Latest Posts

This Blog is Officially Retired + Where to Find Me

Hi Everyone!

This is my last blog post here at How I Sustain. I’m not gone, by any means. In fact, I have SO MUCH to share, that it started feeling too disjointed to continue. So I’m shifting the location of my person blog + the topics I discuss to two different places so that I can truly focus my content and the discussions we’re having into the places that serve your interests.

How I Sustain Blog, as of today, will be retired. The archives will continue to be held here, so you can always come back + I will continue to reference this content in future posts.

My new personal blog, with everything paper crafting + memory keeping + self-loving will be at

My yoga blog, with everything living well + sustainable living + yoga will be at

Both sites are beautiful. Both sites are unique. Both sites truly capture everything that I love about the community that we have cultivated, together, online.

And, of course, you can always check out all of the memory keeping gorgeousness, and inspiration, over at


Thank you SO MUCH for supporting and connecting with me on this journey. I can’t wait for you to see what’s coming in this next stage of growth.



Changing the Cover of a Traveler's Notebook Cheap DIY to make a gorgeous book | How I Sustain Blog

Changing the Cover of a Midori Traveler’s Notebook or Moleskine Book

Last week I opened this series of posts on traveler’s notebooks. It’s funny how it started, actually. Last year I made two books during the summer, one of which I *nearly* finished and the other that I stopped writing in, but really didn’t know where to take it creatively.

And I left them, untouched, for nearly a year.

Then, recently, a few things came together. First, someone asked about Little Summer JOY and if we were planning to create that (free) course again. The answer was yes. Second, someone asked how I would be documenting it. The answer was, unquestionably, traveler’s notebook. Third, the Scrap Gals Facebook community started a series of conversations on traveler’s notebooks.

And, just like that, I was propelled, full force, into completing last year’s projects, planning this year’s Little Summer JOY, and totally, enthusiastically, committed to finishing both books and fully diving into the world of traveler’s notebooks.

Changing the Cover of a Traveler's Notebook Cheap DIY to make a gorgeous book | How I Sustain Blog

My Summer Experience Traveler’s Notebook

So I mentioned that I made two books last year. The first was part of Little Summer JOY. The second was to document the intense, life-changing experience of yoga teacher training.

I cannot express how grateful I am that I had that notebook and that I documented that experience.

Now I call it a summer experience traveler’s notebook because, as you read in my post last week, summer and learning are two in the same for me. And while many people do go through yoga teacher training, many more people experience some form of learning in the summer (think trips, semesters abroad, summer classes, exchanges, internships, and other travel experiences).

And using a traveler’s notebook, which is appropriately named, by the way, to document that learning experience is truly, truly an accessible option for anyone willing to put pen to paper.

Little Paper Projects Little Summer JOY Album 2015 | Julie Love Gagen


This Traveler’s Notebook Blog Post Series

So this post is the fourth in my traveler’s notebook series that will give you all the insight you need to get started with your first traveler’s notebook project. Here are links (and plans) for the entire series:

And because this is a series, and because I have a lot of work t0 share, expect to see sneak peeks of my Summer Experience Traveler’s Notebook AND my Little Summer JOY Album from last year throughout these pages, as I continue to build those books – and finish them – before I start this year’s project.

Changing the Cover of a Traveler’s Notebook

In the world of memory keeping, a book – or at least my books – are, in fact, judged by their covers. The cover needs to speak to the sentiment of the story. To the essence of the project. To the feeling you get when you look through it.

The current cover for my summer experience traveler’s notebook did *not* have that sentiment.

Like, at all.

So I thought about it for a few days. And, as with most great ideas, it came to me around 2am on a sleepless night (I’m pregnant, it’s summer, they happen.. a lot!).

The solution: to cover it with a favorite scrapbook paper.

Simple. Done. Gorgeous.

Here are the 3 steps I took to make this happen.

3 Steps to Covering Your Traveler’s Notebook

Step 1 | Pick your Paper. I have this thing for scrapbook paper. I kind of love it. I love it so much that I’m afraid to use it. True fact. The nice thing about this semi-hoarding “problem” is that I always have an assortment of papers to use for projects like this.

I chose a 12×12 heavy cardstock paper. Of course, it doesn’t have to be heavy cardstock. Honestly, it doesn’t even technically need to be paper (my original vision of this project was to use fabric and mod podge, but I couldn’t find a fabric that I loved). If you choose a lighter paper, however, you might want to use a coat of mod podge on top of the paper after its assembled, just to give it a little more durability.


Step 2 | Gather your supplies. For this project, I used a paper trimmer, glue stick, and some washi tape. If you wanted to add an embellishment to the front, gel glue is my top choice. Otherwise just the glue stick is fine. You’ll also want a stack of heavy books to place over your notebook while it dries. This is critical to having a clean, bubble-free cover.

