Currently: October 2015

We are in the midst of a lovely fall - it happened so quickly! I have finally put away my summer clothes, and have my "FWinter" wardrobe out. Not exactly capsule, but I am done shopping and since I Capsule Wardrobed/Kon-Mari'd, I still love my clothes.

The Gene Pool at Caltech. I spent a couple of days earlier this month wandering around campus in 90 degree weather taking photos for fun (and scrapbooking!!).

The Gene Pool at Caltech. I spent a couple of days earlier this month wandering around campus in 90 degree weather taking photos for fun (and scrapbooking!!).


For Father's Day I bought TJ the complete boxed set of 7 seasons of The West Wing on DVD. This was a gift I knew he'd appreciate, but that I wanted too :)  We started watching them from the beginning this summer, then stopped for a while.  We picked it back up this week - watching an episode or two in the evenings after the kids are in bed. Almost 15 years later, I can't get over how relevant the show still is- not particularly dated and still great, smart, and funny. If you have any other recos for newer shows that are similarly good, I'd love to hear it! 


 I've read everything on my Kindle, but haven't found anything new I'm excited about. I read all the art and scrapbooking books I got on my last library trip. I haven't started November's Book Club book yet because I'm waiting to see if I'll get off the Holds list at the library.  I pre-ordered Shonda Rhimes' forthcoming book- Year of Yes.  I'm really excited about this. It talks about how she spent a year saying 'yes' to every invitation that came to her, and the changes that resulted.  As a fierce introvert this gives me the willies but I can't wait to read about someone *else* doing something crazy like that.


It is rare that I make something new for dinner that *everyone* likes. I had a serious talk with my girls about not making rude comments about foods I cooked because it is so.damn.disheartening.

This week I tried this Mexican chicken soup recipe I found on Instacart because it looked easy, and O.M.G.  The girls LOVED it. My normally soup-indifferent husband LOVED it. It had the perfect balance of chile flavor without the spiciness, and came together in about half an hour. This is definitely a keeper. The novelty of squeezing your own lime wedge, crumbling tortilla chips and adding avocado slices helped too.  *So* excited to find another recipe I can add to my short but growing list of "regulars".


Dresses!  So many dresses!  I bought 2 Lands End dresses in September - fit and flare, nice enough to wear out to dinner but also casual enough to wear to work. They fit really well. I wanted a chambray tunic to wear with leggings, and after a failed try at Macy's I checked eShakti and they had an adorable trapeze dress, as well as a "buy 2 get one free" sale, plus a coupon for first time customers. So I also picked up a full chambray skirt and a gorgeous retro-inspired dark green jersey dress.  I sent in my measurements and every single one fit perfectly.  I'm hooked!   If you're interested in trying it, here's my referral link and we'll both get a nice discount, plus I think customizing your first order is free :) Totally worth it, and really nice quality.


Where to send T for 1st grade next year. Her current K teacher recommended a school that requires an IQ test so we get to chat with the psychologist next week about the results and possible schools that might be a good fit. The testing was not too stressful because it was done by an acquaintance I met in BabyM's toddler group. We're leaning heavily towards private school but will check out our local school, though I can't get past the fact that our school district has decided art education is not a priority so they just have parent volunteers. Sigh.

Working On

I finally started the elaborate production of painting Meridian's dresser. And by started, I mean - TJ moved the dresser down to the garage, I removed the hardware and the sticky goo all over the top from the Velcro we had used to secure the changing pad on it.  I have a little more cleaning to do, then lightly sanding the whole thing. Then primer, then finally paint, and the sealer on top.  I also have to spray paint the hardware which is a new adventure for me.  Good times. I hope to be done by the end of Thanksgiving weekend!

And that's a wrap! Happy Fall everyone!

I Love Me Some Triangles: Toddler Scrapbook Page

Inspired by Ingunn's post, I stopped Kon-Mari-ing my craft stuff for a hot minute and sat down to make a layout.

I leave my newest paper purchases out on my desk and look to those first - in the pile was a handful of things from My Minds Eye "My Story" collection. I fell in love when I saw it at Ben Franklin a few weeks ago and bought the pieces I liked even though I probably could have found the "collection pack" cheaper online.

I decided I'd rather support my local store - it's super close to home and has a great selection of new scrapbooking supplies. I love online shopping, but sometimes it's nice to see things in person before buying them. The other great thing is that I could buy just the few pieces of paper from the collection that I liked, rather than getting stuck with the whole pack which would guarantee I'd get things I wouldn't use.

After Kon-Mari-ing 1800+ pieces of paper out of my craft space, I don't ever want to do that again. So my new M.O. is to buy only the sheets I like. It might be more expensive per sheet, but it is surely less costly in total.

I woke up last night in a cold-medicine fueled haze, wanting to make a layout about a joke my 3-year-old told me before I forget her exact wording. So this morning I wrote it down and found the perfect opportunity while my 6 year old was putting the finishing touches on a banner she made for her birthday party tomorrow.

A few months ago, I decided that 8.5x11 is the right size for me. 12x12 is just too big, and the resulting albums are too huge to look at comfortably. I also realized that while I love the "stuff" of scrapbooking, I like my pages best when they are simple, with lots of journaling.

I'm happy with how this page turned out, and even happier with how quickly it came together. I used *one* piece of patterned paper, *one* piece of cardstock, and one gold chipboard heart. I used my trusty Microsoft Publisher to print the journaling on the background cardstock directly. The font is a free one from called "My First Crush".

Easy and fun, and I still have plenty of time today to prep for that birthday party tomorrow!

Two great finds

I mentioned that I really enjoyed my last trip to the library - there is nothing better than getting home with a bag full of unread books - the possibilities!

On my way to the scrapbooking/crafting section, I stopped at the design section. Chip Kidd's Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design grabbed my attention. I guess that's how you know it's good graphic design, right?

I've always been interested in graphic design but I am not an artist. I can't draw worth a damn. I've heard lots of "famous" scrapbookers talking about "graphic design principles" but for me the best way to learn is to find a book and start reading from the beginning.

Kidd's book is *perfect* for that. Despite the title, it's not just for kids - it's for anyone new to the study of graphic design. It's well designed (of course), easy to read, and he chooses excellent, impactful examples for each concept - just one or two to really illustrate the point he's trying to make. And he is definitely an expert - he has designed tons of book covers, including the iconic black and white T. Rex for Jurassic Park!

My 6-year-old T loves "information books" so I'm going to see if she wants to give it a try. It's a bit beyond her reading level, but the concepts and images are illustrated so well that I know she'll get something out of it as well.  I'm definitely buying a copy for home once we return it to the library.

My second unexpected find was a stunning animated film from Ireland called Song of the Sea. I was searching for a movie T and I could watch together while we were both home sick, and I felt like she needed to branch out from her usual Disney/Pixar fare. She is pretty sensitive about movies in general - she hates suspense and scary situations.

This one is rated PG but it had thousands of excellent reviews, so I thought we'd give it a chance and I am SO glad I did. It was *amazing* and magical. The animation was gorgeous and dreamy - breathtaking in parts.

The story was lovely and sometimes sad.  T and I were both weepy at the end.  There were a few suspenseful, eerie parts, but we snuggled on the couch and she was fine with it. It was a great movie to expand her viewing repertoire a bit, though it might be a little too much for our 3 year old.

For now, it's available for free on Amazon Prime streaming, but if it ever goes away, we're definitely buying a copy.

In a week where everyone in our house was sick, these were two great ways to pass the time!

Switching back to iPhone after many Android and Windows years

I was a smartphone early adopter. Back in 2005ish, I shelled out serious cash for a Windows Mobile flip phone that integrated with my Outlook email and calendar, and had a teeny-tiny Internet Explorer web browser. I loved that phone - it was amazing to have my email and calendar "on the go".

I bought into the hype surrounding iPhone and bought one in 2008. I loved that phone, but I did not love the "exclusive" $90/month data plan from AT&T. When I found out I was pregnant with T and we reduced our spending in case job situations changed, I sold that iPhone 8 months later for what I had paid for it.

I replaced it with a $50 non-smartphone that could do email for an additional $6 a month. It met my needs until Microsoft offered employees a *free* Windows phone. I couldn't resist, but was frustrated by the slow camera and lack of apps on that HTC phone.

In 2011 TJ got a free Galaxy Nexus Android phone from work that I commandeered. That was an awesome phone - great, fast camera, tons of apps, big screen. I kept it for almost 3 years until they stopped updating the OS and then traded up (I thought) to the Nexus 5, which worked great until it didn't anymore.

A few months ago, my Nexus 5 started taking random photos when I wasn't using the camera, froze up every now and then and stopped responding to touch. I factory-reset it once and only added back the apps I used regularly. It worked for a while then slowed down/got quirky again.

