Leah O’Neil's Blog Posts

Hello everyone! Leah here with you today, excited to share a new planner setup with you! When I saw the new Recipe Planner Inserts from Simple Stories, I was super excited to put them to use! For years, I have been scribbling recipes onto whatever pieces of paper I could find. I kept meaning to organize them all in one place, but just never seemed to get around to it. As a result, I often misplace recipes and have to go searching for them online again, or I have to remake my own recipes and try to remember how I did it the first time. I have finally gathered all of my written recipes and am beginning the SLOW process of copying them into my new recipe planner.

I set up the Recipe inserts in my platinum Carpe Diem planner. The Recipe planner collection only comes with a few products other than the insert pack, so I also used several products from the Domestic Bliss collection to decorate with. As always, I started setting up this planner by decorating the front pockets. 

In the pockets, I used several cards from the Domestic Bliss SN@P! pack. I rounded the corners of some cards, punched a circle out of another and made a couple of tags. I also used several of the die cut pieces. In the top pocket, I layered some washi tape and a couple of stickers from the Recipe sticker tablet.

I love how this little tag turned out! I cut the tag from a 3x4 SN@P! card and the flower is one of the 2x2 cards. I layered some doily pieces behind the card to add some texture and interest. 

On the right side of the planner, I have a few decorative dashboards from the Recipe insert pack. This is my favorite one because I LOVE lemons! 

The front cover dashboard is so pretty, I didn’t need to add any extra décor! 

I labeled my dividers using stickers from the Recipe sticker tablet. I have the planner sectioned into favorites, salads, main dishes, side dishes, desserts and sauces. I felt like most of my recipes would fit within these categories. Similar to my last blog post about my wellness planner setup, I am again using metal epoxy clips on my dividers to make it easier to open up to each section. These clips are from the Domestic Bliss collection. 

One of my favorite pages from the Recipe inserts is this simple one that says “from the kitchen of” with a blank for you to put your name or family name. I used some alpha stickers to spell out “The O’Neils” and included a few photos of my husband and I, then added a bit more interest with a doily and some bakers twine. 

The first recipe I put into the planner, in the “side dishes” section, was our favorite mac n’ cheese recipe! I included a photo of the dish but glued it to a card and added a tab. Underneath are the instructions for making the dish.

On the left side of the planner, I added another one of the decorative dashboards from the Inserts pack. Isn’t this Mason jar adorable?! I even gave it a little tag and bow to dress it up!  

I am really in love with this planner and am so happy to have a place to organize all of my favorite recipes and future recipes to come! It will take me some time to get all of them transferred into here, but I know it will be so worth it in the end. No more lost recipes! I hope to be able to take photos of each finished recipe eventually and create my own family cookbook.   

I am so happy to be back with Simple Stories creating for another term this year! I look forward to bringing you lots more inspiration for how to use your Carpe Diem planners. The possibilities for the many ways you can use your planner are endless and Simple Stories is giving us so many great options with all the new insert packs from the Spring collection. Check them all out here! I hope you will come find me over on Instagram @sunny.leah and say hello. Also, if you haven’t seen the Simple Stories Instagram lately, be sure to hurry over and check out the AMAZING giveaway going on right now! 


Hi there! Leah here with you today, showing you how I’ve set up my wellness planner. I am calling it my “wellness” planner because I want it to be an inspiring place to track my fitness journey, as well as my emotional wellness. The goal of this planner is to help me work towards strengthening my body AND mind.

I am going to be really vulnerable with you all in this post. I have struggled for the last couple of years to maintain any sort of fitness regime. I have a million excuses I could give, but the truth is, there has been a serious mental block holding me back. Our mental and physical healths are SO intertwined. It wasn’t until more recent years that I realized that I struggle with anxiety. It looks differently for everyone - my anxiety is a lot different than the anxiety my mom has struggled with most of her life. For this reason, I ignored all the signs for years thinking that I couldn’t have anxiety. I knew what that looked like. I saw what my mom went through, and how the anxiety attacks could completely take control of her mind and body. While I would certainly consider my anxiety to be a milder form than my mother’s, I am still very impacted by it in my everyday life and now find myself on a journey to understanding MY anxiety and how it affects me physically and emotionally. I am learning ways to manage it, and hope to eventually overcome it completely. It is a JOURNEY though, and I am constantly trying to remind myself to take it one step at a time and to not be too hard on myself. There will be days where I feel like I have “failed” because my anxiety got the best of me, but I’m learning that on those days, sometimes I have to be willing to cut myself some slack so I can focus on dealing with how I am feeling, rather than feeling defeated by what I’m NOT getting done.

