• 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 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!

  • January 25, 2017

    January Round Up

    OOoooh man.  This month isn’t over yet?  Really?  Still going for about one more week, eh?

    I’m pretty darn over it.

    First of all: the snow.  Good gracious God in heaven, the snow.  This January we’ve broken records with the snow.  Now, I am a mountain girl and totally ok with snow and all that…. But this city of mine ain’t really ready to deal with what Mother Nature is layin’ down!  I actually shoveled the street in front of my house a couple weeks ago.  Yes, you read that right, I shoveled the street.  Frankly, there were no other options besides staying home for all of January.  So. Yeah.

    You’d think with all that snow, I would have had lots of time to read lots of books.  Joke’s on you though, because I was shoveling all that snow in my street instead of reading.  For January, I was only able to just keep up with my book club requirements with A Day of Honey by Annia Ciazadlo and Gulp by Mary Roach.  I enjoyed A Day of Honey, but I really loved Gulp.  She is super provocative and sarcastic – it actually made me think about Jenny Lawson’s books a lot.  Can’t wait to see what the other ladies at book club think about it!

    There were a couple of new (well, new and new to me) shows I have been enjoying.  The first was A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix.  Can I just say that Neil Patrick Harris is a genius?  And that I love him?  It. Is. So. Good.  The second show I’ve been obsessing over is Jane the Virgin, which I never thought I’d say.  Actually, I never thought I’d watch it, let alone love it.  For those skeptics like I once was… just give it a try.  It’s way too complicated to really explain here, but it’s basically an Americanized telenovela with all the drama you’d expect, but also with lots of great humor to balance it out.  Please, just go watch a few episodes, ok?  Ok.

    This month we are also starting up a new D&D campaign, so I’ve been doing some character building.  I’ll be playing a gnome wizard named Moonie Mugglewump and I’m really excited about her!  Think, Luna from Harry Potter mixed with Kvothe from the Kingkiller Chronicles and a bit of Judy Hopps from Zootopia.  Fun, right?  First game is this weekend, so we’ll see how I get back in the swing of it all!

    Aaaand the last thing I have to share with you for January is that I’ve started a Bullet Journal.  I’ll do another more detailed post sometime about bullet journaling, but suffice it to say that I like the layout options and tracking method a lot so far.  I have been enjoying the creative aspects and also use it to help with mindfulness.  I am not a great artist, but there is hope, I think, for me yet!

    So, there you have it.  This was my… interesting… January (sans political issues/concerns/ fears/hopes/whatever because this should be a happy place for me and for anyone out there who is reading).  Here’s hoping that February will have better surprises in store!

  • January 11, 2017

    Books of 2016

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    If you’ve been reading the Bliggity Blog for awhile, you will know that a couple of years ago I challenged myself to read a book with a title from every letter of the alphabet.  Well, 2016 is the year I finally finished the challenge!  The last few letters were:

    E – Every Last Tie by David Kaczynski

    N – Name of the Wind (Kingkiller #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

    R – Reading Lolitta in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

    T – Ten Days in a Mad House by Nellie Bly

    V – Valentine Grey by Sandi Toksvig

    X – X-it by Jane George

    Once the challenge was complete, I kinda went to town with all the books I’ve been hanging on to as well as a bunch of books for book club!  I’ve really enjoyed having a group to read and discuss books with – it’s been really wonderful and I’m tempted to join another (goodness… would I have time?  Maybe a YA lit group?).  Anyway, in the past, I’ve always given a synopsis or review of the books I read, but this year there are just too many.  I enjoyed most of these books, though, and would recommend them all to the right reader!  :)

    Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

    You’re Never Weird on the Internet  (Almost) by Felicia Day

    An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Alder

    Push by Sapphire

    Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

    The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller #2) by Patrick Rothfuss

    As Always, Julia edited by Joan Reardon

    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

    A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

    The Rat Queens

    Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya van Bremzen

    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

    Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

    The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

    Stir by Jessica Fechtor

    I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

    Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

    Buffering by Hannah Hart

    Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

    Currently, I am reading A Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo for book club and it’s been really good.  I’ll continue to keep record and share with you how things are going and what I’m new things I’m finding!  Right  now, I am on track for my goal of reading 30 books in the year before I turn 30!  :)

  • December 28, 2016

    December Round Up

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    Whelp, looks like I managed to miss most of December, huh?  *sigh*  My goal was to have a homemade Christmas, which we did… but I totally underestimated how much time that would consume!  So, here we are with the monthly round  up and I’ll try to touch on everything we enjoyed this past month!

    dining-room

    nativity

    As soon as Thanksgiving was over (ok, ok, ok… a little, teensy bit before it was really over) I pulled out all of my Christmas decorations and went to town on our house.  And since I felt like we needed a little extra cheer this year, I found a pencil tree to put in our entry way too!  So.  Two trees.  I threatened to put up a third, but lost the oomph to do it.  Ah, well, there’s always next year, eh?

    little-tree

    big-tree

    2015

    Then it was time to get started on my Homemade Christmas goal from my 30 before 30 list!

    ornaments-in-progress

    stitches

    The first craft I started was these beautiful Nordic inspired ornaments.  These became gifts for family and friends and were a lot of fun to make!  We also decorated our own home with them – we tried to stick to a red and white theme this year and they added something really special on the tree.

    cookies

    In addition to ornaments, we gave friends and family Christmas cookies.  I made so. many. cookies.  And I learned how to use a cookie press (I think I need one of my own now…) for Danish vanilla cookies.  Oh, and the bread!  I made eggnog bread  and monkey bread for Christmas morning!  I was in the kitchen a lot this December!  *nods*  So glad my folks took care of us for Christmas dinner!

    crafty-nativity

    Another craft project I worked on was this beautiful nativity.  I’ve always been frustrated that I can’t find a realistic nativity with Middle Eastern people – Jesus was not white, ya’ll!  Anyway, I loved the concept of the silhouettes, so that solved it all for me!  :)  Click here for full instructions and info on where to get the vinyl designs.  The last step is to spray the glass with Frosted Glass spray paint stuff… but it’s been so cold this December, I was afraid the temperatures would ruin the paint.  Next year, it’ll be frosty glass!

    socks

    Another favorite thing I did this month was the Secret Santa at work.  I always get too into it, but it’s really fun to spoil one of the amazing women I work with and let her know how much I appreciate her!  And I’ll admit, I kind of like being spoiled by someone else too!  Anyway, the most hilarious gift I received this year was socks with bandanna wearing corgi’s on them.  So silly – I really love them!  I think Ollie approves too…

    ollie

    I didn’t have a lot of time for things other than all the crazy Christmas shenanigans, so I didn’t really consume much media.  I did make it out to see Fantastic Beasts  and Where to Find Them early in the month and Rogue One the weekend it came out.  I also caught Hairspray Live on NBC and I read one book for book club – Yes Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson.  We stayed home a lot and watched old Christmas movies while I worked on crafts too, so that was fun.

    frosty

    And there you have it!  I’m pretty sure that’s all I’ve got for this month!  Sure felt busier than it looks like it was… but I learned my lesson!  I will start Christmas crafts way earlier next year!  I hope you enjoyed your holidays this year and felt the love of friends and family.  Best wishes for a safe and happy new year – see you in 2017!

  • October 5, 2016

    Boots and Sweaters: An Ode to Fall

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    The air is chill, leaves start to turn,

    Greetings, Autumn, my dearest friend.

    Summer was long and relentless,

    I’m so glad you’ve come ’round again!

    Red, yellow, and orange,

    The colors of warmth are ample,

    But you bring with you a bite and a frost,

    Of winter to come – a tiny sample.

    Oh, glorious Autumn,

    All around, the leaves are beginning to fall,

    Out come countless sweaters and boots,

    Basic girls make videos to show this seasons haul.

    Pumpkin everything, we cry!

    Out come the PSL marked Starbucks cups,

    Salted caramel, slouchy socks, and flannel,

    Even scarves and booties for their pups!

    A basic white girl who loves you, Autumn,

    That, I may be.

    But it’s okay – I really don’t mind,

    I celebrate you proudly!

     

    loved

  • August 3, 2016

    Photo Session

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    If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I got a shiny new toy for my birthday:

    Camera

    It’s a Nikon Coolpix B500.  I’m still learning my way around it, but so far I’ve been very pleased.  It’s not a DSLR, so there are some limitations as far as zooming and focusing and the manual aspect that higher end cameras offer.  That said, I think this is about as close as any point and click camera can get to a DSLR – the zoom is amazing and the images are crisp and clear!

    The reason I asked for this camera is because the DSLR we have is wonderful, but also big, expensive, and hard to take on camping, hiking, and vacations.  I needed something  better than my phone camera but less intense then the Canon Rebel!

    The first day I had the camera, we went to a winery and I snapped a few pictures of the grounds.  Totally forgot to take any of the actual wine tasting… I guess I’ll have to go back and try again!  *grin*

    Vineyard

    Grapes

    One day these will be delicious wine… and I will be back for them!

     

    Wine

    Then, last weekend, we went camping.  The spot we had wasn’t super great for pictures – truly lacking in flowers, moss, or any color really.  I did manage to get some nice shots of the lake, though, and the wildlife as well!  

    Tent

    Heron

    That zoom! O.o

     

    Fly-Away

    I hope you will enjoy watching me learn my way around this camera and getting a glimpse into my world as I go.  It’s been a lot of fun for me so far!

  • February 24, 2016

    Top 5 Apps for Android

    It’s time for another Top 5!  This time, we’re going to look at my favorite apps for Android devices (many of these apps are also available for ios, but I don’t know anything about that so… Android it is!).

    Gmail

    Ok, my number one app is actually a combination of apps an you all probably already use them, so it’s not terribly groundbreaking.  However, I feel that Google’s apps bear mentioning because I use them heavily and love their function.   I plan and write first drafts of the blog on Drive; I use Calendar to plan meals every week and keep track of everything else that is going on; I use Keep to remember things I hear on the radio, make quick notes about ideas for the blog and other things.  Maps and Gmail, of course, get lots of action as well.  Maps I use more for work than play, but I definitely rely on it pretty much whenever I go somewhere new.

     

    Podcast Republic

    My second app is Podcast Republic.  This app allows you to stream and download podcasts from tons of different sources.  Among my favorite podcasts are NPR (with several subcategories: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Hidden Brain, TED Radio Hour, and Fresh Air), several podcasts from HowStuffWorks.com (Stuff You Should Know, Stuff Mom Never Told You, ), The Art of Manliness (not just for men!), Dear Hank & John (from Hank and John Green of YouTube fame), Ear Biscuits (from Rhett and Link also of YouTube fame).  If those don’t interest you, just peruse the lists that include everything from religion to sports to politics to videogames and hobbies.

     

    WineSecretary

    The third app I love is called Wine Secretary.  This is a simple, easy to use app that allows you to track and rate the wine you drink.  I think my favorite feature is that you can take a picture of the label to help jog your memory and to help you find it again later!  There is also a feature to keep track of the wines you have in your collection (I don’t use this so much since I don’t keep that much wine on hand).

     

    Audible

    Number four is Audible.   If you aren’t already familiar, this app allows you to buy and listen to audio books.  My husband is currently using it to listen to Dutch language lessons while he runs, but we discovered it when we took our road trip to Canada and needed something to listen to!  You can set up a monthly subscription and get one book free a month and discounts on any additional books you want to get as well.

     

    CamScanner CamCard

    My fifth app is actually two similar apps: CamScanner and CamCard.  I use these more on my work phone than in my personal life, but they have been pretty helpful so far.  CamScanner allows you to take pictures of documents and will update the image so your documents are the only thing in the picture and makes them more readable (printable, even).  CamCard is similar, only it is designed for importing contacts directly from business cards.  I have found that this function is a little spotty and I almost always need to update the contact information by hand later due to wrong letters being entered and so on.  I still like this app, though, and have hopes that it will improve with time.

     

    TwoDots

    Finally, since my first favorite was sort of a generic cop-out, I think you’ve earned a bonus app!  TwoDots is a beautiful, addictive puzzle game.  I started playing this in January when I was sick and laying on the couch all day, but I have continued to play during breaks at work and down time at home.  The home screen artwork is adorable, as is the music.  The game play is pretty straightforward and seems simple, but the puzzles get increasingly difficult and the objectives change with every level, so it keeps you on your toes.  It’s defiantly worth a look if you enjoy causal game play.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed my favorite apps and maybe even found some new favorites for yourself!  What are your favorites?

  • February 17, 2016

    Adding to the Fun

    Well, friends, I think things are getting back to normal around here and I’m feeling pretty good about where we’re at so far this year!  Because I am feeling more confident in the content on this site, I am thinking about implementing some fun new aspects with social media that I think you’ll enjoy!

    Don’t worry,  you’ll still get the same level of content here at the Bliggity Blog, but  you’ll also get to enjoy Haiku Monday on Twitter (@thebliggityblog) and Photo Friday on Instagram (thebliggityblog)!  You will be able to search for this content using the hashtags #haikumonday #photofriday and #thebliggityblog   I will, of course, try to include other content on Twitter and Instagram throughout the week as well… I’m just not ready to promise too much all at once!

    I hope you will enjoy this new content!  I also hope you’ll be patient with me as I get into the new routine and try to keep up with it all!  ;)

  • January 13, 2016

    Books of 2015

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    In 2014, I challenged myself to read a book with a title from every letter in the alphabet.  I wasn’t able to complete that challenge in 2014, so I continued it in 2015 (and will finish up in 2016).  Jeeze, I feel like I’m a really slow reader!  I think part of it is that I’ve read all of the Game of Thrones books in the last two years, and those books take forever to get through!  So don’t blame me, blame George RR Martin!  ha!

    Anyway, at the end of 2014, I had read letters A, B, C, F, G, H, I, K, O, and S.  In 2015, I read letters D, F (yes, again), J, L, M, P, Q, U, W, Y, and Z:

    Feast-for-Crows

    Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

     

     

    Dance-with-Dragons

    Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

     

     

    The-Joy-Luck-Club

    Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

     

     

    The-Lovely-Bones

    Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

     

     

    Me-Talk-Pretty-One-Day

    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

     

     

    Paper-Towns

    Paper Towns by John Green

     

     

    Quiet

    Quiet by Susan Cain

     

     

    Under-the-Udala-Trees

    Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

     

     

    Wild

    Wild by Cheryl Strayed

     

     

    Yes-Please

    Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

     

     

    Zel

    Zel by Donna Jo Napoli

     

     

    In 2016, I’ll be looking for titles that start with E, N, R, T, V, and X to complete my reading quest!