SYW248 – Scrapbooking is my Love Language

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What’s a girl to do when there are more stories than time? Tai Cortes had to find a way to balance her creative and memory keeping desires with intentional choices. In this episode she shares the exact strategies she uses to indulge her varied interests without getting overwhelmed.

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[00:01:39] Jennifer Wilson: Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I’m your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking.

This is episode 248. In this episode I’m chatting with Tai Cortes about finding balance in this hobby when you love all the different ways to be a scrapbooker.

[00:02:03] Jennifer Wilson: Hey Tai. Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

[00:02:05] Tai Cortes: Hello.

[00:02:06] Jennifer Wilson: I am looking forward to our conversation today and getting to know you a bit better, but can you start by sharing just a little bit about yourself?

[00:02:14] Tai Cortes: Sure wel uh, thank you for having me. Uh, my full name's Taina but everyone calls me Tai. It's easier to say and pronounce and remember. So Tai is usually my handle, uh, for everything and it's honestly my name I go by ever since college, to be honest. Um, I'm originally from New York, the Bronx in fact. But I slowly ran away from winter and I went to undergrad school in Maryland and now I live in Florida for the last 20 years.

[00:02:42] Tai Cortes: Um, I'm 42 years old. I'm a chiropractor by day scrapbooker, memory keeper by night. I have my husband of, gosh, eight years, but I've known him 20 years too as well. We went, we met in college. I'm a mom to a five-year-old and I have two dogs, a golden doodle black named Maui, and a doxy named Moana. And I love memory keeping. And I've been memory keeping for very long time. I think truly since high school, my favorite scrapbook is from a study abroad that I did like the first year, second year of college. And . I took a break for, you know, graduate school and then for the last like eight years, I've been scrapbooking nonstop.

[00:03:27] Jennifer Wilson: I am curious, when you first started in high school, what did that look like?

[00:03:32] Tai Cortes: Oh, way different than what I have right now. Um, you know, and, and I say that 'cause you know, back then I used to like cut out all like the people's silhouette from my photos. You know, and just put it on pattern paper. Um, I. So the, the background was always chopped out. And similar though, what I've always done, even then, you know, I would always keep in, you know, your movie tickets and your little pay stubs and the map to the museum you went to. So I always was sentimental in that regard. But the photos were always like, cut out weird, you know, with the outlines. Or, I had a lot of the, uh, paper punches back then, you know, with the, like the crinkled edges or the scissors with the, the decorative edges. Oh, every photo had a decorative, you know, scissor edging. It was, it's hilarious to flip through them.

[00:04:20] Jennifer Wilson: That is for sure. I have ones cut into hearts and stars, and they're all on this like neon colored card stock and.

[00:04:28] Tai Cortes: Yep. Yep. And, and back then, I don't think I had like, um, like alpha stickers, so all of my like titles and stuff were just printed like on, you know, white copy paper and I just cut out the title, you know, and, and slapped it on there with the glue stick probably.

[00:04:46] Jennifer Wilson: I think many of us who've been scrapbooking for a while have our beginnings that look something like that.

[00:04:51] Tai Cortes: Started there. Yeah. And, and the one that I love the most with the study abroad one I had mentioned. Um, that one too. It's, uh, I didn't cut out the people so much, but it's heavy on the, the paraphernalia. You know, like every, I, I was in Spain, so every like brochure and business card is, it's almost like a remember those smash books? It looks like that

[00:05:13] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, fun.

[00:05:15] Tai Cortes: Yeah. It's just like where I was in Spain, that, that, that semester in college. It, it's great

[00:05:21] Jennifer Wilson: So, Tai, what's exciting you right now, we love to ask our guests both about their scrapbooky things as well as what's going on in their lives.

[00:05:29] Tai Cortes: Uh, life stuff. Well, let's see. So my daughter started kindergarten and her school is truly less than a mile away. And she has a field trip coming up and I volunteered to chaperone, said field trip. Um, they're going to see a musical at like a . cultural arts center and we, I already take Vale to, uh, musicals as well.

[00:05:48] Tai Cortes: It's like one of our things. So she, I, I love that it's her first field trip and, and it's that, and then I get to go. Because she's a little shy and, and when it's a new situation and if she doesn't have me, I feel like she won't enjoy it as much. So I'm excited. It's like next Monday. So that's, that's something great.

[00:06:05] Tai Cortes: And I'm also doing the her school, you know, I'm on P T O. So I volunteer to do the trunk or treat with a bunch of other mommies to coordinate it. So that's also coming around the field trip time. So a lot of fall things.

[00:06:17] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. Fun milestones for sure.

[00:06:20] Tai Cortes: Yes, it's good. And then scrapbooking wise, um, you know, it's our December Daily's coming around the corner. I have done December Daily for nine years I want to say. And um, I do like the Ali Edward product, so that's gonna be coming soon. So I'm excited about that project coming up in like a month or so.

[00:06:40] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. I don't know. Sometimes I say though that there are, you know, what is it? There's eight months in the year. There's January all the way through July. That's seven months, right? And then there's December Daily.

[00:06:52] Tai Cortes: Yes. Oh, absolutely. The first year I did December Daily. You know, probably very simple, but now, oh my goodness. Like I even scoured Joanns and Michael's and Hobby Lobby for any sort of extra little ribbon or sequins something to add to it. Oh, it, it's, it's become a full on thing. Like my husband knows you know, tries to give me a budget. I laugh at the budget.

[00:07:18] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that is so funny. Going back briefly to your kindergartner, do you happen to listen to the Planners and Wine Podcast?

[00:07:26] Tai Cortes: No, but I, do I need to? This sounds good.

