One year in Montana.

And just like that, my parents and I have lived here a year already. I can still remember feeling like we were only here on a long vacation, it took almost half the year before we finally felt like this was our home. Unfortunately, I still don’t quite feel like I fit in, like maybe I don’t belong, but it’s coming along. What I’ve dubbed as our “Los Angeles hoity-toityness” has faded, we’re not quite the princesses we’d been. We’ve changed so much over the past year, all for the better.

There’s still a lot I miss about where I used to live, but I’m glad we moved. I needed things to change, I needed new experiences and new adventures. There’s been so many firsts for me this year. Wild deer romp through my yard, owls hoot at night, I saw the Milky Way for the first time in my life, I get to see all sorts of interesting bugs I’d only seen pictures of, eagles fly right over me on a regular basis, the sky is breathtaking almost every single day, and I even made it through the worst heatwave Montana’s had in over 80 years and my first proper winter with minimal complaining. I took a huge chance moving to a state I’d never been to before, but it worked out in my favor.

I’d started to post a bunch of photos and videos, but if you’re really curious, just go check out my Instagram. It started to become a little too difficult trying to choose my favorites, I really do love it here.


Bullet journal: Tracking time & habits.

I’ve been testing out two new things this month: a new layout for habit tracking, and a time tracker which is a brand new addition for me.

I love tracking things, but lumping everything into one list can make it boring or overwhelming. Taking inspiration from a few people, I decided to break up my habits into sections and track them that way. I’ve been loving it! It’s so much easier to be able to quickly go to a section instead of needing to go through the entire list because I forgot where I’d put “read” or “practice French.”

It also helps that I’m using new pens, new supplies always help make things even better. I’m using the Paper Mate Flair, Medium Felt Tip Pen 12-pack*.

* This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided.


A photo posted by Heather (@justsomehandwriting) on

As for tracking how I spend my day, I had always wanted to try it out but felt overwhelmed by it, until I realized I could start off with a few colors instead of immediately trying to color code my entire day. Some people like to do this in order to find out how much time they waste doing particular things (watching television, internet, etc) or because they have a particular goal they want to achieve. For me, it’s the latter. I have a daily goal to spend at least an hour doing something for my blog, whether it’s writing/editing an entry, social media stuff, planning things, etc. So for my time tracker, I decided all I really want to track right now is sleep and blog stuff. Blue is for sleep, purple is for blog stuff, and green is for everything else. If I still like this idea by the end of the month, in June I’ll add more colors. Maybe I’ll decide to track how much time I spend watching Netflix and how much time I spend being creative.


I’ve created a new Instagram account to post about all this stuff, I decided it’s best to have a separate account for bullet journal stuff and any handwritten stuff in general, for those who want to get inspiration from me without having to deal with personal photos too. If you’d like to follow that account, click below!

followjustsomehandwriting

Make a shelf to hang on your wall… out of popsicle sticks!

shelf

You'll need popsicle sticks (also known as craft sticks). You need 159 sticks total.

These are what I used. I recommend the same (or similar) size, not the wider craft sticks since they're shorter and the shelf won't be as wide.

You'll also need glue — white glue or a hot glue gun — and scrap paper (or a little cup or something, for the glue).

Start by gluing six sticks together, layered as shown.

Glue on another layer of sticks, and keep going till you have 10 layers in each section.

Make two of these.
If the last step's directions confused you, this photo should explain it better.

Attach the shelves by gluing four sticks to the sides. (Note: I accidentally ruined the shelf I'd been making for this post, so the rest of the tutorial shows the first I made which is why it's finished in these pictures.)

IMPORTANT! When attaching the shelves, make sure the top sticks face the same direction (see photo)
or the sticks creating the back won't lie flat.

Choose which side is the back, glue sticks as shown. Make sure the ends all touch so there's even spacing.
If you used white glue, put the shelf somewhere for a couple hours so the glue can completely dry. If you used hot glue, proceed to the next step.

Hold the finished shelf to where you want to hang it, and use a pencil to mark where you'll hammer in two nails or thumbtacks. (I recommend nails if you'll be putting anything heavy on the shelf.)

Remove the shelf and hammer in your nails, leaving about half an inch to hang the shelf from.
(I used L shaped ones for extra support so the shelf can't slide off the wall.)

Gently hang your shelf. If you used L shaped nails like I did, they should slide right in between the sticks.

Here's what your finished shelf should look like!
Final measurements are approximately 12½" x 8½" x 1¾"

Now you can fill it with whatever you want!
You can also use this to store bottles of nail polish.

Bunny Stew, a scary story by Mikki Mares.

When I was a kid, I was subscribed to the now defunct Disney Adventures Magazine. It was published by The Walt Disney Company and ran from the early 90s till 2005 or so, though I’d stopped reading it in the late 90s. Like most kid’s magazines, it featured the latest young celebrities and all sorts of cool stuff, I remember liking some of the comics and it had some pretty decent articles, though of course by now I can’t really remember what all it had.

One particular issue featured a story that had won the Scary Stories Contest they’d been running, the winner was 13-year-old Mikki Mares. I’ve always loved scary stories so I wasn’t exactly scared, but this story definitely gave you the jibblies. I really wish I’d kept my copy. I went through a lot of trouble trying to find anything about it online and almost gave up, then I did manage to find a scan of the story. Unfortunately, whoever scanned it did a really lousy job so it’s crooked and small, so I kept trying in hopes of finding a better scan so I could blog about it.

I finally found a blog on Tumblr called DAmailbox, they’ve collected the entire series. I contacted them to ask if they have the Bunny Stew issue and luckily they do! The very first page containing the introduction to the story was missing, but the story itself was there, which is most important to me. So now I’m able to share it!

This story was in the November 1993 issue, so I was 9½ years old when I first read this.

Thank you for the funny memories, Bubby.

cards

My paternal grandmother passed away yesterday at the age of 87. I’ve been trying to decide if I want to write one entry full of memories to honor her, or a few entries as a series. I’m still trying to decide, but for now, here’s one memory to share.

Almost every year for my birthday, my grandmother would send me a card and check in the mail. Ten years ago I started keeping them, she’d started sending some really adorable cards and I just couldn’t throw them out. They’re probably meant for children, but I don’t care. They have cutouts and die-cut pieces and rhinestones and I just loved receiving them, I looked forward to it every year. Now that she’s gone, I’m so glad I’d started keeping the cards.

When I was a child, I’d call her to thank her, saying “Thank you for the check” and she’d ask if I liked the card. As an adult, I’d call to say “Thank you for the adorable card” and she’d ask if I got the check. I know it’s because she wants to make sure the check wasn’t stolen, but the change amused me for years. I used to only be grateful for the money, now I’m usually too excited about the card to remember to thank her for the money too.

I’ll miss getting them in the mail with her handwriting, but maybe I’ll start buying similar birthday cards for myself to keep the memory going. Rest in peace, Bubby.

cards

Moving from Los Angeles to Montana. (Part 5 – Things I miss about California.)

I’ve been living in Montana for almost a year already. I think now is a good time to sit back and think of all the things I miss about California.

The food.

Carney’s on Sunset, Tito’s Tacos (and just proper Mexican food in general), Jack in the Box, and my homemade sushi. I’ve found a restaurant with amazing pancakes, but so far everything else has been too hit-or-miss. The only place I’ve found so far with an amazing cheeseburger is the A&W, and don’t get me started on how oddly disgusting most of the french fries are in this state, talk about hit-or-miss. I don’t know if it’s the change in altitude or if Montana prepares or cooks their food differently, but a lot of things here don’t taste the way they did in L.A.


The tourist traps.

Museums, the zoo, Disneyland, Hollywood, Santa Monica, to name a few. I hadn’t been to Disneyland in years already, so now that it’s no longer 40 minutes away, I miss it even more. Feeding the birds at Hollywood Forever Cemetery had always been so much fun, and people-watching in Hollywood and Santa Monica is always amazing. I knew I’d miss the Autry Museum, but the bright side to that is I now live in a place with actual cowboys.


Palm trees.

Before moving, I wondered if I’d miss them. They’re just all over the place in California. I miss them because they were always in my line of sight, and suddenly not having them anymore just feels strange.


Earthquakes.

I know. Weird thing to miss, right? Montana gets one every couple of years or so. I’ve yet to experience one here, and oddly miss the frequent baby ones we constantly dealt with in Los Angeles. It was always a game of “Was that an earthquake or a large vehicle driving past?”

Don’t get me wrong, I love my new home, but there’s a lot more I miss about California than I realized considering how unhappy I’d been the last five-or-so years before we moved. I figured I’d just miss the convenience of things more than I’d miss the things themselves. Despite everything I miss, I’m glad I moved. It’ll make me appreciate things more when I go back to visit!

→ For previous entries in this series: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]