the perfect planner, for me

First, let me start by clarifying a few things. These are solely my opinions based on using both of these planners for an extended period of time (not … [Continue Reading]

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Labor Day catch-up!

I have an extra set of hands around here today, so I'm actual going to try to get a blog post for each day this week. Lately, I can only make it to … [Continue Reading]

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back to school

On Monday night, we went to meet BK's new teacher. She was a little sad at first when I told her she wouldn't have the same teacher, but thankfully, … [Continue Reading]

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whole 30 results and FAQ’s

I finished up Whole 30 last week and I'm currently on day 2 of 20 before vacation. I debated whether to even call it Whole 30 anymore, because I think … [Continue Reading]

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Judson is 4 months old!

Judson- We are having so much fun watching you grow and learn new things. I told your dad the other day, it's impossible for me to look at you and … [Continue Reading]

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the perfect planner, for me

First, let me start by clarifying a few things. These are solely my opinions based on using both of these planners for an extended period of time (not simultaneously). I paid for the Whitney English Day Designer and the Erin Condren Life Planner (2014-2015) edition. I’m saying that to let you know that this isn’t sponsored in any way.

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I love a planner, more specifically, I love a paper planner! I use it to keep everything together, to make lists, to remember important dates, to schedule our life! I’m not kidding when I say my planner goes with my everywhere, and I use it every single day.

I’ve been a long time Life Planner user. Last year, I ordered my third Life Planner and I’ve been pleased with the product. One of my favorite things about the Life Planner is the weekly view. I love to look at my whole week at once. I feel better about managing my week this way. I also love the vertical layout, it lends itself to list-making (which is what I normally do). I don’t particularly love the way the days are divided, but I just overlook that part and write anywhere I want to in the space.

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The Life Planner also has laminated tabs and a full monthly view. I love the fun colors that fill each and every page of the Life Planner.

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The organizational space in the back is functional and perfect for things like stamps, invitations, and important documents I need to keep handy. Life Planners always include gift tags (stickers) and mine came personalized and matching my planner this year. The Life Planner comes with a few other extras as well including stickers, a removal perpetual contacts and calendar, spiral paper clips, and a page marker/ruler that snaps into place. Additionally, you can order other coordinating products from the website.

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So what do I not like about the Life Planner? It took several weeks for me to get the product. Granted, it shipped by the date indicated, it just seems like such a long time to wait. Their production time is slow, and it has been for all the planners I’ve ordered. I also wish I could customize the daily boxes, instead of morning/day/night I’d definitely like to have one just for a daily random to-do list. I use them for things like that anyway, but it would be nice to customize the boxes to go with how I’m actually using them.

Next up, the Whitney English Day Designer. Allen ordered this for me for Christmas last year and I’ve used it until last month. Like the Erin Condren, it has tabs and a monthly view.

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Here’s where things get very different. The Day Designer has a separate page for each day of the week, and one page for Saturday and Sunday. The daily view is actually why I purchased the Day Designer. You can keep up with meal planning, daily to-do’s, and your whole day (broken down by hour) all on one page. There is plenty of room!

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As far as extras, the Day Designer has several pages of goal tracking at the front and a pocket inside the front cover for keeping important things handy. The Day Designer also has a neat little band that is connected to the planner to hold it all together.

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So what do I not like about the Day Designer? The very thing that drew me to the product, the separate daily pages. For me, it was overkill. Even when I was working, blogging, pregnant, and managing our household and a busy toddler, my life wasn’t busy enough to fill up these pages. Obviously, I could have written daily things that are part of our routine, but it just seems like a waste of time to write the same things every day. Honestly, I didn’t even know what to write in some of those boxes! The pages are also very thin, so I really had to be careful with what I wrote in this planner with, because it would bleed through very easily. The whole planner is black and cream (not white), it lacks color. All in all, I decided I definitely prefer the weekly view, it was hard for me to get a whole picture of our week because it just seemed too spread out for me.

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  • Both of the planners are large. The Day Designer is obviously bigger because of the amount of pages needed. Size was not an issue for me and didn’t factor into my decision at all.
  • They are both pretty pricey.
    • Day Designer (including shipping): $72.00
    • Life Planner (including shipping): $64.95
  • They both took several weeks to arrive at my house. Yes, several weeks!

So which one did I ultimately choose?

I’ll be using the Erin Condren Life Planner for the upcoming year. The colors, the extras, the weekly layout, it was all enough to sell me on the product and make me come back for another year of the Life Planner. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the planner for you. Depending on where you are in life and your personal planning preferences, you’ll have to take a look at both and decide which one will fit your needs best.

As far as pens, I don’t know that I’ll ever stray from these Staedtler’s

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What about you? What planner do you use?

Labor Day catch-up!

I have an extra set of hands around here today, so I’m actual going to try to get a blog post for each day this week. Lately, I can only make it to Wednesday before falling behind. These days, I have to do things in 30 minute increments (or so it feels).

