Hannah Drake

Exploring Pompeii

TravelHannah DrakeComment

The first time I ever heard about Pompeii, I was in middle school and my older brother wanted to teach me Latin. I had an assignment to write a short “essay” about the destruction of Pompeii and if you’ve ever learned a new language, you know how basic those first writing assignments can be. Still, I remember so vividly sitting at the computer at our old house researching what happened to the city in 79AD. These days, I only know two words in Latin—mother and father—except for a few phrases I picked up working in my dad’s law office, but the fascination with Pompeii lives on. So with the proximity to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, there was no question we were going during our honeymoon. It was a must!

We decided it would make the most sense if we went the day we drove from Naples to the Amalfi Coast because it’s on the way. We had done some research before we left England, but discovered that we didn’t really need to pre-book anything. That day, we were able to find reasonable parking right next to the secondary entrance (near the amphitheatre) and the line to buy tickets was less than 10 minutes. Tickets, by the way, were €13 for the day.

So here’s what you need to know:

THE HISTORY

I wish I still had my Latin essay, but it’s probably buried in the depths of a computer’s hard drive that likely doesn’t exist anymore. There’s so much to know about Pompeii — it had a rich history before the volcanic eruption — but I’ll just stick to some main bullet points. Literally.

  • The first settlements on the site date back to the 8th century BC when the Oscans founded five villages in the area.

  • In the 3rd century BC, the area was introduced to the Roman customs and traditions and the first Roman army entered the Campanian plain in the Roman war against the Latins.

  • In 89 AD, it became a Roman colony and played an important role in the passages of goods to Rome. Due to the region’s agricultural fertility, Pompeii and a number of other towns has been established at the base of Mount Vesuvius by the 1st century AD.

  • The citizens of Pompeii were used to minor earthquakes. Pliny the Younger wrote that earth tremors "were not particularly alarming because they are frequent in Campania".

  • On 5 February 62 AD, a severe earthquake did considerable damage around the bay, and particularly to Pompeii. It is thought that the earthquake would have registered between 5 and 6 on the Richter magnitude scale. The same day, there were to be two sacrifices in Pompeii in honour of the anniversary of Augustus being named “Father of Nation” and also a feast to honour the guardian spirits of the city. Chaos followed the earthquake and fires caused by broken oil lamps added to the panic. The cities of Herculaneum and Nuceria, located nearby, were also affected. Temples, houses, bridges, and roads were destroyed. In fact, it’s thought that almost all buildings in the city were affected to some degree. In the days that followed, anarchy ruled the city—theft and starvation plagued the survivors.

  • Although it is unknown how many, a considerable number of citizens moved to other cities within the Roman Empire. Between the earthquake in 62 and the eruption in 79, some rebuilding was done by those who remained in Pompeii, but some of the damage had still not been repaired at the time of the eruption.

  • Current researchers have expressed concerns about structures that were being restored at the time of the eruption in 79, presumably still damaged from the earthquake in 62. It’s thought that the structures were still being repaired 17 years after the earthquake was due to the increasing frequency that lead up to the eruption that ultimately buried the city. 

  • The exact date of the eruption in 79 has been disputed due to conflicting accounts and what has been uncovered in the city, including crops typical for the autumn, heavier clothing the victims were wearing, sealed wine (which would have been done at the end of October), and coins that could not have been minted before September. It had long been thought that the eruption was an August event based on one version of Pliny the Younger’s letter but another version gives a date of the eruption as late as 23 November. A later date is consistent with a charcoal inscription at the site, discovered in 2018, which includes the date of 17 October and which must have been recently written.

  • It was previously believed that most victims died of suffocation due to the ash in the air, however it’s now believed that in Pompeii and the surrounding cities, heat was the main cause of death. The results of a study published in 2010, show that exposure to at least 250 °C (482 °F) hot surges (known as pyroclastic flows) at a distance of 6 miles from the vent was sufficient to cause instant death, even if people were sheltered within buildings.

  • The city of Pompeii and its citizens were covered in up to 12 different layers of tephra, totalling 82 feet deep, which rained down on the city for six hours.

  • Pliny the Younger provided a first-hand account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius from his position across the Bay of Naples at Misenum but written 25 years after the event. His uncle, Pliny the Elder, with whom he had a close relationship, died while attempting to rescue stranded victims. As admiral of the fleet, Pliny the Elder had ordered the ships of the Imperial Navy stationed at Misenum to cross the bay to assist evacuation attempts. Volcanologists have recognised the importance of Pliny the Younger's account of the eruption by calling similar events "Plinian".

  • In the centuries that followed, the city was forgotten. In 1592, digging an underground channel to divert the river Sarno led to the discovery of ancient walls covered with frescos and inscriptions. The architect Domenico Fontana was called in and he unearthed a few more frescoes, then covered them over again. Nothing more came of the discovery. Herculaneum was properly rediscovered in 1738 by workmen digging for the foundations of a summer palace for the King of Naples, Charles of Bourbon. The Spanish military engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre then undertook excavations to find further remains, discovering Pompeii a decade later, in 1748. Charles of Bourbon took great interest in the findings, even after becoming King of Spain, because he felt the display of antiquities reinforced the political and cultural prestige of Naples.

  • After excavations were taken over by Giuseppe Fiorelli, voids in the ash layer were found that contained human remains. He devised the technique of injecting the voids with plaster to recreate the victims of the volcano. The technique is still used today, but with clear resin, which is more durable and doesn’t destroy the bones, allowing for further analysis.

  • The discovery of erotic art in Pompeii and Herculaneum left the archaeologists with a dilemma between the open sexuality in ancient Rome and the more conservative Counter-Reformation Europe. An unknown number of discoveries were hidden away again due to their sexual nature.

  • Many artefacts from the buried cities have been and are still preserved in the Naples National Archaeological Museum. In 1819, when King Francis visited the Pompeii exhibition there with his wife and daughter, he was so embarrassed by the erotic artwork that he decided to have it locked away in a so-called "secret cabinet", a gallery within the museum accessible only to "people of mature age and respected morals". Re-opened, closed, re-opened again and then closed again for nearly 100 years, the Naples "Secret Museum" was briefly made accessible again at the end of the 1960s and was finally re-opened for viewing in 2000. Minors are still allowed entry only in the presence of a guardian or with written permission.

WHAT TO BRING

Your day at Pompeii isn’t going to be a usual day of tourism. Yes, you’ll go back in time and explore an ancient city frozen in time. But it’s just that. Frozen in time. Even though it’s a “park”, don’t expect another spot over run with tourism. The emphasis is on the archaeology part of the archaeological park. Inside Pompeii, there are no shops, restaurants, cafes, or anything. They have committed to preserving the history of Pompeii and that means not modernising anything inside the city gates.

That said, make sure you come prepared. Bring a water bottle—maybe even two. There are water fountains on the main road where you can refill your bottles, but that’s a ways from the entrance and plenty to see before you get back there. Bring sunscreen because you will be out in the sun all day. There is some shade, but not much, especially when you get back toward the heart of the city. Many of the buildings don’t have roofs and most of the trees are near the entrances. So while you’re at it, you might want to bring a hat.

If you plan on being in the park over a meal, bring something to snack on. Like I said, you’re not going to find any restaurants or cafes to stop for a quick bite inside the city ruins, so you’ll have to snack on the go. Just please make sure you take your trash with you. Don’t be that guy littering in a 2,000 year old city. Or ever, really.

Take everything in an MUZMM backpack, perfect for long travel or shorter day trips. You can get 20% off a backpack with the code HANNAH20.

WHAT TO SEE

You can imagine there is A LOT to see, considering it’s an entire city that was buried and rediscovered. When you’re wandering around, it will seriously blow your mind at how well the city has been rediscovered and preserved. And after already centuries of work, there is still more to be discovered.

There are a few things you cannot miss:

  • The Amphitheater

  • The Thermal Baths

  • The Forum

  • The Temple of Jupiter

  • The Temple of Apollo

  • The House of the Faun

  • The Cave Canem Mosaic

  • The Garden of Fugitives

  • The House of Vettii

  • The House of the Tragic Poet

HOW MUCH TIME YOU SHOULD SPEND

Of course it all depends on how thorough you want to be, how much time you want to spend looking at everything, how slowly you make your way through the park. I told my mom she could have easily spent a day or two there. But at the bare minimum, everyone should plan on spending at least three hours in the park to see all the important things.

OTHER TIPS

Start at the back and work your way back toward the entrance. Truth be told, seeing Pompeii is exhausting. You don’t have enough shade and I promise you didn’t bring enough water. It’s going to wipe you out. Of course there are interesting things all over the archaeological park, but some of the coolest stuff is toward the back, where the town centre was. We made the mistake of taking a lot of time to see the houses and so we were totally wiped out by the time we made it to the hotbed of their city and culture. We powered through, but we definitely could have spent more time seeing the temples, public baths, and everything else back there.

Get an audio guide and the app. We totally fell victim to the tourist shop outside the entrance selling audio guides. We ended up getting two for €15 but we easily could have gotten away with one. The information at every location is short enough that we could have just passed it back and forth and not lost any time. It was beneficial to know what exactly we were looking at and, even though it wasn’t the most comprehensive audio tour I’ve ever heard, it did point out some things I would have otherwise missed and provided some information on the history of the building, including what it was originally used as and the process of its rediscovery. There are also a few different apps you can use to guide you through the park. I recommend downloading whichever one you want before you get there because I didn’t have the service to download it. Just be prepared to pay for the download. The official app, I believe called Discover Pompeii, will show you recreations of what they think the ruins looked like before the eruption.

HERCULANEUM

In the same eruption that buried Pompeii, Herculaneum was also buried. Because of the differing locations, the eruption effected the cities differently. For example, the deep pyroclastic material which covered it preserved wooden and other organic-based objects such as roofs, beds, stairways, cupboards doors, food, scrolls, and around 300 skeletons. Herculaneum is almost more complete in its preservation, but less of the ancient city has been excavated since the modern town of Ercolano is built on top of it. However, when you’re there you’ll see more shade, fewer people, better frescoes, and more detail. You’ll even walk on better roads!

Both Pompeii and Herculaneum are deteriorating due to exposure to the elements and increased tourism, but especially Pompeii (2.5 visitors annually!). Visiting Herculaneum takes some of the pressure off Pompeii and will help both cities last longer. They’re both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but both run the risk of becoming endangered.

It’s €11 to visit Herculaneum, or you can get a €20 ticket to visit both.

WHERE WE ATE

After we explored the ruins of the ancient city, we found a pizza place right outside the exit in modern day Pompei. They were advertising a deal of a pizza and a drink for €5 and you just can’t beat that! The place is called Le Delizie and it was so good we went back the day we visited Mount Vesuvius. (It’s the only restaurant we went to twice while in Italy.)

After we went to Mount Vesuvius, we went to Pasticceria De Vivo for gelato. We tasted a few different flavours before both settling on the coconut and, you guys, this was the BEST gelato we had in all of Italy. Save it for after you go through Pompeii or hike Vesuivus for the most refreshing treat of your life.

WHAT TO WEAR TO POMPEII

I decided to include this section for any ladies planning a trip to Italy in the late summer or early autumn. Pompeii, however, is a different beast altogether. Anything you read about visiting will tell you there’s basically no shade in the ruins and that’s not an exaggeration. You will get so hot and sweaty and sticky, so you definitely want to wear something light and breathable. The roads are stone—not cobble stone, just stone—and very uneven. I wore my Birkenstocks, but I wish I had worn my Allbrids instead. The arch of my left foot was killing me by the time we left.

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The Year of Alphabet Dates: D

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

For our D date, we decided to scrap the activity altogether and just focus on food. I guess technically we did go out to dinner, which is a treat for us. (We cook at home almost every night and get take out every now and then. We rarely go out to dinner just the two of us unless it’s a special occasion.) But our D date was for dim sum.

I read the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy over Christmas and in early January (when we were dieting…ish). Those aren’t the best books to read while you’re on a diet because the food just sounds AMAZING. And because some of the story takes place in London, the book actually includes really specific London food recommendations. Ever since, I’ve wanted to go down to London for crispy duck, lobster noodles, and dim sum. While that would have been fun—and hopefully we will someday—we ended up just going out in Birmingham last Wednesday, our usual date night.

Neither of us really had any idea what we were in for—we assumed lots of steamed dumplings—so we just started ordered what sounded good. We got a steamed dim sum platter for two, a fried dim sum platter for two, and a few other things, including crispy pork belly and a duck steamed bun. Everything was SO good, but our favourite dumplings were definitely the ones with pork or prawns. (Others had veggies or beef.) The crispy pork belly and duck steamed bun were unbelievably delicious. We definitely should have gotten two of the duck. It was interesting to share. I mean, have you ever tried to share a taco with someone? It’s not easy.

It’s definitely something we’ll add into the rotation when we go out, which is usually special occasions. And one of these days, we will get down to London to try all that Crazy Rich Asian food. (I can’t recommend that trilogy more highly. Please read it!)

ACTIVITIES FOR THE D DATE NIGHT

  • go on a double date

  • cook dinner (together) - Is cooking at home a rarity? Make it special! Do you not usually cook together? Oh boy, you’ll learn so much about each other and your relationship.

  • go out to dinner - Is this a special treat? Three words: TREAT YO SELVES.

  • go dancing

  • take a dance class

  • have a dapper date - Dress to the 9’s for something fancy or for something totally normal & casual if you’re up for the looks!

  • eat at Digbeth Dining Club - If you’re in Birmingham and the dates line up, it’s a great night out!

  • hit balls a driving range - Top Golf is insanely popular in the States.

  • play darts

  • try dining in the dark - Go to one of those restaurants that’s pitch black for dinner.

  • rent your dream car - Spend the day driving around in a car you probably won’t ever own.

  • watch Disney movies - Pick your favourites or one that you haven’t seen yet. (Can you believe I still haven’t seen Moana?)

  • go to Disneyland or Disney World - If it’s nearby or even if you just want a big adventure!

  • donate blood - This is one of our usual dates. We donate blood together every quarter and since it’s in the city centre, we usually go to dinner, go to the cinema, or go to the mall after. (Just make sure you drink lots of water during the day and have a decent snack before you go if you’re planning to go to dinner after.)

  • go to the drive-in - A classic summer activity! What I wouldn’t do for a drive-in in the UK. Maybe they have them, I just haven’t looked very hard.

  • drive race cars

  • go diamond shopping - If engagement is on the horizon, go try on some engagement rings. If you’re already married, that doesn’t mean you can’t shop for another diamond, right? (My younger sister and I visited Tiffany & Co. on Rodeo Drive one time and they let us try on massive diamonds even though we said we were just looking. They even sent us home with a little book about diamonds with a classic Tiffany blue cover.)

  • have a DC movie marathon - Watch DC movies, whether they’re from the current DCEU or old school Batman movies.

  • hang out at a dive bar

  • tackle a DIY project together - If you’re like us, you probably like brainstorming/designing/creating projects together. Our best creation yet was our bar cabinet. Set aside a day to do it together. You can even do cutesy things like put paint on the end of his nose. And for some reason I’m picturing a totally 90’s outfit of overalls and a flannel shirt, probably tied around your waist.

FOODS FOR THE D DATE NIGHT

  • dim sum

  • dessert - Go out for dessert or make your favourites at home. Have dessert before dinner. Or if you really have a sweet tooth, do a dessert progressive date and just go all over town eating signature desserts at different restaurants.

  • doughnuts

  • D restaurants/bars - Does your favourite restaurant or bar start with a D? Or what about a spot you’ve been dying to try, but just haven’t found the time yet?

DESTINATIONS FOR THE D DATE NIGHT

  • Denver, Colorado

PIN FOR LATER!

Header Photo by Brianne Haagenson Photography.

7 Bullet Journal Myths

Self CareHannah DrakeComment

A lot has changed about me since middle school, but one constant has been my love for paper planners. I loved getting those school-issued planners in middle school and high school. They always had those shiny, holographic covers that were textured so you run your fingernails over it and it would almost sing. I colour-coded my classes and homework assignments, added soccer and track practice or when my high school had their big rivalry games. Back then, it was the only way to stay organised, to plan ahead. (Maybe fancy adults had a palm pilot by that point, who knows.)

In my post-school life, I continued the paper planner trend, buying a yearly planner at Target. Whichever looked prettiest and best fit my needs. Eventually I was introduced to the Erin Condren Life Planner and used her planners for three or four years, costing over $200. I spent even more money on custom stickers off Etsy and I reached pique excitement when she partnered with Pure Barre for a new line of products while I was managing the Boulder studio.

There was a brief period in early 2017 when I thought I would make the switch to iCal. I spent ages adding everything into my iCal and syncing them between my phone and computer. I thought it would be life-changing. I would be able to make plans on the fly with just my phone in hand, knowing exactly what my schedule looked like since I never carried my planner around (since I never really carried a purse, or a large one at that). Brief, it was, though. And when a friend introduced me to the Bullet Journal, it was just the answer I was looking for!

I’ve been using a Bullet Journal for two years now and I’ve learned quite a lot about how I stay organised and my creative abilities. Toward the end of last year, I had really streamlined my BuJo, taking a very minimalist approach and using a page for every day. Earlier this year, my friend Emily inspired me to take a more creative approach to my 2019 BuJo and it has become therapeutic for me.

As I’ve shared more about my BuJo with my friends or on social media, I’ve gotten quite a few questions, certainly more than I expected. I thought I’d share some of the common misconceptions about bullet journaling and bust some of the myths that might be preventing you from starting your own BuJo.

YOU NEED A SPECIFIC (DOTTED) JOURNAL

Bullet Journaling simply refers to how you set up your journal, not what kind of journal you use. I use the LEUCHTTURM1917 A5 Notebook, which is dotted, but you can use any notebook or journal you want. It can be lined, dotted, graphed, or even blank. It can be new or old. It can be empty or half-full. This is entirely up to you.

I chose a dotted journal because it allows me to create lines, grids, and makes it really easy to space out my creations. I used to write between the lines in school when we used line paper for everything, so it works well for me.

YOU NEED TO FOLLOW THE RULES

Once you have whichever notebook or journal you want, focus on setting it up. You can use the four key concepts in bullet journaling, but you can also do your own thing. I’ve used the four concepts as a starting point, but definitely evolved to make things my own and make my bullet journal work best for me.

  • Index (the LEUCHTTURM1917 A5 Notebook already comes with one!) - It’s basically a table of contents. When you add something to your BuJo, add it to the index so it’s easily found.

  • Collections - What you add in your BuJo are your collections. You’ll have a future log, a monthly log, a daily log, and everything else. (Meal planning, lists, goals, habit tracking, sketches/doodles, notes, reviews, etc.) Everything is a collection and this is really where you get to customise it to best fit your needs.

  • Rapid-logging - This is the essence of the BuJo system and consists of bullets and simplifiers. You’ll have task bullets (do laundry, send birthday card, etc.), event bullets (meeting, yoga, dinner with friends, etc.), and note bullets (observations, thoughts, facts, other things you want to remember) Using the BuJo system, task bullets will look like this:

    • Task - Precedes any Task you write down.

    X Completed - Once you’ve completed a Task, mark it with a X

    > Migrated - If you didn’t complete a Task, you Migrate it to another Collection.

    < Scheduled - Tasks with specific dates in the future. These can be added to the Future Log.

    Event bullets will be represented with a O (filled in when complete, or crossed off if cancelled). Note bullets will be represented with a dash.

  • Migration - On a regular basis, you need to look over your bullets and move them to future collections. If things were undone or simply scheduled for the future, you migrate them to a later date.

Here’s the thing to remember: No one is going to check your work. There is no BuJo police that are going to come after you if you make tweaks in the system to create something that best serves you. For example, even though you’re “supposed” to use a carrot (>) when you move a task, I use an arrow (→ ). Even though it’s recommend that you migrate your tasks at the end of the month, I do it daily because I keep my tasks lists (to-do list) with my calendar and create a task list for each day.

YOU NEED TO SET IT UP BEFORE YOU START

Honestly, I would consider this the biggest BuJo mistake you can make because I’ve been there. When I got my first Bullet Journal, I spent probably a week setting up the rest of the year (probably 9 or 10 months) in daily logs. (I think at this point, I was using a week per two-page spread, but I’m not positive because that BuJo is at my mom’s house in Colorado.) It ended up being the biggest waste of my time you could imagine and because of that, I really didn’t enjoy bullet journaling.

I hated the colour I chose for the dates and times. (Lime green. Why?!) I hated the format I chose because it mimicked planners I had used in the past, but didn’t best serve my needs. I didn’t have the space I wanted for other collections where I wanted them. I felt trapped!

YOU NEED TO STICK WITH WHAT YOU STARTED

On those same lines, I always recommend setting it up one month at a time. You are allowed to change your mind. You are allowed to reformat everything. You are allowed to create a system that works best for you. If you set up January and it’s not working, change it in February. (This is why you shouldn’t set it up all in one go.)

In my last BuJo, I used one page per day. I used the far right third of the page for my tasks and the rest as an hourly calendar from 6:00 to 23:00. I made note of special dates (birthdays, anniversaries) in the top right corner. Over all, it looked very minimalist (what I wanted) and it was simple to set up the day, but incredibly time-consuming to set up the entire month.

This month, I started a new journal and moved back to a two-page weekly spread for March. It cuts my space way down in terms of margins, hourly blocks, and list space, but I can outline an entire week in less than 10 minutes. However, I did commit to using a two-page weekly spread through the rest of the year since I counted out the number of pages I needed and then started my “notes” collection on the next page.

YOU NEED TO BE CREATIVE & ARTISTIC

Nope. Definitely not. I’m not very artistic (which is part of the reason I love having the dotted journal) and I do get envious when I see beautiful BuJo spreads on Instagram and Pinterest. But being creative or artistic certainly isn’t a pre-requisite. You don’t need to be a skilled artist or calligrapher. You just need to create something that works for you. (And maybe a Bullet Journal isn’t what’s best for you. Maybe you’re best served by a planner that has already been set up for you. Or maybe you’re even one of those people living in the future who uses the calendar on their phone and computer.)

I do firmly believe, though, that using a BuJo to its fullest potential might make you more creative and more artistic. You can doodle. You can practice. You can try new things. And if it doesn’t work out, you can start fresh on the next page.

YOU NEED FANCY PENS OR MARKERS

Again, no. No one is going to tell you what you need to use to write in your BuJo. You can use the pen you accidentally took from your bank or that you picked up at a work conference. Though, I’d be willing to bet that if you’re using—or considering using—a BuJo, you probably have a favourite pen. I know I do!

There is a lot of information out there about what pens and markers people are using in their BuJo (I’ll tell you mine below). At least from what I’ve seen, Bullet Journalers on Instagram especially are happy to tell you exactly what they’re using in their photos or videos.

Those sorts of costs add up and if you don’t have the budget for it or the interest in it, you certainly don’t need to invest in a pack of brand new pens and markers like it’s almost the first day of school. And you don’t need to use the same pen(s) every time.

YOU NEED LOTS OF COLOUR

Last, but certainly not least, here’s your final no. There are a lot of colourful BuJo pages on Instagram and Pinterest but that does not need to be you if it’s not your style. (Remember, this is your style!) If you want to stick with a simple black pen for everything, go for it. If you just want to add in one or even a handful of colours, go for it! You do you!

Personally, I use black to set up my templates. (I learned from the lime green that definitely was not my style.) I love the minimalist vibes and simplicity of it. Just about everything else is colour coded though. I have colours for work, friends, family, household, travel, goals, my blog. I even have a colour for Luke’s calendar for things he does without me. So even though the set up is black, there is still colour on my pages because that’s what I want.

MY BULLET JOURNAL TOOLS

Like I said above, I use the LEUCHTTURM1917 A5 Notebook. My last two have been grey, but I’ve also had a black one and use a black one for our recipe book.

My aforementioned favourite pen is the Uni-Ball Signo Micro 207, which—to my knowledge—are not readily available in the UK. I bought a pack to bring back after Christmas and was very sad to discover that they’re not micro so too thick for my liking. The micro pens do bleed through a little in my BuJo.

I’ve loved PaperMate Felt Tip pens in my planner for years. Like my ball point pens, they do bleed through, but I don’t really mind. I currently have the 16+2 pack that I probably got in 2016 or 2017. I’ve seriously had this pack forever and only had to replace the two blacks, which is easy since they’re sold separately.

I recently got the Tombow Dual Brush Pens in primary colours and pastel colours. They’re quite new and I’ve been practising brush lettering separately, but I do like adding a bit of colour with them in my journal (they’ve basically replaced my 6 pack of highlighters) and they don’t bleed through, at least that I’ve found.

I also started adding a bit of washi tape to this iteration. The colours have no other meaning, I just picked patterns I like. For some reason I’m a bit hesitant to incorporate it a lot, but I like it here and there and especially on the edge of the pages to easily find where things start.

Finally, I use tipex and a triangular ruler. I’m not the type who is going to cross out something that was cancelled. I have to white it out and it has to be white out tape. Maybe that’s not true bullet journaling, but it’s my style! I also started using a ruler sometime last year to help my OCD mind because I couldn’t draw a straight line to save my life!

MY BULLET JOURNAL COLLECTIONS

At the very beginning of my BuJo, I have my check ins page. Here, I track my emotions with what I learned through a retreat and small group with my church in Colorado. I check in as sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, tender, ashamed, peaceful, hopeful, and/or grateful. They’re colour-coded separately than the rest of my journal with colours kind of associated with those emotions. (Red for anger, blue for sadness, etc.)

Next, I have my “content calendar” which is definitely a blogger term I roll my eyes at, but scheduling my blog posts is really helpful for me. I’ve started using colour-coded post it notes for each category on my blog (the colours are loosely based on the colours in the rest of my journal) to make it easier to reschedule posts. Before, I was going through a heck of a lot of white out and I couldn’t even write on some squares because I had changed my mind three or four times. It’s kind of inspired by the collaborative planning system used at work and it’s really working for me right now.

The last thing in the front of my journal is our meal planner. I have a box for each week through the end of the year and our “schedule” at the beginning. We fill it in on a weekly basis, though having it all already created (despite what I said above) makes it easy to add in events and special meals well in advance, like Thanksgiving! Because it’s such a basic template, I’m fine with not having the ability to change it for the rest of the year.

The middle of my journal is my monthly and daily logs. So far, I’ve only finished March, but I’m working on setting up April (with essentially no changes) now.

In the “notes section”, I have all my habit trackers. I used to separate them by month and have a column per habit, but now I’ve separated them by habit and have a column (or row or box) per month. I have TV trackers (one specifically for Game of Thrones since we were watching one episode per week for a while) and books to read. I have some other notes. I have a ton of blank pages to fill in the future. And the last 12 two-page spreads are reserved for monthly reviews, where I can track some stats (from my FitBit and my blog analytics), successes, things to look forward to or goals going forward, and more.

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