Why I’m Keeping a Bullet Journal in 2018

Does anyone else have a bullet journal? Is anyone trying bullet journaling for the first time this year?

I started bullet journaling in late 2016. My first bullet journal was a way to track my activities, like what shows I watched and my daily mood. I bullet journaled sporadically last year, but I noticed that I did it consistently for my work activities. For 2018, I want to get into the habit of bullet journaling regularly to meet my other goals.

Bullet Journal - January 2018

The first two pages of my January 2018 layout. My bullet journal is a Leuchtturm1917 A5 size and the decoration was done with Stabilo Fine Liners and Sakura Jelly Roll pens.

What I like about keeping a bullet journal

  • I have complete control of the layout. Unlike some pre-printed planners, I can customize my bullet journal exactly to my needs. I can list and track what interests me the most. Additionally, it feels more “trackable” to see my goals and activities displayed this way.
  • Similar to others that keep a bullet journal, I utilize symbols to list and track my tasks. For example, a star next to a task indicates that it’s high priority.
  • Though bullet journals don’t have to be highly decorated, the decorative aspect appeals to me. I love using stickers, my never-ending collection of washi tape, markers…you get the picture!

What I want to track this year

  • I have a separate bullet journal for blog activities. I use it to collect ideas for blog posts, track my “must-do” activities, and set monthly goals.
  • I’m making an effort to read more in 2018, so I made a fun page to track my progress (perhaps I’ll feature this soon!).
  • I’ll be tracking aspects of my health since I’m focusing on healing and becoming a better version of myself.
  • Wayne and I are closely monitoring our finances as we move closer to buying a home and starting a family.
  • I want to be more cognizant of career opportunities. I realized that I need to be more aggressive about things like networking and training so I can follow my dreams.

Do you bullet journal? How are you planning to keep organized this year?

Artfully Megan Signature

My 2018 Word of the Year : Love

Lately I’ve noticed a trend where people select a “word of the year” at the beginning of each year. This word will set the tone for the 365 days to come. The word I’ve selected for 2018 is “love.”

2018 Word of the Year - Love

Art Journal Page – Gesso and Marabu Art Spray over Caran D’Ache Neocolor II Artist Crayons. Detail done with Stabilo Fine Liners, markers, and paint pens.

Why “love?”

I chose the word “love” because it’s what I’d like to radiate into the world. It feels like social media sometimes makes us critical of ourselves. 2017 was an especially tough year for me, and I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere with my goals no matter how hard I tried. I know there have been times that I judged myself based on someone else’s highlight reel. I had forgotten that the road to success isn’t linear and we all have our struggles.

My word is “love” because I want to focus on loving myself and others as much as possible.

For me…

  1. Focus on my health: my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs
  2. Do what I love: make time for it and don’t keep pushing it to the back burner
  3. Accept myself: stop trying to be the person others think I should be

For others…

  1. Step up for BEE Liberia: leave a legacy in volunteerism
  2. Go outside my comfort zone: discuss my feelings and show appreciation
  3. Be kind, compassionate, and understanding: start at home! Be the best wife, daughter, sister, and friend that I can be.

We may often think that to change the world, we must do something grand and earth-shattering. I think that we underestimate the everyday things that make such a huge difference in bettering ourselves and helping others. Love can do so much, and that’s why I’ve chosen it as my word of the year.

Have you picked a word of the year? Have you set any new goals or made any resolutions?

Artfully Megan Signature

Keeping Creative While On Vacation

What do you do when your company introduces a “use it or lose it” vacation policy? Take vacation, of course! I took five days off for a total of 11 glorious days away from the office.

Canada and New Jersey

I spent the first part of my vacation prepping for a trip to Canada to attend my cousin’s wedding. Though uncharacteristic (I prefer to be a passenger), I drove the ten hours both ways. I don’t know if it was the picturesque hill views or the changing autumn leaves (or the awesome playlist!), but it was as if a calmness took over that helped me get through it.

On the way up, I was reminded of the ways that art is everywhere. We stopped at a rest stop shortly after crossing over the Pennsylvania border into New York. As I waited for my husband and my brother, I noticed a framed message on the wall. It indicated that the glass sculpture above was on loan from the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.

I looked up and saw a fun sculpture with colorful glass orbs. I’ve really been liking glass lately and have always wanted to try glassblowing, so hopefully I can make it to the museum sometime!

Glass Sculpture at New York Rest Area

Glass sculpture at New York rest area, on loan from Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.

After our Canada trip, I had a few days of downtime to tidy our apartment and do some baking for Thanksgiving (oatmeal cookies and a poke cake, for anyone curious!). Though we live in Pennsylvania, my husband and I are both New Jersey natives. For Thanksgiving, we visited both of our families–his in North Jersey and mine in South Jersey. There were so many people to see and catch up with that almost every day was packed full of activities.

Travel Setup

Somehow I managed to find a little bit of time to work on more creative things. Everywhere I went, I toted my journal and sketchbook. Here’s what I brought with me!

Travel-Setup-Journal-Sketchbook

What I traveled with throughout the Thanksgiving 2017 holidays.