[00:07:28] Jennifer Wilson: They both have kindergartners and so they, they've been telling lots of different stories about that and carpool and it's just, it's, it's entertaining. I'm, I'm, my daughter's in seventh grade now, but I remember that season all too well.

[00:07:43] Tai Cortes: Yes. What was.

[00:07:43] Jennifer Wilson: Talk a lot about like popular culture and then also planner things. Sometimes towards the beginning, sometimes towards the end. But that just, that jogged my memory because that's something that they. They mention often, so.

[00:07:56] Tai Cortes: Who is it again?

[00:07:57] Jennifer Wilson: It's called Planners and Wine.

[00:07:59] Tai Cortes: Planters and wine. Oh, perfect, too.

[00:08:02] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:08:04] Tai Cortes: Exactly. No, it's been, it's, it, it's been funny too, just like the parent pickup line. Oh, I could, I have, I could rant about that. You know.

[00:08:15] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes.

[00:08:16] Tai Cortes: The fight to get her up and, and it's kind of a dress code for her school. So she has to just wear solid polos and uh, solid shorts. Um, but they get to wear the spirit t-shirt as an alternate.

[00:08:27] Tai Cortes: And man, she is still fighting me on wearing the darn polos because she says that they're itching where the buttons are at, you know. And we're two months into school and I still haven't had her wear one Polo.

[00:08:39] Jennifer Wilson: Hey, my kids still won't wear jeans because she doesn't like how they feel. So.

[00:08:43] Tai Cortes: Yeah. I guess, you know, they, they are their personalities and I have to embrace this.

[00:08:49] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. So, Tai, what's on your scrapbooking bucket list? So this is one story that you know you want to capture, but for some reason you haven't yet.

[00:09:00] Tai Cortes: You know, I was thinking about this and, and I, and I think, maybe not one story, but like a section of life. I, I feel like I need to start documenting some of those hard days. You know what I mean? Like the, the tantrums that she sort of has recently and, and I've been battling this too, and what kind of consequence or punishment goes along with misbehavior. Um, you know, when we, even for her, she's a picky eater and the, the daily fight to have her eat a, a variety of foods or even the same foods. Is just an everyday thing. And I feel like those stories are sort of missing in my wonderful, uh, scrapbookers, scrapbooking pages. Uh, simply because, you know, we, we have all these happy moments, these highlights, and I love them. And obviously I scrap so much, but the in-between stuff, you know, the hard days

[00:09:55] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:09:56] Tai Cortes: That are never documented, because don't get me wrong, I don't think I'll have a picture, you know, of said tantrum or a difficult night of feeding her. Uh, but at least the journaling card or something that goes in between the happy photos. Because I feel like that's the stuff like even if my mom would have done, you know, documenting the context, like was I a difficult kid, mom. Was was I a eater? Like, I don't know, even for myself, 'cause I'm like the first memory keeper in my family. Um, you know, she just gave me, I inherited box, shoe boxes of photos from my childhood. But I think if we were to look back on it, Valentina. Looking back on these, I feel like those stories in between need to be there. And, and so it's like my on my bucket list to document some of these hard things.

[00:10:42] Tai Cortes: Even lately too, we're, we're trying to potty train her of the last bit of like overnights, so you don't put her in pull-ups. And let me tell you, I've done sheet laundry. Like every day this week, you know.

[00:10:55] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah.

[00:10:57] Tai Cortes: But it's like the season of the life, you know? This story should go before all the fun, you know, Halloween costume photos in my album.

[00:11:04] Jennifer Wilson: Well, and that's, that's the reality of it, for sure. So for our conversation today, I was looking at your Instagram and trying to, I don't know, get you, without having known you yet. And I noticed that you love a lot of different things. There's not just one type of project, one style of scrapbooking that you use. And I would, I would consider your style very wide ranging from very minimal to very, not at all, minimal. So how would you describe your kind of overall aesthetic preferences in scrapbooking?

[00:11:40] Tai Cortes: I know my Instagram, it's, it's, it's, uh, not to say a facade, I guess. I guess it is. I, I do, I dabble in a, a lot. Because I think for me, I'm still trying to always hang on to what was first for my scrapbooking. Which is my home is 12 by 12 layouts. And I always love the 12 by 12 layouts 'cause it's the most creative slash artistic for me.

[00:12:04] Tai Cortes: And I, and I love playing with the physical product. Um, I do believe when I became a mom, so my daughter's five. Um, I, when my, my pregnancy was awful and I almost stopped. For the lack of better words, you know, like stop scrapbooking. 'Cause I felt like I was sick and I didn't have time. And that first year of motherhood definitely took away some of said time. And, and then I just needed to go smaller, you know, to stay current.

[00:12:33] Tai Cortes: So I then started doing like six by eight and like notebook scrapbooking, I would almost call it. When you use like the Heidi Swapp Storyline Chapters or traveler's notebooks are quite common. Because the scale came down. And so I found my groove with that size inversion, still loving 12 by 12, but knowing that I didn't always have an hour or two to dedicate to just one layout. And it was more for me to get those stories told and not forget that I went sort of smaller in nature.

[00:13:07] Tai Cortes: And that's, I guess, where I'm morphed today, where I definitely still love my 12 by twelves and I do find time for them when I can. But when I'm telling more of the story, like more words and can keep it minimal with like a great photo or two, that's when I find myself leaning towards the six by eight. Because it is a little bit more minimum. So to stay current, my formula is minimal for the bigger, larger stories. 'Cause I can keep the photo with one or two. And if I have a pocket of time, like once she goes to bed per se. I can dedicate to, playing with a Silhouette and a cut file. And backing the cut file and, and fussy cutting some embellishments out and really making it, a pretty layout creatively for me. So I, I like to say, I, I just, I, I guess have the time to do both when possible.

