Friday Favorites

My Post (7)

Fridays are my favorite. Well, that's not all the way true; Thursdays are my favorite weekday.  Yes, because of my beloved Friends. 

Recently some kids at work were talking about binge-watching Friends and I said, "Oh, yeah I used to have to wait until the following Thursday at 8 p.m. to see how Chandler and Monica worked things out ..." 

So anyhow, I'm bringing back my Friday Favorites feature from a blogtime ago. 

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate - which basically means I've spent a bunch of time trying to figure out how it works exactly and have, to date, not earned a dime. However, you need to know --on account of being on the up and up with The Law-- when you click on any of these images that link you to buy them on Amazon I conceivably could get a few coins - and the idea is for that to add up over time. We are taking the "over time" part very literally apparently. 

That's enough words about that -- here are five things I'm loving right now. 

  1.  This year I'm working on adding some new "F" words into my vocabulary: Focus & Finish. This was an excellent book to listen to as I worked on actually finishing projects. So many more to go, but as with any habit, it takes time to become aware of what you're doing and then change it. Baby steps, people. I will say, having a blogging calendar was one of the projects I put on my things to actually finish list (of course I made a list) and LOOK. Three posts in a row. I know. P.S. For the love of all that is holy buy books at your local book store whenever possible. 

2. I love bullet journaling. I've been doing some version of it since years before that first episode of Friends even aired. Now it's a Thing. And I am always happy to geek out on this topic with anyone and everyone. This is the current one I'm using. I'm planning a flip -through video to post later this month. 


3. And this Faber Castell pen set is my fave for basic journaling. And letters. And sticky notes. And last minute school permission slips ... 


4. This is my current beverage obsession. This Cold Brew Coffee+ Unsweetened almond milk + Ice = My post Whole30 favorite coffee drink. I really expected to go back to my old stand by but this has grown on me and when I couldn't find some at my favorite local store, Naps Thriftway, I had no choice but to turn to Amazon. 


5. These stainless steel drinking straws. Love. Them. That is all. 





Write along with me ...



So this is me, in your cubicle, at your dining room table or maybe the only time you have the time and space to catch up on stuff like this is in the bathroom –let me guess, little kids at home? --

This is me asking you to consider taking up a notebook. Please, please?

You need nothing fancy. A stack of paper, bound in some fashion – or not. And a pen. My favorite journaling pen right now is a black Bic pen. Sometimes I use the blue one, just to mix it up. Or more likely because it’s the one in my hair or within easy reach.

There are so many reasons to do this – and different ones will resonate with each of you. Some of you are probably instantly out, you’re thinking “Yeah – nope!” And that’s cool. I promise I’ll keep writing about other things. I also promise I will continue to hope you consider joining me.

*If you're thinking YES I want to start, or start again - and that comes with a but ... let me know what that is, okay? (I was going to say "tell me about your but" - and then thought ... well, what you're thinking now. You're welcome.)



That one time I made pajamas. Also, a word or two about (my) writing process

Christmas PajamasPSE*

Some of you have said you wished I wrote more about the writing process. While I can’t write with any authority about THE writing process (whatever that means) I am happy to share more about mine.

Let’s start with my most recent Raising the Hardy Boys column: So what if you don’t sew. (Click link to read it if you haven’t yet).

Alright, y’all, I’ll let you in on a secret only long-time, regular Nathalie’s Notes readers know: I sometimes recycle content from here to work into my columns. And by sometimes I mean, as often as I can.

I consider my journal my first draft, my blog the second and the column my final one.

Of course, I also write a lot of columns with no formal draft. Just lots of thinking and notes on index cards and backs of envelopes. Those become some of my most favorite, sorry English teachers of America!

But you can still tell your students drafts are important. Practice paves the path for any published writer. There’s no way I could pull off publishing a first and final draft if I didn’t maintain a daily writing practice. Since I was like, six. (But it’s also never to late to start. I’m talking to YOU! You know who you are).

So there ya go, a note about my process.

Christmas Pajamas 2

Oh, also here’s a link to the original post about That One time I made Christmas Pajamas here.

Here’s the Outtakes from our hotel room photo shoot with my sister-in-law here.

And here’s what Matt actually said about the “M” on his stocking, but it got edited being as how I write for a family paper.

*Photo taken by Carrie Hardy, and shortly after Thanksgiving dinner. I forgot to take off my necklace, I guess I was distracted by the awesomeness of these pajamas and our photo shoot in search of The One Good Picture for our annual card.

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Reporter’s Notebook: forget fresh starts

journal spotlight

I’ve been considering making this a regular feature as enough of you have asked for a peek at what my journal entries really look and sound like.

So, we’ll see how it goes, it feels sort of awkward to share but if I could convert even one of you into a person who journals as a form of self-preservation it will be worth the trepidation I feel before sharing this post and with it my intention to make a habit of posting a randomly opened journal page.

As I flipped open this recent journal and landed on this page I thought perhaps it was a sign that this was the right direction to go.

You can click on the picture above to see what it says or, read below:

Sam and I say “I love you to Pluto and back” but last night he was mad at me and said “I love you to the planet before Pluto.”


am coming face to face with how much of the novel – my novel -  I lost in the computer crash. Not to mention {pictures of}the first four months of Jakey’s life.

am also feeling resolved to move forward anyway.

maybe it’s not about fresh starts, but just starting again.

and again.

until you’re done.

Taking a new angle

I’m struggling to pull away from the picture a day mentality, and as a result still don’t have actual pages to share, but plenty to say about process.

Since learning about the process of others is as encouraging to me as it is inspiring to see their pages, here goes …

Except I just realized I left my journal at work which feels sort of like the dream where you show up somewhere naked. Except worse, because this is really happening.

So, for those of you reading Nathalie’s Notes for the journaling tips … the whole misplacing the journal thing is admittedly an occupational hazard.

I am going to have to take a medicinal bong hit just to sleep through this anxiety. Kidding, that stuff is illegal. Until March 3. In Oregon.

In other business … Project Life …

I’m recording notes in my planner, yes a Moleskine again. Always. And by “always” I mean since 2008.


Also, I have a notebook labeled Project Life in my Evernote which is super handy thanks to the search function.

I plan to use more of these week in review cards designed by the super cool Cathy Zielske and purchased at Designer Digitals.


This is an idea of the kinds of things I want to capture in words and/or pictures. I’m not in love with how I did this … wrong font? Wrong something … but in the spirit of progress not perfect, I’m moving forward.


One of my Project Life intentions for 2014 is to take more interesting pictures and I think why is pretty well summed up in this this post by Elise Blaha called “getting out of snapshot mode.” 

Some snapshots I took at Jake’s party to tell more of the story than cupcakes and presents:


I’m not sure if my friend Melisa or I took this picture but I love it because while it doesn’t show the kids it shows how important it is to them to get The right cupcake ring, those are a thing right now, fyi.



Love this one because it shows a little detail easily missed, Jake feeding the tickets in himself … not long ago he had to have help.


This one captures Sam making sure his little brother is okay. It is hard for Sam not to step in and do it himself, I tell Sam all the time that it’s hard for me to let him go it alone too but it’s how we learn … with help standing by.


Love this little guy!


And this … I just love this picture of Jake and his dad with profiles more similar than I realized before looking at ten versions of this same picture.

Pictures I wish I’d taken: the zebra candles I carefully picked out for Jakey, a picture of me and the birthday boy, a good group shot of the kids, and a close up picture of the hit gift: a fart gun. (Funny post about that to follow).

Yes, a fart gun. For real. You can get one by clicking the link below – see the disclaimer on my blog that tells you I get a couple cents for anything you buy on Amazon if you get there through my links.


Coming up: The scraps of life – Project Life memorabilia | Raising the Hardy Boys, with fart guns | The time times I lost my journal at the airport, and at the gym, and at my boyfriend’s house.



For my {Project Life} archives click here. To like me, I mean really like me - like, on Facebook, click here.

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Mining gems



For years I’ve been working on getting the right title for Ani and Izzy’s story. This morning, as I’m mining my journals—in Volume 49—I found a chunk of notes for the book and this little gem: “…This should be called ‘Coming Clean.’”

In one way or another those two words describe every major and minor character’s journey. I can’t express how thrilled I am to know I’ve finally, finally nailed it.

(Past working titles included: Pants on Fire, Breaking Branches, Truth be Told, The Secrets we Keep).

Finding that felt like when I discover the sunglasses I tore my house up looking for were on my head the whole time.

I’ve been putting off this mining project for years and finally must do it to make forward progress on finishing this book and developing my journaling curriculum. More on both of those soon, no really- I’ll be back soon. I’ve had plenty to say lately but been sick (AGAIN?!) as well as very “mentally jumbled.”

