Reviews

Five Favorite Products for Summer with Modern Martha

This post is from Kelsey from Modern Martha. Kelsey is a makeup and home guru. There have been a few times that she's reviewed something and liked it, and I ran out and bought it for myself. Today She will share some of her favorite summer products! Make sure to take a look at her blog for other fun things.

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Summer is the time for picnics in the park, family vacations and sunshine. When I swap out my winter clothes for shorts and tanks, I also look for new makeup to refresh and reengerize my collection. Dare to step out of your comfort zone and pick a few colors you normally shy away from. These are my top Summer-worthy picks.

 Pacifica Power of Love Coconut-Infused Mineral Eye Shadows ($19.99) 

This palette has go-to neutrals and fresh pops of color. With a mix of matte, satin and pearl shades, you really can't go wrong. The palette is thin and lightweight, making it a perfect travel companion.

CoverGirl The Super Sizer by LashBlast Mascara ($6.85)

What I love about The Super Sizer is the affordable price and its ability to coat each and every one of my lashes. Rotate the brush as you apply. The flat sides of the wand allows you to deposit rich color while the long sides help separate and cover from root to tip. 

Mary Kay Translucent Loose Powder ($16)

The twist-and-lock sifter makes this loose powder travel-friendly. You can throw it in your suitcase or your purse and not worry about all of the product sifting into the lid. It’s weightless on the skin, not drying at all, and sets my makeup to last all day.

MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Flat Out Fabulous ($16)

Flat Out Fabulous is flat out fabulous. This bright plum lipstick has beautifully saturated color and a flawless matte finish. 

MAC Satin Lipstick in Myth ($16)

When I use color on my eyes, I like to balance out my look with a nude lip. MAC's Myth is a light nude with a satin finish. Instead of applying Myth by itself, I prefer to mix it with other shades to make my perfect pink-nude.

Whitney English Planner Review: Six Months Later

Prior to this blog, I reviewed the Erin Condren. You can read that review here.

The Whitney English planner is especially for small business owners, so needless to say I had to have it!

My disclaimer before beginning this review: I bought this planner for August 2014-July 2015 and didn't finish it. I stopped using this planner about January-February 2015. I left it in my car one night, someone didn't close the door all the way (it wasn't me!), and it got water logged and frankly ruined. Totally my fault for leaving it there in the first place, and it was so sad, but alas I will review it because I am the Planner Queen... hah.

The designer planner- one of my favorite staples in my office. Something about it keeps me organized. I like to do these reviews many months later because a lot of bloggers will post their first impressions, and I don't think that gives an accurate depiction of how useful the planner is. I'll try to keep this short, but the following post is image heavy.

The packaging this planner in was so cute. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of it.

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The cover is absolutely lovely. At the time I ordered it, you could choose from gold or black stripes. I went for the gold. However, Whitney has a few other cover designs and they're often limited edition. When my cover was water damaged, the cover is made out of a cardstock/paper material, so it soaked all that water in and puffed up. I tried to dry the cover and pages but couldn't salvage it. I bet rice would have helped, but I didn't think of that until writing this blog (hah). Regardless, this cover is more professional, in my opinion, compared to the laminated Erin Condren.

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I love the metal binding on this planner. Although not as sturdy and thick as the Erin Condren, I found that this was enough. I didn't have any problems with the binding separating from the back cover or anything like that. It also didn't bend while I used it.

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This planner comes with tabs! The tabs are actually pages where you can write monthly notes on them, as well. Lots of space. Apparently older Whitney English planners didn't come with tabs, so this is a great add on. They also held up well in the time I used it.

There are tabs for each month, and each month has daily pages... which I will get to soon.

Also, I love the gold corners! They're metal, not plastic... probably necessary because the cover is actually made out of a card stock material so the corners wouldn't bend up. These corners are one of my favorite details on any of the planners I've owned.

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The beginning of the planner, before you get to the monthly sections, has some worksheets that you can fill out to help your business planning. Whitney also releases special edition planners with more planning sheets. I enjoyed filling out the sheets that were included in mine, but I wanted more!

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The bulk of my planning happens on the monthly pages. I love how they're included with each tab, and there are daily pages for each month. One of my biggest pet peeves with planners is when all of the monthly pages are in the same spot. I especially liked the "goals for the month" box.

