Monthly Highlights: February

One week into March [d: maart] and I am finally getting around to my February [d: februari] journal highlights!

As I mentioned earlier, that bright & shiny new year feeling dwindles the further into each year we get. And while that good feeling may have disappeared, we can still find ways to track our goal progress throughout the year.

In reflecting on my multitude of goals for 2019, I think I’m doing ok. I’m certainly not perfect, and some goals may be more prominently focused than others from month to month, but all in all, I am working them all.

Below are some highlights from all three [d: drie] of my journals. Again, I use a combination of daily journaling & bullet journaling to keep track of my life and goals. Under a read more post because this is lengthy due to photos used. Read More »

Monthly Highlights: January

Another blog series on journaling, brought to you by COURTNEY LYNN!

That is how I envision myself introducing this post to you if it was in video format. But alas, I am far too awkward and ramble WAAAY to much to ever consider vlogging. Kudos to all of you who have the patience to do all that work! And for feeling comfortable doing it!

Anyway, I am slowly moving this blogversation (get it, aha? yes, I am FULL of “Mom,” jokes already hah), off topic. Let’s refocus our efforts here, shall we?

I mentioned in another post on journaling that I have monthly pages or things I put into my journal’s to help keep my life organized, help keep me on track with my goals, etc. I figured I would do a few snapshots each month, along with some of my own reflections on what I did well, what I can improve, and see if anyone else out there has suggestions to help me better myself/my journaling experience!

I’ll also include any major progress that has been made (if any), on some of my annual pages. Basically this is a way for me to hold myself accountable, share some of my original creations I am most proud of, and maybe give some of your newbie journalers some inspiration to keep going!

Remember: the mistakes you make, make your journal your own! 😉 Channel some Bob Ross and think, happy little accidents. 

The first page I created while I was on my Christmas break was this cover page for January.

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I really enjoy doing cover pages for my months (and incorporating a little Dutch) as I think it helps kind of section off the different parts of your journal. I was really proud of this idea, because it felt super unique compared to the “standard themes,”  that a lot of people select for their journals.

Next up, is my habit tracker! I have already showed you guys my habit tracker when it was half filled in, but here it is totally done *clears throat awkwardly*.

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As you can see, I started off the year REALLY strong and then my interest in filling it out kind of dwindled. In fact, this tends to happen to me quite a bit with my habit trackers. Most months I create a habit tracker and am like YES I AM A BADASS AND I CAN DO THIS. Then it tapers off, and I totally forget about them. It really is tough to delegate your time appropriately when there is so much you want to accomplish!

Below I will go through my weakest habit areas:

  1. NOVEL WRITING. Like hi, hello, one of my life goals is to become published one day, and I totally forgot that piece of myself in January I guess. Anyway, I already addressed how I would fix this come February, and I really hope that I stick to trading in my reading time for writing/revising time.
  2. Crocheting. Yeah….this is one of those habits that is a struggle to incorporate if I am spending 98% of my time reading. Since I padded my reading goals pretty good in January, I’m thinking I can step it up in the crocheting arena next month.
  3. Working out. I know, I know. I’m not giving up on this one though. It’s just been cold. I was really depressed this month. It was hard. I went more than once, so I am proud of myself for that.
  4. Prayers. This should be like my number one concern. I need to get better at this. I want to be more spiritual. I need to really just make time. Also, I’m a harsh critique when it comes to this. Because sometimes I see the box isn’t checked and so I say a quick prayer and then I’m like “does that even count?” All that Catholic guilt man. A vicious cycle all around. I will try to start and end my day with God on the mind though. And slow my roll on rolling over and instantly picking up my phone.

If I am being honest. These were the only ones that I had major concerns with. If you know me personally and see this, you know it’s a very big deal for me not to drink everyday anymore. I am really cutting back from the “functioning alcoholic status,” so I am really freaking proud about that.

