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Friday, November 21, 2014

Inkwell Press Planner Review and Coupon Code

Last year at this time, I did not know the fancy planner world existed.  In April, someone I know posted a link on facebook to Erin Condren's website and I purchased my first "fancy planner." 

I found that if I spent a little more on a planner, I was more apt to use it.  If I used an inexpensive planner, it was easier on my conscience to cast it aside after a few weeks and render it useless.  With a more expensive planner (but not crazy expensive), I could use it, but I knew I didn't want it to go to waste.  Having the fancy planner really worked for me.  You can record water intake, meal plans, exercise plans, gift lists, etc.  I felt more organized with to-do lists, shopping lists, and more.

Joining facebook groups was probably the wrong thing to do because then I realized how much people decorate their planners with stickers, washi, etc.    However, it was getting time consuming - applying washi, relabeling the parts that didn't work, making note page headers, cutting out stickers and more.  I needed something that was already beautiful and simple, but with fun extras.

Enter the Inkwell Press Live Well Planners.

I fell in love aesthetically first.  The planner was beautiful, inside and out.  The colors are gorgeous, the design is sophisticated. Then I realized it was full of amenities - book lists, movie lists, built in daily spaces for home, health, and meal planning, monthly and yearly goal pages, pockets for storage.  I was sold.  Here is a walk-through and review of my 2015 Inkwell Press Planner.

My cover (pointed stripe and Katniss Everdeen font)
Cover, Binding, and Engraving
I chose the pointed stripe cover with the Katniss Everdeen font.  The cover is like a hard cover book, but has a wipable film over it for the inevitable spill, dirty fingers, and food catastrophe.  The coil is my least favorite part.  I dislike the color - it's too coppery - and is flaking off in spots.  My name is in a beautiful gold foil (the only color they offer).  An attached elastic band holds everything in place.  Tremendous bonus!

Front Bonus Pages

When you first open it up, you find a cute little ruler/bookmark that appeals to my sewing-loving heart. 

In the front, there are planning pages for 2015, including goal setting for many areas of life.  As a bonus, when you purchase a planner, they send you six videos helping you to organize your planner - and your life!
The paper is extraordinary - thick and lovely!

Planning Pages
There are beautiful monthly planning pages and note pages before each month starts.  Bonus!  But I forgot to photograph them.  Fail!
A month layout looks like this.  Lots of writing room!

A weekly layout looks like this in the Flex layout that I chose.  There is also a schedule-type layout where you have a list of hours. 
I like the flex because, as a SAHM, I don't have a lot of appointments daily, but I do have lots on my to do list that I can write in these spaces! The Erin Condren "Morning, Day, Night" setup never worked for me and I spent a lot of time covering over those categories with my own categories.  This is perfect!




Here's a closeup of the week, showing the spaces for meals, health, and home:
I LOVE this feature.  With the Erin Condren Planner, I had to get creative to fit all that in, with inserts and stickers and whatnot. Now I can record my cleaning, cooking and exercise (ahem).

Super Extra Bonuses

In the back, there are lots of extras.  Graph paper note pages.  My absolute dream come true!!


Pages where you can record books and movies you want to see.   There's also pages for travel. 

 And a gift list!

A double sided pocket and accordion folder reside in the back for storage purposes.  I might have to hack the accordion folder so that all the contents stay inside.  I'm thinking velcro maybe...

Laminated tabs

And the fun things that come in the package with the planner.

 I absolutely think this is the perfect planner.  I've researched many different types and this rolls everything together - simplicity, beauty, fun extras, helpful layouts, and more.  I'm extremely impressed with the quality of the paper.  It is worth every penny!  The customer service is super and very personal.  They really want you to be happy with your planner at Inkwell Press!
I can't wait to be even MORE organized in 2015!

If you like this planner and want one of your own, following this affiliate link Inkwell Press Planners will get you 20% off your first purchase.  Happy Planning!  

I purchased this planner on my own.  Inkwell Press did not sponsor this.  I just really like the planner.  :D

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Went to a Blogging Conference

photo by kerri sullivan
So, in order to motivate myself to blog more and blog better, I signed up to go to the Alt conference in New York City at Martha Stewart Living.  Not going to lie - I was quite motivated by the opportunity to see MSLO and maybe Martha herself...(read on!!)

Armed with business cards and a new bag (more on both later), I spent the day with some famous and very lovely bloggers and business owners. 
photo by me
 Everyone had an iphone at alt.  I'm not even kidding.  I made a point to check out people's phones and never saw one non-iphone.  

