Purposeful Planner 2018 Daily

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

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

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

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

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

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

Function

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

IMG_5794 (2)

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

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

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

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

img_5800-2.jpg

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

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

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

img_5803-2.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

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

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

img_5804-2.jpg

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

img_5790-2.jpg

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

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

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

Fit

Pen test! Obvi.

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

img_5810-2.jpg

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

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

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

img_5806-2.jpg

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

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

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

Loves

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

IMG_5791 (2)

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

Nopes

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


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

Until next time!

xo
Ara

 

2018 Happy Balance Planner

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

Sherbert Shop has a clear mission behind their business:

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

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

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

Function

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

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

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

IMG_5671 (2)

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

IMG_5672 (2)

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

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

IMG_5673 (2)

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

IMG_5674 (2)

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

IMG_5675 (2)

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

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

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

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

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

img_5691-2.jpg

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

img_5690-2.jpg

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

IMG_5677 (2)

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

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

Fit

Pen test!

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

IMG_5688 (2)

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

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

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

IMG_5711 (2)

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

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

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

IMG_5710 (2)

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

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

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

Loves

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

Nopes

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


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

Until next time!

xo
Ara

2018 Sweet Life Planner from I Heart Planners

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

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

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

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

Function

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

img_5640-2.jpg

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

IMG_5641 (2)

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

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

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

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

IMG_5645 (2)

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

IMG_5646 (2)

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_5661 (2)

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

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_5655 (2)

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

IMG_5650 (2)

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

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

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

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

Fit

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

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

img_5659-2.jpg

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

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

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

img_5660-2.jpg

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

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

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

Loves

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

Nopes

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


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

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

Until next week!

xo
Ara

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.

IMG_5552 (2)

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.

img_5470-2.jpg

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.

img_5421-2.jpg

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.

img_5504-2.jpg

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.

IMG_5509 (2)

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.

IMG_5490 (2)

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!

img_5493-2.jpg

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. 😉

IMG_5436 (2)

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.

IMG_5510 (2)

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.

img_5431-2.jpg

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.

img_5512-2.jpg

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.

IMG_5469 (2)

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. 🙂

IMG_5554 (2)

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

img_5478-2.jpg

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!

img_5489-2-e1513969168681.jpg

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

IMG_5430 (2)

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.

tumblr_ob9tsh5buO1sy7ngzo1_500

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.

IMG_5411 (2)

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.

IMG_5435 (2)

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

img_5488-2.jpg

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.

img_5487-2.jpg

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

img_5496-2.jpg

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:

US_A4_Style_Comparison_Table_414aeafb-cbcb-4d13-8be0-e4a7ee1b37ec_1024x1024.jpg

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.

IMG_5434 (2)

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 Karen Adams Designs Agenda

Karen Adams Designs got its start in 1999 with a Stationary Show. It’s an award-winning family business based in Memphis, Tennessee and focuses mainly on stationery but also creates calendars, agendas, greeting cards, invitations, art prints, menus, and more. Karen Adams got her start with a degree in apparel design from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked in New York City for companies like J. Crew.

I want to be clever, innovative, classic but in a fun way. I want people to smile or laugh and feel good. You know when you are out for a walk and pass someone who smiles and says “hello” and you think “ I love that people smile and say hi, this world is pretty great.” That is how I want what we send out into the world to make people feel.

I’ve had my eye on the Karen Adams Designs agenda for about a year now, since I saw a review of the 2017 Agenda from Earn Spend Live. I reached out to Karen Adams Designs with an interest in reviewing their recently released 2018 agenda. I communicated with Karen’s daughter, Wallis (who also has a design background), who kindly sent me an agenda to review for all of you!

The Karen Adams Designs Agenda launched in 2017, so this is their second year of designing and providing a daily agenda. While Karen designs the complementary page of stickers in the agenda, much of the design is from Wallis, and reflects thoughtfulness and ingenuity.

This is a big agenda, measuring in at 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ including the spiral. It retails on the Karen Adams Designs website for $44 plus shipping, which is a little below the average cost for a daily agenda of this caliber.

Function

This is a daily planner. There is a generous page per day in this layout–shared weekends–along with monthly spreads and notes pages.

When you first open the planner you see a page of stickers (designed by Karen Adams herself!). These are creative, cute, and really just gorgeous stickers. There are a lot of holiday stickers as well as some more general ones. The inside cover includes a pocket folder. It’s loose enough to easily slip some papers in and high enough that they won’t immediately fall out again.

Then you have your nameplate page (adorably encased in a pineapple), along with the Karen Adams Designs logo and the dates covered by the agenda (January–December 2018).

You also get a page to record your passwords–there are prompts for Email, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and others. Nothing financial is included, which is generally a good policy. Then you get a page for 2018 Goals, with a checkable circle for each line.

You get a page to record must see movies and must see books. There isn’t a lot of space to record your entire To Read list for the year, but probably enough space to write down books and movies that are coming out in 2018 that you want to keep your eyes out for!

Next is a page for Dates to celebrate in 2018, which is a perfect place to record important dates, birthday, holidays to look out for, etc. They layout of this section is clean and roomy–lots of space for you!

You get your standard page for 2018 Holidays. Karen Adams Designs is thorough–you get New Year’s Day, but also some fun ones like Coffee Day and Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Then you have your 2018 year at a glance on one page.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The monthly spreads are two pages. Karen Adams Designs’ monthly layouts are unique because of the extra design elements that are included. Beautifully drawn thematic embellishments surround the monthly name. For example, January has snowflakes and a snowman. February has arrows, hearts, lips, and xo’s, in reference to Valentine’s Day. This adds a nice touch to your monthly layout. The designs are all in black and white, so you could even color them in if you want. Each month is different, and the hand-drawn designs add an extra pop of festivity to the spread!

The monthly spread also includes a Notes column on the left hand side of the layout. The bottom right of the layout includes two month-at-a-glance calendars, for the months preceding and following the current one.

This planner has one page per day. The daily layout is simple and elegant with the day and date, Today’s Top 3 Goals, To Do For Myself, Today, To Do, and Notes sections. If there is a holiday it is printed in the top right hand corner of the page, otherwise you get an inspirational or motivational quote. The Top 3 section forces you to prioritize your tasks for the day, or you could also put immovable appointments, reminders, etc. there. You could also write in your top three goals to keep in mind throughout your day–you don’t necessarily need to use this space for to-dos. The To Do For Myself section is nice because it just gives you a couple lines to use for jotting down some self-care, listing a couple tasks that are just about you, or even writing a sentence a day in gratitude or reflection. This section also reminds you to take care of yourself. This could be a nice reminder for these of us who spend most of our time and energy worrying about others.

The Today column is a one hour per line schedule from 6am to 9pm (or 6pm to 9am if you prefer). The To Do column includes 16 lines with circles that you can use to check off tasks. Again, this planner is pretty big, so there is a decent amount of space for writing in your schedule and to-dos. At the bottom of the daily page is a short box for Notes. This can contain anything you need it to–meals, gratitude, note taking, habit tracking, water intake, etc. It is a blank space that can fulfill any need you have of it.

The weekends are combined into one page. You get a column for Today and a column for To Do. Each day still gets its own quote! The today column just has lined space for you to write in whatever you need or want to record. The To Do space has 7 spaces for tasks.

At the bottom of the weekend page is a section where you can write in any big events happening “next week.” Similar to the Day Designer, this quick little layout allows you to see the upcoming week at a glance. This is especially helpful with a daily planner because sometimes you can lose sight of the bigger picture o your week.

The back of the Planner includes a few Notes pages for any additional stuff you want to write down or keep track of.

Aesthetics/Design

Packaging can be an important part of receiving a planner. It lets you know that there is a lot of care going into sending you the product and that your aesthetic experience starts before you have the actual planner in your hands.

IMG_5117 (2)

My Karen Adams Designs Planner came beautifully packaged with brown paper and white tissue paper. Wallis (my contact at Karen Adams Designs) included a lovely card with the planner!

img_5119-2.jpg

The agenda comes in a keepsake box, which is minimalist in design. It is sturdy and could easily be used to store papers/stickers/etc. or to hold your planner in for safe keeping once the year is over.

Wallis sent me a lovely little notebook and card along with the planner! And your planner, of course, comes with a welcome card printed on card stock and keying you into the social media avenues for engagement with Karen Adams Designs.

The planner itself comes in two color schemes–I chose the cream and tan option (Madame Gres) because I loved the way it looked with the gold foil and how it used a two-tone color scheme to make a busy design look clean and sleek. The planner cover is smooth to the touch and is a soft matte material over a hard board. It feels sturdy. The corners have metal protectors in gold, and the Wire-O coil is white. There is also a white elastic that keeps your planner together so that loose papers don’t come out as easily. The year (2018) is centered on the cover in gold foil embossing.

The back cover has the same image/design as the front cover of the planner, and includes a minimalist version of the Karen Adams Designs logo in gold foil.

