Friday, December 31, 2010

One Little Word- Healthy

For the past few years Ali Edwards has sponsored a movement called One Little Word. There is even a Big Picture Class for it this year. I have participated for the past four years. This year my word is HEALTHY. I am creating 6 categories for this word.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Finances, Healthy Home, Healthy Spirit and Healthy Marriage. After being sort of out of things most of the fall due to my back issues, I really want to concentrate on getting and staying healthy. I have many ideas about how to do this, and since this is my blog, I am going to outline most of them here so that I can always find it!
Healthy Body
goals- sleep 8 hours a night, give up soda, drink more water, eat 5 fruits and veggies a day, walk the dog 5x a week, take three classes a week (yoga, etc.)and stretch with Alyssa 2x a week
Healthy Mind
goals- read 50 books in a year, complete 2 photography projects, meditate (work up to 10 minutes at a time), create a monthly review scrapbook layout, visit a museum once a month, and complete the scrapbooking classes I sign up for, complete NaNoWriMo in January
Healthy Finances
goals- complete Dave Ramsey class, feel in control, monthly meeting with Mark
Healthy Marriage
goals- date night once a month with Mark (and the financial meeting doesn't count)
Healthy Home
goals- organized cleaning plan, completing projects in a timely manner (I will try and make a list of projects for each month) In January, my one goal is to finish reupholstering the chair I started in the fall.
Healthy Spirit
goals- daily devotional time and more prayer
This is a lot, but I really do want to make some changes. I know that practice makes me better at most things, so blogging and taking pictures and scrapbooking are all things I want to make more time for. Not sure where that time is coming from since I want to go to bed earlier, but I am hoping being more organized will help with that.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's- the Ultimate Start Over

We have arrived at one of my favorite parts of the year- the cusp of a new one. While I can take any moment and make it a time of beginning so that I can make lists of things to do or improve (moving, school starting, summer starting, etc.), this is the one the whole world joins me in. It is almost overwhelming, how many things I want to do and change.

First, there is the One Little Word challenge by Ali Edwards. I will post more on that in the next couple of days- my word is ready to roll, but all of the details are not.

Then, there are project goals I want to accomplish. I am not a crazy project every week girl, but there are many things I want to finish, or start and finish, and using the blog to document them might help me stay a little bit accountable. (to myself and the other 3 people who occasionally pop by to read this.)

Alex wants to read 50 books in a year, and I think that sounds admirable and probably doable. I probably have 50 books in the house that I haven't read that I wanted to at some point. I also have a shiny new Kindle just waiting to hold books for me. :)

I have multi-dimensional resolutions- ever the optimist about changing at the beginning of the year. I am still working with pen and paper to get everything all clear in my head, but one of the goals is to publish here frequently in 2011. At least to show all of my projects and photos and such.

Of course, there are the overachievers- Susan pointed me to one tonight- a stay at home mom and scrapbooker who manages daily posts to her blog with photos, a book a week, a project a week, posting on the Weekly Gratitude blog, and serving on design teams for scrapbooking. Who are we kidding?? I am really glad the internet was not around when my kids were little- I would have felt like quite the slacker.

Nevertheless, I am quite busy right now thinking of how much better I could be by the end of 2011. Some of my thoughts are for the long term, some are until I solve a problem or complete a project, but the thoughts, they are legion. When I have a clearer plan formulated, I will be back here (maybe tomorrow or the 1st) to lay it all out there and have something to look back on.

Do you have any resolutions? one little word? let me know...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Birthday Post 2010 Andrea Adams, photographer, Stafford, VA

Forty Four things on my Forty Fourth Birthday

1. I want to write a book.
2. I wish I could clean my house by blinking like Jeannie on I Dream of Jeannie. It would free up a lot of time.
3. I have so many projects in my head, and there are many lists in many locations with multiple projects written on them.
4. I am trying to learn to meditate. It is much more difficult to sit and be still than one might think. My brain goes into overdrive.
5. I wrote down all of the things I would like to spend some time each day on (Bible Study, piano, photography, reading, cleaning, laundry, business, etc.) It added up to more hours than I had available. That has frustrated me.
6. I am trying to decide if I want to take a steady part time job in the fall or stick with subbing.
7. I really love the Body Combat class at the gym.
8. I cannot wait to go to the beach- partly for the relaxation, and partly for the photos I get to take.
9. I am looking for a parking lot carnival so I can take photos of a ferris wheel, and I can’t find one. Where are they? How do you find one?
10. I love summer dresses and skirts. I would wear them everyday if I had enough.
11. I want to visit some colleges this summer with Alex.
12. Organization is my biggest issue in getting things done. I keep trying to organize and I set up systems, but follow through is my downfall.
13. Homemade chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite things in the world.
14. My favorite TV show this year is Chuck.
15. I can’t survive without paper towels in the kitchen. I read about paperless kitchens, and it just seems unimaginable to me.
16. My craft room is a disaster right now, and it makes me sad because it is hard to be creative in there. See numbers 2 and 3.
17. Sometimes I need a Diet Dr. Pepper.
18. I spend too much money. On everything.
19. I could read for several hours every day. I wish I had a kindle and an unlimited amazon card. There are also many lists of books I want to read lying around. I should get all of that onto goodreads.
20. I have everything to paint my bedroom- now I just need to do it.
21. I love Target.
22. For someone who spends 95% of her time on this one exit, I have to put gas in my car a lot.
23. We are currently trying to buy Tony a used truck.
24. I do not think I am old enough for both of my parents to be gone.
25. The beach calms me down instantly. Just stepping onto it, I feel my heart rate slow down and my breathing deepen.
26. I wish I were really excellent at SOMETHING- not just kind of good at many things.
27. I would love to get a fine arts degree in photography, design, or even painting.
28. I wish I could hunt for furniture to repaint/refinish and have a place to refinish it easily.
29. I want to live in the Pottery Barn catalog or the Ballard Design catalog.
30. My kids are awesome- smart, nice, good to each other- sometimes I am amazed at how well they are turning out.
31. I am really going to try and assimilate the ideas behind the Women, Food and God book- which is the same thing in Weigh Down, and the same in Martha Beck’s book. I know this is the answer- I just need to implement it.
32. I don’t think I am allowed to really fall apart, and I don’t know what would happen if I really let myself go.
33. I love reading blogs on line, particularly those of creative women who post photos of everything they are doing. I really envy everything they are getting done.
34. My age doesn’t bother me.
35. White chocolate is not chocolate.
36. I went to the midnight showing of Eclipse in a hand painted t-shirt that matched my girls’. It was fun.
37. The Harry Potter trailer made me really excited for the movie.
38. I want to make plans to go to DC to take some pictures and for other trips to museums.
39. I want to make my house the house I really want to live in. Hence the lists.
40. I wear spf 70 on my face every single day and I still have dark patches.
41. I am making an effort to go to the pool more this summer and read. Hoping to help with the relaxing efforts. My stress levels are a bit high.
42. I wish I had a really cute haircut that didn’t require a lot of work.
43. I like walking the dog every day.
44. My life is pretty good- I need to appreciate it more often.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ten on Tuesday (kind of) Andrea Adams, photographer

Ten on Tuesday (I know its Wednesday, but Monday was a holiday, so this still counts, right?)

1. Finished with LOAD for May 2010. Actually completed all 31 layouts and got them uploaded on time.

2. Ordered a computer battery for my laptop. I have been plugged in to my laptop turned desktop for several months now. Finally splurged the $45 to get a new battery. Who knew they were so cheap? I love

3. Have postponed my NaNoWriMo until July. Hoping to have Alex and maybe Alyssa join me. Am waiting for successful tales from DeAun and her girls with their June editions. (I totally just typed tails- is that Freudian? Or just bad typing?)

4. Still trying to find a balance of home/work/home- improvement time. SOOO many things I want to do. So many things I actually already have the supplies for. JUST DO IT should be my mantra. Bought paint for the bedroom- it hasn’t been tinted yet, but I bought the paint.

5. Alex takes the SAT this week. Lots of stress this week as well. Can’t wait for Saturday evening.

6. Going strong on the exercise plan- now attempting to put a better eating plan in place. No refined sugar for a month. (except for one graduation party where I know there will be a cake made by pretty Amy!) I will be having some kind of birthday cake on my birthday, though. Hopefully, moderation in July. I may not be very nice in June.

7. Bible Study covered the story of Abraham taking Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him last night. I think Beth Moore had a good point when she said to notice that God didn’t ask Sarah to do it. Made me feel a little better about my emotions concerning that story. (Genesis 22 if you want to read it.)

8. Need to work on Abbey’s scrapbook for Michele. Plan to use one or two full days to get it done. If not called in to sub tomorrow, I think tomorrow will be day one.

9. Was reading about Ali Edwards’ one little word for 2010 again today on her blog, and I CANNOT REMEMBER MY WORD. Obviously, it is not having much of an impact on me this year. She did say it wasn’t too late to change it. If anyone reading this remembers my word, would you leave it in the comments, please? I can remember my word for 2008- less, and my word for 2009- better, but 2010? A total blank. If I can’t remember it, I may come up with a new one.

10. Got my hair cut yesterday. Finally. It is just to my shoulders now. Pretty cute, I think. I didn’t use a curling iron on it today, and it looked o.k. Was hoping for a photo, but that will have to wait a day or two.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Layouts from Layout a Day for May 2010

Here are a few layouts from this week- 29 layouts done and uploaded, and 2 more to go. Unless something major happens, I will be finishing strong. So excited to be getting pages done again. Need to clean up my scraproom so that this is not such a big deal.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Andrea Adams, photographer, Stafford, VA

I missed yesterday's Ten on Tuesday. I was subbing, and I honestly couldn't think of 10 good things (how sad is that?) and I didn't have access to photos. So- today is a list of Summer Reading: (I apologize in advance for the differing sizes of book photos- not a computer glitch so much as a brain glitch on my part!)

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
This book does not come out until June 1, 2010. It was in the suggested summer reading in Real Simple magazine.

Another book by the same author- I'll confess, I am drawn totally to the title.

How did you get this number? by Slowan Crosley is described as a very funny series of travel stories. It sounds like a good light read, although after last night's book club selection- I am skeptical of claims of funny. (do not waste your time on The English Major is all I'm saying.)

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz is the story of an ivy league admissions officer- although this one is fiction. Maybe I am just obsessed with getting the daughter into college, but this sounded good.

Generosity: an Enhancement by Richard Powers is about an unnaturally happy and contented young woman and the people who want her DNA in order to create the world's first happiness gene.

Speaking of happiness, this book by Martha Beck is intriguing to me also. Since beginning The Happiness Project, I am interested in ways to be happier. And, I like Martha Beck, new age weirdness and all.

Nine Rooms of Happiness by Lucy Danziger and Catherine Birndorf is another book on the happiness train- it is on order at my library, but I can't remember if it is already out.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell is the story of a girl who finds out about an aunt she never knew who has been living in a mental hospital. Apparently she showed a little too much spunk and individuality for her time.

Four others I am looking forward to reading- nothing complicated or deep, I don't think, in any of these- they just appealed to me:

Now, it is your turn to tell me what you are planning to read this summer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Andrea Adams, Photographer, Stafford, Virginia


1. Bible Study tonight- still have a day of homework to do and a dessert to make before then.
2. Had my second personal training appointment yesterday. I’ve been to the gym 3 times in the last 4 days- yay me!
3. Next time someone suggests bowling, remind me I am NOT ALLOWED to bowl, my back is killing me from Sunday’s outing.
4. Layout A Day is going really well- I am on Day 18 and haven’t missed yet. So far, so good. Alyssa asked me what the prize was for completing it- I told her I didn’t know, but I was pretty sure it was 31 completed layouts. I think Lain offers this 3 times a year- if you just did that, you would get almost all of your scrapbooking done for the year. I am enjoying using my supplies. I have been using things and not worrying about how many letters will be left, etc. It is nice. Here are a few of my favorites from this past week:

5. Trying to figure out how to configure my scrapbook/laundry room. Mark says my large surface is too wide, because I can’t reach to the back of it. I hate to say it, but he might be right. I plan on heading to Home Depot to see about a corner counter and two more cabinets. I’m at least going to price it out. I plan on going through all of my stuff and purging. I hope to empty the room if I can- that seems to be a key to success. I don’t know if I really have a place to put it all. I want a scrap room that looks like this:

6. The rain needs to stop- a full day of rain is about all I can overcome- the second day may not involve anything but a nap. 
7. I ordered the white cotton duck to slipcover the chair in the basement. I cannot wait to get started. If it works, I may slipcover the chair that I want to get out of my room. Plan B for that chair is to go to Tony’s apartment. The problem with the chair in the basement being that I want to make a back cushion and restuff the seat cushion.
8. Alyssa made the Varsity Dance Team again for next year. Happy for her- hoping for a year with less drama.
9. Really enjoying not going to work, but need to work out my daily schedule for working at the house. I am not being as productive as I would like to be. Thinking of looking into the Fly Lady, but I don’t want it to be a bigger hassle.
10. Got a swim suit from Land’s End yesterday. Looks pretty good- going to look for another top to go with the bottoms. Maybe have two options.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Andrea Adams, photographer, What's In Your Purse?

