Simply Yours Day Planner by Bailey Shea Designs

Formerly Bailey Craft Planners, this small company has recently gone through a rebranding and name-change and emerged as Bailey Shea Designs. Founded by two friends Yolanda and Katherine in 2014, and launched via a successful Kickstarter in 2016, this small planner company has grown and changed in the past three years. This year, the company rebranded under the sole ownership of Yolanda, who is dedicated to helping women organize their lives.

It is our mission to create products that complement and enrich the lives of women, no matter what stage of life their currently in. With all the commitments and responsibilities we have as spouses, mothers, students, and careers, it’s not easy to stay on top of our busy schedules. The Simply Yours Day Planner is here to help you make sense of what you need to do and how to stay on track. It creates a disciplined lifestyle by helping you prioritize, organize and accomplish your goals and life situations.

Yolanda told me that the Simply Yours Day Planner was designed to assist people with creating a disciplined lifestyle–a place for everything and everything in its place.

Yolanda kindly sent me a planner to review for all of you! The Simply Yours Day Planner retails at $46 plus shipping and is Made to Order.

Function

The owner of Bailey Shea Designs worked as an Occupational Therapist for 15 years, is a mom of three, and a wife, and draws on her experience in those capacities to inform her planner design.

These planners are Made to Order, which means that your planner isn’t already made and waiting for you when you order but rather built once your order is placed. You get two customization options–and they are completely free! You can choose to add your name to the nameplate page, as I did, and you can pick a quote to include, which is printed on a page right before your calendar pages begin.

The first page you get is the nameplate page, which includes your name (if you chose to customize), a space for your cell number, and a space for your email. The nameplate page is super simple and has the lovely added touch of a floral design in the upper righthand corner. Each nameplate page is different depending on the cover design you choose.

Next, you get a welcome note from Bailey Shea Designs, which presents an overview of what’s in the planner. (1) Worksheets, (2) Goal Pages, (3) Notes/To Do, and (4) Journal Your Thoughts. This is followed by a list of 2018 holidays, separated visually by month.

After that, you get both 2018 and 2019 at a glance! Each year gets its own page with color-coordinated months to help you find what you are looking for a little more quickly. Next is a two-page spread for your 2018 year at a glance. You get a lined column for each month so that you can fill out any important dates of your own!

This planner also includes some functional worksheet pages, like two pages for Important Contacts. This page also comes with a section along the bottom for Emergency Contact/Notes, so you can indicate who to reach out to in case of an emergency.

Next is a two-page spread for Vacation/Idea Planning. I really like the simplicity of this page because it has space for general brainstorming or writing in multiple trips. You do of course get a space that prompts you with “Destination,” “Travel Fees/Car Rental/Gas/Airfare,” etc. You also get a check-list for your Itinerary, which is helpful.

This page is followed by two pages for Internet Passwords. It’s very simple with three columns reminiscent of an Excel spreadsheet that provide space for you to write down the website, your username, and password. Because this two-page spread is so simple, you can easily cover the headers at the top with washi or stickers and make your own sections–if you aren’t into the idea of writing down passwords.

Lastly, you get a page for Recurring Monthly Bills. You have a very simple three-column layout for Bill, Amount, and Date Due. This is a great worksheet page because it allows you to keep track of payments that you need to make every month. If you are a follower of Dave Ramsey, then this would be a good place to keep track of your sinking funds.

The Goals/Dreams section is small but efficient. You have two pages for Long-Term Goals, with each page separated into four boxes. You can write down Physical, Financial, Career/Business, Social/Friendships, Creativity/Education/Interests, Family, Home, and Spiritual/Faith/Intuition goals. Then you get four pages for Short-Term Goals, which repeats the same sections in the Long-Term Goals. These are designed for writing in your actions that will help you reach your long-term vision. Then, if you chose to have a custom quote, it goes at the end of the Goals/Dreams section on its very own page!

The last page before you move into the calendar pages is a simple lined page for Things To Remember.

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The monthly spread! You get a fair amount of space for the day boxes. This monthly calendar is a Sunday start. You get two very small month at a glance calendars, one for the previous month and one for the following month, positioned in either corner of the monthly spread. The lefthand page includes the name of the month and the year prominent displayed, while the righthand page has a cheerful sentiment.

Holidays are printed in small text at the bottom of the days they fall on. The righthand side of the spread is a Things to do! column with lined space to write in your monthly tasks and/or reminders.

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Then you shift into the weekly spread! Bailey Shea Designs has two options for your spread–vertical (which I have) and horizontal. The weekly spread has a Monday start, each weekday has its own column, and weekends are paired together in one column. If there is a holiday, it’s printed at the top of the daily column and the date is bolded to provide visual emphasis. The columns for each day are lined and include a checkbox at the end of each line, presumably for checking off tasks. You get 18 lined spaces with checkboxes (10 for weekend days).

You get space at the bottom of the spread for Notes/Meal Plan. This section just has simple, lined space for you to divide up however you prefer. The month and year run across the top of the pages to remind you where you are in your planner. The months are color-coordinated, as you can see above. The pink of February shifts into the blue of March in the weekly spread.

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Each month also includes a Short Term Goals page to help you keep track of your goals for the year, as well as a Journal/Notes page at its end.

After the month of December 2018 ends, you get three pages for revisiting your 2018 goals. You can write a short journal entry about your goals or make bullet points reflecting on your progress. These spreads are pretty malleable–you can turn them into whatever you need. There are two pages for reviewing general goals, and one for reviewing short-term goals.

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Lastly, you have a section for Journal/Thoughts. You get 13 lined pages and 8 blank ones for notes, journaling, etc.

Aesthetic/Design

Your planner comes well-packaged in a nice box. Mine arrived completely protected and in excellent condition.

There are several cover designs to choose from. I chose Flower Garden, but you can also go for Gold Stripes, Serendipity, Pink and Navy Stripes, Blooms, Navy Stripes, or Navy Over Pink. The Flower Garden cover design is a dark navy blue with (I think) poppies in shades of coral and salmon. The name of the planner is situated in a salmon pink box with the tagline “creating a disciplined lifestyle.” The back of the planner has the salmon pink in a solid swath, accented by a dark navy bar of color at the bottom. Once again you have the name of the planner in a box, this time a white one, with the logo fo Bailey Shea Designs included as well.

The planners measure 7″ x 9″ and a little over 1/2″ thick. The cover is a smooth, glossy material with crisp printing. Edges are protected by silver metal corner protectors.

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The planner uses a combination of script, sans serif, and serif font choices. Tabs are in serif font with navy coloring, except for the Journal/Thoughts tab which is red. The tabs seem to be mylar coated and feel sturdy, although they are attached to the monthly spread for each month and not their own divider page. Nevertheless, I don’t feel like they are going to rip the page they’re attached to when I use them.

Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be a consistent pattern for when sans serif versus serif font is used. Serif font is used almost exclusively in the calendar pages (except for the sans serif heading for your monthly Journal/Thoughts page and the script font motivational quips on each monthly spread and heading for short-term goals). The worksheet pages at the beginning of the planner are primarily sans serif fonts, but there is a dappling of serif throughout.

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The back of the planner includes a 6″ x 9″ folder in glossy cardstock. The folder is double-sided and open on the edges to allow for easy slip-in of papers, receipts, etc. The design on the inside covers and the folder is a light salmon pink trellis pattern.

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This is also a very light planner–it doesn’t weigh much and is easy to carry around. It’s a coil bound planner, the coil is about an inch in diameter. The coil is very sturdy and one of the strongest coils I’ve seen on the market. I do think that they should be cut a little sooner/shorter(?) because the extra wire tucked into the coil makes it a little hard to lay the planner flat.

Overall this is an aesthetically charming planner. It’s light, portable, glossy, and color-coded by month for easy visual organization. The weekly spread is structured and makes excellent use of the space on the page. There is just enough color on the weekly spread to make the pages pop, but not so much that it takes over the spread. Bailey Shea Designs has managed to create a colorful planner that still feels streamlined and functional.

Fit

Pen test time!

The paper in this planner is a very smooth 70lb. text paper. It feels thin but holds up pretty well–I preferred writing on it with felt tip pens, especially finer tipped ones like the Micron 02. There is some light ghosting and the Sharpie Permanent Marker bleeds through, but otherwise, the paper is a smooth writing experience without feeling too heavy! I wouldn’t recommend your inkier pens, and I would definitely recommend felt tip over rollerball.

This planner (in the vertical layout, at least) is for the listmaker. If you organize your days into (or as) lists, then you should definitely try this planner. The columns are pretty roomy at almost 2″ wide so there is space to write out a comprehensive to-do list. The spacing is also quite generous so if you have larger handwriting it should still work well with this planner.

I would recommend this planner to someone who is a listmaker, taskmaster, or who really just needs a planner that will help them manage an overwhelming amount of to-dos. If you are a domestic goddess trying to keep track of everything you need to do every day, then this planner would work wonderfully for you. If you have a serious to-do list every day, or a running to-do list, then this planner will work for you.

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I would recommend this planner to beginners because it is simple and easy to use. High school students could especially benefit from the easy structure and portability (I know, another thing to add to the backpack). This planner is also a super gentle introduction into long-term and short-term goals. The free customization is a nice touch, as well. This would make an excellent first planner for your teenager.

And, of course, you can sticker away!

If you are the type of person who stops by the grocery store almost every day, then this would make an excellent meal planner. You could map out your groceries (or ingredients list) in the daily columns and use the Notes/Meal Plan section to denote your Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for each day.

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I would also recommend this planner to anyone who wants a simple, slim year-long planner. The Simply Yours Day Planner is only 100 (double-sided) pages, which makes it very light and slim. It’s easy to slip into a bag and weighs less than 1lb.

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who doesn’t plan in to-do lists. List-making is part of the functionality of this planner, so if that doesn’t work for you then I would look elsewhere. I also wouldn’t recommend this planner to someone who wants a more involved goal-setting structure in their planner, or someone who wants to throw a lot of intense pens at their planner. I also wouldn’t recommend this planner if you want aesthetic consistency–the fonts change around a bit.

Loves

I love how much content Shea’s managed to fit in this planner! It’s light and portable without being devoid of any extras. I think two pages for contacts, for example, is plenty. I never know what to do with like 10 contact pages. I’m not shifting my entire address book into each yearly planner. I also love that this planner design maximizes page space without crowding the page. I love the color-coding for each month, and that Bailey Shea Designs still manages to have a colorful but not overly bright design.

Nopes

I would recommend designing the nameplate page with a full bleed so that it looks a little smoother with the beautiful flowers in the upper corner. I wish that the checkboxes were at the front of the lined space instead of the end of it, but that’s just personal preference. I do think this planner is a little expensive for what you get–I would expect it to be about $5-10 less expensive, personally. Also, I would love to see more consistent and purposeful font choices throughout the planner–especially with the serif and sans serif fonts.


There you have it! My review of the 2018 Simply Yours Day Planner from Bailey Shea Designs! Do you prefer slimmer or thicker planners? Do you have a Bailey Shea Designs Planner (former Bailey Craft)? How do you use it? Leave me a comment–I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

MiGOALS 2018 Goal Digger Planner

Can I just say that Australia is killing it with the planners? Emma Kate Co., Amelia Lane Paper, and now MiGOALS! I’ve been so into Australian planner companies lately and I continue to see incredible planning products from them. If there is an Australian planner you’ve been ogling, email me or leave a comment and let me know!

MiGOALS is a small company based in Melbourne, Australia with a goal to create products that they would want to use themselves. They define themselves as a leading empowerment stationery brand and use their newly launched Goal Digger Planner to coach you into productive goal-setting and achieving. If there is one word you got from all that, it should be goal. MiGOALS is allllll about the goal setting and getting.

We’re on a mission to help you unlock the potential within yourself to DREAM, PLAN and take ACTION on the life you want. More than a stationery brand, we’re a global community of dream chasers and action takers helping you GET SHIT DONE.

I reached out to MiGOALS with an interest in reviewing their new Goal Digger Planner, and they kindly sent me one to show all of you! ❤ While MiGOALS has been producing their Diaries since 2010, which do have a strong planning component to them, the company decided to launch a (successful, reaching 427% of its funding goal) Kickstarter to create a 2018 planner that focused specifically on goals and acted as a coach to lead people through the process. I have the Goal Digger Planner in grey, which retails for $44.95 AUD ($35.24 USD) plus shipping. If you are shipping to the USA, it runs about $21 AUD ($16.46 USD), which makes the planner cost a total of $51.70 USD. Personally, I think that $36 for this planner is a steal, but would waver a little at the shipping costs. Of course, it’s international, so what can you do?

Function

The Goal Digger Planner is structured and highly functional. This planner is designed with helping you achieve your goals in mind, so its function is definitely geared towards that.

When you open this planner, you get a title page with the MiGOALS name and logo, followed by a page introducing your 2018 planner. This is a short message from the founder of MiGOALS, Adam Jelic. After this page, you have a place to write your name and sign & date your commitment to turning your dreams into reality, juxtaposed with an inspirational statement.

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There is a lot of content in the Goal Digger Planner, but MiGOALS keeps it well-organized. The first portion of your planner focuses on digging deep and really conceptualizing what your dreams are. Your introductory page to this section is a checklist that feels lovely to complete.

You begin with your Purpose section, which guides you with thoughtful questions into creating a solid foundation for articulating your goals. It starts with a little self love and thinking about what fulfills you.

Next is your Toolkit for Success. This page contains groupings of three asking you to write down everything from your accountability partners to the places that make you happy. Then you have a page for Wins & Lessons Learnt in 2017, which I really love. This section asks you to think about and articulate the amazing things you’ve accomplished in the past year–there really is so much that we do in a year, and so easy to forget the milestones we hit when they aren’t immediately rewarded, acknowledged, or super shiny.

The next page is to Rate Your Life. One a 1–10 scale, you are asked to rate your life in different areas. MiGOALS gives you a start of the year scale and an end of the year scale so you can return to this page and look at how your ratings have changed. (Or not, evaluation is still important!)

Following is a two page spread prompting you to think about “Mi Future”–in 3 months, 12 months, 5 years, etc. You are asked to fill out “I will be, I will have, I will see…” The last page in this prep section is Mi Vision for the next 1–5 years. You get a two-page spread to create your vision board, in whichever iteration you most prefer.

The next section is Goals. One of my favorite things about the Goal Digger Planner is that it uses these black pages to separate sections in an easily visual way. So you know you’ve stumbled on a new section of the planner when you reach one of these pages.

As I’ve mentioned, the Goal Digger Planner is really designed to coach you through the goal-setting process. MiGOALS doesn’t just create structure and then leave you to figure it out. It has carefully mocked-up pages showing you the intent behind how to use the planner. The Goal Setting 101 and 5 Reasons Why We Should Set Goals pages are introductions to goal setting and the benefits you get from writing your goals down. You then turn to a How to Set Goals That Will Help You Grow as a Person page, which breaks down the goal setting process that MiGOALS helps you implement. This essentially breaks down to:

  • Dream Big.
  • Decide what is is you want and why you want it.
  • Write that sh*t down.
  • Make a f*cking plan.
  • Work on that plan, every single day…

Then you get some coaching pages on how to set short-term and long-term goals, with thorough examples. MiGOALS definitely holds your hand through this process, which can be a great thing if you are new to goal setting or feel like you need help to organize and prioritize your goals.

The Short Term Goals section gives you 7 one-page spreads for your short-term goal setting. You can really break these goals down, from Things to Do to Key Milestones, writing in a Reward to indicating your Type of goal, & etc.

You get three long-term goal spreads because these are huge undertakings, not something simpler like making a photo album or cleaning out your emails. The Long Term Goals section has 5-page spreads for each goal. You get brainstorming space, a place to write the basics of your goal, record milestones, break those milestones down, and review your goal.

Now that you’ve done all the prep work, you reach the 2018 Planner section itself! This begins with some coaching pages on how to plan in the monthly goals, monthly spreads, and weekly spreads. Again, examples are provided along with a thorough mock-up. (My favorite part is the “Netflix & Chill” plan on January 13th.) Then you reach the 2018 and 2019 years at a glance. These spreads actually give you some space to write in important dates along the bottom of the page, which is nice. Next, you get a page overview of Public Holidays. Now, keep in mind that this is an Australian planner. Nevertheless, you get many of the US holidays, as well as UK and AUS ones.

