A Mix of Scrap

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Celebrating a Running Goal

So I've been running since the beginning of March or so. I think. And I have definitely come a long way. Couch to 5K is an amazing program, and I'm so glad that I stuck with it. Yesterday I had an amazing run, and I'm still kinda high off it so I'm gonna share. Cuz it's my blog, and I can share whatever I want.

So about 3 weeks ago I hit the Week 5 workouts. I did Day 1 (3 - 5 minute runs with 3 minute walks in between) and forced myself to run up this giant hill in the neighborhood next to us. TOUGH, and I almost died when I ran downwind from the gas station, but I did it, and I felt good. Weeks 1-4 had the same workout for all 3 days, so imagine my surprise when the program went to Week 5 Day 2 and the workout was different. 2 - 8 minute runs, with a 5 minute walk in between. Almost. Died. The weather had warmed up a bit, and I was STRUGGLING with the humidity. I definitely did not run for the whole running segments. Then we had Gidget's wedding, and I basically took 2 weeks off. Fail. I was also super intimidated by Week 5 Day 3 - go run for 20 minutes. Dude. I can't even run for 8 minutes, how am I supposed to run for 20?!?!

So last week, I picked things back up. I did the bike on monday since it was raining (10.5 miles in 45 minutes). I did yoga on Tuesday. I did the Week 5 Day 2 run on wednesday. I found that I did better on the longer runs than on the 3 - 5 minute run workout. Did that, felt pretty good, ran about 12 of the 16 minutes if I had to guess. Not too shabby, but nothing stellar. Thursday I did nothing because we drove up to NY for Mother's. Friday I got up and decided to run in the morning. It was nice and cool, so I took Tiger along for the first segment. I did the 2, 8 minute runs again and did a 1 mile loop around the neighborhood. I did the warm up and the workout, minus the cooldown, and went for 2 miles. I ran all the way up a big hill, and took a break for 90 seconds, and then finished out the run. I got back to my house and dropped Tiger off after 1 loop and the first run. I walked for 5 minutes, then did the same thing. I needed a break after the hill, but I forced myself to run it all the way to the top. I felt pretty good about things. I think the cooler weather was a huge help.

Yesterday, my sensor pouch for my Nike+ sensor, and my armband for my iPhone finally arrived. I was SO excited! I put the pouch on my shoe but I couldn't figure out if it would work along with my C25K application, so I didn't use the Nike+ software for the run. The armband was awesome though, it was great to just go run without having to hold anything. So I did 2 miles on the bike for a warmup, and then decided I would test myself and see where I was really at. So I did Week 5 Day 3 - a 20 minute run. And you know what? I ran for 17 out of the 20 minutes! 17!!! I was SHOCKED at myself!! I probably could have run almost 18.5 (I took a 90 second break after tackling a big hill - I hate the hills, but I know I have to do them so I force myself to make it to the top before breaking) but I was so EXCITED that I made it from our house to the end of the neighborhood nearby that I stopped to check my time. 8 straight minutes of running!! I ran for 5.5 minutes, then 8 minutes, then 3.5 minutes to finish it off. It felt SO GOOD!! I managed to pace myself really well and probably could have kept going for even longer! I was worried that I wouldn't be able to run a 5K next month, but now I know I TOTALLY can!! I really think the armband is what turned me around. It was a lot harder to see how long I had been going for, so I just kept going. I think knowing that it was "run until I tell you to stop running" helped too. Before, with the intervals, I would look at the time left, get frustrated, and walk. Whether I really needed to walk or not, I walked. Not so good. With the armband, I just went. SO COOL!! I think I even impressed Jordan a little bit. I came back and he asked how my workout was, and I was all excited and said it was awesome and that I ran 17 out of the 20 minutes. He did that eyebrow raise + head nod thing that to me, says "wow, I wasn't expecting to hear that". I'm gonna repeat the workout tomorrow, but use my Nike+ instead. I'm gonna set up a sweet workout playlist that the Nike+ software will play so I can still rock out while I run, and I'll run for time instead of distance. I'm contemplating just doing that from now on, and running for distances or times instead of going back to Couch to 5k. I think now, it might be holding me back. I can pretty much run for 2 miles straight, so I don't know that I need to run using the prompts anymore. We'll see. I might be getting a tad over zealous :P Either way, I like that the software has a few different basic options that you can choose from. Time, Distance, a calorie goal, or just an open ended workout. I'm pretty sure you can download specific workouts too, but I haven't looked into that a whole lot yet. At this point I'm just excited that I have it, lol!

Wow, I wrote a novel. I think I'll leave it at that for now. I probably won't work out tonight. I need to bake Jordan's mom's Mother's Day/Birthday present, and I have another hybrid layout that I want to finish (which I'm CRAZY excited about). Not to mention I need to clean up more of my desk since the shelving incident. Oy. Ok, til next time.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Week in the Life

Ali Edwards did her "A Week In the Life" project recently. You take a ton of photos and write down lots of stuff, and just generally record your everyday life to look back on in the future. I wanted to do it, but it was right after the PE and then would've included the day of the wedding, and I just knew I wasn't going to be in the mood to deal with it. I hardly took any pictures the weekend of the wedding, which is a bummer, but just another reason (excuse?) why I decided not to do it along with Ali.

But today? Ali posted her finished album. And I'm kind of in love with it. And now I have to do one. As I was thinking about it, this week coming up will be PERFECT. Sure, it's not a normal set of 7 days, but we'll be seeing my whole family this weekend, and most of Jordan's next weekend, and a bunch of our friends too. I think it would be really cool to incorporate both of our families within this one album/glimpse of our life. So, that's that. I'm gonna do the organizational and digital aspects of it, and worry about the album and divided page protectors and that stuff later. I'm trying to be better about my spending habits and my wants vs my needs. I want to do this project, but I need stuff to finish it (like an album and page protectors, LOL!). We'll see. Maybe I can make a homemade altered one using stuff I already have. Hmm......

