Life With Lupus: Me And My Rainbow Lupie Legs

Life With Lupus: Me And My Rainbow Lupie Legs

I’m about to do something I never thought I would do. I have always been a very self-conscious person. I don’t like pictures of myself, I’m selective in my clothing to make sure it’s flattering, I shy away if someone tries to give me a compliment, deflecting and changing the subject or laughing it off. I’ve come a long way.

wedding social bride and groomWhere it all began

In 2012, I was planning my wedding and working two jobs. I started noticing these odd red spots on my legs after I finished my shifts at the bookstore. I didn’t think much of it but it progressively got worse: more spots and starting to get pain. I ignored it, thinking it was just an odd random thing that would go away.

This picture is me and my future hubby, at our wedding social in May 2012. This is a Manitoba tradition to fundraise for your wedding. It was a VERY busy day, incredibly stressful and go-go-go for hours and hours on end. I wound up in the bathroom almost losing consciousness. The spots on my legs covered every inch, they were swollen up like balloons and I was so incredibly lightheaded, had chills and thought I would hurl. I might add, I didn’t have a single drink that night. It was time to go to the doctor.

My family doctor looked and said it was just petechiae and that I should try compression stockings to keep it under control. Let me tell ya….oh my god did they ever make it worse! It was like INSTANT pain when putting on the stockings, so I went back again. She did some research and referred me over to a rheumatologist. I had my first appointment in July and I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. They took a biopsy from one of the spots on my leg (BTW, I still have a hole where they took it lol) and it turns out that it’s called vasculitis and purpura.

Vasculitis + Purpura

Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels. It can affect any blood vessels in your body and can cause them to narrow, widen, weaken and scar. I’m incredibly lucky that my vasculitis is restricted to only my skin at the moment, but it can cause tissue and organ damage if left untreated. It can cause a wide array of symptoms including fever, fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, general aches and pains… overall, it just ain’t fun! The best symptom of all is the rash, known as purpura (in my case, though there are many different secondary conditions).

Purpura is essentially the bursting of blood vessels under the skin. It shows up as bright red spots that stay red even when you apply pressure to the area. They are not raised, they don’t itch, they’re just….essentially bruises. This is what they turn into. Bruises. So my legs are full of tiny little bruises, but SO MANY tiny little bruises that really, it looks like one giant ass bruise.

My Rainbow Lupie Legs

Now, this is where I promised I was being brave. This is a picture of what I now like to call my Rainbow Lupie Legs. The top images are from 2012 before my diagnosis, when I was terrified of seeing it because I had NO clue what was going on with my body. The right picture was taken September 14, 2018. Overall, it has gotten better but instead of getting it once, having it heal then maybe have another round in a few weeks, I’m getting it nearly every single day, just not quite in as large a coverage area. They now have bruises of all ages, all at different stages in the process while continuing to get more.

This is the reason why I need a seat. This is the reason I can’t stand in line at the store, at a park, waiting for a ride or even for my coffee. Anything more than 5 minutes of standing in the same spot, and these colours start to show up along with a long list of symptoms. The ONLY thing that stops it is putting my legs above the level of my heart. When I get my legs up, I swear I can FEEL the blood rushing back to my heart. It’s this really weird rush. I also get chills…fever…overall I feel like I have the flu for about 20 minutes until it starts to subside. My legs also feel tingly — not that pins and needles asleep — more like the nerve weakness before you get sick (unless that’s just another lupus thing, in which case, I have no clue how to describe it then haha).

Thankfully after about 20 minutes, I can get up and moving again. I need to be careful for the rest of the day, but at least it acts as a temporary reset button! Hopefully this reset button won’t disappear over time!

1 of 1,000 faces

I wanted to give you an insight to one of so many different symptoms that can happen with lupus. They call lupus the Disease of 1,000 Faces because it presents differently in every single person. This is my chief symptom, numero uno, the biggest one I need to deal with and while yes, it does affect my everyday life, it sure as hell beats major organ involvement. My heart goes out to all my fellow lupies who have to deal with more difficult symptoms than I have at the moment. Every day can be a struggle, but the support of my family and friends make all the difference!

