My quest to find the perfect planner has been long on hard fought. If only it were as easy as picking up the first cute planner that sticks out to me and then successfully using it to manage all of life’s craziness. For years I’ve tried and for years I’ve lost.
Thus far in my quest I have learned that:
– Filofax style planners don’t work for me
– Daily layout planners (ie. The Day Designer or Purposeful Planner) don’t work for me
– Planner with busy designs on the pages don’t work for me
Through trial and error, over the last 5 or so years I’ve learned the above facts. I’ve always had good intentions but somehow, after a week or two of use, the planner would fall to the wayside. Instead of collecting plans they collected dust.
And then came this school year. Between the Paramedic Program, clinicals, work and volunteering for the fire department I can barely focus on the important things let alone try to keep my schedule straight. A planner that worked became an absolute necessity and so my quest continued.
I started the year with the Purposeful Planner. It had a lot of elements I liked, but as I mentioned above the layout just wasn’t right for me and to be honest it is quite large. Most days it felt like I was carrying an extra text book, so I ruled it out quickly. Next I attempted using the planner my college provided for free. It wasn’t cute or anything but I thought hey, you can’t beat free so I might as well give it a chance right? It wasn’t horrible, but the pages were filled with quotes and inspirational pictures which overtime began to overwhelm me, so I knew I needed to start looking for something different.
I took to the internet attempting to discover my perfect planner from other people’s reviews. For a while I seriously considered getting the weekly edition of Emily Leys Simplified Planner, but after really looking through the page styles and focusing on the design, while it was visually appealing, I just knew it wouldn’t work for me in the long run, and $70 is a lot to shell out for something that isn’t going to work.
I tell you, the hunt was getting discouraging, and that’s when I found it, my perfect planner, the Erin Condren Life Planner. I knew from first glance that it was a great product, but before I took the plunge and bought it I wanted to be sure of its greatness. Over the next few days I spent a lot of time pouring over blogs and video reviews from people that had gotten Life Planners. With the craziness of the semester weighing on me I couldn’t wait to long, so after a week I threw caution to the wind and ordered a Life Planner, and from the day it arrived I’ve loved it. The page sizes are perfect, the spaces for each day are perfect, it’s just perfect for me and I can’t tell you how relieved I feel that my long hunt is finally over.
I do want to mention that the Life Planner comes in two versions, a vertical layout and a horizontal layout. While most bloggers I’ve seen have the vertical layout and swear by it I went with the horizontal layout because I knew it would meet my needs (and my likes) better. Obviously this preference isn’t the same for everyone and if you want to see examples of the vertical version I definitely recommend checking out her website.
Now what is it that I exactly like about this planner? Well let’s see…
I like that the covers are interchangeable and able to be personalized.
I like that there is a pouch in the back of the planner to keep stickers and other miscellany in.
I like that there are pockets to keep loose papers and small notebooks in (I keep my May Designs budget book in it).
I like that I have tons of space to record all my to-dos and plans for each day.
I like that there is a big notes section at the end of each week.
I like that there is a place to list goals for every month, and that the monthly view calendar is super spacious.
I like that each month is color coded.
I like that there are full note pages at the end of each month and even more at the back of the planner (in lined, graph and blank paper)
I like that there are pages of blank labels at the end of the planner so I can personalize them for my own needs
I like that it’s so easy to clip accessories to the planner (ie coil clips and the snap in dashboard)
My last like isn’t part of the planner itself, but I like that they slip a couple little extra goodies into the box, just because 🙂
I also recommend getting elastic bands for the planner. They’re definitely an “extra” and not necessarily needed, but I like that they keep my planner bundled together. It also keeps the pages from getting bent when I shove it into my backpack, and the OCD person in me hates bent pages!
In the end I am so happy I found this planner and I know I will be using it for years to come. Unlike many of my other posts this one wasn’t a result of product testing, this was just something that I found that I really liked and wanted to share with others. I personally think anyone can benefit from using it but I also realize that just like in my case, different personalities require different planners, but if you’re looking at the Life Planner and like me thinking “that’s perfect!” I would say get it! It’s definitely worth the money!
