Be it for gaming, leisure, reading, blogging, or creating [anything], we spend a lot of time on our electronics and for me, phones especially.
At least, I know I do. There’s an array of fancy toys now that run apps; phones, tablets, computers, and heck, there are fridges now with touchscreens! Go to the kitchen to grab a coke and you come back with a drink in hand while knowing what this week’s weather will be (say whaatt?)
Between blogging and other leisure activities, I spend a lot of time with all sorts of apps. Amongst them are a handful of personal favorites for both blogging and leisure fun.
For the Ears 🎧
Nothing beats good ol’ Youtube. When it comes to music, I can always count on it to keep me entertained. Whether it’s lo-fi for relaxation or some gaming OST for motivation, Youtube seems to always have the perfect video. Sure, I should really look into Spotify, but that’s for soon or later. For now, Youtube keeps me happy enough and that’s really all I need.
This app keeps me going when I really have nothing to listen to! Sometimes, I just really need that human voice droning in the background to keep me company during those work-from-home shifts. It’s that light-heartedness of friends talking to friends that sets podcasts aside from audiobooks or music and Google Podcasts is perfect for that. I also have Anchor though it’s not an app I use as much as I do with Google.
While reading off of this app didn’t particularly impress me, especially considering I could easily download it to my Kindle App or my actual Kindles, like the Google Podcasts, I couldn’t make it through the workday without the audiobook feature this app has! Having recently been really into audiobooks, I make sure to look for new ones every time I come to an end with the one I’m currently listening too. The audiobooks are fantastic and despite being one of the more neglected apps, on my phone (in the past), NetGalley Shelf has easily risen to become one of my top favorite apps in the last few months!
For Reading 📚
I think this one is a given. One of my favorite apps of all time, this app is there for me whenever whipping out an e-reader becomes inconvenient. On a crowded train? Phone. In line at the grocers? Phone. At work, in the John, and want to sneak a few pages? Phone. Waiting on that absurdly long red light to change? PHONE! (I’m talking about walking, don’t phone and drive, people)! I also love reading audiobooks on here. I’m not sure the NetGalley Shelf audiobooks comes with any words, but sometimes it’s nice to have both the text and audio to a book and the Kindle App has that too. Simply put. I love this app because it’s the perfect default to situations where I just want to sneak in a few pages where a traditional book or e-reader might be…awkward.
The other reading app that I use, albeit not as often as the Kindle App. I can use my Overdrive app to borrow library e-books! I only recently discovered this little guy and it was a life saver during the lockdown. I never knew that I could borrow ebooks like that and having free books to borrow without ever leaving your house? Golden!
For the Creative Ones🎨
iIbis Paint X
My favorite painting and drawing app! I’m not the best of artists, but if I needed to doodle up some graphics for my page this is the app I rely on. Sure, there’s Canva, but this one let’s you freely paint with a large variety of colors and brush choices along with some other handy tools to use. Sure, a lot of the options are locked, but it’s one video away to unlocking all tools and options for 18 hours and that’s a trade I’m willing to make. My little cup and tea leave doodles as well as my logo were made with this app (or at least started from here).
Color Picker and Color Grab
Sometimes, I find petty mistakes in smaller drawings so I want to recreate the logo with some other touch-ups or I’m trying to create a pin and I’m looking for the palette to draft up a theme, I look to these two color dropper tools for help. Simply drop in a picture and you’re all set to go. Color grab provides you with the hex codes of colors as well as their RGB, HSV/HSB, HSL, Lab, CMYK and a bunch of other useful color tools to help you get that perfect set of colors. Meanwhile, Color Picker is a little more on the simpler side with the hex code results as it’s main feature.
The other day, I was trying to get my old Cozy logo to lose its background so that it’d be transparent. Unfortunately, I…don’t have the paid version of Canva to do this and thought, “I wish there was a transparent eraser app I could use” and lo and behold…there it was. I’ve always been fascinated with images that have transparent backgrounds and now I have a tool that can let me create my own! I’m never letting it go.
