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Friday, January 30, 2015

Planner Buddies & RAKs

Planner Buddies & RAKs

In the world of paper planners, there are a couple of really nifty little nuggets of yesteryear actively circulating.  They seem most prominent on the Erin Condren Life Planner community pages, but they're prevalent throughout any of the paper planner groups.

"Planner Buddies" and "RAKs" (Random Acts of Kindess)! 

A Planner Buddy is someone you get to know by swapping / sharing planner goodies, exchanging ideas / advice. They may send you something from their area that you can't find in yours (something, for example, from a particular store that doesn't do business in your neck of the woods)! Planner Buddies are rather like modern day pen pals. :D Fabulous, really, especially for those of us who love the personal touch a handwritten note sent via snail mail provides!

A RAK, Random Act of Kindness, is just what it implies within the world of planner goodies!  Some people and groups organize RAKs where you put your name in and get a list of people to send "happy mail" to that consists of planning supplies. Other people may just feel like sending out RAKS, so they will offer up a contest of sorts to choose random recipients. Anyway they go about it, RAKS are a lovely way to pay it forward and just spread some joy, send a smile!

It takes organization to participate in either of these activities, so be prepared! Having participated in both, we can attest... It's totally doable, worth it and FUN!! It's such a sweet feeling to drop something in the mail to someone knowing that it's going to brighten their day. As my mom has always said, you never know what someone is going through... We hope that each package of happy mail we send out is received on that day and in a moment that the person receiving it just smiles and giggles, gets inspired or all of the above!

We have always been fans of paying it forward. We try to practice that regularly, in fact. Through our involvement with the ECLP groups and other planner / scrapbook groups, we have been able to send out over 100 pieces of happy mail in just under 60 days. More about that later.

For you newbies, don't be afraid to speak up in the groups. Let people know you're looking for a Planner Buddy, and wait for the offers to roll in!  You'll be pleasantly surprised at how many people from all walks of life are fans of these planners / hobbies / pages. You will make new pen pal friends and be able to send and receive happy mail - either or both - your choice!

So get involved! It will really enhance your experience. Most importantly, it will lighten your heart, bring a smile to your face and hopefully inspire someone else to do the same!!

Happy Friday!!!
Happy Planning!
Amy & Regina

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bargain Shopping Tips & Pointers for Planner / Scrapbook Supplies!

Bargain Shopping Tips & Pointers for Planner / Scrapbook Supplies!

It is SO MUCH FUN to go shopping for planner and / or scrapbook supplies! Whether you're on a very tight to minimal budget or have no kind of budget concern, ALWAYS seek out the best bargains you can! Money saved is money saved. Period. And if it isn't saved, but spent on more planner / scrapbook supplies, then so be it!

Here are some helpful tips for "newbies" on getting the best bargain you can!

***This is a long post, so if you're an experienced bargain shopper, just glance through it and please share your bargain shopping advice in comments below!) ***

1.  KNOW your products! For the products you purchase regularly (stickers, paper, pens, adhesive, washi, etc.), you should most definitely be in the know on what they typically cost, what stores carry them, what brands compare to them, etc.

2. Educate yourself!  If you are new to the world of bargain shopping or Erin Condre Life Planner decorating, scrapbooking or just planner decorating in general, educate yourself. Take time to start reviewing the websites and printed ads of your local craft / hobby stores, major chain stores, dollar stores and even grocery stores. You can find craft supplies EVERYWHERE! LOL! Pay attention to what stores offer online versus in store. Sometimes the better option is on line, but with craft / hobby stores, major chain stores (Walmart, Target, Big Lots), we have found the best bargains to be had are in-store. Walk the stores with the week's ads in hand, make notes if you need to of the product lines you seem to be drawn to, even take pictures of items you like and the shelf tags to remind you of their regular costs. Compare both the same items and similar items to other stores' offerings.

