Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Geeks Run The World! - Book Lovers Edition

With all the YA Reading Bingo posts I've been writing nowadays, I figured that my next Geeks Run The World! post should be centered around others that love reading just as I do. Whether you express your love for a specific author, a specific book, or all titles under the sun, your dedication to reading and a love for words has not gone amiss.

#1 - The Team Behind "Socially Awkward Darcy", "Knightly Disapproved" & "Book to Tube" on Facebook

I've been a fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries since pretty early into the show, maybe around episode 20 or so. While getting to watch two of these episodes a week, or more in the case of Lydia, Maria & Gigi's videos, I was also there to observe the blooming of various fan groups dedicated to this series. The main group on Facebook that caught my eye was Socially Awkward Darcy, originally because the picture of Darcy in the bow tie and hat is hysterical, but later because of their content and love for the series.

The Facebook page itself is always posting amusing and touching content related to Jane Austen or the LBD series at large, but their main site is the perfect hub for those who want to know anything and everything about the series with the Transmedia Booklet they've put together. It's available on the site, as well as made as a downloadable PDF which contains the episodes themselves as well as all the social media content surrounding the videos. Anybody that wants to be submerged in the series that wasn't around while the episodes were still airing only has to go to one place, thanks to the people behind Socially Awkward Darcy.
The same people that manage Socially Awkward Darcy also manage two other Facebook groups. The next one to arise was Knightly Disapproved, with the tagline "Badly done, Emma!", which entertained me greatly :) This series' sole dedication is to the currently running YouTube series Emma Approved, which is on hiatus until the beginning of June. The second channel, Book to Tube, is dedicated to a wide array of web series that are based off of classic literary works. Some of these series include The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Classic Alice and my new favorite web series, The New Adventures of Peter & Wendy.

The content that this group provides, not just on Facebook but on Tumblr and their own websites, is always enjoyable. For those who love these web series, or even those that have read the books the series are based off of and need a bit of help immersing themselves into the media-enriched world, these guys will give you a hand no problem!

#2: The Team Behind Drunk Austen on Facebook, Twitter & WordPress.

I can't stress enough just how hilarious I find the admins behind this Facebook group, Twitter page and WordPress blog. When I first found this Facebook group, the main focus was them trying to get other people to post videos where they would read passages from Jane Austen while drunk. It's actually really fun XD I know this because I posted my own Drunk Austen video last year. If you're curious about it, you can find the video here.

Now they're all over twitter, constantly back and forth with the people behind The New Adventures of Peter & Wendy, as well as Classic Alice. I've even messaged these ladies personally, so I can say from first-hand experience that these two admins are fantastic ladies that are dedicated to one of the greatest female authors of all time. They're consistently posting memes related to Jane Austen's works, or drinking in general, that have me laughing. If I remember correctly, on April 1st 2014 one of the admins was drunk and ended up posting a lot of photos tagged as Sober Hemingway. It was rather humorous.

Since the Facebook group has been founded, Drunk Austen has expanded across the internet. I was around for when they first got their Twitter up-and-running, and I'm proud to say that I was one of their first followers. These guys have achieved a lot. One of these great achievements is that Drunk Austen was chosen to host the official Classic Alice book club, which is happening right now. The current book is Little Women, which I'm reading right now, although I'm still very much behind the rest of the club XP Drunk Austen was also given an advanced copy of The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, and have reviewed it on their WordPress blog, which you can find here. That's one book I know I'll be reading sometime in the future. I should actually get around to pre-ordering my copy, now that I think about it . . . Anyway, off topic!

To sum up, both of these Facebook groups are amazing, and they are ones you should like immediately. The people behind these strong groups, fully immersed in their respective fandoms, are great people who post hilarious, original content, and are always working hard for the fans, the ones who love to watch web series and the ones who love to read and the ones who fall into both spectrums. The content provided by these people inspire me on a regular basis, both as a geek girl and as a reader.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

19/05/14 - 23/05/14

Items In My Mailbox: 2 Items!

Items 1-2: Postcrossing Postcards from Russia & India!

