Two of my Favorite Tools...

Industry Observer with ARFCO Media

Two of my Favorite Tools...

Aviary is a free photo editor... You can use it on your phone via the app for iPhone or Android, or go to the website The phone app has more features and add ons. I’m a fan of sites like Instagram so I’m always in need of an app that I can use to crop, adjust colors, and occasionally do a few special effects for mood and a little artistic flair.

Southbound on Rainier Ave Seattle, headed home towards Mt Rainier, the Sky Wiper.

I use it mostly on my iPhone 6 Plus. I love the fact that there is absolutely no entrapment scenarios. By that I mean, many apps are funky to quit, like no obvious button to push to exit. Also, there’s no advertising going on to distract you while you're working or that takes up precious screen real estate.

Aviary has a wonderful easy to use UI. The tools (all 12) are really easy to find and to figure out. I love the basic filters like Enhance where you can quickly apply Hi-Def and there’s not too much of it, or add a little more definition and depth to landscapes with Scenery, and warm up your foodie pics with the Food filter, and you can easily adjust the white balance.

Whiskey River BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Garlic Fries! Red Robin, Puyallup.

Speaking of White, this tool makes the whites whiter simply by rubbing a finger over the area of your photo that you want to adjust, and a cool Splash tool where you can turn the photo to black and white, then paint the colors back into the photo where you want them. This is great for creating some drama! I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, it’s become my go to tool and I’ve been using it for about a year now.

I also really really appreciate the fact that it’s not a crippled app. The tools do what they’re intended to do and they don’t just kind of do it and if you really want the tool to actually do a decent job for reals you’re gonna have to buy it. Yes, you can purchase filter packs (99 cents to $1.99) and I was happy to purchase several because I simply enjoy working with this app and they don’t pester me to buy something every time I use it! Other so called free apps might want to mirror this approach.

Downtown Renton on a snow day at Tonkin Park.

Obviously you can gather by now I’m a big fan, but I just have to emphasize the ease of use, its full features, and once you get the hang of it, it’s a wonderful creative tool if you love photography and do most of it via your phone. It’s such a pleasure now to have a tool that’s easy to use that I can create what I need to in a few minutes on the go and use it for branding, ads, and other marketing pieces. So, more often than not, I use Aviary, then upload to where ever and Instagram.

Google Docs... Not new, but I discovered a new way of using it a few months back that is really impacting the way I work. Again, it's a big time saver for let’s get this project moving forward now from almost anywhere, anytime.

I’m not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. It seems like life is so busy that trying to keep up with the next new NEW often smacks me in the face and numbs my brain for a while as I learn it or choose to forget about it. I like to think of myself as a pretty progressive kinda guy who loves future tripping, but I admit someday’s seem like more than a marathon when it comes to learning a new technology. Some things come easy and I get it right away, and other things take a while for me to finally catch on...

The Puyallup River is running high this Friday!

I’m a longtime huge fan of Google Docs... When I was 'right sized' back in late 2009 as our industry crash landed during the financial debacle I was suddenly caught off guard with dying computers and out of date software. My copy of MS Office was licensed through work so now that it was gone I dove into Google docs, sheets, and slides and to this day I haven’t looked back...

Long story short, I didn’t think about putting Google Docs on my phone for a long time. Why? I find it really tedious to type anything on my phone, even though it has a larger screen. Then I tried it a few times but gave it up. Totally, my vanity, my patience, and my not so good eyesight for reading the smaller screen got the better of me. Guess I’m old school in a few ways cuz I like big monitors and a full size keyboard when I’m writing... This year though, and quite by accident, I discovered a really wonderful way of working with it.

It was crunch time. I’m pretty much always out and about in the field traveling and teaching, and I was trying to finish some new classes and workshops on a deadline and really anxious to find a way of working anywhere, anytime. So I gave it another shot and put Google Docs back on my phone then like totally DUH, I spot the little microphone icon... :O) :O) :O)

Google Docs on my iPhone 6 Plus...

So now when I have an idea I talk it to Google Docs then come back to it later on my laptop. It’s always easier to work with something already on the page than it is to write something while you’re staring at the blank page trying to recall your thoughts from earlier in the day. So like a voice memo, I get the ideas out best I can and I talk to myself about the project and what I’m trying to get accomplished. Later, I sit down at the PC and start whacking my way through it.

I love the act of writing, it’s sacred to me, so I don’t talk my writing as a habit. Though I do pace the room a lot and sometimes speak out loud when I’m challenged! (bless my neighbors) Mostly I’ve been the very traditional writer who puts the words on the page first then spends a bit of time reading it out loud to make sure there’s good meter and rhythm to it. (Can't help it, it's the musician in me) But reversing this process I really never thought about that much and never tried. But now this new way has been an interesting adventure and it’s become an important part of my toolbox of solutions to getting it done when I’m doing my day!

