Blogger Takeover: Planner Folio Organization with Claudia Bach @chicagomomplans

Claudia Bach is the admin of one of the largest, most active and fastest growing planning communities on Facebook, Bullet Journal Junkies, which currently has 145K members.  As a longtime member of the planning community, Claudia has had the honor of being on various design teams and speaking at several planner conferences and events, including Go Wild hosted by Wild for Planners. Claudia lives in Naperville, IL with her husband and 13-year-old daughter Lindsey, who is following in her mom’s footsteps as a planner girl. Claudia can be found on Instagram at instagram.com/chicagomomplans

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Hi, planner friends, I’m Claudia Bach! I bought my first Erin Condren LifePlanner™ back in 2014. From that moment forward, my love for the lifestyle brand and its pretty and practical planning products has grown exponentially each year.

I’m the type of girl who loves lots of color, fun patterns and inspirational quotes, which makes all things EC perfect for me. As a busy mom with a busy teenager, my go-to EC planner tools help me keep it all together (and look good while doing so)!

When I found out that Erin Condren was launching Planner Folios, I actually did a happy dance! The PetitePlanner™ Collection launched in recent years has been a game changer for my family and me. It’s become central to our lives and plays a key role in our meal planning, budgeting, and goal setting. I’m so excited that I get to share my On the Go Folio setup with you today.

To begin, I mainly love the EC folio system because you can customize it by selecting the Petite Journals or PetitePlanners that meet YOUR NEEDS. Also, the size of the On the Go Folio is PERFECT for carrying with you, well … on the go! I carry mine in my purse and take it to work with me every day. I’m able to keep my master EC LifePlanner™ at home on my desk and take my planner folio with me for all of my portable planning needs.

The first book I set up in my folio is the PetitePlanner™ Monthly. As I mentioned, I keep my EC LifePlanner™ at home on my desk, since this is where I sit down each week to plan out the upcoming week. So, the Monthly Planner is perfect for carrying in my purse. If I’m at work and need to double check the date of a friend’s birthday or my daughter’s chorus concert, I have all those dates written in my Monthly Planner and can easily look them up. If I’m at the dentist’s office and need to schedule my next visit, I can quickly refer to my Monthly Planner to check my availability. The size of the PetitePlanners really makes them super convenient for taking with you wherever you go!

The second book that I have set up in my folio is the PetitePlanner™ Wellness Log. Earlier this year, I found out I was diabetic. It was a wake-up call for me and made me realize how important it is to take better care of myself and manage my health. I immediately starting using the Wellness Log to track my meals and exercise. I truly feel like having to write these things down keeps me accountable and helps me make better choices.

I also love being able to take my Wellness Log with me to the doctor’s office so that we can talk about my health and how we can optimize my plan for managing diabetes. I have found when I get too busy and get away from using the Wellness Log for a few days, I usually don’t make the best choices and end up not feeling well. So, for me, this particular PetitePlanner™ has been such an important tool for helping me manage my health.

As my appreciation for planning has grown, so has my involvement in the planning community. I was honored when asked to help plan the 2019 Chicago Planner Conference. I have found that keeping a third, dedicated PetitePlanner™ for event planning has been key in helping me stay on top of important tasks and follow-ups. Our team communicates frequently throughout each day, so it’s convenient to use the blank Petite Journal to quickly jot down notes and track follow-ups. I previously had a different notebook dedicated for this purpose but found that it was too bulky to bring with me everywhere, plus I ended up with an assortment of sticky notes all over the place. That’s why having a Petite Journal that fits in my On the Go Folio is just what I need to stay organized!

Finally, the fourth book that I have set up in my folio is the PetitePlanner™ Gratitude Journal. I recently read the book Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and loved it. When I heard about her #Last90Days Challenge, I immediately jumped in. The basic premise of the challenge is to end the calendar year with a strong finish by focusing on health and by taking time each day to focus on gratitude. My family tries to take time at the dinner table to share what we’re grateful for each night, but I’ve found that I also really enjoy taking time to reflect quietly and write in my Gratitude Journal each week.

