Scrapbook Layout: 2006 Football Season

Football Season Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Season Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Season Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Season Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Season Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

The Story: Chronicling Cal’s 2006 football season.  This included the trip to Tennessee that I posted earlier about, but that was so epic it deserved its own layout.  These layouts cover the season generally and showcase little bits I want to remember (like that time Marshawn Lynch, now of the Seattle Seahawks, drove an injury cart out onto the field to celebrate an overtime win).

Reusing a Design: This design is very very similar to the design I used in 2005.  It’s very challenging to include tickets, a fridge magnet, clippings, and photos all onto one page, especially when the tickets have to be lined up horizontally.  I liked the design so hey, why not?

Season Specs: I’ve included a win-loss record and other key information for the season in every football layout since I became a Cal fan.  The seasons run together in my mind and I like how I can instantly get a feeling for that year, who the coach was, and who the quarterback was.

Earlier: See other Cal football season layouts – 2003 Football Season (when I was still in college), 2004 Football Season Part 1 and Part 2, 2005 Football Season.

Football Season Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Season Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Bebas (headline), Nevis (photo captions), Cambria (photo captions), Ostrich Sans (tall thin letters), Microsoft Yi Batiti (text boxes)| Tools: Silhouette SD (headlines, logo), Epson Stylus R2000 (photos) | Supplies: Epson Semigloss Photo Paper (photos), Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages) | Keepsakes Included: Season tickets, magnet schedule, newspaper clippings, parking permit, pocket schedule.

Scrapbook Layout: Tennessee Football Roadtrip

Football Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

The Story: Our football roadtrip to see Cal play at Tennessee in 2006.

Inspiration: The left page is Project Life-ish.  The right page is inspired by this layout from this post.  I love all the text down the right side of the page.

Two Pages, For the Win: This trip could have easily been 4 pages.  Even 5.  For a trip that was just over 24 hours, it seemed kind of excessive.  I’m giving myself a big pat on the back for getting into 2.

Just the Right Orange: I had to make a special trip to Michaels to find cardstock that is just the right color orange.  If you’re scrapbooking about a school, this stuff matters.  In case you were wondering, according to the University of Tennessee, it is Hex F77F00 or CMYK 0 50 100 0.

Lots of Little Squares: The strips on the left page match the endzones at Neyland Stadium.  I could have printed the design but I cut all of the little orange squares out on the Silhouette and glued them with tweezers onto white cardstock.

Back in the Day when You Used a Map: This was pre-GPS, so we had our driving directions printed, but we picked up a map of Tennessee from AAA just in case.  I cut Knoxville out of the map and added a map pin to it.

Football Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerFootball Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Century Gothic (headlines), Calibri (text) | Tools: Silhouette SD (headlines, squares), Epson Stylus R2000 (photos) | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages), Epson Semigloss Photo Paper (photos) | Map Pin: Kelly Purkey Geotag | Keepsakes Included: tickets, boarding pass, map.

How to Take A Football Roadtrip

Football Roadtrip Tips by Natalie Parker

The start of college football season is one of my favorite times of the year.  Truly.  I hum “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” to myself like it’s Christmas.

If you’re a die hard fan like me, you might be getting ready to hit the road to follow your team.  Here are my tips for getting the most out of your trip.

What Not to do on a Football Roadtrip

If you take away one thing from this post, make it this:

Do not let the outcome of your trip depend on the result of the game.

I repeat:

Do not let the outcome of your trip depend on the result of the game.

I don’t care good your team is.  You don’t want your team losing to make you feel like you wasted a bunch of money.

Mr. P and I took our first football roadtrip together in 2006 when Cal played the University of Tennessee.  Having a game there was a big deal.  But, I had just started a new job so we didn’t take any days off.  We flew overnight and got there in time to do a bit of tailgating with our friends and go to the game.  We hung out a bit after the game then flew back the next day.  Did I mention our team got slaughtered?

Football Roadtrip Tips by Natalie Parker

It was a whirlwind and I’m glad to have seen the football spectacle at Tennessee, but I couldn’t shake the feeling on the way home that we’d not gotten that much out of the trip.

