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Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Week in the Life | Tuesday

Tuesday’s pages for Week in the Life were.. cumbersome. My days at home, with Max, have far more photos and stories than my days working alone. These days never feel particularly busy, but somehow, looking at these pages, and looking at the stories, and looking at all of the places and spaces we attended in just one afternoon, it all makes sense.

They say life is HARD with littles. And it is. Or it has been. But life lately, in this brief phase of one 3.5 yr old, a grade school kid, and a baby in the womb, it’s just easy. And I love that. And I am so incredibly grateful every single moment.

And I’m grateful to have it documented.

Because I imagine this time next year will be .. busier. 😉

Story of Today

Today’s story was written directly into my Tuesday page. It’s a letter of love to my 3.5 yr old Max and three things I love about him right now.

I have loved our days together lately. No matter how little we do with our day, our routines and support and kindness to one another has made us fantastic daytime partners.

Honestly, I can’t imagine life any other way. I can’t imagine my days any other way. And I love that, for this brief point in time, we’re truly enjoying each others company in a whole new, peaceful, joyful way.

Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen

 

Week in the Life | Tuesday Pages

Here are my pages. You can see that there are a lot of them. And I used a crazy amount of supplies. So check the bottom links for my sources… especially the stamps, which I feel like truly make this project that much more special.

Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Compilation of Pages

Week in the Life 2016 | Tuesday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Supplies Used

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s pages. Thanks for following along!!

xoxo,

Julie

02-FEB-Week6d Project Life 2016 | Julie Gagen | Project Life App Pages

Pocket Page Thursday | Disney Project Life App Pages

This week I’m sharing two spreads from our short trip to Disney. I didn’t take a lot of photos this trip, and that was partly because I wasn’t feeling well (okay, let’s face it, I was surprised that I even made it there), and partly because it was such a short trip, I truly wanted to just be a part of the experience. To revel in the moment.

After all, let’s face it, for most of us, we’re lucky if we get there just once. And while we hope to go back again someday, it’s not in our near future. It’s not in our annual plan. It’s not even on our radar as a possibility, like ever.

So capturing this experience meant a lot to me, but the act of being a part of it, the essence of the trip, the smiles on the boys faces, their favorite things, their most memorable memories, was far more important than getting the same photo on each and every ride.

So I set aside my DSLR and opted for my iPhone, capturing moments as they came, and not sweating the loss of the perfectly posed photographs.

Also, just an aside, if you have ever adventured with your kids to a theme park, you know that you must remain constantly aware of the impending possibility of someone being unexpectedly hungry, thirsty, hot, cold, grumpy, cheerful, and everything in between. Because the second that switch changes, you’ve hit meltdown city and your whole day is a wash.

Thankfully, we had an amazing day… after, of course, the after-breakfast meltdown, because breakfast itself wasn’t filling enough.

Note to parents: Always, ALWAYS over-stuff them on breakfast and lunch when you’re adventuring. Give them 3 breakfasts if you have to. Stuff them with their favorite pancakes, muffins, and cereals. Pack leftover pancakes for the drive. Bring fruit to balance out all of those carbs. On park adventure days, parents, you literally cannot feed the kids enough food. So stuff them. Fill their bellies. You won’t regret it.

Disney Weekend Spreads

Project Life - Disney Album Pages using the Project Life App | Julie Love Gagen Project Life - Disney Album Pages using the Project Life App | Julie Love Gagen

 

Project Life App Kits Used:

  • Desktop Edition
  • Everyday Edition
  • Moments Like These Edition

 

Happy documenting,

xoxo,

Julie

Yoga for YOUR Life | A course on developing a yoga practice that suits your life by Julie Love Gagen

Join Me and Develop YOUR Yoga Practice

Friends. Sigh. I can’t believe I’m FINALLY finally able to share this. I feel like I’ve been working so hard for so long for something.. and it’s weirdly relieving and wonderful and exhausting to get to this moment.

I just launched my first online YOGA course!!

Yoga for Your Life Banner_White

 

Learn more about Yoga for YOUR Life

I’ve been teaching yoga for almost a year now. In fact, it was about this time last year that I announced I was pursuing yoga teacher training. And, because it’s me, and because I’m a routine over-planner, I quickly made a teacher training plan.

And I worked really hard.

And even though I had no idea what I was doing, and I had a feeling it was a little unnecessary – it is yoga teacher training after all – I wanted to feel prepared. Mentally and physically. So that I could invest my full, authentic, true self into the entire experience.

