25 March 2013, 12:07
I wrote this with future Blogcademy students in mind, but truthfully, this advice applies to any workshop. We all want the same thing out of our experience: to feel that we got our money’s worth, that we enjoyed ourselves, and that we asked every question that came to mind!
Sometimes, though, when we walk into a room of unfamiliar people, that all goes out the window. We get shy or anxious, our minds go blank and sometimes we just don’t feel like we have the confidence to approach someone else.
Here, then, are my tips for getting over that stuff, and not letting it encumber your enjoyment of your time. Here’s to a fantastic event!
Fluff up your site!
Before The Blogcademy even begins, we connect all our students together in our forum, where they swap URLs and start to get to know one another. And you know, these days, your blog is like your outfit: first impressions count…
If you’re going to a workshop or a seminar, give your site a good going-over the week beforehand. Check that you have links to all your social media and your email address somewhere obvious. Run a spellcheck. Consider refreshing your “about me” page, especially if your hair is a different colour now!
Just cast your eye over your site as if you were seeing it for the first time. This is probably not the time to start a complete overhaul, but do what you can do to clean it up, and make it the best it can be.
Business cards, business cards, business cards!
Sure, business cards can seem a little old-fashioned in today’s eminently Googleable world… But done right, they can make a fabulous impression.
If you’re going to an event, you absolutely must have a stack of business cards on you… And those business cards absolutely must have your Twitter handle on them. (Other than your URL, it is probably the only information on your card anyone will use.)
At Alt Summit, the business card game is NEXT LEVEL. Look at these turquoise and bright pink cards, for example. When I spoke at Alt in 2012, I was handed business cards which came with bracelets attached, or a little packet of glitter, or a teeny pair of scissors… The ingenuity was incredible.
You don’t have to spend a million dollars on your cards, but do what you can to make them eye-catching and memorable. You never know who you could be handing it to!
Come armed with questions.
As soon as you book your ticket, start jotting down any questions you have, no matter how silly they may seem. For extra-organised Virgo points, put these questions in the notebook you’re planning on bringing to the event. Keep writing down any questions that occur to you in the time between securing your ticket and the workshop itself.
Inevitably, many of these questions will be answered during the class or seminar. But there will be a few that are more specific that you really want to know about, and will fly out of your head when you’re in a room full of people, being overstimulated. (Then, of course, three days later, you’ll be sitting in front of your computer, it will hit you, and you’ll think, ‘DAMN! I wish I’d asked that!’)
So write down everything you can think of… And don’t be too afraid to raise your hand in class!
Wear something that is a conversation piece.
There are a few reasons for doing this. Firstly, it makes you more memorable. Secondly, wearing something a bit bold can encourage you to be bold, too… Almost like wearing a costume. Thirdly, it actually does other people a favour: if they’re feeling shy or don’t know what to say, they can always compliment your shoes/hat/dinosaur necklace!
We always recommend our Blogcademy babes wear ears. It has become a kind of silly signature of our class, which we love (and it makes class photos so much more adorable!). Wearing ears at The Blogcademy shows everyone else that you are part of the clique (or cult, as the case may be!), and it also encourages you to get just a little bit outside of your comfort zone. When you’re a little outside of that cushy place, you’re more likely to take chances or try new things… And that’s what this is all about!
Before you walk in the door, do a quick gut check.
Ask yourself: what do I want to get out of this day? What do I want to achieve?
In fact, Kat, Shauna and I do this before every class. (I force them to do it, but I think they secretly love it!) Before we kick off the festivities, the three of us get into a huddle, like a sparkly football team, and I say, “How do we want today to feel?” We start to throw around adjectives, like, “Exciting! Informative. Friendly. Helpful! Glittery!” That totally sets the tone for the class.
There is no reason why you can’t do this on your own. I often do it before I go out to an event: it helps remind me why I’m going, and what I hope to get out of it. If you try this, let me know how it works for you!
Put yourself out there.
If you’re not the most extroverted person on the planet, that’s okay. Odds are excellent that PLENTY of people in the room with you feel exactly the way you do! You don’t have to be an outgoing chatterbox to get the most out of a class or seminar… But just mustering the courage to say hello to people can work wonders!
