Podcast 014: How to Take Great IPhone Pictures with Andre Nguyen of iPhoneographyinsiders.com

I’m so excited about this episode, part of our Summer Camp series in which we are setting aside our usual four themes (3R’s, Unplanned Adventures, Kids through the Ages, and Risky Business), pouring a nice tall glass of iced tea – or Long Island Ice Tea, depending on your age and what time of day it is – and going on vacation! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming in September, but for now… Let’s just enjoy summer!

Great news! During our interview today iPhoneography teacher Andre Ngyen offers you a week’s free coaching by email! You can find out how to get this bonus by listening to the episode. Speaking as a student of his I know you’re not going to want to miss out; his great ideas will help you take fantastic family vacation pictures!

If you want to see the pictures I took with Andre’s guidance, click here – that will take you to last week’s blog post in which I previewed the pictures we talk about in today’s episode. Enjoy!

If you have any desire at all to capture great summer memories, great photographs of your kids and family – and pets – using just your iPhone, then you are going to love today’s guest. Andre Nguyen of iPhoneographyinsiders.com is first and foremost a talented photographer, but most importantly he really wants to help the rest of us take great pictures.

Today’s conversation includes lots of fun stuff: summer memories, dog stories, my excitement about sharing when I got to go see this amazing art installation in Boston on the Rose Kennedy Greenway… and because Andre gave us so many tips and apps, I’m going to list them here:

  • the first, easy and fun, is to simply tap the light source on your phone to completely change the amount of light in the picture; in other words, if you want a picture of your husband kissing the top of your baby’s head with his son in the background, tap the sun – you’ll end up with a silhouette picture! Really, really cool
  • next, be playful – take a variety of pictures of the same scene, in which you have tapped different places on the screen (which left in different amounts of light), try different poses, see if you can capture your kids jumping in the picture, use your imagination
  • when indoors, capturing enough light can be tough for the iPhone which results in grainy photographs where you literally see many pixels; Andre recommends using a strong light source and once again tapping on that light source on the iPhone screen
  • a great app: photographer’s ephemerist, which tells you the angle of the sun, and exactly where it will be setting in the sky, on any given day; Andre uses this to plan his sunset photography, knowing exactly where and when the sun will be passing specific buildings, and then he can pull out his iPhone and play
  • another great app, Slow Shutter Cam,which allows you to let more light in and thus get cool blurry effects – if you take Andre’s suggestion of doing a selfie on a merry-go-round with your children, please send it along! This sounds like the coolest idea in the world, my boys are too old for merry-go-rounds, I gotta see this in action 🙂
  • Andre’s favorite website for getting prints of his photos is called artifactuprising.com, where he’s gotten beautiful print of his pictures at decent prices
  • on instagram, Andre goes by@AndreHarrison, and I just know you’re going to want to head over to instagram and check out his artwork, which is amazing! You can also find it at his two websites: techminimalist.com and iPhoneographyinsiders.com

Once you start taking amazing pictures using Andre’s tips, please email me some pictures! You can do that by going to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, or just emailing Karen@weturnedoutokay.com. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Picture Preview!

Welcome to We Turned Out Okay: Summer Camp Edition! All summer, I am highlighting not just my favorite things about summer, but yours! Every podcast and blog post during July and August 2015 shares our favorite summer activities, memories, and pastimes. If you have a summer favorite to share, well, that’s easy! Shout about it here in the comments, Tweet me@StoneAgeTechie , email me at Karen@Weturnedoutokay.com, or go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact. I’ll be bringing my favorites into the podcast, so you might just hear about yourself on the show!

My interview with Andre Nguyen of iPhoneographyinsiders.com drops into your phone – if you’re subscribed to the We Turned Out Okay podcast in iTunes or stitcher, that is – this coming Tuesday. Andre shares some really great ideas and apps for taking amazing pictures with just your iPhone, and before our interview he gave me some great advice for taking pictures of this amazing thing, the net on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. With his advice, I really took some fabulous pictures… Here are two of my favorites!

