The Number One Reason I Decided to Create My Own Inserts

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With so many planners and planner inserts out there is there ever really a reason to create your own? I think that depends.

Sure you can go from planner to planner or from insert to insert but that doesn’t mean that you will achieve that allusive “planner peace” we are all searching for simply because you picked up a prettier insert than the last.

I know that this may sound a little counter productive since I happen to have a line of planner inserts that I sell but the reason why I designed the inserts that I did was so that they give you a freedom that I didn’t feel was there in most of the other planner inserts that I had found.

For me there was always something missing with the planners and inserts that I was finding. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew that I wasn’t getting what I needed from them. I would find myself searching in every office store I walked in for something different or spending hours on Etsy trying to find a layout that really spoke to me. I was like that new Tinder member searching and hoping to find Denzel, Chris, or Liam waiting just for me. I wanted that one insert that said “I’ll work exactly like you need”.

Part of the problem was that I had worked for a planner company before and I absolutely loved their planners. They worked for me in every sense of the word. Did I have complete and total planner peace? Was I running through the mountains with my planner clutched tightly to my chest singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music”? Not quite but I was going most everywhere with my planner in my purse feeling confident that I was on track and and on schedule. That is the same thing right?

So the number one reason that I decided to buckle down, fight with my graphics program, and do the dang thing myself was for the freedom to make it completely personal.

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Just about every planner or inserts claims that you can personalize your page and to some extent that is true. You can add the stickers that work the best for you, you can doodle or bullet journal your way through each day, or you can just washi the whole page and call it good. Whatever floats your boat. However, when you sit down and design each page you get to think about what you really need. For me I went through all my old planners that I could get my hands on and I looked not just at what I thought made each one work well but what I used most. Then I was able to figure out if I wanted those items in my inserts or if they were really necessary.

Let me tell you that there is a certain mad scientist high you get when you are Frankenstein-ing your way into planner oblivion. At first you feel like you can add everything and then you have to stop and get real. You find yourself fist pumping the air like a bad 80’s movie character when you get something to work and you get that Flashdance excitement when you finally get it done.

Now I just want to say for the record that I am not advising every single person to create their own planner. First off, it is a lot of hard work and if you are like me a few sleepless nights and at the end you still may not like what you have created. You could start to use it and figure out that something still isn’t right. So if you decide to go down this road then you have to be prepared for how it plays out.

The reason I am sharing my story with you is because I understand that some people might be nervous to give it a go. Some of you have wanted to put together your own planner for quite sometime but feel like maybe that isn’t something you could do or that no one would understand creating your own because there are so many already out there. Maybe you already own two or three of any of the popular planners and it just seems wasteful to do something like this. I want to let you know that it’s not.

If you feel like you could create something that can keep you on track, help you organize your life better and give you the freedom to plan as you like then I say go for it. Planning is about you. It is about what works best for your life and whatever might be needed. So if you are worried that you can’t then I am here to tell you that you can and I for one can’t wait to see what you come up with.

As always let’s keep the conversation going. If you have any questions are motivational stories about your planner journey be sure to share them below.

I Just Shh-ed a Big One – Why You Shouldn’t Keep Quite

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You ever had someone complement you and it made you feel sick.  Not sick like “you might throw up on them at any moment” sick but like hit you in the gut with a twelve pound bowling ball sick?  If your answer was yes then you will understand my day.

Let me set the stage for you.  I was a a bi-weekly meeting for a group that I am a part of.  A group that on quite a few occasions happens to call me on my BS without even knowing it and this time was no exception except for how hard it hit.  So one of the ladies was talking about procrastinating a lot and how time management is a challenge for her.  That was when my mouth opened and without thinking or the other peoples knowledge my foot hopped right into it.

See it’s not that I was giving bad advice or talking out the side of my neck as a friend used to say (in other words talking crazy) and it’s not like I haven’t studied time management or use to work for a major planner and time management company.  I have done these things and I knew that I was giving great advice and tools that could really help her.  No, the Miley Cyrus wrecking ball moment came after when another member complimented me by telling how good I was at goal planning.  Again while this is true, did I not just open up about my planner woes?  She could have run me a salt bath and thrown me in and it wouldn’t have stung as much.

