in the 1 minute National Moment of Silence which happens at 3 pm in your time zone

  • Donate or sponsor flowers to a veteran cemetery near you

  • Show your support by going to a parade

  • Donate to a local veterans hospital or organization

  • Download this list of patriotic songs for your party

  • Organize a neighborhood event and charge an entry fee and/or have raffled items. Donate all proceeds to a military organization

  • Visit a historical military museum


Don’t forget to let us know if you need help with any planning or researching any of the above activities!

Suggested Requests for the Week of August 22nd

It’s the last full week of summer! Learn how Fancy Hands can help you get a jump-start on a productive fall without giving up any time of what’s left for some fun in the sun! Check off your to-do list by simply sending in an email, text message, or phone call and one of our assistants will get to work for you right away. While you soak in some of the last rays of summer, we’ll be hard at work preparing you for weeks to come. 

Monday: We'll help you find back to school supplies! Know that you got the best price for all back to school necessities. 

Tuesday: We'll help you fix your computer! We can schedule an appointment with a tech professional to get your computer back up and running ASAP.

Wednesday: We'll help you find a daycare! Find the best place around for your child with the help of an assistant. 

Thursday: We'll help you sign up for an exercise class! We'll find time in your busy schedule for a zumba class here and there. 

Friday: We'll help you get to work quicker! An assistant can help find a new rout with less traffic.

Check out your dashboard for a new suggested request everyday. You may be surprised with what a Fancy Hands Assistant is capable of! 

Suggested Requests for the Week of August 15th

Looking for new ways to incorporate Fancy Hands into your life? Here are a few new request ideas that you may have never thought of before. We’re here for you from the smallest tasks to the largest requests; there is almost no limit to what can be done! Put one of our assistants to work right away on one of these task ideas. 

Monday: We'll help you find a place to volunteer! With all this free time you now have, spend some of it giving back. 

Tuesday: We'll help you find a place to hike! Find trails perfect for all experience levels with just a push of a button. 

Wednesday: We'll help you get tickets to a play! We can make sure you get the best seats for the best price.

Thursday: We'll help you get your air conditioning fixed! Don't sweat the heat any longer. We can schedule an appointment with a great HVAC company ASAP.

Friday: We'll help you move your high school grad into college! We'll find you a truck to rent so you can haul everything to school in just one trip.

Check out your dashboard for a new suggested request everyday. You may be surprised with what a Fancy Hands Assistant is capable of! 

Suggested Requests for the Week of August 1st

This week Fancy Hands wants to help you make the most of your summer! Get to where you want to be faster and easier than you would ever expect. Requesting help from an assistant minimizes research time and propels the process of planning your summer activities. From planning vacations to preparing for parties, our assistants are ready to help 24/7. 

Monday: We'll help you reserve a karaoke room

Tuesday: We'll help you find vacation rental homes

Wednesday: We'll help you find the perfect wedding gift 

Thursday: We'll help you book swimming lessons 

Friday: We'll help you plan a camping trip

Check out your dashboard for a new suggested request everyday. You may be surprised with what a Fancy Hands Assistant is capable of!

Recurring Requests are Back!

The recurring request feature on your Dashboard is back in action! We’ve been working hard to get the recurring request feature up-and-running again, and we’re excited to tell you it's back. 

This feature is easy to use and saves you from having to re-enter tasks you find yourself requesting on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis! 

To set up a recurring request, click on the two arrows at the bottom of a new request. The arrows will turn green and a few options to choose from will become available. Once you have chosen how frequently you’d  like your request to recur, simply click ‘submit’. 

After a recurring request has been submitted you will receive email reminders before your request is set to recur. This allows you to proactively reschedule, skip the next cycle, or cancel the request completely. You’ll be able to go back and edit your preferences on your recurring requests with ease- just look for the requests marked with the green arrows. 

