Category: Planning

My wellness planner /meal tracker

January 15
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When Me and my Big Ideas (the Happy Planner people) released the new items for winter 2018 there were few items I felt I immediately needed, however as time passed I started to think that maybe the wellness extension kit was for me. I kept checking my Michaels stores to to see if they had it but I never found one.

I have noticed that when I do not have meals, snacks, ect planned out I tend to either binge on junk or just not eat and I then I end up in a grumpy mood and just kind of over everything. However when I eat well I feel so much better emotionally.  I have also noticed that I have gained some weight over the last year. My job is more sedentary than ever and we eat a lot of food. Between the new job and just being a lazy person I am not doing the best I can for my body. I want to be proud of myself and the way I look and I just don’t feel I am there.

My goals with the new planner is to plan out my meals so I know the night before what to bring for lunch and snacks as well as what I need to take out for dinner. Generally, I am pretty good about dinners except the nights that my husband isn’t home. So, I am actually going to have a plan for those nights. wether it be a leftover option or something easy to make that I will actually enjoy. I want to point out that I am not “dieting.” There is no restriction here, but more of a tracking system to plan what I will eat and keep track of what I have eaten. This will also help to go back and see how foods affect my moods. Fun, right?

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So on my last attempt to find the wellness extension I randomly picked up a small recollections fitness planner. (Have you seen the 2018 recollections spiral planners? They really stepped up their game.) Anyways, I loved that it tracked water intake and was super cute. I then walked over to the Mambi products and saw the mini fitness planner. There were only like 5 planners left total and one of them was mini fitness. What a win. Anyways, it had a place for meals, snacks, activity, water intake, and calories. Although I did not need all of these sections, it really seemed like the best option so I grabbed that and the mini fitness sticker book.

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Anyhoo, after reviewing the wellness extension online and comparing it to this mini I think I ended up with something that will work better for my needs. It tracks all my meals, exercise, and water and can be carried in my bag whereas the extension pack was just going to stay with my home planner which does not go everywhere with me. The fitness planner does track calories which I will skip as I do not collect that information. I am a little disappointed that the wellness extension did not include more, I feel like it was more of a regular planner with an emphasis on wellness/self care instead of a planner just for that. I guess that would work for some, it is just not what I was looking for for me.

Photo of the Wellness Extension from shop.meandmybigideas.com

Photo of the Wellness Extension from shop.meandmybigideas.com

I will also be tracking my steps in this mini planner. I have used a jawbone in the past but did not want something bulky on my wrist so I bought a Jawbone up move so that I can clip it into my top, pocket or bra to track my steps on the sly. Bonus: These are less than $15, what a great deal. My *goal* is 10k a day which is where I was back when I was a busy Children’s librarian running around in the summer. I know I will not hit it every day, but I want to try. This may mean walks before or after work or taking

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I also bought a new scale to track my weight. I have never personally owned a scale as I do not take much heed in what it says, but I want to have a way to track progress a little more. I purchased this scale for under $12 on amazon and it works great. It can connect to apps but I did not fuss with that because who needs their phone and scale to talk, really.

So this is where I am at right now. I just bought all this yesterday so it is new to me but I think it is a step in the right direction. I will share more in a few months once I get a better feeling for what I am doing. Until then if you have questions ask me here or on Instagram.

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Reading goals in 2018 + planner printable 

January 1
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For 2018 I am going to finally do the PopSugar Reading Challenge. I’m sure most of you have heard of this but basically it’s a challenge to read books outside your usual genre. The prompts are fun but also very open so you have lots of options based on your individual preferences. As I mentioned in my 2017 reading round up, I am also going to try and read more classics this year.

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My favorite part of the PopSugar challenge is that they made a printable checklist to mark the books. I printed this out on cardstock oat 80% and placed it in my medium (classic) Happy Planner. If you have a big Happy Planner you can just print it at regular size. If you have another planner feel free to play with sizing to get it to fit. If you are having problems with sizing I have the best luck printing in Chrome or open with adobe reader.

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I do not plan to track my books in my planner this year. I use Goodreads to track my reading. Every year I also do their reading challenge which is based on reading your goal number of books. This year I am leaving my goal at 60 books. This has been my average for the last few years and I feel it is a good place.

I do most of my reading via audiobooks on my commute and around the house. I do enjoy reading ebooks as well, but I often prefer to use my free time to work on projects around the house rather than sitting and reading. It is just how I like to use my time.

Will you be participating in either of these challenges? What is your goal?