The good news is I also have a way to help you save a little money if you wanted to get one. By following my link you will get $10 off your purchase. I didn’t have one of these handy dandy offers when I bought mine so I would encourage you to take advantage of it!
(you will need to create an account right off the bat to take advantage of it just FYI)
Hope you all have a great day and happy planning!
Well hello there, it’s been awhile. Looking at the blog, the last time I wrote was in April, not because there hasn’t been anything to write about, but because writing takes energy and unfortunately that’s something I’m running a little short on these days.
To catch you up a bit, the school year ended at the end of April and instead of going back to Washington for the summer to visit family and friends I opted to stay in Alaska to work and save money. While it was difficult to not go home, even for a visit, staying in Alaska really was the best decision. I was able to work full time at the front desk and doing media work for the Residence Hall here at KPC and I was able to enjoy an Alaskan summer, which I must say really agrees with me. It’s not to hot and not to cold and a whole bunch of beautiful.
The first week of May I finished my basic firefighter training with our local fire department and officially started pulling shifts as a volunteer in July. While call volumes are usually light I feel like the experience I’ve gained these last couple months truly is invaluable, and it gets me even more excited for my future in EMS.
July held many adventures. My parents came up for a visit and I spent the week showing them around the Kenai Peninsula. They both loved it and I’m pretty sure my dad would have stayed if my mom would have let him. I also splurged a bit and went whitewater rafting on 6 Mile Creek with friends. It was frigid and exhilarating. We tackled class III, IV and V rapids and only fell out once!
In July I also officially entered a new decade, 30. It’s hard to believe my 20’s are behind me, and I’m sometimes sad to see the things I wanted but didn’t accomplish, but then I remember the incredible things I did do (graduate from college, move overseas, travel the world…) and I realize life isn’t so bad. Now I can’t wait to see what my 30’s will hold.
(Some pictures from summer. Clockwise from left: Caines Head Hike, Seward; Fire Training;
Brown bear near Cooper Landing; In Seward with Mom & Dad; Misty day in Cooper Landing;
White water rafting; The View from Fort McGilvray on Caines Head; The 4 summer RA’s ready
to escape to Seward for Labor Day weekend; Fish & Chips with Mom and Dad in Homer;
We finished the Color Run!; Residence Hall hike to Juneau Falls)
That brings me to CURRENTLY…
Currently I am in my 5th week of the UAA Paramedic Program. This week we are reviewing how to do IV’s and administer medications. Tomorrow I leave bright and early for Anchorage to spend the day with our sister campus out of Mat-Su to do orientations for clinical sites in the city. Then, come October, clinical season officially begins and the little sliver of life I have now officially disappears.
Currently I am also working 20 hours a week for the school (in IT again & also doing media work for the ResHall) as well as pulling RA duties at the Residence Hall + training and the occasional shift with the fire department. I’ve never been so glued to my planner in my life, but without it I would be totally lost. I am busy, very, very busy. Busier than I’ve ever been in my life, but thankfully I’ve staked out a few days in October, between clinicals where I have nothing planned. I call these my “vacation from life”days and I am protecting them like a mama bear protects her cubs. I’m going to sleep in, maybe watch some Netflix, or gasp, read a book for fun! I guess we’ll see. They’re still a few weeks away haha.
But, as busy as life is I’m incredible thankful for everything I have. Right now it is a lot of work but I know in the end it will be so worth it. I can’t say when the next time I’ll update the blog is, it may be to say “Horray! I’ve finished the paramedic program!” or it could be a lot sooner. I guess we’ll see, but in the mean time any prayers for strength and the endurance to make it through this semester and the year are greatly appreciated!
Our 2015/2016 RA Team
(P.S. Part of my job this summer was to design these shirts. What do you think?)
Hi all, how’s it going? Long time no blog. 2015 thus far has been by far the busiest year of my life, it doesn’t look like things will slow down anytime soon and you know what? I’m OK with that.
