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Monday, May 31, 2010

Moleskine 2011 planners shipping now from Amazon!!

This is great news for anyone who, like me, likes to have next year's planners as early as possible: most of the Moleskine 2011 calendar-year planners are shipping now from Amazon.com! And, they have great prices, many are 20% or more off the listed price.

Note: I am not affiliated with Amazon or Moleskine in any way. I don't make any money from them, and I also cannot guarantee prices, service and/ or delivery. This is just a heads-up message for those of you who are interested.

For a quick link to Amazon.com's Moleskine 2011 12-month planners, click here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Daycraft Cantoon and D-Sign notebooks

Here are the Cantoon and D-Sign notebooks from Daycraft, the #1 brand of diaries and notebooks in Hong Kong. These cool little notebooks were generously sent to me as samples, and my reviews of them are long overdue!

My lucky sister benefited from my generosity, and is now the proud owner of this extremely cool Cantoon notebook:The flexible cover is retro-cool, "with a Cantonese mnemonic for learning English on the cover" according to their website. I don't speak any Cantonese at all but it makes me wish I did! Can anyone translate what the characters say in the top right corner of the cover? (Click on the picture to enlarge).

The thick, tan 198 gsm Satogami paper is made according to Japanese tradition. The luxurious paper and squared rule give the aura that something Very Important should be written here. This is not a book for jotting random notes! This is for something special. Sis, have you figured out a purpose worthy enough for this book yet??

The back cover is blank except for Daycraft subtly printed in the bottom corner.
The Cantoon notebook range is cool and fun with extremely high quality with paper you'll want to write something special on.

The D-Sign notebooks are "notebooks for powerful thinkers," according to the Daycraft website. I have the "Creative Exit" notebook:
The back cover says:
It just dares you to write something compelling!

The extra-smooth white 100gsm paper is lined, and there is a ribbon bookmark:The book is A6 size (approx 4 1/4 x 6 inches) so it's not quite small enough to fit into a pocket (unless you're wearing cargos) but is definitely small enough to fit into any bag, so it's very portable to capture important ideas and creative inspiration on the go. The hard cover has a fabric-like feel.

Currently Daycraft is looking for a distributor in the US, but anyone who wants to order them online can find many of their products at:


Be aware the products will ship from Australia, and they do ship internationally but you'll want to check your currency conversions and shipping rates so you know your actual cost.

I hope Daycraft will find a US distributor soon! Their products are fun, cool, and excellent quality.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Q & A with Ethan Parker of Parker Planners

Ethan Parker of Parker Planners very kindly agreed to answer my questions about his company, how he started it, and what it's like to be a young entrepreneur. Ethan, thanks very much for your time and thoughtful answers!

1) What first inspired you to create a planner? Was it for your own use, or to fill the needs of someone else, or both?

I was trying to create the ideal planner. I didn't want to have to carry a large planner around - I wanted something that would be discreet enough to fit in my pocket and still have plenty of room to plan on. Later, as people saw me using my planner friends and family started asking that I make them planners. From there Parker Planners was born.

2) What was your creative process? How did you decide on the format and style of the planner? Did you know exactly how you wanted your planner to be right from the beginning, or did you go through several variations before you hit on the final form?

The planner is on version 5.0 right now, but all planners have been relatively similar. We keep tweaking it based on customer input and I doubt it will ever be completely the final version. Changes to the most recent version include an extra week of planning, 2 new cover options, and a mini calendar in the back that is modeled after a conventional wall calendar.

3) What was your path to success: starting up your company, publishing your first planners?

Our first batches of planners were printed at local printers, but they charged high prices for the low quantities we started with. Now we have found a great place that charges much less bulk pricing. With college bookstores we really just got lucky, the bookstores liked that the planner was unique and we offered flexibility and responsiveness that other companies couldn't offer.

4) How did you market your planners to the first buyers?

Just walked in there and said "what do you think of this?"

5) I saw on your website that you sell lots of planners at university bookstores. I can see how your planners would be very useful to college students. What other types of people use your planners? Have you heard of any surprising users/ uses of your planners?

One surprising story was that at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID there was a convention where baptist women loved our planners. That one was kinda funny.

6) What are your future goals for Parker Planners?

Market to bigger retail locations and expand to a national sales base.

7) What advice to you have for other young entrepreneurs?

Just try it. Stop talking about your idea, ditch school for a day, and throw $500 and 35 hours at it. See what happens. You will learn more during that time than in 5 years of what we like to call "school" in this country.

Parker Planners has been amazing for me. I love my job! Sure it doesn't pay a lot and right now is a difficult time to start a business but truly I don't regret my path whatsoever. I wouldn't change a thing. Money is not the end goal, but it can motivate toward achieving genuine goals along the way. We are always looking for talented people that care more for others than themselves. If you are in Utah Valley we'd like to hear from you if you fit that description at all.

Many thanks again to Ethan!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Parker Planners

Parker Planners are pocket-size day-per-page undated planners that have 4 months worth of daily pages. Let me break each of those descriptions down for you.

Pocket size: this planner measures only 4.25 by 3.5 inches, and really is small enough to fit into any pocket. And even though it's a daily, the fact that it holds only 4 months worth of pages means it's very slim:

Back in December I posted
about a day per page format with a page before each Monday for that week's lists and goals. Lo and behold, the Parker Planner has this exact format! I'm very excited!

You can click on the photos to enlarge and get a closer look at the page formats:
The days are undated, but the days of the week are designated Monday-Sunday. Before each Monday there is a weekly planning page to note important events, goals and ideas for that week, which I find extremely helpful.

This also results in a very effective layout for the week: Weekly Overview and Monday are together, to get your week started off right. Then Tuesday-Wednesday are together, Thursday-Friday to finish up your work week, then Saturday and Sunday are together to see your weekend days side by side. I really like this layout!

Other excellent features include:

Suggestions for use and Personal Info page, with the planner's to/from dates:
Lots of pages in the back for notes and ideas:Pages for contacts, and a space inside the back cover to keep sticky notes:
The daily pages have an excellent layout with the day's schedule from 6 am to 10 pm, space to jot notes and ideas, and lines for main things to do that day. Here is an example of a day when I had several meetings and various other things to do:
Because the pages are undated, you can start them any time, and use them only when you need to so there are no wasted pages. The 4 month book will get you through a university semester. The tiny size means you can take it absolutely everywhere with you, so that wherever you are at any time you can jot down notes and ideas, schedule an appointment and check your agenda. It makes an excellent companion to your smartphone.

Parker Planners are sold in select university bookstores, and you can order them online at:


Many thanks to Parker Planners for sending me this planner as a sample. I have really enjoyed learning about the planners and the company.

Stay tuned, on Wednesday I'll post a Q & A with Ethan Parker, creator of Parker Planners! I found it very interesting to learn how this young entrepreneur started his company from the ground up.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quo Vadis Trinote vs. Septanote planners

This comparison is to help those of you who are trying to decide between the Quo Vadis Trinote or Septanote planners. Many thanks to Karen at Exaclair for sending me these planners to review (along with the very handy elastic strap/ bookmark)!

Both the Septanote and Trinote have the same weekly Agenda Planning Diary format, but there are some differences that will determine which one will best fit your needs.

The biggest difference of course is that the Septanote is an academic year planner (July-July) and the Trinote is on the calendar year (December-December). That alone may determine which is best for you.

But beyond that major difference, there are some other features that may cause you to prefer one over the other.

In summary, the Septanote has more pages for notes, and the Trinote has more information pages. I will walk you through them to show you the specifics.

At the beginning of both planners, there is a page for your personal information, and a page with international dialing codes.

The next two-page spread has on the left page a chart of monthly temperatures for many cities around the world. In the Trinote, the page on the right has a chart of international holidays. In the Septanote, this page is lined for notes (click on photos to enlarge):The next two-page spread in both planners is the current year's Anno-Planning calendar, which goes July-June in the Septanote and January-December in the Trinote:

Throughout the planners, the Trinote is printed in gray and teal inks and the Septanote is only in gray:At the end of the weekly pages, both planners have an Anno-Planning calendar for the following year. In the Trinote, between the last weekly spread and the Anno-Planner, there is a January calendar to start planning into the following year:
Both planners contain the same (excellent) maps of the continents marked with cities, lakes, rivers and other major landmarks. After the maps there is a lined page for notes, which is the only notes page in the Trinote:
After this page, the Trinote has four pages for Receipts and Payments. In the Septanote, these are Notes pages.
In the back of both planners there are overview calendars of last-this-next year. Also in both planners there is a removable address book tucked into the back sleeve of the cover. And both planners have the same 90 g extra-white Clairefontaine paper that is famous for being wonderful to write on and fountain-pen friendly.

