Day in the Life – 3.29.16 – Afternoon

Picking up where I left off…

1:35 PM – A little shopping on lunch break. Picked up a brush for Sophie and a few shirts at Lane Bryant for me. With a coupon and gift card, I got $175 worth of clothes for $69.   

1:53 PM – Another shadow picture as I walk in from lunch.  

1:54 PM – Lunch. Steak and cheese on Italian with peppers, onions, salt & pepper with a bag of Doritos, a drink, and a white chip macadamia nut cookie.   

5:05 PM – A final parking lot selfie as I head home for the day.   

5:06 PM – Obligatory car selfie, take 2. I enjoy the ride home from work. I hook up my iPhone and listen to my ‘Dayna’s Faves’ playlist on Spotify. Today’s selections for my commute? Highly Suspect’s Lydia, Pink’s Who Knew, and Alice in Chains’ Would?.   

5:25 PM – Jason usually has dinner ready when I get home. Tonight it’s tacos (it is Tuesday). I eat quickly so I can run Ella to her clarinet lesson.    

5:40 PM – Obligatory car selfie, take 3. I’ve been trying, without success, to get Ella to smile just once today. I almost had her here in the car. Sometimes, you have to bring the silly to get the smile.    

6:05 PM – And in the bowels of Russell Hall, it appears! The most magical and rare of all things lately, an Ella smile.  Okay, it was more a smirk of amusement, but whatever, I’ll take it. I captured it in the wild and it is mine!  

6:40 PM – On the way home, Rock 108 teased me with a snippet of AIC’s Man in a Box as part of one of their promos, which means I now needed to hear the whole song. That lead to listening to Down in a Hole as well.  Ella is game for both and I make sure to point out my favorite part of the Down in the Hole, a guitar lick at the very end – 4:24 minutes in, if you are wondering (and no I didn’t have to check just now to see when it actually occurs in the song. I did that years ago, so I could back it up and play just that one lick over an over again. Ah, to be young and obsessive. Or 42 and obsessive…but I digress). Then I tell her that it makes me sad that the guitarist never actually plays that lick live. And I imagine how it would play out, if I ever happened to meet Jerry Cantrell and was capable of meaningful conversation, to explain how much I dig it.  “Hey, you know that one lick you played on the original studio recording of Down in a Hole from 25 years ago?” “Wait, what? 25 years?” questions my ever astute daughter. I explain that I’ve been listening to Alice in Chains since I was 16. Ella’s response? “Man, they are old!” Yes Ella. Yes, they are, but they are still making damn good music and that’s everything.  

6:58 PM – Ella and I arrive home to find that Sophie has invited RoRo, the next door neighbor boy in to play a little Minecraft. I still don’t get the appeal of the game, but it keeps them occupied so I can attend to other matters.   

7:03 PM – Other matters. The Kitty Collective has ensconced themselves upon my bed. They do this nightly, with nary a care as to what anyone else wants to do there… 

7:05 PM – …so we work around them.   

7:15 PM – Jason, multitasking. He is playing Pirate 101 on the computer, reading the Philokalia, and listening to a podcast about X-Wing, a Star Wars themed miniatures game.    

Thus ended my afternoon. One more installment to go to wrap up my DITL recap. 


Day in the Life – 3.29.16 – Morning

I played along with one of my favorite Ali Edwards projects, Day in the Life, and documented my Tuesday. I ended up with 55 pictures, all taken with my iPhone 6, that I converted to b&w for something different. I purchased Ali’s DITL kit so I am going to let that be my color when I add the pics to my PL album. 

6:05 AM – The alarm on my iPhone goes off. Ed Sheeran singing about fire and Smaug rouses me from sleep to wakefulness.   

6:15 AM – I snooze for 10 minutes then decide to finally greet the day.  

6:25 AM – It’s time to wake up the girls…   

6:28 AM – …but since they both stayed up way past bedtime reading, neither is eager to leave the warm cocoon of their bed.   

6:30 AM – While the girls get moving, I guide Sophie through the process of picking out clothes for school. 

6:32 AM – On my way back downstairs, I discover that Ella’s sleeping bag has again gobbled up socks. I forceably remove them so they can join their brethren in the laundry.   

