Week in the Life : Mid-Week Observations + Responses to Questions


[ this is where I found him when I got up this morning : Little Einsteins on the computer + in real life ]

Mid-Week Observations

I love that this is one of those projects that always makes me think. It gives me the opportunity to take a look at my life and see what things are really important, what I love, what I dislike (and potentially the chance to change those things), and how I am living from day to day.

I love that many of you are changing up the project to make it fit your life. That is perfect.

It is ok to have the same photos from day to day. That is part of our lives and part of the story that most of us live.

It is ok to have some of the same words from day to day. Here's the thing: your routine may be the same but I bet your thoughts may be different. Why not include some of those in there as well. Or focus on something else like your gratitudes for the day or a list of some of the things you did at work. It does not have to be a list format of what you have done over the course of the day.

I love that many of you are playing with and learning how to use your cameras more. Me too! That tip from Tracey the other day about changing your ISO (this is if you are shooting on P or manual I think...rather than my go-to running man) made a HUGE difference for me last night at the dark pool and this morning in the house.

I love that many of you are using your blog to document your photos + words.

I love that we all have very different lives but have something in common through our love of this creative process. Some of us work from home, others work in an office, others are stay at home moms, students, disabled, etc. We all have something to share in this process. Our stories are all important.

I love that many of your are handing your cameras over to your spouses or your kids and involving them in the project.

Avoiding burn out : Let yourself go in terms of feeling like you have to capture every little thing. Find a rhythm for yourself and go with it. We are mid-way through the project - keep going!

Don't stress about the format: focus on the now. This project will come together.

There is no right or wrong way. You can do this.

Responses To Questions From The Last Post

Lady Scrapsalot : When it comes time to make the album I'll be missing pictures of my
daughter's preschool, which we went to twice this weeks and both times
I forgot the camera. If it was you would you "cheat" and take a picture
say next week and insert it, or just leave it out all together? I
suppose I could photograph the art she came home with...

A : I would just go ahead and add one next week. The main idea here is a specific week, but in reality, no one will ever know that you took it a week later. If it is an important part of your story right now then I would include it.

Carrie : Do you think it would be weird to enlist my sitter in this endeavor?
My little guy is 15 months, and while I am pretty up to speed with how
his days go, it would be fun for me to see how he spends his days with

A : I love this idea. Why not?

Jan : I love the calendar on the clipboard!  Where did you get the calendar?

A : That calendar was a download at marthastewart.com. You can find it here.

Carol : I love all of your little close ups of daily life. They make for neat
compositions. I haven taken some of those, but I need tips on how to
make the "big picture" photos (of an entire room or whatever) come out
looking well-composed. Sometimes these seem to be the ugliest shots,
but also the most interesting down the road.

A : Great point Carol. I also think it is important to have a variety of views to showcase many of those cool things that often blend into the background. I love many of my photos from my parents that include all the crazy stuff in the background.

When I approach a whole room I tend to find a corner, back myself in as far as I can and take a look through the viewfinder. I often will try all the corners of the room to see which one has the best light and which one can document the most. We have a small house with small rooms and it is a challenge to fit the whole room in a shot (a different lens would make this easier...but the ones I have are not wide-angle enough). Another idea to consider is to shoot one side of the room and then another and either put them together in your album or stitch them together in your photo-editing program.

JennyG : What will you do for the first page of the album?..I noticed on
some of the past albums from your class that there was a calendar.

A : Not sure yet. In the past I did use a calendar and in another year I did a square-punch collage of a bunch fo my favoites from the week. I am guessing I will lean that way.

Niki : I was wondering when you use the trading card page protectors do you cut your pictures to fit or get them resized somewhere.

A : I will probably just crop them to fit.

Michelle : Do we only scrapbook the good things? Because sometimes in a normal
average week - we just get this huge blow and it changes everything. I
think that it is important to remember the good and the bad. LIFE. I
think I am going to try next week to start this project over. Perhaps
it will be a good way to count my blessings when I am feeling blue.

A : First off, I am so sorry for your loss. I think this is a really personal decision. I think that scrapbooking can be a way to grieve and can help in moving forward (when you are ready) but timing should come into play at some level. It sounds to me like you answered your own question in this case. Peace to you Michelle.

