Lately, a lot of us could use a calm little oasis amidst the chaos in the world. Since things have been chaotic for a while now, I decided to find a hobby that helps me to relax and decompress at the end of the day. I got inspired seeing people filling their planners and journals with cute art and I decided to take the trend of “junk journaling,” to a comforting and cozy level. I use a regular 6 ring binder planner to fill with things that spark cozy feelings for me.
First, I went through photos I’ve taken that bring up warm memories and enlarged them. I printed out a picture of a ballet class puzzle that I loved as a kid because I had made up backstories for all the little girls in it. I also made a divider for the planner out of the wallpaper I had when I was a teen.
I included photos of places I love to visit (shown are pics from my trip to New York City which inspired a scene in my In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety book and a photo I took of Lake Michigan which is the setting in my YA novel, Competing with the Star). I also included pictures of my comfort TVs shows like The Great North, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, American Dad, Being Erica, and anything that brings me a little boost on the hard days. Then there’s the section I called the “Mood Booster.” In it, I keep playlists of songs with headers like uplifting, fun songs, inspirational, and comfort songs to cry along with on the days I just want something to get my emotions out without going into a full fledge sob fest.
Since I loved making collages when I was a teen, I went on Pinterest to look up things from that time period like magazine covers of my celebrity crushes back then. Being a YA author, going down memory lane also sparks new story ideas for me. I even purchased an old teen magazine from an online site and cut out some of the ads and article pictures and stuck them in the planner using double side tape. That all goes in my nostalgia section.
Flipping through this planner never fails to make me smile as it takes me out of a harsh reality and into a happier place. It’s the perfect little boost on the hard days and an inexpensive way to use your creative side.
Have you tried journaling? Is it something you’d like to give a try?
Competing with the Star
Excerpt from my YA contemporary romance (with a happily ever after ending), Competing with the Star…
In this scene, Hadley is on a perfect date with her boyfriend, Nick. However, then she overhears some girls talking about how Nick has always had a crush on her friend, Simone, who just happens to be a gorgeous teen TV star. Hadley doesn’t know what to think–is her perfect relationship real or not?
“You know, this is the first time we haven’t had people watching our every move,” Nick said and then he wrapped his arms around my waist and smiled at me. I felt like I was melting and my cheeks flushed. He leaned over and kissed me.
It was the first time we had a long kiss, and it was exactly like all my YA novels described the perfect kiss—like the rest of the world had drifted away and there was just the two of us and we were so happy.
Then he kissed my forehead and just held me for a minute, and I never wanted to go back to where our parents were sitting. I just wanted to stay like this forever—in a place where everything was perfect and we were happy.
“Okay, one more kiss and I’ll let you go to the bathroom,” he said, leaning over.
I went inside the bathroom to the first stall where I overheard some girls talking.
“How awkward is it that Simone Hendrickson is with Nick Jenkins and some other chick?” said a voice a stall or two over.
“Oh, I know! I wonder if that’s to make her jealous or what? You can tell he still likes Simone so much. I mean, his arm around her when she was anxious? So sweet.”
“It’s obvious he never got over his crush on her,” the first girl said. “And they’re together all the time.”
“Yeah, I think before she saw him as a brother, but now it’s clear there’s something there.”
“He got hot. He was cute before, but now he’s hot.”
“The way he ran to her side when she was freaking out over the fun house—oh my gosh, so sweet. I legit died when he held her hand.”
“They’re adorable together, don’t you think?” “Yeah, but I feel bad for the girl he’s with. She seems clueless about what’s going on right in front of her face.”
“Mmhmm, but she looks young and dumb, so she’s probably just happy to be with him and not expecting it to last.”
I stood there feeling all the blood drain away from my face. I wanted to scream and cry, but all I could do was feel my stomach twist up. I prayed I wouldn’t throw up. Simone and Nick? No, this couldn’t be happening. She was supposed to be my friend—my guide to get me through high school. I trusted her and counted on her to be there for me. And Nick wasn’t just my boyfriend—he was my best guy friend. And even though I hadn’t gotten the courage to say it to him, I was in love with him. He was the last thing I thought about before I went to sleep, and just knowing he was out there and on my side, supporting me in everything I did, made life seem a little easier. I thought it was us against the world, and now, according to these girls in the bathroom, the “us” I believed in might not even be real.
Want to read more? Find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08W7M7FGW
About the Author
Author Bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of the Cecily Taylor Series, The Star Series, Landry’s True Colors Series, and Dating the It Guy. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton, as well as Michigan Avenue Media Podcast.