So there is the breakdown of each planner. If academic year vs. calendar year is your main need, then your choice is easy. If it doesn't matter which schedule you're on, you can choose which will function better for you: Septanote with more pages for notes, or Trinote with more information, a month planner to start the next year, and pages for financial records.

The Septanote is an excellent planner for anyone on the academic year schedule. Not only students but parents, teachers, school administrators and university professors would really benefit from the organization of the daily columns and categorized list boxes on the weekly page.

All those notes pages in the Septanote can be used by students to record their class schedule, grades, and extracurricular activities. Parents will really benefit from the extra notes pages to write in their child(ren)'s school contact information, carpool schedules, party planning and gift lists for the year.

Another great feature of both the Septanote and Trinote planners that's excellent for parents: you can use the daily column for your own schedule, and the Notes space under each day to keep track of what everyone else in your family is doing. That way you can see everyone's schedule all at once, on the same page.

Quo Vadis Septanote planners for the 2010/ 2011 academic year are now available online and in stores.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Moving Tips

Seems like a lot of people are getting ready to move soon. I am currently preparing for my 24th move in 18 years. As you might imagine, I have some tips.

These tips are not unique by any means, they are just things I have learned the hard way, from experience. I'm sure there are loads of websites with information on how to move. My favorite happens to be Fly Lady's moving tips. She has great advice on prepping your house to sell, and packing tips, among other ideas.

Here's my advice:

1) Start early.

This almost goes without saying but it's so important it's worth saying anyway. Start your preparations as early as you can stand to, the sooner the better. Last-minute moving frenzy is not pretty. I have thrown away some very important things (including my birth certificate) in last-minute frenzies.

2) Make lists, in advance, and schedule your time.

Start writing your lists weeks or even months before you'll need them, so that you can add to them over time as you think of things.

For example, our pack-out situation is complicated: we'll carry our most important things, like papers, with us in our carry-on bags; other things we'll need right away will come with us in our luggage; stuff we'll need soon but not immediately will come in our air freight shipment a couple of weeks after we move; and the rest of our belongings will arrive a couple of months later. So I have lists of what we'll need and when, and where to pack it.

You should make a list of everything you need to change your address with: magazine subscriptions, insurance companies, doctors and dentist offices, utilities for final bills. I'm always astounded at how long my "change address with" list is.

Make lists of packing materials you'll need, and schedule time to go buy them.

Make lists of items to sell or get rid of before you move, then schedule time to have a garage sale or take things to charity.

Schedule time to pack up! You can start packing seldom-used items immediately, to save you time right before you move. If you can do a little packing every day, or block out time on weekends, you'll be able to pack much more effectively.

Your life is already very busy, so you'll need to carve out the time for all of these preparations. Be sure to schedule it in your planner and stick to your schedule so you don't get behind. (See aforementioned last-minute moving frenzy.)

3) Consolidate.

The last time we moved, our kids were both toddlers which meant we were already out of our minds on a daily basis. Luckily for us we had movers come in and pack everything up for us. But when we arrived in our new place and started unpacking the boxes, we discovered they were all a total mess. Each box contained a seemingly random mixture of books, toys, clothes, kids' art supplies, framed photos, you get the idea. This was not the movers' fault at all--they just packed things up like they were supposed to. It was my fault for not organizing things in the first place.

This time, I'm consolidating. Kids' stuff will be gathered up from all over the house into their room, so that all of their stuff is together. Art supplies will go into their own separate boxes. Only books will go into Books boxes. Framed photos will be carefully wrapped and packed in a box together. Clothes will be packed separately in boxes and not mixed in with my bags, shoes, linens and everything else in my closet.

This will make it infinitely easier to unpack and put everything away in our new place.

4) Don't get rid of anything you'll just have to buy again when you get there.

Some people go overboard in the pre-move getting-rid-of. Yes, you should jettison anything you no longer use. But unless you really can no longer stand your couch/ TV/ dishes/ blankets/ whatever, don't chuck it because it will most likely cost a lot more to replace than to move it.

Another thing to think about: just because you haven't used something in a long time doesn't mean you won't need it where you're going. For example, while we've lived here, we haven't used our down comforter at all. But where we're going, we'll need it so I'm definitely not getting rid of it.

Exceptions: cleaning supplies or any other chemicals. You really don't want those leaking during the move or all your carefully-packed belongings will be ruined. Also, pitch your mop and broom, you're probably due for new ones anyway. And for Pete's sake, don't move your toilet brush! You don't want a toilet germ infestation. Just cough up the cash for a new one.

5) Think about what you'll need immediately in your new place.

Fly Lady has a great list of materials you'll need for moving in to your new place. Often I'm so focused on the move-out I forget about what I need for the move-in.

Remember you'll be walking into a totally empty house or apartment. The first thing you'll want to do is clean it. After all, that's somebody else's germs in there. So you'll need cleaning supplies, and and provisions to sustain you while you clean: Lunch. Drinks. Toilet paper. Music.

Once the previous residents' dirt and germs are expelled, your stuff can come in. You'll need scissors or box cutters for opening boxes, so bring those with you (don't pack them in one of your many boxes!!).

If at all possible, get all your furniture inside and set up before you bring in any boxes, so that you have drawers and shelves to put your stuff in/ on.

Before you arrive in your new place, make sure the electricity and water will be on! You don't want to be moving in without lights or flushing toilets.

So there's some things that I've learned about moving. What have I missed? Do you have any moving tips or advice?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Planner Preference: Ring Binder vs. Bound Book

There are advantages and disadvantages for using either a ring binder (such as Filofax or Franklin Covey) vs. a bound book planner (like Moleskine etc.). In the end it comes down to personal preference. But it is worth thinking about what you need from your planner to help you decide which will work best for you. Personally, I’m always going back and forth between the two, for all the reasons below:

1) Your choice of pages

Unless you happen to find a bound-book planner that has exactly the pages you want, it's hard to beat a ring binder for page choice. Maps, forms, notes pages (as many as you want), tabbed dividers, accessories--anything you want can be in your binder. You can even print out pages and hole-punch them to insert in your binder. The choices are endless.

With a bound book, you get what you get. If there are information pages or maps that you never use, they just take up space in your book. If there are other pages you want to include in your book, you can either put them into the pocket (if your book has one) or paperclip them in.

Moleskine has a partial solution on their website: MSK templates. You can type in your information, or select the pre-formatted Moleskine template of your choice. Print it, cut it out and glue it into your book.

Ultimately though, you are limited by the pages bound into your book.

2) Flexibility

This goes along with choice, and again a ring binder wins over a bound book. Your book can hold whatever you need when you need it, and can change as often as you need it to. Going on a trip? Pop in your maps and info pages. When you get home, you can take them back out again. Very busy? You can add some day per page diary pages to have more space to write your daily details.

With a bound book, you are stuck with the contents all year. Often when I use a bound book and write on the notes pages in the back, those notes are irrelevant a few months later and by the end of the book they are, as I told my sister, "so last year." In a ring binder, you can choose to keep only the pages that are currently relevant.

3) Archiving

This is where I prefer a bound book, hands down. Even when I diligently put my Filofax pages into archival binders, I still can't reference past information or events as easily as I can when I've used a bound book. This is because of #2 above. In a Filofax, I use only the pages I need at the time. Other things get shifted around, removed, lost, or if I do manage to archive them they are not in the place where I originally used them so they're harder to find.

When I'm using a bound book planner, I write relevant information directly onto the daily or weekly page. A phone number, directions to a new place, and notes go right there at the moment I need them. When I use a Filofax, I tend to write this information elsewhere, for a few reasons: either my weekly page isn't large enough to accommodate the extra info (due to the classic Filofax dilemma of small page/ big book) or I feel like I should categorize this information somehow, so I write it someplace else in my book.