As a teacher, you know what’s going on with your students. Kat, Shauna and I are hyperaware of how engaged people are, whether they are interacting with one another, and how shy they are. I get a feeling about certain people all the time, where I know they want to speak to me on a personal level, but they’re afraid to do it…
...And inevitably, I end up having a heart-to-heart with one babe at the very end of it all, late on Sunday night. It always makes me wish we had been talking like this for the whole weekend! I wonder about them, too. Did they get to say everything they wanted to say? Was I able to answer all their questions?
One of my greatest thrills in life is getting to know someone, and feeling like I have been able to help them. It would really upset me to think that I hadn’t made myself approachable enough for someone to feel comfortable talking to me candidly. That’s what I’m always striving for… And I don’t think I’m alone in that. That’s what we all want, no matter whether we’re teaching or soaking it all in.
So next time you feel nervous, just take a big breath and say hello. Start a conversation. It’s what we all want, and it’s worth the risk!
Take notes. Lots of notes!
Some of us fool ourselves into thinking that we will simply remember all the best bits of the day… But the truth is that a full day (or more!) of incoming information will overwhelm even the most magnificent of brains!
Always take a couple of pens and a notebook to any event where you think a little bit of genius might be taking place. Write down direct quotes as much as possible.
I always like to create a to do list while I’m sitting at an event. It’s one thing to take on the information, but it’s entirely another to put it into action. If you make a to do list at the time, you’ll have actionable items to get cracking with as soon as you go home!
It’s a simple tip, for sure, but it makes such a difference! Sometimes when we think we have a neutral face, we’re actually doing a chronic bitchface. Eep! (I am so guilty of this!) Standing around looking dour makes it less appealing for other people to approach you, and that will impact your day.
As much as you can remember to do it, smile! Grin and laugh and beam at other people. Nine times out of ten, they’ll smile right back!
Make an effort to remember people’s names.
We try to do this as much as possible when we’re teaching, simply to show people that we value them, and because it makes our students feel good. They always say that there is no sweeter sound to a person’s ears than their own name, and I think that’s true!
If you’re not great at remembering names, try playing a memory game, or simply jotting notes on any business cards you receive. There is no such thing as a good or bad memory (apparently), simply a trained or untrained memory. That means you’ll just get better with practice… And this is certainly something that’s worth making a little time investment in!
Follow up with your fellow attendees afterwards!
The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter who you’ve met if you never follow up with them! The only girls I remember from Alt are the ones who made an effort to reach out to me — and vice versa — once we’d all gone back home. The rest of them disappear into a haze of faces.
If you’re going to a workshop or an event with the intention of making friends or contacts, this step is imperative! Just meeting someone once isn’t enough of a basis to establish a friendship or a working relationship: you need to follow up, be in contact, and remind them that you exist!
Add the people you met to Twitter. Like their status updates on Facebook. If you took photos together, email them through with a sweet note! Get involved with them, and as Kat would say, “Subtly insert yourself into their life!”
I hope these tips help you at your next event… Of course, you’re more than welcome to put these ideas into practice by joining us on The Blogcademy World Tour! Just click for more details.
Photo by Shell De Mar.
13 March 2013, 12:00
Where would we all be without our phones? Mine is constantly at my side, and I’ve discovered it’s not just great for obsessively decorating, listening to music or taking a million photos. In fact, there are a bunch of iPhone apps that can actually improve your life. Here are a few of my favourites!
If you can’t sleep: Relax Melodies
Relax Melodies is basically a little sound machine in your phone. You can choose any combination of sounds — like ocean, rainforest, thunderstorm, or rain on the roof — and they just loop for hours. I know you’re not meant to sleep with your phone beside your head, but sometimes, when there’s a guy parked outside with his car stereo booming, I need something to help me get to sleep!
I love Relax Melodies. It really does relax you, and falling asleep to the sound of rain is about the most peaceful thing I can think of.
P.S. There are two versions of Relax Melodies: free and paid. I upgraded mine, but I think the free version is completely adequate!
If you want to get your inbox to zero: Mailbox
First, the bad news: At time of writing, there are approximately 700,000 people ahead of you in the queue to use Mailbox. But the great news is that the queue moves quickly — I waited about two weeks, I think — and when you’re granted access, Mailbox is a complete game-changer.
Mailbox makes it really, really easy to archive or delete your mail, as well as a brilliant “show me later” feature. You can choose to delay a message, and deal with it tomorrow, next week, or even next month. Mailbox also keeps a little numeric tally of messages as part of its icon, which really inspires you to clear out your inbox on a daily basis!
