Hello, May

Hello, favorite month of mine. I love your blooming flowers, I love the wardrobe colors you bring out, I love your deliciously seasonal fruits, and I love that you hold my birthday. This month is already my favorite of the twelve, but with my dearest husband gone with the Marine Corps, I’ve gone a bit overboard and jam packed every week full of fun things to do. Road trips and weddings, marathon scrapbook crops and house hunting, new business projects and girls nights out.
Yes, May… You are my favorite!
  • Get into a solid routine every day for eating, juicing, & exercising
  • Work on my business ideas, new website, & B-School homework
  • Start running outside again
  • Set a new budget and stick to it!
  • Review my priorities & adjust them as necessary
Lastly. Is there anything in particular you’d like me to blog about this month? I’m feeling creative and the writer’s block has finally gone away! Send your suggestions or requests in the comments below… I’d love to hear it!

Remember Not to Get Comfortable

The past 2 1/2 years, Joshua and I have been living a pretty sweet life. He went to work everyday, had the occasional overnight or 2am work night, and was home most— if not all— weekends. In Joshua’s words… we’ve almost been living like civilians. We live on a military base, but it’s just like any other nice neighborhood. Not only is housing here at Quantico gorgeous, but I also work off-base so I’m in town everyday anyway. Again… like a civilian. I’m hardly friends with any military spouses on base, and I hang out the most with my co-workers and civilian friends. We only really talk about military life as it relates to our jobs, since we all work for the government… not as it relates to us personally. We don’t talk about being afraid of upcoming deployments or trainings, or that our husbands or wives might die. We don’t talk about PTSD, or picking up rank, or how we’re still reintegrating even almost three years post-deployment.
We’ve been living relatively normal lives the past two years. We’ve taken long weekends to visit family, spent time together watching TV series On Demand, explored the area with our puppy, and had plenty of time to make dozens of fun, worry-free, happy memories.
Things are going to change a bit in the upcoming months. First off, I have to clarify that Joshua won’t be going back to the fleet and I am soooo happy that the next three years should also be deployment-free. He’ll be doing a B-billet job as an SOI instructor (SOI = School of Infantry for Marines). So ladies and gents… if your spouse or S.O. is going through SOI after boot camp, there’s a good chance that Joshua will be one of his instructors later this year.
We don’t know a whole lot about what his schedule will be like yet, since he’s still going through school to become an instructor, but we do know that it doesn’t sound pretty. What we’ve heard from current instructors: He will be at work from the time the students wake up in the mornings until the time they go to bed at night. He will be gone on overnights in the field… a lot. He has to watch everything he says and does with the students, because the students are “always right” and if he upsets any of them, he will hear about it from his command. Basically, it will be very stressful and he will be gone a LOT.
Rather than count the number of ways this sucks (I’ll be alone in NC without friends way more than I was alone here in VA with friends, I’ll never see him, he’ll always be stressed out, I’m working from home so I will have no interaction with human beings for at least 40 hours a week, this is a three year assignment) …Oops. Sorry. I meant to say, rather than count the number of ways this sucks, I have to do my best to stay positive. I will do my best to be supportive, and hopefully better myself in the process. I might have more time to cook and clean since I’ll be working from home without a commute, and lord knows I need help in both those areas. Oh! And that’s the greatest positive of all… my company has agreed to keep me as a virtual employee, so I’ll still be employed! No job searching (in a military town with ZERO jobs in my field), hooray!
About the town… Jacksonville, North Carolina. Well… let’s just say it wouldn’t be my first choice. The town is so very military, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it just means it’s that much harder to avoid it. And I’m not even sure I want to avoid it. In fact, I’d rather embrace it. It’s just that we’ve been living in this nice little civilian-esque bubble for so long now that it’s going to be a transition all over again.
So we’re PCSing soon (PCS = Permanent Change of Station = moving) and what’s the first thing I did? I researched where we’ll be moving to. Just like this blog I posted on Blog Brigade awhile back. Which, by the way, milspouses: If you haven’t submitted a blog post for Blog Brigade, I strongly recommend that you do! I work for the Blog Brigde. I’m like, the second in a line of four or five people to review the incoming blogs, so I can definitely put in a good word. Especially if it’s my friends that are blogging. Like Shannon. She’s written several guest blogs about finances. She’s also my go-to-girl for anything money or budgeting related. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve texted her for things like how much she and her husband budget for their clothing allowance, or how much she spends on her hair. (You know, the things that matter!) Or sometimes, I just ask her WWDRD? What would Dave Ramsey do?
Oh, and since I work for the government with Blog Brigade, I’m not allowed to endorse any other military spouse blog over there. But since this is my personal blog, I also totally recommend that all of you write for SpouseBUZZ or Homefront United Network, too. These are two of my favorite blogs, and you can totally put that you contributed to them as a guest writer on your resume. And as a huge advocate for pumping up your resumes (friend me on LinkedIn!), I think that’s pretty sweet. I’m not really sure if I’m allowed to submit blog post for them since I work for BB and I don’t know if that is considered a conflict of interest or something? But remind me to look into that.
This past weekend Joshua and I went down to North Carolina to look for a place to live. We found a great house to rent. We were also able to reminisce with Joshua’s buddies from his previous unit, the ones he deployed to Afghanistan with. I got to see an old milspouse friend, and meet two new ones. One of which has a blog! She recognized me from my blog! Everybody go check out Stephanie from While I’m Waiting. She’s such a sweet girl and I’m so glad I got to meet another blogger. It’s like we have the instant connection whenever I meet another blogger… like we get each other. Or maybe I’m just a little crazy.
And with that… Over and out!