Really quickly, I mentioned how I also include some traditional elements to my bullet journal. One main element that I make sure I take the time to set up is my monthly spread. This helps me visualize what social events I have going on for the month, important dates, and also what some of my major goals are. It’s basically just a calendar spread that I fill in as the month goes on.

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Alright, now let’s move onto my reading pages. So I won’t go into detail on the individual review pages that I’ve already shared. Also, I feel like I’m losing some steam/motivation to do them. I definitely enjoy doing the quote(s) page, but like beyond that…I think I might go back to typing out reviews on here and inserting a picture here and there for fun. We’ll see.

This is my rolling list that I am keeping in Journal #2, until I run out of space.

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As you can see, I read seven [d: zeven] books in January [d: januari]! And I am so pleased that out of these , five [d: vifj] were female writers and two [d: twee] were from my diverse female writers list. Now I recognize I still have more work to go as far as reading more diversely. But this is already better than my stats from last year. Seriously I read one non-white female! I couldn’t believe it. This year things are changing already. 🙂

I also have decided that instead of weighing myself weekly (because it fluctuates so much if we’re being honest), I am going to do so monthly. So here is my progress on both the exercise tracker AND the weight loss tracker.

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As you can see I am halfway down with my gym exercise tracker. I haven’t even touched the non gym going one yet, but I really need to give that one a shot. My goal is to complete 14 at home work outs and the rest of my gym exercise tracker for the month of February [d: februari]. And I am down a few pounds, so that is good [d: dat is goed]! Only four more pounds before I will “splurge,” on a new, fancy water bottle. 🙂 All in all, for how cold the month’s been, I am proud of myself for at least setting foot in the gym a handful of times.

And finally, I want to include some of my favorite daily pages. I have blurred some personal content, but otherwise, I hope you still enjoy these pages!

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That tape matched perfectly with a photo I found on Pinterest. Seriously it was a total, happy accident!
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Mostly shared this one for the centered quote on page two! I think it’s so important!

^^ Was trying to be a little artsy. The first page was a prompt from journalingyourway. And the next two were basically me fangirling about the “live,” version of Rent on FOX.

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Lastly, I was just excited about this spread overall! And it was a great night to definitely remember! Pens won!

So that was everything in Journals #2 and #3. Let’s talk about Journal #1 aka my Language Learning Journal. So progress has been made on the 365 words in Dutch pages. I now have two pages of words completed! I’ve shown you the first one completed, so now I’ll show you the next page with the overflow as it wasn’t exactly two full pages, but slightly more! 🙂

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Out of the thirty-one [d: eenendertig] words [d: woorden], there are only about ten [d: tien] I don’t know. I am going to include reviewing them (and eventual conjugation of the verbs), in my daily Dutch lessons. Which I will alternate with French in February. 

So all in all, I think I did ok. There’s always room to grow and improve, but I am fairly satisfied that I stuck with journaling for a full month now!

Anyone else out there proud of certain designs/spreads? How is everyone’s habit tracking & goal setting going this year? I want to hear it all!

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The Long Term Goal Conversation

Now that we’ve all gotten those resolutions for the year off our chest and January is nearly gone, let’s talk about what comes next.

Like so many people out there, I am complicated. My hobbies are multi-faceted, and it can be a real challenge to prioritize accomplishments. I want to get so much out of this single life I have, how can I make my dreams into more of a reality?

Most of us will undoubtedly lose that spark of enthusiasm that jetted us off into 2019. The mantras containing “new year, new you,” will be forgotten for another 348 days. So how do we keep ourselves moving towards our goals? I’m sure there are many ways to motivate yourself. And everyone will find that their ways of motivating themselves is different. But for me, I find that keeping my long term goals alive, involves my journals.

Shocked? I know right? I have talked about my journal experience more in 2019 than I have since I began my journey with it two years ago. But I swear, writing things down really helps me visualize where I am going/what I need to do in order to get to a specific endpoint. 

And yes, you read that correctly. I have more than one journal that I use for achieving my goals. A little crazy? Maybe. But I promise you it will make sense once I explain it a bit more to you.