Mailbox has replaced iPhone’s OSX Mail app as my email application of choice… And I’ve never been happier. Just watch their video and I think you will be similarly convinced!
If you have a goal: Everest
Everest encourages you to break your goal down into manageable, bite-sized chunks. No matter what your intentions are, this app will help you get there.
You can connect with friends to help keep you accountable, as well as browse around and see what complete strangers are doing. I haven’t had a lot of time to play with this app yet, but I think it is so brilliant!
Additionally, if you’re looking for some more adventure in your life but aren’t sure where to start, just tap the Challenges tab and accept someone else’s dare! Some examples include cut out sweets for a week, don’t complain for 24 hours, do a silent retreat, create a plan to get debt-free, and run a half marathon. Each challenge is broken down into steps which you simply swipe to complete.
If you’re stressed: Take A Break
Take A Break is a free app which comes with two different guided meditations: one is a “work break” that runs for seven minutes, and the other is a stress relief meditation, which is thirteen minutes long.
You can choose whether you’d like to just hear the voice, if you’d like music in the background, or nature noises, which makes this very simple app a little more customisable.
Guided meditation is one of my favourite types of meditation, and it’s particularly useful for anyone who is new to sitting still and quieting their mind! It gives you something to focus on, rather than trying to think of nothing and obsessing over how much your nose itches!
I always feel much more serene after using this app. Give it a try!
If you can’t remember everything: Wunderlist
I have tried so many apps over the years, always looking for that sacred sweet spot: the intersection between ease of use and practicality. I’ve recently come back to Wunderlist, and I’m in love with it.
One of the reasons I love Wunderlist is because it has a desktop app. I don’t like to do everything on my phone, I like to be able to type and research on my computer, and Wunderlist syncs beautifully across all devices.
Wunderlist is basically where I vomit everything I need to keep in my head. At the moment, I have lists for places I want to visit in Los Angeles, pictures I want to take for Instagram, articles I want to write, things I need to procure to make my living room a better place, a Blogcademy “to do” list, a generic shopping list… And that’s just for starters.
It really helps to keep me on track, and I think it will help you, too!
If you want to keep a journal: Day One
There are a lot of journalling apps on the market but Day One is my favourite. The design is sleek and easy, and the app just does exactly what it says: no more and no less. One of my favourite features is the ability to add a photo to your diary entry. It makes it more visually stimulating, which provides a whole lot more motivation to keep adding to it.
The best thing about Day One is that you can set an alarm to remind you to update your journal. Maybe setting an alarm for 10pm or 7.30am would be the best time to get your thoughts down. Play around with it and see what works for you!
If you want to be on time: Uber
Uber is like having access to your own personal driver through your phone. It’s different in every city, but in NYC they have partnered with a number of black town car services, and it simply pings the one who is nearest to you.
It’s so easy to use: you input your address and it gives you an estimate of how close the nearest car is. Where I live, in the East Village, a car is usually about 6 minutes away. Once you submit your order, Uber will actually chart the path of the car while you wait.
Using Uber is a little more expensive than a taxi, because it’s a town car service. A trip that would normally cost me about $16 cost me $24. But I didn’t have to leave my house and go searching for a taxi, the car was impeccably clean, I didn’t have to swipe my card at the end (it’s all done in the app), and the tip was included. (A 30% tip on a $16 fare is almost $5, anyway.)
I am completely obsessed with this service! It’s truly perfect if there’s somewhere you need to be, if the weather is terrible, or if you’re just feeling too fabulous to want to prowl the streets in search of a taxi!
By the way, if you use my invite code, you’ll get $10 to use towards your first trip! Awesome!
If you want to eat healthy: My Fitness Pal
You know how they always say you should keep a food journal if you want to become more conscious about the amount — and type — of food you’re eating? It’s a great idea, but no one really does it. Or at least, I’ve never met anyone who managed to make it stick!
MyFitnessPal seeks to fix this problem. You can search for foods or scan any barcode and have it instantly entered into your food diary, figure out serving sizes, and even discover how many calories you should be eating if you have a certain weight goal.
If you’re anything like me, you have serious eating habits. I eat the same foods every week, and with MyFitnessPal, once you’ve entered them once, they get saved in your regular foods list. This makes it really easy and fast to keep on top of your diary.
There’s also space to enter any exercise you do. Great for gym bunnies!
