We made it through our first year!


Papered Heart Photography

One year.
12 months.
52 weeks.
365 days.
8,760 hours.
525,600 minutes.
31,536,000 seconds.

That is how long/how much you have been my husband. We are us. We have made it. I have made a promise to never underestimate how difficult this commitment we have made is. I have promised myself to each year, quantify in this way, just how long/how much you and I have been us, Mr. and Mrs. Ernst. Seeing the years, months, days, moments, seconds add up makes my heart swell with pride. I chose to allow your love to fill my life and my heart and whilst that makes me happy and content so much of the time, I knew going in to this that this was never going to be easy. Not by any fault of our own necessarily but because of the world, society, people that we will meet or have met that will influence us in one way or another, raw deals and lost dreams that we will have to let go of, money, air, wrenches and who knows what else… Easy or not, we are in this together, for better or worse, such easy words to say, so much more difficult to live them, I’m proud of us for doing so.


Papered Heart Photography

We are of a generation that is fickle, that runs away from the scary shit. I promised myself and you that I would not runaway from the scary shit in our marriage. That in and of itself IS SCARY! But, I meant it, I will mean it. I may write this “review” some years and mostly hate you! But, I will love you, I will forget and forgive, I will smile and laugh, I will let go and move on, I will go crazy and find sanity, I will want to quit and join the majority and I will overcome and subscribe, once again, to the minority. I am yours, you are mine. It will not be easy. It will down right suck at times. I knew that going in. I knew that when I sat in the corner eating two bites of a fish-filet pushing you away to no avail that I had completely jumped into the abyss that is us.

I am still falling and still smiling.

I will avoid painting walls with you ever again! But I will count on your sharp scissors to cut through me when I’m resisting and pushing the most. I will obsess and stress and reassess and come right back to… I love you. Even when I hate you. Mostly.

I will get jealous, I will worry, I will cry, we will experience loss in many ways, but we will see our way through it. I will grow old with you, which means that there is so much that will occur, that the seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years will just keep stacking up to remind me just how sure I was/am that this is love, this is us.

You have been “mine” for just shy of 3 years, our “Jump Day” is November 14th, 2010. But this year, this year has been one of a kind, there will only be one first year of marriage and I’m so happy that I got to experience mine with my bestfriend, the one that will give me shit when I deserve it and who will hold me tight when my world is shaken. The man that will give me a hug when I ask for one, even after I’ve torn him to shreds and my face is puffy and my eyes are filled with tears of worry and frustration.

Thank you for this truly magnificent first year. A year filled with ups and downs, with humility, bravery, blind trust and most importantly love.

Thank you for being my husband. Thank you for your love. I am still the most beautiful I have ever been inside and out through your eyes.

I won’t give up on us, I love you.

Happy anniversary My Husband, The Don.

Still Smiling. Still Falling.
Forever yours,
Your Wife,

Jen Ernst

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Where I was 9/11/01

I will never forget.

This post was written and shared last year on this day.  My story hasn’t changed, but, I am going to make it a tradition to re-share it each year as well as share any new thoughts or life experiences that may be relevant as the years go by.  Last year, I read a number of stories of my friends with children struggling with the explanations that need to be made when you are a parent.  From what I gather, it’s a difficult piece of American life to explain to children.  I will cross that bridge when I come to it… But for now, this is my story, Where I was:

It has been exactly eleven years.  I was 20 years old. I had bid my teenage years goodbye just twelve days prior.  What happened that day however, made me feel smaller and younger than I had ever felt before.  I was living with my boyfriend at the time in a crummy apartment complex in Brandon, Florida.  We didn’t have much, but what we did have was fine by me, because I was in love… or at least what I thought love was at the time.

I was sleeping when it all started.

It’s funny how strange it can make you feel when you realize the things that have or can happen while you are sleeping.  Simple things like spiders or roaches crawling on you, to nightmarish things like someone taking your child from your home while you slept in the next room.  Sleep is such a wonderful state and one that I cherish… But… the fact that I was sleeping when the world as I knew it had started to shift is still mind blowing to me.  How could I not have felt that something terribly wrong was happening?  We all like to think that when disaster strikes our intuition will alert us and cause us to act appropriately… But alas, my “guts” did no such thing.

