Posts in stuff
Polaroid Zip Photo Printer Review

I recently ordered a Polaroid Zip. I've had it for about two weeks now and have gone through a pack and a half of film (there are 10 sheets/pack). 

Things I Like:

  • Paper is inexpensive, especially compared to Instax.

  • It doesn't use ink! The "ink" is in the paper.

  • The prints are stickers! I love that I can peel the back off a shot and immediately stick it in my journal.

  • Since the photos print without a frame, you can print two (or more) images on one sheet and cut them up. For example, I printed six (tiny) images of book covers, cut them out, and stuck the images in my journal.

  • The printer prints quickly.

  • It is rechargeable via USB! (Most Instax cameras and printers run on a CR2 battery.)

Things I Dislike:

  • The app is SUPER buggy. Seriously. I can't believe I didn't think to look up app reviews before purchasing because you are 100% reliant on the app to print pictures.

    • As mentioned in many iTunes reviews, pairing is not intuitive. The app makes it look like you should pair the printer with your phone within the app, but really, you first need to manually pair through your phone's bluetooth settings.

    • Cropping and resizing are buggy. For some reason, you have to click into the edit tool to see how the image will print and often, the app will automatically zoom into your image (and you can't zoom back out). It's hard to explain, but the sizing is really weird.

    • Even worse: sometimes, once you have the image sized/cropped the way you want, the printouts don't match what's on the screen. It will at times print correctly; other times, it will print the zoomed-in image (see below).

L-R: 1) This is what you see when you first select an image. You’d THINK this is what would print if you hit the print button, but instead… 2) This is what will print. If you want to print the WHOLE image, you can rotate it, like so… 3) SOMETIMES (like what’s pictured), the app will keep the image zoomed out and it looks great. Other times, it will zoom in again when you rotate and your picture will print all wonky.

L-R: 1) This is what you see when you first select an image. You’d THINK this is what would print if you hit the print button, but instead… 2) This is what will print. If you want to print the WHOLE image, you can rotate it, like so… 3) SOMETIMES (like what’s pictured), the app will keep the image zoomed out and it looks great. Other times, it will zoom in again when you rotate and your picture will print all wonky.

  • The print quality is meh. I don't expect much from an instant printer, but the print color IS always off — often there is a reddish tint. I know Instax prints always come out a little off, too, but I expect that and consider that part of the charm. I think it's easy to expect Zip prints to equal that of your home inkjet printer, but they don't come close. If I think of the Zip printer as a novelty item and not an actual replacement for professional photo printing, it's fine.

Here's a comparison between original images and how they look printed out.

Here's a comparison between original images and how they look printed out.

Verdict:

Even though my "dislike" list is longer than my "like" list, I don't regret my purchase. For my purposes (journaling), photo quality isn't a huge priority. The app is annoying, but it (mostly) works and I can generally figure out how to get my desired outcome. It is really, really convenient for printing mini pictures and I've loved what it's added to my journal.

stuffKate LSComment
My favorite pen: Frixion Biz Slim

I enjoy nothing more than spending an afternoon browsing stationery stores. Nowadays, however, I skip the pen section entirely; I'm convinced I've already found the perfect pens (for me).

Paul's language school teacher introduced him to Pilot Frixion pens — erasable pens that put the erasable pens from our childhood to shame (as in, they actually erase). I grade SO MANY papers as a teacher and being able to erase my inevitable mistakes is AMAZING. (I guess I should note that they also write beautifully. So smooth!)

I started off with the entry level Ball Clicker, which I liked just fine, although the clicker moves around and makes an annoying rattling sound. Then I found the super slick Biz Slim: silver, topped with either purple, blue, or black. Gorgeous and so nice to hold!

I now have one in each color. I've replaced the ink in two with red and blue ink, respectively. These pens are all I use now. 

stuffKate LSComment
What's in my bag?

There's no excusing the triviality of this post. I'm posting this because I really enjoy seeing what's in other people's bags (and the light is really good right now).

Purse from Zara. Pouches from various stores in the Philippines. Pencil bag and notebook from Muji. Glasses case from Daiso.

Purse from Zara. Pouches from various stores in the Philippines. Pencil bag and notebook from Muji. Glasses case from Daiso.

