Hello friends and Happy Saturday!
If you've been around at least for a couple of weeks, then you've heard the name Mandy or Record Life at least once. She is the mastermind behind the #ThisWeek prompt that I share weekly, and she has also become a good friend to me.
One of my Goals Before 2017 was to conduct 10 interviews and Mandy graciously agreed to be the first interview for me! Mandy is incredibly inspiring to me as a blogger, new memory keeper, as well as a photographer! I am super stoked that she agreed to let me interview her for you guys. So, without further ado, here is Mandy!
1. Please introduce yourself
Hello, I'm Mandy Elliott - I am a wife, daughter, photographer, licensed real estate assistant, and avid memory keeper. My faith and family always come first, then my "real job" and love of being a small business owner as a pet and portrait photographer fall in second. Somewhere in the midst of all that, my passion for documenting daily life falls into play as I enjoy Project Life scrapbooking, crafting, journaling, baking, decorating, vacationing, and so many other things.
2. How did you start blogging?
I began blogging back in 2009 when I bought my first DSLR camera. I enjoyed photo blogging and after I started my photography business later that year, I continued to share regularly. In the latter part of 2014, I started sharing things about my memory keeping process on my photography blog and soon after I migrated those posts to Record Life, a memory keeping blog designed to share my work and encourage others in their memory keeping habits.
3. How did you get started in Scrapbooking?
Oh goodness, it goes way back! It all began when my mom's close friend, who owned a stamping company, got her started on scrapbooking. Just so happened that this friend's daughter and I were best friends so we also used to do some of our own scrapbooking with left over papers, pictures, and such.
4. What made you gravitate toward Project Life?
After my husband and I moved into our first house, a little over a year after getting married, I wanted a way to display the square Instagram photos I'd been taking and sharing of the new house, our old apartment, new jobs, and a new life. I was researching binders and page protectors for square photos and found Becky Higgin's website. I loved the concept of Project Life because it was so simple, would allow me to be creative in my own way, and would still be something I could easily keep up with. I began using the Project Life system two years ago and have stuck with it ever since.
5. How do you decide what to include in your spreads?
Oh, that's a tough question because I feel like anything and everything goes into my spreads! I'm a firm believer in documenting as much as I can and as often as I can. I've got some crazy things in my scrapbooks, including mementos from trips, receipts, art, christmas cards, letters, poems, award certificates, and so many other things I can't even think of them all. To me, anything that I feel is worth remembering in 20+ years is something I feel is worth including.As for pictures that go into my spreads - all my photos go in. When it comes to journal cards and embellishments, I like to stick to simple things. Most of the time my spreads are pretty clean and minimalistic.
6. How long have you been scrapbooking?
When I started scrapbooking, I was about 11 or 12 I believe. I continued to scrapbook through my teenage years and then began working full time. When life got too fast paced for me to scrapbook often, I continued to photograph and journal. After my husband and I had been married for a little over a year, I decided to MAKE time for it once again and I'm very glad that I did.
7. Tell me about #ThisWeek and the idea behind it?
#ThisWeek is a weekly photo and story prompt that I share eachon my blog. It is designed to encourage others in their memory keeping process, even if they just focus on that one theme for the week. After documenting with Project Life for two years, I desired to focus more on telling the stories of our life, not just taking photos. I created the #ThisWeek prompt series not just to encourage others but also to challenge myself to look for the things that should be documented and record them. Lastly, I wanted to encourage beginners and busy women/mothers to document at least ONE thing per week. I made it easy for others to join in as they can just post a photo and story on Instagram or Facebook using #hashtagthisweek or they can create a project or blog post and link up on my blog. My hope is that everyone will find it to be fun, creative, and encouraging.
8. What is your favorite part of scrapbooking or memory keeping?
Creating! I'm a visually inspired person so I love looking at pictures. I enjoy creating them in camera as a professional portrait photographer and I enjoy printing and documenting my personal photos in my Project Life. Its always fun to look back over the years and see how much has changed or have a photo spark a certain memory.
9. I know you're also a photographer. Can you tell us about it?
Of course! I started my business in 2009 after taking some in depth photography classes. I initially started out creating portraits for children and families but later found my niche was pet photography. I still offer portrait sessions for families, high school seniors, and couples, but I really enjoy photographing pets because my own pet holds a very special place in my heart. You can view some of my latest work on my blog at http://www.mjphotographyTN.com
10. How does being a photographer play into your memory keeping, if it does at all?
Oh it does! Again, where I'm a visually inspired person, I like to capture things in camera. While I try to use my "big girl camera" as often as I can, I find myself grabbing my iPhone more regularly because its close it hand. I tell myself that it doesn't matter what camera I'm using, it just matters that I'm capturing the moment.
11. Who or what inspires you?
My Instagram community. I spent a lot of time there, getting to know other creatives and seeing their work. I have several favorites of course, but there's too many to list. I enjoy browsing lifestyle photography and that often inspires me. Other times, just taking the time to enjoy my happy, amazingly normal life inspires me and makes me want to record it.
12. Anything else you want to talk about?
Yes, one last thing --- I want to encourage everyone to do some form of memory keeping. Its so very important, if not for you, but for those who come after you. Memory keeping is a type of legacy you can leave behind. I encourage you to find a system, whether it be a planner, journal, scrapbook, or other form, and make it work for you. Adapt it so that its easy for you to keep up with, enjoyable for you to do, and then document your life. You won't be sorry you did. You can drop by my blog anytime or follow me on social media for ideas and tips, plus I'm always available to answer questions! HAPPY MEMORY KEEPING!
Jenn, thank you so much for allowing me to share on your blog. I appreciate your new friendship and wish you all the best!
Thank you Mandy for taking the time to answer my questions. And for just being an all around sweetheart! Make sure you guys check Mandy out on all of her social media!
You can find her at
Blog: Record Life
Instagram: Mandy Elliot | Record Life Blog
Facebook: Record Life
Pinterest: MJ Photography | Record Life
Google+: Mandy | Record Life
My interviews will be bi-weekly, so make sure you check back in two weeks for the next interview I am hosting with a geeky friend of mine Jasmine!
If you would like to participate in an interview with me, please send me an email or get in touch with me through my Get In Touch Page!