Bite the Bullet

If you’ve been following along with this blog at all in the past, you’ll know I’m a sucker for organization. When I was searching for the perfect planner for 2016 in which to write all of my world domination plans, I was stumped. So many options! And the number one thing holding me back is my current daily journal.

I’ve had my Piccadilly Essential Notebook since January 2014, and it’s been my everything. Story ideas, shopping lists, habit trackers – they’ve all gone into my little black book for

two years. I know of many planner-addict bloggers who swear by their three-planner system, but I’m a one-and-done kind of gal. Having a planner and an everything else notebook was making me a little crazy.

Then, I stumbled upon Bullet Journaling via Pinterest.

To sum it up, it’s an analog system of organization that can be applied to any blank notebook. It has basic rules in place to help you better make use of your paper system.

Mind blowing and very, very simple.

Instead of buying a new planner, I’ve started using the bullet journal system in my Piccadilly, and it’s made all the difference.

Some of the basics of bullet journaling I’m not a fan of (like the month overview page; I hardly used the one I made for January), so I skip them. The beauty of the system is that you can customize it however you like.

In fact, there are pages dedicated to so-called bullet journal “hacks” (see one below) that people have come up with. Some of the coolest ideas can be found here. Just a few more ways to personalize the system to fit your individual needs.

Can you tell I’m obsessed?

Check out the video below that explains more about Bullet Journaling:


Happy planning!

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Desk Makeover

OctMono

My bestie and I moved to Koreatown in Los Angeles back in August, but our efforts to make the place homey have been less than stellar. With Thanksgiving on the horizon – and the promise of visiting guests – we’ve started to put the place together. I hung art in my room, she organized her bathroom, and jointly we bought a cute recliner on sale from IKEA.

About a month ago, I was poring over Craigslist in search of a dining room table when I stumbled across an ad for old student desks. You know the ones – metal body, fake wooden top, made you squirm in first grade. Apparently the seller had a ton, and the more you bought, the better the deal. My DIY instincts kicked in hardcore, and I texted the number listed.

Flash forward a week and I was dragging my roommate across town to meet the guy I dubbed Craigstlist Carlos (CC for short). CC led us to a shabby backyard that was, as promised, filled to the brim with these old desks. We picked the best looking two, I paid him in cash, and were out of there like cats in a lightning storm.

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Before it received a little TLC

The makeover I had planned was largely inspired by a link my cousin // collaborator Jess sent to me on Pinterest. My roommate and I had previously agreed on an ocean // mint-esque color scheme, and so even though I was drooling over the gold, I settled instead for Rustoleum’s Ocean Mist and White Gloss.

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After separating the tops from the bottoms, I followed the instructions on the spray paint. Every 48 hours I would give each piece another coat. Spray painting is harder than it looks, I’ll tell you! Get too close and you cause it to run. Go too far away and you’re just painting the air. It took me 3 cans of Ocean Mist and 2 cans of the White Gloss to finish the project, which was completed over the span of a week and a half. Additionally, I finished the desks with a clear gloss protectant spray.

Midway through coats

Midway through coats

Another thing you learn along the way – the paint comes off very easily. One morning, after having painted the night before, I was moving the lids // desks together in my arms when they bumped up against each other, leaving a small tear in the paint. You have to be very careful, lest they be jostled in any way.

Though slightly imperfect, the desks turned out better than I’d hoped. One we are currently using as an entryway table, the other I’m temporarily utilizing as a mini desk.

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Our new entryway! Baskets courtesy of Target

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I’ve got the feeling it’s going to be a creative fall // winter!

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Write Right

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If there’s anything I’ve learned from, well, life, it’s that communication is key. Key to getting things done (and done correctly), key to learning and sharing ideas, and key to one’s well being. I’ve lived in southern Cali for almost a year now, and the one thing that eases homesickness is keeping in touch withphoto 1 my loved ones back east.

Luckily, today we have websites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to keep us in the know how. I can text my mom and Skype my dad and Snapchat my cousins all from my phone. Technology has been key to keeping me and the loop, and alternatively reassuring my family that I am, indeed, surviving out here.

One of my absolute favorite ways to say hello, though, is through a good old fashioned letter. This dates back to my American Girl stationery days – in cleaning my room, I’ve come across dozens of half-finished letters to schoolmates and family members (hey, I never said I wasn’t a procrastinator!).

Even now, there’s something fun about writing a little diddy to someone, popping it in the mailbox, and waiting expectantly for them to receive it. Because who doesn’t like getting something besides spam in the mail? It’s a personalized, handwritten treat that I think has gotten the shaft with the advent of tech.

Lately, my letter writing has gone into a slump, so over the weekend I “created” my own stationery to write to my grandparents on. A quick life summary later and voila! A letter has been born.

photo 3If you’re not feeling that ambitious, regular old stores like Target carry a variety of blank notecard & envelope packs that range from adorable to chic. The Paper Source is another letter writing haven, packed with cards to stamps and everything in between.