Talk about being called out.  I should have stood up right then and said, “my name is Tiffany and I too am a procrastinator”.  I should have acknowledged my own struggles and why I have pushed to understand time management so hard but no I sat there feeling like I had just swam through a mud wrestlers practice ring and couldn’t find a shower.  It plagued me for the rest of the day.  Sure I tried putting it out of my head and going on with my day.  I tried to be productive.  However, I found myself later that night on a Netflix binge and telling myself I could finish my work tomorrow.  I fell back into my own personal ring of fire.

Why do we do that?  Why do we let one comment take us down?  Why don’t we speak up and share our own struggles?  I know personally that whenever I have shared from the heart or the crazy parts of my life I have gotten more praise and connectivity then when I have tried to act like everything is alright.  I always speak about how as a society the only thing we love more than watching a public figure fall is watching them get back up.  The Phoenix rising from the ashes syndrome I like to call it.  It tells us that if they can change and come back so can we.

Not to mention, that I know for myself I learn more about myself when I struggle than when everything is going great.  Usually when things are going great I tend to coast and punish aside some of the lessons I learned before when they weren’t so good.  That is why we share the good and the bad.  It doesn’t help anyone to always act like you have everything together.  Who wants advice from someone that has never had a bad day their entire life.  We need real people to say “look it’s hard but I did it and you can too”.  Chances are that in that moment I could have helped more by admitting that I still struggle with procrastination and that lately I have been cracking open a pint of Ben and Jerry’s when I look at my goals that I set at the beginning of the year because I feel so far behind.  Yet I keep pushing and when I have a day where my butt glues itself to the couch I just work harder the next.  Those are the real moments that help.  That is the advice that needs to be told and the lessons that should be shared.

So next time you or I find ourselves in a moment where we have a choice of sharing what sounds good and what really speaks to the heart of a person I hope we both speak from the heart.  That we share our triumphs but more importantly our struggles.  Let us all rise from the ashes together.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar position?  Which route did you take?  Let’s keep the conversation going below by leaving a comment.

Letting Go: My Beginning Journey to A New Level of Planner Peace

I personally happen to LOVE, LOVE, L-O-V-E, the Olympics.  I go a little crazy and practically chain myself to my television every two years just to see each and every event.  I print out schedules so I don’t miss anything and set my DVR as soon as I can just in case.  This last Olympics in Rio I thought seeing everything was going to be a cake walk because I had my planner and my Olympic stickers I had created and I was ready to go.  olympic-info-boxes-2016_72Yet this Olympics has a side effect I didn’t foresee.  I was so caught up in watching the Olympics I stopped planning and when they ended I was like “now what do I do?”.

It was like I had forgotten how to plan or something.  I couldn’t get back into the swing of things.  I had lost my planning mojo.  I couldn’t create, I couldn’t think, I just couldn’t do anything with my planner.  It sat empty and desolate for weeks without not even a drop of ink between it’s wonderful pages.  I looked at it almost daily and with a heavy sigh each and everyday I closed it and when about my work.

I tried watching planner videos but they weren’t holding my interest and I tried searching Etsy but just nothing was doing it for me.  When I finally hit a week where I knew I was going to be crazy busy I gave up on making my planner pretty and just dived into making it functional with more of a bullet style and that was when a light bulb went off.

Before I tell you my aha moment, I want to clarify in advance.  I have nothing against decorative planning.  I actually really love it, but in that moment I realized that I had become so caught up in the way that my planner looked and not how it was helping me organize my life that I could plan without the pretty.  In those weeks where my planner was put to the side it wasn’t that I didn’t have plans that I needed to write down or events I needed to keep track of.  On the contrary.  Those were weeks were I desperately needed to plan but I simply couldn’t without the perfect spread or the absolute right stickers.  I had become attached to the look more than the reason.

I know we all get started using paper planners for different reasons but for me it was so that nothing feel through the cracks of my life.  I wanted so see what was going on, what I wanted to accomplish, and what needed to be done to get where I wanted to go.  Yet in the mist of planner kits, washi tape, and sticker overload I lost my personal reason for planning.