Speaking of wants vs needs and my ridiculously large scrap stash, we were woken up at 1:30 this morning by what we thought was an explosion of some sort. Nope, just my shelves deciding to detach themselves from the wall and dump a whole mess of my (newly organized) craft stuff in 8903429043 directions. ::sigh:: I had to pull it all off and pile it in my craft area so we could take the shelves down. They were just wire shelves with those metal brackets, pretty cheap and I bought them ages ago. I just wasn't expecting to have that happen, let alone at 1:30 in the morning. A few weeks ago I saw this plan for an armoire on Knock Off Wood and thought it would be great for that exact space. At $200 it would still be cheaper than the Ikea one that matches the desk I have, and I can customize it to fit my needs (such as adding more shelves to hold my baskets and bins). It's going to be difficult, but Jordan has agreed to it. Of course the next 2 weekends are taken up with travel plans, so it's not happening right away. But, I'm pretty excited! I'll probably have Home Depot/Lowe's cut all my wood based on the plans and then I just have to worry about putting it together without killing myself. It'll be interesting to say the least, considering Jordan and I can barely hang a picture frame without fighting. :P

I FINALLY got some of my hybrid projects loaded into my galleries (which, are now on the side bar under "Craftyness"). Here's a better picture of that hybrid layout I did. My good friend Emily took the picture at the wedding a few weekends ago, and as everyone who has seen it has said, it's so "US". I LOVE it. :)

It makes me so very happy when I see it. We don't have a lot of pictures together, which I feel is the case for a lot of people, so I cherish these casual candid sort of photos.

And here's another, of our first dance at the wedding reception. ::swoon::

I've got another really awesome layout in the works, but I won't be able to finish it until sunday or monday probably. It's a totally different style of layout for me, but when I put it together in Photoshop it just seemed to click for me. It looked great and it's not all that much more complicated than any of the other layouts I've done. Anyway, none of that probably makes any sense, lol. Feel free to click on the links in the sidebar to see more of my crafty-ness in action :)

Just a little more time left to the work day. We're heading up to NY tonight so we can spend Mother's Day with my family. It worked out well that we'll be seeing Jordan's family next weekend, I felt a little guilty spending the day with one side of the family over the other. I'm much more aware of that sort of thing now that I've had to experience a Monster-in-law. I am so very grateful that I have such wonderful in-laws (and that my parents love Jordan and treat him wonderfully as well). I definitely count my blessings for that.

Gotta pack when we get home. Gonna bring my laptop to get my scrap stash organized and backed up, and work on editing more of the wedding and honeymoon photos too. Seeing my friends wedding pictures come in has me excited for mine all over again! I'm probably going to put together an album for them to save them some money. Might as well work on mine too right?! :)

Ok, ok, enough rambling. Have a good night!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I've been meaning to post these 2 photos for foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. But I really wanted to create a new watermark for my images to "protect" them. Then I read this article this morning on Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider Blog. And now I'm posting them, because I'll never watermark another blog image again, LOL! The only thing I'll watermark in the future, will be proofs for clients (I'm talking WAY in the future, lol) so they can't take the image off the web and then print it and then get mad when it prints horribly because it's a web quality image and not meant for printing. Strangely enough, my boss was chatting about photography with me today and was trying to get me to second shoot for his neighbor, lol. He kept saying "if you're interested, I'll let her know, she's always looking for second shooters". If I thought I wanted to get into wedding photography at all, I might consider it. But I don't really see myself going that route anytime soon. I'll leave the door open, but I really just want to work with pets and their people.

Anyway. The photos. Cuz I really like this one. I wanted to play with before and afters. I've been working my eye and working on my composition a lot lately. Trying to get interesting angles, catch the details, that sort of thing. This can be difficult when it's just me and Tiger, since I'm the one holding both the ball AND the camera, lol. But I'm really happy with how this one came out.
So here's the SOOC ("straight out of camera") image:

Not too shabby right? I like the exposure and the composition. It looks a little "soft" (not super sharp), but I can give that some help in photoshop.

Now this, all nicely edited? Makes my heart happy.

The only problem? I totally forgot the steps I took to edit it. FAIL! I'm going to make a few educated guesses though. 1) I ran a high pass sharpen action on it that I created from steps I found over in the Clickin' Moms forum a while back (note to self, get back into visiting that forum). 2) I probably ran Totally Rad Actions "Oh, Snap!" on it at least once, possibly twice. It's my new favorite color popping action (I LOVE stronger colors in my photos) and it's from the first set (The Original). (Apparently I also like placing things within parenthesis. Go figure.) I vaguely remember creating a few layer masks, perhaps I messed around a bit with saturation? Possibly removing some overly yellow tones from Tigah-now but leaving them in the bright beautiful grass? The world may never know.
So yea. I really love that picture. I'm gonna print it and hang it up somewhere I think. Maybe just replace one of the older ones around the house. We'll see.

I'm working on a big new frame arrangement for the foyer. I want to get the shot of the bridal party printed up on a canvas nice and big and hung there. It'll reflect beautifully in the big mirror that's hanging in the dining room. Woot!

And, proof that I have been crafting (because I'm always saying how crafty I'm being and then never friggen posting things), a bit of a sneak peek of a hybrid layout. I made it for the iNSD Bonus Cookie Challenge over at SSD.

