July Roundup

Goodbye JulyWow, life has been crazy busy.  Not in the “this is such a cute project that I just have have to blog about it” kind of crazy, but more like a “let’s knock out some of these tedious, not-so-fun, DIY projects around the house so we can relax and love where we live even more” kinds of crazy.  Who knew it could take over 4 hours to paint an indoor banister??  Yes, life has been busy, but still really REALLY wonderful.

I can’t believe August is almost here.  This month flew by (as every month seems to do), but I’m happy to say that I did tackle most of my goals this month which is great in part to the fact I’ve decided to take a short hiatus from choosing 5 new goals each month.  If you enjoy goal making as much as me, though, you’ll be happy to know that my reason for taking a break from the monthly goals is so I can dive straight into a list of 27 goals I hope to accomplish while I’m 27. I’ll be sharing that list next month, but for now I’ll just say that my 27 goals are a bit ambitious, but totally do-able and exciting- isn’t that how goals should be anyways?  Let’s make this August a good one, shall we?

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Happy Mail

Happy Mail CoverLet me go ahead and state the obvious right now that happy mail is awesome!  What is happy mail?  My definition of happy mail is any kind of mail that is going to brighten someone’s day- a card, cookies for a neighbor, flowers for a coworker- something that gets delivered an makes someone’s day a little happier.  It’s thoughtful, right?  We all want to feel appreciated.  We all like to receive reminders that someone’s thinking of us and we are loved.  In a world that gets more and more fast paced every minute, we seem to sometimes forget to do those things.  I know I’m guilty of that!Happy Mail 3

So, I added the goal of sending out some happy mail to my July goals list.  It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for awhile but always took the backburner.  This month I finally made it happen. Happy mail sent and delivered!

It was fun brainstorming ideas of what to send out.  I ended up going with a Starbucks gift card.  It was my way of buying 5 people I love a cup of coffee :-)  Very simple- it didn’t cost a lot of money and it wasn’t hard to assemble the little packages.  It did take time to put everything together, but that’s kind of the point- spending time to make something special for someone special. Happy Mail 5Happy Mail 6Happy Mail 1It’s cliche to say, but so very true- giving a gift to another is also like giving a gift to yourself.  I was so happy to put these little envelopes in the mail.  It really is happy mail . . . for the giver and the receiver!

Party Party App + Summer Daybook sneak

PartyParty (1)Hello there and happy Friday!  Today I wanted to combine two of my current favorites- working on my summer daybook and playing around with the new Party Party app.  I haven’t quite figured out how to get my video to loop, but if you click on the photo above it should “rewind” and play again :-)  So far I’ve loved playing with this app.  Can’t wait to get all of my girlfriends together so we can test out the photobooth strips!

Photoshop: 3 quick tips for enhancing images

Phtoshop Tips (Cover)Hello, hello! Today I wanted to share few of my favorite go-to Photoshop tips.  I use photoshop for editing about 90% of the images I post on this blog (even if they are really minor edits) so it’s one of my staple tools for sure!  I love how even minor editing can make a picture go from GOOD to WOW!  There are super advanced techniques that can be used in photoshop, but they are much more time intensive.  What I want to share today is something that can transform one of your photos in less than 10 minutes.  If you have Photoshop or are considering purchasing it I really hope you find these tips useful!

1. Playing with image settings.  When I first started doing image editing in photoshop I could spend over an hour editing one photo simply because I would take it through every adjustment in the “Image>Adjustments” menu.  I liked to see what everything did.  That playing around definitely worked towards my advantage because now I can get a feel for the adjustments that any photo needs even before I mess around with it.  I would encourage playing around with the adjustments as much as possible to get familiar with what they do.  You’ll be amazed at what these tools can do for your photos.  My first adjustments are usually Levels (to remove dark casts), Brightness (to increase the bright light) and Hue/Saturation (because I love really saturated photos!)

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 6.51.20 PMBefore plantsAfter plants

2. Using actions.  Actions essentially allow you to click a button and let the program follow a set of commands to apply adjustments.  It’s usually a one-step enhancement that’s been tested many times by whoever created the action.  I love actions for the mere fun of getting a different look.  It gets me to think outside the box of the typical adjustments and embrace a new look for a photo.  The action I used on the photo below came from this Florabella Collection.  Some good actions are really pricey, but if you’re not interested in spending time to make your own adjustments or you just have a TON of photos to edit, this may be a good option for you.  Tou can also create your own actions!Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 6.34.39 PMScreen shot 2014-07-08 at 6.37.21 PMRoller skatin before_after (actions)3. Perhaps your image is a little blurry but it just happens to be your favorite photo in the stack?  Try making the image black and white or raising the offset so it washes the photo out a bit.  The blurriness won’t be as obvious and it might actually enhance a whimsical look. Love this trick!

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 6.29.13 PMScreen shot 2014-07-08 at 6.29.24 PMBefore and After (offset)

Completed D.C. Daybook

Hello and happy Monday!  Today I’m here to share my completed Washington D.C. Daybook.  If you remember several weeks ago when I shared the cover you might notice that the size of the book has changed.  After assessing all of the tickets and brochures I had collected from the trip, I realized that it would make a lot more sense to work with a larger format.  I’m so happy I made the switch!  I decided to use this simple format for my book. The cover of the original book fit perfectly onto this book, so I didn’t have to create a new one.  I like how it ended up looking like a simple banner.  It was difficult to narrow down what photos I wanted to include, but I think this selection tells a really good story.

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Happy Friday! Currents

Friday flowersCurrently . . .

