BLOGGER TAKEOVER: How To Style A Home Office with Simply Organized

11986566_10207596590693100_2614692584096918254_n Samantha is a professional organizer, small business owner, NAPO member, and writer of the blog Simply Organized. It is a mix of organization projects, DIYs, and inspiration with the goal of simplifying and taking the stress out of getting organized.

*****************************************************************

You may recall in August I posted an update about my home office. I shared the before and after of my very own cluttered, exhausted, end of summer work space. At the time, I thought I would take part in a popular online challenge this Fall to makeover one room in my home. That room being the office. Although I had the best of intentions, and still plan to update this space, I’m sad to report that time wasn’t on my side to join the challenge. These things happen and I’m not disappointed in the least. It will come together when its meant to be and look forward to sharing when it does.

In the meantime, however, there was no reason why I couldn’t invest in pretty artwork to brighten the space!

I’ve been talking about my new Erin Condren planner since making the move to one this summer. Her planners are bright, colorful, well-designed and full of inspiring messages. When I was looking at the new deluxe monthly planners (they are oversized, you guys – like my old DIY version!), I had no idea she also has fine art prints available. Scattered throughout her planners are motivating messages…

photo1

Of course she would offer prints to inspire you in your home / work spaces. These two in particular are what sold me…

 

photo 23

If there’s any message I can pass on to my daughter, it’s that she can design a life she is totally in love with. I love the gold metallic! I also fell in love with the coral and pink colors in the bundle of flowers.

In looking around my office, I decided to purchase 4 prints total…

photo4

photo5

photo6

Her white framing is gorgeous! My prints came ready to hang, which is a nice benefit when you’re too busy to run around finding frames. Framing is not my strong point!…

photo 7

The gold metallic is stunning…

photo 8

I hung 2 of the prints above my computer, where I see them daily…

Photo 9

photo 10

photo 11

photo 12

photo 13

These prints would make beautiful holiday gifts!

photo 14

photo 15

I added the other 2 prints to the empty space near my office shelving. So in love with these!…

photo 16

photo 17

Artwork, prints and framing on the walls changes everything!

The watercolor print is delicate and beautiful…

photo 18

photo 19

photo 20

Erin Condren’s prints are available for purchase on their own (for as little as $18) or you can have the framing added to your order. They come in a variety of patterns, designs and quotes. She collaborated with Marco Fine Arts to bring this collection to life and everything from materials and packaging are made right here in the USA.

These prints will transfer to my new home office decor perfectly too. I’m planning a much brighter home office with less hefty furniture. In the meantime, I’m excited to have some new added color and inspiration here in my office space…

photo21

I’m taking a little break from client work this week and heading to Nashville to visit friends. Can not wait! I’ve never been to Nashville and haven’t seen my girlfriend in nearly 3 years. I’ll share some photos on FB and will be doing some blog updates while I have the down time. Playing catch up with the client gallery! Hope you’re having a great week!

home-office-fine-art-prints-683x1024

BLOGGER TAKEOVER: Teacher of the Year Becca Foxwell!

Becca-Foxwell-Headshot-205x300Becca Foxwell is not only the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, she’s the blogger behind foxwellforest.com, an education-based blog chronicling the adventures of teaching in a first grade classroom.

**********

When I started teaching first grade seven years ago, I knew I was beginning a great adventure, but I had no idea of all that would be in store.

 

Picture 1

Throughout my life I have been blessed to have teachers who invested in me, believed in my best, and helped give my dreams the wings to soar. Teachers who left Forever Fingerprints on my life and now inspire me to leave Forever Fingerprints on the hearts of my students. When it comes down to it, I think that teaching is truly all about changed lives, changing lives. True life change comes through relationships, and I am so blessed that I get to spend my days investing in and making a difference in the lives of my students. They are the best part of my job! They challenge me, inspire me, and daily cause me to be the best teacher that I can be. Each one of my students holds such a special place in my heart and the Forever Fingerprints they leave on my life have changed me as well.

