Category: Goals & Planning

February Grocery Challenge: Weeks 3-4 & Wrap-Up

February Grocery Challenge: Weeks 3-4 & Wrap-Up

You saw recently how I made a February Grocery Challenge to use food up that I had on hand and stick to a $20 per week (sometimes $25 if needed) grocery budget for the entire month of February. I shared my reasons for doing it, the rules I developed for the challenge, and tracked ALL of the things we ate and bought throughout February from a food perspective. The post got quite long as a result so I thought I would split my posts up a bit and share the overall results and lessons learned in a separate post. The Results Week Three (2/17 through 2/23) Monday EATS: As I mentioned in the last post a couple weeks ago, we had leftover meatloaf with green beans and mashed potatoes for lunch. I decided to actually do a planned Meatless Monday for dinner with some of the new groceries I bought. I found a recipe for an eggplant caprese (I didn’t grill the eggplant but I did use the grill pan on the stove instead, which was fine!) and made an Italian-style quinoa (including fire-roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and sun-dried tomatoes) to get some protein and more veggies on the side. SHOPPING: Okay SO I decided to go rogue and do my final two grocery shops for the month in one fell swoop. I wanted to keep close to the budget, get everything at once, and do Walmart pickup instead of going into a store and spending too much money. Their minimum for pickup is $30 so I […]

February Grocery Challenge: Rules & Weeks 1-2

February Grocery Challenge: Rules & Weeks 1-2

I spoke a while back about how randomly I got obsessed with Jordan Page’s videos. She’s a specialist in being frugal, budgeting, paying off debt, scheduling, productivity… all that good stuff. While I’ve heard some so-so things about her since (just google it), a lot of her videos and blog posts have inspired me in my house and life. The main ones here related to the #Shelftember and #Stocktober challenges. You limit grocery spending in September to $25/week and eat from your pantry, fridge, and freezer as much as you possibly can. In October, you stock back up on the essentials. I realized in January how I spend SO much money on groceries. I only grocery shop during my lunch break because I’m in a town with way more options (Trader Joe’s!) than the town I live in. I tend to buy smaller bits of groceries throughout the week but sometimes find myself going WAY over budget because of so many small trips to different stores. Can’t get Velveeta for the Superbowl at Trader Joe’s? Guess I’ll also stop at Stop & Shop and oh wait they have all these other things I may need sometime soonish! – me all the damn time. Believe me, it’s good for my computer-facing eyeballs to leave the office at lunch (and during the warm weather I love to just read a book outside!), but I don’t need to go to a STORE multiple times each week. Enough was enough – we have an expensive […]

2020 Planners, Spreadsheets, and Organization

2020 Planners, Spreadsheets, and Organization

Alright y’all – new year, new planners and spreadsheets! I’ve posted countless organization-related posts over the years that can be found in this category on my blog. I’m keeping some spreadsheets and planners the same as last year and bringing some new things to the table as well, so let’s get into it! Planners (Digital and Paper) Artful Agenda – Digital Life Planner I wrote a whooole post on this when I first got the Artful Agenda, so feel free to check that out for an overview. I use this to sync with my Google calendars (blog posts and personal) and can include other tasks, meals, and to-do lists/notes pages. Below are two screenshots. The first is part of the monthly view: And below includes the daily page layout, next to the calendar section. (For more pictures, definitely check out the post I linked above.) There are priority tasks, other tasks, meals, water intake, and an automated daily quote. The section at the bottom has a title you can edit, so I made mine into a place where I can track groceries and/or things I need to pick up that day. I also use the “other tasks” section for my internet and blog-based tasks; the “priority tasks” section is mostly for ~real-life~ tasks. Bullet Journal for Reading/Books I’m still doing a bullet journal this year for my 2020 reads! Again, I made a whole post about this with my pages before I filled anything in, so check out that post […]

