5 Apps I Discovered This Month

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1. Google Arts & Culture App

What it is: This app quickly jumped onto the scene in January. Users can take a picture of themselves and, using facial recognition technology, the app searches to find characters in paintings that look similar to them. The app’s popularity dissipated as quickly as it emerged, but I’ve been enjoying the app every day since for the other features it offers. The main purpose of this app is to help users discover and learn about art, and it does so in an elegant and simple way. What it is:

Features: The explore feature categorizes art pieces by the movement or era they fall under, the artist, historical setting, medium, or place. One of my favorite features is the zoom: you can pinch in to see incredible detail on your iPhone without the image getting distorted or pixely. Of course, it’s nothing like getting up close to an original work, but it’s about as close as you’ll get on a device like an iPhone.

Why I like it: I’ve always been jealous of those who seem to be able to recognize an artists’ work or do  This app makes learning about and consuming art both accessible and incredibly interesting.

2. Productive

What it is: An app to help you keep your habits and productivity on track.

Features: Set daily, weekly, or every Tuesday and Friday reminders to do whatever you intend to do more of, whether that be to floss, to practice an instrument, or to call mom. The app’s design is simple and elegant, which is appropriate for the simple goal of the app.

Why I like it: I use it to remind myself to journal. In the midst of a busy schedule, the app reminds me to reflect and write down mementos from the day. Journaling is something I’ve always wanted to make a habit, but I struggle to remember to do it. Productive has helped me write on a more consistent basis.

3. Depop

What it is: A platform to buy and sell clothes. It’s essentially thrift shopping accessible in your pocket!

Features: The app is comparable to instagram in its design, making it easy and familiar to navigate. From the home tab you can scroll through the feed of profiles/sellers you follow; on the explore tab you can discover thousands of other accounts; a messaging tab allows you to send and receive direct messages with other buyers and sellers; finally, a profile tab is where you post your own clothes to sell, but also where you can browse your own liked and saved items from other accounts.  

Why I like it: You can find all kinds of styles for pretty cheap prices. A significant amount of sellers boast vintage items. Above all, it encourages more sustainable consumer habits by bringing the exchange of clothing onto a trendy and easy-to-use app.

4. Simple Habit

What it is: A guided meditation app, great for beginners and

Features: Based on how many minutes you have (5, 10, or 20) and what you’re doing (options include commuting, taking a walk, and having a touch day), you can customize your meditation break. You can also browse different kinds of meditations for different purposes: some examples include “Reduce obsessive thoughts, “Drift to sleep,” and “Eating meditation.”

Why I like it: Using the app reminds me how valuable it is take time solely for myself. So far, none of the voices are annoying. My favorite voice belong to a zen teacher named Simon Moyes -- I could listen to his gentle, British accent for hours. My only qualm with the app is that many meditations are locked and reserved for premium membership users.

5. Words with Friends

What it is: In this two-player game of Scrabble, you can challenge your friends and test your vocabulary knowledge. This is an app that became popular a few years ago, but I’ve recently downloaded it and discovered the joy it brings me and others.

Features: What the app has that the real-life version doesn't have is a word-strength checker: when you place a word on the board, you can click a button that will rank the strength of the word. If the button is red, you should look for a new word because there’s a word that you could play for more points! A green button will verify that yes, “polysyndeton,” that terrific vocab word you’ve proudly remembered from your 11th grade AP literature test, actually is a good word to play.  

Why I like it: You can play a game with anyone, including any of your Facebook friends, so it was a pleasant surprise when I got the notification that my aunt (who I only see once every few years) challenged me to a game. (She’s currently destroying me by at least 80 points.)

Leandra Ramlo