The launch of the Erin Condren On the Go Folio has helped me customize a planning solution that fits my schedule and fast-paced planning needs perfectly, and I’m so excited to be using an EC folio system in conjunction with the new 2019 EC LifePlanner™. I really love having a folio that I can take everywhere on the go. I also love that the system can evolve with me as my needs change. For example, when I wrap up the #Last90Days Challenge, I may decide to switch out my Gratitude Journal with a blank Petite Journal that I can use for making bullet lists, or maybe I’ll pick the PetitePlanner™ Goal Setting Journal to set my intentions and track my progress.

The ability to use the On the Go Folio with a variety of EC PetitePlanners and Petite Journals means that anyone can personalize their own folio system to perfectly meet their needs. I will definitely be giving these functional and fashionable organization products as gifts to my friends and family this holiday season!

 

 

 

6 Things A Cancer Survivor Wishes You Knew with Guest Blogger Sam Kuhr

Samantha (Sam) Kuhr is a longtime Erin Condren employee, travel enthusiast, boy mom, cancer survivor and travel blogger. She can be found detailing her incredible travels, beautiful family and courageous health battle on her blog, My Travelling Circus. Sam is a beloved member of the planner community and active planner conference moderator and speaker. Today she’s bravely guest blogging and sharing first-hand tips for navigating a conversation with someone with cancer.

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Three years ago my life and body changed forever when I discovered I had stage 2 breast cancer and needed many major surgeries and possibly chemotherapy and radiation. I had two cancerous tumors removed, both breasts, and 13 lymph nodes.

I’m grateful for each day I get to walk this earth, and couldn’t have survived without the outpouring of love and support from my ‘village’, however, I’m permanently changed.

Here are six things a cancer survivor wishes you knew:

1. Sometimes I’m so nervous when I go to my oncology appointments, I vomit in the bathroom of the waiting room. But I put on this brave face when you ask how my appointment went as though it’s no big deal.

2. I prefer to hear success stories, not horror stories. Please be sensitive when sharing stories about your friend who had a double mastectomy at 38, only for the cancer to come back three years later and now she’s dead. It’s not that I don’t care about your friend, I really do…but this is a cancer survivors greatest fear, and it’s hard to go there.

3. I no longer have control over my body and emotions. The chemicals I take on a daily basis are totally running this ship. Some days I barely feel them, and other days I don’t even know who this crazy person is. None of this is deliberate. Please don’t take it personally, and please forgive me. I’d love to not take these drugs, but you see, those same chemicals that sometimes turn me crazy, are the same chemicals that are supposed to keep me alive.

4. Sometimes it feels like a bad dream, and I can hardly believe this happened to me, until I see my Erin Condren LifePlanner™ filled with dates, test results, business cards and future appointments.

5. When people say “You’re all good now right?”…. what I want to say is that I’m all good unless these cancer cells in my body decide to grow and take a tour of my body again. You see this is how it works for me now. If my cancer returns, it’s not because I did or didn’t do something… it’s because those are the cards I’ve been dealt.

6. I honestly feel lucky as crazy as that sounds. It’s amazing I’m still here. Instead of feeling angry cancer paid me a visit, I feel I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to celebrate another day. I also know there are no guarantees. For any of us. There never were. And yes, I worry about ‘recurrence’ more often than I want to, but I remind myself we’re all here temporarily on borrowed time and each day is a gift.

Throughout my journey, I’ve had the good fortune to meet an incredible network of people involved with breast cancer awareness. I feel incredibly grateful that Erin Condren is a huge supporter, and generously donates 50% of sales back from her breast cancer awareness collection. I’m thrilled she has partnered this year with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and look forward to supporting research and prevention of this horrible disease that affects so many of us.

Let’s make a pact to live life large each day we’re here! Who’s with me?

 

Blogger Takeover: Desk Organization With @FleurDille

Anna Cobbs is a speech pathologist, blogger, and full-time mom to 3 and 5 year old daughters. Like every mom, she wears many hats and navigates a jam-packed schedule. When she’s not switching gears from mom to business owner to wife to friend, Anna is coming up with clever ways to stay organized and is so excited to share some of those today!

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Blogger Takeover: Tips for Work from Home Mamas with Erin Ruoff of @hi_lovely

Hi, I’m Erin, a typical work from home mom. Mama by day and business owner and blogger squeezed in everywhere there’s time. If you see me out and about during the week I usually look like a hot mess. Top knot, coffee in one hand, toddler in the other, iPhone dinging and a very hurried look on my face. Although it looks like I’m probably going crazy or extremely in over my head, it’s actually an organized chaos. And we thrive on it.

