The 3×100 project (2013)


We’re gearing up for Summer of Awesome 2014 around here. Making plans for exploring, adventures, swimming, and other fun stuff. We have to cram a whole year’s worth of family time into five painfully short weeks. All this leads me to reflection about summers past, and things I never got around to writing about last year.


One of the most important things I tried to do last summer was to get more photos of the three of us together (plus Miss iKitty if we could wrangle her). I make a big effort every year to get tons of pictures of the boys together, and Jason is always snapping away so we have quite a few of me with the Little Man. But it’s more tricky to get all three of us. Someone has to hold the camera, right?

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Last summer we did a ton of traveling. I began to notice all the different reflective surfaces in hotels and other places we visited that could facilitate a quick family picture. At some point, I decided I would try to get a hundred photos of the three of us during the summer.

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We took pictures in front of mirrors. We took pictures of our shadows and our feet. Jason, master of the extended arm camera phone selfie, did his thing. Every once in a while we talked a stranger into taking our picture. It became sort of a game to try and get a photo at every place we visited. And the guys knew if we passed any sort of mirror I was going to make them stop. It was a bit of an obsession for me.


I’m STILL going through summer pictures from last year, but I know I have at least 50 pictures of all three of us together. Fifty! That’s pretty exciting! I didn’t make my goal of 100 photos, but who cares?



Making the conscious effort to get more pictures, even if they’re not great, has made a big difference in how I scrappbooked the summer of 2013. It looked a lot less like “Our summer with the Little Man”, and more like “Our summer as a family”. I super love that. I can’t wait to do it again this summer!

Project Life Lessons: Photos to Take

I loved Megan’s first assignment in Project Life Lessons. I’m not usually at a loss for photos to take. If anything I take Too Many to fit into one spread. But I’m always on the lookout for more photo ideas. Our first assignment was to go through a list of photo types and see which ones we gravitate towards, and which we could take more of.

All photos are linked to relevant blog posts.

Types of photos I take often-
People in my life. I try to get pictures of all of us (Me, Jason, and Miss Kitty) each week. I also try to get pictures of all of us together each month for Three Times Twelve. When LM is here, of course I take tons of pictures with him. I’m very sneaky and take screenshots whenever I Skype or FaceTime with my extended family.

Progress. I love progress pictures, especially for home projects and gardening. Jason is also good at getting progress photos of me cooking.

Routine. I’m pretty good t getting photos of our routines, at least during the day. I’m more aware of taking these kinds of pictures after taking the Twelve class from Stacey Julian last year. Scrapping your routines and rituals was a big theme in that class.

Relationships. These are my favorite. I get these whenever I can.

Places. We’re great at this. We probably take more Places photos than People photos generally.

Home. Another one I’m working on recently. We’re thinking of moving next spring so I want to get lots of pictures of this house right now.
Doing what we love. We’re pretty good at this. I take a lot of pictures of Jason gaming and doing music. I sometimes take pictures of LO’s I’m working on and things I’m cooking.

Traditions. We excel at this one. He takes hundreds of pictures when we go to the Morikami each year. I make sure we document each state we visit by taking pictures beside the state signs. Whoever isn’t cooking is always snapping away during holiday meal prep. You don’t even want to know how many sunrise/ sunset on the beach photos we have.

IMG_6694P6070247 Recurring themes. I take a picture of our dinner almost every night. I like seeing how the same thing, a meal, can change so much over the course of a year. It might be boring for other people, but I like it.

Stories I want to tell. Since taking the Twelve class, I’m constantly on the lookout for stories. I have a running list of stories, so if I find something that could represent that, I’ll definitely take a picture. I’m often formulating stories in my head. I think a lot of scrapbookers/ memory keepers do this, even if we don’t realize it.


Types of photos I take sometimes-
Milestones. I don’t always get photos of milestones, but I do journaling to cover any lack of photos.

Outings. There are many many weeks when I only leave the house one day a week. We are homebodies (when we’re not traveling). But I do take lots of pictures when we do go somewhere.

Seasons are hard to capture in South Florida. We have two seasons, hurricane season and the rest of the year. I do make a special effort to get pictures of holiday decorations and things like that anytime I can to show the passing seasons. I also take a lot of screenshots of my weather app for temperatures and big storms. We always take photos if we have any hurricane prep to do. If there is damage from storms, of course that gets documented too.

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Representative photos. This is hit or miss for me. It’s easy to remember to take pictures of my feet at the pool, or medicine if we’re sick. A lot of times I’ll just use journaling to document these things. When my mom was in the hospital last year, I waited until she left for a test and took pictures of her hospital bed and the whiteboard that the nurses wrote on.

Celebrations. we’re great at taking these photos, but not so great at getting them into my LO’s because the number we take is pretty overwhelming sometimes. The weeks in my PL that I’ve skipped almost always involve celebrations or vacations.

