My New Blog Planner: Free Printables Included

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For the past two weeks I have thrown myself into my blog. Part of that is the result of my recent break-up but the other part is because I had a goal.To finally make my own blog planner! Free printables at the end of this post.

*Please note that this is for personal use only*

Doing The Research

I haven’t had a planner in over two years and that one was expensive so I wasn’t going to replace it. Then I stumbled upon a blog post on Pinterest of all places (it’s my least favorite social media site) and found free printables of other bloggers’ planners.

I found their ideas and organization interesting and inspiring but I wasn’t too keen on their designs. The creative in me really wanted to make my own planner that was more personal to me but also to my goals and my blog. Naturally, I dived into research mode and started googling away. I found a few tutorials on how to make my own planner but again, none of them fit what I wanted to do.

Enter Microsoft Word

That’s right! I used nothing but Microsoft Word. For most of the pages I only used the blank document. It took a lot of time to figure out how to use a lot of the tools in the program because I’ve never used them before. Like making a table. Wow! Long story short that involved A LOT of trial and error.

I never saw Microsoft Word for more than just writing but I have found that it is a handy tool when creating my own blog planner. Now I’ve read a lot of tutorials and most of them use two or three different programs. They have a lot more experience than I do and I am just starting out on this planner/printable thing.

Making My Own Design

It took some time for me to come up with my own design for my blog planner. It’s still a work in progress for me as I explore more program options and get more creative but for now I have found my design. I grabbed most of it from Microsoft itself but I am proud of what I came up with.

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Organizing My Planner

I had to think about what was most important to me for my planner and organize it to my liking. Before doing that though, I also went back and forth to Walmart and Target searching for the right holder for my blog planner. After buying three different 3-prong folders and discovering they couldn’t hold everything, I finally found what I was looking for at Target.

I found a three ring flexible notebook binder made by Mead. It’s a hybrid of the binder and the folder and it works really well for my planner. Other bloggers choose to go to Staples and have their planner converted into an actual planner. That’s a great idea! I will probably do just that for next year. Meanwhile, with only 5 months left I just wanted to stick to the binder plan.

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I’m really happy with my blog planner! I have a great system in place and by having this planner I am more organized. Something different from other bloggers who make their own planners: I added a writing section. By adding this section to my planner I am scheduling in some of my writing. At least I’m making blocks of time when I know I will be more focused on it.

I also added my daily schedule, which isn’t just about my blog, nor is it about writing. I schedule my daily life in there as well. This way I can keep everything I have to do in one place and won’t get too overwhelmed and forgetful. I’m really proud of my daily schedule. I made two different designs and will include both in the downloads.

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These pages look much better downloaded. Promise!

As I get more involved with creating planners, I would like to make more designs for people. I want to change things up a bit and work more with my Paint Shop Pro to make better designs. I had so much fun creating this! For now I will leave you with these Free Printables to download.

Cover Page

Yearly Calendar

Yearly Blog Stats

My Yearly Finance Tracker

Monthly Stat Tracker

The Monthly Blogging Goals

Monthly Calendar

Linkies

Advertising Tracker

Affiliates

Blog To Do List

Contacts

Giveaways

Social Media

Sponsers

Weekly to do list

Freelance Work

Writing Ideas

Random Notes

And for the Daily schedule:

Daily Schedule #1

My Daily Schedule #2 page 1

Daily Schedule #2 page 2

I hope you like my first design! I am loving it! Please feel free to download any or all of these and let me know in the comments what you think.

Thanks so much for reading!

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I am linking with:

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Lucy At Home

Book Review #3: Parodies and Piss Takes by Deborah Stansil

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I have had another great time reading the latest Deborah Stansil book called Parodies and Piss takes! For those of you unfamiliar with her work, Debbie has written 5 books so far. She also has a blog called My Random Musings where you can read more of her writing. Parodies and Piss takes is her 6th book and I’m so glad to be writing this review. I have reviewed two of her other books which you can read here: Twisted Tales and The Joker

What Parodies and Piss takes is about:

Parodies and Piss takes is a collection of poems. They are lighthearted odes to different genres of fiction. As the title of the book says, A collection of poems that explore the tropes of some of the mainstream genres of fiction in a funny, light hearted way. 

