Around here

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

Around here, I’ve finally imported, sorted, tagged, and rated almost 3,500 photos from the first two weeks of our holidays. It pretty much took up my entire work day at my ‘cafe office‘ but it was worth it. Now I can get back to my ‘regular programming.’

Around here, I’m loving the purple flowers that Rick’s mum bought me as a belated birthday gift. Especially the cabbage flower. It reminds me of these ones I bought once upon a time…

Around here, we have finally succumbed to colds. I guess I should consider us fortunate to have made it this far into winter without coughs and sniffles.

Around here, Bear kept us awake from midnight till almost 3am on Tuesday night. It wrecked me the next day, and brought back unpleasant memories of what sleep deprivation is like. Thankfully, he went back to sleeping twelve hours straight the following night. I’m so grateful that our boys all like their sleep.

Around here, I have gone more than one week without shampoo, and it’s tracking well so far. My thoughts so far? Thank goodness for cocoa powder and arrowroot!

Around here, I can’t believe it’s almost the end of Season 5 of Offspring. Wednesday nights will just not be the same without my weekly dose of the Proudmans and their eccentric antics. Who else is a fan?

Around here, I am gearing up to make another batch of story books next week.

Around here, Bear is saying “Uh oh!” every time we read The Big Red Bus (his all-time favourite book). It is super cute and reminds me of the noise ICQ used to make whenever I had an incoming message. (Remember ICQ? It was all the rage when I was at university.)

Around here, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary by going out for a family dinner. When the food arrived, the six of us toasted each other with cups of water (and Bear’s milk). It was sweet to celebrate the occasion with boys. The night before, when I was trying to explain to them the significance of the day, they all paused for a moment and then Angus said (bless him): “It’s also library day at school.”

Around here, I am trying to incorporate avocado into our diet. I have attempted this several times in the past and failed. All ideas are welcome!

Around here, I am reading through this documentation of our family rituals from Autumn last year, and feeling rather nostalgic. It is all so precious. So very precious…

How has your week been?

(You can read other ‘Around here’ posts here.)

Ten years

Pink Ronnie

Ten years ago, this man became my husband. Today, this special day, I’d like to share with you all something I wrote for Rick back in September 2009, two years after we lost Cameron. Whenever I think of Rick, I usually think of this: his amazing strength and his amazing grace…

* * *


When I cried, you held me.

You listened to me wail, and you did not stop me.

When I couldn’t go on, you helped me to go on. You allowed me to go on.

When the emptiness consumed me, you reminded me that you were still there, that I hadn’t lost you.

You were so devastated yourself, yet you were a rock for me.

It was your son you lost – your firstborn son – yet you never questioned God, you were never angry with Him. You trusted Him then, and you trust Him still.

You enabled me to survive that terrible night. And the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that.

In the darkest hours, you brought me comfort.

You shone light into places where there was none.

You gave me strength when I had none.

You allowed me to grieve, to cry, to mourn, to shed endless tears, to scream, to be angry, to be upset, and to be silent.

Never once did you show me impatience.

Because you understood. You understood my pain.

It was your pain too. You allowed me to express our pain.

You have remained so honourable, so gracious, even as we continue to make sense of our loss. This devastating loss.

You have changed much since our son died. Grief and loss – together they have grown you and they continue to carve you into the man to whom God has entrusted much.

You are my partner, my leader, my support, my confidante, my comfort, my lover, and my friend. My best friend.

You are my husband.

And you have loved me better than you love yourself.

For better or for worse… – that vow you made, you have not broken.

And though we have lost our son, there is no one else with whom I would walk this road.

And we shall continue.

Till death do us part, or until Christ returns.

