Book Review: Chosen by the Vampire Kings by Charlene Hartnady

The Revenant City Series Book 1

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Title of Book:  Chosen by the Vampire Kings

Author: Charlene Hartnady

Main Character(s): Zane, Brant, and Tanya

First Published: June 2015

Pages: 487

First Sentence: “It had been many years since he had been in such close proximity of his birth enemy.”

Last Sentence: “By blood, she would find a way to control them. She just had to. The alternate was too terrible to contemplate.”

Story Line Overview: 

In a world where vampires, shifters, and elves exist, the two enemy vampire kings must choose their brides.

Tanya is an ordinary girl who wants nothing more than to be left alone in her bookstore. She doesn’t want attention and wants absolutely nothing to do with the two overly hot and completely gorgeous vampire kings. Hidden away in the back of the crowd, she tried to vanish among the half dressed women vying for their attention.

Unable to go without notice, she accepts her fate as one of the chosen. Her future is no longer hers to decide. Trapped between the war of the two vampire covens, the kings of the clans will fight for her, kill for her, and even change themselves just to win her favor.

Tanya, in love with both kings, must choose which side to take. But, choosing one condemns the other. A person is not a person with only half of a heart.

My review:  

Tanya is a brave young girl who is inexperienced in love. She doesn’t know what she wants in a relationship as she has never had a real one before. Brant sets her up in a dream world where she is the prize and the victor, but Zane soon crashes that world into the ground.

Unable to control her primal urges, Tanya is thrust from one king to the next. Although, Tanya struggle is written, I feel she flippant in personality and lacks resolve. It wasn’t until she changes her situation (towards the end of the novel) that I felt better about her character.

This book was a good read. The sexual scenes were not as graphic as some I have read in the past, which is good for the tone of this book. My favorite character is probably Zane as he adds humor to the novel.

I would recommend this story to anyone who loves Protected by Dragons, The Titan’s Saga, and The Revenant City Series.

To read more reviews visit Book Reviews by Cynthia

Young Adult Fantasy and Post Apocalyptic Novelist
Author of The Sanctorian Series & The Revenant City Series

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Bullet Journal Index Page

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Bullet Journal Index Page Setup

Your bullet journal index is an invaluable tool that you will use over and over again. If you are like me, you have lots of bullet journals (some you are currently using and some that are full and collecting dust on the shelf) full of past memories, ideas, inspiration, quotes, etc. I can’t always remember what piece of information I put into which journal. That’s where the index comes in handy. But before we get into it, don’t forget to pin me.

Setting up your bullet journal index spread is simple. Leave the first few pages of your bullet journal blank and label them INDEX.

Bullet Journal Index

Bullet Journal Index Spread Ideas

Project List Index

The index can be used to track your projects as well. If you have a large project you are working on and it covers multiple pages throughout your index, a project list index might be good for you.

In addition to separating out project, you can also separate out your bullet journal lists. Index by month, week, day, and year.

Design your index like you design your life. Your bullet journal is personal. It is your creative space to be who you are without fear of judgement or inability. The index is a valuable tool that, if used properly, can add organization to your life as well as clarity of mind.

If you have other index ideas or have used a different method for your bullet journal index spread, i would love to hear about it. Leave me a note in the comments below.

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Self Care Tips For Women

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Self Care Tips

Self-Care isn’t only important, but it is a necessary practice to maintain a healthy standard of living. Taking care of yourself should be a priority in your life. 

I have given myself away, piece by piece, to my job over the years.  I missed out on my kids first steps, first words.  I lost valuable time that I will never be able to get back.  I didn’t focus on what was important at the time.  My priorities were aligned with putting food on the table and being the bread winner, but I lost a large chunk of my life.

Two years ago, I decided to take my life back.  I am more than my job!  I read a quote recently that has inspired me to take even more time for myself, placing my focus on my health and wellbeing.

“You aren’t required to set yourself a blaze to keep everyone you warm.”

This is so true.  How many times do you give yourself, your energy and your time away and leave nothing behind but crumbs at the end of the day?

I know I have this more times than not.  It is easy to give pieces of yourself to others, but what about you.  Self care means keeping some of those pieces in tact and holding onto them, cherishing them.  It is from those beautiful pieces that you will grow, rejuvenate, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Why is Self Care Important?

Humans have been developing, implementing, and practicing self-care since before the time of Christ.  The business of self-care is a billion-dollar industry.  In ancient times, Greeks called self-care “philautia” or “self-love”.  They believed when you love yourself you can love others more freely. To love others ignites communal growth and cultural development.

Setting and maintaining a sustainable level of self-care in your daily routine can help to improve your immune system, increase your positive energy, decrease stress, and fight against depression.  Taking time for yourself to focus on your health and well being is just as important as breathing.  Self-care replenishes positive energy flow, rejuvenates strength and lengthens one’s spiritual roots. 

