I Have Chosen My Word for 2013 (and it’s going to make for one interesting year)

I’ve been seeing a few 2013 “year in a jar” projects around the interknots.  It’s a super cool idea. Here’s how it works: You get a jar. You get pieces of paper. You proceed to write down things about your year as they happen (milestones, quotes, et cetra). You place these things in the jar. You read them at the end of the year…and hopefully, feel awesome about what you’ve done.

That’s the plan, anyways.

Coming soon to the jars: cool stuff.
Coming soon to the jars: cool stuff.

And so I made one. My friend Laura made one, too, since we were having a catch up night near the end of 2012.  We were armed with $2.00 jars from Wal-Mart, ribbon, sparkles, leftover craft supplies, and letter stickers.

Ah, letter stickers.  What have you done to me?

Short on inspiration (or maybe high on it, in a way) I messily spelled out the words 2013: HAVE AN ADVENTURE EVERYDAY. I stared at the word Adventure for a while. This was mostly because I was tired, but also because I like that word. I like it a lot.

This.
This.

And here is the part of the post where I declare my word for the year ahead to be “Adventure.” 

(I even have a fancy Adventure jar, so you know it’s legit.)

This, of course, makes HAVE AN ADVENTURE EVERYDAY more than just some adorable words on an adorable jar. This is a full-out goal; A messy, beautiful, terrifying, inspiring goal (<<adjective overload, my flowery friends).

My jar, I have decided, will hold Adventures. Not quotes, not cuteness.  This is purely business. The jar will be reserved for daily proof that I try new things, face fears, make friends, laugh hard, and love harder.  Because in the end, my goal is to wake up each morning, look the world in the eye, and say “What, Life? Yeah, I’d tap that.”

Fun fact: This was my desktop background for MULTIPLE years.  Inspiration, y'all.
How’s that for perspective? This was actually my desktop background for well over a year.

The way I see it, there are two necessary steps to fulfilling the HAVE AN ADVENTURE EVERYDAY goal:

1)      Do more Adventure.

2)      See stuff as Adventure.

The first one seems obvious.  Adventure involves a steady process of keeping your hands feeling dirty and your soul feeling clean. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the power of mindset.  Yeah, skydiving is an adventure. But so is reading an amazing new book. So is eating alone in a restaurant (It’s easy for some people. It terrifies the rest of us).  So is the epic quest for strength, grace and dignity in the face of disappointment—or even putting oneself in a position where disappointment can go down.

The way I see it (subject to change…as always, I am as fallible as it gets), every day has the potential to hold a badass story or two. Sometimes, adventures are right there, photobombing our lives.  Other times, we have to get off our butts and say “Yes” often enough to create them.  If I want to HAVE AN ADVENTURE EVERYDAY, I need to be active: move to DC, get out of the comfort zone, dance in the grocery store (in that order, probably).  But at the same time, I need to be calm enough to notice the adventures that find me.

That won’t always be easy. Actually, it’s supposed to be messy/beautiful/terrifying/inspiring, which really means that it can’t be easy. But In the end, I will hopefully have a jar stuffed with memories and a life stuffed with stories.  That qualifies as “worth it.”

January 2, 2013

Dear self this year,

Find adventure. Let adventure find you. And please, write it down when it does.

Sincerely,

A terrified little girl (aspiring to be: a terrified little girl doing cool stuff.)

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Christmas DIY: Holiday Season Earrings

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This year, I decided to add a couple things to my holiday season closet. First on the list was a red cocktail dress. It came to my attention earlier this month that my only dress appropriate for any sort of big-kid-party is…well, it fit me in Grade 10? Yeah. Living the dream.

I may need to get rid of some of this high school stuff.

I found the dress (which I will post ALL about soon, dun’worry), and decided was time I put together some Christmas season jewelry. So last night, after mashing up “99 Problems” and “Where’d You Go?” on my keyboard and eating chicken that I’m 80% sure was properly cooked (you know, typical lifestyle choices), I pulled out the old craft supplies.  When my roommate walked in to see my wire, glue, pliers, and bead organizers laid out on across kitchen table, he looked slightly confused.

“I didn’t know you made jewelry.  This explains so much. Like why there are always single earrings lying around.”  He paused. “But it still doesn’t explain why they are always on the first step of the front porch.”

(I promise I’m a good roommate. I think.)

I hadn’t made earrings in far too long, so I put together some simple pieces to start:

Basic beaded earrings
Basic beaded earrings
Red & green chains (the result of a painstaking 20 minutes spent struggling with beading pliers)
Red & green chains
Christmas tree studs
Christmas tree studs

Next, I found some old unused holiday trinkets lying around, like small ornaments and decals.  Using wire & glue, it’s easy to add some earring hooks to just about anything:

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These are the smallest bulbs from a set of ornaments I bought last year. Facial expression gets the same justification as the first image.
These are the smallest bulbs from a set of ornaments I bought last year.

