Carrie Elle 2018 Intentional Life Day Planner

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

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

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

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

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

Function

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fit

Pen test!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loves

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

Nopes

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


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

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

Until next time!

xo
Ara

My Infinite Agenda 2018

My Infinite Agenda is a planner with a purpose. This product is described by founders Raquel and Katie as a “personal vision-board planner,” and it is a loving creation based on a decade of friendship and a lifetime of practicing the law of attraction. Their formula is simple: Think it–believe it–be ready to receive it. Their message is spelled out clearly on their website:

My Infinite Agenda is an elegant and dynamic vision-board planner designed with your busy lifestyle in mind.  We believe that what you focus on – you attract – which is why we know that your goals and dreams are merely a pen-stroke away.

Raquel and Katie met in New York City during graduate school while studying opera. While growing up, Raquel had been told by her mother that if she wanted something to happen in her life, she needed to write it down and be specific. Raquel found that when she did this, the things she wrote down usually manifested in her life. This is called the Law of Attraction, the idea that the energy you put out into the world is returned to you, that like attracts like. Raquel began to live her life this way, which meant lots of writing and lots of note paper. Working with Katie (who had also started the practice of specifically writing down what she wanted to happen/do), Raquel wanted to create something that could hold the infinite possibilities she wrote about, but also helped with planning the day-to-day. Thus My Infinite Agenda was born in 2016.

My Infinite Agenda helps you focus on positivity and realizing the vision you have for your life. This starts as soon as you buy My Infinite Agenda, before you even receive the happy mail, as every purchase gives to a charity selected by Raquel and Katie. My Infinite Agenda comes in three colors: black, navy, and blush. The black agenda gives back to Charity: Water, the Navy agenda gives back to Sing for Hope, and the blush agenda gives back to Days for Girls. As Raquel and Katie were kind enough to send me an agenda of my choosing for this review, I will be making a donation to Days for Girls.

My Infinite Agenda costs $58 plus shipping (right now there is free holiday shipping on all agenda orders!), which is a reasonable price for an agenda of this substance and quality.

Function

My Infinite Agenda servues multiple purposes. It is a planner, yes, but it is also a place to track your goals and dreams. You get a lot of extra content upfront (33 pages!) in this planner that helps you set the tone for the year ahead.

This planner opens to your standard nameplate page. It’s fairly simple and embraces the white space around the nameplate itself. Then you turn to the copyright & printing details in small print, next to the title page of the planner.

From there you turn to a welcome message from Raquel and Katie letting you know the purpose of the planner. This page is adjacent to a full-color page in My Infinite Agenda’s signature teal color with the company’s artistic logo centered in white. You’ll see this page often throughout the planner, as it is used for separating sections (like monthly tabbed sections).

Then you reach the My Infinite Declarations page, which is a great place to return to throughout the year when you need some motivation. You get seven positive affirmations that help you settle into a positive, productive mindset for the year ahead. Then you are given a page with the My Infinite Agenda Golden Rules: (1) believe in the power of positive thoughts, (2) imagine the things you desire in your life, and (3) declare what you want, and be specific. These are followed with instructions on how to follow these rules and use the law of attraction to best help you achieve your winnings.

Next is your prompts section. This includes gratitude, short-term goals, long-term goals, wildest dreams, and vision board. These sections are your prep work for the year. They serve as a foundation for working towards your goals and letting the good stuff happen in your life. 😉 There is a “Start Here” page with a message:

Thoughts recorded in this section will help you figure out what your biggest vision-priorities are. The goal is to bring all you positive aspirations to the forefront of your mind so they can be realized. Over the next year, your focus and what you want to manifest into your life will be inspired by these brainstorming sections.

Then you go into the Gratitude section, which includes prompts like “Today I am grateful for…” and more. Raquel and Katie give you an entire page to map out your response to these prompts. I like listing mine so I did it that way, but you could write it in paragraph form, draw, brainstorm, etc. However you want to use this space, My Infinite Agenda has a lot of it for you.

After a few prompts, you reach the Short-Term Goals section, where you are encouraged to write down your immediate desires. Again, you get a few pages of prompts before reaching the next section, Long-Term Goals. Long-Term Goals are for what you want to happen in your life in one, five, ten years. Think big and write down your dreams here–return to it throughout the year, you don’t have to know everything by January 1st.

Then you have the Wildest Dreams section, which asks you “What would you ask for in your wildest dreams?” This isn’t a section for goal setting, it’s one for writing down anything you can imagine. Have fun with the prompts and let your imagination soar.

The last section before you get into your calendar pages is the Vision Board one. Vision Boards are blank canvases where you can visualize your hopes, dreams, mood, goals, whatever you like. You can draw, doodle, use magazine clippings, write, use stickers, etc. to help manifest your vision. Raquel & Katie have included four pages of Vision Board space, which is the most I’ve ever seen in a planner. You could separate these into Quarters (1, 2, 3, & 4), or use them for different areas of your like (Home/Family, Career/Education, Social, etc.).

Then you get two year-at-a-glance pages for 2018 and 2019. These are in standard format and are great for quickly trying to pick out a date.

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My Infinite Agenda has a month-on-one-page spread with a Monday start. The boxes are narrow but long, but seem to be there as more of a guide rather than a productive place to write stuff in. If you use a very fine pen and small handwriting then you could fit some details into this spread, but otherwise, it’s a little tight. The bottom of the monthly spread includes a lined Notes section and two month-at-a-glance calendars for the month preceding and the month following the current spread.

Adjacent to the month-on-one-page spread are three prompts, designed as a monthly check-in. These prompts bring you back to your short-term goals, long-term goals, and continuing to visualize and write in your wildest dreams. You’ll find these each month in My Infinite Agenda, as they are there to remind you to keep writing down the things that you want to happen.

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My Infinite Agenda has a week on four pages. Reflection and gratitude are key components of this planner, and the weekly pages are designed to be both functional and help you focus on the big picture. The first two pages cover Monday–Thursday. You get a sizeable blank space on the lefthand side of the day’s spread, and two daily prompts on the righthand side. These are “Today I am looking forward to…” and “Today I am super grateful for…” These prompts encourage you to record gratitude every day, but also to keep writing down what you want to manifest in your life. The blank space is super flexible and can be used to write down tasks, your schedule, things to remember, etc. There is also a quote at the bottom of each day–that’s a lot of inspirational quotes for the year!

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Friday–Sunday share one page. Friday gets the same amount of space as the rest of the weekdays, while Saturday and Sunday share a section and split up the two prompts so that there is one on each day. There is a month-at-a-glance calendar in the top corner of the page to remind you where you are in the month.

Then you get a weekly Notes page with a motivational quote in script font. This space is for whatever you like. The graph boxes make it a great place for a weekly habit tracker or mood tracker, for example. Then the four-page spread starts up again.

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At the end of each month, you’ll find an open two-page spread to write down “This month’s infinite wins.” You can track goals or habits, write down things that don’t seem to fit anywhere else or use this space to reflect. The prompt is flexible enough that you can pretty much use this space however you may need to for that month.

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At the end of the planner you get a few pages to “Record your reflections, realizations, and inspiration to carry you forward.” Raquel and Katie suggest looking back through your agenda and reading all the statements of gratitude and written statements of what you are looking forward to and then reflecting on your 2018. It’s a nice, thoughtful way to end your year and prepare you for the beginning of a brand new, infinite one.

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The very last page of My Infinite Agenda includes a list of books for suggested reading that have been handpicked by Raquel and Katie to help inspire you. The inside back cover of the planner has a pocket folder for all your loose notes and papers.

Aesthetics/Design

This is a gorgeous planner. The color scheme is beautiful, the design details are elegant, and the planner has a specific aesthetic that it sticks to.

This planner came beautifully packaged. It arrived in a keepsake box–the box only has the infinity symbol (My Infinite Agenda’s logo) with rose gold foil touches on the cover, no other markings, so it’s easy to reuse as a place for stickers, papers, notes, cards, etc. The box has a nice matte finish that is soft and smooth to touch. The planner itself sits inside the box wrapped in protective cellophane.

My Infinite Agenda in blush has a rose gold coil and rose gold foil accents on the cover. The cover is a durable matte laminate hardcover with rounded edges. It feels smooth to the touch but tough. The blush color is a gorgeous understated hue that matches well with the interior teal color theme. This planner also comes with an elastic band to hold your planner together, which I’m super happy with. The elastic band is thick and ribbed and looks fabulous. The back cover of the planner is blank other than the elastic band.

This planner is a big book and measures a touch over 8″ x 10.25″ and a tad over 1″ thick.

The tabs are the signature teal color that is found throughout the planner and have the first three letters of the month in white text. The backside of the tabs are the inverse–white with teal text. Teal is featured heavily throughout the planner as the color of choice for header text, prompt text, script text, and the color of the grid paper.

Larger paragraphs of text (like the explanatory pages) are in a serif font in black, which is easier on the eyes. Headings/subheadings shift between teal and black in a semi-bold or bold sans serif font choice, which helps them stand out. The title of the month, as well as the quotes that accompany the weekly notes page, are in teal script.

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One of the aesthetic choices I really like in My Infinite Agenda is the way sections are separated by full-color pages in teal. This makes it easy to flip around in the agenda because you can see where the full-page teal spreads are.

