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December 2011
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February 2012

From yours truly

[Editor's note: I posted this after creating my own handwriting font, thinking I was so clever. I was eager to share it, and my love of handwriting with you all. Then I traveled across the country and got super sick. I returned to the land of the living to find Susan Branch, yes THE Susan Branch, commented  on this post asking if the handwriting I was so sure posted perhaps didn't. Even though I saw it on my computer ... because, duh! Your computers don't come with the Nathalie's Notes font. Shocking, I know. I'll add it to my list of things to figure out someday.]

  I LOVE handwriting! Many of my favorite books include the author’s handwriting in them: SARK, Sabrina Ward Harrison, Susan Branch to name a few. I think I love it so much because it’s personal. And I’ve always thought personal is meaningful. One of my favorite memories from my wedding season was when, at my bridal shower, my girlfriends each wrote some advice on a paper my Maid of Honor, Amy, prepared. They were anonymous. But I knew every single person’s handwriting by sight. Loved that.

All that is to say … this is my handwriting. How cool is that?! I used to create a font using my own handwriting. [[(Er... see above note).  [[[[

I’d love to say it was in honor of National Handwriting Day last week – but that’s just a coincidence. I’m considering using this for my posts but am not about  the .readability. Let me know your thoughts.

It just seems like a natural way for me to use this medium to communicate personal things as I work on developing my new class for Big Picture Classes, The Art of Self Preservation because … I got the gig!

The editors at Big Picture Classes accepted my proposal and I actually get to teach a class about the very thing I’m most passionate about. Online as many of you requested when I was doing it locally.

I am over.the.moon excited!

I hope you guys will consider joining me on that journey and taking the class with me!

So much more to say, but I just finished my TheraFlu and the alarm is set for 4 a.m. for a crazy-fun adventure. More on that later, too.


My newest Confessions of a Green Wannabe article  ran this week, “A new approach for 2012- the ‘ecolution.’” Click here if you want to read it, starts on page 3. (If you’ve got a few extra minutes, check out page 4 for an awesome article highlighting the essence of my husband’s new business, Artisan Timberworks).

I referred to the following clips in my column, so here they are if you’re curious. The first one is Annie Leonard’s breakdown on “The Story of Stuff.” The second clip is George Carlin’s commentary on our obsession with our stuff. (Guilty as charged!) FYI, if you’re not familiar with Carlin’s work, he cusses recreationally and regularly so don’t listen to this around kids, co-workers, bosses or if foul language offends you. The “G” version gist of his bit is in my column.

{Project Life: week three}

The Mom Creative

I am having an awful time getting good shots of these pages, even when I take them out of the protectors so … here’s the best of the bunch. Maybe by week 33 I’ll have something figured out!
This week I changed things a bit with smaller pictures and larger journaling cards. I usually do my standard 7 pictures, 7 journaling cards and dashes of ephemera.
(Click on any picture to make it larger.)
Week Three:
Week Three – side one:
Week Three – side two:
Fun stuff:
I used my Cathy Zielske journaling card from last year “a slice of life” to record the morning Matt woke me up before 6 a.m. to help him find his brush. You can click on the picture below to make it bigger and see the whole story.
And this one, also from Cathy. I bought them at Designer Digitals.
So my mind was on Cathy Zielske’s coolness when I saw a link to her awesome new templates. She made this with them:
cathy books
Which is funny because we must’ve been on the same page. Only mine looked more like this:
And it took a loooooooooong time to figure out how to do it. I love the idea of recording what we’re reading! So I did what I had to do. “Add to cart.” And now I have the most adorable templates to add to my list of things to learn how to use.
This image I got off my friend Barbara’s Facebook page – so perfect for Oregon where we need flippers while the rest of the country wears snow boots.
And this is my favorite:

I kept the packaging from the McQueen sunglasses, underwear and nightlight I bought on our most recent trip to the store. I made a quick cut and paste collage on the picture for Sunday, combined with journaling about us being the target demographic for CARS consumers.

Nothin’ much


What have I been up to? Oh, you know, not much … just applying for my dream job!

I had to let my writing here slip for a bit to put a couple other things at the top of my list, so sorry for  that! I’ve got my fingers crossed about the job and will share more when I know either way. Just the process of believing in the possibility of my dream coming true and working towards that end is exciting.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt (She had it going on, huh?)

I’ll be on deadline tomorrow but hope to check in with week 3 of Project Life. I’ll be back soon with some of the things that are helping me stay on top of the project.