A bit late with my mail post again, sorry about that! It might be easy to blame serious matters and real life, but really my being late just has to do with laziness and the recent release of the new game Watch_Dogs XD

So with such a momentous week of mail before, this one appears to be much simpler, with only receiving two postcards in total and nothing else. The second card arrived from India, with a very unique picture decorating the front. It still amazes me how long it can take mail from certain places to arrive when it's so much shorter from others. This postcard from India was dated the 30th of April, and I received it on Friday, May the 23rd. This postcard took quite the journey to reach me.

The first card arrived from Russia. I very much like the picture on the front, but what I probably enjoyed the most were the unbelievably adorable stickers decorating the back, all of them sparkly. One was a spotted mushroom, the other a frog, and another that I thought were milk bottles for whatever reasons but must actually be paint bottles because they have "colors" written on them. All of them are quite adorable, and I made sure to mention them in my thank you message.

Going Out In My Mailbag: 1 Item!

Item #1: Ms. Marvel Issue 2 to My Facebook Giveaway Winner!

In my defense, it was not my laziness or Watch_Dogs that delayed me in getting this sent out. The original winner of the giveaway never responded to my message after the allotted time I gave, so I had to pick a secondary winner. I was afraid my second message wouldn't get returned either, but soon enough I received an email! This comic book is headed out to a lovely lady in California that I hope will really enjoy it. I also included a card (which gave me an excuse to try out some of my comic-themed washi tape) with a brief message. Along with thanking her for entering the giveaway, and thanking her for being a reader, I asked her a few questions about herself, specifically what her top 5 geek loves are and how long she has been interested in comic books. I'm not sure if she'll message me back in any way to answer my questions, but here's hoping!

That's all for now! I'll keep you guys posted!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

365 Photo-A-Day Challenge: Week 20

It's photo time again! I've decided, that for the next little bit, I'm going to try and move away from the photo prompts and to focus on trying to come up with my own unique ideas for photos. So far I've found that I have more of an attachment to these photos, and I feel like I'll have more to say about them. Each week that I decide to avoid the prompts, I'll feature my favorite photo of that week here at the top, like this one!

This photo is from Day 138, and the reason it's my favorite is because I'm beginning to ramp up for my first convention of the year. Normally I would be getting ready to go to Anime North, which is happening this weekend, but I decided to not go this year in order to afford two cons in one years, including FanExpo in Toronto, which I've never been to before. It's sad that I won't be going to Anime North, since I've gone for 5 years in a row, but I'm open to something new, and I hope I'll be able to keep myself distracted while Anime North is going on. This choker is part of my cosplay for Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite. I asked on Twitter and Instagram whether I should wear the bird or the cage for my first day at Niagara Falls Comic Con. I got one answer that it should be the bird, so that's what I'm going with :)

Day 134

This was taken when I was still considering sticking to the prompts, and the prompt for day 134 was Crawly. But even so, it seemed like a unique opportunity to take a shot of a spider that was crawling so precariously across the glass on the back door. I lucked out that it was stalled on a spot where you could see all of its legs clearly.

Day 135

I love love LOVE this picture, and it would've been my favorite for this week if I wasn't in such a convention frame of mind at the moment. This is a shot where you can see 2 items that came with my recent ModCloth order. Obviously I'm in love with these socks, and the dress I'm wearing in this shot is really amazing as well. I remember really liking the foot shots I've seen +Jen Giammarco post from time to time, and here I finally got the chance to post my own, plus it's adorable!

Day 136

Here's a picture I'm particularly proud of, mainly because I can look at it and say "WOULD YOU LOOK AT ALL THIS COOL STUFF?!? YEAH, IT'S ALL MINE, I GOT IT AT MICHAELS, IT'S ALL AMAZING, BE JEALOUS OF ME. THAT'S RIGHT, BE JEALLLLLOUS!" I went with my mother to Michaels, bought a crap ton of stuff and now I can't wait until I get to start mailing out stuff again :)

Day 137

Here's a time, finally, where I get to talk about my gaming fun on this blog. Turns out, when you write a blog that for the majority of the time focuses on snail mail, you don't get to chat about XBOX or PC games all that much XD But here is a glimpse of my avatar I use on my XBOX 360. I got that shirt she's wearing from winning Saints Row 4. I haven't changed her hair to match mine in a while, I should probably do that. My handle is MotorDaffodil63. Add me if you'd like :)

Day 139

Yesterday was the first time I've ever visited a Goodwill before. This visit was also related to my upcoming convention; I'd gone to Goodwill to try and find some boots that would match with my costume. I did end up finding something that works. This is just a picture of the top of one of the clothing aisles, the tops of which are loaded with all sorts of items available for purchase. The rain had started to clear up too, so the light in this shot was pretty nice.

