Thursday, March 31, 2016

My mental illness journey

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time. I have started is so many times but never followed through. Mostly because I wasn't ready to share this story with the world yet, and mostly because I am still struggling as we speak. Yes life got way better and yes I am much happier now then I ever have been. Getting to this point has been hard and at one point in time I didn't think it would ever happen.
Most of the therapists I have seen in the last 10 years have said that I have had depression my whole life. They call this kind of depression Major Depressive Disorder. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is defined as a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive and persistent low mood that is accompanied by low self-esteem and by a loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. The most common age that MDD is seen in individuals is ages 20-30. This makes complete sense to me. During this stage of life so many big life challenges happen. Most of us move out of our parents house out on our own, attend college, perhaps serve missions if you are LDS, perhaps join the army, go on adventures, etc. We have so many life decisions thrown at us, getting married, having kids, finishing our education and the expectations can be really high. Those expectations are what ended up making my depression flare up.
I noticed the change in my overall mood start to happen while I was on my mission. A mission should be a happy time, a time where we feel connected to God and a time where we can come to know ourselves. Many people leave a mission knowing exactly what they want to do in life, I left mine feeling more confused about what to do next. I got staff infection when I had about 5 months left of my mission. The doctors in California misdiagnosed it at first and so I had it a lot longer than necessary. I finally ended up back in an area of my mission I had already served in and there was a doctor in that area who helped me figure out what was truly wrong. Before that happened though I was really upset all the time, grumpy, sad, I broke down about everything my poor companions dealt with so much from me. My moods would switch so fast, I had a hard time getting motivated to go out, I didn't want to be around people, etc. I had no idea what was happening to me and even though I followed mission rules things weren't progressing, we had no investigators wanting to be baptized and basically I felt like this terrible horrible person the entire time. Finally my companion called up the mission president and said I don't know what to do, so we went over and talked to his wife. She brought up depression, her daughter had it and she immediately clued in that could possibly be why I was feeling this way. I had about three weeks left of my mission at this point so she gave me a few things to work on with my remaining time and encouraged me to get help for my depression when I got home.
 Even though I was struggling I still had a smile on my face, and I am so glad for all future sister missionaries that they don't make you wear nylons. 

Well I didn't really get help for my depression for about 9 months. I got home in September and started getting ready to go back to school. I ended up feeling like I needed to go to UVU and I am glad I did. I was really struggling though before school started. I had two jobs which basically I had just to keep me busy and keep me from doing and thinking terrible things about myself. I would go to church and do normal life things but I just felt numb to everything. I constantly was thinking about how much better off the world would be without me in it. I thought how no one would even notice I was gone, what was the point. I thought this way for 9 months. I remember driving down to my grandparents one weekend and on the way it's just a huge landscape of desert. I thought what if I drove off the road and kept driving and driving until I ran out of gas or ran into something and then no one would find me. I seriously thought it would be possible and I seriously thought that no one would care. Anyway back to two jobs, I had two jobs until January when my first semester at UVU started. When it started I quit one job and had classes in the morning and work in the evening. I worked all through my college education.
During school I stressed out to much about being a straight A student. I would freak out if I got a B and I ended up with two A's and one B that semester. I would stress about homework so much that I would physically make myself sick. I worked myself so hard just trying to be the perfectionist everyone thought I was and it was slowly killing me. Because I was so obsessive it consumed to the point that I couldn't live and function properly. Every waking moment was a struggle.  When the semester ended was when I made that road trip and thought all those things about how "easy" it would have been to just disappear. I knew I was in trouble then. I went to my primary care doctor and just told her what was going on. She had me take a few tests and said she thought it would be best, for my own safety, to go on medication for a while. I did and was put on Prozac which worked wonders. Seriously I felt better within a week. She encouraged me to also seek out a therapist and I decided to see the ones at school because it cost a lot less for me to do that. It was $10.00 a session and I went for about two months but learned so much about myself.
By the end of the summer I was feeling so much better. I started a new semester in August and finally found a major: Anthropology. I met my husband in October and we started dating in November of that year (2011). When I first met Zack I was kind of clingy. I didn't really know why but I just latched on to him and it scared me at first. But then after dating him for 2 weeks, I knew why I was clingy. It was because he made me feel different. After feeling so unwanted for so long he made me feel loved again. He brought hope back into my life and I didn't want that to leave. Luckily I guess he didn't want it to either and he proposed to me three months after we met, and three months after that we got married. Zack was so good to me. He put up with so much while I was still figuring this whole depression thing out.
 our honeymoon

