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Weekend catch-up and yearbook pages

The last week or so has been busy! Lots of stuff going on...

We had a few fun things at work last week, and one of them was our End of Summer celebration. We went up Provo Canyon just a bit to South Fork Park where we had a fun dinner outdoors. We had a caterer that does all dutch oven cooking, and great music. One of the professors at BYU (Gesslison, maybe?) came with his family (his daughter and her partner who are 2 time national fiddling champs), and his son (state guitar champion) and his younger daughter. They were really good. The food was delicious, the scenery was wonderful and it was great to hang out and chat. I got a few pictures on my iPad - not great quality, but fun nonetheless.

South fork 9222011d

South fork 9222011c

My co-workers, Brittany and Sara

South fork 9222011b

and moi:

South fork 9222011a

Friday night Laura and Mindy and I got together for a girls' night. We saw "I Don't Know How She Does It" with Sarah Jessica Parker and we all really liked it. Very fun. That was followed by a leisurely dinner where we just sat and chatted... catching up since it's been a few weeks since we hung out.

I met up with Melody on Saturday for the Relief Society broadcast - my stake was having a dinner beforehand so we went and ate and then watched it. I love Pres. Uchtdorf's talk. He's always wonderful, but this seemed especially good.

I've also been hard at work on trying to finish up the class yearbook. I've got to get it done - I've taken way too long already, and I can't justify moving on to other projects until I finish it. I've been sitting on it because one of the last parts to do was HUGE and I just didn't want to tackle it. So I finally did it. I pulled screenshots out of a video and took photos that I had taken, stuff people sent me and a disc of photos from the department to pull it together. This section is going to be like 12 pages in the yearbook, and it was a lot of work to get it done. Now I just need to do graduation and then make last minute edits and get it all uploaded. Here are a few pages from what I've been working on since the last time I shared (there are too many to post, so this is just a sample):

Capstone 3

Capstone 4

  Grad Dinner Title Page

Grad Dinner 1

Grad Dinner 4

Grad Dinner 8

I also recently did pages for all three of the FBEs - I did 5 pages for each trip, including a cover page.

Middle East FBE Title Page

Middle East FBE 2

I used the same format for all of the FBEs. It's not a standard yearbook, but I didn't want it to be too scrapbooky (I didn't always succeed, though), so I kept it pretty simple and tried to be consistent within each section.

And to finish, two more that I did a while ago - these are from our picnic during our 2nd residency week:

Family picnic 1

Family Picnic 2
I've tried to get everyone represented as much as possible, but I've had to work with the material on hand so I wasn't always successful. Hopefully the class likes it. At least I know I'll enjoy my copy, right?

Dirty Dash Recap

Today I got a few things to share from Saturday's Dirty Dash up at Soldier Hollow. People keep asking me how it was and I'm like, well, uh, it was dirty. (duh.) It was also fun. There's not much else to say, except my buddy Matt messed up his knee on the 3rd water hole. That kind of sucked, but the team managed to pull him out of the mud pit and get him on a cart to go to the first aid tent. He sent the rest of us on to finish. I admit, I didn't do a whole lot to get dirty. I mean, it was inevitable that you would come out muddy, but I didn't make any special effort to get that way. I did most of the obstacles (I went around a few because of my crappy knees), but I think I did them too carefully. lol. My teammates, on the other hand, dove in (literally!) at every opportunity (video evidence below). I was chided for the relatively clean state of my shirt, but what can I say? What it really came down to was the fact that I almost lost a contact 3 times and was just trying to make sure I could still see when it was time to drive home. Next year, bring goggles!

I would give more details, but Todd brought along a waterproof video camera and filmed on and off through the whole thing. I'm not actually in here all that much, but I think that's a result of my lack of diving into the mud (and sometimes I was holding the camera). I wasn't interesting to watch. lol. The video is awesome... Todd did a fantastic job with the editing.


I think there might be a few more photos coming, but I did get this one from the official photographers at the end of the race. This is our "smolder and flex" pose.


