new apps in the new year

One thing I’ve loved about switching back to the iPhone has been the plethora of apps :).

The ones I’ve used the most in the last few months have got to be:

  • Instagram (Free) – I think I’m addicted.
  • Whatsapp (Free) – Great way to communicate with interstate/international friends.
  • PicFrame ($0.99) – best 99 cents spent.
  • VSCOCam (Free) – this was one of the first ones I downloaded after switching back; finally understand what #vscocam was!
  • Landcam ($0.99) – love the fonts you can add to your photos!
  • iBooks (Free) – DOWNLOADED. TOO. MANY. BOOKS.

I came across a few other good ones just in the last few days:

Continue reading “new apps in the new year”

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Photography: Candlelight

Hi everyone!  Hope you’ve had a lovely week :)

I’m at Changi airport killing some time before my next fight and so made a beeline for the ‘Free Internet Access’ kiosk hehe 

Since my time is limited, I hope you’ll understand that I’ll get around to responding to the comments on the last post when I’m back in Melbourne but for the time being, I’ll share some photos that I got prepared before I left :) Enjoy!

——————-

A month or two ago, we experienced a blackout on our street.  At first, it was a bit annoying but then I realised that I had the perfect excuse to take a study break (hehe!) AND also take advantage of a rare opportunity to snaps some photos of candlelight :).

There’s just something that is mesmerising about watching the flickering flames…

Much love,

Ames

Question: I know the numbering is a bit out of order, but which photo do you like? :)

The view around Warran Glen, Warrandyte

It’s been a busy week but what else is new?  Sometimes, I wonder if life will ever slow down but as was the message this weekend, “It’s all about enjoying the trip because in actuality the destination is a moving target.   You think that when I get to this stage, then I’ll be happy.  Or you think that when I’ll be less busy, then I’ll have time to do what’s really important.  But really when we get there, there is always something else. So just enjoy the journey.  The road trip is part of the fun of it :).”  Selah.

Anyhow, as mentioned on the sidebar –> I’ve decided to try a new routine of:

  1. Review
  2. Recipe
  3. Photography

We’re onto the photography run of this blogging wheel so here is Part 2 of my ode to Warran Glen (see Part 1 here), that lovely place down in Warrandyte :).

I took way too many photos and had to cut many out of this set, so I decided to go with the Gallery format again.  It put me in a good mood when I reviewed them before so hope they bring a smile to your face too :).

Hope you had a lovely weekend and have a great start to a new week :).

♥ Ames

Photography: That weekend in Coolum, QLD

Hi all :).  Been getting things sorted after returning from an amazing national campus leaders summit up at Coolum, QLD.  It was a weekend I will never forget, gleaning wisdom from past decades of campus ministries and catching a vision for the future… more thoughts on that will be added here.

Well before I share a few nature shots from the weekend, a big shout-out needs to be given to the fantastic cooks at Luther Heights Youth Camp!  I’ve been to my fair share of camps over the years as have many of people I attended the summit with and it was unanimous that the kitchen team at Luther Heights made the best camp food that we’ve ever tasted!  Here’s a sample of what they cooked up:

Clockwise: Lasagne, Nachos, Schnitzel, Beef Burger… so good!
Scrumptious Apple Crumble!

If you are after a lovely location with good camp food in Qld, look up Luther Heights!

Alright, so unfortunately for us the weather was not the greatest with 2/3 days looking like this:

foggy and humid… not a nice combination.

But we had a chance to check out a local beach…

very rocky…
the view from a higher vantage point :)

Some interesting greenery on the way back to the camp site…

From someone’s garden – a bit blurry (taken on the phone camera)
I call them water jewels :)

On our last day, the sun finally came out!

Blue skies at last!

We caught some sun flare…

<3
<3 <3

Saw a boat… (is this called a tug boat?)

Was impressed by the innovation…

no sandy taps… because there are no taps!

And I got distracted by the sky on the drive to the airport…

A masterpiece
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. – Psalm 19:1

Hope the high schoolers are having a great first week back and the uni kids are enjoying the last week of freedom!

