4: Five Things Friday Vol. 51

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2022

Five Things Friday: just five things I’m thinking about or things that made my week, or things that I otherwise feel like sharing.

It’s been fantastic to see all the interactions and comments that have been happening between the NaBloPoMo-bloggers these last few days. I love the enthusiasm. And thanks to everyone who decided that blogging every day is too much, but reading (and commenting) every day is not. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we surely appreciate the support.

I am also thrilled to share that we have a couple more new participants, so please go check out their blogs and give them a warm welcome!

Beckett • http://birchwoodpie.blogspot.com
Melissa • http://www.thebrightonjotter.com
Sarah • http://www.harrytimes.com
Suzanne • http://www.lifeofadoctorswife.wordpress.com

The full list of participants (14, as it stands!) is here.

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I filled out my election ballot this week and I am planning to drop it off at the early voting drop box later today. Did you make a plan to vote? I take pride in participating in the voting process and I’ve always participated in elections in Germany as soon as I got to voting age. It was a civic duty that I didn’t even question. But nothing makes you appreciate the privilege to vote more than living in a foreign country for about a decade without having a say in anything. 

Can I just say one thing? I spent about 5-6 hours (total) researching ballot candidates, measures and propositions and it was not always an easy process to arrive at a decision that I felt “good” about.
It’s not a secret that I am a progressive liberal and sure, some choices were pretty easy. The local measures and statewide propositions, however, were hard to research, hard to fully comprehend and consequently hard to make an informed decision about. I don’t believe that ordinary people should be asked to make these kinds of decisions in every election – that’s what elected officials and experts are for. While I personally felt good about having done (at least a little bit of) research before filling out my ballot, I also thought it was placing an unnecessary burden on the electorate. No wonder people have voter fatigue.

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I have started thinking about my new planner for 2023. While I’ve been very happy with my ($10) Fringe Studio Planner these last few years, and I might go that route again, I am contemplating giving a new planner a try. Hot contenders at the moment: the Sprouted Planner that Elisabeth raves about and the MäksēLife Planners. If you’re using a paper planner, which one will you choose for next year?

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Are you all ready for the holidays now that Halloween is behind us? I’ll be braving Target later this morning and I am highly suspicious (well, I’ve actually seen proof on Instagram) that I’ll walk into a Christmas Winter Wonderland when I get there. Let’s not forget that we’ll first have Thanksgiving here in the US this month. As much as I love the holiday season, I refuse to deal with Christmas trees, ornaments, and decorations quite yet.

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But, and I’ll turn out to be a bit of a hypocrite now, I need to get this out for planning purposes: I have gotten a few inquiries from some lovely people if I was going to host another – my seventh! – annual Secret Santa (Mug) Swap this year. It is exactly what you think it is: a holiday swap, where you’ll receive the name of another participant and then put together a little Christmas package for them and put a smile on their face this holiday season.

Since there seems to be some interest, I decided to go for it. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite things during the holiday season and I am happy that others feel the same. So, I’m giving you a heads-up to come back tomorrow to sign up, if you’re interested. Last year, I opened it up to people from the US, Canada and Germany if I can get at least two people per country to sign up, so I can match people within each country to keep postage reasonable. I am planning to do the same this year. So, recruit some friends. The more, the merrier.

See you here tomorrow?

  1. Yes! I already bought a mug for the exchange so PLEASE SOMEONE FROM CANADA SIGN UP! Once you post about it on the blog I’ll share the word on my site, too, because I have some non-blogging Canadian friends that follow along and might be interested in participating. It was so fun last year!

    My 2023 Sprouted Planner arrived yesterday and I’m…not quite sure how I feel. It’s quite a bit thicker than last year and because of this the ring binding doesn’t run quite so smoothly. I’m still excited to us it, but I preferred the profile last year. Also, and this won’t impact you in the US, but the shipping and duty costs to Canada were unreal. I’ll see how it goes in 2023, but if I do opt to go with Sprouted in 2024, I will be shipping this to my sister in the US and having her send it up to me via regular post, not a courier!

    1. Though, I want to add, compared to many other similar planners, the Sprouted Planner is quite a bit cheaper! It’s a great deal and there are lots of codes for discounts/free shipping for US orders. It’s just tricky getting things to Canada.

    2. Yay, I am so glad you’re excited about the swap, Elisabeth!!
      Oh, did something change with the Sprouted Planner? Did they change their layout? I read through your previous planner review and was really intrigued, by the more reasonable price too (although they do not have a daily planner, as I hoped).

  2. I am planning to use my Wonderland 222 planner again next year, and I also purchase the accompanying blank grid daily notebook (as a journal, though). I generally have been very happy with this planner! 2023 will be my 3rd year with it. I sometimes miss the nice big calendar boxes from my old Target planner, but the additional features in the Wonderland for goal setting, habit tracking, etc. all in one place has made it worth my while. I like to keep my planners to look back on, so it’s important to me to not have anything too large! (I am sure my kids will love this habit one day, when I’m dead and they get to drag boxes of my old notebooks and planners from the storage room out to the garbage can. LOL!! 🤣) I buy the A5 Wonderland size.

    1. Oh yes, I remember looking at this planner as well – I think you shared it somewhere before. Thanks for the reminder. I have some time to research and decide :)

  3. Double digits for NaBloPoMo!! You must be so proud, San! Nice work keeping the tradition alive.

    I wish I could get on board with paper planners like everyone else, but always feel like they aren’t exactly what I want and then I end up creating my own out of a blank journal. I do a cross between bullet journaling and calendaring. Maybe I should do some research, though, and see if a journal looks good and add it to my holiday wish list for when my mom inevitably asks me what I want. LOL.