That day began for me with the ringing of his Nokia cell phone.  I recall being irritated that I was being interrupted in my slumber, but proceeded to check right back out once he answered the phone.

It took only one second for my instincts to kick in and I bolted up right, immediately realizing that something was terribly wrong.  It was as if that nokia phone was pressed up against my own ear as every word coming out of it was dripping with panic and terror.  His brother was in Queens.  He couldn’t stop talking and all I remember him saying, over and over and over again, “They’re coming for us!  They’ve got us! We are going down! It’s over!” and then one clear and properly enunciated sentence; “A plane hit the twin towers!”

I don’t remember if he said anything to his brother… I don’t think he had an opportunity.  We were told to turn on the TV, so we did. It was the first TV I had ever purchased, it had a VCR built in! and it swiveled.  I absolutely LOVED that TV, in fact, I still have it to this day, I somehow can’t bring myself to part with it…Never in my worst nightmare could I have imagined the horrific images that would be projected from it’s monitor.

At the same moment we turned the TV on he lost the connection with his brother, that would be the last we would hear from him for days.  In fact it would be days before he was able to check on any of his family, all in New York.  All cell phones and land lines were blocked.

That memory would stick with me and on August 15, 2003, I was living in Queens, New York and working at Bayside Outback.  There was a blackout.  The very first thing I thought was that we were under a terrorist attack.  Cell phones were already not working so my very next thought was that I needed to get to the land line and call my mom.  I called her and told her that I didn’t know what was happening, but that I was worried that it might be really bad.  I told her I loved her and that I would try and get in touch with her again when I could.  I will never forget the sickening feeling I had in my stomach making that phone call.  For a moment I had let myself think that it would be the last time I heard my mother’s voice, the last time that she would hear mine. Luckily, the blackout was just that and nothing worse.

What I saw on the television captivated me.  I sat on the corner of the bed with jaw dropped open in shock and just kept saying out loud, “This can’t be real. This can’t be real.”  At that point only the first plane had hit.

I started to realize that I was witnessing REAL PEOPLE jumping out of buildings.  Even typing that now I feel sick to my stomach.  Terror and pain so fierce that people were either choosing to or being pushed out of the burning building.  “This can’t be real life”.

Looking back it is outrageous to realize how incredibly slow my brain was working.  I was so overwhelmed with what was actively happening that at no point did my mind transition to the “what could happen?” or “what is likely to happen next?”.  It seems to me now that it is perhaps part of the “American Condition” to not have thought past what might happen next.  In other countries, where survival skills are part of daily life, it most likely would have occurred to them that there was no reason to assume that there wasn’t another plane on it’s way, that there weren’t bombs set up through out the city, that the terror was only in that moment.  They would probably have looked ahead and tried to see what terror may be next.  It seemed to me that what I was watching was as bad as it could get.

At 9:02, we watched live as the second plane was filmed crashing into the South Tower.  Time stopped.  I stopped breathing.  Screams, I could hear so many screams, the entire country screamed at that moment. Tears started.  And then the fear started to set in.  This IS REAL LIFE.

Again with the slow moving brain.  At no point did it occur to me what would happen next.  What could be worse?  I was watching the only reality I had ever known burn and realizing that I was helpless.  I not only had no concept of war, of battles, bombs, mass murder, terrorists, I knew I had no survival skills.  I felt confident that I had the will to live, but at what cost and against what kind of enemy?  I had never imagined I would have to think about such things.

In the next forty five minutes or so, we learned that we were under terrorist attack.  That all air traffic had been stopped.  That a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. More Americans were dead. And then my slow moving brain processed what the media had been speculating would probably happen as the first tower started to sink as if into quicksand, no longer visible in the sky, a black cloud even darker than the one that proceeded it racing upwards.  Again. There were screams.  “This can’t be real life”.

News of  Flight 93 going down started to be reported.  It was somehow a piece of “good news”.  Amazing, strong and brave Americans had banded together upon learning what else had happened that morning and decided to take control of their destiny.  They stopped what was intended for that plane from happening.  True American heroes.

Somehow, I was still holding on to hope, thinking that all of this was more reminiscent of a Hollywood Blockbuster than an early morning news reel and that surely there must be something that won’t go wrong.  My hope was shattered as the second tower collapsed and the reality of the last hour started to sink in.

We were under attack. “This is REAL Life.”

