My First Aldi Trip

Reasons to Love Aldi

  1. It’s CHEAP
  2. It isn’t full of all the crazies in town (I haven’t heard of a peopleofaldi.com, have you?)
  3. It’s small and there aren’t 800 types of mayonnaise to choose from.
  4. It makes me want to buy produce.
  5. It makes me want to cook (and now I can!)

My First Aldi Grocery List

(okay friends, I bought everything I am about to list for less than $50, I bought more than what was on the list I went in with, and I wasn’t actively trying to save myself money like I should have been)

(also keep in mind that I’m cooking for one, and the my refrigerator is really little)

  • Produce
    • Bananas
    • two Gala apples
    • a bag of spinach
    • two containers of strawberries
    • 6 kiwis
    • 4 tomatoes
    • a head of iceberg lettuce
  • Grains
    • a loaf of french bread (not a baguette, but a loaf)
    • whole wheat tortillas
  • Dairy
    • sliced provolone
    • sliced mozzarella
    • feta crumbles
    • shredded Parmesan
    • a block of creamy Havarti
    • one small container of strawberry Greek yogurt
  • Meats
    • sliced oven roasted turkey
    • 3 chicken breasts
  • Condiments (and stuff that isn’t snacks, but I don’t know what else to call it)
    • Agave
    • creamy peanut butter
    • almond butter
    • tomato soup
    • pasta rings (Spaghetti-Os)
  • Snacks
    • honey wheat pretzels
    • a hazelnut chocolate bar
    • a little baby chocolate cake (dangerous, avoid, I ate half it today)

Overall, I really enjoyed Aldi. It was almost like culture shock, and I walked past things without realizing I walked past them, but I have a feeling that once I get used to the way it’s laid out, I’ll be fine. Remember to take your own bags, and be on the lookout for boxes that are floating around the store!

Plans for my new groceries

  • Parmesan crusted chicken
  • Spinach and strawberry salad with homemade dressing
  • PB&B roll-ups
  • Turkey Tom knock-off
  • Grilled cheese with mozzarella
  • snacks at work, duh
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Inside My Erin Condren (Phase 1)

Okay, so I’ve had a few requests to go ahead and show you all the initial stages of my planning, so I’ll do that, and if you look at this post, you can see my opinions on some of the updates that Erin Condren came up with this year.

Keep in mind that payday is in the morning, and that I will finally be ordering my stickers from Faye Creates tomorrow, so a post should be coming along in the somewhat near-ish future with my fully planning layout. I also don’t have any washi in my planner yet — I’m kind of seeing if I like the Faye Creates stickers and my colorful pens by themselves before I start adding washi.

Okay, so since I’ve already discussed covers and the first few pages of the planner, we’ll jump right to the goals page, which is new to the 15-16 Life Planner.

My very blank goals page.
My very blank goals page.

I opted to leave these boxes blank for now. I think I would like to use them as monthly goals for July – June, but I haven’t quite decided yet. I just don’t think I have enough areas of my life to assign a box to each one. Who knows, maybe I’ll never use this page…

Moving right along to the montly pages.

So far, I don’t have any washi, and the only stickers I have are the birthday stickers that came tucked away in the back of the planner.

August in the 15-16 planner
August in the 15-16 planner

I have included my classes for the fall semester, because I wanted something to write down. As exams and quizzes come up as the semester advances, I will just take a sticker in the color that corresponds to the class, and place it over the line that states the class name.

Sometimes this will require writing a few of the classes over again, which is where erasable gel pens come in handy (YES, they are real thing! You can find them on Amazon here).

This is much more steamlined than when we compare it to the monthly spread from August 2014:

August in the 14-15 planner
August in the 14-15 planner

I like the washi from my planner last year, but I wanted to try something new this year.

For some further comparison, here are September from this year and last year.

September 2015
September 2015
September 2014
September 2014

As you can see, the color scheme has flipped, I will be 20 this year, I traded in washi for coloring in squares with Prismacolor colored pencils, and I spilled water all over last year’s planner.

Since July hasn’t started yet, I don’t have a super great example of what my weekly spread looks like, but I have one for the first week of class, as well as one from a week in September from last year’s planner (pardon the water stains…).

15-16 planner. I used my gel pens to write in the name, time, and location of each class I am taking. I only did this for the first week, as it will stand as a reference for the weeks to come, and the upcoming weeks will begin to be used to keep track of new homework assignments and due dates.
15-16 planner. I used my gel pens to write in the name, time, and location of each class I am taking. I only did this for the first week, as it will stand as a reference for the weeks to come, and the upcoming weeks will begin to be used to keep track of new homework assignments and due dates.
14-15 planner. I designed flyers for my Community Council, and used coil clips to include each one in my planner, which kicked me in the butt when I spilled water on it.
14-15 planner. I designed flyers for my Community Council, and used coil clips to include each one in my planner, which kicked me in the butt when I spilled water on it. As you can see, my days get more crowded as time goes on.

I try to avoid washi and a bunch of superfluous decorations on the weekly spreads. My appointments, events, and tasks make the page busy enough without treating my planner as a scrapbook (I’m also not as creative or crafty as some of the other planner addicts floating around).

Okay, so now we can take a look at what I (currently) carry around with my in my planner (this s subject to change upon the arrival of my Faye Creates stickers, which I know I will obsess over the instant they are in my hands).

Spare envelopes.
Spare envelopes. Craft paper is my favorite, because all you need is a white gel pen and a pencil to make them look bomb dot com.
Stamps (I also have a few Toy Story ones floating around somewhere).
Stamps (I also have a few Toy Story ones floating around somewhere). These are especially important when I’m travelling and decide to send post cards.
The 8 billion stickers included in my past two planner purchases.
The 8 billion stickers included in my past two planner purchases.

I also went ahead and removed all the sheets of birthday, event, and blank stickers from my old planner, trimmed off the coil edge, and stuck them in my Keep It Together pouch (after I took all these pictures of course) so that I have a wider range of colors to work with. I like it when people get to pick their favorite color for their birthday sticker, and I use a wide range of colors when coding my classes as well.

Okay, well it’s 1:00am here, and I’m tired. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. And be on the lookout for an update on my planner in a few weeks!!

Also, for any of you who haven’t discovered your passion for Erin Condren yet (whether you just like her Do It All Dots, you want a custom notebook, or you want to go all out and get yourself a Life Planner), click here and create yourself an account, earning a $10 off discount towards your first purchase!!

My Thoughts on the Erin Condren 15-16 Life Planner

TL;DR

  • Prettier
  • bigger coil
  • better place to write your name inside the cover
  • cuter accessories
  • stickers are limiting

(If you want to see the initial stages of my planning process, click here)

I’ll be posting some pictures of the old planner alongside pictures of the new so you all can kind of get a feel for the differences.

To start off, we can just take a basic look at the cover of my planners. This year I opted for the Ready to Ship option, as I wanted to be sure I had it before July rolled in to town. I had a $10 store credit on on old account, so I actually used that to pay for the shipping on my personalized cover (which should be shipping out early next week). Last year I went with the Party Pops in the signature black color with rainbow dots, because I wanted my cover to match the inside of the planner as much as possible.

The cover of this year's Ready To Ship planner.
The cover of this year’s Ready To Ship planner.
Cover from the 14-15 planner. If you look closely you can see the scratches, a slight bubble in the lamination, and some wear and tear around the edges, but all in all the cover is still in amazing shape.
Cover from the 14-15 planner. If you look closely you can see the scratches, a slight bubble in the lamination, and some wear and tear around the edges, but all in all the cover is still in amazing shape.

Next up we’ll take a look at just inside the front covers.

15-16 planner. A space to write you name is included on plain paper, just beneath the decorative vellum.
15-16 planner. A space to write you name is included on plain paper, just beneath the decorative vellum.
14-15 planner (and this is why I got the cover to match). This planner had the space to write your name on the inside of the laminated cover.
14-15 planner (and this is why I got the cover to match). This planner had the space to write your name on the inside of the laminated cover.

This is something I’m really happy to see was changed for the 15-16 Life Planner. I have lost count of the number of times I had written my name on the inside of my planner, as every time I did, it would rub off. Also, if you got replacement covers, you would have to keep writing your name, over and over and over.

This year the space for your name was included on a piece of paper, just below a decorative vellum, and I am more than okay with this change.

Also, I love that there is a page for notes before each month. Now I can write down mailing addresses for postcards when I go to California in August, a list of cards and presents so I can write birthday thank you notes in September, Halloween costume ideas in October, etc. (Sorry, I neglected to take a picture of the notes pages, oops…)

Now, skipping on ahead to the back the the accessories.

Let’s start with the perpetual calendar.

15-16 planner Perpetual Calendar
15-16 planner Perpetual Calendar
14-15 planner Perpetual Calendar
14-15 planner Perpetual Calendar

Okay, so really not much has changed with the Perpetual Calendar. I think the new one is much cuter (albeit much pinker), but all in all the redesign has been very nice. That being said, one thing I really enjoyed from the old Perpetual Calendar (which I would show you, but it has all sorts of personal information all over it), is the page for important numbers. Numbers like the school, the salon, the repairman, the doctor, etc. I loved that page, and it was sorely missed in the newest edition.

Up next, STICKERS! These are the birthday and general event stickers that come with the planner, bound into the coil in the back.

15-16 planner birthday stickers
15-16 planner birthday stickers
14-15 planner birthday stickers
14-15 planner birthday stickers

Okay, so the design of the birthday — and the not-pictured event — stickers look mostly the same. What I will say is this: I preferred the wide array of colors for the birthday stickers in last year’s planner, even if the colors were the same as for the event stickers. This whole warm-colors-only palette in the new planner isn’t super up my alley.

I also liked the other, solid stickers so much that I tore their pages from the old planner and I am keeping them in my Keep It Together pocket in the back of my new planner.

Now let’s dive into the free goodies that came with all our planners this year versus the ones that came in last year’s planner.

15-16
15-16
15-16
15-16
15-16
15-16 Do It All Dots
15-16 Compliment Cards
15-16 Compliment Cards
15-16, one coil clip
15-16, one coil clip

Okay, so all the accessories pictured above came complimentary with the 15-16 Ready To Ship Planner.

Included:

  • Generic gift and thank you labels
  • 1 coil clip
  • 3 compliment cards
  • 3 referral cards
  • 1 postcard
  • 1 motivational sticker
  • Do It All Dots sample

I really want to like the Do It All Dots, but what I don’t like is their lack of customization. With a site like Faye Creates, you can suit your stickers to better fit your specific lifestyle, and looking at the Do It All Dots, there are quite a few that I would probably never end of using.

14-15 Customized gift labels
14-15 Customized gift labels

So, because I got the RTS this year as opposed to a customized planner, I didn’t get customized gift labels (which did kind of bum me out a bit until I thought about it and figured out why). Other than that, I think the free goodies were an improvement.

Well friends, I think that’s all I have for you (for now) in terms of my thoughts on the newest ECLP!

If you want to look into any member of the Erin Condren line, be sure to click here, create an account, and receive $10 off your first purchase!!

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.

Side note: OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS PLANNER SO MUCH AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND JULY CANNOT GET HERE SOON ENOUGH.

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.

IMG_20150611_223730
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.

IMG_20150611_224041
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.

IMG_20150611_223530

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.
IMG_20150612_035414
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!
IMG_20150612_050319
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