Soon, I promise!

Meanwhile … here’s another random gem I found in this journal that describes a bit of what’s happening in this story (and, you know … life):

Life is not an after school special where interventions always work, friends and family come around and every apology is forgiven, amends neatly made, the past tidily in its place.

Real life, real addiction, real recovery, real people are messy.

People get hurt and bad things happen.

But people also heal and Grace happens.

If we let it.

And what ought to be universally known but (we each must learn alone) is that self help, healing, finding, and allowing Grace is up to each of us individually.

And even if someone you love doesn’t arrive at the same time as you, it doesn’t have to hold you back.

Yes, everyone winces when you turn the light on in a dark room, but you have a right—a responsibility—to shine your light and to not shrink from its brilliance.

Reporter’s Notebook

- This is from a few scraps of paper I found tucked in one of my journals from shortly after I started working as a reporter covering the North Coast of Tillamook County. I don’t understand all of it, I’m sure I thought I’d remember the cryptic notes to self forever, but no. I truly loved being a reporter and even though I don’t have deadlines every day, I still ask too many questions, eavesdrop over the din of two toddlers and take notes as often as I can. The goal, for me, continues to be to understand others, and in doing so, myself.


Keeping Secrets

Being in the position of choosing what readers need to know from reading my story – until just now I didn’t get that I should read what I write from the reader’s perspective instead of the people who might clip the article.

I believe I’m a good reporter. I care about what it means – I want to be among the best – It’s fun to meet a community this way. In my third month at the Headlight-Herald things are coming full circle – it is tough to remember not to participate. I am curious to know the real work habits of other successful reporters. Successful meaning they enjoy their work most of the time and have healthy contacts – a big exercise in boundaries. In many ways the staff works independently but we are impacted by what each of us do. Integrity is the key, more so than even accuracy because the obvious attachment to accuracy is assumed. Integrity in reporters isn’t as rare as the public image machine declares – but it is essential to my understanding of success as a journalist.

K. gets the award for media mute. And I’m trying not to take it personally- because it isn’t. He didn’t return phone calls before I wrote a single story about Wheeler. It’s strange to be putting myself out there and it feels like the right path for me right now. They suggested it might which is different than saying it would.

It’s also interesting and tough to understand and just ride out the reality that one morning you’ll be thinkin’ you forgot how to write – the next you’re writing one tight lead after another – catching the beat of your own voice – and dancin’.

Thursday – 4 p.m. – check out house?

“I remember leaving the till open at closing – might as well not have the insurance company buy a new cash register too.”

You never know when a big story’s going to break, but you don’t have to be hunched over the scanner waiting for it. So often, they come to you. 

Hello, platform


I've been working toward clarifying my writer's platform for over a year. Ever since I read Christina Katz' "Get Known Before the Book Deal." She advised me to be patient with the process. She even talked me out of an idea that was a good one, but not for me, not at that time in my life. I'd just had Baby Jake and was a little mental with the whole post-partum/no-sleep combo meal.

So here I am, with a baby old enough to eat solids {made his first food cubes last night!}, a toddler mostly sleeping through the night, a move under my belt and ready to get back to work in earnest. Since Jake's been born, I've kept up on my column , sold another one and started writing a new novel, 300 words at a time and all the while, in the back of my mind I've been considering the question: What is my thing? What is my platform?

Imagine my surprise to find out the thing I'd been searching for has been here the whole time. The whole time. Like since 1982 when I first started writing in my purple unicorn and rainbows diary. As I worked on my draft for my Baby on Board column last month, I couldn't edit it down. I was writing about my favorite subject (besides my adorable babies of course) and had so much to say I couldn't cut down to 600 words. I submitted a different column and kept working on this one. Finally, it was ready to submit for August and it ran this week. And there it was. My thing. My thing that I am so passionate about I could go on about it as long as someone would let me.

Except that I can't keep writing about journaling in a column about parenting ... luckily I have this cool blog and you faithful readers who I'm sure will be willing to be open to some of these ideas even if you think you're not a writer!

Anyone curious?

Encouraging others to use journaling personally and professionally is the most natural way I can think of  to combine my passion and skills.

Do you journal?

If I could pick one habit to convince others to try, more than good nutrition or brushing teeth, I would urge the practice of journal writing. For everyone. The mission statement I keep working on includes turning people on to the practice and helping them stay with it. I believe in the power of that process more than any other. It's a form of mediation, prayer, focusing ... if I didn't write in a journal, I would be ... heavily medicated.

I think the whole Dear Diary image turns off most everybody but 8-year-old girls, I get it. There's just so much more to it than that. Journaling isn't just for writers and scrapbookers, though arguably, is essential to the craft. I have so much more to say on the topic but have been searching for the "perfect" way to introduce this passion of mine and my intentions for sharing it with you. I decided, as usual, to just begin. All around me last month, this subject kept coming up so I finally got the message to stop waiting and start now. There are so many ways to keep a journal, I suspect some of you already do and don't even know it. I look forward to more conversations about this.

For now, I'm curious to know if any of you do any type of journal writing and, either way, if you are interested in learning more about ideas, methods and techniques to help you do so?

One of the most rewarding experiences of my life was teaching a journaling class. I absolutely loved it and can't wait to do that again.

My column this week is about one kind of journaling. I'm more nervous about this column because it means so much to me. I'm also hopeful that it will inspire a few folks to try it. We'll see.

Need to know basis - August 1997

Aug 6, 1997

worry list

  • math
  • outdoor center story
  • money
  • math
  • mess

Aug 30, 1997

i can't believe august is almost over! the older we get the more there is to do and the quicker the time passes.The hottest man just came in - wow. But I will date no more forever after my Monte experience. It's been proven that every one of my local girlfriends has had a freaky experience with guys named Monte. On my hell day at work last week a guy bought a stamp. I thought he could be cute but I didn't pay him much attention. He was nice. Right a closing he came in and said, "This may seem a bit bold but would you like to go out for coffee sometime?"

"Sure." What am I supposed to say and besides, it can't hurt to just meet a new person. Hah! So he says "how about tonight?"

me: "No, I'm sorry I have a meeting."

him: "Tomorrow?"

me: "No, I'm busy."

him: "How about Thursday?"

me: "Well, I'll be working but maybe."  So I worked until 2 and he didn't come in and by then I didn't want to go. I asked K. [my boss] if i could watch her close just to get the practice - so I came back and RIGHT at 6 as the lights went out, he comes strolling in and sits down and waits. I was MORTIFIED. I did not know his name. I didn't know how to explain him to K. and I didn't want her to think I came in to close as an excuse to meet this presumptuous person and he certainly was not attractive to me. Bad news bears. So what was I supposed to do? I closed and left. He followed us out and already had it all planned that we were going to Tony's [coffee shop]. Um, hi. How about consulting with me? but I went and not only did I go but I LET HIM DRIVE. I do not know why - he seemed nice enough but so did Ted Bundy. So at coffee I almost freaked out.

him: Do you know what C.A. is?

me: blank face

him: cocaine anonymous

me: Okay. I didn't need to know which support group he's in or that he's on the bandwagon or that his girlfriend in high school was killed in a drunk driving accident with him but that he still loves Jane. On a coffee date you're on a need to know basis and I didn't need to know any of those things.

September 20, 1997

So J. is married. It really happened. And I am really glad I didn't go. So many people went for insincere reasons. But, I just couldn't be a part of that. I know I was one of the "most important people to tell" list but if it was that important to J. he would've called ... Oh, man! I forgot to over-analyze the Monte situation. I HATE it when people make me be rude just to get an obvious hint. Like - I do NOT like you. I really don't even want to be friends with him! Anyway last week he came in and got a coffee and sat and STARED at me and made small talk. Then a few days later he parked in the lot and just sat in his car or an hour and a half. Today he came in and unfortunately it was very slow so I couldn't be distracted. He sat right across from me and just looked. He didn't even come in under the pretense of getting coffee. Just sat and told me all about this and that like I should care. K. pays me to work here, not to give a shit. Anyway, I tried to keep talking just to avoid the possibility of him asking me out and the silence - i hate how he just looks through me. and i hate how he talks - he's a little too old to use babytalk and to think the way he does. He's way too much like T. (who called me the other night). Anyway he was here for 45 minutes when he asked what I was doing today cause I ran out of things to say. I told him. Then he asked if I was doing anything tomorrow. I said, No. Not really.  but I hesitated so it should've been clear that even if I had nothing to do I'd rather do that then hang with him. And after a LONG and uncomfortable silence he asked i I wanted to do something with him. After a long silence during which he STARED I said, "No. Not really." He nodded like it was the end of the world. I just hope it was the end of Monte in my life.