Bullet Journal Comparison #1: Yearly Cover

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            This is going to be a series, I plan on having one post like this for the next several months because I need a little bit more to write about and maybe this series can help someone who is embarking on the Bullet Journal trend like I did in 2018. I blame Pinterest for a lot of things in my tactile creative arsenal and Bullet Journaling is one of them. I could link all of my Bullet Journal posts here, but that would be in a word; excessive. I will link a few important ones though, like my updates so far this year, (they are linked near the top of the linked post) my Bullet Journal supplies post, and my 2020 Bullet Journal. (again the links for all of those updates are at the top pf the linked post) 

            I don’t expect these posts to be long and rambling, I just want to talk about how much my creative process for these have changed over the years. 

            I started Bullet Journaling in 2018 because I was moving and I could never find a planner that was exactly what I wanted, Pinterest turned me on to this mythical and magical thing called Bullet Journaling. It was such a concept to me, buy a blank journal and then make it what you wanted, creating hundreds of pages out of thin air and I was up for the challenge. 

            This first post I figured could focus on one page, all of them will focus on a singular page in my journals for the last four years. My methods might be different than other Bullet Journalers, (I don’t know what to call it) but that’s alright we can all have a different method to journaling. That is the intense beauty of a Bullet Journal; it can be whatever you want it to be. 

            I am not a professional, I make mistakes in every journal, no matter how many times I have worked on them, I am working on my 2022 BuJo already and I have already made mistakes even though it is almost a carbon copy to my 2020 and 2021 BuJo in regard to the layout. 

            So my page for this post is the yearly cover. These posts are going to give some spoilers for my favorite pages this year but at the moment, I don’t care; just roll with it. 

            2018: I have no idea what I was doing when I threw this page in, I really didn’t. I remember sitting at my desk when I was still in Indiana and staring at the page hoping that it would just tell me how to make a good cover. I went with Hello in over a dozen languages and just ran with it. It was the not the most creative and at the time I will say, my 2018 Bullet Journal was very much a prototype to see if I could sustain actually doing something like this.

            2019: Who doesn’t love balloons, I wish I would have done more with them. Shading or something to make them look more like balloons and not made a few mistakes in them. It was just as simple as my 2018 yearly cover and this is honestly a page I rarely look at throughout the year, but still, I could have done better with this one. 

2020: After what we all went through in 2020 I never want to hear the phrases ‘2020 vision’, or ‘hindsight is 2020’ ever again. I was so optimist at the beginning of last year and then it was a dumpster fire. I wish that I could have seen the future and made this a dumpster instead, but we can’t see the future and that is not a super power that I would want. I loved this cover though, I loved the sunglasses and if I wasn’t a glasses human who has really poor vision I would for sure have about six pairs of sunglasses that looked exactly like these ones. 

            2021: if you were around last year and were following my BuJo posts then you will remember this castle from my October BuJo Disney spread last year. I did all Disney this year and my 2021 Bullet Journal is actually fully complete. I traced the castle, I am not going to lie, I traced it because I am not great at free-handing anything. I didn’t go for the ombre that I tried last year, with this cover I went with more of a stained glass look because I love stained glass. There is no secret there, stained glass is beautiful and scary; too many sharp edges for me to try and make. I think that last year and this year have stretched my creative vision for my Bullet Journals and this cover is my favorite so far. 

            So there it is, one page over four years. I don’t know what 2022’s cover is going to look like; I have not decided that yet. I know what my theming is next year but I have figured out very little when it comes to the actual creative part of all of it. I still have some time to figure that out before I start. I am getting all of the basic pages in as well as the monthly days because I know if I don’t I will fall behind and it won’t be fun. It will be a slog to get through like I did for all of 2018, 2019, and the beginning of 2020 and now I am ahead and I want to be. 

            Covers are just the beginning, I will be comparing a lot of pages and some will look really similar because I have found that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I have certain pages that I love and have the same year after year because that is what makes sense to me. You may think it’s lazy to copy a page year after year, I don’t see it that way. I see it as finding something that works for you and sticking with it until something better comes along. 

            Alright, I will see everyone mid-week with another post, I hope that everyone out there is staying safe, happy, and healthy. Have a good start to the week! 

            -MJ 

Fave Comics

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

I have been meaning to write this post for like a week but have been putting it off. I don’t know why, I just didn’t feel like writing it. Sometimes creativity flows and sometimes the drain gets clogged. The beavers are building a dam upstream so nothing gets through and you become an unmotivated mess. 