With this in mind, my goal now is to find a way to combine the functional with the pretty.  I thought I had before but it was more of taking a few stickers away then really trying to combine them.  I know I will still have washi and stickers and other fun things in my planner but when I look back through my planner I want to see where my goals started and how they were accomplished more than which lovely paper I used during which week.  I want to know that I used my planner for it’s intended purpose and I want to see that I succeeded.

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How are you using your planner?  Do you have any tips for me as I change my planning style?  Let’s keep the conversation going below?  Leave a comment and let me know what your personal planner style happens to be?

Hello June…Monthly Goal Setting

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It is hard to believe that almost half the year is gone.  I bet you can still remember breaking into your 2016 planner and thinking of all that you planned to get accomplished before the next new year.  I personally set quite a few lofty goals for this year and I am sad to say that I haven’t done so well, but I plan to more than make up for it in the next six months.  That is why for June I have decided to take a refreshing look at my 2016 goals and I am taking you along for the ride.

Recently I was talking with an acquaintance and we were going over business planning.  She had just read something about planning in ninety day increments that was inspiring her to look differently at how she worked her business.  Now one of my first jobs we did something similar that we called “quarterly strategy” but it had the same bases, and while I still implement this in my business for the most part I have never thought about it in my personal life.  However, when she was talking all I could think about was how well this could work for all aspects of my life.

For example, one of my goals was to post one picture a day that I took and didn’t edit.  See in addition to my love of planning I am also a photographer and I have found recently that I have stopped taking pictures for me.  Part of me feels like I am losing my creative edge and to take a photograph that you love and feel no need to adjust takes some creativity behind the lens. 

I was good for like the first week or two of the year and then got caught up in the day to day of life and lost focus.  Now if I had been reviewing my goals every quarter then I might have stopped and asked myself why I let this go earlier and not feel the need to play catch up half way through the year.  That is why I want to start taking a quick look at my goals per month and a longer look per quarter to make sure that I am on track.

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I have even designed new inserts that I can use to write out my goals and the action steps that I can take to keep on track.  I am also using the month at a glance and my monthly target list to keep me working toward what I want to accomplish.

So this month we are going to be taking a look at goal planning and keeping on track so we can go into the second half of this year more productive than ever.  Let’s get started.

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What goals are you working toward?  What systems have you put in place to make sure that you reach then?  Share below and together we can keep each other motivated. 

It’s a Little Early but Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Giveaway

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It’s the luck of the Irish calling and you bet your lucky charms that I have a little something special for you this month.  This is just a little something to brighten up your month and get you in that holiday spirit.  So I hope you like it.

While this months is open to everyone I just want you to be aware that next month’s giveaway will only be exclusive to those that have signed up for the newsletter.  So if you are interested then be sure to sign up in the column on the right so you don’t miss out.

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Like last month I am in love with this set and have been chopping at the bit to get in my planner and get it set.  However, I have decided to wait until the week of St. Patrick’s Day to actually design this so if you want to see it in my planner then follow my Instagram (@planology).  While you’re there be sure to leave a little love tool

With that said, enjoy and be sure to share with your friends and other planner addicts around the way.

The More the Merrier – Tips for All Your Extra Pages

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If you are a user of the Happy Planner then you have been waiting on baited breath for the new planners that they have been teasing us with all 2016.  I mean really.  Did they need to Periscope and Instagram every last one of the new planners before we could even touch them?  It has been months of anticipation and finally they are set to be in stores within the week.  Yet with each one being eighteen months and most of us still using our planners we already have that leaves six months of pages to figure out something to do with.  What is a planner girl to do?

It seems like more often than not these days when I get into my planner Facebook groups someone is asking for ideas of what to do with all these extra pages and like everyone else I am curious as well.  So I decided to do some brain storming and see if I could come up with some ideas as to what might work the best for my sensibilities.