Here is everything all lined up. The green pouch holds miscellaneous stuff like wet wipes, sunglasses, and my charging cable. The orange pouch holds health-related items (like my kids' inhaler, ibuprofen, and anti-bacterial gel). The purple pouch holds feminine necessities. The denim pencil bag holds my favorite pens (Pilot V5 and Frixion), washi tape wrapped around cards, and a tiny notebook. The grey pouch holds receipts, which are the single thing that clutters my purse and wallet. Not pictured: my phone, wallet, and keys.

Here is everything all lined up. The green pouch holds miscellaneous stuff like wet wipes, sunglasses, and my charging cable. The orange pouch holds health-related items (like my kids' inhaler, ibuprofen, and anti-bacterial gel). The purple pouch holds feminine necessities. The denim pencil bag holds my favorite pens (Pilot V5 and Frixion), washi tape wrapped around cards, and a tiny notebook. The grey pouch holds receipts, which are the single thing that clutters my purse and wallet. Not pictured: my phone, wallet, and keys.

The bag opening is really wide and has bright linen lining, which makes everything easy to find.

The bag opening is really wide and has bright linen lining, which makes everything easy to find.

stuffKate LS Comment
Currently

I hope you figured out that I made it to the Pa. (and back!) safely, even though I've been MIA over here for the past few weeks. I've been avoiding an update because there's just too much to write about, namely everything that happened in America (like becoming a US citizen). I have so many thoughts just about that — how I actually feel different being an American, the unexpected angst of my name change, the irony of becoming a citizen right in the midst of such a gobsmackingly insane election season. But my brain hurts from all the craziness of catching up to real life, so I'm going to punt and just write another list post.

Reading

A lot! As I mentioned in a previous post, I've had a tough time getting into books lately. I had my students read an article earlier this year about how we have to train ourselves in the habit of reading (I sadly can't find the article — will keep looking). When I realized I had started nearly a dozen books this year and only finished around three, I considered the likelihood that I've rewired my brain for nuggets of information transmitted through the screen of my iPhone. 

So. For the past two weeks, every time I've felt the impulse to stare at my phone, I've picked up a book instead.

Guess what? I finished a pile books in quick succession (The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Tuck Everlasting, Big Magic, The Quiet American, Silence, and Pax). Which brings me to...

Books

For many expats, one benefit of going "home" is the SHOPPING. I haven't been in Taiwan long enough to really miss anything from America (I'm still marveling over being able to easily buy stuff I've missed my entire adult life, like Yakult and Taiwanese pastries). Except books. I've really missed having access to endless cheap/used books. We do have English-language bookstores here but the books are pricy and stock is limited.

Here's a list of the books I brought back from the US:

The Goldfinch — Donna Tartt (it's been on my list forever)
A Handful of Dust — Evelyn Waugh (book club)
Pax — Sara Pennypacker (I love Jon Klassen. I bought this for Lucy thinking it was a picture book!)
Silence — Shusaku Endo (Recommended by a friend when I mentioned I love Graham Greene)
Big Magic — Elizabeth Gilbert (Read this with a friend)
The History of Love — Nicole Krauss (Own this. Bought to share.)
Unfamiliar Fishes — Sarah Vowell (Found this at Goodwill. Bought it on a whim.)
Small Victories — Anne Lamott (Goodwill)
Unbroken — Laura Hillenbrand (I've heard so much about this but still haven't read it.)
Cutting for Stone — Abraham Verghese (Goodwill — bought to share.)
The Quiet American — Graham Greene (One of my favorite GG books. Bought to reread and share.)
Evolution — Daniel Loxton (requested by Anna)

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Other stuff I bought

This ceramic travel mug — I often have half a cup of coffee left when it's time to rush out the door. This mug is perfect — it has a lid (which makes it splash-proof but not leak-proof, just fine for sipping while walking or driving). It's double-walled but entirely ceramic, so it retains some heat while emitting just enough to give that cozy-mug feeling that's lacking from stainless steel Thermoses. I love it!

Mason jar straws and lids — We got rid of all of our mismatched glasses when we moved here. To replace them, we bought two flats of Mason jars (16 oz and 1.5 pint). I brought a lid/straw and a 1.5 pint jar to school and it's helped me remember to drink more water (instead of just coffee). 

Instax printer — I actually bought this for my brother. He encouraged me to try it and now I want one of my own. The worst thing about the Instax camera (I own this one) is that you sometimes waste film by accidentally taking awful photos. The second worst thing is that you can't make duplicates of your favorite shots. The printer solves those problems. 

Star Wars Lego set for Anna — Just look at that face!

reading, life, stuffKate LSComment