6:35 AM – Sophie makes it downstairs first, but still isn’t awake and cuddles up in my bed.  

6:37 AM – Ella joins her minutes later.  This is the only time this morning that they manage to get along. That late night produced grumpy girls this morning. And grumpy girls like to pick fights. 

6:40 AM – Before I shower and get ready for the day, I pour a bowl of cereal for Sophie so she can eat while Ella gets dressed. I’ve learned the hard way that the less interaction they have with each other in the morning, the better.   

7:10 AM – Freshly showered and dressed to the shoes (love my Chucks), I just need to do my hair and make-up.  

7:12 AM – Hair is up first and, as it is naturally stick straight, I apply some product to help my chemically achieved curls maintain their shape. This stuff does the trick and has an awesome name besides.   

7:15 AM – I am a Clinique girl and have been since college.  And no, not all of these get used as part of my morning routine.  

7:18 AM – Sophie has a minor meltdown while attempting to comb her hair because a) it’s Tuesday and therefore band day and band day sucks; b) she has to go to school and school sucks; c) her hair is tangled and the brush won’t work, so they both suck; d) Ella looked at her funny and she sucks; e) she is tired and life sucks; f) all of the above, at the same time.   

7:19 AM – Meanwhile, Ella is ready to go which means she can chill in my bed and be an instigator.   

7:20 AM – All set for the day.  

7:21 AM – Saying goodbye, good night, and thank you to Jason, who is just home from work and heading to bed for the day but made the girls’s lunch before we leave so I don’t have to. 

7:25 AM – Obligatory car selfie. As you can see, Ella is thrilled. We have a fascinating conversation about tricksy hobbitses on the drive to school.  

7:37 AM – On Tuesdays, Sophie is dropped off first for band practice (the one pic I missed). Ella gets dropped off after and warned me that I was not allowed to take a picture of her walking into school. I told her I make no promises and took one anyway. 

7:40 AM – Some people drink coffee in the morning. I have a Coke from McDonalds.  

7:55 AM – I arrive at work. I like to park in the last row of the front section of the lot.   As I make my way to the building, I catch a glimpse of my shadow and decide a picture of it would be an awesome addition to DITL.   

7:56 AM – Due to the nature of the business we do at the company I work for, pictures of the interior of the building are not really an option. The best I can do is a picture of the exterior, so here you go.   

10:30 AM – My first break and a chance to play with my new brush pen. I’ve set a goal to work on my hand lettering skills and like to use this time to practice. I think it’s pretty obvious I’m a novice.  

My DITL recap will have two more installments. Check back soon for pics of my afternoon and evening. 

PL 2016 – Week 2

Mmmm, what to say about the second week of January? Well, besides one amazing bowl of chili on Sunday, it left much to be desired. 

I’ve mentioned this before, but I love books, music, and movies.  As an introvert who tries to hide it, mostly without success, they are absolutely vital to me. I’d much rather spend time with musicians, actors, authors, and fictional characters I’ll never meet than with actual real live people. Because, you know, sometimes real people suck. But those people I’ll never meet? Man, they are always there and they never let me down. They are like one big extended tribe of misfits and wanderers who somehow manage to make me feel that it’s okay to be exactly who I am. 

David Bowie and Alan Rickman were a part of that tribe. Favorite friends who travelled the world and did super cool things then came ’round unexpectedly throughout the years to regale me with their stories and adventures. 

Bowie was a constant presence as I grew up. I was all about MTV back in the day, when it actually lived up to its name. His music/videos exposed me to sights and sounds that were new and exciting and different from just about anything else. Beyond that, he was my Goblin King. I’d have gladly stayed in that M.C. Escher castle with him if he’d asked. 

Rickman was there as well blowing up skyscrapers and canceling Christmases. And the scene in Deathly Hallows where Snape finds Lily? That, my friends, was the only time I cried in the whole of the Harry Potter movie series. Not when Fred died, nor Lupin and Tonks. Just that one moment of utter despair and devastation crafted so brilliantly by a phenomenal actor. 

To lose both men within days of each other was just heartbreaking. They were absolutely amazing and stolen from us way too soon.  