 

Having a schedule is crucial for us, but summer has made life a little more difficult for working from home. Erin Condren keeps me ahead on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis. Here are my tips so you don’t go insane or get burnt out on working from home.

1: Create a schedule. WRITE IT DOWN. Lay it all out there: school times, meals, nap, errands, and work. I take every Sunday to map my week out in the LifePlanner. It’s a tremendous help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2: Write down the month’s extra appointments and activities. This will help you when people ask things of you, girls nights out, date nights, etc. This all goes in my Deluxe Monthly Planner.

3: To-do lists. My husband truly gets credit for this one. Daily to-do lists are crucial in anyone’s life. I don’t clutter my planner days with little tasks, but I do us the notes in the Luxe Planner for it. (Order the extra note pages, trust me!)

4: Create a designated area for work. Mine was upstairs in our playroom/my closet and I’d get distracted with clothes…. So I switched to kitchen. I love my kitchen table. So much natural light and readily available snacks!

5: Have fun with your planners and lists. The menial tasks seem a little more fun when you use stickers and fun colored pens/markers. I have my schedule organized by colors, silly to some but fun for me!

6: Turn it off every day. For yourself and the kids. Set a time to take 15-30 minutes and put the phone and computer down and just play. Maybe in the morning for you, afternoon for the kids and at night with your spouse. Dance parties are our favorite down-time fun!

7: Pat yourself on the back and reward yourself occasionally. Whether it be a vacation or just a trip to get a quick pedicure, take that time to relax and refresh. You do some serious work in a day. You deserve it. If you thrive in organized chaos like me or are a super, organized person already, these tips will help you get though the craziest summer days or the back-to-school grind. Now go buy yourself dome EC stickers and bright markers, because they always make me happy!      

My Erin Condren Must Haves:  Deluxe Monthly Planner, LifePlanner, Sticker Set, LifePlanner Starter Set, Dual Tip Markers, Journal (for all the lists!) and Gratitude Journal Erin Ruoff – @hi_lovely

Photography Credit: Keilany K Photography
www.keilanyk.com/

Blogger Takeover: Back to School with Jen Dufore

Ever since I can remember, the back-to-school time was my favorite time of year. Picking out crisp new notebooks, inky new pens, bright un-doodled-upon folders, a Trapper-Keeper (am I dating myself?), and other fun accessories was the highlight of early August. I’m guessing if you’re reading this blog, you might know this feeling. Are you feeling it right now? I hope so, because Erin Condren is here to make our year more fun, organized, and colorful.

It’s been many a few years since I was in school, but thankfully, I get to experience the back-to-school excitement again…through my kids. All three of my children head back to school in just a couple of weeks, and I’m so excited to share how they’ll be getting things done so they can have some fun!

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My name is Jen, and I have three kids, Macy (2nd Grader), Matt (1st Grader), and Michael (Pre-K). While only the older two are just starting to get actual assignments, they all watch mom play with stickers plan our days out here at home, and I want them to start developing the crucial habits of staying on top of their schedules and tasks. I want them to know that the goal isn’t to fill out the planner, the goal is to accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish, and the planner is a tool that can help along the way. And “help” is a spectrum from a creative outlet to a systematic task list! No rules here. They are free to experiment to see what feels best to them.

Onto the supplies! I am super excited about the new products. I’ve saved the best for last…so make yourself comfortable!

First up is the new Personalized Planning Notepad. This has a striking resemblance to the weekly layout of the Horizontal LifePlanner, but with the ease of a notepad. With 25 sheets, one of these per semester will get you all the way through the year! Mine is not personalized, but you can add your name (or anything else you want) to the top.

As a mom, I love the idea of using this as kind of an at-a-glance for the week. Important things I need to remember, big projects, reminders of special days, and more. The box under the day could be for a date, the weather high and low, or a theme day of the week.

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The space is so open that it could really be for any purpose. This would make a great chore chart, pre-planning worksheet, or even weekly goals list. Or, your oldest child can borrow it and use it whatever way she likes. Stickers, of course.Next up are these ADORABLE notecards! The Woven Wonder pattern lines the top of each card. They come hole punched with a ring for easy assembly. I love the laminated covers to keep the cards protected, and as a bonus, you can use the wet erase markers on them!

