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My Introduction to Becky Higgins’ Project Life

Project Life Header

I ♥ photography, but my photos are largely an unorganized mess. I rarely print them; they live on random computers, random external hard drives, and random websites. So I thought I would give printing my photographs and memory keeping/journaling with them a try.

But this isn’t the first time I’ve tried making something of my pictures. I’ve had photo books created through sites like AdoramaPix. Such books are lovely but creating them wasn’t that much fun and they were difficult to customize with captions. I also briefly dabbled with typical photo albums, but mine tended to stay empty because organizing them seemed both slightly overwhelming and not particularly enjoyable.

Given all of that, I decided to give Becky Higgins’ Project Life a try. It’s a system of memory keeping that’s a pleasant blend of scrapbooking and simply dumping photos in an album. It generally requires an album, photos, pocket pages to slip the photos in, and journaling cards/paper memorabilia—for a detailed explanation watch this five minute “Welcome to Project Life” video.

Deciding to do Project Life was a risky move for me because sometimes I start projects only to immediately abandon them and this one required a significant financial investment (due to my location). The company is in the United States. I’m in Asia. Project Life has a flat rate international shipping fee of $100! It’s fair, but expensive. I thought of alternatives and considered my options for a while, but in the end I decided to just go big to make the shipping costs worth it and because I really wanted to try Project Life. (If you’re in the US, wanting to give it a go, there’s no need for you to make nearly so much of a financial investment.)

Project Life Album Cover

Normally, I like small things, but since I decided to go big, I went big~ and bought one of their standard 12 x 12 albums that’s too large to fit on most bookshelves, including mine. It’s pictured above. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but luckily I really do. The size is surprisingly nice since it allows for several pictures and journaling cards to be included in each page.

My first completed pages are pictured below. They represent Week 39 (September 21 to 27). I’m not sure if I’m going to make the album a Jan-Dec 2015 album or from June/July 2015 until it’s full, but I’m hoping to have at least one page per week from now until the end of year.

For Week 39, I organized my photos in Adobe’s Lightroom (♥), printed them with my Canon Selphy, and typed short notes on a few journaling cards. I also embellished things slightly with some stamps, a tad bit of “washi” tape, and a handful of die cuts.

Project Life Week 39 part 1

The page for the first half of the week is simple. Going from top to bottom and left to right, the first slot is filled by a card with the date stamped on it and a star stapled to it. The next is a photograph of local children laughing and running to get home (or perhaps to their next class). It’s a happy photo of everyday life. Following that are pictures of the escalator in a subway, me studying in a cafe, and my planner.

Project Life Week 39 part 2

Everything on this second page, save one picture, is from a single day. Tara was kind enough to come down to my part of the country and we explored a new area and its brand new department store. We grabbed a meal at a very health-conscience restaurant (none of its dishes include salt, MSG, or sugar), went to a nice cafe (where I ate sugar and unleashed my DSLR), and briefly braved the crowds at the massive department store with its 10 above ground floors and two underneath. In it, I saw a toddler entranced by a giant bear, digital displays everywhere (like even on the ceiling), and Samsung enticing visitors to try its new virtual reality equipment.

I made mistakes while putting together both pages. Some of the stamping is wonky and the alignment of text on two of the journaling cards is off. I hardly care, though, because everything is legible ♥ and putting the pages together was fun. Attempting this project has encouraged me to capture my everyday life and organizing the pictures/cards helped me appreciate it.

I’ve started putting my pages together for July, but I haven’t finished any of them yet.

Project Life July 2015

Do you do Project Life or record memories in another way? I plan to do another entry on this in the future. I hope you’ll enjoy it and not mind. ^^ If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out my Pinterest and/or these videos (2015 Project Life Process Video: Week Twenty-Nine, Stephanie Bryan March Project Life Album and Project Life Process: Studio Calico Brimfield Kit).


Timeless Thoughts: My First Selfie


Many joke about how technologically clueless their parents are. Not me—in the 1990s, my mother was a hardcore Apple fangirl. She went to Apple meetings, taught me how to do things like install ram, and was also an early adopter of a lot of tech.

Thus, I’ve had digital cameras for a long time. What’s below is perhaps one of my first digital selfies. It’s the earliest I can find, being from 1998 and taken with a Canon PowerShot. I bet some of you weren’t even born in 1998. ^^ Anyway, don’t be fooled by the lack of a mirror; don’t be fooled by the camera not being held in my hand. I set the timer.


Look at how small it is! Unfortunately, it’s cropped and I don’t have access to the original image, so it’s even smaller than it need be but it is from the ancient days of 640×480 and 800×600 screen resolutions. Regardless, back then, I enjoyed playing with cameras and taking pictures with friends. Not much has changed.

Canon is still my brand of choice. Today, I use a Canon 60D (a DSLR). ♥ Do you have any really old digital photographs or memories of taking such photographs?

For the curious, the camera in the header is a medium format (hipster ^^) Diana F+ film camera (ironically from 2012). It’s interesting and gorgeous, but film is too much work for me.

This entry is part of Tara and Georgie’s Timeless Thoughts linkup. For more nostalgic posts, check it out.

