Album design: part one

So, I think I've found my calling in life. No, seriously. I LOVE designing our album in Photoshop. I'm quite proud of myself for taming the PS beast and producing a product that makes me happy---I wasn't sure if it could be done. Even after spending 15 hours on this process I'm still not sick of it!

And now I present to you all 40 pages I've designed from scratch. These are full pages, so they will be split into two before printing. Just imagine a little line down the center if you will. I tried to keep it very simple and all about the image, which was quite a feat for me. You know me--I love glitter and embellishments and lots of details. But I think I pulled off the simple look quite well.

I had to save these as low resolution for my finicky little blogger but you can click on them to make them a lot bigger. Enjoy!

You likey? Do you have faves? Mine are the detail shots [tons of tiny pics make me happy] and the ceremony ones. Well, okay, I love them all:)

Now all I have to do is our reception which I can probably keep to 10 layouts or less. Then the cover which I'm already excited to design and I send these puppies off to Blurb and pray that I didn't screw it up too bad.

I am seriously considering doing this type of thing on the side. Iloveitsomuch.

Reason #265 why I love my husband...

...he fixes things for me. After analyzing routers, modems, browsers, ISPs [by the way, I have no idea what any of these things are] he saved the day.

It was the stupid modem from the internet company. I KNEW it was suspicious when the [very late] dude brought it in.

So my loving hubby called them, stood in line, and demanded that they switch ours out. And voila~it works!!

He's a keeper, I tell you. And now onto some catch up posts...

By the numbers

2: gloriously free days to myself this weekend
3: shifts that Nate had to work
3: items purchased while shopping for myself [gasp!]
$95: total amount spent on said items [2 shirts and a pair of shoes]
$40: amount spent on my haircut
10: weeks since my last one [yikes!]
5: loads of laundry done today
1.5: number of hours spent on the phone with these companies: shutterfly, internet, Apple
0: help that I received from the bastards
0: number of pictures in this post [because of said inefficient companies]
10/10: my frustration level with picture uploading issues
42: number of layouts made for our album!!!!!
15: number of hours spent on album design in the past 2 days
4: scents of candles put into rotation during said album design
2: pots of black coffee consumed
2: very large glasses of red wine consumed
3: bottles of water consumed after said coffee and wine
4: number of dishes I'm making for dinner tonight
4: number of people I'm cooking for [in-laws included!!!]

Let me go a little Scarlet O'Hara on you for a second: "As God is my witness, I WILL post pictures again!"

I want you to see my designs! I can't take this anymore. And now I have to!

Stay tuned...


I'm still here but I'm I warn you, I'm all riled up right now and probably not making sense.

You see, I've been trying to post SINCE LAST NIGHT on this stupid computer. No biggie, right? I just wasted precious minutes of my life staring at my reject computer while it considered by request then rejected it. "Your internet connection was lost" my rear end.

So here we are trying to self-diagnose this major issue. Uploading pictures is the problem but we have no idea what is the cause. Computer? Internet? Certain websites? Who freaking knows? It's not just uploading to Blogger anymore, it's also nearly impossible to coax Shutterfly into working. Nate seems to think these websites themselves are problematic but does anyone else have these issues? Ugh.

I was GOING to show you four really fabulous pictures I've never seen before. Ones from our wedding DVD which magically revealed new hidden images. Instead, you get two:
Out of the 2000+ images I've seen from our wedding on the online gallery, these two [plus a few others] never made it online and thus were a total surprise to me. I love them! Why not have 2002 images, right?

I've been spending my time narrowing down that number to a more manageable group....say, about 300 instead. Still a ridiculous amount because they can't ALL go into an album, right? But it's progress, people.

Next comes the album design, which I've officially decided to create on my own. I like the idea of an inexpensive album as a temporary fix until we can more comfortably purchase the pimptastic album. Or maybe we'll never get there, but right now the cheap-o version feels right. Thanks for the advice, ladies.