Left to right, Todd, Mike, Ben, Jen, Greg, Melinda (Mary in front) and me. (We started with 10, but Matt was still at first aid and Laura had split off to make it to the Piglet Plunge with her kids).

Note that I am, in fact, much cleaner than the others, lol. From here we went to some EXTREMELY cold showers. I cleaned up as best I could and then in the car I had a plastic bag to put my socks and shoes, a paper towel to clean off my feet, flip flops and a poncho to keep my car seat clean and dry. It worked pretty well! I had to wash the shoes twice and the clothes 3 times to get them clean, but I managed. It looks like we're going to make this an annual event. Maybe next year I'll manage to get dirtier. lol.

Product Review: Turn Your Pictures into Canvas!

So a few weeks ago, I got an email with an opportunity to do a product review. Yay! As it happened, it was for a company that will turn your photos into a canvas. It was actually great timing, because I had just been thinking about looking into it. So of course, I took them up on the offer.

So here's how it works. The company, Easy Canvas Prints, will turn your pictures into canvas. Simple as that! I went through a lot of photos to try and decide which one I wanted to use, but ultimately decided on one from my FBE - this shot that I took one evening walking through the Plaka in Athens. I really love this photo - it was such a great picture of the feel of being in Greece, and I have wonderful memories of that night that come back each time I see this picture:

Athens Plaka
Once I picked the photo, I went onto the site to start the process. To preface this, my job over the last 5 years has shifted from online marketing and optimization more into website optimization and usability. So (not to sound humble or anything), when I say that it was easy to use the site and I never had questions about what to do or where to get answers to questions, it's quite a compliment. (I've actually refused to purchase from websites that had annoying navigation or bad usability. I'm a snob.) It was really fast to get everything uploaded, and I liked that they showed me the relative size of the canvas I was ordering by showing how it would look on a wall above a sofa. Seeing that actually led me to upgrade to an 11x14 canvas (in interest of full disclosure, they gave me a free 8x10, but I did pay for the size upgrade). Going through the process, I also have to say that I felt like the prices were reasonable as well as comparable to other companies that offer similar service.

I ordered, got my confirmation and got excited when I found out it had shipped. It came UPS last night and I was really pleased when I opened it. Here's what it looked like:


I think one of the things I love the best is that the canvas does a fabulous job of highlighting the texture of the stone on the buildings, steps and walkway in this picture. I wish I could have gotten a photo that would do it justice, but trust me. It looks awesome!

These canvases are gallery wrap - with that, the image continues around the edges so that you can hang it without a frame. One of the features that I really liked in the order process was the ability to choose how I wanted the gallery wrap to look. I chose to have it mirror the front image. I took a picture so you can see:


They also have the option for you to upgrade to a 1 1/2" thick canvas. I thought about it, but I opted to keep the regular size because I figured I'd want to frame it - all of the art and photographs in my house are framed, so I wanted it to be consistent.

As it happens, Michael's was having a sale on frames this week, so after the canvas came last night, I took it with me to the store and picked out a frame. (Apologies for the bad lighting - it was dark when I got home, but I wanted to get a few more shots.)


You can see how the canvas works perfectly with a frame too. And the view down the hallway:


The canvas comes with a little thingy on the back to make it easy to hang. I love having it there in my hall - each time I pass it, I get to remember that lovely night in Athens.

Cool, huh? I really love the final product, and I was pleased with the entire process. I feel like in order to be a "fair and balanced" reviewer, I have to say something negative, but the only thing I can think of is that it would have been nice if there had been a little extra padding in the shipping box to keep the canvas from moving around inside. But, the canvas was wrapped and the box width was a decent fit, and it came in perfect shape so I'm 100% happy and would definitely order again. So... if you want to turn your pictures into canvas, check out Easy Canvas Prints!

Our little pink princess

I scrapbooked! This is like twice in a month. I'm not sure what to do with myself. lol.

This picture of Aubrey is one that Nicole sent with my mom when they came out at graduation. Even though it's a little old - she doesn't look quite like this anymore  - I couldn't resist scrapping it. It's just so cute! Aubrey was 5 months old in this picture, so it was taken back in April. I just love her little dress - too adorable.

