Saturday, August 12, 2017

Subscribe to Horror

 I love horror. The end. I honestly don't know what to say about that. I always have, I always will. I don't know why. It's dark, slimy, creepy, and scary but it's always calling my name and I can't ignore. Beneath the fairies and unicorns, pink lipstick and high heels, flowers and perfumes, lurks a deep appreciation for blood, guts, screams, and demons.

Horror. Horror. Horror.

Over the past few years, however, I've often felt that the genre, in all mediums, is not alive as it once was. That it was harder and harder to find something I hadn't seen or read already. Which is crazy in this heyday of independent, self-publishing, blogs, forums, and multiple platforms for stories and video sharing platforms. Not to mention that this is the day and age of content curation and on-demand streaming services I should able to dive deep into horror anything and never have to come up for air.

I used to find horror books to read at bookstores and libraries, while I found the movies at Blockbuster or from friends. <Did I just age myself? Because I feel old now> 

Unfortunately, my town only had one bookstore now, in the mall, and they lost their coffee in store coffee shop. Going to the bookstore used to be fun, pretty cheap Friday or Saturday night. Now I use that time to lament the loss of bookstores in a town of just outside a major metropolitan area. On top of that, the old Blockbuster is a mattress store finally <<This literally has only changed in the last few year, I think we had the last standing Blockbuster in America>>

 For a short time FearNet filled a gap, but then it disappeared. Chiller is trying but it is not as good as FearNet was.

Once all those avenues dried up I sort of gave up trying and just watched whatever was on Netflix, which was overall .... lacking.

However, I found that I was wrong, I just wasn't looking hard enough in the right places. In reality, horror is just as strong as ever. Thanks to three different subscription services, I'm never more than click away from my favorite genre.


Turn on the Dark

From Chilling Tales for Dark Nights

I've been a subscriber to Chilling Tales since I first learned of them, which happened to be when they turned one of my short stories into a video.  Chilling Tales has multiple platforms, series, voice actors, and fantastic production value.  The stories are genuinely creepy and updated regularly. I absolutely love the podcasts because they have an old timey radio show feel and I have a thing for old timey radio shows.

The podcast and YouTube channel are free but they do have exclusive stories and products for subscribers. They have a variety of plans from $1 and up. You can subscribe on their page directly or through their recently launched Patreon page.


Screams On Demand

From Shudder
I discovered Shudder last Halloween when I was trying to track down a whole bunch of horror movies I hadn't seen yet.

They have a huge selection of movies, shorts, and tv shorts from all across the world you can stream into your living room. Their catalog can be browsed entirely or through curated collections like Animal Planet, Socko Spoofs, and Zombie Jamboree. I highly suggest Murder Party, Monster Brawl, Frankenstein's Army, Deathgasm, Shutter, and I could go on and on.

There's an app, the service is available on Roku, it used to be an add-on service to Amazon Prime Video (I do not know if it still is), and there is the stand alone website. In the U.S., the monthly price is $4.99 or pay a year in advance for $47.88.

Full disclosure: Sometimes the streaming can be slightly glitchy but not that bad and not that often. Also, it's one of the few streaming/digital content services available in both the U.S. and the U.K., a big plus when you travel often between the two countries like I do.


The Nocturnal Reader's Box


I discovered The Nocturnal's Reader Box on Instagram a month ago and subscribed as soon as I possibly could. Imagine horror fiction sent right to your door every month, as well as some pretty awesome horror related exclusive products. Count me in and instantly in love.

The Infected & Infested August Theme box (my first)

Finished: Mapping the Interior.  Signed copy of The Grip of It.
Patient Zero lapel pin.
The Woman who Never Killed bugs, print by Ally Burke  
I love, love, LOVE this box. I received mine earlier this week and I've already finished reading one of the books, the lapel pin is in my collection, the art print is on my wall (plus I've ordered other art from the artist), and everyone is jealous of my mug (which can be got nowhere else).

The only parts I'm not in love with is the hat and the bath bomb but that's likely to happen with in subscription box, not loving all the items. On the other hand, my dad, a fan of The Stand, was really excited about getting the Captain Trip's baseball cap I didn't want, so I got to make my dad happy (yay!). I haven't found a new home for the bath bomb. It's a shame that I like the smell but I don't take baths, I take showers. Baths....gross me out. 


In related news, I'm not letting the mug out of my sight.

I (and everyone else) love this mug!

