Maroon Bells using October AE Digitals

I’m still determined to get some photos from our latest roadtrip to Aspen, CO up on the blog, but until then I have this layout to share! The Maroon Bells and surrounding area is seriously one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been to in my life.  Truly, photos can’t do this place justice.  I can’t speak to what this area looks like year-round, but I can vouch for the last couple weeks in September being gorgeous.

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SZayas_OctoberDigitals_DetailThis layout features the October digital release from Ali Edwards, which is perfect for any fall or halloween layout!

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Love and Peace

VegasWhen I first started this post my intention was to share photos of the roadtrip O and I went on last week when we traveled to Aspen, CO.  However, sitting down and thinking about the last stop on our trip has me feeling so emotional and my heart feels like this post needs to go in a different direction.

Like everyone, I’m completely heartbroken about what happened in Vegas last weekend.  I can’t watch the news without tearing up, and knowing that O and I were eating dinner in the Mandalay Bay only 5 hours before this horrific event took place gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.   I can’t imagine what the victims and their families must be going through.

The importance of love, peace, and joy is needed now more than ever, and I do plan to share happy photos from our trip and lots more projects right here on the blog very soon, but at this moment I just needed to send this out into the world.  If you need a hug in light of all that has been going on in the world lately please know that I am sending you a virtual one right now.

I want to end this post with a song that I heard for the first time only a few days ago. It gave me peace in a moment when I was feeling pretty sad so I’d like to share it here.

Dear Hate by Maren Morris:

Dear Hate
I saw you on the news today
Like a shock that takes my breath away
You fall like rain, cover us in drops of pain
I’m afraid that we just might drown

Dear Hate
Well, you sure are colorblind
Your kiss is the cruelest kind
You could poison any mind
Just look at mine
Don’t know how this world keeps spinning ’round and ’round

Dear Hate
You were smiling from that Selma bridge
In Dallas, when that bullet hit and Jackie cried
You pulled those towers from the sky
But even on our darkest nights
The world keeps spinning ’round

Dear Love
Just when I think you’ve given up
You were there in the garden when I ran from your voice
I hear you every morning through the chaos and the noise
You still whisper down through history and echo through these halls
And tell me love’s gonna conquer all

September Hybrid Layouts

Happy Friday, friends!  And more importantly, happy almost Fall Season!  Soon that fresh, crisp air and pumpkin pie will be here and I can hardly wait.

In the last couple of days, the temperature in SoCal has started to shift, and something about the taste of seasonal change has reinvigorated my crafty spirit! So, with that, I was excited to jump into the projects I’m sharing today, #1 because the September Digital Kit by Ali Edwards is beautiful, and #2 because documenting this last quarter of the year is always my favorite and these projects mark the beginning of that process.

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First up I put together this super simple page for my Summer Traveler’s notebook (TN).  This was my first time doing a full page photo in my notebook, and now I’m obsessed!  I will definitely be using this format over and over in notebooks from now on. Also, just a tip if you’re afraid of the edges of your photo coming up on your notebook: use red line tape.  This tape is super strong. You have to be extra careful placing your photo, but once it’s down, it’s down for good!

SZayas_September2017Digitals_DetailProj2.jpgIn case you’re interested in seeing more pages out of my Summer Traveler’s notebook you can click on over to my Instagram to find them there.

SZayas_September2017Digitals_FullLayoutProj1.jpgMy next project was an insert for my 6″ x 8″ binder.  This photo was taken last year because let’s be honest, its still waaaay too hot for boots and jackets, but I wanted to put together something to celebrate the coming season, and this felt like the perfect way to do that. SZayas_September2017Digitals_DetailProj1.jpgOkay, now I’m definitely ready for a chai latte :)

Summertime Hybrid Layouts

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Hi Friends!

Today I’m back to share a couple of layouts I put together using the June digital releases from Ali Edwards.  I absolutely loved working with this month’s kit, which was filled with fun summertime details as well as some Father’s Day elements.

SZayas_JuneDigitalKit_Detail_Project1.jpgFirst up is the layout I put together for Father’s Day.  When I first saw the card that said “So Thankful For You Dad.  Super Love You” I knew I had to do something special.  While I wanted to have a layout for myself, I also wanted to find a way to turn this into a card that I could give to my Dad.  In order to do that I took the “Dad Stories” 3″ x 8″ card and adhered a photo to the back to make it into a bookmark.  It was the perfect alternative to a card and I love that its handmade and extra special.  I love that my dad and I will both have a copy of the journaling and this great photo.

SZayas_JuneDigitalKit_FullLayoutProj.jpgNext up is a layout I put together using a lot of the summer-themed elements from the kit.  The colors worked perfectly with the photos from this celebratory weekend in May so I really didn’t have to do anything other than print everything out.  Love when that happens!SZayas_JuneDigitalKit_Detail_Proj2.jpg

I’m looking forward to making many more summer-themed layouts in the next couple of months!

Thoughts on Story Camp 2017

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Last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend the 2017 Ali Edwards Story Camp in Eugene, OR.  If you had told me even six months ago that I was going to have an opportunity to meet Ali, who has so heavily influenced the way I think about memory keeping, and in turn just thinking about everyday life, I probably would have brushed it off in disbelief.   So, as uber cliche as this is to say, going to this event was honestly a bit of a dream come true for me.StoryCamp1.jpg

Story Camp started on Friday (June 2) evening with a writing workshop.  Writing has always been my biggest challenge when it comes to memory keeping, so I was excited to dive into this portion.  Some prompts proved to be more challenging than others, but I was happy to stick with it.  The whole session felt therapeutic being surrounded by so many supportive friends who understand why this is important.

