one little word // foundation & setup video

hey crafty babes! if you follow me on instagram, you may have seen a sneak peek of my olw album. oh, and in case you missed my olw intro here, check out my prior post here. okay, so now that you’re caught up on how i got to this point, let’s take a look inside the album i’ve started!

i filmed a quick flip-thru for you guys – check it out here – and then you can see some detailed photos below!

IMG_3444 IMG_3445 IMG_3446 IMG_3447

thanks for staying! happy scrapping!
andrea xo


one little word 2016 // quality

hi again and welcome to 2016!!

it’s that time of year for fresh starts, clear ideas and a new ONE LITTLE WORD. this project was created by ali edwards. click here to find out more about it.

i have chosen many words over the years and unlike my previous words – this word didn’t come easily. i actually had two other words chosen. then i had one FOR SURE. i even did an entire 2-page layout introducing my word for 2016. but i began to feel like it was empty and not really something that had any possibility of changing me. that word was HAPPY – and my layout ROCKS by the way.
the other word i was pulled to was OPEN. but it wasn’t inspiring and not very action-y. although i had made a pinterest board and was preparing myself for the change from HAPPY to OPEN, something just didn’t sit right. this feeling was very overwhelming as i lay awake at 3am a few nights ago.

when i was browsing ideas and inspiration for OPEN, i ran into an amazingly creative crafter who had the word QUALITY the previous year. i stopped for a moment and within 2 seconds i had already come up with a list of things i could improve upon with this word.

that was it. QUALITY is my word for 2016. seriously. i’m not changing it. no really. for sure!


1. producing or providing products or services of high quality or merit
i feel like this one gives me the possibility of improvement in many areas:
these are the categories i will focus on with some high-level action items. i have deeper goals within each of these that will make them more attainable throughout the year.
TIME: use my time wisely with the people who need me the most. unplug more often.
HEALTH: eat clean foods and maintain good eating habits. workout with purpose and goals.
STUFF: maintain only physical items that bring joy to my life. complete a whole house purge of unnecessary junk.
ART: create art with passion and purpose. create for me but inspire others.
WORDS: speak with truth and positivity. learn new words. less cursing (let’s be honest, that’s never going to go away completely)  
i have some habits to kick and some mental blocks to jump over but what i love about this project is that it’s not just about what you want to change – it’s an opportunity for an action plan.
so here’s to another year of trying to be better than we were. let’s just do our best and not beat ourselves up when we fall. let’s go for progress – not perfection.
andrea xo

one little word 2015 // nourish

it always amazes me how easily i can settle on a word. all of my previous words, enjoy, go. do. be., strong – all very meaningful, comfortable and somewhat easy to execute.

but when i began to think of a word for twenty-fifteen, the words i wanted were not as easy to hold on to.

the purpose of this project – for me – is to grow. to take a part of myself that is weak and strengthen it. now, i’m pretty good with knowing my weaknesses, but admitting them and actually working toward changing is a difficult thing. it’s hard to be uncomfortable. it’s a struggle to change something that has been normal for more time than you can recall.

but isn’t change supposed to be good? isn’t growth amazing when we can actually see the harvest? this is what my goal is with my word for twenty-fifteen. and even though for the first few days, i tried to change my word to make myself more comfortable, in the end i ended up back here. thankfully.



you see, naturally, i’m not the nurturing type. i mean, i am nurturing as in i care deeply for people. and i can be very sensitive and sentimental. but sometimes – er, most times – i can’t make that translation from mental to physical. thinking of/doing for others first is rare. so without making this a therapy session, i know this about myself and want to be a better person, ie: wife, mom, woman, friend.

we’ve heard that before, right? shoot – we’ve all said it before. and what i love about ali edwards’ concept of one little word is that WE CAN make these changes in our lives.

if you’re unsure about this project, check out her video! yours truly even makes a quick appearance! 🙂

so here is my plan:

i wrote my word and it’s two definitions.
then i wrote out synonyms for my word so i can look up quotes, ideas and actions that revolve around my word.
next – because i have to make a list – i wrote out the main things in my life i want to nourish. and i got specific. within each topic i wrote a few actions to get me thinking about ways to nourish these areas.
then i found a quote i pinned and wrote it at the bottom. this is my brainstorm and jumping off point to make some sort of action plan for the year.


my next step was to jump on pinterest and begin collecting quotes, lists, activities and inspirational items that encourage and nourish my direction. you can see my one little word pinterest board here.

here are a few that struck me right away.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/404/14870510/files/2014/12/img_4613.jpg /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/404/14870510/files/2014/12/img_4618.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/404/14870510/files/2014/12/img_4615.jpg /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/404/14870510/files/2014/12/img_4614.jpg



