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12 Life-Changing Things To Try In January

Because we tried them for you in December!

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Zoë Burnett / Via BuzzFeed

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

The BuzzFeed staff is always trying new products, apps, hacks, and DIY projects, and we decided it was time to start sharing the best of them with you. Each month, we post our recommendations for what’s actually worth it. This post features a mix of items that we purchased with our own money and those that were provided to us at no cost for the sake of review. (But! We’re under no obligation to write a review of those things, let alone a positive review.)

Let us know in the comments what sorts of things you’d like us to review next month!

1. A Sabrina Silver Polishing Cloth, a one-step cleaning solution for all your tarnished jewelry.

Yi Yang / Via BuzzFeed

I went through a silver jewelry phase as a teenager and collected quite a few pieces over the years. About a month ago, I was organizing my apartment when I discovered that a lot of my old jewelry was just sitting in a drawer collecting dust. Most of the rings and necklaces had oxidized and lost their shine, so I had to give them a good cleaning before wearing them again. My mom taught me to use toothpaste to clean silver jewelry, but it never quite gets all the tarnish off, and it's super time-consuming. I went online and bought this silver polishing cloth from Amazon because it seemed like the easiest option to use and store. It's also much, much cheaper than an ultrasonic cleaner.

The cloth has two layers; the cream layer is for cleaning and the blue is for polishing. The first thing I cleaned off was an old Tiffany's necklace. I hadn't worn it in a couple years, and it was covered in tarnish. After rubbing it on the cloth for a minute or two, it literally looked like new again! I was amazed at how easy it was to use — it's a lot less messy than toothpaste and cleaning solutions. The cloth is quite soft as well, so I wasn't worried about it scratching the silver. I read online that you never have to clean this cloth, and it lasts for years and years (depending on how much jewelry you polish). It works on other metals too, like gold and brass, though I haven't personally tested it on either of those. Since getting this polishing cloth, I've cleaned off my entire collection of silver jewelry because it's just so satisfying to use. Moral of the story: I'm incredibly happy with this purchase. —Yi Yang

Get it from Amazon for $6.99.

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2. AmFilm Glass Screen Protectors to fortify your phone's screen against (inevitable) disasters.

Elizabeth Lilly / Via BuzzFeed

A few years ago when I was pickpocketed in an awful tourist bar in New Orleans, I was especially salty when I had to *deal* with the terror of replacing my phone. I had insurance but the overall experience was still annoying, particularly when I was hoodwinked into paying $30 for a screen protector at the Apple Store. I’ve become even saltier about the experience since discovering that you can pay $7.99 for two — TWO — of those screen protectors on Amazon. So when I upgraded to a new phone in November, I bought them to install myself.

It was a total snap to apply and took about maybe 10 minutes of my time, between opening the packaging, running the shower in my bathroom to help eliminate lint in the air (per the instructions), and actually placing it on the phone. There are well-marked directions and tabs that make perfect placement easy, even if you’re super nervous about gadgety stuff like I am. These protectors are as tough as if not tougher than my old protector. And the customer photos and reviews on Amazon show that they keep phone screens intact in extreme conditions, like getting dropped on a Grand Canyon hike and being run over by a car. I’m not going to *try* to test it in these ways, but if something happens to my current screen protector, I have a replacement at the ready! —Elizabeth Lilly

Get a two-pack from Amazon for $7.99.

3. Winc, a wine subscription service that will help you expand your drinking horizons from the comfort of your own home.

Rebecca O'Connell / Via BuzzFeed

If you've ever listened to a podcast before, you've probably heard an ad for Winc, a wine subscription service. It sounds pretty luxurious, but it's actually a practical and sound investment if you drink at least four bottles of wine a month. I love drinking but hate doing errands, so a wine subscription service seems like a no-brainer for me.

Every month Winc sends you at least four bottles of wine (any less and you have to pay for shipping). You can pick which ones you want, or you can have them decide automatically; there's even a quiz you can take so Winc can get to know your palate. Almost all the bottles are $13–$15, so it's pretty much how much you would pay in a liquor store for a ~slightly fancy~ bottle. I decided to get two whites, a red, and a rosé after taking their taste-matching quiz. I'm no sommelier, but I have to insist this is some really fucking good wine. The bottles arrived quickly and were well-packaged, so none of them broke in transit. Since it's alcohol, someone needed to be home to sign for the package. If you have a doorman, unemployed roommate, or an ever-present landlord like I do, then it's no sweat.

