Do You Bullet Journal?

I recently learned about a new way of journaling, called bullet journaling, from a friend's LinkedIn post.

This two-year old journaling technique was developed by product designer Ryder Carroll. It's intended to be simple and minimalistic, but many people are also using it as a creative outlet. It basically combines your calendar, reminders, to-do list, and life goals tracker.

Here is a video introduction from Carroll:

Each bullet journal has four main sections:
  • The index or key spread - the first two facing pages with a list of the sections in the journal with the page numbers.
  • Future log spread - a list of important dates by month.
  • Monthly and Daily log spread - the month's dates and days of the week, as well as a daily log.
  • Collections - a collection is a list of things that you're passionate about, such as movies, television shows, music, life goals, or more.
Collections are lists of reminders by category. For example, you could create a list of movies you'd like to watch this month, or favorite songs you discovered this month. When one month comes to a close, you start the next one on the next spread over - and also carry over any activities as needed.

I have always been a HUGE fan of journaling and personal organizers but have failed terribly in maintaining either habit consistently. I'm going to give this six months and see how it goes.

The basic tools I'm using to kickstart this habit are:
  • Eccolo Cool Jazz graph journal with pen loop
  • Uni-Ball Signo Micro 307 in black ink
  • Staedtler 10 Triplus fineliner marker set
If you are interested in learning more about bullet journaling, here are some of the resources that helped me get started:


I'm Going Cruelty Free!

this logo is the cutest
A couple of weeks ago I reached the decision to be completely cruelty free when it comes to consumer products for the home and personal hygiene/beauty. My intent is to do my small part to ensure that there's a little bit less hurt out there.

At first glance a philosophical change of this caliber seems complicated, but in reality there are many resources out there, and great companies to choose from, to make this a sustainable effort.

First of all, what does cruelty free mean? It's when a product or its ingredients are NOT tested on animals in a laboratory. Some companies don't require any tests of their suppliers, but the suppliers may still test the ingredients or products on animals. It's actually difficult for a company to qualify for a cruelty-free label on their product because of these various requirements.

DID YOU KNOW? Some countries, like China, require products to go through animal testing to ensure the safety of the product prior to it being sold in that market. Other countries, like India, have a complete ban on any animal testing.

The term cruelty free is different from the term "Vegan" which means that a product is completely free of any animal-sourced ingredients - such as honey or carmine (ground red cochineal beetle).

this European logo is my 2nd fave
One of the surprising findings thus far is that there are actually many, very popular brands which are already cruelty free. Two such companies are is Burt's Bees or Urban Decay. We have to thank the EU because they beat the US and passed a ban on animal-testing in 2009 and a ban on selling animal-tested products in 2013. Yet there's still much to be done.

My initial step in going cruelty-free was to educate myself and read as many different resources as possible to get a broad perspective. I looked up my favorite brands to see whether they were cruelty free or not. Many websites announce it proudly, others it's harder to find out - so you might need to email their customer service. If a favorite product is not cruelty free, I can then look up a duplicate or dupe on Google or on MakeupAlley.com. If I can't find any duplicates, I can start looking for a new company and product in the same category that could fill my requirements.

who doesn't like bunnies?
In the short time of two weeks, I'm already 99% cruelty free when it comes to nail care and color
products. Next on my list are personal care and beauty products. My biggest challenges thus far have been a good silicone free face primer, oil free/non-comedogenic face lotion and foundation, and home-use boxed hair color. That just means I have a little more reading to do.

In reviewing various sources of information, I've come to trust some over others. For example, if I want to learn more about the cruelty free movement in general, I can search Google News or the PETA website. If I want an updated list of various products, I can look on the Cruelty Free Kitty and Leaping Bunny websites.

Overall I find this a fun challenge for myself, that's helped me expand my thinking in new ways and makes me feel like I'm making a bit of a difference, in my own way.

If you are located in the United States and would like to learn more about cruelty free products or how to transition to a cruelty free lifestyle, please see the following links that I've found especially helpful:


Tony Robbins 10 Rules for Success

  1. Raise your standards
  2. Be truly fulfilled
  3. Progress equals happiness
  4. Love your customers
  5. Add value
  6. Have an exit strategy
  7. Be resourceful
  8. Pay attention to the little things
  9. Look for leverage
  10. Change your mindset


Health Research, and No New Answers

I oftentimes stay worrying about my tumor. I feel like I'm missing an important set of guidelines, behaviors our care. Like I'm not getting enough information accidentally.

It makes me uncomfortable. But these feelings are passing, and don't make me spiral into a frenzy of anxiety and worry. I just stop worrying and keep on with what I was doing.

There just isn't anything to do except have the doctors check it every six months. That's what it is like to live with a benign tumor. You just are patient and wait six months.

From the National Library of Medicine:

"Tumors are abnormal growths in your body. They are made up of extra cells. Normally, cells grow and divide to form new cells as your body needs them. When cells grow old, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when your body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should. When these extra cells form a mass, it is called a tumor.

Tumors can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren't cancer. Malignant ones are. Benign tumors grow only in one place. They cannot spread or invade other parts of your body. Even so, they can be dangerous if they press on vital organs, such as your brain.

Treatment often involves surgery. Benign tumors usually don't grow back."

NIH: National Cancer Institute