Monthly Reading: April

I hopped right back on the reading train this month, and even finished both before the end of the month. I did kind of take it easy, though. I read two books that were pretty light and didn’t involve a whole lot of mental work.

The first book I read was Lara Casey’s Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life. Lara Casey is amazing, if you haven’t heard of her. She is the genius behind Power Sheets and Southern Wedding magazine. She is such a positive and has the most beautiful personality, and I really enjoy following her on Instagram–seriously, she has the cutest kids.

 

Anyway, I first heard of her through one of my sisters who uses Lara Casey’s Power Sheets every year. Power Sheets are a tool for you to plan out your goals for the year. I tried them for the first time this year, and I went a little more in-depth about them in my resolutions post.

Her book was very uplifting and made me think, “hey, maybe all my dreams can come true.” So if you want to take a deep-dive into discovering what it is you really want out of life, you should check out her books and maybe even order some Power Sheets because they are seriously life-changing.

The next book I read was one that I had started almost a year ago, but never finished. I feel kind of stupid talking about it, because I feel like this person’s audience base is, like 12, but I’ve been a fan of his since I was that age, so I guess it’s alright.

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I read Shane Dawson’s book, It Gets Worse. I seriously love him so much, and have been watching his videos since I was in middle school. I’ve always enjoyed his twisted sense of humor, and I relate a lot to his body issues. This book really allowed me to see a whole other part of him that I never get to see in his videos. It’s definitely not what I would call a “light” read, but it isn’t a difficult read; it just takes you to some dark places. But at the heart of it all, it is Shane in his truest form, and I loved every page.

That’s it for this month’s reading! I hope you enjoyed. I’m ready to dive back into some long fiction books next month, especially because I WILL BE A COLLEGE GRADUATE!

Keep reading, guys!

 

Photos from: (http://laracasey.com) and (amazon.com)
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The Importance of Storytelling

Hi. I’m sorry. I’ve been kind of MIA, and to be honest my last blog post was a little lackluster (tbh I hate that word, but there’s not other word for it).

Two weeks ago, I went to a conference put on by Lee University’s PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) club in Chattanooga, TN. Their Social Innovation conference was so enlightening and educational. It was targeted towards professionals in the social media landscape, but going as a student on the brink of adulthood was incredible.

The conference was just a one-day event, and as I mentioned above it was in Chattanooga, so me and a few lovely ladies from my school’s PRSSA group got up early and drove there for the 8a.m. check-in, so by the end of the day, we were pretty much dead.

I went to several different sessions, and each one was better than the last. Until we got to Google Adwords because I feel like it takes a special kind of person to understand a 45-minute accelerated session on that. My biggest takeaway was something that I already know and something that I am passionate about in all aspects of life, which is the art of storytelling. No matter what industry you work in, the content that you create and share needs to tell a consistent story that is true to your brand and the brand of your company.

The first session I went into was Instagram Accelerated where a few ladies from a local social media marketing firm talked to us about the ins and outs of using Instagram for your company. Storytelling is especially important for Instagram because there are so many themed feeds. If your page is a cluster of random pictures without a common thread or identity, it will feel less connected. And for a company, this can mean careless or even ingenuine.

“Social media is ephemeral.”

Basically, it is fleeting. You have only a few seconds to catch someone’s attention before they scroll on past and forget about you. This is why it is much more important to create quality content over a large quantity of content. You could post 10 times a day, but if that content isn’t saying something or adding to your story, it is essentially meaningless.

Another great session was called “Brand-Building Through Social Media.”

Branding is “any perception your audience has of your organization” or what your audience notices. A brand is not defined by just a logo or a catchy tagline; it is your content, your photography, or even the smallest of details like the kind of font you use or whether you broadcast hashtags as opposed to hiding them in the comments. Representation is key.

No matter what you do, make sure you find your focus and stay consistent because at the end of the day, we are wired through storytelling. So make sure your story is a good one.

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April Monthly Bullet Journal Set-Up

Happy April! I don’t know about you but this year is flying by!

Here is my April monthly layout. At this point, there isn’t much difference in how I organize them so I think I’ll just post all my pictures below. I’m really proud of how my cover page came out (as usual my inspiration is from Amanda Rach Lee on YouTube).

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The only things I switched up is my tracker pages. I fell a little behind on my trackers in March so I decided to simplify them this month. And I copied Amanda’s mood tracker for this month but I kept my same color scheme.

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March Bullet Journal Set-Up

It’s March! This year is flying by. This both excites me and scares me, because while I have some amazing milestones coming up, I’m not quite ready for them to be on the horizon.