All of America was glued to their televisions or tuned into their radios for the rest of that terrible day and for days, weeks and months to come.  The footage that would be shown later would not be what I had witnessed live that morning.  As it shouldn’t have been.  I will never be able to get the images out of my mind.  People, real life people, jumping to their deaths, others trapped and never able to find a way out.  I don’t ever want to feel the way I felt that morning again.

I realized on that day just how small and insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things. My love for my country had never been greater.  But my pride had been taken away completely.  I felt like I didn’t know what being an American really meant anymore.  It had never occurred to me that we could possibly fall victim to acts of terrorism like that.  One of the craziest things to think about now, is that I was aware of other terrorist activity that had occurred in the U.S. before that day, but I think I am not alone when I say that it had never once occurred to me that there was EVER a possibility for something as monumental and detrimental to take place.

My fiance’ posted this on his Facebook Status today:

“Its been eleven years and I still reflect on that day for the week leading up to today, and weeks following today. I was in basic training, red phase. We had just finished our run for the morning and the ‘sick call rangers’ had met back up with us from being lazy and getting out of P.T. . They told us that the twin towers got hit, but noone believed their lazy asses because we had just gotten our asses handed to us by the drill sergeants on the 5 mile run. Chow hall, two minutes to inhale, back out the door and in formation. March to the armory warehouse. In single file line and with a quickness we are issued our rifles, return to formation, and are abruptly commanded to fall back in single file line to be issued our bayonets for the first day of bayonet training. Normally we roll out immediately after to get on cattle trucks, but today the commander was there speaking to the drill sergeants, and a few minutes later we all are ordered to return our weapons and bayonets. Much confusion at this point. We all assumed we were going to get smoked, but we had no idea why. First Sarg comes out and yells ya’ll are going to WAR!!!!! We then proceed to go out to the field where we are met by the commander and told about the plane attacks and then issued a day of relief for what I guess was to make sure that noone was going to kill themselves with their bayonets. 9-11-2001 I will never forget.”

Even though I had heard this story before, seeing it put into words and knowing that these words came from the man I am lucky enough to be spending the rest of my life with really struck me today and inspired me to, for the first time, put my own experience of that day into words.
It’s hard to believe how far apart and completely different my future husband and I’s realities were 11 years ago today, but, if 9/11 teaches us anything, it is to love one another, to cherish every moment and make the most of the life you are lucky enough to live.
So much more information came out after the day, facts, stories of heroism, love lost, love rekindled and the list goes on.  One of the most gut wrenching parts for me was hearing the voices of people who knew they were living their last minutes or sometimes even seconds.of their life and they wanted to make sure that the people they loved got to hear it one last time.  Don’t wait.  Tell anyone and everyone as often as you can, you will never regret it.
I will love my country and my fellow Americans for as long as I shall live.  I am the product of good men who have gone to war to protect and support this country and I will forever be proud of that.  I am honored that I will be married to a man who selflessly served his country.
In Loving Memory. 9/11/2001. I will never forget.
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Have you been to The Rolling Pin?

Have you been to The Rolling Pin? If not, you are missing out! I have been and it was so much fun! My parents and I went for one of their hands on style cooking classes. We each got a workstation, an apron and a glass of water (to clean our palettes with to ensure we fully enjoyed the flavors we were cooking with). We got to be active in every part of the preparation for each course. We used exceptional cooking utensils, which make all the difference when it comes to preparing meals! All the cookware items used in the class are available for purchase in the store and at a discount for class members as long as you purchase the same day. It’s pretty impossible to get out of there without finding something that your heart desires, especially after getting the chance to use them! This wasn’t just a how to cook type of class, we learned so much from Chef Dave about the origins of the food, the process, the cookware even had a story!

What is the most impressive thing that The Rolling Pin has done for me personally? My Dad is a cook now! My mom has ALWAYS been “the cook in the family”, but Chef Dave changed all of that! It’s been about 5 years now that my dad and mom have been taking classes at The Rolling Pin and it has been such a wonderful experience for all of us that have gotten to experience dad’s cooking!

Love everything dad makes!

Love everything dad makes!

