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As someone who adores sparkly objects and has a deep appreciation for a solid pen, I’m very surprised it’s taken me this long to place an order at PenGems. For some odd reason, I wasn’t following any of the PenGems accounts on my main social media, but I still managed to stumble upon the re-release of the Northern Lights collection. My excitement level grew from 0 to 100 in milliseconds flat. I had wanted to purchase the pens previously, but the newest collection pulled me in. Not only did I enjoy the pens with the gold hardware, but the colors were absolutely gorgeous. Everything about these pens called to me and I couldn’t be more excited to finally own my own PenGems.

The Northern Lights collection was my first ever purchase and I had no idea what to expect, but I did know that I had a 10% off code that I could use and that was a wonderful perk. Armed with the knowledge of the collection being released, I signed up for the VIP newsletter so I could receive the link for the full collection. Fortunately for my impatient self, I had discovered the new collection only a few days prior to its release meaning I didn’t have to wait long at all. In fact, I didn’t have to wait long at all through the whole process.

The email for the new collection came on a Friday, I made my order a few hours after the e-mail was sent, received my shipping notice on Saturday morning, and received the pens on Monday morning. I have never had fast shipping like that before so I was beyond thoroughly impressed to receive them so quickly. The entire process was very quick and easy from start to finish. I was so impressed by how fast the shipping was I immediately made a second order to have duplicates of two of the colors and also pick up a pen from the Coffee Shop line.

Anyone who took advantage of purchasing the Northern Lights collection as a full set was treated to very pretty packaging. Each set was shipped in a beautiful sleeve featuring the Northern Lights and in that the pens were placed in a plastic sleeve to help protect them. I will admit that I’m not sure that this particular packaging is standard when purchasing full collections, but it was a fantastic touch. In addition to the gorgeous packaging, everyone who preordered the set also received a mini-notebook made with stone paper, meaning it’s waterproof and tear-resistant. Such a cool little addition!

The total cost of the Northern Lights collection was $45 with the 10% off code. The pens retail at $9 for their signature collection (the silver hardware) and $10 for their autograph collection (the gold hardware). Special and limited edition pens appear to also be priced at $10 as well.

Now let’s take a moment to discuss the build of the pens themselves, as they are put together fantastically. The sparkle and shine that comes from these pens are amazing. They dazzle the room regardless of whether or not there’s sunlight coming in, providing a gleam even in dark places. However, when the sun hits these pens, they shine like no tomorrow.

Every pen is set in either gold or silver hardware, with over 120 crystals (wow!!!) in each pen and featuring a matching rhinestone at the top. They come with black ballpoint ink and ships with a refill! If you prefer to have blue ink you can request it upon ordering and will be sent a blue refill. Certain brands of gel ink refills can also be purchased at an additional charge and are designed to fit the pens so you never have to be without your favorite ink. In addition to being able to purchase gel ink, additional colors are also available at an extra charge. As long as you have the pen, you’re able to customize your ink choice and ink color meaning you can get many years out of your PenGems. Look at the pens as an investment and commitment to always having a sparkle in your life because that’s always a wonderful thing to have.

This is the Cappuccino PenGem from the Coffee Shop collection. This pen is part of the Signature collection which features the silver hardware versus the gold.

Right out of the box, these pens work fantastically! Ordinarily, with a ball-point pen, you have to “warm” the ink up to get it flowing, but these pens started writing right away! I’m a girl who was 100% sure that she would never want to use a ballpoint pen again, but between the quality and how smoothly the ink flows, I’ve officially changed my mind. I’ll always enjoy the darkness and crispness of a gel ink, but I am on board with keeping these pens with ballpoint ink.

Overall, I truly and genuinely can say I adore these pens. I have been fascinated by them for a few years, but only recently have been in a position where I could purchase them myself. They are extremely sturdy and would make wonderful gifts, whether for yourself or for someone else. The price-point of the pens is wonderful and being able to catch a new release with whatever goodies they might be adding in is even better! PenGems are a full experience and the care they show in maintaining their brand isn’t something that you find often anymore. All of the little touches add to the experience.

