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Iceland: Why I Wouldn’t Go Back

Iceland: Why I Wouldn’t Go Back

By: Kelsea Ventures

If you’ve been alive recently you may have noticed that EVERYONE and their mothers are going to Iceland… including me.

 

Your best friend: “You wouldn’t believe how cheap the airfare is to Iceland! I just bought a ticket!”

 

Your other best friend: “You know, I’ve been thinking about taking a trip to discover myself, I’m thinking Iceland. After all they have mountains AND hot springs.”

 

Your parents:  “With tickets what they are we’ll finally be able to afford that vacation we’ve always wanted-in Iceland!”.

 

Your barista: “Or are you going to Iceland? When are you going? It’s gorgeous in the Spring!”.

 

Everyone is an expert on Iceland. 

 

Including me now.

 

Here’s the thing, I’ve wanted to go to Iceland since I was 18- far before Iceland started allowing people to visit without visas, or before Iceland Air and WOW air had marketing campaigns and $100 round-trip flights.

I’ve wanted to go to Iceland since I backpacked Europe for the first time and fell in love with discovering different cultures and experiences.

I wanted to go to Iceland a long time before it became a popular destination. 

So, when I had a chance to go this year, I took it.  I booked flights for myself, my sister and my friend and told them we were leaving in three weeks.

(Looking back I think the cheap last minute airline deals are a way to con you into booking before planning- good job Iceland tourism board!).

But, here’s the thing.  Iceland actually let me down.  It was a FANTASTIC trip.  We had a ton of fun, but knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t necessarily go back, and if I could go back in time, Iceland would still be on my bucket list, but it would be pushed further down.

Here’s Why:

 

1. Cost

I’m sure you’ve heard it- Iceland is expensive, but let me reiterate this.

ICELAND IS FREAKIN’ EXPENSIVE!

It’s one of the most expensive destinations for tourists.

Yes, you may get a cheap flight, but the food, car rentals, taxis, hotels, and EVERYTHING else is expensive.

We spent over $1,500 a person ($5,000+ total) being there for 7 days.

That’s not us being bougie either. 

We stayed in hostels, cooked our own food, and walked as much as possible to save on gas (we did rent a car).

Just a quick breakdown of what you should expect price wise.

Airplane: Cheap as bloody hell (except you’ll die of thirst unless you buy $5 water, plus no carry on-hope you can fit everything in a purse)

Hostels/Cheap Hotels: Around $100 a night

Food: Over $100/day per person

Note: We ate super, super cheap by stuffing our pockets with beef sticks and granola bars before getting on the plane… no joke my friend wore a huge winter jacket that ended up being 35 pounds with all the food stuffed in it. (we didn’t pay for the carry on or checked bags as they would have upped our plane ticket $100 each way).

Car Rental: Over $100 a day PLUS insurance (which you’ll want with the roads being how they are).

Excursions: Minimum of $150 (we only did the Blue Lagoon which was $150 per person- everything else was in shoulder season).

As you can see things start adding up quickly and there’s plenty of things we didn’t include in the total- like the price to drive 5 hours to the airport, parking at the airport, shuttles from the airport in Reykjavík into town ($50/person) etc…

When you start adding all of this up, it quickly turns Iceland into a not-so-affordable travel destination.

2. The Scenery And Things To Do

Don’t get me wrong, Iceland is beautiful… but it’s not as beautiful as I was expecting, based on the Iceland hype.

 Yes, there are beautiful sections and parks, but as a whole it wasn’t in my top ten or even top fifty “scenic” places (the exception would be Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon which I would definitely put on my list).

While obviously scenery is a preference, I would describe the majority of what we drove through (we drove a large part of the island) as “desolate”… think hours of driving through flat black lava rock to occasionally get to something beautiful. 

In addition to that, it’s a lot of driving around and there weren’t many opportunities for hiking and exploring on your own because the cool things are all dangerous.

