Bullet Journal Comparison #2: Book Trackers

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Here we are again with another post about my Bullet Journals, I will be doing comparison posts about once a month for the rest of the year because I can! 

            Last month I did the yearly covers from 2018-2021. I have not done my 2022 yearly cover yet. I have finished all of my layout pages for 2022 and that is a huge weight off my shoulders when it comes to Bullet Jounraling. I also have figured out the themes for 2023 and I am already looking forward to it! So excited for two years in the future, I’m excited for next year but I still have some planning to do with the monthly themes. That is not what this post is about though so I am going to roll into that. 

            Today’s post is my book case comparison. Every year I put in a book case to track all the books that I read each year. I have actually marked more space out for next year because I am reading more books next year than I am planning to this year and this year I pretty much ran out of room. 

            I am also doing a book bullet journal next year, thanks TikTok. So I will do an introduction to that later in the year. It’s pretty much done which is nice because then I don’t have to worry about working on it later in the year in prep for what I plan on reading. 

            These posts might spoil some of my favorite pages for this year, but I don’t really know exactly what my favorite pages this year will be. 

            2018: My 2018 Bullet Journal was really just a mismatch of things, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing and I also read like six books in 2018 so my bookcase is incredibly empty. Also, unlike the rest of the years I did after 2018 the book case is at the front. In 2018 it was on the page before I started March. 2018 was really a year where I was learning how to Bullet Journal and a lot of it was a mess. 

            2019: My goal for 2019 was 35, I read 32 and 12 of those were in December. This bookcase I really tried to do something different form the year before. I also was only doing one book case at the time and I changed that in the coming years because this was just not a sustainable design for me moving forward. This one is for sure not my favorite because the bookcase is just a little too fussy for me. The front pages of 2019 before I got to January was what I have taken from that year into last year, this year, and next year. 

            2020: 2020 was a mess all over, we can all agree on that. This BuJo was kind of the BuJo that helped me figure out what exact system in my BuJo works for me. This bookcase isn’t full, I read 40 books last year and that was a lot of fun and I still had space. I like the little shelf decorations that I have in this one and again, I have copied this page to a certain extent for the last two years and next year as well. 

            2021: I am still working on this one because we still have like 4 months until we hit 2022 and I am still reading books. I switched the bookcases in this one from last year and I really like this style. I kept the ‘God Bless this Hot Mess’ sign because that is me as a person and I need that on at least one page in my Bullet Journal. I now regret making the M as large as I did because I needed more space for books this year and I don’t have the space now, oops. I have had to add books to this page since the beginning of the year because I decided to do Book of The Month and that means I needed more space. I also read books with my sixth graders last spring so I put them in a well, I probably shouldn’t have because I do not have a lot of room, but it’s okay. 

I like reading and seeing a filling book case in my Bullet Journal is really cool. This is one of my favorite pages to do every year because it’s progressive. I go back to it all the time when I finish another book and I love that feeling. I am so excited to do my Book Bullet Journal in the new year. 

Alright, there is post number two in the BuJo comparison posts, I will be back next month with the third installment.

I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then, I hope that everyone is safe, happy, and healthy!

-MJ

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 

MJ’s 2021 Bullet Journal Update #1

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Last year I did this post every four months and I think it was just a lot so I am going to do three months this year and see how I feel about it. Maybe I am just grasping for content but I also want to do some different things this year. As I have said before this year, roll with me. 

            This year I themed my bullet journal like I did last year, (you can check those posts out if you want to 1,2,3) well not exactly the same this year is just straight up Disney things and maybe next year will be Marvel but I don’t know yet. I like theming but I also kind of want to go back to just making things that strike my fancy when it comes to my monthly journals but who knows. 

            I did all of my base pages for 2021 last year so all I have to do this year is the time consuming creative part and I have been meaning to do May since February but I just haven’t been in the mood, that is my goal for spring break; get May finished. 

            I am not going to show any of my lead up pages because those will end up in my ‘favorite pages of the year’ post. (you can see my faves from my 2018, 2019, and 2020 BuJo’s if you want to.) So I am just going to lead off with January. 

January: Alice in Wonderland

Cover: So I love the Cheshire Cat, I have a human in my life who I call the Cheshire Cat because of the grin so that will always have special significance to me. I feel like some of my covers are on the simple side and this for sure, while time consuming, is one of the more simple ones that I have done so far this year. (mind you I have only done until April so far)

Mood Tracker: Who doesn’t love the caterpillar and I was quite proud of the free hand I did to a reference photo of the caterpillar. I write a list out of themes for each month as well as what the habit tracker is going to be and I thought of about four for this month, originally it was going to be tea cups like the scene with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare but this made more sense in my brain. 

Last Page: I cannot draw people all that well, I really did try but Alice looks a little Tim Burton-esque if the live action movies would have been animated. I tried like really hard though and while it’s a lot I am still going to share it because there is a lot of art that isn’t great so I can add my depiction of Alice to it. 

February: Beauty and The Beast

Cover: It took me a good two and a half or three hours while watching old episodes of The Great British Baking Show to actually complete this and I did trace the figures because again, I am not good at drawing people, I try a lot but I have never gotten the hang of it. 

Mood Tracker: The rose, of course I had to do the iconic rose and as I turned it while I am writing this post I realized that I never filled in the 28th of the month so I had to do that real quick. I could not get though Beauty and The Beast month without putting the rose in multiple places and of course doing the mood tracker was right up my alley for this one. 

Last Page: It’s simple and I love the idea of just something really simple at the end of some of my months and I really like dandelions in the wind so I went with a really simple black ink drawing and a quote because the next pages are a lot so not having a bunch of colored pencil transfer was a goal of mine. 

March: Tangled

Cover: This took me forever to do but I am really happy with how it turned out, I tried y’all I tried but I am not great at depth perception in art, converging lines and all that. I love art, I am not half bad at it but I have been out of practice for a long time and my bullet journal proves that to me every month. 

Habit Tracker: The exploding sun is a theme throughout the movie and this was another tracker that I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. Originally it was going to be lanterns but with those on the cover I figured that I didn’t want to be repetitive and so I went with this instead. 

Last Page: The tower, the beginning of the film and I really enjoyed doing this page and even the background because I wanted to do something fun and something that I knew was iconic to this movie. I was going to have Rapunzel’s hair cascading out of the window but I changed my mind because I thought that just the tower was cool enough to hold its own in this drawing.

            So that’s my Bullet Journal so far this year, I know that I have more pages and eventually I will have more to show you as the year goes on. Hopefully in June I will be making the second installment in this post series because I made a promise to myself last year that I would bullet journal all year again this year and that is a promise that I plan on keeping. 

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post so until then, I hope everyone has a good, safe, and healthy week! 

            -MJ

What do I use in My Bullet Journal?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I have been Bullet journaling to various degrees of success since 2018, that doesn’t feel like it’s been that long ago but it also feels like it’s been about 30 years since then. What I would give to go back to early 2018 and warn myself of what was to come and hope that somehow my timeline wouldn’t still shift into this hellscape we are currently in, I try not to swear but man y’all 2020 has just taken me by the front of my shirt and punched me in the face; repeatedly. 

            That is not the point of this post though but I like my stream of consciousness moments on my blog because it gives all of you reading this a view into my brain, it’s a scary place sometimes. I also just had my first Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks of the season and I am jazzed up on caffeine! 

            I have been Bullet Journaling for almost three years now and that is so hard to believe but this year is the first year where I have actually done all 12 months and I am happy to say that my 2020 Bullet Journal (you can see it so far in updates 1 and 2) is complete.

            What supplies do I use for my bullet journal?

Medium (A5) Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted Journal:

            They make a “bullet journal” version now but I don’t like it so I just buy the normal journal they will run you like $20 at Barnes and Noble, that’s where I get mine. I have had various colors over the years my first was Berry, second was I think a shade called Nordic Blue which was a nice icy light blue, this year is green but it’s not on the Barnes and Noble website anymore so I had to look on the Lecuhtturm website and it’s called Fresh Green, and next year is Powder which is a baby pink. This was the one that was suggested to me by a number of blogs on the internet when I was considering Bullet Journaling at the end of 2017. Thank you Pinterest for getting me hooked on another thing.

Fine line Pens in Various colors:

            I bought mine at Michaels when I started and they don’t actually have them anymore but the brand doesn’t really matter as long as it is colors you like and will use in your journal. I use mine for my habit trackers, my mood tracker, and a whole bunch of various other things in my bullet journal because I love colored pens and these are fine line markers so they are great and they don’t bleed through the paper. Mine came in a set of 20 and I think they were under $10 so find ones that work for your purposes, you don’t have to buy the fancy ones to get good results. Store them tip down they least longer! Sharpie also makes a nice selection of colored Sharpie pens which I also use!

Markers in Various Colors: 

            Again from Michaels in like late 2017 so they are old but they still work for what I need them to do, I use them for covers, for mood trackers, and for a lot of my large lettering. You do not want a large tipped marker though, medium tip at most and you may want to try them to make sure they don’t go through the paper and bleed onto the other side because that’s not fun. I store these tip down as well! 

