iPhone Appaholic

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Originally published by Image Magazine http://www.image.ie/Life-Work/Working-it/Shortcut-Apps/

Five apps to make your (work) life easier:

Expensify: If paper isn’t your thing, then maybe you need Expensify to keep you in cheque – I mean check! This free app syncs with credit cards to track purchases in real time, pulling in electronic receipts using the iPhone camera and producing a PDF that can be emailed to your accounts department.

Mailbox: Is there anything more tedious than having to work your way through a neglected mailbox? Mailbox, a free app, allows you to cut through the junk and read only what’s important. Now, you can put off messages with a swipe and a tap. Snoozed mails return to your inbox automatically so you never lose anything either.

Asana: Got a list you need to share with your team? This app is ideal for freelance groups who need to interact within email but don’t want to sign up to a particular service. Now no one can say that they didn’t get the memo!

OneSafe: Hacking is becoming more prevalent and when you think about, your secret question on Gmail or Dropbox probably isn’t that big a secret. OneSafe allows you to save and encrypt documents as well as credit cards and web passwords using one pin or password. Not only that, the app will alert you if someone is trying to break into your personal, password-protected accounts. It costs € 5.49 but is a genuine time and hassle-saver.

HulloMail – Call us anti-social but is there anything more irritating than having to listen back to your partner/friend/sibling babbling away on voicemail? Then halfway through remembering that you’re paying for this terrible privilege? It’s time to cut the middleman and have those voice messages texted to your mobile phone where you can delete at a glance. After all, how 1990s is the whole pen-and-paper thing?

Girl Crush: Helen Steele

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Originally published by Image magazine: http://www.image.ie/Real-Women/Girl-Crush/Helen-Steele/ 

So, what do the Danish supermodel, Helena Christiansen and the inventor of the wrap dress, Diane Von Furstenberg, have in common with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi? A shock of white-blonde and pink hair plus a duck farm in Monaghan, it seems.

No, no, neither the Prince nor Helena has gone punk or signed up to Big Brother in rural Ireland – but what a weird and wonderful changeup that would make. Nope, what this lot have in common is their shared interest and collection of the Irish abstract artist (who last year added Fashion Designer to her CV), Helen Steele.

And before you say it, we’re aware that a punk called Helen who lives on a farm sounds like an oxymoron.

Indeed, maybe we’re reading into her punk sensibilities a bit much, but with funky hair like hers and an abstract, print-oriented fashion label carried by twenty international stores plus a past pinned-down as the front-woman of a punk group, let’s just say she’s more Courtney Love than Simply Red.

So, other than her client list being almost as varied as her biography, what makes this lady and her label, Helen Steele, different from the rest? Well, this stuff is art. Literally.  Steele explains, “[My plan was always] to put into practice what I do on canvas in the studio onto fabric… The process always starts with the paint.”

Indeed, her methods sound somewhat in keeping with Jackson Pollock’s paint splatters – all chance and chaos – except the outcome is far more psychedelic.  “Myself and my team propel layers of multi-coloured paints into the air with the aid of wind machines, leaf-blowers and chainsaws. We ground the busier bright prints with little bits of black and blue, and then use mad fluoros to balance that out. We then film the process, taking stills from the footage and creating our prints from this. The print dictates the shape of the garment.”

Perhaps most significantly, Steele describes how she picked each colour with colour therapy in mind, adding, “To me, what I am creating is a work of art that you can wear.”

So, whoever quarrelled that fashion couldn’t be art, or said that a good outfit wasn’t a legitimate pick-me-up for when you’re feelin’ blue, Helen Steele would beg to differ.