Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New 52 | Week 17: Project Life

I love using Evernote for keeping track of all sorts of stuff. One of my goals that I wrote down this year in Evernote in January was to get more photos printed out and into a photo album. That way they could be enjoyed on the coffee table by us and by friends when visiting. For 3.5 months I did nothing about it. Until one day in mid-April when I saw how some people are using Becky Higgin's Project Life kit. That day, it all clicked for me. So I ordered my Project Life - Amber Edition and waited for it to arrive. It finally arrived last Wednesday 4/20!

I ripped it open and proceed to be totally engrossed with setting up my album.

Here are the contents of Project Life. Not pictured is a date stamp.

Why do I want to start doing Project Life? Oh let me count the ways.  :)
  1. It's a way to save physical mementos. I had too many ticket stubs and programs scattered all over the place on my desk, with no home.
  2. Have a physical album to look at and enjoy my photos.
  3. Todd can contribute to the journaling. He's been doing "OhLife" journaling already.
  4. Can use additional 8.5x11 page protectors I already have for physical memorabilia.
  5. Vertical photos can be printed smaller and fit into the vertical slots.
  6. I can use my Silhouette machine to cut out cute tags and shapes to stick into the slots for journaling.
  7. I have a place now to stick my Fuji Instax photos!
  8. Easy workflow of Lightroom upload directly to Flickr, then organize and print from Flickr to Snapfish or local pickup. Or print at Costco or at home.
  9. Print non-4x6 or vertical photos at home.
  10. Just starting from now and work backwards if I get a chance. No rules, no worries.
  11. Print photos from home on Canon MP620 and 4x6 photo paper. (Can put overlays & journaling on digitally first.)
  12. Can design journaling in Photoshop first and print out on cardstock.
I had found a small packet of sample Canon Photo Paper Plus Glossy II that came with my Canon Pixma printer, so I did a few test prints to see how they'd look.  I really like the idea of the instant gratification of having my photos printed at home.

My first print is the one on top. I just pulled up my processed photo from within Windows Explorer and clicked on "print". It automatically sharpened for print.

You can't tell in this photo, but I thought the print on top was a little too sharp, so I printed the same photo again without the sharpening and I think I like it better. It's softer. For people photos I don't like to over-sharpen.

I like it that I can also use the 4x6 size as a canvas in Photoshop and print a collage or two photos on the same sheet and trim them, like this.

Cute smaller photos with room to write the date or small amount of journaling.

To my horror, there was only 5 sheets in the sample packet and I had used them all. So I ordered more from Amazon, because I definitely like how this Canon paper prints and looks. While waiting, I sent a batch of photos to Snapfish to print and mail back to me. I also sent a batch to Costco on Saturday and picked it up two hours later. I have some comparisons.

The top one was printed at home. The bottom was Snapfish.

The Snapfish one was a little bit sharper and darker, but I think the home print is just fine. Plus, home print = instant. Well, 40 seconds anyways. :)

Top one is Snapfish and bottom is Costco.

In this instance, I like the Costco print slightly better because Noodle's face and fur wasn't as blown out. On a side note, Costco's online photo processing has an option to turn off processing adjustments, which I really like. I already spend time adjusting my photos in Lightroom, so I don't want them to make further adjustments different than mine.

One last comparison. When I ran out of the Canon photo paper, I found a stack of 100 Strathmore photo papers that I got for free somewhere, somehow. So I printed the top photo using my Canon printer with the Strathmore paper. I hated it. The finish was really dull, as were the colors. The bottom one was Costco.

You can't really tell the texture and finish difference between them in this photo. The Strathmore paper was not a good choice for my Canon printer.

So yesterday my glorious Canon paper came. I'm excited to start using it!

Now that you've sat through my long dissertation, here are a few of my pages that I've completed so far.

I inserted a 8.5x11 page protector for Mike and Jen's wedding invite.

I had a lot of photos from the wedding, so I added an extra 12x12 6-up We R Memory Keepers page protector for the extra photos.

Close-up of my 4x6 journaling I created in Photoshop. I printed it out on some Bazzill Basics 8.5x11 white orange-peel texture cardstock and trimmed it.

A couple of pages where I still need to write the journaling.

Oh, I also bought some extra 100 Journaling Cards - 3" x 4" with Grid Design so I have extra journaling cards in case I mess up. I like to be prepared!

I'm really excited to keep going with this Project Life album. I love pulling it out and looking at the photos, and I think friends and family will also. I'll end this post with a couple of inspirational videos of Project Life.

Becky Higgins

Cherish Everyday blog

About This Project

New52 is a project started by Peppermint and I to encourage each other and others around us to try something new every week in 2011. The "new" each week doesn't have to be something big. It could be something as simple as ordering a new dish instead of old standbys at your favorite restaurant. It's simply opening your heart up to NEW possibilities.

