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Around Here | July 2014

On the last day of each month I’m sharing a personal recap that will also be included in my Project Life album.

Around Here | July 2014

See more of my July on Instagram.

Around here I’m working hard now so that I can play later.

Around here we’re celebrating the end of diapers.

Around here I’m obsessively listening to the Begin Again soundtrack.

Around here I’m shifting my focus from eating well to moving more.

Around here she’s turned into a mama’s girl. #nocomplaints

Around here I’m excited to start reading Essentialism.

Around here I’m wishing there were more hours in a day.

Around here we’re totally creeped out by Extant.

Around here she’s started to ask “why” all.the.time.

Around here I’m looking forward to some pool time soon.

Around here I’m celebrating finishing a project.

How did July treat you? I’d love it if you shared one highlight, challenge, or realization in the comments.


21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

At Simple Scrapper we relish in moving you towards a more peaceful balance between making memories and recording them.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

These 21 tips represent the foundational principles of the most joyful and easy memory keeping you ever imagined.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

UNDERSTAND YOUR STYLE | Consider your home, your closet, your previous crafting or scrapbooking. Identify common trends and what styles call you name most strongly. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

USE COMMON SENSE | Don’t over think your scrapbooking. Keep your wits about you and your goals in mind when you get started. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

CONSISTENCY | Decide on the simplest solution that will work for you. Do it. Do it again. Consistency will keep you from feeling buried.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

FOLLOW THE RULE OF ONE | You have permission to pare down to the basics. Start with one dream or one goal. Work towards that, giving your all. Then choose another.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

LIVE YOUR VISION | Are you getting enough exercise and eating the right things? Take stock of your world and make sure that scrapbooking in balance with the rest. We’ll still be here when you get back, promise.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

STOP YOURSELF | Do you have unused supplies just waiting in the wings for you? Skip some of the sales and put that hot new item on your wish list.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

HONOR YOUR MEMORIES | Are you making excuses and letting your photos fall to the ages? Focus on the personal rewards of scrapbooking and use that to move you to progress.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED | You don’t have to go it alone. The online scrapbooking community is there to lean on when you are stuck on a page or just plain stuck.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

EDIT, OFTEN | Consider what you really, truly need to hang on to and let go of the rest. Donate, give away, sell or throw away anything that is weighing you down.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

BE REAL | Think about what is a reasonable amount of scrapbooking for you. Know your reality and be OK with it.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

STOP COMPARING | You cannot compare your scrapbooking skill or productivity to that of others. Everyone’s plate is full of different things and their sliver (or chunk) for scrapbooking will be different.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

BE GOOD ENOUGH | It’s hard to change how we feel and a little less hard to change our reaction. Try taking the easier path. It’s not so much letting go of the feeling behind that is necessary, but changing your definition of caught up.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

FIND SHORTCUTS | You don’t have to give up on big projects if you get creative with your approaches. Find shortcuts to make your desired end result a reality.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

CHANGE YOUR MINDSET | Make “caught up” whatever you want and need it to be to stay a happy and healthy memory keeper!

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

HAVE PATIENCE | Developing new skills or getting organized takes time. Enjoy the journey and celebrate how you learn and grow in the process.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

KICK EMOTION TO THE CURB | Don’t let guilt run your life – even if you’re wondering whether to get rid of a product you purchased with good, hard-earned money. Divorce productive scrapbooking from worry and emotion.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

REVISE YOUR SYSTEMS | Take a fresh look at your memory keeping workflow and see if its working for you. Balance structure that makes sense with limiting unnecessary complexity.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

USE LISTS | Are you so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start? Get out the pen and paper and make a list. Even better, use an online to-do list or spreadsheet.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

WORK BACKWARD | Don’t think about the hundreds (or thousands) of photos you need to scrapbook. Start with your most recent memories first.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

SEEK INSTANT GRATIFICATION | Alternate long-term or ongoing projects with quick mini albums or hybrid artwork. Choose small projects you can complete in an hour or a weekend to feel more satisfied.

21 Ways to Find More Joy & Ease in Scrapbooking

CHOOSE SIMPLE | There will always be too many choices in front of you. Narrow down, get practical and look for simplicity at the core of every memory keeping activity.


OLW 2014 | Creating Space with the Whole30 Program

At the beginning of this year I outlined areas of focus for my journey with the word space. There was one area noticeably absent in this survey, though I did touch on it in my February progress report: my weight.

