I Lived My Life by a Personalized Astrology App for a Week

Can the artificial intelligence-driven app Co-Star actually help you live your best life?

co-star astrology app

(Illustration: Elham Numan)

I was introduced to Co-Stara hyper-personalized astrology app, by a friend last year. I’ve always been interested in astrology; I don’t take my horoscope as gospel (if you’re curious, I’m a Scorpio sun, Pisces moon, Sagittarius rising), but I think it’s a fun and interesting way to digest our experiences and daily lives. It’s also good for unpacking parts of our personalities that might otherwise be challenging to understand. In short: Astrology is cheaper than therapy, and asking “What’s your sign?” never goes out of style. 

Co-Star’s daily notifications—pretty much the closest thing we’ve got to actual life predictions—are simultaneously specific to the user and totally vague (which is very enigmatic; I’d like to think that if Co-Star had an astrological sign, it would be Scorpio). And, as many people have noted, the app isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, usually around 11:30 a.m., when its daily prompt arrives on subscribers’ home screens. So, to test how useful it could be in my day-to-day life, I decided to conduct an astrological experiment and follow Co-Star’s every piece of advice earnestly. Without further ado, here’s what happened when I used astrology-app notifications as my guiding light for a week. Buckle up—it’s going to be a cosmic ride. 

Day one: “Enough alone time. Get out of the house today.” 

8:15 a.m. I wake up, read my news notifications and check my texts. Today is my first day at a new job—it’s a seasonal part-time gig at a bookstore, but I always feel a bit nervous when starting something new. 

8:30 a.m. I try to use the Headspace app for a quick meditation, but I can’t log in. I guess the universe doesn’t want this for me? I do a short Yoga With Adriene video instead. It feels good to stretch, even just for five minutes. I don’t have the discipline to try a 30-minute video quite yet, but it’s definitely an aspiration.

8:50 a.m. I make some breakfast while listening to the Judd Apatow episode of Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast. It’s a great podcast to listen to while doing menial tasks like laundry or cleaning because the episodes are always over an hour.  

11:15 a.m. After working on some writing projects for different publications (I’m currently freelancing as an arts and culture writer), I head out to meet some friends for lunch at Sandwich Box. 

11:28 a.m. My notification arrives while I’m with my friends, and I feel like I’m one step ahead of the app!

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2:15 p.m. I arrive at work.

5 p.m. That wasn’t so bad! The first shift is always the hardest since you’re not acquainted with how things run, but I learned a lot over a few hours and know that it will be a process. As I make my way home, I think about my Co-Star notification and decide to purchase something that will force me to get out of the house. A yoga-mat strap from Lululemon seems like a good choice.

8 p.m. After dinner at home, I watch Muriel’s Wedding. I know my notification said to get out of the house, but, honestly, drinking almond-milk eggnog in bed while watching Toni Collette lip-sync to ABBA doesn’t feel lonely at all. 

Day two: “Look up at the sky and adjust your thinking.” 

9 a.m. Alarm goes off. I immediately hit snooze.

10 a.m. Wake up 4 realz. 

11:37 a.m. My notification arrives.

3 p.m. I’ve been inside writing all day, so I haven’t had the opportunity to look up at the sky. I decide that when I leave for my shift at the bookstore, I’ll walk to the bus stop without my headphones in so I’m more ~aware~. And it’s a good thing I did—my transit card fell out of my pocket and had I not heard the sound it made falling to the ground, I would have definitely lost it.

10 p.m. I get home from work and go to bed. Today’s notification wasn’t super applicable to my day, but I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings.  

Day three: “Experiment with telepathy.” 

9:30 a.m. Wake up, read the news. 

11:38 a.m. My notification arrives as I’m on my way to meet up with a friend for lunch at Grapefruit Moon. I wonder what everyone on the subway is thinking about. I think about what I’m going to order at the restaurant and subsequently become very aware of my inner monologue. Phoebe Waller-Bridge has really mastered hers on Fleabag

1 p.m. Not really sure how I’m going to incorporate telepathy into my day. My friend and I grab a coffee at Starbucks after lunch. It reminds me of the time we were supposed to go to a concert together but instead spent an unreasonable amount of time at a Starbucks beforehand and missed the show. “Do you know what I’m thinking right now?” I asked her. “No?” she said. Well, that didn’t work.