The first few days in class were strange. I felt strangely disconnected, but yearned for connection. I felt tired, and fully energized. I felt like I should be amazed and enlightened, but it all seemed so practical and clear.

And, over time, I realized something kind of amazing. Now, I’ve had a lot of different career paths over the years. And each one I have fully committed to, and I’ve worked hard, and I’ve done my very best. And I’ve received accolades and awards and praise.

But none of those career paths ever felt fully “right.” If you’ve ever felt that way in a job, a relationship, a situation, then you know what I’m talking about. It wasn’t blatently wrong, it wasn’t bad or unsafe, it wasn’t even hard. It just didn’t fit me. It didn’t fit who I am. And I always felt like I needed to try SO HARD to fit in.

Yoga for YOUR Life | A course on developing a yoga practice that suits your life by Julie Love Gagen

It comes Naturally

When I started teaching yoga, it was different. From the very first moment that I stepped in front of the room, I knew where I was. My senses were heightened. My attention was everywhere and yet intensely focused.

It was exactly what I should be doing. Exactly where I needed to be. Exactly when I needed to be there.

Sure, I still have a lot of fear and vulnerability and insecurity around aspects of being a yoga teacher. I’m a total weirdo and awkward when it comes to working with studios. In fact, I’ve been notified about opportunities to teach and intently worked on convincing them NOT to hire me.

Like I said, I’m fully imperfect.

But when I step into the classroom. When I dim the lights, turn on the heater (I typically teach in a warm room), and start the music, it’s like magic. MAGIC. And I literally do it with my eyes closed.

Well, okay, I do have to watch the classroom to see if anyone needs adjustment.

But most of my teaching truly comes from within. It’s innate. It’s fully the most natural and authentic thing I’ve ever done. It’s like breathing. It’s effortless.

Yoga for YOUR Life | A course on developing a yoga practice that suits your life by Julie Love Gagen

Dispelling Myths About Yoga Practice

When I first graduated from teacher training, I left with this idea that if I wanted to be a ‘good’ yogi, if I wanted to set an example for how to be a true yoga practitioner, then I would need to practice every day. For at least an hour. Sometimes more.

And I did. For a while.

And I didn’t get a lot of things done. I never wrote. I never read. I never really had time for the other things in my life.

Practice became more than practice, it became my life. It took over. And there was nothing left for anything else.

Now, I love yoga. I do. But I’m also a realist. And a mom. And a wife. And a friend. And I have a business to run.

I don’t have time to spend hours practicing the same postures every single day. I need to do the work, but it has to be practical. It has to fit into my life.

And that, friend, is where this class comes in.

Yoga for YOUR Life | A course on developing a yoga practice that suits your life by Julie Love Gagen

Yoga for YOUR Life

Whenever it comes up that I’m a yoga teacher, there are typically three responses that I get. And the responses, for the most part, depend on the other person’s relationship to yoga. A LOT of those responses fall into the category of  “I would love to do yoga, but… ” as if being introduced to a yoga teacher is enough to spark the guilt of balancing life, responsibility, and self care.

The truth is, before training I was the exact same way. I wanted to practice regularly, but I just didn’t have the time, the attention, the right circumstances. Other things always came first. And yoga, while fully accessible, never felt like a priority.

And, truly, it’s not the first priority in my life. It falls behind life, family, responsibility, and moments of joy.

But when I need it, when my body is sore, when I’ve been slaving long hours at the computer, when I’m working through a cold or virus, when I’m having trouble falling to sleep, or waking up, and when I’m just not feeling like myself, that’s when I know that I need yoga.

I need yoga.

Truly.

Yoga for YOUR Life | A course on developing a yoga practice that suits your life by Julie Love Gagen

Fitting in Short Practices

So I squeeze in a series of postures that will progressively work through whatever I need. If it’s a cold, I move my body – slow, at first, then progressively faster. If I’m still from sitting at my computer, I throw off my shoes and do the warrior series, with balances, with the help of a nearby wall. If I’m having trouble getting to sleep, I use a series of release poses to help me focus, slow my breath, and relax my body.

Whatever the need is, yoga has the answer. And I’ve found that the more I do yoga in this way, the more yoga I do, the better I get, and the happier I am.

 

I could keep going, but I’ll spare you. For now. 😉

Learn more about my course, watch the trailer, and read the course-specific content at http://renegade-power-yoga.teachable.com/ or click the button below.

 

Learn more about Yoga for YOUR Life

 

Namaste, friends.

xoxo,

julie

 

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful | How I Sustain Blog

Creativity and Vulnerability: I Never Share my Work | One Little Word

Friends. Seriously. I’m kind of half amazed and half fully in shock. Let me explain.

I really REALLY thought I was the kind of person that wasn’t afraid to put themselves out there.

Truly, in person, I’m an open book. If you ask me a question, I’ll give you an all-too honest, overly detailed answer. I don’t hold anything back. The things that have been hard in my life, the things that I have overcome or worked through, the things that others would be ashamed of, I’m not afraid to share those things.

Seriously, just ask my mom. 😉

I’ve been reading Brené Brown’s latest book Rising Strong and there are a few things about the way she talks about fear and vulnerability that really struck me.

The first is that when you’re going through something, it doesn’t matter how big or small it is to others, it’s all about your point of reference. Your perspective. What is impossible for one person, is a blink to another. And so on.

This rings true in discussions between my husband and I. When I’m stuck on something that happened – say, a miscommunication or misunderstanding or some event that made me feel hurt or wronged in some way – he’ll ask me why it matters so much. He doesn’t see the pain and is often genuinely confused. You see, he fully understands that hurt is generally unintentional, that people are only acting on their behalf (not in malice), and that in the case of conflict, the issues we take usually have more to do with ourselves than anyone else. And, as Brené Brown has learned through her research, people – for the most part – are truly doing their best (even when it seems like they’re not).

And the same is true in reverse. He gets stuck on things – events, subjects, that I have trouble even listening to. And I think – really, is that really something that needs your attention?

It’s usually around that moment when I feel the sudden pang of guilt that comes with recognizing that I’m in the reverse position of a situation that played out, in my favor, just days prior.

Yup.

Anyway, when it comes to major life stress, I’ve done that work. I’ve been in the arena, as Brené says, and I’ve worked myself out of it. And when conflict comes again, I’ll be right back there. Working it out.

But creativity and sharing creative projects is a whole different thing. And that’s what the rest of this post is about.

I’ve introduced this topic a few times, and I’ll reference those recent posts as I go.

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful | How I Sustain Blog

Creativity and Vulnerability

Last fall I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and it changed me, as it has changed MANY creatives. I was also, coincidentally, reading and listening to interviews with Brené Brown while she was on her podcast publicity tour for Rising Strong. Brené talks about vulnerability. She talks about what it takes to be vulnerable and how hard, and uncomfortable, and necessary it is to be vulnerable in order to reach self acceptance.

Which is directly connected to what Elizabeth Gilbert writes about.

Elizabeth talks about how everyone is creative and how there are an astonishing number of people who once loved to draw, or paint, or make, and who have deep emotional scars that ended their creative journey. Sometimes for decades.

I have a story like that which I shared last year.

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful | How I Sustain Blog

 

Now I’ve done some work on my emotional and creative self recently. And I’ve found that when different people from different backgrounds all give you the same or similar feedback, positive or negative, it is likely true. And the feedback I’ve heard recently is “you’re wonderful, but you don’t share enough of yourself.”

“Share ‘enough’ of myself?” What does that even mean?? Okay, weirdo hippie-yoga person. Go drink some kale juice and talk about raising your kids screen and sugar free.

Anyway.

I share personal stories in this space. And, in this space, I choose to be vulnerable. And that vulnerability, coupled with the long-hand format of blog posts, gives me the opportunity to dive into a subject. And I truly, truly value that. It’s why I love this space, and your eyes, so very much.

But when it comes to sharing things that I make – and, believe me, friend, I make A LOT OF THINGS – I never share them. Or I share them with one audience, once, and never talk or reference it again. Because it’s over. And it no longer matters. Move on, already.

Here’s an example. The average amount of posts that I added to my Instagram account last year was roughly 1 per day. Some days that meant 2, or occasionally 3, photos, and some days that meant none. Most of those photos are scrapbook, or planner, or related to some creative project. Most of my network is scrapbookers. Many of the posts that I add, especially Project Life posts, get lots of likes.

This year, and it’s nearly halfway through, I have shared 4 Project Life pages on Instagram. FOUR. Do you have any idea how many I’ve made?

I have made dozens, friend.

In fact, it’s only recently that I realized I hadn’t shared them here. And just the other day, I noticed that my two favorite memory keeping projects from last year, two traveler’s notebooks from last summer and a day in the life mini book that I’m obsessed with, both haven’t had so much of a mention on my blog.

And they are MY FAVORITE PROJECTS.

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful | How I Sustain Blog

Tell me what sense that makes.

TELL ME.

What is going on with me??? I spend the time to make the projects, I have a network of friends and fellow enthusiasts that love looking at each others’ work, that are supportive and interested and engaged, and I still don’t seem to share the things that I make. The things that I love. The things I put my soul into.

SHARE IT ALL.

So I’m making a point. Starting today, it gets shared. Everything. Even if that means that I share a picture on Instagram that I think is only going to get 1 like. Who cares. I don’t share things for likes, I don’t make things to get approval, I create because it’s my soul’s journey. Because it wakes me up. Because it makes me feel alive and I can’t get enough.

I share because I love sharing. And I love creating. And neither of those things change no matter how poorly I schedule my instagram posts. No matter how silly the quote, or how imperfect the editing on the photo, or how bad the light is.

You see, I’ve been telling myself “no” time and time again. I’ve been telling myself that my photos aren’t good enough, or that I’m going to ruin my Instagram feed, or that it’s not worth sharing, or that I’m not worth sharing, or that my work is not worth sharing.

And just in case I needed evidence to all of that being total crap, I shared a pair of pages from my Week in the Life album yesterday. I shared them after thinking “eh. they’re not good enough. no one will like them. I’ll probably lose followers.” But I needed content, the pages were available, and they were the next in line to share.

So I shared them.

And the picture got 96 likes.

 

Elizabeth Gilbert would tell me that this is the trickster talking, telling me I’m not good enough, that my work isn’t good enough, and that it’s all pointless. The trickster can be loud. And overwhelming. And it can feel like the only voice in the room.

But when you look and listen and notice the real people around you, the ones that encourage you, and that like your work, and that want to see more and more of what you do, only then do you realize how wrong the trickster is.

And today, I listened to the people. To my friends. To my audience. And I shared. And I committed to sharing again. And again.

Because that’s what I’m meant to do. And that’s what I truly want to do. And it’s part of my path.

 

 

So stay tuned, friend, and let’s see where this wild journey of creativity and passion and sharing goes.

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful | How I Sustain Blog

Further Reading

For more on this subject, check out this post on my 100 Day Project this year | Creativity and Routine and this post on Overcoming Fear and Pursuing a Creative Passion.

Life Doesn't Have to be Perfect to be Wonderful-Collage

 

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the source of this quote is unknown, but the hearts shown here are some of the MANY drafts I made trying to get to the Instagram-worthy one. Which I shared. And within 5 minutes it was re-grammed with no author credit. I took it as a compliment and stamped these. If you want to the original, for personal use only, sign up for my newsletter – a link to the originals will be on your confirmation screen.

And, just like that, I shared something that I made. And there is so much more to come.

🙂

xoxo,

julie

_

If this sounds interesting to you, and if you want to learn more about inspiration, I highly recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. She also has a podcast called Magic Lessons and you can hear interviews with her on the subject of creativity at The Lively Show and The Good Life Project.

For several years Ali Edwards has started her year with a word. No resolutions or promises to break, just one little word® to check back on for guidance or reflection. As she describes it, “You live with it. You invite it into your life. You let it speak to you. Follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.” This year is all about the wholehearted pursuit of MAGIC. And I can’t wait to see where it leads. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. For more of my one little word, follow my tag one little word.

Week in the Life 2016 | Monday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Week in the Life 2016 | Monday

OH MY GOSH, friends. Man. This project turned out to be far more consuming and amazing and a lot more work than I expected. But it has taught me one thing. Well, a few things. Here they are:

  • Doing something for the first time always takes longer
  • Being organized saves the day
  • Done is better than perfect
  • Documenting life is an amazing, wonderful thing
  • These stories matter

So there it is. All of my lessons. I’ll share more, and elaborate, as I get this project, like, finished.

My Favorite Story from Today

Monday Pages

Week in the Life 2016 | Monday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen 02_Monday_Week in the Life 2016 | Monday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen-1b Week in the Life 2016 | Monday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Monday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Monday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Monday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Monday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Monday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Pages as a Layout

Blog Compliation of Pages_Monday-1

 

Supplies Used

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s pages. Thanks for following along!!

xoxo,

Julie

Week in the Life 2016 | Count Me In by Julie Love Gagen

Week in the Life 2016 | Sunday

So I’m just getting set up with the templates, cards, digital papers and stamps that I’m planning to use for Week in the Life™ this year, but I wanted to share my first three pages while I’m still working through my process.

Which, as you can imagine, takes time. 🙂

But I will share this: once you have your templates set, and you have a process for editing, accomplishing a project of this size is honestly WAY easier than you think. It’s all about getting down your techniques, picking some colors and themes, and incorporating it into your album.

And working with stamps, colors, and photo editing in Photoshop this year has been SO MUCH FUN already.

My Favorite Story from Today

Every day this week, as part of my feature from Mandy’s That’s SO Daily #HashtagThisWeek, I’m sharing a favorite story from the day. I chose this theme because it’s something I truly love capturing.

You can follow along on Instagram @julieloveg and read along here on the blog. Here is Sunday’s Photo + Story.

Week in the Life 2016 | Sunday Photo + Words by Julie Love Gagen

Every day | Every day Max starts and ends here, at this table, playing puzzles, or cars, or trains, or play dough. Every day he’s imagining and creating stories here. Every day he’s working through big ideas here. Every day he is learning here. And every day I get to watch it all unfold, right here.

Sunday Pages

Week in the Life 2016 | Sunday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Sunday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen Week in the Life 2016 | Sunday Digital Pages by Julie Love Gagen

About this Project

Week in the Life™ is a free annual documentation project lead by Ali Edwards to help you document your everyday life. It’s about capturing your regular moments. Or what is regular right now. It’s about getting all of those little things that, years from now, will seem anything but regular. It’s a point of reference. And it’s a lot of fun.

To see all of my posts on this project click here. To see a summary of all of my final albums, read this post. For tips on how I do this project, read here.

You can also get more tips from me on Instagram (@julieloveg), where I’ll be sharing That’s SO Daily photos and stories, and twitter (@juliegagen).

Supplies Used

 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s pages. Thanks for following along!!

 

xoxo,

Julie

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

Little Summer JOY | Traveler’s Notebook

SO. Last year I did this project called Little Summer JOY through Little Paper Projects. I knew I was going to have a super busy summer (4 weeks of 12 hour days for yoga teacher training) and I knew that I would want to document absolutely as much of it as possible.

You can read more on the Little Summer JOY project here.

So I chose a traveler’s notebook as my format.

And I couldn’t be happier with that choice.

Why?

Because I spent the summer carrying around a set of watercolors and a pen. Occasionally, I would take some time to stamp, add photos, and decorate. But mostly, I made some pages, wrote about my days, and journaled whenever there was a story to tell.. as soon as I had the time and the inclination to do it.

It was an amazing experience and one I’m planning to repeat this year for #LittleSummerJOY.

And I never shared it here.

I have no idea why.

Seriously. No idea.

So here are some of the pages that I made. I actually made two books (if you’ve followed around here for a while, you know that I make A LOT of projects, friend, so I’m sure you’re not surprised). And I have no pictures of that other book. So I’ll get the rest, definitely before we announce the second Little Summer JOY. Which I honestly CANNOT WAIT for.

Seriously, is it summer yet?

🙂

And I can’t wait to share the rest.

Traveler’s Notebook | Little Summer JOY Album (Part 1)

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

 

Stay tuned for the next installment!

 

Happy documenting, friends.

 

xoxo,

julie

 

Week in the Life 2016 | Count me in. Thoughts on documenting everyday moments by Julie Love Gagen

That’s so Daily | A Week in the Life Themed Prompt for #HashtagThisWeek

I love the boring parts of our lives. I do. Boring is regular. Boring is typical. Boring is expected, unoriginal, and plain. Boring is also routine, daily, and common. It is not dramatic. Or stressful. Or difficult. It is unsurprising. And it is easy. And I love that.

No matter what your life is, right now, in this moment – it has an element of boring. And that boring, that daily stuff, is so typical for you right now.

And that’s what makes it so special.

Because boring for you 5 years ago was SO DIFFERENT from what boring is for you right now. It’s different this year, compared to last. It’s different this month, compared to the next.

Life is always in transition. That much we know. Because even when your job, your routines, your favorite things appear to be consistently the same, something around you, some aspect of your life is changing.

Every day | Every day Max starts and ends here, at this table, playing puzzles, or cars, or trains, or playdough. Every day he's imagining and creating stories here. Every day he's working through big ideas here. Every day he is learning here. And every day I get to watch it all unfold, right here. | This week I'm over at @turquoiseavenue for #hashtagthisweek and the theme is That's SO Daily. I chose this theme because it's something I truly love capturing. I also chose this theme in celebration of @aliedwardsdesigninc #weekinthelife. Capturing everyday moments is something I'm truly passionate about, so expect to see a lot of everyday moments here, in this feed, all week. Happy documenting, friends! #projectlife #scrapbooking #documentlife #photographytips #witl2016 #documentyourdays

A post shared by Julie Love Gagen (@julieloveg) on

And if it’s not you, directly, it’s the world around you. It’s technology. It’s friendships. It’s your relationship with yourself. It’s the apps you use. It’s the way you spend your time. It’s the garden your growing this year, that is different from the one that you planted last year.

Life with littles is a constant shift of normal. It is precious. And once it changes, it will never go back to where it was before. It is forever moving forward. Shifting. Changing.

And it’s wonderful.

Documenting a Week in the Life

Today I have the privilege of being featured over on the Turqoise Avenue Hashtag This Week. I approached Mandy with this pitch last month, in anticipation of this year’s Week in the Life with Ali Edwards. Why? Because I love this project. Truly. And I could not wait to get started on some aspect of prepping for it.

As I thought about my past Week in the Life projects, my favorite pieces of those albums, and the stories that I love to share, I realized something: the thing I like most about this project is how it highlights how different our lives are each year. I love the little changes. The changes to our house, to our routines, to the things we do for fun.

Life is constantly evolving. It evolves with you. And this project truly captures that.

Week in the Life 2016 | Count me in. Thoughts on documenting everyday moments by Julie Love Gagen

 

>> Also, this project starts TODAY! So if you haven’t had a chance yet, head on over to Ali’s site to see what she has to say about Week in the Life. I’ll be sharing more on this year’s project starting tomorrow, and sharing pages every day. Stay tuned!! <<

Daily

So the Hashtag this week is “daily.” Daily is meant to represent the boring, the typical, and the everyday things that shape what our lives are right now. It is about putting into practice the true art, and interest, and essence of who we are and what we do right now.

Recently I shared a post on how I got started documenting everyday life (with photos and words). As with everything else, finding the words to describe everyday life is truly a practice. And it’s worth it.

If you’re stuck, or you’re in search of some version of perfect, check out this post on why I think it’s important to be in the practice of documenting everyday life – even (or especially) the messy stuff.

 

Every day this week, you can find more stories of “every day” on Instagram @julieloveg. I hope it inspires you to tell your own every day stories as well.

 

Happy documenting, friend!

 

xoxo,

Julie

Mother's Day DIY Painting

Gifting Original Kid’s Art for Mother’s Day

Every year Max gives his meme original artwork for Mother’s Day. It’s a simple gift that seems like nothing. But I love giving it. I love making it. I love seeing how happy it makes Max to give it, and meme to receive it.

Honestly, I just love kid’s art. I love watching their little fingers make sense of paint, paper, and glue. I love seeing how it progresses over time. I love having an annual opportunity to give it to the adults that our kids love so much.

So I give Max creative freedom to make whatever he wants. And, with a little help and some time, craft it into a meaningful gift.

Today I’m sharing the process we do, every year, to create a meaningful gift for Max’s grandmothers (and me too, because it’s Mother’s Day, after all).

Gifting Original Kid’s Art for Mother’s Day

Honestly, no one appreciates the silly, strange, and magical creations that kids make more than their moms and grandmothers. With few exceptions, anything that a child makes is precious, but especially when they make it with mom or grandmother in mind.

So, keeping in mind that they’re kids and not little artists, here are some tips for letting your little kids make whatever messy creation they want, then turning that magically into something pretty.

Mother's Day Last Minute Easy DIY Art Work

 

Step 1: Give them Paint

Typically I get choosy with the colors and select only the few colors that I know will look okay mixed together. Sometimes that means blue/green/yellow and sometimes that means pink/red/brown.

Once we pick the paints, I lay out 5 – 8 pieces of paper. Believe me, a lot of it will be a disaster, ESPECIALLY if your kid is a wild two year old with a knack for painting anything but the paper.

