Sunday, January 8, 2017

Reading Challenge

I've decided to take on a reading challenge for the year because, for me, reading is a way for my mind to relax and regroup. Last year it was rather difficult for me to make much of an effort to choose to read when I did find myself with a bit of extra time. I had made a private challenge to read 24 books that would serve as research and points of reference for writing a novel. I was extremely excited to be doing this work, but I let the challenge of having two under two consume me. 

I have a bad habit of starting things and not finishing them. 
I only read two books the entire year, that's not okay for me. This year I decided to share my personal challenge so my public announcement will make me more accountable and hopefully encourage me to achieve my goal. I am, however, undecided as to what type of books I want to include. I'm debating on whether or not I should take on last year's challenge to be able to say I did it. Or if I should compile a list that supports more of my business endeavors with a sprinkle of books to satiate my thirst for historical fiction; primarily crime thrillers a la Sherlock Holmes. 

I also have a tendency to buy books only to have them go up on the shelf for "when I have time."
Then when I get the urge to read, instead of heading to my jam packed shelves at home, I head to the bookstore and enjoy rummaging for an hour or so. Usually leaving the store with a euphoric smile from having satisfied my inner bibliophile and shopaholic all at once. Only to cram one or more of my purchases onto my aforementioned heavily loaded shelves. 
As I sit here typing, my personal challenge is working itself out. I will read 20 books this year and resolve to only reading books that I currently own or check them out from a library. 
First up on my list will be one of the two I purchased on my last visit to the bookstore, Margaret Atwood's "Alias Grace." I'll keep you all posted as I read and share my selections as I make progress. I'll also be keeping track on Goodreads  It's a great website for any of you who love to read or want to start reading more. You can log books onto your virtual shelves as books you've read, are currently reading, or want to read. You can view your friends shelves and search specific categories you find interesting for inspiration on your next read. They have an app for easy updates and searches. 
Meanwhile, are any of you reading something now? I personally enjoy fantasy and historical fiction. I welcome any suggestions, leave them in the comments!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bullet Journaling - Learning to Thrive in Organized Chaos

I have discovered that being a parent to more than one lil nugget requires that I figure out how to incorporate some organization into the chaos they create.

For those of you who have your own lil nuggets, you know that as they reach developmental milestones, progressively gaining more independence due to their advancement in modality and acquisition of language, they begin to express their demands wants ALL DAY LONG. They go from 0 to 100 REAL quick and their desires seem to fluctuate every 15 minutes.

First they LOVE their dinner,


then half way through the meal, they can't stand the sight of it.


I've come to accept that taking care of tiny humans requires one to figure out how to live amongst organized chaos.  

I was having a hard time getting the house management in order while adjusting to having two lil nuggets and needed a way to feel like I had things more under control. I just didn't know what that system was going to be. My husband kept urging me to use my phone's reminders and calendar, but when the alert went off I would just glance at the reminder and have to direct my attention to whichever lil nugget was screaming or crying or just wanting a cuddle. So the reminder went unheeded and the task was usually forgotten. 

When I was in college, I relied so heavily on my monthly planner. That awesome little book that held my life in its pages. I made sure to find one with enough space for me to write out my tasks for the day, color-coded no less so I knew which task was for which class, and tabs so I could quickly find my place. I had a system and it worked very well. But once I got into the unpredictability of parenthood, the organization of a planner with a defined layout and limited space was not going to serve me well.

Then one day as I'm browsing through Facebook, BuzzFeed has a post about Bullet Journaling, immediately it caught my attention. 

I quickly watched the video they included from the creator of bullet journaling and was hooked. It turns out all I needed was a blank notebook and a pen (or 20 if you're like me). I don't know how your brain works, but I find that when I stop and try to connect the dots of my stream of consciousness, I often am surprised how I got from my first thought to the final thought. There are some recommended components that make up the nexus of the journal, a key, an index, a future log, and daily log, but essentially you have the freedom to include whatever you want, however you want. It can be a layout of your stream of consciousness. It's also a chance to exercise you're creativity.

