Tag: planner

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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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 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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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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Recollections 2017 zip planner review

December 30
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Have you seen the new planner stuff Michaels has released this December? THERE IS SO MUCH AWESOME STUFF.  Seriously, so much. The company has released tons of planners, inserts, and stickers under its private label, Recollections.  Some of the hottest new items are the dated zip up planners.  Most of the December released items are undated, which is great for a crafty person w ho wants to add all the dates, but just doesn’t work for me. I am too afraid of making a mistake and somehow missing a meeting because I dated my planner wrong and thought the 5th was a Tuesday instead of a Monday.

 

Anyways, there are 10 versions of these cute little planners. I got the simple floral one as a gift for a family member but wanted to share it here first with my readers. (SHH)

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What I found most interesting when I first opened this planner was that it was not a traditional Personal or A5 size. These new planners inserts are the height of an A5 planner but the width of the personal size planner. This makes buying inserts interesting.  What is good is the ring size matches up with A5 items so you can use the same punch. Michaels does sell a set of additional inserts for this planner size. They are super cute and are for goal tracking, fitness, television, and other fun activities. They also sell cute dividers and folders for this planner.  I have not currently seen any dated yearly insert packs for this page size, but all of the zip planners come with 2017 inserts so they don’t really need more now.  Also, if you have any other personal size inserts they will fit in this planner. They are not as tall, but will fit the rings as well.

 

FYI:  A5  pages are 5.8″ x 8.3″ and personal size pages are 3.54″ x 7.5.” The inserts that come with this planner are 7.25″ x 3.54″.

 

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My personal size Kate Spade planner with the zip planner inserts. They fit the rings but not the binder.

 

So although these are a unique size, they are super versatile and the binder can hold several different types of inserts.

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The Kate Spade and Recollections planners size by side. (Yes, I totally have lipstick on my planner)

 

 

Anyways, on to the money shots…

 

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Is this title page not beautiful?

 

If you look closely you will see that there is a disclaimer on the bottom saying the company is not liable for any inaccuracies. Have you ever seen that on a planner? I don’t know that I have but it makes sense. A little CYA.

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One of the things I love about this planner is that every month has a goals page and a reflection page. This really helps to keep on track and ensure we fulfill our goals. As far as paper quality goes I would say that these are fine. They are not the thickest pages ever, but plenty good enough.

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Of course next comes the monthly calendar. I wish Saturdays and Sundays had their own spots, but I totally understand why they don’t on this planner.

 

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Each week has a nice and simple weekly view. There is room for goals as well as extra notes. The week starts with Monday and Saturday and Sunday have their own spots.

 

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Remember the reflection pages i mentioned? Yes, the reflection pages in the Recollections planner. This is what they look like. A great way to jump start each new month. Oh, and every month has its own cute divider but I am not going to show you all of them. Gotta have some secrets. :)

This planner can be purchased at Michaels both in store and online. They retail for $29.99 but can easily be purchased for less with a sale or coupon. We currently do not know if this is a one time product or if they will return to the shelves after they are sold out.

Anyways. I hoe you enjoyed this quick little review. If you have any questions feel free to ask them here or, for a faster answer, ask me on Facebook.

 

review of the 2017 recollections zip planners at michaels. This is a great weekly planner similar to a5 or personal size.

review of the 2017 recollections zip planners at michaels. This is a great weekly planner similar to a5 or personal size.

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My 2017 planner setup

December 28
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For 2017 I am starting a new planner from Me and My Big Ideas. I will again be using their Happy Planner in what is now called the Classic size. (Happy Planners also come in Big and Mini as well.)   Mine is called “This is Your Year.


I have been using Happy Planners for a year and a half now and I love how simple yet functional they are. I love that these planners use the ARC page system so pages can be added, removed, and made with ease. I own a punch which allows me to add whatever I’d like to my planner which makes holding lists, saving, invitations, and other important notes super easy.


One of the first things I do when starting a new planner is to go through my old planner month by month and add any reoccurring events to the new planner. Birthdays and Anniversaries don’t change  so you know when they will be.  I add items on sticky notes so that I can add it how I want when we get to that month, but the basic information is there so it is not forgotten.


My planner uses a vertical setup and each day has three boxes. I use the top box for my to dos, so this list is added to daily and as the week progresses. Some days will have many tasks, while others will only have a few, it really depends on what else I have going on.  What I love about this as opposed to an ongoing list, is that I can say “Hey, I need to do ___” and then look at my week and see where I will have the time to accomplish this task and put it on that day.  I find a major problem for those just starting out with planners is that they over schedule to dos which just leads up being upset over not accomplishing goals.

The second box is for scheduling. Here I mark my husband’s schedule for the week, any changes or unusual aspects of my own schedule, and our dinners for the week.  I incorporate meal planning into m weekly planning so that I know what I am doing when I go to the grocery store and we actually have something thawed and ready to go each day.  We don’t get home from work until 6pm and want to eat by 7pm so having a plan really helps make this happen successfully.

The third box in my planner is used for fun extras such as a short list, motivational stickers, or event information.  If we have a party or other social gathering I’d jot the details down here so that we know what is happening and when.  This area is also great for fitness tracking, food tracking, or information regarding school for yourself or children.  In the past I have used this section for planning out my blog postings however I now use Horizontal Happy Planner pages for that.  (more on that later)

 

When starting a new planner I like to add some of my favorite inserts so I am prepared and ready to go.

I add:
A few daily sheets
Lined paper for misc notes
Contacts sheet
Goal planning sheet


I also fill out the front page and make sure to add a phone number and email address in case the planner is lost.

 

Pages you may also consider:

Emergency contact information
Medical conditions/ medications
Clothing sizes for family members

Keep in mind that if your planner is lost, all information will be available to the finder. With this in mind, you may want to add a few items about your children and their school/teachers, however adding this information in a more secretive way that would not be obvious to a predator. Consider adding the teacher’s phone numbers or info as contacts without mention of the grade/school they teach at. Make these choices as your own discretion.

 

So this is the main planner I will be using for 2017 at home. Next week I will be sharing a little bit about my work planner and  I use it to organize my day, schedule employees, and keep on task at work.

 

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. Enjoy!- Amber D.

 

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Weekly planning with my spouse

October 26
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One of the aspects of my planer experience that I get asked about often is how I incorporate my spouse into the planning process. Because we both have work schedules that vary and evenings activities to be aware of, I find that it is critical for my husband and I to get together before the week begins to sit down and line up our schedules. We write down each other’s work schedules, activities, events, and plan out meals. We also make it a priority to carve out time to spend together.

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Generally at the beginning of each month we mark our days off in our personal planners on the monthly pages. This way I can plan ahead for parties and events even if we haven’t gotten to that week. Generally these are just little tick marks or X’s to mark the days.  With this, if a friend asks if we can get together on a Friday at then end of the month I can quickly get a tentative answer. (I would then confirm this with my husband and then add to both of our planners.)

 

Around the middle of the month we glance at the following month to see if there are any days we need to request off in advance. We can then get this information to his boss for his schedule and I can work it into mine.

Alright, on to the week at hand.

When it comes down to the week ahead, first we confirm shift times. We should know the days that both of us work, but we both sometimes have different hours or evening work commitments. We record these as well and if we have holidays of other weird days. In my planner I just write down my husband’s initials next to his work schedule. Generally, I do not write down my schedule because I know it. I do write down if I have an important meeting, something that I need to bring in from home, or an unusual schedule change.. This way I see it before I go in to work.

Next we see if we want to add any plans to the week. A date night? Game night with friends? Trip to the beach? Now that we have out week put together we can see what time we have together and how we want to use it.

After we have our days down we pick meals. Generally, before we sit down I have a list of the meals that I plan to make and then we can write down which days we will have what. Due to our evening events we do not have dinner together at home every night, but we do like to have a plan for the nights we are home.  In the morning when I get up I check the evening’s meal plan and take out whatever is needed for that dinner. This is not a strict plan, but instead a guideline so that we don’t get home hungry with nothing thawed out. We do not write down lunch plans but do prep meals ahead for the week. Often these are just leftovers.

At this point we have a pretty solid plan for the week. I then take this information and fill in my personal tasks around our plans. I schedule my office hours for blogging and household tasks. One way to set yourself up for failure is to give yourself a massive to do list on a day you are booked for 15 hours. It’s just not possible and will leave you upset and defeated. Place those tasks on a shorter day or, better yet, spread them out over the week.

Lastly, I want to leave you with the reminder that this is all flexible. The plans we make change often, and we just have to roll with the punches. Having a basic idea for the week really helps me keep everything in sight, but you know what, some plans are meant to be broken.

My planner: Enjoy the Little Things Happy Planner

Charlie’s planner: An undated kit similar to this one.

We use the Happy Planner punch to add pages and notes to our planners.

Charlie’s stickers are all made by me using my Silhouette Cameo and sticker paper.

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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The Happy Planner- This is your year- planner review and flip through

October 25
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I wasn’t going to do a full review on this planner but I had a few people request that I do a flip through of this one so I figured I’d post some actual decent photos here.

The planner I purchased was This is Your Year. This is a 12 month dated planner going from January 2017 to December 2017. The planner retails for $24.99 and is is set to be released in Micheal’s stores in the end of October and on the Me and my Big Ideas website on the 31st of October.

What drew me to this planner was the neutral colors.  I love that there are not colors to work with so I can make the weeks my own without having to work with a pre-assigned color. The current planner I am using. (review here) has colored weekends and date stamps which are nice, but kind of dictate the colors used on the page.

Below I am going to post photos of the pages, dividers, and monthly spreads to give you an idea of the setup of this planner.   Keep in mind that it is only one of several that are being released at this time.

Along with the items The Happy Planner is releasing deluxe covers, snap in covers, deco pens, and other accessories with even more items, including new sticker books to be released in December.

 

It is a great time to be a Happy Planner!

Have you purchased this planner?  What do you think? Is it worth it?

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!

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Planner review- Rose gold 2016-2017 Happy Planner

July 29
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If you’ve been following the Happy Planner community then I am sure you are aware that the new Rose Gold horizontal planner has been hitting stores.  This planner is a limited edition item that will only be available at Hobby Lobby and only for a short run.  I was able to pick one up after stalking my store for a week or so.  😉

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I was really excited to get my hands on this planner because I want to try out the Happy Planner take on the horizontal layout.  This is a layout I had been using for years before, but then switched to vertical as it is very poplar for weekly planners such as the regular Happy Planner and Erin Condren planners.

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Anyways, continue on for photos, my thoughts on the planner, and what I plan to do with it.

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE that the monthly spreads are so clean.  I have never been a fan of the shaded weekends because not everyone has regular weekends.  I love how clean and sleek the month looks.

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The weekly spreads are nice and simple and vary very little from month to month.  Each month does get one color which is seen on the month at the top of the page, the bottom right corner and the month tab.  This is just enough to give something to coordinate with, but not overtake the month.  Again the weekends are white and clean with plenty of space for writing.

 

Along with other firsts, this is also the first Happy Planner with lined pages.  Because of this I totally feel like I could cram more notes and to dos into this planner than a regular Happy Planner.  I also feel like each day gets more space especially when you notice that the notes area has been moved to below Sunday.

 

Overall I love this weekly view but will have to use it for a few weeks to get the best feel for it.

 

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I LOVE the  foil accents in this planner.  I am seriously going to have to consider framing some of this.  Isn’t this just perfect?

 

My plans for this planner?  I am going to try to combine it with my other Happy Planner for combined work/home/blog planning.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Have you purchased this planner?  What do you think? Is it worth it?

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!

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