January Hymn


Hello everyone! Welcome back to my monthly wrap up. Maybe you noticed (maybe you didn’t) that I didn’t post nearly as much as I hoped to in the month of January. Well, there’s a good reason. I was completely without a computer. I’m going to write about living without a computer for 3 weeks as both a blog enthusiast and a teacher who relies on preparing lessons soon.

What else did January bring me? Well, I wouldn’t say it was a spectacular month. Interestingly, I’m leaving January really hopeful about lots of things that are upcoming.

4 Things I loved in January


My 2019 Goals Spread – this was truly a labor of love. I usually hate setting goals but I made this all the more bearable by thinking of it as a year-long to do list. I wrote post dedicated to my goals but the picture above is a sneak. I even used this as inspiration in my classes for students to make New Years resolution posters.

Note: this photo does not belong to me

You – Ugh – this series is so binge worthy. It’s weird and well done. Originally it was a lifetime series which is shocking to me considering just how graphic a lot of the content is. Basically to run down the point of the story: boy meets girl; boy becomes her stalker; boy slowly goes deeper and deeper into nebulous decisions to keep girl. Despite the fact that this guy is a stalker, I found myself rooting for him. It just shows that the writing and acting on this show is actually pretty solid. I also read the book and am reading the second one now. In this case, the show is better I think.

Podcasts – January was definitely the month of Podcasts for me. I have liked Serial for ages and historically liked This American Life. This month – I was all about true crime. With the absence of my computer, I just did a lot of listening. Some of my favorites were Crimonology (especially season 2, even if it is a little difficult to listen to, Dirty John, and Crime Junkies. Dirty John and Criminology, like Serial, tell one story over many episodes. Crime Junkies is short form. I like all of them – although I do find myself looking over my shoulder more now than before listening.

Salads – One thing I’m doing a little differently this year to other years is that I’m thinking about eating better not as a diet thing but actually as a change in shopping habits. I think it’s been a good point of view for me. I don’t feel deprived in any way at all when I’m eating a salad with lots of veg, some protein and sometimes some sort of carb thrown in. I would say I around one salad per day in January.

3 Happenings of January

Giving my Fingerprints (FINALLY) – I cannot say how exhausting the Spanish bureaucracy is. So to be able to finally be just one step away from my new ID is so satisfying. I should say – it’s only good until the end of June and I have to go back to the foreign affairs office to get it – but beggars can’t be choosers.


Finding Tim Hortons in Murcia, Spain – For some people who are reading this and wondering “what’s Tim Hortons?” basically it’s a giant chain in the states of reasonably priced coffee. It was founded in Hamilton, Ontario which is only an hour from Buffalo and the first store in the states was in my home town. Tim Hortons is such a ubiquitous brand in my city. I knew Tim’s was in Madrid – many of my friends let me know last March. Well, they’ve grown to have 18 stores in Madrid, 3 in Barcelona and for some unknown reason, their next location was in the relatively small and unknown city of Murcia. I could have cried.

I had Tim Horton’s twice this month – both times when I was stopping into the Apple store. They let me know they are actually going to put a store downtown in Murcia which is significantly more convenient for me. Usually, going into Murcia is a little bit of a chore for me – but now that I know Tim Horton’s is there, I won’t be so upset.


Monthly (almost) No-Buy – This month, I decided that I wanted to do a no-buy on stickers and makeup. Makeup is actually a yearly goal to only replace products I have one of. This month, I did replace my mascara but frankly that’s a hygiene thing. I didn’t buy any stickers until today (I know!) but this was especially focused on weekly sticker kits. The one small order I made was all stickers I could realistically use in either my bullet journal or my Erin Condren so I’m not going to be too hard on myself.

A good way to curb my spending has been to lay down stickers for upcoming weeks in advance. So for example, I have already laid down both Valentine’s Day and St. Patricks so I’m not tempted to get any other kits.

In terms of other purchases, I’ve been pretty good this month overall. My one major splurge was a new backpack which I feel justified in considering it’s an item I use virtually daily. Other than that, I’ve been pretty well behaved.

2 Planner Updates

Bullet Journal – in general, my bullet journal wasn’t vastly different this month. I started to explore the use of Dutch doors in my weekly and monthly spreads in order to fit a little bit more information on each day. My monthly spread dutch door (above) was sort of a learning curve. I didn’t totally understand that with a dutch door, you want to have something visible on both sides which is pertinent to each part of the spread. I learned my lesson for February.


Here’s an example of how I incorporated a Dutch door into my weekly spreads. I kept this consistently through the month and definitely have plans to continue in February. It gives me tons more space to write.

My favorite spread in my Bullet Journal this month was my mood tracker. I took this idea from Amanda Rach Lee, a prominent bujo YouTube and Instagram influencer. I absolutely loved the concept and definitely need to think out of the box like this again. However, I did not love the emotions I chose. I found this month I was really worn out and I didn’t have an emotion to mark that.

Erin Condren – I didn’t do anything that different this month in my Erin Condren, so I thought I would share my favorite spread of the month. I loved the sort of multicolor-shift gold foil I used with this. I love the deep teal, mustard yellow and coral together and have decided this year that I want to be more comfortable using “anytime” sticker kits. This one is themed like an art museum. Did I go to any art museum this week? No. But I am obsessed with the final product.

1 Thing to look forward to in February

Sunrise at my school

In February, I’m really looking forward to having a conversation with my school about the upcoming year. February is when it’s decided whether or not we stay in our position. I know (generally speaking) that my school and I are a pretty good fit which is a huge departure from last year. This month it will be really positive to have a conversation about what’s next and how I can integrate into the school even more!



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