Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How I Plan: Erin Condren LifePlanner

** First off, a few disclaimers.... 1) I was in no way compensated for this post (though I'm always willing to review EC, if they want to send some stuff my way!).... 2) This post does contain referral links, such as this one. It costs you nothing extra, but if you choose to make your first EC purchase through this link, I get a coupon for money off my next order.... 3) My picture quality is just so-so and I've digitally whited out some personal info. I tried to keep enough that you can see how everything is laid out, but didn't want all of my business out there.

Now, onto the good stuff (and a little background). If you've never heard of Erin Condren LifePlanners, you may have been living under a rock, of sorts. They're pretty popular in the blogging and planning worlds. When I was in grade school and all the way through getting my current job, I was adamant about my planner. I used it religiously and was never without. Once I got this current position, however, I started using my Outlook calendar at work and my phone. Which was fine. Fast-forward to late 2016 and I got the itch for a paper planner, again. There is just something about writing it down that helps me. Also, a paper planner helps me see all the details at once, which I haven't found in a digital calendar.
 
A friend mentioned that she used Erin Condren, so I started researching. I'd certainly heard of the company before, but never really paid attention. When I say I scoured the interwebs, I really did. Finally, I bit the bullet and bought. Once my fresh, clean, pretty planner came in, I froze. I was nervous to use it.
 
So, I stalked the web, blogs, and IG some more for ideas of how best to plan in my planner. I know it seems silly, but I didn't want to "mess it up." The thing I noticed in my research is that A LOT of bloggers/social media featured the vertical or hourly planners. I am, and have always been, a horizontal layout girl. Remember when MomAgenda was all the blogger rage? Yeah, I tried and failed, because of the layout. I need to write out details.
 
The other thing I noticed was either the overabundance or total lack of stickers. I'm a bit more in between. I am always impressed by all the washi, stickers, and reimagining of the planners, but it would stress me out to try to do that myself AND actually follow along with my weekly schedule. That being said, I do like the prettiness and functionality of stickers, so I do use them in moderation.
Maybe the world doesn't need another Erin Condren LifePlanner review/idea post. Or, maybe there is someone out there that is like me (horizontal layout and/or medium sticker use) and could use some ideas.
 
Let's get to it.....
 
Front Cover/StylizedSticky Notes
 
These are one of my favorite accessories by EC. I keep the StylizedSticky pad snapped into the front of my planner. As something comes up, I'll take one, write down the tentative info, and stick it in it's designated date (which you'll see more of later on).


Goals Page
 
As you can see, I fail at making long term goals on this page. I've seen a lot of REALLY good uses for the page, but have yet to fall on one that works for me.


Beginning of Month Notes and Inspirational Quote Pages
 
Each month looks like this, with a productivity page on the left and an inspirational quote on the right. I specifically wanted to point this out for two reasons...... 
 
1) I do LOVE the inspirational quote page. Each month is a fresh reminder to be our best self.
 
2) I'm not a fan of the productivity page and am SO glad that the 2018-2019 (or straight up 2019, if you're like me) Planners are going back to a blank note page. I found this set up (using the productivity stickers in the back of the planner) on IG and decided to try it. Whoever thought of it is a genius and I'm trying to make use. That being said, I'll be super happy in 2019 when my note page is back. In my 2017 planner, I used it as a quick daily memory page and it worked great. I'd just jot down significant things as they happened. When this design came out in the 2018 planner, I switched over to a notebook for my memories. I'm not as good as keeping up with it, so I'll be glad when it's back for 2019.

 
Monthly Spread
 
I'm sharing a few of my monthly spread pages to give some context of how I set it up. If you're new to the LifePlanner, each monthly spread is followed by that month's weekly spreads.
 
One of the very first things I did even before the year started was put all the birthdays in my planner (both in the monthly and weekly pages). You can see that I used a teardrop sticker at the bottom of the day and wrote the name of the person in purple. Regardless of what's going on that day, it will always be a birthday and it's easier for me to go ahead and get it in there.
 
At the beginning of each month, I'll update the new month with ink. I also color code, using the Erin Condren Dual Tip Markers. Certain colors are for certain activities and it really helps me to quickly differentiate what I've got going on. I like to use the line/banner/mini-washi stickers to designate multi-day events. On the sidebar, I'll note who I need to get birthday cards for that month and any other big projects that I'm hoping will be done throughout that month.

A big change from January.... I decided to use the Customizable Event Stickers in the weekly spread, instead of the monthly. With the exception of my hair appointment one, I decided the stickers were too big for the monthly. I had them made for weekly and monthly standing meetings I have and I much prefer them in the weekly spread.

