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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Bookmarked: 10 Books to Kick Off Your Week

Call me crazy, but I am obsessed with the public library. Whenever I have free time, I’m either reading or planning what I’m going to read next.

Are you looking to refresh your bookshelf & dive into something new? Below I’ve curated a list of ten titles you should ask your neighborhood librarian to pull off the shelves for you.

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  1. All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven. A love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Perfect for fans of John Green or YA titles in general.
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  2. Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life” by Glennon Doyle Melton. A laugh-out-loud read of Melton’s poignant reflections on our universal experiences, it’s the story of one woman trying to love herself and others.
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  3. Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng. The emotionally involving debut novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small town Ohio.
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  4. #Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso. A manifesto for ambitious young women by the founder of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer known for its leading edge fashion and provocative online persona.
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  5. The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi,the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West” by Michelle Goldberg. Traces the life of the incredibly woman who brought yoga to the West.
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  6. In the Unlikely Event” by Judy Blume. A moving story of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are changed by unexpected events.
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  7. The Magicians” by Lev Grossman. A NYT bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world.
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  8. Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari. From one of our generation’s funniest comedic voices comes this hilarious in-depth exploration of the pleasures and pitfalls of modern romance.
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  9. Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, and My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker” by Lauren Kessler. Follow one woman’s journey to join a professional company to perform in The Nutcracker, proving you are not “supposed” to act any age.
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  10. Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. A novel set in a dystopian future that centers around Kirsten Raymonde, a woman traveling with a group dedicated to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive in this newly altered world.

    Happy reading!

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Organization Never Looked Hotter

It started innocently enough.

I wanted to buy a new planner for 2016. And I don’t mean a run-down-to-CVS-and-grab-whatever’s-on-the-shelf kind of planner. I wanted to invest in something pretty and high-functioning. Something that was going to help me get that much closer to achieving all of the goals I’d set for the new year.

A simple Google search led me to a website (much like this one) run by a woman who owns many different types of day planners for different aspects of her life – and reviews them! Suddenly I was staring at spiral bound Erin Condrens, Simplified Planners, Day Designers, Kikki K’s – the list was endless. Each planner more beautifully styled and more well organized than the next!

Stay with me. It gets better.

Finding the day planners meant finding blogs dedicated not only to the planners themselves, but their decoration.

As in, totally decked out daily, weekly, and monthly layouts, created by so-called “planner addicts”. It’s scrapbooking to a whole new level.

As a wannabe planner addict myself, I’ve now spent many, many hours drooling over these beautifully inspired layouts. It’s a beautiful marriage of creativity, DIY, stickers, and goal planning.

As any #bosslady #careerwoman knows, organization is a major key to success, both personally and professionally. I had no idea that it could be so beautiful.

Don’t believe me? Below I’ve included some of my favorite Instagram accounts from both planner addicts and individuals/companies that design the accoutrements.

Take a look, but be careful! You might fall in love ❤

p.s. Curious as to what I ended up with? Stay tuned for next time!

NEW Week! NEW Month! Let's start February off with a bang!💕 📷: @plannerhappiness

A post shared by Day Designer® (@thedaydesigner) on

My planners are now complete with @paperprincess beautiful tassels and paper clips!! 😍😍😍

A post shared by Wenda | 📒 Planner Addict (@wendafuldesigns) on

Last half of the week! 😍💙💜💚 • all shops are tagged •

A post shared by Jessica (@jkruuu_plans) on

 

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I Begged Them To Chop My Leg Off

“Pretty please?” I asked Nurse Nick, the studly and only male nurse tending to patients in the ER that night. “Then I can start training to become a Paraolympian runner!”

Nurse Nick laughed but refused and left me and my roomie S to our own devices. Our day had been consumed by a trip to urgent care, and then the ER, to diagnose what was happening to the thing I used to call my right leg.

Let me back up a bit.

Remember how I went on a chilly, but amazing, excursion to Europe? Well it turns out that before I left, I contracted poison oak on a hike. Over the course of the trip, the rash – which I had paid very little attention to – turned into full blown cellulitis. Think mega-rash/skin infection. Very unbecoming.

Thus I limped off a 10-hour flight and straight into the waiting arms of my amazing friend.The doctors bandaged me up, gave me my prescriptions, and sent me home for the weekend to recuperate.

Thursday I called out of work sick and took it easy. Friday I went back to work, but tried to stand/walk as little as possible. By Saturday I had deemed myself well enough to spend a friend’s birthday at a Rocky Picture Show viewing until 4 AM.

On Monday, the doctor checked up on everything and said the infection looked almost gone, so I worked my usual hours through to Thursday. By Thursday, however, things had taken a turn for the worse, and a subsequent visit to urgent care confirmed the infection was back, and I had to restart all of the medications that had been driving me crazy all week. Plus it meant my fifth and sixth shots to the glutes. Yikes.

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Waiting for Nurse Nick to wheel me in for an ultrasound of my leg

This weekend, I have dedicated myself to being a model patient. I’m embarrassed to think how much I brushed off truly taking the time necessary to heal on the first round. When you’re in your twenties, you think you’re invincible. My version of ‘taking it easy’ at work meant working like I do normally, but just sitting down when at my desk instead of standing.

I was careless, and I hope you use this as a cautionary tale the next time you fall ill. Please. Do yourself the favor. Treat yourself right, inside and out, and have the courage to tell people you need the time to do so. If you do not, you will get sicker, and you will miss more work and pay more money for medications and doctors visits (which means more glute shots).

You only get one body; treat it well.

Oh, and make sure you know what poison oak is before you hike.

 

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Day 33: Seeing the City Anew

Do you ever feel like home seems a little lackluster after being away? Mind you, I’m grateful for the warm California sunshine as opposed to the gray skies that followed me across Europe, but after my vacation I missed that feeling of waking up every day and thinking, what new things will I discover?

It can be difficult to see past the everyday thrum of daily life and routines. Yet, there are always new things to be discovered in seemingly old, familiar places. When I visited home over the holidays, my aunt and uncle took me antiquing in a downtown area I’d never frequented before. We shopped in immaculately curated stores, grabbed cocoa in a cafe with the locals, and found a shabby-chic thrift store in the basement of an old brick building. I’d lived in NH for twenty-some-odd years before then, and yet there were so many nooks and crannies I had yet to see.

Luckily for me, Los Angeles is still a mystery in many ways. An enormous mystery, filled with historical sights, museums, art, music – you name it. It’s a metropolis brimming with scenic gardens and urban sprawl and beaches – or so I’ve heard.

Coming home to LA made me more determined to be as open-minded and wide-eyed as I can. In this instance, I say the more touristy you are, the better! When I lived in Boston, I thought I’d seen it all. Then, on a whim, I took a Segway tour (yes, dorky helmet and all) of the city and suddenly there was the spot where the Great Molasses Flood happened! I don’t want to live in LA and never see more than one or two neighborhoods.

The other night I pulled out my LA tour-book that I first bought before moving out here, and generated a list of everything I want to see. Then, I randomly assigned each place to a weekend. My first stop was to The Last Bookstore, a brick-and-mortar privately owned local bookstore in Downtown LA renowned for being incredibly cool.

My theme this year was to be more adventurous, in every sense of the word. The byline of that theme, though, was that I would really really make these adventures come to fruition, rather than dreaming the days away. Putting them on my calendar seemed like the logical next step in seeing my visits accomplished.
Until next time, stay touristy my friends!

 

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What day is it? ….Day 31

It has been a week since I returned home from Hawaii! It is time to pull it back from the relaxing, sun filled sky vacation mind set and get back into the flow of reality. I hope you all were not thinking of my absense as falling off the band wagon…again.

My island seista was not a result of months of planning and anxiety. It was merely the product, more like passion, of my partner. He has been itching to back to the islands where he has family. And month ago, I merely had to hit submit and our tickets were bought. This was a little out of character for me.  What was I thinking?! Jess doesn’t take vacations during the busiest part of her work year. To be honest, Jess doesn’t really like taking vacations. Period. Sad right?

I have been programed. I have been set to see taking time for myself as selfish and secondary to everything and every person in my life.

I share the same feelings as Aubrey from one of her recent posts. I am ready to move onto a new step in my career. I am ready to take it a next step with my partner. And ready to make BIG changes, but how could I put that all on pause for a 15 hrs journey to spend 10 days on a beach?

I had spent exactly one full week back at work. I knew this was all worth it when a colleague of mine shared his reaction to a phone call I had with a client. “That is how you come back and crush it.” He is my biggest cheerleader, but he made a great point. I did crush it. That was one of the best conversations I have had and the best part was: it was authentic.

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Take me back! 

This break has created a moment of pause. It allowed me to really take time amongst all of these aspirational changes to really think the all through. Sure, this pause allowed me to see volcanos and sea turtles. It more importantly made me realize why and how to make these changes. It has renergized my pursuit to be the most authentic version of myself. It has alowed me to finally be ok with taking time for myself. Because in the end, we all won. We all benefited from me watching the sunset while New England watched the snow.

Take a day off! Better yet, take 10!

XXOO Jess

Yes, You Need a Selfie Stick

P.S. If you’re curious as to how I chose Copenhagen, this article will explain all. Beware, it’s addicting.

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Day 15, or ‘I’m So Over This’

Try to think back to an unpleasant day you had at work.

Maybe it’s not a difficult task. Maybe it is. Depends on how you would describe unpleasant.

I’ve had unpleasant days where co-workers have flat out yelled at me for minor discretions. I’ve had days where I’ve dropped IKEA furniture pieces on my feet. And then there are those days I’ve been called in to plunge the toilets in the men’s restroom.

Yet, nothing is coming quite near to the feeling I’ve had this past week, having returned from spending the holidays at home with my family.

I haven’t had one of those typically terrible days at work where all I’ve wanted to do is crawl home and lick my wounds. Instead, my days have become…mundane. I’ve come to the realization that I am ready to move on from my current job.

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Somebody needs to update her resume…

Immediately after concluding this I felt dread, anxiety, and guilt. I think in America we’re conditioned to firstly, work constantly, and secondly, have an undying gratitude to our employers. I remember as a kid going in to work with my mom on occasional Saturdays, just so she could make sure she was ahead of the game come the following week. She was incredibly passionate about being a dedicated and productive employee.

I feel guilty for wanting to trade up my position and for wanting new challenges. It’s almost like a betrayal to the company that has taken such good care of me for the last year. I don’t think these feelings will ever go away completely; I’m a people pleaser and I do very much adore my current workplace. However, I don’t want to be someone who stays where they are because they’re too afraid of hurting others or of new opportunities.

In times like these, I find it helpful to go straight to the worst-case scenario. If I found a new job this year, what would realistically happen?

What if my boss gets upset? Ultimately, she should not have final say over my life choices. She’ll have to deal.

What if the new place ends up being a terrible fit? Hopefully interviewing with the company will weed out any major warning signs, but in the end it’s a gamble. I know that I can handle whatever obstacles that are thrown at me, and if I need to move on then I will.

What if I can’t actually find a new job? Sometimes our imagined timelines don’t always pan out, but it’s important to never let the goal fade. I would keep searching in earnest, reimagining a new deadline or plan if the first couldn’t be reached.

I have learned so much in the year plus that I’ve spent in Los Angeles, and especially with my current employer. I plan on staying on a little longer in 2016, but I’ve got a lot of career ahead of me that I think I’m ready to take the next step on, despite how nerve wracking it already feels. In the mean time, I want to dedicate myself to learning as much as I can from my mentors, as well as developing relevant skills on the side (hello web design!).

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂

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Day 13

Confession time: this week I’ve been a little…absent minded. Whether it’s been at work or home, I haven’t been 100% there and focused. Except for when I ate an entire bag of jelly beans the other night and finally hung our new lamp fixture in the dining room.
Have you ever reached a place where you find yourself slacking a bit? I used to be the queen of always finding things to do. Now, I’ve let a few things slide. Like laundry. And meal planning. And going above and beyond at work.

Today I sat in on an interview with a potential intern and I listened as my boss explained to the interviewee what kind of hard working individuals we hire. “We’re looking for people who are willing to improve at whatever it is they’re doing, at least 10% every day,” she concluded.

Where can 10% take you?

10%. I walked out of the interview fixated on that number, and it stuck with me for the rest of the day. 10%. As I was cleaning up our office, I suddenly thought what if I clean this, but 10% better than what I’d normally do? What would that look like? Before I knew it, I created a rain readiness bucket for our future battles with El Niño (think: lots of rain).
10%.

Such a small number, but even that much of a percentage had me thinking about how to do what I was currently doing, but better. It’s a small enough step to not be daunting, but encouraging enough to make me want to push for higher quality results.
May you push yourself for that 10% today in whatever you do!

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Day 7

You guys…this is it.

This is the moment. The moment where I realized that I have no excuses left. For anything.

Let me explain.

This morning, as I was opening the office with my co-worker, we starting chatting about our goals. And if you’ve read this blog with any sort of regularity, you’d know I’m a huge sucker for goals and anything goal-related.

My co-worker is a fresh faced lad who graduated college only last summer. He told me he was anxious to get going on his goals, which mainly revolved around getting back into doing standup comedy, practicing his swing dancing (he’s a classy guy), and figuring out where he wants to take his career.

I applauded his effort, but reminded him not to be too hard on himself. He did, after all, just graduate college.

And suddenly, I realized that I did not just graduate college. I graduated

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Me as a fresh faced grad! Alas, it’s time to get moving on my life’s to-do list.

college going on two years ago. Until this point, I had always let that be just one of my reasons to let my own goals slide.

I just graduated college, I have plennnnnnty of time to do [insert task].

I’m new to Los Angeles! I just need to get familiar with the city, that’s all.

Nobody ever gains success until they’re at least 25 anyways….

I’ll start [insert creative project] as soon as I’m settled into adulthood.

The list goes on.

I have been my own worst enemy from day one by not holding myself accountable. I based this on the reasoning that as a new grad, I needed to get some sort of “footing”, both mentally and physically in the city.

The truth is, time is ticking, and I have too much to do to let it slide by. If I want to turn my dreams into plans, I need to use every day to its fullest. No excuses.

Happy goal planning!