Bullet Journaling: My First Attempt

You may or may not know that I have a slight planner obsession. Yes, I’m talking pen and paper planner. I’ve tried “going digital” several times over the years, but there’s just something about writing out my plans that I love. I absolutely love my Erin Condren Life Planner, which I’ve been using for the last few years. I even have a separate Instagram account set up for my planning snapshots.

Recently, however, I’ve been intrigued by the bullet journal craze. What’s a bullet journal, you ask? The creator of the system, Ryder Carroll, defines it as follows:

“The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.”

Of course, I googled it. What comes up will blow your mind… it’s so much more than just a bulleted list (but it can be just that if that’s what you want it to be!).

I decided to dive right in and see what bullet journaling was all about… I ordered my sunshine yellow dot grid Leuchtturm 1917 notebook on Amazon (tip: these suckers are HOT! If you decide to get one, Amazon seems to be the place to go as most retail outlets and some of the online ones are sold out). I chose the Leuchtturm over the Moleskine after reading a bunch of reviews that said that the Moleskine ghosted (you can see the show of the writing on the next page) or bled through more often. I’m really happy with my choice… the paper quality is amazing! The dot grid version was also essential… it’s basically graph paper, but without the connecting lines (just a dot in each of the four quarters). It allows you to write as if you had a line (straight line writing for those of us who have OCD!)  and to draw.


Here’s the premise of the bullet journaling system – use the least amount of effort so that it does not become a chore. Which is going to completely contradict when I show you what I actually did in mine. But that’s ok, because the idea is that you can be crazy into it one week and “slack off” the next. The other appealing part to me is that you can change your weekly (or daily) layout as often as you want. Don’t like how you organized yourself this week? Turn the page to a blank page and make it different for next week! The possibilities are endless!

The whole system starts with the future log… essentially, it’s your calendar for the next 6 months. This is the place that you come to write everything down. Dentist appointment in December? Circle the date and write it down. You’ll have a chance to create monthly calendars, so this space doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, your monthly calendar doesn’t have to be fancy either – lots of people just write the dates down the side and put the appointments on the corresponding line. I enjoy a good monthly calendar, so I drew mine out and added some goal tracking.



After that, you can basically do whatever you want! I started with a page that I labelled “July memories” where I’ll draw, write, etc to remember things that happened in July. I followed that up with a page called “Books to Read”. I stole an idea from basically everyone who has a bullet journal and drew a somewhat cute little bookcase with the names of books I want to read on the little books. I’ll color them in once I’m done with them.

I followed that up with another calendar. Why you ask? Well, there’s a bunch of folks who do a monthly doodle “challenge” – the idea is that they give a prompt and you draw something in each day’s box. Drawing has never been my forte, but I like the idea of working on it!

Finally, I dove into my weekly spreads. This is where the rubber meets the road in the bullet journal. Again, the idea is that it has to be functional for you… if it’s not, change it!

Here’s one of the different weekly layouts that I will be experimenting with over the month of July:



For those who freak out when everything is not perfectly in order, there is an indexing system at the front that you use to identify where your calendars, weekly logs, collections, etc are so you can always flip the correct page. I’m still having a hard time with that (thus I did the next 4 weeks layout), but am going to give it the college try in August. There are so many other things you can do in the bullet journal – actual journaling, meal planning, drawing or sketching, and more!

I haven’t bought my 2017 planner yet (even though Erin Condren launched in early June) and I might hold off even longer… I am very much enjoying the creativity and flexibility of the bullet journal!

Erin Condren Vertical 2016 Life Planner Review

Those of you who are familiar with the planning community will know what I mean when I say that this year I am firmly on #teamvertical. Those of you not familiar, the Erin Condren Life Planner has historically been a vertical planner – meaning each day gets a slice of the page up and down:

Vertical ECLP
Vertical ECLP

This is different than most planners, which give you a horizontal view of your week… until this year. Erin Condren sent out a survey and listened to her cult members followers – they have both a vertical and a horizontal offering for 2016. Last year was my first year using the ECLP and I thought it would be really hard for me to make the switch… now I find that I can’t imagine going back! My sister just ordered a horizontal planner… I’m going to have her do a guest review once she gets it!

Without further ado, here is my review of my 2015-2016 ECLP!

The Cover

I was so super excited to see they offered a black and white plaid… I’ve been on a plaid kick for the last couple of years and knew I absolutely had to have this one! That’s the beauty of the interchangeable covers – they’re $11 bucks and you can switch based on your mood. They came out with a bunch of new designs, so there are a ton of options! They even did a special Rose Gold planner – complete with rose gold coil and foil cover.

My ECLP Cover!
My ECLP Cover!

The Guts

This is the most important part! I’m a firm believer that no matter how pretty the insides are, if they’re not functional for your planning style, you won’t use it.

First up, the monthly view. There’s a slight change this year – the quotes at the top are gone. This is kind of nice since a lot of people ended up decorating over them. That said, the space is still there for you to write in your personal favorite quotes if you’d like!

ECLP 2016 Month View
ECLP 2016 Month View

Next, the weekly view. There are some big changes here. The first is that Erin Condren removed the “morning”, “day”, and “night” headings. She also removed the calendar on the upper left corner and renamed it “thankful thoughts”. I don’t entirely love it since that’s typically where I put my Fitbit steps tracker, but since I covered it up before anyway, it doesn’t make much difference to me. They also removed the heading just below that – leaving you with space to update how you see fit. I typically use that left hand side to make lists of people to call, things to buy, places to go each week. They’re most likely things that will eventually get “assigned” to a specific day but that I’m not sure about at the beginning of the week. Finally, the fonts are a bit different this year with the number and day names being on the same line. It actually leaves a little more room above the numbers for reminders or weather tracking.

ECLP 2016 Weekly View
ECLP 2016 Weekly View

After that comes the notes pages. The standard lined pages and plain white pages are still there, but this year they’ve added in the graph paper. At first I was skeptical, but it’s starting to grow on me. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll use them yet, but I like the option!

ECLP 2016 Graph Paper
ECLP 2016 Graph Paper

The Goodies

I ordered a couple of notepads, which I love. I also ordered the launch bundle… it came with the new sticker book and a pack of pens. I’m a bit of a pen snob (I typically like for my writing to all be in the same pen – my pen of choice is the blue Pilot G-2 .07). The Erin Condren pens are definitely cute – they’re porous tip and write very beautifully, but I’m not sure how I will use them. I might just use them on the months to color code my appointments.

ECLP Launch Bundle
ECLP Launch Bundle

The sticker book is just okay. I am so spoiled with the sticker pimps shops that I’ve found on Etsy, I think I was expecting a little more from the Erin Condren book. That said, they’re cute and I will definitely incorporate some of them into the next year of planning!

ECLP Sticker Book
ECLP Sticker Book

Turn Around Time

When I ordered my first planner (mid-December 2014), it took forever to print and ship to me. Like it was early to mid January when I finally go it. I sort of expected the same thing this time around since I was ordering on Launch Day. I ordered on June 9th and it shipped on June 11th! I even ordered the customized cover (it has my name on it), which generally adds a couple days, but was thoroughly impressed!

Finally, I wanted to share my referral link with you… if it’s your first time ordering the ECLP, you’ll get $10 off! Just click the link below and follow the directions!


I hope this review has been helpful for those of you on the fence or thinking about making the move to an ECLP! Happy planning! Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below!

I May Have A New Obession

Those of you who know me know that I’m all about the planner. Over the years, I’ve tried many different versions, both paper and electronic, but have always come back to the good old fashioned paper planner. There’s something so comforting about writing something down. A few months ago my sister introduced me to the Staples Arc system, which I promptly fell in love with.

Here’s the thing about that one… it sounds like a great idea to have all this flexibility, but in reality, Staples only makes a few different types of pages for you to put in. Then you have to get all creative and print them yourself, an undertaking that I don’t have the patience for. I bought the little hole punch and have used it for a few things, but I find myself not needing as much “customization” as I had originally thought.

Enter the Erin Condren Life Planner. When looking around for different ideas for decorating my Arc planner, I stumbled upon a small cult of people who did nothing but sing the praises of the Erin Condren planner. They looked pretty cool (lots of space to write, fun colors, etc), but I never made the move. Then my sister called…

Next thing I knew, I was online ordering. I chose the Seahorse cover (with my name, obviously):

Erin Condren Seahorse Life Planner

I’m kind of a little obsessed. Honestly, it’s all I can think about now. I’ve been fanatically checking my order status to see if they’ve printed it, even though they promise it would ship no sooner than December 22nd. I keep hoping that they’re working on Christmas miracles. You can expect a full review once I get it!