Best Laid Plans life

Ep 103: Listener Tip, A Planner Hub & Current Stack

July 18, 2022

Notes, the minimal version

I am going to keep today’s notes minimal (the reason will be revealed below). First, a lovely listener named Sarah introduces her method of dressing by color for each day of the week – loved hearing about this — it’s like practical routine meets whimsy.

Second, I wanted to share about The Planner Wire — such a great resource! And who knew there were so many planning conferences?

Finally, I review my CURRENT planner stack and usage in detail, probably because it’s the closest I’ve been to Planner Peace in a while!

Products mentioned:

Hemlock & Oak (affiliate link here and use code BLP; I earn a small commission when this is used and it gets you 10% off)

Erin Condren Daily Duo (product I have is here; use referral link to shop if you would like to support the show)

Cultivate What Matters Yearly Powersheets (currently sold out but they will be back for 2023)

Kikuyo Jibun Techo Days (sold out, but here is the JetPens description page – also will be back for 2023)

Hobonichi 5 Year (shown here on their site)

Amanda Rach Lee Bullet Journal (here; purchased for Annabel!)

Current Happenings

Frequent readers know I planned a lot of travel this summer. I had assumed at least one of the trips would be upended by COVID and . . . yep. Here we are.

We arrived in NY for camp visiting day and Josh started saying on Saturday afternoon that he felt like he was having allergies to the area. He is a very allergic person so . . .this made sense. We bought Claritin.

And THEN when we took our tests to go to camp to see the kids . . .


I was negative (and still am today) with zero symptoms, so I drove the hour into the wilderness and went to visiting day myself! Thankfully it was an almost entirely outdoor affair, save for a 30 second tour of the bunks.

I am not attempting to isolate from Josh because quite honestly I assume I’m already doomed to get it and also because . . . well, I think Josh appreciates not being left alone in a hotel room. I brought up the idea of me flying home and him waiting here until he was able to fly and he was pretty much horrified so we are driving home.

No Ithaca B&B, no waterfall hikes, no couples massage, no enjoying the restaurant reservations I carefully set up ~3 weeks ago. But it is what it is, and after pouting yesterday I am more positive today because a) he is not super sick (basically has a cold) and b) at least I don’t have it yet. AND I’m so glad at least I was able to see the kids because it would have been so sad if no one was there for them! They handled the truth well (I told them he failed his COVID test).

We are going to start driving south. I am optimistic we can make the trip in 2 days. Wish us luck.


  • Reply Maya July 18, 2022 at 7:27 am

    I hope Josh is well soon and that you avoid this round of Covid. I know it’s not a couples massage, but road trips can be fun and bonding too? (At least I hope it’s not too onerous.) Your decision to drive is so responsible; thank you. When my partner an ED physician got Covid from volunteering in NYC at the height of the 2020 surge, he drove back to MI and I was so proud of his decision not to fly.

  • Reply Gillian July 18, 2022 at 7:37 am

    Huge bummer about Covid!

    On a practical note, I might recommend the inland route. I know it is slight longer there but It is much less traveled (so little traffic compared to the I95) and goes through the Shenandoah valley which is beautiful. We used to take that route to my in-laws outside of Asheville every summer and I miss it.

    Good luck!

    • Reply RB July 18, 2022 at 10:39 am

      Agree on the western route south of DC! Much more pleasant drive.

      • Reply Nadine July 18, 2022 at 2:43 pm

        The Blueridge Mountain Parkway is incredibly beautiful if you want a road trip experience.

  • Reply Coree July 18, 2022 at 8:05 am

    Oh no! We met up with my parents’ at Easter and my dad tested positive the last day, so we had to abandon him in a hotel with snacks. He was so sad and bored, but somehow none of us got it.

    I’m running a residential writing retreat this week – and we’re one attendee down due to a positive test. Hope the rest of us make it through.

  • Reply Keren July 18, 2022 at 8:50 am

    I hope Josh gets well soon and you stay healthy. Sorry to hear about your vacation plans being ruined, it’s a good thing you at least got to meet the kids. Good luck with the drive home.
    I wonder when we can stop worrying about plans being canceled because of Covid.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns July 18, 2022 at 9:50 am

    Ugh, that really sucks Sarah! Best laid plans can go wrong in the time of covid. It is very responsible of you guys to drive back. And I understand not isolating from Josh. You were already exposed before he tested positive, so you will either get it, or you won’t. I was the first to get covid and I double masked around the kids for the first 4-5 days and I slept in our basement guestroom. Completely isolating from them was not possible given their ages. Ultimately they got it, but I think they got it from school not me, since one tested positive 10 days later and then the other 10 days after the first. And to be clear, I was able to send them to school despite me being positive as our daycare adopted a DHS daycare policy that allows for kids who are a close contact to continue to go to school. Which was a HUGE relief for me! My husband never did get it and the kids obviously did not mask around us when they were positive. So he must be super immune and maybe/hopefully you are, too! I am glad Josh doesn’t feel so bad overall. Most people i know have had very mild cases. I seemed to have had it the worst out of everyone I know, but that’s due to my immune suppressant drugs. And I wasn’t “dangerously” sick. I just felt like crud for 10-12 days.

