DIY Personal-sized Traveler’s Notebook

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For the past few months, I’ve been seeing “personal-sized” traveler’s notebooks popping up on the Midori Traveler’s Notebook Resources Facebook group and YouTube.  Apparently, this size is based on the Filofax Personal-sized planners, and people seem to be loving the option, which sparked my curiosity!

I honestly have absolutely NO experience with Filofax planners, but I do find myself wishing my Field Notes-size TN was a tad bit bigger.  I sometimes feel a bit cramped in it, but don’t want to be lugging around my full-sized version.  Believe me, I’ve tried just using the larger one, but always go back to the Field Notes for the everyday carry.

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The Traveler’s Notebook essentials: Steel ruler, corner cutting guide (aka coin), leather hole punch, elastic cord, Stanley utility knife, hammer…for punch!

Before I invest in a nice Etsy-made TN, I thought I’d try out the size with a DIY version…  Of course, that’s what I said with my first ones and I’m still in them…

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I found it a bit difficult to decide on an exact size for this version, and after messing up the remaining leather I’d procured from a leather shop in Kansas City, I high-tailed it to the nearest Michaels and bought one of their sheets of veg-tanned leather***.  With the 40% coupon they’re only 6 bucks!  Not bad, not bad…

***Checked online for a link to the leather piece, and couldn’t find it!  But it’s at the store, cross my heart!


Pretty simple, and with the popular 4 elastic option, this little guy ought to give me the opportunity to try out this newish size!

I cut down some Piccadilly notebooks that I found in a trip to Barnes and Noble last year to start me out…  I’ll probably also transfer my a couple of my field notes books into the new guy, it seems a waste to just abandon them!

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How about you?  Any TN users out there with a personal-sized version??

Interested in learning more about the personal size?  Here’s a post that I found very helpful in my quest:

Ray Blake at My Life All in One Place is incredibly helpful when it comes to traveller’s notebooks.


My Top 5 Podcasts Playlist

Over the past few months, I’ve joined the ranks of the somewhat annoying podcast listening masses.  I’m now one of those people that start 80% of sentences with “So I was listening to a podcast, and…”  Just ask Mr. Brown, he will back me up here.

So yes, I know that I’ve become slightly exasperating, but I just    can’t    STOP!  Why?  Here’s the top 5 reasons why:


1)      This American Life

Considered the grandfather of podcasts, this story-driven radio show has commanded the top spot of the podcast charts for as long as I have been a member of the masses.  It wasn’t the first podcast I ever listened to, but it’s probably the most solid favorite I have.  I landed on this after Serial – the would-be favorite if it was available right now, and a spin-off of This American Life – ended.  I love the stories on this podcast, and how they tie them together with a theme every week.


2)      The Lively Show

I’ve already done a bit of gushing about this podcast on this blog, so I’ll try to keep it short.  I LOVE THIS SHOW.  This was my first foray into the inspirational/educational podcast world, and it just makes me feel good when I spend my time listening to this.


3)      TED Radio Hour

This podcast belongs to the NPR family, and can I just say, I really really appreciate NPR.  I’ve been listening to this station a bit on the radio for the past few years, but am loving the podcasts it puts out.  This podcast follows the “This American Life model” by choosing a theme, and supporting it with multiple parts.  It’s all interviews with all kinds of TED Talks people, from scientists to artists to explorers.  Very very cool.


4)      Good Life Project

I made it to this podcast by way of the Lively Show, and I’d say it’s like a sibling of that show.  Like hosts Jess Lively and Jonathan Fields are fraternal podcast twins.  What I love about this show is that it comes at these interviews (sometimes the same people!) from the male perspective.  Jonathan is so easy to listen to, and he gives me a way to see things with new eyes.  Also very inspirational, even if he is a man!  Kidding… sort of.


5)      Pop Culture Happy Hour

In the podcast world, this show is the guilty pleasure.  Obviously.  This is not the show for someone in search of serious soul-searching or intellectual growth, which is what I love about it.  Don’t get me wrong, this crew is intelligent (did I mention that this is another NPR child?), but they are so funny!  I just love listening to them bounce off each other, and just enjoy discussing things with each other.  I’m not gonna lie, I don’t necessarily agree with every conclusion they come to, and I often don’t have a clue who or what they’re referring to in their discussions, but they are just so likeable!  It’s also a great place to get some book/film/music recommendations.

Do you listen to podcasts?

Where is the possibility?


Lately I’ve been struggling with a minor case of discontentment.  Not the exciting restlessness that comes before a huge leap towards something new, but the languid kind.  You often hear people talk about going out and pursuing your passion.  “What is your passion?” they ask. “Everyone has a hidden passion that is just needs to be allowed to reign.”  It also seems like the people giving this advice conveniently have a passion that makes money…

What is my passion?

