November Bullet Journal Spread

lifestyle, Planner

Happy November 1st everyone! I cannot believe that October is already over! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sharing my October spreads with you.

So for November, I decided to follow along with Amanda Rachel Lee. She is a YouTuber that I follow who does gorgeous spreads and for November she did a crystal theme. I’m not the greatest free-hand drawer so this was actually pretty challenging for me but I think I like how it turned out in the end.

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Here is my month at a glance page. I kept it fairly similar to last month but instead of splitting up the calendar by morning, evening, and all day, I split it between personal and school. So we’ll see by the end of the month how I like the change. As I mentioned in my first post, the customization is my favorite part of bullet journaling.

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Next is my tracking pages. Last month was the first month that I really stuck with my tracking. Even if I didn’t do every habit every day, I was consistent in tracking what I did accomplish. I also really liked the way I did the mood tracker last month where I colored in a different leaf each day so I’m doing the same thing here except with poorly drawn crystals.

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And for the last of my monthly spreads, I have a November Memories page. This has been a really cool part of my bullet journal and I know that it will be fun to look back on over the years.

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P.S. the glitter washi tape is from Target in their dollar section.

Thank you so much for reading.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Bullet Journal October Spread

lifestyle, Planner

Three months ago, I decided to ditch a formal planner system and try out bullet journaling. For those who may not be familiar with this system, here is the website from the actual creator of the bullet journal system. I was first drawn to bullet journals because it meant that I could be in charge of the layout instead of constantly searching for the “perfect planner”. What is amazing about bullet journaling is that you aren’t tied down to one specific layout or design. If you get bored with how something looks, you have the power to change it. And honestly, I’m in love with my journal.

Here she is, my first bullet journal. I hope to continue bullet journaling, so I decided to decorate it with stickers representing my current interests. It will definitely be something cool to look back on over the years.



So, to get started, here is my title page for October. I don’t usually do these pages but I was inspired by Amanda Rachel Lee on YouTube. Her bullet journal layouts are gorgeous and it’s fun to try and recreate her spreads.


Next is my monthly layout which is inspired by Boho Berry. I used to do just one column but after seeing how hers was split up by morning, afternoon and all day, I wanted to try it out. I also started incorporating washi tape into my spreads. This pumpkin one is from the dollar section in Target.

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As part of my monthly spread, I like to track some things throughout the month like habits and sleep. I’ve also tried tracking my mood but I can never keep with it. So, when I saw Amanda Rach Lee using a “color the numbers” type of thing, I immediately wanted to try it out. I also like that it keeps it in the fall theme I have.



The final pages for my monthly spread is for October memories. I’ve been using these pages to keep movie ticket stubs, pictures, or really anything that is a physical keepsake I can tape into the pages. Again, I’m hoping it is something I can look back on in the years to come.

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The last spread that I will be showing you is for my weekly layout. Again, I’ve been really into washi tape recently.

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Setting up these pages has been very relaxing to me and it makes me excited whenever I get to utilize the pages I’ve set up. And it’s not set in stone. If there is a spread that I didn’t use, I can do something else the next month.

Happy October and thanks for reading!

Logan Lucky: A Review

Movie Reviews

It’s been described as a redneck Ocean’s Eleven or “Ocean’s 7/11”, but as catchy as those names are, they don’t measure up to the subtle genius that is Logan Lucky.

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Logan Lucky is Steven Soderbergh’s latest film starring Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as brothers who, with the help of a motley group of characters, decide to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway. I have been following this film from almost the beginning. And by beginning, I mean ever since I found out Adam Driver was going to be in it (because I am low-key high-key obsessed with him and keep up with all of his projects). Also, it was filmed in Atlanta, so I had some personal ties to it.

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Anyway, for those who are not obsessed with Adam Driver and therefore know little to nothing about this movie, it was made very differently from other popular heist films. First of all, it was not made under the heavy influence of a major Hollywood studio. Soderbergh financed the film himself so that he had full creative freedom over the entirety of the project. He is a director who wears many hats, according to Tatum, who has worked with the director many times in the past. I’m sure you’ve heard of Magic Mike. Soderbergh does everything from directing to making sure he gets the exact shot he needs, and he is even the one at the end to tie it all together in the editing room. To ensure there wasn’t unnecessary spending, he cut most of the marketing and press expenses, which meant there was not a huge press junket for the film and there was minimal marketing aside from social media.