[00:14:00] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah. Yes. No, it's kind of best of both worlds for sure. What about colors and patterns and motifs? What do you gravitate towards?

[00:14:09] Tai Cortes: I, I feel like I'm definitely a colorful person. If it's colorful, I am all for it. Um, I do stay away from the neutrals, but you know what I'm learning to embrace the neutrals lately, I feel. I mean even like say in in your own personal wardrobe, what we wear, but you know, before I would always want leopard print.

[00:14:28] Tai Cortes: Um, but now I find, well, let's just get, you know, the, the classic white tee on. . So, so so I feel that, colorful always. And then if there's a flower involved, ooh, I will throw any embellishment that has a flower in the collection on it. And I will use it over and over. Uh, I do enjoy a nice big, bold title, uh, is usually my aesthetic.

[00:14:53] Tai Cortes: And I think also, like all my layouts will always have a title . I think it just gives it kind of a, a theme. Um, so that it, even if someone doesn't, you know, that's looking around, it isn't reading, uh, the story per se, they definitely can say, you know, if it says, you know, uh, autumn leaves and you know, it's, you know, seasonally what, what's going on there? So definitely colorful, floral and nice titles are, grace.

[00:15:19] Jennifer Wilson: Do you like to fussy cut flowers out of papers?

[00:15:24] Tai Cortes: All the time. It's it for me. I do it at night too, while, while listening to an audio book, book or a podcast. It's like a relaxing thing for me. And, and those that fussy cut understand, you're either team fussy, cut or you're not team fussy cut, you know. And it's, it's, it's definitely for me, a relaxing activity.

[00:15:43] Jennifer Wilson: It has grown on me over time. I don't like to do it all the time, but sometimes I'm like, you know what? This is the best choice for me in this moment, and it is very like relaxing and repetitive.

[00:15:55] Tai Cortes: And then there's always like the paper mess, you know, with the little bits that land on the carpet. Yeah. And that's.

[00:16:00] Jennifer Wilson: Oh my gosh. You know I have, there's between my craft room and the cats coming in here and dragging paper all over. And the fact that our cats love to play with paper balls, there's just like paper everywhere in our house.

[00:16:15] Tai Cortes: Yep. That's the same, even like with glitter, you know, during like the holiday season, like glitter is on your carpets and in your hair for, for weeks after Christmas and the holidays.

[00:16:24] Jennifer Wilson: I had a, a glitter embossing powder incident recently. And, um, I was trying to go like really thick, but not realizing when I turned on the heat gun, it was gonna blow it all everywhere.

[00:16:36] Tai Cortes: Oh yes. And have you ever left your like ceiling fan on when you've done that too in the beginning? Oh, it already initially blows it everywhere.

[00:16:44] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Oh my gosh. Now I wanted to go back to one point you, you were talking about with our, our wardrobes and, and choosing those neutrals and basics. And I think this goes with so many different areas of our life is that when we do that, it almost provides an invitation for more color and creativity elsewhere. It's like almost like kind of grounding yourself in like a simple base so that you can maybe choose the crazy accessory later or feel like you can bring more color in elsewhere. I don't know, it's just something that I've been thinking a lot about too.

[00:17:21] Tai Cortes: No, absolutely, and I think that goes along where, how I said like if I get like, so in my six by eight per se. I get like usually my, my formula lately is like one big full page photo on, on a six by eight, and then the other side is a pocket page. But on that six by eight, full page photo. I feel like that's your base, right?

[00:17:37] Tai Cortes: That's what is the base for it. And then on that, I can embellish it with a big, bold title or a big bold cluster because it's only gonna be the one, it's gonna be striking on its own. And, and that's all it needs, you know? And that's all it needs. A, a little something, a little pop, a little a little cluster of something.

[00:17:56] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. Now, am I recalling that you also do a little memory planning too?

[00:18:01] Tai Cortes: I do. So when I first, so like I said about becoming a mom, I think that's always like a pivotal thing for many of us. Uh, you know, mother scrapbookers, you know, when I, when you have a newborn, like time is limited. And that first year, so 2018, I did memory planning as like my priority. Um, and I love them. I actually have done memory planning for about five years.

[00:18:25] Tai Cortes: I have five completed ones. And I will only say maybe this year I've strayed away from it because I think I got such a nice groove going on with six by eight storytelling that I felt it was a little, uh, redundant. But man, my memory planner is chockfull of memories from that newborn year because I didn't concentrate, you know, on doing 12 by twelves when you have a newborn.

[00:18:48] Tai Cortes: But I printed smaller photos and wrote day-to-day stuff. You know, the troubles with breastfeeding or Valentina slept through the night kind of moments. Or the cute little, you know, uh, baby talk that she has are all in those on a weekly spread. I did use the Happy Planner for all of these, um, as well. And it, it's good.

[00:19:10] Tai Cortes: It's a good start place I feel for like new moms or just yeah, new moms in general. If you wanna do some sort of memory planning, and memory keeping. That a planner is sort of that little beacon for, or was a beacon for me to write, every once in a while. You know, I kept it in the nursery and whenever something was doing, when she was napping, I would jot something down and if I took a picture later on, I would, I paste it in there. And it was easy to keep up with and easy to stay current in, in my opinion. With just having one, you know, two page spread for the whole week. And it told the stories that I needed to, and I've kept it up for five years. Um, and I love those, I love those on my shelf.

[00:19:52] Jennifer Wilson: You know, one thing popped into my mind as you were saying that, is imagine if we had the supplies that we have now back when you were doing study abroad. Because that would be a perfect approach for someone who is spending time away and wants to capture things, but not in a complicated method.