Don't worry if you're late getting started on joining in. It's totally OK if you miss a week here or there. We encourage everyone to keep an open mind about trying something new. This is a life project, and a photography/blog and even scrap challenge if you wish. If you participate this week, please leave a link to your blog post in the link list below. You can also post images to our New 52 Flickr Group! We would love to see what you were inspired to do.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Sharing Easter with Friends

Yesterday was such a great Easter Sunday.  I woke up before Todd and went downstairs to start my day. But Noodle was being cute and playful, playing with some packaging paper, so I had to take some photos of him.

We went to breakfast at church in San Marcos with AJ and Meera.  After breakfast in the fellowship hall, we walked a few feet into the sanctuary for the Easter service.  It was a combined English/Spanish service, and we got to enjoy lots of worship singing and music, and a great sermon.

After church, AJ and Meera invited us to lunch at their house.

Clockwise from top left:
1)  Todd and AJ and Andon smiling for the camera.
2)  The Easter Bunny dropped off toys and candy for Andon and Keiji.  He left a note that said, "Always remember that Jesus loves you".
3)  Ray's chicken adobo.
4)  Jalapeno and Artichoke dip with crackers.
5)  Meera and Andon.
6)  Baby Keiji eating hands-free!
7)  Meera and I, just the girls.

We always have so much fun with our good friends AJ and Meera.  We were so blessed that they invited us to join them for church and lunch.  I totally enjoyed their company!  :)

We went home for a couple of hours.  Then it was time to go to Dejah and Roby's house for Easter dinner!  Remember last week we watched the first episode of HBO's "Game of Thrones" together at our house?  They invited us for dinner and the 2nd episode viewing at their house. We brought a green bean dish. 

The four of us enjoying dinner and each other's company.

We had an incredible meal. I really thought I was going to explode! :p

Clockwise from top left:
  1. My plate.
  2. Dejah's homemade corn bread.  Yum!
  3. Todd's green beans.
  4. Sauteed kale.
  5. Honeybaked ham.
  6. Wine that Roby picked to go with ham.
  7. Dejah's homemade coleslaw.
  8. Dejah's homemade fresh strawberry crumble with vanilla ice cream.
See what I mean?  Dejah made an incredible meal! I was in a food coma throughout the show.  :-|

The four of us plus Serena the cat, watching the 2nd episode of Game of Thrones.

We were really blessed to be able to spend Easter Sunday with an awesome church service, our favorite friends, and some incredible food. It was a day to remember for sure!
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A Glympse of Todd

On Saturday Todd went on a 55 mile training bike ride. It was his longest bike ride ever! We made plans to meet at the Potato Shack for brunch, midway through his ride. Todd rode his bike from our house around 9:15am. He estimated that he would ride to Carlsbad and then turn around and go back to Encinitas to meet up with me at the Potato Shack. That was approximately 35 miles. So we tentatively set the meet up time at 11:30am. I was supposed to drive to Potato Shack, go for a run, then return to Potato Shack and meet Todd.

To further help me see where Todd was on his route, we tried out an app called "Glympse". Glympse is an app for the  iPhone (and other smartphones) where you can share your GPS location on a map with specific people you invite to see you.  He installed Glympse on his iPhone, then sent me an email invite to see his progress. He set it so that I only have a four hour window to see his location on a Google map. So I saw his progress all the way from our house to the 101 North.

Then I got ready and put on my running clothes and drove to Encinitas.  Somehow I miscalculated a little bit, because I had to cut my run short at 17 minutes so that I would arrive at Potato Shack around 11:30am.  However, Todd was running a little late against his estimate, so I waited around for 10 minutes and then I pulled up Glympse on my phone and saw he was only a couple of streets away.  Yay!

We got seated in the shade outside at the Potato Shack, which was windy and a little chilly. I had brought a jacket for myself but forgot to bring one for Todd. He had been riding his bike for 2.5 hours and was cold sitting there. So I went back to my car and grabbed a towel that he could throw on for some warmth.

I had an omelet.

Brunch was very good! After that I drove home and Todd rode the 20 miles home. Later in the afternoon, he helped me put together some white cubbie shelves that we bought at Home Depot.

What are you going to do with the white cubbies, you ask? All will be clear... soon enough! I will finish the project soon and post about it on my blog, when it's completed! :)

For dinner, Todd made an incredible dish that we saw on America's Test Kitchen show on PBS: Thai-Style Chicken with Basil. It was delicious and everything we imagined it would be when we saw it on TV!
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Love Those Longer Days

I took the afternoon off work today.  I have the super-awesome problem of always hitting my maximum vacation accruals of 4 weeks (which means I have 4 weeks vacation time earned but not used yet).  Four weeks is the maximum that my company will "bank" for me, so once I hit 20 days in the "bank", I have to take a few days off that month, or else they won't give me the additional days I'll earn on the 1st of the next month.  Good problem to have, huh!  Although, that means I haven't been taking my allotted vacation days for a long time.  Anyways, this month I had to take 2.5 days off in order to get my vacation days "banked" next month and not lose any.  I already took a day off last Friday to go whale-watching.  I took the afternoon off today, and I'm scheduled to take next Friday off as well.

