PaperMate Flairs Pen Test

This post contains affiliate links.

Planner and stationery addicts get a little crazy about their pens and other writing utensils. When we find that perfect pen that doesn’t bleed through, has the perfect tip, and creates bold color, we stay loyal and true. For me, that pen has been my beloved PaperMate Flairs. You might be wondering how a gal could write an entire blog post around a pen. And let me just tell you, this is happening. Because I love my Flairs! You don’t have to. If you think I’m crazy for writing an entire post about pens, that’s fine. But you’ve officially been warned!

PaperMate Flairs are offered in a wide variety of colors. I first discovered them when I worked as a bid coordinator for a construction company. I used red pen a lot and nothing was bold enough. I prefer a wider tip and just couldn’t find the perfect red. Until I found the red Flair. It was bold, smooth, and didn’t bleed through like my previously loved fine tip Sharpies. When I discovered they were offered in every color of the rainbow and then some, I bought my first set. Since then PaperMate Flairs have helped me to outline and achieve my goals, plan birthday parties and events, and even journal privately. I love these pens, you guys!

In the planner community, we love a good pen test so I’m sharing exactly that, a PaperMate Flairs pen test, with my favorite Flair colors so you can see how perfectly bright the color spill from the perfect felt tip. While I prefer the M tips, they come in other sizes as well (non pen addicts won’t get this nonsense, I’m sorry friends).

I treat myself to a fresh pack of these pens every year during back to school season (usually when you can get them for the best price) and use them literally all year long until the ink runs out. Even my husband knows that my Flairs are totally off limits and asks before he touches my pen collection, ha!

Fellow pen addicts be sure to follow the Our Holly Days page on Facebook where I update daily throughout the week with my fave finds, printables, planner tips, and more.

Using the Monthly Notes in the Erin Condren Life Planner

The new 2017-2018 Erin Condren Life Planner features a handy monthly notes page at the beginning of every month. When I first received my new planner, I was unsure of how to best use this space. It wasn’t long before I realized how having this monthly snapshot would help me in my goal getting. I’ve shared before how my planner is actually my goal planner and not just somewhere I keep track of appointments. Once I remembered my planner was my goal planner, it became obvious that the monthly notes were the best place to track my yearly goals and break them down into smaller steps to help me achieve them.

For instance, one of my goals for 2017 is to have 100,000 monthly views here on Our Holly Days. Setting attainable monthly goals will help me to take smaller steps towards my overall goal. For the month of September, one of my goals is to have 50,000 monthly views (halfway to my goal for the year!). I use the left column to write out all of my goals and major monthly events like a baby shower I hosted or the first day back to school. Everything goes in that left column from work to personal to family goals. It’s a great reference for me to check on my progress throughout the month and helps me to stay on track for my larger yearlong goals.

Since my planner is also a media journal of sorts, I use the right column to track the little things happening currently. What I’m reading, watching, and even eating. I also believe everyone should have something to look forward to every month, so I add a little about what I’m excited about. At the small area at the bottom of the monthly notes page is where I like to write about my favorite memory for the month. I’ve only been doing this for a few months and it’s one of my favorite parts about my planner.

At the top of the monthly notes page are four circles and I put those to use for my goal planning by helping me to celebrate goals I attacked and achieved along with highlights from the month. For August, I had set a goal of 17,000 unique monthly views on Our Holly Days and I kicked that goal’s rear end with an end of month number of 31,000 unique monthly views. I use the circles at the top to shout my achievements to myself and help motivate me for the upcoming month. The circles are also a great place to jot down monthly highlights. For me, August was a big month since my youngest started preschool. We also hosted the big fight in our home and it was such a fun time for us with our friends.

I know many in the planner community have struggled with how to best utilize this space. I know I did, at first. But since I figured out how to make it work for me, it’s actually my favorite part of my planner. It’s been helpful for tracking my goals, keeping me on task, and letting me celebrate when I kick butt!

Love my planner? Use my referral code to get $10 off your first Erin Condren purchase and start your own goal planner.

Goal Planner + Shop My Faves

I’m a big believer in goal setting and mapping. I firmly believe that when I write down a goal and take the time to map out the steps I need to take to get me there, that I’ve essentially created a road map for success. It’s why I’m passionate about using a paper planner. My planner is my goal achieving tool and whether that means I’m tackling my larger goals here on the blog or smaller goals like getting my house organized, its helps me to see them through to completion.

Planner users all have their own style. I love my stickers and washi tape while others like to keep things minimal. I prefer to make my planner visually pleasing for me so that I’m excited to dive into my tasks each day. Where some see too many stickers and fluff, I see a joyful road map for my week ahead that keeps me motivated and on task.

Shop My Planner

Planners and handwriting tasks have proven time and again to be a habit of successful people. I know for me that writing things down helps me to unlock something in my brain that translates to physically going after my goals. Any time I’ve wanted to achieve something, it started with writing it down. This blog and my freelance writing career are proof that being mindful and writing things down is beneficial. I can’t recommend enough the usefulness of creating a paper planner that not only helps to organize your thoughts and life, but helps you to unlock the successful steps to achieving your goals.

For more planning tips, favorite supplies, and hacks be sure to follow the Our Holly Days page on Facebook where I update daily.

My Favorite Back to School Supplies

This post contains affiliate links.

As a self-confessed stationery and planner addict, back to school season is one of my favorite things ever! Everywhere I look are displays of pens, notebooks, paper, and pencils and even better, almost everything is on sale! As an avid hunter for all sorts of unique stationery items, I thought I’d share some of my favorite back to school supplies that I’ve found this season with you.

Zebra Mildliner Highlighters from Amazon // Zodaca Mini Desk Stapler from Amazon // Motivation Pen Set from Anthropologie // Erin Condren Life Planner from Erin Condren // Rose Handled Scissors from Anthropologie // Liberty for Anthropologie Journal from Anthropologie // Floral Washi Tape from Amazon // Pastel Sharpies from Amazon

For me, stationery is a fun way to reflect my personality in my work. You’ll never catch me using a plain pen or notepad. I love infusing my workspace with color and inspiration to help keep me cheerful throughout my day. I love that these picks reflect sweet personality quirks and bring some character to my desk.

For more adorable stationery and back to school picks, be sure to follow the Our Holly Days page on Facebook where I share some of my faves daily.

How to Set Up Your Planner for Back to School + a Pilot G2 Pen Test

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyGo2Pen #CollectiveBias

A fresh pack of erasers, packages of lined paper neatly hole punched for binders, the familiar scent of hand sanitizer. They can all only mean one thing: back to school season is here. As a planner addict who has always had a weird need to hoard all the school and paper supplies, it’s one of my most favorite times of the year. It’s also the perfect excuse to freshen up and update my planner to reflect all the new schedules and incoming information for the new school year. As a professional planner addict, I have years of experience and it’s my hope that these tips will help you to set up your planner for back to school season.

Add the school calendar

The first thing I do every school year is add the school calendar into my planner. If my planner has a yearly view, it’s easy to utilize that. I use different colored pens or highlighters to note days off and minimum days. Some planners don’t have yearly views and that’s fine. It’s simple enough to print out the calendar from the school, laminate it, and insert it into my planner.

Use laminated lists for monthly tasks

I’m often forgetful, which doesn’t bode well for the school year. To help me keep track of monthly, weekly, and even daily tasks, I create lists and laminate them. These handy lists are easily inserted into my planner for reference throughout the school year. I can remind myself of monthly haircuts, fundraisers, and even meetings with these handy lists.

Don’t forget minimum days

My kid’s have a minimum (half day) day every week. If I don’t write it down, I often forget. Especially on days when their after school club doesn’t meet up. I’ve been called by the office once with a gentle reminder that it was a minimum day and that my boys were waiting for me. Whoops! Since then, I’ve added minimum days into my planner every month.

Add teacher and school contact info

I can’t tell you how many times jotting this down into my planner has been useful. Yes, I usually put it into my phone as well, but having it in my planner is beneficial for a variety of reasons: dead phone at the doctor’s office (yes, this has happened to me), at work and needing to shoot an email to teachers, and simply for easy access.

Set aside time daily for homework

My planner is helpful in allowing me to physically see and map out my time each day. Since I work from home, it’s important that I utilize my time effectively and with discipline. With all of my kiddos in school this year, that means setting aside time to help them with homework. I make sure I physically add homework time into my planner so that I’ll be able to note that throughout my work day when I’m working through my to do list.

Get a fantastic set of pens

In the planner world, it doesn’t get much better than the Pilot G2 pens, which should make it no surprise to learn that they’re the number one selling pen brand in America. They don’t bleed through paper, come in four point sizes, and offer a variety of vibrant colors, which is a planner babe’s dream come true. We like to color code. Like, a lot! I use my Pilot G2 pens for everything and treat myself to a fresh new pack every year. When those school supplies come out at Walmart, it’s my own personal version of utopia. I wander down aisle after aisle of pretty folders, fresh notebooks begging to be written in, and of course fresh packages of my beloved Pilot G2 pens. Yes, I get specific about my pens, friends. When you love paper as much as I do, you get serious about the pens you use.

My fellow planner addicts often experiment with pen tests and share the results so others can see how the pens actually hold up in real life. I completed my own pen test with my new set of Pilot G2 pens and they didn’t disappoint me. Though, I wasn’t surprised. They’re always so smooth and colorful!

My paper planner gets me through life, but I’d never make it out of the school year alive without my trusty sidekick that helps me to keep our family’s lives together. That’s why I take setting it up for the school year seriously and update it frequently. Using my paper planner has helped me to keep it all together, even when I’m feeling like I’m busting open at the seams. There’s no limit to what I can do when armed with my planner and a set of Pilot G2 pens.

For more back to school inspiration from bloggers like me, be sure to check out the #MyGo2Pen hashtag where you’ll find tips, tricks, and tutorials

Stationery Necessities from a Paper Addict

This post is sponsored by Sizemore Designs.

As a self-proclaimed stationery addict and lover of paper, I’ve accumulated quite a collection of various stationery necessities. Yes, necessities. At least in my head it’s all necessary for life. Pens, pencils, all the markers, notebooks upon notebooks, and much more. I love using paper to organize my life, create, and even play. As a connoisseur of paper, I’ve developed my own list of items I believe every person should own. My top three most used items are notebooks, clipboards, and pads of paper. Today I’m sharing a little more about each of these stationery necessities and how I use them in hopes I can inspire others to utilize this, “old fashioned,” method to increase their productivity.

A notebook

A notebook is pretty self-explanatory, right? To a paper addict, a blank notebook is full of endless possibilities. If ever I’m without my trusty planner, I love to utilize notebooks as bullet journals.

A clipboard

Clipboards are so useful! I used to have a giant wall of clipboards above my office desk to utilize for important papers, inspiration, art, and anything my little heart desired.

A pad of paper

This is my most essential item. I use pads of paper daily. As a perpetual list maker, I’m constantly looking around for a pad of paper to write on. Grocery lists, recipes, party planning, to do lists, and everything else. Paper pads are a great place to brain dump and get thoughts organized.

Each of these stationery essentials in my collection are available for purchase at Sizemore Designs vis Etsy.

Purple Trail Planner Review

I received a planner to facilitate this post. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas are my own. Thank you to Purple Trail for partnering with me and thank you readers for supporting the brands that support this blog and my family.

It’s planner season! For us planner addicts, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! New releases, fresh paper, an entire notebook of possibility right at our fingertips. This season, I was sent a planner from Purple Trail to play around with and share my thoughts. They offer several options of cover type, calendar formats, additional tabs, and so much more. This is truly the planner for personalization and I’m excited to share my little Purple Trail Planner review with all of you fellow planner addicts.

The first customization they offer is for the cover: hard spiral cover, soft spiral cover or three ring binder. I chose a hard spiral cover only because there were more design options, but now that I’ve had a chance to play with mine, I wish I had tried their binder format instead. The spiral is plenty sturdy and superior to any other planner I’ve tried, but because the pages are so thick (creating a more bulky planner altogether), I worry that with regular use it could wear and tear quickly over a binder.

The first few inside pages did not disappoint. A holiday list and calendars for the current and upcoming years.

Next I got to choose my weekly format (they also offer monthly and daily formats): horizontal weekly, vertical weekly, or vertical hourly. I went with vertical hourly and love the format. However, the weekends are squished together in one column. I prefer having an individual column for each, but if I’m being honest, I haven’t needed the extra space after all.

Also offered are colorful or grey color schemes. I went with color because duh! And I went ahead with an 18 month versus a 12 month just because I wanted to jump right in and test out the planner (I got to choose the starting month!). The tabs are the sturdiest I’ve ever felt in a planner and I think they’d have no trouble standing up to 18 months of use. I love the space at the beginning of each month for tracking birthdays, events, and writing reminders/goals.

The additions were my favorite part about creating this planner. I added in a folder and sticker pack. And I got to add in additional pages/dividers based on my needs like a nutrition and notes section (also offered: password list, bill tracker, address book, puzzles/games, fitness tracker, travel itinerary, and several more).

The planners are also offered in two sizes: 6 by 8 inches or 8.5 by 11 inches. I actually prefer a size in the middle, but went with the smaller size so my planner would be easily tucked into my purse or travel bag. Since I do travel with my planner, next time I’d order the binder format or keep it at a 12 month format since the 18 month spiral is quite bulky.

Purple Trail planners offer a wide variety that’s helpful for the needs of most anyone. Since they’re easily customized, it’s a cinch to build a planner that works for anyone. The price point gets a little higher the more personalizations are added and as it’s seen here, mine was over $70. If you’re a dedicated paper planner user, it’s worth it. But if you’re just venturing out into the planner world, you probably wouldn’t feel comfortable paying that. Overall, I’d recommend this planner to fellow planner addicts. It’s been super fun and I’ve enjoyed playing with the format.

Visit Purple Trail to create your own personalized planner or to utilize their design services for stationery, invitations, and more.

Miss Evelyn Turns Four

I received free product in exchange for this review. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas are my own. Thank you to Basic Invite for partnering with me. And thank you readers for supporting the brands that support this blog and my family.

Every cliche you’ve ever heard abut having children comes true when you have your own. They grow so fast! I just don’t know where the time goes! It’s like she was born yesterday! And the case is painfully true with me each and every time a birthday rolls around. Evelyn, my youngest, turned four last month and it just somehow doesn’t seem possible. Four sounds so big. So much like a true kid rather than a toddler or baby. When I look at her, I still see gummy grins and sweet baby coos, but she’s beyond that now and much prefers running and jumping along with her big brothers.

Our family celebrates milestones and birthdays in a big way. My children choose a theme and I take on that theme like it’s a sworn oath. Evelyn chose kitties and kitties she had, right down to the plates. When it came time for the invitation, I wanted to hang onto that cliche of freezing time for just a little longer and created a classic invitation that doubled as a keepsake for friends and relatives. Basic Invite offered an unlimited variety of color options and styles, which allowed me to create an invitation around one of my most favorite recent photos of Miss Evelyn, drawing on the blues, red, and golds from the cardigan she wore.

I was able to see an instant online preview before placing my order and even customized the inside color of the envelopes. And I was able to rest easy knowing they use only the highest quality cardstock. The invitations arrived quickly and the printing was true to color and vibrant. Sweet Evelyn’s face was crisp and clear, right down to the sparkle in her eyes, making the invitation serve as the keepsake I was hoping for.

While my littlest baby is growing faster than any parenting cliche, I’ll be able to hold on to this invitation for years to come. Even when she’s much too cool for me to make her birthday party invitations and has moved on from running with her brothers to playing with makeup.

Visit the Basic Invite website for all of your invitation, wedding, and announcement needs and know they’ll care for your paper as the keepsake it’s intended to be.

DIY Food Journal

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WellYesMoment #CollectiveBias

As a work from home mom, lunch time is usually spent multi-tasking while I enjoy my meal. When I’m out shopping my my local Walmart for weekly groceries, I never forget to swing down the soup aisle to see what Campbell’s has in store for me. They always seem to have simple solutions for mealtime that are delicious and satisfying. With a new year in store, I was excited to find their new line of Campbell’s Well Yes!™ Soups that are made with nutritious ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors, or ingredients. Staying on track with these tasty options will be a breeze this new year.

With a shiny new year in front of me, I’m motivated to get back on track. As a busy mom, running two small businesses from my home office, remembering to take care of myself often comes at the very end of my priorities list. One way I ensure I can clear my mind and get my priorities in order is through my planner. Planning my meals ahead of time has been helpful for me to stay on track and ensure I’m eating throughout the day. Because if I’m being honest here, I often forget to eat until it’s 3PM and my stomach is rumbling.

This DIY Food Journal is made with just a few supplies, most of which I had on hand already (craft hoarder!). To create this, I used the following supplies:

  • printer paper (about eight pieces)
  • a piece of scrapbook paper
  • letter stickers
  • a stapler

To start, I simply trimmed my scrapbook paper to the same size as my printer paper.

I folded my scrapbook paper in half and then repeated with each piece of printer paper.

Next I stacked my printer paper on top of my scrapbook paper and used my stapler to secure them together in the middle.

This created a simple notebook.

I used letter stickers on the front to label the notebook.

And from there, I use it as a sort of mini bullet journal to track my food for each day. I prefer to plan my weeks ahead of time. If I don’t have to think about my food for the day, it makes it easier for me to stop working and grab what I set aside rather than to halt what I’m doing and figure out what to do for my meals.

Lately one of my favorite mealtime solutions has been adding Campbell’s Well Yes!™ Tomato Carrot Bisque to my journal ahead of time. It’s full of yummy flavor, has just a touch of cream, and contains two full cups of vegetables.

Later this week, I’ll be enjoying Hearty Lentil with Vegetable Soup which has chickpeas and roasted garlic (yes, please!) and the Sweet Potato Corn Chowder which contains red peppers and wild rice. Each soup is crafted with care and contains purposeful ingredients (I can read and pronounce them all!). Logging these in my food journal always gives me something to look forward to!

For more information on Campbell’s Well Yes!™ Soups and where you can find them at a Walmart near you, be sure to visit You can also find out more on the Campbell’s Well Yes! Facebook page.

Monthly Tasks Planner Insert

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpecialKGoodness #CollectiveBias

Between my home business, my family, and my church I feel like a woman on the run these days. I’m busier than I’ve ever been in my life and while I love it, I can get absentminded when my schedule is busy. Planning is my jam and my paper planner is my control center. I have a running joke with my friends that if it’s not in the planner, it’s not going to happen. And it’s true. I take time to map out my months, weeks, and days to help ensure I’m where I need to be and completing what I need to complete to ensure I don’t drop the ball in any area of my life. Some people are great at keeping it together on their own. I’m not. So I rely on my planner.

Since my schedule has to be flexible, I try to not physically write anything down in my planner until the week beforehand. I use sticky notes and pencil in the meantime, but one of my more helpful tools has been a monthly task planner insert that I can laminate to reuse over and over again. These inserts help me to remember what needs to be done each and every month, week, and day so that I can be as productive as possible.

To create these inserts, I simply start by opening a word document on my computer and listing out things that I need to ensure I complete each month. For me, the list looks something like the following: birthdays, school calendars, kids haircuts, nail appointment, take inventory, mail out newsletter, and the list goes on. I complete the list and then print it out.

Next I trim it to fit inside my planner.

Then I measure and trim a piece of patterned paper to a slightly larger size and glue my list to it. Paper addicts love an excuse to use pretty paper, ha!

Then I laminate the entire thing and trim it down before securing it to a coil clip that fits inside my planner’s coil.

Since it’s laminated I can cross off my monthly tasks as I complete them and I can reuse the insert all year long. I also use it when I sit down to map out my months, ensuring I make time to complete each item and schedule it accordingly.

As a busy work from home mom, stay organized is essential to being efficient and saving time. Solutions that save me time, like the planner insert, are a great way for me to be able to remember things I’d otherwise forget; like eating. Hence the if it’s not in the planner, it’s not going to happen joke. I’m notorious for getting so wrapped up in my to do list that I forgot to eat or snack throughout the day. While I have mad love for my planner and lists, I’ve got equal love for my easy grab and go snacks like the Special K Nourish® Bars and Special K Nourish® Bites, which I can easily toss in my purse and enjoy throughout my day.

Save on these Special K snacks by using the Cartwheel app while shopping at your local Target.

The Nourish Bars in Cranberry Almond are my bae for life, the perfect combination of sweet and salty, chewy and crunchy; plus they contain 8 grams of protein. The bites are the perfect way to satisfy my sweet tooth. You have to try the Dark Chocolate Pistachio, sisters. Trust me. The bites are these convenient little poppable bits that are perfect for on the go.

Get more #SpecialKGoodness inspiration from bloggers like me by visiting the Special K social hub where you’ll find more tutorials like this one along with other snack recommendations from Special K.