  1. Paper trimmer | I have an X-Acto Guillotine Style Paper Cutterย and Fiskers scissors
  2. Glue | I used a Glue Stick. You could also use spray if you have it and here is the Clear Gel Glue that I use for cover embellishments.
  3. Washi tape | I used washi from Target dollar spot. SO GOOD, friend!
  4. Something heavy | I use a small stack of heavy books that were bigger than the notebook.

Step 3 | Assemble it. Cut your paper to the exact height of the book, and add at least two inches to the width. The extra width will give you space to wrap the paper around the cover and gives you a nice, clean edge.

Changing the Cover of a Traveler's Notebook Cheap DIY to make a gorgeous book | How I Sustain Blog

Once the paper is cut to size, you’ll want to line the paper directly with the book, making sure to keep about an inch in width on each end. This is critical because once you have glue to paper, you’re kind of stuck with it. Measure, line, and move slow in this part.

Once the paper and cover are in line, use the glue stick to cover the back cover. Apply the paper to the glued side. Repeat on the front cover.

Add stack of heavy books and let it dry for a few minutes.

Changing the Cover of a Traveler's Notebook Cheap DIY to make a gorgeous book | How I Sustain Blog

Once contact is set on the cover, you can fold the extra inch of paper into the back cover, use glue to make it stick, then affix with the washi tape. Repeat on the other side.

Add stack of heavy books and let it dry for a few minutes, to hours, more. If you’re planning on working on the book, you can do that, just place the stack of books on top of it when you’re done so it can dry overnight.

Of course, you could also add an inside cover paper, like I did in this DIY Notebook Tutorial, but for this project, I preferred the washi and the exposed side.



And that’s it! Now you have a re-covered traveler’s notebook in your favorite pattern. Honestly, I can’t stop staring at mine – and I’ll be honest, I’m more likely to work on it, and to finish this project, because I love the cover SO MUCH. Happy crafting!






Happy Healthy Hammies is a yoga challenge and YouTube series designed to help you open up your hamstrings and work towards some advanced poses | Renegade Power Yoga

New Yoga VIDEO Series Now on YouTube!

Hi Friends!

So this is SUPER exciting! And you can thank everyone in my Yoga for YOUR Life Course for what I’m sharing today, because they totally inspired me to reframe how I approached teaching this course and, last minute (literally at 2am the night/day of course launch), I decided to completely change the way we started the course and add in some really fun things.

You can learn all about that – the how and why – in this video on my NEW Renegade Power Yoga YouTube Channel!


(By the way, I am in love with the phrase “my YouTube Channel” .. it’s been SO so long in the making, friends!).

Also, I apologize for the massive belly that is only in Week 25. Seriously. I have 15 more weeks to go. And my belly is SO BIG.


So the series is inspired by an Instagram challenge being run through a variety of hosts (@RobinMartinYoga @PocketDwarf @Seonia) and sponsored by Dharma Bums Active. And while I’m not going to write everything that I said on the video, I’ll give you the quick version of where this is coming from, why I’m doing it, and why I think it’s SO so important to teach this way.

Yoga challenges are very common on Instagram. They’re a great way to connect people who do yoga. If you want to participate, it’s honestly as easy as doing the poses, following the hashtag (#happyhealthyhammies), and maybe sharing pictures of you in each of the poses.

I LOVE the idea of socially connecting around something you love.

I HATE how showy and over-complicated some of these challenge poses are.

Especially because they’re fully UNattainable for MOST of the people that do yoga. Honestly, splits shouldn’t be considered a “norm” and a standing one-legged balance with a toe grab is highly unnecessary. Sure, it gets you into your hamstrings (which is the goal of the challenge), but how many people can legitimately move into that pose without injuring themselves?


I’m a big fan of yoga for the people. And that’s why I want to teach this series.

So I created a series of 4 videos (plus an introduction) designed to help you open up your hamstrings, get comfortable with the base version of some really advanced balances and inversions that also happen to open up your hamstrings, and – truly – to help you get into your body, and into your fasica, in a seriously relaxing and engaged way.

Each flow includes a portion of the 12 poses, all of which I discuss at the beginning of each practice. The poses are modified, in part, to suit the alignments that I teach. And modified, in part, to suit real people, with real bodies, attempting poses possibly for the first time.

It’s truly accessible to most people (barring any injuries, obviously consult your doctor before starting the series). And it’s going to be SUPER relaxing, really enjoyable, and totally worth the few minutes each day for the practice.

And the best part?

Out of the three sequences I came up with, each of them is PERFECTLY designed to fit into a different part of your day. Sequence A is your morning sequence, B for the afternoon, and C for bedtime. It’s perfect on so many levels that I honestly cannot wait.

How fun is that?!

How to Follow this Happy Healthy Hammies Series

So you’re excited. Awesome! Me too. Here’s how you can follow along.

Option 1 | Join my Yoga for YOUR Life Course, which will have the full version of each practice PLUS some bonus materials and teaching guidelines that truly TRULY will send you so happily singing in your hamstrings, you’ll smile all day.

Option 2 | Follow the FREE version on YouTube, on my Renegade Power Yoga channel, under the Happy Healthy Hammies Playlist.

