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Monday, April 30, 2012

Paperblanks Midi Ventaglio Rosso journal

I found this in an airport bookstore a couple of months ago and absolutely could not pass it by. It is gorgeous!!

The Paperblanks Midi size measures 7 by 5 inches. This journal has 240 lined pages. It is the Ventaglio Rosso cover in the Baroque Ventaglio collection.

The spine has an old-world look that will look awesome on the shelf:

The edges of the pages are printed with a floral design, and check out that clasp!!!!

Here's a closeup of the clasp:

It's magnetized so it doesn't actually clip on hard, so it's easy to open and close:

 Here's a top view of the page edges:

The light off-white paper is lined, acid-free and sourced from sustainable forests:
And there is a real ribbon placemarker:

Inside the back cover there is a pocket:

I'll have to come up with a very noble purpose for this!!

You can look on Paperblanks.com to find their products in your area.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Planner Pad

Several people have recommended I try a Planner Pad, and for some reason I'm only just now getting around to it!  It's an excellent system, especially if you are working on multiple things at once and need to prioritize your tasks.

I ordered the Personal size Planner Pad, which measures 6 3/4 by 8 1/2 inches. You can also get the Executive Size, which is 8 1/2 by 11 inches, or the Professional size which is 8 1/2 by 14 inches. The Personal and Executive sizes come in spiral bound (which is what I got) or loose-leaf hole punched to insert into the binder of your choice (PP sells binders too, or you can use another brand). The Professional size comes spiral-bound only.

You can choose which quarter you want your Planner Pad to start in, and it goes for a full 12 months. I chose January-December 2012.

The cover is very professional-looking, and I couldn't resist the optional personalization!

The first page has space for writing in your personal info, then there are several pages for important phone numbers. (Click on any of the photos for a larger view):

Next there is a three-year reference calendar:

Here is a feature I really love: there are monthly planning pages where the months blend together, so you can see each week intact per row. This format is genius for seeing the weeks uninterrupted for your monthly planning.
There are these types of monthly planners for all of 2012, all of 2013 AND all of 2014, with holidays printed on the day spaces for easy planning.

There is a reference page of holidays, and a time zones map for the US:

Next we get into the meat of the planner. At the beginning of each month there is a monthly calendar and a notes page. The months are embedded in the weeks, and you can buy month tabs to add on that will allow you to easily flip to each month.

Here is the weekly format. The idea is that it acts like a funnel. At the top you write your categorized lists, in the middle row you write to-dos for each day, and the bottom row is scheduled appointments for each day. Click here to see Planner Pad's details on How It Works.
This works well for anyone who is juggling a lot of different tasks. You just do your mental dump at the top of the page to get everything out in front of you. You can categorize your lists any way you want: by priority, by topic, by project etc.
Then for each day you look at your task lists and decide what can be done on particular days. You fill in those tasks in the day spaces.
Below the daily task lists is the timed schedule space, to see all of your daily appointments in chronological order. Also at the right of the page there are spaces for Notes and Expenses.

This is a great method for getting everything you need to do out on your weekly page so you can move it around and know what needs to be done every day.

In the back of the book there are a few pages for notes, then there are 12 numbered pages with a faint grid pattern on them and Sunday through Saturday in light print at the top of the page. You can use these pages to sketch out calendars, write your goals, take notes, or otherwise keep track of anything you need to.

The very last page of the book has quick reference calendars for last-this-next year.

There are various add-ons you can buy separately including the month tabs I mentioned above, and clear plastic pockets that stick into the inside of the cover for holding papers and loose ends.

My friend Rori has done an excellent review of her Planner Pad, with lots of details so be sure to check it out here.

I have to agree with Rori, the Planner Pad paper is fantastic and will stand up to any ink. Even my Sharpie pens don't bleed through.

One definite advantage of a Planner Pad is you can choose any quarter to start, and it goes for a full 12 months. Especially this time of year it's not easy to switch to a new planner, so this is a great option.

The Planner Pad was designed for business and professional use but it would be useful for any busy person. I think this would be especially useful for someone who is juggling multiple roles such as work, family, social, study etc. Having everything out on one spread lets you see everything you need to do and when you have time to do it.

You can see Planner Pad products on their website www.PlannerPads.com.

Do you use or have you used a Planner Pad? What is your experience with them?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What do you do with half-empty notebooks?

When I start a new notebook, I have the best intentions to fill it with awesome things.

But often either my enthusiasm for the topic wanes or my circumstances change so that topic is no longer relevant. As a result, the notebook sits unused but for a few pages.

For example, several years ago I started using a clothbound Clairefontaine notebook for notes on science articles I read. What a great idea!  I loved writing on the super-smooth paper. But after a few pages I decided the note-taking was tedious and unnecessary. So now I have an awesome notebook with just a few written-in pages sitting on the shelf.

Similarly, my sister sent me a magenta large Moleskine volant notebook. What a great notebook!  I wanted a very important purpose for it.  So when I was considering a graduate course, I wrote everything I needed to do to prepare in the volant. Lists, contacts, websites and other info. But later I changed my mind and decided not to do the course after all. So now my super-cool volant has no current purpose.

I don't throw notebooks away, so all my partly-used ones are just sitting there on the shelf. I guess my problem is, every time I have a great idea for a purpose for a notebook, I start a NEW one rather than continue in one that's already been partly used.  Also, I never know when I'll come back around to an idea I'd previously abandoned and continue in that notebook.

What do you do with partly-used notebooks?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Planner size poll result!

Here are the results of the Planner Size poll!

Out of 162 votes:

Pocket (approx 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches or smaller)
  23 (14%)
Medium (approx 4 3/4 by 7 inches)
  60 (37%)
A5 (approx 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches)
  60 (37%)
Desk size (approx 7 1/2 by 10 inches)
  9 (5%)
Full size ( 8 1/2 by 11 inches or A4)
  10 (6%)

Very interesting that Medium and A5 ended up with the exact same number of votes. I think these sizes of planners are an excellent combination of portability and page size.

Pocket size had fewer votes than I expected because I thought people would go for maximum portability.

Desk and especially Full sizes got more votes than I expected! Shows there's still a market for large planners. I guess if you're carrying a laptop with you, you can carry a planner of similar size too.

Many thanks to everyone who voted in this poll!

Friday, April 20, 2012

NEW for 2013! Quo Vadis Hebdo weekly planner with NEW Texas cover!

I am very excited to review this brand-new planner from Quo Vadis!

The Hebdo weekly planner is new for 2013, and is an excellent addition to the Quo Vadis line. And, this one sports the new Texas cover, also new for Quo Vadis's 2013 planners!

Okay, so let me catch my breath here: It's a new planner for 2013. It's a new, awesome cover. It's Quo Vadis, with my favorite super-smooth paper. And, it's purple. Let me go get my smelling salts!

Ok, now that I've had a chance to recover a little composure, let me show you all the delights of this new planner!!

First of all, my apologies for the non-representation of the color. My camera tends to photograph purple as too far to the blue side, so I tried various settings and light to try to show the true color of the cover.  The photo above shows the color pretty well but a little too blue.

Below is a pretty good representation of the color, but not a very nice photo:

 This is a better photo, but slightly too pink this time:

 And here it is again outside, looking too blue:

Anyway, the cover is definitely purple, not blue. This cover is the Violet color of the spanking-new Texas cover, which is a PVC-free vinyl with a soft feel. It's described on the website as "smooth faux suede" which is a good description. It's not fuzzy, but has the texture of nubuck or flat suede. It's very pleasant and soft!

Note: the feature on the front of the cover is not a closure, just a smooth area to add detail.

So let me take you for a walk through the book. Click on the photo below for more details of the listed features.  Also if you click on the photo at the top of this post you'll see the paper is 90 gsm, super smooth white paper which is acid- and chlorine-free. (It's my very favorite paper in the world, and creates a very pleasurable writing experience).  The binding is sewn for durability and allows the book to lay flat very easily, and the planner is made in the USA.

The page size is 6 1/4 by 9 3/8 inches (16 x 24 cm) which is an excellent size for maximum writing space in a very portable book. The book is narrow, slim (less than 1/2 an inch thick) and very lightweight so it could comfortably go anywhere with you in your bag. I've used planners that are smaller than this and much heavier!

As usual with Quo Vadis there are plenty of excellent features. The first page has plenty of space to write in your Personal information. There is a very detailed page of International dialing codes (which I use, and appreciate enormously):
There are also pages for minimum and maximum monthly average temperatures for cities of the world, and a chart of international holidays (not shown).

Next we start getting into the meat of the planner. There is an anno-planner to see your entire year at a glance, with months as columns. There is a Priority box at the top of each month. Holidays are indicated on the day spaces and are highlighted in green:

Now here is where this planner starts to get especially exciting!  Thank you Exaclair for including MONTHLY calendars too!!!!
To be completely honest I was hoping for month-on-two-pages calendars, but hey I'll take it. Monthly calendars are an absolute necessity for me to see upcoming deadlines, bills due, holidays and travel. The two months spread allows for planning ahead easily.

Here is the excellent weekly format! It's a week on two pages, with huge day spaces! The Hebdo's weekly format is the same as the academic-year Scholar's weekly format, but goes Jan-Dec and is printed in teal and gray inks (as opposed to only gray in the Scholar).  Also, the Scholar doesn't have monthly calendars like the Hebdo does.  (By the way, "Hebdo" means "weekly" in French.)

The large day spaces measure approximately 83 square centimeters, which puts it well into my range of big-enough day spaces.  Sunday's space is slightly smaller, but still plenty big.

Each day has a space for the day's Priority, and the daily spaces are lined but not timed.

The large unformatted daily spaces can be used for work, school, home, or a combination of any/ all.  You can write in your appointment times, write your daily lists, make notes, do menu planning, record phone calls, anything at all. There's nothing to restrict how you use the day spaces.

Holidays and Daylight Savings Time for the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and phases of the moon are all printed in the day spaces.

At the end of each week you tear off the bottom corner to open directly to the current week easily.

At the bottom of the left page is a lined space for lists and notes.

The weekly pages go from January to the end of December 2013. After the weekly pages there is a monthly calendar for January 2014 for forward planning.

Then there is an anno-planner for all of 2014 to easily plan into the next year:

Next come the maps, and you know I love Quo Vadis's detailed maps!  These are just two of them:
There are also full-page maps of Canada, the US, South America, Australia and New Zealand,  Europe, Asia, and Africa. There is one lined Notes page.

The back page of the book has a handy reference calendar for last-this-next year. Tucked into the back cover is a removable address book:

The booklet has A-Z tabs for contacts but could just as easily be used for notes.
Quo Vadis does make Notes insert booklets that fit the Hebdo (which is the same size as the Minister and Scholar) but I don't know where to buy them. You can check the retailers who sell Quo Vadis or contact the company for more info.

The 2013 Hebdo planner isn't available for purchase quite yet, but keep your eye on the Quo Vadis Hebdo product page and check retailers. I'm not entirely sure but I think they will ship mid-May.  In addition to this Texas cover, the Hebdo will also be available in the Club, Soho and Duo Leather covers.

The Texas cover will be available on all of the Quo Vadis 2012-2013 Academic and 2013 calendar-year planners.

Huge, enormous thanks to Karen at Exaclair for sending me this planner as a sample to review!!  I love the planner and the cover, and I feel enormously privileged to have the opportunity to review this new addition to the excellent Quo Vadis line!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Collins Academic 18-month weekly diary

Many thanks to Collins for giving me this diary as a sample to review!

Many academic-year diaries are aimed at students. This is the first one I've seen aimed at academic professionals.

This weekly diary has a hard cover and measures a little larger than A5 at 6 inches wide and 8 1/2 inches tall.

Inside the front cover there is a overview planner for all of the 2012-2013 academic year.

Here is the table of contents showing the huge number of information and reference pages.  There's loads of info that would be useful to professors and other academic professionals.

There's travel information for the UK with reference phone numbers:

There are four Term planners for plotting your schedule:

Here's just one example of the many information pages in the book:

The weekly format has lined but not timed day spaces with holidays printed on the days:
The weekly pages go from the beginning of July 2012 all the way through the end of December 2013.

At the end of the weekly pages there is a forward planner for 2014:

There are monthly account pages:

And an accounts summary page, and several pages for notes:
The last page of the book is for frequently used numbers, for easy reference

Inside the back cover of the book there is a year overview planner for the 2013-2014 academic year:

The book is very professional looking. There is a real ribbon page marker to mark the current week.

This planner I've shown is the 35M, which has a new look according to the website. Click here for this product's page.  I don't know if the image shown on the website is the actual cover or a removable label page.

Click here to see the entire selection of Collins academic and mid-year diaries.

Thanks again to Collins!