This is a daily planner and thus it is a bit hefty. With its 9 1/2” x 9 1/2” size, the planner manages to stay manageably svelte. I’m not sure what the paper quality in this planner is, but it’s probably comparable to the Flagship Day Designer. This allows the planner to maintain a slim profile while still being able to hold enough pages for a daily format.

The Karen Adams Designs planner, in a change form last year, has a series of colorful tabs that run in a single line down the edge of the pages. The colorful palette includes blue, red, yellow, pink, and navy. The tabs are coated in plastic and the pages they are adhered to are a little thicker than the rest of the planner pages. The covers of the planner are big enough that they completely cover the tabs, which protects them.

The planner’s Notes pages are wide ruled, which is perfect for those of you with large handwriting. If you have smaller handwriting and prefer a tighter lined page, then you might not like these notes pages. The inside back cover has a sweet affirmation in script: “She saw every ending as a new beginning.” This is a lovely thought to have at the end of a planner. It reminds you that even though you are at the end of one planner, one year, there is another one about to start, a blank page to carry you forward.

The monthly spreads are embellished with Karen Adam’s playful yet classic art. As mentioned above, each month includes a unique spread of artwork. November, for example, includes leaves, acorns, twigs, and berries. These conjure thoughts of Fall, Thanksgiving, and other November feels. The name of the month is always in a thin script font, which I love. It adds an elegant touch to the planner pages. The numbers are all a regular weight sans serif text, while the days of the week are in an all-caps serif font. You get all the font types in this planner!

Fit

As always, let’s start with a pen test!

The paper isn’t overly thick, but it is a bright white that holds most of my pens pretty well. The Sharpie Permanent Marker, as always, bleeds through. This paper also doesn’t handle super inky pens very well, like the Uniball Vision. The highlighters have a little ghosting. Otherwise, the paper held up pretty well. When one page is flat against another you can barely see most of the pens (although if you have a heavy hand you can see the indentation from writing, even if you don’t see the ink.) When you lift the page up, you can see the ink, but it definitely doesn’t come through when the pages are flat against one another.

This planner would be a good fit for someone who wants a comprehensive daily planner. I would recommend it as a desk planner or at-home planner that keeps track of a master schedule and list of to-dos. You could carry it around with you, of course, but it is a little hefty so might serve you better as a sort of home base planner.

This planner would be great for the home or office–it’s flexible enough that you aren’t being led into using it in any particular way. It could keep track of your work schedule and to-dos, as well as reminding you of more big picture goals for the day. If you work in an environment where you become overwhelmed by everyone else’s demands on your time, this would be a great planner for you because it subtly reminds you to think about goals for self care. If you flesh out your daily plans and to-dos the night before you go to sleep or the moment you wake up (but first, coffee, of course), then the sections for “to do for myself” and “top 3 goals for today” will prompt you into a moment of reflection. If you have a lot going on every day but need those reminders to think about yourself as well every once in a while, this planner would be a great fit for you.

If you want a daily planner but want it to be a step above minimalist design, then this would be a great planner for you. The monthly embellishments are adorable and fun, and add a pop of delight and seasonality to the planner. If you want some elegant design elements, the Karen Adams Designs planner is a great way to go.

 I probably wouldn’t recommend this planner for students, because there isn’t much room for assignments or due dates. (You could put those in the notes section of each day, however.) This planner would be a great fit for anyone who has full days to keep track of and wants a simple but elegant layout for doing so.

Loves

I love the color choices for the tabs this year, and how the pop of color is juxtaposed with the cream and tan cover I chose. The inclusion of an elastic closure band is always a plus! I love the top 3 goals and to-do for myself sections in each day–I think this is a very subtle and thoughtful way to provoke reflection without overwhelming the first-time planner or the person who has too much on their plates to fill out lots of extras. I am a bit of a sucker for daily planners and I love the simple layout this planner uses for its days. I also love the choice of script font. And I love the stickers. They are cute and delightful!

Nopes

I do wish that the Wire-O binding was gold rather than white–and of course I am not the biggest fan of Wire-O. I also think there is just a little too much white space on the notes pages and would like the lines to be a little tighter. I also wish that the numbers were in a serif font to match the other text in the planner.


There you have it! My review of the Karen Adams Designs daily agenda. Do you have one? Do you have questions I didn’t get to answer? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Karen Adams Designs is having a Black Friday deal for those of you interested in picking up this lovely daily planner! You can use the code HOLIYAY for 10% off all orders over $100 and Free Shipping on orders over $50. The sale runs Friday–Monday. 🙂

xo
Ara