If you went to alt NYC and did not have an iphone, let me know.  I did not meet you.
photo by me
 Creative business cards are the thing to have at alt.  Here's a wall of them!  I'll be back with some of my favorites.  I'm still sorting!
photo by me

The keynote speaker was Grace Bonney of Design Sponge.  She was a very focused speaker.  You could tell that she has her own podcast because she got in a lot of information in the amount of time she had, but without seeming rushed. 

What I learned from Grace:  Rejection Therapy
RT is asking for what you want so many times to so many people until hearing, "No" does not break your heart anymore.  I went through a similar thing when I attempted to publish a children's book a few years ago. It's my tendency decide for someone else that they will say "No" to my request and I don't even try to ask.  I will definitely be trying rejection therapy.  Yes, Grace, you got a convert!

***
And thennnnnnnnnnn... Martha Stewart herself waltzed in the door.  She was lovely and gracious and flawless.   

What I learned from Martha:  Age gracefully

photo by meeeeee!!!

photo by justin hackworth
(Me taking a picture of Marth with my phone!)

There were lots of other presenters/speakers/panelists, including Todd Gibson, Liesel from Oliver +  S' husband.  I might have gushed about Liesel's patterns (just a little).

Another pretty fab person was one of the founders of Alt, Gabrielle Blair.  She also founded Design Mom.  She lives in France with her husband and their six children.  I would love to live abroad just for a little bit and give Amelia and Will a taste of a different culture.  Dreams!

***
The closing keynote speaker was Garance DorĂ©, a famous fashion blogger.  She was from Corsica and had the most lovely accent.  She was also a fabulous speaker, very funny and her presentation was well-thought out.  
photo by justin hackworth

What I learned from Garance:   
1.)"Branch out, but stay on the same tree" and 
2.) Move to Corsica to develop a lovely french accent.
The "Branch out, but stay on the same tree" seemed to be a popular takeaway from Garance's presentation.  That was the goal of going to Alt for me.  I want to kick up the blogging, but not stray away from myself.  Thank you, Garance, for putting that into words!

Thennnnn, after the closing key note, Martha and JCPenney put on a pretty fun party, complete with this candy bar and some pretty delicious brownies. 
photo by me
 
photo by me

Thennnnnn they opened up the rooftop to us and we got to see the panoramic view of NYC. 
 
The entire day was pretty amazing- from the gifts, to the crafting, to the food, to the fun, to the learning, to the visual inspiration - everything was executed perfectly.

What I learned from Alt for next time:
  • Go to the sponsor dinners the night before.  That way, you can meet a smaller, core group of people before the conference even begins!
  • A several-day event would be even more fabulous and allow you to meet and form relationships with more people.
  • Smile!
  • Get in front of the photographer.  I'm in exactly two of the hired photographer's (Justin Hackworth) pictures!   (He was sponsored by Atly - an up and coming education website)
  • Bring a suitcase for all the goodies they give you.  There was just that much stuff!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Truly, these cookies are absolutely delicious-chewy, soft middle, with slightly crunchy outsides. 

They even won a cookie tasting competition (well, tied for first) when my friend Tara hosted a cookie tasting birthday for her husband Matt.

Note: I know you all know what sugar, flour, eggs, etc. look like, so I didn't go all food blogger on you, but there's a yummy picture at the end!

2 c. minus 2 tbsp cake flour (ok, this might be a lesser known ingredient, so here's a picture)

1 and 2/3 c. bread flour
1 and 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 and 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 and 1/4 c. Light brown sugar
1 c. Plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla 
1 and 1/4 lbs 60% cacao disks (

Stir flours, baking soda, powder and salt in a bowl. 
Using a mixer with a paddle, cream butter and sugars together until very light (about five minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Stir in vanilla.
Add dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined.
Incorporate chocolate pieces.
Press plastic wrap (Keri's note: or Press n Seal!) against dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drop six golf ball sized mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown but still soft. Cool cookie sheet on a cooling rack for ten minutes, then cool cookies on the rack for ten more minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Why I Wish Humans Did Photosynthesis

I decided the other day that humans should do photosynthesis. If I was a scientist, my life's work would be devoted to figuring out how humans could do photosynthesis.

Just to make sure we are all starting on the same page, photosynthesis is the process by which plants take water and light energy and produce oxygen and food.
Photo credit:  Earthtimes.org

Did you read that?

Plants make food for themselves.  Internally.  No meal plans, grocery shopping, stoves, refrigerators, food pyramid, nothing. 

I am not a cook.  I enjoy baking, but planning, preparing, and (for the most part) eating meals is really not my thing. I prefer to spend my time on pursuits that are not going to be digested in a few hours, like sewing curtains or kids clothes.  I am guilty of going down the baby food aisle and trying to imagine how many pouches of Sweet Potato, Mango and Millet I'd have to buy in order to feed it to my family for dinner. 

So, that's why the idea of photosynthesis appeals to me.  We take the family outside in the sunshine, give them a big water bottle, and VOILA!  Dinner!

Here are some benefits:

1.)  You are always guaranteed that the food you have made is *actually* good for you and everyone agrees.  None of this "Butter is Good!  Butter is Bad!  Only organic raw butter from happy cows is good!  Raw butter will kill you!" junk. All your nutritional needs are met in one scientific process!

 2.)  Instant gratification.  Do you know that two-year-olds have a very small amount of patience when it comes to meals and snacks?  Problem solved!
"Oh, you need a snack?  Here's your water bottle.  Go outside and make your own food!"

3.)  You free up an entire room in your house!  Goodbye kitchen, hello library (or craft room, or media room or office).

4.) Plants just look good when they do photosynthesis. 
This plant is cooking right now.  Making her own breakfast. Doesn't she look relaxed?  That is not how I look when I'm cooking.  I'm generally tripping over things like tutus and alphabet magnets while wondering why it was again that I agreed to let a two-year-old crack the egg in to the bowl and watching the baby to make sure he hasn't put more paper into his mouth when I wasn't looking.

I know that this would probably be a downer for the food industry, but PLEASE, is there a scientist out there that could help me with this? ;) 

Just for meals though - I'll provide dessert.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Will's Birth Story

Will's Birth Story - Six Months Later!



Just like with his sister, Will's due date came and went with not so much as a contraction.  I had never felt a naturally occuring contraction and couldn't really remember the pitocin-induced ones that I had with Amelia.  However, I was awakened one Tuesday morning five days after I was due with some pains that seemed to be coming and going.  I started timing them with my phone contraction timer, but around six in the morning, they subsided altogether.  

Nevertheless, when I woke up that morning, I called my mom to tell her that I had been having SOME kind of contractions.  She left work early to stay with Amelia and me.  The contractions picked up again, but they were short and far apart for most of the day.  Mid afternoon, my mom went home for a bit, but promised to come back when I needed her.  

Around dinner time/ Josh coming home time the contractions really picked up, but I knew I had to wait for the 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute, for an hour.  They weren't anything  that close together or long.  Josh came home late because (get this) he stopped at the hardware store to pick up shelves for my craft room closet (my second-favorite decision of the day).  

After dinner, the pain was getting a bit unbearable, but the contractions were like 10 minutes apart and I could still walk and talk through them.  Still, I decided to call the midwife and alert her that I was in labor.  Being my second baby and because I had had off-and-on contractions all day, she decided that I should come in (my favorite decision of the day).  

Josh hadn't packed a thing, so he was throwing clothes and toiletries in bags while I was being mean and in pain and we waited for my parents to come take our baby girl.  

While in the car, my contractions jumped from 10 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart.  We never even came close to the 5-1-1 guideline.   Thank GOODNESS the midwife had me come in anyway!  Josh decided that this was a great time to drive 95 miles an hour down the highway because he "didn't get this experience with Amelia."  

We arrived at the hospital around eight or eight-thirty.  In triage, they called my midwife (who was at the hospital anyway) to check me and I was already seven cm.  I had expected, mmm, four, maybe five.  She was pretty shocked as well, since I was still pretty functional.  I was very much looking forward to the epidural, so they rushed me up to delivery so I could get that in a hurry. 
However, the anesthesiologist had just been rushed into a c-section and they were very doubtful that she was going to make it in time for me.   Grrrreat.  I know there are lots of stalwart drug-free laborers out there.  To quote Elphaba, "I'm not that girl."  
Not happy

They prepped me anyway, just in case, and the midwife offered to break my water so that I could have a quicker drug-free delivery.  No thanks!  With Amelia, I never got to the "Wow, this really really really hurts" portion of labor because I was induced and was always in control of my pain.  I got the epi at 4.5cm with her.  With Will, I most certainly got to the, "Wow, this really really really hurts" portion and I did NOT want to experience something called the "Ring of Fire" while still feeling my lower half.
Happppyyyyyy

 Miraculously, the anesthesiologist DID make it in time to give me my epi and I was completely happy and pleasant after that.  The midwife broke my water (she asked me if I wanted him born that day, or the next and I chose that day because the next day was an ugly prime number and I hate prime numbers), I was fully dilated, and they got me set up to push.  Ten minutes later, a little before midnight, Will was born.  He was tiny - almost a pound smaller than his sister absolutely miraculous!   


Nursing went MUCH better with him.  It wasn't without its complications, but, overall, it was a much easier experience!  


Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Name is Will

Hello Everyone!  My name is Will and I turned six months old today.  My Mommy hasn't blogged in a long time.  That's because I don't let her sleep.  In fact, I slept through the night for the very first time last night!  Why sleep when the world is so new and fun??

 My sister is kind of crazy.  She's two and she's good at it.  She likes changing her mind and making messes.  I can't wait until I'm two!  My Mommy also hasn't blogged in a while because my sister is so crazy and my Mommy spends all her time on Pinterest trying to pin activities that will keep my sister's brain and hands occupied.
 This is my family when we had a blizzard.  Brrrrr.  I hated the snowsuit.  I hated the hat.  I hated the boots.  I like to cuddle and be cozy.  Who needs snow?  That's my dog, Levi.  Remember him?
My Mommy promises she will blog again.  We have a new house (well, I don't, I've always lived here) and my Mommy has some fun projects going on.  She'll be back with some fun posts/updates/my birth story, etc.

Bye for now! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Inside Out Skirt Tutorial

As promised, here is my Inside Out Skirt tutorial!  You can see the original Inside Out Skirt here.

To start with, you will need fabric, tulle, and elastic.
Here's how to calculate what you need.  For elastic, you will need a waist measurement.  I can just measure Amelia's waist, but I usually reference the following standard clothing size charts:

The Children's Place - good for skirt length
Gymboree - good for waist measurement and inseam length

The waist measurement is pretty important because the width of the fabric you need will be double the waist measurement.  I used 20" of elastic for this skirt.  That means I need fabric that is 40" wide.  [When using a 44" fabric, I usually don't bother cutting off the extra 4" - it just makes it a tad more full.]  If you want less full, use less than half.  [Confession:  This skirt is actually less than 40" wide and I definitely think I would have preferred a fuller skirt.]

For length, you take the finished measurement you want and add 2.5 inches.

For the tulle, you need the same width as the underskirt fabric.  Then you need the length of the skirt multiplied by 4 (so you will have four layers of tulle on top of your skirt).  Here is an illustration, with the measurements I used in brackets.



Step one:  Cut everything out.




Step two:  Sew the underskirt.  I used my serger for this project.  If you do not have a serger, you will just need to do a few extra steps.
1.  Serge the bottom edge (no serger - fold under 1/2," then press).
2.  Fold up the bottom edge so that you've used 1" for the hem and press (no serger - fold up another 1/2," then press)
Wrong side of the skirt showing

2. Sew in place, close to the serged edge.
3.  Serge the top edge (no serger - fold under 1/2," then press).
4.  Sew the short sides of the skirt together (the back seam) using 1/2" seam allowance.
5.  Fold over approximately 1.5 inches and press.
Wrong side of the skirt showing

6.  Sew in place close to the serged edge, leaving approximately 2 inches NOT sewn near the back seam.
7.  Top stitch close to the top edge of the skirt.
Right side of the skirt showing
At the end of this step, you should have a hemmed skirt with a casing at the top, but you do NOT insert the elastic yet.  Set the skirt aside to work on the tulle.

Step four - make a tulle tube
1.  Take the tulle and sew the back seam using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  This is the loooooong side.  Essentially, you are sewing the side of the skirt that is 4 times longer than it will be at the end. 
The side I sewed, was the 48" side, using my measurements from above.
2.  Cut off most of the seam allowance.


3.  Now take the tulle and fold it in half, then in half again. Make sure you line up the seam.  When you are done, the top of the skirt will have 2 folds and the bottom of the skirt will have one fold and two loose ends.  Make sure that you fold so that the RIGHT side of the tulle ends up on the outside! 
See my purple striped sock? 
 4.  Now slide the tulle over the underskirt so that the 2 folds end of the tulle tube is at the top of the skirt and the back seam of the tulle lines up with the back seam of the skirt.  The tulle should be considerably longer than the underskirt.  This is okay.  You will give it a tulle cut later.

5.  Pin the tulle on the underskirt.  I like to place the folded edge of the tulle about 1/2 way between the two stitching lines at the top of the skirt.

6.  Stitch over the existing seam on the skirt.  That way, you keep the casing for the elastic big enough to put the elastic through!  Make sure you leave the 2 inches unsewn that you left when sewing the underskirt!


Now you should have one skirt, tulle on top, underskirt on bottom.
 Step six - Time to finish!
1. Insert the elastic through the casing.
I like to anchor one side of the elastic to the skirt with a small safety pin.

2.  Overlap the ends of the elastic by about 1 inch and sew the ends of the elastic together securely.
3.  Sew the remaining 2 inches closed on the skirt.
4.  Cut the tulle at the bottom to the desired length, either longer than the underskirt, the same length, or shorter!  I experimented with this skirt.  See the pictures below!

4.  DONE!  Take cute pictures and send them to me!

In the above skirt, the tulle is longer than the skirt.
Then, during a potty break, I cut the tulle shorter than the underskirt.
Barrette for sale in my shop!

One more - 'cause she's cute!


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