Books Read so Far in 2021 Part #3

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well it’s July? Or is it June? I really don’t know at this point, it’s probably June, I think that’s when this post is coming out, for me, it’s still May. I for sure should have started this post two books ago but here I am needing to write two books worth of information all right now. 

            Well this was supposed to go up in June but your girl is an idiot and posted her Bullet Journal update a week early, so here we are in the first full week of July with this update, that should have been out two weeks ago. Sorry about that, it’s been a scattered couple of weeks in my brain. 

            I decided after my last post to actually write out all the titles of the books I have read throughout the year next to their category because it seemed the easiest way for me to keep track as I move through the year. Especially for the categories that are not free choice. 

            If you want to know what else I have read this year you can click on the number and it’ll take you to that post: Part 1 and Part 2.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (3.3/5)

            I love funny books by funny people and Amy Poehler is a really funny person. I have had this book in my collection pretty much since it came out and that means it’s been on my bookshelf for a while and I finally got around to reading it. I should have read it years ago. I loved Parks and Recreation, it was such a good show and one of those shows that stuck with me even after I watched it. I didn’t really ever watch SNL but so many amazingly funny comedians have come from that show that have such an influence on the pop culture sphere and I love it. I liked reading a memoir that took the past and the present and mixed them. I feel like I should have more to say because it was a 300+ page book, but I don’t really have much to say. Beyond, if you like comedic people, you will probably like this book.

Premeditated Mortar by Kate Carlisle (3.5/5)

            I think this one actually has gotten me caught up with the series and now I am upset that I have to wait for the next one to come out. This book didn’t have a murder until like halfway through the book which for a cozy mystery was strange but I wasn’t too upset about it. I want to visit some of the places that are described in this series and The Gables is for sure one of those places. It was more focused on other things and I think that was nice, I want more books in this series and I know there will be more. I love all of the relationships, friendships, and family relationships that are interwoven through this series and I am so glad we are seeing an expansion on the characters and the universe as a whole. I am so excited for the next one. 

Theodore Boone: The Fugitive by John Grisham (3/5)

            I read this to make a vocab quiz for my sixth graders, you can actually still see my sticky tabs for potential vocal words and their context sentences. I read it in like a day and a half because it is a book meant for middle schoolers. It’s also the fifth book in the series, but I get why so many of my middle schoolers love the series. I now want to read the rest of them, or at least eventually get them for my classroom library. I really don’t have much to say except this is the first John Grisham book I have ever read even though he is an incredibly prolific writer. I liked it and if you have a middle school aged student, they may like the Theodore Boone series as well. 

Dracula by Bram Stoker (3/5)

            Classic number 4 on the year, which is really good because it’s taken me like three weeks to read this book. I love classic literature but it’s so dense. I understand why it is a classic and has spurred so much literature and pop culture along with it. I love the character of Dracula in more modern times. It was a dense read, I liked it, but I am glad I am done with it. I like the diary format in books, I always have. It was one of those books that I enjoyed but I slogged through it. I feel like I don’t have much to say about it besides when I was picturing the characters I was picturing the characters from NBC’s version of Dracula from like 2013-2014. The next book I am reading is the second in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and I am already enjoying it. 

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (4/5)

            I read it in four days. That is all I have to say. I loved this book just as much I loved the first one in the series which was Stalking Jack the Ripper. So good, I don’t feel like I have much to say on it because it is just one of those books that you need to read, the imagery is amazing throughout and everything is so well tied together. I love the relationships of the characters and the whole aesthetic. Normally I am not a YA reader, which I think I mentioned in the blurb about the first book. I could not put this one down, I read it while I was working out and I think it made my workout’s better because I was so gripped by it and I cannot wait to read the next one. I won’t be reading it for a while now because I am following a list and if I deviate from it I won’t read all the books I want to get done this year. If you want a gothic Victorian mystery with just a touch of flirtation and moments that make you roll year eyes in the best way possible, this series is for sure for you. 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (3.8/5)

            I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s been out for almost a decade and there was a movie. I cried a little bit reading it. It was a lot to process. I have read another one of her books and that was in 2016, I read Last Letter to Your Lover. I liked this one a lot better. I feel like I am writing really short sentences and I am sorry for that, this will be one of those books that sticks with me for a while. It was heart wrenching and I really want every story to end happily, even though I know that not all stories end happy. We all look for the good and we hope that at the end of the book or the movie that the characters get their happy ending. I would recommend it if you like something that will both make you very happy and very sad at the same time. 

Death in Bloom by Jess Dylan (4/5)

            I am in the middle of reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volume 1 also at the moment but I needed a break because classics are long. I was going to read another cozy, but my mom is reading that one right now so I switched gears. I bought this one on a whim when I was getting the new Eve Calder cozy and at the moment I am dealing with a lot of reliance faith, fate, destiny, and manifestation for something in my life. Picking up this book and reading over the last few days where, manifestation is a big theme I felt like it was fate. It’s a really good story though and I am looking forward to reading the next one when it comes out later in the year. That is such a problem with cozies, I read so many and then run out of ones to read. There is a corgi in this one and everyone by now should know my love of dogs, also I love flowers and arranging fake ones is a hobby of mine. If you like a small town, old acquaintances becoming new friends, and the gossip that happens when something goes wrong in a small town. I think you’ll like this one. I also wish that Sierra’s grandmother was my grandmother too, if we are being completely honest with ourselves.