3:15 p.m. After my friend and I part ways, she sends me a message saying how coincidental it was that I’d brought up the new Noah Baumbach movie, Marriage Story, to her because another friend had just messaged her about it. OK, telepathy, I see what you’re doing…

4 p.m. I’m at work for the rest of the day. Disappointingly, I don’t manage to practice telepathy there, but I’m chuffed about my apparent ability to connect with my friend about Marriage Story

Day four: “What lessons have you learned today?” 

9 a.m. I am on a mission to find a GOOD pair of jeans today, so I head out to Yorkdale mall.

11:41 a.m. My notification arrives as I shop.

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12 p.m. After lots of browsing and contemplating, I try on some styles at Reformation and realize that its Liza straight-leg jeans are a game changer. Lesson number one of the day is that well-fitting jeans are the biggest confidence booster. I think these are going to be the jeans of my 20s. 

7 p.m. After spending the rest of the day working, I watch a thought-provoking film—Erin Brockovich—and learn that: 

  1. Julia Roberts’ office outfits would make an excellent capsule wardrobe.
  2. She knows how to storm out of a room better than anyone. 
  3. I’m happy that I’ll finally understand Erin Brockovich references.

Day five: “Do not bring previous arguments into current ones.” 

9 a.m. Today is an exciting day: I am getting my aura photographed and read for the first time! I’m going to Rose Aura here in Toronto with a friend and am excited to see our results.

11:25 a.m. I arrive 10 minutes late due to unforeseeable circumstances (streetcar delay, classic) and am very flustered. My aura reflects this. It’s all red, which basically means I need to calm down/take a nap, but it’s still a positive experience. 

11:39 a.m. My daily notification pops into my inbox. 

4 p.m. I get back home and rest for a bit. I’m going to an Angel Olsen concert then stopping by my friend’s birthday party, so it’s an exciting night ahead.

8 p.m. Going to a concert alone is something I’ve been trying to get used to. I’m reviewing it for a website, so I feel protected by my notebook and pen in hand as I sit among strangers. Luckily, Angel Olsen is a mesmerizing musician, so I am completely drawn into her performance. 

1:30 a.m. I get home from the birthday party and immediately crash. Today has been fairly peaceful, so the argument thing didn’t come into play. I’m pretty relieved about it because, much like Lizzie McGuire, I do not handle conflict very well.  

Day six: “Try not to be overly critical if you can’t propose an alternative.” 

8 a.m. I wake up and get to work on my concert review, which is due later today.

11:29 a.m. I receive my notification as I’m reading through my article. My review is mostly positive, but I make sure any criticisms I’ve mentioned are warranted. A very direct and applicable message today!

1 p.m. Usually I am opposed to napping, but, following today’s suggestion, I’m trying not to be overly critical. I’m tired, and there aren’t really other alternatives.

3 p.m. I spend the rest of the day doing chores. Pretty uneventful Sunday, but I’m not criticizing it. (See what I did there?)

Day seven: “Try not to waste your time on people who act like you don’t exist.” 

11:38 a.m. My notification arrives. I don’t see it right away, because…

12 p.m. I didn’t set an alarm today so I am in for a literal rude awakening when I roll out of bed and see that I’ve slept until NOON. On the plus side, my daily notification is already on my phone. I take today’s message as a sign to delete the Instagram app, which is likely the place that has the most people who act like I don’t exist. (Shoutout to algorithms and only having about five friends IRL.)

1:45 p.m. I spend some time with my grandfather. We meet at his local diner and catch up. It’s always nice to get together with family. 

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6:35 p.m. Hot Pilates class. Surprised by how much I enjoy it! Potential new go-to workout.

8 p.m. Have some cereal, take a shower and watch Ugly Betty. Many of the characters on that show act like Betty doesn’t exist, but she persists nevertheless! I think tomorrow I’ll print out a photo of Betty wearing her Guadalajara poncho and tape it to my wall.

Aaaand that’s a week! Although some of the notifications were more relevant to my days than others (I’m still mulling over my potential telepathy abilities), following my daily horoscope for a week allowed me to think deeply about my thoughts, emotions and actions. It wasn’t always seamless. Sometimes, fitting the prompts into my day was challenging, but other times it was as if there were someone in my phone who knew exactly what I needed to hear. You know that sinking yet oddly comforting feeling you get when you’ve just been talking about a product and then you open Instagram and there’s an ad for it? Like, why is my phone listening to me talk about Hydro Flasks with my friends? Is nothing sacred? I digress. Life can feel like one big Black Mirror episode sometimes, and personalized astrology apps fit right in. But, in all honesty, I think that unsettling feeling is what happens when you realize that someone knows you better than you know yourself…and Co-Star comes pretty damn close.