Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Filofax Revamp inspired by Gala Darling

This weekend I was extremely inspired by Gala Darling's post about her Filofax.  In fact, I was so energized by it that I completely revamped my tabs system in my personal Deco Filofax, which was no small feat.  I've been using more or less the same tabs setup for years in my Filofaxes, with some slight variations.  But Saturday I had some time to really think about my tabs and what would work better for me.

First of all, let me say I really enjoy Gala's upbeat love-yourself vibe on her blog.  I read through several of her posts* and they really got me thinking about my life and what I want to focus on.

One goal of mine these days is to have more fun in life in general.  I wanted my Filofax to reflect that too, and to work FOR me instead of being a burden full of things I OUGHT to do.

The first thing I did to add more fun to my Filofax was to put in the pink week on 2 pages diary insert (as I posted about on Philofaxy).  I think it looks great, and it reminds me every day not to take things too seriously!

The next thing I did in my Filofax was add a Me tab, which is something I've never had before.  You would think the entire contents of my Filofax would be about me, but surprisingly little was about my needs and wants.  It contained my diary pages, contact info, travel numbers and maps, children's info, emergency numbers...none of it was much fun and certainly not very inspiring.

My new Me tabbed section contains all the things about me that I want to nurture. In it I have my New Year's Resolutions to remind me of my intentions this year.  I've started a new list of inspiration, things to contemplate and remember.  Also in this section I keep my exercise routine because I want to see it as something that helps me be healthy and happy and not another chore to tick off.  This section is all about being uplifting, energizing, and positive.

(A note about the label on my Me tab: as I've mentioned before, I use the colored sticky flags from the Sticky Notes Accessory to label my tabs, so I can move them around at will and still have my tabs in a row down the side.  As we all know, purple is my very favorite color.  Alas, there are no purple sticky tabs.  So I did what any kindergartener would do: I layered a blue sticky over a pink sticky and, viola!  A purple tab for Me!)

After I added my Me tab somewhere in there among all my other tabbed sections, I took a good look at how my setup was working for me.  The answer was, not very well. 

Formerly, behind my diary pages, my tabs were in this order:

Emergency and Directories

Travel info and maps

Aberdeen (local info for where I'm moving in August)

Kids

Me

Lists (which was the bottom tab for easy accessibility)

Then behind that were Notes and Financial.

I realized it was silly to turn half the pages in my Filofax to get to my Lists section every time I needed to see my weekly lists.  Also, I had my least-used sections up front and my most-used sections buried in the middle.

So I reversed my tab lineup to:

Lists

Me

Kids

Aberdeen

Travel info and maps

Emergency and Directories (this is now the last tab at the bottom of the tabs row so it's still readily accessible)

Notes (containing blank pages for quick jotting) and Financial (with my calculator and Budget sheets) are behind those.

I like this setup a lot.  I use my Lists the most, and my Me section is right up front where I will look through it often.

*Gala's article How to Set Amazing Goals really resonated with me, especially "Have a Goal that Scares You."  This move to Scotland has been a goal for a long time, and it seemed like a far-off wish.  Now that it is actually happening, it's very exciting and thrilling yet also there's a lot about it that scares the crap out of me.  It's the chance of a lifetime to live our dream (mine, my husband's and our kids' too, they adore Scotland) and we are grabbing it with both hands.  I've done a lot of big moves in my life and made super-major changes, and yes it's hard but it's also incredibly rewarding and life-expanding.

Here are some more articles from Gala Darling that I love:

Getting Organised for 2010  (Lots of great planner ideas and wonderful tips on setting goals, getting fit, finding a new job, and how to all-around make the most of yourself!)

100 Ways You Can Start Loving Yourself Right Now

100 Things To Do When You're Upset  (lots of fun ideas in here!)

Where Are You At?  (mid-year evaluation from last year, but it's just as fitting right now)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Major Filofax Love on Gala Darling

If you haven't read Gala Darling's amazing post about her new Raspberry personal Metropol (complete with written usage details and lots of photos!) then you don't want to miss it.  Go have a look, but get ready to go Filofax-crazy.  This post was just about enough to convert me back to my personal size Filofaxes!!