Now, what I consider to be beautiful and what activities I’m looking for verses what you want out of a trip are two different things, but I definitely recommend looking through pictures of everything before you go to make sure that with the high cost of visiting Iceland the scenery meets your expectations. 

After traveling to so many other places world-wide, I would definitely put Canada, Croatia, New Zealand, Australia, or Hungary, further up on my list than Iceland for both scenery and things to do. However, that might not be the case for you, and that’s totally fine!

Just be aware that with all the hype surrounding Iceland there is a chance you might enjoy visiting somewhere else better and be able to do so cheaper.

3. Other Minor Things

Food

It’s expensive, mostly meat, and often very authentic which is hard for my *mostly* vegetarian pallet. 

Alcohol

I’m not much of a drinker, but if you are, there are few places to pick up a drink (watch out for the grocery stores that sell “beer”- it’s nonalcoholic).

You Can’t Do A Lot Of Experiences Without An Excursion

For safety reasons, most of the “cool” things to do in Iceland require paying for an excursion.  That’s fine and all, but definitely add that into your budget from the beginning.  NO you cannot walk on a glacier or go in an ice cave without a guide! You can see parts of glaciers from afar.

While there are other things I could nitpick, I don’t want this post to be all negative.  In fact, I plan on writing several Iceland oriented travel guides in the near future and reviews of the places we stayed etc.

But, I do think it’s important to know the cost of going to Iceland in comparison to other destinations and really look at what it is they have to offer.

Make a pros and cons list and check prices of some of the other destinations you want to travel to. You might be surprised that they end up being cheaper and there might be more to see and do for the price!

So, would I recommend Iceland?

Yes, but probably not before other places.

After going once would I go back?

Probably not. There are too many other places I’d rather go back to or see for the first time.

If I did it would be just a stop-over.

Hopefully this post didn’t come across as too negative or condescending.  I was just surprised at the hype verses reality of my Iceland experience, and I wanted to write about it to hopefully help others who are considering Iceland as a destination.

5 Apps to Help You Practice Mindfulness Everyday

5 Apps to Help You Practice Mindfulness Everyday

By Michele Renee at Life With Michele Renee

Have you ever experienced a time where you are just so stressed out that you are fed up and you wish you had some easy way to help you calm down?

Well I have a solution for you!

I have curated a list of awesome apps that can help you de-stress, and stay mindful throughout the day.

Mindfulness and living intentionally has been proven to help reduce stress, and anxiety on a daily basis.

It can be hard trying to practice mindfulness every single day when you first begin, but after you get going it’s a world-changing practice.

So, without further ado, here are five apps to help keep you mindful.

Headspace is a great app if you want daily reminders for practicing meditation and inspirational quotes.

 

The app is available on both the Apple and Android app store. It is free at the start, and has in-app purchases once you complete the beginner friendly meditation course.

 

There are different areas you can focus on in the app from sleep, anxiety, stress, and even panic attacks. The main voice of the meditations is an Australian man.

 

If the accent is soothing to your ears, then I would definitely recommend this app.

 

The color scheme and characters in the app only help in creating a calm, and fun environment (and amazingly easy interface to use).

 

If an Australian narrator isn’t your jam, try out Buddhify.  Buddhify is a wonderful meditation app. They specifically work around a busy lifestyle, so they have sections for if you just need a 10 or 20 minute meditation break.

 

There are no monthly the majority of the content. Plus this app was created by a married couple! What better way to bond than over a passion project.

 

What is great about this app is that each meditation is categorized by what you are doing or how you are feeling so you get a tailored experience.

If meditation apps aren’t your thing then you can try Stop, Breathe & Think. This app forces you to stop for a 5 minutes, be present, and do short activities to help you practice mindfulness.

They have a few guided meditations that are free but most of their content requires a membership of $5 a month. They include yoga videos, and multiple activities to help you take care of your emotional wellness.

 

Try this app out to help ease your stress and take charge of caring for you emotional wellness.

Moving on to Aura, you’ll find that this app has numerous options for practicing mindfulness. They have 3-20 minute guided meditations, nature sounds for solo meditation, and short stories if you need a little extra inspiration.

 

Let’s not forget about the Life Coaching sessions, Melodious music, and a gratitude tracker. To get the most use out of the app, there is a monthly membership of $12.

The last app on our list is Mindfulness Daily. This app centers around giving you mindfulness lessons at crucial parts of your day: morning, middle of the day, and before bed.

The app is out on IOS, but they are currently working on pushing out an Android version.

Practicing mindfulness can be hard to achieve when you lead a busy lifestyle. But if you are serious about reducing your stress and anxiety, the first step is to try one of the apps listed above.

If you can learn to check in with yourself and take inventory of your emotions throughout the day, you can figure out triggers for your stress and anxiety and work around them or eliminate them from your daily routine.

The key to making sure mindfulness works for you is to adjust your schedule to make it a priority. These 5 apps will definitely help with keeping a consistent schedule for you to de-stress and live a more intentional life.

Contributing Author

Michele Renee

Michele Renee

Life With Michele Renee

Michele Renee is a Bay Area native living life who writes about millennial lifestyle and personal development. Through her blog, Life With Michele Renee, she strives to make sure you’ll be able to find your way through daily life struggles and gain tips on how to become the best YOU through weekly positivity. Michele Renee loves being an open ear to friends and is often sought out for advice. Through her own life struggles, Michele Renee has found that love, compassion, and a resilient mindset are key to living a continual process of self-growth. Join Michele Renee on her blog, Life With Michele Renee, for weekly inspiration, lifestyle tips, and personal stories.

The Ultimate List Of Plus Size Boutiques

The Ultimate List Of Plus Size Boutiques

BY KELSEA VENTURES

Plus size boutiques and stores are, for some reason, extremely difficult to find.  

I’m at the smaller end of plus-size, bouncing between a size 12 and 14, but even with less curves than some girls, I struggle to find clothes that fit my body shape.  It seems like if you don’t have that perfect plus-size model body, regular stores just don’t have flattering options for you.

This has become especially a problem as I’ve been growing on social platforms and while I’m typically a comfortable clothing type of girl, I do feel like I’m at a point where I  need to switch up my three outfit choices on occasion.   You know, for like dinners and events and stuff. Well, maybe, we’ll see, I really like being comfortable.

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Anyways, I started looking online to find some online plus-size boutiques and was extremely surprised by how difficult it was.

For starters, there don’t seem to be many plus-size only stores and boutiques out there and then once you find them it’s difficult to determine which ones are actually worth paying for and which are maybe not the best. 

After doing a lot of my own research I decided to put together a mega list of plus-size focused clothing options for girls who are looking for new clothing options.

Note:  These are plus-size focused brands, not just any brands that offer plus-size clothes.

 

1. ELOQUII

 

If you’ve already done some Googling to find plus size boutique options, there’s a good chance you’ve run across ELOQUII, and for good reason.

ELOQUII is one of the largest plus-size only fashion “boutiques” online which is a huge benefit to shoppers.

Instead of the classic problem of having larger sizes of clothes designed to fit smaller bodies, they specialize in creating fashionable pieces for women over size 12.   Because they do focus on fashion specifically they have those boutique prices (if you know what I mean).  However, keep an eye out because they frequently do sales.

Sizes: 14-28

Prices: $$$

Reviews: Mostly Positive

Negative reviews related to return policy and quality of clothing for the price.

Best Sellers

My Favorites

My Thoughts

ELOQUII has a basic casual/formal vibe to me which isn’t really “fashion” forward in my opinion.  Don’t get me wrong, they make clothes that are in season, but I wouldn’t put them into any particular fashion category.  They’re also fairly expensive for the basic clothes they offer.  For instance, the cheapest t-shirt I could find was $24. 

While basic, they do have some cute pieces, I however have yet to order from them because my personal taste is more into unique, leisurewear, or edgy pieces

When I went through reviews, my general thought was that if they had something I wanted I would chance ordering from them. It sounds like if you don’t need to return the product life is good.

However, I would probably make sure to check the dimensions of the outfit against my dimensions to help mitigate the potential of needing to return the product.

This would be a place I would shop if I worked in an office environment or had a bunch of casual business lunches I was obligated to go to, but as it stands I don’t foresee myself ordering from them.

2. Ashley Stewart 

 

Ashley Stewart is what I would consider a fashion forward brand.  They have unique and edgy apparel specifically made for girls who want to celebrate their curves. The styles offered by Ashley Stewart would best worn casually and are definitely fashion statement pieces.

Sizes: 12-36

Prices: $$

Reviews: Mostly Negative

Negative reviews related to all aspects of online shopping from customer service to shipping to returns.

New Collection

My Thoughts

I’m not a huge fan of their current cameo collection (reminds me of growing up in a huntin’ family), I do however love some of the other pieces from past collections.  But, I wouldn’t make a purchase from Ashley Stewart online because of the ridiculous number of 1 star reviews. If I lived near an Ashley Stewart store I would consider purchasing from them.

3. Avenue 

Avenue started in 1983 and is one of the oldest plus-size only focused clothing stores.  The style at Avenue reminds me of “mom” wear. 

It’s very casual and probably aimed at an older audience, yet there are definitely some pieces that I would wear. 

Avenue has a huge range of products including swimwear and shoes, which sets them apart from other plus-size stores.

Sizes: 14-32

Prices: $$                                                                                   

Reviews: Mostly Negative

Negative reviews related to all aspects of online shopping from customer service to shipping to returns.

Best Sellers

My Favorites

My Thoughts

Just like Ashley Stewart the number of 1 star reviews on Avenue would make me think more than twice about making a purchase. 

If they remedied the customer service, shipping and return issues, I might consider shopping there in the future for cheapish plus-size jeans and t-shirts… otherwise they don’t really have my style.

 

4. Hackwith Design House Plus

If you want a truly exclusive fashion experience, Hackwith Design House Plus is a limited edition company that only releases 25 products of each design they create. They make the pieces in the United States on order, which makes them feel extra fancy.

In addition to just having a cool concept for original clothing, Hackwith offers a variety of collections from the core collection to intimates and swimwear.

The style of clothing Hackwith offers is cute, casual and versatile.  Their pieces appear to be comparable to ELOQUII in price, but are handmade in the USA and limited edition…. Just let that sink in.

 

Sizes: 14-28

Price: $$$

Reviews: NA

While I tried to find reviews of Hackwith, from what I could tell there are none to be found although the company has been in existence since 2013.

My Thoughts

 

Hackwith is definitely a company I would try if I wanted to splurge. I love the idea of owning a limited edition outfit and of having my clothing handmade in the USA.  Reviews or not, I’m a sucker for the “romance” of the situation and I’d totally do it!

5.Curvy 

 

The name says it all.  The about make of Curvy explains that this boutique is founded on the idea that over half of all women in the USA are a size 14 or higher, yet it’s difficult to find clothing lines made for curvy bodies. 

The style of Curvy is younger than many of the other clothing lines and the style is a casual formal.

 

Sizes: 1X-3X?  The shop cares particular sizes of particular items, but it looks like it carries 1X-3X standardly.

Price: $$

Reviews: NA

Once again I attempted to find reviews and couldn’t find any for this small boutique.

My Thoughts

I was surprised that I liked the overall vibe and style of Curvy and since they’re cheaper than many other brands. I would definitely consider purchasing from them, but I’m also hesitant just because there aren’t any reviews.  They also have fairly limited sizes which seems counterintuitive to having a plus-size focused brand.

