One Little Word 2017: SHINE

I’m ready. I am READY for 2017. This last weekend I spent a lot of time reflecting on the last year, reflecting on where I am in my life and what I want to do going forward.

I am doing something different this year. Or, rather, I am NOT doing something.

I’ve decided that I am NOT setting specific goals for 2017. I have set big concrete goals every year for the last half-dozen at least. I’ve even helped create a goal-setting memory keeping project.

But I’m not feeling that this year. I have a couple ideas of why, but I have no regrets or hesitations about that. I sent an email to my list a few weeks ago about how I still feel like I’m a transition chapter of my life. I know the direction I’m going but I still need more of a foundation for this new life. This next year is going to be more about being ME and owning more of who I am and not holding back.

shineSo I chose my One Little Word with that intention in mind. …. SHINE

I love this annual practice … I love having a theme and a focus for the year. A filter through which I make choices. I love having Ali’s guidance throughout the year and creative projects to help bring the word more into my life.

I am looking forward to my year to SHINE.

I wish I could remember how the word found me … all I know is I’ve been thinking about this word since, like, August? Several months.

Sometime in 2016, I realized that enthusiasm is my superpower. Being a cheerleader is a gift that I bring to the world. Those Five Love Languages that Gary Chapman talks about? I can provide words of affirmation all day every day.

That’s about when I started my SHINE pinterest board (this one is my favorite, I think. Language warning). That’s about when I got my SHINE journal.

For me, this year to SHINE means a few different things …

I want to figure out what I am really good at and what I can offer the world.

I want to be unapologetically enthusiastic. I want to love without reserve.

I want to reflect back to the people in my life their own value and worth. I’m a cheerleader and an encourager and I can’t help it. Might as well own it.

I want to be a beacon for what is possible. I want to give hope to people who may be going through the same thing I have, or are struggling with the same things I did.

I don’t know yet exactly what this will all look like. What ACTIONS I need to take. … but it’s a mindset that I intend to hold on to all year.

I am very much looking forward to 2017. I haven’t the slightest idea what my life will look like at the end of it … that’s part of what this word is for. To help me make sure I’m staying on course, even without specific goals.

What is your One Little Word? Any BIG plans for 2017??







Make time for MicroAdventures

I tweeted something the other day that sounds ridiculous, but it’s still true: I plan my life around being flexible.

I get up before dawn and get right to work. I willingly answer emails on Saturday morning. I sometimes stay up late just to finish writing a chapter or researching hotels for S&S events.

I work at any time of day SO I CAN ALSO take off work any time of day.

My number one priority right now is building a life for myself when I can be flexible. My best friend here in Austin has 3 kids so I always want to be available when she can be. Another close friend has a very full schedule and can only make time to call me at random times, so I want to be able to drop everything when needed. I have at least 2, maybe 3 or more, friends coming to town the rest of this summer that I want to be around for.

It’s very important to me that my life is my own. That I can be flexible and make time for microadventures.

Want to see some examples?

(of course you do)

Mid-May my friend Garrett came to town! We did lunch and then walked around Lady Bird Lake (~5 miles in flip flops and a dress. Not my smartest decision).

That was a full Sunday….

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Just recently, my editor friend Kristin came and stayed with me for a week AND it happened to coincide with my writer friend Logan stopping by Austin for the weekend. They didn’t know each other at all, but all my friends are fantastic, so we had a fun, full Saturday doing Austin-y things.

Lunch at Homeslice. Amy’s Ice Cream. Then touring the state Capitol building. Coffee at BookPeople. Relaxing by Alyssa’s pool. Mexican food for dinner. Full full day.

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Logan is related to Lorenzo De Zavala, so he had ALL KINDS of history to tell us about that wasn’t on the official Capitol tour. It was adorable and hilarious and I’m so so glad I have the kind of work that I can be available at such late notice just because Logan happens to be in town.

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And one last microadventure that I made time for last week ….. Kristin didn’t have any specific plans when she came to Austin, BUT her hockey team (Pittsburgh) happened to be playing in the Stanley Cup final. !! SO we went and sat in a sports bar for a few hours so she could watch her team win!!

Nothing I ever would have thought to do myself, but I’m so so glad I was able to be available to do it with her.

