Owl Tech

This post is inspired by the Cortex Podcast — in Episode 1, hosts Myke Hurley and CGP Grey delve into a serious discussion on the art and philosophy of device home screens. I devoured this episode, as many of the points Grey brought up were similar or identical to ones that had run through my mind… (of COURSE the Phone app and the Messages app can’t be next to each other, THEY ARE BOTH GREEN!!)

I was recently prompted by Toffer to show my home screen, and thought I’d go ahead and write up a post about the tech devices I use. So, in the key of Lifehacker: I am Owl Ink, and this is how I work!




Owl Ink Phone

Device: 16GB iPhone 5s, Gold. December 2013.

Wallpaper: A photo I took on a foggy drive down Highway 152, edited with VSCOcam.


Before I begin, I must credit Toffer with the simple yet brilliant “emoji as folder titles” idea. Thanks Toffer! :D

Dock: Messages, Safari, Phone, Music. Sorry Grey, couldn’t get behind the 3-icon dock.

Screen 1: Calendar, Clock, Weather, Settings, Mail, Camera, Photos, YouTube, Google Maps, Overcast, Trello, and a folder containing: Yelp, Mint, Tip Calculator, Venmo, Sleep Time, Google Authenticator

Screen 1 holds my “daily life” things. Honestly, I don’t need the weather app, but I put it there for aesthetics as I think it looks nice to have some blue in the top row.

Screen 2: Facebook, Feedly, Pinterest, Strava, and four folders.

  • Folder 1 is camera/images related: Instagram, VSCOcam, Hyperlapse, InstaSquarer, InstaCollage, Lumify
  • Folder 2 is chat related: Snapchat, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Twitter
  • Folder 3 is reading related: Goodreads, Quora, Bible, Alien Blue, Vocabulary Quizzer, and iBooks
  • Folder 4 is Apple related: App store, Notes, Apple Maps, FaceTime, Health, Calculator. Apple things I never use are buried deep in this folder.

Screen 2 holds my diversions, hobbies, and distractions. Since I only  have two rows on screen 2, I could technically fit everything onto one screen. However, I tried it and immediately felt claustrophic. I think I’ll be sticking with two screens, as I like the action of switching between the two, and I like seeing my wallpaper!




Owl Ink Laptop



Owl Ink Monitor

Devices: 13″ Asus UL30A Notebook. June 2010.

 27″ Samsung LED Monitor. June 2015.

Wallpaper: A beautiful space wallpaper that you can find here


Notable Applications:

Rainmeter: Desktop customization tool for making your desktop pretty + functional!

I love playing around with Rainmeter! The skins I am currently using are:

  • Elegance: Clock, Date & Time
  • Enigma: Album art, Volume control, Systems monitor, Notepad

Rocketdock: Hover-over application launcher that mimics Apple’s menu bar, but for Windows.

My docked items include browsers (Chrome and Firefox), music players (iTunes and Spotify), graphic design programs (Photoshop and Illustrator), and basics like documents folder, etc.

I like unobtrusive icons, so I make grayscale versions of all my icons in Photoshop and deleted the icon caption. As Grey and Myke discussed, the entire point of the icon is to tell me what app it is!

BetterDesktopTool: Exposé and Spaces for Windows

Though I do like the Windows 7 Alt-Tab view, sometimes it’s just easier to hover. I set my upper right corner as the hover point to show all open windows.

The Spaces function is great when I’m trying to keep my creative work (Photoshop, images, etc) and diversions (Facebook, email) on separate grounds.

F.lux: Screen color adjuster that dims based on daily sunset time.

Adjusting the colors to yellow hues instead of blue hues makes screens easier on the eyes, and supposedly improves your sleep!



Thanks for reading this long post about my devices, hope you found this interesting! Personally, I really enjoy seeing what tools people use, which is why I’ve taken such a liking to podcasts like Cortex and Dot Grid. It’s quite intriguing!

Watercolor Bouquet

Watercolor Bouquet


Recently, I’ve been getting into watercolor painting! I was given a palette as a birthday gift in high school, along with some brushes. While I played around with it occasionally in college, I didn’t have as much time as I hoped to work on new paintings.