That, I cannot tell you…  I know what I like, or am interested in…  I like to travel, to see new places and people, and I like creating beautiful things.  I like taking walks on pretty days, and sitting with a kitty curled up in my lap.  I like spending time with people that I love, and I like blueberries and granola.  I have my likes, but passions?  Passions that I could pursue full-time in lieu of a safe and secure, but boring, job?

When I think of passion, I think of:

1) the covers of romance novels I see when I’m walking through a flea market or garage sale

2) obsessions that people spend hours and hours lost in…in their basement

3) beautiful & inspirational artwork sold at sweet, gift shops

I think of artists, geniuses, and courageous people living out their dreams, and using their talents to help mankind.  I’d like to think that I’m a person capable of passions, but it’s hard for me to think of what my passion is.  I want to live out the purpose that God has for me, but at the moment, it all seems a bit foggy…a touch out of sync…so marginal that you barely notice.

So…  In the meantime, I’ll ask, “Where is the possibility?”  Maybe I can decide to find some rabbit trails of interest, and walk their length for awhile, just see where I end up.  I must admit, that often in my off-hours, I see my interests as unimportant in the face of household chores and they are consistently skipped.  Even a raging fire dies out without a bit of stoking, right?  I’d better start stoking my little fires.

I’ll keep you posted.

A Paraben Free Make-up Starter Kit

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This week, I made the decision to purge my Health and Beauty stash of items that fell into the following categories:

– does not “spark joy” 

– contains parabens

– contains sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate (I have no idea what the difference is either)

Easy peasy right?

In case you didn’t know, parabens/SLS’s are in SO MUCH STUFF.  I had to say goodbye to many of my favorite products, and this was by far the hardest purge yet.  The only way I made it through without losing a bit of sanity was the future promise of make-up shopping.  Which I can definitively say did “spark joy.”  So much joy!

Meet the new team!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetelf High Definition Powder *new, Arbonne Make-up Primer, Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara *new, Elf Blush in Peachy Keen, Maybelline Dream Wonder Face Powder, Maybelline Color Tatoo in Bad to the Bronze, Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Eyeliner *new, Tarte Blush in Dollface, Tarte Showstopper Pallete *NEW!!!, Maybelline Expertwear Eyeshadow Duo in Indian Summer, Everyday Minerals Base Fair/Medium Semi-Matte

And that is all of the make-up I own at this point!  Ok…why am I lying to you???  There’s one more thing…  You might’ve noticed a gaping hole in this line-up.  Turns out, drugstore concealers without parabens are extremely hard to find!  In her amazing paraben-free make-up post Paraben Free Drugstore Make-up Kit, Christine admitted that she could only find 2 drugstore possibilities – neither of which I wanted to buy.  I’m going high-end on this one, but I have to decide carefully.  I actually bought the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer during my shopping spree, but took it back the next day without trying it.  It’s a lot of money to spend just to get something to fill a gap…  I’ve always wanted to try the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, and apparently that’s on the list as well… Gotta think about this one!

So what am I doing in the meantime?

I know, I know…not on the GOOD list, but I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!! Not going to part with it until I get a replacement. And that’s a fact.

Thanks for reading!  Looking through ingredient lists can be maddening, so if I’ve missed something in my GOOD list, let me know!

So pretty…

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Book of the Moment: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

It took me 3 months to read this book.  It wasn’t because this book was dull, or long-winded, or because the story was uninteresting.  It took me 3 months to read this book because:

A) I can be a slow reader…made slower by the ability to binge watch YouTube videos on no fewer than 3 devices.  There are many YouTube compatible activities, but reading a book is not one them.

B) I made use of the wonderful e-book lending system offered by our library!  This wonderful system is FREE, but, just like when you check-out a “real” book, there’s a time limit.  14 days.  There also seems to be a limited number of check-outs per book, so each time I want to borrow a popular book (like Wild, for instance), I have to wait between 30 and 45 days in between check-outs.

However, just like the formidable Cheryl Strayed, I was persistent in the face of my setbacks, and I’ve finished this book!

I can honestly say that I loved reading this book.  I loved the adventures, and the interwoven backstory.  This book covered so many struggles and successes that I’ve never pondered before, let alone experienced.  I’ve never given any thought to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (or any “real” trail for that matter), but this book made me want to try something like it.  Strayed’s account made it seem possible for anyone that wanted it enough.

Don’t get me wrong, much of the book covered all the reasons a couch dweller like myself would be miserable.  A large part of the book just seemed to be counting the ways that Strayed herself was miserable, but it was very clear that it was worth every miserable moment.

What was worth it?  Well, that’s the mystery…  That’s what makes you want to strap on a “monster” of a back-back and head for the hills.

5 stars!

Cheryl Strayed – Wild