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. Continue reading

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!

Sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions with the LifePlanner™

Check out our favorite productivity tips for setting- and achieving- your goals in 2018.

 Setting resolutions is about more than making a wish on New Years Eve. Resolutions are a beautiful reminder that January 1st is a clean slate and you can accomplish anything you set your mind to- and we’re firm believers that this philosophy extends year round. It’s never too late to set resolutions and start keeping them!

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Grateful for Our Fans: Erin Surprises Military Wife!

In honor of an adopting an “attitude of gratitude” this Thanksgiving week, I’d like to share a story that highlights one of the biggest blessings in my life: YOU all, (or should i say, “Y’ALL”) the EC fans!

Though it’s been over ten years since I started this business, I am still blown away by just how amazing our fans truly are. I regularly receive letters, e-mails, and stories from all sorts of people explaining how much their organizational items have helped them, and on the days when I am feeling particularly stressed, I am reminded by these fans why my work is important and valuable.

So when a blogger by the named of Haute in Texas wrote me saying her friend and neighbor Melissa, a military wife and lifetime Erin Condren fan, deserved to be honored for all that she does, it was a no-brainer! We surprised her at the location of our soon-to-be retail store at The Domain, in Austin, TX, and her reaction is everything I hoped for!

 Needless to say, is is the energy and strength of women like Melissa (and all of our fans) that push me and my team to keep creating. Meeting Melissa, her daughter, and husband that serves our country was honestly one of the greatest highlights of this year. I am eternally grateful to them and all of you who have appreciated and supported my entrepreneurial journey. It’s been a rollercoaster at times, thanks for being along for the ride!

Fri-DIY: Sticker Book Cake Toppers

When it comes to DIY projects, one fact seems to always hold true: the cutest crafts are usually the simplest! Even if you aren’t the world’s best baker, these custom cake toppers will bring a heartwarming, homemade touch to even the most basic of boxed brownies. The best part? They are stunningly simple to make – and the options are almost endless!

What You’ll Need:

– Assorted wooden sticks (we used toothpicks, craft sticks, and dowels)

– Your choice of sticker books

– String for sticker banner (optional)

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Depending on your party theme or the occasion, we’ve got a TON of sticker books with the sweetest stickers to choose from! Whichever you choose, you will need duplicate stickers to wrap both sides of your wooden sticks, so keep that in mind. Most of our books come with duplicate stickers or at least duplicate shapes for easy attachment.

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Next, simply peel your sticker, attach it to one side of your stick (we used toothpicks for cupcakes and dowels for the cake) and carefully adhere the duplicate sticker to the back, securing the stick in place. Voila!

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To take your cake decorating to the next level, you can even try fastening a banner using two sticks and a piece of string! Simply decide on your banner length, tie a section of string to two sticks, and attach the “flags” in the same manner you used to attach the stickers to your sticks. For this girly themed celebration, we used our designer sticker book edition 2 with metallic accents for the flags, and our monthly sticker book butterflies and flowers for extra decorations. Pretty genius, right?

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No time for baking in your busy schedule? We won’t spill your secret! Grab some cupcakes from your local grocery and spell out something sweet with letters from our Cool for School sticker book.

Stickers are a steal right now! Shop any LifePlanner™ or Teacher’s Lesson Planner, get a free classic sticker book on us.

BLOGGER TAKEOVER: TLP vs. LP with Simply Learning

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Kaitlyn is the wife & mother behind Simply Learning, which was created from her desire to meaningfully engage on a daily basis with her two daughters. It features modern, hassle-free learning curriculums that are designed with the busy mom in mind. Her goal is to always make learning manageable + fun!

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I’ve found that one of the most important keys to successfully managing school at home is staying organized. As we are inching closer to the start of our school year, it’s essential that I stay on top of all of the busy details of our life. I’ve had the challenge of not only organizing our family activities, but also creating and planning a year’s worth of learning units for my preschooler.

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My Erin Condren planners have been such a blessing in this area of my life! I used the Teacher Lesson Planner last school year and loved all of the space it gave me to plan our Tot School activities. Since I homeschool, there are a few pages that aren’t applicable to our family, but overall, this is an amazing planner! I loved using the graphing pages to track my daughter’s progress, and the large calendar pages allowed me to jot down the daily projects I wanted to complete with her. My favorite accessories for the TLP are the stickers and the bookmarks. The stickers were a great way to not only keep track of different units and projects, but they also make spotting big events (like birthdays or vacations!) easy. The bookmarks are incredibly helpful since I constantly find myself flipping back and forth between different months of the school year.

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Another item that I love are small moveable “flags”. When I’m not sure which week I want to plan something, or if a project date is not set in stone, the flags allow me to easily move things around as need be. Over the past year, I truly began to love planning out our weeks and the final calendar is always so bright, fun and eye catching!

Over the summer I made the decision to try out the Life Planner this time around. I wanted to create a more structured schedule for my girls and allot specific hours to “school activities”. The hourly layout seemed to perfectly match what I was looking for. While I do miss the large calendar pages in the TLP, I really enjoy having detailed, hourly pages. I can track our appointments, playdates and lesson plans – all in one place!

