Trip Report I: Paris

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Photos are off the DSLR and on the hard drive, so let’s get going with the sharing!

Our journey began in Paris.

Actually, our journey began at SFO’s international terminal, then an 11-hour Air France flight, but those are details for another post.  However, do see Saving Mr. Banks, that was an awesome movie and I got teary at the end.  Hope the Frenchman next to me didn’t think I was odd.  Oh wait, I was taking pictures of my food on the plane, too.  Carry on.

Our journey began in Paris.  Every time we go to Paris (see here and here), the idea that we’ve gone multiple times and we get to go again isn’t lost on me and I feel like we’ve won the lottery when I board the plane (intense fear of flying doesn’t set in until we take off).

My work brought us to Europe for this trip.  In fact, we spent most of the days working but managed to turn what was a simple trip into a 5-city affair.  Mr. P also works for a multinational company, brought his laptop, and tagged along.

Back to Paris.  Our first stop is always lunch before we grab a nap to ward off the jet lag.  This is from one of my favorite cafes:

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I love getting pictures of buildings.  The architecture of the city is what evokes that romantic and wistful feeling (at least in me).  We arrived a couple of days before my work started (because, duh, Paris) and took a walking tour of Le Maris one afternoon:

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We finally visited the Pompidou Centre.  I’m learning more about what I like art-wise.  I found I loved the contemporary pieces like these lights much more than the Picassos and Pollocks.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I loved this street art next to the church outside the Pompidou.  Paris means many things to many people and it is always changing.  The burger trend has hit Paris hard since we were there this spring.  We saw lots of young Parisians queuing up outside trendy burger joints.  Anyway, street art!

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Always using Le Metro to get around.  I love love love public transportation and using it in a city is as fun as trying the food.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I worked on my cafe photography this time.  I love effortless pictures of Parisan cafes but haven’t been able to get it quite right myself.  Practice, practice, practice.  Practicing on a Monday when there are fewer people in touristy areas helps.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

On Instagram, I celebrated making a restaurant reservation by phone in French for the first time.  This was the place — for our favorite steak frites.  I’m planning on writing a post about it so Mr. P was kind enough to wait while I got a picture.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

After our weekend, Mr. P jetted (trained? as in choo-choo.) off to Brussels to work and I met up with my team for some marathon workdays.  Luckily it wasn’t all work (I learned to Segway, jury is still out if you get to see those pictures).  I took this picture from the top of the Galleries Lafayette, wherein my manager trespassed into a closed area of the roofdeck so we could get this view and I could get this shot.  Then we scurried out when someone came to shoo us.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Late after dinner on my last night in Paris, I walked with some of my coworkers to Notre Dame.  The weather was beautiful and I didn’t need a jacket even though it was pushing midnight.  Notre Dame is my absolute favorite building in the city and I loved being able to show it to someone for their first time.

http://instagram.com/p/twkerNMBqP/

At the end of the week, I packed off to meet Mr. P in Brussels.  I love that Gare du Nord uses this old flip-style departure board.  I’m saying “love” a lot.  It’s Paris.

There are some digital placards elsewhere, but I sat for a while watching and listening to the letters flipping.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I always get a achy sad feeling when I leave Paris.  Not this time though, I had four more cities left to go and I knew I’d be back.  A couple weeks later in fact.  Our transatlantic flights were in and out of CDG, so we came back to Paris for one last afternoon before heading home.

By that point, we were exhausted.  We took it easy and did one of our favorite things: read our books in the loungey chairs (technical term) in the Jardin des Tuleries outside the Louvre.  So much time passed by the time we left, it was definitely fall.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Mr. P and I just returned from a 25-day trip to Europe (work + fun).  It’s the longest we’ve ever been away from home and I’m sharing each stop in a blog post with some of the hundreds of pictures we took.  Doing my best not to include photos already Instagrammed.  Stay tuned for Brussels next.

Paris Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Scrapbook Layout: USC Football Roadtrip

USC Football Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerUSC Football Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerUSC Football Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

The Story: We traveled to southern California to watch our team.  They lost, we were disappointed, but we still had a great time.  Check out my tips for how to have a great football roadtrip here.

Orderly Disorder: Totally my personality and this would probably be the name of a band if I ever had one (which is a hint I should never have one).  Anyway, I tried to make this a general collage and I just couldn’t. get. it. right.  I looked at my pinboards for some help and got the idea to arrange everything on an axis.  See how everything hugs an invisible line down the middle of the page?  Ha!  You can’t un-see it now.

Tickets: What I love about this design is how well the different photo sizes and tickets marry well together on the page.  Ephemera doesn’t have to work against the design.

USC Football Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Bebas (headline), Arial (headline) | Tools: Silhouette SD (headline), Epson Stylus R2000 (photos) | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages), Epson Semigloss Photo Paper (photos) | Ephemera: football tickets.

The Miracle of Flying

Air France A380 by Natalie Parker

I remember the first time I saw it.

I mean really saw it.  Up close.  I’d read about it, seen pictures, and picked it out from far away.  I’d never been this close to one.

But there we were, in the sparkly new Hall M at Charles de Gaulle.  We turned the corner and there it was.

