Brighton Walsh, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author

Whatcha Lovin’ Wednesday

See? I told you I’d be back on Wednesday, and here I am! It’s a miracle.

For this ongoing weekly post, I’m going to talk about things not at all related to writing (probably). It might be a new recipe I tried and loved (Whatcha Cookin’ Wednesday), it might be a book I read and loved (Whatcha Readin’ Wednesday), it might be a mix of both or none of the above (Whatcha Lovin’ Wednesday). You’ll notice a theme here—it’s all about things I love. I’ll be honest…talking about only writing stuff all the time equals burnout. Major, unavoidable burnout. So I’m bringing my love of other things to the blog, because, hey, you might love them too.

So what am I loving today? My precious, precious bullet journal. I am a huge planner, and I switched to a paper planner last year (the EC ended up not working for me, but it might work great for you. Bonus? They’re 40% off right now, so if you’ve ever wanted to give them a try, now’s the time). I loved the idea of a paper planner versus digital because lots of studies show that actually writing something down cements it further into our brains.

Alas, come summertime, it sat unused, tossed in a corner somewhere gathering dust. And worse, I didn’t pick it up again after summer ended, the kids went back to school, and I dug back into work full time. That told me that particular planner wasn’t the right fit for me.

IMG_6149At some point in the fall of 2015, my friend showed me her Traveler’s Notebook, and I really loved the versatility of it. I could print whatever I wanted for inserts! If something wasn’t working, I could toss it out after a month or a quarter and do something different. And the covers! Tell me these aren’t the prettiest things you’ve ever seen…

I’ve been using the Inkwell Press A5 quarterly inserts for about a month in my TN, and I really like them. But for those of you who are planners, you know planner peace is elusive, and you’re always looking for something that might bring your productivity and organization to the next level.

Thus I started watching these videos and all bets were off. I was lured to the dark side by someone named Boho Berry. What did I love about this new-found Bullet Journal? There was something appealing about the fact that I could make and create this to be exactly what I wanted it to be. It was the same idea with the inserts for the Traveler’s Notebook, but with a bit more of an artistic flare.

While Boho Berry loves the Leuchtturm, I decided to go with the Rhodia journal because of the paper quality. My friend (the same one who lured me to the TN side has since switched to Bullet Journaling as well) brought samples of the three main players (Moleskine, Leuchtturm, Rhodia) to dinner last week, and I was sold.

Moleskine is probably the most readily available (Target sells them), but I found their books to be the least impressive. The paper was thin and scratchy. Leuchtturm was much nicer than the Moleskine, and if I didn’t have the Rhodia to feel, I probably would’ve gone with them. But when that buttery-smooth paper was put in front of me, the others didn’t stand a chance.

There are a couple of things that may sway someone to the Leuchtturm side, though. For one thing, they come in lots of pretty colors. Rhodia was only available in black or orange. *sad face* I’m going to combat this by adding some rub-on stickers to the front to give it a little pizazz, yes I said pizazz. The second and third things in the Leuchtturm’s favor are a built-in index and pre-numbered pages. The reason this wasn’t a deal breaker for me was because I can add those just fine myself. Yeah, it’ll take a bit of time, but I’ll take one for the team if it means I get this amazing paper.

The problem I’m facing now is fear of the blank page. See? It afflicts writers even on non-writing things. Right now, I’m basically planning to plan. I’m doing research to see what I want to include in my BuJo and one day soon, I’ll mark up those buttery soft pages with some of my fancy new pens.

Okay, so that was super long-winded, but I also wanted to throw a book rec in here. As I’ve been mesmerized with bullet journal videos, I haven’t been reading much, but my kids have! Oldest (boy, 11, with a love for fantasy, humor, and magic books) has been reading this series for the second time, but he declined to be interviewed. LOL His reading level is tenth grade, but these books would work for someone as young as third or fourth grade, I’d say. He gets through them in about two days, and while they look daunting with their number of pages, the print is larger.

Youngest (boy, 7, with a love for magic, humor, and superheroes) had absolutely no problem being interviewed about what we’re currently reading. We’re working our way through the Magic Treehouse series. His teacher is reading them to the class, too, but he liked them so much he wanted to read them again.

IMG_6139Vacation Under the Volcano verdict: “I thought it was very, very good.”

Three things you liked:
“I liked how Annie kept running and didn’t stop their mission.”
“I liked how exciting this mission was.”
“I liked learning about Roman times.”

Anything you didn’t like?
“Jack stopped to read too much and he should’ve just focused on the mission.”

So those are his thoughts on it. My thoughts? Holy crap, my mom senses go off like crazy when I’m reading these books. Morgan sent them to an active volcano on the day it was set to erupt. That’s a real dick move, Morgan. I guess that’s why these books are geared toward kids and not parents. LOL

That’s it for this week’s post! I’ll be back on Friday with a round-up of what I’ve saved on Facebook and in my Pocket account!

*This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, that means when you click on a link here, a small percentage of the sale comes back to me (at no cost to you!). It’s Amazon’s way of saying, hey, thanks for mentioning this product! Here’re some pennies. I promise I will never post about things I think suck. I’ll only ever recommend items I really, truly love!


#ListifyLife Week 1! Spring is…

Welcome to #ListifyLife week one! And would you look at that? I said I’d post on Monday and it’s Monday and I’m posting. You might want to watch out for other signs of the apocalypse, in case the end is near…

I gave an overview of the #ListifyLife challenge in this post, but just to recap: anyone can participate, you can list your answer to the prompt however you’d like (handwritten, scribbles, pictures, digital, whatevs), and it goes for the entire season. Posting is only once a week, so pretty easy to keep up with!

This week, our prompt was: Spring to me is

IMG_6105I love spring. It’s my second favorite season behind fall (because fall). I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been a Midwesterner the majority of my life and I’m desperate for those nicer temps and some time outside, but I love it.

Around these parts, 40º in March means we go outside without a coat (and my kids beg me to wear shorts). We are woken up by chirping birds (seriously, they’re so loud), but I forgive that because I’m also greeted by newly sprouted tulips, and my gorgeous lilac bush blooms out front. It’s rain puddles and the dirty brown of winter washing away. It’s long road trips with the family (seriously long…usually 20+ hours in the car). It’s Easter brunch and my kids (at least one of them) believing in the Easter bunny. It’s the countdown to summer, where I realize I’ve pissed away most of the school year and man do I need to get some work done. It’s so many birthdays, I usually forget one until the day before and then scramble for a perfect gift. It’s fresh and it’s new and it’s spring. 

You may be wondering why I wrote my list on a child’s handwriting pad… One of my new obsessions interests is hand lettering. I’ve may or may not have spent hours on Instagram watching hand lettering videos in total captivation. There is something so mesmerizing about seeing how the letters form, how the artist’s hand moves, and, of course, the final product. As per usual, I get obsessed interested in something, and I immediately get any/everything I need to do it myself. Hence why my list is on my first grader’s Learn to Letter notepad. I was skeptical using it, because I figured any/all of my pens would bleed through, but I was seriously impressed with the paper thickness! After watching this brush pen review, I grabbed myself the Zig Cocoiro (Spring to me is…), and I also stocked up on this 20-pack of Staedtler Triples pens (all other designs and lettering). Both are seriously amazing to this newbie and very easy to use.

If you’re interested in hand lettering, or even if you have no idea what I mean and want to check it out, here is a list of a few of my favorite Instagramers who seriously rock at the hand lettering:


And if that doesn’t keep you busy, I don’t know what will.

I’ll be back on Wednesday, talking about things I love this week. Not sure if I’mma do a post on cooking or reading…or both. I might even sweet talk my kids into giving brief reviews on books they’re currently reading, because I know it’s hard sometimes finding books your kids will love.

See you Wednesday!

*This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, that means when you click on a link from this post, a small percentage of anything you buy comes back to me (at no additional charge to you!). It’s Amazon’s way of saying, hey, thanks for mentioning this product! Here’re some pennies. I promise I will never, ever, ever post about things that I think suck. I’ll only ever recommend items I really, truly love!


#ListifyLife Spring Challenge

A few months ago, I joined this totally amazing group on Facebook (ugh, I know, but this group makes going into the devil’s lair worth it) of publishing people who are planner-focused. It’s basically like nirvana every time I go into our little corner of Facebook. These women have such great ideas—not just on planning, but on business in general.

listifylife2One of those ideas came from Roni Loren who mentioned maybe trying out a list challenge to utilize all those pretty, pretty supplies we can’t help ourselves from buying. It’s also a great way to bring something besides BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS talk to our social media accounts.

Well, let me tell you, she had me hooked from the minute the word “list” left her lips. I am a list maker. Since I’m a hardcore planner, that shouldn’t surprise you. But I love lists to a ridiculous degree. At the end of the day, if I’ve somehow managed to not make a list, yet accomplished a great deal? I make one right then and there, just for the satisfaction of crossing off the items. (Don’t judge me.)

So what is the #ListifyLife Spring Challenge? 

listifylife listIt’s a challenge like many you’ve seen before. They’re all over the place on social media, and most run daily. I don’t know about you, but any time I try to participate in one, I always fall behind and have catch-up posts. And sometimes, I fall so far behind, I figure, screw it. I don’t always have the time (or energy, let’s be real) to focus on a fun challenge every day, which is why this weekly challenge is a better fit for me. (And maybe you, too!)

We’re starting on the first day of spring and working through the season. Thirteen weeks of list making goodness! You can make your list however you want. Have a cool app on your phone that does word pictures? Great. Don’t have much time but to scribble something on that soon-to-be-discarded envelope? Super. Want to practice your hand lettering and make something really pretty every week? *cough* Awesome. You can do it however you want. Share on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your blog, Tumblr, Pinterest—wherever works for you.

My plan is to post my challenges on Mondays. We’ll see if Mondays are good to me. The great thing about this is I have a whole week to post the challenge and still be on track.

I also have a few other things I’d like to start trying on the blog. A Whatcha _________ Wednesday post, where I’ll talk about things I’m reading, cooking, loving, etc. And a Friday Round-up post—a list of things I’ve saved on Facebook and in my Pocket account for future reading. Honestly, this is my way of making sure I go back through those things I’ve saved for later and actually look at them. But, hey, maybe you’ll find some of them useful too.

I hope you’ll join us on the #ListifyLife challenge! And even if you decide to sit this one out and watch from the sidelines, check out the hashtag weekly and see what we’re up to.