A Peek in My Planner: 2015 Edition

A few weeks ago I wrote about the planner I used in 2014 and showed how I was modifying it to be a better fit for my needs.  When it was time to order my 2015 planner (I think I did this in September?) I knew I wouldn’t get the same planner again. Decorating with washi tape is fun and I still do it, but it shouldn’t be necessary to make your planner work for you.a love letter to my planner

When it came to picking a new planner I wanted something that:

  • Suited the way I plan my days
  • Was stylish, but still professional
  • Had plenty of room to write
  • Was neutral so my color coding/decorating was the only color in the book

The Day Designer had a lot of great reviews on blogs and YouTube. Yes, I caught myself watching 20 minute long YouTube videos where girls did a walk through of how they set up their planners. Inevitably, I would roll my eyes and ask myself “why are you still watching this??”  Click, click, repeat.

I ordered my 2015 planner as soon as I had an opportunity. Now let me tell you, this is one pricy planner. Part of what I liked about The Day Designer was the community. You get access to webinars aimed at helping you get organized, define and establish really solid goals and so on along with your purchase. Bonus!

The Day Designer is just that, a daily planner. It’s set up like this:

Daily PageMonthly View

And then, of course, here are some pictures of what it looks like when I start decorating. Weekends are combined on one page so you lose some of the daily items. I don’t really schedule my weekends, I usually turn those into checklist pages.

Here’s what February looked like at the beginning of the month. I’ll share a picture on Instagram when February is over so you can see how it evolved. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I obsessively post pictures of this planner because I love it so much.
Monthly spread decorated

In addition to the planner pages, the 2015 version of The Day Designer comes with strategic planning worksheets. I know that sounds a bit weird/intimidating. When I first got the planner I was like “wait, why do I want this? I’m not a business! I don’t need a strategic plan.”  False. Those worksheets really helped me with my goals for this year and empowered me to set myself up for success in a way I hadn’t thought about before.

The downside to this planner is that just like me, everyone else decided this was the year they wanted in on The Day Designer awesomeness. It’s a small company and they’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of orders they received. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for Whitney English and her team because that’s what everyone dreams will happen to their small business, but this has cut back on some of the community aspects I fell in love with. I’m already not sure I’ll be able to get my hands on one of these for 2016!

There are other things I wish I could do with this planner, like add pages or sections. I’m pretty sure I could re-create most of what I love about this planner with a ring-bound planner just by finding the right inserts. So we’ll see! For now, my obsession continues.


Did You See That?

Last night I started a blog post for today and then got distracted with a million other things. Like completely re-designing my blog. And in all my tinkering, I mixed things up and my basically empty post went live.


snow flare is not a thing

Good thing it was just a few pictures, right?

Yeah, so it was amateur night on the blog. These things happen.

In other news, I feel like the universe is having a good time with me right now. Like at the start of most years, I set goals and started brainstorming. In fact I did a lot of planning for this year with all kinds of hopes and dreams. I decided this would be the year I went back to blogging and built up my YouTube channel. I was going to save all the money and do all the crafts and all kinds of things.

Notably absent from my goals for the year was anything having to do with weight loss, dieting – what have you. It’s not that I don’t want to lose weight but that interest has fallen under some other priorities that feel a lot heavier (gah) than the extra pounds I’m carrying. So I didn’t set any “I’m going lose __ pounds in 2015″ plans. But we all know what they say about the best laid plans, right?

Right after I jumped into working on my goals for the year I got picked for not one but TWO major projects at work. I usually keep my professional life (appropriately) separate from this blog so one project I won’t discuss, but gosh wouldn’t you know that the other project is ALL ABOUT healthy living, fitness, weight loss and encouraging other people to do those things?

Message received, universe.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean I’m just going to hurl myself back into weight loss blogging. I’m not even going to change my plans and say that losing weight is now my goal. But I’ll have to figure out what my plans are, exactly, because it’ll be pretty hard for me to encourage other people to do things I’m not doing myself.

So this is me, going back to revise all those goals for the year. It’s time to make space for some things I didn’t expect to be doing in 2015. Which is pretty much how life always works, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s time to get used to that.

not digging this matte lipstick


A Peek in My Planner

I know, you’re probably wondering why I would bother coming out of a blog break if all I’m going to do is talk about something as boring as a day planner. Believe it or not, someone requested this post! Maybe it’s because I’ve mentioned my planner obsession a few too many times and made people curious. But hopefully your inner voyeur will get a kick out of this little peek into my life.

I’ve always loved having a planner and there’s something about writing it all down that appeals to me. I use my paper planner in conjunction with my phone and Outlook calendars which builds redundancy and reinforces those crucial reminders.
the ec planner
Right now I use the Erin Condren Life Planner because I’m a total bandwagon-jumper-onner. I saw a bunch of friends and other bloggers using them and decided I wanted one for myself. It’s a weekly planner that you can customize with your name/monogram and, if you don’t like their designs, your own photos. Yes, those are my pictures all over the front!

Here’s what the inside looks like. There’s a monthly view, complete with notes section and inspirational quote.

Monthly View

And the weekly pages look like this:
Weekly View
As it’s currently December and I was just able to show you blank pages from March and April, that should show you exactly how well this planner in its original form worked for me. Once I got past the shimmery “my pictures are on my planner and I have the same one as everyone else” stage I realized that the way this planner breaks out the week just doesn’t work for me. I also noticed that after carrying it around the edges started to look kind of gross and that it doesn’t look super professional sitting on your desk. Maybe that’s just because I have photos of my dogs on the entire back…whatever.

But I wasn’t interested in buying a new planner partway through the year because this one was not cheap. Enter the magic of washi tape and free time. I can’t even remember now how I came across this strange collection of people who personalize the heck out of their planners this way but believe me when I say they are FAR more invested and dedicated to the art of planner hacking than I am.

