In this edition of the Swarm, the Bees share some of their favorite apps that make their lives a little easier, fun, and organized!

Sincerely Ink – It’s a super fast greeting card app that allows me to send beautifully designed photos via snail mail to the Trikester’s great-grandma. It’s $2.99 a card, and my go to for all kinds of correspondence.

USA Today – I don’t care if it’s not an “intellectual” news source – I like it anyway. I read it every night in bed, and have it set to send alerts for breaking news.

Audible – I’m a huge fan of audio books because they make chores much more bearable. I usually stick to trashy romances, as they’re entertaining and easy to start and stop. Audible is my go-to app for listening entertainment.

Food On The Table – It’s a great meal planning app that I actually bought a subscription for. I plan meals and organize my grocery list here.

Urban Spoon – We’re always looking for new restaurants to try, especially when we travel, and this the app we usually try first.

Endomodo – I use this app to track my workouts. It calculates mileage, speed, calories burned and route. The different types of exercise it works with are wide ranging – everything from cross country skiing to cycling to wind surfing.

Sprout – It’s a really simple sleep timer that I use to keep track of the Trikester’s naps.

Wonder Weeks – Every time the Trikester is especially grumpy, I check the personal calendar to see if he’s in a Wonder Week.

I’m not a huge app person, but I do spend a considerable amount of time on my phone taking pictures, watching tv, and visiting social media sites!

- Instagram – It’s so much fun to easily see what my friends are up to and it’s an even easier way to follow some of the blogs I used to read!

- Pinterest – The pinterest app is sleek and even easier to use than the desktop version.

- Feedly – My blog reader. I don’t love it though and am definitely opening to switching…

- VSCOcam – I have several photo editing apps, but this is my go to. The bundle pack of extra effects that you can upgrade are definitely worth it.

- Squareready – This adds white borders to your images and makes them “square ready” to post on instagram so none of your image gets cropped.

- Netflix/Hulu Plus/Amazon Prime Instant Video – I typically watch “tv” on my phone. When we used to have a tv, it was too big and bright and would keep me up. Watching tv on my phone with the lowest brightness setting is much better for me.

- Playtube – I discovered this one through a Hellobee user. It allows you to save 10 youtube clips to your phone so you don’t need wifi to access them. This has been a lifesaver when traveling and when the kids are grumpy.

- Wurdle and 7 words – These are the only two games I play. I’m behind the times when it comes to games and I’ve never played any of the popular games.

- Yahoo Weather – We check the weather every single day because that determines what we’re going to do with the kids and how we should dress them. I love that yahoo’s app uses beautiful images of your city from Flickr as their background!

- White noise – We can’t live without this when we travel. We use three sources of white noise when we’re all sleeping in one hotel room, since everyone has a different bedtime. We’ve never had a problem sleeping in a hotel room because of this app! We also use this as backup white noise at home sometimes. Both kids have Marpac white noise machines, but sometimes one kid is being loud while the other is sleeping. This app is very loud and drowns out pretty much any noise! I had the free version for a long time which works perfectly fine, but the paid version allows you to use your phone while white noise is playing. The free version closes the white noise app out if you use your phone in any way.


- Instagram
- Facebook
- PicFrame
- PicTapGo
- Vscocam
- You Need a Budget
Netflix/Hulu Plus/Amazon Prime Instant Video
- Kindle
- Yelp

- Instagram
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Pinterest
Facebook messenger
- Facebook business pages
PicTapGo
Imdb
- My local bank app
- Cuptakes
- Etsy
- Fitbit
PayPal
- Accuweather

- Instagram and Facebook – enough said

- Pulse – After the death of Google Reader, I tried a few other options before settling with Pulse, which turned out to be better than I could have even imagined. Not only is it a great platform for blog reading, but it also allows you to follow news sources and has an option to read the “Best of News” for viral news stories and key current events.

- OurGroceries – my go-to app for organization. Mr. Confetti also has it on his phone and our accounts are linked so we can jointly maintain a grocery list. I also use it for everything from packing lists, goals, blog ideas, restaurants we want to try and more.

- Playground Pointers – this app (so far only populated for Chicago) gives details about every single park in the Chicago area, with photos, equipment details, safety tips and more.

Kindle for iPhone - Once C was born, I converted fully to reading via e-reader, and eventually, primarily on my cell phone.

- Dice with Buddies – The one and only time-wasting game I indulge in.

- Snapseed – My favorite photo editing app

- Pic Stitch – Free app for making collages

Yelp – Not only do it use it for reviews, but just for finding places to go whenever we are in a city/neighborhood other than our own.

- Pandora – Disney or Toddler Tunes for Little C, Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars for me

- Similac – When Little C was very small, this was my FAVORITE app for tracking his sleep and breastfeeding (times, durations, sides, etc). It tracks patterns over the course of time, which was so so helpful.

- Baby Connect – Since we have a nanny for LMW, this is the most amazing way to keep everyone updated on how she’s doing eating/sleeping/pooping-wise. I love getting updates while I’m at work, and the nanny can see what kind of night or weekend she’s had so she can be prepared for the next day!