Picture 2

Last December, a new teaching adventure began when I was named the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. My responsibilities take me all around the state as I have the privilege of speaking to others about the amazing profession of which I am so blessed to be a part! Starting in January 2017 I will be the Pennsylvania representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition and will be traveling around the country for different engagements throughout the year.

My Erin Condren LifePlanner™ has been a lifesaver as I have had to balance my teaching schedule, my traveling schedule for Teacher of the Year events, and my personal schedule. Even though I love technology, when it comes to organizing my life I need to be able to see and physically touch my calendar. When I was named Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year I knew I was going to need an effective tool that would help me streamline everything so that I could still have time to focus on the important relationships and things in life. I love Erin Condren’s mantra “Let’s get it done so we can have some fun!” Time is our most precious commodity. Erin Condren’s planner is a must have tool that I use to manage my time so that I can work smarter and not harder!

While there are many life planner options, the one that I love the best is the vertical planner. It allows me to see all of the 3 main areas of my week at one glance.

Picture 3

  • Top Row is for my teaching/school dates–meetings, deadlines, student birthdays, school functions, etc.
  • Middle Row is for my personal dates–doctors appointment, date nights with my hubby (a weekly favorite!), hair cuts (yes please! Does anyone else besides me just love getting your hair cut?) church activities, time with friends and family, etc.
  • Bottom Row is for my teacher of the year responsibilities–speaking engagements, phone calls, newsletter/blog deadlines, etc.

The awesome thing is that you can make your LifePlanner™ fit your needs! Some ideas on how to use the 3 rows in the vertical planner are:

Picture 4-2

  • Bottom Row: Meals for the Week
  • Middle Row: Home Schedule
  • Top Row: Work Schedule
  • Top Row: Morning Schedule
  • Middle Row: Afternoon Schedule
  • Bottom Row: Evening Schedule
  • Top Row: Work Schedule
  • Middle Row: Kids/Sports Schedule
  • Bottom Row: Exercise Schedule

Truly the possibilities are endless!

I also LOVE that you can personalize your planner and change the covers of your planners. While I loved my “and so the adventure begins” planner cover last year, this year I decided to put my theme for Teacher of the Year “Leaving Forever Fingerprints” on the cover. I can’t tell you how much I love how it turned out! Isn’t it pretty?!

Picture 5

All of the accessories and options that Erin Condren has to accompany our planners are so beautiful and inspiring!

Picture 6

As a teacher I adore the colorful pens, stickers, and dashboards!

Picture 7

Thank you Erin Condren for designing such organized and practical, yet beautiful and inspirational planners! I’d be lost without mine! Click here for $10 off your first purchase!

Dare to flair with NEW metallic pins!

When I walked into my kids’ high school registration, I felt like I’d stepped back in time to the 80’s with all the buttons and fashion pins! The fabulous flair pins I used to decorate my denim jacket in high school have made a HUGE COMEBACK, we had so much fun recreating the look in our signature style. Available in multiple metallics and two super-cute designs, adding flair to your favorite bag or jacket will earn you serious style points! (Pun intended).

1

#Pinning Pockets Long hair can sometimes conceal your pins, so as an alternative, you may want to let them live on your lapel. Front and center, these beauties make a serious statement!

2

Collar Candy Turn up the toughness by adding a little flair to your collar! Just a few pins placed around your neckline turn a normal jacket into edgy outerwear.

3

Bag Bling Jazz up a backpack, tote bag, or carry-all clutch by adding a few strategically placed pins! Arrange them in an order for a patterned, put-together effect. or stick them at random for a funky, fresh look.

 

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)

Image-1 (1)
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.

Image-2
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!

Image-3
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?

Image-4 (1)
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.

