What We Learned This Month: February

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

Dinosaurs in Oklahoma? Shipping micro pigs from China? You’re going to want to read this. 

I've learned that the most popular Twitter accounts for January were:





@YouTube” - Aaron S.

“I've learned, there's new technology coming for commercial window tinting, no need for films anymore, just get a smart glass and change your window from clear to shaded with the touch of a button.

I also learned you cannot ship micro pigs from China to the US as pets because they are genetically modified.”- Edgardo G.

“I've learned that the price of roses increases in a ridiculously dramatic fashion in the days leading up to Valentine's Day. Order early fellas!”- Jessica O. 

“I learned venues in San Francisco don't care if you have a 20ft inflatable with your event.

I learned there's a huge statue of a dinosaur in Woodward, Oklahoma.”- Jessica D. 

“I've learned that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a salon in Serbia that will do a Brazilian wax on a man. In conjunction with that, I have learned that a product called sugar scrub will wax your nether regions without as much pain as wax”- Susan C. 

“I learned that shipping containers are being recycled globally and architects are turning them into amazing micro-houses. In Amsterdam, Keetwonen is the largest container project in the world and they are used for student housing. Google the images, it's so cool :)”- RK S. 

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

What Did We Learn This Month? April Edition

Did you know you can rent goats to mow your lawn? This was one of the very cool things our assistants learned from working on tasks in April. Keep reading to learn some more interesting facts and skills learned this month!

“I learned how to do canned responses in Gmail. Never had a need, so never knew!”- Ashley L. 

“I learned that Harvard has a debate camp for high schools students. That's good to know for the 2 little geniuses I'm raising (LOL). I also learned why WiFi sometimes gets sketchy in hot and humid weather.”-Kelli P.

“I learned the pricing of billboards in LA. It was one of my favorite tasks!”- Phylecia T.

“I just learned you can rent goats to mow your lawn!”- Rebekah R. 

“These past couple of weeks I've gotten quite the education in 'Boozy Brunches.'”- Delores B. 

What Did We Learn This Month?

As we begin a new month (welcome, April!), we've decided to look back on some interesting facts that have been learned from tasks submitted over the past month. Keep reading to find out what a few of your assistants have learned- you might learn a few things too! 

We are a transplant society. We can transplant hearts, skin, eyes, faces. I recently discovered, via a task, that we also transplant feces. Look it up: Fecal transplantation. Fascinating breakfast conversation piece.” - Allen L. 

“I learned that Osmium, an element, sells for up to $13,000 per kilo.” - Jade W.

“I learned how to get tickets to go see Jimmy Fallon! I just went on much fun!”- Nicole C. 

“I've learned how to get through to Verizon support and get my internet working even though the bill is in my absentee housemate's name. Now waiting for the arrival of a new modem. Oh, and I've learned how to speed up getting through the annoying voice active phone menus for airlines.”- Wayne R. 

"I didn't know there were companies that puck up your laundry and wash it for you and then deliver it back to your home or office. That was kind of cool. After finding a company like that for a client I found one for myself. So convenient!"- Abigail M. 

We'll report back at the end of April with some more interesting facts, so stay tuned! Remember, knowledge is power

Moving Tips from FlatRate Moving: Things Most Commonly Forgotten When Moving

If you are planning a move, you may hear this nagging voice in the back of your head telling you that you are forgetting something. Don't ignore it, because you probably are!

There are a lot of small details that go into a move, and there are a few that are constantly forgotten. Chances are good there is at least one thing on this list you are forgetting. Luckily for you, FlatRate Moving and Fancy Hands have teamed up to help make sure you don’t forget a thing. You can now get $25 off of your move with FlatRate Moving! Just use the code "FANCYHANDS" before requesting your quote to get $25 off.*

And, for after you've booked your move, here’s a helpful list of some of the most commonly forgotten things to keep in mind when planning a move.

Reserve Freight Elevator - You may not know it, but if you are moving into an apartment or condominium building with an elevator you may need to reserve the service elevator. In many cases, this needs to be done at least a week in advance. You definitely do not want your movers to arrive to the new building with all your belongings, if you can't use the elevator. No time to call? Don’t worry, Fancy Hands can reserve the elevator for you.