And, I'm taking over the SSD blog tomorrow for the Hot 4 Hybrid post. So stay tuned!

Have a great night :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Today I.......#1

Sometimes, I'm just gonna post random things. Like today. Hopefully it'll get me posting more frequently, although I've done pretty well recently.

Today I.....

.....finally bought my Nike+ sensor for running. I thought that I needed to get the kit, which has a receiver that plugs into your ipod, so I was trying to save up $30 in gift cards from Swagbucks. Turns out my iPhone is even MORE awesome, and already comes Nike+ ready. So I only had to spend $19 to get the sensor. Win. It was ordered this afternoon, along with a pouch that velcros to my sneakers (since they are Asics, not Nike's, and thus no pocket inside the shoe), and a new armband that actually fits my iphone. It will be glorious to run with nothing in my hands once again.

......MUST go for a run tonight (as long as the rain holds off). I haven't gone for a run in almost 2 weeks, and I really want to get back to it. Between the PE, and then Gidget's wedding, I just needed a break and some time to do big fat nothing (which I did VERY well, lol). But I know I need to get back to it if I want to keep progressing. I'm gonna start trying to mix in some of Jillian Michael's longer DVD workouts on my non-run days. If I don't, I don't think I'll EVER see that friggen scale move. Of course we're going to NY this weekend, which means 10 hour work days, which means not getting home until 6:30 or 7:00. I'm gonna have to suck it up though!

.......got excited over new office supplies. I posted about it on my FB, but my love for all things office supply/stationary is really ridiculous. I mean I actually got excited that there was a box of felt tipped pens in a new color (green). Seriously. Get a life Col.

........redeemed another 450 Swagbucks to get another $5 Amazon gift card. I seriously love swagbucks. (Use THIS LINK to sign up if you're interested - it IS a referral link, so I do get points from having you sign up, but only when you win from searching.) I use the toolbar, which makes it CRAZY easy to search for swagbucks. There are TONS of ways to earn points, but the easiest is to just use the toolbar to search for things instead of using google. I win 2 or 3 times a day and have been earning a $5 gift card every 2 weeks or so. That is FREE money! Just from searching! I love it. Like I said, I just got my Nike+ sensor for FREE! Everyone can use a few extra $$ now-a-days right? Right. :)

........am trying to decide when to jump back into Project 365. I've started and stopped 2 years in a row now (maybe even 3). I know I want to do this before we have kids, I just have issues sticking with it. I was gonna jump in on May 1st (and I do have photos for those days), but now I'm thinking of starting in the exact middle of the year and doing it on July 1st. Why does it matter? I have no idea. I should probably just stick with it already and get going. Good talk. I know what I'll be taking a picture of today :P

........figured out a few things that I was struggling with at work. LOVE that feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes I wonder if the design programs I use are worth the hassle. But, lesson learned and duly noted for future projects, with notes taken using new fantastical green pen no less. ;)

......hope I can finish editing some photos of hybrid goodies to get posted to the galleries. That is by FAR the part of my CT requirements that I am the absolute worst about. REALLY need to work on that. Hoping to edit some honeymoon photos in the next week or so to get started on a kick butt project for SSD next month :)

And I think that's enough.
Have a great night!


Friday, April 23, 2010

On Love and Marriage

Oh yea, this is gonna be good. I've bookmarked about 8493028 things I wanted to share on various subjects that have caught my eye in the last few days. We'll start with some mushy lovey stuff.

We've been married for 6 months now (say what?! Isn't is crazy how time flies??), and I can honestly say that our relationship has never been better. It's hard to try and pinpoint why it's so good. In the fall, it seemed like everyone was asking "are you nervous", and neither of us really was. Sure, we both had our fair share of butterflies in tummy (me on saturday night, him on sunday morning) but we weren't nervous about the "after". Leading up to it we always joked that we were already married, this was just making it official and getting to have a really awesome party, lol! We've been together 4.5 years now, living together for 3.5 of those (maybe 4, my math is fuzzy this morning). We bought a house together a few months before we were even engaged. We knew we could live with each other without killing each other (which is obviously hugely important, lol!). We fought, we made up, we traveled. Officially getting married was just the icing on the cake it seemed like. But it was more. There's an extra sense of "we're in this together", and extra connection it seems like sometimes. Not just girlfriend/boyfriend or fiance, but husband and wife. It's wonderful to feel so much love all the time. We've been extra snuggly and mushy lately, even with my big test taking away most of my time.

But I know it's not always going to be easy. I think that we're in a good place and are laying a good foundation for the rest of our marriage. I came across these bits of wisdom on love and marriage, and wanted to pass them along. The second link really speaks to me, I know that Jordan appreciates my ACTIONS more than my words in many cases. It's a good reminder to do the dishes without being prompted, because that makes him happy - even though I despise doing the dishes. :)

Wedded Bliss - 5 Bits of Advise from Marta Writes

Love is Doing Something When You Don't Feel Like It from Penelope Loves Lists

We're heading up to PA for my best friend's wedding this weekend. SO EXCITING!! I got her a great little present that I can't wait to share :)

Hmm, I had more to share but I think I've rambled on long enough. The Earth Day stuff deserves a post of its own, even if it will be a few days late. :)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Aaaaallllll pretty!!

Zoe Pearn is my hero. Her "Blog in a Box" line makes things SO simple and easy! I know, pink blog decor? For me? But I just loved this one :) I still have to get some more links up over there, and "Crafty-ness" will have my team blinkies, and links to my galleries and whatnot. Eventually. If I get to it. I'm not worried about it, LOL!