My Little Musings #1: Time

My Little Musings #1: Time

Blog posts are a lot of work. They require time for research where needed, time to write, time to create, edit and design images. I’ve got pages of post ideas written down in my bullet journal. You have not read them because as a mother of 2 with a daycare and running the house, all while trying to stay as healthy as possible with lupus, I quite frankly didn’t have the time to write 2,000 words plus all the extra work. Since my last post, there have been a ton of things I wanted to shout out to the blogiverse but I haven’t, because I needed to put in the time.

I recently found a few bloggers who have been doing short posts — I found myself entranced, drawn into reading more and more of these posts because they were so short and sweet, that you kept telling yourself, “just one more.” I loved it! So here we are, in this brand new series.

My Little Musings is not intended to be informative. It’s not going to involve much research if any. They will mostly be random thoughts and I hope that some of my thoughts will ring true in you as well.

Who has the time?

For my first little musing, I would like to talk about dreams going unfulfilled. I will openly admit to the public here that I get a million ideas a day. They never go anywhere. They stay inside my head. I will get a fabulous idea of something I could use to start a business, a niche I can appeal to. I’ll think in bed about everything I can do to get it off the ground and then the next morning it’s forgotten. Yes, I have this bullet journal and it’s fabulous and I have been doing more mind maps than ever before but I can’t tell you how many ideas that have come into my thoughts and disappeared just as quickly after. I find it infuriating and I’m later filled with regret, disappointment and sometimes guilt. I’m not going to say I’m lazy. My day begins when my boys get up at 6am, I scramble to get them changed, fed, get hubby’s breakfast and lunch packed up, get myself changed and some last minute tidying before daycare opens at 7:30am. I’m open for 10 hours from Monday to Friday and I end those 10 hours basically scrambling to get dinner on the table because if I don’t, the kids will wind up eating RIGHT before dinner. By the time I get the kids in bed, I’m so damn tired that I just sit my ass on the couch. I should be going to bed, but those 2 hours between are my only moments of alone time. Of quiet. Of peace… of sanity. I really NEED those 2 hours.

I need six eggs, I have no timeI always try to tell myself I’ve got my shit together, and realistically under the circumstances, I do believe I’ve got it as together as possible but when I think about all those lost ideas, all those times that could have spent doing something more productive, quite frankly it makes me feel like shit!

This meme you see here pretty much sums up how I feel for most of the day. It’s memes like this that bring out my oh-so-lovely laugh with the snorts and all that embarrassing stuff because I probably think this is funnier than it actually is. I love this. This. Is. Me. Belle was my favourite growing up because I loved to read and I always wanted “more than this provincial life.” And I still do. But until I TRULY get the rest of my shit together, I’ll always be this crazy egg lady. I’m learning to be okay with that, but I’ll always have the ideas and always have the passion. Maybe it’s lupus, maybe it’s the exhaustion of being a mom or a daycare provider, or maybe I really am just lazy but I’ll keep doing little things in the background towards a goal that I hope will eventually come to fruition.

I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

This is my Life Asarye!

This is my Life Asarye!

I’m back, but I’m not the same. I haven’t published a post in months and it’s because my motivation has been focused elsewhere. I wanted so badly to have a bullet journal-only related blog, however, it is an incredible amount of work and quite frankly, I didn’t always have the time to do it.

I have two young boys (two and four years old), I run a home daycare caring for 4 additional children, I do a lot of cooking, cleaning, errands and everything else for my family and when I finally found the time available to work on things, I had to make a choice on what to focus on. For a long time, that choice was a bullet journal blog but I found my other dreams, my other interests and goals falling by the wayside. I wanted to take some time to expand my horizons, work on other things and see where it would lead.

In that time, I’ve been able to try so many new things and research so many ideas that are incredibly exciting for me. I feel like I’ve finally got a bit of a focus here, it just needs some fine-tuning, then convert those dreams into an actual concrete plan. There’s some light at the end of the tunnel here and I’m finding myself more and more excited to just get going!

Breaking Free

I’m done sticking myself in a box. I want to open up my blog here to write about anything I choose. While I’m more that more often than not, my bullet journal will be somehow referenced, I plan on talking about whatever the eff I want from now on. I need to be true to myself. I got the itch to write again and I was inspired by my husband and I talking about my oldest son’s birth story. I want to be able to write about anything I’m feeling passionate about without fear that I will lose readers. I am doing this for me and me alone and if you’d like to hop on the thought train, I’m so happy to have you!

One big item that I will be speaking more about is the fact that I have lupus. I was actually in remission for a little more than 5 years now, but in the last few months, it has not only given me a flare but become more active than I’ve experienced since my diagnosis in 2012. I’m at a point now where I feel I need to advocate for my fellow spoonies and speak out. My goal is to bring some awareness to the Disease of 1,000 Faces.

I hope you like the new format, come on an adventure with me because this is my Life Asarye!

New Journal Setup: A Bullet Journalist’s Nightmare

New Journal Setup: A Bullet Journalist’s Nightmare

I had a plan for today’s post. Plans change, and you need to adapt. Let me tell you a story about my bullet journal.

march bullet journal monthly logWhen Disaster Strikes

I worked incredibly hard to bring you the best monthly log I’ve ever done. I was so on point with my calendar wheel and my drawing this week. Then an accident happened.

As you know, I run a home daycare. I’ve got five kids in my care (including my own two) and all of them are boys. Things are very rowdy. Things are very loud. Pretty much all they want to do is go running back and forth with the big toy cars we have in the basement.

I’m all about learning through play. I even created a game where I block them from running and ask them to add and subtract. If they get the answer right, they get a high-five and mosey along their way. If they get it wrong, we count the fingers together to find the right answer, and of course, they get a high-five and mosey on their way as well. The thing to keep in mind is that I’ve got one kinder who can add and subtract double-digits now, and it’s encouraged my almost 4-year-old and the 3-year-old in my care to learn, and it’s incredible. I’m so proud of these kids it’s just unbelievable. They surprise me every single day with the things they’re able to absorb like sponges and how well they’re learning to play together!

Sometimes that doesn’t quite work out. Now and then, when the kids are all getting along, I’m able to pull out my bullet journal and get a little bit of mindless work done (the small things like paperwork, knowing that all my attention is on the kids of course!). So I run upstairs to grab my bullet journal and, naturally, a coffee, and I come down to sit on the couch next to them and get a couple of things done. One of the kids happened to throw a ball as I was walking in, hit me right in the coffee mug. Coffee got everywhere, and I mean everywhere. The scalding hot coffee burned my leg about a foot in diameter and more importantly (don’t judge me. I’m incredibly accident-prone, so a little coffee burn is nothin’!) my bullet journal. The entire cup landed in my Dreamdori.

Leuchtturm, gone. Finance Tracker, gone. Daycare tracker, gone. I thank Dana with all my heart for making a traveler’s notebook I could wash because I don’t think I could face any more heartbreak!

I stepped away from the situation because I was pretty much seeing red at the time, knowing full well that it was an accident and I don’t fault him for what happened! I need to be a role model for these kids, so I stepped away for 5 minutes and asked them to be on their best behaviour while I was gone. I sat at the top of the stairs (where I could still hear them) and just breathed. I went back down, asked everyone to play upstairs so that I could clean up then I had a chat with them about how everyone gets upset, and it’s okay to have those feelings, it’s what we choose to do with those feelings that matter.


2018 calendex bullet journal future log

When Life Hands You Lemons

You know the adage, we all do. Daycare closed and I finally had a moment to just release. I was understandably upset that all my hard work was gone, but there’s no time to be upset because I need to get reorganized!

I went and grabbed my blue Leuchtturm1917 (thankfully I had a spare!!) and figured I’ll just do a skeleton of my spreads for now, so it’s functional, and add decoration later.  As I started work on my calendex, I zoned in, and something happened. I remembered how much I love bullet journaling. Not that I forgot or that I wasn’t enjoying it, but the day-in and day-out of bullet journaling is pretty mundane compared to creating your larger spreads and collections! It’s different! I remembered how relaxing this is. I forgot how happy it makes me.

This analog system is so amazing, but I think it’s essential to remember that it is subject to tears, stains, mistakes or in this case, total write-offs. Bullet journals may come and go but this enjoyment? It’s forever.

So yeah, life handed me a giant sack of lemons, and I’m going to make a crap ton of lemonade from it. I’m redoing every spread, every reusable collection. I’m improving on them, learning from what hasn’t been perfect in my last one and I’m going to make it better.

 


My New Bullet Journal

I’ve kept my calendex bare bones for now as you can see above, just the basic layout. I plan to add some form of decoration to it, but I’m unsure what I’m going to do with it at this point.

Bullet journal reusable collection cabin spread

Reusable Collections

Of course, as always, I need my reusable collections! I decided that I wanted to reduce space where I could to save some space, save some pages. I’ve managed to get my cabin checklist on a single page rather than a double spread. I love this condensed version, and honestly, I didn’t need half a page of random words and sayings anyway. This spread is much easier, much cleaner and I like it better than the one that was ruined!

I’m also working on an improved version of my menu plan and master grocery list but having just shopped; I’ve got a few more days to work it out, so I’m going to take my time and do it right! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see it when it’s done!

 

bullet journal collection period cycle female tracker

Single-Use Collections

Men, sorry, but I’ve also got my Love and War spread here. The same thing, I tried to condense it to a single page, and I love it smaller like this! I realized after almost two months that I don’t track my symptoms every day. Maybe one day I can get there, but for now, I’m not at that point so why waste the space! New and improved, I’m only tracking cycle days, fertile days, expected cycle and intimate days (though half the time I forget to put it in haha). Clean, easy, and serves its purpose to prevent pregnancy. (Can you imagine three boys, because my third would totally be another boy? My soul tells me so. I’m good with two!)

I’ve got a few more collections to get done yet, but I’m on my way! I’m going hard to try and keep the amount of time without my precious bullet journal to a minimum. I’m kind of already feeling like I’m losing my mind!

 


The Moral of the Story

Shit happens. Plain and simple. What you do with it is where you’ll find yourself.

I thought that if anything ever happened to my bullet journal, I’d be ruined! A mess! Instead, I sulked for a couple of hours then quickly got over it when I started getting excited to redo things that weren’t entirely working the way I wanted them to.

I’m not going to say everything happens for a reason because I don’t believe in that, but I feel like this experience has shown me how far I’ve come in letting things go and seeing the positive instead of just dwelling on the negative like I used to. I have bullet journaling to thank for that, even if that means using a system that can easily be destroyed.

Follow me on Instagram to keep seeing the progress of this new journal!

PS: It was a rough day so today, I had that child help me make chocolate chip cookies because he was incredibly upset about what happened. Everyone loves a good chocolate chip cookie!!

PPS: No longer will I be using an open coffee mug in daycare. Closed Contigo tumblers from now on so this doesn’t happen again!

My Self Care Master Plan: I Forgot About Me. This is How I Plan to Fix It

My Self Care Master Plan: I Forgot About Me. This is How I Plan to Fix It

I Forgot About Me

I’ve realized something about myself: I do not take care of my well-being. My entire life is about being a mom and a wife and a daycare provider. I have a million things to do all the time, and then when I finally get a moment of calm, I want nothing more than to sit on my ass and just do something mindless because my brain is on fire from working so hard. Moms will understand when I say that sometimes it comes down to a choice between working on something for pleasure, sleep or a shower. Many times it’s the former. I have quick 5 minute showers to clean because I would rather spend my precious, short private time doing something that I’m excited about.

I’ve gotten into a rut with no focus on self care. I used to wear makeup every day; now I wear none. I used to style my hair every day; now it’s in a ponytail constantly. I used to take pride in the way I look, and now it’s like I feel I don’t need to try because I’m just with kids all day and they don’t notice a difference. The problem is that now I’m left wearing the same clothes that I’ve had since 2006, they’re old and have lost their shape, colours are fading, and overall I just feel like a slob in them, never feeling like I’m pulled together.

I’m tired of feeling like a slob. I’m tired of feeling unhealthy. I’m tired of stress. Overall, I’m just tired. Something has to give. I decided to start looking into changes that I can make to improve my life and start taking care of myself too. I knew what I wanted to do but needed inspiration. I headed over to Instagram (of course) and lo and behold, the clouds parted, and I found my rainbow.


Bullet Journal Self Care Challenge#bulletjournalchallenge

Upon browsing the depths of Instagram, I found Bullet Journal and Tiny Ray of Sunshine releasing Self Care #BulletJournalChallenge. The challenge runs for two months with a new prompt released every week. Such perfect timing!

While I will be drawing the framework from this challenge, I am making it my own and calling it My Self Care Master Plan. Initially, I planned on saving this in one of the inserts in my Dreamdori but instead chose to put it right in my 2018 bullet journal. I want not only to be able to refer to it throughout the year, but I want it to be a souvenir from 2018, something to look back on and be proud.

 

 

 

 


Week One Personal Care Bullet Journal Spread CollectionWeek 1: Personal Care

Bullet journaling is my most significant form of self care. For the first time in years, I finally feel like my shit is coming together. I have improvements to make yet, but I’m a long, long way from where I started. I’m finally organized, it has gotten my creative juices flowing, and I’m even more inspired and motivated than I was when I started a year ago.

I’m the kind of person who gets a mad rush of ideas then goes into a mad rush to start a million projects, just to have them fall by the wayside shortly after. I wanted to learn to knit, so I went out and got needles and yarn. I learned a standard stitch, got confused reading a pattern for a different stitch and set those needles down never to be picked up again. The same thing happened with crochet. The same thing happened with painting. Bullet journaling is the first hobby I’ve taken up that not only has stuck around but continues to inspire me every single day.

As you can see in this spread, I’ve outlined six items that bring me joy in me-time and six keys to overcome barriers that prevent me from doing said hobbies. The most important thing on that list refocusing on my goals. This pertains to the previous paragraph because I regularly get distracted with new ideas before finishing what I started. I need to start reminding myself to take a step back, add my plan to an “on the horizon” type section in my bullet journal, and continue along with the task at hand. It’s so easy to get derailed, and I just need to focus.

Tiny Ray of Sunshine’s description on this prompt suggests listing a few ways to help you get through a bad day. I’ve called this section “Ready, set, reset” and I’m going to look back on this page anytime I’m struggling. The post also suggests listing triggers, but I want to remain positive throughout this challenge. It’s not that the negative things don’t exist, but I worry that if I lay out a problem, I may start feeling it when I’m not (psychological warfare?)

 


Week 2: Physical Care

This prompt seemed easy to start but became more difficult than I thought. I am creating a goal to begin these items on March 1 so that I can incorporate it into a habit tracker in my monthly spread.

The Feel Good Stuff

As stated above, I haven’t been spending the time to make myself feel good. With that note, my goal is to start doing my hair and make up every single day. I would like to get a haircut before I start tracking this goal but it’s no excuse if I haven’t. I would like to focus on spending a minimum of 10 minutes in the shower and having one every single day. When I’m busy with the kids, daycare and everything else in life, I keep thinking I don’t have the time. I rush through a 5-minute shower every second day, and I’d like to start slowing down and enjoying them. Maybe then I can also improve with hair removal (ladies, I’m sure you understand not wanting to shave your legs every day!) which I’m sure will also help with my confidence!

Sleep

I’m awful for sleep. I’m sitting here at 11:55 pm when I need to be up at 6:00 am to get ready for daycare. I do this too often to count. I wake up and not want to get out of bed, I’m groggy for the first few hours of the day, grumpy because I haven’t had my coffee… the list goes on. I need to make sure I start going to bed by 11:00 pm and read my body’s cues when I’m tired and go to sleep earlier than that. By the time the kids get to sleep, I cram all my side hustle work in between 8:00 pm and whatever time I go to sleep, and the bottom line is that it’s not working. I need to get better at spreading small tasks throughout the day and just work on a significant project in the evenings so that I can stop, take a breath, and get my ass in bed.

Fitness

I am somewhat limited in this area due to my lupus. My primary symptom is vasculitis, which is an inflammation of my blood vessels. My legs start to swell, they feel like they’re on fire and oh boy is it ever painful and I find anything with impact brings this on instantly. When I first got my Samsung Gear Fit2, I discovered that I was averaging 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day. It sounds pathetic, but apparently, that’s the national average. Six months later, I was averaging 7,000 steps, and now I’m anywhere between 10,000-15,000 steps every single day. It has significantly helped ease my vasculitis symptoms. My goal is to keep up with this average count, increase it if I can and reintroduce yoga into my life. I used to love yoga, and I still do, but again, I’m full of excuses for not doing it!

Nutrition

Overall, I maintain a balanced diet. We make our meals from scratch where we can, I eat plenty of fruits and veggies, protein, fibre and we keep our fast food consumption to a minimum. What I need to work on is snacking. I’m terrible. I’m addicted to regular chips, pop and chocolate and seem to be eating them every single day. I’m making the goal to only have pop on weekends and reduce the chips and chocolate consumption as much as I can. I don’t want to cut it out entirely because I do believe in having anything you want but it has to be in moderation. I spent my entire life watching what I eat, and I’m finally in a place that I’ve been able to let loose a little. I’m taking it too far though, and I want to get it in check. It’s not because of my weight, but because I don’t wish to an adverse effect on my health.

 


 

I’m so incredibly excited that I found this #bulletjournalchallenge. I would like to continue to share my progress with you. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see more photos and check back on the blog for an update later in the challenge!

Head over to Bullet Journal or Tiny Ray of Sunshine and get going on this challenge too! The beauty of this challenge is that you can do it whenever you want, you don’t need to follow their timeline. If you’re not quite ready, wait until you are, then rock it out!

Are you participating in this challenge? Comment below and tell me how it’s going for you!

How-to Series: Monthly Logs [Mix & Match to Freshen Your Look]

How-to Series: Monthly Logs [Mix & Match to Freshen Your Look]

Many people get into a routine with their bullet journal. It’s quick, it’s easy and we can move on and keep being productive. I find after a while of doing the same thing, I start to get bored. Let’s break down the idea of a monthly log and see where we can freshen up your look and get you inspired again! Mix and match these ideas to come up with your own custom layout!

This is the first post of a new how-to series! I hope you enjoy!


The Foundation of a Monthly Log

The most significant component of the monthly log is, of course, layout out dates for you to fill out. There are many ways you can do this and here are the pro’s and cons that I’ve learned along the way.

January monthly spread bullet journalTraditional Calendar Layout

The tried-and-true calendar style layout is a great option for your monthly log, especially if you’re new to bullet journaling. It’s simple to set up, it’s fast and you really don’t need to be artistic to do it. All you need is a pen and a ruler, though hand-drawn lines also look raw and nice!

While a traditional calendar week begins on Sundays, I do prefer starting my weeks on Mondays. Personally, the majority of my tasks and events happen throughout the week. I tend to make my Saturday and Sunday spaces smaller because I just don’t need the space. This layout is incredibly easy to read, easy to follow and it’s that look we’re all familiar with. I love seeing the days of the week laid out on the page and you always know what day it is! I actually did have a hard time with this layout in my Leuchtturm for a few reasons. The first reason is that if I squeeze it onto a single page, the boxes are simply too small to be efficient. The second reason is that when I do stretch it across a full spread, the layout is slightly awkward at the spine. I’ve seen monthly logs that actually have a day split between the pages but I can’t imagine doing that myself, it would be incredibly awkward to write! For my January 2018 spread, I put 4 days on one page and 3 days on the other. It worked out, but I still feel like the calendar is awkwardly blocked off and just doesn’t look quite right to me. My last thought on this one is that I found that I just didn’t have much space to write in these boxes, though it wouldn’t be an issue if you’re not an extensive user of your monthly! Check out my January Setup post to see the full details.

Pro: Easy to read and follow
Con: Can be awkward across a full spread


Ladder-Style Layout

The ladder-style layout is very easy to set up, and there are countless ways to customize it! All you need to do is write each day of the month vertically (or horizontally to give it some flair!) down the page. You can put these dates on the far left with all your content on the right, put it in the middle and separate items on the left and right (business vs. personal for example) or put the dates on the right just to do something different!

I feel like I always have more space to write when I use this type of layout but sometimes I do get thrown off trying to figure out what day it is! There are a few ways around this. You can write initials for the weekdays alongside the dates, you can use lines to separate weeks, highlight weekends or you can do a combination of these! Overall, I would say that this is my preferred layout for my monthly logs. Check out my Hello February post to see the full details.

This style monthly log tends to be a bit easier when you’d like to incorporate habit trackers or a gratitude log as well! More details on that in a bit.

Pro: More space to write
Con: Not as easy to read

 

 

 


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Mini Calendar with List

This layout is a nice hybrid between the traditional calendar layout and the ladder-style. Essentially, you layout your calendar for the month with no space to write. I find most people use a 4 square block for each of these numbers but obviously, it’s completely your choice! Below the mini calendar is where you can list dates and write your appointments, birthdays, etc.

This style was tough for me. On the one hand, I loved the look of it. It was simple, clean, easy to follow yet also had a ladder element to it. The downfall for me was writing the dates below. I started my month knowing birthdays and a couple other things, but after writing the initial entries, anything else that might be added later is numerically out of order and honestly, that drove me nuts! As long as you don’t mind the numbers potentially out of order, then this is a really nice option.

Pro: Easy calendar view
Con: Numerically out of order

 

 


Calendar Wheel

It’s funny. I’ve seen calendar wheels a lot on Instagram, and I even sell printables in my Etsy shop, but I’ve never actually done one myself! *Hint hint for March’s edition of Plan With Me!* I think they look absolutely beautiful and it’s such a fun way to change things up!

Essentially, you draw a couple circles, divide it into the number of days in that month and this becomes your template! This can easily be adapted to include things like habit trackers, weather, etc.

My struggle with this style would be pulling out the lines to note appointments. Decade Thirty does a fabulous job as you can see, it looks beautiful and it’s so different than any other monthly log I’ve done!

Pro: Super fresh, fun layout
Con: Can be difficult to set up

 


The Extra Details

Let’s face it, most people don’t just do a simple monthly log on their page and nothing more. Usually, you add some special touches to make it yours! Here are a few options for you to spice up your monthly!

Habit Trackers

This one is a pure classic. Whether it’s in your monthly log, weekly or you have a year in pixels, I find that most people in this community use a habit tracker in some form in their bullet journal. The concept is easy: Write out your list of habits you would like to track and have the spaces to check them off as you go. This can be applied daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, basically, any way you want.

Common habits to track include cleaning routines, self-care, daily moods, weather, and countless other options. You can do anything you want here! I once even had a reminder to eat all my meals in the day, because when things get busy in my home daycare, I tend to forget about myself!

Gratitude Log

This is a new one for me. In my first bullet journal, I lacked the discipline of filling anything out daily. I didn’t think I would keep up with it, and didn’t want to be left with either blank spots or be struggling to remember what happened on each of those days! Now that I’ve gotten more consistent, I decided to try it out for February and I’m enjoying it so far! I also added a twist to mine: I called it Grind and Gratitude so that I can vent something that’s frustrating me on the condition that I follow it up with a positive. I’m hoping it will help clear my head of negative thoughts because I’m balancing it toward positivity.

To-Do’s and What’s on the Horizon

I love having a space to show items that aren’t due on a certain day but I know I need to get done within the month. It’s easy to forget what’s coming up if you don’t have a place to keep that information. This was a big struggle for me in the past. I would tell my husband I was going to design an ad for him but until he gave me the information for it, I couldn’t do much and we didn’t have a deadline in mind. There were a few that he was interested in designing and I kept having to ask what they were about. Now, I jot it down in my horizon and break it down into tasks. If it winds up not getting a deadline that month, at least I have the information to bring it over to the next month!

Goals

You know what they say: a dream will remain a dream unless you take the steps to achieve it. Having a monthly goal is a great habit to get into. It can motivate you to convert those dreams into reality. I’ve seen people create goals as simple as remembering to stay positive and I’ve seen specific goals like completing a 30-day fitness challenge. It can be anything you choose but it can be that extra pump to get you through the month!


A Monthly Mix and Match!

I’m sure there are about a million other options that I haven’t shown you here today, and I would love to see what you’ve got! Creating a monthly spread can be daunting as a beginner and the best advice I can pass along to you is to try not to take on too much at once. When I first started bullet journaling, one of my first monthly logs had a habit tracker with about 8 items plus a gratitude log and weather tracking. I think I only made it four or five days before I stopped filling it out. When I first started my bullet journal, my consistency was absolutely not there. It was a new system, a new idea to get myself organized and it took about a year for me to turn bullet journaling into a true habit. The better I got at laying out my ideas, the more addicted I was to it and it’s always exciting to open my notebook! It’s because of my sheer enjoyment that it has really caught on!

Take your time, try to do either one or a large combination of what you’ve seen here, and don’t forget to share your thoughts! Tag me in your monthly logs on Instagram at @as_a_rye so I can see your progress!