Goodbye Volume 15, Hello Volume 16.

Goodbye Volume 15, Hello Volume 16.

Since my work situation has changed and my bullet journal was full of unnecessary work pages and labels, I decided to end put volume 15 on the shelf before it was full. I have done this before for various reasons, if the new year starts and I’m past halfway on a journal I’ll go ahead and open a new one for the new year. Since my professional life is turning in a new direction, it seemed like the perfect time to christen a new journal.

This journal is also already quite full of extras. If you’ll recall, my bullet journal motto is #PlanDocumentCreate, and the document part means my journals are filled with postcards & business cards & ticket stubs & kid’s art. This means many of my pages become bumpy and thick, making the entire journal a little tricky to manage past a certain point. And this volume was definitely itching closer to that point.

But you can see, there’s still quite a few pages left so no matter what the justification, I’m still feeling a little guilty starting a new one. IMAGINE HOW MUCH LIFE I COULD ADD TO THOSE PAGES!

Alas, I ordered a new Leuchtturm1917 and put volume 15 on the shelf which is now officially full.

I’m going to start transferring pages from the old journal to the new one, a process I’ll talk more about on Monday…when I’m done!

Have you ever put a 1/2 full journal on the shelf to start anew?

Tools I Use:
Notebook: Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Hardcover Dotted
Cover: Custom cover with trail marker from my favorite local race. Made by Makers South
Pens: Currently loving the Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens, Fine Point

No Frills Bullet Journaling

No Frills Bullet Journaling

Here is my first bullet journal, started 4 years ago this month!

In the four since since I’ve started this system (I’m currently on volume 14) I’ve made some really beautiful spreads and pages using washi tape and zendoodles and brush markers and stickers and hand lettering…and…and…

You get the point.

But most days? 99% of the time even? It’s just the basics. As a matter of fact, I haven’t done anything really pretty in awhile. I don’t have any fun natural lettering talents (although I’d love to learn some day), I don’t always have my washi tape on me, and most importantly? I don’t have the time. Most days I’m just working my way through my weekly spreads which I just barely jazz up with the only letter I know how to do. And it’s not even that great.

But you know what? That’s okay. We see bullet journalers on instagram with these gorgeous spreads marking words of wisdom or daily weather reports or beautiful lettering and sometimes it can freeze us into inaction. But the point of the system is simplicity. Is function. It’s whatever YOU need it to be FOR YOU and it doesn’t matter how pretty your handwriting is or how often you misspell “Tuesday.”

(I misspell Tuesday ALL THE TIME.)

Even when I have something fun I want to document (because remember, my motto is Plan, Document, and Create) I often just throw the memorobilia on a page with scotch tape.

More often than not, I’m writing and taping random stuff in there to help me remember things. We just bought a new house and during the sell/buying/repair/rennovation process I wanted to remember who we used for what. And then I also wanted to remember what I’m allowed to recycle and how I should do it. These things maybe could had been done in some artistic what worthy of an instagram photo but I really just needed the function at that point and didn’t have time to be creative.

So don’t be fooled if I randomly share out some pretty spread or art or lettering on my instagram account. I truthfully only have a few of those “pretty” pages per volume. Most of my pages are function that I sometimes spice up with fun ink colors. That’s the extent of my fancy bullet journaling: SOMETIMES I USE PURPLE INK!

Never Forget: It’s okay to be a No Frills bullet journaler!

Tools I Use:
Notebook: Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Hardcover Dotted
Cover: Custom cover with trail marker from my favorite local race. Made by Makers South
Pens: Currently loving the Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens, Fine Point

Fighting Bullet Journal Insecurities

Fighting Bullet Journal Insecurities

I’ve been bullet journaling for almost 4 years now. I first started writing about it on my personal blog and got enough traffic about it that I started this site over here so I wouldn’t confuse any people there for information about bullet journaling when I started to write about boob sweat and politics.

(If you read my personal blog, this is an inside joke. I write a lot about boob sweat and politics.)

My point is? I’ve been using this bullet journal method consistently since 2013 and I’ve got an instagram account and a website and yet…YET…I have lately started to feel very intimidated by the bullet journaling world.

At least once a week someone sends me an article they found on Martha or Oprah or some sort of lifestyle website about bullet journaling and EVERY SINGLE TIME the article is full of these gorgeous spreads and layouts and they are simply works of ART and I think…Um…that’s not quite what I do.

I mean…don’t get me wrong…it’s definitely a system I swear by and promote to anyone who is a chronic list-maker but…I don’t know. I just start to feel insecure that my lettering is kinda boring. Hell, I jazzed up my days just so I could feel more like a real bullet journaler. AND THAT IS THE DUMBEST THING IN THE WORLD.

(Although I do really like the day headings in pretty letters.)