Trash and Recycling Bins - If you paid for your bins, don't leave them sitting behind the garage in their hiding spot. If you pay a fee to rent them through the waste company and will have a different provider in your new area, make sure the company picks them up before you move. Fancy Hands can call the waste company andschedule a pick up for these bins.

Memberships, Subscriptions, and More - When moving a considerable distance away, make sure you cancel your gym membership, and change your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Use a Fancy Hands task to stop or switch your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. We’ll also take care of cancelling your gym membership!

Gathered Items - Everything from dry cleaning and shoe repairs to school transcripts and vet records fall in this category. If you have loaned out items to neighbors, make sure you get them back. It's a good idea to create a list of things you need to gather and check them off as you get them. Fancy Hands can help you organize this list, as well as help you schedule times to pick up the borrowed items.

Spare Key - You hid a key under a rock and in a tree somewhere. Now it's time to find them. These need to be left behind for the new owners or residents. While you're at it, take the garage door opener out of your car to leave, too.

Microwave - You are probably thinking it is pretty strange anyone would leave an entire small appliance behind. Well, in a lot of homes, these do stay behind intentionally, so movers will often assume they stay, especially if the fridge, stove, and dishwasher are remaining in the house. Schedule a reminder to have your Fancy Hands assistant call to remind you to take that microwave with you!

Mail - You know you need to change your mail. In fact, you have thought about it several times, but decide to do it later because there is plenty of time. Now it's moving day, and as the mail truck passes in front of your house, you realize you didn't take care of it. You can do this right online at the USPS site, or send Fancy Hands your

moving details to set up your mail forwarding.

Outdoor Items - Hoses, solar lights, wind chimes, and bird feeders are all commonly forgotten. Although, sometimes, some of these are nice to leave for the new occupant.

Odds and Ends Inside the Home - In addition to the microwave, household items commonly forgotten include floor lamps, shower lines, full length mirrors, plants, magnets, pet bowls, toilet bowl cleaner, plunger, and the coffee maker.

*The fine print: This Offer is valid only for moves booked through FlatRate Moving’s New York branch after the date of this Offer where both the ‘pick up’ and deliver take place between August 19, 2014 and September 30, 2014. This Offer is only valid if presented to FlatRate Moving prior to receiving a FlatRate moving quote. This Offer may not be combined with any other offers, discounts or promotions. Valid on moves valued at $1,000 or more.


Former FBI profiler Noah Boyd (not his real name), author of The Bricklayer, shares how to spot a liar:

"In my experience, there are no standardized 'tells' that prove you're being lied to. What the investigator tries to do is find, or cause, anomalies - those tiny deviations from the norm that indicate that a person's veracity is suspect. Most commonly used is the examination of the information given, but it can also be a physical manifestation, such as a tic of the inidividual's voice, a facial clue, or even body movement. I was once able to help solve a kidnapping/homicide because my experience told me that the person I was interviewing was being too polite. Each of these items listed is not soley a proof of deception, but if one is spotted, you may want to look for others. It's generally thought that these observable variations are caused by an emotional reaction to lying, and, even worse, being caught: 

1. Stuttering/slip of the tongue

The mind is distracted with creating the next lie, or considering the fragility of the one just told. 

2. Hesitation before answering 

This means that the person is considering any flaws in the deception about to be offered. 

3. Forced facial expressions, such as smiling too long 

Done in hopes of convincing the other party of their lack of worry.

4. Change in the rate of blinking of in the pitch of one's voice

This is an uncontrollable reaction to guilt or the worry of being discovered. 

5. Eyes that divert - no lasting eye contact 

This indicates worry that the other party is going to pick up a "window to the soul" signal.

6. Increased hand activity, like fiddling with objects or their fingers 

This is emotion manifesting itself as a phyical need to relieve the stress of lying. 

7. Sitting on their hands to stop their fiddling

They've realized this is a tell, and they are trying to stop it. 

(From Guyism

Don't take it for granite.

"I could care less" and "I could literally eat a horse" are two of the most commonly misused phrases in the English language. While you may or may not be using them correctly, chances are you hear phrases being misused all the time — and it's probably one of your biggest pet peeves! Let's look at 17 of the most commonly misused phrases and learn the proper way to say them. We won't tell anyone if you forward it to a few people you may know.


