Posts tagged ‘goals’

planners | ann-marie loves paper

I sort of abandoned my planner for a few months last year (September / October…who are you?) in favor of the Teux Deux app on my phone. And as much as I loved the convenience of having my agenda everywhere I went, I missed the way it felt to SEE a week at a glance and to physically WRITE out my schedule with different colored pens. There’s nothing quite like the tactile satisfaction that comes from crossing things off and getting it done! This is also the reason I could never be 100% graphic design…I need to use my hands!

That said, recommitting to writing in my planner everyday has been a huge source of joy for me (seriously!). I break down my tasks over the whole week. I write down which days I worked out. I make goals for each week, whether it’s to go to bed by a certain time or try to figure out how to use my camera remote. I keep track of deadlines and hours worked. I make sure to note which days were really awesome. I put check marks next to things I accomplished. I write lists on notepads and then paperclip them into my book. I keep track of my life and it feels so good.

Do you love planners? How do you stay organized?



get organized | ann-marie loves paper

I’ve been struggling with finding the perfect word for this year. There are so many excellent options that would all move me in some way, but not really one in particular that stood out as my WORD, you know? That is, until a week ago.

As I looked around my messy desk, started stressing about putting together all my tax papers, and wondering where the HECK my other shoe was, I realized that I need to dedicate 2013 to GETTING ORGANIZED.

I don’t know why I let things slide. I don’t know why I put things off until the last possible moment. I don’t know why I let giant messes pile up until I absolutely have to confront them. But I do. Not only is this bad habit visually distressing, but it’s mentally, physically and emotionally draining too. And who needs that? It’s time to stop being a self-saboteur. While getting organized and planning out my life might take a little bit more time and energy upfront, it always pays off tenfold in the end.

So yesterday morning when I got back from the gym (always a great way to stay on top of my day), I took out all the clothes in my dresser drawers and closet and reorganized them. I then cleaned off my desk, filed away anything that absolutely did not need to be there, threw away the little scraps of paper I knew I wouldn’t be using, and put all of my February receipts in their designated place. I then answered a bunch of e-mails that I had been putting off and reached out to a few people I had been meaning to contact. Finally, I got down to work. I chipped away at my to-do list and began to feel better and better about myself. Already, this mantra is making a difference!

What are your goals for this year?



workspace wednesday | ann-marie loves paper

I’ve been reading Danielle LaPorte’s The Fire Starter Sessions on my Kindle every night and it is jam-packed with so many amazing passages that I really just need to memorize. And because I am the least patient person on the planet (i.e. I grabbed my iPad to check my e-mail + Instagram while I waited for the photo above to load…!), this quote is really speaking to me:

Within the constraints of morality and maturity, you should do whatever you need to do to feel gratified in the moment. It may be as subtle as choosing a more positive thought or reminding yourself to smile. Maybe it’s taking two minutes in your car or at your desk to do nothing but just feel into the day. Maybe instant gratification is fifty sit-ups for an adrenaline rush, ordering dessert first, giving an unexpected hug, signing the lease, or telling your boss to shove it. You can be responsible to those around you while creating immediate pleasure for yourself.



There’s this great song from the 70’s with a line that constantly runs through my head:

“It’s alright now / I learned my lesson well / you see you can’t please everyone / so you’ve got to please yourself.”

Whenever I need to hear it most (and even when I don’t), there it is. I love that.

For the first time in many months, my workload has leveled off a little bit. There’s still plenty to get done on a daily basis, but just enough for me to comfortably stay afloat and began to recover from a serious bout of creative burnout. Hallelujah. On Sunday, I spent the morning lazing on the couch with coffee + Pinterest and the next thing I know, I’m racing to the craft store to pick up supplies for a few fun crafty projects that I can’t wait to dive into. And just like that, I’m excited about creating again.

The thing about creativity is that it really can’t be dialed in. Of course, there a few tricks we can use to power ourselves through, but that only goes so far. Creativity is just like working out: you can only perform the same exercise so many times before it loses it’s effect and your progress begins to stall. If you ever want to get better (and who doesn’t want that?), you absolutely have to shake things up. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m focusing on fun little side projects that make me happy, without any third party opinions or any financial incentive steering the ship. The more I experiment with new ideas and refine my skills, the better I will be when there is a paycheck at the finish line, right? Win win for everyone!

