Friday, November 16, 2018

Planner Review #6: Inkwell Press

I wasn't going to do a review this morning (just so much going on!) but then a) I woke up inexplicably at 4:45 AM and b) I saw this beauty sitting there and realized that since it's a goal-setting planner, now is the time to take the plunge.  Of course, you could wait until January to set goals - but what is the fun in that?

I like to take the last ~1-2 months of the year to really dedicate time to slowly reassess, take stock, and figure out my next steps.  Excessive?  Perhaps.  But I enjoy it as its own meditative process, and I think it does provide an intentionality boost.

Inkwell Press is a company I've been interested in for a long time, and they make a number of products, from weekly pads to menu planning notebooks to fitness journals to bound, fairly traditional planners.  Tonya Dalton, IWP creator and head of the company, was our podcast guest (Ep 44!), and I loved hearing about her career journey.  I think she has an amazing eye for design and clearly a very effective entrepreneurial mind!  She also has her own podcast that the major planning nerd in me definitely enjoys.

They offered me one of their 360 disc-bound systems to try, and I went to town creating this gorgeous book dedicated to . . . planning!  Yep.  An entire journal dedicated to goal setting, scheming, and generally working through how I'd like to make the most of the next calendar year.  Please note that this is not the only way to experience IWP products -- I just thought it would be a fun way to dive in! I am somewhat saturated when it comes to planners this year, but I do plan on using this book 'for real' (ie, not just creating mockups for the blog and insta :) ).

So, here we go!

Cover:  I absolutely love the geometric designs that IWP is chock full of.  There are also solid covers (gray, tan) if you're looking for a more standard-appearing book (ie, for work meetings/etc).  

Unique to the IWP books are the discs!  These are not rings -- instead, the specialty-punched pages can be integrated into your book or pulled out as needed.  This allows you to create a completely custom book in any order of your choosing, or remove a page you don't like!

I cannot speak to the long-term durability of these discs, but I think they would be fine long-term on a desk.  I am not completely convinced it would survive a daily bag-toss.  The pages do seem much more secure than one might think given that they are not truly 'locked' in there, and I have not had any issues with them falling out with desktop use.

The discs come in other colors (gold!) but I chose silver to go with my cool-toned cover.

Interior:  I chose to create a goal-setting planner, incorporating the Goal Setting Pack and the Monthly Planner Pack!  This combination allows for maximum planning power, on both a big picture and granular level.  It's not as much of a 'calendar' (though there are monthly calendar pages) but more of a journaling/goal-defining workbook in a gorgeous, motivating package.  Here are some example pages:

Opening journaling/planning:

Goal-setting worksheets for 10 goals to accomplish throughout the year:

All together:

loooove this grid and I can't wait to fill it in!

classic IWP hexagons = love

tabs = cardboard, so again not necessarily for bag-tossing but fine on a desk

calendar - love the inclusion of 'top 5'

daily tracker pages, if that's your thing

I think these pages are quite useful and intend to use them!

Each quarter contains extra sheets to force you to take stock of where you are
(Guess I'll be back to Quarters instead of Quintiles next year :) )

This one is a little involved, even for me  . . .

Review of how you did

Paper: Very smooth, very white, nice and thick.  It DOES love to smear especially with gel pens - I've had to be super careful and still dealt with some stray pen streaks (ugh!).  But there is no show through or ghosting due to the thickness of the pages.

Who is this planner for?
Well, IWP has a number of products -- so I think they could be for a lot of people!  If you like the aesthetic (geometric shapes, modern fonts, very white paper, integrated goal-setting) and are not too afraid of a smudge or two, this may be the planner company for you!  If you want an intense goal-setting journal (I am so excited about mine!), you may be interested in the disc-system shown above! I am definitely excited to use mine next year -- I see it as a morning journaling tool to decide where to put my time/energy, and I think it will serve me well!

Anyone use an IWP currently?  Share your thoughts and experiences!

You can use this link for a $10 coupon code (I would also receive some referral credit if this is used, FYI) - in addition, the site has a 40% sale currently so now would be a good time to take the plunge if you are thinking about an IWP product!!

Happy Friday . . . I can't believe next week is Thanksgiving.  (!!!).

Thursday, November 15, 2018

strategy of the (very) clean slate

I love a good clean slate.  New years, new surroundings, or even a new notebook tends to really drive me to a more intentional frame of mind.  I suppose it makes sense:  take away the ability to go into auto-pilot mode, and all of the sudden you are forced to question your previously ingrained habits.

What was working?  What wasn't?


1) What am I doing with my bag/mail/keys when I get home?
2) Is my morning routine serving me in the best way possible?
3) Are my eating habits providing the right balance of energy/nutrition/pleasure?
4) Are there previous time-wasting behaviors that now seem superfluous?

I am delving into all this, of course, because we are in major Clean Slate mode right now, and I am recognizing that 2019 is going to be an incredibly transitional year for us.

New home x 2 (our current setup at Josh's parents, and hopefully our eventual new home!)
New job for Josh (with new routines/time frame/etc)
New schools, and 2 kids in elementary school
New camps & activities for the kids
New community to learn to navigate (OMG thank god for google maps)
(probably) New additional job responsibilities for me / some schedule restructuring
Newly verbal/walking child (b/c kids change so much in that 12-24 month time period!)


It's really a lot.  But instead of succumbing to the overwhelm of it all (admittedly, this seems to be happening, intermittently) I am trying to embrace the opportunity embedded in all of this (generally positive!) change.  I can question things that weren't working before and create a new version of the things that were.  For example, I am writing this in my new morning 'studio' (room between our room and the kids' rooms, which is also conveniently the new home to my weights/mat for AM workouts!) -- and it works.

Oh!  And speaking of clean slate - the blog makeover is fully underway and this will be another new thing (for me), hopefully by early December!


experimenting with a new section

Grateful for:
my in-laws generously offering up their space for us, and the kids thus far adjusting exceptionally well to the abrupt transition (however, I do wonder if this will change as the novelty wears off and they realize this is real . . .)

How to Break Up with your Phone


A&G in matching pajamas (taken at our 'old' house) but I wanted to save this pic for posterity

going on C's field trip yesterday to the Pelican Rescue!

A on an evening walk yesterday with 'our new dog' (ie Luna, Josh's parents' golden/lab mix aka Goldador)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

last morning at home // moving and home-buying thoughts

We have lived in our current home for 5 years.  Today we are moving exactly 0.3 miles to stay with Josh's parents until (probably) the end of the school year.  Once our home sells, we may start the buying/renting process* and spend weekends at our new digs, but the plan is to stay in Miami Beach until the end of the school year.

my morning happy place: coffee, an open blogger window, a (relatively) clear desk
not shown but often part of this scene: planner :)

I supposed we could have stayed in our house and worked around tours/etc, but it's so hard to keep a home show-worthy when there are 3 children in it.  We have painters/etc coming this week.  There is a lot of space at his parents' house, so I hope we don't drive them crazy.  We'll just take it one day at a time to start.

I am not sentimental about this home, really.  I'm not sure why - we made so many wonderful memories here.  I actually think I'll miss our general neighborhood (the great playground, the preschool) more than our house itself.  The layout wasn't perfect for us - there's not really a good private office space to work, and we never put a closet in our room (that's right - we lived here FIVE YEARS and did not manage to have a closet or proper wardrobes installed).  I suppose I did learn some lessons, living here:

1) Our family is unlikely to want to spend time/money improving our home, so for us it is better to buy one that is mostly or completely 'done' at purchase.

2) We actually don't need that much storage space (better just to limit the amount of stuff to store).

3) Kids sharing a room is fine (though might not be as ideal when they are older esp with the gender mix we have).

4) I still love IKEA (I think our demographic is supposed to have 'outgrown' this Swedish superstore, but . . . no).  We have a lot of their kid furniture, 2 couches, and our dining room table from IKEA, as well as many softer goods (sheets, drinking glasses, etc).  I actually love the freedom of not worrying about whether the kids will ruin something nice.  

5) You can host a decent-sized gathering in a fairly moderate-sized square footage -- I think our largest party was Josh's 40th, and I've also hosted some well-attended book clubs with ~15+ people in our ~2000 sq foot home.  

6) Neither Josh nor I want to spend a lot of $ on a fancy or large home.  I am not going to share specific numbers (this is not a personal finance blog!) but I will say we have no plans to spend anywhere near what Dave Ramsey says we "can" with this calculator.  Things I'd rather spend $ on:

- vacations
- adequate childcare/services to help life run smoothly
- experiences / activities, for adults or kids
- food / restaurants 
- planners (jk but . . . I like having a decent 'allowance' each month to play with.  It makes me far happier than extra square footage would)
- saving (for kids' colleges, retirement, etc)

(also not on above list: high end furniture/decor and fancy/pricey cars)

I also am now wise to the costs that come with a bigger/pricier home, including high property taxes, insurance (wind insurance is insanely $ here), air conditioning costs, maintenance, etc.  We are not frugal/"FIRE" people, but I guess we sort of want to be relatively house-rich!  

* We are undecided - Josh and I love the flexibility that renting affords, especially since we are having trouble committing to a specific location to move (locals: it appears to be between Weston, Davie, and Cooper City currently).  However, there just aren't that many rental options available in the regions we're considering.

There is a lot in flux right now (Josh's new job, some potential minor pivoting for my career, new schools, home stuff, moving).  I suspect the next 6-12 months will be challenging - I remember feeling pretty lost/anxious/lonely after our move to Miami Beach, and maybe it will happen again.  At least this time I can feel more confident that eventually, we will feel settled again.