In other news, it's snowing again. No, this is not a joke. Yes, it's really freaking cold and dreary and depressing up here. We have a good chance of hitting the 100 inch mark for the whole winter after this little storm. I swear to you that if this madness doesn't end soon there is a good chance I will jump out of a window and surrender to Mother Nature.

Speaking of Mother this post from Dooce's blog and try not to laugh:

A Canadian columnist rips into Mother Nature for the very mean things she has done to us this winter: "We've tried to have patience. Some of us have also tried patience's little helper, Xanax. But look what you've done to us. We're a quivering mass of shattered nerves, deadened eyes and extended middle fingers."

The entire article is here and I'm in love with it [and with Dooce, she's freaking awesome.] If only I could uncover the secret to making a living off a blog.

Something else happened this week to set me off on a complete biyatch rampage. Are you ready for this?

Nate has always said his classes start in June because that is what the school website told him. So we booked our vacation around that assumption, to celebrate our one year anniversary and the last weekend before his schooling started. I've only been a LITTLE bit pumped for the trip and often find myself day dreaming about the beach.

I'm sure you can guess the next sequence of events. Nate got an email from a professor stating the first day of class is.....drum roll please....May 27!!!! Our anniversary itself! It would be pretty hard to attend class from San Diego, right? And I suppose the first day of a three year program is fairly important.

So of course we had to switch our flights [cost us a pretty penny], find new coverage at work [cost me my sanity], and shorten our trip by one night [cost me my relaxation time.] Needless to say I was running around like an insane person for a bit until I calmed myself down. And now my co-workers have seen the inner B living inside my head:) It's not a big deal, we still get to go on our trip, but this is just so freaking typical!

On a positive note, my boss approved a day off in April so we can make the trip down to STL. I cannot wait to see our friends and breathe the warm Missouri air. It could be a little out of control, so be prepared!

Miscellaneous Monday

1. When I saw my wedding DVD box sitting at the bottom of our stairs, I nearly threw Henry to the side and somersaulted myself down to the bottom. It's here....the day we've awaited for almost a year [not to be too dramatic or anything.] We've saved and pondered and anticipated the arrival of these beauties. Feast your eyes on this!

2. You know what that means, right? I'm TOTALLY fiddling around on Photoshop tonight with my hi-resolution images. Now that we have the pictures, all that's left is the wedding album and my ideas are ever-changing. Initially after the wedding I vowed to get the $1200 Graphi studio album because "it's the best, highest quality album you can buy." Yeah, well, spending another $1200 on the wedding.....which was a year ago.....doesn't sit well with my inner tight-wad. So then I convinced myself that a nice $600 from another St. Louis vendor would be just fine. It would still be a high quality flush-mount album but for half the price. Well, now I'm shrinking away from this idea, too. You see, Blurb allows you to make albums yourself. For $50, people.

I'm not stupid, I know you get what you pay for in this world. But honestly, I think a nice hard cover coffee table album from Blurb would be fine. Who cares if the cover isn't made of leather and the pages are much thinner than the bad boy albums? Does it really matter that much?

If I use Blurb I can design it all myself because some kind bloggers pointed me to this blog. And we won't blow our "eternally saving for a down payment fund." What do you think? Totally naive of me to think I'll be satisfied with a Blurb album? I mean, if I hate the quality it's only $50 lost and I could still do the higher quality album. Thoughts, please.

3. It's amazing how much I've changed in a year. I think I've grown up and gotten more realistic, huh? Because there is no way in hell I would have considered this option a year ago.

4. Thinking about album design has me really excited to scrapbook again. And I STILL want to try my shot at a little side business. So if I master Photoshop for digital design, be prepared for a lot of posts about it! And those of you who were interested in my services, gear up!

5. Speaking of wedding photos, I have a confession. I did something very bad. I read a few posts from other bloggers about this little contest they have on The Knot and I could not resist temptation. Now, just so you know, I am a self-confessed recovering addict from The Knot and other chat boards like it. I don't even have them bookmarked anymore! So typing in the address for the website which stole my life away while planning the wedding seemed a little naughty. A little bit like going back to my drug of choice.

