Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Few Apps That Help Keep My Life Together

No beauty here for a second. Quick update: S. and I moved to a different part of the city. Dennison is not adjusting, and we're also trying to transition to non-student life. We've been Internet-less for a while, and that sucked (so dependent! It's like caffeine), but I've been using the time to get acquainted with some new apps.

My life is run on Apple products, and I'm not going to get into it with you about that. But I would like to say that I do have a preference for organizational apps that sync across all of my various gadgets. Which means I can do work on my Macbook Air, and have it show up on my phone, ready to go when I'm out and about and need to access my shopping lists or my meal plans. And S. can access them as well, on his Android phone (the Dark SIDE).

The first two are ones I use to help run the household. Home Budget ($19.99 for the OS app, $4.99 for the iOS version) is a family budgeting tool; it doesn't sync with bank accounts, etc., which I actually prefer, because I like keeping a running account of my own that I can update in real time. I run the main account on my Macbook, and S. and I can both access it on our phones, as well. Yes, you have to buy each app separately - and it gets pricey - but it's worth it for us.

We used to run an Excel sheet on Google Docs, but I don't have the skills to create repeating expenses monthly, associate them to different categories, etc., etc. This is really handy. I did do some research before purchasing, and this is the one that suited me personally, but there are a few more on the market.

The second one for the household is Paprika. Again, it's $19.99 for the OS app and $4.99 for the iOS. You can store recipes (!), automatically scale them up or down (!!), sort them by category and all that good stuff (!!!) and use them in meal planning.
Showing organizational aspects of Paprika.

You can also use recipes to create grocery lists, and menus for up to a month, and sync across all platforms so that you have your grocery list with you when you are shopping.
Paprika's Browser in action. 

Again, S. and I both have access, so I plan the meals, and he pulls them up to cook with. Paprika also has a browser which supports a number of websites, so you can use the "Save Recipe" button at the top to clip a recipe. If the website is not supported, you can highlight relevant bits of the recipe on the page, and assign them to parts of the recipe card (e.g., "ingredients," "directions") and build up a recipe card for it that way. Super, super handy, and I'm so pleased.
Evernote. Just getting started. There's more going on now.

The last app is one that I wasn't immediately in love with. I didn't quite get it. But now that I've just jumped in and started using it, I have to admit that Evernote is pretty rad. You create "notebooks," and "notes," and basically, you can just go wild. You can set alerts and reminders very easily (I like this better than the "Reminders" app that comes with iOS) and it's just a great way to keep my ideas organized - and to be able to jot down thoughts as I'm on the run, as well. I keep my blog posts ideas in a notebook, for example. Again, it syncs between phone and laptop. The golden thing, though, is the Evernote clipper add-on to your browser. You can clip articles and pages and pictures and store them in their respective notebooks. Yes, it's like bookmarking, but it's all so organized and pretty. I'm kind of in love. Best of all? Evernote is FREE.

Sorry, that was longer than I intended, but I thought it might be helpful for others who wanted to get organized. I'll be back with beauty soon (matte lipsticks and cold weather friends on deck). What apps are must-haves in your daily lives?