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

Commit30 2018 Planner

First things first–Merry Christmas Eve, to those of you who celebrate! 🙂 Happy to have you joining me for this Sunday’s blog post! This Sunday I am reviewing the 2018 Commit30 Planner, which was kindly sent to me for review. As with all my reviews, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Commit30 was launched via successful–very successful, reaching $70,511 out of a minimum $10,000 goal–kickstarter in 2015 by couple Jenny & Will. Founder Jenny was diagnosed with cancer at age 23, which she beat (Go Jenny!), but it changed her perspective on life. Life is short and we only have one. She realized that her dreams were continually being pushed to a “someday” list by external factors and that she couldn’t be the only person who felt this way. She decided that she didn’t want to spend time doing things she didn’t love, and that “someday” would be “today.”

Jenny and Will now run three business and are raising two children in a place they love, which means that how they spend their time every day is crucial to their quality of life and the success of their ventures. As Jenny says in their kickstarter video,

You’ll never change your life until you change how you spend your time every day.

The ethos of the Commit30 Planner is that you can commit to anything for 30 days. The design reflects this, and asks you to commit to forming a habit, starting a routine, making a change, trying something new, or whatever it is that you are trying to bring into your life for 30 days at a time.

The Commit30 Planner comes in varied cover colors (Classic Black, Gold Rush, Power Pink, and Boss Blue) and two sizes (Compact and Deluxe). Both planners are usually $40, but the Compact planner is currently on sale for $29.99, while the Deluxe planner is on sale for $34.99! They also have a Fitness Journal, a PDF version of their planner, and an Un-dated planner. I will be reviewing the Gold Rush Limited Edition cover in the Deluxe size of 7″ x 10″, which runs from January 2018–December 2018.

Function

This planner was designed for segmented functionality. The idea is that every 30 days you will recommit to making a change in how you spend your time, which results in a more fulfilling life.

The first page of the planner is the nameplate page, which gives you a place to put your name, contact into, and what you want to do this year, as well as the Commit30 social media information. Next you get a simple title page for the planner. Then you move into your 2018 and 2019 year at a glance pages. I like the way they’ve organized this because you have each month laid out (2018 on one page, 2019 on the other) and then a list of the U.S. holidays. Under that is a dot grid space for any notes.

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Then you move into the 5 steps for making the most out of your Commit30 planner. Step 1 is “my vision” and asks “What do I want this year to look like? To feel like?” You get twelve unique circles to fill with your vision for 2018: physical health, marriage/partner, pure joy/fun, mental health, family/friends, adventure/travel, spiritual health, career, community, personal growth, home, and finances.

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Step 2 is “my monthly goals overview” and prompts you to use the detailed goal setting page for each month to set your twelve main goals for the year. This is something you could try to do all at the beginning, or tackle each month. I recommend taking it each month at a time–set aside some time to review your vision circles and then think about your focus area each month. You can always flip back to this page and fill them in as you go!

Step 3 is the rest of the planner–“my daily action steps.” The planner suggests that you plan out your days the night before to better set realistic and achievable goals. This page shows you the intention behind the weekly layout, from daily focus to notes. We will get into this more when we look at the weekly spread.

Step 4 is to “track each day.” There is a monthly checklist for tracking if you kept up with your goal for the month that you can use to follow you progress. Step 5 is to “share your goals”–you can share with friends and/or family to help build accountability, or you can share with the online community using the #commit30 hashtag.

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For January specifically you get a page where you can brainstorm, write about, or map out your 2018 goals. The rest of the planner has a notes page (also in dot grid) for the page next to the monthly inspirational message. Each month starts with a quote or saying picked to motivate you. These messages are very direct and simple and designed to give you gentle encouragement as you work though the planner.

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At the beginning of each month you get a two-page goal setting spread. It starts with your big, overarching monthly goal. Want to work out three days a week? Quit a bad habit? Implement a new routine? Whatever change you want to focus on this month, write it in the big circle. Then you get six smaller circles to mapping out action steps. It’s okay if you don’t use them all. Maybe you only have two or three action steps! That’s okay. As long as your steps are bite-sized enough to accomplish, they are entirely at your discretion. Then you get a space to reflect–did you reach your goal or not? Why or why not? You can rate your effort and then jot down some next steps. Maybe if you didn’t reach your goal your next steps are to try again with some adjustments. It’s okay to fail as long as you move forward with new information/lessons learned. ❤

Then you get a page for your monthly checklist/tracker. You write out what you are committing to (putting it into words cements it better in your mind) and list a reward for yourself. Maybe your goal is to lose 10lbs that month and your reward is a new workout outfit, or a manicure. It’s good to give yourself a reward for your hard work, because sometimes changing a bad habit or building a new one can kind of suck at first. Incentivize yourself! Each day you successfully work towards your monthly commitment, you can check off the comparable day of the month.

