How Shopping for Napkins Can Help You Discover Your Planner Style

I've got news for you, even if you discover your planner style today, it may change tomorrow!! Whether or not you take that as bad or good news, is up to you, but I think it's good news! Isn't it fun to think that your style will change and evolve as you grow and improve over time. So if this stye thing is so complex, then how in the heck are we supposed to find it in the first place? 

If you seem to think that everyone has found their style but you are struggling to nail yours down, keep reading!


Our planner styles are as unique as each of us, your house doesn't look exactly like your mom's or your best friend's, even if you have similar tastes. I'm sure if you look at the magazine covers next time you are waiting in line at the grocery store, you'll notice the vaste range of styles when it comes to home decor.

Why not take a look at the way you've styled your home, the clothes you wear and even the last packs of paper napkins you've bought. Out of all the napkins out there you bought the ones with the teeny flowers and soft coloured butterflies (or graphic bold coloured geometrics, or neutral organics). Today's outfit, the cushion you are sitting back on and the napkin under your pecan muffin all scream YOU! 

You can also look to what planner spreads you double tap on Instagram or to the colours and patterns on the kits that you have in your Etsy cart. Colours and patterns tend to repeat themselves in different parts of your life, so take those things and apply them to you planner.

You will automatically be drawn to colours and patterns that are part of your style. It's your style because you like these things.  Now, not everything that you like will eventually make it to your planner but  it's a good place to start. 


Pay attention to what you put in your planner, keep like things with like. If your style varies, keep the butterflies and delicate flowers on one spread and the bold geometrics on another until you nail down your style. Who knows, your style might just be the genius way you mix these two styles together. The more you plan, the more you will narrow down your style, until it becomes second nature.

In the two product review videos below, I show you ALL the pretty things in my boxes, but then at the end I narrow it down and show you my ultimate favourites. Those favourites represent my truest style. That doesn't mean that I can't use the other products (oh, believe me I will!) but choosing a few favourites out of a large selection can help you narrow down your style. 

Have a look at the videos and choose your favourites and see how they compare to mine! 




How I am Using Multiple Planners | My Planners 2018

I use MANY planners, and I LOVE using many planners, because I love planners and the more the merrier! There's no reason for them to be sitting on my shelf when I can be putting them to good use. Some say that you can have too many planners, and maybe that's true but I use 5-6 and it's working for me for the moment.


That said I have one very big rule when it comes to what I use those planners for. Here's a blurb from an older blog post that I wrote about using multiple planners:

I highly suggest keeping all the scheduled things in one planner or calendar, appointments, practices… anything that has a fixed time. You can duplicate specific schedules in other planners, but keeping one master schedule in ONE place minimises any double bookings.  Otherwise things could get really messy! 

I've got some great tips over on that post for using multiple planners, so check it out:

How to Make Multiple Planners Work

Including this tip:

Maybe you simply have ‘Shiny Object’ syndrome like many other planner girls (raising hand) and want a collection of planners, and every time a company comes out with a new style you have to have it. If this is you, consider using covers/binders that you can change out, not unlike how we women swap out our bags and purses. You can continue to use the same inserts, just make sure that each new planner you add to your collection can house your planner contents and they are easily switch-out-able ;)

 I've also made this video that gives you the run down of my planners for 2018. I also show you how I store all my planners. Hit play and enjoy! 


It's My Birthday and I Have a Gift for You!! AND a GIVEAWAY!

I'm like a little kid when it's my birthday!

I love balloons, cake with lots of ice cream, dance parties and my favourite... 


I don't want to be greedy so I'm giving you all a present too! I've got a great giveaway but first I want you to pop on over to this link to grab these cutesy pie cutfiles that I made.  






Anyone who grabs these cutfiles will be entered into a draw for my birthday GIVEAWAY and I am giving away 2 Etsy gift cards! One 30€ or $30 depending on where you live and one 20€ or $20. The giveaway ends Monday at midnight PST, so share it with your friends so they can grab the cutfiles, too!