How To Set Up a Homework Station

Image-6

Ah, homework! Back to school means back in the begrudging afternoon homework routine. Some don’t mind it, for others, it can feel like pulling teeth! Never fear, proactive parents, we’ve got a few tips for creating a peaceful place where the focus can be… well… focus!  Training our young children to be efficient time managers is a daunting task, but it can certainly start with the homework station. Keeping this space organized (and helping your child maintain it) is the key component to an inviting, peaceful learning environment that they will want to come home to enjoy. Mainstreaming this process and making it a routine they don’t have to think about will make homework less painful, and hopefully lead to an easier after school routine!

First things first, find a spot in your house away from distractions. This means a room or area with no TV, no phones, no devices. If your child has a device, make sure they turn it in to you for the duration of the homework period or have them put it out of reach. If your homework is timed like ours is, then give them a separate timer, like an egg timer or kitchen timer. Do not use one on a digital device or they will be tempted to play games, or worse, ask Siri for the answer!

Image-1

The Chair! This is important, especially if you have younger school children. Because most chairs at home are suitable for adults, the place where your child will sit each day after school should be fitted to their height. Be sure to have a chair that is the correct height: the child’s feet should be flat on the floor in order to stabilize themselves when they write. There is a direct connection to nice, controlled handwriting and their feet being flat on the floor! Some desk chairs are height adjustable, so be sure to take time to fit your child to the chair every few months.

Image-4

Supplies! Set this desk up with the same love you’d have to set your own desk. Get a set of colorful supplies to be used exclusively used at this homework station- meaning one glue stick, one nice set of colored pencils, one set of markers, plenty of pencils and erasers, paper clips, stapler, scissors, etc. to avoid breaking concentration in order to go sharpen a broken pencil lead or find a highlighter to mark an important place in the reading. Don’t forget a scratch pad and file folders! Keep everything they might need within reach to avoid having them get up and lose focus. Additionally, sticking to the same time for homework each day will help set the routine. For example, my kids come straight home, have a quick snack and then get right down to homework.  Whenever I get a little homework push back, I always pull out my favorite quote, “Let’s get it done so we can have some fun!”

Still need a few supplies for the school year? Shop our entire line of black to school accessories! Best of luck to you this year with all your homework adventures 🙂

How Do You Sticker?

It’s probably no surprise to y’all that I am a very visual person… so when it comes to seeing my schedule, I am a sucker for stickers! Without the array of asterisks, colorful flags, and motivational quotes, it would be much tougher for me to make sense of my days- and a whole lot less fun! We know our fans are just as stoked for stickers, which is why we’re constantly developing new books and sheets so that your personality can shine through your sticker design!

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to use our stickers – I encourage you to find the system that suits you! However, if you need some ideas and inspiration, we’ve put together two short videos featuring our monthly and classic edition 2 books to walk you through all the ways you can sticker your way to success! I’ve also outlined the different ways I use some of our sticker styles below.

Monthly Sticker Book:

Classic Sticker Book Edition 2:

Flags: I attend a LOT of weekly meetings, so the brightly colored and uniquely cut flags are a regular lifesaver. The metallic accents make them pop against the page, they’re the perfect size to write on, and I love that I can color coordinate them so I never get confused on which meeting is which!

Asterisks: Aside from being adorable, I use these stickers to mark appointments and errands! We cut them in many different ways to fit all areas of your weekly and monthly spreads.

Quotes: Perhaps my proudest sticker accomplishment, the stunning metallic quotes are cut to fit the daily boxes of your weekly LifePlanner™ layout, giving you a a weekly dose of motivation or inspiration!

Borders: I’m a total weekend warrior, so I love to anticipate a fabulous weekend of fun by bordering my Friday-Sunday stretches with the metallic border stickers! Cut them to the size you need, or use them to fill the margin above your monthly spread header- they are just the right dimensions!

Sheets: The most versatile of all our sticker collections, designer sheets are a do-it-all dynamo when it comes to organizing your LifePlanner™! These sheets can be cut to make all sorts of stickers (more info on that here) and look absolutely lovely in the margins of a neutral planner to add pops of color!

Sticker heaven is waiting…buy any sticker book and receive our first classic edition FREE!

