It's Back!!! One of My Favorite iPhone Photography Apps

Good News. My favorite iPhone Photography Collage app has updated. I had stopped sharing this app with my students because it had not been updated in so long.

This is a simple app to make collages. Doing a happy dance. It was always one of my favorites. So glad to see it's back.

Click here to get it from app store.

Ten Tattoos for Older Women

I have decided in celebration of the end of the pandemic (when it arrives and if I survive), I am going to get a tattoo. Here are a few that I think might be interesting...

I love bird tattoos and I think this little group flying over the shoulder would be great.

If you are a musician, this is another tattoo for the shoulder that I like.

This "free" tattoo with the bird is a serious contender, once the pandemic lockdown is over.

I actually saw this online as a print. I meditate every day and thought this might be a good tattoo to remind me to go meditate.

I don't think I would go wrong with a tree of life. 

I like the idea of a tattoo on the side of my hand. Maybe the word free with the flying bird? It sure feels perfect for surviving COVID 19.

I do like this delicate bracelet tattoo. I almost always wear silver bracelets. I wonder if it could be done in silver ink. Wouldn't that be cool?

I also thought about having my zodiac sign as a tattoo. I am an Aquarius so two waves would be perfect. Google your sign and the words "tattoos" and you will get lots and lots of suggestions. 

I like the idea of a finger tattoo. Maybe one with a flower or the word "create."

And then of course there is always the name of a loved one... a child, significant other, someone who has died.

Okay... if this doesn't hurt too much I just might have to get several. 

As we age we often think of the things we still want to do... what we want on our "bucket lists." I think one of the benefits of aging is knowing what you never want to do again.

Remove Those Old Apple E-Mail Pop-Up Addresses

Do you have outdated email addresses that keep popping up when sending an email using Apple mail? Here is how to quickly get rid of them...

1.  Open up your mail app
2.  Tap on Windows in the menu bar
3.  A drop down menu appears. Tap on Previous Recipients

4.  A new window appears. Scroll up and down until you find the email address you want to delete. You also can use the search box to find the address. Tap on the address.

5.  Tap on Remove From List.

Send a Snail Mail Greeting Card From An App

Recently I wanted to send a snail mail card to friends in the U.S. Not an easy thing to do when sheltering in place in Mexico.

I discovered the Felt iPhone app which made it so easy. I could either use their images or my own. They are located in Colorado, so not only was it mailed from the U.S. to my friends in California and Washington, but I was helping the U.S. post office. They actually put a stamp on the envelope and addressed it for me.

Plus who doesn't love to get a snail mail card these days? An online card is just not the same as going to your mailbox and getting a surprise. 

I had the choice to send a single panel, 2, 3 or 4 panel cards. They even have gifts that you can add. There is lots to see on their web site.

Let someone know you are thinking about them during these difficult times. Or send off a birthday or fathers' day card. Your friends and family will appreciate it. It's fun, easy and reasonably priced.

By the way, the photo of the dog is one I took in Ajijic. Scottie is a well known dog around town. He was just sitting there by himself with his sunglasses on. Life in Mexico has surprises around every corner.

P.S. Someone asked if I get money from them. Nope. App is free. I get no $ from Felt. I just really like the app.

Ten of the Most Beautiful Gardens In the World

It was hard to limit my list to ten. I easily could have made it 50. But here are 10 that are on my "must see" garden list.

1.  Keukenhoff Gardens, Lisse Netherlands - Virtual tours available 

4. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew England - Has a virtual tour.

6. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, New York - Virtual Tour Available.

7. Longwood Gardens Kennett Square, PA - Virtual Tours Available.

9. Chicago Botanic Gardens - Phone Apps Available

I have been to a few of these but would love to visit the ones I have not seen and go again to the ones I have. Let me just mention that I attended a classical music concert at night in the Versailles Gardens when I was 17 and a student studying French in Paris. It still is a memory I treasure. 

I also want to mention Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. For me, this is home. The park has many gardens including a botanical garden, Japanese garden and Conservatory of Flowers.

Movies to Watch With Wine While Sheltered in Place

Sheltered in place at home watching movies? Here are 7 movies to go with your favorite wines.

1.  Uncorked - 2020
     Just released on Netflix, this movie is about a young man who want to become a Master Sommelier. It's not just a wine story, but also is a story about a family, especially about a relationship between a father and son. Elijah (played by Mamoudou Athie) wants to follow his dream, while his father wants him to take over the family's BBQ restaurant. Loved it.

2.  French Kiss - 1995
     How can you not like a romantic comedy with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline that takes place in the French Wine Country. Although the setting is primarily a family vineyard in the south of France, the story itself is about glorious revenge. Light hearted and fun.

3.   A Good Year - 2006
      Another romance in the vineyards. Starring Russel Crow, Albert Finney and Marion Cotillard. Crow is a self-absorbed investment banker who makes some changes in his life after returning to his late uncle's vineyard in Provence. Very predictable but an okay way to pass the time with a glass of wine.

4.  A Walk in the Clouds - 1995
     Keanu Reeves plays a young WWII vet who poses as the husband to a pregnant daughter of a domineering vineyard owner. It's a bit schmaltzy but kind of sweet movie. Also stars Anthony Quinn as the good hearted grandfather. 

5.  Bottle Shock - 2008
     This movie covers the early days of the California Wine Country. The movie is based on the 1976 Blind Paris Wine Tasting event known as Judgement of Paris. It stars the late Alan Rickman. Watch with your favorite California wine. I recommend Sones Cellars.

6.   Sideways - 2004
      A road trip buddy movie. Struggling writer Miles (played by Paul Giamatti) and his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) head out on a road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country, before Jack's upcoming wedding. Also starts Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen. 

7.  Wine Country - 2019
     Another road trip buddy movie. This time it's a comedy about six women celebrating a 50th birthday in the Napa wine country. Amy Poehler both directed and stars in the movie. All are struggling with their own problems, that put a bit of a test to their friendships. I didn't love it. But was okay with a second glass of wine.

Coming soon - Some terrific wine documentaries.

Ten Mac Tips and Tricks

Needing a Mystery Series To Watch While Staying at Home?

So, if you are needing a mystery series to binge while staying home, I highly recommend Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. They are fun, sassy with beautiful clothes from the 1920s.

There are three seasons (with rumors of a fourth season or a movie), based on the novels of Australian author Kerry Greenwood. The stories revolve around the personal and professional life of Phryne Fisher, a glamorous private detective in Melbourne Australia. .

All of the characters are a kick and you are going to want to watch these episodes one right after another, they are such a delight. So load up on ice cream or whatever other tv binging food you enjoy and get to know the brilliant, sharp witted Miss Fisher.

You can see all three seasons on Netflix or Acorn TV. Tap on the book cover to purchase the books.

9 Reasons To Blog if You Are a Writer, Artist, Traveler or Foodie

1.   Blogging gives you the perfect excuse to go out and find fun things to do, create, see and eat... as in "I need to eat chocolate so I can review it on my blog."

2.   Blogging is a great way to find your "tribe"... to find people who love doing the same things you love to do.

3.   Blogging helps you to attract an audience and eventually can turn them into fans, customers, colleagues, friends.

4.   Blogging allows you to tell your story.

5.   Blogging can establish your expertise, skill and authority in a subject.

6.   If you are a writer or artist, blogging will make you more visible to book publishers, art directors and galleries.

7.   Start doing the things you really love to do in life.  I started blogging to find my smile again after a couple of very difficult years. Now I blog to remind myself to keep doing the things that "make me come alive."

8.   Become a source of influence. Yes blogs can change the world.

9.   Make a little extra cash.

Put a Woman In Charge - Keb'Mo' and Roseanne Cash

Keb'Mo' is one of my favorite blues musicians. This song is so timely. Makes me want to dance and includes vocals of Roseanne Cash. Love it!

Put a Woman in Charge is the lead single on his album Oklahoma. It was dedicated to his mom who died at age 91 because "she was a strong and powerful leader."

Not Losing Hope

My Mom and Sister in 2013

My first meditation teacher was my mother. She taught me to meditate in 1971. I was the only young woman I knew who, when confronting a problem, their mother would say "Have you meditated on it honey?"

Over the last nearly 50 years, I have not always meditated consistently, but for the most part I have meditated every morning. And there's one thing I know for sure, I am better at dealing with whatever life hands me, when I meditate.

Since the election of 2016 something unpleasant appears in the news every single day. Never in my life did I believe that so many U.S. citizens would have such ugly intentions. I have spent the last three years feeling shocked and angry. Mom died in 2015 and I can hear her voice saying "All that anger is only hurting you." And she's right. I know she's right.

Even though her body was failing, she had a clear mind up to the end. A couple of months before she died she asked my sister and me to promise her we would not lose hope.

My sister Pam and I were still in our Obama optimism bubble. Mom kept saying "Things are going to get bad. Promise me you won't lose hope." Pam and I would look at each other and wonder what she was talking about. The U.S. had elected its first president who was not white and was about to elect its first president who was not male. But we knew it was important to Mom so we promised.

Mom died a couple months later and my sister died suddenly a month after the 2016 election. When I think about what Mom would want for me, I absolutely know she would say...

meditate every day
be grateful
don't lose hope.

My mom was a good teacher. The first two things come easily for me. The third thing...well...

I am trying Mom. I'm really trying.

The Nightingale - A Cautionary Tale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a brilliant novel, set in France during WWII. It is a story of two sister's lives during the German invasion and take-over in the early 1940s. It is a story of beauty in the ordinary, as well as a story of courageous decisions taken by the two women, their family and friends as they struggle to survive.

Hannah writes stunning descriptions, and I was right there with Vianne in a small rural village as she tried to grow and gather enough food to feed her children. I was also with Isabelle as she bravely fought with the French Resistance. 

At one point the local Mother Superior tells Vianne, "Don't think about who they are. Think about who you are and what sacrifices you can live with and what will break you."

Vianne responds, "It's all breaking me."

The story is also about France, and how its people did not believe that fascism could take hold there. When the young French men left for war, most thought the Maginot Line (the concrete fortifications, obstacles and weapon installations built on the French/German border in the 1930s) would hold the Germans back and the fighting would be brief.

Once invaded many initially thought their day to day lives would continue much the same.

While reading I kept thinking about the United States today. Is it inching toward fascism as the greedy, selfish and hateful take over? Is Russia, like WWII Germany in France, controlling what's really happening in the U.S.?

Are the Republicans like the Vichy government? Giving away their country for their own sense of security and selfish needs? It certainly seems like they have turned their back on democracy and the majority of the American people. 

What about Trump supporters? Have they become equal to those French who turned their backs on their neighbors and capitulated with the Nazis and SS?

And Trump? He is more like the sociopathic blowhard Mussolini than the leaders of the Vichy. Nevertheless his hatred and temper tantrums are growing in number, as he takes apart American democracy, to the joy of the Russian government.

The French thought it would never happen because of their secure borders. Americans have been taught that it can never happen because of the separation of governmental powers. The Nightingale is a historical novel that is a cautionary tale for today, as the U.S. creeps toward fascism. It can happen anywhere.

Ten Novels I Am Reading

Several friends have recommended this book. Plus it has gotten great reviews.

From Amazon - Where the Crawdads Sing

I graduated from high school in the summer of 1969 and lived near the beach. How could I not read this?

From Amazon Summer of '69

This is featured on Reese Witherspoon's Book Club.

From Amazon Whisper Network: A Novel

I love stories about bee keepers.

From Amazon Queen Bee: A Novel

When a novel has 4215 reviews in iBooks and an almost 5 stars average, I figure it's a pretty safe bet to read.

From Amazon A Gentleman in Moscow

With over 38.000 reviews and a 5 star rating on Amazon, this novel is a must read for me, especially when I read it was about two sisters in France during WWII.

From Amazon The Nightingale

I have been wanting to read this collection of stories for quite awhile. I read Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street and loved it. It is my goal to real more Mexican writers.

From Amazon Woman Hollering Creek

This is a debut novel that was named best book of the summer by O Magazine. Now that's what I call launching a novel writing career.

From Amazon Life Lines

This sounds like the perfect light-hearted beach read. I'm not at the beach but am just a few blocks from the lake so that should count.

From Amazon Evvie Drake Starts Over

I haven't read an Elizabeth Berg novel for years... probably since before I went to work for Apple and was too tired to read when I came home from work. But now I am retired... and always liked her books so was happy to find one I have not read.

From Amazon The Story of Arthur Truluv

So what fiction are you reading this summer?