Notecards are so versatile. Even at my kids’ ages, they can range from letter sounds to sight words to multiplication tables.

My preschooler LOVES reading (with us) and is trying to string together sounds, so I filled this one with simple words. He is having so much fun practicing!

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I think the thing they were MOST excited about is the new Lunch Tote collection! These are the same design as previous years, but noticeably larger. The new design measures 12x12x6, so they can hold containers, ice packs, and a drink easily while still zipping.

My kids aren’t quite old enough to have free reign over the color of some of their supplies (school lists dictate folder color), so they can’t use these fun Designer Pocket Folders, but I CAN! I snagged these to keep track of general school info so that it’s easy to find throughout the year. Oh, how I wish I had these in college!

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I haven’t done a lot of deskpad planning, because I don’t have a desk where I plan. I sit at the kitchen table with all of my planning supplies and take over until it’s time for someone to eat around here. Nonetheless, you can easily hang this Metallic Monthly Deskpad up on a wall for your family to see. It helps keep everyone on the same page to have a central family calendar. A big, roomy space for monthly events plus a nice wide sidebar covers pretty much everything you need for a month at a glance.

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Of course it wouldn’t be an Erin Condren product without some stickers nearby. I love pretty things, but I’m a functional planner, and these stickers are EXACTLY what I love for my personal planning! Fortunately, you can find both decorative and function (and a blend) in the vast selection on the Erin Condren website, but this one really nails it for the monthly planning.

Excited to be able to use this CELEBRATE sticker this month! We celebrate our 13th anniversary. That’s 13 years he’s been putting up with my planning. 😉 We plan to celebrate with some football practice. All in all, I’m excited to have all of this space for the whole family to see! As our kids have gotten older, I’m realizing how important it is for them to know what’s happening, too.

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Another larger calendar alternative is the Inspirational Quote Calendar. It’s smaller than the Metallic Monthly Deskpad and comes in at a lower price point, but brings signature EC quotes to the table. This one runs January – December 2019. I love that it’s a big more compact. This would also make a GREAT gift!

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Last but not least, the Academic Planners and their accessories! These undated, coiled Academic Planners would have been my dream come true in school. Same coil options as the LifePlanners and Notebooks – Platinum, Black, Gold, and Rose Gold. All beautiful!

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Each Academic Planner runs for 12 months, with the flexibility to start whichever month of the year you choose because it’s undated. Date Dots can fill in the dates for you, or you can simply write them in. In the beginning of the planner is a 12-sheet projects and exams section. Spaces for description, class, details, deadlines, and of course, a checkbox for when it’s complete. The Academic Calendar has two sections that can be used as a margin and main space, blocks to separate schedule from homework, important daily reminders, or any other combination of content you might like. It also has a designated to do area for each weekday.

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And of course, stickers at the end! It’s SUCH a fun planner for a student! Makes me almost want to go back to school. Almost. 😉 My kids are THRILLED and jumped right in!

I’m not sure whether they liked the planner or the stickers more… But they sure had fun decorating! The patches were a HUGE hit! They fought the most over the patches. Thankfully, there were plenty to go around!

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My middle guy is doing SUCH a great job writing, and he loves all of the space to practice. Even if he’s not writing down assignments, he can still log reading and write about his day, which they’re encouraged to do in first grade. I’d say their first sibling planner party was a hit!

A few more fun accessories round out the Back to School selection and I may be taking some of these for myself!

Tabbed Sticky Notes are the perfect size. I left my kids notes to find the next time they open their planners! I definitely took these for my own LifePlanner™ and Deluxe Monthly Planner. So many options for these from extra notes to reminders. Love this addition to the accessories list!

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The rounded pop-up page flags are adorable. They do stick up just a hair, so be mindful of where you place them on the page. They’re also VERY sticky, so once you place them, they’re not moving anywhere!

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The Sticker Storage Box also has a new design! All the new stickers and accessories fit nicely in the sticker storage box! There’s a magnetic closure too.

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WHEW! Are you ready for school? I know we are! Thanks so much for joining me in this review of the fun new products Erin Condren has to offer students and other school supply lovers. I’m feeling ready for the year to begin! I’d love to hear which ones you love most!