July 2018: Recap + On My Shelves

Aug 15, 2018

Can you believe we're halfway through August and I'm just now posting my July recap? This post ended up on the backburner in the wake of the big life changes we're currently making (see below!) and my recent visit to see Kelly!

1. Family Vacation – We went to the mountains with my family during the first week of July, and it was so much fun! My son loved everything about it, especially when we went on a hike to this waterfall. I soaked up all the extra reading time, and my favorite part was an afternoon trip to two bookstores with my sister.

2. Seventh Anniversary – Nick and I celebrated seven years of marriage on July 2! There are days when I can't believe we've been married that long – and others when it feels like we've been married forever. Haha! I'm so thankful for this man and the life we've built together. Here's a little bit about our love story, if you're curious.

3. Dino Boy – You probably can't tell, but there's a whole row of "little dinos" sitting on that windowsill in the picture. My son's love for dinosaurs has only grown with each passing month, and I love hearing his little voice tell me all about them. Every day feels like I'm getting to know something new about him, and it all amazes me. 

4. House Hunting – In July, Nick and I started house hunting! We'll be staying in the same area, just moving to a house that better suits our current needs. This picture doesn't really have anything to do with it, though I was at Target to get a few move-related items. I'm excited about the future but definitely sad, too. It's bittersweet!

Read 14 Books | Favorites:
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O'Connell

“No one can ever know the inner parts of anyone else’s marriage. It’s a strange business.”
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan

“Our friends are not our second choices. They are our dates for Friday nights
and for ex-boyfriends' weddings. They are the visitors to our hometowns and hospital rooms.
They are the first people we tell about any news, whether it's good, terrible, or mundane.
They are our plus ones at office parties. They are the people we're raising children with.
They are our advocates, who, no matter what, make us feel like we won't fail.
They are the people who will struggle with us and who will stay with us.
They are who we text when we get home.”
Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaeffer

“To be Cuban is to be proud — it is both our greatest gift and biggest curse.
We serve no kings, bow no heads, bear our troubles on our back as though they are nothing at all.
There is an art to this, you see. An art to appearing as though everything is effortless,
that your world is a gilded one, when the reality is that your knees beneath your silk gown
buckle from the weight of it all. We are silk and lace, and beneath them we are steel.”
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

“Shall I strangle him or will you?”
She rewarded him with a devious smile.
“Oh, it must be a joint endeavor, don’t you think?”
“So that you may share the blame?” Andrew quipped.
“So that we may share the joy,” Billie corrected.
“You wound me.”
“Happily, I assure you.”
Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

 “We think it’s the big actions that shape us — the choice to pursue medical school
over business school, turning down a date with one guy in favor of another,
the regrettable decision to have an affair. But in reality, all of those things come about
from the unconscious and barely considered actions that shape a life:
blowing off studying one night to watch TV. Laughing at a lame joke to make someone feel better. Allowing more eye contact than necessary with a man you knew to be no good.
It’s the innumerable smaller choices that snowball into larger vectors, or, put another way:
it’s the choices we make when we ignore our scornful intellects and follow our thumping hearts.”
The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

“The bad thing had happened, and the baby had survived. He could be hurt without dying.
He could endure my mistakes. He was vulnerable but resilient. Human.
Wasn't that the problem, in the end? He was going to walk around in a world
 where there were a million different ways to die. One day something would kill him.
And I loved him too much for that. And yet. What else is there to say?”
And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O'Connell

I was pretty proud of myself in July – mostly because I wrote a few posts that I'd had on my to do list for months! My first post of the month was my June 2018 Recap, of course. Even when it's late, like this month, I just can't skip it.

Then, I shared 15 Books for Summer Getaways. This is a post I've done almost every summer, inspired by a past Top Ten Tuesday topic, where I pair books with summer destinations + accessories. It's a favorite of mine!

I talked about 16 books in my June 2018 Quick Lit, and then reviewed the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. Those were my only reviews posted in July, but that's because I had a few other fun posts planned.