Day 140

Yep. Those are rocks. These are two of the rocks that line the traffic circle at the end of my street, right before it hits a small park. When I was little I used to climb on top of these rocks, and I would feel so tall. I also remember trying to jump between them. It was quite the feel when I was little and had shorter legs, some of the gaps between rocks were pretty big. I felt so victorious during those few times when I'd make it all the way around the semi-circle though :) That was always fun.

How To Love - YA Bingo

Completed On: May 11th
# of Pages: 320
Bingo Category: A Book Without A Love Triangle

Truth be told, this book doesn't even need to belong in the YA category; it's written in a sophisticated and mature manner, and would easily contend as adult fiction. When I first saw this book, I thought it was an adult book. There's a trick one of my coworkers taught me when I first started working at Coles bookstore, where if "a novel" is written on the cover of a book, it belongs in the Fiction & Literature section, almost 100% of the time. In my near-6 years of working at the same bookstore, this is actually the first book I've come across that is the exception to that rule.

That point isn't fully related, but I felt that it was worth sharing. So there. XD

As you may have guessed by the category I've chosen, this book does not include a love triangle. The main character that the entire novel focuses on is 18 year-old Reena, who lives with her dad and step-mom, along with her two year-old daughter Hannah who is the center of her universe. This book switches back and forth between the present day and before Hannah was born, back when Sawyer LeGrand, Hannah's father, was the center of Reena's universe before he took off without a word, not knowing that Reena was pregnant.

To be completely truthful, when Sawyer re-enters Reena's life during the present day chapters of the book, Reena is originally seeing somebody else, a guy named Aaron who is the twin brother of her best friend and who works at the local marina. But instead of playing out the typical love triangle situation, Katie Cotugno decides to take a different route (spoilers). When Reena begins to feel a larger amount of discomfort and uncertainly about her current feelings for Sawyer, instead of seeing him without consequences while Aaron is still in the picture, she ends up breaking up with him before too much happens with Sawyer. When Aaron reemerges in the story, it's not as a competitive position against Sawyer in the slightest. The biggest struggle regarding Reena letting Sawyer back into her life and removing Aaron from it is the strain it puts on the relationship between Reena and her best friend/Aaron's twin sister. It made me feel relieved that Cotugno put the bigger focus on the friendship than the lost relationship.(no more spoilers).

Any story that manages to avoid the all too typical pathways carved out by previous writers is alright in my book. While there's nothing wrong with a good love triangle, it does get wearing after a while. So this story was overall a breath of fresh air, and I recommend picking it up if you'd like something a little different than your typical YA novel.

Monday, May 19, 2014

12/05/14 - 16/05/14

It's been quite the active mail week! While it felt like I wasn't getting much in or sending much out, when I look back I can see that there's definitely been a lot happening, and I can't wait to share it with you!

Going Out In My Mailbag: 5 Items!
Item #1: Giveaway Package to Lucky Honora Banks!

I finally got my giveaway package all put together and sent off in the mail! It arrived quickly too, Honora got it within 4 days! She said that she's so excited to open it up and check everything out and she hopes to publish some photos on Instagram of all of her new loot. I really hope she enjoys it :)

Items 2-3: Postcrossing Postcards to Germany & Russia!

