Paid Off, Christmas Party Week, & Project 365 Turns 10

The Best of 2018

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An incomplete list of faves from 2018:

📚: Factfulness by Hans Rosling
📚: How To Stop Time by Matt Haig
📚: America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo
📚: I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
📚: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
📀: The War and Treaty, Healing Tide
💿: Anderson.Paak, Oxnard
📀: Leon Bridges, A Good Thing
🎞: Roma
🎞: Won’t You Be My Neighbor
🎞: Black Panther
🎞: Happy As Lazzaro
🎙: We Came to Win
🖥: Ugly Delicious

For a fuller version of this list, check out this post.


Christmas Party Week

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This whole month has been a pretty steady stream of Christmas parties and mixers and ridiculousness. They’ve been fun, but I also feel like I’ve just been coasting- letting myself be picked up by the ride and dropped off at January’s doorstep. Every now and then, though, I’ve been surprised by small moments that help me feel a bit more grounded. A good talk at work. La Posada Sin Fronteras. And tonight.

I was so cozy snacking away at my family’s nochebuena that I almost forgot about our church’s Christmas Eve stuff. We were driving home when I remembered it was starting right now. We made it only five minutes behind the start. A team of so many people got creative with candles and projectors and stage lights to craft a beautiful homily on hope, and we ended it outside the church, singing on the street corners.

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Tonight I’m reminded of two things:

If you and your spouse/significant other are working together, you two will have a clear advantage over singles in a white elephant exchange.

With time, simpler things get more and more beautiful.

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From our filthy animal to you & yours. Merry Christmas!



Speak and open up your mind
It's something you should do all the time
Keep exploring, seek and find
You know you might surprise yourself

⠀ –Jack Garratt // Surprise Yourself

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The times when my life feels the fullest are those times when I give myself room to be amazed by what’s in front of me. It’s a big part of the reason I love to travel so much. Letting new smells and sounds take over. Turning a corner to yet another new discovery.

You know what robs you of that experience? Excessive planning. A bit of research is helpful, but too much of it and you’re staring at a map more than you’re gazing at the Wonders.

This applies to so much more than travel. Life is enhanced by mystery. Good stories aren’t predictable.

I’m ready to head into next year with open hands. Not holding on to my own plans as tightly. Ready to freely give, freely receive. Hands, heart, eyes open.

It helps me to surprise myself.

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Find something you enjoy, get better at it, use it to help people. When you do, you gotta celebrate those wins, right?

This year, especially over the summer, I really wanted to focus on getting better at Illustrator. After using Photoshop for 15 years I’m so heavily reliant on it and use it on things I know Illustrator is meant for.

I still have a lot to learn, but I’m at the point now where I can confidently make things I know I’ll be happy with. Case in point, this shirt/poster concept for Plant With Purpose.



Nine years ago, I had this little idea to take a picture every day in the new year. It wasn’t an original idea, I saw a few other people on Tumblr (remember, we’re talking about 2009 here) do the same thing.

What was a little different for me was the fact that I didn’t stop. I still haven’t stopped. Looking at my years of photo timelines usually makes me so grateful for life. Thinking of my photo for each day helps me make sure I don’t let a single day pass forgettably.

It’s crazy to me that I’m now entering YEAR TEN of this project. This project would be a junior in Wizarding College. In five months, I’ll have the entirety of my twenties photographed, from single to married, student to working, SB to Oregon to San Diego. Here’s a few random pics from year one.

I want year ten to have my best photos in this project yet. If anyone wants to help with that by flying me out to Patagonia, Peru, and New Zealand, hit me up!

I dunno what happens after year ten. I can’t imagine life without this little project anymore. If I did want to stop on a nice round number, the opportunity won’t be as good until 2030. I’ll just try and take it day to day, like I did during year one and we’ll see where that takes us.


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This month two years ago, I finished up grad school at Oregon.

This week I got to finish paying for that experience. 🙌🏾

One of our big goals was to get our student loans paid off as quickly as possible, and for some months that meant throwing almost a third of a paycheck at it. That strategy paid off- we paid very little interest and are now free to save for other dreams.

Of all the things I’m leaving behind in 2018, I’m glad student debt can be one of them.

Philippe Lazaro