Sunday, September 13, 2015

Apps That Make My Life a Little Happier, a Little Easier

There are certain apps that a LOT of people use; Facebook, Google Maps, Instagram, Pandora, etc. I'm not really into games or anything like that. I used to do WordsWithFriends until I realized that my 'friends' were a bunch of cheaters. Now I just buy the good old solid crossword puzzle books from the grocery store and play WordsWithMe. With a pen. A pen. I'm that good. Time me sometime. Anyways, my favorite type of apps are the ones called 'lifestyle apps' in the app store. Apps that serve a purpose to make busy lives easier. There is, of course, a part of me that is very turned off by the whole idea that a technological application that I retrieve from my Iphone which I, like many people, am way too obsessed with, is something that is possibly bettering my life. Is that even possible? Or would the true betterment be to throw the entire Iphone and all it's apps out the window in lieu of real, authentic connections? Meh. I'm not trying to get all philosophical right now. So, here are my very favorite apps besides, you know, the ones that everyone already has:

1. Ku (formerly known as Heyku)
My friends Danae and Migue and I used to sit in the Lockerbie bar years ago and write haikus on napkins and then read them out loud to each other. We would write serious ones, contemplative ones and just plain insane ones. I love words. I love the craft of putting words together. A couple years ago, Migue's sister, Massi and I both found this app around the same time. We've both been on it on and off. You can add haikus to a sort of social media group of other haiku writers. If you are experiencing a block, the app gives you inspiration prompts. You can 'like' and comment on other people's 'kus'. It's is probably one of the most positive and uplifting social media site I've ever used. 

2. Happify

I'm not sure if this one is super popular yet or not, but I think it's really great. An app that actually helps you get happier? Then, it gives  you data that shows that you are getting happier? Kinda cool stuff! The app has different 'tracks' which each have a different set of activities or games that help you reach a certain goal. There are games where you 'knock out' bad thoughts, meditation moments with music and images and prompts to write out promises to help a friend that day. 

3. SleepCycle
I use this app almost every night. You put your phone in your bed with you. It tracks your sleep by your movements and in the morning it wakes you up slowly and naturally. When I only use this app's alarm to wake up (and not also use my phone's alarm because I'm always paranoid that I won't wake up in time), I feel like I'm gracefully awakened. My favorite part of this app is that it charts your sleep during the night and tells you when you went into sleep (REM), deep sleep or were awake.

4. BandsInTown

This app lets you put in your favorite music. It tells you when they will be playing and where in your town. It also gives you recommendations (some that you don't like), but you can turn those off to a certain extent. This app takes out the annoyance of going to different venue sites because it puts everything together!

5. GloBible
GloBible is my fav bible app because they have several reading plans that are preselected verses on various topics. It takes you through them and saves your place if you don't finish all at once. 

6. Digipill

Need a sexy voiced dude with a Spanish sounding accent to talk you through a meditation/hypnotism? Take your digipill! There are several different 'prescriptions'. Love it!

7. GoodReads

I'm obsessed with readings. I'm also obsessed with lists. Here is an app where you can collect a list of everything you've read and that you want to read. It also gives you recommendations (not as much as I'd like, in my opinion) and you can add friends and give them recommendations (I haven't quite figured out all that yet nor do I think that I care). I just like the lists.
Just look at my impeccable taste....;)

8. French MindSnacks

I love French. I took it all years in high school and for a semester in college. I hate that I don't get to use the language. When (rarely), I have time to play a game, I get on MindSnacks and play a game that helps refresh (or you learn) my French! The games are fun. The levels you've beat are saved and you can go back through them whenever you want. Give your mind a snack. A French one. A baguette...

9. MyFitnessPal

Okay, a lot of people use this now. But, I wish everyone did! This is such a good food tracker. It also has a great graph that tracks how much weight you've lost (or gained). You can like or comment on other's profiles (which doesn't seem to happen too much). This app is a straight forward food tracker. Whether you are doing low fat, low carb or pizza and beer, it doesn't really matter. You put in your food (and can even scan labels) and it tracks the nutritional info. You can also log in your exercise, although I'm not entirely thrilled with that part of the app because it has a scant amount of strength training exercises on it (I use Fleetly for that). 

I have just newly discovered this app, to the chagrin of my facebook friends. You can add makeup to your face LIVE, without actually adding makeup to your face. I love this for all the times I've wanted to try different looks without having to wash my face ten times in one day. Also, it's fun. And funny. You can even change your face to look like one of those creepy Bratz/Monster High dolls (see below). 

Honorable mentions:

Fandango-all the movies, all the theaters
Evernote-save pdfs in an app!
Fleetly-log your exercise
Bodybuilding-not as good as the website yet ;(
Modcloth-obsess over clothes I probably will never be able to buy!
GuitarTabs-I need to get a new string
CalenMob-combines all your calendars...for the forgetful person who overbooks things and makes everyone mad at them----me.

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