So let’s do a little catching up shall we?
Let me start with work, or what I refer to as my 3 jobs, yes you read that right 3 jobs and no that doesn’t include being a student. As many of you know I was offered an RA (Resident Advisor) position in the KPC Residence Hall for the spring semester. It is SO much work, more than I ever imagined but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We have a total of 6 RA’s right now and we rotate duty days every week. If my duty night falls on I week day I’m only on for 12 hours (8pm to 8am) but if it falls on a weekend that shift turns into 24 hours, and those 24 hours usually drag on. Not being allowed to leave the ResHall during a shift can be both a blessing and a curse. For some reason I always run out of something I need right at the moment I can’t go to the store, go figure. But at the same time, not having the opportunity to run away, in theory should give me more time to get things done, although instead of doing homework I usually find myself on Netflix like your average 20 something… oops.
Aside from all the RA-ing I find myself doing, I also work at the helpdesk in my schools IT department (the same job I had last semester) aka job #2, as well as spending several hours a week doing media work for the ResHall (updating the website, taking pictures, making flyers, posting to facebook) aka job #3. When you do the math all of this essentially equals up to a full-time job, which yes, after many years of being in the workforce and working full-time I am used to, but tack that on to being a full-time student and things start to get tricky.
Which brings me to that whole student thing. I’m taking 13 credits this semester, nothing compared to the 18 credits I usually took a semester in college the first time around, but when you’re used to not having homework, like ever, it feels like a whole, whole lot. My EMT 2 class officially starts tomorrow, meaning Monday-Friday I now have no downtime, but wait it gets even more complicated! More one that in a minute but first let me make a quick caveat because…
I’m now not only a certified EMT in Alaska, I’m a Nationally Certified EMT (NREMT)! Most of my classmates took the test back in December right after we finished EMT-I but, because I went back to WA for Christmas I had to delay my test a little bit. I originally was going to take it in January right after I got back but I put it off and put it off and put it off. You know how that goes. I finally scheduled the test and took it in my schools learning center last Monday. To be honest when I finished I was convinced I had failed. It’s the type of test that can have more than one right answer and you have to choose which one is the best. It was stinking hard to say the least but the next day I got my results back and I had passed! That was a huge load off of my shoulders and I couldn’t be more excited.
Ok now back to why life is getting even more complicated. When I first got back to school in January I saw signs posted around the ResHall that Central Emergency Services (CES) our local fire and rescue department was looking for volunteers. I went back and forth on whether I wanted to apply for it because with everything else going on I didn’t know if I would be able to handle it too. I decided to go to the informational meeting they held at the beginning of February just to check it out and I left that meeting wanting to be a volunteer more than anything. I put in my application and last Thursday had my physical agility test and interview. I found out Monday that I got a position and start fire training sometime next month! If I wasn’t already busy enough right? But gosh, to be able to start working now in a position I want to be my career will be amazing. I can’t wait!
So there we are, all caught up. This coming week is spring break, and while I wish I was going somewhere fun and exotic, I’ll instead be working full-time. My friend Kirsten and I have a couple of day trips planned around the area, but with an arctic blast heading our way it’s looking like spring break will be chilly indeed!
Horray! I’m an EMT!
A view of Mt. Redoubt from the school. It was tough leaving Mt. Rainier behind but Redoubt is pretty stinking beautiful. You would never guess there’s the whole Cook Inlet between us.
They’re going to be filming a big budget Hollywood movie in Whittier over the next couple months so we headed up to Anchorage a couple Sunday’s ago in the ResHall van to try our luck at becoming extras for the movie. Fingers crossed!
Kirsten and I got a chance to volunteer to be victims in the final drill for a recent CERT class last weekend. The moulage person didn’t show up so we got to do our own. Considering the tools we had were very limited I was pretty proud of what I did. I even got a piece of “shrapnel” to stick out of my forehead. So much fun!