Is there a song or quote that’s always in the back of your mind?


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25 was the year of surprise.

Every victory, every set-back, every opportunity…everything that happened over the past 365 days took me by surprise, mostly for better, occasionally for worse. There have been many changes (a new job, a big move), many lessons (never take Santa Monica Blvd during rush hour, check the oil in your car), and many things that stay the same year after year (the love of crafting, the inability to resist a Real Housewives marathon). Overall, I’d say 25 was a pretty solid experience.

Here are twenty-five noteworthy things from this past year:

1. Lost my job in Utah, moved home to California, and in turn, began working for myself (the job I wanted all along!).
2. Revamped my blog + my shop.
3. Explored NYC with a fantastic group of paper-loving friends.
4. Listened to hundreds and hundreds of podcasts.
5. Let my hair grow out + wore it in a top knot nearly every single day. (Thank goodness that’s actually a trend!)
6. Spent lots of time by myself and even lived alone for a month and a half. Always a welcome thing for this introvert.
7. Became even more obsessed with Pinterest + Instagram than ever before.
8. Put together lots of scrapbooks at amazing events in amazing locations.
9. Took on several design projects and learned a ton along the way.
10. Tried my hand at selling a few stamps I designed for myself. Did not expect any sort of response. Was completely taken aback by the overwhelmingly positive response. Continue to be amazed by the opportunities it has brought my way.
11. Attended three spectacular destination weddings.
12. Wally! The biggest, happiest, and most destructive surprise of all.
13. Took as many Zumba classes as possible.
14. Shot thousands of pictures and truly fell in love with photography.
15. Made several Project Life spreads.
16. Went 100% vegetarian for most of the year. Currently I’m about 95% veggie, 5% carnivore.
17. Got hooked on a bunch of new-to-me shows, including The Big Bang Theory, The League, and Happy Endings.
18. Accomplished the most work between the hours of 10pm and 3am most days (or nights?).
19. Fell in love with neon pink.
20. Spent so much quality time with all of my friends (even the out-of-staters). Probably the most amount of time since high school!
21. Went on lots of California day trips + weekend getaways spanning from San Diego to Cambria.
22. Gave Target a good chunk of my income.
23. Made Gold Star status with Starbucks.
24. Contributed to the production of a wedding. Decided I am ready for one of my own.
25. Visited Disneyland so many times. Way too many times. But never enough.

Now that I’ve officially crossed over into late-twenties territory, I’m reminding myself of a great line from Dan In Real Life:

“Plan to be surprised.”

Bring it, 26.



The other night I was browsing Instagram well past midnight (big surprise) and had a mini conversation with Liz regarding being awake at such an uncommon hour. She was surprised by how late I was up and I was surprised by how late she was up and it made me wonder if there really is something to the whole night owl vs. early bird divide. Turns out, studies have shown that humans are born with an inherent predisposition to nights or mornings. I knew there was a reason behind my 3am bedtime! Although we can’t alter our natural circadian rhythms (I feel like I’m writing a research paper as I type this), we can train our bodies to function on a different time-table. Which I firmly intend to do.

Next month I turn 26 and I’m starting to feel just a tad bit unnerved by that number. It sounds so late-twenties. On anyone else, 26 seems very young. But on me? It makes me feel old and unaccomplished. So in an effort to pull myself out of this mini quarter-life crisis, I made a few goals for myself. One of those goals is to get on a better sleep schedule. I want to go to bed and wake up earlier. I want that jump on the day that you lucky early birds naturally have. Plus, I love the way it feels to be awake early in the day. I love the morning light. I love waking up when it’s still chilly outside. I love when noon rolls around and so much has already been done. I love mornings far more than I love afternoons. In conclusion (this post has now officially reached research paper status), I desperately want to join the early bird camp.

And real talk: if all else fails, there’s always nap time.


P.S. Apparently I only blog on Wednesdays? Fixing that right now!


Despite the fact that the temperature reached the triple digits today (insert expletive here), I am so thrilled that it’s finally October.

The way I see it, October is perfectly positioned between the long, hot days of summer and the frenetic but always fun holiday madness. The Halloween / Thanksgiving / Christmas excitement is starting to brew, but not enough to overwhelm my to-do list. The sun begins to set earlier and earlier. The weather (knock on wood) cools down and entices me to spend more time outdoors. The leaves on the trees begin to change colors. Three words: pumpkin spice lattes. Three more words: boots, scarves, sweaters.

But the very best part of all is that (historically speaking) this is the time of year when my creative mojo shoots through the roof. Last night I downloaded the app Teux Deux on my iPhone and instantly filled the “Someday” section with several projects that I want to try, products that I want to make, and photos that I want to take. I also began to make a list of goals for myself, including waking up earlier, staying organized, going to yoga more often, drinking more tea instead of coffee, saving up to buy a new camera, etc. My brain was shooting off ideas faster than my fingers could type (which is the very best kind of problem to have)! I can’t wait to dig in…

Happy October!



Today was all about getting things done.

Tying up loose ends. Making lists. Organizing and reorganizing. Taking a break for Pinterest. Making goals for the future. Running a few errands. Packing and shipping orders. Staying in the A/C as much as possible. Feeling excited that Fall is just a few weeks away.

Wondering what the heck I am doing with my life.

You know, the usual.

Things are going really well around here, but somehow I am constantly plagued with self-doubt. It seems like the bigger the opportunities, the louder the voice in my head telling me I can’t do it. Do you guys experience this too? I realize this comes with the territory of doing things 100% on my own, but surprisingly, that perspective isn’t exactly reassuring. Without the safety net of an established company or a talented team of employees, it’s all up to me to make things work. And truth be told, that scares me a little bit! (Insert mental dialogue: “what do I know about anything?!” here.)

But I am determined to push through this quarter-life crisis and try new things, even if the voice in my head is telling me to turn back as fast as I can. I mean, where else am I going to find a job that will let me roll in after 11am in my PJ’s and no makeup and allow for plenty of breaks for important endeavors such as pinning or ‘gramming? That’s a tough act to follow, my friends. A tough act.

So it’s back to work (in my PJ’s), I go!



Wednesday came and went without my noticing – whoops! It’s just one of those weeks, I guess. So here’s my Workspace Wednesday on a Thursday:

Working from home today and loving every minute of it.

I have to say that one of the greatest benefits to working from home is being able to get work done while laying on my stomach, standing up, hanging out by the pool, etc. I can’t stand sitting in one place for eight minutes, let alone, eight hours. What’s that song lyric? “My bones have to move and my skin’s gotta breathe.” My sentiments exactly. Having the freedom to get up and move around might sound highly insignificant compared to having financial stability and a nice benefits package, but sheesh, it sure does make my day so much more enjoyable. And those days add up, you know.

But let me be clear: this is not to make a blanket statement that the standard 8-5 lifestyle is bad. It’s just not ideal for me. I value freedom over just about everything, in nearly every realm of my life. My friends and I recently had a great conversation about the lessons that we’ve learned from the workforce. We decided that figuring out what we do not like is just as – if not more – important as learning what we do like. Trial and error, baby. I know very few people who knew exactly what they wanted to do when they graduated college. They may have had a general idea but nothing too concrete. Or more often than not, they finally land what they thought was their dream job and they eventually outgrow it. I’m convinced this is all part of the process. You just have to trust that each step is a step towards a much greater place.

And if there’s anything I’ve gleaned from this moment of existentialism, it’s that I need to trust that I’m exactly where I need to be right now. (Laying on the floor, drinking coffee, and wearing my workout clothes/pajamas at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Obviously).

If this sounds anything like you, I recommend reading this post by Kelly McCaleb. Spot on.



I really enjoy my little routines.

Each morning, I start my day with what I call a “breakfast brainstorming” session. (Alliteration in small doses never hurt anyone). This involves my standard breakfast (oatmeal with berries and coffee), one of my journals, my favorite pen, and occasionally my computer as well. Sometimes it takes place outside, other times it takes place inside. But one thing always remains the same: it gets my creative juices flowing.

The actual brainstorming topics can range from blog ideas to craft projects to long-term goals to what I want to do with my life…the whole gamut! If I’m feeling a little stuck, I turn to the computer where I’ll read my favorite blogs or browse Pinterest for awhile. The whole point of this practice is to start my day in a creative mindset and (hopefully) continue to generate new ideas throughout the day. I’ve been doing this for years and despite the hokey name, it really works! (:

What kind of rituals/routines do you enjoy?


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