PLANNER REVIEW: Chic Sparrow Travelers Notebook

The first time I laid my eyes on a Chic Sparrow travelers notebook while scrolling through Instagram, I screamed. Oh. My. Gosh. It was the gorgeous, quality, worn, classic but sturdy notebook you dream of carrying on your far and away adventures to New Zealand.

Picture Bilbo Baggins scrawling notes of his journey.

Picture a secretary whose also a mom and wife, using whimsical inserts and stickers to piece together her busy but full life.

Picture a researcher, trekking through the mountains of Scotland, scribbling notes of his finds.

Picture a business owner on a sunny beach in California, relaxing but writing away notes and ideas.

That’s the beauty of these notebooks. They’re versatile, flexible, yet the type of quality that is going to show the wear and tear of life in years to come, all the while still looking gorgeous and cozy.

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

I finally took the leap and ordered a Mr.Darcy Buttered Rum A5 travelers notebook. (Yeah, Mr.Darcy as in Pride and Prejudice! Doesn’t that just scream comfy with the name alone?) I had stalled for literally years, because I didn’t feel like I was an “advanced” enough planner to comfortably use and decorate inserts (which is a total lie). When I opened up the box, I kicked myself for not getting one so much sooner. It even smelled good!

The beautiful thing about these notebooks is that they’re each handmade, right here in the USA. They make it very clear on their website that no two notebooks are alike. While they’re similar in the basic pieces, each notebook contains variations of textures and colors.

In other words, each notebook is different and ready to tell a story as it rides along the journey of life with you. These notebooks are foldable and flexible, yet sturdy enough to hold a pen (yep, a leather pen loop is attached on the inside) and the elastic firm enough to grip your inserts in place, without worrying about them falling out.

Travelers notebooks are a great option if you have many pieces of your life that you want to keep all in one place. Think of it as a “headquarters” or “dashboard” for your life. With the four elastic straps inside, you can have several inserts and still be able to easily find whatever you need at a moments glance. Chic Sparrow also sells inserts too. Not to mention, so many lovely Etsy shops sell inserts that are readily made or that you can download and print at home to track your budget, to do list, calendar, cleaning, movies to watch, gift giving for Christmas time, and the list goes on.

Here’s a quick video below, where you can see this lovely planner for yourself:

CORRECTION:  In the video I mention that the leather is Pantina. While the leather itself does Patina with time, the leather type is considered Vegetable Tanned.

So, what do you think? Do you think you’ll take this piece of magic with you, as you journey through life? I know I certainly will. And I can’t WAIT to see what kind of tales this piece of craftsmanship will be able to tell with me years down the road.

Rifle Paper Co. Planner with Sarah Robinson

Hey, Planner Peeps! I’m so excited to share this space with a very special guest this week. My friend Sarah Robinson and I met through an old job and we soon started a mastermind with two other lovely ladies! Sarah writes over at  Beautiful Between and loves to share about hope, love and redemption. We got Chinese food together last November and she generously showed me her planner. I fell in love and immediately asked her to write a post on how she used it, along with her systems! Without further ado, here’s my lovely friends way of living life, intentionally:

I shouldn’t even be writing this.

At least, that’s what I would have believed not long ago.

I never saw myself as “organized.” My half-done checklists got lost in some notebook or another as I kept searching for the perfect planner, the perfect system, and the perfect way to get everything done.

Really, I was searching for ways to live up to my unrealistic expectations. I crammed my schedule full to the brim, edge to edge in planners and calendars, desperate to do enough that I would finally feel good enough.

Want to know what’s funny? I was convinced I wasn’t a perfectionist because I wasn’t perfect enough.

In all my frantic striving to just be good enough, I was focused on the wrong things. I made lists and set goals for things I wanted to accomplish, but they often went undone. And I beat myself up for all that I couldn’t quite manage.

It wasn’t until I stopped asking what I wanted to do that perfectionism’s grip began to loosen.

Now, I’m asking a better question.

Who do I want to be?

It’s so much more than what I want to accomplish. It’s not about the checklist and the achievement. It’s about identity: who I am and who I’m becoming. It’s about building the life I want.

Now, I don’t find my value as a person in what I cross off the list daily. I’ve learned that much of who I am and who I become is wrapped up in my daily activities, and I get to choose what they are.

I want to live a life that fully aligns with my values, so I make sure it shows up in my daily to-dos.

So what does it look like in practice?

First, determine who you want to be and break that down into specific traits. Here’s my example list:

I want to be someone who:

  • Loves people really well.

  • Creates meaningful work that touches lives.

  • Stewards my one life well.

  • Lives a generous lifestyle.


Then, take each of those traits and break it down to specific tasks/things that contribute to it in your life. These should be things you can schedule or principles you can implement as you fill your planner. Here are some examples for each of the traits above.

  • Loves people really well:

    • Schedule reminders to reach out to loved ones.

    • Prioritize margin/open space in my schedule for unexpected opportunities to spend time with people.

  • Creates meaningful work that touches lives:

    • Schedule time for deep work, research, thinking, even prayer.

  • Stewards my one life well:

    • Prioritize what makes me healthy so I can give of myself how I want to.

    • Schedule exercise, grocery shopping, counseling, and down time.

    • Consider what I say yes and no to. Sometimes I need to say no to good things to make room for great things.

