Organized Charm

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Why I'm Using a $3 Target Lesson Planner This Year

Y’all. The Dollar Spot has done it again. 

That’s right! I was there last week and picked up this SUPER ADORABLE lesson planner. 

“But why?” you might ask. 

“That thing looks like it might fall apart any minute and the paper is thin.” you might say. 

And you’d be right. The quality is not that great. The paper is cheap. The saying on the front will probably rub off the first time I slide it across my teacher table. 

But I still love it! 


Because it’s simple. 

You see, for the past two years, I have spent hours agonizing over which Erin Condren Lesson Planner cover I should choose. How many checklist sheets I need. How will I use the weekly layout? Then I’ve happily pulled out my credit card and ordered the $65+ planner. 

Which would be fine if I used it. But do I? 


Instead, I get excited on the day it arrives. I take photos. I flip through and look at all the beautiful pages. Then I take out those Date Dot Stickers and without fail I mess up some dates in all my excitement. Then I have to peel them off and rearrange them... leaving my planner looking wrinkled and ugly before I even start planning. 

(Call me crazy, but I think any planner over $50 should come with pre-dated monthly views)

Then I take the stickers from the back and stick them on the special dates of the upcoming school year… spring break, field trips, parent teacher conferences, etc.

But then something happens. I look at my planner and start to get overwhelmed. The colors on the stickers are cute, but they aren’t color coded. First world problems, I know. 

Then I start to write things in. More clutter. By the time I’m finished with filling in the August dates, I can barely stand to look at my planner! Is this crazy or what? How can an organizational tool make you feel simultaneously organized and overwhelmed? 

Then I start on the weeks. Admittedly, my school has a very strange schedule. I sometimes joke that “no two days are the same”. But it’s not a joke, it’s true. No two days at my school are the same… so it’s been challenging for me to figure out exactly how to work in the weekly layout. Even though I LOVE IT. 

Finally, after I’ve dragged my bulky, two-pound planner around for a few weeks, I’ll go to a faculty meeting and flip to the graph paper section, only to have everything fall out of the back pocket. And that’s when I stop using it. 

It’s usually the second week in September. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the Erin Condren Lesson Planner. I really do. It’s beautiful, customizable, and has everything you could need as a teacher! It just doesn’t work for me. 

Maybe next year, I’ll feel up to giving the ECLP another try. 

But this year, I’m excited to save myself $62 (plus shipping) and stick with my $3 Target lesson planner with the white plastic coil and the cardboard cover :)

Have you tried the ECLP and found that it wasn’t for you? Or do you love yours and use it religiously? Share your thoughts below! 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Reader Question: How Long Does it Take to Find a Job After College?

This is a question that post-grads ask all the time. 

The time between college and finding your first “real” job can be really frustrating. However, it’s important to remember that, just like everything else, it’s only temporary! 

When I was in undergrad, I envisioned myself graduating and immediately finding my dream job in a big law firm! When that didn’t happen right away, I got a little discouraged. I eventually did get a job in that field, only to discover it wasn’t the career for me... 

So I went to grad school for education. After graduating from grad school, do you think I had more realistic expectations for the job search process? Nope! I expected the first school I contacted to say “Wow! You have a shiny new Master’s Degree! Let us clear some room for you so you can start teaching here!”. 

I had to start from the bottom all over again. That’s just how it works.  

(5 Things Recent Grads Need to Know)

If you’re struggling to get your resumé noticed, or to get called in/back for an interview, here are a couple of things to keep in mind! 

Experience is King

Even after you complete the education aspect of a job, there is still the experience aspect to get through. And because most recent graduates are pretty young, the only way to gain experience in your field is to get it however you can! 

Even with your degree, be prepared to start at an “entry level” position. Sometimes this is because you’re young. Sometimes it’s all that’s available. Sometimes it’s because the company sees potential in you, but wants to see if you’re reliable first. 

Never think a job in your desired field is “beneath” you. Everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t worry! You’ll get where you’re trying to go! Maybe just not as quickly as you thought you would. So, how can you get this experience that everyone seems to be so interested in? 

In my experience, volunteering has been the best way!

(5 Common Post Grad Problems and How to Deal with Them)

Volunteer Within Your Field

After college, when I was trying to get my first job as a paralegal, my interviewer really liked it that I had interned with another attorney in the building while I was in school. Everyone talks, too, so make sure to leave every situation (paid or unpaid) on good terms! Everyone that you work with or for is a potential reference that you can list when you’re searching for your next job! Put in 100%, even if the work you’re doing is free. 

When I was leaving the legal field and trying to get my first job in a school setting (before going to grad school or becoming a certified teacher), my interviewer really liked it that I had been voluntarily teaching Sunday School for a few years. That was literally my only experience working with kids (aside from babysitting), and it was the only relevant thing I had to put on my resumé, so on my resumé it went! 

(How to Create Long Term Goals)

Keep a Positive Attitude

This one’s hard. It’s really, really hard. And the longer you’ve been looking, the harder it can be to continue. But the next resumé you send out could be the one! And if there’s a specific company you know you want to work for, keep contacting them Blair Waldorf style! :) 

The time between finishing college and starting a career can be really discouraging, stressful, and unpredictable... Just remember that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It was hard for everyone! 

In the words of a very wise blue fish, just keep swimming! You’ll get there :) 

(How to Actually Accomplish Your Goals)

What is the biggest challenge you’re facing while looking for a job? Or, if you have your job, what was the best advice you received? How long did it take? 

Further Reading:

This survey from may make you feel better! 

The Balance has a really great post on Making it Between College and Your First Job

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What to Pack for Traveling Abroad

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do in this world! Whether it’s a two-hour road trip or an eight hour flight, I’m always ready to go! 

And one of my favorite parts of traveling? Well, the packing, of course! The further you go, the harder it can be. Typically, the further away you’re going, the more clothes you need and less space you have to store them.

To make things more difficult (or easier, depending on the airline), we always carry on all of our luggage. 

So, how can you pack a week’s worth of clothes into a carry-on?

Choose a Color Scheme

A few years ago, my mom and I spent 10 days in Italy and Greece. Before we left, she helped me pack and told me to pick a color scheme… it turned out to be the best advice! We chose two neutrals (black and grey) and one pop of color (red). 

Getting dressed when your wardrobe consists of three colors is pretty easy. Not to mention, you can re-wear the same items over and over because they aren't conspicuous :) 

(5 Rules for Simplified Style)

Dress in Layers

This is some of the most helpful advice for traveling, whether you’re leaving the country or going across town for a field trip. Weather is SO unpredictable. And when you’re spending almost an entire day outdoors, it’s important to be as flexible as possible!

Check the range of temperatures of where you’re going and bring a small selection of cardigans, sweaters, jackets, coats, scarves, gloves, hats, socks, black leggings or yoga pants, etc. to go with it! 

(How I Organize My Passion Planner)

Bring a Big Tote

This one is super important! Bring a tote that you can carry all those layers around in! It can also double as your “purse” on the plane! Make sure it’s neutral and goes along with your color scheme so you still look put together! 

(How to Actually Accomplish Your Goals)

Wear Your Bulkiest Shoes While You Travel

If you're bringing a couple of pairs of flats, a pair of heels, and a pair of boots, wear the boots as you travel to your destination! Then you aren’t running through an airport trying to make a connection with that extra weight in your bag. 

(Inspiration Board Cheat Sheet)

Scarves, Scarves, Scarves

Whether you’re heading to a Caribbean resort or Paris, scarves are always appropriate. They are can add a dash of color, an extra layer, and can be worn in so many different ways! Get a couple that are appropriate for the season, and throw them in your bag!

(100 Inspirational Quotes to Brighten Your Day)

Dry Shampoo

Last Spring Break, my husband and I went to Paris and I did not want to drag my heavy hairdryer and straightener through the airport. So, I picked up some travel-sized Dry Bar dry shampoo & conditioner from Sephora. Best decision ever. 

I straightened my hair one really good time before we left and sprayed these products in my hair whenever it started to look icky. Towards the end of the trip, I just washed it and let it air dry curly (which fit in in Paris, anyway!). 

(Tips for Curating an Efficient Wardrobe)

What are some of your favorite tips for packing? Any favorite products that make life abroad easier? Share them below! :) 

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