Option 3 | Ignore all of my videos and just participate in the Instagram hashtag #HappyHealthyHammies, which runs from June 1 – June 12, 2016.

How it Works

So far, I have two of the five videos posted, and by the time you read this, more will be up. So keep following along on YouTube, check out my posts and updates on Instagram @RenegadePowerYoga, and try it out at home.

You can also take a look at all the poses in the challenge and make your own attempts at each of them.

Happy Healthy Hammies is a yoga challenge and YouTube series designed to help you open up your hamstrings and work towards some advanced poses | Renegade Power Yoga

In summary, if you were ever interested in doing yoga, but want something that both nurtures your body and opens you up for the day, this is a GREAT series for you. So take a few minutes to try the first practice and I look forward to seeing you on your mat soon!





5 Ways to Get Creative with a Traveler's Notebook | Part of a series on Midori, Moleskine, and DIY Traveler's Notebooks

Documenting Life in a Midori Travelers Notebook, Bullet Journaling, and Memory Keeping with Moleskine Journals

Recently I posted my Traveler’s Notebook from last year’s Little Summer JOY Project. Truly, truly, it was a *joy* to create that book and I love wandering through its pages – in some ways, more than my other books.

There’s just something about this format of memory keeping that makes me want to come back for more.

Again and again.

I think it’s partly because it encompasses the form of memory keeping that I absolutely cherish – the pairing of words, not just phrases, but actual in-depth journal entries, with photos, mixed media, and elements in a manner that brings the experience to life.

That sparks memories.

That invokes the feeling, the sentiment, the essence of a moment in life.

Little Paper Projects Little Summer JOY Album 2015 | Julie Love Gagen


And I want to dive into this, in all forms, and give you the experience of what memory keeping in this form is like, so I’m writing what was, at first, a single blog post and has quickly turned into an in-depth series of posts. You can find the links to all the posts, once they’re all live, in the next section.

This Traveler’s Notebook Blog Post Series

So I tried to write this as a single blog post, but the more I delved into this topic, this project, this form of creative expression, the more I had to say about it. So rather than crowding one post with all the words and photos, I created a series of posts that will give you all the insight you need to get started with your first traveler’s notebook project.

First, What is a Traveler’s Notebook?

Good question! So there’s this whole wide world of Midori Traveler’s Notebooks, Moleskine Journaling, and Bullet Journaling that is catching the paper-loving world by storm. For the sake of simplicity, I’m grouping it all into “Traveler’s Notebooks” and leaving it there. But there are other terms, and now that you know them, you can be — slightly less confused.

Honestly, I created a Pinterest Board about it just to understand it all better. I’m still learning.

Pinterest Board of Midiori Travelers Notebooks, Bullet Journaling, and Memory Keeping with Moleskine Journals

You can see that there are SO so many ways to work with this medium. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by that.

Don’t be overwhelmed. I’m guiding you through this, I promise.

Listen, the short answer is that when you’re working with a blank journal, there are a MILLION ways to customize it. And every person, and ever project, and every notebook is different.

Simple version: find what you like, do that for a while, then try other things.

I have a way of making my books, other people have ways of making other books, and any time I’m lost or confused, I start searching Pinterest and pin a bunch of things. ๐Ÿ™‚

Honestly, format comes *after* you get materials. So let’s talk materials first.

5 Ways to Get Creative with a Traveler's Notebook | Part of a series on Midori, Moleskine, and DIY Traveler's Notebooks

Make Your First Book: What You Need

There are LOTS of ways to make a traveler’s notebook. All you need is blank paper. Now, you can make your own or you can buy one.

Option 1: Make Your Own

If you make your own, I have a DIY tutorial for that using recycled computer paper from your office. That’s the $1 version IF you have the materials. Otherwise, you’re likely spending the same amount to make it as you would be to buy it.

DIY Notebook Cover

If you want a different DIY, there are A TON of tutorials out there. Google and search to your heart’s content.

Option 2: Buy It

If you choose the buying option, most 60-page books are under $10. To me, it’s worth the buy. The question is – which one?

Honestly, it depends on what you’re looking for and how much you want to spend.

Little Paper Projects Little Summer JOY Album 2015 | Julie Love Gagen

Moleskine | Last summer, I bought a 3-pack of Moleskine notebooks for my Little Summer JOY project and Yoga Journal. Personally, I absolutely love the feel of Moleskine, especially their hardcover journals. But, unfortunately, the hardcover journals are too limiting in terms of scrapbooking and wouldn’t hold the embellishments I knew I would add to this project.

So, for this project, I bought a 3-pack of unlined Moleskine journals for around $10. Dimensions are 5″ x 8.5″. They come in unlined, plain paper (off-white), grid paper, and lined paper. The only downside to this notebook is that I did find it to bleed through a little bit. I’m okay with that, but if that would bother you, you might want the next option.

Midori | Now I have never used the Midori paper, but I’ve seen enough about it that I want to try at least one of their notebooks this year because I hear that they’re thicker (and there is less bleed through) than Moleskine books. Dimensions for the “Personal Size” are 4.3″ x 8.3″.

