A special project for my 29th year

29album229album5Right around my birthday this year (in August) I started thinking about what kind of special project I could work on to help me capture this final year in my twenties.  I wanted to do something a little more personal than Project Life (PL), something that would capture my personal stories, feelings, and basically just record who I am at this time in my life.

Initially I had very little direction for this project.  I figured this would be a bit of an art journal and I’d just throw things in as I felt inspired.  Bad plan.  If I know one thing about myself its that if I don’t start with some kind of plan, the whole project just fades away.


I let this project sit for almost a month and then inspiration hit in the form of the latest Story Kit by Ali Edwards.  The ‘Me’ story kit is perfect for self-reflection! It was exactly what I needed to get this project going.

I started with the general “About Me” page which was easy enough to complete.  I’m generally not much of a journaler, so this was a good warm up :)


Next up, I created this fun 2×2 square pocket layout using some of the messy circles and sentiments that came in the digital kit along with some fun wood veneer shapes.  I don’t want this journal to only be about journaling and self-reflection.  I plan to throw in plenty of design/just for fun pages as well, because that’s where I feel that my personality has the most potential to shine through.


Okay, next for the journaling. I took my time filling out these “Facts About Me” and “This I Love” cards and then tucked them into a bag (hidden behind the photo), which acted as a little hidden pocket.  Not so practical, but how fun is a pocket that makes this journal a little more interactive. ;-)29album1I think one of the biggest helpers for someone like me who is always wondering, ‘what should I write?’ is the prompt stickers.  These prompts are hopefully going to keep me consistent with updating my journal over the next 10 months.  My plan is to take one prompt every couple of weeks or so and do some writing!  I’m thinking this will get me into a rhythm of not only updating my journal, but also adding in the other bits and pieces that I love so much.


I’m not quite sure how much of this journal I’ll be sharing here (we’ll see how personal it gets ;) but I’ll probably do a quick update in a few months and then again after my 30th birthday.

Have you ever attempted to make a personal journal?  What did this type of project look like for you?

2016 Project Life (Jan-June) Video


Hi friends!

Today I’m here to share a huge project life (PL) update!  In late August I worked hard on wrapping up all of my PL pages from January through June, and while I can’t say that I got every week into my album, I think I’ve captured everything that I’d like to in this project.

I’m still loving working on my album (even though I’m currently about 2 months behind, EEK!) so hopefully I can successfully finish all of my July-December pages and share another flip through video in January! :)

You can watch the video here or watch it over on my YouTube channel.

(Please note that the photos below are only of pages that I have not shared on the blog previously.  All other pages can be found in the archives :)


Thanks so much for stopping by!

Mentioned in this Video:

Kelly Purkey’s 2015 Project Life Album

Paislee Press Monthly Calendar Cards

Gratitude Cards by Jen Schow

Story Kits by Ali Edwards

Heartbeat at My Feet by One Little Bird

We R Memory Keepers 6×12 Die Storage album



What I Read in the Summer

whativebeenreadingHappy Friday, friends!

How crazy is it that we’re already heading into the Fall?  I don’t know about you but I’m incredibly excited about cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes (they’re back) and hopefully being able to wear my boots again soon!  I’m so ready to curl up under a blanket with a good book every once in awhile (instead of sweating it out with the fan on full blast, ha!) I know it might be awhile before SoCal is blessed with a break in the heat, but I’ll be ready when it gets here!

Today I’d like to share with you what I read over the last few months.  A lot of the books I’m sharing here have been pretty popular (so much so that some have been made into movies!) so many reviews have already been posted, but I still wanted to share my thoughts :)

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter: This book was pretty far out from what I typically read, which is partly why I picked it up.  If this were a movie, there would have been quite a few cringe-worthy times I would have looked away. However, despite some really disturbing parts, I still found myself reading on.  I was intrigued to see what new twists the main character would go though.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes :  This book had so much hype a couple of years ago, but the recent reviews I had been hearing weren’t quite as positive.  Sometimes I wish that I didn’t care about reading reviews, but to be transparent, reviews and recommendations usually fuel what books I choose to read. That being said, I did quite enjoy it.  It wasn’t my favorite book of the summer and it felt a bit like a story I had already read, but I enjoyed the characters and it was heartfelt throughout.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert: I’m so happy I listened to this as an audiobook.  Having this book read aloud by Elizabeth Gilbert felt extra magical.  It was like having a friend in the car whose sole mission was to express her thoughts on creativity, pushing past barriers, and finding joy in things you’re making (whether they’re masterpieces or complete duds).  Sound amazing?  It was!!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: I listened to the first half of this as an audiobook and the second half I read. I loved all of the twists and turns of the plot and the back and forth between characters and time.  I also loved how each character had so many dimensions.  I honestly didn’t know who I should be rooting for.  Not sure how this will translate into a movie, but I guess we’ll soon find out!

Looking for Alaska by John Green: I only made it through about half of this book, which is pretty sad considering its only about 250 pages.  I really wanted to like it, but I couldn’t get into the characters’ stories.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman: My favorite book of the summer!  A pretty emotional read from start to finish, and I got so deeply involved in the main characters. I spent many late nights with this one so I could continue reading.  Can’t recommend it enough!

