Things You Should Know About Preserving Your Family Photos

I’m talking actual physical photos here folks, not that new-fangled digital stuff. [Seriously though, if you aren’t taking care of your digital photographs you are putting your memories in danger. Read up on some tips here. Maybe I’ll do a post on that later.]

1. It is all about storage. Storage, Storage, Storage.
In my opinion, the most important thing you can do to preserve your photographs for future generations is to store them in a place that is dry with a cool, stable temperature. No attic. No basement. No garage. Avoid direct sunlight. Bring those babies into your main house. Sure, there are lots more specific storage techniques (and I’ll talk about those in a minute), but you can make a huge difference just by doing this one simple thing. Don’t put this off – do it now!

Okay, let’s move on to something a little more advanced than that. I’m going to cheat here and take my information directly from the National Archives. (Pro tip #1: Trust a qualified source!)

“Look for paper enclosures that are made from a high quality, non-acidic, lignin-free paper (buffered or unbuffered are OK) made from cotton or highly purified wood pulps. . . . Look for plastic enclosures made from uncoated pure polyethylene, polypropylene or polyester (also called Mylar D or Mellinex 516). These are considered stable and non-damaging to photographs. Polyester is crystal clear and is more rigid than polyethylene and polypropylene. None of these recommended plastics have any odor to them, while polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic does have a strong odor (the new car smell). Avoid the use of PVC plastics–they generate acids which can fade the photograph in time. . . .

Photographs can also be stored in plastic pocket pages and standard size plastic sleeves, grouped in folders for organization, then stacked in a box. Photographs 8 x10 inches or smaller can be stored vertically on their long edges in standard size boxes which are available for many photographic formats, including modern and nineteenth-century photographs. Photos larger than 8 x 10 inches, or those with damaged edges (brittle, torn) should be stored flat in small stacks inside standard size boxes. Groups of similar sized photos which are all the same type, such as modern 4 x 6 inch color snapshots, or older 2-1/4 inch black-and white snapshots, can be stored vertically or horizontally together without extra housings–photos which are the same type are usually safe to store in contact with each other.

Boxes should be neither over stuffed or under filled. Over stuffing causes damage when photos are pulled out or filed away; under filling causes the photos to slump and curl.”

2. Watch those fingerprints.
I’m not saying you have to go out and buy white cotton gloves (although feel free if you want to be fancy!), but fingerprints will cause a lot of damage to your images. Always have clean hands when you will be handling your photos and always hold them by the edges. You won’t even see the oil residue you are leaving behind, but in a few years that tell-tale fingerprint will pop up. The only thing you can do at that point is to scan it and try to remove it digitally. Speaking of scanning. . .

3. Consider scanning.
Take the time to scan your photographs and create high-quality digital images. From there, you have the digital versions to view anytime you want, you could print off hard copies for family members to enjoy instead of the originals, or you could even create a fun photo book gift from one of the many websites out there. If you do scan, make sure you are taking the proper steps for long-term preservation of those files (see the link above to get started).

I feel like this should be common sense, but know from experience it is not – do not discard the originals after you scan them. Seriously people.

4. No rubber bands, paperclips, staples, or writing.
Rubber bands turn into this substance that is somehow hard and still sticky when they deteriorate. Paperclips and staples leave scrapes, indentions, or holes behind and can rust then they deteriorate. Writing? Yeah, that one might come as a surprise. When you write on the back of a photograph, it can very easily push through to the other sides. Even if you are delicate, ink contains acid that could cause problems in the future. If you want to label your photos, you can purchase a special acid-free pen or – at the very least – use a pencil.

5. Choose albums wisely.
If you like to store your photographs in easily accessible albums, pay careful attention to what you are buying. Photo and scrapbooks are pretty popular right now and it should be easy to find an album that uses “archival-quality” materials. Avoid those things with the sticky pages. No glue. No tape.

On My Television

voiceI Know That Voice (2013)

From Wikipedia:I Know That Voice is a documentary about voice acting . . . It is narrated by John DiMaggio,[1] the voice of Bender on Futurama, and stars John DiMaggio and many other voice actors, including Billy West, Tara Strong, Tom Kenny, Rachael MacFarlane, and Mark Hamill.”

My thoughts: Super good! I loved hearing from all of the animation voices I know from over the years. I especially enjoyed hearing all of the difficult work that went into each cartoon or film and about the difficulty of recording for video games. I recommend this for sure!

E-mail Order BrideNGC-US: Ep. Code 3979Email Order Brides (National Geographic)

From National Geographic: “Email Order Brides takes viewers inside the emotional and bizarre subculture of arranged marriages between American men and Russian women. This program follows newlyweds Dave and Anna, as the husband and mail order wife team attempt to make this unconventional form of match making mainstream. Their family business takes American men on a heart pounding and sometimes incredibly awkward journey to find true love in the former Soviet Block. With unprecedented access inside this taboo world, viewers will experience the emotional and bizarre subculture of arranged marriages between American men and Russian women.”

My thoughts: Um. . . this was bizarre. I nearly turned it off when the man running the U.S. side of the agency talked about his Russian wife not being 50 pounds overweight like an American woman her age. He was – of course – probably 50 pounds overweight himself. With the exception of one, the men were pretty off-putting (whether down right misogynistic or just awkward). On top of that, it just wasn’t very good. So, pass on this one.

junkieTV Junkie (2006)

From IMBD: “Rick Kirkham was a successful TV reporter, and could have been a major U.S. television profile if it hadn’t been for his massive drug and alcohol abuse. Kirkham filmed his life every day with a video camera from the age of 14 years. On the basis of his video material the story of his life is told in this documentary.”

My thoughts: This was painfully raw and at times difficult to watch. If you want to see a family living the so-called “American Dream” while dealing with drug addiction, this is the film to watch. Kirkham was a functional drug addict for much as the film and things slowly began to unravel and then plunge downward. It stayed with you for the rest of the evening – as a good documentary should. Highly recommended!

Saturday Review: EcoTools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge

I regularly use a Clarisonic to wash my face and love it; my skin looks great! It does present one particular problem for me though – I am messy. I don’t like using the Clarisonic when I’m not taking a shower and washing my hair. I just end up with water everywhere and soap in my hair.

I’ve been on the lookout for a gentle exfoliating product to use the other times I was my face. I have plenty of scrubs and exfoliating wash products, but I was really looking for something gentler. Something that I felt okay using everyday.

Enter the EcoTools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge [that lava rock looking thing on the right]. I bought this after hearing great reviews from people who got it for free in an Influenster box.

From the EcoTools website: The new unique Pure Complexion Facial Sponge is handmade with 100 percent natural ingredients, including Konjac vegetable fiber, for a better clean that reveals smooth, refreshed skin. It is dermatologist tested for use both morning and night to wash away dirt, oil and makeup, leaving skin glowing without over-drying or causing redness.

Pro: Love it! It does an excellent job washing my face, feels gentle, and restores my smooth skin. I don’t have any worries about using it daily. Plus, $5.99!

Neutral: It is a little hard to hold. When you first open the package, the sponge is hard like a piece of packing material, but a little trip into the water and it goes completely soft. It fits right into your hand, but can be a little difficult to grip.

Con: After using the sponge, you are supposed to rinse it out and leave it to air dry. After a week of use, my sponge has never dried completely between morning and evening uses. I’m concerned about issues this might cause as I continue to use it. So I’m keeping an eye on it.

Verdict: Recommended

Things You Should Know About [US] Copyright

What is it and when does it apply?
Copyright is complicated and the nuances are still argued in court. I’ll give you some basics here, but I am by no means a copyright lawyer. You should not use my informational post as a basis for a copyright claim.

Let’s start with the official U.S. Copyright Office definition (from “A form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for “original works of authorship”, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. “Copyright” literally means the right to copy but has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work.” Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, title, principle, or discovery. Similarly, names, titles, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, coloring, and listings of contents or ingredients are not subject to copyright.”

Copyright kicks in the moment you created a protected work. Automatically, no registration required. The little © isn’t even required. Officially registering your work however, creates an accepted public record of your copyright and is necessary if you need to pursue legal action in the future. This blog, for example, is automatically protected under copyright law, but is not officially registered with the copyright office.

FYI: There is no worldwide copyright law. Accepted practice varies. Have a couple of weeks and want to read the entire U.S. law, you can get it here.

FYI #2: Copyright, patent, and trademark are all different things. You cannot copyright a name for example, but could protect it through trademark. Visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Department for a simple explanation of the differences.

What is public domain?
A work is in the public domain if the copyright has expired or if the author has explicitly placed it in the public domain. You can use works in the public domain freely without obtaining permission. Generally, this applies to works published before 1923.

But it gets even more complicated: Works published between 1923 and 1977 are all over the place; use  this nifty slider chart to help you determine its status. For works published after 1977, the copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death (after the last surviving author’s death if multiple). Works from corporate authors are protected 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation (whichever is shorter). There are many exceptions however, as changing laws over the years have allowed for copyright extensions. As of right now, no new copyrights will expire and place works into the public domain until 2019 (see the copyright term extension act, also known as the Sonny Bono Act, or Mickey Mouse Protection Act).

FYI: Generally, documents created by the federal government are public domain.

What is fair use?
Let’s start with the U.S. Copyright Office definition again: “Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. . . . The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.”

Key points here – just because you cite your source doesn’t mean what you are using falls under fair use. Just because your purpose is education, doesn’t mean it is fair use (I can’t copy an entire book for my research purposes, for example). Another example, a high school student can freely quote from a source for use in a research paper, but cannot quote large sections in place of their own thoughts.

