Color Love

beautiful contrast of warm and cool colors by the amazingly talented colorist Leonid Afremov

p.s. I want to paint this.


Webby Wednesday

My favorite photo app in the Android Market. Download it, too! (images via Android Market)

Look at me go, a whole week of themed posts! Let's see if I stick to it.

I am really excited about an app specifically for android that I discovered last week while reading an article about the best apps for 2011. As you may know, I love my Google products, but I've been insanely jealous of iPhone users as of late due to Instagram only being available on that platform. Yes, I have a *decent* digital camera (but I still SWOON). Yes, I have Photoshop and I am trained to professionally edit cool vintage effects into photos. Yes, I have downloaded almost every app in the Android market that can mimic the look of Instagram, but I still felt like a mobile photography outsider.

Enter: Lightbox. I have found myself using this app more than any other camera app that I've had in my three years as an Android owner. As a designer, I appreciate the clean, easy-to-navigate UI. As a human, I appreciate that it doesn't take 30 seconds to load the camera. Seriously.

The camera, a separate app called 'QuickSnap Camera,' has nice, intuitive features. The shutter button is large, and the settings button that allows for brightness and focal adjustments is right where your thumb rests on your phone, so it's easy to reach. In addition, the settings are within a single, organized list of radio buttons so they are easy to find on the fly. Yay, you won't miss the photo opp!

Integrated with the camera is the Lightbox Photo app itself. It comes pre-loaded with nearly 20 different photo filters that range from vintage (Lomo, Georgia) to artsy (Fisheye, Dotty) to simple (Instafix, B&W). Scroll through the filters and quickly preview your image, then crop, rotate, upload and share to various social media sites at the push of a (well-designed) button.

In addition to social media sharing, the Lightbox app also automatically uploads your photos, either privately or publicly, to the cloud. You can manage the captions and sharing for all of your photos in an easy-to-use and well-designed online web gallery. Much like Instagram, you're able to find and follow friends from other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. I am currently only following big names in the field, however, I would definitely add friends to my stream if the app gets more popular within my personal social network.

The Moral of the Story: Look forward to more fun (and beautiful) pictures of everyday things on The Art of Life now that I don't haaaate my phone's camera app. Win-win!

Pictures and pretty things,

P.S. Looking for an even more advanced way to edit photos on your Android phone? Try this or this.


Music Monday

well-designed indie music posters via

Are you on Spotify? I'll be honest, I don't think I've opened iTunes once since July when Spotify announced that accounts were going to be available in the US. J and I immediately purchased a premium account which enables us to listen to playlists and full albums through the speakers in my car via Ford's SYNC technology. Having access to, quite literally, a world of music at your fingertips through your smartphone has one of the best things that could have happened to road trips.

A playlist that I am currently really enjoying is a 163 track compilation of some of my favorite contemporary artists entitled "Coffeehouse." The sultry vocals of Norah Jones and Ingrid Michaelson mix perfectly with bold, jazzy songs by Michael Buble and Jamie Cullum. This mix is one that is constantly on repeat when I'm trying to  concentrate at work, as well as when I'm at home, baking cookies and singing along with some of today's best singer-songwriters.

Here are my top 10 recommendations if you'd like to create your own "Coffeehouse"-style playlist:

1. Wonderwall - Ryan Adams {Love Is Hell}
2. Here We Go Again - Ray Charles and Norah Jones {...Featuring}
3. Shelter - Ray LaMontagne {Trouble}
4. Into the Mystic - Van Morrison {Moondance}
5. Me and Mrs. Jones - Michael Buble {Call Me Irresponsible}
6. Lover, You Should Have Come Over - Jamie Cullum {Twenty Something}
7. Warning Sign - Coldplay {A Rush of Blood to the Head}
8. Kathleen - David Grey {Draw the Line}
9. The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson {Girls and Boys}
10. Little Bit of Rain - Amos Lee {The Villiage}

Bonus: These Arms of Mine - Otis Redding {Pure Southern Soul}

Do you have a work day or chill time go-to playlist of your own? What songs are on it? Do we have any of the same picks?

Melodies and Monday mornings,


Lovin' on Blogs

Follow me. I know you're on it, too. 

It seems as though everyone cannot get enough of Pinterest these days. New posts from friends far and near pop up on my pin board, what seems like, every second. Those people that I am near and dear to, I understand and appreciate the things they are pinning, and usually, I like them too. For those who are only acquaintances, I learn things about their interests, style and eating habits that I otherwise might have never known. Perhaps because of general disinterest, or perhaps because of distance.

Over the past few weeks, I have not only grown to appreciate what I learn about my friends through Pinterest, but also what I learn about strangers. "Pinners you Follow" keeps me in the safe realm of people that I know and subjects that I'm familiar with. However, just one more click away is "Everything." Wouldn't you know, that 'everything' really means anything AND everything. Books, jokes, random sculptures, exotic locations, hairstyles of people that I will never meet. The list goes on... and on... and on.

One thing that the "Everything" category has been really great for is discovering new blogs. I used to have a folder of inspirational images that I found on some of my favorite blogs for reference. I used to have an endless list of bookmarks saved in Chrome that I would page through to try to find that one idea for a project that I found 6 months ago. Now I have Pinterest. It's all in one place, organized, categorized and pretty. Woo.  That being said, I wanted to share links to some of my most favorite newly Pinterest-found blogs so that they can be your favorites, too.

Simply Kelly | Design inspirations, lots of interior decorating inspiration, and really fantastic DIY projects.

Joy Ever After |  The typography initially drew me in, but the beautiful images and fun projects keep me coming back.

Where My Heart Resides | Fantastic blog for new moms (for which I am not), beautiful photography and really witty blogging.  I appreciate well-written posts, baby bump or not :)

Chic to Be | Fashion. Makeup. Advertising. Lots of design-related inspiration. Love her style.

Blogs and beautiful things,