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Behold: the daily pages. This is what sets the Erin Condren and the Whitney English apart. Introducing hourly planning, which rocked my world when I first got it. Normal weekday pages have some differences from what's shown above, including a check list section for to-do's. The daily pages are so detailed and extensive. I knew if this page wasn't full, I wasn't working hard enough.

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On weekday pages, the left four boxes are labeled "DUE", "DINNER", "DOLLARS", "DON'T FORGET". I loved being able to plan my dinners and write reminders in these boxes, but didn't know how to use the "DOLLARS" box unless I had taxes due... which really would fit in the "DUE" box... but whatever. On the weekend pages, I loved being able to reflect on my week and also having a reminder for the next. Shown on the right, I also loved having a "WEEKLY GRATITUDE" box... on the daily pages it would be "DAILY GRATITUDE". Both were used often to write a little sentence of what I was thankful for.

My experience with the Whitney English planner was delightful, for how long it lasted. It's very similar to the Emily Ley planner (which I haven't used, but have seen in person), but it's designed specifically for small business owners, which made it perfect for me. It's such a shame I ruined it. I'm now trying a new planner, but who knows, I might go back!

Erin Condren Planner Review: A Year Later

While getting my business organized, I felt overwhelmed with all of the things I needed to do, while at the same time working and going to school full time. I had regular planners from the school bookstore, Google Calendar, phone apps- you name it, I tried it. I always went back to paper, but I never felt motivated to keep up with it.

Introducing the designer planner. I don't know what it is, but something about a designer planner keeps me going and organized. When my friend introduced me to the Erin Condren planner, I felt the heaven gates open. I'm obsessed with anything office supply related, and I had never seen a planner this in depth and organized. I was in love.

I read reviews for weeks before and while I was waiting for my Erin to ship (which, by the way, took an ungodly amount of time- nearly a month). All of these reviews were a first impression, but hardly any of them were from someone who stuck with it for a year. So that is what this review is about. I'll try to keep it short and simple- but this is image heavy.

 I was beyond excited to get my Erin in the mail- the packaging way absolutely beautiful and it just added to the excitement. She puts a lot of work into the details.

I was beyond excited to get my Erin in the mail- the packaging way absolutely beautiful and it just added to the excitement. She puts a lot of work into the details.

 Erin adds a ton of personalized extras. Gift tags, cards... unfortunately, these went to waste. I never used any of them... nor did I really want to because they weren't my style. Because they're personalized, I couldn't pass them off to anyone who could use them.

Erin adds a ton of personalized extras. Gift tags, cards... unfortunately, these went to waste. I never used any of them... nor did I really want to because they weren't my style. Because they're personalized, I couldn't pass them off to anyone who could use them.

The rest of this blog is about my planner a year later. I stopped using it in July of 2014.

 My planner's cover (which now Erin makes removable- something I wasn't a fan of but admittedly haven't tried out). My original plan was to keep up with Erin's planners every year and do a collage of different Instagram pictures as life progressed. Now, I won't be doing that, as I felt like this cover didn't feel professional to carry around. However, Erin has a lot of more "professional" covers to use, if you carry yours around a lot in an office environment/you're a business owner. The gold editions are super cute- but a bit expensive.

My planner's cover (which now Erin makes removable- something I wasn't a fan of but admittedly haven't tried out). My original plan was to keep up with Erin's planners every year and do a collage of different Instagram pictures as life progressed. Now, I won't be doing that, as I felt like this cover didn't feel professional to carry around. However, Erin has a lot of more "professional" covers to use, if you carry yours around a lot in an office environment/you're a business owner. The gold editions are super cute- but a bit expensive.

 All of my laminated cover edges ended up peeling by the end of the year. All of them. Which, my friend kept saying "contact them and they will help you"... but I didn't bother. They started peeling too early and I did handle my planner really rough... it was just going to happen again (stuffing it in my college bag, taking it everywhere at anytime). So perhaps it was my fault, but it did make my planner look bad.

All of my laminated cover edges ended up peeling by the end of the year. All of them. Which, my friend kept saying "contact them and they will help you"... but I didn't bother. They started peeling too early and I did handle my planner really rough... it was just going to happen again (stuffing it in my college bag, taking it everywhere at anytime). So perhaps it was my fault, but it did make my planner look bad.