Don’t worry, friend, we have a solution. Tack the paper down with masking tape until the surface is covered, and a little overlap between the pages. Change into clothes that can be stained. Tack on an apron, if you can. Then give them the brush and stand by with a wet cloth to wipe up the excess.

Mother's Day DIY Painting

Step 2: Let it Dry

We never do our projects all in one day. Usually the painting occurs sometimes weeks before Mother’s Day, sometimes months. I like to keep a collection of Max’s paintings in a folder, or a pile, or sometimes even hung on the wall. Because every year Mother’s Day sneaks up on me like some kind unexpected surprise. Every year.

Mother's Day DIY Painting

Step 3: Add Some Flair

Depending on what the original creation looks most like, you’ll want to pick stickers and embellishments that bring it closer to a theme. In this case, the brown and pink disaster of a 2-yr old painting reminded me of a garden. I selected some pink flowers and little scrapbook embellishments that could be used to follow the theme.

And, again, gave Max the glue while I waited with a wet cloth in hand.

Mother's Day DIY Painting Mother's Day DIY Painting

He had a great time adding the flowers. And I think that’s what I love most about this process. The fact that the art isn’t a single create-and-ditch project.

It’s something that evolves.

And, because of that, it has more meaning. More time invested. More love and value.

Step 4: Add a Poem

There are A LOT of poems about moms and motherhood. I tend to do a google search of “kids mothers day project” or something similar. Sift through and find something you like. The one I used this year was I Will Love You Forever (click that link to download and print the poem).

Mother's Day DIY Painting

And there you have it, friends. Buy a bouquet of flowers and you’re set. Done. Easy. And special.

 

xoxo,

Julie

Overcoming fear and pursuing a creative passion_4x6

Overcoming Fear and Pursuing a Creative Passion

Months ago, I applied for Kellie Stamps’ 2016 Design Team. And I got in. And I was SO HAPPY and SO EXCITED and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it. And instead of announcing it, instead of posting all over Instagram, or writing a short blog post, I said nothing.

I silently celebrated all by myself.

And rather than immediately diving into the work, I ignored it.

And that is fully out of character for me.

So let’s talk about that. Because it’s fascinating and surprising and it’s a great personal story that is worthy of your time. Whether you’re a creative or not, this post is worthy of your attention.

And, who knows, you might just learn something.

Overcoming fear and pursuing a creative passion

Depression and Creativity

I had a slow start to the year. And obviously that contributed to my quiet celebration. I was chronically sick, which, combined with the oppression of winter, and the crappiness of the first trimester of pregnancy, lead to depression. And depression, friend, is the killer of creativity. It is stifling while simultaneously inviting fear and insecurity into the parts of ourselves that we love the most. Depression lies to us. It hurts the good stuff. It hurts the best stuff. And it especially hurts the creative stuff.

Eventually the weight of the first trimester lifted, my hyperemesis subsided, and I came back to life. I invested time and energy into the work spaces of my house and, with the help of a willing husband, created an environment that inspired creativity and work. A space that I wanted to be in. A space that I love. A space that I will write and share about soon, I promise.

And, with the help of the 100 Day Project, I was able to work through it and come to a much happier, and much healthier place. The place where I am thriving today.

Get to Work Book labels made from Kellie Stamps May 2016 Releases: Label That and My Fave

Get to Work Book labels made from Kellie Stamps May 2016 Releases: Label That and My Fave

Identifying Fear in Creative Projects

Of course, I had no idea that I was afraid. I had no idea that fear was stopping me from doing this thing that I love. And, in fact, I had no idea that it had anything to do with anything until I started writing this post.

Which, as a side note, is why I chose daily writing as my 100 day project. It’s how I figure my shit out. And it’s important to figure out your shit.

As I started writing this post, I recognized the fear and the resistance that I had around talking about digital design. I thought back to the amount of times I made something and didn’t share it. I thought about how often I said “that’s not good enough” or “no one will like that” or “it’s just not that special” and how I allowed those thoughts to drive my decisions. And how I hid behind them. For months.

And I realized that fear had played a trick on me.

Now I only know about fear and creativity because I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. And lately I’ve heard her words echoing in the back of my mind. Words about how fear is a trickster. How fear can sound so rational, so responsible, so clearly protective and in your best interest.

And it’s total crap.

Fear is a liar. Sure, sometimes it’s real – like when you’re actually in a dangerous situation – but when it comes to creativity, fear is mostly full of shit.

And once you can see it for what it is, you are free.

And you need that freedom to find inspiration and to truly tap into your creative self (which we all have, friends, so if you think you’re not creative, buy Big Magic immediately, read it, and work through your shit).

Example of my first PSD template. Which you can download for FREE here.

Example of my first PSD template. Which you can download for FREE here.

Overcoming Fear in Creativity

At some point this year, about a month or two after I was selected for the team, I had a decision to make. I could either continue to tell myself that the bits and pieces of work that I did were total crap and that I was too sick, or too depressed, or too occupied to do the work.

I could have given up. I had the opportunity to do so.

But, thankfully, I made a good choice. You see, I only pursue creative teams that I truly, truly want to be a part of. I pick only the brands that I absolutely love, the brands I talk about, the brands I invest in, the brands I have a passion for. Those are the only brands that I work with.

And I love Kellie. I love her stamps. I love her style. And I love playing with a new medium, in a new way, and creating some really fun things. I love this opportunity.

So when it came down to it, I knew that I had to make something happen. Not for myself. Not for fear. Or creativity. I had to make it happen because it mattered to me. Because the team, the opportunity, the brand, the Kellie mattered to me.

And at first it sucked. And it was hard. And a little hopeless.

 

But that’s how it always starts when you learn something new. It’s always terrible at the beginning. Borderline embarrassing. And that’s totally fine. Because it’s new. Because you’re learning. And because you’re just getting started.

But you cannot get better unless you do the work. And each hour that you invest gets you closer to where you want to be. And before you know it, you’re making things you never thought you could make. And creating things that you never thought you could create. And coming up with ideas that you never knew you could have.

That’s only available to you if you do the work. So do the work.

And I did.

I made digital washi tape, friend. DIGITAL WASHI TAPE. It's going to be a thing. I'm calling it now.

I made digital washi tape, friend. DIGITAL WASHI TAPE. With a stamp. It’s going to be a thing. I’m calling it now.

Taking the Plunge and Pursuing Inspiration

So I finally took the plunge and bought Photoshop Elements (I have a Mac, and this is the current PSE version I use).

This is a BIG DEAL, friend. I’ve been debating about this for YEARS. And by years, I mean literally half of my lifetime. I have vivid memories of standing in Best Buy, holding the PSE box in my hands, considering the purchase, and never buying it. Not once. Like a dozen times. I have memories, years later, of going to the Adobe website, reading about it, and never buying it.

Fear is so weird.

Each time I considered the purchase, I told myself all sorts of weird untruths. I told myself that I didn’t want to make the investment. I told myself I didn’t have the time to learn it. That I was overwhelmed. That I had more important things to do. That I probably wouldn’t use it. That I had other options.

But, if I’m being honest, and obviously this post is all about being honest, I recognize now that the reason I didn’t buy PSE was because I was afraid.

That’s weird, right? Like, who is afraid of buying a software program??

You see, I’ve had a dream of digital design for a long time. A really long time. And every time I got closer to that pursuit, fear played a trick on me. It told me that I couldn’t do it. That I had too much to learn. That there were better things to do with my time. That others were already doing what I would do.

Not only is fear a liar, fear is also just plain wrong.

A FREE 4x6 PSD Photo Collage Template (for personal use only)

 

My Happy Place

So I’m doing it.

And I suck at it.

And I have a lot to learn.

But, truly, I am already SO much happier. Not because I’ve done anything special, but because I’m finally in the pursuit of something. And that something might be nothing. But it doesn’t really matter anymore.

Because, after spending half a lifetime telling myself no, I finally said yes. And I like saying yes.

And I made my first PSD template!! Love it as much as I do? Click here to download it for FREE.

 

 

So I’m going to do more of it. And who knows, it might just become something.

xoxo,

Julie

Featured in this post: Kellie Stamps May 2016 release, available as digital and physical stamp sets.

If this sounds interesting to you, and if you want to learn more about inspiration, I highly recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. She also has a podcast called Magic Lessons and you can hear interviews with her on the subject of creativity at The Lively Show and The Good Life Project.

For several years Ali Edwards has started her year with a word. No resolutions or promises to break, just one little word® to check back on for guidance or reflection. As she describes it, “You live with it. You invite it into your life. You let it speak to you. Follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.” This year is all about the wholehearted pursuit of MAGIC. And I can’t wait to see where it leads. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. For more of my one little word, follow my tag one little word.