(freaking adorable when they won. OMG that girl)

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All of these little microadventures have been SO FUN for me! Being able to be available when people I love want me is SO FUN for me! Knowing that friends will text me when they come to town and I can drop everything to do fun touristy things is SO FUN for me.

This has really been a magical year so far, and making time for microadventures is a bit part of that.

I have a ton more I want to do too. If you live in Austin and have ideas, let me know!

I’ve started a couple Pinterest boards here:

 What is your next microadventure?


Taking photos is a lifestyle

Last week was Ali Edwards’s yearly Week in the Life™ project. As of right now I have NO idea how many photos I took, but I’m SURE it was more than I had taken the previous week.

And, ironically, in the middle of the week one of my online friends sent me a message about when was I going to go explore Austin more because she wanted to see my photos of the city!

Ha! Guess I’m kind of known for this. ….

I have made photography and capturing everyday images part of my lifestyle for something like twenty years.

empty apartmentBecause really … taking as many photos as I do is a lifestyle.

Being able to recognize what visual stories should be (or can be) documented is a skill and a habit and something I’ve had to develop.

How many people do you know that are going to take a photo from the backseat of the car … to help tell the story of taking a ‘driving tour’ while visiting a location? I would guess virtually nobody outside of this scrapbooking community.

And yet, I didn’t think twice about it. Because taking photos is part of my every day life.

view from the backseat

If you’ve been trying to develop the habit of taking more photos and documenting more of your life … here are some of my favorite tips!

How to maximize your photo-taking lifestyle:

Have a camera on you at all times

If you don’t have a decent camera as part of your cell phone… I feel you. I didn’t until about 6 months ago (I had an old-hand-me-down phone with a severely scratched lens). The total and complete change in my memory keeping habits has absolutely made the extra cost of getting a new phone worth it.

Plus! I actually take my big dSLR camera with me all over too! I deliberately make sure that I buy purses large enough to hold that camera.

Having a camera handy is a MUST for building photo-taking as a lifestyle.

White House selfie

This is me leaving the White House. We went on a self-guided tour, so once you’re out this door you’re done. The perfect transition moment for a selfie.

Recognize transitions

Transition points are the perfect thing to take photos of. Anything from transitioning to a new job to transitioning through a doorway to walk into a new room.

Anytime SOMETHING changes, that’s the time to record the story.

Set an alarm if you need to

Anything you need to remind you to just take a second and look around and identify what story is happening at that moment that you want to record.

If you’re not taking any photos at all, just start with once a day. iPhones are miracles in that you can set an alarm and tell it to go off daily without having to think about it.

If not an ACTUAL alarm, set yourself a simple goal. Take a selfie every day. Take photos of your meals. Take 1 photo each day of your workspace.

Not all of these photos will be good or interesting, but creating the habit is the goal.

Get in the habit of SEEING

Knowing what you want to take photos of is just a habit and instinct to develop. Just … try.

Follow some Instagrammers that regularly post everyday photos. You’ll get a feel for the kinds of things that make good photo subjects, other than just your kid playing basketball or your family standing in front of Niagra Falls.

I recommend Ali Edwards, Megan Anderson and Elise Blaha Cripe to start with. And me :)

Have a plan for what you will do with your photos

Please don’t just leave hundreds of photos on your phone. Please. I’m not saying you need to create a giant Blurb book of your year, but at least have some kind of plan for reviewing your photos, backing them up, printing them out, and (0r) appreciating them in some way.

Start an Instagram account. Set a weekly date to review what photos you’ve taken. Be OK deleting some! Show off the images you love.

Taking photos is a lifestyle … Document your life through your camera. Tell your story. Everyone’s level of documenting is different, but forming the habit is the key.

Your turn! This week, get out your camera! Practice seeing your REAL LIFE all around you and record some stories!

The more you do it, the more it becomes a habit. And the more it becomes a habit the more irreplaceable moments you are able to document.


I love memory keeping. Of all kinds. I love it. But one of my very favorite personal projects that I’ve done the last few years is creating a year-long 6×8 pocket album specifically to document my goals and my progress on them.

I call this my January RESET project. I plan to create a new goal-setting album at the start every year, making myself write down the goals and document how I am hitting them. Or not.