If you’re interested in making your own PenGems purchase, I would appreciate it if you purchased through my link – You’ll receive 10% Off at PenGems for your first order!

Make sure that you follow PenGems on their social media so you’re in the loop for any future releases!

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** This post contains an affiliate link, but everything was purchased on my own. Purchasing through my link allows me to purchase additional product from PenGems for me to review just for you! **

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I’m so excited for this post, not only because I get to give an in-depth look into some of the new Happy Planner products, but also because it’s the first post in this particular series! During my week off from posting, I spent a lot of time thinking about the direction I wanted things to go and what I wanted to post and Whip It Out Wednesday or (WOW Wednesday) became a big part of the plan. Also during that time, I started work on my editorial calendar from now until the end of the year and I’m just so excited that I found a Michaels that had “cooperated” with my calendar and had put out the new products early! Since this is going to be a long post, I’ll break it up into three smaller sections!

Before I jump into talking about the new Happy Planner products I picked up, I want to discuss the new Recollections planners that Michaels also released.

At this point in time, it’s very obvious that Michaels knows exactly what they’re doing when it comes to planners. They started off with the large size planners that were around the size of the Happy Planners that had the specialized books and the hard binders to go along with it. Then they also released the smaller scale planners with the same concept. While both of those planner concepts sold well, it definitely didn’t hurt for Michaels to release yet another planner. This time they opted for a coiled planner rather than the binder types that they’ve been offering. While a lot of people are annoyed by this new offering, I’m definitely someone who is very excited.

Back in July I discussed my dissatisfaction with Erin Condren. Not so much with the planner itself, but with their customer service and the lack of communication and proper information. Since I had such a negative experience I wound up putting the planner away and haven’t touched it since. While I loved it, I couldn’t get myself to use it. The buyers remorse definitely had a lot to do with the situation since I couldn’t justify the price of just one planner, but now Michaels has changed that. Not only are the planners Erin Condren Life Planner dupes, they are the same quality (but better print job!) and for a much better price! I know that purchasing an Erin Condren planner has a lot to do with the name and the status at this point, but to have something for a fraction of the cost? Wonderful.

I decided to branch out and chose the goal planner instead of one of their other planners. Since I knew I was going to buy new Happy Planners, I figured it would be a better idea to get something different. Honestly it was a great idea! This planner is a great way of keeping track of goals and keeping them all in one spot.

The quality of the paper is very similar to Erin Condren’s and the Happy Planner’s. The coil on the Recollections planner is smaller than the Erin Condren, but very sturdy. The print quality is way better than what Erin Condren’s planners were like this year so I’m definitely excited to go ahead and use it. This particular planner is undated so you don’t have to worry about waiting for January if you decide to purchase this one! This planner also comes with some wonderful little stickers, a folder, and a zip pouch!

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I also purchased two of the new classic sized Happy Planners. I purchased the Minty Fresh planner and the This Is Your Year planner. Both of them are absolutely beautiful and I’m going to use both of them! I’m only going to add a little preview for these planners as I’ll be uploading flip through videos of both of them, but even from just seeing the cover page you can see how lovely these planners are. The Minty Fresh planner is a wonderful mix of the mint and rose gold, while the This Is Your Year planner exudes a hint of Kate Spade polka-dots.

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The last of my purchases were two of the new extension packs. I purchased the daily sheets as well as the budget extension.

The daily sheets are a great addition to the planner and will definitely help on the busier days that I have. I love that the front has most of the day mapped out and on the opposite side there’s a wonderful place to add all of the random thoughts that you have throughout the day.

The budget extension is an expanded version of the budget section of the home extension pack that is offered for the Happy Planner. It offers a great way to track your expenses and a bill checklist (SO excited about that!) and has wonderful little graphic elements that make it enjoyable to look at. The budget extension comes with stickers to help your financial journey as well as a folder to hold important documents. One of the only things that I don’t like about the budget extension is the fact it’s only 6 months, but it’s a start. I love the added undated calendars so you have a month-at-a-glance for the budget section. I think if you really want to track your finances or want to start tracking your finances, this is a wonderful extension pack to purchase. It’ll definitely help me out a lot and I have a feeling it’ll help out a lot of others.

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I hope you all enjoyed this quick little post on what I purchased. Let me know in the comments what you’re excited about picking up.

I’ll be posting flip-through videos of everything I purchased on my YouTube channel so be sure to check that out!

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I don’t think I’ve been this excited over a new product in a long time. I’m just so glad that I get to share it with you all before it even hits stores!

Mid-way through August, the Happy Planner’s company, Me and My Big Ideas, was running an Instagram contest where the prize was on of the deluxe covers if you made it into the video! Stephanie, the owner, wanted to have footage of actual users of the Happy Planner to show at her class at Pinners Conference in Texas. The specifics of the contest were to dance to Pharell’s Happy with your planner and to hashtag the video as #thehappyplannerdance.

Oh, no, were my initial thoughts. I’m extremely loyal to the brand, but to dance? I almost skipped out on the contest all together with how nervous as I was. However, near the end of the contest period, I eventually sat my butt down and danced with my planners like no tomorrow. Worst that could happen was I wasn’t picked and I would erase the video from all existence or the best could happen.

Which leads us to this very moment.

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The Happy Planner Deluxe Cover is absolutely going to be a must-have when the product is released in store! The current projected time frame for this product being released in store is the end of October and on the mambi website shortly after. It comes in multiple colors all with different designs and are either plain on the front like mine or have a cute little quote on the front.

Me and My Big Ideas hit the nail on the head with this brand new accessory. The details for the cover are just absolutely perfect and they’re so non-intrusive compared to other brands. The little heart on the snap for the cover is such an adorable little feature and I adore that the inside cover has either a different color or pattern than the front. Each planner cover is color coordinated and you can see the love and the time spent making up the designs.

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The left side of the cover has the two pockets in the front in addition to the wide folder pocket for larger items.

 

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The right side features the one pocket in addition to the pen holder. The closed in pocket is where the back cover of your planner is placed, but you could potentially use it for additional large items that you want to make sure don’t get damaged.

 

My favorite thing about owning this cover is the fact that I won’t be afraid of bringing my “good” planner out with me into the world. I currently only use my Happy Planner from last year out in the world, but now that I have this cover, I feel like I can finally stop slacking and be able to plan wherever I go! While I can’t exactly carry washi with me, I will utilize the pockets on the left to carry stickers!

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I haven’t tested the cover with the expansion discs, but from what I can see it looks as though they should fit although it might be a little tight. As soon as I create covers for my bullet journal, I will be sure to test that out.

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Based off of my initial thoughts and carrying around the cover, I can honestly say that I absolutely adore it. It makes carrying the rest of your planner supplies, such as stickers and paperclips a lot easier. I haven’t figured out what exactly I want to keep as staples in my cover yet, but I will be playing around with it to see and re-evaluating what it is that I carry. I can’t wait for these to finally be released in stores because I will definitely be purchasing other covers as well. The new October releases are going to be amazing and I can’t wait for everyone to see all the new products that they’ll be releasing!

In the meantime, while I’m not using my planner, I will be using the cardboard insert that it came in as a stand! As soon as I get a hold of the new pre-pasted Mambi Sheets I will be creating my own personalized little holder!

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Today is the start of my Erin Condren Life Planner series!

I have been searching for a planner to use for the longest time. I was never a fan of the standard planners that are sold in stores and was unsure on the Happy Planner when it was first released in Michaels and AC Moore. None of the planners I had purchased had ever fit me. Then came along the Erin Condren Life Planner. After doing research, I was sold.

Erin Condren offers a multitude of options for her planners. Allow me to go through the ordering process so you can understand the purchasing and thought process for these planners. Once you’ve completed everything, the planner is 100% you and what makes you happy, which makes the whole process very exciting.

To start, you choose your front cover and customize it how you would like. This year they offered a brand new option with a permanent cover, allowing you even more options. I decided to choose the “Blossom” cover with a different color way than was shown. I also added the rose gold coil and added my first name only.

