Weekend Distraction: iOrnament (beautiful AND relaxing)

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 2.47.08 PMSometimes I enjoy mindless entertainment on my iPad. I like to sit down with something that requires not too much thought, and is relaxing to use. iOrnament is all that. Relaxing, fun, productive, AND creative. :)

Although iOrnament is ‘do-able’ as soon as you download it, if you want to get better at it, there are some things to learn.

There is a very handy pop-up tutorial that appears as you go, and this is quite helpful as you learn how to get the most enjoyment from this creative design delight.

I included here a picture of my very FIRST doodle with this app. I really love how you can zoom in to add detail. Then…… zoom back out. Wow. When that detail is repeated all over your pattern, you look like a design genius.

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If you like to doodle, this is a doodler’s delight.

You can save your creation as a photo, use it as wallpaper, send it to others or publish it on social media.

Enjoy! (and have a relaxing weekend :) )

iOrnament is 99¢ in the iTunes store.

(there is also a free version, but it does not include the glow feature and it does not allow you to save your creations to photos or share with others)

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New Year’s Resolutions? Streaks can help keep you motivated

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 6.47.23 PMDid you make any New Year’s Resolutions?

Among the most popular resolutions are exercising, eating right, and losing weight. But maybe you chose something else? Are you going to try to stop smoking? Are you starting a blog? Or maybe you are going to write a novel and have promised yourself some writing time every day?

One of the simplest things you can do …and the most motivating…. is to X off your successful days on a calendar.

Keep up a streak! And then track your streak with this app: Streaks – Motivational Calendar

You can have several calendars going at once. Just tap a day to mark it. You can easily toggle between calendars, take notes and keep track of your streaks.

It’s simple. And effective.

Please excuse my screen shots of their screen shots, but my personal streaks for 2014 are just getting started! :)

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I enjoy apps designed to help me improve myself, and this app has not been a disappointment (altho I think the price is just a tad too high).

Streaks for your iPhone or iPad is $1.99 in the iTunes store

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A Simple App to Keep Track of your Weight: Weight Recorder

Screen shot 2013-10-15 at 9.39.08 AMI love simple. I do not want to have lots of bells and whistles on the apps that I use most.

I have downloaded … and then discarded …. many apps that try to do too much. More is NOT always better.

And so, with “simple” as my criterion for excellence, Weight Recorder is darn near perfect.

What does it do? It keeps track of your weight. Pure and simple. You enter your weight, and the app will keep the info and translate it into a graph (which can be motivating if you want to lose weight).

Pardon my using a screenshot of the app’s screenshots, but I’m sure you understand why. I’m not being lazy, just trying not to get too personal. :lol:

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Weight Recorder is simple to use, and works on both your iPhone and your iPad.

And…

Weight Recorder is FREE in the iTunes store.

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Weekend Distraction: Little Things for Your iPad

After all this commotion this week about the release of the new iPhone and all the good (and bad) of iOS6, well, I’m ready for a “little” Weekend Distraction.

I like my devices to occasionally deliver a little peace. A little down-time. A little Zen.

It’s time for “little things”.

This is a hidden pictures game that doesn’t try to hide the pictures within a scene, rather it just assembles mass quantities of “little things” into the shape of a bigger thing, and your job is to find some named little things within that big thing.

You can zoom in (my eyes thank the developers for that feature) to find those little things.

The background music is soft and soothing. Truly relaxing.

Just open the app and zone out. No thinking required. No interacting with anyone.

Find a few little things, then return to the real world if you can (it is a bit addictive!).

Little Things is $2.99 in the iTunes App store.

Gratitude365: An App That Keeps You Grounded in Gratitude

Gratitude Journals are very popular, and you can find a number of them in the iTunes store. But this new one joined the crowd a short time ago, and it is a winner.

Gratitude365 is simple, intuitive and visually attractive.

