Wednesday, 16 October 2019

How To Organize Your Digital Photos

Does this sound familiar? You have a million digital photos and no idea how to organize them? Maybe they're spread out on a variety of different computers, external drives, phones, accounts, and clouds? Maybe you started a backup system years ago but abandoned it because you simply didn't have the time to continue? And what about video clips? What do you do with those?

That was exactly me a few months ago. We had thousands of digital photos everywhere. Some were my own, some were Rob's, some were from professional photos we'd had done as a family. Few were backed up, and many sitting in a hot mess on my work computer. Not exactly the ideal situation.

However, one of my resolutions this year was to organize and backup our digital photos. I'm really happy with how it all turned out, so here's how I did it.



STEP 1 - MAKE A LIST OF ALL OF THE PLACES YOUR PHOTOS ARE CURRENTLY STORED

I had digital photos in the following places: my phone, my husband's phone, random folders on my work laptop, iPhoto, Picassa (now Google Photos), my husband's Google Drive, along with saved emails and links to photos on SeeSaw from my son's teachers. You may also have some on an external hard drive.

STEP 2 - DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT

I had three goals for this project:
1. Backup all of our photos in one location and sort them by year.
2. Create a printed photo book for each year.
3. Combine each years video clips into a single video.

Then I made a list to help me track where I was and what photos I'd sorted.


STEP 3 - DECIDE WHERE YOU WANT TO BACKUP AND SORT YOUR PHOTOS

After researching and crowd-sourcing ideas, we landed on using Google Photos to backup and store our pictures and videos. If you ever used Picassa, anything you had already stored on there is currently in your Google Photos account (yeah!). I bought 100G of storage (the annual fee is cheaper than the monthly fee), and this is more than enough storage for us right now.
($27.99 CAD/year)

Many people use external hard drives; however, Rob and I don't feel as confident about that choice. Eventually the drive will fail or become obsolete (Think: Floppies, diskettes,  CD ROMs).
We decided to put our backups on the cloud, which we could access at any time from anywhere.


STEP 4 - START SORTING

My next step was to create an album for that year in Google Photos. Then I went through each of the locations I listed in step one and pulled out all of the photos for that particular year. I started with 2007 and repeated for each year. The good thing about digital photos, is that most of them have a date assigned to them, so this isn't too difficult to do.

*Tip - Have your partner share their Google Photos account with you in their settings, or at least some shared folders, so you can pull photos from their account as well. Rob and I each have our phones automatically backing up to our Google Photos accounts now, so this will make photo sorting much easier in the future.

The fun part about this is that there were actually photos and videos I'd taken that Rob hadn't ever seen and vice versa :)


STEP 5 - DELETE DUPLICATES

Once I had all of my 2007 photos and video clips uploaded to my 2007 album in Google Photos, I'd go through it slowly and delete duplicates and photos/videos I didn't want to keep.  I did this by hand, though some programs offer this feature.


*Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each year.*


STEP 6 - CREATE A PHOTO BOOK (optional)

There are dozens of places online where you can turn your digital photos into photo books. After looking up a number of them online, I decided to go with Shutterfly. The main reason was because they have this excellent "make my book" service that saved me a ton of time and their photo books and are almost always on sale.

Once I had my photos for that year narrowed down, I uploaded them to Shutterfly and chose the Make My Book option. I selected the theme, style, size, and layout of my book, and they did all the heavy lifting by designing each page using my pictures. To me, this is totally worth the $10 additional fee.

A few days later, I'd receive an email with a link to preview my book. I could make any changes I wanted before placing my final order. (You are also under no obligation to purchase the book if you change your mind entirely.)

I played around with a few different formats and here are my preferred settings for their photo books:
- 8 x 11
- flatlay pages (not the deluxe ones, then your book will be massive)
- watercolour layout



*First note - Sometimes the portrait photos I took on my iPhone didn't upload properly to Shutterfly, and got cut off. To fix this, open the photo on your computer, rotate it all around once, and save it. It doesn't actually look any different, but it should then upload properly to Shutterfly. This is, by far, the most annoying part of the whole digital organization project. See pic below.




*Second note - Shutterfly doesn't accept .png photos, so I used this free website to convert any .png photos I had to .jpg.


Printing six photo books in one year is both a financial commitment and an investment in time, but I will never regret having these photo books printed. To help me manage my time, I'd work on this project for 30 minutes/day as often as I could.


STEP 7 - CREATE A VIDEO COMPILATION (optional)

The last thing I did was I downloaded all of the video clips for each year and used iMovie to make a video compilation. All of our 2012 video clips were put together into one longer video. Most of mine ended up being about 30 minutes each. Then I'd upload the full video back to Google Photos (for easy sharing). My son loved it when one of the videos was ready for us to watch. It made for a fun family evening to see these videos together.

Tip - grandparents love these videos/links as well!


And I think that's it! It's been a labour of love, but I'm happy with how everything has turned out. I'm finishing up my 2018 photo book this week, and I feel so much more at peace with our our memories are stored.

xo
Jenn

Monday, 14 October 2019

A Mind Spread Out On The Ground by Alicia Elliott - Book Review




A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is award-winning Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott's debut essay collection that holds back nothing as she shares her thoughts on the experiences of Indigenous people in Canada.

These essays are thoughtful, controversial, and absolutely necessary. Part-memoir, part historical exploration, Alicia Elliott opens up about her own trauma and abuse while simultaneously examining the systematic roots of oppression Indigenous people in Canada faced throughout history and continue to face today.

"We know our cultures have meaning and worth, that that culture lives and breathes inside our languages. Canada knew that, too. Which is why they fought so hard to make us forget them."

She tackles the issues of mental health, abuse, language, culture, residential schools, racism, colonialism, poverty, belonging, cultural appropriation, and body image. Additionally, she calls out Canadian political parties (both past and present) for what they have and haven't done to help mend these relationships, so healing in these communities can begin.

"No one should have to feel thankful that their child isn't dark-skinned."


While these essays examine how racism continues to be fed in Canadian society today, Alicia Elliot offers hope for us to be thoughtful about our own voices and choices moving forward. If you're interested in learning more about a modern perspective on Indigenous relations and history, I highly recommend this coming of age collection by a wonderful writer. It's available now from your favourite bookseller.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Stretch Marks by Amber Trueblood

Amber Trueblood is the passionate voice behind Stretch Marks, a self-help book designed to help mothers who are feeling stretched in every direction. I know I often feel that my to do list never ends, and that I'm being pulled into a million directions. It's not easy to slow down and prioritize exactly what needs to happen next, for my family, and for myself.




Stretch Marks is designed to help you cultivate true happiness in your life. Amber Trueblood shares personal stories and scientific research to prove that our happiness matters, along with tips and mindsets to help us get there. Andrea is a fierce cheerleader for your abilities and offers practical tricks you can easily adapt into your everyday life.

Stretch Marks currently available on Kindle and will be out in physical format this December (perfect for gift giving đŸ˜‰). If you're interested in learning more, I encourage you to check out her website and take a peek at her retreats. They sound like the perfect weekend away, and she has one coming up in October!

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - Thank you to Andrea Trueblood for sending me a complementary copy of this book.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Ribbons of Scarlet - A Novel of The French Revolution's Women

As a self-professed bibliophile and fancophile, books set in France hit my sweet spot. I studied French history in university and read many academic texts about the French Revolution. When I learned about the book Ribbons of Scarlet, I immediately knew that I'd enjoy a literary novel about this tumultuous time, especially as it's written through the eyes of the women involved. (Unsurprisingly, my assigned academic readings all focused on the main male politicians at the time.)


Ribbons of Scarlet is a historical fiction novel of the French revolution from the perspective of women who were there before, during, and after. What makes this novel initially compelling is that it is authored by six female authors: Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie, Sophie Perinot, Heather Webb, and E. Knight. Ribbons of Scarlet is simultaneously six short stories and one cohesive novel. I've never read anything quite like it.

While this novel will appeal to all historical fiction fans, this is a deeply story about women. About their voices, their value, and their often unacknowledged role in history. Women throughout history are regularly caught in the tension of what society expects women to be and who they truly are. How do you speak when you are asked to be silent? How can you still ensure your words are heard? In Ribbons of Scarlet, the reader learns of, as Heather Webb describes in her author's note, "six incredible women who shaped the French Revolution through their pens, their speeches, their battles in the streets, and their sacrifices."

We hear from Sophie de Grouchy, a woman who embodies the ideals of the feminist movement, Lousie Reine Audu, a revolutionary, Princess Élisabeth, King Louis XVI's sister, Manon Roland, who passionately worked with her husband in government after the royal family was exiled (and executed), Charlotte Corday, who famously assassinated Jean-Paul Marat, and Émilie de Sainte-Amaranthe, a Paris beauty who will capture the hearts of the readers with her story.

The dedication in Ribbons of Scarlett

I can't possibly begin to imagine the planning these authors would have completed to ensure their stories are as historically accurate as possible while being consistent throughout throughout six sections. Not to mention that the majority of the resources available to study for research were likely in French.

