With the Midwest coated in the polar vortex chill, many, myself included, are staying in and avoiding leaving the friendly warmth of our homes. With the perks of smartphones and tablets, staying in is easier than ever, so what better way to forget the cold than to read about the best apps to get you through the winter blues?
QuizUp: Free (iOS)
The biggest problem, at least for me during the shut-in months, is I feel stir crazy from the lack of human interaction and low demand for actual in-depth brain use. Lucky for us, we have the app QuizUp to keep us sharp. QuizUp will pair you against Facebook friends or strangers for game show-style face-offs on hundreds of topics with more than 100,000 questions. Each real-time match takes only a few minutes and when finished points are scored, including time taken to answer each question. As you excel, so does your ranking among friends and others.
Feedly: Free (iOS, Android)
Even though the world shrank to your couch and nearby refrigerator, the world we once knew continues to spin. What better way to stay sharp, than picking the reads that truly interest you. Feedly gathers your favorite blog, news, magazine and website articles and places them in a easy, mobile-optimized format allowing you to jump around and not waste time hunting down each article individually.
Spotify: Free or $9.99 (iOS, Android, Microsoft)
The calming sounds of wind whipping against your home -- possibly blowing out the windows and bring the elements you're try to keep out into your living room — can be terrifying. Spotify helps to drown out the gusting winds and instead put the calming melodies of artists and comedians into your ears. Available on desktops, laptops, and devices alike, Spotify is available free through ad supported listening or for $9.99 a month for improved audio and no ads. In addition to providing you with the music you want, the music service will also help diversify your listening by using its Discover feature to show you what your friends are listening to and other music you may like.
Yahoo Weather: Free (iOS, Android)
Looking out of your window, the drifting snow, frozen water and almost post apocalyptic-like conditions can deter anyone from leaving their homes. Unfortunately, most people’s homes are not connected to the local convenience store, so you'll have to venture outside to purchase groceries and other necessities. Braving the elements and preparing yourself is not only smart, it could mean the difference between eating expired hotdogs from your fridge or eating fresh, wholesome food. Yahoo Weather brings location-specific photos to your current location, as well as clean design in displaying radar and 10-day forecasts. So instead of looking out of the window and becoming further enraged, look at your device and bask in the clean design.
Now the choice is yours: you can stay inside or you can go out and channel your inner Edmund Hillary by climbing the mountain of getting off the couch and going to the store.