I’m planning to buy just the insert, not the full cover and book, for under $10. There are ruled ones, grid ones, and unruled ones. There are also watercolor grade paper inserts as well.

Of course, if you want the entire experience, you can buy the leather-bound exterior as well, but that quickly escalates to a $50 price tag. Worth it if you have the cash, but not at all necessary for this project.

How to Use It

Little Paper Projects Little Summer JOY Album 2015 | Julie Love Gagen

As a journal | Write your stories, your thoughts, your experiences all in one place. Keep it simple. Just write. Stamp it or write in the date. Leave space, if you want, to come back later and add details and embellishments.

Little Paper Projects Little Summer JOY Album 2015 | Julie Love Gagen

As a bullet journal | Bullet journaling is a method of using blank pages to create your own planner. It can be ANYTHING. That’s the point. So use examples to figure out your format and, agian, just write.

Little Paper Projects Little Summer JOY Album 2015 | Julie Love Gagen

As a scrapbook | Add photos, paper, and embellishments to create unique layouts. It’s a great way to use favorite supplies and things you have around the house.

Little Paper Projects Little Summer JOY Album 2015 | Julie Love Gagen

As a sketch book | Or, in this case, as a place to practice watercolor painting and develop a new skill. Sketch small objects, paint them, then go over those objects with a pen or marker. Get creative. See where it takes you.

Little Paper Projects Little Summer JOY Album 2015 | Julie Love Gagen

As a hybrid memory keeping project | My projects are definitely somewhere in between all of these options. That’s the beauty of this style of book. It can be anything – and everything. It’s an experiment. An exploration.


I hope this inspired you to consider the beloved traveler’s notebook! But certainly, if you want more coaching, or more inspiration, sign up below and I promise I’ll get you there. Cheers!













DIY Notebook Cover

Make Your Own DIY Notebook with Recycled (FREE) Materials

A long time ago, in what feels like an entirely different lifetime, I worked in an office.

Yes, friend. It’s true.

And in that office I worked with a bunch of environmental professionals, scientists and engineers, that worked on projects that helped improve the natural and lived environment. We did things like improving the efficiencies of water treatment and wastewater treatment. We improved drain systems and cleaned waterways. We remediated old dumping sites and brought ponds back to life.

And we wasted A TON of paper.

Still, to this day, I shake my head about it. You can’t see it, but I’m shaking my head right now. I never understood contradictions like that. And I still don’t understand them today. But anyway.

DIY FREE Recycled Paper Midiori Travelers Notebooks, Bullet Journaling, and Memory Keeping with Moleskine Journals


Recycled, or Repurposed, Paper Notebooks

Being the action-oriented do-gooder creative that I am, I decided to do something with the wasted paper. Just to prove that it was possible. Just to make a point. But also, for the sake of the challenge. And because I wanted to see if it was something we could truly do to change the way we consider our paper use.

So I made these notebooks and used them to document summer lists, favorite projects, and plan for new creative endevors. And I loved them.

Years later, I realized I never actually wrote the blog post I planned to write way back then, so here I am doing it now.

DIY FREE Recycled Paper Midiori Travelers Notebooks, Bullet Journaling, and Memory Keeping with Moleskine Journals


What You Need

To make this book, you’ll need a few materials which you should have around the house.

DIY FREE Recycled Paper Midiori Travelers Notebooks, Bullet Journaling, and Memory Keeping with Moleskine Journals

  1. Paper | I used 8.5×11 paper from the recycle bin next to the printer at work. I slowly collected it over time, making sure to throw away anything that had confidential information, too much text, or distracting text. Turns out, you can still get A LOT of paper this way. Another option is to use blank paper you have at home. Obviously I used printer paper, so it was generally lower quality. You can certainly use a variety of mixed papers – cardstock, watercolor paper, etc, just make sure that they’re all the same size so that it’s easy to cut and size them properly.
  2. Scissors + Paper Cutter | I have an X-Acto Guillotine Style Paper Cutterย and Fiskers scissors
  3. Masking tape | I used black masking tape, but any masking tape will do.
  4. Glue | I used Clear Gel Glue and Glue Stick. Anything similar will do, but you will need both a liquid glue and some kind of stick or spray.
  5. Scrapbook Paper | This is a great project for that favorite scrapbook paper you’ve been saving. Make sure to pick paper that will cover the front, the back, and the inside cover of the front and back.
  6. Cardboard | I love repurposing things (DUH), so this is a great job for a cereal box or an old cracker box.
  7. Binder Clips | I use two small 3/4″ binder clips, but any size binder clip will do. The benefit of the small ones is they lay flat, but larger ones are stronger.
  8. Something heavy | I use a small stack of heavy books, bigger than my notebook. These are used to help the drying process.


Now I don’t have pictures of every step, but I think you’ll get the idea. It’s simple, I swear. Just some precision measuring and cutting with your paper cutter and a day or two to let the binding dry.

DIY FREE Recycled Paper Midiori Travelers Notebooks, Bullet Journaling, and Memory Keeping with Moleskine Journals

Cut the Paper

I’m using photographs from this AWESOME tutorial by Gathering Beauty Blog because she does a great job showing the process. For the sake of this particular book, though, you’ll need my instructions below.

Step by step notebook binding | Photos by Gathering Beauty Blog

  1. Cut the paper in half. Depending on your paper cutter, you might be able to do a few pages at a time. For this task, I used the giant paper cutter at my office. It could do 8-10 pages at a time, and made the entire process WAY faster. Be precise with your cutting, but recognize that the edges might be slightly different. And that’s okay. Because it’s a free notebook.
  2. Cut the cardboard to size. I made my cardboard intentionally bigger. You’ll want to use your paper cutter, rather than scissors, so that the edges are straight. You can free-hand guess this, but if you want exact dimensions, or you’re not a math expert, an 8.5″ x 11″ paper will cut to 5.5″ x 8.5″. The size of my cover is 5.625″ x 8.625″. **Keep some extra cardboard for the binding process.
  3. Cut the exterior cover paper. Cut your cover paper for both covers to LARGER than your cover. My paper was cut to almost 1″ bigger than the cover, so the size of the paper was 6.5″ x 9.5″.
  4. Cut the interior cover paper. Your interior cover paper will be SMALLER than your cover. I would do a very small amount smaller. My interior cover paper was cut to 5.5″ x 8.5″.

Make the Covers

DIY FREE Recycled Paper Midiori Travelers Notebooks, Bullet Journaling, and Memory Keeping with Moleskine Journals

  1. Adhere the exterior cover paper. Cover the cardboard in glue stick glue. Attach your exterior cover paper so that there is an overlap on all sides. Place it under a stack of books while you do the other cover. You want to give it a few minutes to dry.
  2. Fold the edges in. After your paper is mostly dry, grab your glue stick and run it along the edges of the inside of the cover. Fold the exterior paper over the edges, sides first. I would also fold it in triangles along the top and bottom edges because it makes for a cleaner edge. Place it under your stack of books and do the other cover.
  3. Add the interior cover. Glue stick the entire inside cover (apart from the edges). Center the interior paper. Place under stack of books.

Bind it All Together

This blog post by Gathering Beauty gives you a better visual of what we’re doing with the binding. It’s not exactly how I did it, but read below.

Step by step notebook binding | Photos by Gathering Beauty Blog

  1. Stack the binding edge of the paper together. Make sure all of your pages are clean and flat. It’s okay if that makes the other edges less flat. If they’re not even, they won’t stick. Note that I didn’t add the covers here. You can, but I think the notebook is more flexible if those are added with tape after the paper is bound together.
  2. Binder clips along the sides. Binder clips go along the sides (different from the picture above), just outside the binding edge of the notebook. Use extra cardboard to help it stay in place.
  3. Add A LOT of gel glue to the binding edge. You might have to repeat this process so that you have good coverage on each page.
  4. Cover it. I used extra cardboard to keep the glue in place, but you could also use tape or an extra piece of paper. Just know that whatever you use here will be visible in the final notebook.
  5. Let it dry. Overnight or for a couple of days (depending on humidity). Once it’s dry, check the coverage and repeat #3 and #4 if needed.
  6. Add the covers. Once it’s dry, you can add the covers with the masking tape. And boom! Done.

It’s not a short process, but if you take the time to do the binding, it will be a strong notebook that you can carry with you on many adventures.

DIY FREE Recycled Paper Midiori Travelers Notebooks, Bullet Journaling, and Memory Keeping with Moleskine Journals

DIY Notebook Cover


If you make this, post a link below so we can see your gorgeous DIY books!




Expressing Love with the Other in Mind | The Five Love Languages Part I

Friends, I’m a self-help book addict and I have no intention of holding back. Today’s post is about what I learned from Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.

Now, on the surface, this is totally NOT a book I would read. Not at all. I don’t actually need relationship advice. My relationship with my husband is great. We’re communicative, we work through differences, and we are both equally committed to keeping our marriage alive for the rest of our lives.


Stop it. This is not a #humblebrag post.

The truth is, I heard about it at a MOPs meeting and couldn’t help myself. I was so curious by the introduction of this concept of love languages, I just had to read the book. MOPs, by the way, stands for Moms of Preschoolers. It’s an international Christian-based moms group that is SO amazing.

Honestly, SO GOOD.

And a quick side note before I lose you on this: I’m not overtly religious. For better or worse, it’s just not part of my identity right now. It was, however, how I was raised. And I like the idea of church, I just haven’t quite found the right fit for me, as an adult, and for our family. This organization fills that need, at least in part. And, to a much larger extent, MOPs connects me with an amazingly insightful, creative, interesting, fun, kind, sweet group of women that are moms and that also happen to be artists and makers, that love to throw an adorable party and make DIY gifts for each other. And that, friend, well I think you know why I might like it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sidebar: over.

