May Has Come to an End

Finally! May and all the stress (and fun) that came with it is over.  It was one thing after another- all positive stuff. This is going to get a bit more on the personal side and little less on the planner side.

At the beginning of May, I finished the Spring semester.  First time at the U of A that completed all my of classes (four this time) and actually passed them! I was so thrilled.  I know I could have done better (that’s just accountability not being down on my accomplishment) but in the end I did fantastic.  It encouraged me to tackle six classes in the Fall and I’m actually pretty excited about the schedule. Only going to have to be on campus two days out of the week, three of those classes are those days, and the other three are online leaving me free to pretty much 4-5 days out of the week for those classes, home life, and other things.  The days I’m on campus are pretty sweet too- I’ll still be home early enough in the afternoon to take care of dinner or whatever needs to be done, do homework, and have down time at the end of the night.  I’m glad it’s summer now, but I have to say I am pretty excited for Fall.

Immediately, I had to get my husband ready to go testify in Federal Court in Pennsylvania.  He’s been on business trips before, including going to India twice (the last time lasting almost 2 months), but he’s never had to go alone and never involved the FBI and court.  He’s anxiety was beyond flared up and I (happily) helped him stay centered and got him all packed up.

That next week, my daughter “graduated” from elementary school and will be moving on to middle school (junior high) in August.  I’m probably more excited than she is, but I know deep down she can’t wait. It’s actually looking like she’ll be going to the middle school I went to.  Going in to put her name in brought back so many memories.  Elementary school (which was mostly in Oklahoma) was pretty much hell.  Middle school was a bit better and I actually met my best friend there who I’m still really close with now.  I look forward to the friends and achievements she’ll accomplish in the future.

Only a few days later, we were off on our first family road trip to Oklahoma, where I am from originally.  Prior to leaving, I had a sort of “plannerpalooza.”  I wanted to do my planning for the next weeks as I didn’t want to lug all my stickers and stuff to Oklahoma (I knew I wouldn’t really have downtime even in the hotel to really plan anyway) and I knew I would be too tired coming home that Sunday to do my planning.  I got my personal planner (the new Recollections planner from Michael’s), my Erin Condren vertical, and my Plum Paper all updated and decked out.  It was a blast!  We spent a little over a week travelling and visiting family in Oklahoma and Kansas.  On the way back, we stayed the night in Roswell, NM which would have been more fun had I not slipped and fell in the hotel bathtub thus bashing my back on the edge of the tub.  In the split seconds it happened, I was so afraid it the end for me.  Once I knew I would live, I was so afraid my sciatica would act up.  So far so good, (*knocks on wood*), just minor aches and pains with a bad, purple bruise along my lower back.

I’ve spent the last week home just resetting and getting back to routine.  I willingly ate like crap (lots of carbs!) and wasn’t perfect with my medications and that is back on track.  Laundry is caught up, I’ve even had time to start playing WoW again with my hubby! Life is feeling pretty good right about now.

What I’m most excited about, and have planned out during the, what would be unused, summer months of my school planner (PPP) is going to “work” everyday designing my own stickers for my planners.  I have been having so much fun just getting used to the Silhouette Studio program and customizing just what I would need.  So many of the stickers from the kits I purchase go unused despite how I try to repurpose them.  I won’t be able to sell the ones I’m making currently, but it’s at least helping me get the hang of it if and when I decide to officially open my shop and sell some.  But that’s for a later time.

I am a little sad to see May go with all the fun and excited.  At the same time, I’m glad June is here and I look forward to what’s to come in the rest of the year.

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Deflated Hype

I was hoping that I would have a little more to write about tonight’s….event.

Over the last two to three weeks the planner community has been a buzz over the event “Planner’s Night Out” hosted by Michael’s stores across the country.  At least for my location, there were 6 seats total available to register for and the advertisement displayed a MAMBI Happy Planner.  I hadn’t purchased a Happy Planner yet so, of course this was a viable reason to purchase one.  I honestly didn’t expect it to be a class with a lot of flair or goodies or anything, but I was excited for my first opportunity to meet and make friends with local planner girls.  I was genuinely looking forward to just a fun event out of my house.

The night, tonight, arrives and the posts from the east coast begin flooding my Facebook feed.  The disappointment instantly started flooding me.  Ladies were sharing photos of small tables with plain cardstock and old scissors, racks of just MAMBI planner supplies for sale with captions that this was all to their “event,” and that an associate just guided them to planner aisle and they were out in less than 10 minutes.  I began instantly rethinking if it was even worth getting out of PJs for. While the negative outweighed the positive, there were a few posts of groups of ladies sitting at tables in the class room chatting and planning together.  This instilled a little bit of hope, but I wasn’t totally sold on attending.

