Wednesday, May 29, 2013

These 5 songs

Songs have always been a huge part of my life which made today’s prompt totally up my alley. But there was no way I could narrow it down to 5 songs for my whole life, or even for my whole marriage. So I picked 5 songs from my childhood to share with you today. Each one has a special story… Take a listen with the playlist I’ve included.

These 5 songs by shadylane_14 on Grooveshark

O Siem by Susan Aglukark
I first heard this song when I was about 7 in a car with a dear old friend named Marg. She had Susan’s album on tape and was sharing it with us as we were driving back from a morning in service. I remember instantly being drawn to the sound of her voice and the drums. Those drums are something special. I asked Marg if I could borrow the tape, made a copy of it for myself and listened to it till it died. I recently bought the album on CD from Amazon and have loved falling in love with the songs again. The video for this song is amazing!

Navajo Rug by Ian Tyson
My dad introduced me to Ian Tyson when I was young and I have these vivid memories of us singing his songs together on road trips. Navajo Rug was my favorite one. I love the imagery of it and the classic country music story telling. I got to see Ian Tyson live a few years ago when he came to the Summerland Music Festival. He sang this song on request for us. One of my favorite memories.

Blame It On the Weatherman by B Witched
B*Witched is a group of 4 girls from Ireland and their CD was the very first one I ever bought myself. So totally 90’s! The album was full of fun bubbly fun songs that still make me smile to hear. This one is a little sad and melancholy, but I was 12 years old and beginning my moody stage (oh to be a pre-teen), so this one has stuck with me.

 The Animal Song by Savage Garden
Savage Garden was on constant repeat in my disk-man when I was growing up. I remember road trips listening to them, and sitting with my cousins eating sunflower seeds in the summertime listening to them. Their music always made me feel something. This one is a favorite for sure…the lyrics still resonate in my wanna-be gypsy soul. So full of that real life stuff that I just love.

Dr. Jones by Aqua
You cannot talk about music from the 90’s without including Aqua! Seriously. lol. I had all their CD’s and remember listening to them on the bus ride to and from school. The reason I chose this particular song from them is because this is one of the first songs I made my siblings do a choreographed dance to! I was a pretty bossy older sister, and this is one of the things I used to make them do: dance. I can’t help but smile when I think of the little shows we used to perform and dancing together at parties. We had a lot of fun together… well I had fun. I don’t know about them. ;)


Music is so universal. I’m glad that its been such a huge part of my life, helping me process my emotions growing up and feeling like I wasn’t so alone as a teenager. I love sharing memories around music with my family. And I love that its such a huge part of who Chris is too, and that we can share that as our own family now. I can’t wait to go exploring everyone else’s posts today and hopefully discover some new favorite songs!

What are songs you remember from your childhood?


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 29: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A glamor shoot and the real me

You can take a goof to a glamor shoot, but the goof is always there! These images are just so me. Photography by my friend Marta of VonGrey Photography.


P.S. I’ll be sharing the other more glamorous ones soon! Thanks Marta!


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 28: Only pictures.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dearest Readers

Hello friends. Today I wanted to take some time to say thank you for the support you give me and my little corner of the world wide web. Its hard to believe that I’ve been blogging since 2005! This blog has morphed from a literal online diary, to a place to update and keep a record of my life, from post after post about scrapbooking to what it is today: a place to find inspiration and real life ways to celebrate the everyday.

I have made so many friends through this space…met so many amazing people that I never would have connected with. People who make my life better and inspire me. Friends who feel close even though we’re miles apart. That is the beauty in blogging, I think. To make connections through shared experiences. It has been a gift and a pleasant constant in my life all these years.

Your comments mean so much to me. Each visit is cherished; each email savored. You make me smile. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me. For being part of the little community of friends this blog has created. Your interaction has made it what it is today. And I just love it!


If you’re just new here, please say hello and make yourself at home. I’m glad to have you here. I can’t wait to get to know you all even better! Blogging is just awesome!