Like graduation, for example. I have no idea what my life will look like after May and it’s freaking me out.

Before I nose-dive into another existential crisis, I’ll go ahead and share how I’ve set up my bullet journal for the month of March.

My March title page is heavily inspired by Amanda Rachel Lee on Youtube. I await her videos every month like the second coming. I like to see what she does and then give it my own twist. The quote on the left is inspired by a quote on Pinterest, because I wanted to tie in a little St. Patrick’s luck.

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The next pages are my month-at-a-glance pages. It’s a pretty simple layout that I am considering changing up for next month, but so far it does what it is supposed to do, so why fix something that ain’t broke, as the saying goes.

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My tracker pages are the most tedious and annoying pages in this entire journal, but they are probably the most helpful for me. So I keep doing them. But having to do so many lines and so many numbers drives me insane. I almost left it half empty last night, but I pushed through knowing I’d have to fill some out tonight. February was the first month that I utilized this new habit tracker layout and honestly, I love it. It makes me more motivated to do each of the tasks instead of when I was just filling out one, big chart.

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Next is my mood tracker. I really love this page and how I’ve chosen to lay it out this year, because it is fun to switch from month to month and see how my emotions evolve throughout the month. The quote on the right is from that one Michael Buble song that might be a cover of an older song, but I’m not sure so I’m just going to stick with my Michael Buble theory.

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I’m not really sure why I included this page because it’s only fun at the end of the month. Having the HP Sprocket has really brought this spread to life. Before, I would just post little things I got from events like tickets or wristbands, but the pictures are something I know I’ll look back on fondly.

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I hope everyone has a magical March! Thanks for reading!

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

So if you couldn’t tell by my past couple of blog posts, I am putting a lot of effort, thought and time into my goals. And I feel like I’ve made decent progress in all of them, or at least put more intention into them.

However, there is one goal that I am STRUGGLING with. Like it feels like pulling teeth trying to get motivated. That goal is writing. I’m trying to be a writer this year. I have trouble giving myself that title because I don’t feel like I’ve deserved it. To be a writer, you have to write. That’s pretty self-explanatory. I have not written in several years. I’ve journaled, I’ve written blog posts, but I miss writing. In high school, I wrote novels. Like I had written three whole books in high school. Sure, they sucked, but I did it. I finished them. And they had decent plot, a few interesting characters.

Now, though?

Nothing.

I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for 5 years. And I can’t get it out onto a page to save my life. There are just too many uncertainties. I can’t get all the pieces to fit together and it is beyond frustrating. Because it could be so good.

And just like so many other things in my life, I know what I need to do, I just can’t make myself do it. I don’t know what’s stopping me. I’m not afraid. I know I’m capable. I think I just put too much pressure on it to be good. All the real writers always say that the first draft is going to suck. The first draft is the worst that it will ever be. But, with my writing in the past, I’ve always written in one fell swoop. I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have an outline. I had an idea, and I created a story.

But that is gone now.

I seem to have lost that ability. But I am also stuck feeling like I don’t know any other way to write. When I try to just write, I feel aimless. At this point, I’m just venting in the form of a blog post. Because I’m not looking for anything. I have the answers. I need to just do it.

Anyway, thanks for reading if you do. Hopefully this is something I can look back on at the end of this year and laugh at. Also, hopefully by then I will have another first draft to add to my collection of Books That No One Will Read.

Monthly Reading: January

As I mentioned in my resolutions post, I want to read two books a month in 2018. I’m currently subscribed to Book of the Month, which I love, but I’ve gotten a little behind with my reading so it is on hold for now until I catch up. Both of the books I read in January were BOTM books and so far they haven’t disappointed.

The first book I read was Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong.

https://www.npr.org/2017/07/12/535799520/goodbye-vitamin-is-sweet-but-not-sugarcoated
Goodbye, Vitamin, by Rachel Khong.

It was kind of a coming-of-age story but about a young woman named Ruth in her twenties instead of pubescent teenagers. Ruth is at a junction in her life where she is dealing with a recent breakup as well as family issues that lead her to move back in with her parents. It is one of those books where you don’t realize the big picture until it’s over. I had a firm grasp on what was going on throughout the book, but it wasn’t until I finished it that I was like, oh shit, I get it now. It was a beautiful story and nothing at all what I thought it would be when I first received it.

The second book was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

http://www.afomaumesi.com/2017/09/08/eleanor-oliphant-completely-fine-review/

This one was definitely my favorite of the month. Recently, Jessica Knoll has become one of my favorite authors (I wrote about her debut novel, The Luckiest Girl Alive, and I’m eagerly awaiting her next novel) and this was a book that she had recommended, so when I saw it as an option, I went ahead and ordered it from BOTM even though I already had an impressive stack of novels yet to be read.

Eleanor is such an interesting character, and I loved every second I got to spend in her head. She is complex and endearing even though I’m certain I would dislike her very much if I ever crossed paths with her in real life. Eleanor is a creature of habit, but throughout this book, she takes measures to examine her past and try new things and meet new people. She reminded me that it really is never too late to change the course of your life. No matter what has happened to you or impeded the plans you had for your life, you can overcome it with enough perseverance and gumption.

I highly recommend both of these books, and I hope this kind of post is something I continue throughout this year (as long as I keep my resolution to read more).

February Bullet Journal Set-Up

And January flip-through

One of my greatest prides and joys is my bullet journal. I didn’t know I could love an inanimate object as much as I love this journal. I’m pretty much obsessed with it and all things related to it. So I wanted to show off my hard work and dedication that could probably be better spent towards my education or getting a job.

As usual, I find inspiration from Amanda Rach Lee on YouTube. I religiously wait for her video to go up before I begin the next month just in case she does something I want to incorporate into my spreads. And I’m so glad I did.

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This is probably my favorite out of all of my monthly title pages. I found the quote on the left on Pinterest and I feel like it will be a good mantra for this next month.

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I have also started putting washi tape along the edge of each month at a glance page to act as a sort of bookmark.

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I kind of switched up my habit tracker. I had already planned on doing this for February, and apparently great minds think alike because Amanda also changed hers up too. And then I dedicated the other page to tracking my sleep and water intake. You’ll see later that in January, I switched out my sleep tracker for a water tracker and I really missed tracking the hours of sleep I got, so I’ve brought them together for this month. We’ll see how it goes. That’s what is so great about bullet journal–you aren’t stuck with one layout for 12 months; you can do whatever your heart desires.

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I enjoyed this form of mood tracking, so I’ve copied it over from January. And then I found another cute doodle on Pinterest, although this one looked better in my head than after the execution of it.

The following is a flip-through of how my spreads came out in January. I started with a new weekly layout, but ended up reverting back to my old ways of washi tape and daily tracking.

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Ignore the ripped pages lol To quote Hannah Montana: “Everyone makes mistakes”

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So that is it for today! Have a wonderful week!

I Met with a Nutritionist

I don’t usually get too personal on here, but I want to document my progress with my goals. One of those goals is to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. So, to me that means being more open about my feelings and the steps I am taking to accomplish that goal.

Last week, I met with a nutritionist about how to change my eating habits. The meeting ended up being a lot more emotionally draining than I thought it would, because not only did we discuss healthy foods, but we went over my current eating habits and dipped a little bit into why I have those habits.

Meeting with someone is already a huge step for me because a year ago, I never talked to anyone about my weight except for my mom. And even with her, any time I had to talk about my health I ended up breaking down and crying. Because, I’ve learned, it is something I hold a lot of shame about internally. I am not proud of where I am, health-wise. It’s not something I enjoy discussing—in fact, I avoid the conversation whenever possible.

So, I’ve come a long way. I am taking intentional steps towards bettering myself this year. One of which happened to be meeting with a professional nutritionist.

One of the things I talked about with the nutritionist was to come up with a list of healthy alternatives to snacking when I feel stressed. This was hard because I found that I most wanted to eat when I was bored, not stressed—although that happens to. So instead, I decided to come up with things to do instead of snacking when I get bored.

Real talk: when I am alone, I eat everything. It’s a problem that a professional should probably examine, but for now all I have is this list.

  • Read.

    • Not only is this an excellent alternative, it will also help me meet one of my other goals which is to read 24 books this year.
  • Sing.

    • It’s kind of hard to shove things into your mouth when you’re belting musical theater songs.
  • Journal.

    • This was a suggestion from my nutritionist, that I should become more in tune with my body and what it really wants, which she said, is not to eat more.
  • Drink water.

    • We’ve all heard that thing about how when you think you are hungry, you’re probably just thirsty. Plus it can’t hurt to drink more water.
  • Watch Trisha Paytas Mukbangs.

    • For those who are perhaps unaware, Trish is a YouTuber who spends a lot of time crying on her kitchen floor and filming herself eat copious amounts of food. Now, this may seem counter intuitive, but I have found that when I am really craving something, watching her shove her face full of chicken tenders somehow makes my own craving dissipate. It’s weird, I know, but I’m not about to question it if it works.