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Then you reach the monthly spread. You get reasonably sized rectangles for each day of the month, as well as a Monday start. The date for each day of the month is in the upper left hand corner of the box. Holidays are in small type in the upper right hand corners. There is a small section in the left hand side of the spread to reaffirm your commitment for the month. Beneath that is a long column for Notes that bleeds into the rest of the page space. I think that the Deluxe planner size uses its extra space for more dot grid notes but otherwise doesn’t differ in overall dimensions for the actual calendar. The benefit of this is that you get a LOT of notes space with each monthly spread. There is a consistent flag in the bottom right corner of each page that reminds you which month you are in.

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The weekly spread is the meat of the planner. Like the monthly spread, you get a Monday start. You get a focus box at the top of each weekly column where you can write what you are committed to. Maybe it’s an action step towards your goal, or maybe it’s just reaffirming a new habit you are trying to create. Then you get three boxes that you can break into sections however you please. There are appointment numbers on the left hand side of the spread for each page that you can use as times of the day if you want to have an hourly approach, or you can ignore it or cover it up with washi and break your boxes into different types of sections. The appointment times go from 5–7, and don’t include “am” or “pm” so they are up for interpretation. The bottom of the columns includes three boxes that you can use–much like InkWELL Press Planners have. These could break into top three tasks for the day, appointments, meals, or whatever else you would like to use them for.

The left hand column of the page has two task lists, one for “Life To Do” and one for “Work To Do.” You get 7 check boxes for Life To Do and 8 for Work To Do. This helps you separate your work and personal life, which can be helpful if you have trouble separating them or if you find that your work life takes over everything else. Then you have a generous space for notes, half of which is dot grid and the other half is blank.

After all your calendar pages, you get a 6-page spread for future planning in 2019. It’s very comprehensive and, while small, has a lot of space to write stuff in, especially if you use a thin pointed pen! You get two months per page, and each spread includes a small dot grid notes section.

Then you get a generous Notes section with 29 dot grid pages. How you use them is entirely up to you!

Aesthetics/Design

The Commit30 planner has a very clear aesthetic.

The Deluxe Commit30 planner is 7″ x 10″ and weighs about 21oz. It’s book bound with a flexible PU vegan leather cover and elastic closure. Using environmentally friendly materials is a point of pride for Commit30 and they use FSC certified paper stock. The limited edition covers have a complex design that reminds me of early 1990s street art murals with overlapping big, soft curves and shapes. The Gold, Blue, and Pink cover options are metallic and have a slight shimmery sheen.

The back cover doesn’t have artwork on it and is just a plan, metallic gold with the Commit30 logo centered at the bottom. It’s a very light and flexible book and a good size for having plenty of writing space as well as portability.

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The planner is about 3/4″ thick and includes an elastic closure band and curved edges. There is also a single black ribbon to help you keep your place, which I always appreciate!

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There is a pocket on the inside back cover. Lined with a linen-like material. Also when I received the planner it came with a welcome card and a complimentary sheet of stickers, which are pretty cute!

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The entire planner has accents in this golden British khaki color. The color is a little greenish, goldish khaki–it’s a bit difficult to describe. It is an earthy color that could be representative of the environmental values of the Commit30 company. It is used consistently throughout the planner, so if you want the Commit30 planner you should probably be cool with this color theme.

Commit30 also uses one font! They do it all with a semi bold sans serif in a consistent weight. The heavier weight of the text helps juxtapose the darker khaki color.

Overall this planner has a simple, unisex aesthetic that makes balanced use of minimalist black text and white space–although I wouldn’t call this a minimalist planner. The thematic color is heavily used throughout the planner but still balances well with the other minimalist choices. I think the size is fantastic and both portable and spacious.

Fit

Pen test!

This paper is a “super smooth high quality, ink proof paper–about twice as thick as a standard sheet of printer paper to limit ink bleeding from fountain pens and permanent markers.” The paper is 100gsm and a slightly textured smooth paper. This paper handles ink very, very well. As you can see, the permanent Sharpie barely bleeds through. There is just the slightest shadow for the rest of the pens. You can throw any pen in your arsenal at this paper, although I wouldn’t recommend planning in Sharpie permanent marker. A+ from me!

