Posted in Intermissions, ๐ŸŽจ Art

I ๐Ÿ’œ PicsArt

All the photographs on my blog are snapped with an iPhone 6S Plus or iPad Pro, then edited by the app PicsArt. It’s like a throwback to high school multimedia productions (i.e., Photoshop 5), except PicsArt edits photographs faster, makes them a little crazier,โ€”so it appeals to our decreasing, otherwise-jaded attention spans.

๐ŸŒฑ My quick designs:

  • The effect I used on this week’s photos is magic > color bright; &
  • I also added a square fit with a background.

The only beef I have with PicsArt?โ€”the pop-up ads. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

But let’s be fair; if they’re delivering a fun app without any cost to the userโ€”except for micro-transaction options, which I’ve yet to invest inโ€”andย their app works on my older smartphone…

They’re allowed to throw pop-ups in the user’s face. ๐Ÿ˜—

In the future, I’m certain there’s a Friday night, in a restaurant in Anaheim, where I’ll micro-trans PicArts frames, sometime after mixed drink number three…ย Update, March 21st: Or I could just give in to temptation and purchase an annual membership. Which I might have done. But only for the year. One year is plenty of time to enjoy the excitement of age-old Photoshop-trained neurons.ย 

Compliment Sandwich ๐Ÿ˜‰ Critique Technique

This intermission is an example of aย compliment sandwich,ย a critique technique where you:

  1. Choose a product you want to share; then,
  2. write a snippet about what you liked (& maybe how you even used the product!), followed by
  3. any gentle critiques you may have, before you close with
  4. another snippet about a feature you enjoyed.

I found, in graduate school, if there’s a workshop participant who’s worse than the “it’s the best writing ever!” cheerleader, it’s the “I hate everything…” killjoy. So I teach a more academic version of theย compliment sandwichย in my college courses, when we workshop each other’s writing.

In My Life Today ๐Ÿค— 4 April 18 Update

I paid the annual subscription fee to gain ad-free full access to PicsArt. This vastly improved the creative experience within the app, which encouraged me to participate in contests within the community. I’d recommend the annual subscription to anyone who finds they go back to the app every day, the way it started to feel with all the blogging I’ve been writing, all the photos I’ve been shooting and remixing. ๐Ÿค—

Listing ๐Ÿคฉ Best Photos to Mix

๐Ÿ’– blurry, mid-action cats

๐Ÿงก mundane objects

๐Ÿ’› flowers

๐Ÿ’š landscape

๐Ÿ’™ weird angles

๐Ÿ’œ old and pixelated photos from the ’90s and ’00s

๐Ÿ–ค food

Meaning Making ๐Ÿ˜ Photography

I’ve a gallery of 3 PicsArt that I thought would make fun prompts for flash fiction. Let’s see what I come up with when I time myself on a 3-minute free write, 3 times.


I once had succulents in tiny pots on an apartment patio, a miniature low-maintenance garden. I thought the flowery succulents could teach me how to convert my brown thumb into the green thumb I’d always envied in my great grandmother, back when I was a single-digit-year-old child, very little, playing on kitchen tiles of rosettas while watching her tend to the tomatoes, peppers, and other magical flora on the other side of the sliding glass window. Now that I no longer live in the metropolis, but instead enjoy the kind city of Fresno, I can pursue all my tomato, pepper, watermelon, cucumber, strawberry, and blood orange dreams.


When I look at the bubble bath frothing at the edge of the tub, I don’t see bubbles, or I don’t see bath bubbles, but maybe the bubbles that widened like a dragonfly’s wings across the great hoop a child runs through the playground, massive bubbles of soap and dreams, balloons, the kind of sad balloons a thirteen-year-old would walk home from a birthday party without many attendees;

for my birthday, my mom dodged the bullet of my inability to make friends by insteadย  convincing me to chooseย one very special person,ย and that person could come with us to the water park, because she loved me, that person loved me, and my birthday was about celebrating people in the world loved me enough to get on wild slides and suffer wedgie-wrenching pain-in-their-anuses for several days after;

I usually brought my cousin Nolan, though sometimes I invited the girl next door, Brittany, and once I invited the girl who protected me from the bullies at school, Ashley; I think I also invited another boy there once, maybe Jeremy, if we still went to the water parkโ€”did we go to the water park because she loved me, because that person loved me, when I was fifteen years old?

But therein lies the pain of the contingent love, theย I did this for youย as a variable in the equationย so you would understand this idea that’s important to me,ย the scratch-your-back-scratch-my-back behavior exchanged between friendsโ€”not between mother and child.

๐ŸŽˆI wrote a lot that time in 3 minutes! Let’s see how I fare in the 3rd and final PicsArt free write 3-step challenge…๐ŸŽ€


I love glitter. Hearts. Parrots. Rainbows. When I walk into Michaels Arts & Crafts, its like my soul leaves my body to zip around. My body chases after it in delight, enjoying the game, the chase through aisles of crafty and glitzy things.

I like puffy stickers. I appreciate the flowers the hummingbirds tuck their beaks in, like little modest veils. Fluorescent highlighters are better than pastel highlighters. Turquoise comes in many colors, equally beautiful. I love the pieces of wood with opal running through them. I once ran the Color Run.

When I doodle hearts on my class notes, poems, and diaries, I think about the people who loved me as a child, who love me now; I think about the children I’ll love in the future. It’s like love becomes this great, encompassing force, all at once. I am certain to doodle a heart is to meditate, at least, when you think of love this way.
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Kourtnie McKenzie holds an MFA (Fiction) from Fresno State and a BA in English (Literature Studies) from Cal State Fullerton. When she isn't writing novellas, she's moonlighting as a professor at Fresno City College and College of the Sequoias. To read more of her writing, visit

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