Areas of Self Care

Self-care is more than loving and accepting who you are.  It is a way of living, a plan of action, a goal to be achieved.  Self-care branches into all areas of life from your home to work. Self-Care is Level 10 Living!

Now, you may ask, what is level 10 living?  Good question.

Level 10 living is your personal life design at its best. It is the perfect lifestyle fit for you, designed by you with a focus on your desired lifestyle.  Although it may not be written down on paper, everyone has a standard of living that they would like to achieve—their ideal lifestyle.  When you take strides to reach this lifestyle you are actively taking care of yourself. 

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Physical Self Care

Physical self-care is the act of caring your body.  There are things we do daily without thought that are for our physical health.  Personal hygiene, nutrition, sleep, and exercise are a few examples.

“Your body is your temple.  If you don’t maintain it, where do you plan to live?”

Social Self Care

Humans weren’t made to be solitary.  From the beginning of time, man had a companion.  Building relationships and sharing a part of yourself with others is ingrained into human DNA. 

Spiritual Self Care

Knowing yourself is the first step to knowing others. Spiritual self-care doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with religion.  It is about having a deeper understanding of who you are, your values, and your beliefs. 

Mental/Emotional Self Care

I can’t express enough how important emotional/mental self-care is.  Everyone struggles with something, but not everyone can handle their problems by themselves.  Having someone to confide in and help you work through your problems is a special thing.  Journaling, keeping a diary, planning for success, these are all examples of how you can mentally prepare and stabilize your emotions.

Environmental Self Care

Walking into a clean home after an exhausting day at work will help you to feel relaxed and relieve some of the stress in your life.  Organization and cleanliness work hand in hand in creating a stress-free environment where you can let go of your worries, kick back, and relax.

Financial Self Care

9 out of 10 people suffer from financial debt.  Debt is like an anchor.  It holds you back for doing what you want to do and living the lifestyle you desire.  Of course, not getting into debt into the first place would be ideal.  But realistically, debt is almost impossible to avoid.  Managing your debt effectively is key to having the financial resources you need to maintain your standard of living.

Self Care Ideas

Track Your Sleep Pattern

Sleep is important.  Inadequate sleep can negatively affect your life.  How many times do you yawn throughout the day?  That is probably a sign that you are lacking enough sleep at night.  Maintaining a constant sleep schedule can decrease your chance of developing major health issues, increase your energy level and decrease your stress.

Tracking your sleep pattern in your bullet journal is a fantastic way to measure the amount of sleep you are getting versus your moods throughout the day. 

I have a tough time getting enough sleep, especially if I am knee deep in a project.  I can’t tell you how many times I have woken up in the middle of the night, grabbed my laptop and started working.   Just the other day, I work up at 2:30 in the morning and thought about the stack of papers waiting for me to process.  Instead of going back to sleep, I went ahead and starting crunching numbers.  It took me until 1 pm that afternoon, but I was finally able to get everything finished.  Needless to say, I was useless for the rest of the day. 

Adequate sleep can also help you to maintain a state of mental clarity.  You tend to not think straight if you are tired.  Your focus wanes and your thoughts start to get unfocused.   

Nutrition and Supplements

Eating right will naturally increase your energy levels and help you to maintain your ideal body weight.  Have you ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat.”  I believe this phrase to be true.  If you fill your body with sugars, fats, and carbohydrates, you will likely feel lethargic.  Your energy levels diminish with the amount of carbs your body has to process. 

However, if you stick to healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables, or complex starches like sweet potato, you will feel fuller quicker and have extended energy to spend throughout the day.

Develop a weekly meal plan and stick to it. It is easy to know what you want to do if you plan ahead and already have in mind what needs to be done.

If you are like me and you only get to really eat one good meal per day, supplementing your meals with nutritional drinks, like special K protein or daily vitamins can help ensure you are receiving adequate nutrition each and every day.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise increases the endorphins in your brain and releases a happy hormone called dopamine.  It not only makes you feel good, but keeps you looking good too.  But with all things, too much is not beneficial.  Exercising 2 or 3 times a week is best.  It can help you work out your stress and wind down after a long day on the career front.  

Plan Your Week

Planning your day, week, and month will help relieve the stress of having to remember what you need to do each day.  If you are like me, there is more for you to do than you could possibly remember.  I know with me, I start off with a full page in my bullet journal before Monday ever begins.  My running to do list works wonders and helps me to keep my focus on my goals. 

“Failure to plan is the same as planning to fail.”

Take A Day Trip

Taking a day trip to get out of town, away from the normal, will give you a sense of catching a breath of fresh air.  Not only can you go somewhere new, you can work through some of the deeper issues that are weighing you down.  Riding down the road with your windows down and blaring your favorite some while singing at the top of your lungs will greatly decrease your stress level and increase your value of life.

