6 March 2015

Fashion Friday and the latest Blurb book offer

I have been wanting an animal print belt for ages, so I was pretty happy to find this one at the thrift store. It's not big enough for me to wear at my natural waist, but fits fine around my Empire line as it's my narrowest point. I wore this outfit to church a few weeks ago.

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Dress: thrifted (SaveMart)
Faux cami: made by me (tutorial here)
Belt: thrifted (SaveMart)
Sandals: New Look (on sale)

Latest Blurb book offer (contains affiliate link)

Offer: 20% Off All Blurb Print Books
Valid: Until 31 March 2015
Promo Code: 2015BLURBMAR

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4 March 2015

Petals on fire

"As you change your point of view, your views bring about a change in you."
- George Alexiou

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3 March 2015

Improve Your Run: Tips from the Pros

This is a sponsored post with provided content.

Running is one of the best ways a person can stay in shape. Best of all, you can run almost anywhere in the world, and if you have even a little bit of free time, very little can stop you from getting a run in. After all, you can hit the gym when it’s too cold or wet out and run outside the rest of the year.

However, running isn’t just as simple as putting on a pair of sneakers and hitting the pavement, especially if you’re trying to get better or improve your conditioning. There’s actually quite a bit of science that goes into running properly.

Use this guide to help you get better and stay healthy as a runner. Running can take a toll on your body, but if you’re careful, you can remain healthy anyway.

Get Up Early
Getting up early is age old advice for success in life, but it’s also important for runners. In the morning your body is energized and the weather is perfect for a run, especially in the late fall, spring and summer.

Plan to get up before everybody in the house to start your day with a run and you’ll get your goals accomplished and feel like a million bucks doing it.

Pay Attention to Your Shoes
It might seem like a small thing, but you need quality running shoes and they need to be in good shape. If you run regularly, that could mean replacing them monthly, especially if you run long distances each day.

When buying, make sure you look for a well-known brand with quality control like womens Saucony or a similar brand. You don’t want cheap shoes, and you definitely want to have them fit by an expert, at least your first time.

Once you find a shoe you love, go ahead and stick with it as long as it’s being made.

Rest Often
Rest days are something you often hear about when you start running on a regular basis, especially if you start using online forums or apps to track your progress. However, rest days aren’t really something that the average runner understands or knows how to use properly.

In essence, a rest day is a day where you don’t run. For most runners, you’ll want at least two rest days per week, spaced out according to your running schedule. When you’ve just started you may want to take a rest day after every single run that lasts more than a few miles.

As you progress, you can use rest days for all sorts of other activities like upper body strength training or core training. These will all help get you in better shape while allowing your body to recover from fast or long distance runs.

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2 March 2015


"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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1 March 2015

2015 Books - February

I read 11 books and listened to 1 audiobook this month. If a book makes it to this list on my blog, you can assume I enjoyed and would recommend it (unless otherwise noted) - if I'm not enjoying a book, I stop reading it and move onto the next one. Life's too short and there are too many great books in the world to waste time reading ones that I don't enjoy!

 The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith - Joanna Brooks

Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk - Robyn Okrant

Bloodstream - Tess Gerritsen

Ice Cold (Book 8) - Tess Gerritsen

Girl Missing - Tess Gerritsen

Leaving Whiskey Bend - Dorothy Garlock
This book was merely okay. Somewhat cheesy and unrealistic.

Gravity - Tess Gerritsen
I absolutely loved this book - it's definitely book of the month! Super exciting all the way through. Would highly recommend.

The Continuous Atonement - Brad Wilcox

Coming Home - Patricia Scanlan

With All My Love - Patricia Scanlan

In Their Footsteps - Tess Gerritsen

Presumed Guilty - Tess Gerritsen

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27 February 2015

Fashion Friday and the latest Blurb book offers

A reader has emailed me with a few questions about Blurb books and I thought I'd share my answer here, as others might have the same questions. (Scroll to the bottom for Fashion Friday.)

Leslie emailed, "I'm a desperate woman! I kept albums for my family until about 2005, when I fully transitioned to digital and officially got overwhelmed. I've kept them in files year by year but am now paralyzed by options for a photo book. I envision doing one per year (to catch up for the last decade) and would like uniformity.

"I love the way yours look on Pinterest, but wanted to check in to see whether you still like Blurb. Also, I've looked high and low for a slightly larger format (closer to a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper). Could you let me know the format you chose and whether you feel it's large enough? Also, does it lay flat and has it been durable? My other nightmare is that these books quickly fade or the pages start to fall out. I've checked out a dozen photo book websites and am officially stuck!

"Would be very grateful for any advice, updates, warnings or reminders about the perfect being the enemy of the good (enough)!"
Thank you for your email and questions, Leslie! First up, I will start with the comment at the end of your email and reiterate that YES, perfection is the enemy of completion, and that YES, good enough is good enough!

I am so glad I have my photobooks sitting on my shelf, ready to look through at any time, and although they aren't perfect and I sometimes find typos, it really doesn't matter. What matters is that the photos are looked through and enjoyed!

And now to address your other questions and comments.

"I've kept them in files year by year but am now paralyzed by options for a photo book."
Well done, that is awesome! Half the battle is won and once you begin making your books you will get into the groove and you will be surprised at how quickly they come together. Try to set aside a specific amount of time, like an appointment with yourself, each week, for example two hours on a Sunday afternoon to work on them. That way, they will get done bit by bit, and you don't have to worry about them the rest of the time as you know they have their slot and you'll get to it.

"I love the way yours look on Pinterest, but wanted to check in to see whether you still like Blurb."
I still love Blurb, and became a Blurb affiliate because I knew I'd want to keep talking about Blurb books here on my blog. I wholeheartedly endorse the products and company. I've had good experiences with not only the actual books and ordering process, but with customer service too.

"I've looked high and low for a slightly larger format (closer to a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper). Could you let me know the format you chose and whether you feel it's large enough?"
I chose the standard portrait hardcover books with imagewrap. I guess I always thought they were 8.5x11 inches, but going to measure mine I see that the finished size of the bound book is 8 inches by 10 inches. Huh ... who knew?

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Anyway, I do think it's the perfect size - bit enough to fit everything in but small enough that when laid open it spreads to only 16.5 inches.

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It's small enough to fit on a lap, and for the kids to look through without ripping pages. It's also small enough to fit on a standard bookcase and not take up too much room or stick out. It's small enough to be held up or to put on a table or coffee table without having to clear the table first. It's big enough that you can fit four vertical or six horizontal photos onto each page without the pictures being too small, but small enough that you can do single-photo pages without the image being too huge. As you can tell, I'm pretty happy with the size!

"Also, does it lay flat and has it been durable? My other nightmare is that these books quickly fade or the pages start to fall out."
My books have not faded one bit and they still feel as sturdy as the day I received them. We frequently handle and flip through them and they have held up beautifully. I have full confidence that they will continue to look good through the years. If, however, they begin to fall apart or if one gets damaged, I know I can simply pop onto the Blurb website and reorder a replacement instantly. (Once you have ordered your book it is stored in your account online.)  I do want to mention that I add metal corners to the front covers of mine, but mainly for decorative purposes (you can see them in this post.)

As to whether it lays flat, well, yes and no. By that I mean yes, the covers lay flat, but no, the pages do not - pretty much like a standard hardcover book. Here's a photo to show what I mean:

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As for things I would do differently, well, I've been making Blurb books for a few years now and the one thing I began doing differently has to do with the number of photos per page. In the beginning, you can see that my books were thinner than they are in later years (this is an old photo, which is why they stop at 2012):

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The reason for this is that I was trying to keep costs down and would cram as many photos onto one page as possible. (Before I go any further, please don't judge Blurb book print quality by these photos - the pages are difficult to photograph without glare or colour differences, but in real life they are gorgeous.)

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As you can see above, I managed to fit 12 pictures onto one page - but each picture was less than 2 x 2.5 inches big. I later decided I'd rather spend more and have the photographs bigger on each page. Now I tend to have vertical photos from one on a page (with or without text) ...

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... to four on a page (with each picture being 3.75 x 4.75 inches big).

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Horizontal photos are from one or two on a page ...

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... to six on a page (with each picture being almost 3.5 x 4 inches big).

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I do sometimes use 9-picture vertical photo spreads, but generally tend to put detail shots onto those, rather than photos of anyone in our family. On a 9-picture spread the photos are each 2.5 x just over 3 inches big.

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For horizontal detail shots I'll put them on an 8-picture spread with each photo 3.75 x 2.5 inches big.

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I also wanted to show you a page with text on - I like to put the date and a little blurb about the photos at the beginning of each spread of photos.

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I hope that answered your questions, Leslie, and anyone else out there! Please feel free to comment below with any other questions or concerns and I'll answer as soon as possible.

If you'd like to order your own book, here is the latest offer (contains affiliate link):
Valid until 28 February: Save 25% when you purchase three or more books @ Blurb. Code: TAKE3

And now for Fashion Friday - an outfit (from a while ago) that I wore grocery shopping.

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Top: The Warehouse
Jeggings: Asda
Shoes: Tesco kids' department (on sale)
Hoop earrings: dollar store

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