Week In Review (July 28 – August 3, 2014)

My Week In Review (otherwise known as WIR) posts are just that: a review of my past week.  I post an update here every Tuesday sharing some tidbits of my previous week as well as an accompanying photo recap with selections from my Instagram.  Here’s the buzz from my week:


Ah, summer.  This summer in particular has been so beautiful.  I could wax on about it endlessly, but instead I thought I’d just share some photos of the gorgeous flowers and greenery I’ve had the great pleasure of enjoying in the last week.  My Mom and I spent a lovely afternoon together at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  I hadn’t been to the garden since last year and was blown away by the lush vistas and vibrant blooms.  The first two photo collages above showcase just a small percentage of what we saw that day.  I especially love the willow trees on the property.  They are so romantic!

The last photo collage above includes some shots from my own yard.  While it is no Botanic Garden, I feel very blessed to be able to enjoy these beautiful blossoms right outside my door!  Flowers always bring me joy.


Speaking of what brings me joy, I cannot express just how much I love my dog, Winnie.  This girl is pure joy.  She makes me smile and laugh with her cute personality.  She gets me outside on days when I think I am “too busy” or “too tired” for a romp in the park.  She reminds me to cut myself some slack, stop and relax for a minute, and that love can absolutely be unconditional.  She is my constant companion, my snuggle bunny, my dearest friend, my co-pilot, and my guardian angel.  I can’t express in words how grateful I am to have her in my life.


If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been switching up my planners and enjoying trying out fun things I’ve been introduced to from the wide world of Planner Enthusiasts on social media.  One of my viewers, Skylar, sent me an email about using the personalized labels that come with your Erin Condren Life Planner to spruce up a Staedtler pen pack.  I love this great tip!

I also draw a lot of inspiration from the Planner Enthusiasts I follow on Instagram.  One of those lovely ladies, @filocuteness, introduced me to the fun world of CoolPencilCase.com and the Happy Baby pencil case, which I picked up as a more organized alternative for my CNP (Creative Necessities Pouch).  I love its many compartments for holding the bits and bobs I use to decorate my journals and planners when the mood strikes.

I also decided to try my hand at making my own custom planner dividers and accessories after being inspired by so many talented ladies.  I purchased a Scotch Thermal Laminator, 5mm pouches, and some pretty double-sided paper from Paper Source for this project.  I didn’t have any pocket size dividers to trace so I winged it using some sticky tabs and a piece of pocket-sized note paper.  I made a set of four dividers, a bookmark, a dashboard to house some of my favorite sticky notes, and a couple of washi cards.  Fun times!  I know not everyone understands the whole Planner Enthusiast bit, and I understand and appreciate that it is not for everyone.  What matters to me at the end of the day is that keeping planners not only helps me feel more on top of things, but it also brings me joy.  Life is too short not to do what makes you happy just because someone else thinks it’s silly.


I spent most of the weekend prepping for our upcoming extended trip out to the family vacation home in Utah.  I wound a couple of projects worth of yarn to take with me in the hopes of making some time to knit while I am out there.  I am bringing the last two projects from ym KnitCrate subscription with high hopes of completing something in August!

I also caught up on my snail mail and wanted to share this darling painting the lovely lady who one my last Bag Buzz giveaway sent to me as a thank you.  It’s a sweet reminder I now keep propped up on my desk that people are just going to do what they do and not always like what I do.  And that’s ok.  As long as I am enjoying it, I will keep posting!

On Saturday night we went out with the family to one of our favorite local Italian restaurants, Tuscany, for a birthday celebration for Don’s grandparents.  It was really nice to get together with the whole family one last time before leaving for Utah.

If you’d like to see more from my weekend, check out my vlog:

I really enjoy learning about what other people like.  We’re all a little different in this way and sharing our differences is what makes people so interesting.  I would love to know what brings you joy in your life.  Please leave a comment if you care to share.  Your wonderful comments  definitely bring me joy!  Thank you for them 🙂signatureblue

* Post contains affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *


57 thoughts on “Week In Review (July 28 – August 3, 2014)”

  1. Jennifer, if you put four crushed-up birth control pills in your bottle of shampoo and mix it up, it’ll help make your hair grow and be more abundant (using the shampoo as you normally would). I think you’d benefit from this tried-and-tested beauty secret that’s extremely common in south America. Have a great week!!!

    1. What an interesting tip! I don’t actually have any of those but I appreciate you sharing this tidbit with me 🙂

  2. Hi Jen,

    I enjoyed the beautiful pictures that you posted. This summer has indeed been very beautiful and mild. Lately, I have been feeling out of balance and this morning I started meditating on what it is that I find joy and happiness in. I love being in nature, sitting under a tree in the park, walking by the water, and feeling my feet in the sand at the beach. Just talking about these things reminds me that I need to be more mindful of making sure that I find the time to do things that I really enjoy doing. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  3. Hello Jen! I am a long time subscriber to MHWL and TBBB. I was wondering if there would be a Vlogust series this year, or will it just be weekend vlogs? Either way, I greatly enjoy your vlogs! 🙂

      1. I followed and did enjoy your daily blogs for a long time and was somewhat upset that you had decided to do just weekend blogs this year. I enjoy your Utah house due to the vistas that you showed us of the mountains, etc. and enjoy the fact that over time, Don has participated more and he is a very nice personable man. And evidently a very good cook too

  4. I believe that one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much is because we have so much in common! (I don’t know why anyone would follow someone’s blog if they don’t like it, seems like a waste of time doesn’t it? 🙁 I love taking pictures of my flowers, i love my dogs (2 dachshunds and a Golden Retriever) in addition to my cats and horse! I love to find new ways to organize and love to see the solutions you come up with. I also love your blog, visually. It is very easy to read, not distracting, you are very articulate in your vlogs and they are very high quality which I really enjoy. I share your love of handbags 🙂 and fashion. Keep up the great work Jen, you have more fans than “haters”.

  5. I love my dog too, just as you described Winnie my Corra is to me! Especially, when I am tense or upset she reminds me to relax!! You give me inspiration in my own way to stay on top of my house and be with my family!!! Looking forward to more Utah!! 🙂

  6. Planners, travel and the southwest, Oh My! These are a few of my favorite things. Have to show DH Don’s bits in the video. I saw 2 tees that he would like and tater tots. At least I think I saw tater tots. I cracked up when I saw this blog entry and video because just recently I was looking at some planners and pouches. Can’t decide which new Kikki K Lilac to get. Your video gave me a great sense for the small which I was eying. And I just received a Lihit Lab Teffa Bag in Bag from Jet Pens. So cute and perfection. My Samsung Galaxy Note (10.1) fit in there perfectly. And in the outer pocket I put a pen, my phone (which is large) and the charger for my tablet. I can also can get in a smallish Moleskine or Field Notes and maybe other items. The profile is slim and fitted. Not necessarily padded. I just needed something to slip into unstructured purses. Have a good time. I love your Utah Videos. Looking forward to them. Oh and the new Eagle Creek Specter Pack It Cubes in Beet and Ocean are beautious.

    1. Don is very fond of tater tots 😉 Sounds like you found the perfect case to suit your needs! I didn’t know EC had new color ranges. TFS 🙂

  7. Hi Jen!
    Will you be doing a video about your new planner setup and pencil case? I would love to see your updated planning system 🙂

    1. I’ve been getting lots of questions about this. I was originally planning on posting my calendar/planner update in the new year but now I’m thinking I’ll move it up to late December. So, the answer is yes, but not for awhile yet. I like to make sure I am sharing a system I have used and liked for awhile before I post about it.

      1. I’m looking forward to your vlog about your smaller planner. That is the size that I have, although I use it mostly for a wallet, restaurant coupon holder, and monthly calendar, I’m always interested to see how others use it.

        1. I’d probably add a video/post on my new CNP to my next planner series, since it is on topic. I’m thinking that series will be in December so it’s timely for the new year 🙂

  8. This post cheered me up. It’s so important to recognize what brings us joy, especially the little things. I also love flowers, and my mom actually brings me fresh flowers every Sunday. It’s a sweet reminder of unconditional love, and I have a new decoration in my room each week. I love that! I get so much joy from hanging out with my family, as we’re all very close. I live with my parents and sister. Nothing makes me happier than spending an evening watching tv together- sometimes it’s a funny sitcom like Modern Family and other times we get very invested in silly reality shows like The Bachelorette. To know that they are always there to come home to at the end of the day is joy.

    Thanks for sharing Jen. Xo

  9. Hi Jen,
    I enjoy your posts and your videos. It’s always a touch of joy and many smiles.
    Thanks for sharing the pictures of the botanical garden, they are beautiful. Are you a gardener ? Will try to grow lavender, will see.
    With you I have discovered the pleasure of staying organized with beautiful planners and cute stuff. It brings fun in everyday life.
    You’ve created great accessories for the pocket planner ! My “craft thing” of the moment is to decorate paper clips.
    Can’t wait for the DIY video.
    Enjoy Utah.