Highlighters:

            I found pastel highlighters at Wal-Mart in 2018 and have not been able to find them there since which makes me upset because if I need more I will have to order them. I got a set of six from Mild Color and I really like them because I use them to highlight important things as well as making sure I know what week I am in. I use these for more than my bullet journal but they are used primarily there. When I replace them I will probably go with Zebra brand because they also have some really nice pastel highlighters. 

Colored Pencils:

            Does not matter the brand! I have a set that I got for Christmas a few years ago after salivating over it for years but I have a set of 150 Prismacolor colored pencils and I love them. I was so afraid to use them because they are very expensive but I used them for almost every cover if not every cover this year and a few last year and I love them so much! Crayola, RoseArt, any of the regular brands work just as well but I am going to use what I have because I love them so much. 

A straight edge: 

            I didn’t use a ruler until I started on working on my Bullet Journal for next year, I don’t even use a ruler I use the edge of the card that comes with my IPSY bags, it’s folded in half but it’s the perfect size for my Bullet Journal, it makes things look cleaner and I am kicking myself for not using one sooner because it made things SO MUCH easier! 

Washi Tape: 

            I have never bought a full priced tube or pack of Washi Tape I just wait for them to go on clearance and buy them then. I use it for mostly my habit trackers to make the pages look nice but I love the fun of washi tape. 

Stickers and Things: 

            There are a lot of premade journals out there, I love the versatility of a bullet journal because I can create as I go but I always have a bunch of stickers and things at my disposal, some come from those other planners, again clearance section! Why spend more than you have to, I mean really. I love stickers and tiny note pads, I don’t use them too frequently in my Bullet Journal but I have them so I can when I want.

A Good Black Fine Liner Pen:

            This is the MOST IMPORTANT thing for your Bullet Journal, you do a lot of outlining and all of the shapes are mostly a fine line black pen, all of the habit trackers, the weekly spreads, the daily tasks, the calendars that I do, and most of the covers have black outlines or sections and I use a black Sharpie Pen. I love this pen, it is the only one I use for my Bullet Journal and I have used about four since I started Bullet Journaling, I know the one I am using right now is already half gone because I already did the basic pages and layouts for next year so eventually I will have to get out another one. The tip does wear down on this one so the lines for written words sometimes get a little thick but you can always have a second one out just for lettering, which I should but don’t. 

            You don’t have to spend a bunch of money if you want to start Bullet Journaling, it’s supposed to be fun and creative instead of buying a planner that isn’t customizable to you, I love the freedom of a Bullet Journal because there is no set standard you can do whatever you want with it. I used to buy a planner every year because I needed it for school but now that I am out of school (I still have dreams about missing work during my master’s program and I have been out of it for over two years) I have the choice to allow my creativity one more outlet. In college I swore by the Lilly Pulitzer planners and I still would if I was in college because I loved them and they were what I needed at the time. Planners have become such a big craze in the last several years and I got caught up in it. You learn with every new planner, every new year brings new challenges and insights that you learn from years past.

            You can check out all of my other Bullet Journal related posts, I will list them so you can click at will! What I did Differently in my 2019 BuJo, Some of my fave 2018 pages, Some of my fave 2019 pages, and a random update from last year.

            Do you Bullet Journal? Any tips or tricks I am missing that you swear by? Let me know!

            Hope y’all have a great start to your week and I will see you with another post soon!

                        -MJ

Bullet Journal Update

I am going to be completely honest with everyone, I believe in transparency and to be honest the last few weeks have just been emotionally difficult for me. I know why but I don’t really have a reason that I have been feeling the way that I have been feeling. I have all of the rest of the posts mapped out for this month and I am hoping that soon enough I will snap myself out of this funk that I have been in for the last 3-4 weeks. I am also writing this pretty late at night because I am in Northwest Arkansas and today we have been battered with some pretty severe storms and I am waiting for a watch to expire before I even try to go to bed. 

            I just wanted to hop on and post an update on my Bullet Journal, you can read about my BuJo journey in My Favorite Pages from Last Year (2018) and What I’m Doing Differently This Year. 

            I will say this year it has kept me slightly more organized because I have added more trackers and have actually been using it every day. Granted I started out strong in 2018 so I am hoping to actually Bullet Journal all 12 months this year. 

            I have been doing a few different things actually, one was two habit trackers and It’s been helping to remind me to do certain things and for the most part I have been keeping myself more accountable on things because of it. I also am implementing my monthly spread as of this month because I want to have my schedules all in one place not three. Right now it’s just for blog posts soon enough I hope it’s for the restart of my YouTube channel and various other events that I have during any given month (I am a home body, most of the time it’s just, MJ leave the house, it’s been days, you need help.

