Category: Reviews

Why I ditched my electronic calendar

I’m as attached to my mobile as any other millennial, I just can’t be without my phone. But as much as I love my phone, I’ve never really been a huge fan of my electronic calendar. It just hasn’t  been the same as writing things down in something tangible. I find it’s harder to look at all of my due dates and appointments all at once. I just can’t visualize things the right way when I look at a calendar of dots. What does that dot represent? Is that a holiday or something I scheduled? It drives me insane.

So I swear by writing things down the old fashioned way. I need to have a paper planner. But as paper planners have become more of a thing of the past, I’ve found it harder and harder to find a planner that I like. The past few years, I’ve even gone planner-free because I was tired of spending money on them and then not using them because the layout didn’t work for me or I didn’t like the size or style of the planner. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t thought about having a paper planner. Or browsed for one. Or drooled over the beautiful, customizable, build-your-own planner sites. During my hours of planner research, the closest to what I was looking for was the Passion Planner by Angelia Trinidad.

I was really excited for my mum when she told me that she had ordered a Passion Planner to help her stay organized in her retirement (I swear she’s the busiest retired person I’ve ever met), and to assist her keep her schedule straight while she’s dealing with post-concussion syndrome. I guess she had been researching planners, too and really wanted to give the Passion Planner a try. I admitted to having planner envy, and because my mum is the greatest, she also ordered a Passion Planner for me! I’m probably a little too excited about this.

So my planner is finally here and I’ve started the process of setting it up. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure where to start. It’s like starting a new notebook. I never use the first few pages, because what if I fuck it up and make it look ugly? Spelling mistakes, failed doodles, crappy handwriting. Disaster. Am I the only one like this? Yes, I’m a total freak?  Cool, cool.

Anyway. Luckily for me, there is a huge community behind Passion Planners, so there are heaps of resources to give me some inspiration. I may or may not have spent a day watching YouTube videos of how other people have set up their planners. The Passion Planner has its own YouTube and Instagram account with videos and tips and planner pron. But the planner addict thing runs deep and there are lots of people posting inspiration and planner set up videos. Maybe I’m not so strange after all.

The planners are pretty easy to customize, even though they have a lot of pre-printed sections. I’ve seen some Instagram videos where people have used washi tape to cover headings they weren’t using or needing and to replace it with headings that suited them better. Some of these planners have been turned into complete works of art. It’s pretty impressive.

The Passion Planner comes in two sizes. The compact is 5.5 inches wide and 8 inches tall. I have the full size planner (8.5 inches wide x 11 inches tall) and at first, I was worried that it might be  little too big, as I’ve never had a planner this size before. It’s a little too big to fit in my purse, but it fits in my work bag or my tote bags, no sweat.

The planner has a soft cover. I’m a huge fan of that. I’m not as big a fan of my particular cover design. The design of my cover is plain. You do have some options when it comes to cover design, but they are limited. I have an all-black cover. My plan is to customize it to brighten it up a bit. I have an all black covered moleskin notebook right now, and I’ve doodled on that. I plan to do the same with my planner.

My Passion Planner

As far as layout goes, there is month-at-a-glance pages, as well as weekly spreads (my preferred planner layout!). The week layouts have a full seven days, which I appreciate. I’m not a fan when weekends have less space than Monday-Fridays. The days are broken down into half hour increments, starting at 6am and going until 10:30pm. These pages include room for To Do lists, both personal and work ones, inspirational quotes, places to spell out your focus for the week or day, and there’s room for reflections.

There is one intimidating part of the planner for me: It has a huge emphasis on goal setting. Every six months, the planner has a section for brainstorming and mind-mapping your goals for the next 3 months, one year, three years and lifetime. Goal setting stresses me out. I want to achieve all the things and figure this is the quickest way to fuck them all up. Writing them down means I’m committing to them. Because just getting out of bed and living in this world is hard enough, without the pressures of achieving your wildest dreams.  Haha, lololol, kill me.

That being said, I want to use my planner the way it was intended. So I’m going to give it a try. I like that there is space in the planner to revise your goals to tweak them, change them or update them as you go on. Maybe this won’t be an intimidating as it seems. We’ll see.

I’ve only had my planner for a few weeks, so I’m not sure how it will be using it long-term. But so far, it’s probably among my top 3 favourite planners, ever.

Do you use a paper planner? Which one is your favourite? What features do you look for in a planner?

Tell me all about it in the comments below.

 

Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored. I just love paper planners and have been really happy with my experience with this planner, so I wanted to share it for anyone who loves paper planners like I do. For the rundown on how I manage sponsored posts, you can visit my about page

 

4 Female Protagonist Types I See Over and Over Again

I always have the worst time finding summer reading. I tend to go for easier, lighter reads in the summer and I try to avoid rubbish books. No vampires or werewolves. No more futuristic dystopians. No teens dying from cancer or car accidents. No books centred on abusive relationships. It’s my summer vacation and I don’t want to be reading anything that’s triggering or going to make me anxious.

BOOKSSSSS

I was starting to think that maybe I was a little too picky about my summer reading choices, but then I talked to my 22-year-old cousin and she found she was having a similar problem. She was having a hard time find books to read, period. All she wants is book characters to relate to. We talked about it and came to the general realization that there are protagonists that seem to have thematically similar conflicts that break down depending on the age of the protagonist:

The Teenage YA Protagonist

Books where the protagonist is a high school student, dealing with the transition into the ‘big’ world of high school or starting at a new school. These books usually involve a conflict around an ugly duckling finding herself and her first boyfriend. And spoiler alert: the boyfriend is usually a garbage human.

Examples: Twilight, Willow, Beautiful, Chasing Boys

The College YA Protagonist

Books where the main character is dealing with the transition of either going off to college, leaving her home behind. The conflicts of being out on her own for the first time and the mistakes she makes while she strikes out. These books sometimes feature a love triangle between a high school boyfriend and a new, more mature, college romance.

Examples: Dearst Clementine, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

The Adulting Protagonist

Then there seems to be a bit of an age jump there, and the next kind of heroine we encounter are the post-grads, trying to land her first big ‘real job’ and the hilarity that ensues with that transition. I feel like the subtitle to most of those books could easily be ‘Adulting is Hard’. These Adulting protagonist have love stories that usually see the protagonist getting engaged at the end. Usually, to underserving, terrible boy characters. It’s kind of depressing.

Examples: Confessions of a Shopaholic, Devil Wears Prada, Post Grad

The Balancing Act Protagonist

Then we get to the stories about married women who are struggling with balancing their lives, trying to manage being a ‘good’ wife and mother, while also a good friend and being a rockstar at work. Sometimes, the major conflict is with their husbands, and on the occasion, the heroine is realizing she’s married the wrong man. Sometimes, that conflict comes from the fact the main character has prioritized their jobs over their families, so their husband’s fragile egos are hurt.

Examples: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Everyone Worth Knowing or pretty much anything by Marian Keyes

Prove me wrong, books!

I guess that if you’re looking to create conflict in stories, while avoiding dark or heavy stuff, you’re only left with relationships, maybe?

I feel like I’m asking for the impossible trying to find something to read that is easy, fun, while at the same time skipping those more traditional, almost formulaic plots. I could do without these characters that revolve around a female protagonist’s romantic relationship or finding the balance between keeping their romantic partner happy, while also being happy themselves. I’m looking for more from my books, you guys.

Am I being too harsh about these kinds of protagonists? What kind of books do you like to read during the summer?

Or even better… do you have a book recommendation for me? Tell me all about it in the comments below.