A few months ago I stumbled upon a few Pinterest pins about something called a Life Binder, and I saved these pins to my organization board for a rainy day. Well, that rainy day came this week and I finally made my own version of a Life Binder!
So what is a Life Binder? Well, the goal is to take one binder (usually 1 inch) and fill it with everything that you use on an everyday basis. All of your life resources will be in one place, and even better it’s easy to grab in an emergency situation or to take with you on trips.
As a college student, I have come to realize that this is one of the best times to start organizing for your life ahead. Having a good system for paying bills, maintaining budgets, organizing tax information, and keeping track of other life necessities (wellness, academic performance, etc.) before leaving college will help you to get a head start!
Before I made this Life Binder, much of my documents and important files were stored in a storage bin. While this isn’t the worst way, it isn’t the most accessible either. There would be countless times when I had to dig through many folders to find a piece of information or a record that I new I had, but didn’t know exactly where it was. I realized that I was spending so much time sorting through a system that I thought was organized, and I knew I needed a new solution. So I went back to my Pinterest and finally got the inspiration to change up how I organized my life!
I purchased a 1 inch binder (in turquoise), as well as a set of 8 erasable divider tabs (as life is always changing 🙂 ), and a set of clear paper protecting sheets for important documents. I also was able to cut out quotes and find images in a few leftover magazines that spoke to me for personalizing the tabs and front of my life binder. Below is a full materials list that you can look at for inspiration!
Instructions and How-To:
I picked a comfortable spot on my floor and put on my favorite Spotify playlist (follow me here if you use Spotify! 🙂 ) for creative inspiration! As many of you know, I have been using essential oils from Young Living as well, and decided to diffuse Magnify Your Purpose while making this binder. (This Saturday and Sunday starter kits are $10 off with this link if you’re interested! This is not a sponsored post in any way, but I saw this promotion yesterday while on their website).
I started by cutting out all of my favorite quotes and images from magazines that I had laying around, and arranging these on the front of the binder. I also decided to place some on each divider tab (the large blank space), by using tape and a glue stick.
I then opened my storage bin and got to work on organizing my files, shredding ones I no longer needed, and hole punching the ones I knew I wanted to include. By organizing all of my files I was able to get a sense of what I wanted each of my divider tabs to be labeled. I bought a set of 8 tabs, and ended up using all of them. The labels that I picked are: Wellness, College Success, Taxes and Expenses, Budgets and Financial Planning, The Wise Willow Blog, Resume and Credentials, Spirituality and Gratitude, and finally To-Do Lists and Goals.
Once I had set up all of the tabs, it was time to get filing! I filed all of my information, and made note of what I needed to track down. I ended up making a grade tracker log for my semester grades (sometimes it’s so hard to keep track of smaller grades!), as well as finding a few online budget and financial planning resources! I also used a few blog planning worksheets and to-do lists to keep track of everything.
Once this was done, I found myself reaching for my Life Binder every day! Whether I needed to look for information to file my tax returns (or file new information to stay ahead on this year’s information), record new grades, or check of to-do list items, this binder has already been well used!
If you decide to make a Life Binder (or if you already have one) I would love to see what it looks like! Tag me on Instagram (@thewisewillowblog) or Twitter (@wisewillowblog)! What have you learned from having a Life Binder?
©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.
Today’s post was inspired by the burst of motivation that I currently have (and hopefully will have for the remainder of the semester–I only have three weeks of classes left, which is so hard to believe!). I went through a brief period where my motivation was very hard to maintain, which resulted in me taking a break from blogging and social media last week. Thank you for your support and patience while I re-centered myself and got back on track! 🙂 I am happy to say that my motivation is back, and my writer’s block is gone!