Need some inspiration? Check out these examples of daily, weekly and monthly recurring requests: 

Daily Recurring Requests: 

"Enter me in the Hamilton ticket lottery every day” 

“Call me at 7am for a wake up call every morning”

“Search for new houses listed on the market today”

Weekly Recurring Requests: 

“Make a dinner reservation for two” 

“Order my grocery list on PeaPod”

“Find this week’s top 10 downloaded songs”

Monthly recurring requests: 

“Schedule a monthly meeting for my team at the office”

“Follow up with this list of new clients from this month”

“Schedule my haircut”

Try out this time saving feature now- the time saved with this updated feature is limitless! Get started here: https://www.fancyhands.com/dashboard and find out for yourself just how simple it is to create a recurring request. 

Suggested Requests for the Week of July 25th

Believe it or not, July is already coming to an end! Make the most of your dwindling summer time by delegating tasks you may have never thought of requesting before. Our assistants are great at anything from creating social media content to finding a new best friend! Check into your Dashboard every day for a new suggested request and find out how we can save you time and money with just a few clicks of your mouse! 

Monday: We'll help you find coupons for the grocery store

Tuesday: We'll help you find a great landscaper  

Wednesday: We'll help you find a new puppy

Thursday: We'll help you create social media content  

Friday: We'll help you find a birthday present

Check out your dashboard for a new suggested request everyday. You may be surprised with what a Fancy Hands Assistant is capable of! 

Vacation Planning!

Summer is finally here and that means travel season! Whether you are looking to take a quick weekend trip or a long relaxing vaca we can help. The hardest part of taking a vacation is always planning one so let us take care of the details! Here are a few ways we can help:

  1. Not sure where exactly you would like to go? We can research the top travel locations in your area, in America, or around the world! What ever type of travel you are looking for we can help you make the best of your time off by helping to pick a sick location. After we can also help you pick the perfect hotel for your stay. 

  1. Okay, so now you know where you want to go… but how will you get there? We can help with that too! Our assistants are able to help you find car rentals, flight itinerary, or train schedules to get you out of work and in that beach chair as quickly as possible!

  1. Eating out can be a hassle especially in a place you have never been before. Allow us to help by finding highly recommended restaurants in your destination and make your reservations. Don’t waste your valuable vacation time on an hour wait list or even worse… at the joint that serves the fish tacos with a side of food poisoning! 

  1. Allow us to help you make the most of your vacation by researching any and all tourist attractions, events, or “off the beaten path” activities to personalize your days off. We can find the cheapest boat rentals around, find tickets to your favorite band you just found out will be in town, or compile a list of the top museums in your destination. 

  1. So you had a blast on vacation but now you’re back and reality has caught up to you! Allow us to help you call back those people who left angry voicemails, find someone to pick all those weeds that have seemed to grow exponentially since you left, and reschedule those doctor appointments you had put on hold. 

There is nothing easy about planning your vacation but allow Fancy Hands to make your life easier before, during, and after your time off!

What We Learned This Month: March

Welcome to our monthly post about interesting facts your assistants have learned from working on requests over the past month. 

What kind of sunglasses does Leo wear? There are HOW many blogs on Essential Oils? How do you make a Leprechaun trap?

This isn’t an April Fool’s joke. Find the answers to these questions (and more) below! 

You can find out what frames/sunglasses your favorite celebrity was wearing on tv or in the movies at SunglassesID: http://www.sunglassesid.com/“- Jessica O.  

I learned that there are some very interesting developments being made in the automotive field involving autonomous vehicles for public transit, as well as for future public availability/purchase. Apparently 2017 will be an exciting year for technological advancements.”- Samantha H. 

“I learned what a leprechaun trap is and how to make one. AND there's a popular new treatment called Kybella that they're injecting into under-chin fat and it dissolves the fat cells! Crazy!”- Tammi D. 

