2018 Sweet Life Planner from I Heart Planners

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

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

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

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

Function

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loves

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

Nopes

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


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

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

Until next week!

xo
Ara

2018 Make Shit Happen Planner

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

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

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

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

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

Function

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

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

 

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

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

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

Then it’s your turn to make shit happen.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fit

It’s time for a pen test!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loves

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

Nopes

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


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

Until next time!

xo
Ara

kitlife 2018 Weekly Planner

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

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

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

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

Function

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fit

Pen test!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loves

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

Nopes

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


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

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

Until next time!

xo
Ara

Commit30 2018 Planner

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

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

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

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

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

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

Function

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

The Commit30 planner has a very clear aesthetic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fit

Pen test!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loves

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

Nopes

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


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

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

Until next time!

xo
Ara

Amelia Lane 2018 Life Designer Planners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Function—Daily

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Function—Weekly

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Fit

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

 

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

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

Compact Daily

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

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

Desktop Daily

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

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

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

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

Compact Weekly

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

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

Signature Weekly

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

 

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

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

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

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Loves

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

Nopes

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

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


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

Happy Holidays! Until next time!

xo
Ara