My monthly view is pretty standard. I track the major events for the month and use washi tape to indicate events that span multiple days:

My Month
Then I break down the weekly pages into smaller segments. My daily activities don’t break neatly into “morning, day, and night” so I use each segment for a different topic:
An Empty Week
It took a while to figure out how to configure the segments so they would work best for me but now I have it down. Here’s a sample of how I use the smaller sections:
How I fill in my week
If you can read through my scribbles you’ll see that’s daily reminders, that day’s cleaning task(s), exercise plans (I’ve changed this to menu planning now), financial task(s) or reminders, work notes, and then my blog post topic or task(s) for the day.

All of that said, I’m sure plenty of you are out there thinking “ain’t no one got time” and you’re right. I use this system for two reasons – I didn’t want to spend money on something I already had and 2 – tearing off washi tape doesn’t actually take up that much of my time. I sit down once a month and split up the whole month at one time, usually while I watch TV so it’s already “unproductive” time.  Filling in the sections once they’re already there isn’t any more time consuming than normal.

Obviously the way you use a planner is pretty personal so I can’t sit here and say this is the best and everyone should be doing it, but it was a fun workaround for me. My 2015 planner (still bubble wrapped from when I received it months ago…) will hopefully meet my needs without all the tape but I might find myself making excuses to use it anyway.


It’s Been A While


Jarlsburg and Menage

This wine and cheese was dedicated to the fact that I have (spoiler alert) unpacked my last box from this year’s move. My new home actually looks like home now instead of the recycling pile and that’s pretty glorious.

So what does one do when she’s settled in? I decided to tuck myself into bed with the aforementioned glass of wine and blow the dust off my blog. How about a quick rundown on what I’ve been up to while I was away?

1) My friends threw me a pretty fabulous 30th Birthday party. I mean, really.

I'm still eating the leftovers.

2) I was strong-armed into participating in Thanksgiving yet again this year. My thoughts on Thanksgiving are already well documented and I’ve been trying all year to prepare my mother for the fact I have no interest in celebrating it again (ever) but as you can see…I need some more practice saying no. Good food, priceless company – I shouldn’t complain.
That face

3) Then the packing began. See, back in September my roommate got engaged (I’ve done this to almost every one of my recent past roommates) which meant I was either going to live with the happy couple or strike out alone. And so it came to pass…
Ugh.Even more ugh.

4) What gets packed obviously has to get unpacked. This year my Christmas decorating bug hit hard. Possibly because I started pinning things in July. Irregardless, I dove into the Christmas decorations before 80% of my house was unpacked. That’s where I found this little stowaway. I have NO idea where he came from, and my former roommate swears it’s not hers, but he stays because he’s adorable.
No clue.

As I was packing/unpacking my poor little guys were pretty overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that Mocha, who normally runs from the camera, let me take this picture.  Have you ever seen anything more adorable/pathetic?10000% done.

6) Since my new home has a bathtub I have cultivated a love of baths. Specifically glittery bubble baths taken while watching TV. I used to just get bored and overheated in a bath but now that I can bring my phone and/or iPad with me I can sit for hours. Preferably with a drink. It’s my favorite way to unwind and it’s possible I have taken one almost every night this week. so many obsessions in one photo

After one week of feeling like I’d never find a place for everything, I can say that I’m unpacked. I still have a lot of settling in to do but at least the boxes are empty and out of the house. This feels like nothing short of a miracle given it was an incredibly stressful week at work with lots of long hours.

So not only is my tough week at work over now, but my new place is well on the way to being the dreamy sanctuary I wanted it to be. I can’t wait to give you a full tour!
the happy ending

Catching Up

Well hey.
new hair don't care
It’s been a minute or two since I last had enough time to put together an actual blog post (gasp). Not that my weekly posts are fake but…they’re a one-sided portrayal of my life. Not that this blog will ever be an accurate depiction of my daily life but you know what I mean.

So exactly what have I been up to during my unplanned blog vacation? Oh just a little of everything. We can start with this weekend when my roommate dyed my hair and it came out beautiful. The color is gorgeous and perfect for the start of fall. I also cut 2 inches off my hair (yes, I did it myself) but you’d never notice.
oh Mocha
If you were concerned that maybe my dogs are not cute anymore, you would be wrong. This is Mocha waiting outside Erika’s door for Jackson to come out and play for 5 seconds before they went back to ignoring each other. In a strange plot twist, Mocha’s gotten camera shy as of late and runs away when you try to take pictures of him. I was surprised he didn’t bolt when I took this one.

This weekend wasn’t all hair dye and puppy dogs though. I did quite a few projects and unfortunately didn’t manage to properly finish a single one.

I had concord grapes in this week’s CSA basket and thought they’d be perfect for jam. Having done berry jams successfully before I figured I would pick out a recipe for the grapes and all would be well. I picked one from a book on canning because I have trust issues when it comes to preserving. But it wasn’t meant to be – I cooked it too long and when I left it in the jars to cool the whole thing turned to rock. Sigh.

double ugh
Maybe I should have taken a hint and put my crafts aside for the day but I wanted to make a fall wreath for our door so I got out the burlap I got last year when all the fall decor went on sale and…2 rolls were not quite enough. How annoying is that?

But I shamelessly hung the unfinished wreath on the door anyway because I knew if I packed it away I wouldn’t ever finish it. #RealTalk

And so I’m crossing my fingers that Monday isn’t a sneak peek at what the rest of this month will look like. At any rate I figured it was only fair to show you that not every project comes out perfect the first time through. Pretty sure there’s a life lesson in that if you feel like digging it out. In any case, Happy September!