Bullet Journal Comparison #3: Monthly Covers

Hey, hey it’s MJ,

            Back again with another Bullet Journal comparison. If you want to check out the other two I have done, you totally can and I would appreciate it. I have done posts on my Yearly Covers and my Book Trackers so far and now here we are with my Monthly Covers. 

            A lot has changed with my monthly covers since I started, I mean what we are learning with this post series is that a lot has changed over all with my Bullet Journal as I have learned my own style. That’s the thing about Bullet Journaling, you can experiment and see what your style is without the restraints of the standard day planner. It is not for everyone, it is a time commitment, but it is worth it for me. I like the control and the creativity that I can express while I work on my Bullet Journal each year. 

            So let’s start with the oldest one first, my experimental year. 2018, where I wasn’t all that sure what I was doing but I figured I wanted to do it anyway. 

            I am showing the April cover for the last four years. 

            2018: It’s an umbrella and I liked the lettering, it’s super simple, but all of my covers for 2018 were really simple. I was still really learning at that point and I didn’t really know what I wanted in a bullet journal at that point. I have said this before and I will say it again and again with this post series, 2018 was my experimental year to see if this was a hobby that I could sustain long term. 2018 was not the best year in general so there are a lot of qualities that I didn’t keep from this journal to my next journals and I don’t regret leaving some things in the past.

            2019: Another umbrella and I just realized that. I didn’t even think about it before today that April for two years in a row had an umbrella featured in it. 2019 I tried harder at my covers and I also added in a calendar that I never used, I like the bunny that I drew. This one for sure was an upgrade from 2018 but not even my best cover for 2019. I have a post on my fave BuJo pages from 2019 and you can see some of my better covers there. 

            2020: Two page covers became a thing last year and I don’t regret them one bit. This is probably one of my favorite covers from last year because I love the Avengers, my 2022 themes will all be Marvel. I am just not sure exactly what I am going to do yet which is weird but I’m working on it. I tried so hard on this one and it took me hours to do the building with any kind of accuracy to the movies and I love it. If you want to see the rest of April you can check out my 2020 Bullet Journal #1 Update.

            2021: Lilo and Stitch is one of my favorite movies and this one took me hours upon hours. That is the real difference between 2018 and today, the theming and also how long it takes me to actually do the covers and the final pages of the month. I was really proud of this one to be honest because I am trying to make better art. I could have colored in the sand below Stitch but I didn’t want to. You can see the rest of the month if you want to in my 2021 Bullet Journal Update #2.

            Well there it is, four years represented in under 1,000 words and I am only like half way done with this series. I have a few more comparisons I want to make. I have for sure changed my style with my Bullet Journals over the years and I love growing and learning as a creative minded human with projects like this. 

            Like I said, it’s not for everyone and I think you can buy premade Bullet Journals online, but that takes the fun out of it for me. I want to look at a blank journal and create my own thing on it’s pages. It gives you room to add other things to it and change and adapt to your style as time goes on. I actually used all of my pages in my Bullet Journal this year, that’s 251 pages all told and that’s crazy to me especially since in 2018 I only used 184. I missed two months, but still, I am learning and adding more things that I want in each journal. It’s fun. 

            Well I hope that everyone has a good start to the week and I will be back on Wednesday another post. (I am writing this at the end of August and this doesn’t come out until October so you can see that I am planning ahead!)

            Until then, I hope that every stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ 

Halloween DIY #2: a Witch’s House

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I got a new computer today so I am relearning how to type on it, I am used to the keys on my old computer so I am having a bit of trouble readjusting my fingers to actually hit the right keys at the moment. By the end of this post I will be back to typing all the right keys in the right order, but at the moment I feel a little clumsy. It’s been that kind of day and by the time this comes out on the blog it will be almost a month ago for me. Here’s hoping that October is treating me well. 

            I love Halloween, would I be a basic white girl if I didn’t love Halloween and fall? I am reminded of that video of the little girl saying, ‘I freaking love bats.’ It’s funny. I am super hoping that by the time that this post goes out it is not in the high 80’s. MJ is ready for sweater weather, I miss sweaters. I am ready to stop sweating and start sweatering. Yes, that just came out of my brain and I cannot take it back. We are rolling with it. 

            So I already went over one scene that I made for this season and hopefully if I remember next week (as of me writing this) I will be able to get over to the craft store and pick up some supplies for my last DIY of the year, I already have the homemade part down. (Plot twist: I’m saving it for next year instead) I just need to go to the store and get the rest of the stuff. I should not be allowed to go into a craft store unsupervised. That’s how DIY’s happen and while they are cute they can get expensive. 

            That’s not what this post is about though! I did another scene, it started out a lot different than it ended. 

What do you need to do the thing? Materials and such: 

            Hot glue gun (it’s my favorite tool, not really but for DIY it’s essential.)

            Miniatures, got them at Michael’s, I love Michael’s and the closest one that I have is an hour away so I don’t get to go as much as I did when I was still in Indiana when it was literally fifteen minutes away from my house and like five minutes away from where I went to college. Two ultimate date ideas for me, a craft store or a book store. Don’t buy me a drink, buy me a book. Seriously. 

            The terrarium, I got this one when I got the one for the graveyard because it was half off so I bought two for the normal price of one. 

