September 19, 2014

Bullet Journaling + A Giveaway!

Grab your coffee, friends. I've got something life changing for you.

I know, I know. You're probably reading this and thinking, 'life changing? Really, Haley?'...and you're fully prepared to just barely skim the rest of the post and then move on with your day, because you think that I'm a little confused and probably overeager about what life changing means.



So...okay. I'll calm down. Maybe it's not life-changing, but it's kind of cool and you might not have heard of it before. It was new to me, and I've loved using it enough to want to share it with you! It's called the Bullet Journal.

I first heard about the Bullet Journal in an interview for this new job that I just started. I was talking about what I do to stay organized, and one of the guys said, "Have you heard of Bullet Journal? It will change your life." So... I got home from the interview and then immediately googled it. "Bullet Journal."

In the days of cloud storage and 'an app for everything,' the bullet journal seems old school. It doesn't require an expensive planner, any downloads, or a new device. It doesn't sync with your email or calendar, and it's nearly free. There are two required tools (a blank notebook and a pen), and a few instructions to follow. I have tried so many organization systems, and this is one of my favorite tools I've ever found - I've used it all summer, and I love it! There are just five steps, and then there's a fun surprise at the end :)


1. Gather your supplies - find a notebook that's a good size for you (mine is thin and about 8x6 inches), and grab a pen. Sharpie Pens are my absolute favorite.

2. Start your bullet journal on the first page. Title it "Index." As you go along, this is where you'll keep the order of things organized. Go ahead and number your first twenty pages or so in the bottom corners, and let the current month be your first line item in your index. For example, mine says "July - page 2."

3. Open to your next blank two-page spread. You'll build something like this for every new month, so pay attention! On the left page, you'll make your calendar. Title it, and then write the days of the month in one long line (or two shorter lines). You can also add letters to signify the days of the week, right to the side of the numbered dates. This page is where you'll keep track of your month as a whole - birthdays, commitments, trips, etc. On the right page of your spread, you'll make your task list for the month. List out everything you want to accomplish, and denote it as a task with a little checkbox. Your two pages should look something like this when you're done.

(source)


4. Now, you'll just start your daily bullet journals. Write a title for each new date, and below that, you'll keep track of your tasks, notes, and events from the day - in bullet form! This is where it gets fun - there are three types of bullets in the bullet journal.
  • Tasks. All tasks are signified by a checkbox. When you finish the task, check (or color in!) the box!
  • Events. Denote events with an empty circle.  An event can be something to remember, or something that's already happened that you want to remember later - so, "Team meeting" and "Finished Harry Potter" both count!
  • Notes. Anything that you want to write down, but doesn't fall into another category, counts as a note. Signify these with your standard bullet dot. 
5. Keep this up! Start every day with a fresh new list - I usually use the same page, if there's room. I roll any unfinished tasks over from the day before, and I check my main calendar to see what I have going on that day. And now? Since your bullet journal doesn't have any pre-made lines or templates, you can make it whatever you want. Add in extra lists where you need them - whether it's groceries, ideas for books, or dream travel destinations! You can start a new collection of information on any page, and just add it to your index so that you know where it is.





The bullet journal works well for me because everything is in one place. I don't have post-its floating around with grocery lists and book recommendations, and I'm not carrying around multiple planners and notebooks with events/to-do lists/blog ideas/etc. I really like just having one system. 

The bullet journal also helps me set goals. At the beginning of each month, it forces me to sit down and map out what I want to happen that month, whether it's launching a new deal at work, finishing wedding thank-you notes (DONE, praise the Lord!), or working out so many times per week. However? There is also grace in the bullet journal. If I don't finish something this month or day, I just write a little arrow by the checkbox, and move it to the next month or day. No big deal. 

I've been using this system since July, and I love it. I've added a few things that especially work for me, but - this is the beauty of it - you could do whatever you want!

I've added:
  • Two small sections below my monthly calendar: 'Reading' and 'Studying.' Self-explanatory: I write down what books I'm reading, and what I'm currently studying. This month, for example, it's "In Defense of Food" for reading, and both Hebrews and 'how to study the Bible' (with my women's small group!) for studying. Also - some months, I've added a third line here to log miles run or workouts, tally mark style. Good accountability to be active :)
  • "Week at a Glance" pages - this is a recent add, and I don't know if it will stick. But for now, I'm doing one page before a new week starts with a mini-calendar. This is what I refer to for dates and appointments, and I also use it to keep track of workouts.
  • Lots of random pages! As I get more and more comfortable with my bullet journal, I find new ways to use it. I have a page where I brainstorm & plan out blog posts, a page of book recommendations, and a page that I did earlier this month of mapping out priorities and goals. I love that the bullet journal is just made of blank pages. There's so much potential!
  • This is OCD...but since I use mine for both work life and personal life, I either use two colors of pens or I make two columns. This helps me separate and focus a little.
There are also a few things that I don't do in my bullet journal. The original instructions talk about 'signifiers' - a star for a high priority, an eye for something you want to look up later, or an exclamation point for something that's an idea you want to remember. I don't use any of these - the only time I write outside of the checkbox is to draw an arrow to move a task to the next day. 








If you want to read more or see examples, head over to BulletJournal.com.  There's also a great video - check it out!

Now, this is where it gets exciting. I've never done a giveaway on this blog, but I think something serious like organization tips needs to end on a fun note! And plus? I'm really grateful for the support that I've gotten over here recently. Blogging has been such a fun, creative outlet for quite a while now, and it makes my day when you read, comment, or just tell me that you're following along! So as a way to say "thank you!," I thought I would spice up this post with a raffle for all of my fab internet friends :)

I'm giving away two Moleskine Notebooks, and two Sharpie Pens. The notebooks are softcover, approximately 5" by 8", and blue - duh! The pens are plain black - but trust me, Sharpie Pens are the best. With two of each, you'll have your very own bullet journal system, plus one more to give to a friend! Enter via Rafflecopter below - this giveaway will go through next Wednesday, September 24th, and the winner will be announced on Friday, September 26th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xo,
Haley

Note - This isn't a sponsored post. I wanted a way to say "thanks for reading!," and sharing one of my favorite new tools seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

September 17, 2014

Wedding Details That I Loved

Happy Wednesday, friends!  A little while ago, I promised you a series telling you more about our wedding. I wrote the first post two weeks ago (about what I learned from the planning process), so it felt like high time for a second installment. Today, I thought I would share a little bit about the details.

Now, I'm gonna level with you for a minute.

Steve proposed to me on December 21st, 2013. We tied the knot on June 8th, 2014. We were engaged for five-and-a-half months, and we both work full-time jobs. So...there weren't that many details. We made sure to have exactly what we needed to have - a minister, a photographer, and food for everyone - and after that? The rest was icing on the cake.

Having said that, though, I was surprised with how well some things pulled together. We did end up having time, energy, and money in the budget to have a few details that I really loved, and I'm excited to give you a little peek!

1. The Guest Book



I know it's not the most creative option, but we used an actual book for our guestbook. It was absolutely perfect - sturdy and hardbound, with really nice, thick paper. I also loved that the book didn't have lines, so people could write wherever (and whatever!) they wanted. And the best part? Since there are so many blank pages still to be filled, we're using it to hold other memories - programs, invitations, notes, and the letters Steve wrote me when he proposed.

2. Advice Cards 



I can't take any credit for these - our friends Megan & Spencer gave us the extras from their wedding, and they turned out to be so much fun! We loved reading all of the advice once we got back from our honeymoon.

3. Blue Accents






Y'all know me...and you know that I couldn't have made it through this wedding without having some blue accents in there. We didn't pick many colors because we got married in a garden and there was already plenty going on, but I did love using these gorgeous shades of cobalt & royal blue to accent.

4. Cakes



If I haven't told you all about this already...you guys. We had six cakes. Vanilla Almond, Honeybun, Strawberry, Pound Cake (not pictured), German Chocolate, and Reese's. Yeah...we don't mess around when it comes to cake.

5. The Bee


This ended up being one of my favorite small details, and it was a last-minute addition! I found an Etsy shop that does customized stamps, and the little bee pattern caught my eye. We ordered two, and used them for the escort cards, favor bags, and in the corners of the guest book pages. I loved having a little 'signature' for these details!

6. The Dress






I could do a whole series of posts about dress shopping (spoiler: it was not my favorite part of wedding planning), but I'll just tell you that it was a fairly long process for me. I was not one of those girls that ended up with the first or second dress I tried on - I tried on too many! - but I had a pretty specific idea of what I want, and this dress fit the bill perfectly. I loved it.

7. The First Dance 



Maybe this isn't a detail in the way that you normally think of wedding details, but I still thought it should make the list. We did our first dance immediately after we were introduced into the reception to Ray Lamontagne's "You Are The Best Thing," and I can honestly tell you that it was one of my favorite moments of the whole day. We had SO much fun dancing to that song - we were goofy and ridiculous and lip-synced the chorus to each other almost every time, but we had a blast.

8. The Last Dance. 




One thing we really thought through was how to weave 'pause' moments into this day - times where it would just be the two of us, where we wouldn't have something to do right then, and where we could take a minute and absorb it all. We did this by having a time of prayer & communion (just us) in our ceremony, by having dinner at a sweetheart table instead of with a group, and by having a last dance - with no one else on the dance floor - to "At Last," by Ella Fitzgerald. It was lovely.

There were other details that I really liked - it's subtle, but I loved the dark blue linens that we ended up with - they popped! Steve's parents handmade the cup and plate that we used for communion, and that was really special. Also, my mom did every single centerpiece on those tables - we were up the night before talking while she cut all the flowers that we bought in bulk to length, and she did a gorgeous job.

And while we're talking wedding...can I share something fun with you? Heart Love Always featured our day today! You can hop on over and see the post here.

What are the main things - big and small - that you notice at weddings?

xo,
Haley

PS - As always, all images are by the talented team at AJ Dunlap Photograhpy
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