Odds and Ends

Wow, this week has been crazy! Anyone else having one of those weeks? OR is it months?

My TODO list seems to be growing exponentially while the check marks are scarce. Every time I mark  one thing off of the list, it seems three more are added.  I’m beginning to wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel or if I have entered a one-way cavern that leads to the pit of hell. Currently, my vote goes for the latter.

How do you dig out from under a mountain of work when it seems to grow daily?  It’s not like I was slacking, I’ve been diligently working on several tasks. For one project, I was greatly relieved that  my supervisor decided that I didn’t have to import everything from Word to InDesign.  InDesign is an awesome software system, but this particular manual has numerous graphs and charts in it.  When importing files,   it doesn’t hold formatting and when you add images to the mix – graphs charts, diagrams – it has ten kinds of fits. (Fits as in temper tantrum fits via digital means.)

However, my relief was short-lived when I found out the conditions of not having to  re-invent the wheel. *headdesk* Thus we come to the point of the story  of where the mountain of work came from.

I am behind  on an editing deadline,  I have an author chomping at the bits to get her book back. I must say, so far this one is the best one yet. I’ve edited the previous books in the series and   there is a marked improvement from the first to this one!

Sales in our resale shop have doubled this past month, which means  more work for me to stock inventory. That is a good problem to have aside from the additional demand on my time.

I don’t know whether to scream “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” or double up on the coffee and ignore the caffeine addiction. At some point, I have to come up for air to catch my breath but in the mean time, I’m  going as fast as I can.

The only saving grace  for even halfway getting these irons attended to is my bullet journal.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about  it. My friend Dana has  tagged me in her blog a couple of times  pertaining to  bullet journaling – hey girl!

At the beginning of April I started a new bullet journal in a Leuchterm1917.

SAy hello to my new BUJO! and it's red! Also, this fountain pen is amazing.

SAy hello to my new BUJO! and it’s red! Also, this fountain pen is amazing.

Isn’t it gorgeous? I set up my monthly spread as I had done for March, then quickly realized I  should have made some changes.



The calendar is ok,  but I put it on the wrong side of the page.  Oh well,  no biggie I just put my tracker on the left.  The next page spread is the month at a glance, and my Photo a day challenge for the month of April which was totally freaking awesome!  I don’t know if you guys enjoyed it but I sure did.  I’ve used dailies since I first starting using this system in January.  I added a monthly todo and monthly goals on the next page, which left a blank page on the facing page. It was blank until I saw a cool thing on Pinterest, so I made this.


I’ll  color it in with red when I get a free moment or two.

HAHAHA! That’s funny, that’s real funny.

Anyway,  between writing, editing, administrative job, and  room shuffling my entries have been repeated todo lists. A little journaling,  a little artsy stuff,  some washi tape here and there, but most of all the daily reminder of what needs to be addressed.  Here are a few that I liked.

20160527_062306In cleaning up downstairs I found  some of my rubber stamps that I had been missing. They were stuffed into a box and carried downstairs to be put away later. *hangs head*.  The roses in the corners are stamped, the background script is a large stamp.  What can I say? I’m a big kid at heart. I find a misplaced toy and I have to play with it.  The numbered  items (11,12,13) are from a challenge from a bullet journal group, and as you can see, I have way too many arrows to forward items. I got tired of putting a P for partial completion and just left it  open.  If I had an arrow from the day before, it was the first thing I addressed the next day. Well, with the exception of reading that book. I still haven’t read it. It’s still on the to be read pile.  It’s not fiction so it keeps getting shuffled to a lower place in my stack.

Of course, while I had the stamps out, I used them for another craft project – coasters.  These are stamped then handpainted on tumbled quarry tiles. I’ve made several, sold just as many, and have a backlog of orders! Which is a good thing, right? 20160421_093650I’m trying to be positive, hence the quotes and bolded expressions. The next spread, which is the next page after this one is this:20160527_062321

A couple of things I like about this page:

  1. The blue banners that I use for date are  from paint chips. I really loved this color blue –  and I had apparently picked up a paint chip in this color every time I went into Lowe’s or Walmart. I had a bunch! Anyway, I cut them into pieces then made banners. 🙂
  2. My happy little cup!  I really like him!!
  3. My fleur de lies stamp –  found treasures.
  4. The beauty of scrapbook paper –  you can hide your mistakes!  I tried to do some fancy calligraphy writing and  botched it.

