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12 posts from September 2012

September 27, 2012

Project Life, Week Thirty-Eight


OBSERVATIONS: My big DSLR is getting an awful lot of rest these days. I didn't take a ton of photos last week and almost every shot was taken with my iPhone. And keep in mind here, I don't have the iPhone 4s with the fancier camera. (The horror!) It's just always with me, and so it documents my life. I suppose it's a testament to the great quality, and the fact that I'm not hung up on making sure every photo in my life is a perfectly exposed masterpiece. The highlight of last week? Chester the dog came for the weekend. Much snuggle time was had with that now 10-year-old charmer. I'm looking into having him cloned. Here are my pages for the week.



The other notable part of last week? Fall arrived. Yeah, baby! Having to flip on the fire was pure bliss. Temps at night dropping into the 30s makes for some awfully nice sleeping weather. 

Here's a recap of the week:


And that is all I wrote in Week 38.



Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.


September 25, 2012

Two years ago, right now (another lurid tale from the scale)


This is not going to be a woe-is-me, what-the-hell-happened kind of blog post. In case you're wondering. Nope. Not going to go there.

Okay, maybe just a tiny bit.

I was going through my iPhoto library over the weekend, looking for some specific shots for a project and came across a series of photos of me in my hallway mirror in October 2010, and I remembered what it felt like to have a new skirt, new boots and a new waistline to match.

This was me at 141 pounds, after losing 41 extra libbies. This was me after 10 months of religious adherence to the Weight Watchers plan. This was me, thinking, "Oh yeah, baby. NOW life begins!"

I so got this.

Of course, I did not 'so got that'. Not really. Not at all, some might have said.

So began the past two years of slowly moving back up the BMI chart. When I started teaching Move More, Eat Well, I was very inspired at the idea of making changes that would stick. When that class began, I had worked my way up to around 160, and I was hell bent on getting back to where I'd once landed.

It didn't quite work out that way.

One of the positives of the past two years, however, is a commitment to getting my move on. Whether it's been running, walking, swimming, biking, or hanging out with Jillian Michaels in my family room, I've made the effort to Move More whenever possible. And I've realized that even if it isn't the magic key to weight loss, it is a key to a clearer mind and a calmer heart.

The summer, specifically August, saw a huge drop off in my exercise habits. I could make some tepid excuses about bone spurs and foot pain, but as I have learned, there are always other things you can do. I just got sloppy.

And if I get sloppy in moving my body, the food component—or rather, the crappy food component—catches up in a big way. And fast.

In my class this year, it has been all about keeping it real and not giving up. Even when you feel defeated. Even when you start to think, as I have, "Oh, shit. Here we go again."

As I sit here typing, following a 3.5 mile run where things didn't really hurt all that bad, glowing red like a freshly cooked lobster, I still believe that I have the capability of living a healthy, fit life. That I can figure out this insane sugar habit I seem to have picked up in my life. That I can be the changes I truly want to see.

I mean, hells bells, I quit smoking. I think that qualifies me to do just about anything.


So I'm puffy right now. So I'm not doing what I know how to do. 

There's really no need to mope about now is there? Every day is a whole new ball game.

The possibilities are actually pretty endless.

That's where my head is today.

How about you?

September 24, 2012

Announcing Two Views, my newest online workshop coming to Big Picture Classes in November


Today I'm announcing my newest workshop coming in mid-November to Big Picture Classes.

The class is called Two Views. The project is an album of prompts designed to be answered and recorded by two people. This class got started in my head about a year ago when I had the idea of making an album wherein me and my then 15-year-old daughter, Aidan, would create a sort of she said/she said type of album designed around a series of pre-determined prompts.

I wanted to find a way to save two voices—hers and mine—and celebrate where and if they merged, or where for sure they differed. 


The nice thing about Aidan is that a) she's crafty, and b) she likes to write. But as much as we both loved the idea and were excited about it, we just sort of sat on it until mid-Summer, when I said, "Okay, let's do this thing."

The result is an album that I may love above all others I've completed to date. A document of two completely different perspectives—mine and hers—in one, sweet little 8 x 8 album. I created a class around this project realizing that there are many ways two voices can come together in a project, beyond simply a mother and a daughter. It could be sisters, best friends, spouses or partners—any two people who like the challenge of tackling some questions that are designed to reveal little slices of authenticity for each person who undertakes the project.


And this is something that you don't have to be a full-blown scrapbooker to complete. Sure, I've tossed in a bit of the printing/production aspects of crafting that we all enjoy, and yes, you'll learn some digital tips and tricks along the way, but you can recruit anyone to participate with you. You sign up, and help them get set up, and off you go.

Although the class doesn't begin until November, when you sign up you'll be able to download a PDF of the prompts to give you a chance to get the creative wheels turning. In this way, when class begins, you'll be ready to jump in and start applying your words to the class templates.

If you have any questions about this workshop, please post in the comments and I'm happy to answer. Two Views runs November 8–21. You can read the full class description by clicking here. Registration is open now.

I hope to see you there!

You can listen to an audio promo on the class by clicking here.



September 19, 2012

Project Life, Week Thirty-Seven


OBSERVATIONS: Last week was the week where Children Were Not Around. It was weird and peaceful as the same time. It made me realize that we may have a whole other life to live one day. One where we eat when it suits us. And stuff like that.

Anyhoo, I also used some of the kids' photos from their trips. My kids attend a Montessori High School, and taking trips is an essential part of their community-building approach to education. Apparently, both trips were a success. Always good to hear this from your wayward offspring. Onto the week:


Upon Aidan's return, we hit the yarn store. She has become the family knitter, and is presently obsessed with making a Dr. Who-themed scarf. She is also obsessed with themed-nail art, as you see below.


I love having shots taken by them. Especially the one in the lower right? Only a 13-year-old boy could have taken that. Love the composition.

Here's the recap:


And that is all I wrote for Week 37.



Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.


September 18, 2012

Recent Instagram faves

Fun Photo Sep 10, 6 57 30 PM

Photo Sep 15, 1 13 13 PM

Photo Sep 15, 5 29 31 PM

Photo Sep 15, 6 30 58 PM

Still adore that little iPhone app. Most of these shots from last week are going into Project Life this week. Who knew a phone would be so useful to a scrapbooker?

You can follow me here. I won't lie: I talk a lot of pictures of my food.


September 13, 2012

Project Life, Week Thirty-Six


OBSERVATIONS: Another week of Project Life which found me computer-less. (Okay, I consider borrowing and working on my daughter's laptop to be computer-less. I know. Indulge me.) But I would like to say one thing to everyone reading this blog today, and for all time: HAVE A BACK UP SYSTEM FOR YOUR COMPUTER!

I had a back up system in place, and thankfully, all 1.5 TB of information—my photos, my music, my work files—have all be safely restored to my newly revamped computer. All for the cost of about $159 and a nice Western Digital external drive. I use the Mac software called Time Machine to handle my back ups. It has been about as seamless as a can be.

Now, aside from my external back ups, I've decided to sign up for CrashPlan as well. My "cubicle mate" Ali Edwards says it's working like a charm for her. Good enough endorsement for me.

I don't mean to go on about this (well, actually I do), but it's just a friendly reminder from your friendly bloggin' fool who would have really been sad if I'd lost it all. (See, the therapy IS working!) 

Here are my pages from this week, a week where my iPhone was my main photo taker.


Yes, I finally did the old one photo in multiple pockets. I had so few shots this week, so I took advantage of the situation. I love the result.


See that cute little chevron pattern? I made that following this tutorial

This shot below is my favorite of the week. Why? Aidan snapped it from her iPhone just as Cole and his classmates were lining up to get on the bus for their weeklong trip to the Badlands. Only one more day until the boy comes home!




And that is all I wrote still on borrowed machines for Week Thirty-Six.

p.s. Get a back up system in place. Love, Cathy



Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.


September 12, 2012

The Empty Nesters


We have had a vision of the future.

The future where children do not live at your home. Where they are out in the world, supporting themselves, living life to the fullest, and technically not on your dime.

We have seen a vision where the television is only on for a reason. Where the music and wine flow. Where lunches are not packed and dinners can consist of simply one entree, and not three to accommodate picky eaters and vegetarians.

We have had a glimpse into the empty nest, and it might not be as awful as we'd initially imagined.

Okay, so the kids are only away for a week on school trips—Aidan just four days—but we figured that this is the first time since 1996 where he and I have been in the house for more than one night without one or the other child here with us.

There have been moments during the past few years where I could not remotely fathom the idea of not living with my children. I like them an awful lot, you see. But the past few days have shown me that thanks to working on my marriage, I remember how much I enjoy just hanging with Dan Zielske and I realize that one day, if we are fortunate to live long and prosper, it will just be the two of us here together again.

As it was back in the day. And apparently it won't totally suck.

I've got no interest, however, in wishing away the time. Let me very clear on that.

But it's nice to know that with four days to ourselves, we realize that two people in this equation still work pretty dang well.




