My Sunday morning routine

Right now my life doesn’t have quite as much routine as it will soon, when I start working and return to school. The habits that I currently have are most noticeable on Sunday mornings. I thought it would be fun to share a look at what I do after rolling out of bed on the first day of a new week.


One of the first things I do when I wake up (after kissing the man and the kitty, of course) is to make a cup of coffee. I have a Keurig, but instead of k-cups we use a small washable coffee basket insert and Cafe Bustelo Cuban Espresso. I love super strong coffee, black with a bit of sugar, as I only usually drink one cup. Bustelo is strong enough for one Amazon reviewer to call it “liquid crack”, but miraculously it isn’t bitter or acidy. I rely on it.


I then check some blogs, including tons of Project Life and scrapbooking inspiration. I dislike using blog readers like Feedly or Bloglovin’, as I’m never sure that the blogs will get the page views they deserve. So I have the blogs I follow grouped into folders on my Firefox toolbar. I click on the toolbar folder, scroll down to the bottom of the list, and then click “open all in tabs”. It takes a couple minutes to load the tabs, and sometimes the blog hasn’t any new content. So I just close that tab. The process isn’t as convenient as a blog reader, but somehow it feels more intimate.


Usually by the time I’m done reading my blogs, pinning all the pretty inspiration, and checking BBC News, my lovely man has breakfast ready. Almost every Sunday he makes us pancakes with Irish butter and maple syrup. This has been a ritual for years. There have been times when those weekly pancakes were little golden life rafts. Now I thank the goddess we’re sitting in our own apartment together, eating breakfast in peace–no matter that breakfast is still served on a card table because we haven’t built the big one yet.


Once I’m fed and the dishes are ignored in the sink, it’s time for some memory keeping! I screencap any amusing texts I’ve received that week and then delete the messages. I pull all the photos off my phone and camera, and then delete them too. Even though there’s almost never anything incriminating (wink wink), I like to delete my photos weekly so that I don’t have to scroll though to find the following week’s pictures. Download, delete, fresh start.


Next, I use these photos and texts, my boyfriend’s brain, and my own coffee high to recreate the past week in something I’ve taken to calling my “daycal”, short for “daily calendar”. I’ll do a post on these little daily logs soon, as I’ve kept them for an astonishingly long time, and they’re fun and fascinating to look back on. Each day receives a sketch of what went down, and then I use the little “notes” section to record some highlights and accomplishments of the week. It’s part gratitude diary, part accountability test. It’s not always easy to keep up, but every little bit counts, and it’s a habit very dear to me.


The very last bit of my Sunday morning routine is the redoing of my manicure. God I love nail polish. I probably own over 200 bottles of it. I pick out about 20 to use at the beginning of each season, so that I’m not rummaging through the box, all overwhelmed, every weekend. It’s vanity plus practicality–the polish is pretty, makes me feel groomed while I work from home, and keeps my brittle nails from breaking painfully short in the process. A bit of non-acetone polish remover and paper towels, a quick filing, Orly Bonder rubberized basecoat, 2-3 coats of polish, and then Sally Hansen Insta-Dry topcoat. Remember when a manicure meant your hands were unusable for an hour afterwards? The march of progress.

Sundays are almost never that busy in our household. A second cup of coffee, leftover chores from Saturday, fun little house projects…often a trip to the beach (our church) or down to the bay. Sometimes all we do is read and snuggle and listen to the rain. As a busy, intense person facing a lot of life upheaval, I love having one day a week that I know will contain both tried-and-true pleasures, and unstructured free time.

Long live Sunday mornings.

15 Things about 2014 (so far)


Twenty-fourteen has been a sweet, low-key and happy year so far. It’s probably going to ramp up pretty quickly here soon, so I thought I’d take a minute and look at the top 15 events in the past two-and-a-half months:

1. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so on the edge of my seat during a  football game as I was during the FSU vs. Auburn National Championship Game this January. Go Noles!

2. I last lived in Pensacola ten years ago, so getting a new library card was both nostalgic and fascinating–the renovations to the library are nothing short of amazing. Also, ACLU volunteering meetings!

3. You can think you know a place like the back of your hand, as I felt I knew Pensacola Beach, and still discover beautiful hidden spaces in the dunes.

4. Difficult work situations suck. I helped my boyfriend cope with and then leave one, and I’m proud of both of us.

5. I was haunted by about four tubs of random papers and ephemera, going back 14+ years. I culled and sorted them in preparation to create Project Life albums for those years.

6. It snowed in Florida!

7. Weekend trip to my parents’ house in Gadsden County with the man. Highlight? Sunset walk in the stately pine woods nearby.

8. We’ve been eating healthier, slowly but surely. Making soup with fresh organic vegetables and meat has become a relationship ritual.

9. Valentine’s Day doughnut! The local Krispy Kreme is our most beloved treat.

10. The boyfriend’s first Mardi Gras! After catching Moon Pies and beads at the Pensacola Beach parade, we drank margaritas and admired the teal water of the Gulf of Mexico.

11. I culled my wardrobe until there was hardly anything left. Time to shop for a few new outfits that express my current style! And then wash them first, because yay, flu season.

12. My first-ever “flight” of wines was excitedly consumed at Hopjacks with the man. I’m normally a “pick something out and then always buy that, forever” type of person, so it was great to expose myself to some reds I’d never had before. Merlot was the winner, of course.

13. Can I keep an herb garden alive? I feel pride when I look at the little pots on my windowsill, my own bit of spring.

14. I very much needed my desk in a different corner of the room. After months of procrastination, we finally just made it happen. The difference is astounding–I’m much more organized and motivated to work. For now, anyways!

15. I bought a Canon Pixma MG8120B to print photos at home, after waiting for about a year. Sending out for photos just meant that I was always behind and demoralized on my Project Life scrapbook. I already feel less overwhelmed and more motivated to work on (and share!) my albums.

There have been some ups and downs, of course–I’m unemployed and need to find work very soon; I’ve had either an annoying injury or a mild illness constantly during this long winter; and it will be April before we can get the rest of our things from storage in DC, making it 17 months since I’ve had all my belongings in one place.

Despite that, there’s a ton to be thankful for, and the man and I both make a constant effort to find and celebrate the good things. We’ve stayed sane and happy in an apartment together for six months, so keep your fingers crossed!

New Project Life core kits!

Becky Higgins over at Project Life has released new Core Kits today!

The Project Life scrapbooking system is the antidote to mountainous piles of scrapbooking “supplies”–overconsumption ends here. A binder, a pen, photos, plastic photo sleeves, and (optionally) one of the Core Kits—that’s all you need to get back into scrapbooking after a decade’s overwhelmed and jaded absence, like I did.

Becky releases kits a few times a year. The last announcement was in January, and those kits just showed up in June. These latest Core Kits should be available in late August or early September, so that’s a lot shorter wait.

Her announcement comes at a pretty amazing time. I’d planned on using the newly-released Rain kit for my 2014 album next year, to go with the rich colors of Washington DC. But…we’re not moving there yet. And Rain turned out to go perfectly with my 2013 album. So what to do about next year?

Enter Sunshine.

I’m trying to come up with a word that matches the sound I make when I see that. Impossible.

Look at the dividers! I don’t even like dividers, but if the cards look anything like this:

…then 2014, the year I spend in Pensacola with the love of my life, frolicking on the beach and writing my first novel and getting back into painting after years of absence, is going to be perfectly preserved.

It’s like all the best elements of every kit so far–the intricacy of Jade, the brightness of Honey, the bold graphics of Cobalt, with a retro 70′s-in-Miami twist. It’s urban and tropical at the same time. And it has constellations! I’m in love!

Hurry up, September!


One last thing: Becky Higgins has also released two Mormon-themed kits this go-round, with promises of upcoming Christian products. While the Pagan in me is disappointed that some of the kits won’t be useful to me, the Pagan in me is also used to being excluded from major product releases. Especially scrapbooking releases, as the scrapbooking world appears to be disproportionally Christian.

And as a Pagan, I’m used to the social conversation swerving abruptly from things that include me to things that exclude me, with those that aren’t excluded having rather a hard time understanding the “sudden fuss” that the excluded often raise. Frankly, when you’re a spiritual non-Christian in this country, you either get used to well-meaning people not understanding that the conversation’s unexpectedly slung you off, or you stroke out before 25.

So yeah. Christian-themed Project Life kits. I feel left out, but not too upset about it—Becky Higgins is a kind-hearted person, making kits about her own interests, as is her right. What I disliked was one of the comments under the announcement post of her blog:

“I am not Mormon,” one poster wrote, “but I think it is so cool that you design products that stay true to your beliefs instead of being afraid you might offend someone.”

Too much privilege in one sentence!

Let me keep this simple: no member of a majority religion should be congratulated for being willing to “offend” members of minority beliefs. And no member of a minority religion should feel guilty for being “offended” at something—there’s often an abuse of power happening, one that perpetrators cover with the phrase “staying true to my beliefs”.

Fortunately, I believe Becky Higgins is a caring person, as far from that mindset as one can get. I’m proud to be a supporter of her business, and I wish that all her fans had her classiness.

And the Missionary kits look like they could be turned into travel-themed kits pretty easily. Since travel is a big part of my spiritual beliefs, the joke’s on…well, me, because I’ll be spending even more money. Got me again, Becky!  :)

My first “Day In the Life” photoshoot

I already take a fairly reliable amount of photos–I’m one of those people that always has trouble paring down the pics I want to include in each week’s Project Life spread.

What I haven’t ever done, however, is a “Day In The Life” photo shoot. So today I created one. Here are my photos, and then I’ll discuss what I learned. Please click on each photo for a clearer version!


DITL June 2013 web 1

11:13 am (hey, we stayed up late): Maven (aka “Springload”) wakes us up, despite all deterrents.

11:41 am: Homemade bread, Irish butter, and hazelnut coffee for breakfast overlooking the pond out back.

12:16 pm: On the road from Gadsden County to Tallahassee. On the docket: IRS office to get unsent W2s, then putting in job applications.

12:20 pm: Yes, it’s normal during my day to see things like a chicken feather on our lint roller. No, we don’t keep chickens.

12:32 pm: 35 miles on Interstate 10 to Tallahassee. Trucks and tourists and a/c on the fritz.


DITL June 2013 web 2

12:58 pm: Dropping the man off at work.

1:04 pm: The IRS office. Two hours in here! Thank goodness for The Wheel of Time.

3:31 pm: Lunch at Moe’s. I love Funkmeister tacos.

4:04 pm: On the way to turn in job applications–one of Tallahassee’s canopy roads. Gorgeous!

4:53 pm: To Michael’s for scrapbook supplies. No Project Life here, unfortunately.


DITL June 2013 web 3

5:26 pm: Hot as balls outside. 93 degrees but feels like 99.

6:08 pm: Mall ceiling. Had fun at the MAC counter.

6:31 pm: Waiting for the man to get off work. Will it rain? Or just feel like a sauna forever?

6:41 pm: At the honey’s job. He fits eyeglasses.

7:19 pm: House coffee at Black Dog Cafe.


DITL June 2013 web 4

8:31 pm: Sunset on the way back to Gadsden County. Long hot day, but with breakthroughs.

8:48 pm: On the county road to our (for now) house.

10:07 pm: Naptime!

12:45 am: Ugh, kitties are not liking the lightning of this sudden nighttime thunderstorm. Treats for all!

4:07 am: Late work on “Find Your Voice” and the blog. My first “Day in the Life” is complete!

What I Learned:

My first realization is that, while my tendency to overprepare has earned me judgment in the past, it actually works fine for me–though never in quite the way I expect. For example, today for the photoshoot I set 15 separate alarms to go off, one every hour. As you can see, the photos are taken at more random intervals than that, as I meant to capture the standout moments and perfect examples of how my day often looks.

But the alarms definitely helped remind me to take photos. While I only took pictures at the sound of the alarm five times out of twenty, knowing it was going to go off before long caused me to look around more closely at my life, in search of interesting things to photograph. Which leads to my second realization.

My life is boring.

I meant this photoshoot to inspire me towards greater gratitude for the simple pleasures in my life. Instead, it led me to the point of staring morosely into a cup of coffee, bitching deeply to the love of my life about the dingy little town that has stolen so many of my years. He helped me change my perspective, though–miraculously.

I need to change the narrative I tell myself about my life–but I also need to change my life.

Sometimes, having a good life means slowing down and maximizing the small pleasures around you.

Sometimes, however, it means looking around and realizing this isn’t the place for me, that all this shit is irrelevent, and that better things lie ahead.


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