Again, at the beginning of the month, I'll put everything in ink. However, as you can see, at the bottom, I have some stickys. The best part of the StylizedSticky Notes, imo, is that they can clearly mark a date without being permanent. If I'm not 100% sure that something is happening on that date or that time, I'll just keep the sticky until it's solid. I also started adding an inspirational sticker to the bottom of the right, just for fun.

An upcoming month - As you can see, so many StylizedSticky Notes. They really do help with future planning. Birthdays (including mine!) are already in the calendar. At the beginning of August, I'll sit down with my phone and my planner and input everything in ink. I still use my digital calendar, since it's easy to add and delete things, but using it in conjunction with the LifePlanner helps me stay on top of EVERYTHING.


Weekly Spread
 
Most of my weeks look like the two pictures below. Weekly or monthly meetings have the stickers that I use. Birthdays are noted in purple at the top of the day (with a reminder on the side to text or call the person). Major reminders are noted in the sidebar with a corresponding productivity sticker. I usually write appointments/events out in the order that they'll happen during the day, in their corresponding color. If something is all day or a big celebration/event, I'll make it bigger and accentuate with a sticker.
 
In the bottom right notes section, I'll note what big cleaning/organizing I need to accomplish for the week, along with some smaller tasks. They don't necessarily have a specific day, just sometime in that week.

I like to use a Dashboard to mark the week. Sometimes I'll use a wet erase marker to make a list or notes, but it's rare.

 
Note Pages
 
After all of the monthly/weekly spreads, there are note pages (lined and bullet), plus some coloring pages. I use the note pages to note the color code I use, just as a reference. I also will make checklists, using the lined pages, for things that happen a few times during the year, such as Disney Races. It's handy to be able to go to those pages when needed, while I'm packing or getting ready for an event.
I'll be honest, I've yet to use the bullet pages. I know some people LOVE them, but I've yet to figure out what works for me.

 
Upcoming Year and Dates
 
I love this feature. As you can see, 2019 is already starting to fill up and we're not fully halfway through 2018, yet. This is one of the first pages I reference when moving into my new planner year.

 
Folders and Pockets
 
The pocket folder that comes with the planner is used for my current Perpetual Planner and my Monthly Sticker Book (which is what I typically use, though I do use a Classic Sticker Book, too). I also have my productivity sticker sheets (I bought extra to match the one that was provided in the back of the of the Planner).

In the pocket on the opposite side, I have my address book (that was in a Seasonal Surprise Box) and any invitations for upcoming parties. I added an extra pocket folder to my planner, that keeps my Birthday Perpetual Planner and Sticky Corner Pockets.

At the very back, I have the pocket provided with the LifePlanner snapped in and I keep my Dual Tip Markers, plus a pen. This provides the easiest access to write something down as I'm going.

That's it! I hope this helps someone who is looking into purchasing an Erin Condren LifePlanner or someone who just would like some ideas of how to use theirs. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at allamericanjess@gmail.com.
 
Happy Planning!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Keep being good to me, 2018.....

One week into 2018 and I've already worked out more than I did the last two months of 2017....


That's right.... I went to OrangeTheory FOUR times.  The first January 3rd was actually the 2nd. I'm guessing that the overload of people going slowed the system down, so my 5:30pm class results didn't show up until like 3am. I actually went on NYE, as well. I'm really out of shape. So out of shape. However, even a week into it, my body is catching up. It's like, "Oh, hey! I know how to do this stuff!"

One week down, 51 more to go. I also was on point with my macros 5 out of 7 days.... Saturday was a little off, but not too bad.... Yesterday was a kind of wonky.

I (sadly) say this all the time, but this is my year. I need to get back to my old self... working out, eating right, feeling good. Smaller pants. Truly.... my Ninny and my Great Aunt died of COPD. Asthma is a staple in my family. I cannot neglect the strength of my lungs. I need to make them strong and keep them that way. Plus, wear smaller pants.

It wasn't all working out, though....

Saturday, we celebrated the impending arrival of my friend Lauren's little girl. I cannot wait to meet little Collins!




Sunday, Jeff and I took Lydia and Carter to see Marvel Universe Live. I didn't know who half the characters were, but it was still a fun afternoon.





This week is CRAZY and it just got crazier. I came out of a presentation to find my tire FLAT. Like, on the rim. Thankfully, a friend drove me back to work and my cousin was able to take care of the tire issue. It's one of those weeks where I do not have time for this, lol.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye 2017....



We are looking down the barrel of the ball drop and the start of a New Year. It's so hard to believe that yet another year has come to a close.

This year has been one of the best and worst years of my life.