  1. Create an art journal where you can test out new pens and new styles of writing.  We all love our pens but sometimes we aren’t sure if they will bleed through or if the new hand lettering that we learned will fit in the boxes.  Take those wonderful extra pages and create, draw, and letter to your hearts content.  This way you will know exactly which pens work the best and which styles you can’t wait to try.
  2. Test out new layouts and ideas for the future.  This one almost seems like a bad idea to me but it is still worth exploring.  Between all the kits, stickers, stamps and washi that we all have sometimes we have more than we could ever use for one month let alone one holiday.  If we use those pages as a way to get fresh ideas for how to layout our planner then we can be more productive during our normal weeks and have a better sense of what works and what doesn’t
  3. Start journaling your life.  With a few changes to dates and a weekly sticker to cover up the calendar no one will ever know what the original date on those pages were.  This way you can journal about your day, your bible readings, your kid’s classes, or just your life.  Take those pages and set up the best way for you to write about what is going on with you.  If you aren’t sure about writing and art isn’t your thing then you can always add pictures of the day or the week and use it as a really basic project life album.
  4. Create a new planner.  If you are one of those that buy multiple planners than you might have enough left over pages to create one or more new planners.  Again all you would need is to add in some date cover ups and a weekly sticker to cover the month at the top of each week and you are set.  I personally think this would make a wonderful present for a high schooler or college student that needs to track their classes and activities but doesn’t have the money to go out and purchase one of their own.
  5. Money or Spending tracker.  You might want to cover those dates again but this would be a great way to keep tabs on what you are spending and budget out what you would like to save.  You could also use it as a tracker for cleaning, errands, to-do list, or grocery list.  Matter of fact that list could go on and on depending on what you like to keep a running count of in your life.

These are just a few little ideas that might help you as you plan out which planner you are going to pick up and what you might want to do with the rest of pages you will have left over.

Did one of these ideas inspire you?  Do you have other tips that have worked for you in the past or something that you are dying to try this year?  Share them below and let’s keep the conversation going.

Back to Basics – Planner Edition

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Back to basics is a phrase that people use quite often.  It’s a way of expressing a return to the beginning of something or maybe where you feel you were your best.  Most often when people say it they don’t really have a time or a situation in mind but more a generalization of where they would like to start.  In that respect I might be the only odd ball in the bag.  When I say it I tend to know exactly what and where I want to go back to and for me that is usually the drawing board, the beginning of the beginning.

See to me, if things were going so great or if you really liked where you were headed then you probably wouldn’t feel the need to go back.  Therefore if you feel that you need a change maybe you need to look at the foundation first before building on already shaky ground.  For me that conversation came around and hit me right smack dab between the eyes last week.  However, before I get into that I want to make a little disclaimer:

This is an open and safe space and I intend to be completely and unashamedly honest about life, love, planner peace and the reality of who I am.  In doing so I ask that you do me the courtesy of being completely honest about yourself, your struggles and who you are.  I want us to be real here and offer each other understanding, grace, and a soft shoulder to lean on.  We are on the REALLY REAL here and if that it to much for you then we understand.  It’s a hard road but I believe it is worth the journey.

Okay now back to our scheduled programing.

Last week I hit a crisis of everything.  I had poured so much of my heart and time into this blog, this shop, this project and after it launched I found myself in free fall.  I had so many things I wanted to do and say but I couldn’t figure out how to say them.  I had subscribers for the first time in anything I have ever published on a blog and while excited I became terrified and that was when the doubt set in.

I’m sure you can relate.  That voice inside that tells you that you can’t do this.  That you are going to fail and that you were crazy to take on such a huge dream.  You start to question everything that you are thinking and you wonder what to do now.  Yes that was my week which lead to a complete and total Netflix binge and a half empty planner.  Then in an effort to “look good now that I have a planner blog” I started to write in things but realized that just made the feeling worse because I couldn’t think of what to write in.  There was nothing to share.

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So after eating more cupcakes than I want to admit (but it might have been enough to feed a little kids birthday party) I decided that I need to sit down and really think.  I shut off the television, I turned off the noise, and I just asked for guidance.  Now whether you are a person of faith or not, let me tell you that in my life I know that when I ask I receive.  It may not always be what I want but I do receive and today that blessing came.