Lucky for me, I’ve learned how to do it right!

Tips for a Great Football Roadtrip Experience

These tips apply for college road games where the opponent is not an arch rival.  They work even better if it’s a non-conference, non-neutral site game.

Add a Day, Make Your Trip More than Just the Game.  Give yourself either the entire Friday or Sunday to check out the town.  Arriving Friday afternoon or leaving Sunday afternoon doesn’t count.  Take a tour of the campus, visit the student store.

Look up any Must-Eat Places.  College towns always have must-eat places.  Start Googling around, ask your friends who have been there.  Use the extra day you have built into your schedule to visit.  Two years ago in Columbus, we hit Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and Schmidt’s Sausage Haus.

I have wonderful memories of alumni buying us steins of beer at Schmidt’s, eating a cream puff the size of a softball, the oompah band playing Super Mario, and deciding at the end of the night that I just had to buy a yellow Schmidt’s t-shirt for Mr. P with a giant sausage on it.

Football Roadtrip Tips by Natalie Parker

Locate the Main Drag.  Every college town has one.  This is where the main scene of bars and restaurants is.  In Knoxville it is Cumberland Avenue.  In Columbus it’s High Street.  Know where this is so you can check it out and find a cool spot to hang out after dinner.

Pregame with the Locals.  I don’t travel so I can stay in familiar territory.  If I’m on a trip, I’m going to check out the local scene and that includes pregaming.  Establish whether it is a tailgating or bar/restaurant culture (or sometimes both).  In Columbus, we hit the Varsity Club instead of our team’s tailgate and it was outstanding.

If it’s a tailgate scene, put on your team colors and take a walk through the area.  Say hello, take some pictures.  If you aren’t from a rival team, people are actually very nice and flattered that you traveled for the game.  You may even get a free drink!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “so you traveled all the way from California?”

Football Roadtrip Tips by Natalie Parker

Yes, you could get your friends together and throw your own tailgate.  Where’s the fun in that?  Step outside of your comfort zone for just a moment.  I hope my team schedules a game at Ole Miss at some point in my lifetime so I can put on a sundress and get The Grove experience.

Just Google It. You will need to do some advanced research, but not much.  If you know what you are looking for, it is pretty simple to find all of the above with some quick searching.

Don’t be a Dick. This should go without saying.  It’s amazing how normally nice people can turn into jerks when they put their team colors on.  Don’t be that person to give the impression that your team’s fans are assholes.  There’s no need to put on a jersey and start posturing before the game.  Be nice.  Introduce yourself to people.  Yell your head off during the game.  Then have fun and hang with the locals afterward.

Enjoy Yourself After the Game, Win or Lose.  Perhaps this is because I’m used to my team snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but I know how to let it go and still have a great time.  Hit some of the local food places and bars.  People are extra nice to you if your team just lost.  Sometimes people look at us like we should be back in our hotels, curled up in the fetal position, and despondent after a loss.  I think it says a lot about you as a fan if you’re able to go and enjoy the rest of your evening after a loss.

What about you?  Have you ever traveled on a football roadtrip before?

Football Roadtrip Tips by Natalie Parker

How to Stay Creative: Understand Your Environment


Creativity is precious.  While you can’t “use it up,” it’s important to understand how your environment can enhance it.

You can’t force being creative.  But you can give it the chance to breathe and grow by taking the time to do things that will help.  Everyone has different things that make them more creative.  I’ve listed some of mine below.  The key is to understand yours and start doing those things.

This can really help whether you are working on personal projects, school, or work.  I’ve realized anything that helps my at work helps just as much with school or craft projects and vice versa.

Things that Help Me Stay Creative

Windows.  I do a lot of blog and schoolwork at the dining room table.  I open all the blinds in the area so I can see out the window.  Sometimes I get distracted and stare out the window (squirrel!) but the natural light and openness really helps.

A Clean Workspace.  This is true for home, school, and work.  After every scrapbook layout or craft project, I clean my workspace so I can help focus on new ideas.  My dining table can sometimes become a scene of school papers but I find it really helps me refocus when I tidy things up.  Same goes for my desk at work.

Writing in Longhand. Again, something that rings true for home, school, and work.  I hand wrote index cards and the outline for my thesis proposal.  I sketch all of my scrapbook layouts by hand.  My blog posts are better when I jot out ideas on paper.  When I have to design a resource at work, you can find me hunched over my desk scribbling (no word yet on how posture affects my creativity).

The Right Pens and Pencils.  This goes with my longhand habit.  I use mechanical pencils with 0.5mm lead thickness, nothing thicker.  I only use extra fine gel pens.  Pilot G2 0.5mm to be exact.  My writing looks neater with fine pens and pencils and staying neat helps me stay creative.

Pretty Things.  This sounds a bit frivolous but it really does matter to me.  I cover all my notebooks for home, school, and work with pretty paper.  My new blog design helps me stay creative with my writing.  It’s why I design pretty calendars to keep on my desk.

Doing Other Creative Things.  Sometimes I get the best ideas for blog posts while I’m working on schoolwork.  Creativity begets creativity.  When something’s not working for me, I try to work on another project.  It’s why I took up cross-stitching again when I started having a hard time designing scrapbook layouts.

What about you?  What do you do to stay creative?  Have you thought about what influences you?

Image courtesy Love from Ginger via Creative Commons license. I need some sparkly pencils.  With fine tips of course.

Tips on Staying Creative

Scrapbook Layout: Baseball Games

Giants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerGiants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerGiants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerGiants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerGiants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

The Story: Gathering all my pictures and ephemera from going to Giants games in 2006.

Tracking the History of the Ballpark: The ballpark is always changing.  The new name of the ballpark shows on the tickets.  The pictures show new changes inside the park: adding a Build-a-Bear Workshop and renaming the splash landing in right field.  I love how these pages show the passing of time.

Still Keeping it Interesting: It is challenging to scrapbook the same type of event every year.  This year, I got everything on one page (’04 and ’05 are two pages each).  I thought it was going to look too cluttered but I think everything fit together very nicely.

Team Logo: I traced it and cut it out with the Silhouette program.  I’m not making it available here for download because it’s trademarked but I believe my personal use of it is okay.  You can trace your own sports logos using Silhouette Studio, just don’t try to give them away or sell them (this isn’t legal advice, just my opinion).

Earlier: 2004 Giants baseball layouts, 2005 Giants baseball layouts.

Giants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Nevis (headline, photo captions), Cambria (photo captions) | Tools: Silhouette SD (headlines, logo), Epson Stylus R2000 (photos) | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages), Epson Semigloss Photo Paper (photos) | Keepsakes Included: tickets, magnet schedule.

Review: Skillshare Basics of Photoshop

Skillshare Photoshop Review

I purchased the Basics of Photoshop: Fundamentals for Beginners ecourse over at Skillshare so I could start learning how to use the program and help with my blog redesign.  I paid for the course myself and was not compensated for my opinions.


I’ve been procrastinating about learning Photoshop for a long time.  I still use Microsoft Word to lay out and print my photos and to design things like this Project Life-style card.

I purchased the Blog Design Love 2.0 course, which assumes students can do basic image editing.  I wanted to get the most out of that course so it was time to learn Photoshop.

I tried Skillshare because of the emphasis on creative classes.  It felt like the content was geared to me.  You can pay a monthly fee and have unlimited access to a library of courses (but not all of them, check to make sure) or pay a one-time fee per course.  This was my first Skillshare course, so I paid for it individually.

This fundamentals course is taught by Meg Lewis and is for Photoshop, not Photoshop Elements.  There are fifteen videos broken up into five units.

The Pros

At first, it didn’t seem like the course covered a huge amount of content.  But wow, I’m really impressed at how much I can use Photoshop now!  It feels like this.  I designed my header image for this blog and the social media buttons.

