What Was in My January 2022 IPSY Glam Bag

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Here we are with in 2022 and we are here with another year of IPSY unbaggings, we’re in for a treat, I think. I don’t know anymore because well it’s only the first one of the year. I have been sitting with this bag for like 24 hours so far and I just needed to get the post written and it’s snowing outside so I can’t leave my house. It’s nasty outside and snow in Arkansas means that I might as well stay home and avoid the roads. 

The Bag: 

            Super cute pastel muted moment and I really like it. It’s a good first showing for the bags this year. The tab on the zipper has as smiley face on it! I love that little detail, it’s super cute. 

The Products: 

Amorepacific The Essential Crème Fluid: 

            I had no idea what this was until I looked on the email that IPSY now sends to tell you what you are getting instead of including it in the little pamphlet that comes in the bag itself. It’s a moisturizer which is really cool especially this time of year when literally everything is super dry. I cannot seem to get my skin hydrated which is annoying no matter what I try so just adding another thing to it is not a bad thing. It had green tea extract and that’s a cool ingredient that I don’t get to see very often. Hoping this can do everything it claims that it will do for my skin. 

Roze+Quartz Hair Mask:

            I have never used a hair mask before, well no, that’s a lie, I have used one once and it was a little weird so here I am ready to try something new for my hair because why not. Maybe 2022 will be the year that my hair does all the good things that I want it to do. This claims that it will help with breakage and split ends and that is my entire life. I take pretty good care of my hair. Up until college I didn’t use conditioner and that was probably not a great thing so here, we are now moving quickly toward 30 in just months and I am taking better care of my hair and skin. Adding a hair mask once a month is probably not a bad choice on my part. 

Complex Culture Rosy Outlook Eyeshadow Palette: 

            It’s so little! With really nice pink and berry shades and it made me think of Valentine’s Day, I don’t know why but it’s a really nice little palette. I like the shades and I really like Complex Culture’s brushes so I am excited to give this formula a try. I need to get back into wearing more makeup in 2022 because let’s be real the last time I put on a full face of makeup was like March of 2020 when the world fell apart because why would I put on a full face when I have to wear a mask. (I still am wearing one because it’s still a thing, really still a thing.) 

MOTD Cosmetics Dab and Tap Makeup Sponge:

            I use a makeup sponge every morning before work. I love a really good makeup sponge and this one looks a little smaller than the ones I usually use so that’s fun. I love the color and I am always on the lookout for a good makeup sponge. I buy mine from like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx because I refuse to spend $20 on a Beauty Blender. It for sure says to use the pointed end for hard-to-reach places, I use mine to take the mascara out from underneath my eyes because I am a mess. I love the color too because it’s a nice pastel and it’s very on theme for this time of year. 

Sophia + Mirabelle Small + Mighty Extreme Volume Mascara in Black:

            It’s a nice size product and I like the applicator for this one, it’s a unique shape and I am looking forward to using it since I just opened up a new tube of my favorite mascara, this one will get used eventually. It claims to not flake or smudge so that’s always exciting because I spend a considerable amount of time trying to make sure that my mascara doesn’t flake into my eyes by the mid-afternoon because then it’s an automatic throw away in the afternoon when I get home. I do not have time to use mascara that spends all day flaking and making my eyes hurt. I work with kids all day; I don’t have time to deal with my mascara and them as well. 

            Well there it is, my first Glam Bag of the year and it was a pretty good one. I really enjoyed this bag and it’s a strong start for 2022. Here is hoping that there are some other really good bags this year. 

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

            -MJ 

MJ’s Top Ten Books of 2021

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I cannot believe how many books I read in 2021, it is really almost twice as many as I usually read and that to me is insane, honestly and truly insane. I cannot even really begin to narrow it down to my favorites. So maybe this post shouldn’t be called ‘top ten’ it is more of a list of books that I wish I could read again for the first time because they were so good. Now you might be saying, ‘well the title is favorite’. I know, I changed it because it’s not a list, it’s just a recap of my favorite books of the year and I don’t want to rank them.

            I read several series this year so I am not going to count each book in my top ten. I haven’t completed some series though so I am just rolling with it at the moment until I do finish them, or await the next volume in the series because they aren’t out yet. 

            If you actually want to read about all of the books I have read this year, you totally can because there are six of them. Part 1 covers January and February, Part 2 covers March and April, Part 3 covers May and June. Then it gets a lot longer so strap in for a long read, Part 4 covers July and August, Part 5 covers September and October, and Part 6 covers November and December, also another long read because well I read a lot at the end of the year.  

            These are in no particular order and there may be some spoilers, I don’t know yet if there will be or not. I am starting this at the beginning of December because I have the time to start it now, but I still have almost ten books on my TBR for the rest of this year. I have so many and I will only have more next year. That’s why every month is getting their own books post, it’s just easier for me that way and then the posts won’t have so many books on them.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

            I mean, I wrote a whole paragraph about this in February when I read the book because it was amazing, I think this was one of my only five-star books of the year because it was so good. She weaves these amazing fantastical worlds that I want to get lost in. The Night Circus is one of my all-time favorite books. This one was amazing and I absolutely could not put it down. The multiple perspectives that all thread together makes it amazing and so much fun to keep up with. It’s vivid and I could not put it down, if you like fantasy and a magical library with a dark past and a society of people trying to make sure that it goes dormant then this one is for sure for you. 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (the entire series so Stalking Jack the Ripper, Hunting Prince Dracula, Escaping from Houdini, and Capturing the Devil)

            I have read six of her books this year because she is a phenomenal writer and her writing style is imaginative and vivid and again, this was a series I read all of them this year starting in April and finishing the series itself in October. Like I said in that post, I will one day re-read the entire series and I will tab it, I am really bad at tabbing but I am trying with re-reads. This series though is one for you if you like turn of the century true crime, badass female lead, and twists and turns throughout London, Romania, a steam ship, and Chicago this series is for sure something you should look into. 