You create a daily entry and list anything that you are thankful for that day. You can also add a photo from your camera roll, or take a photo through the app. Each time you list an item that you are grateful for, it appears on a line with a bullet in front. It is designed for lists, so it’s quick and snappy. Having this app on your iPhone allows you to add to it throughout the day, rather than having to try to remember and re-wind your day later that night. (This is a great way to grab those “small things”, those everyday things and moments that are actually extraordinary treasures.)

The calendar view (below) displays the photos you have chosen individually throughout the week, giving you a lovely visual through time of all things for which your are grateful.

Gratitude365 will work on your iPhone and/or on your iPad. You can share the gratitude calendar from within the app through email, Twitter, Flicker or Facebook.

Looking back at the calendar view, and knowing what all those pictures represent, how can that do anything but make you Happy?

Gratitude365 is currently 99¢ in the iTunes store.

Play Golf for Free This Weekend with Super Stickman Golf for iPhone and iPad

I don’t play golf, except for the mini-kind. And since I don’t play golf, those popular golf games (like Tiger Woods) have too many bells and whistles for me to enjoy. I don’t understand clubs and wedges and slices and draws and fades, so all the extra detail that is craved by some… well, it puts me off.

But I DO like physics-puzzler games. Super Stickman Golf is advertised as a super combination of golf + puzzler.

And … it is FREE for a limited time, so with nothing to lose, I downloaded it yesterday.

So far I like it a lot. I don’t have a long attention span for games. I like ones that I can pick up, play just a bit, and set aside. I also don’t enjoy a long learning curve. I want to play and I want to play, now. I don’t want to have to suffer through long directions.

Super Stickman is quick to learn and I was swinging my way through the first course in no time at all. It takes just a few taps to adjust the swing and a double tap to choose power and hit the ball.

I played the first course twice, and this unlocked the second course.

Quick, satisfying play.

There are special balls that will be unlocked as you slug your way through a large number of courses.

I don’t expect to be disappointed, because the reviews for this game are extraordinarily positive.

Super Stickman Golf is FREE for a limited time in the iTunes Store. If you miss the free offer, it is usually 99¢.

Solar: A Stunning New Weather App for Your iPhone and iPad

I have quite a few weather apps, and I really thought I was “done” ….. until I saw this one. Solar was just released this week, and it is very different and very beautiful.

I love simple utility apps, and Solar fits this perfectly. It won’t give you lots of details, but it gives you the current weather, temperature, and the forecast for the hours and days ahead. All the stuff you really need.

And the screens are presented with beautiful colors. Subtle, changing colors. Hot temperatures will present with reds and oranges, cooler temperatures display with soft blues. Gorgeous.

You can add cities and swipe from screen to screen to see them quickly. A double tap will put four on the screen at once.

Slide your finger up, and you can watch the clock move and the temperature displayed for the hours ahead.

Slide your finger down, and the next three days of temps and weather are on the screen.

Lovely to look at. A delight to use.

Solar is 99¢ in the iTunes store.

The Act: A Beautiful New Animated Game for Your iPad and iPhone

This week a new game appeared in the app store, and it is so different, so creative, and just so pretty to look at, I feel compelled to post about it. It is made by Chillingo, a company that makes quality games, such as Cut the Rope.

It’s called The Act, and it is a glorious animated story about a hapless fellow named Edgar. In each scene, Edgar interacts with the other characters around him as he moves through a story. It is your job to make him interact “properly”. For instance, when he flirts with a nurse, it must be just right. Too much effort and Edgar will scare her off, and if he is too timid, then she’ll be bored. Gentle hints appear at points if the game feels you need a little help.

Moving your finger to the right or to the left, eventually you will get Edgar to appropriately interact with the other characters. When you get it perfect, the game cleverly moves onto the next scene, and it is delightful to watch.

I love it when an app is simple. The Act meets that criterion, in that your only control is a left-right swipe. Move your finger to the left and Edgar calms down. Move your finger to the right and he gets more active. (It is fun to swipe dramatically to the left or right just to watch the wonderful animation!) Yet this single movement is also surprisingly difficult. You’ll watch the other characters for clues, and strive to get Edgar to behave properly within each scene.