The most disappointing thing about the meeting was that she didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I know how to take care of my body. Eat nutrient-filled foods, avoid over consumption of sugary, starchy and fatty foods, and exercise. We all know it; it’s just a matter of doing it.

So I’m just going to do it. And I’ll provide updates as things move along.

If you want to see what I am typically eating in a day, you can follow along on Instagram @catastropheandkale

2018 Bullet Journal Set-Up

I have shared in the past my love of bullet journals, so I wanted to start 2018 off with a peek at how I’ve set up my 2018 Bullet Journal.

I debated on whether to keep going on my current bullet journal or start 2018 in a new journal, and I decided to begin again with a pretty new journal because my old one got a little thick (I went a little crazy with the memory keeping and decided to put some birthday cards in my journal and it pretty much doubled the size of my journal).

For my birthday, my sister got me a new Leuchterrm journal so I am using that one for 2018.

For those who have not been caught up in the bullet journaling frenzy, a bullet journal is a planner and journal all in one. The fun part is that you get to design your own planner. I have always struggled with planners in the past because even though I love them, I would constantly switch from one type of planner to the next. With bullet journaling, the layout is completely up to me so if I get bored I can switch up my layouts.

I’ve really enjoyed bullet journaling and letting my creativity run free. I find most of my inspiration through YouTube videos and Instagram posts. I utilize the bookmark tool on Instagram to save layouts or spreads that I love and want to recreate in my own journal. Below I’ve attached some screenshots of how to use the bookmark function on instagram if you have never used it before. I highly recommend it!

This year I am trying to be more productive so I’ve put more focus on creating feasible to-do tasks for each day that line up with my goals. You can read all about my goals here.

So there’s a little sneak peak into my bullet journal. I am low key obsessed with it and honestly I’m just really happy with how it’s been going. I’m also happy with the structure that it’s brought to my life. I’m so excited to see where the rest of 2018 takes me.

Just Another Resolutions Post

It’s 2018, which means it is time for yet another new year’s resolutions post.

This year I decided to tackle my goals in a new way. This wasn’t particularly difficult since my previous way of setting goals consisted of last minute guestimations of what I wanted out of the new year. My goals always ended up disappointing me because I treated them like birthday wishes, I thought they would come true magically and without any effort on my part.

So instead of wishful thinking and zero follow through, I decided to use Cultivate What Matters’s Goal Planner for 2018.

Their website can probably do a much better job of explaining the ins and outs of their goal planning process, but essentially, you go through their prep work to figure out what is most important in your life. The prep work is emotionally draining and reminiscent of a therapy session, but honestly, I’d do it all over again.

Once the prep work is complete, I decided what I actually wanted to accomplish or make progress towards in the next year. As you’ll recall, this is pretty much where my goal planning ended before. From there, the goal planners allow you to break those goals down into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks.

So instead of feeling overwhelmed, I feel excited and in charge of my goals, and I have a seemingly tangible way of accomplishing them.

Another great part about this goal planner is that you get to pick a word for the year–just a single word to inspire you to continue working towards your goals.

My word of the year is “ignite”. There are a lot of things that I want out of life but have been dormant for many years. So this year, I want to ignite those passions again so I can work towards those goals and hopefully be somewhere that I’m proud of by the end of 2018.

Throughout my prep work, I realized there were many things I hoped to accomplish in my life. Some were familiar, and some were kind of surprising. I found things I didn’t realize I’d been hoping for.

I narrowed my goals down to four, but the goal planner has seasonal check-ins so I can change them or add to them throughout the year.

  1. Cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Like every other person this year, I’m looking to leave my crappy eating habits in 2017.
  2. Be a writer. All my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. In high school, all I did was eat, breathe, sleep, and write. However, since starting college, I’ve let it slip to the backburner. Actually, not even the backburner–I let writing fall off the back of the stove, never to be found again. So, this year, I am writing a book. Or at least make progress on writing a book.
  3. Cultivate my interests. Every year, I have a list of books I want to read and a list of classic films that I’ve always wanted to see. But every year, I fail miserably. So this year, I’m going to read 2 books a month and watch 1 movie a week.
  4. Be a strong, faithful Catholic. I have wavered in my faith the past couple of years. Waver may be an understatement, but nonetheless, I am making strides to form a closer relationship with God.

So that’s it. I just wanted to share here to maybe help hold myself accountable. I mean, if it’s on the internet, it must be true, right?

If you have any interest in this kind of goal planning, you should check out Cultivate What Matters’s blog because they share great goal planning tips all the time.