Favorite Planner Shops

If you’re a #plannergirl like me, this post is just for you! I’ve shared my planner setup before (see Louis Vuitton GM/Large Agenda Setup); but, today I thought I would share my new favorite (shops). All shops notes below are ran by women and made in the U.S.A. 🇺🇸

 

Preferred: My first love was SessaVee (instagram). I ABSOLUTELY LOVE her clean design, font selection, spacing and how she uses variable line width to make certain sections of her inserts pop. Unfortunately, product availability is SUPER sketchy so I no longer use this shop’s selection as the anchor in my planner. She now has printables on Etsy but I’m SSSOOO  not into doing that. PS…. I wish she would bring back the originals!!!!

I am signed  up  for  Sessa Vee’s product  launch  announcement  and  am  hoping  for  the  best!  🤞🏽Actual Inserts (New): 8Lotus  (instagram) is a new shop for me. The designs are classic, chic and minimalist. The packaging is great, flexible layouts and the line spacing is phenomenal.

 

Other Goodies: Cloth & Paper hands down for stickers and sticky notes – they are gorgeous. I also LOVE her yearly calendars and dividers!!!! I can’t use her planner inserts or note paper because the lines are TOO WIDE! They are beautiful but when I used them I feel like hooked on phonics, like I have to write super big to fill the space. Valuable room is being wasted here! Also, the time on the dailies only go until 10 pm. #bummer (if you’re listening, please offer college rule, thanks!!!)

I also like Minted Sugar (instagram) for their pink (textured) line paper. I use this for specialty things… planning a vacation, packing list, special occasions, etc.

So those are my fav’s. I also have a new favorite #plannergirl that I follow on YouTube. Check out her video below.

Psst… I’m thinking to do a planner setup video on YouTube so, so stay tuned to my channel!

 

Long Commutes

During the month of July I expect to have long commutes one day a week. Of course my OCD-like behavior (as well the well-known dreadful Atlanta traffic  conditions) has me researching how to best maximize my travel time to/from work. There are lots of services available out there that seek to capture and keep your attention, so how do you pick which services/features to pay attention to? How do you know where to start? Keep reading below for my recommendations!

Since the obvious goal during a long to commute is to get home as quickly and safely as possible, we MUST start with a travel app. There are many available including Google Maps, Apple Maps, Mapquest (yes… that still exists 😳) and Waze. I’ll just jump ahead and tell you right now that Waze wins and will be at the center of my long commutes. Not because it’s such a great app (it is! users report crashes, cop sightings, slowdowns, etc.); but, more so because Waze plays nice with others.

Let me explain. Yes, I will be commuting; but, I also want to do other things to help the time go by faster and ease the pain. I want to do things like listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts. When I say Waze plays nice with others I mean it seamlessly integrates with other apps or services. For music, it’s Spotify. For Podcasts, Stitcher and for books, Audiobooks. These tight integrations or hook ins allow you to select songs/playlists/books right from within the Waze app itself. There’s no need to leave the Waze app itself to start listening to another service.

(By the way, this post is a great synopsis of what I do for a living… software and process integration. I spend my days focusing on optimizing user experience for the software we use to run our business for things like taking orders, billing customers, etc. and automating those processes. I identify opportunities for integration/automation, lead projects to implement them and also streamline (or lean) complex processes to make them simpler #techie 💁🏽‍♀️)

WHAT IS LEAN SIX SIGMA

Now, you may prefer Apple Music over Spotify; but, for me the days of tech giants producing great isolated products/services are over. Partnerships (or tightly integrating with others) will always prevail and Apple is not so good at that part yet. Waze, on the other hand, makes integrating easy. Because Waze will be at the center of my long commutes and I value integration, I choose the following:

Now, don’t get me wrong. All of these services are great and honestly, any one in isolation will do the trick; but, if you want MORE, go with services that tightly integrate with other services/features you also value. Your life will be easier because of it!

5 reasons you’ll use Waze over Google Maps


 

RWA Series – Subscriptions

Vector subscription business model concept in flat style – pricing plan for app or website service

A few weeks ago I started an adulting series called RWA (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic). The first post focused on Writing using a technique called Bullet Journaling. Today’s post is the second in that series, focused on Arithmetic and Subscriptions.

Subscriptions are those things you sign up and are automatically billed for each month. You don’t even have to think about renewing the service because the company automatically does it for you (by way of an invoice or more frequently an automatic payment from your bank account or credit card). Items that fit this category are: Spotify (music), Netflix (movies), Audible (books), iCloud Storage and the recently popular subscription boxes (wine clubs, book of the month, beauty products). Just about every company has a Subscription model these days and why not, it’s easy cash for them!

