Just my luck

Just my luck // Kelsey, Esp. blog Just my luck // Kelsey, Esp. blogJust my luck // Kelsey, Esp. blog

Confirmation of week-old news of some major car repairs needed (that I can’t afford) on top of some major unexpected bills needing to be paid (that I can’t afford) on top of a shattered iPhone screen needing some major TLC (that I can’t afford). And those are just the few less personal shitty things that happened last Friday that I feel comfortable sharing here.

With the luck I had Friday, it could’ve been dated the 13th instead of the 25th. Fingers crossed this week starts (and finishes) on a better note. CAN I GET AN ‘AMEN’?!

Anniversary Weekend

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Two weekends ago Shannon and I celebrated our one year anniversary with a staycation. After the disaster-y-ish Belated Birthday Weekend staycation we had back in June, we decided this time that we wanted to stay at a NOT trendy hotel, and that we wanted to stay just outside of DC. We went with a quaint-ish hotel in Arlington, and couldn’t have been more thrilled with our choice. The hotel itself was SO cheap, had PLENTY of parking and the FRIENDLIEST staff. Plus, it was nestled in a lush + green neighborhood-y environment just off of Fort Myer, which means it was literally a stone’s throw from the District. Perfect price, amazing location, great staff. Those three things made a world of difference this time around and we absolutely will be going back to stay there for all of our future DC staycations.

Early Friday evening we met up with a small group of friends at a bar a few minutes from the hotel (and directly across the street from my work, actually). The bar is actually situated on top of the building’s roof, which is why it’s called Rooftop Bar & Grill (duh), and offers a really fun, kind of cozy (see also: cramped, due to popularity) environment. Happy Hour ended up lasting closer to 5 or 6 hours, but that’s totally fine because it was extra super happy; we were celebrating our one year (which was on Friday) with some of the most rad friends anyone could ask for. PLUS it was perfect weather. And we were on a roof. HOW FUCKING COOL?! I would love to share more about our awesome Happy Hour with y’all but the thing is, it was so awesome that I don’t remember 97% of it. And that means it was also very successful.

So successful in fact, that I woke up Saturday morning feeling like death, which is exactly what I knew would happen even though it was exactly what I didn’t want to happen. What I wanted to happen was I wanted to wake up early and go for a short run into the District with Shannon, head back to the hotel for breakfast and a shower, and then set out for the day. What actually happened was that I woke up still 75% drunk and played the “go back to bed, wake up, repeat” game about 4 different times until I was able to sit up without getting dizzy and falling over. For the record, that wasn’t until around 9:30-ish am. Like I said, Happy Hour the night before was a major success. After I was up and showered and dressed I felt a lot better but I learned throughout the day that in order to stay feeling better I needed to keep moving. And nacho cheese Doritos. I also needed lots of those.

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We spent Saturday exploring museums in the city that are off the beaten path, so to speak. So like, none of the museums on the Mall. We actually avoided the touristy area of DC the entire weekend and stuck with exploring a couple of neighborhoods north of downtown. We stopped by the National Museum of Health and Medicine which might be the coolest place I’ve ever been in my entire life.

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It’s a tiny establishment but even still it took us nearly two hours to navigate because the sheer amount of stuff they have, and the sheer intrigue the stuff they have has (did you follow that?). Nearly everything in the museum is real, meaning the bone fragments and the skulls and the full skeletons and brains and other organs, as well as full size babies that died in utero or during/after birth, are all actual bones and organs and people that were actually alive (or in someone who was once alive) at some point. However, because I know that this stuff can seem insensitive to some people I’ve only opted to share a few of the lesser “obscene” or emotional photos here.

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The museum also housed a wide assortment of medical tools from different historical periods, 500 bullet and shrapnel fragments from the Civil War, and even the bullet that killed Lincoln, along with fragments of his skull and tufts of his hair from around the wound entry point. Like I said, super fucking cool place.

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We also visited the O Street Mansion on Saturday, which is supposedly a “living” museum dedicated to the creative process. In reality, it’s a huge collection of…junk spread between 5 interconnected row houses in Dupont. It’s rad in theory but only kind of cool in person. The experience was certainly interesting, and I’m glad that we went, but it’s something I never need to do again in my life. If that makes sense?

