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uggh.. Unraveling Ribbon! August 09, 2018 05:00

Please raise your hand if you are tired of the unraveling ribbon on your UPstudio Planner? (Becky and I both raised two hands!)

We just wanted to reassure you all that we have had multiple conversations with our printer about the best way to resolve this. The solution we have settled on for the 2019 UPstudio Planner:

  1. The ribbons will be fired on the end to hopefully prevent unraveling and fraying.
  2. The ribbons will also be thicker which should help.The ribbon in the 2018 planner is 0.021mm thick. In 2019 they will be 0.033mm. They will also have a slightly different texture, which we feel will look a bit better.

Crossing our fingers we don't have this same frustration next year! 

We are working hard to improve the UPstudio Planner each year. The difference in a quality product is in the details.

UPstudio - uggh... Unraveling Ribbon!

Sidebar: I definitely googled how to spell "uggh." Anyone else remember from second grade that words like that are called an onomatopoeia? Cause I didn't!


DECO Raleigh Grand Opening Celebration August 02, 2018 05:00

We are fortunate to be part of an amazing maker community in Raleigh. Just as important are the people and businesses that support local Raleigh makers. 

A huge supporter is DECO Raleigh. They not only support the local maker community but contribute to the community at large. If you haven't heard of DECO before, it is a brick and mortar located in downtown Raleigh. They have the most amazing gifts, cards, home decor items, local finds, and so much more.

DECO just moved around the corner from their previous location, 19 W. Hargett Street, to their new location, 207 S. Salisbury Street. 

In honor of One Big New DECO opening at 207 S. Salisbury Street, DECO is throwing a Grand Opening Celebration tomorrow, Friday, August 3.  The festivities begin at 1:00 pm with special guest, City Councilor Nicole Stewart, joining for a ribbon cutting and will continue into First Friday with beer from Trophy Brewing Co. and yummy cakes from Union Special Bread! They have invited all to come and celebrate and enjoy treats and special give-aways all day, they'll be open until 9:00 pm!

DECO Raleigh Grand Opening Celebration

They will also be opening EARLY for Union Special Bread on Sunday, August 5. All are welcome from 9:00 am until noon  (or whenever they run out) for some early morning shopping, sweet goodies and Slingshot Coffee Co.

They recently shared a sneak peek of the fresh paint job at their new digs on Instagram. We can't wait to check out the finished product!

DECO Raleigh Sneak Peek


We See You, Minnesota June 28, 2018 05:00

Is there anything better than getting unexpected fun mail?  We don't think so either, which is why this Minnesota postcard in our mailbox made our day.  Thanks, mystery sender!

If you want to send us mail, we'll be happy to get it!  

UPstudio
324 S. Wilmington Street, Suite 226
Raleigh, NC 27601

Apple and Pear White Sangria June 07, 2018 05:00

I've been to a few local Raleigh, NC, restaurants lately that have offered a light white wine sangria. I love the twist on the classic red sangria. I have been experimenting at home with a few recipes and thought I'd share the two that I've had the best luck with. Both were found via Google, so first shout out goes to them!

The first one I tried was from a blog called Love Grows Wild:

Apple and Pear White Wine Sangria - Love Grows Wild

Ingredients:

1 bottle Moscato wine
1/2 cup lemon liqueur (I used Caravella)
Zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from two lemons)
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, halved, and thinly sliced
1 Bartlett pear, cored, halved, and thinly sliced

1 can (12 ounces) seltzer

Instructions:

In a large pitcher, combine wine, lemon liqueur, lemon zest, and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice, apple slices, and pear slices and mix well. Place pitcher in refrigerator for 4 hours to chill and allow flavors to blend. Just before serving, top sangria off with seltzer. You can also strain sangria after chilling to remove lemon zest, if desired.

My second attempt was from Celebrate Magazine:

Apple and Pear Sangria - Celebrate Magazine

Ingredients:

2 (750-ml) bottles Pinot Grigio
1 cup pear-flavored vodka (I used Absolut)
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
1 green pear, cored and thinly sliced

1 (1-liter) bottle carbonated lemon-lime-flavored soda, chilled

Instructions:

In a large pitcher, stir together all ingredients with the exception of the soda. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Stir in lemon-lime soda just before serving.

My final thoughts: They were both delicious and refreshing, I would recommend both. The first was a little bit sweeter with the sugar and the Moscato. I did like the added lemon a lot. I liked the added mint in the second recipe though. The second was also a little easier to prep. I think if I had to make the hard decision on which one I would make again I think I would go with the second one from Celebrate Magazine.

This fall I'm definitely going to try this concoction, apple cider and champagne, interesting and intriguing! 

    2018 UPstudio Planner Price Drop! May 17, 2018 05:00

    If you've been waiting for a ridiculously low price on planners, your wait is over.  2018 UPstudio Planners are now just $15, with the Scratch and Dent version only $5!  If you've been wanting to try one out, now is the time to get one for a steal.


    UPstudio's Weekly Planning Notepad May 10, 2018 05:00

    We really appreciate all of the feedback we received regarding the composition of the 2019 UPstudio Planner. If you didn't catch last week's blog post, check out some of the ideas we are thinking through. We'd love to hear your thoughts, you can use our contact form or simply e-mail us at hello@upstudionc.com.

    On to this week's blog post..

    We released the Weekly Planning Notepad last September. Our goal with this product is to add one more layer of flexibility to your planning. The layout is very open and versatile. You can use the pad as a standalone planning tool or you can use it to compliment your planner.

    I regularly post one on my fridge so that my family can be on the same page about what we have going on that week:

    UPstudio - Weekly Planning Notepad - Family Planning

    On the weeks I have time to meal plan, this notepad is a great tool, I can even make a complete grocery list in the area not delegated to specific days on the bottom:

    UPstudio - Weekly Planning Notepad - Meal Planning

    One of our friends uses the Weekly Planning Notepad to help organize her daily tasks:

    UPstudio - Weekly Planning Notepad - Example

    The opportunities are endless!

    These pads are always available on our website, snag one for yourself here. For fellow Raleigh, North Carolina residents you can also purchase them at DECO Raleigh downtown.


    UPstudio Planner - 2019 Composition May 03, 2018 05:00 3 Comments

    If you work in the planner world, you almost never know what year it is.  That's because we're always working in the future getting ready for the next few years.  As we are in the midst of planner design for 2019, we're making critical decisions about possible changes.  If you've read this blog before or know anything about UPstudio, then you likely know that we solicit feedback frequently, because we genuinely want to create the best planner for a widespread audience.  We also recognize that change is sometimes hard and not well accepted.  We almost never make a major change without first getting feedback.

    Our current evaluations deal with the overall composition of the planner.  In all previous versions, including the current 2018 UPstudio Planner, the individual month layouts come directly before each of the week layouts in that month.  Preceding the month layouts are monthly goals layouts.  There are a few things at play in our minds:

    • We've had this layout because having the months directly before the weeks in that month seems to make sense.  It groups them together and is easy for people who may use them in conjunction with each other a little more easily.  The problem is that weeks don't always fall perfectly in line with the month before it or after it (actually, this hardly ever happens), which means that there are always a few days of a month that are grouped with the preceding or following month. There has been confusion from users about days that they initially think are missing, because they don't know to look in a different location for them.  This leads us to the meat of the first potential change:  grouping all month layouts together at the beginning, and all week layouts together directly following the group of months.

         

    • The next thought relates to the monthly goals layout.  To be honest, this layout has always bothered us just a bit, because it has a title.  One of the biggest achievements of the UPstudio Planner is that there are almost no defined ways to use each space, but just by putting the word "goals", we're implying that you have to write goals here.  We want you to write whatever you want in whatever space you want - versatility!  So, we're thinking about nixing these sheets, with the idea that the graph pages found at the end of the planner (or the blank section on the month layout or graph on the week layout) can replace this space.

         

      What do you think?  Will you be able to make goals for each month if there isn't a layout that says "goals"?  Will you go crazy looking at the beginning of the planner for the month of October when the week layouts are in the middle?  Would another ribbon help?  

      Let us know what you think, I promise, we listen!


      $5 Scratch and Dent Planners! April 19, 2018 05:00

      Last week on the blog we shared about how picky we are and what we consider to be a "scratch and dent" planner. Honestly, what we label as an imperfection is usually not recognizable by the majority of people. To entice you even more to try out the 2018 UPstudio Planner we are offering "scratch and dent" planners for only $5 for a limited time!

      2018 UPstudio Scratch and Dent Planners for $5


      What is a Scratch and Dent Planner? April 12, 2018 05:00

      We are picky.  We definitely own that, and think it's a good quality in our business, because it means that we don't settle for second best in our products.  We research, study, reject, do over, and are willing to pay a little more for a quality detail.  Because we are level 1000 picky, we realize we are maybe not the norm, and that others may deem something slightly imperfect to be "good enough".  We're totally cool with this and are aware of it, but, we're not going to change our own standards, and won't do that for our customers.

      All that being said, we will only charge full price for our 1000% good products.  If we deem something to be less than 1000%, then it's officially "scratch and dent".  We fully expect to get scratch and dent planners in our final deliveries. After we receive them, we go through a QC of every single planner over the course of several weeks in order to categorize each and every one.  Sometimes a planner will have a literal scratch or dent (due to shipping or packaging, or any number of things) but more often than that, a scratch and dent planner will have a slight printing imperfection, or a small glue spot, or something that majority of people may never notice. 

      Scratch and dent is a tricky name.  When someone sees "scratch and dent", they likely expect to see a major visual mistake on the exterior of the planner, and inherently, they don't sell as well as those planners that are not labeled scratch and dent, even at a lower price point.  The truth is, these are more like "slightly imperfect" planners.  Here are a few examples of things that would make us categorize a planner as scratch and dent:

      Yep, that's honestly it.  These planners are 100% functional, and a true steal as they are a fraction of the cost of the regular version.  If you're on the fence about the UPstudio Planner, try grabbing a Scratch and Dent for just $10!  Trust us, it's worth it, and bonus - both cover colors are still available!

