Revisiting “Instagrate to WordPress”… again

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I am so thankful for my iPhone and the ease with which I can stay in touch and take photos of so many moments that would otherwise fade into my foggy memory.

I use Instagram almost daily. I say ‘almost’ because there have been a half-dozen days or so, that I’ve missed since I posted my first photo on it October 16, 2010 (yes – I know the actual date) and the honest, non-exaggerating side of me wins out in this post.

Most of these photos tell great stories without a lot of words, and would make blogging easier if I could use them regularly. But I’ve had many complaints with the WordPress app. While they have made some good updates, I still find myself deciding to wait until I get home to post a photo and caption with it, only to not do it.

So I was thrilled when I found the “Instagrate to WordPress” plugin for WordPress, back in January. It takes your Instagram photos and creates posts from them, using the caption as the post title. The idea intrigued me, so I gave it a shot and was thrilled at first.

But I do take a lot of photos that I only share on Instagram, like when I post screen shots of what we are watching on Netflix. They really aren’t worthy of a post of their own, and might work better if I posted several in a post together.

Every single photo was getting posted to my blog as an individual blog post, and sometimes, what I wrote as my caption made for a real long and/or dumb blog title. I was having to edit my Instagram posts because of how I wanted them to post on my blog, which was a big ‘ol hassle… I became annoyed. So I deactivated it, and submitted a couple of requests/suggestions to the plugin author.

I’ve kept my eye on it, hoping that some of these changes would be implemented, allowing a bit more control of how things post (eg: the option to post several photos in a collage in a single post), and the number of accounts you can use on it (I really wanted to use it on Living the Life Fantastic and have both mine and Randy’s accounts linked to it). This past week I noticed that many changes have been made to it. I’m super excited to look into it more and see how they work. The drawback: many of the changes I want are in a premium version, selling for $35. Not sure if my laziness is work that or not :/

I’m curious if any of you have tried out the premium version, or if you have another way to easily make posts from your IG photos. Or feel free to tell me to just get over it.

My Big Fat Lip

For about a month now, I have watched a lump growing on my lower lip.

I’ve had many mouth ulcers in my life, and something about this did not strike me as an ulcer. I rubbed my tongue over it daily. Hoping it wasn’t anything bad. Praying it would be gone in the morning.

It didn’t go away; in fact, it grew. Uglier and bigger, seemingly daily. It was not inside my lip, but on the upper edge where it was visible all the time. I took photos, but I won’t ever show them. I’ve posted photos of some embarrassing and awful things. But some things are just… eww… And this was one of those things.

It didn’t hurt. At least not until it got large enough to rub across my teeth every time I swallowed or talked. Which is pretty much, you know, every second of the day. Then it became sore and raw.

When you Google “lump in mouth not going away”, most of the results are “cancer”. When you Google “lump in mouth that isn’t going away”, you learn about “mucocele“.

Obviously, I was hoping for the latter.

I have not had a dentist since moving to Alabama. Because I don’t have dental insurance, I like to pretend that my teeth are just fine on their own. (*side note: I will never understand why dental and orthodontic work is not covered under health insurance. As though your mouth really doesn’t affect or indicate your overall health. I also don’t have health insurance. But I digress…)

Last Friday, Randy called his dentist and asked if they could fit me in. By 10AM, I was sitting in a chair, waiting to have the lump examined, and I was nervous. Nervous because the lump had gotten so large and had drastically changed appearance over the course of just a few days. Nervous because I didn’t know how much it was going to cost, or what it would entail to remove it.

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He examined it, told me he was optimistic that it was benign, based on the appearance of the skin surrounding the lump, and scheduled me to see an oral surgeon to have it removed and biopsied. So, by 1:30PM I was sitting in another chair, only slightly less nervous.

The oral surgeon came in, examined it, and sat down to discuss it with me. Since it was right on the edge of the outer/inner part of my lip, it would be a lot more sensitive than if it were inside, and did I want to be under for the procedure?

Without thinking (hello – no dental insurance), I said yes. The cheese stick I had just eaten voided the possibility of doing it that day, so we chatted a bit more about how he believed it was only a mucocele, but that it didn’t present exactly as they normally do. Then I went up front to schedule and ask about the cost difference in local and ‘going under’.

Holy gas mask.

Once I confirmed that I was understanding her correctly, by asking the same 3 questions about 20 times each, I asked for local.

And can we do it now?

Less than 30 minutes later, this was the result:

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(you can see pretty much what they did here and here. Be warned. Blech. My lump did not look exactly like these, but very similar.)

I texted Randy and sent him a photo of me (a different one from above; the one I sent was even worse, since my mouth was stuffed with gauze) so he could prepare the children. Because, WOW!

Declan (the 4yo) asked me all sorts of questions, told me my “owie looked like throw up” and went back to playing.

The pain was tolerable and the only real issue was that I could not fully close my mouth, so drinking was impossible, even with a straw. (Just try to drink through a straw without your mouth completely closed around it). I could get water in my mouth, but it just ran right out. This made me laugh, which hurt. So I sucked on ice cubes instead.

Amazingly, it was even fatter and more bruised by Sunday morning:

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Lisa Rinna, paid a lot of money for lips like these.

Admittedly, after both doctors felt confident it was benign I didn’t think too much about the lab results. But when I listened to the voicemail the Doctor’s office left on Tuesday, my heart stopped. She sounded so serious when she said she needed to speak with me about the results… I got a little woozy.

Benign.

My lips are at a point where the swelling is minimal and they actually look nice. I think I might miss this look.

