My Mobile Device Helped Plan the Perfect Surprise

By on October 27, 2014

My older sister recently turned 26 years old and purchased her first apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey. Traditionally, we do something special for our birthdays – like take a painting class or go to see a Broadway show – but this year warranted something extra special to celebrate this exciting new chapter in her life. 

Planning birthdays can be stressful, especially when trying to keep every last detail a surprise, but I was determined to introduce her to all the incredible places the Big Apple has to offer. This entailed taking her to seven different locations in New York City, starting off in the Lower East Side and ending up at the well-known cupcake shop, Magnolia Bakery. Take-off from her new apartment was at 9:30 a.m. and the festivities were planned to last until about 10 p.m. that night. 

My mobile device helped me navigate throughout the day’s adventure, ensuring that we hit all of our checkpoints on time. The biggest stress was making sure the phone’s battery would last – especially given the need to keep in touch with her friends to ensure they would be on time for the final surprise at Magnolia Bakery! Fortunately, the battery made it through the day, despite dropping to just a nerve-racking 4 percent charge.

Here’s how I did it:

  • Google Maps - I had Google Maps running throughout the day, helping me to get from point A to point B, and figuring out the quickest routes to take.
  • Weather Channel  App - With a 70 percent chance of rain showers,  I had to juggle our walking times so we didn’t get drenched.
  • Groupon - One of the advantages of being an October baby is there are always fall festivities. I found an awesome deal for a spooky haunted house maze called Times Scare, which was conveniently located in Times Square near Magnolia Bakery.
  • OpenTable - Perfect for helping me keep tabs on all my reservations and rack up some points along the way.
  • Evernote - I took notes of food recommendations so I didn’t forget to order anything I had read good reviews about.
  • iTip - Because who likes to do math after having a cocktail?
  • GroupMe - I updated her friends as the day progressed to make sure we would time our arrival at the bakery surprise just right.
  • Instagram - Perfect for catching a surprised face on-camera!


I successfully surprised my big sis – but also learned it might not be the best idea to leave for an all-day outing without also having a charger handy. Watching her excitement to see all her friends – with tears of joy – was truly an amazing feeling. And catching it on camera was the perfect icing on the cake!

Tags: Google Maps, Weather Channel App, Groupon, Open Table, Evernote, iTip, GroupMe, Instagram, Event Planning