On December 29, 2016, my Ninny died. We had her memorial just after the first of the year. Honestly, it set the tone in a lot of ways. I went through the year trying to live a happy life (like she would want), but would randomly just be incredibly sad.



Three weeks after she passed away, my Great Aunt Martha died. Her baby sister. We held Martha's memorial service one month to the day from when Ninny died. It's just been hard, altogether.

Despite the sadness, there have been good times. Bittersweet, but still precious.

I went to Memphis for my annual trip for St Jude Seminar. It was a good weekend and I met The Property Brothers and Luke Pell from 'The Bachelorette'....




I went on an amazing trip to NYC with dear friends, where we ate in wonderful places, saw the sites, and saw HAMILTON!!!






I participated in the Glass Slipper Challenge and got my medals...



I spent a fun long weekend in DC...



Celebrated the births of dear friends' first babies...




Had the MOST FUN CONCERT experience ever at NKOTB....




Traveled to Texas to watch Florida (lose) play, see some family members, and go to Magnolia Market....







..... Survived Irma, got accepted into an awesome Leadership program where I've met awesome people, saw my cousin become a dad to four beautiful little girls, enjoyed the heck out of my niece and nephew, spent quality time with friends and family, and basically lived for as many happy moments as possible.


What am I looking forward to in 2018?

Peace

Better Health

Happiness

Enriched Friendships

Fun Experiences

More Travel


I hope the best for you, as well!

















Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Blurbs and Procratination....





HOW is it already December 19th?

I was doing an amazing job of prepping for Christmas until December rolled around. Now, I'm on the struggle bus. I haven't even STARTED Christmas cards, yet. So, yeah. I am just in the mode that I want to enjoy the Christmas festivities.... not prep for them. This is why I need to really work next year on being at least 75% done by Thanksgiving.

Anyway, since I'm currently at the auto dealer waiting for my car to be fixed from a recall issue, let's put things off even further......

1) Last Friday, my sister, cousin, and I went to the Katy Perry concert.

It was WEIRD. Like, really weird. I only was able to sing and dance to 'Roar' and 'California Girls' because I was too bust staring at the stage in bafflement for the rest of the time. We still had a fun Girls' Night, at least.

Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting


2) I am supposed to run the Glass Slipper Challenge in just at two months. I use the term "run" loosely. I'm nowhere near ready and I know I need to step it up.

3) I have very little motivation to do Christmas cards, this year. Like, they are sort of my signature, but I really am being bad about it.

4) Over the last year, I have found the best facial care line. It's called Rafa Natural and I'm obsessed. I need to dedicate an entire post to it because it is THAT good.

5) Also over the past year, I have become enamored with my Erin Condren planner. I know they are a blogging and social media cliche, but it's for good reason. All through grade school, college, and working a few years part time for many jobs, I used a planner. I never left the house without it. Then, I got my (current) full-time job and just used my phone and work calendar. Last year, I got the itch to try a paper planner, as well. I decided to give EC a try and I fell in love. I still use my phone and work calendar to sync everything up, but I also write in my planner. It has helped me stay much more organized and on top of my slightly crazy schedule.

6) My cousin and his wife adopted four beautiful little girls in November. They are precious and I love them and I'm so glad they are in our family. Several of us were able to fly in (they live in a different state) for the adoption finalization.... Love it....



7) General Hospital.... I have watched the show for YEARS. Over the past several, it was on and off. Then, they brought Steve Burton back (as the real Jason) and Tamara Braun (as a new character). I can't handle how much I love the show, right now. I sometimes forget how much I really do love soaps.

8) Hallmark Channel Christmas movies.... Is it just me or are they REALLY good this year? I'm always about Countdown to Christmas and get sad when it's over. However, I haven't watched one that I didn't like so far this year. Including the Alicia Witt one, and I usually don't like hers.

Ok.... I should probably work or work on Christmas cards.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Let's Start Over, Shall We? - Week One

I recently have been looking through old photos and I'm so irritated with myself. I have gained SO much weight over the last couple years. It's sad, depressing, and downright awful.

I'm not back up to my highest weight, but I'm way too close for comfort. I need to reverse this situation.

So, I'll go back to this old blog where I used post weekly recaps of my eating and exercise. Not exactly the most thrilling reading, but even if no one reads, it's out there in the inter webs so there's a degree of accountability....

Goals for Week One

1) OTF 3x

2) Jog 2x

3) Hit my macros at least twice (gotta start somewhere, right?) and my protein every day

4) Drink at least 80 ounces of water a day



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It's Been A While

Wow, it has been a while. So much has happened over the past several months since I last blogged. So much has happened in the last several years since I blogged regularly. In some ways, FB, IG, etc have taken over my original purpose of my blog. To document life. To keep my friends updated.

However, while I can look back through my IG feed or my camera roll or my daily Timehop and remember what happened, I do miss being able to just word vomit on a screen. I miss saying exactly what is going on in my head. I miss meeting random people from all over the country who know my heart and keep my secrets.

Life has been an adventure. In so many ways it's SO different from when I first started this little blog and in other ways, it's exactly the same. Don't we all feel that way? We still feel like ourselves, but life has changed us in big and small ways.

Over the years, no major typical life milestone has happened. I still haven't bought a house (working on saving them pennies, though). I still haven't gotten married. I still haven't had babies. I've had the same job for almost 8 1/2 years.

Yet, things are so different in me and around me. My life is full. Full of friends. Full of family. Full of sadness. Full of laughter. Full of consistency. Full of change.

Early this year, I sat down for my annual employee review. It had been a doozie of a busy season and I was only halfway through it. I'd taken on more projects than ever before. AND, I was dealing with a lot of personal stuff along the way (more on that at some point.... probably). My two direct supervisors were giving me accolades at what I'd accomplished and how I was dealing with it all.

I told them that it was amazing to me that I was feeling so good. "Seven years ago, I almost had a nervous breakdown during the Fall and I wasn't doing NEARLY what I just did these last month. There was no way I would have been able to handle it. Look at how much I've grown. Look at how much WE'VE grown."

Even more recently, someone was marveling at the fact that I was almost 8 1/2 years into my role at the radio station. "You aren't bored, yet?" I told them I wasn't. Because, I learned pretty early on that there might not be much room for growth within the company. That I'd hit the ceiling at a pretty young age. So, in order to not be complacent, I decided I would have to push myself. Challenge myself. Constantly seek growth. Otherwise, it would be easy to become bored and dull.

I guess that's a pretty good metaphor for my life. The BIG things may not change much. I may have the same title for a while. So, I need to challenge and stretch and grow, as much as I can within the place that I reside. Keep adding to my personal resume, so to speak, so that if anything big comes along, I'll be ready for it.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Hey, hey.... It's Singles' Day....


Hi I'm Jess..... No, not Kate Upton on the right. Sorry, she's taken..... That's me on the left. 


Now I am on the right, with not-my-baby..... My adorably perfect nephew.....



So, I tend to trust Kelly and her blog more than I do online or app dating. I figure that it can't hurt, right?

Here is where I try to convince you that I'd be great for you or the guy you are "trying to help out." I seriously hate this part. I always sound lame and cheesy, lol.

I'm a native Florida girl who is fine staying here forever, but wouldn't be opposed to uprooting, someday. I've spent the last decade-plus working really hard to succeed in school and then my career. Now, I'm ready to focus more on the personal side of things. Only problem? When you've spent ten years on your career, you find yourself only meeting people within your work circle.... hence, trying Kelly's little link-up ;)

I'd consider myself quirky, rather than weird. If you've watched that show 'New Girl' with Zoey Deschanel, I'm a tamer version of 'Jess' (or so people say). I also find myself relating to ridiculous things that Mindy says in 'The Mindy Project.' Like, there are times where I will say to myself, "OMG. Those words have some out of my mouth before!"

I like to laugh and will occasionally break into dance in random places. I'm pretty sarcastic, but no one ever realizes it (apparently, I have an innocent face and a sweet tone). In some instances, I'm totally organized and anal.... in others, I really couldn't care less.

I try to be honest and upfront (when I'm not being sarcastic).

My friends and acquaintances tell me I have a stellar Snapchat game....


I like music, movies, Disney (yes, Disney), and spending time with my friends/family.

During the summer, I and my immediate+extended family have a very serious addiction to 'Big Brother.' It is our goal to have a member of our family on the show, at some point. Anyone who complains about or mocks the show in any way is excommunicated until it's over. Just a fair warning, lol.

Over the past couple of years, I've gotten into running. I do it, but I tend to complain about it until I have a race and actually finish. Then, I am happy and will be proud for about a week until I complain about it, again.  



What am I looking for? 

A guy who loves Jesus, knows His love, and knows that we are all very flawed humans (especially me). 

I want someone funny, relaxed, responsible, and caring. Someone who is ok with the occasional random dance (you don't have to join... you just can't pretend not to know me, lol). Someone who likes kids (and maybe wants some of their own).

My job is very social and so are my coworkers, so I'd really prefer not to be involved with a hermit. However, I also want someone who is ok with having a 'couch potato day' every so often.

Seriously, if you do any sort of tobacco.... no thanks.

That's about all I can think of at the moment :)

If you think there is a match in the making or you have any other questions, feel free to comment or email me!