So I’m a little late to the game with this book. Like, a decade late. Not that it matters, because I wasn’t married 10 years ago and even if I was, I wouldn’t have been able to hear the words of this book the way I can hear them today.

And, again, full disclosure: I didn’t love the tone, or pace, or the style and manner that the author presents his ideas. It kind of feels like he’s talking down to me. As if his readership is 10 year olds with stubborn marital woes.

But if you can get past that piece, the book is absolutely worth it. It’s worth your time. And it’s a quick read at that.

And I’ll be honest, while I was reading this, and for the weeks that followed, I couldn’t help but talk about the insights I learned from reading about love. Again, I’m a huge self-improvement nonfiction book fan, but this was so different, so practical, and so clearly accurate for our life that I couldn’t help but share it … and immediately speculate about the love languages of my friends and family.

Because, after all, even friendships have some level of affection, some version of caring and kindness that allows two people to acknowledge their meaning towards one another. In my friendships, that might mean hosting a dinner playdate, or making a date for the movies.

Each Person Speaks Their Own Love Language

The basic premise of the book is that each person has their own manner of receiving love. These patterns are typically established as children and they vary based on personality.

Each person is unique in this way, and by learning and understanding how to communicate love to your partner, you can not only effectively keep your partnership happy and alive, you can also save yourself the hassle and heartbreak that comes from an unfulfilling marriage.

How this Book has Changed My Life

My husband and I have been together for ten years. TEN. I honestly feel both uncomfortably old and shocked by admitting that. But yes, ten years this past January. My goodness.

And in the ten years that we’ve been together, we’ve had long stretches of time apart due to work travel and voluntary trips. We had to not only keep our relationship alive, but find comfort and security in knowing that we were loved by the other person. And I didn’t realize, until writing this, how much that affected the early parts of our relationship.

Fast forward ten years, and we have two kids with another on the way.

Life has changed for us.

And we have had to adapt.

And so has our communication, our kindness, and our commitment to working through the stuff we’re experiencing both separately and together.

And that’s where knowing each others’ love language, as well as our own, becomes SO super important.

In peaceful times, having some level of certainty, and focus, around showing love for my husband makes things easy. Simple. And efficient.

In times of stress, knowing his love language helps me to be supportive, to help him feel even more secure in our relationship, so we can work through the hard stuff.

In all times, there are moments where we need a little more love. Where our “love tank”, as the author puts it, runs low. And it is those times when we need to feel loved. Knowing your own language, knowing what makes you feel secure and comfortable and loved, helps you identify and advocate for the things that matter on a deeper level. The things that help you find security. The things that help you feel whole, happy, and cared for. The things that make life better

The Five Love Languages

The five love languages are as follows: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. In my next post, I’ll explain each language with some detail so you can work through this concept on your own. Still, if you have a library, request the book. It’s worth it, I promise.





Project Life App Pages - May 2015 | Project Life CT member  Julie Love Gagen

Project Life 2015 | May App Pages

This post is part of a series as part of my amazing opportunity to be on the Project Life Creative Team this year. For more on Project Life, visit For more on my work, check out this category. Click these links to check out my January, February, March pages, and April pages.


OH, friend! I feel like I’ve been denying the internet of some of my favorite FAVORITE project life pages of all time. It’s nearly a year later, and I just discovered that I stopped posting my Project Life App pages from 2015 in April.

We have a lot of catching up to do!

So, in addition to seeing this year’s pages, which you’ll find every Thursday from now until forever (because we are THAT FAR behind, friend!), I’m also sharing pages from last year.

The awesome thing about these pages, and the reason I’m SO so excited to share them, is because about halfway through the year I really hit my stride in terms of pulling it all together. It went from a labor of love, to an absolute breeze. My photography improved, the card kits added were GORGEOUS, and everything came together pretty seemlessly.

So, without any further delay, here are my pages from May 2015, all made using the Project Life App, which is an incredibly easy, fast, affordable, and beautiful way to create photobooks that you will truly, truly cherish forever.

Project Life App Pages – May

Project Life App Pages - May 2015 | Project Life CT member Julie Love Gagen


Honestly, I love SO MANY of these kits lately! I think one of the coolest parts about being on the creative team is that I’m trying things that I wouldn’t normally try, using kits that I would normally pass over, and really making an effort to use the products as intended, as simply and perfectly as they come.

And what I’ve learned from that is the products are, in fact, SO WELL DONE! Below is a brief description of each of the kits used in each of the spreads.

Project Life App Pages - May 2015 | Project Life CT member Julie Love Gagen

The Moments Like These kit is made as a collaboration between Stampin’ Up and Becky Higgins. Truly, TRULY, it’s a masterful collection. Probably one of the best ever. And one that I will certainly use, to the fullest extent, at every possible chance I get.

Project Life App Pages - May 2015 | Project Life CT member Julie Love Gagen

The Desktop Edition is definitely one that I would have passed over if I wasn’t on the team. It’s nice, but didn’t appear to be my style at first glance. Of course, this time of year the light is different. Photographs look and feel differently than they have in the fall and winter. And the Desktop Edition shines in springtime. For sure!