            I am going to preface this post with some truth, I have not bought a comic book in about a year and a half. I just haven’t, I love them and I used to get single issue comic books almost weekly. I don’t have a local comic book shop, so that makes getting things more difficult. I have a lot of trade paperbacks as well, but I have over 100 single issue comics that I need to really get bagged and boarded because right now, they are just sitting on a shelf and that is not the best for them; oops, my bad. 

            Some of these might be series that I got in single issue and some will be those that I got as trades, they are not just one comic brand, though much of my collection is Marvel. 

            These are my recommendations as of today, they are characters that I enjoy, and I do not have a large comic collection as compared to others. I like what I like and if you don’t, that’s cool, we can agree to disagree on our faves. 

            I only started reading comics in college because I liked the MCU, so don’t come for me I don’t know all of the things . If you want people who know all of the things go and listen to The Wizard and The Bruiser podcast on Spotify, that’s not a plug they just do a lot of research and I have learned a lot from them. 

The Wicked and The Divine

            I only have the first five trades in this series, there are nine trades in the series  and it’s finished so I need to get the rest of the collection. I started reading it on a whim and it’s so good. Every ninety years twelve Gods return to Earth and in two years they are dead (paraphrased from the back of trade one The Faust Act). It’s this cycle and it’s so good, the art is amazing! I need to reread them before I continue the series but it’s so good! If you like modern retellings of mythical God’s this one for sure is for you. 

The Umbrella Academy

            This one should be obvious on why I am reading it, first of all huge My Chem fan, second it has a Netflix series, which is so good. This comic is for sure different than the show, but it’s really good. Ironically the song I Think We’re Alone Now is playing on my Spotify and that’s hilarious. I only have the first two of three trades that are out there currently, I will be getting the third one at some point, but not today. 

Labyrinth Coronation

            It is no secret that my favorite movie is Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, it’s been my favorite movie since the first time I saw it. It’s ridiculous and everyone I have shown it to does not share my enthusiasm to it. I only have the first volume and I need to get the rest, this is a prequel of sorts to the movie and I love it so much. 

Civil War

            And Civil War 2, I have that all in single issues. Civil War the comic is very different from Civil War the movie, I know, I have read the novelization as well, you can see how I felt about that in my books read post number one from last year. I said it there and I will say it again here, if you consider the comic and book as one entity and the MCU film as another they are both amazing, they are not real similar. 

U.S. Avengers

Yes, the first issue is a variant cover. I was living in Indiana at the time and I had to have the Indiana Avenger cover.

            I have all of the single issues for this one as well, I don’t have any of the trades though I would like to get them some day. I really enjoyed the series when I read it and it sticks in my brain even though I haven’t opened any of them since probably 2018, if not earlier. That is the only Avengers series that I have in single issue and I really enjoyed it. 

The Invincible Iron Man (2008)

            Really any of the Iron Man series that have come out recently but My Five Nightmares was my first trade so it holds a very special place in my heart. It was also the first series that I read from front to back. The art is great, the story is great, and Iron Man is my favorite so of course I liked it. 

Ms. Marvel (2014)

            I loved this iteration of Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson did an amazing job bringing this character into the modern realm and making her believable. I only have the first five trades and need to get the rest, I keep saying that, but it’s true. I loved this series when it came out. I actually may have some single issues of it as well but I don’t remember at the moment and my stack of single issues is large and unmarked because I am an idiot. This series is amazing, there is nothing else to say about it, it’s amazing. 

Harley Quinn (2013)

            Any of them, I have a few different Harley series and I love her. She’s been one of my fave characters since I was a kid, she was a doctor before being manipulated. My favorite crack ship is her and Deadpool because that would be the most chaotic thing ever. She’s a really strong character when she’s not juxtaposed next to The Joker, this series is all about her being on her own, at least the first trade is. I have a lot less DC comics than I do Marvel, though I have a lot of first issues, Titans, Teen Titans, Hellblazer, Superman, Wonder Woman as well as others that I can’t think of off the top of my head at the moment. I grew up on all of the animated Batman series of the 90’s and 2000’s, I loved the old Justice League, but I didn’t start collecting DC comics until after college and I have no single issue DC comics from the current generation. Grab bag comics from the 90’s and 2000’s sure, but I never sought out DC like I did Marvel, Dark Horse, and Image.

            So there it is, some of my fave comic’s all trades except for a few and I bet anything I have in single issue I would get in trade now, I know that there are thousands of series out there and we can all have our favorites, from the most chaotic to the most heroic. I have Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, Avengers, Guardians, and many other Marvel comics, but if I added more it would just be a list of the around 30 series that I have in my collection, some of those are just the first trade and then I didn’t buy any others. There are other series that I have wanted for a long time and never got, but I have a lot of comics books and giving a small sample is probably for the best. 

            I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week and I will be back on Sunday with another post! 

            -MJ

A Fun Summer DIY

Hey hey, it’s MJ

            So I actually did this DIY almost a month ago and I have been considering it for several months I was just looking for the perfect container to put it all in. Here I am with another almost quarterly DIY because I enjoy making things and sometimes I can’t find the thing that I want, so I have to make it myself. 

            I meant to write this post pretty much right after I finished the DIY, I did not. Oops my bad. 

            I love those beautiful terrariums with succulents in them, I cannot keep a succulent alive to save my life. It’s a problem and I can’t seem to fix it, so I figured, I’ll just use fake ones and roll with it. 

            This DIY isn’t even in my apartment, it’s still at my parents’ house because I haven’t figured out how to transport it safely, I should have thought of that before, but your girl is kinda of dumb sometimes. Then my dad told me that he really liked it so I am going to have to make another one just to leave there when I get a chance to get more succulents. He’s not a huge fan of art, but apparently he likes tiny succulents. I arrange flowers for my mom all the time so at least he likes something that I do creatively. I am going to tell you a short story about my father, this was a few years ago when he found out that I like to write books in my spare time and he asked me if I had any of them published. I looked over like I was looking at a camera on The Office and said no, but it’s a goal. You think that he would realize that if I published a book I would have told him!? I love my dad though and this is for sure a very story time moment at the beginning of this post. My bad.

            Back to the DIY because I rambled! 

Materials (what you gonna need): 

            Succulents: I got mine at Michael’s in like March, you can get them from Amazon or your fave craft retailor. Pick ones that you like, I stuck with a bagged package and one that my mom liked (I had to cut that one down off its stem so if you do this, make sure to have pliers, pretty much whenever you are working with flowers. pro tip: have pliers.)

            Moss: or some kind of ground cover. I used floral foam for my base and covering it in moss was the best option for me. You may recognize this moss from one of my Halloween DIY’s last fall. Next time I need moss I will actually have to go and buy more because I used the rest of it. Also this stuff gets messy to be prepared to have dust and particles of moss everywhere. 

            Floral Foam: It’s a good idea to have a base on these kinds of projects especially with the terrarium I chose. I got small blocks instead of big blocks and cutting them with a serrated knife tends to be the easiest. I used my mom’s bread knife, sorry mom. I cleaned it right away though. 

            Terrarium or container: I got this one at HomeGoods and I was so excited because it was only like $15. I wanted a glass and gold terrarium and this one just happened to be there so I grabbed it. You can find these pretty much anywhere anymore, I have seen them at Hobby Lobby and on Amazon. The completed ones in terrariums like this were what really inspired this project but I never liked any of them, so I made it myself. 

            Tiny Rocks: I was actually going to use rocks straight up out of the rock beds that are landscaping at my parent’s house, my mom said no. Luckily we had these river rocks that you usually use for vases in flower arranging and these were extras so I grabs a bunch dropped them on hot glue and that was how I did the little clusters.

            Time: This project start to finish probably took me 30-45 minutes, give yourself time to make it how you want it. 

Steps (procedure, directions, whatever you want to call it):

            -Gather your materials, that should always be your first step. Also get your hot glue gun on like right now. It’s going to take a few minutes to heat up.

            -Next step really is hot glue, get a good base of hot glue in whatever shape you want on a sheet of parchment paper (do not do it directly on any surface that it could burn, stain, or stick to) and drop rocks on it, do not put the rocks down and put the hot glue on top, it doesn’t work they just fall out of the hot glue when you turn it over. Putting them firmly in the hot glue seals them in. Make sure that you give them time to dry, they look like little islands and I wanted to have more substantial rocks and not just sprinkle them around. 

            -Now, get your terrarium and cut your floral foam to fit, you will probably need multiple pieces, I didn’t want mine all at one level so I cut them a little different for height. Some advice from me though, try and keep it as even with the opening of the terrarium as possible. 

This is the mess you can expect!

            -Cover that in your moss or ground cover, I am not here to tell you how to live your life if you don’t like moss, you could use all stones. Yes, I know that succulents grow in rocks and things, I like moss. It’s whatever makes you happy and looks good in the terrarium. 

            -Grab your rock formations and slip them in wherever you feel like it, use your heart. There is no formula for this, it is personal preference on how many rocks you put in or don’t put in. I would suggest at least some though. 

            -Put in your succulents! Arrange them how you want, I started in the center with the biggest one I had and then put the rest around it, I don’t know if I would start in the center again, I think I would start at the back and move forward because it did get hard to put things in. Every mistake is a learning experience right?

            -Take a billion pictures of it at every angle because you love it so much. Display it where you want, I have a spot for mine on the garden table in my living room window. I just have to get it home first. 

            I really enjoyed doing this project because while yes, I could have bought this from a store completely finished; that takes the fun out of it. I like crafting and having tactile crafts keeps my hands busy when I am not writing. If you want to buy something like this premade, cool, you do you. 

            Well I think that’s it for this one, I will be back mid-week with another post. I think it’s going to be my favorite comics, I have no idea how I am going to write that post; we’ll figure it out. I hope that everyone has a great start to the week. Stay safe, happy, and healthy. I’ll see y’all with the next one! 

            -MJ

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:

            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 

            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

            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

            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

            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

            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

            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! 

            -MJ 

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)

MJ’s 2021 Bullet Journal Update #2

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            How is it already the end of June. I cannot believe that. So here I am with my second Bullet Journal Update of the year, you can check out the first three months of the year in my 2021 Bullet Journal Update #1. I like doing it every three months, sheerly because that means that I don’t have to write longer posts and I can focus on a smaller section of the year.

            Like I said in the first update of this year, my theme this year is Disney. It’s not hard to do Disney because it’s Disney. There is a lot of content with Disney and I am having fun with it. I am still on the fence about theming my journal for next year, but I still have a few months to figure that out. 

I am going to just jump straight into the content so bear with me, all of these are beach themed. I didn’t mean to have three beach or ocean themed months in a row; it just happened. 

April: Lilo and Stitch

Cover: Lilo and Stitch is one of my favorite Disney animated films, my Godfather took me to see it when it came out and then took me to Hawaii. He passed away in 2019 and I miss him dearly, I cannot watch this or Moana without crying because Moana came out a few months after I lost my grandmother so while I love them, I still cry a little when I watch them. 

            That has nothing to do with the cover so I am moving on from it and talking about the cover. I decided that because I cannot draw people to save my life some days I was just going to draw Stitch in the sand on one page and surf boards on the other page. I was actually really proud of the sunset on this page and I really enjoyed working on this.

Mood Tracker: I love the plumeria, it’s a beautiful flower and it plays an important subtle role in the film so of course I decided to do a lei and make it plumeria flowers. I know that they are not the right color because each flower would be one color not multiple. If I would ever do flowers again I would make 30-31 flowers and just color in one each day. I still love how I colored the leaves in on this page though.

Last Page: In all honesty, I traced this. I am not going to lie because I could not free hand this to save my life but it still turned out cute and I wanted something happy from the end of the film as my last page. Is it perfect? No. Does that make it any less fun to have in my Bullet Journal? No. 

May: Moana

Cover: Look at me with beach and ocean themed months, oops my bad. I love Moana, it’s a phenomenal movie and I love the sidekicks. Hence why Puan ad Hei Hei got their own spot with the ocean kind of watching them. I think everyone is watching Hei Hei peck at the rock; that’s what I thought when I put it in here. I had to have the outrigger, it’s a big part of the film so of course it had to make an appearance somewhere in the theme. 

Mood Tracker: Of course it’s Maui’s hook, I had to have that somewhere in here as well. There was a brief consideration to make it something with Tamatoa because the song ‘Shiny’ made me laugh out loud in the theatre, my best friend and I would text each other SHhhhhhhIiiiNnnnnneyyyy every once in a while because it made me laugh so hard the first time I heard the song. 

Last Page: I loved the symbolism of making the island one rock higher with every chief and Moana putting her shell on it when they went back to voyaging. I really like doing more intricate and complicated pages even though this one for sure took me like two hours while I was watching The Great British Baking Show. I finished May in like April so I was catching up on things; at least I think that’s what I was watching, it was either that or The Repair Shop I don’t remember to be honest. 

June: The Little Mermaid

Cover: I wanted the beginning and the end of the film represented, the beginning with the fireworks and Ariel and the end with her leaving on the ship toward her happily ever after. This page alone took me probably 3-4 hours all told and I really like how it turned out.

Mood Tracker: Shells, of course it’s shells. It was going to be either that or the little slugs that Ursula turned the merpeople into, but I liked the shells better. I feel like this one is pretty straight forward so I don’t really have much to say about it. I like the colors, they were fun to draw, and if I did it again I would make individual ones for each day.

Last Page: I love the ‘Kiss the Girl’ scene from the film and I just love when they sail into the grotto and you see it for the first time, it’s magic. I wanted to feel that magic again even just for a brief moment because everyone deserves a little magic in their lives. I didn’t put any of the creatures in it or Ariel and Eric because again, I cannot draw people and I didn’t want to ruin this page. 

            Well there it is, three more months in my Bullet Journal. I love Bullet Journaling, I know that it is not for everyone, but I like the freedom of being able to start with a blank page and make it whatever I want to make it. Hopefully, I will be back at the end of September with the third installment, I am still really trying to Bullet Journal this whole year, I think I will be doing a comparison post for my last four years’ worth of Bullet Journals at least a few pages from each year just to see how much I have changed and grown since I started Bullet Journaling in 2018. I will probably do a few of those posts now that I have four years of material now, well three and a half minus a few months that I have missed over the years. 

            I was finishing off this post and got distracted by the accursed clock app, I lose a lot of time on that place, when I was in high school the only Tik Tok we had was by Ke$ha. 

            Well I will be back at the end of the week with another post, it’s already scheduled because things came in later this month than planned so I had to move some things back and I took a week off so you will see another post from me on Sunday. 

            I hope that everyone has an amazing, healthy, and productive rest of the week and a safe, fun, and responsible Fourth of July weekend to my American friends. 

            -MJ

Things I Collect: An Overview

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Here’s the deal, I wrote this post over a month ago, like I said in my last post; I didn’t mean to take a month off. I did though and I can’t take that back. So I am going to preface this post with that. However, I am going to leave the rest of this post in its entirety because I think that authenticity is important and I don’t want to delete an intro where I talk about what I was dealing with a month ago that I am kind of still dealing with today. 

Again I feel like I don’t have a creative thought in my body right now, is this what burn out truly feels like? I love writing on the blog and it’s something that is important to me but at the moment my whole creative process is feeling kind of stunted.

            This post isn’t even going to be on time at my normal noon posting time because I am sitting at work on my free period and writing this because I need to get something out and at this point it might just be utter garbage. 

            Guess who’s making another list post! It’s me! 

            I do collect a lot of things, I joke that I collect dust too but that’s not something that needs to be on this list. I collect water bottles, coffee cups, and a whole host of other pointless things that aren’t going to make it onto this list and that’s fine. 

            This post isn’t going to be super long because that is about the mental capacity that I have today.

            But really, what do I actually actively collect?

Funko Pops!: 

            I made a whole post on my favorite Funko Pops! Since that list though I got two as a birthday present, Falcon and The Winter Soldier and they are sitting on my desk at the moment and they make me smile. You can check out my whole post though because I don’t feel the need to rehash all of those details here a second time.

CD’s:

            Yes, I still buy CD’s I am not a huge fan of buying music digitally because I like having the booklets with information and lyrics so I don’t have to look up the lyrics on the internet. I have like two boxes at my parents place but I keep some of my newer CD’s out in my apartment. 

Medals:

            This is a new collection and I am expecting another one to show up next week. I like getting things for completing goals and I need to get back into my groove so I can get more medals as I go along. 

Books: 

            I have never counted how many books I actually own, I really should. I have a list on my laptop and it wouldn’t take long so I think I will and let you know; I have about 330 books in my collection. Some of them are still packed away until I have the room and the ability to have a library or at least a few large bookcases, I used to have more but I got rid of a lot of them.  

Comic Books: 

            I have both trade paperback and single issue, I have over 100 single issues and probably about 50 trade paperbacks. I collected a lot of them in college and I just haven’t been collecting them recently even though I need to get back into comic books. (leave me suggestions of you have them)

Bullet Journal Supplies: 

            I have so many stickers and I got all of them on sale, I do not pay full price or stickers; there is almost no point to me to pay full price for stickers that I will just be able to use once. Pens, washi tape, and anything else that I can think of that goes in my Bullet Journal gets collected. I wrote a whole post about my Bullet Journal supplies too and if you want to check that out you can.

            I know there are more things that I collect or used to collect a lot more frequently than I do now, I don’t have the room in my apartment for things and at this moment I don’t really think I need more things. I could mention my makeup and sheet mask collections but that is for another day, and I have written at nauseum about my makeup collection already so I feel like I don’t need to mention that again at this moment. 

            This post is really short because I am writing it on the fly and not at home. My brain is just feeling that strain of my week this week so I just need to write something simple and straight forward until I get all of my creative juices flowing back, I am really hoping that happens soon. I need to meditate more. 

            I will be back over the weekend with something, at this point who knows what with how these last few posts have been going. 

            I do hope everyone has a great rest of the week and I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy! 

            -MJ

Brain Dump…I Guess?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            This last week has been a lot and I am completely empty with ideas so I really don’t know what this blog post is going to contain. I really don’t, and for me that’s kind of odd, I like to know what I am going to be writing about at least a little bit before I am writing it. Here I am though, just typing away at a few sentences hoping that inspiration strikes me. 

            At one point I was going to do a series called ‘Self-Care Sunday’ when I first started the blog in 2018 but I never did because it never felt authentic. I felt like I was just going to be rehashing what everyone else was saying at the time. Then the pandemic happened and we all had to learn to take care of ourselves in a different way because we were all in some way locked down. I know that I have been feeling burnt out for months now but you can’t just stop, even when some days you just want to. 

            I have found myself organizing and reorganizing my life this last year or so and I think that’s just to stave off the feelings of overwhelming existential dread. I think that’s more what this post is going to be, just a dump of my brain at the moment and sometimes you just need that. 

            I don’t share a lot about my life, I have an about me post, but that’s about it. I am a really private person and always have been. I don’t open up unless someone proves to me I can trust them and unfortunately in my past there are plenty of examples of people who I trusted, got all of my information, all of my worries and my past, and proceeded to use it against me later. So I don’t open up as easy anymore to new people; which somedays is fine and somedays it’s super lonely. 

            I don’t even know if I will actually publish this, I just feel like I need to get something out today because I promised myself that I would get two posts out a week, but my brain is both moving at a million miles an hour but also making the dial up noise like we are trying to get on the internet in the 90’s and early 2000’s. If you have never heard that noise, lucky you, Google it and you will hear what we did for like 10-15 minutes trying to get on the internet. That stuff used to not be instant like it is now, God Bless Wi-Fi. I am a child of the 90’s, I was in fourth grade when the world stopped on 9/11, I graduated from high school in 2010; which doesn’t feel like long ago but they cancelled our ten year reunion last year because o COVID. Would I have gone? No, I didn’t enjoy high school. It was probably the darkest time of my life and I don’t look back on it fondly like some of my peers do. 

            This post doesn’t have a point, so if you want to, stop reading now and go on with your day because I don’t have anything profound to tell you. I don’t even have a thought in my head that’s worth really sharing, but I’m sitting here typing this out anyway. We have a local bakery here in Bentonville, well it’s in Centerton, called the Challalujah Bakery and they make amazing Challah bread and I am eating a pineapple scone from them at the moment and it’s bomb. So good. 

            If you really want to know how disjointed my thoughts are right now at this very moment I was just thinking about all the writing I need to get done and that fact that I wanted to finish my last two unfinished projects that I didn’t get to last year and I haven’t written much in either of them in months. In the last, we’ll say year, I have come up with five or six new projects that I am tossing around in my head all the time. I also have sequels and series to finish as well so in total I am, or will be, juggling like a dozen projects because I have so many ideas but not enough plot or time to write all of them at the moment. Some of them will just stay half on paper and half in my head for a while until I actually get an idea and that sparks me to finish the novel in a few months’ time. (Also my Word grammar corrected that and it gave me two options, I picked the wrong one; if you know which one it is why give me two options?) The last book I finished last year is a good example of that, I have something like 37 pages when I started writing it again (I started it in 2017 and pieced it until last year) and I wrote the other 110 pages in a few months because I got inspired and I could not stop writing it. I think I wrote like 25 pages in 11 days which for me is a really good page count. 

