Watercolor illustration of girl walking underwater with school of fish swimming overhead

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  1. Love you website! By the way there’s a problem that I’ve been encountering: Right after I set up a new month, I discover a super awesome theme for next month, and that kinda makes me not want to use this month’s spread.


    1. If you use weekly spreads, you could always use your newly discovered theme for your weekly to make sure you can use it right away! Or you can have a list in your journal with monthly theme ideas and collect all the cool ones you come across into an easy to reference list. I hope that helps!

  2. I appreciate the content you post so much! You’ve inspired me to start my first bullet journal this year. Although I was nervous about messing up at first, using your spreads and examples as a guide helped me feel confident enough to take out my art supplies and get going!

    1. That is AMAZING, Muniba! Congrats on getting started and building confidence! May your 2021 be full of even more growth and planning fun!


    Hi Shelby,
    Just wanted to put it out there, how greatful I am that I found you on the web. I love the fact that you are constantly stating that with a bullet journal there really are no rules, just do what works for you and that’s what I love. During Covid, we went from a family of 2, to 3, then 4, then 7, {3 generations living together} thank heavens for my bullet journal, as it’s so adaptable. it also meant that once everyone was asleep and things were a bit calmer, I would do my “check” of the day, make some notes, look at what needed to be done the for the next day, and if I had the energy would do some jazzing up of my journal. I just loved that looking at what you gave as examples, somehow gave me permission to make it mine, and my way. So a big thank you for that. Your grocery template has been an absolute time and money saver, to say nothing of no longer writing out a shopping list and then losing it. Even though we went through a very rigid stage 4 lockdown, if I had a diary it would be empty, but by bullet journaling I realised how incredibly busy I was, {very interesting to reflect on}.
    Just looked at what you have put out for 2021 and love all your ideas. I have bullet journaled now for 18 months, ready to start 2021 journal and it’s only now I know how I want to set mine out, what I want to include and what for me doesn’t work, however in saying that who knows………..
    To everyone have a very wonderful and blessed Christmas, lets try and be kind to each other, please all of you stay safe and to Shelby a huge thankyou.

    1. I am so so happy to hear that you have gotten the confidence to make your journal unapologetically YOURS. That is something that can be hard to come by, but boy does it make all the difference! It’s wonderful to hear how helpful your journal has been in keeping your household organized in a world of utter chaos. I hope the world settles down in 2021, and barring that, I hope you continue to find new ways to keep yourself organized and mentally on top of things this year. Thank you so much for this wonderful comment and Happy New Year!

  4. Hi! I have posted a comment like this on your 2020 bullet journal set-up, but then I saw your 2021, so I decided to post it here too. I’m sorry if it bothers you!

    “I’m starting bullet journaling this year, well at least I planned to, but I am not much of an artist, I can merely draw a stickman. I am not a very organize person, either. It’s also hard for me to draw charts, diagrams, etc stuffs like that for the bullet journal. And because I’m 12, I don’t have the money to buy a dotted notebook. I currently only have one dotted notebook with 224 pages. I have watched some video about bullet journaling and they used more than 1 dotted notebook in a year. My life is very dark right now so I want to find some spark in it if I can.”

    1. Hey Lisa! It sounds like you’re right at the beginning of your journey. It’s okay if you don’t know how to do things right now. You’ll learn with time! My first bullet journal wasn’t nearly as pretty or organized as it is now. Over time, you’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t work. And don’t worry too much about whether you have a dot notebook or not — it’s not necessary! You can hand draw anything you want into your journal, even if the lines aren’t perfect.

      All you need to worry about is getting started and having fun. Also, don’t worry too much about using your journal too fast. Some people use their journals super quickly, while others take years to get through one journal. If you find that you are using your journal faster, feel free to switch to something cheaper like a cute composition notebook. That way you won’t feel shy about using the pages and you can breathe easy.