/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/404/14870510/files/2014/12/img_4617.jpg /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/404/14870510/files/2014/12/img_4622.jpg




i will need to develop specific action plans for each area i want to nourish and i’m not sure yet how that will look. what i’m also unsure of is how i will measure my results. resolutions usually have a checkbox attached to them and with most goals, we want to see tangible results. but i think concepts like this help us to develop ourselves over time, instead of just checking something off your list.

as with most of my words, they continue to live on and are always visible. making my word visible is something i will need help with. hopefully i can get signed up for ali’s class soon. and over the course of the year i hope to enjoy whole foods again, see improved communication between the boys, a stronger bond in my marriage, more time spent in worship and another workshop under my belt.

here’s to another year of growth!

andrea 🙂



hello strong // move more, eat well

hellostrong_header copy copy


how are you doing on your goals? are you feeling worn out or not motivated? cathy’s jumpstart class sure helped keep me focused. i think i will continue to document this journey and include it in my project life. since i was a bit behind in keeping up with the documentation process, here’s where i am so far. i’ve learned a lot and feel so blessed to have won a spot in this class. the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.





moving more is not a normal routine for me yet, but we’re getting there. i think i’ve found my favorite activities in weights, cardio and pilates. but a huge part of this is to get it scheduled.


i look to pinterest for quick weight sessions that i can do in under 30 minutes.



i do this arm routine 3x with 10# weights and i feel like a beast when i’m done!


running can also be done in 30 minutes and i feel amazing afterwards. i use endomondo to track miles and calories and 5k runner to help me run intervals.


i made a deal with myself and it’s totally worked. i decided that during work days i would take a 15 minute walk instead of checking facebook. i rarely take lunch breaks or normal breaks so this gets me outside, moving and it clears my head for the rest of the day. aaaaand, i just scan facebook and instagram while i walk so i still get my social fix. 😉


another way to make sure i get a workout in is to incentivize myself with fun stuff. work first, play later.


matt tells me that weight loss happens in the kitchen. so eating well is obviously important.


food has such an emotional hold on me that finding new foods to enjoy can be difficult. below are some regulars on my menu these days.

tip: prepare your proteins ahead of time. we cook 10 chicken breasts and several salmon filets for the week so we have them on hand for meals. this cuts down on the prep time per meal as well.

matt created this fun concoction of sausage, lean ground turkey, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, green onion, an egg white, garlic and pepper. plus we shared a sweet potato. super tasty!


quinoa, covered by a mix of steamed broccoli, salmon, zucchini, lemon and teriyaki.


chicken and spinach quesadilla with cheese in an herb and spinach wrap. i dip it in greek yogurt instead of sour cream. 🙂


and then there are days when the good decisions go out the window. but hey, ya gotta live a bit, right?


spinach chicken and artichoke pita.


instead of making two, i had a bowl of strawberries with it and was super satisfied!


and hey, if you’re feeling weak in the moving and eating departments, here’s a little reminder for you. don’t forget!




moving and eating to a stronger me

it’s january 1st and what better way to start off a new year than with a cool story and some motivation!

so the other day, when i posted about my one little word for 2014, i have to be honest, i was worried about it.
i was worried i couldn’t hold up my end of this deal.
i was afraid that without the right and constant motivation, i would drift off and fizzle out.

as i normally do, i clicked onto instagram and in my feed was a post from the lovely cathy zeiskle about a giveaway of her new move more, eat well jumpstart class. i had read a summary of her class a few days before and thought, sure would be nice. might help keep me on track. but i glazed over it, not really thinking about it, but contemplating how i could stay motivated.

when i saw the giveaway on monday morning, i immediately thought that my bloggy-texting-insta-buddy dawn would love this. so naturally, i tagged her and scrolled down for a few posts. after a few minutes i clicked over to see my notifications and saw that 30 minutes earlier, dawn had actually tagged me in the same giveaway post. DUDE! great minds!

i texted her the funny coincidence and we both mentioned how cool it would be to win the class for free.
but i never win things.
okay, i won a stamp set from give a girl a blog (who’s a super rad chick) once, but literally, that’s it.
i didn’t even think about the class after that.
plus, here’s the thing. i don’t diet. i’ve always been thin, but the past few years i have seen that i have to do more to keep myself thin and i haven’t been doing that. so i was apprehensive about jumping into something that might just be a short-term placeholder. eating well and moving more is a lifestyle, not a diet. this i know.

going along about my day, i fluttered around the house from project to project. just enjoying my vacation with nothing important to do. the day started to wind down and matt and i were just sitting in the family room on our devices while marshall made a candyland battle when the email came in. i got a twitter notification from cathy herself that dawn and myself had been tagged as the winners of the giveaway! i think i actually screamed out loud and matt gave me some crazy look! i immediately texted dawn, not realizing it was almost 10pm her time but she saw my text and responded with about as many happy faces and clapping hands as you can fit into one text! i am so excited to have her as a partner on this journey.

Big Picture Classes

i emailed cathy back, as per her instructions, and received my pre-class confirmation first thing the next day (tuesday). and with the speedy quickness, i watched her intro video, reviewed all the gorgeous cards and started printing. and while the boys played, i colored the icons in PSE and used my silhouette to print & cut out a few that i liked. i have a journaling pen that’s a perfect match to the blue and a green stamp pad in the perfect shade. you can call me ready!


then i cut up all the cards and have them stored in one of my studio calico pl kit boxes. it’s a perfect storage place until i get my photo pockets. i plan to use the project life small variety pack (8 1/2 x 11) and just include the pages of this journey into my 12×12 pl album. easy peasy.


if you can’t tell, i’m excited about this change and optimistic about the results.
and i plan to document my journey, right here, in pure project life form.
because it’s how i roll.


happy new year to you! i hope you can make 2014 great!


one little word // 2014 // strong

strong  (adjective)

1: having great physical power and ability : having a lot of strength
2: not easy to break or damage
3: not sick or injured


my one little word for 2014 is strong.
strong in my food choices.
strong enough to say no to the unnecessary junk food that rules over my taste buds.
strong physically.
strong enough to get to level 2 (or maybe even 3) on the 30-day shred.
strong in my decisions to workout consistently.

To quote Nike: Just do it.

by nature, i am such a planner. i do not fly through life by the seat of my pants. you know, moment to moment. not at all. although i have learned how to relax and enjoy the not so perfect areas of my life, i still thrive on order, processes and routines.

but when i plan to workout, like, make an actual schedule to run on certain days or lift on certain days, i tend to jump off that ship with the idea that i have something (or ANYTHING) better to do. this is such a lie. and i believe those lies too often.

but if i don’t set up some kind of routine, then i’m just a lost girl with arms that are getting flabby and thighs that touch and parts that shake, rattle and roll. that IS NOT me. and the most difficult part of where i am now is realizing that i’ve done this to myself. and when i look forward to the tough workouts ahead, i just want to scroll through pinterest and pin lots of fun looking workouts.

and this is where strong comes into my life. why am i such a baby when it comes to pushing myself? i am a strong person, aren’t i? i have a super high tolerance for pain and these workouts or runs i do aren’t anything like childbirth or getting a tattoo or weed whacking my ankle or having a toenail ripped off. these are painful things, that i’ve endured. am i really that strong or is it just a cover up to avoid showing how weak i really am? oh boy, look what we’ve opened up here. this is seriously like a therapy session with myself. am i weak? or am i stronger than i think i am?


god knows how much i can handle. and i need to stop being taken hostage by the lies that i hear from the peppermint bark in the fridge and the famous amos cookies in the pantry. i need to remain strong in my choices and remember how good i feel when i make the right ones.

and because there will be challenges, here is how i will be courageous enough to fight them:

1 // i can see the vending machine from my desk at work. when i crave a snack that’s not good for me, i will grab a healthy snack that i have prepared for myself. this means i have to actually eat the good stuff i bring to work. this i can handle.

2 // when i don’t feel like working out, i will browse my work it out board on pinterest for inspiration and ideas.

3 // the day will always provide stress and i will tell myself that i will workout tomorrow. i will set up a workout schedule with reminders on my phone. i will give myself an attainable goal, 3 days a week. i do not want to over-commit and then not reach any goal due to being overwhelmed. i know this about myself.

as i walk (or run) through this journey for 2014, i will face hard days. i will be weak at times. i will eat a square or two of peppermint bark and i won’t feel guilty or beat myself up about it. i still want to enjoy life. but i can’t let it be the norm, as it has been for so many months. alternatively, i will also face days that i can be strong and win over the battles. those are the days that will build me up and get me closer to my goal of having a strong body and a stronger mind.


other things i will do to help live my word all year will be to include it into my project life album, make and hang physical reminders at home and at work as well as setting a reminder each month to reflect or track progress or to write a blog post to share where i’m at. i don’t want this to drift away from me.

if you are interested in what this one little word thing is all about, check out ali edwards’ blog or my previous posts from past years. have you picked a word? has your word picked you? i challenge you to take on this project and see where your word takes you.


