I’ve always wavered between paper time management tools and electronic ones, probably because I deal with a daily showdown of my left and right brain. I love setting up new organizational systems but the first time the post-it notes start to take over, I know my system has failed.  

Until now, I used a combination of Outlook calendar, iCalendar on my phone, and a shared document spreadsheet to keep my family and life in order.

Rather than explain my madness, I’ll simply say that an “Analog System for the Digital Age” flew by my head one day, clipping my memory and leaving a lasting mark. It appears to be mindful, simple and succinct like my paper systems, yet stores and recalls info like a computer. Ryder Carroll invented this system called the BULLET JOURNAL (BuJo for short).


  • This system seems streamline, visually clean, very adaptable and customizable, and works well with my creatively chaotic mind.

  • The scheduling system reminds me of a refined Franklin Covey system (which I used 15 years ago) so it already made sense to me. Like the Franklin Covey system, it’ll be the best thing that happened to me or the absolute biggest time suck.
  • I love that I can create layouts for any project or goal I have from reading books to exercise!

  • I love that I can be as streamline or embellished as I want – I decided to start simpler to form the habit of using it.
  • I love using colored pens – they make me happy! Pens that don’t get bloppy keep my hands clean and pages smudge-free! I have pens stashed in my purse, in my car and at my work desk.



  • Knowing how much I love books – carrying a bound journal with me feels elegant.


  • I’m a researcher and decided to do an internet search for Bullet Journal and almost lost my mind.  This system has blown up and evolved into:
  • So many creative systems (Pinterest)
  • Support groups (Facebook)
  • How-to videos (Youtube)
  • Fandoms (Instagram)
    for a second I was regretting finding this fabulous system.  
  • Seriously what started as an efficient dot, square, and journal system was taken hostage by all the scrapbookers and now the pages have doodles, washi tape, fancy folds, and calligraphy!  The way my mind works, if I can’t do it that beautifully – do I want to do it at all?
  • My OCD (self-diagnosed) and Type-A tendencies.  Though I did set up my journal and survived a few mistakes without hyperventilating.  


I researched what journal to get as well. Many people preferred the Leuchtturm1917 Journal with dots on the pages to help guide your pen. Due to the fact that I “had to” start my journal right away, I walked to the university bookstore where I work and walked out with a Moleskine graph journal with a pocket in back for forms I collect. No pen loop? No problem. 

I started with a simple layout based exactly on Ryder’s system featuring:

The Index

The Weekly Layout (see Ryder’s video to learn how to set up your journal)

Again, I started simple with the following key to guide me, but used colors to keep my categories separate.

The 2nd month I decided to try a new Weekly Layout that allowed me to separate Household, Blogging/Social Media and Appointments/Miscellaneous.  This allows me to better visualize the plates I have in the air.

NOTE: My Secret Code: Cursive! My kids can’t read it easily – which is another blog post all together!

Will this be the perfect system for me? Only time will tell – but being in November, I’m starting to feel the pressure to commit to a system for 2017. Stay tuned…

What about you? Have you tried bullet journaling? Do you have any layouts that have changed your life? Do you have a different system you love?

#PILOT #ACROBALL #bulletjournalformoms #bulletjournal #bujo #organizers #calendar #organization #Moleskine #journal #Leuchtturm #RyderCarroll



Shhh! Don’t tell anyone or housing prices will continue to skyrocket, but [whisper] my city was voted one of the 10 Best Places to Live in California! Upon hearing this announcement, (you can call it a midlife or nostalgia) I wanted to retrace our journey that directed us to Redondo Beach.

On my first visit to the area, 15 years prior to setting down roots here, it wasn’t the sunshine that drew me in, but the taste of the salty air and sound of the waves crashing against the pier pilings. Running between the hot spots, lost in the woody maze of the pier, the texture felt familiar. It was reminiscent of the boardwalk edging the east coast of my childhood. That night, I was there for one fun time and didn’t realize that the sites and sounds would seep into my being (and eventually dictate the feel of my blog).

Later, when I found myself rewriting my 5-year plan (divorcing, starting over), I felt going home to San Diego would be giving up, but I knew I couldn’t stay put either as my time was up. Initially, upon moving to the coast, I didn’t recall having been there before. Plus, I didn’t know how long I’d stay. 

Our lives were a bunch of moving parts: Me going through a divorce and starting a new job, my oldest child entering kindergarten, and the youngest at her most active age of 2. I was falling fast, flailing my arms to pull together loose ends and create a new normal.  I’d chosen the area for the following 3 reasons: 1) Great schools; 2) Closer to family; 3) I felt I could just slip right in unnoticed.  Part of me was led by a romantic notion that the sea air and sunsets would heal my uprooted spirit.


At first, I felt I was nothing but noticeable (in my own head) as the divorced mom in a field of adorable married couples. But that big D on my shirt got less noticeable as I focused on helping my kids build their new community as quickly as possible by joining teams! Through my son’s soccer, daughter’s t-ball, and my Team In Training, we met amazing people and slowly started tipping the scales as our happiness grew and life experiences became richer.  

We met other parents who helped me set the kids on a positive and hopefully long, windy path of discovery about themselves.  Growing up, I’d moved a lot and lived places for on average 4 years. I started a lot of things, then left many of them undone. I never did a drastic mid-school year move or anything, but as soon as I’d get to know people, or be introduced to something fun, we’d move, and do something different. So when it came time to choose where we’d move, it was a significant decision that I didn’t take lightly.

I love that our city that feels larger than some of its neighbors, but occupies a small footstep within our county. It is anchored with main streets with entertainment, food and shopping, yet at the same time, the horizon is wide open with opportunity and possibility. I love that we’ve actively worked to become a Blue Zone – I’ll explain in the next few weeks – which increases the strength and health of a community!

10 years is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. I laugh as I ponder that to newcomers, I’m a local! While I never hope to repeat the circumstances that brought us here, I’m certainly glad for where we landed and grew roots.

DAILY PROMPT: SENTIMENTAL – Ridiculous Redirection


My divorce happened before the Conscious Uncoupling trend. While it didn’t fall under the category of most congenial divorces, it certainly didn’t qualify as one of the worst. Ridiculous Redirection better described my conscious dissolution – detailing my disdain for the situation, the people involved and my attempts to maintain a sense of humor and forge a fresh, clear perspective for making life-changing decisions. This, immediately after losing my mind and being steamrolled by emotions beyond the range of what I’d previously considered possible on the Richter scale.

Initially, my tribe of devoted supporters rallied, listened, commiserated, reveled in the ridiculous along with me. Though they provided a much-needed crutch I leaned on often while learning to stand again, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d mounted the carousel horse to crazy town. So I leaped for the brass ring while the carousel groaned on.   I bruised my heart a bit more but felt immediately lighter with ridiculousness in pieces at my feet.  I ran to catch up to my kids’ and my new life, that already held a strong head-start.


When I stopped to catch my breath I immediately felt that I needed to slow down and be present to properly navigate the future and remember the high-fives along the way.

Does rehashing Sentimental steps of my ridiculous redirection mean I’m stuck in a bitter dead end without a clear path towards my future? I feel that I finally received the streetmap (OK, GPS) showing me I got through Despair, to the border of Desperation, constantly weaving in and out of Unsettled, and that confirms I am passing through Hope finally on the road towards Inner Peace which still just barely seems visible in a distant  horizon (Looks like Oz!)

To me, simmering in the sentiment is necessary on occasion to remind me of growth, evolution, resilience, adaptation, and invention. I now realize that my resentment came more from the unexpected, though maybe not completely unforeseen, changes to my 25-year plan than the things my wasband (was-my-husband) and I did before, during and after that point.



We three continue forward now watching Ridiculous transition into Reality – a reality that we are present for every day.


When I was a kid, what was the first thing I did when I heard my parents would be out of town? Mom, if you’re reading this, the answer is Picked up my room, Asked for extra credit homework assignments, Rested, Told my friends no parties when my parents were gone, Missed You! I’ve heard of an unspoken rule that you wait 15 years until you tell your parents the truth about things you’ve done.  I personally enjoy my position as the eldest that means, for the most part, my siblings don’t have much dirt on me because they were too young to be tattle-tales when I was a teenager having fun.  I relish in my “shining example” role so in most cases, I’ll never admit to anything.  (I guess we’ll see if my parents read the blog!).

Just in case me, all alone, nobody else here, really mom!

Perhaps this next statement will be more telling as to what I truthfully did back then, because I still do it now!  My kids will be out of town next week so with evenings all to myself, I am planning ways to have fun:

GET CAUGHT UP! Life has been so crazy lately that I need to get caught up with paperwork, housework, friends, blogging, etc.  I will dedicate 1 evening to do what I have to do before doing what I want to do – catch up with friends!  See kids, I lead by example!

Just a fun idea to make me want to go through paperwork and turn it into something new and exciting! What pile of paper drives you the most crazy?

SEE A MOVIE! Whether it’s at home or at the movie theatre, it’s a great excuse to not cook, just eat popcorn for dinner like I did in college and be entertained!

What are the hottest flicks in theatres/rental right now?

READ A BOOK AT THE BEACH!  This is my new favorite to take a book to the beach and not leave til I’ve damn well finished it!  Next time I’ll be sure of more accurate coverage with sunscreen.

What book shall I read next?

BE CRAFTY! Pinterest is my new favorite toy!  I’m going to make 1 meal completely from pinterest recipes and do 1 craft project inspired by something I saw on there.  Give me a link to propose your favorite ideas in the comments below and don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!  (Button to the right!)

Such a fun and simple idea – wait, don’t have a sewing machine. What’s a fun and simple one you recommend?

Well, tell me what you would do!


The first sunny day we’ve had since this challenge was first posted.
Not to be ungrateful but I really need it to rain so my daughter’s softball game will get rained out so we can go to my son’s school competition!
Thankfully within an hour the clouds started getting thicker. Can next week’s challenge be “rain?!”


I had to follow up with two shots that have rainbow bursts. The rain isn’t hitting the ground but the sun coming through the clouds create these rainbow auras almost!


What filter could I have used to make the colors pop more?


Your precarious mission:
Retrieve from a local store (in under 15 minutes):

S. – SANDWICH BAGS: Holds survival snacks

M. – MOISTURIZER: Best youthful disguise

I. – ICE CREAM: Your civilian “purpose” for trip

L. – LIPGLOSS: Mesmerizing barely-there color with specific shimmer distracts others

E. – EFFICIENCY: It’s a streamline grab-n-dash operation

Should any of your Force be detained, we will deny our alliance.  Good luck.

Fool-proof (or foolish) disguises!

Entering the building, sticking to the inside perimeter, we pinpointed cosmetics but packaging changes were tough to decipher!  Fragrances lured my daughter and despite orders to resist, it had her by the nose.

My son retreated to “The library” to rework our covert operations, so I pursued moisturizers. My daughter reworked the once-threatening trap creating an impenetrable cocktail of potent, incapacitating cheap scents to thwart opposition.

You tell me which is more lethal!

Arriving early at the agent retrieval point, my son met us magazine in hand. The decision to detour temporarily from the plan, set off a chain of events.

While standing down amongst the magazines, my daughter ripped one. Throwing it in our basket, I quickly reverted to our plan. Despite our calm exterior, tears compromised my daughter’s eyes. Afraid she would blow our cover, we soothed her and continued on towards ice cream.

Flavors carefully selected, my son safely requested a cup while my daughter and I scoffed at danger choosing sharper cones. Waiting to pay and anticipating our getaway, Lauren’s ice cream hit the floor threatening toes of flip-flopped civilians.  My confidence shaken in Lauren’s “Don’t cry over spilled cones or torn pages” training, Carson diverted her for a replacement as I quickly paid.

Almost home free, we headed towards the exit. Alarmingly, horns and lights screamed, pointing at us!  Fortunately, the store – hoping to avoid more explosions – shoo’d us out. We quickly jumped in the car for our clean getaway!

After buckling in, a tell-tale cracking sound ignited my reflex and slowed time.  I honed in on another mid-air ice cream bomb threatening to contaminate the car’s interior. My focus muted the kids’ screams as I diffused the threat. With non-stop movement, one hand lowered windows as the other scooped the ice cream, launching it out the window.

Disaster averted!

Mission Accomplished!

What’d we forget?


In a meeting, a professor lamented, “Don’t parents know if they let their kids study what they want, they’ll be better students?!”  My head rotated 360 degrees experiencing emotions from being those college students choosing a major to satisfy everyone, to now holding a higher-up Mom position to the future Presidents! I teach my kids to follow their dreams and interests – with gentle guidance from me.

First Girl on the Moon?! Sky’s the limit!

Aaah!  I’ve become my parents!  Worse, I’ve become a momager!  I’ve always freely given momagers credit for wanting to set up her kids for life. But any of us with a secret wish list for our children are momagers. Rather than rattle off my parenting philosophies, I’ll say that my goal focuses on introducing them to many things in life so that when contemplating career or other options, they’ll base the decision on their own strong history and curiosity.

Pop into Paleontology!

When my child said “I want to be an Ultimate Fighting Champion when I grow up!” I congratulated them on their cool career choice, ask what attracted them and suggest other career options too, based on their passions. When the other one wanted to be a bounty-hunter I again, (silently curse other relatives for their TV leniency) suggested a wide-spectrum of careers that also help uphold justice. Perhaps I’m giving my children too many options, but I’d rather they feel that the sky’s the limit.

Smart business choice: bikinis are cheaper than 3-piece suits!

I confess, I’m involved in the kids’ lives. I am a recovering project manager who looked forward to the Mission report since my son was three. I limited my involvement to helping manage the timeline, not the output. I did assist with placement, cutting and gluing to lose the “collage” look.  Rest assured, one year later, I don’t get as involved with new projects.

Come explore California Missions!

Being a momager, I also have days where I’m mentally drained and don’t feel like managing anything.  Tonight, despite a lifetime of saying “I’ll never cook 2 different meals for my kids” I didn’t feel like figuring out which child to punish with dinner tonight – since they never agree and one always winds up “losing” – so voila, taquitos and pancakes!

…and it wasn’t half bad…

Bottom line, momagers only want what’s best for their kids, right?


I’m an all or nothing gal. I used to think it was a Gemini thing, then an oldest child thing, an Asian thing, supermom thing, now I know it’s a stubborn thing that needs to be obliterated – all or nothing! I feel the compulsion to cram as much as possible into the day.

When it’s too slow, I swear time moves backwards.

My single-mom exercise plan, training for marathons, crammed in as many miles in one day as my sister did in a week. Training with philanthropic teams meant I socialized, gave back and trained at once – sucker for synergy every time! After training for a half-ironman triathlon, I haven’t resumed training regularly again simply because I know I should, would love to, or go mental without it. I prefer jobs where I’m grand central station in a busy work environment to slow, quiet days. Fueled by Stellarbucks, I run as hard as I can til all that’s left to give is nothing. My rationale rationalizes that I’m cramming two parents into one so if I’m taking time away from family, then whatever I’m doing better be big or it wasn’t worth it.

Of course, this mentality commandeered my blogging too. It wasn’t enough to write 365 words a day, I started a blogging periodical collection, spent free time ignoring my book club, instead reading other blogs learning more complicated tricks to drive traffic to my blog, as well as juicy tips of the trade. Tonight I focused on one simple tip to assist me with writing – MUSIC!

Some musicians are more distracting than others…

My system to write at night, about a situation I wandered through that day, got somewhat sluggish. The spigot I tapped to let the creative juices flow got dammed by all the workday newness to absorb. For a while I would surf the social media and pinning boards searching for inspiration, but truly avoiding the fact that I still needed a topic. Tonight, I’m up against my midnight deadline yet again, but listening to music reminded me of how moved I am by it which yielded 3-4 nuggets to polish when significant. It got me to slow down enough to relive memories, listen to lyrics, and not do anything besides sway and occasionally snap my fingers.


In this new year, I’m embracing the idea of reinvention and improvement. When it was apparent that my last job was running its course, I kicked into high gear with an emergency plan of running fully-caffeinated doing my job, being a single mom while finding/launching a second career. Utilizing every waking moment quickly out-lived its effectiveness. The plan that once energized me with its double-dog dare in my face now has me dog-tired.

So I ask myself – W.W.O.D.? – What would Oprah do? I’ve lived most of my adult life with O teaching me how to be grateful, to live authentically, and to find the true me. I enjoyed our daily chats from our couches but now that her show has ended, it is time to see if I’ve truly learned anything.

She, along with many, heralds the value of slowing down, being present, being STILL. In the past I scoffed at the idea saying I didn’t have the time, or if I halt inertia I’ll fall over – asleep. Some suggested to me that when you sit still allowing your mind to be open, demons enter. Scarier to me than them is the realization that my kids have just grown 2 years and though I transported both to their various stops trying to mold the best kids they can be, I haven’t been present enough to recall most landmarks or milestones.

So, as usual, today I am researching, exploring methodology and psyching myself up to calm down. Tomorrow I’ll dive in. I know I want to meditate, not be hypnotized. I don’t want a new religion, rather new peace of mind. I want to sit silently so that I might hear the answers that the universe provides but remain centered enough to act on them. I drew upon my single previous meditation experience, in a Buddhist temple no less, and then found an app for that – guided meditation through our chakras. I want a tour guide to provide noise to drown out my cats and hope that it will yell if I fall asleep.

For tonight, that’s exactly where I am going, amped to try meditation tomorrow! Have any favorite meditation practices or tips?

Share your story & you may reach the one person who needed to hear it most.


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