Just Duckie :O) ... Lucky You store, Gilman Village, Issaquah.

My blogs, my other writings, and my photos are a catalyst to traffic and conversation that leads me to opportunity. I can’t put an exact dollar figure on it but I can say it has been very helpful to create online strategic partners, friends, relationships, clients, and referrals. These two tools are both big time savers and a joy to work with so I spend less time struggling to get things done. Thanks to both I enjoy the whole process of creating art and marketing pieces a lot more now that I’ve adopted them into my way of working.


Activerain Contests: What Tools or Systems Do You Love, February 12, 2017.

Posted by

René Fabre

"Where there's conversation, there's opportunity."

Please Note - The views expressed herein reflect only the individual’s personal views and are not the views of the author’s employer.

The Blackberry Chronicles, a blog by Rene Fabre and his travels around the Greater Pacific Northwest and beyond. Connect w/ Rene Fabre on Google+. Rene Fabre on Twitter. Rene Fabre writes reviews on Yelp. Rene Fabre on The Audiorium YouTube Channel by Rene Fabre. Rene Fabre loves digital photography and here are his shares on Flickr. Rene Fabre is a musician and composer and shares some of his orginal music and recordings on Soundcloud. Rene Fabre shares his interests on Pinterest.

Comments (13)

Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Rene Fabre   I like instagram but do not have it totally together yet . I enjoy reading posts on there especially while waiting in a Doctors office . Would like another class on it here at ARU .. I will follow you

Feb 12, 2017 05:28 PM
Rene Fabre

Hi Hannah... I love Instagram... It's coming up tomorrow or the next day in my blog... :O) 

Feb 12, 2017 06:05 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I haven't heard of Aviary, Rene.  It sounds very interesting!  I also haven't ventured into Instagram, but family members who have, love it!

Feb 12, 2017 06:28 PM
Rene Fabre

Hi Myrl Jeffcoat ... Aviary, one of my best discoveries. I actually had it for quite a while and didn't use it much until I discovered what it could do... Instagram is fun and lots and lots of people interested in location, lifestyle, and communities...


Feb 12, 2017 06:54 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Rene, on having this blog FEATURED in the PHOTOS group!

Feb 12, 2017 06:30 PM
Rene Fabre

Thank you Myrl Jeffcoat ... thanks for the feature! Always an honor and much appreciated!

Feb 12, 2017 06:55 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Always love watching you show off all your knowledge Rene Fabre 

Feb 12, 2017 08:07 PM
Rene Fabre

Ah gee shucks... thanks Paul! :O)

Feb 12, 2017 09:43 PM
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Rene - Even though my go-to photo editing software is Photoshop, I have a half-dozen photo editor apps, and I find I tend to use all of them, since each one has unique capabilities. I will definitely give Aviary a look. Thanks for the recommendation.

Feb 13, 2017 01:15 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I am amazed at how good phone camera have become especially with apps. You did a digital SLR with custom lenses to do better.

Feb 13, 2017 02:21 PM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

All I can think about is a burger and fries after this post!  I'm hungry....-Kasey

Feb 13, 2017 02:59 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Rene- I too have several photo editing apps because they have different features that I like.  So, I'm off to look at!!!

Feb 13, 2017 06:32 PM
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Rene, I don't do either of these! Instagram is a mystery to me, but as you know, probably, I have no cell service so that whole thing and hashtags, I've never even attempted. I love techie people who teach us things. You are always showing me new worlds (duckduckgo--love that for seeing a search engine without my history, so I get a better read on a keyword phrase, for example). Aviary is not something I've heard of. Some of my tools, like are ones that I use faithfully and don't have to spend lots of time re-learning the alphabet of it, so-to-speak. That's what I use. But, like

Kathy Streib I might just have to check it out. 


Feb 14, 2017 06:22 PM
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

I use several photo editing apps, but never heard of Aviary. I'm going to check it out! Thanks for sharing!!!

Feb 14, 2017 07:39 PM
John Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Broker, SFR - Vancouver WA Real Estate

Hi Rene, Aviary sounds like an excellent program.  We both have iPhones now, and this should be a nice addition to our toolkit.

I'm also like you - and prefer a full-sized keyboard (Dvorak layout, though) with a big monitor (then hit Ctrl-+ a few times for bigger text-size!).  John and Kat

Feb 16, 2017 08:25 PM
Melissa Jackson REALTOR
Trinity Premier Properties - Azle, TX
Helping You Make The Right Move

Just started working with google docs. Glad to hear it's a good program. Always looking for photo apps.  Thank you for sharing.

Feb 21, 2017 06:28 PM