My dad has taken a wide array of classes over the years and his knowledge of wine, cooking and ingredients has become a joy to learn about when we cook together at my parents’ house. He has accumulated a collection of cooking knives that any ninja would kill for! Everyone loves a man that can cook? Right? Chef Dave apparently figured that out a long time ago and it’s refreshing to see he and his wife living their dream by sharing their mutual love and appreciation for all things culinary. Here’s what my dad has to say about The Rolling Pin:

“I have taken about 20 classes at the Rolling Pin and I have enjoyed all of them and feel that I have learned a great deal. One of my favorite classes was one of my first. I don’t remember the exact name but it was something like New Orleans classics. Included in the menu for the class was Shrimp Remoulade, Sausage and Chicken Gumbo and Bread Pudding. The gumbo and the bread pudding have become a regular part of my repertoire. I have also taken some skills classes including knife skills I and II. The Rolling Pin also offers two series of classes on the fundamentals of cooking; Cooking 101 and Cooking 201. Each series is five classes and I found all of those classes so helpful and fun.
The classes I have taken have given me the confidence to expand from a “backyard cook” to a reasonably accomplished “indoors cook” as well. Some of the best lessons have involved very simple concepts and/or introductions to basic ingredients. For instance, I learned how versatile and how effective an ingredient shallots are. I also learned that with some basic skills you can significantly expand your repertoire. For example, I learned to make a delicious vinaigrette that is great on its own, but that also can serve as the base for other delicious dressings (including a blue cheese dressing that my friends are wild about). I’m very thankful my wife convinced me to take that first class. I suspect she is too.”
Well, there you have it, a happy man with a happy and full family thanks to The Rolling Pin!

It’s no secret that we all love shows like Top Chef. Well, how would you like to meet and cook with one of the contestants? Chef Dave and his wife Karen make that possible at The Rolling Pin! They have in the past had famous cooks and chefs come to The Rolling Pin to share a night of cooking, laughing and learning! Recently he had Top Chef contestant Richie Farina

Richie Farina

as well as Chef Tre Wilcox!

Chef Tre Wilcox

Be sure to keep an eye on their website, they usually keep their class calendar updated for up to four months so you can plan ahead and keep an eye out for all of the new and exciting events they have planned!

The husband doesn’t know it yet, but he and I will most definitely be taking the “Couples Cooking Together” class sometime soon and the “Cooking 101” class series has my name written all over it. But that class is super popular so I am going to need to take my own advice and keep an eye out for when the next series starts. I will most definitely be sharing that adventure here.

The Rolling Pin doesn’t just show us grown ups how to have a good time in the kitchen, they also do cooking classes to support the kiddos. I know that I adored spending time in the kitchen with my grandma and my mom when I was little. It inspired such wonder to open a magic book, read a passage, gather some ingredients and make something that smelled and tasted delicious.

I really could go on and on about all of the magic that happens at The Rolling Pin, but this is your cue to check out their website and store for yourself. Stop in, say hello and let them know that I sent you with a glowing recommendation! If you are a lover of food, wine, cooking supplies and all things gourmet then you know where to go. The holidays are just around the corner, give the gift of cooking with Gift Cards that can be used for everything in the store as well as for classes!

I’m 32, the highlights

This past Friday I had the privilege of turning 32.  I have never been one to dread my birthdays or worry about getting old, to me it has always been a good thing.  This year like every other year a sigh of relief was heard.  “Thank goodness I Made it another year!”  This will be the first year that I have been  somewhat maintaining a blog and I am excited to start a new birthday tradition.  Each year I will post my highlights and this year seemed like a great year to start since it has been such a monumental year!  These highlights aren’t just what I would think of for typical yearly highlights, these are LIFE HIGHLIGHTS!  So here’s my list, in no particular order… (With the exception of #1 of course)

