What do you do when someone you love dies?
Do you shut down? Or keep going with life?
Anna was one of my best friends until she recently passed away in a road accident. She had just turned 19 years old; the last time I saw her was at her birthday party.
That sounds like the beginning of some tragic novel, but it isn’t, it’s what happened, and I still can’t believe it’s true.
Anna left behind two beautiful little sisters who I have known for years. I’ve watched them grow up from cute kiddos into beautiful young ladies, and develop artistic and culinary talents galore.
Most times when I was at Anna’s, the four of us had fun cooking together and eating our creations–Anna’s sisters were never far from her. I was like their other big sister, and I hope I can fill that role now more than ever.
She also left behind two loving, gentle, and kind-as-they-come parents, and a whole warren of aunts, uncles, and cousins. I love them like my own family, too.
Anna died while traveling. She finally had the chance to see the world, which was always her dream, and I’m thankful for that.
She was a talented, passionate writer, she sang and played the violin, she loved Korean pop music, and she had an appetite like ten teenage boys.
I’ve never been religious, but I believe I will see her again one day. She was such a kind, gentle, beautiful and quirky spirit with the best sense of humor, and I just can’t believe that she’s gone. I think she is watching over us now as we grieve.
I miss her so much, and I will miss her for as long as I live. Truly great friends don’t come around often, and Anna was the best of them all.
Today I’m going to talk to you about apps, or applications, as you may know them. Over the course of the year, I’ve discovered some pretty darn useful and/or just amazing apps for my Macbook Pro that I think a lot of you students (or really just people in general) might really enjoy. Also, all the ones I am mentioning here are either FREE or around $5, nothing expensive.
So here is a list:
I cannot believe I didn’t know about this program sooner. It’s not really an “app” in the sense that you download it from the App Store. It comes from the internet. But Jesus crap, this is an amazing application. Basically all you need is a Facebook account to sign up for it, and it is literally all the free music you could ever want.You know how on the iTunes store, you can listen to songs, but only like 30-second samples of them? Well, imagine if you could listen to the entire song, as many times as you want, for no cost! That’s Spotify.It plays ads on occasion, but way less often than Pandora (the online radio that many of you know about), and it’s far better than Pandora because you can choose the actual songs to listen to, not just a radio. (It does have the Pandora-esque radio feature too, if that’s what you’re into.)Oh, and did I mention everything is FREE?
You can subscribe for a Premium account for $10 a month if you want no ads, and then you can use it on your cellphone and listen to songs even without internet. Cool stuff like that. But nobody I know actually has the Premium, and everyone I know loves their free account.
This little baby is actually an app from the mac App Store, and it is also free! This is basically a program that is good for keeping track of everything you ever need to keep track of.
I use it to organize future blog post ideas, as well as take notes in all my classes, keep track of recipes, and file away various poetry and other writing I’ve done on the fly.It’s a fairly simple app, once you get used to navigating it (which doesn’t take too long at all), and yet it can do so much! There aren’t many fonts and the formatting for each note is pretty standard, like a dumbed-down Microsoft Word, which I actually prefer for note-taking (so I don’t get all wrapped up in making it look pretty and miss what I’m supposed to be writing down).
My favorite feature, though, is the easy screen-shot saving mechanism it has. It makes it incredibly easy to clip either the full screen, or just a rectangle of it, immediately to a new note in Evernote. That’s how I’ve made these screenshots in the blog post, actually. If you own a Mac, you will know that they are not the easiest to do screenshots on, and I love how simple this makes it.
It also has the options to take pictures using your computer’s webcam, and record audio (such as a class lecture). I’ve used it to record a lecture before and it was pretty decent quality.
I can’t believe this app is free, because I would completely pay money for it. A lot of money.
3. Cashculator Free.
If you are like me, a poor college student/possibly makeup junkie trying to manage a budget for the first time, and avoid spending too much on shopping, this app is perfect for you. It has helped me basically learn how to manage my own budget. It’s easy to use, free, and has a clean, simple layout. I think that’s all that needs to be said.
As some of you may know, I struggle a lot with anxiety, and this year I’ve been trying to make some actual changes in my lifestyle to keep my stress and sadness levels as low as possible. This app (again, free) that I discovered only a few days ago, is already making me optimistic ( ha ha see what I did there ) about the future of my mental health.
Basically, it allows you to keep track of your daily mood or really anything you want to keep track of, and also various helpful or triggering things you did or experienced that day. It’s easy to customize this app, I read a review where someone used it when they were quitting smoking, and I’m sure many people also use this for dieting or other health programs.
The purpose of this app is NOT to cure your mental illness or whatever you are dealing with, and it explains that in the instructions. It is simply to help you keep track of your behavior so you know what things to avoid, as well as kind of remind yourself that not all days are bad days.
