Organized Charm: November 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Planning Timeline


Y'all. It's here. The holiday season! I am SO, SO excited! I am one of those really strict people who chooses to ignore the Christmas decorations/music/lights in Target or on the homes of my neighbors until I see Santa rolling down the streets of NYC at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade... like, he's giving the green light to move forward with Christmas... and yesterday around noon, I saw what I had been waiting for!

And even though, I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with the Christmas season, I am ALSO one of those people who is always so caught up in whatever I'm doing at the beginning of December (aka panicking over finals), that the holiday season totally catches me off guard every. single. year. You would think I would be more prepared because, you know, it literally happens annually on the same day. But I always end up being one of those people out searching frantically for something on December 23rd.

You, too? Oh, of course not. You probably have your life together like a normal person. But just in case you don't... and we're in this crazy love/hate relationship with the Christmas season together, here is a little holiday timeline that can keep us on track this year (maybe)!



November 28-30: Decorate for Christmas

Get your decorations out of storage (or the holiday aisle at Target) and decide where you want everything to go! Last year, we literally had no good place to put our tree. For whatever reason, whoever designed our living room felt the need to put something on every single wall so we had no choice to put the tree in a high-traffic area. This year, however, we have the perfect corner in our living area and I am SO happy about that! It's just easier to decorate anything if you go in with a plan!



December 1-4: Finalize Gift Ideas

So, because you are SUCH a good daughter/friend/girlfriend/mom/wife, you've probably been thinking about what to get for all of the sweet people in your life while pinning a few thousand gift hints for them, right? Take the first few days in December to go over your Christmas gift budget and to finalize all of those gift ideas! Some people make it really easy by asking for super specific things (like my husband), while other people (mostly girls) are just happy with anything pretty and/or thoughtful!



December 5-7: Order Gifts Online

Every year, I vow to only do my Christmas shopping online. And every year, I end up fighting a Christmas-crazed crowd at the mall because I waited too long to order online gifts. However, this is the year for me to accomplish my 100% online shopping goal! I just know it! I feel like 20 days out is sufficient time to order something and not be sweating two days before Christmas, hoping that it arrives on time! Plus, if we do enough planning ahead of time, we can probably catch some awesome deals, too!

Most places ship pretty quickly around the holidays. They know that you're busy. And they know that they're busy. And they know that everyone wants what they ordered as soon as possible! Plus, sometimes that 3-day shipping is just worth the extra few dollars! Also, if you have a significant other who loves to snoop live in a place that's difficult to deliver packages to (like an apartment or a dorm), consider having your deliveries sent to a friend/parent's address and just pick them up when you'll have time to wrap them!

(And if you already have all of your Christmas shopping finished... I can't hear about it. I just can't.)



December 8-11: Pick Up Remaining Gifts

If you have to physically pick something up from a store, use these days to do it! They are weekdays but school isn't out yet (here, anyway), so the holiday-retail-chaos should be at a minimum. Also, pick up all of those little stocking-stuffers now, too! One less thing to do closer to Christmas! 



December 12-14: Wrap Gifts

I don't know how the gift-wrapping process will work for us this year. At our old house, my husband and I would lock ourselves into our spare bedroom armed with a wide variety of wrapping paper and Pandora Christmas stations when it was time to wrap each other's gifts. This year... living in a loft with no walls (and no doors) will be a little more of a challenge. If you'll have to secure a secret location ahead of time (like I may have to), then go ahead and set that up now! Or maybe a gift-wrapping party would be a fun excuse to drink wine get together with girlfriends and finally try out some of those cute gift wrapping ideas you've been seeing on Pinterest all year long! 



December 15-18: Prep for Holiday Parties

Because this is the week of the weekend before Christmas, it is prime-holiday-party-time! So, be prepared! Even if you aren't planning on doing anything, put together a couple of perfect holiday party outfits and stock up on a hostess gift or two... just in case! Best Case Scenario: You won't show up to any party empty handed. Worst Case Scenario: You end up with a new outfit and some extra cookies/ flowers/ wine the week before Christmas. Hmm... whatever to do with that? 



December 19-21: Be Ready to Party

Hello! This is the weekend before Christmas! You will have friends in town! Or YOU will be the friend that's in town! You don't want to spend that time trying to finish your last minute errands or wrapping presents. You'll want to have all of your "work" done so that you can celebrate stress-free!



December 22-25: Savor the Season

If you've read more than 2 posts on this blog, I'm sure you've seen me mention Happify. One of their 5 components to happiness (and that's according to science) is savoring the random, regular, imperfect moments throughout your days! So even if you didn't get every perfect gift for every person, or things didn't turn out quite like Pinterest said they would, or you didn't have time to complete everything on your to-do list... IT'S OKAY. 

Things are things and one day they'll probably end up in a yard sale anyway. Beatifully wrapped presents are nice to look at but all that paper will eventually end up in a trash can (or in my family's case, in the fireplace as I stand a safe distance away, cell phone in hand, ready to call 911). No one will judge you 10 years from now if you showed up to their party without a hostess gift (or if you drank all the wine you brought as your hostess gift. Guilty.). But they will remember how you acted, what you did, and most importantly: How you made them feel! 

Holidays are about spending time with who you love! So, put your phone away for a few hours and just do that! :) 



SO, what about you? What kind of timeline do you follow for the holiday season? Are you one of those people who has all of your shopping done by early September or are you a last-minute shopper? Are you going home for the holidays? If not, what are you doing instead? 

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Look Inside Organized Charm's New Etsy Shop!


Last week, I made a pretty big announcement. Who decides to throw an Etsy shop into the mix with finals rapidly approaching? And not just normal finals... but the culmination of one's graduate school career? Oh, that would be me. No big deal.

And even though it has been a lot of work to get everything in the shop set up, I have to say that I am SO, SO happy that I decided to do this! I already have 10 (yes, 10!) printables available in the shop and I'm adding another one today! YAY!

Before I officially announced this shop via OC, I wanted to be sure that I could successfully create "mini" planner pages... and guess what? I can! And I, of all people, am totally thrilled about that!

So this post is dedicated to the shop! Kind of like a cheat sheet / tour / what to expect!

(And who among us doesn't love to know what to expect, right?!)

Okay, so here is everything I can think of to tell you!

PICTURED: Daily Checklist with Timeline and 5 Categories


Who: The shop name on Etsy is "Organized Charm"! (obvious one, right?)
What: Mix & Match Planner Printables
(like, YOU choose what YOU want to have in YOUR planner)


*Items Available:

Full Size (8 1/2 x 11) 


Mini Size (5 1/2 x 8 1/2)


Mini Grid Weekly View

*Coming Soon: More mini printables! Including a Cleaning Schedule, Daily View, Finance Tracker, Month at a Glance, Year at a Glance, and more options for weekly views!



PICTURED: Horizontal Weekly View

Where: Etsy (AKA the website equally as addictive as Pinterest)

When: This shop technically opened on Monday... but it's grand opening is TODAY! YAY! :)


PICTURED: Year at a Glance Printable 


Why: I created this shop because I wanted more options/control over what goes in my planner. And if I wanted that, I thought that other people might be looking for that, too!


PICTURED: Month at a Glance


How: These are instant downloads, which is super convenient! If you've ordered from Etsy before, then you are familiar with how it works. But for those of you who aren't so familiar with it...

Here's how it works!

1. Login/Visit Etsy
2. Choose the printables that you want/need/love the most!
3. Checkout
4. Download your new printables!



Easy peasy lemon squeezy! :)



Have you used Etsy in the past? Did you have a good experience? What kinds of printables would you like to see in the shop?

Friday, November 14, 2014

BAND App


I'm a sucker for a good app. And an app that helps organize? Well, that's even better! If you're like me and like to plan get togethers and other social events, you know that people are one of the hardest things to organize. When trying to choose a location, there are always a lot of "I don't care's" and "Wherever is fine with me's".  And when trying to plan dates... well, that's just a near impossibility because everyone is so busy all the time. You can wrangle everyone into a group text, OR you can try something a little more... efficient. 

I introduce: BAND




BAND is an app that allows you to keep communication organized with all of your different groups: like study groups, coworkers, family, even your husband/wife... whoever you have to keep organized! Unlike Facebook groups or group texts, BAND allows you to create group to-do lists. Plus, it just looks super cute! You can create different notebooks for each group. Of course, I color-coded mine to match my color-coding system (purple: blog, green: work, blue: school, pink: social). Each color has a few cute designs and, of course, you get to choose a band for each notebook. Beyond adorable!



 

If you get tired of your notebook's design, you can change it anytime! AND you could even choose personal photos as notebook covers. Within each notebook, there are endless ways to organize your groups! Invite whoever you want! You can add photos, which is perfect for those photos from bachelorette parties (or in my case, family cruises to Mexico) that you may not want to trust to a "private" Facebook album. Aside from photo albums, you can also create calendar events and reminders (like upcoming due dates for school projects).


You can also create group checklists (perfect for party planning or creating grocery lists with roommates). Another really cool feature is the "poll" feature, which allows you to post a multiple choice question to a group. And you know the teacher in me loves that! So, rather than sending out a question as broad as "what night does everyone want to get together?" and receiving a billion different responses about work schedules and people going out of town, you can just provide some possible choices and allow your friends/group members to select the best option for them!



Not only that, but you can also share files through this app! Perfect for working together on a group project at school or for lesson planning with co-teachers! Oh, and another thing I like about this for teaching: It's a great way to keep parents updated and it's also a way to share classroom photos with them while maintaining the privacy of your sweet kiddos! Conveniently enough, BAND can also be accessed through your computer desktop for the ultimate ease of sharing documents/files and keeping your calendars in sync!



Oh, and did I mention that this app is FREE? So, there's basically no reason not to try it :)

Check out more here: www.band.us 

Have you tried BAND before (it has over 35 million users!)? If so, how do you use it? I'm sure you've thought of a bunch of creative uses for it! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Birthday Announcement!

On the list of my favorite days of the year, I have to say that November 12th stands right behind December 25th. Oh, it might be helpful for you to know that November 12th is my birthday... which is why I find it just SO exciting! And if you feel like celebrating November 12th, too let me just give you a reason to: It's also Ryan Gosling's birthday.

Let's take a moment to celebrate that, shall we?








Okay, that's enough. Actually, wait... one more:



(I promise I didn't make this. It just happened to already exist... conveniently.)



Okay, moving on.

I promise that wasn't the big announcement.

The announcement is this:

Starting on Monday, November 17
Organized Charm will officially have its very own Etsy shop! 

YAY! I cannot even explain how super incredibly excited about it I am! I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing... but I'm super excited about it!

Here is the story of how this came to be:

Remember how I felt like my life was all complete because I had found the planner I'd been looking for all my life? It was pretty. It was functional. It was simple enough to be customizable but detailed enough to not be boring. I was in planner heaven. And judging by the response to the photos that it appeared in, y'all really loved it, too! But that all changed in September when I found out that it was being discontinued.

Was it a sad day?

Yes.

Did I immediately panic over over the fact that I only had 3 months to find another planner?

Oh, ABSOLUTELY I did!

I am not even kidding you that I can literally find something I don't like about every single planner ever made in the history of planners. Oh, it's completely true. My poor husband went planner shopping with me the first year that we were married and I was like: "I'm looking for a planner that has a monthly view AND a weekly view. I also want it to have a place for me to write notes. And I want room to write in the margins of each week. And I don't want lines on the days. And under absolutely NO CONDITIONS can it combine the days of Saturday and Sunday into one square".

Saturdays and Sundays combined into the same square are the worst, aren't they?

I have sifted through several websites, but I finally decided to just create what it was that I was looking for!

So that's what will be available to y'all starting this Monday! Organized Charm's Etsy Shop will contain printable planner pages so that you can mix and match so that the monthly and weekly views always fit your specific needs! Over the next few months, I'll add more options! And, of course, I'll be happy to take printable requests!

Until then, please enjoy this sneak preview of a few of the printables that will be available!










ENJOY YOUR NOVEMBER 12TH! (I know I will!) :)

Do you have any requests/suggestions for what you'd like to see in the shop? Have you already found a planner for next year? If so, what are some of your favorite/least favorite parts of it?

Friday, November 7, 2014

India Circus Home Decor


HAPPY FRIDAY, Y'ALL! I am so, so, SOOO excited about this glorious Fall weather! For whatever reason, it has really inspired me to do a ton of revamping to this little home of ours. I've been cleaning out closets, organizing drawers, sprucing up home decor... and even purging my classroom supplies (a very, very hard thing to do for teachers. You really never know when you could use... oh, I don't know... everything you've ever owned). 

When we first moved into this loft, we only brought about 1/3 of the things we had in our old house. We made trip after trip to Goodwill to drop off trash bags full of items that we didn't want/need or that didn't fit our style. For the loft, we tried to keep our color scheme pretty simple and earthy: lots of browns and greens. And even though I loved the relaxing-ness of our new decor, it made me realize that I really need ALL THE BRIGHT COLORS! 

Over the past couple of months, I've shared a couple of posts about how I've been adding a little cheer and whimsy to our super earthy space. Today, I'm going to share another brand that I just have to let y'all know about: India Circus! The name sounds totally amazing, right? Well, the decor goes right along with the amazing-ness of the name! Think along the lines of some items that you would find at Pier One... except a little more authentic! 


I ordered two of these gorgeous peacock pillow covers and I have just been so absolutely pleased with how beautiful and vibrant they are! In addition to beautiful home decor, India Circus also has gorgeous dishes, bags, and even iPad and phone cases








Affordable, cheerful, and exotic? 

Oh, you can definitely count me in for that! :) 



Could your apartment/dorm/house use a little splash of color like mine needed? Did you check out the website? If so, what were some of your favorite things?! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

October Vignettes


Year after year, October turns out to be one of my favorite months! The weather, the fall festivals, the outdoor activities, and of course, HALLOWEEN! This October was especially perfect because... well, because everything. I LOVE our new home. I LOVE my new job. I LOVE this absolutely and completely perfect weather that we are having right now! And I love fall clothes. Okay, those are probably all of the things. No, wait... I also love the changing colors of the trees! And dark nail polish! And boots. 

This could take a while... let's move on. 


Here is what October looked like...


...on Organized Charm:


Study Series: If you read OC in October, then you know that I worked on a study skills series. If you're an avid reader of OC, you also know that I didn't finish said series. Writing is so much fun and such a great thing to do every few days. But let me tell you that if you read a blog that posts every day (or more than once a day like College Prepster), then you better appreciate that because it's pretty tough! I got through the most requested topics (mainly planners, notes, and overall organization). 

And the rest will be dispersed over the next few weeks! 










-

...In my "real life":


Our Neighborhood: At the beginning of this month, our neighborhood became the home to a new outdoor "mosaic artwalk" that consisted of 8 new art installations: 2 sculptures, 5 murals, and a beautifully decorated piano on the sidewalk for anyone to play! I poured some merlot, put on a jacket, and we walked around to check it out opening night!


And then there were all those October sunsets...





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Wedding: Derek and I are huge fans of weddings. Like, super huge. Like, we're probably one stage away from just starting to crash random weddings that look interesting. A few weeks ago, we attended one for one of his friends from work. There were so many unique things about it: First of all, the reception was held in an actual barn (which had literally been filled with junk until a couple of weeks before).

Not only that, but the wedding party camped out right next to the barn for the weekend, so there were tents and a bonfire, which was pretty awesome! 


Oh, how could I forget this... one of the brides actually got up and sang "their song" at the wedding. SO. UNBELIEVABLY. PRECIOUS.



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Reunion: You know how people talk about how awkward/boring their reunions were, or how they have no interest in seeing the people they went to high school with? That's exactly what I was expecting, but let me tell you that we had a ridiculous amount of fun! I hosted a little "pregame" celebration at our loft before, and then we headed down the street for the real thing. There was dancing and drinking and every song that we ever listened to in high school and a photo booth. 

You know as well as I do, that it can't be a party without a photo booth. 

Obviously, this was cause to decorate my front door! 

Everything gets a blue ribbon! 

Best Friends for 15 years! 

Holding up the line at the photo booth while we... do whatever we were doing here. 

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Halloween: The kids at my school are the cutest. Do you hear me? The absolute cutest! Every student is my favorite one! Even the ones that aren't in my class. There is no amount of money in the world that could make me happier than working with kids and I am so, SO thankful it's what I do! I'll probably do a whole post about their precious little statements soon, but here was my fave from this month: 

"Miss Kirsten, are you going on the field trip? Because if you're there, I won't miss my mom so much." 

Which is totally heart-melting, right? But then they also say things like: 

"You need to put your hair up... it doesn't look good.

So, you know, they keep me humble. 

For Halloween, I made them this little "Monster Trick-or-Treat" game using stuff I already had. Those tiny little mustaches are from Creative Teaching Press, which has been my go-to lately for anything creative/festive! I made 8 monsters... the whole thing took about 20 minutes... and they LOVED it! 


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Eric Church: For our "grownup" Halloween night, we went to see Eric Church. Typically, we don't go to "big" or "mainstream" concerts... but my husband and I have both been fans of Eric Church since 2006. He used to play smaller venues around Memphis every year and this was his first time playing in the FedEx Forum... he gave several "shout outs" to the smaller venues who used to book him for shows, which was super cool. This was my 6th time seeing him.

And his live shows are still as much fun and interactive as they used to be when we were all packed in a tiny little venue!


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...other places online:


Below Deck: Did y'all watch Below Deck? I am just a complete sucker for those silly Bravo shows like Million Dollar Decorators and Southern Charm. This season, it was Below Deck. Even though I have more of an Amy personality, the first time I saw Kate get out that giant checklist as her co-workers stood around and looked freaked out by it, I knew that I had found my organizational soulmate. But the best part? 

Oh, that would be that she also has a blog. And it also contains the word "charm" in the title. And that she travels all over the world and dresses super-fabulously while she's doing it. The photos are beautiful and she's a great writer, so you should definitely check it out!


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Happify: I promise Happify doesn't pay me to promote them every month... I just really LOVE doing the exercises on their website! If you're feeling sad or stressed or anxious or anything else negative, definitely download it! Even just one activity a day can make a huge difference!


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And now, we're on to my absolute favorite {birthday} month... 

NOVEMBER! :) 



What did you do in October? Did you have homecoming or attend football games or an exciting party or dress up for Halloween? How is the weather where you live? What did you do to celebrate this oh-so-glorious season of Fall?!  
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