• March 22, 2017

    Bullet Journal

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    I am willing to bet that you’ve already heard about bullet journaling – it seems to be all the craze right now.  I wanted to try it out before giving my assessment and thoughts on the idea, so I’ve been using my journal since the new year and am ready to share my experiences with you.

    First, though, for those of you who are not yet familiar with the system, here is a video from the original creator to help explain the idea/process:

    Ok, got it?  Pretty simple, right?  And fairly ingenious, really.

    First, my journal is a simple Moleskine, dotted, in the extra large (7.5×10) size.  My favorite thing about this journal is the dots.  While setting it up, I had considered a lined journal, but opted for the dots which afford wonderful guidance as I draw and create graphs and date boxes.  I think a lined journal could work, but you’ll have more obvious horizontal lines in your open spaces and you’ll struggle more getting the vertical lines at proper right angles.

    As I use it, I am finding that it’s a bit large to carry around and use away from home.  I like that I have room for my little drawing and such, but might give a smaller size a try next year.  I also am finding that this journal’s pages are quite thin and ink shows through so that  I can really only use one side of the page.  I have heard that the Leuchtturm brand has a bit thicker paper.

    Now, for the set up: I kept to the, sort of, standard way they recommend to start.  I have key, yearly calendar, and index pages:

    Key

    Index

    Year

    Pages to track goals, books, movies, and travel:

    Resolutions

    Books

    And then I start my months and calendars.  Each month starts with a page that includes a habit tracker, a month calendar, and space for goals that I have that month.  I also include a picture or quote here to liven the page  up a bit:

    Month

    After the initial month page, I have a page to write daily gratitudes.  These pages go along with the theme of the first page or with a holiday/feeling that I associate with the month (so, for February, it was hearts and for March, it was thistles and tea).

    Thankful

    Finally, after the gratitude page, I have each week for the month drawn out.  These pages include space for each day, a menu for the week, and a space for notes or a to-do list (this is where I use the transfer system with the >, <, X, etc symbols as suggested in the video and my Key page.

    Week

    Overall, I really like this system.  It has helped me to hold myself accountable and to remember things like sending birthday cards and scheduling appointments.  The set up time is a bit long and the book is less convenient than having an app in my phone, but I find the time setting it up and physically writing or drawing in the book is sort of meditative and does help my brain to slow down a bit.  I’ve also discovered that I am in love with washi tape and I really love experimenting with different hand lettering styles and art!

  • March 8, 2017

    Skin Care Routine

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    Many people start to see their skin look duller in their 30’s because cells do not regenerate as quickly as in your teens and 20’s.  Fine lines and dark circles, and sun spots also start to make an appearance during this time which makes your late 20’s and 30’s an essential time to start caring for your skin if, like me, you have just kind of ignored skin care in general so far in life.

    Now that I am getting older and 30 is only months away, I decided it was time to start doing some research and find out what I ought to be doing to take better care of the skin I’m in.  I learned that, in addition to my regular sunscreen and moisturizer, I will also want to add a gentle cleanser, vitamin C serum, and eye cream.

    Micellar-Water

    A gentle cleanser is super important to start with when caring for  your skin.  Remember how I said your cells won’t regenerate as quickly as they did when  you were  younger?  Well,  you don’t want to over exfoliate, but you still need to keep your skin clean and those cells moving!  Plain old soap and water is ok, but I chose Pacifica Coconut Micellar Water as my cleanser.  Micellar water works by specifically pulling dirt and oil away from your pores and skin without harsh chemicals (and doing a better job of it than soap), making it the perfect pick me up in the morning and a great way to remove light make up at the end of the day.  I chose Pacifica because it is gluten free, cruelty free, and is made in the US.  It also smells really nice and (I’ll admit I’m a sucker) the packaging is gorgeous.

    Vit-C-Serum

    Vitamin C Serum is my next essential product because it treats the onset of wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin.  Vitamin C is the only vitamin proven to actually work in anti-aging studies.  It works by producing collagen in the skin which helps tighten and firm it.  I chose Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C BB Serum because it is gluten free and cruelty free.  It also works as a serum and moisturizer, which I really like.  I apply this daily as part of my night routine.

    Eye-Cream

    The next product I’ve started using is an eye cream by bareMinerals.  Much like the vitamin C serum, eye creams are meant to reduce fine lines and plump the area around your eyes to look healthier and younger.  Eye creams also help fight dark undereye circles and tiredness in your face caused by stress and exposure to the environment.  I chose bareMinerals Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew Eye Cream because it is generally considered gluten free and is cruelty free.  I’m also pretty sure it’s made in the US.  I use this daily as part of my night routine.

    Mask

    The next two products are less essential and more fun in my mind.  First, I got the Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful Mask.  I use this once a week to help keep my skin hydrated, which it really needed during the cold winter months.  The nice thing about this mask is that you don’t have to wash it off, so it really holds the moisture in!  It’s gluten free, cruelty free, and made in the US.

    Hair-Mask

    Next is the Moroccan Oil Hydrating Mask for hair.  I use this once a week as well to keep my hair hydrated and looking good.  It is super easy to use – I just shampoo like normal, rise and squeeze as much water out of my hair as possible.  Then, massage in some of the mask and go about the rest of my shower time stuff, rinsing the mask out after 5-10 minutes.  Easy-peasy, and it smells amazing!  It is gluten free and cruelty free.

    Since starting my skin (and hair) care routine about a month ago, I feel that my skin is looking brighter, cleaner, and healthier.  It is showing fewer fine lines around my eyes and I think the dark circles are going away too.  I’ve been really happy with my choices and am starting to see why so many people are willing to throw down serious cash for these kinds of products.  I’m glad to have started caring for my skin and hair at this time in my life – it is starting to give me more confidence, not only because my skin looks good, but also because I am taking time on a daily basis to do something small but good for myself.  Having this skin care routine is almost meditative and forces me to slow down a bit and really be nice to me – no wonder it’s working!  *grin*

  • March 1, 2017

    GM Appreciation Party

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    March 4th is GM appreciation day!  If you don’t know what a GM is, you probably won’t care too terribly much about this post (sorry).  For those who do, please let me encourage you to celebrate your GM and the hard work they put into making your game nights entertaining, difficult (but not too difficult), and fun!  I’ve never been a GM myself, but I am married to mine and can tell you first hand that they pour their heart and soul into creating great games.  My husband spends a lot of time thinking about the game, writing stories, and planning encounters for the game.  He sleeps with his rule books next to the bed and has notebooks and more computer files dedicated to the game than I will probably ever know.  When he’s not planning games, he is watching other people run games on YouTube to gather ideas and improve his style.  On game weekends, we spend the whole day cleaning, prepping for the game (music, game board, etc), and generally feeling anxious about how things will go that evening.  All of this takes a lot of time and energy and I really don’t think the players in our group (or in many similar groups, from what I’ve been reading online) have even the slightest inkling how much he’s invested in the story.  So, I threw him a little GM appreciation party at our last game night (there’s no way I could pull it together for the actual day since we already had a game night scheduled for the weekend before and people are too busy to get together two weekends in a row).

    Decorations

    First, I decorated using fun party stuff I had already.  I also used templates from minieco to make paper dice that hung down all over the room.

    Close-Up

    Then, I planned the menu.  I made a tavern stew (I added 2 more cups of beef broth and lots more spices), chocolate truffles (I found inspiration here and here), and the other players provided hard cider and some of hubsters favorite snacky foods.  The decorations and food were a big hit and a lot of fun, too!

    Mini

    It was a great night and I really enjoyed putting everything together for my hubby and GM.  He works so hard, he deserves to have something nice to appreciate everything he does!