Blue and green planner layout

January 31
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Hey! Like this post? Follow on Facebook for updates on new printables and more.

 

FREE printable planner stickers with Silhouette file. Download these stickers for your planner. Works great in Happy Planner, Erin Condren, Filofax, and others.

 

I decided to whip together another set printable planner stickers with a silhouette file for those interested. These can be used with any planner but were make to go with a Happy Planner or Erin Condren planner.

 

For best results print these on sticker paper and then cut with the silhouette or by hand.

Click HERE to download the Silhouette file

Click HERE for a PDF version of the file

 

Did you use these stickers?  Tag me in a photo of your planner on Instagram.  I’m @_amberdowns !

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Office makeover part 1- DIY painted desk accessories

January 30
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DIY Spray Painted desk accessories

When we moved into this house three years ago I claimed what had been the formal dining room as my office and craft room. This was the only room in the house that was completely new. Yes, I had a desk but we had no additional furniture for the room. We’ve slowly been working on the room. We purchased awesome hutches and last year we got new desks and a storage cube. Now I am ready to take the final plunge and make this room awesome. I have decided I want to go with a simple gold theme. I am keeping the dark blue rug, but I want to be mostly neutral with the rest of the room. I had a pink trash can and pencil holder that just were not going to work with the new scheme but I was not ready to buy brand new ones, they were perfectly fine! So I grabbed a can of Krylon Metallic Gold spray paint and went to town.

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When you’re looking to paint items in your home take a second to consider how well the paint will stay.  I like to paint items that are accent pieces and not too large, and items that if I ruined them, would be ok.  I purchased these accessories on clearance and really could live without them if they don’t turn out well.  I also like to pick items that don’t get touched too much and don’t have moving parts. (That’s why I skipped the scissors and hole punch.)   These items were the perfect candidates.  Don’t have anything to paint? Check out a thrift store, yard sale, or other resale.  Ask your friend and family if they have old metal office accessories, chances are somebody, somewhere, is still holding on to the 70’s.   Not metal?  Plastic and wood are ok too. With wood make sure it’s sanded if its not finished or else it won’t look smooth.

This is after the first coat of paint.

This is after the first coat of paint.

As with any spray paint project find a nice spot outside out of the wind.  I like to lay paper down so that my grass isn’t colored for a week or two.  (If it’s too windy for paper it’s probably too windy to paint.)  Shake well and keep the tip at least a 8 inches from the object.  If you can see the paint puddle up on the object you’re too close.  You will be able to see it later and it will be likely to chip.  Instead of heavy close sprays do quick passes to give a light coat.  I like to do this process in three steps.  First I set the items up and do my first passes.

After the second coat.

After the second coat.

This is the longest step and where most of the painting happens.  I then go in  the house for 20 minutes and come out for another pass.  If the surface still needs more I go again, if not I will place it on its side or upside down and do another angle.  Depending on what you’re doing you may not need to do the bottom at all.  For these items I needed to do the curves of the bottom to ensure the pink was gone.  I then go back in and come back out one more time for a last coat.  Be sure to remove any grass that blows onto the items so that it does not get painted on.

Almost done!

 

So here we go. Not bad for $5.  Step one of my office makeover is complete!IMG_2097

 

This post was shared Costal Charm Show and Share #299.  Stop by and see what else bloggers are sharing!

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DIY menu board with free printable

January 27
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Free printable menu board sheet. Print- frame- hang in your kitchen and write on it with a dry erase marker. This super simple tool will make meal planning a breeze.

 

 

The other morning I posted my menu board on Instagram and after posting it I thought it would be a great printable to make.  I went ahead and made two options so you can pick the one that goes best with your kitchen.  Print it out on 8.5×11 paper or photo paper and then slip into an 8×10 frame. That’s it! (If you have a large format printer you can also print in onto larger paper for a larger frame.) Grab a dry erase pen and you’re good to go.  I have mine set up next to my refrigerator but you could also hang it up in your kitchen or dining area.

