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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!