The economics surrounding the film were enough to lure me in, aside from seeing Adam Driver on the big screen again. And if that wasn’t enough, Soderbergh threw in the hat from directing in 2013, so I knew it had to be pretty good if it pulled him from retirement.

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Now on to the film itself, I absolutely loved it. However, I went into the theater knowing that it was going to have an “indie” feel to it since it wasn’t going to have that overpowering Hollywood studio touch. For me, that made it better. There was an actual story that was being told. It wasn’t just a spectacle for the sake of being a spectacle where laughs are forced down your throat. It was subtle in its humor, deadpan sarcasm from my favorite actor.

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The actors were incredible. The West Virginian accents threw me for a loop but became endearing as the film progressed. Adam as the one-handed Clyde Logan was amazing, as always, but I doubt I would ever find a performance of his less than phenomenal. I am not as well versed with Channing Tatum’s repertoire as I am with Adam’s, but I was pleasantly surprised to see such a real character portrayal from him. He was a delight on screen and deserving of the heart strings that he pulled. Daniel Craig was a fire-cracker. Even as someone who is not familiar with his role as James Bond, I was still amazed at the reckless energy he exuded as Joe Bang. He stole every scene he was in, which is a lot for me to say considering that meant I wasn’t looking at Adam Driver. Riley Keough played the Logan brothers’ sister, and she was just as fierce with her spit-fire knowledge of muscle cars and highways.

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The only performance that irked me was Seth McFarlane’s. It just felt like Seth McFarlane pretending to be an annoying man with a fake British accent and a bad wig. I feel like there are two types of actors: the ones who pretend to be someone else and those who become someone else. And surrounded by actors who so flawlessly became their characters, McFarlane stuck out like a sore thumb.

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Despite it feeling like an Indie film, it still was just a damn good heist movie. Even though as an audience member, I knew the premise of the film, I was still surprised with how it unraveled. As a viewer, you think you know exactly what is happening until you realize that you don’t. It was unsettling at the end, like clashing notes on a piano, but then once I got my bearings on what was actually happening, it left me with an excitement that carried me through the rest of the evening. I walked out that theater wanting nothing more than to turn around and see it again, to find the things I might have missed, to stare at Adam Driver’s beautiful hair once more (Ok, I’ll lay off the Adam Driver love).

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For those who may be expecting a plot-driven Hollywood blockbuster, it might have a slow buildup. The storytelling of the film is truly beautiful. As I’ve said a million times by now, it is subtle, but utterly engaging. When films try and force a reaction out of me, it yanks me right out of the narrative. It truly was beautifully written. In fact this is the writer, Rebecca Blunt’s, first script to be made into a movie. There were some theories that she is perhaps a ghost writer or doesn’t exist at all, but I like to believe that female screenwriters can write a kick-ass script right out of the gate without being accused a fraud.

So with this review/history of Logan Lucky, I urge anyone who reads this to go see it. If you get nothing at all from the film, well, at least you get to stare at Channing Tatum for 2+ hours.

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Unplug

Book Reviews, lifestyle

I’m really not doing too hot on the whole blog thing, but it is something that I love to do, so I need to make it more of a priority for me. I spend so much time on my phone and my computer that sometimes writing feels like a chore. So, I’ve decided to delve back into what made me loving writing to begin with—books! I’ve had this ongoing list of books that I want to read and buy, but like many book lovers out there, I couldn’t help but be guilted by all of the books on my shelf that I purchased, but never got around to reading. I decided to pull out all the books that I hadn’t read yet, because surely there couldn’t be that many. I went shelf by shelf, watching my pile grow and grow to a whopping 28 unfinished books!

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I was shocked, but at the same time, I was like “Oh, it’s only 28?” In an attempt to motivate myself to read more, I gave myself a “no phone after 9PM” rule. Basically, this entailed setting my phone somewhere that it would not tempt me, and then forcing myself to be productive. It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t have the time to read, or finish that project you started 6 months ago, or whatever other thing you might have put off. The truth is, time doesn’t just run away from you. You must decide what is worth your time and what should take the backseat.

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The first night was difficult, but I forced myself to read about 50 pages of a book that I’d gotten for Christmas, started, and then put down sometime after last spring semester. The book was Stephen King’s On Writing. I had specifically put it on my Christmas list, because I wanted to get serious about writing again. Without the temptation of checking Snapchat or watching Instagram stories, I suddenly was not able to put it down. I brought it with me to school, to work, basically anywhere that would maybe allow me to read for a few spare minutes. I finished it in a couple of days, and I felt completely refreshed and inspired to write and read more.

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Side Note: Anyone who is even remotely interested in writing, and I mean like real writing—the kind of writing that makes you want to lock yourself in a room for months on end, building this world and creating this story that just seems to burn through you like wildfire—if you’re into that kind of writing, then you should definitely read this book. I could feel his love for writing and books so fervently that I couldn’t help but be reminded of when I felt that way, too. Anyway, this isn’t a review, but it really was so good, and helpful, and comforting, and terrifying—it was everything.

The point of this post is that after a week of reading, instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media accounts, I read almost 3 books. By distancing myself from the constant content being produced on Instagram, Twitter, and everything else I obsess over, I was also able to see clearly what I care about seeing and what I just scroll or click past. Ultimately, unplugging allowed me to better budget my time so that my 24 hours are spent doing what I care most about. I hope that in the few weeks I have before fall semester begins, I can fine-tune this whole unplugging thing so that I can use it to my advantage.

So, maybe try distancing yourself from social media for a few hours and see how it affects your day. Let me know what things you do to unwind!

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Thanks for reading! And I will be back next week with another post! I promise.

The Importance of Disappointment

lifestyle

Hi. I’m back. I sincerely promise that I am going to get back into this blogging thing. Sometimes when your life is unbalanced, your work suffers. That has certainly been true when it comes to my writing schedule. Life is funny like that. If by “funny”, I mean cruel. I used to imagine that life was my companion, always at my side, ready to tackle anything that comes my way. But as I get older, I have realized that life is a large, all-encompassing ocean that just throws wave after wave at you; you have to either be on top of it, or you’ll get swept up and knocked down until the waters are still once more. I know it’s a little dramatic, but just bear with me.

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I faced a disappointment today. And it wouldn’t have been nearly as brutal had it not felt like “life” had set the whole thing up only for me to be yanked away from it at the last moment. Again, dramatic, but my mind seems to work only in metaphors.

All my life, I’ve been waiting for a sign or an experience to tell me exactly what it is that I should be doing. When I started college, I wanted to pursue something I loved: writing. So, I became an English major. For the most part, I loved it, but about two years into the program, I found myself sitting in a Jane Austen class, worrying if all those people who told me I wouldn’t make any money were right. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that class, and I learned a lot about social class and feminism, and how Jane Austen’s work is just as prevalent today as it was in the 1800s. I began to doubt my future as an author, so I panicked and rushed to find a way out only to run right into the communication department (yet another degree that is relentlessly teased for being a useless major, but I didn’t know that at the time. And actually, that accusation is completely false, but I will get into that another time).

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What I realize now that I didn’t at the time is that I had no clue what kind of jobs a communication degree could get me, but it was exactly what I needed in the moment: new and full of opportunities. As I got my feet wet in the department, I struggled to narrow in on a concentration. I was stuck between not knowing what I wanted to do and feeling an overwhelming desire to follow my dreams. Here’s the thing about dreams, they are always changing. When I was 9, my dream was to open a vet/groomer/boarding/puppy play palace. Now, that dream feels like a logistical nightmare. The reason I was so torn was because I didn’t know what my “dream” was. I had heavy interests in maybe screenwriting, maybe casting, maybe production, but I was also still very much in love with writing and wanted to see what my options were in media relations. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do, but that I had too much to pick from. I also had a fear that if I picked just one, it would be the wrong one and I’d have to start all over.

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So, I took a few film and public relations classes, and while I do still love the idea of one day writing my own television series or movies, I discovered a previously unknown love of public relations. It was something that clicked and that I was actually good at. This brings us to present-day. I graduate next May, and I have decided on the public relations concentration.  On a whim and on the fear of not having enough job experience when I graduate, I applied to several internships. To my utter surprise, I got an email requesting a phone interview. It didn’t matter to me at the time whether I got the position or not, because I only applied out of fear of regretting it if I didn’t. After a great phone interview, I was called in for an in-person interview, and the more I learned about the organization, the more excited I got. Each time I interviewed, I felt more and more confident that I had found that sign I’d been looking for.  For the first time, I was able to envision myself having an actual career. The position would give experience in not only public relations writing, social media, photography, but script writing, too, for their film and media department. I didn’t have to pick just one concentration; I really could have it all! Out of dozens of applications, I was one of three people vying for the internship.

