The Best (Free!) Apps for Adults

Are you – like me – an adult that has only five apps on your smartphone? I have Candy Crush, Instagram, Facebook, FitBit and Bank of America. I’m told day after day that there are so many awesome apps, and hear “Have you downloaded this one?” and yet here I am with the most basic apps.

But it might be time for a change. Although there are plenty of gaming apps out there (I think Clash Royale wins the Most Popular Award at the moment?), I think I’ve been ignoring some really helpful apps that could make my life easier.

Between food delivery services and sleep schedule planners, there’s an app out there for everyone. Here are some of my most recent discoveries that are great for adults.

The App for the Knowledgeable: Trivia Crack

Trivia Crack is a super easily navigated app that asks trivia questions in six key categories: Art, Sports, Entertainment, History, Geography and Science. You get to play against Facebook friends, friends you already have or a randomly selected opponent (from around the world!)

trivia-crack

Even though my sports history is shockingly limited, I still love this game because it accesses a wide knowledge base. Basically, you get a wheel with 7 slots – one in each of the categories, each represented by a different symbol. When you “spin” the wheel, you automatically land on one of the sections and are presented with a question.trivia c

For example, a sample question is, “Who invented the Chinese torture box?” (Answer…Harry Houdini!) If you get the answer right, you move on to the next round, and earn a character from that section. Collect six and you win!

 

The  App for the Sleepless: SleepBot

We’ve all been there: you have a great pillow (Pro tip: Check out Smart Perks’ amazing offer for the MyPillow), the best sheets, a cool, quiet, dark room – and yet you still can’t catch any zzz’s. Luckily, there are plenty of sleep apps to help figure out what’s up with your cycle of insomnia. Our favorite is SleepBot.

sleepbot

All you have to do is leave your phone on your bed while you sleep, and it picks up your movements and patterns to track your individual sleep habits. Its best use, aside from providing you with a log of your nighttime schedule, is you can set a time frame of when you want to be woken up. Based on your movement, the app judges when you are in a light sleeping zone, and then gently wakes you up with a song or sound of your choice. This way, you’re not hearing insanely loud bells and buzzing during the deepest sleep of your life (well, night).

The App for the Forgetful: Tile

tile-app-2

Yeah, my keys are just over…there?

And yet again, those 3 little keys with the Florida keychain disappear yet again! Seriously, do they have feet? And why are they always in the fridge?

Tile app (which is, like the others, free for both iPhones and Androids) tracks your items you lose often. Keys? You got it. But also anything else – your TV remotes, cell phone, your kid, your car, anything! Imagine: You’ll never wander out of the mall and wonder where the heck you parked ever again.

The App for the Busy: EasilyDo

easilydo.jpg

Think about how many work events, social gatherings, errands and appointments you have. If you keep track of them with a calendar, kudos. But now there’s something even easier – EasilyDo.

This app does everything a calendar does, plus keeps in check all of your emails and correspondence, reminders on social media interactions, and helps personalize your searches for what is most relevant to you. Basically, think of EasilyDo as your own personal assistant, who lives inside your phone.

Planning has never been easier!

There are a bunch of amazing apps out there. What are your favorites?

Blogger Katie U., a Smart Perks employee, may or may not be addicted to the Vivino app, which is for wine lovers.

 

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for The Hard-To-Buy-For

Picture it: the twinkling lights blinking off fresh snow, a heady evergreen-and-sugar-cookie scent in the air, a table laden with delicious treats…and no gifts under the Christmas tree due to poor planning.  Uh-oh!

sadkid

Disappointed kids on Christmas do not a merry day make.

 

Though the winter holidays are typically a time of great joy, this busy time of year is not without its trials and tribulations. Whether it is perfectly planning a five course meal with family or friends or remembering to buy gifts for said cherished ones, there are certain holiday stressors everyone is affected by. Luckily for you, we’re here to guide you with suggestions of gift ideas for the trickiest of cases, so no one in your circle gets forgotten.

Got a gadget-obsessed great uncle but you’re kind of a Luddite? A friend’s daughter who is obsessed with some trendy toy you’ve never heard of? Help is on the way! Spanning price ranges and generations, we’ve got you covered.

For Preteens Who “Just Hate Everything”:

Groovy Coloring Books

We were all in that stage once: you’re 11 and everything is the worst and no one understands me. Well, they might not know it yet but they need to chill out. And what better way to relax with a coloring book! You may have heard that coloring books are making a big comeback – and are totally not just for little kids anymore. Now, there are numerous options for the hip preteens in your life, including our favorite: Oodles of Doodles: Over 200 Pictures to Complete and Create. This coloring book inspires creativity with a few drawings here and there, encouraging the artist to finish the page themselves. Another great one is the Creative Haven Fanciful Faces Coloring Book, a crowd favorite which has detailed outlines of psychedelic portraits.

