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 

July 2021 Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I really am trying to write posts right now, but there is just some block in my brain that is really not allowing me to do so with the frequency and clarity that I would like to. It’s just a lot going on outside of me writing these posts. I am trying and it’s just difficult. 

            I also just realized that I have not rated anything I got this month on the IPSY website and now I am going to pause writing this post to do just that. I know I am not funny, but if I don’t do it now; I will forget. I literally just rated 10 different things by saying that I liked them, not love, just like. It’s that kind of day y’all, that kind of day. I didn’t get really excited about anything I got this month and that’s okay, I don’t have to be excited about everything and some days I have to remind myself of that. It’s okay to be honest, you can like something and not love it. I feel like I am just waiting for a product to blow me away though and that just hasn’t been happening lately. I also feel really bad rating things poorly because I know how hard people and creators work on products. 

The Bag: 

            I really like this bag actually, it’s super cute. I love it. The sun with the eye in the center and the phrase Stay Golden, whenever I hear that phrase I always think of The Outsiders, ‘stay gold, Ponyboy’ and I am thrown back into middle school. 

The Products:

            This month I got six because I redeemed points last month, so there will be six this month. The first two were chosen for me, the next three I chose, and the last was my points redemption item. 

Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores no More Pore Purifying Cleanser:

            This is a repeat for me, I have gotten this product before in one of my fabfitfun boxes so this is now the second one that I have. I do like this cleanser though, I used it most of last month while I was at my parent’s house and now this one will replace it when I am finished with that one. There is some sort of residue on it, but I can wash that off and it’ll be no big deal. It’s a good cleanser though and I would recommend it. 

IL Makiage Black Card-Lift, Curl, and Lengthening Mascara: 

            I like mascara’s, this one has an interesting brush on it and it’s a silicon applicator so those are usually really nice. I am looking forward to actually using it in the future, but I do have some in the queue in front of it. Most of the mascara’s that I have tried feel roughly the same unless they are not great. I don’t spend money on mascara, because my NYX one works just as well as some $30 ones. 

Zoe Ayla Satin Pillow Case in Champagne:

             This was the first time I was offered a non-skin care or beauty item through ISPY, so I figured why not? I have heard the benefits of satin pillowcases and it seemed like a cool idea. I so have to wash it first before I let it go anywhere near my bed, I just have to figure out how to wash it beforehand so I don’t do the dumb thing and ruin it before I even get to use it. I think it might be hand wash only, so that’s going to be fun.

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncuffed:

            This color gives off boss babe vibes and I am here for it. I also have been meaning to try Fenty since it was released and I just haven’t yet. I like the color it’s a little dark when I am not wearing any makeup, but I do like it. I also love the packaging and the formula felt pretty good when I applied it. It smelled a little chemically when it came out of the bottle, but it’s summer and product can take on a different smell. I love ethe fact that it is in a glass bottle, that is genius. I am looking forward to wearing this with a full face and actually seeing what it looks like there. 

Beauty for Real Golden Hour Mango Butter Eyeshadow Palette: 

            This palette is really pretty. I love the pop of blue shade among all of the neutrals that make up the rest of this eight pan. The pigmentation is really pretty good, which I am glad to see. I have gotten some palettes in the past where they looked visibly very beautiful but did not swatch well, or really have any sort of hold to them. It’s a 5/3 break down with five of the shades being metallic and three being mattes, that’s pretty good for a palette this size. My mother keeps telling me I need to use my eyeshadow palettes and I know I do, but I am afraid of losing my fave shades and never being able to use them again. I need to get over it, but it’s a permanence thing; I can’t even put stickers on things because I think I might hate their placement down the road and can’t change anything about it. 

The Crème Shop Mask Fusions in Rose & Gold and Coconut & Chia:

            I got a set of these masks a few months ago in my February Glam Bag, so getting a few more doesn’t hurt. I need to start using sheet masks again because I have a lot and I just need to, again it’s a permanence thing and I usually do one while I meditate and I haven’t meditated in months. I need to get back into that too, I just haven’t. I needed to redeem points because some of mine were expiring last month and these were what I chose, I don’t regret it.

            So that was my Glam Bag Plus this month, it was a pretty solid bag this month. I am looking forward to seeing what the choices are for my August bag in the next week or so, whenever they release the choices. 

            I don’t really have much else to say so I hope that everyone has a great few days until I am back with another post, I am not exactly sure when this is going up so I don’t want to say have a great start to the week or a great rest of the week because I don’t know which one it will be. 

            If you want to know what else I have gotten this year, just click on the month and you can find out: January, February, March, April, May, and June

            I hope everyone stays happy and healthy and I will be back in a few days with another post! 

            -MJ

What was in My July 2021 IPSY Glam Bag?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Sorry I have been a little MIA, I am just dealing with some stuff and it’s been hard to even sit down and write something. My last post, about my favorite comics was supposed to go up a week before it actually did because of my stress levels. I felt like things were finally falling into place and I was finding my way out of the woods and as it stands right now someone has taken me and thrown me back into the woods. So it’s hard to be peppy and happy on this platform because that’s not how I feel right now. 

            My brain is not functioning at the moment so there isn’t going to be much flourish for this, just a warning. 

            So let’s just get right into the bag and the products: 

The Bag:

            It’s a cute little gold top zip and the zipper pull is a sun with a blue gem in the center and stay golden on the side. I really like this bag, it’s simple and getting simple bags doesn’t happen as frequently as it used to. I also like the color composition of the gold and the deeper blue that is not only in the jewel and in the zipper surround but also on the inside of the bag as well. Super cute bag, love it.

The Products:

Neogen Dermatology White Truffle Serum in Oil Drop: 

            I got a Neogen cleanser in one of my pervious bags and I actually really enjoyed using it. I have a lot of serums now and I am not upset about that because they have so many different ingredients that do so many different things and have a lot of different benefits. I like testing different products out to see what ingredients and benefits are worth it to me. 

First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer:

            First Aid Beauty is one of those brands that I pass by every time that I am in Sephora and I just kind of look at it longingly because I have heard such good things about it and it’s expensive. I like coconut in moisturizer and I am actually really excited to try it out, I feel like I say that a bunch, but this is a trial subscription so that makes sense. I try not to open these products until I plan on using them so they don’t go to waste and primers all go and live in my bathroom. 

Sophia + Mabelle Cleopatra Eyeshadow Quad:

            I chose this one, I am just hoarding tiny eyeshadow quads again because you can never have too many tiny eyeshadow quads that do the same duty as a full sized palette. I like the shades because they are a beautiful warm neutral that is easy to top in your handbag and go. I love a good eyeshadow quad and that will never change. 

Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash:

            I don’t actually have a lot of travel cleansers any more so I am excited to use this one. I also love the packaging for this product and for me packaging is half the appeal. It has a lot of good ingredients and it’s vegan and never tested on animals which are both wins in my book. This is a brand that I have never heard of, but the beauty of this subscription service is getting exposure to all sorts of brands that I wouldn’t find on my own. 

Kokie Cosmetics Cover + Conceal Beauty Sponge:

            I started using beauty sponges in early 2019 or late 2018, I honestly don’t remember. There was a time that I rejected using beauty sponges and only used brushes or the silicon applicators because I liked them. I have been using beauty sponges exclusively since then and it doesn’t really matter what brand I use, usually I get them at TJ Maxx because I don’t want to spend $20 per sponge. It’s also purple and I am a huge fan of that. 

            So that’s my July Glam Bag this year, I liked it quite a bit. I know my sentences are short and they are not flowy and insightful like some of my posts are. It’s just, that’s where my head is at the moment so that’s what I’m working with. 

            If you want to read about what else I’ve gotten this year, you can! Just click on the month, January, February, March, April, May, and June!

            I will be back later in the week with another post so I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week, stay happy and healthy. I hope all of the things that you are manifesting and the energy you are putting out in the universe starts to show itself, because sometimes we all need something good to happen. 

            -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)

Summer 2021 fabfitfun Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I am writing this post directly after I have written Sunday’s post so the energy might be the same, still at my current moment at the Ford dealership. I am going to preface this post with good news about the box. After the last few that have been extremely underwhelming I can say that this one was great! I loved most everything that I got so I am really happy to still be on the fff train. 

            I am probably going to get right into it, but this post is going to be a little different than posts in the past. Because of all the customization options I am not going to list them at the end of each paragraph because it’s just a lot. That is one things that I would like to see changed, don’t overwhelm with a billion customization options. Giver three or four that are mind-blowing and cut it off there. 

So what did I get though? 

Virginia Wolf Multi Wear Warp:

            I am going to use it as a tapestry to hang above my bed, but I absolutely love it. The pattern on it is amazing and it doesn’t feel strange which was one of my concerns when ordering a wrap in my box. I might wear it as a wrap when I get a chance because it is super cute and this was the product in this category that I was most excited about. I love monstera leaves and big tropical patterns. I just have to get this ironed and get it hung up, I have to figure out how to actually achieve that goal, I’ll figure it out and maybe I’ll have an update picture someday.

Rae Dunn by Magenta Guac/Salsa Bowls:

            Rae Dunn is one of those grands that you see everywhere now. I don’t have any, I think it’s cute but it’s also become such a cult decorative want. These are really cute, I don’t really see the full appeal though to having a bunch of it in my apartment. They will be cute for entertaining, which is what I feel like they are really for. Of all of the products that were offered this was my favorite. I would have gotten the obé resistance bands but I didn’t want the six month subscription, I would have wanted the trigger point ball but that was only available in the UK version. 

Corkcicle 12ox Wine Tumbler and Silicone Straw:

            I didn’t know that this one was a blue holographic! It’s really cute! This was the only one I really wanted in this customization option but seeing it in person made it so much better. I like stainless steel tumblers, I don’t drink a lot of wine so I will probably use this for other drinks. I am really excited to actually get to use it though, and it’s dishwasher safe (on the top rack). I have heard really good things about the brand of corkcicle, so I am hopeful that it is as good as people say it it. 

Ciaté London Watermelon Burst Setting Spray:

            I was just writing about another Ciaté setting spray that I got in my Glam Bag Plus and so now I have two Ciaté setting sprays and I am excited to use them both. I love a good setting spray and I really like the Watermelon Burst line that Ciaté has out. I have several items from the range and I have never been disappointed in any of them. So I am hoping that this one is just as good as setting sprays that I have used in the past. 

MineTan Body Skin Recovery After Sun Gel:

            I don’t go out in the sun much, I am very pale so being outside for even fifteen minutes can give me a nice not so healthy sunburn. I do use an aloe lotion after I am out in the sun but as a kid I spent lots od night’s during the summer soaking in vinegar like I was a salad marinating so the sting would go away. I also have gotten burns so bad I blistered because I was young and stupid and I didn’t want sunscreen. I am looking forward to giving this a try though at some point soon because inevitably I will be out in the sun at some point this summer and like an idiot not have any sunscreen on so I will need it afterward.

So with the last category in the magazine it was several items thrown into a bundle, I’ll talk about the three that I got.

Eyeko Double Act Shadow Stick: 

            It came with a sharpener and everything, I am used to eyeliner and lipliner pencils coming like this where you physically have to sharpen it when it gets dull. I am not used to having that in a eyeshadow, do I have other eyeshadows like this? I think so. I love the shades though so I am looking forward to figuring out exactly how to use this product. 

Barefoot Scientist Pedicure File:

            I use a pumice stone on my feet when I want to smooth everything out but I think that this is going to make that process easier. I know you have to be really careful with them because they are files and I don’t want to cheese grate my feet. We all want smooth feet during the summer with sandal season.

Aria Beauty Reusable Makeup Swabs: 

            I don’t feel like I have much to say about this one, I am going to have to figure out exactly how to use these, I thought they were just straight up cotton swabs like Q-Tips. I like the little case they came in but I am going to just have to figure out exactly what they are for and how to use them.

            Overall this box has been the best one that I have gotten in a while and I am really excited about that. I feel like the brand as a whole listened to some of the complaints that people were giving them over the last several boxes. I am looking forward to seeing all the spoilers for the fall box which should start in August? I actually don’t know, it might be sooner than that but that’s okay. If you want to see what I got in my Spring box, you can just click on the hyperlink. 

            I will be back later in the week with another post, I know what it’s going to be and I am looking forward to getting it posted. So until then I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week and a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend for my American friends, I have no plans except to avoid all the fireworks. (I don’t like loud noises, I never have.) 

            -MJ

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

June 2021 ISPY Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I feel like I need to change the title of this post series because it’s not a box anymore. It’s in a bubble mailer and a drawstring bag, not a box, but I am a creature of habit and I want to still have the differentiation between this and my regular Glam Bag posts because I do have two a month. At my present moment I am sitting at my local Ford dealership (shouts out to them) getting my oil changed, like 2,000 miles late, oops. Get your routine maintenance done y’all, just get it done. I have also been meaning to write this post for days and just haven’t because I am a scattered human being. I am not going to do a bunch of exposition because I did that I lot when I started the blog and I don’t want to continue to ramble on about nothing. So let’s just get into the post itself.

The Bag: 

            Like the Glam Bag bag this month it looks like it’s covered in stickers and I am a fan. Scrolling through TikTok I see a lot of small business sticker creators and if I had the disposable income I would buy all the stickers and then just have them in a pile to stare at because I cannot actually commit to putting stickers on anything.

The Products: 

111Skin Rose Gold Radiance Booster:

            This brand is one of those brands that is ridiculously expensive so when I see it in my bag I get very excited. I have a few of their other products and I love all of them. The brand is super boujee, but I can’t complain because it’s worth the price point for how good it actually is. This 20 ml bottle is $135 so that’s absolutely insane, but as someone who actually has seen a difference in their skin since using better products I cannot complain. I know part of that may be in my mind because I know how expensive the product is, but it’s also scientifically backed and I love that.

Ahava Active Moisture Gel Cream:

            Everyone should know about my history with Ahava by now, if you don’t you can read my GB+ post from last month because I for sure wrote a whole paragraph about it. I like their products and I have been using them on and off for over a decade now. I love a good moisturizer and I have their day cream, night cream, hydration mask, and now this so I am excited to actually give it a try. Again, in real life outside of a box it’s expensive but, I worked at a salon in high school so I have watched this brand and change over the years. 

Ciaté London Everyday Vacay Coconut Dewy Setting Mist: 

I picked this one because I ran out of setting spray, I got setting spray in my Summer fabfitfun box (that’s a spoiler because that post doesn’t come out until Wednesday) and in my regular Glam Bag this month. So now I am set on setting spray. I liked my old one but, even though it was from the same brand as my fave setting spray (which they don’t make anymore) it just wasn’t the same. So I am on the hunt for a new setting spray. I love the Porefessional one I got in my Glam Bag and I am looking forward to giving this one a try when I am wearing makeup more in the fall. 

Best Face Forward Purifying Cleanser: 

            I could pretty much do an entire skin care routine out of this bag; which is actually pretty cool. I like trying new and different cleansers because I am never really sure if the cleanser is really great unless I have like 15 to compare it to. In the description it says it’s good for blemish prone skin and that’s me so I am excited to give this one a try. Though since I have started to change my diet I am seeing less and less breakouts which is super cool. I love the packaging and I am so ready to be able to give this one a try. 

Viseart Petit PRO Deux: 

            Well Viseart is one of those brands that you hear about from influencers and makeup artists all the time and a normal 12 pan palette from Viseart can go for $80+, so when this was offered as one of my options I jumped on it. I love the shades, it’s the perfect balance of summer warm shades and I am so excited to actually sit down and swatch this palette. I know it’s a mini palette, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I can take it traveling because it would be something really small to pack into my suitcase or makeup bag and just go with it. 

