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Joy and Lessons in Project Life

Exactly one year ago, I discovered this amazing way of scrapbooking called Project Life by Becky Higgins. It was this simple way of scrapbooking using a variety of cards and pocket page protectors. It was made to be easy, and the end result was to have an amazing book of everyday memories. It was made to be less intimidating than regular scrapbooking layouts (you know the ole 12x12), but still fun to do. It sounded way too amazing to be true!

So I made the decision to start my first Project Life Album. It was kind of a weird place to start. I mean, it was the end of February. I was already "behind" 2 months. But you know what? I was okay with that. I was okay with my Project Life album not being "perfect" because c'mon people, life is not perfect ;) So I just started with whatever week I was in and filled in the beginning of the year with anything that I could remember. In fact, I decided that I wasn't going to take the "weekly" approach. Because honestly, life gets to crazy sometimes and this was meant to be a hobby, something that I enjoy doing. It was designed to be SIMPLE!

Thus began my journey into the world of Project Life - a world full of crazy, amazing scrapbookers. "Wood veneers", "tiny attacher", "washi tape" became a part of my daily vocabulary. I started a YouTube channel to share what I made and made some amazing friends along the way.

Now I'm in my 2nd year of Project Life. My love for it is stronger than ever. I think it's mainly because I just love looking through my 2013 album. It's so fun to flip through and remember all the cool things we did last year. It gets me excited for what's in store for us this year. I learned so much from that first album. So here I am sharing with you what I learned and hopefully it will help the newbies and veterans in someway or another :)

Before I start, I just want to warn you that I don't do Project Life the way Becky Higgins intended. She designed it so that all you would need is a core kit, a pen, and pictures. But since I use it as my creative outlet (and I love scrapbooking supplies in general LOL), I like to add a teensy bit more ;)

Lesson 1 - Story is King
One of my favorite companies and one that I still hope to work for someday is Pixar. Pixar's motto is Story is King. Before anything else, they always make sure that the storyline is solid. I'm guessing that's why their movies are so memorable. Looking through my album and watching my old Project Life share videos, I realize that it's not about how you decorate your pages but how you tell your story through Project Life. The embellishments and the cards are supposed to enhance your story. Just like CGI enhances the stories in movies. You didn't love Toy Story because the graphics looked so good, you loved Toy Story because of the characters and their adventures.

Lesson 2 - Photography
One thing that I made a goal to improve is my photography. It just makes all the difference both visually and in storytelling. My favorite layouts from last year was not based off of the cute cards but of the pretty pictures I took. I will not care in 5 years from now that I didn't pick the right card, but I will wish that I had a better picture of a special place, person, or moment.

Lesson 3 - Simpler is better
Some of my layouts last year were so intricate. I used to sew on every single pocket. It was super time consuming. I have stopped doing that and am now saving that for special occassions. I also had so much cards and supplies that each layout would take forever because I would go through my entire stash trying to find the perfect embelllishment or card. I have since cut down my card stash to my favorites and have organized them by color and one of the three categories - patterned, filler, and journaling. It has made it soooo much faster and easier. I have also stopped going through my entire stash and instead pull out certain embellishments and telling myself to only use those. It feels almost like a challenge that way. It helps me to work with what I have and to use them creatively.

Lesson 4 - Don't feel forced
I always have this perfectionist in me telling me that things have to be done a certain way. That I have to include every single picture I take or every single memento that I collect. I had to learn to let go of things last year. It was tough at first, but now it feels freeing. It has pushed me to take better pictures and only collect things that I think would enhance the story. If I didn't get to tell certain stories in my album, I just wrote it in my journal, and was okay with that. At least the memory is documented somewhere.

and lastly, Lesson 5 - Have fun
If you're not having fun with this project then you're doing it wrong! LOL This definitely should not feel like "work" and should not make you stressed. You're supposed to enjoy the process. When I do my layouts, I like to think about "future Joy" and how much she will enjoy looking at the album regardless of anything else.

So if you're looking for a way to get those pictures off the digital world and back to the dark side of analog (LOL), please try out Project Life. It's an awesome way of preserving memories. And if you're like me and like to get more crafty with it, it has that flexibility too :) With that said, I'm ending this post with my Project Life process video. It's my first time doing such a long video with voice overs and boy was it rough LOL. I don't think I could make a video like this every week. Hopefully you will get the gist of what goes on when I'm putting together my layouts. Enjoy!

Joy and 2009, the year of change

Hello out there! If there is anyone out there ;)

I'm in a pretty cool place in my life. I'm in a place that I wanted to be 5 years ago. Does that make any sense? Let me back up...

Five years ago, I was in a dark place. I was 26. I felt unbelievably lost. I was unemployed and was on the verge of giving up the Hollywood dream and  wanted to go back to Hawaii and work for the family biz. I felt so incredibly defeated. I felt like a failure. All I wanted was to do was work at a studio and work on movies and be with someone I truly loved. Well I was with someone. But I wasn't sure I loved him anymore, despite the fact that we were together since we were a couple of 15 year olds.

Then everything changed, very quickly. I got an interview in the summer of 2009 with a well-known post-production company. Nothing came of it though so I applied to more places. I was feeling so hopeless until I got an interview at Target. One fateful day in October 2009, I got 2 calls - one from the post-production company and one from Target, BOTH offering me a job. I had to make a decision. The post company was a temp position that was going to last a mere 2 months with no benefits. Target was a permanent position offering benefits. I was scared because I really really wanted the post position, but I didn't want to be unemployed again in another 2 months.

But guess what? I took the chance and went with the post-production company. Best decision I ever made. From there, my life took a crazy turn. I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend at the time. It just wasn't working anymore. We just didn't want the same things. He never ever brought out the best in me. It took me a long time to figure that out, but I finally did. We were together for so long, I think we were just together because it was comfortable and familiar. And maybe I was just scared to be alone.

So I just worked my butt off at this post house and eventually my two months were up, It was now 2010 and I was worried about being jobless again. But guess what? Because I did such a great job, they just kept me. I made a ton of new post production friends that year. We had a new tradition - "Pay Day Fridays at the Bigfoot". It was amazing. And eventually, I ended up falling for one of those new post production friends. He is the one I fondly refer to as my "Mr. H". He opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking. He helped me realize to slow down and observe and appreciate the world. He helped me learn to love my life. He inspires me to do creative things everyday. He gives me constructive advice and I just learn so much from him. I just feel safe with him, something I've never felt.

So things weren't all good. The company I worked for took a turn for the worst and because of all the amazing friends I made, I ended up landing another job at the competing post house. It's amazing. Before 2009 happened, I went on tons and tons of interviews. I was heartbroken for so much of my 20s it was sad. And now I was being offered jobs on the spot. It was mind blowing. This new job didn't offer that much difference in pay, but it was an amazing team I was working with. It was the best place I worked up to that point. I loved all my co-workers and I loved my job so much I think I made people sick to their stomach when I talked about how awesome my new company was. I eventually even brought over a bunch of my post friends to the new company.

Then, another turn for the worst for my favorite company. It's funny how small this industry is. After working in it for awhile, you get to know A TON of people. We all just rotate in one post house after the next. By that time, it was 2013. I knew the industry pretty well by this point. I could do it with my eyes closed. At this point, I was feeling sad for the old days with my old team. Most of them left and now I wanted to leave to, but I never did anything about it.

Until one fateful day (I love using this phrase LOL), I got a call from an old co-worker that was telling me to send her my resume. So I did thinking nothing of it. Then BAM! My dream... a fuh-reaking studio called and asked me for an interview?! They asked ME for an interview. I was floored and accepted. Before you know it, I was being offered a very nice salary and a start date of NOW! It happened just waaaay too fast for me to even comprehend.

I've been at my new studio job for about 3 months and am enjoying the trillions of benefits we get, but I still miss my old team and the old times. But 3 months, tho. Not that long right? I thought so but I guess I'm doing a good job again, because my boss has decided to send me to Japan in May. WHAAAAAAT! Japan? Oh you mean that country that's #1 on my travel bucket list? Yes please.

So here I am, the exact spot I wanted to be exactly 5 years ago. And yet, I still feel un-fulfilled. I feel a longing of something more. And that my friends, is what I think life is about. It's that longing that keeps you going.

I honestly do not know where I wanted to go with this post. I just wanted to reflect on how far I've come and remind myself that I still have a lot of awesomeness ahead.

I would love to have a Project Life album for every year in my life, but I think I'm going to go back to 2009ish. That's where my "new life" began. And that's what I really want to remember and cherish. My 2013 album was so fulfilling that I want to go back and finish those years. A lot happened to me in these 5 years that makes me exactly who I am today. And for the first time in awhile, I love who I am today.

Joy and Elsewhere

Hi! I noticed that I've been getting a lot of referrals from Studio Calico lately :) Just wanted to let you know dear visitor that you'll be disappointed in my sad, bare blog. I plan to beef it up sometime this year. In the meantime, feel free to visit my YouTube channel. I promise, you'll be entertained for a few hours or so. I hope. Enjoy! Click here to continue to my channel or watch my trailer below if you're still unsure ;)

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