A Filofax Love Affair on Gala Darling

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Leuchtturm Daily Planner

To continue my day-per-page diary kick, here is a great one: the pocket size daily planner by Leuchtturm 1917:

This was very generously sent to me as a sample by Leuchtturm 1917.  It's an excellent planner and I'm very glad to have the opportunity to review it!  Thank you Leuchtturm!

This planner has a really nice layout on the daily pages.  Each day has timed lines for appointments, and at the bottom of the page there is a blank space for notes.  Country codes for those countries having a holiday that day are listed at the bottom of each day's space.  Saturday and Sunday share one page, with each day as a vertical column (click on photo for a larger view).
There are lots of other features that make this planner stand out.  One very cool feature is a Project Planner:

There are monthly planners with the months as columns:

And annual planners for this year and next year:

This planner has a black hard cover, ribbon placemarker, acid-free paper, elastic strap and pocket in the back of the book.  In the back of the planner there are several blank pages that are perforated for easy removal.  Additionally, there are stickers included to label the cover and spine of your book.

This book measures approximately 3 3/4 by almost 6 inches, which is a very portable size that you can take with you anywhere.The Leuchhturm daily planners also come in Medium and the enormous Master size.

At this time I'm not sure where the 2011 Leuchtturm planners will be available to purchase.  You may want to contact Journaling Arts to ask if they will carry the daily planners for 2011.  I know JA have carried the Master size weekly planners in the past, at great prices, but I don't know if they have plans for the daily ones.

Alternatively you can contact Leuchtturm and I'm sure they would be happy to direct you to the nearest retailer to find these planners.

Many thanks again to Leuchtturm 1917 for allowing me to test their products.  Stay tuned, in a future post I will review their huge Master size weekly planners!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day per page diaries

Recently the At-A-Glance blog had this excellent post on different ways to use a day-per-page diary.  I thought it was a great article, and couldn't help adding my 2 cents by including my list of various uses for a day-per-page diary that I had in a post awhile back.

This got me thinking about using a day per page diary myself.  This is a road I've been down many times.  I have learned that I can't plan ahead very well using a day per page diary, but they are fantastic for recording.

So I went browsing the new 2011 daily diaries.  I'm currently in love with Letts products because I am writing my review of some new notebooks of theirs, which I'm very impressed with and immediately addicted to.  So I instantly thought of Letts for my diary search.

Letts has an excellent selection of daily diaries for great prices.  This little number instantly caught my eye:
This is the Sovereign day per page diary.  It has a textured cover and creamy paper.  It's A6 size, which is an excellent size to use as a daily diary/ planner because you can carry it around everywhere (and thus capture all your jottings) yet it still has a large enough page size for everything you need to record each day.  It comes in this gorgeous purple color, black or red.

I must have it.

So now I have a few months to obsess over this before it becomes available.  Luckily for me, by the time this comes out I'll be living in the UK so I won't have to pay international shipping for it (and if I'm really lucky I'll find it locally in a shop and won't have to pay postage at all!).

Those of you who use a day-per-page diary as a planner or for record-keeping, what's your favorite diary?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Solstice!

It's the longest day of the year! (For those of us in the northern hemisphere, that is.  Those of you Down Under, it's your shortest day!)

I always like to celebrate the summer solstice by grilling out with friends.  It's a good excuse to hang out and grill up some grub.

And, a day late but Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there! Hope you had a great day yesterday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Leuchtturm notebooks


Here are two notebooks from Leuchtturm 1917, a German company who very generously sent me several of their products to review.  I've already reviewed their medium size weekly planners.  In future posts I will review their Master size weekly planners in two different formats and their Pocket size daily planner.

But first, these awesome notebooks!  The black-covered notebook has blank pages, and was sent to me as a sample from Leuchtturm 1917.  The purple-covered one, which I adore, has dotted pages and was VERY generously sent to me from Lady Dandelion after I won it on a giveaway contest on her blog!  Thanks Lady Dandelion!  I love it!!

Before I dive right into the cool features of these notebooks (and there are some very cool features so hang on a sec), let me tell you about Leuchtturm 1917 (and you can also read more about the company here).  Founded in (you guessed it) 1917, Leuchtturm (which means "lighthouse" in German) makes high-quality, archival stationery products including diaries, notebooks, binders, photo albums, boxes and more. Their products are very popular with collectors of stamps and coins because they know their collections will be safely preserved.

Now, on to these notebooks.  I am very impressed.  Go get a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in.  I'll wait.

Ready?  Here we go:

At first glance these look similar to many notebooks available today with the hard cover, elastic strap and back pocket.  But right away you start to notice differences that indicate a step or two up in quality from the usual notebook.  As the brand motto says, "details make all the difference."  The notebooks have a color-matched ribbon placemarker which is actually ribbon, not cotton, adding to the luxurious feel of the book.  The creamy paper is smooth, and again gives a feeling of luxury.


The first few pages in the notebooks have a Table of Contents, to record topics on each page:


And, every page is faintly numbered!  HOORAY!!!


This makes it very easy to index your pages and keep track of what you wrote and where in your notebook.  This makes Leuchtturm notebooks especially useful not only for art and writing but also as lab notebooks and to record research.  I wish I'd had some of these in grad school!

Each of these notebooks has a page of stickers you can use to label the cover and spine of your notebooks.

Additionally, the blank notebook has a page-size card that is lined on one side and quadruled on the reverse, so you can be tidy about your writing and drawing while still having unruled pages.

The dots in the dotted notebook are faint and unobtrusive, making them easy on the eyes (click to enlarge):


The dots have 5 mm spacing and are great for writing, drawing, creating charts and tables.  This is a great alternative to quadruled pages.

The last several pages of each notebook are perforated for easy removal.  The paper is acid-free and archival, and the book is thread-bound for durability.

These notebooks are the Medium size, measuring 145 mm wide by 210 mm tall (almost 6 inches wide by just over 8 inches tall).

Leuchtturm notebooks come in a wide variety of sizes including Master (slightly larger than A4 so you can carry A4 papers easily inside):

Leuchtturm Master Notebook, Ruled, 9 x 12.5 Inch (LBM11)Leuchtturm Master Notebook, Ruled, 9 x 12.5 Inch (LBM11)

Medium (sized so a two-page spread photocopies onto an A4 page):

Leuchtturm Medium Notebook, Ruled, 5.75 x 8.25 inches (LBL11)Leuchtturm Medium Notebook, Ruled, 5.75 x 8.25 inches (LBL11)

Leuchtturm Medium Notebook, Dots, 5.75 x 8.25 Inch (LBL14)Leuchtturm Medium Notebook, Dots, 5.75 x 8.25 Inch (LBL14)

Pocket, and  Reporter (both sized to fit into your pocket), in lined, plain, quadruled or the new dotted pages.

You can order the newest Leuchtturm catalog by mail or by email by filling out their online form.

Leuchtturm notebooks can be purchased online at Journaling Arts (for fantastic prices).

Thanks again to Leuchtturm and Lady Dandelion for these excellent notebooks!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Moleskine 2011 large Daily and Vertical Weekly planners

Though it's only June, I am already excited about my new 2011 Moleskine planners!  I pre-ordered (from Amazon) the large hard-cover Daily, which will be the fourth (!!) year running I've used this as my journal, and the Vertical Weekly.

As you can see in the above photo, the packaging for the planners is new this year.  The different formats each have a different color on the label, which makes it much easier to make sure you're getting the format you intend to.

Here is the inside of the Daily, in case you haven't seen inside one of these before:
I love the simplicity.  I love using this as a journal.  The lines are the perfect ruling size for my handwriting, and I like the icons at the bottom of each page to record the day's weather (click on the photo for a larger view).  The layout of the page is great.  I appreciate the space at the top of the page to write the day's major event.

The daily planners, like all the 2011 Moleskine planners, have the monthly calendars like this:


I really like the month calendars this way!  Seeing two months at a time really helps me plan ahead.  And I like the space at the bottom of the pages for that month's goals, reminders, or notes.

The monthly calendars take up all the pages that used to be dedicated to the current and future year's monthly columns.  As a result, there are no longer monthly planning pages for the future year.  However, there are still overview calendars of the current and future year to help with planning:


In my opinion, losing the future year's planning pages is a small price to pay to have this excellent monthly layout.

Here is the Vertical Weekly planner:

This is a format I've used before in other brands but not in a Moleskine.  I like that there are no lines drawn to delineate the daily columns.  I don't particularly like the big gap between 13:00 and 14:00 on the weekdays.  But, what I intend to use this planner for is a modified week + notes format where I use the top portion of the day columns as my days, and the space under that gap for the week's lists and notes.  Not having vertical lines drawn for the columns will make it easy to write across that space as I need to.  Unfortunately I have to wait until January before I know if this method will work for me or not!!!

The Vertical Weekly also has the monthly calendars I love:

I've used the Moleskine 18 month weekly notebook, but this is my first Moleskine 12 month weekly planner.  It is so amazingly slim. It's slimmer than a Moleskine ruled notebook.  It's a very streamlined book.

In both of these planners the same usual Moleskine features apply: international holidays and dialing information, time zones map, travel planning pages, pocket in the back etc.  Let me just say: I know some people are picky about the Moleskine paper, but I love it.

You can find these planners on Amazon:

Moleskine 2011 12 Month Daily Planner: Black Hard Cover Large (Moleskine Srl)

Moleskine 2011 12 Month Weekly Planner Vertical: Black Hard Cover Large (Moleskine Srl)

Is anyone else chomping at the bit for next year's planners already??  Or is it just me?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Sandy!!!

Today is my sister's 30th birthday!!!  Woo hoo!!!  Happy birthday Sis!!

First of all, let me say I'm devastated I can't be there for her big 30th birthday.  I was hoping there would be some way I could be there, but circumstances have prevented it.

Second, how ancient do I feel that I remember when she was BORN and now she's 30!?!?!

Please take a sec to Tweet her at @sTaylorMade to wish her well on her big day.

I love you Sis!!!  Have a great birthday!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Leuchtturm Weekly Planners (medium size)


For those of you looking for a weekly planner with all seven days as full-size vertical columns, here it is!!

Leuchtturm 1917 does this hard-to-find format beautifully. Every day, even Sunday, has a full size column with a space for notes at the bottom of each day.

The 8th column has monthly calendars and extra space for notes.


I've seen planners before that have all 7 days as full-size columns, but they've been desk size, in the range of 8 1/2 by 10 inches or larger.  The thing about a 7-days planner is that it needs to be small enough to carry with you everywhere: work, home, weekend plans, school events etc.

These planners measure almost 6 inches wide by 8 1/4 inches tall, which is a great size: portable enough to fit in just about any bag (unless you carry a very small one), but the pages are large enough to have plenty of writing space.  (Alternatively, if you need an even smaller book, Leuchtturm also makes these planners in Pocket size.)

Leuchtturm 1917 very generously sent me their medium size 18 month weekly planner for 2010 (which goes from 1 September 2009 through 28 February 2011) and 12 month weekly planner for 2011. Except for the dates, the features of these planners are identical.

In addition to the weekly pages, these planners have monthly calendars with the months as columns.
These planners also have last year, this year and next year planning calendars:
There is also a chart of international holidays, and project planning pages:
Inside the back of the book there is a card that is lined on one side and quadruled on the other, stickers to label the cover and spine of your book, and an booklet insert for the back pocket:
The booklet insert has undated monthly planners:
and tabbed address pages:
The planners both have a hard black cover, elastic strap, ribbon placemarker and back pocket.

At this time, I don't know where you can buy the medium size 2011 Leuchtturm planners.  Cynthia at Journaling Arts told me she may consider carrying these planners.  If you are interested, you can contact her to ask if she will be selling these planners.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Offline while traveling

Hi everybody, I'll be offline for a few days while traveling (to Croatia!  Woo hoo!!).  So if I don't reply to emails or comments, don't worry, I'm not dissing you.  I'll be more than happy to reply when I get back!

In the meantime, I have auto-scheduled a post for Monday that you DON'T want to miss!  You know how I've said many times that it sure would be great to have a portable-size weekly planner with all seven days as full-size columns?  I FOUND one!!  A great one, actually.  See my review this Monday the 14th!

Until I get back, happy planning!  :D

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Rickshaw bag in traveling action


Here's an action shot of me and my Rickshaw bag in Apollonia

Apollonia is an ancient Corinthian, and later Roman, city in Albania that's a couple hours' drive from where I live.  My family and I had a great afternoon among the ancient ruins!

Some details: this is a Small Zero messenger bag from Rickshaw Bagworks (who also make the awesome Moleskine folios, and now custom iPad sleeves too!). It's called a Zero bag because there is zero waste in the production.  Even the little scraps from cutting the material are used in the production of the bag.

I used their Customizer to choose the exact colors of my bag.  The purple color is called Iris (they also have an Amethyst purple that's slightly more bluish).  The trim is Pink.

I carried my lunch, guidebook, sunscreen, and enormous 2 liter bottle of water (which I removed for the photo for a better shot of the bag) up and down the hills all afternoon and hardly felt a thing.  I told my husband, I can tell it's a well-designed bag if I can carry this much and it feels so easy!

Thank you Rickshaw for an excellent bag!

You can also see this photo on Rickshaw's Facebook page along with my and their comments about it!  They mistook the location for Italy though, and I corrected them that it's Albania.  Just across the water from Italy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Journal Writers: how do you journal?

I am woefully behind in my journal.  I haven't written in it for months.  A big reason for this, I now realize, is I've set up unrealistic expectations for myself in my journal-writing this year.

I decided this year I will only write things in my journal that I want to remember.  No emotional dumping, no negativity.

But this has proven difficult.  First of all, I've been stressed to the gills for most of this year.  (As in, if we don't find a job in the next 2 1/2 months, we'll be unemployed and homeless.  How's that for stressful?)  Of course I don't want to remember stress like that.

But it's a lot of work to edit out such a big aspect of my life.  It's tied to everything else, so it's hard to suss out and write about only the memory-worthy events.

My second problem with my journal is that I use a dated day per page diary as my journal.  (A large Moleskine daily diary, to be exact, for the third year in a row.)  In past years I've found this motivational, because a blank page for each day encourages me to write SOMETHING.  But with so many self-imposed constraints this year, I've tended to write nothing at all.

And so, my journal sits closed on my bedside table.

I thought maybe it would help to have my book sitting open somewhere on a table, and I could write into it throughout the day instead of waiting for time at the end of the day (which never happens.  By the time the kids go to bed I'm too tired and drained to write anything meaningful, let alone memorable.)  Writing short snippets throughout the day would probably give a better picture of my life anyway.  Kind of like Tweets, in my journal.

In fact, just yesterday I saw this awesome article via Moleskiners about how 18th and 19th century diaries were a lot like Tweets today.  And today, Moleskiners points out another article about journals, fearing they may soon become extinct in this age of electronic technology.

Journal-writers, how do you journal?  Do you write something every day?  Do you wait until you have a large block of time and write a bunch of pages all at once?

I guess when and how you write is at least partially determined by what you write about.  Is your journal your emotional dumping ground?  (Journals are great for that.)  Like me, do you try to write about things you want to remember? Do you try to create an accurate record of your life?  Or, do you just write whatever you feel like?

And while we're at it, what's your favorite book to write in for your journal?

(For those interested, here is what I use: a large, hard covered Moleskine day per page diary:)

Moleskine 2011 12 Month Daily Planner: Black Hard Cover Large (Moleskine Srl)