2017 Favorites: May

May was SO FULL of favorites, y’all, I can’t even believe I discovered all these things this month. I actually cut two out because it has to stop somewhere, otherwise I’ll be just listing things I’ve done or used all month. There’s basically two categories to this month’s favorites: apps and podcasts, with a TV show thrown in accidentally. Here are my May favorites:

Trial & Error

This show was supposed to be one of my April favorites, but I completely forgot to add it. The mockumentary comedy stars John Lithgow as an eccentric and oblivious man accused of killing his wife in a small, Southern town, accompanied by a ridiculous set of characters. It’s hilariously written and outrageously, ridiculously silly. It’s a fun time.

MyFitnessPal

Eating healthy is hard. Losing weight is hard. Keeping track of calories and protein and fat and blah blah blah, you lost me, get me another burger—it’s hard. I’ve struggled with my weight and staying healthy a long time. And thanks to starting to use MyFitnessPal app on my phone, I’ve been able to keep track of what I’m eating, the calories, fat, sugar—not just trying to keep it under a certain number (which has been a struggle in the past) but keep in a healthy “zone.” I want to post about my new dietary changes in another post, but since using the app, I’ve lost 13 pounds. The app makes it easy to enter what I’ve eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and it breaks everything down for me, so I know if I’m getting enough protein, having too much sugar, everything. It’s one of the coolest apps ever, and the best part for me, it syncs with my Fitbit, so it accounts for the steps I’m getting and automatically logs my calories into my Fitbit app, so it’s all together and organized to help me stay on target.

Scapple

I’ve had this on my computer for a while as a 30 day free trial, losing a day every time I open it. After a year or so of wanting to use it more, I finally paid for it, and have loved it even more than I thought I would. It’s a program (by the same company who created Scrivener, my favorite writing program) that makes it easy to brainstorm digitally. You can write notes, connect them to each other with lines, use arrows, pin images. It’s amazing. I’ve been using it for writing books, creating family trees and diagrams and outlines. It’s such a great tool that now allows me to be free of wasting pages and pages and pages of paper in a notebook. Let’s be real, I’ll still do that anyway, but Scapple makes it easy to save to Scrivener, so I have everything I need right in my file for referencing. It’s awesome.

Evernote

And, the nerdiest thing on this favorites list goes to…Evernote. The best app I’ve ever found (sorry, Scapple, you work for one thing, this works for another) that I can use on my phone, as a Google Chrome extension, and as a program on my computer, all syncing perfectly together in harmony. Evernote is basically for note taking, but it can be used for anything. You can have folders with references, images, and notes at the ready. The Chrome extension is awesome for saving sites as simplified versions, which is great for articles you want to read later (though I also use Pocket for this) and recipes you find online (I do this a lot), quickly clipping the site from online and saving it to your notes in a folder you choose that can be accessed from your phone. The app for iPhone can take a picture of a document and essentially scan it, making an image you can save and reference back to. It would be great for receipts and important documents. You can make to do lists. Everything syncs perfectly, so you can work while on the go, at your desk, whatever. It’s incredible and I’ve been using it everyday for at least one thing since I downloaded it, and I haven’t even begun to start really diving in.

Recently, I’ve been getting into podcasts a lot. I’ve been listening to one every day while on my morning walk. Here are the few I’ve been listening to and loving this month:

Portrait of a Freelancer

One of my favorite YouTubers, Ariel Bissett, recently started a podcast about becoming a freelancer, documenting the journey and talking about the struggles and successes starting something new. The podcast is really great, especially because I’m also getting started with freelancing, so it came at the perfect time for me to be inspired and listen to someone else’s perspective on a similar path.

Spirits

I don’t remember if I’ve ever talked about Spirits before, but it’s honestly my favorite podcast right now. I absolutely love mythology and legends, and hosts Amanda and Julia are hilarious, making the drunken storytelling podcast both highly entertaining and informative in my favorite area of history.

Story Not Story

Hosted by YouTuber Craig (WheezyWaiter) and his wife Chyna, the two tell bedtime stories, off the top of their heads while in bed, and record it for the podcast. They’re both funny and the stories vary, from the planets reacting to Pluto’s demotion to a story about the first water slide, ridden by micro-organisms, all ridiculous and hilarious.

Monthly Selections: December 2015

I don’t understand how it’s already December. Okay, I do. Time moves fast when you’re moving so quick. It’s been such a busy month—no, year. I started a business, had two part-time jobs (caring for my nephew—no longer because of time; working at a restaurant—summer only), began the start of another design-related business on my own, and attempted to keep up with writing my book. And I balanced school all in there, too. The fall semester is over and I can finally take a nice long breath until schools picks back up in February.

This post will also be my last post of the year! I started this blog in March for school and kept it going because I really started to enjoy it—a lot. This is the longest I’ve ever kept up with a blog, after many attempts, and I think it has something to do with the content I’m making here, being a great interest of mine. I have many plans and ideas for 2016 here on the blog.

Anyway—the point of this post is what I’ve been loving this month. I have THREE great things to share. Two podcasts and a song.

I’ve recently been getting into podcasts, a still very new medium to me. I hadn’t liked them before because I never had free time to just sit and listen to something. While writing, I can’t import information and export different information at the same time. I’m not a computer. But I’ve been having a lot of menial, low-thought tasks and decided to give them a try. Man, I made a great decision.

Here are two of my new faves:

The first is called Design Life. Its hosts are designers Charli and Femke, who talk about design and their obsession with side projects. Obviously, a perfect fit for me. I found out about it because I watch Charli’s videos on YouTube (so good, check them out through the link above). Their incredibly smart and informative, and it’s a great listen. Best part: they just started recently, and you could catch up real easy. Find it on iTunes, every Monday. Trust me on this, it’s good stuff.

Second is more of a conversational, comedic podcast called People Watcher. It’s hosted by CJ Bisset, who takes questions/topic suggestions from the podcasts email (I should probably send something in, but I always forget—maybe now that I have more time I will) and just talks. He tells stories, asks questions, is very funny. His YouTube videos are great too—he’s a musician and all-around hilarious guy. I suggest the 10 Minutes at a Time videos (the birthplace of the podcast, really) because his sister Ariel (also great videos about books and things!) makes some hilarious cameos. Listening to his podcast just makes me happy, it puts a smile on my face and I look forward to it every Tuesday(ish and sometimes Fridays).

Next up: a modern Christmas song.

Karmin is a fantastic duo that started on YouTube (this post is VERY YouTube heavy. Can you tell I watch a lot?) and are incredible. This modern take on the classic Christmas song Baby It’s Cold Outside. It’s song not as a duet, but as a singlet (is that a word? there’s no red squiggle under it, so it’s staying) with backing vocals by lead singer Amy.

Basically it’s amazing and after the first 10 seconds (those DRUMS) I paused it, searched for it on iTunes, bought it, then continued listening. I just love new takes on old Christmas songs.

And that’s all for 2015! I hope you have a great holiday season and a happy new year!