Monday, October 26, 2015

MMM - It's almost Halloween!

AHH my kid makes the cutest spiderman ever.  EVER.
We had some amazing family days this weekend.  My parents were out of town, so it was just the 3 of us. And it was action packed!

Miles started baseball class this week.  I've been so excited for this - you don't even know (well those of you who understand my love for baseball will understand...).  I love baseball.  I started playing softball when I was about 8.  I hope that by getting him in early, Miles will love baseball as much as I do.  So far, it seems we're on a good track.  He's got a great throwing arm (which, as a future starting pitcher, he's going to need).  His batting skills still need some work though.  He always wants to hit the tee instead of the ball...we're working on it (but again, as a future starting pitcher in the American league, batting skills aren't our top priority...hehehe).

Look at that follow-through!  Kid's a natural!
So proud of my future Tiger!

Since his class was out by the mall, we spent the rest of the day shopping.  Natch.  American Eagle was having an amazing clearance sale - I got some adorable lace leggings for about $5 each (seriously, when did I become a leggings person?).  I also picked up a halloween mask so I could feel 'dressed up' at our work halloween party tomorrow, without feeling completely out of place in public for dressing up 4 days early.
Once we got home, Miles took a great nap and let me get some lettering in for the craft show I'm doing on Thursday.

Sunday was a perfect fall day.  It was raining here and there, but otherwise, the weather was the epitome of fall, so we had to do some fall activities.  First up was the pumpkin farm!  We headed to Walden Pumpkin farm which is only about 10 minutes away from our house.  We decided we prefer the other pumpkin farm in town (Lucky Ladd), but we still had a good time.
Miles went through the hay maze to get to the slide at the end (then just kept going up and down the slide without going back through the maze).

He was in heaven playing on the tractors.  He is huge into construction trucks right now.  His favorite book of the moment is Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site - we read it at least once a day.  And he can point out an excavator, crane, dump truck, cement truck, & bulldozer from about a mile away.  The tractors were close enough to construction trucks - so he was a happy boy.

We also took a ride on the choo-choo (because, trains).  He was having a blast pointing out the pumpkins on the ride and seeing corn as we drove through the field.  It was a short little ride, but similar to a hayride - I thought it was great.

We headed back to get some food and pick out a pumpkin when we spotted the balloon artist and obviously needed to stop.  I was actually quite surprised when Miles chose the Big Bird balloon (actually, no I wasn't.  It was the biggest option - of course he picked it!)  He didn't let go of Big Bird for the rest of the day.

We got home and after his nap and dinner, we got ready to go to Boo at the Zoo.  It was a fun night, but I've been to better (actually, the Chattanooga Zoo does a great Boo at the Zoo).  I like when it's still light and the animals are out, so you get the actual Zoo feel.  Even with our zoo membership, we paid $12 each to get in and didn't get to see any animals!  But there were some really fun aspects - there was a trick or treat trail, carnival games, a magic show (ok...that did have a few animals), and a dance tent - Miles and I rocked out to the Cupid Shuffle (if you're ever looking for a killer workout, do line dances with a 2.5 year old on your hip...that is a workout)!

There was even a s'more station (which also cost extra...because why wouldn't it?).  But we couldn't resist some s'mores, so we roasted marshmallows at the zoo - which isn't something everyone can say they've done.

Miles loved dressing up like Spiderman (which is good because he's got two more dress up opportunities this week).  He still doesn't really get the concept of Halloween, but he gets Halloween is cool to him.

We've got a pretty jam-packed week coming up too.  I've got my craft show, we're doing a walk through of our new house (which reminds me, I've got to do an update on that situation...well there's my Wednesday post), a couple of Halloween parties, Halloween itself...a lot going on and I can't wait!