I've got a bunch of hybrid LO's finished, or in various stages of completion, as usual. Really need to finish those. I also need to finish my new watermark design. I'm stuck with what I want to do. After a thread over at SSD I decided to embrace my difficult last name, and go with Swerbinsky Studios. I want to do pet portraiture, but that name leaves me with lots of options for different directions I can go in farther down the road, if I decide to do that. Options are good.

My girlfriend Annie opened up a logo shop recently, so I'm tempted to just pay her to do it, LOL! I'll probably just go with something super simple for now, just to get it DONE already. I've got a few fun pics of Tigah-now in the yard that I want to post :)

I also recently joined Jac Bernardo's CT. She makes fantastical templates and they are totally helping me get the wedding and honeymoon scrapped WAY faster than I would've have gotten done otherwise, lol. Totally loving that  :)

I started digging my way out of my craft area last night. I made a BIG dent in it, so hopefully tonight I can do some actual crafting while I watch Glee. I've had "Hello" by Lionel Richie stuck in my head since sunday! LOL! I did NOT do yoga or pilates last night since I went into cleaning mode again. But I MUST run tonight, because it's going to rain tomorrow. I'm gonna have to do a little dance on friday because apparently it is supposed to rain ALL WEEKEND! Which would NOT be good, because my best friend's wedding is saturday! UGH! Figures I would get the glorious weather for my wedding, and she would get the stinky rain. Hopefully it'll stay away so we can get some pictures outside and get in and out of the church without getting soaked. I might need to go buy some wellies just in case though.....

Ok, 2 days in a row from me, and now I'll stop rambling :)
Have a great day!

Monday, April 19, 2010


This photo? Makes me giggle.

So. Here I am. Some 6 weeks after the last time I blogged. This time I at least have 3 unfinished posts sitting behind the scenes. I always seem to start a post, then get distracted, and then never finish it. Story of my life, lol.

My big test is finally over. That was this past friday. It was an 8 hour test split into a morning session (which covered EVERYTHING civil engineering) and an afternoon session (where you choose the section you want to take, and I chose structural, as that is what I do). I feel pretty solid about the morning section, but the afternoon could really go either way. I got a little freaked out in the afternoon, but afterwards a group of us all went over to the bar/restaurant next door and discussed, and they made me feel better. We all felt like they (the test makers) threw a LOT of really random stuff at us, and no one thinks that much more studying would have helped that situation at all. Such is life, lol. I studied A TON for this test, and I will be bummed if I don't pass. But, I can't dwell on it. And at least if I do have to take it again, I'll know that I need to study the afternoon stuff more.

So we went over to the bar for some celebratory drinks (well, more like some "omg we are DONE and have our lives back" drinks :P) after the test was over. I went down a tiny little street thinking that there would be some parking available, and ended up at a dead end. There was barely enough space to try and turn around, but I tried a K-turn anyway. And backed straight into a fire hydrant. :X Those of you who know Jordan probably just gasped and clapped your hand over your mouth (as one of his best friends who also took the test, did exactly that!), as you know how INSANE he is with taking care of the cars and avoiding dents/dings/etc. If I had been driving the Acura, I would have made a get-away by driving to California and adopting a new identity. I was only the driving the Contour though (THANK GOODNESS), so I shrugged it off. I cracked the back bumper and put some nice scrapes and paint marks on it, but it's the freaking Contour man. It's a 2001 with 150,000 miles on it, and we're probably getting rid of it this year anyway. WHO CARES? Jordan does, naturally. I called to tell him my test was done and I was going to celebrate (which he already knew was the plan, but I wanted to let him know I was out of the test anyway), and then broke the news. There was a mild explosion, but nothing too awful, and I was fully expecting it, lol. I went and had some fun, hung out with friends, and then went home. I got home while the Penguins game was still on, which worked in my favor. The boys were playing FAR better than they had during Wednesday game, so he was in a good mood. He went into the garage after the game, and then came back into the house, but he never said a word about it. Not a peep! I think he talked to his Dad after I told him what happened, and Joe must've talked him down off the ledge, lol. Remind me to send that man some flowers or something, LOL! Of course, I brought up the non-existent reaction, and Jordan didn't say much. So I told him that if he was ever going to yell at me about this, he had to do it right then. No waiting a few weeks or months and then flipping out about it, lol. But, it never happened. And for that I am grateful, lol.

I spent all day saturday cleaning. I KNOW! Me? Spend the first weekend I've had free in months CLEANING?? I don't know what came over me either, but I ran with it since it happens so rarely. I concentrated on our bedroom and went nuts. I moved the furniture to get the vacuum into places that haven't seen light in 3 years, I cleaned the outside AND the inside of the windows, I vacuumed the baseboards and got cobwebs out of the lower ceiling corners, I started ANOTHER bag for Goodwill. It was nuts! Of course by the time I got to the other side and my craft area I had totally lost steam, but at least the half where we sleep is all clean and pretty now :) Once Joey moves out I'm taking back my blanket chest and putting it in our bedroom under the front windows so I can store my knitting and fabric collection. :) I'm going to dig out my craft area during the week now that I have FREE TIME again! WHOOHOOO!!

Sunday was extremely unproductive, but I don't care. I enjoyed some Sportcenter, started reading a new book, caught up on a few of my DVR'd shows, and just relaxed. It was wonderful. I DID make myself go for a run though since I didn't do anything on saturday (although strangely enough I was actually SORE from cleaning, lol). Well, I accidentally selected Day 1 of Week 5 of C25K, instead of doing another day of Week 4. Fail. Week 5 is 3 - 5 minute runs with 3 minutes of walking in between. I did 2 miles on the exercise bike to warm up because it was chilly out, and that helped a TON, so I think I'm gonna stick with it. Once I realized my selection mistake, I decided to really push myself and do a new route with a HUGE hill. Yowza!! So hard!! But, I didn't totally die, and I still finished off the run relatively strong (minus the part where I thought I was going to die from inhaling gasoline fumes - next time I will run UPWIND of the gas station!). It felt pretty good too, so I'm gonna stick with Week 5 for tomorrow's run as well. Tonight is going to be yoga or pilates, I haven't decided. I'm going to really get back into the mindset of working out almost every day a week. I'm slimming down and I want to keep that up. I've also heard that pilates/yoga are great counterparts to running, so I'm excited that I already like to do those things.

I'll leave you today with another picture. I picked these tulips from our front yard on wednesday or thursday, and I just LOVE them. They opened up SO BIG in that bud vase in our bedroom. Bud vases are my new favorite obsession (Mine are cheapies from Crate and Barrel!). I clipped some rhododendron blooms and have them in the living room as well. A house just looks so much nicer and pulled together with a few blooms spread around I think. :)
All photos in this post were taken on my iPhone and processed with the CameraBag App. The first one uses Lolo, and the tulips use Magazine.

Have a great day!

PS~Working on a new decor for the ol' blog. The wintery mix just isn't appropriate anymore, lol.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1 month? Sounds about right......

Yup. I'm still a miserable blogger. If I had any time on my hands, I would feel guilty and work on that. But alas, I have no time to even think about blogging. In fact, there are at least a dozen things I should be doing right now instead of blogging.

Mostly, I'm blogging because today I feel like a celebrity. On Friday I commented on this post, over at the blog, It's the Little Things That Make a House a Home. I don't normally comment on blogs, but I had an idea that I thought the blogger might not have thought of, so I went ahead and commented. And in today's post, she totally quoted my comment! Apparently they hadn't thought of my suggestion, and they pretty much love it. Win. I don't know if they'll actually use my suggestion, but having it called out like that totally made my day, and made me feel like a celebrity. Win.

In other news, I have about 4 hybrid projects sitting next to me, waiting patiently to be cut out. I hate to waste my paper, so I cram as many pieces onto a single sheet as I can. This usually means waiting around for my next project to take shape, and then I end up printing and working on 3 or 4 projects at once. Perhaps not the most efficient, but, it works out pretty well overall I suppose. I think I bought 400 sheets of paper last year during a sweet sale that Epson was running, and I still have at least 200 sheets left. So, in the "not wasting paper" sense, it's totally working.

I spent ALL FREAKING DAY studying for the PE yesterday. I went over all the stuff we learned in our class this week, and read ahead on some traffic stuff that we'll be going over tomorrow. So I gave myself today off. I've worked on projects, played on FB, and went for a run with Tiger.

Yes, you read that correctly. I went for a run. I know right? Just a few weeks ago I was talking to a friend and saying how much I HATED running, and that even though I know it's a great total body workout, I just refuse to torture myself like that. And now, I'm running. Since the beginning of February I've been working out with a girlfriend in NY. We text each other after we're finished working out, and help motivate each other and everything. She had mentioned that she really wanted to start the Couch to 5K program (which is what sparked the rant about me hating running). She said that while the 30 Day Shred was great, she knew she needed more cardio in her workouts. After a week or so of that conversation rattling around in my head, I realized she was totally right. Workout DVD's are great and all, but with the weather warming up I really want to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Well, running certainly gets me outside! Tiger definitely needs the exercise too, after spending all winter cooped up inside. I do have to give credit to Jillian Michael's, the she-devil behind the 30 Day Shred. If I hadn't done 30DS for 3 or 4 weeks, there's no way I would've been in shape enough to stick with C25K. I went on my first run on a whim, and while it was hard, I DID IT. That first run alone had me totally hooked. A good friend in NY had talked about doing a 5k together eventually, and I felt like that goal is 100% within my reach. And to top it off? I kinda LIKE running, lol. Go figure :P

Tiger has gotten stronger too. She was pretty much dead weight when I started, but today we did our first run of week 2 of the program, and she wasn't too bad. Still lagging behind me, but nowhere near as bad as last week. So that makes me happy too. We'll BOTH get in better shape this year :) I've got 5 weeks to go before I have to don a bridesmaid dress, and I'd like to slim down a little bit more. I'm officially down 15 pounds from this time last year, and down almost 2 pant sizes too. I haven't felt this good, both physically and about myself, in AGES. It's awesome. And it's just the motivation I need to stick with it. :)

I'd like to say I'll be back with another post soon, but, well, you know. I'd probably be lying ;)

Til next time

Friday, February 12, 2010

A New Look

With all this snow we've gotten, it felt like the blog needed a little face lift to something a bit frostier. Once again, Zoe saves the day! WOOT!

I'm getting some pictures edited from Snow-mageddon Part 2. We ended up snowed in for 2 days this week (wednesday and thursday) and got another 2 feet of snow. That's around 5 feet of snow in less than a week. ::blink:: I love snow and being snowed in, but that's just nuts! Lol! Of course it's made even worse because this state has no idea how to deal with that sort of volume of snow in such a short amount of time. There are a lot of streets in the city that will only be passable if the residents dig it out themselves (with some help from the sun). The plows just can't get through without risking a LOT of damage to vehicles, and it's not a risk that they are going to take (especially considering we're over budget on snow removal this season, and the economy in general just blows).

