Category Archives: personal

A good start to the week

This weekend I was in Dallas, where I spent 7 hours on Saturday at the Korean spa. Bliss. The fire sudatorium–which looks sort of like a giant kiln–is heated to 170 degrees. They recommend spending no longer than 10 to 20 minutes inside. I can manage 20 minutes sometimes, especially if I start out not hot (like if I haven’t just come from one of the other sauna rooms). But 20 minutes is a looong time in there. And then I come out and head straight for the ice room, which is kept around freezing, and stay there until it starts to feel a little chilly. Does this sound crazy? I don’t know. I visited the fire sudatorium twice on Saturday. SO GOOD.

Today my friend and I took our kids strawberry picking. Lyle had never seen strawberry plants, so I was excited for him to see how they grow. It was his first u-pick experience. He loved it. I loved how excited he was.

Getting their buckets and listening to instructions before we head out into the fields…they held hands until they got to the edge of the fields and realized it was easier to run if they let go of each other.


Trying something new

Today I came upon the blog of a photographer who gave herself a personal assignment to shoot a roll of film each week. She’s calling it Film Friday and posting the images every Friday…every image from the roll.

Some of my favorite photographers shoot film. Jose Villa. Elizabeth Messina. Jonathan Canlas.

And yet even though I’ve been looking at their work and following them online, it hadn’t occurred to me to try going back to film myself until I stumbled upon this photographer’s project today. I am going to try this. All of a sudden I am so excited to shoot with my film camera again. Just to try something new. (It’s been years since I shot film, so it might as well be new.) To change things up a bit. I am starting tomorrow.

Digging back in the archives again…to come up with a film image. I don’t have many of my film images scanned, so choosing one isn’t too tough. Niagara Falls. 2003.


Happy weekend

We spent the afternoon at the playground, finally leaving when Lyle was hungry and we had no more snacks. I love hearing him laugh when I tickle him as I push him on the swing, or when we’re chasing each other and I do something he thinks is funny, like try to hide behind a tree. Four is such a fun age.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!


Blurb photobook

Back in the fall I bought a coupon deal thing from for a Blurb book. It was $22 for a $55 GC. I’d been thinking of trying them for a couple of personal photobook projects, so I figured that was a good way to get on it. It was about to expire last week so I finally designed a book. It came yesterday–and woo!! It looks pretty good!

I made a 114-page book of our two summer vacations. I used the premium paper, which is apparently thicker than their standard paper. I got the hardcover with an imagewrap (photo printed right on the cover). Photo quality is good, not amazing. But for the price, I think it’s decent. Good enough that I think I will use Blurb again.

Typically you download their Booksmart software to design your album. I didn’t want to download anything, plus I already own album design software that gives me complete control, so I designed my book in my own software. Blurb offers a PDF-to-book option, which is what I wanted to use…just submit your entire book as a PDF and they print it exactly as you’ve designed it. My software can output as a PDF, so I planned to use that. Except that Blurb uses some very specific version of a PDF that requires you download their PDF preset to get the right output, but these don’t work with my album software and it’s all over my head anyway. So I was bummed about that, because it would’ve been so easy to just upload one PDF and avoid their software altogether. But alas.

Instead what I did was to just output each designed page as a jpg, then use their online software (Bookify) to place the images in the book. I put one jpg on each page. The downside of this is that text doesn’t print as well from a jpg as it will from a PDF, and the text in the printed book is a little blotchy.

For my cover, they call it an “imagewrap,” which implies that the image can wrap around–doesn’t it? Except that with their software, you can’t wrap an image around at all. You cannot put an image on the spine at all with their software. The only way to do it is by PDF…which I couldn’t do without this confusing preset stuff. I originally designed the cover to wrap around to the back, but instead had to redesign it to fit their software capabilities. Little disappointed in that. But the imagewrap cover itself? Is beautiful. I am in LOVE with it. It might be my favorite part of the whole book.

Specs: 10″x8″, hardcover with imagewrap, premium paper, 114 pages
This book was priced at $44.95 before tax. Shipping was $7, I think. I used FedEx ground (the cheapest option) and it got here quicker than they estimated.

It came shrinkwrapped, which I thought was nice.


I put a full-bleed photo on the front cover, then a full-bleed photo (a solid yellow square, basically) on the back cover, and then chose that exact same yellow for the color of the spine.


I used the same yellow on the inside to start off each set of vacation photos. I also used it on the title page and the last page. I didn’t use much text. I just labeled sets of images with the location where they were taken. The only thing I’d do differently with this next time is make the font smaller. I intended for it to be pretty small, but it didn’t print as small as I was picturing.


Late Valentine’s day

For Valentine’s day, one of Lyle’s grandmothers sent him a card with $5 in it. He told me without hesitation that he wanted to buy a cupcake with it. So yesterday after I picked him up from preschool, I took him to Sprinkles for cupcakes.