            Paper, I used wood grain from a paper pack that I bought years and years ago and am finally using all of the paper I bought and then forgot that I bought because I am a hoarder for paper. 

            Cardboard, I cannibalized part of the box for my Book of the Month book because that was what made sense to me at the time. 

            Cob webs, I bought some last year and I have no idea where in my apartment they disappeared to so I had to buy more, thank the lord that I live in Walmart country.

            Spiders, also from Walmart because it was early last Sunday morning and I thought, “Spiders.” So I bought the spiders, now I have six that I have no clue what I am going to do with so that’s fun. 

Method to the madness, or just the chaos, it kind of depends on the day: 

            I am not going to number this because every time I do the blog has a panic attack and it doesn’t format right so here I am just making a nice list. 

            – Unwrap all of your miniatures. Marvel at all of the plastic and packaging because it’s so much for how small the miniatures are. Also get your hot glue gun warm.

            – Make sure that your terrarium or display case is at least kind of clean. 

            – Cut your cardboard to fit and then wrap your cardboard with your flooring paper choice. I really did love the wood look and if I had thought about it I would have tea stained parts of it before I glued the miniatures on to give it a more weathered and worn look. I would do that if I did flooring for a tableau again.

            – I glued all of my miniatures onto the floor before I put it in and like my other terrarium scene I did draw it all out at least as an idea first. I did so much gluing for this part because everything had to sit just right. Then shove it into the terrarium and shut the door.

            -Alright so here’s the deal, originally this is where everything stopped. I didn’t like it when I finished this part a few weeks ago. I wanted more, it just didn’t feel or look finished and I was not cool with that. 

            -Go and get another idea for it, I promise, it’ll be worth it. If you don’t feel like it’s finished, it’s not. I decided to put spiders in it, make it a miniature spider scene that a witch made for her pet spiders. Imagine me shrugging at this very moment, it worked out. 

            -Spread your spiderweb out after cutting off a chunk and realizing that your scissors need to be sharpened yet again which you just sharpened them like a week and a half ago and you are getting sick of it. 

            -Place the spiders and the spiderweb into the terrarium and realize that the spiders are too heavy to stay up, get your hot glue gun, and straight up glue them to the glass at the back of the terrarium. 

            – Now you can close it again and display it. I feel like I need creepier pictures of these scenes than just where they are in my apartment. Maybe I’ll do some sort of photo series on my Instagram or something after I have made them a little creepier. Who knows. I am bad at social media. 

            -Enjoy the spooky season however you celebrate it. Have fun or have a spooky time. Enjoy making things, enjoy creating, and enjoy this fun little thing that is still amusing me every time I look at the bookcase behind my desk. 

            Well there it is, hopefully the second of three DIY’s that I present this spooky season. I will be back later in the week with another post, so I hope until then everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy out there.

            -MJ 

Halloween DIY #1: A Graveyard Scene

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So it’s October, I have had this terrarium done since August because I waited too long last year to get miniatures and that was a huge mistake, so I went early. I made two, I made this one and a second one that will come out next week. 

            Here is the issue with this one, I forgot to take pictures of it while I was working on putting it together; like an idiot. I feel real dumb that I didn’t actually take any of the process photos. I will explain as best I can and then you are just going to have to live with only seeing the finished product. Which I love so much. 

            This was my original idea last year when I made the skeleton forest lantern. I made it this year! 

Materials:

1.  Miniatures

            -I got mine at Michaels and it is an hour drive there, I had to go twice. You can order them online but I like seeing them in person before actually committing to spending actual real people money on them.

2. Moss

            -I had to buy more moss, no matter how much of a mess that it makes because I used the last of my other moss on my succulent terrarium that I made in June. 

3. A Terrarium

            -I got this one at Hobby Lobby half off because I liked the greenhouse vibe that this one gave me. I also love that it has a handle on it. It looks like a Victorian style greenhouse and that sold me on the graveyard look that I was going for. 

4. Hot glue

            -Like a lot of hot glue, it will be your best friend. 

5. Cardboard

            -For the bottom, I regret not covering it with something, but you live and you learn, right?

Steps: 

1.  Unpackage all of your miniatures, I had a pile of plastic and cardboard on the floor next to my desk because I did two in one afternoon, this was the second one I did, but it’s the first post y’all are getting. Also, while you are unpackaging get your hot glue gun on, it will usually take a little while to heat up so getting it turned on now really helps in the long run. 

2. Cut your cardboard to the size of the bottom of your display case, I had to cute it like four times because I am a mess when it comes to cutting paper and the like to size. I used the cardboard from my Book of the Month box, it was what I had so don’t come for me. 

3. Start to figure out where you want everything, I did a drawing of what I thought I wanted it to look like and I pretty much stuck to that. I worked from the back to the front where the door is because I didn’t want to knock anything over in the process when I was putting it in.

4. Get your ground cover in, it doesn’t have to be moss, you could use turf or something like that, I like the moss because it makes it look like the graveyard is old and not as well taken care of. 

5. Start placing your miniatures, I hot glued the bottoms of every piece I put in, the moss holds the glue pretty well but I would not suggest knocking it around a lot, it’s not meant for vigorous activity, it’s a decoration. 

