press play: what i’m watching


4 - Press Play - Movie Monday - Monday

March is here! March is here! I love checking Netflix when a new month rolls around as I can usually find some fun, new things to watch. I’ve actually only watched one thing since March rolled around. I’ve been so busy catching up on letters and I’ve switched to YouTube videos for background noise.

Anyway, here is what I’ve been watching lately.

TV Shows:
► Love – Ugh
I’m always really excited for Netflix original shows but this one was incredibly disappointing. The characters were way annoying to me and I had a very hard time relating to anything that was going on. Granted, I stuck it out and watched the entire season. The ending was so annoying!
► Degrassi: Next Class – Guilty Pleasure
Degrassi is my all-time favorite show in the world. I watched The Next Generation episodes when I was in high school. I have fond memories of sleepovers consisting of watching Degrassi and making Oreo milkshakes. The episodes are outrageous, always, and it’s such beautiful drama. I’m so happy Netflix picked this up! I’m waiting for the Degrassi YouTube channel to put up more episodes from the older seasons. I need it!!
► Mad Men – Meh
I absolutely hated this show when I first started it. Just a bunch of rich, terrible people. Somewhere along the line I fell in love with Peggy and Joan and continued watching. I finished out the season once they put the last few episodes on Netflix. The last season was probably my least favorite; the storytelling was all over the place.
► Better Call Saul – YUS!
I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this show but I love it! I loved Saul in Breaking Bad and it’s fun to watch a show that revolves around him.

► Adult Beginnings – Meh
This wasn’t a terrible movie but it wasn’t anything special. There were some cute moments but it was hard for me to relate to anything that was going on.
► Dope – Awesome
This was such a good movie. I loved the aesthetic. I first thought it was set in the 90s but it was just about a bunch of kids who loved the 90s. Their style was on point!
► Like Sunday, Like Rain – Cute
I love Leighton Meester so I was excited to watch this movie. It’s definitely a cute movie!

If you have watched anything worthwhile on Netflix, please let me know! I would love some recommendations.

what i’m working on: writing letters



Holy mail! I’ve been drowning, in the best way possible, in letters. It’s been crazy! I’ve been getting mail from strangers or people I haven’t heard of, in addition to my regular pen pals. I don’t know where everyone came from! I blame Letter Writing Month 😉 It has been really hard to keep on top of everything and it certainly didn’t help that I basically took all of January off from writing letters. After my bike accident, I was in a super weird place and I had a really hard time putting pen to paper. Things are way better now and I’ve been slowly replying to everyone. As of this post, I only have about 7 replies left!


One thing that has been incredibly helpful for me in staying on top of my replies is my bullet journal. For February, I created a little spread to keep track of all the letters I had to write. It was a little daunting at first! When I created the page, I had about 15 people to write back. Seeing that on paper was like, “whoaaa, how am I ever going to write everyone back!?” but it proved to be really motivating for me. I find that I am really motivated by crossing things off. Also in my bullet journal, I create a task in my daily spreads that is “write a letter”. Just having that task there, and knowing that I want to cross it off, will motivate me to write at least one letter.

I was really hoping to complete all of my replies by the end of February but last weekend kind of got away from me and I just couldn’t do it. I was so close! But it shouldn’t be long before I get all caught up. I really hope I can do it this weekend.

press play: what i’m listening to

Music, Personal


This week’s playlist is near and dear to my heart. I was introduced to riot grrl music just as I was starting high school. Listening to Julie Ruin and hearing lyrics like “how many girls stay awake all night, too scared to sleep and too scared to fight back, I know you know what i’m talking about, another woman killed and hardly a pout about it” were incredibly eye-opening and life changing. These bands and lyrics definitely shaped me into the feminist I am today. Even if the lyrics weren’t meaningful, it was incredibly important to me to listen to music made by women. As much as I loved the more political anthems by Le Tigre, I could always get down to there playful jams like TKO and their cover of I’m So Excited.


Check out some of my favorite grrrl bands below!