Love always…


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 27: A letter to your readers.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The power behind choosing

I came across a blog post recently (by one of my favorite bloggers Elise) where she shared a quote from a book she was reading. It resonated with her because of her previous One Little Word “choose” and how it effected her last year and continues to.

This is the quote:

"Through a phenomenon known as nueroplasticity, when you use awareness to interrupt unhelpful mental patterns you are actually creating new neural pathways in your brain. As the saying goes, "Neurons that fire together wire together." If your neurons are frequently firing together in unhelpful repetitive patterns, such as being angry or frustrated, you get really good at anger and frustration. However, you can actually create new and more positive neural pathways by choosing to pay attention to something else. As you practice you come to feel different - steadier, more resilient, and less reactive to life's inevitable ups and downs - because you are different. You have used your mind to change your brain."

And I read it and thought: “YES!” This is exactly what I try to do in my life and in my attitude, and here science is showing me why that is so helpful and positive and motivating. By choosing how we react to things we are morphing our neural pathways and in effect, our life. We are molding our brains to think differently about things in the moment and things to come. I just love it!


When you get stuck in one of those unhelpful negative repetitive patters it can be hard to break free. It can be hard to choose to see things in a different light. I know this, and I know that I still have a long way to go. But I can see a difference in myself and how I approach things even in the last year. When I made the change here on the blog to focus on “celebrating the everyday” it altered how I looked at life and how I lived. I found more gratitude and contentment and eagerness.

And now I know why… I “used my mind to change my brain.”

So awesome! And empowering.

What reaction are you going to choose today? How will it change your life?


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 26: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I’ll never forget

Ever had one of those days when  everything feels a little off…when the tears come for no reason and with no end, and you’re having a hard time smiling? I’m having one of those days…

But its times like this when a memory of some kind thing someone once said cuts through the darkness and lifts my spirits.

“You’re the exception to the rule” she said…

And it was a compliment. I was 18 and it was one of the nicest compliments I’d ever received.

My step-mom turned friend, Connie and I were talking about teenagers and the norm of most of them, but how I was different. She took the time to notice how hard I was trying, and made a point of telling me her thoughts and impressions. And what she said to me is something I’ll never forget.

Many times in life we come across situations and we make observations, but too often we don’t voice them. We see many things, like a mother with well behaved kids at the store or a co-worker who does the little things. But if we did take the time to give a compliment or commendation, we have no idea how that might impact them. Here I am, almost 10 years removed from what Connie said to me, but it still touches my heart. Still helps me through the rough days.

Can we all try to do this for someone else today? To make someone smile, feel noticed, or worthwhile… it might make their day today and over and over again in the future.

Thank you, Connie for your words. They meant a lot to me then, and even more to me today.


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 25: Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget (good or bad).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The things I learned

I have been creating a list of the things I learned during the previous year on my birthday since I was 18. Like “20 things I learned @ 20.” The first few ones are in my journal, but since I turned 23 I have created a blog post out of my list. You can find all of those posts here.

These lessons are ones that you won’t find in any school textbook or online class syllabus. These are lessons I’ve stumbled and sometimes fallen across during my life. Real life things you can only learn by living through them.



Here are some of favorite lessons from the past few years:

  • Courage doesn't always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying "I will try again tomorrow"
  • It is important to be a human doing, not just a human being.
  • There is a reason why the square peg doesn't fit in the round hole.
  • My mental and emotional energy is too precious to squander on negative pessimistic people.
  • My story is worth being told, through whatever medium my heart decides.
  • The best thing is always the kind thing.
  • Forgive and then love…that’s all we need to do.
  • Every day might not be good, but there is something good in every day.

It is an important way that I chronicle and savor the years as they go by. Its one of my favorite projects. I am always being taught by life, and trying to learn the lessons thrown my way. These are the types of things you won’t learn in school…they must be lived to be learned. But really, isn’t that what life is all about?


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 23: Things you’ve learned that school won’t teach you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Something on my mind

*gets up on soapbox*

So…all of the kids in the neighborhood line up for the school bus every morning in front of my house.