      While we do go through each and every planner before it is sent out, sometimes one may slip through the cracks and be less than perfect.  If you experience any quality issues with your UPstudio Planner, please notify us immediately.  We do our best to provide the best customer service we possibly can.


      Where in the World is the UPstudio Planner (2018 edition) April 05, 2018 05:00

      Since the 2017 infographic post of Where in the World is the UPstudio Planner was so fun, we wanted to explore and compare how the reach for planners has grown in just a year.  Enjoy!

       

      The 2018 UPstudio Planner is only sold in stores in North Carolina (for now anyway!) but this little gem called the internet makes it possible to get one from literally anywhere in the world. It's pretty amazing.  We took a look at the reach of the 2018 Planner, and thought it would be fun to share with you guys.  Who doesn't love a good map and graph? 

      These maps show the states and countries where UPstudio planners now call home.  The first map is of the United States, and the second map shows our lone international traveler - all the way in Estonia!  (Shipping prices get a little steep outside of the continental US, but we're willing to ship anywhere!  Send us a message if you want more details.)

            

      If you're wondering, that's 37 of the 50 states (up from 29 in 2017!) - and yep, you're reading that right, there's an UPstudio Planner in Hawaii (aloha!)

      The official language of Estonia is Estonian, however English is one of the most popular foreign languages to learn in the country, so the UPstudio Planner is still right at home overseas.

       

      These next graphs show the distribution of quantities sold throughout the different states and countries. No surprise, the most planners have sold in North Carolina, but we were interested to see that the next most popular state placing orders is Texas (same as 2017!) with California following close behind.

       

      Did your state make the map?  We would love to see all 50 states and even more countries represented for the 2019 Planner!

      (It's not too late to order your 2018 Planner or scratch and dent Planner!)

       

      **US Map created with United States of America with States - Outline by FreeVectorMaps.com


      Newborn Realities for Second Time Parents March 29, 2018 05:00

      Brian and I recently welcomed our new nugget, Margaret (Maggie), into our family. She was officially one month earlier this week. The past month has flown by and yet feels like it has taken forever. There have been many highs and lows. I feel like when preparing for our first child we were so intentional and thorough. This was probably because we knew we were adventuring into the unknown. This time with both of us working full-time and having a energetic toddler running around we honestly didn't have nearly as much time or mental capacity to prepare. I think we both secretly hoped it was like riding a bike, that it would all come back once she was born. The truth is that was only halfway true. Brian and I regularly look at each other and exchange the glance that means, "oh yea, I vaguely remember that, but I can't seem to recall the specifics, mental note to ask pediatrician next time we go in." I also personally think that God has somehow engineered our minds to suppress the newborn phase, cause really, who would remember all the details and choose to have another? But then again, those sweet tiny precious little fingers!

      Newborn Realities for Second Time Parents

      I jotted a few of those newborn-isms down that we failed to remember:

      • Babies are typically born nocturnal and it takes a few days (in our case weeks) for them to readjust to a regular schedule.
      • The most in-depth conversations that you end up having with your spouse seem to all happen at around 4:30am when you are both for some reason really awake. The few moments you don't have a toddler melting down or a baby crying.
      • Babies cry. Our first hardly cried. Maggie seems to express all emotions, good and bad, by crying. Definitely an adjustment for us. 
      • The "let you baby cry it out" thing is a lot harder to do when you toddler is sleeping soundly.
      • Babies have growth spurts where they are hungry all the time. 3 days, 7-10 days, 3 weeks, so on and so forth.
      • We completely forgot about acid reflux and gas. Our new addition seems to want to be upright or decently angled all of the time in order to be comfortable. 
      • For those that breastfeed, it takes up so much of your day, completely forgot the time commitment. 
      • Also for those that breastfeed, you forget about having to live life in 2 hour stretches of time.
      • I regularly have to look at my phone to know the day of the week. 
      • How long does it take for a baby to sleep through the night? We hit it at 8 weeks with our first, I'll keep you posted regarding round two.
      • You're continually washing everything: bottles, poopy clothes, milk covered everything!
      • We hadn't fully processed how our son was going to react. There have been very high highs and very low lows on this front. 
      • Cabin fever is real!

      2018 Planner Price Drop! March 22, 2018 05:00

      If you were waiting to pick up your 2018 planner, you're in luck.  2018 UPstudio Planners are now $30 (available in grey), and 2018 Scratch and Dent Planners are only $10!  These slightly imperfect planners are still 100% usable (we are just ultra picky) and now a STEAL!  Get yours today!


      Behind the Scenes: Small Businessisms March 15, 2018 05:00

      UPstudio has been around for a few years now, but we're continuing to grow in our knowledge as small business owners.  There are of course, lots of responsibilities that come with a small business that are no brainers, like taxes, hard work, and endless hours.  But there are plenty of blog posts that go through the basics of starting a business - what we're talking about today is the opposite side of the spectrum, the sometimes fun, mostly quirky, maybe helpful things that have we have learned as UPstudio grows.

       

      • We're friends with our local post office workers.  With a time sensitive product like a planner, we make every effort to ship out orders ASAP, which means that we're making daily (sometimes multiple!) trips to the post office.  Inherently, we see the same people every day and get to know them.  We even gave Christmas gifts and share baby photos with our local PO workers, because they're so great!  (Thanks Jackie and Allen!)
      • We know way too much about shipping rates.  Another reason to spend time at the post office was to get as much knowledge as possible about shipping rates.  After researching USPS vs UPS, the overall rate for our products was better with USPS, so we ship through them exclusively.  Shipping is the fastest way to lose money as a small business, as it can get very pricey depending on the option.  We offer both priority and priority express as shipping options.  On occasions where free shipping has been offered as a coupon incentive, we've had to eat the cost of the substantially more expensive priority express shipping.  We also frequently price shipping rates to areas outside of the US for specific customer questions.  
      • We barter with other local businesses.  Don't get us wrong, we are big fans of supporting other businesses (see next bullet point) but sometimes there are opportunities that present themselves, and it doesn't hurt to take advantage of them.  For example, our day jobs are located just upstairs from the best sit down or grab and go lunch spot in downtown Raleigh - Manhattan Cafe.  Because we're in there so frequently (especially MB!), we've gotten to know the owners.  They've catered for our parties in exchange for a planner or two or design services.  Win win!
      • We aim to pay cash whenever we can to other small businesses.  Especially if you're at a show and not ordering online, cash when possible is the best way to ensure that the small business owner is seeing the most profit.  Credit cards are incredibly convenient and of course we use them, but we know how much a 3% charge can add up over each transaction, so try to help out others too!
      • We work the system to fulfill bank card requirements. As a small business, and especially one with a seasonal product, sometimes we struggle with enough getting the required number of transactions on our bank cards that are needed in a month.  For our bank, 10 are required, which seems totally doable until you realize how many things are automated within larger accounts.  For example, our website is hosted through Shopify.  Shopify offers a slightly discounted shipping rate for products, so we use them instead of paying for shipping individually from the PO each time (which would otherwise be on our bank cards).  So, instead of multiple transactions, we just have 1 through Shopify.  Whenever we are purchasing multiples of something, we try to do as many transactions as we can!  We're not the only ones that do this either, as cashiers have asked if it's for a business bank card.  If we still fall short, around the 28th of each month, we're buying a pack of gum or a drink to get a transaction, and reimbursing the company, just to make it work.
      • We research free apps to install on our website.  Unless you're initially really successful or going through a crowd funding site, you're probably putting in some of your own money to fund your small business.  Because of this, we try to save any money we can wherever we can.  We take the time to research free apps to make our website a little bit better than the standard, and research any coding that is required for things we can fix ourselves (read: MB does all this - she's an engineer and knows coding and is completely running the show on this stuff.  After she learns what to do she gives me the short version in terms I can understand, and we work together where we can.)  Here's an example of one genius thing she's fixed.
      • We are genuinely excited when people comment on blog posts.  This one has the most comments by far and we LOVE them!  One of the reasons we started a "lessons learned" series is for other small business owners who are out there struggling with the same issues that we are.  If we find a solution, or learned something the hard way, we're happy to share it. 

      UPstudio Reviews March 08, 2018 05:00

      People today are shopping online more and more frequently.  You can't beat the convenience of having something delivered straight to your door, but it's sometimes a risk since you don't have an opportunity to touch and feel a product to know if it's truly what you want.  In order to gain some assurance before ordering, many people first look at the reviews.  How many stars has the product received?  Do other people find it useful?  Is it really what the photos show?  User reviews are priceless, and help to verify a product, and in many cases, justify future purchases. 

      As a small business, we can't say enough about how critical these reviews are!  Because we have a small reach, we rely on our website to do a lot of heavy lifting for us in regards to marketing.  Our photographs need to be simple, clean and authentic to showcase our products in a true light, and reviews need to be as high as possible with positive information about both our products and our company.  We value good customer service and high quality products, and are proud to say that we have received many wonderful reviews. 

      If you haven't taken the time to review an UPstudio product on our website, on Etsy, or on Amazon, please take a minute and do so.  And don't forget to do the same for other small businesses, trust me, they appreciate it more than you know!

      Here are a few reviews that we have received - THANK YOU to those who have left any comments and ratings!

      (2018 Planner - 5 Stars on UPstudio Website)
      A SIMPLE YET POWERFUL WEEKLY PLANNING TOOL AND JOURNAL
      I always envied the planners of my friends who had a Day Designer or something similar, but they were way too over-the-top and bulky for my needs. After some research I found UPstudio and the perfect planner for me. I specifically wanted a planner with weekly pages and room within each date for a daily to-do list, and this has the perfect layout. It also has a nice monthly view as well. I feel very on top of my weeks now!