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Another attractive quality about the Life Planner is it’s smaller size. We stayed at home a lot last year because I was juggling a toddler and a newborn, but now we try to get out of the house 2-3 times a week. I needed a planner that could easily fit in my diaper bag so that I could keep track of appointments on the go. I again love utilizing the many forms of Erin Condren bookmarks and the snap in Dashboards are a lifesaver when it comes to meal and grocery planning.

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The Erin Condren Back To School collection was recently released and I grabbed a few fun goodies for myself. Since I have the smaller Life Planner, I got the flamingo notebook to keep track of any extra notes or planning that I need to do. I also chose one of the lunch totes so that we could quickly pack healthy snacks for our weekly playdates. The Teacher Lesson Planner and the Life Planner are the two best planners I have ever experienced. They are incredibly well laid out – it just comes down to personal preference and what your needs are when deciding which would be best for you. Now that I’ve experienced both, my plan is to return to the Teacher Lesson Planner when my girls enter their elementary years. At that point I will need the extra space that the TLP provides.

I love making new friends and sharing our life with others. Come say hello!

Instagram || @simplylearning
Blog || Simply Learning
Pinterest || @simply_learning

 

Moving Day – Moving Into Your New Planner!

When we think of “Moving Day”, most people dread the thought! However, there is something so wonderful (and even therapeutic!) about MOVING IN to a new LifePlanner™. If you are a #plannernerd like I am, you too can appreciate the feeling of a blank canvas and an entirely new “journey” that awaits. 

Choosing a cover is always tough for me. I’m trendy and I like to switch things up depending on the season, the event I’m going to or the outfit I’m wearing… I love that our covers are interchangeable!

I love to add special photos (with a CoilClip™ Connector!) that are nostalgic and spark wonderful memories throughout my LifePlanner™. I transferred this one from my old planner, I’m just not ready to part with this memory!

I recently saw a greeting card that said, “Facebook did not need to remind me that it was your birthday!” The LifePlanners™ comes with 4 sheets of colorful stickers that help to highlight birthdays and other special events. I also love to add “bling” to my book with designer stickers that can decorate and inspire….

 The idea of a PERPETUAL calendar is so that you can keep one book year after year that holds all the important birthdays and events that never change. However, I must confess that I actually ENJOY rewriting these special dates year after year in the new Perpetual Calendar. Can anyone else relate? Ha!

Even after years of planning and organizing, I still get a thrill each time I start a new planner. What’s your favorite part of “moving day?” Share your thoughts with us on social!

Making Memories – Eighth Grade Gift

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One of my favorite projects at my kids’ school is the annual 8th Grade “gift” that is presented to each 3rd grader at our school. It seems like just yesterday that my twin 3rd graders came home BEAMING about their special day with the “big kids.” Now my kids are in 8th grade and I think they may have enjoyed their part even more this time around. I thought it would be fun to post the details in case you want to present this idea to your teacher or principal.

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Here’s how it works: Every 3rd grader is given an “All About Me” questionnaire (click here to download). This helps the 8th grader get ideas for a story that relates back to the 3rd grader that he/she will be matched up with.  The 8th graders write a story for credit in their Language Arts class and attach photos or drawings that make it more fun to read at the 3rd grade reading level.  Our Hermosa Beach Education Foundation donated the funds to have the books bound into a colorful assortment that looked so nice on the tables on presentation day.

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The day of the event, I volunteered with a few other moms to bring cookies and juice to the outdoor auditorium at our school. It was a precious gathering of students and it was amazing to see the size difference between all the 3rd and 8th graders together! (Just look at my son’s legs in this photo!)

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They found a quiet spot to read the stories aloud to their 3rd grade buddies and I must say, I got a little teary-eyed! It really is such a wonderful memory for all, hope you can make this happen at your school too.

Erin Condren & DonorsChoose.org

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We’re honored to announce that we will be partnering with DonorsChoose.org during this year’s Back to School season.  For every Teacher’s Lesson Planner sold now through August 31st, we will be donating $1 to projects of YOUR choosing.  At the beginning of September, we will open up a nomination period in which we will ask you, our customers, to nominate projects on the DonorsChoose.org platform that you think are deserving of being funded.  The Erin Condren staff will then select projects from those nominations and other projects near and dear to our hearts to fund using the money raised.  

We selected DonorsChoose.org based off of feedback we heard from our customer base and because we love that they make it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need.  Ultimately, they are helping move us closer to a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences they need for a great education.

Stay tuned to our blog and social channels for more information on how to nominate projects in September.  We’re so excited to hear from you, and make a difference in classrooms across the country!


$1 of the purchase price from the sale of each Teacher’s Lesson Planner sold in the continental United States will be contributed to DonorsChoose.org. This contribution is not tax deductible by purchasers. The promotion shall last until 8/31/2016, and will have a guaranteed minimum contribution amount of $25,000.