4:07 in the afternoon

Enjoying these beautiful flowers that O surprised me with last night.  Every “just because” gift feels so special.

Thankful that I had great company to do yoga with this morning.

Feeling okay with the fact that today has been one of the least productive days off in awhile.  At least I’m meeting my July goal of relaxing more :-)

Trying to be really kind to my body this week.  Eating salad for lunch every day, not grabbing sugar as a late night snack, and resting when I feel like it.

Loving Fridays!

 

 

 

Wandering Adventures on Balboa Island

 

Balboa IslandLast Sunday Omar and I took a little day trip to Balboa Island.  We had thought about going down for the 4th of July, but we didn’t know if we would have any luck even getting on the island with the large crowds, so we opted for an Angels baseball game with finale fireworks (a pretty awesome replacement :-) and headed out to Balboa a couple days later.  It was great impromptu adventure!  The island was still decorated for the 4th so we were able to continue the long weekend festivities.  CandlesBalboa 2 Balboa Candy Shop

I had explored the side of Balboa that has the ferris wheel and arcade when I was in my young teens, but I had never walked through all the little shops on the other side- I didn’t even know they were there!  Each shop is incredibly charming in its own way and I loved seeing all of the unique handmade crafts.  We picked out a hand dipped blood orange scented candle at a little candle shop, and  yes, that is me stocking up on some delicious saltwater taffy in the photo above.  Candles and candies- this girl has her priorities in order ;-) Boats

After venturing through the shops for awhile we walked along the water and then headed to Newport (just a couple miles away) for some delicious Italian Food at Mama D’s Italian Kitchen.  Man that place has some crazy good pasta!  It was the perfect finale to some afternoon wandering :-)Food

2014 Project Life- Weeks 23-24

PL_Week 23

Yay for dual page Project Life spreads! For the last two weeks I have embraced the 8 extra plastic pockets and moved beyond the single page layout. So, why the change? Planning. I’m such a huge fan of planning in my everyday life, but for some reason I always skipped a planning step when it came to putting my PL spreads together.  I’d jump straight to printing photos and skip over planning out where they would go along with my journaling cards and other bits and pieces I’d want to include.  So, this time around I mapped things out with post-it notes by writing down what I wanted to include in each pocket and then sticking that note on the proper pocket.  Not exactly rocket science here, but it worked and really sped up the process of putting the layouts together.
PL_Week 23_Page 1 closeupPL_Week 23 (page 1)

Week 23 was the week of my half marathon and a fun little bowling outing (amazingly, both events took place on the same day! lol)  I knew I wanted to create a little visual diagram to go along with my thoughts about the race, so I made a pie chart to highlight some of the things I enjoyed about the race. It also added a nice pop of color to the journaling card.PL_Week 23_Page 2 CloseupPL_Week 23_Page 2   PL_Week 24 PL_Week 24_Page 1 CloseupPL_Week 24_Page 1
PL_Week 24_Page 2 CloseupPL_Week 24_Page 2
Week 24 had Father’s Day weekend in it, and it was also the week we left for D.C.  I wanted to include a spread that was solely about the flight because honestly, that was one looooong flight!

I’m really happy with my new “mapping out” method.  I’m going to continue to use this strategy and hope that it will result in even more 2-page spreads!

 

Summer Daybook Tutorial

Daybook

Happy 4th of July friends! I’m super excited to be sharing this tutorial on the blog today in celebration of this special holiday.  To me, the fourth of July doesn’t just mark a really important day in our country’s history, it also marks the beginning of Summer (for me).  The festivities of this special day make it feel like we’re not only celebrating a holiday, but also some kind of summer kickoff.   So of course some photos from this special day are going to be the very first photos I put into this daybook.  If you’re curious about how to document your summer in a fun way, then this book is totally for you.  I’ll be stopping by a couple times this summer to share ideas and tips from how I’m filling up my daybook, but for now I hope you can grab a lemonade and some supplies, and join me in putting this booklet together!  Summer Daybook 1

I feel like a really good size for a daybook is a half sheet of paper (8.5 x 5.5).  You can of course make your book bigger or smaller, but I’ve found that for me this is a decent size for photos and journaling. Here, I took an 8.5 x 11″ sheet of kraft cardstock and folded it in half.  This will be the cover that holds everything together.
Summer Daybook 2

Next, I took some patterned papers of different sizes, a piece of tracing paper, and half of a coffee filter to use as my inserts.  I really like using papers with different textures and sizes throughout the book because it adds a lot of interest. One thing to keep in mind as you’re selecting your papers is that you’ll be utilizing both sides of the paper.  Unless you want a white page in your book (which is sometimes great!)  then you should try to stick with double-sided patterned paper.
Summer Daybook 3Next, I fold all of my papers in half.  I fold some directly down the center, and others I like to off center so not all of the pages are the same size.  Like the textured paper, this is just another way to add more interest to the book :-)

Summer Daybook 4

Once I have my papers cut to the size I want, I get to arrange them in a way that looks good to me.  Summer Daybook 5Summer Daybook 6

Next, I use my crop-a-dile to cut two small holes on either side of my cover seam.  When I don’t have a lot of pages in my book I like to use the small punch.  It’s harder to get the string through the holes, but the book seems to have a tighter fit so the pages don’t move around very much. Summer Daybook 7

Next, I tie my my pages together!
Summer Daybook 8Summer Daybook 9

Summer Daybook CoverSummer Daybook back cover

Finally it’s time to decorate the book covers! For my covers I wrapped a piece of patterned paper all the way around and embellished the front with some chipboard alphas, die cuts and washi tape.  Simple and fun . . . just how summer should be! Summer Daybook Inside