January Favorites

Welcome to my first regular feature! In this monthly Favorites series I'll be sharing some of the favorite things I read/listened to/bought/experienced/whatevered that month.

Favorite run: The 3 km I ran through falling snow last Saturday. It was so much fun. And even though I had no intention of running fast, I did: a pace of 6.52 is pretty darn fast for me. I felt amazing.

Favorite purchase: Our first car. Even though I still cannot drive it myself (I failed my driving exam again last week... But hey, third time is a charm!), I love it. And even just the idea of having our own car is awesome.

Favorite news: The confirmation that I really get to travel to Z├╝rich for a meeting for work, and that I get to go a day early and hang out with the lovely Andrea!

Favorite birthday gift: My 50mm canon lens. This lens has been on my wish list for ages, and I never allowed myself to actually buy it. I'm pretty sure you'll be seeing a lot of its magic the coming months.

Favorite crafty consolation buy: This digital stamp set. So. Many. Possibilities!
The deal I made with myself is that if I finally get my driver's licence I get to buy myself the sports watch I have been eyeing for months. I also promised myself that if I failed, I could get myself this set to play around with. I almost stopped feeling sorry for myself once I got the brushes working in PS :)

Favorite song: I seriously get goosebumps every time I listen to this version of A Sky Full Of Stars by Michael Schulte:

Favorite album: Songs of Innocence by U2. Currently on repeat while I read on the train.

Favorite app: Player FM. Elise brought this app to my attention, and I LOVE it. It's an Android app that allows you to follow podcast feeds, stream them, and the best thing: listen to them offline. I can just tell the app to download this, this and this episode while I'm connected to WiFi, and I can listen to them later (most likely: while on my bike). Until I found this app, this was just not possible, since most podcasts are only available for download via iTunes. Which does not work on Android... So finding this made me happy :)

Favorite read: This I Know: Notes On Unraveling The Heart by Susannah Conway. I'll tell you a bit more about it later on but man, did I need to read this book! Susannah's way with words is pure magic, and her photographs... Let's just say I'm a bit in love with them.


Last Saturday we woke up to a phenomenon that has been pretty rare in our neck of the woods: snow! I went for an early morning run, and it was amazing. I love snow and I love running, but combine the two and you have made me my new happy place. 

Afterwards I took my camera (and my new 50mm lens!) out for a walk. It has been such a long time since I went for a photo walk around the neighbourhood, and I felt a little rusty... I guess I need to go on a few more to get used to my DSLR again :)

Planning like a boss

Earlier this month I told you about my plans and goals for 2015. I'm excited, but over the years I've learned that mere excitement doen't get me anywhere. I need to keep track of where I stand, where I'm headed, and what the next few steps are in order to be successful.

Enter my 2015 planner. Around the time I started thinking about what kind of planner I wanted for the new year, Caylee and Vanessa launched their Pretty Documented planner. I jumped on board right away, and got myself the floral version (they also offer a minimalist version). You get a TON of files that you can mix and match to create your perfect planner, which is both awesome and overwhelming at the same time. So I printed the November and December pages and stuck them in my a5 filofax to test what I needed. Turns out an a5 filofax is just too big for me to lug around day in day out. Back to the drawing board I went! In the end I printed the pages I needed, using this tutorial Caylee shared, and had it bound professionally. I LOVE it.

I have a pretty basic set-up: I start with a sort of divider for that month, followed by an overview of that month and a page where I can jot down my goals and intentions for the month. Next up are the 'normal' 2 pages per week calendar pages. Plenty of space to keep track of whatever I have planned. I end each month with a "notes" page, and then we start all over again. Simle & easy. See for yourself:

However, a year planner does not make a goal planner. Not for me, anyway. So I was thinking and pondering and thinking some more about how I was going to keep track of my goals. Then, as if she heard my desperation from the other side of the equator, Caylee sent out her Goal Management Kit as a thank you for filling in her blog survey. I took one look at it, and I knew that this was IT.
I was really happy with my procrastinating self for a change, because since I hadn't made the time to get my planner bound, I could just add this baby in.

My goal tracking section is another case of easy does it: I printed out a calendar for each month, and will just add my runs, the books I read and the projects I crafted along the way. I plan to include some information about each, like where I ran, how many pages the book had, what kind of craft project it was.

All the way in the back I added a few pages of Elise's goal tracker. Other than trying to excercise on a daily basis, I have no plans for these yet. Knowing myself though... I'm sure I'll be coming up with new trackable projects during the year (I expect at least a few month-long habit projects), and now I have one place to track whatever I want to.