I have a goal to read 24 books this year and to say that I am off to a sad and pathetic start would be completely true.  Yet recently I started a new book and as I was reading there was a line about time being our most precious asset and everything came flooding at me.  This was my answer and I had to share it.

When I first got back into the planner community it was because I felt like I needed something to help me manage my time better.  As an entrepreneur I felt like I was letting too many things slip through the cracks and as a person I felt completely overwhelmed by life.  I’m sure you guys have been there and it might be why you picked up a planner too.

However, as I dove further and further into the plan with me videos, Facebook groups, and Etsy shops I lost some focus.  I started striving for the prettiest planner and the coolest layouts and for my spreads to look just like everyone else’s.  I stopped worrying if it was functional and started worrying if it would look good on Instagram.  I lost sight of the beginning, I lost sight of me.

Yet as I read that line and I realized that here I was with not only a wonderful tool to help me shape, share, and cherish my time but also an amazing opportunity to share that with the planner community my mind opened up like a brand new water pump and ideas started flowing again.  I felt like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde 2.  I had found my voice!

So with that in mind, when I say I am going back to basics I mean that I am going back to pens, paper, and my dream and I am moving forward into my most cherished asset.

That doesn’t mean that everything will be changing around here only that it will be enhanced by what has taken root in my mind and in my heart and I hope soon it will be able to touch your heart too.

 

Something Special For You…A Little Valentine’s Day Surprise

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It’s February and love is in the air.  It is the season for joy and giving and peace on earth…wait that’s Christmas.  Oh well, since I already got them mix up and I don’t have any flowers to share then I might as well do a giveaway.  A little something to say thank you for dropping on in and taking a look around.  Besides it’s better to give than to receive, right?  But if you happen to have a box of chocolates just laying around I wouldn’t turn that down.  I’m just saying.

This month as an exclusive for new comers to our little community I am giving away my Valentine’s day spread.  It is in PDF format so all you have to do is click the links below the picture to download it.  After that simply cut and enjoy.

 

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I will say that I am absolutely in love with this set and personally I can’t wait to use it.  I hope once you see it then you will feel the same.

While it is set up for Valentine’s there is no rule that says you can’t use it for an anniversary or birthday or just because you are in a lovey mood.  Added bonus is that if you like pink this might just do it for you.  So enjoy and be sure to share with all your friends.

The Best I Ever Had…Don’t Go There; I’m Talking Advice

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I know, I know but in my defense I was sitting here watching an interview with that “50 Shades of Grey” guy and well that can put thoughts into anyone’s head.  Did you know he was married?  Oh well I digress.

Let’s get to it.  Welcome to Planner University or Planner U.

I debated long and hard about what would be the first posting here and believe me it was a tough decision.  I mean should we start with which planner to get or which style or what is planning.  That last one almost won out but then I thought about it and figured you must know what planning is or else why would you be here.  Now that doesn’t mean that it might not pop up later only that it doesn’t get the dubious honor of being first.  That honor starts right here with this post.

See I started thinking and I realized if you were going to start at the beginning then you might need a few tips.  You might need someone to come and hold your hand and talk you down off the sticker ladder or out of the washi aisle.  When you are starting out you need advice.  You need that person that is going to stop you from having to figure out a way to write off Etsy as a business expense or a donation on your taxes because the amount rivals half your yearly income.  Therefore we are starting with some of the best advice I have found in the planner community.