So what are you waiting for? Hurry and enter now!!


Don't be So Afraid to Fail! Failure is Important and it's Going to Happen Anyway so...

I used to regret the birth of my first son. 

I saw it as a failure. I failed myself and I failed him.  I wanted a natural birth and it all went wrong.

I don't regret it anymore, and that's not because he's a strapping 6 foot tall, 16 year old hockey player either! It's because I was able to look at what went wrong and use it to be able to be proud of my 5 other births. I'm proud that nurses and midwives came to me after my births, congratulating me and telling me how they had never seen someone so calm and relaxed giving birth before. That they actually didn't believe that I was in labour, figuring that they'd be sending me home. They thought they knew what would happen, only to see my baby come into the world 45 minutes later.

But, I'll get on my birth soap box another day! Though feel free to contact me if you want more information.


Today, I'll stay on my Planner Soapbox and get back to the topic of failure and why it's important. I believe that we make mistakes for a reason. I would never have had the 5 wonderful birth experiences I did if it wasn't for the one that I 'failed'. So, I want you now to call up a failure. That shouldn't be too hard because we are continuously beating ourselves up over our failures, over and over. Don't choose anything too big, but I'm sure you've got a bunch to choose from on a self criticising loop in your mind.

Now, I want you to think of lessons learned from this failure. Maybe, this so called failure is too fresh to have enough hindsight. Maybe the lessons have not become apparent yet, but they will in time. 

Try instead, then, to think of an earlier one, one with enough time so that you can see what you've learned. What have you done since that you wouldn't or couldn't have done if you hadn't made that mistake? What will you never do or always do because of that mistake? In short, what have you learned from this mistake? 

Failures are not there to make us feel foolish, ashamed or stupid. Failures help us learn. I wish that the word failure didn't have such a bad connotation otherwise we would more readily see their helpfulness. Sometimes, the lesson doesn't always come right away, so we are left with those negative feelings that make us feel terrible about ourselves, and when the lesson does come, there's usually enough time passed that we don't even make the connection with the failure. So the negative connotation stays.


I have homework for you this week!

Eep! What? Homework?  I know... I'm very mean.

It's not a hard assignment, I simply want you to take one of your mistakes or failures and turn it around and let some light onto the lesson learned. Hopefully, you can erase a few regrets, like I did!

Please share a lesson learned in the comments below, and feel free to be cryptic if you don't want to share the entire story. Sometimes we like to keep our failures private, and that's ok!! Unlike that poor French skater, I think her Olympic failure is every woman's nightmare, poor thing!

To lighten the mood a bit, here's a fabulous video on how to fix mistakes in your planner or bullet journal. 


Fall in Love with Planning all Over Again - Rediscover Your Favourite Hobby

Whether you are a minimal maven or you have so many stickers on your planner that you can barely see the appointments written in, it's all perfect! Why do you love planning? Because it's pretty? Because it keeps you organised?  Or a little of both? Every reason is a good reason, anything that makes you happy is a good reason!

Whatever your reason, we've all chosen paper planners as our hobby and we prefer to use a paper planner over the free, albeit plain and boring, one that comes with our phone. We've all chosen paper planners for as many unique reasons as we are unique. Maybe it's for a creative outlet, or we think, create and work better when we put pen (and stickers) to paper. Or maybe it's because we became so sick and tired from the incessant beeping and vibrating from our phones that an analogue system seemed to offer some peace.

But does it really? Do you have a peaceful planning system? For me, paper planners are more peaceful than my phone. Relying on my phone and it's alarms stress me out. However, there seems to be different sources of stress when it comes to paper planners! We feel like we need to plan the 'right' way (whatever that is), we feel that we NEED to find the 'perfect' planner, and have it yesterday! We feel that our planner needs to look Instagram worthy every week. And then we become so overwhelmed by all the planners, products, and stickers that we own and have no where to store them. That's a lot to stress over for something that's supposed to make you happy! You are supposed to be in LOVE with you hobby after all. 

So I've put together the guide below to help relieve some of that stress, to help you enjoy it more and maybe rekindle your love for this hobby if it's gone a little stale.  I've sorted through my past blog posts, videos and classes and pulled them together in a way to create this guide for you. So you can Fall in LOVE with Planning all over again!


Your Guide to Rediscovering Your LOVE for Planning

Finding the Perfect Planner:

I don't think that there is only ONE perfect planner for each of us. Actually I know that there isn't. I believe that there are many different planners that you can use successfully and any one of those options will make you happy and keep you organised. So how do you find one of the many 'right' planners for you? Read through some of the blog posts in this section of the guide to help.

5 Surprising Questions You Never Thought to ask Yourself Before Buying Your Next Planner

13 Ways to Know if Your Planner is the Right Planner For You

Perfect Planner Hacks to make Your Planner Work Better for You Now! this one has a video too!



Staying Organised:

Of course, the main purpose of having a planner is to stay organised, whether or not that's your main purpose is another story! It's perfectly fine if you just want to play with stickers! However, if you would like tips on staying organised read the blog posts linked bel

Find out if you are Planning the Correct Way?

24 Ways to Stay Organised

The Secret to Successful Planning and Why I HATE It!


Beginner to Planner Girl:

If you are new to all this, I know how completely overwhelming it can be! There are so many different things to discover and terms to learn. It is incredibly fun, so don't let the details get in your way. Pop on over to this blog post: 

Newbie Planner Girls Start HERE! 6 tips for you

There's even a CHEAT SHEET!!

Then continue on with this blog series, called OMG! Where do I start?

OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: Choosing a Binding
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: What SIZE to choose
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: What inserts to choose
OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: How to Make Multiple Planners Work

OMG Where do I Start? Planner Series: 4 things to do Before you Buy All the Things!



Ah, the fun bit!! Well I guess every part of planning is fun for me, but then again, I'm odd and I know not everyone gets giddy over the organisation part of it!

Here's a few of my favourite projects in videos and blog posts:

Shake it Off! A Shaker Dashboard Tutorial!

Get the Look! 5 Planner Styles You Can Copy Today



I even have an entire class at Big Picture Classes dedicated to making planner clips, check it out:

Planner Clips

I've got a new YouTube video up with 21 ways to use Washi in Your Planner and there is even a free printable checklist so you can keep the list of all 21 ways on hand or even add it to your planner.

FREE Printable Checklist 


With any hobby comes the task of sorting and organsing and storing all the supplies you want, ahem 'need'. If you want some inspiration to help with your planner supply organisation, this video gives you a tour of my craft room.


 If you remember one thing from this blog today, let it be this: It's your planner, it's your hobby and it's supposed to make you happy. It's a space where you can enjoy some of your free time. There's no guilt, no stress and no shame. It's a book, made out of paper who's job is to give you feel joy and make you feel like you've got this thing called life under control!

I'm Sharing My 2018 Planner Line-Up with You!

I could get by with just the one planner, but hey, where's the fun in that?! Instead, I'm using a few planners to spice things up and to make this wonderful hobby of ours a little more fun. Oh and of course, to keep me organised!


 Let's start with my Main Planner, my workhorse, my unicorn of perfection, my planner! It is a Tardis after all, so it's bigger on the inside. It's a traveler's notebook, which suits this lefty to a T and I can add as many inserts in it as I need and it'll take them! For now though, I have 3, a bullet journal, my Commit30 planner and a lined Erin Condren notebook that I'm using to plan my next class. Why am I babbling on? Just hit play on the video below and see for yourself!!

 I've been super happy with my planner setup for quite a while now. But, this year I've changed up the planners that I'm using. Mostly because I went to PlannerCon Europe in October. I can't resist buying pretty new planners, but some were free gifts!

So besides keeping things fun, what am I using the other planners for you ask? They help me track my habits, plan social media and have a family calendar on hand while on the go. Let's have a look at these other planners, shall we?

My favourite planner after the Tardis is my Leuchtturm1917. It was a free gift from Leuchtturm at PlannerCon and I love it so much that I wanted to FIND (or even create) a reason to use it. So I swapped out the plain notebook I had been using to draft blog posts for this book. Yes, I'm old school! I can't think in front of a blank computer screen, but a blank page of a notebook works for me. I can use the Leuchtturm to plan out when the blog posts will go live in it's calendar section of the book and then reference the page number where I've written the draft. They've even got a little spot for that. So smart! 
My favourite part though, is the tracking section. I write in what I want to track and colour in the squares as I do the tasks I'm tracking. I add more details in the calendar along side the blog post titles. I love coming and filling in what I accomplished each day. It's very satisfying!
You can get a peek at it in this video:


Next up is my Erin Condren Life planner I bought it at PlannerCon. It's bound, which is better for this lefty. I'm using it to plan social media posts and eventhough I haven't found my rhythm with this planner yet, I really love it. I'm working on making a habit out of using this planner!

I've had my Gillio Mia Cara since last Christmas and it's first role is my wallet, but I also copy all of my family's appointments and activities into it, so that when I'm at the doctor's office, or somewhere similar, and I need to make an appointment, I don't need to bring the entire wall calendar with me!


 I'm adding a bonus planner! I just started with this planner last week. It's a Carpe Diem Traveler's Notebook that I bought at (yup, you guessed it!) PlannerCon. I love it! It's pretty and practically. I had put it on my shelf with my other pretty planners, to wait until a need for a planner arose. Well, last week that reason showed up! I needed a place to brainstorm and draft ideas for my YouTube videos. I went to the shelf and this one seemed perfect. The inserts are simply lined or dotted, perfect for my needs.

Well, there you have it, that's how I stay organised and to be completely honest, it also keeps me sane!! Let me know in the comments what planner(s) you are using this year. 

Your Secret (and FUN!) Weapon for Achieving your Goals

My secret weapon is easier to use than you think and so incredibly fun that I forget how powerful it can be when making progress towards my goals.


When you are working towards a goal, it's wonderful to be able to see the progress you are making as you work. One of the simplest, funnest ways that I have found for collecting your goal 'data' is to track your progress. 

A habit tracker may not seem like much, but when used the right way it can be a fantastic secret weapon for you!

You can track any way you choose, YouTube and Pinterest are full of beautiful habit tracker ideas, ranging from super simple to very elaborate. For me, I've found that simple is the way to go. That way it's easy to keep up as I work towards my goal. I colour in little squares for each of the tasks completed. And for tracking books I've read, I have this fantastic printable from Seaside Stickers to colour as I complete each book. There is a reason those adult colouring books are so popluar these days, it's so satisfying!

Not convinced? Here are 4 wonderful benefits of tracking your habits:

You can see EXACTLY what you are doing. You have proof of what you've accomplished.
If you aren't tracking things you may feel like you are making progress, but without this proof, you may be wandering aimlessly towards your goal. Let's say that you want to increase your daily steps. Without tracking you may feel like you are walking more, but once you start tracking you'll realise that you aren't getting in as many steps as you thought.

You can see IF and WHERE you've gone off track. 
Maybe you are tracking your caffeine intake, in an effort to reduce it. Since you've been tracking, you notice that Tuesday tends to be the day when you go over your limit. And Tuesday just so happens to be the day that you drive the mama-taxi and while the kids are at their choir practice, you always stop at that tempting little café with the fabulous Italian coffee. Knowing this, you can drink one less coffee at home to allow for this caffeinated treat, or order a peppermint tea instead.

Tracking is Motivating.
If you are tracking your weekday workouts and you see that little train of  5 dots (one for each weekday) over and over for several months, you are not going to want to break that pretty pattern. Especially if it's only because one day you don't feel like exercising. Jerry Seinfeld came up with the don't-break-the-chain idea and it's pretty much the same thing. It really does work! Especially if that chain is coloured in all pretty-like :D

You can track whatever you like and tailor it to your goals and dreams.
You may be tracking your budget, water intake and daily walks in order to save and prepare for your hiking trip to the volcanos of Hawaii. Meanwhile, your bestie is tracking the books she's reading, the scrapbook pages she's making and rows she's knitting in order to try and spend less time on social media or watching TV.

All this tracking is data towards a long term goal. Like any scientist will tell you, data is important in any research. If you are trying something new, this data will help you in making important decisions on what to do next, what to let go of and what to continue. Having a tracker in constant motivation!

In the video below, I've got some great tips and tricks for making tracking fast and easy. There's even a bonus hack, so stayed tuned to the end!


You are Sending Secret Messages to Yourself!

Resolutions are a message to yourself, but NOT in the way you think.

DSC_9604I'm a guest designer at Studio Calico this month

Resolutions are extremely important, but not in the eat-less-exercise more-spend-less-time-on-Facebook way.

No! Resolutions are important because they can relay your heart's desire and reveal your dreams. If you are feeling stuck in where to go next, stuck in figuring out what your dreams truly are, you can look past the eat-better and clear-your-inbox type resolutions to really SEE your REAL resolutions, your DREAMS! I feel that resolutions are the same as dreams, something that you want to reach for, something that want to improve upon.

Have you completely forgotten what your resolutions were this year? Were they the same as last year, maybe? Just because you've forgotten them doesn't mean you should give up on them completely! If you've resolved to do something, then it probably means it's something important to you.

Not counting the compulsory lose-weight and watch-less-TV, resolutions reflect our inner desires. The 'write a novel', 'run a marathon', 'start a family' resolutions are the ones you want to pay attention to, the ones you shouldn't forget about until next year. Let your resolutions guide your dreams! Expand on them, let them simmer in your mind until they blossom into a vision of what your future could be. 

Does it include more travel, learning something new or changing careers? Comment below and let me know what resolution feels like a secret dream message to yourself.

Then of course, you need a plan, check out this post where I walk you through taking those resolutions and turning the into a goal you can work towards. MAKE A PLAN

Just because it's no longer January 1, doesn't mean you can't make a resolution today or February 1, or April 23rd! Dream up something wonderful for your life and plan it out so it comes true!  


Why New Year's Resolutions Fail and How to Fix It!

Why is it that most of us actually fail to accomplish any of our resolutions, year after year? Every New Year's, we all vow to be more active, eat better and declutter our houses. These are resolutions that we are so adamantly determined to achieve on New Year's Eve but then forget 2 days later. Well, it's because resolutions are just that, resolutions, dreams and ideas. They aren't plans. We may resolve to do something, but that does not mean that it will get done. We are creatures of habit and new habits and actions are hard to implement. That's why we need a plan!!

DSC_9772I am Studio Calico's January guest designer 

Basically, a resolutions is a dream! Whether you dream big and really reach for those stars, or you are simply resolving to spend less time on Facebook and eat more greens, I'm behind you 100%. Whatever the size of your dream or resolution, it's important. It means something to you. You can't just let it stay a dream, it must evolve and grow into a goal and have a plan attached. 

Most people forget their resolutions by this time in Janaury, only to remember them again on December 31 when they are making their next list of resolutions. They may have pushed away that pizza in favour of a salad for the first day or two of the new year, but without a plan, the resolve falters and they are back to their old habits. It's true, old habits die hard.

I may be sounding like a broken record by this point! How many times have I told you that you NEED a plan! But, you do, you really do if you want to accomplish anything.

My instagram feed, in the first week of the year, was full of 'just starts' and 'new year, new beginnings' which are all well and good, but once you start, then what?

