Family · Goals · lists · Planning

Managing Mondays-Plan with Flexibility and Lists

Oh how I love my coffee and my morning time! I haven’t yet cracked open the work laptop even though I probably should. It is going to be a big week full of planning meetings, important dates and appointments.

I thought I would share my weekly spread and some of the other lists I have at the or have plans to make.

I love my spread this week. I picked this sticker set because my best friend is celebrating her birthday and she loves teal colors. Even my Erin Condren pen is primarily teal for the week. Most of the stickers are from one of my favorite Etsy vendors, Joyful Planner. She designs beautiful weekly and monthly sets. It is always a treat for me to visit her shop and splurge a bit.

I really expect today as well as most of the week to feel a bit crazy so I am inserting few extras to help me keep my sanity and make lists as I go along. I am going to try a weekly master as a half page and use the daily as originally intended. I am interested to see how much I can actually get done in a day with the sometimes ridiculous conference call schedule.

As you can see, I haven’t put much pen on yet. I need flexibility in my functional plans because I feel the winds may change a bit as early as today so I focused on only writing the non negotiable events and my goals. I gotta trust my gut today and let my plans and lists take shape in the moment.

I hope you all have a great week and that you are managing just fine this Monday. I am going to keep on sipping coffee, making lists and planning the week day by day.

Share below how you plan. What kind of lists do you make? Do you track your hourly appountments?

Books · Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Planning · Vision · Writing

Managing Monday-Let’s Talk About Lists, Baby!

As I near the end of March, I start thinking about April. Planning does that to me. I see the next month coming as the pages turn. Ugh! My mind goes into overdrive. To control the chaos, I start thinking about monthly goals, important events and I make lists. Lists help me focus and allow me to be distracted by things in the process. My kids send me texts or come to the door of my room and interrupt. My dogs don’t care that I am in planning mode. If they want affection they get right in my face or sit on my foot. Whatever it takes. So lists are helpful because if I have written it down I won’t forget it. Well, that and it eases my mind.

What on earth do I need lists for? And why do I obsess over them? How many times have you gone to the store and forgotten something? Me? More than I care to admit. And hey, the lists on the phone work for some people but I love what I call a hybrid version of this.

Shopping lists

I have Google Home and I have my household conditioned to tell Google to add items to the shopping list. Best. Thing. Ever. Except for the fact that they cannot see the list so I end up with some items repeated three or four times. That annoys me when shopping from it. Since I meal plan before shopping, I tend to start that list on paper because that is my meal planning method. Pulling up the Home app and looking at the list created through the week to add the needed items is all part of the procesd. Honestly do I need four bottles of ranch dressing? My kids might think so but my budget would argue differently if it could speak. I consolidate to my paper list and chuckle every time I look at that Google list. My kids have jokes. They come up with crazy items. This last time the mystery item was “a stick.” My daughter confessed to this little gem. I mean go in the yard for that one. Obvious right?

Fun Wish lists

All through my planner, you will see wish lists and this is one of my favorites. Concerts and Festivals. Last night after dinner I was enjoying a glass of wine with the family (the legal age drinkers had wine too) and we were all playing music from our Spotify lists and talking about shows. I grabbed my handy wish list and asked which, if any, they would be interested in. What a great time we had looking at other events and finding common artists we all knew and liked.

Why do these go on a wishlist and not right to my calendar? Well, I have to admit that I am budget conscious and won’t put it on the calendar until I bought the tickets. I just don’t like disappointing myself in the reality on that monthly spread by marking something out. I like wishlists better. How about you?

Cleaning Lists

This is a re-try at an old method. My family is ignoring the list posted on the fridge. I suspect that is partly due to everyone’s crazy schedule. When I would like to see things get done seems more like a wishlist of disappointment. The dishes get done and the trash and recycle are taken out but everything else just gets ignored until I make a fuss. So, I am putting this back in my planner and not on the fridge. And when people are home, I will ask nicely and then track who complied. Then i will settle on doing it myself if it is really bugging me. Yesterday was a day where everyone asked what I would like done. So I guess the flow is changing and I will ride the ride.

I picked this format from my stash. I got it from Natalie Rebecca Design several months ago. I think I bought this from her Amazon Store. I am excited to switch it up and see how we get along with it.

Spring Cleaning

I love fellow bloggers who share great tips and tools on cleaning. In preparing for April, I decided this would be a great checklist as I plan my spring clean. De-Clutter Challenge. I actually started some of this last weekend on my own and was frustrated because I was in perfectionist mindset and spent far too long on each task. I went in search of a new method and ran across this saved in my favorites.

