Studio Calico Great Escape Release

Hi, Friends!

I’ve been trying to think of how I should start my first blog post after quite a break, but to be honest, I think that’s what has been holding me back from posting for a little while.

So instead of trying to figure out how to start this post, I’m just going to jump right in with a fun announcement and a couple of fun projects!

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve joined the Studio Calico creative team!  Honestly, this has been such a dream come true.  As a long-time subscriber to the SC kits and being a big time fan of ALL their products I’m so grateful to have an opportunity to work with a brand that I love so much!

Clicking the photo below will take you to the announcement on the Studio Calico website where you can click through to check out the other ladies that make up this awesome team!

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 11.16.00 AM.png____________________________________________________________________________________________

I’m looking forward to sharing lots of projects in the coming months, but today I wanted to share my documenter layouts using this month’s Great Escape Documenter kit.  I’ll be back on Tuesday to share the projects I put together using the brand new Traveler’s Notebook kit (spoiler alert: the kit is AMAZING!).



The colors in this month’s kit are so bright and fresh, perfect for documenting all the summer details!

SZ_Doc2_Detail1.jpgSZ_Doc2_Detail2.jpgSZ_Doc2.jpgIf you’d like to purchase your own documenter kit, or any of the new goodies that are being released in July, you can find them here.

Disclaimer: Please note that the links above are affiliate links, which means that I will earn a small commission for any products purchased through the links.  All opinions are my own :).  Thank you for your support!


January/February Book Roundup

IMG-1791.JPGToday I’m dusting off the old blog and sharing a roundup of what I read over the last two months!  Late last year I made a very conscious decision that this year I would spend less time watching TV and more time reading in my down time.  That decision combined with some serious third trimester insomnia has allowed me time to enjoy some really great books.  I’m well on my way to meeting my goal of finishing 30 books this year . . . although I’d love to exceed that number!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine:  I loved this book so much!  I’m happy this was my first completed book in 2018 and I’m hoping it sets the tone for many more great books to come this year.  This book is both hilarious and heartbreaking.  (5 stars).

Fierce Kingdom: This one was a little hard for me to get into, but it started picking up mid-way through and got pretty exciting towards the end. (3.5 stars).

And We’re Off: This was a pretty quick read and makes a great travel companion!  I enjoyed the coming of age story and found the exploration of the mother/daughter dynamic to be a nice addition to the overall story.  (3 stars)

Since We Fell:  This was my first Dennis Lehane novel, and I have to admit that the reason I gravitated towards putting this book in my cart is because I knew he wrote Shutter Island and Mystic River.  I really enjoy Lehane’s writing style and even though the beginning was pretty slow, I appreciated the character development.  The story turns into more of a thriller about mid-way through and there are some unexpected twists and turns.  Overall I really enjoyed this one. (4 stars)

Who Do You Love:  This book started out great and I had really high hopes for it with the sweet plot line.  However, about mid-way through I found myself getting frustrated with the characters and their relationship drama.  I think this book was worth finishing, and I’d still give it an average rating, but it wasn’t my favorite. (3 stars)

Everything, Everything: Another YA novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.  It was a quick read with an unexpected twist, and I’d definitely recommend it! (4 stars)

The Magnolia Story:  Who doesn’t love Chip and Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper?  I was happy I got to listen to this one as an audiobook because hearing Chip and Joanna read their own words just added to the experience.  Listening to how they built their businesses and their relationship was so fun and inspirational. (4 stars).

Dark Matter:   I saw this book everywhere last year.  It seemed like everyone was talking about how they couldn’t put down.  It definitely didn’t disappoint.  Normally I’m not really into science fiction, but the story here has a perfect balance of sci-fi, action/adventure, and love.  (4 stars)

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Lugo: Old hollywood glam meets maximum drama.  That’s probably the worst book description ever, but since this book wasn’t quite my cup of tea and I know how many people really love this book, that’s all I’ll say.  After finishing Dark Matter it was nice to have something different, but let’s just say that I’m happy to move on to my next book :) (3.5 stars)

GIVE Story Kit Project Life Layouts

Wow friends, it feels like forever since I’ve shared a project life spread here on the blog.  As I’ve mentioned previously, this year I decided to take a much more relaxed approach to this project.  Instead of completing weekly spreads like I did in 2016, I really didn’t have a plan for this year.  I decided to simply work on pages when I felt inspired to do so.  While I sometimes feel a bit sad that I have a bunch of photos and memories from this year still on my phone and not printed or documented in any way, I still feel like I made the right choice for myself this year. Next year is a different story though, and I’ll talk more about how I plan to document 2018 next month.  IMG_0752

November was a fantastic month.  I can see why people call the second trimester of pregnancy the “honeymoon period.”  I was finally able to get back into the rhythm of doing things again (including crafting) and it felt amazing.