5. Relax Melodies.
Kind of going along with the last app, this has been wonderful for helping me relax and sleep better at night! It also is great for studying with, because it has all kinds of white noise and different calming beach/rain/forest-type sounds (all of which are very smoothly recorded and on a loop so there is no skipping or anything).I downloaded the free version and after about 3 hours I liked it so much I bought the $5 premium version, called Relax Melodies Premium. It has a lot more sounds and a few new features as well. The screenshots are of the Premium version:
What I really like is that it allows you to layer as many sounds as you want, and adjust the volume of each layer, and it’s incredibly easy to do so. You can also (below) save your favorite combinations of sounds, I believe up to 50 combinations in Premium.
Here are 2 sketches I did today on campus, between classes and whatnot. :) I am so happy I finally have a hobby I can really get sucked into. Minecraft wasn’t so great for my stress levels.
This guy (above) was eating his lunch and I was creepily watching him and drawing him. I mean, I didn’t feel creepy about it, but I guess he noticed me watching him because he kept glancing over and then packed up his stuff and left. Oops. Luckily I sketched him fast enough so all I had to do was color him in and draw the rest of the scene. I’m really happy about this one, mostly because of the “by George” sign in the background, haha. I just think it looks so cute and miniature. The perspective is eh, and the lines are messier than I’d like. Oh, but I love the people in the background, the little shadows. They remind me of no-face from Spirited Away.
This fella (below) was an elderly gentleman just doing some work in the library. I don’t think he noticed me, because his back was turned the whole time. I’m a lot happier with how the depth and perspective worked out in this one, although it’s still not as good as I’d like it to be. But it’s realistic enough :) and I’m really happy with the dude’s posture, I felt like I captured his hunched-over old man look. I didn’t want to cover the whole page in paint, so I left a lot of it blank and just put splashes of color to indicate the wall colors and whatnot. What do you think? Would it look better if I colored it in all the way?
So I decided to treat myself to a few new art supplies today. I went to the U Bookstore and got these gorgeous watercolors, sketch paper, brushes, and a few other tools.
As you can tell by the sketchpad in the back, I’ve already been messing around with the colors and they are wonderful! I didn’t realize how starved-for-color I was. Let’s face it, Seattle in February is pretty much just a lot of shades of gray. Maybe even 50… Haha. Did not realize I was about to make that joke. Everyone always tells me I set myself up for my own jokes, but as you know, I am hilarious, so it’s okay.
Here is the kit which I will be taking around with me for my new journey of being an urban sketcher:
Also again, I’m sorry about the crappy photo quality recently. Like I said, I can’t find my camera cord and probably will have to buy a new one, but until I figure out what kind of cord I need (and honestly I’m just too lazy to do that right now), my webcam is gonna have to do. Luckily my scanner, for drawings, is really quite nice.
But look at that great lighting! It’s 6 pm and almost pitch black out (thanks, Pacific Northwest), and yet my lighting is cheery and colorful and lovely! I have amazing desk lamps.
This (above) is the first homework sketch I did for my community college Art class last spring. The assignment was to draw the same object 10 times, so I found a random shell in my house and decided to draw it. Weirdly, this (the first drawing) is still my favorite. Probably because I got really tired of drawing the same damn thing over and over so I just got lazy.
Below is a drawing of my left hand holding my cellphone. I was too lazy to fill in the details of the phone, but I kind of like it that way, too.
Above is a charcoal drawing I made for my art class. Assignment: go outside and find an object to draw for around 1 1/2 hours. I found this awesome tree with an eyeball-shaped knot in its side, so I sat down on an extremely uncomfortable rock and drew it. Until this class I had never used charcoal, but I really like it! The only problem is it gets smudges all over my face. People were constantly coming up to me being like “uh…you got a smudge there…”.
The assignment I’m most proud of from this class is a charcoal drawing of a cow’s skull (below). Kind of a creepy thing to draw, which is why dusty charcoal is perfect! I’m so happy about the way this turned out. You can’t really tell what the object on the table is, because I was drawing from a weird angle (which is actually even more fun) but it’s pretty clear that it’s a skull of some sort.What I’m most proud of is that the smooth-but-not-shiny bone texture really shows up in this drawing. I worked really hard on the surface of the skull and I think it turned out quite nicely.
Another interesting thing to note about this assignment was that we filled the entire page with charcoal smears at first. And I actually documented this for some reason, so here are some pictures of the process:
I’m now comparing the above drawings with this sketch I did this afternoon of my dorm microwave on top of some drawers. That there on top of the microwave is our hot water kettle and Brita jug.
I actually really like how it turned out, even though it was just a quick sketch. I’m trying to relax a bit about my drawings and not worry if they are perfect or publish-worthy. Instead I’m just drawing for the sake of drawing! I did the above sketch with a cute blue fountain pen my mom gave me. :)
I’ve definitely noticed that my drawing style has become less realistic over the past year, and I’ve become (pardon the pun) more drawn to fashion-sketch type drawings and ink drawings that can be colored in.
Next quarter I’m (cross my fingers) hopefully going to be taking a photography class and an intro to sculpture class! This is like heaven to me. I wanted to take art classes all through middle school and high school, but somehow it never fit into my schedule what with orchestra and foreign languages and P.E. requirements. But now, now I am free! It’s actually my job to take art classes. :D
If that’s not awesome I don’t know what is.