February 3, 2016

Fixing Tanner ARC Giveaway!

While I'm definitely not new to writing, I don't hide the fact that I'm new to the self-publishing game. Like many other indie authors that I know (Jenny Bravo is a great example), I'm wading my way through the pool, trying to figure out what works and what doesn't, and doing my best to share my experience along the way.

If you follow along here on the blog, Twitter or Instagram, then you know that I'm releasing my second book, Fixing Tanner, on February 23rd.

Today I'm going to offer two of you amazing readers a chance to win a digital ARC of the book! (don't know what that is? It means advanced reader copy!)

To enter: 

All you need to do is share my giveaway on social media and comment below with the link to where I can find your post. Easy right? And you're helping an indie author spread the news about her book, which you deserve a big 'ol hug for!

And while I've got you here, if you want to get occasional sneak peeks and exclusive content from me, you can sign up for my newsletter here.

The giveaway closes this Tuesday, February 9th at 11:59pm PT, and the winners will be announced on Wednesday.
January 29, 2016

The Book List | #1

Big City Quiet January ReadsI don't know what it is about January, but it's always the wrong mixture of hectic, cold and lonely. The fact that I managed to read two books this month is a miracle in itself.

I bought this eBook because I'd heard such good things about Gardners' upcoming release, Find Her, and I wanted to get a taste for her style. It was a quick, short novella, and while I'm not sure I was entirely a fan of the style in which it was written, it did give me a feel for her writing style. I think I will probably still pick up a copy of Find Her when it comes out.

THE WIFE by Meg Wolitzer
My oh my oh my. I just loved this book and I loved Wolitzers' writing style. The Wife is about a woman who decides she wants to leave her husband and start really living her life. We are a given a look at what made her come to the decision as well as the backstory of her marriage. It was absolutely enthralling. This is the first books of Wolitzers' that I have read, but I will definitely be picking up some others from the library ASAP.

If you're looking for something to read next, my second novel, Fixing Tanner, is now available for pre-order and will be released February 23rd!

What books have you read lately? What should I read next?
December 27, 2015

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

December 18, 2015

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 12x12 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) 12x12 album, but I will be using 9x12 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.
December 14, 2015

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.

December 4, 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.

November 27, 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.
November 23, 2015

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.