FYI: Your “fair use” of a work should not impact the originally author financially.

What is Creative Commons?
The best way to explain creative commons is to take it straight from their website (which I can do thanks to the terms of their CC license): “Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.” Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.”

What does this mean? Authors can decide to put a CC license for more flexibility in what they allow users to do with their work. It encourages sharing, because the use terms are clearly spelled out and often much more liberal than “all rights reserved.”

My opintion? Creative Commons is awesome.

Beauty Box. . . Battle?

Well, I guess beauty box battles are pretty much over on I unsubscribed to Ipsy, so I’m only getting Birchbox regularly anymore. I should have a couple of Memeboxes showing up in August though. Maybe I will throw something together next month. Plus, I could start doing some of my Korean beauty product hauls on here occasionally.

Here is the rundown of my July Birchbox:

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Creamy Lip Stain ($9.30)
I have way too many lip products, so I’m never excited to see them in my boxes. It will be good to trade though. Plus, I do love the other Cynthia Rowley products I’ve received.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel ($4.80)
I haven’t tried this yet, but I will for sure. This is a pretty expensive peel ($48.00 for 1.7oz), so it won’t be making it on my regular to-buy list though.

Juice Beauty® Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer ($9.94)
The website said I was getting the Booster Serum, but this showed up instead. Juice Beauty is one of my favorite brands (that I only discovered b/c of Birchbox). I’ll gladly add this to my moisturizer stash for future use.

Beauty Protector Protect & Treat Hair Mask ($6.50)
It is awesome they sent two sample bottles of this. I will really be able to give it a good try.

Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream ($0.93)
Smells good. Always nice to have some extra products like this in the stash.

Total cost: $10
Total value: $31.47

($41.47 if you count the magazine subscription that came with it, more on that later)

I’ll start off by telling you I was somewhat disappointed before this box ever arrived in the mail. Birchbox sent an email out a few weeks ago allowing you to select one of three colors of Ruffian nail polish (always awesome polishes!). You also have the option of following a link to select the lip stain instead or just be randomly surprised. I responded immediately and picked a beautiful polish color. There was an error though, so Birchbox sent another email later asking people to choose again. By the time I saw it, the polish color I wanted was long gone.

Other than that, I’m really pleased with this box. The box is a good value and the samples are good sizes. It also came with a card to claim a free one year subscription to Women’s Health or – if you pay attention to the card! – a $9.99 refund. I haven’t decided if I’ll get the subscription or the refund. But I will also get $5 in points for reviewing the products to eventually use in the Birchbox store (once I build my points back up, I recently spent my stash on a product I needed).

As always, if you want to sign up for your own Birchbox please be a dear and use my referral link.

Saturday Review: Dear by Enprani “Dreams Come True” Bounce Cheese Cream

wpid-20140719_084059.jpgI got this in the very first Memebox I purchased and instantly fell in love. This is the third jar I’ve used (and I only have one left in reserve! oh no!) and I would gladly adopt it as my regular daily moisturizer if I could purchase it locally.

Pro: First of all, how can you resist trying something called “bounce cheese cream?” The unique thing about this cream is the texture. It really is bouncy, but instead of trying to explain, I’ll just show you:


How cool is that?! It stretches pretty far, but this was the best I could photograph all by myself. I love that I can quickly scoop a little onto my finger and screw the lid back on the tub without making a mess. It blends into the skin flawlessly and keeps my moisturized all day. I’ve also found that it soaks into the skin pretty quick and I’m not waiting as long to start my makeup routine.

Neutral: None!

Con: It is a Korean beauty product that cannot be purchased locally. On top of that, I’ve only been able to find it for sale on one site that I know to reputable (very important when buying any cosmetics online, but especially foreign cosmetics).

Verdict: Highly recommended! You can buy it from Korea Depart if you want to give it a try. $25 for 75ml. You are also welcome to buy me some, as I will soon run out.

PSA: The Scar

I have a big scar on my chest. It is still red and expands into a silver dollar-sized circle at the top. I would have to wear turtle necks every single day to hide it, so you are probably going to notice it. That is fine.

Here is what you should do when you notice it:

1. Stop looking.
Okay, you saw it. Not stop being creepy. At this point you are just staring at my breasts.

2. Don’t ask questions.
There are a few exceptions to this one. It is okay to ask about my scar if you are:

  1. a child
  2. mentally disabled
  3. sporting a similar scar
  4. facing surgery that will result in the same scar
  5. an acquaintance I haven’t seen since before surgery (although at this point, that is unlikely)
  6. a new friend

3. Smile and move along.
The smile is optional, but I’m a southerner so let’s assume you will smile.

And done! Now, wasn’t that easy?