So in order to prepare my journals for 2019, I did an overall goals page. I split up everything I wanted to achieve into six major categories. Here they are below:

  1. Creative Goals (includes craft projects also)
  2. Health & Fitness Goals
  3. Financial Goals
  4. Marriage Goals
  5. Spiritual Goals
  6. Language Learning Goals

I won’t share all the information or details on two of the six goal areas since they contain private information, but I will at least give you the basics and my tips for tracking my progress for the rest (once I figure it all out). It is a LONG post, so I placed them beneath the cut for your convenience.  Read More »

Is 2019 your year to journal?

Last year, there was a lot of creation and transformation that went on behind the scenes with my bullet journal. I featured some things, but definitely held a lot back. And I think a lot of that had to do with me wanting to find my particular style of bullet journaling.

In fact, I still haven’t found my exact style. And I think that’s ok. I think we’re always evolving and changing as humans, and therefore, our styles likely change as we do. But for now I feel like I am in a place of contentment with my bullet journaling system, and I want to share a little bit of my experience with all of you.

About two years ago, I kept seeing gorgeous planners all over my social media. And I thought I could totally do that. 

So I bought a journal and a sh*t ton of supplies and was so pumped to begin my journey into bullet journaling. I set up my index, my future log, my first monthly spread, and the start of my first weekly spread. I was feeling pretty good. Then I realized about four hours had gone by. My initial enthusiasm slowly began to deflate.

A friend told me I would get better at it. That it would become easier. But as time went on and as I persisted, the traditional system of bullet journaling felt too cumbersome to me.

I would spend hours on pages that I never had a use for. I would lose motivation on certain projects because I had no end goal in sight. This whole hobby (that I thoughtlessly spent a ton of money on products for) kind of blew up in my face.

But the feeling of failure was only temporarily. From this learning experience spawned a new one: mastering the art of bullet journaling in a way that worked for me!

Everyone is different, and therefore, everyone’s journal will look different. What works for me, might not work for you. But below are some tips that I wish I would have read about before I began my journey into journaling.

  1. It is OK to make mistakes. I have seen this one before. But I didn’t believe it or embrace it until recently. Seriously your mistakes are what will help you to grow. They allow you to develop your own style. And they are what makes your first journal special. I look back fondly at my first one I did and I think: I had A LOT of good ideas, but I didn’t execute them just right. Truthfully, you might even become inspired again if you can see your past work with your journal. And if you’re someone like me who wants to tear out a cringe worthy page or gets anxiety when things aren’t just right, here are a few additional tips:
    • Walk away from the journal for some time and come back once your stress levels are down. This actually happened to me recently and when I returned to the journal I was like “Oh, this looked far worse in my mind than it does in reality.” I kept the page and it ended up developing into something I liked.
    • Purchase some Washi Tape and/or white out. Both of these work out fine for covering any minor mistakes like spelling errors or if you want to rephrase something or redraw something. And the Washi tape comes in so many colors and patterns that it really can only enhance your page.
    • I have also seen other journal-ers black out their mistakes with a black pen and then write over it in white gel pen. This is a brilliant way to fix minor errors with text, in my opinion!
  2. Start with the traditional system, but do not be afraid to deviate from it and make it your own. As I mentioned before, one of my major struggles with the traditional bullet journal system is that it is time consuming to maintain. And if you’re someone like me who likes to experiment with pens and markers, and doodle and create themes for every section, it really eats up your time. I recommend starting with the traditional bullet journal system [x], but also not being afraid to mold your journal into something that works best for you. I keep a mix of traditional bullet journal elements, but also kind of do my own thing. 🙂
  3. Ease into purchasing supplies. I think another thing with journaling is that you can easily become so overwhelmed. There are millions of options when selecting a journal, pens, styles, etc. to establish. Buy one journal and tell yourself you are going to fill it to its entirety, mistakes and all. Then select 1-2 styles of pens and maybe buy a few rolls of Washi tape to start. You don’t need to have a million supplies to create something beautiful or “Instagram,” worthy. Simplicity is also lovely and it doesn’t break the bank. (<–Words of someone who wishes she would have heard this advice two years ago, hah). Plus, you might end up wasting pens or markers you aren’t thrilled with if you overspend initially.
  4. Don’t play the Instagram comparison game. We all do it, but try not to let this get you down. Unless you are a born or classically trained artist, NO ONE starts out bullet journaling with gorgeous pages that get 1,000+ likes. It doesn’t happen like that. Instead of thinking (like I have): Gosh I’ll never have pages that look like that. Use Instagram as a spring board for inspiration. There are so many talented journal-ers out there that give me inspiration when I feel my creative juices are low. You can also use some aspects of their work as a way to practice. I wouldn’t recommend copying pages 100%, but there’s nothing wrong with allowing it to inspire your journaling experience.
  5. Do it with a buddy (if you can). If you’re someone like me who’s a little bit more self-conscious about certain things, find a friend you can share your pages with. And if you don’t have one, HI! HELLO MY NAME IS COURTNEY LYNN AND I’LL GLADLY BE YOUR FRIEND! *waves* I have a go to bud (take a guess who if you read my blog pretty regularly ;)), whom I recently started doing dailies with. Its an exciting part of the experience to get to show her my daily entries and to also see hers. So if you want a friend to do something like this with, I’ll gladly be your girl! Or if you aren’t a fan of mine, you should check out journalingyourway. They do monthly drawing based prompts for journals and its always fun to see what everyone comes up with. Or if you just need a source for further inspiration, look no further!