IMG_0753IMG_0758IMG_0759For the layouts above I used the November Digital Story Kit “GIVE” by Ali Edwards.  This kit is perfect for documenting Thanksgiving traditions, and also for documenting gratitude in general, and so much more.

Although I may add more to my 2017 Project Life album eventually, these will likely be the last layouts I put together for this year.  I have a feeling that December Daily is going to be the only crafty project that gets my attention in December, but that’s okay with me!

DIY: Simple Friendsgiving Menu Cards


This past weekend I had the fun opportunity of hosting what has become an annual Friendsgiving tradition with a small group of friends that I’ve known since Middle School.  It was a very low key evening with delicious food, games, and lots of laughter- basically the best kind of gathering :)

Friendsgiving3.jpgEven though we had a very simple menu I knew I wanted to make something special for each place setting, so when Ali Edwards released her November digitals last week I was happy to see a very cute Friendsgiving card!  The card originally said “Super Thankful for this Crew,” which actually would have been perfect, but I decided to keep things really simple by erasing that bit of text and adding in the date.  For the back I used pieces from a couple of other cards in the same collection to build a menu.  After printing out both sides on white cardstock I adhered them to a half sheet of kraft cardstock, tied some twine at the top, and voila! place setting menu cards made! Friendsgiving 2.jpgOf course these menu cards were totally unnecessary, but it’s these small details that I  always hope make each guest feel appreciated and loved.  Plus, they looked super cute and kind of distracted from the wrinkles on the tablecloth (#NoTimeForIroning).  Friendsgiving 5.jpgI failed at getting a whole group shot (or many photos at all for that matter) that night, but I did sneak this one at the very end.  I love these girls so much!Friendsgiving4.jpgWishing you the happiest of times in all of your family and friend gatherings this month!

December Daily® 2017 | Video Overview of Foundation Pages

DDFoundationPages.jpgThe time is here!  We’ve finally reached November, when it’s considered totally acceptable and not weird to be discussing December Daily®! Although, to be transparent, I’ve been dropping December Daily photos on my Instagram since September. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with being a little weird ;)

Today I’m here to share my plan and foundation pages for my 2017 album. Let’s get started!

DD List and Calendar.jpgPlanning Ideas:

While foundation pages are totally new to me this year, my planning process still remains the same.  I hold strong to two things that have helped me most the last two years in completing my album by the end of December (or early January).

  1. List of Ideas: I cannot stress how helpful brainstorming a list like this has been in keeping me on track with my album the last two years.  When I start to create my list I already know that I may/may not document every single thing there, but it gives me a fallback for days that I’m struggling with ideas on what to document.
  2. December Calendar:  One of my favorite tools to use for setting up and working on my album is my December Calendar.  This calendar is strictly for December events that I know I want to record in my album (appointments and all other general activities are kept on a separate calendar).  I write down things such as Christmas parties, cookie baking gatherings, holiday plays, etc.  Knowing what’s going to be happening throughout the month not only helps as I’m building my foundation pages, but also reminds me to record those events in my album. Sometimes I record events in my album on the same day they occur in real life (for example, if a Christmas party happens on the 22nd, sometimes it will go on the 22nd day in my album), but this is not always the case.   I’m definitely not tied to doing things in chronological order because I know that in looking back on my albums, the date will be irrelevant while the activity itself will be what I want to remember. (P.s. the calendar in the photo above comes from Jasmine Jones’ 2016 digital mini kit)

DD3.jpgFoundation Pages:

As I mentioned before, building foundation pages is something that is new to me this year.  I’m always admiring other people’s foundation pages, but I’ve always worried that creating them would hinder my flexibility when I started to work on my album in December.  However, I wanted to try it this year.  Can’t knock it ’til you try it! Plus, the idea of getting a little more ahead this year and at least having all of my numbers in place sounded so appealing, so we’ll see how it goes!

In order to keep maximum flexibility I didn’t do anything too detailed to my pages, I didn’t adhere anything down, and I kept a very neutral color scheme.

