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

Recollections Planner from Michaels

Recollections is a planner line by Michaels and includes a number of different styles, layouts, and binding options. This spiral coil-bound planner is their newest stylistic release and comes in 18 month and 12 month options–or at least, it has in the past.  The 2017-2018 line is the Recollections Spiral planner’s second year, and they’ve kicked it up a notch with the number of designs and specific planners they’re offering. Recollections spirals planners now have themes for pregnancy/new mothers, teachers, goal setting, and more. They retail at Michaels for $29.99, but you can usually get them with a 40% off coupon for $17.99. (From Oct 1–7th Michael’s is having a 40% off sale on Recollections planners!) This planner measures 7.5 in x 9.25 in and is coil/spiral bound.

Sweet Kawaii Design on YouTube has a thorough walkthrough of the Recollections line for 2017-2018. There are three options to choose from: vertical boxes, hourly, and horizontal spreads. Each of these spreads has a different design theme and then multiple cover/theme options to choose from. This review focuses on the vertical boxes weekly spread in the “It Girl” design.

Function

This planner includes an interchangeable cover, nameplate page, 2017 and 2018 years at a glance, important dates, one page of contacts, monthly spreads, weekly vertical spreads, and notes pages. Each monthly tab is a rotating color and laminated.

The monthly spread has holidays and important dates (like Daylight Savings) marked in italics. The bottom left of the monthly spread has month-at-a-glance calendars for the month preceding and the month following the month on view. Lots of months in that sentence. There is also a lined sidebar for notes, to-dos, or whatever you would like to write there! One of the things I like about this monthly spread is the pastel color bar along the top of the pages. It’s light enough that you can easily write in it or decorate it. The Recollections planner makes good use of its space and the boxes feel large enough for everyone you might need to write in them.

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What strikes me as a little odd is that the monthly spread is a Sunday start, but the weekly spreads are a Monday start.

The weekly spreads vary by color–yellow, blue, mint, and pink. They consist of three vertical boxes with header space. Beneath the daily columns are continuous lines. The Recollections planner leaves the sections blank for you to fill in, which is always nice. Maybe you like to separate your vertical boxes into Morning, Afternoon, Evening. Or perhaps you prefer sections like To Do, To Go, To Remember, etc. The heading for each vertical box is easy to write in and make your own. The lefthand side of the weekly spread consists of a Notes box and a blank box. This allows you to break up the sidebar into whatever sections work best for you!

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Ultimately, this planner offers a lot of flexibility with a consistent weekly spread and varied useable sections. You can see a week at a glance or your month at a glance, fulfilling some of the more basic requirements of a functional planner. The spiral coil is thinner than an Erin Condren or Plum Paper coil, but it still does the job and doesn’t seem easy to bend out of shape.

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The back of the planner includes a double pocket in bright pink and black polka dot, as well as a clear catch-all bag. The bag is attached to the coil and cannot be removed and then put back in–it’s not detachable, in other words. I imagine that it could easily hold a few sticker sheets, but I wouldn’t pack it full. This planner is a decent size–big enough to write in, compact enough to carry around and throw in your bag. I have heard complaints about the previous year versions of this planner constantly losing their interchangeable covers when thrown into a purse, but far fewer complaints about the 2017-2018 line.

Aesthetics/Design

The design of this planner is eerily similar to Erin Condren’s vertical boxes layout, so this year the Recollections planner has spiced things up a bit. Mrs. Mom Next Door did a comparison review of this year’s planners, comparing Recollections with Erin Condren, here.

In general, the vertical box layout of the Recollections planner is designed in pastels, rotating (as mentioned above) in mint, yellow, blue, and pink. The laminated monthly tabs switch between mint, yellow, blue, black, and pink. This particular design, It Girl, is a cute stab at embodying the planner babe. Teacups, thought bubbles, washi, and Michael’s trips galore! This is not everyone’s aesthetic–it may be yours, it may not be. Maybe you prefer planners that are more neutral? This certainly won’t fit that bill. It’s a cute, pastel planner with simple functionality and flexibility.

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If, however, you are looking for an adorable planner with a planner babe vibe and a cute homage to how you want to envision the planning process, then this planner might work for you.

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The back of the planner depicts a planning party–I used to have planning parties with my roommates and they were wonderful. Obviously, we could’ve used more cookies and brownies. This is a bright, happy planner designed to make you feel connected to planning–if you are the type of planner babe this book is marketing to. My friend Jennie, for example, is in graduate school and would hate the sunshiney vibe of this planner. But, if I needed a planner like this, I would totally dig its sweet and mildly self-aware theme.

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Each month has a different design juxtaposed by a lined notes page.

Something that strikes me about the design of this planner is that the It Girl herself is depicted as white. Obviously, the planner community is multiethnic and multicultural! Not everyone is going to click with this depiction of the It Girl. I have seen some planner babes color in the It Girl’s hair or skin to better resemble how they identify and think that the design of the It Girl is easily transformed this way. Perhaps not as easily on the cover of the planner, but in the monthly pages, yes.

Fit

This is a great first planner for you or your child, especially if you/they are in high school (Just quickly remove those wine glass stickers and use them in your own planner first!) The Important Dates section at the front of the planner could be used for keeping track of assignment/paper due dates and school deadlines, and the weekly spreads have a lot of flexibility for keeping track of your homework/extracurriculars. Lined spaces at the bottom of each daily column could be used to write down homework, events, or reminders, for examples.

This planner would also be a good fit if you want the flexibility of a vertical layout but don’t want to spend as much money as, say, an Erin Condren planner would cost you ($55-75). Are you on a budget and need a planner that can hold a lot of information and functionality for a $30 or less price point? Then the Recollections planner delivers.

This planner would also work for anyone who is particularly attached to any of the planner line’s themes/designs. If you aren’t digging It Girl, there are other choices with the same vertical boxes. The best way to figure out what you might be interested in is going to a Michaels store and flipping through the options.

If you need a planner that runs your life in the office, this might not be the best choice. Obviously you do you, but if you are trying to operate in a professional environment, this planner might not be the best fit–at least in this design.

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This planner’s stickers match its theme, although they could probably be a little more carefully printed. For $29.99 though, I’m pretty happy with the inclusion of stickers at all. The Recollections planner has four sheets of stickers! Stickers help a newbie planner babe explore the wild llama-filled world of planners. Recollections covers the basics, and hopefully, these simple, cute stickers help new planners feel more confident decorating or trying out new functional spreads.

Loves

I love the stickers. I do. They are adorable. The little alpaca sticker is to die for.

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Also I’m just frankly a sucker for the thematic design of this planner. It’s like it reached into me and said “I know who you are, planner girl. I know what you like.” I both love and fear it. This planner makes me wish for a simpler time when what it offers was all I would need it for. For the price point, it really is a fantastic choice.

Nopes

The biggest nope for me is that the pages don’t seem to be fully separated from one another near where they are punched for the spiral coil. You have to go through each page of this planner and make sure the pages are all separated, and if they aren’t then you need to very carefully separate them. It’s super easy to rip them during this process, and 18 months is a lot of planner pages to check on.


There you have it! 2017-2018 Recollections planner review, as requested! 🙂 I’m actually giving this sweet planner away as part of my Birthday Celebration Giveaway–details are on my Instagram @plannerisma and deadline to enter the giveaway is October 7 at midnight!

Do you have the Recollections planner? Do you disagree or agree with any points in my review? Leave a comment, let’s chat! 🙂

xo
Ara