So what did I do for my afternoon off?  I had a haircut appointment at 2pm.  Can you believe that my last haircut was in early October, before I went to Wisconsin to visit Peppermint for her wedding?  I got so sick of how long my hair was, and how much longer it was taking me to shampoo, condition, dry, and style.  So I told Nikki to cut about 4 inches off.  It might have been more, I'm not sure...

When I got there at 2pm, Nikki was running WAY behind. She was finishing blow-dry on one client, while another was still waiting for a cut. She told me 20 minutes. So I went down the block to Starbucks and ate two mini-cupcakes, a peanut butter one and a carrot cake one. They were yummy, but I blame the calories on Nikki. If she wouldn't have been running behind, I wouldn't have ended up at Starbucks eating cupcakes. :p

Since I wasn't done with my haircut until 3pm, I called Todd. I was just going to go home originally, but Todd had to deploy software tonight for work, so his boss was letting everyone out at 3pm today. My haircut place is very close to Todd's work. So the delay meant that he was ready to leave, and so was I. I drove over and parked my car at his work, then the two of us went to the beach in his car. Yay, spontaneous beach trip! I LOVE spontaneous trips to the beach after work on a week night, because it's something we normally don't get to do. With the longer daylight, it means more fun after work. :)

At Seagrove Park in Del Mar.

We saw seagulls in formation a lot. I love it!

I shot these with my little Canon SD850 IS, the camera I always have with me in my purse. I love that it's small so I always have it. They say the best camera is the one you have with you! :)

After the beach we walked a few blocks up the hill to have an early dinner at Smashburger. I love these longer days.
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm In Love

I. MUST. FIND. ONE. OF. THESE. I saw this video and couldn't stop looking at this K & Company Smash Book. This would make a great little event scrapbook, or travel journal. I can't stop smiling. :)
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New 52 | Week 16: Whale(less) Watching

Wow, for a minute I didn't know what week we're on! It's amazing that it's already Week 16 in New 52 this year.

Todd and I took the day off last Friday to go whale-watching. We had purchased 2 whale-watching tickets on thedailysave.com for 50% off. Great deal! Now, we've gone whale-watching before, so that part is not new. But the last time we actually saw whales on a whale-watching trip was back in 2000, before digital cameras. Then we went again in 2006 and didn't see any whales. So, I was hoping this time we would SEE whales and capture it on digital camera for all to see!

We went to lunch first at JV's Mexican down on Morena Blvd. Todd had been there before, a long time ago, when he was recording an album with The Northstar Session down there. He remembered it being good. It was awesome and authentic! I had two homemade tamales and they were fabulous. Not all Mexican places make tamales.

Then, on to Seaforth to get on the whale-watching boat. A view of the marina.

Our boat was called the "Eclipse".

As soon as we left the marina, we saw this little sea lion. What a cutie.

Then, we caught sight of some bottlenose dolphins, inside the bay!

Like my windblown look? It was very windy out there on the water!

Another thing about being out there on the Pacific Ocean... even though it was a very warm day (80 degrees), it's chilly on the water. It's always the case, even in the summer.

Some sailboats were out.

Todd caught some seagulls and pelicans flying over the water. Pretty cool pics!

We even saw a Navy submarine surfaced. This was as close as we were allowed to get.

The inside cabin of the boat had tables and bench seating, along with books about whales, dolphins, etc.

Point Loma sticking out there, in the distance.

We had taken some anti-seasick pills and they made both of us drowsy. So periodically we went back inside the cabin to put our head down and rest. Better that than our neighbors who threw up into clear ziplock bags! Gross! :-|

Suddenly, the captain and the naturalist on board said over the intercom that there was some kind of ray out there. So we went out to look.

Ooo, it actually was pretty big!

We were out there, 9 miles from shore, when we came upon a large pod of dolphins. They were spectacular! Just dolphins everywhere, going in and out of the water, following the wake of our boat!

It was pretty hard to catch a good picture of the dolphins. They moved fast and we didn't know where they were going to pop out of the water next. I caught a little bit on video here.

Like Todd's windblown look? :p

We thought a three-hour trip was a little long. After a while I was ready to be on land again. We didn't catch sight of any whales this time. I was a little disappointed, but the overall experience was good. Not many people can say they took a day off work and went on a boat into the ocean to look for whales, and found a large amount of dolphins. So I'm very happy we went! :)

PS - I know some of you are leaving links, and that's great! But you could ALSO leave comments on this post if you're so inclined. I love reading all your comments on my blog, but lately there's been less of them. I know you're still out there, and I miss you! :)

About This Project

New52 is a project started by Peppermint and I to encourage each other and others around us to try something new every week in 2011. The "new" each week doesn't have to be something big. It could be something as simple as ordering a new dish instead of old standbys at your favorite restaurant. It's simply opening your heart up to NEW possibilities.

Don't worry if you're late getting started on joining in. It's totally OK if you miss a week here or there. We encourage everyone to keep an open mind about trying something new. This is a life project, and a photography/blog and even scrap challenge if you wish. If you participate this week, please leave a link to your blog post in the link list below. You can also post images to our New 52 Flickr Group! We would love to see what you were inspired to do.  

Read More »
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