After I talked about seven things I've been loving lately, it was finally time to spend a week discussing my obsession with all things Happy Planner. Here's the breakdown: 1) my gratitude journal, 2) my daily planner, 3) my blogging planner, and 4) my reading log. I love how they turned out!

I was looking at what I'd bookmarked from July, and I couldn't figure out why there was barely anything to choose from... until I realized that I'm about a month behind on posts in my Feedly. The struggle is real. I'm hoping to have lots of posts to share with you in my August recap to make up for this month's fail! 

  Favorite Album: Magic by Ben Rector
This came out in June, but I didn't really start listening to it until July.
I had it on repeat all month, and it was the perfect soundtrack to my summer.

Tomb Raider (2018) starring Alicia Vikander and Dominic West – This movie seemed more up Nick's alley, but I have a soft spot for Alicia Vikander so I got it from Redbox. Umm... I can't tell you anything about it because I started reading my book about twenty minutes in. So maybe that tells you everything?

Love, Simon (2018) starring Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel – I haven't read this book, but I have a soft spot for teen movies and adore anything and everything Jennifer Garner. This didn't disappoint! I have no idea how successful it was as an adaptation, but it was an enjoyable Redbox rental. 

Sliding Doors (1998) starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah – I got a book from the library that referenced this movie in the summary, and I realized that I'd never actually watched it (though I knew the premise). I was excited to find it on Netflix, and I'm glad I finally watched it! It was enjoyable, and I love the concept.

The Bachelorette, Season 14, with Becca Kufrin – This is ALL Kelly's fault! I used to watch this franchise back in college with my roommates but hadn't turned it on since. I enjoyed laughing over it with friends but didn't really want to tune in alone. Kelly kept begging me to watch and discuss with her, and I finally caved. OMG!

New Releases: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin, When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger, Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton, and Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Online Shopping: The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams, Anne of Green Gables: The Graphic Novel by Mariah Marsden and Brenna Thummler and House of Dreams by Liz Rosenberg

Used Bookstore: On Turpentine Lane by Eleanor Lipman and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Gifted: Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce, You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, and Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins 

Books for Trade: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

For Review: The Daisy Children by Sofia Grant, The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester and Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins

NetGalley: Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza

Kindle: My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan and Roomies by Christina Lauren

Audible Pre-Order: Sense and Sensibility  by Jane Austen

My Mini Happy Planner: Reading Log

Jul 27, 2018

Back in December, I reflected on my favorite things of 2017 and noted that Happy Planner was at the top of the list. I bought my first one that May after seeing Lindsey from Bring My Books raving about them. And though I swore I wouldn't buy all the things, I should have known that I'd be so obsessed with it. It started with sticker books and soon spiraled into making my own printable pages. So, I thought it would be fun to spend this week talking about how I'm using them. Happy Planners come in three sizes: Big, Classic, and Mini. I have one of each, and they each serve a different function. It's time to chat about my final Happy Planner: my mini!

I use my mini Happy Planner as a reading journal! I've got a notebook with a list of what I've read each year that I started when I created my blog back in 2011, but it's just a list of titles and authors. I've always wanted to do something more, and that's where this one comes in! I started it last year, so I'm on my second one now.

At the beginning on every month in a Happy Planner, there's a recap/overview page. As you can see, I've covered some of the categories with washi tape to make them work as a reading journal. The list underneath April is labeled Top 4, and it's my four favorite reads from that month. Noted is a little breakdown of the source of what I read: TBR, Review and Re-Read. Quote is my favorite quote of the month, and Audio is just the total number I listened to.

The only thing to keep in mind, if you want to use the mini Happy Planner as a reading journal, is what this page looks like in whichever one you pick. Some minis have versions of this page that are hard to re-label.

On the monthly calendar, I write the title of the book on the day I finish it. Last year, I wrote more in the Notes sidebar (like the genre breakdown) but didn't continue it. If I finish two books in one day, I'll draw a line dividing the box in half. It's interesting to flip through and see months with reading slumps versus binges!