“I learned that, through Fancy Hands, I can escape my wheelchair and my small apartment and travel, in a virtual manner, around the world and beyond. In March, I was in Cambodia helping a social worker who runs an amazing program for youth. I was in Maine locating the perfect home to host an upscale bachelor party weekend for 18 people. I was in Chicago planning a birthday celebration that had a small guest list and a huge budget. And I traveled to a galaxy where the Force has reawakened as I provided assistance to a client who has played a part in the Star Wars franchise for a long time. All this without ever going out my front door! Thanks Fancy Hands.”- Susa C. 

“ I have learned how to create not one, but two Slide Masters on Power Point Presentation and how to Apply a built-in theme to save time and frustrations over creating the same background for numerous pages.” - Heidi W. 

“I learned that there are over 200 blogs that blog about Essential Oils!”- Zella Y. 

“There are services available that will help you plan your entire stag party. They don't just offer the typical adult type venues either. Have fun with a paint ball war among your friends or go dirt bike riding and even wake boarding are some adventures that they can make happen. Pretty cool right?! I had no idea this was even a thing.”- Kelley P. 

“I learned about travel options in China and Yiwu Market - a wholesale market that has almost anything imaginable. Everything we buy really is made in China and available for pennies in wholesale quantities. We pay outrageous markups.”- Susan B. 

Join us at the end of the month to find out what interesting facts were learned in April! 

Giving Thanks

It’s hard to believe, but another year has gone by and it’s time to start preparing for family and friends, hopefully some fun(?) and food. Lots of food. 

Holiday planning can be stressful, especially if you’re hosting. Feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to get started? Here are some helpful things we can do to help take some of that stress off of your, er, plate. 

 MEAL PLANNING

You’re hosting Thanksgiving- yay! Your sister’s vegan, your uncle is dairy-free and your second cousin twice removed doesn’t eat gluten. You’ve got this. Send us the dietary restrictions and we’ll come up with recipes to make the perfect meal for everyone. 

HOUSECLEANING: BEFORE AND AFTER

When you’re running around prepping, cleaning is the last thing you want to do. Let us help you find a reliable cleaning service to make your home sparkle before your guests arrive and after they leave. It’ll be so clean, even your mother will be happy. 

CATERING

Skipping the cooking this year? We don’t blame you. Send us your meal requirements and we’ll find and help you order a delicious, hassle-free meal. 

TRAVEL COORDINATION

 Oh yes, it is the middle of November already. Let us help you find the best deals on last-minute holiday travel and accommodations. Save yourself from sleeping on an air mattress in your childhood bedroom, which has lovingly been turned into your parents’ gym.   

BEING A GOOD HOUSEGUEST

 We’ll help you have a nice flower bouquet delivered to your family or friends. Or we'll find a nice wine to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Whatever you want to bring, we'll find it. We can even arrange to have you pick it up on the way there so you arrive in style. 

There you have it: another Thanksgiving and you’re going to crush it. Now let’s get out there and have a good one, team! 

Client Post: 'How Delegating to Fancy Hands Personal Assistants Has Made My Life Easier'

Lawyer, entrepreneur and all around leader, Cynthia Conlin knows how to make the most of her time. Cynthia has been using Fancy Hands for around a year and she's written about her experience using Fancy Hands on her blog, Facing The Sun. Keep reading to see how Cynthia delegates to her assistants! 

I read about Fancy Hands in a blog a while back and figured I’d give it a whirl.  Since then, my life has changed for the better.  Fancy Hands is a team of personal assistants to whom you can assign specific tasks.  Now, they won’t come over and do the dishes (but please sign me up if someone launches that service), but they can accomplish anything that can be done remotely with a phone or computer.  They also do it in a friendly manner, and they are accessible via web browser, iPhone app, or email.

While I don’t use Fancy Hands for things that involve client confidentiality, I still have plenty of other uses for a virtual personal assistant, and I have truly put them to work!

