Simply Yours Day Planner by Bailey Shea Designs

Formerly Bailey Craft Planners, this small company has recently gone through a rebranding and name-change and emerged as Bailey Shea Designs. Founded by two friends Yolanda and Katherine in 2014, and launched via a successful Kickstarter in 2016, this small planner company has grown and changed in the past three years. This year, the company rebranded under the sole ownership of Yolanda, who is dedicated to helping women organize their lives.

It is our mission to create products that complement and enrich the lives of women, no matter what stage of life their currently in. With all the commitments and responsibilities we have as spouses, mothers, students, and careers, it’s not easy to stay on top of our busy schedules. The Simply Yours Day Planner is here to help you make sense of what you need to do and how to stay on track. It creates a disciplined lifestyle by helping you prioritize, organize and accomplish your goals and life situations.

Yolanda told me that the Simply Yours Day Planner was designed to assist people with creating a disciplined lifestyle–a place for everything and everything in its place.

Yolanda kindly sent me a planner to review for all of you! The Simply Yours Day Planner retails at $46 plus shipping and is Made to Order.

Function

The owner of Bailey Shea Designs worked as an Occupational Therapist for 15 years, is a mom of three, and a wife, and draws on her experience in those capacities to inform her planner design.

These planners are Made to Order, which means that your planner isn’t already made and waiting for you when you order but rather built once your order is placed. You get two customization options–and they are completely free! You can choose to add your name to the nameplate page, as I did, and you can pick a quote to include, which is printed on a page right before your calendar pages begin.

The first page you get is the nameplate page, which includes your name (if you chose to customize), a space for your cell number, and a space for your email. The nameplate page is super simple and has the lovely added touch of a floral design in the upper righthand corner. Each nameplate page is different depending on the cover design you choose.

Next, you get a welcome note from Bailey Shea Designs, which presents an overview of what’s in the planner. (1) Worksheets, (2) Goal Pages, (3) Notes/To Do, and (4) Journal Your Thoughts. This is followed by a list of 2018 holidays, separated visually by month.

After that, you get both 2018 and 2019 at a glance! Each year gets its own page with color-coordinated months to help you find what you are looking for a little more quickly. Next is a two-page spread for your 2018 year at a glance. You get a lined column for each month so that you can fill out any important dates of your own!

This planner also includes some functional worksheet pages, like two pages for Important Contacts. This page also comes with a section along the bottom for Emergency Contact/Notes, so you can indicate who to reach out to in case of an emergency.

Next is a two-page spread for Vacation/Idea Planning. I really like the simplicity of this page because it has space for general brainstorming or writing in multiple trips. You do of course get a space that prompts you with “Destination,” “Travel Fees/Car Rental/Gas/Airfare,” etc. You also get a check-list for your Itinerary, which is helpful.

This page is followed by two pages for Internet Passwords. It’s very simple with three columns reminiscent of an Excel spreadsheet that provide space for you to write down the website, your username, and password. Because this two-page spread is so simple, you can easily cover the headers at the top with washi or stickers and make your own sections–if you aren’t into the idea of writing down passwords.

Lastly, you get a page for Recurring Monthly Bills. You have a very simple three-column layout for Bill, Amount, and Date Due. This is a great worksheet page because it allows you to keep track of payments that you need to make every month. If you are a follower of Dave Ramsey, then this would be a good place to keep track of your sinking funds.

The Goals/Dreams section is small but efficient. You have two pages for Long-Term Goals, with each page separated into four boxes. You can write down Physical, Financial, Career/Business, Social/Friendships, Creativity/Education/Interests, Family, Home, and Spiritual/Faith/Intuition goals. Then you get four pages for Short-Term Goals, which repeats the same sections in the Long-Term Goals. These are designed for writing in your actions that will help you reach your long-term vision. Then, if you chose to have a custom quote, it goes at the end of the Goals/Dreams section on its very own page!