You need a plan to know what to do next, to keep up your motivation and to know what to do when you hit a set back. 
Click to tweet

Project-1-main-smallOne of my projects as Studio Calico's January guest designer 

And you will hit set backs, many of them. It's not a big deal, we all make mistakes and if you know that going in, then it'll be eaiser for you when you do hit them. Don't think of a set back as a failutre, because that will make you want to give up. Just see it for what it is, a bump in the road, that you simply need to figure out how to get over (or around, or even under ;)

With a plan in place, you may be prepared for set backs, but you may come across unforseen set backs too. But, you're smart and I know you'll be able to figure it out!

What are your 2018 resolutions? Do you have a plan to achieve them? If not, don't forget I've got Plan Your Dreams at Big Picture Classes to help with all that.

Let's Review Your Christmas Season!

I can hear the collective groan coming through my computer speakers! I know the title of this post may sound like an incredibly tedious and boring task. Like when your high school English teacher would break down a lovely poem into bits and analyse each individual sentiment, and word even. But, didn't that make the meaning of that poem so much more evident and powerful? Don't you seem to enjoy the poems you've studied in depth better than others that you only know the basic meaning?


You may be thinking 'Come on Cara, back off already! Christmas is over, done and dusted. The last thing that I want to do right now is to go back over and analyse my lovely Christmas holiday!'

Well, I'm sorry, but that's exactly what I'm going to make you do!

I'll be nice about it, but I truly feel that review is a very important part of your Christmas planning for 2018. Yes, Christmas 2018, that not a typo. I want you to take 20-30 minutes today to make your 2018 Christmas Season that much easier. 

It really isn't that hard and it won't take long. Promise.


I simply want you to make 3 lists.  

The first is to list the awesome things, the definitely 'do-agains' to make sure you make the time and energy to do it again next year. I think this could be the hardest list that I'm asking you to write. It's usually the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, so those things that actually went well tend to go practically unnoticed. Take a few minutes to relive the best moments of your Christmas holiday and jot them down so next year, you can enjoy them all over again.

Here's a peek at my review: Most of the organisation went rather smoothly for me. We got to do all the things we usually do, there was little bickering amongst my geeklings and our meal was simple, yet wonderful. I love ordering all of our gifts online, it helped me avoid crowded shops, which give me the heeby jeebies, and it saved me a lot of time. 

Next, make a list of all the crap things. These can range from the small mishaps that a bit of careful planning next year can fix, to those awful events that everyone suffered through miserably. Maybe you can eliminate those events or at least make them more tolerable next year.

For me, my Christmas cards took a lot longer in the mail than usual. I had cut it close and sent them out a bit late as well. So my tardiness plus the slow post, meant that a lot of the cards going over seas, didn't reach their destination until after New Years!! I'm bumping my deadline for sending them out from Dec 10 down to Dec 5 so that if I do send them out 5 days late again (oops!) I'll have them out on the 10th and not the 15th.

Lastly, make a list of anything that you can do now or in the near future to help yourself out, come December 2018. Typing up those new or changed addresses now will help immensely when you are trying to get your Christmas cards out on time. Jot down the things you forgot to pack on your trip to your parents' home, or that you should buy a bigger turkey next year.

I'd like to make sure that we all get to the temporary rink that the city of Luxembourg puts up every year. I usually bump this activity first because I hate crowds and it means taking the bus with our skates and gear because there is never any place to park my big rig in town at calm times of the year, let alone Christmas time. However, the children always want to go and I really want to take them in 2018.

Basically, with these lists, you are trying to help out your future self by writing down everything you loved or hated about December 2017. WRITE IT DOWN, write it all down. Believe me you, you will forget.

If you need any more help, or guidance, or just want a few more tips, pop over to my Plan Your Christmas class at Big Picture classes and check out lesson 7. There's even a great handout with lots of questions to help prompt your review.

Plan Your Christmas - Lesson 7