6. TORRID

Torrid is definitely a big player in the plus-size industry.  Not just a small online store, it’s one of the biggest with stores in malls across the United States. Torrid is definitely mainstream and not what I would call a “boutique”, but for cheap, mainstream clothes they’re definitely an option.

Sizes: 10 – 30

Price: $$

Reviews: Mixed

Reviews about online shopping are negative- mainly related to customer service, returns and mistakes in

My Thoughts

 

Torrid is a really mainstream brand.  I have purchased from them before in the mall and I feel like they’re a cheap, alternative to shopping plus-size in a mall-type situation.

However, I wouldn’t consider Torrid a “boutique”, nor would I say that they’re necessarily the best fitting plus-size clothing line-but they’re better (at least in my experience) than the plus-size you find in other huge stores that don’t focus on just plus-size.

With all of that being said, I wouldn’t shop Torrid online after looking through reviews about the online shopping.  Customer service once again is at the forefront of the issues with the online shopping situation, and dealing with poor customer service is extremely frustrating and not worth their clothing in my opinion.

 

7. Monif C

 

Monif C is all about creating trendy hot pieces that reek in sophistication and sexiness… according to them. They offer swimsuits, jumpsuits and other trendy “let’s go out on the town” outfits.  According to their website, Monif C has been in the business of designing plus-size outfits for over 10 years.

 

Sizes: 1X-3X

Prices: $$$

Reviews: NA

I can’t find reviews on the website itself (customer service, fulfillment, shipping etc), but the Monif C clothing has good reviews when sold through other stores… so if you want to try them out perhaps buy them through a third party seller to ensure the shipping, handling and customer service will go smoothly.

Best Sellers:

My Thoughts:

Monif C seems like a good option for girls who want jumpers, rompers or swimsuits, but the brand is limited in offerings.  It’s also a very particular style. I personally probably wouldn’t order from them just because I’m not a romper or jumper kind of gal.

 

8. City Chic

Sizes: 14-24

Prices: $$$

Reviews: Mixed

I found two reviews on better business bureau that were negative due to customer service issues.  However, it appears their US fulfillment is fairly new, so these issues may resolve in the future.  The clothes themselves and physical store in Australia have mostly positive reviews, but one again there are only a few of them so it’s hard to say for sure. 

Best Sellers:

My Thoughts

City Chic has a lot of cute casual pieces and some that can be dressed up for formal/casual events, I could easily find clothes to wear through them. However, I don’t see myself ordering from them at this point because I’m in the US and it seems like they need to work somethings out in terms of fulfillments, customer service, shipping etc.  I would definitely keep an eye on them in the future and if you live in Australia I would consider them.

9. Mei Smith

Mei Smith is a designer company that is based on minimal pieces specifically designed for plus size women.  They are made in the United States, and they call their pieces “quality” pieces.

Sizes: 12-?

Prices: $$$$$$$$

Reviews: NA

I didn’t find any reviews, but their products have been featured on some larger websites like Refinery 29.  I’m not sure if these were sponsored posts or not which would definitely make me question the validity of the post if they were.

My Thoughts

I would personally never buy from this company because the prices are WAY too high for the basic pieces offered.  We’re talking over $400 for a “minimalistic” pair of pants.  I could get some pants from a cringy-expensive store like Gucci if I wanted to spend that amount.

With that being said, the company does make their products in the US, so there is some added value to that-but still.  However, if you want to support a small business and are willing to dish up the coin, their pieces are definitely minimalistically stylish.

10. Kiyonna

Kiyonna is unique in that it was started as a business venture when the founder surveyed a group of women to determine what the needs were in the clothing marketplace after she graduated from business school. They have a large selection of clothes from basic camis to evening gowns at fairly reasonable prices.