At first I didn't want him to know I was taking medication for it, but once I told him he just said it's fine I'll help you to. It was amazing, he wanted to help me. He always has seen a better version of myself than I have ever seen in me. I didn't see therapists anymore but I took medication for two more years after we got married. In 2014 I felt like I finally had a grasp on my world and I stopped taking it. I found some tools that helped me work through my issues. Through this time I had 3 miscarriages still and it didn't get easier. But I got better at handling it all. Some days were rough, but I let myself have those days. If those days became too frequent or last for two weeks then I knew I needed to go see the doctor again. It never came to that and I am grateful that I was able to handle it on my own.

Now I am dealing with a whole different type of mental illness which is anxiety, panic attacks and social anxiety. Most of it has to do with postpartum effects of being a new mom. That is for another post at another time but I wanted to say that I am still struggling and even had to go back on medication after Claire was born to help get through it.

As much as I didn't want to share this whole side of me I figured that so many people are struggling with mental illness these days it helps to read that other people got through it to. If you have to see a therapist and take medication do it, don't let fear of what people think about you get you to a place where you want to "disappear" as I did. Don't let it stop you from getting the help you really need. I wish I had gotten help sooner, sooner than before my mission. When I was 19 and living on my own for the first time. It would have made handling life so much better.
Please remember that we all struggle, no one is perfect. The internet is this crazy place that makes everyone's life look pinterest perfect all the time and guess what the truth is no ones life is that way. We are all just too scared of what other people would say about our messy lives. I hope one day that will change. So now you all know, I am not perfect.
I am going to do more follow up posts about the specific tools I learned to combat depression and  my dealings with anxiety/ more specifically social anxiety now. I don't know when but sometime.
Thanks for reading

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March monthly/ weekly spreads

I know I just did the February version of this post on Monday but the end of March is tomorrow so I thought it was only fitting that I do the weekly spreads of March now so I don't have to do it at the end of April. March was really the month that I got started with creating my own stickers for my planner and really getting into all of that. Even though my days are usually always the same thing I do like that I can look back and see my weeks. It's like a journal/scrapbook/planner all in one cause I can keep it for years. I have a bunch of Polaroid zip photos printed out on my makeup vanity I just need to add into the spreads to make it more like a memory keeper now that the weeks are over.

 The monthly view! I love how I have the system for my monthly view now, it really is a general overview of big events. Lots of travel dates and school for my husband but it's easier to keep track of his schedule here then on the weekly ones. I refer to this quite often when I need to check on things and make appointments.

 Okay so this week I started making my own stickers. I found this digital paper kit on etsy for $3.00 and made it using the silhouette program which is free. Anyway I printed it on glossy paper but forgot to choose photo paper as my paper settings when printing and the black ink smeared everywhere. Lesson learned and now all my own stickers look awesome! I do love these colors of this spread though, they are so cute.

 This week I tried just using a stencil and that was it. I like the simple look but really missed my stickers. It helped me realize that I do like the no white space planning.

 My first sticker kit success! I made these stickers all on my own, again from a digital paper set off etsy. You can get them for really cheap and by this time I purchased a silhouette portrait machine so I can kiss cut them as well.

And my Easter spread. Loved the pastel colors for this week and how it all came together.

Thanks for reading. Friday's post is what books I read in March so make sure to check in then.

Monday, March 28, 2016

February Monthly/ Weekly Spreads

I just realized that I didn't do a February Monthly/ Weekly Spread post from my planner. So I am catching up on that today.

 I love the monthly view! Marked my husbands travel dates, added some polaroid zip photos, and baby milestone stickers.

First week in February I sued a lot of stickers which looked so cute and a darice sticker book from Michaels to fill out the rest of the week.

 Second week in February and Valentine's day I used a donut themed sticker kit and I loved the way it turned out! I was still working from home at this point and it's fun to look back and see the work schedule sticker.

Third week in February I used a kit from Rustic Design co called red poppy. It looked so cute and I loved how it turned out.

Fourth week in February, I quit my job so that was the big thing from this week, otherwise I kind of found a groove with my spreads and I am starting to make my own stickers here. Loved how this week turned out with the Glam Planner kit.