 One thing I absolutely LOVED about the Erin Condren is that metal ringed binding! It's amazing. It held up the whole year. It's extremely durable.

One thing I absolutely LOVED about the Erin Condren is that metal ringed binding! It's amazing. It held up the whole year. It's extremely durable.

 At this point of my life I did a lot of color coding. I put a post it in the front for my key.

At this point of my life I did a lot of color coding. I put a post it in the front for my key.

 The tabs held up really well, which is surprising because the laminated covers did not. Overall, I was impressed with the tabs and loved being able to flip to my monthly calendar quickly. I hate when planners have the detailed calendars in the front. As soon as you flip to the month, you get the detailed month calendar and then the weeks.

The tabs held up really well, which is surprising because the laminated covers did not. Overall, I was impressed with the tabs and loved being able to flip to my monthly calendar quickly. I hate when planners have the detailed calendars in the front. As soon as you flip to the month, you get the detailed month calendar and then the weeks.

 I definitely used my planner to its full potential. I used circle stickers, washi tape, and the stickers that Erin included in her planners. I still have a ton of these stickers left over, that I didn't get to use. If I got another Erin Condren, I don't even think I would bother reusing them because you get so many every year. But overall, I loved the stickers.

I definitely used my planner to its full potential. I used circle stickers, washi tape, and the stickers that Erin included in her planners. I still have a ton of these stickers left over, that I didn't get to use. If I got another Erin Condren, I don't even think I would bother reusing them because you get so many every year. But overall, I loved the stickers.

 The weekly page was great. My schedule honestly didn't merit having a "morning day night" section... but it did work for separating my work and business life. I started to use these sections as work, to-do for the day, and business as the year progressed. I would have liked these to be customizable for that reason, but it works for a lot of people.

The weekly page was great. My schedule honestly didn't merit having a "morning day night" section... but it did work for separating my work and business life. I started to use these sections as work, to-do for the day, and business as the year progressed. I would have liked these to be customizable for that reason, but it works for a lot of people.

 I love having a ruler! I wish my current planner had a nice ruler. The perforations surprisingly held up very well for the whole year.

I love having a ruler! I wish my current planner had a nice ruler. The perforations surprisingly held up very well for the whole year.

 My folder and pouch in the back got a bit rough and beat up. I used the pouch A LOT- but I found that it mostly just promoted my paper hoarding and I tried to stuff too much in there. The hefty zip lock bag for your accessories held up okay- it did tear a little on the sides but it was still usable. Like I said before- I had a TON of stickers left over! It's worth noting that the new planners have restickable stickers, kind of like post-its.

My folder and pouch in the back got a bit rough and beat up. I used the pouch A LOT- but I found that it mostly just promoted my paper hoarding and I tried to stuff too much in there. The hefty zip lock bag for your accessories held up okay- it did tear a little on the sides but it was still usable. Like I said before- I had a TON of stickers left over! It's worth noting that the new planners have restickable stickers, kind of like post-its.

Overall, my experience with the Erin Condren planner was positive. This baby truly helped me get through college. I went one year without it, and one year with it- I found myself more organized and less stressed about what I had to do for the week. It helped me in that regard. However, I did not purchase the Erin Condren for the 2014-2015 year. I remember one day looking at my Erin and thinking what it looked like laying on my desk. I said to my husband, "I don't know if I want another one this year, I feel like it doesn't look professional but I just don't know..." and he said "it doesn't." Oh. Then I read about her new planners, and I don't know what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting the most "exciting" feature to be the removable covers. Alas, I decided to purchase a different designer planner, which I will review at a later date.

If it suits your business or not, really depends on the type of business you have and how much you have to do on a daily basis for it... and if it fits your brand, if you will have it with you a lot. I think that some moms whose younger children are involved in extra curricular activities, will prefer a more customizable choice like Plum Paper. As far as a colorful planner goes, I prefer and considered (but ultimately didn't purchase) the Emily Ley Simplified Planner- which is super cute and very professional looking. There is something about a laminated cover that has a lot to be desired. The Erin Condren is AWESOME for college students based off personal experience, and busy women that need to keep everything in check on the daily... and of course for people who need a great planner who love Erin's style!