Video, Whimsical

Three Inspirational Speeches


I had the opportunity to speak at my graduation on Friday, which was cool ♥. In preparation I watched a lot of speeches. I’m going to share three that really spoke to me. I’m amused because my selection screams things about my personality, especially about my aspirations and values.

Anyway, I hope you’re inspired, but these are long so you may need to grab some food, some tea, take a break, and/or bookmark this page and plan to come back.

1 – Casey Gerald’s Student Address (Harvard Business School 2014)

2 – Stephen Bright’s “It’s Your Moment” (YLS 2012 Commencement Address)

3 – Oprah Winfrey’s Commencement Address (Spelman College 2012)

BONUS: David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water” (Kenyon College 2005 Commencement Address)

It’s funny but this post feels quite revealing even though it’s just a sampling of great graduation speeches I found on YouTube. Feel free to share other inspirational speeches in the comments.


My Favorite Things: August 2015


I’m participating in Eirene and Raisa’s “My Favorite Things” monthly blog linkup again this month, so here are five of my favorite things from July and the beginning of August.

My Favorite Things: A Blog Linkup


This month and the last and probably the one before that too, I spent a questionable amount of time and money at cafes—I’m at a cafe right now. This is all despite my indifference towards coffee. Anyway, Tara helped me up my cafe game by introducing me to Good Afternoon, a British tea room.

There we had afternoon tea. It was lovely.






I also blogged about my love for cafes here: Things I Like 002: Cafes (2012).

Super Junior’s Devil ♥

I like classical music, Korean traditional music, and boy bands. ♥ 10 years after debuting, my favorite boy band is still going strong. In July, they released an album, which of course I bought.

Below is the main music video for the album. If you like cliched action movies, watch it as the MV is fun and basically one cliched movie plot after another crammed into 5 minutes. ^^;

Being Valedictorian

I’m giving the valediction for my graduate school this month (lol wut?!?), which is a bit scary, but if academic street cred. exists, I think this gives me some. For 3 out of 4 semesters, I studied piano on the side and worked full time because I loved piano so much there was honestly no way I would have quit and my job was great too. Anyway, I’m contemplating doing a post of unconventional and perhaps dangerous (to students’ GPAs) academic advice. Interested? Regardless, feel free to check out what I’ve already written:

Mini Favorites

Samsung Laptop

First, there’s my computer. My incredibly portable half-tablet half-not Samsung Smart PC has been amazing. Unfortunately, my beastly Alienware is misbehaving. I’ve run everything (Premiere Pro, Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom) on my little baby without any problems. I never expected this laptop to do such heavy work, but I’m so glad it can. Second, I’ve been listening to Harvard Business Review’s IdeaCast. Normally, I’m a big fan of Freakonomics, but this summer I’ve been loving HBR’s.

Harvard Business Review Press publishes the best thinking in the areas of business strategy, general management, technology, leadership, human resources and innovation. Intelligent business readers turn to us for answers to the questions they face every day, and for the guidance and debate that will have a profound impact on their lives — both personally and professionally.

I’m not a business person, but in the podcast they discuss fascinating things such as being digitally overloaded, employee perception, and social media. Anyone can listen to and enjoy it.

Cancer Research UK

I said that I would feature a different charity each month, so August’s charity is Cancer Research UK. I learned about this organization when Jem mentioned it in a post. Cancer research is obviously important. ^^

I also donated to Doctors Without Borders and, at least, for the rest of the year, I will continue doing so every month. While it’s fun to highlight a random charity, it’s also important to consistently donate. Charities have lots of expenses and in many ways dependable/steady streams of income are much better than random donations. It’s hard to plan ahead when your income is unpredictable.

That’s it for me. What have you been loving this month?


Liebster Award

Liebster Award

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Isn’t that sweet? Blogging is about building a community and it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.

There are a few parts to the Liebster. First, I’ll answer 11 questions from those who nominated me (thank you Tara and Kristine ♥). Then, I’ll nominate a few bloggers and give them 11 questions to answer.

