December Daily 2015 | Part IV

January 5, 2016

Filed Under : December Daily

I have the last part of my December Daily ready to show you today! Initially I planned to carry this project through to the last day of the month, but on the evening of the 26th as I was working on that day’s story, I felt pretty strongly that it was finished. I was kinda done with it. So I stopped on the 26th and I’m happy with that.

This was my first December Daily album and it was a really fun experience. If I were to do it again, I absolutely would not have bought so much product, but I’ve put it away to save for next year. Now I know what I’ll use and what I won’t. Overall, this was a really great memory keeping experience that helped me capture some of the joy of the season.

DEC 21 // STORY: A run along the Charles River.
I seen this boat decorated with Christmas lights a few times over the month and I finally got a chance to take a photo. I just got these geotag chipboard pieces so I was excited to use one here. I’ve had those two filler cards on the top for a long time so I was excited to use them! I put Merry Happy Everything on the right side because I love that page.Day 212015-12-27 11.14.15

DEC 22 // STORY: The NOEL sign in my window that I made a few years ago. It seems to find a different home every year.
2015-12-27 11.15.44I added the star on the O for some repetition from the 22 number right above. Then I added this “3 more days…” just because I wanted to.
2015-12-27 11.14.54 2015-12-27 11.15.17 2015-12-27 11.15.25DEC 23 // STORY: My last day of work before Christmas. Going running in the rain. Getting coffee.
I really liked using the “THE STORY OF TODAY” stamp repetitively on this spread on the number card. I love the colors here.
2015-12-27 11.15.59DEC 24 // STORY: Christmas Eve!

A three page spread about Christmas Eve events and a “counting my blessings” card that I used to write out what happened without having to use full sentences. Looking at it now I realize that I put the number 24 on there twice, but that’s okay.
2015-12-27 11.16.42 2015-12-27 11.17.29DAY 25 // STORY: CHRISTMAS DAY!!!
I put a ton of photos in here and I don’t feel bad about it at all.
2015-12-27 11.17.36 2015-12-27 11.18.02 2015-12-27 11.18.19 2015-12-27 11.18.31I did a big Christmas morning series as you can see above. I was sick for the rest of the afternoon unfortunately so I spent most of it sleeping and have no photos. But then I did an evening spread of how I spent that night once I was feeling better, and closed it off with another gold 25 page to bookend the day.
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DEC 26 // STORY: The day after Christmas.
I loved this favorite things page and I really like having it be out of the protector while attached to the 25 page. I wrote about what I did that day and Iove where I placed the 26.2015-12-27 11.19.08And that’s the last page! As I was working on it, I felt like the album was complete. The day after Christmas seems as good a place as any to stop a December album. Right now, the back of the right page is empty. I probably will find two other December photos and put them in there, or do some writing about December Daily.

Like I said I loved this project and I look forward to many more! Thanks for looking.

One Little Word 2016

January 4, 2016

Filed Under : Making Things Happen

Happy 2016! Insert a cliche statement about how I can’t believe it’s already 2016 here.

No, but really, I am excited for the year ahead. At the end of 2014, I decided that my word for the upcoming year was going to be BRAVE. I knew I was facing a lot of uncertainty in 2015 and I didn’t want to be afraid of it. Well, a year later and I can say that I was still afraid of it, but trying to be brave I made it a lot easier.

I was brave this year when I decided to start running again in spite of all my previous sprained ankles. I was brave when I said yes to going on a date with a guy I didn’t know. I was brave when I decided to go out and do things by myself, like going to the movies. I was brave when I graduated college. I was brave when I decided to move to Martha’s Vineyard without knowing anyone. I was brave when I signed up for a half marathon. I was brave when I moved home without having a job. I was brave to try working in the restaurant industry. I was brave when I ran the half marathon. I was brave when I took a temporary job without knowing what it might lead to, if anything. And there were a hundred other times when I was brave that I don’t remember. In short, it worked out. So I decided to give it another shot.


My word for 2016 is BOLD. I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to play out but I know that I want to take brave a step further. I want to step out when I’m afraid to, I want to shine, and I want to be bold to do things that scare me. I want to be bold in trusting that things will work out, I want to be bold when it comes to my relationships with other people, and I want to fulfill the definition of the word by being “confident and courageous”. By the end of the year, I want to be employed in a job that advances my career, and I want to have moved out of my parents’ house or at least have a plan in place for doing so. I want to have run a bunch of races and potentially be gearing up to run the Boston Marathon in 2017 (that is terrifying to me). I want to be bigger and less fearful and bolder.

I’m participating in Ali Edwards’ One Little Word class for the first time this year, and it’s already forced me to take action on this word and think about how it applies to my life. At my yoga class yesterday, the teacher suggested me pick a word and apply it to the class and to our life in general. It made me smile.

Like I said, not entirely sure how this is going to apply to my life but I’m hoping that bold will be like brave on steroids. More doing, less fearing. More “can” and less “can’t.” More to come soon, I’m sure.

Do you have a word for 2015? What is it?

Books I Read in December

December 30, 2015

Filed Under : Reading

2015-12-27 11.34.53

The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller // This was an interesting read about two women who are in very different life stages but have a lot of things in common. Meri is newly married and she and her husband buy a house next to the home of a former senator. She gets to know his wife and they become friends. I liked it okay. It took a little while to get through and I liked the story concept, just not necessarily the ending. I liked that it went back and forth in time.

Heaven is for Real by Lynn Vincent and Todd Burpo // This tells the story of Todd Burpo’s son Colton and the near-death experience he had when he was 3 years old. He tells his parents that he died and went to heaven and came back, and it’s about how that experience changes their family. I want to believe that this story is true, but considering I’m a skeptical person naturally it’s hard to say. It’s definitely interesting though and it’s cool to see a perspective of what heaven might be like.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown // I heard a lot of great things about this book but I just could not get into it. From my understanding, it’s about the power of vulnerability and how even though it’s scary to be vulnerable, it’s worth it. I only got a few chapters in but it was too scientific for me. I feel like this one doesn’t really count as a book I read.

A History of Loneliness by John Boyne // This is a really heartbreaking novel about the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Ireland and how its effects reverberated across so many lives. It’s set in the neighborhood in Dublin where I once lived and and where my family still lives, so I recognized many of the locations. I vaguely knew some information about the scandal but I didn’t know the full details so I was left feeling very sad and heartbroken. At the same time, it’s full of Irish humor and sayings like a mother asking her son, “Have you been eating?” and her son replying, “Well, sure, I’d be dead if I wasn’t.” Very typically Irish.

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins // I blogged about this on Monday for Collaboreads. In summary; I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandell // I had to return this one before I could get it in the photo, but I loved it! I wrote further about it here.

Which is how I feel about many of the books I read this month. One standout was A History of Loneliness, but that book left me feeling sad and hurt, but Station Eleven was excellent. I’m hoping for better book luck in January!

I started recording what books I read in August, but I’m going to keep on top of it for the whole year in 2016. Here’s the ones I mentioned on the blog in 2015:

    1. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
    2. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
    3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
    4. Amherst by William Nicholson
    5. The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parissinen
    6. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
    7. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
    8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    9. Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell
    10. We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride
    11. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    12. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
    13. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
    14. Finding Lily by Rachel Del
    15. The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
    16. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
    17. Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Wittemore
    18. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
    19. Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
    20. A History of Loneliness by John Boyne
    21. Heaven is for Real by Lynn Vincent and Todd Burpo
    22. The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller

And that’s all I could find recorded on the blog! I seem to average 5 books a month or so, based on past posts. I got Why Not Me and a couple other books for Christmas so I’m going to start off 2016 with those! Leave me some recommendations in the comments if you read any spectacular books in 2015.


December Daily 2015 | Part III

December 29, 2015

Filed Under : Uncategorized

2015-12-27 11.10.18I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! Mine was fairly low key this year. The past few years I’ve had a bunch of relatives visiting from Dublin and this year that didn’t happen, so it was a quiet Christmas with my immediate family. I laid low most of the weekend and I spent a ton of time working on my December Daily so I have another batch of pages to show off today.

I left off in my last post with day 13, which you can see above. You can see that I added a 3×8 page in between with one photo on each side, and a transparency overlaid on top of it. It just needed something to break up the pages and I think this did the trick. The photos are of a blurry Christmas tree and a pile of firewood.

DEC 14 // STORY: Life in December
I wanted to try a 2×2 pocket page and I was inspired by Ali’s spread using things around her house, so I decided to try something similar. I included a mix of photos, filler cards and receipts from various days in December on both sides of the spread, letting the photos speak for themselves on this day. I found that this spread was time-consuming to create but I do like the variation of it compared to the other spreads. The story goes on the front and the back of the page because I didn’t know how else to fill the protector.

Day 14 Collage

And here’s how it looks with the other pages:2015-12-27 11.10.40 2015-12-27 11.11.10

DEC 15 // STORY: Yankee Swap
My work hosted a Yankee swap and I got Nutella mini cups as my gift. It was supposed to be a crappy gift swap but I feel like I made out pretty well. Again I inserted a transparency, this time a full-page one, to break up the busy-ness of the 2×2 spread.Day 15

DEC 16 // STORY: Christmas cards
I knew I wanted to include my family’s Christmas card and today seemed like a good day to do it. It was too big for any protector (I think it’s 5×7) so I punched holes and cut vellum to fit over it to make a kind of cover for it, just for decoration. I added the star and the peace on there because it needed something else.

2015-12-27 11.11.42 2015-12-27 11.11.49 2015-12-27 11.11.58

DEC 17 // STORY: Starbucks red cups (Again. I know.)
I mostly wanted an excuse to use the cute gift card and the pastry bag.

2015-12-27 11.12.15

DEC 18 // STORY: Our Christmas tree
I printed a full page photo of our tree at Target and put a star transparency over it. I stuck a chipboard star onto one of the outlines, which I “scrap-lifted” from Geralyn as seen here2015-12-27 11.12.262015-12-27 11.12.35

2015-12-27 11.12.45

DEC 19 // STORY: Morning and evening in Boston
I took these photos at the beginning and ending of the work day from the parking lot where I sometimes park. I tried to take them from the exact same spot — almost, but not quite. I covered the tag with patterned paper, wrote on it, and used the whole that was already punched to insert it in the album. I added “BOS” in stickers on the back because that’s the airport code for the city.

2015-12-27 11.12.51 2015-12-27 11.12.58 2015-12-27 11.13.28

DEC 20 // STORY: Family Christmas party and the ensuing clean up
I took exactly one photo at my family’s giant Christmas party and it is this goofy selfie of me holding an Angry Orchard. I took a photo of all the dishes the next morning and decided to make the story about the clean up from the party, which took place on the 19th.2015-12-27 11.13.49 2015-12-27 11.13.57

And that’s it for now! The last post will probably be the last since there’s only a handful of days left.

Happy Tuesday 🙂

#COLLABOREADS | Girl on the Train

December 28, 2015

Filed Under : Reading

Collaboreads is a book lover’s link-up hosted by Rachel and Amber that takes place on the last Monday of every month. You can see my past Collaboreads link-ups here, here, here, and here. The prompt for this month was a friend’s favorite book. Read more about Collaboreads here.

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Rebecca commented on my last post and recommended that I read Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and it coincidentally happened that I had requested it from the library months ago and it arrived that day. So that’s what I chose for this month. I started the book on a Monday morning two weeks ago on the way to work and I finished it that evening. It’s a page turner for sure.

I might be the only person who didn’t know a single thing about this book before they started reading it. Except I knew it was about someone who goes missing, so I guess I knew one thing. This is what I thought it was going to be about: a main character who takes the train every day, and watches another girl on the train who then one day goes missing. Close, but not quite.

Here’s what it’s actually about: a struggling, troubled, recently fired alcoholic named Rachel who takes the train to London every day. Looking out the window, she observes the same couple out on their terrace day after day and invents stories about their lives. One day, she learns that the woman, Megan, has gone missing, and she thinks she knows what happened to her.


What part of the book could you NOT get enough of? Like I said, I read this book in less than 12 hours, and it really took me way less time because for most of that time I was at work. Paula Hawkins does a great job in this novel of really sucking you in and making you think about the events of the novel until you get to the end. I really wanted to find out what happened to Megan.


How did you relate to/care for the characters? What’s your thought on the plot line and twists and turns? I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book where I didn’t really like any of the characters. But that’s how I felt about this one. I didn’t love any of them, really. I loved that the story was told from the POV of the three main female characters and switched back and forth in time. At times this could be confusing, but I think part of that is that all three are unreliable narrators. They’re all protecting their own interests and telling the story that best suits them.


What other books are like this one? I’ve heard this book pitched as “the next Gone Girl“, and I agree in the sense of the unreliable narrator angle. However, it’s really not similar to Gone Girl in other ways. It reminded me of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn in a way, because of the kind of creepy murder angle.


The cover design of this is perfect. That blurred image of the world outside of the train perfectly fits Rachel’s perpetually drunken state, but that’s something I’ve only just now realized after reading the book. Even without that knowledge, I think it’s still eye-catching.


3 stars. I loved this book at the beginning and I was really looking forward to finding out what happened next. I started to get an inkling of what happened about halfway in, and by the last third of the book I knew I was right. Around the halfway point it started to get kind of boring; I didn’t feel bad for any of the characters because they all annoyed me! But Hawkins absolutely gets credit for writing a novel I couldn’t put down, despite not knowing how I felt about it.