On several scrapbooking blogs this spring, I saw a challenge I was interested in. People had taken the contents of their purses, or briefcases or laptop cases, lined everything up gallery style, and photographed it. I kept wanting to do it, but with working full time, I just never had the time. So, on Friday, I took the picture. Here is my What's In Your Purse? picture:

Wondering at what point this will seem very quaint- I remember things from my mom's purse that I will never have in mine- a clear coin purse? a tampon container?
So what's in your purse??

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Andrea Adams, photographer, Stafford, Virginia

Ten on Tuesday:

1. Mother’s Day was great. Went out to dinner at Kobe’s- managed to catch the shrimp in my mouth for the second year in a row. :)
2. One of my Mother’s Day gifts was some upside-down tomato planters. I planted the seeds yesterday. I can’t hang them upside down until they are 5” high. Hope it doesn’t take too long.

3. Mark got me a speaker set for my iPod, so I am able to listen to it all over the main floor. Currently listening to Wicked. “Are people born wicked, or do they have wickedness thrust upon them??”

4. Made an angel food cake for Bible Study tonight. Going to make sweetened whipped cream and macerate some berries to go with. (like the use of the term macerate??)

5. I am really enjoying my LOAD challenge. (Layout a Day) Every day in May, I make and upload a layout to Flickr and the LOAD group. I am starting to get better- the more I scrap, the better and faster I get. It also shows me that doing something every day can really improve your performance quickly. Need to practice writing and photography on a daily basis. Something else to add to the schedule.
6. I finally got the new bedding from Pottery Barn. I really like it. I also got the tie-backs for my curtains. I have picked out the paint, now I just need to buy it and figure out how to paint a room full of furniture while we are still living in it. I am used to painting rooms before we move in. When you don’t move for 8 years, you have to paint some stuff again.

7. Tony is still looking for a job. Heard a rumor that he had been hired, but it is yet to be confirmed. It would be with a moving company, which sounds absolutely horrible to me, but satisfies his need not to sit behind a desk or stand behind a checkout counter. (although plenty of those applications are in, too.) We’ll see what he gets.
8. Staying home is soooo much better than going to work. Fixing dinner is not such a chore when you have had all day to do little things, and you aren’t rushing to get home to get it started. Laundry gets done, things aren’t completely a wreck all of the time. (just some of the time!)
9. Mark is going through the shock you go through when you suddenly see how much Uncle Sam is taking out in taxes from your ENTIRE check, not just your “base pay.” He said this morning- “They take a third of everything I make; why should I even go to work?” I quickly reminded him- for the other 2/3s.
10. I love Chuck! If you don’t watch it, it is really getting good. Get the first couple of seasons on DVD and catch up this summer.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Andrea Adams, photographer, Stafford, Virginia

A book review:

This book was a bit of a disappointment to me. The concept is great- by thinking of others and what you can do for them, your own situation improves. There, I just saved you the trouble of reading the book. I loved the idea of it, and I wanted to love the book, but I just didn't. The author, diagnosed with MS shortly after her wedding, was very into alternate healings and religion. It was a little liberal for me, and I can usually read anything. Again, concept a little weak to maintain for an entire book. She does have a website, and with others sharing their stories, that might be an interesting place to check out.

My other challenge this month is Lain Ehman's LOAD, or layout a day. I am trying to scrapbook a layout a day every day this month. And not just scrapbook it, but upload it to flikr, too. Sometimes that is the hard part! I am still on track after a week, so that is good for me. More layouts than I have done in a while, if you don't count Mark's retirement album.

