Why All My Faves really is the easiest way to explore the web…

In today’s digital world, automation is for the most part a good thing, even great, since it means that less time and effort are required to achieve the desired result. But when it comes to Web navigation and content consumption (whether in text, video or other media form) at work, at home or anywhere else, automation in the name of productivity can be a deterrent.

Search fatigue is becoming a widespread downside to the world of online search, and SEO-savvy spammers and marketing freeloaders try to grab your attention on that very first results page, under the pretense of offering valid and useful content…

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Tying the Knot this Summer? Here’s Our Top 10 Wedding Sites List

Planning a wedding always seems like a daunting, stressful task, with so many things to think about and choose. Since wedding season is almost at its peak this month and will last through October, we’ve decided to make the special event’s mission totally possible and easier for you: Here’s our Top 10 list of the absolute best wedding resources out there online. This hot list will show you where to get the best gift registry, where to find gorgeous invitations, and how to make your wedding look like a million bucks without exceeding your budget.

1. Project Wedding – Think of this site as wedding day central. It’s a comprehensive source on all things wedding and the site is a perfect first stop in your big day’s planning path. Aside from the obvious bride and bridesmaid dress designs and vendors, Project Wedding shares photos and inspirations from real weddings. You will also find lots of decor, wedding cake and beauty ideas on this site in addition to practical tools such as check lists, wedding websites and more.

2. The Knot – Perhaps the most familiar of the bunch, The Knot offers solid help on every possible wedding aspect you can think of. The colossal variety of topics might confuse you at first, but after a deep breath you’ll see The Knot truly provides a wealth of information and ideas. To start off, check out the ‘planning basics’ menu on the left (offering ideas and tips on wedding destinations, vendors, vows, songs and invitations, etc.). Once you’re ready for more hardcore planning, make use of The Knot’s gift registry page to pick your store (an adventure in and of itself).

3. My Wedding – Although this website might seem as a bit less comprehensive than the two above, its forte -free wedding sites- outweighs any content downsides it may have. Wedding sites have become huge these past few years, and for a good reason. In many cases the bride and groom’s family is scattered across the country, and although phone calls might do for keeping everyone updated, there’s nothing like a designated Web space everyone can visit anywhere with ease.

My Wedding offers a huge variety of website options neatly categorized by color and theme (green, outdoors, traditional weddings and more). If you’re thinking about creating a wedding website for your special event, My Wedding is your spot. Here’s the gorgeous example of Samira and Maxwell’s wedding site, created by My Wedding.

4. Martha Stewart Weddings – For those of you seeking an all-American, traditional wedding style, Martha Stewart’s designated online spot for weddings is a perfect resource to start with. Get all the event’s basics down and stay on top with all your check and to-do lists with Marth. One cute post I loved reading here is Good Things for Spring Weddings – great inspirations!

5. Macy’s Gift Registry – Although there aren’t any right or wrong gift registry choices, I think Macy’s is the best one in terms of both variety of products and the system’s ease of use when registering and adding gifts. Signing up to Macy’s registry service is super easy and quick, and you can start adding gifts in no time. Wedding guests checking in to buy will also find a swift and no-brainer process leading straight to the couple’s list. In short, I can only say that on my wedding day Macy’s will be my gift registry provider of choice.

6. Style Me Pretty – There’s nothing like peeping over at other people’s weddings pictures to see what works, what doesn’t and find new ideas. Style Me Pretty’s Real Weddings section is packed with tested strategies, approaches and features worth checking out before planning The Day. Browse the section’s various wedding styles, including Budget Beautiful, Contemporary, Do-It-Yourself Inspired and Vintage Chic, among others.  You should also explore Style Me Pretty’s vendors’ guide, DIY projects and wedding inspirations.

7. Once Wed – Dedicated to the to-be-wed folks who seek a non-traditional wedding, Once Wed is a brilliant resource for planning unconventional weddings that are “artistically innovative or effortlessly beautiful.” Created by the gorgeous Emily Newman, OnceWed is one of the only places online where you can find beautiful pre-owned wedding dresses and get lots of inspiring and creative ideas for your big day. Speaking of dresses, here’s one that caught my eye.