[00:20:11] Tai Cortes: Exactly, and that's what it was for me. That's what, what, what that project filled for me during that time. And that's so true. And the thing is though, even for now, like truly the Happy Planner is supposed to be a truly like functional planner. Um, but I took it as well. I'm gonna sticker it up and use different color inks and add little photos and, not use it for functional planning. , I'm gonna keep all my memories in here. And it, it was great. And I do, I think I always recommend, 'cause I have, you friends even and family that are just like, you do so much memory keeping, how do you do it? Or where should I start if I wanna do something? And I think I always lead to a planner and I always just say, just start with today's stories. Don't try to go back and catch up on five years of stuff. Just start with today and go from there. And if you have time to go back, go back. But just start, you know, just start.

[00:21:06] Jennifer Wilson: It is so important. 'cause sometimes it can feel intimidating if you're, you're new to it or you haven't been, um, scrapbooking or crafting in a long time. And maybe things are just a lot different than they used to be. Um, you know, we have this whole kind of vocabulary around what we do too. It can be intimidating sometimes.

[00:21:23] Tai Cortes: I know. Yep.

[00:21:24] Jennifer Wilson: We're slinging lingo around like crazy. And sometimes I have to remember that not everyone, you know, knows all of the words and we have to make sure we're being inclusive and welcoming to newcomers too.

[00:21:36] Tai Cortes: Even the same, um, 'cause I would say like my next go-to after I was doing memory planning is how I found Project Life. 'Cause I still do a 12 by 12 Project Life. And even when you say that to someone that doesn't understand, they're like, and, and what's Project Life? You know, and I'm trying to explain, oh, it's the pocket page system where you just, you know, can print your photos four by six wise and get a page and you just can keep it real simple and print the photos and add 'em into pockets and no must, no fuss. And, and even that terminology is, is foreign for those that aren't in the creative world with us.

[00:22:08] Jennifer Wilson: So are you doing a 12 by 12 Project Life simultaneously with the memory planner?

[00:22:14] Tai Cortes: I, I, I actually do. And I know that also seems sort of redundant, but I feel like, and actually no, that's true. So I do do 12 by 12 po, project Life. I don't ever photograph it though, you know, even for my Instagram feed. It's, I do it monthly. So the pressure of weekly, which I guess where the project first was intended to be, that pressure was too much for me. So I just do it as a monthly approach. And my system for it is just to kind of have a fo a folder on my phone of my favorites. You know, my favorite photos. And I'll do the three by four vertical cards as well as the horizontal. And I just send them to print or I print them here. And then I just kind of pop lop 'em in the pages and then have subscribed to enough kits and stuff, or scrapbooking paper that I have while I'll just cut pattern paper into it. So, um, the point is, is that I feel like my Project Life is very photo heavy without the words, and that's where my six by eight still comes in. Because I will journal a lot more on those layouts than in Project Life. Project Life is kind of like putting a label sticker and just doing, who, what, when, why, real quick.

[00:23:25] Jennifer Wilson: Okay. So it's almost like a, the way we used to treat photo albums, but with a little bit of, you know, added creative touch to it.

[00:23:32] Tai Cortes: Yes, yes.

[00:23:34] Jennifer Wilson: Now, does what you document in your memory planner inform your choices for the Project Life?

[00:23:41] Tai Cortes: Uh.

[00:23:42] Jennifer Wilson: I don't think it's redundant. I just, I, I don't, that seems, uh, stressful to me personally.

[00:23:48] Tai Cortes: Right, because it seems like I'm doing three at the same time. Well, no. See, and that's why I say I think my memory planner has fallen to the wayside since summer. So like May, June and July. I really haven't used my memory planner. I hate to admit. Um, because I think with Project Life, I think I've done, you know, a sentence here or there on the photos that get put into there. But like six by eight and my 12 by 12 that I spend time on. I just have a little bit more of the words put into it. So, so you can look at either, so I feel like if I had a guest over, like if it's just my mom, she just wants to see like all the happy times, like the highlight reel. That's when for me, I think Project Life comes into play.

[00:24:29] Tai Cortes: 'Cause I print like the favorites. Where the six by eight is more of the stories, like how I was feeling. If you know, what emotion did it bring? I feel like, you know, and with that, I almost wanna get better at creative writing because sometimes I feel like I don't get the, the emotional element all the time, so I'm working on that.

[00:24:48] Tai Cortes: But six by eight is more for the big photos and longer journaling. If you ever wanna sit down and, and like read a memoir, read, you know, take my six by eight album out. If you wanna see highlight reel, look through my 12 by 12 Project Life.

[00:25:04] Jennifer Wilson: And, and how does One Little Word fit into all that?

[00:25:07] Tai Cortes: So One Little Word. Um, this year, it's my first year that I would say I have, uh, ventured into having a separate six by eight album for it. I've tried it in the past, like in a notebook or here and there, and. It's been a project I've dropped. You know, I'll be honest, but One Little Word right now I think has been more for me.

[00:25:30] Tai Cortes: Sometimes I think as the memory keeper of the family, most would agree that sometimes we forget to put ourselves into the story, you know? Or even us ourselves into the photo. I'm always documenting, my husband and my dogs and my daughter. And One Little Word has been that like inclusive little project where it's just me. How I'm feeling, what's going on? Am I struggling? Do I got it together? Am I stressed out? And that longer journaling on my own self and how I'm doing and what I'm feeling is in that album more. And also because I've gotten used to in that project recently, taking more selfies as, as, that might sound selfish, but to.