This is a truly beautiful and unique planner. The design is consistent–you always know what’s coming next. This planner has a good balance with its multiple font choices–often a planner with too many font choices and styles can look a little messy, but My Infinite Agenda does a good job aesthetically presenting itself.

Fit

Let’s dig into the pen test!

As you can see, the paper handles my pens very well. The only pen I could see any bleed-through with was the Sharpie Permanent Marker. The paper, a high-quality 120gsm, was a pleasure to write on. All the pens I used looked crisp, even the inkier ones. Use your Papermate Flairs, Pilot G-2s, TUL pens, and even your highlighters! This paper can take it. All 306 pages of it. 😉

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If you want a planner that is focused on helping you achieve your goals and dreams via the power of writing things down, then look no further. This is a unique planner with an emphasis on gratitude, envisioning your goals and dreams, and reflection. If you want a planner that helps you develop a consistent practice of gratitude without making it the focal point of each day, then My Infinite Agenda is a great planner for you.

If you want to dream big and think about the big picture even though your planner only spans a year, then this would be a perfect fit for you. If you need space for writing out your goals and dreams, then this planner provides that. If you need a little guidance on your goal setting, then the prompts in this planner are an excellent way to feel out your process. If you have a super busy schedule and/or are overwhelmed by demands on your time, then this planner would help you remember your bigger picture and carve out a little time and space to focus on yourself.

I would recommend this planner to anyone who loves a hefty book. Although it might be best as a desk (work or home) planner because of its size, My Infinite Agenda is durable enough to carry around as well. If you want a pretty planner but don’t need a kaleidoscope of colors, then this planner provides that. If the days of your week often vary in schedule or tasks, then the flexibility of My Infinite Agenda’s weekly spread would be a good fit for you.

This planner would also be a great fit for anyone who wants to give back. For every My Infinite Agenda purchased, Raquel and Katie donate to a charitable organization. So you can rest assured that your purchase of a planner helps not only you, but someone else in need.

I would not recommend this planner for anyone who heavily uses a monthly spread. Having it on one page greatly diminishes the space you get for the monthly spread, so if that’s a big part of your planning process then I would look elsewhere.

Loves

I love the design of this planner. Something about it feels a little magical–I love its heft and its rose gold accents, its encouraging prompts, and consistent format. I love that this planner has a flexible weekly spread with lots of space for notes. I love the inspirational quotes on each page and the reminder to dream big and be grateful each day. This planner clearly had a lot of thought put into its design, and I love the details like the suggested reading list and the monthly reminder to revisit your goals and dreams. Something about this planner calls to me, and I will absolutely be adding it to my 2018 lineup!

Nopes

I do think that the coil needs to be just a tad bit bigger to more comfortably fit all the pages and cover. It feels very tight and could probably benefit from a little more space. I wish that the monthly spread fit over two pages because I like more room to write in the daily boxes. While I appreciate the teal color theme, I wish there was just a little less teal, especially in the monthly spread.


There you have it! My review of the 2018 My Infinite Agenda. I hope you enjoyed my thorough review–if you have any questions or also have and love one of these planners, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

2018 Write Your Own Adventure Planner by Emma Kate Co.

This absolutely gorge planner comes from Emma Kate Co., a Melbourne-based petite design studio pioneered by Emma Kate herself. Emma Kate designs and creates cards, banner art, gift tags, art prints, and more. Her brand is a mix of stationery and lifestyle products and, as it says on the website:

Simply put, we’re in the business of making days all over the planet – for customers, virtual visitors, creative clients, and everyone in between.

Emma Kate also has a blog here, and you can follow her on Instagram @emmakateco

The Write Your Own Adventure Planner had its first printing for the 2017 year after a successful Kickstarter. It was created for creatives, by a creative. Emma Kate did extensive research within her community to craft a relevant, unique product and continues to listen and reach out to her community of planner adventurers to improve her creation. She made a video for the 2018 version of the planner that does a great job of highlighting some of the planner’s features and rationale behind the design choices:

A similar message is attached to the 2018 Write Your Own Adventure Planner:

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The 2018 Write Your Own Adventure Planner came in three cover designs/colorways: blush, grey, and black. Emma Kate Co. is sold out of all but the black planners, which you can find here. These planners cost $53.64 AUD ($40.79 USD) plus international shipping if you’re outside Australia. International shipping is a flat rate of $20 AUD ($15.21 USD). So, if you’re in the USA, getting this gorgeous planner in your hands would take about a week and a half and cost you a total of $56 USD.

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This lovely book measures 7.9″ x 6.5″, and about 0.75″ thick.

I came across the Write Your Own Adventure Planner randomly and followed Emma Kate Co. in Instagram for a little while before reaching out to her about reviewing one of these unique and beautiful planners. She generously worked with me to send me one so that I could share it with all of you!

Function

This planner’s high degree of function actually comes from a minimal amount of structure. The monthly and weekly spreads are barebones (in a good way) to provide you with a backdrop for your dreams, thoughts, plans, and schedule. You can use this space however you like–there is no right or wrong way to go about it.

The first few pages of the planner are fairly simple. There is a mostly blank page where you can write your name and/or whatever information you would like. You also get a lovely message from Emma Kate in her unique lettering style, encouraging you to “live creatively,” among other warm and positive sentiments.

Emma Kate gives you two year-at-glance pages beside a dot grid page. I love this setup because it gives you the year-at-a-glance and then a bunch of space in juxtaposition–you can use it however you like, to map important dates for the year, keep track of academic schedules, highlight deadlines, etc. Emma Kate gives you both 2018 and 2019, so you can future-plan.

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Then you jump into the months. All of the months are located at the front of the planner, together. The layout is fairly simple but takes up most of the space on the pages, which means you get maximum space for planning in each box. This monthly layout is a Monday start, probably because Emma Kate likes giving you spacious weekends. Lots of life happens on the weekends! Indeed, the weekend boxes are wider and can fit quite a lot of information!

The monthly spread also includes a decent amount of blank space at the top of the pages, as the name of the month in lettering sits nicely in the top lefthand corner. I really like this monthly layout because it manages to both provide lots of white space and utilize the maximum space for the daily boxes. Each monthly spread also includes a message in Emma Kate’s lettering.

The Write Your Own Adventure Planner does not come with any added important dates or holidays. So if you’re counting on your planner to remind you that it’s Mother’s Day, you’ll have to write that in ahead of time. The beauty of this approach (similar to that of Get To Work Book’s) is that you aren’t beholden to one nation’s holiday schedule, so to speak. You can add whatever is important to you, not what is on the standard Australian or American calendar.

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Then you get the weekly spreads! These are very thoughtfully designed with a lot of feedback from Emma Kate’s 2017 planner users. This is a vertical planner and just provides you with a long column of space with three lined boxes at the bottom. Each day has a blank spot alongside the date, giving you a potential heading for the day or a space where you can write important dates. The weekends are wider boxes but not as long, giving you a nice weekly box in the bottom righthand side of the spread. This box is blank and can be used for whatever you need: notes, habit tracker, gratitude, journaling, weekly tasks, etc.

Emma Kate’s lettering is on every page, providing bursts of inspiration, quotes, sayings, or messages of positivity and adventure. The upper righthand corner of each spread provides the month and which week it is (out of 52 of course). Because these weeks flow seamlessly into one another (they aren’t interrupted by a new month spread, for example), then you don’t have any blank days or spaces on the weekly spread.

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At the end of the planner you’ll find 26 dot grid pages for notes, or whatever you would like to use them for. I love the Emma Kate added so many of these pages, and that they are dot grid. This gives them a certain sense of flexibility–you can practice bullet journaling, create spreads for your yearly to-read list, health goals, and more. This planner leaves a lot of space for you to adapt it to your life.

Aesthetics/Design

The 2018 Write Your Own Adventure Planner came beautifully packaged. Surrounded by tissue paper I unwrapped this gorgeous keepsake box.

I got the planner in grey, so the keepsake box matched that color scheme, which I thought was a lovely touch. The message inside the planner is repeated on the lid of the keepsake box in rose gold foiling, and loots absolutely stunning. I love the sticker that Emma Kate Co. uses in her packaging–“I think we’re a match.” So cute. Can’t even. Then you get a welcome card with an equally tongue-in-cheek welcome–“Well, you clearly have great taste.” This seemingly simple and sweet packaging really gives you an immediate feel for the character of Emma Kate Co., which is playfully elegant, a little spunky, and full of joie de vivre.

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The cover of this planner (in grey, at least) is a smooth matte laminate board with “two thousand and eighteen” lettering in rose gold foil, centered. There is also a delicate arrow. The words are repeated on the spine of the book as well. The cover feels smooth and does pick up your fingerprints or detritus, but is easy to wipe clean.

The inside of the planner is a blush pink with what looks like a gentle watercolor pattern and some of Emma Kate’s lettering along the bottom. The back interior cover has the same pattern with a small note from Emma Kate: “For the curious wayfarers, sun seekers, misfits, adventurers, dream weavers, nomads, happy wanderers, lovers.” On the inside back cover there is a pocket folder affixed with a pattern of delicate arrows. The pocket is super sturdy and bound with fabric.

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This planner comes with three ribbons to mark your space(s). The ribbons vary in color depending on which planner you get, but the grey version comes with ribbons in grey and blush. The planners are a ribbed material which looks and feels hefty but gets a little bulky near the top of the planner.

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This planner is a portable, lightweight book that is easy to carry around wherever you go. The size is fantastic, and I’m slightly surprised and impressed that Emma Kate Co. managed to fit an entire year into such a slim volume.

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The interior pages are a creamy off-white and feel textured. They smell like fresh-cut paper, which I happen to enjoy. The text used throughout the planner is Emma Kate’s hand-lettering, which is a unique script that you won’t find anywhere else. There is something a little magical about her lettering because it manages to be both whimsical and clean at the same time.

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Space is an important theme for the Write Your Own Adventure Planner, and this is reflected throughout its pages. You have long columns of blank space that are open for however you’d like to use them. You could separate your days by appointments and tasks, or use these spaces to keep an ongoing gratitude journal or daily log. The possibilities are endless!

Emma Kate’s lettering is entirely lowercase, which adds to the charm of the planner while also giving it an air of informality. The numbers throughout the planner are in a serif font and sit comfortably behind a backslash that frees up the rest of the line for whatever you would like to write in.

Fit

Pen test time!

The paper could be a little better–I love the textured way that it feels and it is truly a pleasure to flip through. It’s thick paper at 120gsm, but it’s porous and draws the ink out of pens in a slightly fuzzy way. Don’t use your super inky pens and be careful with felt-tip pens because they might pool on the page a bit. Markers and highlighters ghost and you should never use a Sharpie Permanent Marker on these pages because it will certainly bleed. I most enjoyed writing with Le Pens, ballpoint pens, the Pilot Acroball F, and pens that are a 0.4 mm or finer tip. I do want to reiterate that the paper quality isn’t bad–it’s actually quite good–this paper (much like the Simplified Planner’s) just ghosts a bit.

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This planner would be perfect for someone whose life and schedule always feels up in the air–traveling for a year or eat pray love-ing it? Great, this planner would make an excellent travel companion. Its structure is loose enough to adjust as you do to each new place. This planner would also be great for someone who travels frequently, whether it be for work or pleasure. It’s lack of “important dates” that are already written in means that you can set your own calendar of important dates for what matters most to you.

This planner would also be fabulous for creatives or people who currently reside int he gig economy. Change it up, and often? Bring this planner along to help you transition smoothly from one facet of your life to the next. Need un-lined space to just make your own? This planner would be fabulous for you.

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I would also recommend this planner to anyone who wants a beautiful but portable planning option. This planner is light. It is compact, portable, and minimalist in its design and binding. It’s easy to bring along as a purse planner, or carry to and from work. If you are a student, this planner would work well for you. You might not need all the goal setting stuff that comes in other planners–you’re in school, your goal is to finish school. Duh. In that case, the Write Your Own Adventure Planner is a great book for carrying around your schedule of classes and assignments, mapping out your breaks, and doodling inbetween lectures.

This planner would be a great fit for someone who doesn’t just write–do you like to fill your days with illustrations, art, or doodles? The Write Your Own Adventure Planner has the open space for you to do that. If you want a planner that is going to make you smile when you open it with lovely lettering and uplifting messages, then I would recommend this planner to you.

If you gravitate towards planners because you desperately need structure in your otherwise chaotic life, then this might not be the right book for you. This planner doesn’t prompt you to set goals or fill out something each day or anything like that–it’s simple, minimal, and spacious. I would not recommend this planner to anyone who needs lines to write on or just doesn’t know what to do. I also wouldn’t recommend lots of stickers in this planner because it is casebound and will become untenable if it gets too packed with stickers.

Loves

I love the open format of this planner, and how light and portable it is. The typography throughout the planner is delightful, and the rose gold foiling is beautiful. I love the way the paper feels and the minimalist approach to the design that still feels playful and charming. I also love the ethos of space and flexibility that this planner offers. Emma Kate Co. has a definite brand, and this planner falls within it perfectly while still being a product of evaluation and careful design. I love that Emma Kate is dedicated to making a planner that is consistently improved by feedback.

Nopes

I wish that the ribbons were a smoother material because then they would fold better into the pages. The ribbons Emma Kate uses are lovely but ribbed, so they get a little bunchy at the top of the planner binding. Some of the weekly pages were slightly off with the dates. This did not impact the entire planner. I contacted Emma Kate about the problem and she said that it was something that happened on rare occasion with the machine they use for printing. They quality-check every planner before it goes out but don’t have the capacity to check every single page, which is understandable for a small team. She informed me that any and all planners that have this issue are replaced immediately. The customer service at Emma Kate Co. is excellent and they are quick to respond to any questions or issues.


There you have it! My review of the 2018 Write Your Own Adventure Planner. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed exploring this gorgeous book with me! If you have any questions or pointers that you think I missed, please leave a comment! I would love to hear from you! 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

PurpleTrail Planner

PurpleTrail (affiliate link) is a small company based in the Seattle, Washington area. It was founded in 2007 and has seen a lot of growth since it started as a custom invitation stationary business. I think that custom stationery and invitations (especially wedding-related) are still PurpleTrail’s main business endeavor, but they do offer a lot of paper products in their line-up. Notably, they have an awesome customizable planner line.

PurpleTrail started with a mission:

The PurpleTrail service is based on the idea that we are all different, and there is a designer within each of us. PurpleTrail provides the tools and inspiration, and lets you do the rest.

I wanted to show my audience (that’s you!) a customizable planner option, and so I reached out to PurpleTrail. They generously worked with me to send me a planner of my own design to review. I tried to include add-ons that were unique to PurpleTrail or that I thought were particularly useful so that I could report on this planner accurately. I think I chose a pretty excellent set-up to tell you about.

PurpleTrail lets you choose your own start month, so really you can order this planner at any time. I chose to have a January 2018–December 2018 planner, but you can pick any start month. There are 12-month and 18-month options. You can add up to four add-on sections to your planner as well. I chose: Notes, To-Do List, Appointments, and Games. There is also an option to include a double-sided pocket and/or stickers in the back of your planner. I decided to add both so that I could tell you about them!

There are three sizes to choose from: Tiny (4.5 x 6.25″), 6 x 8″, and 8.5 x 11″. I went for the middle option of 6 x 8″ and chose the Lotus Flower Mindfulness Planner cover design. As this is a customizable planner, the price point isn’t going to be the same for everyone. This means that you can get a planner for as little as $36.95 if you’re going bare-bones in 6 x 8″, or you can spend as much as $86.80 for a 8.5 x 11″ planner with all the options. I’ll go over the choices I made as we explore the planner, but the exact planner I got ended up being $62.75.

Function

The functionality of this planner depends on the type of planner you are. There are multiple layouts to choose from (multiple weekly and daily), several add on options, customizable covers, and more. But whichever type of planner you are, PurpleTrail probably has an option that will fit you. 🙂

The beginning pages include a nameplate page, 2018 and 2019 holidays (American), and 2018 + 2019 year at a glance pages.

The nameplate page is simple, with a “This Planner Belongs To” header and plenty of space to write in your name and contact information. The PurpleTrail logo and website are at the bottom of the page, which means that they do not put their logo anywhere on the cover. The space to customize your cover is 100% yours!

The Holidays page is designed to pack a lot of information in, which it does. You get the holidays and dates for both 2018 and 2019. The page adjacent to the Holidays page is blank–you could put a vision board there, or write in yearly goals, or use that space however you wish! Then you get two pages for your years at a glance, one for 2018 and one for 2019. These are simple and colorful and provide a good spread for those of you who want to know what day your 2019 birthday falls on at a glance (mine will be on a Monday!)

Then you get into your months and weeks. Each month has a cover page with tab attached. The colorful option has a different color for each month, which is featured throughout the monthly and weekly spreads. The cover page includes the month’s name in large, bold text against a background in the color assigned to that month. The page itself is dot grid, which you can either leave blank or use to write in monthly goals, habits, or just decorate.

The back of the tabbed page is just dot grid, which, again, you can use however you please. The tab does not immediately take you to the monthly layout, but to this cover page. Then you get a kind of dashboard for the month ahead with a place to write in birthdays, events, and things to remember.

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Then you reach the monthly spread. The monthly layout is simple with boxes laid out in a 6 x 7 format, which means that the boxes are evenly laid out every month, and the ones that don’t correspond to the dates are left blank. The boxes are perfect squares and roughly 3cm (or just a tad over 1″) in width and height. The righthand side of the spread has a long column for Notes.

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The weekly spread (I chose a different month to show how the colorful layout works) that I chose was the Vertical option. PurpleTrail has several options, however, including Horizontal, Vertical, Vertical Hourly with 1-hour increments, Vertical Hourly with 15-minute increments, Three Section, and Quad.

The Vertical layout has columns of 24 dotted lines and a larger blank space at the bottom of each weekday. Saturday and Sunday share a column and don’t have any blank boxes. This is a simple but effective layout that provides a good combination of structure and flexibility. I personally plan to break the daily columns up into multiple sections. The weekly layouts also begin on the 1st of the month. Notice in the May spread above that there is no date for the column that represents Monday–this means that you get an extra column or three of space at the beginning of each month, depending on the day when that month begins.

