Category Archives: Planning

Book Challenge: January Wrap-Up 

For #planwithmechallenge Sections and lessons, I decided to try the TUL discbound notebook for my collections. This meant slicing pages out of my Leuchtturm 1917 to put into my TUL. I actually had been on the fence for weeks about it because taking pages out was a scary thought! With my Christmas money, I decided to go for it and I’m so glad I did! Featured here in my TUL is the reading section that contains my Genre Tracker. Lesson learned: You won’t know if you like something until you try! .

For #bookishfriendsJanuary17 Favorite read of January–I can’t decide! I can honestly say I enjoyed each and everyone of these books. From following Demi-gods on a quest to following a young girl who can sense gold to gold rush California, I enjoyed every minute of it! 

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For #squeakybookishlibrary Favorite New Author, he’s not new, but he’s new to me: Joe Abercrombie!

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For #livelaughbooksjanuary and #watermelanerdsjanuary January Wrap-Up–In addition to these novels, I also completed several graphic novels: Ms. Marvel volumes 2 and 3; A Silent Voice (manga); and Through the Woods. For my mini-reviews, please scroll down. ⬇️

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Phew! Six novels and four graphic book collections for January! Is it just me? Or has this month flown by so fast?! What were some of your favorites this month? Did you reach your reading goal?

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My January 2017 Reading Wrap-Up
📚Ms. Marvel Volumes 3 and 4–4.5/5 stars. I really enjoy this series because Kamala is so easy to identify with. Between keeping true to her cultural heritage and living in the Bronx and dealing with her super hero powers, she’s got her hands full but it’s entertaining and poignant at times too. 
📚A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Ooima (manga)–3.5/5 stars. The premise is about a boy Shoya who bullied a deaf female student Shoka in elementary school. Shoka transfers out because the bullying gets out of hand, but then Shoya’s classmates turn on him, putting all the blame on him. Years later, scared from the experience, he enters high school and is a loner and prepares to kill himself. On the day he’s supposed to do it, he encounters Shoka, the girl he bullied in elementary, and tries to make amends for his wrong doing. Overall, I thought the story was compelling and the characters’ emotions were raw from the hurt and betrayal, but I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. It was the type that left it slightly open ended which I’m okay with if it’s done well. I needed a little more reassurance that things would get better and in some ways it looked like it would. These characters went through a lot, so I had hoped for an ending that was a little more definitive. 
📚 Through the Woods by Emily Carroll is a collection of illustrated Gothic short stories. I initially checked this book out for Halloween but finally read it for the New Year. It’s definitely a book perfect for the Halloween season or if you enjoy Gothic stories. The stores are very much like Edgar Alan Poe’s–haunting with a twisted lesson. The illustrations went so well with the stories and were nicely detailed. 5/5 stars
📚Tales from the Shadow Hunter Academy by Cassandra Clare–5/5 stars. I didn’t know if I’d enjoy this collection because Simon Lewis was a good character, but I didn’t think I’d enjoy reading short stories about him. I checked it out if the library as a safe way to read them without commuting to buying it, in case I didn’t enjoy them. I’m so glad I gave these stories a try! I enjoyed not only reading Simon’s journey toward becoming a shadow hunter, but I also enjoyed the backstories of the minor characters from The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices. It was so neat learning about what happened to the characters and also how they were connected to the present characters. My favorites were The White Chapel Fiend, Nothing but Shadows, Born to Endless Night, and Angels Twice Descending. I highly recommend this if you’re a big fan of the shadow hunter series. 
📚Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson– 5/5 stars. Rae Carson is an auto-buy author for me. I loved her series Girl of Fire and Thorns and was thrilled to see she started a new series. It’s so different from her previous one–set in the gold rush era, but still retained a fantasy element. The main character Lee Westfall can sense gold. Lee is from Georgia and after a set of tragic events, she flees to California disguised as a girl, in hopes of finding gold and her best friend Jefferson McCaully. Sounds amazing already, right?! What I also loved about this story was how subtle Rae Carson touched on themes of diversity–mixed race identity and being a freed slave during a post civil war era; what being a confirmed bachelor of that time meant; and the restrictions on women’s roles based on society’s expectations. It’s so skillfully weaved into the story that it’s seamless. Highly recommend it! 
📚The Blade Itself by Joe Ambercrombie– 5/5 stars. I’m new to high/epic fantasy. My point of references are Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, so Joe Ambercrombie was different from what I had read. His writing is a lot more physically descriptive. The opening of the book shows a character falling off a cliff. There’s also a roughness to his characters that become endearing later–Im looking at you San Dan Glokta. I really enjoyed this and my only hang-up was not having the next book when I finished the first! 5/5 stars
📚The Lost Hero: Book 1 of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan–5/5 stars. If you enjoyed the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series, you’ll love this. This was actually a reread with my older boys. It’s had been such a long time since I read it that it was almost new to me. I love the introduction of the new characters Leo, Piper, and Jason. I can’t wait to see how they all come together in the rest of the series. 
📚The Novice by Taran Matharu–4/5 stars. This was a fun fantasy read. The main character Fletcher was likeable and I also like his friends Othello (dwarf) and Syre (elf). The story was a great adventure story and enjoyable. Although I didn’t find any problems with it, I also wasn’t attached to the characters as I usually get. It could be because I had to stop for long periods of time to read it because I was buddy reading it, but I am curious to see how the story turns out, so will probably read the next one. 
📚This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab–5/5 stars. I’m already a big fan of her Darker Shade of Magic series so I was excited to read this one. I loved it so much! It’s an urban fantasy where monsters are real. They come into being through violence and tragedy–a kind of evolution of negative human emotions. Even though this is a YA book, Victoria Schwab still delivers! I loved her characters August Flynn and Kate Harker. I also enjoyed the history behind how the monsters are created–so unique but also cleverly done. I can’t wait until Our Dark Duet comes out this summer! 

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Bullet Journal Layouts: Current Reads Tracker and Genre Tracker

Not quite a wrap-up yet, but a good representation of what I’ve been up to during my absence. (See previous post.) Earlier this month, I moved my collections from my bullet journal in my Leuchtturm 1917 @leuchtturm1917 into my TUL disc bound junior notebook and I LOVE IT. Featured here in my disc bound notebook is my genre tracker and in my LT197 is my current reads tracker..

The genre tracker doubles as a monthly record of books that I’ve read and also helps me be more mindful of the books I choose to read. As a writer, I firmly believe to get better at writing, you have to read, but I want to also read outside my preferred genre too. I used this last year and I’m continuing to use it this year. I can’t say that I’ve gotten better at reading with more breadth, but I’m trying!

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My current reads tracker helps me reach my monthly reading goals. I set a goal to read 50 books this year. Each month I try to read at least 4 books and I try to read for 20 minutes each day. This worked out for me really well last year and I surpassed my reading goal of 24 books and read 70! This year, I’m adding another goal to read one book outside my preferred genre (which is YA Anything). This month’s selection is All the Light We Cannot See (Literary/Historical Fiction). 

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So far, pictured here, I’ve finished Walk on Earth a Stranger and The Blade Itself. I’ll post more about them in my wrap-up post later, but I really enjoyed both. I’m currently reading Lady Midnight and The Sun is Also a Star too. 

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Thank you again to everyone who commented or messaged me in my last post. I’m so lucky to have found this community. I had been caught up with family stuff and was unable to post for a while. I missed everyone, but it didn’t occur to me that I would be missed! Hahaha. Anyway, thank you again for caring. I appreciate it so much.

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What have you been reading? Anyone else keep a reading journal? 

Planner Challenge: Planner Peace 

Let’s talk about planner peace! Every planner addict always seeks planner peace–the perfect planning system that encompasses all planning needs. Is there really such a thing? I don’t think so. The reason why I enjoy planning so much because it’s always fluid. There’s always a way to adjust and tinker your planning needs. I actually like this aspect of planning. I do believe that it’s possible to find a system that can work well for you and right now, it’s bullet journaling for me!.

This prompt came in such a timely manner too. I braved Michael’s today to pick up some gifts. They were also having a major planner sale! (Sidenote: Michael’s has really upped their planner game! SO many cute planner stickers and sticky notes! I barely escaped it all!) I was thinking of picking up a mini-Happy Planner and was very close to getting one (it was only $8), but I kept thinking about how I’d use it and kept making adjustments in my head so that it’s like what I do now. That’s when I realized I didn’t need it. That’s right! I didn’t buy it! I’m pretty proud of myself.💪🏽👏🏽🙌🏽 I really like my graph notebooks and the freedom to create the layout I need. It was hard turning away from the pretty covers and printed pages, but I’m also inspired to try new things for next year in my bullet journal. 

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But, I didn’t escape the washi tape! I don’t think I ever will! 😊😆

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Featured here are my main planning systems: my Foxy Fix @thefoxyfix Traveler’s Notebook for my real life mommy planning; my Leuchtturm 1917 @leuchtturm1917 for my reading and writing life; and my Midori MD notebook for personal reflection. 

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How are you all doing? I can’t believe Christmas is this weekend! I finished my Christmas shopping today (yay). Now I’ve just got to finish wrapping all the gifts (meh). I’ve got some food prepping to do too. It’s been raining here so no new pictures again. 😩 

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#planwithmechallenge Planner Peace

Bullet Journal Challenge: Holiday Planning 

I can’t believe how fast this month is going by! There’s also so much going on before the end of the year. I’m keeping up as best as I can, but honestly, I wouldn’t be able to remember everything if it wasn’t for my bullet journal! I modified my monthly overview by using the events section to keep track of what food to bring for the holiday parties we’ll be going to next week. I’ll be doing my menu planning this weekend and I’ll add the ingredients to my shopping list for this week. .

I’ve also got other lists (not pictured) of the people I need gifts for and what gifts I’ve already bought. I don’t know about you, but do you ever buy a Christmas gift and then forget who it’s meant for? 😅 Fortunately, it hasn’t happened too often, but since I’m old, I can’t really rely on memory as much. 😳 

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Are you all ready for the holidays? I still have tons of decorating and wrapping of the presents to do. 🎄🎅🏽🎁 Its raining and it’s Friday. I hope you’re Friday is going well so far!