Mini Happy Planners are all in this horizontal format. It's worked perfectly as my reading journal because it's just enough space for a few thoughts on what I've read but not so much that I dread writing in it. In the past, I've given up on reading journals because it felt like writing a review – and I already do that here on the blog! 

On the day I finish a book, here's what I write: 

1. The title and author on the first line
2. The format, source and rating on the second line
3. A few brief thoughts on the book on the last three lines

And that's it! I don't write in complete sentences or try to make it sound nice. It's really just for recording my overall impressions. It's useful for me because I rarely write a review immediately after finishing a book, but it's not hard to grab this little notebook and jot down a few thoughts when I'm done reading.

For the sake of this post, I specifically chose a week where I finished a lot of books so that you could see it really filled in. But there are lots of weeks with only one or two books recorded! In busy weeks where I finish more than one book in a day, I'll take a little washi tape and cover up the date of a day where I didn't finish anything and just label it with the new date. That's why you see Sunday • 18 (Cont.) at the top of this page.

And if I'm really tearing through books and finish so many that I can't re-label the existing spaces, I'll just stick a sheet of lined paper in the middle of that week's spread. I'll do the washi + Sharpie thing again, and then I'm all set.

At the very back of this journal, I have the titles of what I read color coded by the source. That's how I format my Read in 2018 page on the blog, and I just like having a physical version of it.

Okay, that's it. I hope you've enjoyed taking a tour through my Happy Planners! In case you missed it, I chatted about my gratitude journal, my daily planner, and my blogging planner and bookish printables. If you have any questions, just let me know! Whether it's tips for making your own printables or sticker book recommendations, I'm happy to help. And if you've every written about your planner, leave a link in the comments. I'd love to check it out!


I've got a Happy Planner giveaway – with a bookish twist, of course – that will be going up on my Instagram account later today. I will come back on here and embed the post once it's live so you can see all the details!

** GIVEAWAY! ** I loved showing y’all my planner this week and am so thankful for the #bookstagram community that I thought it was time for a giveaway! Here’s what’s up for grabs: . 1. Happy Notes with 3 dividers + 60 pages of dot grid note paper (flip through in my story) 2. 12 pages of TBR printables (4 each of physical, audio & e-book) 3. $25 Amazon gift card (to add more to your TBR, of course!) 📖 . ** Here’s how to enter: ** 1. Must be following this account 🤓 2. Like this photo! 📸 3. Tag a friend in the comments & tell me a book you recently added to your to To Be Read (TBR) pile! 📚 . US only. Ends August 2 @ 5 p.m. ET. Please don’t follow just to unfollow. 💖 • #soobsessedwithbooks #books #planner #happyplanner #booklover #bookworm #booknerd #bookstagrammer #bookblogger #happynotes #giveaway
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My Classic Happy Planner: Books & Blogging

Jul 26, 2018

Back in December, I reflected on my favorite things of 2017 and noted that Happy Planner was at the top of the list. I bought my first one that May after seeing Lindsey from Bring My Books raving about them. And though I swore I wouldn't buy all the things, I should have known that I'd be so obsessed with it. It started with sticker books and soon spiraled into making my own printable pages. So, I thought it would be fun to spend this week talking about how I'm using them. Happy Planners come in three sizes: Big, Classic, and Mini. I have one of each, and they each serve a different function.  Today, is Part Two of my Classic. It's allll about the books! 

In the Happy Planner world, you'll sometimes hear people talk about "frankenplanning." The word is typically used to refer to the way people will take parts from various planners and combine them into one. So, for example, you might use the cover and rings from one planner with the inside pages of another. It sounds silly, but it's something that I love about this type of ring-bound system. I've been able to make mine exactly the way I want, which you'll see in this post. I have two planners combined into one + a lot of pages that I've made for myself.

The front of my planner has this folder that I'll use as a catch-all for various papers – receipts, an appointment reminder card if I haven't added the info to my planner yet, etc. After the folder, you may notice that I have two sets of July and August tabs. That's because I've combined two planners into one! To keep my planner from getting too thick, I only keep about 2-3 months in there at a time (and just store the additional pages – past and future – on an extra set of rings). The first July and August tabs are for my daily planner, which I highlighted yesterday. But today I'm going to show you the back half of my planner, which is dedicated to all things blogging and books.