So that's my planner set-up for the year. We're about 4 weeks into the new year now, and I still love it to bits :)

One of the things I learned while preparing this blog post? Do not photograph mostly white paper on a dark background... Lesson learned. 

Instagram, love of my life

You may know about my love for Instagram. In case you don't: it's a big love :)
I have met many great people through it, and am inspired on a daily basis by the awesome creations I see while scrolling through my feed. I love it as a memory keeping tool, too. Many times when I'm catching up on Project Life, I use my Instagram feed to check what happened that week.

On the day of my relaunch, I was tagged by Sandra from @miss_paperfection to fill in the Instagram tag. Loving IG as much as I do, I was enthusiastic right away. So here we go:

My most recent picture:
At the moment I'm writing this, my most recent picture on Istagram is one I took during my first ever 6k run. I love the views winter brings.

My first picture:
I took this picture in April 2012, in the lab during my final internship.It took quite a long time after my first few pictures before I really started getting the hang of Instagram.

My favorite picture that includes me:
It was a close call, but I went with a recent one. I took this pic a few weeks ago. I recently fell in love with black&white selfies :)

A picture that makes you homesick:
This is right outside Hilversum, the city where I grew up. I also lived there when I was in college, and at the time this path was a regular part of my running route. It holds a special place in my heart. So many things happened during that time, and I figured a lot of it out during my runs.

The best food I posted in 2014:
Whole30 Chicken Curry with broccoli. This was the first dinner that I actually really liked during our Whole30 last November. We still eat it often :)

most liked picture:
This was the picture with which I announced my blog relaunch last week. It received the most likes so far.

The best picture I took of an animal in 2014:
Turns out I don't really take that many pictures of animals... But I loved this one. I took it during a run last summer.

The best quote you shared in 2014:
Again... I apparently don't share many quotes. This one is close to my heart, though. I'm a big fan of Robin Williams, and since psychiatric disorders are frequent in my family, his death hit close to home.

My most used hashtag:
How could this not be a running hashtag? #steefranhere is the hashtag I use to easily find back my running pictures.

Projec Life in 2015

 I've been recording our lives using Project Life since January 2014. That's a year's worth of big moments and small moments. Pretty pictures and ugly pictures. Friends and family. Awesome memories and sad ones. I love to have it all in one place, but more importantly: I love putting the spreads together, thinking about how I wanted to remember my year.

In 2014 I used only one page per week. I loved the challenge it gave me, because with only 8 pockets per week you have to really think about the memories you want to include. And I loved that I could test it out for a year without having to spend a ton of money (at the beginning of 2014 money was something I just didn't have). One thing I've noticed is that I fill the vast majority (as in, 90%) of my pockets with pictures. Which is awesome, because I love pictures. But I love to play with paper too...
So for 2015 I'll be making a full spread per week.

I'm aiming to print about the same number of pictures, which means that I'll be upping my playing-with-paper-game big time. Which sounds like a new challenge to me :)
When it comes to continuity, I have a few options swirling around in my head. Last year I had 2 items that came back each week: a plain white card with a summary of what happened that week, and a pretty picture with the week number and dates typed onto the picture. I might keep doing the latter this year, but I'm completely tired of the white "this happened" cards. I decided that with all the journaling space I'll be having this year, if it's important, I'll write it down.
Two things I'm thinking about for this year is a monthly journaling card with my plans for that month. I purchased this beautiful set of monthly cards from Rachel, and I'll be using them to include my goals and intentions for that month. I also plan to incorporate a quote each week. In some cases it'll be a quote by someone I actually know, other weeks it'll be an inspirational quote I heard or read online.

Other than that? No set plans. Just pictures, words, some embellishments and stamps, cards I plan to design and craft myself. But mostly pictures and words. The core kits I'll be using are the sets I have at the moment: Sunshine and Rain. I'm debating trying out a kit from Studio Calico or Ali Edwards, but for now I just can't justify the costs. Sometime this year (after I've paid off my student loan) I'll treat myself to a box of goodies!
For now I'll be printing my pictures through Webprint.nl. I'm really happy with their speed, quality and service. Their prices are really good, too! I would love to print at home though, just because it would be so easy. I would love to have my spreads finished every week, instead of working in batches like I do now. But again, at the moment I can't justify the costs. One day dreams, you guys :)

So that's the plan! I'll be sharing my pages here on a monthly basis. To give myself some time to get my spreads done, I'll be posting them here 2 weeks into the new month. So for example, look out for January's pages somewhere mid-February.

How are you documenting your year?