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New Happy Planner accessories

December 27
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So today Me and My Big Ideas (the people who make the Happy Planner) are releasing new planner products. Although there are no new planners, there are tons of new inserts and stickers.  If you want to see everything check the videos here. Below I will go over the aspects of this release with screenshots from the YouTube video. Items are linked to Michaels and will be in stock soon online.

So the product I am most excited for is the new sticker rolls. The idea behind these is that they took the most popular stickers from the value packs and put them into one easy to access kit. Also included in the stickers release is mini stickers. These are all super cute mini stickers for all sorts of stuff. My favorite part of this kit is that they are not sized for the Happy Planner so they can be used with whatever planner you’d like.

Sticker roll options: Click the link to see info and purchase.
Wellness, appointments, faith, travel, checklists, mom, schedulefood, fitness, and home,

New sticker value packs: Mini, productivity, and budget.

To help turn your planner into a more general planner/notebook/life kit MAMBI has released tons of new inserts. These can be added wherever you’d like in your planner.

My favorite of the new inserts are the mini trendsetter/goal getter(hourly) expansion packs. These are great for someone wanting to try out one of these newer planner styles without committing to an entire year. I am currently using the Goal Getter planner so if you’d like to try it as well this is a great option. Also be sure to check out the Fitness and budget expansions as well if those are areas you’d like to focus on.

The last aspect of this release is the extra pages inserts. We’ve had these types of inserts for some time now, but these are just kind of better. First of all we have new pastel filler paper. These come in lots of color options like neon as well as some with a gold foil header. These are SUPER adorable. These come in regular and BIG sizes.

Besides the full page inserts there are also half sheets. The half sheets have a notes option, a weekly menu plan, and weekly half sheets. There is also an expense tracker that looks super useful for those working on budgeting or if you need to track expenses for work.  The half sheet daily inserts are great for those random busy days.
These items will start appearing in Michaels stores December 28th. Michaels puts out new products as they change for the season so they will be put out when staff have time. If you find items in your store tag me in photos on instagram! I’m @_amberdowns!

All items will also be available in the mambi shop on January 8th.

 

HP winter release PIN

 

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My planning plans for 2018

December 15
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It is December which means it is time to start talking about 2018 planners. Excited? I know, right! For the fourth year in a row I will be using a Happy Planner as my main planner. This year I will be using the Happy Planner Girl Goal Getter planner option. This planner is a little different than the other Happy Planners in that each day is set up in an hourly fashion. I have gone back and forth about this set up but I think in the end I will like it. I will share another post next week explaining how I will set this planner up.

For work I will continue to use my Agendio planner. This company is still fairly new on the scene but is pretty amazing. They allow you to create your own custom planner. They offer daily, weekly, and monthly setups and you can start in any month. You can order your planner bound or in an A5 format like I have both punched or without holes. Agendio does not sell planner binder right now so I put my planner in a 6 ring planner blinder. This is a great vegan option.

Some other great options include:

The Day Designer- These ladies make lovely spiral-bound and A5 daily and weekly planners. Like, now that I am looking at them again I want one again.
Erin Condren Life Planner- A spiral bound weekly planner similar to The Happy Planner. Tons of custom covers

The Happy Planner Mini– A small personal size planner perfect for not-so-busy schedules and perfect to fit in your bag.

Kikki planners– These come in multiple sizes with beautiful leather cases. They are A5 so you can buy refills for your planner case.

Kate Spade- I love Kate Spade and although they are not know as a planner company they make beautiful planners and paper goods. The planners are also surprisingly reasonable.

 

What planner are you using for 2018 and why?

The Happy Planner Girl- Goal Getter planner

November 5
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So Me and My Big Ideas recently launched The Happy Planner Girl line of planner products. This line includes planners and accessories in four different themes. These planners all retail for $29.99 and are available online, at Hobby Lobby and Jo-anns.

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Glam Girl–  More of a girly setup with teals and pinks with a lined vertical layout. (Love the lines!) This planner would be perfect for a beauty blogger or makeup lover.

Daydreamer– This planner is filled with pastels and has a zen feel. Lots of florals and chill inspirational quotes are all over the line. The planners feature a horizontal layout.

Trendsetter– More of a girly setup with teals and pinks with a lined vertical layout. (Love the lines!)

Goal Getter- This planner includes goal setting pages, neutral colors, and hourly days in the weekly view.

Each line includes classic and mini size planners and the best part is that these planners are DELUXE planners and include brand new metal discs. Exciting, right?

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So, like I said I decided on the Goal Getter planner to use as my 2018 home planner. This planner is geared to people with busy schedules with an hourly setup and extra goal planing sheets.