Seaside Café Mysteries (series) by Bree Baker (the series so far so, Live and Let Chai, No Good Tea Goes Unpunished, Tide and Punishment, A Call for Kelp, Closely Harbored Secrets, and Partners in Lime)

            It is literally and legitimately no secret that I love cozy mysteries I read two of these books in a day each. I can devour cozy mysteries and I feel no shame about it. The next one doesn’t come out until April and that means that I just have to wait. I love Charm and the character of Everly is so much fun. The mysteries for sure take a little bit of a darker turn than usually a cozy mystery heroine faces, like there were near death experiences more than once in this series and that was a little jarring. Also, several of the killers have been female which for a murder mystery is not super common, the series is a lot of fun though and I am kind of unhappy that I have to wait because I read through these so fast. This is the exact reason that I am doing a TBR because otherwise I would just buy half the cozy mystery section at Barnes and Noble and not read any of the other books that I own. 

A Darker Shade of Magic (the series) by V.E. Schwab (the first two, so, A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows)

            I have not read the third one yet, that is on my TBR for next year but I have not read it yet. So, no spoilers on the final book, I don’t want to know how it ends. I want to read it next year and enjoy it without spoilers. This series is one that has been on my TBR since about 2018? Or so. I honestly can’t remember when I added it to my TBR but I know that I am looking forward to and dreading reading the third one because then it’s over. This is the series that I have tried to tab, it went okay for the first one and then I couldn’t stop to put anything really in the second book because it was so good. I love the world of the different colored London’s, it’s fascinating to use a multidimensional travel scenario like this. It’s super good. (Yes, I know that is not a great sentence, but here we are and it’s staying.) I love the characters and the world building and I cannot wait to see how it all ends in A Conjuring of Light.

Kingdom of The Wicked (the series) by Kerri Maniscalco (both books, so Kingdom of The Wicked and Kingdom of The Cursed)

            I for sure am writing this post in sections because that’s who I am as a person and I finished these books super quick. I loved Kingdom of the Wicked and got sucked into Kingdom of the Cursed so fast that I could not put it down. I love Wrath and Emilia. I love the seven realms and everything that happens in the second one. So many plot twists. I am so excited for the next and final one to come out next year. The world, like the Stalking Jack the Ripper series is vivid, but this one is super magical and amazing. I feel like I am talking like a middle schooler as I talk about books I like. I don’t get to do it very frequently, so, here we are. The second one is a little spicy, it may not be for some readers but for me, it was.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

            I watched the mini-series first and loved it, this book has been in my collection since before we moved to Arkansas, so it’s been in my library for at least four years if not longer. I loved the book, the series stuck pretty close to it and that made me so happy while I was reading the novel. It was a book that I read really early this year and then watched the series again because I wanted to. I wrote an entire blog post about the series and if you want to read that, you totally can. I love the characters and the pacing of the book itself because it is a week to the apocalypse and it needs to be stopped by an angel and a demon who are both so extra. 

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian 

            This was my first Book of The Month and it was so good; it was one of those books where it hooks you in from the first line and then doesn’t let go. The first line talks about her drowning and I was hooked. There is mentions and instances of suicide and that’s not fun. It is a retelling of King Arthur’s court and it is phenomenal. So many twists and turns for characters that are so familiar to all of us. Merlin is shady in this one though, which is a departure from the normal mythos so that was fun. I spent the book thinking of the characters like the BBC show Merlin so that was amusing. 

The Ex Hex but Erin Sterling

            Fantasy and Romance, I loved this book, I wrote a whole post on it in November because it was my October Book of the Month, it was a really fun read and I saw someone online say it had no plot, it did. It was magic and a curse all started with a Bath and Body Works candle and too much alcohol. It was just so fun. I spent a lot of time laughing and a lot of time wondering what I had gotten myself into. I liked that magic kind of cohabitated with normal life in this one as well, it made the world feel much more real. 

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

            At the beginning of the year if you would have told me that two rom-com/romance books would be on my top ten list I would have laughed at you. Then I picked this book up and I regret waiting so long to read it. I read it in one day because I could not put it down. There are some tropes in this book that I actually really enjoyed and when the book was one of the September selections for Book of the Month I considered it, but the romance tag and the fact that they tagged it ‘salacious’ gave me pause and I read Rock, Paper, Scissors instead. I am so glad I got this one as an add-on for December though because it was amazing. It did get a little spicy, again for me, for most people it probably isn’t that bad. I loved it though, it had me closing it every few pages to silently laugh, so good. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

            I wholeheartedly blame BookTok for my want to read this and then I read it and I get the hype, I cannot wait to read the next one, I will probably go out and buy the rest of the series at some point soon just so I can have them when my fancy strikes me to read the next one. It was so good and felt very Beauty and The Beast to me, I loved the characters and all of the vivid imagery that were provided in this book. It is a slow start than then it gets so good. I have seen enough through BookTok that I know there are things that come up in later books that will make me dislike a character I currently like, (do not spoil it anymore for me!) If I could I would just read the rest of the series before going back to school at the beginning of January but I have met me and I need to sit with this one for a while before moving into the next one. (For some reason every time I am writing next in this post the next word that my brain wants to type is morning. I mean, writing problems?)

