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1. My iKlip selfie stick. I was never very big on selfie sticks. I thought they were kind of silly until a baby boomer customer showed me two recent photos of her and her college roommates. The first one was taken by her husband and it was a nice picture. The second photo was taken with a selfie stick a couple of minutes after the first. They were standing the same way. They had on the same clothes. They used the same iPhone. The lighting was the same. The only difference was the use of a selfie stick with the iPhone higher so the women had to slightly tilt up their heads. They all looked 10 years younger. I went right out and bought a selfie stick! I like the iKlip because it comes apart and fits easily in my iPhone camera bag. It also works as a tripod. It's $39 on Amazon.
2. I have loved polaroids since I was a kid. I no longer have the camera, but I do have a small Polaroid Zip Printer . It still feels like magic. The prints are small, just 2x3 inches but fun while traveling or at a party. Printer is $123.88 on Amazon 30 Pack Paper is $14.99, 50 Pack Paper is $24.88.
3. I keep a set of Apple Earpods in my bag, mostly in case I am shooting in low light and want to use the volume button as a remote shutter.
4. I keep one or two of my 10 Pack Colorful Cleaning Cloths in my bag to clean my iPhone’s front screen and my camera lenses. They are pretty inexpensive and it’s good to have extras. Amazon $8.99.
5. I am not a big stylus fan, however when retouching an image it is sometimes difficult to see what is happening under my finger. Jot Pro 2 Stylus by Adonit has a clear plastic disk at the point of the stylus so you can clearly see your retouching. On Amazon for $21.49.
7. To charge all the gadgets in my camera bag, I use the Zilu Desktop Charger Amazon for $17.99.
8. Charge cables for my Nova Flash and Polaroid Printer.
10. Never forget your Apple Wall Charger. I usually carry the smaller 5W charger and the 12W charger because I most always have both my iPhone and iPad with me. They are $19 each at Apple.
Less charming are the loud firecrackers. This morning they woke me at 6:00 a.m. Now I get fireworks, which are also very common here and are magnificent as they explode above the center of town. I imagined that the firecrackers where being set off at night by spirited pre-teen boys. But I have never heard of pre-teens getting up at 5:30 a.m.
I finally asked my hairdresser about them. He said that no - those were not kids setting off firecrackers but the churches. They are calls to god. I have to admit there have been a few times when I thought early in the morning, "Okay, already. God heard you."
Bells and firecrackers are such a part of everyday life here, I needed a way (since I am not Catholic and heading to mass), to make them useful in my life. A few weeks ago I decided whenever I hear the bells I will pay attention to my breath as long as they ring. I now get a mini meditation multiple times a day.
The firecrackers are so loud, that I found myself being irritated by them. I certainly do not want to be irritable several times a day. So I decided I would be grateful for something every time they explode. Surprisingly that has completely changed my relationship to the firecrackers.
I hope my Mom who taught me to meditate in 1971, and was the most grateful person I've ever known, is smiling in whatever heaven she is in.
"This" is one of my Top Ten Apps. It was created by TinRocket, the same developer that created another one of my favorite apps "Waterlogue."
"This" is a great app for putting pointers, labels, descriptions and how-to steps onto a picture. It's also a very easy app to use.
1. Open the app and tap on the red camera icon in the bottom left corner to bring a picture in from your photo library. Tap on the spot where you want the end of the pointer to be, then drag until you see (this)
2. Tap on the word (this) to bring up the keyboard. Type the word, description, label that you want connected to the end of the pointer.
3. You can move the pointer and type around with your finger until you have it placed in just the right place.
4. Continue with other words/descriptions. If you do not want a pointer, just push the type up until the pointer disappears.
5. Swipe up on the tab at the bottom to change fonts between black and white, and small, medium and large.
6. To delete a pointer just drag it off of the image until you see the red X and let go. Click on the share icon to save.
This App Waterlogue
1. My sense of color and texture has changed since I moved to San Miguel de Allende. Intense colors and rich textures surround me every day and I love it. I saw this office in Living Etc. How could you not be inspired, at your desk, look at these stained glass windows and textured panels?
2. Real Simple Magazine always has the best tips for alternative uses of everyday items. This month it's ways to use bubble wrap. My favorite suggestion was to cut a small square of bubble wrap and poke the stem of a flower through it to allow your flowers to gracefully float in water.
3. Also featured in Real Simple is this kids' game dinner tray. What a great gift for a parent or grandparent to aid picky young eaters.You can find it at fredandfriends.com.
