Best Laid Plans Planner Review

BLP #93: Planning for Stress Relief + Hemlock & Oak

May 9, 2022

Planning for Stress Relief

A kind listener sent me this link — it’s from 2011, but I found it fascinating and relevant: Happiness Depends on Stress Management. The key takeaway? At least in one study, planning seemed to be the most important factor alleviating stress. I agree.

Planner Peace

From listener Peggy:

“You mentioned the Monk Manual in passing one episode and I looked it up and it totally fit the need I had – I wanted a daily planner with a sizable spot to doodle – I have been learning to hand letter and having the 1/3 page dot grid is the perfect place to have a quick daily practice. I use the Monk Manual to start my day with intention and it is really lovely. My family uses a lot of digital planning tools, but the Monk Manual gives me that space to focus and think through the day and start with gratitude, which I love.

In addition to the Monk Manual I am also a Sunday Basket user – I do use the Organize 365 4 sections to work through my basket, but at the end of my basket time I move all of this week’s actions that I am not completing right at that time online into ToDoist where I can assign them to other family members or put them into the days I plan to get to them. We use Google Calendar for all of our time based commitments, and I review that each week and day, but I don’t copy my daily plan into my paper planner – I use the time based part of the planner to track my meals and other habits. 

Peggy, BLP listener

 Love all of the integrated tools!

Review: Hemlock & Oak

I purchased this planner on my own and have no relationship with Hemlock & Oak (though I would join an affiliate program in the future if they offer one, because I am obsessed).

I ordered the Undated Weekly in Honey, and the pix below are from this version.

woven cover in honey
weekly spread – how I use it
paper tabs
pen test! (front)
pen test (back) – zero bleed + very little show through! I’d call it minimal with the brush pens + clean color dots being the only ones that really show up at all!

There you have it! I really REALLY love this planner option. Time will tell re: the durability of the tabs and cover, but I adore the paper, the layouts, the gridlines, and the overall aesthetic. I’m already planning on a dated option for 2023.

Happy Monday everyone!

Edited – after this post aired, H&O provided me with an affiliate link/code for listeners to receive 10% off! I receive a small commission as well if this link is used.

Link: Hemlock & Oak

Code: BLP

Today’s Episode Sponsors:

PrepDish: Efficient and delicious meal plans that I use almost every week!  Visit for your first 2 weeks, FREE. 

Year & Day: Beautiful ceramics + flatware. Visit and use code PLANS for $25 off your first order of $150 or more.

Aura Frames: Easy to use + elegant digital frames. Visit auraframes and use code PLANS to get up to $40 off while supplies last.


  • Reply Mrs.Candid May 9, 2022 at 7:10 am

    The planner looks really good

    • Reply Channie May 9, 2022 at 7:18 am

      This looks so gorgeous 😍 are you using there daily also?

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 9, 2022 at 7:27 am

        Nope- I’m back in Full Focus! It’s a nice combo for me!

  • Reply Keren May 9, 2022 at 8:25 am

    This planner does sound and look good. I’ve just now started appreciating the advantages of vertical layout since I’m trying to plan things before/ after work and see on which days I have time for a commute the the office, so I’ve been doing this in my BJ, but I think once I’ll find the ideal setup for the week I won’t have to do it every week.
    I like all the extras it has though I wonder if I would keep up with them, right now I have difficulty in forming the habit of filling my habit tracker☹️
    It’s shame it’s undated, also international delivery time is very long.
    I might try some of their printables.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns May 9, 2022 at 10:40 am

    I like this, although the undated aspect would be a no go for me as I would not find it enjoyable to fill in the dates and I do not have the nicest handwriting so would hate looking at my handwriting while using it! But there are features I like. If only the week started on Sunday! I am using a planner that starts on Monday (W222) and it’s not a deal breaker for me, but I’ve thought of the week starting on Sunday for so so long, and that’s how our wall calendar is set up, so I have to really think when looking at the monthly calendar in my planner!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 9, 2022 at 10:41 am

      I’m sure there will be a dated version for the year!