At that point, I decided I was done with the less-expensive iPhone replacement and started making plans to upgrade to the next released iPhone. I have a super-cheap T-Mobile data plan that I can use with any phone so except for the initial cost of the device, which is like WHOA, it's relatively cheap.

Photo from

Photo from

I stayed up late to pre-order it at midnight on Sept 12, and my pretty new iPhone 6S came last Friday. I love the coppery pink shiny rose gold and have a simple clear case to protect it.

I am *in love* with this phone. Do I say that every time I get a hew gadget? Probably. I love the Touch ID fingerprint recognition because I don't have to type my PIN 50x a day. It even works with the 2-factor authentication app I use for work!

I've replaced Mail and Calendar with Microsoft Outlook and Sunrise. I use SwiftKey instead of the stock keyboard, same as I used on Android. So far, so good.

I'm still tweaking the notification settings - I abhor dings, chirps and chimes unless it's an actual alarm, so I'm turning them off as I catch them.

So far it seems customizable enough for me, though I do hate having everything on the Home screens - I liked Android and Windows' concept of an "App Drawer/List" that isn't always visible. I wish I could delete some of the stock apps (Android doesn't let you do that either), so I just shoved them all in a folder called "Useless" and put it on my last home screen.

I thought I'd miss Home screen "widgets" but not having one for email makes me less focused on checking it. I wish I could get one for the calendar, though the swipe-down Today panel works for this purpose.

Putting my social media apps into a folder and turning off notifications for these entirely also makes me far less likely to be distracted by checking them constantly.

The Podcasts app is heavenly after using Stitcher on Android with its non-functional search that returned 2000 results no matter what term I searched for (sigh). I have found SO MANY new podcasts I want to listen to now! My car now accurately lists the podcast info on-screen, which it never did with my Nexus 5.

This was definitely a luxury purchase for me. I didn't *need* it. But it definitely makes me happy. Other women have their fancy purses and shoes.

I have my shiny new PINK iPhone. SQUEEE.

Currently: September 2015

This is a nice easy topic to get back into the swing of things! It'll also be a GREAT addition to my Project Life 2015 album.



I adore the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast. I listen as soon as the new ones come out, because I spend about an hour in the car each day dropping the girls off at school. In between new episodes, I am catching up on the old ones since I only started listening regularly last year. So.Much.Scrapbooking - yay :)


Allison suggested the current book for our virtual online Book Club - We Are Water by Wally Lamb. I haven't finished a book by him- I started She's Come Undone about 12 years ago and it was too depressing so I had to stop. This one definitely has dark aspects, and I've reached points in the book where I need to stop and read something else. I don't love it, but it's well-written with incredibly vivid characters, so I want to finish it. It reminds me of reading books for English class, where I could appreciate why a book was considered a "classic" without actually truly enjoying it.

But that's one of the things I adore about Book Club - it gets me to read books I wouldn't have chosen on my own.


We finished another Whole30 in August and haven't completely returned to the Dark Side (yay us!). I've given up dairy entirely, even cheese, except the occasional intentional splurge like a coworker's awesome birthday cake from the amazing Chinese bakery nearby. I also kicked the (bad) habit of drinking juice. I don't give it to my girls because it's too sugary, but somehow developed a habit of daily can of Izze. I love it, but definitely don't need the sugar.


I am absolutely in love with our local library system. When I see a book I want to read, I add it to my request list and when it's available, they send me an email. This works for both physical AND Kindle books. So EASY!

This week I wandered the stacks a bit and grabbed four Rainbow Fairies books for T, which she was *thrilled* about, 3 picture books I knew M would like, and a couple of scrapbooking and art journaling books for myself. Our local branch isn't huge but has a *great* selection. That 30 min trip has made me so happy for the rest of the week. I need to do that more often.

Working On

Blogging again. Using time wisely by writing down my key Most Important Tasks in my planner each morning. What I write down, I complete, so I am also being mindful about what *really* needs to be done vs. what is a low-value mindless chore-type thing.


I'd really like to finish decluttering my craft room via the KonMari method but am sort of stuck in the process because I've done all the "easy" categories. Now I have to tackle the miscellaneous adhesive drawer, the stockpile of blank cards, the entire drawer of glitter and embossing supplies, and worst of all, the shipping supplies for things I might someday sell and need to ship. That stuff is both out of control AND not really fun to sort.

If you've got a Currently post, link it up!  I love reading them, especially the books and music sections