(This is the same photo that I posted last year, because it is my favourite…)

Let's Talk: On saying 'I love you' - by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ('s Talk: On saying 'I love you' - by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ('s Talk: On saying 'I love you' - by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ('s Talk: On saying 'I love you' - by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ('s Talk: On saying 'I love you' - by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

When I was growing up, my parents and I never said “I love you” to each other. It’s not that we didn’t love each other – words simply weren’t part of our family love language. Part of it had to do with the Cantonese language itself, which isn’t the most poetic or eloquent language around. (Seriously, saying “I love you” in Cantonese is kind of awkward, and I know I’m not alone in thinking this.) But on a deeper level, I think it had a lot to do with my parents’ own childhood. Both of them grew up on the poverty line, with their own parents struggling to make ends meet. When there’s no security in knowing that you can put food on the table, I can only imagine that verbal expressions of love become more of a luxury than a necessity. Your children and your spouse know you love them because you are doing everything you possibly can to provide food and shelter for them.

I’ve also since worked out that not one single Cantonese television show (read: soap) that my parents and I watched showed any of the characters declaring familial love to another family member. Sure, characters would make sacrifices and do things for their parents and their siblings out of love, but such love was never, ever verbally expressed. For better or for worse, this in turn shaped the way I related to my parents. As a result, I’m not quite sure I ever told them that I loved them as a child or as a teenager. It makes my heart ache a little just thinking about this.

Now that I have started my own family, I am constantly telling Rick and the boys how much I love them. Whilst I wholeheartedly believe in the power and importance of self-sacrificial action, I also believe in the power and importance of words. I don’t want my boys to have to work out for themselves as they get older that ‘Mum must love me because she’s always doing things for me.’ I want them to hear it from me every day – how much I love them, how much I cherish them, and how eternally thankful I am for them. I want to hear myself say it every day to remind myself how blessed I am to have my children.

The same goes for Rick. I cherish those moments in the day when we make eye contact and declare our love for each other. It’s something that we’ve done every day of our marriage. It’s a wonderful way of affirming what we’ve promised each other, how we feel about each other, and what we intend to do for the rest of our lives. It helps us to connect and feel connected even during those inevitable stress points during the day (read: dinnertime). No matter how low or how down or how stressed out I’m feeling, hearing Rick tell me that he loves me always makes a difference.

You know what the strange thing is, though? I still find it hard to tell my parents I love them. I feel almost embarrassed (and ashamed) to admit this but it goes to show how hard it is to change the way you relate to somebody when you’ve been relating to them a certain way for your entire life. I’m making progress though. Whenever I say ‘bye’ to my mum as she puts on her shoes and walks up our driveway, I make a point of telling her – however awkwardly – that I love her. In English, mind you. Seeing as I still haven’t figured out how to do it in Cantonese.

What’s extremely beautiful, though, is that my mum tells our boys that she loves them. Sometimes I can hear the nervousness in her voice as she says it, but she says it. Thinking about this makes me so very teary because I know what a big deal it is for her to actually do so. And it makes me smile because I know she’s been won over by how happily and easily the boys tell her that they love her.

What about you guys? Do you find it easy to say ‘I love you’ in your family?

(You can read the other posts in this series here.)

Photos above: The Minnamurra Rainforest

My mobile office (and why I need to work out of the house) - by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( mobile office (and why I need to work out of the house) - by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

Today I’m giving you guys a peek into my so-called mobile office.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Rick’s mum comes over once a week and stays for an entire day. She spends the day looking after the boys and having fun with them (as awesome grandmas do), freeing me up to dedicate an entire day to work. Now, this is pretty amazing. Really, it’s gold.

In the past, I’ve tried to hang around at home and work from my studio, which is on the second floor of our home. Obviously, there are benefits to this. I can snack whenever I want to. I can drink tea and Milo (and instant coffee) to my heart’s content. I don’t have to look presentable. I can lie down for a nap whenever I want. I can finish the odd chore around the house. And I can step in and help with the boys whenever I need to.

Here are the down sides: I can snack whenever I want to. I can drink tea and Milo (and instant coffee) to my heart’s content. I don’t have to look presentable. I can lie down for a nap whenever I want. I can finish the odd chore around the house. And I can step in and help with the boys whenever I need to.

Yup, all those up sides are also the down sides because it means I get easily distracted, which then puts me behind schedule, which then makes me stress out that I’m not going to accomplish all that I need to do, which makes me procrastinate even further, and so on and so forth. It’s one of those annoying vicious cycles which inevitably results in me moping about and staying up late for the rest of the week to play catch-up.