8. Wedding Invite Love – This amazing website brings together soon to be wed couples with graphic designers and studios all over the country, to make successful and beautiful invitations that suit couples’ needs and desires. Search for your favorite invitations vendor via a number of parameters such as price, nearest city location or style and a world of fabulous design will open up to you. Here’s an example of a beautiful design that’s well within the budget of any wedding, by The Letter Office in NY:

9. Wedzu – A site for the budget brides and grooms, Wedzu offers a saner approach to wedding planning, and offers a wealth of cool products for the indie-at-heart audience. From affordable yet absolutely fabulous wedding dresses to reception decorations and cute cuff links, Wedzu is all about making your wedding Etsy style (handmade, that is) while maintaining the event’s haute-couture look and feel.

10. Wedding MiniFaves page on All My Faves – This MiniFaves page dedicated to wedding planning and celebration is an abundant resource for all the big day’s different aspects. Find all the great websites listed above and many others in one place to make your wedding day the event you always wanted. Congratulations to all the newly weds and the soon-to-be married couples!

Top 10 Must-Visit Design Sites for Daily Inspiration

Who doesn’t like pretty things? Design is a very broad term used to describe numerous different industries (there’s graphic design, industrial design, packaging design and many others). For the purpose of the Thursday post, though, my Top 10 website list focuses mainly on interior design sources that offer brilliant, creative and yes, aesthetic ideas we can all appreciate and be inspired by, and even implement at home.

1. Apartment Therapy – When it comes to interior decor, Apartment Therapy is one of the biggest fish in the design pond. Since its launch, this cool site has expanded to additional lifestyle realms including technology, children, green and cooking, although the main Apartment Therapy page is by far the best of the bunch. Find amazing home design inspirations via AT’s beautiful home decor photos and posts showing how small renovations make a huge difference. Here’s a cool design idea I found on Apartment Therapy: Hanging Furniture.

Roundup: Hanging Rattan Chairs

2. Contemporist With an extensive readership of over 40k subscribed users, Contemporist is all about beautiful design both inside and outside the house, architecture, furniture and lighting, and more. Although the architecture section of the site offers innovative and luxurious buildings I’d die to live in, the furniture category is where I found lots of interior design ideas. Contemporist is the designer at heart’s must stop.

3. IKEA Hackers – Interior design is full of innovation and creativity, but what good is it without sensible hands-on application? IKEA Hackers is the DIY design site that is both beautiful and practical, therefore a definite top design site to check out. Explore the numerous IKEA furniture upgrade projects this site has to offer, explaining in detail what Ikea products to buy and step-by-step explanations on how to turn them into a premium piece of furniture at home. You can also submit your own upgraded IKEA project and share it with others. Here’s a super cool example cat owners with small apartments will appreciate: Hol Cat Litter Box with Sliding Top. Click the images below to see the project from start to finish.

4. Swiss Miss – This design blog and studio by Tina Roth Eisenberg is a fabulous source of design inspiration to both industry professionals and esthetics-conscience individuals. Swiss Miss is full of design ideas (spanning across different fields) with a clean, white space theme -Tina’s Swiss homeland roots. She’s a renowned talent in the global design arena with famous clients such as NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Food Network, and she also teaches at the prestigious Parsons ,The New School of Design. With such credentials, I needn’t explain why visiting Swiss Miss is an absolute must.

5. HolyCool – Sometimes a well-designed home is the result of the little things in it. HolyCool is a design blog showcasing oh-so-cute, cool objects and home products with a twist you won’t find anywhere else, and these will add a chic tone to your home. Each post covers a certain product or set of products, and includes a brief description along with a link to the online store selling the item. Have you ever seen such a sweet egg cup before? Find this and hundreds of other cool products on HolyCool.

6. Design Mom – Gabrielle Blair, a talented designer and a mother of six has created this blog which presents the intersection points between design and motherhood. The result is nothing short of inspiring, well-written posts on the many facets of design (including fabulous cooking as well). As you will agree after visiting Design Mom, motherhood can be quite a colorful and creative adventure!