If you want to say thank you: Ink
With Ink, you can instantly create greeting cards using the photographs on your phone. I love this app, because it removes any and all excuses for not sending a quick thank you to anyone who deserves it.
Using their app, you select a design, pick a photograph, add any text, then choose a contact to send it to. The Ink nymphs print it out at their magical factory, then slap a stamp on it and send it out. It arrives at your friend’s house soon after, and you all rejoice!
Now you really can be the babe with the best manners!
If you want to get centered: Pranayama Universal Breathing
Pranayama Universal Breathing is a super-simple app. When you fire it up, onscreen you see an animation of a man sitting cross-legged. Next to him is a pie chart, which shows how long your inhale and exhale should be. The first 1/3 of the pie chart is devoted to your inhale, and the rest is intended for your exhale.
Then all you have to do is follow the instructions. Breathe in… Breathe out. Breathe in… Breathe out. Do it for a few minutes, and you’ll feel back to your old self in no time!
You can up the ante, too, if you’re looking to try some more advanced breathing techniques. Fabulous!
I hope you have fun playing around with these apps!
Help! I think I’m in love with my phone,
6 March 2013, 16:14
Do you want to know your future? Oh come on now, I know you do!
Palmistry has been around for thousands of years, and it’s still popular today. No matter where you came from, everyone is at least a little bit curious about what their hands might tell them.
Obviously, the best way to create a future you’re happy with is to take consistent, positive action every day. But if you want to dabble on the metaphysical side of things, it can be really fun to read your palm!
It’s old-fashioned, I know, but I believe everyone should have a party trick. Being able to read palms is one of the best!
Palmistry is quite easy to learn, and like with any other form of fortune-telling, you get better at it the more you do it. It’s a great thing for shy people, too, because it forces you to interact with others one-on-one, and it gives you something to talk about.
I’ve written a super-simple guide to palmistry below. There are many more lines, mounts, bumps and clues you can read, but I’ve kept it simple… And there are some links at the end if you want to develop your skills further!
Which palm should you read? Well, ideally, you should read both. The theory is that the left hand shows potential, while the right hand shows what you’ve done with that potential. Some palm readers believe that “the left is what the gods give you, the right is what you do with it”.
There are four major types of hands, which relate to the elements. Your astrological sign might be an Earth sign, for example, but your hand might not be! Here’s how they break down…
Earth hands are wide, with square palms and fingers, thick or rough skin, and ruddy in appearance. The length of the palm is usually equal to the length of the fingers.
People with Earth hands are usually very practical and level-headed. They’d rather get out into the world and do something rather than learn about it. They can be quite conservative, and prefer to be outdoors. If you have Earth hands, cabin fever is real!
Air hands feature square or rectangular palms with long fingers. They often have protruding knuckles, low thumbs, or dry skin. The length of the palm is usually equal to the length of the fingers.
Air types are very intellectual, always curious and full of ideas. They practically hum with nervous energy, and can be prone to worry and stress. People with Air hands are great communicators, but they can internalise their feelings too much. This can lead to difficulties within their close relationships.
Water hands are based on a short, sometimes oval palm, with long, flexible fingers. Their palm is usually wider than it is long, with fingers equal to the height of the palm.
People with Water hands are very emotional. They are always looking for peace, and are extremely artistic. It can be hard for Water hands to deal with stress, and they are mostly motivated by feelings.
Fire hands have a square or rectangular palm, flushed or pink skin, and shorter fingers. The length of the palm is usually greater than the length of the fingers.
Fire hand types are energetic and always on the go. They need variety, and can be a little impatient and intolerant! People with Fire hands are often fiercely individual, and make great leaders.
If your hands are clammy, you are lazy and unstable, but well-intentioned. If it is hot, you are wild and successful, but can be insincere. If your hands are cold, you are generous, reserved and a bit of a hermit!
The heart line is about any and all matters concerning love.
If your heart line starts under your index finger, you have a satisfying love life. If it starts beneath your middle finger, you are selfish in love. If it starts somewhere in between your first finger and your middle finger, you fall in love easily!
A short heart line denotes little interest in romance. You’d rather do other things! If your heart line touches your life line, it means your heart breaks easily. A long, curvy heart line means you express your feelings with ease and tact. A straight heart line which runs parallel to your life line means you are exceptionally practical in matters of love. A wavy heart line means you will have many lovers, few of them serious… !
If there’s a circle on your heart line, it signifies sadness or depression. A broken heart line, or small lines crossing your heart line, shows emotional trauma of some kind.