PL 2016 – Week 2 


Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A page protectors
  • Ali Edwards’ Storytelling  Class Kit (no longer available)
  • The Bowie quote was lettered by Cindy Guentert-Baldo (@llamaletters on IG). 
  • The Always image is an art print by Earthlightened. 

PL 2016 – Weeks 0 & 1

I am a Sunday through Saturday girl when it comes to Project Life. It’s how I started three years ago and it’s become habit to think of my week this way. I am also of the thought that the year begins on January 1st. With that being said, there technically two days in the first week of 2016 and, because we were homebodies on New Years’ Day, there really weren’t all that many pictures either. So I added a Week 0 as the first spread of the year to capture this short period of time. 

PL 2016 – Week 0  

We spent much of New Years’ Day having fun with our new WiiU and Mario Kart 8, although we did take a small break for the Sherlock Christmas special on PBS. I am especially pleased that Benedict Cumberbatch and his compatriot Martin Freeman now grace my album with their presence. 

I created the ‘Happy New Year’ pic in the Rhonna Designs app as a header for my first blog post if 2016. And in an effort to include more of my handwriting, I decided to jot down a lovely Neil Gaiman quote, which encapsulates what I hope 2016 is for me and my family. 

PL 2016 – Week 2  

I am an avid reader. I read so much, there really is no way for me to keep track of all the books I devour throughout the year. Hardcover, softcover, e-book, fiction or non, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, biography, horror – I love it all. And I love finding books by new authors. Zodiac by Romina Russell was one I discovered quite by accident at Barnes and Noble in late December and finally got around to reading this week. It was fabulous! So much so that I was thrilled when My husband got me the second book in the series,  Wandering Star,  for my birthday. I am looking forward to the third book, which will be released this fall. If you are looking for a good sci-fi/fantasy – with a smudge of romance – YA book, I highly recommend this series. 

Other notable birthday events included time alone at Barnes and Noble with another new book discovery – The Crossroad of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna, dinner with my family at Texas Roadhouse, and the gift (to myself) of a new teal blue puffer coat. All in all, it was a lovely birthday. 

Page Construction Notes

I am primarily working with the Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit in Design A page protectors. I did make two cards – the one with the Neil Gaiman quote in Week 0 (white card stock and a blue chipboard star from Studio Calico) and the ‘handmade’ card from Week 1 (white card stock with a stamp and rubber embellishment from the Ali Edwards’s Craft Story Kit). 

Project Life 2016

It’s only taken two months, but I do believe I know how I will be handling Project Life in 2016. Before I get to my plan, please allow me to digress and explain how I came to my decision. 

After dabbling with Creative Memories for a time, I found PL in early 2013 and immediately fell in love with its simplicity. Pictures in pockets with words. Yes! I can do that. I collected supplies for a few months and started my first album in 2014, using Studio Calico’s Project Life kit. It was as awesome as I thought it would be and I loved working with a small kit of supplies each month. My 2014 album makes me happy every time I look at it.

I started out with the best of intentions in 2015, but life happened and I fell behind. Those small monthly kits stacked up and I ended up with quite a stash of left overs that was, quite frankly, overwhelming and demoralizing.  

When 2016 rolled around, I seriously toyed with giving the whole thing up and just getting rid of everything. Even as I was setting a goal to be sure to complete my PL pages weekly, I was questioning my desire to do so. Then came Ali Edwards’ Storytelling with PL class and everything changed. 

I cannot tell you how amazing this class has been for me. From showing us her past albums to walking us through her workspace and her PL process, Ali managed to provide insight into a couple of the things that have been keeping me from moving forward with PL – namely over saturation of supplies and perfectionism. 

One of the things that struck me most was Ali talking about knowing your reason why. Why are you doing Project Life? Why are you choosing to document your life this way? Why is it important. Most honest, I had to take some time to really think about my reason why. Here’s what I figured out.

I come from a family of picture takers. 

My Grandpa Roy loved to take pictures of his family and he passed that love onto my dad, who in turn passed it onto me. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad and his camera, first as subject then as student. He got me my first SLR and helped me pick out my first DSLR. He taught me how to change a roll of film and how to frame a shot. And he took pictures of everything. I have boxes full of his slides, negatives, and photos to prove it. 