Coloring BookFanciful Faces

For older kids (and preteens with great taste in music) there’s also the Indie Rock Coloring Book which has illustrations dedicated to some of the most popular indie musicians, such as Iron and Wine or Hot Chip. Bonus? A portion of the proceeds goes to music-related charities, so you’re (in a good way!) double-gifting.

Alternate Ideas: Emily + Meritt Animal Headphones, Gameband Minecraft, Classic Chuck Taylors

For Your Best Friend’s Young Kid:

A Gaming Toothbrush

We’ve all noticed how into gaming and technology kids are these days, but this gift combines those things…with hygiene. Confused? So were we! But the Grush Gaming Toothbrush is a genius way to get kids to enjoy brushing their teeth, helping them visualize their brushing in a fun, healthy way. Instead of getting your BFF’s baby a game that will rot their brain or something noisy like drums that will rot your friend’s brain, this interactive toothbrush is giving them the best of both worlds.

 

grush gaming toothbrush.png

Grush works by displaying a personalized game on a handheld device and guiding the child with the moves to perfectly brush each quadrant of the mouth for 30 seconds. The results can even be sent to the parent, helping them track their child’s progress.

Don’t be worried about seeming like a weirdo getting a kid a toothbrush; kids really do like the darndest things. For instance, at the age of 8 one of my favorite gifts was a suction-cup magnifying mirror. (Note: the staff of SmartPerks doesn’t recommend buying this for your niece or nephew, no matter how weird they are.)

Monster hoodie

Monster Hoodie, $39 at BustedTees

Alternate Ideas: Monster Hoodie, FurReal Friends, Imaginext Ultra T-Rex

 

For Gadget Heads:

Futuristic Wireless Device

The Amazon Echo is a wireless speaker and voice command device brought to you by Amazon. Voiced by “Alexa,” consider the Echo a pseudo-assistant. As it’s designed around your voice, think of Echo like a tabletop version of the iPhone’s Siri – but more advanced. It can make to do lists, set your alarms, give real-time info like traffic and weather, and of course also play music from a variety of sources. Amazon Echo

At $179.99, it is definitely a splurge, and maybe more of a gift for a family or a super special friend, but any tech-y person would be ecstatic to get this gadget they might not have bought themselves. Functional but fun, tiny but mighty, the Amazon Echo would be welcome in any savvy smart home.

Alternate Ideas:  UP4 by Jawbone, Perfect Drink App-Controlled Smart Bartending, Tile Dongle

For Your Uncle (or adult brother, boyfriend, husband or dad):

A Gift-of-the-Month Club

Sure, you’ve thought of a gift-of-the-month club before for a special man in your life, but then decided it wasn’t personal enough. That’s all changed. No matter how specific the interests of your male loved one are, there’s a gift-of-the-month club for them.

Do you have a forgetful, quirky male relative always wearing socks so holey they seem biblical? Check out Sock Club, which delivers American made socks directly to your door.

Know an adorkable dude who refuses to grow up? Look into LootCrate, which has an assortment of gamer-related gifts.

Sophisticated cigar connoisseur, always looking for the next trend? SmartPerks has an awesome discount with Cigars International! Just use promo code SA4360 to send your loved one four new cigars a month!

Are there some big foodies in your family? There are gift-of-the-month clubs for hot sauce, a variety of meats and cheeses, and even alcohol! Our favorite is the long standby Club W, which personalizes your wine delivery based on your tastes.

There are plenty more exotic ones, so look around! Get creative. Everyone likes a fun, free surprise each month. Gift-of-the-month clubs fulfill that without you even having to run to the store.

barware

The Great Deal Company’s Stainless Steel Bar Set, only $39.99

Alternate Ideas: Smart Control Remote, Whiskey StonesStainless Steel Bar Set

 

 

For the Picky Mother-in-Law:

You’ve screwed up one too many times with your persnickety MIL. The baking supplies you happily gifted her last year were met with a snarky comment about how she already owns five whisks; what does she need with another? And so it’s gone for years.

But not this year. This year, you’ll get her something the whole family will appreciate; a one-two punch of a gift. Organize a time all of your extended family can get together, and hire a professional photographer to take family photographs. That’s not it. Also, have them each write a letter or note (kids can draw pictures) of what this matriarch means to them. Then, gather all of the photos in a personalized scrapbook/photo album with the notes and drawings. Sit back, relax, and smugly watch as your MIL is blown away by the thoughtfulness of this gift. It’s personal, sweet and endearing. She’ll never look at you the same way again! Warning: you’ll be setting a high standard for all future gifts, but worry about that next year.

Bluetooth activity tracker

Bluetooth Activity Tracker, $49.99 from the Great Deal Company

Alternate Ideas: Bluetooth Activity Tracker, Crafting Classes, Restaurant Gift Cards

The holidays are the happiest time of the year. Hopefully, with our gift suggestions, even your hardest-to-please loved ones will share in your joy. Have more ideas? Shout them out in the comments!

Blogger Katie U, a Smart Perks employee, would like all of these gifts herself, especially the cheese-of-the-month box.