Friday, January 22, 2016

10 of the Best Reading Apps

Was one of your New Years resolutions to read more?  Are you wondering how you are going to keep it?  POPSUGAR has published a list of the 10 best reading apps that might help you out.  You can see which apps made the cut at

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

STREAKS. The to-do list that helps you form good habits.

It’s been almost three weeks since we have all started our New Year’s Resolutions. If you are anything like me, you are probably finding it harder and harder to stick with them. The first couple of days it felt good just knowing that I walked 5,000 steps or I did not drink that soda that was calling my name. But just knowing that I reached my daily goal is not as exciting as it was at the beginning. Then I discovered the STREAKS app!

STREAKS is an app that helps you form new daily habits with the “don’t break the chain” method. You can choose up to six tasks that you want to turn into daily habits: Go to the gym, Drink 64 oz. of water, Read for 10 minutes, etc. Every time you complete a task, your streak is extended. If you skip a day, your streak will be broken and it will reset to zero. If you have a task you do not want to complete every day, you can set the task to be completed on certain days so that your streak is not broken. STREAKS works hand in hand with the iOS Health app to automatically track certain activity-based goals such as Walk 5,000 steps. Other tasks are tracked simply by tapping a button every time you finish.

STREAKS is different from other “don’t break the chain” apps because of its simplicity. Other apps offer you an unlimited number of tasks to set for yourself. It’s impossible to complete all of your tasks when you have 30 different ones you are trying to turn into good healthy habits. With STREAKS the limit is six. This encourages you to focus on the important things that you really want to change from a task into a habit.

Streaks was chosen by Apple for the App Store’s “Best of 2015” list.

Name of App: STREAKS

Audience: Adult

Platform: iOS 8.2 or later

What the App Does and why we recommend it: Helps turn tasks into healthy habits in a simple, motivational way

What platform we used to recommend the app: iOS

Cost of App: $3.99

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Color on the go

Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to reduce the stress in your life? One of the ways people are achieving that is by coloring.  Adults who color are not only reducing stress but also stimulating their brains in areas of motor skills and creativity.   

The publishing world is taking advantage of this new phenomenon.   If you walk into any bookstore, you will see huge displays of coloring books.  On of their top 100 Bestsellers, 15 of those were coloring books at the time this review was written.   

If you have always wanted to try coloring but didn’t know where to start or if you are constantly on the go and can’t carry around a color book and colored pencils, we have an app for you to try.  It’s called Colorfy: Coloring for Adults.    This app allows you color anything from Floral, Animal, Famous Art Work, Cats, Geometric Patterns, Mandalas, Oriental patterns with just a touch of your screen,  A really cool part of this app is the Messages section.  Not only does it come with a set of messages to color, you can also compose you own.  Here is an example of one you can do:

Once you are done with your coloring the app allows you to either share it on Facebook or Instagram or e-mail it to show off your masterpiece. 

The app does allow you to purchase additional pictures and colors.  So if you want to see what all this coloring craze is about, Colorfy may be the place to start.     

·         Name of App: Colorfy:Coloring for Adults 

·         Audience: Suitable for All Audiences

·         Platform: iOs, Android, and Amazon

·         What the App Does and why we recommend it: Allows users to experience the benefits of coloring on their mobile device

·         What platform we used to recommend the app: Android and Amazon

·         Cost of App:  Free though the user can purchase extra pictures and color palates to use.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Food and Fitness for the New Year: Apps to Help You Track

Losing weight and getting healthy are almost tradition when it comes to the New Year's resolutions. Many of us feel like we need to shed a few pounds and get back on track after the overindulgence of the holiday season. From Halloween to New Years Day we are surrounded by food, and those tasty treats can be hard to turn down. This often adds to our waistlines. If your New Years resolution involves shedding those extra pounds or getting more exercise in your daily routine, we have a couple app suggestions that may help you with your goals.


The first app is one that I have used on a daily basis for the last two years, and it has helped me considerably. I often flip through fitness journals and read diet articles, and the suggestion I come across most often is tracking or food journaling. This approach encourages mindfulness. It requires you to track every item of food that you put into your mouth and helps you monitor your caloric intake. From personal experience I can say it works--if you stick to the plan. In order for this to be successful though it helps if it isn't too complicated, and guess what, there is an app for that! Actually there are several apps, and I have tried a few, but this one is my favorite.

It is called Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal. Often you will hear it called MyFitnessPal, or for the rest of this article I will refer to it as MFP. I have been using MFP daily since September of 2013. When you first register the app, you will be able to set up your goals. It will also recommend your caloric intake based on your height, weight, and whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight.  Keep in mind that these are customizable, so if your doctor or dietitian recommends a different caloric intake you have the option of adjusting that value. Every day I enter the calories I eat to help me keep track. You can enter your calories by scanning barcodes on food items or by looking them up in MFP's impressive database.  They even have a large selection of restaurant foods in their database. With this app you can also create recipes for meals you commonly make at home and the app will calculate the calories in the dish and store them for future use.
  • Name of App: Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal 
  • Audience: Adult
  • Platform: iOS, Android, and on the web from a home computer.
  • What the App Does and why we recommend it: The app helps you track your daily caloric intake, your exercise, and your water intake. 
  • What platform we used to recommend the app: iOS and web
  • Cost of App: Free, though it does offer an in app purchase for the extended version with more options.

Map My Walk

The second app I would recommend is great for increasing your activity. If you don't have a pedometer you can use your phone to help you track your walking distance and speed with Map My Walk. It will also recommend areas near you that other Map My Walk users have recorded. It is a great way to get yourself moving and add some exercise to your day. Map My Walk also has related apps for tracking your cycling (Map My Ride), running (Map My Run), and even hiking (Map my Hike). As a bonus it will even connect to MFP so your exercise can be added into your tracking so you get credit for your exercise!
  • Name of App: Map My Walk
  • Audience: Adult
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • What the App Does and why we recommend it: The app helps you track your walking distance, routes, and speed.  It will also allow you to connect with friends who are also walking for fitness.
  • What platform we used to recommend the app: iOS
  • Cost of App: Free, though it does offer an in app purchase for the extended version with more options. 

We hope these apps will help you with your fitness goals. I know I have found them both to be great for mine. If you need additional information, diet books, cook books, or even some music or audiobooks for your walks, check out this month's post on our #whatIread "New Year's Fitness Resolutions" blog for books, music, videos and more!