One book July is something that myself, Carie Harling and Rhomany from Rhomany’s Realm have been doing for the last several years.  We initially came up with the challenge to challenge ourselves as well as others in the planner community to just put everything away and use one pen and one book. This allows you to just clear your mind of all the noise and focus on what is important to you and what your daily needs are. Every year since that first year it’s been a great success and people started flooding our social media and emails asking what it is that we will be doing this year!

In years past I have really loved and enjoyed doing this challenge because I have learned so much. I consider myself a seasoned planner but I constantly crave more and love to change things and play with so many different inserts and stickers and methods. In 2015 I decided to take a plain sketchbook that I found at Michaels and turn it into a book to catch everything!! Not only was the size something different but so was the concept. I had a lot of fun decorating the front cover. It was easy to do because the cover is made of a canvas and so drawing on there to personalize it was great fun!! I used ballpoint and colored pencil, just that simple!

A lot of the setup was inspired by Clark Danger and his youtube channel. When doing research I found his channel and I felt very inspired with how he put together his journals and kept organized. I also added sections into the journal to help break it up and keep me organized. I placed washi tape on those pages to help me tab to those sections. The sections are setup with anything and everything that you would want to have with you!! I have to say that this was one of my absolute favorite setups that I have ever done!

This is the first page of the book and I think it’s a great phrase to remind yourself of everyday. I did a video recently talking about how planners to me are little time capsules and with all your plans and appointments have captured your life at that moment in your life.


I will share some of the sections that I decided to place into this book.  In each section I had plenty of space to work with and with a blank page I was able to be very creative with how I wanted my pages to be setup!


You can add a bullet journal section and a hobonichi section, the options are endless!!

I felt so incredibly free with each of the sections and very liberated. I didn’t have any lines to follow and my brain just wrote down and did what it needed to do. I think that having preprinted planners is great because it guides you but it can also limit you on your own creativity and doesn’t all you to focus on what you need instead follows what someone else needs!

In the above pictures on the left, is an example of how I would lay out my week. With such a large amount of space to work with I have room to add lots of ephemera, notes and stickers and just have fun!! On the right hand side, the picture features some research that I was doing with water colors. I like to have a palette in each journal that I work  in and here I have them laid out just to see what they look like and how they play in this book!

Adding a section on this post (left picture) it I captured what I wanted to keep in this section. It was great to help me not just pile everything in or use the sections not in the way I intended for them to be used.  I initially was worried that writing notes would pose the problem of information getting lost but I actually think that I found a way to easily find everything I need. I drew lines around some information, added pictures and post its to help separate things I did not want to get lost and the result was something I just loved!! I still adore how all these pages turned out!!


If you know me then you know I love to memory keep and I did just that on these pages!! I sketched images of shows that I liked watching and used my pictures of memories that captured those special moments!!!

Last year I used a 5×7 Barron Fig book and did a lot of memory keeping in that book as well. I didn’t utilize it quite like I used my sketchbook but it’s still something I loved doing. I took that journal with me on our family vacation and captured many pieces of ephemera and many water color images. I thought I would feature the sketchbook version of my one book july because I feel as though it’s one of my most creative endeavors to date!!

I hope you join all of us this year as well. I can guarantee that even though you may hate it or feel challenged for the month in the end you will feel something and learn something new about yourself. It will definitely improve on your planning and organizing of your thoughts!




I love looking through all of my old journals and planners. I don’t have the planners from when I was in middle school and high school because my parents had a terrible flood in the basement and I lost them all!  As I was looking through them I stumbled upon my little pocket moleskine that I had when I worked in Clinical Informatics.

In my nursing career I worked for many years at the bedside I then worked more on the administrative side in informatics. I really loved and enjoyed this time in my career and worked very closely with physicians and nurses and ancillary at a different level.  During this time I had a desk but I had to be out on the units and on call for staff. I needed to be very portable and so my one planner was a pocket one! I did have a desk planner as well but I loved having this pocket planner for on the go.