[00:26:14] Jennifer Wilson: Not at all.

[00:26:15] Tai Cortes: To see myself. 'Cause again, like I find sometimes I'm probably not always aware that I don't put myself in the photos with my family 'cause I'm taking said photo. Uh, so in that One Little Word project, my word this year has been Balance. Where for me, I'm just trying to get, uh, overall like better habits. In, in, different, you know, chapters of life like health and wellness, you know, uh, self-care, motherhood, and my professional life.

[00:26:41] Tai Cortes: And sometimes some of them struggle. So with the word Balance, I'm just trying to be aware. That I'm let you know, neglecting some areas and usually, let's be honest, us mothers, it's usually self-care, mental health.

[00:26:56] Jennifer Wilson: Hmm. Yes.

[00:26:57] Tai Cortes: And to be aware of it. So I think that's where that project has come in for me is, is more of checking in with myself. And, and I could appreciate it has, it has a value on my shelf as a project that I, I show up for monthly.

[00:27:12] Jennifer Wilson: I am, I am perceiving that you have a very kind of, uh, you give yourself a lot of permission to say, I'm, I'm contributing what I can to the format that makes sense for the time and interest I have right now. And if I have to let things go, that's okay. Is that accurate?

[00:27:32] Tai Cortes: Absolutely. And I think, I think us as scrapbookers memory keepers, we, we have to do that. I think sometimes we are, we are so inspired, you know, I, I, I share on face, on, on YouTube and, and Instagram to inspire others. Like, look what I did with said collection, or look how I documented, such and such. And, and so I too, I get inspired by everyone else that posts too. So you wanna try it all. At least that's how I look at it. I wanna do that, I wanna do that. And you have great intentions. We all do. We have great intentions. I'm gonna do those extra projects. But for some, for some of them, I have let them go because. Either a, maybe too much time consumption. Um, because I still hold priority to the ones I've mentioned.

[00:28:19] Tai Cortes: You know, the 12 by 12, my 12 by 12 layouts and my six by eight. So if, if I could spend my time doing that, I will. So similarly, um, I did like a, I've tried to do multiple years, like a reading journal for all the books I read. And I find that I don't, I don't fi like I do wanna recommend books. And I do remember, and I have a list. But as far as making a spread in said journal and the ratings and writing down quotes and a synopsis. That was too much extra for me at this chapter of my life, the season of my life. Where I'd rather just have an ongoing list with my ratings.

[00:28:55] Tai Cortes: And so that project has sort of fallen to the wayside. And similarly with the, the memory planner. Like I said, since like May, June, July, it's been vacant. Um, simply because I think I reflected and like I, I use the word like redundant. 'Cause I always tried in my memory planner, I try to give myself a rule because obviously I take tons of photos and if I print one photo for Project Life or six by eight. Tai, try to use those alternates or some of those other viewpoints or angles that I took of a photo or of something that we were doing and use those. The other ones on the camera roll for memory planner. And so I just felt like those stories got a little bit repetitive even though I was trying to use different photos from similar events.

[00:29:41] Tai Cortes: And so that's also one that I let go. You know, just the season of life, because I've gotten in such a groove with six by eight, truly for the last like year, year and a half. It's been, it's been a fun size for me this year. So the, the memory planner has dropped off the, the, the list of projects that I, uh, show up for, uh, repeatedly.

[00:30:02] Jennifer Wilson: Now, what have your experiences this year with kind of thinking about your suite of projects and having, you know, an ebb and flow of excitement and commitment to something, how is that informing what you're thinking about for the future next year, et cetera?

[00:30:17] Tai Cortes: Yeah. You know my approach, I'd always. I think when, when I look at say, you know, your, your time limits, I think is always to be honest. Like, do I have enough time to do all of these projects or commitments and such? Because I truly think, like if I can project plan and then if my daughter goes to sleep on time and have those last two hours of awakeness at night, if I can crank them out, then great.

[00:30:44] Tai Cortes: You know? Uh, but if, if that doesn't happen and I don't get to a crafting session at night. It's harder to do these commitments. So similarly, um, I'm on a few design teams and when you're on a design team, you know, sometimes they ask for two or four projects a month, so I make sure to give those, you know, the adequate amount of time to showcase, you know, the collection and stuff.

[00:31:10] Tai Cortes: And I think that's why I also, you know, maybe keep my storytelling for the six by eight, a little bit more of a minimal approach because I do like to stay current. I keep that in mind too because if I fall too far behind, not that I won't get to it, but my memory stinks, you know, and I'll forget those details.

[00:31:30] Jennifer Wilson: It gets worse every year, doesn't it?

[00:31:34] Tai Cortes: So I do feel like staying current is, is, is important over, over a lot of the other things. So I might let go maybe an over complicated layout in order to still get it done and move along.

[00:31:47] Jennifer Wilson: You have a, yeah, you have a really good point there because, uh, we always think, oh, I'm gonna treasure this forever. And that happens when we scrapbook those stories , not because we've been able to remember all of them.

[00:32:00] Tai Cortes: Yeah. And you know, not, not to say regretfully, but I do like two projects. This is a little caveat, like two projects that I definitely need to like, kind of make time for. Is I wanna do like Halloween through the years, right? Because I always try to get her a fun Halloween costume, and they are in my albums, but I just want one place. I want one place, six by eight, preferably the size. Where I just ha you know, label it, uh, with, um, the year and like what her costume was that year, and a few highlights of trick or treating.

[00:32:31] Tai Cortes: And then the next page is just the following year. Just so that there's one book where all of her costumes she can see, like when she turns 18, if she wants to flip through one book and see all her Halloween costumes, I have it. So I wanna create that. And similarly, Like a birthday one. You know, the same kind of thing.

[00:32:47] Tai Cortes: Like her picture, what she looked like at one years old, two, three, and just have a birthday album and a Halloween album. All concise.

[00:32:56] Jennifer Wilson: I, oh, let me find, figure out. Okay, let's see. We are recording this in early October, and by the time your episode comes out, I will have one, um, from Kat Benjamin. And she does this 52 Favorites project, and she's doing it in a smaller size. She's doing it in four by four, but she uses this like amazing repetitive style where she finds all of her like word and phrase stickers in like a specific color scheme and puts them down the side of the page. When we're done here, I will send you the link and I'll also include it in the notes for this episode, but it seems like that would be a, an amazing format for these two projects that you just mentioned and of like visually striking, but using repetition so it's easier.

[00:33:44] Tai Cortes: Exactly. Exactly. 'Cause I feel like, like I said, like we have the pic, I have the pictures, I take the photo of like, said, you know, like her birthday. Um, but just to have them all together, one book. So, you know, say when she gets older, she may not wanna inherit, you know, the, the 25 albums that Im may have when she's 18.

[00:34:02] Jennifer Wilson: Yes.

[00:34:03] Tai Cortes: But if she wanted to pick and choose just like a few of her favorites, maybe those are the two that she would wanna like trek along with her to college or something. And just kind of flip through, nostalgically.

[00:34:15] Jennifer Wilson: Yeah, that's definitely one of the hardest things is, is um, embracing that, uh, your people, whoever your people are, may want some of your stuff, but not all of it. And how do you kind of curate that for them so that those, the best stories, the most important ones, the life lessons that you wanna share are, you know, most visible and, and most, uh, take-able to somewhere else. I guess.

[00:34:44] Tai Cortes: Yeah, no. You know, and I think about that. But don't get me wrong, I think truly though, let's be like for first and foremost, this hobby is for me, me alone. If my little Valentina says when she's 18 or 21 or whenever it is that, you know, she moves out, that doesn't want, not one of these albums. That's okay. I did it for me. You know, you were just the main character in these albums because, you know, I'm your mom and I love you so much and this is, my love language. You know, like I, I document, I capture her. I, I snap a photo when, you know, she's reading a book. I snap a photo when she gives the dogs a hug.

[00:35:20] Tai Cortes: I snap a photo when she's eating dinner because, you know, I love the way her nose scrunches up. That, that I am an observer, you know, for her life. I'm her witness. And if she graduates and she says, Ugh, mom, these are so embarrassing. I don't want any of these albums. That's okay. But exactly. But if you wanna take one or two, there's like a section on the shelf.

[00:35:40] Tai Cortes: You can only take these. And I kind of, and I'm doing that lately too. I've been using one insert notebook from Heidi Swapp Chapters. For, I call 'em my school year, my school year inserts. So I have one for pre-K last year. I have one now for kindergarten. And if I keep the traditional alive one little notebook for school highlights.

[00:36:02] Tai Cortes: And if she wants to maybe take that series, she can. She's welcome to that. But if she doesn't wanna take the rest, I, I'm okay with that.

[00:36:10] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, that's, I mean, one of many things we have to kind of accept and, and work through our own feelings about. Uh, but yeah, I'm so glad you underscored that. You know, we're choosing to do this hobby because it makes us feel good. It helps us like be connected to our gratitude, you know, it's fun. Helps us connect with others who have similar ideas.

[00:36:30] Jennifer Wilson: And if someone wants to appreciate that someday, you know, we hope they will.

[00:36:34] Tai Cortes: Yeah, and, and, and what's funny too, it almost becomes, you know, especially for the sentimental aspect, like a, a family project. Like I will, you know, my husband too, he knows. And truly at this point too, my five-year-old kind of knows. Not that I keep every single little bit of stuff, but they already know.

[00:36:53] Tai Cortes: It's kinda like this on ongoing thing, like, you know, uh, for like business cards or, you know, um, holiday cards and birth. I keep that stuff, you know. Ticket stubs. Nope. Don't throw 'em away. Mommy needs them.

[00:37:04] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. No, my family is the same way. They're always like bringing me things and, and I don't use a ton of memorabilia like during like December Daily or those types of albums. I'll maybe create a little pocket to put 'em all in, but I'm typically not including it as part of a page. But I am constantly receiving things of like, mommy, I thought you might wanna scrapbook this.

[00:37:23] Jennifer Wilson: Or even my husband, like, go on a trip and bring back things for me and.

[00:37:28] Tai Cortes: Yeah, even like right now, she had like a, something from like the Happy Meal box and, and it was just like the corner title and she literally, she just offered it. She was like, would you like to keep this mommy?

[00:37:39] Jennifer Wilson: I love it.

[00:37:40] Tai Cortes: And I'm like, you know what, yes, I would. 'cause you brought it to me. And sometimes I do have a little bit of like a, Smash book where I'll just plunk those things in with a little blurb.

[00:37:48] Tai Cortes: Like, this is a Happy meal, 2023 . Uh, because, because sometimes it's cute. I, I, I, at least I find it, some people might think I'm a little too much with it. But even in high school, I remember even moving out, you know, you keep shoe boxes. I kept shoe boxes full of that stuff. Um, you know, old boyfriend letters when we folded 'em up, looking like those little, like triangle things, you know, when we pass notes in class.

[00:38:11] Jennifer Wilson: Oh yeah, I still have those. And they're still folded.

[00:38:13] Tai Cortes: Yes, I do too. And they're like in a tin can. And I found a box of them the other day and I sat on the garage floor reading some of these. They're hilarious. They're hilarious. The things that were important, you know, like sitting next to me at lunch, Rebecca, you know.