IMG_1037 Isn’t it amazing?


For people who just need to be under the net checking it out, the city provides Adirondack chairs! I sat under the net for an hour, with my toes in the grass, on a beautiful summer evening. And then I left to catch my train home – and came upon this group of buildings:


The difference between these two pictures was just a simple piece of advice given to me by Andre!

IMG_1044 (1)

Same buildings, sunlight coming from the same spot, one was taken an instant after the other… Andre’s tip was to tap on the iPhone at the light source. That is the only change! For more awesome advice, listen to Tuesday’s We Turned Out Okay podcast, when he talks not just about landscapes and sunsets but great family pictures too!

Podcast 013: Kicking Off Summer Camp with Awesome Books!


Welcome to the first episode of Summer Camp at We Turned Out Okay! For the summer months of July and August, we are setting aside our usual four themes (Risky Business, 3R’s, Kids Through the Ages, and Unplanned Adventures) and kicking back. We are recognizing that in summer, time moves somewhat differently, and we can set aside our usual schedules at least a little bit – so pour yourself a frosty drink and stick your toes in the virtual sand as you press play.

In this episode I share about four fantastic books that should be on your summer reading list:

  • The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing; I kick off the episode reading this book, an obvious and wonderful play on The Night Before Christmas, a picture book that we read at the beginning of every summer, even now that the boys are 14 and 10, because it is just that awesome
  • How To Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell; a great book involving a bet about eating live worms, the fallout from that, and the summer in which it all takes place
  • Time Sweep by Valerie Weldrick, in which a modern Australian boy discovers a way to travel through time and space, befriending a young London street sweeper living in the late 1800s; I read and loved this book as a young girl and it just evokes summertime for me
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling; I love rereading the Harry Potter books in summer, and every time I do something new comes up for me… This reread has me thinking of the big ideas that literature can bring up for us, and there’s a special kind of magic when you combine big ideas and summertime

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: as parents, it’s our responsibility to instill a love of reading in our children. Reading is how humans make sense of the world, and there are lots of other platitudes to be said about it – but it’s summer click publish, and platitudes are out! Reading, however, is still in, because not only is it our responsibility – it’s fun!

Campfire Cooking is The Best!

Welcome to We Turned Out Okay: Summer Camp Edition! All summer, I am highlighting not just my favorite things about summer, but yours! Every podcast and blog post during July and August 2015 shares our favorite summer activities, memories, and pastimes. If you have a summer favorite to share, well, that’s easy! Shout about it here in the comments, Tweet me@StoneAgeTechie or with #oldschoolsummervaca, email me at Karen@Weturnedoutokay.com, or go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact. I’ll be bringing my favorites into the podcast, so you might just hear about yourself on the show!


To kick off summer, here’s a Kolp family favorite: put something on a stick and roast it. For years, we have roasted classic s’mores in our backyard, or while camping, but three or four years ago my husband Ben invented a different kind of s’more when he stuck not a piece of chocolate into the melty-marshmallow-and-graham-cracker-sandwich – but a peanut butter cup!

And so began a new era of invention with s’mores, always including marshmallows (of course!) but with every other ingredient varying according to the whim of the maker. Leaving out the graham crackers and instead making a melted chocolate sandwich, stuffing chocolate or peanut butter cup inside the marshmallow before roasting, layering graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow before roasting in a rack… there are a lot of different ways to make s’mores it turns out.

It’s also been fun to branch out into non-sweet foods. Roasting hotdogs over a fire, spearing asparagus and roasting it, wrapping potatoes in aluminum foil and placing them on the coals are all really delicious treats, and somehow better because they were cooked with fire.

And then a few weeks ago, the book shown above, Easy Campfire Cooking, fell into my lap! It is a great resource for all things campfire cooking, and if you’ll notice from the picture I got out of my library, so it cost me absolutely nothing (except overdue fees…) and we get all the benefits of the recipes and ideas for cooking with fire.