6. Keep placing things until you are happy. I had some of the pumpkins from last year left over so I put them in as well because I just really like pumpkins and Halloween requires pumpkins. 

7. When you are happy with it, close the door, and find a place to put it. I like using a terrarium or container that has an opening because then if something happens I can go in and fix it without much hassle because I have some snow globes that I have to fix like every year and it’s a pain to try and get them apart every time I have to reglue or fix something inside of it. 

            Like I said this is post one of two with terrariums, dioramas, whatever you want to call them. I enjoy crafting and I like the ability that crafting gives me to dream something up, or see something I like and recreate it for a lot less money. 

            The other diorama, at the time of writing this post at the beginning of September, isn’t actually finished yet. It’s like 85% done, but it needs something more, I might actually change it a little bit because I am not sure if it’s exactly what I want from that terrarium right now. I have some ideas on what to do with it but I need to find my spiderweb stuff and I am not actually sure where I put that. By the time this post goes up though, they will both be finished and out already for the season. 

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post and I hope until then everyone has a great few days. I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy! 

            -MJ

Fall 2021 fabfitfun Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

This was supposed to be last Wednesday’s post, but if you read my September BotM review you know that my internet at home is completely out and at the moment of scheduling this (Sunday) it’s still out. So hopefully it’ll get fixed this week because not having Wi-Fi is difficult. So y’all get a bonus post this week because last week was DIFFICULT.

            Well here we are again with another fabfitfun unboxing. I want to preface this with the fact that I was super excited for this box; like I was excited for the summer box. I want to make that preface before I actually get into the meat of the post because I was not as excited when I received the box as I was when I placed my order. 

            So things have changed over at FFF, a lot has changed in the last two years. I know that supply chains are having trouble keeping up and transporting goods from place to place as well as their production and manufacturing. I get that with my entire heart, things are hard right now and there is not a lot that anyone can do about it at the moment. No matter how much we probably wish we all could. 

            This box though, it left me disappointed. I know that one of the items that I had chosen was late so I chose to get money off on my next box, which was fine. I am going to go over what I thought of the box as a whole though. I don’t know what the future of this box is, I will for sure be getting the winter box, but after that; I am just not sure. 

So, what did I get? I am going to start out with what I remember choosing and then move into the bundle. I don’t like the bundling; I really really don’t like the bundling that they have been doing lately. As well as the weird item I got in my box. 

            I also miss when they would list all of the options in the magazine, I liked seeing everything on paper and allowing myself to be able to see all of the other options. They didn’t have it in the magazine this time so I had to go on the app and see everything, please put it back in the magazine. 

Golden Rabbit Enamel Swirl Mini Dutch Oven:

            I was really excited for this one, it does not really feel like what I expected it to. I expected it to be heavier. It’s small which is nice just because I am one person but I am kind of afraid to use it on the stove. I have to do some research on it before I feel safe using it. My mom suggested using it as a planter, I don’t think I want to use it as a planter. I think that would be a waste. 

Coach Open Circle Necklace and Tea Rose Stud Set:

            I chose this one too, I actually am really excited about these ones. I have had Coach things since like high school because it’s just one of those classic brands that never really goes out of style. It’s timeless. I am really excited to switch out my earrings for these ones. I just really need a better variety of timeless jewelry that I can wear with whatever. I actually really enjoy a cute little jewelry moment. One of the backs of the earrings is super loose so I am going to have to use another back or try and get it fixed because that’s how you lose earrings and i don’t like losing earrings.

Dose & Co. Pure Collagen:

            This was the only option in this choice that I actually liked; I don’t even remember the other choices. I feel like I should remember other things, but I don’t. I like collagen in my coffee because it is good for your joints and stuff. I use it not as often as I should. I should use it more than I do. I want to try out some different collagen brands and then actually pick which one that I like. 

Purlisse Pumpkin + Ginger Mud Mask: 

            While I love Purlisse, I use it all the time, I am not a huge fan of mud masks. The last one I used straight up burned my face. So while I am willing to give it a try, my hopes are not set very high for this one. I want to like it, I really do, but masks like this can be harsh on sensitive skin and if you are going to have a product like this in a box. Make sure that it can be used by everyone. I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t make a value judgement on it but here I am, hoping that when I do get around to using it, it doesn’t make my face hurt.

The Bundle: 

            I am going to say this again here, I don’t like the bundle. I liked when it was just a list of options or everyone got three or four of the same items. It just made more sense to me that way. The bundle concept has really missed the mark for me personally. 

            Babe Lash Pro Lash Lifter:

            I do not use eyelash curlers; I never have and I probably never will because they terrify me. I have heard the horror stories of people losing lashes over an eye lash curler. I tried to use it to see if I could figure it out and something poked me instead. I don’t like them. I can’t say much else, they are just not something for me, they might be for others; but they are not for me. 

            Doctor Rogers Restore Lip Balm:

            It’s a lip balm, like a straight up could buy at the drug store lip balm. That just feels super weird to me. I subscribe to IPSY and this is something I would expect from them. Not FFF. While I love lip balm, I just expect a different quality out of FFF that this let’s down. 

            Zoe Ayla Eco-Friendly Comb Set: 

            Interesting choice, I like the idea of a comb. I just don’t really use combs in practice, I should. I like the colors and they feel really interesting so here’s hoping that I like them when I actually get them out of the box and use them. 