I use my menu board as a easy way for my husband and myself to see our meals at a glance.  When it comes to meal planning, I like to sit down on Saturday or Sunday and pick out the menu. I start by looking through my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to get a feel for what I have on hand as well as if any produce is on its last legs.  (Tip: This is a good time to toss anything that has gone bad.)  I then sit down at my computer and check my Pinterest boards for some old favorites or a new recipe to try.  I also like to flip through my recipe book. I then make a shopping list and grab everything I need for the week.  After that I’m ready to go.  In the mornings before work I glance at the list and pull out any meat that needs to defrost and check for any prep work I can get done early.  (Peel potatoes, ect.)  Then when I get home I know exactly what I need to do and don’t have to make that frantic last minute run to the store.

As with everything, this menu is flexible.  If we want to change the days around that is fine.  When you make your menu for the week keep your evening activities in mind.  If you know that you have church or soccer practice on Tuesdays then make Tuesday an easy dinner.  Also, its ok to put a dinner out on the menu.  There is no sense in purchasing the items for a meal and then never getting around to making it.  Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself.  We all have nights when it just doesn’t happen.  Hot dogs are ok once in awhile.

 

Click the image to be redirected to the full size version.

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Menu

Are you using this printable?  Comment below or tag me in a photo of it on instagram!  @_amberdowns.  I’d love to see it!

Free Valentine’s planner stickers

January 23
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NOTE:  I have just created a new Pinterest board for planner lovers to share their favorite pins!  CLICK HERE to follow the board!  Want to contribule?  Follow the directions in the bio of the board.  Enjoy!
-Amber Downs


Silhouette file included! Free printable planner stickers for your Happy Planner, Erin Condren, Filofax, Day Designer, and other planners. Print on sticker paper and cut with a Silhouette Cameo or by hand.

 

I don’t always decorate my planner with stickers but I thought it’d be fun to make a set for valentine’s day so I did.  Below is the image file of the stickers. It is sized to print onto a regular 8.5x11in sheet of paper.  Also, I uploaded a Silhouette file for anyone who wants to cut them out with their Silhouette Cameo. Just import the image into your library and resize to fill the 8.5×11 sticker paper.

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Download valentine layout here via saberacat.
(Wait the minute to get the free download without making an account.)

Valentine's weekly spread (4)

Hope you enjoy these.  If you post a photo of them on Insatgram please tag me! @_amberdowns

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Upright freezer organization

January 20
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Organize your freezer with dollar tree baskets. DIY budget friendly deep upright freezer organization. Keep your freezer clutter free on the cheap. Perfect for couponers, buying in bulk, families, and anyone else.

I have to admit it, my upright freezer is one of my most prized possessions.  This is of the modern marvels that really makes my days easy.  I do a lot of couponing, so when I find a great deal I love to stock up.  This saves me money and time.  I love having a stockpile of items on hand to make whatever dishes I desire.  Because of my freezer, I can do this.

 

 

I keep items in my freezer organized in plastic bins from Dollar Tree.  Before you go out to buy your bins be sure to measure the size of your freezer to ensure that the bins you purchase will fit your shelves.  Also, check the width if you want two side by side.  I purchased these bins over the last year at my local Dollar Tree.  Check yours to see what they have but make sure they will fit.  Target, Walmart, and other discount stores will also have bins of varying sizes.  If you like, you can make labels for your bins.  I just keep them in the same spot so I don’t need them.

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I divide items in my freezer into five categories.

Meat
Veggies (these take up 2 bins)
Fruit and veggies for smoothies
Dairy (shredded cheese and butter freeze wonderfully)
Meals (frozen meatballs, ravioli, turkey burgers, ect.)

I keep the bottom shelf in my freezer bin free.  This is where I keep our frozen lunches.  When I cook a dish I freeze several servings in individual containers.  My husband and I then use these for lunches at work. I like to keep anywhere from 2-12 servings of meals on that shelf and on the door.  We also keep other random homemade frozen items on the shelf such as our meat and bean taco mix and our salsa. I also keep bulk meat purchases on this shelf.  As you can see, I recently ran into a sale on ground turkey.  I have rain checks to pick up more when I get more space.

I chose a chilly winter day to organize my freezer because I live in Florida and the food will start to melt any other day.  Anyways, go through your freezer and toss out anything you deep down you will never use or is just too old to be any good.  I recommend thoroughly going through your freezer every 6 months to toss anything that is too old or you no longer need. Also, this is a good time to check if it needs to be defrosted.  My freezer is a frost free model, but they all still should be unpacked and looked at.

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My last piece of advice for your freezer is to invest in a refrigerator/freezer thermometer.  I keep mine hanging right in front.  This way, you can open your freezer and feel safe knowing it is working properly.  If you ever see that mercury (or whatever they use these days) rise, then you know you might have a problem on your hands.  I keep my deep freezer at below 0 degrees fahrenheit as is recommended by the FDA.  As you can see my thermometer has a nice bold line to remind me of the temperature to keep. It really helps!

 

You may also want to consider investing in a freezer alarm to alert you if the temperature drops.

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Star Wars Valentine round-up

January 18
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FREE Star Wars printable valentines cards for kids and adults. Print one of these awesome valentines for your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, or child.

Hey guys, I wanted to share with you the best Star Wars valentines I found on Pinterest. Every year I get kids valentines for the children in my storytimes at the library and this year I wanted to get them Star Wars ones. I think these will be great for the kids and maybe even my husband too!

One
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six

 

These would be great for kids, adults, and everyone in-between. Which set is your favorite?

 

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Drinking more water

January 14
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One of my goals for this year was to drink more water.  I knew this would be an easy goal to conquer as long as I made myself learn a few new habits.

How to drink more water every day

To make this a habit I added to my habits planner printable so that I’d see it daily and get to mark it off if I’m successful.

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How much water should we drink?  I haven’t found a solid answer.  the old eight glasses a day is a great start, but remember that is talking about eight 8 oz glasses for a total of 64 oz.  I generally drink 10 oz at a time so for me thats only six and a half glasses. According to the Mayo Clinic women should drink 2.2 liters a day or 74 ounces however they go on to state that up to 20% of our water intake may come from foods such as fruits.  Also, non-water beverages such as coffee, soda, milk , and beer can contribute to that total but should not be the majority of it.    Look into it yourself and see what you think is best for you.  I personally know I feel physically better if I drink at least 50 oz. a day.

One of the most important aspects of drinking more water is appealing to your own tastes.  To me, this means finding the water that you enjoy.  Don’t like tap water?  Invest in a filtration system.  Need ice? Make sure you have a good ice maker or trays. If you really hate water try infused water. Also, the drink ware you are using must be something that you enjoy.  Over the years I have tried everything from the water bottles from the vending machine, to nalgene bottles, stainless steel, tumblers with straws and glass bottles.  I just recently became aware of my personal favorite, a pint glass.  I’ve come to the realization that my favorite way to drink water is room temperature standing up from a pint glass. (Particularly those with our wedding logo on them.)

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So what did I do?  I brought a few glasses to work.  I left one in my locker in the break room, I placed one in the cabinets, and I keep the third in my office.  I grab a glass, fill it up and drink the entire glass several times a day and I enjoy it.  I am lucky to have a sink to use in my office but a two liter bottle or other container would work fine also.

Will this system for for you? Probably not, but think about what you like. Go to the store and touch some water bottles and pick one that you want to carry.  Find something that matches your personal style as well as is functional. Maybe you are fine with a gallon jug or a Dasani bottle.  If thats what works thats awesome.

If you still haven’t found your dream water bottle consider one of these options:

S’well– Many people enjoy these stainless steel bottles.

Mason Bar Company – I just ordered the regular lid to use with this size jar.  I am swooning over the cuffs too.

Infuser bottle – This is the one I have; it comes with a cool bag and a shaker too for protein shakes.

Ello– This company makes great glass water bottles.  This one has a rubber skin to protect the glass. You can also find them at Target sometimes.

Plastic Tumbler– I’m sure you’ve seen these everywhere but they are always cool.

Are you trying to drink more water?  Have you discovered a system that works for you?  Share below!

How I plan my day

January 11
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How I plan my day using my home and work planners. Two planner system using A daily and weekly planner. Blogger uses a Happy Planer and a Day Designer. (Emily ley simplified planner, Erin Condren, Carpe Diem planner, Heidi Swapp and others are good too.)

 

With the start of the new year I am determined now, more than ever to get things done. To assist me in this mission I am using the two planners I have been using since July; The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas and the Day Designer by Whitney English.  (My Day Designer is from there Target line with Blue Sky.)  With the help of thees two planners I am able to set up my week both at home and at work to ensure that I do what needs to be done as well as don’t let anything slip through the cracks.