What do you like to cook using fire? Whatever it is, I hope you get the chance to enjoy it this summer 🙂

Podcast 012: How to Handle Parenting Challenges with Early Childhood Educator Mariana Sanford Maynard

Today’s guest is an early intervention therapist by trade, and has such an interesting perspective on life that I just know you are going to love our conversation! Mariana Sanford Maynard has a background in equine massage, is bilingual, raised for part of her life in Brazil (even though she has no accent), and the divorced mom of two kids. Her gentle, loving demeanor permeates our whole conversation, and I felt like I had the knowledge to be a better parent after we were done talking.

Listen for:

  • similarities between horses and children – you’ll be surprised
  • thinking about the system in which our kids live, and how understanding that system can help us be better parents for them
  • how to keep the idea of “family” alive, even after a divorce

If you take just one thing away from our conversation today, I hope it is this: there is real value in apologizing to our kids when we mess up. It helps them know that we are human, we make mistakes, and when we do we atone for them.

I know you’re going to get so much out of this episode, please drop me a line – Karen@weturnedoutokay.com – and let me know what really resonated with you!

We’re Going to (Virtual) Summer Camp!

My brothers and I, toys to attack with water :-)
My brothers and I, toys to attack with water 🙂

We Turned Out Okay is spending the month of July and August on vacation – and we’re taking you with us! Each blog post, every podcast during the next two months will be spent sharing great memories, making great memories, and soaking up the sun. We are talking with some amazing guests and hoping to hear your stories too – share here at the website (in the comments below or at weturnedoutokay.com/contact), friend me on Facebook (Karen Lock Kolp), or share with me on twitter @StoneAgeTechie or #Oldschoolsummervaca

Cheers to a great summer!

Podcast 011: How to Help Your Young Kids Love Reading

Are you concerned about your fledgling reader losing ground this summer? Then you need my guide, Six Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading! Click the button below to enjoy summer AND foster a love of reading in your home.

(Please note, in Episode 11 I said the button would say “Help My Readers!” but that sounded a little silly, so I changed the text.)
Click Here to Help Your Young Reader

We are headed into summer as I record today, a classic time for parents to worry about kids’ academic work slipping. Is this a thing that you worry about? If so, you are going to love today’s’s show – all about six steps to creating young, happy readers!
No matter when you listen, whether in the middle of an extended summer vacation or in deepest winter, you will love it, because here is where I share my six steps to having happy readers.

Listen for:
How to bond with your kids over books, no matter how young or old the kids are, no matter how simple or complex the books are
Strategies to stop the scourge of trying to be perfect; one of my favorite quotes is from Henry Winkler, a.k.a. the Fonz from Happy Days: “perfectionism is destructive… Beating the sh*t out of yourself is a killer”
Why reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do with your children

We cover an awful lot today, so I knew you were going to want to write all this down – that’s why I created a guide, Six Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading, which you can get just by going to weturnedoutokay.com and clicking the button! As a bonus, I’ve got a resource section of awesome books included with the guide… Between these six steps and the resource section of awesome books, you will soon have some really happy readers in your home.

Bonus Episode: My Father, My Hero

Dad, my brothers, and me – on a camping trip in our beloved bunkhouse trailer.
Dad, my brothers, and me – on a camping trip in our beloved bunkhouse trailer.

Today I share a great conversation that I had recently with my Dad. After climbing his way out of a working class neighborhood in Montréal, Canada, Dad became a very well-educated, high-powered executive at a large insurance company.

But as his daughter, I knew about that part of his life only peripherally. To me, Dad was and still is a great example of how to achieve your dreams, and especially how to live your life: Dad has an unshakable moral compass and an amazing capacity to reduce the most complex problems down to their simplest form.

  • Along with my Mom, whom we hear from in the Mother’s Day 2015 Bonus Episode, Dad has spent the last 17 years (after retiring from the insurance company as Vice President of Customer Service) in Breckenridge, Colorado. Out there, he became a contractor to remodel their home, was a Breckenridge ski instructor for 15 years and continues to teach his grandchildren how to ski.
  • Together, they’ve traveled extensively, circling the globe in a six-month trip in 2010 and spending six months of 2014 traveling through Europe – they were using AirBnB before I knew what it was!
  • Mom and Dad have spent much of the last two years RVing around the US and Canada together; they hike, grill out, make friends on the road – even make and preserve jam in their camper! – always keeping in touch and illustrating the kind of fun you can have in life.