Look, it is great that you grandma had open heart surgery, came through it all okay, and has a similar scar . . . but I just don’t care. You are a stranger. Plus, I just told you it wasn’t heart surgery when you so rudely inquired into my medical health. The fact that your memaw* had clogged arteries doesn’t make us bosom buddies.

*It is almost always a memaw when I end up in these situations. Wonder if that is significant?

I tried to take a good photo of my scar to share with you all, but it ended up being mostly boobs and I just don’t want to share that here. I’ll leave you with Tina Fey instead.


Things You Should Know About Introverts



1) We need to recharge alone.
This right here is the cusp of the entire introvert v. extrovert debate (if there is one, anyway) – Introverts need to be alone to recharge. We tend to get completely worn out by socializing. This is basically what it means to be an introvert.

2) We don’t hate being around people, but we probably hate crowds.
I love being with people, but if you drop me into a large crowd I instantly feel like I’m alone and invisible. I try to avoid situations where I feel that way, so I may decline your open invitation to some random event. It doesn’t mean I don’t like to be around you, it just means I like to have more control over my surroundings.

3) We don’t mind silence.
I can sit beside you in silence and not think we are having a bad time. This is especially true on road trips and can be a little confounding to true extroverts. For this reason, I especially like going to the movies where it is already considered rude to chat. Rule #1 for dealing with introverts – Don’t tell me I’m “too quiet.” I hate that. Sorry I’m making you uncomfortable, but you really don’t get to decide how much I have to talk.

4) Just because we are introverted doesn’t mean we are shy.
Introvert and shy are actually two different things. Google it! In my case, I’m a shy introvert (the double whammy!).

5) We can turn on an extroverted personality when necessary, but it is especially draining.
See #1 and #2. I have no problem getting up in front of a group of people and giving a talk. I don’t even get nervous by a question and answer period. But – here is the thing – I will need major recharge time afterwards and I won’t be able to keep up this extroverted illusion all day. I can turn it on to dazzle a crowd, but if you take me out for lunch afterwards, I’ll probably just listen to you talk. I am an excellent listener.

6) We aren’t judging you.
See #3. Did I get quiet? Do I have a mean look on my face? I’m not judging you; I’m just wrapped up in my thoughts with my bitchy-resting-face on. I might have even forgotten you were there. Sorry, just poke me. I didn’t do it on purpose.

7) We secretly love it when you cancel plans.
I like being with you, but finding out I suddenly don’t need to be “on” and it wasn’t actually me that backed out? – priceless! Don’t worry if you have to cancel, I’m probably thrilled to be able to stay in my pajamas.

8) We can get very wrapped up in our own thoughts.
My inner monologue is epic. When you have a strong monologue constantly running in the background, it is pretty easy to settle-in and listen for a while. I have to work through things in my head before I proceed, so I usually need a few minutes. When I’m ready to move forward though, I am 100% on top of it!

9) We can be pretty bad at connecting.
You know when you have had a really bad day and you just want to call up a friend and chat? Yeah, I’m bad at that. I tend to wait for extroverts to reach out and include me, so when the time comes that I need support, I can be a bit lost.

10) We don’t like to hang around.
That time after an event or meeting ends and stragglers hang around to talk – yeah, I know this is the perfect time to make more plans, connect with new people, and get involved with future projects, but I really really really hate this. I’m probably already checking my phone in my car before you have even picked up your purse. Small talk with strangers is my kryptonite.

11) We have strong opinions.
Just because I have difficultly sharing them sometimes doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. Give me an extra minute to compose my thoughts and I will continue to push myself to speak up sooner. It is a give and take here.


You didn’t think I was going to let this show up on the internet without posting it here, did you? Weird Al Yankovic’s “Tacky” – a parody of Pharrell’s “Happy.”

I’m not sure why I wasn’t invited to be in the video. I’ll have to have my agent check on that.

I can’t get the video to embed, so you will have to click here to see it. It is worth it. Promise.

Also, where can I get a pair of those neon yellow houndstooth pants?

My [imaginary] office

When we moved into this house seven years ago, I had an office – a cozy office with a great big desk. When the little man joined the family, I had to [willingly] vacate my office and set back up in a small odd corner of the kitchen/dining area. Oh, how I miss that office.

I like to think that one-day we will be able to move into a larger house and I will once again have my office. In keeping with that fantasy, I’d like to take you on a little decorating journey. Here are the components of my future, fantasy office:

-A big desk, with just a little storage. I prefer to store things outside of the desk.

-A comfortable office chair for writing and working.

-A large storage unit with hide-holes everywhere.

-A large comfortable chair to curl up in for reading and thinking.

-A large lamp giving off a soft light just in one corner.

-Unique art that speaks to my personality.

Here is how that plays out in reality:

Playfullytacky's Office Re-do


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