            Now onto the weird thing, there was a plastic wrapped box in my box and I was a little concerned on what it could be. I pulled the plastic off to find an alcohol-free mini can of Heineken, I have so many questions as to why there was a mini can of alcohol-free beer in my box this season. It just seems like an odd choice for a stylized company like FFF, there was also no information on why it was in the box in the magazine (if there was, I didn’t find it) so it was just an odd thing to find in my box. That left me absolutely baffled as to why that was included, but maybe I am not supposed to know. 

            FFF is one of those companies that I love and have for over three years, but the last several boxes have been, underwhelming. I know that the pandemic has put a strain on things as well as interruptions in supply lines and I understand that. I do, I really do get it, but I feel like they have changed and not for the better. There are some amazing items that are thrown in it feels like but there are so many that just don’t interest me. I hate that feeling, I miss the variety that we used to get in boxes, that excitement that I would feel when I would come home to this amazing box of goodies and I feel like my last several FFF posts have had this vibe to them. I don’t like to complain because I cannot imagine how hard everyone at the company is working, I can’t, I have no clue. I just miss the joy that I felt opening up my boxes. The pandemic has changed so much, COVID has changed so much, everything in the last year and a half has shifted and changed. So, I understand that businesses have to shift and change with it to stay afloat. I just miss the joy and excitement for getting one of these boxes left at my door. 

            Hopefully soon enough things with get back to normal, I am looking forward to the winter box spoilers, I hope they can win me over again. 

            If you want to check out what else I have gotten this year, you totally can: Spring and Summer

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

            -MJ

What Was in My September 2021 IPSY Glam Bag?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are near the end of September, how are we already almost at the end of September? I just don’t understand and this was going to be Sunday’s post, but I hadn’t actually written today’s post…so here we are. Plot twist, it’s still Sunday’s post because last week kicked it out of me and I just couldn’t seem to find the motivation to take the pictures for this post until yesterday, so here we are. 

            This week has been a challenge and I don’t see it getting any better as the rest of the week progresses so I don’t have the emotional or mental capacity to really get all up into writing anything at the moment. Which for me, is not great. Writing keeps my mental health in check but I have cried twice this week so it’s not going well fam, it’s not going well. 

            That is not what this post is about though, it’s about what I got in my September IPSY GB, I just posted the GB+ so if you want to read that you can go ahead and click that link to head back to that post or just like scroll down a little bit; it’ll be there.

The Bag: 

            Again, like the GB+ this bag is giving me Clueless vibes and I am here for it. I love the tartan plaid and the brown faux leather flap; it reminds me of a really cute school bag and I love it. I really like the snap closure on some of these bags recently. I like the different options that we are seeing in bag styles. 

The Products: 

BRTC Vitamin B5 Velvet Mask and Vitamin A Velvet Mask Duo: 

            I love sheet masks, I have so many and I need to start using them because they will go bad and I don’t want that to happen. I have enough going on in my life I don’t need the sheet masks to go bad too. That would just add insult to injury and we don’t need that. I love a good sheet mask. I like the benefits of a good sheet mask and I need to start using them again. 

M2Ü NYC Eye Primer:

            I don’t really use eye primer as much as I should so here’s hoping that I like this one enough to keep it in my stash. It’s a brand I have never heard of so I don’t know much about them beyond the description on the IPSY website. It’s vegan and cruelty free which is always a great sign and something that I like to see. 

Shades by Shan Highlighter in Irma:


            This one looks like a lot of fun; I have a whole collection of highlighters because I have a problem. I like shiny things, like a crow, seriously y’all like a crow. I have never heard of the brand before but that something that IPSY is really good for; helping me find brands that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. I like the variety of items that we get in the glam bag more than I like the variety of items we get in the GB+, but the GB+ is all full sized and it’s easier to have a variety of items in sample size rather than full size. I totally understand that, I just wish that the variety would level out a little bit on the side of more to choose from and enjoy. 

Tatcha The Rice Wash:

            I picked this one because I like Tatcha so much, spoiler alert for next month I have already chosen the Tatcha product that was offered to me as a choice item for my Glam Bag. It’s no secret that I really enjoy Tatcha products and I don’t pass them up if given the chance because they are amazing but so expensive. I wish that this brand was one of the ones that I could get in the GB+, that would be the ultimate goal at this moment. Give me Tatcha in my GB+ options. 

TheBalm Cosmetics Bronzilla: 

            This one is a little too dark for me, which happens. I am pale enough that a lot of bronzers are too dark for me. I love The Balm as a brand this one is just a little off the mark for me, also the packaging is a little weird. I love the fact that it’s recyclable but I don’t like how it opens and closes. I will be taking it out of the packaging and putting it in my magnetic palette as soon as I get a chance because that seems like the best option at the moment. 

            Well, there you all have it my Glam Bag for September, I liked it. Don’t get me wrong, but I am wondering where the algorithm is taking its information from. I think that it’s for sure gotten a little less accurate over the last few months. I get that supply chains are an issue right now and they may not be able to get all of the product that they want. I just think it’s strange that the algorithm seems to be becoming more and more geared toward things that I don’t really have super positive reviews on through the website as well as my beauty profile. 