So until next time friends,

yep...he's my kid!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday 5 - Volume 10

Guys.  I'm having a day.  Scratch that.  I'm having a week.  I'm so glad it's Friday, you don't even understand.  My day week is going so well (no seriously...I forgot my underwear, I forgot my socks, I forgot my shoes, I forgot my phone, I just spilled coffee all over my dress...), I was seriously tempted to make this a more sarcastic, backwards version of my normal where instead of giving you a list of 5 things I loved this week, I gave you the 5 worst things that happened to me this week - and forgetting my shoes on wednesday was probably number 3 on that list...but then I read a post on one of my favorite blogs - Little Baby Garvin, about milestones and changed my tune.  She posted about hearing her new baby laugh for the first time and it made me smile - and I figured out how I was going to turn my day around.  I am going to change up from my normal list, but I think this one will be better.  So now...please to enjoy 5 of my absolute favorite pictures of my baby boy.  :-)

OK first of all, though - I have to say.  This was really hard!  Trying to narrow down the thousands of pictures I have of this kid to 5 of my favorites?  I was able to get down to a short list of 53.  Then 17.  Then 12.  Then 10.  I ended with 7, which I've been able to successfully cut down to 5 list items.  So that's just going to have to be good enough.    

1. First Pic as a Mommy
So this isn't technically my first picture with my bubs, but it is the first one that I think really conveys me as his mommy.  And now I'm crying.  This is starting off well.  I think this will always be my absolute favorite picture of the two of us.  It's hard to imagine anything better.

 2. Laughing
So two pictures for this one - the first time he really laughed (and the picture that really inspired this post) and a recent laughter picture.  This kid LOVES to laugh (I think he laughs at things just to hear himself sometimes) and it just makes my heart happy every time I hear it.

3. Those Eyes
I actually don't remember this picture - well, that's not entirely true.  I remember exactly this day - it was the first time it really snowed, so I put on his snow suit and put him outside in it (he still didn't own shoes, much less boots, so he was wearing about 6 pairs of socks to cover his feet, but they never touched the ground anyway).  It was also the only time he ever wore this snow suit - I didn't even take the tags off!  I had never identified this as a favorite picture before either, but as I was going through my collection, I couldn't take my eyes off it - how big and clear and beautiful his eyes are - through my 4-5 rounds of picture cutting for this post, those eyes just had to remain.

 4. Funny Faces
This kid.  He makes the funniest faces I've ever seen.  It's such a great indicator of his little personality.  When he was younger, and we still had our google glass, he loved to mimic the face we made when we were taking a picture (on glass, that functionality is triggered by winking).  My first round of pictures had about 6 photos of him making his glass face - but the one I kept here is probably the classic.  We always compared his face to the vampires in the buffy/angel whedon-verse.  You can't see it as much in this one, but we have one where he is the spitting image of David Boreanez in his vamp get up.  Even now, his silly faces continue - it probably goes along with the laughter post - he loves to laugh and he loves to make others laugh.

 5. Tantrums
Kid is 2.  These are to be expected.  As with the funny faces, I had about 6 pictures in the original list of him fake crying like this one.  When he's really crying, of course I'm right there hugging and loving on him, but when it's clearly a cry (heh) for attention like this - I'm trying my darndest not to crack up laughing and try to snap a quick pic.  I'm sure I'll find some use for these as he gets older....tee hee.

OK I'm feeling sufficiently better.  This kid can always lift my spirits.  Thanks buddy.

And for all of you - have a better Friday then I have had so far - and enjoy your weekend!  Until next time,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What (Not) to Wear Wednesday

OK here's a quick tip for you all.  When you do early morning workouts at your office's fitness center, don't forget to pack your nice shoes for when you're done...otherwise, you end up going to work like this:

that is all.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Review: The Touched by Jennifer Weiser

I am so excited to bring you this book review today.  The Touched is written by Jennifer Weiser - an old friend of mine from high school (you may have actually read about her here...she's the one who gave me the nickname "Chel")!  I've been following her journey into the world of Young Adult novels via facebook and jumped at the opportunity to read her work and share it with all of you.

So first check out the synopsis and exerpt, read a little bit about Jen, then I'll end with my review of the book.

THE TOUCHED by Jennifer Weiser

Series: The Descendants # 1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Limitless Publishing


The first sixteen years of Arabella Penthallow’s life have been a lie…

In a world where deception is the key to survival, Ara has kept up the charade of being a perfect Legion Leader’s daughter. But a darkness stirs, and she discovers she is Touched, a mortal gifted by the Gods. The Touched are as rare as they are feared, and Ara is forced to leave Union City for neighboring Midnight City to protect herself and those she loves, leaving Tove Thorn, the boy who has always known her heart, behind.

Carter Decker has vowed to burn Union City to the ground…

Midnight City’s cocky, infamous bad boy always gets what he wants, and he wants Union City to pay for burning his mother alive because she was Touched. When Carter meets Ara, she is everything he’s been taught to hate. Then he learns she is Touched—just like him—he isn’t sure who he hates more…the Touched girl whose father killed his mother, or himself for being tempted by someone he’s sworn to kill.

They are told they’re fated to be soul mates…and they each wish the other never existed.

When Midnight City is attacked by Union City, Carter and Arabella will do the unthinkable…even if it means falling for the enemy. The truth lies in Arabella’s home nation, and Tove is waiting. Soul mates or not, he has an advantage Carter doesn’t, fated souls be damned.

War is coming…and Ara is the prize.




 Im not lying.

Carter’s lips pull into a small smile. My heart flutters wildly in my chest with the sight of it. I want to loath myself for the feelings he’s causing. The confusion that has begun to occur. This isn’t Carter or me. We can’t stand one another, yet I can’t help the way my mind has sometimes wandered in the last few days, playing curious images of him pulling me close, his lips becoming lost on mine.

You are,” Carter says, closing the gap I opened between us. The tips of his black boots touch my own. You can’t lie to me. Or to anyone in this room for that matter. I know what you’re feeling.”

You don’t know a thing about me or what I may be feeling.”

Carter snorts and shakes his head, his hair falling lazily over his forehead. He drops his head, moving within inches of my lips. I inhale sharply, the corset constricting. Damn him. I keep my eyes locked with his, refusing to look away. Too many emotions course through my body and I can’t decide which ones overrule the rest.

Carter licks his lips, jumpstarting my pulse. I do, princess,” Carter whispers, everyone does.”

No…no they don’t.”

Carter purses his lips, his eyes smoldering slightly. Oh, little Arabella, they do. Your emotions are staining this entire room. I can feel everything you feel for me. Taste every last one.”

I suck in a deep breath, pushing back from him.

Carter smiles darkly. The one that tastes the most appealing is that white-hot lust you have coursing through you.”

For weeks Rob has been pushing me to block my emotions from the rest. To harness them in, keep them hidden. I have succeeded in some accounts, but when Carter is around, the defense that I’ve built comes crashing down. Which infuriates me.

Carter winks as he takes in my expressions and what I can only gauge as new emotions that rage inside me. Though I have to say, the revulsion is a nice change for me. I’ve never had a taste of that one.

I can intensify it, if you want.”

I want a lot from you, princess, but I think we both can agree that you would much rather have me feel and taste your lust.” Slowly he pushes his body against mine as he leans in close to my ear. Never in my life have I wanted to throttle someone as much as I do Carter. But that’s not all I would do if given the chance. He drives me crazy, in more ways than I want him to know. I promise to be gentle,” he whispers.

The warmth of his breath against my ear has the pit of my stomach coiling tightly. My body tensing. Carter pulls himself from me. The scent of sweet spices I can’t place and lavender fill my nose. It’s distracting and enticing. I desperately want to wrap myself around him, feel his hands touch every inch of my skin, taste his lips. I swallow pitifully as my lips begin to ache with desire. Temptation can be cruel.

Cruel. In an instant, I remember his comments and the smugness that was laced in his tone. Carter doesn’t want me because he is attracted to me, he only wishes to prove his point. My jaw clenches. Instantly, I want to break his own. Carter takes a cocky step back, winking at me once more.

“All in due time,” he promises as he spins on his heels and crosses the training room, slamming the door behind him.

I’m not sure what he means. That in time I will come to him like every other girl has, or in time I will finally wipe that grin right off his face. 



I can’t help the way my eyes take inventory of her. I can’t stop staring at her, almost as if I need to memorize every inch of her, as if looking away from her soft, raven-black curls, emerald-green eyes, and dark, blood-red stained lips will physically kill me. My tongue flicks over my own dry lips and I find myself wondering if hers taste like cherries. Or apples. That’s what that red of hers reminds me of.