            There it is, my favorite books for 2021, I am writing this on Christmas but I don’t think I am going to have another book that can match up to this list and if there is there will be 11 on the list not ten. 

            I read so many books this year, finally tally is: (insert number here), my goal at the beginning of the year was 45. I found a bunch of books this year that pulled me out of a reading slump that lasted years. I love reading and it’s an expensive hobby, but it’s better than a lot of other hobbies I could have. Reading also makes you a better writer and I have written quite a bit this year, nothing like during 2020 because you know, lock down, but I am excited to really dig into my TBR list for next year because 2022 promises to be fun when it comes to what I am reading. 

            I can’t wait to do this post again next year and see what else I loved throughout the year. 

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post and until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ

December Book of The Month Review:

Title: The Holiday Swap

Author: Maggie Knox 

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            There will probably be some spoilers and that is pretty much how I am going to roll with these because if you want to read it you can skip this and I will see you next post. If you aren’t sure you plan on reading it then feel free to read on and see if maybe I can convince you one way or another. 

            I gave this book a solid 3.5 out of 5, it was a little predictable for me. 

            So, if you want to read a Hallmark movie this one is for sure for you. Identical twins Charlie and Cass are both living their own lives and then Charlie gets a head injury causing her to lose her sense of taste and smell while filming a Christmas special for the TV cooking show that she works on. So she and her sister switch which causes a lot of ripples in their respective real lives. 

            They felt like real people and that’s cool, but my one issue with this book was that it just felt like a formula. That’s why I call it reading a Hallmark movie, which is fine I love Hallmark movies. Someone meets someone, they fall head over heels for each other in days, something dumb happens that separates them, and they meet under the mistletoe at the end. That literally was how the last chapter before they skipped a year ended. 

            It was fine, it was cute and cozy and who doesn’t love cute and cozy? 

            There are certain characters who were not given that much time which was odd for how important they were to the characters, like Charlie’s friend and make-up artist who just disappeared near the end, like I have no idea if she ended up in Starlight Peak. 

            I am still trying to figure out how Book of the Month tagged this as a love triangle, which I only found out about after I ordered the book and was concerned for it because that is not something I usually read. This is just a cozy love story, that’s it. Like I get where it comes from because Cass almost gets engaged to a guy but breaks up with him and he doesn’t take no for an answer (which is not okay) and then Charlie comes into town and assumes Cass’s life and meets the cute firefighter and he thinks she’s Cass and it gets awkward, but I don’t consider that a love triangle. 

            I wanted the Christmas themed one though because who doesn’t love a seasonally relevant book to read, I love a seasonal book. I read like 100 pages in one day because it did take me a while to get into and I feel like the plot was a bit thin and it didn’t grip me. It’s a Hallmark movie. (take a drink every time I say that and then when the post is over go watch a Hallmark movie.)

            It was cute and sweet and I scrunched up my nose a few times while reading it while smiling. 

            I feel like I should say more about it, the last chapter which is a year later is kind of pointless to me, I kind of wish that it just would have ended with the kiss under the mistletoe and then it was left open to interpretation, it was predictable. 

            Not every book is for everybody and that is totally okay, if you read this book, you might love it and that is amazing, I am glad that it sparked joy in you. I love books that you cannot stop talking about and that spark your joy, this one just didn’t do that for me and that’s okay. 

If you really want to read my other reviews, you totally can. I have a few so far because I started getting BoTM in July, so you can click on the month and get my little review: July, August, September, October, and November.

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

-MJ

2022 Goals

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, it’s 2022. It’s still 2019 and I don’t know what you are talking about. I know that in my post last year I hoped for the end of you know the thing, the thing that is everywhere, again. So, can we hope for an end to the thing in 2022? I fear if I speak its name, it will hear me. 

            This, like last year’s post is going to be a list, I love lists that is no secret if you have been around here for any length of time.

            Like last year I have goals, my goals actually are pretty similar to be completely honest because I didn’t achieve as much last year as I wanted to, that’s okay, we were all living through the thing. My goals are still separated into four categories, personal, professional, writing, and social. I again am going to keep my professional goals to myself because that is just not something I share very much on this platform.

1. Like last year I still want to do a bunch of 5K’s and longer challenges, I did a bunch this year and I feel better. I know that it’s extrinsic motivation, but here we are and I collect a lot of medals. Who doesn’t love a good medal? 

2. This last year I really did cut down on snacking and eating out and all of that so I really want to start eating more plant based this year as well as stop snacking completely. Last year at the end I didn’t snack because I was reading and writing so much, so that will probably be when I do again this year. 

