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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February 2015 in Photos

★ I continued to work on my big focus project, And They Sinned

★ I was gifted and made some handmade gifts including that adorable hedgehog tote bag!

★ Two big crafty milestones – I finally feel like I succeeded in teaching myself to knit and I finally finished the first quilt I ever started

★ Completely in love with Rainbow Rowell’s books

★ I was reintroduced to Young Living essential oils and I feel like it’s completely in alignment with everything I’m focusing on this year

★ I was able to spend some time reconnecting with one of my best high school friends and Eric and I were honored to attend a benefit to raise money so that she can begin work with a new service dog.  Read more about Adele (her current service dog) here

★ The apple obsession continues

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December in Photos

★ Treated myself to the Shoshanna Amulet from BaubleBar to wear for our annual Eggnog & Dessert party after seeing it here.  I adore this statement necklace.

★ Put the finishing touches on our living room tree and on the blue tree in the hallway.  The lights make me so happy.

★ I’ve been saving this book for December – the perfect book to curl up with on a chilly winter night (it’s My True Love Gave to Me).

★ Lots of baking –  chewy chocolate ginger cookies and orange cranberry mini loaves for our party; cannoli cheesecake for Christmas dinner (my first cheesecake!).

★ Eric took me to an amazingly beautiful display at the Dallas Arboretum of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

★ Participating in a fun book photo challenge and remembering some books from earlier in the year.

★ A holiday isn’t a holiday without a holiday mani!

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February in Photos

February 2014 in Photos

How can I possibly sum up my February in 16 photos?! I’m still in the midst of keywording and editing my photos, so I’ll have to make due with just some snapshots for now.  I flew to Germany on the first and from there Sylvia and I traveled by train to Paris.  We rented a little apartment and spent an amazing six days there.  We traveled back to Germany and then had a couple of days in Bavaria.  So different from Paris, but beautiful as well.  I flew home the day before Valentine’s Day and Eric met me at the airport with a bouquet of flowers.  I finished two books on my trip – one on the plane there and then I started/finished the second on the plane home.

These photos bring such a smile to my face.

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January in Photos

January 2014 in Photos

January was mostly full of preparing for my Paris trip.  Eric gave me a gorgeous Kelly Moore camera bag (my first camera bag!) for Christmas.  I had a few shopping trips to pick up shoes, PJs, etc.  I even bought a gorgeous tangerine trench to wear!  I made sure to keep up with my cardio at the gym to prep for all that walking we’d be doing.  I even picked the perfect polish to wear.

I finished reading the last of the Stieg Larsson books (so good) and started a new to me series.

Eric made a fabulous King cake to enjoy for Epiphany.

I’m absolutely enamored with the Dracula tv series, and the sets are stunning.  I look forward to this show every week and it never disappoints.

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December in Photos

December in Photos

 

December was a very emotional month, full of equal parts joy and sadness.  There was a lot of stuff going on that resulted in a lot of stress, upset, etc. in my world.  So I felt a bit like I was balanced on a razor’s edge throughout the holidays.  But, there was definitely a lot of good stuff in December.

Over the months leading up to the holidays, Eric and I spent some time doing some home improvement and a little bit of decorating.  We really wanted to have some things “done” before we had guests over for our holiday party.  One of the big things we did was buy two rugs.  We bought one for the living room back in October, you may remember, and you can see it in the photo of our dessert table.  At the beginning of December, our second rug arrived for the kitchen.  It took us a long time to finally find something we loved, and as you can see Thutmose loves it too!

We also got snow near the beginning of the month, and ice with it, so we were cozied up in the house for several days waiting for it to thaw out so that the roads were passable.  The ice storm put us a little behind in getting our tree, so we were rushing a bit to decorate this year.  Once all the decorating was done though, I always realize how happy the site of a decorated tree lit up makes me.  It’s amazing the transformation everything goes through at this time of year.  Magical!

I worked on some Christmas projects – one was a mystery stitching piece that a part was released each Sunday from Thanksgiving through December 10th or so.  It’s the little nativity scene you can see.  I loved working on it, and most especially I loved that each Sunday I was able to focus on a related Bible verse and really think about the season.  And I also bought the backing fabric for my Christmas quilt so that I could get it finished up.  Those hot cocoa cups just did me in.  So cute!  One of the things I do love about my time off around the holidays is getting to work on some of my crafty projects while I’m home.