      Also, the graph pages at the end are perfect for taking notes on events, interviews, or for more intense lists and planning, all in the same portable package and without the need for a separate journal.

      Just bought my 2018 planner and excited for many more years
      (Customer Service - 5 Stars on UPstudio Website)
      GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
      I want to commend UPstudio for their excellent customer service. When I experienced an issue with my 2018 planner, they promptly made it right. I will be using UPstudio planners for years to come because of the excellent way that they treated me, in addition to the fact that I find the UPstudio planners the best fit for me. Thank you very much! Keep up the great work! 
      (2018 Planner - 5 Stars on UPstudio Website)
      IMPROVEMENT ON PERFECTION
      If they ever stop making these planners I’ll cry. No suggestions or complaints here. This planner is perfect in form and function from cover to cover.
      (2018 Planner - 5 Stars on UPstudio Website)
      LOVE THIS PLANNER
      I love this planner! It is logically laid out for a large overview calendar at the beginning of the month, with weekly, more detailed scheduling between the months, and great grid pages on the back half for any projects. Bullet journaling is great with this. I personally do not like college and wide ruled pages, as most of my projects need more flexibility in planning out than what lined pages allows. The durability and quality of this book is amazing! The thick heavy cover is extremely well made and durable. The pages are thick and my pens do not bleed through. The pockets on the front and back make it easy to keep up with random little papers (great for receipts!). The elastic strap wears well and does not stretch out over time like many of my other notebooks have done. I'm cheap, and I spurge each year on one of these! It is well worth it!
      (Everyday Cards - 5 Stars on UPstudio Website)
      QUALITY & DESIGN
      I got the arrow everyday cards & am thrilled with them. They're surprisingly thick - I'm not sure I've held paper this thick before & they feel like they're super high quality. The design is on point & I've already used 2 for unexpected & very different reasons. I'm so glad I had these on hand because they're less formal than something like a Hallmark card that feels like you need to find the "right one" to match the event, yet they're so much more personal than just an email. I'm definitely going to get more!!
      (2018 Planner - 5 Stars on Etsy)

      Heidi on Jan 2, 2018


      A New Addition to the UPstudio Team! March 01, 2018 05:00

      Congratulations to Mary Beth and her husband on the birth of their beautiful baby girl, Margaret!  Maggie is the cutest little thing, even though she likes to stay up all night.  We're so excited to add another member to the UPstudio family!  Join me in congratulating MB on her precious and perfect addition to their family.

      PS - Mary Beth's dedication to UPstudio is REAL.  She wanted to write a blog post while she was in recovery after giving birth!  (We didn't let that happen).


      UPstudio Pencils February 15, 2018 05:00

      A free pencil is included with each UPstudio Planner order for a handful of reasons (like: we love pencils, we love free treats, we want to do a little self promotion, a pencil is our go to when writing in our planner, etc.). We shared previously how hard it is for us to decide on the featured pencils each year. 

      Did you know that we also sell pencil sets? We actually offer two, the Mantra Pencil Set (four pencils with phrases we identify with) and the Chick Flick Catchphrase Pencil Set (a set of five pencils featuring phrases from popular chick flicks).

      UPstudio - Mantra Pencil Set

      UPstudio Chick Flick Catchphrase Pencil Set

      We just restocked the Chick Flick Catchphrase Pencil Set due to it's growing popularity on Etsy. Choosing the color of the pencils is typically easy, but the phrases take us FOREVER! We always end up having a shortage or surplus of ideas. And then trying to find 4-5 phrases that all go together for a set adds a whole new level of complexity.

      We wanted to work on a new set for this year and thought what better way to start than to get your suggestions! Is there a phrase that you identify with or a specific color of pencil you just couldn't resist? We'd love for you to share.

      Click here to submit your ideas.

      (We also offer custom orders if you ever want to have a set just for you. Contact us directly and we'll share options and pricing.)


      2018 UPstudio Planner Price Drop February 01, 2018 05:00

       

      Even though a planner is used all year, it is considered a seasonal item due to the need to only purchase it once a year.  That means that come February, it's officially the off-season for planners, and prices drop.  If you've been holding out on buying one, now is the time to get yours for a reduced price!  

      2018 Planners are now just $36, and 2018 Scratch and Dent Planners (slightly imperfect but 100% usable) are now $20.  Gray is available in both options, and satchel in scratch and dent only.  Grab one while you can and start planning the next 11 months!


      One Satchel 2018 UPstudio Planner Available! January 26, 2018 08:36

      The printer that we use for the 2018 UPstudio Planners is not local to Raleigh, North Carolina, and thus when the planners are complete they arrive in large boxes that each hold about 40 planners.

      This year we ordered a very limited quantity of Satchel planners in order to gauge interest for the future. We were blown away by your response. They have been sold out now for over a month.

      Yesterday while prepping some orders that included gray planners we reached the bottom of a box and to our surprise there were three satchel planners

      We offered them first to those who subscribe to our newsletter to say thank you. Two were snatched up quick, but we still have one available. Simply e-mail us (hello@upstudionc.com) your full name, e-mail address, billing address, and shipping address and it could be yours. The first response we receive, we will respond with a  custom invoice with a link for payment of your new satchel planner. The planner will still be $40 (along with tax if you are a fellow North Carolinian) but we'll cover the shipping!

      One Satchel 2018 UPstudio Planner Available


      The Benefits of Writing Things Down January 18, 2018 10:45

      It’s no secret that we love paper products, from planners to books to cards sent in the mail. But there are many reasons that we’ll choose a paper product over technology for most things. Have you ever thought about why there is such a passion among Planner users? Why receiving snail mail means more than an email? Why you can remember a grocery list that was written down but have to keep referencing your favorite app for your typed list?

      Here are just a few benefits of writing things down:

      • You’ve probably heard before that writing things down on paper will help with memory retention, and it’s true. Many studies have been done proving better retention after writing something down - a lot of these specifically look at the differences between writing on paper vs. typing (and the results are no surprise!) Another plus is that writing things down benefits not only your short term memory, but long term and aging memories. See a few studies here and here for more information and science-y stuff.
      • Writing things down allows for more natural creativity. Imagine a fresh sheet of paper, where you can easily branch off of ideas in different directions through graphs, doodles, lists, etc., compared to a standard notes app. There are of course, huge technological advances, and some programs that offer capabilities that closely emulate those achieved on paper - but there is really nothing like paper. The slowing down of having to physically create something instead of pulling from a stock makes you think more and ultimately make better decisions.
      • Taking the time to write things down is more thoughtful. Whether it’s reflecting on your day, working, or writing a letter, the act of writing makes your brain work in a different way. On the other side of that - if you receive a handwritten letter, it inherently has much more meaning than receiving an email, because of the effort made in composing.
      • Planning your day/ week/ month/ party/ etc on paper will help you with organization. For all the above mentioned reasons, your plans will run more smoothly with built in memory-retention and thoughtful decisions after writing them down. I’m not always at the top of my game, but I do stay closer to the top when I take the time to organize by writing.
      • Writing things down allows your brain to rest. We’ve all had that feeling - a great idea or something important to remember, that has to be recorded. Writing that thing down and allowing for expansion then lets your brain rest, knowing that it can be examined further at a later time.

      Writing something down on paper can lend significant advantages in many aspects, but of course we are modern women too, and use and appreciate technology. It varies from person to person, but using technology and physically writing on paper in tandem can possibly provide the best flexibility and practicality. Just like seeing a sunset in person is more fulfilling than seeing it on tv, physically writing and using more of your brain is more fulfilling and offers more benefits than typing. We’ll use technology, but we’ll also keep writing more and more.


      New Vintage Items Added to the UPstudio Shop January 11, 2018 05:00

      In March 2016 we launched the UPstudio Vintage Collection. The idea stemmed from how much interest we had in our vintage display items at shows and the vintage props we use in photos both on our website and social media. We decided as we came across amazing vintage pieces we'd curate a collection that compliments our UPstudio brand and make that collection available to you. 

      We just refreshed our online store with a handful of new items. You can shop the collection here.

      UPstudio Vintage Collection

      All items are authentic vintage which means there might be some imperfections that add to their character. We have described each item as accurately as possible. All images are of the actual item you will receive. Quality is a high priority to us. That beings said, rest assured, we will not post anything that we wouldn't personally purchase ourselves. 

      As always, if you have any additional questions as you are checking out a product, feel free to contact us.


      New Year, Same Me January 04, 2018 05:00

      Happy 2018 everyone!  Before the start of every new year, I love to sit down with my planner and write in birthdays, upcoming events, and generally just get prepared for the year to come.  I'll record my resolutions and goals for January, in an attempt to be accountable to myself.  I'm definitely one of those people who always has good intentions but doesn't always follow through with resolutions.  For example, I mentioned last year in the blog post on the Best Planner for Keeping Resolutions, that my resolution for 2017 was to make a chicken pot pie from scratch.  Spoiler alert: I didn't do it.  But I did discover that Costco makes a really delicious and affordable chicken pot pie that you can pass off as homemade.  That's a win in my book.

      In the same vein, I've had friends tell me they feel guilty because they don't use their planner consistently all through the year.  I think that's a pretty natural thing, and something that we considered a lot in the development of the UPstudio Planner.  Sometimes I use my own planner more days or weeks or months than others... it all just depends on what's going on currently in life.  The best thing about the UPstudio Planner is that it's so versatile, you can use it as little or as much as you need to, and it's perfectly suited for any option.  Most planners are very scripted, leaving the user no space to define what is needed for them, but with the UPstudio Planner, you can change its use from week to week by creating your own headings specific to your needs. 