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I run my week as Monday – Sunday and generally sit down on Saturday or Sunday to plan out the week ahead. Some weeks I decorate my Happy Planner with stickers or washi tape, but lately I have been skipping this step to conserve space and time. If you want to add some decorations, now would be the time to do that, before you fill out your week.

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I start with reviewing the prior week in my Happy Planner and looking for any tasks that were not completed or any notes I left for the next week.  Anything that needs to be added to the next week can be jotted down.

Next, I divide my week into the three categories I like.  To Dos, Home, and Blog.  I use the top box each day in my planner for to dos.  Here I list any little things I want to get done like Laundry, mopping, errands, and the like.  Often times this is filled out only a day or so before as many of these come up at the last minute.

My second boxes are used for general information about the day.  My husband’s work schedule, our planned dinner, appointments, meetings and other noteworthy items go here.  When I sit down to plan the week I write down my husband’s schedule and our dinners for the entire week.  I also fill out the events and appointments that we know about.  If I have something important going on at work that day I may write it down as well, particularly if it requires a specific  wardrobe choice.

I use my last section for information pertaining to my blog.  Here I write down the posts for the week from my master calendar as well as when I will actually have time to put them together.  I also put in reminders for anything else I need to remember about my web presence for the week.

For the new year I made a cute habits tracker sticker that I am adding to the corner of my planner.  This is where I will track days that I am successful in my goals for the new year. You could also add a water tracker, book tracker or other stickers here too.

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Once this information is filled out my planner for the week is pretty much good to go.  As I think up new tasks or events get added to the schedule I will add them to the pages.  This planner lives on the desk in my office which is what used to be the formal dinning room.  I love using that room as an office as it is next to the main parts of our home and easily accessible.  Also, because it does not have a door I am required to keep it clean.

I reference my planner in the morning before work as well as when I get home.  This way I am always on top of what needs to get done. If you are concerned about actually keeping up and using your planner place it in a more open part of your home like the kitchen counter.  This way when you go to make coffee in the morning you will see your list and get started on the tasks for the day.

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The planner that I use for work is a daily planner. Due to the nature of my job I have many tasks that must be completed each day.  Some of these are reoccurring, while others are one time things I need to remember.  Depending on your job this may work well for you or it may not.  This large planner might work well for stay at home mothers as well because there is lots of space to write down all events and activities of the family.

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The planner that I use has three columns for each day:  schedule, to dos, and notes.  Before I leave work in the evening I try to fill out the schedule portion of the page so that I know what will happen and when the following day.  Often times my lunch time is dependent on the staff or events so I can bring snacks if needed or a small quick lunch if I know its going to be a busy day.  I put the schedules of my staff, lunch times, programs, and meetings on my daily schedule.

When I get into work in the morning I open up my planner and look at the daily schedule.  I then look over the to dos portion of the page.  Often times if I know I have things that will need to be done in a few days I will write it down ahead of time so I remember that day.  Also, when I need to follow up with someone I will mark that down on the specified day ahead of time so when that day comes I know I need to contact that person. I then list out any other to dos I can think of for the day.

This is when I finally start to look through my email.  I then transfer any meeting information or tasks to my planer so that I am prepared for these events in the future.  As soon as anything is agreed upon I write it down.

After I have reviewed my email and added any tasks I pick my top three for the day.  These are the three priorities that need to get done. My top three are things that I actively need to ensure happen.  Events like programs and meeting do not count because they have to happen on their own, however putting together a presentation or picking out books for an event could be priorities.

Now it is time to start the day.  Because I work best in the morning I often start with a top three task to get it out of the way.  I then proceed through my to dos one at a time.  If I start a task and its just not working instead of wasting time I skip it and go to something else and return to it later in the day.

Throughout the day if ideas come to me I will jot them down in the notes column of the page.  Also, I use this area to record information from a phone call, meeting or emails.  This is nice because then I know the date I spoke to the person.  I also write down their contact info there so that I can think back to around the day I talked to them to find their phone number.   If I tell them I will call them back next week I write that down as a to do on the day I have decided to call them on. This works really well in keeping up with communication and looking super professional, especially when you can say the date you previously spoke to them and a synopsis of the conversation.