Aubrey 5 month princess

And a close-up of the roses without the glare from the head-on angle:

Aubrey 5 month princess close-up 1

I stamped the roses on kraft cardstock (they're from the Papertrey Ink year of roses collection) and then colored them with Caran d'Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons and a water brush. I love those because they're nice and opaque on darker cardstock - it gives it a really cool look without soaking into the paper like markers would have. Then I just used some stickles to finish it off. The painting curled the cardstock a bit, but I liked the look and the dimension so I left a lot of it and used some pop dots to hold it up in places. The patterned paper was all cut from paper in my scrap box and I added a few My Mind's Eye stickers and tags and some punched circles to carry over the pattern in her dress. That's it! Aside from the time it took to paint the stamped images, it came together pretty quickly and I love how it turned out.

And speaking of my sister, Nicole sent an email this evening with a pretty funny image.

Arby's Free Turnover

And really, you have to laugh, right? Because otherwise I might cry. That game on Saturday was brutal. Yikes.

I also ran the Dirty Dash up in Midway on Saturday with several friends from school. It was quite an experience... I'll post more details when I get the pictures that were taken. I didn't bother with any kind of camera because of the mud, but Todd's wife Lori got some, Todd video'd with a waterproof camera through a lot of it, and there were a few shots by photographers there - we'll see how much it costs and if there are any good ones. So that will come eventually.

Tonight I was at Melody's for a while - it was Samuel's 2nd birthday and he opened presents and we had cake. He was so cute opening all of his cars (he LOVES cars). They tried to give him a piece of birthday cake and he threw a total fit because he wanted to play with his new toys instead. It was pretty funny, actually. And I think Logan was as excited as Samuel was! It was fun to hang out and play and eat a little cake.

That's it for now... time to hit the sack!

Missoni and Yummy Pizza

I'm sure by now most everyone has seen the commercials from Target for the new Missoni collection. I saw some pictures from it hitting Pinterest and made a note to myself to go check it out. But somehow, I ended up digging in more and found out in a newspaper article talking about how even though the collection just hit stores yesterday, it had almost completely sold out with no plans to do a second run and restock. Wow! So I thought I'd just drop by Target on my way home to see if there was anything left. I wasn't expecting anything, but there were actually a few cool things! I couldn't resist...

Missoni Score

I thought the glass canister was really cool and would make a great cookie jar, and the 3 piece serving platter would be fun at parties or even as unique dinner plates. And I always love the funky melamite plates they have so I picked up just two of them. There were a few other things - wellies, some kids clothes, scarves... there were some really cool tights but I couldn't bring myself to pay $16, so that's all I got.

When I got home, I made up a pizza that I put on my menu plan for this week (look at me, trying to plan ahead!) I did a Mediterranean inspired pizza.

Mediterranean Pizza

For this one, I used whole wheat pizza dough from the store and then made a flavor infused olive oil instead of a sauce (I threw some crushed garlic cloves and some whole cumin seeds in a pan with the oil and cooked it on low until all the flavor soaked in - strain it when it's done). I preheated to 425 and sliced an eggplant in half lengthwise, and then into 1/2" slices (could have gone thinner). I put those on a baking sheet, salted them and sprayed with 0 calorie olive oil spray and roasted them for about 10 minutes. Then I pulled them out, cranked it to 500 and put in my baking stone while it heated.

After it heated, I took out the stone and put the crust on it - I use 6 oz of dough, rolled very thin to about 16" in diameter. Then I poured on the oil and swirled it around with a spoon so it covered the whole crust. Then I layered on the eggplant and also sliced 2 large tomatoes into 1/2" slices and put those on top. I cut 5 large cremini mushrooms into slices and sauteed them in the pan where I had infused the olive oil and then added them on top along with about 1 tbsp of sliced kalamata and green olives. Finally, I crumbled about 1/2 C of feta over the top and popped it back in the oven until the crust was crispy and the feta was golden on top. Then I tore a bunch of fresh basil over top. I meant to throw on a bit of my Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic, but totally spaced it. Good thing I have left-overs! It makes about 8 good-sized slices, and the serving size is 2 slices (6 points plus on WW - can't beat it!). It was yum. I can't wait to try it with the vinegar.

