All posts by andrew

Wish List Gift Priority

Welcome back CheckedTwicers!

We’ve got an exciting new wish list  feature for our most die-hard wishers out there, one that you’ve been asking for: PRIORITY!

You can now reorder your wish list so that those MUST-HAVE items are always on top of your list. Make sure family knows what you really want for your birthday or Christmas.

To set the priority on items, click on My Wish List at the top left, and you’ll see a new system of hearts under every gift.

Image showing how to set priority on gifts
Tell your family how much you want an item by how many hearts you give it.

A gift with five hearts will always be on the top of your wish list. Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments.

Watsi has Gift Cards!

Looking for a last minute? How about a last minute gift that can make a HUGE difference in someone’s life?

Watsi is a non-profit organization that connects donors to people around the world in need of medical treatment, but unable to pay for that medical treatment.


You see a patients story, learning about their lives and their medical condition. Once you select a patient, 100% of your donation goes on to that patient’s medical needs. And most patients are in areas where health care costs are relatively low, so your dollars can go a long way.

And now they have Gift Cards. Someone you can love can make a real difference in someone’s life. There’s an option too for email delivery, so it’s not too late to get that gift.

Watsi Logo

This is a great time of year for gifts, and it’s also a great time to give back and think of others. Give a thoughtful, impactful gift with Watsi Gift Cards.

PCMag has some Great Tips for Getting Organized for the Holidays

Jill Duffy has some great advice for getting organized and budgeted for the Holiday rush for her audience at PCMag.

First off, block off your expenses. There are a lot of expenses that come up at the end of the year. She recommends starting with the big expenses, like Thanksgiving, and then breaking them down piece by piece, like travel and food.

And don’t forget about charitable giving!

Second, spread out your spending. With a good plan in place, you can pace out your purchases over the weeks and months. Travel gets booked first. And presents can be spread out over time.

Last, she goes over a few options for making your wish list and communicating your shopping list with family. Google spreadsheets, Pinterest, and of course, CheckedTwice!

7 Things You Can Do to Get Organized for the Christmas Rush

We love the Holiday Season. The traditions, the parties, the gifts! But it can be a stressful time of year, too. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of things you can do this week to get organized for the Christmas Rush.

  1. Add New Folks to Christmas Card List

    An easy one to get you started. Who are the new people in your life this year that deserve a greeting card? Brainstorm for a couple of minutes and then make sure you have their addresses. If not, go ahead and email them now.

  2. Order Christmas Cards

    And now you need those cards! We like the ones from the Museum of Modern Art. If you want, order enough of a single card to keep things simple. That way you won’t agonize over who gets which.

  3. Take a Look at Wrapping Paper Stock

    Before you take stock of your blessings, take stock of your gift wrap. Is it time for some new bows or paper? Add it to your normal shopping list. Pick it up at the store on your next trip.

  4. Make Sense of the Calendar

    Between school activities, holiday parties, church services, tree lightings, and more it can be hard to keep track of everything. Take few minutes to make sure your calendar is up to date. If you use Google Calendar, check out our calendar to keep organized.

  5. Charitable Giving List

    It’s a busy time, but it’s also a time to think of others. And beating the end of the calendar year can be good for the taxes and for charities themselves. Are there any charities that need your help again this year? Make those donations now.

  6. Set A Christmas Budget And Stick To ItNow let’s get to a sticky one: Budget. Take a few minutes to figure out what you can afford to spend on gifts this year. Then, write it down. Make sure you can refer back to it when you’re out at the mall. Write it down. And stick to it.
  7. Get Ready for Your Gifting on CheckedTwiceLast but not least, it’s time to figure out that holiday shopping. Invite your family to add their wish lists on CheckedTwice, and your holiday gifting will be a breeze.


My Experience with Offline Shopping

Yesterday I bought my first Tivo in 6 years. My old box with the lifetime subscription died, and I had been suffering without a DVR since. I’m a cord cutter–no cable TV for me–and I used Aereo for a while and services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Tivo just came out with a cheaper box with a focus on cord-cutters like me. The Roamio OTA–“over the air”–just takes in the signal from an antenna. Sounds great, right?

Tivo Roamio OTA

Well, here’s where it went wrong. Tivo is rolling this product out slowly for some reason. It’s not available online, only in person at some Best Buys.

Best Buy Logo

About a week after the products official release date, I went by the Bunker Hill Best Buy in Houston. No dice. They had never received a single unit. I called around and there were no units in Houston. Disappointing. Not sure what went wrong, probably on Tivo’s end.

Fast forward a few weeks, it’s now almost a month after the product was released. On a lark, I call the Bunker Hill Best Buy, and lo and behold! They had 10 boxes!

I made sure it was the right one… “Tivo Roamio OTA at $50, right?” “Yessir. That’s the one.”

I drove for 30 minutes to get out there, and…? No boxes. I got the official Bunker Hill line of that they’ve never gotten any boxes. So when I asked why they told me on the phone that they had 10 boxes, they insisted that I had mistakenly called another store.  I didn’t. I pulled it up on my phone.

ARGH! You make a mistake. Then you blame it on me. Way to make a bad thing worse.

Worst Buy

They tell me there are 3 boxes at a store further out. I drive another 15 minutes west (basically Eastern San Antonio at this point), and at the store, and…?

The staff has no idea what I’m talking about.

My blood pressure is through the roof at this point. They get about half the staff in the store looking for this box. After about 20 minutes, they bring me a beat up box that looked like it had been punted across the store. And perhaps it was, because it was buried under unrelated products in the wrong section.

So Tivo, what’s the deal? Why was the product rolled out so badly? Your customer service has always been top-notch. What went wrong?

