Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Organize My Life | Planner Unicorns

Hello planner and non-planner people alike! In today's edition of Organize My Life, I'm going to talk all about the planners that I am currently chasing after to add to my collection. Some people may think that having more than one planner at a time is a little out of control, but as I transitioned into becoming more of a ring-bound planner girl, my eyes were opened up to the hobby of not only planning itself, but actually collecting planners and changing them out throughout the year. I was also quickly introduced to the concept of "unicorns" or planners that are either discontinued or extremely hard to find through any kind of typical shop and usually are purchased from other planner collectors.

I never really felt that I wanted to add multiple planners to my collection until very recently and I have found that I'm lusting after quite a few different models and even have a few unicorns of my own that have sadly been discontinued from their carriers. *le sigh* I decided to throw them into a list to share with you all... and to possibly drop some holiday gift hints to any Santas that might be out there... ;) Hope you enjoy the list (and if you have any idea where I can find my unicorns that would be super awesome!).

Discontinued Planners - My Unicorns

A5 Domino Ultra Violet - Filofax

(Image and full review found on Philofaxy)

I really love the original Domino from Filofax and I've seen it in several different colors in the past, but once I discovered there was once a violet version of this model, it shot to the very top for my ISO (in search of) list! The image above is from a review on the blog Philophaxy that was published in 2011, so I'm sure it's been out of circulation for a while which is sad. I don't know if this color will ever make its comeback (the original domino is still available on the US Filofax store but only in black and red) but if it does I know that I'll be snatching one up immediately!

Large Time Planner in Mint & Gold - Kikki.K

This Kikki.K planner was extremely popular when I was first getting into the planning world and had my focus turned onto Erin Condren planners, but now that I've fallen in love with ring-bound systems I'm kicking myself for not taking advantage of the opportunity to have this beauty in my possession! I know that Dokibook has an imitation version of this model, but of course it's not nearly as well-made as a Kikki.K and I usually have a real problem with companies that totally rip off others (they even currently stock an imitation of my current planner, the Filofax Pear Saffiano! :| ). I not only love this planner because of how gorgeous it is, but I've always been a fan of the inside-flap storage of Kikki.K planners - especially this one!

Currently Out of Stock

A5 Original in Flouro Pink - Filofax ($111.00)

The color of the Flouro Pink Filofax Original is absolutely stunning. I don't really spring for pink too often, but when it's this gorgeous bubblegum neon pink I'm all about it. I first saw this planner in the personal size on a Miss Trenchcoat video when I was first getting into binder systems and immediately fell in love with the color. The Filofax Originals are so well made and this colors so beautiful that I would LOVE to add it to my planner collection.

A5 Color Crush in Teal Stripe - Websters Pages ($54.99)

When these planners first released I was SO EXCITED, but they only released in the personal size at first. I really wanted the teal and white striped planner, but at that point I had already realized that the personal size is too small for me. A few months later they released a limited A5 line and, much to my happiness, included the teal and white striped design! From what I've read and what I've seen in YouTube videos, these planners aren't as great of quality that you'd get in a Filofax or a Kikki.K, and are a bit thinner and taller than the typical A5 planner, but I would still love to give this brand a try (and get my hands on these beautiful nautical stripes!).

Currently in Stock - Planner Wishlist

Pocket Patent in Lemon - Filofax ($43.00)

I would normally never ever ever go for a pocket size planner, but I've been toying with the idea of using one as a wallet/on-the-go calendar. Though I love my A5, it does take up quite a bit of room in my purse, which I'm fine with for daily work life, but not so much for running errands and the like. When perusing the pocket sizes on the Filofax website, I came across the Patent pockets and they are so adorable - especially this color! I would love this addition to my collection.

Personal Malden in Ochre - Filofax ($110.00) 

Maldens are so beautiful and I'm especially a fan of the Ochre color. However, I think that the A5 Malden doesn't look as great as the personal size, so if I were to take the plunge and pay for this beautiful leather planner, I think I'd stick with the personal. I think the interior of this planner is perfect (Zip pouch? Yes please!) and the brown leather is such a classic look that you could use it for years and years without it ever going out of style. It has such a collegiate look to it, which is perfect since I'll be spending most of my time on a college campus for the rest of my life! #HESAlife

A5 Original in Dark Aqua - Filofax ($111.00)

A5 Original Patent in Purple - Filofax ($111.00) 

I'm going to echo a lot of what I said about the Filofax Originals that was mentioned in the Flouro Pink description toward the beginning of this post. These have such a classic look to them and I would love to build up a collection of these in tons of beautiful colors, including the above Dark Aqua and Patent Purple!

