5 Life-Changing Things To Try This Month

Yesterday, I came to the startling realization that January was on its last legs. Can you believe how quickly the first month of 2016 flew by? Poor February doesn’t seem to be anyone’s favorite month. Whether it’s a strong general dislike of Valentines day or the oppressive third (and final!) short month of winter cramping your style, Feb is like the least-loved child in a family of sunny high-achievers (hello, May!).

In honor of the new month, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my favorite finds from January. I’m always on the lookout for new apps, products, and projects in search of the next productivity boost or item that sparks joy, and every month I end up with a list of goodies that were really worth it. Here are five life-changing things I tried in January that I think you’ll absolutely love:


Scanner Pro I’ve already waxed poetic about this app, but I feel it deserves a second mention for being an unexpected pick for my favorite tool of the month. I’ve recently been practicing calligraphy and hand lettering, and this app makes it easy for me to quickly snap a PDF of my work and upload it to Photoshop or Illustrator. The results are phenomenal.  If you do any kind of offline work or find yourself scanning things pretty much ever, this app is the best of the best.

Detour – Sebastian and I were talking recently about how we didn’t really know certain parts of San Francisco very well even though we’ve lived here for close to 2 years. Not too long after that conversation, we discovered Detour – a location-guided walking tour app that takes you on walks around famous cities. The walks are led by prominent locals – Cleve Jones, aide to Harvey Milk (played by Emile Hirsch in the movie Milk), guided our most recent Detour of The Castro district. Detour is designed to show you the pieces of the city you would have otherwise overlooked: secret views, points of historical interest, hole-in-the-wall cafés that have been around for 120 years. Detour is my favorite new thing to do on weekends, and it’s the kind of experience that you brag about to everyone afterward – your coworkers, parents, neighbors, everyone. There are 12 Detours available for SF if you’re in the area or visiting, and Detours coming soon to Austin, NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, and Marrakech.

Waterbrush – Speaking of awesome tools, this brush is a hidden gem. You can use the brush for watercolor work, but I prefer to fill the reservoir with ink and use it for hand lettering. You get beautiful, watercolor-esque results without a) watercolors or b) having to constantly re-dip your brush in ink. I have had so much fun playing around with different letterforms and thickness. This brush makes getting started with brush lettering quick and easier than you would believe. If you want see the brush in action (and learn more about brush lettering) definitely check out this video.

Audible – Who knew that audiobooks could bring a person so much joy? I commute on a bus between 3-4 hours per day, and Audible has improved my quality of life substantially. I love to read, but I get super motion sick, and Audible has allowed  me to enjoy more than a few good books during my otherwise monotonous travel time. If you spend any time traveling between your home and your job, do yourself a favor and check out Audible – best decision you’ll make this month, I promise.

Good Genes – full transparency: I really wanted not to  like Good Genes. For starters, it’s way more expensive than any skin care product I’d ever purchased and I’ve never been convinced that the price is worth it for things like this. I was wrong. Good Genes has changed my skin. I have dehydrated skin (which is surprisingly not the same thing as dry skin), and this serum makes my face feel like it’s made of porcelain. It’s magic. I recommend asking for a deluxe sample from your local Sephora to see how it works for you before you take the plunge.

What apps or products changed your life last month? Anything that you would recommend? I’d love to hear more in the comments!!

  • http://kylaisinspired.com Kyla

    That Detour app seems SO cool! I can’t wait for more cities to be added, it seems like such a great idea.

    • http://exvitae.com/ Amanda Dillon

      it’s the best! Sebastian and I were so impressed – the tours are so comprehensive that we were shocked by how much we DIDN’T know about the city. I’m with you – I can’t wait for more to be released!! :)