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Ok, first of all, can we talk about this marble? It is perfect.  I just got a marble phone case and I love that it will match. I am even thinking about using the marble on the outside cover instead.

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So let’s get right into it. One of the things that drew me to this planner was the goal setting pages in the front. They are not super intense, but feel like a great way to sit down and reflect/look forward at the beginning of the year. I am already looking forward to spending time thinking about how I want to form my 2018 and these these sheets are perfect.img_3980

Now we are on to the months. Where in the other planners this area is used to write down birthdays/special dates/ect, the Goal Getter planner uses this space to revisit those goals and see where you are. A great way to stay on track during the year.

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The monthly view brings us back to something we are used to. Nice and simple grayscale which is my favorite. That way you can customize the planner and color schemes to your own needs and wants.

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So next is the weekly view. Like I mentioned before, this one has an hourly system which is new to the Happy Planner. I like how there is a space for general to dos or priorities on the top. I am still thinking about how I will use this planner, but am coming up with some ideas. Because my schedule is fairly set I don’t write my work schedule in my planner, however my husband’s schedule is a little more irregular so I always write it down so I know when to expect him and such. So instead of writing it just with a bullet point sticker I think I will go to the hour he gets off work and write it there.  The same with dinner, I will write it in at the time we plan to eat. This will help give the days a more linear feel which will help with busy days.

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The day only goes from 7am-7pm which will work but does not encompass my entire day. However, generally I don’t have multiple evening events so I can just write the evening plans on the 7pm slot and keep dinner in the 6pm.

 

So one of the most popular aspects of this new planner launch is the metal discs so I went ahead and took one out from this planner and one from a regular planner and compared them.

The discs are aluminum and seem the be the actual color, not painted. This is great as the paint on the plastic discs sometimes chips and with these discs it will not. Also, weight wise the discs were fairly comparable so you don’t have to worry about the new discs weighing you down. As far a durability I was unable to break or bend the disc with my hands, however you will see from the photo that my comparison disc did break, actually while I was removing it from a planner for this use.

As of now I have not heard of the discs being sold separately, but that does not mean it won’t happen in the future. At the least if you grab one of these planners now you could put the metal discs in another planner in the future which is great.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

 

Need a punch? I have this one and love it!
The new Happy Planners are out! Grab one here!.
Looking for sticker paper? I buy this one from Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget? Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.
Looking for more? Check out my archive of free printables.

 

 

My favorite planner stickers

September 3
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Please note: This is not a sponsored post. Affiliate links are in use.

There are a lot of companies out there making planner stickers these days.  At first they were few and far between, expensive and online only. Now it seems you can get them everywhere. By far my favorite planner stickers are the Happy Planner Value Packs.

You get your monies worth. These packs retail for about $20 but often times you can get them for less on sale or with coupons. Each pack comes with 30 sheets so this is less than a dollar a sheet at retail price and even less when they are on sale.

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I love cute stuff as much as the next girl, but I want stickers that help me make the most of my planner. When I use stickers in my planner I want to mix both function and form. I like to keep two types of sticker books at hand, cute ones, and fictional ones.

 

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If you have a Michaels nearby that is great, but if not you can pick up a set on Amazon with free prime shipping if you’re a member. I hate waiting for stuff, so I love how accessible these are. By just having one of two of these around I can make a super cute layout that really helps me make the best of my week.

 

Have you used these stickers? What did you think?

 

 

 

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What I do with old planners

August 8
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One of the questions I always get asked is what I do with my old planers. I know everyone’s answers and reasonings will be different, but my answer is a easy one. I keep them. I store old planners on a shelf in my office; close enough to be grabbed and reviewed at any time. I do not keep old planners that I did not use. I keep my planners for both practical and sentimental reasons.  These reasons work for me but may or may not work for you.


When I start a new planner for a new year I go back to the monthly spreads of my previous planner to find any important reoccurring dates; birthdays, anniversaries, ect. I also note the date of events that happen every year such as 5Ks and festivals. Generally speaking these types of events take place on the same weekend such as the third Saturday in July. If the upcoming event is just an estimated date I put it on a sticky note and put that in the monthly spread of my new planner. This makes planning out vacations and other events much easier.

I also use my old planners to remember when things happened. Often times I will reember something like “I don’t remember the day she had the baby, but I know it was the same day as my hair appointment and I think it was July.” Then I can go to July, see when I had my hair done, and make a pretty good guess that is the child’s birthday. I also go back and use my old planners to remember when the last time I had a doctor’s appointment, had the carpets cleaned, and other infrequent tasks. I win a lot of bets with my husband this way. :)

The last reason I keep my old planners around is for the sentimental value. Just flipping through an old planner or notebook from a few years ago opens up a whole wealth of memories that you may have almost forgotten happened. Just like we take vacation photos to remember great trips, flipping though an old planner is like a trip down memory lane remembering what life was like then. I am sure these memories will be even more precious as time goes by.