I don’t have time to draw the weather for each day and I’m not talented/artistic enough to have fourteen different gorgeous lettering styles to act as headers and I’m not patient enough to decorate every chart and…AND…AND.

So that’s why I’ve been kinda silent. I felt like I didn’t really match the other bullet journalers I was seeing in these “Must Follow On Instagram!” lists. I wondered why I even bothered keeping up this site when my spreads are just nothing compared to the beautiful ones I see on other instagram accounts.

BUT THEN! Then a friend said to me, “Eh…I’m not artistic enough to be a bullet journaler.” And then, a few days later, I met someone who said, “I don’t have the patience to bullet journal.”

And I realized: WAIT. NO. THERE ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE OUT THERE LIKE ME! Who are not artistic or patient!

So I’m going to keep talking about my simple/non-artistic layouts. I’m going to keep sharing my pages-with-no art. I’m going to keep offering printables to fill in those voids because I can do prettier things digitally than manually. And I’ll get back to posting more on my instagram.

And here’s another moment recently that reminded me why I do this. See, my “thing” is that I use my bullet journal to #PlanDocumentCreate. Here’s a story that shows the “Document” side of my method, and exactly why bullet journaling doesn’t have to be perfect or beautiful.

My aunt sent me a VHS tape of Pretty Woman for my birthday a few years ago with a note attached saying she remembered I used to sing every song from the sound track. I didn’t have a VCR so I cut up the case and attached the note in my bullet journal. It was very special as I loved her dearly and it cracked me up that my aunt – A NUN – send me that movie.

Well, three weeks ago that same beloved aunt passed away. After time sent with family and saying goodbye, I pulled out that bullet journal from two years ago and smiled thinking about her gift. And then I took all of the items from her memorial services and gave her another spread as my final tribute.

And now that page will be another I look back on with fondness.

I may not have the prettiest spreads, they may not be the most artistic, but for my life? They all fit the bill.

The Year I Try Time Blocking

The Year I Try Time Blocking

I am trying to get a handle on the choas in my life right now. I don’t feel like it’s permanent chaos (a lot of it is related to a potential move or other temporary projects) or else I’d make some changes to remove some of it. Instead, I’m just trying to figure out how to adjust so that I can keep all of the balls in the air without dropping any of them or losing my sanity during this temporary time when chaos is reigning.

I went to a work retreat recently where I heard a speech referencing Time Blocking. This is the idea that you should block out certain times/days to do specific things so you don’t get

I was in the middle of that sentence there ^ and I thought, I have to pee. So I went upstairs and I thought While I’m up here, I should bring down that stuff that needs to go to the street since it’s garbage day. And while I was carrying that stuff to the street I saw the recycle bins from yesterday and thought I need to put those in the back of the house. And while I was back there I thought I need to wheel this one bin to the street too. I did that and then came inside to finish the sentence.

distracted or lose focus.

Let’s all pause for a minute to consider the beautiful timing of that series of events. LITERALLY, all of that happened RIGHT AS I WAS ABOUT TO TYPE THE WORD “distracted.” It suddenly became very meta around here. Obviously, I need help avoiding distractions.

ANYWAY. My point? I feel like there’s too much constantly needing to be done in my life and I’m not always focusing efficiently on those things. My To Do lists are there every day but I’m not always efficient in how much time I’m giving certain tasks. I stay caught up on some and get woefully behind on others.

So! I’m thought I’d try to start blocking some time. This seemed an easy idea at first. I just sat down and scheduled/mapped out the “ideal” weekday thinking I’d have time leftover to play around with.

HALF OF AN HOUR IS ALL I HAD LEFTOVER. THIRTY MINUTES! And then – after staring at that for a bit I realized – Um. I put NO time to write on that schedule. And I like at least an hour of every weekday set aside for just writing. So, OBVIOUSLY just jumping in and blocking out time was not the place to start. I put the cart in front of the horse in terms of Time Blocking. I realized I needed to wrap my head around my life a little more before actually trying to block things out.

So I thought I’d start with listing out the “categories” or so of time that I need make sure gets scheduled.

These are the categories I started with. I’m leaving the list open because – even as I’ve been writing this – I’ve thought of other “categories” I’d like to include in my days. Things like “communications.” I want to be more disciplined about setting aside time to touch base with people with personal texts/emails/messages. Or responding to emails and blog comments.

I also want to give myself time to “get ready” in the morning. I know it sounds silly, but that is SUCH a low priority in my life and I think it shouldn’t be. I think I should take time to look at myself and dress/style in a way that makes me feel good about myself and not just in a rush to get to the next thing. My appearance is often proof that I prioritize myself very last on the List Of People Who Need Care in my life. On the days I take time to put on jewelry or mascara I just feel so much better about myself! So I want that to be a “category” too. I called it “Self Esteem” time.

I think I’ll leave the list open for another day or two to REALLY get a feel on the “categories” in my life. I’m also going to try to log my time to see how long it takes me to do things like grocery shop and meal prep.

AND THEN…THEN…armed with categories and time logs I should be able to build a time blocking schedule that makes sense. I’ll report back and we’ll give this time blocking thing ANOTHER chance with hopefully a little more understanding of my own personal chaos.

Have you tried time blocking? Any tips or hints you can share?

Tools I Use:
Notebook: Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Hardcover Dotted
Cover: Custom cover with trail marker from my favorite local race. Made by Makers South
Pens: Currently loving the Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens, Fine Point

Happy 3-Year BuJoVersary To Me!

Happy 3-Year BuJoVersary To Me!

(Yes. I did just make up a word. Why do you ask?)


Do you see that volume number right there? That’s 001. That’s my FIRST official bullet journal. I say “official” because I tested the system out for about a month with a $5 notebook from Target and immediately knew: THIS IS MY JAM. My Dad had a shelf of notebooks growing up that were basically done in the bullet journal system, he just didn’t have a cool name for them. I immediately envisioned my own shelf and decided to label the binding like he did his, prepping for a lifetime of journals. And do you see that date there? August 29, 2013. So do you know what that makes today?


Yep. The girl who used to buy 2-3 planners/calendars EVERY YEAR has been using the SAME system of planning consistently for THREE WHOLE YEARS.

For nostalgia’s sake, let’s look at one of my “daily” pages from that first volume.



I plan on doing a lot of writing this week about what I’ve learned and modified in the last three years, but for now? This is a Bullet Journal Appreciation Post. I photographed my collection in several locations this weekend and I simply want to show them in all of their beauty. This is a lot of living right here. I’m so proud.










And then one for the blooper reel:


Tools I Use:
Notebook: Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Hardcover Dotted
Cover: Custom cover with trail marker from my favorite local race. Made by Makers South
Pens: Currently loving the Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens, Fine Point

How My Bullet Journal Helps Me Run

How My Bullet Journal Helps Me Run

Last year I successfully completed running my first 100K with the help of my bullet journal. I have a bit of a chaotic life, so strict training plans have never suited me. So, I printed up a basic plan I found online and just tried to keep my weekly miles above the recommended goal. Beyond that? I would plan long runs first on Saturdays and Sundays based on the running schedules of my friends, and then I just filled in day to day whatever I could to try to meet my weekly goal. This is what my (ultimately successful) log looked like last year.


I am not doing a 100K this year (my husband is trying is first 100-miler in November and that would be too much) but I am trying for the same combo of races in November as I did last year: A 50K trail race on Saturday, followed by a road Marathon on Sunday. I’ve already signed up for the 50K but the marathon is the Flying Monkey and it’s lottery only. I’ll find out if I’m in no later than August 15th. I’m trying to be optimistic though, and decided to build my run log and training plan around getting in.

Since I successfully did the back-to-backs last year, I just basically used my run log from last year as my “weekly total goal” for this year. I don’t take racing very seriously. I’m a “completer” not a “competer” – meaning my goal is only ever to cross the finish line before the cutoff. That means I don’t have to stress out about types of runs (speed days or hill days or whatever days) and I don’t have to stress out about speed or time. For me? It’s just about getting the miles in however I can.


I’m coming off several complications in my running life so my base is not as strong as last year. (Most recently I had a bike wreck in Colorado which kept me off my feet for a couple of weeks.) But I’ve been trying to at least do 15-20 miles a week all summer, and am hoping a 30-mile week this week won’t be too much of a jump. Here’s to hoping this method of using my bullet journal to train will make me as successful this year as it did last year!

Tools I Use:
Notebook: Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Hardcover Dotted
Cover: Custom cover with trail marker from my favorite local race. Made by Makers South
Pens: Currently loving the Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens, Fine Point

My Secret Confession: I like Mondays.

My Secret Confession: I like Mondays.

Mondays. It’s so cool and trendy to hate Mondays, but you know what? I like them. I like them A LOT. First of all, weekends are exhausting in our world so Mondays tend to bring calm again. But also? That’s the “start” of my week when I’m planning so everything is fresh and full of potential.

Naturally, I also love the first of every month. Whether your accepting a nutrition challenge or fitness improvement or trying to meditate more or work less…we all tend to look at the first of the month as a natural “Start Day” for anything.

So! Imagine my thrill when THE FIRST OF AUGUST also fell on a MONDAY! The POTENTIAL that brings to me! My monthly spread starts the same day as my weekly spread and everything is pretty and new and fresh and THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER!


I have all of these plans for August. My kids start school this month (younger ones this week, college kid next) so I have all of these great plans to manage time and homework and lunch making. I have races that will start coming up in the Fall I have to start really training for. I have nutrition challenges (I’m taking the month off of beer! And I love my craft beer!) I’m giving myself and I’m really wanting to try to get into Yoga. This week is the first of a month FULL of potential!