4. I have been looking all over San Miguel de Allende for a pouffe to put in front of my couch. This one is perfect. Unfortunately it is in England at Lema. Kind of hard to ship to Mexico, but if I lived in England it would be mine.
5. I have always loved avocados. However since moving to Mexico, I eat them almost daily. They are huge and cheap. Martha Stewart's Magazine has four guacamole recipes - just in time for Cinco de Mayo - Minty Margarita Guacamole, Modern Mex, Taco Truck Style and Martha's Classic.
6. Right now I have a large print over my bed, above my Mexican wooden headboard. It's just not doing it for me. This month I ran across these two images. Now I am thinking of hanging a Mexican rug. The second image brings back my 1970s macrame days. Texture, texture, texture.
7. I live in a loft space with a terrace. I love how this headboard can divide up a large room. I would build in a desk on the other side.
8. When I read this quote by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi it changed my meditation practice. I meditate every morning for 15 minutes. I focus on my breathing, but those pesky little to do lists keep popping up. I am easing up on myself and just imagining them coming in the front door, going out the back door and not stopping for tea.
9. Chihuly's glass sculptures blow me away. He is now showing at the New York Botanical Gardens
through October 29, 2017.
10. I discovered a new magazine this month. It's called The Magnolia Journal. I loved how this swing was hung from a huge beam in a child's room. I would love it in a living or family room as well.
The end of October my two best friends accompanied me to SMA to settle in for six months to see how I like living in another country. My goal was to find a place to live and sign up for intensive Spanish lessons. I decided I would give myself six months to decide if I wanted to stay in Mexico longer, go somewhere else or return to California.
That first week I shopped with my friends, explored great places for coffee, drank my share of margaritas, listened to some fabulous musicians, learned to walk on cobblestone streets, ate fabulous food and found a small place to live in central SMA. At the end of that first week my sister Pam was in a serious car accident and I needed to return with my two friends back to California.
I stayed in the U.S. for a couple of weeks to support my sister. I was in the U.S. during the election which felt like life turned upside down. After my sister got better, I headed back to San Miguel Allende... this time with my dog Lola. I settled into my little apartment and spent the next 3 weeks exploring SMA on my own, walking up and down the steep hills of this beautiful Mexican town.
My family then contacted me to tell me that my sister Pam had a massive stroke and to come back to California ASAP. My sister died right before Christmas. Again life turned upside down.
Last week I returned to SMA. It is a perfect place for thinking about my sister (and Mom who died just before Christmas last year), and for healing and beginning again.
One week left of work. Last week I sold my car and am Ubering everywhere. Today I started sorting...things to take, things to store, things to sell at my Moving Sale on October first. This idea, from nearly a year ago, of Lola and I heading off to try living in another country has become very real. I fluctuate between excitement for a new adventure... and WTF? am I doing... between "I have lost my mind" and "this is going to be so much fun."
1. I am always looking for new Grilled Shrimp recipes. Found this one in July issue of O.. Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Caper-Lemon Vinaigrette.
2. Also from O Magazine ... a switch on the Mozzarella Tomato Caprese. This one has avocado in between the slices of cheese and tomato. Sprinkle with basil or pesto sauce.
3. I saw this tip in Real Magazine. They suggested it as an unscented way to keep mosquitoes away.
4. I don't remember in which magazine I saw the tip about cutting marshmallows but thought it was a handy one.
5. "This" app was featured in MacLife... and yes it is actually called "this." I love this app. It is so handy for adding how to captions onto pictures. I think I will create a post just on "This" app. I like it that much.
6. I needed a new thermos because mine flew off of the roof of my car when I drove away. I saw the Swell bottle in a Martha Stewart Living and then again at Starbucks. I read that the largest version holds an entire bottle of wine.
7. Downloaded Paul Simon's new album after reading a review. That man can so masterly play with words. Stranger to Stranger is Simon's 13th solo album. I particularly like the title song , Wristband, Proof of Love and the quirky Street Angel.
8. Discovered the color palette of navy, peach and sand in this month's Coastal Living. I liked it so much I redid the palette of Cynthia 2.0.
9. Interesting feature in Prevention Magazine about how research shows that blueberries may help to reduce Alzheimer's risk.
10. I have a thing for Airstream trailers. Sunset magazine has an article about Glam Camping. They describe 18 locations including Sonoma's Airstream Auto Camp. (Opens August 15th). Sounds perfect to me.