7. DECOmyplace – Check out real living places of people all over the world, submitted by users who decided to share their design whim with the online community. Browse styles, themes and living space categories for the site’s full nine yards wonder. DECOmyplace is a fun, gorgeous and inspiring source of home decor you should visit on a regular basis. In addition, you can submit your own pad’s design ideas. My personal favorite is the one below.

8. KNSTRCT – Simply entering this site will pull you right into the warm and fuzzy world of design. KNSTRCT explores the ingenuity of design in various fields including architecture, interior design, fashion, travel, transportation, art and product design. The entire site has a sophisticated, upscale look and feel, as do the individual posts KNSTRCT always garnishes with large high resolution photos. This one is certainly special and it is filled with brilliant design ideas.

9. Design*Sponge – This design site is one of my personal favorites. As you will discover, it combines all of the elements each of the above sites offers. Design*Sponge has a sophisticated taste of design and style, but without the posh attitude. It offers a large DIY section, offers great (and practical) interior design ideas and product reviews, among many other features. In short, it’s an A-list design site. Here’s a cool before-and-after example of Julie’s kitchen. Amazing, isn’t it? Total cost: $15,000 and this included all new appliances!

10. All My Faves’ Design MiniFaves – For all of the fabulous design sites listed above and many other top online design pics, visit our Design MiniFaves page dedicated to the pretty things in life. Aside from architecture and interior design you will find there grade A graphic and Web design sites as well as well-designed sites, such as Jim Carrey’s gorgeous official site.

Top 10 Free Music Streaming and Music Discovery Sites

The Web offers hundreds of top quality sites where you can both listen to and discover new music and artists. Pandora and Grooveshark might be the most famous ones everyone is familiar with, but there are many other sites that offer great music for free you might not be aware of. Here’s my top 10 list of sites that offer free music streaming and music discovery.

1. Stereomood – This is by far my #1 music site. Stereomood is a free playlist-ready music streaming place that invites you to explore exquisite tracks based on the mood you’re in. The homepage is made up of a big tag cloud of moods for you to choose from; calm, happy, sleepy, lonely and in love are only a number of the vast mood options available. Once you pick a mood, a ready-made playlist appears and will start to play. You can also share each of the songs of each playlist on a variety of social networks. Beautiful design and perfect sound make Stereomood my top music choice.

2. Blip.fm – Built in the form of a Twitter-like micro-blogging service for music, Blip.fm is open to users from all over the world (as opposed to location-restricted sites) and puts a special focus on music discovery and social interaction. The homepage is essentially a feed list of ‘blips’ other users have submitted, and you can go right ahead and start blipping yourself. Simply search for your favorite artist or song and blip. You can create your own playlists, give ‘DJ props’ to users (Blip.fm’s “Like” equivalent), and follow favorite DJs.

3. The Sixty One – This music site is the most stylish one in the list, merging great music with gorgeous visuals and atmosphere. The interface of The Sixty One is unlike any other music site you’ve seen before. Each page represents a different artist and includes a full screen picture of the singer/band and automatically plays one of their songs. You can learn more about the artist by exploring the info box on the right (offering the artist’s website, recorded music and upcoming shows). Browse the artists on The Sixty One by simply clicking the right/left arrows and discover even more great music. The screen shot below is of Kori Pop.

4. Jelli – This music site has a special twist. It’s an online radio site (exclusively online), where registered users decide on the radio’s playlists -100% user-controlled radio. Each of Jelli’s channels (Red, Green and Orange, each representing a different range of music styles) is made up of a long list of standby tracks users can vote for (by clicking the V button) or against (by clicking the X). Returning users are equipped with heavier ammunition: rockets and bombs to vote for or against a selected track, respectively. In short, this site is about listening to great music, and having a hell of a time along the way.

5. Mixcloud – If you’re already familiar with the concept of podcasts you will appreciate this music site. Mixcloud is based upon the same podcast idea, and it contains a wealth of music styles and DJs for you to follow, listen to and subscribe to. In addition to the variety of music genres, you can also explore other channels including business, comedy, culture, education, news and more. Think of it as NPR’s first cousin.

6. 22tracks – This attractive music site offers free music streaming of 22 different music genres, each with a playlist of -you guest it- 22 tracks. The sound quality is amazing and you are invited to create a playlist with your favorites, and also share each of them with your social network friends. This is one of my favorite sites for music discovery, especially since all the tracks on this site are carefully curated by 22tracks’ team of professional DJs.

7. 8tracks – This Web radio service is totally free, and it offers creating, sharing and listening to user-created playlists, each comprising of eight tracks. The idea is simple and using the site is super easy and fun. Thanks to 8tracks you will undoubtedly explore new artists you haven’t listened to before. Here’s what the Jazz category looks like on 8tracks.

8. One Track Mind – Although this music blog is not a high-profile music site as the other big fish I mentioned above are, it offers a valuable service you should check out if you’re looking to increase your music repertoire. One Track Mind is the place for “music discovery, one track at a time.” The added bonus is you can listen to full tracks of new and recent releases, and download them (100% legal!) as mp3.

9. Hitlantis – I just love the innovative concept of this music discovery site. Instead of browsing lists of artists and songs, Hitlantis offers a visual experience where lots of bubbles are neatly organized by color. Each color region represents a different music genre (consult the legend on the homepage), and each bubble within that color area represents a certain artist or band. Simply click on a bubble and a mini player window will appear, offering additional info about the artist, and also showing what the user community thinks about that artist. This is a great out-of-the-box way to explore new music.

10. Music MiniFaves page on All My Faves – This fully-booked MiniFaves page offers all of the top resources I have mentioned above plus many others worth checking out. In addition to the best music streaming places you can find online, the Music MiniFaves offers top music news and magazine sites for you to explore as well as other music perks such as lyrics finders and much more.

Top 10 Tech Sites You Don’t Have to Be an Engineer to Enjoy

This Thursday the Top 10 focus is on cool technology sites that provide up-to-the-minute updates on the latest in tech, but without all the complicated jargon that comes along with it. In other words, these are the top mobile, computer and gadget sites (plus one oddball you’ll thank me for sharing) in plain English anyone can understand and enjoy.

1. Mashable – This comprehensive tech source offers the latest news on social media, technology and what is known as ‘Web culture.’ Mashable is the top A-list site for many tech professionals, but the beautiful part about it is you don’t necessarily have to be one to understand and enjoy the content here. Read about the latest Web & tech news, trends and website reviews in addition to tons of other related topics, all covered by Mashable.

2. Wired.com – The Website of the biggest tech magazine in the US (and other countries) is by far one of the best resources on technology in virtually every industry you can think of. From gadgets and mobile to cars, entertainment and even politics, Wired.com has a top-notch team of writers that offers well-written engaging content for both professionals and laypersons.

3. CNET Blogs – CNET.com is the technology mecca of millions of users worldwide, mostly thanks to the site’s reputation of being a reliable consumer electronics reviewer. But many users who frequent this site are oblivious to the blogs collection CNET offers. Written by the CNET staff, the tech blogs (over 40 of them!) offer a great resource on an almost exhaustive array of fields, including new and upcoming products, Apple, Android, robotics, gaming, digital media. health and many other issues. If you’re looking to explore more fields of interesting technology, the CNET Blogs are for you.

4.  NY Times’ Bits Blog – This plain-English tech blog by the NY Times covers “start-ups, tech leaders like Google and Apple, enterprise technology,government policies and the way the Internet is changing how we live and work.” Although the New York Times will soon adopt a paywall (meaning paid subscriptions), The Bits blog is a rare find because it discusses sophisticated tech ideas and concepts in the form of engaging, easily understandable content form.

To listen to the Tech Talk Podcast shown above click here.

5. Motherboard – Although the Motherboard’s Video Room is what makes it special in my view, this beautifully designed tech resource is a top site in and of itself, and it’s the oddball I talked about in the beginning of the post. Motherboard focuses on technology, but from a different perspective; it’s a “celebration of the diversity and eclecticism of the culture that surrounds technology.” You will find here unique, well-written tech stories and posts you wouldn’t have expected to come across on a conventional tech site.