Also before I forget, the winner of the 1st blog-o-birthday giveaway is… Choc Chip Uru!! *throws confetti*

Congratulations!

Shall be in contact to send out your little thank-you present :) Thanks to everyone else who entered for your ongoing support!

Will be back soon with a foodie post soon ;).

♥ Ames

Blogging about blogging

Yesterday was a fitting day to blog about blogging and that was when I began this post.  Why was it such a day?  There were a number of reasons:

1. Blog Friend ‘Catch-Up’

Yesterday ’twas the day I met the wonderful Winston from The Hungry Excavator!  I’ve met a blogger or two in person before but he’s the first from the Melbourne foodie community so it was a momentous occasion :D.  And where better place to meet than over food right?

Gapi Fried Rice from Middle Fish

A Middle Fish review is in the works so I won’t comment on the food in this post but rather on the company :).  It was truly nice in the midst of the busy-ness of preparing for exams, assignments and essays to ‘catch-up’ in the flesh with a friend you’ve only known through words and photography.  Blogger-real-life meet ups are perhaps one of the most satisfying kind of encounters because in many respects, you’ve already caught glimpse of the person’s life and personality and given that you will tend to have a few things in common already (in this case, uni student and food blogger/lover amongst other things), there’s less awkwardness and you can speak to things that you’d probably not get into detail if meeting anyone else for the first time.  Awesome :D.

2. Snail Mail

A belated birthday gift I got in the mail from my S’pore blogging sister! Love you long time, Ange <3

3. New Domain!

I took the plunge and got hosted.  Reasons why and how are probably for a post after exams but for at least the next 24 months, I’m the owner of amelbournegirlatheart.com :).  Still a few things to be done around here but I’m quite happy with the move :).  Not sure if previous subscribers will get updates so please resubscribe if you would like to – thanks!

4. Photo A Day April Challenge Complete!

I guess this isn’t really a reason to blog about blogging but more a reason to blog full stop lol (as are the other reasons below).  Was lots of fun and challenging at times but I really enjoyed seeing what other people took photos of according to the prompts.  I’m not sure if I’ll be joining in this month with the assessment that I have ahead but if you are after the May list, see @FatMumSlim.  My complete Photo A Day April Challenge photos can be found here.

5. Coachella – Brooke Fraser

A song that just puts you in a good mood :).

6. PicFrames (for iPhone and Android)

The best Frames app that I’ve come across so far ($0.99 AUS).

27 April from #photoadayApril

7.  I miss it.

Blogging, that is.  It has always been a way to creatively express myself and I always feel better when I get my thoughts down in words.  So, yes.

OK, better get back into the studying!

Question: Any thoughts on the new site?  Did I make the right decision?

♥ Ames

My Top 10 Free Photography Android Apps

Last month, I converted.  I never thought I would see that day but after many months of waiting and wanting, I couldn’t take it any longer.

Last month, I made the switch from Apple to Android.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m an Apple girl all the way but my poor iPhone3 was lagging so much that it was no longer smart but slow and when you are waiting minutes for messages to load, you know it’s time to make a change.  However, the iPhone5 was not out yet and I knew that the moment I switched to the iPhone4, technology would move forward again and I didn’t want to get stuck in a contract for 2 years where there would be less updates after a new model was released (ironically, the release date of the iPhone5 was broadcast a week or two after I switched).

So long story short, I now have a Samsung Galaxy S II and life (well, phone-using life) has never been the same since!  I’ll go into the distinct differences I’ve noticed between Apple and Android at another time (if ever) but right now, I would like to do a brief summary of the Photography Apps that I’ve enjoyed using the most since the change.  Last week, one of the kiddies at church asked to play with my phone but to her disappointment, the only games I had was WordWithFriends – add me! – and Angry Birds (I subsequently downloaded DrawSomething after being coaxed by my cousins).  I did my research before I embarked on my search for the best photograph Android apps, but most reviews were 6 months-1 year old, so I had to experiment a bit and ask a few Android-using friends to find out what worked best for me. SO, here’s a list of my favourite 10 Free Photography Apps!  I like them for all different reasons as outlined briefly below (they are listed in the order that I found out about them):

1. Lightbox

This was the first photo app I downloaded and I used it heaps while on holidays in GC.  It has 17 great filters and was really user friendly.  You can crop, rotate and share photos easily on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr.  This was tooted as Android’s Answer to Instagram before it came out (more on that App below) but as reviewed here, the issue is that there aren’t enough people on it to be fully effective as a sharing and stalking tool.  Still after reading that review linked above, I think I might consider using it a bit more in the future.