These days, I opt to work away from the house at a nearby cafe. Yes, it means that I have to pay for coffee and lunch (and then another coffee) and yes it usually means I end up eating chocolate brownies for afternoon tea (which I also have to pay for), but guess what? I can actually focus! I don’t have to worry about the boys crying or screaming about something because I can’t hear them. I don’t have to worry that I’ll fall asleep because my bed ain’t there. Plus, getting out means that I have to get dressed and look decent, which invariably helps with feeling like I can take on the world.

So anyway, here’s what I carry with me in my bag when I go out to eat brownies work:

  • iPhone: I don’t actually need to call anyone, but it allows me to connect to the internet as well as check my Things app which is what I use to organise my tasks.

  • iPhone cable: Even though I can connect to my iPhone wirelessly through bluetooth, I generally like to use the cable because it keeps my iPhone charged up.

  • Pencil case: I use a small leather one that I bought from Kikki K years ago. I keep a small selection of pens and pencils along with other stationery essentials like a mini ruler and an eraser because I usually like to map out my draft ideas and concepts using pencil and paper.

  • My cahier exercise book: This is the notebook I use to draft a blog post or any other piece of writing if I feel I need to map out a rough structure or list of points before I actually start typing. I’m planning to write a further post about my writing and blogging workflow soon, so watch out for that in the next couple of weeks.

  • My Moleskine soft cover notebook: Whereas my cahier exercise book is specifically for drafting/brainstorming blog posts and other writings, my Moleskine is much broader in content. I use it to record my business ideas, to conceptualise memory keeping projects, to document workflows and systems to do with our home and family life (yes, I am that woman), and to write down whatever lists need writing. However, it would be safe to say that the overriding content of the notebook is to do with my work and business. As you can see, I am a big believer in the power of writing things down. Chances are, if you don’t write it down, it’s not going to happen.

  • My Fujifilm x100s: I don’t go anywhere without this trusty camera these days. I use it to document our days, and these images invariably end up on my blog as well. Unlike my DSLR, the x100s is super portable and hardly takes up any space in my handbag. I always have a spare battery on hand – just in case.

  • My MacBook Air (or MacBook Pro): When the very first iPad came on the market, I jumped on the bandwagon immediately and waited eagerly for it to arrive. However, within almost a few weeks, I realised that I didn’t really have all that much use for it. The main thing I wanted to do on it was to write blog posts and to reply to comments, but I found the iPad back then very awkward to type with. Eventually, we sold it and I invested in an 11 inch MacBook Air instead. That was an awesome decision because the device is small and light enough to be carried around in my handbag and yet I have the full functionality of a computer with me, rather than just a tablet. As such, it’s perfect for my ‘cafe office’ days: it’s a pleasure to type on, and apps like Simplenote make it easy for me to synchronise and access all my writing on-the-go. (Having said that, on days when I know I need to be working with images, I bring my MacBook Pro instead as that’s where my entire photo library is stored on.)

So there you have it. My mobile office in a snapshot.

What about you? Do you find it easier to work at home or out of the house?

What My iPhone taught my about Photography, by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( My iPhone taught my about Photography, by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( My iPhone taught my about Photography, by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

It’s funny, you know. Even though I almost exclusively shoot with my Fujifilm x100s these days, my personal photography style – or my visual voice, as I like to call it – was entirely borne out of capturing images on my iPhone for two years. So today, as a sort of tribute to all the iPhones I’ve owned, I’d like to share with you all the things that my iPhone taught me about photography, and how my mobile camera essentially shaped me as a photographer. As a creative, I think it’s always helpful to know how I’ve grown and changed, and all the things that have played a role in that. Hopefully, you might pick up a few tips as well.

