In no particular order, here are 5 of the top products I've started using over the past few months that I absolutely love!
No affiliate links here – just genuine recommendations!
Hey is a new email service that turns email on its head.
It has special sections for emails you want to see right away (the imbox), emails that belong in a "news feed" (the feed), and emails that are transactional (the paper trail).
Nobody can get to those sections unless you give them explicit permission – random emails and newsletters don't deserve the same attention you give your family and friends, and Hey helps make that reality.
I also enjoy the ability to move away from Gmail/Google services and onto a more independent platform that takes privacy much more seriously. And the user experience is so much better, so the privacy benefits are the cherry on top.
I'd totally recommend Hey for email – I've never felt more on top of my email before!
Ghost is a blogging platform, similar to Wordpress, but with much nicer default themes and much more lightweight, in my opinion.
It makes the writing process a breeze since the built-in web editor is absolutely beautiful. It also has a few other awesome features - built-in newsletters and the ability to tag and add images to posts.
I love that I'm able to host it myself, which means that I own all of my data and I'm no longer at the mercy of Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other data clearinghouse that masquerades as a social network.
My blog is entirely hosted on Ghost and required minimal setup to get up and running.
Ghost is awesome and it's created one of the best writing experiences I've ever had.
DigitalOcean is a virtual private server (VPS) provider – they offer flexible servers at very reasonable prices. Having brief experience with AWS, GCP, and Azure, DigitalOcean feels like they've really prioritized the user experience.
I use DigitalOcean to host my Ghost blog, which means that I'm even further in control of my content. DigitalOcean got me up and running in 1 click thanks to their 1-click app marketplace.
I've had an awesome experience so far and was able to take advantage of some introductory credit through the GitHub Student Developer Pack.
Big shoutout to DigitalOcean for offering the most usable dashboard and services out of the providers I've used.
I was pretty uncertain whether I would actually use an Apple Watch – I rarely wore normal watches and I was also trying to cut down on the screens in my life. It didn't make much sense to add another screen.
Since getting one (as a Christmas gift), I've worn it every day. It's one of the most exciting devices I've had in a while.
As counterintuitive as it is, I think it's actually decreased my screen time! Instead of having to open my phone to check notifications and send texts, I can take a quick look at my wrist. The limited screen size makes it much harder to get distracted by other apps.
I don't even have to bring my phone anywhere I go since I can take calls, send messages, and talk with Siri, so I traded off a phone screen for a watch screen.
On top of that, the activity and exercise tracking is awesome. I've established a sort of dependence on closing my rings, which is a super positive habit in my opinion. Right now I have them set so I close them in a normal day if I do a ~30 minute workout, which pushes me to work out every day. This has helped me a lot with staying active while so many other responsibilities are pulling on me.
The battery life is also surprisingly solid – one full charge lets me track my sleep and get through my day before needing to charge it again.
Overall, I love the watch – I'm still figuring out which face configuration works best for me, but after almost 2 months of wearing it, I still get excited when I use it.
Apple Fitness Plus
Apple Fitness Plus is like Netflix for workouts. Apple has some awesome trainers that record videos for a variety of workout types. Yoga and HIIT have been my favorite types so far, especially Dustin Brown's yoga flows.
The videos pair with your Apple Watch to track your workout and also display your stats, such as your heart rate and your rings, on the screen.
During the COVID pandemic, where going to the gym is a bit more difficult, it's been amazing being able to work out and exercise from inside my apartment.
Previous semesters, I've found myself wishing I was more active but not having time to go to the gym.
With a yoga mat and a bit of floor space, Apple Fitness Plus has helped me get some activity in almost every day.
These are some of my favorite products I've started using over the past few months.
I'd love to hear if you've tried any of these, or if you're going to, and what you think!