Every year I tend to buy at least two planners: my Erin Condren for the year, and I’ll experiment with a new brand that I haven’t tried out yet, just to see if the grass might be greener elsewhere. This year, it was a close call between the Cultivate What Matters planner (bright, fun, playful, inspired) and the Blessed Is She (BIS) planner (modern, functional, Catholic-focused). You can see from my post title which one I decided upon.
And then this week, a lovely gold box with Scripture showed up on my porch:
The whole theme of the BIS planner this year is “light” and just like the box, this concept carries over into the design of the planner from its cover to quotes from saints and Bible verses you can memorize (if you want to, that is). It included a lovely card with a Bible verse on it and a note from Jenna from BIS.
And here, you can see the stunning gold lettering against the black background, a chic interpretation on light emerging out of the darkness.
Out of respect for the copyrights by the creators, I unfortunately cannot share with you the interior shots of the planner, but I can certainly describe the layouts and my general impressions since planners are kinda my thing.
I’ll start with the generic specs for planner peeps, and go on to the more liturgical elements afterwards. I’m evaluating the 8″x10″ planner.
This academic planner runs from August 2019 – July 2020 and includes a yearly calendar, a monthly layout with a full two-page spread, including mini-calendars of the previous/next months, and an a column on the right hand side of monthly reminders. Similar to an ECLP, the tabs are on the monthly spreads and the opposite side of the month features a full page graphic layout with a quote, and with the exception of August 2019, the rest of the months have a lined note page on the opposite page.
Each week is a four-page spread, which feels incredibly roomy. The first two pages have meal planning, a grocery list section you can cut out, a to-do list, blank notes area, etc. The following two-page spread is the weekly layout in hourly format from 6am-10pm. I really liked that for M-F, there is a section for writing down your top four goals of the day, gratitudes, a blank circle area that you could use to track your H20 consumption (or whatever), and unique to this planner, keeping track of how you are taking care of yourself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In the back of the planner, there are several additional lined note pages to jot down whatever.
What Makes This a Liturgical Planner?
There are a number of ways in which this planner is geared towards the Catholic faith, but I think they can be inspiring for non-Catholics as well. Each monthly quote sticks to the year’s theme of “light”, and is from the life of a saint. There is a second yearly calendar, featuring the different saint days throughout the year, and these saint days are also listed on the monthly calendar, and the weekly calendar (under their respective days). The monthly calendars have muted oranges, beiges, greens, and sometimes, rose, to represent the colors of the liturgical calendar, and important days are highlighted (e.g. August 15, 2019 is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a holy day of obligation). A charming black script fills this in so you can’t miss it, and sadly, it’s far better handwriting than I’d manage to do on my own. There’s a whole prayer section and a listing of the mysteries of the Rosary. Each month and each week includes a Bible verse that you can memorize (or not) if you choose, and the weekly layouts also have prayer intentions.
This is the fifth planner (I think) that’s been released by BIS, so they’ve had a chance to refine it some compared to earlier iterations — which I’ve seen online in Instagram and other places. Less than a week in (the planner doesn’t start until July 29th, but I’m filling stuff in advance already!), a few nit-picky observations. The matte cover of the exterior surface of the planner shows every finger smudge and scratch, and sadly, despite being well-wrapped in bubble wrap when it arrived, there was already a scratch on the back cover.
The grocery section of the weekly planner, which is designed to be cut out and taken with you, has on the reverse side of the page, the Saturday/Sunday of the week before. This seems like a design flaw to me. I love the idea of having a grocery list next to the meal planner area that I can cut out and throw in my purse, but not at the expense of losing the reminder of whatever it was I did that previous weekend. Maybe in future versions, this could be relocated to the back of the planner, and these could be perforated pages (or cut-outs), with the notes section?
Lastly, and this is probably unforgivably perfectionistic of me, but each of the tabs for the months have a slight curl to them, which is attractive, and I don’t know if this is every planner, or just mine, but the tabs labeled “Oct” and “Nov” have the curling going the opposite way so they form a lip, or inverted curl, that doesn’t match the rest of the months. It’s an extremely minor thing, but I did notice the difference.
This is an attractive planner with a modern palette (browns, purple-grey, peach and black, and it has some genuinely thoughtful additions to guide the harried woman to a closer observance of special holy days in the Catholic calendar (e.g. remembering to fast on Good Friday, April 10, 2020). I’m not used to an hourly format normally, so I’ll be relying on Jen Plans and other EC hourly users for guidance/ideas.
If you’re interested in taking a closer look at the planner, there’s a great walk-through video on their website, which you can find here:
Please note that I have not reached out to Blessed Is She regarding the condition issues of the planner I received (because it ain’t that serious, folks) and I am in no way receiving any compensation from the company if you choose to check out or purchase their products. It is not an affiliate link. This is an independent review based on my own experience with the company.
It’s your turn. Do you use a paper planner? Does it contain any faith-based elements (either in the original design, or introduced by you)? What do you like to see in a great planner? Leave a comment below. 🙂