My iPhone taught me all about light and shade. As most of you will know, I love, love my light and shade. To me, an image that plays with light and shade speaks much more strongly than one with ‘flat light.’ Er, yes, that’s a term I just made up but, really, what I’m talking about is light that’s one-dimensional. For example, a plain white background (behind an object, a person, etc.) that is simply plain white and that doesn’t vary at all in terms of tone, gradient or shade, is what I would call flat. Obviously, there is a time and place for this (for example, product shots), but for every day imagery, the use of light and shade can add great depth and texture to the story being told. The reason why I started learning about light and shade on the iPhone is because it’s so easy to control the exposure on a mobile device. Now that I’m using the x100s for all my photography, I find myself endeavouring to capture light and shade the same way that I used to do on my iPhone.

My iPhone taught me to photograph from a distance and capture context. With my EOS (my ‘other’ camera before the x100s), I was always shooting up close with my subject matter, probably because the 50mm lens lended itself to portraits and that’s what I naturally found myself doing with the camera. However, with my iPhone, I found myself naturally shooting things from a distance (due to its in-built wide angled lens), and so even to this day, I like to shoot very wide. By that, I mean, I like to frame my subject with heaps of context. For example, if I’m at home with the boys and I want to take some photos of them, I’m much more likely to step back and capture them from across the room, rather than only going up close. When we’re out, I love hanging behind the others and photographing my family from a long way behind so that they are only one small part of the frame.

My iPhone taught me to photograph with straight lines. Don’t know what I mean? Read this. It was the grid that made me do it, and for that, I will always be greatful. Seriously, try shooting straight lines in your own images – it can make all the difference!

My iPhone taught me all about silhouettes. Yup, it was my mobile that got me started on my obsession with silhouettes. Silhouettes are wonderful at telling a story while adding mystery and mood. I guess it’s not a surprise, then, that some of my favourite shots happen to be ones with silhouettes (see this, this, this, and this for examples). I might write more about silhouettes in another post.

My iPhone taught me to photograph the sky. All the time. And lots of it. Whenever we’re out, I am forever studying the sky – searching out that particular frame or shot that pulls at my heartstrings. Sky can be tricky to photograph because if you over-expose your shot, you lose detail, colour and therefore, also, the story behind the image. The iPhone, however, makes me easy to reduce the exposure of any shot, and as a result, I started capturing some unbelievable frames. These days, apart from my family, the sky is probably my favourite subject matter. If you scroll through my archives, so many of my images are of the sky, in its gazillion colours and tones. It’s hard to believe I once thought of the sky as just blue and boring.

My iPhone taught me to embrace darker images. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise, given all that I’ve just said. Whereas I once thought that photos had to be all bright and sparkly, it was from the iPhone that I learnt I could transform an entire entire by simply making it darker. I learnt that shadows can be beautiful – are beautiful. I learnt that even when there is little light floating about, I can still still make imagery…

My iPhone taught me to capture mood rather than just subject matter. With my ability to manipulate light and darkness on the iPhone, I learnt to capture mood rather than just people, places or things. This is something that has definitely contributed to how I see myself now as a photographer. The set of imagery above goes a long way to explaining what I mean by mood over subject matter: none of the three photos show any subject matter in great clarity but they are each evocative in their own ways.

My iPhone got me all obsessed with negative space in photos. I always say this at my workshops: Negative space is not wasted space. In fact, I’m a big believer that you need negative space to make a layout, a design, or an image look good. What do I mean by negative space? Breathing room. Blank space where no detail takes place. In the photos above, the sky above the boys’ heads is negative space; all the wall space is negative space; everything around the back-lit kitchen is negative space. And again, it was the iPhone that honed my ability to capture negative space. Because of its wide angled lens, if I didn’t capture negative space, then my images would invariably end up looking too busy.

Ultimately, my iPhone taught me to experiment and to push myself out of my comfort zone. Because of how mobile my iPhone was (funny that), I had it with me everywhere I went and, as a result, I took photos of anything and everything in between. I was no longer limited to the conventional portrait. I shot up close. I shot from far away. I shot things which I never though I would photograph. I shot things which didn’t even seem to be things. It was just so easy to experiment with the iPhone and the up shot of it was that I became a better photographer because I learnt to see outside the box.

What about you? Are there any particular things that have shaped you as a photographer?

(You can read the other posts in this photography series here.)