The head line shows your intellect or wisdom.
In general, a curvy line denotes creativity and spontaneity, while a straight line favours practicality and structure.
A short head line means you prefer physical accomplishments over intellectual ones; you’d rather go hiking than write an essay. A wavy line shows that you have a short attention span, while a deep, long line is evidence of a clear, focussed thinker. A straight head line means you are a realist.
If your head line is separated from your life line, it means you have a lust for life and an unquenchable thirst for adventure!
If there is a circle or cross in your head line, this denotes an emotional crisis of some kind. Multiple crosses show that you have to make a lot of very big decisions in your lifetime.
The life line is the line of destiny.
It shows your character, as well as any important events that will happen in your life. And don’t worry: contrary to popular belief, the length of the line doesn’t show when you’re going to die!
If your life line is very close to your thumb, it means you have low energy and are often tired. Conversely, a wide, curvy life line shows that you have plenty of energy. If it swoops in a semi-circle, you are strong and enthusiastic. If it’s straight and stays close to the edge of your palm, you are cautious in your relationships.
A long, deep life line shows your inner vitality, while a short and shallow life line means you are easily manipulated by others.
If there’s a circle in your life line, it shows that you will be hospitalised or injured. A break in the line shows major changes in lifestyle.
The fate line can be read in conjunction with the life line to show the future.
By the way, not everyone has a fate line, so don’t feel bad if yours is nowhere to be seen!
A deep fate line shows that you are strongly controlled by destiny. (It’s up to you if you choose to believe that or not!) If there are a lot of breaks in your fate line, it means that external forces will change your life many times.
A fate line that is joined to the life line shows that you are an aspirational, self-made babe. If your fate line starts at the base of your palm, you will find yourself in the public eye often!
Reading the mounts is the next step in palmistry, and it’s pretty easy. At the bottom of each finger is a spongy pad — the other side of your knuckle, if you will. All you need to do to “read” the mount is to look at it and gauge the height. There are three heights: high, low or flat. How well-pronounced the mount appears will tell you everything you need to know!
If you find it difficult to tell the relative size of your mounts, just cup your hand slightly and look at it side-on. You will easily see which mounts are larger than others!
The Venus mount is under your thumb. It’s the fleshy bit that your life line curves around. The Venus mount relates to love, intuition, vitality, sensuality and success.
A high Venus mount shows someone who can be promiscuous and overindulgent. Sometimes they can become obsessed with instant gratification. A normal, well-developed Venus mount denotes a person who is influential, and passionate about the arts. If your Venus mount is flat, you have little to no interest in family life. These people also tend to criticise others.
The Jupiter mount is under your index finger. It tells us about your personal philosophies, beliefs and leadership capabilities.
A high Jupiter mount means you are self-centered and aggressive to the point of being dominating. If your Jupiter mount has a normal height, you are intelligent, and an ambitious, natural leader. A low or flat Jupiter mount means you don’t have much self-confidence.
The Saturn mount is under your middle finger. This mount is all about how patient and responsible you are.
A high Saturn mount shows stubbornness, a tendency to be alone, depressed, cynical and shy. If your Saturn mount has a normal amount of elevation, you are responsible and hard-working, friendly and you trust in the Universe. If it is low or flat, this can mean you are superficial and disorganised.
The Apollo (or Sun) mount is under your ring finger. The Sun relates to creative genius, fantasy, imagination and happiness.
A high Sun mount means that you are a prideful person, who loves to flatter others, can be extravagant, but can be quick-tempered. A normal Sun mount shows someone who is adaptable, outgoing and self-confident. A low Sun mount means you are someone with very little imagination. You might find it difficult to make decisions.
The Mercury mount is under your little finger. Mercury is all about wealth, intellect and travel.
An overdeveloped Mercury mount can denote someone who speaks too much, and can be untruthful. They can be greedy, too. A normal Mercury mount means you are thoughtful, versatile, with lots of interests. These people tend to be great in business and able to read others well. A low mount of Mercury shows someone who is shy, unable to communicate, and may not make a lot of money.
The Luna (or Moon) mount runs along the outside of your palm. It starts underneath your little finger, and runs along the side of your hand. The Moon is a sign of imagination, creativity and emotion.