    But back to this week’s podcast – which I listened to during my run – I would totally go to a planning retreat/conference hosted by you! Annie Jones of The Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA has done reader retreats. If you ever consider doing that, I bet you could pick her brain. She is absolutely delightful – kind of a real like Kathleen Kelly a la You’ve Got Mail. Also, I didn’t view your comments about running when having little kids as a digression. I’d actually enjoy an episode with reflections on how your planning has ebbed and flowed since having kids. I didn’t read your blog until I met you through BOBW so I only know how you’ve planned snice being pregnant with G. I think it’s helpful for those in the trenches to hear how you did or didn’t change your approach to planning. Like Sarah Powers mentioned that she basically planned very little during the little kid years and that was really encouraging for me to hear/made me feel better about how I backed off on planning during the little kid years.

  • Reply Anne July 18, 2022 at 9:54 am

    Ugh, such a bummer! I’m glad you are hanging in there and got to see the kids. We just went through this at our house–I tested positive first, then my husband, then our daughter (our four year old, who is only one vaccine in, has so far not gotten it somehow). We had to cancel both of our kids’ birthday parties and the vacation we were supposed to go on this week. Obviously it is a privilege to have canceled plans be the biggest Covid frustration, but it is hard to still be dealing with this uncertainty 2.5 years in.

    Fingers crossed you continue to stay well and that Josh recovers quickly. Wishing you smooth and uneventful travels!

  • Reply Lori C July 18, 2022 at 10:16 am

    You are amazingly positive and pretty much my hero right now. I’d be angry sad grumpy and definitely not posting a blog. I think this is a sign of growth for sure!! And I bet the kids were bumped to see you. Good luck on the road trip!

  • Reply Lori C July 18, 2022 at 10:16 am


  • Reply Noemi July 18, 2022 at 10:47 am

    Noooo! Not the couples trip! I’m so sorry that is a major bummer. I hope he feels better soon and that you avoid getting it. Fingers crossed.

  • Reply Kim N July 18, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    Oh I’m so sorry! So glad you still got to see the kids. I bet that would have been a huge let down for you and them if you had to miss visiting day as well. We also just had it, and 3 of us were pretty sick. Definitely way worse than a cold. But my teenager didn’t get it at all. She was able to move to the basement and stay away from us and our germs. It took 14 days before we all tested negative on rapid tests and she was able to rejoin the family, then she left the next day on a mission trip. So it feels like we haven’t seen her in forever! Now hoping she doesn’t get it from someone else on her trip after she worked so hard not to get it before the trip. Hope Josh is all better soon and you manage to avoid it!

  • Reply Elisabeth July 18, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    I’m so sorry, Sarah, but your positive attitude is amazing!! How frustrating, but hope you still get to make some special memories together.
    Also, love A’s hat <3

  • Reply Grateful Kae July 18, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    Ohhhh, man! Really sorry to hear this!!! Maybe reschedule a couples trip up there in the fall….when the leaves are extra pretty and weather is crisp??

  • Reply Ames July 18, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    Sending you good wishes for Josh not getting any worse + safe, easy traffic. That is a long way to drive, even when you’re not sick.

  • Reply Donelle July 18, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    I’m sorry about your trip! I’m glad y’all are being responsible about it. I recently heard of a friend’s family that started having symptoms on their trip, flew home (unmasked) and then tested positive. Wonder how many people got it from them…As a side note, when my son had Covid my husband and I wore masks and never got it from him, so it is at least sometimes possible to avoid it without isolating even if you were already exposed.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 19, 2022 at 6:47 am

      I had SO much contact with him before I knew he was positive that I didn’t feel like it was worth it . . . but I totally get why it makes sense in some scenarios.

  • Reply Allison Cunningham July 19, 2022 at 12:10 am

    I feel like misery loves company. My daughter tested positive on Saturday in Canada while vacationing with friends, a trip we have been planning for a long time. We are making the long drive back to Chattanooga now. Not as far as your drive but still not the girls trip we were planning on.

  • Reply Abigail July 19, 2022 at 3:30 am

    Gah! So sorry the couples trip has been upended. I love your description of being “pouty” – I get “stompy” at these sorts of things. And there have been a lot of these sorts of things haven’t there.
    I am in UK, so honestly the road trip – especially with so many options offered here – sounds really exotic and exciting.

    • Reply Abigail July 19, 2022 at 9:25 am

      But obvs still %\$< from your perspective.

  • Reply ahealthyslice July 19, 2022 at 6:52 am

    Ugh, I’m so sorry to hear this! How frustrating and you absolute deserve to have a moment or two of poutiness about the situation. I hope everyone feels better soon and maybe this will mean less stress about future trips because hopefully your immunity will be high. Thinking of you <3

  • Reply Heather July 19, 2022 at 11:55 am

    Just think, before Covid, if many of us had common colds, but no fever, we would just go about our lives. Now, anytime we have the slightest runny nose, we immediately take a Covid test. If it’s positive, we immediately upend our lives for a week. Like someone questioned in a previous comment, I wonder if this will ever stop?

    Also, not saying we shouldn’t upend our lives to stop the spread of it, but just surmising.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 19, 2022 at 2:20 pm

      Yep! In our case testing was required for visiting day. I only wish we had tested the day prior.

      Feeling a lot worse now so I have no doubt we would have tested eventually even without the requirement.

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