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A Review of My Erin Condren Life Planner

I am quite the organized person, and I am always on the lookout for different planners and organization methods to try. I first heard about the Life Planner in August of 2013 when I saw a video about it on YouTube by a girl named Dacey. Her channel is YouTube.com/daceycouture. She is one of my favorite people to watch for college organization, and she seems like a generally nice person. I saw her first impressions video on the planner, but I didn’t really think much of it. Fifty dollars for a planner? That’s crazy! Until this past spring I heard from Dacey that the Erin Condren website was selling their planners on clearance so that they would have room to make and sell the new version which came out in June. The clearance price was $30 plus shipping, but I used a discount code that equated to free shipping. I was thrilled when my new planner arrived. It is a pretty hefty price, I won’t lie about that, but it is a very well made planner. The (removable) covers are completely customizable unless you get the ready to ship planner that comes with a coupon to customize a cover later. I got the pre-made planner, and then I customized my own cover:

I love this cover. I customized it with my name, and I also changed the color (which was originally dark blue) to sea foam green. The inside cover is pretty cute with a polka dot print:

I must say that the paper quality is amazing! I have yet to have any problems with ink bleeding through to the next page as it is thicker than the paper in planners that you see at stores like OfficeMax or Target. The 2014/15 version has a lot of quotes sprinkled throughout the planner, and I think the 2015/16 one does, too, just not as many. After the intro, you have all the planner pages, months and weeks together, January through December. In my planner, January through April are blank since I did not have this planner until the beginning of May. Following the calendar, there is a notes section with lines and blank paper. Then there is a two-year look ahead at 2016 and 2017. After that, the planner comes with stickers: a full page of birthday:

And another page with stickers that say: game, day off, hair appointment, dentist appointment, sale, doc appointment, concert, mani/pedi, party, and vacation.

After that, you get two pages of blank stickers, a column each in pink, violet, lavender, blue, turquoise, mint, forest green, olive? green, yellow, and tan. At the back of the planner, you get a two sided pocket to store little things like the free perpetual calendar book that comes with the planner.

The last thing in the planner is a clear zip-pocket so that you can store small things that you want to keep secured in your planner.

I didn’t get any of the Erin Condren brand accessories, and I don’t think they are absolutely necessary. I have been using this planner for the past 7 and a half months, and I love it.

My planning method changed a bit since I first started using it. At first, I used the stickers and the monthly view a lot. I also tracked my daily medicine and my showers for a while. I love the vertical layout, though. It makes much more sense to me to see my week going across a two page spread rather than down one page than down the opposite page.
Here is a blank week from before I got the planner:

Over the summer, I wrote down all of my assignments in the planner, because I was taking an online class. Since I had classes on campus this fall, I wrote down when I had class and only marked in important assignments and tests. I don’t know what I will do in the spring, but I will see. I would like to use it partly as a practice log to mark when and what I practice,

I really do love this planner, and while $50 plus shipping is a big price, I think that there is no way I can go back to the $10 planners you find in Target.

In case you are curious, it is on my Christmas Wishlist. If you want to order one for yourself or maybe as a gift, do so now, because it takes a while to get to you. Also, I might post a “Week in my Life” of my planner sometime in the next couple of months, so stay tuned for that. Happy Holidays!

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Storing Music

This post is an extra post that I do not normally have time to do, but since I am currently on winter break, I will try and post two posts a week for the next month or so.
I have a lot of music, and I need a place to store it. I like to keep my music off of the ground, and off of my desk, at least when I am at home. When I am at school, I love to use my locker. At home, I have a little magazine rack that goes on my wall. If you live in an apartment or a dorm room and want to store stuff on the walls without using nails, use Command Strips and Hooks. If you are moving out soon and need something in a flash, these are great. They also are a great way to hang up your stockings!
Disclaimer: This post does contain an affiliate link.

Semester Rundown

It is December 14, and I am home for winter break! I just completed my first semester away at college last Thursday, so I thought that it might be interesting to summarize what this past semester was like.DORM LIFE I am a junior in college, and since this was my first semester away from home, I thought it would be a good idea to live on campus and to have that experience. I am in a single room in a dorm complex that is for non-freshmen. That means upperclassmen, transfer students (like me), international students, and graduate students live in my complex. I moved in a couple of days early so that I would be able to attend band camp (insert cheesy “one time at band camp…” joke here). Band camp is (supposedly) required for everyone in marching band, but there were quite a few people who either were not enrolled in marching band at the time of band camp or maybe they were not able to get into town early enough. I am super pleased with my single room. It is so nice not having to worry about anyone else’s schedule. I can wake up when I want, go to bed when I want, play music when I want… I live on an all-single-room floor, which is nice. My floor is in the oldest building in the complex, and there are only two floors with livable rooms. I don’t have to worry about people being loud above me, because I live on the second floor. I am very lucky to have met some good friends in my dorm. There are a couple of other people who are my age and are new to the university, so it seems like it was meant to be. I have also befriended people who have been here since they were freshmen.
DORM FOOD At my college, there is the dining hall, a coffee shop, and a small food court on campus. I can use my meal plan at all three of these places, but the only one I really like is the food court. I am a picky person, and when I find something I like, I stick to it (as well as other favorites). The main dining hall has quite a bit of variety, but I am not always able to find something that I find appealing.
CLASSES I am a music major, and I am currently in the normal classes that you would take as a sophomore, because I was not able to take these classes at my community college last year; they were not offered. I had music theory 3 and ear training 3, which should be taken together, but I think there are ways around it. I also had music history 1 which covered everything music from Ancient Greece to the end of the Baroque (1750). I also had to take a general education course. I should be done, if I am lucky, because I might be able to substitute music history for the history requirement. If I cannot do that, I plan on taking it in the summer. My one gen ed this semester was earth science. I took it, because I needed a physical science class with lab, and I figured that it would be the easiest. It was not bad. I got by, and now I am done.
APPLIED CLASSES/ENSEMBLES As a music major, I have to take private lessons on my main instrument, flute, and I plan on adding piano in the spring. More to come on the spring later. I just had flute lessons this semester. I had hour lessons, or two credits. My lesson time was not the best, it was at 8 in the morning, but I survived. I actually have figured out that I like practicing in the morning more than the afternoon, because it is more quiet. Everyone is either sleeping or in class. Part of applied lessons was required attendance and performance at a weekly studio class. If you want to know more about what studio class is like, check out my last blog post. As an upperclassman performance major, I performed more than some of my flute peers, but it was great experience. I do not get nervous for a performance anymore. I also performed in a couple of master classes and got feedback from other non-flute students and one where I got feedback from a professional flutist visiting my university. I was in three ensembles this semester. I was in marching band for the first time ever. It was okay; I learned that I prefer marching piccolo to flute. I got to meet a lot of people, and I believe that marching band is more social than concert band. Game days were long and tiring, but it was an excuse for my parents to come visit and take me to dinner after games. They were also a good way for me to spend my weekends on campus. If I was not in marching band, I probably would have gone home more often. I was also in wind ensemble. It was a different experience than the band at my community college. First off, it was bigger, and there were reduced ensemble pieces, which I did not really like. I felt cheated out of rehearsal and performance opportunities by being excluded from a few pieces. The last ensemble was flute choir. I am required to participate in a chamber ensemble for at least two semesters, but I plan to continue after that. In flute choir, I was able to play alto and bass flute as well as my regular concert flute. I ended up not really liking the bass flute. It is a little too big and heavy for me. I love the alto flute. It has a really cool sound.

Overall, my first semester at a college away from home was pretty good. I had a few challenges to overcome, such as my first season in a marching band and getting back into the swing of ear training, a music skill that is very difficult for me. I am super happy with my choice of a university. I love the campus environment, and the professors manage to be encouraging yet realistic.
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What is Studio Class?

If you are a music major, you probably have to attend a weekly studio class. But what does that term really refer to? What happens in studio class?
Well, in studio class, you meet with your applied professor as well as the other students who play your instrument, and you play for each other. It is a great way to get performance experience. The flute studio at my school is small; there are only nine of us. Still, not everyone plays every week. Usually, about three or four of us will play something individually and the other students will give comments. This is nice, because we get to hear feedback from more than just our applied professor. At first, I was unsure of what I thought about studio class, but now I love it. I look forward to playing for my fellow flute players, and I enjoy hearing them play as well. Plus, as a performance major, it is a great experience.

What I’m Thankful For

My family-and their support of my goals in life
My friends
My musical talents and inclinations
My pets
Access to food and water
A place to call home
A roof over my head and a place to sleep each night
My work ethic
Many other things…

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments or tweet me at (@)itsmixedarts!
Thanks for reading!