            A bonus picture of the fact that I finally cleaned out my reading chair in my office so now I can actually sit in my office and read in a comfortable chair that isn’t covered in blankets and random stuff that I just pile there.

            I was really hoping to have at least one or two other books on here because we are now over halfway through the year and I have not even read half of the books I have been slated to read this year. I will say this the classics really do slow me down, I cannot believe people read all of that back in the day. Man have we slipped. 

            I am currently reading two books in tandem because The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is super long, I mean so long, it’s like 650 pages and it’s so dense. So I am going to read other books while I read it otherwise I am going to get bogged down and not get anywhere close to my goal this year. 

            I will be back at the end of August with another post like this one, hopefully there are a bunch of books on it because my showing this year has not been so great. 

            There will be another post on Sunday so look forward to that, it’s a DIY and I love it so much. I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week and into the weekend, stay safe, happy, and healthy. I’ll see y’all later! 


Let’s keep track shall we?:

Classics:  4/10 (Alice in WonderlandTuck EverlastingThe Secret Garden, Dracula)

Historical Fiction:  1/5 (West of Sunset)

Sci-Fi/Fantasy:  2/5 (The Starless Sea and Good Omens)

General Fiction:  3/5 (Me Before You, All is Fair in Love and Cupcakes and Bridget Jones’s Diary)

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 1 /2 (Yes, Please)

Non-Fiction:  /1

Thrillers: 1 /2 (I, Ripper

Free Choice:  7/15 (Eaves of Destruction, A Wrench in the WorksShot Through the Hearth, Stalking Jack the Ripper, Premeditated Mortar, Hunting Prince Dracula, Death in Bloom)

Fitness Update: It’s all Hills and Valleys

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So here’s the deal, I was going really strong until December and then it got cold. I know that in my last post about my fitness journey I was so excited to keep going and I still am but winter hit me like a truck, maybe two trucks and I am just pulling myself out of that funk. 

            In my last post though I did talk about doing my 5K over Thanksgiving week and my goal was to do it in under an hour, I did, 59:49 and I was really proud of myself. I also did Flex It Pink’s Holiday Hustle 5K in December and my time was, brief pause while I find it in my 2020 Bullet Journal because I don’t remember it off the top of my head, 1:00:18. 

            I walked last weekend, four miles both days after taking three months off and let’s just say I was limping all week because my hip was killing me. By the time that you read this hopefully I will be going walking in the morning. I want to get back to my 3-4 5K length walks a week because I have a goal this year to walk a straight 10K. I signed up for a Yes.Fit race in January and I am working on that one now. It’s the Beauty and The Beast race which is 26.7 miles and I am like 30% done. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot but that was two workouts. I have already signed up for Gourdy’s Pumpkin Run in the fall and all three of the monthly 5K challenges that are associated with that (September to Remember, Rocktober!, and Novem-brr Dash) and I was so excited when they opened that race up over spring break. I know that I will sign up for Gobbles Free Range 5K when that opens up too, if they are going to do it this year. 

            Every journey has hills and valleys and I am not an aspiring fitness coach, I am not trying to be a fitness influencer but writing it down on my platform, my blog, it makes it feel more real. Like I need to and have to do it and that’s what I need. I need that accountability to keep myself going and I want to, I want to keep going but some days when your mental health (not an excuse) is fighting against you, you just have to stop and recognize that you have to be present with yourself, not just push through it with a workout. Don’t bury that stuff down deep and think that you can just do one thing and it makes it easier. Somedays, that is super true, you can help yourself out by doing a workout, meditating, and things like that but sometimes you just have to sit and be present with yourself and your issues before they spiral you down. As someone who spirals down in the spring, February and March, those are my tough months and I don’t know why but here I am in April (birthday month!) and I want to give myself a birthday present this year. I want to be better, I want to feel better, I want to look better, I want to be able to do cool things, I want to be able to wear whatever clothes I want without feeling terrible about myself, I want to love who I am both inside and out. The inside part took a long time, the outside part is taking even longer. 

            There are so many people online who want to be influencers, I am not here for that. I show y’all what I get in subscriptions, I share DIY’s and crafts, I share little pieces of me and that’s totally cool. Right now though I just need to share this. I need to get this all off my chest, I want to be motivated to be a better version of myself. So that next year on my (I can’t believe I am saying this) 30th birthday I can look back at year 29 and say that I did the best for myself, that I showed up for me. I don’t want to waste any more time than I already have but I need to be aware of my limits, I need to be aware of what I can and cannot do because I will do more damage than good if I ignore my body telling me that something is wrong or something hurts. 

            I am not out here telling you how to live your life, I would never try to do that because that’s not who I am. I probably won’t tag this one like I tag all my other posts, it may go on Twitter but at this moment I don’t know. I spend my time here being as authentic as possible because I don’t believe in putting on a front and a face for social media. That’s not how I roll, I just want to be me, a better version of me, and some days that’s difficult. 

