NEW Erin Condren MONTHLY Planner Review!

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I am SO excited to share the newest Erin Condren products with you all! I’m going to show you some of their latest accessories and then flip through the LONG-awaited, much anticipated MONTHLY PLANNERS!

ACCESSORIES

The product line from my favorite planner company has been expanding over the last few years, and there are some really cool new things out there now. The newest and probably biggest departure from their stationery and home decor line-up are these flair pins:photo-oct-14-10-31-45-amThe signature asterisk flair pins are $6 each, and the Stay Gold flair pin is $8. Perfect for a jacket or bag! I think I’m going to pin one on my daughter’s backpack as a reminder that I’m always with her. She started Kindergarten this fall and is still getting used to the long day, so I love the idea of having a visual reminder of home for her.

The other (long-awaited!) new product is the nail wrap line! I have seen SO many people asking for nail wraps and there are now FIVE patterns you can pick ($10 each) to match your nails to your notebook!photo-oct-14-10-43-45-amI’ve never been great at putting these on, so I’m going to try them out and will reveal them in another post 😉

I also had one of the new Luxe Gold Metallic Quote Clutches ($20) in my surprise box! The teal faux leather is very, very flexible and soft, and the gold accents are so beautiful in person. The pouch is really roomy and perfect for toting around planner accessories. photo-oct-14-10-43-02-amAnother picture, in comparison to the Deluxe Monthly Planners (original and larger size planners pictured):photo-oct-14-10-43-27-amThere’s one more accessory to share, but I’m going to show it to you as I walk you through the Monthly Planner. You’ll see why.

MONTHLY PLANNER

This planner is the answer to everyone asking for a more simple, sleek monthly planner. Even with the roll-out of the neutral color layout this past summer, folks were still asking for a planner with less decorative touches and more function. Enter the Monthly Planner.photo-oct-14-10-32-15-amThis planner is 7×9 and bound like the Erin Condren Journals with a smooth, permanent, customizable cover. You can choose from this understated canvas print with a monogram, or their collection of colorful covers.

The first spread is the 2017 year-at-a-glance. These mini month calendars are the same size as the Life Planner, so you can use the same stickers you use (*cough*Krissyanne Designs Transparent Mini Circle Stickers*cough*). I also love the wide open space at the bottom for notes.photo-oct-14-10-32-31-amThe next page is split into a holiday list and a spot for monthly notes:
photo-oct-14-10-32-40-amI love the space here for deadlines, special projects, goals or other monthly notes people like to keep:photo-oct-14-10-32-47-amThe next page is the January Monthly layout:photo-oct-14-10-32-58-amThe monthly layout features a notes sidebar along with a mini next-month calendar at the top left:photo-oct-14-10-33-10-amAs you turn the page, you jump right into the next month:photo-oct-14-10-33-21-amNo notes pages between each month means you can just get right to business. If you like continuous months, this planner is for you.

After December 2017, you can turn directly to a notes section that contains 92 notes pages:
photo-oct-14-10-33-39-amThe calendar pages are not perforated, but the notes pages are:photo-oct-14-10-33-54-amOnce you run through the notes pages, there is a 2018 year at-a-glance spread for future planning:photo-oct-14-10-34-09-amRemember that last accessory? The new Large Clear Sticky Corner Storage Pockets ($7 for a pack of 2) are a super-sturdy add-on for your planner. They’re 6″x6″ which is a GREAT height for those taller pieces you want to keep handyphoto-oct-14-10-34-37-amWhat do you think of this new planner? I can’t wait to see how people use this one!

DELUXE MONTHLY PLANNER
This is the one I’VE been waiting for!!!!!!!!!!! photo-oct-14-10-35-06-amFor the first time EVER, there are TWO size options for an Erin Condren planner. The planner on the left is the larger 8.5″x11″ option, which is the same size as the Teacher Planner and larger notebook. The planner on the left is 7″x9″ and the same size as the current LifePlanner. At the Go Wild 2016 planner conference in New Orleans, Erin Condren hinted in her keynote speech that there may soon be another size option for the LifePlanner, and this addition is definitely adding to the anticipation!