As I started the week, I realized that I would be so lost without my Bloom Vision Planner! As you have probably gathered, I am definitely a planner. I love to plan everything, though a little spontaneity is always good! One of the biggest challenges I have faced in my college career is balancing all of my activities, and remembering important due dates and events. I thought that I was busy in high school, but as soon as I got to college I realized that my schedule was even busier: night meetings and classes, regular class meetings, office hours, other appointments, extracurriculars, meals, blogging, social media engagement, emails, and more! It can get quite overwhelming at times, but my planner has helped to keep me on top of everything.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a pen and paper type of person. Even though there are many amazing apps out there for scheduling and making calendars, I was never able to keep on track as well as with a planner. I absolutely love bloom planners, and their Vision Planner is perfect for scheduling all of my events!
About the Planner:
At the beginning of the planner, there is a section for planning out your goals and visions for the entire year. I am someone who lives on dreams and goals, so this was perfect for me! It also gives you space to add your “mission statement” for an ideal year. This year, my mission statement is To live a fulfilling life that encourages me to live my dreams, follow my passions, and live simply so that others may simply live. This statement combines all of my favorite inspirational mantras, and is something that will apply for the entire year. 🙂
This planner also features a 2016 and 2017 yearly view, which is perfect for when I’m not near my phone or computer to plan events holistically. There are a few pages of notes at the beginning of the planner, which I have been using for my daily class schedule and room numbers (which was especially useful at the beginning of the year!). At the beginning of each month, there are a few pages dedicated to your visions and goals for the month. I have academic and blogging goals each month, and love to look back at old goals that I have achieved! One of the pages is broken down into four week sections, which lets you plan your goals week by week in one place! Following these pages is one of the most useful features of the planner: the monthly view page.
I am someone who believes that colored pens and pencils should be used whenever possible in life, and this is the perfect place to do just that! I use a different color for each type of event (appointment, blog work, small assignment due date, large assignment due date, or quiz/exam/project due date). This helps me visualize what the month holds, and what the balance between types of work is. It also lets me glance at my day in the morning, and prepare for what’s ahead!
The daily view is also something I use quite frequently, and it has so many amazing features! It has a “Weekly Goals & Notes” section, where I love to write my big academic and blogging goals, and remind myself of them throughout the week (examples from this week: 1) Plan ahead for large projects and 2) Self-care and wellness. There’s also a place to write “This Week’s Focus”, and mine for this week is re-centering and goals. Beneath each day is a section for additional daily notes (I use this for appointment reminders, keeping track of emails, etc.). There is also a water glass tracker, which lets you keep track of how much water you have had each day. I always try to reach the minimum eight glasses, and it’s great for reminding myself to stay hydrated! 🙂 There’s also a super adorable “weekend” banner over Saturday and Sunday, which captures my thoughts about the weekend perfectly!
How I Organize:
Balancing college coursework and blogging can be challenging at times, but having it all planned out on paper helps keep me on track! Ever since I started blogging, I’ve found that I can use my study breaks to post on social media and write posts. This helps me use my time productively, and follow my passions academically and creatively!
Each week I will take the time to think through my academic and blogging goals, and will write them in for the day/week/month. This helps me figure out my direction, and focus my energy on working toward my goals. I also write blog post ideas as I get them, which is usually very random times of the day!
Though it may seem difficult to balance college coursework and blogging, prioritizing is key. Completing everything that is a priority maximizes your productivity, and lets you accomplish what is important. Blogging has given me a wonderful community and way to communicate my experiences with the world, and I’ve loved being able to pair it with my college studies!
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I highly recommend Bloom Planners for those of you that love to plan and organize your life on paper! 🙂
*This is not a sponsored post, all thoughts are my own*
The other day as I was sorting through my belongings to pack up for college, I stumbled upon a book I had bought awhile ago called Think Happy Be Happy. As soon as I saw it, an idea popped into my head. I am a bit obsessed with Pinterest, and I remember pinning a bunch of quote walls on my home boards for future use. As I flipped through this book, I new that a quote wall was exactly what I needed to finish off my dorm room decor!