If you want to see what else I have gotten this year with my GB’s, you totally can! January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August!

            I think I will leave this here because it’s long winded and kind of dumb but this is the capacity that I have today for a post. My fabfitfun post will be up soon and that one promises to be an adventure, it is just a lot and it’s not a great thing. 

            I hope that the beginning of the week goes by well for everyone, I hope that every stays happy, healthy, and safe and I will be back on Sunday with another post. 

            -MJ 

September 2021 IPSY Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            How are we already this far into September? I cannot believe that we are already over a month into school. That is just so hard for me to wrap my head around. Seriously, now if only it would feel like it was later September and not still in the high 80’s at all times; that would be great. I am ready for more fall weather, I miss sweaters and I will not miss sweating. 

            So I got this bag in the mail a few days ago and I will say this, I didn’t feel like I had that many choices when I was doing my personalization. I had the standard number but I didn’t feel like I had any variety when it came to the content of the choices. I like variety and I love some of the brands that I get as samples but never see them as full sized. Seriously, if they just put out a list that said ‘pick three’ from all of the options for the month I would absolutely jump on that more than picking from four things and hoping that I like it because it was the most appealing even when I am not a huge fan of the choices. They have been doing this ultra-personalization for over a year now and I feel like they are getting to know me less and less because the options are just kind of blah sometimes. 

            I needed to get that out there because it’s just been something on my mind for the last several months and I feel like I haven’t brought it up in a while. I know that I am probably in the minority of people who have any adverse feelings about this but it’s how I feel and I can and am allowed to express my opinions on my own blog. 

So let’s get into the actual bag though: 

The Bag:

             I love this bag, it’s very school and for sure makes me think of Clueless, I have honestly never seen the movie it’s iconic enough that it’s one of those movies that makes sense to relate to it. I grew up on Mean Girls so there’s that. (I didn’t see that one until college and my sorority sisters were appalled that I had never seen it, so we watched it.) This bag though is for sure going down in my list of favorites for the GB+. It’s plaid, who doesn’t love a good plaid in the fall. I know I for sure do.

The Products: 

Aceology Overnight Lip Mask:

            I am not a huge fan of lip masks, usually they don’t feel like they do anything for me, but I have been wearing more lipstick and lip gloss as of recently so maybe having a new lip mask to try is going to be a good thing or my overnight beauty routine. It’s got a bunch of really good oils in it and I love anything with macadamia nut oil in it so here is hoping that I really like this product when I get a chance to try it, which might be the night I am writing this. 

Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel:

            If it is not clear already, I am a huge Murad fan. I have been using various products from the brand since like the summer of 2018 and I have never had one of them that isn’t amazing. During the summer I love a good gel moisturizer and there are even some nights in my beauty routine that I do a double moisturizer and usually the gel goes below the cream. That might not be the right order or even a good idea but sometimes my skin needs all the moisture it can get. I am not a super hydrated human. It’s non-comedogenic and that’s always the best because it won’t clog my pores and that’s pretty much all I need in life; not to clog my pores more than they already are. 

East 29th Vital Serum:

            I have been getting into serums in about the last year and I have been loving every single one. This one is clean beauty at IPSY and at this point I think that a lot of brands, if possible, will be shifting over to clean beauty. I know that clean beauty usually doesn’t affect my skin as much as others. It has a lot of good things in it and I am so excited to finish the serum I am currently using so I get to be one step closer to using this one. 

Mischo Beauty Sheer Lip Shine + Lip Balm in Ijama: 

            I had the choice for two lip products on this one and this was the one that matched my color palette more for fall so this was the one that I went with. I also really like sheer lip products sometimes if I want the benefits of having something on my lips but don’t want to deal with full coverage lipstick. I am so excited to use this and I plan on making it my staple color this fall. At this point why not, I started wearing highlighter again and lip products for reasons that I am not going to discuss, but here we are. 

Vegan by Happy Skin Original Skin Essence Toner: 

            I used to use toner when I was a teenager and it was whatever I got at Wal-Mart or Target and I couldn’t use it because it physically hurt. I started using toner again a little over a year ago and I have found that I can use it, just not the ones that you can get at chain stores. I mean that shouldn’t be shocking, I can’t use a lot of drugstore products on my face. My face will get almost immediately irritated. It’s vegan which is always a win in my book and it has aloe vera in it, which is amazing. I am so excited to gt to using this one. I am still using another one but this will be my next toner. I can’t put toner on every day, I will regret it so it’s every other day at most otherwise my entire face just gets tight and I don’t like it.

            Well I think that’s all I need to say about my GB+ this month, I am looking forward to seeing what they think I want next month. Here’s my thing, the more skin care I review the more they think that I want, but when that is the only thing I am being offered it’s not like I have a choice. It’s like getting stuck in a weird algorithm and I am not sure how to get out of it. 

            If you want to see what else I have gotten this year, you can! Just click on the month, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.

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

            -MJ 

A Fun Hangable Fall DIY

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            So I decided to make a more seasonally appropriate wreath for my office door after running into my rose wreath since last spring. I love my more simplistic rose wreath but this one, this one is immense. I wanted something more substantial this time and so that’s exactly what I did. I made it much more substantial.