Again, there are no hard or fast rules whenever you begin journaling. But one thing you should always remember when you begin is that it is a process and your skills will evolve over time. Don’t become easily discouraged with it, especially if it helps keep you organized and/or calm. And also know you have a journal buddy in me, if you need a little extra encouragement. 🙂

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Coming up next in the journaling portion of this blog: My journal goals of 2019!

 

Best Friend Book Club Update!

(feat. Emma & Lynn)

As some of you know, my bookish (and Belgian) best friend Emma and myself began a little book club of our own to stay in touch in spite of the thousands of miles of ocean and six hour time zone between us. Last year, we started with The Fiery Cross from the Outlander series (side note: Emma spent the entire previous summer reading books 2-4. Seriously, I have no idea how she read all those pages to be honest, 1 of these books easily takes me two months). Then we moved onto The Book Thief to quench our thirst for a historical fiction. And we just finished up the next book in the Outlander Series: A Breath of Snow & Ashes.

10965I have to say, A Breath of Snow & Ashes is probably my favorite Outlander book since the third installment, Voyager. It was jammed packed with action and adventure, along with the usual familial drama that descends upon Fraser’s Ridge. I gave it a solid 4 star rating.

As long as it was, I didn’t often feel like it dragged on and on for decades of my life.

*cough*The Fiery Cross*coughcough* I’m looking at you *coughcough*.

Sure, sometimes I feel like some of themes and tropes utilized are a bit repetitive from time to time. I believe I wallowed, “Another abduction?” at Emma with an eye roll emoji. But for the most part, DG (our nickname Diana Gabaldon) does everything for a reason.

As Emma says, if someone doesn’t die in front of your eyes while reading, they will come back sooner or later. Which is good because I am all about a story with purpose in it.

Anyway, as featured in my Booktubeathon Results post, I shared summary pages from my bullet journal of the different books I read.

This one is a little different because it is apart of the best friend book club reading series. In this one, I decided to include some quotes that Emma and I shared with one another as we read on. I really thought this was a cute idea to commemorate this experience and to set these books apart from the other ones we might be reading. So I thought it made sense to share this with you all, since this is a key component to my blogging experience. Please be advised that some of the language might be strong (I probably gave her my terrible swearing habit), so if that is something that offends you feel free to look away.