Be sure you check out my previous pages in this project here. I started in January and tackled a different topic each of the first four weeks of the year. Beginning with reflecting on the previous year, all the way through setting goals and specific action steps.

Because you can’t hit your goals if you don’t know what the next step is. And you can’t know what the next step is until you know what is already done.

Which is why part of this year-long project is regular updates on progress. Today I want to share with you my 3-month check-in pages for January RESET. I’ve been reading The 12 Week Year and participating in my friend Clark’s (open-to-anyone) 90 Day Challenge accountability group. The idea of setting 3 month goals, and giving yourself more frequent deadlines seems to work really well to make you more productive.

Revisiting where I am with my goals on a 3 month basis is really helping me re-focus, re-prioritize and re-motivate me to get going on all of this.

Necessarily, this project requires a lot of journaling. I talk about what I want to do, what I have done, what is working or is not working, what obstacles I have had to overcome, what wins I can celebrate, and so much more.

The first couple pages of this 3-month update includes summaries of what has been accomplished so far and what I am still working on. Part of my goals are to write every day, so I’m including these 3×4 calendars to show off how many days I have been able to accomplish this (don’t judge when you scroll down and see April).

Document your goals with January RESET project

The backside of the page is just a lot of journaling about what has been happening in this year so far.

I really want to encourage you to use your own handwriting when you are journaling about personal topics like this. Not only is your handwriting a very personal, intimate aspect of YOUR story, but the actual physical act of putting a pen to paper can help you process thoughts better than typing it out. Highly recommended.

Document your goals with January RESET project

The next page opens with a selfie and a note to myself. SO much of this project is just a series of notes to myself. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

One of my big goals for 2016 was to move to Texas (done) and unpack right away and make this feel like home. I’ve moved so often over the last 10 years that I have barely had a chance to feel settled anywhere. These last 3 months, the goal I have made the most progress on has definitely been my ‘make a home’ goal.

Document your goals with January RESET project

I included a couple photos to document the progress (my apartment isn’t very big). I am proud of myself for only having a few boxes to still unpack, for having bought and put together a few pieces of furniture that I needed, for making myself at home. There are still a few things I want to do, but this is good progress for 3 months.

This next page — the 4×6 photo on a 6×8 piece of white paper? I changed my mind after getting the photos together. I had intended that photo to be used in a different layout, but the more I played with it the more I liked the idea of a big 6×8 image to document this new big part of my life:

Writing dates. One of my writer friends here in Austin has invited me to a writer / working date at a local coffeeshop almost once a week since I moved here. I love it. I love having local friends to be social with, and I love knowing that those hours are set aside for working on my books (instead of everything else).

Document your goals with January RESET project

And then the other side will be another 6×8 photo (still to be printed). A new goal that I set for myself over the last month is to make physical activity a priority. I have spent so much of the last year+ just sitting. Sitting and working. Sitting and reading. Sitting an working …. Sitting and staring at the wall :)

Ok, not really, but I work at the computer so much I feel like I bruised my tailbone. So these next 90 days (as part of this accountability group) I am focusing on hitting 10k steps (on my fitbit) every single day. Once I get that habit down I may add another habit, but this photo of me and my boss on the left is of a walking work-meeting we had a few weeks ago. I love that I live in Austin now and can do this. I love that I work with people who are up for this kind of meeting. I love that I have the flexibility in my job to walk while working.

At this last bit of my 3-month check-in I made sure to list out my current status. I have several big goals for the year, and all of them are in various stages of completion. I still have several months left to work on the rest.

Document your goals with January RESET project

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU: Document your goals.

Whether that is a whole RESET album like mine, or a journaling card in your Project Life spread this week or a whole series of Instagram posts. Take the time to

  1. write down what your goals are and
  2. celebrate your progress on them!

We mark so many milestones in our life that just kind of happen to us — birthdays, other people’s weddings, grandchildren. It’s time to celebrate the milestones that you make happen for yourself.

Be sure you check out previous posts in my January RESET album here for ideas and inspiration!

Supplies used from Allie Scraps, Ali Edwards, Studio Calico, Kelly Purkey, Project Life.

NOTE: This project originally appeared as part of the interNational Scrapbooking Day content in the ScrapGals Facebook Group. DEFINITELY join us there!


Your RIGHT NOW Story: 30 Days of Lists March 2016

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What are you doing next month?