Around here

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

Around here, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go ‘no poo’. I was inspired by Maddy and intend to follow her example of only washing my hair with water. I’ll write more about this in a couple of weeks’ time and let you all know how I’m going.

Around here, I’ve also embarked on an impulsive mission of replacing all our skincare products with completely organic alternatives – most of them being things that were already in our kitchen pantry. At the same time, I’ve simplified my own personal care routine down to the very basics. It feels good. There’ll be lots of share about all this in the coming months.

Around here, the boys have just had their first week back at school. They’ve adjusted just fine – I think I’m more in shock than them at the sudden onslaught of enforced routine once more. How I miss our slow mornings and sleep-ins…

Around here, I am snacking on cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds and treating myself to strawberries and blueberries for dessert. It’s part of my attempt to embrace foods that are actually good for me.

Around here, I lodged our tax returns yesterday. Done. Dusted. (Hooray!)

Around here, I am day-dreaming about the Minnamurra Rainforest. What a magical place. We visited for the first time on our second day in Gerroa, and it was the best. (They serve amazing wedges too.)

Around here, Bear has finally learnt how to say, “Mum.” Three cheers for my little guy!

Around here, I am endeavouring to journal for myself again on a regular basis. At the moment, I’m thinking Saturday mornings…

Around here, we are in shock about these news. What a horrific world we live in. All those people. And all their families…

Around here, it is cold. Very cold.

Around here, Rick and I are both feeling the end-of-holiday blues. Tomorrow will be his first work day after almost three weeks off. It’s been a precious time, and it’s so sad that it’s coming to an end. We intend to make the most of tonight by taking the boys out for dinner one last time. Then later, the two of us plan to cuddle up on the couch under a blanket and watch our last holiday movie together with two hot cups of Milo. Can’t think of a better way to end the holidays together…

How has your week been?

Hello Family, by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( Family, by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( Family, by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ( Family, by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

Remember this series I started last year? Well, I finally made it into the photos myself (thank you, husband)! This sequence of shots was taken on a cold winter’s night (after we had dinner out) in the first week of our family holiday – almost exactly one year on from the first photos in this series. Jamie, our lovely three year old who’s currently proving to be the non-conformist in our family, absolutely refused to be photographed until the very end. He’s got plenty of feist and personality, that cheeky little guy.

As you can see, this is turning out to be more of a yearly series than a monthly series like I first envisioned. But heck – who cares? Once a year is better than nothing! The next step will be to bring out the tripod and get both Rick and myself into these photos. And let poor Bear out of the pram and show off his ability to walk like the big boys.

Anyway, we tried our best to all jump at once. Let’s just say we’re not the most talented family at synchronising fast movements.

I love these boys of ours so much. They fill me up and drive me nuts all at once.

Just the way it should be.

p.s. I’m currently suffering from post-holiday blues… (Are you?)

You can see all the posts in this series here.

There's Something About Blogging, a blog series by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ('s Something About Blogging, a blog series by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie ('s Something About Blogging, a blog series by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

I’ve been thinking about this blog of mine.

If I had to be completely honest, I think about my blog a lot: what posts to write, which images to publish, how to string my sentences together, how to curate my visual storyboards, how to do it all efficiently and well, whether or not I’m staying true to myself, whether or not my blog is getting stale, etc.

I have no complaints though. I love it. I love the community that has grown here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What I have been contemplating recently is the nature of what I put here on the blog.

When I started this space of mine back in 2002, it all began as a purely personal blog. Hence the stories about completely random things and everything in between. When I got married, I started musing about marriage (in the best way possible), but then after losing Cameron, I almost stopped blogging here altogether. Instead, I started a separate blog where I poured out my grief. In 2010, I actually returned here and started blogging regularly: yet again, I was recording the random stuff and the funny (but true) stuff for the internet to enjoy and peruse.

In my head, I’d divided my writing into two categories. Happy and funny and random stuff? Pink Ronnie blog. Sad and grieving about Cameron? Cameron’s blog.

It continued like that for a long time until I actually started sharing about Cameron here in this space. I don’t think any one event triggered this – it simply seemed like the natural thing to do. If I were to be true to myself on this blog, why would I not share about my precious son here? Why was I stowing him away like he was some sort of a secret?