The sky-blue corset she wears over an ivory lace shirt fits tightly around her slender curves. My hands itch to touch her. To reach out and run my hands through her hair. She’s too beautiful to be real, yet here she is. In front of me. She holds no smile toward me. No outreached hand to shake my own as Father introduces her. Her eyes narrow as she continues to stare intently at me.
Her arms cross tightly across her chest, clearly unimpressed by what she sees.

You hate her. Balling my fists at my side, I try to rein in the way she has begun to unnerve me. The way I want to run my hands down her, to watch her close her eyes and whisper my name. Chills race down my spine. My body is responding to her in ways I’ve never responded to any chick before.

Father stands with pride as he nods toward me, waiting for me to welcome Rob’s new recruit. But I don’t. I stare just as hard at her as she does at me, finally feeling the narrow of my eyes. Why the hell do I want her? Why the hell am I feeling anything for her?

Father frowns when I don’t offer my hand to her. Arabella will be staying with us for the next few months,” Father says. But what he leaves out is, She’ll be staying indefinitely when you realize that she’s your fated, Carter.”

But she won’t. I’ll see to that. I may like her appearance, and her body might cause me to think and feel things, but it doesn’t change the fact that I vowed to make and keep her and Union City as my enemy. I will end her. Make no mistake about that. She will burn for the crimes her father committed against my mother.

Jennifer Weiser is a young adult author who has always been a book nerd and a bit chocolate obsessed. Writing has always been a favorite escape, but quickly became a passion not long after the birth of her daughter. When she isn't combing the shelves of her local book stores or blogging about newest book obsessions, you can find her nestled in her nook creating worlds she hopes that one day will inspire her daughter, who not only has given her the courage to follow her dreams--but offers the inspirations that help color their worlds together.


My Review:

So when I first started this book, I was a little hesitant.  I had been intrigued by the synopsis, but actually getting into the story - I was really afraid that there were going to be too many similarities with some other popular YA series and what could have been a really good story would get lost in the comparisons.  There were three main issues I thought could run into this.  First, the dystopian setting - dystopia is really hot right now in the YA world, especially with The Maze Runner and Hunger Games ramping up in the movie scene. Second, the love triangle between the 3 main characters - I was really afraid it was going to turn into a Jacob/Bella/Edward or Peeta/Katniss/Gale type of dynamic.  Finally, I was really concerned about the concept of two Touched individuals being "bound" for/with each other - at first this screamed "Imprinting" and that worried me.  Happily, I was wrong.  Being "bound" and "imprinting", while similar on the surface, really are completely different concepts - and as you'll read - being "bound" is a far more complicated and exciting notion.  Overall, this book really  holds its own as a new story in the genre and shouldn't run into too many comparison issues.    There will of course be a #teamtove and #teamcarter (jury's still out for which team I'm on...), but a good love triangle dynamic never hurt anyone - and, like I said, this really didn't have me making too many comparisons once I really got into the meat of the story.  

I love the idea behind The Touched.  Jen has created a really interesting world that I can't wait to learn more about.  I found myself reading at every spare moment - I had to put the book down to, you know, live my life - but whenever I could read - I did.  That to me is the first sign of a great story.  I've started 2 other books in the last 6 months and haven't gotten much further than 2 chapters into either of them.  Something else always seems more interesting.  When I'd rather be diving into a story than anything else, I'm a happy girl.  

I'll admit, I found myself confusing the characters of Caleb and Carter at time - not because they were anything alike (they aren't), but only because their names are so similar.  Caleb shows up more and more infrequently through the story, so when he would eventually be mentioned, I kept thinking I was reading about Carter, which then made the story not make any sense.  That is not necessarily a misstep in writing - it really says more about my reading comprehension skills than anything :-) - but using less similar names would have made it a non-issue (but this is a series...can't really expect Caleb to become Daniel or something randomly in book 2 just to appease my slow  

If I had to criticize anything, I would say that the dialogue - both internal and external - could be improved a bit.  It felt unnatural at times and almost like it was trying to hard to be different - like it was overemphasizing the fact that this is not present day US.  I've read books where this change in the common vernacular has been successful, but I didn't feel like this quite achieved that.  That being said, it was not enough of an issue to make me dislike the book and it definitely didn't take away from the overall story.