Project Life App Pages - May 2015 | Project Life CT member Julie Love Gagen

I also made a spread of just Chris and Max using the It’s a Man’s World Themed cards. Yes, it is certainly a more masculine collection then, say, the floral edition, but it also fits SO so well with the colors this time of year. And with the guys working on the house, adventuring outside, and playing at the farm, it’s a given that this collection completely fits the subjects. And I love that.

Project Life App Pages - May 2015 | Project Life CT member Julie Love Gagen

The last edition is the Slate Edition. Again, NOT a collection I would have chosen at first glance, but I LOVE THIS!! It fits so well with our life, and our photos, and I can’t help but feel like I need to be more open to style and fit when it comes to picking the products I use.

This month taught me a lot, creatively, about what can be done when you commit to trying something you normally wouldn’t. And I truly, truly appreciate that.


So whatever you’re up to, whatever opportunities you have to expand your creative mindset, try it. Just see where it leads. You might just be surprised at what you discover.







YouTube Introduction Thumbnail

My Yoga YouTube Channel Launched Today!

Well, friends, it happened. FINALLY. After two days of unfortunate computer issues, and A LOT of time on the phone with Apple Support plus a trip to the Apple Genius Bar, I was able to get back to work today.

So I finished editing my first YouTube video, created graphics, and officially launched my yoga YouTube channel!

Renegade Power Yoga on YouTube | Spine-friendly, core-focused yoga for EVERY body by Julie Love Gagen


It’s no small feat, friends. But I feel SO so good about how it’s coming together. And I can’t wait for my upcoming yoga course Yoga for YOUR Life to launch (just ONE week!).

If you’ve been wanting to get into yoga, wanting to start a practice, or you’re just curious about my video editing skills, you can check it out at:

In Other News…

Because there’s always more news. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I expanded my online presence and launched Right now, it’s a place where you can go to learn link and learn about all of my current projects (of which there seem to be MANY), from Yoga to Little Paper Projects to this Blog space. Which brings me to my next thing..

I’ve been back and forth on How I Sustain, as a site, for a long time. When I started it, I was more into the gardening and greening aspect of sustainability. And I still am into all of those things – and more. But I also write a lot about personal sustainability and scrapbooking and yoga… and sustain just isn’t a word that resonates with people.

And, lately, it isn’t resonating with me either.

So I’m considering a move.

For now, you can find me – and all of my projects – at, where I have links to my yoga business – which is expanding quickly, friends! And links to Little Paper Projects (which is going to get its own makeover soon ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

Other Fun Things

I’m *also* working on another video project. Which I’m REALLY excited about. And I’m just going to leave you in full suspense, because I recorded it earlier today and have NO idea how it’s going to come out. And I have no idea how I’m going to make the time to share it. But I want to. I REALLY really want to.


So that’s it, friends. A short post with lots of fun to come. And, certainly, if you have any interest in yoga, make sure to subscribe to my channel and tell a friend.




Wishing for a smooth but productive week. Let it be easy. Let it all get done. | Julie Love Gagen

Wishing you a smooth and productive week. Let it be easy. Let it all get done.

Hi, friends!

So A LOT of changes are happening around here. And I CANNOT WAIT to share them. But making them happen takes a lot of work. A lot of diligence. A lot of patience. A lot of energy.

And, right now, it’s exhausting.

In THE BEST way.

But exhausting nonetheless.


ย Dear Entrepreneur, a letter to you on launch week | Julie Love Gagen
Slow Monday morning.

So I’m starting my Monday morning really really slow. And rather than diving into the sea of never-ending work, I’m writing here. And sharing my experience. And feeling out the pace of this week. I’m breathing in the oils in my diffuser. And I’m drinking my coffee slowly.

You see, I’m already dreading Friday. Ending the week with a long meeting is not exactly my way of rounding out the last days before launch (Yoga for YOUR Life launches June 1st!!). But it must be done. And it’s happening whether I want it to or not.

So I’m being kind to myself.

I’m moving slowly. Even though every fiber of my being wants to move a million miles and hour, embrace the excitement and energy of the launch, build all of the tools and resources I’ve been planning for just about ever, and execute an amazing new face to all of my businesses. I know that if I do too much, or go too fast, or sacrifice for the sake of perfection, I’ll be left unsatisfied and too exhausted to be what I need to be, when I need to be it.

I’m holding back.

I’m resisting the temptation to sacrifice my body (sitting at a computer 12-18 hours a day? ouch!), I’m resisting the temptation to sacrifice my energy (there is never enough time. there is never enough to give), and I’m resisting the temptation to sacrifice my emotional well-being (perfection is a myth).

Little Paper Projects Little Summer JOY Album 2015 | Julie Love Gagen

What I need most is peace.

I need peace. Peace of mind. Peace of being. Peace, and the confidence to know that no matter what I do, it is enough. I am enough. And I have body, mind, and emotional needs that are more important than a perfect launch.

Also, there is no such thing as perfect.

Perfect is a myth. Perfect is a myth. Perfect is a myth. It’s a phrase I will repeat a thousand times this week. It is truth. And it is the kind of truth that matters most. The kind that allows me to see everything as a work in progress. Everything as good enough. Everything as best first draft. I know that no matter how much I wish it, or believe it, or want it, that whatever I produce on my own will be changed over time. I know that my first draft is just the beginning. I know that, months from now, I’ll look back at the beginning and think about how basic the beginning was.


Dear Entrepreneur, a letter to you on launch week | Julie Love Gagen

So I’m writing this post, this letter, to myself as a reminder that I am also important. That if I am unkind to myself, or if I push too hard, or if I do too much, it will not serve me. It will not help me get where I want with my business. It will prevent me from being the best version of me. And the benefit to owning my business, to owning my launch, to owning my story, is that I get to choose how it’s written, how it’s made, how it’s produced.

I’m owning my story today. I’m owning it in the way that allows me to recognize that, after days of staying up too late to “finish” my latest thing, I might need a nap today. I’m owning that I might not get as much done. I’m owning that I might stumble. I might get lost. I might make an SFD that no one likes (shitty first draft, it’s a line from Rising Strong).

And that’s completely okay.

It’s all okay.

Because it’s my story. It’s my first draft. And it’s going to be whatever it is in this moment. And there is always, always room for revision.


So own your story today, friend. Own your crappy Monday. Own your slow, stressful week. Own your shitty first draft. And be kind to yourself. Life is in constant motion. Nothing is permanent. And there is always, always tomorrow.




Baked oatmeal is absolutely delicious and a fastastic brunch recipe. Make it for your friends and they will love you forever | How I Sustain Blog

Baked Oatmeal (is delicious)!!

On a recent weekday at home, Max and I decided to get creative. It was warm and sunny outside, a beautiful spring day, but neither of us felt particularly compelled to leave the house. We were both a little tired, a little grumpy, a little sick, and a little in need of a quiet, easy day.

We had plans, of course, because we always have plans. Always. But neither of us could get it together. We couldn’t get our breakfast made. We struggled to pick out clothes. We hemmed and hawed over mundane tasks like standing up and walking.

Our scheduled plans felt overwhelming. And so, without meaning to, we collectively decided to stay home, play with toys, get some much needed cleaning done, and try a few recipes we’ve been wanting to make.

In other words, we chose to stay in our pajamas until noon, wash a lot of dishes, and bake brunch food.

You see, we have a thing for breakfast in this house. My husband grew up in a large family, made larger by all of the friends and relatives they delightfully entertained, and perfected with years of experience starting and running successful restaurants. When they make breakfast, it is a fast and furious spectacle of cooking and mixing, all completed in a record amount of time.

My family is substantially less sophisticated in the breakfast-making arena. But we also loved a long, drawn out morning feast, typically made by just one person, but always complete with assortment of eggs made to your preference, lots of toast, jam, and raspberry twists.

Which is probably why, even in our college days, Chris and I would steal hours on Friday mornings, in between classes, to grab a massive breakfast and chat over coffee. We took our time. We enjoyed the moment. And, as our love story grew, so did our brunch plans.

I still miss those days. And I long for the kind of luxurious breakfast out that only thrives in populations where young professionals and college students live and work. A place far from us. A place in life that I love and miss.

Since we don’t have the luxury of a plethora of breakfast eateries, we make our own. And we’re well practiced at some dishes: eggs, french toast, crepes. And that’s wonderful. But other dishes need more work. And, specifically, those dishes are the kind of baked goodies that the boys and I love so much.

So when I have the opportunity, like I did on this particular day, I steal some time, and energy, and commit to making a giant mess with Max in our kitchen.

On this particular week, we attempted a recipe I found on Pinterest, an idea I had never considered, but that looked both fascinating and delicious. And that recipe was baked oatmeal.

And OH MY GOODNESS, friend, it was SO GOOD.

It was so good I immediately Instagrammed about it.


Then took photos of it.

Baked oatmeal is absolutely delicious and a fastastic brunch recipe. Make it for your friends and they will love you forever | How I Sustain Blog

Before eating 18 servings of it.

Baked oatmeal is absolutely delicious and a fastastic brunch recipe. Make it for your friends and they will love you forever | How I Sustain Blog

OKay, fine.

That’s not exactly how it went.

The truth is, it was so good WE ATE IT.

Then I realized I wanted to share it with the world. Then took an Instagram photo while Max salivated over our third helping. Then quickly tried to get some pictures of the baking container, even though we already ate and could have gone back for a fourth helping.

It’s really good, friend.

Baked Oatmeal  The easiest and best brunch recipe you'll ever make


But I think from the tone of this post, you’re probably getting that.

So here’s the recipe by, a very appropriately named site.

Recipe for Baked Oatmeal.

We have made this with steel cut oats (just add 1/4 more liquid) and quick oats and a mixed variety of cut fruit and berries. It always comes out fantastic.


You’re welcome.