2016-09-21-10-52-41Journals have been my best friend since I was about 8 years old. I think I just learned early on in life that if I wrote down everything that I was thinking and going through it made it easier. I felt so much better when I was able to share my deepest feelings and get them out of my head and heart.  Why or how this started I couldn’t tell you but I just remember finding notebooks at any store that had carried them and loving to fill them up with Lisa Frank stickers and filling the pages with different colored pen inks.

As the years went on I never gave up on my best friend. I continued to fill up journals and the ones closest to me would even buy me journals. I still remember in high school when my boyfriend’s mom bought me this beautiful floral journal and it was just the perfect size and shape. I loved that journal. I haven’t always had this incredible bond with a journal right off the bat but after a few weeks in my journals they quickly become a part of me and we are usually inseparable. I have journals from vacations when I was a kid and also journals where I had really hard times in my life. I recently found a journal that shared the experience in detail that my family went through when my dad had a terrible accident.

This is a great way for me to seg way into what do I put into my journals…well here we go. When I was younger I would fill my journals with things about my days, the friends I played with, my days in the pool and little wish lists of toys that I really wanted. As I got older more troubling things came my way. In high school maintaining friends and a boyfriend was both exciting and scary. I filled journals about a best friend that I had and how upset she was once I got a boyfriend. She began spreading rumors about me and made me feel just horrible. At the same time I was excited in my relationship. My high school sweetheart and I were together for 5 years. That means that my journals quickly became filled with awkward experiences and things that he said that made my heart just flutter. Reading about those days now is just so sweet. There is nothing better than young love and that feeling that you could never live without that person. I had so many firsts with this person and I loved sharing all of it with my journals. As my high school days came to an end I remember journaling and dreaming about what college would be like. What would my roommate be like and living on my own in the dorms. Many of my journals at this time were filled with mixed emotions. Leaving behind high school friends but at the same time embarking on such an exciting journey. If I were to thumb through those journals right now I remember writing about each of my friends as they each left for school. I was one of the last ones and before each of us left we would all get together and just have a wonderful time together.

Once in college these were some of the most eye-opening and wonderful times of my life. This was truly the turning point for me when I was able to realize who I was as a person and learn what it was that I wanted. My freshman year was very significant. Many ups and downs with my roommate to the emotions that ran through me when I broke up with my high school sweetheart. As I go back on these pages I just cherish them so much more than I did at the time. I think this is where the reward comes in and why I continue to journal. It’s a treasure that you have forever of experiences that can easily be forgotten. If it wasn’t for my journals I would have forgotten so many little memories that I loved in my life. It helps me to really appreciate the life that I have and embrace the good with the bad. If I look back it’s easier to understand why something bad needs to happen in order for the rainbow at the end of the road to appear. Throughout the years I have documented holidays and who was there and what the feelings was to me. Again, this is so cherished because many of my family members have passed away and having these memories of them makes me so happy to look back on.

Towards the end of my college career I spent ALOT of time in my journal. I was using a Miquel Rius notebook and filled it completely front to back. That a good 600 pages. This was the most critical time for me during nursing school. I had dreadful thoughts of not becoming a nurse and I would spend nights filling my journal with prayers and wishes to have the strength to get through school. I also had moments where I could not believe that I was becoming a nurse. I would fill pages of what scenarios looked like once I was on the unit. How would I handle a code or even taking on my first patient load. Many many pages were dedicated and focused on nursing. After passing the boards and becoming  what my dream was my journals quickly became filled with the experiences that I began having. The first body that I had to send to the morgue, what that looked like and how I felt. Some of the codes that I was involved in, the different experiences I had with preceptors and peers on the unit. Interactions with physicians. Unique cases and terrible traumas that I took care of. These are some really precious and treasured journals because this was a time in my life that I really and truly felt like I found my purpose in life. This was my calling and to see it all evolve in my journals fills my heart with so much joy. Soon after the journals began to get filled with relationships. Being that I was now in my mid 20s the thoughts of marriage and children began to fill my thoughts. I wanted a family now that I had my career settled. Boy did I learn ALOT about myself in my journals going through these relationships. I shared within these journals emails and text messages and arguments along with wonderful vacations and places that I was able to travel to. These journals are the really thick journals from Barnes and Noble and I love looking through these journals. I also have a journal that I shared when my husband proposed to me and in that journal I even have little notes that my husband use to leave for me when we were dating and he would have to leave really early in the morning to drive back to work. At the time we only saw each other on the weekends so our time was so precious. I love being able to go back and look at these journals and be immersed in the feelings all over again. I took a journal with me on our honeymoon and share all of our days in Hawaii and places that we were able to see, becoming pregnant and having my first baby, I have documented all of this in journals.

