Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The poop on my Erin Condren Planner - is it worth the $$?

Things I love:
1. The extra space on the side where I put my blog posts for the week and my meals for the week + the sturdy colored tabs that make the planner easy to navigate.
2. The monthly spread - I need a spread for the month, and the boxes are roomy enough for me to write in.
3. I like how each day is blocked out into Morning - Day - Night.

Things I don't like:
1. Writing on the Wednesday blocks - when you're a righty, the spiral gets in the way and you have to angle yourself oddly.
2. Bleed through when I use my colored sharpie pens. I've never had a planner that did not bleed through, so this is par for the course.

Things I don't use:
1. The contact pages. I'd rather have extra note pages.
2. The colored stickers. I can see who they would be useful for - one color per kid, one color per sport, etc. It doesn't really apply to me.
3. While I don't refer to this weekly or even monthly, I love that they include 2015 & 2016 calendars in the planner that ends in December 2014. I like to be able to refer ahead. I need to know what years I will have to take off for my birthday.

The Particulars:
1 x 2013-2014 life planner -zen gems (PLN14-19) = $62.50 (base $50)
line 1 : Stephanie 
i would like an 18-month calendar! 
july 2013 - december 2014 ($ 5.00)
extra colorful stickers 
no, please do not add extra colorful stickers
colorful pens 
no, please do not add a set of colorful markers
pen holder 
yes, i would like to add an adhesive pen holder ($ 2.50)
2 personalized notepads 
no, please do not add notepads
elastic bands 
no, please do not add a set of 3 colorful elastic bands

Sub-Total: $62.50
Shipping Rate (FedEx Economy Ground (2-5 business days)): $8.65
Gift Voucher Amount Redeemed (EGC2002727BXU23RA6): -$25.00
Total: $46.15

FYI - I won the $25 gift card in a giveaway. I got nothing from Erin Condren for this review, it's all my own opinion.

I'm not an electronic calendar girl. Never have been, never will be. I need to write it down in my serial killer handwriting and display it for all of you.

I am not opposed to paying a high price for a planner - I virtually live and die by it. It keeps all of my appointments, it maps out my professional and personal lives, and it keeps me on top of things. I am a former Franklin Covey girl, and the inserts were at least $50/year. I get a lot of value from my planners and I'm willing to pay a high price for them.

Since this planner is 18 months, I'm using it for $3.47 a month. I spend more than that for a large iced coffee at DD once a week, and I love my DD but it's not giving me any long-term payoff.

Paying $3.47/month to be organized and effective is worth it to me. Could I do it for cheaper? Sure. The quality assembly and durability of this planner makes me feel more secure than one I pick up in Target though. It has weight and presence, and the cute design and energetic colors don't hurt either. I consider it money well spent.

Erin Condren, I'm a fan. Put her on your Christmas list this year and kick 2014's ass organizationally.

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

6 Considerations for Planning a Kitchen Remodel

This post was contributed by Tali Wee of I was not compensated for this post. 

Kitchen remodels are one of the most expensive and tricky home improvement projects to conquer. To ensure the final product meets the homeowner’s goals and expectations, preparation is important. Here are some tips on how to ensure that the renovation runs smoothly.
1.       Be Reasonable
Indulging in outrageously expensive appliances and the highest quality countertops isn’t necessary. If renovating on a strict budget, allocate finances for unexpected costs that may come up during renovation. There could be serious plumbing and electric problems that need to be addressed prior to finishing out the space.

2.       Be Modest
Don’t tackle every trend all at once. It is important to maintain a somewhat neutral look so the space can adapt to new styles over time. For example, interested in the popular chevron pattern? Skip painting the whole kitchen in zigzags and choose one accent wall for a funky twist.

3.       Focus on Lighting
Culinary master or not, a kitchen needs ample lighting. Recessed bulbs are a great choice for delivering abundant light without the clutter of fixtures, but consider more focused fixtures for specific lighting. Contemplate under-cabinet task lights to brighten workspace countertops. Homeowners who plan to use the kitchen as a dining area, dimmer switches are highly recommended. They can transform the ambiance from workspace to intimate eatery in seconds.

4.       Remember Convenience
Alter the space to fit the needs of the homeowners. A family of eight, for example, probably wants to invest in a larger fridge than two newlyweds. Some pet owners may even want to purchase built-in gates to keep their furry friends away from the dining area. While customization is important, don’t go overboard. Keep in mind that highly specified upgrades can negatively affect the real estate resale value.

