Windows Phone apps help you celebrate Cinco de Mayo with gusto

Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s May 5, 1862 victory over France in the Battle of Puebla, at a time when the French were trying to occupy Mexico. For most Mexicans, Cinco de Mayo is a day of pride and celebration. And Americans have happily adopted the holiday as a reason for fabulous fiestas.

To get your own party started, there are Windows Phone apps that can help you make the best margarita, pick out a great Mexican restaurant, order in Spanish and more:

Cocktail Flow

If you’re playing host, Cocktail Flow gives you the recipes you need for a variety of drinks, including the margarita, always a Cinco de Mayo favorite. The app is $2.99 and you can try it out for free.

You can browse, find and discover cocktails from around the world. There’s an alphabetical list of cocktails, and they’re also categorized by type (“classical” and “shooter” are some examples of that) and even color.

You also get coaching on what cocktails you can make based on what you have in your liquor cabinet, and learn the proper barware and garnishes for specific drinks.

This elegant and easy-to-use app is regularly updated with new recipes. Check out the “Cocktail of the Day,” feature or try out the “Surprise Me” feature, which landed me the recipe for an “El Dorado” (three parts tequila, two parts lemon juice, ice cubes and one teaspoon of honey). Excelente.

Urbanspoon

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If the fiesta is not at your house, and you want to find a new Mexican restaurant to try, Urbanspoon can help you choose. The free app has a database of more than 800,000 restaurants, so it’s great for finding local eateries or if you’re on the road, away from home.

You can search by cuisine type, price and what’s open, as well as for restaurants with tables available right now and make instantly confirmed reservations from your phone. You’ll also want to check out the hottest restaurants, chef favorites, critics’ picks and photos of delectable dining.

Bing Translator

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Whether you want to impress your friends or seriously learn a language, including Spanish, Bing Translator is a free, terrific tool to have at your fingertips and on your phone.

Use your camera, voice or keyboard to enter the word or phrase you want translated. The camera translation can handle signs, menus, newspapers or any printed text.

The app also has offline translation so that when you’re not connected to the Internet, or when you want to avoid data roaming charges, you can use downloadable, offline language packs.

Amazing Karaoke

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Want to turn your phone into a karaoke machine for your Cinco de Mayo party? It’s easy to do with the free app Amazing Karaoke, which plays both lyrics and music tracks. You and your guests will enjoy being the lead singer for many of your favorite hits, and new songs are added constantly. You’ll need to have a Wi-Fi connection, with videos added weekly as they become available on YouTube.

TuneIn Radio

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Whether you’re looking for Mexican music, BBC news, or both, TuneIn Radio gives you live local and global radio from wherever you are. The free app offers more than 100,000 stations and 2 million on-demand streams to choose from, covering music, sports, news and current events.

Shazam

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Another party favorite is Shazam, a free app which recognizes the music and media that’s playing around you. All you do is tap the Shazam button on your phone to instantly tag, and then explore, buy and share. Tagging is unlimited, so you can use Shazam as much as you want.

Once you’ve tagged something, the free app lets you watch the videos on YouTube, discover new music with the Shazam Tag Chart, see the top tags in your area and buy tracks from Xbox Music and Nokia Music.

You can also check out the artist’s bio and discography, share tags on Twitter and Facebook, and set any track as your Lock Screen background.

Telemundo Now

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Using NBCUniversal Media’s free Telemundo Now app, you can watch full episodes of current Telemundo novelas and shows, or catch up on missed episodes.

You’ll first need to get authenticated through your TV provider. But if you don’t have a TV subscription, or your provider isn’t participating, there are some full episodes that don’t require authentication.

Telemundo Now is only accessible with a U.S. Internet connection, and a minimum 3G connection is required for viewing on mobile devices.

Blink

If there’s going to be dancing at your fiesta, Blink will help capture every step. Created by Microsoft Research, Blink captures a burst of images before you even press the shutter, and continues to capture pictures after you’ve taken your shot. That way you can save and share the shot you like best. You can also save a short, animated Blink clip and share it to Facebook, Twitter or the Blink.so.cl site.

So far, the free app has had more than 1 million downloads. Version 2.4 of Blink has several new features, including dual modes (one for editing and sharing animations, another for saving and sharing still shots), focus lock, improved stabilization and an interactive tutorial to get you going.

ProShot

If you’d like to have photography controls akin to what you’d find on a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera, the ProShot ($1.99) app brings that to your Windows Phone 8 camera. Using it, you can manually adjust shutter speed, ISO, white balance, flash, focus and more.

There’s a burst shot mode, which shoots up to 5 frames per second, a self-timer and a time-lapse photography mode. No matter if you feel like going fast – or slow – at your Cinco de Mayo party, you’ll definitely go at your own pace using ProShot.

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Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff