December Daily® 2016 Preparations

2016-11-12 02.59.49 1.jpg

Hi Friends!

Today I’m sharing how I’ve prepared for my December Daily® project for this year.  I’ve also put a video together where I walk you through my album from last year, share what products I plan to use this year (and how I keep myself organized), and lastly, how I prep my album without the use of foundation pages so that I can feel confident that I won’t get stuck or not know how to move forward on my album once December comes!

2016-11-13 08.45.36 2.jpgSome background:

Last year was my second attempt at completing a December Daily album, but my first time actually doing it.  I took some time last year to assess what parts of my process worked for me and what didn’t so that this year I could feel confident going into this project.

While not everyone works on projects the same way, I’m hopeful that at least some of the tips I’m sharing today will help you with your December Daily® project, or any daily project that you might have lined up in the near future.2016-11-13 08.45.35 1.jpg

Here are some of the things that have worked for me:

Prepping my ideas, but not my pages: A lot of people like to build foundation pages. I totally get that and think the idea is brilliant for getting a head start on your album.  However, I find that building my pages beforehand reduces my flexibility later on.  I like to use my photos to drive what cards and embellishments I use in my pockets, so waiting until I have my photos printed is a must before I start adding things into the pockets.  Instead of adding to my pages, I use a piece of scratch paper to write out ideas of what stories I want to capture throughout the month.

On this piece of paper I make a list from 1-31 to represent each day of the month.  I fill in any days where I already know what activities are happening and below my calendar list I write in ideas for other stories I can capture that aren’t necessarily date specific.  This way, if I ever have a day where nothing is happening (and believe me, there are plenty of those days!) I never feel like I don’t have a story to tell.  Having this list handy also allows me to work ahead.  If I feel momentum to keep working on my album one day, I can capture a couple of stories from my list and actually get ahead!

Keeping my stash organized and minimal: This year’s stash is even bigger than last year’s, but I limited myself to one photo storage box for embellishments, and one small box for papers and cards.  Having a limited amount of supplies helps me remember what I have and ensures that I won’t spend too much time digging through things to find what I need.  I like using boxes to store everything so I can tuck it all away when I’m not working on my album.

Printing and Editing Photos:  I use a mixture of DSLR and camera phone photos for my December Daily, but anything that I snap on my phone I like to edit right away using the VSCO app.  This way it’s ready to go as soon as I import it onto my computer.

I try to print my photos every few days (or every day if possible!).  Printing photos is my least favorite part of working on projects, so if I can get that out of the way right away I’m more likely to work on my album in my free time.

I hope that you have found these tips to be helpful in some way.  One thing I like to remember is that while I see a lot of value in this project and want to capture this season, no project is worth stressing over.  It’s all about making it work for you and not the other way around!

Supplies Mentioned in the Video:

December Daily® Main Kit (Note: the main kit has sold out, but the digital version of this kit can still be purchased here.

Decor8 Mini Kit

Cozy Christmas Digital Stamps

December Calendar Digital Stamp (I used this on my December Calendar page)

December Details Digital Stamp

Digital Studio DIY Digital Mini Kit (I used a 6×8 paper from this mini kit as the foundation for My Reason Why page)

Holiday Planner stamps by Kelly Purkey

“Up” Story Kit™ Layout

SZayas_Up_FullLayout.jpgHi Friends!

Today I’m here to share my latest Story Kit™ layout for the Ali Edwards Digital Design Team.  I absolutely loved all the different themes that called for exploration with this month’s kit, but I decided to go the travel themed route so I could get a layout into my Travel Album!IMG_6951.jpg

If you remember me talking about my Travel Album in this previous post then you might remember me mentioning that I’d be working on documenting these trips in chronological order.  I totally went against that by working on Seattle, but the colors of these photos just worked so perfectly.  I’m constantly reminded that there are no rules in memory keeping, and the game plan can and should change to make it best work for you!  So, Seattle, here we go!SZayas_Up_Detail.jpg

Working with 9×12 is still an interesting challenge, but it’s been fun switching things up from the usual 6×12.IMG_6950.jpgIMG_6963.jpgIMG_6964.jpg

Have you broken into your <Up> Story Kit™ yet?  What stories are you telling this month?

Feed Your Craft October Projects

FYC.jpgHi Friends!

Today I’m excited to be sharing both of my Feed Your Craft (FYC) projects for October with you!

For my first project I put together a Project Life spread for the week of August 15.  I used flair from three different FYC sets to embellish the pockets: ReadingCoffee Lover,  and Currently.

If you’re interested in seeing how these pages came together, I have a process video up on my YouTube channel, or you can watch below. :)

My second project was a traditional 12×12 scrapbook layout.  Is it strange that I’ve only made a small handful of traditional layouts this year?  It’s so interesting to think that traditional layouts use to be my only form of memory keeping, and now it’s my least used format even though I do more memory keeping now more than ever! FYC Final.jpg

Somehow these traditional layouts just feel so special to me.  They typically take longer than any other project as I find myself fussing over the placement of each and every thing, but when it all comes together its so worth it!

For this layout I used a basic grid format. I loved mixing and matching photos with patterned papers and the little flair pieces were the perfect addition to finish this project off!  I used flair from the Hello Fall, Pumpkin Season, and Autumn Leaves sets.

Day in the Life™ (Oct. 2016)

SZayas_DITL_Detail.jpgHello, Friends!

Today I’m excited to be sharing my third and final Day in the Life™ (DITL) documentation of 2016 with you!

My plan for this year was to take a different approach to documenting each DITL so that I could get a feel for which format worked best for me.  However, now that I’ve tested out all of these formats I actually can’t really say that I have a favorite.  I saw benefits to each one!

> My first day was done in a traveler’s notebook

What I loved about the traveler’s notebook was that it gave me the freedom to treat each page as a blank canvas.  There wasn’t anything formulated about it, which I loved!  I got to throw in random little embellishments and washi tape everywhere, and just play around with each page.

> My second day was made into a mini book

I think this mini came together the most quickly of the three projects.  Taking one or two photos each hour and then documenting it just like that definitely streamlined the process.  I stuck to the format I had selected pretty closely, which meant that it wasn’t quite as exciting when I was assembling everything together, but overall I love the look of this mini!

> And my final day was documented as a spread in my regular Project Life album, which I’m sharing here today.

I feel like this might be the most practical way for me to document DITL.  Having this page in my PL album means that it has a permanent home somewhere, and it just kind of makes sense to have a DITL recorded somewhere amongst one of my typical weeks.SZayas_DITL_FullLayout.jpg

In the video below I’m sharing a peek at the differences between the physical and digital versions of the latest Day in the Life Kits, showing the process of putting this spread together, as well as sharing a bit about each of my Day in the Life projects from this year.  Hope you enjoy!  You can also watch the video over on my YouTube channel.


Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Travel Album Cover ( w/ process video)

travelalbumcover1Earlier this week I shared a process video on my YouTube channel (that still feels very strange to write ;) for the cover page of a new travel album!  Today I’m finally writing out a few more details about my plan for this slightly massive undertaking of a project.

This all started a few weeks ago when I started planning out the projects I wanted to start, complete, and let go of this year.   While I’m still on a mission to complete my 2016 Project Life Album by the end of this year, I wanted to push this travel album project towards the top of my priority list.

Now, if you’ve been following my blog for awhile then you might be thinking, ‘I thought you already have a travel album.  What about all of those travel spreads I’ve seen?’ While its true that I always include a one page spread in my Project Life (PL) album for each trip, my PL album usually only includes 5 or 6 photos at most, which really only scratches the surface of the photos in my gallery.  Plus, I really want something that I can share with family and friends that doesn’t include all of the extra stuff. :)

This album (or what will probably be several albums) is a pretty massive undertaking, and is not something that I’ll be wrapping up anytime soon, but I’ve finally reached a point where I’m actually excited to start this project and not feeling completely overwhelmed.

Here’s my plan: I will be completing 2-3 trips at a time (some trips are bigger than others!) by following a few steps, which  I’ve broken down here in case you are taking on a similar project:

  1. Sort through all travel photos one trip at a time. Create folders to house ALL photos from a trip, and then a separate folder for photos to be printed.
  2. Edit photos.  I’m going to go easy on this step.  Less editing is more.  There’s a chance I could spend waaaay too much time on this step so I’m going to try to be mindful about it.
  3. Order prints from Costco.  My local Costco offers pretty decent print quality so this method is going to be a lot more cost and time effective than printing at home (my usual photo printing method)!
  4. The fun part- put it all together in my album :)

Pretty simple, right?  Somehow writing it out just helps me think more clearly!


For this project I’ll be using a 9×12 format.  I thought about going 6×12 (my go-to and favorite size) but it just felt too small for the massive quantity of photos.  Working with this new size feels a bit like putting on new shoes- kind of stiff and uncomfortable at first, but the more I work with this size the more comfortable I get.  It’s an interesting challenge!

I plan to work chronologically, so in this video you’ll see a page I started for the very first trip I took with my boyfriend (now husband) to San Luis Obispo.  img_6918There will be much more to come as I work to fill up this album with memories. img_6920-1

I hope that you enjoy this process video!


Mentioned in Video:

Feed Your Craft stamp set

Southport Alphabet Stamp by Kelly Purkey (currently out of stock . . .) :

Christine Herrin Travelogue Stamp set

Let’s Go flair from Feed Your Craft:

Feed Your Craft Creative Team


I’m so excited to be sharing this news today! I’ve been a huge fan of all of the fun products in Elise’s Feed Your Craft (FYC) shop ever since I first stumbled across her Instagram account.  If you follow me on Instagram or frequent this blog then you’ve probably seen lots of cute FYC mini flair all over my projects :)  I’m looking forward to many more fun projects ahead!

There are many other very talented ladies joining the creative team too, so hopefully you have a chance to stop by their accounts as well.

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?