Use It - Bold Storm Rising

Years ago a dance teacher taught me when I was emotionally struggling to use it in my dance. She told me as a photographer, as an artist to take my grief and use it creatively.

So, I want to take my frustration with the Trump administration and Republican Congress and "use it" to try to make a difference. Since the election I have created a group of images that are now available in T-Shirts, Hoodies, Mugs, Journals, Prints, Totes and Cards. 100% of my earnings will be donated to non-profits that are making a difference in our world.

Donations through October 31, 2017 will be made to non-profit groups helping those effected by  recent hurricanes and earthquakes in Mexico. Let's get some food, aid, shelter and help to those folks!!

Just click here to go to BOLD STORM RISING.

Colors of Mexico

I seriously want this car. Another photo from this morning’s walk in Ajijic.

Ajijic 10:30 a.m.

Lola and I were on a walk this morning. It was 10:30 and no one was on the street. I had been out walking at about 8:30 looking to see if anyone knew a family that was missing a sweet little dog and the streets were full of people going to work. By 10:30 it was very quiet and yet I feel perfectly safe.
This is the sweet dog. Found its home.

Mexican Apple Crumble

I was surprised. I thought it would be like an Apple Muffin. Nevertheless I persisted!

Margarita Chocolates, a Brief History and Other Chocolate Delights

I have discovered three chocolate shops in the small village of Ajijic Mexico. The picture above is my latest stash. I highly recommend Margarita Chocolates.

I am in the land where chocolate began - in Mesoameria around 1900 BC. The Mayans and Aztecs believed that the seeds were divine, a gift from the gods. They made a bitter, fermented drink called xocoatl. Cacao beans were so valuable that they were used as currency.

It wasn't until the cacao seeds were imported to Europe by the Spanish that sugar and honey were added. Chocolate was primarily a delicacy for the wealthy until the late 1700s. The invention of the steam engine made the chocolate process faster and available to the masses.

I have yet to discover a chocolate that I don't like. It's still possible but I would say unlikely. Below are a few favorite chocolate recipes.

Rice Krispy Peanut Butter Balls have been a Christmas tradition since I was a kid. My grandmother would send them to us in a coffee can. My mom would put them into the freezer so they would last until Christmas day. Then we discovered that they were quite yummy frozen as well. 

I found my "go to" chocolate cheesecake recipe years ago in Maida Haetter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts.  

My favorite ice cream is Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia (with dark chocolate chunks of course.) You can get Ben and Jerry's recipe for home made ice cream in their book 
Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

Chocolate Dipped Cherries were always another holiday favorite at our house. Mom used to order them from a local candy store that is long gone. I found a recipe however, in Epicurius.

Top Ten Tips You Will Love From My Favorite Magazines

1.  I saw this tennis ball gizmo in the September issue of Oprah. It is called the Pooch Selfie. Looks like a great way to get a great shot with your favorite doggie.

2.  I have a thing for kites and this two-masted ship with bamboo masts and nylon sails looks like so much fun and would make a wonderful gift. It is at Haptic Lab.

3.  I found this Monogrammed iPhone case in the September Domino. Classy and will never confuse your iPhone for someone else's. 

4.  I have been looking for a screen/room divider for awhile. I love this that Marcin Rusak piece has flowers sealed in black resin.

5.  What a fun business this would be - turning a food truck into a mobile flower shop. I saw this idea in Better Homes and Gardens. I wonder if it would be a hit on Lake Chapala... maybe flowers and margaritas... I would definitely be a fan.

6.  Since being in Mexico, my sense of color is changing. I love bright pops of yellow, green, azure and even orange. (I have never liked orange before and am now considering painting one wall a bold persimmon color.) My mom had a bright yellow sofa once. I was never a big fan. But now I think I would love it.

7.  I have a guest room with blank walls. I am considering filling them up with Vintage Travel Posters

8.  These LunchSkins Reusable Sandwich Bags would have been so great when I took my lunch to work. You turn them inside out to wash in the dishwasher.

9.   Now this is what I mean by "pop of color." I want a couple of this bright yellow pillow.

10. No Top Ten list is complete without something yummy to eat. I found this recipe for Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls from Martha Stewart's Living. 

Reading Magazines on Your iPhone and iPad

I have loved magazines since I was in junior high and read all of my older sister's teen magazines. Once I started buying my own I turned back the corners and ripped out pages to save. Over the years I have been known to have file cabinets of articles about places I wanted to travel, crafts I wanted to attempt, outfits I wanted to buy, decorating and gardening tips I wanted to implement.

Now instead of having piles of magazines stashed under my bed, I read them on my iPhone and iPad. Instead of file cabinets full of articles I take screen shots  (hold down the on/off button and home button at the same time) of things I want to remember and save them in my Photo Library Albums. It saves on space, saves trees and I can carry dozens of magazines to read in even the tiniest purses.

The two apps I use to download magazines are Texture and Zinio. With Texture you pay a monthly fee to download as many magazines as you want from their collection of over 200. They have a 14 day free trial period. It is $14.99 a month.

With Zinio, you purchase the magazines you want, either by subscription or by individual magazines. I primarily use Zinio when I want a magazine that Texture does not carry. For instance each month I usually buy Apple, Mindful and Living Etc. from Zinio.



The Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mystery Series

Still Life is the first book in a mystery series about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. A murder takes place in a rural village south of Montreal. The victim is Jane Neal, a retired school teacher. The locals believe it is a hunting accident, as who would possibly have anything against their beloved Jane. However Inspector Gamache and his colleagues begin to suspect it is murder. And there are quite a few suspects in the charming town of Three Pines.

I bought Still Life at the beginning of the summer and have zipped through the entire series. The last book (so far) is Glass Houses which I bought the day it came out and finished by the next day. No I did not get a whole lot done in that 24 hours but boy was it enjoyable.

The story line, characters and writing in these novels are captivating. If you like being hooked on a mystery and don't need to get a whole lot done for the next month, I highly recommend binge reading Louise Penny's series.

Still Life/Book One - from iBooks    from Amazon 

A Fatal Grace / Book Two - from iBooks   from Amazon

The Cruelest Month/ Book Three - from iBooks    from Amazon

A Rule Against Murder/ Book Four - from iBooks    from Amazon

The Brutal Telling / Book Five - from iBooks    from Amazon

Bury Your Dead/ Book Six - from iBooks    from Amazon

A Trick of the Light/ Book Seven - from iBooks    from Amazon

The Beautiful Mystery/Book Eight - from iBooks    from Amazon

How the Light Gets In/Book Nine - from iBooks    from Amazon

The Long Way Home/Book Ten - from iBooks    from Amazon

The Nature of the Beast/ Book Eleven - from iBooks    from Amazon

A Great Beckoning/Book Twelve - from iBooks    from Amazon

Glass Houses/Book Thirteen - from iBooks    from Amazon

Sending "Real" Postcards From Your iPhone and iPad

Sending regular postcards to family and friends, through the mail, can be a bit of a hassle when you travel. First you have to buy the postcards, then you have to find a post office to buy stamps and mail them. And then, from some locations, it can be rather iffy if they will ever be received.

I like sending real, old-fashioned postcards. These days it feels like a treat instead of just getting a photo via email or a text message. Well now you can send "real" postcards directly from your iPhone with an app. There are several companies that will mail a postcard for you. I have tested a number of them and my favorite is Pixinote. The quality is good. It's easy to use and your postcard is mailed in an envelope so it will arrive in good shape.

After you download Pixinote you will sign up and fill in your information. I had a bit of a problem with this because I did not have a choice of an address outside of the U.S. I contacted Pixinote and they got back to me in just a few minutes. They said to use their address. So if you are an expat, currently living outside of the U.S. here is the address to use as your own.

14E Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Suite B
Larkspur, CA 94939

Once you have signed up it's time to create your first postcard. Click on the left side of the card to import one of your favorite images from your iPhone or iPad. Then click on the right side of the card to write a three line message. Click on the "add recipients" blue bar at the bottom of the screen. Once you have added the names and addresses from your contacts, click "done" in the upper right corner. Next click on the "All set?" blue bar. You can choose to make your postcard private and then you buy credits to mail your postcard. One note is $3, five notes are $12 and 20 notes are $40. That's all there is to it!

Click on the AppStore button below to download Pixinote. It's free!

Top Ten iPhone Photography Apps

One of my favorite workshops to teach, while working at Apple was about iPhone Photography Apps. In those workshops I shared my Top Ten apps. Over the years that list has changed a bit, as new apps appear and old apps leave the iTunes Store. Here is my current list of Top Ten iPhone Photography Apps.

1. On that list, year after year, has been Hipstamatic. It was one of the first "iphoneography" apps I downloaded and I still love it. It originally was a camera app, but after a gazillion requests from users, they added post shooting editing features. You can mix and match up "lenses, film, flash, and cases. The combinations are endless and range from subtle to quite dramatic. I have an ebook coming out soon called the Hipstamatic Lens/Film Guide, if you want to learn more.

2.  I have also included Diptic on my Top Ten list for years. It's a great way to make collages and tell a story with a group of photos.

3.  No list would be complete without a couple of retouching apps. For scenes, still life, flowers, etc. I use Touch Retouch. I particularly like their line tool that magically makes telephone wires disappear. That's a really handy feature when you live in Mexico and so many lines are above ground.

4.  I do not use Touch Retouch for faces. Instead I prefer using FaceTune. It is quite subtle so you can make a 60 year old face look like a well rested 50 year old instead of a wannabe 20 year old. I am not fond of getting rid of all wrinkles. I earned mine and would just like to soften them a bit.

5.  A few years ago Apple had huge Waterlogue images displayed in their stores. Waterlogue takes your photograph and turns it into a watercolor. It does one thing and it does it well. You have a number of watercolor options. My favorites are natural, vibrant and soaked for that very wet brush look.

6.  Sometimes painting and filter apps can be a bit heavy handed for me. And there is not always an option to adjust their opacity. That's why I like Image Blender. You can use this app for double exposures, layering and images within images. I use it mostly for blending an original photograph with a painted or watercolor version of the same image. It gives me complete control over how much I want of an effect.

7.  I often want to to add a quote, "Happy Birthday," or some other text to an image. I have tried quite a few font apps and my favorite is Typorama. This font doesn't just add text. It makes your words an interesting graphic design.

8.  Sometimes I want to photograph at a time of day when the light is just plain old boring. To add some interest to light, I like to use the Mextures app. I have saved many a landscape image, that I probably would have deleted without this app.

9.  iColoramaS is one of those apps that has a steep learning curve. It transforms your photographs into collages and paintings. The artistic possibilities are unlimited. There are entire websites and FaceBook pages dedicated to iColoramaS. I have barely covered the surface of iColoramaS and can't wait to go deeper.

10. The app for my number 10 spot was difficult to choose. There are a number of other apps that I really like and use quite often, however I finally decided on ColorStory. It just has some great filters.

Runner Ups for my Top Ten...