This novel isn't perfect. With seven different first-person points of view to read, I did get a little overwhelmed at times; however, the lengthly authors' notes at the end more than made up for it. To save me from having to Google what parts of this story are true, each of the six authors share the research they found, which pieces are speculation, and why they made the decisions they did for the their characters. The women in the novel are real historical figures, and Ribbons of Scarlet encourages us to remember their names. I can see myself rereading it again, as I'm sure there is more to this story that I'd learn should I pick it up a second time.

Ribbons of Scarlet is available as of today (yeah!) from your favourite bookseller.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this novel from Harper Collins Canada for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Down Too Deep by J. Daniels - Book Review



I love a good love story, and Down Too Deep by J. Daniels is one of my favourite romances of the year. It is book #4 in the Dirty Deeds series, but Down Too Deep can be read as a standalone. In fact, this is my first book by the author.

Nathan Bell lost his wife suddenly a few months after the birth of their daughter, Marley. Overcome with grief and hiding behind his work, Nathan's parents become the primary caregivers for his daughter. When they force him to seek other childcare options, he has no idea what he's going to do. Until single mom, Jenna Savage, offers to care for Marley for the summer. She already has her own twins, and she's happy to help Nathan out by watching Marley as well. Jenna doesn't simply watch Marley for Nathan, she helps him learn about his daughter and rebuild their relationship.

Cue the sparks and steam ;)

Jenna, Nathan, and all three of their children are heartfelt characters who you will love. There are humorous moments in this story, and, if you are a parent, you will totally relate to how tricky it can be to find intimate moments with your partner with little ones under your feet!

Nathan getting to know Marley after basically ignoring her for the first two years of her life was completely adorable. My heart filled with joy every time he made a new connection with her, and I loved watching their relationship grow just as much as I loved the relationship between Nathan and Jenna.

Down Too Deep is absolutely a sexy romance novel; however, there is a lot of substance here as well. This book deals with grief, guilt, forgiveness, post-partum depression, and suicide. To me, a story with deep meaning is what puts some romances above the rest.

Down Too Deep is available October 8th from your favourite bookseller. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I can't wait to go back and read the rest of the books in this series.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book from HBG Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, 30 August 2019

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang - Book Review


The Bride Test is the latest release from Helen Hoang. I absolutely adored her debut, The Kiss Quotient (you can read me gushing about it here), and I knew I was in for a treat when I picked up her next book.

In this novel, we follow the story of Esme and Khai. Khai is autistic and believes that he is incapable of loving others. While Esme initially thinks that participating in a quasi-arranged marriage with Khai may solve all of her problems, she finds herself truly falling in love. As they get to know each other, Esme longs to convince Khai that there is more than one way to love.

This book was exactly what I had hoped it would be. Sweet, sexy, and heartwarming. Khai was a loveable character, and I could picture him easily in my mind as I was reading. Watching Khai be romantic, while having absolutely no idea that he is doing so, is my favourite part of this book.

Esme shines so much in this story, it's hard to believe she almost wasn't the protagonist! (Be sure to read the author's note at the end for the full story.) With only a few options in front of her, Esme stands up for herself and her values, even if that means not always choosing the path that seems easy. I really admired this about her.

While The Kiss Quotient may still be my favourite Helen Hoang book so far, The Bride Test is an excellent follow up, and it looks like Quan's story (The Heart Principle) is coming in 2020!

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of The Bride Test from Penguin Random House Canada to review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim - Book Review



Seeing yourself in a book is such a gift. The moment you read a passage and instantly feel validated or less alone is powerful. More than once, I've reread sentences, paragraphs, and even whole pages because the author was able to put into words exactly how I felt. However, this feeling doesn't come around with the same frequency for everyone.

Well-Read Black Girl is an essay collection of Black women writers reflecting on how they found themselves in literature, how certain pieces of work guided them through childhood and adolescence, and how the words of others inspired them to write as well. It was born from Glory Edim who created the @wellreadblackgirl community on Instagram.

Well-Read Black Girl is small but mighty. I was introduced to so many authors, playwrights, poets, and titles I'd never heard of before. My formative years were vastly different than the women in this book, so reading this collection for me was eye-opening and reminded me how reading can be a powerful act of empathy to learn about others.

As an educator, I firmly believe that it is important for both children and adults to be able to connect with the texts they are reading, and this essay collection reaffirms that we need to ensure that young readers have a wide-range of books at their fingertips. You never know which book is going to connect with which reader, and it is important for them to read about and reflect upon the experiences of others, as well.

Highly recommend!
xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

ShareThis