            I want to do this post more regularly than every six months or so. I want to do check-ins with me as much as making it a blog post, so I’ll be back in June with another post like this one, hopefully I will have better news when it comes to my journey. I have days where I do amazing and other days where I do terribly but I think that my better days are starting to outweigh my terrible days, and at this point that’s all I can ask for. 

            So there it is, me as an authentic human with a real human being problem and a thing that I for sure need to work on as a person. My alarm is already set for 4:30 tomorrow morning because I like to walk early before work and then go deal with middle schoolers all day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

            I will be back mid-week with another post, even though I am not sure what it’s going to be yet. I have to consult the Bullet Journal and see what past me planned for current me to write about. So until then, have a great start to the week, and stay happy and healthy.


Anatomy of a Creative’s Desk

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I feel like I am on a hamster wheel and I kind of want to get off but there is no place to do that without causing great bodily harm. I know that we are already at the end of month one of 2021 and I feel like my stress level is just through the roof at the moment. I considered just taking today off and just rolling with it, really taking this week off and coming back next weekend but I am nothing if I am not a glutton for punishment. 

            I was watching Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith earlier and it occurred to me that I have never actually seen the movie, only the memes all over the internet. I knew what was going to happen but it is what it is. I got into the Star Wars game like super late because as a younger human I just wasn’t into it but I am now and better late than never right? 

            I have no idea how to open this post and I feel like I am rambling, I am one of those people who will talk and talk until someone tells me to shut up. I spend a lot of my time by myself so actually being able to talk to people means that I will talk and talk. My dad tells me all the time that my talking is the reason they named me Mary, after my grandmother, who also had the gift of gab. 

            My post is not about any of this but at the moment my brain is so scattered this post may be a post with no point, my downstairs neighbors have been fighting again and that very much disrupts my very quiet existence up here, I shouldn’t dwell on it but I do because I don’t like when people argue it makes me anxious. 

            What is this post really about you may ask? Well it’s in the title, I have had a number of desk set ups over the years, if I have any on my computer I will share them as well but I consider myself to be a pretty creative human on most days, some days I look at everything on my desk and just feel absolutely brain dead because I can’t produce anything productive. 

            My desk, my office really is a safe haven to me because it’s my space to work, to creative, and to be me without pretenses. I write a lot, I like art even though I am not great at it, and I really enjoy reading. If I could have an study, a library, and an art studio in a house someday no one would ever see me again; I would be a little more reclusive than I already am. 

            What’s on my desk though? 

            Notebooks, all sorts of notebooks, my bullet journal, my writing notebook, my writing prompt notebook, my outline and idea notebook, and sometimes just a writing notebook that I hand write in but that’s in my work bag so it’s not in here at the moment.

            Pens and things, all sorts of pens and things, markers, fine line sharpies, highlighters, and even some pencils for all of the things that I work on. They are mostly for my bullet journal but I use them for other things as well. 

            Assorted figurines, they are mostly Funko Pops!, eventually I will be doing a highlight reel of my collection but that’s an eventually plan when I have my whole collection at my place of residence. Except the ones that were stolen from my last apartment, I still miss all of my Doctor Who Pops that were lost which was most of them and some pretty expensive rare ones that were exclusives and someone took them. I hope that person rots in hell. One my desk though I have two of the characters from Funko’s original collection of Wetmore Forest which are Snuggletooth and Butterhorn, I love them both. I also have Rosie the Riveter and the Coca-Cola bear because I love the polar bears in their commercials. I also have a small Beanie Baby giraffe that was a present from my best friend a few years ago. I used to have more figurines on my desk but things have changed. 

            Random things, stapler, tape, sticky notes, lotions, white out, wireless ear buds, my backup hard drive, drinks, sometimes plates because I pretty much live at my desk. I also have a grammar book which I should look at more often as well as my address book because I still write cards to people. 

            My computers, I use my laptop every day, that’s what I do all of my work on. I have my iMac out because I use Photoshop on it, it’s so old I cannot update it anymore but it still has Photoshop so I still use it for that. Yes I am a Mac person, I have been since like 2007 with my first Macbook. 

            Things that are sometimes one my desk but aren’t at the moment:

            A book, usually the one I am reading or just finished.

            My phone, I’m using it to take the picture.

            Things for whatever I am writing a blog post about, ISPY stuff, makeup and skincare, books, random stuff, and anything that I am using that I know I need to remember to put in the post. 

            Binders, for whatever book I am working on but they live in the bookcase next to my desk most of the time. 

            More computer and electronic cords than I know what to do with but need. 

My very small desk, or at least part of it my senior year of college so this is late 2013 because I had Christmas stuff on the desk.
This is circa early 2016 so this was when I was still in Indiana right before I started my Master’s so I have no idea what was on the screen but I was watching a lot of YouTube at the time, I still do.
This was my original set-up when I moved to Arkansas so February-March 2018.
This was my second set-up at my old apartment and that was late 2018 or early 2019, more Christmas stuff there so it’s gotta be Christmas 2018 because I was only in that apartment for one Christmas.

            In hindsight I wish that I had taken more pictures of my set up over the years with how much it’s changed in my memory, I will put a few through this post because it’s a trip down memory lane for me, all the way back to college. I really do wish I had a picture of my old school desk from when I was in high school and I might somewhere but who knows where in my archives that could even be. I have gotten rid of so many photos over the years but even looking back to some of the ones on my computer from 2013 I realized most of the books in the bookcase I had at that time I don’t own anymore which is such a weird feeling knowing how many books I have donated over the years but that’s not what this post is about. 

            This post was more for me than anything else but I like showing small snippets of my life here I need to be more open but only to my comfort level at this point. 

            I will see everyone mid-week with a post that I haven’t decided on yet so that should be fun but until then I hope everyone has a good start to the week and a good start to February. 


MJ’s 2021 Goals

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            Welcome to 2021, it’s finally here but it feels no different from 2020, yet. We are only a few days in so who knows what this year holds for all of us. I am hoping for happiness and prosperity for everyone, an end to the pandemic, and you know just general peace on year, treat everyone with kindness and respect kind of things that we all wish for. 

            I feel like one good thing about 2020 was the amount of time I had for personal growth, did I use all of that time wisely? No not really but I tried. I feel like last year which I still want to call this year was a mess and we all knew it, we all went through a lot and we are here, we have come out of 2020. So what are my goals for 2021? Look at me making my first list of the year.

            I feel like I put my goals in four categories; that’s pretty much my yearly system and I have found that it works for me even though my goals I feel like repeat year after year because I continually say, “I’ll do it this year” and then get most of the way through the year and realize that I have done nothing. So my categories are, personal, professional, social, and writing. I am going to keep my professional goals to myself but the other three I’ll give you the highlights. 

  1. I want to walk a bunch more 5K or even longer challenges, the cumulative ones because the medals are cute and they keep me accountable to actually doing things. I know that is external motivation and I should run on internal motivation but if it gets me moving then external motivation is totally cool in my book. 
  2. I want to stop snacking, cut down on sugar and carbs (but bread is my fave), and cut down on eating out. I feel like a lot of personal goals are health related, I want to be a better version of me and one of the things I can do is take care of me. 
  3. I want to get back into meditation, I used to do it with a face mask on like once a week and then I kind of stopped and I need to get back into it because I need to declutter my brain and I should have done that more in 2020. 
  4. I want to read 45 books. I read 40 last year and I want to read at least five more this year and if I actually read every day I probably will hit this goal. 
  5. I want to Bullet Journal the whole year, I did really well last year with actually getting all of the months in and I want to do a really good job doing that this year as well because it keeps me motivated to use the journal for everything. 
  6. I want to have two posts a week on the blog the whole year, I have wanted that since I started the blog and some months I am really good about it and others I am not but I am going to actively attempt it better this year. 
  7. I want to be more accountable over all of my social media and by that I mean I want to post more frequently and more routinely because I have all of these social media platforms and I just use them to scroll through aimlessly, I think it’s time to change that.
  8. I want to finish many of my unfinished writing projects, I finished four last year so I only have two more to go and then I have three that I started last year and I want to get at least a few of them finished. 
  9. I want to look into publishing, I am sitting on like a dozen novels but my anxiety has told me for years they aren’t good enough but that is one of my dreams a real book with my name on it. 
  10. I want to most of all be the truest version of myself that I can be, I want to be authentically MJ and I have gotten better at that over the years but I still have some work to do.

I know that setting goals is hard, it means that you have written down something that could affect you and that’s scary but it’s worth it because when you can say you accomplished a big goal it’s like a weight off your shoulders. So here is to 2021, a year to set our sight on our goals and do our best to reach them.


2020 Roundup

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            So this year has been a year even though it feels like 2020 has taken 5 years of time. I feel like the last few years have gone by so quickly but this year has been the complete opposite.

            My year started out great and then everything fell apart when the quarantine started in March and everything got turned on its head and things changed. Granted I believe that what is for you will not pass you and if it is meant to be it will be so that’s what I have to chalk certain things up to this year and I just have to leave it as that because otherwise I will feel like I am lost in the woods with no way out.

            Because we had to spend so much time at home and away from people, which is not really straying too far from my MO, even now I go to work, I may run an errand or two, and then I hang out at home. I got a lot of stuff done at home, I started to really game again, I explored new hobbies, and I wrote like a lot. 

            This year wasn’t so bad, like it was real bad a complete dumpster fire and there is no denying that because it’s been like a lot and I have said that pretty much in every post since March and I tried to look at this year as a year for personal growth and I had some luck with that though this year has also just been difficult and I have faltered.

            I made myself a promise in my bullet journal this year that I would have two posts a week and that didn’t really happen until the last quarter of the year and I want to keep that up into next year and writing down my ideas has really helped during the end of this year. 

            I wasn’t sure what this post was going to be actually and I still don’t really, just a little wrap up of the year and not much else. So what did I do this year? 

            I finished up writing four of my own novels, like I have written so many words this year. I have finished six co-written projects this year. I have so far written almost 900,000 words this year which is insanity. 

I have read 40 books this year which was my goal and guess what, I hit it. A lot of them were cozy mysteries because I needed some escapism in my life.

            I have done a lot of things, I have watched a lot of YouTube, started working out again, taking better care of me, and exploring more hobbies than years prior because I had so much time at home. I finished my entire bullet journal this year and started next year already. Over break I plan on doing all the way until at least April for next year so I don’t have to worry about it and then up until like July over spring break in March. 

            There has been so much that has happened this year and it won’t all just end when the clock strikes midnight on the 31st, we are still going to be living with a pandemic and I hope that everyone is doing okay and doing everything you can to keep yourself and the people that you care about safe and healthy. This year showed all of us that we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for because it has challenged us at every turn. We made it through the year, we made it to December but we don’t know if we still have tomorrow we never know if tomorrow is guaranteed because it’s not. So live every day as fully as you can because you never know what could change. 

            I don’t have any clever words or phrases at the end of this it’s just a roundup post, a moment to reflect on this year where every day showed us something new and sometimes terrifying. I hope that the end of everyone’s 2020 is good no matter how you are ending the year and that 2021 is not a challenging as this year has been for so many people. 

            I will see everyone this weekend with another post and I hope that everyone who celebrates Christmas has a happy one no matter how you are spending it this year. I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week!


2020 Bullet Journal Update #3

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

         I cannot believe that I am writing my last bullet journal update of the year. ( you can read the first and the second if you want) In truth I have been done with my bullet journal since about August, I had a lot of time and I am already almost done with January of next year because again; I had the time this week.

         Actually all of the non-creative pages for next year are done because then I can focus on the fun stuff instead of the weekly and monthly layouts. I know I mentioned that in post #2 this year but I felt like it’s been a while since then. 

         This post will look about the same as that one actually, month by month because that just makes sense to me at the moment and it’s a really organized why to put my thoughts down on paper. I know we aren’t really into December yet but bear with me. 

September Theme: 

         I grew up on Harry Potter, it came out when I was in like second or third grade and then the first movie came out when I was in fourth grade; I know because we went as a class to go see it after our teacher read it to us. (My fourth grade teacher was the best.) I love the world and the characters but I have had to separate myself from liking the author after recent comments. 

Cover: The Hogwarts crest and Hedwig wearing the sorting hat, I took a ridiculous amount of time on the crest and it’s still not perfect but that’s totally cool because I don’t want it to be perfect. 

Habit Tracker Drawing: I had to have a nod to the Marauders Map in here somewhere and putting it at the bottom of this tracker was a great choice if I do say so myself. I would love to have a map like the Marauders Map in my life, I would also love to have magic but you know. 

Mood Tracker: I got this idea from Pinterest and I ran with it, I had other ideas but none of them were as cool as this one so roll with me on it. 

The Last Page: Again, Pinterest. I have never really seen the spells like this and some of them could be wrong, I was not going to go and watch all eight films to find out. I didn’t want to do a quote page or a movie check list for this month and I really liked this idea when I saw it. 

October Theme: 

         Disney, because, duh. Next year everything is Disney; it’s a full year of different movies and characters next year. This month however is just general Disney no specific theme.

Cover: Well I wanted a double page like last month, I found the castle and traced it because art is hard, I did the same with Steamboat Willy but that one printed out funny so I had quite a time with it. I liked the idea of having a lot of color on one side and black and white on the other it just made so much sense to me and made me really happy while I was working on it no matter the frustration or blending or trying to get the character correct. 

Mood Tracker: I have seen Up a total of once and I know that Up is Pixar but it’s still Disney in my mind, it’s really cute and I know that the house isn’t colored in this picture, I didn’t realize it wasn’t until halfway through October and I just never retook the picture because I kind of like having the mood trackers blank. 

Quotes Page: All of the quotes on this page are from movies I am not using next year and I do like doing quotes when it’s a big universe that I am working on. 

November Theme:

         Doctor Who, because November. I have watched most of new Who, everything but 13 because I don’t have BBC America, I’ll watch it eventually. I love Doctor Who though, my graduation caps from college were two halves an 11thDoctor quote and it was one of those shows that I can watch over and over again because I love the stories and the characters. 

Cover: The TARDIS in the time stream or just floating through the galaxy, I tried really hard on the galaxy so work with me on it, I have drawn the TARDIS more than I would like to admit also so there’s that. 

Mood Tracker: In reality I am writing this before the end of November but the scarf looks nothing like Tom Baker’s iconic 4th Doctor scarf because of the colors that I use for my mood tracker but it’s the spirit that counts right? This was the only thing I thought of for the mood tracker because this scarf lends itself to a mood tracker and it’s just so iconic. 

Quotes Page: All new Who I think and one from Torchwood because that was a great show, well most of it. I picked my favorite quotes from the show that I quote every once in a while. Attack eyebrows is one of my favorite funny Doctor Who quotes and a few that made me cry when I watched them. 

December Theme: 

         I love the character of Sherlock Holmes, book version, Disney version, RDJ version, and the BBC version. I watched it over the summer again and if you forget about the last episode it’s fine. 

Cover: The left is hand drawn from a reference picture and the right, I cheated on. I printed it off the internet and drew some stuff on it because I could not draw that brocade. 

Mood Tracker: I like this one but it’s not my favorite, I messed up on some of the pods and I should have made them the days of the month but I am an idiot so roll with me again. The London Eye is so iconic just because it’s London and if I ever make it there I want to at least go see it. 

Quotes Page: I did limit this to the BBC version of Sherlock because there are some really good lines in the show and everything that Moriarty says is iconic so many of them are from him. 

         2020 has been insane and I am looking forward to what my Bullet Journal will look like next year, I don’t even really know yet but I am working on it. This year was a lot of fun to do and even though this year has been trial after trial I found myself with the time and the focus to get this year finished and even start on next year so I am not spending the year playing catch up each month.

         I will do a favorite pages post but not a what I am doing different post because I’m pretty much doing the same layout that I did this year because it worked really well for me and why ruin a good thing?

         I hope everyone has a great rest of the week and I will see you over the weekend with another post! 


Self-Care/ Mental Health Check Ideas

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I feel like this year has been one of those when you realize how much self-care that we should be doing and how much we don’t do. Also let’s be real I know that my mental health suffered this year and I found myself needing to do things that made me feel better and made me take care of myself. Self-care means different things to different people so what I do might not help you, but these are things that I have found that have helped me a lot this year to keep myself centered. 

            There aren’t going to be any photos in this one because I needed to make a list and I like lists, that’s something that actually really helps with my anxiety so here’s my list and it’s all my thoughts and opinions so if you don’t agree with me, that’s cool. 

1. Meditation

            So I have been doing guided meditation for a few years now and I don’t do it as often as I should, I usually listen to The Mindful Movement on YouTube and it’s great. I usually just put headphones in with a face mask on and hang out on my bed for 20-30 minutes and take the time to refocus my brain.

2. Sheet Masks/ Skin care

            Up until this year I would have called them just face masks but that has a different meaning now. So a sheet mask, I am partial to Tony Moly and a few others but I have a small crate of sheet masks in my fridge so I can use them whenever I want. I need to do this more now too because of the fact that I do wear a mask every day to work and my skin is suffering for it. Also just doing a good skin care routine can just make you feel so much better. 

3. Dance it out

            Just turn on some music and dance it out, sing along, just move and groove because sometimes listening to something you like and just move around. 

4. Turn off your phone or at least get off social media

            I have found myself needing detoxes from social media this year because it’s been a mess all over the internet no matter where it is. I just need to walk away because I don’t want to be brought down with people fighting and all of that. 

5. Read a book

            My goal is still 40 this year, I am at 35 right now and I just need five more in December which I have two weeks off in December so that’s exciting. Reading is a place to get lost in and really this year I think that we have al wanted to get a little lost and distance ourselves from the world and reality around us.

6. Get outside

            I found myself doing this a lot later in the pandemic, I have been walking and I have done two 5K’s now and I have one more this year, I am planning on doing a bunch more next year which I am excited about but just getting out into nature with your own thoughts can help you really take the time to refocus your mind and your energy. 

7. Write

            This one really works for me, I enjoy writing books and that’s something that always helps me focus and get my brain back on track. It’s creating something out of my own brain and that means that I have to make that time and energy to do something that’s important for me. You can just journal or keep a diary it doesn’t matter if what you write is 10 words or 100,000 words it is up to you and guess what you never have to show it to anyone, it can be just for you. 

8. Watch funny content

            Like I watch a lot of YouTube and I want to enjoy what I am watching or just laughing hysterically because that makes me feel better about things, find creators that you enjoy and roll with it; sometimes you go down the YouTube hole and it can take you to some interesting places. 

9. Talk to people you care about

            This year we have had to distance ourselves and not be around people that we care about so reaching out to people this year has been so important, make sure that you are checking in with people who you care about. It’s been a weird year to say the least. 

10. Watch a TV show or movie that you love

            I watch Labyrinth because it’s my favorite movie, I watch TV shows that I enjoy or that make me smile and sometimes that’s a holiday movie in April so just roll with it. I watched a lot of things on Netflix this year so if you want suggestions you can check that post out.

11. Color

            There’s a post on that too but sometimes just putting on some classical music and coloring can be really relaxing when you just need some time to zone out.

            I could go on and on with tips but I think I will leave it at 11 for now, I may have a second post that goes along with this one eventually but for now I am just going to go with this. I feel like I am a little disjointed with his post but it’s still here for me and for you if you need some self-care advice. 

            I hope everyone has a great rest of the week and I will see y’all on Sunday with another post! 


Cheers To A New Beginning: Starting A Fitness/Lifestyle Change Journey

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So this year has been a cluster, I don’t want to put the second word because I try not to swear, so let’s call it a dumpster fire. Like all around just a mess and that means that any plans that we had this year have all gone out the window. Social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, and don’t complain about it; that’s where we are at the moment in the midst of a dumpster on fire. 

            I am going to preface the rest of this post with my idea of fitness is more like “fitting this whole pizza roll in my mouth” but I also have dabbled in yoga, weight training, and even biking and running but I didn’t seem to stick to any of them, it was a motivation thing and I want to change that so bear with me for the rest of this post. 

            I know that I am not the only one whose mental health has suffered, I’m not the only one who has been spending time trying to pick up new hobbies, I’m not the only one worried, and I know that I’m not the only one who is just trying to keep their head up amongst the drowning feeling that is just 2020 as a whole. 

            I spent months trying to pull myself out of whatever funk I was in and writing and Animal Crossing both helped because I just needed a little escapism in my life. I found myself tired though and not just physically tired but I decided recently to reframe my mindset, not change it that’s a lot harder to do but I am reframing. I am not here to be some inspirational Instagram coach or tell you that everything is going to be okay as long as you put positive vibes out into the universe but I do hope that you are putting positive vibes out into the universe because you want to not because someone on the internet is telling you to.

            I have spent a lot of time listening to 80’s hair metal this year because it brings me joy, maybe hardcore rap brings you joy and pumps you up and you know what, you do you babe. 

            But I was getting sick and tired of being sick and tired so in August I decided to sign up virtually for Gourdy’s Pumpkin Run. I’m not allowed to run because of a problem with the joints in my left foot and a doctor told me running would run me the risk of breaking the joints in my foot, I ran the latter half of 2017 before knowing this and I had to stop even after I found my love for running but the 5K allowed for walking so I decided after seeing the ad on Instagram like a dozen times, you know when you click on an ad that’s all you see on Instagram and Facebook for a week and they got me. 

            Well I didn’t start walking until a few days ago but I did my 5K already, I was planning on building up to it but by accident I did it already, I had a plan too I was going to build up and walk it on Halloween on the trails at the art museum that is near my house. (If you are ever in Northwest Arkansas go to Crystal Bridges, it’s free and amazing all American art and they have a beautiful reference library that I want to spend days in and sprawling grounds full of sculptures and stuff, totally worth the visit.) But that didn’t stop me for signing up for one during Thanksgiving week, same company, it’s called Gobble’s Free Range 5K and I am looking forward to it.

            My last 5K time was 1:05:27 and for my next I want to be under an hour, it’s slow progress but I haven’t worked out in over a year because was so sick in January that I threw my back and tailbone out so hard that I pinched my sciatic nerve between either my lowest lumbar vertebrae or my sacral vertebrae, I cannot remember what the chiropractor said. It stayed that way until the end of March where I would have to crack my back in doorways or on my bed because I kept reinjuring it because I was in school all day, I slept with an icepack on my hip/back because I was in constant pain. School closing in March sucked but it was a blessing in disguise because my back healed, granted I still have to crack my back but I can feel my foot again which is the best thing. 

            But I decided to reframe, I want to be healthier, I have never been a small person and going clothes shopping is the worst thing for me but I don’t want to feel like way anymore. This is more to keep me accountable than anything else because I am not a coach, I am not trying to influence anyone to do anything, I want people to make good and healthy choices because they want to not because someone tells them to but I made the decision to actually stick to goals from now on. I want to be able to walk miles, I want to be able to hike, and visit all sorts of places without being in pain. So here I am saying these words on my blog, in my creative space to hold me accountable for me. 

            My medal comes in the mail hopefully this week and when I get it I will put a picture of it here somewhere but I if it takes something physical to say I did something it is what it is and I am okay with that, I get something shiny for walking a few miles. I plan on doing longer challenges next year because now all of my targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram are for walking and running challenges so here I am seeing cool medals and I want a wall of them someday, a binder full of finishers bibs, and a closet full of cute work out tops because I want to be a better version of me. I want to be the me that me as a kid needed and would have looked up to. 

            This is more a post for me, that I can promise but putting it in a public forum means that it’s out there for anyone and everyone to read and I am finally okay with sharing my journey, abbreviated, but still my journey.

            Any fun virtual walks that you guys have done that I can look into? Let me know in the comments. 

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post, so until then I hope you have a great week! 


What Do I Do for Fun?

Recently people have been asking me what I do for fun and in many cases I have stumbled over my words wondering which of my various hobbies would be socially acceptable for the situation. Most people look at me like I am crazy when I say I don’t drink because that seems to be a hobby that most people find acceptable, I come from a family where alcoholism is a very real thing and I don’t want to risk another facet of my already addictive personality becoming activated. Granted, I may have one drink once in a while but I don’t go to bars, I don’t enjoy parties where other people are drunk; I don’t even like drunk Snapchats and text messages.
Like I said, normally I just stare at the person and want to start screaming, “I don’t do anything fun I am not really a fun person to be around!” Because I would rather sit in my office, on my laptop, with my headphones on crafting a world out of thin air or getting so lost in watching YouTube videos that I lose hours on end unintentionally. I like spending time to be with just me, I don’t like big social gatherings, I don’t like crowds, and I do not really like interacting with people that I don’t know or don’t know very well. Yes, I do suffer for social anxiety and I know that; some days it takes me hours to even leave the house and then hours after I get home going over every conversation that I had while I was out and overthinking every moment of human contact I had coming up with things that I could have said differently or responses to questions that I could have had instead of staring blankly trying to think of an answer.

Read More

5 Things I Have Learned in the First Few Weeks of Being on My Own

Some days you wake up ready to take on the world, you go through them as if nothing and no one can get in your way. You are on a mission, a quest to be your best self and prove to everyone that you are strong and independent and you can do anything. There are also some days where you wake up and just want to roll over and not ever leave your bed. You are helpless, you feel like you can’t do anything and who let you become an adult; like a real adult. Seriously who authorized me being an adult? I think a mistake was made, who do I talk to about that? There are ups and downs for sure and moving and being away from everything that you know can be very overwhelming. (I know; I have had a very overwhelming feeling for about three weeks now) I digress, though I don’t want to; I have learned quite a bit out here in the real world; well in a real enough world for now.