I hope that you are able to see just how meaningful and amazing journals are. I cherish my journals and love looking at them on my shelves. I love running my hands through them and occasionally picking one out to look at. I know what time of my life each journal is from. I had developed such close relationships with each of them that it’s like reconnecting with an old friend every time I go back. Some journals stay closed because even though the journal was a good friend what’s inside is something that I don’t want to visit. It’s something that I am happy is over and stays in the journal.

I can’t even express how many tears and love have gone into these notebooks and how much a part of my life they are. I hope that I am able to inspire you to pick up a journal and start writing. Is something  weighing on your heart? are you excited about something or scared about doing something? Fill your pages with all of this and watch as your life story unfolds in these amazing books we call journals!

Last month I was so excited when the Dodo Pad company reached out and wanted to send me their inserts for review. I am always in the mood to test out inserts. I had heard of their inserts back in 2012 and was intrigued but for some reason I just never followed up. What peaked my interest initially is how long the company has been in business.  In 1966 the company came about! I always find it impressive when a company remains so invested in their products.  Here is an insert from the website that talks about why the Dodo bird was behind the name of the inserts.

And, why the Dodo?
Back in the deep recesses of the last century around 1966, the Dodo Pad diary (a week-to-view combined memo-doodle-engagement-planner-diary-organiser-message-ment book) was a new-fangled invention, instantly accepted by grateful users as utterly indodispensable. The ‘headline’ on the front of the Dodo Pad diary read (and still reads): ‘If you too are nearly extinct with the daily pressures of modern life, then try the Dodo Pad’ and on the back cover: ‘After using your Dodo Pad for a year you may find you’re not as extinct as all that!’ with an illustration of a mother and baby dodo. The pressures of modern life are still just as relevant today and we’re not extinct yet!

I thought this was a very clever and quirky way of explaining life and comparing it to the fact that if we aren’t extinct then we have daily challenges we need to accomplish and the dodo pad wants to help you navigate your life. There are plenty of sizes to choose from as well as some filler paper that is also offered on the site.  The shop accepts paypal so it makes it quite easy to order. They are coming from across the pond but the good news is that they come very quickly and packaged well and protected.  So lets take a look at the inserts themselves.

