As 2017 approaches I have been thinking about my fifth (!!!) year of documenting with Project Life. I begin every new year of PL with one simple desire: to complete it. Well, that and to please help me figure out how to keep my pages consistent throughout the year! Going into 2017, I’m not doing anything remarkably different from last year. I’m sticking with a single 9×12 page per week, using a Studio Calico 9×12 binder and clear dividers as usual. I like sticking to one album per year.

What I am switching up this year is my weekly date cards. Originally, I thought I might bring back the cards I used in 2014, but I’ve decided against it. Why? Because I have hundreds of cards from past kits that need to be used; I don’t want to be wasteful.

I’m still printing at home, because it’s just easier that way, even if it is a bit more expensive. I will continue to use minimal to no embellishments because after four full years of doing project life, I’ve learned that in order for it to work for me I need to keep it very simple.

Every December I say that next year I will include more from my husband’s perspective, but as usual, I was bad about it in 2016 and will probably be bad about it in 2017. What I do want to try, though, is putting my camera in DJ’s hands and seeing what he comes up with. Life from a three-almost-four-year-old’s perspective. Should make for some interesting stuff.

Every year, consistency is my biggest problem. Keeping my pages looking in sync throughout the album is something I strive for but have not yet mastered. So for 2017 I’m going to pick out particular cards to use throughout the year, and stick to only those!

And that’s pretty much it!

Tell me, what are you keeping the same or trying differently in your 2017 albums?

Excerpts from my Journal | 06

I spend a lot of time alone in my head, which I’m starting to think might not be all that good of an idea for someone like me. But, my god! this time of the year! I always feel as though I just lose the tiniest bit of footing on life, my thinking, my future.


This will be my sixth Christmas in Las Vegas. From the very beginning there has been a sort of quiet understanding that I’ll feel the first pangs of homesickness around the 20th, as Christmas looks closer. But it isn’t until Christmas Eve — when I’m surrounded by family who has only known me for these six years, with people I feel like I still know so little about, but who have welcomed me into their world with open arms — that the full weight of everything comes down on me.

I don’t feel as though Kitchener is home anymore, but on Christmas Eve, my heart forgets all that and aches in a way it never could the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year.

It aches like it hasn’t forgotten how far I’ve come and all that I’ve left behind … even if I have.


Yesterday morning was one of those mornings you need to write about because it was perfect in its simplicity. There was sex and breakfast and reading and coffee enjoyed before going cold and I never wanted it to end.


I want to write so badly, can feel the itch in my fingers, but I worry that I have nothing left to say.



Thanks for reading,



Here’s what I read in December:




“Ryan and I are two people who used to be in love.
What a beautiful thing to have been.
What a sad thing to be.”
Let me gush about the perfection of AFTER I DO for a moment. This book. This. Book. I felt as though I crawled into Ryan and Lauren’s life. I felt their pain. I felt their frustrations and indifference and joy. I laughed. I cried. Oh how I cried! This is my favorite TJR read yet, and she has cemented herself as one of my new favorite authors of all time.


This book was exactly what I expected it to be. I could easily have glossed over some of it, but that’s okay, because really, I just wanted to hear about Gilmore Girls and her writing career. Done and done.


As a big fan of Staci Hart’s, I knew I would devour this little, sexy novella. Four stories. Four sets of strangers. Four sexual encounters. I mean, who hasn’t fantasized about such a thing before? These stories were short and delicious … just like I knew they’d be.


At the time of this review, I have read three of Reid’s novels, and I can say, without a doubt in my mind, that all three have made me cry. What a truly, truly wonderful story. And what an inspiring, yet heartbreaking ending.


I loved this collection of poetry, mainly because it is just how I like my poems; short, direct and powerful. This book is one I’m happy to own and will be reading over and over again.


Ok, where do I start? I was on the library waiting list for this book for MONTHS. When it finally came, I was so excited and read the first section with gusto. But then, despite the beautiful language and the intriguing cast of characters, I had to continually push myself to keep reading.