There are lots of awesome examples all over Pinterest, Instagram, and personal blogs that showcase elaborate layouts and doodles, but don't get intimidated by all the bells and whistles if you're not artsy.  The journal is supposed to serve as a reflection of you and your thoughts to better serve your productivity. And if you are a talented doodler, I recommend getting comfortable with the function before you start adding your own flair. Here are some pics of mine to give you an idea of what a beginner's looks like:

The first picture shows my November blog tracker and grocery shopping list for the month. The second picture shows my December meal planner. The last picture shows the Daily Log layout I have currently adopted, which includes a water intake tracker that I created. As you can see my blog tracker happens to be next to the shopping list, because creating that type of shopping list came to me after I had input the tracker.

My favorite pens for journaling. They don't bleed and are vibrant. I purchased them at our local art store, Allard's. You can also find them on Amazon.

If you would like to see some amazing examples of expert bullet journaling, you can search Instagram #bulletjournal or search Pinterest for tips and inspiration. Check back here for a follow up post on my progress! 

I know there are many other methods to stay organized. I would love to hear about what you do to stay sane and make sense of life!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Cheers! It's been a year!

Courtesy of YourTimeToShine

My son turned one on Saturday! I went with a Mickey Mouse/Outer Space theme. (For those of you who are familiar with The Mickey Mouse Club, you know what I'm referencing.) It was a hot celebration with family and friends and the humidity decided to join us. September temperatures are as unpredictable as May's as it falls in between the transition from my least favorite season to my most favorite season. It also happens to be my birthday month, which lands closer to the official first day of fall :) 

I enjoy the preparation involved, the hours spent scouring Pinterest, running around town trying to get the best deals, and making cool things out of Dollar Tree finds. I made delicious meteorites out of chocolate and turned my son into an astronaut.

But if I'm being honest, I DREAD the execution of it all. I end up spending the day scrambling to make sure every little piece of decor is where it should be, the food is ready on time, and everyone is enjoying themselves.

My husband has said that these parties are for the parents and not the kids, because the kids aren't going to remember an iota of what happened. As much as I don't like to hear it, he's right. Despite the fact, reaching one year old is a momentous milestone and needs to be celebrated. Some cultures have ceremonial rituals to emphasize the significance of the day. I on the other hand like to have complicated, detail riddled parties. With all that said, I appreciate and am grateful for the friends and family that came to celebrate with us. And although he may not have a memory of the party details, I know that my son went to sleep feeling very happy and loved to see so many faces on his first birthday.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fall is around the corner

And it has me feeling like


I love the mildly cool weather, wearing sweaters, drinking hot chai (not going to lie though, I drink it year around and crank up the A/C), and the changing colors in all the foliage.

For those of you who have visited my Etsy Shop or have liked my Facebook Page, you'll know that I am just beginning to get it off the ground.  I am working on managing my time better (more to come on that in a future post).  Little by little I am building my inventory.  Crafting allows me to focus on one task and nothing else.  It's the perfect stress reliever for me and I end up with something beautiful in the end.  It is very fulfilling and relaxing.  That's why I was so excited when I stumbled upon some nice canvases for a great deal and can't wait to see what I come up with.  I'm also finishing up embellishing some wooden letters I have painted for one of my favorite holidays. Be on the look out because they will make an appearance in my shop very soon!

Next on the agenda is planning for my son's 1st birthday.  I love hammering out the details and seeing the theme of choice come to life, but the day of execution is always a little stressful!  I'll be sure to capture the moments and let you know how it turns out.  I went with an outer space + Mickey Mouse theme.  I always make it harder than it needs to be!

In the meantime, I'd like to know what crafty things you like to do.  I'm always looking to learn new techniques and gather inspiration.

Peace, Love, & Crafty Stuff!