September 10, 2012

Fall is here. Want to head off to Boot Camp with me?


Ten-hut! About face! Now drop and give me ten… photos!

Okay, maybe I don't have all the lingo down, but I'm excited to announce a special fall event at Big Picture Classes. It's Boot Camp 2012 and you're cordially invited to get in scrap shape this fall with me and three other inspiring, talented woman who want to put you through the paces of storytelling, design, photography and creative living. I'm really excited to be teaming up with Ali, Tracey and Amy for this inspiration fest. Will your creative muscles get sore? OF COURSE they will. They don't call it Boot Camp for nothin'.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! We are also the four women who will be bringing you the Four Experts Series next year at Big Picture Classes. Our Boot Camp is designed to get you warmed up for the coming year, and give you a taste of who we are and what we will bring to the table in 2013.

Boot Camp revolves around the simple idea of 10-minute daily drills, each delivered to you via email and through a video message. We know you are busy people! This is one way to get a little bump of inspiration for your crafting, creative life that is delivered in do-able chunks.

Plus one of my videos includes me wearing swimming goggles. And really, how can you not find inspiration there? Truly…

SAVE $$$ ON REGISTRATION! Enjoy 10% off the Boot Camp price by using the following code at checkout: 4expert2013

*Expires 9/17/2012 at 10pm PDT. Cannot be combined with any other offer. 

It's 12 days of ideas, challenges, workouts and hopefully, fun! I hope to see you there.


September 06, 2012

Project Life, Week Thirty-Five


OBSERVATIONS: Well, I really didn't think it was going to happen this week, Project Life, that is. Don't get me wrong, when your computer dies it doesn't mean life stops. It just feels that way. So this is how I cope. I get my daughter's brand spankin' new laptop, and my son's three-year old one, and plug an external in and go to town.

You know what's scary? My daughter's new MacBook is as zippy as my MacPro tower. Technology makes me shudder at times, and not always in a good way.

So I pulled my Project Life files off of my external back up drive and got to work. I definitely feel like the level of productivity in my life is very connected to the size of screen. I'm a very spoiled worker, with my two big monitors that I use, but I've always been a big fan of seeing your work as large as humanly possible. They say my computer will be ready next Tuesday, until then I guess I'll just have to get by like this… ; )



I discovered—okay, I didn't discover it—I remembered a font this week and that font is now my official new favorite. Helvetica Neue Condensed Extra Black Oblique. (And yes, thank you to John Poyser for letting me know that it's pronounced noy-a and not new.) However you say it, it's a totally rad type face. I think I was looking for something different this week because a) I didn't have my regular fonts loaded on either of the laptops I'm using and b) My Ten Tips for Better Type class (which starts today!) has got me thinking of other fonts in the world outside of the ones I use all the time.

Anyhoo, I used it on just about everything. All caps baby. I'm not even a true fan of all caps, but in short little title bursts with tight leading, I adore them.



This picture of Cole cracked me up. Does he look like Tony Montana, minus the mountains of cocaine, of course, or is it just me?



And that is all I wrote on borrowed machines for Week Thirty-Five.



Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.


September 05, 2012

This and that

It's been a while since I've done any sort of compendium, mostly because compendium postings aren't really my strong suit. That said, when you're improvising all week, what they hey, right?

1. Oppa Gangnam Style

Gangnam style

Have you seen this video from Korean artist PSY? (pronounced sai) I know that a bazillion people have seen it already, and it's fast becoming a viral sensation, but there is an unbridled joy that creeps into your soul after seeing it. My understanding is that he's making a stinging commentary here on the extremely privileged in Korean society, but he's sure doing it in a fun way. This still above? My favorite moment in the video.


2. Speaking of music…

My good friend, Christopher (Dan's best friend who works for the U.S. Embassy in Slovenia) has recently headed up an R.E.M. tribute project featuring an all-star cast of Slovenian artists. The project is dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues and will highlight the work of many Slovenian environmental groups. I think it must be a cool part of any job to put together an R.E.M. tribute. They are one of my all-time favorite groups and the Slovenian super group does this song justice. Way to orchestrate, CMW!


3. Speaking of type…

I know, I wasn't actually speaking of type but my online workshop 10 Tips for Better Type kicks off bright and early tomorrow morning. If you're interested in learning more about how type can enhance your scrapbook pages, consider joining me for the next two weeks. In Week 1, you get the presentation and videos to watch and in Week 2, we make a page together and I host a video chat. There's also a layout contest and free fonts are part of the class content. I'd love to see you there!


Here ends the compendium. Thank you.