I hope it’s telling your story.

Last year at this time my life was falling apart. But I still did 30 Days of Lists as I have every March since 2011. Because I have a story. Sometimes it’s a hard story. Sometimes it’s a light story.

But it’s always my story.

Kam has written a great post about the 30 Days of List project here. The nuts & bolts and why Lists and probably answers all the questions you have.

But I want to talk about your story.

How are you making your mark? How are you recording your experiences? How are you indicating to yourself that you matter?

Because, my love, YOU MATTER. Your story is worth telling. Your weekly to-do list or your dreams for the future. All of that is worth writing down or recording in some way.

And you may not have time to make a big ol’ scrapbook, or write out your memoirs.

But I promise that you have time to make a list. Just 1 list every day for 30 days. In a community of women who are all working on recording their story in the same way.

#30Lists has this wonderful, personal magic to it. And I hope you’ll come on the journey with us.

Click here to register and join us!

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January RESET: Action Steps

Last of the January RESET prompts! By now you should have a pretty good idea of how you’re going to move forward to make this the best year ever!

I love love love the new fresh start beginnings of the year. I love planning. I love how much I have to look forward to this year.

If this is the first you’re hearing about it, check out earlier posts:

SO! Moving on to this week! ACTION STEPS

Action steps are basically … breaking down your bigger goal into smaller, more manageable pieces. It’s all well and good to say I’m going to publish 6 novels this year, but there are A LOT of smaller steps built into that. First I have to finish 1 rough draft … then revise that draft. Then polish that draft. Then cover, then marketing, then get it to market, etc. Times 6.

Action steps.

For another look, read: Stop trying to change your entire life in one night

You’ll probably notice that this section is a bit shorter than the other weekly prompts. Not because Action Steps are less important or less content-heavy than Reflection or anything else. The opposite actually.

But breaking down all of my 19 million action steps for these big goals would just be way too cumbersome for my January RESET book as it is. I really prefer physical notebooks for this kind of to-do-list planning. I

Rest assured that I know “write 3 more rough drafts” is not a proper action step for getting books published. But all my 75,000 pages of to-dos don’t need to be here.

The photo that will go in that pocket (once it is printed) is this one — my current, rough list of everything I need to do to revive this site. Let’s be honest. I’ve kind of ignored growing L&R for the last 18 months or so. It’s still here, yes, but I’m not at all using this asset as I could. That’s one of my goals this year, and these are my action steps.

For my big big big goal, I’m using one of the Quick Pages from the January RESET digital kit.

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Then just a couple of blank white sheets, to break down my other big big goals into smaller, manageable steps.

(again, I will reiterate that I KNOW this isn’t all the steps I need. Making my Italy 2009 photo album requires still editing the photos, for example).

It helps my brain so much to have this all written out. I am a big fan of long brain dumps. (I think I’m due for one soon).

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And then the final bit of this section is another Quick Page. No excuses. Yes, publishing 6 books in the next 11 months will be hard as hell. But no excuses.

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The next time I will update this will be early April. Every 3 months seems like the perfect time to check-in to see what has been done, what still needs to be done, what targets need to be adjusted or what goals needs to be thrown out altogether.

What are your Action Steps this week?


January RESET: Goals

Another week of January RESET. Another week to intentionally set my goals and direction for the year …

This week’s prompt is GOALS.

I admit, I jotted down some cursory goals back on December 28 or so. I just love the new year and fresh start and I’ve been thinking about what I want 2016 to look like for weeks.

But I also love being deliberate and intentional about it, and I’m glad I waited until this week to actually record them for my January RESET book. I had some time to think about it. I took the time to reflect on last year and why I didn’t meet my goals and really decide if this is how I want to spend my time in the coming year.

I have been using the RESET digital kit designed by Alexandra Rae Design (with some input from me). It includes lovely word art, prompts and elements, as well as pre-made quick pages to get you started right away. This kit can be used any time, but throughout January, Allie and I will be leading the way through reflecting on the past year and resetting for the year ahead using this kit as a base.

There are some great word-art and quick page for this in the RESET kit, but as always, make it your own.

First, you *might* notice a little something on the left. Between the Today is For page and this one, I am thinking about inserting 2 large 6×8 photos (there is an empty 6×8 page protector there now). I haven’t totally decided. Likely a selfie for at least one, but I don’t know how I feel about it yet … Still thinking.

This first page is a little bit more of … transition. A ‘right now’-type journaling card, and a couple little journaled paragraphs. Some of this is just encouragement to myself — writing it down makes it more real.

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Next, I’ve included another one of the monthly focus calendars. Obviously, nothing is checked off because it’s not yet February. My One Little Word for 2016 will help guide a lot of my goals and plans, so obviously I needed to create a card for that.

And then I’m using one of the Quick Pages from the RESET kit. A year from now …. Those are my main (big) goals for the year. I have some smaller goals, and other hopes-to-happen. But those are the big things I will be focusing on.

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You’ll notice my number one goal is to Publish 6 books. That’s not quite as ambitious as it sounds, considering three of them are very close to being done. I will still need to write several new books to make that goal, and it absolutely will be a stretch to publish all 6 in 2016 …. But I think I can do it.

(spoiler: If I can’t quite do 6 I’ll still have published more than I have now. Which is zero).

My goal to publish 6 books is going to drive all my decisions this year. Do I want to binge-watch that TV show? Not if I haven’t done my writing for the day. Do I want to attend that conference? Not if I need the money for editors or book covers.

Luckily I work for some of the biggest names in self-publishing, and just learning from them will help me avoid some of the bigger mistakes …. But it still is going to be A LOT of work.

I like work like this, though.

The next page is about my goal to make myself a new home. I don’t really have a home now. The house I shared with Andrew has been sold and 98% of my belongings are in a storage unit in California. I need a home.

I took a ‘before’ photo of the crowded bedroom at my parents’ I am living in now. I am SO grateful for the opportunity to live here while I transition, but it is definitely not a long-term solution.

By next December I want to have moved to Austin, Texas, and feel like I have made myself a home. Unpack all the boxes. Hang wall art. All of it.

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The next page is about my memory keeping goals. I did … virtually nothing in 2014. And only started again at the end of 2015. I have a lot of stories I want to record. And I plan to live a lot more stories that want to be recorded. The photo I got printed is this onetravel scrapbooking is going to be a priority in 2016. I’ve got big plans for that.

And then 4 journaling cards:

  • I want to take a minimum of 3 trips this year. I’ve already been on 1. I have a 2nd mostly planned. The third one can be anything (although I will probably visit a friend or friends in the midwest)
  • My income goal is …. modest by overall standards, but still quite a leap for me. Remember just 6 months ago I was basically a housewife. Now I am supporting myself completely.
  • The Top Ten is 10 big goals all listed out. …. Some are specific (like publish 6 books), some are fun and loose (like live magically). That will be my 2016. It all fits on one card.

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Products pictured are from the January RESET digital kit by Allie Scraps, also Studio Calico and Ali Edwards.

What are your goals for this year?

Next week will be the final prompt of January — Action Steps. This is the part where I actually figure out how to make it all happen. Breaking down all of these into specific action steps is going to take some time … This next week I’ll be working on that and share with you on Monday.


January RESET: Right Now

If this is your first time hearing about the project, check out Allie’s full page here and my last week’s prompt REFLECTION and my pages here.

This is very seriously new favorite project. I am so excited to invite you to reflect along with me throughout the month of January…. And I’m already looking forward to reviewing my progress in a few months and doing it all again next January.

SO great!

Throughout the month I will post different journaling prompts and topics to help you review the year behind and RESET for the year ahead.

I have been using the RESET digital kit designed by Alexandra Rae Design (with some input from me). It includes lovely word art, prompts and elements, as well as pre-made quick pages to get you started right away. This kit can be used any time, but throughout January, Allie and I will be leading the way through reflecting on the past year and resetting for the year ahead using this kit as a base.

There are some great word-art and quick page for this in the RESET kit, but as always, make it your own.

A reminder that this project is YOURS too. If you want to skip the quick pages altogether … If you want to double-up on the last-year-reflection. If you want to use only the kit or none of the kit.

My pages are meant to be an inspiration and a loose guideline — but I’d love to see your take too. Please leave a link in the comments if you are posting your January RESET project!

On to this week’s pages … on the prompt RIGHT NOW:

This week’s prompt is all about RIGHT NOW. How am I feeling, what am I doing, how am I spending my time. A good, thorough check-in…

Actually … I feel like this first new spread is still part of the REFLECTION prompt.

I have several of those blank Month / Focus cards, and will try to do the whole year, recording how often I am making the time to work on my books.

The blank spot on the right will be this photo (needs to be printed). This is my right now. It was literally taken just a few days ago. It represents where I am RIGHT NOW in my life — totally flexible schedule and independence to jaunt off to an Airbnb for a week to do nerdy history touristy things by myself.

I LOVE IT. I am so so happy that this is what my RIGHT NOW looks like. This photo and what it represents makes me so happy.

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You’ll notice the background of my album looks different than last week — that’s because I’m actually working from an Airbnb this week rather than my usual home. I love that. I love that I can work from anywhere.

This next page begins the small ‘right now’ section. About what I want to cut out of my life. About the opportunities and structure I have to my life right now.

It’s so very 100% different than my Right Now was a year ago. And so worth documenting. I’m already excited to see how my Right Now will look different in January 2017.

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The back side of that page is a quick jot-down of what today looks like. Literally today. Monday, January 11. I am still in my Airbnb in Richmond as I type this, planning on stopping by some plantations on my drive back home to Virginia Beach. What my work today looks like. What my brain today looks like.

(The 3×4 cards on the right are just place-holders at the moment. I haven’t decided what that next page will look like as of this posting)

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‘Today is for’ and ‘Just for Me’ journaling cards are from the kit, as well as the ‘Just say No’, ‘Right now I’ and ‘Today is for…’ prompt strips. Other cards are from Studio Calico, Midnight core kit, Ali Edwards, Kelly Purkey and made by me (and Kellie Stamps).

You’ll notice this section is a lot smaller than the previous (and likely the section for the next prompt). This is for a few reasons, but really it’s more of a transition prompt than anything else. I don’t have anything more than this to say about my right now.

This is my right now. … and now I’m ready to move forward for the year!

What does your RIGHT NOW look like?

Next week will be about my big 2016 goals! I have been thinking about these for a few weeks, but waiting to actually document anything specifically. I am super excited about the next January RESET pieces.


January RESET: Reflection

Welcome to the January RESET project! Throughout the month I will post different journaling prompts and topics to help you review the year behind and RESET for the year ahead.

I will be using the brand new RESET digital kit designed by Alexandra Rae Design (with some input from me). It includes lovely word art, prompts and elements, as well as pre-made quick pages to get you started right away.

The first week of the year is for Reflection on the year behind us.

**insert manic laughter**

Oh. Yea. Thinking long and hard about what happened in 2015 is going to be so fuuuuuunnnnnn.

I almost skipped this step altogether. Because obviously I KNOW what went wrong in 2015. Nearly everything negative last year stems back to one single thing that I had no control over. One single thing that will obviously not be a factor in 2016.

How much can I possibly get out of Reflection this week?

But I did it anyway. Because (shocker) I don’t actually know everything and self-examination is always useful.

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I love my title page. I love the simplicity. That ‘OKAY, let’s try that again’ journaling card is from Studio Calico. I’m not exactly sure when or how it came into my possession but it is SO perfect, right?

I love that photo of me with the flag. I realize it makes me look more patriotic than I probably am, but I love it. I was happy that day. I was doing something that I love (vacation in Washington DC) and I was moving forward from the heartbreak of earlier in the year. My only disappointment is it is a cell phone photo, so the image file isn’t terribly large. I’ll survive.

Turn the page … and a bit more introductory pages …

I have left the ‘This is my WHY’ page blank for these photos. Only because that is super super personal journaling, and it was easier to take the photo first, rather than blur it all out for the blog post. You will likely see a lot of that kind of thing in my pages throughout January. This is a very personal, and at time private project. Yes, I would love you all to join me throughout the month, but this album is my own little space and I will be writing things that are just for me.

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That mirror selfie is from my trip to Austin in September. When I saw some of my closest friends, met new people in my industry and let myself be talked into moving there. I felt super cute that day. I love this photo of me.

The ‘Dear Self’ 3×4 card is Ali Edwards. The 2016 filler card is Studio Calico. And on it I have handwritten a bunch of different words/phrases that mean RESET.