  • I started another strict round of Whole 30 today. I’ll go ahead and say I plan on eating a couple of cheat meals when we go to the beach in two weeks, but nothing over the top. I thought it would be better to start a strict round of Whole 30, rather than eating what I want to for the next month just because of a beach trip.
  • We went to the lake Sunday evening and had the best time doing nothing. BK especially loves the lake, she things it’s fun to find sea shells. Judson just loves to be outside, and he’s happy the whole time!

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  • Jud is rolling over from front to back and back to front. It’s put a real kink in his sleeping, especially nap taking. He rolls around in his crib, gets his arms stuck, gets mad. So naps are shorter and he’s a little more fussy during the day while we figure this whole mobile thing out.
  • I was nominated for the ice bucket challenge while I was recovering from my wisdom teeth extraction, I finally took the plunge and completed the challenge at the lake yesterday. Braylen decided she wanted to take part in the fun, but specifically requested no ice.

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  • I’m a lover of fall and spring, the milder seasons, but I can’t bring myself to get hyped for fall just yet. Not until the temperatures decide to come out of the 90′s and not until I see my beloved Gulf Coast. It’s iced coffee, sandals, and shorts around here for at least a few more weeks.
  • But, I am ready for the return of a few of my favorite fall shows! I need a little Olivia Pope in my life.
  • Football season kicked off this past weekend and my husband was especially happy. I’ve been scheming and trying my hardest to get him to let me turn our back porch into an outdoor living area. He finally agreed when I mentioned it would be great for football watching this fall. We’re still waiting on curtains, but I can already tell we’ll be spending a good bit of time out here.

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  • Let me tell you about the cutest tennis shoes ever. BK’s school requests that they wear tennis shoes (obviously for safety reasons on the playground), so we found the cutest pair of glittery Puma’s and she wants to wear them everywhere we go!

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  • I haven’t read a good book since before Jud was born. I need a few good recommendations for beach reads. Anyone read anything lately (or this year) that they love??

back to school

On Monday night, we went to meet BK’s new teacher. She was a little sad at first when I told her she wouldn’t have the same teacher, but thankfully, she warmed right up to her new teacher and was telling us how excited she was before bed. I’m so impressed with her personality, she thrives in new situations rather than shying away from them. She’s not afraid to go and meet new people, to introduce herself or to make new friends. We love that side of her personality and I think Allen and I both wish we had a little more of that in us.

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Sidenote: I had my wisdom teeth taken out Thursday and I was actually worried that I would miss “meet the teacher” or the first day of school. Thankfully, it was a fairly quick process and I was ready to get out of the house Monday night. Another note, don’t delay having your wisdom teeth removed they might need to be removed at the most inopportune time. We’re all just thankful it’s over and done!

Yesterday morning, she didn’t want to get out of bed. Isn’t that crazy how that seems to work? If I needed her to sleep-in she would have been up before me. We snapped a quick picture and we were on our way.

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BK has been going to the same MDO program for three years now, just two days a week for a little more interaction with children her age. While I worked, she stayed home with my Nanny who would come to our house everyday. On the days BK had school, Allen would go in late and Nanny would pick her up and bring her home. Teachers don’t have much flexibility in their schedule. Yesterday, I was reminded just how thankful I am for this season, no matter how crazy our days get, no matter how many times Jud refuses to nap, or BK refuses to listen, I am blessed to be able to spend my days with them. After working and being away for the first few years, it’s something I refuse to take for granted now.

So when BK came home, we baked cookies and had a little time together while Jud talked to his toys in his swing and watched his big sister.

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It was a great first day, indeed!

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whole 30 results and FAQ’s

I finished up Whole 30 last week and I’m currently on day 2 of 20 before vacation. I debated whether to even call it Whole 30 anymore, because I think this is going to pretty much be a lifestyle change for me. I’ll probably follow the 85-15 rule and splurge at times, but I want my main method of eating to be aligned with Whole 30. Either way, I’m going to be strict and not cheat for the next 20 days before we go to the beach. I’m incredibly close to fitting back into my pre-pregnancy clothes and two weeks of eating right will save me money when it comes to purchasing new clothes for vacation.

Let’s get right to the results. I finished up Whole 30 last Thursday and weighed in for a final time on Friday morning. Just so you know, I gained a whopping 47 pounds with Judson. I lost 20 pounds fairly quickly within the first few weeks. At the end of Whole 30 I had lost another 14 pounds. That leaves me with about 13 pounds of pregnancy weight left. I was definitely pleased with the results as far as weight loss goes, but I am also pleased with how my energy increased, my skin looks better, and I feel better all around.

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I can’t wait to see the changes the next 20 days brings.

I also want to take some time to answer a few questions I get asked about Whole 30. I’m by no means an expert, but I’m pretty proud of the fact that I actually stuck to a diet for more than 24 hours.

Did you workout too? Yes. I have a treadmill, weights and a mat in the garage and a membership to Pure Barre. Honestly, it’s really hard for me to go to Pure Barre these days because it takes about 2 hours out of my day. I absolutely love Pure Barre, I think it’s the best workout, hands down. But, two hours is a lot of time with two kiddo’s and no child care on site. Lately, I’ve been spending about 40 minutes on the treadmill and doing a quick ab, leg and arm workout. Just a mixture of squats, sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, and planks.

What can I eat on Whole 30? I printed this list and left it on our refrigerator, it’s a great resource. I’m documenting all of my meals this week and I’ll give you a detailed post about what I eat next week.

How do you not get bored with food choices? The honest answer is I do get bored. Sometimes the thought of another egg makes me want to gag. But, it always passes and I just choose something else until it does. The biggest advice I can give here is to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Try new things, think outside the box, make a batch of Chia seed pudding, grab a Lara bar.

What happens when the 30 days is over? Ideally, you would continue to eat Whole 30′ish with a few indulgences. I think it’s different for everyone and you have to find your own balance. For me, I’ll just have to evaluate whether or not a splurge is really worth it, and keep a good check on my eating so I don’t fall back into old habits. And if I do fall back into old habits the program recommends do a reset, maybe a Whole 7 or Whole 14. I promise that once you see how good your body can feel, you aren’t going to want to eat the same things you were eating before.

Aren’t you going to gain your weight back? Obviously, I could gain my weight back if I choose to eat the things that caused me to gain the weight in the first place. Ideally, the answer is no. This isn’t like a juice cleanse where you’re going to pack on the weight because your body is in some type of starvation mode, but eating the things that made you unhealthy will cause you to gain weight.

What did the rest of your family eat? I only cooked one dinner each night. Sometimes I supplemented Braylen’s dinner with other fruits and vegetables that I know she likes. For example, we had artichokes one night and she wasn’t a fan so I gave her a handful of raw carrots (that’s her favorite) in place of the artichoke. We did make a rule that she has to at least try new things that we’re eating. Sometimes she liked them, we discovered that she loves spaghetti squash, and sometimes she wasn’t a fan. Allen always ate the same dinner as me, he stuck to the program about 50 percent of the time (maybe a little more) and he ended up losing a good bit of weight, too.

What did you use for salad dressing? I found a great recipe for Orange Poppyseed Dressing (I didn’t use shallots) that I used during Whole 30.

Did this affect your milk supply? I’ve had mixed reviews from people who seem to think Whole 30 might have a negative impact on feeding baby Jud. Rest assured, he’s still exclusively nursing and we haven’t had any problems. In my head, I never thought we would run into any issues. Whole 30 allows you to eat as much good proteins, fruits, and vegetables as you want. Along with good fats, nuts, and eggs. I’m definitely eating more food now and it’s better food. I honestly think the impact would be positive because I’m eating so much better.

Where do you get recipes? Pinterest and Instagram! There are so many fantastic Instagram users that post yummy recipes. Just search #whole30, #whole30recipes, I even have a few under my hashtag #jenngdoeswhole30

I also want to share a few resources from around the web, the Whole 30 site is fantastic and full of free resources.

Grocery List

Meal Planning Template

Step-by-step Rules

And you can follow along with a few of my favorite bloggers who are also on a Whole 30 journey, AP and Heather have blog posts up today, too!

Judson is 4 months old!

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We are having so much fun watching you grow and learn new things. I told your dad the other day, it’s impossible for me to look at you and not smile. You’re always beaming a big, beautiful smile anytime someone looks your way and talks to you (except if you’re hungry, then you want to eat right then).


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This time around, times seems to be flying by, but we’re doing our best to soak up each and every fun stage with you. You still adore your big sister, your face lights up when you spot her or hear her voice. She’ll sit and play with you and tell you stories and I think it’s your favorite part of the day.

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I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that you’re four months old already. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun, and you are so much fun!

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At four months:
  • Eating- you eat every 3 hours during the day.
  • You are on a very consistent schedule thanks to Moms on Call! You take two good naps during the day, and two shorter naps, and you sleep from 8:00-7:00. I had forgot how nice a full nights sleep was, but I am much more refreshed these days.
  • You started sleeping in your crib, with the sound machine on.
  • You love to be rocked and held, but you’ll go to sleep on your own in your crib.

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  • You’re consistently rolling over from your tummy (I think you love being able to get out of tummy time) and you’ve rolled from your tummy to your back a few times.
  • You still love bath time.
  • You love to be moving. You’re still a big fan of the mamaroo and your swing. You cry so hard when we put you in your car seat, until we pick you up and put you in the car. You’re content as long as there is movement.
  • You love your kick and play, you can grab your toys and pull them to your mouth now. You want to chew or suck on everything, including your fists.

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  • You’re still exclusively nursing, and you’re reflux is getting better.
  • You’ll take your paci if you’re really tired.
  • You love to be talked to, you’re content to sit and coo and make noises at anyone who stops and says “hi” to you. It’s not hard to get you to smile or laugh.
  • You’re pretty ticklish and you love to giggle. It’s the sweetest sound.
  • You weigh a little over 15 pounds.
  • You wear a size 2 diaper (but not for long) and 6month clothes.

Here’s a look back at the past 4 months!

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And a comparison shot of BK and Jud at 4 months:

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