What a week!

This week I had huge plans to be productive, not just all things Planner & Paper Co., but in general. Any semblance of that plan has just gone right out the window.

I had planned on starting to write more on the blog, complete product and get that ready to upload to the store etc. etc. And life, as great as it is, just got in the way. Ever have weeks like that? I swear I had a plan and to-do list all laid out and now it’s Friday morning and I’m looking back going “where’s this week gone?” I can tell you, it’s gone to baseball games, errands and trying to adopt another dog. I know, you probably are thinking we’re crazy. Trust me.. it’s kinda crazy! Let me explain!

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Vero Beach Humane Society with my Bestie as they were looking for a dog. We have since found them one! While we were looking online for dogs, I found a dog named “Crash” on the website. He is a SPITTING image of Molly – down to the same little white hour glass mark on his back. I was curious and wanted to check him out – I had NO intention of bringing him home. While we were looking at dogs for the Bestie, we asked where he was as we hadn’t seen him. We were told that Crash had been involved in a car accident, hence his new name, and his eye had gotten hurt and unfortunately they couldn’t save it, so they’d removed it a couple of days before we’d gotten down there; and that he was in the post-op recovery center. I brushed it off and said “I was just curious what he looked like, if he’d been out I would’ve said hello, but no need to disturb him just to be nosey”. We left and I thought nothing more about it. I’d mentioned it to the Hubs, that there was a sad story to this dog, but hopefully he’d be able to find a home.

Fast forward to last Sunday.. We were back at the Humane Society to look at another dog for the Bestie and we asked about Crash as he was no longer listed on the website. The woman at the desk said “Oh, he’s pending adoption, but he’s right behind you”. He was in a special part of the shelter for injured/special needs animals in the lobby area. So, curiosity got the better of me, and I had to take a small peek at Crash. Below is when I first saw him with his little “Franken-eye”.

Well, gosh darn it, if it wasn’t love at first sight! I should’ve known! It didn’t matter, he was already pending adoption, so he was more than likely going to go to a good home and that would be Crash’s happy ending. We were told he had a hold on him until Monday morning, so if he showed back up on the website, that meant the adoption had fallen through.

For whatever reason, I think to make sure he’d gone to a good home, I checked on the website Monday and guess who was back on it? Yeah.. you’re right. Crash! So I asked BEGGED Hubs to call and ask if we could talk to the shelter’s vet to ask about Crash’s medical history/requirements. To cut a long story short, it’s spiraled into taking Hank & Molly down to meet him, taking the kids to meet him, a Medical Consult appointment with a vet of our choosing and now, we’re scheduled to bring Crash home tomorrow morning! *insert squeals* This has been such a roller coaster ride, as I didn’t want to get my heart involved – I know what I said above that it was love at first sight, but I was also trying to think level-headedly about his well being and what he was going to need medically moving forward.

Crash didn’t want to pose with his “Franken-eye”, so here’s a side view of him from our meet and greet with our other two dogs and the kids.

How freakin’ cute are Molly (left) & Hank (right)?!? They were watching Hubs as he went into the Shelter to find out where to take them to meet Crash. I just love their big ol’ heads and those floppy ears!

So there’s that news. This week wasn’t filled with just dog stuff. While I have had a mild migrain/headache all week, I did still make it to both of the boy’s baseball games. Wednesday I was still pretty sensitive to light and sound, so I stayed in the car and watched from the outfield for most of the game. I have to say that having A/C while I watched the game was definitely a perk! I did eventually venture out of the car and sat in the dugout with Hubs and the boy for the last inning and a half of the game.

I have also put in a little work for Paper & Planner. I have been researching packaging/mailing options, doing test prints and photo’s. While I haven’t done as much as I would’ve liked to, I have made some progress on the physical stuff as looking at my laptop has been painful with this headache. We don’t have baseball this weekend (I know! I’m going to enjoy the break!), so I’m going to spend most of the weekend working on the digital stuff for Paper & Planner.

Here’s a little look at at test photo from this week.

I really can’t wait to get this all rolling and moved into the shop. It’s a HUGE leap of faith, but I’m excited, nervous and ALMOST ready.

How are you so organized?

This is a question I’ve been asked numerous times. To be honest, I’m not always as well organized as I seem, but I will say, using my calendar – whether it be Outlook/iCal or a planner, I HAVE to know what’s going on in my life. I have 2 kids, who keep us on on our toes 90% of the time and most of our comings and goings revolve around them.

Since they the kids were both little I have used some kind of calendar system. Before planners were really popular, I used Outlook to sync my calendar to my Blackberry. I know.. old school! I still carried a small pocket calendar to keep doctor appointments, school dates etc. in my purse, but most of our important dates were kept in Outlook. I was so cool, I even color coded EVERYTHING. I’m a visual person, I can’t help it, I need color codes for everything. I’m pretty sure my husband LOVES it (insert sarcasm here)! I really wish I had a picture or screen shot of this, because my Outlook calendar was amazing epic. I have since moved on to iCal as I’m now an iPhone user, which is AMAZING. My husband and our daughter both have iPhone’s and I absolutely LOVE the functionality of the calendar app. We all use the “Family Calendar” on our phones and like magic we are all notified that a new appointment, event etc. has been added to the calendar.

While I always have a digital copy of our calendar on my phone I have since come around, it took me a while, and I purchased a planner. I did all sorts of research (this means I spent numerous hours on Pinterest and Instagram) and looked at numerous ways people utilize a planner to figure out what worked best for me. I chose to use the Arc System from Staples, which I love. It’s flexibility to move things in and out of my planner was a perk. I would only carry 6 months of calendar with me at a time. I liked being able to move the pages in and out to write on them. I liked the half letter size, it fit perfectly in my purse and I would take it with me everywhere with ease. Then I was given an Erin Condren gift certificate for my birthday last year and I took the leap into all things Erin Condren.

Now, I can’t even say that my planner is as stunning as ANY of those I’ve seen on Pinterest or Instagram, but it’s definitely functional! I have tried to add stickers here and there, but I’m still very much a  newbie when it comes to where/when to use a sticker in my planner. “But you’re designing planner stickers?” I hear you thinking it! I use colored dots in my monthly spread for things that are a constant, repeating appointment. I babysit my Nephew during the week and so I know those days and times are consistent, but I like an overview look when I look at my monthly for when I’m planning/adding events to our calendar. It’s that visual thing again. I don’t need to write it all out, as I know what the dot means. I do however write it out when I transfer everything to the weekly spread.

I have designed stickers that I will use. I need stickers to keep track of practices, both for baseball and for band; I created dots for the monthly spread and then the other cute, functional (the to-do, boxes, page flags etc.) stickers to fit the weekly spread.

I have found that the horizontal format is what works best for me. I have used a vertical layout before, in an older planner (Do It All Mom Planner) back when I was in college, which worked; but we just have too much going on these days to fit it all into a small vertical box. Maybe I’m wrong, or my writing is just huge, but horizontal is what works for me. I then use the blank box on the right as the space where I write our meal plan for each day. This way it’s all in one place.

So, the point of telling you all of this? I am only as organized as my planner/calendar. I really do not function well without a plan. I don’t schedule myself down to the very last second of my day, but I like to make sure we know what’s going on and when. With there being times that my husband goes in one direction while I go in the opposite, I have to stay on top of who has what going on and when. This is also how I plan our meals. Not so much breakfast and lunch, but dinners, for sure. If we have a baseball game on a weeknight, that is not the night I plan to cook a roast dinner or tackle a new recipe. I will be starting a blog series on meal planning and how I tackle that task.

So, let me know, how do you keep yourself organized? What planner/planning system – you could still be using a Blackberry and Outlook – have you found that works for you?

If you’re interested in purchasing an Erin Condren Planner yourself, you can use my referral link and receive $10 off of your first purchase!

I’d love to see how you use your planner, your stickers or lack there of and what type of planner you use. Link me below!

Slowing Getting Somewhere

In a previous post I mentioned that I was looking at this weekend as a launch date for The Planner & Paper Company Shop. Unfortunately, this just hasn’t worked out as planned. I think I set myself an unrealistic date; thinking that I’d be able to finish, package, test, write shop policies, How-To’s and prepare myself for the shop to open in a matter of weeks and I have just run out of time! While we are not opening the shop today, I thought I’d give you a run down of everything that has been going on around here.

The past 2 weeks have been jam packed with product development, Cricut testing, packaging creation,  research and LOTS of planning! Not just my everyday life events, but planning the launch for The Planner & Paper Company shop. I feel as though I’m slowing getting somewhere with the to-do list that I wrote for myself and I’m hoping that we can start listing products here in the next few weeks – stay tuned for the date.. it’s coming, SOON!

There has been A LOT of admin stuff going on. I have worked on updating our Shop Front – I have created new store header images and worked on the “behind the screen” stuff so that we are ready come launch day. I also created/started our Facebook Page. There’s not much there yet, but all blog posts will be shared there, and I will try to update with the Instagram photos as well. It’s definitely the one place, besides here of course, that you’ll be able to find all the latest blog posts, new releases, sales etc. etc.  for The Planner & Paper Company.

I am currently working on finishing up a weekly planner kit, Bloom. I started this as a basics set, not so much a themed kit – was trying to have more than just a baseball kit in the shop for now, and have ended up creating something I REALLY love and can’t wait to see it printed and in my planner! I did share a sneak peek while I was working on it on our Instagram account.

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We’d love to have you follow us over there. There will be more sneak peeks, behind the scenes pictures, and sometimes there may be some cute pictures of my dogs, Hank and Molly, thrown in for good measure.

I have also been working on making sure that Circut Print & Cut works with my products. I will be writing a tutorial on how to use my products with Cricut Design Space and how to print and cut my stickers if you are a Cricut user. It’s pretty simple, just a few extra steps than if you were a Silhouette user, but still totally do-able! This tutorial will also be included, as a PDF,  in the download files for you to print and keep for  easy reference later.

This weekend I will be doing test prints of our packaging for our Planner Charms (see below for an example). There will be different styles and color options available once our shop goes live.

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I am super excited about our packaging. I know, it’s a little detail, but I like a classic, well polished look and I’m hoping that we have found a solution that will be just that! This packaging will carry throughout once we transition to printed planner stickers as well.

While all of this The Planner & Paper Company stuff sounds like fun, I did sneak in a trip to Michael’s to browse the planner isle. Who knew they were having a sale on their planner items and the 2017 Happy Planners? Well, they were and I now have a Happy Planner Mini and a pack of the Mom Life stickers!!

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I have seen them all over the planner groups on Facebook and the way they are being used – the Meal Planner is what has me intrigued – and I’m super excited to have one of my own! Now to put it to use!

Wow, that’s a whole lot going on around here! I think this covers all of the bases of what’s new with all thinks The Planner & Paper Company! I will be posting a set launch date as it gets closer and I know we are truly ready to launch.

Dead Letters – Advanced Copy Review

** A Copy of Dead Letters was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review **

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Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach 

2 out of 5 Stars

*Synopsis below is from Good Reads*

A missing woman leads her twin sister on a twisted scavenger hunt in this clever debut novel of suspense for readers of Luckiest Girl Alive and Reconstructing Amelia.

Ahoy, Ava! Welcome home, my sweet jet-setting twin! So glad you were able to wrest yourself away from your dazzling life in the City of Light; I hope my death hasn’t interrupted anything too crucial.

Ava Antipova has her reasons for running away: a failing family vineyard, a romantic betrayal, a mercurial sister, an absent father, a mother slipping into dementia. In Paris, Ava renounces her terribly practical undergraduate degree, acquires a French boyfriend and a taste for much better wine, and erases her past. Two years later, she must return to upstate New York. Her twin sister, Zelda, is dead.

Featuring a colorful, raucous cast of characters, Caite Dolan-Leach’s debut thriller takes readers on a literary scavenger hunt for clues concealed throughout the seemingly idyllic wine country, hidden in plain sight on social media, and buried at the heart of one tremendously dysfunctional, utterly unforgettable family.


Just a quick browse of the reviews on Good Reads before I post mine makes me wonder if we even read the same book. I found that this book was slow to start, the use of big “uncommon” words made it some work to read and the plot didn’t make me want to keep picking up my Kindle.

I’m well read, but the use of the larger words made it that I had to keep pausing to define to make sense of the sentence; then re-reading the sentence to figure out the context of what was going on, was a put-off for me. It felt like at times there was a larger word used when really the simpleness of using “family” (for example) would’ve sufficed. When I read I like to enjoy it, I make sure I carve out time during my busy schedule to read, and I felt like with the beginning of this book I had to work to read it.

The plot really didn’t start to get interesting to me until the 80% in mark. Then I wanted to know what Zelda was really up to, how this was all going to pan out and have some dramatic twist that I REALLY didn’t see coming.. and then it didn’t. I’m not sure I felt/saw the suspense during the entire book, it wasn’t a huge climax at the end, it was rather lack luster and kind of how I saw it ending.

I hate giving books a 2, because I feel like there are always good things you can find in a book, something you enjoyed, but for me this one fell flat. I also hate that this is the first book I received from NetGalley and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was hoping to. Maybe I’m missing something.. If I did, let me know!

 

My February Reads and Reviews

Once a month, hopefully closer to the first of each month, I’m going to try and review the books I’ve read over the course of the month. Some months I read A LOT, and others not so much. I have just started reviewing advanced copies of books through Net Galley, which I’m excited about, so there will be times when a few of the books I review will be advanced copies – I’ll be sure to note the publishing date; if you’re interested in the book. I’ve noticed in some online arenas that Advanced Reader Copies are abbreviated to ARC’s. I’m not sure I’ll be using the term, but just a heads up if you see it around Good Reads or Amazon, that’s what it means.

Now that I’ve explained my plan to review books monthly,  let’s take a look at the ones I read for February, shall we? I have linked all of the books to amazon via an affiliate link, if you’d like to pick up a copy of any of these books.

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

4 out of 5 stars

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows, a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

For me, this book was better than Gone Girl (I know.. boo, hiss and all that). While I enjoyed Gone Girl, this for me was more gripping, more of a page turner and I couldn’t put it down. It’s a fast paced, twisted story that held me from the first page to the very last. If you’re into psychological thrillers, add this to your book stack, you’ll thank me later.

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You Will Know Me: A Novel by Megan Abbott

3 out of 5 stars

Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with “exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl,” (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless roller coaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.

This started out slow and then picked up the pace. I have to say that I feel as though the accident where Devon gets hurt is regurgitated a little more than it needs to be. I get that it explains why Devon started in gymnastics, but the book references the injury way more than I felt was necessary. This wasn’t a bad book, it was an easy, quick read that was a little predictable and repeated itself about the accident.

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The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

4 out of 5 stars

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time. With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

I read this in a day. Yes, I may have ignored my family for most of the day, but I couldn’t put this down. From the first paragraph in the book until the end, I couldn’t stop reading. All I wanted to know was what is Tanya running from and why did she feel the need to run? I really liked the story line and how fast paced this book was. If I say anything more, I feel I’ll reveal too much.. just read it… trust me!

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What She Knew: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan

2 out of 5 stars

This is a debut novel by Gilly Macmillan, which has been compared to The Girl on the Train. I for one do not see the comparison being similar at all.

The book is about Ben, an 8 year-old boy, goes missing from the woods while on a walk with his Mom, Rachel Jenner, and the search for him over the course of 9 days. The books perspective “flickers” between Rachel Jenner and Jim Clemo, a Detective for the Bristol Police Department. The suspicion/suspect changes several times during the book, which psychological thriller doesn’t do this?, but it also wasn’t a huge twist. It seemed as though the ending wasn’t planned out as well as it could’ve been. I wish there had been an underlying story line that would’ve made more sense with the big reveal of who actually had Ben at the end of this book.

I don’t think I’ve ever given a book a 2 star rating; well, there’s those that I haven’t finished, but I don’t rate those anyway.

This wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t poorly written, but I felt like the story was drawn out and slow paced. I typically read fast, but this was a book that I just didn’t want to pick back up and finish – it’s taken me over a month to read this. I’m sitting here thinking “what?” It’s not even a book with a huge plot twist that has thrown me off or made me wonder where that came from; it’s just left me with a lot of “what happened” questions.

Maybe I’ve read some really stellar reads recently and this didn’t hold up to them, but I was hoping since I’d heard great things about this book, that this was going to be a stellar read for me as well.

That’s it for this month. I’m hoping to read a little bit more next month, as I currently have 2 advanced copy books to read and review.