Tara’s Questions

  1. Where is your happy place?
    A beach in northern France. I was a huge Francophile as a child, so when I think about calm and happy places, I still imagine the cool and nearly vacant beaches of Dinard that I once leisurely explored.
  2. If you could be in a fictional setting/world (ie: Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, etcetera) what would it be and why?
    This is hard. I generally dislike fictional worlds. In trying to think of the least distasteful option, I came up with Sailormoon’s Moon Kingdom because I like moons, but one of the biggest problems with fictional worlds, for me, is that they already have designated protagonists. 😉 I’d rather not be an antagonist, but I don’t want to live in a “kingdom” at the whim of a benevolent dictator (i.e. the Queen, Queen Serenity) so the Moon Kingdom might be a bit of a problem…Thus, I’ve decided that it would be better to be a Sim in the Sims 3. I would live in a huge castle or baroque palace in Monte Vista with maxed out skills in everything and a handsome, brilliant, compassionate husband. I’d play piano, violin, build robots, and perform as an acrobat from time to time, all while being “Leader of the Free World.”
  3. What is your all-time favourite film?
    The Classic—it’s a Korean film I love. It’s also the last film I watched with my father.
  4. Where on earth is Carmen Sandiego?
    I don’t know. I asked Google via its “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, but Google was lame and took me to a boring page on Wikipedia. Then, I asked Siri who wasn’t much help either. She apologized for not knowing who Carmen Sandiego was and offered to launch a Google search.
  5. Do you know Pig Latin?
    indKay ofyay. Iyay ustjay eviewedray ityay.
  6. What book(s) did you enjoy as a child?
    Books. ♥ When I was in elementary school, book-wise, the Fear Street series was my everything. Within that series, the ones about the Fier family were my absolute favorites. This is all quite odd because I don’t like scary things, but as a kid I read a lot of Stephen King and other horror novels.
  7. What are your vices?
    Being a perfectionist and being a bit messy.
  8. Coffee or tea?
  9. Who is your favourite philosopher or inspirational figure and why?
    I’m a huge fan of Thoreau these days ♥ ♥ ♥. There’s also Ida B. Wells. In terms of living people, I admire Lisa Bloom and Ruth Bader Ginsburg so much. Anyway, for years, Alexander Hamilton has been, somewhat jokingly, my historical figure of choice (crush), but…his spot is in danger because of Thoreau.
  10. If you were given the opportunity to go to another galaxy, would you?
    I don’t know. It depends. As a teen, I was interested in building aircraft, but not really traveling in them…
  11. What is your favorite classical piece?
    Perhaps this shouldn’t count because it’s a baroque piece, but I love Pachelbel’s Canon in D. It’s incredibly famous, so there’s not much to say, but it is featured in my favorite movie, The Classic, which I mentioned above.

Kristine’s Questions

  1. You have 5 minutes to escape your burning house, what is the first thing you decide to grab?
    My bag. I’ll grab my bag first and put my phone, computer, their chargers, etc. in it. 5 minutes is a long time.
  2. If you had to choose one book that you would not mind reading over and over again, what would that be?
    I love reading and I love books, but I absolutely detest rereading. I’ve never—i.e. not once, ever—voluntarily reread a novel. However, if I were forced to choose I’d pick the shortest “book” I could find, probably two pieces of papers stapled together with a single word between them. FYI: my favorite book is Caleb’s Crossing ♥ and I recommend it to everyone, but I will probably never reread it in its entirety.
  3. What is your favorite thing to eat when you are feeling blue?
    I’m not a comfort eater. If I’m feeling blue, I don’t want to eat anything, but I like sweet things (e.g. frappuccinos and red velvet cake), cold things (e.g. green tea ice cream), Korean things (e.g. bibimbap) and tea.
  4. What is your spirit animal?
    A phoenix.
  5. If money was not an issue, what would you choose to do for the rest of your life for free?
    Run a charity. Practice law. Teach. Attend concerts. Play music. Travel. Read books. Learn languages. Open a cafe or stationery/bookstore. Open a school. Give out scholarships. Invest in start-ups. Keep learning.
  6. If you were to direct and produce a film of any genre, who would you like to be part of the cast?
    I’m not sure about the specifics, but I would make sure that my cast was diverse.
  7. What is your favorite show at this very moment?
    It’s childish, but Running Man (런닝맨) is my favorite. I’ve loved it since it started.
  8. If you had one thing left to say before you jumped off of a plane, not knowing if you’d be able to survive it, what would it be?
    “Bye. ^^” Hopefully, I wouldn’t leave important things to the last minute.
  9. What is your favorite scent?
    Ecoya’s Vanilla Bean candle.
  10. What is one thing you always have to have with you when you travel?
    My debit card as well as a Kindle, a camera and sometimes a gnome.
  11. If you could re-do something in your life, if given that chance, what would it be?
    You know what they say. “Je ne regrette rien” (listen to Edith Piaf). It’s not true, but since I can’t re-do things and since I’ve made so many mistakes that it would be hard to pick one thing to do over, I’ll go with nothing.

My Questions

  1. Favorites first. ♥ What’s your favorite color (be as specific as possible; give a hex code if you can), your favorite number, your favorite drink, your favorite flavor, and your favorite time?
  2. When it comes to pens and pencils, what’s your thickness of choice: .18, .3, .38, .5, .7, or .9 mm?
  3. What’s one of the most important things you’ve learned?
  4. What’s something you do differently than most people? (question from Marc Chernoff’s “50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind”)
  5. When did you begin blogging? Why did you start and why do you continue?
  6. What’s something you could never give up?
  7. What’s something you’ve given up?
  8. If you could be any age, how old would you be?
  9. Orange is the new black, fifty’s the new thirty, comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll, ____ is the new ____. What’s in, what’s out, and why is it being replaced? (question from U of Chicago’s undergraduate application)
  10. List 7 or 17 words words that you love.
  11. Let’s finish with a recommendation. Recommend something, anything.

Most of those who I wish to tag have already done this. ^^; I’m only going to specifically tag Liv, but if you’d like to win the Liebster again or would simply like to answer the questions above, please do. ♥

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