Tag Archives: review

Best free photo editing app (Android/iPhone)

Are photos your favorite part of Facebook, Instagram, and online in general? Do you have a photo envy complex? Did you know that you too can make your photos rock without paying a cent on an app? I’ve used both Samsung Galaxy and iPhone and my favorite app is available for both!

Best free photo app: PicsArt

 is available through Google Play and iTunes App Store

People may tell you that Facetune it the way to go, but PicsArt can do pretty much everything that Facetune can do and so much more. I paid for Facetune, but I never use it.

Today, I’m going to talk about my favorite photo editing options for portraits, but there are many more creative things you can do within PicsArt.

For portraits, I typically start with Edit. Using that I can open any photos on my phone to perform all of my favorite edits to create the perfect photo.

Within Edit, I primarily use Tools and Effects.


15731389_10155288479760016_462038569_nThe tools contain many of the basic photo editing tools such as Crop, Clone, Curves, Adjust, Enhance, and Perspective. So once you have decided your photo is worthy of editing, get to work to make it the best it can be.

My personal favorite tool is the Stretch tool. Why the Stretch tool? This tool allows you select part of the photo you want to not edit and then you can squeeze, inflate, swirl, or warp other parts of the photo. This means you can make eyes bigger, make love handles smaller, or just warp something completely for effect. It’s really fun to use.

Tip: Tap on an active tool for more fine tuning options in addition to the options displayed above the photo.

Now you like your photo, but you aren’t finished yet! There is so much more you can do with PicsArt.


Best Face Forward

When sharing a photo of friends or even yourself, you don’t want to hear any of the following complaints: I look so old! Look how yellow my teeth are! I didn’t realize how big my pimple was! Can you at least fix the red eye?

15801210_10155288514590016_465309033_nStart with Corrections! Here are the basic corrections currently available in PicsArt. I should mention that another great thing about PicsArt is that they constantly improve and add more features. Here are my favorite corrections:

  • Denoise: Use Denoise as the first step for removing noise imperfections from the face.
  • Eye tools:
    • Prism: Make the eyes pop.
    • Eye Color: Change the eye color.
    • Red Eye: Change red to grey.
  • Blemish Fix: Like Bandaid, use this to remove pimples and any other larger imperfections, like food in your teeth.
  • Face Fix: A blur tool specifically for faces.
  • Suntan: Darken with a golden glow.
  • Teeth Whiten: In case someone forgot to brush.

I also like to Blur the background and sometimes perform additional corrections to faces. It allows people to focus on the subject of your photo. There are many other Effects that you can try.

There are so many more actions you can perform on your photos and graphics within PicsArt. It’s a great thing to do while you wait for your kids to finish their favorite activity.

I love it! You will too! Have fun!



This selfie is over-edited. Be subtle with yours. I went nuts on this photo so you can see a comparison of the original snapshot and a heavily edited photo. The version displayed here uses all of the available corrections, plus a blurred background. 6 year olds do not require heavy editing, and neither do you!

Ideally, you should use the editing options in a realistic manner. The version of this photo that I personally posted on social media had a blurred background, lighting adjustment and contrast added.


Look at the correction you have made and reduce the opacity of the correction to fall somewhere between 25 and 50%. Subtle is best.

Want more?

Read Improve your Instagram Feed  by artist Kate Giffin.


What girls want for Christmas


Maybe your kids don’t show you their Christmas List for Santa.  Maybe your kids are too overwhelmed to tell Santa what they’d like. If your kids are like mine, you might have to hit half a dozen Santas. Well, I’ve done that for you! (The real one is at Market Square.)

Girls really want Shopkins, Dragons, Kendamas, and Bunchems. So what are all these fad toys? And what are this mom’s picks?

Christmas picks

Watch my children’s wish list video and then read more below.


What are Shopkins? Shopkins are tiny bits of plastic about the size of the top joint
of your middle finger. They look like grocery store items with a happy face painted on them. Kids collect and trade these plastic pieces of garbage (some are actually little garbage cans, so that comment isn’t just a comparison). The sparkly ones are worth more, so if you happen across a package of sparkly ones, your kids will love you that much more. Elementary school-aged kids love them. Parents hate them. At least I hate them. If you don’t hate them, wait until you step on a few.

Cost: Buy more for a lower price and you’ll pay about a $1 per Shopkin.

dragonFurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon

I panicked a little but when my daughter asked Santa for a fire breathing dragon that cooks marshmallows. Another mother let me know that it was “just a toy that costs over one hundred dollars.”

I chuckled at the kids’ lists, until Santa looked at me and said, “Santa delivers!” Maybe Santa should deliver, because over a hundred bucks is insanity! That was on a Friday night. The next morning, the toy dropped to less than half price at all the local stores, so I guess Santa did deliver.

What is this fire-breathing dragon? The FurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon is a cute toy that you fill with water and he sprays an orangey mist to look like flames. He also burps, which kids adore. Kids can also pet his nose for a cute response. He comes with a marshmallow on a stick that changes color from the dragon’s “flames” to look like it is torched. It’s definitely a gimmick, but FurReal Friends are still better than Hatchimals. I certainly wouldn’t pay full price for one.

Cost: These are up to $120. Look for the half price sales, which likely will remain until the current batch is sold.


Kendama < $20

Kendamas are the toys every schoolboy and girl wants this year. They are built to last, require no batteries, and provide long-term appeal, so both you and your kids will be happy.

What is a Kendama? A Kendama is a Japanese wooden cup-and-ball toy. The ball is attached by a cord to the handle, which has three cups (sides and bottom) to catch the ball and a spike on top to store the ball. Kendama is a well-constructed toy and actually holds kids’ attention long term, unlike most of the battery driven toys. It helps to develop hand-eye coordination.

Cost: This classic costs less than $20.


These are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs that stick together to make whatever you can imagine.

What are burdock burrs? If you ever had a round spikey thing from a small bush stuck to your clothing, in your hair, or on your pet, you know what they are. The are so sticky and annoying that they inspired the invention of velcro.   Read more on wikipedia. So they serve their purpose, but can you imagine intentionally bringing these into your home?

Cost: Who cares what they cost. They are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs.

Mom’s picks

My standard Christmas shopping list is: Dress, PJs, Doll, Book, and Art supplies. The dresses arrive before the Christmas concerts. The PJs before all the Christmas parties. So that just leaves the Doll, Book, and Art supplies for Christmas morning.

I always start my shopping at L’il Shop of Science in Brunswick Square. Read more…

Gifts for Parents

And what about a gifts for parents? Everyone I talk to would love:

  • Furniture, especially shelves—Getting rid of furniture? Single, divorced, or new parents really need it! Offer it to them first, even if you are selling it. It’s hard to find affordable quality furniture. We’ll pay!
  • Free babysitting—This costs you nothing, but a few hours of your time.
  • Hats and mittens—This is actually for the kids, but really helps parents. Decent hats and mittens are pricey and kids always lose the last set long after they are out of stock in stores.
  • Anything else—Ask. It’s okay for Christmas gifts to not be a surprise.