The subscription model is a booming field. In recent years, this market has grown by more than 100% a year, increasing from $57 million in sales in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2016. This is from a recent article in Stanford Business Journal that also predicts that, “Everything you purchase — from transportation to entertainment to groceries — will soon come with a monthly plan.”

Sure, the costs are nominal; but, this discussion is not about being able to afford the service or not. I’m sure most people reading this could sign up for 10 or more of these monthly services and still be ok financially. I say JustSayNo because once you get sucked in, it’s hard to get out. Gym membership anyone? 🏋🏽‍♀️🏋🏽‍♀️🏋🏽‍♀️

Do you remember that infomercial from back in the day about a popular cooking device that had the popular slogan, “Set it and Forget It.” That’s EXACTLY how I think about subscriptions. Often times we sign up for products/services and either use it VERY SPARINGLY or completely forget about it altogether!

When it comes to expenses, they can of course be need vs want; but, the actual payments themselves can also be PUSH vs PULL. When expenses are PUSHED, you consciously send your money somewhere for something you decide you want. For example, I saw Michelle Obama on the Today Show and decided I would like to read her new book, Becoming. As are result of that conscious decision, I purchased her book. Under this scenario, I have just given my money to someone for a product I chose.  Conversely, when expenses are PULLED you unconsciously send money to someone for something you may or may not want to experience/enjoy or chose. Sure, the monthly charge appears small (i.e. $9.99/month for Spotify); but, the real question is are you using the service and getting value from it or do you keep it around as a nice-to-have or because of a “just-in-case” philosophy.  As in, just in case there’s a new movie, book or album I want to partake in this month…

For needs (rent/mortgage, long term disability insurance, student loans, car insurance), I’m completely ok with the PULL technique – it saves me time and energy on things I know I have to pay anyway; however, when it comes to wants (entertainment, luxuries) I prefer to PUSH at intervals I consciously choose.

Didn’t there used to be a time when people wanted to decide where their money went and for what? Now, we’re ok letting complete strangers decide for us?? 🤔 Are they smarter or more in tune with our actual needs, wants and desires than we are? A popular finance blog, MoneyCrashers lists the cons of popular product-based subscription boxes this way:

  • Overbuying – While a subscription box usually costs less than buying all the items in it separately, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t buy all those items if they didn’t come in your box.
  • Unclear value – You get a different assortment of products every month, and you don’t even know what they’re going to be.
  • Problems With Returns – Sometimes companies won’t return/exchange items you don’t use. Most often people just don’t bother.
  • Difficulty of Quitting – As long as the fee is low enough to make it seem like a good deal, it won’t seem worthwhile to cancel the service.

There is a such thing as a subscription hoarder. According to GQ magazine, people spend more than twice as much on subscriptions as they think they do. The average initial estimate was $79.74 per month. The actual average was a whopping $237.33 per month. When companies uncouple your payment from your enjoyment of their product, it’s easy to forget you ever paid.

I currently have one monthly subscription- Netflix – and that’s because we actually use it. On everything else, I consciously choose to pass. Don’t get me wrong, all subscriptions are not bad; however, the adulting tip of the day in this RWA series is that when it comes to subscriptions, choose wisely!!!

What are you paying for every month?

Google to HBCU for the win!

THIS is how you change the game… go straight to the source. #STEM #HBCU #ComputerScience #BlackSoftwareEngineer <== 🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽

Read more about Google and Howard’s partnership here. Here’s to hoping this business-to-hbcu trend continues and my Alma Mater is next in line…. 🤔

 

Smart Jackets

Hey peeps, it’s been a while 🙂 Honestly, I really haven’t had anything important to say. So, instead of putting out a post just for the sake of it, I choose not to blog at all until, something interesting and/or exciting comes along.

I’ve already told you that I ❤️ collaborations and that I hope to see many more! Smart Jackets is a collaboration between Levi (yes, the jeans company) and Google and it’s exactly what it sounds like – a wireless enabled jean jacket – that will cost you $350. Mashable notes, “…for now the jacket is mainly used to control core features of your smartphone, like starting or stopping music, answering the phone or reading text messages, as well as Google services like Maps and Calendar.” iPhone users are out of luck – at least until Apple announces a similar partnership with another popular jeans brand and we all are again, forced to pick sides… sigh.

You all know I love technology; but, I do just have to say one thing here, especially in the age of leaks, breaches and hacks. The more connected we are, the more vulnerable we are and our (perceived) “safeness” lies solely in these company’s ability to protect their infrastructure (severs, databases, etc.) from outside intrusions. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy this jacket or that you should be paranoid about everything that’s connected or that we should all go back using to flip phones. What I am saying is everyone needs to be aware. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective), this is the economy we live in and the way of the world/future (see also Drones).

You can watch Levi’s smart jacket in action below.