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.)

Ghosting and Bleed in Writing Instruments - and the UPstudio Planner November 9, 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

Behind the Scenes - How We Make Decisions: Pencil Edition September 22, 2016 05:00

If you purchased a 2016 UPstudio Planner, then you know that we give away a little treat to go with it - a pencil.  Pencils and planners go together like... peas and carrots... Forrest and Jenny... donuts and sprinkles.  Take for example a week in the life of my (Becky's) planner usage:  on Monday I wrote down all of the game times for my husband's volleyball team in my planner - in pen.  On Tuesday, I crossed those out and wrote the revised ones.  On Wednesday, same thing.  NO JOKE.  If I had been using a pencil, no problem, but that pen seriously messed with my perfectionist goals.  *Le sigh*  

The 2016 pencil is black and we decided to use it as a marketing tool as well as a gift, so it reads ''.  We decided that we needed a little flair for the gift to go with the 2017 Planner.  Spoiler alert: we stuck with pencils, but wanted to add a phrase on there too instead of just straight marketing.  At a meeting between MB and myself, we generated ideas and came up with a list of phrases, narrowing that down to a short list, and choosing from there.  (Keep in mind, this was after a full day of work at our day jobs (remember, we're an architect and engineer, UPstudio is our side hustle), we both have mom brains on fleek, and at least half of us were sleep deprived with a newborn, so things got a little silly.  We're keeping it real in this post.)

These are the ideas that we used as a guide to generate phrases:

  • We love planners.
  • We love lists.
  • We love hard copies.
  • We love mail.
  • (Disclaimer:  We also love trees despite our love of paper products, let's just clarify that right now)

These are the phrases that we considered for the pencils:

  • No need to click save
  • Take note
  • Paper products are my BFF
  • Send real mail
  • No internet required
  • No need for a backup
  • Don't worry about crashing
  • Save As
  • I like the way you work it - no digital (If you're not singing Blackstreet in your head right now, then forget being my friend.  Just kidding.  Kind of.)
  • No charging required
  • Digital schmidgital
  • Digital is for dummies
  • Digital tools are for tools
  • Old school rules
  • Who needs trees, use paper*
  • This only killed one tree*
  • Paper vs Digital
  • Paper for the win
  • I look perfect on your desk
  • I <3 paper

And the winner is...


In white!  With gold letters!  Perfection!  What other phrase would you like to see?  Leave a comment below and we'll consider all ideas for 2018 (it's coming faster than you think!)

*We really do love trees

New Products - 2016 Spring Release! April 7, 2016 08:00

While you were out on Spring Break we have been hard at work behind the scenes to release new products, and are thrilled to share them with you today.  Get ready, we've got some really exciting stuff!  The shop listings are filled with a lot of information, but we'll give you the highlights of new products below.  Everything you see on the website will be available at upcoming shows and pop up markets, including the Pink Social Girl Tribe Spring Pop Up in Charlotte on April 16 (we hope to see you there!)

Drumroll please...

Planners and Calendars

I know what you're thinking: old news, right?  We'll release 2017 editions later this year, but while we still have some 2016 styles in stock, our prices have dropped AGAIN!  Planners are now $15 and calendars are $5!

Vintage Products

This is not a surprise as we've been advertising them on social media and had a previous blog post about them, but we want to stress that we're getting new items into the shop frequently, so make sure to check back on the website for what is available!  We'll post on social media too, so follow us on Instagram (@upstudionc) and/or Facebook if you want updates.  We are absolutely swooning over this adorable umbrella.


Sticky Pads

Hopefully you saw the poll that we launched and voted for your preference of sticky or non sticky for notepads.  Sticky was the official winner, so these beauties can now easily stay wherever you want them - on the refrigerator, in your planner, taken to the grocery store, on your bathroom mirror, etc.  The dot pattern can be used as a grid for list making, bullet journal style listing, or an impromptu game of dots (anyone else remember doing this on long car rides?)  Side note: check out this life changing sticky pad tutorial from Elite Daily on how to remove a sheet without the sticky side curling up.  So helpful!


Chick Flick Catchphrase Pencil Set

We loooove this new set of pencils because these lines from movies really speak to us.  One, all these movies are classics that we've seen countless times, but even out of context, you know exactly what they're referencing.  We wrote down every quotable quote we could think of and picked our top favorites.  Girly themed movies won this time, and we think it's perfectly appropriate for our #girlboss business.  (We'd love to hear your favorite and if these resonate with you!) #illhavewhatsheshaving


Everyday Cards

The line of Everyday Cards has also been expanded to include 4 new designs.  Highlights of these new cards include small images on the opposite side of the card, as well as some more occasion-specific cards instead of generic designs.  Each one is still all-purpose and BONUS - now you can purchase cards individually!  (Side note: did you know that April is National Letter Writing Month?  Snag a few of these and send out some overdue notes to friends or family!)



Last but not least are journals.  Heavy linen paper covers in the Arrows design protect your choice of either blank pages or dot filled pages to jot down lists, sketches, bullet journal lists, meeting notes, or whatever your heart desires.  All internal pages are top quality for whatever use you choose.  The best part is that these are perfect bound and lay flat!


We hope you are as excited about these new products as we are!  Let us know your feedback - what are you most excited about?  What Everyday Card is your top pick?  Do you prefer dots or blank pages in your journal?  What's your favorite quote from a classic chick flick?  What product do you hope to see next?  (Don't worry - we're already working on new ideas to come out soon!)