2020 Reading Bullet Journal

2020 Reading Bullet Journal

I tried to share some bullet journal posts last year and got lazy for the final pages of the year. I think I was not giving myself enough ability to be creative with it and just lost steam. I ended up putting a lot of thought and effort into my layouts for this year, so I thought I would share my bullet journal setup for 2020! This includes all of the yearly pages (reading tracking overall, challenges, etc.) but not the monthly layouts. I kept some layouts the same, moved stuff around, and came up with brand new ideas for my new challenges. I also ended up using the same bullet journal from 2019 and just setting up a 2020 section because I barely made a dent in it last year haha. So, here we go! 2020 Divider Because I’m continuing in the same bullet journal from last year, I decided to make a 2020 divider page so I know where the new year starts. I’m keeping the little bookmark there as well. Year in reading and dates completed/read These pages are similar from last year’s setup as well. I made a large book where I color in one stripe/line across for every five books I finish. By the end of the year, the book should be full of stripes and colored in! The second page here features a year-long calendar. If I finish a book on a specific day, I circle that date in the calendar. If I finish […]

September-October Bookish Bullet Journal

September-October Bookish Bullet Journal

When I mentioned the idea of sharing layouts from my reading-related bullet journal on the blog, most of you seemed interested to read about it! I can’t justify making one post each month dedicated to the 3-4 bujo pages I make during that month, so I thought doing a little bullet journal update every two months would be fun instead! In these posts you will see all of the new pages I added during the past two months. September new releases and review copies: Big release month in September, apparently! I’m not super surprised now that I look at this. September TBR: LOL this is a sad wrap-up. I didn’t read a lot in September because it’s always super busy, between alllll the things in my life happening at once. Anniversary, birthday, football, etc… all the good things I love! I don’t read as much during the month and clearly the books I DID read weren’t on my original TBR. September reading tracker: It took me a super long time to read one of my books and others were pretty long as well. Usually I don’t take an entire week to read a book – especially a contemporary romance – but that happened a lot here. Fall bingo card: I didn’t get my shit together on fall bingo until after I did some September spreads when usually I’d prefer to have that at the front of the season. Oh well. This is fairly accurate but I believe I finished a few more off after […]

Fall Bucket List

Fall Bucket List

Usually I write some kind of fall-based post or bucket list in September, when my birthday and all the fun things start to hit, but I wasn’t in the mood to deal with anything until right now. It doesn’t help that my Summer Bucket List wasn’t really completed until the last day of September, when I ate my final lobster roll for the “season” and finished my post about it. In any case, I do have some fall goals I’d like to accomplish! Bookish (1) Read 5-7 spoopy/falltime books (by Lauren-standards). I’m not one for horror or anything overly creepy, but I DO enjoy a good thriller or paranormal story occasionally, especially during October. For fall in general, I love reading thicker books or deeper ones, like fantasy or retellings. I just know that October-November are all about non-contemporary romance reads for once in my life. I hope to read at least five but hopefully seven books that I would personally qualify as good seasonal reads! (At the time of posting this, I have already read or am currently reading a couple of these below!) (2) Finish the yearly challenges that I logically can I just posted my final push for challenges TBR/planning post the other day. If you read that, you can see that I’ll be almost completely done with my year-long challenge goals in November… if all goes according to plan! I do have the Monthly Motif Challenge that needs to be done in December, but the “last […]

Summer of Lobster Rolls (Bucket List & TBR Update)

Summer of Lobster Rolls (Bucket List & TBR Update)

While I created a whole bucket list and TBR for the summer, the goal I was most excited for was about FOOD. I made it a goal to eat 10 lobster rolls in the summer of 2019. I initially planned to literally just eat 10+ of them without caring where they came from, but I ended up with so many suggestions on where to go from people! Chris and I both love seafood and trying new places to eat, so I turned my general goal into an actual Lobster Roll Bucket List with 10+ different restaurants or seafood shacks to try this summer. I’ll go through the delicious list and photos, then recap on my TBR progress and how I did on the rest of my bucket list afterwards. 1. Jessica’s Garden We kicked off the list with Jessica’s Garden, a place I’ve been meaning to try since I saw it in a few articles in the past couple of years. It was an adorable place with ice cream, smoothies, hot dogs, mac and cheese, and lobster rolls (of course!). As you’ll see when we go through the list, I’m a bigger fan of cold lobster rolls (lobster salad with mayo) than hot with butter. 2. The Blue Oar There’s this gorgeous restaurant by a boat launch, right on the water of the Connecticut River, that we enjoyed early in the summer. I took some time off for Fourth of July because Chris gets that week off, and we made […]

July-August Bookish Bullet Journal

July-August Bookish Bullet Journal

When I mentioned the idea of sharing layouts from my reading-related bullet journal on the blog, most of you seemed interested to read about it! I can’t justify making one post each month dedicated to the 3-4 bujo pages I make during that month, so I thought doing a little bullet journal update every two months would be fun instead! In these posts you will see all of the new pages I added during the past two months. July New Releases: I’ve been keeping my spreads super simple lately and this is a leftover picture from last month! The Summerathon page was from June but the next page begins my July-related layouts, obviously. Summer TBR and Bucket List / All Grown Up Book Club: I made a post on the blog where I discussed some of the books I wanted to read this summer, as well as the summery things I was hoping to accomplish outside of reading! I did a decent job in July for some of these. I also included a little schedule for the All Grown Up Book Club’s reading of THE FLATSHARE in July. July TBR: Pretty straightforward TBR and I did really well on it! I had a mix of required reading books, readalongs, book clubs, review copies, etc. As usual, I did the worst at reading owned physical copies of books. Oh well. July Reading Tracker: I read very consistently in July and managed to finish my “reading numbers” in the middle of the month. Everything […]

Digital Planner: Artful Agenda

Digital Planner: Artful Agenda

I’ve talked so so so so many times about my planning methods and how I’ve always struggled to find what’s going to work for me. I’ve dried faux doris, bullet journals (for life stuff – the bookish one is working well currently!), Happy Planners, Erin Condren planners, Day Designers… seriously, you name it. If there was a trend or the latest thing in planning, I’ve tried it. Of course I’ve hopped on another trend recently and couldn’t resist sharing it as I work through. I first was introduced to digital planning when Kendal shared her digital planner on her iPad Pro. I don’t have a fun iPad or Apple Pen so I wasn’t sure I’d have success with the one she purchased. I highly recommend reading her post and investigating that planner though, because it’s gorgeous and reminds me A LOT of the paper planners I love so much. It’s a more creative option for sure. I had just purchased a new, smaller Happy Planner because I was tired of leaving my huge one on my desk at work just because it was too big. (My friends would ask if I was free for something and I’d have to wait until work the next day to check my planner. Not the best option.) I liked the small planner and daily schedule inserts, but thought it might be better for planning my work days and leaving it on my desk for a good reason. Then, I saw a post by one […]

Getting Organized: Budgeting, Debt, Groceries

Over the last month, I’ve become kind of addicted to watching Jordan Page’s YouTube channel and reading her blog, both called Fun Cheap or Free. I’ve followed, attempted, and adjusted many of her methods to fit my life. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve struggled with reducing my debt (hi, million-dollar student loans!), curbing my spending, grocery shopping using only the money I need to spend, and just generally budgeting my entire life CORRECTLY. In conjunction with the Artful Agenda (link will work next Wednesday), I’ve organized juuust about everything in my life. I thought it’d be fun (and hopefully helpful for some of you!) to share my favorite videos, explain what I’ve pulled from them, and how I’ve adopted them to my life. Groceries / Meal Planning I want to note before I get into this section that I’m someone who already knows a LOT of grocery shopping tips and hacks. I’ve watched videos before and been like “what? These are real tips people don’t already know?!” so I will say that Jordan Page has some other more basic shopping tip videos if you need those too. The ones I’m linking have some basic things but also include better tips that I’m implementing! How to meal plan using your fridge Summary: This video is about meal planning using what you already have in your fridge, pantry, and freezer. The whole “you’re doing it backwards” thing in the title card is because most people (myself included…) would browse Pinterest or various […]