      I’m sorry that things are tough right now, but this could be a nice way to give yourself something fun to do. The trick is to not put too much pressure on yourself. The best thing I ever learned with bullet journaling (or really life in general) is Done Not Perfect. If you focus too much on making everything just right, you’ll miss out on all the fun. Remember that you are still right at the beginning and you’re not going to be good at everything overnight. Try your best, go easy on yourself, and don’t be afraid to try something new if a technique isn’t working! Every day is a new opportunity to grow and enjoy it.

      I hope this helps and I hope you are able to have fun during the first steps on your bullet journal journey! Good luck and happy planning, Lisa ?

  5. I have always loved your work, but just now learned you are a D&D fan! Me too!!! I miss playing with my friends so much. I would also love to learn how to DM, but I am not confident enough! I did buy Matt Mercer’s new book and it has three small encounters included. Since I know his words from Critical Role, I thought it would be a good start to learn. Love your work and thank you for sharing so much!

    1. DMing is so intimidating! I’m hoping to get the chance to DM this coming year, I have so many fun ideas that I want to bring to life. I just need to learn a few things first. I asked for some D&D books from my brother, who’s a long time D&D dude, so hopefully that helps! I hope you get to play with your friends soon, it’s gotta be leaps and bounds better than playing via zoom like we are right now. Anyway, happy new year!

  6. Given the mess of 2020 I feel like I should start 2021 in a new journal. But i don’t know how I feel about leaving about 1/3 of my current journal blank

    1. I understand! I hate feeling like I’m abandoning a journal with lots of pages left. You could use the rest of that journal for random notes (I have a whole journal just for unstructured notes and chicken scratch), grocery lists and meal plans, or maybe even as a travel journal once travel opens back up again!

  7. Lisa Pitman says:

    Love your web-site I am beginning bullet journaling with my niece, so this site has become my go to. Just a quick not about your 2021 Goals layout…you spelled Career-Carrer. Just thought you should know 🙂 Thank you so much for being such an inspiration.

    1. It’s not my spread unless there’s an obvious misspelling in it ? Thanks for pointing it out, I was waiting for it to show up! ?

  8. I love the colors of your drawings. I have a brand new, fresh journal and I am starting on Jan 1st. I am a little apprehensive that I will mess up, but I am going to enjoy learning. I was trying to get ideas and am curious what read cards 1x a week means if that is not too invasive? I appreciate the fact that you left marriage therapy in there for us to see as I think that is a wonderful way to build a stronger and healthier relationship. I appreciate all your monthly calendars and now I will try to bullet journal because of the work you share. Happy and Healthy New Year.

    1. Don’t worry about messing up, Anna, you’ll do great! I mess up all the time and I’m still getting better all the time. Someone just pointed out that I misspelled the word “career” in this very spread ?

      I read Tarot cards for myself as a way to meditate and work through my problems, but I haven’t been doing it much lately! I’m hoping this year that I can get back into the habit of giving myself that quiet time to think and process. And I love talking about therapy! I love how it’s made our marriage stronger and our communications skills better. It’s a great way for couples to work out small problems before they turn into big problems.

      I hope you have a wonderful new year, and happy planning!

      1. I am a Tarot reader also! What deck(s) do you use? I have bunches of decks, but recently, my primary choice is Everyday Tarot by Brigit Esselmont. The simple illustrations don’t make my brain short out before I can even start reading the cards.
        The Mystic Mondays deck by Grace Duong is another favorite. You and I seem to have similar tastes so I think you’d also appreciate the aesthetics of the deck.
        Have you thought about creating a deck with your artwork? That is something I’d definitely be interested in purchasing.

        1. I have absolutely thought about making a deck, but boy howdy that is a big project! My favorite deck is the Shadowscapes deck by Stephanie Pui-Man Law. Her watercolor artwork has been a big inspiration for me for the better part of the last decade! She does an amazing job making art full of symbolism, movement, color, and an incredible amount of detail. I’ll check out the decks you recommended, I love seeing how different people interpret the art into their own style!

  9. I love this, and seriously admire your skill with watercolors! I too love them but am not even close to your level of skill… yet. I just wanted to ask: I tried a BuJo two years back and it didn’t really work for me. I burned out pretty quick as whilst I love being creative, I didn’t manage to fit it all in. One missed day turned into missed months and it was a bit of a flop. I have found a planner system similar-ish to BuJo that works for me, but it’s all black and white! Would you happen to have any ideas for me-ifying a printed planner?


    1. I totally understand the burnout, Kiara! I regularly go through slumps where I don’t really use my bullet journal for months on end. It’s just a cycle that I’ve come to accept. There are thankfully lots of ways you can jazz up a planner that’s a little plain. Colored pencils can add lots of gorgeous texture and color. You can use a black drawing pen to add doodles in the margins, wreaths around headers, zentangles, or just about anything! Brush pens and highlighters can help you easily add color and shapes. And don’t forget about stickers! Stickers are super easy and incredibly fun. I’m sure you’ll be able to make your planner your own in no time!

  10. You’ve done it again, Shelby. All of this is perfect, especially the Hello 2021 page. I’m in a gold-swirled marble phase and simple, clean layouts are my favorite, so I am totally digging it.
    In the upcoming year, I’m saving my bullet journal for collections and using your Botanical Living system for my planning.
    So looking forward to 2021!

    1. Thank you so much, Heather! I love that you’re using your bullet journal for collections only. It’s a great way to have the fun of the bullet journal with some steady daily structure elsewhere. I definitely need that sometimes, too! I hope you have a stellar 2021!

  11. Hey Shelby!! I love your art, its so inspiring. I was peeking at your goals, and I noticed that under Giving it says “Push causes on platform”. Does that refer to political causes? I hope you don’t start pushing political beliefs on your blog. Bullet journaling is my escape from worrying things, and politics are definitely on that list!

    1. I don’t know exactly what that means yet, Abby! I suppose it depends on the definition of political. What some people consider a political statement I might think of as stating the obvious. For example, I’ve gotten angry responses because in my memories spread I state the fact that Trump lost the 2020 election. To me, it’s a notable event that occurred this year. To others, it felt like a political attack. I can only say what I feel, and some people will always find a way to make it political.

      I care deeply about a lot of things in the world, like access to art, social justice, mental health, etc, and I have a chance to talk about those things in this space. Of course, I fully expect that some people will stop following me because of this, and that’s perfectly okay! No one is obligated to listen to me. I just want to do what I feel is right, and to me, that means being more vocal about issues that are dear to me.

      That being said, I’m not going to stop putting out tutorials, guides, and other helpful posts! I’m moreso talking about starting discussions on social media, not so much on the website. I hope that answers your question!

  12. I was snooping through your goals and saw that you’re a fellow D&D nerd! Honestly, if it weren’t for my weekly games, I don’t know how I would have survived the quarantine. My group is more than just my friends. They’ve become my extended family.

    On topic – I love how simple your layout is. Some of the yearly layouts I’ve seen are so stuffed that I feel it loses sight of the bujo purpose.

    1. I am a brand new D&D nerd, actually! I’m only about a month into my very first campaign, and I’m HOOKED. This has been a fantastic way to virtually hang out with my friends and engage in an immersive entertainment experience. Where has this been all my life?

      And thank you, I’ve been needing simple lately! I just don’t have it in me to get all fancy with my layouts, not this year ?

      1. I’m a brand new D&D nerd also! My fiancè was a Dungeon Master in the late 80s and early 90s and he has told me so many stories that I knew I just had to try it! Im excited to meet other D&Ders ?

        1. I’m quickly learning that it’s quite the community of creative people! I was even talking to my mom yesterday and learned that she was into D&D in her early 20s! Blew my mind, I never knew. It’s such a fun way to connect with people and build something fantastical together ❤️

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