            I also made the wreath at my parent’s house and that meant that I had to transport it from their house back to my apartment. Which was an adventure to say the least because the drive from my parents place to mine is very curvy and hilly. It made it safely though and I hung it up already. 

Materials: 

            Flowers of your choice (pick colors or flowers that will look cool together, just walk around the fake flower aisles holding all of them, it’s fun.)

            Floral hoop (can be any metal or size, mine are 14”  and from Amazon, but you can do bigger or smaller depending on your space and desired use)

            Floral wire (I stole mine from my mom, but you can buy it at pretty much any craft store)

            Pilers (just in general, own pliers) 

            Time (this took me probably 30 minutes to do so give yourself some time, listen to a podcast or some music and hang out.)

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

This is going to be super similar to my last wreath post because it is roughly the same thing. I did learn some things from the original post so I will be passing that information on here. 

  • As always gather up all your materials, I had the hoops left over from last time and I bought the flowers at Hobby Lobby, I would have bought them at Michaels but Michaels is an hour away and I can’t go up as often as I would like to. 
  • Snip all of the flowers with the snippy bit inside of the pliers, I don’t know if it has a proper name but that’s what I call it. I started out with three pieces from each of my bunches and pulled out more as needed.
  • Unlike the last time I did this project, I didn’t’ strip the plastic off this time, I just wrapped and bent the stems as needed, I didn’t want to go through the process of stripping the plastic off this time because I don’t really think it helped make the process any easier the last time that I did it. So I skipped that step and just rolled with it. 
  • I spent a lot of time checking and wrapping floral wire because I wanted more on this one than the last one and like the last one I didn’t take any pictures of the wire situation while doing it, the only picture of the wire situation that I have is from when it was already hung up and after I actually wrote this paragraph. 
  • When you are happy with it, stop. I really do mean this. Stop when you are happy with it. When you think it’s done, it’s done. I made my last one a little minimalist and this one was much more involved. I love this one, it feels so fall even though it’s still like 95 degrees outside. (when I am writing this at the end of August, it’ll probably be in the 80’s by the time that this post actually comes out.) 
  • Hang it up and admire your handywork, I love this wreath and it already looks so cool on my office door. It might move but I am now used to having a large wreath on the door so probably not because if I put it anywhere else I will just spend time running into it and I would prefer not to. 

It’s really not a difficult thing to do. I might do something with ornaments for Christmas, but I really don’t know yet. You can buy stuff like this at craft stores but I like having the freedom to make my own thing because I know that something like this would have been like $50+ at a craft store. I made it for something like $20 at most. I bought the flowers on sale, that’s my tip, buy the flowers on sale. 

Well I think that’s enough for me as this is kind of a rehash of an earlier post, it’s my blog I can do what I want. Also this one is a lot more involved flower wise then the last one. It’s a lot bigger and more fun. 

I will be back with another post soon so until then I hope that every says safe, happy, and healthy. 

-MJ

Bullet Journal Comparison #2: Book Trackers

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-MJ

What was in My August 2021 IPSY Glam Bag?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Busy week for me but I am writing this ahead of time because I wasn’t really sure when this package was going to show up. The USPS is great most of the time but when your packages travel through more than one delivery service things can get a little dicey and that always worries me. Also what worried me about this package was the fact that the guy delivering the mail to my apartment complex yesterday left all of the boxes open and left for a while. I don’t think that’s safe.

            But beyond that, I know I should not start a sentence with but, but here we are. Y’all I write for fun and I am a straight up teacher, I am a licensed educator and sometimes my grammar is a hot mess. I blame texting, I also blame social media for the loss of the ability to write properly, but here I am butchering the English language anyway, for fun. 

            That was not what this post was about, that I can promise you. I really cam promise that because the title of this has no bearing on my destruction of written English, whoops me bad. This post is about my Glam Bag this month, and it’s a pretty good one. This post is probably not going to be super long because I am having an allergy reaction in my right eye at the moment so I feel like I am being stabbed. It happened last August too and it’s just super weird. 

The Bag:

            I love a good little fold over moment and it’s alligator print is super cute. I like that it’s tan with that bright green interior like the GB+ this month, I like a contract when it comes to inner and outer colors. The snap on mine is a little stiff, but I think part of that was because the material on the outside got so hot that it just wasn’t stiff enough to manage having it open and close properly. Now that it’s sitting in my apartment hopefully opening and closing it will be a lot easier now. 

The Products: 

111Skin Nocturnal Eclipse Recovery Cream: 

            111Skin is one of those brands that I get super excited about because I love them and they are so expensive I can feel my debit card quaking in my wallet. Like a full size of this one is $280 and that is just insane. Their products are really good though, but way too much for me to spend money on unless I get them in a box. I need a good night cream and I am hoping not to fall in love with this one because then I will have to purchase it and I just can’t do that. 

FARAH Concealer Brush 10 F Rose Gold:

            Who doesn’t love a brush, however I don’t think I have actually ever used a brush for concealer. I use the applicator from the concealer container and then a beauty sponge. Most of the time when I get a concealer brush it ends up being that I use it for eyeshadow because most of the time, a brush is a brush. The brush itself is soft and I love a good soft brush.

Feel Beauty Daily Hemp Oil Facial Cleanser:

            I actually just ran out of travel sized facial cleansers so that’s fortunate that I got one in this bag. According to the highlight ingredients it has anti-inflammatory properties and that is always exciting to see. Most cleansers I have gotten from IPSY don’t seem to effect my skin so I hoping that his product continues that trend. 

Marc Anthony Super Fast Strength Leave-In Conditioner: 

            I picked this one, I don’t do a lot with my hair. I wash it and condition it, sometimes I use a leave in conditioner as well and I figured why not give this one a try as well. I love a good leave in conditioner because then I can get an extra layer of protection on my hair from everything else I put it through. By that I mean throwing it up in a bun and rolling with it because while I know I shouldn’t sleep with my hair up in a bun, I do it every night. 

PÜR On Point Mascara with Hemp:

            Lots of hemp products this month which is interesting. I like hemp products, usually they are super moisturizing and I really like them. This is one of those mascaras that claim that it can do a whole bunch of things and I am hoping that it lives up to the hype. Pür mascaras are either really great or not so great and there is no in between. I am just hoping that this is one of the really good ones. I use so many different mascaras that at this point I can barely remember their brands anymore. I still love a good mascara though.

            So that’s my Glam Bag this month. It might get posted for tomorrow or it might get posted next week, I don’t know yet, I really don’t know at this exact moment. I know that I should know my schedule but this package came earlier than expected and that means now I have a few posts finished and ready to post. 

If you want to check out what else I’ve gotten this year in my Glam Bags, you can! January, February, March, April, May, June, and July.

            So whenever this post comes out I hope that everyone has a good few days until the next one, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy and I will be back with another post soon. 

            -MJ 

Writing Binders

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I have been writing long form fiction for about a decade now and that is crazy for me to think about. I have 13 almost 14 finished projects, (it hopefully will be 14 within the month) a few current projects, and like 15 future projects. My brain is full of ideas and it never stops. I cannot write fast enough to keep up with the ideas in my brain…ever and that’s hard. 

            This is going to be a long post so if you are planning on reading the whole thing go get a coffee or a tea and a snack. Buckle in. 

            I have used so many methods of actually keeping all of my stuff organized. I have tried notebooks, outlined on sticky notes, just hung current projects on a cork board, and finally binders came into my life because they keep everything organized. 

            Now I have two kinds of binders, specific story binders with the deep dive information that I think I might need, (I do a lot of research online so the binders are pretty empty) but having a binder keeps things as organized as I can while I am working on a project. My other kind of binder is my general projects binder that is a snapshot of everything I have finished, am currently working on, and have already figured out for the future. 

            I don’t share my writing because I fear people stealing my work, I know I need to share it to get feedback for publishing, but I am still scared to. I have sent things to people in the past and they have “skimmed” my work, I want you to read it to give me feedback, I don’t want you to skim it, skimming it doesn’t help me. 

            Let’s go over what a normal story based binder looks like. I will not be showing my outlines because these projects, until they are ready to hit a bookstore are still my babies, they all take pieces of me and I don’t want anything to happen to them.

            Here’s the thing about the story binders, I have been using my general binders a lot more lately because I have been working on different projects that aren’t actually in the binders. The last book I wrote where the binder was super helpful was one I finished at the end of last year that I started writing in 2017. Inspiration struck last fall and wrote like a bunch in two months and finished it. 

            The binder I am using in this example is a series, there are going to be seven books in it that comprise four separate groups that overlap in each of their own books. Started out as one group with a planned three books, then I got an idea for something else which has two, and the other two groups only have one and all four stories culminate and end at the same event so that’s fun. It’s ambitious for me, this was my first “series”, I normally am a stand-alone person but roll with me.

            Most of my binders are set up the same way. Five tab dividers are my best friends! 

            Characters: This is where I have a major characters sheet, sometimes I do a deep dive and have full character sheets that I constantly ignore throughout the process of writing the book. I know a lot about my characters, they all live in my brain, but I want them to form organically even for me. 

            Outlines: I have done outlines so different over the years, stick notes, notebook, and finally a types “idea sheet” I don’t really outline. My first book was outlined by chapter, now I don’t chapter until I am done writing it because I don’t want to put myself in a box. I call them “idea sheets” now because I don’t want to see the outline as set in stone. I have put things in outlines and then completely scrapped them over the years and that’s okay. Find something when you are writing that works for you. I type everything so I have a digital copy and a hard copy because that’s what works for my brain. (You don’t want to know how many folders I have to go into to find anything on my laptop, but everything is incredibly organized!)

            World Info: This is more for anything that I am writing that isn’t realistic fiction, in the book I finished last winter this was where I had the town square, the items for sale in the shop that my main character’s family owned, and several other pieces of world info that I needed because I made up the town. I also have used world building sheets from E.A. Deverell to help me plan things out and have an idea or an expansion on my ideas.

            Misc Research: It is exactly what it sounds like, any research that I do that I want to be able to reference as I am writing the book, things that I will need repetitively as I work. This section is underutilized in my work and I know that because I will Google something and then have to Google it again because I didn’t write it down. I also use the comments feature in Word because then I have a record of questions that I have for myself as I go and can reference later. 

            Visual Ideas: Character mood boards, character sketches, misc. world sketches, house layouts, anything that I will visually need to reference while I am working. For one of my series I have a map that is a 500 miles radius from Nashville, and that is a visual idea I need for that series. 

