September has been a month of adjustment. I wouldn’t say it’s been a struggle, but it’s taken me all month to feel like I’m finding our new routine now that school has started. We also had a visit from my mom and five days without Beau when he took a trip to New York for work. Ephram especially has trouble after my mom leaves since he always misses her. And without Beau those five days, I definitely missed adult interaction by about 5pm every evening.

We kept our summer pretty relaxed. A few visits to the pool, maybe a playdate or two, and one day at Little Gym each week. So having our schedule pick back up with activities has meant less time at home. And with less time at home comes the need to focus more during my free time. While reading just didn’t happen this month, I did figure out how to lessen the amount of tabs I keep open on my computer and focus more on what I want to be doing, thanks to a plug-in for Chrome called StayFocused. And I was much better about fitting workouts back into my schedule, including several walks when we were blessed with cooler “fall” weather. We also recently bought a bike trailer for the boys so we can go on bike rides as a family!

My self portrait this month is one that I snapped while my mom and I were at the park with the boys one evening during her visit. It’s a great example and reminder that self portraits do not need to be super well planned or set up. For this one I simply set my camera down on a flat part of the playground, turned on the timer, and let it snap a few.

September Self Portrait

October goals:

  • A book I want to read: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (at least 5 people have recommended Rainbow’s books recently so I’m giving one a shot)

  • A craft I want to do: Any and all the Halloween crafts I’m finding on Pinterest

  • A “skill” I want to work on: Counting to 4 outloud when I’m angry in front of the boys. It’s good for me and a great example to set for them.

  • An activity I want to do more often: Family bike rides!

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Now that the Project Life App is out in the App Store (and will be available for Android users someday soon as well), I thought I’d share how I am using it. Creating a physical Project Life album for my family is absolutely where my heart is these days. I love playing with stamps and adding embellishments and physically printing my photos. I even enjoy the corner rounding process, as tedious and unnecessary as it is.

But ever since jumping back into memory keeping a few years ago, I realized that I wanted to create something for each of my boys also. Something for them only. The idea sat in the back of my mind for a long time until I had the chance to play with the Project Life App. That’s when it hit me.

Digital school albums!

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When Ephram returned to school this year, the papers he was bringing home starting stacking up quickly.  So every other week or so, I spend a few minutes photographing our favorites with my phone. Sometimes on the white kids activity table in my office (from Ikea of course), sometimes having Ephram hold them (reluctantly).

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With the photos already on my phone, it makes it super easy to drop them into the Project Life App, type up a bit of journaling off the top of my head, and save. Occasionally I’ll use photos from my DSLR by uploading them to my Dropbox account from my computer and then pulling them into the App on my phone.

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The Project Life App comes with 3 Core Kits plus the School Themed Cards, which gives me plenty to work with, though additional kits range from $0.99 – $1.99. I also hope to keep in mind that I can include 4×6 collages made in the app as well to create my own cards, which I did above with some outtakes of Ephram holding his artwork.

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We’ve been in school for just over three weeks resulting in 2 full spreads so far, and it has only taken about 15 minutes total. Super simple and I feel almost zero guilt when I toss some of it.  At the end of the school year I plan to print them in a photo book, perhaps using Shutterfly or Persnickety Prints.

How are you using the Project Life App?

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After my last super colorful Project Life post, I’m back with a very muted one. It’s interesting how my weeks differ in color so drastically sometimes. This week actually had a lot of color, it’s just hidden in the black and white photos. As long as taking away the color doesn’t take away from the story, I’m okay doing so.

Anyways, the cards I used for this spread are all by the designer-extraordinaire, Peppermint, of One Little Bird Designs, and you can head on over to her blog to read more about how this spread came together!

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Follow my 2014 album progress here.

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There’s something about September. We had two cooler days over the weekend giving us our first taste of autumn and all of a sudden I’m in the mood. I want to bundle up with sweatshirts, sip warm coffee, and maybe plan a camping trip or two. We made our go-to brussels sprout recipe last night. I’m anxious to try growing these and am looking for new recipes to try with them. Any suggestions?

The bracelet below is a gold version of one I already have and it has become a daily staple on my wrist. I just love it.

What are you loving right now?

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1/ Brussel Sprouts 2/ Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte 3/ ‘Home is Where the Wifi Automatically Connects’ print 4/ Gap Camp Zzz Sleep Set 5/ The Jones Market Momento Bracelet 6/ Happy Camper Slouchy Pullover

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Tips for photographing the interior of a dark home.

So far, I’ve photographed the “finished” progress of 4 or 5 rooms in our current house. Decorating is yet another creative outlet for me and I find joy in cleaning up a room to photograph it before it changes or gets messy again. But photographing the rooms in our current house has been much more difficult than in our previous house.

Our current house is surrounded by trees. It took about 5 minutes one November afternoon, walking through the neighborhood for me to fall in love with it. With the heat and sun we endure in Texas, it’s a huge bonus to have natural shade. But there is one drawback: our home can be quite dark inside as a result of all those trees. The complete opposite of our last house. So this post is about the the 3 tools I’ve learned to rely on to photograph the inside of my dark, dark home.

Tips for photographing the interior of a dark home.

1 – A CAMERA I use a Nikon D90 for photographing the inside of my house, along with lenses ranging from 12-50mm. You don’t need expensive lenses or a fancy DSLR. As long as you can put your camera in manual mode, you’ll be fine. I do like to use my wide angle lens occasionally because many rooms are small and need a wider angle to fit it all in the photo the way I want it.

The reason manual mode is so important is because you can slow the shutter speed down and let more light into the camera, creating a photo with brighter light than you’re even seeing in person. The photos above show the difference in shutter speed settings. The image on the left is similar to what I was seeing with my own eyes, but once I allowed more light into my camera (by increasing the amount of time my shutter was open) a brighter image was created. And my dark house looks super bright and cheerful.

Tips for photographing the interior of a dark home.

2 – A TRIPOD I have this one, which is way more than you need. We bought this one while storm chasing in (what seems like) another life. A simple $20 one will do just fine in this situation. But it is a must, because if you’re shutter is open longer than 1/125 of a second, you’ll likely end up with a blurry picture. These shots taken on Ephram’s room were taken with the shutter opening for 2 whole seconds. There’s no way I could have stood still enough to take this picture in my hands without creating some blur.

Tips for photographing the interior of a dark home.

3 – A REMOTE. This one isn’t nearly as important as a camera and tripod, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. A remote allows you to tell the camera to take the picture without actually having to touch the camera. This is super helpful in that you don’t risk wobbling the camera when you put the button down, which can result in a blurry photo. I have this one and have zero complaints.

In addition to these three tools, observing when the light is brightest in the room is of course a big component as well. And sometimes this means waiting a minute or two for a cloud to pass by.

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