Will I succeed at all of my challenges and goals? NEVER! Hell, if I succeed at ONE of them I’ll consider it a win! But I still love trying to make myself a better person every day so if you give me a Month that starts on a Monday? I’m going to make a whole month out of it!

Awesome August is what we’ll be calling it! No beer! Time management! Learn Yoga! Finish reading the books on my bedside table! Live! Love! Laugh!

Are you giving yourself any challenges this week? This month? Do you have any special spreads that are helping you do that? I’m going to show off my run tracker tomorrow!

Tools I Use:
Notebook: Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Hardcover Dotted
Cover: Custom cover with trail marker from my favorite local race. Made by Makers South
Pens: Currently loving the Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens, Fine Point



I’m not deliberately trying to make my bullet journals last a certain amount of time…actually, quite the opposite. I like the freedom the bullet journal system gives me so that if I suddenly need 10 pages for notes on a project at work, or a volunteer obligation, I can use them! 10 pages right there! No problem. I love the flexibility of this system. I can use 15 pages in one day and then the next week not do anything beyond my weekly spread.


YET. Without fail. All of my volumes seem to last 3-4 months. Even when I was using a Moleskine which has fewer pages! And this is evidenced by the fact that I’m currently on volume 11 and will be celebrating 3 years with my bullet journal in August. And also? Here I am, halfway through volume 11 which I started the first of May, and what is it now? Almost the middle of June. So, without trying again, this one will probably fall in the 3-4 month window as well.


I wanted to show what my bullet journal looked like at the halfway point. The first page of the index is full, but luckily the Leuchtturm 1917 has a few built-in pages of index in case I wanted to index every page, which I don’t. I don’t index my weekly or daily pages. I do flag the weekly pages with a piece of wash page on the top, but they don’t go in the index. And I flag certain categories with different colors and locations of washi tape which I define on a back page. (I explained this method of marking category pages here.)


All in all in makes the whole thing kinda interesting, even when it’s closed.


I just love the personality of this system. I love that every volume looks different. I just started flagging pages with washi tape two volumes ago so the sides of my other volumes are nowhere near as fun. Volume 10 is when I started doing weekly pages along with my daily spreads but THIS volume I started doing both in one 2-page spread. They’re all different as I learn better tools or as I face new challenges. I was elected a board position for our local track club this year so the last two volumes have had pages dedicated to that whereas previous volumes have had a lot more zendoodles. So far, this one only has ONE and I’m no where close to done!


But here we are, halfway through volume 11. Looks like I’ll be celebrating my 3-year anniversary with the bullet journal system in volume 12, don’t think I’ll make it through August in this one!


How long does it take you to fill up one volume?

Stepping Away From The Computer

Stepping Away From The Computer

I’m a lot more reliant on the computer for my spreads in my bullet journal than I’d like to be. I know this is mostly because my handwriting is terrible, but it is also because I’m just enough of a perfectionist to hate lines that aren’t straight, but not enough of a perfectionist to get out a ruler or use a pencil first. So. When I see great page ideas like the daily habit tracker from Boho Berry, I fall back on the computer to design my own. Here is her beautiful spread:

IT IS GORGEOUS. A work of art. Also? A brilliant idea in terms of trying to keep track of habits. So, what did I do? Designed mine on the computer.


I mean, it’s lovely! I like it! But you know? It’s a little safe and I feel like part of what I love about the bullet journal is it allows me to make pretty pages, even if I’m not artistic or talented in the lettering department. SO! I decided I wanted to do a “Daily Summary” grid like I’ve seen in a few different places. Just a quick grid to jot down what you did in the day. Nothing like a diary or a journal, just a few notes to trigger reminders of what I did that day.

And, of course, I screwed it up.


See what I mean? I’m too stubborn and impatient to use a ruler or a pencil. But after 2+ years of bullet journaling I’ve learned to just turn the page. No big deal. There are hundreds of pages in my past volumes that I messed up and I just abandoned. I’ve learn to love those abandoned pages, in some weird way. The second attempt looked MUCH better.


I mean, no one is going to be inspired by the beauty of my spread, but it’s all me! No computer. No Photoshop. No font files. Just my clumbsy line drawing and my shaky handwriting.

And I kinda love it.

December 2015 Vertical Calendar Page

december2015vertWell, I’m still working the layout size for these vertical monthly pages. This has been a project I’ve been working on to provide vertical pages to those who prefer that over my standard horizontal, but also I wanted something I would use on the printable – hence the DECEMBER coloring page. As always – I print these once and just test them on my Leuchtturm1917. They’re not super-high quality (which is why they’re just free downloads) so don’t expect something detailed in high resolution! I’m hoping to offer the full calendar year (at least of the month grid, if not the coloring pages) in the next few weeks!