Christmas came early… I picked up a brand new planner for myself yesterday! Those who know me well can attest to the fact that I am a planner. I like to have a plan, I like to know the plan, and if I have anything to say about it, I’d just as soon not deviate from the plan. I obsessively carry a planner with me everywhere I go. Sure, I know I can keep track of appointments and important dates on my iPhone (and I do that too), but for me, there is something cathartic about physically writing my commitments down on paper and seeing them in my own handwriting as pending dates approach.
Who gets a new planner in the eighth month of the year? This girl! After a three-year love affair with the pricey, but visually stunning Erin Condren, I decided we needed a break. For one thing, my entire calendar revolves around the school year, which means about this time every year, I start getting nervous because my standard January-December calendar is running out of pages and I’m already scheduling things into February. I needed a new calendar, and I needed one pronto. I was frustrated as I realized this happens to me every year. I pay $75 for my flashy EC planner with all the bells and whistles, but by August, I’m already wanting a new one so I can keep planning into the next year. Not to mention, this year, I was sorely disappointed to discover that Erin Condren had changed one of my FAVORITE features… exchanging its smooth-turning, chrome binding for a wider, scratchy, dull-silver binding of sub-par quality.)
A close, local friend of mine has made quite a name for herself designing and manufacturing custom planners under the label Farm Girl Journals on etsy, so I gave her a shout and asked if I could place an order. I love the idea of supporting local small businesses (not to mention, I tend to run
a little on the picky side, so having the opportunity to fully customize my planner was too lucrative for me to pass up!).
I chose from Farm Girl’s wide variety of cover options (Love me some Roy G. Biv!), requested specific scriptures for the inside and back covers, and of course, asked for extra pages for taking notes (Erin never did have paper enough to contain all of my thoughts) Just one week later, it was ready and I can’t adequately express how much I love it!
The first thing I noticed was how closely the cover resembled my EC planner. (Which is good, because the ultra-sturdy, gorgeous covers were what drew me to Erin in the first place) The crystal-clear lamination will insure my cover will still maintain it’s pristine appearance even after all the lunches and coffees (and accidental spills) I subject it to over the course of the next year. Plus, the spiral binding allowed for delightfully smooth page turns, so I was already a very happy girl!
I was equally impressed by the quality of its paper (in fact, I liked it better than EC!). I am a self-proclaimed pen snob. Translation: I carry a black Pilot G-2 with me EVERYWHERE I go, and use it exclusively. (Especially in my planner, where I absolutely can not tolerate the sight of mismatched ink) The fatal flaw of the G-2 is that it doesn’t work well on all paper types. It’s terrible on slick-finished greeting cards, for example. So, when I noticed how silky-smooth my new planner’s paper was, I was a little nervous they they may not play together nicely. However, to my elation, the paper’s smooth surface felt amazing to write on and was equally porous enough to allow my G-2 ink to soak in. (No smearing and no bleed-through!) It was a match made in heaven!
The sturdy but adorable, color-coordinated , patterned tabs were the icing on the cake! They make me happy just looking at them!
I was happy to find that the monthly calendar was spacious (individual squares were slightly larger than EC, which I liked), simplistic, and pleasing the eye. I immediately went to work transferring over the remaining dates from my previous planner. (It may or may not have been the highlight of my day) And I loved that there was a place in the right margin for notes/reminders to myself. Oh!! And I did I mention that I was able to customize my calendar, so that it starts and finishes in August? LOVE it!!
Perhaps the most unexpected feature I fell in love with was the weekly calendar. My Erin Condren planner had a weekly calendar section, but I seldom used it. (That is until I had used up the scant number of notes pages provided in back, at which point I resorted to using the weekly calendar for scratch paper).
What I love about my Farm Girl Planner’s weekly calendar is that it allows me to organize my weekly goals by role. This was a total game-changer for me. This is exactly how my brain works! I need to keep my responsibilities/commitments for all of my different roles organized separately. On the left-hand margin, I was able to list out the different hats I wear/things I keep track of on a weekly basis. I wrote out some of the chores I’d like to tackle around the house, the deadlines I have coming up for my CBS role, upcoming social engagements, and even my menu plan for this week. This will allow me to keep track of all the “little things” that I might not want to write on my monthly calendar, but that still help me stay organized. I love to keep To Do lists and this format provides a great way for me to do just that, while seeing it all in the context of the whole week’s big picture.
(Close-up of Goals by Roles)
Per my request, I received a generous section of lined pages for note-taking (you can request un-lined pages if you’re more the free-spirited doodling type). She even included additional blank tabs for me to label sections within the notes pages in case I want to keep my notes for PTO separate from my sermon notes!
Bottom line: I have found my new planner, and I’m not looking back. Not to mention, in addition to feeling great for supporting a local small business owner and friend, I paid a FRACTION of what I usually do for a planner! I strongly suggest you check out the Farm Girl Journals Shop on etsy. You can also find her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.
PS–If planners aren’t your “thing”, she also has a gorgeous line of Bible Tabs, Bible and prayer journals, and even customized journaling Bibles! (I know where I’ll be doing a lot of my Christmas shopping this year!)