            More on writing, I guess, because that’s now what I feel like writing about. (ha ha, I know) My laptop is almost five years old, in late June it will be and it’s showing its age. I have already had my keyboard replaced once and I am out of warranty so the keys are starting to lose their letters, my tab key hasn’t been working right recently, and my battery is on its last legs, but I cannot get a rose gold MacBook anymore so there’s that. I don’t see it being able to be replaced any time soon, so I have to be nice to it until I can eventually get a new computer. 

            I think I need to stop now, I am rounding out on 1,000 words which is a lot. It’s like 7:15 in the morning and I have things that I need to do and that means that I need to step away from my laptop and go be a person for the day.

            I will be back mid-week with hopefully a much more profound and stitched together post, who knows with me though. 

            Until then though, stay happy, healthy, and safe.

            -MJ 

Animal Crossing Update

Hey, hey, it’s MJ, 

            Sorry this post is late, I kind of forgot that today was Wednesday so I am writing this at work, I am hoping that this gets posted today but it will for sure get posted tomorrow if I don’t have time to actually post it on Wednesday. It’ll be up eventually, I promise. 

            So Animal Crossing has been out a year now and my island will be one year old on the 26th. My best friend bought me the game for my last birthday and my island has grown a lot over the last year and I know I still have a lot to do on my island to make it exactly what I want it to be. 

            In my last Animal Crossing post I just showed my house, this time I am going to be showing some updated rooms and some of my outdoor spaces. They are not Pinterest worthy, not even close but it’s my island and I’ll do what I want on it. 

            I have been playing the game for a year now and participating in almost daily play still because I just really enjoy being on my island with my villagers. I don’t pay as much attention to them as I should because most of my time on my island is spent running around looking for things or trying to finish out my Critterpedia. 

            I actually put a bunch of pages in a journal for all of the museum categories that I have and that I am missing. I had a really stressful weekend one weekend and did it all on a Saturday because I needed to get my mind right, so I made lists. 

            Some of my fave outdoor spaces though, let’s start there. Some of these are finished some are more in progress because I need more materials or crafting patterns to actually complete them. 

My 50’s Diner

            This was an idea I had over a month ago, I still want to do more with it or potentially move it so I can expand it a little bit. It’s not finished yet, it’ll be finished eventually but that’s what ACNH is like, it’s never fully done and you can grow and evolve your island whenever and however you want to. 

My Tiny Library

            Another space on my island that isn’t finished yet. I have a lot of those spaces where I start a project and then realize to do the whole thing I need DIY recipes that I don’t actually have yet. It’s never fair. I just wish that there was some way to purchase seasonal DIY’s before they were suddenly gone. 

Astrological/Zodiac Garden.

            This is not going to be the permanent home of this feature on my island and it will get done some day, when I have all the celestial DIY’s I need but that will be no time soon because I need star fragments and DIY recipes but for some reason I feel like Celeste never visits my island and I miss her, she’s one of my favorites. I have seen some cool things with the celestial DIY’s on the internet and I want something cool of my own on my island.


Up Top Flower Garden

            For probably 10 months my island was covered in flowers, I mean I had flowers everywhere and I decided one day that I didn’t need all of those flowers everywhere, so i started to pull them up. This idea came from me using flowers in the colors I really liked to create a little contained flower garden. I still spend way too much time picking flowers/ digging them up after a rain storm and it rained on my island for like two days so I know when I log in tonight I am just going to have more flowers to pick. I will probably add more things beyond just the bench in here but for now I am happy with this one.


Greenhouse

            This was an idea I saw on Pinterest and I pretty much copied it because I was looking for ideas on what to add to my island and this was one of the ideas I really liked. I had a flower patch here at one point but I got rid of that when I stopped caring about crossbreeding flowers when I decided to get rid of 75% of my flowers. This is pretty much the one thing on my island that is like 99% done. I may use a simple panel to put on a door but I don’t know yet, I haven’t decided. I may expand this one as well and put a couch or bench in it so I can hang out there if I want to. Let’s be real. I want to live on my Animal Crossing island. 


