Guilty Pleasures, Romance Novels, and Bullet Journaling 101 (001)

Hey, Bestie!
Guilty Pleasures, Romance Novels, and Bullet Journaling 101 (001)


In the very first episode of Hey, Bestie!, hosts of the show and besties, Sarah and Kim, discuss why they dislike “guilty pleasure” as a label, ShondaLand, and reading romance novels. They also chat about Bullet Journaling and their progress with it since starting in January 2017.

Guilty Pleasures

Sarah is really not a fan of people calling things a “guilty pleasure” and shares why.

Shonda Rhimes of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and the rest of the ShondaLand has mentioned being annoyed by people calling her shows guilty pleasures before.

Sarah celebrates that Kim finally started watching Grey’s Anatomy after only about one solid decade of telling her she should.

Other than TV, romance novels also get mentioned alongside “guilty pleasure”… But why? They make up more than half of all mass market paperback sales.

A book about this that Sarah recommends: Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained by Maya Rodale. These infographics made from the book about the romance genre and romance readers are great.

Sarah isn’t sure who said this originally, but ever since she read it in a tweet, it’s stuck in her mind:

Romance novels are books where women get to have sex without dying.

Sarah read her first romance at the start of 2014 and has read 350+ since. They chat about why she started reading them and how it came about.

First romance novel Sarah read: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean. (Follow author @sarahmaclean on Twitter.)

Sarah started with historical romance, thinking the history bits would be fun to read. She’s a fan of Regency romances, and some other time periods and places too. She really likes the unexpected heroines (for the time), like the secret scientists, women involved in politics, and the newspaper columnist hidden behind a masculine pen name.

Kim asks Sarah why she thinks the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon happened. (It was Twilight FanFic!)

They agree they both love hearing stories about books that helped women love reading. Sarah blogged five tips for reading more books here.

Romance Novel Recommendations:

For historical romance, definitely check out the previously mentioned series by Sarah MacLean (and the rest of her books because Sarah loves them all). Then look into Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series. (The Suffragette Scandal is a definite favorite!) Also consider Tessa Dare’s Romancing the Duke (secret lady-author alert!) which kicks off her very fun Castles Ever After series. And also Maya Rodale’s Writing Girls series!

For contemporary romance, try the super sexy Looking for Trouble (the first in the Jackson: Girls’ Night Out series) by Victoria Dahl. If returning to the same town to visit varying characters there sounds fun (I love it!) check out the Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold books. I also really love a series that has books for various members of the same family, like Shannon Stacey’s The Kowalskis, the Gansett Island series by Marie Force, and (for a historical option) Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons are a delight.

(I can recommend romance novels all day so I’ll stop here, but if you’re ever looking for something in particular, let me know! I love helping people find the right one. –Sarah)

Bullet Journaling

Starts at 22:25.

Sarah and Kim both started bullet journaling at the start of 2017. They chat about their previous failed attempts at other types of organizing/journaling and why bullet journaling works.

Learn the basics about bullet journaling on

Basically: make an index in the front to help you keep track of what’s on all the pages (since it starts out as a blank journal), then add collections for time periods (a future log for the whole year, then monthly, weekly, daily pages, or whatever works for you) and data collection (lists of books read, blog posts to write, podcast topic ideas, travel plans, and so on).

Some people track lots of things in their bullet journal, like water consumption, exercise done, hours slept, etc.

Here’s a glimpse at Sarah setting up her weekly spread:

Prepping for next week.

A post shared by Sarah Blackstock (@sarahblackstock) on

Tip: Don’t go on Instagram or search for ideas on Pinterest unless you’re ready to accidentally make yourself feel like your bullet journal has to be way more elaborate and fancy than it actually does.

Sarah and Kim share how they use their journals, when they set up their pages, the bullets they use, and how it’s worked for each of them for the past six months.

Sarah shares photos from inside her bullet journal on Instagram sometimes. And so does Kim! And we warned you, but so do lots of other people using #bulletjournal on Instagram.

Bullet Journaling Supplies we like:

  • Leuchtturm1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Notebook w/Dotted Pages, like these.
  • PaperMate’s Ink Joy gel pens in black & lots of fun colors, available here.
  • 6-Inch Beveled Transparent Ruler, Sarah’s here.
  • Faber Castell’s Pitt Pigmented Drawing India Ink Artist Pens, available here.
  • Washi Tape & other little stickers and bits of paper for decoration (and covering mistakes). Target has washi tape and their Dollar Spot is great for little decorative papers and planner-themed pieces.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and leave a review on iTunes. You’re the best!