School Supplies for Grown-Ups + My Top 5 Must Haves for Creative Journal Writing

Even though my neon orange pedicure is fading fast, and oh, how I love summer, I’m finding the cooler weather in Seattle to be a welcomed relief after our record-breaking heat this year. Plus, I love back-to-school “season”! This is the first year, that I’m not rushing to the office supply store with my son to gather all the goods on his teacher’s must-have lists. He’s starting college this year—wow–hard to believe…

Ok, back to school supplies–my favorite part of back-to-school. Always has been. I remember, when I was a kid, the afternoon after the first day of school, making a B-line to Arcade Stationers, literally with everyone and their brother (and sister). This was before the days of office supply super stores. This store serviced two school districts, so it was complete madness. I had my list in hand and I was ready for the crowd.


Folders with pockets, 3-ring binders (the kind that were covered with a linen-like fabric, remember?), #2 pencils, loose-leaf paper and dividers, reinforcements for said loose leaf paper, college ruled composition notebooks, prêt-a-porter text book covers (never quite mastered the brown paper bag origami) and then the fun stuff: pens of all different colors, extra erasers that smelled like fruit, a mini-ruler, lip gloss (most likely Maybelline Kissing Potion), and the mandatory new pencil case that would house all of these wonderful things. Those were the days. I relived them for 12 years with my son (well, not the lip gloss), but why stop now?   How about treating your grown-up self to some new swag?

If you need an excuse, it’s a great time to start a new journal! Do you keep a journal? I really recommend it. There’s even research on the benefits of journal writing!  Whether you want to explore the possibilities, renew, or re-invigorate a journal practice let me help get you started!  All you need (besides the swag) is a curiosity about what journal writing might open up for you, and a willingness to experiment and be surprised by the wellsprings of your own creativity.

And what does keeping a journal have to do with Real Food + Real Beauty?

Living a passionate and fulfilling life means taking care of your whole self: body, mind, spirit & heart.

And taking care of your whole self is always a good thing when you’re working on making peace with food and your body.  Journaling can be an amazing part of the self-care!

I don’t go anywhere without some form of journal. I really like Moleskine journals. The paper quality is nice, there are usually pockets included and a band that holds it all together, but the best journal for you is one you’re going to love to write in.

Keeping a Creative Journal is a mix of writing, working with color and images (drawing, painting, collage…) guided prompts, and reflections. You most certainly do not have to be a fantastic writer or artist to keep a creative journal.

For me, a journal is a safe container to consider my innermost musings. It’s a place for venting and release; solitude and peace; fabulous ‘ahas’.  Most importantly, I can be my most vulnerable when I am writing and creating in my journal, and in turn, that helps me to make choices about being vulnerable outside of my journal. The journal is a reflection of me, in the moment, in every phase of my life. It’s gritty, beautiful, and feels like an extension of myself.

I’m going to get you started with a prompt, and each week, if you sign up to receive my blog in your inbox, you’ll get a new prompt to get you going!

Here are my Top Five Must Haves

#1. The Book

Why be limited by lines, college ruled or other? Try an unlined journal, or even better a sketchbook… Consider a blank cover also! Then you can make your own cover art! Think about the binding of the book too. Do you prefer spiral? Hardcover? Of course, there’s always the option of making and binding your own journal! Oh la la! Like I said, I love moleskine, but any good art supply store should have a variety of sketchbooks and journals to get you going.

#2. The Pens

You may already have a favorite pen, but if not, you can experiment with ink, tip size, and style. I love extra fine tips for writing. There are archival pens, gel pens, roller balls, felt tips…it’s staggering. I’m really into the no-bleed sharpies right now, and you should be able to find them easily. Pens can also be for drawing or doodling, and they will work differently on different paper.

#3. The Color

It’s overwhelming, so I’m going to start you with my absolute fave thing. A client turned me onto these years ago: stabilo roll up markers What I love about them is that they’re filled with great, fine tip colors for writing and drawing, and the portable roll up case is a no brainer! There are many, many choices though. And markers come in a huge variety of size, color, and cost. Choose what works for you. They’re a great way to get going with putting some color into your journal. In future posts, I’ll share more ideas about this!

#4. Adhesives and Scissors

Consider the kind of paper you’re working with before you select an adhesive, but you can’t go wrong with a good quality glue stick. Or dare I suggest rubber cement? Really, it’s too toxic (when I think about the amount of rubber cement I used back-in-the-day…oy!) Why, you ask do you need an adhesive? See #5

As for scissors, I do love Fiskars. They come in many different sizes and colors now, but I’d recommend a pointed tip for precision. And think about size, if you want portability of your journal supplies.

#5. Collage Materials

Photos, found items, special art papers, magazine pictures/words, fabric, old cards, ticket stubs…the possibilities are endless. How is this different from a traditional scrapbook? It’s not meant for display, and it doesn’t need to be organized, pretty, or linear. Collage adds texture and image that can become a part of telling your story. More tips on how to use collage will be in future posts.

Here’s your first prompt:

What’s the earliest memory you have of school?

Memory jog: Who was a favorite teacher and why? What did you do at recess? Who did you sit next to in class?… A school lunch that you remember vividly…Being called on in class and not knowing the answer…The time you fell off the jungle gym…

The memories might be sweet, painful, or anywhere in between. See what happens as you start writing about this…Where does it take you?

So, get started on your journal, and let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear from you!