Fancy Hands has four monthly plans, starting with the “basic” at $29 a month for 5 tasks per month.  If you do not use all the tasks, they roll over.  Plus they give you free extra tasks for things like connecting your social networks.  I have not yet reached a point where I need to upgrade but so far have gotten great value from the service.  Since I enrolled last October, Fancy Hands has, for me, processed a total of 46 requests, placed 262 telephone calls, sent 11 emails, and spent more than 17 hours on the phone.  This is a huge value for me, and I’ve been hooked.

Another thing that I love is the convenience of the iPhone app.  If I wake at 2 a.m., which I’m akin to do on occasion, suddenly remembering something that needs to get done, I can pick up my phone and delegate the task right then.  This ability has put me at ease on more than one occasion as I am able to fall back to slumber knowing that a particular task is sufficiently delegated.

Here are a few things my personal assistants at Fancy Hands have helped me out with:

Scheduled Appointments

I received a promotional postcard showing that if I test-drove a new Fiat 500X I could get a free tote bag, but it required me to call and schedule an appointment when the dealership was open.  In the late evening, I told Fancy Hands to take care if it for me.  The next morning, my personal assistant booked an appointment on my calendar, and I never had to pick up a phone.  (Fancy Hands has access to my calendar through Google Apps, so my personal assistants can review and book appointments directly onto my calendar. Awesome.)

Had a Ceiling Fan Replaced

I have a house I rent out, and the ceiling fan needed to be replaced.  I asked Fancy Hands to locate a competent and honest handyman in the area and coordinate a time for him to meet with the tenants and replace the fan.  They did this entire job seamlessly, and it saved me a lot of time searching the web and making phone calls.

Researched Transport Services

I had a client who needed to transport a car from Orlando to Georgia.  Now I know that this is not a legal issue, but sometimes when you are a lawyer, your long-time clients tend to come to you with all kinds of issues.  Practicing law is part legal analyzer, part counselor, part problem-solver.  So, when I can, I try to help my clients as much as I can.  For this issue, I asked Fancy Hands to search for transportation services, and, within a day my virtual assistant responded with a whole list of contacts and exact price quotes that I was able to relay to my client, which, in the end, makes me a better problem-solver.

Compared Prices

After buying a new color laser printer, I asked Fancy Hands to determine what company sells the most inexpensive toner cartridges and compare them with my existing vendors.  My Fancy Hands assistant researched prices and gave me a full report including my usual vendors and a few more, with direct links to the exact toner I needed.  I was able to click on the links and buy toner in about two minutes, and the new vendor’s rate was about $15/cartridge lower than my usual vendor, saving me a total of $60!

Tracked Down Garbage Men

One week, the city waste management service skipped our address and failed to pick up our overflowing recycle bin.  Normally, I would just have to suffer and be buried in recyclable garbage for another two weeks.  However, Fancy Hands took care of it for me by calling up the waste management company and asking them to send a truck over.  Within 24 hours, a truck came by, and the recycle bin was emptied.  Success!

* * *

If you’d like to try Fancy Hands yourself, please use this special referral link because you can get 50% off your first month, and they will credit my subscription with referral credits.  Super awesome deal.   They are not paying me to write this blog, but because the service has been so helpful to me, I am giving it a glowing review.  I cannot recommend this service enough.

See the full post here

Eleventh Hour Valentines

It’s here again: The time when you can’t walk into your local Walgreens without being tempted to buy all of the candy (two 64-oz chocolate hearts for a $2.99? I NEED THAT) or being bombarded by oversized teddy bears that seemingly stare at you as you walk through the door. Yes, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day, and it’s only a few days away. For those of us who are procrastinators (hand raised) you might be thinking to yourself “I need to get a gift, but I don't know what to get!" Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a few ideas for great last-minute gifts that’ll show you care, and that you totally had this planned a while ago. You’re welcome. 

Oh, and for those of you who are more into Anna Howard Shaw Day or Galentine’s Day (ovaries before brovaries!) I’ve got some ideas for you as well. 

Singing Telegram: 

What better way to show your loved one you care than sending a talented stranger to lovingly embarrass them through the gift of song? Singing telegrams are a fun and unique way to sing “I care for you.” If you're not into the idea of a telegram, why not hire someone to write and perform a song for your main squeeze? Either way, it’s sure to be a gift that will be remembered for years to come. 

Personal Chef: 

Since you’re likely not going to get a dinner reservation for Valentine’s Day at this point, you might as well have the restaurant come to you. A personal chef will be able to cook a meal designed by you and you’ll be able to have a romantic dinner without having to leave the house. Fancy, fresh and delicious food without having to put on pants? Sign me up. 

Customized Jewelry: 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s OK if you don’t go to Jared. Why not work with someone to have a special piece of jewelry made for your loved one? It could be a customized watch or a necklace that symbolizes an inside joke. Whatever it is, it will be one-of-a-kind and will be sure to bring a smile to their face. 

Scrapbook: 

It’s like a Facebook album, but tangible. This will be an enjoyable gift for you as well as you decide which pictures to add to your scrapbook. You’ll have a fun trip down memory lane together, and a thoughtful and fun book to look through in the future!

Spa Day: 

This can work for Valentine’s Day, Anna Howard Shaw Day or Galentine’s Day. You can treat yo’self (and maybe your loved one) to a spa day that will get you pampered and looking and feeling fresh. 

Recipe In A Jar: 

This is geared towards you, Galentines, but could work for any of the above holidays. Get a mason jar, fill it with the dry ingredients to your favorite waffle (or other baked good) mix, decorate the jar and voila! You have a memorable and edible gift. There’s no better way to show you care than giving someone food, IMHO. 

Anna Howard Shaw: The Work of Woman Suffrage: 

Ok, I guess this could be a useful gift for anyone, in general. Read up on “the most outstanding woman suffrage orator of her time” and prepare to drop knowledge on all those who haven’t read this book. Knowledge is power, y’all. 

Flowers & Chocolate: 

This is a classic and is sure to be a hit. *Please note that this is always a great gift and should be given in excess year-round. 

Well, there you go Valentines. Get out there and have the best February 13th and/or 14th ever! In the meantime, I’ll be anxiously awaiting one/all of the above from you. 

PS: If you need help finding any of the above, feel free to use Fancy Hands to get the job done. 

Too Cool For School

I feel the first line of one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail, says it best:  “Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” (If you haven’t seen it, first of all: what? Second of all: get yourself to the nearest device with streaming Netflix, and get out the tissues!)

While Fall may not have officially graced us with its presence, the start of the school year certainly has! The beginning of the school year can be as stressful as it is exciting. Perhaps you’re a student embarking on that self-discovery journey we call “college”. Maybe you’re a parent sending your little cherub off to build a contraption that keeps an egg safe when it’s dropped off of a building in the name of science. You might be a teacher getting ready to mold the minds of the next generation. No matter who you are, your life is busy and there’s always going to be something you need to get done, but don’t have the time to do it.

That’s where Fancy Hands steps in and helps make the beginning of your school year slightly less stressful. Below you’ll find a few examples of what Fancy Hands can do to help you out now that school has started. Heck, these might even be things you need help with once you’ve gotten into the swing of things! Either way, we’re here to help make your life easier.

Parents:

  • Did your child go into the first day with an Anna backpack, only to find that everyone else had an Elsa backpack, and now they need an Elsa backpack too? We can find an Elsa backpack near you, and even purchase it for you. We unfortunately won’t be able to prevent you from hearing “Let It Go” for the millionth time this week.

  • Want to make healthy and creative lunches for your kids, but don’t have the time? We can plan out a menu for you, complete with shopping list, for the entire school week so all you have to do is assemble. Naturally, you’ll need to add in a bag of Cheetos for cafeteria trading purposes.

  • Extra-curricular activities can be overwhelming. We can help you add these and any other family events to your calendar so you never miss a beat.