You say you love me
with your shot of whiskey
you say I’m the one
with your glass of champagne
but then you don’t say a word
with your cup of coffee
Rania Naim
i do not want to have you
to fill the empty parts of me
i want to be full on my own
i want to be so complete
i could light a whole city
and then
i want to have you
cause the two of us combined
could set it on fire
– Rupi Kaur
Let’s reveal
and revel and rebel in our insanity, instead of
slathering on another coat of paint
as the veneer cracks
along the sides
You don’t deserve someone who comes back
you deserve someone who never leaves.
– Rania Naim
And let’s not forget, THIS.


“I’m really nervous about meeting new people.”

She said it first, before I had the chance. I had definitely been thinking it.

On the drive over, I went from turning the heat on to warm my cold hands, to cracking the windows to cool myself off. I was cold, but on the verge of sweating through my clothes.

This is typical Rachel behavior when it comes to meeting someone new. So imagine the relief when we’d just sat down to lunch and she told me she was nervous!

“That’s funny, because earlier today I was telling Dom about how this should be interesting because we’re both introverted, shy people,” I said.

Suzy and I are friends in the sense that we’ve known each other online for some time, and have emailed back and forth for a while now. But getting to meet someone in person who you built a friendship with online is uniquely special. You feel as though you know them, know their family and what gets them out of bed in the morning, but getting to see them with your own eyes, getting to wrap your arms around them in a warm hug … it just can’t be beat.

We ordered the same meal for lunch. I pulled toy cars out of my purse for her son to play with. She finished off my sweet potato fries when I couldn’t eat them all. We talked about writing, about parenting, about where we live and what we do for fun. And I thought, here’s a girl I could spend the day with and never get bored.

Suzy has a contagious smile. I swear that just being in close proximity to her made me feel happy and relaxed.

After lunch, she asked me to go on the search for donuts with her, which I would surely have done had I not had piles of work to do (oh, that’s right, I have a full-time job….). We said our goodbyes and off I went towards the parking garage.

And then I remembered I had wanted to take a photo of Suzy and I.


I turned on my heels, heading for the monorail. Out the door, around the corner, up the humorously tall escalator … but they were gone.

I turned the radio off in the car on the way home, wanting to be alone with my thoughts.

For two shy, young women, we did pretty well for ourselves.


Go check out these photos she took of Vegas. I told her at lunch that she has encouraged me to go out and see more of this city that I have lived in for nearly six (!!) years.


Two thousand and sixteen.

Phew! You have been a doozy of a year.

I know it’s all so terribly obvious of me to be talking about 2016 just as we’ve tiptoed into the final days, but this is who I am. I play and replay everything over in my head, trying to make sense of it all, trying to figure out where I went wrong, and what I can do better next year.

Back when I was in my early twenties and oh so lost as to who I was and where I was going, I would talk to older women (forties, fifties) who all said that their thirties were some of their best times. Their kids weren’t babies anymore, they were married, settled… but most importantly, they knew who they were.

I know a lot more now, at 32, than I ever did at 21. Like that I can socialize as well as anyone else, but I have to balance it out with alone time. Like that karma is a real thing. Like that if I stop creating, stop writing, I’ll cease to be myself. Like that I can’t eat the way I used to. Like that sometimes capturing a photo of that perfect moment where you see yourself in your kid is all it takes to turn a day around.

2016 has been a tough year, but those are the years that teach us the most, aren’t they. The days push our boundaries, teach us just how far we can go. And I like to think we’re better off for it. We’ve become stronger, smarter versions of ourselves.

I want to be a stronger, smarter version of myself. The kind of woman who is more patient and kind, who picks up her camera more and stays off her phone. The kind of woman who is engaged. The kind of woman who isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants. The kind of woman who enjoys the middle of things, not just the beginning or end. The kind of woman who isn’t constantly comparing herself to everyone else. The kind of woman who writes about her life, the real, the right now, instead of just fiction.

The kind of woman who knows she is not less than.

She is simply doing the best she can.