            I also have been putting a little bit more time in my monthly covers, I have an idea on what my themes will be next year and I am not going to spoil it until I make a post about my Bullet Journal at the end of the year.

            Here are some of my favorite pages so far: 

I switched my weekly layout this year and I am finding that this is actually a lot more functional for me.
I for sure used the same quote last year but it’s still a good quote, like I said I am taking my time on my monthly covers or at least trying to.
I am continually changing and updating my habit tracker because i find that there are things that get dropped from being tracked or things that I need to track and don’t.
Coming up with a creative mood tracker is hard but I am a huge fan of Edison bulbs and I chose this as my theme in April.
That’s right, May is Star Wars themed! Don’t mind my very angry looking porg, I am not super great at drawing. Also if you type “porg” without Star Wars in Pinterest it gets mad at you and thinks you are looking for something else, get your mind out of the gutter Pinterest!

            Side note: I am not going to put these in a “gallery” because it seems that when you do that with a bunch of pictures nothing formats to be the same size an that’s just annoying. 

            I know this really isn’t a long post, I have been writing a lot of what feel like novel length posts recently and I need to step back from that because sometimes that gives me anxiety and I really don’t need more than what I already have. 

            Do you have a Bullet Journal? Do you want tips from me on my experiences? Any advice from more experienced Bullet Journalists (I don’t know what else to call it.)? 

            I will see everyone on Saturday/Sunday with a new post, have a good rest of your week!

            -MJ 

What I’m Doing Different in My 2019 Bullet Journal

            When I started Bullet Journaling I promised myself I would not be one of those people who would make a post of anything like “what I will do differently” “what I wish I knew before I started” but here I am because everyone’s journey is different when you take on the task of bullet journaling. It’s a task, it takes time, it takes energy, and it takes creativity. It takes planning to plan out a Bullet Journal to make it something that is actually useful for your life. For me it became a chore part of the year because I was dealing with other things but I used my Bullet Journal as an anchor point. 

            This year it is a little different, my life is a little different this year and I am going to try and do more with my bullet journal to make it my own not just a copy of some of the cool things that I have seen on Pinterest. Though I am still constantly inspired by the people who I see on Pinterest with these amazingly beautiful Bullet Journals

            This post is not going to be super long because I have only gotten through the set up pages, January, and by the time this goes up I will be working on my February layout.

             I’m adding new pages, I am doing different things and I am really excited to have a chance to do different things as my bullet journaling journey continues to evolve. I am doing a full monthly spread before each month this year so I can eliminate a monthly planner, I use one for blog posts and when I was still doing my YouTube channel I would use it for video scheduling. I am hoping to get back to that this year as well, without spreading myself too thin because I have real life adult things that I have to do outside of the sphere of social media even though I find myself coming back to social media over and over again trying to be a better version of myself. Back to my pages though, I decided that I wanted to eliminate another planner from my life and make sure that everything is just in one place so I can do better at keeping myself on schedule. 

            I am also doing calendars at a glance for each month because I don’t want to rely on my phone when I am looking for a date if I am on the phone, that is why calendars were invented, actually to be real I don’t know why calendars were invented but I can hazard some guesses. Maybe I will research the history of calendars for my own personal enjoyment. 

            I am doing my weekly layouts different as well this year than I did last year, last year is on the right and this year is on the left, even this year I may switch up my weekly layout, I thought about doing that last year but I never got around to it. 

            I’m also doing two habit trackers this year, one general and one beauty/skin care. I am trying to become a better human being and part of that is working on me. I’m trying I promise. Last year is on the left and this year is on the right.

            I am working on a lot of things this year and keeping a Bullet Journal is hopefully going to help me keep more organized, I am consistently dealing with a lot so having something as a creative outlet that isn’t on social media may help me out some. Self-care, mental health, all that stuff.  

            I think that I can say that this is not for everyone and that’s totally cool, in a few years when the trends change maybe I won’t do it anymore or maybe it will evolve into even more of an art form than it already is. 

            I will be checking in with my Bullet Journal every few months, it’s a way to keep myself honest and make sure that I am working on it even if no one else is interested in it, I can’t shrug over the internet but that’s about how I feel. If I am on this journey by myself then here I am on it by myself but if you feel like joining in, you’re welcome to join me. 

            Do you bullet journal? Any tips for someone who is still pretty new at it?

            See everyone on Thursday with another post, I am trying to catch up before the end of the month. 

            -MJ