A photo I took using Lightbox

2. Pixlr-o-matic

Without a doubt, the best photo-editing app out there on Android!  I love how there are SOOOO many filters and you can mix and match the borders and effects with just a slide of your finger! It loads super fast and you can continue downloading different features for FREE if you are after something new!  An Android must!  See what else has been said about it here.

A photo edited by Pixlr-o-matic

3. Retro Camera

V introduced this one to me (along with Pudding Camera, FxCamera, roidizer below) and I remembered having something similar on my iPhone so I gave it a shot.  To be honest, after Pixlr-o-matic it was hard to find something that could beat all its features so I haven’t played around with it much however, after reading this review, I’m keen to give it a second chance.

4. Pudding Camera

Pudding Camera is created by KTH, a Korea company and it is (as you can see above) a pretty awesome App!  You can ‘change’ cameras and types of film so there are countless combinations that you can get on the other end.  Only downside (the nature of the beast) is that you have to choose beforehand so you can’t go back and edit the photos later with different filters and so if there is a perfect moment that you don’t want to miss, this might be a bit fiddly.  Having said that, this is one to download and have a play around with!

A photo taken on Pudding Camera - the church kiddies :)

5. FxCamera

Lots of different ‘cameras’ in one – ToyCam, Polandroid, Fisheye, SymmetriCam, Warhol and Normal.  Wasn’t so convenient for a girl who likes to take time to edit her photos afterwards but I do like the different features.  Will try to add it into the photo-taking mix soon :).

6. roidizer

I used to wonder what app people used to get texts onto their photos in polaroid form… this is it!

7. PhotoGrid

I am so excited about this App! Only downloaded it a few days ago and am in love!  I realised I am a bit of scrapbooker/collage kind of girl and when I saw photos divided up like above on Instragram (I will get to it!) I had to go and find out how to do it myself and voila:

Three photos in one edited on PhotoGrid

You can choose a square layout so that it will be exactly right to upload on Instagram (such clever people)!  Looking forward to making more use of it soon!

8. Photobooth

Haven’t used it since I’ve downloaded it (distracted by Instagram lol) but I do like how you can take regular photos that you have taken and then put them in a photobooth style set.  I used to have the Pocketbooth which I think was $0.99 on my iPhone but costs $1.99 on Android.  It’s not that I can’t afford the extra $1.00 but with so many free and good apps outs there, why do you need to, right?  Or maybe it’s just me being Asian lol.

9. PicSay

A fun little app that let’s you put in speech bubbles and other texts!  One to keep in mind :).

10. Instagram

Does this app even need an introduction?!  I was one of the 1 million Android users that downloaded the app in the first 12 hours when it became available.  I had it on my iPhone3 but because it lagged so much, I had very little patience to upload photos from it.  This was the one thing that I was looking forward to with a new phone so imagine my dismay when I found out it was only available for Apple phones in Feb!  Thankfully, I had most of the above Apps to play with for that month and a bit but now, I’m a bit of an Instagram junkie (after only 6 days!) hehe. Looking for some more Instagram buddies so come find me at amyaprilgirl :).

Early birthday surprise cake for the April babies in my family :).

Q: What are your favourite photography apps? (Doesn’t have to be Android)

Hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend and uni students are making the most of the week off :).

