Happy new year! Every new year seems to fly by faster than the previous – I can’t believe that I’m already almost four years out of school. While 2013 was a fantastic music-filled year for me, I’m very much looking forward to what 2014 will bring. Here’s to a year filled with pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and fun experiences.
In the meantime, a few of my favorite phone apps from 2013, to help with daily organization and information intake:
1. Feedly – Home
When Google announced the sunsetting of Google Reader at the start of the year, I immediately began searching for alternatives so I could slowly wean myself off Reader. There were quite a few on the market, including feedly, The Old Reader (which had to rollback its userbase, due to overloading from the influx of ex-Google Reader users) and Digg’s anticipated reader. In the end, Feedly won me over with its clean, simple design and cross-device compatibility. An added bonus is that it works nicely with…
2. Pocket – Home
From my RSS feed to friends, I find a lot of articles that I want to save for later reading. Pocket makes it easy to bookmark articles no matter your device, and an added bonus is that lets you read the content directly on Pocket, rather than needing to navigate to the full NYTimes website, etc. Kudos to Shannon for recommending this to me, and Chin for featuring it in her recent Refinery29 article.
3. Yahoo! Weather – via iTunes
One of the most pleasant surprises of the year – a clean, beautiful and useful weather app from Yahoo! of all companies. In addition to the usual weather metrics, Y!Weather also includes wind, pressure, precipitation and sun/moon position information – all displayed on a backdrop of gorgeous photos (from Flickr, of course) aligned with the current time of day and weather forecast.
Four Kickstarter favorites from this past year:
1. Ghost CMS Platform – via Kickstarter
Open source blogging platform with a beautiful, clean design. Official website over yonder.
2. The HuMn Wallet – via Kickstarter
A sleek, minimalist RFID blocking wallet – not that I would use one necessarily, but this is the best design I’ve seen so far.
3. GameStick – via Kickstarter
A portable TV game console, all within this one controller.
And last but not least…
4. Veronica Mars Movie Projectvia Kickstarter
VERONICA MARS IS BACK! AHH!!
After months of reading about Birchbox online and seeing friends post their latest boxes on Instagram, I decided to try the subscription service out for myself beginning in February. My first box of goodies was meh, but subsequent boxes improved after I tweaked my profile a bit more. I also began subscribing to the Coco Rocha Fancy Box and Quarterly Co’s Pharrell box – though both of these yielded interesting items, in the end the cost:value ratio wasn’t quite right for me. For now, I’ll only be sticking with Birchbox – though if something piques my interest in this now saturated marketplace (subscription boxes are becoming the new daily deals), I may still give it a try.
Subscription box favorites of the year include:
1. Coola Cucumber SPF 30 Moisturizer – via Birchbox
One of the few SPF moisturizers that doesn’t smell heavily like sunscreen – which is the downside of those from brands I would otherwise favor, like Cetaphil and Philosophy.
2. amika Obliphica Nourishing Mask – via Birchbox
Unoffensive floral scent that isn’t saccharine sweet and light enough to use as an everyday conditioner for dry, heat-styled hair.
3. RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer – via Birchbox
First experience with this brand – the formula was promising, stayed on for a week and the colors are full coverage (no watery formula here!). As a fan of green, Hedge Fund was the perfect shade to receive a sample of.
4. Moleskine XS Class Notebook in Purple – via Fancy
Can’t go wrong with a Moleskine – the extra small size can be thrown into any bag or clutch, and the purple was a nice change from my usual black.