- GTasks – I share this with Wagon Sr. for to-do lists and shopping lists. We use this every day. It’s so great to be able to jot down things we need or need to do, and check off when they’re completed! We have shopping lists for grocery, CVS, and Costco; we have to-do lists for today, long-term, and specifically Wagon Sr.

- Instagram – Totally addicted. Follow me @juniorandjodie! I’ll follow you back!

- Facebook – Not as addicted now that there’s Instagram…! But I still love to get updates about friends and companies I like.

- Twitter – I only follow a few people but I still love it. We also have an account to record all the funny things Wagon Jr. says.

- Netflix – It’s a good thing we have unlimited data because I would stream 20 GB a month while pumping!!

- Feedly – This is my google reader replacement. I still don’t use it consistently enough!

- Spotify – Absolutely love this and I pay the $10/month or so for premium.

- Google gmail, Chrome, Maps, and Drive – Gmail and Chrome are self-explanatory, maps is great for traffic (we have an in-car GPS so we don’t use our phones for that), and we use Drive for almost all of our documents. Hoping to add Picasa to this list soon once we switch over to the paid version for all of our digital photos. (We currently use a service which we think is going to go out of business sometime.)

- Dropbox – We use dropbox for so much, and we sync our phone camera galleries to the same folder. So we don’t ever have to worry about losing our phones and all the pictures. Plus we get to check out each others’ pictures, which is handy when one of us is out and about with a kid. We get real-time photo updates!

- Android Pro Widgets - One of the reasons I can never have an iphone is because I love widgets. APW makes your widgets all pretty and sleek. One of those widgets is a transparent weather/clock/date/battery widget which I use every single day (and links to my news app).

- Nova Launcher – Another reason I can’t have an iphone… I use this custom launcher to customize things like number of home screens, the icon dock, the screen size, the app drawer… I could go on for days.

- Inkpad – I use this for meal planning… anyone have an alternative they love? I hate this (has ads, can’t move things around, etc) but it’s all I had!

- MyDays – I use this to track my period. Simple and lovely.

- Facebook – No explanation needed

- Associated Press – I usually catch up on world events via AP, especially since I’ve grown to dislike CNN and its ilk for national news.

- Feedly – My replacement for Google Reader

- AroundMe – We travel a lot, and this lets you search in a particular category (restaurants, post offices, etc) or for a particular store if you’re in a less-than-familiar place

- ADT Connect – We control our security system remotely, and I can see if Little Y is waking up from his nap via a camera I have in his room!

- Sonos – If we’re listening to music, we control it through this app. It’s awesome – I can control our SiriusXM, iTunes collections, Pandora, local radio and just about anything else you can think of.

- Nest Thermostat – I can turn on the A/C without getting my butt off the couch (awesome when pregnant).

- Hulu Plus – Good for moments of extreme desperation when I need to distract Little Y with some screentime

- Baby Connect – I don’t use it now but it was indispensable for tracking nursing/sleep/diapers when Little Y was a baby and will be again with No. 2 is here

- Flashlight – Sounds silly but I end up using it a lot for soft light, especially when I’m putting Little Y to sleep somewhere unfamiliar

- Weather Channel – I check the weather a lot before heading outside with Little Y

Let me preface this by saying I love my iPhone and how it helps make my life easier. I use a lot of apps!

Photo Apps:
- Hipstamatic – such a fun, creative app to take pics. Similar to instagram but with more filters
- A Beautiful Mess – editing pics includes mostly fun fonts and graphics
- Afterlight- it’s like a mini-photoshop as you can edit brightness, contrast, sharpening, etc.. As well as adding neat crops (in the shape of a star or cloud for instance), filters and textures.
- Camera + – this is the app I single handedly use the most. My iPhone has definitely become my main camera since it’s convenient and I always have it on me.

Social Media:
- Instagram – I love instagram! I mostly follow Hellobee users and I love seeing pictures of babies all over my feed. It’s an easy way to share my pictures on Facebook as well.
- Facebook – need I explain this one?
- Pinterest – I actually prefer the app version of pinterest as opposed to on my computer!
- Youtube – this is more for J. I made him a youtube playlist of kids songs he loves and it never fails to keep him entertained when we’re in the car, or needing to wait somewhere.

Baby Related:
- FoscamPro – we use this app for our video monitor.

Health::
- MyFitnessPal – helps me track not only calories but nutrient intake, calories burned by fitness while allowing me to “follow” friends so we can motivate each other!
- Map My Run – maps my routes whether I’m biking or running and gives me my distance, time and MPH. It will “save workouts” as well.
- Fooducate – this app is so helpful to me in the grocery store to make healthy decisions! Just scan an item and it gives you the low down: whether it uses GMO ingredients, sugar content and other healthy or unhealthy information on the product.
- Whole Foods – I love all the recipes this app contains.
- Jamie Oliver – I love his recipes!