  1. My Wedding Day Jen_&_Don_Wedding_Papered_Heart_Photography621
  2. Ate THE BEST oysters with my husband on our own private balcony overlooking the Vegas strip.  IMG_7316
  3. Took a helicopter tour of The Grand Canyon and was moved to tears by nature for the first time in my life.  IMG_7365
  4. Did a bar crawl in San Francisco.  IMG_0137
  5. Took a cruise down the PCH in a Mustang convertible, top down THE ENTIRE TIME!  IMG_0540
  6. Moved to tears once again by the mountains of Carmel.  IMG_0464
  7. Had a Nerd Bachelorette party.  Nerd Bachelorette
  8. Shot my FIRST newborn session.  IMG_3762
  9. Had dinner at The Precinct with 3 generations of Ernst’s.  IMG_5205
  10. Started Project Life.  IMG_5578
  11. Had a blog post shared for the first time ever, thanks to Juliechats.blogspot.com with Whimzee’s Scrapbook Studio who shared my “Deep Thoughts of a Rookie Project Lifer” on the stores’ Facebook page.
  12. Completed (not ran, but… completed) my first 8k.  IMG_2805
  13. Celebrated Gasparilla for the last time at my bestfriend’s house on Davis Island… Bittersweet.  IMG_2072
  14. Set up my first Photobooth for my mom’s 60th birthday.  IMGP9860 copy
  15. Learned the basics of Photoshop.
  16. Made a book filled with 60 years worth of memories with my sister to give to my mom.
  17. Saw the fountain show at The Belagio.  IMG_7304
  18. Drove across The Golden Gate Bridge and took a picture with my husband at the lookout point.  IMG_0320
  19. Learned how to sew… on paper… (kind of…LOL)  IMG_4640
  20. Went to the top of the Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband.  IMG_5194
  21. Completed my first SMASHBOOK (it took about ten months).  IMG_4962
  22. Reached 1427 followers on Instagram.
  23. Inspired a friend to SMASHbook.
  24. Inspired 3 friends to consider starting their own Project Life projects.
  25. Won a 5 month war with the rats that were trying to take over our 100 year old rented Bungalow.  IMG_2653
  26. Went to my first music festival, The Hangout.  IMG_4234
  27. Did my first glow run 5k.  IMG_1852
  28. Created an awesome amount of crafts for my DIY wedding, including a backdrop, cornhole set and more.  Jen_&_Don_Wedding_Papered_Heart_Photography281IMG_7087
  29. Did Deal’s Gap with The Don in the QX4, it’s no Supra, but it did alright.  IMG_5354
  30. Attended the most concerts in one year that I ever have in all my years of living!
  31. Rode on a streetcar in SanFran.  IMG_0184
  32. Reached 3,557 view on thejensspin.com

Thirty two, you have been spectacular.  Thirty three, let’s see if we can top it.  Remember:

“For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”


My favorite quote keeps me grounded and grateful that each day comes and goes and that I am surrounded by love, family and friendship.  My heart is full and my eyes are open. Happy Birthday to me.


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ilovecharts.tumblr.com check them out!

Click here: Interactive Map of NYC, then and now to check out their blog and this awesome post!

Looking for something to distract you from what you should really be doing? Play around with this interactive map and see the difference between 1836 NYC and present-day NYC.

AS REQUESTED: my must have Project Life supplies

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It makes me VERY happy when my friends reach out to me with interest in Project Life!  This is my first year and I have had three friends express an interest in starting their very own Project Life Albums, two of whom are expecting new additions to their families in the very near future.  As I have said before, Project Life WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO HAVE A BABY, I can now say that it seems that HAVING A BABY WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO DO PROJECT LIFE!  Most recently, my friend Jenn, who is expecting a baby boy sometime very soon, and who is also an INCREDIBLE photographer (you can check out her work here) told me that she was starting project life and asked me what else she might need other than a core kit, pages and an album.  Now, I have to say that while one of the most beautiful things about this project is that you don’t NEED anything else, you can MOST DEFINITELY use SO MUCH MORE if your heart desires!  I feel like I am far enough into this adventure now that I can accurately share the supplies that I reach for most often if not for every single spread.  This is in no way all of the supplies I use, that list is embarrassingly long, but that’s because that’s how I like to craft.  I love having lots of options! So these are my absolute faves and all things I would recommend to any and all who might be just getting started with Project Life.  Part of the fun of this whole process has been learning what works for me, hopefully this helps you to decide what works best for you!



Thickers: I use these EVERY single week!  Be sure to check in the tiny craft section at your local Marshalls or TJ Maxx for some great deals!

Roller Date Stamp: I need to use them more, but I love them!

Elmer’s Glue Dot Runner: This is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE of all the MANY different brands that are available!  There are also Tape Runners, some semi-permanent, some permanent (like immediately!) and on and on, I recommend this one as a good starting point.

