Saturday, November 21, 2015

Product Review: Lilly Pulitzer Agendas 2015-16

Today, my lovely readers, I'm going to do a product review on something that I carry with me everywhere- my Lilly Pulitzer agenda! I'm going to be very direct; I was in no way compensated for this post, all views expressed are my own on this product which I purchased on my own. And just as a heads up, this is going to be a very photo oriented post because my phone camera is working! The period when my phone camera destabilized was a very dark period for me, and now that it's back in full color, you guys get to see lots of pretty pictures!

I begin this post with some commentary that's specific to certain pages/my own personal use of the planner. After this, you'll find my overall commentary on the product. (I recently learned how to use subheadings that aren't just making certain pieces of text larger and changing the color so that they look like headings but aren't, so get excited for that!)

Some Page Specific Commentary:

If you're as scatterbrained as I am, a good planner is a must. My planner may look super hectic because of all the stickers, but I always have enough room for all of my events for the day. You'll notice in the picture below that I really like to use the medium tip Flair pens for my planner. These pens are amazing and don't bleed through the pages like you would expect a felt tip pen to.

Sometimes I like to add washi tape along the edges of the page for a decorative touch. The pages already have a Lilly Pulitzer print along the top edge and sometimes an illustration, but other than that, they're a blank canvas.

At the beginning of the planner and also at the beginning of the months, there's a full calendar layout spread. I generally use these pages to mark when major assignments are due and family events. The boxes are a little small for my liking, but I don't see any other way that they could design the page to make the calendar bigger without changing the size of the planner.

The planner comes with an adorable page of stickers in the Lilly Pulitzer style. As you can see, I really like stickers, so these are a nice addition to the pages. If you don't want to clutter your planner pages with as many stickers, these ones are super great because they don't look like add-ons the page because of the similar style. In this picture you also get a really good idea of what the tabs look like that separate the different sections of the planner. The tabs are glossy as opposed to the matte paper used on all of the pages, keeping them in good condition while they're sticking out from the side of the book. (The tabs do not extend past the edge of the cover, but are in line with it, putting them at high risk of injury if they weren't protected like they are.)

The planner also has a spread of pages for 'Days to Celebrate'. This is where I like to keep track of friend's and family's birthdays. It has all the months written out and gives lines underneath for you to write in your important occasions. The planner also has a separate page for national holidays, so you don't need to remember all of those.

There's a bunch of pages for phone numbers and addresses. I found these pages not very useful because I already have this information in my phone. Since the stickers make the planner so much thicker than it usually is, I removed some of these pages to make extra room in the spiral binding. In addition to removing some of these pages, I also removed the full calendar layout at the beginning of the planner since each month also has a calendar layout before it.

The notes section of the planner comes in really handy for when I need to jot something down, but don't have any other paper. I often use this section to make lists such as grocery lists, but also to write down important details of assignments that I don't have room for in the general week layout. In my last Lilly Pulitzer planner, I actually ended up using all of my notes pages, so I think they're a really great addition to a planner.

You can see below the difference in size between the medium (top) and the large (bottom) planners. Lilly Pulitzer also stocks a jumbo sized planner which I personally have not used before, but am curious about trying out. The only thing is that the jumbo planner only comes in a select couple of patterns.

The planner patterns that I have are the Wild Confetti (large) and the Lilly's Lagoon (medium). The large planner is 6 3/4 by 8 7/8 inches and the medium planner is not being sold anymore, so I can't find the specific sizing.

Overall Commentary:

I really like this planner a bunch! I have both the large and the medium planners because I was given one as a gift after I had bought my own. I prefer to use the large sized planner just because of how much extra space I have to write down daily plans. I find the calendar spread layout on the medium planner just too ridiculously tiny to use because you can't fit that many words in a box. I tend to use my large planner for my school and social stuff, while my medium planner is more for blog stuff. (Update: after checking online, I can no longer find the spiral bound medium planner, just the large and jumbo sizes.) 