Tracie : Can you share the recipe for the yummy looking pasta?

A : Thanks Tracie - it is super easy: whole wheat penne pasta + sauce from Trader Joes (I think it was three-cheese).

Noelia : On day 2 of this project I became very sick with a cough/cold and my
routine has been different than it normally is. Another thing that
happened is that my husband's car broke down and it made for some
changes in our regular routine as well. My week so far doesn't look
anything like a normal week would. Should that matter? I thought about postponing this project until I'm better so it can reflect our daily lives. Any thoughts on this?

A : Here's the deal - there is no perfect week. "Normal" is whatever you are living right now. Stuff comes up all the time for all of us and it is all part of our story, a part of our normal. Obviously, the decision is totally up to you but I think it all makes a pretty good picture of real life ;).

Heather : Sigh. I realized last night that I've taken a ton of pictures and
totally neglected to write ANYTHING down. Should I keep going? Help.

A : Don't despair. Keep going. Maybe your book will just document your life in photos and you can add thoughts/observations/etc when you put the album together. Again, there is no right or wrong way to complete this project.


Feel free to continue commenting and sharing here. I will be around today to answer questions in the comments section.


A complete list of posts related to the week in the life project can be found here.

70 thoughts

  1. Beth

    2008-10-02 10:46:03 -0400

    Just wanted to express appreciation for your willingness to share this with all of us and cheerlead us. I am loving this experience and it is really eye-opening. I have 5 small children and I knew we were busy but this is making me look at our lives in a new way. Like you said today--seeing what I love and want to keep and what I can really let go.
    Thanks again!!

  2. Expat

    2008-10-02 10:47:07 -0400

    Ali, thank you so much for this project. I now have photos of everyday things that never would have been photographed otherwise...dropping my husband at the train station, our post man (he's a good sport), my husband driving our son to karate....little snatches of everyday life that seem so trivial now, but may be completely forgotten about in a few years time. Fantastic, even if my son keeps saying, "But Mum, you already took my picture yesterday!" (He better get used to it, because I am going to keep going!)
    As fate should have it, I happened to dig up quite a few empty trading card page protectors from my son's Pokemon days, which seems a good omen for this project and some business card holder pages my husband had knocking around (I think just from Staples).
    Sometimes I put things through my laminator that don't fit in any traditional page protector. It means that pages can end up any size you want and the possibilities are endless! They're easy to cut to size and you just punch holes to fit them into your album or binder. Obviously, whatever is sandwiched between the plastic can never be retrieved, but it works well for odd-sized things like maybe a piece of children's artwork or a long receipt from the grocery store. It's just another option.

  3. Emma

    2008-10-02 11:07:31 -0400

    Hi Ali
    Love this project idea.
    Have been really sick with the flu and haven't surfed the net for over two weeks so didn't know what you were doing. Have started my project today. Follow my weeks journey at http://emma-outback.blogspot.com
    Keep up the great work.

  4. Megan Taylor

    2008-10-02 12:12:41 -0400

    Everyone should take note of Ali's perspective! It is so smart and so real. This is such a blessing of a project.
    The ISO saved my pictures too! What a smart tip. Thank you tracey, you have forever changed how I take indoor pictures!
    I got a really neat album at Michaels for this project. It is a 8.5/11 album, but it's horizontal! It's perfect, because I find myself taking a lot of horizontal pictures. unfortunately, i can't use the trading card protectors in this album, but i figured I would use the same idea (the grid, and the same size that each of the slots are). This project is really teaching me how to adapt.
    And can I tell you how much I feel like I have grown as a photographer in these short days? I have gotten so many 'oh-my-gosh-did-i-really-take-that' shots. it has really boosted my confidence as a photographer. i think my point of enlightenment was the sincere realization that i am a photographer. not just a girl taking pictures, but a true, artistic and talented photographer!!
    Thank you Ali, for helping me along.

  5. Angela

    2008-10-02 12:13:27 -0400

    To those who want to wait until life is "normal" here's the truth..."normal is just a setting on your washer!" We've just been through hurricane Ike and our life is anything but normal...long ago I had chosen next week to document a week in my life and I will do that...even though we're living in an apt until our home is rebuilt, we have little furniture, etc. This is our new life, so why not document it to have and look back on...