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a unisex planner that is simple but highly functional. If you are trying to instigate change in your life–which is of course the #1 way that change happens–then this is a great planner to help with your efforts. I would recommend this planner to someone who wants to develop new habits and routines–especially if you are going through a large transition in 2018. If you’re starting a new job and want to change up your routine to adapt to a new schedule, then this planner will help you take it one step at a time.

If you want a portable planner that isn’t super small, then this planner would work for you. Especially if you have larger handwriting and have trouble squeezing it into small spaces. The 7″ x 10″ size makes this planner a great choice for carrying around while still getting plenty of real estate for writing things down. I would recommend this planner for students who are juggling school and a job, as it will help you keep your eyes on the prize, as it were. It’s also very light so carrying it around everywhere likely won’t feel burdensome to your back.

I’ve seen a lot of people use this planner as a fitness planner. It’s format would work great for a health and wellness planner with monthly goals and a flexible weekly spread where you can keep track of meals and exercise. Commit30 also has a Fitness Journal which specifically focuses on using the Commit30 method in a health-focused way.

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The nice thing about this planner is that the Commit30 system is flexible enough to work for anyone, whether your goals are situated around fitness or travel, personal growth or college, building a career or refocusing on your dreams after retirement. It’s a system that invites change and helps you ease it gently into your life. It’s a pretty versatile planner and can fit into multiple lifestyles.

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who doesn’t like the greenish gold khaki color used throughout it. You can’t escape it, so if you don’t like it, look elsewhere. I would also not recommend this planner to anyone who something extra to keep track of in your planner and prefer a simple and minimal spread with little to no goal setting. This is a goal setting, goal crushing planner, so if that isn’t how you like to plan or what you want to use your planner for, look elsewhere

Loves

I love the flexibility of the Commit30 planner, and how its system helps you introduce change into your life in manageable chunks. I love the overall ethos of this planner, its functionality that encourages you to do better and return focus to your dreams. I love the 7″ x 10″ size of the planner and how light and portable it is. I also love the paper that this planner uses–it’s smooth but handles ink better than most planners I’ve reviewed. I think that with the current sale price of $29.99 for the Compact planner and $34.99 for the Deluxe that you are getting great value for your product. It will definitely hold up for you during the 2018 year.

Nopes

I am not a fan of the color scheme–the greenish gold khaki color just doesn’t do it for me. I think it’s a little too dark in some places to easily, visibly write in unless you’re using a thick pen.


There you have it! My review of the Commit30 Planner for 2018! Do you use this planner or have any questions I didn’t get a chance to answer? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

You can follow the Commit30 planner journeys via the hashtag #commit30 on Instagram and beyond for inspiration and a better idea of how others use their Commit30 planners.

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

Carrie Elle 2018 Intentional Life Day Planner

I am so excited to feature this Dallas, TX-based small business from a fellow San Diego native! Carrie (of Carrie Elle, of course!) is a blogger and small business owner, mother of two, avid reader (and writer! She has a book coming out in June 2018!), and works with her husband of 17 years to design & create planners of all kinds. Carrie Elle (affiliate link) was born when Carrie decided she needed more help with meal planning. This lead to the creation of her first product in 2015, a Meal Planner, which is still going strong. 🙂 Carrie’s mantra for her planners is:

If I control my day, my day doesn’t become a chaotic mess that controls me. 

Carrie’s blog is wonderful and has all sorts of free printables that are helpful for anyone interested in organization, meal planning, having a more put together home, etc. Her blog has everything from Gratitude Journal Prompts to a plethora of crock pot recipes (yes please!). I highly recommend perusing it and enjoying Carrie’s generous willingness to share her journey with her readers. Carrie Elle also has a Facebook group that you can join, which comes with insider discounts, news, and a growing community of planner babes.

I reached out to Carrie with an interest in reviewing her Intentional Life Day Planner, because I thought the layout was unique and love how much Carrie engages with her customers. Carrie kindly sent me a Mini Planner of my choice, which I am delighted to share with you all!

Carrie Elle has a myriad of planner options, but the Intentional Life Day Planner comes in Full Size (8×10″) and Mini (7×9″). The Full Size runs $55, while the Mini is slightly less expensive at $45. This is a 2018 planner running from January–December.