I finally got a chance to catch up - at least a little bit - with my Postcrossing cards. I felt in the mood to use some of the cards from my Pattern box. The card on the right is headed to Russia, to a lady who not only likes graphics and illustrations (which is why I chose that card), but also really likes anime and manga, especially Studio Ghibli movies. I spent the entirety of the card rambling about how excited I was to see "The Wind Rises" whenever I get the chance XD As for the card that's off to Germany, I feel like of stupid XP The recipient asked to hear about a holiday that occurs in our country, so I mentioned Victoria Day. Thing is, I gave the wrong date by saying it was on the 26th, not the 19th XP My bad!
Item #4: Belated Birthday Card, Pin & Notebook to Fellow Vlogiggle Amber!

So Amber's birthday was on the 2nd of May, so this card is definitely belated. But I hope the fact that I found such a bad-ass card will make up for it. I knew as soon as I saw this comic book-themed card that I had to give it to one of the geek girls I know. I also decided to include this Animal Crossing pin with it, which I picked up along with a bunch of other pins at the Halloween event hosted by the people behind Anime North. I hope she likes it :) I also included the notebook which I was supposed to give her after I attempted a video giveaway, which is a much more belated gift than her birthday XP Either way, I hope she appreciates it.

Item #5: A Little Love Note to My Boyfriend.

I really enjoy getting the chance to send my boyfriend little trifles in the mail, and he seems to really like it. Normally I sent him a card with some sort of sample of writing that I really enjoy. I've sent him short stories, and once I sent him an article from Psychology Today. But this time, I just sent him a cute little card with a sweet message, just to say hi.

At first I worried that he wasn't going to like the things I sent him, or worse he would just pretend to enjoy me sending him things to my face. I really did worry about that for a while, but soon he did something to show me that he really did appreciate it. As you may know (and you will inevitably learn this by the end of this post), I have a slight addiction to washi tape, and I've got a whole bunch of it, as does my mother. I mainly use it to seal envelopes, to make sure they'll remain closed in the mail, plus they look really nice. One thing I happened to notice one night when the two of us were watching Sherlock on his laptop was that on the left side of his keyboard, right along the edge, was the blue washi tape that I used to seal the envelope on the last card I sent him. And he received this card pretty quickly too, and soon I saw both the washi tape piece and the Papyrus sticker decorating his laptop. It's such a small thing, and he doesn't have to do it, but he does, and it makes me really happy :)

Items In My Mailbox: 8 Items!

Items 1-3: Postcrossing Postcards from Finland, France & Singapore!

Lots and lots of Postcrossing cards to be had! The comic-style card on the top-left is pretty cool, plus I always love getting cards from France. The image on the front depicts a story about how the red-haired lady in front of him reminds him of his lost love, and in the side plot bubble the story is given the title "The Other Girl" - it's very creative :) The Moustache Pig made me laugh XD I don't really play Angry Birds though, I'm rubbish at it XP And the Singapore card is really cool, it's actually a special edition card that was made to celebrate 50 years of tourism in Singapore. The majority of the card's back was made up of a printed description, leaving only a small window for the sender to write a message.

Item #4: My +blacksheeplacquer Subscription!

Now, before I get into just how gorgeous these colours are, I have a little story to tell. When I received this package, it came in a little bag from Canada Post with a note that said my package had been damaged. Now honestly I couldn't be too surprised; given that I've been getting things in the mail on a regular basis since December, so it's actually a miracle that I've only had one package damaged in all that time. Of course, that means I'm probably due to have something get lost in the mail sometime soon, which is unfortunate :(

Anyway, as you can see, the bottles in the picture are perfectly fine, not a scratch on them. But the packaging they came in was pretty banged up, something got caught on it and it got torn right through. The reason I wanted to write about it was that if Erin, the amazing shop owner, the name behind BSL, hadn't individually wrapped each of these bottles in bubble wrap, they definitely would've been toast. But here they are, perfectly in tact. So Erin, if you're reading this, good job :) Your packaging each bottle carefully helped to protect them from becoming nothing but piles of glass and glitter, so thank you :)

Item #5: Letter, Card & GLITTER from My Friend Tory

So it's been a little while since Tory's been able to respond to my letter, and I honestly don't blame her; she's got 2 jobs, and she's incredibly busy. Even so, she felt really guilty about not being able to write in a while, and she decided to make it up to me by sending me sparklet . . . lots of sparkles. I more or less got glitter bombed XD