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The rest of Saturday we spent walking around Dupont, through Adams Morgan, and over to Shaw/U Street, and then back down to Dupont. Along the way we browsed a music + book sidewalk sale, stopped for ice cream, posed for some ironic photos, popped into a fun little hole-in-the-wall “adult” store, and walked through some really fun neighborhoods as we made up pretend lives for ourselves as we went.

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We got our run into the city in on Sunday morning. We ran from our hotel in Arlington across the bridge into DC, over to the Lincoln, up the steps, posed for some photos, then ran back to the base of Arlington National Cemetery where we posed for another photo at the Carillon. The first photo below is a view of Virginia from the top of the back of the Lincoln.

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We spent the rest of the day exploring DC, starting with the Farmers Market in Dupont. From there we Metro’d to Chinatown, then walked to Capitol Hill to hit up the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill Farmers Market and flea market. We spent allllll afternoon out and about and had a really, really fun time just being together and seeing and trying new things.

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We ended Sunday by touring the L. Ron Hubbard House, which is where the Church of Scientology was founded (SUPER EFFING INTERESTING, even though I think the “church” itself is kind of nutty) and by watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery. After that we hopped in Shannon’s truck and headed back home for a night on the couch with pizza and a whoooooole lot of DVR’d shows.

Such an amazing weekend you guys. I can’t wait to share a little bit more of it — and a new perspective of it — once I’m finished putting together our Anniversary Weekend Mini Book! WOOT!

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The girls’ DIY no-sew teepee

Finally, Emma’s & Bri Bri’s teepee.

The girls have actually been sleeping in this teepee since my birthday, but in keeping with my habitual inability to post content timely, I’m just now getting around to sharing this project/space with y’all. Because I just got around to photographing it a couple days ago.

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For my birthday this year I took down the girls’ bunk beds (they stopped sleeping in their beds months ago, instead opting for “sleepover” every night on the floor of their room so why not?) and gifted them a handmade no-sew teepee for their room, because I’m nice like that and like to share the joy. JK. I did this on my birthday because Shannon had to go out of town last minute(-ish) that weekend and it really fucking sucked, so I had to keep my mind busy. And obviously the best way to do that is to build a teepee. So that’s what I did.

I don’t have a sewing machine or patience, so I opted to go for a no-sew version of this project. All the tutorials made it look/sound super quick and easy. It wasn’t. IT SUCKED. This was WAY more frustrating than any tutorial online alluded to and it took me ALL. FUCKING. DAY. to get the fabric situated around the “poles” in such a way that it didn’t look like it belonged on the curb Tuesday morning for trash day.

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I took the kids to Joanns and let the girls choose one fabric each for this project. Briseis chose the small floral print and Emma, of course, chose the pink tulle. I knew the tulle wasn’t really the best choice for this project but there was no swaying Emma, so I picked out a light lime green + white chevron patterned fabric. The lime-ish color of the chevron print actually plays off the green on the leaves in the fabric Briseis chose, so it basically matches perfectly without being matchy-matchy. And as an added bonus, it also matches the wall map in their room. Because YES.

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The biggest issue I had with this project was wrapping the “poles” with the fabric in a way that seemed even remotely “right”. I was following along to this tutorial for the fabric-wrapping part (I followed this tutorial to put the frame together), but my strips of fabric kept angling themselves and bunching up and I was ending up with huge gaps all the way around and I was thisclose to throwing the fucking thing out of the window. #TRUESTORYBRO. I honestly don’t even remember how many times I took all of the fabric off and started over from the beginning, but I do know that it was a lot.

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The plus side to spending all damn day on this project and doing and re-doing it over and over is that now I have a few solid tips to share with y’all in case any of you decide to try your hand at this.

01 | Once you’ve attached your “poles” together at the top, move the teepee into position before you go any further. Seriously. Move it to exactly where the final product is going to be and then angle the bottoms of the “poles” into whatever position suits your space or preference. Also, remember that you need a front, so don’t space the “poles” evenly all the way around. Leave a wider-y-ish gap for the front.

02 | After your teepee frame is in place, start with your strips of fabric. Work from the bottom up. I began with wider strips at the bottom and used less wide strips as I moved up. I also alternated my fabrics in a fairly predictable pattern.