The planner has an elastic band that keeps it shut, although I've seen people use this to mark what page they're on. I generally just put a little post-it on the top of the week that I'm at and then use the elastic to keep the whole thing closed so that the pages don't get all wrinkled up in my backpack. The elastic is really durable and I've never had an issue with it, which is a feat considering how much my planner goes through.

The spiral binding is also really nice because it allows the planner to sit flat when you open it up to a page. The only issues I have with the binding is that sometimes the pages don't move on it the way that they should, so they get stuck. The binding is also fit expecting that the planner will not gain in size, this is not the case when you are adding stickers or other decorative elements to the pages. If you're looking for a planner that can take a lot of extras, the Erin Condren planner is meant for that kind of use. In order to get my planner to fit all this extra stuff, I needed to remove some pages from it that I wasn't going to use.

The features of this planner are great! The entire beginning of the planner is sectioned off into things such as 'Notes' or 'Travel Planner' or my personal favorite, 'Days to Celebrate'. The tabs on the edges of the pages make the planner easy to maneuver through and quickly find what you're looking for.

The Bottom Line:

I would totally recommend this planner to someone looking for a good week-long planner. If you're looking for more of a day-specific planner that outlines the day in an hour by hour fashion, this may not be the planner for you, you would probably want either the Day Planner or the Erin Condren planner. (The Erin Condren planner being the most expensive planner of the bunch.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I'm Thankful For (College Edition)

Thanksgiving is just round the corner, and since I already shared a Christmas-themed post, I had to back track to make sure that all the holidays received their attention. Here's a list of some of the many things that I'm thankful for about college thus far. I'm having a great time here at Concordia and if anyone has any questions about the school itself, don't be afraid to reach out! (I love to promote Concordia...)

So here it goes:
  • The shower water heats up really quickly in the dorms
  • When they have loaded baked potato soup in dining services
  • When 8AM classes get cancelled
  • When my mini fridge stays in between ice cold and room temp
  • When I met the girl who lives above me and found out that she actually practices tap dancing and that I wasn't just imagining noise
  • That we can control the temperature in our rooms individually
  • When people walk their dogs on campus and let you pet them
  • I can eat cheese and crackers whenever I want
  • Not having to take written communications (Thank you AP credit!)
  • Having cool stories to tell people about what it's like to live by Chicago
  • My sorority sisters and my wonderful bigs
  • When they have chocolate pudding in dining services
  • Facetime calls with my dog (and my family)
  • When you forget to take your clothing out of the washer and someone moves it to the dryer for you
  • Classes that are actually interesting
  • The custodian who cleans our floor's bathroom
  • Care packages and letters from home
  • Campus squirrels
  • When they have bosco sticks in dining services
  • Netflix
  • Semi-reliable wifi on campus
  • The fact that our dorm has decent sized closets and dressers
  • My totally rad roommate
That's just a few of the many things. Tell me what you're thankful for down in the comments section!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

An Open Letter to the Girls Who I Share A Dorm Floor With:

Dear People on my Dorm Floor,

I'm here to air some complaints,

  1. Two in the morning is not the appropriate time to run screaming down the hallway playing tag, I would understand the screaming if there was a fire or you were being chased by a crazed killer, but since you are not, please keep the noise level down to at least a normal talking volume.
  2. We're all adults here, and I'm pretty sure that we all learned some time around preschool that when you're sharing a bathroom with other people, it's only polite to flush the toilets and clean up after yourselves. Yes, we have a cleaning lady who picks up the bathroom, but it's not your job to make her life a living hell.
  3. Stop complaining that our RA made you put your pumpkin/Halloween candy back in your room instead of letting it sit out in the hall. As she explained, she doesn't hate holidays and is just enforcing the fire code. It doesn't matter if it's twenty bowls of candy of just your small one, it's still a fire hazard. And, if I run screaming out of the building from a fire (one of the only appropriate times to scream in the hallway), I'd rather not trip over a ceramic bowl filled with candy corn that nobody wants to eat. Also, IT'S THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER, you shouldn't have Halloween stuff out anyways.
  4. If you leave your hair in the sink or the shower drain, please pick it up yourselves, I don't want to shower with an ominous hairball staring at me the whole time.
  5. If you're going to come into my room to borrow a vacuum cleaner or art supplies or what have you, please knock first, don't just open the door and prance in. Also, it would be nice to have the aforementioned items returned to me in a timely matter.
  6. Yes, I took such-and-such class in high school, I'd be happy to explain it to you, but don't just text me a photo of your homework asking for the answers. I don't have time in my busy sleep schedule to do your homework and mine. Also, don't complain if I got something wrong, I likely woke up in the middle of a nap and did your homework questions for you, so I'm still a little groggy.
Yes, we live in the Midwest, but I'm just tired of everyone being so passive aggressive that they won't say these things aloud. I'm pretty sure that most people on the floor have these complaints, and while they only apply to a select group of people, do your best to make our floor a decent living environment. If you are the one participating in any of the above mentioned activities, stop and take a moment to look at your life, is your game of two in the morning tag really that much more important than everyone else on the floor's sleep?

I love you all, for the most part,

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Let's Art Journal (Week 6: Greek Pottery)

This week's journal page is inspired by some of the pottery that we've been looking at in my classical archaeology class. I've been doodling some of the vases in my notebook, so I decided that it was time to move them into a more finalized drawing.

  • Watercolor Pencils
    • Derwent Turquoise #40
    • Derwent Water Green #44
    • Derwent Oriental Blue #37
    • Derwent Sky Blue #34
  • Prismacolor Marker Pens in Sepia - .05 and brush tip
  • Water and Paintbrushes
As you can see from my see from my supplies list above, I took a really simple approach to my page this week and I may end up working back into it at a later time. This week's page was really an experiment in color tones that were fairly similar and then I used them to give color to an object that typically isn't these colors. I really fell in love with the tones of blues and greens, so I scrapped the traditional colors of black, red and tan that you normally would see in ancient Greek pottery and I made it my own!

I start with my turquoise pencil to sketch out the main lines of the vase in watercolor. In retrospect, I wish I had put the vase slightly higher up on the page so that you could see the base of the pottery piece too because the image would make more sense as a whole. I also used the turquoise watercolor pencil to fill in the opening of the vase, although I knew that I would have to make it darker later on.

I begin adding in the patterning using the Water Green watercolor pencil which is very hard to get a dark enough color. The vertical lines that go around the belly of the vase were supposed to be more diamond shaped, but the brush I was using didn't really do that. Later in the process, I'll sharpen the shapes to how I really wanted them by using my Prismacolor marker pen to outline and cross-hatch the shapes.

Now I use my darkest blue (Oriental Blue) to replicate that meander pattern that I painted on the vase into the background. I also use this color to sharpen some of the lines of the vase and to darken areas that seemed washed out once the other colors were added in.

Now, I take my .05 Prismacolor marker pen in sepia and use it to do the outlining of the vase and the patterns that I painted on it. Some of the areas on the vase were looking a little bare, so I added in some lines of dots to break up the space some more.

Continuing with my marker pen, I add in crosshatching on the vase to darken some areas and add more tonal variety to the patterns.

At this point, I thought that the background was looking too much like a big, empty, white space, so I decided to draw in a smaller Greek vase using my Prismacolor marker pen in brush tip. The lines come out thicker than the .05 pen, so it's a little bit of a different feel to work with. I wish that I had done some more practicing with this pen before drawing the second vase because I don't think I fully understood the technique until I was close to done and was able to get a nice 'flick' on my lines. At this point, I also outline my swatches which, I think, look really pretty on the page.

To tie all of the parts together, I write my journal entry in my .05 pen and I also use that pen to go back into my second vase and do some cross-hatching. I didn't have that much to say for this week's page, but if I come up with something else to write, the area in the upper left-hand corner would make a pretty good spot for that to go.

And now I present to you the finished page:

I hope you guys are enjoying these posts, and I just want to acknowledge the fact that the writing in these art journal posts may be getting shorter, but I'm still putting the same amount (if not more) into the pages each week, I just feel that the pictures do a better job describing than I can. As always, feel free to post any comments or questions you have down below and I'll do my best to answer them. Also, if you created your own art journal page this week, I'd love to see it (and possibly include it in next week's post), so hashtag it on Instagram with #CKLetsArtJournal or email it to me at the email that can be found in the contact information section of my blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Modcloth Holiday Faves!

December is almost upon us (Okay, not really, but still...), and Modcloth just released their holiday collection, so I'm going to show you guys some of my favorite pieces from that today! Everything is super festive and all the stores have their Christmas stuff out already; it's really just consumerism at its best! There's also a really great sale going on right now that's 20% off dresses on purchases over $100 and ends tomorrow (11/6/15).

  1. Name It And Win It Holiday Edition Fox Dress: here -$89.99
  2. Ruff on the Housetop Socks: here -$9.99
  3. Baking Spirits Bright Skirt: here - $59.99
  4. Biking Through Brussels Dress in Holiday: here -$99.99
  5. A Songbird Told Me Sweater: here -$69.99
  6. Here We Come A-wagging Skirt: here -$49.99

*All of the above links are affiliate links and clicking on them and subsequently making a purchase will compensate me. Although these are affiliate links, all opinions in this post are entirely my own and this post was not compensated up front.*

I really like the Name It And Win It Holiday Edition Fox Dress (#1) and I can't wait to see what the actual name is. Sadly, I forgot about the naming contest until it was too late. The cut of the dress is absolutely adorable and the red buttons and trim just make it so festive. I'm also a really big fan of how it is printed with foxes instead of your typical holiday motif. This would look great paired with a white cardigan and red hair bow for a holiday party-ready look. I doubt that I would be able to wear it any other time of year, but it's worth a try!

The A Songbird Told Me Sweater (#5) is a good piece for all winter long and doesn't really pinpoint any exact holiday like the other ones which are more Christmas oriented. The color of blue chosen really makes the red bird pop without being a color clash. 

Of all the items that I put on this list, I think that the Here We Come A-wagging Skirt (#6) is my absolute favorite. (*Hint Hint, Mom*) Traditionally, people wear ugly sweaters around Christmas, but this completely tops that- a Christmas skirt patterned with dogs in sweaters (and other holiday apparel)! I would likely wear this skirt with some black tights underneath to accent the coloring in the dogs and also because Christmas time is a little too cold to be wearing a short skirt. 

If you're feeling particularly adventurous, pair the Ruff on the Housetop Socks with the Here We Come A-wagging Skirt for a completely dog-themed holiday ensemble. I'm very tempted to throw a dog Christmas party just so I have the excuse to wear this pairing!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Let's Art Journal (Week 5: Pumpkin Patch)

If you're like me, you carved your pumpkin for Halloween too early in the year and then it sat around and got moldy for a week because it was sitting on top of your dorm room dresser instead of outside where it belonged. Anyway, I threw the pumpkin away because it was just getting super gross and decided that the best way to commemorate it would be via art journal page!

I know I promised a bunch of posts this last week, but I got super busy! So, I'm really going to focus on my blog this month instead of doing NaNoWriMo like I normally do in November. I probably won't hit the 50,000 words that you aim for in NaNoWriMo, but I'm going to aim for 12 posts this month and this is going to be the first of many to come.

Supplies (That I Used For This Page)
  • Watercolor Pencils
    • Derwent Middle Chrome #8
    • Derwent Pink Madder Lake #17
    • Derwent Red Violet Lake #24
    • Derwent Vandyke Brown #55
    • Derwent Sap Green #49
    • Derwent Imperial Purple #23
    • Derwent Ivory Black #67
  • Prismacolor Marker Pen in Sepia .05
  • A pad of Thanksgiving/Fall stickers that I bought in the dollar section at Target last year but didn't have much use for
  • Watercolor Brush
  • Cup of Water
My Process

So I started this page by painting in the bottom of my pumpkin which was an orange color. I painted my pumpkin purple and pink at the top and it fades to its normal color at the bottom, so I wanted to represent this in my journal page. Compositionally, I placed the pumpkin in the wrong place on the page. If I was going to do this page over again, I would likely put it in the bottom left-hand corner, slightly cut off by the edge of the page.

Next I used my Derwent watercolor pencil in Pink Madder Lake to add in the top of my pumpkin and kind of fade it into the orange part that I painted in the pervious step.

Then I used my Red Violet Lake pencil to paint in the middle ground of the pumpkin. I added in a heart to the center of the pumpkin once all the layers of paint had dried completely to represent the really terrible heart that was carved into my actual pumpkin. At this point it looks like a splotch of pastels and sherbet colors.

Next, I used a brown watercolor pencil to add the stem of the pumpkin and some little curly things for artistic effect. I made the mistake of painting the stem of the actual pumpkin pink and it just looked terrible, so when I recreated my pumpkin, I made sure just to leave it brown this time.

Then I used my Sap Green pencil to add in a leaf on the other side of the stem. I really have no idea what pumpkin leaves look like or if they even have leaves, but I didn't really care. I also used this color to add some contrast in the pumpkin stem and at the bottom of the pumpkin.

The heart was looking super washed out, so I added a darker tone of purple to the left side and outline to give it a little more depth. I also used this purple tone, Imperial Purple, to contrast the green in the leaf. In retrospect, if I was going to add purple to the leaf, I would use my lighter tone of purple from this drawing because the dark purple comes off a little too strong for my liking.

(I probably should have taken another photo in between these two, but I got a little distracted in the creation of my page.)

Now, I use my Prismacolor marker pen in sepia to outline the parts of the pumpkin and add even more depth to my terrible carved heart. I also added in some circles around the outline of the heart to represent the rhinestones that I glued onto the pumpkin to try and distract from the terrible carving job that I did. I also added in some solid areas of color to the stem to give it even more contrast.

I also added some pumpkin stickers that I had from a sticker book to the page. I bought these stickers at Target a while back and didn't really have a use for them, so I really wanted to use them up. You'll see in the later images that my page becomes a sticker explosion.

Then, I used black watercolor to add in some black dots on top of the area where the rhinestones were to represent the puffy paint that I tried to use to cover up how bad the pumpkin looked after I added rhinestones. I also used a really watered down form of this black watercolor to add a little more darkness to the bottom part of the pumpkin and the part of the leaf where it goes behind the stem.

I picked up my Prismacolor marker pen again and proceeded to add some cross hatching in around the edges of the pumpkin and also on top of the stem. I also used this marker to outline my lovely collection of color swatches on the right-hand side of the page.

Next I added in the journaling aspect of my page complete with little arrows to point at things in the drawing. The pumpkin was a lot darker than previous paintings that I had done in this journal, so I wasn't able to write on top of it like I like to do normally.

And then, the stickers come into play again because I decide that the page needs some little autumn leaves and acorns. At this point the page is looking a little bare so I want to add some splotches of color in.

I use the pink from the top of the pumpkin to add some color under the pumpkin and also along the top edge of the page. To make the arrows stand out more, I use a really pigmented version of this color to fill them in.

I decided that the pink just wasn't enough, so I use some purple in the upper right-hand corner and in the lower left-hand corner. It was really hard to paint this in because the stickers kept peeling up from the moisture. My advise here is to complete the entire page in the way that you like it and then add in the stickers last.

It was super hard to photograph this page because the overhead lights in my room were giving weird shadows that I couldn't fix without making the stickers look extremely shiny. I'm really hoping to get a nicer camera for Christmas so that I can take some better pictures of my artwork. Sorry, iPhone camera, you're just not cutting it anymore.

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of how this page turned out, but it was a nice stress reliever just to make something. That's really the point of an art journal, or any journal for that matter, to express yourself and not care too much about how pretty the end product will turn out.

Also, I just really love using these watercolor pencils!