This inspirational quote wall is very easy to make, and is a wonderful way to relieve stress or back-to-school anxiety. It’s also a great way to turn your dorm room into a sanctuary, where you feel inspired to pursue your dreams 🙂
What You Need:
What To Do:
First start by cutting out your favorite inspirational quotes from your quote book, or from print-outs. Some of my favorites are “You are free to fly” “Find beauty in rain” “Encourage each other daily while it is still today” and “Live simply so that others may simply live”.
You can either do a simple backing with one layer of craft paper, or opt to offset two layers for a more detailed look. Since I have more space on my wall, I decided to go for the double-layered craft paper design. To do this, first select your two pieces of desired craft paper. For a quote about stars, I picked craft paper with a sparkling night sky and another piece with fireworks. Pick the layer you want to go directly under the quote, and cut about half an inch of a border around your quote.
Then, apply glue to both the back of the quote paper and the front of the craft paper (to form a double bond, and make the glue last longer). Press the quote paper onto the craft paper and use the cloth to smooth over any bubbles or excess glue. Now for the second layer! Start by offsetting the quote paper by one inch and cutting another layer of craft paper with a half inch border. Then apply glue to the back of the first layer of craft paper and the front of the second layer, and press the two together. And you’re done with your first quote!
Repeat this step for as many quotes as you would like to include. I’m going to space my quotes out between my coloring page frames and inspirational wall hangings to truly customize my wall! 🙂 (I think I’ll add fairy lights as well to brighten up my space).
This is a super easy and budget-friendly DIY to customize your space, and make it a place that inspires you. Most college dorms require that all wall hangings use removable fixtures, so I recommend poster adhesive or command strips to hang decor on your walls.
I hope you enjoyed the last post in my DIY Dorm Decor series! I would love to see how you decorate your dorm room this year! Leave a picture in the comments, or tweet it at me/tag me on Instagram! (Twitter: @alyssa_debella, IG: @thewisewillowblog) 🙂
©2016 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.
It’s hard to believe that the month of August is passing us by already! For many, this means that school starts in a week or two. I will be moving into my dorm room on the 23rd of August, and DIY dorm decor has been one of my pastimes in the past few weeks to prepare for move-in day. My other two posts in this DIY series covered DIY Washi Tape Mason Jars and DIY Inspirational Wall Art. In this post, I am going to be going over an easy and fun project to add personalized art to your dorm room walls!
I’ve always loved coloring, especially in times when I’m stressed about schoolwork and other commitments. One of my favorite pastimes is to color and listen to podcasts (my current favorite being podcasts from www.howtheyblog.com!). It allows me to focus on other things while still feeling productive 🙂 This DIY is very simple, and can be a project that extends over a larger period of time (a few weeks out of the semester, for example).
What You Need:
Colored pencil set (mine is from eeboo®) and sharpener
What To Do:
Start by disassembling the frame if necessary, and position the coloring page on a clean surface with your colored pencils and other necessities within close reach. Envision what the rest of your dorm decor looks like, and plan your color schemes accordingly. Alternatively, you can wing it and get creative with your muses in the moment, which is what I chose to do for my three coloring pages.
Color away to your heart’s content, and remember to take breaks and enjoy the project in the moment. Coloring is something that can definitely get boring after awhile, so feel free to use it as a break from other to-do list tasks that you may have.
You can use different shading techniques to achieve different looks and patterns. For example, you can use the edge of the pencil to create a soft texture. For bold colors you can use a damp paper towel to transfer moisture to the pencil lead. Feel free to add glitter and other add-ons as desired! 🙂
When you are done with your coloring page, simply place it on the cardboard backing and secure it in the frame. You can buy command strips to affix it to your dorm room walls on move-in day! I chose to create three very different coloring page frames to add a unique vibe to my room decor.