3. I still want to get back into meditation, I didn’t do it at all last year and that’s dumb. I love to meditate and, on the days, when you get really into it you can fall asleep. 2020 and 2021 made me bitter and angry and I don’t want to be bitter and angry anymore. 

4. I want to read 50 books for my To Be Read list, plus my 12 Book of The Month books, and then others. I read over 75 last year when my goal was only 45 so let’s see if I can match that or hit 80. Who knows? But I also don’t have a social life so: books.

5. I want to keep up with both of my Bullet Journals this year, that’s right there are two this year my regular one and my book one because I love keeping track of things in multiple places. I am really excited to have two of them this year and make sure that I do it the whole year. 

6. I want to be consistent on this thing, there were some ups and downs last year and that meant I didn’t post as frequently as I wanted to or should have. I want to post twice a week, some times that just doesn’t happen though because my mental health starts kicking me in the shins. 

7. I want to keep working on my unfinished projects since I am at many now. I started the year with like three or four new unfinished projects, plus the two drafts that I didn’t finish last year. I finished them and came up with like five more ideas in the process, so my unfinished novel pile is now up to like 15 if you count all the series that I still need to work on. 

8. I really do want to look into publishing, I want to see my book in bookstores and on BookTok, maybe not, but who knows. I want to share my stories with the world because I have been writing books for nearly a decade and now, I have a whole shelf in my office full of binders of my work and that’s all they are doing; sitting. 

9. This is literally the same goal from last year because I need to say it again, I want to most of all be the truest version of myself that I can be, I want to be authentically MJ and I have gotten better at that over the years but I still have some work to do. I want to be violently who I am. If people can’t handle that I don’t have time. I am who I am, I am weird and quirky, and self-conscious. It took me a really long time to even start to like myself. I realized last summer after a long time that I don’t want to go anywhere, and what I mean by that is I don’t want to do myself harm anymore. After well over a decade of letting the void call me; it calls me a little less now. 

            There they are, my goals for 2022, I am not saying this is my year. I am walking into 2022 like I am sneaking in after curfew and I don’t want to get caught. (I never did that, but still.) I hope that you all set goals too, no matter how small they are. 

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

            -MJ 

December 2021 IPSY Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’ MJ,

            This post was supposed to be like a week and a half ago but my box shipped on the 7th and then there was nothing until like the 23rd I think. So, I thought for a while there I was just going to have to email, for the second time this year, and tell them it was lost. 

            I get it, this is the worst time of the year for shipping, it’s painful. I know I ordered something in August expecting it in October but they were waiting on something for the box and it’s shipping at some point this week. Woo. 

            Let’s just roll right into it because I don’t really have much else to say. 

The Bag:

            I love the blush pink with the gold stars and accents, the gold drawstring is also really cool. This is for sure one of my favorite GB+ bags this year and I cannot wait to find a reason to use it. I will, y’all mark my words. 

The Products: 

            I actually took pictures of my choices; I don’t think I am going to post them but they feel really limited. I know it’s “ultra-personalization” but I wish they would send out a survey or something because I have some things that I would like to say and it’s very clear that none of them read my blog. All I’m really getting is skin care products and if that keeps up, I am going to cancel, it’s that simple. I can find another box that I want or I can save money too, it’s just becoming annoying. I love skin care and I can get some really good skincare cheap through IPSY, but I miss the variety of the boxes. 

Clarity RX Daily Dose Water Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum:

            I am drowning in serums, I am going to give a few to my mom because I love serum, but I have a lot of them and I need to get rid of some of them. Like this is expensive, super expensive actually so here we are. This is the season for a hydrating serum because it’s dry outside and cold, so I am looking forward to trying it out. 

Kate Somerville Exfolikate Glow Moisturizer: 

            I love Kate Somerville; her moisturizer was some of my favorite this year. It’s so good and I am really looking forward to actually using this one. All of her products smell good, I cannot describe them, they just smell really good and they make my skin feel amazing. 

Treslúce Beauty Intenso Liner Duo in Fuerte + Honest:

            That’s right, I chose liners, I don’t really wear liner, but with a more pencil feel maybe I’ll get back into liners. Also, one is black and the other is a bronze and I really want to give them a try. Look at me branching back out into makeup, look at me. Maybe 2022 will be the year I bring back liner in my routine.

111Skin Vitamin C Brightening Booster Serum: 

            I know there are two serums in this bag and I was complaining about serums, but 111Skin is amazing and I love it so much. It’s just one of those brands that you cannot pass up if given the chance. Their products are so good and I am using one of them right now and it’s doing some great things to my skin because I was using another moisturizer and it was drying my entire face out so much that I was peeling. So, I needed a refresh and 111Skin came to my rescue. 

Neogen Dermatology A-Clear Soothing Foam Cleanser: 

            I love Neogen, I got a sample size of their products last year or earlier this year and it was such a good little cleanser, so I am really excited to give this one a try because I am running out of cleanser. I like that the product is dermatologist tested which usually means that my skin doesn’t react to it and that is so exciting. It has a bunch of good cleansing agents in it so I am going to look forward to getting a chance soon to use this one. 

            Well, that’s my bag, very skin care heavy because that felt like all of the options I had, and that’s probably because I rate skin care well, because that’s all I get. It’s becoming a vicious cycle and it’s starting to get annoying. 

