My Must-Get-Around-to-Doing-That-Soon List

I’m that person that turns to my husband over dinner and says “next date night lets try that new Thai place around the corner.”

And then we don’t.

I’m that person who always picks up the black or grey sweater. Do any other options exist?

I’m that person who says, “yeah I want to go back there someday with someone I actually like” (New York) and “I really want to see [that show] again” (Mystère).

And then I don’t.

It gets tiring after a while, you know? And maybe it’s the new year fast approaching (it’s definitely the new year fast approaching) but I’ve been thinking about all those things I say I’ll do, but don’t. And, well, these are some of those things that I’m going to try my hardest to do soon.

My Must-Get-Around-to-Doing-That-Soon List

Book (and take) that vacation to Mexico for our fifth anniversary next year
Read more classics
Stop comparing myself to others
Publish my second book
Quarterly organization of DJ’s closet
Buy a new journal for 2016 (preferably before 2016 begins)
Try one new restaurant each month for date night
Go back to Bardot for the beet and goat cheese salad
Host a wine and cheese party
Try one of those wine and paint places
Spend a Christmas in Canada
Stop comparing myself to others
Give up caffeine for a month
Give up alcohol for a month
Be more patient
Finish reading The Most of Nora Ephron
Have updated family photos taken
Do something wildly out of my comfort zone

Project Life | My 2016 Approach

As 2016 approaches and I begin thinking about my fourth (!!!) year of documenting with Project Life, I’m really trying to look back and think about what worked and didn’t work for me this year. I did a lot of experimenting these past eleven months, and as such I definitely have a much better idea of what I like and don’t like. If you’re interested, I’ve talked a little about what worked and didn’t before. Actually, I’ve written about it more than once (see: here and here as well).

As life moves on and gets busier, I’ve definitely had to re-evaluate how I do things. It’s all about getting things done well the first time around. As such, here are my plans for 2016:

  1. Format. This will be changing in 2016. I’m still going to work weekly, but I’m only going to do a half a spread per week. Meaning each spread will cover a two week period. This will help me to really focus on the highlights of the week and; it will keep printing costs down, and means I can fit the year into one album. This is important to me. Two albums a year just adds up too quickly.
  2. The size. I’ve been working in 12×12 since I first started project life, but I’m doing something a little different this time around. I will be working with this, (my favorite) 12×12 album, but I will be using 9×12 pages inside. I just think this is the best size for me.
  3. Dividers. I’m definitely sticking with these clear ones again; I still find the colorful ones too distracting.
  4. Printing at home. Yes, it is more expensive in the long run, but it’s convenient and really the only way that I am able to stay as up to date as I do.
  5. Title cards. I jump back and forth a lot on this one, and honestly: I think that I will just go with whatever I feel like each week. However, now that I’m only using half a spread per week, I may incorporate the title card into a photo (either adding the dates digitally before printing or adding a stamp after the fact).
  6. Minimal embellishments. This won’t change: I’ll stick to things like wood veneers, stamps and the occasional little extras.
  7. Point of View. Oh my gosh. I say this every year but I really need to incorporate more of my husband in my album. Unfortunately I’m picky about how things look so I don’t often ask my hubby to journal anything because it won’t match with my writing. I’ll have to work on a way to include him that satisfies this!
  8. Consistency. This is probably the biggest thing that I struggle with from week to week. There may be consistency within my weekly spreads, but they vary greatly from week to week. Of course a lot of this has to do with being inspired to try new things throughout the year, and I would never discourage trying new things! I do want to have at least one thing that I do the same every week; whether it’s how I date my title cards or a journal prompt I include.

I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating: memory keeping is not meant to be a chore. It’s not something meant to frustrate you or make you feel guilty. It is a gift that you are giving yourself, your family, and anyone else you share your albums with. Anyone can do it, I am not the exception to the rule. I simply have the right attitude: the memory keeping attitude.

I would love to hear how you’re approaching Project Life in 2016, so please fill me in by commenting below, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask away.

Project Life 2015 | November

I still almost can’t believe it. I’m finally up to date in sharing my project life spreads! Man, that’s a good feeling. I’m not going to beat around the bush, friends, so here’s November.

Spread one


As you can tell, I’m still obsessed with those Ali Edwards digital date elements.

Spread two

Spread three. I decided to do another 6-month subscription to the studio calico kits in hopes that it would jump-start my creativity a bit. I’m really happy with how this spread turned out and really love the green, red’s and white.

And lastly, spread four of November. I’ve resigned to the fact that I’m not going to love every spread that I put together. I’m far too picky, so it’s just not going to happen. This one happens to be one that I’m not too happy with. But, done is better than not.

That’s it for November! I’m hoping to post my December spreads, along with a video overview, in early January, so watch out for that!

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* Project Life is a product, system and a lifestyle created by Becky Higgins. In 2015, I’m creating a spread for each week of the year. Here are all of my pages from 2013, 2014 + 2015.

Project Life 2015 | October

That’s right, this mama is finally catching up on her Project Life posts! I actually debated sharing these spreads because with the exception of one, I consider them to be some of the weakest spreads I’ve put together in a while.

I actually started up another 6-month studio calico subscription in hopes that some new designs and products would help lift me out of my funk.

But anyways, I digress. Here are my spreads from October.



The next spread, which I dedicated entirely to my sister-in-laws wedding because it was too beautiful not to.
 


 And the third spread:

 And finally, the fourth spread of October:

 And that’s it for October! I’m hopeful that as 2015 comes to a close I can get up to date with sharing. It’s a goal of mine to share more often in 2016. I’ll also be putting together a post (like I do every year) detailing how I will approach Project Life in 2016!

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* Project Life is a product, system and a lifestyle created by Becky Higgins. In 2015, I’m creating a spread for each week of the year. Here are all of my pages from 2013, 2014 + 2015.

Because It Was All I Could Think About

I take my seat on the worn, red chair with the sliver of sunlight shining on it, and pull my MacBook from my purse. I’ve positioned myself in the fiction section between shelves sixteen and seventeen, somewhere amongst Davis-Downs and Doyle-Evaristo. I can see the covers of Evanovich and Griffin, Grisham and Eugenides; the latter being one of my favorite recent reads. My love of writing is succeeded only by my love of reading, so it’s no real surprise that I like to settle in here at the library to write down the words swimming in my head. The only thing that would make this better is if I had a coffee in hand, but I drove right past three Starbucks on the way here without it crossing my mind.

I’ll have to do without. 

Yesterday my husband told me that he is in awe of the writing that I have done this year. He “doesn’t know how I do it.” Sometimes I’m tempted to agree with him, and find myself wonder how I do it day after day, but then I remember that I simply can’t not.

I’m a bit of a fritter-er. I jump from one thing to the next without much thought, without finishing one project. I used to think that it meant something was wrong with me, but something I read lately – of course, I read it – reminded me that it only means my interests are vast. I want to dip my toes in everything to see if it’s something I could like. A lot of the time it isn’t, and that’s okay; it’s oddly comforting to know that I at least tried. 

But sometimes that little dip of my toes isn’t enough, and I want to jump in. For years – most of my childhood and adult life, really – I was simply dipping my toes in when it came to writing. Until this year. 

Two thousand and fifteen. I jumped right in, feet first, became fully submerged. And I don’t think I can ever look back. 

Writers are always asked why they want to write. Do they want to be famous? Are they in it for the money? Maybe they want to write that book that they wish existed. Maybe they’re inspired by all the reading they do. 

I’m not sure where I fit in just yet. Right now, I’m just doing it for the love of the game. Maybe one day, years from now, I’ll settle in here at the library again; maybe I’ll look for the same spot, between shelves sixteen and seventeen, running my fingers along the cool, black shelving until finding what I came for: Del, Rachel. 

Wouldn’t that be a lovely sight? 

Wouldn’t that be a lovely feeling? 

Wouldn’t that just make all the hard work worth it? The late nights, the cramped hands, the long ago out of control coffee consumption, the missed outings with friends; wouldn’t it all be justified? 

I like to think so. 

And that’s why I keep writing, coffee or no coffee.

Project Life 2015 | September

To say that I’m behind in sharing my spreads would be an understatement, but I’m finally catching up. Here is September, which oddly seems so long ago.


 And of course I had to use a whole spread to document my three days in Nashville.


That’s it guys. I’m hoping that within the next two weeks I will find time to share my October spreads with you.

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* Project Life is a product, system and a lifestyle created by Becky Higgins. In 2015, I’m creating a spread for each week of the year. Here are all of my pages from 2013, 2014 + 2015.

words to live by

“We need to move away from this constant need of coming across as calm, cool and collected. We weren’t built to be calm, cool, and collected. If we were, it wouldn’t feel so exhausted all the time. It would, you know, come naturally to us. You know what comes naturally to human beings though? Being open, being messy, being raw, being unfiltered, having lots of feelings. Why should we have to stifle our true nature? Let’s go after the things we want, let’s love each other brutally and honestly, and not worry about the consequences. Let’s release the feelings inside of us and let them land somewhere special. Otherwise, we might have a lifetime of longing in front of us.”

—Ryan O’Connell

Currently (October)

Outside:  we’re finally turning the page on all this triple digit weather and I couldn’t be happier. While summer does bring about a feeling of freedom that you don’t experience at any other time, I also find the season stifling. I’m ready for fall. My favorite. I’ve already started sorting through my sweaters and trying to decide what else – if anything – I need for the upcoming season.

Inside:  I’m filling all the spaces with books and words and love and memories.

Hoping:   that people will continue to read my novella and find even an ounce of comfort in it, be intrigued by it, or simply enjoy it. As Ksenia Anske said, “Are you willing to strip in public? Are you willing to show all that you are and were and will be? Because your books are your guts on paper, nothing more.” I know what she means.

Wanting:   more time. To do it all. To read and write and play with my son and relax with my husband. I’m busier than I can ever remember being and it is beginning to weigh on me. I don’t fall asleep as quickly as I used to and I wake with a swarm of thoughts in my head that won’t leave me alone until I climb out of bed in the darkness.

Eating:   so little. With the business and stress comes a decreased appetite. It always happens.

Listening:   to Elizabeth Gilbert’s new podcast, Magic Lessons, which continues to fill up my tank with each and every episode. It’s well worth a listen.

Remembering:   the sense of calm that washed over me as I got off the plane in Nashville last week. Surrounded by greenery and music and newness… I felt more alive than I had in months.

Writing:   Fixing Tanner, the sequel to Finding Lily. This one has been moving slower, taking its time. But I’m feeling okay about that as I can already feel myself growing and learning as a writer. Finding Lily was my baby, but this one… this book has my heart.

“All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life – collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand.

It’s a strange line of work, admittedly.

I cannot think of a better way to pass my days.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic