211 How to Use Wall Calendars to Plan with Tasha Agruso
Can a wall calendar revolutionize the way you connect with your family or plan your meals? Tasha Agruso of Kaleidoscope Living graced us with her presence in this episode, sharing the genesis of her innovative, bright wall calendar. Each month has its own page, and Tasha's creative vision shines as she shares how this functional art piece can turn any space into a vibrant hub of productivity.
Together we dive into the multitude of ways to use Tasha's colorful calendar - from tracking habits, planning meals, to even serving as a family communication center. My chat with Tasha doesn't just stop at wall calendars though; she shares her brilliant insights on repurposing household items, saving you both time and money.
This episode is a bounty of inspiration - it will leave you eager to infuse your own spaces with color, functionality, and a bit of Tasha's signature style.
Get your own wall calendar here:
Connect with Tasha:
IG: @tasha.kaleidoscope @kaleidoscopeliving
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Hey everyone, welcome back to Work Life Harmony. I have a repeat guest back here today, but we're going to be talking about something we've never talked about. So I have Tasha Agruzo joining me. She is the founder of Kaleidoscope Living and she is the brains behind the amazing wall calendars that I use, that so many of my students ended up using, and I invited her on today because she is going to be a guest expert in Plano Pelusa, which is airing in just or live in just a couple weeks, but she's going to be sharing strategies on how to use these, along with the backstory of how they even came to be. We just finished recording it. As I'm doing this intro here, I came up with listening to her, I've got some new ideas of some other places in my home. I may be leaning into this as well, so I'm excited for you all. Let's go ahead and dive in.
Welcome to the Work Life Harmony podcast. I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner, teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, I'm juggling, hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what you don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time, planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity so you can have work life harmony.
If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my work life harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram @MeganSumrell, with the word harmony and my team will send it right over. Oh, my goodness, this is like best day ever because I get to talk to Tasha Agruso. Now, if you guys are new to the podcast, you are in for a treat. If you've been around for a while, you have already met the amazing Tasha. But, tasha, I'm going to let you introduce yourself and then today we're going to have an awesome conversation around what I like to call family communication centers although you don't have to use it for that, but really how to use one of those big, giant calendars. We all see that until I met Tasha, we're all really ugly and give you tips on do's and don'ts with those. So welcome back, tasha. Go ahead and let everyone know your amazing backstory.
Well, thank you so much for having me. It's always fun to chat with you and it's an honor to be on your podcast, as always. So my name is Tasha Agruso. I am the founder and owner of Kaleidoscope Living, which is a destination for color lovers and DIY enthusiasts, so I share doable DIY projects, interior design tips and tricks, and really the core of my mission is I believe your home should make you happy. I believe if your home doesn't make you happy, you're really missing out on something that is incredibly fulfilling, and so that's really at the heart of everything I do and share. I want everyone to love their home, no matter their budget, so I try to share creative ideas and products to make that happen.
What I really love about you is you have been the first DIY or love your home person. I have followed where I have actually gone. One I can do that and two I can afford. And that's one of the things that I think is really important for our listeners to know is if you get frustrated by seeing this great wreath and then you go at all the ingredients to make it, you're like, well, that's a $450.
Tasha gives us things that I've repurposed so much in my home. Right now, I mean, we have to spend anything, so thank you for that, because I am definitely interior decorating challenge, so I learned a lot from you. Now, what we're going to talk about today is Tasha has this product. That is one of my personal favorites. If you are watching the video, you can see it right behind Tasha, and I'm actually going to flip my camera around so you can see. I have the exact same calendars up in my office, but basically it is a set of 12 months, each month as its own individual page, if you will, giant wall calendar. So I would love first because I realized I've never asked you this what was your inspiration behind creating this product and maybe describe it a little bit for our listeners who can't see it.
