Beatles with a Cuban Twist


The other day I was out to breakfast with my friends at Hacienda del Lago. My friend Bonnie suddenly said... "Is that Hey Jude with a Calypso beat they're playing?" The music was pretty soft so I took my iPhone over the the speaker, reached up and said "Hey Siri who is this playing?"

Sure enough it was a Cuban version of Hey Jude. The album is Here Comes...El Sol! with a variety of artists. Kind of a kick.

Falling Asleep to Music or an Audio Book With iPhone or iPad


It is lovely to drift off to sleep listening to favorite music or an audio book. But don't like leaving my iPhone or iPad running all night. Plus I question how good of sleep I am getting if an audio book or music is left running in the background of my dreams. 

Well, there is a way to make sure that book or playlist turns itself off. I would have guessed he controls would be in iTunes. Nope... they are in your clock app. 


1.  Swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone or iPad to access your control panel.


2.  Click on the clock icon.


3.  Click on the timer icon in the bottom right corner. Then click on "When Timer Ends."


4.  Scroll up and click on "Stop Playing." Then click on "Set" in the upper right corner. Now when you go to bed, nap or even meditate, you just set the timer to the amount of time you want and your music or audio book will automatically stop playing. So cool.

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.

This Morning's Walk in Ajijic


Sunday morning I walked to meet friends for brunch. The weather as always, was perfect with blue skies and white fluffy clouds. The fishermen were out on the lake, flowers blooming, colorful murals everywhere. My walk ended with good food, hanging with friends, meeting new people, good conversations, yummy food. Then a walk back home to work off my chocolate cake. It is a gentle life filled with blessings.

Living My Dreams

iPhone photograph edited in Add Lib S and Rhonna apps to make graphic design
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I have heard so many people in Mexico say "I am living my dreams." I have never been so grateful on a daily basis than I am now. In my NOB life, my dreams often got buried under my To Do list. There was always paper work, and bills and taxes. Even good things in life seemed to create additions to that ever growing list of things that had to get done. And for those days when the ugly things took  over the To Do list... I created a playlist of songs to help me remember to put a star next to the items that give me the most joy.

Songs About Dreams
1.   California Dreamin' - The Mamas and Papas
2.   Day Dreaming - Corinne Bailey Rae
3.   Daydream - The Lovein' Spoonfill
4.  Follow Your Dream - Sheryl-Dawn Ryan
5.  A Dream Come True - Leon Russell and Elton John
6.   In Dreams - Roy Orbison
7.   I Have a Dream - Amanda Seyfried - From Mama Mia
8.   Sweet Dreams - The Eurythmics
9.   Workin' On a Dream - Bruce Springsteen
10. Dream Lover - Bobby Darin

The above image was created entirely in my iPhone. I took an iPhone photograph of the woman on a vintage postcard. I brought the image into the Add Lib S app and randomly chose a graphic. I then added "Hold Fast to Your Dreams" in the Rhonna Design app.

Baby Boomers By the Numbers


I have been doing some research for my blog about baby boomers. Because of our numbers, it always amazes me that marketing is still aimed at 18-34 year olds. The cut off age for most marketing is 49. That's crazy. Here are our numbers...

There are over 75 million baby boomers just in the U.S.

Baby boomers control 70% of the disposable income and we are set to inherit $15 trillion over the next 15-20 years. 

Baby Boomers are tech savvy with 82.3% of boomers belonging to at least one social media site.

96% of Baby Boomers use search engines.

60% of Baby Boomers read blogs.

Baby Boomers spend more time online than watching tv. We spend an average of 27 hours a week on the internet. 

When Baby Boomers watch tv, we are more likely to stream shows. Netflix is our favorite place to get content.

95% of Baby Boomers use email to communicate.

84% of Baby Boomers are on Facebook. It is our preferred social media site (Only 1% use Instagram and 5% use Twitter). And, we are 19% more likely to share content than any other age group.

Those are big big numbers.