Things I don’t like – you see those blank squares? I thought I’d do a doodle a day challenge. It didn’t happen. I got to day `10.  Forwarded arrows. Hate them!

In May, I used pink ink and it was waaaayyyyyy too much pink. I’m talking  hurt your eyes pink.  I did like this page however – 20160527_062421I got to play some while waiting for a phone call.  It was a matter of not starting anything because I knew any minute I could get the call and have to rush out the door. BTW-  got to drive a big honking truck which was COOL!


OH, and  on the 13th I made a drastic change.  I went from long thick hair –  20150911_120026to a new style!



20160516_082823No makeup here, sorry. I guess there should have been a warning.  No that’s not pulled back, it’s gone.  It’s all gone. 12 inches of hair – gone. Plus the amount that she cut after that!

While I’m changing things, I’ve made a  plan for June that is different. I’m going with a weekly spread. We’ll see if I like it or not.  I can always change it back, I’m only doing one week at a time.  I am excited though for one nifty little feature I added –


You see that box in the middle of the right side? the one that isn’t labeled? I decided to put a word counter there.  I made myself a little chart to track my progress and hopefully keep me on track.

I’ll send updated photos later, and admit my true word count – eep!  I realize this seems utilitarian, but it’s the start. Who knows what doodles or whatnot may find it’s way onto  the pages.

Write on my friends, write on!

Til next time,


Be Authentic

How many of you feel the pressure to conform?

Perhaps it’s the pressure to be like your group of friends. Maybe it’s felt from your family. Or maybe it’s the office index set by the management that really doesn’t care about individuals but  the widgets that are produced.

I’ve often felt the pressure from all of the above at various times but I have to admit,  most of the time it comes from within me. I suppose it stems from feelings of inadequacy growing up that I have often compared myself to those around me.

Don’t!  It’s a dead end street.  We should not compare ourselves to others.  My writing is not like anyone else’s. My bullet journaling is not like anyone else’s. My daily agenda is not like anyone else’s. There are similarities, but  they are not the same. For instance, a couple of years ago a friend linked me to a site called I write like. I plugged in a couple of passages into their program and it came up that I wrote like Corey Doctorow. Hmmm, I had never read that author so I plugged in a different passage.  That one came up that I wrote like Anne Rice. Wow!  I know her work well! So what does that mean?  It means that I have the potential to be a great author but it’s still up to me to tap that potential.

So what does that mean?  It means that I have the potential to be a great author, but it’s still up to me to tap that potential.

I’ve been looking at Youtube videos of  what other people do with their planners and feeling grossly inadequate. I don’t make pretty little doodles or have fantastic handwriting.  I  have trouble drawing a straight line and my writing is a mess. I spent the better part of yesterday feeling like a complete failure because my bullet journal wasn’t as nice as so and so’s, my writing was lackluster after making an attempt to focus, and my to-do list was growing at twice the rate that I was completing tasks.

Hello darkness my old friend, (admit it, you sang that  didn’t you?) oh hey self-doubt! Decided to drop in and pay me a visit, eh?

OH, I see you brought guilt along to join the party.

OH, this isn’t a party?

My bad. It’s a board of interrogation and accusation?

So . . . . not a party?   I’m sorry, you’ll have to go.  I don’t have time for this nonsense. Did you not read my most recent blog post?

I am me! A one of a kind original with a unique voice that needs to be heard!

And this is the method that I have chosen to express my creativity, give my two cents worth, and offer encouragement to others!

This applies to my bullet journal as well.  The whole point is to help me be more productive and organized. It’s not about  what other people are doing. It’s not about what other people are writing. It’s not about what other people have as hobbies, or how they cook or eat or pursue their happiness.

