App of the Week: Bloom*

Image credit: Bloom

App Name: Bloom*

Price: Free

Available Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (requires iOS 4.3 or later)

What does this app do? Bloom* is like an inspirational thought of the day, a motivational mantra and a pep song all rolled into one. This productivity app, created by the makers of the life improvement game Mindbloom, aims to keep you on track by sending regular reminders to complete healthy activities. Unlike a simple mobile calendar reminder, this app incorporates quotes, images and music to nudge you along.

You can take a 1-minute trip to a tropical island as tranquil images of surfers and snorkelers, beach side cocktails and hot stone massages go by, or receive reminders to say thank you for the little pleasures in life, like the free bag of trail mix you got from the vending machine yesterday. In short, this app helps you cultivate the areas in your life you most value and want to grow by combining small tasks and reminders, or blooms, with rich media to help you stay connected, manage stress, and live healthy.

Begin adding blooms to your gallery by tapping the "Add" button and either create your own inspirational reminder, such as "Remember To Smile," or choose from pre-built blooms, like "Eat A Healthy Snack." Assign your bloom to a life area, career or spirituality, for example, and then add a photo and song from your image and song libraries or select from ones the app provides. You no longer find that photo of a puppy running in a sunflower field all that motivating when it comes to tackling that 6 a.m. run you want to remind yourself to do? You can reassign images or change when you get reminded by selecting the "Edit "button and navigating from there.

Share a "bloom" with friends by posting it to Facebook or Twitter or send it along in an email. Tap on the menu icon at the bottom right-hand corner to see other activities you can do within the app, such as browse the Bloom*shop for other purpose-filled missives.

Is it easy to set up? Downloading Bloom* from the iTunes app store was seamless. Sticking to the reminders was challenging.

Should I try it? There are several "Life Areas" to which you can assign these healthy reminders and you have the ability to schedule them whenever you choose. As long as you can keep it simple, these are effective-you could go a little overboard on blooms and reminders and find your calendar overloaded with inspiration.