Amanda Dorough | She's Paying It Off

The Story of My Journey to Debt Freedom, One Tiny Step at a Time

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Queen Sized

I have a confession.

I still sleep on a twin bed.  The same one I’ve had since I was 6.  Well… different bed frame, same mattress.

I know, I know, but mattresses are expensive yo!

I actually pride myself in being able to sleep anywhere.  On a bus? No problem! On a pool mat?  Perfect!  On a single couch cushion? Done.  So overall sleeping on a small mattress is fine for me, but man is my mattress firm!  Not quite a rock like my bed in Thailand was, but nowhere close to sleeping on a cloud.

My parents bed on the other hand is amazing.  It’s heaven.  So soft and wonderful.  But because I’m a little to old to climb into bed with my parents (and man that would be weird… I don’t even want to think about it), I don’t get to sleep in their bed often… except when they go on vacation…

Did I mention my parents are in Hawaii this week?  I know lucky them.  What I wouldn’t give to be on a beach in Hawaii sipping a Mai Tai right now… a girl can dream.  I guess lounging on their bed will have to do for now.

Currently I’m laying down, typing this blog with an episode of Full House playing in the background (great childhood memories.  Oh Uncle Jessie) and it’s amazing.  If I can’t be in Hawaii then I want to be right here.

So now to get on to what this blog is really about.  Project Life aka my total failure.

Yep, in the last 3 months I officially completed 1 week. 1 week!

Oh such an epic fail it has been.  I was so excited when it all started… I blame it all on 3 things.

1.  Not having a smart phone, if I did I would Instagram everything!

2.  My life currently is no where near as interesting as it was the past year, so I just don’t know how to document it.

3.  Not having one of the project life core kits so putting the pages together was taking forever.


It’s going to be awhile until I can remedy the first one, I’m coming to terms with the second one, but the third one was something I could really do something about, so I bought a core kit.


When the year started I thought I knew what kit I wanted but then Project Life released their new catalogue with some amazing new kits and I got confused, suddenly there were so many options.  Problem was the new kits wouldn’t be released until May so I decided to wait.  Obviously waiting didn’t work, so this last week I decided to pop on and buy the original kit I had my eyes on, the Olive Edition.

Boy am I happy I bought it.  It’s so pretty!  And the colors are so me.

Project Life

IMG_4661There are around 12 different style 3×4 cards (and they’re double sided with different prints!) and then 4×6 cards as well.

Project Life

Project LifeI’m so excited to set to work this week.  Get the ball rolling again!

And now, speaking of project life and have a secondary project going on that involves Project life materials, but more on that later 😉


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Project Life: Week 1

Here we go, as February swiftly approaches I’m finally getting my first week of Project Life posted.  To be fair I’ve had it done for weeks but the busyness of life stole me away, and confession, I haven’t even started working on weeks 2 or 3 yet.  Things seem to be settling down a little bit so I’m excited to finally get back to my first loves and I also have a special project I’m working on that hopefully I’ll be able to share soon!

Ok, week one…

When I decided to approach doing Project Life I knew it could get real overwhelming real quick, so instead of striving to do 2-page layouts every week like so many project lifers out there I decided to go with the flow and only use as many pages as I needed.  Most weeks I’l probably only use one but there are others where I may need 4, it all depends on how life goes…

That being said, week one of 2013 wasn’t super eventful, but I still managed to find enough to document.

Project Life

While we we were still missing the long wished for snow, the temperatures here in the PNW plunged and our evergreen landscape was turned into a frosty wonderland.  I loved it.  But because this girl has spent most of the last year in summer climates, the cold doesn’t agree with me quite yet so I the majority of my time indoors DIYing and redecorating.  It was a blast.


The one big event of week one was my favorite (and only) nieces 6th Birthday!  As soon as she got home from school I drug her outside to snap this shot.  She wasn’t super excited about getting her photo taken so the best smile I could get out of her was a kind of pained smirk, but hey they do call this Project LIFE, don’t they? And you can’t get more real than that!

Project Life

While I’m still debating what Project Life Core Kit I want to buy I needed to find something a little extra to fill my pages, so I went into Adobe Illustrator and  made myself little 3×4 calendar cards for every month.  I think it turned out well, what do you think?

Whew!  Getting this up is a huge weight off my chest!  Now I need to set to work on weeks 2 and 3.  The goal is to have week 2 up next Sunday.  I can do it…. I think I can, I think I can!

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Project Life | Title Page


Last year, while I was on the World Race we usually had limited internet access, so the few times I was able to get online I would go to my favorite blogs and quickly save them to my desktop so I could read them later.  One day, while I was in Mozambique I had some downtime so I decided to read some of the blogs I’d saved.  Most of the blogs I read are by crafty, creative people and there seemed to be this overwhelming topic between all the different bloggers, something called “Project Life,” it looked awesome, and I decided right there in a hammock in Africa, that I wanted to do it too.

Now let me back up a little bit.  I started scrapbooking when I was in college during the time when scrapbooking was starting becoming “cool” again.  I bought fancy papers, stamps and rhine stones and amassed a pretty significant collection of materials.  A collection that ended up sitting in my American bedroom as I lived abroad and traveled the world.  Then, one day in 2011 as I was preparing to leave on the Race, I looked over at my drawers filled with scrapbooking materials and I realized, I didn’t love it anymore.  The idea of decorating a 12×12 piece of paper with 50 embellishments to go along with a tiny photo of a day at the beach weighed on me, and it wasn’t how I wanted to record my memories.  When I look back at these moments in 20, 30, 40 years, it’s not going to be about how well I decorated the piece of paper, it’s going to be about the moment captured in the photo…

And that’s why Project Life caught my eye.  It’s a memory keeping concept that’s more about a life well lived than a page well decorated.  Some Project Lifer’s don’t decorate their pictures at all, filling the slots simply with photos and journaling cards, while others go all out like they would with a scrapbook page, sewing and embellishing…. My style is somewhere in the middle.  I’m not super simple but not over the top either.

Originally, since I was going to be in Bolivia until August, I thought my journey with Project Life was going to have to wait until 2014, but when I decided to come home early it was the first thing that shot onto my radar, and when my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas I knew exactly what I would ask for.  Unfortunately my  Mom forgot to change the address when she ordered from Amazon and my binder/page protectors ended up being shipped to the middle school she works at and I had to wait until after school started again to be able to get them.  So, as I waited patiently I decided to work on my title page design…

I went through a lot of ideas for what I wanted my title page to look like.  Most people space it out like they would a typical weekly layout. I love this one by Elaine (see the confetti!).  But the one that caught my eye the most was this nearly full page layout by Kelly Purkey.  In the end though, when making a full page photo layout it all comes down to the photo, and the perfect photo just wasn’t working out for me, so I brainstormed and I really like what I came up with, take a look

Project Life Title Page
Unfortunately today’s stormy NW weather didn’t allow for the perfect photo taking conditions but in the end the lighting turned out ok.



Like I said, this year is the year of CHANGE…



I’m so excited for the weeks to come and seeing how my style evolves over the next year!  Right now it looks like I’ll be using a lot of the supplies I already have on hand, but this spring Project Life is releasing some pretty sweet core kits and I’ve got my eye on a couple different ones.  Now the big decision is what one to choose!

Stay tuned, I’m hoping to post my layout from my first week of the year tomorrow!  Can’t wait!

P.S. I have a confession… I actually made an insert that said 2012 before I realized I was apparently stuck in the wrong year and promptly changed it to 2013.  Wouldn’t that have been awkward?