Now for the extras! There is quite a list of add ons to choose from (the ones I picked are bolded): Notes Paper, To Do List, Password List, Bill Tracker, Check List, Graph Paper, Important Dates, Address Book, Puzzles & Games, Dotted Grid, Appointment Tracker, Student Check-List, Fitness Tracker, Nutrition Tracker, Account Tracker, Travel Itinerary, and Baby Tracker + Keepsake. Each add on is $3.95, so these can add up.

The Notes add on has a cover page in cardstock, same as the monthly cover pages throughout the planner. Then you just get notes pages with dotted lines, which are a little easier on the eyes than solid lines. This add on includes 24 pages of notes.

The next add on I selected was the To Do List. Again, you get the cover page. Just like the Notes section, you get 24 pages of lists. Each page has four lists, each with 14 lines. There is a low opacity green circle that you can check off to note completed tasks. This is a nice, standard format. I wish that the lists had space for a heading–it would be nice to have a blank space for the top line so that you could “title” your To Dos.

The third add on I chose was the Appointment Tracker. Again, you get the cover page. Since I chose the Vertical layout without hourly slots, I decided to get an appointment tracker to more easily record upcoming medical/dental/etc. appointments because you usually have to make them so far in advance.

You get 24 pages (I sense a theme!), each with four slots for appointments. I really like that this layout has consistent colorful themes but still has a different color for each appointment “box”–it helps to keep things separated. The appointment box has an option to check Medical, Dental, or Other with a blank space to write it in. Then there are sections for Date, Time, Who, Where, Number, and Address.

The last add on I chose was Puzzle & Games! I chose it because I think it’s a unique option. There are 4 pages of sudoku puzzles, 4 pages of labyrinth games, two pages for connect five (two player game), 2 pages for hangman, 2 pages for tic-tac-toe, and 4 pages of other half where you finish a drawing and can color it in. One last page (an answers sheet) is also included so you can check yourself before you wreck yourself.

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One of the options you can choose to add to your planner is a folder and/or sticker sheets. I selected both (a $10 add on cost) so I could share them with you. The folder is a simple but heavy smooth cardstock with two pockets. It’s a sturdy folder and I’m impressed with the quality. Then you get three sticker sheets with lots of colorful fun & functional stickers.

Aesthetics/Design

PurpleTrail has three cover material options to choose from: 10 mil laminate (which I chose), hardcover, and synthetic soft with a frosted cover.

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The 10 mil laminate cover helps the planner keep its shape while also providing protection for the pages. The tabs are covered and by the cover as well, so you get that extra layer of protection. This planner cover has curved edges (less stabby and less likely to get caught on things in your bag). These covers are not interchangeable.

I was super pleased with how my cover choice turned out–the colors are bright and gorgeous and the font came out crisp and clean. PurpleTrail has a very immersive and detailed customizer, and I was able to write whatever I wanted as well as removing the quote that originally came on this particular cover design. PurpleTrail has so many designs to choose from–you can easily spend a long time picking out and tweaking your options. PurpleTrail also has an account system where you can save the designs you create–whether you are half-way through or completely done. There are a number of font choices and add-on images/quotes (think planner-y clip art) that you can play with. I definitely spent some time exploring different designs before I fell in love with this subtle but gorgeous Lotus Flower pattern.

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You can also play around with the back cover of your planner–I decided to keep it simple but you could easily add a quote, picture, etc. here to further personalize it and make it your own. The binding is a metal coil and is more flexible than, say, an Erin Condren coil would be (it doesn’t feel as stiff, rather) but is still sturdy enough to handle the book you create.

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Now, if you’ve followed me here on plannerisma.com or over on my Instagram account, you know that I looooove a thick planner. There is something so reassuring about the bulk of a thick planner, I don’t know what it is. I am very pleased with how much content PurpleTrail is able to fit into their planners. Their planner has a nice heft while still maintaining portability with its size. I really like the 6 x 8″ planner size–it’s a little smaller than the more common 7″ x 9″ planner size, but the extra inch makes this book feel so much more portable.

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The tabbed pages are a thick card stock, and the tabs themselves are coated in plastic laminate. They are a white background with colorful text, as each month is represented by a different color. It’s a clean look and makes it easy to find your place. I really like that the tabs are wide–they are durable and strong and pleasantly layered.

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I loaded up on PurpleTrail stickers because I wanted to see how they would work in the planner and check out their quality before I recommended them. The sticker pages included in the planner are great and cover a lot of activities: work out, sportsing, party, holiday, date, list headers, etc. There are also stickers for birthdays, bills, errands, and more. The stickers have a certain stretchiness to them–they are easy to work with and feel durable. They are a glossy coated material so they will not tear easily.

I got the vertical layout, and noticed that the banner stickers fit perfectly on the page. I love the idea of using the vertical layout to create multiple columns, each with their own applicable heading, so I thought these sticker options were great.

This planner sticks with a sans serif font choice in multiple weights. If you choose the colorful option (versus neutral), you get a planner organized with color. Each month has a different color that is represented in the weekly and monthly layouts in the heading, days of the week bar, and the actual lines of the monthly layout.

This planner is also a little different from most in that the dates are in the lower right-hand corners of the daily boxes. I like this because it lets you evenly fill out your box from the top-down without running into a number.

I love these little birthday cake stickers, but unfortunately, they take up most of the monthly layout’s daily box in 6 x 8″ planners. That is definitely worth considering when you look around for stickers or use the PurpleTrail ones.

Fit

Pen test time!

Honestly, the Sharpie Permanent Marker (as always) had a little bleed through, but no other pen is visible once you turn the page. This paper is no joke, and handles highlighters, inky pens, and felt tip pens like a pro. I personally enjoyed writing with the Pilot G-2, Le Pen, and Papermate InkJoy the most on this paper.

The paper in this planner is very high quality. PurpleTrail uses an 80lb. writing paper that is bleed resistant and textured in a smooth matte finish. The paper is a joy to write on, and as you can see from the pen test, is resilient against most of the pens in my arsenal.

This planner would be a great fit for someone who really wants the most customizable cover options ever. If you saw the “PLANNERISMA” on my cover design and gasped because you would love a cover with your own name/tagline/etc., then this planner is definitely worth exploring. I highly recommend taking some time to investigate the PurpleTrail customizer. 😉

This planner would be a great fit for someone who wants a quality book on a budget–if you are going for a bare-bones options. The $36.95 price tag for a 12-month planner that you can customize is a pretty good deal. The planner does get more expensive as you add stuff to it, but this actually makes for a pretty accessible planner option for multiple types of budgets. If you don’t care about all the extras, then this planner doesn’t force you to have them.

 

My husband launched into the Sudoku puzzles! Unfortunately, he used pen for the first one!

 

I recommend this planner to those of you who want a thick planner that’s still easy to carry around. The size really is fantastic for portability without giving up too much space on the page. This would also be a great option with the Puzzles & Games addition for those of you who run lots of errands with or without children. While you’re waiting, work on a Sudoku puzzle. Let your kids figure out the labyrinths or occupy them with some of the simpler games included in this add-on. Even though I chose to have this planner start in January 2018, I’ve been carrying it around to occupy my husband with the Sudoku, which he immediately took to. Not that my husband is a child, but if it worked on him… 😉 (Pro tip: bring a pencil!)

PurpleTrail offers lots of different layouts, so different planner babes are going to prefer their planners set up differently. I do think that for those of you who need to maintain a strict and busy schedule, the Vertical Hourly in 15-minute increments is something that you don’t find often but would be especially helpful. I can just see a massage therapist loving that layout for keeping track of a busy day of appointments, for example.

Personally, I think that this planner is a fantastic size, but if you are looking for lots of room to write then you may want to consider the 8.5 x 11″ size. This planner is great for a light, compact, but functional option that you can fit your life into. I hesitate to do my standard I wouldn’t recommend this planner for beause there are just so many options that PurpleTrail has for you. There is a school add on for students, a baby tracker add on for new moms, & etc. But if I had to say then I probably would not recommend this planner for someone who wants a lot of content but is on a strict budget. $36.95 gets you the 12 months, but if you want all the bells and whistles then it can add up.

Loves

PurpleTrail has a cover customization plug-in that really lets you go to town with what you’re creating. You can do so much with their customizer. Although I did not deviate too far from the design I chose, I was incredibly impressed with how much control the customer has over how they want their cover design to look. I also love the bulk of this planner! It feels great to hold and carry around without being too heavy. I also love the coil–much stronger binding option than Wire-O, in my opinion. I have also never seen a Puzzles & Games section in a planner before, and added it because I thought it was a unique option. It isn’t even January yet, and already this section has been well-used!

Nopes

I think that the printing could be a little bit crisper. I also wish there was an option for an elastic closure, even as an add-on, to better keep the book together when you’re carrying it around. I will probably use one of my Erin Condren elastic closure bands for this planner.


There you have it! My review of the PurpleTrail Planner! If you like the look of this planner, I have a surprise for you! My contact at PurpleTrail (shoutout to Josh!) was kind enough to provide me with a discount code for all of you! You can use the code Plannerisma10 at check-out to get 10% off your PurpleTrail order! 🙂 Just go here to start.

Anything I missed that you want to know more about? Do you have a PurpleTrail planner set up in a different way? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara