Hello planner friends! I am so excited to bring you this review of the 2019 Ashley Shelly Planner! Last year, I reviewed the 2018 Ashley Shelly Planner, so I’m delighted to be able to bring you an updated review of Ashley’s latest & greatest! 🙂 Ashley reached out to me to see if I was interested in reviewing her 2019 planner, which of course I was! She kindly sent me the planner of my choice.
This year–the planner’s fourth in production!–I selected the 2019 Signature Ashley Shelly Planner in Painted Floral with Rose Gold Binding. I love the Painted Floral design–I just couldn’t help myself. Ashley’s small business has grown this year, so she was able to order more product and pass along the savings of a bulk order to all of you! That’s right–Ashley has kindly used her growth and success to make her planner more cost-effective for her customers. ❤ The 2019 Signature Ashley Shelly Planner now retails for $44.95 (a $5 drop from last year) plus shipping. If you read to the very end, I have a special code to save you an additional $5!
Ashley Shelly is a product/graphic designer and small business owner based in Jacksonville, Florida. In the planner community we of course know her for her cheerful and carefully designed Ashley Shelly Planner, but her expertise goes beyond paper. Ashley is also a Small Business Consultant and a Product Photographer. Her expertise shines through in the products that she designs and the beautiful photography showcased on her Instagram. Ashley’s planner philosophy is simple:
I give you beautifully designed options that make planning fun, so you can be fully present in each moment of your life!
Fun planning is effective planning, after all. This is because (and I am definitely not the first person to say this) planners are tools–helpful, but only when you use them. One is more likely to use a fun & happy tool, and the Ashley Shelly Planner stands out with a clear aesthetic, creative spreads for each month, and a comprehensive weekly layout with both a To Do list and a place for your schedule.
This planner runs from January 2019 to December 2019. Let’s dig in!
The Ashley Shelly planner is a functional weekly planner designed to help you create the life you love.
Immediately upon opening the planner, you see a high pocket affixed to the inside front cover. This will hold loose papers, stickers, notes, bills, receipts, & etc. snugly. Each planner includes a clear zip pouch in the front, which comes with a sheet of icon stickers in the Ashley Shelly color palette. The zip pocket feels very flat and tight, but can actually fit quite a lot! So add your sticker sheets and loose papers! 😉
This is followed by the nameplate page, which is simple and clean and includes a space for your name. Next is a page of Planner Tips from Ashley with a welcome message and a description of what you’ll find in your new planner. I love it when a planner has a welcome note like this! It gives you a feel for the “personality of the planner” so to speak and is wonderful for referring back to when you get stuck. Adjacent to this is a page for your 2019 Inspiration Board. It’s blank and ready to be filled with your words, drawings, or clippings as you think about what inspires you for the year ahead.
Then you get a page for Important Contacts with 10 sections. This is a useful page for putting down information like your doctor’s phone number and address so you don’t have to keep looking it up on Google Maps and making sure you’re going to the right location or suite number because for some reason your doctor has multiple offices (anyone else?), or your kid’s teacher’s information for a quick reference.
Next is a page for your Favorite Meal Ideas. This includes one column broken into Breakfasts and Lunches and then a second full column for Dinners. This is also a great list for when you’re meal planning and want to include a couple favorite recipes for that week, or when you come across a recipe that you want to remember to look up later. One could also use this page for a running list of epic meals that you’ve had, or meals that are your go-to’s.
You also get a two-page spread for your 2019 Planning Overview. This layout has 12 blank boxes, one for each month. Ashley suggests using this space for jotting down important dates and birthdays, but there are a ton of ways you could utilize this spread. Keeping track of seasonal foods, writing out monthly goals, drawing something each month, etc. These pages are followed by a Yearly Overview for 2019 and 2020 (!!!), fitting both years onto one page. The next page is for 2019 Holidays, which lists out US Holidays from January to December. It’s another great place for a quick reference! It helps to know at a glance that Mother’s Day is May 12th this year, or that the last Thursday of November falls on the 28th.
Then you get into your calendar pages!
The Ashley Shelly Planner monthly layout is spread over two pages. You get a Sunday start, long vertical daily boxes, and lines. This monthly spread is lined, which gives you the opportunity for easy precision when you are planning/organizing your month. Weekends stand out a little by having bolded dates, a subtle but visible touch. On the lefthand side of the layout you get two mini months at a glance–the month prior to the current on and the month following it. Below this, you have a slim, lined Notes column.
Each month has a two-page Creative Spread, which is unique to the Ashley Shelly Planner.
These are designed to guide you through picking a word of the month to focus on, and there is a space each week to re-write this word so you can keep it on your mind and use it to inspire your days. Taking the time to sit down quietly each month to fill out the Creative Spread is going to change your outlook on your plan and your life!
This is the biggest update from the 2018 to 2019 planner. Ashley has updated her signature spread to include a Monthly Bucket List and prompt you to think about what you are grateful for and what you’re stressed about. The new and improved Creative Spread ends in your word/mantra for the month instead of prompting you to think about it right away. This way, you’re doing all the work before deciding what word/mantra will help inspire and encourage you throughout the month.
The sections are designed to encourage inner reflection and produce inspiration to fuel you for the month ahead. Thinking about what you are grateful for is such a rewarding practice–it puts things in perspective. This can be especially powerful when juxtaposed with the second prompt about what you are worried/stressed about. I also love the addition of the question “What can you do to remove your stress?” What self-care habits can you form? Or is your stress caused by stalling on finishing a project that you really don’t want to work on? I also love the focus on positivity in this spread–being asked every month to think about what creates happiness in your life reminds us that we are often in control of our own happiness. I think it also helps us look at how we are actually spending our time–you know, TV doesn’t make me happy, but reading does. I never regret any time spent reading. Writing that down is powerful and helps you refocus on what brings you joy. It doesn’t have to be complicated. 😉
I also like the prompt asking what you are going to say no to this month. This sets you up to make a promise to yourself–no to taking work home, no to spending more than $15 a week on coffee drinks, no to others trying to peer pressure you into volunteering time you don’t have, etc. What do you need to say no to? Then, you’re asked to write a few words about how you want to feel in the month ahead. Relaxed? Productive? Smart? Write it down. You can use this to help with your Monthly Goals–if you want to feel smart, then set aside time to read a nonfiction book on an interesting topic, or study x hours a day if you’re a student. The Monthly Bucket List can serve as an extended task list or it can be a place to write down fun and relaxing things to do! Go apple picking in October, finish a painting in February, join a book club in July, etc.
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it! Ashley Shelly’s weekly spread has been carefully designed and hasn’t changed. So if you’ve been enjoying this unique planner layout, you don’t have to worry about a thing–it’s not going anywhere.
You get a space for the monthly word at the top of each weekly spread so that you can reflect on it as needed. This Monday-start layout begins with a notes section in two lined columns. You get equal space for each day of the week–this means that weekends are just as roomy as weekdays!
There are still 9 lined spaces for your schedule. You get two columns for this–the first is designed for you to write in what time whatever you are recording is happening at, and the second is for a simple descriptor. This means that you can write specific times in without being restricted by a standard hourly format for your schedule. For example, I can put in: 11:45 AM Doctor’s Appointment–Towson. I don’t have to decide whether to write it on the 11 AM or 12 PM line. On the right-hand side of the day, you get a To Do List with 6 lines with checkboxes. This is helpful for keeping your task list at a manageable size! Below those are a Due Today line and a Dinner space. Due Today could be a promise to yourself (walk one mile, write 500 words, etc.) or a bill to pay. It’s a flexible space if you bend it a little to work for you. 😉
Each month has two Notes pages. The first is in two lined columns for ample list-making and the other page is a simple lined space. I love it when planners have dispersed notes pages. It helps me remember when I wrote that thing down, for example, and thus adds context to my planner. There are also a few (10) lined notes pages in the back of the planner.
Ashley Shelly has a clear and consistent aesthetic. Her planners and stationery products are usually compiled in shades of aqua, lavender, and periwinkle with white and gray touches. This adherence to a repeated, specific color palette really emphasizes the Ashley Shelly brand in a recognizable way.
When my Ashley Shelly Planner arrived, it was well packaged in tissue paper and bubble wrap (I always give the bubble wrap to my husband–he loves popping it.) The planner itself was wrapped in thin plastic and was in perfect condition.
The cover I chose (Painted Floral) is the only option that includes a coil and metal protective corners in the rose gold colorway. The other planners come in silver, which is still beautiful. The Painted Floral cover design is a more complex version of the 2018 Painted Floral–this year the flowers have been added to a little and are smaller, so the cover contains more of them. This is a design that Ashley hand-painted, and I just love it.
The front cover includes the Painted Floral pattern and “2019” centered in blue, visible but not large enough to take away from the delight of the design itself. The back cover also includes the Painted Floral pattern, as well as the circular Ashley Shelly logo in cobalt blue. It’s there, but once again the cover takes visual precedence. The covers are hardboard with a glossy texture–easy to clean.
This is a spiral bound planner with wire-o coil. The planner measures 7.25″ X 9.25″ (including binding) and is approximately 3/4″ thick. The inside pages measure 6″x9″. The planner weighs 1.5 lbs, which makes it a portable planning option.
The Ashley Shelly Planner is a weekly planner with monthly spreads and some extras. As mentioned earlier, this planner has a deliberate and consistent aesthetic. The inside covers are white with the Ashley Shelly textual logo and patterned dots in gray. The included stickers are complementary to the overall thematic color palette and include some standard icons for things like travel, groceries, money, etc.
Ashley Shelly’s planners come with perforated corners. These are easy to tear off so that you can keep your place in the planner.
The Ashley Shelly Planner is beloved for its colorful yet functional design. Sans serif font is used throughout the planner to give the pages a clean, modern look. The same font is used consistently, just in varied weights (bold, light, regular) for emphasis. On the monthly spread, holidays are written in small, lavender text and arranged to still provide you with ample planning room. Ashley uses black text for the structure of the monthly spread and the dates, but otherwise not a lot of black appears in this planner. The result is a colorful planner in cool tones that packs a lot onto each page but manages not to look too visually heavy. This is further emphasized by the aqua lines in both the monthly and weekly layouts, which are bold enough to notice and use effectively but don’t weigh down the pages.
“Heart” is an important value for Ashley Shelly–you can hear it in the way she describes planning and see it in the intentional hearts that appear tastefully throughout the planner. Hearts are used to highlight headers, and all are the same size even as their colors change.
When looking at the planner’s weekly layout, I was worried that there wasn’t much room for writing each day. I decided to mock-up a day in pencil to see how it handled a busy schedule. To my surprise, this layout is actually a lot roomier than it appears at first glance. The lines are narrow, but they provide plenty of room for planning each day/week/month.
Overall this is a tightly designed planner with a consistent aesthetic. The measured use of color and details (like the hearts) brightens up a highly structured and functional planner.
You know it! Time for a pen test!
The Ashley Shelly Planner has 80# text weight paper in bright white. The paper is nice, thick, and has a matte feel. It held up to most of my pens, including some serious Tombow markers! The Sharpie Permanent Marker bled through just the littlest bit, and the Recollections Signature felt-tip pen ghosted, but otherwise, the paper took ballpoint to rollerball pens like a champ. Personally, I think that this paper handles felt tip pens (Sharpie, Le Pen, Staedtler, etc.) very nicely. They don’t seep onto the paper, but rather remain in the tight, precise lines you used them to create.
So, is the Ashley Shelly Planner for you?
I’ll start with the most obvious suggestion. If you have used the Ashley Shelly Planner in the past and loved everything about it, you will be relieved to know that it hasn’t fundamentally changed in any way for 2019. The Creative Spread has gotten better with more nuanced questions, and the weekly and monthly layouts are the same. If this is your favorite planner then rest assured that it still has all the features you know and love.
I would recommend this planner to anyone who wants a pretty planner but doesn’t have the time or inclination to decorate it themselves. The Ashley Shelly Planner is just colorful enough to make your spread feel gorgeous even if it’s pen-only. This planner also works for those of you who want something minimal but not necessarily minimalist.
I would recommend this planner to anyone who has a varied schedule–the flexible layout of the appointment slots where you fill in the times means that you are able to track only what matters to you. Don’t even wake up until 8 AM? (No shame!) Great, you aren’t wasting the 5 AM–7AM timeslots that often come with appointment-based planners. Are you a freelancer or consultant and each day looks different? The Ashley Shelly Planner can accommodate that.
If you are an on-the-go career contessa or a domestic goddess who runs from one thing to another all day, then this planner will be light enough to carry with you and structured enough to manage your days. If you are a student with assignments and due dates to keep track of, this planner will help you do that in one comprehensive book. If you are a busy creative, then this planner will work beautifully for you as a way to keep your passion on the forefront as you manage your schedule and to-dos.
If you want a planner that helps you organize your weeks, but you also want a little extra, then the Ashley Shelly Planner delivers. Your monthly Creative Spreads anchor you, give you a space to reflect, and help you create the life you love. 😉
I would not recommend this planner to someone with huge handwriting. You will probably find the space provided a bit cramped. You don’t need microscopic handwriting to use this planner, of course, but it will be harder to fit everything in with super large handwriting.
If you are a daily planner, then you probably need a daily planner. But if you are a weekly planner and you want to see everything at a glance and manage your appointments and tasks, then the Ashley Shelly Planner just might fit the bill.
Can we talk about how wonderful it is that Ashley Shelly is using her growth to make her planner more accessible to her customers?! What a way to show up for your community!
That aside, I love that Ashley has lightened up some of the headers that were set against a gray background in her 2018 edition. I also love the new and improved Creative Spread! I think it looks more polished and that it asks thoughtful questions. I especially like that picking a word/mantra for the month has been moved to the end as the last question. Gotta build up to it! And, of course, I’m obsessed with the Painted Floral cover for 2019.
I would like to see more Notes pages in the back of the planner! I think there’s room to make it happen! I also can’t help but wonder if the Dinner section is needed–if it could instead say something like “Meals” (this is a change that Emily Ley made before removing the meals section altogether) or maybe just include an icon. I also think that the “Due Today” line could just say “Due” and thereby leave just a smidge more room to write out what’s due. These aren’t really deal-breakers, of course, they’re just minor suggestions.
And there you have it! My review of the 2019 Ashley Shelly Signature Planner! I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂 Questions? Leave a comment! Comments? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!
You’ve made it to the end of my review, so here is your reward: You can use the code ARA5 to get $5 off your Ashley Shelly Planner (that changes the price to $39.95) until December 31, 2018! So hustle on over to the Ashley Shelly website and pick up your 2019 planner!
Until next time!