nail + string art // representin’ cali

i’m officially obsessed.
i want to buy nails and string and pieces of wood in bulk!

because this is the result i get.

normally, the non-symmetrical messiness of a project like this would send me into a state of anxiety, and fast. but as of late, i’ve been working on being less rigid and enjoying the imperfect. learning to fall in love with the random has been incredibly freeing.


the inspiration for this piece comes from my one little word for 2013 and my journey to explore the state i live in. i want it to hang in the family room as a reminder of all the fun family things to do, right around the corner, and inexpensively. if you’re curious, i’ve been keeping my eye on this site for ideas.

i admit that this project was tedious because of the letters i added in the middle. when i do another one, i will be sure to make the letters a bit bigger so they are easier to wrap string around. if you are planning on attempting one of these projects yourself, i would suggest the following tips:

first, see my first tutorial on this project for major details.
when nailing the letter outlines…nail the inside parts first and work your way out toward the outer shape. for example, i did the outline of california after i nailed the letters so you have a full range of space to nail. (sidenote: realizing that i’ve used the word nail too much but i’m kinda out of other options.) okay, moving on.
i though that using smaller nails for the letters and larger nails for the outside shape would be a good idea. WRONG! because you’re connecting string between the outer nails and the letters, it would have been helpful if they were the same height. instead i was constantly holding the string with my fingers to guide them around the tighter areas.

but everything else was fun and easy! one of the best parts is that i can tie off anywhere and put it away until i can work on it again. 🙂

feel free to pin this awesome project!


one little word in action // san francisco

since i’m a bit of a rebel, instead of just picking ‘one little word‘ this year, i picked ‘three little words‘. ‘one little phrase‘ even.


i picked action words so that i get off my rear-end and do something. go somewhere. be happy.

my goal for the year is to do more, starting with a family day in san francisco.

i began documenting our journey by checking the weather the night before…..

dear san francisco, if i forget to tell you later, you’re going to be gorgeous tomorrow.San Francisco, if I forget to tell you later, you're gonna be gorgeous tomorrow.

we’re on our way…

i kinda have a thing for smoke stacks…

the obligatory transactionIMG_0494

i have a thing for bridges too…IMG_0497

I have thing for bridges.

…and tunnels…IMG_0491



what a view0P1010679



he’s my cool ray of sunshine.




our a+ student earned himself a trip to shrimp heaven.


my name’s forrest, forrest guuuump.P1010701

the view from our table.


do not mistake his expression for nerves. he plans to attack this like a boss.Untitled






working together.

i love my guy!

marshall just needed a hug…

such concentration…


this crazy clan makes me happyP1010731


that face, my god that face!

i swear, i can never just get a normal picture. but i’m gonna take what i can get because they’re adorable.

he likes weapons…but don’t be afraid…he’s still sweet. 

this kid is ready for the carousel.P1010744






i don’t know about you, but i like the pigeons.

just me, leaning against a wall. pretty exciting.

just taking a closer look at alcatraz.



somehow, for some reason, the crowds just parted and there he was, walking in front of us, all grown up like.

there are no words. i adore this shot.P1010783

he’s my sweet babboo.

and my silly pie.


i couldn’t help myself…

this happened.P1010796

coolest. story. ever.

picture it: we’re waiting for the parking garage elevator to take us back up to the level that we parked on. when one of the doors opens, it’s filled with 8 or so young adults. one of them was holding this gigantic sonic the hedgehog (a character that marshall is obsessed with). as matt and i are trying to assess whether the four of us will fit, marshall notices the sonic and the guy holding the sonic notices marshall’s sonic hoodie and holds the elevator door open and hands the doll to marshall. we notice what’s happened and profusely disagree with him giving it to marshall. the young man smiles and profusely refuses to take it back, saying he just won it and that marshall could use it more than he could. we thanked them profusely until the elevator door closed and felt blessed for the kindness of those youngsters. there really are still good people out there. people who make this kid the happiest kid around. 🙂



such a handsome dude.

so…….i like to take pictures of the weird things and ways i ‘see’ the city. here’s just a few things i snapped on our way off of the embarcadero.






and then they slept.

that was our day. a time to be together. a time to kick butt at forrest gump trivia. a time to  be in the crowds of the pier just long enough to know we don’t like to be there for very long. a time to drive and talk and get away from screens and neighbors and laundry.

we went. we did. we were.



weekly wrap-up 2013 // week 3

this week just flew by! work is lightening up a slight bit and i don’t feel as drained as I have been these last few months. when work and home are all chugging along smoothly, i can function, manage, and enjoy this little life of ours.

this week was full of adventures, laughs and beauty. come see how we got on…

sunday | january 13:

a new week of daily photo challenges from projectlife365.Untitled

meeting my friend at the movies. a little sunshine on my face while i wait.
sometimes, all a girl needs is a little sunshine. ☀

we saw les mis and i swear it’s one of the best movies i’ve seen. i hadn’t seen an ALL SINGING musical before and honestly, i really liked it. i liked it alot! hugh jackman, who sits at the top of my gorgeous men list, was phenomenal! 