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Also, I feel like it is some kind of unwritten rule of bullet journaling that washi tape will somehow save all the mistakes you make. But hey, this one actually fit the cover the title so I thought why not take advantage of that?

Our third read for the best friend book club was a success (but honestly I wouldn’t expect anything less from us)! Usually we decide to break between Outlander books because they are so cumbersome and time consuming. But due to the nature of how A Breath of Snow and Ashes ends, we’ve decided to jump right into book seven, An Echo in the Bone.

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Emma’s beautiful cover is featured here because mine is just a plain, boring lime green one. Let’s just take a minute to appreciate the gorgeous cover above.

As far as other reads this month, I’m not entirely sure I will get to them. I go on vacation starting Friday, so I might just want to take it a bit easy and continue on with this one. But I promised my Mum I would give her my copy of Crazy Rich Asians to read on the beach, so that one might also get read. I also planned to bring along my BOTM pick: Goodbye, Paris. We shall see what happens, but for now I am content with starting my fourth best friend book club read!

What is everyone else out there reading? Any other Outlander fans? Let’s connect! Emma and I love fangirling with new people! 

Until next time bookworms!

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Bullet Journal Update & Review of The Secret Garden!

Another book finished this week, wow! Who am I, and where is the Lynn who hardly has time for reading & this blog?!

Anyway, I am really excited about this book because it was my first ever Throwback Thursday: Classic Edition, book I finished! So yay!

I am also really excited about this post because I have kind of made some updates to how I’m displaying my books read in my bullet journal. And so I wanted to take a minute to show you all what I’ve done before jumping into my review of The Secret Garden.

So a couple of months ago, I shared how I would be tracking my reading progress for the year with you in this post. But since then, I kind of changed my thought process on how I would keep track of EVERYTHING I was doing. So I ended up enhancing my “Books of 2018,” page a little bit. And voila!

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As you can see I have also included the Amazon logo, to keep track of my Amazon reviews I do. This also helps with points for the BeatTheBacklist Challenge.

And then I took it one step further, and merged my featured quotes page along with my current reads page.

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So I might alternate between providing my favorite quote here in written form, or in some kind of fashion in my BuJo. I haven’t really decided on a set format at this point in time. I think I will just kind of go with the flow with this like I have done so, so far.

And yes, I know these are two very minor things. But I wanted to share them with you, especially those of you who are interested in BuJo related content. 🙂

And now, onto the review. Not really spoilerish, but placing beneath a cut for length sake.

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Bookish BuJo Pages

I write this post with severely mixed emotions. On one hand, I want to be ecstatic and share with you all some exciting new pages in my bullet journal, and a little reading challenge I am doing with my best friend. And on the other hand, my family received some tragic news a couple of days ago.

My youngest cousin passed away this week. He was 18 years old. Because I want to respect his immediate family’s grieving process and their privacy, I won’t post too many specific details, but I wanted to just inform anyone reading this, in case you are able to sense that my tone isn’t as upbeat as it generally is.

If you believe in prayers, please send them our way. His family has suffered in a similar capacity before, and they are most likely going through absolute hell right now. I must admit, I am a bit nervous about going to the funeral early next week, but I know it has to be done. So any prayers, good vibes, or words of encouragement you can send to me either here or through Twitter PM, will really help lift me up.

But if you don’t want to, that’s cool too. Grief is a touchy, tricky subject, so I completely understand if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. Just think positive thoughts for all of us.

Anyway, I will now clumsily segue into the bookish part of this post.

Over the last week, I’ve been working on some new pages in my bullet journal (or, ‘BuJo,’ as it is affectionately referred to) that I thought I could occasionally feature on this blog. I already track my daily tasks, big picture life events, goals, daily scripture passages, my water intake, marathon training, writing projects, etc. Basically everything that comprises my life. Minus anything to do with this blog, and/or books.

So I thought that I needed to change that. Please excuse the crudity of my drawings and my typography. Another thing I added to the journal was practice for both. But I hope with time, patience, and some assistance from step by step tutorials, I will become better at this.

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