  1. YOUR PLANNER IS FOR YOU & THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO HELP YOU BE ORGANISED.  This I think might be the best of the best.  So many times we get caught up in the way we see others planning. We look at their planners or their videos and we want to be just like that.  Yet each of us are different and our lives are different.  So why do we think that our planners should be the same.  You bought that planner not just because it looked good but because you wanted to get a handle on your life.  You wanted to keep things from falling through the cracks.  Therefore make sure that it is working for you because that is all that matters.
  2. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO COST A FORTUNE. Again we get so involved in the look that we sometimes forget the purpose.  Of course it is amazing to get new stickers or weekly sets but don’t be afraid to go simple in the beginning or even now.  Don’t be afraid to check out dollar bins in different stores or look around your craft room to see what you might have that will work.  You don’t need to start right out the gate with every sticker on Etsy or every washi Michael’s carries.  Even if you have been planning for years you can still find deals that will make you want to jump up and down like a fan chick at a boy band concert(One Direction anyone?).  The point is don’t break the bank trying to keep up with the Jones’s.
  3. TAKE THE TIME TO FIND YOUR GROOVE.  Without argument young Michael Jackson was killing it.  Those beginning songs with the Jackson 5 were, are, and will forever be classic.  However when he came out with Thriller that was a WHOLE NEW LEVEL!!  My point is that even some of the greats need time to come into their own.  Don’t worry that your first few spreads might not be what you thought they would be or that you’ve had your planner for months and you still aren’t sure exactly how to use it.  That is okay because you are learning.  It takes time to figure it out and find what works for you.  In the meantime, use those spreads or weeks to mark what you love and disregard what don’t.  Let your groove find you and you will be dancing in no time.
  4. DON’T LET A SPREAD YOU THOUGHT YOU’D LOVE BUT DIDN’T GET YOU DOWN.  We have all been there.  You get that kit in the mail or you plan out exactly what you think you want to do.  Maybe you saved those stickers especially for this one week and when you get in there and put them down you feel like a balloon that has lost it air.  It’s like that rollercoaster ride that you hate but keep getting on because you think this time it will be better.  Look, doll, it happens.  Sometimes things just don’t work and that is okay.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Let it sit, let it get you through the things you need to do that week, and let yourself figure out why it doesn’t work for you.  It could be that you miss your white space or that you felt overwhelmed by the pressure of the week.  Relax and move on to next week.  As the song goes, it’s only a day away.
  5. MOST IMPORTANTLY-PLAY!!  While we all got into this to keep organized and to run our lives or our business let’s keep it real, this is fun :).  It’s like someone set an extra arm on the clock and for a few hours in the day, week, month it reverses and we get to travel back to our elementary school days when we had no worries.  We could sit with our friends and draw or write our name a hundred different ways with a thousand different pens or colors.  We could put stamps or stickers on our jeans, shoes, shirts, or skateboards.  We could mark your world and make it standout as ours.  We could show our style, our personality, our love in our own way.  At the end of the day or week that is what this is about.  Being you and having fun while doing it.

Well that is it my Lovies.  The intro and beginning to PlannerU.  I hope that this was helpful for you whether you are a beginner or have been planning for awhile.  It is always good to go back to the basics and I personally find that I learn a little something new each and every time.

Like with all classes the Q&A is just starting.

If you have any questions or would like to add something to the conversation then be sure to comment below.  Look forward to seeing you next class.

Let’s See Your Style…Planology Edition

I had to make that Barry Manilow up to you somehow so I decided a little TaTa would do just fine.  Although it does lead to almost the same question.

Why are we watching clouds float through Taylor’s neck?  And like before I am going to tell you.

No reason whatsoever that relates to planning.  However, I would suggest that you take a look at the abs on that guy in the video.  They do make me swoon just a little.  On the relevant side, the title of the song just happens to be what we are talking about and that is style.  Specifically you planner style, but as a side note you really need to check out that guys in the videos abs?  Yes please.

Okay back to our regular scheduled programing and welcome to our STYLE section.

Here is where you can show off your favorite spreads.  You know those weeks that are so dang blasted cute that it almost seems a sin to put pen to paper and you really wish that you could frame them and put them up so that people walking in will be like “OMG look at your life.  It is so amazing.  I think I just died”.  If you don’t get the reference click here.  Those are the spreads, layouts, weekly wonders that we want to see.

To share send them to yourstyle@theplanology.com.  I will be posting as many as I can and the one that gets the most comments at the end of the month gets to share all about how they put it together, where their inspiration came from, or just why they chose those stickers.  Whatever tickles your fancy.

Added bonus is that if you just aren’t really feeling that creative bug or simply can’t think of what to do for the week, this is going to be a great place to come and find some inspiration.

Questions?  Be sure to leave them below and don’t forget to send your spreads in and show us your style.