ShePlans 2018 Quarterly Notebook Planners

Hello hello! This week I’m reviewing a gorgeous set of 2018 quarterly notebook planners from ShePlans.

I have been a fan of ShePlans planners since 2015, when I purchased my first daily planner. My Jan.–Jul. 2016 Daily ShePlans To Do List Planner was the first high-end planner I ever purchased for myself and I loved it fiercely. It helped me tackle a difficult time in graduate school, learn how to separate and manage a busy task-based schedule, and went everywhere with me. To class, to meetings, on trips, etc. I even brought it on Christmas vacation when I wasn’t even in a position to use it yet, I loved it so.

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My reasons for loving this planner company have not changed. I continue to admire the functional, minimalist, clean layouts of founder Ashley Staum’s planners. She has the same unwavering standard for quality and the same feedback-oriented approach that helped her create a truly beautiful product when she launched in 2013.

The Quarterly Notebook Planners are new this year, part of the ShePlans notebook format for planners (Ashley also offers hardbound and soft cover options). I reached out to Ashley with an interest in reviewing one of her 2018 planners and she indicated interest in sending me a set of the quarterlies. I’m thrilled to review this gorgeous set! This set of Quarterly Notebook Planners is currently sold out, unfortunately, but goes for $42.

Function

These notebooks may be slim, but they are packed with functional content. Each notebook covers one Quarter of the 2018 year. Quarter 1 is January–March, Quarter 2 is April–June, Quarter 3 is July–September, and Quarter 4 is October–December.

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When you open your planner you are greeted with a large “Q#” to let you know immediately which quarter you are in. Beneath the (in this case) “Q2” title, you get the months that this notebook planner covers (April–June 2018), then the secondary title “A Weekly Notebook Planner to Create the Space to Let Life Happen.” The latter clause is the tagline of the ShePlans company.

There isn’t a nameplate area in these planners–I ended up just asking my bestie to use her awesome lettering skills to write my name beneath the “title” text.

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Next, you get a two-page spread allowing you to look at The Next Six Months at a Glance. These start from whichever month your quarterly notebook begins. As this is the notebook for Q2, “the next six months” are April–September. I love the thoughtfulness of this page and how it keeps up with which quarterly you’re planning in.

This spread is simple and flexible. A small month at a glance calendar tops each column, and then you get lines. You can write in important dates to remember, big tasks coming up, save this space for frantically writing down details about that event you barely caught those strangers discussing at the art museum (just me?).

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Then you get eight lined notes pages to “doodle, take notes & jot things down.” These are simple lined pages. You also get two lined notes pages at the end of each month, so there is plenty of room for the aforementioned doodling/jotting. Remember, this comes in EACH quarterly notebook, which means that you’re getting a total of 56 notes pages dispersed throughout all four planners.

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Ah, the monthly spread. Ashley uses space so well in her spreads. The calendar is a Sunday start with 1.5″ x 1.5″ boxes for each day–quite roomy! The name of the month and the year are located at the top righthand corner of the spread. On the righthand side of the layout, there is also a column for “The Monthly List.” This is simply a lined vertical column for lists, important dates, etc. Beneath The Monthly List is a month at a glance for the month following the one featured.

Important holidays are marked and centered at the bottom of the day’s box to which they belong. The monthly spread only covers the days of that month, there are no greyscale numbers taking you into the next month, the boxes are just blank.

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One of my favorite things about these quarterly planners is that they provide so much space for list-making. Every month has a two-page spread for Monthly Goals, The Monthly List, and Memories Made.

Ashley is a big believer in having an open and flexible planner–she doesn’t want you to feel like your planner is yelling at you with exacting instructions on how to use it. So she keeps the format open–maybe you really need space for a list of to-dos for that month, but not the following one. It’s just lined columns so you can shift their purpose to suit whatever planning needs you have.

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And finally, we reach the weekly layout. I think that this layout is clever and unique. You have one page that’s for your notes, lists, goals, etc. and another page for putting stuff into each actual day. The first page has three spots for your priorities for the week–notice that there aren’t check marks. Your priorities don’t have to be goal-oriented or task-based. My goal for this past week was to rest and recover from being ill, and frankly, I’m not sure if that’s something I can really mark as completed. I like the open format of “priorities.”

Then you get two columns for The Weekly List. You can make checkboxes or just list things without them. Maybe you don’t care for checkboxes. Maybe you prefer to just cross out things you’ve accomplished. Maybe you don’t need a task list and would prefer to have a list of assignments for school here, or a grocery list for the week. Again, openness. Beneath The Weekly List, you get a generous amount of blank space for Notes.

The second page in this spread is the week at a glance. This column of horizontal sections has a Monday start. Each day gets the same amount of space and is completely blank. Break it up into multiple sections, write out only the important things, use it only for appointments and keep track of tasks on The Weekly List, etc. However you want to use it, the space is there for you.

Aesthetics/Design

ShePlans has a very clear aesthetic–simple, clean, embrace white space. These notebooks are the standard planner size of 7″ x 9″, which makes them big enough to easily write in while also small enough to be portable.

The cover material is a smooth, flexible material that holds up pretty well to being thrown about (into bags, of course, not just for funsies). The four quarterly notebooks are each a different cover design that mirrors the options for the bound weekly and daily planners (Stone Blue Leaf, Black & White Dot, Pretty in Pink Floral) while still being set apart via color scheme. The Quarterly Notebook Planners are in designed in white and a soft, almost bluish gray.

The shortened quarter title (Q1, etc.) is centered on each notebook planner’s cover with the year just below it. The back cover includes the ShePlans logo centered near the bottom. The notebooks have rounded edges and a sewn binding.

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The notebook can take lots of transit and use, but the edges will get a little beat up as a result. As you can see, each notebook individually is about 1/4″ thick, making it incredibly easy to slip into a bag and carry around.

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Ashley knows her brand and sticks to one serif font throughout. Her style is simple and classic while embracing white space. Even though she does this in her monthly layout, you can see that she makes excellent use of the space on each page. The boxes are large enough to use comfortably but don’t look cluttered on the pages.

ShePlans planners may have colorful covers, but the insides are clean and in black and white only with crisp font choices and a balanced use of space.

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As I mentioned earlier, there is no nameplate in the quarterly planners. My bestie did some gorgeous lettering for me in the Q1 notebook. 🙂

Overall this notebook set is designed simply and beautifully. There is a generous amount of notes pages and list space for you to organize your planner however works best for you, and that openness keeps me coming back to these quarterly pages without worrying whether I filled out all the space or not.

Fit

Pen test time!

(Sorry for the odd white balance in these shots–I didn’t do them with the rest of the photos.!) I’m not quite sure what type of paper Ashley uses, but her paper has always held up to extensive highlighting and most inky pens. I want to say that she uses an 80lb. paper because it behaves like that text weight, but I’m not quite sure. As you can see, the Sharpie Permanent Marker definitely bled through, but nothing else did. Not the highlighters, not the inkiest of my pens. You can’t event see ghosting unless you’re looking pretty hard for it. This paper is excellent. It feels smooth without being glossy and I wouldn’t say it’s too textured or toothy. My favorite pens to use with it are the Le Pen and the Micron pens in 03 and 05.

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I would recommend this planner to students. It’s easy to throw in an already-full backpack, has plenty of room for writing down assignments and noting when papers are due or exams need to be taken. There are lots of notes pages for when you’re caught off-guard at a student org meeting, visiting office hours, or meeting with your advisor. I think the overall format and structure of this planner makes it an excellent option for students, from high school to grad school.

I would also recommend this planner to anyone who is a list-maker. There are so many opportunities to make lists in these Quarterly Notebook Planners–monthly lists, weekly lists, notes pages for Master Lists, etc. If you need a lot of space for your to-do lists, then this planner series has you covered.

If you are someone who needs a highly portable planner and prefers it to be as light as possible, this would be a great option for you. If you don’t want a planner that prompts you to set goals, then this simple option will give you all the functionality you need without pushing you to track goals or habits or whatever else.