Even worse, the contest: it's called "Real Wedding Awards" and it's the first annual, for girls married in 2007. That's me! I have fab wedding photos! And why not post a few of our favorite pictures, right?

I mean, I'm not conceited enough to think my wedding was seriously the BEST wedding of the entire year. Of course, to us it was the best day of our lives and I was quite fond our wedding. But I did not have the $10,000 photographer. At the beach. With the most stunning sunset in all of the Caribbean for a backdrop. In any case, I figure 'What the heck. Why not?' and posted our wedding.

Wanna see which 7 photos I [painstakingly] chose? Check it out here and don't make fun of my stupid title. I had a brain fart, okay? While you are there, why not vote for me as you wish. I think it goes by the number of starts per picture or something? And what are you other 2007 brides waiting for? Get to it!

6. I don't really understand what you win if you do, in fact, have the best wedding of 2007. I think you might be featured in The Knot magazine, website, and so on. And maybe you get trip to Africa. When I confessed my sins to Nate last night he said, "That's all we get if we win? Who cares, then?" True, honey. But a safari wouldn't be bad.

7. While tinkering my night away on Photoshop I also plan to watch The Hills. I wasn't aware that the season opener is on tonight! I swear this move killed my inner TV Queen. She's gone, dead, and never to return. Mostly because we no longer have DVR so I can't stay on top of my shows. It's kind of sad, really. I'm such an old hag.

8. I just realized that I'm shivering because our thermostat is set to 60 degrees. Normally it's a crisp 62 but for some reason we dipped down a bit too low. And now my fingers are purple. Why is it necessary to freeze both inside AND outside in this freaking state? I know it's our fault but I'm blaming Nate and my inner tight-wad. She can be a psycho sometimes.

9. Henry is going through a really crappy phase [no pun intended]. Prior to moving he hadn't crapped inside for months, if not a year. Now? Well it's just one big poop fest around here. Henry managed to squeeze out not one, not two, but THREE massive deuces in the house during the past two weeks. The first time I blamed myself for being too lazy to take him outside. But now I'm blaming him because he's gotten so freaking impatient with us! It's like, "Hey guys I have to go right this second or else I'm dropping bombs immediately." He threatens us, you guys. Before we can grab the leash all hell breaks loose.

It's not truly this dramatic but it makes for a good story, right? He's fine, nothing is seriously wrong with him. He is just going through a phase [note how I'm convincing myself here?]

10. Project "get my butt on the treadmill" is going much better, thank you. This whole marathon thing is for real and I can't hold out for nicer 'outdoor running' weather forever. It's just not happening and my bare minimum is 50 degrees. Which, apparently, makes me a wuss in these parts. But whatev. Nate used his REI rebate money to buy us a Garmin. I don' t fully understand what it does but something about GPS and me not getting lost in Milwaukee while running. Sold!


I love that Bud commercial where the only word uttered is "Dude." Love it. So many different connotations.

I would like to share with you a story. It has to do with Milwaukee's weather [big surprise] and may or may not convey my bitterness towards this climate.

Friday was the second day of "Spring." Quite ironic because Mother Nature totally dumped 15 inches of snow on our little hell-hole city. FIFTEEN INCHES, people. I am not kidding. Out of nowhere just to screw with our heads.

Henry became timid as we opened our front door and discovered a boat load of snow. Look at that pile almost above his head.

Okay so here is our street that night after plows went through about a hundred times.
This shot says it all: the dumpsters and the patio furniture were completely cleared the night before.
I mean, are you kidding me? Easily 15 inches.
I admit this one is kind of pretty. Snow is beautiful and all but I'm over it.
And I love snow on trees, you know. But still.
Just when our yard was starting to show signs of grass, the new blanket is enough to smother the poor blades for another few weeks [I pray to God not months]:
And now, this winter season is officially the second snowiest winter of all times. EVER. In the history of the world [well just Milwaukee, but who's counting?] Aren't I so lucky to experience it first hand during my first Wisconsin winter? We've gotten 96.9 inches of snow this season and the highest ever is 109. Dear Lord please let us stay at #2 for this year. Please.

Also, I exited work on Friday night to find my car COVERED in snow. I mistakenly parked in the street that day and my whole tires were covered to the brim. So I had to use my miniature shovel to dig myself out of the snow. Literally. I am christened as a Milwaukee resident now:)

In other news, Keri is doing well. Thank you all for your support and kind words. We both appreciate it. The power of women supporting each other is pretty amazing---even online for total strangers. Please see my next post if you have no idea what I'm saying.

My good friend Kim shared a few great websites for Keri and one of them is just awesome. It's
Young Women and Breast Cancer and it has some really sobering facts I'd like to share:
It's really interesting to me and maybe you'd like it, too. I promise to keep you updated on Keri but make sure to mark April 2 on your calendars. That is her surgery date.

Have a happy Easter everyone!

Reality Bites

Something has been weighing very heavily on my heart since Monday and I just got the okay to blog about it. What good is a blog about my life if I can't talk about something this important?

On Friday, March 14 one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is only 26 years old and does not have a family history of cancer. Cancer---one of the scariest words in the human dictionary---is supposed to be something that affects those much older than us. Not that advanced age makes this diagnosis any easier, but it just seems incredibly unfair. Why Keri? Why now?

So many questions and so little time. Where do I even begin?

Keri has been diagnosed with invasive carcinoma of her right breast. The doctors will conduct genetic testing to discover the source of this disease, and if it is genetic she has a high risk of ovarian cancer as well. Her sister would need to be tested and any future children would also run a risk of these genes.

There is no other option but for a total mastectomy. As if that isn't enough of a blow, Keri will undergo a double mastectomy on April 2 to eliminate the chance of recurrence in the healthy breast. Keri, someone who has always been known for her perfectly perky boobies and characteristic curly hair, will have to say goodbye to a part of her body. I cannot even begin to imagine what this loss will feel like for her, or for anyone else in her position.
They don't know if she will need chemotherapy or radiation. They don't know if the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes. But if chemo is required, Keri will need infertility treatments to freeze her eggs for future children. And she'd obviously say goodbye to her "Keri curls."

She will opt for bilateral reconstruction which takes an entire year to achieve, and will certainly be a surreal healing experience in itself. Keri will be forced to take large amounts of time off from her job as a PT as she recovers from multiple surgeries, which means a lot of downtime to think and analyze---something we both love to do:) And although thankfully, most of these medical treatments will be covered by her insurance, she will still experience some financial strain as well. Cancer definitely affects every single aspect of your life, huh?

All of these facts combined are enough to shut down your brain. It's difficult for me to wrap my mind around all of this because it's happened so incredibly fast and now her life will be forever changed. Heck, everyone close to Keri will be changed. It's hard not to get philosophical when life's fragility hits you square in the face. Wake up call, indeed.

She found this lump on her own and had the courage to make the doctor's appointment for inspection. As a fellow hypochondriac I'm sure that was a difficult decision because how many times have we convinced ourselves that "It's nothing, I'm sure it's all in my head and will go away soon"? Kudos to Keri for being mature enough to face this cancer---I'm not sure I would be as strong.

I'm not writing this to depress you or to scare you [although it definitely depresses and scares the hell out of me!]. I'm posting about this because I know Keri would appreciate words of wisdom, bits of encouragement, and just to have moral support in this frightening time of her life. Keri is loved by all but every little bit helps, right? Even virtual support from total strangers.

I'm sure many of you have been affected by cancer in some way or another. Well, I know for a fact some of you have seen a loved one go through this same type of thing. What has helped you survive your darkest moments?