The last page before you move into the calendar pages is a simple lined page for Things To Remember.

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The monthly spread! You get a fair amount of space for the day boxes. This monthly calendar is a Sunday start. You get two very small month at a glance calendars, one for the previous month and one for the following month, positioned in either corner of the monthly spread. The lefthand page includes the name of the month and the year prominent displayed, while the righthand page has a cheerful sentiment.

Holidays are printed in small text at the bottom of the days they fall on. The righthand side of the spread is a Things to do! column with lined space to write in your monthly tasks and/or reminders.

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Then you shift into the weekly spread! Bailey Shea Designs has two options for your spread–vertical (which I have) and horizontal. The weekly spread has a Monday start, each weekday has its own column, and weekends are paired together in one column. If there is a holiday, it’s printed at the top of the daily column and the date is bolded to provide visual emphasis. The columns for each day are lined and include a checkbox at the end of each line, presumably for checking off tasks. You get 18 lined spaces with checkboxes (10 for weekend days).

You get space at the bottom of the spread for Notes/Meal Plan. This section just has simple, lined space for you to divide up however you prefer. The month and year run across the top of the pages to remind you where you are in your planner. The months are color-coordinated, as you can see above. The pink of February shifts into the blue of March in the weekly spread.

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Each month also includes a Short Term Goals page to help you keep track of your goals for the year, as well as a Journal/Notes page at its end.

After the month of December 2018 ends, you get three pages for revisiting your 2018 goals. You can write a short journal entry about your goals or make bullet points reflecting on your progress. These spreads are pretty malleable–you can turn them into whatever you need. There are two pages for reviewing general goals, and one for reviewing short-term goals.

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Lastly, you have a section for Journal/Thoughts. You get 13 lined pages and 8 blank ones for notes, journaling, etc.

Aesthetic/Design

Your planner comes well-packaged in a nice box. Mine arrived completely protected and in excellent condition.

There are several cover designs to choose from. I chose Flower Garden, but you can also go for Gold Stripes, Serendipity, Pink and Navy Stripes, Blooms, Navy Stripes, or Navy Over Pink. The Flower Garden cover design is a dark navy blue with (I think) poppies in shades of coral and salmon. The name of the planner is situated in a salmon pink box with the tagline “creating a disciplined lifestyle.” The back of the planner has the salmon pink in a solid swath, accented by a dark navy bar of color at the bottom. Once again you have the name of the planner in a box, this time a white one, with the logo fo Bailey Shea Designs included as well.

The planners measure 7″ x 9″ and a little over 1/2″ thick. The cover is a smooth, glossy material with crisp printing. Edges are protected by silver metal corner protectors.

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The planner uses a combination of script, sans serif, and serif font choices. Tabs are in serif font with navy coloring, except for the Journal/Thoughts tab which is red. The tabs seem to be mylar coated and feel sturdy, although they are attached to the monthly spread for each month and not their own divider page. Nevertheless, I don’t feel like they are going to rip the page they’re attached to when I use them.

Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be a consistent pattern for when sans serif versus serif font is used. Serif font is used almost exclusively in the calendar pages (except for the sans serif heading for your monthly Journal/Thoughts page and the script font motivational quips on each monthly spread and heading for short-term goals). The worksheet pages at the beginning of the planner are primarily sans serif fonts, but there is a dappling of serif throughout.

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The back of the planner includes a 6″ x 9″ folder in glossy cardstock. The folder is double-sided and open on the edges to allow for easy slip-in of papers, receipts, etc. The design on the inside covers and the folder is a light salmon pink trellis pattern.

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This is also a very light planner–it doesn’t weigh much and is easy to carry around. It’s a coil bound planner, the coil is about an inch in diameter. The coil is very sturdy and one of the strongest coils I’ve seen on the market. I do think that they should be cut a little sooner/shorter(?) because the extra wire tucked into the coil makes it a little hard to lay the planner flat.

Overall this is an aesthetically charming planner. It’s light, portable, glossy, and color-coded by month for easy visual organization. The weekly spread is structured and makes excellent use of the space on the page. There is just enough color on the weekly spread to make the pages pop, but not so much that it takes over the spread. Bailey Shea Designs has managed to create a colorful planner that still feels streamlined and functional.

Fit

Pen test time!

The paper in this planner is a very smooth 70lb. text paper. It feels thin but holds up pretty well–I preferred writing on it with felt tip pens, especially finer tipped ones like the Micron 02. There is some light ghosting and the Sharpie Permanent Marker bleeds through, but otherwise, the paper is a smooth writing experience without feeling too heavy! I wouldn’t recommend your inkier pens, and I would definitely recommend felt tip over rollerball.

This planner (in the vertical layout, at least) is for the listmaker. If you organize your days into (or as) lists, then you should definitely try this planner. The columns are pretty roomy at almost 2″ wide so there is space to write out a comprehensive to-do list. The spacing is also quite generous so if you have larger handwriting it should still work well with this planner.

I would recommend this planner to someone who is a listmaker, taskmaster, or who really just needs a planner that will help them manage an overwhelming amount of to-dos. If you are a domestic goddess trying to keep track of everything you need to do every day, then this planner would work wonderfully for you. If you have a serious to-do list every day, or a running to-do list, then this planner will work for you.

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I would recommend this planner to beginners because it is simple and easy to use. High school students could especially benefit from the easy structure and portability (I know, another thing to add to the backpack). This planner is also a super gentle introduction into long-term and short-term goals. The free customization is a nice touch, as well. This would make an excellent first planner for your teenager.

And, of course, you can sticker away!

If you are the type of person who stops by the grocery store almost every day, then this would make an excellent meal planner. You could map out your groceries (or ingredients list) in the daily columns and use the Notes/Meal Plan section to denote your Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for each day.

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I would also recommend this planner to anyone who wants a simple, slim year-long planner. The Simply Yours Day Planner is only 100 (double-sided) pages, which makes it very light and slim. It’s easy to slip into a bag and weighs less than 1lb.

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who doesn’t plan in to-do lists. List-making is part of the functionality of this planner, so if that doesn’t work for you then I would look elsewhere. I also wouldn’t recommend this planner to someone who wants a more involved goal-setting structure in their planner, or someone who wants to throw a lot of intense pens at their planner. I also wouldn’t recommend this planner if you want aesthetic consistency–the fonts change around a bit.

Loves

I love how much content Shea’s managed to fit in this planner! It’s light and portable without being devoid of any extras. I think two pages for contacts, for example, is plenty. I never know what to do with like 10 contact pages. I’m not shifting my entire address book into each yearly planner. I also love that this planner design maximizes page space without crowding the page. I love the color-coding for each month, and that Bailey Shea Designs still manages to have a colorful but not overly bright design.

Nopes

I would recommend designing the nameplate page with a full bleed so that it looks a little smoother with the beautiful flowers in the upper corner. I wish that the checkboxes were at the front of the lined space instead of the end of it, but that’s just personal preference. I do think this planner is a little expensive for what you get–I would expect it to be about $5-10 less expensive, personally. Also, I would love to see more consistent and purposeful font choices throughout the planner–especially with the serif and sans serif fonts.


There you have it! My review of the 2018 Simply Yours Day Planner from Bailey Shea Designs! Do you prefer slimmer or thicker planners? Do you have a Bailey Shea Designs Planner (former Bailey Craft)? How do you use it? Leave me a comment–I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

MiGOALS 2018 Goal Digger Planner

Can I just say that Australia is killing it with the planners? Emma Kate Co., Amelia Lane Paper, and now MiGOALS! I’ve been so into Australian planner companies lately and I continue to see incredible planning products from them. If there is an Australian planner you’ve been ogling, email me or leave a comment and let me know!

MiGOALS is a small company based in Melbourne, Australia with a goal to create products that they would want to use themselves. They define themselves as a leading empowerment stationery brand and use their newly launched Goal Digger Planner to coach you into productive goal-setting and achieving. If there is one word you got from all that, it should be goal. MiGOALS is allllll about the goal setting and getting.

We’re on a mission to help you unlock the potential within yourself to DREAM, PLAN and take ACTION on the life you want. More than a stationery brand, we’re a global community of dream chasers and action takers helping you GET SHIT DONE.

I reached out to MiGOALS with an interest in reviewing their new Goal Digger Planner, and they kindly sent me one to show all of you! ❤ While MiGOALS has been producing their Diaries since 2010, which do have a strong planning component to them, the company decided to launch a (successful, reaching 427% of its funding goal) Kickstarter to create a 2018 planner that focused specifically on goals and acted as a coach to lead people through the process. I have the Goal Digger Planner in grey, which retails for $44.95 AUD ($35.24 USD) plus shipping. If you are shipping to the USA, it runs about $21 AUD ($16.46 USD), which makes the planner cost a total of $51.70 USD. Personally, I think that $36 for this planner is a steal, but would waver a little at the shipping costs. Of course, it’s international, so what can you do?

Function

The Goal Digger Planner is structured and highly functional. This planner is designed with helping you achieve your goals in mind, so its function is definitely geared towards that.

When you open this planner, you get a title page with the MiGOALS name and logo, followed by a page introducing your 2018 planner. This is a short message from the founder of MiGOALS, Adam Jelic. After this page, you have a place to write your name and sign & date your commitment to turning your dreams into reality, juxtaposed with an inspirational statement.

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There is a lot of content in the Goal Digger Planner, but MiGOALS keeps it well-organized. The first portion of your planner focuses on digging deep and really conceptualizing what your dreams are. Your introductory page to this section is a checklist that feels lovely to complete.

You begin with your Purpose section, which guides you with thoughtful questions into creating a solid foundation for articulating your goals. It starts with a little self love and thinking about what fulfills you.

Next is your Toolkit for Success. This page contains groupings of three asking you to write down everything from your accountability partners to the places that make you happy. Then you have a page for Wins & Lessons Learnt in 2017, which I really love. This section asks you to think about and articulate the amazing things you’ve accomplished in the past year–there really is so much that we do in a year, and so easy to forget the milestones we hit when they aren’t immediately rewarded, acknowledged, or super shiny.

The next page is to Rate Your Life. One a 1–10 scale, you are asked to rate your life in different areas. MiGOALS gives you a start of the year scale and an end of the year scale so you can return to this page and look at how your ratings have changed. (Or not, evaluation is still important!)

Following is a two page spread prompting you to think about “Mi Future”–in 3 months, 12 months, 5 years, etc. You are asked to fill out “I will be, I will have, I will see…” The last page in this prep section is Mi Vision for the next 1–5 years. You get a two-page spread to create your vision board, in whichever iteration you most prefer.

The next section is Goals. One of my favorite things about the Goal Digger Planner is that it uses these black pages to separate sections in an easily visual way. So you know you’ve stumbled on a new section of the planner when you reach one of these pages.

As I’ve mentioned, the Goal Digger Planner is really designed to coach you through the goal-setting process. MiGOALS doesn’t just create structure and then leave you to figure it out. It has carefully mocked-up pages showing you the intent behind how to use the planner. The Goal Setting 101 and 5 Reasons Why We Should Set Goals pages are introductions to goal setting and the benefits you get from writing your goals down. You then turn to a How to Set Goals That Will Help You Grow as a Person page, which breaks down the goal setting process that MiGOALS helps you implement. This essentially breaks down to:

  • Dream Big.
  • Decide what is is you want and why you want it.
  • Write that sh*t down.
  • Make a f*cking plan.
  • Work on that plan, every single day…

Then you get some coaching pages on how to set short-term and long-term goals, with thorough examples. MiGOALS definitely holds your hand through this process, which can be a great thing if you are new to goal setting or feel like you need help to organize and prioritize your goals.

The Short Term Goals section gives you 7 one-page spreads for your short-term goal setting. You can really break these goals down, from Things to Do to Key Milestones, writing in a Reward to indicating your Type of goal, & etc.

You get three long-term goal spreads because these are huge undertakings, not something simpler like making a photo album or cleaning out your emails. The Long Term Goals section has 5-page spreads for each goal. You get brainstorming space, a place to write the basics of your goal, record milestones, break those milestones down, and review your goal.

Now that you’ve done all the prep work, you reach the 2018 Planner section itself! This begins with some coaching pages on how to plan in the monthly goals, monthly spreads, and weekly spreads. Again, examples are provided along with a thorough mock-up. (My favorite part is the “Netflix & Chill” plan on January 13th.) Then you reach the 2018 and 2019 years at a glance. These spreads actually give you some space to write in important dates along the bottom of the page, which is nice. Next, you get a page overview of Public Holidays. Now, keep in mind that this is an Australian planner. Nevertheless, you get many of the US holidays, as well as UK and AUS ones.

Before you get into your planner pages, you have a page for My Yearly Bucket List, which specifically asks you to list 10 things you would like to do or see in 2018. Next you turn to the monthly goals page, which you’ll find at the beginning of each month. The idea behind this page is to choose three goals to work on for the month, writing down focus areas and any needed notes. There is also a section on the monthly goals spread dedicated to your morning ritual, which is a helpful directive.

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Then you get to the glorious monthly spread. Maximum use of space, Monday start, plenty of room to fill up each day’s box with information, appointments, etc. The weekends are shaded in with light grey and are a bit wider than the boxes for the week. The monthly spreads are also devoid of any holidays or notation–they are 100% for whatever you need. The weekday boxes measure 1.5″ x just a hair over 1.5″. Weekend boxes are 2 1/4″ x a hair over 1.5″.

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Next is the weekly spread. This unique two-page spread spans the days of the week as well as helping you keep track of habits, gratitude, tasks, goals, and notes. The first page starts with Monday and has an equally-sized horizontal space for the day of the week. Half the horizontal box is lined and the other half is blank. These aren’t overly roomy, but they don’t have to be with all the sections and space provided on the second page of the spread.

You get a quote for each week, a top 3 for gratitude, weekly goals, and things to do. While there is a top three for things to do, there is also plenty of space for listing more tasks. The habit tracker has space for 7 habits you can track each day of the week! The notes section is blank, and below that is the top 3 wins for the week. There is also a little space to rank your week.

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At the end of each month, you get a review page, which prompts you to think about what you accomplished, how you feel about those accomplishments, etc. You are asked to think about challenges you will face moving forward and how you plan to overcome them. Valuable thinking strategies. Then you get a dot grid notes page, just ’cause.

Tucked away at the end of the planner you have a Budget section. These are fairly simple budget spreads for each month, but provide plenty of space for keeping track of expenses each month. After the budget page, you get several notes pages, which alter between being blank or lined. The planner has a total of 304 pages.

Aesthetics/Design

This is a unisex, neutral, and minimalist planner. It’s designed to be functional and provides you with all the information you need to use this planner to its functional capacity.

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Your Goal Digger Planner comes in a nifty black keepsake box, which has the goal digger affirmation printed on it. The planner itself is a B5 size, which is 230mm x 160mm (9 1/16″ x 6 19/64″). This is a portable size while still being large enough to easily write in.

The planner box has a nifty pull-tab mechanism for lifting your planner out so you don’t claw at it like a madwoman/man. The planner comes in two colors–grey (pictured) and black. The planner has a soft cover that feels a bit pleathery to the touch. The design is very minimalist, with the name of the planner and the year subtly debossed along the edge of the cover. The back cover is the same grey (after all this is a book bound planner) with the MiGOALs logo debossed near the bottom of the cover.

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The planner is about 3/4″ thick and has two black ribbons to use as placeholders. These ribbons feel like a thick, soft shoelace material which makes them heavy but malleable. The edges of the paper are tinted grey, so you get a very monochrome experience.

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The font throughout the planner is a combination of a clean serif for headings and a simple sans serif choice in different weights throughout the rest of the planner. The sans serif mostly appears in all caps, while the serif font casually sits at the top of your pages, with normal capitalization.

The pages are a creamy off-white color, which works well with this particular planner cover because it’s more of a French Grey. The pages are pretty packed, but there is always a small margin of white space that helps to visually balance the content-rich pages. It is also worth mentioning that this planner is delightfully floppy. The planner has a lay-flat design, which works flawlessly.

Overall, the Goal Digger Planner is designed to be structured and functional. There are no colors used throughout the planner, just the black text on cream paper. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you couldn’t bring in some color if you liked. While the design of the planner is minimalist, the textually packed pages make it look a little heavier than you might imagine a “minimalist planner” to be.

Fit

Pen test, duh!

The paper used in the Goal Digger Planner is 100 gsm. While most of the pens ghost, they do not bleed through the pages (except for–you guessed it!–the Sharpie Permanent Marker). The paper feels smooth without being glossy, and every pen I tried wrote smoothly on it. Inky pens didn’t smear, felt tip pens didn’t sponge. As long as you can deal with some ghosting, you should be good to go with your favorite pens!

I would recommend this planner for someone who has large, longterm personal projects or goals and wants to keep track of them in a thoughtful, functional way. Or, if you are using this primarily for work and keep track of your appointments in Outlook or something, then this planner would make a great paper companion to your digital planning.

If you are a student, I think this would be a great planner for you. Especially if you are in graduate school or you are in your last year or two of college. The goal setting system will help you stay on top of large projects like your thesis, as well as preparing for entering the workforce. The weekly spread is enough to track assignments and tests, as long as you don’t want to write down your appointments each and every day.

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This planner would also be a good fit for an entrepreneur starting their own business. If you need help strengthening, setting, and sticking to your ambitious goals, then this planner could be an excellent tool for you.

If you are looking for a planner that will hold your schedule and list of meetings/appointments, then I would look elsewhere. This planner is designed to coach you into realizing your goals and is heavily focused on that aspect of planning. If you are intimidated by goal-setting, you might want to start with a planner that has a gentler goal setting system. This planner wants to help you be serious about your goals.

Loves

I love the consistent emphasis on recognizing your achievements and wins throughout this planner. It really is such a valuable exercise to step back and think about what you accomplished in the past year, month, or week. I also love that the Goal Digger Planner doesn’t just give you templates for goal setting and then just “k thx bye” you. MiGOALS leads you through the goal setting and planning system with written and visual directions and advice. I also love the use of space in the monthly spread and the habit tracker in the weekly spread.

Nopes

I wish the pages were bright white instead of cream, but that’s just personal preference. The planner lays flat, but the binding is slanted a bit, which drives me a little bonkers because I like things to be just so–I know, I know, tough sh*t, Ara. I would love to see a pocket included in the planner somewhere, and think that an elastic closure band would really help keep everything together!


There you have it! My review of the MiGOALS 2018 Goal Digger Planner. I hope you enjoyed it! Do you have a goal-setting planner, or even a Goal Digger Planner from MiGoals? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!! 🙂

Until next time!

xo
Ara

Purposeful Planner 2018 Daily

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

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

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

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

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

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

Function

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fit

Pen test! Obvi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loves

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

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

Nopes

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


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

Until next time!

xo
Ara

 

2018 Happy Balance Planner

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

Sherbert Shop has a clear mission behind their business:

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

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

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

Function

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aesthetics/Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fit

Pen test!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loves

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

Nopes

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


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

Until next time!

xo
Ara

2018 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