Before you get into your planner pages, you have a page for My Yearly Bucket List, which specifically asks you to list 10 things you would like to do or see in 2018. Next you turn to the monthly goals page, which you’ll find at the beginning of each month. The idea behind this page is to choose three goals to work on for the month, writing down focus areas and any needed notes. There is also a section on the monthly goals spread dedicated to your morning ritual, which is a helpful directive.

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Then you get to the glorious monthly spread. Maximum use of space, Monday start, plenty of room to fill up each day’s box with information, appointments, etc. The weekends are shaded in with light grey and are a bit wider than the boxes for the week. The monthly spreads are also devoid of any holidays or notation–they are 100% for whatever you need. The weekday boxes measure 1.5″ x just a hair over 1.5″. Weekend boxes are 2 1/4″ x a hair over 1.5″.

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Next is the weekly spread. This unique two-page spread spans the days of the week as well as helping you keep track of habits, gratitude, tasks, goals, and notes. The first page starts with Monday and has an equally-sized horizontal space for the day of the week. Half the horizontal box is lined and the other half is blank. These aren’t overly roomy, but they don’t have to be with all the sections and space provided on the second page of the spread.

You get a quote for each week, a top 3 for gratitude, weekly goals, and things to do. While there is a top three for things to do, there is also plenty of space for listing more tasks. The habit tracker has space for 7 habits you can track each day of the week! The notes section is blank, and below that is the top 3 wins for the week. There is also a little space to rank your week.

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At the end of each month, you get a review page, which prompts you to think about what you accomplished, how you feel about those accomplishments, etc. You are asked to think about challenges you will face moving forward and how you plan to overcome them. Valuable thinking strategies. Then you get a dot grid notes page, just ’cause.

Tucked away at the end of the planner you have a Budget section. These are fairly simple budget spreads for each month, but provide plenty of space for keeping track of expenses each month. After the budget page, you get several notes pages, which alter between being blank or lined. The planner has a total of 304 pages.

Aesthetics/Design

This is a unisex, neutral, and minimalist planner. It’s designed to be functional and provides you with all the information you need to use this planner to its functional capacity.

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Your Goal Digger Planner comes in a nifty black keepsake box, which has the goal digger affirmation printed on it. The planner itself is a B5 size, which is 230mm x 160mm (9 1/16″ x 6 19/64″). This is a portable size while still being large enough to easily write in.

The planner box has a nifty pull-tab mechanism for lifting your planner out so you don’t claw at it like a madwoman/man. The planner comes in two colors–grey (pictured) and black. The planner has a soft cover that feels a bit pleathery to the touch. The design is very minimalist, with the name of the planner and the year subtly debossed along the edge of the cover. The back cover is the same grey (after all this is a book bound planner) with the MiGOALs logo debossed near the bottom of the cover.

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The planner is about 3/4″ thick and has two black ribbons to use as placeholders. These ribbons feel like a thick, soft shoelace material which makes them heavy but malleable. The edges of the paper are tinted grey, so you get a very monochrome experience.

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The font throughout the planner is a combination of a clean serif for headings and a simple sans serif choice in different weights throughout the rest of the planner. The sans serif mostly appears in all caps, while the serif font casually sits at the top of your pages, with normal capitalization.

The pages are a creamy off-white color, which works well with this particular planner cover because it’s more of a French Grey. The pages are pretty packed, but there is always a small margin of white space that helps to visually balance the content-rich pages. It is also worth mentioning that this planner is delightfully floppy. The planner has a lay-flat design, which works flawlessly.

Overall, the Goal Digger Planner is designed to be structured and functional. There are no colors used throughout the planner, just the black text on cream paper. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you couldn’t bring in some color if you liked. While the design of the planner is minimalist, the textually packed pages make it look a little heavier than you might imagine a “minimalist planner” to be.

Fit

Pen test, duh!

The paper used in the Goal Digger Planner is 100 gsm. While most of the pens ghost, they do not bleed through the pages (except for–you guessed it!–the Sharpie Permanent Marker). The paper feels smooth without being glossy, and every pen I tried wrote smoothly on it. Inky pens didn’t smear, felt tip pens didn’t sponge. As long as you can deal with some ghosting, you should be good to go with your favorite pens!

I would recommend this planner for someone who has large, longterm personal projects or goals and wants to keep track of them in a thoughtful, functional way. Or, if you are using this primarily for work and keep track of your appointments in Outlook or something, then this planner would make a great paper companion to your digital planning.

If you are a student, I think this would be a great planner for you. Especially if you are in graduate school or you are in your last year or two of college. The goal setting system will help you stay on top of large projects like your thesis, as well as preparing for entering the workforce. The weekly spread is enough to track assignments and tests, as long as you don’t want to write down your appointments each and every day.

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This planner would also be a good fit for an entrepreneur starting their own business. If you need help strengthening, setting, and sticking to your ambitious goals, then this planner could be an excellent tool for you.

If you are looking for a planner that will hold your schedule and list of meetings/appointments, then I would look elsewhere. This planner is designed to coach you into realizing your goals and is heavily focused on that aspect of planning. If you are intimidated by goal-setting, you might want to start with a planner that has a gentler goal setting system. This planner wants to help you be serious about your goals.

Loves

I love the consistent emphasis on recognizing your achievements and wins throughout this planner. It really is such a valuable exercise to step back and think about what you accomplished in the past year, month, or week. I also love that the Goal Digger Planner doesn’t just give you templates for goal setting and then just “k thx bye” you. MiGOALS leads you through the goal setting and planning system with written and visual directions and advice. I also love the use of space in the monthly spread and the habit tracker in the weekly spread.

Nopes

I wish the pages were bright white instead of cream, but that’s just personal preference. The planner lays flat, but the binding is slanted a bit, which drives me a little bonkers because I like things to be just so–I know, I know, tough sh*t, Ara. I would love to see a pocket included in the planner somewhere, and think that an elastic closure band would really help keep everything together!


There you have it! My review of the MiGOALS 2018 Goal Digger Planner. I hope you enjoyed it! Do you have a goal-setting planner, or even a Goal Digger Planner from MiGoals? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!! 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

Purposeful Planner 2018 Daily

Hello hello! I’m back again post-move! It can be quite a stressful endeavor, moving from one city to another (even when they are close by). Thank you for being ever patient with me as I settle into my new home, new job, and each new planner I review for you! ❤ 🙂 I’m also delighted to announce that my planner reviews will be happening twice a week again, on Thursdays and Sundays! 🙂

This Thursday I’m digging into the Purposeful Planner by Corie Clark. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the 2018 Daily edition of the planner, which retails for $58 plus shipping (right now there is a 30% off code!). Corie Clark also has weekly versions of her planner as well as bound “leatherette” covers!

Corie Clark had a planner journey, just like the kind that all of us are on. 😉 She couldn’t find what she wanted:

For years, I’ve been on the search for the perfect planner. I have found many that come close but none have had everything I’ve wanted. I wanted a place to be encouraged and inspired, reminded to live on purpose, and keep my life and family organized. I wanted a place to budget and menu plan, to be reminded to take care of myself, and to keep up with those little things that I always forget to do.

So Corie created her own planner in 2013 and has been rocking the planner market ever since!

I reached out to Corie with an interest in reviewing this planner for all y’all and she was kind enough to send one my way!

Function

The Purposeful Planner is a daily planner designed for functionality and a holistic approach to your life. It packs in a lot!

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When the planner arrives you get a nice note from Corie Clark thanking you and welcoming you to the Purposeful Planner community. There is a pocket folder attached to the inside cover that’s tall enough to hold plenty of loose notes or receipts. The first page of the planner is the nameplate page, with just a simple lined space to write who “This planner belongs to…”

When you turn the page you come upon a thoughtful letter from Corie, thanking you for “investing into your life” with the Purposeful Planner. Popular language that Corie uses throughout her products is this idea of “finding miracles in the margin”–giving you space in the margins of all your responsibility, tasks, schedules, etc. to create the life you want amidst all the demands on your time and energy.

Next, you get a page explaining what’s in the planner and how to use it. And there’s a lot packed into this book, lemme tell ya! You have a monthly Budget, Menu Plan, Master Task List, and Daily Planning. Then you have a Planning with Purpose page, which sets you up for success by prompting you with a deep dive into who you are and what you want to do. After you fill out those sections, which are designed to help you generate goals for the year (and life in general), you’ll find a Bucket List page. It’s simple and lined–you can make a bucket list for the year, the next 5 years, life, etc. I think it would be nice to make a bucket list for your lifetime and then check in with it every year.

Then, of course, you get a 2018 and 2019 year at a glance page, followed by a list of 2018 holidays.

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Boom! You’re into your monthly spread! Corie gives you big boxes for your monthly layout. You have a Monday start, which means that the weekends are together. On the lefthand side of the layout, you have a lined Notes column for whatever you need to make note of. The name of the month is displayed in the upper lefthand corner, while the upper righthand corner contains an inspirational quote.

The Purposeful Planner brand is intertwined with Corie Clark’s personal ethos–as Corie strongly identifies as a Christian, you will be seeing Bible verses and a light focus on faith throughout the planner. Something to keep in mind–while motifs of faith are dappled throughout the planner, this isn’t an overtly Christian planner. It’s designed to capture your busy, multi-faceted life, of which faith is only one part. I just wouldn’t necessarily recommend this planner to an atheist, is all I’m saying.

Four unique pages to the Purposeful Planner follow–a monthly Budget page conveniently categorized into sections for you, and a Menu page where you can list your Top 20 Meals and make a mega-grocery list of all the ingredients you need for them. Then you have a Master Task List which is fabulous for keeping track of any cleaning, redecorating, or other projects you have going on in the home. Lastly, you have a Dreams & Goals page, which is just a simple lined page for you to brain-dump, write in sparks of inspiration, write out your goals for the month in greater detail, or general notes.

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The daily page–the heart of the Purposeful Planner! This is a very structured page so those of you who benefit from a strong sense of composition will adore it. Your page is spread over two columns. You get a quote at the top of the first column, followed by a top three “Today I Will.” I like the flexibility of this because it could be task-based, goals based, or just friendly reminders to yourself. “Today I will… be kind to myself. Today I will… finally hang the art in my apartment.” & Etc.

Next comes your schedule. Corie gives you slots for 6–9 with space for half-hour increments. I love that Corie doesn’t put AM or PM–not everyone operates on a 9 AM–5 PM schedule, so this Schedule section could be used starting at 6 AM or 6 PM–whichever you need!

The second column starts with the day and date, then has two smaller boxes for Health and Water. The Health box could be used to track calories, time exercising, exercise activity, remembering to take medication, or whatever else you need! The Water box has 8 circles to check off your daily water intake. Below this is a 15 minute challenge. Each day, your Purposeful Planner challenges you to spend 15 minutes doing something, whether it’s “declutter a book shelf,” or “wash a window to two.” These are helpful little reminders that you don’t need to invest an extraordinary amount of time in cleaning/organization tasks if you tackle things little by little, day by day.

Below this box is the Prayer & Praise section, which is part of that dappling of faith throughout the Purposeful Planner. You could also use this section as a place to write scripture, gratitude, or a psalm notation you like to return to. Next is a Brain Dump section with 15 lines for things to remember, tasks to complete (which is how I use it), notes on the fly, or whatever else you need. Below that is a Retail Therapy space–to be honest, I’m not quite sure what to put here. Things you bought? Money you spent during the day? Things you want but aren’t getting yet? All are possibilities. The last box is for your Menu–squeeze Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner in or just focus on the biggest meal of the day. 🙂

Saturdays and Sundays share a page–you essentially get a condensed version of the second column in the daily spread minus the Retail Therapy box and with the Today I Will top 3 added.

It’s also worth noting that you don’t really get any notes pages–much like the Simplified Planner and the Day Designer, this daily planner has space for you to write down stuff on each daily page, but otherwise, you’ll want to carry a compact notebook around with it.

Aesthetics/Design

The Purposeful Planner has a very clean aesthetic and is designed for heightened functionality with a touch of minimalism. The planner arrives in a gorgeous white keepsake box.

The Purposeful Planner is a hefty book. It measures 9″ x 9 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ including binding. You get 395 pages of planning goodness with it. There are a few cover designs for the daily coil planners: Marble (which I have here), Black Floral, and CoCo Stripes. The cover is a smooth scuff-free matte laminate material that feels wonderful to the touch. The name of the planner, date that it runs for, and Corie’s name, are all organized into a gold-foil box and placed in the center of the upper portion of the cover.

The inside covers are a soft baby pink, which complements the white of the marble design perfectly. The inside front cover has a pocket folder for storing all your extra papers. The tabs are attached to the monthly spread, so there isn’t a separate divider page. The tabs are small but grabbable and white text on a black background.

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The Purposeful Planner has a very simple, visually lightweight design. A lightweight sans serif font is used throughout the planner, adding to its consistency. The lines are dotted instead of solid, which is a little easier on the eyes. Headings are in all caps to more easily delineate them from messages or quotes. The monthly spread makes fantastic use of space, giving you the maximum space for your day boxes. The daily pages are similarly full, providing a great deal of space while still managing to look uncluttered. The margins are small, but they are there, so they add some white space to the spreads.

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The coil is wire-o binding but feels quite sturdy. It’s a bright gold. The corners of the planner have protective metal covers in the same bright gold as the coil. These corners are fantastic–they are slightly rounded so that the tips of them don’t feel as sharp or stabby.

The marble cover is beautifully designed–it isn’t too visually heavy on the eyes and looks like Carrera marble. I love it. The accents throughout this planner have a light touch and complement the beautiful but minimal overall design.

Overall this is a large and in charge planner with plenty of structure for your days. It’s visually neutral and feels impressive to carry around.

Fit

Pen test! Obvi.

(Is that picture blurry? 😮 ) This planner has 100gsm (approximately 60-70lb weight) paper. It’s a bright white, which I usually prefer in planners. The paper feels fairly thick when you’re leafing through it. While most of the pens I used seemed to write well enough without bleeding through (except, as always, the Sharpie permanent marker), inkier pens are definitely noticeable once the page is flipped. Pens that aren’t necessarily inky will still leave a bit of an imprint on the other side. I mostly found that this paper help up well for it being a daily planner with 395 pages, but you do need to be okay with some ghosting and imprinting. My friend Liz has this planner, and she said that the paper was too thin for her favorite pens.

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I would recommend this planner as a catch-all for someone who needs one book to hold their life in. A sort of “One Book to Rule Them All” kinda deal.

But seriously. This planner has a ton of thoughtful content. If you want to check your goals, menu, master task list, and budget every month but still have daily planning pages, this is a fantastic planner that does it all.

If you are a very structured person, then you would enjoy this planner. The daily pages have all the organization mapped out for you–you just need to fill it in. If you want a planner because you feel terribly unorganized and overwhelmed (no shame!), then this planner will help you feel like you’ve got your sh*t together, or at least that you’re in the process of getting it together.

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a desk planner to leave at home or at work. This planner is heavy–you could carry it around but it is a big planner so I would recommend leaving it at home or the office. Bonus points if you have a home office to leave it in! This would be an excellent planner for stay-at-home moms or dads. It gives you space to write in all your appointments, your children’s appointments, tasks, & more while also carving out space for you to take care of yourself (water, health, etc). Because this planner includes a Master Task List, I want to say that it would be best utilized when focused on the homefront.

I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a daily planner that also holds them accountable for habit-forming goals, like consistent health tasks (30 mins every day, or calorie counting, etc), gratitude/prayer, water intake, and more.

I would not recommend this planner to students because it’s heavy to carry around and is focused more on holistic life-organizing rather than specialized organizing (academic, etc). I also would not recommend this planner to people who are not religious at all. There is a religious bent to this planner, even though it is tastefully interwoven throughout the pages and not overtly in your face or anything.

Loves

I love the sturdy gold coil (despite it being wire-o!) and the smooth marble cover. I also love that the metal corner protectors are rounded–it’s a thoughtful detail that I really appreciate. No one likes getting stabbed by their planner’s protective corners!

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I love me a hefty planner, so I really love the size and weight of the Purposeful Planner. It feels very substantial to carry around and use. I love the cover design and texture, the consistent sans serif font, which looks so fresh & so clean.

Nopes

I would rather see a blank box than the Retail Therapy box. I haven’t had much to put into it and feel like it would work well as a “whatever you need this to be” space. I think that the house-focused Master Task List is a little limiting–I’d rather see sections that are unnamed so that you can adjust them to your needs. Even though I have a home it’s an apartment and doesn’t have some of the rooms that are listed, so those sections just go unused while I wistfully dream of a second bathroom one day.


There you have it! My review of the 2013 daily Purposeful Planner by Corie Clark. I hope you enjoyed my take on this fan favorite! Do you have a Purposeful Planner? Do you enjoy using it? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

 

2018 Happy Balance Planner

Sherbert Shop is a small paper goods business founded by Hillary and Jordan, a couple with a shared passion for finding a happy balance between all of life’s demands. Based in Atlanta, GA, Sherbert Shop sells quality paper goods and is best known for their Happy Balance Planners. These planners are produced in small batches in collaboration with a local printer in Atlanta and are 6-month planners with launch dates in November-December and again in May-June.

Sherbert Shop has a clear mission behind their business:

We believe in dreaming big, constantly working to be our best versions, filling our days with only things we are truly passionate about, being persistent, being focused and being driven. We believe in seeing the positive in everyone and everything, choosing happiness, loving big, and helping others. Our creations are a reflection of these values, what we hold dear and what we truly find helpful for making the absolute most of every day!

Hillary is a Ph.D. student with a lot to juggle and had trouble finding a planner that worked for her. One night, her husband Jordan suggested that she make her own planner. Thus began the Happy Balance Planner in 2015. When I wrote to Sherbert Shop with an interest in reviewing their planner, Hillary told me that,

It’s been incredibly rewarding in more ways than we could have imagined but what keeps us motivated is hearing and seeing how our planners are truly helping people define their days according to what fills them with joy. When we get the emails about how someone has reached a big goal by simply writing the steps out and carving out time for it all, it’s an amazing feeling to know that your planner was one tool that helped them accomplish that!
Happy Balance Planners are 6-month daily planners, although there is also an undated weekly version of the planner. They cost $42 plus shipping–although right now Sherbert Shop is offering free shipping! Their quantities are quite limited and they usually order based on pre-orders and projections.

Function

The Happy Balance Planner is a clean, functional planner with an emphasis on providing lots of space for you to write down everything you need.

The first page of the planner is a nameplate page with space to write out your name, phone number, and email. The title of the planner is printed in a clean sans serif font. Next you have the copyright information, and then you get into some introductory pages.

“Lovingly crafted for you” is printed as a dedication to all Sherbert Shop’s planner users. Then you get a blank page that you can use however you like–keep it blank, make it a vision board, etc. The next three pages include a letter from Hillary telling you the story behind the small business, the organization of the planner, and some suggestions for how to use it.

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The next spread is a 2018 year at a glance and a 2018 Special Events page. The year at a glance is simple and clean and exactly that–a year at a glance. The 2018 Special Events page has lined sections beneath each month for writing out special dates/events for the year.

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Then you get a page for writing out your yearly goals. The goal setting pages are very simple and provide plenty of room to brainstorm and write out your goals in a detailed manner. There is a column for the date, and then a larger one for the goal. Below these is a large box for notes. The simplicity of this layout provides a lot of flexibility–you can use the notes box for brainstorming, multiple lines for a goal, etc.

The tabbed pages are a thin cardstock with sturdy coated tabs in alternating grey and white. The tabbed page itself is completely blank on both sides, which could serve as a plain, minimalist aesthetic choice or be used to keep notes, doodles, etc. for the month.

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Each month has a goals page. The design of this page mirrors the Yearly Goals page, it is just designated for monthly goals.

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The two-page monthly spread has plenty of space for all of your appointments, calendar notations, etc. There is an untitled lined column on the lefthand side of the layout, which can be used for whatever you like. Notes, important tasks for the month, reflection, etc. The monthly spread has a Monday start. You get two quotes, each beneath the month’s name and year prominently displayed in the right-hand and left-hand corners of the pages. The daily boxes feel roomy and unencumbered by the italic numbers indicating the days.

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You get another page for Weekly Goals. Again, it’s the same design as the Yearly and Monthly Goals spread. This consistent placement of the Goals page reminds you to be consistent in the pursuit of your goals and provides plenty of space to write out a multitude of important goals throughout the 6 months of the planner.

Then you get to your daily pages. This is a daily planner, so each day gets a page. Yes, even weekends have separate pages for Saturdays and Sundays, which is difficult to find in most daily planners. The daily layout is simple and comprehensive. You get a To Do list with circles for checking off completed tasks, a box of blank space for Me Time, a box for Notes, and a schedule that goes from 7 AM to 7 PM. The schedule includes half-hour time slots and a space for “early” and “late,” in case you have something scheduled outside the 7–7 timeframe. You also get an inspirational quote for each day!

There is one lined notes page at the end of each month. The very last page of the planner has important contacts on one side and a reminder to pick up your next planner on the other.

Aesthetics/Design

The design of the Happy Balance Planner is very simple and streamlined. The daily pages are comprehensive, the goal setting pages easy to use. This planner is designed to provide you with all the space you need.

There are four different cover designs for the January–June 2018 planner: Navy Brick, Blue Marble, Gold Marble, and Peacock. I have the Gold Marble design, which was created in collaboration with Kaitlin Noverr, the artist behind elysian market.

The cover is gorgeous–it looks foiled but is not. You can see some of the texture of the surface Noverr painted on in the print. The cover has a white box centered near the top with the title of the planner in all-caps sans serif font. The timeframe for the planner is below in an italic serif font (Jnauary 2018 through June 2018) with the by-line (by sherbert Shop) beneath. It’s a clean look that pairs well with the gold marble design.

The back of the planer is mostly the gold marble art, but includes the Sherbert Shop logo centered near the bottom as well as the logo for elysian market to credit the artist. The coil is a silver spiral 1″ in diameter but holds all the pages without feeling too small. The planner is 7.5” x 9” (8” x 9”, including binding) and about 3/4″ thick.

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The laminate over the covers extends beyond the cover design slightly less than 1/4″. This means that the planner tabs are visible through the clear plastic, which extends to protect them.

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The tabs are sturdy and I can grab them without worrying that I’ll tear the page they’re attached to. They alternate between gray and white and include the first three letters of each month.

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The Happy Balance Planner consistently uses a clean sans serif font throughout the planner. They use a balance of bold and light weighted text to denote headings and maintain the light, clean look of the planner. The sections of each daily page are in a lowercase, italic text. Even the times on the schedule are minimal: 1p instead of 1 PM, for example.

Overall this is a simple planner that serves as a canvas for your goals, months, and days. It is minimally designed and contains plenty of room for all the things you need to keep track of. The Happy Balance Planner embraces white space and a sleek, neutral aesthetic.

Fit

Pen test!

Sherbert Shop uses 80lb. paper. It is smooth in texture and feels light despite being 80#. The only pen that really even ghosted was the Sharpie Permanent Marker, which bled through a bit. Otherwise, this is an excellent paper that held up extremely well to my pens. I most enjoyed using felt-tip fens–Staedtler triplus fineliners for a slightly thicker line and Le Pens for a finer hand. Something about this paper made even my inkiest pens write smoother and finer than usual. 0.7 gel rollerball pens also glided smoothly across this paper with pleasing results.

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a daily planner but doesn’t want to carry around a gigantic book. The 6-month format really makes for a slim planner that is light and easy to transport. If you want a 6-month planner because you’re trying to get back on track with a calendar year or midyear planner, this would be a great planner to carry you over.

I would recommend this planner if you just want a clean, simple, functional planner. The minimalist design of the planner actually allows you to color code effectively if that’s how you would like to organize your days. If you want to be the one who decorates your planner, then the Happy Balance Planner has all the blank space you need to do so.

If you want to start setting goals in your planner then the Happy Balance Planner has a gentle goal-setting system that won’t overwhelm you.

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a schedule space for each day but needs half-hour increments. The Happy Planner has you covered. If you want full planning days for Saturdays and Sundays then this planner is an excellent choice for you.

If you want a high quality paper that can handle a variety of pens, this planner might work for you. If you are trying to implement more “me time” and self-care into your days, then this planner reminds you (gently) to do that with its “me time” box.

This planner looks sleek enough for the office and is versatile enough for any situation. There aren’t many notes pages, so it’s not going to be a place where you can easily journal or take meeting notes.

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This planner is easy to plan in. It’s great for a first-time planner who needs a day per page, or a super busy person with so much to do that they don’t have time to decorate or bedazzle their planner. I sat down on a coffee shop to do some planning in the Happy Balance Planner and found it easy to get into a flow with writing down my tasks, jotting down reminders for next week, looking at my schedule for the week ahead, and making suggestions to myself for ways to get some quality me-time.

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who needs to carry around a whole year at a time. The 6-month format might not work for you. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this planner to a student because I think there’s something about having the entire academic year in one place that is helpful for organization, but I went to a university that operated on the quarter system. If you are looking for a planner that can handle one semester at a time, then the Happy Balance Planner might be a helpful way to organize that.

If you want a planner that is super bright and comes pre-decorated with colorful typography and designs, then look elsewhere. The Happy Balance Planner definitely has space for you to spruce it up if you like, but it is a clean and simple planner.

Loves

I love that Sherbert Shop collaborates with artists for some of their cover designs! I also love that Sherbert Shop collaborates with other local small businesses to create their product. I love the simple layout of the daily pages and that you get full pages for Saturday and Sunday. I love the gentle goal-setting process and that you get reminders to set and reach yearly, monthly, and weekly goals. I love the clean look of this planner and how it has plenty of space to fit your life into. There is no fault with the quality of the planner you receive.

Nopes

I would like to see a full year-version of this planner–even if it’s a bit thick. I also don’t quite know how I feel about the cover having clear laminate so far beyond the actual design. I like that it protects the planner, but I’m not the biggest fan of how it looks. I also wish there were more notes pages in the planner. Lastly, writing “todo” instead of “to do” drives me a little crazy, but that’s just personal preferences.


There you have it! My review of the 2018 January–June Happy Balance Planner from Sherbert Shop. Do you have a Happy Balance Planner? A 6-month planner? Any questions for me? I’d love to hear from you–leave a comment! 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

ShePlans 2018 Quarterly Notebook Planners

Hello hello! This week I’m reviewing a gorgeous set of 2018 quarterly notebook planners from ShePlans.

I have been a fan of ShePlans planners since 2015, when I purchased my first daily planner. My Jan.–Jul. 2016 Daily ShePlans To Do List Planner was the first high-end planner I ever purchased for myself and I loved it fiercely. It helped me tackle a difficult time in graduate school, learn how to separate and manage a busy task-based schedule, and went everywhere with me. To class, to meetings, on trips, etc. I even brought it on Christmas vacation when I wasn’t even in a position to use it yet, I loved it so.

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My reasons for loving this planner company have not changed. I continue to admire the functional, minimalist, clean layouts of founder Ashley Staum’s planners. She has the same unwavering standard for quality and the same feedback-oriented approach that helped her create a truly beautiful product when she launched in 2013.

The Quarterly Notebook Planners are new this year, part of the ShePlans notebook format for planners (Ashley also offers hardbound and soft cover options). I reached out to Ashley with an interest in reviewing one of her 2018 planners and she indicated interest in sending me a set of the quarterlies. I’m thrilled to review this gorgeous set! This set of Quarterly Notebook Planners is currently sold out, unfortunately, but goes for $42.

Function

These notebooks may be slim, but they are packed with functional content. Each notebook covers one Quarter of the 2018 year. Quarter 1 is January–March, Quarter 2 is April–June, Quarter 3 is July–September, and Quarter 4 is October–December.

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When you open your planner you are greeted with a large “Q#” to let you know immediately which quarter you are in. Beneath the (in this case) “Q2” title, you get the months that this notebook planner covers (April–June 2018), then the secondary title “A Weekly Notebook Planner to Create the Space to Let Life Happen.” The latter clause is the tagline of the ShePlans company.

There isn’t a nameplate area in these planners–I ended up just asking my bestie to use her awesome lettering skills to write my name beneath the “title” text.

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Next, you get a two-page spread allowing you to look at The Next Six Months at a Glance. These start from whichever month your quarterly notebook begins. As this is the notebook for Q2, “the next six months” are April–September. I love the thoughtfulness of this page and how it keeps up with which quarterly you’re planning in.

This spread is simple and flexible. A small month at a glance calendar tops each column, and then you get lines. You can write in important dates to remember, big tasks coming up, save this space for frantically writing down details about that event you barely caught those strangers discussing at the art museum (just me?).

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Then you get eight lined notes pages to “doodle, take notes & jot things down.” These are simple lined pages. You also get two lined notes pages at the end of each month, so there is plenty of room for the aforementioned doodling/jotting. Remember, this comes in EACH quarterly notebook, which means that you’re getting a total of 56 notes pages dispersed throughout all four planners.

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Ah, the monthly spread. Ashley uses space so well in her spreads. The calendar is a Sunday start with 1.5″ x 1.5″ boxes for each day–quite roomy! The name of the month and the year are located at the top righthand corner of the spread. On the righthand side of the layout, there is also a column for “The Monthly List.” This is simply a lined vertical column for lists, important dates, etc. Beneath The Monthly List is a month at a glance for the month following the one featured.

Important holidays are marked and centered at the bottom of the day’s box to which they belong. The monthly spread only covers the days of that month, there are no greyscale numbers taking you into the next month, the boxes are just blank.

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One of my favorite things about these quarterly planners is that they provide so much space for list-making. Every month has a two-page spread for Monthly Goals, The Monthly List, and Memories Made.

Ashley is a big believer in having an open and flexible planner–she doesn’t want you to feel like your planner is yelling at you with exacting instructions on how to use it. So she keeps the format open–maybe you really need space for a list of to-dos for that month, but not the following one. It’s just lined columns so you can shift their purpose to suit whatever planning needs you have.

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And finally, we reach the weekly layout. I think that this layout is clever and unique. You have one page that’s for your notes, lists, goals, etc. and another page for putting stuff into each actual day. The first page has three spots for your priorities for the week–notice that there aren’t check marks. Your priorities don’t have to be goal-oriented or task-based. My goal for this past week was to rest and recover from being ill, and frankly, I’m not sure if that’s something I can really mark as completed. I like the open format of “priorities.”

Then you get two columns for The Weekly List. You can make checkboxes or just list things without them. Maybe you don’t care for checkboxes. Maybe you prefer to just cross out things you’ve accomplished. Maybe you don’t need a task list and would prefer to have a list of assignments for school here, or a grocery list for the week. Again, openness. Beneath The Weekly List, you get a generous amount of blank space for Notes.

The second page in this spread is the week at a glance. This column of horizontal sections has a Monday start. Each day gets the same amount of space and is completely blank. Break it up into multiple sections, write out only the important things, use it only for appointments and keep track of tasks on The Weekly List, etc. However you want to use it, the space is there for you.

Aesthetics/Design

ShePlans has a very clear aesthetic–simple, clean, embrace white space. These notebooks are the standard planner size of 7″ x 9″, which makes them big enough to easily write in while also small enough to be portable.

The cover material is a smooth, flexible material that holds up pretty well to being thrown about (into bags, of course, not just for funsies). The four quarterly notebooks are each a different cover design that mirrors the options for the bound weekly and daily planners (Stone Blue Leaf, Black & White Dot, Pretty in Pink Floral) while still being set apart via color scheme. The Quarterly Notebook Planners are in designed in white and a soft, almost bluish gray.

The shortened quarter title (Q1, etc.) is centered on each notebook planner’s cover with the year just below it. The back cover includes the ShePlans logo centered near the bottom. The notebooks have rounded edges and a sewn binding.

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The notebook can take lots of transit and use, but the edges will get a little beat up as a result. As you can see, each notebook individually is about 1/4″ thick, making it incredibly easy to slip into a bag and carry around.

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Ashley knows her brand and sticks to one serif font throughout. Her style is simple and classic while embracing white space. Even though she does this in her monthly layout, you can see that she makes excellent use of the space on each page. The boxes are large enough to use comfortably but don’t look cluttered on the pages.

ShePlans planners may have colorful covers, but the insides are clean and in black and white only with crisp font choices and a balanced use of space.

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As I mentioned earlier, there is no nameplate in the quarterly planners. My bestie did some gorgeous lettering for me in the Q1 notebook. 🙂

Overall this notebook set is designed simply and beautifully. There is a generous amount of notes pages and list space for you to organize your planner however works best for you, and that openness keeps me coming back to these quarterly pages without worrying whether I filled out all the space or not.

Fit

Pen test time!