(Note: Blame the facial expressions and general headspace on the fact that I had just finished “rapping” to my broken keyboard when this picture was taken.  Because that’s what all the cool kids do.  And this is the face all the cool kids make.)

I also decided that this year, I wanted to have some jewelry that connected me to my spirituality–I feel like the usual cross symbol doesn’t really fit the whole birthday theme.  I decided to snip some of bits of the birth story out of the New Testament to make this necklace and earrings:

Matthew on the earrings (1:22-23 and 2:11-12)
Matthew on the earrings (1:22-23 and 2:11-12)
Luke 2:10-15 on the necklace. Pretty sure Charlie Brown and Linus would be down with this one. ;)
Luke 2:10-15 on the necklace. Pretty sure Linus and the rest of the Charlie Brown Christmas crew would be down with this piece. 😉

I’m thinking that’s enough creativity (and patience-testing meddling with wire) for today!  Between the red dress and the Christmas-themed jewelry, I am all set to go for my holiday season shindigs!

[Note:  I ever use the term “holiday season shindigs” in real life just…make me leave.]

Counting Down: CD Case Advent Calendar

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Alright, brace yourselves.  Here’s a confession for you.  Ready?

…I don’t really like chocolate.

Maaan, it feels so much better to just SAY it.

I don’t really like chocolate, but I do like tradition.  I like family.  And my childlike excitement in December is still ever-present, even if my sweet tooth is long gone.

After moving out, I tried to continue with the advent calendar thing. It didn’t really work.  Every year, I would buy a chocolate advent calendar at the grocery store. And every year, I would neglect this calendar. My roommates would end up taking it over after the first few days. Why?  Because I don’t really like chocolate, guys. It sucks.

This year, I decided to do something different. I decided to make an advent calendar.  The specifications were simple:

1) What went inside the advent calendar would have to reflect what was important to me about even having one: family, tradition, and just having something to smile about in the morning.
2) No spending money, especially not on 24 cutesy boxes. If the project was going to cost anything, it couldn’t cost more than the cheesy inexpensive chocolate calendars from the grocery store.
3) It would have to be awesome.

I looked around the apartment for inspiration. Do I have 24 of any sort of container? How can I make this work?  The answer, it seems was right outside my bedroom door:

And for my second confession of the day...yes, I own the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.
And for my second confession of the day…yes, I own the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

Oh right! Music! There’s something that I’m…well, marginally obsessed with, actually. This means that I have a ton of CDs–we’re talking boxes in the back room full, along with this sample.  I have a ton of CD cases, too. CD cases can hold notes. Notes can be awesome. Wheels are turning now.

I called my parents and the siblings who still live at home, Mike and Adam, to ask if they were up for the creative task.  I told them the notes could be anything, as long as they could fit in a CD case and were folded/enveloped.  My friend Caitlin jumped in and put together the first few, just in case my family contributions didn’t show up in the mail by December 1st. And, of course, I sent out a request to my two favourite little artists.

The notes could be anything, really:

  • Recipes
  • Doodles, drawings
  • Comics
  • Photographs
  • Articles cut out of magazines/newspapers
  • Warm fuzzies
  • Quotes
  • Project ideas/inspiration
  • Challenges or reminders (random act of kindness, call me, etc)
  • Memories
  • Little haikus or poems

That took care of the inside of the advent calendar. Now, I just had to get my CD cases in seasonal shape to make for a cute display.

Using seasonal paper to ready the CD cases!
Using seasonal paper to ready the CD cases!
You can use old cards, wrapping paper, or decorative seasonal paper for the covers.
You can use old cards, wrapping paper, or decorative seasonal paper for the covers.
All about the music!
All about the music!
The CD cases, ready to be stuffed with notes!
The CD cases, ready to be stuffed with notes!
Searching for the right number every day is part of the fun, so  I mixed the numbers up a bit,
Searching for the right number every day is part of the fun, so I mixed them up a bit.

There you have it! I will definitely keep you updated on how the notes turn out. Knowing how my crazy brothers greet these challenges, I’m sure they will be anything but boring.

Let’s do this thing, December.

Bonus Post: Blackboard Pumpkin Update!

My advice if you try the blackboard pumpkin idea, which I still maintain as awesome, would be to buy a craft pumpkin. I think I’ll pick up a few of them if Michael’s has post-halloween sales. I feel like a pumpkin made for crafting would be better for a project like this…and it would be cool to be able to reuse my beloved seasonal countdown.

Still: Awesome.

Bonus Post: Blackboard Pumpkin Update!