Large Time Planner in Ice Blue - Kikki.K ($79.95)

I've always loved how Kikki.Ks have been made but I've never fallen in love with any one planner (aside from the mint & gold above!) until they released this beautiful ice blue number! I think this color is perfect for winter/spring and the interior (as it always is with Kikki.K) is incredible (pockets, pockets, pockets!). Kikki.Ks are always so well-made and I think that this would be a beautiful addition to my collection!

What are your unicorns?
What's on your planner wishlist?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Few of my Favorite Links {#15}

Happie Scrappie

The theme of my first kit - fruit! :)

I've written about this company before in my "Dear Santa" post last December, but they've made their way into my favorite links today because I finally signed up for a Happie Scrappie subscription of my very own! Happie Scrappie is a company that sells ADORABLE stationary and planner goodies, all handmade by a lovely woman by the name of Sam. She puts together subscription boxes (called Happie Planner Kits) each month and sends them out all around the world and I have always been super impressed with the things she creates. My first Happie Planner Kit is currently en route to my mailbox and I am BEYOND excited to finally receive it! I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of goodies will arrive in my mailbox each month! If you're a planner or a  lover of stationary goodies of any kind, I highly recommend checking out her shopher blog, and her Instagram!

Better Life Bags

I came across this company when I was browsing through Instagram one lazy afternoon and was so blown away by this woman's story. Rebecca Smith built this company with the idea to contribute a portion of each sale to someone in a third world country that were attempting to have business of their own. Eventually, the company became so successful that she was able to hire a woman in her own community that was struggling to make ends meet to help her with the sewing of the bags, and watched her financial situation turn around. Now, Smith only employs women in her community that are struggling financially and has been able to create dozens of jobs with her company. How cool is that? Not to mention the bags themselves are SO adorable and unique! I totally want one, and I totally want to buy one for all of my friends and family.

Jim Kay: 'I worried I'd ruin the most popular children’s book in history'

Last week I finally received the first installment of the illustrated versions of Harry Potter and I am over the moon in love with it! I'm pretty sure I freaked out when I first learned about this series being released back in the winter, and now I finally have it in my hands! Every page is breathtaking and well worth the wait. I'm not sure how long it will be until the next installment comes out, but I fully plan on collecting them all. I thought I'd share with you all this excellent article from the Telegraph about Kay and his thoughts on the opportunity and experience in illustrating one of the most famous children's series of all time.

We Found Lisa Frank!

This video popped up on  my Facebook feed and it was the biggest dose of nostalgia I could have possibly ever gotten. I LOVED Lisa Frank as a kid (my sister and I both did!). The animals and the colors were things I were always drawn to for all of my school supplies and stationary. I'm sure this company is the reason why I love stationary so much today! I actually had no idea that Lisa Frank herself liked to remain anonymous to the public, so seeing this behind-the-scenes of this company is kind of an exclusive and is really cool! You can see so many of the designs that made the company famous and some of the designs you might of had as a kid (for me, it was the seal and the ballerina bunnies!). Check it out below!

Remember those Lisa Frank folders and stickers you had as a kid? Well, we found the woman behind the rainbows and kittens of your childhood. Go inside the weird, day-glo world of the rainbow queen.
Posted by Great Big Story on Monday, October 19, 2015

Adventures In Cardboard: A Summer Camp For Kids To Build Armor, Weapons And Castles Out Of Cardboard

Uhm, WHY WASN'T THIS AROUND WHEN I WAS A KID?! This is a camp for kids to make awesome of creations out of cardboard, aka every child's dream come true. HOW FUN were boxes as a kid? HOW INCREDIBLE would it have been to have adults encouraging the creation of awesome things like epic swords, armor, and castles out of those boxes? The right answers to those questions are THE FUNNEST THINGS EVER and SO INCREDIBLE I'M EXPLODING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT, respectively. Sorry for so many caps in this sections but it's A FREAKING CAMP FOR CARDBOARD BOX ADVENTURES. Can 25 year olds sign up? Please?

80 Seconds of Ridiculous Rottweiler Puppies

Of course, what's a favorite links post without at least ONE video of an adorable animal? I came across this video on my Facebook feed when I was having a not so good day and it immediately cheered me up, so I knew I needed to share. I hope that if you're having a not so good day (or even if you're having a great day!) that you watch this and it makes you happy. :)

These Rottweiler puppies are the best way to start your weekend
Posted by The Pet Collective on Friday, January 16, 2015

And of course, I had to include this. In honor of the *official* Back to the Future Day yesterday, 10/21/2015, Nike finally released the Self-Lacing Nikes inspired by the film and gave the first pair to Marty McFly himself. In 2016, Nike will be releasing more pairs for sale, all of which will go to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation - how awesome is that? The above link has a video to MJF trying them out!