It felt like the position had just fallen into my hands. If only I had caught it.

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and blame things like this on “Life”, but sometimes things just happen for a reason. It wasn’t the right time or place. I wasn’t the right person for the job. I still feel like I would have done a great job and I would have learned a lot. I may be a little bruised, but overall, I feel stronger than I did before this whole experience. Even though I didn’t get the position, I did not leave empty-handed. I left with the knowledge that I am a good writer, that I am able to successfully be in the running for the job of my “dreams” and the experience to try harder the next time I’m given the opportunity.

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I Have A Lot of Feelings About This Episode Of Girls

lifestyle, Uncategorized

I just finished watching this week’s episode of Girls, and I have so many emotions right now that I felt the urge to write a post. Just be aware, there are definitely spoilers, so continue at your own risk.

Let me just start from the beginning. I have been watching Girls on and off since I was 18 (I am now 22), but I have really become obsessed with it in the last year or so. The fact that I have a very unhealthy obsession addiction to Adam Driver has not helped this. Anyway, from the very beginning, I have loved Adam and Hannah’s relationship. Yes, they had their issues, but I felt like they had both grown so much since the beginning, that maybe they could finally live happily ever after. But of course, we can’t always get what we want.

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Ever since I first saw the teaser last week for this week’s episode, I’ve been thinking about how they could possibly resolve the show. Because, let’s face it, we only have two more episodes left. To be honest, I was completely under the impression that Adam and Hannah would end up together, but when Lena was doing press before the season started, she made some comments about Hannah and Adam’s relationship. Basically, she said that she was surprised that so many people wanted them back together because that meant she hadn’t done a good enough job of showing how messed up their relationship was. From that moment, I had been mentally preparing myself for complete and utter heartbreak. Instead, I found myself very conflicted.

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This week’s episode starts with Adam telling Jessa that he wants to raise Hannah’s baby with her, and Jessa is seemingly okay about the whole thing, which was unsettling to me. Because, like everything about them is so explosive especially when it involves Hannah. But whatever. Then, the rest of the episode is like one big happy montage of Hannah and Adam being in love. I thought I would be ecstatic, but there was something in the pit of my stomach that knew it wasn’t going to last. They had been too far gone.

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What really shocked me was how guilty I felt for wanting Adam and Hannah to be together when it was obvious that Jessa needed Adam. Seeing her go back to her old ways of hooking up with random men in bars really hurt me. There was also a very strong parallel to Jessa walking into bar, and it was later confirmed in the “Inside the Episode”. The shot of Jessa walking down the street into the bar was the same shot they did in the first season when Jessa decided to go into a bar instead of have her abortion. It was obvious that her way of dealing with her feelings made her revert to her old ways, but she couldn’t just disappear into her old vices. When she said “I don’t want you” to the guy she was hooking up with, my heart broke for her. But then, seeing Adam and Hannah together again was so satisfying, which made me feel even more conflicted.

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In a way, Adam making that movie about him and Hannah was a self-proclaiming prophesy. Because when he was filming he mentioned something about even though they wanted to be together, the relationship was too intense to survive. And once they find themselves sitting in a diner, planning out their lives as parents, it becomes obvious to them that they can’t be together. Watching them cry reminded me of the end of season 4 (which is both my favorite and least favorite season finale) when they are faced with the reality of being back together, but know that it just won’t work. Throughout the show, they have tried and tried again, but they just aren’t good together. I think it was hardest for me to come to this conclusion (haha).


I can’t believe, though, that Jessa would just let Adam come back knowing that she is essentially his second choice. It’s sad. But at least she knows that being with him makes her happy. I feel like a part of her always considered herself this lone-wolf, but once she found herself actually alone, she realized that she wanted more. Also, she thought she was pregnant in season 1 when she went into that bar and hooked up with someone, and this season there was a scene of her throwing up and then going into the bar just like before. Seeing those parallels made me realize how much Jessa has also grown throughout the years, and she deserves to be with the person she loves. I feel like Jessa in the first season would have been too prideful to admit that she needed somebody; at least she is strong enough to make a decision based on her overall happiness rather than “winning”.

