Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Phone Camera Diaries

Don't tell me your phone doesn't have a camera, because I won't believe you. Every phone these days has a camera. My dumbphone* is two years old and it has a camera. In fact, my last dumphone (dating all the way back to 2007) had a camera. This phone doesn't take video, but it takes pictures; and with the help of a small microchip, I can put those photos on my five-year-old laptop.

Am I out-of-date, or what?

Within the last year, I discovered that having a camera with me everywhere I go can be very useful, and not just for capturing those silly moments of life. If you were to look through my pictures, you'd first of all notice that most of them are of my guinea pig Penny...over 70 pictures, in fact. She's just that cute. Her little face is always so...piggly. And fluffy.

If you have the misfortune of not owning a guinea pig for yourself, what else can you use a phone camera for?

1) Keeping a food log
I don't always eat as healthily as I should. My downfall isn't sugar like it is for most people; it's white flour carbohydrate products like crackers, pretzels, bread, toast, muffins, pasta... The list goes on. I'm always trying to keep one of these "food diaries" so that I can know what I'm eating and be reminded to eat more healthily, but the problem is...I always forget. So I take pictures of my meals and snacks so I can go back later and remember. Voila!

2) Smarter shopping.
I'm not always able to remember if milk is one of the things we get at Trader Joe's or at Safeway...and what about butter? Which one is cheaper/better for you/all the rest of it? Taking pictures of a product and its price tag gives me the reminder of what costs how much and where.

3) Gift lists/ideas.
My family keeps gift lists for Christmas and birthdays. In truth, I am not a good gift-giver. I can never remember things I want and am really bad at coming up with things other people might want. So when an idea strikes me, I snap a photo--whether it's to add to my list or to someone else's. Someone more crafty than I might also do the same with DIY projects and artsy ideas. "Oooh, I like that quilt pattern!" You don't have to remember it for later; you can just snap a picture.

4) Keeping an ongoing reading list.
I love reading. A lot. Remember my summer reading book list for this summer? I restrained it to 5 items, but I've read a lot more than that! I always like to keep a few titles on hand when I go to the library, otherwise I will end up going back to my 4 favorite authors every time. When I wander through book stores, Costco's book section, or someone's bookshelf and I find something that looks good, I snap a photo of the front cover. Now I have the title and the author's name. (In case anyone wants to know, my to-read list right now includes Havah by Tosca Lee, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, What's It Like to Be Married to Me? by Linda Dillow, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.)

5) A personal Pinterest board.
I will gladly sing the praises of Pinterest! It's a website designed solely for "pinning" up useful and favorite photos. I use it mostly for outfit ideas, beauty tips, and homemaking hacks. But sometimes I see stuff in real life that I want to replicate: so I photograph. I have photos of a make-shift pitcher-turned-flower-vase, an old paned window turned into an art frame (the art is just pasted to the back, so you're looking through the window at it), and a painting whose colors I thought would make a good living room theme. I've even snapped a few photos of magazine pages that had good inspiration. Ideas for the home are priceless (especially if they save money) and I'm such a visual person, so having an image of it to look at helps me replicate the ideas in my house.

6) Silly pet diary, sunrise diary, or other fun theme of your life.
I have both of the above--lots of photos of pets (they're not ALL of my guinea pig) doing silly things and lots of pictures of sunrises and sunsets that just took my breath away. There are so many things of life to take pictures of, it can be overwhelming. Pick the things that make you laugh and love better, and take pictures of those. Most phones have the ability to set any picture you take as the background/skin. My mom takes pictures of all her "peeps"--family, friends, students--and rotates them through as her background. It makes her smile and reminds her to pray for those she loves. I like to keep a picture of a sunrise or mountains as my background, so that no matter how upset I am, I can soothe my soul with some nature.

Go have fun with your phone camera and take some photos. It's a thousand words, right? I can't help but point out that using my phone camera has been a part of my "minimalist" lifestyle. With everything on my phone, I don't have constant lists in my head and on paper (both of which get lost constantly). It makes life simple and easy...and fun. I hope these life hacks** do you good!

A note to regular readers: due to moving across the U.S. over the next week and reestablishing ourselves in Virginia, posts will be infrequent for a while. Know that I haven't abandoned you! I'll be back when the new house is "up and running" and I have my own office (!!). Thank you for your longsuffering!

* Dumbphone: a cellphone that does not have Data or Wifi capabilities; i.e. it's not a smartphone. All it does is call and text people, which is apparently a dumb thing to do nowadays.
** Life hack: something surprising that makes life easier, like using straws to keep your necklaces untangled during travel or using a phone camera to keep a food log. For example: 50 Life Hacks to Simplify Your World.