GradLife Chic


Such a 'GradLife Chic' Day!

Lifestyle, Reflections, Academia, PlannersMaria Jones1 Comment

As I was reflecting on my day today on the phone with my dear friend Dr. A. Jones, she laughed and exclaimed, "You're having the Maria Jonesiest of days!" I almost cried laughing at the description but it was pretty accurate! Spelman woman, planners, shopping, pink and gold all quite accurately describe my day. In fact, they describe me so well that it felt like the perfect day to reveal my new logo designs and website! 



This glamorous pink and gold reflects my general personality, personal brand, as well as the amazing day I had! I started my day off bright and early at my beloved alma mater, the ILLUSTRIOUS Spelman College. As you may recall from this post last April, I love going back to campus because it feels like coming home and I always enjoy giving back to the community that helped shape the woman I am today. I was once again serving as a judge for the psychology session at Spelman's Annual Research Day and proud of the research that the current students were conducting. Since mentoring is an important part of my love for academia, it is always a pleasure to provide feedback to budding young researchers. After leaving Spelman, I went back to campus in time for my weekly journal club and TA meetings. #GradLifeWin

After my class and teaching responsibilities concluded, I went to go pick up my brand new lifestyle blogger business cards! The cards were designed by the wonderfully sweet and talented Jessica who also designed the new logos for my blog! You can find more of her work at her website here. Not only did she take the time to design a logo that reflected my inner essence so well but quickly designed these cards so that I could get them printed in time for Southeast Planner Con tomorrow! INSERT HIGH PITCHED SQUEALS OF PLANNER NERD DELIGHT! Afterwards, I went to the mall to grab this cute pink skirt to coordinate with the planner goodies I decided to take with me including my mini Day Designer & Target Style mini pad folio. If you're interested in a Day Designer planner you can check them out here.

I am SO  excited to take a short break from grad school life to engage fully in my planner loving addiction! Most of the people in my life are shocked and amused that a Planner Con even exists and can't believe I'm going. I can't either because I get to plan, decorate, and network with the planner community in person! Let me know if you'll be attending because I would love to meet you!

Make sure to follow me on social media at the links in the sidebar for pictures from the event as well as a planner inspired giveaway coming soon!

Restez Chic Toujours!


*Post contains affiliate links. All items pictured were purchased by me and all opinions are genuinely my own.*

Happy New Year!

Reflections, Planners, LifestyleMaria S. JonesComment

Happy New Year! I hope you all have been enjoying fun times with loved ones and getting some rest before the new year. As I sit down with my planners and get ready for this new month and year, I want to take a minute to reflect on how I kicked 2015's ass and how I plan to stay consistent in 2016. As I am sure you can guess from the image above, I have FINALLY chosen my word for 2016: Consistency.

In 2015, I decided to choose a single word around which I centered my goals: Simplify. I was originally inspired in 2014 during my qualifying exams to simplify my life because I felt SO overwhelmed by the task at hand coupled with the amount of STUFF that seemed to be closing in on me. I suppose then it was more of a 2014-2015 goal because it has been a long road to simplification. I would not go so far as to say it has been a journey into minimalism but I have borrowed heavily from those practices. I wanted to clear out the physical clutter which, I have always believed, is a manifestation of mental and emotional clutter. After reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (found on Amazon) in 2015, I was able to take the purging to the next level and even reduced a major component of my shopping impulses. Was it also a way to productively procrastinate during breaks from my exam? Probably! Did I significantly reduce the amount of unnecessary items from my home and life? Yes! I purged so many clothing items, office supplies, beauty products, toxic relationships, and knickknacks I had acquired over the years and it truly was a life changing and magical process! Not to mention it shifted my mindset and contributed to other 2015 wins: returned from medical leave with a clean bill of health, spent an entire calendar year hospital free, travelled internationally, empowered myself by helping others reach their goals, planned a new research trajectory, and survived my first semester back on my PhD grind.

I am SO excited to kick off this year on a positive and energized note. After making so much progress this past year, I want to make sure I keep riding this momentum by practicing consistency in all areas of my life. I want to be more consistent in managing my health, research projects, finances, relationships with loved ones and God, and more! I am a little nervous as I type this because now it's real and out there on the Internet forcing a new level of accountability. PHEW! In the spirit of holding myself accountable, I plan to use my next few posts in January to discuss my goals in more detail and discuss some of the tools I plan to use to achieve them (spoiler alert: planners, apps, and color coding are involved). What are your goals for 2016? If you also choose a word a year let me know in the comments below! 

