My Erin Condren LifePlanner: One Year Later

20 Oct

Last fall I was so incredibly excited to finally find the day planner of my dreams, the Erin Condren LifePlanner (you can read about it here). I had been looking for something where I could keep all my lives straight – my home life (including Travis and Jack’s schedules), my work life, AND my blog life.

After hearing how great the Erin Condren LifePlanner system was for a bunch of other people, I bit the bullet and spent the $50ish to buy myself one. Now that it’s been a year, I figured I’d check back in to let you know if I still love it.

As a reminder, here is the one I bought for 2016:

Day planner - Pocketful of Joules

I chose the vertical layout, which gives you three blocks per day. I used the top block for home stuff, the middle block for my work schedule, and the bottom block to keep track of everything Pocketful of Joules:

Day planner 2 - Pocketful of Joules

Now that I’ve been using the LifePlanner for a year, I feel like I can give some better feedback than just swooning all over the place with an organizing mind-boner.

First off, size. While the planner is thicker than the typical monthly planner I’d used before, I didn’t find it too large to throw in my work backpack with my laptop (and 10,000 random papers).  The monthly calendar boxes are sized well for me to write in multiple meeting for a day, and I’ve color-coded my work and home events so that I can better determine which is which when glancing at my schedule.

Next, the weekly breakdown pages. One of the main things I loved about the LifePlanner is the weekly breakdown pages that give you three blocks per day. When you use them, they work really great to keep home/work/blog stuff organized. However, every few months I get really lazy and stop using them… only to remember how much I like them and start again. If you are the type of person who uses the weekly breakdown consistently, I think you will love this feature. I just need to get better at using it every single week.

Last, wear and tear. Usually by the end of the year my planner looks like someone threw it down the garbage disposal — ripped pages, a bent cover and more. I have been using my LifePlanner for a little over 12 months so far and it looks only slightly worn. The plastic covered cover does a great job at keeping it from getting tangled with everything else I shove in my bag. The pages are obviously written on and marked up, but still in one piece. I’m actually really impressed with how good it still looks.

So, was it worth it?

Instead of buying multiple planners and juggling them, I was able to use this one planner to keep my life straight for the whole year. I’m totally sold on the LifePlanner concept and since my planner only goes through December, I’m currently on the hunt for a new one.

As always, you can find a huge assortment of LifePlanner designs on the Erin Condren website (use this to get $10 off your first purchase). You can design your own calendar by choosing the calendar layout, cover design, adding your name (or nickname, or business name), and even choosing the metal finish on the coil. After clicking around a ton, I’ve got my 2017 choice narrowed down to either the Floral Ink (left) or the Bold Bouquet (right) designs:




If you don’t care about personalizing your LifePlanner, you can buy one pre-made at Staples. The only difference is that you can’t add your name and the calendar styles are predetermined by design (they have the vertical option that I used, a horizontal option and an hourly option). They do have a bunch of choices though, so  you might find one exactly as you would have designed.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a price difference whether you purchase your LifePlanner from the Erin Condren website or Staples, but I did notice that Staples had the 18 month versions on sale (here’s one similar to the one I have).

Okay, that’s enough about my day planner addiction. I hope you found the ‘one year follow-up’ helpful!

Am I the only day planner dork who spends WAY too much time fondling all the options at the store? What would your PERFECT planner include?


Disclosure: This post was NOT sponsored by Erin Condren and I paid for my Life Planner with my own money. If you decide to use my special promo code, I will receive a small referral bonus towards future purchases.

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The Baltimore Running Festival 5k

18 Oct

I have quite a past with the Baltimore Running Festival. From impulsively signing up my first postpartum 5k (I Survived My 5k) to training all summer to run the Team Relay with my siblings (The Baltimore Team Relay: I did it!), it is one of those races that I try not to miss each year.

So this year when my sister’s hip injury meant that we couldn’t do our sibling Team Relay again (fingers crossed for next year), I decided to sign up for the 5k. I was in good company too because my brother and his girlfriend also ran the 5k and my other sister ran the half marathon.

To be honest, it wasn’t a great race for me this year. We ended up getting stuck in traffic, parking late and literally running to the start line. According to the website, there were 4,513 people running the 5k and holy guacamole did that make for a crowded course. In order to get to a comfortable pace, I had to dart around groups of walkers, slower runners and random Baltimore pothole obstacles. Considering I started after everyone else already crossed the start line, it’s actually pretty cool that I passed over 1,400 people. It was a fun run though and a great way to get in some exercise on a beautiful day.

The crab medals were pretty spectacular too:


And my whole family was there to cheer, so that was a bonus!

Hopefully next year we will be able to do the Team Relay again, but if not I’ll absolutely be doing the 5k. Of course, I’ll definitely do a better job at getting to the race on time!

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Cruising on the Carnival Glory

17 Oct

Whenever we go on vacation, I tend to procrastinate on writing a blog post about it. I’m not really sure why, maybe by writing the post it signifies to my brain that the trip has actually passed and I need to find something else to look forward to?

Anyways, I’ve put off writing about our cruise for long enough. As a teensy bit of backstory, we went on a cruise last April and had a bunch of issues which resulted in us receiving 50% back of the cruise cost AND 50% off our next cruise. If you want to catch up on all the reading you can find it here: Our Family Cruise, Part 1 {the drama}, Our Family Cruise, Part 2 {the fun}, Cruise Style: What to Wear on a Cruise. When we returned from our April trip, we decided to go ahead and book a new cruise immediately so our VISA statement would feel like we got it for free.

Which brings us to our October cruise. Now, typically I would not plan two cruises in a year… but when you wave a free cruise in front of my face I book that baby as fast as my fingers can type in our information. On our last trip we visited Nassau and Freeport, so we decided to book different stops for this cruise.

For this trip, we took the Carnival Glory out of Miami and visited: Half Moon Cay, St Thomas, Grand Turk and San Juan. We were worried that Hurricane Matthew would derail our plans – or at least the weather – but we were very lucky and had sunshiny days the entire time. We also decided to upgrade to a balcony room and I’m now totally spoiled for cruising. To be able to walk out on your private balcony and have your coffee each morning is total heaven.

I really don’t have a lot to say – other than we had a wonderful time – so here are some pretty pictures to look at:






Of course, we couldn’t resist the family pictures… even though Jack is making kind of an odd face. However, 90% of the time he is making weird faces in photos, so I kind of wanted to remember this memory!



Have you ever gone on a family cruise?

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Hersheypark in the Dark & Our Family Costume Plan

13 Oct

Can you believe that it’s almost Halloween?! Well, it’s totally sneaking up on us which means that it’s the perfect time to tell you about this year’s Hersheypark in the Dark event in Hershey, PA.

The event runs for just three weekends: October 14-16, October 21-23, and October 28-30. Our family has gone for the last few years and we absolutely love it. It’s the perfect event for those who like Halloween and amusement park rides, but don’t want the super scary ghoul decorations that would give the kiddo (and me) nightmares.

Added bonus: It also gives us a chance to dress up in costumes! I’ve wanted to do a family costume since before Jack was even a glimmer in my eye, and this year is the year that I’m making it happen. All three of us are huge fans of Wreck-It Ralph, so we decided to dress up like three of our favorite characters!

As a little teaser, here they are:

Source: Disney

Source: Disney

We aren’t going for full-on cosplay with our costumes… instead just using stuff we already own and buying a couple accessories. I can’t wait to see them all put together!

We will be enjoying Hersheypark in the Dark the weekend before Halloween, so if you see us please say hi. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it (with pictures) when we get back!

Have you done a family costume? If so, tell me ALL about it! Are you planning to go to Hersheypark in the Dark this year?

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