♥ Ames

Showcase of GC

I’ve already posted some of these on the other blog and on Facebook, but I’ve just had another look at some of the shots I took in Gold Coast and I just really like them ^^.  So here are some as I cook up some food posts:

Fluffy clouds! Just want to bounce on them!
some really interesting architecture
some unusual flowers I've never seen before...
The gorgeous view from SkyDeck, 77 floors up
Surfers Paradise
Caught some of the sculptures from the International Sand Sculpture Championships!
sandy toes :)
my all-time favourite shot <3
Love.
my love for the sky is revived...

Probably will have a foodie post up after Easter but I intend to write some thoughts about Easter on the other blog :).  Take care, lovelies and may you discover and celebrate the true meaning of Easter!

♥ Ames

Back for reals… no joke!

Happy April Fools!  

Funny how I would choose today to make my blog comeback (funny – see what I did there?!)… hehe obviously, my jokes have not improved in my absence from this blog :P

So much has happened in the space of a month – well 37 days to be exact, but who’s been counting right? – that it’s hard to know where to start.  I began my final year of uni, went up to Sydney for a spell (Bourke St Bakery ♥), decided to grow my hair out again (that was a big blog-worthy decision!), English tutored for the first/last time (story for another day/blog), helped launched a new service at my church, took advantage of a MFW Express Lunch for the first time(!), started my 2nd Project365 challenge (woot!), met up with my coffee-lovin’ blog buddie again plus put my virtual hand up to write some foodie reviews for the “wikileaks of law school”!

Day 1: The day I wore my new necklace created by an amazingly talented Melbourne artist – click on the photo to visit her website.

It has taken every ounce of self-control (ok, maybe that is a bit melodramatic!) to keep myself from sneaking back on during the self-imposed blog fast for Lent however, in retrospect, the month away did give me some time to think (amongst other things) about why I blog, who I’m writing for and where this blog is headed.

*cue contemplative, reflective music*

First, I blog because I enjoy it.  Read this for a refresher.  I enjoy stringing words together to paint a picture of the experiences I’ve had and I enjoy sharing those experiences with others. As Rudyard Kipling said, ‘I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity.’ However, I have to remember that I’m still a full-time law student and not a full-time blogger – have to get those priorities straight!

Day 3. The day we finally made it to Bourke St Bakery, Sydney! Loved every bite of it ;-)

The second piece of revelation relates to the first: Above all else, I’m writing for myself.  While being off the blog (sounds like a drug, doesn’t it? lol), I’ve had more of a chance to (re)discover lots of blogs and bloggers whom I admire and deeply respect.  There are sooooo many amazing blogs out there and sometimes I’ve felt like I should do more of this or that, I should try to keep more on top of the trends (read: be more active on Twitter) etc.  I’m going to be a bit vulnerable here and say that in the past, I’ve caught myself trying to imitate other people’s writing styles/formats, hoping to generate the kind of readership that they have no doubt built up over years of blogging.  This type of approach is never beneficial; I can never be a better version of someone else.  All I can be is the best ‘me’ that there is.  From now on, no more trying to be more witty, knowledgeable, savvy, creative, well-versed than who I really am.  My voice doesn’t need to be like anyone else’s or else it would just be redundant.  Selah.

Day 7: My first meal in Melbourne after Sydney – Persimmon (yum!).

The last point that I’d like to make (this is like essay practice for the 8,000 word paper I have coming up, eeekk!) is where this blog is headed.  This blog is almost 1 year old (so quick!) and I think after 11 months, I can see a clear pattern of food and photography (plus some miscellaneous moments thrown in the mix) being the focus of this writing space.  So that’s the kind of blog that it’ll continue to be :).

*end contemplative and reflective music*

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, hope you’ll stick around for some delectable blog posts to come ;).  Still haven’t written a word about the tastes of QLD so we’ll mix it up with some Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne flavours, shall we?

For now, I leave you with my favourite Project365 photo so far:

Day 14. Part of Blue Week – Delicious Violet and Blueberry Macaron from an old friend ;).

And we’ve back in business… for reals :).  Hoping my blogging muscles aren’t too rusty!

♥ Ames

P.S. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of the Photo a day April challenge by Fat Mum Slim so you can check out my progress in this album :).