A high Moon mount points to someone who lives so much in their imagination that it crowds out all sense of reality. If you have a well-defined Moon mount, you have extraordinary creative abilities. You love the arts, are compassionate, and have psychic abilities. A low or flat Moon mount denotes someone who lives in her head, but doesn’t share it with others. She may be a bit of a loner, with pessimistic tendencies.
Photo by Nina Ahn.
Large thumbs belong to people who are opinionated workaholics with high energy and plenty of self-control. If your thumb bends towards your palm, you can be a little cold and indifferent. A thumb which bends outwards demonstrates a generous nature. A thumb that is bent out and backwards is called a “killer’s thumb” — hey, I didn’t make it up!
Long fingers show someone who is anxious, delicate, good-looking and well-mannered. Short fingers belong to the impatient, creative and highly-sexed! Pointed fingers denote someone who is well-intentioned, but scatterbrained.
Long fingernails mean you are kind and you’re good at keeping secrets! If they’re long and thin, you are quite psychic, and easily annoyed! Long, large fingernails mean you are shy and a bit of a hermit.
Almond-shaped fingernails belong to people who are sweet, kind and extremely diplomatic.
Rectangular fingernails denote someone who is practical and logical. You like things to be explained, and you always wear sensible shoes.
Short fingernails show someone who is critical and sarcastic. Extremely short fingernails mean you have no self-control whatsoever! If your nails are short and large, you are sad, depressed easily and a little unstable. Short, straight nails belong to those who are filled with envy. Short, rounded nails mean you are a bit judgmental and love to gossip… !
Photo by Daniel Minnick.
The Palmistry Room at Psychic Library has a great and in-depth primer on palm reading.
This pieces goes into more detail on the individual fingers of the hand, as well as the thumb.
Here’s some more information on the Earth, Air, Fire and Water hand shapes.
Palmistry on Wikipedia is a pretty brilliant resource, too!
I hope this little overview has inspired you to give it a go. Let me know how you get on with reading your palm (and those of your friends, too)! Tweet me with your discoveries!
12 February 2013, 15:03
When it comes to Vine, there are three questions that need to be asked.
First things first: do you know what it is? If not, it’s an iPhone app which enables you to film up to six seconds of video which loops. The videos end up looking like those thumbnails above… Except they move.
If you have an iPhone & you don’t have this app yet, well, what are you waiting for?!
The second question is, are you following me?! My username is galadarling, of course. My stream is very silly, featuring Shauna rolling her r’s in David Bowie’s bedroom, Kat chugging entire glasses of wine in Paris, & more public dancing than you can shake a stick at!
But perhaps the most important question is, are you as obsessed with it as I am?! Ever since downloading the app when I was in London, I’ve been tinkering with it, thinking about new ways to use it & what the medium is best for.
Sure: it’s great for filming your amateur ballroom dancing skills in Paris in the middle of winter…
But it’s also brilliant for sharing experiences & showing highlights. For example, on Friday I made these Vines at the Kate Spade presentation…
From making these videos, I started to realise the infinitely cool ways Vine can be used. Here are a few things I’ve learned…
1. Vine is not long-form Instagram. It’s a completely different medium, so think about using it in innovative ways.
There’s only so much you can show in a picture; with Vine, you can see different angles & details with ease. It’s not just about keeping your focus on one thing for six seconds, it’s about revealing more than you can with a photograph.
Think about the kinds of things that lend themselves to multiple shots. Once you get the gears turning, I know you’ll come up with more ideas than you know what to do with!
2. Download VineGifR. It’s a Mac app which allows you to turn your Vines into animated gifs. VineGifR is brand spanking new, & as such, it’s not perfect: the gifs it produces are only 200 pixels wide — as you see above — & are a minimum of 2mb per file. But it’s a great way to share your Vines on your blog.
The other way of sharing, which is to embed them, is not something I’d recommend, simply because they autoplay with the volume on. Firstly, websites that make sound are annoying & extremely 2002. Don’t go there! Secondly, if you embed more than one Vine, your website will sound like a mad cacophony, & there’s no faster way to get your reader to close the tab!
3. Follow people who are experimenting with it. By the way, this doesn’t mean “blatantly steal & rip off people’s ideas” because that’s never cool, but there is nothing wrong with being influenced (or awed!) by something someone else has done!
Over the weekend, I went through & followed a whole bunch of people from different arenas — blogging, fashion, technology, design — just because I’m curious to see what they make of the medium. Once you follow me (wink wink, nudge nudge!), you can look through my list & add a whole lot of them.
