setting up your planner for a productive year


One of my favorite parts of a new year is cracking open a fresh planner and preparing for the months ahead. I’ve used many different planners in my life from Lilly Pulitzer (loved these in college) and Day Designer to random off-brands, but my brother got me a Passion Planner for Christmas last year and I’m obsessed with it, so I got another one for 2019. My advice below works really well if you also have a Passion Planner, but it can definitely be adapted to any planner on the market.

gather your supplies
First things first, you’ll need supplies. I recommend a good black ink pen (Pilot fine tip ones are my favorites), some colored pens or highlighters, cute washi tapes and lots of fun stickers. You’ll want things to not only make your planner look fun, but to help you keep things organized. I personally don’t use any colored pens at the moment other than a gold one for drawing designs, but I use washi tape to section off things. You can use colored pens to color coordinate your different tasks and activities. As for stickers, I like buying mine from Michael’s, Etsy, and Kawaii Pen Shop.

decide on formatting
Next step is to decide how you want to use the spaces in your planner. My planner is set up with each day of the week having hours of the day, a to-do list section, and a blank section for every week. I don’t actually use the hourly scheduler, but you can definitely do so if you have a really scheduled out day. I tend to just use that area to list out my daily tasks.

You also want to decide how to use the blank spaces in your planner, which vary from brand to brand. Last year, I feel like I didn’t use my blank spaces to the fullest and I’d like to change that. I’m going to use them as a space for my monthly bucket list and also paste in a custom insert which I’ll talk about later. The point is that deciding how you want to lay things out ahead of time will help you to take advantage of all your planner offers and keep everything neat and orderly.

create your goals
If you have a Passion Planner, that means filling out the beginning of the year goals and subsequently following the roadmap laid out for you. If you’re setting up a planner without designated goal planning, decide how you want to set it up. I suggest picking your big goals for the year then breaking them into quarters, monthly, and weekly accordingly.

As an easy example, let’s just say one of your big goals for 2019 is to make an extra $10,000 from a side hustle. That would mean your broken down goals are to make $2,500 every three months, $833 every month, $208 every week.

One note on goals is that they don’t have to be professional or money related goals. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had this weird thing in my head where I felt like I needed to make these big professional goals every year and sometimes it would just stress me out because I was making arbitrary goals that I didn’t even really care about. Personally, I don’t love to plan ahead too much professionally because I prefer to keep myself open to all opportunities. Therefore, my goals tend to be related more so to personal development and fitness.

input recurring activities
Once you have your big picture items figured out, start filling in your planner with important dates like birthdays, travel, and recurring activities. Recurring activities include things like classes, clubs, meetings, blog posts, workouts, coffee dates, and so on. I like filling these things out ahead of time in the calendar view of the planner.

customize with inserts and tabs
Finally, customize your planner with printable inserts and tabs. Most planner brands offer printables that you can get online to help track and organize things like workouts, budgets, and meal planning. I’ve seen a really cool printable where you list all of the meals you like to cook regularly, put it in your planner, and every week, you use a highlighter or sticker to point to the meals you want to make that week. That’s always helpful because I feel like I’m always forgetting what foods I like to make, which is dumb when you think about it.

This year, I’m using the Passion Planner’s printable workout tracker. I’ve just been tracking my workouts by checking “workout” off my daily to-do lists, but this will be really helpful to ensure that I’ve done the amount of exercise I want for the week and also to look back and see what specific workouts I’ve been doing.


Ultimately, your planner should be customized and tailored to suit your lifestyle and needs as best as possible, so it’s really different for everyone. But, I find that the top down view, that is, looking at the big picture then filling in the details is really helpful. The key after that is consistency. Make sure you’re referencing your planner daily and keeping track of your to-do lists and goal progress.

hello, january (and 2019)!


Happy New Year’s Day! What did you all do last night? I genuinely hope there was lots of champagne involved. I’m really excited for 2019 and for giving the blog a little bit of a refresh. One of my favorite blogs, Camille Styles, always has an editor’s letter at the start of each month and Man Repeller even does themes. I really love the idea of that and wanted to give it a try for myself.

Each month on the blog this year, there will be an overarching theme that the content will link back to. January is all about starting fresh, getting organized, and creating good habits. We all want to get optimized for the best year ever, right? One of my favorite things about January is sitting down with my passion planner and mapping out not only what I want to accomplish that year, but also how I want it to feel from then through December.

Have you ever done that thing where you pick a word for the year? I’m trying it out for the first time this year! My personal word will be joy and my professional word is revel. Joy is pretty self-explanatory. I decided on the word even before I went to see Mary Poppins Returns on Christmas Eve, but seeing the movie made me even more sure in my decision. I consider joy to be the next step after gratitude, so this is my inspiration for the year. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll really get it!

As for revel, it’s kind of similar to joy but my intention is to celebrate and acknowledge even the smallest achievements in my work life and to really enjoy what I’m doing everyday. For the first time in a long time, I actually genuinely enjoy the work I’m doing but I still have to be mindful of not letting the day-to-day feel mundane.

I hope you guys choose a word for the year, too, and are setting all of your intentions so you can grow this year and enjoy doing it. Some posts coming up this month will talk about how to set up your planner, getting your life organized to start fresh, ways to get more out of trips to the museum, and another fun collaboration with Boden.

Happy New Year!

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book report: december 2018 + christmas at hogwarts reading challenge


We’ve reached the final book report post of 2018 and I’m excited to say that I surpassed my fifty books goal by reading 57 books total this year. That means I need to up my game next year by aiming to read 70 books. I’ve been doing the 50 books challenge for the past few years, so I definitely think it’s time to stretch myself a little more.

At the start of next year, I’m going to share my top ten books that I read in 2018 but for now, let’s get into what I read this December:

Factfulness by Hans Rosling
You will definitely see this on my best books of the year list because I think it may have actually been the best book of the year and one of the best books I’ve ever read in general. You have to read this book. It’s all about how wrong our negative world views are and how the media skews data to make the world seem much worse than it is. Furthermore, it will make you recognize how blessed you are and how extravagant most of our lifestyles are compared to many others in the world.

The other four books I read this month were part of the Christmas at Hogwarts Reading Challenge. In the new year, i’d definitely like to keep doing these themed challenges because they really are a lot of fun. I followed the map below to chart out what I read.

One Day in December by Josie Silver
This was my first Book of the Month book and I had to get this one because the cover was so cozy and beautiful. I actually wasn’t sure of the book at first when I started reading it, but then I got hooked and probably read 3/4 of it in one day because it ended up being really cute. It’s the story of a girl named Laurie who locks eyes with a guy on the street through the bus window and has an instant connection only to find out months later that he’s her best friend’s new boyfriend. The story spans several years after that and it’s really the perfect cozy winter love story.

Christmas at Hogwarts Reading Challenge

Finish Your Coursework - Homebody by Joanna Gaines
INSTRUCTIONS: Finish your current read.

I absolutely loved Joanna’s new home design book. Obviously, all of her design work is stunning but what I appreciated most was the layout of the book and her organized approach to combining styles to find your own personal style. I always thought my interior design style was Traditional-Modern-Bohemian, but it was made very clear by this book that I’m definitely Traditional-Modern-Rustic. I got so many ideas from this book and if you’re in need of some home design inspiration, definitely check this one out.

Visit the Three Broomsticks for Mulled Pixie Wine - The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking
INSTRUCTIONS: A book that should only take you a day/evening.

I read The Little Book of Hygge a few years ago when it came out and then again this year before gifting it to a friend, but this year I finally got ahold of The Little Book of Lykke was even more interesting! While Hygge was all about how the Danes stay cozy, Lykke is about the ways Denmark has set up their public society to enhance the happiness of its citizens and ways that other countries do similar things. It was so good and honestly made me want to pick up and move to Denmark.

Exchange presents in the Common Room - Heart Talk by Cleo Wade
INSTRUCTIONS: Book featuring friends or friendship.

This maybe wasn’t conventionally a ‘story’ about friendship as it’s a book of poetry and thoughts from Cleo Wade but it really feels like it’s written by a friend for a friend and it’s all about self-love and positivity, so I think it counts. This is a book you need to buy a physical copy of to put on your table and read daily.

Fly around snowy Hogwarts grounds - Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
INSTRUCTIONS: Book with a building on the cover.

I really liked this one! It’s such a good story for the Christmas season, too. This is all about a family who are quarantined for the week of Christmas at their country estate in England because the eldest daughter has just returned from treating contagious patients in Liberia. Over the course of the seven days of quarantine, secrets come out and drama ensues. Although most of the characters were fairly unlikable (save for Jesse), I still really enjoyed seeing what happened to them over the course of the story. My only complaint is that I’m really tired of books that subtly shame women who choose their careers over traditional concepts of marriage and family. Can we stop doing that all the time?

Attend the Christmas feast -
INSTRUCTIONS: Watch a Harry Potter movie.

I’ve, of course, seen all of the Harry Potter movies many, many, many times but I have tickets to the studio tour in London this spring so I wanted to see them all yet another time, in order to get ready! We watched The Sorcerer’s Stone, which I actually hadn’t seen in awhile (meaning like a year maybe lol), and for some reason, this time around was really magical. It was like seeing it again for the first time, so I’m glad we did it.

pretty things no. 30

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Last week, we had the 50th edition of The Weekend List and today is the 30th edition of Pretty Things! Since it’s almost New Year’s Eve, the theme is all things gold and sparkling, reminiscent of champagne in a crystal flute and fiery sparklers.

I love the laid back silhouette of this Alice McCall shirt dress paired with the gold metallic fabric. For a dressy bohemian look, I’d pair this with flat sandals, messy hair, and a bronzed, beachy complexion.

Another gorgeous look for a New Year’s party would be to pair this gold Vanessa Seward off-the-shoulder top with a pair of wide leg, white trousers or skinny jeans and metallic pumps with your hair in soft waves or pulled back into a Meghan Markle messy chignon.

If you’re going for a more neutral look, you can dress it up with a pair of metallic pumps like these scalloped ones from Chloé. I love the idea of them paired with a beige knit sweater and simple skirt or even jeans.

If you really wanna steal the show with a super chic, very Serena van der Woodsen look, try a pair of wide-leg, metallic trousers with the perfect fitting white tee, beachy waves, and a bold red lip.

Another little pop of metallic to add to a simpler outfit is a clutch like this one from Roger Vivier, which would work really well with anything from a little black dress to a blouse and jeans.

A pair of sculptural earrings would look good with all of these outfits and many more. The fauvist shape adds artful interest and will draw attention up to your hair, face, and makeup look.

christmas 2018 wrap-up


Just wanted to post a few photos from our Christmas day spread this week 😇 We made the most amazing cheeseboard with a baked brie in raspberry preserves, white cheddar, tons of different crackers, chocolate, and fruit. So good. We also had amazing ‘chicken’ and rice soup, a big salad, raspberry orange scones, raw vegan banoffee pie, chocolate chip cookies, almond nog, and so on. There was so much food, I was ready to pass out at the end of the day.