03 | Through countless instances of rage-laden trial-and-error I figured out that for a no-sew teepee the best way to avoid gaps and bunching and homicidal rage is to secure the bottom edge of your strip to the frame first. I began by leaving a bit of extra fabric at the end (to tuck inside the first “pole”) and then proceeded to tautly pull it around the frame, securing the bottom edges as I went. After the bottom edges were completely secured and any extra fabric on either side of the front was tucked inside that first pole, I began securing the top of the fabric strip.

To secure the top of the fabric strip I began by standing on the side of the teepee — at one side of the front — and folded the top of the fabric strip over itself at each “pole”. You can kind of see what I’m talking about in the bottom-most strip of fabric in the photo below. The tulle was more malleable than the cotton fabrics were so this start-at-the-bottom-of-the-fabric-strip-and-then-fold-over-the-top-of-the-fabric-strip technique wasn’t really necessary. And by the time I got to the top-ish of the teepee frame I was over it. OVER IT. Which is why I just gathered the fabric in back and called it a day.

This is definitely doable as a one-person job, but having another set of hands can’t hurt. Unless you’re like me and just want to get shit done the right way the first time and having “help” from someone just standing there watching you irritates you more than it doesn’t.

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04 | I used push pins for this project because I don’t have a nail gun or staple gun and didn’t really want to break out a bunch of tools for this project (i.e. I didn’t want to walk down two flights of stairs to the basement to grab the small photo frame nails and a hammer because if you know anything about me, I hate any form of exercise), and they’ve held up just fine. Even with three kids constantly playing in and around this thing.

05 | For an extra whimsical, princess-y feel we added a string of globe lights. If you do this, just make sure your kids aren’t devil children that break everything or else a string of globe lights could be big trouble. Luckily, we’ve escaped any major incidents with our globe-lights-decorated-diy-no-sew-teepee.

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Welp. There you have it. It is FAR from perfect, but it sure is pretty. And also super rad. The girls love it and its always a big hit when the neighborhood kids come over to play with Bri Bri, which means that building my kids a teepee for a bed makes me like, the coolest mom ever. I’ll take it.

The wall map is from Ikea (and was $30 cheaper when we bought it 3+ years ago); that fun little banner above the windows is Martha Stewart from Michaels (also seen here, and much cheaper at like, $7-ish bucks); and that “look at the bright side” print hanging between the windows is from this fun shop.

The Happy Closet | 02

The Happy Closet | 02 // Kelsey, Esp. blog

Over the weekend an old gym acquaintance made a comment to me that hit me hard, arguably in the “wrong” way. I’m not going to get into all of it here, because it aligns with a subject I’ve been wanting to write about more in depth and in its own post for awhile, but in that moment all of the worries and fears and stresses I’ve had recently about my body were validated. And that sucks, for both of us.

For me because body image issues blow, period. (No weird sexual innuendo/pun/imagery/whatever intended.) And for her because she has no idea that her comment affected me the way that it did, and because I know that she didn’t intend for her comment to come across the way that it did; because my mind interpreted an innocent comment she made in passing, as part of conversation, as a confirmation of all the self-hating things I’ve been telling myself — of all the negative and hurtful internal dialogue that I’ve been having with myself.

Not surprisingly, I was unpredictably short and cold with the kids and Shannon for the rest of the day and I’m pretty sure everyone noticed. The kids, because they immediately began behaving differently in response to my sudden but complete change in body language, demeanor, and mood. Shannon, because she kept insisting that she knew “something” was “up” while I insisted that I was “fine”. And so our afternoon in DC continued as such, until the second we got home and I disappeared upstairs, opened up my closet, and began cleaning it out, swiftly and ruthlessly.

The Happy Closet | 02 // Kelsey, Esp. blog

Before Saturday evening, my closet was full of clothes. Work clothes, Army clothes, casual clothes, club clothes, workout clothes, dinner party clothes, winter clothes, summer clothes, and even some sexy time clothes (heeyyy). For me, the problem has never really been one of a literal lack of things to wear. The problem has always been the lack of having anything to wear that fits my body.

I have a small frame. I always have. It’s great enough, I guess. But it isn’t problem-free. I’ve never had to worry about being “too big” for anything in my life, but I have struggled with being “big enough” for a lot of things (some of you will hate me for saying this but I even struggled to fit a size 0 pant and adult womens’ medium shirt when I was 9 months pregnant). Maybe that doesn’t sound like a problem to you, but it’s been an emotionally charged issue for me for my entire life. Being tiny isn’t without its own set of problems.

I’m almost 30 years old and I struggle to fit in adult women’s sizes, which means most of the time I’m stuck with trendy (see also: hideous and not always work appropriate) “juniors” sizes. I’m a mother to three kids and I’m small and in shape and I like to workout, and that brings its own host of criticism, judgment, and assumptions with it, like the accusations that I have a workout “problem” or that I suffer from eating disorders. Because obviously — clearly – I couldn’t possibly be this small naturally. Except that I am.

I was a late bloomer, lanky and disproportioned until I was nearly 17 years old. Then, all of a sudden, I developed curves. A little bit of hips and a whole lots of boobs. They weren’t huge, but they were big enough. I liked them pretty alright. I’d spent the entirety of my adolescence envying the bodies of other girls at school, thoroughly jealous that they could wear bras — that they had a reason to wear a real bra because they had something to safeguard and adorn with a real bra — and low cut shirts while I walked around wearing loose-fitting tops underneath even looser fitting hoodies to avoid drawing attention to a space that wasn’t supposed to be as flat as it was; to a space that was supposed to make me proud, or not not happy at the very least, instead of self-conscious and ashamed.

The Happy Closet | 02 // Kelsey, Esp. blog

I was extremely self-conscious about being a late bloomer and so when I suddenly developed my own womanly features, it was exciting. Like, really fucking thrilling. I’d always wanted a feminine body and now I had one. Finally. No more feeling horrible about myself or being made fun of for the exact reason that I already felt horrible about myself (which just made me feel even worse). I was a year away from legal adulthood and I was finally feeling like I looked more grown up. I was finally feeling like a woman. And after being made fun of my entire life for having a boyish figure and boyish hobbies and big “boy” hands and a deep voice and no boobs, feeling like a woman felt really good. A year later I had a baby – the ultimate manifestation of womanhood — and another year after that I found myself weaning my sweet baby girl from breastfeeding. And just like that the amazing boobs that I’d spent my entire adolescence waiting for, the amazing boobs that I didn’t have any time to enjoy or flaunt, were practically gone.

Two more kids and two more rounds of breastfeeding later and the amazing boobs I’d had for *maybe* a year when I was 17, were actually gone. And I mean gone. I didn’t just go down a cup size. I went down all of the cup sizes, all the way down to nothing. I went all the way down all of the cup sizes to the point where when I look at my profile in the mirror, my stomach sticks out further than my chest; my stomach, which is flat, protrudes more than my chest. THE FUCK? I went all the way down all of the cup sizes to the point where I have to rely on flow-y blouses with busy patterns or frilly collars to distract from what I don’t have. I went all the way down all of the cup sizes to the point where I live in one of two padded sports bras — even in work clothes — because not only do I not have anything left to fit in even the smallest, most structured or padded bra, but because it physically hurts to wear a real bra; because I have so little left at the bottom of my breast line/top of my rib cage that the underwire from the cup turns inward at its “corners” and the fabric at the top of the cup caves in; and because even if I’m the only one who knows I’m wearing a sports bra there’s at least an expectation — a level of acceptability — for a flattened chest, because, by nature, sports bras are restricting; they’re supposed to compress.

I had been blessed, albeit what I felt to be behind schedule, with a womanly figure that I thought was perfect and just like that it was taken away from me before I had time to fully experience it or appreciate it. I was robbed of a feature that I unequivocally define as a primal trademark of womanhood and femininity; a physical trait that, in part and at its core, differentiates female from male and comprises so much of a woman’s identity. Or maybe it’s precisely because it’s a defining trait of womanhood, of femininity, that I lack that so much of my identity is wrapped up in it; or, rather, in its absence from my body and, therefore, its absence from, and hole in, my identity. It is, to be honest, humiliating and demeaning.

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Over the years I’ve accumulated a wardrobe full of pieces that I love but that, now that I’ve had three kids and have lost any semblance of breast tone or shape, don’t fit right; that won’t ever fit right. I’ve been holding on to all these pieces out of a false hope that I will one day be able to wear MY clothes again, and out of a desperate, pathetic attempt to keep up the facade with myself. To pretend that I had endless outfit options with a closet full of clothes. To pretend that my reality wasn’t the opposite. To pretend that my reality isn’t that even though my closet was stuffed from wall to wall, I still had next to nothing to wear.

I’ve spent all these years keeping my closet full of clothes that don’t fit because I thought it would be easier to reconcile with myself than staring at a nearly empty closet that offered only a handful of pieces. I thought it was easier to hold on to them just in case, but I was wrong. Because it’s not that my clothes don’t fit because I need to lose a few pounds or cut a few inches. It’s because I would have to rebuild an anatomical structure — I would have to ADD to my body — in order for my clothes to fit again.

Changing my diet or taking a new vitamin or switching up my workout isn’t going to make me magically grow new boobs in the way it would help me lose weight or inches if I needed to. So you see, keeping all those clothes in my closet where I could see them everyday wasn’t making it better. It made it worse. It was a constant reminder of what I’m missing, of all the things I can’t wear, of all the things I don’t feel comfortable wearing, instead of being the reassurance I was trying to force it to be. 

The Happy Closet | 02 // Kelsey, Esp. blog

I hadn’t planned on cleaning my closet out yet. I didn’t wake up Saturday morning intent on getting rid of nearly 3/4 of my wardrobe. It wasn’t on any to do list. It wasn’t even on my radar. But then that comment. That comment that is totally unrelated to my “I have no boobs wah wah wah” rant here but that nonetheless triggered inside me an overwhelming need to ruthlessly and indiscriminately go through my closet, hanger by hanger, tossing aside everything I haven’t worn in half a decade; everything that awkwardly hangs off my awkward frame, even though they’re pieces I love

The Great Culling of the Closet was easier than I had expected it would be, but I think it turned out that way because I was ruthless and swift and indiscriminate; extremely ruthless and swift and indiscriminate. The only items that remain in my closet are a few pairs of works pants (maybe seven, and at least four of which are, actually, maternity pants, but that’s an entirely different story for a different day), six dresses (at least two of which I kept out strictly out of nostalgia) and four skirts, two pairs of jeans and two pairs of shorts, a small assortment of cardigans and blazers (none of which fit right, or well, but that I have to keep because I have to cover my tattoos at work), and a handful of extra small flow-y and patterned blouses with frilly collars that are still too big but oh-fucking-well.

At first glance it might seem foolish that I decided to get rid of nearly 3/4 of my wardrobe in one fell swoop the day after I decided to go on a spending fast (I know I haven’t mentioned that part yet, but that’s also a totally different story for another day), but I mean, really, what’s the point of holding on to things that are just a painful reminder of what once was and of what won’t be again? It isn’t healthy or cathartic.  It might seem silly to feel so much about this topic — after all, it’s not like I lost a child or a limb — but it’s something that is always on my mind; something that upsets me so profoundly every single day that I end up in tears over it; something that, nearly a decade later, I still can’t “get over”. But maybe, just maybe, I’m getting there. Because while my closet now isn’t technically anymore empty than it was before — because while it was full of stuff, it was stuff that I hadn’t worn in at least two years, stuff that doesn’t, and won’t ever again, fit – having actually physically removed all of those items has been the healthy and cathartic move. Because at least now I’m living in reality.

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Read more The Happy Closet posts.

Shannon’s birthday + anniversary mini book

A few things before we get started:

01 | I took all of these photos on the same day from the same position (and consecutively, with no breaks in between) so I have NO IDEA why the lighting is SO FUCKED. Sorry. I’m also really confused as to why everything looks super sharp in Photoshop but then ends up looking blurry and smudged after it’s uploaded online. ANYONE?!

02 | This is my first-ever attempt at doing anything like this. It didn’t turn out quite like I hoped but I don’t hate it, either.

03 | I love y’all and don’t really have an issue sharing my life online, but this album holds part of Shannon’s life, too, so you’re only getting a peek at selected pages.

Okay. Let’s get into it.

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I tend to be really passionate when it comes to gift-giving for people I hold near to me. Like, I plan out different options months in advance and once I’ve chosen “the one”, I dedicate massive amounts of time, attention, and thought to it.

Shannon’s birthday was toward the end of June, which means I’m super late posting this but that’s not really anything new. Anywayz. She was insistent that she didn’t want anything for her birthday; that she didn’t even want to acknowledge it, let alone celebrate it. I’m not big on holidays, so I get it. Except yeah-fucking-right if I’m not going to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday. Especially when it was the first birthday of hers that we had an opportunity to celebrate together because it was the first birthday of hers since we became “us”. But I still wanted to respect her wish of keeping things low-key (and I wanted to respect my already stretched-so-thin-it’s-basically-broken bank account), so I decided to make her a mini book with supplies that, for the most part, I already had on hand.

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As I crept along with this project page by page I started to realize that the things I was including in the mini book — favorite photos of us and ephemera from our first year together (movie ticket stubs, concert ticket stubs, coasters from restaurants we frequent, menus, hotel room keys from Belated Birthday Weekend staycation) — were more suited for an anniversary gift.

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And when you consider that her birthday was just two weeks before our one year anniversary and the traditional gift for a first anniversary is “paper”, it made all the more sense to combine the two. Even though combining occasions into a single gift is kind of shitty (Christmas babies, you feel me?). Oh well. I fused the two ideas/gifts together into one hybrid birthday + anniversary gift. Cheap? Nah. Innovative and resourceful. Euphemisms people. And semantics. USE ‘EM.

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I cut down a 12×12 piece of hearts paper that looked more like lace (and that I’ve had on hand for years) and used it as a kind of cover page over kraft card stock, to which I affixed the “24 & 1″ wood veneers you see above. The “24″ for her birthday and the “1″ for our first year together. Not really original but hey, it works. Also, can we talk about how perfect that ampersand is?

The first few pages of the book feature cutesy and cheesy love-y dove-y things: A lucky penny that we picked up in Dupont during Belated Birthday Weekend; a days of the week 6×4 that came in a previous Studio Calico PL kit along with days of the week washi tape from SC, and lyrics to that old school “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (I Love You)” song written on it; a super cheesy quote better suited for a nursery than a mini book for an adult; a nother quote that I first saw around the time Shannon and I began dating (printed on vellum); a gold letterpress Kal Barteski 3×4 that I’d been waiting forever to use.

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After all the cheesy quotes in the beginning I started filling the pages with favorite photos of us and of things from our first year together. Champagne bottle labels, movie ticket stubs, a card from trivia night at a local pizza joint we frequent, concert ticket stubs, hotel room keys, coasters, menus, blahblahblah.

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My favorite technique for this particular project was printing directly onto vellum. I just really love the frosted see-through look it provides. I printed a few quotes/phrases onto vellum, as well as an image of a map of where we had our first date (and behind it I included a photo of the inside of the bar) and a few photos that are NSFW and not for your eyes, and used a “magic” vellum 6×4 that came in a past Studio Calico PL kit add-on.

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One of my favorite things in the mini album is a fold-out $100,000 bill (obviously VERY real) that Shannon picked up for me when she took a lunchtime field trip to the Treasury with a few coworkers earlier in the year.   I wrote a short note about how she always makes me feel like a million bucks and tucked it into the book. Cheesy, yes. But I knew she’d love it. Behind it is one of those NSFW photos printed directly onto vellum. I actually affixed it on top of a piece of sized-down 12×12 scrapbook paper that had a script “i love you” phrase repeated on it and LOVE the way it turned out.

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Keeping in mind that this was primarily meant to be a birthday gift (NOT a paper themed one year anniversary gift), I added a few handwritten “24…” lists to celebrate her 24th birthday. I tried to stay away from the cliché “24 reasons I love you” thing and did my best to be at least somewhat creative with these lists. I included serious and less serious things, as well as some tongue-in-cheek responses and inside jokes.

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Well. That’s basically it, guys. I ended the mini book with a 6×4 from a previous Studio Calico PL kit (and added a handwritten note) and a sized-down piece of paper made from a linen-y material and that had gold and silver flecks in it for the final page. And on that final page I affixed a heart-shaped patch that I picked up at Joann’s (the type of patch they sell for kids’ projects) to a couple pieces of heart-shaped pieces I cut out of scrapbook paper. I wrote a phrase that I say to Shannon All. The. Time. around the heart and called it good.

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It’s super random hodgepodge of…stuff…and things, but I think that’s what mini albums are supposed to be. Right? Please say “yes” because otherwise I did this all wrong. And that would be tragic, people. TRAGIC.

It didn’t turn out quite like I was hoping but I don’t totally hate it and Shannon LOVES it (it MAY have gotten a few tears and an emphatic “best gift EVER” label, or maybe not. TAKE YOUR GUESS, but I’m letting you know right now if you guess the latter option, YOU’RE WRONG…). And since it’s her gift, that’s all that really matters.

As for me? I’m looking forward at trying my hand at another mini book documenting Anniversary Weekend.

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