Plan With Me: September 2018

So this is my BIRTH MONTH!!! I’m playing it super chill this year, since summer was so packed full of events, and I did a lot last year for my birthday. I was planning on some events, but they’ve fallen through, sadly. Next year though. There’s next year, and next year will be a better year (hint: I’ll be worth a US quarter! I know I’m worth so much more than that, but it’s a cute joke!).

For this month, I have more content planned for you guys, and this will be more of a month for relaxing, taking long weekends, and enjoying alone time, and time with those I care about the most. Let’s get to planning, shall we?

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I usually start with my whiteboard, even though I should start with my Artist of Life Workbook review of the previous month. Wiping it clean allows me to have a clean slate of what will be in front of me, so I can just keep the past, well, the past. I set the month up numerically, then go into the review of the previous month, for what I didn’t finish.

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On the whiteboard, I note any plans, and for this month, it’s just my birthday and a live chat that I have in my Artist of Life Mastermind group, as you can see. Sometimes it’s as simple as that, and other times, it’s more complicated like June was.From there, I can easily see what is happening, and what days are where.

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Since it’s an easy glance, I go from there, into either my notebook, like this month, or into a digital note, usually on my phone, to plan out what blog posts I want to do that month. Then from the ideas, I set the date I want them to be posted on.

For this month, since I had things written out on paper, and I wrote down some notes, I took the themes of the blog posts, and put them on a sticky to-do note pad, and on the far side I write the tentative days I wanted to post them on.

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Past this, I don’t have much plans for the month, other than tentative plans of relaxing, and birthday dinner(s), depending if I feel like doing a solo date, and one with my dad, and if my guy and I go out.

I also planned out my meals for the month, since I’m doing a cleaning out of our cupboards this month. It’ll help me with some of the food days, plus clean out the stock we have, and I don’t feel bad for wasting it, or donating it.

I know there’s people who could use the help, and I’ve been there before (ironically, there’s a few canned goods that are left over from my dad’s raid of his pantry, since he’s doing a Keto meets low sodium diet).

I used to take a big monthly wall calendar to meal plan, but I noticed that I would forget what I was meal planning for the week, when I’d be shopping, and wonder why I would need one random ingredient, or something of the like, and dumb me would just not get it.

Now that I’ve gone digital, I can look at the meal plans on the go, and if I can’t recall why I need something, or if I need to tweak something, I can see what needs it, more on the fly. I love being frugal and prepared, and it’s so much easier. Plus, with trying to be more conscious of what I use, and why (really, the Konmari mentality, of if it truly brings me joy, and adds value to my life), I feel better by using what I already have.

What do you do to plan your month? Do you meal plan for the month, or by the week, if at all? I’d love to know your answers, truly!

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Plan With Me: 2 Week Trip to CA

So later today, I’m starting a 2 week trip to California. And it’s going to be a busy one at that as well! I know a lot of people can’t just take a 2 week trip, and until the last few years, I was in that same boat.

This trip started last fall, and I want to share how I planned this, and share how busy I’ll be! This 2 week trip will bring so much inspiration and content. It will also give me a break from the mundane life that I’ve been living the last 5 years since I’ve started working for the company that I do.

Plan With Me: June 2018

Disclaimer: I don’t have or use Happy Planner products (well yet…2019 will be that year.). My sister though…check her out on insta. If her cute spreads can’t win you over into even just planning and using planners/schedules, you might want to go get checked out by a professional (haha…but really, who are you?)

Over the last couple years, I’ve been finding my taste. It started in the middle of 2016 really. I had gotten a large calendar, but hadn’t used it. For whatever reason, I started using it as a food planning calendar. I did the same thing for 2017 and 2018. Now I do a spreadsheet first of the month, because it was going tacky, fast.

2017 started my Artist of Life Journey, and I also started tracking when bills were due in a desk calendar. 2018 for the most part has been the same,  but I’ve also added in making sure that I put in family and friends’ birthdays, so I could mail out cards, as well as making sure there was at least a holiday card as well, for everyone.

