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Tag: journaling

Bullet Journaling in 2020

Bullet Journaling in 2020

As we face another potential lockdown, I’ve been thinking a lot about things I can do to make hibernating through winter a little easier. More crafts, more writing, more reading, more journaling. I’ve always loved to journal, & have definitely covered a lot of my bullet journal journey. However, it’s evolved again since the last time I blogged about it. I think this is my best iteration to date.

In the last five years or so that I’ve been journaling this way, I’ve gone from setting it up as the bullet journal site suggests to adapting it in pretty much every way to be my own. I’m not sure bullet journal really fits how I use it anymore, but it’s always been the inspiration behind this style of journal. I’ve just changed it to switch my changing needs and aesthetic. I guess that’s the beauty of this style of journal/planner, & most of the reason I’ve stuck with it for so long. You can essentially make it whatever you want.

Pens, my other favourite part of hand lettering & journaling

Let’s start with the biggest change: the physical journal. I was a pretty diehard moleskine fan. I’m talking stacks of them, from travel journals to my original bullet journals. I used the regular lined ones before switching to graph paper with the bujo.

Two years ago, I switched to leuchtturm1917. Now that I’ve used them for a couple years, I can safely say that they hold up better. They also use points to make the grid instead of solid lines, which I like the look of a lot more. The other main difference is that they have two bookmarks. Since I used this as a hybrid planner & journal, this is helpful to mark my weekly journal page as well as that month’s overview calendar. I find I’m pretty good at keeping up to date on the planner side, allowing me to go back & journal those events when I ultimately get behind.

Moleskine, Leuchtturm, Minted, Promptly

The other big shift I made was in how I set everything up. My current approach is significantly more formulaic. Journal time feels more limited these days so I found myself with more & more blank pages. It was clear my process wasn’t serving me anymore, so I switched up my layout a bit.

Weekly Bullet Journal Layout
New Layout, who dis?

Every month, I still sit down & draw out my monthly layout. I’ve outline this in the past. It takes a bit of time, but I really enjoy this part. I prefer this more visual monthly layout to the linear one more typical of the bujo style. It’s also where I get to practice little doodles & work on my hand lettering.

Monthly Bullet Journal Layout
December 2020 Layout
Monthly Bullet Journal Layout
February 2020 Layout

Each week, I use a two-page spread. On the left, I evenly break up the page into 7 sections – one for each day. This is where the graph design really comes in handy. I put all my appointments, events, and Annika’s mini milestones here. I like to colour code them a bit to keep it all organized. Everything Annika-related is in pink, for instance. These little notes are the only reason I’ve been able to keep up with her baby books & create photo books.

Since the planner page is super quick to set up, I don’t usually do them ahead of time. This is the part I like best – it’s super adaptable. I generally use the page on the right to journal. I can jot down a few things here & there throughout the week, but if I happen to need more than one page or I want to add something else in (like book club, Christmas lists, or travel thoughts when we can do that again), I have the flexibility to push the next planner page.

Bullet Journal Layout Setup
Setting up a new week

That’s it – my simplified bullet journal/planner system. What’s on your list of new (or renewed) projects for this winter? Share your new fun quarantine projects & old standbys to get us through this winter!

New Year, Same Me

2018 New Year's Resolutions

New year, New me? I’ve been seeing a lot of this sentiment around the internet so far this year, & I have some serious issues with it. Resolutions go hand in hand with ringing in the new year, but I’ve personally never been a huge fan. I’m even less fond of this idea that there’s something wrong with last year’s version of myself. In fact, it makes me a little bit angry that it seems to be trending this year.

Let’s be clear: Goals are great, striving to be a better version of yourself is great, putting a plan to reach your dreams in place is great. If you think you need a whole new you this year though, I’m concerned. I don’t believe for a second there aren’t lessons to be learned & things to cherish about 2017 you.

I spent the first week of January really thinking about what I wanted to do this year, where I wanted to be at this time next year, & from there, set some intentions. I’m over the whole resolution thing right now. We’re going with 2018 intentions. Deal with it.

I bought a new Bullet Journal & put them on the very first page, front & center.

1. Move Daily

Movement is such an integral piece of the puzzle for me, even if it just means getting out for a walk with Odin. It gives me a chance to clear my head, look at things from a different perspective, & get away from life’s many distractions. I always feel better when I’m making this a priority. I’ve kicked off this year with a 4080 running challenge, & I’m on track to complete my 40 km in 2 weeks. It’s been a great way to make running a habit right out of the gate, & a fantastic reminder that going for a run is as simple as lacing up my shoes & heading out the door.