Item #6: New Tripod & Case from Henry's Camera Store

I've been needing a new tripod for a long while now. I bought my first and only tripod in 2009, right before I went with my school's vocal ensemble on our trip to New York City, since it was my job to film the whole thing. I've used it ever since, even when the crank on it broke. I'm very excited to use this new one :) And it doesn't need a crank, which is awesome!
Item #7 Free Sample/Essence Eyeliner Pen from Shoppers Drug Mart

So it turns out, being a Shoppers Optimum member holds some perks after all! Out of the blue I got this really cool eyeliner pen in the mail, and I always love getting free stuff :) I tried it out immediately. It really does write just like a pen, which is really awesome. Here's a look at the result:
Nice, eh?
It's not perfect, but then again I find it hard to put on eyeliner perfectly w/o using tape XD
Item #8: My Order from +ModCloth!

It's here, it's here, it's finally here! I was so excited to receive the order slip for this on Friday! I've been waiting not-so-patiently for this order for a bit now, and I was ecstatic to pick it up from the post office. One thing I ordered was a pair of Mailed It! socks, which I couldn't resist buying. I doubt I'll wear them too often, because they're too cute to wear holes through, and I will probably refer to them as my lucky socks. The main part of my order was the Indigo Gardens dress, which I've been in love with from the moment I laid my eye on it, and even after reading the reviews I continued to be in love with it.

The third item was the Rays The Bar umbrella. I'd been not only wanting a new umbrella, but I loved the idea of this one because it was so colourful! I love colour, and that's why I wear a Kelly green coat in the winter, because all the dark winter coats floating around bore me so much. I had fun taking pictures with all three items as well!
Gotta love the mail! :) That's it for now. I'll keep you guys posted!
Oh! Before I go, just a few more pictures to show off (to end an already long post XD). Here are some shots I took of my very first trip to Michaels. My mother has gone before with her sisters, and she's brought be back some really cool stuff, but this was the first time the two of us got to go on our own. I'll also show you guys a complete shot of my entire haul! Can you tell that I have a bit of a washi tape addiction? XD

365 Photo-A-Day Challenge: Week 19

I'm getting bad with posting these photo blog posts so late - and with uploading my photos to Instagram late too :( I really need to work on that. I've also been thinking, since I didn't do too badly with my photos next week, if I should try diverging from the prompts for a while and just try my own thing. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below.

Day 127: Looking Up

I took a picture of these same tulips last week, and here's the condition they're in now. Not the best, I know XP While some of them have drooped over the side of the vase, there are still a select few that are still standing tall and Looking Up towards the sunlight. These are definitely flowers that refuse to quit!

Day 128: Outdoor Lights

People really seem to like this photo on Instagram, although I haven't a clue why. I couldn't think of what else to take a picture of for Outdoor Lights, so I snapped a shot at night of the lights on the back walls of the Zehrs building, which is right behind my house. If you're wondering what those squares are that you can see near the lights, then that would be the screen of my window, which has shown up in many of my attempted photos of my back yard.

Day 129: Flower

What you're looking at here is a picture of the card that my mom made for my grandma for Mother's Day. My mom makes amazing cards. She's made my birthday card every year since she started getting involved in crafting and scrapbooking, and they always look fantastic. I've saved most of my birthday cards I've received since I was about 11, but I always take extra-special care of the cards that my mom has made especially for me :)

Day 130: Tattered & Torn

Think of this as a before and after shot XD I took the first picture when I couldn't decide between these two pairs of sandals. Truth be told I liked the orange ones a lot more, but I knew the black and white would match pretty much anything, so I went with those. I decided to break them in during a trip me and my boyfriend took to Niagara-on-the-Lake, and I ended up with just a couple of afflictions, that being a blister on the back of my left heel and on my right pinky toe, which I covered up with some blister bandages. Good as new!

