Normal People by Sally Rooney

I loved this book.

The Hulu show was so good, and if you haven’t seen it I HIGHLY recommend it. I knew immediately that I’d have to read the book.

It’s kind of hard to explain, but I really don’t think any form of entertainment has ever really shown the emotions between two people who are so obviously meant to be together but can’t because of situations in their lives and bad timing.

It seems like Connell and Marianne just can’t catch a break. One of them is either in a relationship with someone else when the other is ready or just has too much pride to admit that they’re actually both madly in love with each other. Their relationship is so complicated, but also just kind of works in a way. It’s so frustrating to see them fail over and over again because they can’t communicate.

I feel like this story really does so well because everyone can relate to a situation that was ruined because of miscommunication or just no communication at all. I know I’ve definitely been there.

One thing I do want to say is that at some points this was really hard to read. I honestly didn’t think it’d take me so long, but some parts just made me so sad I felt like I needed to put the book down and take a break for a little.

Definitely an emotional rollercoaster, but highly recommended.

Bullet Journal – November Cover Page & Monthly Spread

So November might be a little crazy, huh? Who would’ve thought that the election would be this close. I decided to do a mail in ballot and dropped it off a few weeks before Election Day, which I think was definitely the right choice. I’m not sure I would’ve wanted to stand in line with everyone on Election Day, it was pretty cold.

I’m writing this before I’m posting it, so I’m hoping we have a better idea of who the next president will be by the time this is posted. Fingers crossed at least!

I took off the beginning of the month just to relax and rest. It felt good to have a little break from everything.

I’m wondering what Thanksgiving will be like this year. I’m not sure yet whether or not my family will be holding it. My sister and I were thinking about doing a Friendsgiving, but I guess we’ll have to see where we are before we can decide for sure.

I’m still feeling pretty good this month. I think I’m doing a good job saving money and getting ready for the holidays. I’m looking forward to Christmas and honestly I’m excited for winter this year. It’s kind of nice knowing I won’t have to drive in to work when it snows. We’re staying positive here, right?

Bullet Journal – October Cover Page & Monthly Spread

So this is really late…I know, I know. October has been a crazy month. I feel like I was really busy and had a lot going on. I don’t know, there really isn’t any excuse, I just dropped the ball with posting.

I actually felt really good this month. I got to spend some time with friends and get out of the house a few times. Halloween is also my favorite holiday, so having the house decorated and everything just made me happy. Trick or treating was definitely different in my neighborhood, but we had a pretty good turnout for it being during a pandemic. I love the kids, they’re the best part of Halloween.

I decided to go with a Coraline theme for the month. I actually dyed my hair blue and dressed up as Coraline for Halloween. It was super fun. Here’s a picture of me with my button eyes:

Honestly not too much else to say. Things are pretty much still the same, but I feel really good. Ready for next month!

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

I really don’t know why, but it took me forever to get through this book. I think it may have been because it was so similar to the show that it wasn’t really interesting to me, or didn’t really add anything to the story enough for me to stay interested. Honestly though, that’s a compliment to the show because it means they did really well with the details!

I will say, the story did get a lot more interesting once we got to the murders and what Grace did remember. I did also like that we got to see Dr. Jordan meeting with more people that knew Grace and that he went to the house where the murders took place.

I expected the hypnotism to be more exciting in the book, but I guess it can’t be too sensational if it’s supposed to be believable. The acting in the show was perfect and made this scene so creepy!

One thing I really didn’t like was how both Jeremiah and Dr. Jordan kind of fled after the hypnotism. It seemed like both of them were trying to be helpful and then it was like they both just gave up. I really thought that they would help her get out sooner, but I guess since this is fiction based on a true story we wouldn’t be able to have her get out of the penitentiary earlier than she actually did.

It was also disappointing that Dr. Jordan’s memory was affected in the war, resulting in him being no help to Grace whatsoever. Honestly it made his whole role in the story pretty pointless. I’m not sure how much of this is historically accurate, but if this is what really happened then that really sucks.