            If you want to see what else I have gotten this year, you totally can; January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November.

            I will be back later in the week with my last book post of the year, if you are into that it’s going to be a long one. So, until then I hope everyone has an amazing end to 2021 and I will see y’all in 2022, I hope that you stay safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ 

MJ’s 2021 Bullet Journal Final Update

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I cannot believe we are here at the end of the year. (I am writing this in mid-October because I am trying to prep posts that I can when I am feeling the blog post energy so here we are.) I am hoping that as we close out the year that the rest of it has been great, or at least as good as it can be. 

            I finished my 2021 Bullet Journal in June, there is no lie there, it was done in June because I try and get as much as I can done over school breaks because I don’t want to do it after work. I really don’t. If my math and my calendar is right, today is the day after Christmas, happy day after Christmas. If it’s not, keep in mind I am writing this post two months in advance. 

            My 2021 BuJo was another experimental year, though I think that all of my BuJo’s are experimental at least with theming and style. I got my base pages down pat last year and my 2022 BuJo will be roughly the same because the style I am using now makes sense to my energy and I am so happy I finally found that. 

            If you want to check out the rest of my BuJo updates from this year you totally can. I have done three other parts so you can just click on the part number and it should take you right to it, part 1, part 2, and part 3

            This year’s theme was Disney and all of these are fun ones, October was Nightmare before Christmas, November was The Princess and The Frog, and December was Muppets Christmas Carol because why not? 

            Next year is Marvel and I hope by this time I have figured out how I am going to do that and hopefully have at least January and February finished. (When this post comes out I will be just getting done dogsitting for my parents neighbors so I will have a lot of time on my hands.) 

            Alright, into the actual content of this post, the last three months of 2021 even though at this moment I am still in month one of this post. 

October: Nightmare Before Christmas

Cover: I was torn between a few ideas on what to do for this one and there are not all that many great pictures of the tree doors to the other holiday lands in the movie. I found some pictures and did my best trying to make them look good. I loved the holiday doors in the film because I kind of want to see what’s behind each one. We only see Halloween and Christmas so I would love to see what’s behind the rest of the doors in the forest. 

Mood Tracker: I have drawn Jack on top of the hill before, it was a painting which was gift for my best friend so doing it again was a lot of fun. I wanted my mood tracker to be a pumpkin patch and this was the easiest way to do it even though the hill is in the cemetery, imagine that this is the other side. I don’t know? This was the only idea that came to my brain for this one, so I ran with it. (As I am writing this my downstairs neighbor is knocking on his bedroom window, which he does every morning to let his partner know that he’s home. It’s annoying and I deal with it every morning.)

Last Page: I love Zero, he’s my favorite character from the entire movie and I have an ornament with him and his grave so this was my natural choice for the last day of the month. He’s so fun and adorable and I couldn’t have a Nightmare Before Christmas themed month without him. 

November: The Princess and The Frog

Cover: One of my favorite scenes in the movie is the lily pad dance scene and I wanted to recreate it as best I could here. It was not easy; this cover easily took me three hours to finish because of all the detail and it doesn’t even feel like I used all that much detail. The other side is Ray and Louis because they are a really great comedy duo and I wanted them together on their own page and that still goes with the rest of the theme. 

Mood Tracker: I have no idea if the street signs looked like this in the movie, I honestly didn’t even look, I tried to recreate them like I saw them when I was in New Orleans in 2017 for a wedding. I love mardi gras, my high school grad party theme was mardi gras so here we are a little over a decade later and I have beads in my bullet journal. I wanted to have some beads that were already colorful and I know a lot of strands are one color, I did this because it benefits my theming. It was a lot of fun to do this one and is probably one of my favorite mood trackers of the year. 

Last Page: Dr. Facilier is a great villain, greed and crazy are a terrible combination. I love the scene where he gets taken to the other side and I would love to see the cemeteries in New Orleans, we didn’t leave Bourbon St. which is fine but I wanted to see more of the history of the city, not the bars and gift shops. Another time. I wanted to have the spirits from the other side in this as well because it just seemed fitting. 

December: Muppets Christmas Carol

Cover: This one was difficult, I tried my best, but I don’t think that this is my best work, and that is totally okay. I tried and that’s all that matters. I wanted to feature the ghosts because they are such a big part of the story. Also, everyone should know by now that I am not great at drawing people and that extends to Muppets as well. 

Mood Tracker: This one is just more Christmas themed than Muppets themed. I wanted a wreath and I was going to do one a few years ago and didn’t so here is a wreath because it seemed like it would fit with the theme and would be cute. It was. 

Last Page: I love the bunny even though he’s in the movie for about four seconds singing, he’s still my favorite but he looks kind of terrifying here because there were not a lot of perspective shots of him that I could find online. I also didn’t put a quote on the page until…well I haven’t done it yet. It will get done this weekend because I think that a quote would help make this page not look so strange. At the moment, to me, it looks really strange. (Spoiler alert: I never got around to it, oops, my bad.)

So, there we have it, another year of Bullet Journaling finished and that’s super weird and super exciting. You can check out all my comparison posts, yearly covers, monthly covers, book cases, mood trackers, and habit trackers. (One of those might be out of order, it’s fine.) In the new year I will reveal my favorite pages from the year so look forward to that. Because there were for sure pages that I didn’t show anyone this year and I plan on revealing at least a few of them for my fave pages of 2021. 