Day 131: Tiles

These are the tiles that make up my kitchen floor. They're supposed to look like ceramic tiles I believe, but they were actually a lot cheaper than that. One thing I tend to do when I'm really bored, like a kid, is to hop onto each third tile, because no matter what way you go, each third tile is identical. I'm such a child XD

Day 132: Messy

This picture is one I also tweeted recently. This is evidence of one of my friends from high school having an odd sense of how to make up for not sending me a letter in a while. According to her, sparkles make everything better, so she sent me a ghastly amount of them! I'm pretty sure that my friend Tory has never heard of the term "glitterbomb" before XD But you shoulv'e seen it, there was SO MUCH of the stuff. It coated her letter and her card, inside and out, and the envelope was just loaded with the stuff!

Day 133: Mom

Now for this prompt, I really was stuck. My mom hates having pictures taken of her, and she would kill me if she found out I took a picture and uploaded it. And I didn't want to do that to my grandmother either. So instead, I settled for my grandmother's cat! We went to visit my grandma on Mother's Day, after I finished with my hospital shift. My grandma's cat is Maxine, but we all call her Max. I don't think I'd ever seen her napping next to my grandma before.

Friday, May 16, 2014

To All The Boys I've Loved Before - YA Bingo

Completed On: April 22nd
# of Pages: 355
Bingo Category: The First Book In A Series

Time to play some more catch-up! As I wrote in a previous post, I got the chance to meet the author who wrote To All The Boys I've Loved Before, Jenny Han. Before I went to the reading, I wanted to finish reading her book, which had been published only a couple of weeks before the reading would take place at the Chapters bookstore in Brampton. Lucky me, I finished it the night before the reading :)

When reading this book, early on I remember thinking that the main character, Laura-Jean, was in some ways a mix between my mother and myself: my mother is a die-hard scrapbooker, to the point where she turned my old bedroom into her scrapbooking room. Laura-Jean also loves scrapbooking, Han's latest female protagonist also shares an interest with myself, and that is the art of letter writing! Laura-Jean specifically writes love letters, only they aren't the type that get sent out in the mail. What she does is she writes a letter to a boy she loves, around the time that she's ready to stop being in love with him. Then she seals it away, addresses it, and puts it away inside of a teal hat box that her late mother gave her.

What drives the plot of the book is that these letters somehow get sent out, and Laura-Jean has to deal with the consequences. One of the letters belongs to her friend, her next door neighbor, and her older sister's ex-boyfriend, which is one of the biggest obstacles, especially since Josh was the latest person for Laura-Jean to write a letter to. Josh is not the main love interest in this book, although he is far from a secondary character. One thing that I enjoyed about this book was the emphasis cast on the bond between the three sisters, aka the "Song Girls." You've got Margot, the older and more responsible sister who has just moved to Ireland for school, and Kitty is the younger, slightly annoying sister, making Laura-Jean the middle child, all of them raised by a father who lost his wife, the girls' mother, far too soon, and the mother also continues to remain a constant presence for the family.

One thing I learned at Jenny Han's reading is that this book, while it could easily stand on its own, is only the first book in a new series she plans to start. The second book will be titled PS, I Love You, and Jenny Han is writing it now. I'm definitely looking forward to see how this series will evolve. Laura-Jean is an intriguing character, surrounded by other interesting characters that don't easily blend into the background, and I'm looking forward to finding out what will happen with them next.

Monday, May 12, 2014

How To Send a Photo Package

So it might be quicker, simpler and cheaper to just email a photo to somebody you love in order to show off your photography skills, or to share a memory with someone. Even so, I'm sure there's a few people, old fashioned types like me, that would delight in receiving some actual, physical pictures in the mail as a rare treat. It's the perfect gift to coincide with a letter to your pen pal, in order to show off the area where you live! If you think you might like to send some photos through the mail in the near future, but are cautious about whether or not they'll arrive at their destination safely, follow these instructions to not only keep your photographs protected, but to provide your sender with a delightfully decorated surprise as well.

You Will Need:
- The photos of your choice (any size will do, but nothing too large).
- 8" by 11" sheets of card stock or card board (number depending on the number of photos you plan on sending).
- Paper cutter (one that will allow you to measure your cuts).
- Scotch Tape
- 1 Envelope (at least 1" larger if you're sending smaller pictures, or a manila envelope for larger pictures).
- 1 Note Card + 1 Matching Envelope
- Any Photo or Camera-Themed Decorations (stickers, stamps, washi tape, etc).