While I can't say the service saves any money, it does bring the bottles right to your door and gives you access to some really good wines you might not be able to find in your local liquor store. Also, it's important to note that these are just really, really beautiful bottles. Each label is perfectly designed, so it feels like you're drinking something way fancier than $13 wine. I almost didn't want to throw the empty bottles away. —Rebecca O'Connell

Get a subscription from Winc starting at $13/bottle.

4. Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liners, to solve the only problem with slow cookers: the dreaded cleanup.

Elizabeth Lilly / Via BuzzFeed

I have a thing for slow cookers because they’re *incredibly* helpful — but cleaning that huge stoneware is a total nightmare and, honestly, keeps me from using it as often as I should. Years ago I picked up a box of Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners and have been using them since. They make cleanup SO EASY that I feel a little guilty about it. And I don’t have a dishwasher, so that’s a pretty big deal.

I recently made some delicious slow-cooker bread using the liner instead of parchment paper, with no effect on the taste of the bread! I’ve also used it for chili, soup, barbecue pork, and other substantially messier recipes with no problem. Thanks to these babies, I see many more slow-cooker meals in my future. —Elizabeth Lilly

Get a six-pack from Amazon for $2.49 or an eight-pack from Jet for $4.92.

5. Banza, a chickpea pasta that's perfect for diabetics, gluten-free folk, or pretty much anyone who wants a lower-carb pasta that still tastes amazing.

Jessie Gaynor / Via BuzzFeed

I am a card-carrying type-1 diabetic who unfortunately also takes great comfort in the carbs that can't hang with my underachieving pancreas. While I eat more of them than I probably should, I tend to stay away from pasta, which requires an extra-large dose of insulin. Which sucks, because I love pasta. So I was both excited and skeptical when I scored a box of Banza, a chickpea-based pasta, from a BuzzFeed health fair a few months ago. I liked the idea of a higher-fiber, lower-carb pasta, but come on. Chickpeas are great, but could they really compete with flour?

The Banza spaghetti sat in my cupboard for a few months until a few weeks ago, when I made the brave decision not to go to the grocery store and instead to Chopped-challenge my way to dinner. With rock-bottom expectations, I made a slapdash cacio e pepe, and guess what? It was delicious. It tastes like pasta! The only real differences I noticed were a hint of chickpeas (though just in the undressed pasta), and a slight brittleness when I refrigerated and reheated it. I got on Amazon and ordered four more boxes, in different shapes. The penne, which I made with a souped-up jarred tomato sauce, was equally satisfying.

The best part, though, is that with just half the net carbs of regular pasta, Banza didn't make my blood sugar go nuts. I can't recommend this highly enough for fellow diabetics or anyone who wants a lower-carb, higher-protein alternative to pasta. It's also gluten-free! PASTA FOR ALL! —Jessie Gaynor

Get a pack of six boxes of assorted shapes from Amazon for $24.99 or a box of penne from Jet for $5.70.

6. MoviePass, the imperfect, must-have subscription service that will save you hundreds of dollars on movie tickets.

Colin Gorenstein / Via BuzzFeed

What’s that saying about how there’s no such thing as a perfect movie, just movies that you choose to love despite their flaws? Well, I’d like to believe the same could be said about movie subscription services — namely, MoviePass, the rapidly expanding six-year-old service that made waves this year after hitting 1 million paying subscribers. I love MoviePass despite its many flaws, and you should too. If you’re not one of those 1 million subscribers, here’s a TL;DR on how it works: You pay a flat fee of $9.95 a month. This grants you admission to one film per day at 91% of theaters across America. You “check in” to your desired film through the MoviePass app and swipe your physical MoviePass card, just as you would with a credit card, at the theater. If you’re one step ahead of me, you’ve already done the math and deduced that this a steal. In major cities, like NYC, you may find yourself spending upwards of $20 on a movie ticket — meaning if you see at least one movie per month, you are already saving money.

So, what’s the catch? When things sound too good to be true, they usually are, right? In the case of MoviePass, it’s a yes and no: No, you will not be forced to upgrade your account to a higher payment plan (or at least not yet!). The $9.95 is very real. The major catch — if you can call it one — is the app’s buggy user interface. This year, the service saw an unprecedented spike in membership, and the app was not built with this many people in mind; many users began reporting system glitches, from the minor to the intrusive (e.g., the app will bring up a blank screen no matter how many times you restart your phone). And of course, there’s a risk in using the app when trying to coordinate group visits to the theater with friends — particularly on a film’s opening weekend and when seats are numbered — because you must be within 100 yards of the theater to check in. Meaning: You might get separated from your group, or the film may sell out before you get there.