I also have a whiteboard calendar for my goals, and as of late, writing down when I want to bulk start my posts, as well as adding in when my posts are going live.

YES, I’m turning into one of those. Already? YES ALREADY! Next year I want to do even better. I want to go more all out, while still saving and managing things, so that babe and I can do what we want as well.

I’m highly considering changing up how I do things, when 2019 comes around. But that’s a half a year away, plus I still need to figure out how I want to do it differently, and gathering all of the supplies for it.

All of this is why planning is so important! I know it’s only June but think of next year. Even a card can make someone’s day, for their birthday, their religious holidays, and even just a “thinking of you” when they might be dealing with something, or just as a reminder that you still care.

At the end of last year, I made sure to get some spare holiday cards, as I’m personally not Christian, but know that Christmas is important for a lot of my loved ones. I also made sure that I counted all those I needed birthday cards for, and ordered a box of various birthday cards, for this year.

This is an easy way of planning, and to start writing a cute note inside each card, at least putting your address and a stamp on it, then when it’s about a week out from their birthday, making sure you have the correct mailing address, and all you have to do is mail it out, is so easy, and is a rather simple way of putting a smile on someone’s face.

Anyway, you probably wanted to see how I’m planning one of my busiest months of the year, didn’t you?

For my blog posts, I started this method last month, and have liked it so far. Especially since I’m traveling this month for 2 full weeks, this method is going to work out great, since I only need 3 days of being “online” on my laptop.

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What I did, was sketch out what days I wanted to post, which also meant planning out what I actually was posting. Usually I know what I’m posting on each day, but there’s 2 days that could be a conflict, since I am traveling, and am unsure of plans, let alone if I’ll have internet access to upload the review on the day I am planning. Hence what you see on the picture, is what it is.

I’ll be able to write things as they come along, then when I’m online on those three days, I just need to upload the posts, for scheduling.

My other big task is planning out meals, and budgeting. Both are so closely tied, that I’m just saying it at the same time. Now I’m not sharing my actual budget, as that’s just a tad too much.

If you know of a great budgeting planner/notebook let me know! I’ve just been using spreadsheets for each pay (I get paid every other week, right now), and as easy as it’s been, I’d love to try new ways to manage my budget!

Half of the month, for food planning is really sideways for me for June, as I have to plan for babe’s food while I’m gone, as well as my own, for the most part, plus the half of the month where we’re together.

I’m not inserting babe’s food on the calendar, as he can pick and choose what he wants each day, but I have a running list of what needs picked up before I leave, for him.

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Past that, it’s a very much “look at the planner”, as during my 2 week vacation, I have a 3 night stay in Yosemite with family, as well as a 4 night stay in Anaheim, and the rest is with my mom.

I won’t share those plans, as you’ll see my posts throughout the month on here, plus on my social medias (insta, FB, Twitter).

So what are some of your plans for June?

Take Care Tuesday: Planning May 2018

Well hello there, again! I don’t know if anyone is interested in how I plan out my month, but this is my “boring month” before things get hectic for summer, so I wanted to share a “basic month” (because this is most of the time for me, with small variations), before doing one like this for a summer month this year.

I’m wanting to share June’s, as she’ll be a busy AF month, and it’ll make my life seem that much more fun than it really is. I may share September’s as well, if these go well, viewer wise/if that’s what y’all want (because that’s my next good month).

So let’s get into it, shall we?

I have 3 different “levels” of planning, and one way that I always have as a template. The “template” is the Artist of Life workbook. My “levels” of planning, is budgeting (which includes a spreadsheet and marking down due dates on my planner. I won’t be sharing that here though.), then meal planning for at least 80% of the month, then to planning out how I’m spending my free time, on my whiteboard.

Most of what lands up on my whiteboard changes each month, due to what I’m doing socially (like this summer, June will look a lot different than May), and what might be going on that I need to focus on (like elections, major holidays where I want to do themed posts…check out my World Book Day post from last week, if you haven’t already).

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So this is the monthly spread that gets my month really started, outside of budgeting. My paychecks vary and come every 2 weeks, so I can’t just say permanently “oh I’ll spend $500 total on groceries for the next 3 weeks” and the like. I do stick to a pretty rigid spending template, and it works pretty well, as I know if I need to sacrifice something, I know where to do it.

