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10 Life-Changing Things To Try In 2017

Because we tried them for you in 2016!

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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. For the sake of transparency, items under “Things We Bought” and “Tricks We Learned” were purchased with our own money and/or were not the result of a PR pitch. Those under “Things We Tried” are items 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!

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1. The Squatty Potty, a little stool that'll help you poo like a pro.

The exchanges I have with my younger sister are cyclical:

1. She tells me that she has been doing a thing — say, eating avocado toast for breakfast every morning, or using a Shark Tank-approved plastic-stool-looking thing to make pooping easier and more comfortable.

2. I scoff at the thing, because I am extremely old and impossibly wise and kind of an asshole.

3. I try the thing.

4. I love the thing.

And so it went with the Squatty Potty.

When you sit down, you place your feet on either side of the stool and, as the name suggests, squat. According to the product’s website, this motion “unkinks” your colon. Also according to the website, it “makes going #2, #1!” Haha.

The first couple of times I went to the bathroom, I ignored the Squatty Potty, kicking it off to the side before settling in. I’d been reliably expelling waste from my body for 25 years, I figured. I knew what I was doing. I was set in my ways. But then I figured, hey, even though I think I know everything about everything, there is a slim chance that I do not. And so the next time, I propped my feet, and I squatted.

As always, Moriah was right. It removed the grunting and the guesswork. It cut my time spent in half. It made me wonder about what other ways I’ve been living my life just below par. It gave me an excremental crisis, if you will.

If you’re not into the plastic version, it also comes in teak. It's more expensive, but also looks much more discreet. Whatever the material, I missed it when I left my family’s house to return to my Squatty Potty-free apartment. My sister sent me the above selfie (squelfie?). It was a brag, and a rallying cry, and a moment of connection. —Alanna Okun

Get it from Amazon for $22.47.

2. Booband, an elastic band that keeps the ~ladies~ in place when working out.

Never EVER in my wildest dreams did I think I would publish this information but, for the sake of big-ish tatas everywhere, here goes: My dream team is 32DD and working out with them is the absolute worst. When I go down, they go up. When I go up, they go down.

Anything that involves bounce can be downright painful when Aunt Flo is involved (or even when she’s not!) — but running is *especially* difficult. I typically claim that I’m allergic to running or “it’s not my thing.” But when I started training for a triathlon, I couldn’t escape it, and I started looking for solutions for my sweater stretchers.

The Booband was discovered by, of all people, my boyfriend. The product is so mind-blowingly simple and effective that I’m truly shocked I had never heard of it. The Booband is a long, elastic strap, about three or four inches wide, with velcro on one end. I wear it strapped on top of my sports bra. I thought it’d feel like a corset, but because the fabric is very flexible, wearing it was actually really pleasant. It felt like getting a gentle hug from a very big headband.

The company claims you should wear the band to avoid saggy breasts, but that’s not why you should get this product (love your saggy bewbz!!!). The Booband not only made me feel more comfortable, but more confident running in public, too. I started picking up my pace and stopped fearing workouts that ended in burpees. This thing is, hands down, the best 30 bucks I’ve ever spent on my chest pillows. —Nicole Nguyen

Get it from Amazon for $30.

3. iClever Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Headphones, wireless headphones that deliver comfort and sound quality without breaking the bank.

Wires are the worst, you guys. At the gym, under all those winter layers, as you dance in your living room while your roommates are sleeping…they just get in the way. That’s where these handy-dandy iClever Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Headphones come in.

You turn on the headphones by holding down the button on the right earbud; then an automated voice says, “Power on.” Then it says, “Connected,” meaning connected to my phone, since they already know each other and they’re pretty much dating. Setup is fast and there’s no transmission delay during playback. The sound quality is surprisingly strong. They’re close to sound-canceling, so they’re great for work.

But where these really shine is at the gym and while traveling. At the gym, my phone stays in my pocket and I get to focus on my workout — no distractions. To skip forward or back a track, just press the buttons on the side of the earbuds. And on an 18-hour flight to the Philippines, I didn’t have to mess with wires as I struggled to find a comfortable sleeping position in my seat. Battery life is decent (7 hours), and it’s rechargeable via USB, so I keep it plugged in overnight.

At under $20, they’re considerably cheaper than most high-quality earbuds. Plus, they have the added effect of making me look like a cyborg that is completely impervious to human feelings, so that’s great. —Matt Ortile

Get them from Amazon for $18.99.