Constant Reflection & Gratitude

Reflecting on all that you have accomplished helps to maintain a constant focus on your goals as well as track your progress toward reaching your goals.

I reflect on my work week every Saturday, going over all that I was able to accomplish and putting items on the next week’s list of things I need to get done. On top of a weekly reflection, I like to do a mid-month and a monthly reflection. This helps me see just how much I have been able to accomplish. Seeing my achievements written out on paper helps to re-energize my soul and gives me renewed strength to push forward.

In Summary

Self Care is important. Develop a Self-Care plan and stick to it. Your plan can be as simple as spend 15 minutes each day focusing on something you enjoy or exercise three times each week. Whatever self care activity fits your life style the best, I wish you all the luck.

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Bullet Journal Supplies on Amazon

Bullet Journaling is for the list takers, sticky note users, and bullet pointers. It is for the inner nerd who loves organization or for the sporadic spirit who has much to accomplish but as many whims as the wind.

Bullet Journaling is a way to track your personal growth, maximize your talents, and reach new heights. It is a functional tool, but most importantly, it is a lifestyle!

Bullet Journal Facebook Group

The bullet journal method was created by Ryder Carrol. The theology behind bullet journaling is to live intentionally.

“Intentional living is taking the steering wheel and driving in the direction you want to go rather than going with the crowd.”

Types of Bullet Journals

There are many things to think about before you put pen to paper. First, you need to decide on the type of journal you want to use and the size that would best meet your needs.

When I first started keeping a bullet journal in late 2018, I used a one subject notebook that I had bought at the dollar store. I was hyped at first, and the notebook worked out well in the beginning, but over time I stopped using it. Why?

For many reasons–the main one being that the notebook was too big and not portable. I would store it inside the top drawer of the bedside table. It was out of sight and out of mind. Of course, I could have chosen something like the journaling set below and I might have had more success.

At the time, I didn’t know anything about bullet journaling. I saw a journal doodle on Pinterest and jumped on the idea not knowing where it would lead me or how it could change my life.

Don’t be like me and jump in head first! without knowing what to do or how to do it. After my failure, I read up on bullet journaling and discovered that the journal is more than just a record or string of consciousness. It is a tool for setting new heights, reaching new goals, tracking my progress, and designing my life according to what is most important to me.

In 2019, I made a new goal: To Journal Daily!

End of the Year Reflection
2019
My Life in Bullets

2019 was full of challenges. One of the main things I learned from reflecting on the year:

“Goals aren’t always meant to be met. Sometimes they are just a good place to start.”

A bullet journal is more than a tool. It is a lifestyle. If used consistently, you can redesign your life and create a better future for yourself.

There are all types and sizes of journals out there to choose from. You could use a three-ring binder or a spiral bound notebook. There are also grid journals and dot journals to consider. If you aren’t artistic, but want a cute bullet journal, you could try sticker journaling. Bullet journal stickers are very popular and come in a multitude of variety.

High Quality Bullet Journals

Rated 4.5 out of 5 Stars and over 258 reviews, this bullet journal by Newestor is both durable and portable. This journal is available in either dot or graph format.

This journal by Peter Pauper Press is rated 5 out of 5 stars and over 46 ratings. With a hardcover and pockets located along the back cover, this journal is great for anything from work to school.

The original bullet journal is the Leuchtturm1917. I use this journal for work. It has a pocket in the back for my sticky notes, is small enough to fit in my purse, and has a durable cover.

Another bullet journal I have used is the celestial themed bullet journal by Peter Pauper Press. I picked this one up at Walmart, but later found I could have saved some money if I’d bought it on Amazon.

You are going to use the journal you choose over the course of a few months—maybe even a year. Spend a few extra dollars now and get something that won’t break on you later. Quality is key!

Bullet Journal Supplies

Good pens and art supplies are not cheap. Yes, you can go the dollar store and pick some up, but “you get what you pay for”. 

“Not all pens are created equal”

Bullet Journal Pens

Remember that some pens and markers will bleed, so choose your mediums wisely. Here are a few pens that I have used that work well.

Fine point Sharpie Art Pens are the bomb! Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 2,000 reviews, these pens are worth every penny. Plus the case folds back and turns into a handy stand. I bought my pens about a year ago and I am just now having to start replacing the ones that have run out.

These pins by Tanmit offer a dual point and work well for the avid doodler. They are rated 4 out of 5 stars with over 800 reviews. The only complaint I have about these pens are about the darker colored ones. They tend to bleed through if you bare down too hard on the paper when you are setting up your spreads.

These dual pointed brush pens from Tombow beat everything else out of the water when it comes to coloring! With over 3,700 reviews they are highly rated and great for drawing. I do not however use these directly on the dot grids. They bleed through if too much water is used. However, I like to cut and paste mandala drawings into my bullet journal. I use the Tombow brush pens to color in the mandala as their colors are vibrant and lively!

Other than pens, I use Mildliner Creative Markers from Zebra. These are the best highlighters I have ever used. I loved them so much that I shared them with a friend, and then she went out and bought some more. These highlighters don’t bleed through the paper and show great color on the grid paper. They have both a wide end and a fine tip. I can’t tell you enough how awesome these highlighters are.

Bullet Journal Water Color

You may think I’m crazy for water coloring directly on the pages of my bullet journal, however, I assure I’m not. I have watched a ton of videos where other bullet journalers use water color and I wanted to try it (hence I bought the Tombow Watercolor Markers above).

I was so upset that I couldn’t use the Tombow’s directly on the grid paper so I started looking for an alternative and I found it, again at Walmart (that’s the only big retailer where I live. LOL).

I paid around $10 or $11 dollars at Walmart when I purchased this watercolor set. If I’d known better, I would have bought it off of Amazon and saved $6. Anyway, I love this set, and it doesn’t bleed through the paper. Of course, if you drench the page you could end up with wrinkled paper. But, if used correctly, you can easily had some “life” to your pages and let your creativity fly! Below is one of my favorite water colors that I did when we took a day trip through the mountains.

I have also used magazine clippings, sticky notes, stickers, and washi tape in my journal as well. You can buy most items at the dollar store for cheap. However, please keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

Design Your Bullet Journal

Unless you are going to use a three ring binder or something similar, you are going to be stuck with the order you put your pages in. This means, once it’s on paper, you have to live with it or rip it out and redo it.

There are lots of pages you can include in your bullet journal, but there are a few pages that every bullet journal must have.

Bullet Journal Page Ideas

Title Page

The title page is important to me. The title page reminds me of my theme or word for the year. It inspires my creativity and helps to maintain my focus. My favorite title page that I have done is in my Celestial Bullet Journal.

Index & Key

There are lots of bullet journals that have the index built into the front pages automatically. However, if you choose a journal without an index, you will need to design one on your own.

The index page needs to include a section for writing the page topic & page number at the minimum. If you like color coding, you could include a section for that as well.

I always put my bullet journal key near or beside my index.

Yearly Calendar & Future Log

My yearly calendar can be found at the beginning of every bullet journal I have ever created. I don’t always remember when my kids need to go to the doctor or when I scheduled my last dentist appointment, but if I write it down in my future log, I don’t have to worry. It’s written down, so there’s no need for me to try to remember. For 2019, I used a sticky note for each month and wrote out the date and event for that month on it.

I used to separate my future log from my yearly calendar, but I found that it really isn’t necessary. The whole point of adding a page to your journal is because that page can increase your productivity, track your progress, or inspire you in some way or another. I use my calendar and future log when I set up my bullet journal monthly spread.

Level 10 Life & Yearly Goals

I use my bullet journal to track my goals and the progress I am making toward achieving them. Level 10 life is a great spread that I use to measure where I am currently in different areas of my life compared to where I want to be.

I go into detail on how to use the Level 10 Life spread in my free eBook. You can snag your copy here.

Milestones & Life Events

When Did I Last Bullet Journal Tracker

I recently discovered this spread and found the idea behind it ingenious. There are a lot of things that I don’t think about everyday like when did I last change my toothbrush or deep clean the living room carpets or clean out the chicken coop!

Using a When Did I Last bullet journal spread is a lifesaver. It helps me to keep my focus on the necessary things that I need to do but don’t necessarily keep in the front of my mind.

Financial Spreads

For the first year, I made a monthly financial spread. This helped me to budget my money and track where my expenses were going. However, once I wrote it down, I never looked at it again. So, even though I was tracking, the information wasn’t useful to me.

Instead of keeping a monthly spread, I decided to switch to a yearly bill tracker. I use these bullet journal pages to track which bills have been paid and how much they were. It is much more simplistic and less time consuming than trying to maintain a monthly budget spread. I use a “dutch door” for this spread so I don’t have to recreate the wheel twice.

In addition to my yearly bill tracker, I like to use a credit card or debt tracker. This helps deter me from using my credit cards. Each month, I fill in the balance on each of my credit cards and what my credit score is.

Monthly Spread & Monthly Title Page

Monthly spreads take a little work to put together but are very helpful in keeping an overall focus on what goals you need to meet for the month. I take my level 10 goals and break them down into smaller monthly goals.

From the spreads at the front of my bullet journal, I use the future log, My Level 10 Goals, and the Lunar calendar to set up my monthly spread. In addition to the daily listing, I like to include a title page. The monthly title page is for inspiring my inner muse and “coloring therapy”.

My monthly spread takes all the information from the other spreads and combines it into one or two pages. This allows me to focus only on what I need to accomplish for the month rather than what I am trying to do for the year.

Weekly Spread

My weekly spreads are pretty straight forward. I get into the nitty gritty of what I need to accomplish each day and my main goals for the week. My personal bullet journal for home and family is pretty creative, whereas my work bullet journal is minimal in creative license. I enjoy both the artistic and minimalistic spreads. You have to choose what works best for you.

Daily Spread

For most of last year, I used a daily spread for my work. However copying each to do item from one day to the next is time consuming. There are perks to keeping a daily spread if you are using a konmari method or managing several projects at once.

Since I want to keep it simple this year, I am moving more toward weekly spreads and a running to do list. So far, this has been very helpful and I spend a lot less time creating spreads and more time focusing on getting my action items done.

Dump Pages

Dump pages are wonderful for clearing your mind of clutter and planning your monthly to do items. I like to do a monthly brain dump and then assign each of those items to my Master Monthly plan. This way, I don’t forget things that i need to get done. I use my brain dump page throughout the month as more things come up that need to be completed. I manage a lot of projects at once, so this helps ensure that I stay on track.

Bullet Journal Page Order

The pages you include need to be in an order that makes sense to you. For my journals, the simpler the better. There are a million things I could add to the front of my bullet journal, but the less I have the more likely I am to keep it up. My 2020 Bullet Journal page order is listed below.

  1. Title Page (Yearly Theme)
  2. Index & Key
  3. Yearly Calendar
  4. Future Log
  5. Level 10 Life & Yearly Goals
  6. When Did I Last?
  7. Financial Spreads
  8. Bible Reading
  9. Menstruation & Intimacy
  10. Lunar Calendar & Celestial Dates
  11. Blogging Spreads
  12. Monthly Spread
  13. Monthly Brain Dump
  14. Weekly Spreads with Reflection
  15. Mid Month Reflection
  16. Month Ending Reflection
  17. Quarterly Reflection
2020 Bullet Journal Setup

For 2020, I want to keep it simple. The less I have to keep up with the better. It has taken me a while to figure out exactly how I wanted to set up my bujo, but I have finally come to a decision. Click here to get an inside look at my 2020 Bullet Journal.

Now that you know what pages you want to include and in what order you want them to go, it is time to have some fun. Gather your art supplies, turn on some relaxing music and start creating.

If you discover you don’t use all the pages or tackers you’ve included in your bullet journal one month, then leave those pages out on the next month. Personalize your bullet journal to fit your needs. Pinterest is also a great place to find more inspiration and page designs.

How Often Should You Write In Your Bullet Journal?

You won’t get any real benefit out of keeping a journal if you only use it every few weeks or once a month. If you want to reap the fruits of journaling, then you need to use it at a minimum of 2 to 3 times per week.

Make journaling a habit. Find a rhythm that works for you.

Start small with reasonable and realistic journaling goals and then go from there. Set a reminder on your phone and put aside some quiet time where you can focus without distractions.

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Smash Your Goals Using The Level 10 Life Method

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Reach Your Goals This Year

The new year has just begun.  Everyone is full of new aspirations with hopes for a better future.  We all set goals.  But the harsh reality is that 4 out of 5 people, that’s 80%, will throw in the towel and admit defeat before the end of the year.  More than half will quit before they make it through the first 90 days.    Why? 

Life happens.  Shit happens.  Priorities change. If you don’t want to fall within the 80% of fails, then here are a few tips that can help you smash your goals this year.

“Not all goals are meant to be achieved.  Sometimes they are just a good place to start.”

Determine Your Starting Point Using The Level 10 Life Method

Your starting point is where you are right now.  Where you end up and how you get there is up to you.

You can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you are currently at.  To go from point A to point B you need know the location of both points. You can determine your starting point by defining your life levels. 

Life levels is an easy way to determine where you are and to measure how far you have progressed. Starting off, decide which parts of your life you want to improve upon. 

Level 10 Life Categories

  • Health/Wellness
  • Financial Stability
  • Relationships
  • Spirituality
  • Marriage
  • Parenting
  • Home/Home Environment
  • Self-Improvement
  • Self-Awareness
  • Emotional Health
  • Gratitude
  • Family Life
  • Career
  • Debt Management
  • Family Life
  • Social Status
  • Standard of Living

Level 10 Life Assessment

Start off with 5-8 categories. 

Grade yourself in each category from 1 to 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.  Note: none of your categories should be a 10 as these are areas you feel need improvement.

After grading each category, write out what level 10 in that category looks like to you.

For Example:

Category: Financial Stability

Current Grade: Level 2

What does level 10 look like?: No longer living pay check to paycheck with at least $1200 in savings.

By determining the level of the here and now, you have defined the point in which you are starting from (Point A).

Pinpoint Your Goals

You identified what level 10 looks like in each of the categories of your life where you want to improve.  Now what?

Next, pinpoint your goals using the mind mapping method.  Why mind mapping?  It’s an uncomplicated way to organize your thoughts, connect the dots between your goals, and establish your first steps toward reaching your goal.

Take a piece of paper, draw a circle in the center and write the name of the category in the circle.

Brainstorm ideas for how you can take your goal from your current level to level 10.

Mind map your ideas for how you will take this category to level 10

Some categories may share the same concept for improvement (hence connecting the dots between goals).

For example:

Emotional Health and Gratitude

To reach a level 10 in emotional health, you can keep a gratitude journal.  The journal will help you remember all the things you are thankful for.  Likewise, if you want to increase your gratitude towards others, a gratitude journal could help you track you progress and measure your success.

Level 10 Life Categories That Could Have Connections:

  • Emotional Health & Physical Health
  • Financial Stability & Debt Management
  • Family & Relationships
  • Relationships & Emotional Health

Establish A Plan of Action

“A goal with no measure is nothing more than a hope or dream.”

Now that you know what you need to do to improve in each category, you need develop a plan of action. What’s the point in going through all this trouble if you aren’t going to follow through?

Choose a tool to help you track your progress. I love using my bullet journal. It helps me keep my focus on what is most important. I use the Leuchtturm1917 journal for work. It has a pocket in the back for my sticky notes, is small enough to fit in my purse, and has a durable cover.

I started bullet journaling toward the end of 2018. Since then, my quality of life has drastically improved. I am noticeably happier and more productive than I have ever been.

If you would like to use a bullet journal to track your goals or if you want to learn more about how a bullet journal can improve your quality of life, check out Bullet Journal Lifestyle: Living One Bullet At A Time

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Create Smart Goals

Take your top three goals and determine how you will measure your progress.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

For Example:

I will be more grateful.

This is not a goal.  It is a want.  It is not specific nor timely.

However, if you rephrase this:

I will spend ten minutes every day and write three things in my gratitude journal.

Now you have a goal!

Specific: Write in gratitude journal.

Measurable: three things

Attainable: 10 minutes per day

Realistic: 10 minutes per day is easy enough

Timely: Measured by day.

Record your progress either daily or weekly.  If you don’t keep your goals at the forefront of your mind, their significance will decrease, and you will be more likely to join the 80% of fails.

If you are an avid journalista, like me, you can track your progress in your bullet journal. 

List out what you plan to do each day, each week, each month and follow through on your plan.

Breaking your goals down into smaller manageable tasks will enable to you take consistent steps which in turn will bring you closer to your Point B (Your Level 10).

To do this, brain dump all the tasks you will need to complete and then sort them into months. Take your list for each month and sort it out by what you are going to complete each week. Do the same with your weekly list and create daily lists.

“It doesn’t matter who you used to be, what you’ve done or where you’ve been.  All that matters is the here and now and the choices you make moving forward.”

In Summary

I hope you will smash your goals in 2020.  Live the life you want to live.  Meet new people.  Try new things.  Improve your level of existence one small step at a time.  And work toward a brighter tomorrow.If you still need help pinpointing and narrowing down your goals, feel free to leave me a comment below. 

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Designing My Life One Bullet At A Time: An Insider’s Look At My 2020 Bullet Journal Setup

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2020 Bullet Journal Setup

Life Design By Cynthia

First off, I admit I am not perfect. There. I said it. 

I am perfectly imperfect and expertly made to fit the mold specifically designed for me.

Looking back over the past year, I have come to realize that I am just fine the way I am. Everyday is a new start, a new beginning to a new life—a life of my choosing.

2020 Self Development Plan

My #1 goal for 2019 was to keep a bullet journal and to write in it daily. Keeping a bullet journal has not only given me a creative outlet, but it has also helped me to remain focused, increase my productivity, and beat my depression.

Bullet Journal Inspiration from 2019

My 2020 Mantra “Keeping It Simple”

For 2020, I want to keep it simple. The less I have to keep up with the better. It has taken me a while to figure out exactly how I wanted to set up my bujo, but I have finally come to a decision.

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2020 Bullet Journal Setup

Future Log Bullet Journal Spread

2020 Lunar Calendar Bullet Journal Spread

Level 10 Life Bullet Journal Spread

When Did I Last? Bullet Journal Spread

Credit Tracker Bullet Journal Spread

Period & Intimacy Tracker Bullet Journal Spread

Blog Business Tracker Bullet Journal Spread

Although I could have added many more annual trackers, I feel that this is “keeping it simple”. These are items I write out each month to track anyway. Why not track them all in one place?

January 2020 Bullet Journal Setup

With “Keeping it Simple” in mind, my January Setup is rather small.

If you haven’t checked out what bullet journaling is all about and how using one will improve your life, I urge you to check out the bullet journal series.

Not only can living an intentional and organized life change your future, but it will enrich your soul.

Related Article: Why Everyone Needs A Bullet Journal In Their Life & How To Make One

2020 Goal List for January

A goal without a plan is nothing more than a hope or a dream.

Life Design by Cynthia
Change Your Life One Bullet At A Time
Intentional Living Made Simple

Personal Goals

  • Go on a date with my hubby
  • Watch a movie with the family
  • Plan each week with the kids (teaching them how to plan their time)
  • Declutter the bathroom
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Blog Goals

Writing Goals for January

  • Post free eBook for Curse of Judas
  • Create a page for each novel on blog
  • Finish editing chapter 4, 5, and 6 of the Repentant Son

“If you are facing the right direction, all you need to do is keep walking.”

Buddha
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Stepping Back To Move Forward

Someone told me this week, that at times it is necessary to take a step backwards in order to move forward.

This is a hard concept for me. I, like a Taurian bull, charge forward with passion and determination. My goals are the only thing in sight. My ambitions are many in this lifetime.

After perusing this thought over the weekend, I have decided that there is some wisdom in these words. In order to win a battle, sometimes you need to admit defeat.

Life has been challenging lately. The claws of depression sunk in during the later parts of August and through out September. But with the golden leaves of autumn and the crisp air of a new morning, I find myself renewed and rejuvenated.

I have always prided myself on the ability to give 110% at everything that I do. I was a wife at age 19. Owned my home at 25. I have 15+ years behind my belt of management experience and corporate food service. I have published four written works and raised two fine boys into respectable young adults.

I cannot ask for more in this life, but yet I find myself yearning for more. There is always another horizon. There will always be another mountain to climb or ocean to swim. The universe is vast with innumerable possibilities.

At some point, there comes a time when you need to step back in order to see where you are, where you came from, and where you want to go.

This is a bit of rambling, but it has weighed me down this past weekend. If you are like me and find yourself lost in the vastness of space, wandering aimlessly through time, spending days working incessantly but making little progress, I want to know your story. How did you overcome your stagnation? How did you find your way? What drove you to where you are now?

Lost & Looking For Answers,

Cynthia Brandel

Finding Your Drive When You Are All Out Of Gas

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It isn’t easy to maintain a high energy level over an extended period of time. Day to day, we wear many hats and manage a multitude of responsibilities. Whether you are a parent, a sibling, a worker, a spouse, or student, you hold a lot of stress on your shoulders.

So, what do you do when your energy runs out? How can you refuel and set your fire ablaze?

This is a question I have been asking myself lately. My passions fuel me but how do I keep my tank fuel when physically I am worn out?

This morning I was reading Evolution of Goddess by Emma Mildon. You can check out a free preview below.

This guide has been helpful in keeping me motivated and to refuel my exploration of myself and discovering my purpose within the universe. This morning, I was reading a section about finding my goddess archetype. Mildon describes five elemental archetypes within a woman’s biosphere. These elements connect with our yin or feminine energy on a base level and help to center our being.

The five elemental archetypes Mildon describes are:

  • Moon Archetype
  • Water Archetype
  • Earth Archetype
  • Air Archetype
  • Sun Archetype

Surprisingly, I discovered that I am most connected to the Sun Archetype. I thought for sure that I would be most comfortable within the water or the moon biosphere, but the descriptions of the Sun Archetype resonate with me more so than the others.

One way to refuel and re energize is to discover something new about yourself. –@CynthiaBrandel

Ways To Refill Your Tank

Other than self discovery, you can refill your tank by getting out of the norm and doing something that is on your bucket list.

Go on a vacation or even a day trip. Try out a new store or restaurant. Explore your city like you were a tourist. There are new businesses, galleries, and restaurants popping out of the wood works everyday. Get out there experience something new.

Take time to get your mind off of what is draining you and refuel by creating a new experience. You will find that your energy level will rise faster through action and exploration.

But, if you are a homebody and don’t like getting out into the world, you can try to learn a new hobby. Painting, knitting, writing…..there are many new things to try. You don’t have to master them or continue them if they are not for you, but the action of trying something new will rejuvenate your soul and inspire your creativity.

Another way to refuel is to exercise. The action of exercising if done regularly will increase your happiness and overall make you feel better. Not everyone likes exercise, but it is a proven fact that the adrenaline and dopamine responses you get from exercising are beneficial for your mood and your health.

Spend time with family and friends. Too often we get caught up in our own lives that we forget there are people out there who care about us. We are not alone in the world. Reach out to a family member or friend you haven’t seen in a long time and invite them out for a cup of coffee.

Set a new goal and create a plan to work toward it. Goal setting is a good way to keep yourself on track. I personally love my bullet journal. It helps me keep my schedule and my goals all in one place. It is a tool that I use to organize and give structure to my life. When I am feeling uninspired or unaccomplished, I can flip back through my journal and see all that I have accomplished. Although, I don’t always stay on track to completing my goals, and some goals evolve over time, for the most part I feel at peace that I am continually progressing forward toward a brighter future.

In Summary…..

In order to refill your tank and keep on truckin’, do something new and exciting. Through new experiences we grow, we learn, and we live. Get out of the norm. Try a new routine. Set a new goal. Discover your purpose in life. Find yourself among the stars and grow to new heights.

All things are possible if you get out of bed, put on your shoes, and take a step out the door. Life is happening with or without you. So, refuel. Gas up. Take a new path. Live for the moment because tomorrow isn’t promised.

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Hobby enthusiast with a passion for bullet journaling. Hi! I'm Cynthia-mother of two tweens and founder of CynthiaBrandel.com. Click through to read my story.

Book Review: Braving The Elements by K. F. Breene

The Revenant City Series Book 1

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. To learn more about affiliate links please see the privacy policy and disclaimer

Title of Book:  Braving The Elements (Book 2 of the Darkness Series)

Author: K. F. Breene

Main Character(s): Stefan and Sasha

First Published: March 2014

Pages: 164

First Sentence: “My alarm clock was a flick to the head.”

Last Sentence: “And all the while, the teddy bear was in the back, bouncing around like it was in a jumpy-house, grinning happily—a symbol of the love Stefan and I shared.”

Magic is everywhere. You just have to know where to look to find it.

Story Line Overview: 

Cast into a world of magic, vampire like creatures, and demons who want her to join them, Sasha prepares for battle.

A captive (“Guest”) of Stefan, the leader of her shadow men, she if forced to attend school. Guarded day and night by Charles, they brave the ridicule and face the unknown as an unbreakable team.

Sasha’s powers turn out to be more deadly and destructive than anyone could have imagined. With the ever present threat that the enemy will take Sasha from him, it is up to Stefan to protect her as one of his own. Either as his mate or as a tool for war.

My review:  

Stefan’s character has definitely in the 2nd novella of this series. I can see why Sasha would be drawn toward him. He is like an over grown teddy bear wrapped in scary man clothing.

Charles has also become like Sasha’s big brother. He protects her like he would a member of his family. There were parts of this story that I found hilarious and other parts that dragged on for a bit.

Just like my review on the first novella in the Darkness Series, I would give this novella 4 out of 5 stars. It was an easy read and a quick romance. By the end of this book, I am starting to get a bit bored of the lacking romance between the two leads and the brotherly love relationship between Sasha and Charles.

New characters were introduced, but they didn’t draw me in. The hilarious scenes and Sasha’s blunders as she tried to learn how to control the element on the other hand, had me reeling.

I would recommend this story to anyone who loves The Titan’s Saga, The Curse of the Gods, and the Air Awakens Series.

<<<<<I want to check out the review of Into The Darkness (Book 1 of the Darkness Series)>>>>>

To read more reviews visit Book Reviews by Cynthia

Young Adult Fantasy and Post Apocalyptic Novelist
Author of The Sanctorian Series & The Revenant City Series

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Book Review: Into The Darkness by K. F. Breene

The Revenant City Series Book 1

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. To learn more about affiliate links please see the privacy policy and disclaimer

Title of Book:  Into The Darkness (Book 1 of the Darkness Series)

Author: K. F. Breene

Main Character(s): Stefan and Sasha

First Published: January 2014

Pages: 184

First Sentence: “The little girl fell out of the car door, twisted metal encircling her like protective arms.”

Last Sentence: “I’d found my shadow men, and they’d opened a new chapter in my life.”

Things that go bump in the night are better alone. If you search for them, you may find more than you bargain for.

Story Line Overview: 

Sasha is just a normal human who falls in love in high school. She has the typical dream: fall in love, stay in love, and eventually get married. Have a house. White picket fence. Her and long time boyfriend, Jared, are best friends.

But Sasha has a secret. She can see things in the dark that others cannot. To speak about them to anyone would make her seem crazy. Always drawn to the shadows, she constantly searches for the “shadow men” lurking around her.

It isn’t until one very unlucky afternoon that the shadow men come calling. Thrown into a world she didn’t know existed, Sasha has to fight not only for her life but for Jared’s too.

Drawn to the leader of the shadow men, Stefan, and forced into a war she didn’t fully understand, Sasha will have to make some hard decisions. Will she tuck and run or stay and fight?

My review:  

Although short, this was overall a good story. It didn’t grip me right from the get go but the characters slowly grew on me until I became curious to find out what happens to them.

Stephen is not my favorite character. I feel his character is lacking and his personality is a bit dry. Duty before passion should be his catch phrase.

I would give this novella 4 out of 5 stars. It was an easy read and a quick romance. Sasha was kick ass and has a wit that made me laugh. By far, her character was the most developed. Her story is what kept me interested.

I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a quick romance mixed with demon like creatures and a stony faced alpha that resembles a vampire.

Click Here To Buy Now on Amazon

Young Adult Fantasy and Post Apocalyptic Novelist
Author of The Sanctorian Series & The Revenant City Series

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