Lifestyle

My Winter Essentials

My Winter Essentials - Trying to get through the colder months easier

When you live in the south, cold doesn’t come often. Usually winter consists of more rain and temperatures inching closer and closer to below 60. But once sundown hits, we all become popsicles. This is why you know it’s fall in the south when there are bonfires after football games. But for a person that is already always cold, creating things that help you get through the cold winter nights is essential. So for this post, I’ll share the items that are essential for me to get through the winter. Continue reading “My Winter Essentials”

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DIY · Lifestyle

Setting Up my Bullet Journal for 2018

I have always had an office supply addiction and that includes planning. I love the concept that I can have my entire day planned out and scheduled, despite that it never works that way.

Until recently, I have never been able to keep up with a planner, and have come to realize that I am more of a to do list type of person. So for the last year and a half, I have been trying out the system of Bullet Journaling. The best way to check out Bullet Journaling is from the video by the system’s creator Ryder Carroll

The aspect that I love most about the Bullet Journaling system is that it is customizable for what you need, and it can be a series of trial and error until you find what works best for you. When I transition into a new journal, I like to go through the spreads that I want to keep for my new journal.

The main ones I like to keep are my Debt Tracker, Self-Care Tracker, Clothing Measurements, and my Self-Education Tracker. Each one has it’s own importance in my life and have been helpful in keeping my sanity as well.

For my Debt Tracker, I originally had it set up like a brick wall where I would fill in a brick each time I sent in a payment. Now I am getting closer to paying it off completely, I am able to try out a new spread. This time I’m trying the thermometer approach with the goal being medical debt free at the top.

I also have a full page spread for my clothing measurements. This has become vital when it comes to ordering clothes online since I am of a petite size and often clothing is made for people much taller than me.

My self-care tracker is spread across two pages: one for my list, and a second for my daily tracker for it. I created this in hopes that I will be able to keep my anxiety under some form of control and use the self-care to keep me going in harder times.

The final spread I created is my Self-Education spread. This is something I created based on the reading list from the book The Well-Educated Mind by Sue Wise Bauer. I like my attempts at making a bookcase, but sadly I’m not all that artistic. I’m gonna need some practice.

I do also have two new spreads I am trying. An Emergency Number spread, and a Cleaning Spread.

I got the idea for the emergency numbers spread from a blog post by Preparedness Mamma, and thought it would be great to have on hand. I have times where I may not have my phone or my phone is on the fritz and wont be able to pull up the numbers I need, so this list is super handy to have. I also included things like the phone numbers for my local police (not dispatch) and fire department. Something from the list that was not among the suggested in the original post that I added is the phone numbers for the local and national suicide hotlines. It’s a resource that many people with depression don’t think about but should definitely have in their phone for the times where you are having the thoughts but don’t think you can reach out to those you know.

The Cleaning Spread just seemed a little daunting as I was making it, because I got the list idea from The Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook. I have it set up by room and then by either it being Daily, Weekly, Monthly, etc. It’s just a good reference to have on hand, especially since I want to start getting into routines again.

Finally when it comes to my monthly, weekly, and daily spreads; I am trying to get it fine tuned. I believe I have the daily spreads how i want them, I just need to work on the weekly spreads again to fine tune it as well.

What have you set up in your Bullet Journal for 2018? Do you have a plan with me video you want to share? Please let me know in the comments below!

Jess

Magical Life

Starting My Year and a Day Over

At some point, we all go back to square one. To gain hold of our foundation again. For a long time now, I have been saying that I’ve been doing my Year and a Day, but in all honesty. . .

I haven’t.

I’ve been inconsistent on a lot of things lately, especially my Year and a Day. Then I read a post from The Traveling Witch about how inconsistency isn’t a bad thing. Though I do agree with Avery, I have been inconsistent with my learning in general. It has been almost like I am blindfolded and swinging my arms around looking for the door.

I have read through books that were meant to be a framework, or lesson plan, for self-study, but none of the provided the information that I craved. Nor did they do it in a way I could completely follow.

So I’ve decided to create my own Year and a Day.

But what is a Year and a Day?

The idea of the Year and a Day is inspired by the story of Cerridwen and her cauldron. In the story, Cerridwen has a son who is by no means beautiful and in order to help him to be able to find love she created a potion in a cauldron to give him a vast amount of wisdom. For the potion to be complete, it needed to be stirred constantly for a year an a day. For the complete story, here is a good writing of it from Ancient Origins.

Where I’ve had troubles up to this point.

Most, if not all, of the books I have read through so far have been of an eclectic approach and have used a handful of random gods from multiple pantheons. At the core of me, I am a Celtic Pagan and follow the path of the Tuatha de Danaan and other Celtic gods. Unfortunately, most of these books mentions them and other Celtic legends very little if at all. If I want to know anything about them, the only way I will is if I do my research myself.

I have always had issue with the level system that is associated with Wicca. It really doesn’t fit with me, especially since I am solitary. Every book includes an initiation ritual to enter the next level of a coven. Since it doesn’t work for me, a dedication ritual feels like it is enough for me.

My biggest issue has been that the books I was using all take a very shallow approach upon each topic they try to teach. It’s essentially a quick summary of something and an associated “activity” to go with it before it moves on to the next thing. I am the type of person who wants to be as knowledgeable as possible on a topic before I move on to the next thing. I love research and my goal is to have full understanding of each aspect of what I believe and practice.

I decided to start it again on Halloween this year and took my time assessing how I want to approach it. I can only hope that this will bring me to a deeper understanding of who I am and what I believe.

Hopefully by November 1st of 2018, I will be a different person.

Wish me luck

Jess

Lifestyle · Magical Life · My Story

What’s on my Charm Necklace?

Every woman I have met has their signature item. The one piece of clothing, jewelry, or item that makes them, them. For some it’s their favorite lipstick, or a sentimental ring. For me it’s my necklace.

The necklace I wear everyday tends to attract a little bit of attention. It isn’t a big statement necklace; it’s actually rather small. You wouldn’t notice it unless you heard me walk down a hallway or were standing in front of me. It also isn’t the normal necklace you would find in the jewelry section in Target.

I call it my charm necklace, and the charms I keep on it represent specific things that are important to me but also have a purpose to get me through the day. For the most part, it’s to keep my hands busy when I get anxious to keep me from biting my nails, but there are other purposes.

To get to know me a little better, here are the five items on my charm necklace. Continue reading “What’s on my Charm Necklace?”

Holidays

The Ultimate Halloween TV and Movie List

The Ultimate Halloween TV and Movie List_The Road of a Small Town Girl

We all know October is the time of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, chunky sweaters, Jack-o-lanterns, and thankfully Spooky-tainment! (Now just imagine that last part said with an echo or something cool like that.) In the last few weeks Freeform released it’s line up for 13 Nights of Halloween and using the word underwhelming has become an understatement. So instead of watching the same 3 Halloween movies and 5 non-Halloween movies set on repeat for 2 weeks, I thought it would be better to create my own Halloween TV and movie list to get me through this spooky time of year. In order to keep it from being too long, I am not including the well known horror movies like Poltergeist, The Exorcist, etc. because we all know that they are needed and we all probably have them. If you would like to check out a much more extensive list, obvious movies included, check out the list of best Halloween movies from Halloween On Earth that also include release dates and what type of movie it really is. Unfortunately it hasn’t been updated since 2012 but then again their may not have been any new movies that should be on the list since then.

TV Shows

The Scariest Places on Earth – This is the only ghost related show that I will recommend. It was a perfect combination of interviews, history, and of course ghost hunting. Also Linda Blair.

American Horror Story – Of course this needed to be on the list. It has been more than a cult favorite over the last few years. It is an amazing horror anthology series that has a new theme each season. Everyone has their favorites, but mine is still season three’s Coven. A lot of people thought that I would like the most recent season (Roanoke) simply because I am from North Carolina, and in reality, I don’t like it.