2. Get More Sleep

I’m such a night owl, & notorious for staying up well past 11. I’m especially bad for doing this when N is away. I’ve changed my phone settings to dim the light. I’ve got a bunch of books I want to get through. I’m going to stop pushing that bedtime back.

3. Write Often

This is usually a theme for me. I love writing & journaling, & I so appreciate when I give myself the time to do both. I want to blog more – I have a lot of great ideas to share on here. & I’ve got a better BuJo layout this year for more sporadic journaling. I started using in in SF, & it worked really well, so I’m hoping to carry this forward.

4. Practice Patience

I am not an overly patient person. I’m passionate & opinionated, & generally quick to speak my mind. Impatience is not my favourite quality, so I’d like to work on that this year. Be kinder to people, take a breath before I speak my mind, let it go.

Bullet Journal

& that’s it. I’m keeping it simple this year with just four goals. Same old me, focused on a few new things. What do you think of New Year’s Resolutions? Do you have any goals, big or small, for this year?



In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations & this #metoo movement flooding my social media feeds, I’ve done a lot of thinking. None of it is overly original or groundbreaking, but I wanted to share a little nonetheless.

Like so many, I posted a #metoo status a couple weeks ago without elaborating on the who or the why or the what. I posted only these two simple words to my social media. I had a few reasons for this, & I wanted to talk a little bit about them.

Let me start my saying, I don’t think I or anyone else needs to shed light on any of the reasons for posting this status. In some ways, there are too many uncomfortable examples of misogyny, harassment, & worse, abuse, in every woman I know’s life. We’ve all felt threatened at some point. We’ve all had to think of a possible terrible outcome that many men are lucky to have never considered. That’s the everyday reality for women. I don’t feel that I need to highlight examples of this in my own life, & I don’t want to validate them by doing so. So I didn’t.

The bigger reason I hesitated to post anything though is that it didn’t feel bad enough. I lead a fantastic life. I’m extremely lucky & immeasurably privileged. I know many women who have suffered so much, & I don’t feel that I have. So at first, I felt silly posting anything at all. How many times have we heard that in the last few weeks? How many times have we to listened to someone downplaying the harassment they’ve faced, because “it really could be a whole lot worse”? But that’s what we do. That’s what society has honestly taught so many of us. It’s not that bad. Others have it worse. Maybe it’s even partially a coping mechanism. I don’t know.

Talking about these things and shedding light on the problem doesn’t take away from anything that’s happened to someone else. It doesn’t make it less. Truthfully, I think it raises more awareness about what is ok & what isn’t.

We’re all stronger together. & I hope someday I’m not still having this conversation with my children. I’m leaving this post with more questions than answers, but also with the hope that by starting a conversation, we’re heading in the right direction.

On Patience

Alanna running NP

(photo by Pete for November Project)

I am not a very patient person. I dread waiting in lines or sitting in traffic. When I set my mind to do something, I want to do it right away.

I set a goal to start working out with November Project during my #SoberSeptember last year, & I completely fell in love with not only the workouts, but the wonderful people as well. I looked forward to Monday & Wednesday mornings all fall, & rarely missed a workout. Then, in late November, I noticed my knee was starting to bug me. It was especially bothersome when I ran stairs. I put off seeing a physio until mid December for fear of having to give up my workouts, just as they’d become a staple in weekly routine.

It turned out I had a fair bit of swelling in both my knees. My right knee had been the one giving me grief, but my left was actually weaker. My physio told me I had something called patellofemoral syndrome: the muscles around my knees don’t keep my kneecaps properly aligned, likely due to an imbalance in my quad muscles. This is causing damage to my cartilage. This damage is what’s behind the swelling & pain. Apparently, you can’t rebuild cartilage, so he suggested we start working on realigning things right away.

He warned me that it would be a long, boring process. I’d also have to take a break from some of my favourite things, namely running stairs (& running in general). Having just hit such a groove with November Project, I was pretty bummed at this news. I’ve also never truly been injured enough to have to stop any activities. I’m stubborn & impatient so I knew this wouldn’t be easy for me, but I was determined to listen to my physio. I really committed to all my exercises, & worked on them diligently.

Over the last several months, I’ve had to compromise on a lot of things I love to do, fitness-wise. I’m still going to gymnastics. I still go to November Project. I still bike to & from work, & take Odin on long walks & hikes. There are still so many things that I can do. I’m trying to focus on that. I don’t run the stairs at NP or go for runs (except this one time I did a huge scavenger hunt a couple weeks ago. Whoops!). I’m still working away at my constantly evolving slew of quad & glute exercises. & my physio was right – it’s long & boring.

I signed up to run the SeaWheeze again back in the fall, & training was set to begin this week. I was optimistic that I’d be cleared to start running again after my appointment last week, just in time to start this training & join some of the running groups I’ve been looking forward to. Unfortunately, my left knee is only at about 80%. Until there’s no more swelling, I have to keep working on more exercises & stay away from running. It was frustrating news to get, especially considering I’d been diligent with all my exercises. & I’m just not that patient. I’m not used to being sidelined.

I’m still planning to run the SeaWheeze this summer, as it’s one of my favourite races, but I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the fact that it will likely be my slowest race to date. As a fairly competitive personality, this is also something I don’t do well with. It’s a tough pill to swallow knowing I won’t be able to push as hard as I’d like in my race. In about 6 weeks, I’ll go back to my physio, hopefully without any swelling, &  be cleared to start run training (which should be really interesting over our three weeks in Europe!). For now, I’m substituting my runs with biking & strength training. It’s not quite the same, & I find spring is when I most want to be out there on the river paths, but it’s better than nothing.

I realize this injury is a tiny blip in the grand scheme of things, but it’s definitely testing my patience. I’m trying to be grateful for everything that I can do, because I truly can still do so many of the things I really love. I know I’ll be back out there soon, & I’ll appreciate it all the more.

Ch-ch-changes (again)

de Boer Family Photo 2017

Just as we’ve settled into thinking we were going to be a bit more settled for a while, life decides to shake things up. A bit of background: N & I have spent the better part of our relationship doing some form of long distance.

Our relationship began a few months before my imminent cross-country move; we spent those first two years seeing each other infrequently, at best. When I moved back to Calgary, much of N’s work was based out of town, so he left for short periods fairly often. Then when he moved to his current company, we knew he’d be spending even more time out of town since most of their projects are on a rotation of some sort. We are no strangers to being apart.

In January, he found himself back in the Calgary office. We were preparing ourselves for an eventual out of town offer, as they don’t have as much work here right now. We’d discussed what we were willing to do, & what we weren’t, but then suddenly it seemed like he might be staying in town. You could say we were cautiously optimistic.

One Thursday a couple weeks ago, his boss approached him about moving to San Francisco. It was one of the options we’d known was a possibility, so we weren’t taken totally off guard, but we were surprised to find that it was back on the table so suddenly. We were told that with the current political situation in the States, it would take a little longer than the usual month for N to get his visa. Coupled with him needing to renew his passport, we figured we had some time. Turns out, we don’t, & he’s already preparing to leave this month.

So, here we go again with this long distance thing. N is moving down to San Francisco, (on a sort of three week rotation, keeping his Canadian salary, benefits, etc) while I stay here in Calgary. There were a lot of factors that went into this particular decision, & it’s hard to know if it’s the right one. One of the big ones was I wasn’t sure I was ready to be jobless in the US. It’s easy to imagine it would be fun to go down & freelance or blog or volunteer, but I think it’s harder to actually do it, & be without any kind of real income.

It’s certainly going to be an interesting adventure. N gets weekends off during the 3 weeks he’s down there, so he’ll get lots of time to explore the Bay Area & San Francisco. That part makes it a bit of a cool opportunity. Neither of us have ever been to the area, so we’re making plans to spend some time there together too. We’ve also got some Europe plans to look forward to. Overall, we’re optimistic that we can make the best of it & it’s only temporary. It’s a lot easier when we know it’s temporary.

Have you ever done long distance? Do you have any tips for us for living in the Bay Area? We’d love to hear them, if you do!

2017 Resolutions

Bullet Journal Resolution

​You can’t walk into a gym or fitness class this month without​ ​it becoming immediately apparent that it’s January.While I personally​ ​stand by the fact that the best time to make change is when you’re ready to do so I ​also​ ​t​end to recommit to my goals in the new year. Like a brand new notebook, a fresh outlook on your goals is just what I need sometimes.

Now I realize most people posted their resolutions much earlier in January, but well, I didn’t. Clearly. I’m not even sure why.​ Oh well.​ I figure this is better late than never, as I have been working on a few different things​ behind the scenes & I’d like to share how that’s going​.

One of the biggest changes to my goals setting this year is the added element of tracking. I’ve kept a bullet journal for a few years now, & it’s constantly evolving. The tracking aspect is something I started with my latest journal, & I really love it. I’m finding it keeps me more accountable to my goals because I’m so much more aware of where I need to reevaluate. This is such a good example of why I think change needs to happen as soon as you feel you need it. I started this fresh journal, with tracking goals a couple months ago, instead of waiting for the new year.

I’ve set up my BuJo to document on a weekly basis. I find tracking within a shorter time frame much easier. I like the idea of a monthly tracker, however, so far I don’t find it really works. We’ll see how that goes over the course of this year. I’m interested to see what changes. I’m sure both my method & my actual goals will evolve, & that’s what I love most about this style of journal: the flexibility.

Currently, my weekly goals are mostly health-related. I’m trying to drink more water, get some kind of fitness in several times a week, eat well, walk daily, & get to sleep before 11 pm. In addition, I’m trying to be more aware of what I spend on a weekly basis. I find it easier to hold myself accountable this way, so I’m tracking that too. We have a big trip coming up this year, & I’d like to have some extra spending money tucked away.

Bullet Journal Resolution

So that’s where I stand on New Years Resolutions this year. I’m taking a little more active role in what I’d like to accomplish, & hoping it continues to work well for me!

What do you think of New Years Resolutions? Do you have any goals, big or small, for this year?

A year of Bullet Journaling

Moleskin Bullet

Around this time last year, I blogged about my plan to try the Bullet Journal.  Since then, I’ve used this style of day timer meets journal meets to-do list to keep track of tasks & daily life. As they always tend to surge in popularity this time of year, I thought I’d do a little update on where I am today with it.

I started out following the Bullet Journal website pretty closely at first. I’d set up a Monthly log with a calendar page & a task page, followed by my daily logs & category pages.I kept this up until April, when I noticed I’d logged a singular task for the entire month. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t love this page. I cut it out going forward & just logged things as I went. Organized? Probably not overly, but it seems to work for me.

Bullet Journal

BVJ Meal Plans & my August calendar

I took a look around the Bullet Journal website this week, & there are some new changes that I think I’d like to implement to my own log. The Future Log seems like a great idea for me as I sometimes made a plan for the following month & didn’t know where to log it. I’d usually put an asterisk beside the bullet & add it to that month’s calendar when it came up, but it had a high potential for getting lost. The website was a good reminder of how to log events probably too. I moved to logging both events & tasks with a check box, which isn’t logical. I plan to get back to using the open circle for those. I think it will help to differentiate things a little more for me.

One thing I really loved over the course of the year was using the category pages for travel planning. Before our trip to BC this summer, I printed off a couple maps & made a list of the wineries I wanted to try. This kind of thing is totally my jam, & I can see myself using it even more in the future. I also enjoyed jotting down notes or blog ideas or thoughts about particular events. Not only does this come in handy when I want to write a blog post (I’m notoriously bad for writing about our trips months after the fact), but it also satisfies my need to journal. I didn’t do this nearly enough in the beginning so I’m going to make an effort to really do it for the second half of this journal.

Okinawan Winery Category

Okanagan Wineries Category Pages

Bullet Journal Details

Slowly adding more “journaling”

I’ve found myself using a couple different signifiers as well. With N away so much in the past year, I really wanted a visual representation for myself. I added a blue dot next to the dates on my calendar page to show when he’s home. It’s a really small thing, but that visual definitely keeps me organized (& helps with the countdowns to his return!). This month, I’ve added a Journal Key to keep me on track with the different symbols that I find useful. Mine are a slight variation from the standard suggestions, but in keeping with the theme.

Journal Key

My Journal Key

January bullet journal

Blue Dots in action

Normally, I’d have bought a whole new journal to start the new year fresh, but that feels so wasteful to me. This one is still perfectly good (I’m about halfway through) & my categories are still relevant so I’m going to stick with it until it’s full.

So, there you go. That’s how I Bullet Journal. Now you know the secret behind how I write all those blog posts months after the fact. If you like journaling or day timers, I highly recommend this style – it’s so adaptable, making it easier to continue using than other journals & day timers. There’s also the added advantage of it being pretty cheap! While the Bullet Journal website now sells their own journal with index & page numbers, I prefer my trusty moleskin. I use the hardcover version with graph paper & I love it. I store stamps & cheques & random notes in the flap at the back & find the graph paper is perfect for making my little task boxes. The beauty of the Bullet Journal is that you can choose your favourite notebook though, & make it whatever you want!

Moleskin Pocket

Stamp storage, notes, & workout post-its

Have you tried Bullet Journaling? What’s your favourite way to keep track of daily life?

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