Sunday, December 20, 2015

Scrapbook Sunday: Smile in Naxos

One more of Greece. I'm getting pretty close to being done with this trip from 2008, holy moly!

Happy Scrapbook Sunday!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Scrapbook Sunday: La Virgen del Panecillo

I made this scrapbook page recently from a trip I took to Ecuador in 2009. That's La Virgen del Panecillo in Quito, Ecuador.

Happy Scrapbook Sunday!


Friday, December 4, 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Crazy About Stamps

I cannot believe what I have been missing out on, these acrylic stamps are the best thing since sliced bread! I'm so in love with the few I have and I can't wait to get more.

Happy day, until next time!


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Scrapbook Sunday: Greece in my Hearts

Greece is always in my hearts and I love how this page turned out.

Happy Scrapbook Sunday!


Friday, November 27, 2015

Scrapbooking Addiction

Photo from my Instagram: @thelizdiaries         
Lately I can't get enough of scrapbooking and I'm so glad because hopefully that means I'm catching up. And yes that's me having a burger with a friend in 2009 (before the wrinkles started coming).

Until next time!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My New Midori

Photo from my Instagram (@thelizdiaries)
I'm so in love with my new Midori Traveler's Notebook. I decided to go for the regular sized Midori after purchasing the passport sized one and realizing it's a bit too small for every day use.

This weekend I decorated the notebook insert that it came with using my new Tim Holtz paints that I got at the Pinner's Conference and Heidi Swapp stencil that I found at Tuesday Morning. I love how it turned out. Can't wait to do more of this!

Until next time!


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Scrapbook Sunday: A Beautiful Mess

This is my scrapbook haul from the Pinner's Conference, Michaels and Tuesday Morning over the last week. 

I'm beginning to realize that buying the stuff might actually be more fun than scrapbooking...

Happy Scrapbook Sunday! 


Monday, November 9, 2015

Pinner's Conference 2015

Becky Higgins talking about Project Life
I found out about the Pinner's Conference (yes, it's a thing) a week before it started thanks to a coupon I was given at Michaels. Apparently this is the second year this conference has been around and it might just be a Pinterest aficionado's dream come true!
I bought the two-day all-class pass, normally $40.00 ($36.00 with my Michael's 10% off coupon) plus tax which lets you register for all classes on Friday or Saturday. Unless of course you get the VIP pass for $90.00 then you can start the fun on Thursday evening and not have to register for any classes in advance. 

Friday was a bust, mainly because I didn't know how things worked. The first class I went to was called "The Magic of Building your Brand" and it honestly wasn't what I thought it was going to be. It was a panel of women discussing their brands, that's all. I'm sure it didn't help that I didn't know who any of them were. Then I went to the Calligraphy class, which I was not able to register for in advance because it was booked up by the time I got my pass and the day off at work. I "stood by" for it and got in, however, they did not have enough calligraphy kits for all the standbys so I was essentially just watching a tutorial, but even those standbys that did get a kit were not seated at a table so they had to practice on their laps. Lame. I figured out pretty quickly that being registered for a class was not enough, you have to get to the classroom early so that you get a good seat or table. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was a an expert. I attended both Becky Higgins classes on Project Life and the Project Life App. I already knew about Project Life and how it works, but listening to Becky Higgins was such a treat. She is just lovely and I did learn a thing or two about the Project Life App and I may even use it some time. My second class was a water coloring class and I'd say that was the highlight for me. Getting that watercolor pallet gave me lots of joy and then getting to water color made me feel like a kid again. It was so fun.

Lastly, I took a wood painting class. I essentially just painted a wooden "hello" sign, but still pretty fun.One other thing to keep in mind is that some of the classes have "optional" kits that you can purchase. For example the water coloring class cost me $15.00 (for the water color pallet and brush) and the wood painting class was $10.00 (for the sign and paint) both were plus tax. So the materials for the classes are not included in the pass you buy to get into the conference. Overall I really enjoyed myself, particularly on Saturday. There weren't a ton of vendors, but I still managed to get some steals on some scrapbooking supplies (like, $3.00 12 x 12 paper pads!) so I think it's safe to say that I will be attending this conference again next year. Just a few things to remember these tips for next time:

1.) Register, register, REGISTER for classes well in advance if you can;

2.) Even when registered for a class arrive at least 15 minutes early and get in line so you get a good seat/table; and

3.) If you get the 2-day pass, hold on to that band that gets you into the conference. I was scolded for taking Friday's off and asking for a new one on Saturday (even though they could have checked my ID to make sure I was the person on the ticket!).