Personality. I’m pretty good at getting Personality shots of Jason and LM, but not so much of myself. Pictures of me almost always fall into two categories- big cheesy grin and mouth-slightly-open “Duh” expression. (Unfortunately many of my wedding photos are in the second category)

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Other things I’m ok with taking photos– Accomplishments, Details. Work. Changes. Action. Joy.



Types of photos I don’t take as often-
Signs of the times. We have been known to do photo shoots of our iPhones and iPods. We document our tech pretty well. I will sometimes take a picture of our radio playing a favorite song, or a screenshot of something playing in Pandora. I would like to get more photos like that.

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Not so happy times. I will usually use representative photos or just journaling for these things. I’m ok with that.


It’s interesting to think about all of this. A few observations- Jason and I make a great team. We don’t always gravitate towards taking the same kinds of photos, but when you put us together, we are pretty well-rounded. We take a lot of pictures. A Lot. I think we get more variety, especially Action, Joy, and Personality shots when LM is with us. That’s probably why PL in the summer is so overwhelming for me, because we take so many photos, and they’re incredibly varied in what we capture.

Three Times Twelve- August


Our family photo for August, and the last we’ll have of all four of us this year.

Curious about Three Times Twelve? It’s pretty simple. Sometime in 2011 I ran across this blog from Tara Whitney. She wanted to photograph her whole family, once a month, for a whole year. (Since then I’ve found a couple other people doing something similar, but she’s the one I got the original idea from). So I decided to do that for our little family. You can find my other Three Times Twelve posts here.

Three Times Twelve- June and July


We didn’t get a picture of us with Miss Kitty in June. Or possibly we did, but I can’t find it in the 5,644 photos we took that month. So June’s family photo is of Jason and I picking up Little Man at the airport. It’s a pretty tragic photo, but I love it. It shows the giddiness we all felt after seeing each other for the first time in a year.

July’s picture shows us all at the house. Pretty awesome in it’s normalcy. One of my favorites this summer.

Curious about Three Times Twelve? It’s pretty simple. Sometime in 2011 I ran across this blog from Tara Whitney. She wanted to photograph her whole family, once a month, for a whole year. (Since then I’ve found a couple other people doing something similar, but she’s the one I got the original idea from). So I decided to do that for our little family. You can find my other Three Times Twelve posts here.

Making your photos more awesome with apps and actions

I will freely admit that I’m not the best photographer in the world. In a perfect world, all of our pics would be taken in great lighting with DSLR cameras in Manual setting to get beautiful images every time. I don’t know about you, but that pretty much never happens for me. So I depend heavily on photo actions, either on my phone or in PSE. Here are a few of my favorites right now.

For the phone- Pic Tap Go, A Beautiful Mess, and Instagram

Pic Tap Go is my go-to for basic editing. I’ve tried many others apps, but this is the one that’s stuck. I love the cropping options that let you save a rectangular photo to Instagram. The sliders make it so easy to make more subtle adjustments and you can pile filters on top of each other. If you find a combination you like, save it to Recipes and use that combo on other photos. One caveat is that the app is pretty buggy right now. It crashes on me every two days or so.


My newest obsession is the A Beautiful Mess App. You can use filters to make your photos prettier, but my favorite parts are the doodles and text options. You can buy add on packs with more doodles and fonts, but the ones that come with the app are pretty great to play around with.


And of course there’s Instagram. Every photo that I edit with the first two apps eventually gets shared through Instagram. The filters are great, but don’t add as much versatility as many other apps since you can’t adjust their strength or use more than one at a time. For me, the best part of Instagram is the social media aspect. I think I have more conversations on Instagram than I do on Facebook or Twitter. I’m also excited to start playing around with the video feature on Instagram.


For the computer- CoffeeShop, Pioneer Woman, and RadLab

Some of the first photoshop actions I’ve ever used were from the Coffee Shop Blog. Rita offers a ton of PS and PSE actions- all for free! (You can also save time and support her blog by buying them all in a bundle. Just make sure you download the correct actions for the program you’re using, either PS or PSE, or they won’t work.


I’m also a big fan of the Pioneer Woman’s photoshop actions, which are also free. I almost always use her Boost and Flatten actions on my photos for the blog. If you haven’t visited her blog before, you definitely should. She has lots of photography tips, plus tasty recipes.


If you’re looking to spend a few dollars, I recommend RadLab. I got the free trial a few days ago, and I’m Loving it! You can get actions for PS and PSE, or presets for Lightroom. The RadLab people are the same ones behind Pic Tap Go, and just like the app, you can pile filters on top of each other and save your favorites to recipes.


So now that you’ve seen some of my vacation photos, (like how I snuck those in?). let’s see how these apps can take an older photo from eh to awesome!

Here is the original. Pretty bad photo taken with Jason’s old Palm Pilot from 2006. But it’s just so sweet!


