Monday, January 7, 2019

6 of My Recent Favorite Phone Apps

If I had to pinpoint a reason for it, doing social media free weekends has caused me to look at my phone in a new light. Instagram is sort of a vortex for me. I always intend to just check it for recent updates and then get caught up in the explore page. Forcing myself to do without social media for a few days once a month has caused me to rethink how I use my phone. (I'm sure getting a brand new phone a few weeks ago had something to do with it too.) 

Instead of social media apps, I have found that I am using my phone for a lot of other things. And I don't mean calling people...haha! Let's be honest, I only call my immediate family and those 2 or 3 out of town friends. So, besides texting, there are a few apps that I've been using a lot lately, and I thought I'd share my recent favorites! 

Favorite Apps! www.pugsandpearls.com

This app is the single handed reason why I was able to meet my reading goal last year! Sitting down to read an actual book feels impossible. Even if I'm able to find the time, I swear I fall asleep as soon as I sit still. (It's a blessing and a curse.) 

Libby is an app by Overdrive- which connects to your local library. You can check out ebooks and audiobooks from your library's collection. It works just like the library. You have a certain amount of days to read the book and then it gets turned back in. The more popular books have a waitlist and you can place a hold and wait your turn. I try to check the app at least every couple of days to see when new books are added. Otherwise the more popular books have really long waitlists!


I've been on Goodreads for ages, but I fell back in love with it since I've been reading more. Goodreads is the perfect tool for bookmarking books you want to read, and for discovering what to read next. I really appreciate the community's reviews-some of them are right on the money. So many bloggers do book reviews and I often open Goodreads alongside their posts so I can remember their recommendations. 


So, this is an old favorite, but I continue to be obsessed with Google Photos! I just helped my sister upload all of her old photos off her desktop and it reminded me just how cool this app is. ALL of my photos are in Google photos (like old school digital camera pictures too!), and my phone automatically adds anything new I take. You can search by date or by FACE!! It's so useful. 

An anecdote: We were talking about mini golf, and my husband brought up a time we played when we were in the outer banks. He remembered the course being really run down and old, and I remembered it being really nice. I pulled up Google Photos and typed 'mini golf' into the search bar and it pulled up every picture I had ever taken that looked like mini golf or regular golf for that matter. Low and behold there was the photo from the trip we had taken and it clearly showed the immaculate mini golf course. 

It's also really helpful when someone asks you to provide photos for a slideshow-all you have to do is search by the persons face and there is every picture you have of them. 

Blake and I also share our accounts with each other, so I can see all of his pictures and he can see mine. No more "send me that picture!", because it's already there. 

And! If you ever travel with someone, or go to a party- you can create an shared album and have everyone upload their photos to share. It's so convenient! We did a girl's tea party last spring, and the hostess asked me to take pictures of everyone. I made a Google album to make sharing those pictures easier. I ended up granting everyone permission to upload their photos to the album too, and it was really cool to see all of the selfies and the different combinations of friends that I didn't get a shot of. 

At the outset I mentioned using my phone for other things besides Instagram, so this is kind of funny to include in the list. Unfold is a really cool way to make collages specifically for Insta Stories. You can include both photo and video into the collages which make them really unique! I found there is a little bit of a learning curve with Unfold, but it's fun to play around with. You can end up with really professional looking Stories.


You guys sick of me talking about Ebates yet? I keep talking about it because it's so crazy that I didn't use it for so long. I have gotten 2 real life checks so far, and my next one is currently just under $200. 

I use the Chrome extension and it alerts me whenever there is cash back at stores I'm already shopping at. You just activate the cashback and shop like normal. Once you check out your purchase is tracked and you get the percentage of cash back in your account. Then they cut a check each quarter. I can't wait to get my check this fall when it includes 10% back from my Netherlands plane tickets! 

As I mentioned, I mainly use the Chrome extension but the app is really useful too. You can shop through the app and it always suggests promo codes too.

Use my referral link and get a free $10 when you do your first purchase!



Blake and I both made it a goal to brush up on our Spanish this year. I took Spanish in school and then used a lot when I was in Nicaragua. But not much since. With our volunteer construction and maintenance work we've been working a lot with groups that speak Spanish. While we haven't had any major miscommunications, it is nice for everyone to be on the same page-and language has a big effect on that. DuoLingo has been so much fun to use and it's really helped!

You can set a goal to practice just a few minutes every day, and I think the learning techniques are right on point. I plan to set it to Dutch in a few months so that I will know a few words for our trip! 


It's amazing that our phones can do so much! Communication is obviously a huge proponent, but I love that we can use these devices for self improvement and education. One goal I'd like to work on is taking more pictures with my phone. My new phone has a pretty stellar camera, and I'd like to play around with it more! 

Leave a comment below with your favorite non-social-media apps! I'd love to know what you use on a regular basis. Is it a game or some productivity tool? Tell me I'm not the only one obsessed with Google Photos!

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