(Sorry for the odd white balance in these shots–I didn’t do them with the rest of the photos.!) I’m not quite sure what type of paper Ashley uses, but her paper has always held up to extensive highlighting and most inky pens. I want to say that she uses an 80lb. paper because it behaves like that text weight, but I’m not quite sure. As you can see, the Sharpie Permanent Marker definitely bled through, but nothing else did. Not the highlighters, not the inkiest of my pens. You can’t event see ghosting unless you’re looking pretty hard for it. This paper is excellent. It feels smooth without being glossy and I wouldn’t say it’s too textured or toothy. My favorite pens to use with it are the Le Pen and the Micron pens in 03 and 05.

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I would recommend this planner to students. It’s easy to throw in an already-full backpack, has plenty of room for writing down assignments and noting when papers are due or exams need to be taken. There are lots of notes pages for when you’re caught off-guard at a student org meeting, visiting office hours, or meeting with your advisor. I think the overall format and structure of this planner makes it an excellent option for students, from high school to grad school.

I would also recommend this planner to anyone who is a list-maker. There are so many opportunities to make lists in these Quarterly Notebook Planners–monthly lists, weekly lists, notes pages for Master Lists, etc. If you need a lot of space for your to-do lists, then this planner series has you covered.

If you are someone who needs a highly portable planner and prefers it to be as light as possible, this would be a great option for you. If you don’t want a planner that prompts you to set goals, then this simple option will give you all the functionality you need without pushing you to track goals or habits or whatever else.

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who really likes to write down their plans/to do lists/everything else on each specific day. This weekly layout is versatile but doesn’t give you that much space for each actual day of the week. If you need to see your schedule laid out for you in an hourly format, then this planner isn’t for you. I also would not recommend quarterly planners to anyone who really needs their entire year with them at all times.

Loves

I love the portability of these notebook planners. They are slim and sleek and so easy to toss into my purse. I love the crisp, clean, white cover designs. They are soft and calming to look at. I love Ashley’s use of white space in her planners without giving up too much to the margins. I love the generous amount of list-making space in these notebooks. I love the quality of the paper–it’s truly excellent paper. I love that these planner notebooks are floppy and flexible.

Nopes

I wish there was gold foil on the covers for the “Q#” titles instead of a goldish sand color. It would look so amazing! Not sure if it would be possible with the cover material, of course. I also wish that the edges didn’t peel quite so easily (I don’t think I’ve been particularly rough with my planner).


There you have it! My review of the 2018 Quarterly Notebook Planners from ShePlans. Do you like quarterly planners? Leave a comment, tell me why/why not! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

A couple extras for you:

Until next time!

xo
Ara

2018 Sweet Life Planner from I Heart Planners

You have all been so patient with me! I’ve had some family issues to deal with as well as a new job I recently started so I haven’t been the perfect blogger these past two weeks. From now on, I will be posting once a week, usually on Sundays (except for the obvious exception of today).

Today I’m reviewing the versatile 2018 Sweet Life Planner from I Heart Planners! I Heart Planners is a blog, resource, and Etsy shop run by the incredibly prolific Laura. Laura’s mission is to help people find and create a planner system that they will actually stick to, and she thinks aesthetics have an important part to play:

I love creating organizing spaces that are beautiful, practical, and highly functional. I believe that by making our systems beautiful, we will stay much more motivated to keep up with them, and our lives will stay organized.

If you sign up for the I Heart Planners newsletter, Laura sends you occasional free printables and productivity hacks to help you achieve your goals. She also has a Sweet Life Planner Club that works as a subscription. It’s $20 a month or $199 a year ($16.50 a month) and provides you with a huge variety of printables and designs to help you plan exactly the way that works best for you. The Sweet Life Planner itself is $52.

Function

Don’t let the bright design and cheerful packaging fool you–this is a highly functional planner. You get 400 total pages, 220 of which are “daily planning pages (undated),14 pages to lead you through setting meaningful, annual goals, and 45 blank pages already punched for you so you can print and add anything you want to your planner. Every planner includes a bonus sample printable pack and the Sweet Life Blueprint course that teaches you how to create a plan that sticks (worth $49)” (I Heart Planners).

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When you first open up the planner you get the nameplate page. This includes the year, name of the planner, name of the company, and “This planner belongs to” with four lines or you to fill in your name however you like.

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Then you turn to the year at a glance. Oddly, you don’t get 2018. But you do get 2019 on one page and 2020 on the next, for some serious future planning.

Part of the appeal of the Sweet Life Planner is that Laura helps you set yourself up for consistent planning in a thoughtful and thorough way. You get several prompts at the beginning of the planner that help you reflect, analyze, and outline. First, you get a page asking, “What made me happy in the past year?” List your wins, things or practices that brought you joy, and goals you accomplished. This is a great page to return to whenever you need a pick-me-up! Next to it, you have a page asking, “What made me sad in the past year?” While not as uplifting as thinking about what made you happy, it is important to consider what made you unhappy so that you are aware of it and can address it in the coming year, or reflect on how you can make positive changes/choices moving forward.

Next, you get a page asking you to list “What I could improve in the next year” and “What’s weighing me down right now.” This section helps you articulate goals because it points you in the direction of what you might want to work on in the coming year.

Then you get a page for writing out “What I will let go in the next year,” which prompts you to reflect back on the previous pages and pick out what might be worth letting go of and moving forward from without guilt. This process is designed to help you discover your goals for the year. Now that you’ve done the reflective work, it’s time to actually set your goals. You move into the Focus Area.

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There are six total Focus Area pages. You choose an area to focus on–Laura provides the example of “motherhood” on the instructions page. To focus in on your goals/areas you need to develop habits and record projects–so the habit of “weekly one on one time with each child” and the project of “scrapbook each child’s first year.” These are separate goals, but they contribute to the focus area of “motherhood.”

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Then Laura asks you to prioritize. Go back through all your habits and projects that you wrote down and list your top three overall. If you were to only complete three projects in 2018, what would you want them to be? Narrowing down helps you define and accomplish your priorities.

Then comes the Action Plan Instructions page! This is a very detailed set of instructions on how to use the Sweet Life Planner to start putting those top three projects and habits into action. Laura reminds you to give yourself some grace because life happens to us and sometimes a goal needs to be revisited and refined or even changed. That’s okay. The important part isn’t to do everything according to one night of planning out your year, it’s to make sure you keep going forward when you hit bumps in the road.

The monthly spread is a Sunday start with colorfully themed layouts. You get the title of the month in large, bold letters along with some playful art, as well as a narrow column on the righthand side of the spread for Notes. You also have two month at a glance calendars for the month preceding and the month following the current spread. The boxes are a tad small but you do get a big blank space once the days of the month halt.

Each month you get a page for writing gown up to 8 goals for the month. You also get an impressive and comprehensive page for tracking habits for that month. This is a great return to the “habits” you listed for your Focus Areas, as well as smaller habits like “drink 8 glasses of water every day”, & etc. There is space for 16 habits to keep track of throughout the month.

Then you get a space for reflection for the month and an inspirational quote!

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The real meat of the planner is the daily page. Laura provides you with a whopping 220 daily pages, which are undated. There are several different styles and colors, so if you want to you could switch up your planner page every day. The great thing about the Sweet Life Planner is that skipping a day or two when you aren’t busy enough for a daily page does not mean that you can’t still record those daily habits!

The daily pages include a box for Main Priorities, one for Appointments, a horizontal box for Notes & Doodles, and a long list for To Do Today. You get 21 lines to write your To-Dos on, and each line has a circle for checking off your task once it’s completed. There is some space above the To Do Today list where you can write the day and date. Then, of course, there is some art to jazz up your page.

At the end of the planner, Laura gives you 45 blank pages for notes, printables, etc.

Aesthetics/Design

There is a very clear and consistent aesthetic present in the design of the Sweet Life Planner. This is a cheerful, colorful planner without seeming childish. It’s highly functional and deliberately plotted.

Your planner arrives in a festive and sturdy box! This box can be used to hold additional printables or some of the pages if you don’t want to try and stuff all 400 into your planner.

When you open the box you get a lovely welcome note from Laura and the planner wrapped in pink tissue paper, along with the separate pack of 220 daily pages. The planner is 6.5″ x 9″ (1.5″ thick), while pages are 8.5″ x 5.5″. So this is a half-letter sized planner.

When you first pull the planner out it doesn’t seem that hefty, but when you put the daily pages in your planner more than doubles in size. The included discs are a strong black plastic and seem to be 1.5″ in diameter (I could be wrong about that).

The planner’s cover is white with small black polka dots, which is a simple aesthetic choice that juxtaposes the bright interior of the book quite well. The name of the planner is in white font inside a pink box centered on the cover, and the date is multicolored and centered on the bottom of the cover. The back cover has the same white with black polka dots and has the I Heart Planners logo centered at the bottom.

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One of the benefits of this planner is that it is discbound, which means that it’s easy to remove pages and shift them around. This is an especially excellent set up for an undated daily planner because you can shift your dailies around and get the most use out of them! Only need to write out daily details for half the month? That’s fine, you can move the pages around.

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The months are in a repeating four-color pattern of pink, purple, blue, and yellow. The art and color scheme is the same each time it appears. The Sweet Life Planner uses two main fonts, a thin sans serif and a legible script. Instead of using a complex array of fonts, Laura uses color and design to alter the fonts she’s selected to make them stand out more (like in the monthly titles), as needed.

The tabbed pages are a 12 cardstock weight with mylar-coated tabs.

The daily pages come in several designs, all within the scope of the pink, purple, blue, and yellow color scheme. The art on each page is cute and cheerful, and the varied choices mean that you can go several days without seeing a repeat pattern.

Overall, this is a bright and colorful planner. It is designed to be functional and fun with the intent that you will return to it and actually, you know, stick with it throughout the year.

Fit

Pen test time! (Sorry for the slightly discolored photos.)

The paper that Laura uses is quite good. She uses a bright white 80lb. paper that looks fresh and holds up quite well to most pens. While there is some ghosting, there isn’t any bleed-through. I like that the paper doesn’t absorb and muddy ink, but rather provides a pretty smooth canvas that adds a fine-ness to even the inkiest of pens. I most enjoyed using felt tip pens and roller ball/gel pens that were 0.5mm or 0.7mm. The paper itself is lightly textured.

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If you are someone who likes the idea of an undated planner but still wants the overall structure of the year, then the Sweet Life Planner is a great option for you. If you want to use this planner for work and happen to work only 5 days out of 7, then this planner lets you skip weekends without having a huge unused page. If you want a project planner and pop in and out of needing a detailed daily spread, then this would be a great option for you.

If you love bright colors and are encouraged to plan when you have an artistic canvas and beautiful book then this would be a good fit for you.

If you want a daily planner that isn’t all about the appointment times, then this would be a great fit for you. The To Do list is the section granted the most real estate on the page, so if you are a list maker then this would work well for you.

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who likes a discbound system of being able to add and remove pages at will. That really increases the functionality of this planner and helps you cut down on guilt when you miss a day.

I would recommend this planner to students who might not have an assignment due every single day but still want the benefits of the Sweet Life Planner’s goal setting system. If you are new to goal setting, then Laura’s process is easy to follow and very thoroughly explained. This planner would also fit you if your task list is the most important part of your day but you still want to keep track of upcoming appointments.

I would not recommend this planner to someone who wants a book to take into the boardroom for corporate meetings. While this is a beautiful planner, it doesn’t scream professionalism. If your style is more minimalist, then I would look elsewhere. The artistic touches and color schemes are part of this planner’s aesthetic, which just isn’t minimalist.

Loves

I love the size of this planner. The half letter page size is big enough to comfortably write on, easy for accommodating printables, and hefty without being too heavy. I love the thorough Habit Tracker page for each month which lets you record anything from “drink 8 glasses of water a day” to “work on thesis for 30 minutes a day.” I love the To Do Today section in the daily pages because you get enough room to actually write someone substantive out. So often task lists are so narrow that you can barely use them. I also love the process that Laura outlines for goal setting. Her instructions are thoughtful and her Action Plan is encouraging and easy to implement after all the work wading through your priorities and focus areas.

Nopes

I wish there was a folder and an elastic closure band! These are just small things that I personally find helpful with a planner, although I’m sure not everyone cares overmuch. I also wish that the daily boxes in the monthly spread were bigger.


There you have it! My (belated) review of the Sweet Life Planner from I Heart Planners. Much thanks to Laura, who kindly sent me this planner to review and was patient with me while I took a little longer than usual to review it.

Do you have this planner? Are you thinking about picking it up? Any questions I didn’t get to? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Until next week!

xo
Ara

2018 Make Shit Happen Planner

Hello hello!! This week I’m reviewing a wonderful, thoughtfully designed planner that the Meraki Printing team was kind enough to send my way! I have been so impressed with this book since the moment I opened my Happy Mail, and can’t wait to dig into the specs with you all.

So who is Meraki Printing? This small company was started in Houston, TX by two yogis (Chelsea Williams and Amara DePaul) who became friends and experienced wake-up calls. Chelsea’s mother passed away from cancer, which made her realize that life was short and dreams should be pursued with passion, not left to someday, someday maybes. Amara started living life by her own terms one day and investing her time in the things that mattered most to her. These ladies travel, climb mountains, and teach yoga (both are certified Baptiste Yoga Trainers), while also funneling energy and life into creating the Make Shit Happen Planner.

The conceptualization for the planner started in 2015. In 2016, Chelsea and Amara launched a kickstarter to turn their planner dream into reality. The 2017 Make Shit Happen Planner campaign raised $140,339 out of a $25,000 goal (wild success!) and arrived on doorsteps all over the world. Chelsea and Amara also used the kickstarter platform to launch a 2017 campaign to crowdfund the updated 2018 version of the Make Shit Happen Planner, which raised $59,088 for “round two” of the planner, this time based out of Chelsea’s hometown in Denver, CO.

The Make Shit Happen Planner is so much MORE than just a monthly and weekly planner. It is a workbook, a journal and a notebook to empower you to discover the things that are most important to you! Use this planner to take action each day in 2018 to bring your dreams into reality. ​Take ownership of your life and live life how YOU want to live it! This is YOUR time.

This planner is an affordable $39 and can be found on the Meraki Printing website. Let’s take a peek inside this thoughtfully designed and beautifully executed book. 🙂

Function

The Make Shit Happen planner is highly versatile and packs in a lot of content for being such a portable book.

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With your planner, you receive this welcome note from Chelsea and Amara.

 

The first page is the company logo and tagline–“Create your life with love, creativity, and soul.” Then you get the nameplate page, where you write down your name and pledge to “make shit happen.” I love how Meraki Printing has designed this–it’s a nameplate page but also a challenge. The text says “Take ownership of your year and your life,” which is a great way to enter into a new planner!

Then the planner opens up to a textually artistic Jonathan Fields quote:

Our job is not so much to go from here to there, but to wake up to own our current reality. To see it. Feel it. Accept it. Then take action to start living the life we dream of living. One breath, one step one day at a time. Not later, not tomorrow, but today. Right now.

Then it’s your turn to make shit happen.

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There is a fairly standard 2018 year at a glance page where you get a twelve-month spread of 2018 presented to you in minimalist typography.

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One of my favorite features of the Make Shit Happen Planner is that it’s thematic–every month has a theme. The theme determines the weekly and monthly quotes used and the journaling prompt. I love that Meraki Printing designed it this way. Each month you get a thoughtful and purposeful prompt to guide you in your monthly journaling, and then you get reminders of your reflection throughout the month in the form of thematic quotes in each weekly spread.

The themes are: create, take ownership, what is your why, trust your timing, non-attachment, choose authenticity, face your fear, connect, come alive, keep showing up, make a difference, and be curious.

 

After the rundown of each month’s theme, you get a page for your Curiosity List. This is a space where you can brain dump or brainstorm to figure out and explore what you want to accomplish/learn/become/do in 2018. The space is designed to be pressure-free, so the sky is the limit on what you might want to accomplish!

Next is your four-page spread for vision boarding. My Vision is a generous amount of space to dream big and visualize–using words, drawings, clippings, stamps, stickers, however you want to do it!–what you want your future to look like.

Then you get a Make Shit Happen List. This occurs in four columns: Dream, Goal, Plan, and Action. This space is designed to encourage you to turn your dreams into goals and then make those goals actionable by giving them a due date. There is space for four big dreams that you then create more bite-sized action steps for. You don’t have to fill it out all at once, maybe you know one dream you would like to focus on but still need to develop the right words to describe and break down some others. Totes cool, this space is here for you when you want to start recording.

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Then you get into your monthly sections! This planner does not have tabs, but rather includes two ribbons to help you mark your spot. The month starts with a “title” page that simply has the Meraki Printing logo and name of the month. Opposite, you get a quote that matches the month’s theme. The theme for January is “Create,” so the corresponding monthly quote is “The best way to predict your future is to create it” from Abraham Lincoln.