Washi Tape: BE CAREFUL! THIS STUFF IS ADDICTING AND CAN BE FOUND EVERYWHERE NOW! But, it is such an awesome way to accent alpha sticker, add pops of color with no fuss, and of course it also serves it’s purpose as an adhesive method, so there’s that 🙂

Fiskars Scissors: Any scissors will do, these just happen to my favorite.

Fiskars Corner Rounder: I like having the option to round the corners of my photos, but I don’t always do it.  I do think that I am going to go back and round all of my corners because there is something about that little magical triangle of space in the pockets that make everything come together.  And since my Project Life is completely scattered with constantly changing color schemes and what not, it would be nice to know that there is AT LEAST ONE thing that is uniform throughout!

Project Life Corner Rounder: I just found this at my Michaels, I am happy with it and it’s pretty cool that the corners are the exact same as the Project Life core kits. It is not available on Amazon yet but it should be SOON!

Silhouette Pick Me Up: This little tool makes moving Thickers and the smaller alpha stickers that come in the Studio Calico Kits a lot easier to adhere.

Staedtler Fineliner Porous Point Pen:  LOVE the way these write!

American Crafts slick writer (see below)

Project Life Pen (see below)

Staedtler permanent Lumocolor (see below)

uniball Signo broad (see below)

Custom Stamps (see below)

Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher: This little magic stapler is just SO MUCH FUN TO PLAY WITH!  It’s such a dainty little staple that you will find yourself using it constantly!

StazOn Ink Pad: This ink is great because it will “stay” on most every surface!

I have provided links to almost everything through Amazon or etsy because that is what is easiest for me to do, but these items don’t have to be purchased on the internet, I bought lots of them at Michael’s or Joann’s using their weekly coupons.  You can also check out these awesome scrap supply sites:

Two Peas in a Bucket, Scrapbook.com, Studio Calico, and Simon Says Stamp.

A little closer angle:


Pictured Below:

Canon Selphy Printer

Studio Calico Project Life Kit


The Canon Selphy is awesome because it allows me to print, via wifi, directly from my iphone.  It has proven to be extremely helpful in times when I am falling behind and want to catch up quickly on my weekly layouts.  Now that I am almost done with my first year I do find myself using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to resize, edit and add text to my photos which I then print on my HP printer, but when I need things to be simple I like knowing I have the Selphy available.

Here’s a closer view of my favorite and most used writing utensils as well as the silhouette tool which works GREAT to help align thickers on your layouts.  The white pen is BY FAR THE BEST option for writing on a photo, just be sure to write slow as to give the ink time to flow as well as allowing time to dry before sliding into your pockets.


These are all great pens, the project life and precision writer are the same pen and are great for writing on all kinds of paper, the slick writer is perfect for writing directly onto your photos.


The Studio Calico Project Life Kit

photoThis is Studio Calico’s August Project Life Kit, it is part of a monthly subscription program (you can also purchase month to month at a little higher cost).  This subscription is BY FAR the best addition to my Project Life process!  I LOVE their products and feel like a little kid at Christmas each month when my box full of goodies arrives from them.  I have never once regretted signing up for their monthly kits.  This picture does a pretty good job of showing all of the adorable things you can expect each month, but just click here to take a look on their site.  If you do decide to order a kit you should pick up some of these Fiskars Acrylic Blocks for clear stamps, they come in a package of varying sizes which will accommodate the stamps that are included in SC’s Kits.

photo 2

Custom Stamps!

photo 1Even if you don’t really think stamping is for you, I HIGHLY recommend picking up a couple that you really love, I think you will find that it adds something special to your layouts.  These stamps are from three of my favorite crafty ladies!

Click on their names below to be taken directly to their stamps shops.

Elise Blaha Cripe “THIS” “FOR THE RECORD” “YOU ARE HERE” “<3” “HELLO”


Kelly Purkey “IT’S MY JAM” “#”

And last but certainly not least, I have to give you the list of blogs that I have become a loyal follower of, all of which provide me inspiration for all things crafty, especially Project Life, on a daily basis!

Amy Tangerine

Ali Edwards

Elise Blaha Cripe

Design Editor

Deb Duty

Pink Ronnie

Sudio Calico Blog

Kelley Purkey

For those of you that are prego you might want to pay special attention to Amy Tangerine as she expecting VERY SOON! Elise JUST HAD a baby girl, so I would check back through the last couple of months for some GREAT inspiration from her, she has done a lovely job documenting and sharing her daughters entry into the world! I have linked a few blog posts at the bottom of this post for your enjoyment!