Although I’m not sure myself whether Grace was innocent or if she was suffering from some sort of mental/post-traumatic stress disorder, I am glad that she was pardoned and was able to live the rest of her life with some sort of freedom. She definitely was very unlucky in life, so it was nice that she sort of had a happy ending. Not sure that I wanted her to end up with Jamie, but honestly it could’ve been way worse.

I hope she did have a happy ending. It would be nice to know what really happened.

Bullet Journal – September 2020 Cover Page & Monthly Spread

Happy September everyone! We’re a little more than halfway through the month and there isn’t really much to update everyone on. Although everything is different because of COVID, I feel like I’m starting to feel sort of normal? I know, crazy right?

This is definitely a new normal, but it doesn’t feel quite as suffocating as it did before. Does anyone else feel this way too? I feel like I have some what of a routine again. I’m still working, Fall is basically here, football is on. I don’t know, it just feels like something I can get used to.

Personally I haven’t gone out to eat and I really don’t go to any stores unless it’s for groceries or alcohol. I haven’t really seen any friends since March, which is really weird, but I’m also kind of a homebody so I don’t really feel like I’m suffering too much socially. I actually feel like I’ve been talking to people more often than I would have because we’re checking in with each other to see how we’re doing through everything.

Obviously my dating life has halted completely. I’m okay with that though. I don’t think I have the time or energy for anything new right now and it’s good to just have this time to work on myself.

Anyway, my theme for this month is Alice in Wonderland. I have the phrase “It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then” from Alice in Wonderland tattooed on my back. It’s something I always go back to whether I’ve had a good/bad/normal day. I use it as a reminder that I’m always growing as a person and to not look back on things that have happened so much because I’ve grown from whatever experience.

I feel like with everything going on, it’s more important that ever to remind myself that everything I experience makes me grow and that I need to keep looking forward rather than looking to the past and wondering how I could have changed things.

I don’t have too much going on this month. The planets are certainly active, so that should be interesting! Also, as you can see, I’ve been terrible about reading. I know, I know. I’ll get on it. Sorry!!

Hope everyone’s having a good month! Happy almost Spooky Season!!

Bullet Journal – August 2020 Cover Page & Monthly Spread

I said I would try to be more artistic this month! I’m also posting close to the beginning of the month and not the end, so I’m kind of proud of myself here.

If you read my posts, I was ending July pretty optimistic about life and everything going on. I still feel like I’m trying to stay positive and optimistic, but I got some pretty unfortunate news about my job last week, so it’s put a bit of a downer on things.

I’ve talked a little about it before, but I currently work for a travel company. With everything going on with COVID, my job has been heavily impacted. My company has no incoming business and while we’ve been able to stay afloat and continue working full time up until now, the time finally came for my boss to make some cuts.

I feel like I knew it was coming soon and I’ve been trying to save a bit so that I would be more prepared when it did happen, but it felt sort of sudden and I wasn’t 100% prepared for it when it happened last week.

Luckily, my dad is self-employed and I’m able to help him out so I’ll be able to sort of make up for the loss of income with a part-time job. I know a lot of people aren’t in the position to do this and dealing with unemployment right now seems like a nightmare. I’m definitely very fortunate to have this opportunity and to be able to continue paying my bills and save any extra money for the month.

Which brings me to my spread and “habit” tracker for August!

Keeping up with the “No Spend” on my habit tracker is going to be really important this month. I’m not exactly sure what my income will be between the two jobs, so I’m trying really hard to make sure I don’t spend too much on things that aren’t necessary.

My “Goals” section is pretty short and sweet, and honestly that’s what I need my mindset to be going into this month.

Save money, stay positive.

I think that’s really a good reminder right now with everything going on in the world. Things are pretty bad, and it feels like every day gets worse. It’s really hard to stay positive, but I think we all need to keep looking toward that light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll get through this eventually.

Product Review: Raw Generation 3-Day Skinny Cleanse

If you’ve been following along with my monthly trackers, you may have noticed that I’ve been working on exercising more and taking better care of myself.

Since we’ve been stuck at home and under quarantine and social distancing guidelines, I haven’t been the best with my health. I was being lazy, ordering takeout multiple times a week, and just not really caring about my body.