Once you’ve chosen your cover, you’re presented a page with a few different options. You get to choose from three different planner “weekly page” types, which are vertical (the most popular), horizontal, and hourly. After you’ve chosen your orientation for your planner, you get to pick from two different options for the inside of the planner! For 2017 they’ve added a neutral color option which means your pages are entirely in grey scale with the exception of the monthly tabs that have the accent color for the month. After you’ve finished both steps, you finally get to choose whether you want the 18 month planner, which is wonderful if you’re planning to use your planner around its first week of use in July, or a standard 12 month. I opted for an 18 month colorful planner with a vertical orientation. I plan on using my planner almost like a scrapbook of sorts and the vertical placement is one that I’m already familiar with from the Happy Planner.

After you’ve completed those steps, your final step is to accessorize! This is completely optional, but if you would like to have stickers or pens with your order, I totally recommend taking advantage. If you purchase four or more accessories, you’re given a discount so it’s worth getting everything together if you’re not near a Staples that sells Erin Condren. I opted for a few different accessories, in addition to visiting a Staples that sells Erin Condren. I purchased the Starter Pack Designer Stickers, the Rose Gold Fleur-de-lis snap-in dashboard, the Monthly Sticker Book, the Metallic Trio Pen Holder, and the Classic Collection Sticker Book second edition.

As excited as I am to finally have my planner in hand, I do have to say that the order process was very annoying. I originally started my order without having an account, but decided that I would like to save the order so I would be ready to put in my shipping information and be set. I signed up for the account, had my items saved, and let it sit for a few days. When I finally decided to order, I also decided that I wanted to change the order and the way my planner was going to look and decided to start over completely without using my account. Apparently the Erin Condren website was not happy with this. Each time I would make it to the point to submit the order, or reach the “congratulations” page, my order would completely reset. Each version of the planner I tried to make would not go through. Out of curiosity, I decided to log back into my account and my order was there perfect as could be. While I wasn’t able to change the whole order due to it still resetting, I was able to tweak it a little bit. Suffice it to say, while I’m happy with what I ordered, it wasn’t exactly what I was trying to order.

From what I’ve heard, they have fixed this issue (as I wasn’t the only one), but I would recommend creating an account and saving your order just in case.

Overall, the process for ordering was very simple. Everything was processed smoothly and was actually received prior to the ship date that I was given.

However, the way my planner was shipped truly leaves much to be desired. I should (hopefully) have a video describing and showing the situation more, but it was an issue that could’ve been easily avoided.

The way most planners ship is in a smaller square sized box. For some reason mine was shipped in the large rectangular box and was shipped without being bubble wrapped properly. In addition to the lack of protection, every other item I had purchased was stuffed into the back cover! None of these items are larger than the planner itself or very big in the least. However, being shoved into the planner was a stupid idea and shouldn’t have been a decision that was made in the least. After watching several videos and seeing several photos of other reviews, others have purchased more than I have and have easily been able to have their items held in a smaller box.

I have contacted someone from the website to see if there’s a possibility that they will send out a new cover. I don’t expect anything else, but I would definitely appreciate a new cover set that doesn’t have the cover beat up and scratched up. On the other end of the spectrum, to try and add a positive spin to things, the covers would wind up getting scratched up eventually just through normal wear and tear.

Luckily I also didn’t suffer one of the major issues of having the planner not sit flat. Some people who had received their planners had the coil put on incorrectly, meaning that their book would never lay flat. Others also received planners that were missing pages.

At the time of this being posted, I did contact ErinCondren.com in regards to how my planner arrived. In response to my message and proof of photos, they offered to send me a new planner upon receipt of me returning it (shipping label provided), but I instead opted to just have the cover re-printed as well as receive a new perpetual calendar that was beat up in the shipping process. At the end of the day, everything else is fine, but I’m definitely not happy with how it arrived. Unlike how other companies customer service works, ErinCondren.com’s customer service is excellent and if you have any issues whatsoever, just contact them. They’re very quick to contact and even quicker to coming up with resolutions.

Overall, I would say the experience has been a positive one with a few hiccups. If you’ve ever had any interest in Erin Condren planners, I still recommend them, even with the price. Customer service is very quick to try and make things right and the quality (when done correctly) is wonderful.