[00:38:29] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Oh my gosh. This, yeah, I did. I recently went through a large box and tried to condense it into a much smaller box, and it was hard to let go of some of those things, but, um, it was nice to just sit and kind of reminisce in, in that time period.

[00:38:43] Tai Cortes: Yeah. And I even have like old, like holiday cards, you know, and, and those that would write like what they gave me, like, I hope you enjoy that necklace so that I gifted you. And I, I just, I just like it because if I don't have a photo, I still have that card and I remembered it, you know, I can go back to be like, oh yeah, my roommate did gimme that necklace.

[00:39:00] Tai Cortes: I wonder when I lost it. You know, and that's what it is. 'cause I do wish sometimes too, like I mentioned, my mom, uh, you know, when they were moving, uh, they, they live close to me now, but when they were moving from their, my childhood home to come down here from New York. All I got was just boxes of photos, you know, there, there was no books there.

[00:39:22] Tai Cortes: You, some of them were in albums and there's, and and stuff. And for my little sentimental heart, I was like, looking at my mom like just so mad. I was like, you know, there's no context to any of this. We don't even know where we were in these photos. . And I looked at her like, how come you don't, you didn't memory keep like I do.

[00:39:39] Tai Cortes: And she just looked at me. She was like, what is that? You know, mija, what? What are you talking about? Memory keep. I have the photos. Take the photos.

[00:39:47] Jennifer Wilson: Mm-hmm.

[00:39:48] Tai Cortes: And I'm like, I how you were feeling. I dunno where we were. How old was I in this photo? You know, like.

[00:39:55] Jennifer Wilson: So one topic, kind of shifting gears here that I wanted to make sure we covered is that you actually do a lot of hybrid work to create your pages and projects. Um, but someone like looking at your Instagram quickly might not realize that at all. So I'm curious, what do you want more people, our listeners to know about the digital products that are available today and how traditional scrapbookers use them?

[00:40:20] Tai Cortes: You know, for me with the digital aspect, I guess the best part is always you can reprint your favorite pattern paper over and over again. Or you can reuse certain elements more than once is, is the like beauty behind, uh, printables and, and digital products. Because you can use a title you like on a photo, you know, over and over again, especially when you're kind of cultivating your style or keeping up with a, a formula that will help you stay current and consistent.

[00:40:54] Tai Cortes: I think that helps a lot when you are using digital products. It also lets you have, I almost feel too, you know, you have more products, you know, 'cause they're, they're a little bit less, you know, they're less expensive than buying the physical all the time. So you could buy, you know, a couple of different kits or collections, digitally, print them as you need them and use them over and over again.

[00:41:17] Tai Cortes: So there's, there's beauty in that because sometimes, let's be honest, we buy a paper pad. Say, you know, for me, like a Maggie Holmes paper pad and you only get one of a pattern paper. Well man, that's where my hoarding comes in. I don't wanna use that beautiful floral paper yet until I have the perfect layout. And, and then, but if I had the digital, I could use it over and over again. So, so there is that, that luxury for, for digital and hybrid is because, hey, if you like that patterned paper and you wanna use it on five projects, print it five times. . That is the awesomeness.

[00:41:50] Jennifer Wilson: I had to start going to single sheet so that I could have one to use as is and one, or to cut into, you know, rectangles or whatever and one to fussy cut. So.

[00:42:00] Tai Cortes: Absolutely. Exactly. It's when we buy multiples, hence we spend more money.

[00:42:04] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes.

[00:42:05] Tai Cortes: And I'm still guilty of it because, let's be honest, like December Daily, man, any, any collection that has a floral, I, I do. And that's automatically what I do now as well is put two in the cart. One, one that I'll cut up and one that I may hoard.

[00:42:18] Jennifer Wilson: They're so beautiful. There's, I mean, there'll always be more beautiful things, but, um, I think, I don't know something about the accessibility of design today. I feel like it's almost, uh, like the embarrassment of richest type of thing. Like even whether it's a scrapbook store or going to Hobby Lobby, I'm like, everything is so pretty. I can never make any decisions.

[00:42:41] Tai Cortes: I know, and that's the thing, like we said too, like if we ever had the products we have today available, like when we were in high high school. Um, you know, my mom would probably you know, I would probably get a part-time job sooner in high school, you know, because because I would wanna buy all the things and not have to ask my mom for, you know, $20 every Friday, uh, to go to the craft store. Uh, thankfully I'm a young professional and I don't, I can buy what I want.

[00:43:08] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes.

[00:43:10] Tai Cortes: Because man, it, it is true. And I, I always feel, like I said about the budget, like I always try to be good. But it's like, Hmm, I want three sheets of that though.

[00:43:22] Jennifer Wilson: Well, in December Daily seems to always, uh, burst the budget too, I think.

[00:43:27] Tai Cortes: Absolutely. And even for like, when we say like, we learned our style. Like so before too, like even probably I would say even like two or three years ago, say a collection came out, I would buy the papers. One of each, I would buy the one ephemera pack and the one, uh, alpha with it and, and try to make as much as possible. But now

[00:43:45] Jennifer Wilson: Now there's like four or five ephemera packs.

[00:43:47] Tai Cortes: Yeah, or for me, what I've realized is like, Tai, you know, you love the floral, so go ahead and buy three of those ephemera packs. Because I'm gonna add the floral to like everything I make with the collection. But that's just kind of learning your style, you know? 'Cause buying one does nothing for me.