      I'll likely never be 100% consistent in how I use my planner or what categories are set up from week to week - and that's exactly why this is the best planner for me (and probably for you too, you should try it out!)

       


      Tutorial: How to Change the Weekly Start to Monday in Google Calendar and Outlook 2016 December 28, 2017 05:00

      One of the upgrades to the 2018 UPstudio Planner we revealed during the Planning a Planner v2018 Blog Series was that all calendars in the 2018 UPstudio Planner start on Monday. The lack of consistency in the Sunday - Monday organization on the month layout vs the Monday - Sunday organization on the weekly layout started to really get to us with the 2017 Planner. We debated this change SO MUCH. You can read more about our thought process in Part IV of the blog series.

      We understand that this change will take some adjustment. We will be adjusting along side you. 

      One thing we found useful was to adjust our electronic calendars to align with our planner so that all formats we use for planning our lives are consistent. (Yes, we own a planner business but still use electronic calendars for certain things, we have day jobs and are modern ladies.) We use Google Calendar in our personal lives and Outlook 2016 at work. Below we share simple tutorials to change the weekly start to Monday in both of those platforms. 

      How to Change your Google Calendar and Outlook to a Monday start to the week

      Tutorial: Monday Start to Week in Google Calendar

      Step 1: Access your calendar and in the upper right hand corner click on the gear symbol and access the 'Settings' dialogue.

      Monday Start to Week in Google Calendar : Step 1

      Step 2: Click on 'View options' from the list on the left hand side. Then in the right hand list select from the drop down for the week to start on 'Monday'. 

      Monday Start to Week in Google Calendar : Step 2

      Step 3: Your settings will automatically save, so simply close out of settings and view your calendar to confirm the change has been activated.

       

      Tutorial: Monday Start to Week in Outlook 2016

      Step 1: Click on 'File' in the upper left hand corner and selection 'Options' from the list on the left hand side.

      Outlook - Modify to Monday Start Date - Step 1: File - Options

      Step 2: Select 'Calendar' from the list on the far left and then under the 'Work time' heading there is a option to select the 'First day of week:'. Change the day to 'Monday' from the drop down and select 'OK' at the bottom of the dialogue box.

      Monday Start to Week in Outlook 2016 : Step 2

      Step 3: View your calendar to confirm the changes were activated.

      Pretty easy to modify in both platforms. This simple change has really helped us adjust over the past month, hopefully it will aid in your transition as well. 

      We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and we wish you a happy New Year!


      Merry Christmas! December 21, 2017 05:00

      "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given..."
      Isaiah 9:6

      From our families to yours, we wish you a joyous holiday season and a very Merry Christmas.  We hope your holiday is filled with family, friends, laughter, and maybe an UPstudio gift or two!

      If you're like me and still have a few (or a lot!) of gifts to wrap, then you're in the right place.  Dress up any wrapping with a free printable Christmas tag, then make yourself some hot chocolate because wrapping is serious work.  We hope that you take the time to relax and enjoy the holiday, and celebrate with loved ones.  Merry Christmas!

         


      Flash Sale, Charity, and Holiday Shipping Deadlines December 14, 2017 03:30

      Some big ticket items today on the blog!

      FLASH SALE! Free shipping for everyone with code STJUDE.

      And not only do you get free shipping, but we will be donating 15% of your order to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. St. Jude is an amazing organization, with a mission to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Learn more on their website.

      UPstudio Supports St. Jude

      The flash sale and donation period ends at 12pm on December 15th, EST. Shop now!

      We are super excited that Christmas is right around the corner! If you're planning on an UPstudio gift beneath the tree there are some shipping deadlines quickly approaching. We ship everything USPS (United States Postal Service). We have added multiple shipping options to check out. In order to receive your package by December 24th you must place your order by:

      • USPS First Class Mail : December 18th
      • USPS Priority Mail : December 19th
      • USPS Priority Mail Express : December 21st

      Make sure to pay close attention to the option you choose at check-out to make sure your items will make it in time!


      The Best Planner for Men December 07, 2017 05:00

      This blog post is a part of the series "The Best Planner for..." which provides suggestions for ways in which you can use the UPstudio Planner.  Each post in this series will focus on a different way to utilize the planner layout. The UPstudio Planner is designed for versatility, and is suited for many uses and not limited to the featured suggestions.  Show us how you use your planner by sending us an email at hello@upstudionc.com, or tagging us on social media (all handles can be found on our website).

        

      Before we started designing the UPstudio Planner, we did research to know who we were designing for.  Ultimately, we were doing this for ourselves, because we weren't satisfied with planners that we were using, or ones that were on the market.  We wanted to create one that worked better for us, with our varying schedules and multiple roles to fill on a daily basis.  We narrowed down our main demographic based off of research (basically 18-50 year old women) and then created a focus group to really hone in on the specifics of the design.  This focus group included a majority of participants that fell into the above noted demographic, but we wanted to make sure it was looked at by a wider range than that too.  Two men participated in this group of 19, and gave us great feedback.  Ultimately, we were working to design a neutral, clean, versatile planner that would work for both men and women alike.

      Fast forward to today - we are selling UPstudio Planners in just about equal numbers to men and women, and we are THRILLED!  Why is this planner so popular with men?  Let's break it down:

      • It's neutral - the grey and satchel colors and minimal design on the cover are neutral and inviting.  The UPstudio Planner steers clear of flowers, patterns, quotes, and "fluff".
      • It's leather - the cover of the Planner is a synthetic leather (the grey has a smooth finish while the satchel is more textured) and men are more drawn to this material than say a glossy finished covered chipboard. And also, what man doesn't relate to Anchorman: "I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells like rich mahogany."  We can help you achieve this status.
      • It's compact - with the calendar in the front and graph pages in the back, the UPstudio Planner serves as a notebook and calendar in one.  Perfect for taking to meetings and not having to carry multiple notebooks.
      • It's appropriate for the office or classroom - the UPstudio Planner looks professional in any setting.
      • It's versatile - schedules that change frequently require flexibility in a planner, and the UPstudio Planner is perfect for that.  Weeks can highlight different areas of focus completely defined by the user, and can change from week to week or even day to day.

      Don't just take it from us: we reached out to a few male UPstudio customers who gave their feedback.

      “I love the blank pages for brainstorming, jotting down quotes, exercise or DIY ideas, references to websites, etc. The small folders inside the front & back covers are great for holding coupons, event tickets, lists. I often toss printouts of news, sports or automotive websites inside the front cover for future reference or end of the week reading. And when I run errands on the weekend I always take my planner with me. That’s usually when inspiration hits!” - Stephen from Vermont

      "Becky and Mary Beth have managed to meticulously design an awesome planner that is incredibly flexible -- for anyone! They asked how I thought it would be the best planner for men, and I can't really answer that -- since in my mind it's a planner for *anyone* who wants to DO things with their lives. Women or men, doesn't matter... If *anyone* wants an intuitive, balanced, powerful, well-built, thoughtfully-designed, super-flexible tool that can be used for just about any aspect of life/time/project management, then buy this world-class planner. They've managed to conjure up an amazingly balanced product that can help with anything from planning boring daily tasks to planning exciting massive projects, and from organizing a busy family to helping with a busy business enterprise. They've come up with a design that is structured yet flexible, never forcing their concepts on you, but rather giving you the space and room to adapt it to your workflow, in one hard-bound volume. Just buy the dang thing and get on with your life." - James from Maryland

      Thanks Stephen and James, we couldn't have said it better.  Get an UPstudio Planner for yourself or for the man in your life today.


      2018 UPstudio Planner Release Party Invite November 30, 2017 08:00

      Join us tomorrow, December 1, from 6-9 at DECO Raleigh (19 W Hargett Street, Raleigh) for First Friday and the 2018 UPstudio Planner Release Party! There will be snacks from Manhattan Cafe, wine provided by Deco, and of course - planners! Come start (or finish) your holiday shopping, eat delicious food, and hang out with us.

      2018 UPstudio Planner Release Party


      SALE! - Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday November 22, 2017 00:00

      We are truly thankful for so many things in our lives, but from a business perspective - it's all about you.  We wouldn't be where we are, or have grown so much without the support and business of our customers.  In order to say thank you, we are celebrating all weekend long -- and earlier -- with sales!  Enjoy 20% off your entire online purchase Wednesday - Monday with code SALE20.  

      Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are our Super Bowl.  UPstudio is a small, local, online store, with a seasonal feature product.  These next 2 months will be our busiest, and it's all because of you.  We are excited to officially kick off the holiday shopping season and hope you are too!  THANK YOU for your continued support.

      Small print: Sale lasts from 12:00am Wednesday, November 22 - 11:59pm Monday, November 27.  20% discount applied to pre-tax and pre-shipping cost.


      Christmas Cards - UPstudio November 16, 2017 05:00

      I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week. This year, and especially the last two months have flown by!

      As of today, there are only 39 days till Christmas. Blows my mind! I need to start my Christmas shopping, and I need to get my Christmas cards ready to mail. I have yet to receive the first card, so there is still plenty of time. 

      Let UPstudio help you with your Christmas cards this year. We have two Christmas card designs available!

      UPstudio Christmas Cards

      Our first card, Trees, is printed similarly to our Everyday Cards (double sided offset printing on 160# cover paper). The design is featured on one side with the opposite side having a single tree and enough space for you to write a message. You can purchase them individually or in packs of six. If you'd like to order a larger quantity, contact us for pricing.

      UPstudio Christmas Trees Card

      (Add a little yuletide spirit to your organization with the Gold Christmas Tree Paper Clips featured above.)

      This beautiful Reindeer is featured on our second Christmas card!

      UPstudio Reindeer Christmas Card

      This is our first color card with a design of a pixelated reindeer on the front that opens to "Merry Christmas" on the interior. This card is also available for purchase individually or in packs of six.