Do you keep old planners? What do you do with them? Share below!

 

What I do with old planners

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DIY functional Happy Planner dashboard

June 21
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If you’ve spent any time in the planner community I am sure you have seen all the super cute dashboards and dividers people have made. Let me tell you- they are ADORABLE and I love them, but they are usually just not for me. I love dividers, tabs and paper clips because I love getting to the page I want, but I need it to be focused on function, not cuteness. I am sure a cute shaker sheet is fun to make, but it does not help me.

img_0711Anyways, I have stayed away form most dashboards but this month I wanted to try something new to help organize  my lists. I decided to make a dashboard to hold a shopping list that I would refer to throughout the month. One of the things I have been working on this year is reducing the unnecessary trips to the grocery store and I am not doing so great. (Full disclosure, today I had to go to the store at 7:30 am to buy cat food. It is that bad.)  I am hoping that by creating a list that I can add to all week and then have with me I will be able to get everything in one trip and save myself time, gas, and money.

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The dashboard itself is made from a folder from the Dollar Spot at target. I cut it down using my paper cutter and punched it with my Happy Planner Punch. If you only buy one accessory for your planner, GET THE PUNCH. It is worth it! Want to know what size to cut it to? Check out my dimensions post here and find your planner.

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I then cut regular paper down to fit on the dashboard and attach with washi tape. When I’m done with the list I just remove and add another.

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What do you think? Do you have any other creative ways to hold onto a list in your planner?

 

 

Need a punch? I have this one and love it!
The new Happy Planners are out! Grab one here!.
Looking for sticker paper? I buy this one from Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget? Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.
Looking for more? Check out my archive of free printables.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

Creating an easy DIY Dashboard for the happy Planner

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Making a summer bucket list in my Happy Planner

June 6
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So the summer is finally here and I am ready to make the most of it. Last summer was a little crazy with our home search, a new job, and handling a new commute but I now I am ready to go for it. My problem is that at the end of every summer I feel like I haven’t done anything “summery” and that I’ve wasted my time. Of course in all actuality I am usually super busy with work and the like over summer, but still, I wanted a way to really sit down and decide what I wanted to do.

So last week I took the MAMBI seasonal sticker pack and use their summer bucket list stickers as a start. I then added in my own items with other stickers and pen. I used a sheet of planner filler paper, however you could also make your own dot paper

 

OK, so maybe I cheated and added items I knew I was going to do, but that is OK. I want to be able to go back and say I did these things and then after I do them I will write the date. For the more general events this will be a way to remind myself of great ways to celebrate the season when all I feel like doing is watching TV. 

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

 

Need a punch? I have this one and love it!
The new Happy Planners are out! Grab one here!.
Looking for sticker paper? I buy this one from Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget? Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.
Looking for more? Check out my archive of free printables.

 

creating a summer bucket list in your planner

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Happy Planner dimensions

April 18
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One of the most common things I see searched for in regards to the Happy Planner is the dimensions of the boxes. Several people have posted online and shared about one size planner or another, but I wanted to go ahead and share the dimensions of all three sizes of the Happy Planner for both the weekly and  monthly spreads.  Now it is all in one happy little place.

 

I measured my planners and because I am lazy sometimes, I just wrote the dimensions on them. Feel free to print, save, or use my images but please credit me if you share them anywhere.

Mini:

Daily boxes are 3.8″ wide and 1.5″ tall.

The pages are 7’x4.55″

 

Happy Planner Mini Monthly

The monthly boxes in the mini are 1″ wide and 1.25″ tall.

 

Classic:

Happy Planner Classic Weekly

 

Boxes in the weekly view of the classic planner are 1.5″ by 2.5″

Happy Planner Classic Monthly

Boxes on the monthly spread are 1.58″ x 1.58″

 

Big:

Big Happy Planner Daily View

Boxes on the weekly spread are 3.25″x1.9″

Big Happy PlanerMonthly View (2)

Boxes on the big monthly spread are 1.88″x 1.88″

I hope this information helps, I know the images are not the best, and I will hopefully be replacing them soon, but it is a starting pint.

 

Need a punch? I have this one and love it!
The new Happy Planners are out! Grab one here!.
Looking for sticker paper? I buy this one from Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget? Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.
Looking for more? Check out my archive of free printables.

Big, classic, and mini happy planner page dimensions

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

 

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