Celebrations in Ajijic Plaza

Saturdays and Sundays in Ajijic Plaza are filled with celebrations, music, art, food, families, children playing. It is wonderful and so full of life. One just has to grab a cup of coffee, or ice cream cone, sit on a bench, mellow out and people watch. 

Riding Horses and Phones in Ajijic, Mexico

The sound of horses going by on my street is as common as the sound of cars. I saw this family, across the street from my house, ride by. The two young men in the front were looking at their smart phones. The woman was taking a selfie. I so love Mexico.

My Top Ten List for My Most Used iPhone Photography Apps


1.  My very favorite, most used iPhone Photography App is Hipstamatic. It has a bit of a learning curve but is well worth it. There are new updates all of the time. It was first released in 2009 and I have been using it since then. If you want help learning Hipstamatic I have created a how to eBook called the Hipstamatic Lens/Film Guide ($3.99). You can purchase it from Lake Tree Press by clicking on the link below. The Hipstamatic app is $2.99 It is rated 4.7 stars out of 1.5 thousand reviews. You can't get much better than that!


2.  For retouching landscapes, waterscapes and architecture I use the Touch Retouch app. Are power lines ruining your photo? Touch Retouch has a line removal tool that is pure magic! There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't use this app. It is $1.99 and is another highly rated app with 4.8 starts and 1.89 reviews. Wow! Now that's a winner. Touch Retouch was originally released in 2010 and I have used it for eight years.


3.  For retouching faces I use Facetune. Why not Touch Retouch? Facetune has a lighter "touch". It makes people look like they've had a good night sleep and might be 5-10 years younger. It does not make them look like they have had a facelift gone bad. It also has a tool to easily brightening teeth and another for sharpening eyes. It was released in 2013 and is $3.99. It has a rating of 4.9 stars with 40.7 thousands reviews. It is definitely a hit! Next time you take a photo of an "older" friend, try Facetune. They will thank you.


4.  Waterlogue was also released in 2013. It will take your photos and turn them into amazing watercolor images that can be printed. It was named as one of the App Store's Best in 2014. I love it and use it often. It does not have as high of rating or as many reviews (329 ratings, 4.6 stars). But everyone I have every shown it to thinks it is great and can't wait to try it. Cost is $3.99 and worth every penny.


5.  There are a number of very good apps to place words onto images. The Typorama app is the one I return to again and again. I like how it makes the words more graphic. It includes several type layout options and you can in-app purchase more. The basic app is free. It has an exceptional 4.8 star rating with nearly 50 thousand review. That is just amazing.


6.  This is a fairly new app for me. I have always recommended iResize for resizing images. However iResize seems to have left the iTunes store. I did some research and discovered Image Size. It has a 4.7 star rating with 5 thousand plus reviews. So far I like it. Also it is free.


7.  The Diptic app is my favorite app for making photo collages. It is super easy to use. There are lots of template options and I find it reliable. I have used it since it first came out in 2010 and continue to use it often. It has a 4.7 star rating from 673 reviewers. The cost is $2.99.


8.  You know how when you photograph a tall building the perspective gets off with the top of the building kind of looking pointy? Well there is an app to fix that. It's called Skwrt. I use it all the time for churches in Mexico. You can see a copy of how well it works here. It was released in 2014 but I only discovered it a couple of years ago when I came to Mexico and wanted better photos of church plazas. It cost $1.99. It only has a 3.6 star rating from 35 reviews. Never the less, I find it to be super handy and easy to use. Although I only use the one perspective tool. I still think it is well work $1.99.


9.  You can do all kinds of things with Image Blender like make double exposures and photos within photos. However, I use it mostly for blending an original photo with a painted version. Sometime I think apps that turn your photos into paintings are a little heavy handed. Image Blender solves this problem for me. It costs $3.99, has a 4.9 star rating with 775 reviews. This is definitely a must have app. It was released in 2011 and is updated regularly.