House Updates

            I haven’t really changed much in my house, I have updated my living room, kitchen, and bedroom a little bit so I will show those again because looking back at my house from my last post. I have put more things in all of my rooms because I am still a trash goblin. Happy Home Academy tells me every week to have furniture all the same color and I don’t wanna so I wish they would stop telling me that.

            So that’s about a look my outdoor spaces, I wish there were a few quality of life updates that they would bring out but I don’t remember a single one at the moment. Maybe except a cart in the Able Sister, also being able to buy seasonal DIY’s that you are missing as the season ends. Like I didn’t get the Sakura bonsai tree recipe and I needed that for another DIY project so now I have to wait until next year to get it and that’s annoying. 

            I should find other games to play but let’s be honest with ourselves, i am like really bad at gaming because I get frustrated more than I should, I love playing games but I am more on the line of The Sims, Minecraft, and Animal Crossing, casual world building games because they aren’t as stressful as other more involved games and I don’t want to be angry when I game, I just want to enjoy myself. 

            Alright, well that’s it for me today. I will be back over the weekend with another post so until then I hope everyone stays happy and healthy.

            -MJ

Favorite Podcasts

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So I drive to work every morning and sometimes I just don’t want to listen to music so I plug my phone in to listen to podcasts and some I have been listening to for years, some have ended, and some are rather new finds in my life.

            I don’t listen as regularly as I used to but at the moment I am doing a deep dive and trying to catch up on a podcast that started in like 2016 and I found through Spotify late last year and have been listening to pretty consistently on my drive to and from work because I love it. 

            This is not a comprehensive list because there are some podcasts that I have listened to in the past that I no longer enjoy, does that mean that you can’t go out and find your own faves? No, but if you have a sense of humor like I do you might like some of these. 

            So what do I listen to when it comes to podcasts? 

The Jenna Julien Podcast: 

            This is one of those podcasts that is no longer still updating but there are so many episodes on the apple podcast app or the video podcast on YouTube. Jenna Marbles is still by far one of my favorite YouTubers and her podcast with her boyfriend Julien has made me laugh hysterically on more occasions than I can count. When I moved here I was in a lot of pain on my drive down and their podcast and laughing so hard was one of the only things that actually made my drive bearable. A few of my favorite episodes include any of their Shark Tank episodes, Snake Oil, Don’t Even Get Me Started, and quite a few others. 

Ask Iliza Anything:

            This is one of those podcasts that I need to catch back up on because Iliza Shlesinger is my favorite comedian. Her brand of comedy is right up my alley and I really like listening to her answer peoples questions while still having witty banter with her assistant and a guest if she has one. It will be a common theme on a lot of these podcasts that they are funny because I love a good funny podcast.

Welcome To Night Vale:

            I have been listening to this podcast since I was in college because I was on my college radio station and sometimes it felt like this. I love radio dramas and this one is not only long form but also amazingly well written. It’s fantastical and hilarious. I cannot give this podcast enough praise for pulling me in and not letting me go. I have listened to it all the way through at least three times and I now need to catch up again because I got into a funk listening to podcasts during 2020 where I didn’t. If you like weird, this podcast is for sure for you.

Good Morning Night Vale: 

            This is a behind the scenes look at Welcome To Night Vale by people who are on the show and I love seeing behind the scenes looks at things that I enjoy, so hearing people talk about this show is always fun. I for sure also need to catch up on this one as well but that will be eventually because I have so many podcasts to catch up on! 

Wizard and The Bruiser:

            This is the one that I just started a few months ago and I am already like 30 episodes in and it’s all geeky and stuff which I love. There are a lot of episodes about things that I don’t really know about, so to have a podcast telling me the histories of pop culture figures, comic book heroes, and everything else. It’s really fun to listen to and I find myself laughing out loud in the car to myself on the way to and from work. 

            There are for sure other podcasts I have listened to and I have enjoyed them but these are the ones that I am trying to catch up on at the moment. I would love to expand my podcast repertoire, and eventually I will but at the moment I wanted to just share a few here and now.

            There are so many podcasts out there, and I mean so many. I could never have a podcast because I would just ramble and vomit words out of my mouth, like I do here but less talking. I don’t even know what I would talk about, I do talk a lot but not much of it is productive. I will leave the podcasting up to the people who are good at it. 

            I will be back over the weekend with another post, so until then, I hope that everyone has a good rest of your week. Remember stay happy and healthy, make good choices, be a nice person, and most of all be you. 

            -MJ

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.

            -MJ