New Accessories in the Shop November 18, 2015 07:56

Yesterday we blew everyone up by e-mail and tons of social media posts announcing that our 2016 Planners were available for purchase. We apologize if we bombarded you, but we are really excited! Who am I kidding, we aren't sorry! We have worked really hard and are very proud of our finished product. So, we shouted it from the rooftops yesterday 'social media style'.

What we didn't talk too much about yesterday was that in addition to our planners we added five new products to our shop as well.

Do you need a way to mark your place in your planner? We typically do! We have four different fun options for you. They all work great as bookmarks, but the options are endless. Pricing includes a whole pack of clips!

We also added our Mantra Pencil Set. We shared some of the behind the scenes details on the blog a few weeks back. Includes four pencils with fun phrases that everyone can relate to.

Don't forget, in celebration of our planner launch, everything on our website ships for free this week! Place your order before 11:59pm on 11/22 using FREESHIP at checkout.

-- Mary Beth and Becky

Don't forget to sign up for our Newsletter to stay in the know regarding things on the horizon. 

(You can follow this link to add our blog to almost any reader that you use, or you can click on the RSS icon at the bottom of the page, found in the "Follow Us" section. If you'd like to receive our posts via email, click here.)

Potpourri October 15, 2015 08:05

This post is going to be like the Jeopardy category, potpourri: a little bit of everything. (Don't try to deny watching Jeopardy. It's all about that Teen Challenge to make you feel good about yourself.) So without further ado, here's a list of Very Important UPstudio Things:

1) Let's talk planner release, shall we? Planners will be available for purchase in November!! Date is looking like the 2nd, so get excited!

2) We have a winner for our first giveaway: Congratulations to Chelsea Gutierrez. We will be in touch to send you your Mantra Pencil Set.

3) Red skittles are so much better than grape.

4) This has been some perfect Raleigh weather, am I right?

5) UPstudio has not just one but three new products coming out in November! Ooohhhh now you're interested, aren't you?? We can't reveal all our secrets at once but keep an eye out.

6) Everyone on Nashville is so dramatic, but that makes the show that much better.

7) The Trader Joe's pumpkin trees are so festive and so stinking cute. It also means that I have over 20 pumpkins at my house.

8) What kind of giveaway are you hoping for next?

Mantra Pencil Set Giveaway October 8, 2015 08:00 10 Comments

So, today we are going to change the conversation from what goes into developing a planner for a bit. I'm sure after our five part series you are ready for a little break. (But if you aren't and want to reread all of them because you are really excited about the big release here are the links: I, II, III, IV, V)

Other than blog posts we have gone on a little bit of a promotional hiatus while we have been working on our planner. We feel like our website and store just aren't really complete yet without our big product. Once our planner is released and ready to purchase we will be in full "promotional" swing. That being said we have been working on our promotional plan for some time now. Part of our plan is applying to be part of local fairs and festivals. We've submitted a few applications. Once we are accepted and have the dates on our calendar you will be the first to know so that you can come out and support us (or just meet us in person, a friendly face is always nice).

Most applications for fairs and festivals want to see how you would put a booth together. Since we don't have any festivals under our belt yet, we had to create a booth from scratch. Once we started thinking of ideas we quickly realized that we didn't have enough stuff to fill a booth composed of a 6' table. So logically the next step was brainstorming some new products to help us out. We wanted items that complemented the products we already had and stayed true to our brand. 

The first product we decided on was a set of pencils with phrases that we identify with, mantras. First we had to determine if we could create the pencils ourselves or if we needed to find someone to make them for us. After researching foil presses and how much it costs to purchase one (pretty expensive risk) we decided finding a source to order from was the route to go. Once our source was secured the next obstacle was agreeing on just four phrases. We each created a list of ideas and combined them together. I kid you not, we had 72 phrases on that list. It was tough stuff dwindling the list down. We finally did, and landed on these four:

Rise and Grind
Working for the Weekend
Extra Sprinkles
I Double Dog Dare You

(Behind the scenes commentary: The daily grind is brutal but we all must face it in the morning. Who isn't working for the weekend, really? Sprinkles are by far the best ice cream topping, and they can't have those disgusting chocolate black ones combined in the mix. (Ok ok, so maybe we don't have to agree on everything.) Who doesn't think of A Christmas Story when you are thinking about a dare, we didn't go all in and call it a "triple", sorry.)

Choosing pencil colors was a whole different story, we decided on those in about 2 minutes. Check out the final products:

We plan to sell the pencils in our online shop as a set of 4 as our "Mantra Pencil Set". At the fairs and festivals we will sell them as a set, but will potentially have the option to purchase them individually. What do you think?

We have more products that we created for our booth and store still up our sleeve (as you can see from the picture above). We'll be sharing them shortly, just hold your horses. We can't share all the good news at once!

Here is a sneak peak at our booth we put together:


If you'd like to win a "Mantra Pencil Set" before you can buy them enter the giveaway below by using the Rafflecopter giveaway icon. If it doesn't load properly click here to enter. Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on October 14th. The winner will be notified and announced in next Thursday's blog post. (Unfortunately, this giveaway is only valid for US residents.  We hope to be able to expand our capabilities in the near future!)

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