In fact, looking back, it seems kind of ridiculous to me now that I was limiting this blog of mine to all that happy, happy, joy, joy stuff.

I guess I just assumed that that’s what people wanted to read. I assumed that my readers wouldn’t want to hear about my grief and my tears.

Essentially, I had too narrow a view of my blog, and I had too narrow a view of my readers.

Ever since I opened my heart up about Cameron here on Pink Ronnie, I’ve received nothing but love, support, compassion, and understanding from all of you, and for that I will always be grateful. Truly and deeply so. I’m sorry I ever thought less of you guys.

And to be honest, being able to share about Cameron has been a joy for me. It’s one of the few things I can do now as his mother.

As I move towards launching the LIFE:CAPTURED site, I’ve started pondering again about the fabric of what I post here on Pink Ronnie. I know that it’s unlikely we’ll be starting a separate blog for LIFE:CAPTURED, which means that visitors will be referred back here and to Trish’s blog. In light of this, should my posts here on Pink Ronnie become less personal and less emotional somehow? Should I pare back my writing and make it less raw in order to accommodate the commercial site and brand?

My conclusion so far has been ‘no’ and my reason for this is simple.

People connect with people.

As much as marketers would like to suggest otherwise (and I say this being a marketer myself), I don’t believe that people actually connect with brands.

At the end of the day, we are relational beings.

So as much as I love, say, Apple, and I would have no qualms recommending Apple’s products, I don’t feel like I have any actual personal connection with the brand.

As human beings, we want somebody to talk to, to laugh with, and to cry with. We want to lend a shoulder and express our sympathy, or simply to listen and empathise. We want to read that somebody else is going through the same thing as we are. Made the same mistakes we have. We want to know that we are not the only ones struggling and grieving.

We want to know that we are not alone.

And for this reason, I intend to keep sharing the hard stuff here on this blog. My love for Cameron is real. My heartache is real. My tears are real. His absence is real. It is all a part of who I am, and it goes a long way to explaining why I do my best to cherish my family, embrace the present, and document our lives as if my own life depended on it.

Does this somehow make me less ‘professional’ as a business person? I like to think not. At the end of the day, I want our customers to know that I am a person just like them, rather than just an impersonal site that spits automated messages and sends them template files to download.

Perhaps my thinking might change. But I hope not. I really hope I can remain true to myself, and all that that encompasses, here on this blog.

And thank you all once again for not only being my readers, but also my friends. I know that many of you live far, far away, but please know that your words, your love, and your kindness mean the world to me.

You can read the other posts in this series here.

One year older

Photography by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

We are back from our holiday, my friends, and I am now one year older than I was before.

As thirty-fourth birthdays go, it was a pretty awesome one. In fact, it felt like we spent the entire weekend celebrating my birthday, and I honestly couldn’t have been happier. There was a hot breakfast on Saturday morning, hand made cards from the boys, a picnic lunch at a beautiful park, a Japanese dinner at my favourite restaurant, and then a late-night viewing of The Time Traveller’s Wife on DVD with my man. On Sunday, my wonderful husband baked me a red velvet cake and in the evening, my parents came over, allowing us to return to our much-loved restaurant for a proper one-on-one birthday date. We ordered different dishes to the previous evening, and this time, we managed to chat uninterrupted and savour each mouthful. We even made it to the cinema and watched The Grand Budapest Hotel – our first movie ‘at the movies’ in a very long while.

The boys were very cute about it all. They kept asking if they could come to my party and Pete pointed out that I was now as tall as daddy. How I love and adore their innocence!

As a special birthday treat, I gave myself a few days off from blogging. Staying in the present and cherishing every moment with my family has been the most wonderful gift of all. But now, I have thoughts to gather, memories to document, plans to formulate, and posts to write. Though I confess it will be a little hard, I look forward to returning to my regular blogging regime. Thanks to all of you for reading here, even when I haven’t been posting. I’ve appreciated every message that you’ve left me and can’t wait to re-connect.

How have you all been? (I’ve missed you!)