4. The Makeup Eraser, a game-changing cloth that removes even waterproof makeup with ease.

The Makeup Eraser claims to take off all your makeup using just water, and it actually works! The first time I used it, I was wearing a lot of makeup, concealer, foundation, highlighter, lipstick. The cloth pretty much removed all my makeup, waterproof mascara included, and it didn’t leave me with raccoon eyes. My colleague who has sensitive skin also tried it and was impressed too. It instantly removed her foundation and cheek and lip stain. She also found it was really gentle on her skin and didn’t leave her with any dryness or irritation. Get more details on all our experiences with it here. —Tolani Shoneye

Get it from Sephora for $20.

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5. Garnier Micellar Water, a gentle cleanser and makeup-remover you don't have to rinse(!).

Rachel Miller

Last spring, a friend of mine sent me a link to an article about micellar water and I. Was. Sold. I wasn’t really feeling the makeup remover wipes I used every night, and, well…MAGIC WATER? That is POPULAR IN FRANCE AND COSTS UNDER $10? Count me in.

Micellar water is pretty unfussy to use: You put some on a cotton pad and swipe it over your face, and it removes makeup (including eye makeup) along with sweat, oil, etc. And…that’s it! You don’t even have to rinse it off when you’re done. It doesn’t have a strong smell or leave your skin tingling like an astringent does; it really just feels like…water. That initially left me skeptical that it was actually working, but after a year of using it, it remains as effective as ever. My current routine consists of swiping with two cotton pads — one to remove makeup and the second to grab remaining bits of makeup and kind of finish things off — and calling it a night, and then doing one cotton pad in the morning when I wake up. It’s also good for people who don’t wear makeup, and who maybe think they don’t need to wash their face every night but who are married to people who don’t want the sweat and grime one acquires daily as a human being in NYC/the world all over their pillows.

I’m a big believer in the “always take your makeup off before bed” rule, and micellar water makes it very easy to ensure I go to bed with a clean face, no matter how lazy I’m feeling. —Rachel W. Miller

Get it from Amazon for $6.26.

6. Perfect Petzzz Orange Tabby Soft Toy, a kitty companion you can pet and brush — and even watch it breathe.

Rachel Christensen

For Mother’s Day, I sent my 83-year-old Bubby one of these little breathing cats that I saw on Amazon, for a variety of reasons:

• It’s a cat and I like cats.

• It was kinda cute, and she generally likes those singing stuffed animals that are always at the cash register at Hallmark.

• Ever since my grandfather, her husband of 48 years, passed away in 2001, she has been really lonely. (OK, I’m writing through tears now.) It’s too hard for her to take care of a pet, but I always thought she’d be happier with one.

• That little robot seal on Master of None seemed really comforting and sweet, but it apparently costs $6,000. But when I read through the Perfect Petzzz Amazon reviews, I got the sense that it’s kind of a very basic version of the seal.

Within hours of receiving the package, my mom (who was visiting her at the time) told me that Bubby was already brushing the kitty and keeping it outside with her as she sat on the porch and read the newspaper. Then Bubby got on the phone and thanked me, telling me that now, after decades of being firmly Team Dog, she understands why I like my cats so much.

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A few days later, my brother called me and ominously asked me if I’d talked to Bubby lately. Terrified this was ~the call~, I asked if everything was OK — he said yes, totally, but that I should call Bubby as soon as I could and ask her about the cat. Right away I dialed her, and when she picked up, she sounded happier and more relaxed than I’ve heard her in a while. She started telling me about the cat, who she named “212” after a special memory she had with my grandfather. She told me that for the first time in 15 years, she finally doesn’t feel quite so lonely. 212 lets Bubby brush him and talk to him and sing to him without feeling like she’s bothering him. She told me that watching him breathe and keeping him on her chest helps her sleep better than she has in years. She even told her doctor about the cat, and her doctor starting telling her other patients about it.

As an important note in this story: My Bubby is in very good mental health. She’s smart as a whip and hilarious and sarcastic and amazing. Her memory is strong — she’ll tell stories about living in Brooklyn in the 1930s that she hasn’t thought about in decades, and she can tell you the worst celebrity on any given season of Dancing With the Stars. Bubby is also someone who misses her longtime perfect-match of a husband, and recognizes that this weird little breathing robot cat is just a toy. And she also recognizes that toys can make a person very, very happy. —Rachel Christensen

Get it from Amazon for $44.05.

7. Amazon Fire TV Stick, a streaming device that lets you watch Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Video, and so, so much more.