#projectlife365 // forgotten. i tend to forget that i live a few blocks away from a state prison. and come to think of it, all the towns i have lived in, have been home to major prisons or mental facilities. hmmm, weird.
#projectlife365 // jan13: #forgotten (I always forget that I live around the corner from a famous prison.) #notstuckinfolsomprison

marshall was still sleeping when i got home from the movies so gibson and i looked for dumb and dumber on tv and wouldn’t ya know it, it was starting in 30 minutes! loved his reaction and how hilarious he thought everything was.
@minifantic is laughing so hard he just snorted!!!!!  stoked I get to watch this with Gibson, I've been waiting years! But now the natural Jim Carrey in him has intensified 100x. #mockyeaingyeah #dumbanddumber

monday | january 14:

for some reason, i have no pictures from today. hm.

tuesday | january 15:

my morning drive to work and i get a sunrise.

work today is learning about healthcare reform. basically, in summary, it means more dependence on the government and people who make the money get to pay for all of it. it’s a load of bull. but it’s the industry i work in, so i guess i need to learn what it means for me so i continue to get a paycheck.
#projectlife365 // jan15: confused (because healthcare reform is insane)

wednesday | january 16:

he wears his beanie like a hipster.

thursday | january 17:

finally! a new work laptop! my computer no longer sounds like a jet is coming out of it!#fmsphotoaday // jan17: #ready for windows 8 on my brand new work laptop. #hellzyeah #isoneededthis

during my run, i passed through my little one’s school and noticed the perfect sign of winter for today’s #projectlife365
#projectlife365 // jan16: sign of winter

dinner tonight are mini pizzas. i just cut circles out of the pizza dough with a mason jar lid and piled them high with yummy goodness.

friday | january 18:

playing around on my new computer and editing pictures in photoshop. playing with clarity and making fluffy dog look a lot softer that he truly is.

out of the blue, gibson sang a parody of the new alicia keys song and i told him he should make a meme of it. this is what he came up with. this kid will always keep my laughing..

downloading the latest issue of BHG for our trip to SF tomorrow. be prepared for the onslaught of pics ahead! but i will save most of them for a separate post.
Prepping for our day trip to SF tomorrow: New mag? Check. DSLR battery charged? Check. Apple devices charged? Check. #roadtrip #godobe #finallygettingtheheckouttadodge

dear san francisco, if i forget to tell you later, you’re gonna be beautiful tomorrow.San Francisco, if I forget to tell you later, you're gonna be gorgeous tomorrow.

contemplating some spring decor in the family room before bed.

saturday | january 19:

the main purpose of this trip to a city we’re not super fond of is one thing: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
since gibson has recently watched Forrest Gump for the first time, he was thrilled when i told him they made a restaurant from the movie. you see, this kid is a shrimp freak! he loves it, asks for it, wants it all the time and loves every single bite. so since he pulled in all A+ grades since christmas break, we decided this could be a fun treat for him…(and a ton of photo ops for me)!

the dinosaur came along for the ride.

but first, we stopped for a visit with papa. he has some cool treasures in his house.Untitled

matt and papa.

granpapa always has stories for the boys. and he always has treats and lets marshall leave with a magnet from his fridge.
hanging on every visits with granpapa!

a quick stop by the jelly belly outlet for some treats.Untitled

i successfully avoided getting myself some of my favorite flavor.

we’re on the road again.

i have a thing for bridges. their majesty. their grandness. the flawless symmetry.
I have thing for bridges.

i also have a weird fascination with smoke stacks.

the obligatory transaction.Untitled




heading onto the embarcadero.  Untitled

he’s in shrimp heaven. and don’t be fooled by the look on his face, he plans to handle this like a boss.


taking a closer peak at alcatraz.Untitled


playing with lightroom and editing pics from the day.

just wrapping up our long day and settling in to read, i get this text from my mom. she is so super excited to have sang karaoke that she texted me at 10:00. hilarious!

and that ended our third week in january. come back later in the week to see how i have stayed faithful to my one little word…. go. do. be.