What I think of the book:

First and foremost I loved her introduction. I know most people don’t really read the introductions but they are written for a reason. Debbie is honest about not being much of a poet and she lets her readers know that the word poem is used loosely. I love how she makes her audience aware that her “odes” are in themselves a piss take, poking a little fun at each genre she writes about.

parodiesandpisstakes_rockinrandommomI, myself, have never heard the words piss take before. As an American that’s not part of our slang vocabulary over here but I do like this word. I also love learning new slang words from other cultures. Yes, I may be a little weird about that but there it is.

Of course the first genre in Parodies and Piss takes that Deborah addresses is the horror genre. My favorite one. I immediately thought of Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees chasing down young and dumb blond girls in their underwear. Ah, now I’m remembering certain scenes and want to go on a Halloween and Friday, the 13th binge, haha!

Each poem is an ode to a genre. Like, An Ode to the Erotica Genre or An Ode to Non-Fiction:The Child-Rearing Genre. Some of the poems are pretty long, like An Ode to the Fantasy Genre. That one, at least in my head, was clearly about Harry Potter. Other poems are pretty short, like An Ode to Non-Fiction:The Self-Help Genre. All of them are easy to read though.

 

 

In Reviewing this book I really tried to find something that I could say needed improvement but the only thing I came up with were a few typos. Typos, though are all a part of writing. Even the best selling authors have some typos in them. Other than that, I, personally couldn’t find any fault with this book. While it didn’t make my stomach hurt from laughing, it certainly entertained me and I love that it is such an easy read.

So if you are in the mood to read something fun and lighthearted that you can get through in one sitting, Parodies and Piss takes is the book for you! Try it out! Coming out on August 6th, pre-order the Kindle addition on Amazon

Thanks so much for Reading!

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I am linking with:

My Random Musings
Monday Stumble Linky
Cuddle Fairy

 

 

Bucket List Time! A New Decade, A New Chapter

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I’ve actually had a bucket list in my head for awhile but I have never written it down. Ever since I saw Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in the movie The Bucket List I’ve wanted to make a list of my own. Though jumping out of a plane is definitely NOT on my bucket list, I do have a few things I want to do before it’s too late to do them.

But First, About my Birthday…

This past Friday I celebrated my 40th Birthday. I had originally wanted to celebrate with a few of my female friends at home with drinking and games and shootin’ the shit but the ladies thought it would be great to go out. I wasn’t all that sure as I am not big on the partying these days but I went out.  what the hell though right? It’s not like I do it very often and it was my birthday.

Before heading out though we all had a glass of wine and a few jello-o shots for the road. Then we picked up our 4th party goer at work where the girls surprised me with a piece of birthday cake. After the song was sung and the cake was eaten – I needed help eating it as it was very good but so rich – we headed to our destination.

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We went to a place called The Tunnel Bar and I fell in love with the Martini bar and the seating area was so comfy!You literally are walking through a small tunnel as you enter. The leather seats and coffee tables are on either side of you as you walk towards the Martini bar. I should have taken pictures because it was very cozy but of course I didn’t. I had my first Raspberry Truffle Martini. Well, two actually. They were so damn good! After our drinks the girls took me upstairs to the dance floor. They wanted to dance. I wasn’t feeling it but I followed them.

There was another bar upstairs where we all had a birthday cake shot. It wasn’t that good but it certainly had a bang and I was definitely feeling the liquor in my system by then. The dance floor was way too crowded with way too many 20-somethings around me and the music was unfamiliar. They only played two songs I actually knew. Yep! That made me feel a bit on the old side.

After dancing to one or two songs we went outside for some air. At that point I remember we were chatting up a very nice police officer then heading back to the car. When we got back to my place we chit chatted for awhile before passing out. The night was fun, even if it wasn’t what I had in mind. It was a good time and I was definitely hungover the next day.

So Now to my Bucket List….

bucketlist_rockinrandommomAll the next day I pretty much laid on the couch watching Ghost Brothers on my DVR. Occasionally Conner would come cuddle with me but I had time to think and reflect on many things that day. One of them being my bucket list. I’m still working on this list. I think I will be working on it for at least the next ten years because there will always be things I want to do.

 

 

 

Here is my list so far:

  1. Travel to the UK – I have wanted to see Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland since I was a child. From books I’ve read to movies I’ve seen the landscape just looks so beautiful and amazing and the history! Oh the history! From Queen Elizabeth I -who is one of my historic feminine heroes- to visiting ancient Viking settlements, to actually seeing up close Stonehenge, I cannot wait to go there!
  2. Visiting the rest of Europe – I look forward to visiting France, Germany, Italy, Greece, and many other countries in Europe with so much history!
  3. Finally finish my first book – Maybe even get two published!
  4. Go on a three day hiking trip – I know this one seems small but I’ve been busy raising children and I haven’t had the time or the money so now it’s on my bucket list.
  5. Conquer some of my fears – Like my fear of tall heights and my fear of spiders. This one will be the hardest one on my list.

As I said, I’m still working on this list but these are my top 5 things I want to do within the next 20 years. Yes you read that right. 20 Years! I want to give myself some time to complete this list. Especially about the spiders. I am so not ready for that one!

Have you made a bucket list yet? What’s on it? Leave a comment below:)

Thanks so much for reading!

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My New Mindfulness: Meditation at 40

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*This post contains and affiliate link*

Meditation was never something I thought I’d ever do. I remember when I was in my 20’s and I would see a group of people meditating at a park.  I would think, “what the hell are they doing? I’m never gonna do that. That looks boring as hell.” Little did I know that 20 years later, that’s exactly what I’d be doing. With 40 looming right around the corner, meditation has recently been added to my repertoire of calming activities to help keep my sanity.

As we get older and the reality of life sets in with work, kids, bills, and various other factors that stress us, we look for ways to keep calm and DE-stress as much as possible. For the past two months I have added meditation to my routine.

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Because my mind runs about a mile a minute I really wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do this meditation thing. I mean, come on, I have to sit still and clear my head. Clearing the brain is difficult but giving up is an option because of my stress level and anxiety.

You know how on Facebook you get ads in your feed about various things? These ads are supposed to cater to your interests based off of your likes. That’s where I found it. An app that actually talks you through meditation. It’s called Calm and you can try the free version or purchase the yearly subscription on iTunes.

Calm App

I tried the free version first. It starts with the 7 Days of Calm. It’s the only one you can try with the free version but you also get three different sleep stories and several different nature sounds.

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You can do these meditations anytime you want but I chose to do them before bed. I have a really hard time shutting my brain off at night and because of this it takes me 2 hours to fall asleep. So I really wanted something to help me calm my mind. I didn’t just do the meditation though. I added the sleep story right after. By day three I was asleep before the end of the story. Each story is about 30 minutes long and I was sleeping 15 minutes in.

That’s a pretty big difference from 2 hours! At first, I wasn’t doing them on the weekends but I found that if I skipped, then by Monday I was back to being easily stressed and way too much on my mind. So I added the weekends in and it has made a big difference. I finally went all in and purchased the full version of the app and I have been loving it!

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One of my favorite things about this app though are the quotes shown to you after every mediation. I love quotes and always look for positive and inspiring quotes to help me when I’m feeling down or just need a pick me up.

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It has helped me so much and for a person who has never put much stock into meditation, this is a big deal. My therapist has recommended I add one more meditation time in so I’m going to do that. Well, I’m working on it anyway. This past week has been pretty busy and I will be busy for the next week. But I think finding the time to do even a 10 minute mediation will help me keep my calm, especially through the busy times.

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We all know that when we get busy, we get irritated easier than normal. That’s the stress of life. But adding just a small meditation has helped me immensely. I do yoga first thing in the morning. The yoga DVD I have has a 2 minute mediation at the end of it. Then I do my meditation at night with the Calm app.

I am working on adding Tai Chi to my day but it has been difficult because I don’t have a lot of space. Yesterday I spent the whole day rearranging my room to make more space. It looks like it might be enough. That’s one more piece to my puzzle added to my quest for peace of mind through out the day.

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They even have meditation and sleep stories for the kids. I have tried getting my two boys to try it out with me but to no avail but I won’t give up though. I figure if they keep seeing me do it, they may eventually want to do it too. For you parents who have younger kids though, give it a shot.

What do you think of meditation?

Thanks so much for Reading!

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40 and Single and Happy About it!

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I am 40 and single and yes! I am happy about it. Some people who read this might not understand why I’m happy about being single. We live in a society where being coupled up is normal and the notion of even wanting to be alone scares us. It’s not considered the norm to want to be alone. After all, we are social beings and wanting to be eternally loved by another person is only natural.

In my early twenties I looked at love and relationships much like most people. I wanted to find “the one”. For me, I wanted to find someone who would rescue me from my shitty life and I’d live happily ever after. Those are the dreams of a young woman who doesn’t know where she fits in this world.

I had very little confidence in myself, though I hid it well. Being young, confused, and without rules set me up for much heart break. It also made me cold and bitter. With no solid boundaries I didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like. When I was at my worst, I met my ex-husband. Looking back, I had gone into that relationship not knowing who I was or what I truly wanted.

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He is a good one but again, neither of us really knew what we wanted. Neither of us understood. We clashed. We had kids. I got diagnosed with PTSD. Our oldest has Autism. All of this was draining on two young people from broken homes and issues we didn’t know we had. Now that I’m 40 and single I am looking back on this and realizing an important life lesson.

That I need to find happiness within myself first before I can be with anyone else.

After my separation from my ex, I dated a little. I thought that I could just date around and figure things out. Turns out that’s not me. It never was. Casual dating doesn’t make me happy. I’m just not built that way. That was another thing that I learned about myself.

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So I took a few years to work on myself. Then last year I met someone and for a time, I was really happy. He met a longing in me that I didn’t know I had. We had a soul connection. It was profound and beautiful! As time went on and as I’m fast approaching 40, I started to really think about what I want from a romantic relationship.

My therapist says I want a male version of me. Haha! I sat down and made a short list the other day of the qualities I would look for and I am beginning to think she may be right. My top three qualities: self-sufficient, independent, and motivated. Then the list got longer as I was writing. Most of it is what I assume most people want. Great sense of humor, laid back, and intelligent. I love a deep thinker who I can have great conversation with. But I also love someone I can go on an adventure with who also loves to veg out on the couch. There is a lot more to it than that but you get the idea.

Then another Epiphany happened and I discovered yet another new thing about myself…

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I’m not sure when this happened but there it is. I’m afraid of commitment. It’s not just with relationships though. Apparently, this is why I haven’t finished any of my books. Nor why I can’t commit to a career path. Friendships, family, even my blog have suffered because of my commitment issues.

Then I had another epiphany. I’m happiest when I’m alone. Now most people tell me that this is only because I haven’t met the right person yet. Maybe that’s true. What I do know for sure is that I’m on my own path of self-discovery and I am constantly evolving my thinking and my perspective. If someone comes along that is on the same path as me – Great! If not, I’m okay with that too.

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I spent the bulk of my youth dating some real jerks. I let the wrong ones into my life. The deep seeded trust issues I already had didn’t help. I didn’t know myself. I wasn’t the self-assured and confidant woman I am today. Twenty years ago I settled because I was a “go with the flow” kind of person.

Today, I know what I want – and what I don’t want. I am 40 and single because I won’t settle for less than I deserve. When I was 20 I didn’t think I deserved a whole lot. Now that I’m 40 and single, I know better. My standards are higher and I’m not afraid to set boundaries or walk away from something that doesn’t make me happy.

Thanks so much for reading!

 

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I am linking with:

 

 

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