            So overall my bag this month was great. I am excited and looking forward to the bag choices next month, I will find out next week what’s going to be in my August GB+ and I am hoping that I have more amazing products to share with you then. 

            I will be back on Wednesday with another post as we ramp up into the Fourth of July weekend for my American friends. I hope that everyone has a happy and healthy start to the week and I will see y’all soon with another post!

            If you want to read about what else I have gotten this year, you can! January, February, March, April, and May

            Seriously, I hope everyone has a good last few days of June!

                        -MJ

What Was in My June 2021 IPSY Glam Bag?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well I took a week off because I was missing all of the things that I wanted to write about this month and I am finally in possession of all of those things, yay! I feel like there are probably things I am forgetting to mention, but happy official summer everyone. Here’s hoping that everyone is having a great time!

            So let’s get right into it, I am going to talk about the bag and then go into the products like I usually do in every other IPSY post that I have on this blog, there are so many that you can read up on if you really want to. 

The Bag:

            It’s a dusty pink almost salmon color and looks like it has stickers on it, it looks like some of the middle schoolers water bottles and it’s kind of a mood. I have been watching a lot of TikTok recently and it has taken over my life. It’s a problem, thus bag is super cute though and it’s going to go into the drawer that I have all the rest of my bags in. One day I will take a picture of that drawer and y’all can see how much of a small bag hoarder that ISPY has made me over the years since I became a member.

            So what did I get in the bag?

The Products:

Benefit Cosmetics The Porefessional: Super setter Pore-Minimizing Setting Spray:

            I picked this one because I am almost out of setting spray. I got a lot of setting spray this month though in different subscriptions so I am pretty set for now; I’m not upset about it though. I have heard really good things about this product over the years, so finally getting a chance to try it is really exciting. The last setting spray that I was using only worked when it felt like it, so I am going to give this one a chance tomorrow (today for y’all) because I have to wear makeup.

Evenprime Barrier Serum:

            Serums have become a new staple in my skincare routine. I have found so many good ones in the last year or so and this one claims to be really good at shielding your skin from all sorts of not so great things; even blue light. I feel like I should worry about blue light more, but I don’t. I am excited to give this one a try as well, it seems like it has all of those things that you want on your skin and all of the big words that mean beneficial things for your skin. 

Pretty Vulgar Undercover Concealer in 60:

            It’s a nice concealer, my problem with it is that it is too dark for me. I swatched it and it oxidized a lot darker than I would have wanted it to to be a concealer that I use on a daily basis. This one was for sure a miss for me, I am like really pale and that means that I tend to look for the lightest shade or the second lightest shade when it comes to concealer and this shade just doesn’t mesh with my skin tone. 

Mazi Balancing Multi-Effect Facial Cleanser:

            I like the packaging and I am always on the lookout for travel sized cleansers that I can take with me when I go places. I feel like recently that I have been bouncing around from cleanser to cleanser and I am still looking for my “holy grail”. I know eventually I will find it, or I will just keep changing when I run out of my current cleanser. 

Glow on 5th Rose Gua Sha:

            I had to get a replacement for this one because there is a crack in the one that showed up in my bag, it’s on its way to me and IPSY’s customer service is always amazing. I have been wanting a Gua Sha for well over a year now so having one will be super nice and make sure that I actually want to spend the money on getting a real quartz one. This one is plastic; which might be the reason that it cracked. I am all for helping depuff and help with lymphatic drainage in the face. I am so for giving all of these things a try. I have used this one even with the crack in it and I really like it already, I am just waiting for the non-cracked on to show up to my house. 

            Overall this bag was fine, there was some things that I was excited about and some that I wasn’t really too excited about. The concealer was a disappointment because it’s the wrong shade for me, not all products can be perfect though and each month you get to learn what you like and don’t like when it comes to products. 

            If you want to read about what else I have gotten in my Glam Bags this year, you can! January, February, March, April, and May

            Have a great rest of your week and I will see y’all over the weekend with another post!             -MJ