The Crazy Lady Plans: ’17-’18 Planner Setup

What do you get when your military dad busts you for screwing up the plans? Alliteration, in a cheesy form, of course! The 6 Ps, according to Papa:

Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.

My eyes still hurt from rolling them back into my head after hearing this so much in my younger years, but DAMN! He was right. I love planning, friends. In fact, you could say I looooooooove planning. My BFF and I were talking the other day about how we’re not the type of people who you can casually invite to the beach last minute, even if we didn’t have kids. We would not be fun people to do that with. (“Sure I’ll go to the beach with you, but first, let me pack my sunscreen, first aid kit, bandaids, etc., and also, we need to leave in 22 minutes in order to beat the traffic, mkay?”) The sheer thought of last-minute plans makes me a little itchy.  But don’t get me wrong, y’all. I don’t always get it right. I meant to post this blog this morning, and here we are at the end of the night. So, there’s that. Cheers!

You might be able to imagine now how excited I am to start my new planner. Somewhere along the way last year, I got a Day Designer for Blue Sky Academic Planner  that I ended up loving, so the crazy person in me hates it a little bit that my year “starts” in June instead of January, but you know what? We roll with the punches. And also, I don’t have time to start a new damned planner in January. Can I get an AMEN?

I’ve been thinking about my planner setup for this year, and made a plan (surprise!). I wanted things simple, accessible, and fun. I decided to go with the same brand of planner, because it’s made by Day Designer, one of my favorite planner companies, but also made for Blue Sky, which means it’s reasonably priced and is made available for me and the other commoners at Target. I’ve spent upwards of $75 on a planner, but I’m at the point in my life that I’m okay with a $30 planner too. It’s so pretty, see? Love.

For the monthly spread, this edition has nice, big, lined squares, and a laminated tab for the month. Bonus points for that rainbow effect on tabs. GIVE ME ALL THE COLORS. On the monthly spread, I decided to keep it simple and only include:

– Bills
– Birthdays
– Pay Days
-Holidays
-Goals for the Month

Not so bad, right? It’s not covered in anything too obnoxious. I added some stickers, but the main focus of my monthly page for me will really be a bill tracker to help us figure out where money will be coming out, and how much money we’ll have to spend on fun things. You know, a BUDGET. Frick, we’ve been bad lately and plan to get better. I think. Whatever.

For my weekly spreads, I’m repeating bills, birthdays, pay days, and holidays along with:

– Meal Plans
-Important dates for Knowing Lola
-Weekly spending reviews
-Monthly tasks on the actual day they fall on
-Any other random stuff that pops up!
-Stickers (DUH).

Again, I don’t want it to end up being too crazy so that it takes me longer to “plan” and decorate than it would to do half of the things on my damned to-do list. Like, I’m happy for the people that can spend hours on their planners, but I personally can’t mentally dedicate that kind of time to my planner, because I would lose my mind, make sense?

I even made a fancy page marker that is removable, that I plan to keep on the monthly page for now. It’s got reminders of things I need to take care of on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. For now, I think this will help me just engrain in my head that I’ve got a lot to do, but it’s all right here in front of me, and I can stop rocking back and forth now, and it’s going to be okay.

I know this will evolve as the year goes on, but I’m excited to implement my new “rules” and ideas into my new planner. CHEERS to a happy, organized 2017, even though it’s almost GD July. Better late than never. Also, it’s fun to pretend like I’m in college again with my academic planner. (Someone meet me at Antonio’s on Northgate for some pizza!)

I made a quick little video of my planner bag that I’m keeping close by while I plan. Before you watch this and judge the shit out of me, I’d like to say that I KNOW I am privileged to have this many stickers in my life. I KNOW these are white-girl problems and that there are bad things happening in the world. But I’m holding on to my stickers for dear life, and clinging to the idea that I have a little bit of control in this crazy, weird world.

Watch that video here, if nothing else to be amazed that they make this many different stickers for grown-ass adults:

I hope you find a fun way to be organized, but if you don’t, you can find solace knowing that some days I literally write “NOPE” in my planner, because I just can’t. I’ll also continue to send emails to myself at 3:30AM while going pee because that’s when God seems to think is a good time for me to remember ALL THE THINGS.

I love you all. Happy planning, or non-planning. Be nice people. Take your meds. See you again soon.

My Dad Never Says, “I Love You”

It’s totally true. He never says it. One time, in middle school, I jumped out of his GMC truck, grabbed my backpack and said, “I love you!” and he squeamishly responded, “Okay!” I’ll never forget that, mostly because I think that’s actually the perfect metaphor for my relationship with my dad. I’m all heart and he’s all Papa.

Father’s Day had me thinking about him, of course. I don’t know how to describe him well enough to actually portray his complexity, but I’ll try. My dad is an engineer, and appreciates facts and reason. He’s kind of course and messy, like the outside crust of a just-smoked brisket. He says what he’s thinking, has no filter, and has no patience for bullshit. He’s an old-school, hispanic male who can’t help but be a product of his hard-as-nails upbringing, sometimes a little callous.

But he’s also the guy you call when the shit is really going down, and he will help you figure it all out, with a level-headed “we’ll get through this” approach. He’d hate for you to know he’s got a thoughtful, squishy side that thinks and feels beneath the top layers. I once took a personality test, and it explained that I’m the type of person who pours a bowl of cereal, and thinks about the people behind the cereal, like “Who are the people that made this cereal?” or, “What’s their life situation like?” I get that from my dad. Basically, I know not to expect a lovey-dovey, card-writing, emotion-sharing, “Daddy” dad. I know to expect a smart, thoughtful, but tough guy who would do (and has done) anything for me or my sisters; who loves us tough, but loves us whole. He’s also funny as hell, and makes the best barbecued-anything you’ve ever had.

I’ve learned from my dad that the world can be a tough one. It’s not fair, and there isn’t a group of people, clapping and waiting to go out of their way to watch out for you. That’s what family is for. I’ve learned that right when you think you’re not good enough, there’s a little nugget of something that lives inside of you, and it glows through the night until you figure out you are good enough in the morning. I’ve learned that when things in your life are falling apart; your friendships, your marriage, your damned self, and you accidentally fuck it up by hiding from the problems, that you learn from your mistakes and get back up again. Bonus points if you apologize to the people you hurt in the process. I’ve learned that sometimes, you’ve gotta spit on the ground, roll up your sleeves, and FIGHT for it.

So, no. He doesn’t say, “I love you.” He just does it, and shows it, and I’m grateful as hell to him and my mom for teaching their girls to be transparent, but strong. To be loving, but to be badasses too.

This Father’s Day, we took a dozen Bill Miller chopped barbecue sandwiches and those mushy, hot fries to my parent’s house. I plopped those bad boys on the table, and made my way into his humid man cave with shelves of African violet sprouts and yellowed papers. I sat down at his dusty PC, logged into my Amazon account, and emailed him a $25 gift card. He wrote me this morning and said he planned to buy a nose hair trimmer, you know, because he’s a dad. It doesn’t get any better than that for me, y’all.

Clearly, I love my parents so much. I hope you celebrated your dad, or someone who filled the role of saving your ass while kind of kicking it too.

Happy Father’s Day, Papa. You (and Mom!) really are my heroes.

P.S. Quick, someone email this to my dad because OF COURSE he doesn’t subscribe to my blog.

Five Things (Under $15!) That I’m Loving Right Now – June 2017

Hey, friends! I haven’t done a “Five Things” list since 2016, so I thought I’d do a June edition in case you were in the mood to #treatyourself like I’ve been lately. Reminder: These links are NOT sponsored and I’m not affiliated with anything I post, other than I’ve been spoiling myself with these modern conveniences in the recent days and I want you to have them too. LET’S BE TWINS. I also increased my $10 splurge to $15, because it’s 2017 and we live in a weird world and God knows we need to be taking care of ourselves.

What: FarmHouse Fresh Fluffy Bunny Shea Butter Hand Cream 
From: Amazon ($13.50)
Why I love it: The next best thing to buying a fluffy bunny is buying FarmHouse Fresh’s Fluffy Bunny shea butter hand cream. I was hoping to find a small, L’Occitane-style lotion to throw in my purse for a little aroma-therapeutic pick-me-up, and thanks to the gods at Amazon, I found this cute little line of beauty products with a farmhouse theme. Fluffy Bunny smells like lavender and mint julep, and is the perfect little balance of calming and bright. P.S. It’s natural and vegan if that’s your thing! P.S.S. I love to be marketed, so the names of these damned lotions are enough to buy them for me. So cute, not fair. Let me know if you try a different smell.

What: HeyBeauty Eyebrow Pencil with Brush
From: Amazon ($8.99)
Why I love it: Thank God for Moms, am I right? I made it all the way to her house to drop off the girls before work when I realized I didn’t put my eyebrows on. I borrowed this pencil from her, had her send me the link, and had that baby on the way to my house in a 45-minute turnaround. It goes on smoothly, and has an edge that makes it easier to “guide” the pencil along. I’m admittedly out of the eyebrows-on-fleek cool kid crew, but this thing is awesome. I ordered it in light brown and love it.

What: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
From: Amazon ($8.07)
Why I love it: Hey, no fair. I’m double promoting this book that I’m reading for my summer reading challenge (#klreadingchallenge WHAT WHAT) but I love, love, love it. Another shout-out to Kim for pointing me in the direction of this delicious writing. Who doesn’t like to read advice, even if you’re screaming something completely different in your head. Treat yo’self.What: Paper Mate Mates 1.3mm Mechanical Pencils
From: Amazon ($3.79)
Why I love it: Yes, it’s a pencil. Yes, they’re only $4. Yes, I’m totally serious. I ordered these for work for me and an admin friend (Allison – hey, girl, hey!) because we are both nerds with office supplies, and I loved them so much I ordered my own little batch for my house. It’s a mechanical pencil, but the lead is THICK like an old-fashioned pencil. It almost feels like you’re writing with a small chalk pen. That good, y’all. Love them, and they’re in assorted colors, which is my middle name. Alyssa Assorted Colors Smith.

What: LIHIT LAB Bag-In-Bag Laptop Sleeve
From: Amazon ($13.66)
Why I love it: So, I used to throw my bills into a bag and let them get crumpled, because I felt like that was a pretty good metaphor of how I felt about them. But, since I’m a superstar and have made an effort to get my shit together before I turn 30, I bought this neat little sleeve that allows me to neatly place my 8.5×11 papers, so that I can at least appear to be a grown up with straight papers in front of others. This bad boy holds my bills so I can pay them on time (whaaaat?) and is also home to a few emergency thank you notes and birthday cards, because I’m prepared, dammit. Sometimes, organizational tools at least inspire you to be better, and this one has worked for me. I even bought a green one for Marc so I can shove his “to-do” papers in his backpack before work. BOOM.

I hope you find some time to relax and spoil yourself a little this month. If you have time, hop over to Instagram and document your summer reading time on my challenge hashtag. If you’re feeling crafty, hop on over to YouTube where I’m filming weekly layouts for Project Life. If you’re feeling tired, go take a nap. Love you all.

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What I’m Doing Upstairs (Not Drugs)

If you’re reading this, and you know me, you’ll know that if there is an easier way to do something, my lazy ass is going to figure it out. Ask my mom, who still furrows her eyebrows when I tell her I microwave our steamed vegetables. (Mom, +5 points to you for cooking your veggies on the stove, though! The utility company and I still love you.)

You also know that I love to scrapbook. So, when Scrapbooking Baby Jesus came down from the Heavens and gave us pocket pages, the angels sang in my heart. I know some of my friends think I’m absolutely batshit crazy for still printing photos and decorating paper. Who’s doing that anymore? Well, this girl is!…and a bunch of other crazy scrapbookers are too, thankyouverymuch. Do you know why? Because we love easy, and we’re sentimental memory-hoarders too.

You can read more about Project Life by Becky Higgins if you’re interested in the backstory and marketing, but let me give you the gist.

You can take these:

and make these: 

TADA! IT’S MAGIC.

I LOVE how easy it is to rescue our memories from our heads and my external hard drive, but my absolute favorite part about scrapbooking this way is watching Maggie flip through the pages and laugh out loud at the pictures. Damn, that feels good. She’s remembering the good times, in her own little way, and I hope one day, she sits down and reads the journaling too.

If you’re thinking about preserving your memories in a different way than using TimeHop, consider this method. If you’re cool with TimeHop, text me your embarrassing memories, because I love that stuff too.  It’s also worth noting that if you’re even lazier than I am, they have digital apps that you can plop your photos in and create beautiful layouts to print, and they’ll send that shit straight to your house. YES MA’AM, they will. I hope you get inspired to find a way to be creative and do what’s right for you.

Full disclosure: If you come to my house, I’m gonna make you sit down and look at these albums and appreciate my work.

JK, I’m actually an introvert and probably want you to get off my couch. Watch my YouTube videos instead.

Lola’s Summer Reading Challenge 2017

It’s summertime, y’all, which means it’s time for an old-fashioned reading challenge. Do you remember when we were little and would get a fancy little worksheet from our teachers with cute little spaces to document our summer reading progress? My sisters and I even got to turn in book reports to my grandparents for money. Those were the drinking-water-from-the-backyard-hose days, am I right?

Well, inspired by my BFF, Becca, who asked for a reading challenge but totally won’t do it, I decided to make a fancy little sheet of my own for Lola’s First Ever Summer Reading Challenge. [Queue Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” here!] If we’re gonna fail, let’s all fail gloriously together.

Current nightstand view:


(Shoutout to my new friend, Kim, who sent me a loving, thoughtful email with suggested reading. I ordered How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly’s Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life by Heather Havrilesky and Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed as soon as I could!)

Rules:

  1. There are no rules. We’re gonna have fun, okay?
  2. Read if you can, but don’t feel bad if you can’t. I’m shooting for 15 minutes a night, which is about 1,000 years in Mom Time.
  3. Use the blank space on the worksheet for whatever you want. Ideas: write a three-word summary of how you feel after you read, OR write the thing you *should* have been doing instead of reading, OR write the thing your heart needed more than reading, like Cheetos.

The month of June starts this Thursday, so get your butt on Amazon, and two-day ship your summer read. Or just grab the book that’s been on your shelf for 10 months staring at you, calling you names like “lazy” and “dummy.” I haven’t decided which of these two books I’ll pick for the official challenge, but it doesn’t matter since I’m really only in it to impress whoever walks into the room and witnesses me being a Fancy Book-Reading Lady.

Document the fun at #klreadingchallenge, especially if you’re doing something way more fun than reading, like drinking wine or eating those Cheetos we talked about.

Click here to download Lola’s Magical, but Profanity-Laden Reading Challenge PDF Printable, but not if you hate bad words.

Love you all, and can’t wait to read/possibly fail at this with you.

KLpbsmp

How Many Points for Pinot Noir?

Happy Seven-Weeks-Since-Having-A-Baby Day!

It’s time for me to review (only some of) the desperate things I’ve done in the past few weeks to feel like a competent human being:

  1. Spent hundreds of dollars on some shadow ombre highlights, because you KNOW I’m not going in every 4-6 weeks to update my damned hair, but I needed some blonde to feel alive. See you in the fall, Brooke the Hair Girl, who I owe my life to.
  2. Ordered all the closet organization tools I could find, because THIS IS THE YEAR I’ll finally publish a home organization book on the side, right?
  3. Created a spreadsheet of things I need to remember to do on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis, including brushing my teeth. Wish I was joking.
  4. Went emergency clothes shopping with mom since I tried on my “normal” pants the Thursday before I went back to work and I felt like a can of just-opened biscuits.

Which brings me to my favorite self-improvement effort I’ve done so far: joining Weight Watchers. Yeah, girl, I did that! I ain’t mad about it.

After the biscuit can clothes debacle, I sat myself down in the rocking chair I’d been feeding my new baby in hours before, and gave myself five minutes to cry. Marc sweetly approached me and asked if he could do anything, and through big, dramatic tears, I declined, telling him about my five minute cry plan, and reiterating that if my girls were this size, I’d honestly think they were beautiful. So, it was 9:55AM and my five minutes was up. Time to get a move on. I joined a week later.

My main goal is to learn to be healthier, and losing weight will be a bonus. Listen, I’m fully aware that my zero-point Diet Coke is not “good” for me. But right now, it’s better than ALL THE THINGS I want to put in my mouth, so I’m taking baby steps until I can become a certified, organic, bean-sprout-eating fool. I’m already down 7.6 pounds, thankyouverymuch. I don’t even care if that was 7.6 pounds in tears from crying in the rocking chair. I’m not letting anyone rain on my parade, because I’m doing what I can to better myself, and this works for me, for now. Okay? Okay??? Wish me luck.

P.S. New Rule: if you search for the things that you really want, and it doesn’t show up, you get to go with the lowest point of all the listings. Pretty sure Weight Watchers would approve.

Love you all, and the desperate things you’re doing to make yourself a better one.