Meal Planning: A Beginner’s Guide

Getting-started-meal-planning

So you all know just how much I love meal planning. After all, it’s the first step to meal prep! I’ve been doing meal planning for years! A lot longer than I have been meal prepping. I grew up in a home that did meal planning every week. My parents still do!

I’m excited to say that today I’m talking about meal planning over at Sarah & Co! Head over to her lovely site and check out the full post!

January in Review, February Goals

January Goals

  1. Start establishing a morning routine – Ummm….50/50? I kept making progress with this and then my back injury acting up again plus getting sick, setting me back again
  2. Start at least one art project – Does my jewelry count? I did not start on mosaic like I had hoped to, but I got quite a few pieces of jewelry made! I’m also starting to feel a little more comfortable with my wire wrapping, though I still have a LONG way to go in that department!
  3. Active rest days – 50/50 success. During the time periods I was working out I did manage active rest days, but when I was sick and injured every day kinda became a rest day (outside of physical therapy exercises)
  4. Less TV time, especially while writing! – Again, 50/50 success. I did okay with this at the beginning of the month. Not so much the second half of the month.

January Favorites 

You guys have to be getting sick of seeing the same photos over an over…can you tell I was a little focused on my jewelry this month?! I promise that I will be working on my photography in more areas in February, so it will not be the same jewelry again. Also, I am working on some new pieces, so it will be new jewelry too! 🙂

I really am excited to be able to share these with you though. I’ve been dreaming of being able to make new pieces for months and now I finally can! I would love to hear your thoughts on the jewelry I’ve shared so far. Are there any styles or pieces that you really like or dislike?

February Goals

  1. Keep working at that morning routine – Up no later than 6:30 all days except Saturday (This will start once my back is feeling better…my neck hurts too much to work out for at least a few hours after waking up. Hopefully next week.)
  2. Keep active 6 days a week – Until my back heals up, LISS. After that, it’s back to Kayla Itsines’ BBG for round 2!
  3. Spend at least 30 minutes a day working on either the blog or my art.

How did your goals for the first month of 2016 go? Are you setting goals for February? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Sara (1)

Plum Paper Planner Review + My Top 5 Tips for Planning in 2016

Do you love planners? I do! There is something about the physical reality of a paper planner…being able to lay everything out with pen or pencil, add designs, take notes, and so much more. I have always preferred using an actual planner instead of one on the computer or online (though those do have their uses).

The one thing that I have searched high and low for is the perfect planner layout. I can be super-picky about my weekly layouts, any extra pages, the thickness of the cover…I know it’s a little crazy, but a great planner can make things so much easier!

The last couple years I have started using them again and have spent hours looking at different stores online, reading reviews, noting my favorites and just generally agonizing over the decision (told you I’m a little crazy). This time I think my searching has paid off! Enter Plum Paper!

I have actually been using this new planner for a little over a month and have been anxiously awaiting the time to share it with all of you! With the new year a couple weeks old and now that I’ve had some time to try out the new planner, it’s time!

Plum Paper 2016 custom plannerPlum Paper 2016 custom daily planner inside front page

I love how easy this was to customize! The cover image and words and 13 months instead of 12 so I could start in Dec’ 15 (plus much more you will see below). Isn’t it pretty?!

Monthly Pages

I love everything about the pages that make up each month! The 7 labels for the weekly categories were ones that I wrote myself. Just imagine what you could do with 7 categories for each day of your week! It took me a bit to determine the best way to use them, as some things fit in multiple categories, but I’m getting use to it now and loving it.

I added on extras, one sheet of To Do Lists and another for Bill Recording. I’ve been mostly using the To Do Lists to track my weekly menus, which is really helpful. The other thing I really love is the monthly highlights page at the front! 3 goals, important dates, things to remember, plus extra spaces for notes!

Now on to one of the other features that sold me on this planner…

the Blog Section!

They have a ton of different sections you can add on, but the one that I loved was the blog planning section! I am trying to improve how I plan the blog and I hope this will be a helpful tool in that goal. I’ll admit, I still am learning how to utilize this section and some of the pages aren’t currently relevant, but I have high hopes!

Overall, I am so glad that I purchased this planner. This is the best one I have found thus far and incredibly reasonably priced. I would predict that I will be making another purchase from them next year!

The only complaint I’ve had so far is that I wish the cover was thicker or plastic. I put my planner in my purse on a regular basis and I worry about it being bent up.

My Top 5 Tips for Planning in 2016

  1. Start off the week laying out the priorities for the week. I use this time to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything (a meeting, outing, etc) and set time aside to work in my studio and to write.
  2. Make sure you keep it with you! This is regardless of how you plan, be it a physical planner, cell phone or computer. It is so easy to think of something you need to get done and forget it by the time you get home. I take mine with me to work and almost always write things down in my first break. Also, if I remember something when I can’t write it in there, I put it in the notes section of my phone and write it down as soon as I can.
  3. Actually check your planner throughout the day! It doesn’t help you to lay things out early in the week and then leave it alone the rest of the day. Our memories are fallible, that’s why we use planners 🙂 I have had multiple times I have thought I was done when I got home, not checked my planner and then realized the next day I forgot to do something.
  4. Don’t overschedule! It’s demoralizing to constantly not finish what you have set out to do. Now, this is something I’m guilty of on a regular basis, so this is definitely a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. I really am trying to work on this, but it’s rough! I have a tendency to overestimate how many things I can get done and underestimate how long each thing with take me.
  5. Reward yourself by checking things off as you go! Each time you do it gives your brain a little hit of dopamine, which is always nice. Not only does it make you feel rewards, it provides motivation to keep productivity high so you can keep checking more things off!

How do you plan? Do you like physical planners or are you more tech-based methods? What’s your favorite? Any tips for planning? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below!

Sara (1)