Favorite sticker shops:
Mare Bear Crafts
Rustic Design Co
Miss Sabine Elise
Glam Planner
Oh Hello Stationery Co 

Check out my planner instagram @holladayplans for more

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Shows I recommend watching: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime

We watch a lot of T.V. around here, not that that's all we are doing. Mostly I have it on as background noise because I hate when it's quiet. Especially since my husband is gone for work out of town, I just can't stand quiet so I usually have a few shows running in the background. We don't really watch cable either. Mostly because as soon as it becomes too expensive to have cable we are ditching it. Right now it's the same price as the internet but you know how Comcast is so we are ditching it as soon as we need to. Because of this we have Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime so we can watch shows we still enjoy. Here are my picks of things to look for if you are looking for a new T.V. Show to get into. Most of these are series with more than 1 season.

Shows I like on Hulu:
The Bachelor.
Who doesn't love the bachelor. It's the weirdest formula for dating I've ever seen, the dates are very extravagant and it's just a given there will be drama. I can't wait for the Bachelorette to start on May 23!!

The Voice.
I love the voice way more than I like American Idol. The Voice is just a better set up I feel like, the coaches are hilarious I love the back and forth between Adam Levine and Blake Shelton all the time. The contestants are older, younger, it doesn't really matter on this show unlike American Idol that has an age limit.
Agents of Shield.
A spin off of Avengers this show is really good and Zack and I watch it together so that's a plus. They always through in great twists and unexpected events to make it a little unpredictable which I appreciate. Keeps me on the edge of my seat guessing who is the next bad guy, who is the mole, etc.
The series is based on the marvel comics so if you are a comic book reader I think you will like this series a lot. 

I love this one, not a lot people of talk about it but it is really funny and just a great show. Here is what it's all about:
When fast-talking lawyer Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) finds his degree has been revoked, he is forced to go back to school at Greendale Community College. Hoping to score points with a pretty coed, he invents a study group and invites her to join it. Imagine his surprise when she's not the only one who shows up for help with Spanish from the "board-certified tutor" he proclaims himself to be. Though his command of the language is anything but good, the members continue to meet and end up learning a lot about themselves.

Shows I like on Amazon Prime:
Poldark. If you haven't seen Poldark yet you have to go watch it! It is so good, seriously! Especially if you liked Downton Abbey then you'll love Poldark. Aidan Turner, I mean really he is better than Thor in my opinion which is huge coming from me.

A synopsis of Poldark: The main character, Ross Poldark, is a British Army officer, who returns to his home in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War only to find that his fiance Elizabeth Chynoweth, having believed him dead, is about to marry his cousin Francis Poldark. Ross attempts to restore his own fortunes by reopening one of the family's derelict tin mines.
 I can't say much more than that cause it will ruin the show for you, just know you need to go watch it! So good.
Other shows I am considering seeing on Amazon Prime: Mozart in the Jungle
If you have any you know that are good let me know, I really want to check them out. 

Shows I like on Netflix:
When calls the Heart. I am so glad I found this show! It's on the hallmark channel and is so good. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix and season 3 is currently being aired. I love When Calls the Heart, its set in this quiet town originally called Coal Valley and is just so quaint and cute. I love these old tv shows. Here is a synopsis of When Calls The Heart:
When Calls the Heart tells the story of Elizabeth Thatcher,  a young teacher accustomed to her high-society life. She receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coal-mining town in Western Canada.There, life is simple—but often fraught with challenges. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Royal North West Mounted Police Constable Jack Thornton. He believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman's career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. The town of Coal Valley was renamed Hope Valley in Episode 2, Season 2 after the coal mine was closed.
Living in this 1910 coal town, Elizabeth must learn the ways of the Canadian frontier movement if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own. Lori Loughlin portrays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, and her only son—along with a dozen other miners—have recently been killed in an explosion, which turns out to have been a tragic accident waiting to happen—a result of the mining-company site manager's irresponsible management and lack of due care in his management of the mine. The newly widowed women find their faith tested when they must go to work in the mine to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and compile a wage for the town's teacher.
It's just a good show about community, service, and how there is good in everyone even if we don't believe that at first. 

My standard show to watch on Netflix is The Office. I usually run an episode or 2 a day as background noise because I have seen the whole thing so much now that it is just nice to have on during the day. It's not something I have to concentrate on though.