[00:44:06] Jennifer Wilson: No, that is very true. And to really pay attention to like, what do you keep using up? And for me it's, well, it's, it's florals and leaves and botanicals and anything kind of organic shape that I could tuck behind something. Um, those are all gone and I have lots of like weird like deers and hedgehogs.

[00:44:20] Tai Cortes: Yeah. big shaped ones.

[00:44:21] Jennifer Wilson: Left in my drawer.

[00:44:22] Tai Cortes: Yeah, The big oddball ones. Like all the time when, anytime it includes like a car, a van, or a bike. I find those pieces very hard to use, for me. But yes, if a floral bit is there and, and what I also think I, I've bought a lot more like die cuts of, you know, like leaves and florals because I can then cut up the pattern paper and use it, or just to have more leaves exactly like a leaf. I'll throw leaves on everything.

[00:44:48] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. So nice. So Tai, you've been on YouTube for eight years. Um, that, is that how long you've been married?

[00:44:57] Tai Cortes: Uh uh, just about. Yep. Yep. 'cause when I moved over here, yeah. Uh, it's funny.

[00:45:01] Jennifer Wilson: I noticed like yeah, that your, your style though, even though you're using different products, there is a certain degree of like, consistency and like, use of mixed media, color. What, why do you continue to create content for others? Like what keeps you going with YouTube and what are you hoping to do more of? Uh, in the new year?

[00:45:23] Tai Cortes: You know, for YouTube, I think let's, you know, a lot of us when we start YouTube, you just like cross your fingers that a few people will like it and, and a few people will watch. . And for me, YouTube when I first started was exactly that. Like you first start out with very low expectations. Um, but, it helps you build a community.

[00:45:43] Tai Cortes: Uh, 'cause for me too, in real life, I don't have anyone that lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, that's scrapbooks with me. So I have to connect online, I have to meet, um, you know, simple like si similar to you, like other states that are there. But we share this hobby. So when I post on YouTube, I love the comments that come on there.

[00:46:06] Tai Cortes: I love that I encourage everyone to visit me more on the Instagram 'cause I can be a little bit more interactive there rather than just a comment. And, and I love that. I love when a subscriber or just a friend, you know, scrap lifts me or, uh, says that I inspired them to try, said technique with mixed media, or they did learn something.

[00:46:27] Tai Cortes: That is why I, I keep it going. Because you know, YouTube, you do it for the love of it. You know, because some of it does take time. You, you film, you edit, you do a voiceover, you upload. That's all a process, and I still do it. Uh, but, but because I love it, I, it's still part of this hobby that I love. And I like to inspire others just like I had, I mentioned like everyone inspires me.

[00:46:49] Tai Cortes: It's, and it builds community there. Don't get me wrong. And I feel like, you know, what I have to do next is, you know, how have like a Facebook group or something where I can get a little bit more involved with some subscribers and answer more questions. I've also thought of perhaps offering like a class, a mini class or having, because I know YouTube actually offers like membership stuff. Kind of similar like a Patreon, uh, platform as well where, you know, you paid a little bit to subscribe, but you'll get like extra content from me.

[00:47:21] Tai Cortes: Just to build that intimacy and have a, a community because I love, like I said, I love when even on Instagram they'll reach out and, and you know, some of my subscribers similarly were like, did you get anything? What did you get from Ali Edwards Tai? You know, from the December Daily release. And I'm chit chatting with them in there, that's fun for me. 'Cause, 'cause like I said, there's no bestie across the street that I can scrapbook with. So all my besties are online,

[00:47:45] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. That's what I love about our online community, about, uh, talking to, uh, scrapbookers like you on the podcast and being able to, to connect with people all over the world about this hobby that we share.

[00:47:59] Tai Cortes: It is so true without, and I, I guess too thankful for the internet because once again, when you say if it was in high school, we, we didn't have internet friends . It wasn't there yet. So, you know, my sister had to scrapbook with me when I was in high school and she doesn't anymore. But you know, I made her when we were in our bedrooms together.

[00:48:18] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that's so funny.

[00:48:19] Tai Cortes: Yeah.

[00:48:20] Jennifer Wilson: So, Tai, can you share all the places we can find you online and anything else like you already have planned for the end of this year or the beginning of next?

[00:48:30] Tai Cortes: No. Yeah, for planning. Uh, the content is, you know, on my YouTube I do always anything I post on my Instagram. Which is momentstomemories.bytai. And it's the same on YouTube. So Moments to Memories by Tai, I kept them the same or similar. Uh, the projects you see on Instagram, I usually do have a process video on my YouTube channel. So I always like to link those together when I do posts, but sometimes, I'll be honest, I'm a little behind on editing.

[00:49:00] Tai Cortes: So my Instagram is usually, um, the most current, uh, with what I've created so far. And the YouTube video is just around the corner. So I do love both of those. And I'm just looking forward. 'cause December Daily will be, you know, I'll have some foundation pages. And my daily storytelling for that project, and until then, it's still like the, like I said, day-to-day stories for my six by eight. My 12 by 12. I currently am on two design teams, so I do like to show off their products that I've been sent. So that, you know, always helps to get inspiration in case someone's, you know, um, thinking about buying that collection. You know, you can see a few inspirational projects and get those creative juices flowing.

[00:49:45] Tai Cortes: So I do, will, will be posting some design teamwork on my feed as well. And those, yeah, the, those are the two main ones. Facebook, I'm there, but I'm not as active there. If you wanna find me, it's usually Instagram or YouTube for sure.

[00:49:59] Jennifer Wilson: Sounds good. We will include the links to those in our show notes for this episode. Thank you, Tai, for spending time with me.

[00:50:06] Tai Cortes: Thank you so much, Jennifer, for having me.

[00:50:08] Jennifer Wilson: And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.

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