Master To Do List

I use a running to do list that follows me from day to day and sometimes week to week. It isn’t always the same format or paper style. This list sits in the middle of my weekly spread where I can note items while I am on conference calls, in meetings, and in those moments of meditation when there is a lot on my mind. The only way to give my mind rest at times is simply to stop and write it down.

Reading…I make lists for this too

I love this planner that Brenda Novak sent in her January Reader’s Box. My reading Vision in 2018 has been to read more. And I set a realistic goal of 2 books per month. Now, what has actually happened is that I have gotten to about 2 per week. Rediscovering this joy makes my heart sing. If you looked all over my house, there are books and my Kindle has a vast virtual library. So I don’t have to go far to make a pile like this.

Every month I have managed to build a pile of self-directed learning and pure enjoyable fiction. Did you notice Erma Bombeck in the pile? My mother always picked up those books. They were her version of the Reader’s Digest for the bathroom quiet time. Sometimes as a mother that is the only room where you tend to spend any amount of time with no interruptions. Well…let me have this moment of fantasy. I have been thinking about these books so I picked a couple up to revisit her wit and wisdom. She was always inspirational.

Oh and plots. Those Works in Progress are eating at me. I have an itch to write chapters after chapters. I am a seat of my pants writer and know I need to find a balance with some structure so this April, I am going to study on story plotting.

Managing Mondays and every day is built on the foundation of lists. What kind of lists do you make? Daily? Weekly? Wishes? Share in the comments. I would love to see pictures and read what you put on your lists.

Have a great week!

Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Vision · Writing

Unboxing – Erin Condren Haul

Every once in awhile I come home to a box waiting for me. It feels like Christmas.

So, here is the latest box from Erin Condren! Isn’t that a pretty box? The word “enjoy!” and the pretty design lend a subtle clue that EC has blessed my step. I kinda dig when the box does not blatantly display a company name.

And when I saw this pastel beauty next to my front door I was a giddy girl. Ready to see what is inside? Me too!

Let’s open it!

The enjoy! theme is mirrored inside. I just adore when I order items and they come packaged like a gift. Personal touches is a trend that big box retailers miss.

When I was browsing the site I wanted a new notebook (Her planning system is not what I use these days) and was hoping I could find something with my words for 2018. This little gem ties nicely to Strength. So I jumped on in and customized to colors that made me happy. That is the fun of Erin Condren. You can personalize with your name and change the colors within her palatte range. And the paper quality is amazing! Let’s tour this notebook.

The cover is laminated so the inside can be used over and over again with the wet erase markers.

Instead of the standard lined notebook, I opted for the productivity notebook with a list margin. We all know i love making lists! I haven’t decided what I will do yet with this notebook. I know it is going to be for writing projects. And as a lover of lists I thought I could brainstorm in bullets or list what I might need to research.

The notebooks are filled with quotes and reminders of positivity which make me smile when I use them. I need more positivity. How about you?

Did I mention I love the paper? Made in the U.S.A. and a nice thick paper that won’t tear easily. I am in love and can’t wait until I have a block of time to play.

What else is in the box?

These gift tags were a freebie. I realized I shop regularly with EC and prefer online versus going to Staples for their limited inventory. And I never signed up for the EC Insider program. I finally took the plunge for the perks. And as a thank you they sent me these! What fun! Watch for a post in the not so distant future when I embellish with them.

Markers! I have to hide these from my teenager. I really do. Not only because she would likely borrow them with no plan to return but because I have been organizing in my office in my spare time and my marker/pen/highlighter collection is already put of hand. These are my first ever from EC. They were 15% off and the Wet Erase are needed for some other items in the box. And those are…

These laminated beauties were also on sale. I wanted to see how they work with any and all spiral notebooks. And I wanted to explore laminated or permanent reusable inserts for planners would work for me. Now you know why I needed the wet erase markers. I just love these colors! Watch for some future blogs where I plan with them. I am so excited.

Oh…that isn’t all!

I love pen holders that can be stuck in journals, notebooks, and planners. And these were on sale making them under $2 each. I have never tried EC holders. I have several from Happy Planner and Michael’s but they are not plain and simple. I am into the thought of the pen holder blending in and the pen of choice standing out.

And the Coil Clip Connectors allow you to put anything inside the spiralbound notebook, journal, or planner. A custom-made dashboard or checklist might be good to pop into one…and I have always wondered what to use. So I grabbed a couple to play around with and maybe share with my readers.

Last…but certainly not least. I love these daily dots sets.

And I have been meaning to play around with this on one of my planners. I cannot wait to show you how. I will also compare these to other daily dots that I have found via other retailers.