      UPstudio Reindeer Christmas Card Styled

      There are four envelope colors available: red, real gray, kraft, and lockwood green. Both cards look great with all colors. If you'd like a variety of colors, contact us.

      UPstudio Envelope Color Options

      Christmas cards (or any of our cards) would also make great gifts and stocking stuffers!

      UPstudio Cards are a Perfect Christmas Gift

      We only printed limited quantities of Christmas cards, so get them while you can!

      (PS... Sign up for our newsletter and use code NEWSLETTER to get 10% off your order today!)


      Ghosting and Bleed in Writing Instruments - and the UPstudio Planner November 09, 2017 05:00

      Even if the terms 'ghosting' or 'bleed' don't mean anything to you, it's extremely likely that you've experienced both of these. We're not talking about Halloween or a convenient out from someone you're dating, we're talking about paper! Whether you're a paper lover like us (hi!) or new around here, this post is relevant to anyone who ever puts pen (or pencil or marker or crayon) on paper.

      Let's start with some explanations:

      Ghosting: the lesser offensive experience; ghosting is when writing shows up faintly on the back of the piece of paper where the writing occurred- you can tell that something has been written on the other side, but it does not interfere with anything and often times is not immediately noticeable.

      Bleed: this can ruin your day; bleed occurs when ink has penetrated the paper and deters visibility on the opposite side of a paper where writing occurred- notes written on both sides of the paper can become very difficult to read.

      The amount of ghosting or bleed that occurs depends on both the paper and the writing instrument. Some may argue that one or the other is the more important factor in the outcome of ghosting or bleed, but from our perspective, pens can be changed easier than paper can. It was extremely important to us when creating the UPstudio Planner to have both a balance of a quality paper weight (one that would allow minimal ghosting or bleed) yet not a lot of bulk or physical weight (small and light enough to carry around everywhere!) We met with our printers and tested all different paper types and weights with different pens and markers. In the end, we chose a 70# text paper which was the best of all worlds- and a much higher quality paper than many other planners on the market.

      When the UPstudio Planner gets to you, you are in control of what you use to write. To help you avoid any ghosting or bleed issues, we tested 16 different writing instruments to see how they would fare on the Planner.

      Here is our lineup (see below for written list):

       

      And here are are the results:

       

      The takeaways from this test are that any pencil should work without issue (and as my schedule is constantly changing, this is my personal preference of writing instrument), as well as ballpoint pens. Felt tip pens may show some ghosting, but minimal at worst, and the type of fountain pen used will determine its overall quality (with fountain pens, my experience has shown that it's worth paying a bit more money for a much better product)! And finally, Sharpie's will bleed or have significant ghosting on almost all types of paper- there's a reason they are the best known permanent marker!

      Have you used a different pen or marker and experienced ghosting, or bleed on your Planner? Or did we do an A+ job on choosing paper and you've had no issues? We'd love to hear your comments or see your results! 

      Tested writing instruments:

      • UPstudio Pencil (we got the best ones, trust us)
      • FURST 2.0 (pencil)
      • Ballpoint Pen
      • LAMY Fountain Pen
      • Pilot Fountain Pen
      • Paper Mate Flair (felt tip pen) 
      • Pilot Razor Point (felt tip pen)
      • Le Pen (felt tip pen)
      • Micron 08 (felt tip pen)
      • STABILO point 88 - red (felt tip pen)
      • STABILO point 88 - grey (felt tip pen)
      • STABILO Pen 68 (felt tip pen)
      • STAEDTLER triplus fineliner (felt tip pen)
      • STAEDTLER Lumocolor (felt tip marker)
      • SHARPIE Fine
      • SHARPIE Ultra Fine

      DECO is turning 5! November 02, 2017 05:00

      We are fortunate to be part of an amazing maker community in Raleigh. Just as important are the people and businesses that support local Raleigh makers. 

      DECO Raleigh

      A huge supporter is DECO Raleigh. They not only support the local maker community but contribute to the community at large. If you haven't heard of DECO before, it is a brick and mortar located in downtown Raleigh, 19 W. Hargett Street. How they describe themselves on their website:

      We love Raleigh and carry the work of more than 75 local artisans and makers. Our customers are our neighbors, friends, and the very BEST sources of product ideas for the store. We hope that DECO Raleigh is an adventure every time you visit, and we love nothing more than to hear laughter as our customers explore the store.

      We believe in contributing to our community in a meaningful way. That's why we built Raleigh's first parklet, commissioned Raleigh's first sidewalk mural, founded the Flight Fund to support public art and organized a holiday pop-up store in 2015. We love supporting local charities, local start-ups and local do-gooders. Check out some of our projects

      This week DECO is turning 5!!! November 1 - 5 they're celebrating each day with a local food goodie for customers and supporters, including treats from Videri, lucettegrace, Bittersweet, and Sweetwater Ices to name a few! UPstudio swung by yesterday (they had macaroons). 

      DECO is turning 5!

      For all of those living in the Triangle area we encourage you to come check out DECO. You can follow along on DECO's Instagram to learn more about all of the festivities this week. The Holidays are creeping up on us fast and this is a great place to get a head start on shopping.

      While you're there feel free to snag a 2018 UPstudio Planner (in either gray or satchel)!

      UPstudio at DECO Raleigh

      DECO recently announced that they have some exciting changes coming in the future, learn more and follow along on their blog, DECO Turns a Corner.


      We Need Your Help! October 26, 2017 05:00

      We're going to be candid here, because we genuinely need your help!  As the year is coming to a close, we are focusing our efforts toward online advertisement for the UPstudio Planner, and want to ensure we're choosing the best locations to advertise.  We've done market research and have plans laid out, but want to hear your opinions on the best ways to reach customers before finalizing our year-end marketing plans.

      One of the most versatile points about the UPstudio Planner is that it is gender neutral, and we're finding that it appeals to men and women in almost equal quantities.  We love that our reach is growing and that the planner is popular with everyone, but we want to be able to advertise to everyone too (and honestly, we are struggling with the best way to reach men!)

      Here's where you come in:  we would love your advice. We'd appreciate help specifically when it comes to understanding where men tend to browse the web and where the planner fits in a man's life.  We'd also love to know how well our current advertisements are working beyond basic analytics - simply put: how did you discover the UPstudio Planner?  Was it an ad somewhere, word of mouth, or through a simple web search?  Please comment on this post or email us (hello@upstudionc.com) with suggestions to the following questions:

      • How did you discover the UPstudio Planner?
      • If you're searching for a planner online, how do you go about your search? Where do you look? What search words do you use? What specific features do you search for?
      • Are there specific websites you go to first for the majority of your shopping?
      • Do you have any ideas of places that might be a good fit for UPstudio advertisement? 
      • Do you subscribe to anything online? Maybe a blog or a news site where you receive regular e-mails?
      • Did you know that UPstudio Planners are available on Amazon.com?  We'd love for you to leave a review for it!
      • Did you know that UPstudio Planners are available on Etsy.com?  We'd love for you to leave a review for it if you purchased through this site!
      • Which is better - red or purple Skittles?

      We truly appreciate your help!  We say it all the time, and it's because it's true - your feedback is valued and always taken into consideration.  Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond!


      2017 UPstudio Planner: December Month Layout October 19, 2017 05:00

      At the first of the year it was pointed out to us that there is an error in the 2017 UPstudio Planner. The 2-page December month layout is off by one day.  We promptly e-mailed all to-date purchasers making them aware of the error. We are closing in on December and wanted to remind you of the ways this simple error can be remedied. Again, please accept our sincere apologies. We pride ourselves on paying attention to detail, so this was and is a tough mistake for us to swallow.  In order to correct your calendar, we are offering a couple of options for a fix:

      1) A free downloadable December month layout is now available on the UPstudio website. Cut out this corrected calendar and insert it into your planner. Click here to download.

      Download a Free Template to Print out

      2) You can simply mark out the dates and holidays and shift them all so that December starts on the first Friday of the layout and ends on the last Sunday. 

      Simply Update Dates on your calendar

      3) We have developed stickers that can be placed over each page of the December month layout to create a corrected calendar for that month. If you would like for us to mail these pre-printed stickers to you free of charge, simply submit a contact request and provide us your name, quantity desired, and shipping address of where you want them sent.

      Simple Stickers to cover Layout

      Placement of the pre-printed stickers is quick and easy:

      2017 UPstudio Planner December Month Layout from UPstudio | Becky and Mary Beth on Vimeo.

      Rest assured that the remaining month layouts and week layouts are correct, as well as the mini calendars found at the margins of all layouts. We are confident that there is not a similar error in the 2018 UPstudio Planner. Again, we apologize for this mistake, and we appreciate your business and your support.

      If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


      UPstudio Reviews by Earn Spend Live October 12, 2017 05:00

      We're big fans of Earn Spend Live, and their ever growing community of women supporting women.  Their website and blog posts have an endless supply of helpful tips for navigating life and being an adult, which we definitely all need a little help with sometimes!  Plus, they love planners, and we love planners, so we're destined to be internet friends. 

       

      ESL recently shared a couple of videos highlighting the UPstudio Planner, which we couldn't wait to share with you! (a quick note: if you are reading this post via email subscription, you may not be able to see the videos below, but can see them here and here!)  

      The first is a quick feature highlight of the 2018 Planner: 

      The next video is a review of their top 6 planners for tracking habits and goals:

      For additional reviews of planners and more, check out their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.


      Where you can find the 2018 UPstudio Planner... October 05, 2017 05:00

      We are excited to announce that the Satchel 2018 UPstudio Planners are back in stock on our website! Snag one for yourself here.

      The UPstudio Planner can be found in other locations as well. We thought we'd share the complete list today with you all. Note that both cover color options are available at all locations. If you're ever curious and want an up to date list on where any UPstudio products are available, you can always check our Featured page.