Project Life by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

With my ever-increasing love for designing and creating story books for my family, the basic building blocks of my memory-keeping these days are still my Project Life albums. Today, alongside my Weeks 14 and 15 page layouts, I thought I’d recap on why I think using pocket pages as a memory-keeping system rocks, and why I am committed to all five of our Project Life albums. (Yes, it’s five now because Bear has one too now that he’s turned one. Crazy, right?)

I love that it’s a system that allows me to go back and change or add things if I want. One of the main stumbling blocks when it comes to starting a photo album or a scrapbook is that you worry about getting it wrong and making it perfect. A system like this takes that fear factor out of the equation, so that you can just start.

I have the freedom to choose how often I work on my albums. While most people choose to do weekly spreads for their main family album, you can do whatever suits you: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. As you all know, I use a weekly system for our family albums, and a monthly system for each of our boys’ individual albums. It all comes down to: whatever works well for you.

Project Life by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

If I fall behind, it’s easy enough to catch up. I simply ‘double up.’ For example, if I’m three weeks behind on our family album, I simply work on two weeks at a time for three weeks, and then I’m all caught up! For our boys’ albums, I sometimes like to give myself a break from doing them for a month, and so the next month I simply work on two months’ of photos and journaling, and then I’m up to speed again. (I never, ever try to catch up on a heap in one go anymore because I know from past experience that that usually becomes too big a mental hurdle. It’s all about spacing it out, and knowing what I need to be doing at any given time.)

I can use inserts to my heart’s content! When we’ve had special events like births, birthdays, anniversaries or special milestones like the first day of school, I’ve made use of countless inserts to help me document these momentous occasions. Other times, inserts have come to my rescue when I’ve simply had extra photos or extra journaling that won’t fit into the regular two page layout.

I can include keepsakes and memorabilia in our Project Life albums. Keepsakes like movie tickets, brochures, something your child drew, a note, a letter, cards, and school certificates can all go inside the albums. You can either slip them into a photo pocket or include them in an insert or a special 12×12 envelope designed to hold keepsakes or simply punch holes in them and put them into the binder directly.

Project Life by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

I love the fun of seeing a page come together. Obviously, my style is super simple and minimalist, but I still enjoy the process of deciding which photos go well together and working out where to add journaling. Photos that are seemingly insignificant and mundane in and of themselves suddenly shine with meaning and beauty when they are carefully laid out together on a page.

I love being able to document our life on a regular basis. Every week, I write a short summary of what happened. I pick my favourite photos in Aperture. Using the InDesign templates I’ve set up, I add extra text or journaling when I feel it’s appropriate or necessary. I add the day and dates of the photos. I print the photos out on my Pixma. I slip them into the pockets. And presto! One week of our family life is documented, and the whole process takes me about 1.5 hours at most (if I’m not distracted by Facebook). I do this every week of the year, and at the end of the year, I have a complete album filled with memories of our family life: precious every day moments that would otherwise go undocumented. And because I’ve been systematically working on it all year, there is no catch-up at the end of the year. No huge, empty scrapbook for me to fill.

Project Life by Rhonda Mason/Pink Ronnie (

The thing I love the most about Project Life is that it gives me an easy structure for documenting our family and family life from every angle. In ten years’ time, I don’t want to only have a record of events like birthdays or holidays, I want to have something like this so that I can remember those little moments and what our day-to-day life actually looked like. Our Project Life albums cover every single aspect of our family: important milestones, big events (e.g. birthdays, holidays), candid portraits, little moments, corners of our house, etc. Our Project Life albums are the reference point for everything – this is why I see them as the building blocks for my memory-keeping. I also like creating photo books, story books, journals (for example, this one), and scrapbooks (for example, this one): these are projects that allow me to ‘zoom in’ and focus on a particular story or a particular period in time. However, at the end of the day, it’s our Project Life albums that tie everything together.

You can read all my Project Life posts here.

Other posts you might be interested in reading:

My thoughts on the Fujifilm Finepix x100s

My weekly Project Life process from beginning to end

Tips on taking photos for Project Life

What you need to get started with Project Life