We had our dessert party as usual, which was lots of fun.  Of course, I always love picking out recipes for treats I’m going to make so that each year it’s a little bit different.  I loved the vintage look of our Christmas cards too (Target!).  And Thut’s favorite napping spot was on the table with my Dickens Village.  He was so happy there, and every time we would see him, we’d comment that he was scaring the villagers.  So funny!

We took my niece to see the Trains at Northpark at the end of the month, our other annual tradition.  It included lunch at Pie Five and that chicken pesto pizza is to die for!

I also started and finished the last book in the Beautiful series on one decadent Saturday morning, had my very first macaron, and treated myself to a facial.  Such fun!  So, as I said, there were definitely some great moments of joy and peace during the last month of 2013.

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November in Photos

Nov in Photos

November started off with a bang!  The first Saturday I attended a book signing for Christina Lauren for their latest book in the Beautiful series – Beautiful Player.  I’ll have a post up soon on the series and the book signing too, but I finished Beautiful Player shortly after getting it at the signing!  And speaking of books, I also got to go see Catching Fire the night it came out in the theatre – loved it!

I spent some time during the month looking at my in progress craft projects, working on some, and planning for some new things.  One of my big projects towards the end of the month was working on finishing some Christmas ornaments I’d stitched.

Of course, one of the things I was excited about was visiting a local camera store and checking out a variety of camera bags in preparation for my trip to Germany/Paris.  I loved the bright yellow of the one in the photo, but I ended up going with something slightly different.  Post to come on that as well and why I chose what I did.

As the holidays approached, I celebrated with a super blingy manicure – I used my new polish, When Monkeys Fly, over a gold I already had on hand and wowza!!  Eric and I made apple pancakes for breakfast, which is our tradition for Thanksgiving morning, and then watched the parade.  We went to my mom’s for our cozy Thanksgiving dinner and it was really a nice, relaxing day.  So much to be thankful for!

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October in Photos

October in Photos 2

So….October.  Is it perhaps an indication of how the last few months have been that I’m just now posting about October?  October is always a crazy crazy month for us.  We see to try to cram in so much stuff in October it leaves my head spinning.  I think I still have photos from last year’s whirlwind October that need editing, or blogging, or…something.  This October was no exception to the rule – we kept it jam-packed, but were able to enjoy some fun things.  But, I know I’m playing catch up a bit with some of the things I intended to post last year – but I’m starting where I left off and my intention is to stay more in sync with my blogging because it’s important to me.

I started off October with a ton of excitement and inspiration.  I really want to take some time and try to capture what really hit me, and some of the things that spun out of that, but for now I’ll just focus on capturing the month itself.  One of the things that I tapped into was Lara Casey and her newsletter.  I’d been following her on Instagram for a little while, but I finally subscribed to her newsletter in October.  The theme for the month was Clear October.  She wrote in her newsletter about having a clear mind and really being intentional about the time before the holidays and the end of year craziness sets in.  It really struck a chord with me too – I wanted not only to have clear intentions and clear ideas about my plan for the remainder of the year, but it also meant a clear heart.  I’ve always been a firm believer that you have to make room in your life for what you want – if your life or your space or your heart doesn’t have the space to receive God’s gifts, how can you expect your prayers to be fulfilled?  In an effort to do my own clearing in October, I started off the month by cleaning off the white board in my office.  It literally took me about an hour.  There were notes and diagrams on there that had been there so long I could not get them erased and I had to scrub at the words to remove them.  My Instagram photo shows my clean and clear whiteboard – out with all the “junk” that no longer serves me and opening up a space to receive.

The rest of the month was, like I said, jam-packed with all sorts of things.  We went to the State Fair, as usual, and I finally got to see the Chinese Lantern Festival at night.  It was just as stunning as I’d imagined!  Plus we got to see the Kildares play, which is always fun.

I spent a good amount of time reading in October, particularly the Beautiful Bastard series by Christina Lauren.

I did some baking – pumpkin bread and then my very first Italian Cream Cake for Eric’s birthday.  We had amazing Thai food for his birthday dinner at one of our favorite local spots.

I finished up my memorial sampler for my dad at the end of September, and finally blogged about it over at my other blog.

I got a little “on the spot” award at work for the work I did on a project, and what better way to celebrate than with leopard pumps?  You can’t go wrong with leopard.

We did some projects around the house, including installing some shelves in our media room to contain some of the things that came from my mom’s house when my dad died.  We also bought a new rug and pouf for the living room.  I am so in love with this rug, it is not even funny.  My absolute dream rug – and Eric was won over by it too!

And we also spent some time with my niece in October.  As part of that whole idea behind making room in your life, we decided that we definitely needed to make some room in our lives to spend more time with her.  She came and spent the night with us, Eric made her pink pancakes for breakfast and we watched The Breakfast Club.  She loved it!  I also worked with her on designing her Halloween costume.  This year she went as Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas – and the dress I worked on tirelessly was a huge hit!

As usual, October was a great, busy month.  I’m looking forward to sharing November with you!

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September in Photos

September in Photos

How in the world is it November?  October is always a crazy busy month for us, but damn!  And today it actually feels like Fall outside.  Back in September, we had a few Fallish days, but mostly it was still pretty warm.  It was still in the 90s and I was seeing tons of Instagram posts of the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte…but I just couldn’t embrace it wearing shorts.

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole in books during the month.  After finishing City of Fallen Angels, I picked up Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren.  I’ll probably do a post on this series after I read the latest one, but suffice it to say that I read Beautiful Bastard in three days, and then read Beautiful Stranger in three days.  I literally could not stop reading these!  You can see that toward the end of the month I attempted to start something completely different, The Girl in Hyacinth Blue.  That barely caught my interest and held it.  It’s a little bit sad though that I read two books in six days and then mostly didn’t read the rest of the month.

Of course September also brings with it Fashion Week, and I had a ton of fun watching streaming videos of the shows and of course I’ve already posted on some of my favorites here and here.  And it made me long for New York in the fall and spicing up my wardrobe a bit, evidenced by my OOTD photos with some statement necklaces, fall colors, and some fun polish colors.  In fact, speaking of polish, that pink I’m wearing in several photos was in honor of NYFW – OPI’s Passion for NY Fashion.

I made my very first lemon meringue pie (with Eric’s help).  Lemon meringue pie is my absolute favorite, so having one for my birthday back in August just wasn’t enough.  I decided it would be a perfect time to learn how to make it myself, since my mom won’t be around forever (and she took over from my grandma who used to make them for me).  This one turned out beautifully and tasted even better.

Even my fabric shopping took on a fall color scheme…love all the browns, oranges, and reds that I found.  That’s all from Juliana Horner’s line, Rosette.   I just need to find some time to actually work on my crafty projects!

Now, off to look at October’s photos!!

 

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August in Photos

August in Photos

I always feel that my birthday and then Labor Day signal the end of summer – marking the change from longer days and saturated color to cooler weather and wardrobe layering.  Even though I’m sure we’ll have many more 100 degree days in front of us, my thoughts immediately turn to the new season.  And judging by the number of Pumpkin Spice Latte pics I’m seeing on Instagram, I’m not alone in this.

August is, of course, my birthday month and it brought with it a much-needed vacation from work and time to get together with friends.  I’m still enjoying breaking out some statement jewelry pieces, which has been great fun.  I was also treated to some new nail polish, new (much needed) perfume, and a blow out.  I even made it to the gym again.

I finished reading City of Glass and moved right into City of Fallen Angels – both so good.  I’ll have a review of this series up soon.  One of my birthday outings was getting together with a friend to see the Mortal Instruments movie on opening night.  So good.  So much love for Jace.  Go see it if you haven’t yet.  I’m looking forward to reading the fifth book.

I also spent an afternoon with another friend and we met for lunch at Bluebonnet Bakery, which was absolutely delicious.  I had their famous chicken salad sandwich and then we both topped off our lunch with a slice of Italian Cream Cake.  To. Die. For.  I haven’t had Italian Cream Cake that good since last April!

For my birthday, Eric bought me new perfume.  As I’d mentioned on this post, I was in dire need of some new perfume.  I ended up with D&G Light Blue for a lighter, summery scent and Thierry Mugler’s Alien Essence Absolue for my deeper fall/winter scent.  I love them both!  He also took me out to dinner at Ziziki’s, which I just can’t stay away from for my birthday dinner.  Everything there is absolutely delicious.  I had the first glass of wine I’ve had in awhile, I can’t go wrong with a Riesling and this one was fabulous!

We also hit a milestone with Ramses and Thutmose.  We decided that they were finally old enough that our Moroccan pouf would be safe to put out again.  It has been locked away almost since we bought it, so it’s nice to actually have it out in the living room again.  If we can get to a place where the other kitty-proof measures can be done away with I’ll finally be able to share our living room redo.

August was a good month, and I had a wonderful vacation and birthday.  Exciting things are on the horizon for my new year!

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