Shopping:
- Etsy – Since I am both an avid shopper on Etsy and have my own shop, I use this app a lot.
- Amazon – I use this mostly to compare prices when I’m out shopping elsewhere! But it’s easy to purchase things through the app which is convenient.
- Shopstyle – This app is similar to Polyvore. It searches hundreds of brands of womens, men and childrens clothing brands as well as home decor, furniture, baby gear and more. It’s great when I am looking for a specific item.

Games:
- Letterpress – I love word games, you can play against users you know or random opponents.
- Jeopardy – I’m a jeopardy lover. Mr. Pen and I compete against each other in this game!
- Puzzlejuice – It’s tetris meets word game.

- RunKeeper – My favorite app for running stats. Hey, if I’m going to work out, I want to track it all! And you can… mileage, elevations, climb, time, etc. I also love that you can add notes and a photo to your workout.

- RockMyRun – And if I’m going to run, I better have a good beat to keep me going! I was making my own playlists for a while (and still do for long runs) but the options here are waaaayyy too good not to use regularly.

- ProCamera – It’s my “go to” camera on my phone. Much better at capturing Mini Michelangelo in motion than some of the others. And I like how you specify focal point and exposure on this particular app.

- Flickr – It’s a great way to upload photos from my phone, and I use it all the time to show people photos of my littles. (Because I use my “big girl” camera more than my phone camera.)

- Paprika – It’s my recipe book. I love that I can make a meal plan & grocery list in under five minutes…. and then use that app to shop from! They have an app for the Mac and my iPad as well, so I can access my “family favorites” from anywhere.

- Shazam – I’m always looking for new songs to mix into my running playlists! It’s also great if you are having a “who sung this” moment…

- AdobeKuler – Ever walk by something in a store and think “Wow, great colors!” Yeah, me too. This app allows you to grab a color palette from whatever it is. I have way t0o many palettes created from things I’ve seen in Target.

- Reeder – I use it to maintain (keep up on) the blogs I read. It integrates with Fever (my current RSS feed manager) well!

- And yes, you will notice that there are no social media apps on my list. I’m not on Instagram or Twitter, I rarely use Pinterest these days, and I just can’t stand the FB app. (I see way too much junk, and not enough funny updates from friends.)

Photography

–Afterlight – My favorite photo editing app. It has great filters that you can adjust the strength of, as well as do specific editing like exposure, contrast, temperature, etc.
–Camera+ – I use this a lot because you can set the focus in one place and show the camera to set the exposure for a different area.
–PicFrame – For making photo collages.
Over – For adding fonts to photos
–Dropbox & Flickr – Photo sharing and storage

Babies
–Baby Connect – I half-heartedly track their eating and sleeping. I like that you can easily change from one child to the other, which is great for twins or two young siblings.
Pampers Rewards – I enter the pampers codes on here fore Gifts to Grow rewards.
WhiteNoise – This has several different “white noise” options. We prefer the “Airplane Travel” as it sounds the closest to our regular white noise machine. We started using this in the NICU when they moved to a room away from all the noise and it was too quiet for them to sleep. Now we mostly use it when we travel.

Social Media
–Facebook & Instagram

Miscellaneous Apps
–Light – Flashlight app (I use this all the time when I need to sneak in the boys’ room to find something in their closet while they’re sleeping or if I’m out somewhere at night and need a little more light. It’s surprisingly powerful.)
GuiTune Lite – A guitar tuning app.
WeChat – Some important people in my life live in China, and we use this free app to send voice messages, texts, or video chat, all for free! Awesome!
–Kindle for iPhone – I love my Kindle, especially now that the boys are born, but I use this app even more than my actual ereader.

During Pregnancy
FullTerm – tracking contractions, which was nice since I was at risk of pre-term labor and had a lot of BH contractions
What To Expect When You’re Expecting – weekly updates
BabyCenter – Weekly updates and I could access their twin forum, which was a really helpful resource.

- Duolingo – This is perhaps the best app I have ever downloaded. It’s free, and you can learn a language. Seriously. Go download it now!

- Candy Crush – I kind of wish this never existed. I feel like I’ve wasted my life playing this and I’ll never get back all those hours!

- Wimp - Wimp.com features a handful of video clips each day and has everything from pee-your-pants funny to thought provoking. The app is great!

- World of Goo – Great little game.

- Clay jam – Great little free game!

- Sprout - I still use this five months after birth to track diapers, breastfeeding, and sleep.

- The Bible – This is a great alternative to wasting my breastfeeding hours playing Candy Crush. I like that you can highlight and bookmark sections, and they have great plans to keep up with each day.

- Amazon Cloud Player – Pretty much every amazon cd I’ve ever bought is on this handy cloud player – so while I may not know where that cd I bought 8 years ago is, I can certainly stream all the songs!

- Paper – I love this little moleskin-like drawing medium. The lines I draw are very fluid and not like a lot of drawing programs where the lines come out shaky and jagged.

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What are some of your favorite apps?