This week on #PeopleOfPaperblanks, we had the pleasure of speaking to bullet journaling addict and bujo inspiration to many, Nicole Barlettano. She is a multitalented bullet journalist, designer, illustrator and mother but is known to many (45,000 fans) as Bujo Blossoms.
We are so grateful to Nicole for sharing with us not only her journey, the inspiration behind her work and the secrets behind her impressive hidden talents, but also a sneak peek into her personal life and how she juggles her various roles and responsibilities.
It has been such a pleasure to get to know Nicole. Check out the full interview below – it is sure to give you a sudden urge to start planning and have you dreaming of perfectly structured lines for days!
A little bit about Nicole…
Name: Nicole Barlettano
Location: Northern NJ, USA
Places of Travel: Local destination – NYC / Foreign destination – Punta Cana, D.R.
Passions: Bullet journaling, drawing, painting, reading, stitchwork, puzzles, & motherhood
Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree in Art / Concentration in Graphic Design
Occupation: Freelance Senior Product Designer & Illustrator
Favourite Quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
Social media: @bujo_blossoms Instagram account
Interview with Nicole
For anyone who is unaware of what bullet journaling is, can you please give a brief description of how it works?
For me, it is a way to plan and organize my life creatively and functionally, without rules. If I try something one week, and it doesn’t work for me, I can completely change my approach the following week. What better way to describe bullet journaling than to quote its creator, Ryder Carroll – “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” I owe a lot to Ryder for bringing this system into my life – it’s the system I never knew I needed until I stumbled upon it.
How did you get started in bullet journaling?
I’ve never been someone to throw open a sketchbook and loosely doodle all over it, I’ve always needed some sort of structure… and I’ve always loved planners but found that a pre-made planner never really suited my lifestyle. Once I discovered bullet journaling (on Pinterest), I dove right in and I was instantly hooked.
To what do you owe your incredible following of over 40,000 people on Instagram? Did you set up your account with the intent to grow such a large audience?
I’ve always wanted to share my work in one form or another but never had the courage. I’m truthfully very shy when it comes to making something so personal, SO public. I went through a traumatic experience that truly changed me, and I thought that if this is something I am passionate about, I should share it with others. I never EVER expected to gain the following I have, and I am shocked and unbelievably grateful every single day. I remember how excited I was when I received my first follower. They all mean so much to me. The bullet journaling community is filled with so many kind, creative, and supportive people. I’m extremely honoured just to be a part of it. I owe it all to them.
What is your favourite Bullet Journal layout to create and why?
I would say it’s a tie between my doodle lists and my monthly memory pages. I love the idea of looking back at my journal as a visual diary or time capsule.
From where do you get your artistic inspiration?
Everywhere! I find the most inspiration from my peers on Instagram. Everyone has their own style and brings so many lovely ideas to the table. I feel that through bullet journaling, I have finally found my artistic “style” – something that has taken me years to discover.
You juggle being a mother, designer, illustrator and bullet journalist. What advice do you have for anyone who is struggling to continue to in their passions while maintaining a busy work/family life?
Quite honestly, it’s not easy. I used to make excuses for not taking the time to pursue my passions and hobbies. I would say that I was too tired, busy, overwhelmed – but truthfully, even though those things still stand true, bullet journaling helps me organize my hectic life while also providing a creative outlet. I feel that if you find something that is truly important to you, you’ll find the time.
Over the Christmas period, you incorporated a lot of festivity into your drawings. What is your favourite time of year for bullet journaling and why?
Christmas was fun! I think my favourite time for bullet journaling is the start of a new year. I love starting fresh and reflecting on the year before.
Apart from bullet journaling, what other passions or talents do you have?
I love drawing, which I incorporate into my journaling as often as possible. It’s something that I’ve been in love with since I was a child. I also love reading, puzzles, and stitchwork. I tend to lean toward relaxing hobbies – I’m all about comfort! Mostly, I’m very passionate about being a mother. My daughter encourages me to be my best self every day, even when I’m not feeling my best.
What does the future of “Bujo Blossoms” look like?
I am hoping to expand through other forms of social media such as Facebook and YouTube, and eventually, a blog and an Etsy store. I’m also excited to announce a name change in the near future.
Lastly, if you were stuck on a deserted island, what three objects and which three “Instagrammers” would you take with you?
To refrain from going the logical route of life-saving objects, I’ll keep this light and bujo related.
I’d take my bullet journal, a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen and a ruler.
As for the 3 Instagrammers –
- I’d love to group the entire bullet journaling community into one Instagram account so I could take them all! (I know I’m cheating, but I can’t decide!)
- One of my favourite artists @mabgraves – her talent, imagination, and strength are out of this world and something to aspire to.
- Someone I admire for her creativity and drive is @amytangerine – she has truly built her own empire, and I have admired her passion for years.
Will there be a dottet paperblanks book in the near future? 😀
There will! We have heard your requests and are working on making this happen as soon as we can 😀
I’m also impatiently waiting for the dotted version of Paperblanks journals.. I’m using the Nox blank midi format for my bullet journaling, but having the dotted version would be soooo much better!! Please tell us Paperblanks is going to make them!! (Seriously guys, even Moleskine is making them! You can’t let them have the best choice!!)
We hear you! We are hard at work making this happen and hope to make an announcement soon 😀
Love this and I’m such a fan of Nicole’s work!! Such a talent and inspiration to everyone with a bullet journal! I also love how she tracks her self care and habits. #bujogoals
Thanks Cathleen, we agree! Nicole’s bullet journals really set the standard and are total inspiration.