            I hope everyone is having a great holiday season and is ready for the new year in just a few days. Until we see each other in the new year I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy! 

            -MJ

Winter 2021 fabfitfun Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Normally my fff box doesn’t show up this early, but I ordered an add on and an extra so it showed up super early. This post doesn’t even come out for a few weeks after I am actually physically writing it, I am getting it done though because I need to. I am going to preface this entire post with: most of it was good, some of it was not so good. I feel like the boxes have been such a mixed bag and this one was for sure better than a few I have gotten this year, but one thing was a repeat from my summer box and that’s disappointing. 

            Like I said I bought an add-on this time and that was a new Makeup Eraser in Chill Blue because I love my Makeup Eraser so I figured having a backup that wasn’t the normal $20 was a good thing. I also had a $15 credit on this box so I didn’t feel too bad buying something or rather two somethings extra.

            The other thing that I got as an extra was another Unhide Marshmallow Blanket in Rose, I live underneath my one from last year when I am reading and it is so soft and I love it. I wanted one for my classroom so I could be warm while I’m hanging out at my desk and that was 95% the reason that I purchased another one. Like eventually I want to get one the big blankets but they are on the expensive side so I am just going to have to wait. 

            So, moving right along I am going to talk about what I got in my box but take a brief pause here to say one thing, I don’t really like that they don’t have all the options in the magazine anymore. I liked being able to check off the things that I got; I can see it in the app but that’s just not the same. I know that companies are always trying to change and innovate, I just personally miss seeing all the products that maybe I might want to look into in case I didn’t choose them or didn’t have the choice. I will have another thing at the end to say that I’m not the biggest fan of, but I feel like a lot of my fff posts this year have been very Debby Downer and I don’t like that, but I am violently myself so my opinion is my own and that’s okay. We can all feel different about things and still get along. 

            What did I get though? 

Herschel Supply Co. Mica Tote:

            I love this, I saw this in the spoilers and I had to have it. It’s so much bigger than I thought it would be. Like I will be able to carry so much in this! Like it fits my laptop with no problem and I could probably put a protector over my laptop and still have room from side to side. I love the color and this for sure was my top choice in this category. (This was also the category that the Unhide blanket was in, so I got two in this one.) It has a zipper which is really great was a tote because that means that it’s not as accessible to anyone that isn’t you. I don’t remember the other customization options, that is for sure a huge reason I miss it in the magazine, I used to be able to list what I chose over what I missed. 

Sur La Table 4 Piece Silicone Utensil Set in Grey:

            I have been in a Sur La Table store once; it was in Illinois and that store was overwhelming. All of my kitchen utensils are all hand-me-downs from my mom and grandma so now I have my own set and I really like them. They seem really well made; the only problem is because they have a wooden handle that means that I have to hand wash them. I am going to leave them in the box because eventually when I move into a house, they will make their debut there. It’s a spatula, a turner (which I also call a spatula), and two spoons one slotted and one solid. I am super happy with this choice as well because this was another customization option that I got to choose. 

Michael Kors Beanie with Pom: 

            I love Michael Kors, it’s all so classic and just really refined. I love a good hat and this one fit so I’m good. Sometimes beanies don’t fit me, it’s super weird. I love the color and the pom is a lot of fun, it got a little squished in the bag so I will have to fluff it up later. It’s also a nice neutral color which means that it will go with everything and that makes me so happy. Michael Kors is one of those designers where if I am given the option that is usually what I pick. The only real pair of wedges I own are Michael Kors and they are, for heels, super comfortable. 

Briogeo Curl Charism leave in defining cream: 

            I am one of those people who has wavy hair and would like nothing more than to have curly hair. I curl my hair and it falls out in literal minutes. I have heard about this product line for years though and I am excited to actually give it a try. Maybe keep the waves in my hair a little longer without a lot of product because I am not a huge hair product person. This was my last category to have a choice in and this was the only one that I really wanted. 

Vahdam Teas Recovery Sampler:

            I love tea, that is not a secret. I like the idea of a tea sampler and I had to make sure that there were some ingredients that aren’t in it because I cannot have them. I get a little sick from some of the ingredients in tea so I have to be super careful. Licorice Root upsets my tummy, so I avoid it. I love a good chai tea, most of these have black pepper in them and I don’t know how many times in my life I have had black pepper in tea so this is going to be interesting. 

            The next three were the bundle. I mentioned last time that I didn’t like the bundle, I still don’t and there was a straight up repeat in this that I got in my last box so that I am not too happy about. 

Barefoot Scientist Pedicure File: 

            I got this in my summer box, I have used it once and I’m not a huge fane so now I have to figure out what to do with a second one. If you want to know my first impressions of this product, check out my summer 2021 Unboxing. It’s fine, it’s just getting a second one is annoying.

Bennkai Chocolate Bomb Maker:

            If they were bigger, it would be fun to make tiny chocolate covered cakes, they are small though and I know they are for hot chocolate bombs which are super trendy right now. I have never wanted to make one, I’ll find a use for them I guess but I feel like these uber trendy products don’t have much lasting power and that’s just my opinion, maybe hot chocolate bombs will be here to stay. 