Project Life 2013: Week 1

It’s about time I start to share some of my Project Life layouts here on the blog. I’m behind, as is usual… but I’m okay with that. I’m just going with the flow and getting it done as I can. After all, I’ve been busy living life, and Project Life without life is… well… you get where I’m going with this and why I’m not so stressed about it. ;-)

So this is my first week of 2013 from Tuesday, January 1st to Sunday, January 6th. I’m doing my weeks from Monday to Sunday to keep the weekends together.

I brought in neon accents and florals like I had hoped to, and all in all I love the eclectic feel that it brings together. Here’s a closer view of the left side:

And a closer view of the ride side:

I’ve incorporated bits of the January Project Life kit from Studio Calico, “Block Party,” as well as some 4×6 and 3×4 cards that I cut up from 6×6 paper pads. The 6×6 paper pads are great for Project Life because the patterns are scaled down from the 12×12 pads, so they work nicely in the pocket sizes.

Other supplies I’ve used are neon washi tapes from Heidi Swapp, stamps from Amanda Rose Stamp Shop, Moonlight gel pens, and wood chips + a neon tag from Freckled Fawn.

Going back to work after a week off to spend Christmas in Florida was the worst!

I adore these little calendar cards that Studio Calico included in their January kits. The kits arrived pretty late in the month (or even in early February?) but it was well worth the wait!

I’m obsessed with the #ProjectLife tag on Instagram and I check on the photos people post on there regularly. I’m so happy I did because I found this awesome idea from another Instagram user, who also has a blog here. I made my own weekly title card with the dates and the highlights from the week. I love that this takes care of most of the journaling for the week so I can play around more with photos and scrap supplies! Thanks for the inspiration, moncoff. ;-)

Joshua and I spent New Years Eve apart this year, because since he had two weeks off and I only had one he stayed in Florida to spend some extra time with his grandparents. Thank goodness for FaceTime, which helped us “ring it in” virtually!

And that about wraps up Week 1. Looking forward to continuing this project and sharing the last two months as I catch up!

Hello, March

Happy March 1st, blog loves! In my search for some inspiring words about all things March, I came across this cute poem by Emily Dickinson. It’s been in my head since I first found it, and I think it’s lovely. I also talk to the months, so I can relate. ;-)
I’ve officially flipped my calendars at both work, home, and in my EC Life Planner; I’ve completed our family’s March budget and printed copies for myself and my hubby; I’ve made a to-do list for things that need to get accomplished in March; and lastly, I made a blog calendar for the month that I’m hoping to stick to! All in all, it’s already starting off productively!
February went by so fast, and I felt like I could barely keep up. It just flew right by.

Good things about February:
  • I got my butt back to the gym
  • Took an organic gluten-free freezer meal workshop and made TEN freezer meals that hubby and I are still enjoying
  • Launched my new blog!
  • Went to my first ever marathon scrapbooking crop (12+ hours!)
  • Had a romantic Valentine’s date night with my husband, along our weekly date nights of dinner and a movie
  • Designed, printed, assembled, & mailed bridal shower invitations for one of my best friends
  • Took a trip home to visit my family in New York for the long weekend, and then my mom came back to Virginia with me and visited me
  • Completed my Las Vegas scrapbook album from the trip we took last summer!
  • Bought a new Coach purse and wallet for 50% off at the outlet store… what a score!
  • Restocked our emergency savings fund & filed our taxes
    Things to improve in March:
    • Get my butt to the gym on a regular schedule
    • Plan more freezer meals and do my second-ever juice fast
    • Blog more!
    • Eat less!
    • Catch up on and share Project Life 2013
    • Don’t. Spend. Money.
    • Get back into yoga
    • Make time to develop and start working on my business goals
    I have a few creative projects outside of my day job due out to family & friends this month (all wedding-related, hooray!) and I’m planning to take more time to get serious and work on my business. Back when I left my full-time job in New York to marry Joshua and live at our first duty station in North Carolina, I started a freelance graphic design business. Unfortunately, due to the economy and my lack of business know-how, I wasn’t very successful and I went back to the corporate world. I put my business dreams of being a creative entrepreneur on hold.
    Well, friends, I’m ready to get back to it and chase that dream. I plan to run a little harder, work a little longer, let some things go in my life, and add in some things to make this happen.
    March is also the last month I have with my husband for awhile. The Marine Corps is sending him to a school in North Carolina from April to mid-June, and I’m already dreading it. I know it’s not the same as a deployment, and I know he won’t be in combat and I’ll be able to talk to him in the evenings, but… it’s still going to be difficult to be without him for so long. I do love him so!
    That is why for me, it’s full speed ahead.