And getting it “just right” is all the fun. The characters are beautifully drawn, and their actions and reactions are funny and clever. While this is not of the “best game ever” category, it is so delightful to look at, so much fun to watch and manipulate, it was well worth the download.

In this scene below, Edgar is trying to fit in with these doctors so he won’t be noticed as an impostor. At one point, the doctors all laughed, and since I didn’t make Edgar laugh enough, he’s not “fitting in”. You can see by the look on his face, this scene is not going to end well! When I finally got it right, and Edgar moved on, there was a solid sense of satisfaction and anticipation for what’s next.

I’ve never seen anything like this. So far I’ve only played through several screens, but I understand the game is rather short. However, for a casual only-sometimes gamer like me, I’m sure I’ll be playing it for quite a while.

The Act is $2.99 and you can see more pictures of scenes here

update 6/26: I finished this game VERY quickly. It is extremely short. Fun, beautiful, clever, but …. short.

An Awesome Sound Machine for Your iPad: Relax Melodies

I have dedicated an entire “page” on my iPad to, well, I guess it’s best described as Zen. Sound apps, peaceful doodles, meditations, and yes, I even have one of those candle apps.

Eventually I will highlight all of my favorites, but today I’m focusing on one delightful sound machine.

What sets this app apart from many others is the ability to mix your sounds. I really enjoy that capability. You can touch on ‘river’ and add some ‘chimes’ and throw in a ‘guitar’. The possibilities are endless. You can also adjust the volume of each of these sounds, so that you can make one sound dominant over another.

There are a few (just enough) bells and whistles included in this sound machine such as an alarm (with fade in abilities), a timer (with a fade out). You can adjust the sound of your individual selections as you mix them, and hit a single button to clear and start again.

I particularly enjoy the ability to save a set of sounds. You can make your mix and save this group as a favorite. Very, very nice.

The basic choice screens are visually pleasant. The sound icons dangle on strings in front of a nighttime sky with gently moving clouds.

You can set your sounds and listen to them while you visiting other favorite spots on your iPad. I use it regularly when I am reading with my Kindle app.

And sometimes I just simply play with the sounds. It is delightfully relaxing to just fiddle and tap and experiment and make a gentle mix. Basically, just doodling with sound.

Relax M P HD for the iPad. The full version is $3.99 but there is a free version to try. (FYI: I upgraded the same day.)

A Simple Grocery List for iPhone: Still Good After All These Years

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy apps with lots of bells and whistles. But I really love the ones that are simple, especially if it is an app I’m going to use regularly. And if I want an app designed to help me with a specific task, ease of use is crucial.

There are some apps that I’ve bought and discarded because they just weren’t ‘right’, but that wasn’t the case with this one. GroceryZen was one of the first apps I bought for a new iPhone several years ago, and I’ve been so satisfied with it, I’ve never looked for another.

GroceryZen. I zeroed in on that “Zen” in the title and it hasn’t disappointed. It’s easy, minimalist, and simply does what it is supposed to do: keep a handy grocery list.

The app comes supplied with a large list of items. The first thing I did was go through this list and delete the items I knew that I would never, ever use. Then I proceeded to add things that made the list “my own”, that is, things specific to my grocery list that we buy regularly, like “Honey Nut Cheerios” and “bag of salad mix” and “Trader Joe’s Banana bread mix”.

That’s all there is. Ready to use! There is an Item List and a Shop List. Just touch an item on the list and it appears on the shopping list. This is so handy. When I’m in the kitchen and I notice that I need eggs, I just pop the phone out of my pocket and touch “eggs” on the list. That simple.

When shopping, touch the item on your list as you put it in your cart. The app will slash a line through the item and move it to the bottom. Once you’ve purchased everything you want on your list, touch “check out” and the items disappear from the Shop List and go back to the Item List.

There is also a “share” button to email your grocery list (and a recipe area that I haven’t used. I stick to the list only).

This is a simple and easy way to keep your grocery list in your pocket and always handy. It has never let me down.

GroceryZen $1.99

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