Students:

  • Need to manage your extracurricular calendar, or maybe just your class schedule? You can connect your Google calendar and we’ll add events and classes so you don’t have to add them yourself. Now you can be social and on time for every class!

  • Are you having difficulty doing some research for an assignment? We can help find you resources that’ll help you ace that paper. We’ll pull the all-nighter for you.

  • Books for classes are expensive! We can help you find, purchase and ship you the right book for the right price.

Teachers:

  • We realize how exhausting lesson planning can be. Let us help you organize your lessons in a spreadsheet, so you can be sure you’re on top of your coursework.

  • School holidays are a time for you to relax! We’ll coordinate your school’s schedule with your calendar so you can look ahead and know when your next vacation day takes place.

  • As a teacher, you can take advantage of several discounts in your community. We can help you make a list of these discounts, so you know where you’re eligible and what the discount will be.

For more ideas on what we can do to help you, check out our Common Requests page. If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can do so here.

Here's to a great school year for everyone!





*In honor of the First Day of School and Throwback Thursday, here's a pic of me and my sister on our first day of school an undisclosed number of years ago. I mean, look at that color coordination. Seriously.*










Delegation Lessons

Phil Buckley is new to Fancy Hands and has graciously shared how he’s learning to delegate to his new personal assistants, one task at a time.

“Delegation has never come easy to me. It’s definitely not a strength. The first time I had access to an assistant, I didn’t know how to help this person help me.

My justifications for this poor time management cover the range of productivity misconceptions: it would take more time to explain what I want than to do it myself, I do this task really fast, I can do it the best, etc.

Starting a consulting business didn’t make delegation any easier. Often, there was only me to delegate things to and completing tasks myself gave me the satisfaction of keeping expenses low. I had no problem calling in experts to do work that I couldn’t do myself, but the small tasks remained areas of opportunity. My accountant offering to file my quarterly tax payments. I responded “No thanks, I like to do it.” Another productivity mistake.

I became interested in a virtual assistant when Michael Hyatt shared the benefits of and tips onusing this service. He made a compelling and pragmatic case, but I didn’t take action.

Last week, I was reading a blog post by Steve Scott about his Kindle book launch. He shared that Fancy Hands, a virtual assistant subscription service, had completed his research for a small fee. I clicked on the link and became intrigued by this service.

Fancy Hands offers most types of tasks including setting up appointments and conference calls on your calendar, booking services, admin tasks such as editing emails, making calls on your behalf, research, etc.

I decided to start with the basic 5 tasks per month for $25 package to test how much I would use the service. The set up process took minutes on their easy to navigate website. It was great to see a 50 percent discount for the first month adjustment to my invoice too. Every step of the process made me happier.

This year, I haven't had a lot of time to market 'Change With Confidence' or my consulting business. This seemed like a perfect area to get help with. I wanted to send copies of my book to professors to see if there was interest in including it on their course reading lists or to have me as a guest lecturer. I have had excellent experiences with a few profs, but have not had time to expand my connections.

My first Fancy Hands request was to compile a list of profs who teach organization development or change management courses in the US and Canada. In time, I will create another task for the rest of the world.

Once I hit send, a banner appeared saying "relax while we take care of that for you." I thought, this is also a de-stressing service.

I can't wait to review the results of my request. My guess is that once I get used to the service I will think of many other tasks that are better completed by Fancy Hands.  Delegation is easier than I thought.”

For more on Phil’s Fancy Hands journey, click here.




Time Management Myths: Uncovered

The Harvard Business Review blog just published a post entitled "4 Things You Thought Were True About Time Management" in which they discuss the various Time Management myths floating around.

"It’s about managing your time. False.

Time management is a misnomer, says Jordan Cohen, a productivity expert and author of “Make Time for the Work That Matters.” He says that it’s really about productivity: “We have to get away from labeling it ‘time management’. It’s not about time per se but about how productive you can be.” He likens it to the difference between dieting and being healthy. “You can diet all you want,” he says, “but you won’t necessarily be healthier.” In the same way, you can pay close attention to how you spend your time, manage your email, etc., but you won’t necessarily be more productive.