6. Techi – The fun site of the bunch, Techi is all about the groovy side of technology in addition to the standard tech news coverage it offers. This serious-but-laid-back website is a cool resource to visit regularly, and if you’d like to dive right in, I suggest starting with the Offbeat section. See the video below, Lego Ship in a Bottle. You see? Technology is FUNtastic!

7. All Facebook – Although it might seem a bit pretentious to list a Facebook-specific blog here on the Top 10 Tech sites list, All Facebook most certainly delivers. Get all the latest news on the world’s most famous social network ever -both good and bad- from this unofficial Facebook resource. Learn what new apps are available, what people are Liking the most and where this social giant is heading.

8. CNN.com Tech – CNN is great at delivering breaking news and covering current affairs, but their Tech section online is just as admirable and informative. Excluding too geeky tech terms, CNN Technology delivers the hottest news in computers, Internet and technological innovation for everyone to consume and understand.

9.  Digital Trends – Delivering large doses of Tech news with a hint of entertainment and design, Digital Trends is an aesthetic Tech news provider that aims to help readers make the most out of their “hi-tech lifestyles” by offering updates, reviews and editorial concerning “trendsetting consumer technology products and services.” This site is a sort of a trend chaser, bringing you the hottest tech news of the day.

10. All My Faves Tech – To explore additional top technology sites and blogs, why not visit All My Faves’ Tech MiniFaves page and have it all in one place?

New Academics MiniFaves and a Spotlight on Top Gossip Sites

We’ve got a brand new Academics MiniFaves page I’d like to share with you, and you can find it on our Education page – simply click on the Academics faveline title. This new addition offers an expanded collection of academic-related resources, from universities admission info and college-level writing aids to citing how-to’s, video classes, scholarly journal resources, and lots of other useful sites in-between.

So now that we’ve studied hard, it’s time to take a break and do a 180 turn to celebrity gossip. Although this isn’t a newly added page, it’s possible you haven’t come across our Gossip MiniFaves page yet. Think People and Perez Hilton are the only sites worth checking out to keep up with the stars? Think again. In this MiniFaves page you will find more than 30 different top sites packed with celebrity photos, fashion trends and yes, hookup updates. In short, all the juicy details worth knowing about Hollywood’s young and beautiful people.

Conventional Data Info is Boring. Make Way for the Infographic

The digital age has brought us numerous life-enhancing benefits. Some of the most obvious include super fast communication regardless of geographic location, social networks and virtual communities, and online shopping, just to name a few. But in terms of information consumption, there’s an interesting shift worth noting. I am referring to the infographic, the visually pleasing crossbreed between information and graphics that makes complex concepts, statistics and processes much easier to digest when compared to plain text-and-number info. Here at All My Faves we’ve already featured a few infographic sources, and we also have a special Infographics Mini Faves page for it.

So what makes infographics so different from charts and graphs, you might ask. These, too, serve as visual aids that facilitate data analysis and comprehension, right? Well, as Cool Infographics creator and Inforgraphic Designer Randy Krum explains, “Charts and graphs can communicate data; infographics turn data into information.”  The bottom line characteristic of infographics distinguishing it from conventional data information is this: readers of infographics not merely acknowledge changes of statistics and data; they get the bigger picture fast and understand why these changes occurred in the first place.

Let’s dive right into the visuals and you will see why inforgraphics are making a steadfast appearance all over the Web (not to mention in major news websites and newspapers’ printed editions such as the NY Times). The first example is “The 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live In 2010” infographic by the Australian brokerage company, HomeLoanFinder.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in 2010

Another great infographic example is this one below, showing the Rise of Walking and Biking, from 1990 to 2009 (source: Department of Transportation, appeared in GOOD Magazine, Jun 24, 2010). Click the image to launch the interactive infographic.