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Then you get two pages for the month’s journaling spread. Like the quote juxtaposed with the monthly title page, the journaling prompt is also tied to the theme for the month. The theme is restated here, and then you are given prompts to fill in. The prompts are insightful and promote reflection and thoughtfulness in the writer. I really enjoyed filling my prompt in for January. Each month also has a different organization, which keeps things fresh.

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Then you get a brain dump/notes page that is completely blank. You can use this space however you like. Next to it is a goal setting page where you “Make Shit Happen.” Write down your goals for the month (pull from your brainstorming page, your curiosity list, your vision section, or wherever else), the action(s) you need to take to get there, and the date(s) you plan to accomplish your goal. You get four spaces for goals.

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The monthly spread is next. You get a month on two pages with a Monday start. The monthly spread is very visually heavy, but clearly defined and easy to follow. The days of the month are designated in dark gray triangles in the upper lefthand corner of each daily box. Days that aren’t part of the featured month are in a lighter gray, or simply one with a lower opacity. You get a notes column on the lefthand side of the spread with blank space for whatever you would like to put there.

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Then you hit the weekly spread! This two-page weekly spread packs a lot in–you get a Monday start to your week, a weekly quote that ties in with the monthly theme, and strategic circles for goal setting or tracking. There is also a blank space underneath the daily columns where you can keep a running task list, week-long activities, notes, etc.

This is a vertical layout with complete freedom–you have blank space to separate the days out however you prefer. There is an equal amount of space for each day, which is always a plus in my book! Not everyone’s life happens Monday–Friday so it’s always refreshing to see just as much space designated for the weekends. Like the monthly spread, each date is encased in a dark gray triangle to make it stand out.

There are four sizable circles on the lefthand side of the spread. These are flexible and can be used however best works for you, but they can help you track your goals, multiple schedules, color code, & etc. I like to use them to pick out goal areas for my month and color them in, each circle a different color that represents one of my four main monthly goals. Then I use the four circles at the bottom of each daily column to track whether I worked on that goal or not. Your goals can be as simple as “Post on Instagram every day” or as complex as “Work on writing my novel.” Sometimes you’ll have goals that don’t necessarily need to be worked on each day–one of my goals for January is getting settled into my new job. That only happens on Monday–Friday, and doesn’t need to be checked off on the weekends because my weekends are mine to enjoy, work-free.

 

Each month includes a notes section with two pages for whatever you need to take note of. The end of the planner also includes 20 additional notes pages, half blank and half in dot grid.

Aesthetics/Design

I’m in love with the heft and size of this planner and its thoughtful journaling prompts and design elements!

 

This planner is a casebound book sized 7″ x 9″, which is the standard size of most coil-bound planners on the market. It’s a little over 3/4″ thick. The planner has a hard-cover binding with a soft touch vegan cover. It feels slightly textured but soft to the touch. The front cover includes the planner title in all caps and gold foil: “Make Shit Happen.” While the planner comes in four different options, the one that I have is in merlot with gold foil and a subtle, debossed “sh” in the word “shit.” The printing process uses 3-color ink and the book has a lay-flat binding, which works wonderfully.

The back cover also has gold foil accents but otherwise remains unmarked. The planner includes two ribbons for marking your place, as there are no tabs.

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The year (2018) is on the binding in gold foil lettering (numbering?). This book also includes rounded corners, which are generally less stabby.

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The Make Shit Happen Planner uses varying typography, from a crisp sans serif option for quotes to the decorative Dionisia font for headings, details, and instructions. Dionisia is a great font–it is both classy and artful, and a little Art Nouveau. This planner uses three-color ink in a merlot red, charcoal grey, and light grey. While the colors used are minimal, they manage to provide a rich tapestry of visual design elements throughout the planner.

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The monthly layout is, as I mentioned above, visually heavy. The charcoal grey triangular designators for the days of the month pull your eye immediately and take up most of the visual attention in this spread. This is balanced by the generous use of white space, which gives you plenty of room to write in.

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The quotes chosen throughout the planner come from varied sources–I love how many quotes from women are included in this planner. You don’t get the same quotes that you often see repeated from planner to planner–these choices are deliberate and thoughtful.

Overall there is a very clear aesthetic throughout this planner. It’s a little bit Colorado, a little bit new modern, and a little bit classic minimalism. I haven’t seen another planner that has this unique look, and I must say that I’m really loving it.

Fit

It’s time for a pen test!

This paper is an acid-free, no bleed option. It is textured–a bit toothy–like the new Erin Condren paper or Emily Ley paper. I couldn’t find the paperweight details on the Meraki Printing website or their kickstarter page, but it’s a thick paper that, frankly, smells fantastic. (I checked this with my planner friend Liz, and she agrees that the paper smells good!) Because this is a toohy paper, I actually didn’t much like how my thinner roller ball pens wrote on it. This is the first planner where I’ve preferred a heavier point pen. I liked the Papermate InkJoy 0.7, Pilot G-2 in 07, the Sakura Gelly Roll 06, and the Le Pen. I would be careful with thinner pens–they might get scratchy on this paper. I would also be careful with felt tip pens because this paper absorbs ink quickly and might make your felt tip pens look just a little bit blotchy. (Le Pen, U Brands, Erin Condren Fine, and Micron 05 did not have this problem.) There is some ghosting, much like the Simplified Planner, but no bleed. 🙂 I really like the feel and weight of this paper, personally, and think it is very high quality!

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I would recommend this planner for anyone who wants a book to take with them on the go, but still wants enough space to easily write out plans. The 7″ x 9″ size in a casebound binding still gives you as much space as, say, and Erin Condren planner, but without the heft of the coil.

I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a gentle process for goal setting and tracking. Goals are definitely part of the Make Shit Happen Planner, but they aren’t forced upon you and you aren’t persistently reminded to track them. If you are easily overwhelmed by too much pressure or structure for goal setting, then the Make Shit Happen Planner is a good option for easing yourself into the process.

I would recommend this planner for anyone who wants journaling and mindfulness to be a big part of how they approach 2018. If you like journaling prompts, look no further. If you like it when things are organized by theme, this planner will delight you.

This planner is a great option for someone who wants a high-quality planner for the price you pay. For $39, this planner is a deal. The quality is fantastic, well and beyond what you pay for. Even my husband thought it was at least a $50 planner and was surprised when I told him it was only $39.

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If you are a busy commuter (like I am now!) then this is a great planner because it’s portable yet packs in enough content to accommodate a busy schedule. It will also make you giggle when you glance at the cover because it contains the word “shit.” That’s a bonus. 😉 But if you have a long commute where you aren’t driving yourself (train, metro/subway, bus, ferry, etc.) then this planner is fantastic for decompressing after a long workday. You can fill out the monthly journaling prompt, brainstorm, add to your curiosity list, etc.

This planner is also fairly unisex in its design. It’s not overtly gendered, which makes it a good option for men, women, and folks who don’t ascribe to the gender binary.

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who needs a highly structured weekly layout. This planner has a vertical spread but the space is left blank, which makes it highly flexible but also might not provide enough guidance for those of you who really need hours to fill or sections to plan in. If you are very tied to having a specific, consistent system of planning and rely on the structure of the planner to provide that, then the Make Shit Happen Planner might be difficult for you to find your groove in.

Loves

I love the paper in this planner. It smells good, feels good, and doesn’t bleed with most markers! I also love the portability but still-sizable pages. I love that each month has a theme, and that the journaling pages each month reflect that theme and vary in their prompts. I love that the quotes are thoughtful, thematic, and that they aren’t just the same recycled ones we see all the time. You get Abraham Lincoln, sure, but you also get Nora Roberts and Jon Stewart, and the quotes are good. I love the overall look and feel of this planner and how its prompts don’t shy away from difficult questions. I also love the price point–I think you get a lot of bang for your buck!

Nopes

The cover gets dirty pretty easily–I imagine it’s easy to clean with a damp cloth? The foil will start to rub if you carry it around a lot, which is likely unavoidable. I also wish the goal pages for each month were in a slightly lighter grey to make it easier to read what you write down. The only thing I really saw missing from this planner was a pocket folder–would’ve loved to see one attached to the inside back cover to store papers and such in.


There you have it! My review of the 2018 Make Shit Happen Planner from Meraki Printing! Do you have this planner? Do you have any questions for me? Leave a comment–I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

kitlife 2018 Weekly Planner

Hello planner babes! I hope everyone had/is having a wonderful holiday season! Did you pick out your 2018 planner yet? 🙂 I still have plenty of planner reviews coming atcha! So don’t worry if you haven’t found the right planner for you–chances are I’ll be reviewing it soon. 😉

This Thursday I’m reviewing the new Weekly Planner by kitlife (affiliate link)! Kitlife is known for their Daily Planner, which has been their staple product for a while. The first kitlife planner launched in 2013. Team Kit is made up of three fabulous ladies: Jessica, Jenny, and Liz.

The concept of their planner started as the Daily Life Planner (later the kitlife planner) and was based off of Jessica’s search for a book that could handle all of the things she wanted to track in her daily life. She found that she was using five or six books to track her life and that it wasn’t as efficient as she wanted it to be. She wanted a place that could track wellness, gratitude, her schedule, and more. She mocked up the first design of daily kitlife planner and took it to her friends Jenny and Liz to ask for help further developing it. Team Kit was born.

Kitlife offers three lines of planners. They have Daily Planners ($52), Weekly Planners ($48), and A5 inserts ($16 a Quarter, so $64 for all four quarters). There are also plenty of Planner Accessories, including stickers and clipboard planner covers. I will be reviewing the 2018 Weekly Planner by kitlife.

Function

This planner was designed to allow you to keep everything in one place. It can accommodate your schedule, tasks, gratitude, notes, wellness, and more.

When you purchase your planner you can chose to have a gold coil or a silver coil. As you can see, I have a gold one. The Weekly Planner comes with a pink (blush) cover while the Daily Planner comes with a blue (teal) one. The covers are a thick, laminated card stock and protected by a clear plastic overlay. The first page is a frosted velum over the phrase “life is more than a to-do list.” This is a great reminder to focus on holistic planning as you begin your new planner. You aren’t just tracking a list of what to do, you are also focusing on a number of other things–wellness, gratitude, your schedule, your memories, notes, etc.

Then you get a page providing an overview of the kitlife philosophy. The kitlife team believes in a balanced approach to planning and share their four pillars of a balanced life: productivity, gratitude, wellness, and goal setting. This page also reminds you that “kitlife is a party!” But it wouldn’t be one without you. They give you ways to share your planning process via social media. Lastly, this page reminds you that they have a number of other products designed to pair with their planners.

Then you get your year-at-a-glance page, which includes both 2018 and 2019. Next to that is your page for noting Occasions of Importance, with a lined section for each month. This would be the space to write down birthdays, anniversaries, important upcoming events, etc.

Then you reach your first Quarterly Check-In page. This is something unique to kitlife, where you are prompted to reflect on where you are in multiple areas of life before jumping into the next quarter. This helps you set realistic and relevant goals. Each Quarterly Check-In is slightly different. For example, the Quarterly Check-In before January begins asks you what your New Year’s Resolutions are. You can also record “I’m Loving,” “I’m So Grateful For,” and “For the Quarter Ahead, My Goals Are…” You have a space to write in your Personal Inventory (health), what you are Excited to Experience, and your Reading List.

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Each tabbed divider is in a clear plastic with the first three letters of each month on the protruding tab. The material is flexible but thick.

One of my favorite things about the kitlife planner is the thoughtful cover page for each month. You get a Self-Care Suggestion, where you are encouraged to try a new tool or are given some insight on nutrition. The Icing on the Cake section reminds you to set yourself up for success by reminding you about important upcoming national deadlines (like taxes) or providing a nice recipe for the season, or something else helpful. The Best Time to Buy section gives you some insight into what is usually discounted or priced down during this month. For example, January appears to be the best month to buy gift cards! The Feel the Love section gives you tips on showing yourself and others some affection and appreciation. The Celebrate and Educate section reminds you of fun upcoming holidays and national designations. Lastly, the Snail Mail Challenge gives you a monthly challenge to help you come up with content to snail mail to friends and loved ones. This cover page has the same sections but new information every month, which is delightful.

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Then you reach the monthly spread! You get a Sunday start with this spread, which only gives you numbers for the featured month. No low opacity “1” or whatnot for the first of the next month. Popular holidays are included on the spread as well. You also get (of course) the title of the month and year in the top left hand corner of the two-page spread. You also get a small month-at-a-glance for the month preceding the current on and the month following. Then you have a small lined section for January Goals.

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The weekly layout is a new kitlife layout–they are usually daily girls! The two-page weekly spread is a Monday start. Each day gets the same amount of space allotted to it, which is lovely. It’s a well-organized horizontal spread. Half the spread has six check boxes for a daily list of tasks or appointments. The second half of the weekly spread just has lines for whatever your needs are! If there is a holiday, it will be added in script font alongside the day and date. Then you get a generous lined notes section at the end of the week, which has been kept blank for whatever your needs are.

You also get a lovely quote at the bottom of the first page in your weekly spread each week, as well. These are inspirational and motivational. The weekly layout makes excellent use of the space on each page–you get a clean spread with minimalist yet colorful design accents.

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At the end of each month you get a “Doodle Break” notes page before the next month begins. You can color in the partial mandalas on the lined page, or continue to doodle in the space, or use it for notes. Then you get the next month’s clear tabbed divider and cover page.

There are two unique sections added to the Weekly Planner–(1) Gratitude, and (2) Wellness. The Gratitude section comes first and includes seven sections per page for recording gratitude. The bottom left hand corner of each section has a space for writing in the date. This layout is flexible and functional–you can use it whenever you want to record gratitude (maybe as part of a 30 day challenge?) and skip days without wasting any space.

The Wellness pages are structured with four lined boxes per page. Like the Gratitude sections, there is a space to record the date in the bottom left hand corner of each box. These are also different Wellness-focused stickers designed by kitlife to specifically fit in these spaces. You can record nutrition, meals, fitness, and more. This space could be used for recording meals, calories, exercise, mantras, meditations, etc. However wellness translates for you, these pages are flexible enough to accommodate it.

There are sever add-in options that you can select for both the Weekly and Daily planners. These options include: Notes, BuJo, Budget, Direct Sales, Direct Sales Team, and Teacher add-ins. The kitlife team provided Notes and BuJo add-ins for my weekly planner, which provides plenty of space for taking notes and planning extra stuff that doesn’t fit into you normal spread! You could start a Bullet Journal practice without buying a separate notebook for it, or integrate a BuJo practice into your weekly planner.

Aesthetics/Design

kitlife is based in Orlando, Florida, and their products reflect the bright and happy aesthetic so often associated with the Sunshine State. 🙂 Their products manage to be colorful and bright without blinding you or throwing neon at you, which adds to the cheerful but still sophisticated look of the kitlife planner.

Your planner comes lovingly packaged in a bright pink keepsake bag, which I love.

The kitlife Weekly Planner measures 8.75″ x 8.5″ x 0.95″, which is a deviation from the ever-popular 7″ x 9″ size while still being close enough to feel familiar. It’s surprisingly light for how big it is.

The cover is a blush pink with the decorative title “keeping it together” against a soft pink ikat pattern. Centered at the bottom of the cover is the brand identification “kitlife planner” along with the year that planner covers “two thousand eighteen” and the planner edition you have “weekly planner.” The binding is a sturdy spiral coil in a brassy gold and keeps the planner together without difficulty.

The back cover doesn’t have a clear protective cover over it (although you can buy one from the online kitlife shop), but is rather a flexible gray. The website for kitlife (kitlife.net) is centered on the bottom of the cover.

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The inside back cover of the planner has the “Proudly Made in America” designation as well as a disclaimer regarding the health suggestions throughout the planner.

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Each month has a different color scheme. January was yellow, February pink, etc. The colors are a bright watercolor design without being too saturated, which has a nice effect on the weekly pages. You get a pop of color and you get months organized by color but you aren’t tied to an overwhelming amount of it.

The cover page for each month includes icons for the various sections–a cupcake for “Icing on the Cake,” & etc. Headings are in a sans serif all-caps font and text is in a serif font. For big blocks of text, serif fonts are usually easier on the eyes. This is helpful for the reader. 🙂 The title part of the cover page has the month in all caps sans-serif font with the year in script below it. There is also a colorful circle with the number of the month (06 for June) in it above the month’s title.