Okay, I'm off to watch a little Restaurant Impossible on my DVR before I crash for the night.

A little scrappy fun

First, I have to give a big shout-out / thank you to Crate Paper. I was extremely fortunate to be a winner of their brand new Christmas collection, Peppermint. It's such a fun and versatile collection and now that I'm not in school, I'm really excited to try doing another December Daily / Journal Your Christmas. This will definitely be making a showing in that project! I got home from work the other night to find this box of goodies on my doorstep:


They were really generous and I'm really excited to get in and use it. The embellishments are all super fun and I love the patterns of the paper, stickers and chipboard. So, thanks again Crate Paper!

And, I finally managed to finish a layout I've been working on here and there for the past few weeks. It feels a bit off to me, but I'm just happy I actually did something! This is my first layout of William.


Mostly I just wanted to get myself back scrapbooking again, so I tried to keep from spending too much time worrying about what supplies I was using and all that. I pulled from my scrap bin, jars of stuff just sitting there, a package of chipboard letters that was handy and a few sheets of paper that I bought recently that were still sitting out. You'd think it would come together faster, huh? lol.

A few close-ups:


I've had that copper thingy forever. It's an old K&Co piece. I got some inspiration from Keisha Campbell on the tags - they're manilla tags that I stamped and then cut out. I added part of a Tim Holtz journaling tag and some Jenni Bowlin chipboard stars with Stickles.


Here, another old embellishment - this was a Foofala swirly thing... kind of like an iron-on. More stars, the other half of the journaling ticket and then a date stamp and ticket die from Papertrey.

It was fun to do something again - I need to do more. I've been super tired lately, though... not sure what the deal is. It's been a bit long for me to still claim I'm recovering from school, after all.

Neil-l-andersen-large Speaking of school, last night we had the chance to go to a special EMBA fireside at the Marriott School where Elder Neil L. Andersen from the Quorum of the Twelve came to speak to us and Elder Steven J. Lund came with him. He was totally casual - just chatted and joked and instead of giving a prepared talk, he took questions from the audience and he and Elder Lund answered them. They talked about everything from finding balance in your life and how to determine if our program was a success to how to become more Christ-like. I got to sit in the front row (because I'm a nerd, remember) and when it was over and they shook hands with the others on the stand, Elder Andersen walked right up to me to shake hands. It was such a treat and a pleasure to hear and learn from him in such a small group - there were maybe 200 people there, and it's very rare to hear from an apostle in a group that small, so I feel quite blessed. It's a great additional perk of doing the EMBA program at BYU to do these types of things. Plus, I got to see quite a few of my friends from class - always fun.

Anyway, that's it for now! Hopefully I'll get some more scrapping done soon.

Myrtle Beach - Scrapbook on the Road

Whew... last post for now! I realized about a week before leaving that I would like to do another SOTR for Myrtle Beach. I happened to pick up a Teresa Collins travel mini album kit with a coupon at Archivers - I thought I might use it for Peru, but it seemed a better fit for this trip since it's a 3-ring album and won't fit as much.

I had a lot of fun playing with the cover - I painted it with Claudine Helmuth paints and then inked the edges. I used Prima stencils with modeling paste for the swirls and then decorated them with Stickles and ink after they were dry. For the sand at the bottom, I had a grainy texture paste that's meant to be mixed with acrylics - it really worked perfectly!


The large chipboard letters are old ones from Making Memories. The Sept. 2011 are just letter stickers from Basic Grey, and the butterfly is Maya Road. I glued them all down before I started painting and then just painted over all of it and added some Prima jewels to the butterfly when it was dry. I really love how it came out.


