Photo Editing App for Touch: Fhotoroom


Touch screens and tablets are all the rage right now but I admit, I am old school. I typically use a keyboard and mouse not only to blog but even to play games. But being a geek, I am always looking for some great touch apps that will let me be productive! So I was stoked when I finally found a great photo editing app that for the Windows 8 touch environment!

It is called Fhotoroom and there is a pro and free app. I have only tried their Live Tile Windows app and it has way more capabilities than I can use;). But what I have done in it has been super easy and the results have been great!

Just pull up a picture and go at it. I have used it primarily for cropping and some color saturating and I couldn’t have found it any easier to use! (I use PicMonkey for everything!) I just grabbed the element in the picture that I wanted to crop into, did a little pinch and zoom and done!

I know it sounds crazy simple but I love it!!! I am finally taking time to play with pictures I have had forever!!! Maybe I will scan in and edit my wedding pictures… They are all snapshots (I regret not hiring a photo;) but that is another story for another post.

(Disclosure: I am a Microsoft Windows Champion and did find out about the app from them but the words, opinions and experiences are mine. Like anyone could force me to say anything;)


The Wall Street Journal and Mom Blog Conferences

My 2 cents on the Wall Street Journal about Mom Blog Conferences. They say that we are just escaping our kids. I think this is their attempt to get attention and traffic! Have they heard of conferences before? They are all designed to be fun and work regardless of the industry.

Is WSJ just jealous of the money invested in our conferences instead of their ads? Is this a little bit of the Mommy Wars? What do you think?

Starting a Blog


(Looking for the Dreamhost coupon code I mentioned on tv? Use CVT to get $10 off your first year of hosting at Dreamhost!!)

Blogging, you either are doing it or a mystified by it. But I really believe that anyone can (and maybe should) have a blog! You probably won’t ever get rich from blogging but it is fun! It is also a way to get emotions and passions out and is a great way to work out new product or book ideas. I think it is even great for kids (older kids;) to work on writing and to begin to develop specialty areas of their passions!

There are 2 questions everyone has to think about when you decide to start a blog. The answers will influence everything you do!

1)Message: Are you wanting to teach something like crafting or couponing? Are you starting a blog to journal your life? My message began as an outlet for all the many crazy things I was interested in but others around me weren’t! I want to talk about homeschooling and politics and science (and anything else in my crazy head). Later it changed to wanting to encourage and equip people to do anything they want to learn how to do! I was tired of hearing people say I would do that (cook, homeschool, whatever) but I just can’t do it.

2)Audience: Are you writing to people like you? Your family? The music industry? High level geeks? Who you are speaking to will influence what you say and how!!

3)Are you looking to generate income? That will make starting a blog a little more complicated. It is very important that you have really thought out the first 2 questions. You will also want to research ad networks, other blogs in the area you want to write on, etc. Just a warning: blogging is not a source of easy money! It takes many, many hours (just like a real job) along with quality material to even make any money. But it can become a source of income! Just make sure that your expectations are real;).

Then there are a few steps to take!

1)Buy a domain name and hosting. There are free options but if you want to do this for any length of time you really must buy a domain name and hosting! I personally use DreamHost and have been very happy with them! I pay about $100 a year for hosting. Are their cheaper options? Yes, but sometimes you get what you pay for and I also refuse to support GoDaddy;).

2)Pick an environment. This is what will run your blog and where you enter your posts. I recommend using WordPress. It is easy and free with most hosting and super easy to use! No programming needed.

3) Pick a free template. That is just the pretty behind the words and how the frames are organized. As you get larger you may want to buy some of that or have it custom designed but it isn’t necessary. Just google free WordPress templates and you will get a variety of options and there are even many built in.

4)Start blogging! Be consistent and have fun!!

Seriously that is the basics. If you want to get started you can head over to Dreamhost and use the code CVT to get $10 off your first year of hosting!!!

PicMonkey for the Holidays

I love, love, love (did I mention love;) PicMonkey! I am not known for taking great pictures and I am really lazy so I am not spending a ton of time on photo editing them either! But when I went to TypeA this year I heard about PicMonkey.  I didn’t want to spend money on a fancy photo editor. Well, PicMonkey is free and super easy to use! I immediately came home and started playing with it!

My Facebook cover collage for NerdFamily Food that I made in a minute!!!

I have used it a ton to make graphics for posts, graphic labels, the like! But in addition to all the normal photo editor tools PicMonkey also has great holiday effects and filters. You can layer them onto each other and build something new or just edit an existing profile picture for holiday fun.

It is a super simple process.

Open the initial profile picture in PicMonkey

I clicked on the snowflake and picked the winter theme. Then added frost effect.

Then I picked the flakery overlay and placed 2 snowflakes.

Then I added a single snowman;). All done, that easy!!!

It is that easy!!! Now I have a jaunty holiday profile picture!!! PicMonkey really is that easy to use!!! And you don’t just have to use the effects on profile pictures. Many people have used the Winterland effects to make other fabulous projects (the ideas of which I may copy;) and they are over on Pinterest! Check them out too.

Have you tried it yet? Go give it a try and then share a link to your finished project so I can see!!!

(This post was financially motivated by PicMonkey but all the words and opinions are mine!)

And the Winner Is

Everyone loves blog giveaways but do you ever think about how much work it is to number the entries, then randomize them, and then if the person hasn’t really fulfilled the requirements then you have to do it all again? Ok, if you are reading this you probably do but it can be annoying! Darn it!

But there is a plugin for that! (An app isn’t always the answer people;)

For a while now I have been using “And the Winner Is” plugin for all my giveaways. It has saved me so much time! You just install it on the plugin page. When you have a giveaway post you check the giveaway box and choose how many winners there will be. Everything else is normal with the post.

When the giveaway is over you go “And the Winner Is”  on the left hand navigation bar on your WordPress dashboard. Choose to close comments. The have it select the winners. You hand confirm the winners after you contact them or choose new ones. That is it!

This is an awesome free plugin that is a big time saver! I highly recommend it!