  • Lives a generous lifestyle:

    • Schedule payments to keep moving toward being debt free (so we eventually have more money to give).

    • Set aside a little money from each paycheck for generosity (so we have money available whenever an opportunity arises to help someone).


The tools of the trade

This is a planner blog, so of course I’m going to share the tools that work for me as I create the life I want. Also, please know that while Lorna may use affiliate links and receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase the items below, I don’t get anything for these recommendations. These are just tools I love that help me become who I want to be. I think they might help you, too!

Rifle Paper Co. Planner

Last year, my husband hunted high and low for the perfect gift: a planner I would love. After TONS of research, he landed on my gorgeous Rifle Paper Co planner in a dusty pink. I love the heavy paper, the floral cover, and the quotes on every two-page spread.

I also LOVE the two-column layout! In 2017, it was perfect for me because I don’t usually fill my planners with my entire to-do list. Instead, I include up to 3 “most important things” that I list in order of importance. On one column, I list the top 3 tasks for work. I list the top 3 for my personal life in the other column. Then, I tackle them in that order.

If I only complete those 3 things that day – or even if I accomplish the single most important thing on each of my lists – I count my day a success. It feels good to have my own definition for success and know I can attain it.

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Highlighters & fine point felt pens

I love having color to freshen up my pages, so I try to write in my planner with fine felt markers. I usually go for colored Sharpie pens or Staedtler Triplus Fineliners (my favorites!).

I also hate crossing or checking off items in my planner – it looks so messy! Instead, I highlight items as I complete them. It’s a bright, visual way to show my progress at a glance. 




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Airtable

My writing has taken off over the past several months. It’s become a business and requires more attention and planning than a hobby. I’ve also started taking on some freelance clients and, much as I love my Rifle Paper Co. Planner, it wasn’t cutting it for my ever-expanding to-do lists, editorial calendar, and multiple projects.

Airtable is an incredibly flexible online tool full of templates to manage any kind of project, lists of clients, or even personal stuff like menu planning or keeping track of your favorite books. The best part is that it’s FREE and 100% customizable.

It’s the perfect complement to my analog planner. I track complex details and connect important information for my projects in Airtable so I can see where I am on big projects at a glance. But I still write down my 3 most important things in my planner to keep me focused.

What it all comes down to

I use these tools so I can have the life I want: one of joy, wholeness, and purpose. I use it to chip away at the important commitments and tasks that I’d otherwise sacrifice at the altar of the urgent. I use it to define success and move myself toward it.

But most of all, this is how I free myself from unrealistic perfectionism. This is how I’m becoming happy with who I am and what I do. And that is priceless.

Want more from Sarah? Click here to get her free mini-ebook on living a beautiful life right now. 

Planner Review: Travelers Notebooks!

When you hear the word Traveler’s Notebook, you probably think of some awesome, Hobbit-like, mysterious traveler who has their trusty old leather-bound notebook that has been with them on all their adventures.

And you’re right! That’s definitely what they are. These types of planners have EXPLODED in the planner world – and for good reason! They’re also very customizable, sturdy and great for creative planners who want to have a small section/insert in their planner for every part of their life.

Take note that these planners can be overwhelming if you’re a beginner planner and need a daily layout or weekly spread to walk you through your planning process, or if you’re still figuring out what your planning style is. It’s also really easy to spend lots of money on these bad boys too, decking them out with inserts, dashboards (the first page you see of a section or when you open your TN), paperclips, bookmarks, dividers, etc!

Here are a few of my favorite, recommended places to get your own:

Chic Sparrow

Here’s my YouTube review of a Traveler’s Notebook I bought from Portland Leather Goods! Another bonus is a lot of companies will stamp your name, initials, or whatever you’d like onto the outside of your Traveler’s Notebook!

Planner Review: Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner

If there’s anyone who can truly be considered a productivity expert, Michael Hyatt is your go-to guy. I’ve been following Hyatt online for a few years now and it’s safe to say, he knows what he’s doing. His tips and content have been invaluable and he’s most known for his book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and his Best Year Ever (goal setting) & Free to Focus (productivity) programs.

This planner combines his approach to daily productivity with a long-term, yearly goals in mind.  One journal covers 3 months at a time and they’re all undated. This is helpful because you don’t have to wait to get started! As soon as you acquire the planner you can begin to use it.

When you first get the planner, I highly recommend going through the videos they made for it and watching through them before you get to it, as he has certain pieces of the planner that don’t make sense or are unrecognizable at first glance.

The quality of this planner is unmatched! You can tell the hardbound cover, ribbons and paper thickness are great for those on the go and those who need to pack it around. Hardbound planners can often have a hard time laying flat making them impossible to write in at times, but not with the Full Focus Planner. At the beginning and end portions of the planner it can be a little unruly and want to close, but through a majority of the book, you should be a-ok!

I think my favorite parts about the layout of this planner are the weekend optimization portions (we don’t really think about planning out our weekends, but it’s still so good to figure out what you’re going to do so you’re proactive about them instead of reactive) and how it reiterates looking at your goals on a daily basis, so you can make your schedule match making progress towards them!

Here’s a short video doing a walkthrough of the planner, so you can see for yourself all its productivity powers in its glory!

This planner is perfect for entrepreneurs, business-focused folks, guys and people who need a straight and narrow approach to their day!