I have decided to go with the academic planner pad. My daughter is in preschool this year so for me my calendar is now more focused on the school year and I can easily follow and transfer things from the school calendar to my filofax. I am also in my A5 size malden, which I painted from purple to a beautiful aqua, here is a link to that video.  2016-09-14-10-12-33The inserts are unique in that there are little doodles throughout as well as fun facts. There are many holidays that are subtly placed throughout which I love seeing. 2016-09-14-10-16-11 2016-09-14-10-15-25So for those of you who love to have space to doodle and really free form plan then these are ideal. On the right hand side you have boxes to work with. In these spaces I broke them
down to have a really great overview of my week, what my daughter has at school, my husbands work schedule and any notes or must dos. I love having this quick look at my week. On the left hand side I have plenty of space to stick post its, notes, video ideas, links to things I want to watch later etc. I love having this free form space and it really helps me to have a place to brain dump and get ideas out of my head. The doodles in place really help you to feel like you are not messing anything up because it’s not a blank white page.2016-09-14-10-17-00 Many people feel like they will mess it up or don’t feel comfortable but I think that with all the gorgeous little doodles it really helps to overcome that hump. If you like to pretty plan but don’t always have he time the doodles help to enhance the page and always bring a smile to my face. The only draw back I see for these inserts is that there is not a monthly view. Now to be fair there is a wonderful pull out calendar of the entire year that really helps you 2016-09-14-10-13-29organize your life but for some reason I still really like to see my month at a glance. This isn’t the end of the world for me because I do have another set of inserts in my planner so I do have a month overview . In regards to paper quality I am really very impressed. I am someone who will be very turned off with inserts if the quality of the paper is not good. I like to use all kinds of different pens and I don’t want to be bothered with bleed through or heavy shadowing. When I did the pen test I was very happy that I only had an issue with the sharpie. It’s not surprising because the sharpie will bleed through most anything but my fountain pen the edison nouveau with a broad nib that has a pretty heavy ink flow did really well! I love that because jotting down notes quickly I try and reach for whatever is on my desk and that means I can grab a fountain pen and happily write away.

Overall if you are looking for some structure but still have the ability to have some free form planning then I HIGHLY recommend these inserts. I recommend them for the paper quality as well as the quirky little doodles and fun facts. There really isn’t anything else on the market like them. The entire academic year does not take up alot of space in my planner so if you like to add a lot of your own inserts you will not have an issue.

Do you have the Dodo Pad? Plan on purchasing? Please share what you think!

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I have always wanted an aqua malden. I missed the boat on them because I honestly did not really care to invest in something that I wasn’t sure about yet. I have used planners forever but a malden seemed like a very pricey investment and when the aqua maldens were on sale I thought geez they are beautiful but goodness they are expensive. I kick myself each and everyday for that thought process because I always come back to looking at photos on pinterest and just drooling about having one in my life.  Back in April I was at an event and I ran into a woman who had painted her Kate Spade Wellesley planner and it really looked fantastic. It looked like the planner was intended to be that color. I immediately began researching the paint and how to go about doing it. The process seemed simple and relatively inexpensive. I of course didn’t pick up my Malden immediately and start to paint instead I went with a less expensive planner, my faux Daytimer Malibu. I loved the planner I even have a review on it,  but I could stand to change the color and I found a beautiful kelly green color. I was just so impressed with how it turned out!! I couldn’t stop touching it and playing with it! I used it and found that it did not change the texture or feel. It did not peel or crack or add a funny smell to it. I endlessly looked at all the pictures again of the aqua malden and tried to find a shade closest to it so that I could change my Malden and finally have the planner I have been lusting over.