Traveler’s Notebook Journal

This year I’ve decided to work on a traveler’s notebook in addition to my 6″x8″ album.  This notebook is mainly going to be for journaling to capture everyday stories, thoughts, feelings, basically all of the extra “stuff” that never makes it into my album.  I may do some stamping or embellishing inside, but my main focus for this notebook is on the words and I’m not going to worry about it looking (too) pretty.

Supplies I’ll be Using:

2017 Ali Edwards Main Kit  (note: physical kit is sold out, but the digital kit can be purchased here)

2016 Paislee Press Mini Kit (note: physical kit is sold out, but the digital kit can be purchased here)

This 6×8 album

Ali Edwards Black and White card set

(*Please note that the supplies listed above were graciously provided to me as being part of the Ali Edwards Creative Team, however, all opinions are my own. None of the links in this post are affiliate links)

Large Cork Numbers

Be Merry Kit by Kelly Purkey: I plan to use this mainly for my Traveler’s Notebook

*I’ll also be pulling in some other items from my general stash and leftovers from previous years’ kits.

In case you’re interested, I’ve also put together a video overview of all of my pages where you can hear me talk a little more about my process of setting up my album.

Leave me a comment if you have any questions at all! :)


2017 Gratitude Traveler’s Notebook

IMG-0027.JPGFor the last two years I’ve embarked on a little project gratitude journey in November.   I feel like every year this project becomes more and more meaningful as I contemplate each “thing” I’m thankful for in greater depth.

In 2015 and 2016, this project was a daily one where I shared one page per day on Instagram.  The experience was amazing and hearing feedback from some people that they felt inspired to make their own book this year is something that makes my heart so happy!

Given the busyness of this season of my life right now I know that keeping up with a daily project is probably not going to happen for me this month, but I’m still not giving up on this project!  This year I will still be working on a Traveler’s Notebook filled with many of the things that I’m thankful for.  I won’t be sharing pages daily, but the posts on my Instagram will still be regular and you can bet that even though I wont be making a page every day, the daily gratitude will still be happening.


Today I wanted to take a minute to share the setup of my notebook and some of the supplies that I’m planning to use.  This year I decided to go with a hybrid scrapbooking approach in a Traveler’s Notebook, and so far I’m loving it!  I’ll be using papers from the Paislee Press Friendsgiving collection to dress up the look of each page.  Two things I love about using digital papers for a traveler’s notebook is that I can crop them to whatever size I need before printing (so there’s less waste!) and that I can print on regular printer paper, which is easier to adhere as it isn’t as bulky as cardstock.  I’ll also be typing my journaling and then cutting it down to fit perfectly in my notebook.

Below is a look at how I put together one of my pages over the weekend in preparation for this blog post.   My plan is to lay out all of my pages in Photoshop before printing.  It’s super simple, I’ll just have my patterned paper on the left and text on the right.  The guides that you see here are where I ended up cutting when the page was printed.Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 8.36.25 AM.png

Here is a look at what my page looks like after adding in a few embellishments.


In terms of embellishments so far I’ve only pulled these die cut shapes from Felicity Jane Studio to use along with some stamps from my collection.  I’ll probably add in other bits and pieces as I go along, but for the most part I’ll just be keeping every page really simple.

In terms of general supplies, here’s what I’m planning to use:

Tombow Mono permanent adhesive:  I don’t recommend this for adhering heavy cardstock into notebooks, but it works great for adhering the light weight printer paper..

Thermoweb Tape:  I use this to adhere my photos inside my notebooks since I haven’t found a regular tape adhesive that provides a good enough bond for photo paper or cardstock.

Glue Dots: I use this for adhering embellishments.

Stamp Sets used on Notebook Cover:

“Charles” alphabet stamp set by Kelly Purkey. This set is currently not available on Kelly’s site, but there are many other awesome alpha stamps to choose from :)  This is the one I used in my 2015 and 2016 books, and this is kind of a fun twist on that.

I also used the Time for Leaves set from Ali Edwards.

My traveler’s notebook is from Michaels and it’s actually really great quality.  I wish it had more pages, but for the quality at $3 I’m loving it!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask, and if you’re putting your own gratitude album together this year then I hope you enjoy the wonderful and fulfilling feelings the whole gratitude journey brings.



Some very special news

2017-10-13 03.58.20 1.jpgI’m super excited to share this special news today! It’s hard to believe that we are more than halfway into this little peanut’s development.  She is already so loved and we can’t wait to meet her early next year! :)

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.


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

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