Book Review: The Happiness Project

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hi there! Remember, oh....6 months or so ago, when I said I was going to do book reviews?! And that The Happiness Project was going to be my first one?


Hadn't and didn't happen.

Until now!

Yup, I finished it! :) It actually only took me a little over a week to read, but obvs 6 months to get into.

I just couldn't get past the first few pages.
And after that, I was hooked.

Some initial thoughts:
  • I learned a lot and didn't really intend to. I started to read it as a non-fiction book, not realizing it also fell into the self help category. Now I have some practical tricks and tips to apply to my own life.
  • Unfortunately, the author's name is Gretchen. Not a bad name, right? But, every.single.time. I read it, I thought of that past Project Runway winner, Gretchen something or other. Not a bad designer really, but I really wanted Mandito to win!! Entirely random I know! But my brain makes very silly connections sometimes.
  • The author talks about memory keeping! My very favorite thing!
Now, please bear in mind that I am not a professional author or in anyway versed in the rules of proper English, grammar, and writing theory or technique. But I do, however, read a lot of books. And no, that does not make me an expert, but it does entitle to me an my humble opinion :)

I have to say that I think the book was very well written.
(Whatever that means)
  • Basically, it means that the grammar and sentence structure didn't drive me nuts.
  • That the flow was good and not choppy.
  • That she didn't jump around a lot and instead concentrated on saying what she wanted to say, then moved on the next thing.
  • My logical brain followed her logical train of thought.
And some of the things I learned were:

"Just by exercising twenty minutes a day three days a week for six weeks, persistently tired people boosted their energy."

"One minute rule: 'I didn't postpone any tasks that could be done in less than one minute."

"Along with the 'one-minute rule,' I observed the 'evening tidy-up' by taking ten minutes before bed to do simple tidying."

"Happy people work more hours each week--and they work more in their free time, too. They tend to be more cooperative, less self-centered, and more willing to help other people--and then, because they've helped others, others tend to help them."

"Research shows that the more elements make up your identity, the less threatening it is when one element is threatened."

"The days are long, but the years are short." (Scrapbooking Applicable)

"Studies show that recalling happy times helps boost happiness in the present. When people reminisce, they focus on positive memories, with the result that recalling the past amplifies the positive and minimizes the negative." (Scrapbooking Applicable)

"To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory." (Scrapbooking Applicable)

"One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.
One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself."

"My most ambitious project for the month was to write a novel. In thirty days."

And these are just some of the things I took away from the book. I'd rather not go into detail about each one at the moment, but they are there for your to consider at your lesiure :)

All being said, we've now come to a new type of blog entry:

My own mini happiness project!

I don't want to tackle a year, but I would like to take on the summer :)

Here are my list of resolutions (in no particular order):
  1. Spend 20 minutes a day doing something creative (scrapbooking, journaling, photo editing, doodling, etc, etc!)
  2. Talk to each of my grandparents, once a month (simple I know! But also something I've been slacking about)
  3. Run/walk 100 miles over the months of June, July and August
  4. Send at least 31 cards to friends and loved ones
  5. Start a new habit (make my bed and hang up my clothes daily)
  6. Volunteer once a month
  7. Find a church
  8. Add to my savings and save for Hawaii ($1500)!
Oh, and ninth "invisible" resolution: blog the journey =)

I hope I can keep it up. Making the lists and working out the budgets is always the easy part. Actually doing the work is the hard part!! (Duh!)

But do stop back by to see how my Happiness Project is humming (hopefully!) along, and do also check out Gretchen Rubin's book: The Happiness Project.


From Start to Finish

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hey yall!

Happy Sunday...or whatever day you might be stopping by to read this post.
About to go into details about this lil teaser I posted last week :)

So I had this idea to share a layout with you all, and to go into detail about how it came to be, the design choices I made, etc. etc. All that weird abstract stuff that goes into making a page, from start to finish.

And it's funny that I thought to do this, because not even a day later, I listened to one of the Paperclipping Roundtable episodes (#063) which was going over the exact same thing! (I'm a bit behind on these.)
Here are one set of steps I take to make a page! (For pages when I have a more abstract idea, as opposed to a themed or event page.)