Yeah, so for the listeners who can't see it, it is what I call a giant wall calendar. Each month is 16 by 20 inches, which is pretty sizable, and we have. The most popular one by far is what I call rainbow colors. It's not primary colors, but there's pinks and greens and blues and purples and yellows and it's just pretty and fun If you're a color lover. We do also have a solid navy blue one, which just actually we see a fair amount of men purchase, so there is a more neutral option for those who don't love color. The idea behind it it's really funny. I think, that industry experts typically tell you don't create a product that no one has asked for. Right? We've all heard. Well, no one asked me for this, megan.
But I feel like I did through osmosis and I'll tell you why after you tell me why you created it At the end of the day.
I wanted a pretty calendar. So it really started as a selfish exploration of what I could do. I wanted a pretty calendar. I feel like way too many people neglect the aesthetics of the spaces that they are working in, and it is such a missed opportunity. The space you surround yourself with eight hours a day, however many hours a day that you're working in it, has such a tremendous ability to impact the energy that you have when you are in the space. Amen. So for anyone watching this, they can see I'm in my home office. It's not just the calendar that's colorful. I have a whole gallery wall of colorful art. Color energizes me. So that's what I want in this space.
Well, and I wanted a big calendar because I'm a very visual person. I have ADD. If I cannot see it with my eyeballs, I am not going to remember it. I know this about myself.
But when I started hunting for really pretty calendars that kind of fit my aesthetic, that were big enough for what I wanted, they just didn't exist. So initially I thought, well, I'm just going to design my own calendar, I'm going to have it printed, I'm going to hang it up on my wall. I did it. I was like everyone needs these calendars. I couldn't agree more. So instead, my first run of the calendars was a total test. I ordered 100 calendars that's one of the first orders you did and I thought I have no idea how this is going to go. Well, they sold out real quickly. So then I ordered, I think, 200 more. Those sold out really quickly. I ordered 100 more those sold out really quickly, and at that point I thought I could make these even better if I can make them erasable with chalk markers.
And so for the next four months or so, I was kind of in product development phase, trying to make that happen, because what I didn't want was a laminated, shiny calendar, which is what all of them are, which was part of my objection to it. It just doesn't have a sophisticated, adult feeling. So, anyway, that's how it came about. But it's funny because occasionally I get asked what the meaning behind the name of my company, kaleidoscope Living, is.
And the whole notion is that I really believe and have always believed you can take the most ordinary objects and make them extraordinary, which is exactly what a kaleidoscope does, and that is what this calendar is. You know, there's nothing inventive about a calendar, but how can we make it beautiful and have it functional, and so what I love about it and I think what people have responded to is it's not just a wall calendar, it's art, so you can accomplish two things in your workspace or family space or wherever you put it. Teachers are putting them in classrooms. You can accomplish two things at once. You can have a beautiful visual art display, but it actually helps you function and not misappointments and deadlines. Yeah.
So the reason why I am convinced, like I told you through osmosis, that this is needed is obviously I teach planning a lot, right? Yeah, and if any of our students on know, sometimes I'm standing up there and I used to have, like, when it came to where I was wanting to teach monthly planning, in particular, really visually, I went out to get a large month like whiteboard right, because that's pretty much, and I started Googling this and all. There's two options. There is the whiteboard dry erase option, which means it's literally a whiteboard with a black grid on it, and then the silver tray, yep, and then it's shiny, right. So then I would hide it, so I have to pull it out for training, so I didn't like it in my office because it's ugly. Or the other option is the roll-up ones that are fully laminated. So then you're tacking them up and basically what it creates is to me it was a little bit of PTSD from some of my corporate planning days. Sure, because that's what I felt, like it looked like. I'm like, no, I don't want my home to look like a sterile conference room from an office building, and so I struggled and we just lugged these things in and out of the closet. So when you introduced this, it was just a dream.
Two other things that I think make this even better is when you think of the old school dry race boards. Either are buying a new one every year if you want it dated, or you're writing in, which I have no problem with, but because it's dry race, it's constantly getting erased. Yes, so with the wall calendars that Tasha has built, not only are they customizable for you if you want to start your day of the week on a Sunday or Monday, you need to choose that but then they're undated, which means you're purchasing this once and then, because it's got the chalk markers, I can be writing on it and I'm not smearing anything. I've already written, right, and then I just get a damp cloth and wipe it off. And so the fact that you built something this amazing and it really is a one-time investment for people to have this art. We love it so much. My daughter has two up in her desk. She's still doing school from home and she's chosen to do it in a frame and swapping out two months at a time.