It was the dead of winter, one of the worst in years, and I just wasn’t quite ready to deal with it. I put space in my body on the agenda, knowing that eventually I would have to start addressing the elephant (ha, perhaps literally) in the room.

It turned out to be the right choice. When this summer rolled around, I was ready and without excuses. My efforts to create space in other areas of my life resulted in a lightbulb moment. Yes, I did have time to cook and to exercise.

I also knew I wanted to jumpstart this lifestyle shift with a Whole30, thirty days without sugar, dairy, legumes, and grains.

Click here to read the Whole30 program details.

I first heard of the Whole30 program two years ago when Stacy Julian shared her daily meals on Instagram. Even then I was attracted to the colorful plates of fresh, real food. Already knowing that my body prefers fewer carbs, I was incredibly curious to find out how food affects me physically and emotionally.

I am excited to share my Whole30 story.

OLW 2014 | Creating Space with Whole30

Photo details (from top-left) : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

As my members know, I love to begin with the victories. Over the past thirty days I have:

  • Lost 11 pounds
  • Stopped drinking pop*
  • Started exercising

* Funny story. When I told my dentist that “I gave up pop 18 days ago,” I’m pretty sure she thought I said pot.

Of course, there’s more to the story than these results! This month-long adventure was at times easy and at others, impossibly difficult. The first week was the hardest, but not just because of the food.

Surviving the First Week

I had consumed 4-5 cans of diet pop a day for 20+ years. Sometimes I’d even open one in the middle of the night and drink the whole thing. On most days all of my hydration came from pop.

Having given up caffeine during my pregnancy, I knew my addiction was actually to the bubbles. Pop has a unique mouthfeel and it took me two weeks to not crave it constantly.

Today I drink a combination of sparkling water (Faygo brand is my favorite, but La Croix is also good.) and iced tap water, plus a cup of coffee most mornings. To me, this victory was even bigger than the 11 pounds.

My beverage challenges compounded withdrawal from the convenience carbs that had slipped into my diet. For most of the first week I craved pizza and specifically, the Jet 10. I held steady but there was crying involved.

I recall one night around Day 7 where I went through a two-hour mental battle with myself over ordering that pizza before finally cooking our compliant meal. I think I went through all the stages of grief that night.

The first week taught me that I had a serious and seriously unhealthy emotional relationship with food. Eating out was how I relaxed. Now there was no escape from my feelings.

Searching for Tiger’s Blood

The second week of Whole30 was the easiest. I wasn’t missing anything and enjoyed crafting meals that filled half my plate with veggies. I had the “I can do this!” feeling on most days, even though challenging social situations.

My biggest realization during this time was that each meal left me satisfied. While I had battled emotional deprivation, this way of eating never left me feeling quantity-deprived. This was a stark contrast to any other approach I’ve taken towards better health.

Around Day 13 for the first time in my life I wanted to exercise. This has never ever happened before. Within 48 hours I had a gym membership, new shoes, and a new outfit. (I’ll save my whining about finding plus size workout clothes for another time!)

That weekend was the only time I felt “tiger’s blood”, a Whole30 term for feeling full of boundless energy.

Holding it All Together

After the halfway point, it got a little harder again. Looking back, I see a clear linkage between my hormones and energy level. In the past I’ve described this as the lightbulb being on for half the month and off for the other. (I am hopeful this will improve over time.)

With my lightbulb dimmer, the second half of my Whole30 was imperfect but good enough. We ate out a little bit more, where I had sugar in commercial salad dressing a few times and likely a little hidden butter on my food. I continued to feel good overall, though my energy was lower.

There was also a really bad day that involved a few Pringles and several attempts at creating technically compliant desserts. I didn’t enjoy any of it and recognized that my emotional food monkey was still clinging.

While adding 15-30 days would have likely been a good choice, I needed to get the point of answers. Setting my sights on the education of reintroduction helped me to make it through. I wanted to be armed with solid information about what my body prefers, in order to craft a sustainable “life after Whole30” eating plan.

Takeaways from Whole30

I am so glad that I invested in myself and this experiment. I don’t want to say that Whole30 changed my life, because I sincerely believe in personal responsibility. I am changing my life and Whole30 was an effective tool to help me get started. Here are my top takeaways from the experience:

1. Vegetables keep me full. There’s a bit of carb cult here in the Midwest and I feel like I’ve had to battle my way out over the past 6 years of living here. Now my husband will even eat zucchini, asparagus, and kale!