  • A Colorful Life Journal
    Posman BooksPonce City Market in Atlanta, GA
    I purchased this journal when we vacationed in Atlanta in August. I’ve been using it to collect my thoughts and memories.
  • Fabriano Sketchbook
    I received this sketchbook as part of my SketchBox subscription a few months ago. It’s thin (only 40 sheets), but it’s perfect to travel with when I go away for work or on vacation. Pictured is my first page, which is a work-in-progress black and white dot drawing of Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’m still working on it, but I hope to fill it completely with dot drawings done while traveling.
  • Slim Pencil Case
    Phenomenal Women Shop – Etsy
    I have only ordered from this shop once, but I use their products on a regular basis and think the quality is great! The slim pencil pouch is petite, but can hold a lot more than what’s pictured here. The material is soft and durable. There are several items in varied materials in their shop, and I would definitely recommend them!
  • Mechanical Pencil (Papermate Clear Point 0.7mm) and Pen (BIC Velocity 1.0)
    I do have my favorites, but I’m not picky with what I carry in my travel pencil case. These do just fine!
  • Sakura Pigma Micron Pens (02, 03, and 05)
    These were the same kind of pen I used when I was first drawing with pen and ink! I like Sakura products and use them in so many of my projects. I find that these work well for the dot drawings and help me to get neat, precise lines and dots.

What did you do over the Thanksgiving holidays? If you traveled, did you pack any of your creative projects to take with you?

Artfully Megan Signature

Back from a 2 Year Hiatus

Would you believe I haven’t posted in almost two years? Writing again after all this time feels surreal, but I told myself when I first created the blog that I’d make every effort to come back.

Since I took a two-year hiatus, many things in my life have grown and changed.

Marriage

One of the biggest things that happened was that I got married!

Artfully Megan Wedding - 2016

Artfully Megan Wedding, October 2016 (photo credit: VESA Studios)

My then-boyfriend proposed in March 2015 after six years of dating. Together with our families, we entered full-blown wedding planning mode for the next year and a half. We scoped out vendors and venues, shopped for our rings, and I hunted for the dress (it was the third one I tried on, by the way!). We regularly met with my pastor to prepare and we educated ourselves on the Filipino wedding traditions I wanted to incorporate.

The planning process wasn’t necessarily a walk in the park, but it wasn’t at all the nuisance that’s portrayed in television and movies. The planning was somewhat enjoyable, and we had a blast celebrating with family and friends when our wedding day finally came in October 2016.

We’ve been married for over a year now and the adventures continue. Over the past year, we revisited our favorite places and discovered some new ones. We never honeymooned, so our first “real vacation” as a married couple was to see the Great American Eclipse. In August, we traveled to Atlanta, GA and Columbia, SC to sightsee and personally witness the eclipse. It was a great experience and we’re already making plans for our next vacation.

The Cats

Remember Nala, the brown tabby cat that I adopted in 2012? In February of this year, we adopted another cat and named her Peggy (previously known as Ruby).

Nala and Peggy cats

Nala and Peggy “bunking!”

Even though I was thrilled to have Nala as a companion, I still occasionally browsed the adoptable cats online. One day, one cat in particular caught my eye. She was a 12 year-old orange tabby that was missing a foot. She was with her foster mother for a whopping seven years! Formerly an outside kitty, she lost her foot when she was hit by a tractor. A homeless man was her first caretaker. He diligently poured peroxide on her leg and eventually it healed. We adopted Peggy on a trial basis for a few weeks and slowly introduced her to Nala.

Peggy came from a foster home where she lived with many other cats, but really prefers to be left alone. It took a while for our cats to find a balance between Nala’s little sister-like playfulness and Peggy’s laid-back personality, but having them both is so wonderful. They’ve successfully coexisted for the last nine months. It’s heartwarming to witness when they’re being social and booping noses or “bunking” on the couch.

Volunteering

A few months ago I took the next step in my job search by notifying my manager that I wanted to change my career path. It was intimidating at first, but the search feels more promising than ever.  After I made my goals known, I realized all the support I have. I feel like I’m on the precipice of making that long desired change. I’m looking forward to getting off the road, spending more time with my family, and nurturing my personal hobbies and interests.

BEE Liberia

BEE Liberia social media image. Visit BEE Liberia at www.beeliberia.org and follow us on Instagram (@beeliberia)!

In May 2016, I joined BEE Liberia as a volunteer to use my skills for good. I was installed as their Director of Social Media and Marketing earlier this year. It’s been the perfect opportunity to use my education as a marketing graduate (fun fact!) and my creativity to change the world. BEE Liberia is a nonprofit based out of Boothwyn, PA. It strives to empower and inspire Liberian children by providing education and social services to the surrounding community. It’s truly a blessing to work with this group. With every idea I bring to the table and every piece of content I create, I know that I am making a difference.

What’s Next?

Many wonderful things have happened these past two years, but I’ve still felt a little unmotivated and depressed. My art and journaling practices are inconsistent, which is very detrimental to my spirit. Long stretches of time just seem to disappear in my memory and I think I’ve now gotten to the point where I will not accept it. I want to live more mindfully and encourage myself to indulge in my passions.

It would be too ambitious of me to expect a flip-of-the-switch change. After all, life isn’t usually experienced at a constant high. I’m just looking forward to getting to a place in my life where all the pieces are working in harmony and contributing to my well-being rather than creating more stress.

Hopefully I can continue to better myself and blog about these experiences along the way!Artfully Megan Signature