Saturday, April 30, 2011

just cause

hello darlings,

hope your saturday is going well!
spring has finally decided to start treating us right again.
just thought i'd stop in to share this photo:

suri is cracking up about something.
not sure what.
(the camera was accidentally focused on her
chubba whubba rolls instead of her face.)
let me tell ya, there is nothing cuter than:
1. baby laughs
2. baby yawns
love it. love it. love it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

my little doll + photography tips

i took some photos of suri this morning:

yes, can you believe i took these photos myself?!
just goes to show you how good of photos you can get
when the little rugrat is being cooperative. :)

one of my graphic design clients mailed this handmade knit dress
for suri when she was born. isn't it gorgeous?
(the funny thing is that i've never met her in personal.
i've been working for her company for 7 years 
via phone and email. gotta love technology.)

suri really liked the feel of the knit and kept touching it.
she was all giddy and happy.
i think it's like when any girl puts on a dress she loves
it makes her feel like twirling and smiling.
you know the feeling. :)

anyhoo, i thought i'd throw out some photography tips.
don't get me wrong, i am an amateur.
but these have really helped me to get better photos:
  1. i never use flash. i always try to use natural light. (sometimes this requires waiting to take photos during the day.) Of course, I take photos at night with flash, but these don't have the same wow factor.
  2. i have my camera on the aperture setting to allow the most light in.
  3. i edit my photos and i almost always increase brightness and contrast. (i use photoshop or iphoto. this is basic editing in any photoediting software.) or, sometimes, i simply increase the exposure. (play around with it - see what you like.)
  4. i use the rule of thirds, which means not centering my subject in the middle. (if you chopped your image into thirds, line your subject to be in the middle of one of the "chop lines".)
  5. Cropping makes a difference. I will crop the image to follow the rule of thirds or to make a close-up of the subject.
  6. Take LOTS of photos. It's simple math - find some good ones that can be cropped, brightened, contrasted, etc. to make the perfect photo.
  7. I sometimes use photoshop actions. These are "automatic" settings that edit your photo in photoshop to have a specific coloring, etc. I use set 122 by nightfate, which is free, and i typically use setting #3 for my blog photos. (btw, the ones above did not get "actioned".) They are easy to use - you just need to load them. (Here are some instructions to load them.) After you use an action, make sure to flatten your image.
hope you're having a great week!

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    spring event, you are my fave

    a photobooth pic

    the spring event was sooooo much fun.
    i think it was because i got to relax and enjoy myself.
    this past november, i was nervous about the new location.
    this time, i had things figured out.
    it was sooooooo nice.
    i felt like i just socialized the whole time! seriously.

    it was a different crowd for sure. lots of newbies.
    and the veterans were so sweet. they did a great job of
    settling in and helping create a positive and social atmosphere.
    i feel like they always get what i'm trying to do.

    at the end of it, i thought:
    this is exactly the type of event i want get inspired to be.

    i'm not gonna lie...this april timeframe was hard.
    it's unlikely the event will be 2x a year.
    but, it was worth every stinkin bit of crazy.

    here are my (random) thoughts about the event:
    1. wall of inspiration participants were awesome. there were many deserving FAVES.
    2. the vendors rocked!!! they were generous with the prizes and the make-and-takes were impressive.
    3. there were lots of younger girls at this event - so precious. keona (who i'm guessing was around 10 years old) stayed with her sew many memories crew until midnight. she also won the 1-hr free massage from massage heights. LOL!
    4. photobooth from a special event dj was priceless - the amount of laughter and giggles that came from that thing was truly amazing.
    5. kim and kat from scrap inn gave away 200 free t-shirts. wowza! was so wonderful making new friends. thank you, ladies, for embracing the scrapper challenge. seriously, i don't think that anyone left with a frown on their face.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    rad booth props

    hello again sweets,

    look what i made!
    pretty rad, right? (if i do say so myself. hehee)

    i used my silhouette sd machine.
    definitely need to use THICK (i'm talkin bazzil-thick paper)
    when attempting these. otherwise the paper doesn't lay flat.
    i have a whole reject pile to prove it.

    i used some of my old 'rockstar' paper + black cardstock.
    the one in the upper left says: Get Inspired Spring '11 ROCKS
    pretty hard to read, but i attached with a zot. nuff said.

    guess who those baby-size ones are for...

    the girl that looks more and more like her mama!
    unfortunately, my assistant is not here to model her mini props.
    i'll have to post a pic later. :)

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    real simple x 2

    hello my lovelies,

    look what arrived in the mail today:
    my all-time favey magazine Real Simple!
    two of them.  

    funny story...
    i accidentally subscribed to real simple...twice.
    one came address to my married name...
    and one to my maiden name.

    oopsies. i thought my old subscription was over. LOL!
    well, i'm giving this extra issue to a lucky scrapper -
    as a prize at get inspired.

    i am not kidding you, i LOVE this magazine.
    it's chock-full of ideas to make your life easier,
    hence the name.
    i even love the type of paper it's printed on.
    sorry, it's the graphic designer in me.

