Starting a Bullet Journal in a Mini Happy Planner

March 18
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I have been putting off getting a bullet journal for some time now. I keep thinking about it, but always stop when I realize how much setup is involved. I LOVE lists and the idea that all your lists and info can be kept together, but I always just kind of stop when I start to think about filling out the monthly calendars. It is just a little too tedious for me.  After seeing the mini happy planners that came out last year I started to toy with the idea of using bullet journal style planning in one of these smaller, more compact planners.  Fast forward to today and I have finally done it. I have taken what I feel is the best of both worlds and created a frankenbullet journal that is perfect for me.

 

My problems with traditional bullet journals:

Generally, bullet journals are done in moleskin notebooks or similar bound books. The means there is a limited number of pages and no option to move things around. With the Happy Planner I can take out and add pages at will which means mistakes are not the end of the world. Believe me, I need this; I make too many mistakes.

My second major issue with bullet journals, as I mentioned above, is that I don’t want to write out the entire calendar.  By this I am not really talking about the calendar grid, but the numbers for the dates. Mess one up and the entire month is ruined. You’ve got to cross out and rewrite it all. Or, even worse, you may not realize your error and end up missing an important meeting or appointment.  Great. By using the premade Happy Planner monthly DATED planner this removes this issue. Yay! (Make sure you buy a dated version, please.)

 

For this project I purchased:
Mini Dated Happy Planner
Extra paper
Folder dividers
I also used my Happy Planner punch. Don’t have a punch yet? Get one, they are a great investment for Happy Planner users. You can put ANY paper into your planner. It is amazing.

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These are the folders in the pack.

As far as paper is concerned I took the easy way out and purchased the Happy Planner paper, however most traditional bullet journals used dotted paper. If you’d like dotted paper you can purchase these premade  dotted pages  or make your own and use the punch it to put it in.

 

Anyways, so this is what I threw together as my journal/planner. Check back next week to see more about how I am using this planner as well as some printables for it.

 

Enjoy!

 

Looking for more? Check out my instagram account for planner photos and everything else.

How to start a bullet journal (Bujo) in a MINI Happy Planner by MAMBI.

DIY Painted Kitchen Cart

March 8
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A few months ago my husband ran across this cute little kitchen cart at a yard sale. He knew that I was looking for something like this for a corner of our kitchen/dining room area and so he grabbed it for me. I loved the little cart, but I felt that it was a little lackluster and didn’t go with the room so I decided to fix it up a bit.  I recently got a new teal rug for the dining room so I decided to paint the base teal and use an antiquing wax to give it an interesting look. Our kitchen cabinets are a red oak so I purchased a stain for the top of the cart that matched this color.

Materials:
Minwax stain
Chalk paint
Antiquing wax 
Paint brush (These are supposed to be great)
Polyacrylic
Painter’s tape
Fine sandpaper
Electric sander (Optional, but totally worth the $30 investment if you’re going to be doing a lot of projects)

I purchased my paint and wax from Michaels however for simplicity I have linked to products at Amazon.

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The top of the cart is a butcher block and was a little worn so I went ahead and sanded the top down a little bit.  I used a fine grit sand paper. After sanding I wiped down the piece thoroughly so that it was nice and clean and then followed up with a dry cloth.

I chose to start with the stain as I knew I’d be doing several layers. The stain I used stays on for 15 minutes and then is removed with a cloth. Read the instructions on your can in case it is different. Use painter’s tape (or washi tape in a pinch) to keep the stain off unwanted surfaces.

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After staining I started painting the body of the cart. Originally I wanted the exterior of the drawer to be stained to match, however because the wood was different from the top of the piece the stain did not sink in well so I painted over it. I did two coats of paint and then did some touch up in a few places to make sure it was good.

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I chose to use an antiquing wax on this piece to give it a distressed finish. It also muted the color a bit which fit my room better. I found this YouTube video on how to use the wax very helpful.  Remember to read the instructions on your wax, with mine I went back the day after and buffed the piece to finish it.

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The last step was to apply a clear coat of Polyacrylic to the top. This is a clear water based sealant that will protect the surface. You may want to do two or three coats of this.

Overall this was a great project and a great deal. We spent way less on this piece and the supplies as we would a nicely painted new version of this product and we got it in the color we wanted which looks great in the dining room area.

DIY Calk painted kitchen cart. This piece was stained and waxed with an antiquing wax.

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Cacao Green Smoothies

March 7
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I know I am late to the party, but I have recently been introduced to cacao and I love it! I have been using it in my green smoothies to create what are basically healthy chocolate milkshakes.

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First of, for those that also live under a rock, here is a little more info on cacao and cacao powder. Basically cacao powder is from the cacao bean so it is chocolate, but not as processed as cocoa powder. Is is high in antioxidants and magnesium which makes it a great food for women to consume. The best part? It contains only 20 calories per tablespoon!

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It took me a few tries to get my smoothie recipe down, but I have been very happy with the recipe I have come up with. In fact, it is almost addicting, so much that sometimes I want one after I get home from work instead of dinner. While I don’t suggest you eat these three times a day, the recipe I am sharing is a great breakfast substitute as it contains fiber, protein, and good fats. It will keep you full until lunch and is delicious.

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Print Recipe
Cacao Green Smoothies
This is a simple recipe to make delicious healthy cacao smoothies that taste like milkshakes. Careful, they are totally addictive.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Prep Time 3 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add spinach and kale to your blender. If using a personal sized smoothie cup add water to compact the greens and then add other ingredients. Add lid and blend until smooth. Add more water if the smoothie is too thick.
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easy cacao green smoothie with spinach and kale. Healthy cacao smoothie.

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What I read- February 2017

March 5
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This was a pretty productive month reading wise. As usual, most of these titles were read via audiobook at home and during my commute. If you haven’t tried audiobooks before I strongly consider giving them a change. I was against the idea at first, but have learned to love them. I get my audiobooks from library’s downloadable books service and Audible. (Click the link for a free 30 day trial.)

Why do we get Fat? by Gary Taubes
You will see the theme for much of my reading this month is health related. This title gives an interesting spin on the million dollar question of why we get fat. I am personally not looking to lose weight, however I do know that there is a weight problem in the US and I know that I may not be invincible forever. I’d like to start making the right steps today to lead me and my husband down the right path for the rest of our lives. The main point of this book is that carbohydrates really are the problem, (which I agree with) but he went on to explain why they make us fat and how they trigger our brains. I still want to do some more research on what the author says and will follow up later after my research is finished.


Smart Fat: Eat More Fat. Lose More Weight. Get Healthy Now by Steven Masley
Another health book, big surprise. This author has a great focus on how good fats, protein, and fiber really are the main food groups we need to worry about. This goes hand in hand with what Taubes said in the previous title and also agrees with the idea that we should avoid carbs. The book includes a great list of foods that qualify for the three groups and how much of each we need to eat.


Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

As you may recall from my 2017 reading goals post, I am reading one “classic” a month. For February I chose this title. The story is about a boy living in a small town during the summer of 1928. The book  shares his adventures, revelations, and life in a small town. Although I didn’t love it, this is one of his most well known titles and a great book to have read and be familiar with.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

This was a fun read for the month. This is a great modern tale about a well off wife and mother living in Seattle and where life takes her. I am not going to reveal much more in case you want to read it, but it really was a fun read.  The writing reminds me of Liane Moriarty but maybe a little less emotional but still full of drama. This was a great enjoyable read to break up the non-fiction this month and would be a great beach read.


Hidden Figures by Margot Shetterly

I haven’t had a change to watch the movie yet, but I wanted to jump in and read the book ahead of time. While I enjoyed the book, I am fairly sure the movie will actually be better. (Blasphemy, I know.)  Although the book does focus on some of the more emotional aspects of the ordeals the women went though, I am fairly sure the actresses will have done a better job.  The movie comes out on DVD in April so I will have to rent it then and confirm my suspicions.  If you’ve seen the movie and want more background information I think the book will be helpful as there are always more details in the book.


Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace

I have been a big Against Me! fan since my teens and have been casually following Tom Gable’s male to female transition in the media and was super excited with I heard about his book coming out. I went into this book mostly wanting to read a history of the band and if that is what you’re looking for, that is not 100% what you will find. This book is about Tom/Laura and their life before, during, and after the transition. Yes, the book covers many of the albums, touring, and band life, but it is not about the music, it is about the person. This was a great look into Laura’s head, but it did leave me feeling like the band was only for the buck, not the music.  If you read it, let me know what you think.

The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
My last book for the month is another by Taubes. This is his newest book and is again very eye opening. If you, like many of us, are starting to realize that we are consuming way too much sugar then this book deserves a read. Taubes shares how much sugar was commonly consumed 50, 100, and 200 years ago and compares those levels to today. We all know there is too much sugar going around, but it is not until you look at the numbers that it really makes sense. He also compares the American diet to that of other countries who do and do not consume sugar like we do. Much of the book is spent explaining the rise of diabetes and how sugar affects it. As someone who has a history of diabetes in my family, I found this information very useful and would like to start limiting my sugar intake to hopefully prevent future illness.

 

So those are my seven books for the month. Click below to see my goodreads account and see what I’m currently reading and my to-read list. Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 9.56.09 PM

 

Did you read anything great lately? Share it in the comments or tag me on Twitter or instagram.com/_amberdowns. I’m @_amberdowns on both!