Function

Carrie Elle has bright, functional planners that are perfect for the color-loving but busy planner babe! There are several cover options, from florals to the fabulous succulent print that I selected here.

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The inside cover has a nameplate, where you can write your name in Sharpie Permanent Marker to claim the planner as your own, or use a sticker if you so prefer. Then you get a lovely opening page which is the same no matter which cover option you pick. It says “She believed she should, so she did” and is surrounded by gorgeous, playful flower drawings.

After the first page (which is blank on the other side), you get a lined notes page and then immediately go into your tabbed sections. The lined notes page would be a great place to write down your 2018 goals, add more information about yourself in case you lose your planner, or brainstorm the year ahead. The first tab is Important and includes a 2018 year at a glance, Important Dates to Remember, and four pages of Important Contacts.

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Then you go into your Goals tab, which has an impressive 10 pages for tracking your goals for the year. I love this spread, because it is comprehensive and allows you to keep track of multiple goals of any size or breadth. Each page holds 4 columns.

You have the Goal itself at the top of the column, followed by Action Items. This is a lined section, which I like, because you can write out the Action Items as needed instead of trying to fit each one on a checkbox line. After that you get a Notes box, which is for whatever extra notes you need to write down, or if you run into a hiccup (“Run a marathon” goal but then you twist or ankle, for example). At the bottom of the column you have a Due Date box and then a place to check off when you’ve Accomplished your goal!

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Then you get into your calendar pages. Each month is tabbed in a thick, sturdy plastic laminate. The monthly spread on two pages itself makes excellent use of the page space with large (1 1/2 x 1 5/8″) boxes that can easily hold all your monthly plans. There is a blank space at the top of the page for your monthly Priorities and Goals, so they are right there when you need to refer to them. The monthly spread also has a lined Notes column on the lefthand side of the pages. There is plenty of room to write down tasks, reminders, notes, etc. Whatever you need.

Holidays are in a light gray and centered at the bottom of each daily box. The days of other months are numbered in the same light gray. Then you have the title of the month and the year in the upper righthand corner of the spread. This monthly spread is a Sunday start.

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The weekly spread is a unique design that really helps you break a vertical layout into functional sections. Each month has a color scheme (which I will get into more in the Aesthetics/Design section of this review), and the planner is designed so that the first of the month is always located in the tabbed section for that month, even if it means carrying the last few days of the previous month with it. You can see this above in the first week of February, delineated by color.

Like the monthly spread, you get a lined Notes column on the lefthand side. This is an open, spacious column that can be where you write a meal plan, habits you are keeping track of, weekly tasks, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Then you move into your week, with a Monday start. The days are in columns and a vertical layout. There are three distinct sections within your column: a small blank box under the heading for the day, a lined section, and three solid-fill boxes of varying opacity that are easy to write in. In the Full Size planner, which is a bit larger, Carrie breaks these sections down for you with headings. The Lined section is “Things To Do” and the three solid boxes are “Schedule.” In the Mini version of the planner, she’s taken out these headings to leave more room for you to write.

You can follow Carrie’s suggestion and use these spaces as she does, or branch off on your own and change things up as needed to match your schedule. The boxes could be meals for the day, for example, if you are using this planner primarily as a place to meal plan. They could be important, immovable appointments or events. They could be Morning, Afternoon, and Night. The lined section could be tasks but could also be a journaling space or where you write your schedule out, or notes for the day. The small blank box at the top of the column could be where you write important dates, like birthdays, or your top priority for the day. Each column is a little over 1 1/2″ wide.

Carrie has included lot of space for notes in her planner. You get two dot grid notes pages at the end of each month as well as two lined pages. You get 21 lines pages followed by 20 dot grid pages in their own tabbed Notes section at the back of the planner, as well.

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At the end of the planner you get a double-sided folder in thick cardstock. The pocket feels a little low to me, but there is plenty of room to add loose papers, die-cuts, stickers, or whatever else you would like to store in this planner. Then you reach the inside back cover, which has Carrie Elle’s logo and shop information, along with “Made in Texas, y’all!”

Aesthetics/Design

Carrie Elle makes bright, colorful planners. You can select a slightly more neutral cover, but the inside pages make great use of color to organize your planner.

I chose the Succulents cover for my Intentional Life Day Planner in Mini. I loved the bright art and the embrace of succulents as colorful, playful botanicals. So often I see succulents portrayed in subdued, flat tones and I just don’t personally enjoy that design choice for them. I grew up in Southern California, which has its fair share of succulents, and often found them to be bright, happy plants.