As I hold this little planner in my hand all I can do is smile! I realized that by keeping these planners I am capturing little snippets of my life. I can look back and be reminded of all of my OB appointments when I was pregnant with my first daughter who is now almost 5. I am looking back at all of the projects, deadlines and go lives that I was a part of. I was 8 months pregnant during one of the go lives and remember waddling around and remembered how crazy my schedule was. As I flipped through the pages and saw all of the physician names which many are now retired or no longer at that hospital I was just flooded with all these memories. They all flashed before my eyes and I just could not help but smile. I loved this time of my life and to have all these wonderful memories come back made me realize how wonderful it is to have a planners. I am so grateful that I have always enjoyed having planners and having them capture my days. I was even putting a recipe at the back of this planner. I recall getting this from one of the ladies that I use to work with. I remember her sharing with me how this is a must try and I’m so glad that the post it’s are still here in the back.

I love that when I use this planner I don’t worry about my handwriting or what I am writing. Things get crossed off and I don’t really worry about the aesthetics of the planner. This is how I have been using planners all of my life. I was unaware of pretty planning until I became a member of the planner community. I do enjoy very much the beauty of decorating your planner but I still really enjoy so much how raw these pages are.

I never really realized  how a planner is able to capture so much. Something that most people don’t think twice about or think that it’s just something that you write down appointments is actually al little time capsule.



It’s capturing your life as it is happening. It’s having a little recorder  with you each and everyday capturing your schedule. When the year is over place it on your shelf and pull it out every so often and see how it jogs all of your memories!! I really have been so impressed and happy how this worked out for me!!


Do you like to listen? Let me clarify, do you like when someone shares stories and just talks and you listen? I was unaware how much I love to listen to stories but more recently I seek it out. What sparked this recent desire to listen, well I have two kids now so most of the time if I have any piece of electronic on it’s playing kids songs, a kids movie or a kids app. I spend a fair share of my time in the car, driving to doctors appointments, soccer practice, school and work and so I decided to find my own thing to listen to. In searching for the perfect thing to listen to I stumbled upon season one of the Serial podcast.  If you have not heard this I HIGHLY recommend that you grab a cup of your favorite drink and dive in. In a nutshell the podcast follows the very strange case of Hae Min Lee and her murder in 1999. Why do I say it’s strange, well her ex boyfriend Adnan Syed is placed into prison and is still serving from the time he was seventeen for a murder that they did not fully have evidence to put him away for. The story has so many twists and turns, one minute you are saying he is innocent the next maybe not so much. I listened to this everyday as often as I could. I would place one ear bud in my ear while cooking dinner, folding laundry and you guessed it while driving my car.

That was it for me I was addicted to listening to stories. I wanted more after this! I am currently listening to Missing Richard Simmons.  Just the same I began plugging an ear bud in my ear while taking Hank my dog for his walk. Could not stop listening to the tale, I had no idea how many lives Richard had changed and how weird his disappearance is. It’s just fascinating to just sit and listen and have a story be told to you. I can understand completely what my daughter feels when I read her stories at night before bed and how she pleads with me to just read her one more. There is something that really pleases my senses to just listen. It also allows me to multi task so I can do more than one thing like cooking dinner but still getting my fix.

Now the whole mysterious thing might not be your cup of tea and I can understand that, for example if I dare share any of these two podcasts with my husband he could not be more disinterested than if I took him to a nail salon and forced him to watch them paint my nails. I have recently become pretty obsessed with audible as well. I was hesitant at first because I really do love having a book in my hands and taking part in the act of reading but I have to say the other day I was folding laundry and I started to listen to Norse Mythology and before I knew it I was 7 chapters in and quickly looking for my notebook to take notes. I never realized how much I love storytelling up until now. I guess it was always kind of in the back of my mind that I loved them but never really allowed myself to be told them.  I like listening to other podcasts too but I find that my mind really loves stories and it makes tasks go by quickly and being stuck in traffic not really a bad thing.

Something else that I have noticed is that I really love to listen with headphones. I know this seems silly but I have tried to listen on my computer and it just does not have the same effect. When I put in my  I just am immersed and nothing else penetrates. I highly recommend this experience with all of you. Do you listen to podcasts or books on tape? If so please share because I just can’t get enough and I’m afraid of running out!!