Tiger is still thoroughly enjoying herself and all the snow. I can only guess that the snow makes everything smell differently, because she has sniffed every square inch of the yard at least 3 times since we got it all, lol. It's the same yard Tigah-now! We do have a few sets of small tracks in the as-yet-untouched backyard, which is pretty cool to look at from the windows. We think they're rabbit tracks ("wwwwwwaaabbits", no RRabbits, "wabbits", RRRRRRRRabbits, "wwwwwwwaaabbits" - I love that commercial :P) because they are too close together to be deer, and we don't have much else in terms of "wildlife" around here. Plus, the snow is so thick and dense, a light-weight rabbit wouldn't sink too far into it.

Anyway, I've got more pictures and more projects in the works. Some girlfriends are coming over tomorrow to work on planning Lauren's bridal shower next month, so that will be fun. Speaking of which, I've got some cardstock to go cut up for invitations! Have a great night, and a great Valentine's Day if I don't get back to post again :)


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow-mageddon Part 1 of 2??

So, we got slammed with that big storm last week. That's what they were calling it - "Snow-mageddon". ON THE NEWS! Ridiculous. I mean, if we lived in Florida and got almost 3 feet of snow, sure, Snow-mageddon is appropriate. But we are *not* that far south people! Just because we're below the Mason-Dixon line doesn't mean the weather magically changes!

We woke up friday morning, and I took a look at the radar. It showed that DC was already getting snow (supposedly) so I opted to stay home and work from home instead of going into the office. Jordan forgot his power supply for his laptop, so he went into work. It ended up not starting to snow until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and then it was just flurries. Jordan left slightly earlier than a normal day, but then went and did some grocery shopping that we needed to do. Not "OMG WE HAVE TO GO BUY MILK AND BREAD AND EGGS OR WE'LL DIE IN THIS STORM!!" shopping, just some regular grocery shopping that we were due to take care of. But that's really how people around here think. The stores get mobbed and sell out of milk, bread, eggs, and toilet paper. I mean, they are really miserable at snow removal down here, but are you really going to go through 4 gallons of milk in 2 days? Are you really going to go to the bathroom THAT MUCH that you need 2 - 18 count packages of toilet paper? Let's use some common sense here people.

So we (and by we, I mean Jordan) took care of that, and then just hung out for the night. My saturday plans had been cancelled, so I had nothing to do. I stayed up later than normal, and at midnight when I went to bed we had maybe 6" of snow. No big deal. We were woken up at 9am to the sounds of heavy equipment backing up repeatedly. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! *wait 20 seconds* BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! *wait 30 seconds* BEEP BEEP you get the idea :p Jordan gets up to look out the window and discovers 2 things. 1) We had gotten 12-18 inches of snow overnight (WOOT!!) and 2) The neighbors across the way were "plowing" their driveway with a backhoe. A BACKHOE! We literally just watched in complete awe of the situation. It was stupid for 2 reasons. 1) IT'S A FREAKING BACKHOE!! 2) It was still coming down VERY heavily, and wasn't forecasted to stop for at least 6 hours, potentially 8-10 hours. So they were going to get a good bit more snow, and still have to clear things off again later. At 10 or so, Tiger couldn't hold it any longer and Jordan was forced to out the small front porch and dig her a path in the yard so she could do her business. She loooooooooooves the snow, and is absolutely hilarious to watch when she plays in it. But this was a relatively quick time outside. Jordan didn't feel like doing any shoveling yet, so in we went. I made breakfast, and we just relaxed all day. Snow snow snow snow snow, crazy people on tv out in the weather, snow snow snow snow snow, Snow-mageddon!!! At around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, it started letting up (we were in white conditions at one point!) so we bundled up to venture outside. We got somewhere between 30-36" of snow. It's hard to tell because there were drifts everywhere, some as high as 5 feet tall on the side of the house. Baltimore got 30" and we always seem to get a good bit more than they do, so between 30-36" is a good estimate. Here are some pictures of Tigah-now romping around :)
Playing in deep snow:
Step 1 - Dive in head first

Step 2 - Land and rear back

Step 3 - LEAP!!!

Since the snow was so deep, she couldn't touch the ground, but that certainly didn't stop her! She jumps really high in the air to get herself up and over the snow, sort of like a deer. Regardless, it's hilarious. I really need to charge my point and shoot and take some video of it. It's still deep in the backyard, we haven't made too much of a path back there yet.

These 2 give a good idea of how deep it is. It's thick snow, so it compacts underneath you but you don't hit the actual ground. This is a path down the side of the house towards the sliding glass door. She really stretches herself out when she runs, lol!
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.... :)

At the back door:

Pretty ones:
I just love her "serious concentration" face. She's SO focused on something down the street - probably neighbors shoveling themselves out.

I REALLY wish I had gotten this one in focus. This, for me, is the epitome of Tigah-now. Serious face, running around, goofy floppy ears flying in the wind. :)

And one last one that makes me :swoon:

I love this one. We were in the road because she could actually run around and sniff things out there, as nothing else was shoveled. And it's not like there was a whole lot of traffic to worry about, lol. But she just kept sitting down, keeping watch on things. It was so cute :)
Last one (for now anyway), kisses for momma!
Everything is still pretty much a disaster. My PE prep course was cancelled last night because the roads and parking lot weren't plowed. The Federal Government was closed yesterday. About 9 counties of schools were closed yesterday AND today. I have 2 friends who are pretty much SOL at this point. One lives in a cul-de-sac and still hasn't seen a plow (it's 3 days later!!) and the other lives in the city and was told that they weren't getting plowed. As in at all! No plows! She had to hike to a clear street and get a ride into work from a coworker today.

What's worse (besides Jordan spending our entire commutes going on and on about how miserable the plow people are down here :p) is that another storm is coming in today and we're supposed to get anywhere from 10-20 inches!! They had to call people into work to shovel off the roof today. It can safely hold 30" of snow, but we already have 24" up there, and who knows how much this storm is gonna dump on us tonight. Better to be safe than sorry!