When setting up my wellness planner, I had a few things in mind. I needed this space to feel peaceful and uplifting. Although the Faith collection has a religious theme, I am not using it in that way for this planner. I chose to work with this collection because I find the colors and designs to be very comforting. The collection has a lot of nature-inspired elements and I find a lot of solace in nature, so it felt very appropriate to use in this planner.

I wanted this planner to feel inviting, so I put a little more work into the curb appeal, a.k.a. the front of the planner and what you see when you first open it. The pockets of the planner are decorated with florals and other natural elements that inspire and calm me, as well as several uplifting and motivational messages to remind me to remain confident in my strength and perseverance.

I used mostly die cuts, the SN@P! Pack and the Faith sticker book to decorate the pockets.

I have the planner separated into two main sections: everything pertaining to mental and emotional health is up front, physical fitness stuff is in the back. I am using the Faith inserts in the front section, only a couple of the dividers, and a few of the journaling and “Inspired” pages. I will use these inserts to track my emotional goals (such as meditation/reflection practices), as well to journal some of my thoughts, my inspirations and motivations, and notes on helpful things I have read or listened to.

I decorated a few of the dashboards that came in the Faith Insert pack, and then laminated them so they were sturdy. My favorite is this jar of flowers. I decorated the jar with some washi tape, uplifting sentiments and a couple of stickers.

The front dashboard has a laminated card clipped to it, cut from this 12x12 elements sheet. I laminated it so I can change up what I put on there. Right now, I have a photo that makes me smile stuck to the card with washi tape. The photo can be easily moved. I could also use a wet-erase marker to write something inspiring on the laminated surface.


I used ALL of the metal clips from the Faith collection along the right edge of the planner as decoration, but they can easily be used as tabs too. I find that they allow me to turn the pages easier than the paper tabs, so I put one on each divider as well.

Check out how adorable this Carpe Diem planner charm turned out with a few stickers to dress it up!

In the back of the planner, I’m using the Fitness Inserts to track my physical fitness journey. I laminated this clipboard dashboard from the pack so I can change up what I write on it. Right now I’ve written out my everyday goals. They are a mix of physical and mental goals.

I’m using the Doc-It journal tucked into the back pocket for journaling more private things. For example, if I have a bad anxiety day – I am taking time to write about it. This is helping me in so many ways. I’m able to have an outlet for the thoughts that are giving me anxiety, and it’s helping me track anxiety triggers, as well as what worked and what didn’t work as I worked through the anxiety.

When I put together this planner, I knew there may be some days I have to open it when I’m not in the best state of mind. One thing that helps my anxiety is taking time to create. However, on high anxiety days, I often find myself pretty tired and very easily overwhelmed by too many choices. To help me with this, I’ve packed up a few essentials that I plan to bring out only when I am journaling in this planner. I punched holes in the packaging for these brads so I could put them right into my planner. I also tucked some extra stickers into this pocket insert.

 I packed up the Faith SN@P! Pack and Bits and Pieces die cuts into a Simple Stories planner pouch. Again, limiting what supplies I packed by sticking with one collection so I don’t overwhelm myself with too many options.

I’m carrying all the new Simple Stories washi tapes in another little pouch.

And then both of the pouches above are tucked into a larger pouch holding the Faith collection sticker book and the 6x8 paper pad, the Fitness collection sticker book, and other basic tools that I use often (a few roller stamps, stamp ink, adhesive, watercolor paints and a water brush, doilies, a wet-erase marker, a hole punch, mini stapler, scissors).

I hope to show you more details of the inner workings of this planner as I start putting it to use. I am really hoping it will serve its purpose in helping me strengthen my body and mind. I know there are a lot of other women out there that also struggle with anxiety. It can be uncomfortable to talk about, but I have found that for me, giving anxiety a label and talking about it more openly helps give me more control over it. If you are struggling with anxiety, please remember that it looks differently for everyone which means there is no one perfect cure for all. I’m definitely not an expert on this topic, as I am still on my own journey, but I hope you will remember to allow yourself some grace as you confront how you are feeling and determine the best way to manage it, for you. You don’t have to do it alone – never hesitate to ask for help from friends, family, and/or a medical professional. Whatever it takes to help you through it.

You can follow me over on my Instagram, www.instagram.com/sunny.leah,  to see more of this planner as I begin to use it. There is also a ton more inspiration using the Faith and Fitness collections over on the Simple Stories and Carpe Diem planners Instagram accounts. Please be gentle with yourselves friends, and remember to take time to take care of YOU. 




Hello everyone! It’s Leah again, here to show you how I have used the Love & Adore collection to set up my Carpe Diem planner for February. Wowza, January was one heck of a month for me! It was a month full of firsts and trial and error, as I worked really hard to pull together my very first online class (coming to Big Picture Classes in March!). I learned how to film and edit video tutorials too! Now that I’ve gotten the hang of filming, could this mean new adventures with YouTube? Only time will tell! Meanwhile, I am just so relieved to have completed  the class. There is something magical about seeing something come together that you have worked so hard on. After accomplishing such a big goal of mine, now I am feeling SUPER motivated to spend some time laying out my goals for 2017. February 1st feels like January 1st to me. I am kicking things off by setting up my planner for February!

I started by getting creative with making a February monthly divider. I tried something new with this project. I used graph paper from the Basic Inserts pack and got messy with my watercolor paints! Word of caution here: I have used watercolor on the Simple Stories planner inserts a lot and never have issues with the page warping too badly, but you have to be mindful to not use too much water. In this case, I disregarded that. I used more water to get that drippy effect you see. I basically puddled the watercolor toward the top of the paper and then stood the paper up to allow the paint drip down. As a result, I did end up with a pretty wrinkly page but I actually like how it looks, feels like a page out of my at journal. I also glued it down to the existing cardstock divider for February which helped weigh the warped paper down a bit.

This project actually started out as me playing with watercolor just for fun, but then I liked how it looked and decided to turn it into a monthly divider. Since February is “the month of love,” I focused on a love theme. I used three die cut hearts from the Love & Adore bits and pieces pack and I arranged them in the order of the paint colors – blue heart near the blue paint, yellow heart above the yellow paint, and the pink heart near the pink paint. The colored phrase stickers are from the 12x12 combo sticker sheet. I matched the color of the sticker to its corresponding heart. Then I used enamel dots in the same colors on each end of the phrase stickers.

I cut a white piece of cardstock into a small tag shape, punched a hole, and threaded the same three colors through the hole. On the tag, I used alphas from the Combo sticker sheet to indicate the month. Even around  my photo, I used paper scraps to layer in the same color pattern, blue on the left, pink on the right. I really love how matching up the three colors all throughout the layout made it come together so nicely and cohesively!

Every year, my February monthly layouts always end up being my favorite! This year is no exception. I used the Love & Adore collection to decorate.

I have always used my monthly view to write in things I need to schedule around. Since January was so chaotic for me, February does not have too many pre-planned obligations. Yay! So I went a little heavier on the decorating. Just a note in case you’ve ever wondered: occasionally, I cover up days with embellishments and because I tend to decorate first, I sometimes end up having to write in a little note and then add an arrow pointing to the date where it SHOULD go. For example, my dad’s birthday is on the 23rd, but I have that day covered up with decor. So I wrote it in a close-ish spot and drew an arrow to where it should be written in.

For the February title, I used a pink doily chipboard piece and then used black alpha stickers to write out the month. I’ve got an Avery index tab on the side of the page with a word strip sticker. The “all of me loves all of you” is one of my favorite pieces from an element sheet in the 6x6 paper pad. I layered a pink piece from the same page behind to help it stand apart from the white background.

When decorating any monthly layout, I always use lots of stickers from the 4x6 sticker pack in whatever collection I am using. Same goes for this layout. All of the embellishments in this layout are from those stickers, the combo sticker sheet, the bits and pieces pack, and the Love and Adore washi tapes.

All the décor on the right side of the layout is using the same supplies, but that strip of paper covering the notes section, is cut from a sheet in the 6x6 paper pad.

I still feel like there is a decent amount of writing space left on my layout, should anything else come up that needs to be scheduled.

I always love adding larger embellishments in the bottom right corner. Love how this February calendar looks with that huge floral piece!

Last but not least, I put together an easy bookmark using a piece from a 12x12 elements sheet. When I cut the paper down to the size I wanted, I had to cut off the part that said “you will,” so I added the words back using yellow alpha stickers. This bookmark is quite simple to make, I just cut and glued down half a doily and then layered a couple of washi tapes and a floral sticker on top. The bits and pieces pack had a couple of ticket shapes that I used to create a tab for the bookmark and then I laminated it all.

I didn’t add any embellishments to the reverse side of the bookmark because that paper is pretty enough on its own! I like laminating bookmarks because I can stick sticky notes and page flags to them. For example, pictured below are some sticky notes that I have written a grocery list on.

I love how this bookmark tab looks peeking out of my planner!

I am absolutely in LOVE with the Love & Adore collection and cannot wait to keep using it throughout February and beyond. The florals, bright colors and all of the hearts are perfect for the Valentine’s Day season, but I could use this collection any time since I love the style of it so much! Check out the Carpe Diem Planners Instagram account for more inspiration using this collection. I will also be posting more projects using it over on my Instagram as well. I hope to see you there!