Aesthetica Liquid Eyeliner: 

            I don’t use liquid eyeliner. I don’t use much eyeliner at all. I was part of that emo scene when I was in middle and high school so I wore a lot of eyeliner, I have grown out of that phase of my life and because I wear glasses doing a wing is pretty pointless for me.  

            Here’s the other thing that I am going to say, the bundle, it’s not good. I feel like it’s just a bunch of random products that they cobble together and none of them have overwhelmed me. That’s a personal opinion and again, that’s fine if you disagree with me, that is totally cool. I just don’t think that the bundle is a great option. 

            This box was probably the best one that I have gotten this year and I feel like that is saying a lot because I have done a lot of complaining about them throughout the year. I am hoping that this box is the upward trend where the boxes go back to being super cool and fun. 

            I feel like I need to stop because I loved most of my box, there was some misses in this one. (The bundle is going to be the surge of my existence, isn’t it?) Overall though, this box was amazing and all of the rest of the things that I got in my box fit into the Herschel tote so that’s fun! 

            If you want to see what else I’ve gotten this year, you can brave those posts if you want to, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

            I will be back on the day after Christmas with another post, (that’s also already written because I have a problem and try to front load writing a lot of my posts when I can.) so until then I hope that everyone has a great holiday if you celebrate and stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ 

What Was in My December 2021 IPSY Glam Bag

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So here we are, I only have a few more days of school for the year which is absolutely insane to even think that we are already done with a semester…well almost done, two more days. In fact, when this goes up, I will be on a field trip and that’s such a weird thing to say. Last week was rough but that is not a story for here, it’s not really a story for anywhere, it just is what it is. 

            I got this in my mailbox yesterday, I didn’t actually go and get it until this morning, it’s Sunday for me. When this goes up it will be Wednesday. I am just trying to get things written sooner rather than later because I have the time now. 

            So, this one for sure, in general, missed the mark for me. I didn’t really like the contents of this bag; it just wasn’t my scene and that happens. If you don’t want to read about the things that I really didn’t like, cool I will see you with the next post because this is going to be a lot of ‘I don’t use it and I don’t like it.’ 

The Bag:

            I love the bag itself though, it’s described a blush with gold accents, I would call it rose gold specifically because of that and I really do like the bag. Usually, December’s bags are very New Year themed, not holiday themed which I really like. The bag’s in December also almost feel like you could just take them to a party as a tiny clutch and that’s a lot of fun as well. 

The Products: 

First Aid Beauty: Ultra Repair Oil-Control Moisturizer:

            While I really like First Aid Beauty, but my one problem with this product is that I don’t really have oily skin, I have dry to combination skin so I don’t really need an oil control moisturizer. The only place on my face that actually gets oily is my nose and that is about it. I think the moisturizer I’m using right now is an oil control and it has been making my face super dry and that’s not fun for me either. 

LYS Beauty: Speak Love Glossy Lip Treatment Oil: 

            I don’t like lip gloss so a lip treatment usually isn’t up my alley. I am all for clean beauty, I really am, but this one isn’t for me. I just don’t like lip glosses and that is nothing against the company, that is just a personal preference and that’s okay. 

Law Beauty Essentials Nail Polish in 2PM Wine:

            So, I don’t polish my nails, I don’t like how it feels. I have never rated a nail polish on IPSY well, ever. I also do not like the name, 2PM Wine, are we promoting day drinking? This is for sure the third product in this bag that I won’t use and I only have three items on the list. It’s also clean beauty which is amazing for a nail polish! 

SLMissGlam BB5 Powder Brush: 

            It’s a brush. This brush is a little juvenal for me as someone who is almost 30. I also just have a thousand brushes that I don’t use very frequently and this will just be added to that list. I don’t mind brushes I just don’t like the decorations and glitter in this brush and again, that is a personal preference and choice. I know there are people who love these brushes, and more power to them. 

The Crème Shop Holiday Sheet Mask Duo in ‘Tis the Season To Be Lovely & Baby It’s Gold Outside:

            I chose this one, I love a good sheet mask and this was the best thing I got in my bag. I tend to get The Crème Shop sheet masks every year in my December Glam Bag and I love them so much. I like the ingredients in them and I need to get back into doing sheet masks more often because I need to get back into doing more than just my basic skin care routine. 

            I was not really a fan of this bag, and that’s okay, not everything can be a winner. It just really missed the mark for me and that’s okay. I am really looking forward to the Glam Bag Plus, even though I felt like my choices there were not that great either. 

            Well, if you want to see what else I have gotten this year you totally can, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post so until they I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ

A Fun Little Holiday DIY

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I did a lot of DIYs around Halloween and I actually had another planned but I am saving that for next year. This year has been a lot, for everyone. I was planning a holiday themed DIY for November but if you have been around for the last month or so my posting has been sporadic, I am sorry. I am a person too though and some days I just can’t. 

            Well here we are in December and I am finally posting a holiday themed DIY that is not a flower arrangement or something that I have done in the past. Woo!

            As I am writing this I have been up since about 4:30 so I have had coffee and chose to DIY instead of sleep, it’s never a good combo, I promise.