5.       Indulge in Counter Space
Islands are great for providing extra workspace in the kitchen. They can also be used as a seating area for a quick breakfast or afternoon snack. Determine the size and functionality of the island before making final plans. Oversized islands can obstruct the workspace and make the kitchen appear smaller.

6.       Don’t Forget Personalized Details
Add some flair to the space by choosing a unique tile for the backsplash. Depending on the style of the kitchen and home as a whole, creative backsplashes are a great way to subtly add personality to the space. A downtown loft may benefit from brick while a traditional suburban home might look better using old-fashioned tiles. No matter the selection, steer clear of anything too porous, as sauce splatters can seep into the crevices of certain stones and make it almost impossible to clean.

While mistakes happen on occasion, most can be avoided with proper planning. Use these tips to ensure that a kitchen remodel benefits the current and future homeowners for the best return for the financial investment.

Tali Wee -

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Beach Essentials

I'm so thankful to live so close to the beach. I am grateful to have my feet in the sand, to smell the salt in the air, to swim in the sea, to walk the boardwalk, to see how the sun hits the water and turns everything on shore gold around 7 pm, to sigh over amazing sunsets. I've been going to the Jersey shore every summer of my entire life. There's nowhere I'd rather go, and if I could choose to live somewhere, it would be there. I'm fresh off my second long beach trip of the summer, so it's a good time for me to share my beach essentials with you.

1. Beach bag - My ideal beach bag is bright and has long handles so I can sling it over my shoulder. It must be roomy to hold a lot of stuff. My beach bag contains:
  • Sunscreen (SPFs 30 and 50, a special one for the face, a hair tie, and lip balm with SPF)
  • Wet wipes - I need to get the sunscreen off my palms when I reapply
  • Bug spray - for any bastard beach bugs
  • A pen
  • A towel
  • Small pouch to carry camera, cell phone, and money
  • Two books 
  • Long sleeve denim button down shirt that I've worn for 10 years. At the Jersey shore, the air always turns between 3 and 5. I don't want to have to leave the beach because I'm cold. 
  • Hat
  • Baby powder - it removes sand

2. A good sturdy chair and an umbrella. Everyone needs to retreat out of the sun once in a while. I love my new Cadillac Escalade of chairs.

3. Cooler with cold drinks (water, iced tea, Gatorade, and beer) and sandwiches in baggies for lunch.

4. Beach snacks: my top two are Twizzlers and Goldfish.

5. Comfortable clothes - ain't nobody got time for high class club clothes at the beach. Or heels. Why do people bring heels to the beach? All bars are beach town bars. Wear your flip flops ladies.

What are your beach essentials?

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fifty years of Carol

My family as I know it now is not the family in which I grew up. My parents split up when I was 17, and while bad came from that as it is wont to do, good also came from that too. Both of my parents are remarried to spouses who suit them perfectly. Two new families were forged, and I get to be a part of both of them. Both of my step-parents and their families treat me very well, and today I celebrate my step mom, who turns 50 on August 11.

On her birthday, she will be living the life in Jamaica with my dad and friends. She loves the beach and vacations, so there's no better way for her to celebrate her birthday. You guys, they're going to have their own butlers. Hello dream vacation. Wallace, do please bring me my tea. And some vodka over which to splash it.Thank you my good man.
Carol has never tried to be my mom, a common mistake among step-parents, but she has always loved me and looked out for me like a mother would. Even when I lived at home and was an epic mess with no signs of my current standards of cleanliness, productivity, or ability to cook; and no understanding of why her and my dad would expect those things from me.

She is generous, adventurous, smart, funny, and kind. She's into trying new things, be it recipes, restaurants or vacations. Being around Carol is always fun. She is the electricity that powers this half of my revised family.
Have a fabulous 50th, Carol. I'm thankful for everything you are and everything you do.

Speaking of birthdays, today my friend Marla from Luck Fupus celebrates hers! Visit her blog and share some birthday love.

With that, my friends, I'm off on a shore adventure tomorrow until Monday, which means a blog hiatus. I'll see you back here Tuesday for the long shore weekend that was. Step in time with me on facebook and instagram to see what I'm doing between now and then. Toodleoo.

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