Planner Update

So, I picked up my planner from FedEx (after finally tracking it down), and I had every intention of showing you how I use my planner (minus the stickers), with very detailed pictures.


Alright, continuing on:

However, last night, when I got off work, I dropped my phone and shattered all three of the screens on my ridiculously expensive Nexus 6, and now I can’t use it at all.

I then had the thought that I would just use my digital camera, but I don’t have a cord for it to upload the pictures I have taken on it. And because I’m busy trying to find approximately $400 I can’t really spare even the $10 I would need for the cord right now (sounds a little ridiculous, I know, but I don’t get paid until Friday).

So here’s what we’ll do: I’ll try to pick up a cord on Friday when I get paid and I’ll try to post my planner. Maybe we’ll wait until I get my stickers and my phone is fixed. Which would you prefer?


Okay so I done goofed. My planner was supposed to be delivered today, but campus mailing services is closed on Saturday, so back to the FedEx holding facility it went. Thinking this holding facility was the one in town, I changed my delivery options to “Hold at Facility” because I was thinking hey, the FedEx office in town doesn’t close until 9:00pm, and it’s only 8 right now. So I clicked it, and rushed on down to the FedEx store, hoping I could actually get my planner a few days early.

No such luck. They told me that I would have had to select “Hold at Facility” before the package had attempted to be delivered.

Soooooo now I think I will be waiting until Tuesday to get my planner 😦

How to Take Notes: From a Textbook

You can view this post in video form by clicking here.

This method is best suited for textbook or article notes, and is a version of revised notes. It is also well suited for books you plan on returning to the bookstore or books you have rented, as it does not involve writing directly in the book itself.

First, you’ll need to find a notebook, and the pens you like the best. My favorite notebooks to work with for note-taking, especially for my “revised” notes, are the Moleskine, hard or soft cover, in size extra large. For this specific class (Intro to Gender and Women’s Studies), I decided that lined pages would suit my needs better. For my math, engineering, and science classes, I usually opt for squared paper, as I draw in lots of diagrams and graphs.

My favorite pens ever are Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, so even though they show through the pages a little bit, I still choose to use them. I just love the way they write. I usually write out my notes themselves with a Pilot G2 05 with black ink, as it writes with a finer line and doesn’t bleed through quite as much.

I usually try to set up my notebooks about a week or so before class starts, that way it’s ready to go on my first day of class.

Hardcover, extra-large Moleskine with lined pages and Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens

You’ll want to start off by setting up your notebook. On my first page, I put my course code for my university, as well as the course title.

Title Page
Title Page

Next, and this is perfectly optional (I just like the way it makes the book look, especially at the end of the semester), I include some sort of related quote to the course. For my engineering courses (which are related to my major), I put a different quote at the beginning of each section. But as this is a two-month long course during the summer, I opted for one quote by Mohadesa Najumi at the beginning of my book.

My chosen quote, but Mohadesa Najumi.
My chosen quote, by Mohadesa Najumi.

Next I set up my table of contents and include a page with basic course information. As this course is all online, my course information just included the start and end dates of the course, what time content is posted and on what day, and the name of my professor. For my usual courses, I will include the days of the week the class meets on and where, TA names and contact info, as well as posted office hours for my professors and TAs and tutoring hours either in the library or in the College of Engineering.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Next is one of the things I’m most proud of.

While I religiously use my Erin Condren planner to map out my days, weeks, and months, I have found throughout my college experience that including monthly views for the months my class ranges has been helpful. This way, there’s no sifting through the multiple colors I have in my planner, and everything related to that class is in the same notebook.

On this calendar I include start dates of the class, the end date, the dates of exams or quizzes, assignment deadlines, office hours, etc.

For this course, as I just started a few days ago, I don’t have a lot of dates or information, so my calendars are still very empty.

June monthly layout, and the pens I use for calendars, Pilot Frixion gel pens.
June monthly layout, and the pens I use for calendars, Pilot Frixion gel pens.
July monthly layout.
July monthly layout.

Next up I go to my weekly overview. At the beginning of each week, I set up a weekly layout, and I include a list of assignments, tests, quizzes, tasks, projects, etc that need my attention throughout the week, and I place the days I plan on doing them or the days they need turned in onto the weekly layout.

On the left is my list of tasks for the week, and on the right is a rectangle for each day where I put due dates and the days I need to do which assignment.

Now you’re finally ready to get into taking the notes.

Gather your book, some sticky notes, and your favorite pen or pencil.

I color code my stickies so that the “revision” process later goes a bit smoother. In this case, I’m using blue to denote something interesting, intriguing, or thought provoking, greenish-yellow to represent the facts or important concepts, and pink for important vocabulary words and their definitions.

Post-Its, my textbook, a Pilot G2 05 with black ink, and green tea (obviously important).
Post-Its, my textbook, a Pilot G2 05 with black ink, and green tea (obviously important).

Read the selection once.

As you read along the second time, write notes on your stickies, and place them in a place of relevance directly on the page in the book. Just make sure you don’t cover up anything you need to keep reading.

Writing important bits of information on stickies.
Writing important bits of information on stickies.
Placing my stickies onto my pages.
Placing my stickies onto my pages.


Now, once you’ve read all the material in questions (you can choose to break it up however you want, but since Chapter 1 was assigned for the week, I’ve elected to break it into chapters), carefully remove your stickies one by one and lay them out on a flat surface. This is when having a separate color for vocab can be helpful, as I sometimes put all of my vocab at the beginning or end of a section, especially if the section of reading was particularly large.

Organize your stickies in an order that makes sense to you, and use this order as your basis for transferring those notes into your notebook. The order you choose can just be lumping them under similar headings. Some classes even lend themselves to a nice chronological order. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s something that will make sense to you when you come back to it in the end.

My first pages of notes -- which I did *not* use the sticky note method for even though I should have.
My first pages of notes — which I did *not* use the sticky note method for even though I should have. I actually use a Pilot G2 05 for writing my notes, and the Staedtler just for the heading on the first page.
All my stickies removed from my book and spread out on my desk.
My stickies organized into general categories, which you can sort of see in the columns. It doesn't have to be pretty at this point, you just need to understand what's happening.
My stickies organized into general categories, which you can sort of see in the columns. It doesn’t have to be pretty at this point, you just need to understand what’s happening.

Now you just start writing everything from the stickies into your notebook. I like to take each category or subgroup and put them in the book on the facing page, then put them back in my textbook as I finish with each post it.

I place my stickies on the facing page so that when I finish the one that is on top, I put it back in my textbook and move on through the stack.
I place my stickies on the facing page so that when I finish the one that is on top, I put it back in my textbook and move on through the stack.
Moving on to the next category.
Moving on to the next category.

Before you know it, you’ve written all of your stickies into your notebooks.

One more category left!
One more category left!
Chapter 1 is officially done πŸ™‚

Now you’re revved up and ready to go. You can either keep going and make a note summary page (which I’ll show you next week), or you can leave it. These will also be helpful when reviewing for tests and quizzes. You can highlight or underline, or use even more stickies (which is what I usually do) as you review.

Well, that’s all I have for you right now. Happy studying!

xoxo, S

Walkin’ On Sunshine


Sometimes you just need to do your makeup, curl your hair, and take an absurdly large number of selfies and make yourself see just how cute you are.

Being broken up with has a habit of making you look at yourself and neglect to see how awesome, how fabulous, and how perfect you are in your own way. So today I put on one of my favorite lipsticks, curled my hair, and marveled at the fact that I went a shade darker in my foundation since laying out the other day.
imageI mean, come on, look at me. I’m adorable.

I just need to take a step back sometimes and look at the picture and make a list of the things I love about myself. Does that usually require looking at myself the way someone else would? Yes. But hey, it gets the job done.

So, go give yourself some love. Maybe your version of love is running a few miles and feeling the way your muscles move and loving your body for being so strong. Maybe you sit on a window sill and read a book and marvel at how your brain has the ability to transport you somewhere else entirely. Perhaps you look around at your family and appreciate yourself for how you care for them and take care of them. Whatever you need to do, just make sure you look at yourself and know you are who you are meant to be, know that you are wonderful in every way.

Don’t just walk on sunshine, be the sunshine.

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. – Anthony J. D’Angelo

xoxo, S

Summer Lovin’

06.07.2014 || 6:45 pm

Spotted: Sam laying out, reading Game of Thrones, and slowly turning into an over-sized lobster.

Well friends, this summer has gotten pretty lonely here in Stilly — an expected, yet unfortunate, setback of the campus population dropping from 30,000 to 4,000 in one simple weekend.

To combat the sudden onset of loneliness while I work for the university (how else will I afford my beautiful planner??), I decided to use one of my few free afternoons to lay on the lawn just outside my dorm window. Much to my dismay, I somehow managed to fall asleep (I think), and now I am utterly unable to lean my back against anything without wanting to scream.

I’m Irish and Scandinavian, one would think I am now accustomed to the consequences of submitting myself to direct sunlight, but I honestly don’t think I have ever had a sunburn hurt this badly. It has wormed its way into my very muscles it seems, as I’m achey and sore, and shakey and cold. This is the worst.

Oh well, good thing I know to always have a bottle of aloe on hand.

That’s all for now — keep an eye out for upcoming DIYs,Β  Tips and Tricks, recipes, Fail Proof Guides, and a walkthrough of MY NEW ERIN CONDREN LIFE PLANNER THAT I CANNOT WAIT TO ORDER.

xoxo, S