My Perfectly Planned Life

Ha! So nothing is “perfect.” I’m not crazy. If you’ve been following this blog at all, you know that I’m a huge planner, Type A, itinerary-loving girl – but things very rarely work according to plan. And that’s okay! I can only do my best.

Today I’m sharing with y’all how I manage my life. And it’s all thanks to my planner, how I’ve changed it, how I use it, and how obsessed I am with it. Seriously.

  1. Research Planners, Styles
    This was the first step, mainly because originally I was going to make a planner from scratch. I kid you not. I was creating layouts and comparing prices at places like Office Max. Then I realized it would be a lot of time, money, and effort to make it as cute as some of the ones I was running into at places like Barnes & Noble. I started realizing a lot of the planners had what I wanted in terms of style, I would just have to make it into my ideal.
  2. Figuring Out What You Need
    So I purchased the Rifle Paper Co. 17 Month Planner (with stickers!) in Juliet Rose pattern. It was a little pinker than I prefer, but it’s bright and floral and I love the inside. Part of figuring out what I needed, was to immediately cut out all the unnecessary pages I knew I would never use (like the Contacts section). I’m a list maker, so part of getting this planner was to stop me from making daily lists (and weekly, monthly, yearly, etc) that was creating a bunch of trash for the environment or getting thrown away because I couldn’t organize them. I love the Bullet Journal style of crossing things off or moving them to a different day, so I needed my planner to have the boxes next to the line item.
  3. Stick with a Style
    A planner should have organization – duh. So I created a system of how to do my weekly spread’s “list” and stick to it. I use an ‘x’ if the item is complete, a ‘-‘ if I have moved the item to another week, and cross it completely out if I’m no longer going to do it. I will put items under the day where I think I will do them, but I use those more as guidelines because you never know how busy you’ll get.
  4. Highlighting Based on Category
    Gotta love a good color code! Since my layout is setup in a list setting, I like to highlight my items so my eye can easily find what I’m looking for. Green is used for events, which are most important and set up under the day. I use pink for blog items and orange for travel. (That way it’s easy to see when I’m out of town.) I’m still toying with purple and blue, because I have goals of vlogging and starting a podcast, so we’ll see how much those get used.
  5. Bookmark Trackers
    This is my most recent update and I love it! Part of the “BuJo” style is tracking what’s important. Since it’s not exactly easy to add pages to this planner (plus they were small ongoing lists) I decided to make little bookmarks that could double as trackers. I have one for my monthly budget, one for my yearly goals, and one for the pictures I need (mainly for blogs). I have a weekly tracker for my most important habits (writing, working out, side income) but it isn’t pictured because I’m still perfecting it. I use it to make sure I hit certain amounts for the week.
  6. Monthly Spread Set Up
    I know I’m not utilizing the monthly section to it’s full potential yet, but for the moment I’m using it as a sort of organized at-a-glance. It’s got important events, out of town weekends, and blog post scheduling – all using my highlighter code of course! I also started using the Notes section (found under my little bookmark) for really happy moments of the month. I like tracking this gratitude. I also have a little coffee sticky note so I can keep a close eye on my coffee budget. Ha!
  7. Big Project Organization
    For those big projects, I want to keep ideas and checklists with my planner, so I gather (and simplify) them first, then put them in the colored envelopes located in the back pocket. These big projects are usually temporary or don’t have a permanent home yet (like parties or events I’m planning). I have them color-coded and I try to go into the envelopes to clear out whatever is no longer useful.
  8. Stickers & Personalization
    This is the fun part! It’s obviously not necessary to have ghost stickers or cute little binder clips – but that’s what makes it fun! My planner came with a few sheets of cute stickers, but I’m guilty of buying special monthly sticker sheets as well. My binder clips hold my bookmarks in a more organized way, so if they’re cute that’s only a bonus, right?
  9. Sticky Notes
    I try not to use sticky notes for quick lists, but sometimes it can’t be helped. If I have a busy day or a bigger than the norm grocery list, I will put it all down on a temporary stick note that I can grab from my planner. And then recycle! Otherwise these lists are defeating the whole main purpose of my planner.

There will probably be even more improvements in the future – but it’s on an as needed basis! Leave me a comment with any suggestions or ways you organize your own life. I live for this Type A nonsense.

Rest, Remember, Relax, Reflect

As I approach my blog’s one year anniversary, I’ve decided to take a week-long break from blogging, social media, and even -gasp- adventure. I think R&R is super important, and I think R&R&R&R is something I’m in very much need of. I want to take this break for the classic rest and relaxation, but I also want to spend much of it reflecting and remembering my previous year of experiences.

A lot of the time, I find myself thinking of the future. Planning and researching and wondering, “What next?” It’s been so much fun tackling things on my bucket list and making new goals. But I also think I haven’t had too much time for a breath and I definitely haven’t taken an entire week off!

As I’m about to take my first week off (I’ll miss you guys!), I’ll tell you five ways I’ll be spending it. Instead of the planning, scheduling, list-making, writing, picture-taking, etc, here are my main goals for this upcoming break:

  1. Being Lazy in Bed
    I’m not super into TV, but there are a couple of shows I love keeping up with. I don’t like having the pressure of a weekly show, but I know there’s a couple of seasons on Netflix I’ve been meaning to mindlessly binge.
    There’s also definitely some reading I need to catch up on! I’ve been so busy this year I had to adjust my yearly goal from fifty to thirty, but I’m excited to lounge around and enjoy one of my favorite hobbies that doesn’t make me go, go, go.
  2. Cleaning, Tidying
    I just did a huge clean-out of everything in my house, which was a major two-week undertaking, so I’m glad I can spend some time in my space doing the smaller chores I enjoy. I’m talking a couple of dishes here, a load of laundry there, maybe even some light sweeping.
    I really love cleaning, but also just the simple tidying up (like making the bed). Having a clean home puts my mind at ease. And when I need to meditate on things, I find this easiest to do when my hands are mindlessly busy.
  3. Doing “Nothing” with Those I Care About
    As a pretty social creature, I don’t want to completely shut myself off from those I care about. I just think I want to spend time doing more of “nothing” than having a real activity. I’m always interested in trying new things or creating unique get-togethers, but for this week I want to try and not chase having the new experience.
    They can join me on my couch! Or we can have a meal at a dumb chain restuarant – haha! Board games are always a classic. Anything that’s old and familiar and doesn’t require any plan.
  4. Projects that Have Been on Hold
    I am so big into DIYing and making stuff, but I have put a lot of stuff on hold recently. My creative endeavors list is massive as other projects take my interest or traveling has taken my time. I have at least three items on this list that I’ve promised to make for other people – haha!
    I’m so excited to get a chance to be creative in this hands-on way. Art has always meant a lot to me, so I’m ready to get my watercolors out, get the supplies I’ve bought months ago for certain projects, and spend some time making stuff.
  5. Hiking just for Me
    Recently a lot of my local hikes have been at new places so I can explore new trails. Don’t get me wrong, this has been such a fun experience and it’s great discovering new places to love. But because I’ve been pushing myself to find the new and share it with an audience, I haven’t been able to make it to my favorite local trails. I can’t promise I won’t take any pictures while on these hikes – I just love nature and photography – but I’m going only for me this time and that’s what makes the difference. I can’t wait to see my old favorites!
  • See you guys in a week!
  • How I Plan a Travel Itinerary

    Trip planning can be complicated depending on how much time you have and how many people there are to please. But, while I do like a bit of spontaneity, having an itinerary when I travel is always a big help! It makes sure I get done the big things on my list and can also save time and money. Below is the easiest way to lay out a trip!

    1. Figure out arrival and departure time
      This will help you frame your travel (obviously)! You’ll need to know exactly how much time you’ll have, which includes airport nonsense. Don’t plan anything for an hour after “flight arrival” and plan to be at the airport 2-3 hours before “flight departure.”

    2. Do your research; create a list
    This is my favorite part. I can spend hours on Tripadvisor and other blogs reading reviews of what there is to do in a city. I will definitely look into museums and nature areas (gardens and National Parks), but I also like to try to find the unique stuff. I want to fill my time with stuff I can only do at the place I’m visiting. Make a list – and try and rank it, that way you know what you won’t want to miss.

    3. Plot everything on a map
    This is how you figure out your locations. You’ll find you can sometimes learn the “burroughs” this way in a big city. Grouping things by location will help you plan how you’re getting to places. If you know they’re close to each other you can save time knocking them both of your list. You can also save money by walking if two things are close enough together. Sometimes something will even drop off my schedule if it’s too far and/or by itself.  Don’t forget you’ll also want to plot the airport and where you’re staying every night!

    4. Planning for time
    Once you have a vague idea of the location you’ll be in on a certain day, you can start trying to plan for how much time you’ll need at a certain attraction. If I have three things in one area, I will check out opening times. Whatever opens first will start my day and from there I decide how much time I think I’ll be at one thing. Don’t forget to also check out closing times! You don’t want to have something that closes the earliest as the last thing on your schedule.
    Important: Leave wiggle room in your schedule! You want to plan more time than you think you’ll need at every place. Plus you don’t want to forget “travel” time between destinations. 

    5. Leave space as a catchall
    You took more time than you thought at place 2, so you missed place 3? No worries! Create time in your schedule for things you missed or things you only discovered once you got into town. Creating “blanks” in your schedule can be very comforting. While I do like to accomplish a lot on trips, I still like to have a good stress-free time! This time can also be used to be lazy, if everything else is going according to plan. (I tend to plan more “blanks” the more people there are.)

    So that’s the basics of trip planning (specifically city travels)! You’ll notice I’m not very good at planning eating – I usually just don’t care that much where we eat since I get a Caesar salad petty much everywhere. Sometimes though, there’s local spots that have something rare- like in DC one breakfast spot had homemade poptarts. And if you know me at all, you know I love finding local homemade ice cream. It’s always a must-have on my list!

    There’s one last thing I’ll say about trip planning: Things will go wrong. I’ve not had one flawless itinerary to date. No matter how much research I do, how flexible my schedule is – there’s some things you can’t plan for no matter what you do. So you have to be flexible! Be willing to move things around or drop items off your list. It’ll make a much more enjoyable trip, trust me.

    Six Tips for Planning a (Boho) Bachelorette

    Planning my first Bachelorette Party for Amanda, I learned a lot about how to budget and make it fun for everyone. I had help to plan that one, and it was a whole weekend getaway in the Oklahoma woods, but I gained a lot of valuable insight.

    When it was time to plan Tracy’s Bachelorette, I went in like a pro. I was nervous to do this one alone, but I also was grateful it was one organized night and I could make my own budget. Luckily for me, Tracy is a fellow boho spirit, so I had a lot already on hand that would save me money.

    I went in with a small budget – only $120 – hoping I could DIY most of what I needed or shop smart. I have a big craft supply always at hand and I had the experience I needed to go in with the six most important things to plan a successful bachelorette!

    1. Theme

    I know most people think the theme is that it’s the bride’s “last night of freedom” but setting an actual theme makes the party so much more cohesive and feels more special. I chose boho for Tracy because she’s very hippyish but also because I had a lot of flowers/floral crafts already at my disposal. Let’s just say, I already had 72ft of fake ivy hanging around my house.

    Pinterest is your friend when checking out themes. You can get a feel for setting up a space and also good ideas for incorporating party favors and prizes. Our main space would be at a table (originally planned for outdoors but the weather wasn’t kind) so I knew I wanted most of my decor there. Then I did up the Snack and Drink table, knowing it would be the second most visited space.

    2. Libations Make a Party

    The same golden rule of every party is still true here: never run out of drinks (or snacks secondarily). The cheapest way to ensure this is make one big crowd pleaser drink that would be a feat to empty. I made a tried and true “Gypsy Sangria” recipe that’s never gotten complaints and honestly looked great on the table.

    It’s hard asking more of wedding guests because the whole process can get expensive, but making a party potluck style can help you save some money and make sure every guest will like at least one thing at the party. I also texted people on tight budgets cheap party food ideas so no one would feel pressured to commit even more money.

    3. Play a Little Dress Up

    This can be as simple as just having all the guests wear black, but try and go that extra mile. Everyone wants an excuse to be a little “extra” and get in the spirit of the night! Flower crowns were the obvious choice, but also gave me the opportunity to create an activity to kick things off. At the end, people have a personalized headpiece and have been drinking without that start-of-party awkwardness.

    4. Balancing Activities and GirlTalk

    There’s nothing worse than going to a party and playing dumb game after dumb game. At the opposite end of the spectrum, just trying to socialize your way through an entire night of unorganized activity is horrific. I made up my mind to have only two games and only two activities. Starting with an easygoing activity is a great idea so people can arrive and get started. Then I waited a bit for the drinks to kick in before starting the first game.

    I found bra pong online, which I was nervous about seeming tacky but was such a hit! It allowed me to gift the bride some bras but also revamped a classic drinking game. Next we did tie-dye because we used to always do that growing up at Tracy’s House. It was a nice throwback memento. Lastly we played a game of Fishbowl because I wanted everyone back around the table to end the night.

    Throughout all games and activities, I made sure people weren’t rushed through one thing to the next, letting the night flow easily. When the conversation started a natural lull, I knew it was time for the next item on the itinerary. Honestly, drinking also helps – ha!

    5. Know When to Penis

    Very important to mention: the thing about Bachelorette’s specifically is that they can get gross fast. I think two penis “items” are perfect. You know your bride, so you should be able to determine if you can get away with one more or you might need to take away one. It can be fun because this might be the one party where you have an excuse to make cookies with sugar penis sprinkles. You want it to feel like a bachelorette without going overboard.

    6. Gotta Have a Photo Op

    Pictures have always been great, but sometimes at parties we can forget to take any. Taking candids at Bachelorette parties can get you into trouble, so create a specific photo space that’s on theme. By doing this, everyone can take good pictures and have something to remember the night. Of course, it also gives the bride another chance to use that hashtag she worked so hard to create!