The A380.  The largest passenger plane in the world.  A superjumbo with two full decks.  “It’s so big,” was all I could say before running off to take photos.

Big indeed.  So big that Air France’s configuration holds over 500 passengers and uses three jetways to board.

So there we were on Sunday, back in Hall M, about to take our third ride on the big one.  I suppose that makes me a pro by now but I’m not quite over it.

Pushing away from the gate, it’s hurry up and wait.  Longest taxi ever.  I get busy with my sudoku book trying not to think about this behemoth flying over the ocean.  Still taxiing.  The flight attendants are still milling around 15 minutes later.

The plane is so big, you see, that it has to taxi out to the very edge of the runway so it has enough space to take off.  It needs that much space.

There’s a tail camera and the screens inside the cabin show us the view of the taxi.  The flight attendants buckle up and I look up and see us round the corner and inch out onto the runway.  Here we go.

The pilot hits the gas, I tighten my seatbelt.  I always tighten my seatbelt.

And we begin to move.  Faster, but it really doesn’t seem that fast.  We’re in a huge plane and surely we’ll need more speed to take off.  Come to think of it, how is it really possible that something this huge can take off in the first place?  Can it really happen?  I ask myself that every time.

And there it is.  I feel the nose lift off the ground.  We’re airborne.

Flying really is a miracle, you know.  If you take a second to just marvel at it, it really is a miracle.

Mr. P and I returned on Sunday after spending 25 days in Europe.  We stopped in Paris, Brussels, London, Munich, and Istanbul.  The trip was for work but we did what we do best and fit in as much fun as possible plus added a few vacation days.

It was our third time flying the A380 and it got us home safely after 11 hours, which included Air France’s complimentary champagne and a Hugh Grant fest (for me, at least — great movie selection).

Some of you were following along on Instagram, but that was just a tiny bit of what we saw.  I’m still sorting through pictures from my big camera and can’t wait to show them to you and tell you all about our adventures.

Scrapbook Layout: My Nephew is Born

New Baby Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerNew Baby Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerNew Baby Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerNew Baby Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

The Story: This little girl’s baby brother was born!  He was born early, I might add.  I had to make sure and get his original due date from my sister-in-law so I could mention it on the page.  The handwriting talks about my perspective hearing he was born — there are a lot more details to his story that I could have included.  However, this book is my story from my perspective, so I talked about what it was like hearing about his arrival and meeting him.

Not Great Photos:  The photos I took are very dark and aren’t the best.  Thinking about my rules of scrapbooking, the story always matters more than the photos.  If not-great photos help tell the story, so be it.

Very Simple:  I almost over-designed this but in the end, what looked best was a very simple layout.

Colors Inspired by: This image from this pin.  I sampled the blue and orange colors then tweaked them a bit until they printed the way I wanted.  Check out my Scrapbook Colors pinboard for more color inspiration.

New Baby Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Klinic Slab | Tools: Epson Stylus R2000 (photos) | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages), Epson Semigloss Photo Paper (photos) | Keepsakes Included: none.

What Do You Do with Your Photos?

Thesis Notebook and Notes by Natalie Parker

Three years ago, I became a graduate student.

I’m nearing the end of my journey to become an archivist / information scientist and I’ve shared small bits with you along the way.  I’m finished with my coursework and am working at how to top it all off so they’ll give me a diploma.  At this moment, I’m working on a research proposal.

Should I Write a Thesis?

A thesis isn’t mandatory to finish my program, but I found a topic that I’m really curious about.  I never ever ever thought I would be interested in original research.

A thesis is a lot of work.  That work would take me from this space more often and prevent me from doing other projects and things in my personal life.  Being constrained by school these last three years really makes me grumpy, no matter what I’m studying.  It hasn’t been easy — I am still working full time, pursuing my creative passions, and committing to writing here.

On the other hand, I am really interested in this topic and I feel like not pursuing it would be shortchanging myself.  Who knows where it will lead?  Not doing something because it’s hard isn’t the person I want to be.

What’s the Topic?

I’ve been studying personal digital archiving.  I want to study what people want to do with their photos.  I’ve done enough research to know that people are losing their digital belongings all the time.  But, research is starting to show that no matter how much we value these digital belongings and how much we know that we need to get organized so nothing gets lost, we aren’t doing anything about it.  In other words, you can’t shame someone into taking care of their stuff.  Saving everything doesn’t work either (at least not with current software).  I wonder if we can take a different approach and figure out what people want whether knowing that can make the situation better.

What Does this Have to Do With the Blog?

I’ve been so amazed how everything I learn at school relates back to memory keeping.  You can even say my degree is in memory keeping.  I’ve shared what acid free paper means, the deterioration of paper, how the value of our memories is directly related to their accessibility, and more.  I’m going to keep taking bits and pieces and sharing them with you when I think they can help us learn how to be better memory keepers.

Plus, I’m trying to inject a little more of myself in this space.  I usually don’t talk about decisions until after they are made.  But, I figured I’d tell the internet so it would keep me honest when I decide.

Click here to read all of my archives-related posts.

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.