This past weekend, one of my friends and I decided to dust off our paints, watch some YouTube tutorials, and try to pick up new watercolor techniques.

The video we watched ended up being WAY too advanced for us… our “roses” look nothing like the instructor’s, but we still had fun trying to paint something that looked like a rose! At some point we gave up on following the video and just went off on our own, adding bits of purple and orange here and there.

I took some progress photos while we were painting, and thought I’d share!


Watercolor Bouquet


Watercolor Bouquet


Watercolor Bouquet


Watercolor Bouquet


Watercolor Bouquet


Watercolor Bouquet


Materials used:

  • Loew Cornell 36 Color Watercolor Palette
  • Robert Simmons No. 5 Brush
  • Strathmore Cold Press Watercolor Paper – 140 lb

Review: Levenger Gemstone Green

Levenger Gemstone Green Review


When I was a kid, my mom bought me these plastic stick-on gems for me to do crafts with, and I am surprised by how often I’ve run into practical uses for them since then… like my first ink review!

As a relative newcomer to fountain pens, my ink collection is still pretty small. I started off with the standard colors: one black and one blue-black (reviews to come), and I was contemplating my next “fun color” purchase.

While I was browsing shelves at a thrift store, I was pretty happy to find two bottles of Levenger ink! I didn’t know if there was anything I needed to be cautious of in terms of buying used inks, but they were 50 cents each and a $1 risk purchase seemed reasonable to me.


Ink Review: Levenger Gemstone Green


Levenger Gemstone Green is a dark emerald ink that is primarily green, but with a slight turquoise hint to it. It is definitely a cool green, as opposed to a warm green, and made me think of spruce trees and other evergreens.

If you really layer it on, you can even get a bit of reddish purple sheen — kind of like the new Emerald of Chivor! (but sans the sparkle)


Ink Review: Levenger Gemstone Green


The ink writes nicely in a Lamy Safari with a fine nib, on Maruman Mnemosyne paper. However, I did notice a little bit of feathering and show-through, so if it feathers on Mnemosyne then I wouldn’t try my luck with cheaper paper.


Ink Review: Levenger Gemstone Green


It doesn’t shade very much  in a fine nib– the color is pretty consistent throughout the words. However, put it in something like a Pilot Parallel and that’s when some real shading action comes out to play.

Unfortunately, it does not play nice with dip pens… at least, not straight from the bottle (not sure how it would be with a bit of gum arabic mixed in to thicken it).

As a mini experiment, I dropped it into a glass of water to see what it would look like! You can really see the teal color emerge as the ink begins to dissolve.


Ink Review: Levenger Gemstone Green


The full review!


Ink Review: Levenger Gemstone Green


Finally, just for fun, I made a collage inspired by Gemstone Green :)


Gemstone Green Mood Board
Dioptase Gemstone | Emerald Green Walls | Forest Watercolor | Emerald Green Silk | Vintage Vogue Poster

Other recent emerald green ink reviews:

July Wallpaper Roundup

I love desktop wallpapers! I spend a lot of time on the computer at work,  and I’ve found that having a bright, visually appealing wallpaper makes daily work life a little bit more enjoyable :)

There are so many incredible creative blogs out there, and I love that so many of them post free wallpapers on a regular basis. It’s a small thing that I look forward to each month, and it means that I have a rotating stream of pretty designs to try. Here is a collection of recent designs!



Hello Sunshine July Wallpaper  for desktop and mobile, by Coco and Mingo


July Calendar for desktop, by The Blog Market


Three Illustrated Wallpapers for desktop and mobile, by Oh So Beautiful Paper


A pretty blue-themed Dress Your Tech roundup for desktop, by DesignLoveFest

I love the inky blue one from DesignLoveFest, and have set that as my wallpaper for now!  I follow all of these bloggers in my Feedly reader, and am always inspired by their creativity — I’d highly recommend checking them out for a dose of fun, colorful motivation. Eventually, I would like to try turning my art and calligraphy into desktop wallpapers too! :D