Easy Summer Entertaining With Erin

Those who know me will tell you: any excuse to throw a party, you can count me in! So when I saw our posh palms design printed on wine totes, trays, and placemat pads, it got me SO excited to plan an elegant summer soirée!

Whether you’re the one greeting guests at the door, or you’re on the hunt for the perfect hostess gift, no evening is complete without a sip of something refreshing while the sun sets! For a themed event, try customizing the bottles with gift labels – I love this look for engagements or anniversaries when you may want to keep the bottle as a keepsake. Or if you’d rather leave the label clean, a wine tote in palms print is the perfect way to present your favorite beverage to the host.

Feed your fancy side by whipping up a charcuterie plate! It’s not actually as fancy as it sounds- just an array of cured meats, cheeses, and dried fruit, but when served on a palms acrylic tray is charcuterie-chic! I love the green and white palette in an outdoor setting, but you could also customize the colors in bright fuchsia or orange for a tropical-themed fiesta!

In keeping with the sophisticated style of the theme, fern fronds are a super simple way to decorate your table scape. Place settings in palms are just too posh, especially with matching placemat pads. String lights overhead add a finishing, romantic touch that will lead your guests to linger long into the night!

This gorgeous, garden get-together would not be complete without green tea macarons. Served in a palms acrylic box, they are a charming treat on top of an exquisite evening!

Inspired by all this natural beauty? Wait ’till you see wood grain! Shop new designs now.

3 Reasons You NEED Neon!

They say trends come full circle, and after working in a creative environment for the last ten years, I’ve come to realize it’s totally true- and in the case of neon, totally AWESOME! How can you not be drawn to the energy of these bright, brilliant hues? I’ll leave my big hair and headbands in the eighties, but neon is never going out of style!

1. Blossom and ikat were the perfect picks for the neon prints- against bold backgrounds, it makes for a fun twist on classic designs! The repeating patterns contrast against the lunar blue, lift off lemon, outrageous orchid, and plasma pink colorways are enough to get anyone’s pulse racing!

2. When we set out to design this collection, it was extra-important to me that we do justice to the vivid colors that set neon apart from its sister shades. That’s why we selected specially dyed paper to pump up the palette as much as possible! Furthermore, to make our patterns pop, we needed a special white ink to create contrast. This is not something that’s easy to find in the printing world – but we really wanted to nail it with neon, so that’s exactly what we did!

3. It’s amazing to see just how beautiful these designs are in person, especially when you mix and match them. We were so struck by how lovely they look, we knew we couldn’t stop at just books. Keep your eyes and ears open for matching neon elastic bands coming soon.. how radical is THAT?!

Need a closer look at neon? Shop the full collection here!

Blogger Takeover: Planner Workshop with Willowcrest Lane

Picture0

Norah Pritchard of Willowcrest Lane started blogging as a way to share her life and loves, to stay connected to a community, and to always continue to learn from others. Her blog focuses on ways to make life more organized, more beautiful, and more fun!

******

When I first started my blog, Willowcrest Lane, some of my very first posts were about planning. I wrote about the planners I use and why planning has brought me peace. Let me tell you about some of the crazy looks I got about that. People were like, “Out of all the things to write about, you wrote about your planner?”

But as I stood in front of a sold out crowd of 66 kick butt planner women, I thought, “I have found my people!”

Picture1

Using my paper planner is one way that I actively try to live a purposeful, balanced life, and I wanted to share that message and meet other women with similar visions.

With that thought, I decided to host a Planner Workshop to gather a community of women in Rochester, NY, the new planners and the pro-planners alike, to share what using a paper planner can do for our lives.

I shared an Instagram recap of the event here, where you can see all the fun candid photos of the day under the hashtag #willowcrestlaneplans.

We met on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the bright, airy Rochester Brainery, where my friend, Jocelyn, from Lemonjam Photography, captured what it looks like to plan, create, and inspire.

Picture2

So often, women can get a little lost in the daily grind of working and taking care of those we love, which we do so well, almost too well. It can be easy to become so busy in our roles that we forget to celebrate ourselves for the amazing women that we are.  My goals for planning the workshop were to bring a roomful of inspiring planner ladies together, spoil us all a little, and have a beautiful time celebrating the peace that comes from planning a purposeful life.

Planning an event like this was so much fun! I wanted to make sure that our time together made everyone feel appreciated, so I put some extra fun details like the name tag board, the planner inspiration board, and the paper flower backdrop together to make our time together special. Picture4 The excited buzz when the doors opened could be felt throughout the afternoon. As the planner ladies came in, my guest speakers and I welcomed them with big hugs and even bigger swag bags! We had some amazingly generous sponsors that made us all feel the planner love. I’ve been sharing about them all month on my Instagram, so everyone had an idea of how amazing they were. We couldn’t wait to get them and start planning! They were stuffed full of stickers and beautiful washi tapes from 12 different shops! Picture5 We mingled and showed off planners and our favorite supplies, and then it was time for the guest panel to talk for a few minutes about what planning means to them. My friends, Rachel, Claudia, and Katie are planner pros, and I couldn’t wait for them to share their stories and tips. We covered things like memory keeping, planning for peace of mind, and how to overcome the fear of a blank page. I am so thankful to have met each of these ladies, and share the day with them. Picture 6 Then, it was time for some serious fun with our planners. But first, pastries!  We noshed and talked, before settling down to the workshop tables to plan. Picture7 Each of the workshop tables held a farmhouse centerpiece that my husband makes in our Etsy shop. We loaded it full of sweet treats for the ladies to snack on while they planned. Next to the centerpieces was a very special surprise package from none other than Erin Condren!  

The Erin Condren team sent each table a bundle of their most fun planner accessories and some pieces from their brand new back-to-school line. Each guest got to try out the beautiful new watercolor sticker books, washi, and colored pens, as well as some of her brand new back-to-school line!

Each table oohed and aahed over the pretty supplies, and started planning right away with the stickers, washi, and pens. I chatted with the teachers at the event about how cute the new pencils, erasers, and journals were. I think I know what to get my boys’ teachers for gifts this year!

I am so thankful to the Erin Condren team for supporting this event and spoiling us all with so many of her products.

Along with all the swag bags and table accessories, the raffle tables were loaded with amazing raffle prizes. I worked for weeks with different brands to offer some fabulous raffle prizes. It was so much fun to watch my husband, Tom, and my best planner friend, Rachel, picking the winners.  

The door prize, the highly coveted Erin Condren luxe LifePlanner™, was the last drawing. The room got quiet with anticipation, and I could feel the thrill when I pulled the ticket. The room erupted into cheers and clapping when the winner was called! How lucky!

I am thankful to be surrounded by such inspirational, motivated ladies. I plan for many reasons: to be more productive, a way for myself and my family to stay organized and find balance, as a creative outlet, and now as a way to connect with my community in this journey to living the best life we can. I can’t wait to plan the next one!

Looking for more about planning and events? Follow Erin Condren on Facebook for more info on workshops & conferences!

Perfect Design Companion

One of the best parts about our adorable new designs is that they do not stop at our books! We made matching magic with all the delightful designs your heart desires.

Cactus is every boho beauty’s dream! Create your own little oasis in the desert with this print, now available across a TON of new items! We love it on our TakeNote™ journals– the velvety textured cover shows every crisp and clear  detail of this darling design.

Birds (and books) of a feather flock together! Funky and fabulous flamingos bring an eclectic vibe to your work space- or go all out with a flamingo-themed fiesta! Placemat pads and stationery make for a party that’s pretty in pink.

Mid-century circles, the design featured throughout the new LifePlanner™, is effortlessly elegant in black and white, and provides the perfect pop of neutral pattern for your matching TakeNote™ notebook or journal! This sleek, understated set is ideal for the minimalist who is all about taking care of business, but is never boring.

Our journals & notebooks now have three layout options and a neutral interior! Shop the style that best suits you.