Photos And Bullet Journals

Photos And Bullet Journals

I’m old. Like…I used to take FILM from my camera to the STORE to be DEVELOPED and then I would use the MAIL to send picture to my family.


I do love how cameras and digital photography has made it easier to share photos with friends and family, but I really did miss printing up photos for framing or albums. While I never really got into scrapbooking to the beautiful extremes I know some people did, I always had new photos framed around my house or I put together albums to document trips and events. So, when I started bullet journaling it wasn’t long before I thought, Well, I could print up some photos to stick here and there as another way to mark the passage of time and key events…

And that’s when my motto: #PlanDocumentCreate was born.

Obviously we all know how bullet journaling is used to plan, and most of us also use it as a creative outlet in some capacity, but I also use my to document things like races or parties or adventures. I thought I would mention this here as I haven’t in awhile and I wanted to tell you how EASY it has been to print up photos lately! I put the CVS app on my phone (THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST!) and no matter where I am, I can send photos to print to the nearest CVS. When I hiked Mount LeConte in the Smokies, I sent photos from my phone to be printed in Knoxville. When I ran the 4 Bridges half marathon I printed them while I was still in Chattanooga. And for most of my life, I’m printing photos at one of the million CVSes in Huntsville, AL.

(There are not really a million, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE IT.)

I just don’t want you to steer clear of printing photos because it seems inconvenient when – if you use an app on your phone – that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Maybe you’d like to add photos to your bullet journal too! I’ll tell you this much, it really makes it even more fun to peruse past volumes when you add the periodic photos to the pages.

Do you add photos to your bullet journal?

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.

Preserving Artifacts From A Vacation

Preserving Artifacts From A Vacation

I tried scrapbooking for about 5 minutes about 15 years ago. I loved the paper and the stamps and the beauty of it all – but I had ZERO patience and even less of an attention span which was needed for scrapbooking. Work so hard to document on birthday party? Nope. I couldn’t do it. I really wanted to document things, but I didn’t have the patience to do it beautifully. I wanted the gorgeous spreads my friends made, but I wanted to do them in 4 seconds. I bought all of the supplies and never made one scrapbook page for one scrapbook. EVER. I did start a blog in late 2003, so that helped fulfill my need to document, but it gave me no way to preserve artifacts like ticket stubs or invitations like the idea of scrapbooking did. Enter my bullet journal! And my #PlanDocumentCreate motto. Now I have a place to tape concert tickets and programs from plays!

I went on vacation last week to Denver, CO to visit my brother. We spent 5 days at a rental house in Breckenridge with his family and there was adventure and celebration and I had all of these artifacts I wanted to preserve somehow.


So I took about 30 seconds and taped them into my bullet journal. The race bib from the 10K we did the morning of the Fourth of July. The tickets and wristbands from the fun park we went to with the roller coaster and alpine slide. All of the artifacts preserved simply and quickly. Not as pretty as an actual scrapbook, but functional. And requires absolutely zero patience.

And then – the most hilarious thing of all happened. WE FOUND OUT WE MADE THE PAPER!


I don’t think I have been in the paper since small athletic accomplishments from high school in the early 90s! How hilarious that it happens when I’m out of town visiting my family! My brother and his wife entered us into the parade, rented a trailer, and they decorated it with the kids the day before Independence Day. It turned out GREAT! The beauty of the float combined with the location of the horses behind us in the parade meant that our picture ended up in the local paper. OF COURSE I HAD TO PRESERVE THAT! And what better way than in my bullet journal?

The vacation was a blast and now I have some special artifacts to remember it by, preserved on a shelf with all of my other memories from the last three years.

Do you preserve artifacts from events in your bullet journal?

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

Monday Mornings

Monday Mornings

Ideally, I find quiet time on Sunday to plan the upcoming week, but I’m inherently a Morning person and am most “clear” when I first wake up so most weeks I end up doing my planning on Monday morning. This morning I woke around 3:15am and got to work. This is the basic 2-page weekly spread I’ve settled on and I really like it.

I have enough room on my daily pages to do my task lists and daily appointments. If something doesn’t get done, I just leave it unchecked and I still see it for the next day. No need to rewrite or migrate uncompleted tasks until the end of the week. I also create a “Love List” section which is my secular version of a Prayer List. People I want to think about throughout the week, people I want to send love to in some way, even if it’s in quiet meditation when I glance at their name. I also have a mindfulness section where I write mantras or notes or reminders for the week to help keep my anxiety at bay. I have a “buy” section to jot down things we run out of for my next grocery trip, and I have a miscellaneous section for the random notes, reminders that I don’t know where else to put.

The week never looks too full when I finish my Monday morning planning session, but it does look more active.


My plan is to document this page Sunday night as well so you can see how the week fills out. Things always get sloppier, that’s for sure. I stop caring so much about order and just want to make sure THAT I DO NOT FORGET ANYTHING. So my writing gets more frantic as the week goes on.

But for now? I’m ready. Bring it on.

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

Note To Self

Note To Self


I shared a cropped version of this photo to Instagram yesterday. I’m really enjoying my new weekly spreads, I really liked the lettering I did on my headings, and I’m having fun with some new pens (I found out my new faves also come in a fine point!). All of this meant that I looked at these pages and this photos yesterday morning and I thought, “DAMN. This is NICE. I love my bullet journal!”

Then I scrolled through my instagram feed after I uploaded it.

And I started to feel inferior in EVERY WAY. Holy crap, there are some amazing bullet journalers out there. Their lines are perfect, their headings are gorgeous and their handwriting is the stuff of LEGENDS. Not to mention they have fun clips and tabs and POTTED PLANTS in their photos which make everything look so fancy and cool and I BECOME IRRATIONALLY JEALOUS AND FEEL INCREDIBLY INFERIOR.

I know that’s dumb, but I swear I get twitchy every time I scroll through my IG feed and see gorgeous/perfect spread after gorgeous/perfect spread. I start to wonder WHY I’m doing this when NOTHING I ever do will be as beautiful.

But then I opened my bullet journal to this spread again, and I glanced down at my “mindfulness” section. This is the section I created to remind myself that there are other things to do in the day besides the things on my “to do” list. Things to keep my anxiety in check. So? I added two mantras.


I’ve been using this Bullet Journal system of Planning, Documenting, and Creating for almost three years now. Three years exactly at the end of August. It’s been the best system for me as I previously went through at least 3 different calendars/planners a year and TWICE that many notebooks and journals. THIS IS A GREAT SYSTEM AND IT IS PERFECT FOR ME. I’m going to keep writing about it and photographing it because it brings me joy, and I’m going to try to be roused to create by those beautiful spreads and not intimidated into inaction.

Here’s to being proud of our own work and inspired by others, right?

Documenting part of the #PlanDocumentCreate

Documenting part of the #PlanDocumentCreate

I like to explain that my bullet journal motto/approach can be summed up in the hashtag #PlanDocumentCreate. Most of my bullet journal goes to planning, but some of it also goes to Creating (like my ZenDoodle pages) and Documenting (movie tickets, kid’s art, birthday cards ect) things from my life. I had an interesting thing to document this week: A label from Crowler of a limited release beer from a local brewery.


1) Celebrating what the state of Alabama was calling “Growler Day” which was June 1st, and the day breweries could finally sell beer from the brewery itself for people to leave with thanks to the passing of the beer to-go law. Most of the time we have to either drink the beer there in the tap room (which is not always convenient) or buy bottled/canned releases from local stores (which is not an option for limited releases because the cost of bottling/canning would be too great). For beer lovers in Alabama this was a GREAT DAY!

2) Celebrating one local brewery’s response to the Gubernatorial scandal in the state. I’m a big fan of local business who can find silver lining in the tragedy that has become Alabama politics.

While I’m not normally a pale ale fan, this one wasn’t too bad as it did have a fruity flavor mixed in with the hoppy flavor I don’t usually like. I bought it, I drank it, and I stuck the label in my bullet journal to celebrate the occasion. This will be one of the many pages I look back on when I’m feeling reflective and will laugh over something I would probably normally have forgotten.

It’s like scrapbooking for the non-crafty beer drinker.



Sometime today my instagram account will hit 10,000 followers. I started it on a whim because I really liked taking pictures of my bullet journal and it seemed silly to crowd my personal feed with those pictures. In celebration I thought I’d reflect on the major thing that makes me stick to bullet journaling since August, 2013.


I always say that bullet journaling is perfect for the chronic list-maker. And it is! And it is perfect for me because I’m a chronic list maker. However, that’s only the “planning” part of the big picture. I use the hashtag #PlanDocumentCreate on a lot of my instagram photos because that is what bullet journaling has allowed me to do. It has given me one simple system for planning my days, documenting my life as it unfolds, and creating art. Three things I’m compulsively drawn to do by some innate force. Three things I’ve done in random methods and systems my entire life. Three things I can now continue to do with one small notebook that travels with me everywhere I go.



This is the easy part. I plan my life in my bullet journal in an assortment of ways. I have my daily pages (or in the case of the page above, 2-days for the weekend) my weekly pages and my monthly pages. All that help me maintain order in my chaotic life with 3 kids, a full-time job, 2 volunteer positions, and an ultra-running hobby that requires I run anywhere from 30 to 70 miles a week. I plan my life with other pages as well, there’s the gift ideas list and the vacation planning page. There’s the run log and the wish lists. There’s the page with information about that project at work and pages categorized for my volunteer positions in our local track club and our local triathlon club. I plan everything in my life in this small notebook.





In a past life I tried scrapbooking and never stuck to it because it just took too much effort to make everything perfect. I write a lot about my life on my personal blog, and that’s great at documenting things, but what do you do with the memorobilia itself after you tell stories? Tickets to concerts. Notes from teachers. Art from school. I stick everything in my bullet journal that I can. I put my race bibs in there and my ticket stubs. I let my kids draw in it to document their art skills. I include programs from plays and napkins from restaurants. If the item is too big? I stick it in an envelope and tape it to the page.



I’m not a talented artist who spends time quilting or knitting or painting, but I have the drive to create and it has always manifested itself in the form of a doodle. Doodles on the notepad by the phone growing up. Doodles on my notes in school. Doodles in the margins of my books. When I discovered Zendoodling as an actual thing that people do I became obsessed and now I keep at least one zendoodle page going at all times in my bullet journals. This allows me an easy release for some of that creative energy and it gives me an immediate access to that meditative energy that doodling gives me.



Sometimes life is overwhelming and my doodling allows me to clear my head. I’ve been known to sit in the parking lot at work before going in, just to do a few minutes of doodling to calm my anxiety if I have a big day ahead. This notebook with me at all times allows me that escape whenever I need it.


There’s so many days planned, memories made, and art created in these notebooks. I’m currently working on volume 10. Some I stopped early to coincide with a new year or a calendar date perfect for starting a new notebook. But for the most part? They’re full. They go in my “Go Bag” when we have threats of bad weather because I want them to stay on my back so as long as I’m safe, they are. My kids flip through them when they’re bored. They love seeing art from school or drawings in there. These silly notebooks and this silly hobby has helped bring so much order AND joy into my life I wish I had discovered it 10 years ago.