Correct way to say it: It's a dog-eat-dog world.

Meaning: There's no such thing as a "doggy-dog" world. The expression goes all the way back to 43 B.C. when Roman scholar and writer Marcus Terentius Varro (comparing principles of humanity to that of animals) stated that even "a dog will not eat dog." A "dog-eat-dog" world is defined as ruthless behavior to get what you want... so look out.


Correct way to say it: For all intents and purposes… 

Meaning: "Intensive" means your purpose is intense. "Intents and purposes" means practical.


Correct way to say it: I'm supposed to go grocery shopping today.

Meaning: "Suppose to" is grammatically incorrect. Don't forget to add a "d" to the end.


Correct way to say it: The baby screamed for half the night.

Meaning: "Literally" implies that it's true. Don't say "literally" unless it's a fact!


Correct way to say it: The toddler spilled his milk by accident.

Meaning: Most people say "on" instead of "by." Surprisingly, "by" is grammatically correct.


Correct way to say it: A moot point.

Meaning: "Mute" means unable to speak; "moot" means irrelevant or obsolete discussion.


Correct way to say it: I nipped that problem in the bud!

Meaning: If you nip a plant in the "bud," you are preventing it from flowering. You simply can't nip problems in the "butt."


Correct way to say it: I ate too much today. Case in point, I ate out four times.

Meaning: "Case and point" is not a phrase. Instead, use "case in point."


Correct way to say it: Head toward the door and you'll see me.

Meaning: Toward never has an "s" at the end. Neither does "anyway." Keep in mind that "towards" is acceptable and correct in countries outside the U.S.


Correct way to say it: I should have worked out instead of taking a nap.

Meaning: "Should of" is never proper grammar. It's always "should have" or "should've." The same goes for "would have," "could have," etc.


Correct way to say it: Regardless of how the interview goes, I'm proud of you.

Meaning: Regardless means "no matter what" or "in spite of everything." Irregardless is not a proper word — plain and simple.


Correct way to say it: He was at my beck and call while I was sick.

Meaning: "Beck and call" means being made available, ready to obey. "Beckon call" is not correct usage of the English language.


Correct way to say it: She hadn't eaten all day, making her hunger pangs unbearable.

Meaning: Hunger "pains" do not exist; hunger "pangs" do. This is by far one of the most misused phrases of all.


Correct way to say it: You have another think coming!

Meaning: It's "think," not "thing." The phrase implies you have another thought (or think) coming. Over time, "think" became "thing," which is simply incorrect.


Correct way to say it: The weather will wreak havoc on our picnic.

Meaning: To "wreck havoc" means destroying chaos and adding more chaos — it just doesn't make sense. To "wreak havoc" means to cause chaos.


Correct way to say it: Yoko Ono is a famous scapegoat, often blamed for the breakup of the Beatles.

Meaning: A "scapegoat" is someone who gets blamed (possibly erroneously) for the actions of others. An escape goat is a goat that has escaped. Use it correctly!


Correct way to say it: I couldn't care less.

Meaning: If you "could care less," then you care and are capable of caring less. Make sure to keep it negative — meaning you don't care and couldn't care any less.

(By Sarah Brooks via She Knows)

Botox, Kittens, and Santa.

Let's check in on our Fancy Hands assistants and see what interesting facts their research has led them to!

I learned that when bringing a new cat into your home, they should be provided with a "sanctuary room". Oh, if only we could all have one! - Denise Q.

While helping a client plan an itinerary for her trip, I discovered that Lapland (her destination) is the home of Santa Claus. - Karla D. 

I learned that to achieve basic Chinese literacy, you need to know 1,000 characters and the top 200 allow you to comprehend 40% of their basic literature. Love TEDTalks! - Tiffany J. 

Three units of Dysport is equal to one unit of Botox. - Allen L. 

Scary factoid: an estimated 50,000 fake PhD degrees are sold each year by diploma mills. By comparison, between 40,000 to 45,000 PhD degrees are awarded by accredited schools in the United States each year. - Lauri E. 

I learned that there is this awesome site that will take any website, turn it into a PDF, make it printer friendly, and/or email it with ease. Check it It's awesome! -Kelley P. 