The THIS IS MY WHY printable page is included in the RESET digital kit, and I’ve backed it with just white cardstock. I have a lot to say on the topic :)

Turn the page …

More cards from Ali, Studio Calico, and that RESET kit.

More reminding myself 2016 is a new beginning. Some More / Less journaling. Basically it comes down to more things that I love and find MAGIC …. less things that I do just because I’ve always done them.

More being intentional with how I spend my time and money. Less being lazy about how I spend my time and money.

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Turn the page … more digital kit and Studio Calico journaling cards. A photo of me on a trip to Alexandria. In front of an enormous statue of George Washington!

I debated with what photo I wanted to put there. Again, wanted it to be something I loved in 2015 … but in this case, Washington will actually figure in my 2016 as well. It’s not a great photo if you want to see ME, but it’s a great photo for my life right now.

In designing the kit, Allie and I didn’t really specify which pages or elements go where. There’s no rules for how to use this kit, and if you want to save this quick page for next October or not use it at all, that works well too.

You’ll notice I didn’t bother to list out all the ways my 2015 was absolutely the worst year of my life. No reason for that. There are some smaller things from last year that I can work on, though. The WORKING card lists good parts I want to carry forward, the NOT WORKING card lists what I want to put behind me.

reset  004

This week’s focus is to look back at the last year. With honest eyes. What went right and what went wrong. What do you want more of and what do you need to say no to?

That’s it for now!

And, actually … I realized as I was putting this blog post together that I have more wins from 2015 that I didn’t document. I should. I’ve just been operating under the “2015 sucked, let’s move on” mentality, but actually some good things happened.

Like, I lost 30 pounds! Granted it was all anxiety-and-grief-driven lack of appetite. But still. I’ve kept it off so that’s something.

So, yes, I’m publishing this post as-is, but I will likely change around and add to these pages. Because the WINS are definitely worth recording.

So my REFLECTION section will get a bit bigger …. and then move into the RIGHT NOW section that I’ll show you next week.

(spoiler: It’s not actually done yet, because my intention is to complete these pages and this challenge along with you. I’ll record my RIGHT NOW sometime in the next week to share next Monday)

Are you RESETting this January? How was your process of looking back over the past year?


One Little Word 2016: MAGIC

I love love love the practice of choosing a word to focus on every year.

After the last couple years … I need some fun in my life. I need something special. I need something larger than life. I need to be with people who care about me. I need to go on adventures and create things and hit my goals and feel good about myself.

I need magic in my life.

My One Little Word for 2016 is MAGIC

I’m taking Ali’s OLW course again! You can sign up on her site here. It’s a great price for a year-long reminder and prompts to help you stay focused on your word. Not an affiliate. I just love her.

A short list of some of the things I find magical:

  • travel
  • fiction
  • musicals
  • Muppets
  • hitting goals
  • storytelling
  • American History
  • laughter
  • singing and singers (like Adele and Freddy Mercury)
  • fresh starts
  • love
  • scrapbooking and memory keeping
  • being independent and strong
  • Harry Potter

So far my plans for 2016 include …

…. Moving to Austin, to be near my writer friends and to live in a place that is inexpensive enough that I can afford to travel more often. A truly fresh start.

…. Travel to Richmond on my own to spend a week taking in all the Civil War history and battlefields around.

…. Traveling to New York City, to see the musical Hamilton (it’s about American History, yo. It’s like it was written for me)

…. Tentative trip to Chicago to see friends, see Hamilton AND Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with said friends

…. Publish 4 novels. Write first drafts of 3 novels. Read all the how-to-write and creativity books I can find (Big Magic is already on my kindle).

…. Revel in fiction. Be more deliberate about the fiction I choose to read. Return to my M.A. in Literature roots by putting the priority on reading classic literary fiction that I love, rather than whatever new trendy Y.A. fantasy books just to see what the masses are reading.

Seems like a lot in a list like that …. I seriously cannot wait!!

But in addition to all of this …. I need to remind myself that I AM MAGIC.

I’m also going to use the word MAGIC to remind myself how awesome I am. 2015 destroyed me and my self-confidence. Which is ridiculous, because I’m awesome.


2016 is going to be amazing!

P.S. I’ll be emailing more about my year of MAGIC, so be sure you’re on the list here to get those missives.