I would not recommend this planner to anyone who really likes to write down their plans/to do lists/everything else on each specific day. This weekly layout is versatile but doesn’t give you that much space for each actual day of the week. If you need to see your schedule laid out for you in an hourly format, then this planner isn’t for you. I also would not recommend quarterly planners to anyone who really needs their entire year with them at all times.

Loves

I love the portability of these notebook planners. They are slim and sleek and so easy to toss into my purse. I love the crisp, clean, white cover designs. They are soft and calming to look at. I love Ashley’s use of white space in her planners without giving up too much to the margins. I love the generous amount of list-making space in these notebooks. I love the quality of the paper–it’s truly excellent paper. I love that these planner notebooks are floppy and flexible.

Nopes

I wish there was gold foil on the covers for the “Q#” titles instead of a goldish sand color. It would look so amazing! Not sure if it would be possible with the cover material, of course. I also wish that the edges didn’t peel quite so easily (I don’t think I’ve been particularly rough with my planner).


There you have it! My review of the 2018 Quarterly Notebook Planners from ShePlans. Do you like quarterly planners? Leave a comment, tell me why/why not! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

A couple extras for 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

2017 FRANK Daily Planner

It’s a week of Frank! First my husband Frank’s #plannermatch post and now a review of the 2017 FRANK Daily Planner. 🙂

FRANK is a small company based in New Zealand (they do ship internationally!), founded in 2012 by couple Jason and Jess. This company was founded on a mission, which I pulled from their website:

Sometimes life feels like an unrelenting list of jobs to do and appointments to make, our authenticity and humanness pushed aside to make way for survival mode. We find ourselves simply functioning day to day.

We created FRANK as a to return to authenticity through the chaos of a busy a life.

When we are truly ourselves, we can make a meaningful difference in the world around us.

So with this in mind, we donate schoolbook to a child in need with every purchase.

FRANK has both weekly and daily options for their book-bound planners. I purchased the 2017 Daily edition at a discount in March and am completely pleased with the bang for my buck. The Daily planners cost $35 NZD ($24.37 USD with the current exchange rate) and ship internationally for $15 NZD or $10.44 USD. Weekly planners cost $30 NZD–$20.89 USD. This makes the FRANK planner a relatively affordable option, even with international shipping!

The FRANK planner is designed in A5 Portrait size (145mmW x 216mmH X 30mmD or 5.70866 in x 8.50394 in and a depth of 1.1811 in.) This planner weights about 1.54 lbs.

The 2018 daily planner has two cover options: gray and white or black with gold foiling. The weekly planner has three: pink, kraft brown, or navy with gold foiling. I am reviewing the 2017 Daily Planner in white and gray.

The planner begins with a message from FRANK:

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Function

The nice thing about the planner is that its format is flexible. You could use this as a travel planner, a diary, a productivity planner, a gratitude journal, and more. The system builds in reflections and self-assessments at the end of each month and focus goals at the beginning.

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The planner’s first pages include a 2017 year at a glance in a clean sans-serif font. Great use of white space and margins on this page.

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This is followed by a page dedicated to helpful tips on How to Be More Present, the theme of the 2017 planner. I love their suggestions for slowing down and taking a moment to enjoy the moment you’re in. They are great reminders to return to throughout the year.

Then there is a New Opportunities page where you can check off areas where you want to grow during the year. As you can see, I checked off Career, Mindfulness, Finance, Health, Fitness, and Reading. You can check as few or as many as you like! Then there is a space to write down more specifics or to simply write out the options you chose. It’s kept open so that you can use it however you like. You can then turn these areas into specific goals.

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FRANK includes a list of important dates for the year. It’s worth noting here that FRANK is a New Zealand company so most of their important dates are for New Zealand, although they do include important staples like Halloween, New Year’s, etc.

The beginning of each month has a gray intro page with an inspirational quote. Although the months are not tabbed in his bound book, the solid gray pages clearly delineate the start of a new month.

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Each month’s pages end with a Month Review section, where you can reflect on what you were trying to focus on that month, write down your favorite moment, and check off an adjective or three that describe the month you had. These reflection pages are helpful for keeping you focused on a specific goal and for easily and quickly taking five or ten minutes to jot down some gratitude before moving on to the next month.

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The monthly spread is simple and clean, leaving lots of room for notes. I found the boxes to be rather small, so in using this planner I only really kept track of big, important things on the monthly spread. Important dates are carefully included where relevant. There is a goodly amount of space at the bottom of the monthly spread and a lined sidebar on the righthand side for lists or important to-dos for the month.

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The beginning of each month includes a space to write down your focus for the month, a motivational quote, and a blank box space to write in Things to Look Forward to This Month. This section might be good for important dates, birthdays, trips, etc. If you are a student you could use this space to write in assignment due-dates. You could also use this space for gratitude–forward has two meanings, then. You could look forward towards scheduled stuff, or you could look forward to spending time with visiting family, your children’s first day of school, a fun event you are attending, etc.

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The daily pages are laid out in two formats. Monday–Thursday get a day per page, while the weekend is grouped into Friday–Sunday. The first half of the full-page day includes the day and date as well as a lined section with the prompt “Today I am thankful for”. Then comes a large blank space for whatever you like–writing out your schedule, to-dos, assignments, reminders, etc. At the bottom of the daily page is a section for tracking your productivity. FRANK prompts you with “Productivity Scale/How awesome were you today?” You can circle one of the three answers below: What’s the opposite of awesome?, Middle of the road, and I nailed it! After that comes a space for “Quote of the Day/What did you learn today?” This could be used for writing in an inspirational quote or jotting down something you learned, remembered, etc.

The weekend page includes just the lined sections with the “Today I am thankful for” prompt. Friday gets half the page while Saturday and Sunday share the other half.

Aesthetics/Design

FRANK has some gorgeous, minimalist designs. Their covers usually have gold foiling in clean geometric patterns. This particular version of their planner is half white and half light gray with a continuous gold foiling pattern of geometric lines. “Twenty Seventeen” is on the cover in bold, large text and a smaller “Daily Planner” sits beneath it. Both are in gold foiling. There is a thick white elastic band for keeping your planner closed and together. The cover material is matte and has a satiny feel to it.

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The gold foiling geometric designs also continue to the inside cover, both front and back. This is a nice surprise when you first open the planner and looks gorgeous.

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The back of the planner includes their logo and their mission stamped in gold foiling: “You buy one, we give one. Giving school books to children in need.” Their website is also included. This book-bound planner also has a white ribbon for marking your spot–definitely, a Design Do in a thick book like this!

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The planner also includes a pocket folder adhered to the inside back cover to store notes, stickers, receipts, or whatever else you need.

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The back of the planner has space to writing down Music to download and/or listen to, general Notes, Movies to Watch, and Places to Go. This is a great section for brain dumping all those tidbits of information that might not have a specific date, or even month, attributed to them but nonetheless need to be remembered.

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Overall the aesthetic of the FRANK planner is clean and minimalist. The delicate gold foiling and the sans-serif font choice (which is consistent throughout the planner) make this book simple with a touch of class. The paper is an off-white creamy color and much of the text is actually a dark gray. While easy on the eyes, it does take away from the crispness of the planner pages a bit. The binding does lay flat but you really have to press down on it.

Fit

This planner is a great size for carrying around. While it is a bit thick–and thus a little heavy–it is still compact enough to serve anyone who wants a beautiful daily planner that can travel on the go with them.

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I personally used this planner as a diary. I did not write in it consistently (still working on that!) but I did have it nearby when I wanted to reflect on my day or write down something important that happened. Building a diary habit is one of my goals for 2018 and a beautiful book like FRANK’s planner is a great way to combine daily writing with tracking mindfulness and productivity. As a diary, I think this is a great option. However, it might not work for someone who wants unbounded space to write as much as they want each day. The grouping of Friday–Sunday makes it hard to write much for the weekend days, as well.

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Otherwise, I think this planner would be a great fit for someone who wants a beautiful, simple book for tracking daily goals, progress, and gratitude. It would be a great option for someone who is traveling, backpacking, and/or hostel-hopping and wanting to write down and keep track of their adventures and experiences. The blank space on each daily page could be used for gluing in photos, collages, ticket-stubs, etc. Its portability makes it a great choice for students who want something to throw into their backpack every day that can keep them on track with a busy Monday–Thursday schedule of classes, exams, and extracurriculars.

This planner would also be a good fit if you are looking for a gratitude journal that will keep you on track. The “Today I am thankful for” prompts on each page are a great way to start the flow of words. Another option would be using this planner to track your productivity for a specific project or rolling projects. I could see it working if you are writing a thesis, dissertation, remodeling your home, consulting for a business, etc.

Loves

I love that this small company is so generous with their community. For every planner they sell, FRANK donates a school workbook to a child in poverty. I am also a fan of the FRANK blog, which has positive messages and overviews of their products. The flexibility of their layout provides a lot of options and opportunities for using this planner however might work best for you. I also love the simple designs from FRANK–their delicate gold foiling and smooth, simple covers are just gorgeous. I like a thick planner so the compact bulkiness of this book is a win for me. I’m also a huge fan of the tips at the beginning of the planner and the consistent reinforcement of mindfulness throughout the monthly reviews.

Nopes

I wish that the monthly spreads made more use of the page space. I don’t like the big blank gap underneath the monthly spread and would rather have roomier boxes for each day of the month. While I like the thankful-focused prompt on each page for journaling purposes, I think it might get in the way of more functional uses for that space. (NOTE: They removed this for the 2018 edition.) I would also like to see more space of the Quote of the Day section at the bottom of each page–there is barely room to write anything.


There you have it! My review of the 2017 FRANK Daily Planner. I assure you that the 2018 design is almost identical, so if you were using this review to research procuring the 2018 version, it should still be helpful. 🙂 Thank you, as always, for reading!

Do you have any questions about using the FRANK planner? Something I missed that you would like to know more about? Leave a comment! Frankly, I would love to hear from you. 😉

xo
Ara

bloom planners Goodies Haul

I reviewed the bloom planner a few weeks ago and the wonderful ladies at bloom sent me a thank you package of goodies to review! It was my very first #HappyMail from a company interested in my reviews, and I am so grateful & thankful!

This review will be structured differently from my normal reviews because I am looking at multiple types of products and have already conducted a bloom planner review. I will be looking at each product individually and providing my opinion on it as well as suggesting ways to use it/who might be a good fit for it.

Let’s get into the goodies!

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My delightful package from bloom included:

bloom fashion weekly planners

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I won’t go too into detail about the planners–as I mentioned, I’ve done that here–but I did want to write about what makes these two bloom planners different from the Vintage Floral one that I reviewed previously.

After seeing these planners, I realized that there are multiple different color schemes inside these planners. The Vintage Floral planner that I reviewed had a magenta pink interior that was just a little bit too much for me, but the peach color of the rose gold stripes bloom planner is just lovely. The blue in the Fireworks planner is very nice as well–I actually gave this planner to my mother-in-law because she loves to plan out her weeks and I knew she would appreciate the Fireworks cover design (she’s very into Americana). 🙂

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I really like how bloom planners have carefully constructed varying color themes to match different covers. The rose gold stripe planner has a soft peach interior and a rose gold coil, while the Fireworks planner has a cornflower blue interior and a silver coil. I love these details! I am also a huge fan of the continuous spiral coil–I think it holds up much better than the Wire-O binding option.

I will definitely be tossing this little peachy beauty into my purse for on-the-go planning!

bloom belief cards

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The bloom belief cards come in a pack of 30 and include inspirational messages, sayings, and quotes in varied designs. These bright and happy pick-me-ups are great messages to include in your children’s/partner’s lunch bags, slip into a co-worker’s mailbox, send in a letter to a loved one, or attach to gifts.

I love love love that these cards have a nice space on the back with matching design elements where you can write a short note. The cards are glossy, so I recommend being careful about which pens you use to write on them. A fine tip Sharpie would work without any bleeding, or a felt-tip pen as long as it had time to dry.

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These cards are great for throwing into letters, cards, gift bags, or leaving for your favorite barista! They could also be left as a thank-you bookmark when returning a book lent by a friend. There is a lot of potential for how to use these little cards to practice gratitude.

Why You’ll Bloom Gift Book

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This sweet little booklet measures 4-1⁄2” x 3-1⁄4” and is hardbound. The pages flip easily and have pretty thick paper. The pages on the left are numbered in a fancy script font and cycle through aqua greens and pinks. I like the simplicity of the statements that you fill in, too. This booklet was definitely designed to be a visual keepsake.

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I really like that this little book is so small. It would be easy to carry with your gift-ee for a quick pick-me-up or to keep in a nightstand or work desk. It’s also a very sweet idea and lets you practice gratitude and share your appreciation for someone special in your life. I love leaving little notes like this around for my husband to find–they always brighten his day and make him feel like I am spending effort and attention on bolstering him up a bit (which I absolutely am!). This booklet is a cute way to do something like that, with a beautiful pastel color palette.

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This little booklet would be an excellent addition to a birthday/Christmas gift for a bestie, or Mother’s Day gift for mom. I can see dropping this in a gift bag, leaving it in a Christmas stocking (‘Tis the season!), or including it with a birthday card to someone you love. Have a friend or family member going through a rough time? Give them one of these in support to help lift them up in a time or hardship. Honestly, gratitude is a year-round practice, so there isn’t a wrong time or reason to let someone know that you care about them.

I do think that the $9.95 price tag is a little high for what you get–I would expect more like $5.95 or $7.95 for the size of the booklet.

Holiday Planner Sticker Sheets

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I love that these stickers are organized by month. It reinforces the seasonality of the sticker collection and guides you in using them. These stickers are hand-drawn and slightly glossy. There is an assortment of square boxes that say things like “relax” or “love is in the air”, tiny flag stickers with notes like “Spring break” and “Lucky Day”, script stickers saying things like “Carpe Diem” and “hello June”, themed banners, and lots of hand-drawn options. I think the size of these stickers is great, and I love the art! I’m going to use these stickers in my rose gold stripe bloom planner and report back on Instagram how I feel about the spreads. 🙂

The one thing that confuses me is that there are stickers delineating the month. While I like this for organizational purposes, I am not sure where one is supposed to place the month stickers in the planner, because the months are already written in.

These stickers are perfect for the beginner who wants to start decorating their planner but is overwhelmed by the sticker options out there. This set gives you a monthly section of stickers to use and makes it easy to get into the sticker game!

Mouse Pad in “Poppy Picnic”

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This mousepad is bright and cheerful and easily the first thing you might spot on a desk when glancing over at it. The shape is cute and would actually fit pretty well in a limited space–if you have a super small desk area, for example. I’m happy with how thick this mousepad is and how it didn’t overwhelm me with chemical smell (sometimes mousepads do that). Currently, this is the only pattern available on the bloom website. It isn’t my favorite–it’s just a little too bright for me and the orange/pink combo isn’t my jam. But it is definitely a cute mousepad for the right person!

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My only critique of this product is that the shape–although super cute–is a little awkward for actually using a mouse on. If it were bigger, then the shape cut-out would make more sense because it wouldn’t be taking away from the space that the mousepad could be providing, well, the mouse.


I hope you enjoyed my review of these bloom products–the customer service team over at bloom is super sweet and I appreciate their kindness in sending me these products to review! The bloom team is always on the look-out for feedback about their products, which is a fantastic quality in a company. I believe in the importance of evaluation and am a bit of a nerd about it (can’t you tell from my blog where I am literally evaluating planners? ;P), so I’m always excited to see companies taking feedback and comments seriously. Snaps for bloom!

Any questions for me? Leave them in the comments!

xo
Ara

 

Fringe Studio Planner

Fringe Studio is a bit mysterious. They are located in Irvine, CA (website says Irvine, product says Culver City, CA) but operate in wholesale distribution to other vendors. I’ve seen their products in many places, from Smithsonian’s gift shops to Amazon and Nordstrom. Fringe Studio is not specifically a planner company, but make gifts and stationary from notebooks to vases and trinket dishes. It seems that Fringe Studio is a studio insofar as they create original and artistic designs for their products, but they do not sell product from their website. You have to go through a distributor (there are many) or find them at a trade show. They’ve actually been around for quite a while as well–1999!

There is an Instagram for Fringe Studio (@fringe.studio) but not too much social media activity around the brand’s planners. I haven’t been able to locate a blog review of the planners, to even too many Instagram posts about it.

Fringe Studio does produce a variety of planning products, and this particular one is their 17-month agenda. Calling all dog lovers–how cute is this cover?! The size of this planner is 10″ x 7.5″ and 1″ thick.

Function

The Fringe Studio planner is pretty functional. It has everything you would expect from a planner: monthly spreads, weekly spreads, notes pages, a year-at-a-glance, pocket folder, and contacts pages. Standard offerings there. So what sets the Fringe Studio planner apart?

I want to say cost, but that varies dramatically depending on where you buy this planner. Prices seem to fluctuate between $38 and $14, depending on the year, the style, the size, and the vendor.

Perhaps it is the graph notes pages, for the discerning planner who prefers to write on a grid instead of lines?

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Of course, there are lined pages included as well, albeit at the end of the planner.

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The Fringe Studio planner has a great size for a desk planner with plenty of room to write notes in your weekly spread and clean, monochrome monthly spreads. The monthly spread doesn’t leave much space wanting–it includes a decent-sized blank column on the right-hand side for any notes, which I like. I find that jotting stuff down on the righthand side of a page comes more naturally to me than reaching over everything to write on the left side, but that’s just personal preference. This planner really does try to provide as much room as possible for you to write in the daily boxes. It also includes a month-at-a-glance calendar for–you guessed it!–the month prior to the current spread and the month following.

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The weekly spread is also monochrome–a dark gray and white. The days of the week are presented in a horizontal layout with lines that bleed all the way to the end of the pages. There is a small indication of the day and date, and a blank, narrow column under the date for any notes, important things to write down, etc. It isn’t a very big space, but it’s nice that it’s there. Important dates/holidays are included in italic font on the first line of the day, if applicable. There is also a blank white box at the top of one of the pages in the two-page weekly spread, where you could keep track of habits, write down something that pertains the entire week, or decorate.

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Saturday and Sunday are combined into one horizontal box. I will say that this does not really allow much room for writing stuff into the weekend boxes–they are pretty narrow.

The tabs are gray and laminated to prevent tearing, and the coil is a standard Wire-O that does the job but isn’t as sturdy as, say, Emily Ley or Day Designer’s Wire-O coils. The cover is flexible and probably why the planner’s price point isn’t more, honestly. It feels like a thick coated cardstock but doesn’t have laminate or protective corners or anything like that. It’s not a bad cover–just not chipboard, hardbound, or a similar material to Plum Paper’s untearable/indefeatable covers.

Aesthetics/Design

One of the nice things about monochrome designs in a planner is that you are then able to use as much color as you want in your decoration because it won’t clash with a prescribed color scheme. Or, if you prefer the muted color palette, nothing is preventing you from carrying that aesthetic forward into your planning.

The font choices switch from a all-caps sans-serif font for headings and tabs to a slab-serif font (similar to Courier New) for days and important dates. The lines for the horizontal spreads feel like a traditional college-ruled size–nothing too narrow or too wide. The simplicity of the weekly spread’s design leaves a lot of room for your creativity–so if you are looking for a blank slate, this planner might be it!

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Fringe Studio has many different covers, sizes, and styles of planners. Because their website does not have a shop (they wholesale only it seems), I couldn’t tell you how many planners they’ve released, where all of them are, or any of those normally standard details. You just kind of notice a Fringe Studio planner occasionally at Nordstrom’s or zulily. Even Amazon doesn’t seem to carry their planners, although other Fringe Studio objects are sold there. Anyway, what I mean to say is that I can pretty much only tell you about the design of this specific, doggy-themed planner. (Although I know that there is also a cat one!)

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This particular planner includes original artwork of cute little dog faces against a soft blue backdrop. I love the way this planner looks, but I’m also a sucker for light blue. The dogs are interesting, as some look cute, some look confused, and some look a little sad. It seems like the artist included 8 different dog heads that form a repeating pattern. You definitely can’t escape the dog-theme of this planner cover. The cover also has “2018 Aug 2017-Dec 2018 Planner” in gold foil on the front, within a box also lined in gold foiling.

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The cover materials seems a little flimsy to me–I wish it was hard-bound, chipboard, or laminate. I doubt it will hold up like-new against lots of use and tossing about. Will it still function? Probably, but it won’t look pristine after a bit. The inside of the planner covers is a very light brown with tiny white polka dots. When you open the planner there is a nameplate that says “FRINGE monthly & weekly PLANNER belongs to” and a space to write your time. This is also in gold foiling.

The paper used in this planner is pretty thick. It reminds me of The Happy Planner’s paper, being thick and matte with a little texture.

Fit

Okay, let’s start with a pen test since a few of you appreciated the one I included in my Day Designer for Blue Sky review! As the Fringe Studio planners are a little difficult to find information about, I decided to test the paper quality. I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the pens wrote smoothly on the paper, which doesn’t feel overly thick and has a bit of a matte texture quality to it. But the paper held up well!

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I tried to get all the pens that I know our planner community loves–Pilot G-2, Pilot Precise V5, Papermate Flair, Papermate InkJoy, Le Pen, Staedtler triplus fineliner, Frixion, Sharpie pens, and more. *If there is a pen that you would like to see me test in future reviews, please leave a comment on this post and let me know what it is. I can always use more pens and am happy to grab a few requests to try out!

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You can barely see any bleed through or ghosting!

This planner paper held up well even with the Stabilo Boss highlighter, which is a pretty intense highlighter. You can see a little bit of ghosting, but the only obvious bleed through is (as always) the Sharpie Permanent Market in Extra Fine tip. The ballpoint pens had to be pressed down a bit when writing so they left light impressions in the paper. When writing, I felt the best pens were the gels. They wrote smoothly on the paper and were just a delight.

This Fringe Studio planner would be a good fit for someone who wants to leave their planner at home or doesn’t mind their planner getting a little beat up. It’s not a heavy planner–indeed, the lightness of the cover makes for an overall light planner. So it would be easy to carry this planner around without feeling the weight of it too much.

This planner is not a good fit for someone with busy weekends. If you are keeping this planner at work or using it mainly during the Monday-Friday work week, then you might not care that the weekend sections are super tiny. In that regard, if you are a student who is primarily looking for a tool to write down assignments, assignment due-dates, and not really in need of a planner that manages your extracurricular or schedule, then the Fringe Studio planner would serve you well.

Loves

I love the size of this planner–it’s big enough to write comfortably in without being too bulky to carry around. I also like the gold foiling details, of course! #foilme Again, also quite pleased with the paper.

Nopes

I really wish that the cover was made from a more durable material. I think it would increase the value of the planner–probably both in price and in investment from the purchaser. The weekend columns are almost unusable in their narrowness, so I feel like they could use a redesign. And lastly, I feel like important dates/holidays on the weekly spread take up too much valuable lined space and could be better placed.

Also, Wire-O.


There you have it! The elusive Fringe Studio planner, reviewed! 😉 Do you have a Fringe Studio planner? Are there questions I didn’t address that you must. have. answers. to? Leave me a comment! 🙂

xo
Ara