What are your favorite links of the moment?

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Most Picturesque Campus on Planet Earth

Wow - it's been over a month since I've sat down and told you all what's been going on in my world. How's it going, everyone?! Things have (per usual) been busy, busy, busy. I feel like I've been getting into a solid rhythm at work and really getting the hang of my job. There are still plenty of learning moments, of course, but not feeling quite so uncomfortable and that I have no idea what I'm doing on a day-to-day basis is pretty nice!

Since my last update I've been getting back into the swing of a fitness routine, which has been super nice. You know that I ran two major races on back-to-back weekends, but I've also been getting back into a routine at the gym. It's been super helpful that Brett has been writing me work outs so I don't feel so lost in the gym, and it's also been super helpful that a few of my friends from work have been joining me at the gym after work! (I like to call it work out club.) Having people to joke around with between sets makes everything way more fun. :) Now if I can only force myself to start stretching regularly (this has always been my fitness weakness) that would be ideal.

We've had a string of freaking GORGEOUS fall days the last couple of weeks, and I feel like I've really been taking advantage of it. Mount Holyoke has a tradition called Mountain Day where they cancel classes (which is a surprise for students!) and everyone hikes up Skinner Mountain to the Mount Holyoke Summit House, takes in the view, sings the alma mater, and (my favorite part) eats ice cream. Even though it was two days after the Maine Marathon, my director and I hiked all the way up the mountain and it was beautiful.

So beautiful that when my parents visited the campus on the following Saturday, I just had to take them up to the summit as well! (But we drove up because my legs were basically dead at that point and I had to preserve them for the B.A.A. Half the next day. Did I mention I'm a dummy?) I gave my parents a tour of the MHC campus as well (MHC's campus in the fall is basically the most picturesque thing on planet Earth), and after 3 hours of walking we got a delicious lunch at the Yarde House and Quakes (ice coffee + ice cream blended together - YUM) at Barstows before heading to the top. I'm happy that my parents got to see how beautiful MHC and the surrounding areas are!

Brett's still immersed in football, and his grad school will be starting up again very soon (last year - almost there!), but I've still been seeing him practically every weekend which has been so nice! Hanging out with him tends to pull me out of my own world of worksleepworksleepworksleep, so I'm happy we're still making sure we have a little bit of time together each weekend. This weekend we're planning on having some snacks and some drinks at my friends Erin & Cullen's house for the Patriots game. I'm heading into several crazy weeks of intense programming for student orgs so having relaxing days like this planned and on my schedule are super helpful to unwind with!

I have a feeling that these next few weeks are going to fly by. Brett has a birthday coming up (his GOLDEN birthday - 27 on the 27th!), Halloween is right after that, I'll blink and it will be Thanksgiving (and my sister will be visiting!), and before I know it the semester will be over (this is how it always works). Although I'm trying to deny that winter is coming (I guess I'm not a Stark), I do really enjoy the time I get with family and friends during this time of year, so I'm looking forward to the holidays. Especially my favorite day of the year - HALLOWEEN! I can't wait to share my costume with you all! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Race Review: B.A.A. Half Marathon

The logical thing to do a week after running a full marathon is to run a half marathon a week later, right? Well apparently I thought so, because on Sunday morning I ran the B.A.A. Half Marathon in Boston! I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking when I scheduled these two giant races a week apart from each other (#dummy) but once I register for a race I just gotta go for it. No bailing!

The B.A.A. Half (and basically every event sponsored by the B.A.A.) has a huge field of participants, so instead of having everyone attempt to find parking around Franklin Park where the race was taking place, they offered several different shuttles to the starting line. This meant I had to be up and out the door by 5:30AM so I could get to the shuttle by 6:30 and get to the starting line before the gun went off at 8AM. I arrived at the race site around 7:30, which was the perfect amount of time to pick up my race t-shirt, drop my bag off at the gear check, and meet up with Louie and Rachelle before heading to the starting line.

The participant field was roughly 7,000 people, so it took a solid 7-8 minutes between the starting horn going off and the time we were able to even start moving and cross the starting line. The first few miles were super congested and a stop for a bathroom break added 10 frustrating minutes to mile 3 due to how many people were in line - oof! I managed to semi-makeup for the loss of time, though, as miles 4, 5, and 6 were all sub-9 minutes (I usually try to hang around 10 minute splits)! The rest of the race was pretty par for me the course when it comes to running halves. My pace hung around 10:30/11 in the later miles, but as I got closer to the finish and the crowds increased a bit I got a little energy boost and tried to push myself a little harder! 