The first coloring page I did says You Are My Sunshine, and I used yellow, orange, and red hues. The second page says Choose Happiness and features cooler pastel tones (pinks, purples, blues, and greens). The last page I chose to do features common landmarks and sayings of England. I chose this because I remember my trip to London in 2012 very fondly, and loved the layout of the coloring page. I used an assortment of colors on this page, making it very bright and intriguing 🙂
I hope you enjoy this simple but fun DIY project! If you decide to recreate it for your dorm room, I would love to see it! Tag me on Instagram and Twitter (IG: @debellita, Twitter: @alyssa_debella)! Do you have a dorm room decor theme for this year? Let me know in the comments!
© The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.
Back-to-school season is in full swing, and DIY Dorm Decor has been one of my top priorities as the new school year approaches. I’ve realized the importance of having a space that speaks to your interests and passions, and have created this series to show you what I’ve come up with for my dorm room this year 🙂
I have been loving pastel color themes lately, and that has been my inspiration for the projects in this series. For this DIY project I created three inspirational wall hangings that I am planning to place next to a photo collage on my wall 🙂
What You Need:
What To Do:
I started with the peace wall art, and opted to use my ocean breeze, and pale blue colors. I also decided to opt for an ombre design, in which the two colors would blend together between each letter.
I started with my ocean breeze paint and used the smallest paint brush to paint the P completely with an even two coats. I then used another small brush and took my pale blue color to paint the E. With both letters evenly covered with two coats of paint, I then took my blending brush and gently blended the two color borders together to make an ombre look.
I repeated these steps for all of the letters, alternating between colors and blending the borders. I then checked all of the edges for extra paint, and set it out to dry.
I repeated this process with my next laugh wall design, but used my light pink and lavender colors. I also opted for a more washed-out look and decided to use the sponge to apply the paint, rather than a paint brush.
I started with the lavender color and used a small paint brush to apply this first coat (the sponge needs a little bit of paint to work with). I then used the sponge for the rest of the applications, and flipped sides between light pink and lavender. I used the border blending technique again to create an ombre blended look, and the sponge added a softer texture and appearance to the paint.
Finally, I took my five letters (that spell vibes – one of my all time favorite words) and applied strips of washi tape in randomized sections. I applied the washi tape to the letters before painting them because the tape does not stick as well to painted surfaces. I then painted the uncovered areas with alternating colors to create a mix-match effect. If you don’t want to use washi tape on your design, you can use regular masking tape, then peel it off for well-defined striped patterns. 🙂
I decided to film a video (see below) for this week’s project as well to give you an idea of what the process was like! I hope you find it helpful for if you want to create these projects on your own! 🙂
And that is it for this week’s DIY Dorm Decor project! I had a lot of fun making these wall designs, and I’m so excited to show you the final decorated result in a few weeks! How are you planning on decorating your dorm room this year? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
© The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.
It’s hard to believe that August is almost here! With August comes back-to-school season, and recently I’ve been reflecting on how to make this year the best one yet. I am a huge fan of Pinterest and of DIY projects, and as a result decided to start this DIY Dorm Decor series! I hope to inspire you to DIY your dorm room decor, and to show you how fun and cost-effective this can be!
The first project in this series is Washi Tape Mason Jars (with matching school supplies). I spent quite a bit of time at my desk last year (especially during the snowy months!), and often found that its level of organization would decrease as the week progressed. What was once organized chaos became complete chaos. I would lose pens as I was using them, only to find them at the end of the year. Because of this, I thought I would find a way to make organization more seamless.
I love mason jar crafts, and found a simple DIY to make mason jar school supply holders for a desktop or windowsill. I loved this idea so much that I decided to make some of my own! These are perfect for holding pencils, highlighters, and pens in an organized place, and they eliminate the need for opening drawer after drawer in hopes of finding a lost pen.
What You Need:
The first step for completing this DIY is to unscrew the caps on all of the mason jars, and remove the small metal insert in the lids. You should now have a cap with a large hole in the middle, and this will be where your items can be placed into the jar.