Yes, 7:10 am, and about 10 kids are in my yard screaming, hollering, throwing things against my house, leaving garbage, talking non-stop and driving me crazy!

I don’t have kids…

This is a choice we’ve made for a reason. And one of those reasons is to not deal with screaming yelling children every morning (not seriously, but it’s a perk).

Its getting on my nerves a little bit.

Okay, if I’m being honest…its on my last nerve. It’s a good thing the end of the school year is just around the corner. I’ve gone out there and yelled at them a couple times. Like that crotchety old lady with her fist raised: “You kids get off my lawn!”

But it doesn’t make a bit of difference.

I understand why they have to line up there…We have a street lamp and a fire hydrant in our yard which means that the spot in front of them are always clear for the bus to pull in…and technically it’s “city” property. But what if something were to happen? Who is liable legally? Whose to say those kid’s parents wouldn’t come back and sue us for something that happened while we were innocently inside our house going crazy from the screaming. I am not responsible to go out there and watch everyone else’s children every morning! That’s just crazy talk!

Our neighbor is just as concerned. The kids have ended up sitting on her front porch on her bench waiting for the bus. I’m just glad we don’t have any seating out there, or they might have all made themselves home on my front walk too. We have been steaming silently about it for awhile, but saw no way to change it. Our neighbor put in a complaint to the school bus garage and made a bit of a stink. Chris went down there and talked to them too… But alas, nothing can be change. All they can do is send out letters to the parents stating that they must be present while their child(ren) is waiting for the bus if they are under a certain age. Yeah, that’s going to happen…

And the city said that we need to up our homeowners insurance to cover ourselves in case anything ever happened on our property (that’s not really our property if everyone else’s kids get to wait there!). And who is going to pay for that, I might ask? Huh? I don’t have extra money for that!

I wish these types of things had been apparent when we bought our home. I wish we’d thought of how the neighborhood would develop and how many kids would end up running up and down the street and screaming well into the night. I wish we had some extra funds floating around to put up a big fence to keep everyone out!

Oh yeah…I’m totally a grumpy old lady neighbor right now.

*gets down off soapbox*


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 22: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

From the archives

I am so excited for today’s prompt…I love looking back through my journals and reading how I thought and felt in the past, and the same is true of looking through my blog. I have been blogging since 2005…that’s a lot of posts!

Here are some of my favorites.

Our love story… We wrote our love story in a “He said / She said” style last year for our 5 year anniversary. It was one of my favorite blogging experiences and we had so much fun writing together. There was a whole week of posts, but you can find them all here.


This poem my friend Salma wrote for me back in 2007. Still one of my favorite things to read that I shared on my blog.

What marriage teaches… I post about a conversation Chris and I had with his parents at dinner one night. The different perspectives made for an interesting look at marriage.

My most popular Hair Diaries post… I had pinned this amazing hair color on Pinterest that was red hair with purple streaks. And I totally went for it! It was one of my favorite colors that I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a few!). Lesson I learned: take a chance and have some fun with your hair!


My favorite scrapbook layout… This was back when I was part of the design team for Scrapbooking from the Inside Out and “purpose” was the theme of the month.

Sleep Talking Husband… Fun posts all about the crazy things Chris says in his sleep!



Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 21: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A season of loneliness

I struggle with being the type of friend that I want to be… The type of friend that I used to be.


I used to be so good at keeping in touch with everyone. But it seems like that skill (or desire even) has altered or diminished with the increase of social networking and technology. I can see what’s going on when I check Facebook, so I don’t end up actually calling them to see how they are.

I used to be the queen of pen pals. Literally… like 32 pen pals that I would write to each and every month. I still have most of my letters saved in boxes. Those were the days…when I’d write about what I was learning in school or what me and my brothers and sisters were up to. I even had a newsletter that I would include with a handwritten letter to each person. I loved it. And I loved the connections that I had with all my friends all over the place. Friends from different places in Canada, friends I met in places I would travel to, family members that were friends too.

But now it feels like if I can remember to send a text message once a week, I’m doing good.

