Friday, April 08, 2016

My Bullet Journal: Life Organized

My Bullet Journal: Life Organized

As promised in my last post, I said that I would go more in depth and show more of my bullet journal planner. I gotta say that sharing it so publicly is sort of daunting. A planner is a very personal thing, it records as much or as little as we care to write within it. It's so intimate, nevermore so than when you are keeping tabs of what you consider the most important to you. If you missed that post, you can read it here.

I must confess, I follow great bullet journal enthusiasts through Instagram and am a part of four different bullet journal Facebook groups. All of those people are so very talented, they have taken Ryder's original idea and have made such beautiful spreads that are constantly evolving as they devise systems to fit their needs. And then there are others who show the beauty in the simplicity of their journals, people who inspire me not through their decoration but instead with what and how they track their collections and tasks. Where do I fit into all of this...somewhere in between :)

For reference: I use a Moleskine squared notebook, a pencil to plan my pages and a Pilot precise V7 RT pen, various sized post it notes and colored pencils. I love washi tape, but for some reason it doesn't look right to me in my BuJo (short for bullet journal) and I wouldn't imagine putting stickers in it. I love the black and white look with just a few hints of color.

My journal key page and index

Some people using the bullet journal system suffer with the forward planning aspect that they are accustomed using a traditional planner. By using this yearly calendar forward planning is no longer a problem!
My calendar - a full year in review/forward planning
My favorite part of using the bullet journal system is keeping track of the little things... the goals that I have set for myself, places I would love to visit, my bucket list, even tracking movies that are coming out that I want to see and books that I should (or am dying) to read.

My 2016 Goals / places to visit in 2016 and my Bucket List Collections

Movies I want to watch / Books I want to read and my Level Up Collections

I use the monthly tracker to remind me of appointments, special events and holidays, all at a glance. Yes, I am migrating some information from the yearly calendar to the monthly but I find that in doing so it helps to reinforce my biggest weakness - not remembering about an upcoming event until the very last minute. (or Facebook surprising me that it is someone's birthday...)

My April monthly calendar at a glance
Another feature that evolves month to month is the monthly tracker, otherwise known as a habit tracker. I have seen a few different types of habit trackers, if there is a habit that you are looking to track it's best to use a system that will work for you.

The beginning of my April monthly tracker
There is one spread that I am working hard to tweak, it is titled "This Week".I have one page for my home and another for my blog and Etsy shop. I just recently starting using this and  I am still trying to figure out what exactly I want/need to keep track of. I also am a Realtor and wonder if I should track certain things in my personal BuJo or if I should create a new one exclusively for my real estate business. On the home spread I am tracking meal planning, water intake, and non-date specific tasks that I want to accomplish that week. On my business page I track when and if I post on social media, a task list for the blog, items I need to focus on in my Etsy account, my current works in progress projects, social media stats and a wish list of items that I am considering buying and need to research.

My "This Week" spread for home and business tracking
Last, but not least, is the weekly spread. I used to just focus on one day at a time, repeating the same template, daily. Now I take two pages and split them evenly, leaving space to doodle and write in quotes that speak to me that week. I also track the weather and the temperature, I think its cute and fun to be able to look back and see what the weather was like during a particular time in my life and see if and how it influenced my tracking that day.

My weekly spread in my BuJo.
I can't tell you how much more organized I've become. Being able to create my own journal, tailored to my exact needs has led me to make such amazing changes in my life. It has made me become more organized in my home. I have finally recreated the cleaning schedule that I wrote out for myself all the years ago at the beginning of my marriage. It has also kept me hyper focused on my finances, paying down debt that has been holding me and my family back from enjoying life and each other. It frees up my thoughts so I can focus on more important things, my family.

Want to see more of what we've been up to? Click on the links at the top of this post and follow me!