All in all I am happy with my new unboxing. The notebook feels so personal and was definitely a treat for me. I did pay full price for it. It is okay to splurge every once in a while. All of the accessories were on sale so I went a little crazy while still staying under my budget for my splurge. Don’t you love when that happens?

Watch for some projects coming up in the next couple of months as I put these to good use and compare EC products to other brands.

Have you ever purchased Erin Condren products? The company has quite a selection and not just paper and planners. The colors and desings change regularly throughout the year. I tend to place an order every quarter if one of the new designs catches my eye.

What do you think of Erin Condren products?

Family · food · lists · travel · vacation

New Orleans…Day Two…Eating on the Bayou

The French Quarter is a world in itself. It is colorful and musical and wonderfully unlike anything in my desert oasis home of Phoenix. Waking up in the Big Easy in The Prince Conti Hotel, mere steps from Bourbon Street was surprisingly relaxing. I could have stayed at a newer hotel but I wanted a place that had history and was locally owned. This hotel, although older, has a charm that appeals to my writing soul. If I didn’t have a day of adventure planned, I could easily relax here and let words flow. If you are going to visit this wonderful city, stay in a place like Prince Conti and feel part of the history. This was my second time in this city and my second time at this hotel. The decor always takes my mind to corsets, ball gowns, pegnoirs, and beignets. The stuff in all the historical romances I have loved to read for decades. The staff is friendly, thoughtful and helpful with directions and suggestions on what to do.

My bestie and I enjoyed the late morning and early afternoon. We wandered Bourbon Street stopping in to listen to live music here and there taking advantage of great bar service along the way.

I loved every minute she and I spent. I had a thing about this place because of the fire and water fountain. I had to take a picture.

I had to eat too. And finding gluten free in the French Quarter is not so easy.

My true mission the second day in the city was finding my way to The French Market. And by late afternoon I was hungry. When I asked the best walking path to the market, Prince Conti staff were quick to point me in the right direction and suggested I try crab cakes at Meals From The Heart. Little did they know. I already had that place on my list from my research. I was also in search of The Crepe Cart . I dragged a couple of friends with me.

What a treat! My friends and I walked just over a mile toward the river past Jackson Square.

Until we found the place for crepes.

The folks at the cart matched the personality of the deliciousness they crafted. I couldn’t decide between savory or sweet so I asked for a suggestion and I went with it: Goat Cheese, Nutella, Bacon, and Ref Pepper Flakes on a gluten free crepe….amazing combination of flavors. This was totally off menu. You don’t have to be as daring as me. But you really should visit the market for this great stop.

And crab cakes? I did save room for one.

Melt in your mouth moist and perfectly flaky crab cakes. This is literally the best crab cake I have ever had. Their secret to gluten free is no secret. They simply do not put in bread crumbs as a filler. Pure crab and spices. And gluten free. The owner was friendly. He shared stories of how his mother as the master chef makes it her mission to devise vegan and gluten free foods with authentic Creole and Cajun recipes. I didn’t have enough tummy space but I really wanted to try their gumbo too. There was nothing fancy about eating at these places but they were definitely hidden gems in the French Market. I know that each and every opportunity I get to return to New Orleans a day of tummy pleasing grazing will be planned in the heart of The French Market.

And I will wash it down with a nice cup of New Orleans Coffee at Cafe du Monde nearby.

If only someone somewhere in The Big Easy would master a gluten free beignet! My foodie heart would be complete.

Now that I am home all I can think about is beignets and I keep looking at internet recipes and thinking about making them at home. If I do, I am inviting all my friends over to help me eat them and tell me how close they might be to the real thing. What if I mastered them, moved to New Orleans, and opened The Beignet Basket in The French Market myself?

lists · packing · Planning · travel · vacation

Seriously…What to pack?

Saturday and Sunday I started packing, I organized myself and got down to brass tacks. I am sipping coffee and reviewing my lists. Because, well, do any of you live in New Orleans? Southern Florida, Cozumel?

I think I may need to adjust my plan. I see lots of rain and plain old chilliness on some days in the next two weeks.

I did the laundry, got the suitcase out of the closet and checked the weather forecasts. Then I put only definite items in the case and set it aside. Because I decided today was the day to look at the forecast one more time and make final adjustments.

Is packing such a process for you? I am still trying to avoid cranky. Cold and wet cranky is like a wet blanket. I think I need a couple of sweatshirts and sweaters in the mix. And a beanie and gloves to layer with my jackets.

I saw this post from a friend on social media saying that the day we sail out of NO LA will be chilly. To this Phoenician that high in the mid-50s will feel icy. I might look like I am heading to Alaska as we sail away but I assure you I am hoping that our captain puts the pedal to the metal. (What is the ship speed equivalent? Anyone know? Full Speed Ahead? Or is my Trekkie-ness showing with that one?)

Anyway. I never really worried about forgetting any thing because my lists have been ready and I will follow them. The dilemma is making adjustments. A reader suggested some capsule bloggers who are masters at packing and wardrobe optimisation. I may watch a few tonight. If anything resonates for me to recommend I will share before I set sail and let you know how it worked. For now, I have some coffee to sip.

Any last minute tips? Any suggestions to add to my “while in NOLA” list?

lists · packing · Planning · travel · vacation

Another Travel Dilemma…Eating Gluten Free

My excitement is building and I cannot wait to be on vacation. This past week has been a worrisome work week and my annual reset trip is just what I need to escape and come back on the other side with a renewed sense of strength and dignity to face the challenges ahead.

Traveling comes with worries because I have to avoid gluten. It makes me sick. Celiac Disease is not something that everyone understands and this post is not aimed to explain or complain about the challenges I face every day to maintain health. It is simply to share ways to plan options for healthy dining and ensure my traveling companions aren’t worried for me either.

Step One-while I count down days

Before I leave town I am making sure that I am taking care of myself all week. This includes:

  • Clean eating at home
  • Sleeping at least 7 hours each night
  • Taking supplements like probiitics, multivitamins, and immunity boosters like vitamin C
  • Diffusing essential oils at home. Thieves blend is in my diffuser while I sip coffee
  • Relaxation via detox and destress baths, reading, and quiet time whenever possible

Step 2-Know when not to worry

Once I am on the cruise it is easy. Norwegian, like most cruise lines these days ask for dietary restrictions and truly make an effort to provide safe eating options while on board. And for that I am very grateful. I feel quite special when the chefs and dining staff go out of their way to guide me on food selections and specially prepare foods for me when needed…even in the main buffet lines. As long as I seek the help offered I will successfully avoid gluten and fully enjoy my holiday focusing on friends, fun, and non-stop live music. One guideline I follow, no eating in ports. So eat a good solid breakfast and take a prepackaged snack from my go bag.

Step 3-Make a List

New Orleans is a whole different dilemma. Where do I find safe, inexpensive options so that my three days in an amazing city allows me to enjoy the sights and sounds? Research. Lists. Have a plan.

I relied on my friend, Google, and review sites like Yelp, Four Square, and Find Me Gluten Free. And will continue to research. Honestly, I am not the only person in my motley crew of rock boat family who are looking for healthy options. Well, they should be. So I will make sure we have options for vegan, vegetarian, paleo, and diabetic diets. And Coffee! I want to enjoy gumbo, crab cakes and king cakes and anything else that is part of the experience. I cannot eat beignets but my research uncovered a gluten free recipe so if I felt like I missed out, when I get home I will make some.

My list is ready and on paper and in my phone. Why both places? A phone battery can die. A phone can get lost or stolen just like the paper. I am that person who plans for all kinds of outcomes. Crazy? Maybe. But my friends and family, the motley crew, are used to it and sometimes glad because I tend to be the go to person on what to do and where to eat. It is a burden and a blessing. I love them and cannot wait to be spending vacation in a city that is alive with music and festivals.

Step 4-Pack options

As I finish packing, I also bring along in my suitcase and carryon safe snacks like LARA bars, cashews, pecans, Dang chips, and dried fruit. These items are small and can easily slip into my Vera Bradley hipster for times when I need something and in a time crunch, my friends can grab something from a place not gluten friendly and not worry about me. I can always drink coffee and chicory or some famous New Orleans drink and good company. I have a plan for everything.

Any recommendations on where we should eat? What we should see? I have 3 days and I am sure we can squeeze in more options into the plan. Comment below.

Crafting · Family · Planning · Vision

Crafty Corner

I learned in the past few years that I love to craft. So as I sip coffee this rainy morning (so rare in Phoenix), I look at my Vision Board. Three areas tie to this:

  • Relationships
  • Creativity
  • Home

I want to encourage myself and others. I want to be frugal, and I want to get crafty.
Over the holidays I made holiday d├ęcor for my home, holiday cards and gift tags. It was fun and I enlisted help from my girls that turned into fun together time watching Hallmark Channel.

in 2018 I am determined to do more and share here inspiration, craft fails and wins, and ways to faithfully and frugally plan this fun into daily life.

Here are some things I made in December.

I need to be better organized and devise a plan. I have unfinished projects as well.

Guess I need to start making lists.

January is my organizing, goal setting, and reset my focus month. So today, I am starting here:

Each week I will come back into this virtual crafty corner and hope that I inspire your creativity in posts from my Crafty Corner. You know I will be sipping coffee then too.