Monthly Reading: February

Book Reviews

I’m really proud of the reading habit I’ve created. I’ve really missed it over the years, and flying through book after book gives me an odd sense of accomplishment.

This month, I read two books which is right on target for my yearly goal. I was even able to start my first March book a little early.

The first book I read was Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert. It was a cute coming-of-age book about the bond of two step-siblings and their struggles with mental illness and sexuality. The relationship between Little and Lion is very sweet and was the beating heart of the story. It is what kept me invested, wanting to know how things resolved for both of them.



The next book I read was a given to me by Cassandra. It is called You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. It’s kind of a motivational “self-help” book, but I found it really inspiring and helpful. So, for anyone wanting to light a fire under their ass, you should check it out and recognize the badass in us all.

Check back with me next month to see my thoughts on my March reading!


March Bullet Journal Set-Up

lifestyle, Planner

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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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?


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

Book Reviews, lifestyle

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.

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.

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).


I Met with a Nutritionist

lifestyle, Uncategorized

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

lifestyle, Planner

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

lifestyle, Planner

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.



Holiday Break Rewind


Happy New Year!

giphy (24).gif

I’m so happy to be back, and I’m ready to kick 2018’s butt! I am well aware that I’m saying the exact same thing a million other people say once January comes around, and just like them, I’m full of good intentions.

Better follow-through is one of my resolutions.

While I start to get back into the swing of things, I figured I would start back with what I was up to during the last couple of weeks months.

Since my last post was in November, I’ll start with Thanksgiving. I spent it with my family in North Carolina. Yes, all those people are related to me. It’s a Catholic thing.


It’s not often that we are all together, so we had a fun little photo shoot before digging into some turkey and pie!

Here is my family. You know what they say, families that color-coordinate together, stay together.


At the beginning of December, Georgia had some unexpected snowfall, which was inconvenient, yet beautiful.


I turned 23 in the month of December, but I don’t have any pictures to share. It was a pretty relaxed birthday this year spent with my friend, Cassandra, and the love of my life Adam Driver. He was too busy with press for The Last Jedi, but I was able to at least see his beautiful face on the big screen.


Right before Christmas, MAC was reunited. Amberlyn flew in from Denver, and was able to spend a few hours with me and Cassandra before we all went home for the holidays.


We met in Decatur at the Highland Bakery. It was such a nice restaurant with good food. Plus, the company was pretty decent too. Pictured below is my shrimp and grits. I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life but this was my first time trying the dish.



Excuse the shadow of my phone. I need to get better at being a foodie.


As my siblings get married and essentially LEAVE, traditions tend to change. So instead of having Christmas morning with them, we all get together Christmas Eve to exchange Secret Santa gifts and have a big family dinner. Then, all of us single kids spend Christmas morning with my parents.


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and loved ones. Here’s to 2018. May it be less crappy for all!




Fall Activities: Keeneland

Fall 2017, lifestyle

Welcome back to the next installment of Fall Activities!

Going to the Keeneland horse races is something I look forward to every October. My family has been going for years, so I have many fond memories of tailgating in the parking lot, ice-cold beer, and spending all of my money on $2 bets and over-priced cocktails. Plus, Lexington is beautiful, so you almost don’t even realize that you’re quickly losing all of your spending money.

This time was no exception.

Keeneland’s fall races go from October 2-28, every Thursday through Sunday. We typically go the second weekend of October and meet up with my extended family from North Carolina. We left Thursday and got their around 1:30 a.m. My sister and I both brought friends, so the four of us had our own room. I, of course, brought my friend, Cassandra and we had such a great time.


We woke up at 8 in the morning so that we could make it to the hotel’s breakfast that ended at 9 and ended up bringing plates full of food up to our suite so that we could eat while we got ready.


Then we went to a local grocery store, Meijer’s, to get some drinks for tailgating. Meijer’s is basically like a Wal-Mart but less sketchy. My dad was pretty obsessed with it, actually, and made us return the next day for lunch. After picking up some much needed beverages, we grabbed lunch from Subway to take to the tracks.

Next is tailgating–the fun part! I always enjoy sitting around and chatting with my family, especially since I don’t get to spend that much time with my extended family outside of the holidays.

Once inside, my family tends to stick to a specific routine. First, you go out to the paddock where they bring the horses before each race. Since I’m not a seasoned horse race expert, I tend to rely on this part to place my bets because I get a chance to really look at the horses and the jockeys up close. Then we go inside to place our bets before proceeding to the front of of the track to actually watch the race.

This pretty much repeats over and over for each race, with the exception of a few bathroom breaks and beer breaks.

When all 10 races are done, we go back out to the parking lot to tailgate once more while the parking lot clears out and then we go grab something to eat and tailgate some more in the hotel lobby.

And then you do it all over again the next day.

If you are ever in Lexington (or not! Road trips are fun!) during the month of October or April (they do spring races, too), you need to spend a day at the Keeneland horse races. It is so beautiful and such a great place to be.


Fall Activities: Burt’s Pumpkin Farm

Fall 2017, lifestyle

The fall is one of my favorite times of year. The weather gets cooler, you can wear scarves and boots, and most importantly, there is just so much fun stuff to do.


Personally, I’m not a huge fan of summer.  Unless it involves a body of water and an ice-cold mixed drink, I’m out. So when the leaves start to change and the weathe drops a few degrees, I’m here for it.

giphy (2)

I’ve got a whole list of fun October/fall things to do coming your way and the first thing I’m going to share is Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville.


You can also partake in a hay ride through the pumpkin patch. I’ve yet to actually do this because I’m into doing things that are free haha but I’ve heard great things about it.

And before you leave, you’ll definitely want to check out the gift shop to get some delicious baked goods and other souvenirs. I recommend the apple bread and their pumpkin rolls.


Despite the weather clearly not knowing that it is fall, it was a beautiful afternoon. There were so many people there and so many pumpkins that were lined up perfectly for as far as the eye could see which made it the perfect spot for a little photo shoot.

I hope you enjoyed this post and keep an eye out for another post later this week about the Keeneland horse races!