Now here’s the same photo, edited with some of my favorite apps and actions. Please note that these pictures are teeny and low res. I had to blow them up a bit just to get them big enough to post. Also, I’m not doing anything to try and correct the graininess or anything like that in PSE. This is just showing the apps and actions alone, with a little cropping.

Pic Tap Go


A Beautiful Mess






Pioneer Woman


RadLab. This is the one I ultimately decided to go with in Jason’s Father’s Day book.


There are a lot of options for even the worst photo, depending on what kind of layout you’re going for. Have fun and play around, you might find your new favorite photo effect with one of these apps or actions.


Here are some random pics from the past week or so.


Shadow family.


Swim date.


Angry Birds Theater.


Teeny helicopter.


Trying out a Pinterest inspired ‘do.


Our neighborhood ducklings are looking super cute. I wish they’d stop hanging out near the road though.


Snuggly morning.




Really happy to get back to (somewhat) normal eating again.


Wizarding 101.


MK lovin’.


Big stack of photos printed for Father’s Day.


We bought this book in West Virginia and he had it finished by the time we got home.


Banana milkshakes!


Okay this wasn’t the actual Super Moon. I got my dates confused. But pretty cool anyway.


Camera shy.



Three Times Twelve- March, April, and May

I’ve been neglecting Three Times Twelve a bit this year. It’s more like Two Times Twelve sometimes.


March, at Kennedy Space Center. Which I still haven’t blogged about….


April, in New York. I clearly am in love with that sweater.


May, back at home with Miss Kitty.

Curious about Three Times Twelve? It’s pretty simple. Sometime in 2011 I ran across this blog from Tara Whitney. She wanted to photograph her whole family, once a month, for a whole year. (Since then I’ve found a couple other people doing something similar, but she’s the one I got the original idea from). So I decided to do that for our little family. You can find my other Three Times Twelve posts here.

Random photo post.

Here are some random pics from the past week or two.

The Little Man played Second Chair at a really big concert last week. (sorry for the blur-tastic picture).


Last week marked the last day for my favorite City Correspondent, Stefon. Jason found this on Pinterest. Original source here. I might not have it framed, but it’ll definitely go into Project Life.


We had our first Chipotle this weekend. It was So Good. I had tacos and Jason had the burrito bowl.


I made these sausage and cheesy biscuits from the Macheesmo blog. I’m not a big fan of sausage (that’s what she said). But I will absolutely make these biscuits again. Delicious!


Random grateful thought for Saturday. The last time I was at Best Buy, I was on crutches. Thankful to have all my parts in good working order.



I went to the (very best ever) eye doctor last week. Everything went well and I should have fresh new contacts soon.


I will never get tired of views like this.


Kitties are cute.


Kitties + Husbands are even cuter.


Three Times Twelve January and February

January’s family photo


And I didn’t get one of all three of us in February, so here’s my favorite of just me and Jason.



Curious about Three Times Twelve? It’s pretty simple. Sometime in 2011 I ran across this blog from Tara Whitney. She wanted to photograph her whole family, once a month, for a whole year. (Since then I’ve found a couple other people doing something similar, but she’s the one I got the original idea from). So I decided to do that for our little family. You can find my other Three Times Twelve posts here.

Remembering New Orleans Part 2

Here are some more photos from our 2009 trip to NOLA. See part one here.


One thing that struck me about walking around the French Quarter was the many textures. Everything looked a little worn, but so charming. I took a lot of pictures of the sidewalks, doors, and the sides of buildings. Not interesting to anyone except me, but I loved all the textures.


Yay Bourbon Street!


Loved poking around all the tourist trap voodoo stores.


I took a lot of religious studies classes in college, so it was fascinating seeing the juxtaposition of Catholic symbolism and voodoo icons.


The way the streets are set up reminded me a lot of Palm Beach. You have the main streets, but you can duck through these ached alleyways and see courtyards with little shops or people’s homes.


This is a real guy! All painted in silver, except for his socks. Okay, it might seem obvious from the photo, but it’s very disconcerting walking down the street and seeing “statues” move!



By this point, we were ready for some refreshments and a rest. On to Cafe du Monde. And yes, the beignets really are as good as advertised!


Some more walking around. Loved all the colors on the buildings.


Then we went to the Saint Louis Cathedral. It was breathtaking!



This was, unfortunately, the last of our pictures in New Orleans. The camera was dead, and our phones were on their last legs, so we needed to save batteries.

Pictures we didn’t get to take-

Having a blast drinking hurricanes.
Walking the streets at night.
The front of the Bug Museum.
The fabulous jambalaya and seasoned potatoes.

This makes me so sad, but gives us more incentive to go back there! We had the best visit. Jason’s dad is an excellent tour guide and his brother had us laughing the whole time. We couldn’t have asked for a better trip. Well except maybe more pictures…