Be the Tastemaker Among Your Friends with Vouchr

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

We all know that one person in our group of friends; the one who knows the right bottle of wine to order with dinner, thebest patio for a client meeting, or the poorly lit dive bar that makes the best Old Fashioned in town. They’re the ones who always know the next big hotspot, and they found it before it was cool. And, as Notable readers living the young professional lifestyle, that person is probably you.

Enter Vouchr, a new social gifting app for iPhone made by a local Toronto startup of the same name. Simply put, Vouchr lets you take the amazing things you’ve discovered around town and gift them to your friends to try, on you.

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Here’s how it works: found a new speakeasy that’s doing things with artisanal cocktails you never thought possible? Create a voucher for the drink by snapping a photo, adding a personalized message and selecting who and how much it’s for. Your friend will be notified of both your excellent taste and generosity, and can claim their voucher at the speakeasy with the app. They then try the cocktail while Vouchr puts some cash in their PayPal wallet, feeling like you just let them in on the best kept secret in town.

The PayPal thing seems weird at first, but it’s actually what separates the app from other me-too social gifting services. Because the money is exchanged between you and your friend, it means there’s no weirdness with QR codes or whatnot when your friend goes to pay – they just pay normally knowing you hooked them up. It also means that you can create vouchers for practically anything. Cocktails? Check. The best tacos in town? Check. The new hot yoga class you’ve been hitting twice a week? Check.

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Vouchr currently limits you to creating vouchers for your Facebook friends, but that still makes sense – why would you want to gift a drink to anyone other than your closest friends? (Well, maybe other than that cute someone across the room). Anyway, YPs know it’s not about the money – it’s about being the one in your group of friends that knows all the best things around town. With Vouchr, you can share them, and your great taste, with your friends.

Download Vouchr for iPhone.

Notable Review: Dyson DC51 Animal

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

When I began my new life as a blogger some four years ago, if you had told me I would one day write a review on a vacuum, I would call you a liar to your face and maniacally chuckle – it’s funny how things change. Since moving on from TheCellularGuru and beginning my reign as Managing Editor at CanadianReviewer, I have had my eyes opened by the pitches coming through, most of which have nothing to do with technology. To be honest, it’s unbelievably refreshing to not be pigeon-holed anymore to one topic of interest (technology). I can now focus on expanding my breadth of knowledge, making me appreciate technology even more, solely because it’s not the only thing on my mind anymore.

That being said, there is one name (and subsequent brand) that has always been on my mind to review and that is Dyson, known for their state-of-the art vacuum cleaners. So, without further adieu, let’s get right into why, as a young professional reading this, the Dyson DC51 “Animal” vacuum is the best cleaning apparatus since the broom was invented and a must-own for your brand spankin’ new condo (or house).

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As a hardworking twenty-something in the city (some of us with pets too), one of the most tedious chores known to us is maintaining a clean home. No, seriously. As a form of personal rebellion, harbouring the long-standing resentment towards my loving Jewish mother who would force me to clean, I have always done my best to ignore the chore. However, unlike living at home, ignoring the dust/dirt doesn’t make it go away; rather, it makes it worse, especiallywhen you have a shedding pet. So what’s a young professional like me supposed to do? Go out and buy a vacuum? Sounds well and good, but vacuums aren’t cheap, regardless if you’re buying a generic brand or a Dyson. They range significantly in price, and in the case of Dyson, can be upwards of a third of your month’s rent (or mortgage payment) depending on the situation. So, for many reading this, that idea alone sounds completely unfeasible. Which is exactly why I am writing this post. Aside from praising what it has done for my health and the cleanliness of my condo, I want to break down how affordable the Dyson actually is, and why it could be one of the best long-term investments you can make living in the city.

Let’s just say the average young professional goes out about three times per week for dinner/drinks, not including weekends out either. That’s half a month’s worth of going out. And of course, while you’re out, you’re spending money being social, so let’s put a number to that as well, about $50 per night on food and drink (we all know more is spent on weekends because you just got paid, but to keep things even and balanced, let’s maintain the number at 50). Now, let’s do some simple math: 15 (number of nights out) x 50 = $750. That’s $750 spent on social activity. Cool? We’re on the same page.

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Now let’s look at the other end of the spectrum, and why my argument makes sense. To keep up with day-to-day activities – and life as a whole – you need your health; something that has no dollar amount AND is heavily influenced by cleanliness. So, while you could go out and spend 200-something dollars on a push vacuum, it’s not a Dyson. Here’s why:

1. Other vacuum cleaners are still designed to need replacement bags and filters – and the cost soon adds up. Dyson vacuum cleaners don’t need bags and have permanent washable filters, so there’s no extra cost.

2. A Dyson cyclone captures more dirt and microscopic dust than any other. No bag. No loss of suction.

3. 19 cyclones working in parallel across two tiers generate high centrifugal forces. More microscopic particles as small as 0.5 microns are captured from the airflow.

4. Last but not least, the “Ball” technology, which allows for a much more fluid experience around tight corners.

The Dyson Animal DC51 runs for $549.99, $200 dollars less than what you spend on social activity in a month – and is a one-time purchase.

Getting that ‘a-ha’ moment, right? So did I.

Too often, people like me are blinded by price without realizing the long-term benefits spending a bit more money has on our lives. Owning a Dyson is a prime example of this and has become the catalyst for me to make time for a quick daily vacuum.

All it really takes to afford one is staying home an extra night or two per week. Chances are, once you do get one, if you host people, they’ll be so enamored by your Dyson that they’ll end up doing the vacuuming for you – it’s happened to me.