I kept up the journaling and putting little Instax prints, postcards, business cards and other stuff into the album as I went, so when I got home it was pretty much done. I uploaded a bunch of my favorite photos and had them printed at Costco - I get lustre finish with the white border, glue them back to back and just punch holes and put them in. I did about 40 prints, so 20 pages. It filled the book just perfectly.

Here are most of the inside pages - you can see that most of the pictures in my blog posts are the same ones I got printed. I still need to go through the rest of them and delete the bad ones. I took a ton! But with little kids, it's the only way to get a good shot :)

SOTR Inside Pages 1

The album came with 3 divider pages - some I left plain and one I covered with beach paper. Since I wanted to do a divider for each day, I cut off the tabs and then made three more divider pages with kraft cardstock and put KI Memories sticker tabs on all 6 of them. On 2 of the kraft pages I had a lot of fun stamping. That mendhi stamp from Papertrey Ink has to be my new favorite.

The map of the Grand Strand folds out - I tore it out of a tourist guide that we got free at the resort.

SOTR Inside Pages 2

It was a pretty relaxing trip. We didn't do tons of stuff - mostly hung out, ate, swam and hung out some more. So there are a lot more pictures in this one than writing and memorabilia. But I love how it turned out.

SOTR Inside Pages 3

Whew. That's it for now! I have a mostly-done scrapbook layout in my attic that's just waiting for finishing touches before I post it. Hopefully I'll get to that before another 2-3 weeks go by. But, I'm still trying to finish my class yearbook. I'm totally procrastinating. I only have 2 events left to do, but the one that's next on my list requires that I go through lots of photos, do lots of editing (which I loath) and create a LOT of pages. Sigh. It's going to be a sweet book when it's done, though... and I've collected a lot of digital awesomeness to use in future photo books. Anyway... off I go!

Myrtle Beach Part 3

Last trip update post! (I also have a Scrapbook on the Road that I'll share separately).

Wednesday was a totally lazy day. We all slept in and just played. Mom and I found a nail salon - I got a pedicure and she got a manicure. We tracked down a local scrapbook store and got a few goodies for Nicole and Erin to make scrapbooks of the trip - we put them together that night so that all they need is photos, journaling and maybe a few other details. For dinner that night, I made a veggie risotto with turkey sausage that everyone loved. It was quite good if I do say so myself.



Doesn't Nicole look thrilled to be scrapbooking?

Thursday was my last day - we spent the morning at the pool again and then went to the poolside grill and ordered burgers and fries. We ate under the umbrellas at the tables around the pool just soaking up the sun and the sea breeze.



I took off around 4:30 to get to the airport and catch my flight to Atlanta and then on to SLC. I wish I had stayed longer (the rest of the family left on Saturday morning) but I'm glad I had the chance to go. It was wonderful to go see everyone and spend time with the little kids.

Myrtle Beach Part 2

More from my trip to the beach! I have to admit, the number of photos I took dropped each day. I really got lazy on this trip. It was wonderful.

Monday we hit the pools at the resort. They had a lazy river and fun wading pools and stuff for the kids - we had a great time playing there.





We ended up having a bit of a water fight in the wading pool. Mostly Rick and I, although Nicole got into it a bit and Eraleigh delighted in throwing buckets of water at everyone. Note how she's sneaking up behind Nicole in this shot. Pretty funny kid.


One of my favorite shots of the whole trip - this was from Tuesday morning while Aubrey and I were playing. She's so funny with that little stuffed pig.


On Tuesday we went back to Broadway on the Beach to Wonder Works. We all went in and played - lots of fun interactive displays and activities - most of them had some kind of scientific aspect that you were supposed to learn.

Tuesday Collage 1

Tuesday Collage 2

And Eraleigh's favorite part:

Astronaut 2

And because I can't resist, Aubrey the Astronaut:


They had a high ropes course up in the ceiling where you attached yourself in and climbed all over the beams and the ropes suspended up above - Rick and Brian did it. The rest of us stayed firmly on the ground. I'm too scared of heights to do that most of the time.



After we left Wonder Works, we went into a few of the shops that were right there. We made it through two before it was time to go back for dinner. lol. One was a fun accessory shop where we looked at jewelry (okay, and bought some too) and the other was a gourmet shop that sold nothing but olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I was in heaven. I'll definitely be ordering more from their website - it was so fun to go around sampling them all. The oils were good, but the vinegars were so delicious you could practically drink them.


I got two white balsamics - one that was a Sicilian Lemon and another that was peach. I also got a French Roasted Walnut Oil. Next on my list: the pear cranberry white balsamic (the store is called Devo).

okay... enough for one post. The last of the trip photos are coming up in a few.

Myrtle Beach Part 1

Last week I got to go to Myrtle Beach, SC to meet up with my family. My parents exchanged a few weeks of their time share to get us two condos as the Plantation Resort in Surfside Beach, just a few miles from Myrtle Beach.

Rick and Erin, Nicole and Brian and the kids all stayed in one unit, I stayed with my parents in another. It was a really nice resort - fun pools and entertainment for the kids, close to the beach and lots of shopping and restaurants and only 10 miles from the airport (I flew in through Atlanta... Delta killed my suitcase, but it was a free ticket and that suitcase had gotten me its money's worth, so I guess I can't complain too much).

Just a few photos... on the first day after I got there, I went to the upstairs unit to see everyone (they all drove down and beat me there) and Eraleigh and I had a few races sliding down the stairs. I have a fading rugburn on my leg as a result. But I won.


And on Sunday, we had some salon time. My mom brought some little curlers for the girls. Eraleigh called them curlies and loved them - as long as she was putting them in someone else's hair or building towers out of them. Aubrey was just chill.

Saturday Collage 2

Saturday Collage

I got to meet William for the first time - he's just adorable.


And it was fun to see how much Aubrey has changed since I saw her at Christmas. She's just a little chunk of cute. She even has a dimple.


On Sunday, we were taking it easy and staying out of the water, so we went into Myrtle Beach to just walk along the boardwalk and then we ended up over at Broadway at the Beach where we rode the carousel and hunted down some frozen lemonade.


Myrtle Beach

MB Boardwalk

Sunday Collage 1

It was fun to play with the kids and hang out together. And I enjoyed the weather - it was hot, but I loved the humidity. It was balmy in the evening with a breeze off of the ocean all the time. Lovely.

More coming...

Belated Birthday Fun

I'm not sure where the time keeps going... here we are almost half-way through September! I woke up yesterday morning to that distinct feeling and smell of autumn in the air. I promptly burrowed back under the covers - it's an automatic reaction. I love that feeling, but it seems like this year it's just come so quickly! But here we are. And as for my total lack of blogging, I'll just say that I would do it a lot more if it didn't take so long to pull a post together. lol. You'd think it would be fast and easy, but I have a hard time finding the time to actually sit down and edit photos and compose a post. So I'm catching up yet again.

First, it's been so fun to have Melody's family back in Utah and living so close to me! We've been able to hang out a few times since they got back and it's been fun. One of those times was a bit over a week ago to celebrate Vic's birthday. The usual suspects were all on hand...

Samuel, giving me this face when he saw the camera pointing in his direction (and note, we didn't let him open that bottle of Dew. lol.)

Vic Bday 1

Of course, once I turned around, I saw this on the other side. lol.

Vic Bday 2

Then it was time to blow out the candles. Vic had no lack of volunteers to help with that.

Vic Bday 3

Here's Logan - he was showing off his Superman shirt and consuming as much chocolate as possible. Although we did convince him that more cake would make him sick. Not bad for reasoning with a 4-year old.

Vic Bday 4

Me and Samuel, hamming it up.

Vic Bday 5

And Dustin making a sneak attack.

Vic Bday 6

So that was the party... it was a fun night. The guys were setting up a gaming table when I left, but I couldn't stay out too late since I had laundry to finish and bags to pack for an early flight Saturday morning. I don't think I mentioned I was heading out, but I took off on vacation for just under a week - I just got back a few days ago and have been getting back into the swing of things. More posts coming with vacation photos!