I am struggling with how life changes friendships, I guess. I miss being able to drop everything and drive for 10 hours up north to visit my best friend Kelly. I haven’t seen her for a year and half…I haven’t even met her son yet. And that makes me feel awful! But life changes things. I have 2 jobs, a house to take care of and its payment to make, a puppy and a husband. I’m involved with the Russian group here, and have people depending on me. I can’t afford to take days off of work to spend extra time with those I love, no matter how bad I want to.

I really do try… I swing by to see people and say hi if I’m in the area. I make coffee date plans with the best of intentions. And my friends are on my mind. I wish I could schedule more Skype dates and send emails and send real letters and go see them in person.

It’s a good thing I’m married to my best friend. I can keep in touch with him.

I am struggling with what my friendships look like as an adult. I expected them to stay the same, but life and the friendships it contains all have seasons. I suppose this is a season of self-made loneliness. I miss my friends.

This is something I’m struggling with right now.


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 20: Get real. Share something you’re struggling with right now.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My 5 favorite blogs

Back a few months ago…and even a few years ago I used to read blogs like crazy. Its true that I had a lot more time on my hands, and I have different priorities now, but my love of blogs never went away. There are a few I find myself going back to over and over again, and reading when I have the time. They inspire me and encourage me in my own writing and life and blogging.

1. Elise of EnJoy It


I found Elise’s blog through our mutual love of paper crafting, and have continued to be inspired by her through the years. She works magic with paper and tells stories in the most simple and moving ways. I love to read about her life, and the beauty she finds in her everyday. She is a big part of why I wanted to start Project Life. Her designs are killer! Elise also did a guest post here last year as part of my Celebrate the Everyday series. You can read it here.

Posts I love: Project Life posts, “Around Here”, and her thoughts on running a small business.

2. Meg of The Wild and Wily Ways of a Brunette Bombshell


I honestly have no idea how I stumbled across Meg’s blog…probably one of those “blog love” posts from someone else with a link to a quote from her they loved. Her blog is one that I love to read. Even in her description of her blog you can tell:

a guide on how to drink lattes (full-fat and without restraint), on how to love graciously, and how to ever-so-slowly suss out a life.

this is a blog about becoming.

Yup this is my kind of blog. I love her photography and how each image feels specially selected for me. I love her handwritten notes all over her pictures and on her blog. She is real, and I wish I could write like her. Total favorite.

Posts I love: Her Letter to her future Husband series were what I first read and they continue to touch my heart.

3. Savannah of Maiedae


Savannah is the writer and inspiration behind Maiedae, a blog and design company that is growing and creating inspiring things. I love her aesthetic in clothing and in design and find so much inspiration every time I visit her blog. Her business partner Jenny and her are currently writing a series called “Make it Happen” where they share the things they’ve learning in developing their company and making it their full time job. I know I’ll continue to learn from them.

Posts I love: “Make it Happen”, Living Well posts with tips on getting enough sleep and how to handle a sick day, Threads (her awesome outfit posts).

4. Susannah of SusannahConway


Susannah is the author of one of my favorite books “This I know: notes on unraveling the heart.” (My review of her book is here). Her blog is full of powerfully good writing and images of her life in London. She is an artist with her Polaroid cameras. She is honest and raw and real and I love to read her words. I adore the video she created for her about page too. Just her, her cute accent and her explanation of what her blog is all about. Her “why” just touches my heart…

Posts I love: Something for the weekend, her journaling love story.

5. Brooke of Brooke Shaden Productions


Brooke is an incredible concept portrait artist that I discovered via Flickr and have been following ever since. She keeps her blog current with her work, the courses that she teaches, behind the scenes images and helpful posts for other photographers. Her work just blows my mind. You have to check her out. Her photography and essays keep me coming back to her blog again and again.

Posts I love: 6 steps to staying motivated, behind the scenes.

So there are 5 of my favorite blogs that keep me coming back. What are some of your favorite blogs to read? Leave a link in the comments for me and I’ll go check them out!