The time arrived and I decided that I would rather go and leave early, then potentially miss out on something fun and at least meet new people around me.  I packed a small bag (not the big tote I was originally thinking because I totally overdo everything) and got my planners together, spruced up a bit, and headed out.  There were several cars in the parking lot so it immediately looked promising, but the posts online still haunted me.  I just grabbed my new Happy Planner and left everything else in my car (risky to leave my precious planners in the car, I know) and went into the store.

I didn’t see much of anything that pointed me in the right direction, but I headed back to where I knew the class room was.  Before I even got the door, I saw two people in there working with what I thought was clay (turns out it was fondant) and knew that wasn’t the right place.  I walked around the entire store feeling like a complete idiot looking for any sign of table or Happy Planner things (other than what is in the normal aisle) and found nothing.  As I was about to head out, I noticed an associate and customer at the floral table.  This, to my dismay, was the Planner’s Night Out.

The floral table wasn’t even cleared off enough to have more than one person at the counter to see what was laid out (lucky for her there was only just one person.)  My social anxiety kicked in and I immediately felt like I was out of place.  I called my husband to tell him what I discovered and how disappointed I was as I wondered back to the planner section.  Here I did meet one other disappointed patron who had her planner bag and planners in her cart.  I instantly felt her pain.  We chatted briefly, but I was already feeling so awkward that I didn’t even get her name and just kind of wondered off (so fellow planner lover, if I came off rude I’m really sorry! I’m just socially awkward and shy.)

As I write this, other Tucson planners are saying they had more luck and fun at the Oracle location (about 40 minutes from me) and had I known sooner I probably would have headed out there. I have not lost hope.  I have my first real planner meet-up in Gilbert with the Arizona Planner Society that I’m excited about.  It is hosted by the awesome Jamie Marquez-Bratcher, who also runs Planner Girl Meetups which I wrote about in my previous post.

I hope Michael’s and MAMBI get some good feedback from this experience and come up with another event that is more thought out and engaged.  Like I mentioned, I’m not looking for handouts or freebies, but just have a more consistent and thought out plan.  This event might have been a good introduction for new planners, but it caught the attention of a lot of planners already established in the community and just failed to deliver.

Planner Girls Unite!

Firstly, I apologize for not posting in a while.  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks getting back to classes after Spring Break and getting back in to the groove of things.

The main thing I am excited to share about is a new website launched by the leader of Arizona Planner Society (a group/community I’m a part of.)  Jamie Marquez-Bratcher’s website, Planner Girl Meetups, is a hub for planner girls all over the world to find solace.  The site acts as a beacon to the planner community calling to planners, sponsors/shops, and planner girls who either already host or would like to host a meetup in their area.

This idea is absolutely brilliant.  Yes, there are dozens upon dozens of groups out there for the planning loving community and there are huge annual conventions and groups, but what about more regular, “girls night out” type of settings?  This is what Jamie hopes to create with Planner Girl Meetups.  I love this idea so much! It allows for a more low-key, ease-in-to-it kind of atmosphere for those that are just starting out, and provides an opportunity for those that have been doing a while to share tips make new friends.  It’s like pledging to a local chapter of a strange planner sorority; there are little sisters and big sisters, gossip, crafting, and on occasion wine (not always, but I have seen some drunken get togethers and that is hilarious.)

I, for one, can’t wait for my first meetup.  My first, technically, will be a small “class” at Michael’s on April 21.  I believe it will focus primarily on the MAMBI Happy Planner (which I do not have yet, but I guess I’m going to have to get it soon!)  Two short days after that, I hope to take a mini-roadtrip up to Gilbert for the Arizona Planner Society meetup on April 23.  This is open to all planners and planner friends.  Right now, I’m probably flying this one solo, but it will be fun to meet some like minded people.  The next meetup that is actually more local to me, in Tucson, isn’t until early May.  Right now I feel like I have no one around me that is into this planning thing.  These meetups are the key to changing that.

In one of her Periscopes, Jamie mentioned that people from the UK and Australia have reached out to her to host meetups and connect with sponsors because there just aren’t resources there to make the connections and I know there are smaller communities across the country that will benefit from this project as well.

I’m excited for this venture for her and I look forward to the success that this is bound to achieve!

For more information, please visit and contact Jamie at plannergirlmeetups.com.

Picture courtesy of Planner Girl Meetups.

 

Happiness Addiction?

I’m pretty sure I’m developing an addiction.  I find myself weighing bills versus craft items for my planners.  I just started this “glam planning” adventure mid-January of this year.  It’s part of my personality to be both impatient as well as do something to the fullest.  I got my Erin Condren and then within a month had my Plum Paper.  I was pretty firm that the MAMBI Happy Planner wasn’t for me; the disc/arc binding just seemed awkward and weird.  However as my obsession has allowed my mind to open a bit more.

Recently, my husband has really been passionate about cooking at home and cooking new recipes.  I took this as an ideal opportunity to try out this disc system.  I convinced my mother (who is currently living with us as she recovers from various life changes) that the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe “planner” was a worthy investment.  This way she could write down her family recipes and combine them with the ones my husband was coming up with.  And so that arrived yesterday.  Now, I think I’m aching to get the actual Happy Planner.  My rationality still has it’s grip on my senses though.  I have nothing to really plan in it and I would just be duplicating what’s in one of my other planners; there’s really no value in getting it now, and yet, even as I write this my “addiction” is thinking of counterpoints- like “hey, you can use it to track social media!”

This is a good point actually.  My husband, while mildly concerned, is excited by my excitement.  He thinks that I should start my own youtube channel for my “plan with me” (which terrifies my inner anti-social monster making her angry).  I’m not sure that I’m quite there yet.  There isn’t really anything new I’m doing as far as structure, I’m just combing things that others might not have.

He also supports me having my own Etsy shop and eventually and independent website that would allow for complete custom orders.  He even got me a course on Adobe Illustrator so I could get more familiar with that and stop using MS Paint or Word (which he finds so funny).  With me being a full-time student and other things going on at home, this all seems so overwhelming.  But it doesn’t cause me to hate planning, it’s not turning this hobby into a painful job.  All in all this falls in line with what where my future is going, it just feels so fast.

I do look forward to being more active and creative.  I used to scrapbook pretty much everyday, and then life crashed hard and I haven’t had that outlet in a long time.  I’m very excited about this passion, but I do have some fear of it getting away from me and getting me in trouble somewhere down the line.

Currently, I’m developing some ideas that I can do over the summer to make a little money to sublet my planner expenses, but that will come in its own blog post.

Let’s Get Started!

So, for one, this is my first attempt at what I call a “big girl blog.”  I’ve used LiveJournal for years (I’m nostalgic like that) and in talking with my neice (she’s here!) we decided it was time we both took the plunge and created our bgb’s.

That being said, the only thing I can think of to blog about with what’s going on in my life is my new obsession in the “glam planning” world.  I’ve always loved planners but they always just seemed so “grown up” and professional, whereas I felt I was a little more creative than just black and white jot things down.  Thanks to buzzfeed, when they posted an article about jazzing up planners (18 Planner That Will Make You Want to Get Your Shit Together) I found my calling!

I’ve been into scrapbooking (I swear I’m not an old lady, though I do have 7 cats in my family) and making handmade cards, this just meshed right in!  I did all kinds of research and watched countless hours of youtube planners (so far I would have to say my heart belongs to Vinamae) and I selected to start with the popular Erin Condren Life Planner!

Being a full time college student with an anxiety and major depressive disorder (which unfortunately caused me to lose the pt job I had), this little hobby quickly became a weekly meditation for me. I love the ECLP, but between home life and a heavier school load, I didn’t have enough room for my assignments and tasks.  I quickly went to option number two for school: the Plum Paper Planner! I love that it’s similar enough to what I was familiar with in the ECLP and gave me more than enough room to break everything down for classes.  I had to admit to my loving and supportive husband that I was now officially addicted.

Money is, of course, pretty tight but the trade off is priceless.  I able to support the needs of my family more fully thanks to the mental clarity this provides as well as it’s obvious planning and organizational functions.  So when it comes to stickers, I browsed my scrapbooking closet (stop snickering) and utilized the left over stickers and items I had there, plus the office supplies I had collected in the work field.

Thanks to Vinamae’s channel, I found Dru Cortez’s Vintage Glam Studios blog and downloaded the free printables she posts.  Her designs are amazing and adorable and there is a wide variety; even though my sticker collection from etsy shops has grown, I still use a lot of her designs in both my planners.  I just use the very common Avery Sticker Project Paper in my HP inject printer that I’ve had since I was printing custom made wedding invitations and cards for my friends and co-workers.

That about sums up the beginning of this adventure.. We’ll just have to see how this whole blog thing works out as time goes on.  Should be rather interesting.

-SBP