    Project Life 2013: Neon + Graphic

    Hi friends! This is my third year scrapbooking week-to-week with the Project Life memory keeping system by Becky Higgins. I can’t quite remember when or how I discovered Project Life, but it wasn’t long after Joshua and I moved in together and just months before our wedding, so it seemed like the perfect time to start a new scrapbooking venture.
    I’m not at all caught up on 2011 & 2012, but that’s okay. I do plan to go back and fill in the gaps for those years, but in the meantime my first goal is just to get started and keep up with it this year. For 2011, I did the Amber edition. For 2012, I did the Cobalt edition.
    For 2013, I decided to use up some of my scrapbook stash and make my own edition. I’m still using Becky Higgins’ albums, pocket pages, and 3×4 grid cards, because I love how everything is just the right size and fits together so well. It’s all such excellent quality.
    I’ve also signed up for the Project Life monthly kit at Studio Calico, which is just beautiful. Between the kit and all the scrapping goodies I already have, I couldn’t justify buying a kit this year. I’m also a bit of a shopaholic and I love to pick up new products throughout the year, so I’d rather put my extra money toward that.
    For whatever reason, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with neon lately. Not in-your-face 1980s neon, but neon accents. I also love bold and graphic patterns, like chevron and diagonal stripes. I’ve slowly been collecting anything that fits these descriptions as I come by them.
    Lastly, my “One Little Word” (a yearly exercise & online workshop by the super talented Ali Edwards) for 2013 is BLOOM. So of course, I’ve been incorporating florals whenever they fit. All in all, I’m loving the eclectic feel it’s giving my album this year.
    So here are some photos of my album, title page, and the goodies I’ve been collecting! I’ll be sharing my first few weeks of 2013 next week.
    I chose the Becky Higgins White Signature Binder to go with my DIY edition this year. It’s clean, simple, and oh so pretty. I believe these are sold out now, but I stocked up on two of them while they were on sale recently. Happy I did!
    This is my title page. I used pieces from the Studio Calico kit along with some cards I made myself from scrapbook pads or washi tape. That black & white chevron card in the lower right corner is just wrapped in washi tape.
    I mixed my own handwriting along with the Studio Calico kit stamps and labels.
    I love including a photo of our little family on the first page of my yearly albums, and this one was taken just a few weeks before the year started while we were on Christmas vacation in Florida.
    I set up a little “neon station” at my new workspace so that everything I need for the album is in the same place. It all fits neatly in this Vera Bradley desk organizer… which of course is also in neon colors. I love when things match up.
    These are some of the 3×4 Project Life cards I made with washi tape. I have so much washi tape and this seemed like a great way to use some of it up! I just wrapped the grid cards with it. Maybe it would look better on solid white, but this is what I had on hand and that’s what this year is about for me.
    All of the washi tape cards I made:
    I made more 3×4 journaling cards by cutting up some smaller paper pads. I bought 2 of these this year and had two of them already. The colors somehow just mesh well together and give it the vibe I’m going for.
    I also made some solid neon cards out of cardstock.
    All in all, I have plenty of 3×4 cards to get me through the next few months at least.
    I did the same for the 4×6 cards and cut up some paper pads I already had in my stash. I’m planning to incorporate these with a lot of white to break up all the patterns and screaming colors!
    Here’s a close up of some more of the goodies I’m using, including some neon washi tapes, Studio Calico labels from the kit, and hot pink tabs and wood chips from Freckled Fawn.
    These pens are another item I already had on hand, and they work perfectly for Project Life. I’m able to write on photos with them, color in stamps, and write on dark colors.
    I want to incorporate more stamping into my album this year. I love that stamps can be used over and over again… not only is it great for cohesion, but it’s also a great way to save money! I just picked up these neon stamps tonight and I can’t wait to use them.
    I put all of my stamps into this cute little basket. My favorites are my new(ish) ones from Elise Joy and Amanda Rose. They’re tiny enough to work just right on 4×6 OR 3×4 pocket cards.
    Last but not least, this is what inspired my neon + graphic theme this year. I’m obsessed with these Day Glow alpha letters (and packaging) by Heidi Swapp. Such a fun combo!
    That’s all for today. If I can answer any questions about any of it, just ask in the comments! Or if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Thanks for reading!