If you have any recommendations for me, please let me know!

to do: how to track your life



You guys, my bullet journal has changed my life. I started the journal at the beginning of the year, after obsessively watching videos on YouTube about them. One of the things that really made me decide to start one was the habit tracker that Boho Berry included in hers. It seemed like the best way to keep track of your life; a constant little reminder of something that you needed to do each day.

My habit tracker isn’t much for habits but more for things that I want to make sure to do often, not necessarily daily. I never remember to post to my Dactyl Life Facebook (and I’m still terrible at it) but have that little square to fill in each day really motivates me to do so. I just love being able to look at the tracker and see where I’m exceeding and failing.


In addition to the habit tracker, I set up the blog tracker in my journal. The only way that I am able to consistently stay on top of this blog is to have this tracker. It changed everything. It’s so great to have an overview of my posts, what is complete or needs to be completed, and if I’ve started to work on the next month’s posts.


Do you have a bullet journal? How do you keep track of your habits?

dactyl facts


At the end of last year, December 30th to be exact, I fell on my bike. That sounds innocent enough, huh? It’s bound to happen and it certainly wasn’t the first time I fell while riding my bike. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a simple fall.

That morning, I hopped on my bike to head to work. It was a chilly morning, similar to the other days, with a little frost on the car windows. I coasted down the hill from my apartment building, slowing down to make my first left turn. The second I started to turn my bike, it slipped out from under me; the road was iced over. The next thing I remember is getting up off of the ground. Immediately I knew something was not right. I wasn’t in pain but my tongue found its way over my front teeth and pieces were missing. Yikes! I didn’t know what to do. I picked up my bike and starting walking back up the hill to my apartment building.

I got inside, woke up my boyfriend and we examined my teeth. Sure enough, they were cracked. My front teeth! One tooth was completely cracked in half, one had the side chipped off, and another had a little chip at the bottom. I honestly didn’t know what to do. My boyfriend thought we should go out and try to collect the pieces off the ground. So we spent some time searching the road in the early hours of the morning, using our phones as flashlights. We managed to find them all!


After that adventure, my boyfriend went online to search for a dentist that was open. Most were closed for the new year holiday but we managed to find one that was open. They had a full schedule but graciously fit me in. The dentist fixed me right up with temporary fillings to make my teeth look like teeth again.

Unfortunately, the saga didn’t end there. The fillings were just temporary after all! I couldn’t use my front teeth at all, due to pain as well as dentist’s orders. Eventually I was to get crowns for all the broken teeth. The dentist warned that I might need a root canal for the one that broke in half but only time would tell.

Well, time told. After about two weeks, my tooth started to change colors and become incredibly sensitive. At my next dentist appointment, I had a surprise root canal instead of the initial crown prep. After the root canal, I had two rounds of internal bleaching on the tooth to restore it to it’s original color. Then, crown prep!

Last week I went in for the crown prep. The dentist made molds of my teeth, shaved them down, and fitted me with a temporary crown and temporary veneers. My teeth are feeling much better but I’m still eating everything with a knife and fork.

Today (!!) I go to the dentist and get my permanent “teeth”. I’m so excited for this whole process to be over with but I’m mostly excited about taking a big ol’ bite into a sandwich, when everything is said and done. The procedures have all been very pleasant, thank god for anesthesia.

press play: what i’m watching


4 - Press Play - Movie Monday - Monday

My Netflix consumption has dropped! I’m actually kind of surprised. I haven’t been watching a lot of new programs or movies because I can’t find anything that really appeals to me. I finished watching new episodes of a bunch of TV shows I’ve already started; Parenthood, X-Files, Parks and Recreation. You know, the staples.

Netflix can be so frustrating. It’s so hard to search for quality shows. They give you all of these wacky lists on the main page and it’s kind of a pain to search for anything else. I just don’t have the motivation to go searching and searching for something! I don’t understand their algorithms, at all. Most of the movies or shows in the “Top Picks for Tara” are things they think I would rate one star. Huh!?!

Anyway, here is what I’ve been watching lately.