  6. Angela

    2008-10-02 12:14:04 -0400

    To those who want to wait until life is "normal" here's the truth..."normal is just a setting on your washer!" We've just been through hurricane Ike and our life is anything but normal...long ago I had chosen next week to document a week in my life and I will do that...even though we're living in an apt until our home is rebuilt, we have little furniture, etc. This is our new life, so why not document it to have and look back on...

  7. Megan Taylor

    2008-10-02 12:17:26 -0400

    One last thing, I'm sure many of you get funny looks when you are taking pictures of things that seem ordinary to other people.
    So i was on campus today (I'm a college student) and I was taking a picture of one of the buildings. A guy walked behind me, and I could tell that he was looking at me. I try not to feel weird, but I enevitabley do. Imagine how I felt when he said to himself, "That would be a good picture!"
    Made me smile :)

  8. Emily

    2008-10-02 13:19:39 -0400

    Thank you so much for doing this project and thank you so much for being so involved in it everyday. I'm enjoying it very much and can't wait to see my finished product and everyone else's for that matter.

  9. Denae

    2008-10-02 13:30:45 -0400

    So, I spent last night formatted the album and I am 100 times more excited now than before! I have a question... Do you put the pics in chronological order in the album? That seems to be my one biggest problem. I am having so much fun and can't wait to finish my week so I can compile and complete!!
    Thanks..you are GREAT!

  10. Verbena

    2008-10-02 13:34:54 -0400

    This project is really fun. Probably the best thing that has come from it is the camera is now often in my husband's hands! Today, my pictures include a picture of a highlight from my day: "Brown" delivered my copy of your recent release, "Sharing Your Story" - I can't wait to start it! I love the pictures that you post of your home and family - the dahlia arrangement reminded me of my recent visit to Dallas, Oregon, (all the way from Alabama!) where I attended a dahlia festival - what gorgeous flowers. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  11. Ali

    2008-10-02 13:41:49 -0400

    Denae - mine will be formatted by the day (but the photos don't need to be organized in order on that day).

  12. Jac

    2008-10-02 13:51:03 -0400

    hi ali, thanks for all the super tips and answering all those questions which gives me a better idea and encouragement at the same time. the past days had been great! i have no problem with documenting it down on my blog so can i remember what went on. BUT i only managed to take a couple of shots (max. 5 shots) a day there are days when i did so much stuff and did not capture a single shot :( :( i have all the words but no photos to tell the story....
    what should i do?? should i start from fresh (on a brand new week)?
    Thanks again for all the inspirations!

  13. Genevieve W.

    2008-10-02 14:17:09 -0400

    I have surprised myself with this project. I have let go of what I think to be the "right" way to complete a project and have really connected with the small parts of my life. I love taking photos and telling a story, and this project has helped me to let go of all the "stuff" - I love to buy scrapbooking materials but I got too wrapped up in getting the "right" look. My family has enjoyed being an active part as well, pointing out things/moments that are important to them that I hadn't noticed. LOVE it.

  14. elise

    2008-10-02 14:35:28 -0400

    ali, you inspiring fool, you.

  15. Jilly

    2008-10-02 14:37:29 -0400

    I have to say that after going to your album track last year in Orlando, I made the decision to do a Week in the Life album every year around the same time. The time is here again and I couldn't get it together this week. Next week will be my week to observe, photograph, and document my week. It will be so interesting to compare this year to last year :-)

  16. Debbie McIntyre

    2008-10-02 15:17:00 -0400

    Ali...I'm totally engrossed in this project and will start mine on the 10th. Couldn't do this week since all I'm doing is packing for a scrap cruise, but the week I get home I'm getting right to it. Enjoying the tips, the photos, the questions and most of all the sharing of our ordinary, wonderful (although sometimes trying) lives. I love it and I love October. Can't wait til tomorrow to see more. Mac

  17. dr berry

    2008-10-02 16:23:01 -0400

    My ????? is about the calendar download from martha. I am technologically challenged so I need help. I have a Mac. Downloaded, previewed- yeah it's there on the desktop, click & drag to WORD, then a pop-up window with a list of choices- text only, .pdf, ect... I tried a couple of them and all I get is the jibber-jabber of compish.
    So where do you suggest I save this download & it what form do I save it? THANKS-

  18. Débora

    2008-10-02 16:34:18 -0400

    I just want to say that I´m having sooo much fun! Thanks for sharing this.
    Love, Débora
    PS: You look so beautiful preagnant! What a beautiful family!