Here are five things that I have learned in my three weeks so far of being an actual real life adult:

  1. Apartments can be terrible.

The building I live in is super nice, like beyond nice; all the amenities that you could ever want, but it has of course it’s downfalls (doesn’t every place?) I love my apartment, it’s amazing I have a balcony, I have a nice 9-foot ceilings, (high ceilings for the win) and a tub that I could fit about three people in but there are still some things that I am adjusting to living in a shared communal type space. (I lived in an apartment in college but this is a very different experience.)

  • My neighbors.
    • Now don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was signing up for when I moved into an apartment. But I didn’t know that I was signing up for walls so thin I could almost see through them. My neighbors on the other side of my office like to blare their TV and have sing-a-long’s late on all sorts of nights. Normally that wouldn’t really bug me because, well, that’s why they invented headphones but there is a limit on how much I can take because I have work I want to get done on my computer and it’s very distracting when you can hear people through the wall. The girl who lives upstairs from me walks around like she is constantly angry; I mean the girl stomps all over her apartment and okay I understand, your floor is your floor but it is also my ceiling and I understand that in turn my floor is also someone else’s ceiling and I don’t want to be a terrible upstairs neighbor so I am tip-toeing around up here trying not to bother him.
  • Parking
    • Now MJ has a designated parking spot, it’s lovely and covered and I love it. There are however, not enough spaces in the parking lot for everyone who lives here, plus guests that come and spend the night or hang out with residences. So people park in parking spots that aren’t theirs or make up their own parking spots because there is nowhere else to park. This creates a difficult objective when I am trying to get my car in and out of my spot because someone is parked very close to my car in a spot that they have created for themselves. This all just seems to be poor planning on the part of the person or people who designed the complex.
  1. I don’t like being alone as much as I thought I did. (Or Solitude is not for everyone.)

If you know me in real life, (I am not as cool as I think I am so you aren’t missing much if you don’t actually know me) then you probably know how much I like to be alone. I am an introvert and I have no problem with being by myself most of the time. I can handle about an hour or two of large scale social interaction before I want to crawl out of my skin and leave, but living by myself 700 miles away from everything I know has been an adjustment. Granted it’s not like I will be permanently alone but for the moment I am and I am realizing that I don’t like the solitude as much as I thought I would. Sometimes you crave human connections and even if that is talking to someone at the check-out in the grocery store or smiling when someone is nice to you it’s still something that every human needs. I have found myself wanting to be in the sunshine more, I want to be outside; maybe not with people but somewhere green and inviting, still quiet, still solitary but also surrounded by things that are living. I got plants because I was going stir crazy, I have even named them because someone told me to talk to my plants and I figured a name would be nice too, if you want to see them you can on my Instagram. I desperately miss my pets, but I cannot feasibly have a dog yet even though I really want one to keep me company, sit on my lap and bark at the neighbor’s dogs; it would be grand.

  1. Get to know the area around you.

I am from a small town in Indiana, I moved to a slightly larger town in Arkansas, if you want to know where Wal-Mart’s headquarters is I could about throw a rock to it. I feel like I am living in the Wal-Mart capital of the world (I probably am) but I have been taking time to venture out and learn my surroundings. Even if that means taking a drive to the grocery store and taking a different way home, getting desperately lost, and having to beg Siri to get me home. That’s one thing that I cannot stress enough moving to a new place; learn your surroundings. If you like certain things see where they are, you like hot yoga find the nearest studio, you like fresh pressed juices find the nearest juice bar, you really like cultural events and museums find some locally. Do yourself a favor and find the things that you like; it will save your sanity in the end. If you like to be around a lot of people find places where you can do that or make friends with your neighbors. (Awkwardly my parents know all of my neighbors, I have met like one and a half of my neighbors.) Acclimate yourself to everything around you because unless you moved for a job or university there is a good chance you are going to be sticking around for a while.

  1. Find a routine that works for you.

When I get anxious I make lists, I organize to the point of disorganization, I get overwhelmed easily and I can make a mountain out of a mole hill rather easily. I spend a lot of my time full of anxiety for various reasons but I have found that I can make a routine that works for me and I don’t drive myself absolutely bonkers. I also write, I would like to publish eventually but I have found that allowing myself to write and to find time to do that helps with everything else around me. Not everyone wakes up at the crack of dawn and goes for a run. (If you do I admire your dedication.) Some people stay up late and play video games or make videos on the internet which I do, you can find that link here . Find something that helps you get out of bed in the morning or keeps your sanity because I can promise everyone who moves they experience that momentary panic of “what do I do now that I am living my life surrounded by boxes?” or my personal favorite, “Where is that thing that I need?” and in my case the answer many times has been, “Oh it’s still at my parent’s house in Indiana, great.” And I have to make another list of things that I still need.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Find things that you enjoy to do. Make yourself learn new things every day, give yourself new experiences whenever you can. Live the life that makes you look back one day and say “Wow, I did that. Look at all of the things that I did.” I don’t want to look back with regret for the what if’s, the why didn’t I’s, the where would I be today’s. I don’t want any of those things to haunt me somewhere down the line. Sometimes things get in the way of your plans, that’s life and sometimes it’s complicated and strange but it always finds a way of working itself out, everything comes out in the wash so to speak. Take time to make yourself happy before trying to make anyone else happy, because if you aren’t happy with your life and your choices than what is the point?