How To Corral 365 Days of iPhone Photos And Be The Family Hero.

I think we can all agree that the abundance of photos that live on our phones is a major source of anxiety. What if they disappear? What if I can never find the ones that mean something to me buried in the abyss? How the f*ck do I organize them so I can access specific memories as the years go by- I mean, Alexa's rehearsal dinner could be just 18 short years away, gotta start thinking about the requisite photo montage video!

There is ONE thing I do annually (this started in 2012, so we are going on the 6th book this year) for our family to keep me from having an all-out photo induced panic every single time I accidentally look at the insane number of images that live in my Photos app. I dread this one thing literally for an entire year leading up to actually doing it-  but I know that if I don't complete it, I will be so upset with myself for so many years that the 15-20 hours it takes me to execute is a small price to pay.

I create a "Year In Review" photo book on Shutterfly- complete with clever captions and graphic design details- documenting what I like to (mostly) lovingly refer to as "Falik Family Fun Time". 

Here is how it goes down:


1: Sneak onto my husband's phone, and create a shared album called "Falik Family Favorites 2017" (or whatever year just passed) and upload the best 40-50 photos in his camera roll.

2: Download those photos from the Cloud into the Photos application on my laptop.

3: Create Smart Albums for each month of the year (and title them January 2017, February 2017, etc. Nothing clever here- all about simplicity)

4: BI break them up into 3 sittings where I narrow down 4 months of photos at a time into albums titled 2017 SELECTS JAN THRU APRIL, 2017 SELECTS MAY THRU AUG and 2017 SELECTS SEPT THRU DEC.

5: I upload these albums to Shutterfly, using the same naming categories, so the photos are still in 3 groups- it feels MUCH less overwhelming this way. 

6: I go into the Photo Books section and choose to create a book using Custom Path. It is the most labor intensive, yes- but I have tried the Simple Path option where they arrange the photos into pages for you, and it actually ends up taking way more time because inevitably, it is not the way you would have done it. 

7: For size, I always go with 8.5 x 11. There are more modern options now- square, oversized, etc- but since the goal is year-on-year consistency, I stick to the tried and true. Next, pick a style. There are a TON to choose from- it is mind boggling- but in my experience, the more simple you go, the easier it is- so I suggest one of THESE.  Last year, I did Modern White, and the year before, Modern Black. 

8: The photos get batch loaded into the project- starting with SELECTS 2017 JAN THRU APRIL. Month by month, I lay out the photos to chronicle both special occasions and everyday events. At the end of each month, I always put in a collage page (using the template options that Shutterfly provides on the project sidebar) where I can throw any random pictures I want to include but can't figure out a storyline where they fit. Always click the option to "Hide Used" photos- this way, once it is in the project, it no longer stares up at you tempting you to rethink where you placed it.

9: After all the photos are loaded in, the real work begins- writing headlines and captions, and inserting in fun graphic elements to reflect the personality of the year. The text part is where Shutterfly kinda kills me- but I am in too deep, so I just deal. There is no easy way to make sure all your fonts and spacing and sizing and colors are consistent from page to page. Advice here- don't obsess over it. You will make yourself insane. Instead, have fun with the copy- be conversational, include any funny anecdotes that come back to you while looking at the photos, and, if there is a typo or a style slip-up, WHATEVER. (That is big for me to say, guys- so just go with it.) 

10: When I finally feel like I have done my best to corral the most memorable moments, I choose a cover format and insert my favorite photo(s), make sure to write "FALIK FAMILY FUN TIME 2017" on the binding (so, when they sit on a shelf, I can make sure they are in chronological order and the fonts all line up consistently), opt for the upgrades that they get me with EVERY. DAMN. TIME. Glossy hardcover, lay flat pages, yada yada yada- I mean, at this point, why the heck not, right? (Plus, they always have those 40% off coupon codes, so...) And- cue the sweeping orchestral music- ADD IT TO MY CART!

I order 2 copies (so it is one less thing for Alexa and Goldie to fight over when Brian and I kick the bucket)- one goes on display in our family room, the other in storage for safe-keeping. But the beauty of Shutterfly- and why I put up with the many less-than-ideal glitches and overall clunkiness of the site- is that the books are saved in my account and with one click, I can reorder as needed.

My books to date have been between 95-110 pages, and cost around $190 each. This cost includes the upgrade options mentioned above, and small fees here and there for additional sticker embellishments and premium storytelling pages that I think are totally worth it- just adds that extra touch of whimsy and personality that takes the pressure off having to showcase museum-quality photos (because who has those?!) and Pulitzer-worthy prose.  

Anyway- there you have it. Long, I know- but hopefully helpful enough to inspire you to give it a go yourself. Trust me- your family will thank you big time. My girls LOVE flipping through them, and it is so cute to watch Alexa narrate the pre-Goldie years to her little sister, years that I am fairly sure she only remembers through photos.

How do you get the photos off your phone? I would love to know- as would other readers... This is a topic that seems to come up all the time- what to do with all the digital photo clutter! HELP!

The Quick 6: Best Sweatshirts

I LIVE in sweatshirts. More cozy, more versatile and easier to throw in the wash than sweaters, a good sweatshirt is one that fits nicely, looks casual but NEVER sloppy, and, perhaps most importantly to me, feels soft and plush on the skin but is also lightweight enough to be wearable year-round. 

1. N: Philanthropy V-Neck: Most flattering wide-cut v-neck that shows off shoulders in the perfect mid-weight material- looks great with a trio of delicate layered necklaces.

2. Glossier Crewneck: Random find but a great one (IMHO)- the sweatshirt is so damn soft it is like wearing a cloud, and the look is very "model off duty" effortless cool. Plus, I never mind advertising an awesome beauty brand across my chest.

3. Chaser Girl Power: I can't get enough of this brand right now- and, second only to THIS style which is pictured HERE, it is an all-around winner. Well priced, beyond cozy, and the perfect complement to the kid version which both my daughters own and wear 24/7 (and they are picky with sweatshirts- big time). (Unrelated, but if you have a daughter who is VERY sensitive to how clothing feels, Chaser leggings are a guaranteed win- Alexa adores them- as do I, the size 14 fits me- I wear a size 4 or 26 in  jeans- perfectly.)

4. Wildfox Sommers Sweater: So, Wildfox used to make a collection of "destroyed sweaters" which I LOVED- three of them have been in my wardrobe for 5 years and still get worn weekly- the weight, softness and authentic-looking distressing are pure perfection. They no longer make the destroyed style- but the Sommers is a close match that gives a similar "boyfriend" fit with an instantly worn-in feel. Plus, I love the grey wash and lettering of this one...Ooh la la!

5. Starter Hoodie: The best throwback $25 instant gratification hoodie on earth (you can get it via Amazon Prime, people!)- this heritage logo style features a very slim silhouette (size up if you want a more roomy fit) and a kangaroo pocket that makes me feel like I (a better version) of my 18 year old self again.

6. Paradised Ruffle: Some nights, I don't want to deal with a fancy button down or slinky party top. On those nights, stylized sweatshirts like this one are perhaps the only reason I will actually be okay with leaving the house. Plus, the ruffle pouf adds structure to the shoulders and as such, gives the impression of a teeny waist- win/win!


This Eyewear Will Instantly Upgrade Your Style For Spring.

Eyewear is my most favorite accessory- a pair of glasses instantly updates (and in my opinion, upgrades) any and every look. The fool-proof wow factor is why staying on top of eyewear trends is the ultimate shortcut to transition your entire wardrobe from one season to the next- minimal effort, maximum impact…Trust me.

My love of fashionable frames is one of many reasons that I am partnering with The Vision Council to share the top eyewear trends to know as we head into Spring:

Trend: Flashbacks
Pick an era, and there is an of-the-moment frame that feels completely current this season. My Sunday Somewhere sunglasses in the photo at the top of this post combine 60’s inspired oversized frames with a neutral palette that gives off 70’s vibes. Squared-off aviators and wayfarer shapes are also personal flashback favorites, as are details like tinted lenses in earthy yellows and ambers and muddled metallic frames. 

  Sunglasses  /  Dress  (similar to pictured)

Sunglasses / Dress (similar to pictured)

Trend:  Loud and Lush
“Go Bold or Go Home” is my rule of thumb when it comes to sunglasses- so the statement-making geometric and chunky square frames that fit this trend are right up my alley. I paired blue O-Six frames with a magenta floor length dress for a head-to-toe color block look, which is a really fun way to amplify the overall effect. Other ways to turn up the volume of your eyewear include frames in vibrant hues of orange, purple, teal or hot pink, and details such as unexpected bridges, funky cut outs or, my most favorite- architectural embellishments.

  Glasses  /  Sweater  (similar)

Glasses / Sweater (similar)

Trend: Proverbial Favorites
There is a reason that tortoise, gray, nude, navy, translucent and black frames, in easygoing rectangles, squares, rounds and wayfarer shapes are always in style- they make a fashion statement in a subtle way suited to everyday. My Superdry glasses work with every outfit I own- the hint of pink adds a touch of lightness to the sleek, square tortoise frames.

  Sunglasses  /  T-Shirt  (mine is from  West  and not available online, but similar styles here.)

Sunglasses / T-Shirt (mine is from West and not available online, but similar styles here.)

Trend: To The Future
The most minimal frames make the most modern statements this season, as an essentially colorless array of metallics, blacks, whites and beiges are formed into futuristic shapes. My BCBGMAXAZRIA sunglasses embody every aspect of this trend- an exaggerated angular cat eye with metal accents and reflective lenses. I love how cutting edge eyewear styles bring an unexpected cool factor to even the most basic jeans-and-a-tee uniform, don’t you?

To learn more about these trends, click HERE for the complete Eyecessorize Spring/Summer '18 trend kit- which also has lots of eye candy in the form of fashionable frames for both men and women.

And for all things eyewear, make sure to check out the Eyecessorize blog. 

Photography by Caroline O'Kane Photography.

39 for 39.

  LOVE Sweatshirt  (similar style) /  Jeans  /  Sneakers

LOVE Sweatshirt (similar style) / Jeans / Sneakers

39 random things I love/feel/know heading into my 39th year of life, in no particular order.

1.     High waist jeans are more flattering, and versatile, than you ever imagined. And, THIS is the best brand to buy.

2.     It is okay that you impulse bought this extravagant pair of statement shoes  because, they are AWESOME and, at this point in your life, they will get worn 4 times a year and as such, last forever.   

3.     If you get cranky with your kids because they are dragging out the bedtime routine, once they do fall asleep, you will feel pretty shitty about yourself.

4.     100 burpees a day is the most efficient workout that you can rarely find an excuse to skip…and once you start, inevitably you are like “ugh, I already need to wash my hair so may as well do some more…”

5.     If you stop drinking by 10pm, no matter how much you drink before that, you will wake up feeling pretty much fine. (Easier said than done, but…)

6.     The best kind of girl friends at this stage in life are the ones who are your constant cheerleaders but also your most brutally honest sounding boards.

7.     THESE will make you feel sane and organized every time you look at them, even if you are a total mess. You can’t have too many.

8.     Flying with 2 young kids is a pain in the ass, but always worth it. The more you do it, the better travelers they become.

9.     If you put a reading nook in your living room, make sure the cushion is removable so said nook can transform into a banquette late night dance parties.

10. You only live once- so opt for the boldest wallpaper option offered, always. 

11.  3 things to always have in your freezer: Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Rice, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Popsicles, and a giant box of frozen mini tacos from Costco (quick dinner for the kids, easy end-of-the-night tipsy snack for adults.)

12. During off-peak hours, the Metro North train is perhaps the best temporary office space ever. (First runner up- the local library- it makes you feel like a kid again, even if you are sitting there figuring out mortgage payments and filing taxes.)

13. If you don’t like your hands- but you like Instagram- stock up on oversized rings that cover up your fingers. THIS Etsy shop has a plethora of options- obsessed.

14. Lay out your kids’ breakfast place settings night before. Granted it only takes a few seconds but somehow when the morning rush rolls around, it makes you feel totally on top of things.

15. On the topic of breakfast, never be without THESE cereal bowls- 2 of each color is essential.

16. Get THIS coffeemaker, and a subscription to MistoBox. Your mornings will be consistently- and creatively- caffeinated.

17. Lots of products don’t do what they say they do- but collagen peptides deliver. Stock up on THESE. Stick with a scoop or two a day and your hair will look like it did in high school (but better, because, well, keratin.)

18.  Tune out the social media noise, but not the inspiration. In real life- and life in the blogosphere- it is important to be able to differentiate between what annoys you and what energizes you.

19.  Push your kids to be competent in skiing and tennis- even if they fight you. Because how grateful are you that your parents made you stick it out when now, 30 years later, you can keep up with your friends on the slops and the courts.

20.  Dear Evan Hansen is the best Broadway show ever. Ever ever ever.  See it one hundred times if you can.

21. Even if in your head you know your family is complete, you will inevitably question whether or not you want to have just one more kid while you still (presumably) can.

22. At a certain point, even though you give them a hard time about it, you kinda love it when you kids crawl into bed with you at 3am.

23. 3 things to always have in the bar: A giant handle of Tito’s Vodka, small bottles of club soda and 4 limes. (You can keep the limes in the fridge, but just make sure that you have them somewhere in the house.)

24. Being on the older end of the age spectrum in your industry can actually result in a quiet confidence and sense of calm, which is something you never expected.

25. Instagram Stories is the best thing to happen to social media- and THIS “graphic design for dummies” tool is the most priceless way to tell your stories with style.

26. THIS Iro leather jacket is worth every single penny.

27. THIS t-shirt bra is worthy of owning in every color- because open back shirts are amazing, but you going around town sans bra is not. (When you make it to #39, you will see a photo in which said bra is featured.)

28.  Laser hair removal is wayyyy less painful than it used to be, and even when it does hurt, the sting only lasts seconds but the ability to shave less often (or at all!) will last a lifetime.

29. If your kids refuse to take a bath, but you refuse to let them go to bed smelling like feet and cheese, just say the word “BUBBLES!” or “BATH BOMBS!” and consider victory yours.

30.  Paint your front door an unexpected color- and use a Fine Paints of Europe high gloss formula so it glistens even on the cloudiest of days.

31. A robust stash of 1 Liter Poland Spring water bottles is the best investment in staying hydrated- THIS delivery service is indispensable.

32. Write something every day. You will always regret the days that you don’t record some sort of memory- and the 3 minutes it actually takes to scribble down a few sentences is really no big deal.

33.  Organize your damn photos. Until you do, it will keep you up at night. But where to begin???

34. You can never have too many Veronica Beard pieces in your wardrobe- stylish and timeless and just perfect. The most easy go-to's for getting dressed.

35.  In marriage, timing is everything. Knowing when to bite your tongue and when to table a to-do-list related conversation until later is invaluable, and something you are still working to learn.  

36. Let things go. With your friends, with your family, with your work- because your kids notice these things, and it helps them to do the same- any little thing you can do to help thicken their skin is a good thing.

37. You CAN go home again. You may have never thought you would live in the town you grew up in, but times change, people change, and you can’t imagine being happier anywhere else.

38.  Read books. Don’t ever cancel your Book of the Month Club subscription!

39.  As long as there is Botox, SoulCycle, Collagen Peptides, THESE leggings, and that insanely flattering sparkle filter on Instagram, being one year away from 40 ain’t no thang.

 This is the bra mentioned in #27, btw.

This is the bra mentioned in #27, btw.

The Quick 6: New Beauty Products To Buy Now.

Things we all need- more time, less noise. As such, "The Quick 6" series was born (in my brain, this morning while suffering through my self-imposed torture of 100 burpees a day- yeah, I know, it feels as horrible as it sounds...until it doesn't...) 

"The Quick 6" will be a less verbose version of my usual product-centric posts, offering up things I am using and loving, and strongly suspect you will use and love too.

1. Nooni Appleberry Lip Oil: This Korean import is so hydrating but not heavy- and delivers extra softening thanks to the apple water, which sloughs off dead skin. The berry tint looks natural but better, and works on EVERYONE. Plus- the price is VERY right- $12 a pop.

2. Urban Decay Naked Heat Petite: This mini of the best-selling Naked Heat palette has the 6 colors you will actually USE, and the edited down assortment makes it easier not only to bring on the go, but it is more simple to experiment and play with different looks. 

3. St. Ives Detoxifying Cleansing Stick: Inspired by Korean beauty trends, this travel-friendly essential is made with organic coconut oil and can live in your shower (or gym bag)- just massage it on wet skin and rinse. It also never gets all mushy in the package- every time you use it is like you are opening the top for the first time. 

4. Dove Dermaseries Expert Repair Balm: The hero product in the brand's new Dermaseries collection, I love this for heels, hands and even over my blush on the apples of my cheeks to relieve that tight-skin feeling and give a glow. One tub will last you FOREVER. 

5. slip Pure Silk Pillowcase: I sleep on one every night- feels so nice and cool on your skin, but also preserves skin's moisture and reduces hair breakage and frizz. Plus, its cute and machine washable. 

6. Harry Josh Pro Tools Oval Brush: This is not new, but I realized I never let you guys know about the bestest brush I have ever owned, the only one I basically need. I use it for blowdrying and styling- it has just the right amount of grip to give the smoothness you want while never getting tangled and stuck in your hair.