Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Most Useful Tools For Getting Sh*t Done

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 with 5 comments
Girlxoxo, Estella's Revenge, & Traveling With T have teamed up to bring us the December blogger event, #AMonthOfFaves2016, in which daily writing prompts are provided (M-F) as a way for bloggers to share their experiences over the past year. It's a great way to re-cap our thoughts on 2016, so I decided to join in on the fun!


Today's prompt is all about the tools that help us the most when trying to get things done. Now, I'm not gonna lie - I do struggle with both maintaining focus (I'm very easily distracted) and procrastination, so I need all the help I can get. Here are a few things that have helped me stay organized:



Honestly, any life planner will probably do, but my planner of choice is the Erin Condren Life Planner, which I will never stop gushing about. I have NEVER found an electronic calendar that I've actually followed, so I need to have something tangible to look at. And yes, I track pretty much everything on it: bills, work deadlines, habits, time-of-the-month, etc.

Writing things down helps me commit things to memory better, and decorating does, too (plus, it's fun!). I've found that there have been certain events that I needed to recall by memory, and I was able to do so because I would remember "Oh! This happened during the week I decorated with a Frozen theme. I remember it happened on Friday because that's where I put the Elsa sticker!" Nerdy? Yes. But I love it, and it helps me (and trust me, I basically have the memory of a goldfish, so this has made a huge difference in my life).

Plus, I love the layout of the EC, and how high quality it is. I got the chance to meet Erin Condren and hear her speak at a convention earlier this year, and I really loved her, so I'm more than happy to continue supporting her business by buying her products - I feel the planners are well worth the $55+ price tag, since I use them daily. If the price is a bit high for you, however, there are some decent planners available at Target.

A couple other planners that I've tried out and like are the KitLife Planner and the Day Designer. I recommend that you research which planner and layout works best for you (there are a TON of helpful reviews to be found through Google), as I know that everyone's planning style is different.



Are there any book bloggers out there that don't use this site? I don't know where I'd be without Goodreads - even before I started blogging, I'd use it for everything. Not only can you track what books you've read or are currently reading, but you can also: 
  • update which page you're on (very useful if you're reading a long library book & have to return it before you can finish because it's on hold)
  • save your favorite quotes by either 'liking' them or adding them to the database
  • find out what your friends are reading
  • get curated recommendations based on your previous ratings of books (their recommendation system is the best I've ever seen - I constantly find amazing books through it)
...I could go on and on, but I'll just stop here. I LOVE Goodreads!

*Note if you're looking for a similar website to track TV shows & movies that you watch, then I recommend Trakt. Since I'll watch things on multiple platforms (TV, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.) it really helps to track everything on one site. I mostly use it for shows, so that I remember where I left off.



Ok, so I really only use this for work, but it has been an absolute life-saver for me. I love you you can sort things easily by creating rules to send things to specific folders you create. I also love that you can flag things and mark deadlines, as well as create color-coded categories to mark your emails under (some categories I use are: Print This, Follow-Up On This, Remember This, etc.). Plus, it's the best to navigate, and there are no ads whatsoever to deal with. I may have to start using this at home... 


A few other things that have saved me are Pilot G-2s, which are amazing pens that have never let me down; an endless supply of sticky notes, which I have with me everywhere in case I need to jot something down quickly; and theSkimm, which is a daily email that quickly highlights the news headlines for me in an easy-to-digest way, so that I stay informed despite my hectic schedule (it's free, but they have an amazing app called SkimmAhead that you can subscribe to for $2.99/month if you'd like to integrate their curated calendar of events with your iOS calendar, which I've found to be both fun and beneficial). 

So, are there any tools you'd recommend that I haven't mentioned? I'm always on the lookout for new things to try out, so please let me know in the comments if there's something you'd like to share!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Diversity December Bingo

Thursday, December 01, 2016 with No comments
There's a fun event happening this month on Twitter - #DiversityDecBingo. The point is to score BINGO by filling out the card below (though you get total props for filling out the entire card!):


I'd like to give it a go this month, and see how many of these squares I can knock out. I'll update this post with my reads as I finish them, and mark off the bingo boxes as I go. 

Now, reading diversely is something I aim to do on a regular basis, but it's pretty cool that a bingo card exists to help diversify my diverse reading (lol). It's important to put yourselves in the shoes of others and understand that your world is not the only world out there, especially now in the aftermath of this year's election. What better way to do that than to read diverse novels that are actually written by diverse authors? 

I would love it if you would join me! And don't forget to check out the hashtag #DiversityDecBingo on Twitter to see how everyone else is doing, and to get some great recs on books to add to your TBR!



Non-Western Real World Setting

Set in Japan.

Own Voices



Blank Bingo Card (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

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GirlxoxoEstella's Revenge, & Traveling With T have teamed up to bring us the December blogger event, #AMonthOfFaves2016, in which daily writing prompts are provided (M-F) as a way for bloggers to share their experiences over the past year. It's a great way to re-cap our thoughts on 2016, so I decided to join in on the fun! 


Let me tell you, 2016 was not the best year for me, and was emotionally and mentally draining, thanks mostly to a family crisis that is still affecting me. Because of this, you may have noticed that the number of posts on this blog has declined dramatically. It's my goal for the next year, however, to bring this blog back to where I want it to be, and what better time to start than now, rather than wait for Jan. 1? 

So I'll kick off this event by focusing on some of the good that happened this year, and writing out a list of my favorite things:

Thanksgiving Week In My Planner, In Honor Of The Gilmore Girls Revival

This planner is an absolute life saver! While it may seem expensive, it's high quality, you'll get your money's worth if you actually utilize it throughout the year, like I do. I've had a hard time remembering to use a planner in the past, but this planner is GORGEOUS, and I've had a lot of fun jazzing it up with stickers and washi tape, which makes planning a whole lot more fun. But even without the decorating, the planner looks great, and you can even pick out a custom cover to make it personalized. I had an EC last year, as well, but this year is the first year I actually started decorating it, and I can say without a doubt that it won't be my last!


Earlier this year, I got the chance to spend four glorious days in the city of New Orleans, LA for a convention that I was attending. I had never been there before, but it was on my bucket list. I had an amazing time, and completely fell in love with the city. I hope that I can go back one day, but until then, I have some great experiences and memories to hold on to!


Just Ranch by Hampton Creek
This year, Target started selling the vegan Just Ranch dressing from Hampton Creek, the makers of Just Mayo. I've been a fan of their mayo since I discovered it in my local WalMart (especially their Sriracha mayo!), but when I found a bottle of Just Ranch in the condiments section at Target, I nearly cried tears of joy! It is delicious, and I always make sure to have some on hand. Vegan ranch was never available where I live, so I just went without it. But now, I pretty much put ranch on whatever I can!


Un-Du Adhesive Remover
I don't know how long this stuff has been around, but I cannot believe I had never heard of it before! Un-Du is one of the best adhesive removers I've ever come across - not only does it completely remove a sticker or label without damaging your paper or item, but it leaves the sticker residue on the sticker, so that you can reuse it again! Plus, I've tested it out on paper with handwriting (both pen and pencil), and it doesn't smear the writing when you wet the page! The paper doesn't warp, either, and it dries quickly.


The Bobby Bones Show
This isn't in any way new to me, but I have just been grateful this entire year to still have the BBS to listen to every morning. I always download the podcasts and listen to them while driving or when I'm at work. This show definitely makes the day go by faster, and gives me something to look forward to. It's been #1 in my heart since '07, and is still going strong.


iPad Air 2
I never thought I'd have one, but I saved enough money at the end of last year to get one, and I am so glad that I did! I use this baby all the time - more so than I use my laptop now. Honestly, I thought I would mostly use it to read manga & comic books, since storing them electronically takes up way less space then keeping them in physical form, but I actually use it more for Netflix, Hulu, and web-browsing. It's lightweight and easy to carry, and I'd recommend it to everyone. I love Apple products, but have only ever splurged for their iPod before, as it's the best on the market, and I love listening to music more than anything else.

What are some of your favorite things from this year? Please let me know in the comments, or join in the fun by creating a blog post of your own!