1.16.2015

Plum Paper Planner

Every year, there is one day of the year that I make a purchase that is the most significant purchase of all my 364 days of the year. That day is the day I purchase the next years planner. Sounds dramatic, I know. But it's the truth. Planners are my life line to all my productivity, lists, birthdays, homework, schedules, eating, and you know all those other things that planners are used for. My planner becomes like a living journal of my life. I decorate it, each year a different 'style' of decoration, depending on my mood & age. I've saved all my planners through the years, since my freshman year of high school. It's amazing to look back and see what I did on a specific day over 10 years ago!
So, as you can see, I'm obsessed. I love, love, love my planners. So, I spend a good amount of time searching on Etsy for the perfect one, comparing my choices to the forever famous but very expensive Erin Conrad planner, searching my favorite bloggers blogs for their planner recommendations & googling 'the best planners' and other clever google search terms. The last 3 years, through all my research, I've always come back to & chosen this planner from Plum Paper Designs, though.  I love everything about it. It's exactly what I want in a planner.
Plum Paper Designs have tons of choices on covers. This year I chose this beauty. I love that I could put my favorite photo of Zachary and I on the cover and I kind of love the design.
The planner opens to a quick layout of 2015 and 2016 for future planning and reference. It has a thick, strong wire binding, monthly layouts with 'birthdays,' 'events,' and 'notes' sections to the sides, weekly layouts, note and check list pages.
It also has these fantastic and colorful tabs. Love them! When buying on PPD, you get to decide what months you want your planner to span. I choose to add 6 months, taking this planner into 2016.
Also, fabulous little extra sections towards the back of the planner, like this special dates page. PPD even have tons of choices for 'add ons' to your planner, like extra check lists, bill tracker pages, monthly cleaning charts and stickers, to name a few. They also have whole section add-ons, like home planning, baby life planning, direct sales and so on. So many choices! Love! 
I also love the double sided pocket in the back of the planner. My pockets fill up fast! It's also a great place to store a pad of sticky notes.
As you can see, this planner is money. It's beautiful, functional and just perfect for my year of planning & list making! Not only is it a great planner but it's affordable. Only $35. Which may sound like a lot to those who don't use planners that often, but $35 in the world of fantastic customizable planners, it's a fantastic price. It's not too late to start getting planning your 2015 time better! If you need a planner, I highly recommend one from Plum Paper Designs! :)

*I haven't been paid or asked to write this post by Plum Paper Designs, or anyone, but I just love this planner and this company so much, I couldn't resist blogging about it! post signature

1.05.2015

Zachary's Birthday

Zachary turned 28 this year. He turned 28 in September, on the 28th to be exact. Yes, I am just now blogging about it. I'm super on top of things. Soooo anyways. Zachary had a great birthday! It started with this monstrosity of a German chocolate cake above. I set out on the mission to make the best German chocolate cake for him ever. While, I did make a cake that was pretty delicious, it was not the best German chocolate cake ever. But It was a different dessert entirely but still good.
Zachary had brought the cake to work on the Friday before his birthday to share with his coworkers.
One of my students, Sherry, who Zachary also teaches at our house, made Zachary this adorable pencil holder with a toilet paper roll & tea taped to it. Haha. Cute.
For Zachary's birthday his parents gave him money & he decided to get a kindle with it. This was a great choice and the best birthday present for him. He uses it everyday now!
I was at a loss as to what to get him so I decided to get him a madge padge of things; cologne, a Cuban cigar, chocolate that i picked out from a fancy chocolate case (fun!), 3rd wave coffee and a new tea to try.
Little Justin brought Zachary some chocolates.
Zachary's first birthday here in Qingdao he got so much chocolate! Everyone here really knows his soft spot for chocolate, even his students.
The night before Zachary's birthday we headed over to Justin & Catherine's house for the boys to exchange presents. Justin's birthday is the day before Zachary's & the boys have celebrated each others birthdays, 3 together and 1 apart, the last 4 years.  Justin, Catherine & Elijah gave Zachary a sweet card, a gift card for a massage, wine & some coffee. 
For Justin's birthday Zachary gave Justin a guitar. Justin had mentioned that he wanted a guitar a few times the past few years & Zachary had been listening & holding that wish in the back of his mind. This year, when I asked Zachary what he wanted to get Justin for his birthday, he immediately said he a guitar! It was a total surprise to Justin. Zachary carried the guitar over in his own guitar case and told Justin that he had a song to play for him. He started playing, looked at the guitar and said, "Wait?! What?! This isn't my guitar!" Haha. And then handed it to Justin.
Elijah also liked the guitar & I must say, looked really cute with it!
The beautiful Esser's on Justin's Birthday.
For dinner on Zachary's birthday, we went to Trattoria Verde, our much loved Qingdao Italian restaurant.
Zachary parking our little bike.
We love the close, coziness of this place.
Also the menu is in Italian, it's legit.
During dinner we read Eclipse. :) We've already Twilight together and are slowly making our way through Eclipse.
Glittery nails for the occasion. :)
Also, raviolis.
And sausage and broccoli pizza.
After dinner we headed to a local coffee shop for more Eclipse reading & celebrating Zachary's birth.
Zachary had a great birthday & we had lots of fun celebrating him. :) post signature

1.02.2015

Christmas Eve Show

 
On Christmas Eve The Followers had another show at the same Italian restaurant as their second performance, La Contina. This time they performed in style, coordinating their outfits. :) They looked amazing. I especially loved Zachary's suspenders and bow tie, but I might be biased. ;) Musically,  they did a fantastic job again. This night things were especially sounding good as they've added a new band member, Brendon, on the bass. But of course we were still missing Valerio on the ka hone drum. (We miss you Valerio!) I said it the last post but I'll say it again, they just keep getting better and better. It's a joy to watch and listen.
Okay, enough with the pictures, right?! I keep having people ask me to post them actually singing. So, here we go. A short clip of The Follower's Christmas Eve show. It's not the best quality of video but you can have a small sample. :) Enjoy!
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