            Now we move on to the general binders. They are set up similarly to the story binders but the content is easier to carry around. I have three one inch binders that make up most of my canon of work in short form. I started out with one, my Current projects binder, I then created the future projects binder when my ideas started to grow and grow for future projects, and finally very recently I created the past projects binder for use when I am doing revisions. The tabs in all binders are different so we will go through each. I will start with the Past Projects binder.

            Past Projects: All of the binders I have decorated like I am back in high school and I am still using one of those ugly day planners that the school gave us that I covered every year because I didn’t like them. At the front of each of these binders there is random information and stuff, in this one it’s my chapter break down for revisions and also my original word total and my current draft word total.

can you tell I’ve been revising?

            I did co-op these tabs from another story binder because I cannot find cute tabs anywhere right now, when I do the other binder will get it’s tabs back and I will have more appropriate tabs for past projects. So what’s in here at the moment?

            Not much, this is still a work in progress binder, until a few days ago it only had the revision stuff in it and then I printed a bunch of character sheets and outlines. I know I want to have more stuff in here, I’m just not sure what because these are all finished projects. That probably should have been the title but I liked Past, Current, and Future Projects when referring to them. This binder is where I have come from with my writing and I think I’ve come pretty far since I started. 

            Current projects: This is everything that I am actively working on, I mean some of the things in my Future Binder I am currently toying with but these are projects that I am already in and have been writing for some time. This one is much more fleshed out than my Past Projects Binder, it’s decorated as well because I am one of those people. If I need to take a binder with me, it’s this one because it’s what I’m in the process of finishing. 

            Birthdays: Yes I have a calendar that is all of my characters birthday’s, are they super important for the story? Not really, but I still like to know them in case I have to go back and write something in something that I am revising. 

            Extra Layouts: I have moved this over to my Future Projects binder so I need to have something else to put here, it’ll probably just be layouts that are in current novels I am working on. 

            Outlines: Self-explanatory I think, it’s the outlines and idea sheets for everything I am currently working on. That’s one reason why this binder is important, it has all the information I need in a slim binder as I hop between projects, which I do a lot. I always have 4-6 works in progress at any time. At the moment I think I have six or seven, maybe more that I am kind of actively working on. I am trying to get one draft finished that I started in 2019 and just want to get it done because I have another draft that I started in like 2017 and I am still working on that one. I am excited for it and I know exactly where it’s going but I am in a slump on that one. Now that fall is upon us I am hoping to get back into it. 

            Characters: Also self-explanatory, it’s all the major characters for my current active projects. I have more in here than actual current projects because some stuff has been left in here for future projects that are in a series. Those are kind of in limbo projects, they don’t really have a good home so some are in the future projects some are in current projects. 

            There is no fifth tab in this one, it’s empty, I should probably have visuals here because I might move away from the “story binders” here eventually, but who knows. 

            Future Projects: Last binder I promise. This one I came up with when I had a bunch of projects in my Current Projects binder that didn’t need to be there. I am always coming up with new ideas for fictional works and it’s a little annoying. Early in my writing I feared running out of ideas and now I have 15 future projects some I haven’t even started yet and that’s insane to me. The dream is to write full time, but that’s just a dream at the moment. This is my most full binder of all three and that’s a good thing and a terrible thing at the same time.

            Misc Info: This is where I keep a list of all my future projects, if I have even started them, if they are sequels or a series, if I have not started them at all, or if I am not sure if that project is viable at the moment. They may become viable in the future but they are up in the air for the moment. 

            Layouts: I moved my extra layouts here, I love house plans and I have so many saved on my computer from the internet because I use them as inspiration for characters apartments and homes. It gives me a visual so I don’t say that a house has two bedrooms on the first floor and then later in the book say it’s three. 

            Outlines: I have idea sheets for all of my future projects except for the one that I came up with this morning. Yes, that’s right I had a dream that built on an idea that I was already rolling around in my brain and now it’ll eventually be on the list. A writer really is just a bunch of worlds shoved into a person suit, my brain is a creative, but really loud place. 

            Characters: I love my character lists and we can leave it there, this is a common tab in all of my binders, I don’t need to explain it again.

            Visuals: There isn’t anything in this one, I need to put things in it and eventually I will have to upgrade this binder to a larger one because there is almost too much paper in it now. 

            Anything I write with someone else is all stored in a Google doc because it’s collaborative, I have several of those, but those aren’t for sharing. 

            So there it is, this is a super long post so if you made it this far, kudos and thank you. I appreciate any views of this because writing is deeply personal for me. I know there are a lot of writers out there and I read so much that I know how amazing putting words to paper and having something come out of it is. 

            I have other projects that will never see the light of day, that I will never finish and I am okay with that. I hate unfinished things but some of them were written or starting to be written at different points of my life and I cannot finish those stories as the person that I am currently. Maybe down the road those works will open themselves back up to who I am then. I like being a storyteller, I have always liked telling stories and I hope that never changes.

            I will be back later in the week with a new post, I actually don’t know when this post is going to come out it’s either the end of August or the beginning of September because I am waiting for my August Glam Bag so this was a late addition to my docket and I am glad that I wrote it. 

            So until I see everyone again I hope that every stays happy, healthy, and safe!

            -MJ