  • Reply Sophie May 9, 2022 at 12:04 pm

    Love my Hemlock and Oak planner! Got a dated weekly one for a January start and it’s the one system I’ve been able to stick to for a while. Wanted to mention that in the dated one, the months are not bunched up together, the organization is actually: Monthly spread -> all weeks for that month -> monthly review.
    I totally agree on the paper quality, I tried using the W222, but I just hated the paper.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 9, 2022 at 12:06 pm

      Oh interesting !!!!! I think I might actually prefer the months like that since you can’t just flip through anyway w the goal and review pages there.

  • Reply Lisa S. May 9, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    I’m interested in giving the daily one a try (I use digital tools for appointments and don’t need that type of spread). Anyone have experience with that version?

  • Reply Natasha Funk May 9, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    This is so fantastic!! As a Canadian listener, I’m stoked to learn about a product I can source from home. I personally love the blank dates. It give me the option to bounce between planners without being wasteful. I’m also finding I need to completely differentiate between work and life as it no longer seems to work that I have try to make the too mingle in one planner. and it might be useful to have undated days so I could have both back in one but most likely not as I’m liking the separation of work and life! Thanks for all the reviews! Also, have you tried the Pentel Slicci line yet? they’re a gel 0.25 and amazing in my Wonderland222!

  • Reply Liz May 9, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    I ordered mine last week after sitting on the fence for ages. Can’t wait to try it. …You mentioned in the podcast, about finding it better to have your daily and and weekly separate? Why is that? It’s the one draw of the Hobonichi which I was also considering after hearing about it so much here!

  • Reply Alyce May 9, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    Oh this is interesting..for various reasons including a new job, stess, insufficient sleep, my planning has been so deeply inconsistent over the last two years. I’m just not using a weekly or daily page as much as I used to, so I didn’t reorder a Hobonichi this year. I recently figured out that I should ignore the specific day in the Full Focus planner, and just fill out the next daily page on the occassions that I’m actually using the daily to focus my activities, and that’s been great. Maybe the Hemlock and Oak undated is the perfect weekly substitute for the Hobonichi weekly pages…

  • Reply Danielle May 10, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    The Hemlock and Oak planner looks great. Thank you for the review! Could you share what the column width is for the weekly spread?

    I’m currently using the Wonderland 222 due to your review! I’m enjoying it but would like a weekly page that has a vertical column for to-dos like the H&O planner does.

  • Reply Lisa S. May 10, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    I just caved to my planner itch and bought the daily (and some stickers). Can’t wait to test it out!

  • Reply Betsy Burge May 11, 2022 at 9:52 pm

    I misread the episode title to mean “planning in self-care for upcoming stressful times”! This idea struck me as also interesting. I really enjoy your content and podcast!

  • Reply Hemlock & Oak May 12, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Sarah! One of your listeners (Jen @cookcodecraft) shared this with us. WOW!! We truly appreciate your candid and thorough review. We’re only in our second year and it’s basically just the two of us running everything, so it really means a lot. We’ll be working super hard to make more options available as we grow, and really appreciate you supporting our small business with your pre-order and feedback! I’m going to follow up with an email shortly!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 12, 2022 at 1:56 pm

      Awww!! Just got it. Thank you so much, as you can tell I REALLY love what you are doing!!!!

  • Reply Anupama December 26, 2022 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks for reminding me about this option! I do love so much about Canada already. I had read about H&O and “the paper,” and thought about it. After I heard your podcast I was convinced. Of course by then the dated for 2022 were out of stock (dated option). H&O weekly has some similarities to the Kokuyo Jibun Techo biz that I adopted as one of my planners in 22. I just purchased H&O for 2023, more for journaling options and to keep at my desk at home. The Kokuyo is much easier to slip in my work bag. Since it is an April start, the two planners will over lap for a few months and I’ll see which I prefer. Can’t wait to swatch my inks in H&O!

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