I’m starting over.

I mean. In everything. Almost literally everything in my life is starting over.

Including my memory keeping. I am starting fresh with a new album beginning with the last part of 2015.

Best part of declaring bankruptcy? I’m not even going to pretend that I will ever “catch up”. I will edit and back up those photos so I have them, but that’s it. I might, one day, print out one or 2. But I have no intention of scrapbooking 2014 or the first part of 2015.

 (related sidenote: I have also just declared email bankruptcy, so if I owe you an email please resend it)

My new Project Life album begins July 30, 2015. The day I left my home in California with a van full of boxes and my cats and started driving all the way across country.

I had 5 days of road-tripping to get to Virginia, and added in several extra photos of my rental van all packed full.

Now that I’m looking at these pages, I realize I want to add a list of everything I put in the van. Maybe I’ll hide it behind one of the photos ….

Products used include by Kelly Purkey, Ali Edwards, Studio Calico, Project Life and rukristin papercrafts.

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I’m sticking with what works for me. No point in trying to overthink it or reinvent anything. For my daily life, I like to use Project Life pocket pages design A. I like photos + journaling cards. I like little-to-no embellishments.

I will mostly stick with a 2-page-spread per week (Monday to Sunday), but weeks that are especially boring I may combine 2 weeks together.

Anything big (like my travel or history-related-day-trips) get their own albums.

This road-trip in particular was VERY emotionally difficult, and I had a lot of things to say that aren’t included in these pages. I maintained a small moleskine notebook over these 5 days (where my receipts and hotel keys and things are too), that is kept separately. Or maybe I’ll stick it in a page projector in between some of these? Hmmm…

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I cannot tell you how good it feels to be starting over fresh. To not feel guilty about being “behind”. To have freed myself from the perceived obligation.

I am genuinely excited about memory keeping again.

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Which is why I am so excited that my friend Megan will be running her AMAZING class Pocket Your Year again in 2016! (The sign-up should be up any day here)

I am so inspired to try new techniques and to tell all these stories of my new life. Megan does a fantastic job of fitting so many stories into her pocket scrapbooking album, and I can’t wait to learn from her.

Join me for Pocket Your Year in 2016. Set yourself up for a productive 2016 in the best way possible.

P.S. I won’t be posting my Project Life projects on the blog, but sign up for my email list for glimpses throughout the year.

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January Reset: Let’s try that again

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New year …. New start. THANK GOODNESS!

Last year about this time I was collaborating with my friend Allie on a digital kit specifically for helping document the new RESET beginning of January. It was wonderful and I loved it.

I LOVED the intentional way I really spent time with my goals. I loved making time to reflect on the previous year. I loved giving myself the focus on RESETTING.

I loved this project for the 4 weeks I spent with it.

And then at the very end of January everything in my life changed and I was struggling with day to day stuff, let alone working on bigger goals. So I gave myself permission to give up on the RESET project. I was far too deep in the messy middle to really be resetting anything at all.

I’m not going to lie — it makes me sad to look back over those goals and action steps and think about how differently my 2015 turned out from what I had hoped.

But, on the flip side …. I am so genuinely excited about what is next. I am so so thrilled to have this opportunity to start over and reset. This January will be so much more truly a RESET than last January was.

This year will me so so much better in every way, and my January RESET project will be such a magical way to begin it and really set the tone for 2016.

You can also see some examples from Allie on her page here.

We’re both using the digital kit. It’s **super** flexible. I am using some of the cards/pages straight out of the kit, I am creating my own cards with some of the kit elements, and I’m also adding in products from other creators (Ali, Kelly, Kristin, and more)

GRAB YOUR DIGITAL KIT HERE
(it’s ON SALE right now for the beginning of the project)

 

I will be posting about my own RESET project here on the blog in January, occasionally on Instagram, and also throughout the year on my newsletter.

Allie is also hosting an Instagram challenge throughout January and we would LOVE you to join us!

Begin your 2016 with INTENTION. Join us for a January RESET!

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Set aside time to create

What did you do this morning? First thing, as soon as you started working? Was it answering email? Maybe checking in on a Facebook group you help manage? Scrolling through Instagram?

Or was it creating? That big project you’ve been trying to chip away at? The one that you’ve been planning for a few weeks at least?

Up until a few months ago, I started my mornings slipping into the magic social media time warp and somehow spent all the time answering other people.

99U calls this Reactionary Workflow.

Maybe you do this too? You’re just filling your time reacting to what other people want from you or ask of you.

So once I got my head on a little straighter and realized I was making little-to-no progress on the major creative endeavors I was in the middle of, I made myself stop. I had to force myself. I LIKE feeling like I am helping. I LIKE the feeling of productivity that comes from answering emails and clearing out the inbox.

But those little things aren’t helping my long-term goals. Instead, made the concerted effort to remove myself from that loop of responding to what everyone else was asking of me.

I turned all notifications off of my phone — including (and especially) the notifications from my company’s instant messaging profile. I don’t work ‘on call’ so there’s no need to know the exact second my boss asked me to tweak a book’s product description. I took work email off of my phone. I made sure to close the email and internet programs on my laptop, so when I open it in the morning, I’ve only got my writing project open.

Most importantly ….  over the last 6 months I’ve been doing Morning Pages (as prescribed by Julia Cameron). That’s a subject for a whole post on its own, but let me tell you …. It has been so great for my brain to have ~20 minutes first thing every morning just set aside to clear my head and write something.

So I wake up, feed the cats, start the coffee, and then sit down and write by hand for about 20 minutes. Then (usually) I get to work on my writing project of the day.

I can get away with this schedule for a lot of reasons — I work part-time, from home on my own schedule. I get up SUPER early, so no one expects me to answer email at 6:30am ET when I am beginning work.

But you can do something similar:

Give your brain a break from input — resist taking out your phone when you are just waiting in line
Close out your Facebook tab
Turn off notifications from your phone
Schedule your creating time on the calendar
Meditate
Take your lunch break outside (without your phone)
Take a nap
Go for a walk (without your phone)

There’s a ton of ideas to take yourself out of the cycle of constant media absorption. Not every single second needs to be filled with entertainment.

Set aside time to make something instead. First thing. Before anyone gets in your way.

I’m still not winning this game. I’m still working on this every day and all the books I wanted to have done this year? Yea, not even close.

But I’m working on it. And every day I get better at it.

P.S. Be sure to register for 30 Days of Lists if you want a fun and EASY creative challenge for next month. You only need to set aside 5 minutes each day to create.

You can totally manage that.

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I’m not doing December Daily this year. I know. *Gasp!* *Shock!* What kind of Ali Edwards fangirl am I REALLY?

I am, however, doing 30 Days of Lists in December (click here to register and join me).

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The truth is …. I need a break. I’m having a rough year. I am never going to finish my December Daily album for 2014. The memories associated are just too painful.

But I need something. Something easy and finishable. Something JUST FOR ME.

I can’t wrap my head around anything more than that.

I currently live with my parents. My family will be going on a vacation together AND my parents will hopefully be buying a house in December sometime and may need to do some work on it, or maybe we’ll be moving or … who knows.

Honestly. I don’t have anything for sure planned for December except 1 trip — and that gets its own album.

I don’t need to do December Daily.

But I DO need to record my right-now story. I need to not let this weird time of transition just pass me by. I need to make sure I have a project that is just for me, since the last 10+ years of my life I’ve been recording the story of an ‘us.’

So thank the lord for 30 Days of Lists.

I plan on just being …. simple. Easy. Low-key. Totally 100% doable in 5 minutes each day. Because oh man will December be busy anyway — even without anything specifically holiday-ish planned.

Maybe next year I’ll be ready for December Daily again … but in the meantime 30 Days of Lists is perfect for me.

Register here to join us

 

P.S. How are you documenting your December?

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Creative challenge: 30 Days of Lists

Next Tuesday — one week from today — my favorite creative challenge begins again!

As a fun little warm-up to September’s challenge, we are hosting a blog hop!

I recently went on a coast-to-coast road trip (with cats!) so I had this list prompt down pat. No problem. In fact, before I even thought about this blog hop, I had been making notes to myself about what my road trip must-haves would be for next time.

List journaling creative challenge

This simple 3×4 journaling card will go in my Project Life spreads about that trip.

Supplies:

Some of our sponsors and ambassadors have posted about 30 Days of Lists today, so click through to each of their sites to see what they are Listing!

Best part? You are all invited to join us too. It is super easy to participate in the blog hop and any one can join in!

Here’s how to join:
— Visit the 30 Days of Lists March 2011 challenge site and choose a list prompt
— Complete your list prompt however you choose (digital, in your planner, elaborate 12×12 layout, art journaling, anything!)
— Post on your blog (or Instagram or somewhere else online)
— Leave a link to your list post in a comment HERE on our Facebook page!

Then, of course, be sure to click through to see how everyone else is listing.

We can’t wait to see what you make! And be sure you register to join us in September

P.S. I’m posting at Yes to New Adventures on tumblr

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5 easy ways to write about your childhood

I mentioned the other day that my grandmother passed away last week. My last living blood-relative grandmother is now gone (although, my grandfather’s wife is pretty fantastic). All the stories from Grandma Jaye’s long life are now gone.

It’s so cliche, I know. But I so wish that she had journaled more stories about her childhood. She was almost 6 years old when the stock market crashed in 1929. She remembers having to downsize to a smaller apartment sometime in the 1930s. She grew up in Ohio and worked in nightclubs during WWII (and did her share of entertaining soldiers and sailors).

Don’t let your own stories disappear over time …. Journal about your childhood this week.

write about your childhood

Pull out your photos

Hopefully you have at least a couple. I have a ton (or, rather, my mom has a ton and I need to get copies from her). Journal about what you are doing in that photo. Journal about who else is in the photo. Journal about what you are wearing, about how you got all your opposite-gender-cousin’s hand-me-downs. Journal about where you are, about how you lived 5 years in that house and only have 2 memories from it. Journal about who took the photos of your childhood. Journal about the visual, what you see.

amyReread your journals, letters, and hand-written notes

I used to have binders and binders full of hand-written notes from high school and at some point, during one of my dozen moves, I threw them out. AND I AM SO BUMMED. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Rereading letters you received, or your early diary entries or even school progress reports will help kickstart your memories and remind you of stories that you would like to write about now.

Review the media from that time period

What movies were in theaters during your childhood? What bands and music do you remember listening to? What books did you read over and over before bed? What stories were going on in the news that you have memories of?

Revisit the physical locations 

From your childhood home, to your school, to the 7-11 you walked to every afternoon in the summer to get a Slurpee. Here are some more tips on writing about your childhood home specifically.

Ask people who were there

Mom and Dad, yes, but what does your little brother remember about your 10th birthday party? What does your best friend remember about your 6th grade class trip? What about your babysitter? Your neighbor? Your Sunday School teacher?

BONUS: Register for MyDetails ecourse from Megan from Nerd Nest and Kristin from rukristin.

This ecourse has a TON of pre-class resources and new prompts begin May 4. Over the next seven weeks we will share with you twenty different creative prompts to document the details of your life.

You’ll be inspired by over 70 unique and exclusive MyDetails projects, 30+ of which are brand new to the 2015 Edition.

Megan and Kristin have spread the wealth and will be sharing projects in the form of mini-book pages, pocket page spreads, traditional scrapbook layouts, art journaling pages and more!

Return to these prompts again and again to document your details at any point. Return to them at a later date and translate them into documenting the details of the other important people in your life.

  I’ll be in the class! Hope to see you there!

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Resources to feed your wanderlust

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 As this post goes live, I will be embarking on a day of travel. Checking out of a hotel, catching a cab to the airport, waiting, flying, being picked up from the airport, fighting traffic and probably getting home late afternoon.

My weekend in Austin was work-related, I didn’t do anything touristy or even see much of the city other than the conference hotel.

But, you know what? STILL A TRIP. I’m counting it.

I have constant wanderlust and am always pricing out plane tickets or hotels or road trips or weekends away or SOMETHING. I love having travel plans in the pipeline. I love imagining where we’ll go next, what we’ll see, what I can take pictures of, what stories I will record when we get back.

Literally as soon as I started watching House of Cards, I started googling ‘Washington DC sublet’. I wish Amtrak went through Phoenix. I am so grateful I can work from anywhere, because lord knows I have a lot of trips on my wishlist.

If you’re like me and are dreaming of an adventure, here are some resources to help feed your wanderlust:

And some resources for recording your trip when you get back:

So I’m right now coming back from Austin, I will be in Phoenix this coming weekend, I want to make plans soon to visit friends in the MidWest, I’ll be going back to Austin in September ….. and I’d like to plan another trip somewhere new soon too!

What are your travel plans?

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Projects to capture your RIGHT NOW story

I’m catching up.

February and March have kind of been a wash for me, but I am getting back in it! I need a little jolt of completing a project to get the ball rolling again. I need a little RIGHT NOW memory keeping project. Baby steps.

Here are some of my favorites …

Currently

This project — with cards and stamps — from rukristin papercrafts is the simplest project. I love it. I love it! I love how easy it is. I love that I just grab a card and jot down a list and then I’ve got a little bit of my right now story recorded. I don’t do these on any kind of schedule, but just whenever I am feeling it.

Grab some Currently List cards for yourself here.

30 Days of Lists

You already know … this project is close to my heart. Kam and I have been running this jouraling challenge 2 or 3 times each year since 2011. I have lost count of how many times that is. I love my little stack of #30Lists minibooks.

For a 30 day period, you just commit to journaling a short list on a given prompt. Something like ‘books on my to-read list’ or ‘places I’ve lived.’ Easy. 5 minutes. Capture your RIGHT NOW.

One Little Word

This year my One Little Word is Practice (photo above is from 2014), and each month I get an email from Ali Edwards with a new project to record my Right-Now story of how my word is.

Something simple like a little journaling or a vision board or a collection of photos. Just an easy RIGHT NOW project to represent the work done that month. This is the 3rd year I’ve taken Ali’s class and I still love it.

January RESET

This project is new for me this year. I’m still feeling it out, but so far I love it and I think it could be a really great project to do year after year. I’m working on a 3-month check in now to add to this book and it’s so great to have this spot to record my progress on this year’s goals. I am so looking forward to what this looks like at the end of the year.

What are your favorite RIGHT NOW projects?

P.S. 10 projects to capture your summer (which is either coming up, or just finishing, depending on where you live)

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m15 30lists blog hop

Listing begins on Sunday! But today we wanted to share a peek at what kind of fun creative challenge you can expect in March.

Today is the 30 Days of Lists Blog Hop and you’re invited to join in on the fun!

What is a blog hop? A blog hop is basically when a lot of bloggers post about the same thing and encourage their readers to go visit the others as well.

Today we’re sharing list prompts taken from the (still free) March 2011 challenge!

This is my actual list from back then …. Things I am good at

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In case you can’t read my handwriting, the list reads:

  • wedding photography
  • writing
  • customer service
  • cooking
  • singing
  • making Andrew laugh
  • no drama
  • saving $
  • planning trips
  • scrapbooking and other creative-like activities
  • reading
  • academia

Now, five (!!) years later, the only thing I might change it to take off wedding photography (haven’t done it in years) and to add editing (learn more about what I offer here).

Otherwise, my life and activities and skills haven’t changed much.

Now, if only I could get paid for singing musicals loudly while I cook :)

Ambassadors & Sponsors taking part in the blog hop today:

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Go to the March 2011 30 Days of Lists site
  2. Choose one of those list prompts
  3. Create your list — on a post-it, digitally, art journal, however you like.
  4. Post your list in a blog post* today
  5. Share a link to your blog in the Blog Hop Facebook Post

*Don’t have a blog? Share your list on Instagram or Flickr and leave a link to your photo instead! That way, other Listers can find your work and see what list you selected.

DON’T FORGET: It’s not too late to register for the March 2015 edition of 30 Days of Lists – simply click here and you’re a few clicks away from accessing the private site and getting into the private Facebook group!

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January Reset: Action Steps

This is the last of the January prompts for this (awesome fantastic new favorite) project: January RESET.

I totally intend to update this mini album at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and a year. And do it all again in January of 2016. I really hope you join me!!

I have been absolutely loving this project. I can’t wait til I receive all my photo prints and these layouts can feel more DONE. I didn’t do any scrapbooking (except WitL) in 2014, and I am loving this start to 2015.

I guess I just feel like I need more journaling in my life. I love photos and photography, but sometimes the editing gets backed up, or I have to size them for the right pockets or I forget what the photo is of (my husband takes a lot of photos of his recording sessions and things, for example).

But journaling? That I can do any time. Any where. I’m working on writing as a daily practice, so this journaling-focused memory keeping project was ideal.

I really (really) would love if you joined me!

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 4 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 4.

Action steps.

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

This section opens with a couple journaling cards and photos. Again, my apologies for the lack of done-ness in these spreads, but it’s really important to me that I do these prompts throughout the month instead of all ahead of time like a fancier blogger would.

The ‘Take Action’ and ‘One Day at a Time’ and >> stamps are all from Ali Edwards’s One Little Word mini kit. I love it. I really just bought that kit for the stamps. The black chevron washi tape is Freckled Fawn

The #1-10 journaling card is from the RESET digital kit that Allie designed. It’s perfect for this. I didn’t write down specific action steps, but rather the daily habits I want to PRACTICE this year.

The opposite page is a 5x5x8x5 page broken into 1 section for each of my 4 big goals (front and back). 2 tiny notes on this page, I haven’t 100% decided what the fourth novel (late November) will be. Possibly book 3 of my series but that’s not written. Possibly a stand-alone more literary-ish novel. We’ll see. Also, Andrew and I haven’t been on a proper vacation since summer 2013, so it’s time. No idea where/when/etc.

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Again, as I noted last week, blank space left for details about private goal. I’ll let you know when I accomplish it. But not til then.

(since I took those very first ‘before’ photos a couple weeks ago I have actually done a couple teeny tiny action steps on the bedroom/office front. Can’t wait to show you when I check-in at the 3 month mark.

Opposite page is just a time-capsule-type page of what I am planning on working on this week. Each one of those works towards my goals. I will obviously be doing other stuff (like dishes. Bleck), but this keeps the focus on the action steps that will help me accomplish what I dream of.

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And finally, the back page is the same concept but for the month of February. Writing this all out was a bit of a wake-up call. I might be busy this month!

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This is the last of the JANUARY prompts … but I’ll be posting again in early April with a 3 month check-in. This project is designed to be a foundation for the full year, and I am so excited to see how this year shapes up. The next section will probably open with progress photos!! ESPECIALLY since I plan to publish my first book March 3! Expect an Amazon screenshot or something to mark that.

Don’t forget to grab the digital kit here. You can do your own RESET project any time. There’s nothing magical about January!

xo

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