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I have to admit, if Hannah wasn’t going to be with Adam, I would have wanted her to be alone anyway, because she is a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man!

This show makes me so happy and so sad all at the same time, but I will never tire of these characters. This is a show that I will re-watch over and over again. And I will fight anyone who thinks that Girls is anything short of genius.

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Review

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

I haven’t been doing so well with my resolution to read more. Since January, I’ve only read two books. This past week, I read Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, and it is so beautiful. I can already tell that it will be one of those books that you pick up year after year to read again.

I first heard of this book through a weekly newsletter that I am subscribed to. For those who don’t know, I am OBSESSED with Lena Dunham (blog post to come, I’m sure). She and one of the producers of Girls, Jenni Konner, started an online newsletter called Lenny Letter. Knoll wrote a piece in one of the issues a year ago today about her book. In the Lenny Letter, Knoll talked openly about how her personal experience with sexual assault led to the idea of her novel (you can read her piece here). She was so open and raw in her piece that, without even knowing anything else about her book, I had to read it. And on one fine day, I found myself once again strolling the aisles of Target when a familiar book cover caught my eye. I’m so glad it did, because I instantly fell in love.

The novel follows the soon-to-be Ani Harrison (formerly TifAni FaNelli), who strives to recreate herself in an attempt to alter people’s perception of who she was. She is a senior editor at The Women’s Magazine which is most comparable to our Cosmopolitan, and is engaged to the attractive, blue-blooded Luke Harrison. It would appear as though she has the perfect life, but very quickly you can tell that there is something unnerving about her. Throughout most of the novel, the reader is left in the dark about Ani’s past, but through small glimpses and memories, we slowly begin to understand the dark and twisted person that we’ve been unapologetically subjected to. Knoll creates a very realistic mindset that we get to experience throughout the entirety of the book.

Personally, I felt an instant (yet frightening) connection with Ani because her internal monologue mirrored my own in a dark way. Perhaps it is just a testament to Knoll’s writing that her readers can understand her character so well, or perhaps I should seek professional help. Either way, I definitely miss Ani’s quick wit and dark humor.

It is beautiful, inspiring, and suspenseful. I have told all (two) of my friends about this novel, and now I urge all of you to do the same.

Happy Lent!

lifestyle, Uncategorized

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the Lenten season. This would also be why you may have seen some passersby donning black smudges on their foreheads. I view Lent from a Catholic viewpoint, but I know that there are several other religions and denominations that participate in Lent. 

Image by Oliver Tucker

Lent was always one of my favorite parts about Catholicism. Even though it is one of the darkest parts of the faith, it has always been one of the most beautiful parts to me. 

Lent is all about recognizing the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, so usually during this season, you are encouraged to give up something that is interfering with your relationship with Christ. I am a woman of many vices and some of them I’m just not willing to give up for 40 days (read: Diet Coke). Not that I wouldn’t be able to go without soda for our Lord and Savior; I just don’t see how that is interfering with my faith. 

So, in lieu of giving up something so important to my very being, I end up adding something to my life that will bring me closer to Him. In the past, I added extra prayer or only listened to Christian music or attempted to attend daily mass. 

This year is a little different. My relationship with God is not as strong as it used to be. In fact, I was very surprised to find myself at mass yesterday completely of my own will. But as I mentioned in my Resolutions post, there is just something so enticing about a fresh start. I have acknowledged that there is a block between me and my faith so I have decided to add something to my life that will work on dissolving that wall, while also strengthening my creativity. 

I have recently started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron which is about the beauty of creativity and spirituality. One of the main practices it talks about is Morning Pages, which is a method where you write three pages as soon as you wake up in the morning. It can be absolute gibberish or whatever you dreamed about or really anything that comes to mind.  But the purpose is to keep writing and not stop until you reach three pages. 


Image from Google

For Lent, I want to do this everyday as a way to flush out my mind and hopefully get to the root of my problem. I used to feel God’s presence so easily in my mind, but as of late it feels like I have pushed Him away completely. Now, I have tried Morning Pages before and it is almost physically impossible for me to remember to do them when I wake up, so I have modified it slightly into Nightly Pages. I feel like the result should be the same, but I guess only time will tell. 

I hope that those of you who do participate have a blessed Lenten season.