This week has been craaaaazy so far.  A lot of fun…

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… And a lot of work.

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This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which is always a huge deal for Operation Beautiful.  On Monday, I spoke at University of North Carolina Pembroke.  On Tuesday, I spoke at Davidson College.  And tonight, I’m flying to Reno for an event at the city’s University of Nevada branch.   Needless to say, I’m a bit sleep-deprived – but I’m so happy to spread our positive message during such an important week.

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So… I figure there’s no time like the present to share my thoughts on switching to a paper calendar!  Because if my new paper calendar can handle this crazy week, then it can handle pretty much anything.


I was inspired to purchase this Erin Condren planner after reading about it on The Shu Box.  I think the decision to switch was brought by several things.  First, I stumbled upon my high school planners, which were EXTREMELY detailed (like, crazily…  I guess I spent a lot of class time doodling in my planners!).  Looking back on my 17 year old self was inspiring… I really had everything so neatly organized.


But as an adult, I have relied exclusively on Google Calendar.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I think there are lot of great aspects of electronic calendars, mainly that you can sync it up with your smart phone!  I love being able to check my phone when I’m out and easily access conference call information or important addresses.


However, a few months ago, I realized that my love affair with Google Calendar was definitely waning.  I couldn’t get a clear grasp on what needed to be done and when, and I felt the need to write things out to efficiently plot my work schedule.  My desk was covered in To Do Lists and Post-Its, and the breaking point was a few weeks back, when I lost a VERY IMPORANT To Do List and freaked out.  There was so many important things written on that little scrap of paper! I tore apart my desk looking for it (and eventually found it – thank goodness), but the experience made me realize that it would be nice to keep everything – appointments, To Dos, and deadlines – all in one spot.  It’s harder to misplace a whole book than one tiny sheet of paper.


Now – this Erin Condren planner is definitely pricey, but it’s so thoughtfully organized, but most importantly, the quality of the cover is very high.  It’s reinforced and strong.  Oh, and I love that you can customize the photos on the front!  It’s nice to have pictures of my family on my planner.




There are multiple ways to look at each month – there’s a larger yearly view, a monthly view, and a weekly view.


Here’s the monthly view:


Here’s the weekly view:


Oh, and there are sections for Notes, Contacts, and Birthdays.


The planner also comes with stickers (which you can customize).


And in the back, there’s a little folder with pockets.  I LOVE this part – I’ve been organizing our bills in the pocket.  There’s also a plastic zipper pocket, which Erin Condren stuffs with samples of their labels for birthday gifts, etc.


I’ve struck a nice balance between Google Calendar and a paper calendar.  I still put my appointment details (like addresses and phone numbers) in Google Calendar so I can access that information when I’m out and traveling without my calendar.  But my To Do lists go in the paper calendar.  So far, my desk is MUCH neater, I’ve eliminated all those Post Its, and I have a clearer picture of what needs to be done when. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to just using an online calendar!


Are you an online calendar kind of person or a paper calendar kind of person?



  • susan y. February 26, 2014, 8:31 am

    I am totally a paper girl. I stock up on old school black and white composition notebooks when they go on sale at the start of the school year. (.25 each) These are durable, portable and versatile. I have tried many conventional pre-set journal/organizers, but I prefer to customize my own. I also love the thrill of crossing stuff off my list as it gets done.

  • Ashley {The North Carolina Cowgirl} February 26, 2014, 8:54 am

    I bought this same planner and love it! I have never used a planner before but felt like I really needed something to help keep my life in order. I wasn’t fond of spending the money for it but really glad I did. I don’t go anywhere with out it and I love having something to keep my daily activities in. 🙂

  • Brynn February 26, 2014, 8:57 am

    I have always been a paper calendar girl. Google calendar is handy to track appointments, but like you, I find myself a bit lost in terms of tasks and to-dos. Paper helps me jot things down, see everything at once and I love when there is a storage option. I’ve been eyeing the EC calendar for a while…I think I might bite the bullet!

  • F. Plvan February 26, 2014, 9:00 am

    Nice but way too expensive. $50 a year for a planner?!

    • Caitlin February 26, 2014, 9:08 am

      Yeah it’s definitely pricey!

      • Jackie February 26, 2014, 9:50 am

        I asked for mine for Christmas from my parents. I love it (but am glad I didn’t have to pay $50).

    • Rebecca February 26, 2014, 9:55 am

      Then again, checking other websites, there are planners that are $55 to $60 or more. For that quality and all the extras that come with it (the stickers, pockets, whatever), that’s probably the average price range.

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More February 26, 2014, 9:01 am

    I have officially made the switch to utilizing my electronic calendar after being an avid paper calendar girl. The one thing I can’t quite let go of is my paper to-do list. I’ve tried electronic versions but do find myself feeling like I need it written out. I think there’s a sense of accomplishment in crossing something off on a physical piece of paper. The good thing is, we can all choose what works best for us! 🙂

  • mindy @ just a one girl revolution. February 26, 2014, 9:13 am

    I’ve been using my Erin Condren planner since July and it’s AMAZING. I’m kind of obsessed.

  • Carrie February 26, 2014, 9:19 am

    Paper planner – color coded and all!

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun February 26, 2014, 9:23 am

    Oh I love her calendars so so much! I looked into them previously BUT I can’t afford it right now. Maybe one of these days! I have a $7.99 calendar from Target which is still pretty awesome and keeps my life organized!

  • clare @ fitting it all in February 26, 2014, 9:24 am

    1. It is my dream to own an erin condren planner. I tried to convince my mother we both needed them, but I think the price tag said otherwise. One day! I LOVE paper planners:)

    2. I don’t know how I never told you that I LOVE your site’s new design. So clean and pretty!

    3. So happy you and OB are busy spreading positive body image during NEDA awareness week!

  • Abby C. February 26, 2014, 9:28 am

    Check out Plum Paper Designs Family Planner– not only can you customize the cover, you can break everything down into 7 custom rows. i.e. You, spouse, child, work, workout, etc. For you it could be: You, Kristien, Henry, blog, OB, freelance, workout (or something along those line). Being able to segregate everything makes a world of difference.

    • Melissa @ Mango About Town October 13, 2014, 12:32 pm

      Thanks for sharing this company – I went to etsy and checked them out, amazing products!

  • Jackie February 26, 2014, 9:35 am

    I love writing everything out it keeps me accountable!

  • Kelly D February 26, 2014, 9:41 am

    OMG, I would LOVE that planner! I use a notebook! Boring and simple, but I need to write it all out to stay organized!! 🙂

  • Katie February 26, 2014, 9:49 am

    I’ve always used a paper planner, but it must be layed out the way Erin’s is, with the days going vertically, so I can see my day like a schedule. Typical calendars with those boxes are useless for me! I had been buying mine from barnes and noble, because they’re leather and fairly slim, but when I have a family to coordinate I’m sure I’ll upgrade to the Erin calendar!

  • Rebecca February 26, 2014, 9:52 am

    I was never able to keep everything organized with paper planners from school, mostly because half the time I’d forget to write something down or look back at the planner later. I was good at it for a while, but eventually I started hating it for some reason. Now I put everything on three calendars: our kitchen calendar, my calendar in my bedroom, and my phone’s calendar. That way if I miss writing something on one calendar, I probably have it on another one.

  • Meaghan O'Connor February 26, 2014, 10:03 am

    I don’t think I could LIVE without my paper calendar from Kate Spade. People laugh when I whip it out of my purse to schedule coffee dates and the like, but I don’t go anywhere without it!

  • Diana Griffith February 26, 2014, 10:10 am

    You know, when I saw you post about that calendar a few weeks back, it really got me thinking about switching to a paper calendar myself. I haven’t been able to find a good electronic client that I like for a task list. It’s too easy for it to hide away behind a screen. This also leaves me having a million post its everywhere.

    I also agree the the electronic calendar doesn’t allow for a full view of what is going on in your day the way I really would like it to.

    This is really prompting me to go get a paper calendar now. Especially as I’m transitioning to working for myself and am not always right in front of a stationary desk with all my notes with me.

  • Ashley February 26, 2014, 10:13 am

    Totally a paper girl…I bit the bullet and bought an Erin Condren planner a couple years ago….and never used it. Far too big and bulky to take everywhere, and those tabs were roughed up real bad real quick!

    • Stephanie February 27, 2014, 3:32 am

      Ashley, they took that feedback to heart a few years ago and now the tabs are laminated. Mine have been holding up well since July!

  • Aishah @ Coffee, Love, Health February 26, 2014, 10:37 am

    I always loved paper planners and I was obsessed with them during my school years. Even when I got my Master’s, my planner was my life. It helped me stay organized soooooo much. Working full-time and going to school full-time, I really needed to have something where I could easily see everything in front of me. I LOVE how colorful and pretty this one is and how you can customize it with pictures, I really love that <3 But $50 hurts lol I would consider it though.

  • Bonnie February 26, 2014, 10:47 am

    I am a paper planner person all the way! I tried google calender, but it was always messed up and not syncing right. But I also tried keeping an electronic journal on my laptop, but there’s nothing like writing something down with my favorite journal and my favorite pen…. I think I like office supplies too much 🙂

    Also, a note on maximizing your grocery budget- start sprouting! Even if you have a “brown thumb”, you cannot mess this up and most sprouting seeds are a lot cheaper than their already sprouted counterparts. I really like mung bean and broccoli sprouts. Cover the bottom of a jar with seed, soak in filtered water for 12 hours or overnight and then rinse in the morning and evening until you’ve got a jar full of sprouts. (Mung beans take 4 to 5 days, broccoli takes 3 days)
    Please let me know if you try it out!

  • Rebecca@RunningFoodBaby February 26, 2014, 10:57 am

    I am a paper planner person. I do use iCalendar – but I write down most of my stuff in my planner. I use a very similar one from Plum Paper in Etsy. A little less extras, but the same kind of layout!

  • Marissa @ Barefoot Colorado February 26, 2014, 11:12 am

    I’m definitely a paper planner kind of girl! I feel so much better when I write things down. It helps me FEEL organized

  • Traci February 26, 2014, 11:17 am

    If it’s worth the price to you, it’s worth the price! I have tried using google calendar but am strictly an on-paper girl! I can’t deal with the “modern” way, haha.

  • Ali February 26, 2014, 11:30 am

    That’s funny that you found your high school planners because I was going through some keepsakes and I found my high school and college ones and I remembered how much I loved writing in that thing. It had absolutely everything in there. I am an iCal girl right now, but I LOVE your planner and am thinking about switching over to paper too.

  • Bethany February 26, 2014, 11:34 am

    I’ve always loved writing out to-do lists and writing notes, so I just never could get used to using an electronic calendar for work. For my personal life, I can use my phone since I’m never THAT busy and always have my phone with me, but for work I most definitely need to write everything down in a paper planner.

  • Katie sB February 26, 2014, 11:52 am

    Paper all the way!

  • Lee February 26, 2014, 12:08 pm

    I just bought one of these last week! It’s supposed to come on Friday. I’m irrationally excited.

  • Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} February 26, 2014, 12:38 pm

    I loved this post. I am all about the paper calendar and finding a good one. This one look awesome!! I am going to have to check out her website asap!

  • Marie February 26, 2014, 1:14 pm

    I bought my first Erin Condren planner last year. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Great choice.

  • Liz February 26, 2014, 1:32 pm

    My sister got me the same planner for Christmas! I was surprised at how good she did picking out all pictures that I love.

    My favorite thing is the column of on the side of the weekly pages, I always write things I need to get done that week and boxes to check it off. This week is working out 3x this week and getting all my bills paid. Keeping it simple!

  • emily February 26, 2014, 1:39 pm

    I just posted love for my paper planner on my blog too! Mine’s from Sugar Paper. I am a total planner (I spend more time planning than doing, which is obviously a problem!) and online only just won’t cut it.

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork February 26, 2014, 1:53 pm

    I’m glad you brought up National Eating Disorders Awareness Week! I’m actually doing a series over on my blog all week (every day, actually, and I’m only a 3x/wk blogger!). I had anorexia when I was in middle school and I kept a journal during for a long time. I’ve been sharing snippets from my journal, showing the progression of my life and thoughts throughout the experience. I haven’t read my journal for over ten years, so it was an interesting and heartbreaking experience reading it again. I wish I could reach out to that girl now–and thank you for doing the work you do to reach out to girls and promote a positive body image!

    Reading through my journals makes me think keeping a paper calendar like the one you have would be a better way to document things (in addition to Google calendar–couldn’t get rid of that!). The one you have is beautiful! Does it take up a lot of room in your purse? Is it heavy? Thanks for sharing!

    • Caitlin February 26, 2014, 2:04 pm

      That you for sharing your story!!!

      I keep it on my desk or in my diaper bag – it would definitely take up a lot of room in a purse, though.

  • Joanna@DrizzleofSunshine February 26, 2014, 1:57 pm

    I LOVE My EC planner. I’m a walking commercial for it. I have always been a paper and pencil person, so add in cute colorful details and I’m sold. I love seeing it all at a glance and the added cutesy features are somehow motivating. Check out the Instagram #Lifeplanner and you’ll see the awesome ideas people have using their life planners.

  • Joy February 26, 2014, 2:16 pm

    I am a paper calendar girl all the way. I love the physical act of writing down things that need to be done–and crossing them off when they’re done feels like I’ve accomplished something. Also, the act of writing them down helps me to remember that I have to do them, so it’s win/win.

  • Kristen February 26, 2014, 2:20 pm

    If you’re into paper planner, you NEED to check out the Family Planner from Gallery Leather! You can see month or week at a glance, but it also has space for Daily To Do as well as appointment at a specific time. The best part is that it has several pages of perforated, tear out lists in the back.

  • nancy February 26, 2014, 2:26 pm

    So happy to read this today! I thought I was the last person to hold out for paper planners/calendars. I started using a planner in college and that’s still the best way for me to keep track of everything many years later. I still have the calendars/planners I kept while I was dating my husband (that’s over 20 years ago). It’s fun to look back and see what we did together. I like to buy the same kind every year so I don’t have to learn a new format. And it has to be small enough to keep it in my purse. I call it our family bible because everything of significance is in there. Could not do without it!

  • Claire Zulkey February 26, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Both–the Google calendar is invaluable for my husband and me scheduling our thousands of different events. But my paper planner is my life. I actually hold onto all of them. I don’t keep a journal anymore but at least with those I have some sort of record of my day to day life. Every once in awhile I’ve had to go back and look through them so I’m glad I did!

  • Katie H. February 26, 2014, 2:58 pm

    I’m a Google calendar girl myself. Though I do miss having a paper calendar to doodle in sometimes 🙂

  • Kelly February 26, 2014, 4:07 pm

    Oh my gosh…I love Erin Condron. I am a second grade teacher and my teacher planner is Erin Condron…it is amazing! It is such a comprehensive planner and has everything I could ever need (all in one place) to be effective professionally and personally! Love it!

  • erica February 26, 2014, 5:22 pm

    I’m totally a paper calendar/planner type of girl! I couldn’t deal with ical. I tried erin condren, but it was too big for me lugging it around everywhere. I’ve just started using a Filofax, and I love the size!

  • Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola February 26, 2014, 5:31 pm

    I love my EC planner so much. I even got one for my sister for Christmas. My favorite part is the layout of the weekly calendar pages.

    Your planner is making me really wish I had gotten one with a customized cover!

  • Janelle February 26, 2014, 6:12 pm

    I’m ALL about the paper planner/calendar. I like to write things out by hand, visualize when I’m busy during the week, and make notes in the margins. For the past couple of years, I’ve used this planner:, and I really like it. But yours does look amazing!

  • Amy February 26, 2014, 6:21 pm

    COZI!! It’s an online calendar and an app and can be accessed by the whole family. It has a calendar, to-do lists for multiple people, a grocery list and a meal planner. It is truly life changing!!!!

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs February 26, 2014, 6:40 pm

    My husband bought me a Kate Spade planner for Christmas this year — it’s the first time in years that I’m using a physical planner, and I love it! My iPhone is great, but there’s just something about having a planner that I love!

  • Samantha February 26, 2014, 6:42 pm

    Paper planner for sure, and I create my own. While I love the concept of Erin Condren planners, I absolutely refuse to pay the high price PLUS another $25 to have it shipped to FPO. That’s outrageous when it would fit in a small priority box for $6. Even worse, when I said as much on their fb page, the response was quite nasty. That turned me off for good.

    Luckily the Japanese are meticulous about their planning and have a multitude of options, affordably, for creating your own system.

  • Kelley February 26, 2014, 7:59 pm

    I used to be a paper planner person…. until i accidentally left it on top of my car and drove off! I scoured the streets looking for it and it was gone forever! I had medical bills, phone numbers, my calendar and notes in there! I felt like my life was over! So I went all digital…. but now, life as a mom… i need a hard copy. ha.

    • Stephanie February 27, 2014, 3:35 am

      A friend of mine sent me the link to this blog, because she knows my obsession with all things EC. In fact, my 15th order arrived today! I’ve had 3 life planners (at even if you spend $60 for shipping, it’s less than 17 cents a day!), and 4 of the teacher planners. They are well made, durable, and I get compliments on them wherever I go (after people get over the shock of a paper planner!). I am organized, never miss appointments like I did when I used iCal for personal plans, and I love checking items off my to-do list! In my opinion, it is worth the 50-60 bucks to not be frazzled, late, or overbooked! Enjoy!

  • Jillian February 26, 2014, 10:07 pm

    I have tried so hard to love digital calendars and planners. I’ve tried so many apps but I cannot handle it. I like the physical planners best.

  • Kelly February 27, 2014, 8:20 am

    This is so funny, Caitlin, because I also JUST switched to a paper planner (well, in January). In highschool and college I was a huge fan of paper planners – and very picky about the kind. I use Google Calendar exclusively but needed a place to sort my to-dos and other paper related items. (Basically EXACTLY what you just said…ha!). I found a great one at Target by Sugar Paper.

  • Amanda February 27, 2014, 8:42 am

    I used paper calendars until 2013. I went the entirety of last year without one, and almost every day wished I had one. Your post inspired me to buy one yesterday at Target! I love being able to look back over the weeks and see what I’ve accomplished, which is much harder to do at a quick glance on the iPhone calendar. I feel so much happier now…it’s the little things, right?!

  • Erin February 27, 2014, 10:26 am

    I have a planner i got from Plum Paper on Etsy that is VERY similar to this and only $30 ($40 with shipping), it doesn’t have all the frills- like the stickers, but its customizable and still awesome!

  • Kelsey @ Ramblings of Change February 27, 2014, 10:35 am

    I definitely do a bit of both, but my Erin Condren planner is where I write down what needs to be done during the week. I also will put in my goals, when I plan to go to CrossFit, and any other appointments or “dates” with friends/family. I still use my phone to put in appointments, but that is so I can set a reminder alert. I also use the Reminders app on my phone to make me remember to call for appointments, do dishes and other random things so I actually do them. I think a balance between both is key, especially since taking your phone in some cases will be more convenient than taking your phone as well.

  • Amanda February 27, 2014, 11:02 am

    I use a paper planner for my billing every month. It makes it so much easier to keep up with what I need to pay/what I have paid or scheduled.

  • kristen @ livinlifeinlouie February 27, 2014, 11:14 am

    This calendar is AWESOME! I have a paper calendar for work, but I also need a space for notes/to dos and a section to hold extra papers, etc. maybe one day Ill go fancy (and get away from my target calendar haha)

  • Lisa @ RunWiki February 27, 2014, 1:40 pm

    I kid you not, I was seconds away from buying this exact planner last week. I hesitated and declined, but reading this I might have to reconsider. I love how organized it keeps you. I just hope it doesn’t overwhelm me.

  • Liz February 27, 2014, 4:23 pm

    I’m a paper calendar person, and I’ve wanted to get the EC planner for a long time now! Yours looks so cute.

  • Sarah February 27, 2014, 4:25 pm

    PAPER! I can’t figure out why, but my brain just totally works better on paper.

    Every Sunday I review/write out appointments, our meal plan, my workouts and anything from my office that will overflow into evenings.

    It’s really helped me with the anxiety that used to hit me every Sunday evening.

  • Emily @ Relishments February 27, 2014, 6:18 pm

    I loved my paper planner in high school and used it to keep track of all my activities and homework, but now that I have a “normal” job as a teacher, I find that I have less scheduling to keep track of, so I totally rely on Google calendar.
    For a while, I also had a bad habit of losing my to do lists…but instead of going back to a paper calendar, I finally found an electronic version I love. Keeping my list online means I can add to it at work or at home and maintain different lists for different projects. I’m currently using Todoist and wrote about it a few weeks ago. (

  • Kristen @ The Concrete Runner March 1, 2014, 10:02 pm

    I bought an Erin Condren planner as my teaching plan book so I could have my lesson plans and calendar all in one place and I LOVE it! I have to have a paper planner along with my google calendar. My paper planner is my main calendar but I don’t always have it with me, so I have my phone/google calendar too. I’m actually going to switch to the one you have for next school year because there is so many pages in the teacher planner that I don’t need and the weekly calendar can fit all my lessons, appointments, meetings, to-dos, etc. in one place so I can stop switching back and forth!

  • Luv What You Do March 2, 2014, 9:41 pm

    That is the cutest calendar! Where did you make it?
    I used to be a paper girl and about 1 year ago switched to google calendar so that I could sink with my boyfriend and avoid answering the question of what are we doing every day : )

  • Stacy October 14, 2014, 10:39 pm

    You’re a bad but awesome influence. 60 dollars later, I’m expecting this same planner plus the 3 elastic bands accessory add on in the mail now. Can’t wait! I have a paper calendar in the kitchen and one in my office, and, like you, I’m constantly making and losing handwritten lists. I really hope this helps!

    • Caitlin October 15, 2014, 1:35 pm

      Yay! 🙂

  • Carla April 29, 2015, 12:53 pm

    At this point I still use electronic planners (Google Calendar on a computer and iPhone). I have cognitive dysfunction and need constant reminders for appointments – like 3-6 over the course of a few days or I will forget. With that said, a paper planner may be helpful as well to get things baked into my brain! I will look into it for sure…

  • Polly November 21, 2015, 7:27 am

    I switched 3 years ago and use Mom’s Plan-it. I love it and even convinced my husband to go back to a paper calendar. Feel much more organized being able to see everything at one time.

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