I would love to get your thoughts now For those of you coming to Plano Palooza here, which is coming real, real soon, real soon. Yeah, tasha is going to be delivering a deep dive training into specifically how to use wall calendars one for family and two if you're a small business owner. So she's got all the how to. So if you want that, you need to head on over into Plano Palooza. You can still get your tickets there. We've got a link in the show notes. Just go to Megan Somerle Ford's plan. But I would love for you to share today maybe the don'ts, first of where to place it, because I think you and I've chatted about that and then kind of just share some general ideas because I know people are pouring in with you of all the different ways that they're using it and where they're placing it in their homes, to start to give our listeners an idea of how they might leverage these.
Yeah, it's really fun. Ok, you've already alluded to one of the problems with most calendars, which is when they don't fit your aesthetic, when you don't like the way they look, you're not inclined to put them in a super visible place.
I totally understand and that right there is problem number one Even if you have great memory, recall and all the things, a calendar can really only serve its purpose of reminding you of important things, helping you make disinformed decisions If it is very visible on a regular basis, and I mean like multiple times a day. I just think that most people don't take that into consideration. Often people buy a calendar and put it in a spot, I don't know, on the back of a door.
Somewhat inside the pantry, yeah, so that they're looking for food, not the door.
Anywhere that they don't have to look at this eyesore. And then the reality is two things. They're going to forget to actually write things on it and add things as needed, but it's not going to be front and center, so it's not really going to be lightning your mental load in any way. You're going to have to seek it out, remind yourself what was on there. It defeats all the purposes. So there is no really right or wrong specific place. Our family calendar is in our pantry, our walk-in pantry, if you yeah, you have a beautiful walk-in pantry.
Well, for us that works because that's where our kids charge their devices, so it is a space that is frequently looked at and accessed. So there's no right or wrong in terms of exactly where you put it, but you absolutely need to see it with your eyeballs, I would say, multiple times a day, for it to really do what it's supposed to do.
I love that and I would even add in thinking about, I'll see people try and set up the ugly white board Right, like if they have a mudrood going in and out of their garage where the kids are hanging the backpacks and stuff. And I get it because you're like, oh, we're walking in and out multiple times a day. I would even encourage people to think about what frame of mind are you in when passing it, because if it's the place where you are hurried as you're running out the door or collapsing when you walk in, maybe that's not the best.
But hey, if I'm going to get snacks I'm interested in, like I'm in a good mood, right.
Yeah, that's all very true. I think that you just need to think of a space where you're going to see it without trying. If I could summarize it in one sentence, that is it. You need to be able to see it without any effort, zero effort, yeah, yeah.
I love that. So what are some of the ways, the creative ways that you have seen people using their calendars?
Well, you came up with one of my favorite ways. Did I? Yeah, you did. I should not be the roper, yeah, so I almost feel like I shouldn't describe it. I do talk about it in my plan of plaza presentation, but I say I didn't come up with this idea. Megan came up with this idea. But it's brilliant because I know that you are a proponent of more weekly planning, which I totally get, because our calendars are undated and the days of the week aren't labeled. You actually can use each row or column for a specific family member and just plan out a week at a time, and because there are, I believe, six rows. When I was playing around with that layout for my family so that I could demonstrate it, I thought, oh, this is really cool because I have a leftover row and I can actually plan my meals down yeah.
So imagine this, guys if you've got a grid so you can take this monthly calendar and use it to do your weekly family communication, where each family member has a row and then, depending upon the size of your family, you could have a leftover row to write in meals or maybe a quote for the day. I mean, yeah. So thank you for bringing that, because I think it's cool. It's a way to hijack something designed for monthly and say what's a different way I can use this.
I've also seen well and before I move on, one thing that I think I have failed many times at meal planning. Megan, I've not ashamed to tell you. You know that I residue is not my gift, but when I was playing around with that layout, I thought, oh, what is so great about this If you have room to add meals and you're inclined to do so, is that because I could see everyone's schedule or things happening I could make informed decisions about? This is not the night to cook salmon and a side vegetable and rice. This is the night I need a dump in the crock pot, which was so eye-opening to me. I mean, it sounds so obvious, but I think that's one reason why I have never succeeded with meal planning because I've never considered it in conjunction with my schedule.
Yeah, and we put that on our weekly plan. It's the same thing, because we'll say, oh, we want to eat this. I'm like, well, this is not the night for that, because it's not the night. If I am cooking and I have to be in the kitchen doing that night, no one's going to be enjoying themselves. I can't console that. Yeah, I think aligning that is smart. So what are some of the key ways, or some of the fun ways, or even places in people's homes that you have seen these? Okay yeah.
So this has been so fun to see the calendars out in the wild and how people are using them, because everyone does things a little differently. So one thing I have seen I had somebody order the calendar solely to keep track. They have a big family, big extended family. They wanted to track anniversaries and birthdays. That's what they wanted to use it for. I love that and because it's art, it feels like whoa, that's such a limited purpose.
Who cares how cool it would be to walk into someone's home and see your name in a square?
on there, yeah, and she said I've been terrible about remembering birthday. And she said and I also have this blank wall. I had no idea what to do with it, so here we go, so I thought that was really cool. Then I have also seen someone refer to it as their adult version of a sticker reward chart. I guess the way to categorize that is almost people are using it as a habit tracker to keep them on track. Yeah, so it would be great in a home gym. I mean, there are so many different ways you can have kids bedroom, if you are a chore chart.
I mean, the possibilities are endless and these are ideas. Honestly, I probably never would have thought of using it that way. But oh, and then teachers. This is really fun. I've heard from several teachers who are hanging them up in their classrooms, not to track test dates and stuff like that, but for kids to add their birthdays, any special extracurricular soccer games, and she said it's just a way for them to feel more connected in a way that is not academic at all, and I thought, oh, I love that.
So I'm in a classroom to have this splash of color for the square to track Like oh, this is a teacher workday, this is our holiday break or whatever. How beautiful is that in a classroom, as opposed to the big white ugly dry race board?
Absolutely. And then, probably one of my favorite things I've seen, which again did not expect it is somebody was able to fit, believe it or not, six months at a time in their work cubicle. Like the wall doesn't even go all the way up.
Those things are the I lived in the three years the ugliest workspace ever.
And so now she has like this little splash of color and I thought that was really cool. And then certainly I've seen small businesses use them on a wall in a conference room so that when there are team meetings the whole team can see what's happening. So never truly. I wish I could say I always imagined this kind of versatility.
I just can't, can you, because we all, and this is what to me when you can find a system and or a product that is not one size fits all, where you see different ages, lifestyles, schedules, whatever all finding success and wins with something like you know, it's something special, and so that's what, like. I still just like to believe that you built these for me and I really appreciate that. Thank you, because I so very much needed this in my life, in my office. But I also think you know, selfishly a little bit, as someone that loves planning and loves teaching planning. For a lot of people, planning and organizing and scheduling feels heavy, feels burdensome, feels like a chore, feels like a have to. So anything that we can do to bring light and joy and beauty into that is also a win, and so I think that's something else for folks to consider as well, Like, if it's one of those I know this would help me, but well, this is a great option.
Yeah, it makes it feel a little more fun and, like I said, at least kind of killing two birds with one stone. You need a calendar, maybe you have a wall that needs our boom and I do get. You know, some people see it and think, oh, that's amazing. And I'll get the question like, would you make a smaller version? And I always say no, but you can display one at a time, two at a time, three at a time.
I mean I've seen all kinds of combinations, the smaller version would almost kill the ability to see what you need. That's the importance of it. Yes, yeah.
And I think I've seen on your blog places where people just have either two months or three months. I'm sure my daughter just has the current month and the next month up in her workspace and that works out really well. Yeah, okay, I feel like the whole world needs to have these somewhere in their lives. Think about it, guys, when you go planner shopping. For those of you that like paper planners, there's a million gorgeous planners out there right.
Yeah, yes, oh, this seriously go Amazon. Yeah, it's so sad. Reusable wall calendar and you will not see anything. So I think you've really created something that we desperately needed.
Well, who would have thunk it? But yeah, it's very exciting and it's been the most fun to see the different ways people are using it, because those are not ways I could have imagined.
Yeah, and it's got me thinking I'm like maybe I need to get another set for somewhere else in my house. So thank you for that. Yeah, so for all of our listeners, first of all, again, you will get very strategic things of the type of information to put on these wall calendars. Tasha's going to be given all of that inside of Planopalooza, and where is the best place for people to connect with you, watch your amazing projects and learn about everything? At Kaleidoscope Living.
All the steps. So my main site is kaleidoscopelivingcom. That is where I share doable DIYs, interior design tips and tricks. You can even find I do have a post dedicated to tips for using hanging displaying, et cetera, the giant wall calendar, and that site does link to the shop. But you can also go to shopthecalidoscopecom if you are just interested in seeing what products we offer. And then I'm on all the socials.
Mostly Definitely go to Instagram. Anytime you're starting a new project on Instagram, I'm like, oh yay, because I love you, share all of it. It's amazing. I do?
I try to. So I'm at tashakalidoscope on Instagram and TikTok, but Instagram is really where I'm comfortable and where I know how to share things and don't feel totally out of my element.
So that's a great place to connect with me. Yeah, and if anyone listening has kids, Tasha also has two young girls and so we get a sneak peek into a lot of the decorating they do there. Yeah, and I would love to give you a shout out to everyone an amazing contest. I would love for you to share for folks what you are going to be giving back, because I think it's awesome.
Yeah. So it was a challenge for eight DIYers, who were picked by Frog Tape, to compete and make over basically one space in their house. My project was our pantry and I was crowned the winner. And the reason I really wanted to win is because the winner gets to design a dream bedroom for a child battling cancer through an amazing organization called Special Spaces, and it just feels like such a gift. I tell people all the time, and mentioned even earlier, your physical surroundings are just so incredibly impactful. So to be involved in giving a child a bedroom space during what is likely to be one of the most difficult times of their lives and to have them feel a little spark of joy being in there, I'm just so excited.
So yeah, I love that and I would say that's one big thing I really learned from you in sharing your journey as a young girl and just how passionate you are about this. I think I never really took it all that seriously. My own child's bedroom Like, oh, you just have a bedroom. But after learning so much from you when we switched her bedroom over it's been almost a year now yeah, the change in her because of the space in which she spends her time in now is incredible. So thank you personally for really sharing the importance of that, because it's something I think I just always kind of glossed over. Yeah, I felt it for me, but I was like, of course, why wouldn't that apply to everybody else?
Well, and I think one thing that often can surprise parents is that when you give your, I mean you have to obviously take your kids design, aesthetic and preferences into mind when you're doing, when you're creating a space for them. Otherwise this won't really have the same impact. But the difference between kids who are just, yeah, in kind of like you have a bed and you have a dresser and it's a bedroom, versus giving them a space that really just suits their personality and their preferences the likelihood that they are going to want to take care of that space and keep it clean and tidy and organized Let me tell you that that's a big, noticeable change as well.
And, of course, it is Like it's the same for us, but that's another consideration Like it really can impact how they take care of their things and their space, which is a great side effect if you will.
Certainly has been, certainly has been. Well. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here and participating again in Plano Palooza. Yeah, it's always a pleasure. What you're going to be teaching is amazing. And, guys, if you want to go check out the wall calendars, we've got all the links here below and definitely go follow Tasha. You will learn so much. So, thank you again.
Thank you, megan, it's been a pleasure.
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