I’m going to walk you through the smaller one, which is the exact same layout as the larger one. As always, there is a removable cover with an inside whiteboard:photo-oct-14-10-35-20-amAlthough you could use a dry erase marker, I recommend either a wet erase marker (EC sells some here), or a Sharpie permanent marker (wipe off with rubbing alcohol). Always love this cover page to write your name and contact info:photo-oct-14-10-35-28-amTurn the page to their signature quotes:photo-oct-14-10-35-36-amThe next page is the year at-a-glance: photo-oct-14-10-35-41-amNext up is a 12-section open planning space. This would be great for monthly goals, tracking health or body measurements, keeping running lists, cleaning zones for your house – anything you want to divide up

photo-oct-14-10-35-48-amOnce you turn the page, you see the first notes page before January 2017:photo-oct-14-10-35-52-amTurn the page once more, and the monthly layouts begin. This layout is identical to the LifePlanner monthly layouts, so if you’re using the traditional 7″x9″ size, all of your stickers will fit perfectly!photo-oct-14-10-35-57-amI love that there are several notes pages between each month! When you turn the page from the monthly layout, you see this:photo-oct-14-10-36-02-amThe page on the left is a new format for EC. It has five sections with a check circle in the corner of each one:photo-oct-14-10-36-18-amThis would be great for big priority monthly tasks of any kind! The next page is the productivity page that we’ve seen in the option list for notebook layouts:photo-oct-14-10-36-23-amBut wait, THERE’S MORE! 😉 If you turn the page again, you get a dot grid notes page followed by another beautiful quote:
photo-oct-14-10-36-29-amAfter this one, you turn to the next monthly layout.photo-oct-14-10-36-42-amThree pages to take notes or make lists between each month, in my opinion, is a HUGE help when managing monthly tasks or tracking monthly progress. If you hate it, you could easily tear out the productivity/dot grid page and be left with just one notes page and a quote, but it won’t free up that much coil space and from my observations, people are always looking for MORE writing space.

Have you noticed yet that there aren’t any tabs? photo-oct-14-10-37-02-amThis would be my only complaint. I love having tabs to easily flip from month to month. BUT, I quickly hacked a solution using one of my Mini Snap-In Bookmarks (pack of 3 for $4 – a steal!). See it peeking out?photo-oct-14-10-37-33-amI am also keeping a magnetic page marker handy for the same reason:

photo-oct-14-10-37-56-amOnce you get through the months, you reach the 2018 year at-a-glance:photo-oct-14-10-38-33-amThe notes pages follow. The planner comes with 40 notes pages (20 sheets front and back), and for another $5, you can add another 40 pages. (Other upgrades include a rose gold, gold, or black coil for $10):photo-oct-14-10-38-49-amEach Deluxe Monthly Planner comes with two sheets of flag stickers, and a pocket:photo-oct-14-10-39-09-am photo-oct-14-10-39-21-amalong with another pocket on the back, and another whiteboard:photo-oct-14-10-39-26-amNow, onto the size comparison! The layouts are identical, but you can see the size difference here:
photo-oct-14-10-41-24-amI pulled a sticker from the back to place it in the monthly layout of the larger size. It’s so roomy!photo-oct-14-10-40-21-amIn terms of thickness, the Deluxe Monthly Planner is comparable to a notebook (notebook on top, planner on bottom):photo-oct-14-10-42-51-amAnd it’s definitely thinner than my LifePlanner:photo-oct-14-10-42-21-amPHEW! That might have been my longest post. I’ll be using the smaller Deluxe Monthly Planner to manage my budget and finances, the larger Deluxe Monthly Planner for work, and I’m still undecided on the Monthly Planner…but I’ll keep you all posted!

If you’re a first-time customer of Erin Condren and would like to save $10 off of your order, you can use this link to create your account! It will save me $10, too.

I also filmed a review for YouTube that you can find here!photo-oct-14-10-46-13-amThanks so much for reading!

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I picked my New Year’s Resolution!

Today - New Year's Resolution

I did it! It’s February 15, and I finally picked my New Year’s Resolution (yes, only one). I’ve never felt better about a resolution.

You may recall my recent post about feeling overwhelmed by making resolutions. Even after sitting down to make very small, simple goals, I tucked them away and didn’t really look at them as much as I should have. I have a better solution. And it’s been working. And it’s SO simple, anyone can do it. It spans any category of resolutions you could think of. Are you someone who is easily overwhelmed? This might be for you.

THE RESOLUTION
Just focus on making today a good day. Define “good” however you want. Health and fitness? Patience? Food? Finances? Organization? Don’t worry about the end goal. Don’t worry about having a good week. Don’t worry about a million lists. Don’t worry about how you’ll possibly find the motivation for the next 365 days. Just worry about today. Can you make small good choices today that are in line with your big goals? Anyone can.

Isn’t this Change 101? How often do we hear to take things one day at a time? There’s SO much value in that advice. In my opinion, it’s totally under-rated. We can all do something for one day. We can all make today a good day.

I did my second round of Whole30 in January and let me tell you, it was challenging. The second week in, I decided to just focus on making great choices for one day. I just had to do that 30 days in a row. By the third week, I wasn’t counting days anymore because it wasn’t as overwhelming to me as it had once been.

Waking up and reflecting on what I can do to make today a good day has been enough for me. The devil is truly in the details – what you do every single day is what determines whether or not you reach your goals. It’s just that simple.

So, friends who are feeling like your goals are so far out of reach, don’t worry about the week or the month or the year for right now. Just wake up and make today a good day. Can you do that? I think we all can.

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Undone and Getting it Together

Mountain

If you are struggling, first, please join me in taking a nice, slow, deep breath. Ahhhhh. Much better.

You can barely look anywhere this time of year without seeing someone talking about their resolutions, goals and newfound motivation for the New Year. It’s the perfect time to channel the excitement that comes with a fresh start and leaving the past behind. But…what if you just aren’t on the train yet? What if all you see is one big undone list? What if you see a huge mountain and just don’t have that same motivation? Or worse, what if the pressure of picking the perfect “word of the year” or carefully crafting goals for every area of your life and making them look beautiful on paper overwhelms you so much that you just avoid it altogether? So much pressure everywhere you look. That’s the double-edged sword of social media, friends. It can be a great motivator and source of inspiration – and it can tear you right down, too. If you let it.

“When you’re in a pit, all you see is the pit,” my church Pastor shouted a few months ago. Ever have those blast of air in the face moments where something makes so much sense you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it sooner? How are we supposed to get motivated when we feel so overwhelmed and exhausted by everything? Not to mention, how many of us write out beautiful lists and then leave them in the back of a notebook or up on a board and then never REALLY look at them and embrace them again?

I don’t have all the answers, but since I’m feeling this way, I will share how I’m handling it.

Prepare
Carve out 30 minutes. Grab a pen and paper of your choice. Vow not to over-complicate.

Groundwork
Think about the things that are most important to you. These may also be the things that make you feel the worst when you don’t make them a priority. Write those things at the top of the list.

Goals
Many of us probably learned how to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realsitic, Time-bound) in school. For those of you who didn’t, the short version is that you should be setting realistic goals that you can measure and achieve and know when you’ve achieved them. While I think this is a totally valuable method, for someone who is totally overwhelmed with this process OR for someone who has done this and still struggled with achieving them year after year, this doesn’t always get your head in the right place to actually achieve your goals.

Pick really small, daily or almost-daily actions you can take that are in line with your goals. Overwhelming goal: Climb the mountain. Better goal: Take a few steps up the mountain. Write down your few steps up the mountain for every huge mountain you feel like you need to climb. Keep them small and reasonable. The only way people change their lives is by changing their daily habits. Forget the mountain. The mountain is the prize. The STEPS are the goal.

Put things in perspective
Practice contentment and gratitude. Constantly seeking out ways to make your life better without thinking of all the ways your life is great will never, ever get you closer to your goals. You have to learn to be content with what you have before achieving goals will fulfill you. Make the small daily things your focus. The rest will follow. Take a deep breath. Give yourself a break. Be grateful for the opportunity to take the small steps every day.

There’s no way to climb the mountain without taking the small steps up the mountain.

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Polaroid ZIP Printer Review – PLUS 3 ways to use it!

Polaroid ZIP
Hello everyone! I’m so excited to share this with you because it has quickly become one of my FAVORITE planning accessories, the Polaroid ZIP instant photo printer!EC ZIP Don’t mind my little guy helping out 😉

Erin Condren recently teamed up with Polaroid to sell the Polaroid ZIP printer and ZINK paper. The EC bundle that I purchased comes with a Carry-All Clutch, sticker for your Polaroid ZIP printer, a pack of 10 sheets of ZINK photo paper (which has a sticky backing!) and the instant printer itself. Altogether a $167 value, but the bundle price is $149. The printer alone is $130 (same price on Amazon).

The photos are heat-printed on the special paper, so there are NO ink refills required. WIN! The photos print out on a 2×3″ adhesive sheet and are immediately dry to the touch.EC ZIPThat’s only half of why I love it. The other reason is that you can use the Polaroid ZIP app (which is free) to customize the size and amount of pictures you print on one sheet. If you print two to a sheet, they are the exact size of the Erin Condren Vertical day boxes. If you print four to a sheet, they are the exact size of half-boxes. There are more options, but those are the ones I use most.

This is what the app interface looks like:
EC ZIPYou can rotate your pictures and you can also resize them. The bar across the top lets you choose between layouts. This is the 4 to a sheet layout. When you’re done, you print the picture directly from your phone via bluetooth (no cords required) and it looks like this:
EC ZIPI just use scissors to snip mine apart, peel and stick!

Here are the 3 ways I’m using mine

In my weekly spread of my plannerEC ZIP

EC ZIPUsing pictures from events or just general pictures of things that are important to me make my planner so much more personal and it makes me happy to see them every day. You aren’t limited to pictures of people – you can include any images you like! It is SO convenient that this prints out on sticker paper. You just cut, peel, and stick.

On my monthly notes page of my plannerUntitled design (11)I decided to dedicate one page per month to memories. More collected than my weekly spread, this will be a place I can see all of the highlights of our month in one place. Blending planning with scrapbooking (commonly called “scrap-planning”) is a huge trend in the planner community right now and I think it’s a great, easy way to keep everything simple and in one place.

In my home notebook EC ZIPI use an Erin Condren Notebook to keep track of all of my ideas, resources, and paint colors for every space in and around my house. I also added an Erin Condren Stylish Storage Pocket using a CoilClip (I show how I added it on this post) to keep paint chips and other papers. I grabbed pictures from Pinterest, printed them, and wrote notes about the design elements I like. Pinterest alone isn’t enough for me, so this has helped me really visualize everything in one place.

Overall I TOTALLY recommend this awesome accessory if you want a convenient way to add pictures to your planners or notebooks. Also great on gift tags, in cards or other gift projects!

If you’ve never ordered from Erin Condren before, you can use my link to save $10 off of your first order by creating an account with my referral link. 

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My Krissyanne Designs Sticker Binder!

Krissyanne Designs Sticker Binder

My first purchase of planner stickers ever (from a shop that hand-made them) was from Krissyanne Designs about a year and a half ago. I had been admiring her stickers for a while, and the stickers themselves and her customer service had me hooked right away!

From the very beginning, it was clear that she was intentional about making her stickers as user-friendly as possible. She was one of the first sellers to cut her sheets in such a way that they fit in the back pocket of the Erin Condren Life Planner. Last Spring, she announced her plans to release a binder full of her stickers that were pre-punched for easy organization, storage and use. I love that she not only creates a wonderful product, but wants them to be as user-friendly as possible. Her first round of Sticker Binders sold out almost immediately! No surprise. They are BEAUTIFUL, functional and the highest quality.

I was SO EXCITED when one of these beautiful binders arrived in my mailbox a few months ago! I have used it every single day since then, and it has cut my planning time in half. Being able to flip right to what I need, peel it up and stick it in my planner has eliminated searching, flipping through piles, and taking sheets in and out of boxes and files folders.

Let me give you a tour!

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The Binders come in two sizes: Travel Size and Full Size. I got the Travel Size! (The Full Binder is a full-sized 1′ Binder, while the Travel Binder is a 1/2″ smaller binder.) It is a high-quality binder with reinforced corners and a personalized cover of your choice. It is sturdy and BEAUTIFUL!

Here it is in comparison to my Erin Condren Life Planner:

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and from the top:

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My binder came with 22 sheets of stickers that were punched and already in the rings, like this:

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Included with a binder purchase are two binder-exclusive sampler sheets (which I love and as you can tell, have already used):

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I LOVE – cannot describe how much – being able to just flip to a page, write, peel, and stick.

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Speaking of writing on stickers, Krissyanne Designs stickers are semi-gloss, and I recommend using a permanent marker so it doesn’t smear. I tested it out here (Pilot permanent on top, Pilot G2-07 Gel smeared below):

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My favorite is the Pilot Ultra Fine Point Permanent marker. Sharpie permanent markers, Bic permanent markers (or really, any other permanent marker) will work fine as well! Team Blue, of course 😉

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When I first posted about my binder, everyone asked how I was going to incorporate the dozens of other Krissyanne Designs sticker sheets I already had. I decided to hack apart an old Erin Condren Life Planner folder and tape the two sides into each side of the binder.
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I was easily able to add all of my other sheets to the back and front pockets! It didn’t add too much bulk, either.

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There aren’t enough heart eyes emojis:

IMG_6598Binders are sold as an inclusion with a minimum purchase of sticker kits. Once you purchase a minimum amount ($100 worth of sticker kits for the Travel size and $200 worth of sticker kits for the Full size), you add a binder to your cart and the binder price drops to $0.00. It is SUCH a great deal. Essentially, you are buying stickers at a discount (in comparison to if you were to purchase each individual sheet from her site) AND you get a personalized binder with two sampler sheets included. Kits range in price from $20 to $100.

SPEAKING OF KITS… I’m SO happy to share that there is now a JenPlans sticker kit! It includes 20 sheets of what I personally consider essentials for functional planning. These are the stickers I use most frequently and recommend most often. If you purchase the JenPlans kit, it is enough of a minimum purchase for a binder which will also give you two additional samplers 🙂 This was created as an easy way for me to recommend stickers to those who ask.

If you have additional questions about the Sticker Binders, check out the FAQ in the pinned post of the Krissyanne Designs Facebook group. Kristin will also be doing a live Periscope broadcast to answer any questions sometime (TBD) on Thursday evening, October 1, which will stay up for 24 hours. Be sure to follow Kristin’s channel here if you want an alert when she goes live!

The next round of binder sales will open at 9pm CST on Friday, October 2nd,  directly from her website. The last round sold out quickly, so if you’re planning to purchase, be sure to set your alarm and write it in your planner! 🙂 I am so excited to order more kits for my binder! Can’t wait to see what everyone else orders!

This was NOT a sponsored post. I was not asked to publicly review this product.
All opinions are genuinely and enthusiastically my own.

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Should

Should

 

I walked into our play room today (the disaster pictured above) for my 45,834th attempt to clean and organize. In the six months we’ve lived in this house, I haven’t completely decided how I want to arrange this space. So I’ve avoided it. So I’ve taken my time. While all three of my kids were in school today, I tackled the play room. I planned to write a blog post on the messy before and put-together after, but as I was wading through the maze of toys and stepping on Legos, I felt like it was more important to share the real.

I tend to spend quite a bit of time reflecting on what I should be doing, what I should have done, what I should do in the future. I think it’s healthy to find a happy place between regret and apathy. I found myself struggling with a lot of regret. A lot of SHOULD.

I should have never let it get this messy.
I should have donated these toys long ago.
I should have finished the KonMari book.
I should have my kids helping right now.
I should have a chore chart.
I should be working out right now.
I should make them clean this room every night.
I should go to Ikea right now and get different organizers.
I should be doing (insert list of everything else I have to do) right now.
I should have had this room done months ago.

The reality is that we are going to make ourselves miserable if we only live in the SHOULD. Let’s cut ourselves some slack. It’s not that we shouldn’t care, it’s not that we should let everything to to the wayside…it’s just we should all take a step back, and take a collective breath, and forgive ourselves for not doing everything we feel we should all of the time.

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Planner Peace: I’m switching back to vertical.

The very first thing I need to say is that paper planners are SO personal. What works for one person might not work at all for another. The most important thing to remember when choosing a planner is that it MUST work the way your brain does, or it won’t be a helpful tool to keep you focused and organized. Does it organize your schedule in a way that makes sense? Can you keep track of your tasks in a way that keeps them from being lost on the page? It can’t be overwhelming to you or it won’t work. I use my planner in a function-first way, and as a naturally forgetful person, I rely on my planner every day to keep me on track. Many of you know this as “Planner Peace.”

Since 2011, I’ve used a vertical Erin Condren Life Planner, until this summer, when she released a horizontal layout for the first time. I really wanted to try something new and I LOVED the colors and layout. When I was given the opportunity to preview the planner, I chose the horizontal layout.

There are some things that I still love more about the horizontal; I love the room (I think there’s more writing room than the vertical), I love the colors (more muted and single-color-scheme per week), I love the lines (more grayscale and not overpowering), and I love the flexibility for people whose schedules or tasks vary from day to day, and I love that I don’t have to be bound by a morning/day/night set-up.

All that said, I’ve been feeling very lost and unfocused for the last month or two. I’m forgetting things, I’m not as motivated (in any area of my life), and I’m feeling overwhelmed. I have been writing more in notebooks and on pads of paper instead of using my planner. I write things in my planner but don’t really reference them or go there first when I need to organize my day. I was losing my groove because my system just wasn’t working. When you’re a compulsive planner, you NEED to feel comfortable with your system.

After reflecting on why things have been this way lately, I have just realized that my brain thinks vertically. I need the morning/day/night structure. I instinctively plan my day that way, even when I have a more flexible schedule. I have decided to switch back into my vertical planner. Around launch time, I ordered a 12-Month Rose Gold Vertical ECLP that I will move into in January, but until then, I’m going to switch back into my old planner next week. I already feel a million times better knowing that I’ll be “home” again. With school coming up for the kids, I NEED to have a reliable system to keep things organized. As much as I still love the horizontal for so many reasons, it’s just not for me.

To transition back into my vertical ECLP, I snipped the weeks I’ve used out of my horizontal and put them into my old vertical so that I don’t lose those weeks. I might also add a notes page from my notebooks before each of the remaining months because I REALLY love having those back and would be sad to not have them for the remainder of the year.

It was very easy to remove the pages. I just grabbed the ones I wanted to remove, took a small pair of scissors and snipped right under the coil on each hole, like this:
Snipping old planner pages out

I carefully pulled them out from the coil and made sure I had everything I wanted:
Pages removed from old planner

Next, I removed the unused weeks from my vertical ECLP so I didn’t have unnecessary bulk:
Removing pages from old planner

Then, I carefully snapped the horizontal pages into my vertical, just like you’d snap in a bookmark, dashboard or new cover – just more carefully:
Inserting pages back into vertical planner

This week is kind of a Frankenstein week, and I will miss the colors of the horizontal, but here’s the finished product!
Frankenstein Planner

Do you have planner peace? I know I will now. HOME SWEET HOME! Now the wait until January when I can use the newest version. 🙂

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Review of the 2015-2016 Erin Condren Life Planner (Horizontal Layout)

Another launch day (!!) has come and gone, and now comes the waiting for deliveries and, for some who are still considering purchases, mulling over final decisions about which planner to choose. Though I already posted a video overview here, I’ve now had the planner for a few days and wanted to put together a more comprehensive post with pictures to share all the details with you!
We were coming back from my kids’ swim lesson on Saturday morning and as we pulled around the corner, I saw THAT BOX. You know. The colorful, fun EC-patterned shipping box that everyone waits (not so) patiently for. I yelled STOPPPPP at my husband and literally jumped out of the car and came running to the front steps.

Running girl

Normal? If you’re an EC fan, of course it is.

In my package:

Erin Condren 2015-2016 Ready-to-Ship (RTS) 18-month Life Planner in the NEW horizontal layout

Assorted gift labels

2 sets of Keep it Together bands

Coil Clips

Keep it Together pen holder

Snap-In To-Do List

Designer Sticker Book

COVER

Let’s jump right in, shall we? The cover on the Ready-To-Ship (RTS) is deep purple with the quote “and so the adventure begins.” Indeed! If you choose a RTS, you’ll get a code to order a free cover which will snap onto the coil. All covers are interchangeable.

ECLP and so the adventure begins cover

VELLUM OVERLAY

When you open the cover, you see the nice, thick, vellum overlay which has a design pre-printed. Under the vellum layer is a page to mark down your contact information in case your planner is lost. I love that they moved that block onto the pages since the covers are interchangeable now, to keep you from having to write it over and over. Great and thoughtful update.

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MINI MONTHLY CALENDAR

The next big turn is to the mini-monthly calendar/year-at-a-glance. You’ll find July 2015-December 2016 in this spread, and of course you could use it just as reference, but plenty of people use this space actively to keep track of monthly goals or challenges, their menstrual cycle (especially for those who don’t want it on their weekly spread but like to track for health reasons), keeping track of vacation and sick days all at once…you really have a lot of flexibility in how you use this space and I always encourage people to use every inch of these great features.

ECLP Year at a Glance

GOAL PAGES

Next you’ll find a NEW section, a spread with 12 flagged boxes. You can use them for important dates, goals, lists, or keeping track of your measurements/weight (which is what I’ll be doing!).

ECLP goals

NOTES PAGE BEFORE EACH MONTH

MY FAVORITE PART IS NEXT. No secret that my favorite addition to this year’s version is the notes page before each and every month. This used to be a feature of Erin Condren Life Planners but they were removed the last few years. I will use these to keep track of monthly projects, gift lists, things I need to buy or make and sooo many other things I don’t need on my weekly layout and that are too big for the Goals section on the monthly layout.

ECLP Monthly Note Pages

MONTHLY LAYOUT

Speaking of the monthly layout, past EC users will feel right at home using this month-on-two-page layout. The Goals section is the same also, and a great place to put goals, bills, workout challenges or a favorite quote.

ECLP Monthly

HORIZONTAL WEEKLY LAYOUT

The horizontal weekly layout is next and it’s SO BEAUTIFUL. The colors are vibrant and soothing and I really love the jewel tones used in this option. It’s clean and crisp and gives you the choice of keeping it clean or taking a LOT of freedom with decorating for those who like to use stickers and washi tape (me!). You’ll notice that Monday-Thursday is on the left page, while Friday-Sunday is on the right, along with an equal-sized notes section. Thank you, Erin Condren, for making Saturday and Sunday full days in your planners. It is a huge plus to this planner. The day boxes are mostly lined with the exception of a box off to the right on each day.

EC Horizontal Weekly Layout

TABS

The tabs are laminated and coordinate with the main color of each month.

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NOTES PAGES

Next up are notes pages in the back! You have six pages (two full front and back and one front and one back – so three spreads) of lined notes pages. Perfect to keep a list of favorite meals on-hand for easy meal planning, books you want to read, gifts you want to give or anything else you list out that you don’t need to be specific to a particular month. You have four graph pages (one full, one front and one back, so two spreads), perfect for room layouts or charting weight, finance goals or annual tasks. After the graph pages, you have 5 blank notes pages for doodling or taping in your own lists or pictures (two full, one half, so two and a half spreads).

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2017 CALENDAR

After the last notes page is a one-page 2017 calendar. You can use a sticky note or write off to the side any important 2017 dates (weddings, graduations, etc).

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BOUND-IN STICKERS

Next up are the stickers! Every planner comes with four bound-in sheets of stickers, two pages have text (birthdays, vacation…see picture for all text) and two blank pages (I’ve already used two to test a new idea!).

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FOLDER

After the stickers is the updated two pocket folder. You can also use packing tape to secure the bottom of the folder and slip even more things into the middle section! Thanks to @crafty_renee for that tip! This folder has really evolved over the years into a very strong, shiny finish folder. The back of the folder contains the perpetual calendar (coming next!).

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PERPETUAL CALENDAR

Each planner contains a perpetual calendar which you can use from year to year to keep track or birthdays, anniversaries or other special dates. I’ve seen these repurposed into daily gratitude journals, baby milestone logs and more! The people in the planner community are so creative. This year’s version also includes a contacts section, password log and list of annual holidays.

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ZIPPER POUCH

Next is the bound-in zipper pouch which has the party pops design this year! This pouch is great for keeping things secure (stamps, concert tickets, pictures or anything else valuable). Another HUGE upgrade this year is the contents of each zipper pouch! You’ll get one coil clip to try, a sampler sheet of the do-it-all-dots stickers, compliment cards and referral cards.

And that’s it for the planner itself!

EXTRA ACCESSORIES

I also got an awesome stash of extra accessories you can find in the accessories section of the Erin Condren site! There are elastic bands to keep your planner closed in two color options (three bands each), a pack of 12 coil clips to keep any extras in your planner or notebook (invitations, shopping lists, etc), a pen holder to attach to your planner, the new party pops markers (red, pink, orange, blue, green and charcoal, which do NOT bleed on your pages – see pictures below!) a snap-in laminated to-do list, and the BEAUTIFUL Designer Sticker Book! With 10 sheets of stickers and priced at $15, this is a GREAT value especially considering these stickers are adorable and many of them are foil-pressed!

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(On the left, check out the EC markers; on the right, you can see the back of the same sheet).

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I’m so excited to jump right into my planner! This is by far the most upgrades I’ve seen in a single year in the time I’ve been an Erin Condren customer and I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to review it! If you’re a new customer, be sure to use this link to create your account and you’ll get a $10 code e-mailed to you to use on your first order!

Thank you to the Erin Condren team for sending me these wonderful products to review and share. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments!

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2015-2016 Erin Condren LifePlanner Unboxing!

It’s here! The 2015-2016 Erin Condren LifePlanner! I’m very fortunate and thankful that the Erin Condren team shared a preview copy of the new horizontal LifePlanner with me so I could give you all a sneak peek! Here is my unboxing video – I’ll share a full review soon.

Included are my thoughts on the new horizontal layout, new EC markers, planner bands, dashboard and new EC sticker book. Plus, see the extras included in this year’s LifePlanner!

I can’t wait to share more in depth thoughts! If you’re buying your first ECLP this year, feel free to use my referral link here to save $10 (I get a $10 credit, too, which I often use for giveaways).

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Organization for home maintenance, manuals and warranties

When we moved into our new home a few months ago, I vowed to keep things organized and easy to find. There are a few documents we don’t need very often but when we do need them, it’s helpful to have on-hand without having to dig for them. They all fall into the categories of maintenance, manuals and warranties. Paperwork for garage instructions, water heater warranty information and so on can really come in handy if you need to quickly fix something!

In the past, I’d file them away. Despite our best attempts at keeping our filing cabinet organized, we’d let our “papers to file” pile add up…and up…and up. We still file old bills and statements, but I really needed a better system for these home documents. I searched Pinterest and combined a few of the ideas I saw pop up over and over.

Time Needed: 15 Minutes

Materials Needed:

  1. Large, durable 3-ring binder. I got a 3’ D-ring binder
  2. Page protectors
  3. Dividers

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Time to Assemble!

  1. Gather all of your maintenance records, manuals and warranty documents and put them aside.
  2. Assemble your binder inserts, dividers up front and all of the page protectors in the back. As you add documents to your binder over time, just pull a page protector our and move it to the appropriate section.
  3. Decide how you want to organize the documents within the binder. Some people like alphabetical, some people like by category, some like alphabetical by category, and some people like to just put everything in the order in which they add to the binder. I chose to just add them as I get them because it would drive me crazy to see the little divider tabs not line up if I switched them around.
  4. Write out your tabs for your dividers to correspond with what you’re putting into each page protector. I like to have a tab for each individual item rather than each category.
  5. Slip the paperwork into a page protector and pop it in behind the corresponding divider.
  6. As new paperwork comes in, just keep adding!

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Voila! I keep mine in my kitchen in a high cabinet. Always accessible but tucked away!

Do any of you have great storage solutions for your home paperwork? Share in the comments!

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