One of my biggest problems with Photoshop is not knowing what any of the buttons do and not knowing how to do what should be something really simple (such as resizing a photo).  This course was great.  It started off with the very basics including how layers work and keystrokes to make things easy.

My favorite thing I learned was how to draw a shape and then insert a photo to fit that shape.  It’s how I made my circular profile photo in the sidebar.  I even took it a step further and learned how to insert photos into text!  Learn how here.

Scrapbook Letters by Natalie Parker

I made that!  Look forward to some gratuitous pictures-inside-shapes because I’m going to reuse this skill until it goes out of style.

The Cons

Just a couple of small annoyances.  All the keystrokes covered in the course are for a Mac.  I was able to figure out the PC equivalent (it’s usually Alt or Control) but it would have been nice for the instructor to cover both.

The resolution for the videos wasn’t that great.  It was hard to see what she was doing unless I went full screen.  It was hard to follow along that way because I had to constantly pause, minimize the video, and then go into Photoshop and practice what she just covered.  If the resolution was better, I could have had the video and Photoshop open on the same screen.


I really liked the course and was surprised at how much I learned.  If you have no idea where to start with Photoshop, I recommend it.  I’m planning on taking Meg’s other Fundamentals of Photoshop courses to learn more.

There are a bunch more courses I want to take at Skillshare generally, like how to hand letter.  I haven’t purchased a membership yet, mostly because I don’t know when I will have time to start them and don’t want my membership to end up like a Netflix DVD subscription.  Have you tried Skillshare courses?  Let me know in the comments!

Basics of Photoshop: Fundamentals for Beginners at Skillshare, $29 or by monthly subscription

Skillshare Review by Natalie Parker

What we Ate: Chicago

Chicago Food by Natalie Parker

There’s one common thread when Mr. P and I travel, whether it’s a long vacation or a weekend away: eat all the things.  We turn from the mild mannered couple who cooks small portion sizes to Homer Simpson in the land of chocolate.  We carefully plot how many meals we have and where to go.

We’re huge food fans, part Food TV junkies, and love street food just as much as being waited on.  We tend to like simple food done really well rather than what I like to call “precious” food (deconstructed items or things with foam, for example).

On our trip to Chicago, here’s how we made out.  Note: this wasn’t our first trip to Chicago, so we skipped the deep dish pizza this time.  We were bummed though when we got to the airport and realized we’d forgotten to try the Chicago Mix.  Next time!


Waffles Cafe: We’d heard of the wonut — a mix between a waffle and a donut and had to try it.  We were in a hurry, so we got birthday cake wonuts to go.  I’m sure they have the potential to be really good, but ours were room temperature and didn’t trill me.

Trenchermen: We saw this on Unique Eats and managed to get in for brunch.  The food?  Excellent.  There were fantastic pastries and main dishes, including the bacon flight which came with three types of bacon (though to be honest, you have to like non-crispy bacon to really enjoy the flight).  Mr. P says his biscuits with pepperoni gravy was the best thing he ate all weekend.  The menu changes often, so check in before your trip. Note they charge for last minute cancellations.

Chicago Food by Natalie Parker


Mustard’s Last Stand (Evanston): Multiple Northwestern alumni told us to hit this place.  We stopped on our way to the tailgates — it’s located just outside the west lot of Ryan Field.  To me, it was a basic, pretty good hot dog.  It’s a good place to stop if you’ve never been and the people at the stand were really nice.  They were accommodating when Mr. P asked: “I see a cheese dog on the menu and a double dog.  What are the chances I can get both of those together?”

Publican Quality Meats:  Another place we saw on Unique Eats.  This place doubles as a butcher shop and a sandwich place.  Mr. P and I split a sandwich on naan with avocado crema, thinly sliced sausage, and pickled onions.  So good.  Then we shared a charcuterie platter.  It was a bit out of the way but definitely glad we made the trek.

Chicago FoChicago Food by Natalie Parkerod by Natalie Parker

Xoco: We found this place last time we were in Chicago and it was a must-do again on this trip.  If you want to try Rick Bayless’ food without sitting down at a restaurant, this is the place.  I’ve only ever had one dish: the torta Ahogada.  It’s carnitas with pickled onions on a sandwich served with a spicy tomato broth.  I still have dreams about it.  If you go, make sure to get an order of churros too with chocolate dipping sauce.  I may or may not have sipped some of the sauce after the churros were done.  Maybe.

Yes, I realize I’m from California and can get churros here anytime I want.  But listen, when fried dough is done really well, you don’t ask questions and just get it.  Okay?

Chicago Food by Natalie ParkerChicago Food by Natalie Parker


David Burke’s Primehouse: I had no idea how many steakhouses there were in Chicago.  No idea.  A friend of ours made reservations here and to be honest, I wasn’t too enthused, thinking I can get a steak in any city.  But wow.  Everything here was absolutely fantastic.  Mr. P and I split a steak because they were huge.  It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.

Eataly: This could be brunch, lunch, dinner, or drinks really.  Or anytime of the day on a day that ends in “y.” It’s been on my list since Kelly Purkey raved about it.  It’s a giant Italian food emporium where you can shop or dine at 10+ food areas.  Since it’s all one big store, you can look around with a drink in hand.  Mr. P and I had a light dinner here one evening and I loved that you could have a quick bite at one of the standing tables.  We returned for pre-dinner drinks and snacks with friends a different night.  Definitely a must-see!

Chicago Food by Natalie Parker

Heaven on Seven: We saw this on an episode of Heat Seekers and it was perfect for a quick bite the night we got in.  The food wasn’t as spicy as I expected, but there’s a collection of hot sauces on the table that helped.  Definitely go for the gumbo.  The main dishes were pretty good but not memorable.

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria: We met up with some coworkers of one of our college friends here after the Cubs game.  This was really good pizza.  It’s not deep dish, just regular.  However, you pick your size, sauce, and toppings all a la carte.  It was fantastic and I’d definitely go back.  It also looks like a great place to watch a game with all the TV’s.


Bat 17 (Evanston): Recommended by my Northwestern alumni coworkers, we stopped here before hitting the tailgates.  There is a restaurant next door owned by the same folks but we sat in the burger bar and just had drinks.  I was surprised at how quiet it was.  There were a ton of TV’s and it looked like a great place to pregame.  Perhaps it was because classes hadn’t started yet at Northwestern.  They had a great beer deal, a 105-ounce table tap for $35 which the guys really enjoyed.

Chicago Food by Natalie Parker

Mother Hubbard’s Sports Pub: We found this while looking for a place to get a beer and watch football.  It gets my enthusiastic thumbs up for the TV’s and the service, exactly what one wants at a sports bar.  We came back a second time with friends after the Cal game to have dinner.  It was basic bar food, not bad, but nothing to write home about.  I’d definitely go back to watch a game.

Murphy’s Bleachers: One of the Wrigleyville institutions.  Mr. P and I had been here before and chose it this time as our pregame meeting spot for our friends before the Cubs game.  It has a ton of space, including an outside with overhangs in case it’s raining.  It’s also right across the street from the bleacher entrance at Wrigley, so we could gauge how full it was getting before we headed in.  It’s also great for people watching as everyone makes their way to the game.

Chicago Food by Natalie Parker

If You Go

Bat 17, 1709 Benson Avenue, Evanston, IL
David Burke’s Primehouse
, 616 N Rush Street, Chicago, IL (inside the James Hotel)
Eataly, 43 E Ohio Street, Chicago, IL
Heaven on Seven, 600 N Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL (entrance on Rush Street)
Mother Hubbard’s Sports Pub, 5 W Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL
Murphy’s Bleachers, 3655 N Sheffield Avenue, Chicago, IL
Mustard’s Last Stand, 1613 Central Street, Evanston, IL
Piece Brewery & Pizzeria, 1927 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL
Publican Quality Meats, 825 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL
, 2039 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL
Waffles Cafe, 203 E Ohio Street, Chicago, IL
Xoco, 449 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL

My work here with food is never done.  What did I miss?

Chicago Food by Natalie Parker