Instagrate for WordPress: not feeling it

So… I took some time to try out the “Instagrate for WordPress” plugin.

Ideally… it would have been perfect.

Unfortunately, all I probably accomplished with it was annoying my readers.

And I apologize!

I share so much of my life via Instagram, and I wanted to figure out a way to share it here, via my blog.

WordPress has made huge leaps in the upgrades to their app and I think it will do what I want, without annoying my readers with lots of random posts.
(*I did ask the plugin developer to create an option to post a ‘daily’ update… and he thought it was a great idea!!! [and THAT, I’d do!!])

So, my apologies for the crazy posts… Although it is indicative of my life, I need to figure out a tidier way to share my chaotic world.

Onward!!

What good is blogging?

Tonight I got sucked down a rabbit hole that placed me smack in the middle of my old blog posts.

Those journeys always start so innocently, don’t they?

All I wanted to do was check for broken links. But alas, I found myself thrust back into a different world that seems both a million years ago and yet, a mere second ago.

I’m not the first person to ponder the point of blogging, or what, if  any, value there is to it. Many have written about it way more eloquently than I will, but I couldn’t help but try to capture a bit of what I’m feeling right now.

Vulnerable: I was surprised by the rawness and openness that I had in many of my posts. Many of my posts were (are) soul-searching… seeking meaning and purpose in events that have occurred in my life. It’s hard to look over those sorts of things and not instinctively touch the spot where the wound has healed, no matter how invisible or ugly the scar.

Guilt: Blogging provides only a snapshot of a person’s life. As I read through some of those old posts, I cringed at the picture I portrayed of certain aspects of my life and the stories that weren’t being told.

Pressure: I always want to be moving forward and improving at the things that are important to me. Writing is one of those things. Yet, I sometimes put so much pressure on myself to write the next great blog post (heh) that no words come. I have a sheet filled with blog post topics and ideas. Dozens of unfinished drafts saved. I walk around composing blog posts in my head only to draw a blank when face-to-face with my monitor.

Comforted: While there are pieces missing on some levels, blogging adds a layer of richness to the legacy that we each have. While it may not be printed in a book that’s sitting on my shelf, the fact that I am leaving a trail of something that my children can one day read and, hopefully, understand me, and thus themselves more, brings me great comfort.

Grateful: I’ve had three computers die since I started blogging. I’ve lost hundreds of photos each time (excuse me while I try not to vomit at that thought…) Because I blog and share snippets of my life via photos, many of those photos were not gone forever. As I looked over photos I hadn’t seen in several years, I was flooded by the memories encapsulated within each image.

Encouraged: To be able to look back over experiences I’ve had and see how I grew from each is pretty amazing. (Along with that, I’m so grateful that I’ve written so much of these things down, because apparently, I have the worst memory ever. And who couldn’t use a reminder of how far they’ve come, once in awhile?)

All of these feelings flooded me tonight and it was important for me to sift through them and embrace each and every one.

Blogging has caused me to examine myself more. To see the importance in the stories that fill my life. To be grateful for all of the days I’ve had with my children, loved ones and friends, no matter how perfect or painful.

Is there value in blogging? Heck yeah.

(PS – if you dare venture back through my archives, be warned: while there is quite a bit of depth, there is also a lot of fluff. Oh, and if you see broken links, please let me know. I’d prefer to not have to head down the rabbit hole on a daily basis)

capturing our life: photo apps

(both photos: taken with instagram)

A lot of the posts that I’ve been wanting to write on Living the Life Fantastic have been inspired by a photo. A memory triggered from a moment captured and placed on the hard drive of my computer.

I’ve always loved taking photos, but, although I have a good eye, I’m admittedly not very good at it. My iphone has been a huge help in allowing me to always have a camera at the ready. I have a fancy schnancy DSLR. But it is usually too cumbersome to carry around, especially when I know that what I take will usually turn out shaky and poorly lit. (Maybe a cute camera bag would help? Or… maybe I just need to finally learn how to use it?)

Give me a good app from the iTunes store and I’m good to go in the photography department.

So on that note, here are some of my favorites that I regularly use:

Instagram (free)
*love*
A photo social network. I’ve been having so much fun being social with my photos and seeing what other people are doing with theirs. Right now, it is relatively new, so it feels more intimate, but it is growing at an insane pace. I take photos with my camera, and sometimes edit them in other apps before pulling them on into Instagram and sharing them.

(If you join: I’m KarlaArcher)

(taken with camera, edited in TiltShiftGen, finished in instagram)

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TiltShiftGen ($.99)
the purpose of this app is creating photos that looks like you are taking photos of tiny things. I haven’t perfected that technique, but I love the blur and saturation options.

(taken with TiltShiftGen)

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PictureShow ($1.99)
FUN! and I love the sound it makes when you move from option to option. I doubt I’ll ever use some of the filters, but I still love looking at what they all can do. I especially love the grungy looks.

(taken with PictureShow)

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Polarize (free)
I like being able to write on the photo, and the retro color is awesome. (High Res output)

(taken with Polarize)

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Fun Camera (free)
This is so fun to play with; we all get huge laughs from it! It does put an ad on the photo, but just crop it off.

(taken with iphone camera. brought into Fun Camera app [for sparkles], and finished in instagram)

Old Photo Pro (free)
The edge effects in this one are great, and the antiquing effects looks really pretty. Love the “scratchy” look as well.

PS Express (free)
I mainly use this for cropping, but also like the softening and sharpening effects.

Your Turn: What photography apps do you use and love?