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December 2012
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February 2013

Happiness Project : January Review

HappinessprojectheaderToday is the last day almost the end (getting ahead of myself!) of January...and I'm a little relieved. I mark winter days off of the calendar with a small celebration & a hefty dose of gratitude. One more day closer to spring.

January's Happiness Project resolutions - focused on habits - resulted in 3 wins, and 1 really good try. The wins = daily meditation, daily writing, and daily gratitude. The good try = supplements. 

Was I happier with daily meditation, daily writing, and daily gratitude? Absolutely. I was calmer. I was more centered. I craved my meditation time if I wasn't able to get to it in the morning. I noticed gratitude more in the moment, instead of having to search for things to write down at the end of the day. Not only did I write more frequently, but I just generally enjoyed words more. I edited my blog reader, and added a few new reads. I allowed more time to enjoy books. 

Now about those supplements....sigh. I'm going to chat with my naturopath about the most optimal time to take each of them, and try to split up the dosing into at least 4 times throughout the day. The sheer number of pills is daunting, and so I avoid it. 

I'm working on a post about my February theme, and I'm excited about getting started. I also want to note - I measure happy in small increments. I don't imagine that I will ever equate happy with happy-go-lucky. Happy, to me, is being able to experience laughter & tears, and know that they are both part of life. Just want to put that out there, lest anyone think that I'm not "walking the talk" if my blog isn't shiny-sparkle-pager all the time. 

(1.28) this week.

This week promises warmer temps and peeks of sunshine.

This week is busy with business functions on Tuesday & Thursday night. 

This week I am trying to break my coffee-at-night habit. (okay, honestly, tonight...I'm focusing on TONIGHT. baby steps, people.)

This week I am proud of myself for speaking truths, even though my voice shook & my eyes got teary.

This week is the end of January...small steps until Spring! 

This week I am drinking orange, grapefruit, carrot, & ginger juice. 

This week I am listening to Daylight on repeat...& swooning over the hotness that is Adam Levine.

This week I am posting a pic of myself so that my mother will forgive me for not calling. Hi Mom! 

What are you up to this week?


2013 PL : week two.

Blogbanner W2fullWeek 2, and I'm reminding YOU that Project Life can be super-simple. 

W2leftWeek 2 included Hope's last 2 days at home. The kids & I went to our favorite cafe for breakfast. They always have a massive wait (so worth it), so we wandered over to Starbucks first. 

W2breakfastpantsDoesn't Hope's quote remind you of Joey & his turkey pants?

W2airportPL gives me a reason to use up all those cute October Afternoon stickers that I've collected. 

W2rightHey KP - I stamped!(Kelly likes to laugh at my fear of stamping.) That currently card is from the Seafoam digital kit (what I'm using this year)....I'm very much into birds right now as a reminder to SOAR (my OLW)

W2harpstersAm totally in love with the Dayplanner kit from One Little Bird & Paislee Press.

W2kaleHow often do you think that kale will appear in my 2013 Project Life? Banner made in photoshop with free fork & spoon art found on web. Oh, and for anyone wondering, the font that I used this week (and wll, often, b/c I love it) is Indy Pimp

Project Life is a super simple scrapbooking system developed by Becky Higgins. Learn more about it here. You can see all of my Project Life posts (2012 & 2013) here.

sunday supper : roasted veggie pot pies

RoastedveggiepotpieI posted this pic on Instagram (y'know, b/c it's nice to share), and soon Chris & Emily both commented that they wanted the recipe. The thing is...there really isn't one. I'm sure that I had a recipe at one time, but this is one of those family faves that has just evolved into it's own thing. It's SUPER easy, and can accomodate basically any veggie that you've got. In my pre-veg days, I often added roasted chicken also. Here's the non-recipe...

1. Roast some veggies. I'm a big fan of roasting veggies that I don't really know how to celeriac. It was in my CSA share last week, and I was a little stumped by it. Solution? Cut it up, toss with olive oil, and roast at 425° for about 20 minutes. Tonight's selection also included carrots, onions, and broccoli. 

2. Bake some Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry. I use the puff pastry shells if it's just me & the kids. If I'm cooking for more people, I use the sheets...just cut into squares before baking. 

3. Make the sauce/soup/base. Warning: these are really rough measurements that served 2 of us. I just kinda wing it. Melt 3tbls of butter in a saucepan. Whisk in 3tbls of flour. Stir/whisk in veggie broth - I used just under 2 cups. Once that thickens a bit, whisk in about 1/2 cup of milk. (If the sauce isn't as thick as you'd like, you can thicken with cornstarch - simply take a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce out, and mix with a (roughly) equal amount of cornstarch, then stir back in.) I firmly believe that cheese makes everything better, so I toss in some grated sharp cheddar. I don't measure cheese. The more, the cheesier. 

4. Now, you assemble! Stir the roasted veggies into the sauce/soup/base. You might want to add a bit of sea salt and/or a dash of pepper. Arrange the puff pastry on plates, and pour the veg/sauce mixture over. 

5. (optional) Instagram...and (required) enjoy! 

five bucks & a granola bar.

As most of you know, I travel to NYC every other month or so for work. I normally do a same day down&back trip, but occasionally timing lends itself to an overnight. This week, six of us traveled down for meetings & dinner with one of our major customers. Since our flight was at 6am, one of my co-workers kindly agreed to pick me up in the am so that I could leave the car for Austin. Six am flights require a 3:15ish alarm, and I am forever afraid of oversleeping. As a result, I sleep very little before these types of trips. Said lack of sleep likely contributed to this...

We arrived at the airport at 5-ish, and were pleasantly surprised to see that the security line was short. We paused a bit to rearrange our little bags of liquids (working in cosmetics necessitates taking many little vials through security). I took that time to get my boarding pass and license ready. My license resides in my wallet. My wallet (normally) resides in my bag. I searched through my bag, stopping short of dumping out the contents on the airport tile. No. Wallet. I chuckled a bit to myself, and said aloud "you have GOT to be kidding me." No time to go home, and way to get there b/c remember? I didn't have my car. Fortunately, what I DID have was my passport. Phew. We proceeded through security, and I explained the predicament to our other co-workers...and emphasized to them that I would be relying on their credit cards to finance this trip. As far as I was concerned? No stress. I had my passport. I had co-workers with credit cards. I had a Starbucks app on my phone. At the bottom of my bag, I had $5 and a granola bar. What else does a girl need for a day & 1/2 in NYC? 

Two things make this story one that I feel like documenting (well, THREE, actually)....

1. I didn't panic. There was simply no need. I had reviewed the previous few hours in my head, and knew that my wallet had to be at home, or in Gina's car. Not in the hands of some AMEX-wielding purse snatcher. I wasn't traveling alone, so there was zero chance of being stranded. Plus, I had my passport. The lesson: if any of you are questioning why I am learning to meditate, this story is why. Apparently, meditation is kryptonite to my worry/panic tendencies. 

2. About that passport. Everyone who asked was told that I "happened" to have my passport due to a recent trip to Montreal. Not exactly true. Yes, I happened to have my passport HANDY b/c of that trip to Montreal, but really? At a time of the morning that no one should be awake, much less trying to pull on tights and look presentable, the universe whispered "hey, grab that passport." And so I did. One just doesn't try to explain that little stroke of divine intervention to the president of one's company. 

3. I was retelling this story to my team during our check-in meeting yesterday. My boss said "well, at least you could have had a granola bar with your Starbucks!" I quickly explained that I had no intention of eating that granola bar. I had thrown it in my bag b/c our company president is diabetic, and I was concerned that we'd get stuck in NYC traffic, or delayed on the runway, or something equally time-consuming...and he might need sugar at some point. My boss said "Wait a minute. You were saving that granola bar for someone else??" Well, uhm...yeah. Wouldn't you?

Have a beautiful weekend, friends. 

ps. As suspected, my wallet was at home. Shoved in my lunch-bag, sitting on the kitchen table. No worries.

ventage tuesdays : RAKs

VentagetuesdaysI thought about skipping this post today. I'm feeling pretty bruised & broken today - my heart aching for another friend's loss (this is the 2nd friend who has lost a parent in the past week), feeling worried about the aforementioned home repairs, and trying to rise above the reality that some people just don't play nice in the sandbox. There were several times today that I whispered "help" to the universe....and each time, the universe showed up. Today's Ventage Tuesday post is supposed to be "Random Acts of Kindness." I honestly don't remember if we intended to list ideas for RAKs, or RAKs we have done, or what. Today, I want to share the (maybe not random) acts of kindness that showed up for me today...

1. An email from one of the Ventage Girls saying simply "are you okay? you seem down." Thet gesture of caring...and the willingness to read/listen that came along with it...helped a lot. Thank you Angie.

2. An email from one of my besties that I am fortunate enough to work with saying "wanna go for coffee in a few minutes?" Coffee runs = mini therapy sessions. Thank you Macaroni. 

3. As I was leaving work, I had a ton of noise in my head about the muck of the day. I struggled to bring my attention back, and when I did...I noticed that Soar was playing. Thank you Universe.

4. After leaving work late AND having to go to the bank AND having to go to Wal*Mart...I was wicked late heading toward home. I got a text from another bestie saying that she was just leaving work. Which means that I had someone to chat with who can say, and truly mean, "I know just how you are feeling, and it sucks, and I'm sorry." Thank you Becky.

5. I came home to a lovely box of Juice Beauty goodness from yet-another-bestie...this one from the beauty biz. Thank you Lauren.

and a bonus...

6. A simple vote of confidence and love from another bestie (I am a lucky, lucky girl in the friends department) saying "hang in there." Thank you Leigh.

So, as this Ventage Tuesday draws to a close, I am reminded that kindness matters...and I am grateful.

(1.21) this week.

this week I am feeling overwhelmed with household repairs...a dishwasher that won't drain, an boiler expansion tank & relief valve that need to be replaced, and a new oil tank that needs to be installed.

this week I am not going to obsess about the low temps. Yes, it's wicked cold. 

this week I am headed to NYC for a quick business trip. 

this week I am trying to move slowly through a flare up of back pain.

this week I am increasing my daily meditation time. 

this week I am making chili for the first time ever...a request from Austin. Anyone have tips for this tomato hater?

What are you up to this week?

2013PL : week one

Blogbanner W1full
Week 1 - January 1-5. 


For this first album, I'll be using 2 slots for the weekly date - the (free!) weekly circle from September Blue. Super happy that she's already colored the circles to coordinate with Seafoam. I'm also using a calendar card from Paislee Press. I recolored the digital stripes to match the week circle, and highlighted the week on the calendar. 


I'm really happy with how simple & calm this turned out. A few highlights - birthday girls should always drink wine from a chicken, lyrics that I've had on repeat, and this vintage-y calendar postcard that I picked up at Ikea at least a year ago. The "sentiment" is one of my personal truths. 


Two inserts (so far) this week. This awesome New Year's Subway Art is a free download from eighteen25...I just resized to 6x6. It's backed with patterned paper. I'm opting NOT to journal about New Year's. Let's just say that it was less than spectacular. 


The next insert is just a page protector with birthday cards slipped in. I added a paper clip to the top in hopes of keeping them IN. So far, so good.

A project life fact - photos can be totally blurry and STILL be included in your album. Admittedly, the quality of that top photo might have something to do with the # of bottles of wine in the photo below it. Ahem. 


Washi tape makes an excellent background for clear stickers! 

This week is super light on journaling - and I'm okay with that. I don't approach PL as a diary. I think that photos are pretty good storytellers. :)

Project Life is a super simple scrapbooking system developed by Becky Higgins. Learn more about it here. You can see all of my Project Life posts (2012 & 2013) here.


2013 Project Life : Cover Page

I shared this on Instagram a few days ago, but want to record it in blog history. :) Here's the cover page for Volume 1 of 2013 Project Life...


This year, I'm using albums from Michael's - they're strikingly similar to the American Crafts albums. I bought 3 in solid kraft. The main difference is that these albums have a window in the front cover. Don't love that part...but do love the solid kraft! 

Other products notes - 

I'm using the Seafoam Digital Kit. I had been planning to buy the actual kit...but decided against that after I saw all of the new kits that Becky has releasing in the spring. I'd rather mix & match from the digi files - that way I can slightly adjust colors if I want.

That cool ampersand card is a freebie from a vegas girl at heart. The orange paper with circles is Heidi Swapp. The lower right corner is My Mind's Eye

The little "together" flag is October Afternoon - I cut a slit in the journaling card & the page protector to help hold the flag in. The washi tape covers up the cuts.

The map was inspired by Jen's map. I used Google Maps to get driving directions from here to Halifax, resized to 4x6, played with color a little, and printed. The orange brads mark Colchester and Halifx. Of course, I didn't notice until I was writing this post that I never actually drive according to these directions. I travel more up the coast of Maine to St. John, New Brunswick...and then onward from there. Now that's gonna bug me for a few days (and then I'll get over it). 

It feels good to get this album started - hoping to make more progress this weekend. How's your 2013 album shaping up? 

Project Life is a super simple scrapbooking system developed by Becky Higgins. Learn more about it here


emergency self-care checklist.


(image from Home Life Simplified, which has a terrific self-care list!)

I've been in a bit of a funk this week - lots of swirling & spiraling emotions. One thing that I know about myself (thank you therapy!!) is that I am "super empathic" - I tend to absorb/get drawn into/take on other people's emotions & experiences to the point (sometimes) of being drained. There was a time when it took weeks to pull myself out of this spiral. Now, thanks to therapy, stacks of self-help books, and caring friends...I can usually recognize what's going on and do a better job of reacting. I spent the first 2 days of this week absorbing a friend's grief & watching the spiral start. 

I was email chatting with KP, encouraging her to make a list & work the list. The universe gave a me gentle nudge that said...uhm, perhaps you should practice what you preach. Well, yeah. That would be good. So, I'm writing myself an emergency self-care checklist - the things that I need to do when the spiral starts, when the dark & twisty sets in. I found a few fantastic sites with self-care lists - one is linked under the image above. I love this Tiny Buddha article on what it means to really take care of yourself. I've had this Freedom Experiment list pinned for a while - 55 Gentle Ways to Take Care of Yourself.  Here's the start of my own list - 

1. Sleep well. This is a tough one for MANY of us - whether it's kids, or back pain, or worry - we don't sleep well. Last night, sleeping well meant bringing a space heater into my bedroom so that I didn't wake up chilly. I don't take sleeping pills, but I do take melatonin if monkey mind is keeping me awake.

2. No alcohol. I want wine to be a celebration, not a, late night drunk texting means that Barb doesn't sleep well. I'm drinking tea, warm almond milk, and freshly-made juices.

3. Exercise. I mentally kick & scream against this one. I can find 738 reasons to skip a workout on the 15 minute drive from work to the gym. I've spent the last year convincing myself to just drive straight home. Not anymore. My deal with myself is "at least 15 minutes" - but hey, once you go to the trouble of getting to the gym & getting changed? You might as well stay.

4. Music. Loud in the car. Headphones at my desk. When I'm dealing with so much internal noise, I need to block out external noise. Not sure if it makes sense that I use music to do that...but it works! 

5. Outer order. Gretchen Rubin talks about this as a secret of happiness: outer order contributes to inner calm. I spent an hour or so last night sorting through a stack of mail/papers that has been growing since early Dec. I spent an extra 1/2 hour this morning cleaning up my kitchen & taking the recycling out. I was 15 minutes late to work - but it was worth it. 

6.Spiritual practice. I feel like a giant dork writing that....but that's what it is. Meditation. Yoga. Affirmations. Intentions. 

I'm going to print this list & keep it handy. Make the list. Work the list. 

What's on your emergency self-care list?