And Best Buy. Wow. I used to shop at Best Buy, but now I mostly shop online. Best Buy is around for convenience’s sake. I wouldn’t call my latest experience convenient. So why does Best Buy exist?

Now, I love shopping for unique items at small boutiques. I enjoy supporting local commerce. But why would you go to a Best Buy or other box store for stuff you could order on Amazon and have for you in a day or two?

CheckedTwice makes it easy to shop for everyone online. I’m glad it does. It’ll be a long time before I venture back out to a box store.

For those that like getting out and shopping at the mall, why do you do it?

CheckedTwice Organized Christmas Calendar

Believe it or not, the CheckedTwice team is pretty busy during the holiday season. There’s a lot to get done, and–more importantly–there’s a lot of fun to be had.

At CheckedTwice, we’re also all about using technology in the right way: not too complicated, so you’re free to live your life and get things done.

To that end, we came out with something new for y’all out there that are looking for ways to stay organized.  We’ve created a Google Calendar with weekly tips of little things you can do to stay ahead of the holiday crush.

If you have a Google account, you can click the + Google Calendar button to add it to your own calendar.

It’s also available via XML and ICAL formats.

Let us know what you think in the comments. What did we miss?

LifeHacker HiveFive Winner

LifeHacker had user-nominated poll for Best Gift Registry this week. And CheckedTwice won!

We won LifeHacker's Best Gift Registry
I like our HiveFive gold medal!


We’ve always thought of LifeHacker’s readers as our target audience. LifeHacker is all about using technology and process solutions to make your life better.

So when their own users voted CheckedTwice the Best Gift Registry, we could not have been happier.

Thanks to our users that voted!

Birthday Wishlists with CheckedTwice

You’re already aware that using CheckedTwice for your family’s holiday gift exchanges makes everything simpler and easier – but did you know that you can use CheckedTwice for your birthday wishlists, too? And more than likely, you’re already set up and ready to go!

When you sign up for CheckedTwice, we’ll ask for your birthday along with that of any family members you invite. We ask for that information so that we can create birthday occasions throughout the year for everyone. After the December holidays, gifts on everyone’s wishlists that go unclaimed roll over and remain active for birthdays. Soon, we’ll start emailing reminders ahead of time so that the birthday person knows to update their list and their family remembers to check out the wishlist for ideas.

All the benefits of using CheckedTwice at the holidays apply for birthdays – it’s easier to shop because great gifts that they will love are right at your fingertips. And for your own wishlist, it’s easy to add things throughout the year using our Want It! button or mobile app so everyone will have an idea of what you’re into when you turn a year older.

And it doesn’t stop with birthdays – you can add occasions in CheckedTwice for anything your family needs. Just create the occasion and give it a date, assign recipients (is it an occasion where one person will receive gifts, or everyone?), and invite the appropriate family members. Baby showers, weddings, anniversaries – anything goes!

Here’s to a whole year of easier gift exchanges!

Don’t Forget Your Thank You Notes!

The big day has arrived, the gifts have been unwrapped, and everyone is basking in the celebratory post-holiday glow. But you’re not done yet! According to Emily Post, you should write your holiday thank you notes as soon as possible, preferably within 2-3 days. So while you’re enjoying downtime with your family set aside a few minutes to write your thank you cards and get them into the mail. You can even get everyone together to knock them out as a group over some snacks and then do something fun.

A nice hand-written thank you note is always nicely received – my grandmother used to send a thank you note… for my thank you note! An acknowledgement of what the gift was along with a quick blurb about how you feel about it or what you’ll use it for is usually all you’ll need – along with a hopeful note about the New Year.

If you need help remembering who bought what, you can log in to CheckedTwice to see a full accounting. If you need to order some cards, we’ve got a Pinterest board with some beautiful options to inspire you.

Follow T-h-a-n-k-y-o-u by CheckedTwice on Pinterest

We hope CheckedTwice helped make this year’s gift exchange a little easier and a little more fun and we wish you and yours a very happy New Year!

The Team’s Favorite Christmas Songs

There’s no arguing now, we are in prime Christmas music season. Love it or hate it – it’s everywhere. We wanted to share some of the CheckedTwice team’s favorite Christmas songs – click the links to see and hear the songs on YouTube.


He’s got two favorites, The Coventry Carol and The Holly and the Ivy. Check them out on YouTube if you’re unfamiliar. He is fancy, isn’t he?

The Coventry Carol

The Holly and the Ivy



Rebecca is a Christmas music aficionado and has quite an expansive repertoire. Here are some of her favorites from some diverse musical styles.

Doo Wop: Drifters – White Christmas
Punk: Dickies – Silent Night
Surf Rock: Ventures – Frosty the Snowman
Latin: Red Hot Jalapenos – Jingle Bells



Well, Matt’s song is filled with expletives. It isn’t right for an upstanding family-friendly blog such as this but we can give you a few hints. It is from the show South Park, it is sung by Mr. Garrison, and there are three words in the title, two of which are “Merry” and “Christmas,” and that should be enough to find it on YouTube if you are so inclined. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.



Fred’s a pretty easy-going dude and chose something in between Andrew and Matt’s selections – Sleighride by Leroy Anderson.



As author of this post, I’ll just come out and say it. I’m still into Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and with 63 million+ views on YouTube, I’m not the only one. I’ll also recognize N’SYNC for Merry Christmas Happy Holidays. What can I say? #sorrynotsorry


And if you wanted to know what everyone else is listening to – did you know that Billboard has a chart decidated to holiday music? They do, here it is!

What did we miss? What is your favorite Christmas song?


Sadly, Regis didn’t make our list.