The situation where the ring binder is better for keeping track of information like this is in the case of lists or contacts that I carry over year to year. These things tend to get lost if I have to re-write them year to year.

In the end, bound planner books become a sort of a time capsule of the year. Unless you shelve your Filofax at the end of the year (an expensive option), then you can't re-create this in a ring binder.

For example, I used my first ring-bound planner for several years. Even though I kept many of the pages, they got mixed around, some were carried over from year to year and others weren't, and some were lost. I don't have the year-by-year record I would have had in bound books.

By contrast, when I found my old Septanote from 11 years ago, I discovered a detailed record of my life at the time down to the amounts of my bills and the dates I paid them. Relevant cards and papers were still stuck inside the cover. I can't seem to recreate that level of detail when archiving my Filofax pages--it just doesn't have the same permanence.

4) Portability

This is the flip side of the Page Choice coin. In general, ring binders are larger than bound books of equal page size and number. The rings add bulk and often the binder's cover is bulkier too. Add in the human factor of adding too many pages (which I'm guilty of) and you can wind up with a much larger book than if you use a bound planner.

5) Tab hell

This can happen with either format, actually. When I use a ring binder I tend to use too many tabbed sections which adds bulk, and makes it difficult for me to find things (did I put that page under "Lists" or "Actions"??).

Meanwhile, people who use bound planners or notebooks can add their own tabs, whether marked on the pages or as sticky tabs. The classic problem with making tabbed sections in a bound notebook is, what do you do when one section fills up before the others?

Like I said, ultimately it comes down to personal preference more than functionality. Some people prefer the style of a Filofax even if Franklin Covey might work better for them (you know who you are). Some people want the streamlined portability of a bound book even though a ring binder might technically work better for them. Some people want the minimalist cool-factor of a Moleskine even though they might actually function better with something more structured.

We are humans. We do what we like, not always what's best for us!

Which do you prefer, and why?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Shocking Moleskine Planner Conversion!

I gave my Moleskine 18 month weekly notebook to my husband, which I posted as a comment in my review from a few days ago. But, this is such a shocker that it merits its own post!

My husband is not a planner user. He uses Outlook at work, and relies on me for home and personal planning. But this morning while I was showing him a bunch of planners that I will review soon, he had a realization.

Planning for our move, during our transition, and in our new place, he'll need a planner to keep everything together in one place. I told him he could have his pick out of a selection of sizes and formats of planners that I have on hand, and he chose the Moleskine 18 month weekly notebook. The weekly format with a page for notes is perfect for his needs. And, he already uses Moleskine notebooks for various purposes so the size and features of the book are already familiar to him. And, it starts in July which is right when he's going to start actually needing it. Perfect.

Problem is, I love the thing. As you may have read in my reviews, I used my 2009-2010 Mole weekly notebook for several months, which is a very long time for me. I bought the one I gave to him to have on hand in case I decided to go back to it, which I am still considering. I figure, after we move my life will be very different than it is now, so I like to have several planner options on hand ready to use whatever works best. And the weekly notebook format works well for me. Also I have to admit a certain comfort factor in the familiarity of a Moleskine.

So as soon as I sadly bade farewell to my Mole weekly notebook, I rushed to the computer to order up another one. As I said in my comment, they are currently less than $13 on Amazon.com, which is really cheap considering the Moleskine US website has them for almost $20.

I'll be really glad when it gets here. I have to admit, part of my excitement about it is the new monthly format, which solves multiple planner issues for me.

Meanwhile, I'm trying not to hover and be too pushy about my husband's usage of his Mole weekly notebook. I had a thrill of excitement this morning watching him fill in his important dates. Yes I am a geek! I'm trying not to give him too many "suggestions" on how to use his planner. He'll figure it out. And if he needs any planner advice, he knows who to ask! ;)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Q&A with Mark Frudd of Diary Doodle Books

Last month I had a post about Mark Frudd's very cool blog Diary Doodle Books, where he posts his weekly drawings in his diary book. I found the concept absolutely fascinating. I emailed him to ask if he would be interested in doing a Q&A about it, and he very kindly said yes.

Then I went on an unexpected trip to London, got stuck there for awhile due to the ash cloud, and am still catching up on things here at home. Mark, sorry it has taken me so long to post this!! Thanks so much for your thoughtful answers!

1) What first gave you the idea to do drawings every week in a diary book?

It was a couple of years ago. I used to sketch and doodle on loads of bits of paper, layout pads and what not. I just wanted to collect them all together. The diary was as good a place as any to collect the beginnings of ideas and keep them to hand and not on scraps of paper that might end up at the back of the drawer. It's great to go back and flick through them and know the dates a seed was sown. I just need to find the time to develop the majority of the ideas now.

2) Why do you use a weekly diary? (As opposed to a daily diary, or a plain sketchbook?)

A weekly diary is a little more chilled. I tried a daily diary with the specific task of having something new drawn and documented everyday. It was really tough, struggled to find the time to commit to it each day and get something down. It took the fun out of the whole idea. With the weekly diary I've got more time and it flows more naturally. I also use a plain sketchbook.

3) Tell us about your drawings in your diary: do they summarize your week, or do they represent specific events you want to remember?

It's a mix of both. The whole idea of the diary doodle book is to document what's happening each week. If there is some event in the future I'll skip ahead and do a little doodle or note to remind myself. Sometimes it can just turn into a page of random images and notes, that might not look like much. But each drawing meant something at the time of it's conception, like a woolly hat because it was cold in the studio that day.

4) Do you carry your doodle diary around with you everywhere and draw when the urge strikes? Or do you keep your diary in a certain place and do your drawings there?

It's usually just to the right, on my desk. I'll take it most places because yeah, you never know when the urge strikes or you'll see something that sparks an idea. It's pretty difficult drawing on the bus I can tell you.

5) I noticed this year you are using a Moleskine weekly diary. How do you like it? What was the diary you used last year? Why did you decide to switch?

It's a look and feel thing and the prestige of them. I think they are just a work of art in themselves and the quality of the paper is excellent too. Previously I used a basic Collins A5 spiral bound diary which was okay. I switched because the Moleskine is just a unique canvas to work on, a better vehicle to hold and present my ideas.

6) I noticed on your website (www.markfrudd.com) and your illustration blog (http://markfruddillustration.blogspot.com/) you are a professional illustrator. Your illustrations are beautiful! Can you tell us about your work?

Sure. My work is a mix of pencil drawings and digital colouring. I develop my ideas through my sketchbooks and diary to iron out the composition. When myself, the art director or art editor I'm working with are happy. I'll produce a final drawing, scan it in to Photoshop then start adding the colour. I create layers and layers of opaque colour, a bit like doing washes with watercolours. Building up the detail and textures, removing bits of the pencil drawing sometimes to get the right balance. I do like to leave most of the pencil drawing visible to give the final piece an organic feel. Even though I'm using the computer to add the colour, my aim is for the final to look natural and not computer generated. (Laurie here--Wow!!!!)

7) And, I noticed you enjoy mountain biking. Where is your favorite place to bike? Where is your dream destination for mountain biking?

Yeah. Good to get out and about, stretch the legs on the bike, blow off the cobwebs. There are a few good little woods nearby for a quick blast round. Used to ride around the Brighouse, Halifax and Huddersfield areas in Yorkshire which were always good. Dream destination would be anywhere where there's a hill to go up and come down the other side. Moab Utah over in America would be up there as the ultimate.

Mark, thanks again for sharing with us about your doodle book, your artwork, websites and hobbies!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Moleskine 2011 Extra Small daily and weekly planners

The Moleskine Extra Small daily and weekly planners are fantastic additions to the Moleskine planner lineup. Their tiny size and color selection make these a must-have.

Moleskine representative Silvia Salvadori very generously gave me the pink Extra-Small daily planner and blue Extra-Small weekly planner as samples when I was at the London Book Fair. I am very excited to have the opportunity to review these new planners! The Extra Small is a new size for Moleskine planners, and the formats are very cool.

The first thing you will notice is, these planners are tiny. They measure just 2.5 x 4 inches (6.5 x 10.5 cm). The Extra-Small planners are just about the same size as a smartphone. (My phone is not smart. It doesn't even have a camera. But the planners are about the same size!)

The day-per-page planner is almost exactly the same dimensions as a pocket pack of tissues.