    1. I don’t spend as much time in the garden as I used to since we’ve been spending more time in Utah. I do enjoy watching things grow tho 🙂

  10. Hi Jen!

    Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing all the things that you love, but also the things you struggle with. My husband and I watch all of your vlogs together! We feel like we have a lot in common with both you and Don, so it’s fun for us to see what you guys are up to.

    The planner thing is a struggle for me. I’m in a job where I need to keep an appointment schedule and I’m constantly flipping between paper and electronic. I love a paper planner, but at the same time the rest of my life is so “digital” I constantly feel like I have to justify the paper! I recently purchased the arc system at Staples. I like that I can make my own calendar pages, put client lists and notes into it, and move everything around whenever I feel like it.

    As always, thanks for sharing, and know that 99.99% of the people who follow you do so with love and respect.

    – Jen 🙂

  11. Utah is very nice but reminds me too much of home here in the PNW, it has been rather hot here the past few weeks, almost looking forward to fall. You and Don or I should say TIGER head to Utah and my hubby and I head for southern Nevada to end our summer vacation! Enjoy the cooler weather!

  12. Hey Jen,

    Loved the video of Winnie!. She is just so cute! My Tzu Georgia is also celebrating her birthday this month on the 24th. She’ll be 9. When is Winnie’s and how old will she be?

  13. I started watching you vlogs about a month ago. I love them and must have spent at.least a week catching up! You are an inspiration and I greatly admire you. You have inspired me to begin a journey of my own, to find the real me. Ignore the haters, you are a blessing to many more than you realize. Many blessings to you and yours.

  14. Few thoughts about the vlog:

    1. I love Don’s sense of humor. Especially the little bit about his hair in the beginning. Lol 🙂
    2. (Random) Why do you call Winnie, “Bunny”? Is it just a nickname that came about?
    3. I love seeing all the meals you two eat. Definitely has inspired me to cook up some new things.

    Thanks for sharing, as always.

    1. Don is funny. Having a partner that makes you laugh is such a blessing! We call Winnie “bunny” because of the way she hops around outside, especially in the snow. She looks just like a little snow bunny! Thanks for watching 🙂

  15. Hi Jen!
    I loved this vlog – you seemed so happy and carefree, probably because you were going to Utah! I just got back from my first vacation with my hubby, just us, since the kids were born (6 years ago!) – and it was AMAZING. Enjoy Utah!

    Do you really use that tiny planner? I just can’t wrap my head around it. Do you have to write smaller? I do love those pages, how they flip out so you can see the month an week and day all at the same time. I can usually manage to get my to dos on my weekly calendar (thereby skipping the daily step) – but I love the idea of journaling on the daily pages. I don’t know if I can wait until December to see yours in detail…will hop around on YouTube in the meantime!

    We miss you! Have you been running lately? I miss that part from the weekday vlogs – always love to hear from other runners – it’s inspiring. I’m guessing you don’t run as much on the weekends?

    The weather has been perfect today and yesterday for running in Chicago! You should use your gopro on a Utah run – then speed it up like crazy – that’d be fun to watch!

    (Wow, that was long…guess I missed commenting…it’s been a while!)

    1. I really am using the tiny planner and loving it. 😀 I just posted my 2014 planner series a few months ago and it feels too soon to do another one just yet. Plus, I want to make sure I have really “lived in” my tiny planner before I share it. I will consider moving up my timeline but I am thinking December is the way to go.

      As for running, yes I mostly run during the week. It’s been such a gorgeous running weather summer with perfect balmy mornings. I’m loving it!

  16. jEN, This has nothing to do with your last vlog. What I am wondering is if you could do an organizational video on how you store all your holiday dishes & mugs and your most presious holiday decor. I love all your holiday vids and know you keep most items in plastic bins but I havent seen any vids on packing it all up! This could be very helpful!

  17. Hi Jen

    Lovely video this week really enjoy seeing your weekend vlogs!
    I just have something to say that has been bugging me, i’ve just seen some of the youtubes comments with your videos and i can’t believe some of them.

    As someone who is a big fan of your videos I have to say i’m really worried that we might lose our Jen videos because of these nasty people, but Jen please remember that there are WAY more of us that love you and appreciate your channels!!