Needing a fanart because you fell into a new fanfic hell? Need some bullet journal inspirations? Don’t forget the recipes and the outfit ideas, Pinterest has it all! I’m mostly there because of blogging and use it as one of my traffic drawing websites, but I find the act of creating pins more fun than the actual website. It’s also a great place for blogging ideas and tips and finding fanart for fictional characters
because I can’t draw for shit.
Leave the best for last, eh? If you can’t tell from my header image and the image with this post, I’ve been a little obsessed with Canva in the last few days, particularly after discovering that Canva has an animation feature. So…guess who ended up gif-fying everything?? It’s like…discovering a new toy! Besides the graphics here, Canva also helped me finish up some logos and is my go-to for creating pins for Pinterest! My friend uses it for resumes (to which I also didn’t know there were templates for). Give me a few days to tire off from the Canva craze. I’ll grow bored eventually, but I will admit, these last few days of playing on that app (and the site!) has been insanely fun and I don’t think I’ll stop using it even after the initial amusement dies off.
Social Media 📱
There’s only one social media that I use the most when it comes to blogging. Sure, I occasionally pop on Facebook for friends and family or on WeChat for my overseas family, but Twitter is where I’m at most of the time. The writing and reading communities of Book Twitter are fantastic and so warm and friendly. I’m always discovering fascinatingly stupid things on there that keeps my attention locked for hours (when I ought to be reading or editing…). While I would throw in Instagram, I find that platform to not be as amusing and sometimes it gets a little lonely. The pressure of beautiful pictures is always lingering on IG (even if there is no actual person pressuring you) so Twitter is just a great place for me. Not to mention, occasionally I can shout into the void, my stupid thoughts, and I might occasionally hit empty air or the void or maybe even get a shout back. Either way. I love Twitter. I just…need to get off that site for the sake of productivity. Gosh!
The Games 🎮
I used to think that there’s no way people don’t have games on their phone until I picked up my mother’s old phone and she had nothing but Chinese novel apps (since then, she’s discovered the joys of Farmville and hasn’t turned back). I used to have pages and pages of phone games, but it’s dwindled to barely anything in the last few years and now, my phone gaming days are at an all time low with only two games (that I play regularly).
Fire Emblem Heroes
I hate this game as much as I love it. What do you mean I just threw a hundred orbs for junk characters?!? Darn gacha games! Fire Emblem is a game series that I’ve been playing and following since I was a kid with my first game being Fire Emblem Sacred Stones. Since I completed that game, I’ve re-played it to death. Then…they came out with a mobile phone version of the game and my life was over. I love the story and it’s worse than waiting on the next book to be written in the writing world. Here, I have to wait maybe a month before the next chapters of the storyline come out and it’s so painful. But I love all the characters, the art, and the voices actors that the developers pair the characters up with. After all, growing up, the GBA versions I played were all 2D and didn’t have any voices so I’m always eager to see how close the VA come to how I image the characters would sound like.
Flower Garden (by Fairy Engine)
A super casual game where you have your own flower garden where you main task is…growing flowers. That’s it. I wake up, water them, watch them grow a TEENY bit, and put it away. It’s nothing but a test of patience and despite it not growing as slow as real flowers, there is still a good deal of waiting for the flowers to grow. I love this game for it’s simplicity and it’s just so calming to play. I had to include the developer’s name here because just Googling “Flower Garden”, you won’t find the game. It’s probably easier to find it in the actual app stores, but it was just not popping up when I needed to find that icon for my phone graphics!
The Useful Tools 📧
Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive
Winding down to the last group of my favorite apps, I never thought I’d say this, but I’m very fond of the Google tools that I have on my phone. I love having my emails on my phone for easy access and love having my calendar for work and blogging. I’d be a dysfunctional mess without these two and their widgets are just as good. But the golden app is my Google Drive app. It’s like a little cloud portal (okay, I mean yeah, that’s exactly what it is). Drop something in on one end and it’ll be right there for you to use on the other. I use it to transfer PDFs and images for my graphics (especially the images) and it’s been immensely useful to me since I started to blog.
And That’s That!
A list of my favorite apps for fun, social, leisure, and for blogging. What are some of your favorite apps?