Restez Chic Toujours!  

Organized Chic: Day Designer Review + Giveaway

Planners, OrganizationMaria S. Jones8 Comments

It's the most wonderful time of the yeeeaarrr! Back to school time has always been my favorite time of the year. New pens! New sticky notes! New planners, OH MY!

To me, the most exciting part about the back to school grind is getting organized for the new academic year. As a PhD student, it's a bit different since during the summer we are still actively engaged in our research projects presenting at conferences, and even teaching summer courses. But the year brings back journal club meetings, teaching assistantships, our own coursework,  research assistants to manage and mentor, and any extracurricular activities. With the new semester just starting, I want to share with you the way I keep on top of all these different tasks: My Planner. 

The Contract

If you follow me on Instagram, you can tell I am a full on planner addict. It got so bad that for the 2014-2015 year, my best friend had me sign a contract that I would only use one planner for the year and if I purchased another one I would owe her $20 and she would produce an "I Told You So" music video. We had to rewrite the original note (in purple) because it was full of nonsense terms that gave me an out at every turn. Like a true best friend, she changed the wording to ensure I was actually held accountable if I broke the contract. This was the HARDEST year not to buy planners because so many new gorgeous ones came out and older ones were redesigned so beautifully! 

Sample Day in my Day Designer

I knew I wanted a daily planner because I like to schedule my to do list instead of just writing out a long list. For me, it ends up becoming more of a wish list of things I hope to maybe accomplish sometime in the near future. The original planner I chose was Emily Ley's Simplified Planner because I wanted to try the day on one page style and LOVE her inspiring and colorful products full of ideas for simplifying. But then I discovered the Day Designer by Whitney English and it was a total game changer. They are very similar in their layouts but as a #GoalGetter, I was especially attracted to the goal setting and branding worksheets at the beginning of Whitney's planner. I thought it was such perfect timing since, if you recall from my first post I was about to take a medical leave and was revamping my short-and-long-term goals. This planner allowed me to structure my days while I was on leave so that I stayed pretty active in the academic community and was extremely helpful during my first semester back in action.

Color Coded Goal Categories

As tempting as it was to buy ALL THE PLANNERS last year, I was extremely satisfied with my choice. The hard cover and gold corners protected the planner very well over the course of the year. It is such an amazing tool with your top 3 must do's for the day, a schedule on one side, a to do list on the other, and boxes to track deadlines, budgets, reminders, and dinner. As a psychology student, it was perfect to fill in my schedule with classes, scheduled research  participants and committee meetings.  I love to use the long list to track new tasks that pop up that day and the top 3 to prioritize my life. I use a different category for each box: 1)Research 2)Teaching 3)Life so that I can accomplish one item from each category. If you're interested, Whitney English still has some styles of the Academic Year edition available in the Day Designer Shop


For the 2015-2016 Academic Year, I decided to use the Erin Condren Life Planner for my everything planner. In case you are wondering why I chose a different planner after loving the Day Designer, don't worry it's all part of my plan! As a psychologist and planner addict, I am doing a longitudinal planner experiment where I try different ones each year and determine which is the best to fit my needs. I purchased the vertical layout because I wanted to have a side bar to keep all my general errands and to dos together for that week. This way I can use the different boxes each day to do time blocking for when I want to accomplish specific tasks like my reading and writing schedule, advisor meetings, or personal appointments. Not to mention this planner has such bright and happy colors that keep me inspired! Let me know in the comments below if you are interested in a more detailed post about how I am using the multiple sections of this planner to stay organized. I feel optimistic this will keep me organized and productive!


For my first giveaway on the blog, I want to share the planner love with you! 


 Winners will be chosen to receive a Day Designer for Target Weekly/Monthly Planner! 

These beauties have a hard cover, goal planning worksheets, a lined monthly calendar, and a weekly layout that features a daily top 3, hourly breakdown, and notes sections. 


 To enter, follow me on Bloglovin',Instagram,Twitter, and Pinterest

Tag a friend on any social media outlet that would be interested in this giveaway. 

That's it!

**Optional Bonus Entry**

Leave a comment below on your favorite ways to get organized! 

This giveaway is open to all Domestic U.S. Residents.

This giveaway will run for one week and will end on September 7 at 11:59PM. 

The winner will be announced on September 9, 2015. 

Good luck to everyone!

Restez Chic Toujours!


*Post contains affiliate and referral links. All products pictured were purchased by me and all opinions are genuinely my own*