The box is a great value at $35 + shipping and I'm already excited for the next one. Unfortunately, after the next box, which has a monster theme, the company is doing away with the themes, it's not a big deal but I really love themes, so I kind of liked that feature about the service. But otherwise, I cannot stop talking about this box.

If you're interested in learning more about the products in an unboxing video, leave a comment below.  I recorded one but I'm not sure I'm a ...skilled... presenter. It's definitely shorter than my scrapbook haul video but pretty much the same fumbling.

Until next time, Thanks for Stopping by and . . .



Friday, August 11, 2017

First Draft Friday: Even More Romance

First Draft Friday

Trying out a new idea for a post series where every Friday I post a rough draft. In my mind, this will something similar to my NaNoWriMo post but maybe less intense and only one day a week. The purpose is the same though: to encourage other writers. More often than not, we only get to see a finished polished version of fiction writing and it's very easy to get discouraged by their quality, even though we know, logically, whatever we're reading has a horrible first draft too. In my first draft posts, I want to share my first drafts as they are written more or less out of my brain. I say more or less because if I wrote the first draft longhand, then I'm usually going to clean it up a little bit or make all new mistakes or bad decisions as I type it up.

I very rarely write a story in order, from beginning to end straight through. The closest I get to doing so is when I write short stories. However, I rarely finish short stories anymore because I get stuck half way through and there isn't much space to jump around in these plot lines. "Romance" is a little different. A lot of my short stories start with an idea I have for an opening, I don't know much else beyond the beginning. I simply travel through the rest of the story like I'm looking for a light switch in the dark. For Romance, I knew the opening and the climax. I've written the opening, I'm stuck in the middle action, and so I've decided to skip ahead to the climax of the main conflict, not long before the end.

Apparently, I'm really focused on this story right now. Every time I have a second to write, I end up adding more. At the same time, I don't know what will become of it, if it has a middle, if any of it makes sense. I'm just exploring a lot of things, a recurring theme. So, I guess I'm just gonna keep writing to see how it goes.

Please enjoy another first draft extract from "Romance". If you'd like to read the opening, click here. If you'd to read the previous extract, click here.




Romance
first draft, incomplete,  680 words
By Stephanie Thompson

"I'm so glad you texted," Heather started.

Misty's resolve softened when she saw her splotchy, reddened features but there was nothing else to be done. She had to be firm, clear, and resolute.

"Come in," she said. "Have a seat. Would you like some tea or something?"

Resolute didn't mean rude.

"Tea? Tea would be nice," Heather answered while trying to tamp her rising hope. She's only being kind she reminded her heart because reasonably she knew there would be no reconciliation. Mysti hadn't hugged her, couldn't even look her in the eye. Mysti hadn't hugged her, couldn't even look her in the eye. She hadn't invited her over to get back together. This was sympathy tea, goodbye tea.

Mysti came back to the living room with tea cups clattering in their saucers. The scent of hot black, sweet tea nested comfortably with musky spice scent of Mysti's perfume. Heather wanted to nest there too, bury her nose in it, let the comfort warmth there overwhelm her. Instead the imagined rain followed her in, permeated her bones with a chill the hot tea cup couldn't touch.

"Heather, I - I asked you over here because . . . What we have . . . what we share . . . is special."

She stoppedd for a sip though it was too hot to drink and singed her tongue but it deserved the punishment. In her barely stammered out sentences it refused to use the past tense, refused to say what she wanted, needed to say.

She looked at Heather, who was blowing on her tea, both hands clutching the cup, and staring some distant point in the living room table.

Had breaking up with anyone else ever been this difficult?

"I will always care deeply about you, Heather, and treasure our time together," she said.

She wanted to be direct and concise. She didn't want to drag it out or talk around the finality. --It's over Heather-- she wanted to say but didn't.

"Please don't do this."

Her voice was small. Heather wasn't sure she'd spoken at all, she barely heard her voice and Mysti made no reaction - just watched her tea.

"I will . . ." she will what? What could she possibly do? She made every argument she could already. What was the core of the problem? Why can't they be together. "Why can't we just love each other?"

"We can love each other. We do but this isn't what I want. It isn't right for me. I love you but I don't..."

She put her teacup down. Tea splashed on the table. She stood up and walked away, she had to. She needed the space, the physical distance from Heather and the gravitational  pull of her emotions. The tug of the heartache and sympathies. Distance from the hurt Mysti was causing.