Our conversation today ranges from work, to parenthood, and into grand parenthood. I know you’ll love it because, no matter where you are on the parenting timeline, or if you’re a mom or a dad, you’ll hear a great example of how to live your life. Click preview

A Book You’ll Love

Author Mark Brown and illustrator Amy Brown's new book!
Author Mark Brown and illustrator Amy Brown’s new book!

Gratitude has been a huge part of my recovery from my mystery tendon illness. Listeners to the podcast, especially episode 000, will know that for nearly 4 years I’ve kind of randomly had limbs that just stop working; I spent some of 2011 and 2012 needing a wheelchair when I left the house, stopped being able to use my elbows in 2013, and then devastatingly lost almost all the use of my hands in 2014.

But it turns out that it wasn’t really random, that I’ve had trouble with tendons where the muscles around them are weak. Tendons, for those of you who’ve never had to think of them, are what hold our muscles to our bones. Unhappy tendons scream with pain, as anyone who’s ever had tennis elbow knows. Also, unhappy tendons take a really long time to heal, sometimes years. That is certainly been the case with my tendons!

So what you do when you lose the ability to shave your legs standing up, or walk, or twirl your spaghetti?

You learn.

You learn patience, teamwork, that you are valuable for more than what you are physically capable of.

You learn gratitude.

Of course, we do not want our children – we don’t even want our worst enemies – to learn lessons this way! It really sucked.

So then the question becomes, how do we teach gratitude?

Well, here is what the husband and wife team of Mark Brown and Amy Brown did: they wrote a book about a pig. And not just any pig; this guy has a lot to teach about patience and gratitude, and being in the moment… My 10-year-old called the book “awesome” and especially loved the pictures. I love those, and the sweet poetry that accompanies them.

Additionally, Mark and Amy have partnered with a charity called Know. Think. Act., And through this charity every copy of Zen Pig sold provides 10 people with clean water for a whole year.… So in purchasing this book, not only are you helping teach these principles that, as parents, we really care about. You are helping people in need of clean water get it.

As the pig says: “care for each other/as much as yourself.” I’d love to hear your stories of how you are teaching your children this! Leave a note in the comments, or email me at Karen@weturnedoutokay.com. And then, go hug your little ones and be grateful together 🙂

010: How to Choose a Dance Studio for Your Young Child with Suzanne Lock, Dance Instructor

Do you have a young child, especially a daughter, who desperately wants to dance – but is totally uncoordinated, or whose body doesn’t look like a dancer’s? If so, then you probably know already how cutthroat the world of dance studios can be.

Today’s guest teaches dance in a unique studio, one where the focus is on dance as a fun way of expressing yourself, and where it doesn’t matter what you look like for if you’re a good dancer or not.

In addition to spending her days with tutu-clad young girls, my guest is Mom to very active tween-and teenage boys… As a result, evenings and weekends are all about cheering them on at sports, supporting them in their academic work, and enjoying a great relationship with her husband Rob (a guy who happens to be my brother 🙂

Listen for:

  • some really great tips for choosing a dance studio; how to know you’ve got the right one, when to keep looking
  • Sue’s take on raising children with special needs, and how important it is to work closely with their other parent – you both need to be on the same page to give kids with extra challenges the support they need
  • how to truly enjoy life, even when it’s super busy or throwing challenges at you; for Sue, teaching dance has helped her care for herself, so she can be a more supportive Mom and spouse

If you take just one thing away from this episode, I hope it is this: knowing yourself and what you need to enjoy life makes everything better. And not just for you – but for your loved ones and the people you care for. My awesome sister-in-law is really hitting her stride with this, and as you listen you can hear the enthusiasm and love in her voice… She is a great example to follow, and I know you’re going to love this episode!