Because right now I'm thinking a good old fashioned hug would do the trick but with 700 miles separating us, I'm dealing with limited resources. I see a trip to Kansas in my future:)


So Nate officially signed up for the marathon, too! Now I have a partner in crime---let's just hope we don't kill each other in the process.

Upon further inspection of the application form online, he stumbled upon this mysterious category:

What the heck does that mean? Poor Nate does, in fact, qualify for the 'Clydesdale division' but I miss out on being an 'Athena' [I guess that's a good thing, but I don't know. Maybe it's some special honor?]

Of course my first mental image is Nate, morphed into one of the adorable Budweiser clydesdales, trotting along the marathon and neighing. Seriously, that is what I pictured.

Nate asks, "What the hell is this? Does this mean I'm obese? And deserve a special category for being too fat to run a marathon?" And I agree, it does seem a little sketchy. Is it some special honor to run a marathon if you are over 195 pounds?

And I personally don't think 195 for a guy and 145 for a girl is that much. We are tall people so we automatically weigh more than our miniature peers. Do they give out special medals to marathoners who aren't lightweights?

I leave you with the mental image of Nate morphing into a clydesdale during the race. With hooves and all:)

Henry's hankerings plus Hannah's

Hello humans. It's me again---Henry.

Just stopping by to keep you informed. Mom figured out how to beat the blogger system and add pictures so I thought you'd like some more from my childhood.

But first, here are two recent pictures of me performing my finest talent: sleeping.
Yes, now back to my hankerings. Not much going on in my world except that I barfed again today. Mom totally smelled it on my breath when she got home but couldn't find my little treasure anywhere. Dad found it right away, on the end of the guest bed. Maybe I was just showing my disapproval that my Grandma I puked all over her bed. I don't know but Mom wrote the following on the calendar, so she can keep track of my vomiting habits : "H Barfed". Very descriptive, no?
Also, Mom is officially on a diet except she doesn't use that dirty word. She likes to call it "eating better and working out more." Something about how she's become a lazy sloth since moving into our new place and eating my Grandma's good cooking. She's reached her limit with gym excuses and decided to suck it up and go. Marathon training starts June 1 but she needs to get her A in shape for the training. I think I'll stick to napping. My parents are attempting to schedule a St. Louis trip in the next few months. Nothing is final yet but they are pretty excited to see their STL buddies. I hope they take me or else I'll be left alone with my pink bear. Bad things happen when we are left alone. Bad, dirty things:

Sometimes I forget how cute I was when I was a pup. Now I'm so old and mature. Looking at these pictures makes Mom want another puppy. But that thought goes away in about two seconds when she remembers the horror that was potty training. Also, my family got some very sad news yesterday about a close friend. Mom can't blog about it just yet but it's weighing heavily on her heart. Maybe she will ask this friend if it's okay to blog about the situation before she goes and blabs her big mouth....because sometimes it's helpful to have more people praying simultaneously, right?
And lastly: It's Auntie Hannah's birthday today [if you are reading on Wednesday, March 19]. I miss her lots and wish I could give her a big wet kiss. This is my favorite picture of her because I can just smell the Del Taco through the computer screen:
Now because Hannah is so special in our lives, me and Mom picked out not one, not two, but THREE Some E-cards for her big day.

This one made my Mom laugh. She's known Hannah since they were mere babes at the tender age of 18. So 27 does, in fact, seem disturbingly old.
This is unfortunate but true. Mom and Hannah still watch MTV to pretend they are young, but they are definitely out of that age bracket.

And this is perfect because Mom and Hannah tolerated each other as roommates for SO long. Eight years, to be exact. When people asked how in the heck they tolerated each other for such a span of time, they just smile and say, "I guess we just lucked out." But really, they know the secret to their success is their opposite personalities. And a high tolerance for each other:)Happy #27, Hannie! It's no fun to be separated for the first time in eight years on your birthday:( Make sure the boys treat you right.

And that is all. I must get back to my life now, blog readers. But I quite like my computer time with you!
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