I'm already counting on a snow day from work tomorrow (I have stuff I can bring home that I can work on), and I have zero faith that I'll class tomorrow night either. SUCH a mess! We shall see if tonight brings us Snow-mageddon Part 2!! Hahahahahaha!!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A little Mini Tutorial

Hello, Hello, Hello! As you can see, I'm NOT good at consistently blogging. I should work on that. Today though, I have a little mini tutorial on altering a matchbook style notepad. SUPER EASY people!! I mean it!
So as I was wandering around Michael's 2 weeks or so ago, they had a whole lot of bushel type baskets out, with tons of random crap inside, all on super clearance sale. For some reason, I can burrow around in bins like this in a craft store NO PROBLEM, but the clearance rack in a regular clothes store? No way. I am weird. So I rummaged around and found a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and then I found these little matchbook style notepads. Wanna guess how much they were? Come on, guess. They were 2 in a pack too, if that helps at all. Give up? $0.40. FOR 2 OF THEM! That's $0.20 each for all of you who were told there would be no math on this blog (inside family joke if you're feeling lost). Jaaaaackpoooooottttttttt! So I did a little jig, and then I found as many of them as I could.

That weekend, Scrapkitchen came out with THE CUTEST Valentine's kit EVAH, Kiss Me Kate. I mean it man, CUTEST! So, naturally, I snagged that to decorate some of these little notepads. They are perfect for jotting down a quick I love you for your spouse, or for kids lunchboxes, or for whatever. Here's the kit. ::swoon::

Now it was time to play. So first, I measured the notepad. I pulled the front out from behind it's little flap, and I measured from that end, down the back, around the bottom, and to the top of the flap. It was a random number, so I ended up just going with an 11" length. Easy. Peasy. Then I measured the width of the notepad, which was about 3 1/8". Once I knew my dimensions, I opened up photoshop and created a new document 3.25" wide by 11" tall (I always give myself some wiggle room). Then I opened up aaaaaaaallllllll the patterned papers in the kit, and dragged and dropped them onto my 3.25"x11" blank document. Lots of times I will resize papers next, but since I was working with 11" I just left them as is. I like to play with all of the papers open to see different combinations and what I like and don't like. If I don't like a paper, I either turn off that layer, or delete it from the file I'm working in.
Next, I pulled in a bunch of different embellishments from the kit. Those hearts with the scalloped circle mats were calling my name! I also grabbed 2 labels and 2 postage stamps (when it comes to embellishments, I tend to print out a few extras as I go, cuz I'm bound to change my mind several times before I actually glue anything down). I resized those to fit in the space on the front flap, and I was good to go.
My next step, once I have the design how I want it, is to open a new document that is 8.5"x11". I have my printer set to always print borderless (plus, in the advanced settings, make sure the resizing scale is set to minimal - otherwise it'll blow up your print and things will get wonky) so check your settings if this is something you're interested in.  I then drag and drop my papers and embellishments onto the new document, and move them around until I fit everything I possibly can onto 1 sheet of printer paper. Once you're satisfied with the arrangement, flatten it and save it as a jpeg, and then print it out. While generally unnecessary, I like to give my papers a little bit of time after printing to dry so I minimize the smudge potential. Once they set, I just cut everything up. I like to print multiple projects at once, and then I can cut out all the bits and pieces while I watch tv one night. :)
So now you've got everything printed and cut out, it's time to play! Here are my supplies:

First, I opened up the notepad and put a line of my adhesive at the end of the cover flap. Then I lined up one edge of my chosen paper, and adhered it to the flap. Then I added some more adhesive to the rest of the front flap, and flattened the paper down onto it. I have an overhang on one end, but I will fix that later. Now, when you're dealing with things that need to be folded around, it's easiest to pre-fold it, and then adhere it. So with the front nicely glued down, I folded it around the top edges of the flap. Just use a little pressure to tell the paper where you want it to go. Now leave that, and get your second, contrasting piece of paper for the front flap. Do the same thing: glue it down to the front of the flap, then fold it around to the back of the notepad. Now you can see and decide which paper you want on top, and where you want the paper to end. Once that's done, just glue the papers down (I did not glue the paper to the thin folded spots, only to the main front and back of the notepad). You can see in the photo below, how I wrapped the papers around and then cut them down to the size I wanted.

Now just add whatever embellishments you desire, and you're done! I added "SWAK" (sealed with a kiss) to each label piece with Making Memories rub-ons from my stash. I just love a good alphabet rub-on set!

So, stinkin, cute! And you can make these for anything your heart desires with all the awesome digital kits that are out there now. Make one for groceries, make one for books you want to read for when you go to the library or the book store, one for movies, one for just random thoughts that pop into your head. The possibilities are endless!!

I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial! Next time I'll take more pictures :)
Have a great day!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Upside-down Tigah-now!

Upside-down Tigah-now!, originally uploaded by ColleenSwerb.
Playing around with Flickr and found this fun option to blog a photo right from my photo stream. Figured I'd give it a shot.

I snapped that photo last week and finally got it edited. Can I just say that there's nothing like winter, with it's lack of natural light by the time we get home from work, to remind me how much I love my speed light? Lol! That photo is barely edited. I bumped the contrast a smidge, and added in a bit of black, and that was it! I wish I had gotten her nose in focus instead of her shoulder, but she was NOT cooperating that night so this is the best I could do.