    P.s Tell Don well done on his golfing, no idea what he was on about lol but have to say he looked so cute and proud of himself in the video lol!!

    1. There are always going to be people who don’t like what I do and feel the need to be rude in the comments. I try to let it go as best I can. I still enjoy posting so I will keep it up regardless of the Negative Nellies out there. Thanks for your support 🙂

  18. I love when you share your planner stuff! Thanks so much for sharing. Been watching since you were at your kitchen table saying “Hi, I’m Jen” – and you’ve been my favorite ever since! 🙂

  19. Hi Jen! So depressed you are not doing vlogidays this year :,( Ive always looked forward to all your holiday prep and hard work you put into the holidays. Its so fun and cozy to watch during the fall and winter season. Since the holidays are during the week and you wont be doing any daily vlogging.. can you please do like some sort of “Jens Halloween Special” “Jens Thanksgiving Special” or “Jens Christmas Special” video maybe? aside from the weekend vlogging.. 🙂 Kinda how the “Charlie Brown” holiday specials come once a year during the holidays. Just a thought. Kinda getting anxiety that we are gonna miss out on some of your fun holiday baking, wrapping, holiday decor, food, parties etc. Thanks for all you do Jen!

  20. The Botanic Garden looks lovely, as do the flowers from your very own garden. My partner is currently working on our garden and so flowers are very much the ‘hot topic’ within our household.

    Enjoying the sunshine, and outdoors in general, is always a good thing – I’m constantly snapping photos on daily walks, which I share on my blog in the form of ‘Walk With Me’ posts – and so it is great to hear that Winnie helps with you taking time to have a breather and bask in not only the outdoors, but your pet’s company too.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful time in Utah!

  21. Hi Jen

    I love a Tuesday cause it means there is a Vlog to watch…yipee!! 🙂

    Have a lovely time in Utah and I look forward to seeing your Utah Hauls!

    Love Clodagh xo

    PS More of Don’s Golf Score updates…he is so funny when describing his game!! Love the fact that you were cheering for Rory McIlroy in the Golf…he plays out of Holywood Golf Club which is only 10 miles from where I live!! 🙂

  22. Hi Jen,

    I really enjoy your blog and Youtube channels. I love what you wrote about Winnie… I have an Australian Cattle Dog named Dingo and she is my little sidekick. She brings me so much joy and companionship, and makes me laugh… she makes my heart happy. I also LOVE when you post about planners! Planner-people understand 🙂 I actually started using the Orla Kiely organizer that you use as a walking pharmacy to store my planner accessories (I have an Erin Condren.) I appreciate your candid style of sharing how you stay organized. The walking pharmacy and pouches revolutionized my purse and my life! Blessings this week! Know that you are valued and appreciated!

  23. Hi Jen,
    I loved Don’s hair! Also those breakfast scrambles you have been making look delicious:) I was inspired to clear out my laundry room and storage room this weekend, and I watched your OLJ videos to give me ideas. Thank you for that!

    The pictures of your flowers are beautiful too! I love your blogs, and have decided to watch Vlogust 2012 again, since you are in Utah!

    Have such a wonderful time, can’t wait to watch the vlogs!

  24. Jen, I just wanted to say, I recently discovered your channels and blog, and they’ve been such an inspiration to me! As a full time nanny/student and newlywed, your tips are giving me the confidence to get my life together in a way I never thought, possible. So, thank you! Quick question – what pens do you use on your planners/journals? I love my Sharpie Ultra Fine Tips but hate how visible they are on the next page of my books. And my No-Bleed Sharpie is wonderful, but I would love a variety of colors to choose from. Would the Staedtler Pen Pack do the trick?

    Sorry for the novel!!

    1. I am loving the Staedtler pack. I don’t have an issue with bleed through although I don’t go over my writing multiple times. I also like LePen by Marvy.

  25. Hi Jen,

    I absolutely love your content – you always put a smile on my face! 🙂

    Have you heard of the Day Designer planner by Whitney English? Maybe you can have a look and do a review on it?

  26. Hi jen..i just realized when i saw the painting of the skunk..(its sweet btw)…that they re still grown ppl out there making fools of themselves..well i have to say you have handled it gracefully..i followed a site where the vlogger just dropped out of vlogging..she had a very popular site..an interior designer..some women and men just cant handle other ppl having means… I hope you still continue to make us a part of your life.. We do love you ..your entire family are great folks..love you too miss winnie…have a Great Day…

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