Thanks for stopping by and we hope you come back real soon! ♥XO (Love, Hugs & Kisses)


Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Current Obsession - Bullet Journaling

Bullet's become really popular recently, even more so than the Erin Condren planner or the Filofax. The system, for those as yet unfamiliar with it, was created by Ryder Caroll. He developed a simple way to keep track of tasks, lists and reminders with just using a notebook and in doing so has created a community that has taken their planners to the next level. It is planning in it's most basic form and yet is one of the most functional ways to stay organized. To view his system follow this link.

For others, like myself, it has morphed into a mix of a bullet journal, sketch book, planner and diary. It reminds me of when I used to doodle in my notebooks in school, when I  kept a diary tucked away from prying eyes and then, when I got married, using notebooks to create cleaning schedules and other tasks that I had to keep track of. Since the age of 16, I have used some sort of planner or another to keep track of important dates and appointments, most times they were simple, cheap yearly planners that were very boring (this was before I found the planner community). My biggest problem was that I was purchasing a planner every year but was not using it to it's fullest potential and would get so bored with it that I would just give up on it 3 months in. 

My old planners... pretty boring right?!

Once I discovered the planner community with their vast collection of washi tapes, stickers and pens I was hooked! I loved all of the creativity that I saw, the way that people were decorating their monthly and weekly spreads, not to mention the dashboards and the way that they decorated their planners in general. I so badly wanted a Filofax or an Erin Condren of my own but I couldn't bring myself to shell out the money for them. So at first I experimented with a Mom Planner from Day Timer (see below). It wasn't a Filofax but, since I was using it as a test run, it served my purpose. As with any new hobby, I loved it at first. I didn't have time to decorate it, nor did I want to spend the money to buy stickers that wouldn't even work for this type of planner, but just the feel of it in my hands made me happy. Let me explain, for me there is something magical about holding a book in my hands, it brings me joy. The fact that this was a book that I could customize to my liking was even better. However as the months went by I found myself not wanting to lug it around with me everywhere I went and after 5 months I just never bothered with it again. 

Mom Planner by Day Timer
Inside the Mom Planner

It was during this time that I had discovered the bullet journal system through Pinterest. I was intrigued but not really interested in it at the time. It wasn't until I was trying to find a way to keep track of tasks at work that decided to give it a try. Around this time I had also found Kara Benz from Boho Berry on YouTube, her bullet journal was just amazing so I implemented some of her ideas into my own bullet journal (or BuJo for short). I loved the way that it simplified my life so I decided in January of this year to do a separate personal one. All I can say is that I don't think that I can ever go back to the regular annual planner. Never before have  I felt the freedom to use a planner as I see fit. It is tailored to my needs and if I get bored with the design I just turn the page and design something new.

Journal Key and Index

Year View Calendar

Part of my collection of lists

Monthly Calendar View

Part of a weekly view and my monthly tracker.
Aside from tasks,  events and appointments I tend to record 
the weather, holidays,  quotes and doodle in the extra spaces. 
The way that I do my BuJo is not to everyone's liking, it is time consuming but I find comfort in the ritual. I don't use washi tape or stickers and I rarely use any color other than a black gel pen but I do decorate my journal with doodles and quotes, usually related to what I am feeling that day. I want these journals to be a reflection of me, something to look back on as I get older. What influenced me, what concerned me and what was most important to me at that moment in time. There is no one way to do a bullet journal, it is what you make of it and how you make it work for you.

For those wondering, I use a Moleskine squared notebook and a Pilot Precise V7 RT pen. I get my quotes and my inspiration for most of my doodles from Pinterest. I have a board dedicated to planners, I hope you follow it!


Next week I'll try to post a quick spread of April's layout as well as go more in depth about my collections that I keep in my BuJo. I hope you come back to check it out as I will be changing my design up yet again! 

Thanks for stopping by and we hope you come back real soon! ♥XO (Love, Hugs & Kisses)


Friday, March 25, 2016

Back at the Helm...

Have you ever been so overwhelmed with things going on in your life that you tend to drift away from that which once gave you joy? That is exactly what happened to me in 2015. I was doing way too much, trying to do it all and one day I just threw my hands up and gave up. Working my 9-5, trying to grow the shop, getting back into real estate and all the work that goes into making just one blog post, not to mention promoting it, just burned me out.

So here I am, more than a year since my last post, testing the waters so to speak. To be honest I miss blogging, however my life is no less hectic. I am still working a full time job, but now its more like a 7am-3:30pm, I am still in real estate (part time) and J and I are still running the shop. I know this is not realistic, but I am a person that cannot stay idle for long. Yes, nothing is getting my full attention, therefore nothing has really taken off but I am still testing the waters as to what works and what doesn't. My biggest problem has been that I have been hard on myself, seeing only the failures and not seeing the small successes that I have experienced. I don't know about you but I tend to be very critical of all that I do and what I expect out of life.

But I am a little more focused now, I know that I have limits, so here is what I plan for this year (kind of like my mini mission statement):
  • I will post at least once a week on this blog and share it into my current social media accounts.
  • My main focus will be talking about crafting and our Etsy shop
  • There will be posts about my current interests: (how I plan my week, a peak into my journaling style, books that interest me, current and future projects as well as budgeting and debt reduction)
This is by all means not an exhaustive list. I am pretty sure that other ideas will come to me as my mind is always jumping to new ideas which I tend to research to death.

But I am curious, have you every experienced a year long burn out? How did you handle it? Did you ever get back into the swing of things and continued on, business as usual? Or, did you give it all up and started new?

Thanks for stopping by and we hope you come back real soon! ♥XO (Love, Hugs & Kisses)


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

#WomensLives - An Intro to the Movement to Empower Women

#WomensLives-An Intro to the Movement to Empower Women via Helmig Haus
I am happy to announce that our blog has been selected to participate in the joint initiative between She Knows Media and Public Radio International through a Blogher campaign to discuss women's struggles throughout the world and how people are fighting for reform and swift action to empower more women and teach our girls that they do matter!

As a mother of two girls, I was eager to be a part of this campaign. I struggle everyday to make sure that my girls realize that they have a voice, that they can stand up for themselves and that they can always dream bigger. Unfortunately, there are many women, especially young girls all over the world that do not have someone telling them that. Women have been fighting for their voices to be heard, to not suffer in the shadows and now, through this initiative we have a chance to shed light on their plights, to fight the injustice that plagues our girls and to lend a helping hand to those women who want equality.

Those participating in the initiative will be sharing stories through social media and their blogs with the tag #WomensLives. We ask that when you see it you also share our posts (or tweets) so that we can continue spreading the word to help make a change for women across the globe! 

"Be the change you wish to see in the world! Mahatma Gandhi
As some of you know I have been resisting adding my blog to Facebook because of issues that I have had in the past but, due to this amazing opportunity, I finally let it go and have now created a dedicated Facebook page for our blog! To see what we are sharing today just visit our page. It is our hope that you will join us and lend your voice to this great cause!

 Click on this link to find us on Facebook! Helmig Haus
 Click on this link to find us on Facebook!
Helmig Haus

Thanks for stopping by and we hope you come back real soon! ♥XO (Love, Hugs & Kisses)


Monday, January 26, 2015

National Hobby Month - Nichole Collins Author of Growing Up Mom

Hi there, I have a special treat for you guys! In the spirit of national hobby month Nikki Collins from Growing Up Mom is sharing her favorite hobbies today on my blog.

National Hobby Month - Nichole Collins Author of Growing Up Mom via Helmig Haus

I first learned of Nikki's blog when I was nominated by Ashley from My Sweet Perspective for the Liebster Award. After a few comments back and forth I asked her if she wouldn't mind writing a post for me about her favorite hobbies. I was thrilled when she agreed!

Read below to find out what Nikki likes to do in her spare time and don't forget to visit her blog too!

Hobbies are What We Make of Them

Our passion is our hobby. Merriam-Webster says that a hobby is…

Wow, relaxation, that’s a nice word. Us moms need way more of that in our life. While writing this post, and finding the official definition of hobby, I really had to think about my true passions and hobbies. I honestly have some that I try and dabble in here and there, like crocheting (which I haven’t touched in like a year) and then there are those that I never stop working on. Don’t get me wrong, I love to crochet, but timing is not always on my side, and there are things I love more than crocheting. I like it, I like it a lot, but I have to say I’m not in love with it, at least not as much as I was when it was all shiny and new. To me, a good, a really good hobby is something that you never stop being in love with. Something that is always shiny and new, no matter what.

Honestly, it didn't take me too long to remember what I really love, because it’s those things that are always on my mind. Whether I’m working or at home, my real hobbies are always there with me.

My top three lifetime hobbies:

Walking. I love to take long walks by myself just to think and clear my head. This is more an exercise in calm and relaxation than actual exercise, and I’m okay with that. Walking with others is okay, but I have to admit I am most relaxed when I can take a nice quiet walk alone. I can’t do this the same way I used to be able to, not with the kids and my husbands crazy schedule (he’s not home until after 8 pm most nights), but I do try and get at least 10 minutes a day during breaks at work, that is before they started doing some construction in back of our plaza. Hopefully this is fixed before the weather gets nicer again (in New England it is getting pretty chilly right now), and I can start back again then.

Reading. I love to read, and when I can incorporate this with my love of walking, and sometimes take 10 minute reading-walks around my office building during my break time. Jane Austen is by far my absolute favorite writer. I have read all of her books at least 2-3 times, and those are the ones I don’t like as much as some of her other works. My favorites, I’ve read upwards of 5-10 times. She is the only author I can say that for, well except for Louisa May Alcott, I have read Little Women twice. I do tend to love the older stories better, there is something about hearing about a time long ago. Speaking of a time long ago, I also love fantasy, romance, sci-fi, and so much more. There really isn’t a genre of fiction I don’t like, and I have even started trying to dabble in non-fiction a lot more lately too. I am working on expanding my reading and the free books I can get on my kindle (which is what I read on the bike at the gym - sorry, I need to get my reading fix as often as I can), are amazing.

Writing. I have loved to write since I was a kid. Taking pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, just comes naturally. It is probably my oldest and most favorite hobby of all time. It is why I am writing this post, it is why I created my own blog. It is why I live and breathe each day, okay maybe I’m being a little over dramatic, but not by much. This also goes hand in hand with my walking from time to time.

I always try to keep a notebook in my purse, yes sometimes I have my purse when I’m walking, so that I can jot down any words of wisdom or insightful thoughts that come to my mind. When I’m having a really nice walk, I can think of a handful of really great things to write down and chew on later. I love that. It gets my mind working and helps me to refocus a lot.

The thing that all three of these hobbies have in common is how they relax me, how they free my mind from all the stresses of the day and from the time. I mean I’m starting this at midnight, after posting my Thursday blog post just at 11:59. Yes, the Thursday deadline was met! I should be in bed I know, I have to be up at 6:00 AM to help get the kids ready for the day and get off to work, but I can’t stop typing. Reading is just as bad, give me a good book, and I can stay up for hours later than I should. Depending on what I’m reading I can sometimes read a book right up to bedtime, but if its super interesting I just can’t stop (that is until I get to that page where I read the same paragraph about 10 times and keep dozing off, then I know it’s really time for bed).

Walking is just as nice, but I can’t do that until midnight, not if I want someone home to watch the kids that is. For that I have to make some room in my day, and if you love your hobbies like I do, you will make the time.

A hobby can save you money.

Hobbies do take up a lot of our time, but if we love them, it doesn't matter. My husband has had the same hobby for the past 10 years, he is an award winning home brewer. Seriously, I’m looking at his wall of about 15 ribbons (staring up to count) and 5 medals. He has put more time and money into this than I think I ever have in my crocheting. He is really good at this. There are a lot of beers I don’t appreciate, but his friends only have the best things to say. Plus, the few types of beers he knows I like, he makes really well.

Instead of going to the liquor store if he wants a cold beer, or a good beer really, he can just hop down to the basement and grab one from the keg fridge he made. Yes, he made his own keg fridge, he’s pretty crafty like that. He also takes a mixed six-pack whenever we go visiting our friends, so he can share his brews with the guys.

A hobby can make you money.

A friend of mine has a mom who is a seamstress. She received a sewing machine from her, and had it sitting in her place forever, unused. When she moved in with her husband, he made her a bet that if she didn’t learn to use (and actually use) her sewing machine, she would get rid of it. She is not one to back down from a challenge. She picked up that machine, found a local sewing class, and learned all she could.

Doing this, she discovered a love for making different kinds of purses. She decided, that she was going to take her hobby to the next level and joined Etsy to sell her purses. She did really well for a while, but motherhood got in the way of the business side. However, she never stopped sewing, she has been continuing and is now looking to pursue her sewing in baby items instead. With the low cost of materials and quick turn around time for this, she is going to do much better than she did with her purses.

Hobbies are important, they give us motivation, drive and excitement the way that nothing else can. What we are passionate about is our hobby. As a mom, I find this very important, as my hobbies remind me that deep down I am still Nikki. I need that, it keeps me sane.

Really a hobby can be anything, and can take you in so many amazingly different directions. What hobbies keep you sane?



I know I share many of the same hobbies as Nikki and it's always great when you can meet people who share your same interests. I hope to have more guest posts like this in the future, its always wonderful to meet great bloggers! Thanks Nikki!

Thanks for stopping by! ♥XO (Love, Hugs & Kisses)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Behind the Scenes January 2015 - Gotham City Crochet and Helmig Haus

Behind the Scenes January 2015 - Gotham City Crochet and Helmig Haus

This has been a very busy week! As some of you know Monday - Friday J and I must drag ourselves away from our crocheting and work our regular jobs. In between breaks and our daily commutes we sneak in a few rows of whatever project we remember to stuff in our bags, scratch that, we always have yarn and our crochet hook sets with us at all times! I have also been working on the back end of this blog and our shop, trying to spruce things up a bit and getting things in order. (That will be a separate post!)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Liebster Award - My First and Second Nomination

Liebster Award - My First and Second Nomination via Helmig Haus

Yay! Two of my peers nominated me for the Liebster Award, on the same day! Wait...wah?

Hmmm... A Liebster Award...honestly hadn't heard of it before, but when Ashley from My Sweet Perspective  and Nikki Collins from  Growing Up Mom nominated me on their blogs (within hours of each other)...I knew I had to find out more about it! 

The Liebster Award is a way to highlight new blogs that have under 200 followers, it helps give us more exposure, and with help, more followers. 

The website, as other nominees have stated, is kind of weird.  Liebster is German meaning dearest (thanks Google translate) and yet the entire site is written in Spanish. Thankfully I can read Spanish, and from what I understand, its a little like a chain letter. You must have less than 200 followers, get nominated publicly, follow the blog that nominated you. You answer 11 questions and then you nominate other bloggers that fit the first criteria to continue the chain. As per the rules, you win the award and the right to use the award widget/pic once you answer the questions and pass the torch to the next bloggers.

Below are the  two official widgets/pics that the blog offers for you to display.

According to the website, this is the official award

This is the other award logo.

Here are the questions that Ashley posted for her nominees:

1) If you could choose one record as the soundtrack for your life what would it ?
Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park, yeah, let's not go there.

2) What is your biggest dream/aspiration in life?
To work for myself, be my own boss, live by my own rules.

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