It'd be easier if she'd been rude. If she'd done it by text or in a phone call. It would've been better is she'd left it as it was after the argument. Now, she was only torturing them both.

"I love you but I don't want to be with you, Heather. I know it's hard to hear, it's hard enough to say and even more impossible to explain even to myself but . . . I have to say it. I don't want to be with you."

"You said you wanted something different. You said you clicked in a way yo've never experienced before."

"I wish we could've met as friends."

"You wanted to be with me when you thought I was a man."

"I've wanted to be with lots of men before I met them or before a few dates. It doesn't work out every time, regardless of gender."

"Don't say it like you've had a romantic relationship with a woman before. Don't say that like you've got a liberal understanding gender or sexuality."

"I do not want to argue about this again, Heather. I don't want us to end ugly."

"I don't want this to end."

"You can't force me to be ina relationship with you and even if you could . . . there's no scenario where we both end up happy."



I wonder if there are other writers who switch up names and spellings of names sort of randomly as they go. I do it constantly.

Thanks for reading!!


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Transformation Tuesday: Passing the test

Recently, I got some results back from blood testing I had done as part of a yearly check up. I wasn't optimistic. I don't follow a recommended diet, I barely have an active lifestyle much less exercise, I don't have a regular sleep cycle, I could be better about taking my pills on the reg, or even drinking water. The list pretty much goes on and on full of the don'ts I do and the do's I don't.

However, my lab results were better than they have been in years. My CBC was almost perfectly average. My metabolic panel was fine. My lipid panel was decent. And most importantly, to me, my A1C was in the normal range. On top of that, I've recently lost 10 pounds for no apparent reason. My mom asked me "What have you been doing?" a few days ago and I, naturally, have been thinking of an answer ever since.

Like everything else in life, getting to this point has been a journey. I've been with my current doctor since 2015, but I think this journey started the year before, and I've made gradual changes as well as dramatic changes along the way.

2 plates is balanced eating, right?

Why did I take so many pictures like this?
One of the first changes I made is the amount of nachos and beer I consume. I don't know what happened in 2014 but I swear for like the first three months I primarily ate chips, cheese, and a beer or three every night for dinner. Not surprisingly I was tired all of the time and felt awful all the time. So, I went on a health kick.

I started exercising, I made diet changes, and I stopped drinking. I started feeling significantly better. I had more energy for a short period of time. Unfortunately, this is also the period of time when my uterus started going haywire and nothing I did affected my energy level because my red blood count and iron levels dropped like crazy.

Jump forward to last year. I had my hysterectomy and a blood transfusion and I felt even better. I asked my doctor how much weight she wanted me to lose by our next follow up, which I had planned to be in six months because I thought that energy alone was what stood in my way of finally being healthier and losing weight. She said she didn't care about weight so much if I increased my activity and my labs and blood pressure were fine. I always pinned those results to weight loss and decided on a pound a week would be good.

Unfortunately, my life got a little crazy after that: I lived in a hotel for three months, NaNoWriMo and the disastrous election followed making me an emotional and stressed wreck, then I was overseas for three months. In all that time my diet was not good. I ate a lot of processed, convenience food because it was easiest. I drank a lot of beer. I didn't go back for a follow-up. 

Sometime during this period, I switched from Splenda to a minimally processed, organic sugar in my coffee. I did not feel comfortable with this choice but I learned that consuming something sweet had the same effect in your body as consuming sugar. That it was the taste of sweetness that sent the signals to your body to store fat. If that was the case, then I would rather have sugar, which tasted better than other sweeteners, in my coffee. I worried about the effects on my blood sugar but I made the switch anyway.

However, when I was in England, my skin, which is plagued with sensitivity and patches of dry flakiness that defy treatment, cleared up. I had fewer cravings for sugar and felt fuller on less.

When I got back, I started thinking about the differences between English and American food. How could I feel better on diet full of sausage rolls and beer than I did on kale, whole grains, and low fat? More importantly, why was my skin better?

While I didn't have studies or research to inform a decision, I used my experience. Food spoiled quicker over there, even milk seemed to last only a few days. Almost everything came from nearby farms or in England, which were small farms and companies, versus industrial agriculture. I think the furthest my food came were the pears I bought which were from Belguim. Much of my food was freshly made in the store rather than pre-made in a factory. Not every single thing had sugar added to it. From these types of observations, I decided to try two things first: avoid preservatives and switch fully to grass milk/pasture raised dairy. 

Apart from the time from living in the hotel, or anytime I traveled really, I didn't feel like I ate a lot of processed foods. Even now I can't say exactly what I cut out besides bread and Tricuits. Oh, and chips. On a recent trip, I spent what felt like a fortune on organic/ healthy snacks with my main goal to avoid sugar laden, preservative filled, over salted gas station food.

Weirdest shopping trip ever.
I tried a lot of new foods. They didn't all work out but this is the first trip I've returned from without feeling like a bloated, over full, constipated wreck. 

I also started replacing my side of fries with a salad or a bowl of fruit.

At home, I switched to Ryvita, for my crackers, I fry my own tortilla chips when I want some, and I no longer by loaves of bread. As a side product, I eat way fewer chips and much less butter, without making an effort or meaning too. 

Another dent in my grocery bill goes to my grass milk dairy products. I've been trying them off and on for the past year, only really committing for the last five months. Previously, aside from the cream I put in my coffee, I used low-fat milk products in an effort to reduce my saturated fats and cholesterol. Now, I'm full-fat everything as long as the cow eats mostly grass.

I also eat a lot more dairy. Once upon a time, it was assumed that I was lactose intolerant. There have been whole years that I avoided dairy because I connected skin flare-ups to milk. Now I eat milk, cheese and yogurt like my life depends on it. It's probably the base of my food pyramid, right next nuts, and coffee.

Despite my full fat dairy choices, my cholesterol stats continue to drop.

Also, since coming back from over seas, I don't eat as much meat as I use to, and what I do eat is mostly pork or some type of sausage. This was not as intentional as anything else but mainly because pork is the cheapest meat available and I love sausage, although it is not cheap.

EDIT: I forgot that another change I made was switching from conventional table salt to coarse salt from the Celtic Sea. I don't grind it, I just sparingly sprinkle full chrystals into my food. It's like salty rock candy or pop rocks! Fun, lol.

Overall, I do not know exactly which choice has made the difference. I still drink beer. I had a piece of cake last week and fries twice over the weekend. I still have wheat at least twice a week but I'm not paleo or low carb as I eat other grains a few times a week too. I barely eat vegetables and when I do it's mostly lettuce, onions, garlic, and celery, some of the most useless veg on the planet. I put six teaspoons of sugar in my several giant cups of coffee that also have so much fat in them I can usually see it floating on top. Most of my daily diet is dependent on cheese, sausage, and numerous handfuls of nuts. I often skip breakfast.

But still my total cholesterol and my LDLs have dropped by 10 points last year and my A1C has fallen from 6.2%, in the danger zone of prediabetes, to 5.4% , within the normal range, in the past two years. 

I've lost weight too but like my only other #transformationTuesday post, it's not much and not really what I'm about. I know weighing over 300 lbs is unhealthy, I know I will have so many more benefits in my health and beyond if I got up and went for a walk but, at the same time, my health is so much more than my weight alone. For a long time, my blood sugar and cholesterol have been health concerns, even when I was 100 lbs lighter and I feel like this is the most under control either have been. As long as my other numbers and indicators keep going down, my weight seems irrelevant, like what my doctor said.

My mental health is the best it's ever been, my blood is too now. I finally feel like I have a diet regime that is right for me and I would be happy to live with for the rest of my life. Now, I can really focus on my activity and make it work for me too.

Despite my past trials and tribulations and the work still ahead, I can see the edge of the forest, I'm almost out of the woods.

Until next time...




Friday, August 4, 2017

First Draft Friday: More Romance


First Draft Friday

Trying out a new idea for a post series where every Friday I post a rough draft. In my mind, this will something similar to my NaNoWriMo post but maybe less intense and only one day a week. The purpose is the same though: to encourage other writers. More often than not, we only get to see a finished polished version of fiction writing and it's very easy to get discouraged by their quality, even though we know, logically, whatever we're reading has a horrible first draft too. In my first draft posts, I want to share my first drafts as they are written more or less out of my brain. I say more or less because if I wrote the first draft longhand, then I'm usually going to clean it up a little bit or make all new mistakes or bad decisions as I type it up.

Today's post is late but better than the lack of posts over the past few weeks. I really enjoy these #firstdraftfriday posts. I'm very encouraged to write again, thanks to the series. But it doesn't make it any easier.

I very rarely write a story in order, from beginning to end straight through. The closest I get to doing so is when I write short stories. However, I rarely finish short stories anymore because I get stuck half way through and there isn't much space to jump around in these plot lines. "Romance" is a little different. A lot of my short stories start with an idea I have for an opening, I don't know much else beyond the beginning. I simply travel through the rest of the story like I'm looking for a light switch in the dark. For Romance, I knew the opening and the climax. I've written the opening, I'm stuck in the middle action, and so I've decided to skip ahead to the climax of the main conflict, not long before the end.

Please enjoy another first draft extract from "Romance". If you'd like to read the opening, click here.



Romance
first draft, incomplete,  793 words
By Stephanie Thompson

Can you come over? We need to talk.

Heather took an Uber to get there as quickly as possible. She stared at the text message the entire car ride. Misty wanted to talk, in private, face to face. She stared at the message hoping she wouldn't change her mind. If they were going to break-up, she wouldn't invite her over, right? She could do it through text. Ghost. Let their last argument be the end.

Heather scrolled through the texts since then.

There'd been the week. The whole week of no communication. When Heather had already thought she'd never hear from Misty again. When she cried every night, and every lunch break, and every time someone called her name. When she couldn't eat and only slept because she was emotionally exhausted.

Then the miraculous text. The game changer.

I can't go another day

Like every message before that HEather hadn't known what to say. Me neither? I love you? Please forgive me? I love yhou? Please take me back? I know we can work this out? Please, please, please?

I miss you.

I miss you too but...

A five minute pause. A five minute wait until the next message. Five minutes of hell that somehow felt worse than the week before it, which she hadn't thougth possible.

I don't know what to do.

I don't know either Misty. But I promise we can figure it out together. We only hve to know how we feel about each other.

How I feel doesn't make sense. I'm not gay.

We don't need labels. We can just love each other.

I don't think I can see it that way HEather. Whether I . . .

Then another lng pause. Longer than five minutes. She thought another text wouldn't come. She soaked another handful of kleenex waiting. Then the invitation. HEather couldn't move fast enough.

On my way

 The only pause in the journey was debating about cleaning up. She honestly couldn't remember when she last showered. Last brushed her hair. LAst changed clothes. Her face was red and raw. But she didn't want to wait and she didn't want to appear to be anything than what she was, emotionally devistated. Maybe it was a ploy, maybe it was manipulation, or maybe it wold be perceieved that way but HEather wasn't wired for those kind of mind games that was Misty's influence.

She shook her head. She was what she was, she was who she was, and she was going to be honest about it.

Getting out of the car, onto the street, HEather was struck by the weather. Hadn't it been raining? Wasn't it cold? She'd put on a coat, buttoned to the top, dug her fists deep into the pockets. She thought she was shivering.

Yet the sidewalk was dry. The air was dank with humidity and hot air. She shivered and sweat simaltaneously.

She knocked on the door with a shaking fist and waited.

Like she found herself doing so many times in recent memory, Misty regretted every momnent after she sent the "Can we talk" text to Heather. Every text before that. Every message, afternoon, thought, and tingle that she'd ever spent on HEather. She felt trapped in this web, a web she wanted, helped wove, and now she hated.

Why couldn't she leave things alone? They'd had the fight. The awful fight. The necessary fight. The relationship. . .. friendship . . . whatever ship ending fight.

She could have moved on with her life. Waited out that awful, bottom fo the pit, shattered heart feeling and on a few years have that time she "experimented" story to tell at a drunken bachlorette party or something.

But no. He chest had felt like it was caving in, like her ribs were facturing as the black hole of her heart consumed her from the inside out. She couldn't stand it. She felt like a part of her was missing. And it was stupid when a single text could end the suffering.

 After that was a differnent kind of suffering, when her reason came back and told her it was wrong. She wasn't attracted to women. Never had been and wasn't now. Yes the kiss had felt good, it was nice but that was beside the point. Kitty and puupy kisses were nice too, hugs from toddlers, and cuddling babies too.

The actual point was that this wasn't what she wanted. And no matter what philsophical social justice angle Heather wanted to make, the point was Heather had lied. And. . . it needed to end for real.  Misty needed closure. Something real, finite. An explanation, a nice to know you,  Whatt a weird summer, huh? and a have good life.

Her heart wasn't listenin though. IT soared with HEather's knock on the door.