#1: Print Off Your Photos

Whether it's from a home printer or you're stopping by your local Photo Lab or Kodac machine, getting physical copies of the pictures is definitely the first step. If you are printing them from home, and you don't have a printer that's specifically made for photos and are using a regular paper printer, you'll be needing some photo paper which you can pick up at most stores, such as Wal-Mart of Target. A pack of photo paper is fairly cheap, and prevented you don't screw up too much (like I tend to XP), a pack should last you a while For the best-looking photos, if you decide to go that route, I recommend getting glossy photo paper over matte - I always like glossy-finish pictures a lot better. Just remember, be careful of your finger placement when handling pictures; hold onto them by the edges when it's necessary to pick them up by hand. If you are printing your photos onto 8" by 11" paper, you're going to want to use your paper cutter to crop the photos to their proper sizes.

#2: Cut Pieces of Card Stock or Card Board To The Same Size as Your Photos.

You'll need 2 pieces of card stock or card board per batch of photos, not per individual photo. You need to make sure that your photo bundle isn't too thick - no more than 0.5cm thick, including the cards stock, but discounting the thickness of card board. These will not only protect the glossy finish of your photos, but it will also help to keep your photos from bending in the mail. This won't be the only precaution you'll take against your photos being bent, however, so don't begin fretting just yet.

#3: Tape the Card Stock/Card Board Closed With Your Pictures Sandwiched In-Between

BAM, stage 1 of photo protection is complete! If you'd like to write a message on the card stock/card board, you may do so without harm of damaging the photos, just make sure to use a black pen and not any sort of marker. I myself wrote "Remove Tape To Open" on one side of each of my photo bundles, with arrows pointed to both tape edges.

#4: Decorate The Inside of Your Note Card & Write A Message

Of course it's not required that you use camera-themed decorations, but I find that it gives your photo package a little something special. I recently sent out 3 photo packages at once, and decorated the left side of the card with some simple, transparent camera stickers from Recollections Signature - minimalist but classic. Use the entirety of the right side for your personalized message to your sender - maybe let them know about where or when in particular the photos you're giving them were taken, maybe some fun fact about what was going on the day that you snapped those pictures, anything they might find interesting to correspond with what you're sending them.

#5: Get Your Envelopes Ready

For a smaller size of photos, 4" by 6" and 5" by 8" usually, you just need an envelope size that is a little bit bigger than your photos, where you can tuck away both the photos and your note card, which should be sealed in its own envelope. I'll admit that I forget this basic idea more often than not, that it's easier to write on and decorate your envelope before you load it up and seal it. Now, one important thing you're going to want to write on your envelope, on the same side as the sender's and the return address, are three simple words, written in a decent size so your message can be easily seen - Do Not Bend! And underlining it is usually a good idea too. Have that clearly printed on your envelope and the risk of your package getting damaged goes down dramatically.

#6: Seal It Away & Add The Finishing Touches

For me, the finishing touch on any envelope is always to add some washi tape, once the envelope is safely sealed. Along with the stickers and the camera stamp that came as part of another set from Reocllections, I happened to have some washi tape with the same cameras that can be seen on the transparent sticker collection. Now, as for the size of the photos you want to send - you don't just have to stick to 4" by 6" or 5" by 8" photos. One of the packages I send had photos printed on a 8" by 11" page, so I used a manila envelope for that, and 2 full-sized sheets of card stock to protect the photo paper. No additional prep work is necessary to protect your photos.One good thing about sending photos as a gift as opposed to any other small trinkets you may want to send to your pen pal is that you don't have to fill out any customs forms, or pay a lot of extra in postage - so long as there's nothing extra of monetary value in your package, you're in the clear! All you would need for these types of package would be an Oversized Mail stamp, as opposed to a regular National/International stamp, which you can either buy on your own or that you can pay for at your local post office.

And that's all she wrote! If you have any additional tips on sending out a photo package, or if you've attempted your own, I'd love to hear from you, either on my social media or with a post in the comments below.