My Favorite Apps!

Instead of a "My Favorite Place" this week, I'm going to tell you about some of my favorite apps! I know this is pretty geeky, and is something Colin is more likely to do, but it is because I so very much like these apps that I think they're worth sharing and writing a whole blog about!

These apps have each improved my life in some way which is why I think they are worth talking about. Unless I experience a significant benefit to using an app within the first couple days, I will stop using it. I have a short attention span, interface and usability are important to me (I need to "get it" within a short amount of time, and I need to see the results of me using something, not just because (I'm not a games girl). The following apps met all these needs and I love them for it. So here they are!

Instagram

Technically this app does not offer 'life-improvement'. But honestly, this is the primary reason I have an iPhone.  Before I got an iPhone I used Colin's instagram.  And it has continued to be the app I've used most consistently since getting one (as you can guess from my obscene amount of photos).  I was trying to think of why I love it so much and it's hard to pinpoint.  I love taking photos. I love looking at photos.  I love visually seeing what my friends are up to. It has a huge community.  There are no retweets or political discussions or pokes. It's quick and easy and straight forward.

I follow a woman in Switzerland who regularly takes incredible photos of the Matterhorn.  I follow a family in Japan who captures moments between their adorable kid and their Shiba Inu. I follow a modeling agency who represents curvy women and posts encouraging notes to buck society and to love who you are whatever your size.  I follow a dog with an over-bite. 

And then there are my friends!  Tattoo artists, wedding planners , baristas, general explorers...I just like seeing what these people do and create and love!

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Money Wiz

While this app rates low on the attractive interface scale, it makes up for it by rating high on the life improvement scale.  Before Colin and I got married, we decided that getting out of debt was a big priority for us but it was a daunting task to start.  A financial adviser who we just happened to run into one day (it was miraculous really, I have to blog that story one day..) said that the best thing we could do to start was to write down everything we spent.  I personally knew that this was NOT something I would stick with if it was a save-all-your-receipts, pen-and-paper type thing.  But, if it was something that I could track immediately after I bought something, maybe I could keep it up.  An app was the perfect answer!  Eventually once we got into the habit of tracking our spending and were able to get a handle on what our monthly income was, we also were able to set budgets to work from which I can check right in the app.  It's the envelope system, sans envelopes.

As you can see, Luffy is ALREADY going over budget... tsk tsk

As you can see, Luffy is ALREADY going over budget... tsk tsk

I can't quite convey how freeing it was to FINALLY be aware of how much we were spending and not always be surprised when we got the bank statement at the end of the month. If you are trying to get a handle on your own finances, I'd highly recommend getting this app and just start tracking what you spend!

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My Fitness Pal

While I just got this one a week ago, I already am a huge advocate for this app, and for many of the same reasons as the finance app.  My Fitness Pal allows you to track everything you eat, with a huge database of food, the ability to pull recipes off of websites, and you can even scan barcodes of items if you want to find their nutritional info.  I don't believe in tracking calories, BUT getting the nutritional good stuff had become tough for me, especially now that I kind of care due to affecting not just me but the tiny human inside me.  I had no idea how much protein I was getting but I knew it wasn't enough, and I didn't know how to change that.  As soon as I got this app and entered in what I was eating, I could see exactly how it added up nutritionally and could plan my meals, and whether I should be snacking more or less, accordingly.  

Like I mentioned about the finance app, this gave me a hugely freeing feeling!  I was no longer out of control of what I was eating and didn't have to feel guilty (or didn't have to wonder if I SHOULD feel guilty...blahblahblah) as a result of eating too many things but not knowing the effect they had.  

Also if you like to track things for the sake of tracking things (which I do, because it makes me feel competitive! ...against myself) there is a place to track exercise and water intake.  I like tracking my exercise in there because, in combination with the food, it helps me feel like I am reaching my overall goals of physical health.  I like tracking my water because it's pretty much the only goal I can slam dunk on the daily.  

Here is me getting back into working out after I DON'T KNOW A VERY LONG TIME. Those black dots on my face are the hazard of dirty-mirror selfies.

Here is me getting back into working out after I DON'T KNOW A VERY LONG TIME.
Those black dots on my face are the hazard of dirty-mirror selfies.

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Paprika

Do you wish you could save and compile your favorite recipes but never do it because cue cards and recipe books seem like too much work?

Do you like to meal plan so you can buy groceries accordingly?

Do you use your iPad or iPhone to follow recipes but get frustrated and end up with a dirty phone because the screen keeps going off?

THEN GET PAPRIKA!!

This app is your recipe manager extraordinaire.  You can import recipes from the internet, add them to the calendar to plan your weekly meals, check off the ingredients you need from each recipe to create a shopping list, and refer to the recipe as you cook it (because the screen always stays on when you're in a recipe!).  It also has options to add your own recipes, categorize and rate your recipes, convert your portions and a timer!  So much awesome.

Bread made using aforementioned app.

Bread made using aforementioned app.

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So those are them folks.  I am not getting paid to say any of this (though I wish I was) so this is legit all from the love in my heart.  Four quick apps that could rock your world!