You can leave the lids off for the moment, and gather your first mason jar, washi tape, scissors, and craft paper. Now for the fun part! I’ve been loving pastel colors and inspirational quotes lately, so I chose to use pastel colored craft paper and inspirational washi tape for my mason jars. 🙂
Select the washi tape you would like to use, and cut strips in sizes that reflect the design you desire. Place the tape onto the jar, and secure by flattening with your fingers. Repeat for all of your washi tape until you have created your ideal design. You may also use stickers or other decorative materials to personalize your jars.
Once the jar is designed, fold up a piece of colorful craft paper in the shape of a telescope. Place the rolled up craft paper inside of the mason jar to see where it needs to be cut (at the end of the glass section of the jar). Use scissors to cut the craft paper tube to the correct size, and secure the shape with strips of washi tape. You should now have something that resembles a paper towel cardboard insert.
Place the craft paper tube inside the mason jar and you’re done! 🙂 Now for what will go inside of the jars. This next step is optional, but is a fun add-on if you already know what school supplies you will be using this year.
Gather your pens, pencils, and highlighters and place them on a flat surface. One by one, cover the barrel of each writing utensil with strips of washi tape to create unique designs. Repeat this step until all of your items are customized and ready to go. I love this step because not only is it a lot of fun, but it makes your items easily identifiable in a crowd of similar pens, pencils, and highlighters.
The final step is to place your writing utensils in the jars, and admire your creation! I love how my jars turned out, and I’m so excited to have a clutter-free desk space and a set location for all of my writing materials! 🙂
If you choose to do this DIY, post it on Instagram and tag me (@debellita)! I would love to see what you come up with! You can also Tweet me (@alyssa_debella) a picture of your DIY. What will you use your jars for? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
©2016 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.
December has been flying by, and the New Year is just around the corner! I realized that I have not done a DIY post in quite a while, so I thought I would write a post about one of my favorite crafts: making quote cards. This post is holiday themed, but you can use these cards for any occasion. I will be giving these cards alongside gifts this holiday season, and making them was a great study break from my Finals Week. So, without further ado, let’s begin! 🙂
What You Will Need:
I hope you enjoyed this week’s DIY post, and let me know in the comments if you would like to see more posts like this in the future! If you decide to make cards of your own, I would love to see them! Tag me on Twitter @alyssa_debella with your designs! 🙂
©The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.
In the summertime it is easy to forget about the rapid pace of life that takes place in the winter and spring. It is a time where the weather, vacations, and new adventures make us feel at ease and content. Given that summer is almost over (I know, how did that happen??), I thought I would share with you one of the most beneficial additions to your school or work schedule: a gratitude journal.
A gratitude journal is designed to bring you out of the chaos of everyday life, and it provides you with a time for positive reflection. We all have those days when life becomes overwhelming, and a gratitude journal helps you focus on the little things in life. The guidelines for such a journal are very simple:
I know you might be thinking “what if it is impossible to write down three things on some days”. Well, it may seem impossible at first, but there are actually many simple and ordinary things that we overlook in everyday life that we can be grateful for. Here are some examples for reflection if you are ever stuck:
A gratitude journal can be made out of any type of journal–from a daily planner to blank paper. Just remember to write the date (if it’s not already on the page)! I began writing gratitude journal entries two years ago. It was difficult at first to come up with three things on certain days, but before I knew it my lists were growing longer and I looked forward to my time of reflection at the end of each day. If you continue to write in your journal you will begin to look for the good in every day, even if you faced many obstacles. This positive mindset allows you to reflect on the day in a good light, and takes the focus away from potentially negative challenges. Here is a sample of one of my journal entries:
Sunday August 9th, 2015:
What I was grateful for today:
Now that the summer is ending, create your own gratitude journal and start recording the best moments of every day! 🙂[Let me know in the comments what you are grateful for, I love to read them!]
©2015 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.