Since I don't like blog posts without pictures, here is a layout where the challenge was to use nothing but cardstock:

Can't wait to put up pictures of my bedroom when I get it all finished. Don't hold your breath- I want to paint the room first.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Andrea Adams, photographer Stafford, Virginia

I was looking at links from other blogs one day and stumbled upon Bethany Fields' blog. She is a photographer in Texas. I loved her flower photos with the textures on them. You will have to scroll down to see them- I love the ones of the lilacs. I had never seen photos like these, and I wanted to try it out. I e-mailed her and asked about the textures she was using, and those cost a lot of money. I just wanted to play around a bit. These are my first attempts at using textures on photos for an artistic effect. I got the textures for free from In the first one, I used a concrete texture:

In this one, I used a dirty metal texture:

Kind of neat, don't you think? I am trying to get more creative with my photography in order to re-energize myself. I really enjoyed working on these, so that is good. The yellow iris were from in front of the library, and the purple and white one was in a yard I passed while walking the dog.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

This was a fabulous book. I loved it- simple and sweet and poignant. A very quick read, and a trip I would take again into the "war years" and that horrible thing called internment camps. I really enjoy when authors who write about a Chinese or Japanese character seem to capture that essence even with their word choices. Something spare about the descriptions, but still vivid.

As for scrapbooking, I am going to an all day crop next Saturday with the hopes of getting an album either done for Mark's retirement or significantly progressed to a point where I won't be panicking in two weeks. The retirement date has been set- Friday, April 16th. So now there is a deadline. Hoping this crop will motivate me to get all of the pictures scanned and printed and ready for the weekend. I also need to assemble paper and embellishments, etc. Lots to do, but excited for the end product.

Need to read The Road for my book club, kind of putting that one off- not really into the post-apocalyptic literature. I am going to try and read The Art of Racing in the Rain and What the Dog Saw before I have to tackle that one.

Time's up for me- back to cleaning the house before the next week starts!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Currently Reading

Finally getting around to reading this. I know everyone else in the world has basically finished singing its praises a long time ago.
Initially, this book did not appeal to me at all. I don't really know what changed in me to make me pick it up, but I am liking the book. I have not finished it, but I am in the last section on Indonesia.
This book has done a few things for me:

1. I really want to go to Italy. and eat.

2. I am very interested in the meditation/quiet time idea. I have been trying to meditate for a little while now, and I cannot do it. Talk about a runaway train of thinking- can't seem to shut the brain down. As I have issues with not dealing with stress well, I am going to be trying harder for this one. I started trying to meditate for 10 minutes, and I cannot seem to make it past 2 or 3. Stillness definitely does not come naturally for me.

3. I like the idea of balance. I haven't finished the last third of the book yet, so this idea is not totally fleshed out for me, but I find myself seeking what I want my life to look like. If I don't know what I want, how will I know I am working towards it, or even living it?

4. I am trying to embrace the idea that I can let go of some of the negative things I drag around. Yes, they happened, yes, it wasn't fair or nice or how I wanted it, now quit worrying about what I cannot change.

All in all, a thought provoking book, and although I am not totally a fan of the person she starts out as, I am growing to like the person the author is becoming as a result of her travels.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Around Here

I am an avid reader of Ali Edwards blog. She is inspiring in many ways, mostly with simple ways to tell your story. She posted a blog at WishStudio, which I only found today because of her link. I really like how she repeated the words, Around Here, and followed it with what was going on in her life. Her list is much more insightful than mine, but I am working on a deeper one just for me,and not the blog.

Around here, there are huge piles of snow in our yard.
Around here, lasagna is bubbling in the oven.
Around here, the girls are at one of their many dance classes.
Around here, we are anticipating going to school after almost two full weeks of snow break.
Around here, Dad is going in to work for the last few times, to sign papers and go to the doctor as he prepares for retirement from the Marine Corps.
Around here, Mom is waiting for her 7:30 yoga class.
Around here, clothes are laid out for four days of work.
Around here, the girls’ rooms are cleaner than they have been in a long time.
Around here, Mom is taking the Yesterday and Today class from Ali Edwards along with Susan Usry- a few months late. Better late than never.
Around here, it is cold.
Around here, we take photos to record our lives right now.
Around here, we are enjoying watching the Olympics together at night.
Around here, Summer is frustrated with the lack of walking in all of this snow.
Around here, we are in a good place.

What is happening around you?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Thought this was inspiring: