Erin Condren Teacher Planner First Impression/Review 2016


One of the many things I used to look forward to in the upcoming school year is new school supplies.  Although I am grown-up now, there is still nothing better than using a new pen, getting a new tote, or setting up a new planner.  I just received this baby in the mail, and I thought I would give my thoughts and opinions, as a teacher, and hopefully it will help you decide if it is worth the cost.*



Here is my planner.  As you can see the cover is very shiny, as it is a hard laminate plastic.  This is the “Pattern Peaks” print with my name and school customized.  The planner is 55 dollars, but I used a code that gave me 10 dollars off.  Some of the teacher planners go all the way up to 70 dollars, due mainly to the design- metallics, etc.  There are many designs to choose from, including customizing your own with a photo or artwork.  Also, you can purchase new front and back covers to change the look of your planner anytime of year.


What I like about the planner:

  • It’s pretty and colorful, it’s nice to look at each day.
  • Weekly spread is easy to fill in with enough writing space.
  • It has plenty of weeks to plan, so you could start early in the summer.
  • Reusable Sheet Protector- I put my yearly calendar in here so it is easy to see at a quick glance.
  • Lined pages after each month- great for notes or brainstorming.
  • Stickers for Labeling- some already labeled, some blank.
  • Folder- holds important papers that need to go back and forth from school to home.


What I dislike: Pages I will not use

  • Classroom Volunteers Page
  • Dry Erase inside covers
  • Helpful Hints for the Substitute
  • Birthday Pages
  • Student-Checklist pages
  • Absentee Students- we use software at school that keeps track of this

I think a lot of teacher products are marketed towards elementary-middle school teachers.  If I were an elementary teacher I would use the pages that I considered dislikes, but as a high school teacher I will never use them.  My solution is to use washi tape and re-label the page and use it for something else.




My final thoughts:

Although I have some dislikes about the planner, I think that this planner has everything I need to keep myself organized for the upcoming school year.  I will use this planner not only for school plans, but personal day-to-day plans as well.  This will be my fourth Erin Condren Planner (my 3rd teacher planner), and  I would highly encourage any teacher to purchase this planner due to its all-in-one organizing capabilities.  In fact, I convinced two teachers in my building to use this planner!

Also, there is no place else (that I found) that gives you such a well-thought out Teacher Planner that is good-looking, durable, and efficient.  No matter what subject you teach or if you teach multiple subjects, this planner gives you plenty of room to organize all of your plans and materials.


Erin Condren Teacher Planner <— Find it here.

*This product was not sent to me, purchased with my own money, all opinions are my own.


❤ Nicole



January/February Favorites

58394Good day!  Here is what I have been loving so far in 2016.  A lot of my past favorites are still the same, but here are a few more things to add to the list!


1) Tarte “Tartelette Amazonian Clay Palette”:  I have been reaching for this palette everyday this year.  The colors are beautiful with high-color payoff, easily blended, and look great mixed and matched with other colors in the palette.  This is one of those palettes where you can use every color in any combination.  I wet an eyeliner brush and use the black shadow as eyeliner.  It looks dark, but not too intense.  This is a great palette for someone who wants variety without buying a ton of makeup.


2) Nivea Hydrocare in Soft Rose: This is one of the best lip products I’ve tried that actually works.  I keep one where I work, one at home, and one in my purse.  I have tried Chapstick, the EOS balms, a bunch of other brands, and nothing works like this lip balm.  In fact, I think the other lip balms made my lips even dryer, especially EOS.  If you are looking for a new lip balm, I’d say give this one a try.


3) Regis Designline Texture Spray:  Another product I use daily.  I have very frizzy hair, especially in the mornings.  I use 4-5 sprays of this product each day and it helps control the frizz and adds shine.  Even though my hair is fairly healthy, it looks even better and more healthy with this spray.  The product settles in the container so you have to shake it in order to distribute the product evenly.  I purchased this from my local hair salon.


4) Erin Condren Life Planner:  I will be doing another blog post on this shortly, but this is my go to planner each day.  (The pictured planner is not mine, from EC website).  I am a person who has to write down everything, both for my own mental clarity, and so I don’t forget things.  I have used both the EC Teacher Planner and now the Life Planner, and I love both.  The binding and outer cover (which you can customize) are very durable, which makes them perfect for everyday use.  They are on the pricy side, but my justification is, if I have to look at it everyday, why not look at something pretty that makes me happy?  Also, I believe you can get EC planners now from select Staples/Targets.


5) Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato: Two things.  One, I know this is very basic of me.  Secondly, I know it is winter (well, sort of) here in Ohio.  I don’t care if it’s iced.  These coffees are too good.  I thought about not including this in my favorites, but the last two times I went to Starbucks, I had someone ask me “what is that?” and that it “looked good“.  So just in case you’re not sure what to order next time, here ya go!

Hope you’ve had a great start of the year!

❤ Nicole

DIY Rustic Mason Jar

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had an amazing break and a great start to 2016.  I felt a little crafty over the holidays and put together this super simple DIY.  Since we have moved into our new home, I have been trying to find ways to add a little character here and there for a more personal touch to decorating.  My house décor is leaning more towards a rustic/modern vibe.  In my bathroom I wanted a new container(s) to store Q-tips, cotton balls, and other small necessary items.

Here is my solution:


I found smaller mason jars at Joann Fabrics, although I see them pretty much everywhere.  Walmart, Meijer, Kroger and Target are just a few other options.  I bought a set of 4 jars along with Matte Acrylic paint.


I applied 2 coats of the acrylic to each Mason Jar.  I did add a little of the light “Parchment” color to the dark “Midnight” color to lighten it up a bit.  I think picking a Matte paint is important to this DIY to give it that rustic look.  Once it was dry I took some sandpaper and scuffed the edges to give an appearance as if the jar has been worn.  I am happy with the results.   You could take this a step further and tie twine or ribbon around them, fill them with items and use them as gifts, or even utilize them in different sizes in other rooms of the house.

❤ Nicole

Our new dog, Tate!

62435This is Tate (Tater Tot), a Frenchie that we adopted last month from the Buckeye Bulldog Rescue.  They are truly a great organization, that cares deeply for the well-being of their animals.  From what I know, Tater was used as a breeding dog.  We even discovered the number “40” tattooed to his belly.  😦  He is kind of skittish with us, but has mastered the potty training.   I look forward to creating more blog content related to dogs.  We are happy to welcome Tate to our little family!


She Said “Yes!” Fall Engagement Photo Session

Hello! Although I haven’t photographed in awhile (relocation, busy teaching, etc), I still love it.

Just thought I would share a few of my photos I’ve (finally) edited from an engagement session this past fall.  If you want to see my other work and check out more photographs from this session, visit my facebook page here.

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❤ Nicole

We Moved! Master Bedroom


It has been a hot minute!  July was my last post!? How have I not blogged?  Between starting school and moving, I was BUSY.  I’m glad to be back.  Hopefully someone on this online universe missed my posts!


My husband and I began our home search in August and found the perfect home!  Although we love the space, every room was painted white with white trim. I appreciate a well-designed white room, but it is not my design aesthetic. So EVERY ROOM in the house needed to be painted.  I know what you’re thinking, “Take it one step at a time”, and that’s fine in theory, but that makes me anxious.  I like to plan, and then get it done, the sooner the better.  So the first room on the list was the Master Bedroom.  I figured, this is where we technically spend the most time, so lets get this done first.

I decided to use Temperate Taupe by Sherwin Williams.  This is a really beautiful Taupe color, hints of brown and slight hints of mauve when it gets dark.  Looks great against the white baseboards and trim.


Since our bed frame doesn’t have a headboard I decided to do an accent wall with some painters tape.  We also have a tall cathedral ceiling so there is a lot of wall, this technique helps break up the space.  Although I was using tape I didn’t want anything too geometric or perfect so I went with this random tape method.

I put the tape on the wall sporatically with a few lines branching off of the other lines.


Nothing too perfect, because if one part is perfectly straight and the other isn’t, it will look like a mistake.

Once the wall was taped and I was happy,  I painted 2 coats of the Taupe color.  I let it dry completely.  I highly recommend purchasing this paint in the Showcase Line of Sherwin Williams rather than the Ovation Line.  The Showcase paint is much thicker (doesn’t drip as much) and has much better coverage.  It is completely worth the extra cost.


Once the two coats were finished, I removed the tape and it left this really cool design.  (Don’t mind Lucy, she loves the camera).  Here’s everything put back together.  We just moved in so not everything is exactly where I want it, but I am happy for now 🙂


Other Parts of the Room:

72829(Woven wall art from Target, Owl is a DIY.)

Here’s a look at my vanity.



❤ Nicole


July Favorites 2015

Happy summer to everyone! It’ll be in the 90’s all week here- phew!  I did not get a chance to try a lot of new makeup, but here are some things that I have been loving this month:


  1. Havaianas Flip Flops: When I was in Chicago a few years back, my feet ended up being achy from all the walking we were doing. I stopped into a store and bought these flip flops so my feet could take a break from my other shoes. It was a relief.  Fast forward to this year and they look the same, new. Some other flip flops will not only look dirty, but will actually warp due to wear. These have a rubber cushion so the impact on your joints is minimal. I’ve purchased flip flops and even flats that felt like I was walking around barefoot, not a good feeling.  I highly recommend these if you are an avid flip flop wearer.

Capture22. Essie Nail Polish in “Garden Variety”: I have been loving bright, vivid colors on my feet this summer. Especially blues, greens and pinks. It is a way to add a pop of color, and looks especially good with a tan. Essie has so many colors to choose from. The only thing I dislike about the brand is the nail polish seems to chip rather quickly. To help prolong the wear I wear a thick topcoat. For thoughts on a really great topcoat, Click Here.


3. PINK Water bottle: Although not a “groundbreaking” favorite, I have been carrying around this water bottle all month long.  It could be any water bottle as a matter of fact, I’m not picky.  However, I chose this one because it is the one I use the most.  It has a wide opening, which makes for easy filling and cleaning.  Also, it holds quite a bit of water, 32oz to be exact. I am the type of person who gets easily dehydrated unless I consciously think about drinking.  Carrying this water bottle around is a great way to get in plenty of fluids (even track your fluids) throughout the day.


4. Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo:  After using a variety of shampoos, and not being able to find the Neutrogena shampoo I love, my hair started feeling gross.  Even after washing it.  My hair would feel like it had a lot of buildup in it.  Most shampoos that I own are moisturizing.  In fact, most shampoos on the market are moisturizing!  I do not have an oily scalp and I wouldn’t consider it dry either.  However, using all these moisturizing shampoos have done a number on my hair and have made my hair heavy.  …Finally I found this clarifying shampoo.  After one wash all of the buildup was gone.  It left my hair feeling smooth, but not greasy.  It feels light-weight, but not flat.  It’s perfect. P.S. It smells lemon-ey.  Like lemon candies.  mmmm.

Capture5. “The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up”: Usually I do not have a lot of time to read during the school year so summer is a perfect time to relax and read. If you like books that teach you how to get your life together, specifically your home, this is a great read. I did an entire book review on this book. Click HERE for the link.


❤ Nicole

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, by Marie Kondo


As I was browsing my local bookstore, this book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, by Marie Kondo intrigued me.  “Life Changing?”  That’s a bold statement.  Anyways, I started reading parts of the book and ended up purchasing it.  Here is my review.

About the Author:

They call her the Beyonce of decluttering, Marie Kondo runs a consulting business in Toyko in which she helps her clients transform their cluttered environments into serine and inspirational spaces.  This book has sold 2 million copies worldwide, has been featured in several magazines, and has even turned into a Japanese television drama.


In the first chapter, Kondo discusses why we can’t keep our houses clean.  Then, when we clean them, why they almost immediately go back to being messy.  She encourages an all or nothing approach when it comes to decluttering or as she terms,”tidying”.  She believes that if you do just a little each day, you will never get the job done.  The reason being is you will revert back to old habits, forget, or save materials thinking “oh, I can just get rid of this tomorrow”.

Basically, Kondo is telling us to get rid of material possessions that no longer bring us happiness, as she states, “does it spark joy?”.  If they answer is “no”, the object has served its purpose and must be disposed of.  Whether that means selling it, giving it to charity, or throwing it away, that is up to you.  However, she discourages giving the items to a family member.  Unless the family member asks for an item before the tidying takes place, giving the belongings to someone or having them sort through items you no longer want, creates a burden for that person.


Instead of picking a room and starting, she recommends going through categories in your home.  She recommends starting with clothing then books, papers, and miscellaneous. Within these categories there may be subcategories you can work with.  For instance, in clothing you may have subcategories such as: loungewear, socks, pajamas, etc.  Also, many times items in these categories are located in more than one location in the home.  For instance, you may keep tools in the garage, but there may also be a few under the kitchen sink and in the basement.  By working by category, you get a clear visual as to how much you actually own of each item.  The order of categories is also important.  If you start with mementos, it is almost certain that you will fail, because that is the hardest category to sort through when trying to get rid of belongings.

Kondo suggests gathering all you have to take a visual inventory, hold the item in your hand, and then get rid of the possessions that no longer spark joy.  Once you have discarded by category, find a home for each thing.  When items do not have a home, that is when mess occurs.


An item may not spark joy, but you can’t get rid of it.  There are many reasons not to get rid of something.  That’s because we think in two ways: rationally and intuitively.  Intuitively we know it no longer brings us joy, but rationally we think “I might need this later” or “It’s a waste to get rid of it”.  Kondo says to consider carefully why you had purchased that item in the first place.  When did you get it and what meaning did it have for you then?  Reassess the role it plays in your life.  To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful.  Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet or drawer that you have forgotten its exsistance?  In order to truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard the items that have outlived their purpose.

So where does the “magic” come in?  The book lists many positives as a result of tidying.   Always having a clean house, a clearer mind, reduced stress, less dust and debris, but perhaps the biggest impact is living in an environment in which you love absolutely everything.

My thoughts:

Kondo made her stance on tidying clear when she wrote that “storage experts are hoarders”.  When you think about it, it is kind of true.  Unless you use it, why do you have it?  Just because everything is stacked in plastic tubs, does not mean you are using the items.  Although I consider myself to be fairly organized I think there is always room for improvement.  Books like this are interesting to me.  Throughout this book Kondo makes tidying a simple, concrete task.  Using real-world client examples, she explains how to reframe your thinking in order to give yourself the best environment.  I am a firm believer that you should only have belongings that you love.  If I have something that I no longer love, that someone else could use, I think it is wasteful for me to keep it.  It is just taking up space in my house.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a cleaner, happier, home and life.   Who doesn’t want that? 


❤ Nicole