      Online

      Local Raleigh, North Carolina, Shops:

       


      Guest Post - Wedding Planning with the UPstudio Planner September 28, 2017 05:00

      We love hearing how the UPstudio Planner works for you (and what doesn't work!) Occasionally we will highlight a user and how they have found the planner to be most useful for them with a guest blog post.  Today's post comes from Heidi in Virginia, who has been a user of the UPstudio Planner since it was originally developed.  She has had a busy year, to say the least!  Heidi works multiple jobs, and was recently married.  In her write up below, she talks about how using the UPstudio Planner helped to keep all her wedding planning organized.  Enjoy!

      For the umpteenth time, I walk into my office at 7:30 am, toss my purse, keys, planner, lunch bag and cell phone on my desk (gently, of course).  I twist my sunglasses from my hair (those darn nosepieces get stuck with the slightest rush of wind), clock in and plop into my oh-so-comfy desk chair where I will remain for the better part of 9 hours. I’ve just returned from my honeymoon and there waits 17 messages on my phone, another 60 in my email and a stack of documents a foot high. At this point, no one else has arrived and the temptation to sneak back to my car, head home and pretend my flight got stuck in Atlanta is all too real.

      Everything that travels with me to and from my office eventually makes it to the floor beside my desk, except my UPstudio planner. It’s open in front of my keyboard, between my arms giving me just enough room to work - booking yet another marketing lunch, a handful of patient appointments and a surgery. Or 20. I did mention that my stack was a foot high, didn’t I? It’s not a task that will be accomplished soon.

      I should mention I manage an orthopedic practice. We opened in October 2015 and my job title is shorter than it should be. Besides scheduling our surgeries, I also oversee the patient schedule, handle human resources, my physician’s personal schedule (and he has 4 kids – that alone is a full-time job) and my own personal life. That’s the life I pretend to have when a minute or two opens up in my day.  I also work 2 part-time jobs, in case I wasn’t already having enough fun.

      It sounds overwhelming now, but just 4 months ago I threw my own wedding into that crazy mix, so I’m settled into a more manageable flow at this point. When we set out to pick a wedding date, our only goal was to make sure that the date worked well with my husband’s grad school schedule and that I would have enough time to plan the big event. Thank goodness for UPstudio and my planner, or I would have been a true hot mess.

      Wedding planning was more than just day-to-day coordination of events and meetings. It added the layer of managing budgets, payments and venue layouts. Lord knows if my DJ or caterer had not received their payment on time, I would have had some very bored or very hungry guests. Making sure that our guests had enough elbow room to get their Cupid Shuffle on was an important detail as well.

          

          

      I loved how each weekly page in the planner left extra room for important lists to be jotted down. The extra pages in the back of the planner also allowed me to track the overall budget and payment details, and make sure we stayed under within over our budget. The grids were perfect for visualizing our venue layout and making sure our table was equidistant to the dance floor and cake table. Priorities, right?

      I have used an UPstudio planner since they began production and can’t imagine trying to juggle my crazy life without it. It has been a godsend this past year with everything that happened. Who knows how useful it will be over the next year? We’ve got plans for purchasing a home in the next few weeks and, of course the question now (from everyone, including people we don’t know) is when we will add a 3rd family member. Why not add something else to my schedule?

       

      Interested in writing a guest blog post?  Contact us at hello@upstudionc.com


      Weekly Planning Notepad September 21, 2017 05:00

      We are excited to announce a new product in the shop this week, the Weekly Planning Notepad!

      UPstudio - Weekly Planning Notepad

      This is a product that has been in the works for a while but was put on the back-burner due to the release of the 2018 UPstudio Planner.

      Our goal with this product is to add one more layer of flexibility to your planning. The layout is very open and versatile.

      You can breakdown and plan additional items during your week and store the planning sheet safely inside your UPstudio planner (it will fit in the folders at the front and back too). I personally use the notepad to plan out my family's week and post it on the fridge so that we are all on the same page:

      How MB Uses her UPstudio Weekly Planning Notepad

      The uses are endless. Grab one for yourself today!


      2018 UPstudio Planner Event at Quail Ridge Books September 14, 2017 05:00

      We're so excited to be partnering with Quail Ridge Books for an event in their store this coming weekend.  Before we get in to all the details, there are a few things that need to be addressed:

      • WOW!  Release of the 2018 UPstudio Planner was a hit - and the satchel leather planners sold out on the website much faster than we thought they would!  We ordered a limited quantity of this leather color, but there are a few ways that you can still get one of your own:
        • An additional order of satchel planners is in production and will be ready for purchase on the website in early October.  If you want to be notified via e-mail when they are restocked and available for purchase click here.
        • If you're local to Raleigh, head over to Quail Ridge Books, Deco Raleigh, or So & So Books to pick up a planner - each location has both leather colors available.
      • Scratch and Dent planners are officially released!  As with any bulk print, there are bound to be a few things that don't come out perfectly - if you're in to paying less for slightly imperfect products, then this is the planner for you!  Both leather colors are available. All of these flaws are aesthetic and do not render the planner unusable in any way.

        If you live in or around Raleigh, you've almost certainly heard of Quail Ridge Books.  The mid-sized independent book store relocated in Spring of 2016 to its new home at North Hills, having been previously located in the Ridgewood Shopping Center.  Quail Ridge is a Raleigh staple, and is well loved for good reason, with it's large selection of books, friendly staff, and inviting atmosphere.  We at UPstudio couldn't be more thrilled or proud to be a part of the family of products that they carry.  Quail Ridge is dedicated to serving the local community, and we have seen the absolute truth in that in working with their staff the past year.

        Quail Ridge Books has a full event calendar, and we are excited to announce that UPstudio will host an event in-store on Sunday, September 17th from 2-4pm.  2018 Planners will be available for purchase and we will be there to present examples of different ways that the planner can be used in order to suit your lifestyle.  Did we mention that we'll also have wine and snacks?  Whether you're browsing for books or want to start 2018 off more organized than ever, we hope to see you there!


        2018 UPstudio Planners Now Available! (and Giveaway Winner!) September 07, 2017 05:00

        We are excited to announce that the 2018 UPstudio Planners are now available for purchase. You can flip through a sample and purchase your very own here.

        For those local to Raleigh, North Carolina, 2018 UPstudio Planners are also available at So & So Books, Quail Ridge Books, and Deco. Check out our featured page for additional details.

        This past week we enjoyed seeing all of the 2017 UPstudio Planners on social media! Makes us proud and blown away and tons of other emotions but mostly thankful. Happy to see the planners are loved!

        Sadly we could only pick one winner (chosen at random). The winner of our giveaway is @baratatat on Instagram. Congratulations! We will be in contact soon! Head over and check out her lovely post.


        2018 Planner Release -- and Giveaway! August 31, 2017 05:00

        Phew!  We've officially revealed all the improvements for the 2018 UPstudio Planner in our Planning a Planner v2018 Series.  If you missed any of the posts, now is your chance to read through and get pumped for the release.  Speaking of release... we are excited to announce that you will officially be able to purchase a planner in the UPstudio shop or in select stores (stay tuned for more info) next Thursday, September 7!

        We couldn't be more excited to get these in your hands.. and to kick things off, we're giving away a free planner (color of your choice)!  Want to win one?  Head over to your favorite social media site (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) and post a photo of your 2017 Planner in use.  Make sure to tag UPstudio in your post so that we can track your entry!  Each post will be a separate entry, and there is no limit to the number of posts per person. Contest ends September 6th at 11:59 pm. Entries will numbered and ordered by their time stamp and a random number generator will be used to pick the winner.

        We will announce the winner on the blog post next week. Good luck!


        Planning a Planner v2018, Part V August 24, 2017 05:00

        This week is the last installment of the Planning a Planner v2018 blog series. We saved our favorite reveal for last. But first, a quick recap on the last four weeks:

        Planning a Planner v2018, Part I: We shared that we are adding 6 more graph pages and that we are shifting the page numbers closer to the edge of the page so that it makes the bottom four lines easier to utilize.

        Planning a Planner v2018, Part II: We revealed the new future planning tool we've added at the end of the year preceding the graph pages to keep track of your dentist appointment 6 months into 2019. A sample of the layout was included in the post.

        Planning a Planner v2018, Part III: In 2018 the folders will be slightly upgraded: fabric sides for a higher quality feel, and the front folder was adjusted slightly to make it easier to access and more versatile.

        Planning a Planner v2018, Part IV: The monthly layouts in 2018 will have a Monday-Sunday layout to be consistent with the weekly layouts. This is the change we contemplated and vetted the most. We hope you welcome the change and are excited to give it a try.

        What did we save for last? 

        UPstudio 2018 Cover Color Options

        There will be two cover color options in 2018! There will be a limited quantity of satchel colored planners available. You might recall that we did a poll on the blog a while back regarding color options. Based on those that voted on the blog, satchel won by a long shot, however we had many that reached out to us specifically about red. Originally we were very torn. In the end we felt that the satchel held more true to the foundation of our brand: versatility. 

        In the coming years we hope to add more variations. Maybe more colors, or an academic version, maybe different sizes, we'll let you all lead us. We are excited to see what the future holds. 

        We are super excited about the satchel addition and hope you are too!

        Here are some behind the scenes photos taken by our printer while planners were in production:

        2018 UPstudio Planner New Front Folder

        2018 UPstudio Planner New Front Folder

        2018 UPstudio Planner Fabric Folders

        2018 UPstudio Planner Interior Pages

        2018 UPstudio Planner


        Planning a Planner v2018, Part IV August 17, 2017 05:00 2 Comments

        In the Planning a Planner v2018 series thusfar, we've filled you in on some of the smaller (but still important!) changes that we made to the 2018 UPstudio Planner, like the graph page updates, future planning improvements, and sturdier pockets with nicer finishing (I personally am so excited about the changes to the front pocket!)  Each week we get a little more in depth, and there are only 2 weeks to go of reveals.  Today, we are sharing a big deal change.. and we hope you love it.  

        When we first created the 2016 UPstudio Planner, we knew that we wanted to include both week layouts and month layouts for use.  We also knew that having small month calendars as reference on the week layouts would be helpful - and those small month calendars ended up going everywhere.  We didn't think twice about including a traditional calendar initially, because that was what we were used to - and why change that?  When looking at the week layout however, it was clear that a Monday - Sunday layout was preferable in order to group the week in a more practical way, with weekend days lumped together.  Even before the launch of the 2016 Planner, we instilled the help of a focus group with a smaller test-planner in order to get opinions from different users.  All focus group users agreed that this was a good layout despite the unconventional Monday start.

        The lack of consistency in the Sunday - Monday organization on the month layout vs the Monday - Sunday organization on the weekly layout started to really get to us with the 2017 Planner.  And, we weren't alone.  We've had multiple people with strong opinions request that the month layouts change to a Monday start.  You guys.  We debated this SO. MUCH.  But, we took some polls, did some research, asked some questions, and are officially taking the leap.  All calendars in the 2018 Planner will start on Monday!  Nice, fresh, 100% consistent calendars.  

        I can almost hear some of the squeals of delight now, but also some groans of disappointment.  If you're in the latter half, hear us out on why we think this is the right decision, and a really good change.  First of all, we would never make a change that we think would not be welcome by users.  Remember that versatility is one of our top priorities with all products, and this is no exception.  We also listen to each and every comment and suggestion made by users.  The request for a Monday start was initiated by many planner purchasers.  When we asked for feedback about this, only a few weren't jumping for joy at the thought of the change, but most were still open to trying the revised layout.  

        Additionally, consistency within the planner was important.  When going from the month view to the week view, the weeks would not line up, which could cause confusion.  We don't want confusion.  The counter-argument here is that most other calendars still start on Sunday.  This is true, and for printed calendars, it's something we cannot change.  But, we felt that the consistency within one product was more important than the consistency in what users might be referencing outside of the UPstudio Planner.  Here's some good news:  we researched, tested and confirmed that the most popular digital calendars can have settings adjusted to start on Monday (Google, iCalendar, Outlook). 

        Finally, as we mentioned above, the weekly layout practically begged for a Monday start just due to the practicality of how most people think of their week - lumped together as a work / school week Monday - Friday, and the weekend Friday - Sunday.  It only makes sense to want to be able to look at the month in the same way, with weekends together.

        We've said it before (in this post even!) and we'll say it again now: we welcome your feedback.  So tell us what you think!  Do you love a Monday start for both weeks and months?  Hate it?  Excited to try it?  Won't ever buy a planner that starts on Monday for the months?  We want to hear it!


        Planning a Planner v2018, Part III August 10, 2017 05:00

        Becky and I kicked-off our planning for the 2018 UPstudio Planner by first sitting down to review all of our own personal feedback from using the 2017 UPstudio Planner. We generated a list of goals from that meeting. The next step was going back through all of the feedback we had received over the past year. We read all blog post comments, social media comments, texts, e-mails, etc. We took time to consider each comment. We then added all of these items to our initial list of improvement ideas. We reviewed our list and prioritized which items we wanted to tackle in 2018 and which ones we felt were a bit riskier or a financial stretch that we would aim for in 2019. 

        Planning a Planner v2018, Part I: We shared improvements on our list regarding the graph pages.

        Planning a Planner v2018, Part II: We revealed the new 4 page layout dedicated to future planning for the upcoming year.

        Today, we're going to share some upgrades to the folders in the 2018 UPstudio Planner.  

        The two items that came from our master list were:

        1. The front folder needed to be a bit more versatile and easier to access.
        2. We wanted to upgrade the folders to look more finished and polished.

        Regarding item 1, we decided to have the front folder be more similar to the back folder, the difference being that we still wanted to access it from the top.

        UPstudio - New Front Folder

        The 2018 UPstudio Planner sample we received confirmed that we liked this change. We think the folder will be much easier to use and will be more durable.

        We spoke at length about how we wanted to tackle Item 2. We looked at other planners we've used in the past to determine the differences between our folders and theirs. Was it the type of paper that made the difference? Was it the paper finish? After lengthy conversations we felt that:

        1. The front folder didn't feel finished because it was a single paper thickness and a rough edge. We wanted the edge to be similar to that of the back folder where it folds over. This way the edge wouldn't be as rugged and the edge would also be double the thickness. So the modification we made for versatility and durability killed two birds with one stone.
        2. We also found that the bulk of other planners on the market have fabric sides to their folders. This simple difference we felt made the folders seem of higher quality. So we asked our printer if this was an option, and they said yes. Even better, it was a minimal increase in price!

        UPstudio - New Fabric Folders

         Join us next week for Planning a Planner v2018, Part IV!


        Planning a Planner v2018, Part II August 03, 2017 05:00

        Last week in our first installment of the Planning a Planner v2018 series, we discussed one of the updates you can expect to see in the 2018 UPstudio Planner - some improvements to the graph pages at the end of the planner.  Today, we're going to share another upgrade to the interior pages, and this one comes directly from comments from users.  We say it all the time, and it really is true: we want this to be the best planner for all users, and we give consideration to every single comment that we receive.  

        The change we are revealing today deals with the planning months for 2019.  In the current 2017 planner, the month layout for January 2018 is included.  We initially thought this was sufficient, but have found through personal use and user suggestions that it could be improved on.  Instead of having the single month of January, we are including all 12 months of the following year in a functional layout to note upcoming appointments or events that need to be recorded.  (Dentist appointments scheduled 6 months in advance: we're looking at you.)

        You guys would NOT believe how much thought we put in to this, but believe me when I say there were a ton of iterations and back and forth between MB and me to get this JUST right where we felt confident in it's usefulness, simplicity, and design.  We're still including the overview of 2019 with the mini months and holidays consolidated together, so there is nothing lost, and hopefully some valuable gain with this improvement.


        Planning a Planner v2018, Part I July 27, 2017 05:00

        Each year since the inaugural UPstudio Planner we've done a series on the blog entitled Planning a Planner where we share our design process and give a little more detail regarding improvements you should expect in the soon to be released UPstudio Planner. It is time to kick off Planning a Planner v2018! 

        In our first series in 2015, Planning a Planner, we spoke to how UPstudio was founded and the hardships of creating something out of nothing, the 2016 UPstudio Planner. The bulk of the decisions we made were based on personal preferences, our experiences with previous planners, and a focus group we had try out a sample. 

        In 2016, Planning a Planner v2017, we had a great inaugural product to start with that we just wanted to make better. We focused on making the planner more physically durable and making some tweaks to the layout to take usage to the next level.

        We made a huge change last year by switching to a smyth sewn binding, and we feel it was a risk that paid off.  We have been very happy with the durability and appearance of the 2017 UPstudio Planner. So, for the 2018 UPstudio Planner we focused on minor layout tweaks to further improve the versatility and we made a few upgrades that we'll share about over the next few weeks. 

        With tripling our sales this year, we also tripled our potential feedback. We are fortunate to have many passionate buyers that are willing to share their thoughts and ideas. We had candid conversations, received e-mails and blog post comments, and we appreciate them all. We carefully considered every recommendation. 

        We just had a sample printed to test out all the tweaks and upgrades, so we are now prepared to share with you in confidence the improvements we decided to go with. 

        This week we are starting with a bit of a tease, two small tweaks:

        1. We added 6 more graph pages so that in 2018 we will have a total of 60. The 2017 UPstudio Planner was the first year where all of the graph pages were grouped at the back of the planner, which means we have all only used our planners a little over half the year, so it is hard to tell if we will need more graph paper or not. We thought we'd add a few and then poll you all again come the end of the year and see just how many you might want. 

        2. When using the graph pages in the back we kept finding ourselves not using the bottom 4 lines, especially on the left-hand page because we would run into the page number. So for the 2018 layout we shifted the page numbers out slightly to eliminate the wasted space. Our sample confirmed that this shift doesn't make the page numbers at risk to be cropped off when the corners are rounded.

        UPstudio - Current Page Number Layout  UPstudio - New Page Number Location

        More behind the scenes on the 2018 UPstudio Planner next week on Planning a Planner v2018, Part II.


        Behind the Scenes: Everyday Cards July 20, 2017 05:00

        Mary Beth and I are kind of old school.  Of course, we use technology everyday and definitely appreciate what it can do, but we also love reading a real book with paper pages, writing in a physical planner, and sending some old fashioned snail mail.  Designing and developing a line of Everyday Cards fit right in with our product line of high quality paper products. In fact, when we launched the UPstudio website, the only products we had were 4 varieties of Everyday Cards, and a calendar set (my how we've grown!).  Today, we're giving you a behind the scenes look at what happens to make a run of Everyday Cards.

        It might not seem like it, but A LOT of thought goes in behind the scenes to develop a product.  As you've heard us say before, we like to get involved and understand all aspects of what we're making.  This means that we had countless conversations and visits with our printer (local Raleigh, woo!) to get a full understanding of paper types, colors, thicknesses (weights), sizes, printing methods, and economy of printing.  Believe me, this is a lot of work, and a lot of decisions.

        The design concept of each card came first, but the final layout and cropping was decided after understanding what type of paper would be used, and how it would be printed.  We went in depth about paper weights and the differences between offset and digital printing in this blog post, which if you're in to paper is a pretty interesting read.  The UPstudio Everyday Cards are offset printed on 160 lb cover stock, which in layman's terms means that it's printed on really thick paper with a very even matte black finish.

        Once we decided what size the cards would be (mainly determined by standard envelope sizes), our printer could figure out the size of the paper that they would be cut from.  It's not something you think about every day, but a card isn't printed on the size paper that it ends up being, instead there are multiple cards printed on one larger sheet of paper.  The overall design size is greater than the final cut size, and crop marks are included in each print, so that the cuts will be precise and the ink will print full bleed and look clean when cut to size.  The UPstudio Everyday Cards are sized to print 8 cards from a 13x20 sheets of paper.  This sheet is cut in half from a 20x26 sheet of paper in order to work with the size of the printers.  So, to simplify:  large paper is cut to print size, designs are printed, and cards are cut to final size.

        Depending on the thickness of your paper and the amount of ink that is applied, sheets may need to be laid out to dry for several hours before cutting.  The very first run of Everyday Cards from our printer turned out to be a bust after the sheets weren't allowed quite enough drying time.  Once they were stacked and cut, the still slightly-wet ink bled onto other cards and made them messy and unusable.  Talk about lessons learned!  Many of the UPstudio Everyday Cards have a very saturated black design, which means they require EXTRA drying time.

        Once the reprints were dry, our printer contacted us to come view a proof and approve before the final cuts were made (even though we've printed out tons of cards with them, they understand our level of pickiness and always make sure we're good with everything before finalizing!  They're the best!)


        (above: an example of a proof sheet ready for approval)

        After we gave the thumbs up, it was time to cut. The sheets were stacked up and placed on a cutting machine.  The crop marks were aligned on the cutter and once set correctly, the sheets were secured in place and a large sharp blade cut a big stack at once, kind of like a paper guillotine.  Check out this video for a good example of how this works (disclaimer: this is not our printer, but you get the idea).

        After the final trim, the cards are QC'ed (checked for quality control to make sure they're all trimmed and printed correctly), then packaged up in stacks ready for pick up.  We pick them up, then take pretty pictures and package them up for purchase, just for you!  


        (above: stacks of cards wrapped in plastic from the printer)

        We currently have a line of 8 Everyday Cards, 2 seasonal Christmas cards, and approximately a million more designs in mind.  We have an open invitation for anyone who wants to send a card to an active duty or retired military service member to request a free card, so don't hesitate to take us up on it.

        We hope you learned something with this blog post!  Happy letter writing!


        Book Review: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty July 13, 2017 05:00

        Becky and I are both big readers. We read spiritual books, fictions, non-fictions, young adult, you name it. As I mentioned in our last book review post (Bossypants by Tina Fey) I'm in a book club and recently read 'What Alice Forgot' by Liane Moriarty. I thought I'd share a brief review in case this particular book was on your waitlist. 

        (I also just recently read Liane Moriarty's book Big Little Lies as well, which I'm sure many of you recognize.)

        What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

        What is the book about?

        The book begins with Alice waking up on the floor at the gym thinking she is 29 years old. It turns out she had fallen which caused her to misplace 10 years of her life. She is actually 39 and a lot of her life has changed. Using three different perspectives the book unfolds her journey to remember.

        Did you enjoy the book? Why? Why not?

        Yes. The best part for me was the self evaluation. The book made you look at your own life and ask questions.

        At one point Alice's sister, Elizabeth, was thinking "how would I feel if I lost ten years of my memory, and what things, would surprise me, or please me, or upset me about how my life had turned out." It was almost ten years ago when I graduated college. There are so many decisions I've made in the last ten years that have and will shape my life forever. If I were my 20 year old self sitting across from the person I've become today, would I be happy with what I saw? I'm not sure. There are definitely aspects of my life that need work.

        While Alice was in the process of remembering the last 10 years of her life all of her thoughts were in the perspective of a 29 year old. They were sometimes immature and naive, but sometimes the simplicity brought such clarity. It made me wonder if I would enjoy life more if I had some of the perspective I had 10 years ago on certain things. Sometimes I'm a bit too serious.

        Stories of Elizabeth's struggles with infertility pull on your heart strings. The reality is that many women struggle with this. In the book you see many perspectives. It takes such strength.

        You see love in all of it's many phases. Young love that is fresh and simple. Old love that has grown through experiences, the best and worst. I felt great encouragement from seeing all the different phases. Love doesn't look the same in every relationship.

        There were so many other great situations that Alice and her loved ones run into that really make you just take a step back and reevaluate.

        The book is a little long but I found it went by fast. My first thoughts when I finished were... that I need to be more grateful for life and the experiences that it brings and that I need to remember to slow down and enjoy it all.

        Would you recommend this book?

        Definitely. It so easy to relate it to your own life and growth.

        What’s your favorite quotes from the book?

        "They would think she was savoring the taste --, but she was actually savoring the whole morning, trying to catch it, pin it down, keep it safe before all those precious moments became yet another memory."

        "It's just that sometimes I want to say to her, 'Darling, maybe you don't get to be a mother, but you still get to be a wife.'"

        "They take their lives so seriously, these young people."

        Have you read any good books lately that you would recommend? Or have you posted a review lately that you want to share? If so, leave a comment!


        33 - The Jesus Year (and figuring out life) July 06, 2017 05:00

        I'm turning 33 tomorrow.  33 might not seem like a milestone birthday like 16, 18, 21, 25, and 30 are, but I've always referred to 33 as the Jesus year.  Jesus was 33 when he was crucified, and man did He do a lot in those 33 years... kind of makes my birthday feel even weightier with the comparison because spoiler alert: Jesus was a way better person than me.

        I've always thought that I would have my life figured out by the time I turned 33, and used this as my goal year to know what I was actually doing with my life.  For a long time this was totally attainable because 33 was so far off.  But now, it's tomorrow, and as I sit here and reflect, here is what I've learned.

        I don't think I'll ever fully have my life figured out, and maybe that's ok.  Most of the time, I'm Type A and need to feel in control and have a plan, but, maybe being flexible is part of figuring out life (actually, I think this is definitely the case, it's just hard to realize sometimes).  I'm pretty good with most of the things in my life - I have the best husband, and some really awesome kids.  My day job has recently narrowed it's focus with a concentration on K-12 work, which is something I feel invested in.  Mary Beth and I are working in stride and growing UPstudio.  My youngest daughter is now old enough that we are in a routine as a family instead of constantly floundering with newborns.  I've been studying minimalism and how to simplify my life, and am taking steps in that direction.  So on the surface, everything is great.  There is one thing that I feel is lacking though, and it's really within myself.

        My husband and I were talking recently, and the only way I could describe what I was feeling is that I want to do more good.  We had been reflecting a lot recently on the life of someone that we admired so much for her goodness.  She was real, and not perfect, but she was the type of person who would drop everything to help a friend, was always volunteering to help where needed, and never let anything that was going on in her life hold her back.  I want to be more like her - to be an example for my daughters and feel like I'm making a difference with all aspects of my life, and maybe even let go of some control to just be available as needed.  

        I thought about trying to task myself with doing something for a year.. daily, weekly, monthly.. but ultimately decided that if I failed even once then the whole project would feel like a fail.  My goal isn't to put more pressure or stress on myself, but to live my life more intentionally.  My mind went back to some basic principles that were instilled in my early Christian days: the fruits of the spirit.  If I can live my life with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, then everything else should fall into place.  Easier said than done, I know, but something to strive for.  

        When I thought more on this, I could easily see ways that I could apply each of these "fruits" to my every day life.  I've been trying to put it in to practice these past few days, and have felt and seen a difference in the interaction with my daughters, and even that difference alone is worth it.  So, here in my Jesus year is a reminder to try to live each day more like Jesus, and let life take it's course.  

        "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control..." Galatians 5:22-23


        DIY: Honeycomb Shelves June 29, 2017 04:00

        Becky and I are both big DIY people. We love decorating and improving things around our homes on a budget.

        I just moved into a new house last November and my list of projects is growing steadily. Instead of getting overwhelmed by all of my ideas I wanted to take a step back and share about a great DIY I did a few years back that has just found it's fourth home. 

        UPstudio - DIY Honeycomb Shelf

        This amazing honeycomb shelf now lives in my son's nursery (do you still call it a nursery when they are almost two?). I was inspired by a blog post on Design Sponge. I won't go through all of the details step by step, but I'll share some highlights and things I did a bit differently.

        Drafting up plans for the shelf was the first step for me (probably that engineering background). I wanted to improve the shelf shared on Design Sponge by tidying up the intersecting corners a bit.

        UPstudio DIY Honeycomb Shelf inspired by Design Sponge

        Image source: Design Sponge

        Below is my plan that covers the revised layout to eliminate corner issues, number of pieces needed, length of each piece, direction of angles required on each piece, and a takeoff for total length of wood needed.

        UPstudio - DIY Honeycomb Shelf Plan

        I used roughly the same lengths and all angles were still cut at 30 degrees, similar to the Design Sponge design. 

        The benefit, is that my corners turned out a bit more finished:

        UPstudio DIY Honeycomb Shelf Creative Corners

        I built my shelf using 1"x 6" lumber, the cheapest I could find at the store that wasn't warped. I applied Gorilla Wood Glue to each piece prior to using a brad gun to permanently attach them. The wood glue was clutch, it really made everything feel more sturdy once it dried. If you are a fellow perfectionist, you can putty the heads of the brads and sand the area smooth for a bit more of a polished look. 

        My shelf is currently on it's third paint job, to match the room decor. 

        I also switched up the mounting design. I still used 'L' brackets but I like to hide the vertical leg by attaching it to the wall behind the shelf itself.

        UPstudio - DIY Honeycomb Shelf Bracket Locations   UPstudio - DIY Honeycomb Shelf Hidden Bracket

        I use three brackets, one at each intermediate horizontal piece. I make sure each bracket hits a stud (typically 16" OC) for added safety and shelf capacity.

        We are always looking for the next DIY idea, have you tried any lately you'd like to share?