I apologize for my bad typing but I'm switching between my laptop and my full-size keyboard a lot lately and the different spacing increases my typos exponential. Plus I've been drinking more caffeine than is probably healthy, which I'm sure doesn't help either.

Thanks for Reading :D




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Planner Year

Although I've always had a calendar, journal, notebook, or planner of one form or another, in the past year I've been fully immersed in the 'planner trend'. I graduated from a hand-sized weekly planner where I could jot down appointments and plans while easily fitting in my purse to a small DIY binder planner. After a few months in that, I started making handmade monthly journals. Then, due to forces outside of my control (airline weight restrictions prevented me from bringing all the supplies I needed while traveling overseas), I went to planning in my long term Recollections vertical planner. With a brief month in my handmade journal, I moved into a junk journal, and now I'm back to my Recollections planner.

This one picture for all the words above.
Obviously, it's been a very active year and through all of it, this is what I've learned about myself and my preferred planner style.

First off, while I've loved each of these different planner systems at the time I was using them, probably the least effective way to plan for me has been my junk journal.

A planner spread in my floral junk journal
I can't describe what the real difference is, why I can't seem to plan well with it but there are some general things that seem like cons. I feel like monthly planning and tracking is more difficult, there's no easy way to plan long term or even to the end of a month. Also, the weekly spreads are plain. There isn't much room to do weekly planning and daily planning on a single page was too much room and didn't help me feel organized.

On the other hand, I love the junk journal for journaling and memory keeping. It's so much easier and more fun to write down my experiences, add pictures from events, and keep ephemera. I'm definitely going to keep using a junk journal this purpose but I will leave the planning to another device.

Handmade Planners
I absolutely loved making these planners/journals. It was so fun choosing themes, putting together papers, and decorating with stickers and journal cards. I still get some of this fun when I'm making a junk journal but these small ones are different. I think because I decorated more with these as I wasn't trying to leave blank space for journaling at the time. They were too small for real journaling, which I wanted to do or the amount of memory keeping I also wanted. Plus, so much work went into making them, it didn't seem worth the pay off for planning purposes alone, especially when at the end of the month I had to make another one from scratch.

But I love making these so much, I'm considering making them for others to use as mini albums or monthly events like December Daily or NaNoWriMo.

Target DIY Planner
The Target planner inserts were the first things that got me into decorating my planner. At first, I just wanted to use up some old stickers but after a couple of months, it exploded into a full on obsession. And, at the time, I was all about horizontal planning as well as the simple customization and expandability allowed by the binder format.

After a few months, however, I felt like using the Target inserts as a base was sort of a waste of paper when I could simply use scrapbook paper alone or mixed media paper that would stand up better to the mixed media elements I used like Inktense, stamp ink, and watercolor. Plus, I sort of hated the new Target insert releases at the time.

Since I've made the switch, even though I've returned to a similar planning style, I don't miss this planner much. So much of my decorating revolved around trying to cover up the preprinted pages and everything I added, for memory keeping or tiny bits of journaling, seemed to get in the way of my planning, sort of making the customization pointless.


Inside Current Recollection Planner

I've recently relegated my entire planning life to my Recollections planner. I originally purchased this during a Black Friday sale at Michael's last year because I was making my month by month planners but still needed to plan up to six months ahead of time for various reasons. But, since my other experiments in planning have failed to offer an all in one solution, I've  now started using this as my main planner.

It's simple to plan in it since most planner stickers are sized for a similar layout and the vertical planner style just seems more organized some how. The paper is very nice and smooth and it comes with tabs, a pocket folder, stickers, and a zip up pencil case. Plus it has colors I love and have no problem working with. Planning takes no time and I can still decorate it so it's pretty to look at, which makes me want to look at it, which then encourages me to accomplish things.

Overall, I am disappointed that I couldn't find a form that allowed me to do everything I wanted the way I wanted to do it. I am glad that I got to experiment though and that I found a combination that I can live with: a junk journal for some tracking, memory keeping, list making, and journaling; a vertical planner for day to day organization and long-term planning; and a notebook for my creative writing.

In the past year, I've improved many skills from binding, sketching, coordinating, trimming, gluing, and going with the flow. I've learned I'm happier when there's pink in a layout and that it's okay to like something just because it's pretty.

So, how do you do your planning, journaling, or memory keeping? Have tried a bunch of things too or did you fall in love with one system right away? Let me know in the comments below :D

Until Next Time...