I did a post over at the Sweet Shoppe Blog yesterday, so if you missed it, go here to check it out :)

Hopefully more posting coming soon. :) I have some fun with LR presets I want to post about, but I forgot to write down which photo used which preset, so I'll try again tomorrow. For now, you get silly Tigah-now :)

More hybrid goodies coming soon too. I've fallen in love with creating hybrid layouts (something I never did before), and I'm excited to show off some examples.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Reorganization

I don't know about you guys, but I have a few obsessions in my life. One, is all things paper and stationary (hence the scrapbooking). Ever since I was little I've loved notebooks and pens and pencils. I'm constantly buying new little notebooks, whether it's to alter them, or just to have them. I rarely even write in them, I just like having pretty notebooks around. This has also lead to a LARGE stash of pretty patterned scrapbook paper. Again though, I rarely use it. I'm not confident in my paper pages like I am in my digital pages, so I never want to cut into the pretty papers and "ruin" them. It's a vicious cycle! Thank goodness digital papers have LIMITLESS uses! I can print out 50 sheets now, and another 50 in 10 years if I wanted to!

My second obsession is ironically, all things related to organization. Planners, containers, folders, labels, I love them all. The ironic part? I get them, and then fail to implement them! I bought the CUTEST little red polka dot planner last year, and I carried it around with me for about 2 months, and then it just sat on my desk. Worst! I was also keeping half of my schedule in the planner, and half in my phone (a Blackberry at the time), which lead to forgetting things ALL THE TIME. Seriously a useless strategy.

My craft area is in our master bedroom, because our master bedroom is massive. I mean it. It's 29'x12'! Long and narrow, which isn't as bad as it sounds. The door to enter the room and the door to the master bathroom kinda divide the room up into 3 areas. The bed is on one end, the recliner/exercise bike/dog bed/dressers are in the middle, and my craft area is on the other end. This works out great because it means I don't take up the small bedroom upstairs as a complete craft room (it's too tiny to serve as my craft room AND a guest bedroom, and we need all the beds we can get when family comes to visit). This works out not so great because I am the world's greatest piler and it drives Jordan insane. Piles here, piles there, craft stuff exploding out of drawers and containers. He hates it. And rightfully so! So last night I went out and bought 3 more of those pretty little white cube organizers from Michael's (on sale! WOOT!). I have this tabletop from Ikea that I LOVE. I try not to keep too much stuff underneath the glass, so I can just scoot projects in there when I need the tabletop (notice I said "try"). I wanted the trestle legs that they show in another configuration, but Ikea was always sold out, so I had to make do with something different. I could still put things on the legs (similar to the trestle), but it wasn't that efficient. Enter the white cubes. I had 6 of them on a different wall underneath a set of shelves, and they worked just fine. But then I saw this desk from Pottery Barn, and it was all over. I LOVE the little cubbies to put things in, and it makes much better use of the space under the table. Except there's no way I could ever buy that desk set (ugh, it's on sale now too, but still, Jordan would never let me spend that much on a DESK). So. The idea entered my head that I could use these cubes from Michael's and make my own little pretend PB set up. So last night I got 3 more (I couldn't decide which 2 I wanted, so I got 3, but it still works). I then came home and dismantled that entire end of the room. Not my brightest idea considering I was supposed to take down the Christmas tree (and then Jordan said he would do it, and then he didn't do it either!). Regardless, I got it set up pretty well last night with a little help from Jordan (that tabletop is HEAVY!). So now I have 4 cubes under each end of the table, and then 2 more on top of 1 end to hold my most used stuffs. 4 of the cubes have shelves in them perfect for storing all (or a LOT) of my papers, 2 have 3 drawers, 2 have 1 drawer and a shelf, and 2 have paper storage and 2 narrow bins each. I will take pictures in a day or two when it's aaaaall finished.

Of course, the room is still a disaster area, and I still have to take down the Christmas treee. But it's a start! The new year always leaves me wanting to start everything fresh, and this will be a good start. It will help eliminate the clutter, it will get piles of stuff out from in front of the back windows (which Jordan REALLY hated), and I will have a more efficient space.

The thing I don't want to think about? The fact that I will have to move and rearrange everything whenever we decide to put in hardwood floors. Doh. Yea, not thinking about that right now. Just thinking of a wonderfully organized new space! WOOT!!

Crafty things are coming soon. I've got a few projects in various stages of completion, so I can hopefully get those done soon too. :)


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hello 2010.

I saw this quote today, and it felt appropriate:

“2010 is an unwritten chapter…love deeply, live boldly, and go after something big!”

I hate resolutions, so I try not to make them. Are there things I want to improve upon in my life? Of course! But resolutions only end up making you feel like crap because you don't complete them. But I want to love deeply, and live boldly, and go after something big, so that works out nicely :P

I want to show my husband how deeply I love him, all the time.
I want to live boldly and do big things.
     I want to seriously work on my photography skills, and put myself out there to do pet photography sessions.
     I want to really work on stationary designs for a new website, and grow that aspect of my creativity.
     I want to continue to grow creatively as a hybrid artist, and a life artist.

Professionally, I'll be taking the PE Exam in April (which terrifies me), and taking on more responsibility in the coming year. I hope to grow as an engineer and as a project manager. I hope to solidify my career before we decide to start a family and things get thrown upside-down.

2009 turned into a whirl-wind of a year and just FLEW by. I know that time slows for no man, but I hope to slow things down a bit and learn to enjoy life more fully. Put that project aside and get together with friends. Stop reading that book and enjoy a quiet evening with my husband. Get outside with Tigah-now more, which will benefit both of our health. I hope to enjoy more sunsets and more time spent outside if we get to build our deck this year.

Lots of things to look forward to in the coming year. Here's to 2010 and a new chapter of my life. :)


PS~I have taken my P365 photos, but I'm too lazy to post them every day. So every few days you'll get a couple. :)