What I don’t have are his memories. The reasons why he took all those pictures.  Sure, some of his pictures ended up in albums, but they were all photos and no words. I don’t have any idea what moved him on any given day to pull his camera out and photographically document the occasion. And I want that. I want those stories – the ones only he can tell. You see my father and grandfather, they were photographers. Me, I am a storyteller and memory keeper.  

Now, I am fortunate. My dad lives close enough to me that I can take some of those old photos to him and begin digging into his story. I can get them into albums – words AND photos. I have plans to do that, along with all of the other photo collections from my family that I have taken it upon myself to keep and protect. One of my intentions this year is to get all of these photos organized and scanned so I can begin collecting the stories to go with them. And let me tell you, it’s a daunting task. But it’s one I truly feel compelled to undertake. I know some of the stories I am looking to gather are lost to time and, as sad as that makes me, I am not going to let it keep me from doing what I can to tell my family’s story. 

And what about my own story? As much as I want the stories of those who came before me, I also need to tell my own – the ones I’ve lived and the ones still to come. I dare say I have just as many photos as my dad does, stored in boxes, CDs, flash drives, hard drives, and my iPhone. I also have containers full of the stuff of life I’ve collected along the way. And right now, it’s all just a bunch of untold stories, sitting around collecting dust. 

It just don’t think it’s practical for me to assume that either one of my daughters will catch my storytelling/memory keeping bug and I can’t say that I’ll ever push it on them. It’s enough for me that they understand/accept that I take pictures and squirrel away the stuff of their lives, so their story is told until they are able to do it themselves, when or if that time ever comes. 

So it’s all on me then, right? I have to tell my own story or run the risk it never will be. 

Which brings me to Project Life in 2016.  


Thanks to Ali, I feel a renewed focus documenting my life with PL. At the same time, and fully aware that I will be doing quite a bit of scanning this year, I need simplicity.  

So I went ahead and purchased the Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp to use as the foundation for my 2016 album. The grey, navy, and teal color scheme combined with simple geometric designs and words in Heidi’s handwriting is both lovely and elegant. 

Becky Higgins Picturesque PL Core Kit  

And because I just love her style, I will supplement my new Core Kit with Ali’s Story Kits and journal cards, along with the occasional assist from my stash.

PL 2016 – Cover Page 


Now that I have Picturesque in hand, it has taken me no time at all to create my cover page and jump right in to the stories of 2016. And they are stories – more than ever before. Granted, they are small ones right now as I develop my new style (what used to be photo heavy inspirational is morphing into story driven inspirational – I still really do love a good quote!), but my pages are coming together so much more quickly now that  I’m back to pictures in pockets with words, which is really what it’s all about, right? 

Pictures taken. Stories told. Memories kept. Simple and done and exactly as it needs to be. 

Page Construction Notes

My cover page is made from the title cards from the Picturesque Core Kit in Becky Higgins Design A page protectors. The ‘FOCUS’ wood veneer is from Color Cast Designs’ The Little Words Set. The ‘H’ monogram is a mix of two stamp sets, both designed by Lindsay Letters for Studio Calico – Monogram and Cotton Candy Add-On. I also threw in a navy chipboard star, also from Studio Calico. 

OLW 2016 – March

I was thrilled to see that the March prompt for OLW is once again creating a vision board. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I know a lot of people, Ali included, use words and images cut/torn from magazines to create physical vision boards, but that just isn’t my cup of tea. 

When my word and I first get acquainted, I usually spend some time on Pinterest gathering words and images in digital form to use throughout the year for all the various prompts. This year was no different, so it was a simple thing to pull all the quotes out into the Pic Stich app and create a collage of inspiring quotes. So simple, in fact, that I again ended up with two separate images, as I have for the past couple of years. I’ll send these out to be printed as 8×10 photos, back them with white card stock, then slide them into an 8.5×11 page protector. Simple and done. 

This year my images tended to be more monochromatic and I think that makes I nice contrast to my vision boards from 2014 and 2015

Vision Board 1

Vision Board 2