The Munsters – This early 1960s TV Sitcom classic was a favorite of mine growing up and along with The Addams Family created my love for all things spooky.

The Addams Family (Original Black and White or Animated Series) – I grew up on three television versions of everyone’s favorite spooky family. Though no one likes to speak of the live-action show made by Freeform (Then called Fox Family) back in the end of the 90s. It made weird people who liked the odd dark things seem not so scary, and poked fun at some things like horror movie tropes from that time.

Penny Dreadful – I honestly feel like this series brought back the Gothic Horror genre. It reached in to all of the dark tales we know of and brought them into one universe. It is a great, cohesive, dark story that I just don’t want to look away from.

Supernatural – Maybe I am biased because I am a big Supernatural fan. It’s a great series with stories that stick with you and characters you really root for. Of course there is all the monsters they go after in the first few seasons, but I still love this series even though it has evolved quite a bit in the last 12 seasons.

Movies:

The Original Creature Features – In my opinion, this needs to be the base of all Halloween movie collections.  Dracula, Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, all amazing black and white films. Though today the current generation will feel like the pacing is too slow, these movies are classics for a reason, and helped create the foundation of scary movies. Thankfully they actually offer the collection sets for each creature now.

Halloweentown I and II – Out of the series the first two are the best ones. They have the original cast and they are both fun stories. If you haven’t seen them yet, you need to.

The Nightmare Before Christmas – There will forever be the debate as to whether this movie should be played during Halloween or during Christmas. My thoughts are why not have it at both? Tim Burton movies in general are amazing for this time of year, but this particular one is the absolute best.

Trick ‘r Treat – This horror anthology movie is a favorite in our house. So much so that Sunshine dressed up as Sam last Halloween, and probably will again this year. Trick ‘r Treat is a horror anthology movie where everything in it happens in one small town throughout the night of Halloween. It does incorporate a lot of different Halloween superstitions like razorblades in the candy bars, and having Jack-o-Lanterns out to keep the bad spirits at bay. It’s gory and scary but I can’t help but watch it every year.

Rocky Horror Picture Show – If you have ever watched this movie, you know exactly why it’s on this list. Going to a viewing of Rocky Horror with everyone in costumes is one of the best things about Halloween.

Hocus Pocus – Another movie that doesn’t need explaining.

Kiki’s Delivery Service – This is my favorite Studio Ghibli film. Sure the only thing that relates to Halloween in it is the fact that the main character is a Witch, but during this time a year a cute movie that makes you feel good isn’t a bad thing to have. It gives you a break from all the horror movies.

Crimson Peak – In the theme of Gothic Romance/Horror like Penny Dreadful, this movie is beautifully done. The creatures that Guillermo del Toro created are absolutely terrifying and the story itself is unexpecting when you first watch it. Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam being in it does kind of help though.

Addams Family and Addams Family Values – Just like the TV shows I mentioned earlier, these two are the best out of the ones aired. Raul Julia, Angelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, and Christina Ricci are perfect actors for the characters that they play. Sadly Pugsley and Grandma Addams were pushed a little further into the background.

Tower of Terror – It took me forever to find this on DVD! It was one of my favorite Disney Halloween movies growing up (along with Halloweentown and Hocus Pocus) and riding the Tower of Terror at a Disney Park is actually on my bucket list, but who knows if I will get to now that they are changing the rides to Guardians of the Galaxy.

Young Frankenstein – So I will admit, I watch this movie at least once a month and have it almost on repeat when I am sick. A Mel Brooks movie that pokes fun at the old creature features is sometimes the best medicine during a fall and winter cold.

Practical Magic – This is another movie that is a staple in our family. We don’t watch it just during Halloween, and I’m pretty sure that we all watch this one at least once a month.


So what are your must haves for this time of year? Were there any that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

See you soon!

Jess

 

Books · Magical Life · Reviews

Reading Corner – September 2017

I haven’t been able to read much as of late but this past month I was finally able to finish something.

Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World by Deborah Blake

Everyday Witchcraft - Deborah Blake

Living a life where I have a day job, work on this blog, and have the side hustle of book editing through Fiverr; it is difficult to create the time to put aside for my own spirituality. When I picked up this book, I had heard about Deborah Blake and read her articles in different pagan magazines.

The focus of this book is connecting with Spirit in even the most mundane of moments, and has an entire sections on creating 5 minute mini rituals that are easy to incorporate in the day, as well as ways to incorporate magick in your cleaning tasks, and connecting with you chosen Diety regularly. In the final section of the book, she includes a list of amazing Wiccan and Witchcraft books to continue from from the classics of Raymond Buckland and Scott Cunningham to more modern books by Christopher Penzack.

I really enjoyed reading this book and have even put little tabs in it for the sections I want to incorporate more in my life to hopefully bring some balance back. It has amazing tips for taking the steps to make you life more magickal and helps keep it from seeming so daunting a task.

One of the main things that I’m going to begin incorporating into my life is connecting with a Diety. The steps she includes in this section from Chapter 2 are things I know that I am able to do in the small moments of stillness I have within my day. Things as simple as trying to just talk in the morning when I’m drinking my coffee will help me create a connection again, as I have been feeling a little lost as of late, as I used to talk to Diety all the time.

I felt like this book was something I needed at this point of time, to try to help me come back into focus as to who I am and what I want to be.

What have you finished reading this month that has really spoken to you? Please let me know in the comments below, so I can check it out!

Jess

Holidays · Magical Life · My Story

My Fall Essentials

 

My Fall Essentials

Ever since I was small, autumn has been my favorite season. School was about to start and it wasn’t nearly as hot as it was during the summer. Halloween was in the air, and in the stores, and all things spooky were on the TV. It’s the time of year for warmer sweaters and extra blankets. It feels like home to me. Over the last 25 years I’ve come to have a set group of items that I have around me every autumn that just make the season much better and probably easier for me.

Wood Wick Candles

Though bonfires with friends and family are the picture of summer and autumn nights, many states have a burn ban in effect. As well, in most states it’s still too hot to get your fireplace going. Having a wood wick candle is a perfect substitute since they don’t emit the heat of bonfires but you still have the crackling of burning wood. A lot of stores now carry them and they are often made as soy candles as well, making them a little safer to burn chemically.

My favorite scent for this is the Nature’s Wick candles in the scent Bonfire Nights (pretty obvious huh?). I love the smell of this and the way this brand’s wicks burn are amazing and I haven’t had any popping outside of the candle yet.

Lots of Hot Tea

In my house I am considered the Tea Queen, so much so that I got a tea pot with infuser and a travel container for my teas for Christmas from Sunshine’s parents last year. My mug always has either some sort of herbal tea or coffee in it. I even have a bag of herbal tea bags that I keep in my purse for when I’m at work to drink.

For this time of year, I am usually drinking a detox tea or even a tea meant to help with the immune system as cold and flu season never sleeps. (But I do use these as a supplement to a healthy diet and other things as there is no proof by the FDA of the help of herbal teas and the immune system.)

Heavier Body Lotion

Dry skin is never fun during sweater weather, so during this time of year I start using a heavier body lotion daily. Though this does get me to use up project pan lotions, it does help to have a scent that you really enjoy.

Currently I’m working through my Sweet Pea lotions from Bath & Body Works,  but I love the fall line of lotions from them that also have pure honey in them. My favorites from that line are the Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte and Autumn Blooms, and I only got travel sizes because I wanted to test them out before I would buy a full size. Having one at your desk or in your bag that is your favorite scent helps not only ward off dry skin but helps a little bit with a positive attitude.

Entertainment of the Spooky Variety

I used to love watching 13 Nights of Halloween on ABC Family (now Freeform) but in the last few years they have become very disappointing when it comes to their selection. I love Addams Family and Hocus Pocus but they are not the only movies that you can watch for Halloween. Growing up with shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Truth or Scary and movies like Teen Witch and Tower of Terror, have caused me to become reliant upon myself for quality spooky-tainment. Between myself and Sunshine, we have quite a Halloween movie collection. He has more horror movies and I have more family friendly ones, and of course the entire series of the Munsters.

Nightmare Freddy and Spookytainment
Nightmare Freddy looks ready for some spooky-tainment!

When it comes to reading, I am still working through Stacy Schiff’s Witches, but I have realized that I have a couple of spooky reads as well. Of course we have the staples: Frankenstein, Lovecraft, and Poe. We also have some newer stuff, like the Five Nights at Freddy’s novels, Welcome to Nightvale, and the Sweep novels. Having our own spooky-tainment helps when you can’t rely on regluar TV, or if you are like us and decided to cut the cable anyway.

The Color Burgundy

Burgundy Fall Flatlay Items

I have no idea why but I become almost obsessed with this color during the fall. From my makeup and nails, to my clothes I usually have the color burgundy somewhere around me. This color makes me feel confident as well as safe but it also may be because this the time of year where I need this color in my life. Reds are the colors of the Root Chakra and this is the time of year where it definitely comes into play as to feeling grounded and rooted into yourself and the world around you.

Cleaning Supplies

Pretty odd to have this on the list but I do major cleaning and decluttering in the fall.You can have your windows open and not worry about pollen that you need to clean. Also you are starting to switch out your summer clothes for something a little thicker and warmer so it is the perfect time to get rid of things that don’t fit or you just don’t like anymore.

This is also a great time of year to start doing energy clearing. Summer is usually a very stressful time of year for both me and Sunshine with our jobs getting busier and we do bring those frustrations home. During this time of year things start to slow and calm down, so it is a good time for us to get those frustrating energies out of our home so we can bring more positive ones in. Everyone has their own way of doing it, for example I really like doing some deep cleaning and also have a purification blend go through on my diffuser all day.

A great book to help is Debroah Blake’s book Everyday Witchcraft as it has an entire section of the book dedicated to cleaning, grounding, and protection you can do for your home during this time of year.


So these are the essentials that I have to make autumn more special and easier for me. What are your essential items?

My Story

Re-Introducing Myself

Since a lot has happened to me over this summer, and it’s been almost 2 (3?) years since the first post on this blog, I thought a re-introduction of myself was long overdue.

I am not the same girl I was when I started this blog. Back then, I had an exciting hope for the future Sunshine and I had set in front of us at that time, and that future was scrapped and rewritten a couple dozen times. I also have  a different scope of importance since then.

My name is Jessica, but everyone calls me Jess (except family of course), and I am originally from a very small town in North Carolina. The best way I can summarize myself in one sentence is with something my dad said about me a lot growing up:

I walk to the beat of my own drum, it just happens that my drum has holes in it.

This is more true about me than people realize. I have always been the oddball of the group. Sarcasm is my humor of choice. I always a book in one hand and a cup of hot tea in the other. My bedroom is littered with half-filled notebooks and candles. I have a love for all things spooky and creepy, but I also have and entire bookcase overflowing with nerdy plushies.

I have a fascination with makeup and am currently doing the largest project pan ever done (143 products with no deadline). I am also that person that loves making blankets and baking things for the people I care about in my life.

Sunshine is my fiance and I don’t feel comfortable using his real name on here without his expressed permission, but if you follow me on Instagram you have seen pictures of the elusive guy. We have been together for almost 7 years, and it doesn’t seem like we’re going to stop anytime soon.

One of the largest things about me that tends to rub people the wrong way is that I am a pagan. I follow the wisdom of the Celtic pantheon, and that gives me a different worldview.

When I started this blog, it was with the intention of trying to learn homemaking skills and sharing my experience of trying to learn them. Now, that topic just feels very limiting to me. I want to get to the whole meaning behind the name of this blog. The Road of a Small Town Girl is meant to be about my path in general and the things I enjoy and learn on the way.

My goal is to be honest with you, whether it is through reviews or even the occasional post like this. My hope is that you are okay with that honesty.

See you soon,

Jess

Beauty · Product Reviews · Project Pan

Largest Project Pan Ever – Summer 2017 Update

If you’ve read my last post, it’s has been quite some time since I last posted and update for my project pan. Even though I haven’t posted any updates on here, it doesn’t mean I have stopped doing the project altogether. I have still been panning products and fortunately I have finished 10 in the last 4 months.

Items Finished In May:

 

Treseme Beautiful Volume Shampoo and Conditoner Sample packs (2 sets)

I did receive these through Influenster and it took me a while to actually get to them. The concept of doing you conditioner first sounds interesting but didn’t work for how I normally wash my hair. On the other hand, it did bring a lot of volume to my hair.

Bath & Body Works Body Wash in Sea Island Cotton

As always, this is my winter scent and my goal was to finish this product by the beginning of summer, and thankfully I was. I love this scent but I’m not going to purchase any more bath products for a while.

Suave Professionals Natural Infusion Anti-Breakage Shampoo (Travel Size)

With Suave shampoos, I never really see any difference in my hair. During this time I was still having a lot of fall-out and breakage in my hair but I feel that it had more to do with my health at the time rather than the shampoo.

 

Items Finished In June:

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation in 112

This was a very light coverage foundation, which is nice for days where I want to cover up a little bit of my acne scarring but I am a full coverage kind of girl. I didn’t like that I had to apply so many layers to get the coverage I want that my skin looked cakey. Unfortunately this shade had too much yellow in it for me and did oxidize to be even more yellow, which is a recurring problem for me trying to find foundations, on top of the fact that it didn’t even last a few hours against my oily skin.

Be a Bombshell! Tinted Lip Balm in French Kiss

I had received this in an IPSY bag a long time ago, and I hate it so much. This shade is horrible for people with fair complexions like me as it is very very frosty but on top of that it feels waxy and leave a white residue on your lips that you have to wash off.

Village Naturals Aches & Pains Shower Wash

I really do love this brand, and it sucks that I can’t find it in my local Target anymore. This shower wash has a bit of a citrus/mint scent to it, and it also leave a slight cooling sensation on the skin. I used it the most when my joints started hurting from a physically exhausting day. I miss the scent and feel of it.

 

Items Finished In July:

Simple Moisturizer

So the big thing about this brand is that it meant to be sensitive skin friendly, but this was not. It smelled like mildewed clothing and actually had a burning sensation when I would apply it. I’ve essentially given up on this brand that I used to love after this.

Bath & Body Works Body Cream in Sweet Pea

The first to go down so far out of what’s left of my Sweet Pea B&BW stash. Still love it, and how the formula of the body cream feels as it absorbs into the skin.

 

Items Finished In August:

Pixi by Petra Mini Brow Trio

This was another item I received in an IPSY bag a long while ago. I had to find a variety of ways to use it since it was three different colors. I used the large taupe shade to set my eye primer and the medium brown shade for my crease, since they were both too light for my brows. The shade I did use for my brows just took forever to use. The powder itself applied fine and blended well.

NYX Butter Lipstick in Little Susie

I loved applying this extremely creamy lipstick. This is actually one of NYX’s more pigmented lipsticks and I have really enjoyed the application. This shade of hot pink worked well for my skin tone and surprised me with how much I liked it since I normally don’t go towards hot pink shades. I can’t wait to try out more colors after I finish the rest of my lipsticks.

 

So what have you finished panning over the summer? What are your goals for the rest of the year? At the moment I hope by the end of the year I can finish at least some skin care products .

Also, how do you feel about having a seasonal update rather than a monthly update? The post will be longer for a seasonal one but it will also give me more time to get products done. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

See you soon!

Jess