Having a “deadline” even if I’m the only one who cares, is helpful. I would NOT have made time tonight to finish my week if I didn’t have that.

Probably the most helpful thing is recognizing when I’m being a perfectionist and overriding that urge. So, for example, tonight I opened my album and realized I was missing Saturday’s picture and didn’t have any of the journaling cards done. I almost quit before I started knowing there was no way I’d get that picture tomorrow and therefore, it wouldn’t be “complete” so why bother?!

And then I overruled She-Who-Holds-Me-Back with the whole perfectionism thing and just dove in. I had notes in my Moleskine for each day so that was easy. I had most of the pictures I’d picked up here and there on errands over the week. I have my basic approach* that I rarely deviate from because it works for me,  I had the packaging to make my CARS consumer journaling  … and just like that, done. For now. Love. This. Project.

This picture at the top is a funny pictorial of my life.

It’s my column about meditating through the mayhem of motherhood. It was on my desk waiting to be put in my clipbook. It got into my youngest Master of Mayhem’s hands … and that’s what happened.

A picture that says it all …


*Happy to share that basic approach if it’s helpful.

Put down the bat



A couple weeks ago I wrote about the importance of keeping our eyes on our own paper when it comes to comparing ourselves, our work, our lives with the highlight reels of others.

Becky Higgins posted on the same topic that same day and generously linked to my post which is how I got to connect with so many of you. (Yay!)

I felt like the message was well received and hit home for a lot of us. Which validated my belief that we are experiencing an esteem epidemic among women in our country. (This may be true for men, and other  countries but I can only speak to that which I know for sure.)

Further proof that this is so was found in comments and posts responding to encouragement to keep things simple if that is what works for you. Somehow, this got translated for some to feeling like a pass to mock, criticize and put down others for approaching Project Life in a more embellished fashion. That was never my intent. My point, and I know this is true for Becky as well, was—and is—that how someone else does something is not a reflection or commentary on YOU, your process or your end product.

One comment that stood out to me in particular said something about being bothered by all the stuff Becky was posting as inspiration because this person didn’t like being made to feel inferior.

Made to feel inferior.

It feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it?

Until you realize that Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous words, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” are true to the core.

But you have to be willing to recognize the truth in that and invest in yourself to the point where you are grounded enough in your own sense of self to master (and override) the part your brain that allows you to think someone else is in control of any part of you.

Does that make sense?

It’s possible. I promise. And I’m at this very moment developing a class to help guide anyone who is interested along that journey to personal emotional empowerment.

(Partly because I’m an expert in a lot of ways not to be mentally healthy! While I don’t have it all figured out, the good news is I understand clearly “all figured out” was never the point.)

If the person who made that comment, or felt that way is reading this, I mean no disrespect. I totally get that feeling. I totally get thinking other people are making me feel a certain way.

There was a time I rolled around judging other people by how their looks made me feel about mine. (Not proud to admit that but it’s the truth.) It took me a long time to realize that’s what I was doing. And longer still to change the pattern in my brain. But my life is more peaceful because of it.

Another example that I realized only this morning (!):

Talking to a good girlfriend last night I mentioned that the perfect analogy for a particular relationship in my life is the Whac-a-Mole game, remember that? Where you had a bat and you’d beat the mole down every time it popped up?

“I feel like every time I forgive, rally and agree to move forward – whack! I’m the mole!” I told her. I prayed about this relationship before going to sleep, asking for peace in my heart, guidance and clarity.

This morning I woke up with this sentence on my mind: Yes, you are the mole. You are also holding the bat.

I’ll leave you with that, for now.

blog signature

p.s. If you like reading this blog, I’d take it as a lovely compliment if you subscribed! Thank you.

Note: for anyone who’d like it, you may copy, save and/or print the quote card I made at the top of this post. I made it for you. If you need me to email it to you, let me know!

{Project Life–week two}

 The Mom Creative  
Two weeks down, 50 to go! Here’s my layout for my second week of Project Life. That sounds more casual than I feel. I feel excited to have found a way to keep up on the awesomeness that is Project Life. *
I love this picture I got of Matt shaving as Sam stared, mesmerized. I recorded part of the conversation on my journaling card.
This picture of the boys just before lights out on Kubko’s birthday is one of my favorites.
I hope Sam doesn’t realized I snuck some of his Cars stickers to use for one the cards.

I haven’t figured out how I’m going to add the week numbers to the title cards. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I figure if I find the right thing for me, I can go back and add them.




Just a reminder (Mami) that you can double click on the pictures to see them larger.

