Entries Tagged as 'Work'

Sneak peek: Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide

July 20, 2017

Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide

My book, Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide, is coming out on July 31! If you’re interested, here’s a preview of the book’s intro.

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I started my first diary when I was nine years old and in fourth grade. Onward through middle school, high school, college, and my early twenties, I wrote almost every single day, filling notebook after notebook with my thoughts and observations. (And my crushes. So many crushes.) I also used a physical plan­ner and wrote out my to-do list every single day, long after apps and websites made both unnecessary.

But in the second half of my twenties, my diary writing slowed down, then ground to a halt. Part of this happened because I was writing as my full-time job, plus keeping a blog. But I was also sharing my thoughts with my friends via texts, instant messages, and emails all day, and I didn’t feel like rewrit­ing everything in a notebook at night. And though I still wrote out to-do lists every day in a steno pad, it wasn’t a habit that I did with a sense of intention, or that gave me any real sense of joy.

So, this is where I was in my journaling ~journey~ when I came to dot journaling a couple years ago. I first read about something called a “Bullet Journal” on my friend Jessica’s blog in December 2015, and was intrigued. Initially, I assumed it was some sort of new diary or planner to buy—and I thought, Great, I love buying new things! But when I went to the official website run by its creator, Ryder Carroll, I just got confused. Not only was it not something to buy, I couldn’t understand what, exactly, it was. When I heard “journal,” I thought “diary,” but this seemed like it was a . . . to-do list? And also a . . . calen­dar? Or . . . something? There were bullet points involved, and also a lot of words and phrases that I didn’t recognize, along with photos of incredibly simple journal pages that seemed to have very little in common with the elaborate, creative, beau­tiful pages I was seeing on Instagram—pages that were also, somehow (apparently?), from Bullet Journals. It seemed like a lot of people were using dot-grid journals to do . . . whatever it was they were doing, but that type of paper didn’t appear to be a requirement. I couldn’t figure out what the rules were, or exactly what the point was, either. Eventually, I gave up.

But after asking around and discovering that my friends had also been hearing about this new type of journal and also couldn’t understand what it was, I became determined to fig­ure it out. Turns out, Bullet Journaling is an incredibly simple concept that is remarkably difficult to explain, in part because “you do you” is such a major aspect of it—meaning everyone does it a little differently, and there are no real rules. And, over time, the Internet has transformed the basic idea—using sim­ple symbols and dot-grid journals to record the things that matter most—into what I’ve come to think of as “dot journaling” . . . aka, a creative, colorful, robust, and—listen, take this with a large grain of salt—Pinteresty version of the original concept.

I started dot journaling on January 1, 2016, and I quickly fell in love. It was exactly what I hadn’t realized I needed: a single notebook that incorporated my to-do lists, helped me stay organized, served as a fun creative outlet, and led me back to my roots as a diarist—I was thrilled to discover that I had no problem writing in it every single day. And in this book, I’ll show you how to get started dot journaling, and how to make it a habit (or an addiction?) for you, too.

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You can enter to win a copy of the book, a blank dot-grid journal, and a bunch of other amazing journaling supplies here (the winner will be chosen on July 31), and pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Books-a-Million, Workman, or Powell’s.

Coming this summer…

May 25, 2017

Last fall, an editor reached out to me on LinkedIn and asked me if I’d be interested in writing a book about journaling, an idea that…had never really crossed my mind! My initial reaction was “Oh, that’s very nice! But…nah” (my reaction to all of the messages I get on LinkedIn, tbh)…but she convinced me to come in for a meeting, and after we talked more about it, I actually got really excited because I realized that I could write the shit out of a journaling book. So a couple of weeks after the election, I signed the contract! They wanted to move really quickly, so I started working on the outline and doing research pretty much immediately, while also working at BuzzFeed basically every day from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day so I could bank a ton of comp time. I took a two-week book leave from BuzzFeed in February, turned in the first draft of the manuscript on February 20th, and then got to work creating all of the original journal layout pages that needed to be photographed (while also working on edits to the manuscript). It was a process, but everything went to print at the end of April, and now we’re gearing up for the July 2017 release!

(To be clear, that is…a pretty uncommon timeline for publishing a book.)

Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide

The book is called Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-Do List, and Diary That’ll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together, and it’s written for people who are new to journaling and people who are already doing it. It includes ~60 original layouts, answers to common questions, my impassioned manifesto on why keeping a journal/diary is worthwhile, my thoughts on accessories like washi tape and pens (which you know I have very strong feelings about), and a bunch of fascinating tidbits about the history of journals and diaries that help put the current journaling “trend” (it’s not really a trend!!!) in context.

Pre-ordering is very good/helpful, so if you’re so inclined, here are all of the places where you can currently do that:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Books-a-Million
Workman
Powell’s

Exactly zero percent of this feels real. I wrote a BOOK! A book that (I am told!) will soon be on STORES (?!) and LIBRARIES (!!!) on SHELVES and ACTUAL HUMAN PEOPLE will be able to pick it up and then read it. Like…what a thing!!!

The best things I wrote in 2016

December 22, 2016

It’s been a trash year, but amidst all that, I did manage to do some work that I’m proud of! So if you don’t mind me getting meta (and bragging) for a moment, here are my favorite things I published in 2016…

WTF Is A Bullet Journal And Why Should You Start One? An Explainer + Here’s How To Use A Bullet Journal For Better Mental Health. The first post was actually pretty challenging to write and to figure out photos/art for; bullet journaling is so simple to do but surprisingly hard to explain. But it performed better than I expected, and people still link to it as a “start here” post, which I take as a huge compliment. I also know that it put bullet journaling on a lot of people’s radars — both average people and media outlets — and inspired a good number of people to start bullet journaling. The mental health post also took a while (though this time I wisely made the decision to have one of our photographers shoot the photos), and because it was basically aiming to reach a niche of a niche audience, I didn’t expect it to do that well, but thought it was worth doing anyway. But! It now has more than 750K views, which is wild, considering the narrow focus. Plus, the feedback we got on it was so wonderful!

Wedding Etiquette Rules Every Grown-Ass Adult Should Know. This post was Terri’s idea, and so much credit is due to her — she really did the heavy lift here — but I am proud of the things I contributed and did to shape it, and I love the final product a lot. (I’m also just so proud of her, my first — and, until this week, only! — direct report, and my shining star.)

In Defense Of Cottage Cheese. This was just really fun, and I was able to turn it around pretty quickly, which felt good, as I am a bit out of shape in that regard. (Me every time I try to write something quickly these days: *hands on knees, breathing heavily* I used to be a blogger back in my day…till I got that injury senior year…)

For Everyone Who’s Ever Loved Someone Who Loves Sports. I will never not be proud of having written a rhyming poem. I had actually been trying forever to write something kind of ranty about how I feel about men and sports and nothing was really working…and then one day I had the sort of weird thought that maybe if I started writing it as a poem it would help me push through the writers block. (I…do not know why I had that thought??) Anyway, it worked! Working on this was also when I realized that I could write fiction — like, that there is a specific type of writing where you have permission to make things up, which had simply never occurred to me. This was…actually sort of an important realization!

My Food Diary, Re-Written by a Celebrity Features Writer. This idea has been in my head for years, and I finally sat down and wrote it! It was also on The Hairpin, which is neat!

I Tried The Hipster Toothbrush That’s All Over Facebook And TBH I Loved It. This post was definitely experiment for me — I wanted to see if I could combine a product review with more of a dive into the company’s background and make it interesting and fun and servicey. It was hard for me to fully envision the flow and format at first, but I am really happy with how it turned out.

Make America Rape Again. Originally published on Facebook, this was one of those where, like, the spirit took over and I sat down and started writing feverishly and didn’t move until it was done.

Re: why I don’t carry a knife for self-defense. My emails are where I do some of my best work, TBQFH. This one makes me chuckle every time I think about it.

How My Glasses Showed Me That I’m My Father’s Daughter. I wrote about how this post came to be here. I hope you all enjoy this one because I open up about really personal things on the internet, like, oh…once every seven years or so!!!

And, finally, this Tweet.

Also, much love and thanks to Jess Probus and Rachel Sanders, who edited me this year!

Next up: the best things other people wrote in 2016!

A tribute to Bonnie Bucqueroux

October 14, 2015

No one has had a bigger influence on my career — and, so, my life — than Bonnie Bucqueroux has. When I found out that she’d died this morning, I felt so sad that the world no longer has her and that future students won’t be able to learn from her, and just so grateful that she was a part of my life. I’ll update this post with more photos and memories as they come to me/I have a chance to dig through old computer files for photos.