The tabbed dividers are a misty plastic that add to the sturdiness of the planner without adding to the weight. They are flexible and easy to navigate. They are actually quite versatile because they allow the planner itself to be physically flexible but also structured.

The lovely ladies at kitlife sent me some extras as well! I received one of their new clip covers in Sunset & Seashells, a sample set of their sticker sheets for the Wellness section, and a planner dashboard with pockets.

The clip covers are new this year and feature a myriad of cover options. In the past, kitlife has had one or two options for the entire planner (Festival versus Classic, for example), but they are really changing it up this year and releasing more options for customizing your planner. 🙂 The clip covers can be inserted under the plastic overlay and let you “showcase your own unique style.” The Sunset & Seashells cover, for example, is “vibrant and colorful for the mermaid in all of us.” These clip covers feel like a thick laminate cardstock, although they are a more flexible material (think Plum Paper covers). Clip covers are $7, or $9 for options with foil detailing. I found that the clip cover is pretty easy to install and I haven’t yet had any problems with it falling off.

The stickers I received are a mixture of Nutrition Trackers, Fitness Tracker, Calls & Follow-Ups, and Social Media Tracker. These stickers are designed and sized to fit in the Wellness section and help you organize your space.

ThePlanner Dashboard ($7.50) is a misty plastic that is designed to fit wherever you need it in the planner. It pops in and out easily. Two thin plastic pockets (one on each side) can hold scraps of paper, receipts, notes, cards, etc. They are pretty tight so they can’t fit too much, but will do in a pinch if you’re on the go. I’m not the biggest fan of the dashboard because of how much it sticks out of the planner–I would rather have something that clips in without being longer than the shape of the book.

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Overall, this planner is packed with helpful information that helps to guide you through each month of living your best life. The Weekly spread makes maximum use of space while still showcasing kitlife’s unique and cheery aesthetic. The planner is comprehensively designed to fit your life in one book, and the thoughtful recommendations each month and sections for Gratitude and Wellness are lovely touches. If you want some color in your life, this planner provides it without overwhelming you. You can pick up a clip cover that fits your aesthetic best, from floral to minimalist. The font choices throughout are balanced and tasteful.

Fit

Pen test!

kitlife uses a 70 lbs. paper, which feels smooth and holds up remarkably well to most of my pens. The Sharpie Permanent Market shadows but doesn’t actually bleed through, which is stellar, and the Stabilo Boss Highlighter ghosts. Otherwise this paper held up against most of my pens without feeling too thick or heavy. I wouldn’t recommend using markers on it (you can see some ghosting from the Erin Condren Medium tip marker), but otherwise from ballpoint to rollerball, gel ink to felt tip, this paper can handle it all. A+!

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This book is delightfully floppy. You know that feeling when you pick up a book and it just feels so satisfying flopping back and forth in your hands? The kitlife planner feels like that. The thick card stock-ish covers keep the planner light and easy to carry while the overall book is a large enough size to fit everything you need in it.

I would recommend this planner for anyone who wants a floppy, flexible book to carry around with them. If you want a sizable planner but don’t want it to weigh a ton, this is a good option for you. If you prefer a planner that can hold up to, well, life, then the kitlife planner will last you. Its malleable structure means that you can toss it in your bag without fear that you’re breaking the coil or denting the cover.

If you are a student, this planner would be great for keeping track of your daily homework and also for planning ahead for exams and papers. There is plenty of space to do this and the planner is a colorful beacon that will remind you to consistently use it. If you are a person who wants your life to be in one planner, one place, then the kitlife planner might be a great weekly option for you. This planner would also be great for someone who is new to planning and wants to see how it might work for them. It’s a flexible layout with guided content to help you settle in.

If your days are relatively routine and you don’t want to be writing “Work” in most of the space for a daily schedule, then the weekly planner might be a better option. This planner might also be a great option if you like to use both digital and paper planning tools. Keep your schedule on your phone? Great, this planner will help you fill in the rest.

I think this would be a great planner for managing your household. I also think this would be a fantastic gift for that recent college grad starting their first job or living on their own for the first time. It will help you develop a habit of tracking multiple areas of your life.

I would not recommend this planner for someone who wants a strictly minimalist planner or is overwhelmed by having too much content in a planner. This is not a bare bones planner and is most effective when its content is utilized. I also wouldn’t recommend this planner to you if you want a book that you can bring into the office and take detailed notes in–there are notes pages but if you have meetings every day that you need to take com,prehensile notes for, then I would suggest a different system for you. Lastly, this is a colorful planner, so if you aren’t into that then look elsewhere.

Loves

I love the shape and flexibility of this planner. I’m a huge fan of floppy books in general and really like that this planner has that feel to it. I love the monthly cover pages that give you seasonal updates and recommendations–this feels like a really thoughtful section to include in a planner and I love that intention behind it. I love the Gratitude and Wellness sections that give you a space to record those two very important things without making you feel bad for missing a day. I love that there are add-ins you can select to make your planner a little more personal. I also love that this planner has a spiral coil. 🙂 I love the Quarterly Check-In pages to help you stay on track, and that each day in the weekly spread gets equal space. I’m also a big fan of weekly spreads that give you a space with check boxes and a space for whatever else you need.

Nopes

I wish that there was a clear plastic protective cover on the back of the planner because I like things to be even. I also wish there were a couple notes pages included in each monthly section instead of the Doodle Break page, which is already covered with a design and thus not as effective a notes page as it could be.


There you have it! My (belated) review of the 2018 kitlife Weekly Planner! I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂 This is a new product so I would love to hear your thoughts or answer your questions–leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Right now, there is a New Year’s Sale on the kitlife planner (Daily and Weekly), so go check that out if you are interested in this planner! 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

Amelia Lane 2018 Life Designer Planners

Hello fellow planner babes! This is a special review that I’m bringing to you today–it’s going to be an overview and then a discussion of fit for four planners from Amelia Lane Paper! I came across this company via a Facebook comment in the Planners Gone Wild Facebook group and was immediately intrigued. I did some research into Amelia Lane Paper and was impressed with the planners I saw, so I reached out with an interest in reviewing their product. Chanel White, the founder and owner of Amelia Lane, was kind enough to send me her 2018 lineup so that I could share the varying options with you all!

Chanel launched Amelia Lane Paper (named after her favorite childhood doll because Google results are only interested in one Chanel) in August 2014 after years of designing wedding stationary in London. She wanted to move into wholesale with her stationary when she moved to Sydney, Australia and saw a need in the market for beautiful designs that captured a summery Australian edge without being touristy. Her first line of planners (2015) sold out everywhere and she’s been creating these gorgeous books ever since!

Chanel operates out of Sydney–her planners are designed in Australia. However, she has a distribution center in both Australia (for AU purchases) and New Jersey (for USA purchases). The only difference between the two lines of planners is that the Australian ones have Australian holidays and the American ones have American holidays. I received my happy mail from Amelia Lane Paper in about two days, which was super fast!

Chanel has a very clear mission and intention behind her planners:

The 2018 Amelia Lane Life Designer is a beautiful, practical planner which helps women maintain organized, productive and balanced lives. Featuring thoughtful life organizational tools, the Amelia Lane Life Designer has a ‘whole of life’ concept – helping organize your big picture goals, health and finances, as well as your schedule and to-do lists. Perfect for busy moms, time-pressed professionals, creative entrepreneurs and students, the Amelia Lane Life Designer helps you gain control of your time so you can leave space in your schedule for what’s important.

This focus on “whole of life” is part of what makes Chanel’s planner so comprehensive. You don’t just get a planner, you get a book that can handle your schedule, tasks, health, menus, notes, vision, goals, and more.

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Amelia Lane Paper offers four Life Designer Planners: Compact Daily, Desktop Daily, Compact Weekly, and Signature Weekly.

Function—Daily

The Amelia Lane daily planners come in two sizes–Compact and Desktop. While both planners have a day per page (including weekends!), there is some differing content.

 

As for what both planners include, there is, of course, the nameplate page at the very beginning of the planner. You also get a wonderful grid system design for the year-at-a-glance pages, which provide a small box to write in important dates. I mocked up the Compact 2018 year-at-a-glance pages with birthdays, for example. You get both 2018 and 2019, which is great for future planning when you know that you have an event to attend/coordinate on the 4th of April but haven’t picked up that 2019 planner yet.

 

Both the Compact and Desktop Daily Planner have a two-page vision board spread. This is broken into four sections: Family/Relationships, Personal/Spiritual, Career, and Health. You get a nice, big space to fill up with drawings, writing, magazine clippings, and whatever else you’d like. 🙂 The Desktop Daily includes an entire section for Goals which gives you 12 pages for setting goals, action steps, and a due date.

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The Compact Daily includes a two page spread at the beginning of every month for a Health Tracker and a Budget. This has a place to track calories/points and exercise as well as “results” of your efforts for the month! The budget page is fairly standard without being overwhelming and includes spaces for income and various expenses to help you track your cash flow.

The Desktop Daily has an entire section for Budget in the back of the planner, which gives you a detailed two-page spread for each month to record fixed and flex expenses as well as income.

 

Each month begins with a clean, minimal title page juxtaposed with a quote or saying to inspire you. You can leave this space alone and just enjoy the clean use of white space or you can decorate it! Write in monthly goals, visions, dreams, etc., or use it for monthly gratitude, or decorate it to make it more your own. There is a lot of space for possibility!

The monthly spread itself is the same in all the planners, varying only in size. Chanel makes excellent use of page space in her design of the monthly spread, which includes a box per day and a long column of dotted lines on the righthand side of the spread, as well as a Monday start. There is no title for this column, so the space is easy to use however you would like. The title of the month is kept fairly small and sits at the top righthand side of the calendar spread.

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The daily pages are the same for both the Compact Daily and the Desktop Daily, differing only in size. You get one day per page for a whopping 400+ pages of content. Yes, this includes weekends! Saturday and Sunday each get their very own page. 🙂 I really love the Amelia Lane daily page design–it includes all the necessities while still leaving plenty of room for Notes at the bottom of the page. (The Notes section in the Desktop Daily is roughly 2.5″ x 6.5″!)

You get a column for your Schedule, one for your To-Do List, and one for Health. The Schedule section includes three starred lines for priorities, reminders, appointments, etc. for the day, and then a line per hour from 6am–10pm. There is a little space beneath the 10pm line to write in anything later as well. The To-Do List section includes 21 lines with checkboxes for ticking things off as you complete them. The Health section has boxes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Exercise to help you keep track of what you eat and how you move. I find that these spreads manage to encompass a lot while still providing plenty of white space to fill in whatever else you may desire to track or record.

At the end of both planners you get some lined pages for Notes and blank pages for Ideas.

Function—Weekly

Amelia Lane offers two weekly options for planning–the popular Signature Weekly and the Compact Weekly. The Signature Weekly planner has a concealed spiral while the Compact Weekly is casebound like the daily editions.

 

As with the Daily planners, both Weekly editions include a nameplate page and a section for Goals. The Compact Weekly has a Month at a Glance two-page spread for writing in goals or important details that help you get there. The Signature Weekly (like the Desktop Daily) has an entire Goals section with 12 pages (ostensibly one per month) of goal setting and action steps.

 

The Signature Weekly has by far the most content out of any planner in the Amelia Lane lineup. You get an entire section for Weekly Meal and Exercise planning, and it lasts you for the entire year. In the Daily editions, Meal and Exercise planning is incorporated into each day. Not so with the weekly. The Signature Weekly Planner gives you a comprehensive weekly spread to map out your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, exercise, and water. While the weekly sections themselves are plentiful enough to last you the year, they are also undated so you can adjust your tracking as needed. There is also a thin column of dotted lines on the righthand side of each weekly spread that could be used for a grocery list, reminders, or whatever else you need.

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The monthly spread is the same as the ones in the Daily planners, adjusting only for size. You get the same box per day spread with a dotted lined column on the righthand side. Again, you get a Monday start. Holidays are included at the top of their daily box in italics. Chanel also designed her monthly calendar so that you only get boxes for the days in that month. This is more easily understood when looking at the February spread above.

 

The Compact Weekly pages are just a smidge smaller than the Signature Weekly pages. Both weekly layouts are the same. You get an equal space for each day, meaning that Saturday and Sunday have as much space allocated to them as the rest of the days of the week. You get a Weekly Goal box at the beginning of your spread with a small “Done” checkbox for when you’ve reached your goal. Next to that you get a weekly checklist with 7 lines.

Each day is given a two-column horizontal section and is titled with the day and date, as well as any applicable holiday in italics. The week starts on a Monday, like the monthly calendar. You have three lines with stars to indicate important meetings, events, reminders, or things on the schedule, and a couple of dotted lines for whatever else you’d like to record. Then you get a blank box which could be used for recording dinner, calories/points for the day, habit tracking, etc. The second column for your day is a task list with checkboxes.

 

The Signature Weekly Planner has a Budget section at the back of the planner, which has the same layout as the section in the Desktop Daily.

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Like the Daily editions, both Weekly options have lined Notes and blank Ideas pages at the back of the planner. The Signature Weekly planner includes a 2018 Bucket List page and a page for Accounts, Passwords, and Logins behind the Budget section and right before the notes pages start.

Aesthetics/Design

As there are four planners to evaluate, I will be focusing primarily on the overall design and aesthetics of Amelia Lane Paper rather than digging into each planner individually.

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All Amelia Lane planners come in a dark navy keepsake box with gold foiling. The box is sturdy and has a linen texture. The gold foiling text includes the Amelia Lane logo, “2018 Amelia Lane Life Designer,” and which cover design you chose. These boxes are beautiful and easily reusable!

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Each planner comes with a lovely card welcoming you to your new book! There is a note from Chanel and information about how to follow & tag on the social medias. 😉

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Amelia Lane Paper has cheerful, summery designs that are inspired by Australia’s environment. There are four designs to pick from when selecting your planner: Navy Palm, Black Pineapple, Pink Flamingo, and Spring Floral. While the Pink Flamingo and Black Pineapple are a bit playful, the Spring Floral is a bright watercolor design by Cass Deller Design and looks artful and cheerful. The Navy Palm is perhaps the most professional and sleek of the designs and picks up on the current botanicals trend in a creative way.

 

Each planner comes with a matte laminate hardcover and gold metal corner protectors. The cover includes the year written out in scripted gold foil and the planner name “Amelia Lane Life Designer” in all caps sans serif. The back cover of the planner simply has the Amelia Lane Paper logo in gold foil. Casebound Daily planners include two ribbons for marking your place (Compact Weekly has one), while the Signature Weekly planner has an elastic closure to keep everything together.

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The Signature Weekly planner has a double sided folder in silky cardstock in the back of the planner, while the casebound options have sturdy pocket folders on the inside back covers.

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The casebound planners have progressive notched tabs (that’s just what I’m calling it now) that are cut into the pages to provide a smooth experience. They are plastic coated as well for added durability.

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As the only planner with a hidden coil binding (which is a surprisingly sturdy wire-o), the Signature Weekly also has a different method of tabbing. The tabs are laminated and the pages they are attached to are a thin cardstock, slightly thicker than the regular pages.

 

Chanel designs her planners with two font styles, a script font for monthly quotes and tabs and a simple sans serif in multiple weights for everything else. You get the sans serif either in all caps for headings or in all lowercase for stuff like holidays and days of the week. Her design style embraces white space and gives you a minimalist, streamlined interior while still providing oodles of content. On the weekly spreads, she uses a mixture of dotted and solid lines to help your eye differentiate between sections.

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The monthly calendar makes use of strong, defined lines for daily boxes. Numbers are a light sans serif font and located in the top righthand corner of each box. The days are in a light sans serif all lowercase font and delineated by making use of the same strong, lined box format.

Overall, Amelia Lane Paper lets the covers do the decorative work while maintaining a minimalist aesthetic for the interiors. Light font weight, plentiful white space, and a strategic mixture of dark and dotted lines give these comprehensive, content-rich planners a light aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye.

Fit

We can start this section, as always, with a pen test!

 

I did the pen test in the Compact Daily Planner, but each planner has the same paper, which is a bright white 100gsm. First, it smells divine. The paper ghosts a bit and if you have a heavy hand then it will emboss if you press down hard. Inkier pens like the uniball vision and Erin Condren Marker M will bleed a little bit, and of course, the Sharpie Permanent Marker bleeds. Otherwise, you can use your rollerball pens, gel pens, and ballpoints on this paper and it should hold up just fine. 🙂

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For fit, I’m going to be discussing the fit of each planner instead of writing a section on the overall fit of this planner brand. I’ll provide some recommendations and report the size and price of each planner here.

Compact Daily

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For the on-the-go gal who wants to see each day at a time, look no further than Amelia Lane Paper’s Compact Daily Planner ($46). This planner is perfect for those of you who want a daily planner but still want something portable. It’s a hefty little book at 5.59″ x 7.4″ (& 1.46″ thick), but it’s still small enough to toss in your purse. This planner weighs about 1.47lbs so it’s heavy but not heavy enough to over-encumber you. Personally, I’m delighted with the size. I also find that it’s a functional and comprehensive planner–you get a day per page (including weekends!) as well as budget and health tracker pages for each month. That’s a lot of information to have at your fingertips!

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who runs around a lot for work but wants to have a planner with them to help track their day. If you are a consultant, constantly travel, or find yourself moving from location to location throughout your work day, then this planner is an excellent sidekick for you. If you are a student and constantly need to carry all your books around, then this planner is a great option for keeping track of your days and assignments in a portable little brick. If you are just generally obsessed with small, thick planners or books and would be utterly delighted (as I am) to have this hefty little tome, then I highly recommend this planner.

Desktop Daily

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If you want to keep your planner at home or at work (fun fact: this particular planner is going to be my main work planner this year, and I am absolutely going to be leaving it on my desk at work most of the time!) but want to feel like you have a magical book of productivity and organization every time you open it, then you will fall in love with the Desktop Daily Planner ($65). This planner is a tome. It measures 7.68″ x 9.84″ (1.57″ thick) and weighs almost 3lbs. I recommend it as your veritable Book of Shadows for home or work–meaning that even though it usually sits in the same place, it’s filled with knowledge and possibility.

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I recommend this planner for anyone who wants to keep track of all the details in their life but doesn’t need to carry their planner around. If you like to glance over your schedule and to-dos for the day before running off without a planner to lug around, then the Desktop Daily would be a perfect companion. There is also something about this planner and its unabashed bookishness that deeply appeals to the book-lover in me. It feels like a rich, glorious book, and I absolutely love it.

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I really do recommend this planner as a work planner. It has a Goals section at the start of the planner that serves as a great place for writing down work goals or projects. It also has a section for monthly Budgets in the back of the planner, which encompasses both income and expenses while offering a separate page for itemized expenses. This would come in handy in a work environment if you need to make purchases with company dollars and keep track of them. Otherwise, there is a lot of space in this planner to write down tasks, your schedule, and keep track of meals. It also looks boss AF when you open it.

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If you run a small business, this would be a fabulous planner for you. It could help you keep track of expenses, manage your budget, document progress on your goals, and keep track of your schedule and to-dos. All in one hefty book!

Compact Weekly

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If you want a compact planner but don’t need to see a day at a time, then the Compact Weekly Planner ($42) might be the right fit for you. It measures a slim 5.59″ x 7.4″ (0.71″ thick) and weighs less than 1lb, making it a highly portable option. It’s the smallest option out of all the planners and was designed for portability.

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I would recommend this planner for students because it’s light and easy to throw into your bag. The blank box you get for each day of the week could be used as a place to write in due dates for papers or assignments, and the three starred sections could serve as places to write reminders for quizzes, tests, etc. This planner would be a great fit for you if you don’t need a space to write down your schedule but do like to write down tasks. Because this planner is so compact, it would be a great companion for those of you who like to plan your appointments digitally but still want a paper planner to write things down in.

Signature Weekly

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The Signature Weekly Planner ($55) is probably the only book in this lineup that I wouldn’t recommend for work. At 7.79″ x 8.66″ (1.38″ thick) and 1.59lbs, this planner contains the most varied content. While not compact, it certainly isn’t too big to carry around either. It’s a nice size.

 

The Signature Weekly would be a great fit for you if you want a comprehensive planner that keeps your life in one place but aren’t interested in a daily layout. I would also recommend this planner to anyone who is trying to keep meticulous track of meals and health. The Meal and Exercise Planner is detailed and can hold all of your health information. Its flexible format means that it could work just as well for people on a point system like Weight Watchers as it could for calorie counters or just those of you who want a place to map out meals for the week.

I would also recommend this planner for anyone who wants a high quality, portable weekly planner. This planner could serve you at home, at work, and on the go. While not quite as mobile as the Compact editions, the Signature Weekly Planner is a good size and it’s hidden coil binding provides a solid surface for writing on when you don’t have a table beneath you.

Chanel made a handy chart to help you figure out what you would like out of your planner and let you know what’s included in each one, which I pulled from the Amelia Lane website:

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Loves

I fell in love with the Navy Palm Desktop Daily immediately. It’s a hefty book–which I’m a huge fan of!–and it feels sturdy, beautiful, and comforting. I love the clean design of the interior pages and the casebound options that Amelia Lane Paper provides. I love the “whole of life” approach to the planner content, which fits so much into one book. I also love the design of the daily pages, which combine a schedule, to-do list, health section, and notes in a beautiful and spacious layout. I love the Chanel provides so much information about her business, background, and intention. I also love the quality that you get for the price–I feel like every planner in this lineup is well made and will hold up to a year of use.

Nopes

I wish that the casebound planners had a better lay flat design in the binding! It would make them just a tad easier to use and write in. This is more an issue with the Daily planners because they are so thick.

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Otherwise, I wish that the calendar lines weren’t quite so dark because it adds a very asymmetrical look to the monthly calendars when the days of the month run out.


There you have it! My review of the 2018 lineup from Amelia Lane Paper! I will be using the Desktop Daily as my work planner in 2018 and have already moved into the Compact Daily as a comprehensive purse planner. 🙂 If you have questions about Amelia Lane Paper or own one of these planners yourself, leave a comment! I would love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays! Until next time!

xo
Ara

2018 STIL Design Love Planner

STIL is a small independent design studio based out of Vancouver, BC, where founder Marissa designs minimalist products to help you live an organized life. She proffers a delightful collection of accessories, as well as two lines of minimalist but detailed planners. Marissa started STIL in 2014, bringing her experience as a photographer and graphic designer to develop a line of products that help women live intentionally. She created her first planner in 2013 as a hobby because she didn’t see something that she liked already on the market. People started telling her that they wanted one, so she made a few as Christmas gifts. Then she opened an Etsy shop and tried selling her planners there. Quitting her full-time job, Marissa had 1,000 of her planners manufactured and sold them all within the first four months.

After taking a year off to rebrand and name her company–she settled on STIL because,

There’s a Dutch design movement called De Stijl that uses a lot of primary shapes and colours, and black and white, which is literally everything in my life. So I decided to use the German word for style — Stil — and used it in a way that essentially means a way of living.

and reopened in 2016 with a fresh new line of planners.

I reached out to Marissa with an interest in reviewing her lovely, minimalist planner and she kindly worked with me to select the right one for this review. While STIL offers other options including a 6-month undated daily planner, we thought that bringing you a review of the 2018 weekly planner would be more timely!

You can find the 12-month weekly planner on STIL for $65, while the undated 6-month daily planner is $45. She currently has a special on her 6-month undated weekly planner$19.95, which is a steal. STIL also has several holiday bundles for sale, which allows you to bundle products for an overall discount. Plus, these goodies ship worldwide!

I will be reviewing the 2018 12-month STIL Design Love Planner in Dusty Rose.

Function

This planner is highly functional and uses a minimalist design to help you simplify and organize your living space, both mental and physical.

When you unbox your planner you get a lovely card of welcome along with a bonus Thank You card that you can send to someone else! The planner starts off immediately with a double-sided folder, which is great for keeping important papers front and center when you open your planner. Adjacent to this is the nameplate page where you can list your name, cell, address, and an optional reward for the return of your planner if you happen to lose it.

Then you move into the thorough introduction pages. You get a page with basic information about your planner and STIL, as well as the copyright. Next to that is a letter of welcome from Marissa as well as a small section about her and her planning process. Then you are provided with a full page of planning tips on How To Use Your Planner. Here Marissa outlines how she uses this planner and what it does for her. You can treat this like an outline of how to approach planning, take the advice and incorporate it into your own process, or glance over it and continue on your merry way. It’s up to you, but this is a very thoughtful and helpful guide.

Then you get a full lined page for recording A Few Genius Ideas throughout the year! And then you get into the calendar pages.

The monthly tabbed sections are, of course, chronological from January–December 2018. Each tabbed page is on a thick, silky cardstock which makes it easy to find and pull open. You get a month at a glance on the cover adjacent to a small but inspirational saying/quote. For example, January’s is “New feels, new chances. Same dreams, fresh starts” which is a lovely way to start the year.

Then you move into three pages of Monthly Goals and Planning before you get to your monthly spread. You have a page for highlighting three goals for the month, along with their action steps, your strategy for completing them, and the date they were achieved.

Next, you have a page for Bills + Expenses where you can keep track of your expenditures and compare spent and budgeted allotments. Then you have a Monthly Planner page for listing goals and priorities, monthly tasks, and important dates & deadlines. These are great pages for helping you set up your month in an organized, thorough fashion that doesn’t feel overwhelming.

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Then you get your monthly spread! The boxes are a good size for the planner and designed in an interesting juxtaposed pattern of clean lines and dotted lines. I like how Marissa has done this because I think it makes writing down events or trips that last multiple days a little easier. The day of the month is located in the top righthand corner of each box. It’s also worth noting that the STIL planner has a Monday start (where are all my Monday start people at!), which means your weekends get to sit together. The margins are big enough to provide some white space but not big enough to do much writing in–because you get your Monthly Planning pages, however, your need for a super packed monthly spread might not be as great. 😉

The monthly title is located twice on this two-page monthly spread, both times in the upper righthand corner of the page. There is a little bit of room in the margin at the top of the pages, but perhaps only enough to record a big event or important date that you must. not. forget. On the righthand side of the spread, you get a Notes column, which is blank. This makes it really easy to use however fits best for you–habit tracker? quotes? tasks? Etc.

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Like the Ink+Volt Planner, the STIL Design Love weekly planner has a four-page weekly spread–Marissa calls these “task-based” and “time-based” sections. I love this approach to planning because it allows you to separate your tasks from how you are actually spending your time. Sometimes I feel strange about writing a task down and then writing the task into a scheduled timeslot because it feels like I’m just writing the same thing down twice. The way Marissa has set up her weekly spread allows you to brain dump tasks first, then look at how what you need to do can be incorporated into your existing schedule.

The first two pages of your weekly spread include 12 spots to write down tasks for each weekday (6 for each weekend day) and a place to record a Memorable Moment. These are set up on dotted lines with large circles for checking things off. Each weekday gets equal space and the weekends share a section.

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The next two pages are your schedule with a Monday start. I like how this planner provides a larger box for your “Day” section and then slightly smaller spaces for “Morning” and “Night.” I’ve often struggled with M-A-E (morning-afternoon-evening) vertical planning spreads because I don’t have equitable tasks/happenings to distribute into the provided spaces. I like Marissa’s thoughtfulness in designing an open space for tracking your schedule and appointments that also takes into consideration that the bulk of your day probably happens between Morning and Night. Of course, this is not the case with everyone’s schedule, but if your schedule falls into this category then you might enjoy the extra space in your days. 🙂

Saturday and Sunday share a column and are evenly divided. You don’t get separate sections for your Morning, Day, and Night for the weekends. This is the overall layout and structure of the weekly planner until you get to the end.

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Once you have finished out December 2018 (you also get the entire week from 12/31–1/6) there is a two-page spread for a 12 Month Review. Here you can rank your overall Goal Achievement Level (from 1–10), record Things I Did Well and what I’m Grateful For, Milestones Achieved, Lessons Learned & Improvements to Make, and Action Steps to Take for 2019. This is a great space to reflect on your year and give yourself a little pat on the back (you deserve it!) before moving ahead to the next calendar year.

Next, you get a page for The Future Goals. Marissa gives you four blank, spacious boxes to write in or brainstorm goals for 6 months into the future, one year, two years, and five years. This is a great space for returning your focus to the big picture–want to have children but not for a year or two? Great, write it down so you remember to start thinking about it/planning it when that time comes closer. Want to start looking for a new job in 6 months? Write it down and come back to it to help you plan milestones in 2019.

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At the very end of the planner, you get 20 pages (10 double-sided) for notes. These are in dot grid format, which is my personal favorite. 😉 These pages are open and spacious–you can use them however you like!

Aesthetics/Design

The STIL Design Love Planner is gorgeous. Marissa had her customers help select the two cover designs for the 12 month Weekly Planners, and they did good. I selected the Dusty Rose cover, which I fell in love with at first glance for its whimsical yet minimalist aesthetic and delicate gold foiling.

The Dusty Rose cover has a sort of painted marbling design that fades into a very light blush pink. Two lines of delicate gold foiling intersect geometrically halfway down the cover and provide an asymmetrical touch to this otherwise balanced aesthetic. On the cover you get the STIL textual logo, which is gorgeously designed and almost blends in with the gray and white marbling, despite being embossed in gold foil.

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The cover is a soft-touch lamination on 2mm hard board, which feels sturdy but light. This is a surprisingly compact planner for what you get at 7″ W x 8.25″ H x 1.25″ D (page size is 6″ x 8″). It feels portable and light. This planner would be easy to carry around without feeling like you are lugging a brick in your purse.

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Tabbed pages are printed on a silky cardstock that feels smooth and sturdy. These are progressive notched tabs (not going to lie–I’m not 100% sure what the industry term for this is), which means that December is a full page and each tab above (in reverse from November to January) is cut to provide an easily delineated tabbed section.

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You get a consistent font throughout the STIL Design Love Planner. While the textual logo for STIL is in a serif font and the message from Marissa is in what looks like a slab serif font choice, the rest of the planner (apart from monthly quotes in serif) is designed in a light to semi-bold sans serif. The font choice is also the same size throughout the planner, even on monthly spreads you get the same size for the title of the month as you do for each day and date.

On the schedule section of the weekly spreads, you have a very light gray designating sections as Morning, Day, and Evening. This is easy to write over but appears on every spread as a guide.

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The coil is unique in that it doesn’t run the entire length of the bound book. You get a good inch on either end where there is no coil. This can be helpful when writing in the book because there is less opportunity for your hand to smush up against the coil while you are trying to write. Otherwise, it’s a sturdy white wire-o coil binding.

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Another unique design touch includes these dotted corners for each page of the calendar sections. While these corners are not perforated, they provide a guide for cutting the corners to more easily find your page, if that’s something you would like to do.

Overall, this is a beautiful, thoughtfully designed planner with a minimalist aesthetic that fits both home & work seamlessly. The black and white simplicity of the inside pages simultaneously provides a canvas for organizational methods like color coding as well as the option to keep it simple with black pen. I would feel confident taking this planner into a work meeting, pulling it out on a planning date at my local coffee shop, or snuggling up with it on the couch for a cozy Sunday planning sesh.

Fit

Pen test time!

On the STIL website the paper is described as “70lb bright white paper stock, soft to the touch for ease of writing and minimal pen bleed.” While the only bleed was from the (always, alwaysss) Sharpie Permanent Marker and the inkiest of my rollerball pens (uniball vision), there was ghosting from almost every other pen I used. The pens with the lightest touch were the Pilot EasyTouch F, Pilot Acroball F, and the Pilot Frixion in 05. My Random Ballpoint pen also faired quite well!

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If you want a catch-all planner with a weekly spread that you can assess at a glance, then the STIL Design Love Planner might be the one for you! If you prefer weekly planning but often feel like you have too much to write down for a two-page spread and begrudgingly use a daily planner, then I would check out the STIL planner with its 4-page weekly spread. If you like to see your tasks separated from your schedule, then this planner would be a great fit for you.

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If you like to set monthly goals–not just daily or weekly goals–then this would be a great planner for you. It prompts you to set and reflect on monthly goals without too much pressure. This would also be a great planner for you if you want to start keeping track of monthly bills and expenses but need some structure that won’t overwhelm you.

This would also be a great planner for those of you who like a visual approach to planning (the time-based spread) but also like to write down tasks (task-based spread) because you get both!

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants to set goals and keep track of them without goal setting being the primary function of your planner. If you have a big project (work-related or maybe remodeling parts of your home, or even a thesis for grad school) that spans a large amount of time and you want to set realistic goals that you can revisit and be reminded of throughout the year, then this would be a great planner for you.

If you are interested in simplicity and trying to simplify your chaotic life, then this planner will help you organize your chaos into manageable chunks and sections. If you are new to planning and need a functional planner with a helpful guide on how to use it, then this planner will fit that bill.

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I would recommend this planner to career countesses who try to keep work and home demands under control. You can use the time-based and task-based pages in your weekly spread to keep things separate and organized. If you are a domestic diva, then this planner can help you keep a sharp eye on your tasks and how your days are mapped out. If you have a flexible, ever-changing schedule and struggle to keep routines because of external circumstances (project-based work, changing class schedule, etc.) then this planner will help keep you organized and focused on the task(s) at hand.

I would also recommend this planner to anyone who wants a simple, beautiful, and modern aesthetic for their planner. If you are so not into the bright and colorful vibes of Erin Condren, for example, and want a sophisticated and minimalist look for your annual book, then STIL has you covered. (This is fine! Everyone has different planning needs. :))

I would not recommend this planner if you deeply deeply care about which pens you use and need 80lb. paper or you just can’t even. This planner might also not work for you if you extensively use your monthly spread and don’t want to change up how you visually map out your monthly goals and tasks. If you are super rough with your planners and toss them around like yesterday’s forgotten lunch, then I shudder to think what you might do to this beautiful book. This is a portable planner, yes, but I wouldn’t test its sturdiness by tossing it around willy nilly. If you are a big user of stickers and other decoration then this planner is meticulously and purposefully designed and might not be the right canvas for you.

Loves

I love how engaged Marissa is with her customers! STIL planners have a loyal following and are beloved for their design-forward approach to planning and organization. I love love love the Dusty Rose cover–it’s seriously so beautiful. I love the four-page weekly spread–the comprehensive separation of tasks and schedule is calling to me. I also love how Marissa reflexively requests feedback from her customers–having her audience help select the 2018 planner covers is a prime example of excellent evaluation and engagement practices! I love the clean simplicity and design of this planner–it feels like a very intentionally designed product. I also really like the helpful “How To Use This Planner” section at the beginning where you can get some tips & advice from Marissa!

Nopes

I do wish the coil was a little tighter–y’all know I’m not the biggest fan of wire-o binding. Otherwise I wish that the time-based weekly spread didn’t consistently have Morning, Day, and Night written on the pages. Maybe if it was on the first week’s spread as a guide and then blank throughout the rest of the planner, it would fit in with Marissa’s minimalist design aesthetic a little better. But it’s also limiting–while I personally love having a greater amount of space for “Day” versus Morning and Night, not everyone is on a 9–5pm type of schedule. The design might be more inclusive if that space was left blank. Lastly, I think the paper could be a little bit better. I love the bright white and understand that having thinner paper helps to make the planner lighter in weight, but it’s hard to find a pen that doesn’t ghost or emboss.


There you have it, my review of the 2018 12m STIL Design Love Planner! I hope you enjoyed my take on this gorgeous book. 🙂 If you have additional questions, or examples of how you’ve used this planner, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Some helpful hashtags for further research into this planner:

  • #stilclassics
  • #turntosimplicity
  • #stilplanner

Until next time!

xo
Ara

PurpleTrail Planner

PurpleTrail (affiliate link) is a small company based in the Seattle, Washington area. It was founded in 2007 and has seen a lot of growth since it started as a custom invitation stationary business. I think that custom stationery and invitations (especially wedding-related) are still PurpleTrail’s main business endeavor, but they do offer a lot of paper products in their line-up. Notably, they have an awesome customizable planner line.

PurpleTrail started with a mission:

The PurpleTrail service is based on the idea that we are all different, and there is a designer within each of us. PurpleTrail provides the tools and inspiration, and lets you do the rest.

I wanted to show my audience (that’s you!) a customizable planner option, and so I reached out to PurpleTrail. They generously worked with me to send me a planner of my own design to review. I tried to include add-ons that were unique to PurpleTrail or that I thought were particularly useful so that I could report on this planner accurately. I think I chose a pretty excellent set-up to tell you about.

PurpleTrail lets you choose your own start month, so really you can order this planner at any time. I chose to have a January 2018–December 2018 planner, but you can pick any start month. There are 12-month and 18-month options. You can add up to four add-on sections to your planner as well. I chose: Notes, To-Do List, Appointments, and Games. There is also an option to include a double-sided pocket and/or stickers in the back of your planner. I decided to add both so that I could tell you about them!

There are three sizes to choose from: Tiny (4.5 x 6.25″), 6 x 8″, and 8.5 x 11″. I went for the middle option of 6 x 8″ and chose the Lotus Flower Mindfulness Planner cover design. As this is a customizable planner, the price point isn’t going to be the same for everyone. This means that you can get a planner for as little as $36.95 if you’re going bare-bones in 6 x 8″, or you can spend as much as $86.80 for a 8.5 x 11″ planner with all the options. I’ll go over the choices I made as we explore the planner, but the exact planner I got ended up being $62.75.

Function

The functionality of this planner depends on the type of planner you are. There are multiple layouts to choose from (multiple weekly and daily), several add on options, customizable covers, and more. But whichever type of planner you are, PurpleTrail probably has an option that will fit you. 🙂

The beginning pages include a nameplate page, 2018 and 2019 holidays (American), and 2018 + 2019 year at a glance pages.

The nameplate page is simple, with a “This Planner Belongs To” header and plenty of space to write in your name and contact information. The PurpleTrail logo and website are at the bottom of the page, which means that they do not put their logo anywhere on the cover. The space to customize your cover is 100% yours!

The Holidays page is designed to pack a lot of information in, which it does. You get the holidays and dates for both 2018 and 2019. The page adjacent to the Holidays page is blank–you could put a vision board there, or write in yearly goals, or use that space however you wish! Then you get two pages for your years at a glance, one for 2018 and one for 2019. These are simple and colorful and provide a good spread for those of you who want to know what day your 2019 birthday falls on at a glance (mine will be on a Monday!)

Then you get into your months and weeks. Each month has a cover page with tab attached. The colorful option has a different color for each month, which is featured throughout the monthly and weekly spreads. The cover page includes the month’s name in large, bold text against a background in the color assigned to that month. The page itself is dot grid, which you can either leave blank or use to write in monthly goals, habits, or just decorate.

The back of the tabbed page is just dot grid, which, again, you can use however you please. The tab does not immediately take you to the monthly layout, but to this cover page. Then you get a kind of dashboard for the month ahead with a place to write in birthdays, events, and things to remember.

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Then you reach the monthly spread. The monthly layout is simple with boxes laid out in a 6 x 7 format, which means that the boxes are evenly laid out every month, and the ones that don’t correspond to the dates are left blank. The boxes are perfect squares and roughly 3cm (or just a tad over 1″) in width and height. The righthand side of the spread has a long column for Notes.

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The weekly spread (I chose a different month to show how the colorful layout works) that I chose was the Vertical option. PurpleTrail has several options, however, including Horizontal, Vertical, Vertical Hourly with 1-hour increments, Vertical Hourly with 15-minute increments, Three Section, and Quad.

The Vertical layout has columns of 24 dotted lines and a larger blank space at the bottom of each weekday. Saturday and Sunday share a column and don’t have any blank boxes. This is a simple but effective layout that provides a good combination of structure and flexibility. I personally plan to break the daily columns up into multiple sections. The weekly layouts also begin on the 1st of the month. Notice in the May spread above that there is no date for the column that represents Monday–this means that you get an extra column or three of space at the beginning of each month, depending on the day when that month begins.

Now for the extras! There is quite a list of add ons to choose from (the ones I picked are bolded): Notes Paper, To Do List, Password List, Bill Tracker, Check List, Graph Paper, Important Dates, Address Book, Puzzles & Games, Dotted Grid, Appointment Tracker, Student Check-List, Fitness Tracker, Nutrition Tracker, Account Tracker, Travel Itinerary, and Baby Tracker + Keepsake. Each add on is $3.95, so these can add up.

The Notes add on has a cover page in cardstock, same as the monthly cover pages throughout the planner. Then you just get notes pages with dotted lines, which are a little easier on the eyes than solid lines. This add on includes 24 pages of notes.

The next add on I selected was the To Do List. Again, you get the cover page. Just like the Notes section, you get 24 pages of lists. Each page has four lists, each with 14 lines. There is a low opacity green circle that you can check off to note completed tasks. This is a nice, standard format. I wish that the lists had space for a heading–it would be nice to have a blank space for the top line so that you could “title” your To Dos.

The third add on I chose was the Appointment Tracker. Again, you get the cover page. Since I chose the Vertical layout without hourly slots, I decided to get an appointment tracker to more easily record upcoming medical/dental/etc. appointments because you usually have to make them so far in advance.

You get 24 pages (I sense a theme!), each with four slots for appointments. I really like that this layout has consistent colorful themes but still has a different color for each appointment “box”–it helps to keep things separated. The appointment box has an option to check Medical, Dental, or Other with a blank space to write it in. Then there are sections for Date, Time, Who, Where, Number, and Address.

The last add on I chose was Puzzle & Games! I chose it because I think it’s a unique option. There are 4 pages of sudoku puzzles, 4 pages of labyrinth games, two pages for connect five (two player game), 2 pages for hangman, 2 pages for tic-tac-toe, and 4 pages of other half where you finish a drawing and can color it in. One last page (an answers sheet) is also included so you can check yourself before you wreck yourself.

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One of the options you can choose to add to your planner is a folder and/or sticker sheets. I selected both (a $10 add on cost) so I could share them with you. The folder is a simple but heavy smooth cardstock with two pockets. It’s a sturdy folder and I’m impressed with the quality. Then you get three sticker sheets with lots of colorful fun & functional stickers.

Aesthetics/Design

PurpleTrail has three cover material options to choose from: 10 mil laminate (which I chose), hardcover, and synthetic soft with a frosted cover.

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The 10 mil laminate cover helps the planner keep its shape while also providing protection for the pages. The tabs are covered and by the cover as well, so you get that extra layer of protection. This planner cover has curved edges (less stabby and less likely to get caught on things in your bag). These covers are not interchangeable.

I was super pleased with how my cover choice turned out–the colors are bright and gorgeous and the font came out crisp and clean. PurpleTrail has a very immersive and detailed customizer, and I was able to write whatever I wanted as well as removing the quote that originally came on this particular cover design. PurpleTrail has so many designs to choose from–you can easily spend a long time picking out and tweaking your options. PurpleTrail also has an account system where you can save the designs you create–whether you are half-way through or completely done. There are a number of font choices and add-on images/quotes (think planner-y clip art) that you can play with. I definitely spent some time exploring different designs before I fell in love with this subtle but gorgeous Lotus Flower pattern.

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You can also play around with the back cover of your planner–I decided to keep it simple but you could easily add a quote, picture, etc. here to further personalize it and make it your own. The binding is a metal coil and is more flexible than, say, an Erin Condren coil would be (it doesn’t feel as stiff, rather) but is still sturdy enough to handle the book you create.

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Now, if you’ve followed me here on plannerisma.com or over on my Instagram account, you know that I looooove a thick planner. There is something so reassuring about the bulk of a thick planner, I don’t know what it is. I am very pleased with how much content PurpleTrail is able to fit into their planners. Their planner has a nice heft while still maintaining portability with its size. I really like the 6 x 8″ planner size–it’s a little smaller than the more common 7″ x 9″ planner size, but the extra inch makes this book feel so much more portable.

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The tabbed pages are a thick card stock, and the tabs themselves are coated in plastic laminate. They are a white background with colorful text, as each month is represented by a different color. It’s a clean look and makes it easy to find your place. I really like that the tabs are wide–they are durable and strong and pleasantly layered.

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I loaded up on PurpleTrail stickers because I wanted to see how they would work in the planner and check out their quality before I recommended them. The sticker pages included in the planner are great and cover a lot of activities: work out, sportsing, party, holiday, date, list headers, etc. There are also stickers for birthdays, bills, errands, and more. The stickers have a certain stretchiness to them–they are easy to work with and feel durable. They are a glossy coated material so they will not tear easily.

I got the vertical layout, and noticed that the banner stickers fit perfectly on the page. I love the idea of using the vertical layout to create multiple columns, each with their own applicable heading, so I thought these sticker options were great.

This planner sticks with a sans serif font choice in multiple weights. If you choose the colorful option (versus neutral), you get a planner organized with color. Each month has a different color that is represented in the weekly and monthly layouts in the heading, days of the week bar, and the actual lines of the monthly layout.

This planner is also a little different from most in that the dates are in the lower right-hand corners of the daily boxes. I like this because it lets you evenly fill out your box from the top-down without running into a number.

I love these little birthday cake stickers, but unfortunately, they take up most of the monthly layout’s daily box in 6 x 8″ planners. That is definitely worth considering when you look around for stickers or use the PurpleTrail ones.

Fit

Pen test time!

Honestly, the Sharpie Permanent Marker (as always) had a little bleed through, but no other pen is visible once you turn the page. This paper is no joke, and handles highlighters, inky pens, and felt tip pens like a pro. I personally enjoyed writing with the Pilot G-2, Le Pen, and Papermate InkJoy the most on this paper.

The paper in this planner is very high quality. PurpleTrail uses an 80lb. writing paper that is bleed resistant and textured in a smooth matte finish. The paper is a joy to write on, and as you can see from the pen test, is resilient against most of the pens in my arsenal.

This planner would be a great fit for someone who really wants the most customizable cover options ever. If you saw the “PLANNERISMA” on my cover design and gasped because you would love a cover with your own name/tagline/etc., then this planner is definitely worth exploring. I highly recommend taking some time to investigate the PurpleTrail customizer. 😉

This planner would be a great fit for someone who wants a quality book on a budget–if you are going for a bare-bones options. The $36.95 price tag for a 12-month planner that you can customize is a pretty good deal. The planner does get more expensive as you add stuff to it, but this actually makes for a pretty accessible planner option for multiple types of budgets. If you don’t care about all the extras, then this planner doesn’t force you to have them.

 

My husband launched into the Sudoku puzzles! Unfortunately, he used pen for the first one!

 

I recommend this planner to those of you who want a thick planner that’s still easy to carry around. The size really is fantastic for portability without giving up too much space on the page. This would also be a great option with the Puzzles & Games addition for those of you who run lots of errands with or without children. While you’re waiting, work on a Sudoku puzzle. Let your kids figure out the labyrinths or occupy them with some of the simpler games included in this add-on. Even though I chose to have this planner start in January 2018, I’ve been carrying it around to occupy my husband with the Sudoku, which he immediately took to. Not that my husband is a child, but if it worked on him… 😉 (Pro tip: bring a pencil!)

PurpleTrail offers lots of different layouts, so different planner babes are going to prefer their planners set up differently. I do think that for those of you who need to maintain a strict and busy schedule, the Vertical Hourly in 15-minute increments is something that you don’t find often but would be especially helpful. I can just see a massage therapist loving that layout for keeping track of a busy day of appointments, for example.

Personally, I think that this planner is a fantastic size, but if you are looking for lots of room to write then you may want to consider the 8.5 x 11″ size. This planner is great for a light, compact, but functional option that you can fit your life into. I hesitate to do my standard I wouldn’t recommend this planner for beause there are just so many options that PurpleTrail has for you. There is a school add on for students, a baby tracker add on for new moms, & etc. But if I had to say then I probably would not recommend this planner for someone who wants a lot of content but is on a strict budget. $36.95 gets you the 12 months, but if you want all the bells and whistles then it can add up.

Loves

PurpleTrail has a cover customization plug-in that really lets you go to town with what you’re creating. You can do so much with their customizer. Although I did not deviate too far from the design I chose, I was incredibly impressed with how much control the customer has over how they want their cover design to look. I also love the bulk of this planner! It feels great to hold and carry around without being too heavy. I also love the coil–much stronger binding option than Wire-O, in my opinion. I have also never seen a Puzzles & Games section in a planner before, and added it because I thought it was a unique option. It isn’t even January yet, and already this section has been well-used!

Nopes

I think that the printing could be a little bit crisper. I also wish there was an option for an elastic closure, even as an add-on, to better keep the book together when you’re carrying it around. I will probably use one of my Erin Condren elastic closure bands for this planner.


There you have it! My review of the PurpleTrail Planner! If you like the look of this planner, I have a surprise for you! My contact at PurpleTrail (shoutout to Josh!) was kind enough to provide me with a discount code for all of you! You can use the code Plannerisma10 at check-out to get 10% off your PurpleTrail order! 🙂 Just go here to start.

Anything I missed that you want to know more about? Do you have a PurpleTrail planner set up in a different way? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara