Your Bullet Journal Doesn't Have To Be Perfect, It Has To Be Perfect For You

Your Bullet Journal Doesn't Have To Be Perfect, It Has To Be Perfect For You

The story of an organized girl and the ultimate "DIY" planner.


It's a tale as old as time: Girl needs something. Girl goes on Girl gets distracted and buys several things she doesn't need.

That was me, about a week and a half ago. I was looking for a sunshade for my car. Since I was already buying something, I decided to browse for some pens because the ones I had kept "ghosting" in my planner. (Ghosting is when the pen mark shows through to the other side.) As it turns out, scented gel pens are fun to use, but not so practical for a planner.

So, I looked for pens. Then I was looking at pen sets that came with washi tape.

And then, I was looking at a black leather journal with dots instead of lines.

I remembered scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing Nifty videos about bullet journaling. (For those of you who don't know, a bullet journal is a "do-it-yourself" type planner that works on an analog system of different bullets [hence the name] and signifiers.)

In those videos, people took those weird dotted notebooks and turned them into planners/trackers/contemporary art museums. I figured since I loved watching those videos, I would probably be pretty good at it.

I was feeling inspired by the possibilities and the $8.99 price tag, so I went ahead and bought it.

Of course, I bought the markers and the washi tape to go along with the journal. I even bought a pack of stencils, because let's be real, I'm no artist. Fake it 'til ya make it, am I right?

I love to-do lists, planners, and organizational things in general, so I waited eagerly for my planner to arrive. In anticipation, I even looked on all of those Bullet Journal Pinterest boards and got inspiration for my own BuJo (a shortened form of Bullet Journal for those of you not hip to the lingo). I was so ready!

Two days later, it arrived at my house.

Almost immediately, I opened it and the tape and the markers and the stencils, and I just stared at it.

And stared at it.

And stared at it.

It was at this point in time that I remembered that I am not only painfully non-artsy, but I am neurotic about placing things. This includes drawing lines, coloring things in, and placing stickers. (It took me a solid 30 minutes to decide where my laptop stickers would go.)

Finally, I bit the bullet (no pun intended) and wrote "index" at the top of the first two pages. I felt so proud that I put pen to paper, but I got too confident and tried to make it look ~fancy~ and I ended up with something that was the total opposite of fancy. So, I stuck a sticker over that and wrote on that instead.

So, there I was, staring at those lonely stickers in the notebook.

My first thought was, "Wow, this is ugly and there's no way I'm going to be able to do this."

How could I have ever thought that me, a person who gets antsy about craft stores and coloring sheets, could do something as creative as a bullet journal?

I was ready to put it away. But then I remembered what the concept of bullet journal is all about: doing it your way. The original bullet journal isn't really all that creative. In fact, it's just practical and simple.

I'd gotten so caught up in all of the calligraphy and habit trackers and drawings that I'd forgotten that I could do whatever I wanted with this journal. No one would see it unless I showed it to them, so why was I so worried about it?

Now, about a week-and-a-half later, I've continued with my "BuJo." I've even attempted some doodles! The moral of the story is, don't let inspiration turn into obsession. Let yourself be creative — you may just surprise yourself!

Cover Image Credit:

Molly Holmes

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11 Great Books For People Who Don't Like Reading

If you don't like to read, this is the article for you.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, I am no reader. My twin sister, on the other hand, is a huge curly-q bookworm.

I always see her flying through novels for pure pleasure. I'll be honest, the sight of it makes me cringe. My body won't stay still after I get through 20 pages (unless I'm hooked). You can consider me the girl who doesn't finish anything (like Professor Calamitous in Jimmy Neutron...I even have the short stature down).

Maybe my dislike of reading stems from teachers force feeding us excruciatingly boring summer assignments.

1984? Straight up diarrhea

Fahrenheit? Vomit vomit vomit.

Animal Farm? Excruciatingly yuck.

The only thing I enjoyed about Animal Farm was laughing at how awful the movie was. On the other hand, give me a young adult novel, and you can count me in. I guess I have Vikas Turakhia to thank for introducing me to J.D Salinger and provoking my drive to become a better writer--after he made me cry and gave me a B- for a report regarding a book about Polenta. High-School was a time... amiright?

Anyway, even though I am not a big reader, there are still a few books that have stuck with me throughout the years. Here is a list of novels I highly recommend to those who associate reading with chores...this time it won't have to be.

1. Looking for Alaska

"Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps."

2. Eleanor and Park

"Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try."

3. City of Thieves

Written by the writer and producer of Game of Thrones... enough said. Another book that I was forced to read thanks to Vikas Turakhia and one I will never put down.

4. Paper Towns

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew."

5. Franny and Zooey

"FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955 and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locations, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill." -Salinger

6. The Catcher in the Rye

"The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain too, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read."

7. The Westing Games

"A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!"

8. Milk and Honey

"milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. "

9. Room

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world....

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience - and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another."

10. Replica

"Two Girls, Two Stories, One Book"-

11. Mother, Can You Not?

"In Mother, Can You NOT?, Kate Siegel pays tribute to the woman whose helicopter parenting may make your mom look like Mother Teresa. From embarrassing moments (like her mother’s surprise early morning visit, catching Kate in bed with her crush) to outrageous stories (such as the time she moved cross country to be near Kate’s college) to hilarious mantras (“NO STD TEST, YOU WON’T BE GETTING SEXED!”), Mother, Can you NOT? lovingly lampoons the lengths to which our mothers will go to better our lives (even if it feels like they’re ruining them in the process)."
Cover Image Credit: 123RF

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Yes, I'm A Creator For Odyssey And It Was One Of The Best Decisions That I've Made

As if I don't write enough but can you blame me?


When people find out that I write for Odyssey, they first ask, "What is Odyssey?" which is then followed with, "Why do you write for it?"

Being a Journalism major, I guess I already do my fair share of writing, but I truly enjoy writing for Odyssey.

Writing an article for Odyssey is vastly different from the writing I have to do for my classes.

To be frank, I actually do not hate writing papers so I'm grateful that most of my classes require to write papers or stories. I know, weird, but I'd rather write a paper than take a test any day.

Thankfully, writing comes fairly easily to me, otherwise, I would be pursuing the wrong major and I never really struggle to organize my thoughts and get them down on paper.

It's almost therapeutic, yet stressful at the same time, so I guess, in a way, they cancel out.

The majority of my papers tend to be for my political science classes which give me the freedom to interject my own thoughts in regards to the topic at hand since I usually have to analyze or comment on the current state of politics, a reading, or a theory.

On the other hand, I also write stories and by that, I mean articles that recount actual things happening in the world.

There isn't that much creative freedom in this type of writing, which can be frustrating at times, but as a journalist, it is my responsibility to keeping my stories impartial, making sure to only recount the facts.

To others, writing may just be that, writing.

But to me, there are different forms of writing, and I like to engage in a variety of writing styles because they all are beneficial to me in one way or another and that is why I write for Odyssey.

Odyssey gives me the opportunity to spit out what is on my mind and not have to worry about using appropriate jargon or staying completely neutral on an issue.

I have full creative freedom, being able to choose my own article topics and am included throughout the entire process of getting my article perfect for publication.

I never knew I would need an outlet like Odyssey to just let loose and have fun with writing.

I was never that into writing in a diary or journaling, but I guess writing for Odyssey is kind of like that except for the small fact that everyone in the world can now access my internal thoughts.

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