I started feeling really down and depressed, so I decided that I needed to make a change. I bought an exercise bike and starting working out at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes each day.

I noticed changes in my body, but I wasn’t really losing the weight. I tried to eat healthier, but again it was hard for me to plan meals and to stick to them. I still found myself ordering out pretty often and eating food that was not healthy for me at all.

A few weeks ago, a friend from school posted about this juice cleanse she was doing and how they have a sale that’s going on so others should take the plunge and do the cleanse too. I figured, why not?

The Raw Generation Skinny Cleanse has three options – a 3-day, 5-day, and 7-day cleanse. Since this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, I decided to just try out the 3-day cleanse and see how it worked.

The package came really quickly and inside there were 6 frozen juices per day for a total of 18 bottles. It took about a day and a half for them to thaw in my refrigerator, and that Monday morning I started the cleanse.

Before I get into my review, I just want to mention that with this cleanse you are allowed to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, and you’re allowed to drink coffee and tea without any cream or sugar. Before the cleanse started, I decided I was just going to skip all of these unless I felt like I absolutely needed them, so the days of the cleanse the only thing I had were the juices and a ton of water.

Day One was easy. I don’t typically eat anything until mid-day anyway, so I wasn’t super hungry in the morning. The first day I only drank 4 of the 6 juices I had thawed for that day. I still exercised, but didn’t push myself like I normally would and I felt really good afterward.  I went to bed pretty early this night. I didn’t sleep well the night before, so this isn’t out of the ordinary for me to do.

Day Two was a little harder. It seemed like every advertisement on tv and online was for food. I was craving foods that I never eat. It was all that I could think about. I felt like I had a good amount of energy, but had a slight headache throughout the day. I was glad that I didn’t drink all 6 juices the first day because I definitely needed an extra one this day. I still went to bed kind of early, just to get the day over with and to be on the final day of the cleanse.

Day Three was way better. I was excited to almost be done. I had a ton of energy, but felt a little weak so I still didn’t exercise. The headache was still there as well, but a little ibuprofen did the trick and it went away. I wasn’t thinking about food too much, but I think it’s because I was just so excited that I could eat food the next day.

The first day after the cleanse, I weighed myself and I had lost 4 pounds. I was pretty happy with that for a 3-day cleanse and it was about what I expected to lose based on the reviews others had left.

The company suggests continuing to eat a lot of fruit and veggies, and to cut back on dairy, sugar, and meat. The day after the cleanse, I went to the grocery store to stock up on these things and made the switch from regular milk to oat milk.

I ate an omelette and some soup that day, and it made me feel really full.

It’s now been about two weeks since the cleanse ended and I’m still doing better with eating healthier meals. I signed up for HelloFresh, so I’m trying that out in hopes that I’ll keep staying away from takeout food and learn how to cook healthier meals.

I did lose 2 more pounds since the cleanse, which I’m really happy about. I was afraid I would just gain the weight back, but I’ve been able to maintain the weight loss and even continue slowly losing weight.

Overall, I’m really happy with the cleanse and I’m actually thinking about doing it again. The juices were really good and really did do a good job keeping me full for the 3 days. I’m not sure that I would want to do it any longer than that though. I feel like after 5 days I’d definitely be starving and I have no idea how people can do it for 7 days.

Has anyone else tried it? I’m really interested in seeing what others’ results were.

Bullet Journal – July 2020 Cover Page & Monthly Spread

I wanted to do something fun and summery for July. I see a lot of lemon themed spreads, but I find it really hard to see yellow when I use it in my actual journaling, so I decided to go with oranges!

I’ll admit, this isn’t my best work. I’m not sure what I was doing this day, but I really wasn’t feeling like setting up the month so I was trying to do it quickly. I haven’t decided on an August theme yet. Maybe I’ll make that one a bit more artistic.

This month wasn’t too bad overall. I need to read more!! I decided to take meditation off of my tracker. When I was actually going into the office every day, it was easier to have a routine at night and make time for meditation. Now that I’m home all the time I find myself doing more at home at night and wanting to get other things done. My routine has just changed and I haven’t found a good time for it. I do want to continue with meditation. Maybe I’ll download the Calm app, has anyone tried it?

My goals are a little personal this month. Three years ago in July I met this guy on Tinder who ended up becoming pretty important to me. We were mostly just friends, but there was always a little bit more to it and if I’m being honest with myself I always had hoped for more.

In the last three years, that relationship had a lot of ups and downs. There were quite a few times when we wouldn’t talk for extended periods of time until I would give in and reach out.  It was always me doing the reaching out and re-kindling the relationship.

At this point, we haven’t talked for months and I feel like it’s time for me to work on moving on. Some days it’s definitely strange, but it wasn’t working out and I need to learn how to keep going without thinking about him.

My goal this month was to keep working on that and to remind myself that if he’s never the one to reach out then I shouldn’t waste my time trying to have some sort of contact with him either. Sometimes the people that we care about and want in our lives just don’t feel the same way about us, and that’s been a difficult lesson for me to learn.

Anyway! This month I also did a 3-day juice cleanse. I lost 4 pounds on the cleanse and have continued eating healthier and losing weight! I signed up for HelloFresh next month, so I’m really excited to start cooking for myself more and having healthier meals.

I’m feeling really good about myself right now and I’m actually looking forward to August!

Bullet Journal – June 2020 Cover Page

I’m so late to this. Man, I don’t know what happened this month. I’ve literally told myself that I need to do this every day and just didn’t. I don’t really have an excuse, it was pure laziness on my part. I promise I’ll do better next month.

The Black Lives Matter movement is something that I feel very strongly about and although no one really sees my bullet journal, I wanted to remember this time when I look back and make sure that I feel good about my support.

Personally I haven’t been able to donate much money to the cause, but I’ve made sure to sign the petitions and to share information. I’ve also been having conversations with members of my family. I’m not sure how much is getting through, but hopefully it’ll encourage the people around me to educate themselves about the movement and to support the cause as well.

I think the important thing to remember during this time is that every little bit helps and that we all need to continue to educate ourselves on these issues. If you’re reading this and have the means or time, I encourage you to check out the following websites:

Ways You Can Help
Black Lives Matter
A Growing List of Resources for the Black Lives Matter Movement

We need to do better. We need to educate ourselves. We need to give our support.

This isn’t about politics. This is about humanity and compassion for others.

I was going to post my monthly spread as well, but it feels wrong to add it to this post. Its basically the same as past months, so nothing really necessary to include, and I don’t want to take away from the rest of the post by bringing this back to my journal.

Anyway, I really do hope that even just one person sees this and checks out the resources above. Hopefully the world progresses in the right way and July brings justice to the many families who have been subjected to police brutality.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

I’ve been meaning to read this book for awhile and had heard really good things about it. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was about and I certainly wasn’t prepared for it.

I love a good murder mystery and I like how this one had the pieces of the mystery interspersed between the story of Kya growing up. The juxtaposition of the chapters with the investigation and the chapters that told the story of her life really helped add to the intrigue and to make the reader feel for Kya.

It’s actually kind of a sad story. The poor Marsh Girl who had to learn how to raise herself. All she wanted was for someone to prove that they loved her by staying and it seemed like everyone she ever let herself care about left.

****SPOILER ALERT****

 

I actually had to stop reading when Tate left to go to college. I thought for sure he would come back and when he didn’t, it kind of broke my heart. He made up for it with publishing her books and ultimately staying with her for good, but it was really sad.

Chase Andrews is a whole other story. You know, he seemed like he did care for Kya. I wanted to believe that he was a decent person. The way he wore her seashell necklace all the time had to mean something, right?

He had seemed kind of sweet at one point, but I guess it was always about getting the Marsh Girl.

The trial had me completely on edge. Once she was arrested, I couldn’t put the book down. I had to know what would happen to her. I know this is fiction, but every time her lawyer questioned a witness I was so happy because he seemed like he was doing such a good job.

I was very happy with the ending, and the little thing Tate finds at the very end. I’m not sure how she did it, but good for her. Chase would have never left her alone and she wouldn’t have had her happy ending if not.

Sorry for all the spoilers in this one. I just really loved this story and had to get all that off my chest haha.