Caviar, narwhals, and fancy phone calls.

The Fancy Hands assistants clock some interesting facts while completing client tasks, and share their new knowledge with you: 

Caviar isn't always fish eggs. Vegan caviar is made from seaweed. - Mandie S. 

You can rent a school bus from a bus rental company, even if you aren't a school, doing something related to a school, or will be having kids on board! I never thought of using a school bus to transport a bunch of adults, but in most cases, it's cheaper than a more typical party bus. - Lauri E.

I learned that an ice sculpture of a Narwhal will run about $500. Then I learned what a Narwhal was (a toothed whale who lives in the Arctic). - Nicole C. 

An Australian low-rider car with an open back is called an "ute". - Sandy M. 

An American needs an International Driver's Permit to drive in other countries. It is issued by the American Automobile Association. It contains a translation of the information on your home country's driver's license into ten different languages. - Allen L. 

I'm learning so much every day, but the most helpful tip today came from my fellow assistant, Kelley. She shared a wonderful link to help with international calling. -Jackie S. 

Jockeys, Jedis, and Juicy Fruit.

What have our Fancy Hands assistants learned in their research for clients today? 

Most horse racing jockeys were African American slaves prior to the Civil War. Once they became free men, due to racism, they were virtually pushed out of the profession. An African American has not won the Kentucky Derby since 1902. However, jockey Kevin Krigger is trying to change that. He became the first African American jockey to ever win the Santa Anita Derby in April, and although he didn't win the Derby this year, he'll keep trying. -Allison H. 

Jedi Knighthood is gaining momentum as a religion. On the 2001 census, 21,000 Canadians, 70,000 Australians, and 390,127 people in England and Wales marked their religion as "Jedi". In England, that means that "Jedi" surpassed Sikhism, Judaism, and Buddhism, making it the fourth largest reported religion in the country. -Amber M. 

In 1892, William Wrigley Jr. began adding gum as a bonus to each can of baking powder he sold. The chewing gum became more popular than the baking powder, and the company was reconfigured as a chewing gum company.Then came Juicy Fruit. Then Wrigley field ... Go Cubbies!!! -Juls N. 

If you need to call the NYC-based 311 outside of the boroughs, they can be reached via (212) 639-9675. -Susan M. 

I learned that there are 4,670 city blocks in San Francisco. - Mandie S. 

Lastly, check out how one of our super cute clients, Beth, has been using our service! 

So Morgan Freeman walks into a bar with a parrot...

It's yet another interesting day for our assistants. Check out what they learned today: 

A man named Morgan J. Freeman is the producer of the MTV show "Teen Mom". This is NOT the same man as the actor. -Danielle Cotton 

The highly regarded Michelin Restaurant Guide was first published in 1900, conceived by tire-selling brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin. A marketing concept that grew into an empire in its own right, it was originally a freebie with the purchase of a set of tires. -Deirdre Motley 

While researching day spas in Manhattan, I came across one that charges $1 a minute to nap. -Mandie Skelton

It's not that hard to get a message put on the scoreboard at Fenway Park! The message fee is actually a donation that benefits The Red Sox Foundation (which goes towards children's charities). The $50 minimum donation is tax deductible and only needs to be requested one day before the game. "Live" marriage proposals, which include a scoreboard message, an appearance on the video board, and a visit from Wally, require a $350 minimum donation. -Amanda Perez

At Andrew Jackson's funeral, his pet parrot had to be taken out of the church because he would not stop swearing. -Draconius Grey 

19 emotions with no English words.

(Click to enlarge) 

We’ve all heard that the Inuit people have countless words for snow. That’s a bit of a misnomer, but the sentiment is powerful all the same: Some cultures have rewritten language itself in order to better express the things most important to them.

It’s an idea explored in this infographic by design student Pei-Ying Lin, which lists 19 emotions that, unless you’re a native speaker of Russian, Japanese, or any number of languages other than English, you’ve probably never heard before.

“My inspiration came from the experience of studying in the UK as a foreign student and having to have conversations with both friends who do not understand Chinese (my mother tongue) and those who do,” Lin tells Co.Design. “So often our conversations will involve looking for a right word to say in either English or Chinese, and unable to find its equivalent in the other language.”