Call me crazy, but all that said, I still love MoviePass. And that’s for one major reason: As a moviegoer who enjoys coming to my own conclusions about a movie, uninhibited by reviews, I love the freedom the service gives me to seek out the features that haven’t exactly received unanimous praise — not a fresh tomato, a “critic's pick,” or what have you — without guilt. MoviePass will encourage you to seek out hidden-gem movies, or divisive ones, as it has for me, and that can be a rewarding experience. Sure, you may find yourself yelling at your phone from time to time as you catch that blank screen of death in the lobby of your local theater, but in the end I’m positive you will come around — like I have in my three-year-long turbulent marriage to the service — and choose to love MoviePass, warts and all. —Colin Gorenstein

Get a subscription from MoviePass for $9.95/month.

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7. A Dash Arctic Chill Blender, a powerful little device that will give you your smoothie fix without breaking your budget.

AnaMaria Glavan

I have two major issues when it comes to standard blenders: 1) they take up too much space, and 2) they are so damn expensive! Seriously! However, I really love making smoothies for breakfast — which is why I was so excited to try out this Arctic Chill Blender. I LOVE IT SO MUCH, OKAY.

This little blender comes with a 16-ounce insulated tumbler, which is good for roughly one serving and comes with a handy-dandy travel lid. All you have to do is make your smoothie, grab the tumbler, secure the lid, and off you go into the world! When it comes to actually making the smoothie, there are no fancy functions or buttons. Just plug this baby in and press the power button. You do have to keep holding this button for the blender to work, but the blades are pretty powerful — meaning your ingredients are karate-chopped into mush fairly quickly. The one con about this gadget is that it be mighty, but it’s also pretty loud. Not a dealbreaker, though, in my humble opinion.

BUT! The best part about this blender is that it’s really inexpensive (it’s only $29.99, and comparable single-serving blenders can set you back $70 or more), plus it doesn’t take up a ton of space. If you’re in the market for an individual-sized blender but don’t feel like forking over the big bucks, definitely consider this one. I really, really love it. —AnaMaria Glavan

Get it from Target for $29.99.

8. A Scheppend Adidog Pet Sweatsuit, possibly the most adorable way to insulate your doggo from the winter chill.

Francine Hendrickson / Via BuzzFeed

My pupster Lily is 10 years old now, and she has some arthritis in her legs and knees. She is very small and gets cold easily, especially in the New York winters. She has some pretty supreme winter coats, but neither one of them covers her little legs all the way. So I got her a sweatsuit to cover her up, as a base layer to wear under her heavier coats.

I wanted to get her a pink one, but they were sold out, so I bought the bright yellow sweatsuit with green stripes. This worked out well because now I can see her when she runs around like a wild animal of the night. I wasn't sure what size to get her based on the reviews, so I just went off of her measurements (11 pounds, about a foot long). I got her a large, and it fit perfectly. I use this sweatsuit with her all the time now, under her coat and in place of her regular hoodie on days when it isn’t that cold. Covering up her little legs seems to help — she isn’t as stiff when walking around now. I am going to get her another one of these once the pink is back in stock, for adorable 'gram pics and also because she dirties up her clothes so quickly and could use two of these. —Francine Hendrickson

Get it from Amazon for $8.69+ (available in sizes S–9XL, in eight colors).

9. My Sticker Face Custom Stickers so you can personalize all your belongings with your pup's (or cat's, or girlfriend's, or orthodontist's...) beautiful face.

Elena Garcia / Via BuzzFeed

I wish I could express in simple words how obsessed I am with my dogs — but I can’t because once I get started I’ll never shut up about how Frankie is the chubbiest cuddler in the world, how Jebbies is 18 years old and still looking damn good, and how all they do is bring me joy even when they eat my shoes. I don’t have children, so this level of obsession seems about normal. Of course, with love like this comes great responsibility. It’s my duty to buy hoards of things customized with their gorgeous faces, including these fuckin’ awesome stickers from My Sticker Face.

I am obsessed with these stickers! So much so that I bought them as Christmas gifts for all my nieces and nephews. They’re face stickers, literally face stickers!! They’re made of vinyl so they can withstand the dishwasher or microwave, they stick to ANYTHING, they come in a variety of sizes, and you can have them made in anyone’s face (your dog, cat, friend, child, neighbor, whoever)! They’re just so cool! I basically use them to personalize everything — cards I’m mailing, my cell phone case, even as a way to label my things so everyone knows exactly who they belong to (a trick I learned from my friend who decided to use the stickers to label her son’s lunch bag). Anytime someone sees them or gets a gift that I’ve adorned with these stickers, they comment on how awesome they are. Everyone loves them. Best of all, I finally have a way to affordably customize everything I own with my gorgeous pups' faces! —Elena Garcia

Get a set of nine stickers of assorted sized from Amazon for $11.99.