With the exception of this monthly spread, the format of the blogging section is a little different than standard Happy Planner pages. I'll talk about it more after the next picture! But, for this monthly overview, I write down blog posts that I've published. They're color coded based on the type of post, of course. I don't write them down until they're written and scheduled, but I'll use small post it notes to plan out future posts.

Most Happy Planners are either vertical (the format in my post yesterday) or horizontal (like a traditional agenda), but there was a limited edition release in a totally different format that I knew would work perfectly for my blog! While the planner itself is no longer available, they do sell this format as a six-month undated expansion pack

Immediately after the monthly overview, this is what you'll see! I'll use the habit trackers on the left for book buying bans, social media posting, replying to blog comments, or any other task that I'm trying to accomplish on a near-daily basis. In this month, I was tracking my book buying ban. 

For Monthly Goals, I always write down at least three. Some repeat almost every month – like posting at least eight times. But the others will change based on whatever I need to accomplish... or have been avoiding. Haha!

In the Checklist section, I write down the title of a book when I finish it. I don't check it off until the review has been published! This list continues on the next page, which you'll see in the next photo.

The Note to Self area is where I write down the publication date and title of anything I need to read and review that month. And sometimes I'll use this section to call out anything extra that's on a deadline!

On the page opposite, there are three main sections. The Get It Done checklist is a continuation of the list of books I've read that month. Typically, those two sections have enough spaces for what I'll read in a month. But there have been a few times I extended the list into the Note to Self section of the previous page.

The top half of this page is just dot grid. I print out a photo of my favorite read from that month and will add a quote or info about when/where I read the book or why I loved it so much. I used two photos in this month because I participated in my first readathon and wanted to make note of that fact in addition to my favorite read!

The Focus On section aligns perfectly with my goal to publish eight posts per month. This is where I plan them out! I sometimes publish more than eight things, but this section helps me decide where to focus my attention and time.

Remember how I mentioned half sheets in yesterday's post? Here's one in use. I love decorating one and making a monthly TBR! I divide it into sections: Review, Borrow, and New Releases (pictured) and then TBR and Audio (not pictured, on the back). I'll write my rating and the date I finished once I've read it. I have another half sheet behind this one with random blog post ideas for whenever I need a little inspiration.

And here's another place where you can tell that this planner format is very different. When I first bought it, I dated this section and used it as daily to do lists. But honestly, I wasn't blogging enough to keep it up. I'd often forget to write anything for several days or end up writing things in after I'd done them – not very useful.

Then, I realized that I could leave them undated and use them in an unexpected way. The first three sections – black circle stickers – are my recurring monthly blog tasks. Pages are the three things I need to update throughout the month. Reading Log is something that you'll see tomorrow, so stay tuned. And Misc. is a catch-all for anything else.

The section below that, Reading Backlog, is a list of books I read in previous months but haven't reviewed. Since I don't keep past months in my planner, I like having a quick reference for what I still need to write.

The next two sections, with blue exclamation point stickes, are for the two posts I publish every month: Recap + On My Shelves and Quick Lit. Underneath both, I have the different things I need to do to complete the posts. From taking photos to adding it to a linkup, this keeps me on track since I rarely finish it all at once.

The last two sections, with orange circle stickers, are books I finished that month. Remember how I had that checklist on the previous page? Well, here's where I write down all the things that need to happen before I can check it off there: take a photo, write my review, update Goodreads, post the review, and add it to my reading log. If it's a review book, the last line will say Log & Submit. The next few pages are this same format, so I didn't take more pictures, but it also includes sections for other posts with the list of things I need to do to finish them. 

After the pages labeled Daily To Do's, there are two lined pages. I divide them into the main categories that I use in my monthly recap posts: Loved, Read, Heard, Watched and Acquired. And I just add things to the relevant sections throughout the month! It's made it so much easier to write those recaps because I'm no longer scrambling to remember those details. That wraps up one month in the blogging section! So, let me show you what comes next...