The supplies are really very simple, you will need a foam tip disposable brush that you can pick up at any craft store. I used the gift box blue paint and a satin finish to help seal everything together. I don’t officially know if it is required to add the top sealer but it’s how to I like to ensure that everything is properly sealed and finish. I don’t know if the paint will crack or peel with or with out but I do like the satin finish.  To begin you want to put a small amount of paint onto the brush and make small circles onto the planner. It may look messy and scary but I promise the end product will be well worth it! DSC_0109 DSC_0110You can seen that only after one coat it looks like maybe this project wasn’t such a good idea but I promise if you stick with it you will most likely be fine. I went from the darker purple color to a lighter aqua color so the amount of coats of paint required are more, about 4-5 to be exact. I initially thought that I could save the stitching and use a small brush to go around the stitching. It looked ok but then in different lighting I could see the purple trying to peek out from behind the threading so I needed to go back and paint over the stitching which is fine because I LOVE how it all turned out. The paint does not have an overwhelmingly strong smell and I wouldn’t say that the smell of the Malden is gone. It still has the softness and I am still able to bend and move the Malden so the floppiness is not gone from the planner. I took the plunge because I was hoping for something amazing and I feel I got what I wanted. Something in the future that I look forward to is trying to paint things onto the planner, add spots or patterns and mix colors to make planners much for unique to me!! It’s a fairly exciting journey to take to achieve something that is truly yours!!  DSC_0098Just to prove to you that the stitching idea didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted to turn out here is an unclose shot. I did my best to paint around but you can still see how it is peeking through with the purple color. I believe from photos that I have seen online the stitching is white but again this is a DIY project and I must say I am very grateful to have found the paint and the idea to be able to create this planner transformation.  In the picture below you can see the original color and that it is a beautiful egg plant purple. I loved it initially but then put it aside after last fall and started to lose some of my love for it. So when I started changing it I could feel in my heart that I would be in love with the new color!! The inside when painting is really no different than painting the outside. The only hiccup I found was around the zipper. The zipper is a material and so the paint gets really absorbed into it. I needed almost 8 or 9 good heavy swipes of paint in order to cover up the color. It works out fine just keep adding paint onto it. I also recommend letting every layer dry fully before adding more paint. I say this for both the zipper portion and the leather cover. I found that if you do not wait between layers the paint will just keep swirling and you end up with a lot of paint on your brush and then unable to add more color to the leather. Have no fear the acrylic paint dries almost instantly so luckily this does not take a very long time. I like watching a really long youtube video or putting on some Netflix and it helps pass the time. DSC_0089

 

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DSC_0110  Before putting the satin finish onto both the inside and outside I did give it a good 24 hours just in case. I also waited about two days after applying the satin finish before filling the planner with paper. I know it’s hard not to use it right away but I used caution just in case and didn’t want to  ruin my hard work.   To the left you can see how gorgeous this color is unclose!! If you would like to see the final product I have a video !! I also share what inserts I will be using inside of the planner. Have you painted your planner? Do you want to? Please share!!

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So I have to admit that since my first B6 size purchase of the ZenKraft old man comfort I have just been enamored with this size of travelers notebooks. B6 fist off is such an amazing size, it’s approximately the 7×5 size but it varies depending on the company. It’s shorter than your average TN but wider. It’s just the perfect size to have in front of you for writing!! I love the width because it allows me to be able to rest my hand comfortably. The size is not intimidating for those folks who don’t feel comfortable with larger spaces.  After exploring the B6 and just being so in love with this size I purchased an A6 size Gillio.  I very quickly became obsessed with this size too!! I think it’s the width that I love so much with these TNs but also the portability. The A6 size is also great for those of you who love making your inserts. To make them you simply fold a letter size piece of paper in half and that is A5 then fold that A5 in half and you have an A6! It’s that easy and I feel like you are not wasting too much paper. With the more awkward sizes that are out there I just feel like this makes it so easy and you don’t have to take out your ruler to make sure that your measurements are correct!

While on this journey of looking for more unique TN’s I purchased from three different sites. Two of them can be found on etsy and one has their own site.  To start with I went with a company called Speckled Fawns.DSC_0145 DSC_0140

I initially began seeing these beautiful little chunky notebooks show up on my instagram and of course I jumped on the band wagon and just endlessly stared at all the beauty that they were. I also joined the Facebook group which is always the route you want to take whenever investing in a beautiful TN. The reason I say this is because many of these pieces are pricey and you want to make sure you love and cherish these little notebooks. The FB groups give tons of inspiration and help you to choose the correct one and not create orphans!  The Speckled Fawn that I went with is the Nubuck Huggable leather! I can not even express to you how huggable this leather is. It’s like a wonderful little pillow that’s soft and squishy but yet will hold alot of your love on it. It’s not like any other leather that I have ever felt. It’s something you could easily bring with you to bed and write it and if you fall asleep it’s cuddly enough that you will feel as though you are holding a luxurious little piece of heaven. The stitching on this notebook is very precise and beautiful. The notebooks can also come in all different leathers and the spine can be doubled in size, so if you are someone who loves carry around about 10 or so notebooks you can comfortably do this! DSC_0149 DSC_0146 DSC_0151DSC_0148

DSC_0147Terri is the owner and she is really great to work with. I had a little hiccup with my shipping but she fixed the issue and I had my TN very quickly!! I can’t even express how happy I am with this little notebook. I have just been carrying it around and touching it and smelling it all day long! Love this little guy. It’s perfect to bring with you in your purse and carry around to jot down thoughts and ideas!

The second purchase that I made was with Sojourner. DSC_0158 DSC_0152I first found the company back last February and I just had to place an order! I since then have been following Rowena (the owner) and has constantly been amazed and inspired. She is a wonderful human being with a huge heart. She does mission work and shares her work on instagram and has been doing periscopes to share little helpful tips on how to add color to your TNs. Once again the importance of following people on social media behind these notebooks. It helps you to have an appreciation and to better understand where the notebooks origin is from. I personally love that the notebook comes with a story and then develops and longer tale in your hands! What makes the Sojourner so unique is that it comes in a B6 slim size! Something I had never seen anywhere else on the market! DSC_0153 DSC_0157 DSC_0156 DSC_0154

I love the B6 size and to have it in a slim means it makes it the perfect size to take with you. Again the added width allows for more journaling space but not so bulky that it becomes difficult to carry it around with you! I LOVE this size so much and I always come back to this little TN. It’s perfect for quick sketching and jotting down ideas. You will be pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to love on this TN and to begin filling the pages. If you were concerned that you would not be able to find inserts have no fear because Rowena sells some pretty beautiful inserts with Tomoe River paper. This paper is amazing for wet media and fountain pens. That is my favorite medium to use in TNs and it’s just the perfect little combo!

The next purchase and certainly not the last is from Pellestudio. A company I had seen floating around on Instagram with some delicious looking Tns. What made their TNs stand out to me is that they come in some beautiful colors almost like a candy shop! If you get bored with the browns and the blacks this might just be your cup of tea! I felt like I was dropped into a land of Willy Wonka and the Travelers Notebook Company. Just could not get over all the candy colored leather! I opted to get two because they did come from Hong Kong. I just adore these! The leather is beautiful, lightweight and just makes me smile. With the beautiful peachy pink color I just wanted bright and happy. The smell is just divine and I just Love love the color!! The blue wax jean one is something that not only do I love the color but the wax will begin to fade and the leather will take on that worn jeans look!! I am so excited to watch this take place. I really love when TN’s tell their own story. I already have a few more from this shop that I have on my wish list so I have to say I am beyond happy. The company also includes a charm and so many other wonderful little goodies. My tip for you is to opt for the expedited shipping and it takes about a week from the time you place your order and for it to show up on your door step!

Do You have any TNs’ you feel like I NEED to have in my collection? If so PLEASE include it in the comments!!

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So the great thing about the challenge this year is that there are two versions!! At first I felt hesitant having a second version but I think really it’s a great idea because this way if you have an established planner set up there is no need to disrupt anything. If you are unfamiliar with the challenge please be sure to check out years past because it has been going on since 2014 and each year more and more people are joining and coming up with some amazing ideas and have seen some great improvements!!

So for the second version it focuses on more of a project and you can interpret that however you would like. I personally love creating journals that have everything all in one also known as a omnijournal or a commonplace book. I love the idea of having what is in the news, daily chronicling and notes about anything and everything. I also thought that I would create lists and do my brain dumps in there as well. It’s just a great way to time capsule your life. I did this, kind of, a few years back and I love having it on my shelf and looking back through it. With this set up I don’t need to disrupt my planner setup and I’m creating a wonderful keepsake. I decided to call this the fauxbobujo. Fauxbo- is the name I made up when I came up with the my own version of the hobonichi and using the Miguel Ruis journal to do this, and the bujo is for my own spin on the bullet journal.

Week one has been wonderful and I have been in LOVE with my setup and what I decided to use to do my work in. I decided to go with a leatherology junior pad folio that I had DSC_0100purchased a while back from amazon. The reason I went with this because I have a minor obsession with zip cases. I want to be able to carry this around with me wherever I go and so having it be a zip I know I won’t lose pens or anything else that I stuff in there. The notebook that I chose to go with is a Baron Fig. This notebook I had purchased several years ago. It was a kickstarter company and their mission was to come up with the perfect notebook. I would agree that it’s the perfect size and works well with all media. The only thing with watercolor washes is that the paper can pill if you use too much water but otherwise it is able to take fountain pens and really anything else I have tried. DSC_0102

The inside pocket I have kept very simple. I placed a bullet journal stencil in there because there are so many cute icons in there that really come in handy whenever you want to point something out or use in a journal page. I also just threw in some sticky post it notes because they are great for quickly jotting down ideas or a list to later come back to and really make sense of it in my fauxbobujo. I love post it’s to help capture quick things you are thinking so that you don’t forget about them later!

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I have a relatively simple setup to represent the month. I do not use this for planning or anything like that it’s really to jot things down to commemorate the month. I like to remember when things happen, even little things like a doctor appointment or a really fun day at the pool. For me this keeps a really wonderful time capsule that I can look back on and really enjoy the memories. Time goes by so quickly and days can feel like they blend into one another so having this helps me to capture those moments forever. Some of the things that I love to capture in my journal are new recipes. It’s just a great way to keep them as well as fun to see what I was cooking and when. I love following Jenny Penton and she has a blog with so so many wonderful recipes that ALWAYS turn out great!DSC_0104

This Lasagne recipe was so incredibly delicious that my husband thought it was restaurant quality. The one thing that is better is that you know exactly what you put in it and using the freshest ingredients makes it so incredible!!

Sometimes I don’t always color the pages and will come back to them to color. I made the mistake of using a paper mate flair and so when things splashed onto it somethings got smeared but I quickly realized this issue and moving forward I’m using my carbon ink. DSC_0105  I added a cute coral reef drawing from one of my daughters favorite books. She loves anything and everything under the sea but especially all the different coral reefs and I wanted to capture that. Here you can see that I used some watercolor and the pages crinkled beautifully and I love how they feel but again too much water will pill the paper. No bleed through and the paper dried very quickly.  The colors also don’t show their true vibrancy but it’s ok it’s the moment that is captured and what I wanted the most.  We went to a birthday party for my cousins daughter and it was so much fun because they had a petting zoo. My daughter of course had an immediate connection to the turtle and chicken so of course I had to draw them into my journal. DSC_0106I left these sketches in black and white for now but I may come back and color them in at some point and time. I like to leave things sometimes in their simplest form and then other times I want to come in with color and make things come to life. I also decided that I wanted this journal to come with me everywhere that we go this month so I took it with me to the beach. I’m still relatively shy when it comes to drawing in public. I feel so ‘naked’ and exposed so I am still  really getting use to it but I am trying to venture out and do this more and more whenever I can.DSC_0107 I managed to do two quick sketches just to capture the day. It’s hard with a toddler running around but when my husband took my daughter into the water I felt like this was a great opportunity to catch some moments.  Oh the page next to my beach sketch I had just come in from walking Hankie and I just absolutely love the summer symphony. I love all the little critters outside that make all the beautiful sounds I could listen to it all night long. Whenever the locusts sing out I just feel like summer is really hear and I love and am so thankful for all the little critters that make summer so wonderful.

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Planning things  out for the summer can be really fun and enjoyable. What I decided to do was draw some suitcases and backpacks and list out what I want to pack up in each. The beauty of doing this in a bullet journal style is that I have the pages numbered with the index in the front. This index is such a vital tool because I can so quickly and easily find what I am looking for. You can of course use tabs which I am still tinkering with the idea but for now the index is providing me with the perfect way to navigate my notebook!!

This is what my first week has looked like so far. I will continue to update on my Youtube channel as well as on here with more upclose photos. Are you taking part in the challenge? How is it going for you?

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