The weekly planner is so small and slim, it would easily fit into any pocket.

These are the perfect companion to your cell phone. You can talk on your phone while writing dates in your planner, then pop them both into your pocket and off you go.

These, like all Moleskine 2011 planners, have monthly calendars with the days as squares to write in. The Extra Small planners have monthly calendars only for the current year. There are no planning pages for the following year, unlike other Moleskine planners.

The weekly planner has an excellent, open format allowing for maximum writing space on the small pages. Holidays are marked on the days with a sun icon, but unlike other Moleskine planners the country initials are not indicated, to save space.

I love the format of the daily planner: unlined, open pages. The phases of the moon are indicated (which I like to have in my planner) and at the bottom of the pages there are icons for temperature and weather for those of us who like to record such things (another thing I love about this planner). As in the weekly, the holidays are indicated on the days with the sun icon, but countries are not indicated in order to save space.

Here are some more size comparison photos. Next to the Extra-Small, the Pocket Moleskine daily planner looks huge despite measuring only 3.5 x 5.5 inches (9 x 14 cm):

Here are the Extra-Small, Pocket, and Large Moleskine daily planners:

As you would expect since they are all day-per-page, they are all about the same thickness:

Inside the Extra-Small planners, the usual Moleskine features apply: international dialing codes, measurement conversions, holiday charts and trip planning pages are all here. The ribbon bookmark, rounded corners and elastic strap are here too. Also, at the back of the planners there are several pages for notes.

The Extra-Small planners have a hard cover with a back pocket. The pocket has color-matched cloth, which is a nice touch. The back pocket is large enough to hold several business cards, your credit card and/ or your driver's license.

On the back of the label there is more information about the planner features:I love the colors. I adore the pink, of course. And, the blue is very handsome and masculine-looking. The Extra Small planners also come in black, lime green, maroon and sky blue. You can pre-order these on Amazon, for shipping later this summer.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Moleskine 18 month weekly notebook 2010-2011

There are some major changes in the 2010-2011 Moleskine 18 month weekly notebook from last year's version (which you can read my review of here).

The biggest change is that there are no more monthly planners with the months as columns. (But be aware, the description on the Moleskine US website still describes the "monthly view for the year, in column format on a 6 page spread." This no longer exists.)

In its place is the VASTLY preferable format many of us have been begging for for years: the months with the days as squares large enough to write in:
These monthly calendars go from July 2010 all the way through December 2011.

While I was at the London Book Fair talking to Silvia Salvadori at the Moleskine display, she confirmed that all 2011 Moleskine planners now have this monthly format instead of the monthly columns. She asked if that is a good thing, and I said absolutely yes. I much prefer this monthly format.

Buuuuuutttt... (and there's always a but, right?) something had to be sacrificed. In this case, the sacrifice was the future year's planning pages. In my review of the 2009-2010 Moleskine 18 month weekly notebook, I noted, "Also there are calendars with the months as columns with a line to write each day, 2 months per page, for July-December 2009, all of 2010, AND ALL of 2011. I do a lot of long-range planning so I REALLY appreciated this. Bravo Mole!!"

Well, now that extra future year is gone. The monthly calendars cover July-December of 2010, and January-December 2011, but there is no planner for 2012. In my opinion, it's a small price to pay for the improved functionality of the new monthly calendars.

There are planning calendars with the days just as numbers for July-December 2010 as well as all of 2011 and all of 2012, so you can see those dates. Thank you, Moleskine.

There's also new packaging for the 2011 Moleskine planners, to make them easier to distinguish between formats.

On the back of the label, there is additional information about the planner features:

The other usual Moleskine features are still there, including country holidays for July 2010-December 2011:
Also, the 18 month planners have time tables for class schedules:
This is a handy feature even if you yourself are not in any classes. This table could be used for recurring weekly events for yourself and/or your family. I use these tables for other things (one for financial records and the other to record my weight).

Other features are still there too like the time zones map, trips planning, and several pages for notes in the back of the book (which is wonderful).

The Moleskine 18 month weekly notebooks are now available on Amazon (where I pre-ordered mine for a great price), Moleskine US, and The Daily Planner among others. (I am not affiliated with any of these websites.)