Every month the RA’s have to make a new educational bulletin board in our quad. This was my board for February. I think it turned out fairly well 🙂
I’ve always loved new years. The anticipation of what a sparkly new year can bring is exhilarating. It’s a time when people focus on what the coming year could bring and resolve to make the changes that they’ve been putting off in their life, but, lets be honest folks, how many of those resolutions stick? Ya you may do great at going to the gym for a month but then the old excuses creep back in and somehow it’s not as important anymore.
Ok, yes, when I say lets be honest, if I’m really honest, I’m talking about myself. I suck at resolutions, there you have it. I suck at them, that’s why two years ago, as 2012 transitioned into 2013 I choose to stop making resolutions for the coming year and instead to choose a word I wanted to personify it, to saturate and define the coming 365 days. Last year I chose the word JOY. 2013 had been rough for me and more than anything I wanted 2014 to be filled with pure happiness, special moments and joy filled memories and it was, it really was.
When it came time to pick a word for 2015 I had trouble and ended up sitting on it for a few weeks. It’s not that I couldn’t find a word, it’s that there were so many in contention. In the end I selected a word that I felt like all the others could branch out of, 2015 is the year where I want to SHINE.
Contrary to how the phrase may sound I have no desire to be in the spotlight. Instead I want to radiate light, to bring happiness and joy to those around me and to SHINE the light of Christ. The other side of the coin is that I hope to fill my life with light. Things that edify, people that bring joy and moments of wonder. I made the board above to reflect my heart and hopes (photos from Pinterest). Pure light, sparkle and color make me so happy and I hope that the coming year is filled with it.
At the end of this I want to issue a challenge as well. If you’re like me and suck at resolutions, it’s not to late! Pick a word that you want to define your year and do your darndest to live it out!
So here we go 2015, it’s time to SHINE!
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
– Nelson Mandela
Oh what the difference a year can make. 2013 was not a good year and by the end I was feeling terribly discouraged. As I looked ahead to 2014 I had hope, hope that good things would happen and determination to make them so. Now, as I reflect upon this last year I can confidently say it was everything I wanted and so much more. I would even go so far as to say it was one of the best years of my life.
That’s funny for me to say considering the year contained one of the worst months of my life. You see, March was not good to me. It started out with terrible cement burns on my legs that made just moving a horrible chore and ended with a highly publisized controversy in relation to the organization I worked for that caused immense heartbreak for me and my co-workers. Thankfully, when you hit the bottom there is nowhere you can go but up and give each blessing, big or small, that much more significance, and let me say, the rest of 2014 was full of them.
In May after months of prayer and research I made the decision to apply to go back to school to finally become a paramedic. It was a scary move for me and one I didn’t fully trust for another 2 months, but it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life.
At the end of June I once again headed to Tijuana, Mexico with my church to build homes for those in need and once I got home I was in full planning mode for the transition from full time employee to full time student. At the end of July I officially gave my two weeks notice at World Vision and leaving was definitely bittersweet. While working in a call center is not my calling in life (I actually hate talking on the phone) I couldn’t have worked for a better organization and my co-workers made each day so special.
Mid- August brought the big move. I loaded up my new car (Praise the Lord! One of those blessings I was talking about earlier) and began the journey north to Alaska.
I got the incredible chance to spend the first half of the trip on the Alaska ferry traveling from Bellingham, WA to Haines, AK. I saw sights I never imagined I would lay eyes on. The inside passage is so gorgeous (when it’s sunny) and met so many great people. The remaining drive to Soldotna was long and lonely but provided perfect time to think and reflect. In case you were wondering, Yukon territory really is as empty as you would imagine, go figure, but as soon as I pulled into the school after 3 days driving I knew I was home.
This last semester I was given best friends, got to go on incredible adventures and laughed more than I had in 28 years. I couldn’t feel more blessed.
Now, as the year wraps up and I’ve officially got the first step in my pursuance of becoming a paramedic finished (EMT 1, hooray!) I eagerly look forward to what this next year will bring, and I remember that no matter what happens that God is good!
Happy New Year Everyone! Here’s to 2015!