  19. Robyn

    2008-10-02 17:49:47 -0400

    Hi Ali - Well I haven't commented so far but I am 'involved' in the challenge so I feel compelled to say thank you for your ongoing inspiration. Without nothing more, just watching your effect on and how you touch others is enough to put a smile on my face and want to join in too... both in the project and helping others through my talents as you do. I've read probably hundreds of challenges and receive those sorts of emails all the time but within 1 minute of reading about the project on Tuesday (after not reading your blog for a a few days) I quickly caught up and had a my camera in hand taking photos!! My thought was "I'm a day and a half late, but START RIGHT NOW!" This project came at a perfect time for me, a life changing time. This is helping me from a perspective I didn't think was possible. From this challenge I am getting thoughts that will ultimately help me make life altering decisions that I am faced with right now. I am really enjoying it and it is making me more aware and happy in the my current life situation. I am also falling back in love with photography. I have missed it so much. Next week I will embrace the scrapbooking side!
    I am feeling the happiest I've been for a long time!
    this week is just awesome. Good and Bad things, it is all part of my journey and it will all be documented, the whole lot!
    ...Off to update my blog and upload pics! Robyn

  20. Leigh

    2008-10-02 17:55:51 -0400

    I am loving this project as well, much more than I imagined. I agree that I look forward to seeing all your pictures and notes each day as they give me lots of ideas.
    My question is - is there a specific gallery somewhere for everyone to share their albums once they are done? As I have gone through this process, I feel connected to so many other ladies across the world doing the same thing. That is what I tell people when I explain what I am doing.
    Thanks again for making me take notice and appreciating everything from exciting to mundane.

  21. Fiona

    2008-10-02 22:57:32 -0400

    Hi Ali,
    I just want to thank you so much for this project. I have been having so much fun taking photos of every day life. I am a stay at home mum, and I thought it would be really boring...the same stuff every day. Well, a lot of it is the same stuff, but I have had the opportunity to see how different each day actually is, how much stuff I actually get done, and how much I have to appreciate about my life right now. This project has really sparked my creativity, and I have done more scrapbooking in the past few days than in the past few months. I have really enjoyed playing around with my camera, and getting a different take on the same shot. I am just so happy! The best part is that this project really helps me share my every day with my family, as I live in a different country and they can't just pop over for a visit. :) Thank you so much for this project and for sharing your life with us. It has been both inspiring and encouraging, and I keep checking in just to see what you've put on your blog. Thanks...blessings!

  22. Kelly - PhotohappyCdn

    2008-10-02 23:10:21 -0400

    Hi Ali,
    Just wanted to say thank you for this wonderful project. Not only am I having fun taking pictures of everyday things and happenings, I also got my mojo back and am actually scrapbooking again! It has been too long! I'm even remembering to document it!
    Thanks again for this wonderful project and I am looking forward to next week to put it all together!
    Kelly :)

  23. jill

    2008-10-02 23:46:36 -0400

    This project is exactly what I needed to get me excited about scrapping again :)
    Sharing some of the pics and words here

  24. ria nirwana

    2008-10-03 03:50:40 -0400

    Dear Ali,
    I am really having much fun and enthusiam. And I am thinking about putting it all in an 8,5x11 mini album (I am going out from my comfort zones 12x12...) and having really nice handmade recycled papers for it. But since these papers are not acid free, I put gesso on each side to layer it before I add anything else. Do you happen to know is layering paper with gesso will make it acid free or not? Sorry it's so technical but I am stuck with it right now. And I agree with Leigh, we should have some galery or website or anything....for everyone to put the finished album. It will be a HUGE inspiration for many others.
    Thank you again,Ali, you are always be my inspiration.

  25. Deb

    2008-10-03 07:07:01 -0400

    When we were going on vacation it started off bad. Our A/C went out which delayed us from heading out. The car battery died on the way out. Other than that everything went as planned. In the album I added the bill and some photos of the A/C being replaced along with the business cards. We laugh now but not then :)

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