Bonnie Bucqueroux

In the fall of 2005, after I found out that the rest of my JRN 200 class had gotten job interviews with the State News and I hadn’t, I tearfully sat in my dorm and read an email from my JRN 108 professor Bonnie Bucqueroux. The email reminded us that she was still looking for bloggers and reporters to join in her new project: creating MSU’s first online news outlet. Through tears, I wrote back that I would love to be a part of it and that I would like to start a blog for it called “The Spartanette.” I didn’t even know what the hell a blog was at that point; all I knew is I needed an outlet for my writing and figured she’d be more open to me writing a funny column about sleeping around than the State News was.

I became the Managing Editor for SpartanEdge.com a few weeks after I responded to that email, and when other, older journalists criticized it — and The Spartanette specifically — shortly after the debut, Bonnie had my back 100%, as she did many other times for controversial choices we made for SpartanEdge. Throughout my time at MSU, the J School leadership was pretty resistant to her efforts to teach us to be Web-first writers and journalists, but she knew where news was heading and she quietly taught us what we needed to know (or told us where to look for info) because she knew no one else was going to. My senior year, I learned to edit video in iMovie in one of her classes; it’s a skill that I actually still use at BuzzFeed. It feels sort of silly to consider that an asset but it’s toootally an asset because I’ve realized not every writer can do it and it really just comes in handy. She also taught the Victims in the Media seminar, something I think about often (basically every time another white woman goes missing and everyone flips the fuck out, or whenever Nancy Grace is Nancy Gracing).

Bonnie was my mentor while I was at MSU and has been ever since. In the fall of 2009, after I’d moved home from NYC, I met with her in East Lansing and we talked about how I should be doing more video on my then-newish health and fitness blog; a few days later, I received a brand new Flip Cam (!!) from her in the mail, and a couple of days after that, I used it to create a video about how I think about dudes I’ve banged while training for a marathon. (Sadly, this video is not nearly as funny now that it’s been muted by YouTube for my use of Sublime’s “Caress Me Down.”) Many more videos followed — most of which I need to set to public again now that I have a job that doesn’t care that I talk about sex — including the one about sex and McBreakfasts, one of my all-time favorites.

Bonnie, like most amazing, badass women, had so many amazing, inspiring, and terrifying stories that she’d just casually reference from time to time, leaving those of us around her asking, “Wait — what did she just say?” How she’d left her first husband, who’d beat her. How she’d just selected the last name “Bucqueroux” for herself after her divorce because it sounded cool. How her male boss (back in the day, not at MSU) had criticized her for not wearing a girdle, which she thought was bullshit. How she’d worn a black dress on her wedding day. How she’d run for office on the Green Party ticket. Every time I was around her, I was treated to little snippets of a rich life I was lucky enough to get to be a part of for a few years.

In the past couple of years, Bonnie’s radical views, which I saw on Facebook daily (along with adorable animal photos), have been on my mind more and more. She’s the kind of woman who fights the patriarchy by fighting capitalism, demanding racial justice, and pushing for all of us to take action against climate change. She loved many of the lifestyle things I do — cooking, crafting, dogs, holidays — but she pushed me to look at them through the lens of radical feminism, building community, and truly being independent. And just…a good person.

After I accepted the job at BuzzFeed last fall, I wasn’t totally sure what Bonnie would think, but she messaged me with this: “BuzzFeed is brilliant. You belong there. I am so glad to see this happening for you.” And then: “What an opportunity. You belong with a cutting-edge place like that. It will be thrilling to watch you make your way over the years. I cannot wait to see all the amazing things you will do.” It was so good to see that she got BuzzFeed but…of course she did. I’m doing literally everything she taught me to do, that she showed me I could do, and I truly couldn’t have done it without her.

Bonnie was a hell of a woman who lived the shit out of her life. I owe so much of my success to her, and I will really, really miss her.

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You can read a great tribute that my friend Diane wrote here; I’m so glad she found the email from Bonnie that she included in her post — I remember that email so well.

Here’s Bonnie in her own words: 50 may be the new 40, but 70 is still 70.

Featured: Wandeleur

May 14, 2015

I was really flattered when Emily asked me if I’d be up for being interviewed for her new venture, Wandeleur.

Rachel Wilkerson Miller

In the interview, I shared my advice for young journalists/writers, why I never work from bed, and my non-writing creative outlets. You can read all my answers and see the photos from my session with Cassandra Monroe at the BuzzFeed test kitchen here!

Featured: Save the Date Wedding Podcast

May 5, 2015

A few weeks ago, I chatted with the charming and funny Aleisha of the Save the Date Wedding podcast. You can listen to the first teaser episode—wherein we talked about my wedding, what it’s like to work at BuzzFeed, how to talk to your parents about your wedding budget, and whether or not I have a zombie apocalypse plan—here, and the long episode—where we talked about wedding snark, the the lack of diversity in wedding media, and BuzzFeed’s newly-launched weddings vertical(!!)—here. (You can also subscribe/download via iTunes.) Aleisha is really funny and smart and I had a great time chatting with her!

(Photo: Katherine O’Brien)

The week in review

March 15, 2015

This week was really fun — probably my best at BuzzFeed so far. It’s been pretty great since I started, but in the past few weeks I’ve noticed that I’ve felt a lot more confident/comfortable in the way that just takes time at a new job. And this week just ended up being more fun than usual, probably because the nice weather and undeniable feeling of spring in the city had everyone in really good moods. Not even losing an hour last weekend could keep us down!

On Wednesday, I interviewed a super sexist doctor for a story I am working on (!!) and then spent most of my day as a hand model for a nail art shoot; hanging out with a couple coworkers and the manicurist (who is SO talented and also, like, the most fun/cool/great person to hang out with for several hours) and talking about beauty and everything else was just a blast. On Thursday, I shot a couple videos with a coworker and later had a really fun and successful brainstorming session. And Friday, when everyone seemed to be having trouble focusing (myself included), a few of us took a field trip to Martha Stewart’s new cafe in NYC for a post. Oh, and there was an Irish whisky tasting in the office at the end of the day.

On Friday night, I had to pick Eric up from the airport on and was pretty terrified it was going to be a total Cher-accidentally-gets-on-the-highway-in-Clueless moment. I’ve never driven in the city, have never driven his truck, and really haven’t driven much at all in the past several months. But I got there and navigated the airport without incident and was VERY proud of myself. When you move to a new city, doing the smallest things really feels like a victory.

Yesterday we watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for much of the day and then ventured out to Home Depot for a few items for the apartment, stopping on the way home to check out some new-to-us shops in Brooklyn. Very exciting stuff.

Buying

These light dimming sheets because the light from the clock on our DVR is actually really bright and has been bothering me at night.

Reading

I spent more time reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing this week, and less time reading shit on the Internet. (You can learn a bit more about KonMari here.) But here are a few things on ye olde Interwebs that I liked…

28 Worries That Women In Their Late Twenties Can Ditch Today, BuzzFeed. Preach.

developing a signature look: the complete guide, Into Mind. I don’t know that I have a signature look exactly, but I’m definitely moving in that direction and I’m very happy about it. I rarely buy clothes now because I’m more thoughtful about each piece, and I feel much happier with my wardrobe over all. I’d really like to get to an even more streamlined cartoon character kind of uniform look in the next couple years.

How to Program Your Mind to Stop Buying Crap You Don’t Need, Lifehacker. Really good advice.

Before I go, by Paul Kalanithi. Kalanithi (who also wrote this) died this week. “Before I go” had me weeping on the subway.

Dear Madonna: I Am Not ‘Hilary Clinton,’ and Hillary Didn’t Write That, Jezebel. This is just funny/weird.

On ‘Poor Husbands’ and Two-Body Problems Part 1 & Part 2, Chronicle Vitae. Gahhhh, I just had so much rage at the system after reading this.

Girls Who Steal, Gawker. THIS IS SO GOOD.

Wet Wipes Box Says Flush. New York’s Sewer System Says Don’t., The New York Times. “The dank clusters, graying and impenetrable, gain mass like demon snowballs as they travel.” Amazing.

Writing

33 Insanely Smart Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

This Dad Is Photographing His Daughter Dressed As Inspiring Black Women

We Tried Martha Stewart’s New Cafe In NYC & Here’s What Happened

The week ahead…

I did, in fact, join a gym last week! This week’s goal: actually going inside it and working out.

Learning in 2015

January 26, 2015

My verb for 2015 is pretty simple: learn. And not in the touchy-feely “I learned so much and really found myself” sort of way…but in a real, tangible, read-books-take-notes-kill-it-at-trivia-night sort of way.

I’ve always loved reading, but in the past few years, I’ve just stopped making time for it. It’s not that I’m not reading anything; it’s just that what I’m reading has changed a lot. I’m spending way less time reading books and far more time reading articles and blogs. And on one level, that’s fine—there are a lot of really good, really smart articles being written, and I’m not going to beat myself up for zoning out to mindless stuff once in a while—but eventually it just started to feel kind of gross. It’s so easy to kill 45 minutes here and 20 minutes there doing that kind of reading, and then you don’t have the time to do the kind of reading that really fills your soul.

And now I’m in NYC, working in a place where I’m surrounded by so many incredibly smart people who love reading and just know so much about a wide variety of topics…so this is not the time to let my brain turn to mush; it’s time to start re-working those muscles.

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My main goal for 2015 is to be more intentional with my reading habits. I spend two hours a day commuting, which is plenty of time for learning, whether that happens via books, audiobooks, or podcasts. I don’t feel like I need to spend every minute of my commute consuming highbrow stuff…but I do want to spend at least one way of my commute doing something that feeds my brain. I’ve definitely noticed that the days/weeks that I’ve been doing that, I feel really good.

Beyond that, I’m going to do my best to take advantages of opportunities for leaning from my brilliant coworkers. I’m already learning so much about writing and journalism at BuzzFeed, and I feel inspired to go deeper into the subjects that really interest me. I’m also enjoying the new-to-me habit of working with experts for the stories I’m working on.

Finally, I want to get back to journaling. I’ve been keeping journals since I was eight years old, but I’ve been pretty sporadic about it since college; it didn’t feel as necessary when blogging became my main writing outlet and then I started writing all day for a living. But I miss having a place to write down my experiences and to privately work through them. I’ve also been reading a lot of historical content, where diaries appear pretty frequently as primary sources, and I realized I’m not really doing my part to help the future historians out. So…time to get on that!

See previous years’ verbs: 20112012, 2013, 2014.

BuzzFeed: 21 Tips For Slaying At Work From Top Bosses

January 9, 2015

So inspiring! See them all here.

The week in review: Pinsanity

December 21, 2014

This week, I published my first big post for BuzzFeed: What Happened When I Lived According To The Pinterest Popular Page.

Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed

On Sunday, I was pretty anxious, knowing the piece was going live on Monday morning. But I’m really proud of how it turned out, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. (It made the #1 trending spot on BuzzFeed last week!) Also interesting: a few of the bloggers whose photos I used emailed me to say how much they liked it, and to say that they, too, have a lot of Feelings about Pinterest.

On Wednesday, I went on HLN to talk about the story (see the clip here), which was pretty exciting. (My grandma called me a few weeks ago to tell me to turn on GMA because my coworkers were on. I got to visit hair and makeup first (I’m pretty sure they did a little contouring, which seemed funny, given the context) and the combination of the look, the blurred blue background, and the bright lights all made me look So CNN on air.

Beyond that, it was just a very BuzzFeed-y week!

together sweater

Photo by Lauren Zaser, Together Sweater sent to us by TOMS and Target after I wrote about it last month.

Wednesday was a day filled with gifts and surprises at work, and our holiday party was that night.

The keychains were part of our holiday gift (the photo and the keychains are from Various Keytags). The 772 is the number of BuzzFeed employees worldwide. And there’s the Shruggie, because they know what we like.

Other highlights from this week…

Writing

21 Drunk Santas Who Will Ruin Your Childhood

21 Kids Who Were Better Dressed Than You In 2014

20 Truly Horrifying Vintage Holiday Recipes

Enjoying

Denied, Medium.

Notes on “Kim”, Medium.

Let’s Talk About That Wendy Davis Cover of ‘Texas Monthly’, RH Reality Check.

Shani O. Hilton on Building a Newsroom at BuzzFeed, NeimanReports.

19 Times “Family Feud” Contestants Spoke The Damn Truth, BuzzFeed.

The New Cosmopolitan & the Slow Climb Out of Lipstick-and-Lasagna Land, Jezebel.

A Rockette, Camille Styles.

Of Monsters and Truth, Design for Mankind.

Why won’t McCulloch charge Witness #40 with perjury? Time for a special prosecutor, new grand jury, Daily Kos.

SNL’s perfect Serial parody.

And the second and third books in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan book series!

The week ahead…

Starting our holiday travels and celebrating Christmas! And looking to this and this for inspiration on what to read over the holiday.

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