Scrapbook Layout: Meeting My Friends

Meeting Friends Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Meeting Friends Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Meeting Friends Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

The Story: In early 2006 I joined an online wedding planning message board.  I made a bunch of online friends and we became really close as we all worked toward our big days.  We stayed friends and in 2007, decided to scare the crap out of our husbands and fiances by meeting in person.  We came from across the country and spent the weekend together.  Despite the husbands’ worries, no one turned out to be an ax murderer and we’re still friends today.

Keeping it Simple: I didn’t want to do something complicated and instead focused on showcasing the pictures and the story.

Meeting Friends Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Klinic Slab BoldAlways in My Heart | Tools: Silhouette SD (headline), Epson Stylus R2000 (photos) | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages), Epson Semigloss Photo Paper (photos), Freckled Fawn Red Grid Washi Tape | Ephemera Included: none.

How We Use Money Abroad

Money Abroad by Natalie Parker

One question we always get from people is how we use money abroad.  Or, how do we get money, exactly?  Using money is one of those small little facets that makes people nervous and can contribute to not wanting to bother with international travel.

It’s really very simple (most of the time).  This isn’t different from what we do at home:

Use credit cards as much as possible.  If we can use a credit card, we do.  It’s easier than carrying around cash, we get points, we have fraud protection, and get a good exchange rate.  Credit cards aren’t as ubiquitous outside the US, so we always have cash on hand just in case.  Sometimes using a credit card abroad can be tricky, so check in next week for a separate post with some tips.

Get cash from ATMs.  We use a CapitalOne 360 Checking ATM card*, which doesn’t charge fees for using foreign ATMs.  We try to stick to large bank ATMs (HSBC, BNP Paribas, Barclays, China Construction, etc.) avoid places like Travelex if we can.  If we have to use a shady-looking ATM, we try to withdraw as little as possible until we can get to a better one.  Always call your bank to let them know you are traveling!

On rare occasions, we’ll order a bit of cash ahead of time from our bank.  It’s usually when we go to new places where we aren’t sure about the ATM situation or it’s a cash-heavy culture (China, Turkey).  We never order Euros or Pounds Sterling ahead of time.

There are exceptions to every rule.  In some countries it’s actually advantageous to use cash (Argentina).  Before you head to a new country, check out a guidebook or some online forums.  People are always eager to help!

If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them!  Happy spending!

*We used to use our Bank of America ATM card, but they started charging a percentage of each cash withdrawal, so it got voted off the island.

Doing the Pre-Jetlag Dance: Best Tips for Avoiding Jetlag

Jetlag Tips by Natalie Parker

Mr. P and I are getting ready for a weekend trip to Europe and we are in the middle of “pre-jetlagging.”  What is this madness?

I think we can all agree that jetlag + 3.5 days in Europe = No Bueno.  Jetlag is even worse when one comes from California, making Europe that much further.

We make a weekend trip to Europe enjoyable by doing everything we can to battle jetlag ahead of time.

How We Pre-Jetlag

In order to prepare ourselves, we try to get our bodies on east coast time (or further) by the time we leave.  Starting with 5 days before the trip, we get up one hour earlier each day.  On our departure day, we’re up at 3am.

Getting up early means going to bed early, so we head to bed a bit earlier each night.  We weren’t strict about this our first couple trips and it only succeeded in making us exhausted.  To go to bed early, we start taking melatonin about 30 minutes before bedtime.  Melatonin is a natural supplement that helps control your body clock — you can find it with other nutritional supplements at the grocery or drugstore.

In addition to help beating the jetlag, it’s pretty awesome to have that extra time in the morning.  Mr. P and I usually make breakfast together or work out.  Plus, we can leisurely pack our suitcase instead of being in a rush.

This has been our method for the last several years.

Battling Jetlag Once We Get There

Sunshine & walking around:  We usually touch down in the morning or early afternoon.  We dump our luggage at our hotel or apartment and go out for lunch.  Being outside helps our body clocks adjust.

An afternoon nap:  If we land before lunchtime, we’ll take a 1-2 hour afternoon nap.  You have to make sure to get up and go out after though.  It does no good if you sleep until midnight.  If we land after lunchtime, we’ll skip the nap.

Dinner plans:  We keep ourselves honest by making dinner plans for our first night.  I’ll make dinner reservations before we leave on the trip or plans to meet friends in town.  Having somewhere to be is a great incentive to get up from the nap!

Stay up til a reasonable hour the first night:  We don’t stay up late, but we stay up until what we think is a socially acceptable time for someone to go to sleep and not seem like a sloth.  Anytime after 9pm is fantastic.

More melatonin:  By the time we head to bed on the first night, we’re really tired.  But, this doesn’t mean that our bodies won’t wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to sleep.  Melatonin will help us fall asleep and sleep through the night.  We’ll take it for the first 2-3 days of a trip at bedtime.

How do you deal with jetlag?

Ephemera Roundup: Scrapbooking with Tickets

Scrapbook Pages with Tickets by Natalie Parker

Tickets are some of the most-used pieces of ephemera in my scrapbooks.  I think I’m the only one on this planet that gets sad when we have to use print-at-home tickets because they’re not nearly as cool for my scrapbook.

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to feature tickets.  I’ve looked around before for ideas and I find that more often than not, I see a lot of fake tickets.  I mean fake in the sense that scrapbooking companies will often sell old-looking fake tickets as an embellishment.  Why use a fake ticket when real tickets are so awesome?

I’ve gathered a bunch of my ticket layouts to show you how I use real tickets in my scrapbook.