Freedom feels so, so good. I feel like the fall semester literally flew by. I mean, wasn’t I just sailing away from Washington on the Alaska Ferry like last week not 4 months ago? Goodness.
My life in Alaska really has been a blessing and only more of a confirmation with each day that it’s where I’m supposed to be. As of a week ago I’m officially an EMT 1, hooray! I still have to take my National EMT exam in January but according to the state of Alaska I am now official, hooray! Next up? EMT 2 then the plan is for Paramedic school in the fall, it won’t be a cake walk, but I couldn’t be more excited.
My EMT 1 Class along with our teacher, Tiffani, after our practical exam on the 13th.
So what else is new? Well, some of you may have seen on Facebook but I was offered an RA (Resident Assistant/Resident Advisor depending on the school you go to) for the spring. I had my interview the Monday after Thanksgiving and hardly ate for the next few days as I waited to find out the results. I knew that a few other girls had applied for the position and wasn’t sure where I stood, but in the end it worked out for me. It’s definitely a position with a lot responsibility but it should be so good. As an added bonus I get free housing in return which is definitely going to take off some of my financial burden.
Speaking of financial aid I found out the other day I received a scholarship from the school that covers 12 credits! Another huge blessing for sure. However it looks like the credits I transferred in from my bachelors are causing some trouble/confusion and making me technically ineligible for financial aid since I’m now going for an associate degree and have more than 150% of the credits needed (not the specific classes just the credits in general). I can’t talk to anyone at the school about it until after new years so it’s definitely a weight. I’m considering double majoring and entering a bachelors program if that will make things easier. This is a definite prayer request for me. My entire life is in Alaska right now and if I don’t have financial aid then I can’t afford to go to school and if I don’t go to school I will lose my housing and my job on top of the academic issues it will cause. In other words I REALLY need this to get sorted out! I know that God has paved the way and provided everything thus far so I have no reason to think it won’t work out, but until I have some certainty I can’t help but worry a little, you know?
In other news, as for life right now, I’m currently enjoying my Christmas break in Washington, spending time at my parents house, catching up on Redbox movies (we don’t have Redbox in Soldotna although we ironically have Blockbuster) and enjoying time with my 3 month old nephew Ezekiel. Gosh they grow so fast! I’m so thankful to have this month where I can just rest, relax and enjoy the “temperate” weather. I mean, I can leave the house only wearing a sweatshirt! I haven’t been able to do that in months! I’m also enjoying all the shopping options we have here compared to Soldotna although I could leave all the traffic. Definitely not something I missed!
Well, I guess that’s it for now, except to wish you all a
Today marks the 9th Thanksgiving I’ve spent away from my family and while it’s bitter-sweet in ways I couldn’t be more blessed. It’s truly been an example of God’s provision to me. I had several friends invite me over to their homes for Thanksgiving and in the end will get to spend the day with one of my best friends families as well as my surrogate family here at the res hall. There will be Turkey and potatoes and tons of desert. It will be amazing and I am so, so thankful for it.
In truth, I have a lot to be thankful for this year. God has given me so much. New opportunities, the chance to live in Alaska, the ability to go back to school, to follow my dream. Good friends, a great car, a safe and beautiful road trip to Alaska, good grades, a great job with awesome co-workers, snow, a new nephew, just to name a few.
2014 has been a year full of changes and a year full of blessings and today…
I am thankful.
How about you? What are you thankful for today?
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Last week I posted a review of a Chapstick product I received to test out from a company called Smiley360. Well around the same time I was also offered the chance to test another product, Tazo Chai Tea and I couldn’t have been more excited.
First of all I must start out my saying I’m weird. I know we’ve already established this on many occasions but I needed to reaffirm the fact just in case. I am one of the few Seattelites that don’t like coffee, and I also don’t like tea, with one exception, Chai. Maybe it’s my years spent traveling or those weeks spent in India and Nepal that changed my taste buds, but Chai is delicious, although unfortunately, like most things not all Chai is created equal.
