Playlist: Calendars, Planners, and To Do Lists

Rifle Paper Co

I am obsessed with calendars.  In fact, I’m kind of in love with all kinds of pretty paper.  Maybe it’s the artist in me, maybe it’s the writer, but electronic versions just don’t have the same appeal.  There is something that I just adore about flipping to a new page of a calendar each month (I bought a calendar at Versailles if that tells you anything).  I spent a few years with completely uninspiring calendars, and then I began a torrid love affair with Rifle Paper Co.

Two years ago I bought the Secret Garden calendar and enjoyed it thoroughly.  I loved seeing her signature flowers at my desk each day.  And it’s a good thing that I was in love with this calendar, because due to an inadvertent oversight on my part I ended up with no calendar for 2015 (I was trying to wait for the calendars to go on sale and they sold out of the one I wanted, so no calendar for me.)  This year, I wasn’t taking any chances and I ordered my calendar early.

Cities CalendarI absolutely love this calendar.  I love travel, so this calendar just makes me so happy.  Plus, the cover shows the Paris map that I have as my phone case.  Love love love!  And, my thought is that once the year is over (assuming I won’t have to use my calendar for a second year!), I want to save the artwork to do something like this.

Gallery Wall Rifle Paper

Don’t you love it?!  Anyway, I am excited about giving my calendar new life as prints.  These will be perfect in our office too, which I fondly refer to as the “map room”.

So, that’s my calendar at home but of course I need a calendar at the office too, right?  I usually buy one of those small desk calendars, but after using my Versailles calendar I suppose I was spoiled for anything else.  I saw a photo on Instagram similar to this one, using a clipboard and printed Instagram photos.

IG Calendar

Love the idea, so I decided to make my own.  I often need to see two months at a time at work, so I printed two to a page.  And I went through my Instagram likes and chose some of my favorite photos that were representative of the months.

I am thinking I may do this again for this year, but haven’t actually sat down to do it.  It worked really well for me though, and was something fun to look at in the office.  So, that’s what I’ve been using for calendars.  Kind of along those lines, I am trying out a planner for 2016 too.  I’ve spent the last few years working exclusively with an electronic calendar for keeping track of my appointments, events, etc.  I don’t actually use my wall calendar for that, it’s just to look at.  LOL  So, I love the convenience of having my calendar in my phone because then I always have it with me.  I also use an online/app called Remember the Milk for my to do list.  It’s great because again, it’s always with me and it is so easy to postpone tasks, mark them complete, add notes, give tasks a priority rating and due date, etc.  But, I watched a Periscope recently on the benefits of using a paper planner over an electronic calendar or to do list on your phone/tablet/computer.  One of the pitfalls of using an electronic version is that there are too many distractions on your device – social media, messages, emails, etc.  By using a paper planner, you can focus on your scheduled tasks and priorities without the infinite number of distractions on your device.

I took advantage of the Black Friday sale and ordered myself an Erin Condren Life Planner for 2016.  I spent a good amount of time comparing the EC planner with the other planners out there, like the Passion Planner, the Simplified Planner, the Plum Paper Planner, and so on.  Having never used a planner before I wasn’t entirely sure what would work best for me, but several people recommended the EC to me so I decided to give it a try.

I really liked the presentation when my box arrived.  It was like getting a present in the mail.  From myself!  The Black Friday discount was only good on the Good to Go (not personalized) planners, so that’s what I ordered.  I did get a coupon for a personalized cover that I can redeem.  I’m having a hard time choosing which cover I want though!

I do love the cover it came with, but it would be fun to have a personalized cover.  I won’t go too far into detail about the planner itself because there are a million posts and YouTube videos about that, but I’m very happy with it.  I love how creative some people are with their weekly layouts, but other than the stickers that came with my planner I haven’t gone out and spent the money to buy more.  I am mostly just using colored markers and that has been fun.  I opted for the vertical daily layout and it’s been working great for me.  My planner is looking very similar to the one below – markers, minimal stickers, and a little bit of washi tape for good measure.  Down at the bottom of each day I have been tracking my water, vitamins, and steps and I’m loving that – keeping me accountable!

top-planners-for-20151

I’ve been using the monthly view to list my goals for the month broken up into the seven key areas of Oola (Fitness, Finance, Family, Field, Faith, Friends, and Fun).  Then, I have weekly goals that I can check off in the weekly views.  That has been helping a lot to keep me on track.  And at the back of the planner in the Notes sections, I’ve listed out my reading goals and project goals for 2016 along with pages to record my accomplishments.

So, that’s what I’m doing for my calendars, planner, and to do lists for 2016.  How about you?

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On My Bookshelf: My 2015 Reads

Cozystyle 2015 Books I Read Image

Happy 2016!  I can hardly believe we’ve started a new year, much less that it’s almost the middle of January.  It’s been awhile since I posted, so I wanted to pop in and also share that I will be posting on a regular basis going forward.  I have tons of things to share, but I thought I’d start the year off by posting about what I read in 2015.

So, last year I set a goal (Goodreads challenge) of reading 25 books, basically the same goal I’ve set the past few years.  But, I really wanted to focus on good books – books I really enjoyed and wasn’t feeling like I had to slog through.

During the holidays (2014) we watched The Red Tent on tv.  I’d had the book on my bookshelf for years, literally, and had never read it.  I’m so grateful that the mini series reminded me that this book had sat for far too long unread and I decided to pick up the book and start it on January 1st.  A friend was going to read along as well so that we could discuss the book.  The book is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.  I loved this book. I loved Dinah’s “voice”. I loved the small details like the Taweret pitcher Benia gives her, the lapis ring of Rachel’s, the widemouthed frog idol, etc. Overall I loved the pivotal role that the community of women plays – sharing, teaching, loving, comforting, grieving with each other.  This book left me with a similar feeling as from The Mists of Avalon or The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I highly highly recommend it.

