Review: Happy Planner

Hello everyone!  It has been a while. I have no excuse besides life. I’ll tell you about that in another post.  Today I’m here to discuss my current planner.  As you know I am a planner & journal addict, or maybe you didn’t know.  Now you do.

This year I was ready to use my new Leuchtterm1917 dot grid for my 2017 bullet journal/planner.  However I saw the Happy Planner by me& my BIG Ideas in Michael’s and thought it was interesting. Little did I know that this would send me down a rabbit hole.

I had originally bought a mini happy planner for my planning and decided it was too small for my needs (I’m accustomed to an A5 size planner).  I chose a classic size Happy Planner and a mini fitness Happy Planner (see the picture for size comparison).

The mini and classic HP books.

The mini worked well for my food/fitness journal. They also make a BIG Happy Planner which I did not get.  These planners are all a disc bound system, similar to rings where you can move pages around but easier than a ring planner.   They have a wide range of discs and covers for you to find just the right combination for your needs/wants.  They also have two different layouts, vertical and horizontal.  Then there are all the embellishments and accessories, slightly addictive.

First let’s talk about the size.  Starting with the mini, the overall measurements are approximately 5×7 inches.  This makes it easy to carry compared to the others.  However the pages inside are not quite 5×7 so it doesn’t leave you a lot of room if you are one to journal your days. As I said I thought it too small for a planner for me because of this.  However I find the mini fitness HP to be a good size if you don’t have a lot of tracking or you’re just getting started with a new lifestyle change.  I use the space between the food and the exercise areas as my step log.  It has the date at the top, then breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, then a break, then exercise and last water log. I should have put my steps in the exercise field and used the blank space between for my last snack in the evening.  Hindsight.  Each month has a reflection page where you can add a picture of yourself and reflect back about your month and rate how you feel you did for the month.  In the front of the book is a chart for tracking your measurements and weight. I’m not taking measurements at this time, however on July 1 I think I’ll start.  I am currently weighing in once a week, at work on Monday. I put a sticker on each Monday of the month page to record this. This was through the weight watchers program that we did at work for 20 weeks. Our last week is the first week of July.  I’m not having much luck with WW and need to figure something else out that does work. (I hate doing math to eat.)

The classic size HP is approximately 7.75×9.5 inches. This too has a slight overhang with the cover compared to the pages and dividers inside. I bought the rose gold horizontal HP with rose gold accents including the discs and rose gold foiled dividers.  I thought that having the week broken down into different sections; morning, afternoon, & evening would be helpful.  It isn’t as helpful as I thought it would be. (I had first seen this option on the Ink & Volt goal planner. Check out their other products, I did buy the Hatch notebook.)  I often have quite a bit of white space, even after embellishments are applied, I cannot seem to fill the page.  I basically do the same thing every day and find that I don’t need to write a lot of stuff down daily.

Very little embellishments this week.

The bindings on these as I mentioned are discs. They all have little hearts in the middle of their discs, cute right?  The mini ones are .75 of an inch diameter, the classic is 1.25 inch diameter and the BIG is 1.75 inch diameter.  You can buy other discs either by me&my BIG ideas or from other companies.  Caution here though, the planners have a unique shape punch so it doesn’t transition easily between different discs and punches.  The HP punch has a longer stem, where as other punches have a shorter one with bigger top. Search for “hole punch for disc-bound” to compare various styles. Remember they are not all the same.

The planners are easy to add and remove pages to and from, however it’s also easy for things to become skewed and cause issues for closing or bending the paper between the discs.  Changing out the entire disc set is a bit more of a pain than just pulling out pages of a binder and moving them to a new one.  The discs included with the planers are plastic and they do break. However you can replace the plastic ones with metal ones from another system and they’re fairly close in size and shape.  Do your research.

A few sticker books for HP.

Next lets talk about embellishments, the fun stuff. Although I have found that I’m much more a simplistic girl I still LOVE the stickers that the company has, I have most of the value pack books and only a few of the regular packs. The regular packs you can add to your classic or BIG book as they come on a page that has the holes punched. The sticker books are thick multi page books with a TON of stickers. I don’t know when I’ll use all these, but I’m sure I will.  I wish they made a pack of fitness and a set of planner stickers for the mini book as the current books are for classic or BIG planners.  Make sure you notice this when buying the sticker books.  I also use washi tape to embellish with, in the past I’ve used it as tip-ins for adding pages to my planners or to just edge the page to make it pretty.  Many companies sell planner rubber stamps, this company included. I have not utilized these yet, but my secret sister sent me some and I cannot wait to try them out. (Just got to find them from the move first.) Now if you’re artistic or not you can also use a myriad of art supplies on your blank pages, gelatos, colored pencils, watercolors and such.  Word of caution, some artist supplies may leave a waxy residue that doesn’t make it easy to stick the stickers or tape on after you’re done.  I suggest using a test page to try things out, some supplies may also bleed through to the other side.

Other accessories that you can get from me& my BIG Ideas include covers, bands, pencil pouches, bags, dividers, and themed pages such as budget or wedding to name a few. Check out their website for a full selection of products.

Here’s a pro/con list I’ve compiled for the HP no matter the size:

 PROs  CONs
 Movable Pages  Discs aren’t secure/breakable
 Embellishments – options  Embellishments – overload
 Accessories  Accessories – added bulk
 Multi Styles-Layout  Awkward to write in on left if right handed
 Sizes  Cover – laminated separates

I’ll also add as a side note that the hole punch they provide can only do 3 sheets of normal paper or 1 sheet of card-stock and preferably no laminated pages. However for normal pages it works well, I got 4 thin sheets of graph paper in it without issue.

I suggest shopping sales or utilizing the coupons at the craft stores for items in this product line if possible. Things can add up quickly when you obsess about all the various things to go with your planner. You don’t really need one of everything, even though we like to think we do.

Over all it is an interesting system that those who have been using a disc system or ring system before can easily transition to.  Those who have been using a bound or a traveler’s notebook system would probably not adjust easily to it due to the awkward writing for right handed people. I encourage you to give them a chance though. You may find that you like their products and books.  I adore the accessories that I can swap to other styles of planning.

What is your go to accessory product for your planning needs?

Remember to follow me on Instagram: @mainerchick_journals

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