    1. I am quite excited about the rate of participation this year- but that’s only possible because of people like you who jumped on the bandwagon for NaBloPoMo :)

      Using your own blank journal is totally fine – I did that for a couple of years. Nothing wrong with it whatsoever. Do what works for you!

  4. Ooh! New participants, how exciting! NaBloPoMo has really grown this year.
    I already voted, and I agree it’s really hard to do all the research. Sometimes I just find a reliable source and take their recommendations- otherwise it’s overwhelming.
    I’ll be interested to hear about your trip to Target, aka Christmas Winter Wonderland! And I will definitely be back tomorrow to sign up for the mug exchange. : )

    1. NaBloPoMo is slowly growing again because of people like you who joined in – so thank you :)
      Our Target was still in the middle of putting everything up – so I didn’t feel completely overwhelmed by Christmas stuff yet. I purposefully avoided the display areas, too. Maybe I’ll take a peek in a couple of weeks.
      And I am glad to hear you’re coming back to sign up for the mug exchange – yay!

  5. Been there done that for voting! I switched from in person to mail voting for COVID and I wish I’d done it sooner.

    1. Oh yeah, totally voting my mail now. In CA, you don’t even have to switch in CA anymore… you get the ballot in the mail and decide if you want to mail it back or drop it off in person. Easy!

  6. I am impressed how many people participate this year in NaBloPoMo. I am fearing I won’t be able to read all posts daily at this rate we are putting out content. But its so fun.

    I refuse to deal with Christmas stuff before the first of adventure. However also a hypocrite here as I am planning to put together my shoebox for my charity tradition. And I also think about Christmas presents so… I guess I can also think about mugs. Depending on my Secret Santa I might actually have an idea already….

    1. I am impressed, too. It’s because of people like you that NaBloPoMo is growing again… thanks for beeing such a cheerleader and for spreading the word for years now :)

      So happy to hear that you’re doing the annual shoebox again (I love that!) and that you’re also thinking about the mug swap :)

  7. I’m in for the mug exchange!

    I finished my Christmas shopping today!!

  8. Yes to all of the voting related things you wrote. I took last Sunday to go through everything and dropped it off Monday – even already got the notification that it was counted. I am still excited that I get to decide now after all the years not having a say. It’s important.
    I already got my calendar in August going with the school year. I like the Katie Daisy planner because the drawings make me happy whenever I open it. It has a pocket in the front where I can keep my address book (I know, silly these days but somehow I find paper easier for some things). I had two elephant planners in the past that are undated which I liked, too but I mostly use it to write down appointments so it felt a little empty.
    Thank you again for organizing NaBloPoMo. I enjoy reading all the different blogs and getting to know new people :) The mug swap sounds really fun, too.

  9. I like Hobonichi Weeks and this year, it has an English version. But my use is a little sporadic. So, trying to decide if I stick with it, change planners, or go completely digital. My big obstacle to the later is I haven’t found a good monthly overview that isn’t paper.

  10. We have compulsory voting in Australia. If we don’t vote we get fined $300. Our Victorian state elections are coming up at the end of November, but I’ll be away that weekend, so I’ll need to do early voting or postal voting. We may be homeless when the postal votes need to get sent to us, so I think we will be doing early polling. Luckily we are not moving electorates.

    I’m certainly not thinking about Christmas yet … although we have a department store in the city that decorates their windows, and they’ve moved the start date from December to this week!

  11. I haven’t voted yet and will go either on Monday before parent/teacher conferences or on Tuesday. The love the mug swap but already have too many. Though I’ve been eyeing a cute one I saw at Starbucks yesterday and want to get it.

  12. I can attest to the fact that Target was all Christmas-ed up several days before Halloween. Sigh. Like you, I prefer to get through Thanksgiving before getting into the Christmas stuff.

    Researching the candidates is such a slog. It’s important, but ugh. I hate it. I feel like there is so much obfuscation when all I want is clear stances on issues that are important to me.

  13. Phil and I both voted at an absentee voter location. It was so convenient since it’s downtown and we both work downtown. I’m traveling over the election and he didn’t want to vote with 2 kids in tow. I am anxious for what is going to happen. Phil sent me an email summarizing how he was going to vote. There wasn’t much to vote on, no measures or anything like that. So it was very straightforward this year.

  14. Wow, 5-6 hours of research! This is the thing about voting – it’s not very convenient and people with much busier lives do not have time to research candidates and amendment measures. And, you know, voter suppression/intimidation. I’m just going to be super nervous all day.

    So many NaBloPoMo participants! I’m trying to keep up as best I can. :)

  15. I am loving the NaBloPoMo posts, although of course I am even more behind than usual. Which means I missed the mug sign up this year. :( I actually wanted to participate, too – serves me right for not thinking about it and looking to see if you were going to (generously) coordinate it again.

    I, too, voted by mail. That is one small thing they haven’t yet taken away from us here in WI. At the same time, they banned dropboxes (siggghhhhh….) so I had to mail it to the town office, which is (seriously) 4 blocks away. I pass it, and the now-closed dropbox, on my walks. It got there and was counted, though, so that is good. We only had two referenda on the ballot – sounds like you had a LOT more. I agree, though, that being informed takes a lot of work, and so suspect that many people are, well, not informed. At least not by their own research.

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