Sizes: L-3X

Prices: $-$$

Reviews: Mostly Positively

I like to check reviews across the same review sites to ensure as much unbiased as possible.  Kiyonna is small enough that they’re not on some of the larger review sites.  However, the sites they are being reviewed on have mostly positive reviews and the negatives are about random problems like “it showed my rolls” or “I didn’t like the material”. With all of that being said, it’s hard to know if your experience will be positive or negative based on reviews.  

Best Sellers

My Thoughts

Kinyonna is probably somewhere I will be shopping in the future. They have a large enough variety that I know I can find some basic pieces for a reasonable price.  However, because of the lack of reviews I don’t know if the quality of clothes are great for the price.

11. Full Beauty

Full Beauty is another site that hosts a large amount of product types including shoes and even a men’s section. Full Beauty is not what I would consider “boutique” as much as mainstream basic and affordable clothing (which is honestly more up my alley).

Sizes: 12-44

Prices: $

Reviews: Mostly Negative

A lot of people seemed to have issues with the customer service, returns, and the shopper’s club.

My Thoughts

I would actually try Full Beauty because they’re so affordable, but I would probably only order a few of the cheaper items to test them out.  It sounds like as long as you don’t need returns and you don’t join the shopper’s club, it CAN be a decent place to shop for the price. With all of that being said, they definitely aren’t what I would consider a “boutique”.

12. IGIGI

This is a really unique plus size dress store that creates made-to-order pieces in addition to their “in stock” selection.
Sizes: 12-36

Prices: $$

Reviews: Excellent

From what I could tell all verified reviews fell into the “excellent” range of 4.5-5 stars.   There were some negative reviews a few different places, but they all promoted alternative brands which makes me skeptical of the validity of the review, plus none of them were verified. 

My Thoughts

The dresses made by IGIGI range from $100-$200, but for a custom made dress with great reviews it seems like a really great option for plus sized gals who might need particular sizing.  I don’t know if I would ever order a dress from them because I’m not a big dress person, but I would consider it for an event or special occasion.

13. Hips And Curves

Want some sexy plus size lingerie?  That’s what Hips And Curves is all about. They offer a variety of “intimate” wear from lingerie sets to bras, panties, corsets and even costumes.
Sizes: 10-28

Prices: $-$$

Reviews: Mostly Positive

The only negative reviews I found (and there weren’t many) was about the processing time of the products.  It sounds like processing can take upwards of two weeks before the product even ships.

My Thoughts

For the everyday Hips And Curves probably wouldn’t be my go-to (did I mention like to be comfortable and I’m lazy?), but if I ever wanted a costume-esque flare I would definitely consider them. The prices are fairly reasonable and as long as you plan in a couple weeks for processing (just in case) it doesn’t sound like you’ll be disappointed.

14. Curvaceous Boutique

Finally a boutique with the word “boutique” in the name! Yes, this is an official boutique that focuses on “head turning” trendy  fashion pieces for the “curvy” girl. They have collections of tops, bottoms, dresses and accessories.
Sizes: 12-24

Prices: $-$$

Reviews: Mostly Positive

They don’t appear on many review sites (as is expected with a small boutique) but their Facebook page has a 4.8 star with 45 reviews which is actually decent.

My Thoughts

Prices being what they are, I would definitely look into buying products from them especially with the positive reviews.

15. Chic And Curvy

This is the first brand where “Bold” is the first thing that comes to mind.  Chic And Curvy offer an assortment of products from hats to skirts to body suits.  They also have a look book section to help you piece together your looks (something I love because I such at it myself) and a shopable Instagram that you can follow.

Sizes: 12-24

Prices: $$

Reviews: Mixed

It sounds like their downtown LA store does well, but their online customer service leaves something to be desired.  Every online review (there weren’t many) were negative.

My Thoughts

I doubt I would shop here, I’m just not into dresses. But if I did I would drop into my local store instead of order online.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, after doing all this research I can’t say that there is a perfect plus-size only shop out there.  

Hopefully that will change in the near future, but for now, my first pick (based mainly on reviews and prices) would be ELOQUII, followed up by Curvaceous Boutique and then visiting a local Torrid (but not buying online).  

Hopefully this list was somewhat helpful to you, I know putting it together helped me understand the plus-size market a lot better!

Bullet Journaling: The Ultimate Guide

Bullet Journaling: The Ultimate Guide

Bullet Journaling: The Ultimate Guide

People who follow me on social media would probably be shocked to find out that I am a loyal bullet journal user.

Me- the girl who can’t decorate or cook or clean or do her own hair- actually keeps an *adorable* and functional notebook.

I’ve come to rely on my bullet journal and I use it to do everything from planning my daily schedule, and tracking my water intake, to creating my internet content- especially the more creative content.

The Absolute KEY to Bullet Journaling

Before I even start explaining the bullet journal, I want you to understand one thing. The bullet journal is all about simplicity and functionality.  While there are beautiful journals out there, and some of you have the potential to make your entire journal drop-dead gorgeous, my suggestion is to start small, and take it to a more “creative” level later if you want to.

Why? Because there are TONS of beautiful examples out there, but trying to replicate them, for most people is going to be more stressful than helpful!

However, if the artistic side of bullet journaling keep you coming back for more, or if you can make a Martha Stewart style page easily-go for it.

But, keep in mind, the KEY to Bullet Journaling (regardless of all the information I’m going to throw at you) is simplicity!

Why The Bullet Journal?

If you’ve ever picked out a planner you’ll know that you generally have to choose what one will BEST fit your needs. But the bullet journal fits all of your needs, which is a pretty amazing thing if you’ve ever been a planner person.

Hopefully you’re intrigued, so let’s talk about what they are and how to use them.

For some reason, bullet journals, which are in actuality, very simple- are notoriously hard to explain. So, let me start with some basics.

 

What Is A Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is basically a planner that, like a unicorn, can transform to anything you imagine it to be…. Okay, maybe that imagery doesn’t work, but I like it.

The bullet journal, although seemingly boring and simple has stood out in a world of planners.  Much like a unicorn stands out in a sea of horses… I’m going to stop now.

It’s essentially a planner that can do or be anything you need it to be and can change with you as you grow and your activities change… and the best part is it takes less than five minutes to set it up and start using it!

 

What You Need:

The bullet journal starts with blank notebook and a pen- That’s IT!

Other useful, but optional supplies include:

A Ruler

Stickers

Stamps

Colored Pens

Washi Tape

Stencils

Paper clips

 

How Do I Use It?

The process of using a bullet journal is easier to understand once you understand how to set up the journal.

So let’s start there first.

 

Picture Credit: tealnotes.com

So the first step in setting up a bullet journal is to.

Make An Index

I always start by setting a few pages aside for my index and numbering them.

The index is what makes the bullet journal so sexy and appealing.

Like you might imagine, the index is simply a list of pages in your journal and the corresponding page number.

Unlike traditional planners, nothing in your bullet journal will be in consecutive order- which makes it surprisingly more useful than a traditional planner- but it therefore also requires a good index.

YOUR TURN:

Now, you know those index pages you set aside? Label them “Index” and add them to your index.

 

Picture Credit: christina77star.net

Make A Key

The page after my index (for me page #5), is my “key”.

The key consists of symbols of your choice that represent tasks, events, ideas etc…. This is what this looks like in my journal, but I’ll tell you more about them later.

 

Picture Credit: zenofplanning.com

 

Create a Future Log/ Year In Review

 

From this point on, the bullet journal really becomes your work of art! So be prepared to think about what will work best for you personally!

 

Most people start their journal off with a future log or a year in review- something that allows them to quickly jot down and view large events happening throughout the year.

 

YOUR TURN:

 

Decide which style fits you the best and create a page for your future events.  Then, write the page numbers and description in your index.

