Prepping for December Daily

December Daily Kit 2015

I am having just a little trouble wrapping my head around the fact that we are pretty much one week from December. Where did this year go?

It's flown, is really the only answer. I'm now very nearly into single-digit weeks away from having a baby, and we're celebrating Christmas in Cincinnati this year (I won't be able to travel). So I'm trying to get ready to do all the things December (or as much as I possibly can, all things considered). 

Which means I'm prepping for my 2015 December Daily album. I did a December Daily Album at the end of last year and had a lot of fun with it, so I'll be revisiting that effort for 2015, only this year? I have different plans for how I want the final album to feel. 

Prepping for 2015's album started with how I wanted it to feel, and is coming up on December with a good foundation. This year, I'm using  Ali Edwards' December Daily Main Kit and a red chipboard album as my base, and I'll use stuff from my stash to fill in my pages as the month goes on. 

And while I do plan each day to have its own story, I'm not putting together foundation pages, beyond the opening page (pictures to come!), and the first day. I don't want to be tied to any one specific thing I liked now, when it may not fit the story of my day when it comes down to it. I will be using Ali Edwards free intentions printable, along with a free Stitch in Time calendar printable as just some of my filler.

One thing I'm working on this year is better capturing the essence of December, and how that feels to me. I love my 2014 December Daily album, but at times it just feels like a long, scrapped journal. I want my 2015 album to better represent how this season felt when I'm looking back at it in the years to come. Is there snow? Sparkle? Glee? It's the last Christmas we'll celebrate as just the two of us, and I want to capture the essence of the holiday as it is now. I also want the book to feel more cohesive down the line, instead of just a random collection, which means every page will tell a story. 

I'm already looking for inspiration for the book - Ali Edwards website, Stitch in Time, and many others are all providing a wealth of ways to capture the essence of this season, and I'm working on paring down what will work for me, what I want to do, and what techniques I'm hoping to try as we get ready to celebrate December, Christmas, and all that comes with it. I cannot wait to get started on my December Daily, and see just what fun it brings for me as we celebrate the last month of 2014. 

Wear Your Heart on Your Nails

Valentine's Day Nail Polish

An alternate title for this post could be "Valentine's Day Fingernails" or "Pinterest and Hearts in Nail Polish." But really, it's all about wearing your heart - or a heart or many hearts - all on your fingernails. (Also please ignore my dry hands, I'm in "wearing lotion all the time" mode.)

It's really no secret that I love nail polish. But I haven't really painted my nails since... right around Christmas. I think.  I really haven't made the time for it, at least until I started seeing all sorts of cute nail designs for Valentine's Day popping up all over Pinterest. 

Right before Christmas, like, on Christmas Eve, I picked up a nail art tool kit from Sephora that included a teeny striping brush and a double-ended dotting tool. It then went into a drawer during my "no nail polish" month. Seeing teeny hearts popping up on fingernails every time I searched nail art made me want to dig it out of my vanity and try it out! 

So, I did - and it was both easier and harder than I thought it would be. Easier because it's just two dots dragged together to make a heart. Harder because getting that just right on my right hand was a bit of a challenge (I'm right-handed). Also because it took me a few tries on paper before I felt like I was ready to give it a shot, and even then? I wasn't so sure how it would work out.

Valentine's Day Fingernails

So how did I do it? Practice. But not too much. I did a few test hearts on paper before I started painting my nails - and I tried with both my dominant and non-dominant hands to get comfortable with the technique. 

Here is my how-to for wearing your heart on your nails this Valentine's Day:

You'll need two colors of nail polish - one for your base, and one for your hearts. My base color is Essie's "Ballet Slippers," and my hearts are OPI's "I'm Not Really a Waitress," but you can use any two colors you would like! Along with your polish, you need a dotting tool (or straight pin or toothpick) and something you can drip nail polish on without messing up your workspace (I used several pieces of paper layered together).

1: Paint your nails as you normally would with your base color. Let your nails dry for a few minutes - I think I waited 10 before I started my hearts.

2: To make the hearts, put a couple drops of nail polish onto what you chose to drip polish onto. Dip your dotting tool of choice into the nail polish and very, very lightly, put two "dots" of nail polish next to each other on your nail. Then, using the same end of your dotting tool, pull both dots down to meet in a triangle to make your heart.

3: Repeat on any other nails you want hearts on. Finish with a top coat. I use Essie's "Good To Go" because it's quick drying!

Once your nails are dry you're good to go. This is a really subtle way to wear your love of Valentine's Day throughout the week. It's also really cute, really romantic, and once you've got the hang of it, really easy!

Small Blessings: December Daily 2014


I don't remember exactly when it was that I decided I wanted to do a December Daily album in 2014. But I know that I started collecting all sorts of things to use within the album probably by August of last year.