This third one is a knock-out, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. Created by the talented team over at Information is Beautiful, Visualizing Bloodtests is the ultimate data-into-info example, and there’s no wonder why this visualization scored the 1st place in Wired Mag’s re-envisioning medical data design competition.

A standard bloodtest data document. Almost impossible to fully comprehend what’s going on there. and this is crucial to someones’ life!

Now see the magic of infographics (thanks to Information is Beautiful), turning the uncomprehensible document from above to an easy to digest content:

To wrap things up, see this interesting video talking about the use of infographics in the New York Times (via GestaltenTV).

New Content on All My Faves – Cable TV, Lifestyle and Games

We have recently added new useful faevlines and Mini pages for you to explore on allmyfaves.com. We’re excited about these new additions and I thought I’d present these to you here. Let’s begin, shall we?

Cable TV Mini page. This is one of the most comprehensive cable TV resources you can find online. You’ll find here all the official websites of major channels, including less mainstream yet equally entertaining cable TV ones so you can satisfy all your TV entertainment needs. Get your favorite show’s schedule, see upcoming shows and movies, watch videos of interviews with the stars, independent films and trailers, and lots of more great content, conveniently located in one place. To access the Cable TV Mini page click here, or go to the Entertainment page and hit ‘TV.”

Lifestyle Faveline and Mini Page. This unique collection of lifestyle websites will make you motivated, inspired and energized, and it’s one of my personal favorites. The faveline includes a top-notch lineup of insightful websites and blogs addressing better and healthier living, great food, tips for a saner state of mind in a busy, chaotic world, style and culture, and great hacks for a soothing atmosphere at home.

You can access the Lifestyle faveline by going to Blogs and scrolling down alphabetically to “L.” Clicking the faveline’s title will prompt you the Mini Faves page where you will find many more better living resources you don’t want to miss!

Brand New Games Faveline: Flight. Airplanes, flight simulators, landing strips – we’ve got it all here in this fresh-out-of-the-box faveline and category page, especially for you! We’ve got Naval Strike, Sim Air Traffic, Helistorm 2 and many many others! Roger that.

All My Faves in the Halloween Spirit

The children’s much anticipated holiday of candies and costumes is just around the corner, and we wanted to give you the heads up and suggest some interesting ideas. I honestly believe Halloween can be just as fun for grownups as it is for kids. For this reason, I would like to suggest our Halloween Mini Faves page, an all-in-one resource for the trick-or-treat holiday.

The Halloween Mini Faves page offers everything you could possibly need to make this holiday special and unforgettable; the most popular costumes people are searching for online (again, suitable both to children and adults), recipes in the holiday’s spirit, some great shopping deals, and of course, wonderful horror and scary games to check out! My personal Mini Faves pick is Jibjab’s hilarious Halloween site

We would love to see what you have planned for Halloween 2010! Visit our Facebook fan page and post a photo of your costume for this year, or share with us what you plan on doing on October 31. In the meantime, here is a quick glance at the Halloween Mini Faves page.

AllMyFaves Enters the Classroom

For those of you who haven’t fully explored it yet, AllMyFaves offers a whole page dedicated to a most important subject: Education. Suitable for curious souls, students of all ages, teachers and homeschooling parents, the Education page aims to provide a comprehensive resource for practically every field related to learning, teaching and research, both in and outside the classroom.

Thus far we’ve been getting great feedback on the Education page, and we’re delighted students and teachers across the country are making use of the top resources this page has to offer. Take Writings on the Wall, an edu blog of an English teacher (Mrs. Brill) for example. Mrs. Brill introduced the AMF Eduction page to her students as a “favorite homework helper.” Speaking of teachers, AllMyFaves also has a Teachers Mini Faves page available, listing the very top teacher resources the Web has to offer. These include a myriad of tools from classroom technology aids and educational videos to lesson plans, educational blogs and visualization tools for the classroom.

Whether you are a teacher, a pupil or an academic student, the Education page has something for everyone. A world of knowledge awaits you!

This is a picture of the Teachers Mini Faves. Would you like to create your own Mini Faves page? It’s free! Join All My Faves and start customizing your own visual page.