I SERIOUSLY hope that this blog post is helpful for you, it has taken me MUCH LONGER to write/create than I anticipated LOL! Tomorrow is my birthday. and I plan on sharing my “32 Highlights” so keep an eye out for that.  As always, THANK YOU for reading! If you are new to Project Life or a seasoned veteran, What supplies do you love the most?  Please share, leave comments and/or ask questions!  It let’s me know that you were here, that someone is reading and more importantly, I LOVE KNOWING THAT I HAVE SHARED SOMETHING USEFUL!


P.S. I am not cool enough or popular enough to be getting paid for any of these recommendations! (A girl can dream that some day she might be!)  Everything you see listed here is here because they are all things that I actually use/read/need! Thanks!

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A Llama in Times Square | Inge Morath

Iconic Photos


It was one of the more playful spreads in Life magazine. In its December 2, 1957 issue, the magazine featured a one-page story, humorously titled ‘High-paid llama in big city’. The story covered different television animals—from dogs and cats to a kangaroo and a miniature bull—but its highlight was Linda the Llama, as photographed by Inge Morath.

The caption read the llama was enroute to make a television appearance, but Morath recalled differently in her notes: “Linda, the Lama [sic] rides home via Broadway. She is just coming home from a television show in New York’s A.B.C. studios and now takes a relaxed and long-necked look at the lights of one of the world’s most famous streets.” Her contact sheets showed that Morath was already photographing the llama inside the studio, and the Inge Morath Foundation suggests the photographer might have acquainted herself with the llama and the trainer at…

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How thejensspin got it’s name.



I signed up for the dailypost over a year ago… I have yet to participate and even so I am pretty sure this topic is not up to date, but, you gotta start somewhere right?  I am also sure there is probably a more sophisticated way to reference said dailypost but I don’t really know what that might be, so, here’s the link:


“thejensspin” took me a long time to come up with as my blog title.  I had asked for suggestions from friends as well as on Facebook and while I got a few interesting suggestions, none of them really stuck for me.  At the time that I started this blog I was JUST learning how to “surf the net“, seriously.  I can not even express how dull my interweb life use to be, there were days when I would literally refresh my facebook feed every thirty seconds to see if someone else had finally said/done/posted something.  I had no idea where to look, I didn’t follow any blogs back then, I didn’t even know that something like GoogleReader existed (which makes it even more difficult that our relationship will be over in just a couple of weeks since we were just getting to the honeymoon phase of our relationship…) and I wasn’t shopping on Amazon.  I was… out of touch.

So when I started wedding planning, there really was no option but to start mastering the internet!  And once I started to discover all of the wonders that were all brand new to me, news stories, cool blogs, pinterest finds, awesome photos, the latest mac/apple news, I felt like I wanted somewhere to share it and talk about it, I kept coming back to it being “my spin on things” or my “take on things” so I was already spinning those two phrases in my head, but the entertaining part is the “the”.

Cue my husband, “The Don”, and yeah, his name is Don, actually Donald (which is really only associated with the duck and Trump, neither of which is very “cool”) so why wouldn’t he do everything he could to make his name cooler?  So, before he and I became an item, I got a picture message one night with this:

Oh man... The. Don.

Oh man… The. Don.

Now at the time, he was not my man, not my responsibility, he was just my kick ass friend with an awesome sense of humor and this just made my night.  TOO FUNNY!  and yes, it’s real.  Here it is again a few years later:

still there!

still there!

I have to show that because we’ve had so many people ask if it is real or not, because it is incredibly silly (as many tattoos are) and people who get to know Don before seeing it are always stunned by it!

I will admit, if he had wanted to get it after we were together I may have put up a fight and been a little uptight about it… but, since he did it before hand it all worked out and myself and my family fell in love with him, name tag and all.  People love it, think it’s crazy and have absolutely fallen in line and taken to calling him THE Don.  It’s hard to believe sometimes how many people have gone from calling him “Donnie” (pre-me) to now ALWAYS calling him “THE Don”.  I can’t help but feel that his commitment in branding himself had a significant impact on others deciding to go along with the whole name change!  I know it did for me.