If for some reason you can't view the picture, they are:
  1. The idea aka conception
  2. Picking photos
  3. Choosing colors
  4. Design & placement
  5. Gluing
  6. Embellishing
I. Conception

So here we go! This was where my idea come from. My newly re-organized scrap space. My desk sits right under this floating shelf and curtain rod. I lined up all of my mists and embossing powders, and hung up some of my newest stamps sets and all of my tape. For one, a better flow and two, some inspiration.

And that was all it took!

You see, my scrapbook area is in my room. My bed is right next to it, so every morning I roll over and this is the first thing that I see. I get to look at all the pretty colors and all of my fun stamps and am just inspired by the products themselves.

What particularly stuck out to me this time, was the numbers stamp that came with my May Studio Calico kit. I love how they all overlapped and it got me thinking about my family.

Or any family really. How a family starts out with 2 people and then expands to encompass more and more, everyone's lives intertwining and overlapping with each others.

II. Photos

So I had this idea to feature a string of photos, showing the expansion of my family. A photo of my mom and dad, then one of the three of us after they'd become parents, and then when my little brother came a long and we were a family of 4. And then how we grew up and our family has expanded to include Urijah and Matt. This whole idea spiraled from that one stamp!

I had to dig through my box of baby pictures, to find the older ones. And then beg my mom to go find that one family photo of us from way back when. Which btw, is the only professional photo we've ever taken as a family. And! one of the very few photos we have of the 4 of us.

Sad, I know!

III. Color

Once I had my photos, I knew I was going to convert them to black and white. Because there were so many conflicting colors and because they were over a span of 20 years, I wanted them to have a more cohesive look.

After that I knew the sky would be the limit on the colors I choose!

Initially, I opted for a bright color scheme and used a spritz of my Mister Huey's to paint in the numbers. But I didn't like how the colors turned out like that. I figured I'd come back to that later and then turned to my "background paper".

I've also been itching to use this great bubble stamp and some of my new Zing! embossing powders, so I went to town with some colors.

But...I didn't turn out quite like I wanted to. So I decided not to use it.
It was about this point that I drew some inspiration from a sheet of Studio Calico patterned paper. This sheet has always made me think of a nuclear symbol or the hexagon. It's the product of working in energy! But since I've just googled it, I think I was thinking of a nano grid! Let's just pretend I was right ;)

So with me thinking of these as "nuclear" symbols, it was about that time I decided on the title of "Nuclear Family".

Which wikipedia defines as, "a family group consisting of a father and mother and their children, who share living quarters."

Even though we don't live together anymore, I think the concept still works.
IV. Design & Placement

Then I made a little sketchy sketch, of where I thought everything would go. I made room for a numbered border, 5 five photos, and some lines of text.

Since I had so many photos, I tried to make a 12x12 work. Because I had to print the photos so small.

But then the scale was off. It was something like 2/5 to 3/5 unused space. So I opted to cut it down to 8 1/2 x 11.

And from there I just followed the sketch!

V. Gluing

I glued!
This was the final result :) 5 photos, 8 1/2 x 11 format, green/teal/light blue/mustard yellow color scheme, and a few lines of text.
Like in my initial idea, I started out with a photo of Mama & Papa. I think it was taken before I was even born. I'm not sure why Papi was all dressed up. I'll have to ask my Mom.

Journaling Reads:

It all started with a boy and a girl.
Johnny Leija & Sandie Enriquez

First came love,
then came marriage.

Next was probably the only photo of the three of us ever taken, before my little brother came along. It was at my baptism in February of 1985.

Journaling Reads:

Then came Jamie in the baby carriage.
2+1=3 on September 27, 1984.

Then there's that photo of the 4 of us, the only professional one we ever took. Look at that helmet of hair I was rocking!

Journaling Reads:

And then when Johnny Jr. came along on September 12, 1985
We were a family of 4.

And then a photo of my brother and I all grown up, followed by a photo of Urijah, his son.

What I love about the two photos side by side, is that they're both looking off to the side of the camera. And perhaps symbolically, my brother's looking to the past and my nephew into the future. Plus, I love seeing photos of them side by side and getting to see how similar they look.

Journaling Reads:

Then we grew up.
Urijah was born April 20, 2009
and made our family 5.

Here's what started it all.
That stamp.
Painted in with the colors overlapping.

And finally, a photo of me and Matt. My new family :)

Journaling Reads:

And somewhere along the way
Matt joined the family too (#6).

VI. Embellishing

There really isn't too much to my embellishing on this, mainly because the paper was taking center stage. I cut out one of the hexagon's and added some yellow letter stickers, and it was as simple as that.

So there you have my nuclear family, and the journey it took to get to that finished page.

Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this far! I appreciate you :)

Please let me know if this is something that you might be interested in me doing again!



Friday, May 20, 2011


Merry Presents

Monday, May 16, 2011

It seems I'm always a day late and a $1 short for these challenges. This was a Sunday Sketch from Studio Calico a few weeks back.

But you know what, I'm not bothered. Prize or and most definitely no prize, I still have another page to add to my scrapbook! What's not to love about that :)

It's another Christmas one! And another for Urijah's album too boot. I'm not quite done yet, but I'm getting there!

I love these photos of my brother with his son. He was far more excited about the presents than the baby was. But such is life when they're still young.

I fully utilized circles for this one! Folding them, lining them up, and stamping some decorate ones to fill in some blank spots.

Oh the magic of Christmas! The lights, the festivities, the family all gleaming and bright!


Sketchbook Day 7

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I loved Day's 7 Sketch so much, I made 2 layouts!! I was especially inspired by April and Kelly's take's on the sketch.

April's layout was very simple and sweet and I think mine might be even simpler and none the less sweeter. The photos did all of the work in this one, the color choices one better.

There is literally nothing to this page but a strip of patterned paper, a strip of tape, letter stickers and a few mailing tags.

The title is a play on "Monkey See, Monkey Do" and "Now U see it, Now you don't" because Urijah was so confused about where his monkey backpack had gone!

And then we come to the requisite yearly Chucky E Cheese page. But again to be punny, I played with the title and came up with the Big Cheese.

Urijah looks so cute riding on Gpa's shoulders. And yes my Papa is big and Urijah very tiny, but there's no question of who's boss when the lil guy is around.

I also had the chance to play with this lovely Cosmo Cricket line. I think it's called Togetherness. What a perfect line for a page about family.

Oh, and a side note there's a lot of significance with the kite strings on this one :) I like to use them in my projects because I'm told the word "leija" is Finnish for kite (verified by Finn no less!) Hence my blog banner!



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One more of UJ!
It's a 100% scraplift from Mou Saha as featured in an old Creating Keepsake.

I love the yellow and the blue together. And all the clean white space.

But most of all I just love that handsome dimpled man :)


Sketchbook Day 6

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I went a bit out of order this go around and made the Title page close to last. I wasn't really planning to make a title page in actuality, but then Sketch Day 6 came around and I couldn't resist.
Just look at all those beautiful faces! I love how they look all in black and white.

I jazzed up the background paper with some dimensional jewels. It was an exclusive pattern that came in Studio Calico's Candy Shoppe kit and was my absolute favorite. So I knew it was going to be used on a special page. What's more special than this lil guy?

I also used the back side of the SKU strip as a mini banner by cutting the edges and folding it to make it 3 dimensional, backing it with pop dots and then adding the thickers.

A sweet, simple and straight forward title page and one of my absolute faves!


Sketchbook Day 4 & 5

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sketchbook Day 4 & 5 coming your way! I've had these photos on hold for awhile now. I've just been so busy with work I haven't even had the chance to think about blogging. Happily, my scrapbooking didn't suffer the same fate. According to my little spreadsheet I completed 17 layouts! I think that might be a record for me :)

And nearly all of them were of this sweet little guy!
It's another Christmas page. But journaling is all about that little red chair he's sitting in. I got creative with it :)

Now, this next page I would consider a real accomplishment. A page about Urijah and his Papa, 2 manly men, done on a pink background! I really only managed it because my brother is wearing a pink dress shirt :)

I love these photos of their round head's next to each other. Urijah really looks so much like his Dad.

I used Nicole's paint edging technique and added some black to the edges of the photos for a bit more drama.

And I used bits and pieces from Studio Calico's State Fair line. I loved the red and blue against the pink background.

Urijah's year 1 scrapbook doesn't have as many photos whit his Papa. I'm so glad I got to include more in this one!