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For #planwithmechallenge Rapid log, Menu Planning, and Holiday Plans

Bullet Journal Challenge: I love planning because…

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about planning. To be honest, I’ve let it slide to the way side these past few months because of a lot of family and real life stuff going on. Then I was in a planning slump and eventually I decided that instead of letting myself feel overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS, I needed to stop making excuses and moderate my reading time (because I tend to read to the point where nothing gets done when I’m stressed) and look at the things I wanted to get done before the year ends. That was a wake up call! With the year ending in a matter of days, I got in gear! .

So far, I’ve made great progress on my Christmas shopping. I actually took the time to write out lists of all the gifts needed. I also wrote out another list for the food we’d need to bring to the various potluck parties for our families. This was a big part of my holiday stress and I feel like it’s more manageable now. 

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I’ve resumed my reread of my WIP and had set a goal of rereading five chapters per week. I’ve actually gone past my goal and I’ve got only four more chapters to reread and then I’ll start outlining and writing again. I dreaded rereading my WIP because it’s 65k words so far and I wasn’t sure if it was as good as I remember. 😆 Now, I’m fired up and I’ve realized that I’m pretty awesome. 😏

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I love planning because it alleviates a lot of stress and I feel like I’m accomplishing a lot when I can actually see all the X’s on my task lists. I also love planning because even if you get in a slump, it’s always there when you’re ready to start again. 

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I was thinking of doing a flip through on my InstaStory of my notebooks. Let me know in the comments, if you’re interested. 

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My daughter still has a fever. 😟 I’ll be staying home with her while her brothers go to their aunts’ house for a gingerbread house decorating party. She’s young enough that she won’t really know what she’s missing out on but still. 😟 I hope you all are having a great day so far! 

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#planewithmechallenge Helpful lists, long term projects, and I love planning because…

Bullet Journal Challenge: Intro, Favorite Tools, and Where I Plan 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about notebooks, washi tape, and pens! In addition to being a total book nerd, I’m a planner/bullet journal addict and all things stationery and pen related are the only other things besides books that I will just hand my money over for.😆.

I have two systems that I use for bullet journaling. For my real life mommy duties, I use a Traveler’s Notebook system that holds different inserts for tasks, budgeting, and meal planning. I treated myself to this Foxfix cover @thefoxyfix no.8 wide in Butterscotch for my birthday which is absolutely gorgeous! Being a mom of four and managing a household, carrying this beautiful notebook when I’m on the go has been a dream! For my reading and writing life, I use my Leuchtturm 1917 @leuchtturm1917 in Anthracite with squared pages. I love the creamy graph paper, bookmark ribbon, and elastic band to keep everything inside. I use it to track my WIP and help set up monthly goals for reading and writing. 

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My favorite tools are my Papermate Inkjoy gel ink pens, Zig pens, and Pentel Touch brush tip pens. I also love adding color with washi tape and some stickers too. As for where I plan, I like planning in my office, but usually end up on my sofa with my planner stuff surrounding me. 😁

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Once I get my December layouts set-up, I’ll share more of how I use these notebooks. Any other notebook and stationery addicts out there? I can’t wait to use my winter/Christmas washi tape and stickers. 

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I hope you’re having a fantastic Sunday!
#planwithmechallenge Introductions, Favorite Tools, Where I plan

Book Challenge: Happy Thanksgiving!

For #novemberbdaychallenge, Traditions: We usually spend Thanksgiving over at a family member’s house, but this year my oldest son woke up feeling sick. We’re at home, having a movie marathon. We’ve watched It’s A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving! and Brother Bear. I’d never seen Brother Bear before and it’s really good and perfect for the holiday..

For #livelaughbooksnovember Bookish Feast Happy Thanksgiving and #grimdragon US Thanksgiving Book Feast Not exactly a bookish post, but I did want to share all the things I’m grateful for.  

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For #lilbookishnovember, Bookstagrammers I’m thankful for! #watermelanerdsnovember I’m thankful for… #disneypotterchallenge Feast in the Great Hall I’m thankful for… and #planwithmechallenge Gratitude, I’m so grateful for such a great year. I’ve had a great year with my family and I’m close to reaching my goals as a writer. I also never thought starting an Instagram account and joining bookstagram and the planner communities would have such an impact on my life! I’m so grateful for all the friends I’ve made here—book, planner, and stationery addicts. It’s been so nice talking about books and geeking out about notebooks and pens, but most of all, it’s been wonderful finding friends who are so kind and supportive. Pictured are all the notes, letters, and some gifts I’ve received from friends through Instagram. I’m so grateful that I found you all!

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For #lilbookishnovember Happy Thanksgiving! and #inkinthenovember Happy American Thanksgiving! If you’re in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re all having a great day with food and family! If you don’t celebrate, I hope you’re having a fabulous Thursday! One more day until the weekend. ❤️😊