May is very basic and is focused on trying to tidy up some of the apartment. I wanted to go full on out, but with recent health issues between babe and I, that’s on hold, and it’s more on just trying to tidy up, donate, and discard things.

Hopefully next year, I can finish off this project, and make it a 2 step process, where this year I tidy up, and next year I organize very well, like I wanted to this year.

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Of course I always have my whiteboard outlook. I’m trying some new things out lately, and so this looks so much different than usual for me!

The stars mean I have a blog post I want to have up that morning. I try to come up with the ideas early on in the week, and certain things like my book of the month review, and some series (like the 5 lives series I have going on right now read my first life here and the second one here. My next one will come out this Sunday) have set days that they’re on.

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Finally on to food, this was my initial set up for food for May. Then I was watching a Q&A video on YouTube, and during it, the mention of May “Shelftober”, where you clean out your cupboards, and really find savings in your grocery budget because you do a SEVERE meal prep/aim for a $25-$50/week grocery budget (depending on family size and location).

Since pencil sucks on calendars, and I’m more for aesthetics, May got scrapped on the calendar, and I took to a word Document, and made my new May food calendar. I’m sorry May in the calendar!

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I know, this is tiny print, and ignore what else is on my screen. But this is the new May, with like a day of April and a few days of June, for sanity reasons (mostly budgeting/shopping day reasons). It’s a lot of noodles and leftovers, to say the least. But hey, food is here, and it’s a perfect time for me to try this challenge, as I need to save all the money I can.

Plus, what good is it to have food sitting around, if you’re never going to touch it? Food does go bad ya know! (haha, funny, I know)

So this is my very basic “plan with me” look. My life is usually like this, so don’t forget that over the next while, as I share with you a few months of intense exploring and fun!

Waking Up to the Second Quarter of 2018

So yesterday, I gave you a recap on the first three months of 2018. Now I’ll be sharing my general plans and goals for the second quarter!

If you didn’t already know, I’m in the second year of THE Artist of Life Workbook program, created none other by Aileen Xu at Lavendaire. I’m apart of the OG from last year, as 2017 was her first year of the program. It’s a workbook, which can be done digitally (and printed, if desired…that’s what I did this year), or mailed to you, in a very cute smaller paged book (I did that last year). There’s also a private Facebook mastermind group that runs in junction with the workbook. You don’t need the workbook per se, but it is a huge influence into what goes on in the group.

Anyway, now that I’ve explained a little more of what that is, let’s jump into what I have going on, what I want to do, and where I want to see myself in three months time. Since it’s Wednesday as well, so I’m going to share my “wine Wednesday” choice, which is a chilled brut sparkling wine from California.

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What are you sipping on today (or looking forward to, since we’ve made it through half the week?)

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This is the quarter overview page, and as you can tell, I did the print version and typed up all that I could, then printed it out so that I could physically write down my progress during each month. The pictures I shared in yesterday’s post display the monthly outlook, as well as the quarter review. This is the other end of the quarter, since I haven’t share this end of it yet.

To give you some big goals for the overall year, my goal was to explore and learn. I wanted to read a book a month (or 12 books) at least. I’ve done 2.5 books so far. I want to read more, if I can manage, as I have a book given to me by my maternal grandma, but it is a heafty read, so I’m leaving that book for the months where I travel a lot, or when I have spare time at the end of the month, where I’ve finished the book that I have planned for said month.

The exploring end is my travel bug, that has been a general thing since I was younger. I traveled across the two US coasts near all of my childhood, and I want to actually travel. My grandparents asked me last fall if I wanted to join them on a trip, and I couldn’t say no, so hence this year is all about exploring and experiences, of all sorts.

My travels started over Easter weekend, with going to more properly explore Pittsburgh, as it’s one of a handful of close larger cities to me. I’ll be experiencing more come summer, but this was a nice introduction.

Going back to the “smaller picture”, this quarter is a strange one, at best. I have some self care and home care I’m taking care of, but in the same time, come June (the last month of the quarter, let alone the last month of the first half of the year), I’ll be traveling. To me, it’s a reward to both “adulting”, because what fun is it (and what good is it really, to your health) if you don’t have something to look forward to, and it’s also a reward for working on myself and the place I live in.

Our aparment isn’t messy or needs too much work done, but since babe was here long before me, and with the Universe granting it, we’ll be together a long time, I want to add a more personal touch that I like as well. Most of it’s just organizing and tiding up, as we’ve accumulated things. I’ve become more simplistic in material goods, and I want it to show throughout our apartment.

Organizing the house, is something that both Aileen targets in the goal setting and planning sections of the workbook, and she has a whole section devoted to the home. After reading Jordan B Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life (read my review), it solidified that I did need to get my house in order as well. He always says start with your room, and that’s always a work in progress. Then your house? That’s even more always a work in progress. Yet as long as you sort out and plan and try to expect things (like plan for when you need a new garage door, or if you have pluming issues), you’re doing pretty good.

So April is covering what I want or should get for the start of organizing the living room and attic, while May is the living room, and after that and into June, before my 2 week trip (yes half the month!), will be the attic. I have no idea what I’m getting into, but I hope I have enough time and stamina!

I have 3 books planned out, and already have two of them. I should get the third on audio book, so that I can listen to it while I’m organizing…or maybe I should just re-listen to 12 rules for life? I’d probably fall asleep on the couch if I did that!

During June, I’m letting myself enjoy things, and my biggest goal is to explore and work on photography while I’m on my trip. I have 10 busy days out of 14, which includes flying. I’ll be able to get some reading done, as well as some prep work for here.

Do you think I’m doing enough? Or do you need another drink to process all of that (haha)?

As you can tell, I’m planning to get some housework done before the trip, so that I can fully enjoy the summer, all the way through my birthday events, in September. After September, it’s all hustle and bustle to pay it off, and start saving for next year!

The fun is only starting to begin, and I can’t wait to share it with you all! Share what you have planned for summer, down below, or repost this blog and do it there!

Easter: A Different Perspective

If you haven’t already noticed, this is my take on Easter. To give you a little background on myself, I grew up in the church. I was baptized into the church at a young age (once as an infant, and then again in elementary school), but haven’t practiced in years. I don’t consider myself religious, or to practice, but I hold the teachings and morals close to my heart, as they are really important, and lacking in today’s society.

This year, my dad wanted to do all of the Easter “festivities” I’d guess one could call them. We were originally going to go down to DC for Easter mass, but life got in the way for my dad. So instead, we went to Pittsburgh. We went to 4 different churches, on all 4 Easter holidays (Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil). Easter Vigil was in Pittsburgh, and we stayed overnight, and went down to the strip district late this morning.

The Pittsburgh church was the largest we went to out of all 4, and the two we went to for Palm Sunday and Good Friday were close in numbers, and by far the smallest churches (for attendees) that I’ve ever been to. All were nice, gorgeous buildings, and something I’d never experienced.

As out of place as I felt, during each service, the one in Pittsburgh made me feel the best, as the energy was there, and you could tell that those who were there, were truly into it. I appreciate all of these churches for allowing my dad and I to participate.

I didn’t follow all of the rules (I ended my social media detox early, and didn’t hard core do all of the fasting when I was supposed to, but hey, I’m only human, remember?), but lent did provide me with the reflection that I needed. It also helped me manage what I need to assess, and allowed me to appreciate things that I needed to appreciate.

For my dad, the goal was to have bonding time with me, plus get back into practicing, and going to church more regularly, which he’s been wanting to do. I appreciate his honesty, and his interest into starting his journey in that, with me.

My goal, was to also have bonding time with my dad. Yet, unlike him, my other point was to learn and experience what the non-Protestant side had to offer, what it was like, and also explore the architecture and surrounding areas. Even though I didn’t get to explore DC as an adult this year, I’m still grateful for going to Pittsburgh.

Hopefully within the next handful of years, the DC version will manifest its way into becoming, with all of my aspirations of travel.