10. Vionic Slippers, a game-changing house shoe for anyone with foot pain.

Lynn Fortuna

I had foot surgery this past spring, and it made walking barefoot on the hardwood floors in my apartment extremely difficult and painful. After doing some research, I found these Vionic slippers, and I can honestly say that they’ve changed my life. I put them on every day as soon as I take off my shoes, and I haven’t had to ice my foot since the day after they arrived.

The slippers have a thick sole, which is firm but cushioned and will conform to your foot’s shape. Because the bottoms are so thick, you never need to worry about feeling something you’ve accidentally stepped on under your foot, and you can safely wear them for light outdoor stuff, like checking the mail. The top piece has Velcro to secure the slipper, which is especially handy if you have a foot condition where sliding into shoes is painful.

The slippers come in a variety of colors. I would recommend going with a darker color because they’re tough to clean. The price tag seems a little steep for a pair of slippers, but if you have any kind of foot pain, these are the way to go. —Lynn Fortuna

Get them from Amazon or Nordstrom for $59.95 (available sizes 6–12, in multiple colors).

11. Reputation, an album that even Taylor Swift skeptics might find themselves bopping along to.

Samantha Wieder / Via BuzzFeed

So look, I'm not gonna pretend that I wasn't listening to Taylor Swift's new album completely unbiased – I'm definitely a Swiftie. I've seen her live three times, I own all of her albums and plenty of her merch, am an active user on her new app, and bought tickets to see her two nights in a row on her upcoming tour, because yolo, right? So there was never a question of whether I was going to buy a copy of Reputation.

With that said, I wasn't sure what to expect with this album, because the few songs she released leading up to the album were all pretty different from anything she's done before, except for "Gorgeous," which was a song that could've been found on 1989. "...Ready for It?" and "Look What You Made Me Do" were the first two she gave us a taste of, and on both of them, I couldn't believe Taylor was doing THAT. I truly couldn't decide if I loved them or hated them, or how I'd even feel about Reputation as a whole. But I had a flight from New York to Florida the day of its release, so there was truly no better place to sit myself down and listen to the album at least once in its entirety. From the very first listen, my two favorite songs were "Getaway Car" and "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things," probably because they reminded me of the fun, poppy, 1989 Taylor I had loved so much, but they still had a fresh sound. They're still my two favorite songs, but now I also love "I Did Something Bad" and "King of My Heart" just as much. In my opinion, those two are much different from anything she's done before, and they definitely match the darker, DGAF attitude she's unleashed in this new era.

Honestly, the whole album really took a little while to break in and adjust to, because at this point, she's completely strayed from that country-loving, curl-rocking, sparkly dress and cowboy boots–wearing gal into a more badass, unafraid pop artist, but eventually you find yourself loving the whole thing. Loving it so much that you buy three copies. Just kidding, I didn't intentionally buy all three of these, two of them came with her Target exclusive magazines that I bought to get Ticketmaster-verified fan boosts for tickets. On that note, though, definitely give this one a listen. It's a different side of Taylor, but it's genuinely so good. —Samantha Wieder

Get it from Amazon for $13.49+ or Barnes & Noble for $15.03+.

12. Pinch Blister Sister Kit, a handy (and super-cute) solution for when your new shoes decide to turn against you.

Katy Herman / Via BuzzFeed

For the most part, I tend to be pretty good at finding shoes that are both cute and comfortable. But sometimes you don’t realize how your new shoes feel until you’re already out the door, and it’s too late, and somehow those adorable new flats have metamorphosed into instruments of torture. Those are the times when I thank my past self for throwing my Blister Sister Kit in my bag.

A few years ago, my mom gave me this adorable little kit in my Christmas stocking. I have since bought literally five more. It has everything you need to remedy a painful shoe emergency. What I use the most is the blister balm, which looks like Chapstick and can be applied to your skin to reduce the friction between your foot and your shoes. I actually have a couple pairs of shoes I can only wear if I put this stuff on first! The pouch also includes six mini adhesive bandages, which are nice to have on hand for non-foot-related emergencies as well (though they are round in the middle and specifically made to cover a burgeoning blister). Finally, there are two round shoe pads that are really versatile and can basically fix any fit problem you have — they can go in the toe, the heel, the sides of a shoe, or can even be creatively folded up for whatever weird problem you’re having with your footwear.

On top of it all, it’s small, light, and easy to keep in your purse, and the packaging is adorable. I love that the zipper pull is a little high heel, because nothing’s gonna stop me from wearing beautiful-yet-crazy shoes! —Katy Herman

Get it from The Container Store (currently available for in-store pickup only) for $6.99 or Pinch Provisions for $12.

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