Theatre Tickets

Scrapbook Pages with Tickets by Natalie Parker

Christmas Play

Scrapbook Pages with Tickets by Natalie Parker

Metropolitan Opera

Museums & Attractions

Scrapbook Pages with Tickets by Natalie Parker

New York Museums

Scrapbook Pages with Tickets by Natalie Parker

National Baseball Hall of Fame

Football Season Tickets

Football Season Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

2006 Football Season

Baseball Tickets

Scrapbook Pages with Tickets by Natalie Parker

Giants Games

Scrapbook Pages with Tickets by Natalie Parker

Yankee Game

Other Sporting Events

USC Football Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

USC Football Roadtrip

Football Roadtrip Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Tennessee Football Roadtrip

Concert Tickets

Scrapbook Pages with Tickets by Natalie Parker

Concert Before Our Wedding

Lots of Tickets Mixed Together

Scrapbook Pages with Tickets by Natalie Parker

Seeing Shows

Clearly, I like using tickets in layouts.  I hope this inspires you to do the same!

To see all of my layouts that use tickets, click here.

I Love Street Art

Street Art by Natalie Parker

Street Art by Natalie Parker

Street Art by Natalie Parker

Street Art by Natalie Parker

Street Art by Natalie Parker

Street Art by Natalie Parker

Street Art by Natalie Parker

Above in order: Melbourne, Paris, London, Paris, Melbourne, Melbourne, Melbourne

Not many words today — just pictures.  I love street art and I love taking photos of it when I travel.  I went through my photo collection to find my favorites from my trips.  Melbourne is by far my favorite and I love how the city has embraced street art.  I can’t wait to use these in a scrapbook.

Scrapbook Layout: Weekend in Vegas

Las Vegas Scrapbook Page by Natalie Parker

Las Vegas Scrapbook Page by Natalie Parker

Las Vegas Scrapbook Page by Natalie Parker

Las Vegas Scrapbook Page by Natalie Parker

The Story.  We saw one of our favorite standup comedians was doing a show in Vegas.  We picked up tickets to the show on a whim and made a weekend out of it!

No pictures.  At this point, I stopped taking pictures in Vegas since we’d been on several weekend trips together.  I’m not bothered by it at all.

Glad I kept the room key.  I don’t always use room keys in layouts, but I’m glad I did here.  We’d stayed at the Monte Carlo a couple of times but this was the last time before the fire.  I didn’t realize that until I was writing this post!  Oddly, we’d be in Vegas again the following year a couple of days after the fire.

Not my best design.  I’m not the biggest fan of  how this turned out and that’s okay.  The tickets were hard to match with the other elements.  But, the story always wins.

Other Vegas layouts.  Seeing a theme?  2004 Vegas trip, 2005 Vegas trip, Bachelor/Bachelorette weekend in Vegas.

Las Vegas Scrapbook Page by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Governor | Tools: Silhouette SD (headline) | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages), Fancy Pants/The Good Life/Good Times, Heidi Swapp/Color Pop/Yellow Pop (patterned paper) | Ephemera Included: show tickets and room key.

How to Plan a Trip, Part 2

Planning a Trip by Natalie Parker

Yesterday we talked about the first part of travel planning.  I like to think of it as building a house: the really big things like how we will get there, how much time we will spend, and where we will stay are handled by Mr. P.  Today, we’ll cover my job: everything that happens after that.

As soon as the hotel and rough itinerary is set, Mr. P hands over the reins to me.

Planning the Details of a Trip

We don’t schedule each day.  I look into what we want to do in a city and we only schedule things that we have to, such as things we have to buy advance tickets for, things that will only be open on a certain day while we’re there, etc.  Aside from that, we go armed with information and let the days come together naturally.

Consider a guidebook.  For longer trips, we usually buy a guidebook to help orient ourselves.  Our favorite brands are Rick Steves for Europe and Rough Guides outside Europe, but neither are perfect.  For shorter trips, we just try to read up online before we go.

Research Visa Rules.  Don’t assume you can simply enter a country.  Review the visa rules (Frommers online is great for this) and plan on how to get a visa if you need one.  Some countries allow you to buy them online before you go, others require you to visit a consulate or embassy.

Look into attractions.  What are the big things you want to do?  Understand what days things are open and how much time you should spend there.  Can you buy tickets for popular things in advance?  The Eiffel Tower is a great example of this.  Are there activities that are weather-dependent?  I make a list of the things we want to make sure and do and then other things that we’d like to do if we have time.

Watch for “free” days.  Certain big attractions have days when they are free for the public.  If you’re on a budget, take advantage of these.  If you’re not on a budget, consider going a different day to avoid the crowds.  The Louvre has one free day a month, for example.

How will you get around?  Will you take taxis?  Local transit?  Research your options and understand how you can buy transit tickets.  If you’re heading to Paris, read here how to ride the Metro.

What are you eating?  This is such an important part of our trips.  I use my favorite travel blogs, guidebooks, Chowhound, and the Conde Nast traveler to help me find awesome places to eat and drink.  If there are local dishes I need to know about, I make a list.  Most guidebooks will have a list of the basics.  For example, it’s a good thing I knew what a glühwein was in Germany!

How I Keep Track of All This Information

Start a Google Doc.  I start a document in Google drive and start making notes and lists.  When the trip gets closer, I’ll clean up the document and organize it.  We’ll refer to it on our trip.  I use Google Drive so I can get to my notes from any computer, phone, or tablet.

Start a Google Map.  I create a Google Map for the city we will be in and will add pins for where we are staying, plus the major attractions.  As I find places I want to make sure we eat at or wander around in, I’ll add those to the map as well.  It really helps me understand the layout of the city and if I can hit an attraction plus a must-eat place together.

Armed with all of this, we usually have a pretty good idea of what we’ll do during the trip!  We’ll generally decide the day before what we’ll do the next day, keeping an eye on the weather to make sure we’re doing inside things when the weather isn’t great.

Happy planning!