What are you reading?

How I’ve been using Story Kits in my Project Life Album

SZayas_Stuff_FullLayout.jpgHi Friends!  It’s been quite awhile since I shared an update on my Project Life (PL) album.  I’m happy to say that I’ve completed all of my pages from January-June (hooray!) and can’t wait to share a little flip through of those pages soon.  Today, however, I wanted to focus on a couple of pages that were created specifically using two Story Kits by Ali Edwards: Drive and Stuff.  While you can no longer purchase the physical kits, the digital version of the Story Stamps are still available here. :)

I’ve loved incorporating the Story Kits into my PL album more this year as a way of getting myself to do more journaling.  So far it has been working!  My natural tendency is to usually go very photo heavy and light on the journaling in my PL album and use my Story Kits on full page layouts or mini books, but mixing things up has been fun!

SZayas_Stuff_Detail.jpgI paired my “Stuff” Story Kit with photos from a wedding I went to with my family.  All good stuff here- time with family, celebrating marriage, having fun exploring the Queen Mary.  I loved the sentiments in this kit, and the colors paired really well too!

SZayas_Drive_FullLayout.jpgI paired my “Drive” Story Kit with photos from a recent trip to Yosemite.  This super quick roadtrip reminded me that the journey can be equally as fun as arriving at the destination (as long as you don’t get car fever!).  I don’t mind spending hours on end in the car with O because its just a great time to catch up.  We laugh, find new little places to stop for coffee or food (thank you Yelp!) and sometimes just do our own thing (me reading my book while he listens to music or podcast).  It was fun spending a little more time with this story and getting it into my album.

SZayas_Drive_Detail(with.pocket.flap.down).jpgOccasionally I’ll find myself at a complete loss for journaling about a specific story prompt (“Believe” was totally one of those!), but that’s when the class has come in super handy.  You get lots of ideas to fuel some fun projects.  The great news is that it’s FREE when you get the kit, the stamp, the digital set (or all three!).  It’s a total win!


If you’d like more information about the monthly Story Kits you can find it here.

If you’re a Story Kit subscriber I’d love to know how you use your kits.  Are you a story teller through your traditional layouts, mini books, PL album, all 3, or some other awesomely creative form?



December Daily 2016 | Kits unboxing video)

Hi friends!

Today I’m excited to share an unboxing video of the two December Daily® kits I’ll be using for my album this year. If you’re not familiar with December Daily®, you can find lots of information on what this project is all about on Ali Edwards’ website.

Last year was my first year completing an album and to this day it remains one of my favorite projects I have ever worked on (which is saying a lot!).  I knew at the end of last year that this is one project I’d definitely be tackling again.

Watching unboxing videos is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, so making my own was super fun, though I’ll admit a little nerve-racking being my first video. So many talented ladies out there just make it look so easy. :)

(You can also watch the video on YouTube here.)

If you’re interested in purchasing one of these kits (or seeing what comes in the other kits) you can find more information here.

Also, be sure to check out my fellow Creative Team members‘ Instagram and Blog accounts for more sneaky unboxing videos coming soon :)

If you’d like to see the pages from my 2015 December Daily® album you can find my previous posts here: Cover & Foundation Pages, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

Let me know if you have any questions!  If you’re participating this year I can’t wait to see what you make!



Friendship Mini Album

Hi Friends! Today I’m excited to share a fun mini book with you!  The idea for this mini was sparked by the new “Hello Friends” digital stamps by Ali Edwards and of course 17 years of friendship with my besties!   img_6837My initial project idea for these digital stamps was to do a traditional layout with some kind of grid format so I could include multiple photos.  However, once I started digging into the archives I found WAY too many fun photos I wanted to bring back to life!

Don’t you love how a project idea can change in an instant? Some of my favorite projects have come to fruition this way!img_6840I’ll admit that some of these photos were not the best quality . . . I’m talking horrible lighting, blurry faces,  interesting (a.k.a. unflattering) angles . . . but the emotions in these photos from some of our best times together are completely priceless.

To minimize the appearance of some of the photo flaws I simply turned them all black and white.  This method not only improved the look of the photos, but it also allowed me to play around with lots of fun, bright colors to brighten this mini up!img_6841All of the black and white patterned background papers came from the Ali Edwards’ digital Day in the Life Mini Kit No. 2 and I also used some elements from the Wild digital story stamp set .img_6843I also used some flamingo transparency paper (from Michaels) and a couple of other old patterned papers and some embellishments from my stash. img_6842img_6855img_6845img_6848img_6849img_6850img_6852I also adhered this “just us girls” mini flair from Feed Your Craft directly onto the inside cover of my 4×4 album (I love how strong the adhesives on these flairs are! They won’t budge!!) so it would remain visible the whole time I’m flipping through my album.img_6858

I’ll most likely continue adding to this book over time since these photos only scratch the surface of the MANY photos I’ve collected over the last 17 years, but this definitely feels like a very positive start!