a peek inside the fishbowl

08 Mar, 2012

Top iPhone apps du jour

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!

Now that I’m working more I find I need my iPhone more often than ever. It’s my mobile office, and as a busy mom I really appreciate being connected to everyone, everywhere, all the time. :)

Awhile back I mentioned a few of my favourite iPhone apps, and I wrote about some Ottawa-centric apps on SavvyMom as well. I wanted to take a moment to update that list.

Here are my top favourite apps (aside from the camera app, which I probably use most of all!), in no particular order:

I adore Evernote. It’s is the perfect app for an ideas person such as myself. Evernote is a very smart note-jotting program. You can use your phone to make text, audio, or visual notes using your camera… which you can then save and access from any computer. Bonus: a web-clipper tool which I’ve installed on my desktop browser allows me to clip and save websites. I can also update my Evernote via Twitter too, which is very quick and handy.

I have my Evernote notes roughly divided into categories by clients, so there’s one for the Fishbowl, SavvyMom, Recipes.ca, the UsedEverywhere blog, Canadian Family Mag, Home design/reno. So when I’m standing in line at the grocery store and I suddenly have an idea for an article I know exactly where to file it. It makes me feel very organized and it’s a relief to keep my ideas all in one place.

Pinterest is a website that gives users the ability to create virtual (and visual!) inspiration boards and “clip” and share images across their networks. The iPhone app gives users a quick and easy way to browse other people’s boards.

There’s been a lot of hubbub in the blogosphere about Pinterest lately. Some have been slagging it as an elite and cultivated subset of the Internet, but frankly, that’s kind of the point. I don’t want to wade through a million web pages to find one good recipe. The other issue that has had fingers on keyboards is regarding potential copyright issues. Ah well. I’m just going to keep pinning. 

ShopCatch is a free app and it’s already saved me money. ShopCatch allows the user to see where the sales are. I was at Michael’s the other day and found myself without a coupon (never shop without one there!). I found one using ShopCatch, which the cashier was able to scan right from my phone. (And it happened to be 50% off. Score!)

Voice Memos
I used to take longhand notes when I interviewed people for articles I was working on (crazy, I know) and I eventually got tired of not being able to read my own handwriting. I started using the native audio recording app that came with my iPhone and realized just how fantastic it was. I was worried that it wouldn’t be able to record a 90-minute interview and that there’d be issues transferring it over to my desktop, but it was easy peasy. Love it.

OverDrive Media Console
I use the Android version of Overdrive on my Toshiba tablet although it is available for Apple products as well. It is my #1 top-used app. OverDrive gives me on-the-go access to eBooks and audiobooks from the Ottawa Public Library. Browsing, reserving, downloading, and reading library books using OverDrive is incredibly easy. I find myself reading more than ever. Awesome.

Natalie Maclean’s Picks and Pairings
I found myself wandering the aisles the other day at the LCBO, wondering what wine to choose for our sushi dinner. I was feeling rather lost until I remembered I had a sommelier in my pocket. A few clicks later I found a lovely Chilean white (and only $8.95 to boot!) that she’d recommended. It’s not a wine I would have been able to pick out myself, and it was a perfect match. This app has too many cool things to mention. Seriously. (Thank you Natalie!)

Common Sense Media
Are you familiar with the Common Sense Media website? It’s a U.S. website that provides information to parents regarding the media that kids are consuming (and they are consuming more than ever). The most useful (at least to me) aspect of the website are the movie reviews. Parents rate movies for language, violence, sex etc.. and you can go and check the reviews to make sure the DVD you’re about to rent is suitable for your child. The app is an extension of the website and provides a handy link to their reviews.

A must for movie-buffs. Who’s that actor? What else has he been in? Is this movie appropriate for my kid? It’s been another great app for our family.

And just so you don’t think I’m all work and no play… Sarah introduced me to the Cool Faces app recently, which is very simple and very sweet. You take a photo of your fingers or toes and use the app to superimpose digital “stickers” of faces and hair on them to make your own finger families. See:

Finger family

Cute eh?

What about you? Do you have a fave app? Please share!

10 Responses to "Top iPhone apps du jour"

1 | Miche

March 8th, 2012 at 10:51 am


Shop Savvy is pretty good. It’ll let you scan a bar code of a product and tell you what the price is online and at local stores.

2 | Derek

March 8th, 2012 at 1:50 pm


These devices are really making a difference. I am really noticing the difference they are making in education. While schools are still figuring out exactly how they want to manage them, these are tools that can no longer be denied for their educational value. With dragon naturally speaking on the iphone, a myriad of spelling apps, an interactive period table and much, much more.

Even if they are not allowed in the classroom, these apps have great potential to support students outside of the class, with great visuals and independent practice options.

3 | Fiona

March 8th, 2012 at 1:50 pm


My favourite app is My Fitness Pal. Its a very easy to use food diary with a huge database of foods, constantly updated by users.

4 | Jen Hughes

March 8th, 2012 at 2:15 pm


I guess this is more of a game, but I just downloaded My PlayHouse for my kids. I’d say it’s probably best suited to ages 4 to 8 or so. It’s like a virtual dollhouse, with different rooms in a house, a family of five, and all the things in the house (fridge full of food, TV, backyard, bathroom, etc.) are interactive. You can put the kids in the kitchen, drag the apple to their mouths and they’ll take a bite. Also, you can make them bounce on the trampoline, take a shower or lie down and go to sleep in their beds. Fun!

5 | wendy

March 8th, 2012 at 3:39 pm


The girl without the I phone has a question

I noticed you mentioned an app you use, Andrea.
It was overdrive.
I need a tutorial on this Tablet!:-)
How did you find it?
Much appreciated,

6 | Cherie-Lynn

March 8th, 2012 at 7:59 pm


you should check out camera awesome. It’s new and well rather awesome. It’s now my go to camera of choice.

7 | DIY paper butterfly specimen art >> a peek inside the fishbowl

March 9th, 2012 at 8:34 am


[…] I got the butterfly punch for half price (!) at Michaels because I used a coupon app I mentioned in this post. […]

8 | Rossana Wyatt

March 9th, 2012 at 10:49 am


I love Pinterest-so addictive! I have just added shopcatch [I am a BB user & it just became available] and am excited to try it.
Thanks for the list, I may have to switch to an iphone soon!

By the way, congrats on the feature in Beat Health Mag! :)

9 | Jackie

March 11th, 2012 at 9:11 am


My fitness pal is amazing. If you are news junkie like me, go for Huffington post app, Globe and Mail and National post. Ottawa Citizen app is very good too.

10 | iPhone apps - my latest picks >> a peek inside the fishbowl

February 4th, 2013 at 10:00 am


[…] wrote about my top iPhone apps back in March (and that list still applies) but these ones are new on my list. And you know what, […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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