Document Your Life: September 2017

In which I go for a walk in the forest with family & my favorite dog friend and visit my best friend in Sheffield where we go to the cat cafe and the botanical gardens, and play What Do You Meme.

Sea Wolf – Dear Fellow Traveler (iTunes)

Bullet Journal

My Weird 2017 ‘Bullet Journal’


In December of 2016, I started getting into bullet journal videos on YouTube. Back then, I thought it wasn’t ‘for me’, so I just enjoyed the videos and went on with my day. To me, bullet journaling seemed more like creative procrastination than productive planning.

I wasn’t really into the hand lettering, collages, washi tapes, and drawing that I saw other people do in their bujos, and I think a lot of people still believe this misconception that that is what bullet journaling is. Sure, for some people it is largely about washi tape and hand lettering, but there are plenty of people who prefer the simplistic style that the creator of the bullet journal, Ryder Carroll, uses. They call them ‘minimalist(ic) bullet journals’, if you want to know what to search for.

In the video below, Ryder Carroll explains the basic bullet journal system:

So, it was December: time to buy a new planner for the upcoming year. I was curious about trying out a bullet journal but didn’t feel ready for it yet. So I bought the usual: a black softcover weekly Moleskine planner.

In January of 2017, I was starting to regret that decision. The more journaling videos I watched, the more excited I got about starting a bullet journal.

I didn’t want to buy an entirely new journal and let that brand new Moleskine planner go to waste, so I decided to just try out ‘bullet journaling’ in my weekly planner. If I ended up liking it, I’d do it properly the next year.

Looking back, I think this way of journaling can work very well for some people. If you don’t have the time or energy to make every page layout yourself, but still want to try out some bullet journal techniques or implement a daily journaling habit, this could be the way to do it.

I took the basic bullet journal system and modified it to what I needed it to be. I needed weekly tasks (because spoon levels are unpredictable), short sections for daily journaling, and a pre-made layout. In my next journal I will do things differently, but for 2017, this worked.

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Autumn Book Reviews

This post includes affiliate links.

As some of you may know, I used to write a book blog called Lauren Reads YA. I decided to quit book blogging in the beginning of 2017 because I wanted to focus on service dog training, but when my first attempt failed (second attempt is in the works — not giving up yet!), I was right back where I started: at home with nothing to do, having given up one of my most time-consuming activities.

I made this new blog a personal/’lifestyle’ one because I didn’t want to be restricted to just writing about books, but I also didn’t want to quit book blogging entirely. So I hope those of you who followed my book blog will continue to follow my bookish posts (and others!) on here.

At the moment, I read less than I did when my book blog was at its peak: then 70-100 books a year, now 52 (one for every week of the year — that’s the idea).

My taste has also dramatically changed: I read less young adult fiction because I feel like I’m — for lack of a better phrase — ‘growing out of it’. I’m currently on a non-fiction kick, especially reading lots about autism because I got my official diagnosis this year and want to get to know myself as best as I can. Fiction-wise, I haven’t really figured out what I’m into at the moment so I haven’t been reading much, but I’m hoping to add some more fiction to my 2018 reading list.

I have a weird relationship with book reviews as they sometimes disclose too much about the contents of the book. In most cases, all I need to know is if the book is ‘for me’. And that’s what I want to give you in this post — and upcoming posts in winter, spring, and summer. These will not in-depth reviews, just some thoughts on the book and whether I would recommend it.

Please let me know if you have read any of these books and what you thought about it! I’d love to discuss.

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Document Your Life: August 2017

In which I go to the Deventer Boekenmarkt (biggest book market of Europe), hang out with friends in Amsterdam, take my cat to the vet (don’t worry — he’s okay), and more.

The Oh Hellos – Hello My Old Heart (iTunes)

Autism Mental Health

My Eating Disorder

I have an eating disorder.

No, it’s not anorexia, or bulimia, or binge eating disorder. You’ve probably never heard of it. It’s called avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. ARFID for short. Also known as Selective Eating Disorder. It was first recognized in the DSM-5, the most recent edition, which came out in 2013.

ARFID makes me unwillingly restrict the types of food I can eat, based on the food’s appearance, smell, taste, texture, brand, presentation, or a past negative experience with that particular food. You could say I’m ‘a picky eater’. You could also think of it as a food phobia. It has nothing to do with body image and everything to do with anxiety and sensory sensitivity.

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Autism Mental Health Service Dog

Service Dog Update

A simplified version of this post was originally posted on Service Dog Nugget on November 12th, 2017.

As most of you know, I’ve been working on getting a service dog. Unfortunately my first attempt didn’t exactly go as I’d expected & hoped…

You may have already noticed a change: I stopped talking about training, I temporarily closed Nugget’s blog, and I included an emotional montage in my March + April + May 2017 Document Your Life video. I didn’t want to keep quiet, but I needed time to process things.

The Nugget you know from photos & videos has been rejected as a service dog and no longer belongs to me. Some dogs just aren’t fit to be service dogs. It was extremely difficult for me to let her go, but I’m finally at the point that I can live with it and focus on the future again.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten the diagnosis Autism Spectrum Disorder, which has luckily opened a lot of doors for me. I now have an autism coach who helps me with a lot of things I struggle with. I’m on a waiting list at an autism center for therapy.
Autism can’t be cured but there is a lot I can still learn, like learning to deal with sensory overload and meltdowns.

I started looking for a service dog organization specializing in autism service dogs, so I know for sure that they can take into account the difficulties of autism. I am now in contact with an organization to see if it’s possible to start working with them.

Your donations are safe & sound on Nugget’s bank account and will be spent only on the purpose you donated for: a dog and my mental health.

Thank you,



Document Your Life: June + July 2017

A very short video for two entire months, but it’s the best I could do. I’ve said it before, but this one is the actual hardest video I’ve ever had to edit. That’s why it took so long, obviously.

I’m excited to start catching up. My goal is to be completely caught up by the end of the year!


How To Survive a Book Buying Ban

This post was originally published on my book blog Lauren Reads YA in March 2014.

  1. Think of all the money you will save. Maybe challenge yourself to get your bank balance as high as you can during your buying ban.
  2. Promise yourself a reward. (Books? Maybe?)
  3. Avoid bookstores at all costs. In extreme cases, download an application (SelfControl for Mac, FocalFilter for Windows) and block all the sites where you buy your books.
  4. Avoid reading about new releases.
  5. Make sure you have enough books on your TBR so that you’ll feel guilty buying more. Put a giant pile of books you still need to read somewhere you look at every day, like your bedside table or next to your computer.
  6. Go to the library.
  7. Talk to a friend whenever you want to buy books and explain your problem. Ask them if they want to help you, even if it means literally dragging you out of the bookstore. (Yes, this has happened to me. I don’t want to talk about it.)
  8. Keep these thoughts in your mind: Do I actually need this book right now? Do I even have time to read this book before my ban ends? Is it really so bad to get it a little bit later?
  9. Make a list of books on your TBR that you want to read, and if you’ve read them all (make it a realistic but not too short amount), you can end your ban early.
  10. Avoid Goodreads, BookTube, and book blogs. They’ll only make you feel sad for not being able to buy books.
Books Minimalism

On Book Blogging, Physical Copies, and Minimalism

This post was originally posted on my book blog Lauren Reads YA in March 2016.

‘BookTube’ and ‘Bookstagram’ has made some significant changes in the way we — bloggers, readers, Goodreads users, BookTubers, etc. — think about our books. The book blogging community that existed before BookTube was a thing didn’t have this problem, because book blogging seems to be more focused on the inside of a book rather than the outside, whereas BookTube is very much about showing off your books and filming book hauls in front of your enormous bookshelves and all that. That’s partly, of course, because it’s such a visual medium, and you want to have something to show that is not just a book cover taken off Google Images.

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