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 19: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A favorite photo


This picture was taken in July of 2006 by my cousin Jenny. We were in a little park sitting with the boys we liked. Chris and I had been dating just a couple weeks at that point and she was in “deep like” with Chris’ buddy Nate. The boys were in town on a pool job for the company they worked for and we all met up one night once they were done. We hung out together, talked and told stories and sang songs (this was the night “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls became ‘our song’) drove around, played cards and just got to know each other better.

The photo is not perfect by any one else’s standards, but this is my favorite photo that I have of myself because I remember exactly how I felt at that moment. I remember how new that feeling of love was.  I remember the butterflies in my stomach and the beating of my heart as we sat beside each other.  So hopeful and excited and expectant and joyous. Jenny said that I was glowing…and I agree. 19 years old, crazy in love and eager for what was to come.

And what was to come turned out even better that I’d hoped. That’s why I love this photo…because it captures all of those emotions for me. It make me smile so big when I see it. I am thankful to Jenny for having her camera with her that day and for the beauty in blurry moments.


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 1: A favorite photo of yourself and why.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A day in the life

These days have been going by in such a blur, so sometimes its good to just pause and take a picture and savor the little moments. That’s what the prompt today was all about.

My mornings all start the same way…with a phone call to my husband Chris. Because he gets up so early for work when I wake up we have our good morning chat. I love starting my day that way and we sometimes talk for a long time, just like we used to when we were dating.


Then I get up out of bed and check to see how bad my hair is from sleeping. Gotta love bed head! If I think I can’t wrangle it with products later then I take a shower and get ready then.


And then its time to take the puppy out for his walk. He’s been getting better about his walks and going outside after his attack. I’m proud of him and I think he’s going to be okay. Sometimes he poses so good for me, and then other times he just wants to see what I’m doing. hehe.


After that I sit down at my desk and my two computers and begin my work for the day. Working for NICA has been such a blessing and a job that continually challenges me. I enjoy learning new things and this job keeps me learning and growing. I spend at least a couple hours a day at my desk, working, blogging, planning Project Life spreads, and I usually have some show on HULU playing in the background.  I have also been drinking tea lately instead of coffee. Its been a good change. 


And then its time to get ready for the rest of my day. I work part time at a local credit union, where I get to interact with the public, help people with their financial questions and play with money….well, not play really, but you know what I mean. ;) I head down the hill about 10:30 on the days I work.


I am the part-time girl and so I get lunch at 3, which makes for a long day. I tend to bring snacks for throughout the day and then I eat I nice lunch at home. I love living close enough to work to be able to come home. One of my new favorites is a garlic shrimp and spinach salad.


And then I get to come home to this sweet face. We spend our evenings together making dinner and playing with our puppy and learning Russian and watching TV some nights and cleaning the kitchen and then reading to each other in bed. I love sharing my days and my life with this man.


Each day is great, and full of little things that make it worth celebrating.


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 15: A day in the life…

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

10 things that make me really happy


1. A good cup of coffee. 
2. Talking to my mom on the phone.
3. Photobooth pictures (These ones are from the Credit Union’s employee appreciation event.)


4. Capturing and saving moments and making memories.
5. Cuddling with my puppy and my husband.
6. Skype dates with my sister Megan while she’s in Australia.


7. Fresh hair cut and color.
8. Videos from my brother of my nephew Emerson. Glad to be able to watch him grow up even from afar.

9. Singing.
10. The smell of lilacs in the spring time.



Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 14: 10 things that make you really happy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dear Instagram Followers:

My apologies to you all for the constant flow of pictures of my little mini schnauzer puppy Gibson.

But look at that face! I just can’t help myself. I’ve turned into one of those puppy mamas…and honestly, I love it and I’m not sorry at all! Hehe! He’s my Little One and I just love him.




Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 13: Issue a public apology.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Me in 10 words or less



This prompt was rather interesting to me…it could be a list of 10 words or a sentence about myself with 10 words. I decided to go with a list of words.  I don’t know in what context I would be “selling myself” (as per the title of today’s prompt) but I appreciated the encouragement to be a bit introspective.


Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 11: Sell yourself in 10 words or less.