My final disappointment with the book has nothing to do with the story or the writing.  But I feel like it was important.  The book lacked good editing.  I feel like Jen's publishers did her a disservice by allowing pretty blatant errors pass through the editing process.  There were a number of spelling and grammar issues throughout the book.  They weren't troublesome from a reading standpoint, but they were obvious and you definitely wouldn't expect them in a professionally published book, such as this one.  I can't ever blame an author for those types of errors.  The author is too close to the text and can make those mistakes without even realizing (hell, after re-reading this post through the first time, I had to correct about 4 different typos and I'm sure I missed more) - and because she knows the text so well, she will pass over many of them in read throughs.  It's so imperative that an outside source goes through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb to catch those things, both for the reader's and the author's sake.  I really hope that, in subsequent editions, the publisher gives Jen's work the editing it (and she) deserves.  I know she worked too hard for anything less.

It's been a long time since Jen and I have spoken outside of Facebook...but despite that - I heard Jen's voice in this story - Loud and Clear.  I could hear her telling her story - I felt her heart and soul coming through the words of the page.  I think that speaks volumes.  When an author truly loves and believes in what she's created, the reader definitely notices and The Touched, for me, really achieved that  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Young Adult literature or dystopian fantasy stories - you won't regret it.  The links to purchase are above and below - it's available in both paperbook and Kindle formats.  And now for me, it's the waiting game until Book 2 is published...hopefully Jen doesn't keep me waiting too long!


Disclaimer: I was given an advanced copy of the book and a media kit in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 12, 2015

MMM - An action packed week(end)!

This weekend was great.  For a lot of reasons, but most importantly - it didn't seem like it just rushed by like most weekends do.  It was just a really nice break - a good mix of relaxation and out & about.  Because it was the weekend, of course Miles woke up bright and early and was not interested in relaxing in bed with Chad and I.  So being the good wife that I am, I got up with Miles and let Chad keep sleeping for a lil bit.

Miles and I had some breakfast, then Miles figured out how to climb up on the back of the couch -  we spend way too much time telling the dog to get off the back of the couch - I'm not sure why Miles thinks he can get up there (because he's 2 obviously...rules don't apply).  I had to tell him about 6 times not to climb up there (he's trying to jump off...there are far worse implications than just messing up the couch) - but I also had to get a picture.  Because memories.
Oh yeah, he also got a haircut on Friday - which always makes him look SO MUCH OLDER!

While Chad was getting ready, I took Miles out to his papa's woodshop to help clean (but mostly dance).  He doesn't get to spend a ton of time there, so he was loving every minute of it.

Chad and I left for the rest of the morning to do some important stuff that I can't talk about yet, but which is very exciting and I will update about it very soon.  We also headed to the laundramat to do 2 weeks worth of laundry, becuase my mom's washer has been broken and the repair guy doesn't seem to want to fix it (it's under warranty...just replace the thing...but no.  he gets paid per visit, so make sure that instead of finding out the exact problem the fist time, you make a vague guess and only order parts for that - then when they come in, realize those parts only fix part of the problem and order new parts.  So your 2 visit repair turns into 3 visits and you get to make lots of money.  yes, that's a great way to do business.......) ANYWAY...while we were out doing that, Miles went to the pumpkin farm with Grammy and had an awesome afternoon.

I used all that laundry time to finally get some Jams on my nails, which I haven't been able to do in a couple of months.  I broke out some of the marsala designs, which is the Pantone color of the year, and perfect for fall - which is something I loved about my last manicure and was sad when it didn't last.  I love these!

I ordered some new lettering supplies - brush markers and watercolors.  I spent some time yesterday playing with those and getting used to them - it's a much different feel than the sharpie lettering I've been doing.  But I signed up for a charity craft show at work and want to have a few pieces with both mediums and so I've got some work ahead of me.  Here's one of my play pieces.  These markers have really awesome blending capabilities and that's what I was having the most fun with.
It needs a little work - and I still need to work on my usual, but it's really fun!

Chad had a work event on Sunday, so it was just me and little man.  We tagged along with Grammy to run some errands and grocery shop, then played outside.  I thought with such a full morning, he'd be more than ready for a nap after lunch.  I don't know why I thought that.  That's never how it works.  We read about 4 books and he started to snooze a little bit with each one, but as soon as the story ended, he was awake and ready for the next it was a napless day, which led to a cranky evening.  But once he started settling down, he was good.  Especially when he got to chill in the dog bed with his cheerios.

And then of course, he promptly passed out about 45 minutes before his bedtime - so I took advantage of that and got in some silly selfies with him while he slept...teehee.

And that's all she wrote...until next time friends, 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday 5 - vol. 9

Well, how's this for a flashback?  I haven't done a Friday 5 in almost a year and half.  Surely I can think of 5 things I really love from that gap of time yes?  Ok, Ok - I'll stick to the rules and keep it to things I loved in the past week.  So without further ado...

1. My new LuLaRoe Julia dress!

I can't resist the Julia dress.  It's so flattering on every shape and super comfy.  Plus it can be dressed up, down, or as a tunic.  I think I could wear a Julia every day and be a happy girl.

2. This dressy casual fall outfit I put together

My friend Shaunacey at Confessions of a Frumpy Mommy posted one of her favorite fall go-to outfits this week (check it out here).  I absolutely loved it and used it as the inspiration for my outfit above - which is now one of my go-tos!

3. Ace Pineapple Cider

I am a cider girl.  Cider and Riesling - those are my go to drinks.  I first had this cider at Burger Republic in Nolensville, TN a few months ago and had been on the hunt for it ever since.  I finally found it at my local liquor store and promptly bought 3 6-packs.  This stuff is SO GOOD.  And if you haven't tried it, you NEED to.

4. Cucumber Kiwi Smash cocktail

While cider and Riesling are my go to drinks, I'm not afraid to branch out to something new every once in awhile.  This week we went to a birthday party downtown and this cocktail was on the menu.  It was delicious - and so light and refreshing.  It's probably more of a 'summer' cocktail (it would be perfect out in the warm weather), but I would drink it year round.  Here's the recipe:
1 oz kiwi puree,
1/4 oz. fresh lemon-lime juice mix
3/4 oz simple syrup
1 1/2 oz cucmber-infused vodka
Shake all ingredients with ice, pour into a collins glass and top with soda water.

5. My perfect fall mani
Jamberry Copper Penny, Midas, & Stardust

I've been super lazy with my nails lately, but all of a sudden it was October, the weather was cooling down, and I was wearing Uggs.  I decided I needed my nails to match my fall style.  I feel like this manicure just screams Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Apple Cider, leaves falling, cool air, and all things fall.  I loved it. Too bad it only lasted about a day before it started chipping - boo!

And that's it for this week's five.  Have a great weekend, friends - and until next time...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Plan With Me...Or Don't.

I keep putting this post off because I know I'm going to get a big, fat, "I Told You So" from my husband when he reads it, but I may as well finally get around to my promised post about how I planned to use my planner (heh) vs how I actually use it.  Because...why not?

I had these incredibly grandiose visions about what my planner was going to look like when I bought it.  I was watching plan with me videos on youtube like it was my job (probably actually instead of my job at that specific point in my life...).  I saved picture after picture of spreads and layouts to give me some great references.  I started my lettering tutorial videos. It was gonna be awesome.  My planner actually arrived about 2 weeks before I could use it (it didn't start until June 29...) and I was SO anxious to get started.

Then I realized something.  In order to get these gorgeous planner spreads I was seeing, I had to buy more supplies.  Washi tape.  Stickers.  Pens, markers, punches, stamps, ink.  I needed ALL THE THINGS!  Problem was...all the things added up really quickly.  And I had just spent $75 on the actual planner.

OK plan b.  I bought 1 variety pack of washi with my 40% off  coupon at michaels and 2 packs of planner stickers for like...$2 each.  Surely that would get me by for a bit.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I was so naive.

I mean, look at these spreads -

And these are the simple ones.  But they're all stickers.  And Washi.  And adorable.

I suppose I started out well enough.  As I mentioned in my first ECLP post, when I chose the horizontal layout I immediately regretted it.  That feeling has not changed.  While I've gotten into a rhythm for organizing how  I put things into the planner, I don't love it and I feel like the Vertical layout would look way better.  Choosing how to prioritize what goes where in the horizontal layout is super hard, yo.  I started off just trying to be random about it.

It allows for a little bit of variety - but it wasn't very organized.  And I hated trying incorporating the box on the right into the overall layout.  I needed to do something with it.  After scouring instagram for some ideas from other ECLP horizontal users, I found a great idea from one of my favorite letterers @llamaletters.  She used skinny washi to section off the box and made it dedicated for her work schedule, meal planning, and weather.  Well, my work schedule was fixed, but I thought meal planning and weather was good to have and I could figure out the third box in time.  Sweet.  Oh, but small issue - I didn't have any skinny washi.  Boooooo.  So I came up with the brilliant plan of cutting my washi into thirds to transform it into skinny washi.  BOOM!  Except that is really time consuming and annoying - but I did it anyway!
Ok this is better.  I had already appropriated the boxes for a few days when I planned ahead (and this is why I learned that is a big no-no (more on that later), so my organization was a little shot - but still not terrible.  But...I still didn't really super dig it.  I needed a third box (weird...the vertical layout has 3 boxes built right's like they know what you're doing or something).

And so was born the 3rd box (and with it came the death of the washi separation, because seriously...eff that).  In the far left box is my daily to-dos, blog posts, important notes, etc.  The middle box is reserved for lettering the big event of the day..whatever that ends up being (most days it ends up blank...because I'm boring), and in the far right box is the weather, the Tiger's schedule & W/L record (or countdown until Spring Training/Opening Day in the off-season), and daily meal plan.  It works.  

Here's my problem.  You're really supposed to use the monthly calendar for your long term planning stuff.  And I do:

I also use the note page at the beginning of each month as a sort of dashboard to highlight all the important things happening.

The weekly planning, however, is not supposed to be done until the beginning of the week.  Most in the planning community do it on Sunday nights.  And they take several hours to do so.  Sorry - ain't happening.  I do mine early Monday morning, which is fine.  When there's something I know needs to go in the weekly layout, but it's not time to plan for that week (and I haven't yet added it to my monthly layout and/or Google calendar), I just throw it on a post it, put it where it belongs, then refer to it when the time comes.

The problem is though, that once that initial planning is done, I don't touch the planner again (here comes that "I told you so").  I still really rely on my Google calendar on my computer and/or phone, as well as Google Keep for all my important information.  This thing, while a great an ok creative outlet, is not super practical for organizational purposes.  The part I really get the most use out of is the keep it all pocket in the back - where i keep any paper I'll need or need to reference and don't want to get destroyed in the bowels of my purse, and the perpetual calendar - which lets me keep track of days that repeat every year on the same date (birthdays, anniversarys, etc...yes, yes, also something I can keep on Google with the recurring functionality...).

So what did I learn in my 4ish months of using this so far?  This type of planner is for scrapbookers - not for someone who's looking for true planning/organization - yes I'm sure some EC users swear on this as their bible - they would be lost without it, etc, etc.  That's fair, but to them, I also say you could get the same functionality out of a $5 paper planner from Target.  The ECLP offers you nothing revolutionary in terms of planning.  You specifically go for the ECLP because you want to to the stickers and washi and stamping that goes along with the ECLP culture.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not planning - it's scrapbooking.  I do think it's cool to look back at my "big event of the day" items and have those memories (because we know I've forgotten by now), but I don't need to carry a 5 lb notebook everywhere I go to get that.

My last ECLP post said next time I would try a less expensive but similar planner such as a Lime Life, Plum Paper, or Happy Planner.  I won't.  If I go for another paper planner, it's going to be something more compact - I love my new little May book so I may go with their planner - or I may just do a plain notebook to jot notes in or do a little sketch as i think of it (since my calendar really is all online anyway).

So - I've given up my dream of being #plannerfamous.  It's all good though...I'll take a little bit of ribbing from Chad, admit that he was right (it happens every now and then) and move on to the next big thing (buy ALL THE TOMBOW PENS!) I'm eclectic - no - I'm chelish!

Until next time friends...