The Best App Ever (that’s not Everseat)

If you spoke German, Spanish, and Norwegian, you’d recognize how each language says “How are you?” in those sentences above…

To the modern traveler (and anybody working in tourism), the ability to communicate in another language has become more important as travel becomes cheaper and more and more people start to move to more and more destinations across the world.

There’s nothing worse than being that tourist who assumes everybody speaks English, and demanding that they do so to suit your comfort.

Even just learning the basics – “Where is the beer?” and “Bathroom, now!”, for example – can go a long way in getting you a more authentic travel experience and boosting your image in the eyes of the people you’re speaking to.

Luckily for you, language learning has advanced greatly over the past five years. It used to be that you had two options – pay for expensive language software (like Rosetta Stone), or pay for an equally expensive class at a university or college.

These days you have a lot more options – among them is my favorite app ever (next to Everseat, of course!).

DuolingoDuolingo is a FREE language learning app available on your Apple or Android device. It uses a similar learning program as Rosetta Stone, and I’ve found it to be just as effective (and without the hundred-dollar price tag).

Duolingo uses gamification to reward you for your progress, giving you incentive to complete the different lessons. There are speaking, reading comprehension, and translation parts that each give a boost to the language you’re learning:


I’ve been able to improve my high school German, and am currently preparing for a trip to South America by taking their Spanish program.

They currently have 6 full programs for English speakers, with many more in the pipeline including Ukrainian and Norwegian.

There are only two small downsides I’ve found to the app so far…

The first is that it doesn’t teach regional differences in the language. For instance it may teach you to speak the German found in Germany, but you’d be lost trying to understand the German coming from a Swiss speaker (to be fair though, not even Germans can understand them.).

The second is that while Duolingo provides a great basis for learning a language, it is limited in what it can teach you. You’ll eventually hit a ceiling that only practicing with a native speaker will help you break.

With all that said though, this is a great app if you’re just traveling for a short period of time and/or want a quick and easy introduction into the language.

Check it out before your next trip – it might turn out to be a life saver.

Vôtre en technologie,


Trying to Improve Your Inner Chi and Outer Beauty? Five Health and Fitness Apps that are Actually Useful

Summer has finally arrived! In order to take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather, I’ve set a few goals to improve my mind, body, and overall health. To aid in my wellness goals for the summer, I found a few fitness, diet and mental health apps that I’m sure will allow me to get the most out of my summer. With literally thousands on the market, it’s tough to decide which ones are actually useful and which ones are duds.

Since I’m not jumping on the wearable bandwagon, I was looking for something that could track my activity and improve my overall health without bursting my wallet with overpriced additions. Here are some of my favorite downloads:

MapMyFitness is an easy to use tracking app that allows me to input my food consumption, workouts, and even track the wear and tear of my sneakers. I especially love the calorie counter feature so that I know how much more I can eat during the day. You can connect with friends to hold each other accountable and sign up for challenges together.  Sharing my weight loss triumphs and failures with other likeminded friends has given me the encouragement and strength to continue. One negative about the app is that they have large amount of available features, which can be overwhelming and confusing for a first time user. (Free; iOS and Android)

Calm is a great app for your overall mind and body health. The interface delivers multiple themes with calming music and compositions for any mood. I discovered this app during a particularly stressful time on the job and realized that listening to it at work not only lowered my stress and anxiety levels, but it increased my productivity! For a small fee, you can even download guided meditations that can lower your anxiety, give you pep talks, improve your sleep, and help better your self-esteem. ($9.99/month; iOS and Android)

If you are a foodie or an adventurous eater, you need to download Ingredient1. It’s the perfect app if you’re looking for something different to spice up your mundane menu. You can create a personal food profile with a list of food allergies, diet specifications, and your favorite flavors and cravings and Ingredient1 provides suggestions of healthy foods to eat. I always crave something salty around 3pm, and with this app, I now have multiple new foods and ingredients to try. The app even lets you know the nearest location to pick up these delicious new treats so that you can try them right away. (Free; iOS)

Pump-Up is a fun, interactive, and dynamic app for building a targeted workout and then sharing your successes with friends. The app features customizable workouts for every part of the body. My favorite part about it is that it’s a new platform to share your post workout pics, that healthy salad you just ate and encouragement posts to other health and fitness gurus.  The social feed is a great place to find inspiration to make this bikini season better than last.  (Free; iOS and Android)

Need a step-by-step guide to loose weight from personal coaches? Noom coach is the perfect app for people like me who have no idea what they are doing when it comes to dieting!  The simple interface allows you to log in your meals and lets you know how many calories you have left in your daily budget. Noom coach also gives you simple suggestions for improving your diet and tips for getting the most out of the app. For a small fee, you can even go pro to unlock recipes, join groups of other dieters, and access additional features. (Free; iOS and Android)

If you are like me, and have been searching for tools to help improve your mind, body, and spirit, try downloading some of these apps. We are always on our phones anyways, might as well use that device for something useful! I guarantee that this summer will be the best one yet.

Best of luck, Morgan