Teresa Amabile, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and coauthor of The Progress Principle, whose expertise in this area comes from reading thousands of work diaries of workers who documented their struggles to get work done, says it’s more about managing your overall workload. Many managers simply take on too much. “If you don’t keep an eye on the commitments you’ve made or are making, there is no time management technique that’s going to solve that,” she says. Sure, this might be an organization-level problem — many managers overload their team members ­— but she says that most professionals have more control over their workload than they might admit. “It is possible to say no. It is possible to negotiate,” she says. Cohen agrees: “While your schedule may not be yours per se, you can be judicious about what you go to and how you manage it.”

You just need to find the right system or approach. False.

“Having a system can be useful, but it takes more than that,” says Amabile. “And what works for each person, like spending an hour and a half on focused work at the beginning of the day, will not necessarily work for another person.” The key is to continually experiment with techniques. “Some things may or may not work in a particular context or situation,” says Cohen. Try lots of different approaches — really try them. Don’t change the way you check email for a week and declare it a failure. Set metrics for measuring success, give the approach time, and consider involving someone else — your boss or a coworker — to help you evaluate whether it really worked.

You need to devote time to change. Somewhat true.

One person I spoke to said her biggest challenge was finding time to put time management systems into place. She didn’t have the day or two she felt she needed to set aside. Amabile says this may not be necessary: “Small tweaks can make a big difference. The best approach is to start out with a few small things. Progress in this context might mean that you find yourself with some additional time each day when you can reflect and think. Even if it’s just an additional 20 or 30 minutes each day, that’s progress.” But it depends on how bad your situation is and how desperate you feel. Amabile mentioned one person who decided to use her vacation week for a major overhaul to achieve less stress. She looked at how she was using her time, her level of commitments, and experimented with a few techniques that people had suggested. “She felt things had gotten so out of control that she wanted to give herself this gift. But that was an extreme measure that was necessitated by the extreme situation,” says Amabile.

It’s up to you — and only you — to get it right. Somewhat true.

This may be partly true. “There is no one who’s responsible for how productive you are,” says Cohen. In that sense, this rests on your shoulders. He is clear: “You’re expected to be productive, so you better take this puppy on yourself.” But Cohen and Amabile both say you can’t do it alone. “If you’re in an organization where there are pressures for immediate responses or turnarounds on all requests or there is no room for any kind of slack, it’s very tough to do time management on your own,” says Amabile. She points to Leslie Perlow’s research about small tweaks you can make in any work environment. Still, it may be tough. “Organizations unknowingly put a lot of barriers in front of you to get your work done — unclear strategy and clumsy processes, to name just a few,” Cohen says.

If this sounds like your company, Amabile suggests you make attempts to change the culture. “I would urge people to push back in ways that they believe will be effective,” she says. Raise questions like, “How can we be more productive around here?” This can often be more effective than focusing on getting out of your own bind. “You have a responsibility to push back on the organization,” she says. Cohen also thinks it’s worth talking with senior management, because it’s often bigger than any single manager. “It requires a redesign of how work gets done, where decisions get made, how they get made. There’s only so much that a system can take,” he says"

Are you managing your time efficiently? Find out here.  

Young Architect

Here's Mike showing his love for Fancy Hands!  

Not only is Mike Riscica an architect, a writer and an avid yellow labrador fan, he's also having Fancy Hands take over so he can manage the rest of his busy schedule. He's taken time out of his busy schedule to show his love for Fancy Hands on his blog Young Architect

"An Imaginary Friend

For the past few months I have had a little imaginary friend that does all the annoying things that I don’t want to do. Ya know thinks like: make appointments, research things on the web, call this person or place for me to find an answer on something and even copy and paste something over and over and over again.

After they finish each one of my little tasks they send me a neat little email with the summarizing results from whatever task I gave them to do.

