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Friday, August 19

Good morning, lovelies!

It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.


I confess...

It's been one of those weeks where I feel like I've been spinning my wheels, even though I can look back at my to-do list and see that I've accomplished a lot. I had one big work goal for the week, and want the paperwork turned in today. If this works out, it will finish up a project I've been working on for 3 years...fingers crossed that this happens.

I confess...

In the meantime, I'm super glad that our massage weekend is this weekend because I could use some body work like nobody's business. I haven't gotten as many practice massages finished as I'd like, but I am feeling a lot more confident in my ability and knowledge of the treatment. I'm happy that at this point, I can feel like I can just flow through it without having to stop and check on my next step.

I confess...

The college students moved back in last weekend at the university, and I can definitely tell. Sometimes I feel like an old curmudgeon; it hasn't been that long since I was a student here.

I've gotten caught in traffic more than once driving through the university, and I am continually amazed at how many students will walk out in the road into traffic, looking at their phones, completely clueless to the fact that there are cars and people trying to get places.

Don't get me started about going to the grocery store. If ever there is a time to remind me that I am solidly in my 30s and not my 20s, it's back to school time around the university.

I confess...

I have to kick it into high gear with my crochet project for our local yarnbombing project. It's due next weekend, and I have a lot of work to finish up. I've been so focused on stuff for my black belt exam that this deadline sneaked up on me.

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Thursday, August 18

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In my neighborhood, today is the first day of school. While I don't have children, my office is across the street from our local high school; so, I get to see and sometimes sit in all the school traffic. For me, this is a reminder that my busiest season is about to start, and it's also time to order my new life planner for the 2016-2017.

It seems to me like I've been using a planner for forever. In high school, the school district used to distribute student planners with all the district holidays noted. There were weekly spreads with room for us to note all of our assignments and extracurricular activity schedules. I continued to use a student planner through college, which was necessary since I worked full-time while going to college.


I fell away from using a planner once I graduated until I bought my business in 2011, and then I quickly realized I needed more than a digital calendar to keep up with all my work and life obligations. Now, I live and breathe by my planner. If it doesn't get written down, it's not likely to happen.

Given that I scheduled my first 2017 obligations back in June, I've been reviewing my 2016-17 life planner options. For me, a planner must meet these requirements:

  • I have plenty of room for daily appointments and notes.
  • There are monthly tabs to make flipping to the monthly overview quick and easy.
  • The planner is small enough and sturdy enough for me to carry with day-to-day to meetings.
  • It has a little color and other fun elements.
I've used the same planner style for the five years, but when I realized it was time to order another planner, I asked my friends about other options just to see what else is out there these days. Here are four popular options.

Passion Planner

The Passion Planner has a slim profile and is bound with a faux leather, which makes it easy for transport. The pages lay flat. The planner has lots of worksheets to help your plan, track and accomplish goals. The planner can be ordered in academic or classic planner version. There is also an undated version so you can start using this planner at any time during the year.

Passion Planner has a pay it forward program; for every planner purchased, they donate a planner to someone in need. In fact, if you can't afford to purchase a life planner, they offer their page layouts and many inserts as free pdf downloads on their website.


Do you want to learn more about ways to use a Passion Planner? Check out Krystal's review on Sunny Sweet Days.



The Happy Planner

The Happy Planner is designed by Me and My Big Ideas, but it can also be purchased in local retail stores such as Hobby Lobby or ordered online via Amazon. It runs 18 months from July 2016 to December 2017. In addition to eight planner covers to choose from, the planner is disc-bound, which makes it easy to add, remove and rearrange pages to your preference.


Creativity planning is encouraged with lots of stickers, clips and themed planner extensions available for sale. This makes it perfect for someone who keeps their planners as kind of journal or scrapbook; they even have a scrapbooking box to help you get started. If you have an arc-style hole punch, you can download and print additional pages or create your own.



Erin Condren Life Planner

This is the system I've been using for years; Erin Condren Life Planners have permanent or interchangeable covers that can be personalized with your name, favorite colors, and photos.

The planner is spiral bound and offered in a 12-month or 18-month option. The weekly page spreads are now offered in a vertical or horizontal layout. In addition to monthly overviews, there are 2-pages spreads of 2017 and 2018 monthly calendars so you can check next year's dates at a glance.
Like many other systems, Erin Condren offers a line of accessories, including clip-ins, pens, and fitness or meal planning journals. You can also order personalized photo stickers as well as matching stationery products.



Living Well Planner

The Living Well Planner is designed by Ruth Soukup, the author of Living Well, Spending Less and Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul. The planner is hardcover with reinforced corners which is spiral-bound, and it has a front pocket to keep your paperwork together.

This planner has color-code pages to help you keep your life balanced. The planner includes monthly and weekly spreads. It also has pages included for goal tracking, meal planning, and budgeting/expense tracking pages.

The new 2016-17 planner isn't available yet, but you can reserve a copy and it will ship on Aug. 31. Ruth is offering the planner by itself and two different bundles that include her books.



Honorable Mentions


  • Color Crush Planner
  • Kate Spade Planner
  • May Designs


How do you keep your life organized - a planner, a digital calendar, a notebook and pen? Tell me about your system in the comments.


