Friday, November 28, 2014

Planning for 2015

Hello there!  Are you recovered from your food comas yet?  I had a lovely, low-key Thanksgiving this year, and I hope yours was equally as wonderful, whether you spent it with family, friends, or co-workers (I really appreciate the people who cooked and served my family our Thanksgiving meal yesterday!  I prayed for their sanity.)

I am not a shopper, so I am avoiding going anywhere today for Black Friday.  Instead, I'm going to start preparing for the next holiday on the docket and also gearing up for 2015!

I've been talking about my need to plan for awhile now.  I've always just had one of those cheap little calendars in my purse that are very thin and portable.  They worked great, but I started feeling like I needed a little more space and customization.

I began my paper planning idea by just using a random notebook for writing "to do" lists every day, as well as doing some journaling when the mood strikes.  That has worked wonderfully, but through that, I also got out of the habit of checking my little mini calendar.  I need it all in one place!!

Enter my first actual planner.  It is the M by Staples Arc Planner.  There are a few different options as far as size and covers, but I went with the most affordable option, since I'm not sure how this planning system is going to go, I didn't want to spend a ton of money right off the bat, and believe me, you can spend a TON of money on a planner if you really want to do so.

The planner I bought looks like this, and this particular one comes with a bunch of different customizable cardboard weight cover options to insert if I get tired of one.  I'm thinking of customizing it further by adding the year on their or my name with stickers.  We'll see.

The front is protected from wear and tear by this transparent plastic-y cover.  I have to admit, this cover is a little annoying as it doesn't slide around on the discs very well, but maybe it just needs to be broken in.

The system works by utilizing these discs.  It comes with a slightly smaller ring size than the one shown here (1/2 in).  I ended up buying these 1 inch discs separately because I added some things to it and didn't think everything would fit in the 1/2 in. discs.  The discs come as big as 1 1/2 inches, but at the present moment, I think that size looks ridiculous and don't really want them, but we'll see what happens.

The inside is pretty typical.  Tabs for the months...

a monthly view calendar, which is what I'm used to...

and then there's this weekly section, which is what I'm most interested.  You'll notice there's also a piece of paper down the middle, which I am planning on using for a running grocery list throughout the week, or weekly to-do's that don't need to be done on a certain day.  We'll see how that one pans out, but I'm excited about the customizable capability of this journal, nonetheless.

It also comes with a bunch of notebook paper, which is awesome because I'd like to use one planner for planning and journaling. 

Lots of room for journaling...

The last thing I bought for this planner was this clear plastic pouch to hold receipts and coupons.  I don't get a lot of coupons, but I do tend to let little pieces of paper float all over my house and bag.  I'm hoping that this little pouch will help me kick that habit and find things easier.

The other thing I'm hoping to do is get a little crafty with my planner.  As you can see, all the pages of this planner are very basic and gray.  I have been watching planning YouTube videos, and there are lots of people who go ALL OUT when it comes to decorating their planner pages.  I can't see myself being that involved, as the purpose of my planning is to help me utilize my time better, and I can't see wasting my time on decorating my pages to the hilt.  I do want to dress them up a little.

That being said, I think that over the course of the next year (and the end of this year), I'm going to show you what I do decide to do with the decoration and organization of my planner.  Hopefully, that'll keep me motivated to continue.

Do you use a planner?  If so, what do you use and what works and doesn't work for you?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Plans to Prosper

I've had a rather tough couple of days, but through it all, I've realized how many people I have in my life who love me and know I'm a good person.  Also, I've been reverting back to one of my favorite verses that lets me know that even when the answers to my prayers aren't what I want, He's still got me and will not let me down, even when some people do.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Take the Good with the Bad

Let's have some hot chocolate (or tea, or coffee) and have a chat, shall we?

November is a month for thankfulness.  Sometimes, life can get hard and we have to get out of our own heads and realize that we have a lot to be thankful for, despite our current issues.  I'm in that stage of life.  It's been a rough year for me in a lot of ways.  Stress at work, relational issues, crazy-random-nutty things happening around me... I'm ready for 2014 to be over.  Not that a new year will necessarily magically fix those issues, but there's something about a new year that makes it seem possible.  Right?

The thing is, there is still plenty of GOOD that happened this year.  I found a new theatre company that I absolutely adore!  I miss my old company in some ways, but I'm also ready for a change there.  I got closer to an acquaintance from my old theatre group and we have become pretty close friends now.  It's great because even though we are at different stages in our lives, I feel like we have a lot of similarities and it's been really fun getting to know her better.  My new organizational endeavors, which admittedly I let slack off for awhile, are really helping me keep myself on task and thus making me feel more productive in my home.  Then, even though I didn't go on a vacation this year, I took a week off and had a lovely staycation with some family that came up from down south and really learned to appreciate the joy of staying home (although I still want to travel, travel, travel).

My point in writing these things is simply that I want people to see that even if you are completely overwhelmed by the bad in life, if you really think about it, I bet you can come up with at least a half a dozen good things to be thankful for in your life.  Life isn't perfect.  Relationships will go south.  Your job might really suck right now.  You might be stressed out with work, family and house issues.  However, there is always something good.  Sometimes you have to look reeeeally hard, but it's there.  I promise you.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Craft Space - Stamp Storage

Before I even started on the official organization kick, I realized that my craft area in my basement was starting to get a little out of control.  I have limited space in my house as a whole, and really need to keep things tidy in case I have guests.  The basement is one of those places that serves triple-duty as both my craft room/ laundry area/ and extra entertaining space for larger groups.  Therefore, when the craft area gets too unruly, it begins to affect the rest of the space.

The initial craft that I began with about a year ago that eventually lead into scrapbooking was stamping… specifically Stampin’ Up card making.  I’ve always been horrible about giving cards and thought this might be a way to get me more interested in sending out birthday cards.  Well… that didn’t totally happen, but it’s still fun and as previously mentioned, led into other crafts.

Stampin’ Up can be a little pricey, so I tend to go to Michael’s for most of my stamping needs and only when I have coupons.  All stamp brands have different sized packaging, and none of them come in the nice DVD sized cases that Stampin' Up does.

Being that I didn’t have those nifty cases for most of my stamps, my stamp storage started to look like this:

This has gotten to be a little overwhelming, so I got to searching for DVD cases to put my stamps in.  I quickly learned that was not going to work, as they have that bump in the middle for holding the DVD’s. Suddenly, it dawned on me to check the Stampin’ Up website and low and behold, they sold the blank cases!

Yesterday I had the day off, so I got to organizing.

First, I cut some cardstock to make a front display.  Then, I took each stamp set and started stamping the sets on each piece of cardstock.  If I could, I put multiple sets in one box, to conserve space, of course. 

Next, I stuck the stamps to the inside of case (they’re sticky, so they cling nicely to the plastic surface).

The only part that I haven’t quite figured out yet is getting the display paper to stick in to the inside of the case.  I put a little double-sided tape on the cardstock, but it doesn’t stick to the case surface very well.  I might have to try something else.  Any suggestions?

There you have it.  I don't really like this basket, but until I have a chance to find something more compact, it'll have to do.

The one problem I'm having is that I can't get the cardstock to stay on the front of the boxes.  The double stick tape isn't really working.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

There's always Tomorrow

Sometimes, though I have the best of intentions, plans do not go... as planned.

I've had a system set up for months now and I've been doing pretty well.  Keeping pretty organized.  However, about 2 weeks ago I started having some stomach issues, and they will not go away.  I've tried figuring out if a food is causing it.  I've chalked it up to a virus, something I just have to let get out of my system... but it's frustrating and tiring.

On top of that, rehearsals are picking up as we near opening night.  Therefore, not only am I gone from my house for work and rehearsals, but when I'm home, I really don't feel like doing anything at all.

Thus, despite all my careful planning and to-do lists this week... it is all for naught.  I have gotten next to nothing productive done.  My house is a bit of a mess... and I just don't care.

I'm not going to get frustrated.  I'm not going to let myself thing that my new found organizational system is a failure.  Nope.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  As long as I'm still writing the to-do lists daily, the things will eventually get done.  At least I'm not forgetting that they need to get done.

I just need to focus more on myself and less on my duties right now, and that's okay.

Sometimes, no matter how much you plan things, the unexpected happens and you just have to roll with the punches, wade through the muck, and get back on the horse when you're through.

There's always tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Joy of Theatre

Hey kids!  Look!  I'm posting on a day other than Saturday!

I just wanted to write a short post about the joy in my life right now.  Life can get me down sometimes.  The stress of some current situations in my life has giving me some stomach problems (I really didn't know I was letting it get to me so much) and I'm sure you know that if you're emotionally run down and then you get physically run down, you (meaning me) run the risk of getting a little depressed and overwhelmed.

That being said, I am extremely fortunate that God has given me the joy of theatre in a particularly hard time in my life.  I forgot how much the joy of watching literature come to life onstage transforms my moods.  I can go from having a very melancholy attitude towards the whole state of my life, to leaving a rehearsal feeling content and at peace.

I started working with a newer theatre company in our area this year.  They focus on more literary drama, rather than the musicals that seem to pervade the community theatre scene. As much fun as musicals can be, I have found that my heart belongs to the form of theatre this company performs.  I have felt so blessed to be able to perform with them, whether it be only having 1 line, or having a integral role in the plot.

I currently have a very small role in an original piece about Edgar Allan Poe (performed on Halloween, of course), and even though the show is really creepy, as I sat watching the first run-through tonight after my one scene was over, I couldn't help feeling the swell of happiness in my heart.  I have always loved being surrounded by talented, creative people, even though I feel incredibly inferior.  It just makes me feel so grateful for this gift God has placed in my life.  I'm happy with any part they are willing to give me, just to be surrounded by people who love theatre and literature as much (or more) than I do.  I have met some of the sweetest people doing community theatre over the last two years, and it has made my life so much richer.

I still feel a little out of place at our rehearsals.  If you know me in real life, you might find this hard to believe, but I'm relatively quiet and reserved in a setting like this, and I feel a little like I haven't found my place yet, but I'll get there.  For now, I'm content to just watch the process and enjoy the talent that has been placed in my life.  I feel like a goofball sometimes, because while the other actors are playing with their phones or chatting in a corner while a scene is being rehearsed, my eyes are glued to the action, assessing everything the actors are doing and just loving every minute of watching the characters unfold.

Yeah, I know, I'm a little odd... but then again, I'm a theatre geek at heart, and we're all a little odd.

After Halloween comes Christmas in my theatrical world!  I get to be in A Christmas Carol and I am super pumped!  I'll be singing Christmas carols starting November 3, people, so watch out!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Organization Inspiration

Last week, I confessed my obsession with scrapbooking and organizational YouTube videos.  I know, I'm a sad, pathetic individual, but they make me happy, so I don't care.  For years when YouTube was first out, I never got into it.  I'm not into watching clips of old TV shows, or people doing stupid stuff, or talking dog videos.  Yeah, those things are funny, but I'd rather learn something when I'm watching any kind of TV or videos.

I'm not going to share my scrapbooking inspiration today, but rather my organization inspiration.  I really only have two women whose videos I love to watch.  I think their personalities are equally as appealing as their tricks and tips to organization.  They are both fun to watch and just seem like ladies I would like to be friends with.

You Tube: Dispatches from the Frathouse
The first woman whose video series I discovered was Carie Harling.  She is the mother of 7 boys.  Yes, you read that right, 7 boys!!  I can't even...  I don't really know her whole back story at this point (apparently she is writing a book) but her personality is so adorable and her hair changes every time I watch a video!  I like her a lot, and I can see why she is a person who needs a million paper planners.  I can't imagine keeping up with 7 children, let alone all boys who play sports, are learning to drive, have jobs, girlfriends, etc.  Anyway, Carie's videos are pretty much all about paper planning.  Her life is a far cry from mine and I can't even fathom all the planning she does in a day, but she does give good advice for being more efficient in any stage you are in.

YouTube: Organized Like Jen
Jen is probably my favorite of all the organization "gurus" I've seen on the interwebs.  She does do paper planner videos, but she is more about overall organization in life.  I get tons of practical tips from someone who is more like me.  She's married and works for herself and is a housewife, so while she does need to be organized and keep a planner or two, it's not quite as involved as Carie, who has to run the show for 9 people.  That being said, I can identify with Jen just a little bit more.  She gets anxious in spaces that are cluttered and overwhelming.  She may not work outside the home or have kids to schedule into her day, but she is busy regardless, and needs to be just as organized as the next person.

I really advise you to take a look at these two ladies' blogs and YouTube videos if you're looking for ways to schedule more efficiently or just organize your house and other personal spaces (Jen will even teach you how to pack more efficiently for trips!  I like that!)  They are both super cute and real. I want to be their friend.