2. I need to watch my starchy vegetable and fat portions. In the beginning of Whole30 I used sweet potatoes and mashed avocado as grain and dairy surrogates, respectively. Long-term weight loss will require some moderation of these items.

3. Dairy will be a rare treat. My dairy reintroduction had mixed results, with some items causing some digestive issues and others not. However, I did feel that it affected my allergy symptoms (post-nasal drip, itchy eyes) and increased my joint pain.

4. Sugar isn’t a big problem for me. For a long time I’ve avoided overly sweet foods because I don’t like how they taste or make me feel. Whole30 actually helped me broaden my range of breakfast foods to healthy, sweeter items.

5. I care about food quality. As I scanned ingredients lists this month, I was a bit shocked by how much artificial junk had been going in my body. Whole30 reminded me that real food tastes and makes me feel best.

Note: I wanted to get this post written while the thoughts were fresh, but I still have gluten and non-gluten grains to try. If I have any additional takeaways from that experience, I will update this post.

I’d love to answer any questions you have about Whole30 in the comments.


Declare Your Needs, Boldly

You have to put yourself out there and say, without shame, “I need help.”

One of my favorite things that I do with our members is organize and co-facilitate informal “focus circles”. These are topical and time-limited accountability groups.

I love helping scrapbookers to feel more accomplished and celebrate every little victory. But, I have a confession to make.

Sometimes I feel like a focus circle flunkie.

I know that imposter syndrome is common among entrepreneurs, women especially, but I can’t shake the guilt of having not met more than one of my own focus circle goals.

In particular, I’m having trouble finishing this:

Declare Your Needs, Boldly

It’s a 5.5×8.5 mini album that covers my pregnancy, my daughter’s birth, and her first 6 months. Everything is done except that last component. It would probably take me an hour, maybe two, to find the photos and do the journaling.

I’ve made this my goal for several of these focus circles and am even hosting one now specifically on baby books. My lack of ability to… um… focus on this is nearly comical.

Stepping aside from my embarrassment, I’ve come to realize that I need the same coaching that I provide to my members. But to be coached, informally or not, you have to take the first step.

You have to put yourself out there and say, without shame, “I need help.” Stuck in leader mode, I’m pretty sure I haven’t done that or even thought about what I need.

So here it goes: I’m having trouble moving past the guilt of not having completed this album “live” like I had planned. I’m struggling with perfectionism and a fear of disappointing myself. I need encouragement to let go and finish it up.


OK, now it’s your turn! I’m inviting you to leave a comment boldly and proudly declaring a current challenge and what you need in order to move forward. Please also consider replying to comments from others.

Together we can coach each other towards our next victories!

Update: I finished on July 24, 2014!


How to Tell Your Story Visually

As scrapbookers we use photos, words, and products to tell our stories visually. But do all the parts of your page communicate the real meaning? It’s not always easy.

Developing visual storytelling skills takes practice, but can become an easier (even automatic) part of your process over time. Here are three simple ways to tell your story visually:

1. Create a logical photo flow – When you create a layout or a pocket page with multiple photos, place the images in a visual order that helps tell the story. It doesn’t even have to be chronological. The proximity of images to each other can also add a layer of meaning.

2. Make symbolic product choices – While I tend to shy away from thematic scrapbooking supplies, you can make intentional and symbolic choices among your timeless products. Look for patterns and embellishments that mirror your feelings for the photo(s).

3. Style your journaling blocks - The size and placement of the written story on your layout helps to convey meaning. A hidden story may indicate sensitivity or heartfelt feelings. A large block of journaling conveys importance and weight.

Would you love to master the skill of telling your stories visually? Beginning July 28, my friend Debbie Hodge is teaching a 5-day class with actionable PDF lessons and daily live events. In Visual Storytelling, you will “elevate your scrapbook page storytelling by applying visual design elements to traditional story structures.”

Visual Storytelling at Get it Scrapped

While you can pay for this class by itself, you can get Visual Storytelling for FREE when you become a member at Get it Scrapped before July 30.

Click here for details.

Disclosure: As a Get it Scrapped affiliate a portion of your purchase supports Simple Scrapper.