Have you enjoyed this post? Then you might want to follow my Planner Squad board on Pinterest to get more planner ideas.






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Monday, August 15

When I was reviewing my calendar for August, I realized that it was going to be necessary for me to have a day with some free time, and I decided that today had to be the day.


Over the weekend, we went to an outdoor wedding (read: ridiculously hot), moved furniture at my dad's house and went out for my birthday last night. Seriously, sometimes you just need a mental health day.

Funny coincidence that today also happens to be National Relaxation Day.

Now to be clear, this is not the same thing as having a day where I don't adult. As much as I'd enjoy a day like that, I actually need to catch up on things today. Here's what the schedule looks like:


7:30 Puppy Alarm Clock

Believe it or not, this is sleeping in for me, but I have two dogs. There's no way they'll allow me to stay in bed too late. Roscoe's typically M.O. is to lick my ear to let me know he needs to go outside.


7:30 to 10:00 Coffee

Also, putzing around in my pajamas, working on this blog post and watering the garden. I really need a lot of time to hatch in the morning.

11:30-12:45 Make-Up Massage Lesson

I missed the July class since I was helping my parents with their yard sale and getting things ready for the open  house; so, we scheduled a make-up anatomy and Chinese medicine lesson since my instructor had room in his schedule today.

1:30-3:30 Jujitsu Notebook

If you've read my August goals post, then you know that I'm woefully behind on updating my notebook for jujitsu, and this will stand in the way of my being eligible for my black belt exam if I don't get it done. Having a few solid hours to work on it without interruptions is definitely needed.


4:00 to 6:00 TV time

It is my relaxation day so I do need at least one activity that is just for pleasure so I'm going to get caught up on Bachelor in Paradise; it's a guilty pleasure. Though I have to admit, I'll probably be doing laundry during the commercial breaks.


7:00 to 9:00 Jujitsu

I can't afford to miss any classes with the exam only eight weeks away.

How would you spend a day off? Would you completely pamper yourself or use the time to get caught up on other life details.





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Friday, August 12

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links; I may be compensated for purchases made via these links. Thank you for your support of my blog.

Good morning, lovelies!

It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.


I confess...

With the Mister starting his new job, I've been trying to adjust my schedule. When he switches to third shift, there will be more that I need to take care of around our house in the mornings so I'm trying to get up earlier.

This is easier said than done. I really like my sleep, but I have managed to drag myself out of bed nearly two hours earlier than I'm used to. I hope this new habit establishes soon. In the meantime, I'll have another cup of coffee.



I confess...

You know those times when everything winds up happening on the same day? This Saturday is one of those. We were invited to two family weddings, and there's a judo tournament that our dojo is helping host.

Obviously, we can't do all three so we're heading to a wedding, but I really want to compete in the tournament, too. I've told my fellow students that they have to take lots of pictures so I can live vicariously through them.

I confess...

I've been waffling back and forth about attending a conference next month in Las Vegas. I've visited Vegas before, and this conference is a really inconvenient weekend for me to be gone. However, I am the president of my local professional organization, and I should attend to vote and get updates for the membership.


This decision would be a lot easier if it weren't just weeks before my black belt and massage exams...or if the Mister could come with me.

I confess...

I've been a busy bee on the blog lately as a result of getting involved with Inspired Bloggers University. As a result of the classes that I'm taking with Tabitha Philen, I'm working hard to step up my blogging game.

I hope you're enjoying the new look and expanded content. I'd love to hear what you think of the changes. If you have feedback or want to see more of something, please feel free to email me at aubrey@high-heeledlove.com.


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Wednesday, August 10

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Hello, fellow winos!

Welcome to Wino Wednesday! This is a monthly linky party where we discuss any and all things wine-related. If you want to join in the fun, all you have to do is pour yourself a glass and share your love of wine with us.

This week, I came across this awesome list of a dozen uses for wine racks from Apartment Therapy. Let's be real, wine doesn't last long enough in our house to be stored in racks. My favorite is this yarn storage system from Repeat Crafter Me.


I came across this system a while ago and didn't realize that it was wine racks so I had asked the Mister to build me something. Now that I realize it's wine racks, I've been searching for the best solution to make it my own.


I'm loving this hexagonal wine rack from World Market. It would be easy to start with 2-3 and then expand the system as the need to store more yarn grows.


I have also decided that this is the cutest wine caddy for travel. Perfect for bringing new bottles home from a tasting or for heading out to a party or picnic. Isn't the quote on the side of the carrier perfect?


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Tuesday, August 9

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I realized early last month that I had not read a single fiction book all year. All my reading has been non-fiction, most were leadership or financial books. There's certainly nothing wrong with reading for education and growth, but I knew that I needed to add some reading for fun to my bookshelf this summer.

Given that today is National Book Lovers Day, I wanted to share what has been on my reading list lately.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Okay, I mentioned that a couple weeks ago that I've been listening to the Harry Potter series on Audible, and I'm currently sympathizing with a very moody 15-year-old boy in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

I haven't read these books since college, and it's amazing how much detail I had forgotten. I'm hoping to wrap the last few books in the series up before Labor Day. Listening on audio has been a fun way to enjoy the wizarding world while driving and running errands.


Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks


By the way, Audible is offering two free titles when your start a free 30-day trial membership; this special promotion runs through the end of the year.

The King's Curse

I used to love Philippa Gregory's books, and I'm not really sure why I stopped reading her. I loved her Wideacre Trilogy and The Other Boleyn Girl. I think life just got in the way. Anyway, The King's Curse is the final book of six in The Cousins' War series, which following the royal English family during the War of the Roses.



You don't have to read the entire series to enjoy the book, but I will confess I'm a bit of a historical fiction junkie when it comes to this era. If you aren't familiar with the history there, the names and titles of the characters might be confusing.

Before the Fall

This book has been mentioned several times on Anne Bogle's podcast What to Read Next, and it's a New York Times Bestseller. So when my step-mom handed me Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (creator of the tv show Fargo) and told me I needed to read it, I didn't hesitate to accept.


I've only just started the, but I can tell I'm going to enjoy it. The book tells the story of 11 passengers on a plane from Martha's Vineyard to New York City, which crashes 16 minutes after the flight takes off. I promise that last sentence didn't contain spoilers; you'll get that much from the book jacket.


And since today is National Book Lovers Day, I couldn't resist sharing this fun Book Lovers Art piece made from upcycled book pages. It would make a fabulous gift for the reader in your life.


I'd love to hear what's on your reading list this summer. Have discovered any new loves? Do you have a favorite author that I should know about?






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Monday, August 8

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Did you know that yesterday was Friendship Day?

This holiday is one that was originally introduced by Hallmark nearly 100 years ago for people to show their appreciation for their friends. Traditionally, Friendship Day occurs on the first Sunday of August.


Most of my closest friends don't live near me. In fact, for about five years, my best girlfriend and I lived on opposite coasts; now we at least live in the same time zone, each if it would be a 20-hour drive to visit her. But we've been friends for more than 20 years, and there's no way we're letting the fire burn out now.

It can be difficult to maintain a friendship through years and distance, but it's important. Friends are the family that we choose, and with technology these days, there's really no excuse for not trying to be a good friend even over a long distance.

Here are my ideas for keeping a friendship strong when you can't see each other regularly.


Schedule regular phone calls

With our busy lives, this is easier said than done especially if you don't live in the same time zone or have different work schedules. This doesn't have to be a daily thing, but do make it a priority. My best friend and I have a tradition of calling each other during halftime of Gamecock football games since we've been watching games together since college.

Facetime for coffee

Gone are the days of middle school sleepovers, and work and families make weekly brunches out of the question for most of us. (Though I wish we could be the gals from Sex and the City.) But that doesn't mean that you can't pick a day every few weeks to Facetime or Skype each over a cup of coffee.

Text a funny video

There are so many ways to let your friend know you''re thinking of her. Tag her on Facebook when you come across a funny meme. Text a video you know she'd get a laugh out of. If you come across an old photo when cleaning up, email or message to let her in on the memory.



Have a (long distance) movie date

When we were younger, my friends and had traditions of watching the Charlie Brown movies at the holidays, and I know that a few of us still do that with our families, so why not coordinate to do that one the same night. It can be a great way to keep friendship traditions alive. Or pick a movie that's in theater and go see it the same afternoon so you can compare notes later.

Plan a surprise visit

This can be an expensive option, but it's worth every penny. My best friend jumped in the car and drove to South Carolina to surprise me on my 25th birthday when she lived in Delaware. Ten years later, I still think of that as one of my best birthdays ever. Warning: you will need cooperation from your friends' family or roommate and this may take months of preparation.

Send snail mail

I'm not just talking about cards at birthdays and holidays. We all love to get a hand-written note out of the blue, and care packages can be a fun for you to create as for your friend to receive. When my best friend was in California, we'd send her favorite biscuit mixes and barbeque sauces to her once or twice a year since her local grocery didn't carry them. I could pick them up on sale so it wasn't a huge expense to me, but it allowed her to have a little bit of home while living far away.


What are some of your fondest friendship traditions? Do you have additional ideas for celebrating your friendships and keeping them strong?




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Friday, August 5

Good morning, lovelies!

It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.


I confess...

I've said this before: around our house, we believe in birthday weeks. Mine begins on Monday.

But along with that I realized that it's time to renew my drivers license, which means an afternoon at the DMV. Joy.

I confess...

I've always been told you can't take a flattering drivers license photo. When I got married and changed my name, my photo was decent. What do you think the odds are of getting two decent photos in a row?

I confess...

I also got a happy birthday letter from my health insurance company. It included a $30/month premium increase since this is a "milestone" birthday. Getting older isn't everything it's cracked up to be.

I confess...

In addition to my birthday week, the Mister also starts orientation at his new job on Monday. We're both excited about this new change in our lives, and I know he's happy to not be working outside in the heat.

I confess...

Speaking of heat, remind me never to move in August. I've been helping my parents with packing up for their big move across the country, and there's no way to stay presentable moving boxes and furniture in this kind of heat. Sweaty and sticky is not a good look.

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