    so, keep 'em coming, mr. mailman.
    i'll keep paying it forward. hehee.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    get inspired: wall of inspiration

    yay!!!! we're bringing back the wall of inspiration.
    it's a place to hang up your completed layouts,
    so others can share in your beautiful pages
    and maybe find ideas/inspiration for themselves.

    i made some goodies!!! woot! woot!
    check out these mini metal birdhouses...
    i only could get my hands on 17 of these little metal cuties,
    so the race is on!

    several scrappers requested a "contest" of sorts.

    i am definitely not being a judge.
    it would be waaaaaay too hard to choose.

    so, i made these "you are my FAVE" ribbons
    for those unlucky ladies with this duty.
    (anyone want to volunteer for this?)

    little badges of honor.
    they say "LOVELY PARTICIPANT: wall of inspiration" on the back.

    Friday, April 8, 2011


    what's pretty much the opposite of irresistibly cute baby feet?


    self-employment itemizations:
    so painfully boring and time-consuming.

    the red manila folder means get yo' ass on it!

    tootles for now...

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    a quiet morning

    somebody was in full concentration....

    ("get in my mouth")


    get inspired: scrapper challenge

    as you know, i've been trying to fill the last scrapper seats.
    which means... going back to grassroots.
    i.e. handing out info cards to scrappers in aisles.
    i knooow, doesn't sound fun.'s actually not that bad.

    with finding my business clients and organizing get inspired,
    i've really had to push myself to be more outgoing.
    this was a definite struggle at first.
    i'm much more comfortable as an introvert.

    but, over the years, it's gotten easier and easier.
    i learned a valuable lesson:
    you just have to put yourself out there.
    (my hubby would actually say these exact words to me -
    when i'd get discouraged. and it's so true.)

    i've found, even when i'm approaching a random person,
    people are generally open and friendly.
    especially scrapbookers. :)

    one of the comments from last year's survey was:
    "i made a new friend."
    that brought a instant smile to my face.
    i felt so proud that i helped create a friendship.
    there is nothing more inspiring than a friend.

    so, my scrapper challenge for this Spring event is:
    my lovely assistant

    ...with one of the get inspired prizes.

    vanna ain't got nothin' on my baby girl.


    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    get inspired: a switch-up

    originally my idea was to get everyone birdhouses
    as their 'get inspired gift' (going with the Spring theme.)

    however, i couldn't find any that had the value i wanted.
    (flashback to my drake days ... quality + price = value)

    so, i decided to switch it up...

    first of all, i got everyone travel mugs:

    i listened to 'my peeps' on this one. hehee.
    several scrappers gave feedback they wanted covered cups.
    nothing worse than spilling on your scrapbook supplies.

    these are 'design your own mug' ones and look how cute they are -
    i simply put a piece of scrapbook paper in there!
    they are only 11 oz'ers, but they get the job done.

    secondly, i got everyone bags:

    another practical choice.
    when were were setting up at our last event,
    the papers went flying when the doors were opened.

    i thought: if i'm gonna get bags, why not get colorful ones...
    and reusable??? weeeeellllll...
    freebies that are F U N and practical,
    not a bad switch-up, dontcha think?

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    get inspired: t minus 11 days!

    the countdown to get inspired has officially begun.
    this is the first year i've tried to pull off a spring event,
    and i gotta be honest, it definitely snuck up on me.

    i  REALLY hope these last 40 seats get filled.
    sorry, i can't help but wish for a sold-out crowd.
    i'm seriously thinking this will be the best one yet.
    things are starting to come together nicely
    and it feels so goooooood. *sigh* i love this event.

    i got most of my prizes today....

    i decided to go crazy on THICKERS. they happen to be my fave.
    i have 20 thicker packs right now - need to track down 6 more.
    i want to give them to a whole row of scrappers.

    and there's scrapbook page kits, chipboard kits, mini stamps,
    glitter sets...just a mention a few other goodies.

    the vendors are also required to give away 10 prizes each.
    might get a little microphone/prize-crazy up in there.
    guess that's a good problem to have.

    stay's gonna be get inspired central around here.

    i heart jj heller

    i left suri for the first time this past friday.
    for jj heller's concert in dubuque to be exact.

    i'm happy to report that i survived my overnighter away
    and it was a great time with some lovely girlfriends.

    the concert was a-ma-zing. it was an intimate setting,
    where she told the background story of her songwriting.
    btw, she writes and sings with her hubby. (he was quite funny.)
    they were the most darling couple...and so real.
    i feel like i know them now. lol!

    (you can't tell from the poor cell phone picture quality
     but, she was rockin' a supercute prego belly!)

    we rode there like ballers in jill's envoy.
    angel brought a couple bottles of wine for the hotel.
    we all talked and just hung out.
    rachel was a great bed buddy.
    the breakfast was surprisingly good for a hotel freebie.
    i only pulled a "minna" once and walked to the wrong car.
    it turned out to be a really relaxing weekend.

    i also bought myself a 'i [heart] jj' t-shirt...

    ...which they signed!!!
    yes, that's a smiley face next to her signature.
    love it.