StoryCamp3.jpgSaturday was a very full day.  After breakfast and a quick walk to grab a chai latte, the day began. We finished up the writing portion of the workshop and then headed into the 4 projects Ali had planned for us.  It was so fun stretching myself with each project.  Each project got me out of my comfort zone in some way, and for that I’m grateful.2017-06-08 09.11.18 1.jpg

(Photo above by Laura Wosnik)

I’m so used to scrapping on my own, so to have the opportunity to walk around and see what others were working on, and to see their excitement about the projects, was so much fun.

In the evening I had dinner with 4 fellow creative team members, Brandi Kinkad, Jess Forster, Laura Wonsik, and Pam Baldwin.  It was seriously the best.  Each of them has inspired me so much, and to have the chance to talk to them (in real life!) was incredible.  Jess also recorded a bit of our conversation to go on her podcast (coming soon!), so you might want to check that out if you’re interested in hearing multiple perspectives on what people got out of the workshop.

StoryCamp4.jpgIf I were to plan my trip all over again I would have given myself 2 extra days- one to explore Portland and another to explore Eugene, but, in the few minutes that I did get to walk around, I tried to make the most of it.  I was super charmed by lovely Eugene.

The whole experience was pretty emotional for me, which definitely came out in a good cry on Sunday morning when I met up with Ali, Katie, and the other creative team member attendees for donuts and conversation . . . and inevitably, to say goodbye.

2017-06-08 09.11.12 1.jpgSo, here I am, one week later, still trying to process everything and how much it meant to me.  I will forever be grateful to Ali and Katie for their generosity, and to each and every person that attended who I got to know and hear their stories.StoryCamp6.jpgIMG_5826.jpg

Spring Reading Recap

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Hi friends,

I’m back today with another reading recap!  I enjoyed some really good books in April and May, so today I thought I’d share.

First Comes Love by Emily Griffin: I’m a big fan of Emily Griffin novels.  She seems to find a really good balance between lightheartedness and emotional.  This story follows two very different sisters, their relationship with each other, the life struggles they are going through, and how they are dealing with a tragic family accident that happened many years before.  The way I’m describing it probably makes it sound more sad than it is.  There’s a nice balance between emotional and funny, lighthearted moments.

Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes:  This book would be perfect to take on a trip!  The first half of the book (about 150 pages) is a short story about a young woman who gets stood up by her boyfriend in Paris, but breaks out of her shell and makes the most of her trip!  The last half of the book is made up of several more short stories.  Typically, I’m not into short stories.   I usually feel like just as soon as I start to get into it, it’s over, but this book was pretty enjoyable.

The Widow by Fiona Barton: After a couple of lighthearted books, I went for something darker.  In a nutshell, the story is about a woman whose husband is accused of kidnapping and murdering a little girl.  The story is seen from multiple perspectives: The widow, the detective who follows the case, a reporter, the mom of the kidnapped girl.  The subject matter made me cringe, but I found myself reading on to find out how it all would end.

Startup: A Novel by Doree Shafir:  This was my Book of the Month pick for April.  At first, I found this book really hard to get into.  I started it before I read ‘Paris for One’ and ‘The Widow’ but only got through about 20 pages before putting it down for awhile.  I’m so happy I decided to give this one another try.  In the first few pages the tech lingo really frustrated me, but once I got through those first couple of chapters I found myself hooked on each character’s story and how they are all woven together.

The One and Only by Emily Griffin:  As much as I love Emily Griffin novels, this one was sadly not a big hit for me.  Listened to this one as an audiobook as I was painting our downstairs bathroom and driving to and from work.  I’ll admit that it kept me entertained in that regard, but I don’t know if I would have been able to just sit and read it from cover to cover.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware: I’m currently on the wait list for “The Woman in Cabin 10” so while I was waiting (I’m still waiting . . .) for that one to come in I decided to listen (its another audiobook) to In a Dark, Dark Wood.  This book is great on many levels.  It’s laugh out loud funny at times, each character is interesting in their own right, and its all set in a who done it type of plot.  So good.

Currently I have ‘Into the Water,’ ‘And We’re Off,’ and ‘Since We Fell’ on my bookshelf.  What are you reading?

Hybrid Pocket Page Layout

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I know I’ve said this so many times before, but as much as I love working with traditional paper products on layouts, there’s just something so clean and simple about going digital/hybrid.  The biggest perk (for me) is the ability to resize and customize colors.

SZayas_MayKit+Pets_Detail2_Project1.jpgFor this layout I used Ali Edwards’ May Digital Kit and the ‘Pets’ digital brush set that also released this month.  The colors in the kit were so bright and fun, but not everything coordinated with the colors in my photos.  That’s where a bit of customization came in handy.

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I changed the color of the quote card (top right) to better match the ice cream cup in the photo below it, and also changed the colors of the “Love Us” and “Special Moment” embellishments to better math the colors on the page.  It’s amazing how the smallest changes can make a world of difference in the look and feel of a page!

Lens Story Kit Layout

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I’m pretty sure I say this with just about every new Ali Edwards Story Kit release, but the new Lens Story Kit  has to be my favorites!  All of the icons and colors have me like, WOAH!  This kit is not only beautiful, but the ‘Lens’ theme is so versatile.  I can definitely see myself writing down some meaningful stories using this kit.SZayas_Lens_Detail1.jpg

This 2-page 6″ x 8″ layout was put together using mainly the digital kit.  In fact, the only piece that isn’t from the digital kit is the top right circle where I used my traditional stamps to stamp out ‘Lens’ in blue ink and ‘See the Good’ and ‘Today’s View’ in grey ink.

All of these photos are from my documentation of Week in the Life, which I captured last week, and I’m thinking I might actually use these as title pages when I start to put my album together.  I like the idea of having a page that provides an overview for the week before jumping into each day.  Plus, now I actually feel a bit ahead of the game having a page in my album done! It’s a win, win!