Augusta Falletta

Picking a method of streaming TV feels a lot like choosing a method of birth control. Do I want to put it in there once and forget about it, or would I prefer to have a reminder each night? I tried the latter for years, but I am too lazy to have to get out of my comfortable bed nest to shut down the whole operation every time I want to immediately fall asleep. The former method (using a streaming stick — mine was Chromecast) was working really well until I realized I was missing out on every form of television that wasn’t Netflix.

With a nudge from my boyfriend’s password to access Amazon Prime videos, I decided to buy an Amazon Fire Stick. And LET. ME. TELL. YOU. The stick is FIRE. It looks like a USB drive on steroids and it has Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and every other television platform that you can probably borrow a password for. The home screen appears instantly and is maybe the most pleasant TV experience I’ve had to date. Also, it comes with a remote which makes me feel like an actual adult, not a pretend adult who uses her iPhone to control every electrical item in her apartment. This thing needs AA batteries and it makes me feel alive.

I’ve had the Fire Stick for a little over a month now and I’ve already had fewer connectivity issues and technical issues than I was having with the Chromecast. It costs $40 — which is only $5 more than Chromecast — and is completely worth it. I can fall asleep watching Transparent one night and Orange Is the New Black the next. It’s a broke TV junkie’s dream. —Augusta Falletta

Get the new Amazon Fire TV Stick (with Alexa voice control!) from Amazon for $39.99.

8. Zinus SmartBase Bed Frame, a reasonably-priced mattress foundation that does. not. squeak.

For my entire college life I slept on the popular Fjellse, which is the cheapest Ikea bed frame money can buy. It was AWFUL. It looked good. but there were a ton of quality issues.

My brother Jimmy showed me this frame he found online and it has actually changed my life for the better. Let me just quickly give you the run down on why this frame is awesome:

* It’s cheap. I paid $69 for a full size frame.

* It’s super light and folds up for when you move.

* You can put it together in under five minutes. There are eight thumb screws and you can put it together without any tools.

* It’s high enough off the ground that you can store boxes underneath.

* IT DOESN’T SQUEAK! Restless sleepers and sex-havers rejoice! In the month and a half I’ve been sleeping on this frame, I can confirm: It doesn’t make a sound. It may slide a bit on hardwood floors, but it won’t squeak.

This frame has an overwhelming amount of reviews on Amazon, (14,000+), so if you don’t believe me, go on there and read for yourself! If you’re in the market for a cheap bed frame and don’t need any frills, look no further than the Zinus platform bed frame. It’ll get the job done. —Jeff Barron

Get it from Amazon for $79.

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9. Notes from the Universe Daily Newsletter for Positive Vibes, an inspirational newsletter sent to your email inbox every day.

I’m one of those ~extremely optimistic~ kinds of people with inspirational quotes scattered across my desk. Sure, it might be embarrassing. But it works! About three years ago, I discovered Notes from the Universe — a free, personalized note of inspiration sent straight to your inbox daily — and I’m not gonna lie, they’ve pretty much changed my life.

I’m a firm believer in the phrase “thoughts become things” and feel strongly that happiness is a choice, so when I realized you could have insanely inspiring words of motivation sent to your inbox daily, I immediately said “hell yes” and clicked subscribe. For the past three years, the first thing I do every morning is head straight to my inbox and open up the daily letter, which somehow magically always knows exactly what to say when I need to hear it the most. Because the Universe knows best, people.

If you’re feeling uninspired, need some serious motivation, or just want a quick reminder that you can make your dreams a reality, give the notes a try; it’s a simple, quick way to start off your day with some positivity. —Kristin Harris

10. Apple iPhone Battery Case, a charging case that will keep your phone from dying on you when you need it most.

Jess Probus

Normally I wouldn’t be happy about a large number of people asking me, “What is that tumor-looking thing on your phone?” But since the tumor-looking thing is my favorite phone case ever, I actually enjoy talking about it. At first I had the same reaction to the Apple Battery Case — it’s heavy, weirdly shaped, and…kinda sticky? But after one full day’s use, seeing my phone at 125% battery was enough to convert me. After a while the heft even became useful — I can always feel when my phone is in my purse or pocket, and I rarely forget it anymore. And the stickiness is actually the best part — it actually stays in my clumsy hands! And if (OK, when) I actually do drop it, this case is legitimately protective. I’ve had many other battery cases before, and they all either snap in half (when bounced down the stairs…) or just stop working after a couple months.

The price tag for this one is hefty, but for a battery case that can keep your phone protected, and charged for TWO FULL DAYS, it’s totally worth it. I literally never worry about my phone dying anymore. And anything that can cure such a universal modern anxiety is worth a cool Benjamin in my book. —Jess Probus

Get it from Amazon for $99.

Read a full review of the phone case here!

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