4. Stick with it. There’s a bit of a learning curve, & yes, the app is a bit buggy right now. But the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it.
Don’t feel obliged to post everything you film! It might take a few tries to get your Vine right. Here’s a tip: once you film it & click Next, the Vine will be saved to your phone’s Photos, so if you need to review it, you can.
Also, if you want to share your Vine with Twitter or Facebook, be sure to slide those dialog boxes over to “On”! Once your Vine has been posted, there’s no way of sharing it out to your social networks. Hopefully this feature is coming soon!
5. See Vine as a positive thing! I’ve seen a few bloggers lamenting Vine. “Do we really need another social network?! I’m already tapped out!”
Spoiler alert: you don’t have to be on every single social network. Just use the ones that you enjoy, & that make sense! Don’t spread yourself so thin that keeping up with your social media becomes a chore. Keep it fun & lighthearted.
Personally, I’m really enjoying having a new tool at my disposal to experiment & play with. I feel like I’m slowly beginning to get the hang of it, & it’s exciting to see the innovative & creative ways that other people are using it, too!
See you on Vine!
22 January 2013, 05:52
My nutty-looking iPhone is a point of personal pride. It’s true. These days, we have the ability to customise practically every aspect of our lives… & we should!
My phone, which is encrusted with teeny-tiny toys & casts rainbows around rooms when the sun hits it, is an incredible conversation-starter. Women squeal when they see it, little girls flip their wigs, & even tightly-laced dudes in suits have something to say about it (usually along the lines of, “Wow, that’s some phone case!”). My Japanese manicurist tells me every time she sees it that it is “really kawaii”, which in my mind, is the ultimate compliment!
It’s not fun to hog all of this stuff for myself. I want to encourage you to dress up your phone, too!
But be warned! I am telling you now, once you start to do a little research — otherwise known as falling down the rabbit hole — you will be astounded, amazed & slightly disgusted by the amount of crazy things you can do in the quest to thoroughly “personalise” your phone!
I’ve mentioned a lot of iPhone stuff below, but the great news is that there are plenty of alternatives for other phones, too. So don’t feel left out! (& don’t think this lets you off the hook, either!)
My case is from LUXYLOLI on Etsy. I really have swept the entire internet for the coolest, most interesting phone cases, & I haven’t seen anything that beats hers. (Not even those Swarovski-encrusted My Little Pony ones.)
I love her cases so much, in fact, that once my iPhone 4 finally bit the dust, I commissioned her to make me one for my 5. It is glorious.
If you want one of her crazy cases but you don’t have an iPhone, don’t fret! LUXYLOLI will make a custom case for you, no matter what kind of phone you have. (Kat has one for her Android, & loves it.) She can even make the whole thing pink, purple or rainbow if that’s more your style! Hooray!
But if a toy-encrusted iPhone case isn’t quite your speed, don’t worry, I understand! You have other options, for sure…
Yes, a pink glitter case can be practical! This 3D leopard head isn’t really, though. Nor is this very blingy peacock, but it sure is fabulous. Bows & pearls! A very chunky & rather over-the-top collection of toys! Hello Kitty’s face in Swarovski crystals! Leopard print & pink & crystals! (Kinda want that one for myself…) Hot pink cheetah print!
If you want your case to look edible, you’re in luck! This one is a veritable smorgasbord. This one too. Waffles, anyone? But perhaps you’re more of a macaron girl. Or do you prefer chocolate mint? There are also crackers, bacon, toast & Pop Tart options. This one is more general pastries.
This case is very spiky. This one is for you if you wish your phone was a Leica... Or a twin lens reflex camera. This one is for the steampunk in your life (!!!) & this retro phone-shaped docking station is kind of rocking my world. (I mean, they’re not strictly iPhone cases, but they’re too cool not to include!)
I’m secretly a bit afraid of this Little Mermaid iPhone case! This girl will make you anything you want. This is perfect for Barbie fans. (The same girl will also do you a pretty chic YSL or dripping Chanel logo…)
I can’t believe I couldn’t find an astroturf phone case, though… ! SURELY that is a gap in the market!
If you want to be astounded, simply type “dust plug” into Etsy’s search box. It’ll give your mind quite a thrashing!
I didn’t even know these things existed until I walked into Patricia Field’s boutique one day. I immediately selected a bedazzled pair of turquoise bunny ears, which have taken pride of place in my headphone jack ever since.