At the core of Lin’s graphic is Parrot’s Emotion Classification, which contains a seemingly nuanced look at over 100 emotions (in English). Not only does Parrot’s list include words like “cheerfulness,” but it also maps their more specific permutations, like “bliss” or “gladness.” So, you know, it seems pretty good--that is, until you read the foreign alternatives that Lin has highlighted in red bubbles. How about the word “Gezelligheid,” which is Dutch for “comfort and coziness of being at home, with friends, with loved ones or general togetherness”? Or maybe you’ll like “hygge,” which is Danish for a similar idea but specific to events of food and drink.

“We tend to use languages in the most economical way--meaning that if there’s a simple word for expressing [a] complicated idea, then we will tend to go for it,” Lin writes. “[But] I think knowing more languages/words allows us to expend our conceptual world. We ‘grow’ with our languages. So it’s not exactly like the hypothesis that ‘Eskimos have more words for snow’ so they can tell more different kinds of snow, but rather, perception and language have an active interaction with each other.“

With that in mind, I couldn’t help but ask Lin if there were any emotions she’d like words for. My favorite was “‘the moment of learning something and feel the expansion of one’s perception scope’ like the moment you suddenly understand ‘infinity’ in mathematics, or the moment of understanding the idea of ‘parallel universe.’”

And I totally know what she means. Because my deficient English vocabulary has always labeled that feeling as “insignificance.”

By Mark Wilson via Fast Company.

Tea & Crumpets.

We're a US-based company but we work for clients all over the world, and we have many in the UK. 

Sometimes our assistants have to look up the words that are used in a request to be sure they understand what our British friends are referring to! 

Here's a cheat sheet highlighting some of our common differences (click to expand).

Weed, gold, & orchids.

Today's random facts, culled from our assistants while completing requests for our clients: 

There are 736 licensed marijuana dispensaries in Colorado! Denver tops #1 with 400, follwed by Colorado Springs with 208. -Debra W. 

American Airlines has hold music. If you don't get hold music - just quiet, and you're sitting there, thinking you're on hold; you have actually been disconnected. 

This is totally different than calling correctional facilities, where you sit on hold in complete silence thinking that you've been disconnected. Nope, their hold system is one of complete silence. -Michele K. 

There are phthalates (chemicals) in pretty much everything - including spices! In searching to source phthalate-free spices for a client, I came across this article. Gah! Commence the urban homesteading and growing of my own food. -Mary B.

In comparing the two, Southeast Asia is a better region to begin a startup than China. It's an easier market for entrepreneurs to find their footing because of the opportunity gaps and the option to leverage social media. Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China. -Mandie S.

You can pay for a claim to parcels of land that are reserved for prospecting for gold and other precious metals. You can get them as small as an acre up to hundreds of acres and you get it for the whole year to dig as you please. And people actually are do well doing this type of thing! -Kelley P.

Orchids are considered to be the masters of the flowering plant kingdom because they deploy some pretty cunning and sneaky methods to trick hapless bees and birds alike into pollinating their blooms. I had no idea! I thought they were just beautiful and difficult to grow. -Hope S. 


Do you know what all of those symbols on your clothing tags mean? We didn't either, until now:

What Did We Learn Today?

Our founder and CEO had a great idea: to start a series sharing some of the random tidbits of information that our assistants learn as they're doing research for our clients. 

We'll never share anything too specific, to protect our clients' confidentiality (of course we always get the permission of our clients before we reveal their names and actual reqeusts on the blog). 

Let's take a peek into the Assistant Files and see what they're up to today...

There are at least 14 active patents for sports bras. -Michelle F. 

Android apps are generally Java-based, and iPhone apps are generally based in Objective-C. -Mandie S. 

Coffee makes your blood vessels constrict, causing your blood pressure to raise and your heart to beat faster. Being dehydrated makes your vessels constrict. Apparently, drinking a glass of water before you drink coffee will make the coffee less effective, because the water will cause your vessels to be more open. -Briana K. 

There is a totally awesome app that measures rooms for you. No need to hand measure them anymore, you just point your phone in the direction & the app gives you the measurements... how cool is that?!! -Kelley P. 

Rockstar has discontinued their caffeinated chewing gum. -Juls N. 



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