10.  I don't use Mextures quite as often as I do these other apps. However if I have a photo that's kind of boring with flat lighting, I will run it through Mextures. There is a tiny bit of a learning curve as Mextures works in layers. It is, however worth the effort. It is only $1.99. It was released in 2013, has a 4.0 rating with 66 reviews... not real well known but handy.


So that's my current Top Ten List for My Most Used iPhone Photography Apps. I have purchased an embarrassing number of iPhone Photography apps over the years. Hope this helps you not spend as much money as I have.

Also... a shameful promotion... I spent a year testing apps and wrote the iPhoneography Wow! eBook. I released at the beginning of this year. You can find it at Lake Tree Press for $4.99.

A Year of Blogging and Journaling Ideas

Blogging, Journaling, writing, ideas, inspiration

Ever run out of ideas for your blog or journals? This book provides 365 ideas.. yup one each day for a year, for only about 13¢ a day.

$4.95 U.S.Add to Cart
$6.50 Canadian Add to Cart
95 Mexican Pesos Add to Cart

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Five Summer Reads and Songs to Go With Them


If you have ever been to Cuba you are going to love this novel. If you have never been to Cuba it might make you hesitate. Next Year in Havana is the July pick of Reese Witherspoon's Bookclub. It tells the story of two women grandmother and granddaughter, their family secrets, their experiences in Cuba and their two love stories... one taking place during the revolution. The other takes place in present day Cuba.

I loved it and could not put it down from beginning to finish. (I love retirement where you can binge on a good book.)


Song to go with this book  Havana


Andrew Sean Greer won the Pulitzer Prize for Less. It is a delightful story of a down and out writer who avoids his ex-lover's wedding by going around the world. How can you not love a book with writing like...

"... the plane suffers a prolonged bout of turbulence. Less finds himself searching for an appropriate prayer. He was, however, raised Unitarian; he has only Joan Baez to turn to, and "Diamonds and Rust" gives no solace."

I LOL all the way through this book. It's a perfect summer read.


Song to go with this book Here I Go Again


This book came out in 2010. I don't know how I ever missed reading it as I love all things Sherlock Holms. The Beekeeper's Apprentice picks up on Sherlock's story when he is retired in Sussex when he meets the modern young woman Mary Russell, who becomes first his protege and then his partner.
I am in the middle of it right now and am enjoying it. But then how can you not love a Sherlock Holmes story?


Song to go with this book  Roar


Lately I have been drawn to novels about multi-generational women. This debut novel by Lauren K. Denton is about a young woman, Sara who lives in New Orleans and runs a fashionable shop and her grandmother Mags who own a run down b&b in Sweetwater Alabama. It's a sweet book, well written with lovely characters. If you need a "gentle" story without terrorists, spies, violence this one is lovely.



Song to go with this book Sweet Home Alabama


Speaking of presidents... Bill Clinton and James Patterson's mystery, The President Is Missing, is getting great reviews. Publisher's Weekly describes it as "a page-turning thriller that rivals the best work of such genre titans as Brad Meltzer and Vince Flynn." Indeed that is high praise. I think it will be a fun next read after Hope Never Dies.


Song to go with this book Theme From Jaws

A Must Have App for Easily Splitting Restaurant Bills


Do you hate to make the waiter write up 5 or 6 separate checks? The Tab app is the easy, fun way to split up a restaurant bill. 

    

You just launch the app and take a photo of your receipt. Everyone then taps on the items they ordered. The tax and tip are divided proportionally.

  

Everyone can then see their share and pay their portion. You can then view and share details of the completed bills. It's free at the iPhone/iPad App Store.

2018 Fourth of July Playlist

In the past I have liked to post a Fourth of July Playlist. You can see the 2017 list by clicking here. However this year I have such mixed feeling. The U.S. no longer feels recognizable. Snatching children away from their parents, NRA propaganda is more important than our children's lives, unbelievable hate and violence, unchecked greed and a bat-shit crazy president and republican congress.

So this year I am posting protest songs. The birth of the United States originated with protests and revolution. So in that tradition, here are ten songs to sing on this Fourth of July.