Sounds crazy, but I can’t tell you how much more productive I have been by getting all these silly little things off my plate.

What the hell am I talking about?

Over the winter (shortly after I built this Young Architect website) I started using a little service on the web called Fancy Hands.   Fancy Hands is a virtual assistance subscription service that does small tasks, which take about 15 minutes. It works like this.

I send Fancy Hands a task either by logging into their site, email or by leaving them a voicemail. Just for an example say my task is something like:

Subj: Find exterior Pictures of a building in Portland Oregon

Hey Fancy Hands,

I am working on an architecture project. Can you find me as many pictures of the building located at 2023 NW Hoyt St, Portland Oregon? The building is also called the William Temple House. Shots that show as much of the exterior of the building are gold.  Interior shots are of no use to me.

Please send me the JPGS. Include the screen shots from google earth and maps, but also look elsewhere on the web.

Feel free to ask any questions.

Thanks so much.

- Michael Riscica

This request then sits on the Fancy Hands server where it waits for someone to pick it up, do the work and email me the results.

After the task is completed they send me an email, which sends a notification to my phone and updates my account on their website with the results from that task.

20 minutes later, I got back a .zip file containing the files I requested above.

Why?

Heres why I am using Fancy Hands for as much as I can.

I am insanely busy
In an average week, I attend between 5-15 meetings, make routine site visits at various locations, and meet with many different people. I need help. Often, I call fancy hands while I’m running from one meeting to the next asking them to make a call or look something up that I just don’t have time for.

I get distracted
Looking for pictures of a building on the internet? Sure it sounds simple enough. But I guarantee you it will take me twice as long to accomplish this task than someone who isn’t invested in the process. I’m a sucker for  being derailed by something while I am in pursuit of an answer. I have learned that letting someone else vet the information as a first pass is more effective process. These small 15 minute minutia tasks are derailing me from getting larger, more important work done.

Sometimes I need a fresh point of view
A lesson I learned a long time ago early in my architecture career is that when you have been working on and looking at the same drawing for many hours at a time there could be a very blatant and obvious error on the drawing, but because you have been looking at the drawing for long time You just can’t see it.Are you a bad Drafter or Architect? No! definitely not. But I bet if you walked away and came back a few hours later you would immediately notice that error.

Fancy Hands has been a great place for me to run something past someone with a fresh point of view to make sure that something I wrote makes sense.  (PS – that was just an example, I doubt Fancy Hands can check your Architecture drawings. But you can try it and let me know how it works out.)

My Small Tasks

Here is a short list of some of the things I have Fancy Hands doing for me.

  • Research the purchase of a laptop that meets 10 different requirements.
  • Create a list of quotes on various topics.
  • Find the lowest price of a product I am looking to purchase.
  • Find the number for the building department in this town, call them to see if they have building permit records on this property.
  • Find a local store that has a certain product.
  • Help me narrow down when to take my vacation by looking at the cost of flights.
  • Find me the cheapest non-stop flight that works best for my schedule.
  • Make a dinner reservation for 7:30pm, if that doesn’t work then call these 2 other restaurants.
  • Call the print shop, send them this PDF and tell them I want 50% scale prints in black and  white. Print and bind 4 sets. I will pick up tomorrow at 11am , they can bill my account. Give them my cell to call if they have any questions or problems.
  • Proofreading professional emails that I have spent a great deal of time crafting.
  • Fancy Hands has proofread all blog posts written on this site. Yep, even this one.
  • Search the internet for the office number of Mr. Engineer and tell him that I need to cancel our afternoon meeting, but reschedule for next week.
  • Search the web and find out who designed the building at 2023 NW Hoyt.
  • Call my 5 local art supplies stores and find out which one has this specific glue.
  • Research which dog food I should be buying.
  • Help me find answers to my never ending cell phone problems. "

But wait...there's more! You can check out the rest of Mike's post here: http://www.youngarchitect.com/2014/07/05/fancy-hands-review/

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