Before October I’d never had Tazo Chai Tea or Chai Tea Latte so I was a totally new palette in terms of the brand. In the package from Smiley 360 I received one loose packet each of Tazo Chai Tea in Classic, Chocolate and Vanilla Caramel, as well as 3 coupons for free boxes of Tazo Chai Tea or Tazo Chai Tea Latte to test and share with friends.
The first thing I did of course was hop on their website to scope out flavors and was excited to find there was a Pumpkin Spice Chai version (seasonal). Yay for fall flavors! So I headed to my local store to pick some up only to find that no stores in my area carry that flavor. Bummer! So I picked up a Chai Vanilla Caramel Latte instead and called it good.
It was only a couple days later that I got my first chance to try it out. I’d spent the afternoon on a roadtrip to Girdwood with friends to play in the snow (because even though I live in Alaska we don’t have snow sticking around in my town yet, bummer). When we got back we were cold and ready to snuggle up, thaw out and watch a movie. My friend and fellow tea lover Kirsten and I heated up my Chai Vanilla Caramel Latte and joined the rest of my friends for the show, and oh my gosh it was so good! Creamy, flavorful and sweet but not to sweet. Kirsten loved it and I loved it. I would definitely recommend!
As for the other flavors? Well they’re good too! Tazo is definitely a brand I will be buying in the future and I would recommend to all chai tea lovers out there.
*I recieved the mentioned products for free for testing purposes from Smiley360. The opinions are 100% my own.
In the past I’ve written about great products I’ve gotten to test out from Influenster, well, a couple of months ago I signed up to test products through another company called Smiley360. It’s actually a pretty cool company. They periodically offer new “Missions,” if you’re thought of as being someone who could be potentially good for a specific mission it will show up on your profile, you take a survey and then if it’s a match you accept. Easy as pie.
The very first product mission I was accepted to through Smiley360 was for the new Chapstick Dual Ended Hydration Lock. I was so excited, I waited and waited and waited and it never came. Curse you postal service! Finally 5 weeks from the ship date had passed and I still hadn’t gotten it so I contacted Smiley and they offered to send me a new one to try. Yay! Thanks Smiley!
There are two different dual ended varieties to choose from, Hydration Lock Moisture and Renew or Hydration Lock Day and Night. I received the latter to try out.
Now I must admit, I usually choose my lip balms based on their flavor. Raspberry, Pomegranate, Mint… yummy! The Chapstick Day and Night doesn’t have any fancy fruity flavor, but what it lacks in flavor it makes up for in effectiveness, and that’s what really matters right?
The stick itself is actually a pretty cool concept. It’s about one and a half times the length of a normal stick of Chapstick. One side has a yellow cap and on the other side is a blue cap. I bet you can’t guess which side is day and which side is night? I actually really like the color coding because, even though it does list which time of day it is for right underneath, I’m typically to lazy to look.
So now that we’ve covered the difference in appearance between the day and night sides I know you’re probably thinking Chapstick is Chapstick, why does it matter which one I use during the day and which one I use at night? Hey I thought the same thing, but each side actually does have a different formula. The day side mainly serves as a “skin protectant/sunscreen.” It’s conditioning and has SPF 12 to help protect from the sun, since, it is daytime after all. The night side on the other hand doesn’t need SPF. Instead it “replenishes overnight with tamanu oil, natural butters and antioxidants.”
I’ve been using my Chapstick Dual Ended Day and Night faithfully for the last week in order to give an accurate review. My end opinion? I actually really like it! While SPF isn’t really an issue for me right now since we only have about 7 hours of sunlight in Alaska and it’s not strong enough to burn, the elements still get to me and my lips dry out and peel really easily. That’s why it’s nice to protect them during the day, but even better, and this is odd for me to admit, but I’m a mouth breather when I sleep. That means I typically wake up with dry cracked lips as well. It stinks, but the night side really has made a difference, my lips are actually soft!
I’m going to keep using my Chapstick for awhile and I’ll let you know if my opinion changes but for now I definitely recommend it and you can find it at most drug/box stores.
*I received this product for free for testing purposes from Smiley360 and Chapstick. The opinions are 100% my own.