TV Shows:
► Jane the Virgin – Guilty Pleasure
I was really hesitant to start watching this show but it is actually good. There is a ton of unrealistic drama and incredibly cheesy moments. It’s very entertaining though! I also love Gina Rodriguez, even if she supports Hillary Clinton…
► Making a Murderer – Infuriating
Where do I even begin? I watched the first episode of this series and was bored to tears; it was just so slow-going. I eventually started the second episode and became hooked. The main takeaway from this series is how awful the criminal justice system is.
► Laid – SO GOOD
I turned this on thinking it was a movie. I almost stopped watching once I realized it was actually a TV show because I didn’t have an interest to start yet another show. I’m so happy I continued watching. It’s such a funny show!
► Chelsea Does – Ugh
Seriously, not worth your time. I saw some folks praising this show so I gave it a go. All I can say is, Chelsea is insufferable.

► The Ladykillers – Don’t do it
Oof, what is this movie!? I had it on as background noise and still thought it was horrible.
► The Overnight – Ugh
You guys, I’ve been having the worst luck with finding movies. Another awful, no good movie. This one is just about a bunch of hipster parents who get together for dinner. Once their kids go to bed, they get wasted and things happen. It’s bad.
► Safelight – Nothing special
I really love Evan Peters and Juno Temple so I was excited to watch this movie. It’s a cute little movie but nothing super memorable about it. My favorite part is when Juno’s character pulls a gun on some bullies.

If you have watched anything worthwhile on Netflix, please let me know! I would love some recommendations.

what i’m working on



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For the new year, I started a bullet journal. In December, I found a video by Boho Berry, which was a flip through of her bullet journal and I immediately fell in love. I’ve never, ever been one for planning or making goals or anything like that but I have always been a list maker and a journaler. I would have multiple post-its notes floating around of things I wanted to do, stuff I wanted to check out or things I wanted to buy. The idea of putting all of this into one simple journal was incredibly appealing. It was also really appealing to start journaling again. I journaled a ton as a kid/teenager and sort of stopped in my early twenties. I love looking back on those times in my life!

In addition to the journal, I use a variety of pens in it. I love my Tombow Dual Brush Pens for headers and making the colored dots. I also use the Paper Mate Flair pens for the daily headers. This month, I’m going to start using my pack of Staedtler pens!



The bullet journal is a super easy system and you basically customize it to work for you. As I mentioned, I’m not big on goals so I don’t have a lot of things I need to do each day, but there are things that I should get done so it’s nice to jot that down and have a reminder there. I’m much better at getting things done when I write down the task. I used Google Calendar for a long time but it’s so easy for me to forget about and ignore. I look at this journal at least once a day, usually more. It’s perfect.

The journal I use is the Leuchtturm 1917 with dots. I purchased the orange cover just because I couldn’t find a purple one with dots. Out the of the colors I could find with dots, orange was my favorite. I’m hoping I can snag a purple one to use when this one is full. I love the Leuchtturm journal as it already has numbered pages and an index. One of the big things about bullet journaling is indexing all of your spreads and collections.


After the index, I jotted down my key. Mine is really simple because I honestly don’t do that much. Everything that I have as a “to do” is something that will get done that specific day. I don’t have a need to migrate tasks or anything like that. I also don’t have a lot of appointments (besides dentist appointments now…) so just having the open circle to differentiate an appointment versus task works for me!

I also have a brain dump as one of the first few pages. I like having a place where I can quickly jot down things that come to mind or things that I want to include in the journal at some point. It’s very helpful!



After the key and brain dump, I began my January spread. I included the first three months of the year on the left side so I could easily do future planning, if needed. On the right, it breaks down January by day and it’s a great overview of things that I have done or want to do during the month. It’s a great way to keep track of appointments or days off since you don’t typically do the daily spreads in advance.


One of my favorite things about Boho Berry’s journal was her tracker. I think that was the reason I fell in love with this system. It’s so important for me to have a reminder of things that I want to do daily and it’s also motivating. I love being able to fill in each box when I complete a daily task. I also added a blog tracker so I could easily keep track of which blog posts I’ve done or need to do.


I include a lot of collections in my journal. This is my “Music to Check Out”, which is my most important collection. I often hear songs that make me want to check out the band’s other music but I always forget. I love having this reminder!

You can also check out my bullet journal flip through video over on YouTube.

Do you bullet journal? Tell me what you love about it!

press play: what i’m listening to

Music, Personal


I used to only listen to music when I was walking and I kind of stopped listening to new music because I couldn’t really afford to buy new albums. They were just not in my budget! However, Christmas rolled around and I had a little extra spending money. I decided to buy some albums I had my eye on, except I didn’t buy the physical album. For the first time ever, I purchased digital music. Ack! It was kind of a moment for me as I never thought I would purchase music digitally before. I love having a physical album but it’s just not always feasible. I’d love to beef up my vinyl collection so I figure I will start buying new-to-me artists/albums digitally and then go on to purchase their records, if I happen to love the music.

Since Spotify has a nice little playlist feature, I thought it might be kind of fun to share some of the stuff that I’m listening to! This week I’m sharing my current jams. Since I purchased some new music, I started listening to more music on my bike commute to work.

I’m especially in love with Saul Williams’ new album. It’s seriously perfect. His music never disappoints and he is an incredible human being. I want to introduce him to as many people as possible. I’ll never forget the time I saw him live and I got to shake his hand and dance with him. Forever etched into my memory, and probably the greatest night of my life.

Check out some of the new music I have been listening to.

What new songs are you currently listening to?

to do


I’ve never been a goal oriented person. I have no desire to create a bucket list or any other list of things I want to do or see. If I need to do something, I do it. Maybe that thing doesn’t get completed in a timely matter but it will get done! Lately I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with things I want to do or create. Half the time I think of these right before I go to sleep and I don’t right them down, swearing that I’ll remember in the morning. Of course, I never remember! So, I bought myself a journal specifically for bullet journaling. For a long time, I was using Google Calendar to mark tasks and keep track of my life but I slowly realized that does not work for me. I love looking at my day, week, or month and having that reminder that I need to get something done but, at the end of the day, it was easy to ignore or push off to the side. I realized that I need to write things down and have a place to jot down notes.

I don’t think I’ll become one of those super creative journal/planner people, mostly because that is a lot of time and effort. I like to make things pretty for other people, not myself! The physical act of writing something down makes me remember it, which is where Google Calendar failed me. In my journal, I write down a few things each day that I want to accomplish and, hopefully, I’ll do it. I also love the bullet journal idea to keep lists or collections of things. Writing down stuff like books I want to check out or music I want to buy is so great. This month I am focusing on my blog by writing posts, brainstorming ideas, and taking pictures. I’m trying to take it in teeny tiny steps so I don’t burn myself out. So far, so good!

Do you like making goals? How do you keep track of your life?

dactyl facts


9 - About Tara - Friday

I’ve always wanted to share more things about myself on this blog but I never really know how to approach it without it seeming forced or appropriate. I’ve always had an incredibly hard time talking about myself. I’m just not that interesting, you know? I go to work, I go to the gym, I take walks, sometimes I hang out with friends, I watch a lot of Netflix, and I write letters. That’s me! Well, of course there is more to it than that, but how do you bring it up? I’ve never figured it out. So, I thought, why not dedicate an entire post to me. Things that I’m thinking about or doing. It’s going to be random.

Now that it is summer is long gone, I feel like I’m turning back into a person. Although I grew up in the desert of Las Vegas, I’ve never been a fan of summer. I think I hate summer more than most because of Las Vegas. I can’t function in the heat, especially if there isn’t an escape from it. In Las Vegas, we had A/C. In Portland, we don’t. My apartment was, at minimum, a stifling 90 degrees all summer long. I looked forward to going to work every day because it was an escape from the heat. When I came home from work, I would sit on the couch with 3 fans pointed at me and didn’t move until I had to go to bed. I couldn’t get anything done! My energy was drained and my creativity went with it.

I’m writing letters and making things again, and I have all sorts of thoughts and ideas of things I want to be doing. I’m leaving my house more and the idea of taking a long bike ride doesn’t make me want to cry. It’s only going to get better! I’m pretty sure I need to bite the bullet and invest in an A/C for next summer. I can’t imagine feeling like this again.