So, plug something into your headphone jack, why don’t you? If you’re stumped for ideas, how about a dangly rhinestone heart? This is easiest the sparkliest pink phoenix I’ve ever seen (if not the only one!). You can plug the gap with a macaron, a fluffy pom-pom, a McRib (?!), a bowl of Lucky Charms, a hedgehog, a painted or crystal skull, a sparkly whale, a little knitted hat, a leopard bow, a donut...
The choices truly are endless. There’s enough stuff in there to push your husband RIGHT over the edge, I tell you!
There are even Starbucks dust plugs, which totally crack me up!
Rhinestone rabbit ears, though, are to me the clear choice.
These things, sadly, don’t last forever. My turquoise bunny ears bit the dust a few months after I bought them: the bendy plastic stopper finally bent too far. Boo! I think it can probably be fixed by someone crafty (like my husband), but I wanted to let you know that this kind of thing is usually not a “forever” purchase.
Still want to go ahead? Yay! You might want to buy a couple, or if you’re feeling DIY-tastic, you can buy the plugs & then attach whatever you damn well please!
There are so many fun accessories for phones. For example, the iPhone scuba suit means you can take your phone underwater & shoot photos or video with it. AHHH! (They don’t have a version for the 5 yet, but hopefully they will soon…)
This keychain tripod means you can film a video of yourself anywhere. Set up your phone in the woods & start filming! (Awesome.)
One of my newest obsessions is attaching different lenses to my phone. It makes using your camera so much more fun, & encourages silly creativity.
I have decided I need this set of Holga iPhone lenses! They are too cute. As they say, this set includes “lenses for dreamy vignettes, vibrant red and green color lenses, multi-image lenses for Spidey-vision (double, triple, and quadruple images), a macro lens for beautiful close-up detail and red, yellow, and blue filters with clear centers for framing your subjects!” I mean: YES!
One of the coolest iPhone accessories is something designed by Will.i.am: the iam+ foto. sosho. It’s essentially a case for your phone, but it has its own camera with interchangeable lenses & a crazy amount of megapixels. I saw Will using it at the EKOCYCLE event, & swooned hard!
You can use your phone to take great pictures, & I’ve written pretty extensively about how to take amazing photos with your phone.
I’ve since discovered a bunch of other fun camera apps since writing that piece, & here are some I’ve loved playing around with…
PictureFrames allows you to put a few photos together: great for showing multiple angles or a full-length shot with some details on the side.
Postagram allows you to make postcards of your photos. This is one of my best friends when I’m travelling! So much love.
Popbooth takes four photos of you & arranges them into a little photobooth strip. Then you can send that photobooth strip as a postcard!
Ink was created by the same company that did Postagram & Popbooth, & enables you to send 5×7 cards using photos from your phone. The designs are slick & cute. Love this app, too.
LensLight is great for adding bokeh (especially heart-shaped bokeh!) to a picture.
Picfx has a selection of cool filters. Again, some really nice bokeh!
Pici Booth makes your iPhone into a little photobooth! It takes three shots in succession, then compiles them into a strip.
PhotoWonder allows you to do really weird things, like enlarge your eyes, “delete” your blemishes & “thinify” your face. I mean, wow!
Kaleido Lens & Kaleidoscope turn your camera into a psychedelic wondertrip.
GirlsCamera gives you approximately three trillion stamps that you can apply to your photos, just like being in a Japanese photobooth!
Afterglow is a great photo-editing app which gives you circle frames & lens flares, among other cool effects.
ShakeItPhoto only develops after you really do “shake it like a Polaroid picture”... !
iBlendBabe takes two photos & combines them. The results are weird & sometimes beautiful!
On the non-camera side of apps, I love…
Day One is a clean, simple & easy journalling app. You can even set reminders so that you remember to update it.
MakeupAlley which is great for looking up makeup reviews while you’re in the drugstore!
Amazon which I mostly use as a way of adding things to my shopping list, books etc.
Yelp because I can never remember the address of anything, & I am compulsive about reading reviews.
KAYAK is an international playgirl’s best friend!
Fandango is the easiest way to book a movie ticket…
Etsy which I used in the Apple store to buy my new case before my iPhone 5 had even been rung up.
MyFitnessPal which I use to log my food & exercise. I know, I’m a nerd!
So much fun can be had with your phone. Do you have a case, a dust plug or an app that you’re completely crazy about? Tell me all about it!
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