Last month I was so excited when the Dodo Pad company reached out and wanted to send me their inserts for review. I am always in the mood to test out inserts. I had heard of their inserts back in 2012 and was intrigued but for some reason I just never followed up. What peaked my interest initially is how long the company has been in business.  In 1966 the company came about! I always find it impressive when a company remains so invested in their products.  Here is an insert from the website that talks about why the Dodo bird was behind the name of the inserts.

And, why the Dodo?
Back in the deep recesses of the last century around 1966, the Dodo Pad diary (a week-to-view combined memo-doodle-engagement-planner-diary-organiser-message-ment book) was a new-fangled invention, instantly accepted by grateful users as utterly indodispensable. The ‘headline’ on the front of the Dodo Pad diary read (and still reads): ‘If you too are nearly extinct with the daily pressures of modern life, then try the Dodo Pad’ and on the back cover: ‘After using your Dodo Pad for a year you may find you’re not as extinct as all that!’ with an illustration of a mother and baby dodo. The pressures of modern life are still just as relevant today and we’re not extinct yet!

I thought this was a very clever and quirky way of explaining life and comparing it to the fact that if we aren’t extinct then we have daily challenges we need to accomplish and the dodo pad wants to help you navigate your life. There are plenty of sizes to choose from as well as some filler paper that is also offered on the site.  The shop accepts paypal so it makes it quite easy to order. They are coming from across the pond but the good news is that they come very quickly and packaged well and protected.  So lets take a look at the inserts themselves.

I have decided to go with the academic planner pad. My daughter is in preschool this year so for me my calendar is now more focused on the school year and I can easily follow and transfer things from the school calendar to my filofax. I am also in my A5 size malden, which I painted from purple to a beautiful aqua, here is a link to that video.  2016-09-14-10-12-33The inserts are unique in that there are little doodles throughout as well as fun facts. There are many holidays that are subtly placed throughout which I love seeing. 2016-09-14-10-16-11 2016-09-14-10-15-25So for those of you who love to have space to doodle and really free form plan then these are ideal. On the right hand side you have boxes to work with. In these spaces I broke them
down to have a really great overview of my week, what my daughter has at school, my husbands work schedule and any notes or must dos. I love having this quick look at my week. On the left hand side I have plenty of space to stick post its, notes, video ideas, links to things I want to watch later etc. I love having this free form space and it really helps me to have a place to brain dump and get ideas out of my head. The doodles in place really help you to feel like you are not messing anything up because it’s not a blank white page.2016-09-14-10-17-00 Many people feel like they will mess it up or don’t feel comfortable but I think that with all the gorgeous little doodles it really helps to overcome that hump. If you like to pretty plan but don’t always have he time the doodles help to enhance the page and always bring a smile to my face. The only draw back I see for these inserts is that there is not a monthly view. Now to be fair there is a wonderful pull out calendar of the entire year that really helps you 2016-09-14-10-13-29organize your life but for some reason I still really like to see my month at a glance. This isn’t the end of the world for me because I do have another set of inserts in my planner so I do have a month overview . In regards to paper quality I am really very impressed. I am someone who will be very turned off with inserts if the quality of the paper is not good. I like to use all kinds of different pens and I don’t want to be bothered with bleed through or heavy shadowing. When I did the pen test I was very happy that I only had an issue with the sharpie. It’s not surprising because the sharpie will bleed through most anything but my fountain pen the edison nouveau with a broad nib that has a pretty heavy ink flow did really well! I love that because jotting down notes quickly I try and reach for whatever is on my desk and that means I can grab a fountain pen and happily write away.

Overall if you are looking for some structure but still have the ability to have some free form planning then I HIGHLY recommend these inserts. I recommend them for the paper quality as well as the quirky little doodles and fun facts. There really isn’t anything else on the market like them. The entire academic year does not take up alot of space in my planner so if you like to add a lot of your own inserts you will not have an issue.

Do you have the Dodo Pad? Plan on purchasing? Please share what you think!




Please wait...

Subscribe to my newsletter!!

Want to be notified when an article is published? Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know!