When December rolled around, I was excited to get started with my little book of December. It was going to be a busy month, and I was ready to get it documented, to the best of my abilities. 


What ended up happening, though, was that I didn't end up documenting daily. I just couldn't get that format to work for me. What I did, however, was to document how my December was for me. It was festive and warm. Homey and light.


My December was filled with small blessings, glitter, and fun.

I tried to incorporate a lot of different elements into my 6x8 December Daily, too. I liked to combine my pictures with a lot of writing, quotes, and free printables I found via Pinterest, including some really cute tags I found on Stitch in Time when I first started looking for ideas.

Having never really scrapbooked large layouts before, I had fun turning my 4x6 journaling cards into mini layouts to spread throughout my book, including one that used some decoration elements from Stitch in Time and Michael's Holiday Bins.


The combination of elements - writing and photographs, journal cards and scraps - made for a December book that feels like our December. It's full of glitter and light. Warmth and home. Hope and fun. Stories about what we did, how we went about it, and a lot of pictures of our cats.

Which means that my December Daily is one filled with reminders of the small blessings that made up December 2014. From cats under the tree along the hearth, to cats in the tree (they're all safe, I promise!). From Doctor Who and brownies to Rankin/Bass Christmas specials and cocoa. It's all contained in thirty or so tiny pages, and I treasure and love every one. 

December Daily was a great idea for me this past year, and I'm already looking ahead to December 2015, and what my December book will look like come then. 


Recapping 2014: Push and Do

Well. It's 2015! Happy New Year, friends! 

2014 was a big year. In many ways. Two of my closest friends had babies - really really adorable babies. I bought a car. I got a pixie cut. I started a new job. 

Looking back on the year, and thinking about the verbs I chose in place of a resolution - Push and Do - I realize just how much those words helped me shape my 2014. I wanted 2014 to be the year I pushed myself harder to achieve my goals. I also wanted it to be the year when I DID things. What I wanted. Sometimes you just need a reminder to go out and DO. And I did. 

Last year, I pushed myself harder in many aspects of my life. I pushed myself to improve my photography and to dig into Lightroom and visuals and really think about what I want my photographic style to be, and I did just that. I found I like deep and intense colors in my photography, and lots of drama, and this year I want to work more on that. 

I also pushed myself to figure out more about myself. To write more. To do more. I pushed to write better, even if I wasn't able to write as frequently, and I pushed myself to run more. 

But I also did things: Went to Bunbury. Cut all of my hair off (well, not all. It is a pixie cut.). Got a new job. And that's just a few of the things I did. But I did them. I can't tell you just how long I've wanted a pixie cut, and ultimately it came down to the doing. I did it. And I loved it. Still do - it's even shorter now than it was when I first got it cut! 

I may have cut my hair had I not picked "do" as one of my words, but I don't know. I remember thinking "just do it!" And then.. making the hair appointment. 

Finding a new job was another one of those things I did, too. Another point where the "doing" was important to me. Also? It was a point where I pushed myself, too. 

So 2014 was all about pushing. Doing. Getting ish done. And I did it and loved it. Now that we're in 2015, well, I've chosen another word. But only one. 

And that? I'll be sharing Friday.

Happy New Year!

Christmas - a bit late

It's a bit odd to be talking about Christmas the day before New Year's Eve. But I am. Because that's how I roll. 

But after a pretty hectic and chaotic month, and a sort-of-busy Christmas Eve, our Christmas Day? Was pretty laid-back. And I liked it. A lot.

Cinnamon Rolls

In part because we started our Christmas with cinnamon rolls. Really good cinnamon rolls from Smitten Kitchen.  I adapted the recipe to make the filling all cinnamony goodness and they were amazing. I mean, these rolls were tender. Gooey. Delicious. And made our Christmas morning feel extra Christmasy. 

At the movies

We also ended up heading to the movie theater to take in the final Hobbit movie in 3D. It was also awesome. I mean, the visuals were stunning and the acting superb. The film is a great conclusion to a great trilogy and I'm pretty sad that it has come to an end. Just means it's time to re-watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy, right?

But really, our holiday was all about the food. Cinnamon rolls and a Christmas feast that I joked featured a roast beast. I felt very Cindy-Lou Who while we were working to make a roast beef tenderloin with roast potatoes, shallots, and tossed salad for dinner. The roast ended up being so tender and the potatoes? Divine. The meal was easy to make and packed lots of flavor. To us, it really was a feast - delicious and filling! Dessert? Brownies and ice cream!

Our Christmas wrapped up as it has for the past few years: the Doctor Who Christmas special, featurning none other than Nick Frost as Santa Claus! The episode was light-hearted, whimsical, and made it all-too-easy to question everything. I loved it - every moment. It was the perfect way to end what was a simple, restful, great day. It was, in a word: perfect.