My natural bent is to be an encourager. Sometimes my approach may be of the “suck it up buttercup” variety, but that’s what we need from time to time. I’m not a plasticine Barbie dream. I’m not  any sort of fashion diva. I like my jeans, my yoga pants, and leather jacket. I adore high heels but rarely wear them because they hurt my feet. You wear what you want and I’ll wear what I want.

I don’t really have anything against anyone with blond hair, my sister is a natural blond and I love her dearly. I have friends that are blond and have no problem with them. It’s often just a joke. I have a wry sense of humor and the snark flows freely. If it offends your delicate sensibilities, perhaps what you really need is a good belly laugh.

Thank goodness that I have friends that remind me of my worth on occasion.

One truth that should be remembered each and every day:


Whatever that looks like for you, BE IT!

Write on my friends, write on!


Journaling Madness

I’ve shared a couple brief glimpses of my latest obsession, my bullet journal. You can reference those if you like:

The Mission, Get Organized            Keeping the Crayons Sharp            Journaling and Challenge

I connected with a group on Facebook of fellow bujo enthusiasts, (Bujo – bullet journal) that are much more creative than I am with mine.  I’ve only been at this  for seven weeks, but I’ve already found a few things where I have individualized mine.

First  of all,  I didn’t go buy an expensive journal. The recommended books are Leuchterm1917, or the moleskin. Both average about $20.00.  I spent exactly 33 cents on mine on a clearance shelf at Walgreens. What can I say?  I go cheap!  Plus, not knowing for sure if I was going to like this, or if it would work for me I wasn’t going to invest much money.  I’m very happy with my little bargain buy!

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It measures 5″ x 7″, which I can already tell you is a little too small for my taste. After following some of the posts in the Facebook group, I decided to dress it up a bit and decorated the cover and back.

New Cover

New Cover

Back Cover

Back Cover

Briefly, the bullet journal system is all about  getting and staying organized. A way to keep track of whatever it is you keep track of,  your daily to do list,  the appointments, and a centrally located place for everything really.  Whether you keep a gratitude journal,  a fitness tracking and diet journal, water intake, daily devotional,  writer’s journal, personal diary – whatever it is that you jot down. The bullet journal combines all of those things  in ONE place eliminating the multiple journals, planners, and sticky notes.

What do you need to get started?

  • A journal
  • A pen

You can add washi tape, or stickers or  wahtever you want but the essentials are a journal and a pen.  I already had a plethora of colored pens, highlighters, markers, sharpies  but that’s another obsession that we don’t really need to talk about today.

I did find some washi tape on clearance of course,  that I thought would be useful to seperate my entries.

Watch the original video from Ryder Carroll over at bulletjournal.com.  I admit, I watched it multiple times.  More than 3 that’s all I’m going to say.  I followed his step by step plan in my initial layout.



My first run of my legend or key is very basic.  The facing page is a vacation destination to keep myself motivated with  the phrase that sold me on the system.  My legend is on the inside of the cover. Next step is to number the pages. This is one benefit to buying a Leuchterm or moleskin they come prenumbered. I want to mention that there are lined, gridded, and dotted paper.  Mine is obviously lined as it’s just a simple composition notebook.  I’ve seen some amazing and enviable journals laid out on the dotted paper.

The index –  Items are added to the index as you progress. Then the future log -at first I thought this was a waste of time but I am finding it invaluable, and as I have mentioned before need to add a year at a glance calendar.

For my first Month at a Glance –  I followed exactly Ryder’s instructions, but tweaked them at the beginning of February.











As you can see,  my calendar is much larger and I split the page because my entries here are minimal. There has been numerous items added since I took that picture.  My monthly todo list has been added.  With today’s post, I can mark off that second goal – woohoo!

After the month at a glance,  is the daily entries.  Some of the posted bujos are very nice, neat and tidy.  They start on a new spread for a new day.  There are days when my entries are minimal –  just the todo list and maybe a specific note to myself.