 

Make a Monthly Log

Your monthly log is a breakdown of everything you have planned for the month.  Your appointments, birthdays, dinner dates…. You know, all the stuff you’d normally put in your phone.

Once again, you’re going to have a lot of options as to how to set up your monthly log.

Here are some examples.

Remember that this is all supposed to be simple! Yes, I’m giving you different examples, but only so that you can figure out what’s going to work best for you! Don’t overthink it, or let it turn you off to bullet journaling.

YOUR TURN:

Create your first monthly log and write the page numbers and description in your index.

The Daily Log

Your daily log is just that- a LOG.

The actual definition of log is “an official record of events during the voyage of a ship or aircraft.”

Now your daily log won’t be recording events on a ship or aircraft… I don’t think. But, it will be recording your voyage.  Tasks, appointments, birthdays- yes, but also your thoughts, a poem you heard and liked, a book you want to start reading, a moment you want to remember.

This is the part of my bullet journal that makes me come back time and time again.

On one page I might have a dental appointment written down, but right under it, I have something nice a friend said that day, or a new song I heard and wanted to remember, or maybe just a random brain dump of ideas for my next blog post.

Basically, the bullet journal lets us shift through all the tons of information that hit us each day and prioritize what’s important in the form of shorthand lists.

The key that I mentioned up above helps us do this and keep these lists organized.

I have only a few symbols that I personally use, because having too many made things too difficult.

When I’m writing in my daily log I can typically remember the symbol I need and insert it before a thought or appointment to keep everything organized at a glance.

So these are your basic four modules that the official bullet guide recommends using!

But, there are other ways to add to your journal that might help you keep things organized.

 

Picture Credit: zenofplanning.com

Other Things In Relation To The Bullet Journal

Collections

Collections are element in your bullet journal that aren’t logs.

Some examples are books to read for the year, a habit tracker, weight loss tracker, blog post ideas, water intake tracker, cleaning lists etc.

A lot of people like to put their collections in the beginning of their bullet journal right after their key, but before their monthly, or daily logs.  I personally, don’t recommend doing this, because what a lot of people do is create too many collections and then not use them!

When I first started my bullet journal I was definitely guilty of having WAYYY too many collections.  I think it’s one of the most common sins of beginning bullet journalers. Most of us have these lists somewhere in our mind already and while putting them on paper can help us actually track our water or read books, it also can be too much to try to look at and do everyday. The bullet journal should make your life easier, not more stressful.

Currently, the only collections I use in my bullet journal are my blog idea and video idea collection which are just lists and ideas… and my daily Youtube statistics collection where I keep track of my subscriber numbers, video views for 48 hours and revenue for 48 hours. These collections ended up being in the middle of my bullet journal, not the beginning because they happened naturally out of need.

In the future I would think long and hard about putting collections in my bullet journal right off the bat. While there are some great ideas out there for collections, such as these (insert pictures), I prefer for the collections to happen naturally one at a time.

 

Migration

At the end of a month, it’s a good idea to migrate some of the undone tasks, events or even thoughts and ideas to the next month. This helps you be able to focus on the month at hand, rather than get caught up flipping back and forth throughout the months.

When I migrate something I typically just put an arrow through it pointing ahead in the journal and I re-write the undone somewhere else.  This system allows me to know that everything I need is where I need it!

During this time you can also decide that something is no longer worth doing and cross it out.

Threading

Since bullet journals are designed to be non-consecutive, threading is a little trick that allows you to quickly find information.

For example in your index you may have something that falls on pages 9, 18, and 46.  Now on those pages themselves you can put a little arrow at the bottom and list the next page number.

So, on page 9, it would list 18 and on page 18 it would list 46… this saves you the energy and time of looking up every page number individually in your index.

 

Basically, it all comes down to how the bullet journal can work for you.  Keep it simple, start slow, experiment and give it a chance and you might find that it’s everything you’ve ever need

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