Note to Self: Make insert for Kuby’s birthday by printing pictures from Facebook timeline and use the numbers stickers. Ten pictures with list of ten lines about the day – use captions from Facebook. Maybe enlarge one or two favorites with a few facts about  him at this age to put in the baby book I might make someday.

Edited to add: Some of you have asked if I could include the journaling – I love to see that in other pages so I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it. Maybe because I handwrite most of them and don’t want to retype everything? Hopefully these close ups will work:



*I can post about what’s working to help me keep up … if enough of you are interested.

{What’s Working}

It might be a bit premature to say what’s working in regards to my Project Life. But these are the things I am doing differently in my process to help me achieve a more satisfying result than last year’s experience of loving the project but feeling constantly “behind.”

This year my goal is to embrace (My One Little Word) and enjoy the process of putting together this awesome record of our real life.

Here are the tweaks I’ve made to my process:

Handling Photos | Last year I waited until I had a big enough batch of photos to justify the shipping from Shutterfly. This created a constant catch-up cycle. Worse, for me though, is that for some reason I get overwhelmed by choosing, editing, uploading the right pictures so it was always a task I procrastinated on.

This year my friend Amy pointed out that the grocery store I shop at has a photo lab. Yes, the Fred Meyer I’ve gone to a minimum of once a week has a photo processing center. I guess I stay focused on keeping my kids safely in the cart and sticking to my list or something! Anyway I priced them at .13 cents a print which means a picture a day for a year would be $48.00. So worth it to stay on top of this project and enjoy it. This means I am uploading to the Fred Meyer photo center on line and picking up one or two pictures at a time when I run in to pick up the milk we’re always running out of! Bonus? I’m getting to know the people who work there and when my brand new camera stopped working on Tuesday, the manager was beyond awesome at helping me return and replace it!

Shifting Perspective | Project Life is like laundry, only way more fun! There is no such thing as totally caught up. There will always be something, to mend, throw in the wash, iron out wrinkles … whatever. You can lament those things or be grateful to have clothes! Project Life, like laundry, works better for me when I have a system in place and then tweak as needed. I do better keeping my family in clean socks and underwear when I do a load day – start to finish than waiting to climb Fly Lady's Mount Washmore. Same with Project Life.

Journaling |  As a long time lover of my Moleskine planners I am delighted to be using these monthly pocket planners:

Moleskine 2012 12 Month Color A Month Daily Planner: Set of 12 Monthly Planners

I just jot a few lines, an overheard conversation,   something I want to Google to go with the journaling, etc. Love it. Plus, they’ll tuck in nicely into the 4x6 pockets at the end of the year!

For a link to my past Wednesday “what’s working” posts click here.

What’s working for you guys, Project Life or  otherwise?!

p.s. Thank you again Erin Goodman for the inspiration to do What’s Working posts! To learn more about Erin click here.

{Project Life: week one}

The Mom Creative
So I was working on this juicy post for my first Project Life progress report but I got all distracted by the SWAT team in front of my house ordering my neighbor to come out with his hands up. Later I learned he was barricaded in his home with some impressive looking firearms. (Glad I never mentioned the leaf-blower issue.)
Don’t worry, I got my picture of the day from the upstairs bedroom before joining my kiddo in the back room away from the windows. I also got a lesson in
common sense I’ll write about later.
In all the commotion I didn’t save my post properly so I’ll work on getting it back this week but for now, here’s a look at my first week of Project Life, 2012.
One of my favorite things about Project Life is the community created around it. It’s another way of connecting with people who might only have one thing  in common – this lifetime.
Jessica Turner at The Mom Creative designed a weekly Project Life link party and hosts it on her site here: The Mom Creative.
This year I’ve decided to join in the fun for as long a it’s fun! As a reporter, I work well on deadlines and knowing I plan to post every Tuesday will help me make this project, which is like happy crack to me, a priority to be done in the margins of my day rather than the dessert at the end of the day that never comes because I’m too full by then. You KNOW what I mean, right?
Instead of waiting to complete my 2011 book, which I am doing because I want to not because I feel I should, I decided to start this year right away and not let my past efforts (or lack of them) hold me back because this is supposed to be fun!
And it totally is. I loved putting together my first week’s layout. (The two 12x12 pages that complete a week’s worth of pictures, journaling cards, etc).
week one, side one
week one, side two (love having a place to tuck those birthday cards).
Week one title card – the stamp smudged
and I knew that would bug me so … I used some Smash tape and called it good. It was in The Drawer. More about The Drawer another time but it’s designed to make it so I have all I need right there. Because if I have to go rooting through stuff  to finish a day … I get sidetracked and then two hours happens with nothing to show for it.
I love my “This week in Google” notecard, I used the bi-fold card and did a Top 10 of my Google searches this week. My favorite: “How to convert Celsius into Fahrenheit” because someone changed all three thermometers in this house to Celsius and we had high fevers for a couple days. 
This year instead of post-its which are expensive the way I used them, I’m using index cards which are cheap and Sam loves to use them when I’m done to play “mail” or play “office” love that kid! Above is the  index card for Sunday’s SWAT team surprise and my notes to include the article when I get the paper.
This is an index card cut to size with notes to check out Ali’s tutorial on creating a 4x6 canvas with 2 pictures to fit in these pockets. And then, the reminder which picture I wanted to do that with. I {heart} Ali. Photoshop should totally cut her a commission.



As for my cover page? I got overwhelmed with the possibilities so I put it together exactly per Becky’s suggestions in the kit. Done. (I am keeping an eye out for cover page layouts inspiration and someday I might change it. Or not. I would like a picture of all four of us together and maybe Annie Dillard’s quote:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.


At some point tomorrow I’ll be back with my {What’s’ Working} post for Wednesday. Sometimes they’ll relate to Project Life other weeks, they’re just life hacks I’ve picked up and appreciate along the way.

{It’s not to late – if you want to join in! And if you don’t I promise Nathalie’s Notes won’t become 365 blogs about Project Life.}

I get so emotional, baby

I’ve been unsure how to address what was to me an overwhelming response to my last post Eyes on your own paper, y’all!
To you tell you the truth, there were tears. Joyful  ones and sad ones because from the emails I got it is so clear to me ladies that there is work to be done when it comes to lifting ourselves up and ending the emotional turmoil in our heads and hearts. We’re capable. Right?
{You, reading this – yes, you. You deserve to like yourself without doing anything different, or achieving anything else, fixing, apologizing, surgically removing, surgically adding, cosmetically repairing, life over-hauling … you’re awesome just the way you are right now you.} [cue Billy Joel]
Life is precious. And short. It can be hard and cruel without us adding to our own suffering. It is also amazing, delightful and easy to miss if we’re busy counting our faults instead of celebrating ourselves just exactly the way we are.
It’s the craziest thing, we think we need to do all this self-improvement stuff to be more satisfied, to be more at ease with ourselves, to own our spot in the world.
But … truly, I think a deep sense of self-worth is the only foundation that can be improved upon. Once you are okay with you the way you are, you can go about tweaking whatever you want more, or less, of in your life. Otherwise, you’re  just making cosmetic improvements.
But you can’t pick up a pack of self-esteem at Target.  Maybe we had it once and we’ve lost touch with it. Maybe we think it might be too late. Or, perhaps we say “I’ve always been like this. I can’t change.”
Plus, this hamster wheel of life is going pretty fast it might not be safe to stop things the way they are (less than satisfying) in order to change them.
Safe? Or comfortable?
But you’re not a hamster. And you can do uncomfortable things. And as George Eliot said it’s never, ever too late to be what you might have been.
I feel inspired by something beyond myself, my ego, my career aspirations to share my heart’s journey out  loud. I think more than anything so many of us are seeking validation that we are normal. Even the darkest parts of our souls need the light of recognition.
I’ve dug pretty deep, and gotten pretty uncomfortable during my self-help odyssey to recalibrate my “normal.” And sharing more of that now, in my self-help journaling series is where I think I’m supposed to go next. If that makes me an emotional exhibitionist, so be it.
I am working on developing the online class but for now, we’ve got this blog and email! Speaking of which, love your comments and emails. Thank you.
p.s. Just so you know I also kick it in the shallow end. How come when Whitney Houston wears those jeans in this video she’s rockin’ them with pride but if I wore them I’d be shoulder-tapped by the Fashion Police for wearing “mom jeans?”

Meditating through the Mayhem

Peace is that moment when you give in to fully embracing your life exactly as it is instead of lamenting the one you thought you would, or should, have.

I am still pinching myself to see if it really happened that someone I admire as much as Becky Higgins liked something I wrote enough to share with her readers who, in turn, have been so kind with their comments and emails! Thank you.

There’s a story of divine inspiration, and timing, behind this that I’ll share soon but for now I’m just super grateful.

I have two sick kiddos so we’re a little off around here but I’ll be back to posting shortly. In the meantime, here’s a link to my most recent column.  I’m not exactly sure why but it’s one of my favorites. Hope you like it, too.

Meditating through the Mayhem