I like to add a little sticky note to the corner of the page to write down personal tasks.  Just like everyone else my mind likes to wander to my personal business while I am at work and I often remember things  I need to grab at the store or friends I need to call.  I write these down and then pull out that sticky when I get home.  This removes the stress of remembering those items.

By the end of the day  should have completed most if not all of my tasks.  My planner has a checkbox to check off completed tasks however I prefer to cross them out at this makes it easier to see what needs to be done.  I then fill out the schedule and then toss this planner in my bag to come home. This planner comes home with me every night so that if I think of something in the evening I can add it in instead of worrying about remembering it until the morning.

And thats it!  With this system I always know what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and I cover my rear end when it comes to deadlines and due dates.

Do you use a planner or two?  What works best for you?  Share below or tag me in a post on Twitter or Instagram #amberdownsplanner.

 

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Add me on Instagram or Twitter!  I’m @_amberdowns!

 

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Habits planner printable

January 9
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Free habits tracker planner printable. Perfect for you New Year's resolution. Works with Day Designer, Happy Planer, Erin Condren, kikki, and more.

 

I whipped up a new printable for my planner to help me keep track of my goals for 2016. Curious about my goals and how they are related to habits? Check out the post here.

Anyways, I wanted something that would track five of the habits I’m working on. This printable has 5 blank spots for the titles of the things you are working on and then seven hearts underneath the title.  Mark the heart that corresponds with the day when you are successful in that habit that day.  Does that make sense? I hope so.

Without further ado, here you go.

Habits

This is what the sticker looks like.  The file has twelve of these per a page.

Habits tracker PDF

Habits tracker PNG

I printed mine on sticker paper and cut with my silhouette cameo.  Don’t have these items? Just use regular paper and tape or glue.

 

Looking for other planner printables? Check out these:

Happy Planner contacts sheet

Goal planning printable

Holiday gift printable

 

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December faves

January 7
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December was a big beauty re-stocking month for me.  I ran out of several products and purchased several new items as well.  Because of this, my December faves will be mostly beauty-centric so bear with me. Here are a few of my favorite new things purchased or received in December.

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Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick
I was in Sephora the other day with cash to spend and I ran across the new Kat Von D liquid lipsticks.  It is a long wear product which I am always a sucker for and comes in 28 shades which is awesome.  I purchased Double Dare and am enjoying it.  As with similar products, it is drying, so I keep chapstick on hand and avoid using it every day.  I am the worst with lipstick staying on and I get a good several hours with this product so I’d call it a win.

CearVe Hydrating Cleanser
By mid-December I was dealing with pretty dry skin on my face and it was driving me crazy.  I was using a new cleanser and moisturizer and they just weren’t doing the job.  I did some research and for that CeraVe had a great hydrating cleanser and a moisturizer that work wonders.  For the cleanser I chose the Hydrating Cleanser.  This product is a mild cleanser that does not leave my face tight or tingly.  Did you know that your not supposed to feel like that after cleaning your face? No?  Neither did I. I generally only wash my face in the evening and this is totally doing the trick, I’m hooked.

CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion AM, SPF 30
To go with the hydrating cleanser I grabbed the SPF 30 AM Moisturizer by CeraVe.  Although this is an AM product I have been using it day and night. I am loving the high SPF content and have even been telling my husband to use it as well.  I love that it comes in a push top bottle instead of a tub as those tubs that you stick your fingers into just feel like a germ factory after a few weeks. Overall this product has been leaving my face nice and soft and not dried out like before.

Cat Lady Box
For christmas my husband gifted me a subscription to the “Cat Lady” box.  This is a subscription box like Julep, Birchbox and LootCrate and is full of fun cat-inspired stuff.  For the first month I got a canvas pouch, cat necklace, and kitty paper clips.  So far I think its super cute; we will have to wait and see what next month brings.

Jawbone Up2
This year I got my husband a Jawbone up2 and then immediately decided I wanted one too. These cute little fitness trackers track steps, workouts, food, and more.  Although we are still getting the hang of them,  I am really enjoying all the information. I picked the thin straps style in the oat spectrum color.  Look for a full review of this product once we try it out a little more.

Overall I’d say December was a good month. I was happy with most of my purchases and already have a couple things on deck to share next month.  As always, if you have any questions about this products mentioned please feel free to comment below or contact me via social media. (Links in the top right)