My watercolor creations 

My Hello sign
For more information go to the Pinner's Conference website,

I hope to see you there next year!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wild: From Lost to Found in the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

I craved Snapple through out this book because Cheryl Strayed mentions fantasizing of having one a few times in the book. 

At the age of 22, Cheryl Strayed looses her mother (who was only 45 years old) to cancer. It is at that point that Cheryl's life spirals out of control. She starts using sex and drugs to numb the pain of her loss, destroying her marriage and ultimately loosing herself in the process.

In 1995, a few years after her mother's death, Cheryl embarks on the journey of hiking over 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (which goes from the Mexican border to the Canadian Border through California, Oregon and Washington) as a way of healing herself and it is through this journey that she begins to do just that as well as forgive herself.

I knew I would like this book when I cried on page one of the prologue after reading this: "I was alone. I was barefoot. I was twenty-six years old and an orphan too. An actual stray, a stranger had observed a couple of weeks before....."  Ugh, so powerful and relatable (to me anyway) and what can I say, I love a memoir. It is perhaps one of my favorite book genres, I especially like memoirs of women who have overcome painful obstacles in life. Those are my favorite kind of memoirs.

Cheryl Strayed's honest and unapologetic tone in the book were wonderful. Then there's the movie. Don't even get me started on the movie. I freaking loved it! Reese Whitherspoon was phenomenal in it and it is one of my favorites now.

Well, that is all for this time, until next time!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times: Saying Goodbye to the First Passport I held on to for the Whole Ten Years of Validity

Well I did it. I successfully held on to this passport for the whole ten years that it was valid for. I know, I know I'm finally growing up. *snif snif*

Until next time!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Scrapbook Sunday: My Best Friend's Wedding II

Finally finished scrapbooking my best friend's wedding (from 2008, jeesh!) and I am very pleased with how these turned out. Click here to see the other two pages I scrapbooked of this wedding.

Happy Scrapbook Sunday!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

My First Pair Of Running Shoes

Today was monumental. Oh, and why you ask? Well because I got my very first pair of running shoes, that's right running shoes.

I also found out that I've been buying tennis shoes that are half a size too big for me (because I have wide feet).

If you're in Salt Lake and in need of running shoes go to the Salt Lake Running Company, they are so nice and will make sure you get the right shoes. Thank you Jerry at the SLRC, you were wonderful!

Until next time!


Monday, October 19, 2015

My Very First 5K!

Photo from my Instagram (@thelizdiaries)
On Saturday I completed my very first 5k race. 

This guy right here (Jason, my boss) stuck with me the entire time. My heart sank when I came upon the first hill in the race. I had not been training for any hills and I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me that I should, so when I stopped to walk up that hill I told Jason he should keep running without me. He is, after all, a seasoned runner who does marathons and Iron Man races, but he said no because he got me into this mess. He stayed just a little ahead of me and stopped when I needed to stop and kept motivating me and telling me stories about running during the whole race. :) 

I didn't run the whole thing, but I did my best and ran as much as I could and I completed it. I believe I finished at about 48 minutes, but hey for a person that has never done running in her life I'd say that's pretty good especially considering there were hills

I'm starting to believe I can do ANYTHING.

Until next time!


Monday, September 28, 2015

Travel Tip # 2: Have A Valid Passport At All Times


Travel tip number two is that you must have a valid passport at all times!



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Preparing For My Very First 5K

I'm supposed to be training for a 5K race so that afterwards I can train for a half marathon (yikes) and on Saturday I ran for a minute then walked for a minute and so on for a whole 50 minutes! I know that that may be no big deal to some people, but just try being the fatty doing it at the gym with a Barbie doll running on the treadmill next to you and a Skipper doll running on the treadmill on the other side of you. Mmmmhmm! Still, I feel like I'm making progress and that's all that counts right?

Until next time!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Scrapbook Sunday: Swimming in Santorini

That time I was a mermaid in Santorini. Ah, what I wouldn't give to be there right now....

Happy Scrapbook Sunday!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Great American City Tour

I have decided that I want to do some more exploring within my own country. I have traveled quite a bit, but the truth is that I have mostly traveled abroad. 

Last month I unofficially kick started my great American city tour by going to Detroit (see my Detroit blog posts here, here, and here) and I am hooked. I can't wait to see some more great American cities (according to me) and as per usual I have made a list.

My great American city tour list in no particular order:

1.) Washington D.C.;

2.) Seattle, Washington;

3.) Portland, Oregon;

4.) Miami, Florida;

5.) Chicago, Illinois;

6.) New Orleans, Louisiana;

7.) Boston, Massachusetts;

8.) San Antonio, Texas;

9.) Albuquerque, New Mexico; and

10.) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Of course my list is not set in stone and I have no specific deadline. I am sure I will add other cities to my list later, but these are the main places that I have been dreaming of seeing for some time now and I hope to see them in the next few years.

Is there some part of the U.S. you haven't been to before that you want to visit?

Until next time!


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Abandoned Detroit

Southwestern High School - Detroit, MI
It was really heart breaking to see destruction and waste of this magnitude in Detroit, even so, the abandoned parts are a fascinating aspect of the city to me.

Most of us have heard to some extent of the abandoned Detroit and it is no secret that a few years ago Detroit had no alternative but to file for bankruptcy, but just how did the city once known as the Paris of the west get to that point? Well, it was actually something that was decades and decades in the making. 

In the late 19th century and beginning of the 20th century Detroit's economy was booming. It became one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the country drawing in people who were in search of a better life through manufacturing jobs from other parts of the U.S. and the world. This included Black Americans from the south. As a result redlining occurred and racial divide and conflict became very apparent with the race riot of 1943, but the race riot of 1967 is what seems to really have started Detroit's demise because people, whites in particular, started leaving the city for the suburbs. As Keith B. Richburg puts it in his article, "The white population's abandonment of the city left Detroit with a shrinking tax base and deteriorating, segregated public schools...." 

Of course in later years globalization would only worsen Detroit's predicament. Since NAFTA came into effect in 1994 many auto manufacturers moved to Mexico to stay competitive with other foreign auto makers, forcing many, if not most of the factories to shut down, thus forcing people to leave Detroit and move elsewhere to find their livelihood. The fact of the matter is that it was not just the auto industry that was affected, but just about everything the U.S. once manufactured has been outsourced over seas. It is the cost of living in a world where we constantly demand goods for cheaper prices. Though I think this is only the tip of the iceberg. I'm afraid there are other factors that play into this as well.

Today Detroit has thousands, that's right, thousands of abandoned houses and buildings. It is incredibly astonishing to see so much ruin in a city with such a glorious past like Detroit's. 

The reason I went to Detroit was to enjoy a special art exhibition for a weekend (see my blog post about that right here), which I very much did enjoy, but having been able to see the abandoned part of Detroit was just as fascinating and educational for me.

The first abandoned place I visited in Detroit was Southwestern High School. The school shut down in 2012, which was not long after a having had a $3 million renovation. Unfortunately, there was no choice but to shut down the school due to low attendance numbers. The cost of keeping a school open, especially during winter, was just not feasible for a much lower number of students than its capacity. As with most buildings that shut down and become vacant (because no one wants to buy them) metal scrappers make their way into them to steal the metals of value leaving the buildings completely trashed and only helping speed up the deterioration process. 

Southwestern High School Sign (just a bit of irony)

Southwestern High School Music Room
Southwestern High School Room

Southwestern High School Auditorium
Southwestern High School Hall

Southwestern High School Textbook
Southwestern High School Peeling Paint
Southwestern High School Room

Southwestern High School Crustaceans in Science Room
The second abandoned site I visited was the Saint Agnes Catholic church and school. It was originally built early in the 20th century in a once rapidly growing neighborhood of Detroit, however, after the riot of 1967, the neighborhood never quite came back to life causing the population to decline. Eventually the church could no longer afford to maintain or fix some much needed, but costly repairs so it was sold to a different denomination at the beginning of the 21st century, but it was never used again, falling into ruin instead. Even so, this church is absolutely visually stunning. It was even chosen by a couple as the place for their marriage to take place. 

Saint Agnes Catholic Church

Saint Agnes Church Altar

Saint Agnes Church Tiles

Saint Agnes Church

Saint Agnes School Bathroom
Saint Agnes School Room
Religious Books in Saint Agnes Church

The third and final abandoned place I visited was an old Fisher Body Plant. It was designed by Albert Kahn who was the best industrial architect of his day. Kahn's style was groundbreaking at the time and he sort of set the standard for industrial architecture. This six story building was originally built in 1919 and during the depression it served as a homeless shelter.

Fisher Body Plant - Detroit, MI

Skate Park inside the Fisher Body Plant

Fisher Body Plant Rooftop

Fisher Body Plant

Spray Paint Cans in Fisher Body Plant
Broken Window at Fisher Body Plant
Blue Windows in Fisher Body Plant

And some life among the debris, a sign of hope perhaps?

Aside from scrappers taking the metals from the abandoned buildings in Detroit, there is also a lot of vandalism that occurs, or in some cases art depending on how you want to look at it. Not only are windows broken (many more than are necessary to get into these buildings), but there is graffiti art all over these places and even skate parks are put together with whatever is around. Sadly, arson is also a common occurrence.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to see just a tiny fraction of abandoned Detroit. If you want to see some of this I highly recommend going with a local who knows the area and can take you around considering most of these abandoned places are privately owned and you could technically be trespassing. You could also run into homeless people or drug activity.

I paid for a photography tour that was worth every single penny and more. I have to mention that I got a little nervous after booking my tour and reading the advisories. It wasn't the "bring a flashlight" or the "wear appropriate shoes," but the "we carry mace" (yikes!) that made me a bit nervous. Luckily all was fine and I felt safe going into these places especially as part of a group. Just keep in mind that you will have to sign a waiver.

That is all for this time. Thanks for stopping by! 


P.S. The photos on this blog post are all mine so please do not use them without permission.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Heidelberg Project

The Number House in the background
The Heidelberg Project is an open air art project in the city of Detroit that Tyree Guyton started creating in the mid 1980's.

After the riot of 1967 Guyton's neighborhood, where the Heidelberg Project is at, started to deteriorate. Almost two decades later, after he came back home from serving in the U.S. Army he came to find it in even worse shape than before. Many of the houses were abandoned and it had turned into a scary and dangerous neighborhood to walk in even in broad daylight.

In 1986, with the help of his grandfather, Guyton began to revive the block he grew up on with paint and discarded items such as tires, toys and shoes. Despite having fires and demolition obstacles in the past, the Heidelberg Project is still going strong today, almost 30 years later, drawing in thousands of visitors every year from all over the world.

The People's House or The Dotty Wotty

I can't believe I almost didn't go to the Heidelberg Project while I was in Detroit, but I'm so glad I decided to go. It is truly a unique experience and one you shouldn't miss if you're visiting Detroit.

Just a word of caution, be careful in the area. I decided to walk to the Heidelberg Project from the Detroit Institute of Arts (see my blog post about the DIA here) because my phone said it was only a couple miles away (I have a feeling it was at least twice that distance though, it sure felt like it anyway) and when I called my hotel shuttle to pick me up afterwards I was told that I was outside the three mile radius they service so I offered to walk somewhere that would put me within the three mile radius, but the nice shuttle driver said: "No! I will come and get you! You should not be walking in that area!" Oopsie. Now, I did not feel in any kind of danger on my walk there, but some of the streets are a little creepy considering there are abandoned and burned down houses and businesses. Also, if a Detroiter tells you not to walk in an area of Detroit you better listen.

Until next time!