Happy writing!

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Table for one: A Pintrest Dinner

I have finally taken the leap into the adult world by moving into my own place-well, room. I am realizing the level of freedom that comes with living alone is quickly overshadowed by all the responsibilities that comes with it. From budgeting to taxes, the copious amounts of adult related responsibilities pile up quick. More importantly, the responsibility of feeding myself is the most challenging.

I am no stranger to cooking. It has been a love since my toy kitchen days. I am also a lover of food shopping. Yes, I enjoy the days of clipping coupons and shuffling carts around Coca Cola displays. However, these fun activities quickly lose their kick when it is done for only one. Balancing a budget and cooking for one is difficult and a little boring. On one hand, it makes sense to get the chicken that is on sale. But,does it make sense to get 10 lbs. of chicken to get the sale? And if I did buy 10 lbs of said chicken, what can I do with it?

If you can guess, I can never pass up a sale. I turn to Pinterest to help solve my dinner woes. Specifically, last night I needed a little help. Here is what I had to work with: 5 lbs of drumsticks (.99/lb you can’t beat that!), 1.5 lbs of carrots, and 1.5 lbs of sweet potatoes. Here are the recipes I found:

Yet again, Pinterest saves the day. This $6 dinner held my budget in tact and allowed this solo diner lunch and dinner for a few days.

Jess (2)

May I Blog More Frequently

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Phew! After a week and a half of a nasty cold, I finally feel like I’m better & nearly back to normal. During that period, I tried to be extra kind to my body. That meant more sleep, less gym; heartier foods, less time cooking. While it felt really, REALLY good to embrace my – dare I say – lazier side, it’s made me be all the more appreciative of how much exercise and clean eating boost my confidence and overall make me feel great.

To help get me back in the saddle, I’ve enlisted the aid of setting weekly intentions. Before now, I’d only ever heard the term used in the smattering of yoga classes I’ve taken. According to the blog Abundant Mama, intentions keep us focused on our goals and help us “behave the way we wish to behave”.

You can make weekly intentions, daily intentions, weekend intentions, yearly ones, etc. What you must do is ask yourself what it is that you need out of your set period of time. Abundant Mama reminds readers that while our intentions are meant to be taken seriously, stuff happens and in the end, they’re just intentions.

In order to keep my intentions fresh in my mind, I framed a sheet of paper that reads, “Only Good Lies Before Me”. In the center, I can use dry-erase marker to write out my different intentions as they change. I think the end product is so-so, and eventually I’ll probably switch it out for something cuter, but in the meantime it’ll do!unnamed-1

Mine for this week are:

  • May I not be stressed
  • May I be balanced
  • May I have lots of creative energy
  • May I be mindful
  • May I take care of my body

Where do you see your week headed?

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The Verdict

Happy Friday! It has been a crazy week of weather up in New England. Blizzard Juno and the crazy weather systems on the way, have left nothing but beautiful mounds of snow and days locked indoors. With 36 inches and counting, it is clear that we have a long time till spring hits. I plan to use my weekend cleaning up more snow and getting cozy in my wonderful thrift shop find!Music can change the world because it (1)

Hours before Juno was to hit, I slid my way into a local thrift shop. I quickly sifted through the racks to find this gem. At only $8, this over-sized, button up was exactly what I was looking for. Styled simply with a tee and leggings, this kept me perfectly toasty with my Bean boots (slightly obsessed).

Andover Thrift Shop

How can I forget about this this number. It was tucked away among all of the over-sized broaches! No place for this sort of bling. I was ready to haggle the price down, but for $10 I already felt like it was a steal.

Salvation ArmyI really loved this challenge! It has been forever since I truly appreciated the wonders of a thrift shop. The fact that they are family owned, made for an even better treat! I also appreciate how far $20 can get me.

Check out the websites to these local thrift shops!

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Salvation Army

Jess (2)

Poppin’ some tags

Aubrey and I are frequent flyers when it comes to figuring out what to do next. Socially, professionally, health-wise, sanity-wise, we can’t get enough of figuring out the next best thing. I guess this blog is working, right? 

More often than not, I am looking to do something new and then I am immediately stopped by my looming pile of bills. The struggle is unnaturally real. So this week we decided to put one of our ideas to the test. The $20 challenge is our way of seeing how far we can stretch good ol’ Thomas Jefferson to help us experience something great. Specifically this week, our goal is create a “look” for only $20 only using re-purposed, recycled, or reclaimed items.

You can expect my look to be inspired by this:

Happy Hunting!

Jess (2)

Holiday shopping- preparation or procrastination?

JSix days. Six days left to purchase, wrap, and share the wonders of gift giving with the well behaved folks in my life. I go big for the holidays- from gifts to parties, I want to plan it all!

My love for the holidays resurfaced after graduate school. The holidays were always overshadowed by procrastination and finals. For years, my holidays consisted of awkwardly living in a packed room and sleeping away the sleepless nights. This new found appreciation has led me to take a star role in holiday festivities.

However, I have carried my bad habits from college into my holiday planning process. Procrastination is my enemy this time of year. Aubrey’s post about holiday budgeting should have been the kick in the but to get my shopping done before December 1st. Like every year, I always think I have more time than I actually do.

This is where a very carefully planned weekend comes to play.

  • First, I tailor my list. It was extremely easy for me to make my list. Mainly because I LOVE giving gifts. This year it consists of my incredibly large family, some significant others, and some folks that are family minus the blood line. From this list, I have to plan my budget.
  • Once the list is lean and mean, I plan the online shopping portion of my weekend. I plan on maximizing my Amazon Prime membership with its free 2-day shipping to help with the time crunch. I should be able to get a handful of gifts here.
  • Next, I am looking to Pintrest.  I am hoping to find some fun, cheap DIY gifts. (To keep my budget in check) I would post examples, but I do not want to ruin the surprise! 🙂
  • Finally, I am anticipating battling the crowds. I usually b-line to my top stores before tackling the mall. (Target, Marshalls, Homegoods, etc). These offer some unique gifts or have more specific goods in stock.

The final, final step in this process is wrapping. Passed down from my beautiful mother, I plan to hone in on the tradition of wrapping everything Christmas Eve.

Happy last minute shopping!

Jess (2)

Back to the grind

UntitledI am back-back to my normal schedule! (who knew I would long for it as much as I did)  On the road, I am was deprived of all my wonderful de-stressers: family, friends, boyfriend, and creative time. While I was away, I made a list of things to catch up on. Most of these things included bills, chores, etc. But the most important was to see my lovely, long-distant boyfriend.

Being long distance can be extremely tough, but it forces us to get creative. We love doing things together especially cooking. We are privileged by the fact that he still lives at home and gets home cooked meals every day. However, this really limits the opportunity to cook together, since most of the cooking has already been done. My solution: Pintrest. 

Cutest cooks in the kitchen!

Cutest cooks in the kitchen!

Yes, this magical portal holds all the inspiration for a quick and easy cooking extravaganza. It is also, as expressed tirelessly before, is my addiction; which is comparable to the boyfriends Clash of Clans addiction. Scrolling through the pins, we had so many options. Pumpkin cheesecake, piña colada cupcakes, Christmas bark, these pins could go on forever. We were looking for something specific, something that could be done at 7 pm after a long day of working, and something that the boyfriend could do on his own. (he can get flustered with complicated activities)

Untitled design (5)After pinning some prime contenders, we found the perfect recipe: Oreo balls! This recipe is found on the blog Pip & Ebby which is a cute foodie blog with extremely easy to follow instructions. For us, this was required just the right amount of focus and energy. The ingredient list was simple: Oreos, cream cheese, and white chocolate. The recipe called for something different, but we were hankerin’ for some white chocolate.

Let me tell ya, these are AMAZING. They are extremely decadent but gives you that right amount of sweet you were looking for. The best part? This required zero cook time! Just smush it all together and throw it in the fridge. These will forever be on my list of quick go-to’s!

Jess (2)

Scrub-A-Dub

OctMono

Ahh, Sundays! My one and only day that I have to myself – no work, no meetings, nothing. Usually, it’s my day to grocery shop, do laundry, see friends, and recharge my batteries for the week. More than anything, I love to cook up a real dinner and pamper myself with a home facial.

This week, I noticed my skin was looking quite shabby, shall we say, especially my face! Blame it on the full moon, blame it on November, but I was in need of some serious exfoliation.

Hello, Pinterest! Perusing my boards, I came across this incredibly simple, three ingredient recipe for a facial scrub. I decided to try it out before I met up with a friend for the afternoon. All you need is fine, organic sugar or brown sugar, vanilla extract, and coconut oil – all things I had laying around my cabinets.

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I wish I'd thought to have put it into a cute jar. Oh well.

I wish I’d thought to have put it into a cute jar. Oh well.

You mix them up in a small bowl and voila! Instant scrub. Happily, I took it to the bathroom for a test. Here’s what I learned:

  • It hurts. Maybe it’s because I used brown sugar that wasn’t fine enough, but holy moly does it exfoliate. Perhaps a bit too much, even. My skin being a little tender, I probably wouldn’t recommend using this every day.
  • It’s messy! Be sure to hold your face directly over the sink, because you’ll have little sugar clumps falling everywhere.
  • It feels like it works. After I rinsed off my face, I was amazed at how smooth and moisturized my skin felt (coconut oil is AMAZING, btw, you can use it for anything). And, I smell like a delicious sugar cookie.

A happy Sunday to all, and to all – get scrubbin’!

 

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