The last mile took us through Franklin Park Zoo which was so awesome! You could see the zebras, wildebeests, ostriches, cows, and a bunch of exotic birds which was a nice little motivator to push you across the finish line. This being the week after a marathon, though, my legs were really feeling it and the finish line could not come soon enough. As I rounded the corner of the Franklin Park track to the last straight away toward the finish I put everything I had left in me toward crossing the finish as quickly as I could and came across the finish line at 2:24:36. I know that if this race was scheduled for a different weekend I could have definitely done better, but I'm happy with my performance overall. It wasn't my best, but it wasn't my worst either, and at the end of the day I got to cross the finish line at catch one of those world famous B.A.A. unicorns!

One day I'll get to rock one of these beauties on the Boston Marathon medal, but I'm pretty pumped about this one! :)

I really enjoyed my time running this race and hopefully I'll be able to run in a few more of the B.A.A. races in the future. Louie, Rachelle, and I are hoping to participate in the B.A.A. 5K this upcoming April (I was informed to brace myself for an even bigger field of participants for that one!) so maybe I'll also attempt the 10K (and maybe even attempt the distance medley?) to just complete the collection! ;)

On a side note: Louie started a new blog called Whoosh! where he talks about his love of comic books and running! He recapped his experience from Sunday so make sure you stop over there and check it out!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fall 2015 Cook Book

(1 | 2 | 3 | 4)

Whenever the weather cools off I find myself itching to try out new recipes. I think with football Sundays being in full-swing and holiday get togethers on the horizon (too soon?), I get inspired to experiment in the kitchen and share the results with friends! I've search around the internet for some culinary inspiration and I've put together an autumn collection of recipes that I hope try out this season. Make sure you click the links to get the full recipes and to check out the awesome bloggers that shared them!

Beverage: Bourbon & Maple Apple Cider
Recipe found on Freutcake

How delicious does this drink sound? The perfect blend of sweet apple & maple and the spiciness of bourbon. This is actually a beverage I could see being suitable throughout the winter as well. I'm a huge fan of hot cider when the temperature starts to drop so this sweet cocktail twist is something I can totally get on board with (even though I could only probably drink one at any one time)!
Appetizer: Fried Mac n' Cheese Bites
Recipe found on Thrifty Jinxy

I've been wanting to make these for months! A video of this recipe popped up on my Facebook feed and my mouth immediately started watering. This would be so perfect for a lazy Sunday watching football (or, if you're me, perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the rest of eternity). I'm definitely going to bring this with me for one of the afternoon we spend watching RedZone and the Patriots at our friends' house!

Meal: Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes
Recipe found on Minimalist Baker

Sweet potatoes are my jam. I love that the fall brings these babies back after a long summer without them. This recipe is a really interesting way to prepare and serve sweet potatoes as part of a dish and I am super into it. This recipe also seems fairly easy to prepare and serve, so I definitely see this being a simple dinner to throw together after a long day at work!

Dessert: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe found on Foodie Crush

This is my favorite fall baked good! (I was going to say favorite fall dessert, but then I remembered that apple crisp à la mode is a thing. *droooool*) I had a colleague at BSU who always brought these into the office in the fall and I ate about a million every single time. I've never made them myself, but I would love to take a crack at this simple, 3-ingredient recipe! (And if it isn't as great as I remembered I'll look up one of the more extensive recipes you can find online.) Either way, I'm pumped!

Let me know if you have any fall recipes that you love in the comments - I'd love to try them out as well!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Race Review: Maine Marathon

Sunday I finished my third marathon - the Maine Marathon in Portland, ME! I was pretty nervous for this race (more nervous than I can ever remember being for any race) because my training this summer really didn't go to plan. The heat was really killing me in the migraine department, I was super exhausted from my demanding work schedule, transition to a new job, and moving to a new place, and my motivation was completely shot. Not to mention I hadn't raced any significantly long distance in almost a year (my last race was the Dean Dash 5K in April, and before that was the Wolf Hollow Half in November 2014, so it had been a while!) so in my mind, this was going to be a tough one.

The morning of the race was nice and chilly (a balmy 40 degrees) and my parents and I had the unfortunate task of waking up at 4AM to make the trek up to Portland. I'm so happy they decided to come along with me and volunteer for the race - it's rough when you're up that early by yourself! We arrived at the University of Southern Maine campus (my dad's alma mater!) around 6:20AM and met up with my friend Cassie and her friend Lauren, who were both running the half. I even got to see an former lacrosse teammate of mine - Erika (whose wedding Brett & I attended a few years ago) - before the race which was great! Cassie was kind enough to pick up my bib and swag bag the night before the race so I didn't have to worry about it on race day! Once we all pinned our bibs onto our clothes we headed over to the start.

The race itself kicked off with a bagpipe troupe and the National Anthem and at 7:45 on the dot, the horn for the start blared and all 4,000 marathoners, half-marathoners, and marathon relayers were off! The course was gorgeous and took us through Portland, Falmouth, and Yarmouth, with beautiful views of the coast nearly the entire way. There were water stops every 1.5 miles (any long-distance runner will tell you this is amazing), bands and spectators nearly the entire way, and because it was an out-and-back route, I was around other runners the whole time! I guess the third time is a charm because after a not-so-awesome first marathon and a very small second marathon, this race impressed me to no end. All of the volunteers were great, everyone running the race was super friendly, and I had a great time the whole way through.

Surprisingly, I felt great for virtually the entire race. I was nervous about how my legs and feet would feel because my training had been fairly painful throughout the entire summer. Once I upped my mileage I realized that it was my sneakers that needed an upgrade, so I bought myself a pair of Brooks Launch 2s which have been so amazing! I largely attribute these sneakers for the fact I felt so great throughout this race. It wasn't until about mile 23 that my legs really started to feel it (mostly my right quad/IT band) and I started taking a few walking breaks - though I only had to take 3 breaks in comparison to the NH Marathon where I started to take walking breaks starting at mile 18.

Once I hit mile 25, I felt great. Not so great physically, but mentally. I could feel the finish line approaching and my parents - who volunteered to help out with medals & space blankets - were waiting to cheer me on as I approached the finish line. It was so great to receive my medal from my mom and my space blanket from my dad and to get giant hugs from both of them - now definitely one of my absolute favorite moments in my racing career. :)

I ended up DESTROYING my marathon PR by 26:22. How, I have no idea. When I was around mile 10 or so I noticed that I was on track to PR but I didn't want to jinx myself, but I continued to stay on track to PR and in the later miles this was a huge motivator to keep running. By how much I would PR I wasn't entirely sure, but I kept this in the back of my mind for more than half of the race, and once I saw the time as I crossed the finish line I knew I had smashed it. This is extremely motivating to keep running marathons. Knowing that I can come across the finish line closer to 5 hours than  6 hours gets me so pumped up. I hope that next time I can run a sub-5 hour marathon and keep improving on my time from then on out!

Overall, the Maine Marathon was awesome. I'm so happy that I chose this race as my third marathon. I feel so motivated to continue to pursue my marathon goals and train for the next 26.2 on my list. More details on that to follow! ;)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Review: The Help

This month I finally got my hands on The Help by Kathryn Stocket. You guys. This book is so good. I know I'm tardy to the party on this book, but I loved it so much. Per usual, I chose to wait until I read the book before I watched the movie, and of course, life started to get in the way and it took me forever to finally pick it up and read it. I'm kicking myself that it took me this long to finally read this story. For me, this book was one of those that I would be itching to get back to when I was working or doing other things. There were multiple times while driving that I was wishing I lived within the radius of public transportation so I could spend my commute reading!

Anywho, this book is set in the mid-1960's in Jackson, Mississippi and each chapter is told from the perspective of one of three women - Aibileen Clark, Minny Jackson, and Eugenia Phelan, also known as Miss Skeeter. Aibileen and Minny are both black maids that work for affluent white housewives, and Skeeter - though not a housewife herself is a part of the housewife inner circle - is a recent graduate of Ole Miss who has a dream of becoming a writer. Disgusted and frustrated with the way she sees her friends treat their maids, she approaches Aibileen with the idea to interview her and a handful of other maids to tell their stories of what it's like to work for the white women they spent their lives raising - something that could spell serious trouble for all involved.

Stocket does a fantastic job in giving all three narrators unique voices and stories, and the way that she was able to weave each of these characters as well as the supporting characters into each others' lives was remarkable. Each perspective had it's own unique draw to it that I found myself thirsting to know how each character was reacting to each situation. When I was wrapping up a Miss Skeeter chapter, I was dying to hear Minny's side of the story. When Minny's chapter ended, I so wanted to know what Aibileen was thinking. The way this book was written made you want more, and I loved each page of it.

If you haven't read this book, I HIGHLY encourage that you do. I watched the film with Brett immediately after finishing this story and I would say that the movie did a great job in sticking to the story line, but the book provides with so much rich detail that you miss out on in the film. This book quickly shot into being one of my favorites and I'm so happy that I finally took the time to read it for the book club!

What did you think of The Help (either the book or the film)?
Let me know in the comments!