Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Favorite Things: The App Edition

I've always been a little behind-the-times when it comes to cell phones; I tend to use them until they die and can't be resuscitated, and since I've always used prepaid phone plans (first Tracfone, for the first couple of years, and then Straight Talk, for the last four years to the present), phone selection tends to be a bit limited, too.

This last phone I had may have won the award for the longest-lasting phone I've ever owned, which would be four years (I know, that's actually not that long, but I'm pretty hard on my phones lol!). But for the last couple of months, it was clearly on its last legs - wouldn't hold a charge for more than a few hours, was doing a bunch of glitchy things like turning itself on and off, freezing up in the middle of calls, etc, - so I began thinking about my next phone. I wanted a smartphone! So I did some research, asked a friend who worked for AT&T, and for Christmas, Maggie gave me an awesome Samsung Galaxy Proclaim which I love, love, love!

Of course, as soon as I got it up and running, I loaded it up with some apps - some of which I already loved using on my tablet, and some I'd only read about!

So here it is - my list of favorite free apps:

1) Facebook - I love staying connected to my family and friends in far-off places, and even though it gets a lot of negative attention, FB is by far the best way we've all found to keep in touch. I love getting notifications so I don't have to keep checking threads and posts... and I love seeing photos of my loved ones! :)

2) Bloglovin' - I was a latecomer to Bloglovin', and honestly, I couldn't imagine what all the fuss was about, but now that I've used it I'm a convert. I love seeing the newest posts from my favorite blogs without having to check all of them.

3) RetailMeNot - I loved, and my love has only increased since it became an app. :) Now, whenever I'm walking into a store, I pull up this app and check to see any available coupons to save money instantly. I especially love not having to remember/carry the paper 40% off coupons that Joanns and Michaels send me!

4) Pinterest - What could be better than a cup of coffee and a little instant Pinterest? Um, NOTHING! :)

5) Amazon Kindle - I love having my whole library at my fingertips, whether I'm curled up in bed or stuck waiting somewhere. Plus, there's so much free literature on the Kindle Store that I'm never at a loss for something new to read!

6) Brightest Flashlight - This has got to be one of the most useful apps ever! I use it all the time - walking to or from my car early in the morning or late at night, working outside in the dark, in place of my bulky flashlight, etc. I even turned it on once when I was at church and we lost electricity. :)

7) Words With Friends - I love Scrabble, so naturally I love Words With Friends. Unfortunately, my mom got a smartphone this Christmas, too, so we've been a little - um, competitive - with each other ever since. ;)

8) Instagram - I feel pretty much the same way as Disney - I love seeing everyone's cool pictures! And of course I love sharing my own, whether it's the new paint on my nails or my adorable girls or the tomato and artichoke galette I made for dinner last night. :)

9) Blogger - I'll be honest, I still prefer to use a real keyboard to blog, but when I want to jot down an idea for a future post, or upload photos from my phone for editing later, this app gets the job done. I especially like that I can just speak and have it convert my words into print. :)

10) Groupon - I love In fact, I think almost everyone in my family bought a gift off of Groupon this year, ranging from zip-lining trips to scuba diving lessons to gift cards for favorite restaurants/shops. Anytime you can save 50-90+% off of anything, I'm in!

11) King James Bible FREE - I pretty much only use my bound Bible at home (they tend to get scrunched/bent/dirty/left in the truck when I carry them around in my purse) and this is my favorite app. It' bare bones basic - the text of the Bible, and that's it. Some members of my family prefer apps with note taking, commentaries, concordances, etc, but this one is my personal favorite.

12) TuneIn Radio - I love getting to listen to my favorite radio stations while fixing dinner, hanging out, etc, as the radio reception in my area STINKS. This is easy to use, doesn't drain my battery, and gets the job done.

13) WNYZ - So, I'm a total NPR fangirl. I love The Splendid Table, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Car Talk, etc, and I love being able to stream them all on my cell phone while I'm cooking dinner or falling asleep (or, on Saturday mornings, waking up! :)).

That's my list of favorite apps. Now, you could help me out by helping me find a couple new favorites! Specifically, I'm looking for:

1) A good running app. Ideally, this would let me track my runs and give me my times and distance. Nothing fancy.

2) A good picture-editing app. I see all these cool picts on the web, people - what are y'all using to make them?!

3) Some good (free) games. I would love a couple of strategy- or logic-based games that I could play while waiting for my opponent to move on WWF. :)

4) An audio Bible app. Such a thing must exist, right? So far, the only ones I've been able to find are designed for Jehovah's Witness. :(

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