            What you need (AKA, Materials):

–           Bottle Brush trees (I got mine in the Target dollar spot section, that place is the best and worst place for me to be in a Target.) I liked the rainbow ones but if you don’t like the rainbow look get all one color or just tree color, you may have to hunt for those though where ever you go. 

–           A frame of some sort, originally, I wanted an open frame but I found this shadow box frame at Hobby Lobby and rolled with it. 

–           Paper, paint, and a paint marker, I did mine with just printer paper and really cheap paint from Target. The paint marker I bought at Joann’s like three years ago and it’s still going strong for all of my holiday DIY’s.

–           Hot glue, because would it be one of my DIY’s if it didn’t involve hot glue?

How I did it (AKA, the instructions):

–           I painted the black paint in kind of messy strokes on a piece of folded in half printer paper because I was doing it more for proof of concept than actually doing it, but I liked how it turned out. I forgot to take a picture of the just black paper but imagine it when you see it with the words. 

–           I waited for it to dry and wrote the words that I wanted in the frame with my trees, that was ‘Merry & Bright’ I write my &’s a different way so that is just a me thing, you could probably use black card stock and paint this on or cut it out in vinyl if you have a Cricut or whatever, but I don’t have one so I am going with what I have. 

–           I waited for the paint marker to dry and then used the insert from the frame to cut out the words on my paper so it would be at least close to fitting, I did use roller tape to put it in the frame because I didn’t want it going anywhere or rolling up more because it’s paint on printer paper and it was already starting to roll. 

–           I realized that I didn’t have enough space for the words and all six trees so I picked four of them and hot glued them down. I promise that this DIY is simple, without drying time for the paper it took me like ten minutes. 

–           I thought about painting the frame black as well but I kind of like the bare wood look so I left it and I put it up in my living room. 

            If I could do it over, I would put the words up higher so I could put all six trees in, but it’s okay to make mistakes when you DIY or craft, it makes it more personal. This was just a fun little project and it doesn’t take very long, what took me the longest was finding the frame because what I was looking for is clearly not a thing this year and that is an open square shadowbox frame, I could have left the glass off of mine and it would have been that, but I kind of like the glass on it. 

            This is a fun little craft and I like it, it has been added to my décor and I don’t know where I’m going to pack it, but that is a late December MJ problem. I should apologize to her now, but I’m not going to. 

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

            -MJ 

2022 Book Bullet Journal Intro

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            So TikTok made me want to do this and here we are. I made a Book Bullet Journal so here we are with another Bullet Journal to add to my list of things to update daily. I just need something else to work on, right? Well, here we are and I am doing a book Bullet Journal. Thanks, TikTok, I don’t even remember the username of the person who inspired it and I feel bad about that, I have seen it from a bunch of people though and everyone does it different, so I am rolling with what works for me. Like my regular bullet journal what works for me might not work for you and also this is my first year doing it, next year this format may not work for me either.

            I am just going to go over the front pages and then my overview of January, I’ll do recaps next year so we are going to roll with it. I went with really simple theming this year because I don’t have the time to do two overly complicated themes. I also don’t have the time to do a lot of work so here we are and I am mostly done with 2022 and I will learn things throughout just like I did with my Bullet Journal. 

            So, pages, let’s talk about those. 

Genre Breakdown: It’s a list for all the genres I plan on reading this upcoming year. I already have most of my books pulled for this so that’s exciting. I just wanted to have a full list of what I was going to be reading in each category. 

The Game Plan (the books I am actually reading): I have this in sections, fiction I have all of the books on my To Be Read list listed in each of their sub-genres. Then non-fiction, which I am not planning on reading many because non-fiction is not my scene. Free choice is of course a large portion of my list this year, like it always is. I have a lot of the books filled out here, but not all because I am not really sure about the other few that I will want to read next year. Final category is my Book of the Month books and I am excited to fill these out next year. 

Ratings and Genre: My plan is to read 50 books next year; I will probably read more which is always fun. This will only be the fifty books on my TBR, I will probably have another page later in the journal for all of my extras that I end up reading when and if I finish my TBR. 

Reading trackers: I messed up on the first one so day 31 is on the top above the rest because I am an idiot. It’s just did I read and then how many pages I read. It’s just a good way to keep track of how many pages I read in a day since some days I read 10 pages and some days I read well over 100. There are also days when I read an entire book and I feel like I need a color for that too. (An idea for 2023, right?)

Stats and Stack: Yearly stats, there will be monthly stats as well in each month which will be a lot of fun. The second is my book stack, I do one every year and I will have one every month as well which will be a lot of fun with that too because I want to have the same information in multiple places because that it how my brain works, lists on lists on lists. 

Top 10 of 2021 and 2022 5 Star Books: I mean, I love a good top ten and I have read some really good books this year (you can check all of those posts out if you want to, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5, part 6 will be out later this month and if I remember I will update the link here so you can check it out) so I will have a place to record those. 2022 five stars, it’s pretty self-explanatory, I’m going to record my 5-star books. 

Get the Picture: Tiny book covers, I just want to have a few pages of fun little book covers. I have so many book covers to print for all of the pages I need them for. 

            I was going to show my monthly pages for at least January but I am thinking that I will leave those as a surprise for when I get around to writing the updates as the months go on, because why not. I really enjoyed making this journal and I am hoping that this year teaches me new things as I move into doing this again in 2023. 

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

            -MJ