I tried bullet journaling a few years ago and loved the concept but didn't stick with it. The format was just a little too loose for me, and I didn't like having to draw stuff every month. It was so time consuming because I would be too meticulous and overthink it. When I realized that I could customize my Happy Planner, I knew I could take what I loved about bullet journaling and combine it with a traditional planner. The stuff behind these two divider (which are hidden behind one of the monthly tabs in a previous photo) are where I applied some of those principles. 

As I've mentioned, you can mix and match Happy Planner stuff with multiple planners, different extension packs and more. But my favorite part? You can add your own stuff, too! Happy Planner sells a paper punch that you can use to make anything work with their ring system. And that's how I got carried away making inserts!

Rather than hand draw this, as I did when I used a bullet journal, I just designed a quick printable. Yes, I had to take the time to make it initially, but now I can print it every year (or quickly adjust it with a different goal in the future). As you can see, I've already completed my Goodreads Challenge for 2018. 

When I saw Alexa post about her personal Read or Die Challenge earlier this year, I knew I had to do it, too! Basically, the goal is to read anything on my TBR that's been there since 2016 (or earlier) by the end of the year. And if I don't? It's getting culled! I color the box pink when I finish a book, with the date I completed it noted in a light gray pen to the right of the title. Black means I've DNFed or culled it. 

I created a Series Tracker, too! I alphabetized the list by author's last name, noted the series title, and then used a box for each book in the series. I color them in when they're done! This is just meant to track my progress so that I can quickly see what series I haven't finished, even if it's unfinished due to books not being published yet. I'll probably redesign this page in the future to make it easier to add series to it. 

Ah, now we're getting to my favorite pages in my planner! When I was bullet journaling, I drew my TBR on a bookshelf and absolutely loved it. But it was such a pain to keep adding books to it because it would fill up quickly and then I'd have to start drawing it all over again. So, the first printable I created was this bookshelf! I use it for physical copies only, and I divided it up. My Adult Fiction TBR is pictured here. I color in a book when I complete it, and black book means I DNFed it. The best part? When I fill up a bookshelf, I just print and punch a new page.

After I made the bookshelf, I knew I wanted something for my electronic books, too. So... I made myself a Kindle TBR printable! I just write the title in the spaces, check it off once I've read it, and note the date that I finished it. I have a separate sheet that's just for digital ARCs because I like to group them together.

After my physical and Kindle sheets, I had to make an audiobook one, too. I was clearly looking at the Audible app when I designed it! Right now, I only use this for audiobooks that I own and haven't listened to yet. But I'm thinking about adding some titles on here that I have saved on Hoopla and Overdrive so that I don't forget about them! In the spot where the audio cover would go, I just color it when I'm done and note that I've finished + the date. 

Those are all the printables that I decided to photograph for this post, but that's not all that I've made for myself. Here's some of the other pages I made that I've got in this section:

  • Author Events: A place where I can note future book tour dates + time & location, as they're announced.
  • Book Challenges: All the prompts listed for the Modern Mrs. Darcy and Picky Pledge challenges, followed by blanks that I can fill in with the books I read for each.
  • Book Releases: A yearly overview to track release dates + titles that I need to pre-order or request from the library (so I can be first on the holds list, obvs). 
  • End of the Year Survey: All the questions from this survey created by Perpetual Page-Turner with space left to fill it in throughout the year.
  • Recurring Blog Features: Pages designed for posts I do frequently, like checklists for future editions of So Obsessed With or pages divided into the categories that I use for my end-of-year recaps.  
  • Review Book Tracker: A place to fill in all of the books I've received for review, source, publication date, and whether I've read/reviewed/submitted them.
  • Top Ten Tuesday Topics: The list of upcoming topics + pages to plan for ones I do every year, like Top Ten New-to-Me Authors or Top Ten Books of the Year. 
  • TV Tracker: A section to fill in the show and season, and then check off episodes as I finish them. 

And finally, we've come to the last tab in my planner! The previous tab has all of my printables grouped together, and this last one is for extra blank paper that I can use for brainstorming and other random things. I updated my blog design earlier this year, and this was a page I used in the process to help me visualize the new drop-down menu and list specific tasks I needed to complete. I love creating printables for things that I'll use repeatedly, but it's nice to have a section of paper at the back for things that I'll only need once. 

Okay, whew! I know that was a lot of info, but I wanted to talk about more of these pages because they're unique to my planner and illustrate why the Happy Planner system has been so perfect for me. It gives me what I loved about bullet journaling, combining everything into one place, with so many added benefits:

  • Allows me to use a pre-designed calendar
  • Easier to reproduce frequently-used pages
  • Ability to rearrange pages so that categories stay together
  • Customizable with personal inserts + printables 

Only one more planner to discuss: my mini! It serves a book-related purpose, and I can't wait to show it to you. 

BEFORE YOU BUY: Happy Planners are sold online and in stores at Michaels, Joann Fabric & Craft, and Hobby Lobby. Although you can buy directly from the Happy Planner site, I highly recommend shopping at one of the listed retailers. Why? You can use coupons! There's a reason I can't stop buying stickers... Hello, 50% off one item.

How do you track blogging tasks and/or your TBR?
Check back tomorrow for my mini and a giveaway! 

My Classic Happy Planner: Daily Life

Jul 25, 2018

Back in December, I reflected on my favorite things of 2017 and noted that Happy Planner was at the top of the list. I bought my first one that May after seeing Lindsey from Bring My Books raving about them. And though I swore I wouldn't buy all the things, I should have known that I'd be so obsessed with it. It started with sticker books and soon spiraled into making my own printable pages. So, I thought it would be fun to spend this week talking about how I'm using them. Happy Planners come in three sizes: Big, Classic, and Mini. I have one of each, and they each serve a different function. Today, is Part One of my Classic. There's more to come tomorrow! 

In Happy Planners, each tabbed monthly divider (the page with candy hearts, in this case) is preceded by a monthly overview page. The specific breakdown varies by planner, but most include a spot for Birthdays, Important Dates, Monthly Goals and/or Notes, and a Currently fill-in-the-blank section. In mine, the candy hearts sticker is covering the Goals section because I didn't need it that month. I always fill out the birthdays at the beginning, as well as the dates to remember. Nick travels frequently for his job, so this is where I'll note when he'll be gone. 

The Currently section is one of the reasons I wanted to start using Happy Planners! I preferred Lilly Pulitzer agendas for years, but I loved that Happy Planners made it seem so easy to capture memories. I have all my old planners because they feel like little time capsules, but this one is even more special because it goes beyond appointments and to dos. It captures so much of who I am and what I love, not just what I've done! 

On the Monthly spread, I generally just write down the big stuff: birthdays, appointments, and important reminders. But sometimes I'll include little things too, like participating in a readathon or a creating a Happy Planner Instagram account with Kelly. Yes, I've become someone who has a separate Instagram account for photos of their planner. I don't even know who I am anymore, but I'm having so much fun doing it right now!

I love all the different half sheets that I can insert into any week, though I didn't take a photo of any that I'd written on. From general brainstorming to tracking tasks with deadlines, this is one way I stay organized. One of my favorite things about my Happy Planner is being able to take pages in and out! My post tomorrow will truly highlight the reason why, but it's also useful for this type of thing. It's nice to create a master to do list that I can move from week to week. And, as a lefty, I love not having to deal with rings while I'm writing.

And that brings me to my weekly spreads. I swore that I wouldn't become a sticker person... and look at me now. Those were my famous last words! I used to look at heavily-decorated planners and wonder if they were useful, even if they were beautiful. But now I've realized how fun it can be to create something pretty! I used to think that I wasn't a crafty person, but I'm pretty sure it's just that I hadn't found the right outlet yet. I use my planner to stay organized, but I don't necessarily think of it as a productivity tool. Truthfully, I see it more as a scrapbook.

I'm a stay-at-home mom to a toddler, so I don't need a planner to function in the same way I did when I was working. You won't find meeting reminders or project due dates in here. And yet, as I flip through these pages, I see all the memories I've documented: books I read, silly things my son said, FaceTime dates with my best friends, places I spent too much money, and so much more. It's a record of how I'm crafting a life that I love. I've always been organized, but my Happy Planner has inspired me to record the details, celebrate the everyday, and live creatively.

You might be looking at this and thinking, "But who has time to do all that decorating in their planner?" And honestly, that's totally fair. I have no idea if I'll do this forever. But I love that I'm doing it now – that I'm using some of my free time to chronicle my daily life. I hope I stick with the concept of writing about my days, even if the method changes, for the rest of my life. My crappy memory needs this kind of keepsake!

Okay, that's all for Part One of my Classic. I focused on how I'm using it to record my daily life, but there's obviously a huge component missing: books and blogging! If you're wondering how that fits in, be sure to check back tomorrow. I'm excited to show you what I've created for myself. Things are about to get even nerdier...

What type of planner do you use? Do your journal or scrapbook?
Check back tomorrow for all things blogging and bookish!

My Big Happy Planner: Gratitude Journal

Jul 24, 2018

Back in December, I reflected on my favorite things of 2017 and noted that Happy Planner was at the top of the list. I bought my first one that May after seeing Lindsey from Bring My Books raving about them. And though I swore I wouldn't buy all the things, I should have known that I'd be so obsessed with it. It started with sticker books and soon spiraled into making my own printable pages. So, I thought it would be fun to spend this week talking about how I'm using them. Happy Planners come in three sizes: Big, Classic, and Mini. I have one of each, and they each serve a different function. Today, I'm talking about the Big. 

I mentioned in my post my motherhood journey so far that I keep a "Three Good Things" Journal. The name and inspiration came from one of my all-time favorite books, Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center, and you can check out that post if you want all the details. But the gist of it is that it's my gratitude journal. Every day, I write down three good things that happened. And that's how I'm using my Big Happy Planner!

This one stays next to my bed, and I love reflecting on my day before I go to sleep. It was initially a hard habit to start – I felt like I was repeating myself all the time or would forget for a few days and then struggle to remember enough to complete it. And that's why I keep this one super simple. There's no stickers or decoration, just plain black pen and one good thing in each box. I love looking back through it, and it's helped me develop a more positive attitude + see the good in my daily life. I'm particularly glad I had it after my thyroid cancer diagnosis

On the lefthand sidebar of the weekly spreads, I write my Top Three for the whole week. I started doing it because it was nice to spend a little time on Sundays reading through everything I'd written down for that week and choosing three favorites. It only takes a few minutes, but it's worth it. It often feels like the days are so slow but a week passes in a blur, so this helps me stop and pay attention to the details. I want to be more mindful!

And finally, my favorite part of my Big planner: the month-at-a-glance spreads. Since I'm not using this as a planner, I originally didn't intend to write anything on these pages. But I saw Linds share this idea, and I knew it was exactly what I needed. It's the perfect addition to the pages filled with memories! It brings me so much joy to flip through this journal and marvel at how much things change from month to month. 

I have so many photos on my phone that rarely get printed and still need to create photo books for 2016 and 2017. But somehow, I always find the time to do my little photo-a-day in this planner. I bought a Canon Selphy Wireless Photo Printer, and I love it so much. From the photo quality to the convenience, I highly recommend it! About once a week, I use the PicFrame app to create a collage of six squares, print it as a 4x6 photo, cut them out with my Fiskars large circle punch, and then use Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive to glue them in. 

While I still hope to get around making photo books, it's nice to have at least one place where I can look at physical photos of my life. From adorable pictures of my son to silly things we did, it's a record of my life. I love all of my Happy Planners (and can't wait to talk more about them this week), but this one is the most meaningful to me. 

Do you keep a gratitude journal?
Check back tomorrow to see my daily planner!
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