Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Tour of my Bullet Journal

I first discovered the concept of 'bullet journaling' sometime earlier last year. I found myself transfixed by the world of immaculate monthly overviews, weekly layouts, habit trackers and goal pages. Whilst impressed, I was initially adamant that I had no time to commit myself to such a practice. Who would put so much effort into constructing a space intended for planning the things you want to do when that time could be better used actually doing the things that need to be done? That was my initial skepticism and I can understand that this may be the case for a lot of people.

Nonetheless, I decided to do a bullet journal trial run over the remaining two months of 2016 in an old notebook. Much to my surprise, that period not only saw me actually stick to journaling for the first time in my life, but I also found it wholly fulfilling. I've never been as organised as I arguably could be. I'm still not. But that period of experimentation had me realise what wasn't working before. I realised that I don't like having a set format, and that's why organisation by way of keeping a store bought journal had never worked before, no matter how pretty those journals may have been. Bullet journaling also fulfilled me because it provided a creative outlet that I didn't otherwise realise I needed. I have always loved to draw and paint, but these days, I find little opportunity to practice artistic activities. Knowing I can set aside a chunk of time to create my layouts for the next month is a prospect I now look forward to, knowing it doesn't necessarily need to take too long. Creating a bullet journal can be as simple as you want it to be. I admittedly put in quite a bit of effort, but I really love the process. There's an element of achievement in thinking that even just creating my layouts contributes to a sense of control over my life even before the goal setting, appointments and 'to-do' lists are penciled in.

I thought I would give a tour of my Bullet Journal as it stands after almost an entire month. I can't wait to see how it evolves over the year.

Year Overview: Admittedly, I barely refer to the year overview, but it's still nice to have there. It was a fun little crafty project constructing those two pages: I cut up an old Kikki K diary for character.
Month Overview and Weekly Layouts: My favourite and most essential pages! They are kind of interchangeable in a way, but I try and leave the month overview as a space to mark important events/meetings/work and my weekly spreads for more detailed to-do lists. It's a bit of a challenge trying to come up with different layout ideas but fun nonetheless! I especially enjoy incorporating motivating quotes and making little doodles to encourage positive vibes. I also prefer to do weekly habit trackers, rather than monthly ones. It seems a little less overwhelming that way, seeing a seven day chart as opposed to a 30 day one! Other essentials for my weekly layout include tasks and goals boxes.
Nice Things and Notes Pages: Kind of like my equivalent to a gratitude page, I thought I would record 'nice things' that happen each day of the month, otherwise it's so easy for a month to go by with no recollection of the highlights. The Notes page is just where I can record things such as newly discovered music, movies I've watched, books I want to read, recipes I want to try...anything at all really. It all gets dumped there!
Food, Water and Medications Log: This page is motivated by my desire to improve my general health but also incorporate some diversity into my meals. There's no element of shame if, on one day, I ate cake as a snack, had fast food for dinner and drank one too many cups of coffee. Rather, it's there to help me make deductions on why I may not have felt good on a particular day, or why I felt amazing on other days. In doing so, I can hopefully encourage myself to a) drink more water and b) make food decisions on what makes me feel the best (and yes, sometimes that includes indulgences on shitty days, once in a while. I don't know a problem that can't be consoled with a chocolate chip cookie or two). The Medications tracker is simply there to remind me to take them.
Blog Ideas and Blog Scheduling: I haven't been using this as much as I intended, but even knowing these pages exist motivates me into blogging more regularly. Let's hope I continue to gain momentum and stick to this system more closely!
Etc.: Aside from the essential pages, I've also left room for keeping track of my reading for 2017, my 2017 Goals and a recipe index. I'm still planing how to execute a comprehensive Medications page (listing my meds, the quantities, alternative names, when I'm running low and in need of prescriptions etc). I've also thought about adding a Travel Bucket-List page, Top Songs of 2017, Top Movies of 2017 etc. But I don't want to over complicate it, so we will see! A section I didn't picture however, for obvious reasons, is my finance pages. I've find a simple layout and system that works for me, helping me to make savings goals and reach them. It's been very rewarding watching my savings grow, even at the times when I feel like I'm making no headway.

 Do you have a Bullet Journal or are you considering starting one? I'd love to read your tips, ideas, apprehensions and opinions on the topic!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Good Vibrations | Artists, Albums and Songs on Repeat

I've been treating myself kindly by letting music back into my life and am finding it one of the most effective ways to shut off from the world when I want a break. I have been listening to so many amazing tunes lately which are giving a much needed boost in motivation, inspiration and general good vibes. In these vibrations, I am rekindling an essential humanity: laughing, crying, singing, dancing and ruminating.

Catfish and the Bottlemen - The Balcony and The Ride
Do you ever discover an artist/band or album and just know, deep down, that you will never grow tired of their songs no matter how many times you play them to death? It's one of those beautiful, rare things that has only happened to me twice before discovering Catfish and the Bottlemen. Every single song on both of their albums is killer and they never fail to make me feel indescribable things. These guys are simply brilliant. They pride themselves on not 'thinking outside the box' but staying inside it and drawing on the fundamentals of rock. Their approach is 'simple', but their delivery is phenomenal. I am absolutely obsessed and cannot wait to one day see them perform live, wherever and whenever that may be.
Favourite Songs: Kathleen, Hourglass, Cocoon, 7, Outside and Twice.

Sing Street Soundtrack
My sister introduced me to the movie Sing Street last week and ever since, I have been playing the soundtrack on repeat. Taking place in 1980s Dublin, Sing Street follows 14 year old Conor and his band, which was initially formed to impress a local girl. The original music is spine tingling good and the kind of stuff that can turn a bad mood into a good one. Much like La La Land, it's inevitable not to aspire to bigger things and feel the burning desire to chase your dreams after watching the film and listening to the soundtrack.
Favourite Songs: Riddle of the Model, Up, Drive It Like You Stole It and Go Now

Blossoms - Blossoms
While I am only just easing into this indie-pop/psychedelic band, I can tell they will be playing on repeat for a long time to come. One of the hooks for me was the fact that their singer Tom Ogden's vocals are strikingly reminiscent of Alex Turner's. Blossoms have me dreaming of days from an elusive yesteryear I never lived through.
Favourite Songs: Charlemagne, Getaway, Texia, Onto Her Bed and Honey Sweet

Father John Misty - I Love You Honeybear
I first listened to I Love You, Honeybear mid last year but for some reason, never bothered to fully explore the entire album. To me, the work of Father John Misty (real name Joshua Tillman) just gets better with each listen. His lyrics are so intricate, so tender yet so mournful. It's hard not to get misty eyed while swaying to this indie-folk/indie-rock singer's vocals. It makes for perfect lazy afternoon listening and brooding.
Favourite Songs: I Love You, Honeybear, When You're Smiling and Astride Me, Holy Shit and Nothing Ever Good Happens At The Goddamn Thirsty Cow. 

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