The next book I read was the complete opposite end of the spectrum – Fifty Shades of Grey.  This was actually a re-read for me.  I wanted to read it again before seeing the movie on Valentine’s Day.  I enjoyed visiting Christian Grey again and if you’d like to check out my previous post on this series, you can find that here.  As for the movie, I’m glad I went to see it and thought it was well done.  My only comment is that I wanted Christian to have a little more…something.  More fire to him?  I only re-read the first book, I imagine I would re-read the others if/when movies are released.

Next up I decided to pick up Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  I was gifted this book in December and after reading Attachments, I was really anxious to read Fangirl.  I loved this book.  I loved that it was about writing fan fiction, particularly since I’d just finished reading Fifty Shades (originally fan fiction) and I’d spent a good amount of time immersed in the world of reading fan fiction.  I can’t say enough good things about her books, her characters, and specifically in this one her stories within a story. I really enjoy Rowell’s writing and will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.

After Fangirl, I moved on to a book that Eric had picked up on one of our trips and enjoyed so he recommended it to me, particularly since it had to do with art and archaeology.  He was right, I did enjoy it.  This book is actually part of a series and I haven’t read the other books in the series, but I think this book can stand on its own.   I didn’t feel I was missing anything from not having read the others.  I enjoyed this book and following the story from the Vatican to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and all the twisting turns in between.  Coincidentally, at the same time I was reading this book we were watching a show called Dig that was excellent and had a lot to do with some of the same subject matter and focused on the Temple Mount.  If you missed the show when it was on, I highly recommend it.  Anyway, I will probably read more books by Silva in the future, likely circling around to read the other books in this series.

Next up I read Sublime by Christina Lauren.  I have read several other books from them (the Beautiful series and Sweet Filthy Boy, the first book in their Wild Seasons series), in the adult romance genre and thoroughly enjoyed them, so I was anxious to see how their first YA book was.  Sublime is a beautifully haunting and romantic ghost story, and it did not disappoint!

Sublime

After finishing Sublime, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to read.  I dug around on my shelves and came across the last book that my friend Missy had loaned me/recommended.  So far from her I’d read a couple of the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series, the Stacia Kane Downside Ghosts series (my post on those here), and Stacia Kane’s Megan Chase series (no post yet – coming soon!).  I’d put off reading Kushiel’s Dart because it was the lengthiest of the stack.  But, I decided I was ready for something a bit more substantial.  I ended up picking this book up, reading it for awhile, and then setting it aside.  Mostly it was because I was not getting much time to read and this book was involved enough that it did not lend itself to reading it in 5 minute increments.  So, I set it aside for a couple other ebooks that I’ll get to in a minute.  I took a trip to Michigan mid-November and had a flight and a LOT of time in the airport at both ends, which for most folks would be annoying but I was thrilled.  It felt so decadent to do nothing but sit and read for hours.  And because of my long reading stint, I was able to really sink my teeth into the book and really enjoyed it.  Never was I bored with it, never was I uninterested, but the intricacies of the plot, characters, and intrigue required a fair bit of focus which I did not have in great supply. Even after setting it aside for days or weeks at a time though, I never lost the thread of the story. Carey’s debut novel is impressive, and detailed, and shockingly not on every best seller list. I am sure that this book has been passed over by readers due to Phedre being not only a courtesan, but more predominantly an anguisette (deriving pleasure from pain). I think that’s what makes her a much more complex character and understanding her nature is exactly what makes her memorable. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series, and I am sure it will not disappoint.  If you like Game of Thrones, I think you would enjoy this book.

Ok, so I mentioned that I set Kushiel’s Dart aside at a couple of points to read some ebooks.  One was a free ebook called Club Shadowlands.  Meh.  The other was Iced by Karen Marie Moning.  You may have read my post on the Fever series (here if you haven’t), and Iced is a spin off of that series.  Same world, but you are now following Dani O’Malley rather than Mac.  I didn’t love Dani as a character previously, so I honestly never had any interest in reading Iced.  But, the quickest way to get me to read a spin off focused on a character I’m not that into?  Tell me that there’s a new book featuring Mac and Barrons that this one leads into.  KMM surprised me with this book.  It was an enjoyable read and Dani didn’t bug the crap out of me like I thought she was going to.  I feel like I understand her a bit better having been in her head now.  I’m also very curious to see where KMM is going to go with Dani’s character.  She’s far too young for her possible suitors to become anything at this point, but I feel like that’s where we’re headed.  So…maybe she’ll go through some sort of time shift and age several years miraculously?  Who knows, but it was enough to keep my attention anyway.  So, I’d recommend reading Iced…particularly if you want to get to Burned.  *evil grin*

Iced

The last book I read in 2015 was A Discovery of Witches.  I’d had this one on my to be read list for awhile and sitting on my bookshelf for far too long.  I was immediately hooked by “the combination of magic and history” as a friend put it.  As an Art History major, I found Diana’s studies about alchemy and ancient texts (which crosses over into the art history realm) fascinating.  As Diana struggled to learn more about her own history and explore her powers, I found that it was echoing a similar process I’ve been going through (not magical, obviously!) with finding and reacquainting myself with my authentic self.  I cannot wait to read the next book in this trilogy!  This one was another I would highly recommend.

092

So, that’s my 2015 year in reading and I’ve got a fun plan for my 2016 reads that I’ll share soon.  Happy reading!

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