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On this page you can see that on the left side I have 2 days worth –  divided by the washi tape, then  halfway through the right side I begin a new entry. I made some stickers for myself, the word count and the notepad, as well as a banner and a water bottle. If  you want a pdf copy of the stickers,  contact me and let me know I will gladly share. I just use my daughter’s glue stick to paste them in.

Have a look for yourself on Pinterest at the many varied styles for bullet journaling –  mine is closer to  Ryder’s  original. Most of the time I don’t have time to add beautiful artwork or lay out some gorgeous design.

In the photo above,  you will see the tabs that I added. Post It sticky tabs –   these are an awesome find. This makes a quick reference to go right to what I want. I added a tab for the month at a glance, which so far is just January and February.  Also, on the bottom edges I have put my little eye symbol for research – those are entries that I was brainstorming or making notes for future writing and one for dietary benefits of certain foods.

I don’t know that this little notebook is even going to get me through March and I can’t start the next one halfway through the month.  Not sure what to do about that.  Part of the  reason for a bujo is so that I don’t have more half finished notebooks.  I make a lot of handwritten notes when I am traveling, sitting in a doctor’s office, and all those lovely places that we are required to wait.

Once you see some of  the other bujos out there,  you may laugh at mine,  but that’s fine.  I freely admit that mine isn’t fancy.  It’s mine!  It works for me. Right there is the whole point. You personalize it as your own. While I like the looks of some other people’s bujos,   it’s not really me.  I spend most of my “journaling” time writing todo lists, keeping track of household issues and making notes for my writing. There are days that I consciously work on improving my handwriting.  There are other days that I don’t give a rip about the legibility of my writing.

So far, this has been a “where have you been all my life” experience.

Things I have learned so far:

I need some structure but not too much. – As I said there are days that I have my todo list and that’s about it.  Then there are days that I have pages and pages of writing. The flexibility of bujo –  I will give a 10.

Trial and error –  It’s a matter of finding out what works for you.  I can’t tell you the number of partially filled planners that I have along with partially filled notebooks. I’ve been taking my loose scrap paper stack and entering them into a back section of my notebook that I labeled as NOTES.  Change – adapt – overcome. If something isn’t working for you, change it up!  It’s a fluid process.

Things to Include in the bullet journal –  these are what I include.  You decide if they work for you, maybe add something different.  I have a friend that made a two page spread for her 5K training. Yeah, that’s not going to be in mine.

  • daily todo list – absolutely mandatory. If something doesn’t get finished one day I migrate it to the next.
  • Collections – Ryder  has included what he calls collections,  included  within a month, but I put it at the back of my notebook.  I keep track of blogpost ideas, book title ideas,  book plot ideas, books I’ve read, books to be read, books I need to review,  items acquired for our antique booth, etc.
  • Tracker –  I keep track of the blog posts to hit my goal,  my water consumption on a daily basis, exercise(not 5k training mostly zumba and elliptical), daily calories.
  • Gifts given and recieved –  I keep this in collections.  Gifts for baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, etc. This keeps me from scratching my head and wondering what we got for John or Jane last year for their birthday.
  • New recipes –  this was one of my worst offenders for scrap paper, writing down a recipe for something that I wanted to try.  Now I have them all in a collection,  and I can make notes  after trying them  whether it was a hit or a miss.
  • Quotes –  I add these on occasion.  When I find or remember a quote that I thought was good, helped me,  I ad it in. Usually setting it off in some manner.

Give this system a try. It does’t have to look like anyone elses. Mine is certainly not as cool as some of the ladies I’ve seen on pinterest, but it works for me.  Who knows, maybe this is just what you need to move you off of the I wish couch to  taking control of your life!

Write on my friends, write on!


Journaling and Challenge

I had good intentions for posting yesterday –   it was supposed to be all about my bullet journal.

My new obsession.


2016-02-04 11.17.18

First off, I didn’t spend a fortune as this is my first go at this venture. Here is my 35 cent notebook. Nothing fancy.  In case you haven’t figured out by now,  I tend to the cheap at times.  The fancy Leuchtern and moleskin journals will go on the wish lists for gifts. Pens as always goes on the list. For now,  this is like the pencil draft before applying the India ink.  

I can tell you that I already want one a bit larger as this one is a bit too compact. This is filling up fast! 

Next time – a bit larger.

2016-02-04 11.17.51

My key or legend  – very simple and straight forward. Nothing fancy schmancy yet.  Well ok, my title I played a little with  one of my Calligraphy pens.  You’ll see on the photo – an inspirational photo for a tropical destination that I have written out the phrase that  I liked from the first video –

Track the past, organize the present and plan the future! 

I don’t like my index –  but like I said I considered this a trial run so I’m not fretting over it.

On to fun stuff!


Day 12: Killed darlings – 

In Red Wine & Roses, I didn’t kill anyone. Honest! I wanted to, but it wasn’t that kind of story. I mean JoAnne and Ashleigh, right? But no. WHAT? Why are you laughing?

Day 13: A fave book in genre –  

Katie McAlister – Love in the Time of Dragons.

Nora Roberts -The Reef

Lynn Kurland – A DAnce Through TIme

Day 14:Fav of my covers 

Since this is the only one out –  then the winner is . . . Red Wine & Roses

11924560_1472539119715060_6584436532208606751_n (3)


Teaser for BUllet Journal – check;

Update for February Challenge – check

Blogging on a Saturday – BONUS!

Now get on with the Romancing and chocolate eating!

Write on my friends, write on!









Get Your MOJO On!

You know it’s Monday when . . .   I won’t go into details but as to Mondays, this has to be one of the top 5 all time worst Mondays in my personal history.  It’s one of those ‘Murphy was an optimist’ days. The worst part  is, I am out of all types of aspirin/Tylenol/ibuprofen/ whatever  headache meds you could think of and I have one of those head in a vice types of headaches. UGH!

Anyway, the whole point of my  post is to get out of the funk not rehash the funk. So here goes!

Soak time!

Soak time!

Top 10 Ways to Destress

  1. Deep Breaths – whether you practice yoga, or sitting upright and taking deep cleansing breaths. Try it. Go ahead, right there at your desk.  Back straight, chin up – take a deep deep breath filling your lungs completely, then slowly with controlled breathing exhale. As you do, mentally imagine the stress falling off of you into the floor where someone else can sweep it up. Repeat this about 5 times. You can do this a few times a day.  Most of us fall into the routine of shallow breathing.  Take a moment to care for your mental health  as well as your physical –  more oxygen gives you a better complexion as well! BONUS!
  2. Sing –  you don’t have to do karaoke or have a microphone, just sing!  In your car, in your shower, in your living room, wherever! This isn’t for others entertainment, this is for your peace of mind. Music soothes the frazzled nerves the same as it does the savage beast.
  3. Take a Hike –  get your blood pumping. Sometimes it helps to simply get up and move around. A walk down the hallway to the bathroom in another part of the building has a twofold benefit. The extra steps help to get your blood pumping and  you get to see different scenery. Amazing what a difference a little bit of newness can do for your outlook!  When I worked at the county courthouse, I would  occasionally take the stairs to  the third floor bathroom because they had a very nicely decorated and clean bathroom while the one on our floor, basement level, tended to be kind of grungy. The bright white porcelain tiles on the third floor had the effect of lifting my spirits. I guess that it didn’t hurt that it was away from the traffic court and domestic violence court either. We would often go for a brisk walk at lunchtime to get some fresh air; weather permitting.
  4. Keep a Journal – It is amazing  looking back at some of my journal entries. There are times when I would be complaining about something trivial things and realize after reading through them  how self-absorbed I had been. There are times when my journal entries were  working through difficult situations and  I had to remind myself of the blessings that I did have. There are times that I journaled about fun things, exciting moments,  a kind deed that someone else did for me that lifted me out of the current bit of self-pity. (Make sure you read my other posts about my current journaling obsession – the bullet journaling entries. )
  5. Make a List – You know you are already making the mental list and stressing over how you are going to get it all done. So take the step and write down your todo list. With focused efforts you can tackle each item and then mark it off of the list – YAY!  This is another feature that my bulletjournal helps me with, because those tasks that I don’t get to today are first on my list for the next day. I simply make a little arrow, then move then to the next day.  I am a list maker because  it helps to clarify my otherwise chaotic brain.
  6. Work on a brain teaser – There is value in that crossword puzzle, word search, or my personal favorite Sudoku. It keeps your brain sharp, while allowing you a few minutes of not thinking about the current problem, which your brain can work on in your subconscious and the brief distraction can often help destress and clear your brain clutter at the same time.
  7. Time Out –  A little down time nappy nap is a good thing. Not while you are driving,  not while you are  in  the department meeting, but when the mid afternoon slump hits you, a brief snooze is a good thing.  My husband is not a good napper. Brief naps don’t really help him and he wakes more cranky and drained than refreshed. For me though, a twenty-minute nap can revive my previous walking dead state.  This is one benefit to working at home,  whether I choose to take my dog for a walk, or get a power nap (Yeah, I know that is an old term and shows my age) there is no one there to  tell me I can’t.
  8. Eat healthy – After the high fat, high sodium, girdle busting  heavy super nachos  deluxe that I prepared for the big Superbowl party, the soup and salad are a welcomed refreshing meal. There is a time for the  comfort foods then there is a time for the lighter fare.
  9. Visualize – Take some time to  SEE your future, SEE how that project will look finished, SEE yourself reaching that goal, SEE yourself succeeding.  BE the ball! A couple of suggestions that I would have for you here are to 1)make a dream board –  to keep in front of you for those days when you are mentally lagging. 2) Take 5 minutes at the beginning of the day to visualize yourself  accomplishing your tasks today and working towards your goal. This will change your outlook from the daily grind to  an outlook of satisfaction. Attitude really does make a huge difference!
  10.  Vacation – Time away to recharge, refresh, renew!  Disclaimer here – a working vacation is not relaxing. Do NOT take your work with you and think that you are going to be able to unwind because you won’t.  YOu’ll be stressing over how to get this done, and how you are going to that, and now you will be worrying  about what if their wi-fi connection doesn’t work. Just don’t! Value yourself enough to give yourself a break!

Now for a bit of  challenge catch up.  For the next few days, I will add the bit from #authorlifemonth at the end of my posts.


My February Challenge for 2016 is #authorlifemonth. I’ve already shared 1 thru 4 on February Challenge .

Day 5: Comp covers – I don’t have any comp covers as Red Wine & Roses is a stand alone romance novel.

Day 6: fan art/edit:  To my knowledge, I don’t have any fan art anywhere, unless of course someone wants to share their art with me.  Edit:  A few people have pointed out some typos in the book for me,  so before I order more print copies, I’ll   make revisions to the formatted copy.

Day 7: Writing Music – umm wow!  I could do and have done entire posts on this one.  My playlists are unique for each book that I write. Heavy metal seemed to dominate for writing about dragons. I queued a lot of romantic songs for Red Wine & Roses, a mixture of pop, rock, classic rock, some heavy metal are on the playlist for Valkyrie’s. Perhaps I will share about that in the upcoming month for a post.

Day 8: Awesome moment. Hmmm, not sure exactly what  is intended here but  let’s proceed.  An awesome moment in writing RWAR, was the moment of tragedy.  I could see it playing out in my head like a movie.  I kept replaying it, pausing it, playing in slow motion over and over again so that I could get my descriptions down to my satisfaction.  I am pleased to say that this section did not require much revision.  To me, that is a bit of good writing!

For the next few days I will be sharing  these items at the bottom of my posts,  maybe splitting the  weekend facts  . . . not sure.

Anyway,  here’s to a healthier you all around in 2016!  You are valuable –   start treating yourself like it!



Write on my friends, write on!