This cover choice includes the title of the planner centered towards the top and situated in a white box. I love that the design creeps over the outer white edge of the box and even into the title itself. Two fonts are used here, a playful script reading “2018 intentional life” and a larger serif font reading “day planner.” Everything is lowercase, adding to the playful vide of Carrie Elle’s aesthetic.

The back cover simply has Carrie Elle’s round pink logo centered at the bottom of the page. Both the front and back cover are a sturdy laminate, which makes this a surprisingly light planner to carry around.

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This planner is about 5/8″ thick and has a coil that measures about 1 1/4″ in diameter. It’s a pretty hefty coil and makes the planner feel delightfully floppy.

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As mentioned above, each month has its own color scheme. This comes through in the tabs, which are designed to match their colorful theme. Each tab is a different color, and you get some similar colors in the lineup but they are all at least slightly different. Each tab has the month (or section) written out in all-caps sans serif font, white against a solid color background.

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The weekly and monthly colors change with each new month as well. As you can see here, this weekly spread if from May, which is a pale green color. This means that your weekly spread will look a little different each month, which is kind of nice if you don’t prefer a monochrome approach to your planning aesthetic!

There are two main fonts used in this planner and they are a semi-bold script and a light-weight sans serif. The two fonts go well together and Carrie uses them well by primarily sticking with the sans serif and only breaking the script out for contrast and as headers/subheaders.

Fit

Pen test!

I was actually surprised by the quality of the paper that Carrie Elle uses, as the planner feels very light and the paper at first feels a little thin. It’s a smooth paper that holds ink quite well! It does tend to give felt tip pens a thicker line, but otherwise stands up very well to mot rollerball, ballpoint, and gel pens.

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I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants structure but not so much structure that they are at a loss for what to do with the space if they don’t have something exact to put into it. This is one of my favorite things about the unique way that Carrie has structured her planner. You have the structure of her layout with absolutely no expectations for how you are supposed to use it. That means that you can mold it to fit your life.

This planner would work for you if you like to see your weeks at a glance, heavily utilize your monthly spreads, and like breaking your days into sections. Are you a goal setter? Then you would love this planner’s Goals tab with space to map out your goals and the action steps to achieve them.

If you love having space for notes then this would be a good planner for you because you get lots of extra notes pages but also get generous notes columns each week and in the monthly layout. There is space for your thoughts! So if you like ot brainstorm in your planner, this might be a great fit for you.

I would recommend this planner for students because I could see breaking the daily columns into classes, assignments, and extra-curriculars and using the small box at the top of each column for due dates or tests. I think this planner layout would work really well for students. I would also recommend this planner for anyone who loved vertical planning but needs specific sections to break their days apart. Personally, a long lined column just doesn’t work for me because I instinctively plan chronologically. I need some way to separate sections of my vertical layouts to make them functional for me.

I would not recommend this planner for anyone who tends to prefer a minimalist aesthetic or wants a consistent color scheme throughout the year. This is a bright, colorful planner and if you would prefer something a little more subdued, then that’s totally fine too. It’s just not what Carrie Elle offers. If you need very structured days, then this planner might not work for you. Its flexibility is one of the things that makes it a versatile planning choice.

Loves

I love the Goals pages at the beginning of this planner and how much room you have for them! I also love how much space you get with Carrie Elle’s monthly spread–she really uses all the space in such a great way. I love the notes pages included with each month and the mixture of lined and dot grid pages in the notes section at the end. I also love how light and easy to carry around this planner is, despite the quality of the paper! Going into this planner knowing that it is a bright and colorful aesthetic, I really enjoyed the alternating colors on the weekly and monthly spreads. It helps you organize by both date and color, which is awesome.

Nopes

The coil is a little unbalanced on my planner, making it difficult to align the bent ends evenly. This means that when I turn a page, sometimes it gets caught in the bent edging of the coil. It’s not a huge problem, just something to be conscious of while using the planner. I also wish that the pocket at the very back was slightly higher–I can just see loose papers falling out of it. My last point, a suggestion, really, is that I wish that the tabs included the title on both the front and back of the tab.


There you have it! My review of the Carrie Elle 2018 Intentional Life Day Planner! Do you have one of these planners? Do you have any questions that I didn’t address? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

If you are interested in this planner, you can check out Carrie Elle’s entire line here (affiliate link).

Until next time!

xo
Ara