3. Follow the cycle, shop the cycle!  Once you've had a couple of rounds walking the stores with ads in hand, while taking notes / photos, you're ready!! Review your ads, have your electronic coupon links ready (or print your coupons) and make a list! You will come to realize there is a cycle that most retail stores follow (just like Bath & Bodyworks or Macy's), so you will be able to make your purchases when your favorite things go on sale. For example, stickers are something we use almost daily. We try ONLY to purchase stickers when they are on SALE!!  Stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael's, JoAnn and Target ALWAYS run their stickers (and most every craft supply) on sale every 4-6 weeks. Buying stickers at 40%-50% off is the ONLY way I'm buying them (except in a very rare, specific circumstance)! By following the sales and knowing the prices of your items, you will begin to see where the best bargains can be found. Frankly, here in Texas, traditionally we have found that Michael's is bit more pricey than Hobby Lobby (on most everything). However, Michael's has a much larger selection of washi tape where Hobby Lobby wins out in the sticker category. In our neck of the woods, JoAnn Fabrics is no where near as competitive in their craft supply pricing as Hobby Lobby and Michael's. But Joann even has a better offering of washi tape than Hobby Lobby. Just observations from our neck of the woods!

4. Clearance items can be found THROUGHOUT a store, not just in the designated "clearance" area! Walk the entire store! If you're looking for a bargain, keep looking, you'll find one (or some!)!! Walmart and Michael's especially and most definitely do this all the time in our shopping area!

5.  Different store, different pricing!  Just because a price is $3.49 for an item at this store in this city, it does not mean it will be $3.49 at its sister store across town or in another city. It's kind of a crummy thing, really, but it is what it is. So if it's worth the time and savings to you, drive across town, drive to the next city...and check out your options!

6.  Wait for the sale!  Unless you have a very specific need, wait for the sale! The major chains DO cycle their sale items. And who doesn't want to save 30%-50% on most all their planner / scrapbook supplies?!

7.  Buddy Up!  Buddy up with a friend or coworker and split the cost! Buy a set of 100 pages of card stock and share it between the two of you!  A lot of stickers come in 2 sheets. Easy as pie!  Let's say you really want a laminating machine or sticker making machine...Big ticket item...How often will you need / use it?  If it's something you really want / need but don't have room in the budget, can you swing it by sharing the cost? Talk to someone who shares your interests. You may very well find a way to make it work if you buddy up!

8.  Price Matching:  Price matching is a VERY pertinent tool to posses.  It takes time, dedication, effort and DESIRE! I'm going to save ramblings on this topic for a grocery post!

9.  Never be afraid to ask! Never be afraid to ask about the price of an item. If you feel like it's something that should be on sale or falls within the week's listed sale items, but it doesn't appear to be marked that way, ASK!  Just a couple of weeks ago, we were at Walmart. They had several pen sets that were boxed and labeled "holiday pack" (or something similar) for Christmas. They were originally priced at $9.97. The sale price on the rack showed $5.00. That's a great bargain...However, all the other Christmas items were CLEARANCE PRICED at 90% off! So we thought...okay...that would be a HUGE (extreme) savings...but it totally fits the parameters of the sale (in this case, clearance)... and it would totally be worth ASKING the question... SO we loaded up all we had room for in our cart. At checkout, we simply asked the question, "these are Christmas items (pointed out the words "Holiday Pack"), so shouldn't they also be 90% off like the other Christmas clearance?" The cashier politely told us she would have to ask her manager. The manager came over, looked at the item and made the decision that yes, they should be priced at 90% off because they were Christmas items. We got $250 worth of pens for $25.00 ... WORTH ASKING THE QUESTION!

Ultimately, what you pay for your planner / scrapbook supplies is in your hands. It's up to you to actively pursue the best prices you can get. Retailers are out to make a profit, of course. We're all out to save as much as we can (most of us), but we hope to have the luxury of a little happy spending. Make it stretch by using the tips we laid out! Become a bargain shopper!!

We'd love to hear your bargain shopping scores or advice! Leave your comments below.

Happy Planning!
Amy & Regaina :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pens or Pencils...Please Use Them!

Pens or Pencils...Please Use Them!

The art of handwriting is, sadly, slowly, withering away... To think that schools no longer teach cursive handwriting saddens us both...! Tragic! Technology most definitely has its place. Outstanding things happen with technology. We LOVE technology!  But how beautiful is a handwritten note, a scribbled monthly budget, a sheet of math homework or a journal entry? Recognizing a person by his/her handwriting is a skill that everyone should possess.  

It may sound old school, antiquated to some, but handwriting is a critical line of communication we must keep alive!  So tell us, friends... When you write, what do you prefer to use?  Regina prefers a pencil, especially in her Erin Condren Life Planner. She also prefers to use pencils (the .7,mm lead) at work for little notes here and there.

Amy prefers fine point pens in all colors!  The Frixion pens (erasable gel ink pens) are sensational tools to use in my Erin Condren Life Planner. I love all the colors, and they write so smoothly.  Inkjoys, Pilot G2, Sharpie Pens Extra Fine and Papermate Flairs are allincredible!  Obviously, I like pens! LOL!

Will you take our handwriting challenge?  Will you sit down and hand write us a note, scan it in and upload it in the comments below?   We want to see your handwriting style and tool of choice!!!

KEEP THE ART OF HANDWRITING ALIVE!! Send some snail-mail to a friend or loved one just to say hello, I thought of you today... or anything!!! There is something so truly beautiful and special in receiving a handwritten piece of mail!

So regardless of what you use - pen or pencil - just use them, please... Paper planners are awesome. Journals are classic. Essays for shool and math assignments are the stuff of life... and don't forget love letters...

Write, friends, write, until your hand hurts! Then rest, repeat!

Happy Planning
Amy & Regina

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What's Your Guilty Pleasure?!

What's Your Guilty Pleasure?!

Guilty pleasures...things that dominate your attention...things that bring you literal GLEE...things that you will ALWAYS want/"NEED"/have... LOL!

Amy's guilty pleasures:  school supplies & scrapbook / planner supplies!
Regina's guilty pleasures:  naps & romantic comedies!

Both Amy & Regina:  Hallmark / Lifetime style Christmas movies and Christmas shopping!!!

What are your guilty pleasures?! We will go to extreme lengths to garner / procure / attain (choose your verb) our guilty pleasures!

Typically kiddos dread a hint that summer vacation is over. Not me!  I was the kid who ALWAYS jumped for joy when school supplies started appearing on shelves in the heat of Texas summers. The neatness and crispness of fresh spiral PENS in every possible color and pristine white or pink pencil erasers, .5mm pencil leads ...folders with pockets and brads... Ahhhhhhhh, THOSE were simple things of JOY for me! 

To this day, I get butterflies when I see the first ads of the summer for school supplies... I follow the ads... I keep an eye out on sales at my local stores...  I start purchasing extra Sunday newspapers, clipping coupons for my favorite products (and any coupons for something free - usually new product)... I make my list, check it twice, thrice and once again... And.I.BUY.SCHOOL.SUPPLIES at the peak of their sale times with GREAT ABANDON!! 

We specifically budget school supplies into the plan for the last months of summer...

When it's time, I can help you find the greatest buys on school supplies in your area! Just comment me when it's time, and I'll gladly help!  Coupons, advertisements, whether cheaper in bulk or small quantities... I'm your girl!  As I type, I have 2 boxes of neat and crisp brand new spiral notebooks in the guest room dresser and 2 boxes of the pencils I like. :)  NECESSITY!! Truly!  In a year, I've gone through about 3 boxes of 24 single subject spiral notebooks. And I use them!!

NOTE:  I'm not a student or a teacher (well, always a student, always a teacher...but you know what I mean)...

My turn... When it comes to nap time for me, Regina, I make no bones about it... It refreshes my day, it relaxes my body and mind.  It eases any unnecessary stresses. I.LOVE.NAPS!  The most challenging thing to achieving a good nap:  no conversation... LOL! It's so easy to intend to take a nap... But once that head meets the pillow in the light of day, it seems (75% of the time, anyway), that the greatest conversations arise, the never-ending list of things to-do, tomorrow's tasks and what's for dinner... And then I'm hungry!  Actually getting a nap in these days is truly a treat... Just give me one, and I'll RUN with it!!! 

Speaking of Amy's guilty pleasure, school supplies, always reminds me of my very FAVORITE romantic comedy, "You've Got Mail"!  There is dialogue in the film that Kathleen Kelly, played by Meg Ryan, mentions, "bouquets of sharpened pencils..." It's just one of the hundreds of beautiful phrases in the dialogue of this truly endearing movie that make us long for a brownstone in Manhattan for the fall. Amy really shares my guilty pleasure in the love of romantic comedies...but her obsession with scrapbook and planner supplies must be noted...

Okay, okay, Regina... Hi. My name is Amy. I'm a scrapbook / planner supply addict. I TOTALLY own that one with PRIDE! :D

I could easily open a store and be in business for a year without having to purchase inventory... And even still...when a good sale comes along, if there's room in the budget to wiggle a little special treat, I'll always choose scrapbook & planner supplies... EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!  I must admit... The quality of washi tape and planner-friendly stickers found at Dollar Tree is outstanding! I will almost never purchase scrapbook or planner supplies at regular prices. They MUST be on sale!  And when they're on an excellent sale, I MUST purchase more so that I build up the collection I'm using to RAK! 

Then we have Hallmark / Lifetime style Christmas movies!  Christmas in July is a REAL THING, and it's when we start shopping for Christmas, start planning for Christmas... It really isn't about the "things", it's about the joy in giving, the fun in the find and accomplishment of checking off months of lists - viable, useful, necessary and organized lists... We have 2 DVRs that are at least 50% full of Christmas movies!  And those movies aren't just waiting to get watched and deleted... OH NO...they're parked there to STAY!  (We (*Amy*) also hoard "Modern Family", "The Middle", "Grey's Anatomy" and "Glee" episodes... - full disclosure is best, lol)!  

So we supplies, naps, scrapbook and planner supplies, romantic comedies, Christmas movies and shopping that qualify as OUR guilty pleasures!!! 

Comment below with your guilty pleasures (please...keep them family friendly), and we'll RAK ONE person something related to YOUR guilty pleasure to help celebrate YOU!!!

We'll leave this RAK open until Sunday, February 8th, 11:59pm. Comment as noted above by then, and you'll be entered in the drawing. We will select a winner at random on Wednesday, February 11th and notify him/her by email!! 

Thanks for reading. Follow us, share our link with your family and friends!! Start your own discussions around the dinner table, at your meet & greets, sports games, Sunday School classes, home-school meetings, crops, book clubs and any other gathering.., EVERYONE has a simple and sweet guilty pleasure! Get to know them! :) They bring joy to those who have them and even more joy to those who share them! 

Happy Planning!
Amy & Regina

Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome to Planning Pixies! 

It's a new year, and we're excited to kick it off in style with our newest organizational tool, the Erin Condren Life Planner !! For those of you who already LOVE Erin Condren products, comment and tell us your MUST HAVE organizational item!  For those of you who have NO IDEA WHAT an Erin Condren Life Planner is, check out her website by following this link, .   Register there with your name and email address.  You'll get a $10 welcome coupon in your email box (and, to be honest, we will get a referral discount credit of $10, too, WHEN your first order ships).  

Our Erin Condren Life Planners combine so many things we LOVE:  organization, to-do lists, creativity and crafts! It is an awesome, personalized, stationary-style planner worthy of the $$ is costs (more expensive than your run of the mill planner). The EC Life Planner (they also sell wedding planners and teacher planners) is NOT for the faint of heart!  It is  a serious organizational product with an even MORE FABULOUS community of fans! There are so many groups, pages and sites dedicated to her products!  We are one of uber-man, we're sure! But we are so excited about ours that we wanted to share the information. 

Think of the busy people in your life: the organized, the disorganized,  the crafty, the entrepreneurial, the creatives, the athletes, the brides-to-be, the teachers, the students... There isn't a person in your world, we don't think, who wouldn't benefit from organization... Our favorite organizational product that we've incorporated into our lives for 2015 is our Erin Condren Life Planner. Check out the site and look at all the organizational products. There is so much more on the site, too, worthy of your attention! 

We will do a series of posts on the ECLPs soon for those of you who might want more information. And to you fans out there, shout out!  Anyone who'd like to get a RAK, comment and follow our blog! We'll select one luck winner for a RAK valued at $50!!! Deadline for entries is Sunday, January 25, 2015. We'll select a random winner from the comments below!!! Winner will be selected on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 and notified by email. 

Happy Planning!

Your Planning Pixies,

Amy & Regina

Welcome to Planning Pixies!

Hi and hello there from your Planning Pixies! Thank you for taking a minute to read our inaugural blog post! 

We are just two regular girls who have an awesome time every single day no matter what we're doing!  Follow the zany experience that is OUR LIFE!  

In the days and weeks to come, we hope to share experiences and wisdom, failures and accomplishments, tips and tricks, that will help or inspire you.  

We are:

Crafty Planners: Crafting + Planning = LOVE! We both have a lifetime love of crafts, and we've got a combined 80 years of planning experience under our collective belt! LOL! 

Perpetual To-Do List Makers: We find so much gratification and accomplishment in checking off to-do lists! To reach a goal, complete a project, achieve a dream, you've got to have to-do lists. No matter how big or baby small the steps are, checking those items off your lists get you to your end result.... SUCCESS, ACCOMPLISHMENT, REALIZING A DREAM! To-do lists are a critical piece of any successful endeavor!  

Creative Cooks:  We are regular gals, home cooks, who cook dinners, bake for the holidays and other inspired occasions, create something from nothing, throw in ingredients just to try something different. Our outlook is simple...a recipe is a guideline you follow on your path to perfection! We have a lot of our own recipes, a wealth of family recipes and love cooking magazines and cookbooks that offer new ideas and inspirations. While we've both got rather elementary palettes, we seek out new ways to  enhance those things we love and incorporate those things we don't in a way that helps us expand our palettes even further. 

Household Management Miracle-Makers: We manage to work mini household miracles every day, it seems, whether it's stretching that last $10 before payday, developing a unique storage solution, reorganizing a space to completely re-purpose it, inventing solutions to troubleshoot household challenges, we do it... They may not be news-worthy miracles, but to us, they ARE tiny little miracles... and hopefully, you'll reap the benefits of our trials and errors for your household management issues. 

Bargain Shoppers Extraordinaire:  Bargain shopping is, to some, an unnecessary skill. Bargain shopping to us is a MUST considering our tight budget and limited resources. It is a JOYFUL end result when you truly find those great bargains. Some people don't even balk at paying full price for something... but, to us, if it's not on sale, it really has to be a necessary item. And if you just wait a little while, that necessary item will be on sale!  We will share with you how to prepare for a bargain shopping grocery store run, when to buy certain products, how to follow major store's advertisements to your benefit. We'll help you make a grocery list, learn how to price match and even how to increase that savings by adding coupons. And so much more!

...and two girls who love our life! If we can ignite inspiration, share some wisdom, spread joy & love, bring a little organization to your chaos AND incite LAUGHTER, we’ll be happy campers! 

Share your experiences with us, and your questions, too! Follow our blog, comment when you can. Ask your questions, and we'll do our best to help you find resolutions. We are here to serve. We want to share what we know and learn from you!

2015 is off to a great start that promises to be the greatest year of our lives so far!  
Happy Planning!!

Your Planning Pixies,
Amy & Regina