When The Don and I first got engaged it became a running joke that I would be taking his first name instead of his last “Mrs. The” or “The Jen” etc. and I have to admit that it was a lot easier for me to imagine my name with a “The” rather than a completely different last name!  I even worked it into the end of my wedding vows in saying that I was so honored to be “THE Jennifer ….” it was a sweet moment and got a chuckle from our guests.  When searching for my blog name I wanted it to be something that would stand the test of time and continue to be applicable, so, it seemed right to include my “married name” thus “THEjensspin” was born.

THE end.

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I spent this past weekend under the “clouds” enjoying my first ever music festival. We traveled to Gulf Shores Alabama to attend The Hangout with my sister, brother in law and two other couples and it was an amazing adventure. Three long days of sun, music and shenanigans.

The Hangout


The Hangout deserves it’s own post which I am working on, or rather I should say, “is on the list of things I will/should be/could be working on”? But for now, I’m just going to share the story of our journey home.

Monday, May 20th, 2013:

The whole crew got up and snapped back to reality after a whirlwind of a weekend. Everything was packed, condo cleaned out and we all got ourselves strapped in and ready for the 8+ hours that we would be driving home. I had the pleasure of being a passenger and not a driver. So I spent a lot of time playing games on my iphone, which is not something I usually do (I’m usually busy doing super important things like checking my Facebook, Instagram and Feedler accounts!) but I let myself get lost in Fruit Ninja‘s dojo, played a marathon of SpellTower and read some of Jodi Piccoult’s newest novel “The Storyteller” (which I am loving by the way). I was perfectly content allowing myself to enjoy just wasting time away. About five hours into the trip I caught wind of the tornadoes that struck in Oklahoma and I’ll admit, I let it flutter right through my thoughts and away again, still caught up in my own peaceful reality.

By the time we got to Daytona to pick up our car and head back to Tampa I had had time to look into what was happening and as we all know by now, it was devastating to see such unavoidable hurt and destruction. So many peoples entire lives forever changed in only a few moments. I began to feel a little guilty for the state of bliss I had been in all day, checked out from the world while so much was happening. But, at the end of the day, there wasn’t much I could do but send love and healing energy to everyone, so I did.


Don and I regrouped, gave hugs to my sister and brother in law and started the rest of our journey towards Tampa. Along the way I got an update from my CNN app saying that “Zach Sobiech, cancer patient, has died…”. I opened up the story to read more and there is where I first learned of Zach’s incredible story. Heart already heavy from all of the devastation in Oklahoma I played Zach’s Youtube video through the speaker in the car so Don and I could both hear:


With a knot in my throat I proceeded to the next video featuring celebrities singing along to his song “Clouds”:



So incredibly moving, to see such a beautiful message catching like wildfire and to see kind celebrities coming together to bring awareness to something so worthy. Tears were shed, and I laid my head on my husband’s shoulder and embraced the knot in my throat, feeling lucky to have him by my side. What a whirlwind of emotions I was feeling, overwhelming compassion pouring from me for so many, including Zach, as well as concern and frustration for those in Oklahoma. And then there was love, light and happiness still lingering within me from the incredible trip we were coming home from. In that moment I was reminded for the countless time in my life what an incredible force and blessing music is. Music, the universal language that has always been there to comfort me (usually on repeat) whenever I need it. So thankful to be able to not only hear it but to also feel it.

Zach’s song, “Clouds”, is number 1 on itunes, an incredible feat for even the most talented musician. People are talking about it and word is spreading, which is a wonderful thing. It’s amazing to see what “we” can do, when something beautiful, positive and inspiring just sweeps over us and makes something magical happen. Zach lit a fire that shall continue to burn long after his passing.

On that note.

Nothing to complain about from me, happy to be alive, healthy and in love. Surrounded daily by friends and family that greet me with a smile and an open heart. I will sing my song for them or you anytime.

My heart goes out to all of those in Oklahoma who are now and will continue to be coping with the aftermath of Monday’s tornadoes and to those who knew Zach, may you be forever comforted by the beautiful songs that he left behind to be shared with you and with the world. He is an inspiration.

Huge shout out to http://soulpancake.com/ for helping spread positivity, laughter and creativity throughout the world. Thank you for sharing Zach’s story with me and with the world.

“I want everyone to know: You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.” -Zach Sobiech


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