Another funny show is The unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Seriously if you are a 90s kid this will have you laughing so hard. It has so many little quirks that just bring me right back to junior high.
A brief overview: Rescued after 15 years in a cult, Kimmy Schmidt decides to reclaim her life by venturing to New York, where she experiences everyday life with wide-eyed enthusiasm. On a whim, she rents a room from Titus, a gay wannabe Broadway actor, who makes ends meet as a street performer in Times Square. The unlikely pair find they're well-suited to help each other out, with Titus reintroducing Kimmy to modern life, and her providing him with the inspiration that you should never give up. Together they'll make it through whatever life throws at them.
Seriously go watch it, so funny!

Other shows I like Parks and Recreation, New girl, and Agents of Shield.

So there you have it, a quick post about what shows you should look into next if you are looking for something new. Hope this helped!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Day in the Life of a Stay at Home Mom with a 7 Month Old

I love reading about other peoples schedules and what they do during the day. I find it helpful to see what other people do because sometimes it can get really boring. I am a stay at home mom and I love it. I don't regret my choice one minute and I am so grateful to my wonderful husband for making it possible. He works so hard for our family and I am truly so blessed to have him. Claire wakes up between 7:30 and 8:00 now. When she wakes up I usually bring her into my room and we just hang out the two of us for a little bit.

Once she is done with that (usually around 8:30) and ready for breakfast we get up, I make her a bottle and she eats. While she eats I prep my breakfast which is usually eggs and toast lately with a glass of milk.

After breakfast I put her in the pack n play and she plays while I shower. Once I am out of the shower she is ready for her snack. At this time I usually feed her apples, pears, peaches, carrots, or oatmeal. Then it's playtime for Claire while I get laundry done, and catch up on my T.V. shows.

 After play time she is ready for a bottle and to go down for a nap. She sleeps in the pack n play in my bedroom so I can work on the computer while she is napping.
Depending on the day she'll sleep for about an hour to two hours. During this time I get blog stuff done, design some stickers, watch you tube videos and read.

 The latest batch of stickers I made for my planner. Turned out so cute!

Working in the office while Claire Sleeps.

After her nap it's play time until she's hungry. Once she is hungry she eats and I make lunch for myself. Usually for lunch I will have leftovers from dinner or a sandwich. Then we try and get out of the house. I will go on a walk to the library, or just around our neighborhood, to my mom's or to Zack's mom. Somewhere. We try and get out of the house every day. Then we come home and by that time it's time to make dinner. I meal plan because it saves me time and money. I usually know exactly what I am making that day and just go ahead and start cooking.

 This day we went over to my parents house for dinner because it was my dad's birthday!

After dinner it's family play time with Zack since he is home from work. Claire goes to bed around 7:30 at night so once she is down then we have our personal time and then go to bed ourselves around 10:00.

There you have it, a simple day in my life!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Preparing for General Conference April 2016

The April session of General Conference for the LDS church is in 2 weeks! I can't believe it. It seems like only yesterday it was October Conference. I always like to do a little preparing for general conference before hand so I thought I would write about what I am doing now to prepare for that awesome weekend.

1. Make new spiritual goals.
This time of year I always start to slack off on my New Year's resolutions. I find it a good time to reflect on those and make new goals to improve. One thing I am really lacking in right now is saying my personal prayers. Not just saying them but making them more meaningful. My goal for the next two weeks is simple and that is to say my prayers before bedtime. I know we are supposed to do it twice a day but I have to start small. I am going to really focus on them before conference. I know this will help answer questions I have for our family.
2. Share about it on Social Media. I think the internet is a great thing and I want to use it more for sharing goodness. I love the hashtag #LDSconf during that week and love following it on twitter. I want to share it more on Facebook as well as other accounts so people can tune in if they want to know more about our church.
3. Think of personal questions that I need guidance on and write them down. I want to receive more guidance and direction for my own personal life and conference is a great place to do that. Sometimes I feel like an apostle or church leader is speaking directly to me during their talk. I have a lot of things that I need help with, currently it is my new identity as being a stay at home mom. This has been a hard transition for me and I want to make the most of it.
4. Think of questions as a family that we can receive guidance on. Zack and I are still in a time in our life where big things happen frequently. All of our friends and family are buying houses, settling into careers, etc. We have some things we are thinking about and just want to make sure that those decisions are right for our family. Although at conference we probably wont get a direct answer, we can receive peace and understanding to help us.
5. Teach Claire about the Prophet and Apostles.
 I want to make her this flip book it has all the pictures of the prophets on 4 x 6 cards and you can put it into a photo album. The lady who created it also has the newly called apostles so you can print those off to. I want her to start learning who the Prophet is, why he is important and who is Apostles are.  Even though she is so little I think she can still understand what we are teaching her and it is important to teach her who she is at a young age and conference can help with that.
6. Last but not least I want to read the Book of Mormon every day. I was doing really good at reading except last week and I got out of the habit. I want to get back in because I know by reading it that I can find peace. The Book of Mormon brings a special spirit into our home and helps me be less grumpy and irritable with those around me.

Those are my ways I am prepping for this conference coming up. I would love to read what you do so link your post below if you have one.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Zack's Job Update #2

I did an update post on his job a long time ago but thought I would continue with that and write about the temples he has been to since then. Just so you know what he does... I don't really know what he does at his job :) except that it has something to do with fiber and internet cables, and going into roofs and being in man holes inside walls... Sounds interesting. For his job he gets the opportunity to work on temples for the LDS church. (Find more about Temples HERE). In order to go inside a dedicated temple and work like Zack does you have to  hold a temple recommend. Not all of the people at Zack's work are LDS so it provides him with a lot of opportunity to go to many different temples.
We left off with the last temple which was the Denver Colorado temple.
Since then these are the temples he has been to:

 Kona, Hawaii Temple

 Bern, Switzerland Temple

Apia, Samoa Temple

So it's not much of an update like last time but he has been out of country to some pretty cool places. 
He is going to Manti in 3 weeks. 

Manti is only 2.5 hours away from us so I am going to take Claire down there a few times while he working. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Little Unicorn Baby Products

*this is not a sponsored post, I just really love their products
I have been a fan of little unicorn baby products since I found out about them. The first thing I purchased was this poppy quilt.

We used this quilt for tummy time a lot because its big and I loved looking at it. We used it a lot all winter but haven't been using it lately. I know in the summer it will come in handy at parades and picnics. It's just nice to have a really sturdy quilt. I don't mind using it up cause once it's destroyed I'll just buy another cause I love it so much.

The next thing I purchased were these swaddles:

I use one of these every single day! They are so awesome especially for this spring  weather when we need a lightweight blanket. I use them when I feed her to cover her up, when shes taking naps, as a burp cloth in a pinch. Really anything. I love the feel of them, they aren't quite as soft as the aden and anais ones you can get at Nordstrom but they are still good quality.

The last thing I got I talked about in the last post was my diaper bag:

You can read all about that here.

I love these baby products and the next thing I am looking to purchase is their crib sheets cause they are so cute. They are sold out right now but hopefully they'll be in stock soon.

What are some of your favorite places to shop at for baby products?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Face to Face for Young Single Adults with Elder Holland

This past week the church put on a Q&A with one of the twelve apostles so that young single adults (18-31) could have a chance to answer questions and Elder Holland would answer. He was also joined by Sister Carole M. Stephens first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and Elder Donald L Hallstrom of the seventy.  Even though I don't fit into the young single adult category I still watched it because I love Elder Holland and the advice and wisdom he gives members.
I loved some of the advice he gave. The first question was about marriage and what principles they had in their marriage that helped them to have a happy one. In response he said don't hang back on a good thing. I loved this quote!
Too often I find in my life that I do hang back on a good thing, waiting for children, waiting for marriage, waiting for the next opportunity, waiting for money etc. Whatever it was I was always waiting for the next thing. With children after we had our first miscarriage I knew that we couldn't wait anymore to try and have a baby and so we worked at it, two miscarriages later and I finally got pregnant. If we had waited I don't know how much longer it would have taken us to get our beautiful Claire. He also said that Love is what you go through together and I totally believe that. I love Zack more now than I did the day I married him, and I know in 45 years I'll be saying the same thing.
Other advice on having a happy marriage:
Build it upon a spiritual foundation
Trust each other
You have to work at marriage, but anything good in life comes from work.
I really could go on and on about what they talked about but I really wanted to talk about the marriage advice that was given because it was so good.
I loved all the topics they hit on in this Q&A. If you are interested in learning more about what an apostle of the Lord has to say about our day and age go here to watch the video


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What's in my diaper bag

 I have been waiting to do this post forever. I love my diaper bag that I got for Christmas so I can't wait to share. I wanted something more hands free now that Claire is getting older and a back pack was the way to go. I could have just gone to Target and gotten a cute backpack but I decided to splurge for Christmas and get something a little fancier. Little Unicorn came out with new diaper bags for 2016 and I have been eyeing them for a while. The Marindale Backpack was the way to go. I love Little Unicorn baby products and I am actually going to do an entire post on their products later on.

I got the color grey in case you are wondering.

1. Strap and stroller hooks. The bag comes with a strap so you can turn it into a cross body if you want, which is super handy. It also comes with these cute stroller hooks so you can hook the bag while you are on the go.
2. Diapers and wipes. Claire is in size 3 diapers now and we are using the kirkland wipes from Costco.
3. Formula dispenser. Zack found this at the grocery store and its perfect for quick day trips and on the go. You scoop the amount of formula you need into each slot (there are 4) and then just make sure to remember to pack bottled water. So easy and convenient.
4. Toys. Claire is at the stage in life where she is grabbing for everything you are holding. It's nice to have her occupied with her own toy so you can focus on what is in front of you like food, etc.
5. Burp Cloth. She is almost over spitting up, definitely isn't doing it as much as when she was new born but it's nice to have one on hand. Especially because she drools a ton as well so it's handy to clean up her face. Also she is teething and loves chewing on the burp cloth.
6. Binkies. Claire only uses a binky when she is sleeping, which is nice, but if she takes a nap out and about she needs one so we just keep it in there in case.
7. Nail clippers and nail file. You never know when you will have extra time to do some maintenance on baby hands. I hate clipping her nails by the way, worst thing I have to do.
8. Wallet, pen, lip gloss, chapstick, mints and my glasses. All of my essential things I use often. The Lip gloss is buxom in white russian just a classic color I can wear with anything, my glasses to use when I am driving, and all the others are basic things that I often need while I am out and about.
9. Diaper changing pad. The bag comes with it's own diaper changing pad and I love that. It's so nice when changing her on the go.

*not pictured Baby Aquaphor. Claire gets really chapped cheeks so I use that on her almost daily so it's essential to have in the bag, which is why it isn't pictured because it was in her nursery since we use it all the time.

Well there you have it, what's in your diaper bag?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Books I read in February

Hello! I am back, sorry for the little break but my husband was out of town for work again and when he is gone it is just a lot harder to get things done during the week and blogging is usually the first thing to go. I really enjoy blogging but it is just a hobby. I am back with another books I read post. If you missed my first one go check it out. I hit my goal of reading 3 books in February and actually read 4 so I was pretty proud of that. I didn't read any of the books that were part of the online book clubs that I am, I just pick and choose which ones I want to read so February books were something that wasn't really interesting to me.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

There aren't enough words to describe how incredibly awesome Harry Potter is. So the first book was published in 1997, I was 9 and in 5th grade. The last book was published in 2007 and I had just finished my freshman year of college. I literally grew up with Harry Potter. I know people always say this but from the time I was in elementary school all the way through high school Harry Potter was apart of my life. I remember going to the theater and seeing movies opening night and waiting at Barnes and Noble at midnight to get the next book. Re-reading the books every year is a thing for me, and I can get through them pretty fast now.
I re-read this one in about 3 days and I loved every minute of it. The character that stuck out to me most this time around was Hagrid. Usually Hagrid is just in the background, but I feel like he plays a really important roll in this first book as well throughout the entire series. Hagrid was the one who brought baby Harry to the Dursley's. He was also the one who helped them get past fluffy (although unintentionally). He was cheering at Harry's first quidditch game, and was always interested in his well being from the beginning. I loved reading into Hagrid's character more and I think it would be really fun if J.K. Rowling did a spin off of each of the characters in the book so we could get more of a background story. I know we learn more about Hagrid in chamber of secrets and later on in the 7th book as he talks about his family but it would be interesting to see how he ended up at Hogwarts.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This book. I don't even know where to begin with it really. It was so good. A brief  synopsis of the book I got from Amazon:
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over--and see everything anew.
I think one of the main reasons that I loved the book is that he does own a book store and is all about preserving the sanctity of reading a paper novel. He lives above his book store and his entire life is revolved around it. I can't say to much about his life because it will spoil the book but I highly recommend reading it. Especially if you love stories about how people change through a single instance of doing something good for someone else.

A Shade of Vampire books 1 and 2 by Bella Forrest

A vampire story very reminiscent of twilight. It's about a girl who gets kidnapped and offered up to the vampire king as food, cause you know vampires drink human blood. Well the king ends up falling in love with the human girl and spares her and her friends. She doesn't really have a family because her mom left her when she was little and her dad left a few years after that. She ended up staying with the neighbors who have a boy her age. Of course a love triangle is formed between the human boy, the human girl and the vampire king. It was a pretty quick read and I heard that there is something like 25 books in the series. I don't know if I'll read anymore because they contain a lot of sexual violence, and other things that I don't really like reading about. Anyway if you are looking for another vampire love story this could be your cup of tea.

So there you have it. On my list for March:
The Girl on the Train. I am apprehensive about reading this so I'll have to see how it goes.
Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking. I am excited to read this as I am an introvert.
something off my bookshelf. I haven't decided yet but I have so many books that I have purchased but haven't read yet so I am going to get to one of those and just start chipping away at them.
What's on your list to read?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How to make your own erin condren weekly sticker kit: Full Boxes

So I know I said I would have this post up yesterday so sorry its late, but you know it's a little busy around here. Anyway, I decided to split this post up into different parts because if I taught you how to do a kit all at once this post would be forever long and I would go crazy making it so splitting it up is much easier. Let's get into it.

Step 1: Find designs you want to use and download them. I have found that etsy sellers like Elle Fowler from The Glam Planner and Andrea from Scribble Prints Co, use designs they find on etsy or other online sites to make their kits. These designs can be found by typing in digital paper in the search engine. I am using etsy for this example, which is what I would recommend. Digital paper is used a lot with online scrapbooking, etc. For this spring preppy kit you can find the design here at Lilly Bimble. Depending on what type of designs you want your kit to incorporate you can specify in the search engine and just add digital paper at the end. If you want a nautical theme type in nautical digital paper and you will see that this list comes up:

 You can specify it even further with specific colors you want, etc.
Step 1a: Once you find the design you are going to use for your kit make sure and purchase it and download the design. (FYI: if you are going to download digital designs for your own commercial use- meaning you are going to sell stickers on etsy,etc- then make sure you read the shop policies about commercial use. You may have to purchase a commercial license in order to sell their designs.)

Step 2: You will need a place to design your stickers in, you can use Microsoft publisher, adobe photo shop or Illustrator, or the silhouette studio software. I am using the silhouette studio software as it is free, and I have a silhouette portrait which is a sticker cutting machine so I can go ahead and cut my own stickers at home. I highly recommend the silhouette software, but it doesn't save the page in pdf or jpeg so if you want to share the page you created with others then use adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Step 3: Open your design studio and we will start with full boxes!
First you will want to change your page settings to say 8.5 x 11 for a normal sheet of printer paper.

Then you will find the draw rectangle box and draw a rectangle on the paper:

Once you have your rectangle on the left you are going to click the mouse sign again so you can work with the rectangle, otherwise you'll just draw another rectangle on the page. Once you click the mouse you will click on the rectangle.  Then in the upper boxes you will click on the window that says scale.
In this scale window you are going to uncheck the lock aspect button, and for the width say 1.5 in and for the height say 1.9 inches. That makes it the perfect size for the erin condren boxes.  
Next you are going to fill the box with the pattern you chose. In order to fill the box you click on the rectangle, and then drag the pattern over the rectangle and release your mouse. 

To make this easier I have my window minimized so I can see the patterns and make sure I have the rectangle clicked. This is very important. Once you release your mouse the pattern will fill the box.

 Now you may want to change the scale of the pattern and make it bigger, to do this over on the top of the screen there is a box that is labeled fill pattern. Click on that box and then click on advanced options. Scroll down to wear it says scale pattern.

 Here you can adjust the pattern to what ever number you want to make it bigger or smaller. I like it bigger because it looks more fun in my opinion.
Next you will need to get rid of the line color. To do this in the upper boxes there is a box that will say line color. Click on that box.
 Once there you will click on no color, or white so that way it disappears into the background.
Repeat all the steps for however many full boxes you would like.

That's it for full boxes, sometime I will post about full box checklists and half boxes, weekend banners and bottom "washi".
Thanks for reading