My Heart Belongs to Malden

Yes, I’m back in my  ochre Malden from the Regency Compact and no, I don’t want to talk about it.

It’s too soon.

Actually, when it comes right down to what I want in a planner, I must admit that for me Malden may just be the Filofax equivalent of Mr. Right.

Because Malden is male. Okay, not the pink one, and I guess the crimson one could go either way really, but ochre is definitely male.  To me.  Mine is.

Probably black and grey too…I clearly haven’t given this too much thought… but definitely the personal Ochre.

That rugged vintage buffalo leather, the metal stud on the closure (oh yeah, I said “stud”.), the dapper contrast stitching, that dreamy scent, and how it only looks more distinguished as it ages.


Yup, it occurred to me as I moved back into the comfort and, let’s face it, pure satisfaction of this Filofax,  that having a Malden around might just be better than having a man around *.

I thought, with a chortle, that given how many times I’ve changed my mind and moved in & out of my Malden (and it never complains or rolls its eyes), it is certainly easier to live with than a man *.  And hence this post was born.

(The key words here being “adult” and “humor”)

Directions for continuing to read this blog entry are as follows:

Check your inhibitions at the door, sit down, relax, pour yourself a nice glass of wine (but don’t drink it while reading I’ve been told, lest you spray wine all over your monitor or yourself; wine stains you know), and please put Bill Withers “Use Me” on in the background for ambiance.

* Note that @stevemorton and @tommes_s are hereby exempt from this Top Ten List, as I have never lived with either of them (or both of them, now that you mention it), and although they are men, they are also in fact Malden owners.

The Top 10 Reasons  a Malden is Easier to Live With Than  a Man :

10.  I have six of them (Maldens that is) and that is perfectly okay.

9.  I can have all of them out at the same time . And I can even use them all at the same time if I want to.

8.  Since they are all Maldens, I never have to worry about calling one by the wrong name (awkward!!!!).

7.  Malden’s sole purpose is to wait quietly…not watching sports incessantly, asking me how much longer I’m going to be getting ready, or hitting on my friends every chance it gets…for the opportunity to meet my needs.

6.  IT carries MY stuff in ITS pockets, not the other way around.

5.  Three words you can say about Malden that I don’t think you can say about too many men:  No. Mommy. Issues.

(That one’s not  just me folks; that’s Freud, Shakespeare, Hitchcock, Voltaire, pretty much the entirety of Greek Mythology, and any married woman who’s husband’s mother is alive, so think about that before you leave a nasty comment. Just sayin’)

4.  It’s never in a bad mood/too tired/unexplainably flaccid when I have one of those days where I can’t keep my hands off its leather.

3.  Having a Malden actually simplifies my life and makes it less chaotic.

2.  The Pocket ones never worry that they are too small.

(come on…that one was funny, admit it)

And the number one reason a Malden is easier to live with than a man is…

1. It doesn’t require constant reassurance that it was “good for me too” every time I use it.

Now, if only I could find a way to make the thing vibrate…..

Guest Post – Keeping Up With the Philofaxians

Another All-Stars guest post!! Hooray!

This time by the lovely, intelligent and amazing Kanalt of Life Well Planned.

I think you are REALLY going to love this one…

“I have mentioned before throughout the blogosphere that I am not one for reality television.  However, that is a bit of a lie.  The truth is that I’m not one for the “fake” reality shows.  And by that I mean those shows where the whole point is to watch a family with too much money bicker at each other or a group of twenty-somethings living the college life in a beach front rented house.  You know what I mean.  But I occasionally participate in watching the “real” reality shows where one can experience a particular job a group of people do or a contest where people have to actually cook or make something with their own hands, using ideas that come from their own brain—reality shows where people actually do something rather than sitting around barking out orders to other people and/or getting so drunk they air their unmentionables.

My husband and I don’t make a point of watching the “real” reality shows, but when we’re home with nothing else to watch we will turn on one of these shows.  We’re learned about antiques and auction houses, about driving big rigs in the Alaskan tundra, about how to create new menus on a food truck all while competing for the grand prize, and even about the grossest jobs in America.

One show we just happened to turn on one day is about a group of people with all different professional backgrounds coming together in a large house in what appears to be Colorado for the sake of engaging in one hobby—shooting guns.  It’s some kind of elimination game.  From what I can tell (after having seen only a couple of episodes) there are two teams.  Each team member must compete against someone from the other team while running an obstacle course (much like the ones used for military training) and then engaging in a shooting competition.  At the end, when everyone has had their turn, the team who finishes first wins.  Then, people within each team get eliminated, mostly by the other teammates voting them out.  They use agility, speed, precision, and accuracy as a way to determine who is worth their salt and who should go home.  And, yes, sometimes it’s about simply not liking a person.

I’m not much of a gun person—I can see why people like shooting as a hobby, and I don’t mind watching this kind of a thing, but it’s not something I would ever engage in (well, at least not unless someone presented me with the opportunity).  So while I’m watching this show with my husband, my first thought was, It’s kind of cool, though not really my cup of tea.  My second thought was, But how cool is it that a group of strangers get together to participate in something they’re so passionate about?  My third thought was, Shit!  We should totally do this among the Philofaxy group!

So I ask you, my friends—how awesome would it be if we all got together in one house to have a Philofaxy tournament?

**Disclaimer: The ideas presented below are for entertainment purposes only. Everything mentioned is said with a great deal of sarcasm and humor.  The listing of people who will play is not intended to leave anyone out.  Anyone can join this imaginary game.  However, the people listed below have no choice in the matter.  They must appear in person to the castle (named “The Island”) in rural England upon receipt of their certified invitation.  Please consult your physician before enrolling in this program.**

The Players:

J of The Crazy Life of J – She must bring her photographer boyfriend so that he can document the happenings (despite his objections of photographing Filofaxes of all things).

Imy of Imy’s World – She must bring her roller skates so that we can all unwind at night with some fancy skating.  She will be our teacher.

SNARL of The SNARLing Post – She can help us turn the innocent roller skating into a derby competition when things get rough and we need to eliminate some players.

CP of Musings of a Caribbean Princess – Every competition needs a princess.  Her collection of Bayswater handbags doesn’t hurt either.  They can be given away as prizes for the winner.

Laurie of Plannerisms – She has a sound mind and can be the voice of reason when things get out of control.  She can also provide background information on other planner brands.

Steve – The Philofaxy alpha-male, he will wear the King’s crown.  All this means is that he will wear a crown.  He can also provide any background needed on any Filofax matter.

Tommes – His role is to keep Steve company.  We can’t let the alpha-male role and crown-wearing status get to Steve’s head too much.

Zoe of Zeitgeist of Zoe – With her bin of planners she will arrive.  Her collection is the crux of this entire operation.

Me – Because it was my idea.  And I have immunity.

The Rules:

Once all of the players are gathered, we will go around the room and introduce ourselves—where we’re from, how long we’ve been involved with Philofaxy, what binders we own and how they’re used, what we hope to achieve at this competition.

All binders will be presented.  They will be passed around the room for everyone to touch and examine.  Placebo inserts will be provided for testing purposes only.  Then, each player will submit a vote as to which binder should be eliminated from the game and why.  (The Apex will not appear in this competition, as we all know it will be the first binder to be voted off The Island.)

Once there is only one binder left, each participant will design his or her own inserts to go into the winning binder.  The inserts will then be judged (your name will not appear on the design).  Only one design will win.  Once the design has been chosen, the creator will be revealed.  He or she will receive the King’s Crown, the Bayswater handbags, and a $100,000 Filofax gift certificate.

The Judge

Judge Rori, complete with her black robe, lacy collar, and pearl necklace, will choose the winning insert design (because she has yet to find a Filofax system that works well for her—maybe yours can be the chosen system).  She will base her decision on creativity, color palette, layout, paper quality, availability of monthly tabs, and overall design implementation.  The decision of Judge Rori is final.

To Participate:

If you would like to participate in this adventure, please leave a self-addressed, stamped message in the comments below.  We will mail you your official invitation.  Please have your invitation in hand when you arrive at The Island.  Participants who fail to do so will be immediately eliminated.

The Show:

Each episode will cover one day of the game.  Each night a binder will be voted off.  After 30 weeks and 30 binders and 30 episodes, a winning binder will be chosen.  The 31st week and episode will determine the winner of the insert design.

Participants must sign a waiver for the televised production of this adventure.  The show will appear on cable stations as “Keeping Up with the Philofaxians.”  Players will not be awarded any monetary gifts.  Cheating, swindling, and buddy systems are strictly prohibited.

“Keeping Up with Philofaxians” is taped in front of a live studio audience.  This program and Closed Captioning are brought to you by Filofax, Post-it products, and by the letter P.

Let the games begin.”


Wasn’t that a fantabulous idea??!! I’m still chuckling…”and I have immunity“.  Brilliant.  I totally snorted my iced tea more than once on this post!  Thanks Kanalt : )

“Week” In the Knees

As some of you know, there was an unexpected addition to my Filofax family over the weekend due to some mutual enabling at the New York  Meet-up. I’m not going to bother writing it up, as Kanalt’s post would be hard to top.

Anyway, the addition to which I am referring is a Compact Regency – which you will soon be reading about in depth in a pending guest post on Philofaxy – but because I’m a rogue, you can take a peek on Flickr if you must see it now. Unexpected because I am a devout worshiper at the temple of Personal. I like my Filofax FAT and stuffed to the gills. Me, go Compact? No way.

Or so I thought! Once I had the regal Regency in my grubby little paws and felt that shiny Italian leather with the ostrich embossing I was smitten. Compact/Personal…what’s the diff? I’ll just put fewer of my inserts in it and away I’ll go. Right?

Without blowing the surprise…WRONG.  Long story short, my beloved Franklin Covey 1 Day per Page inserts won’t work in it because Compacts are apparently about 1/2″ narrower than Personals and the FC pages are 1/2″ wider than Filofax pages to begin with.

Cue sad trombone : (

But this Regency is mad fierce, so I’m pretty determined to use it…which means yet more searching for suitable inserts, and since this is a Compact we’re talking about, searching shall commence in the realm of Weeklies rather than Dailies.


1. Filofax Week To View

1a. Standard (Lined)

We’ve all seen ’em…most of us have also used ’em. The pluses are they are clean, basic, uncluttered and you can basically do whatever you want on them. The con (for me) are that they are too unstructured. My day has a lot of To Do items and I am a very “out of sight out of mind” kind of person, so I like to have at least the major To Do’s right on my day.

Could I write them in? Sure.  But my particular flavor of OCD is one that requires check boxes so that I can tick off my list items, not merely cross them out or check them off willy-nilly. The vote is still out on these.

1b. Horizontal(Lined)

Don’t adjust your sets kids, these are supposed to be sideways. They feature hourly ticks 8 am to 6 pm and the weekends are as small and sucky as frankly ANY Weekly diary I have found. My thinking here is that orienting them horizontally takes the rings entirely out of the writing space, thus making them, as it says on the Filofax website, “easy to use”. Once again, no check boxes for my slew of To Do items.

But, like a ferret who has spied something shiny, I have these on order…just to play with. A review post will come when they do.

2. Day Runner Pro Weekly Planner Refill

On the left of each day there are hourly ticks 7 am to 6 pm (“Schedule”) and on the right of each day there is a “Record” section…yes, with check boxes…but I hate, hate, HATE the paper they use. It feels thin and cheap and I swear it sucks the moisture right out of my fingertips when I attempt to turn the pages.

I like that you see the current & next month in the upper part of the page, but frankly, it’s printed so small I can’t read it without my glasses. In fact, the beige, muddy color scheme they use is very tough on the eyes and, not only don’t I care for it,  I can barely SEE any of it.  Fail.

3. DayTimer Two Page Per Week (Original)

These also break up each day-block for items “To Be Done” (this time of the left side) and “Appointments” on the right, with a bizarre center location for hourly ticks from 8 am to 5 pm. There are blanks above 8 and below 5, so you could go 7 am to 6 pm if you had to. I have used these with success in the past, until my work schedule changed and I felt I needed an entire day per page.

My workload has not decreased – to the contrary, my plate is now more full than ever (heaping even) – but these inserts have the crisp, (mostly) white, clean, easy on the eyes appeal of the Filofax pages yet feature check boxes like the Day Runner ones.

Right now, these are tied with Filofax (horizontal or standard) for the top seed.

4. Franklin Covey Week on Two Pages (I know, I know…not a contender for the Regency, but since we’re talking Weeklies here I felt I had to include them for general comparison purposes)

4a. Original – Vertical Week

Not wild about the vertical week. Seems like not much room for anything really…cramped columns and a truly measly Task List there at the bottom. You have the current month only at the top and a quote (who cares) where the following month SHOULD go. Even the inclusion of check boxes won’t save these I’m afraid!

4b. Her Point of View – Standard Week

They’re frou-frou, I know. But…these are one of the few weekly designs that FC hasn’t changed to the vertical format. You do get the current and following months up top (and I can actually see them, which helps), they are clean like the FF inserts (as in, you can make your own hourly ticks) and there is ample space at the bottom for Notes. I wish they had used the Note space on the right-hand page to give Sunday it’s own entire day-block, but whatever. And no check boxes. Thank you for playing, please move along.

Fortunately for me (unfortunately for my wallet) I actually HAVE on hand, 2011 Weeklies for all of the ones that will fit in the Regency.  Day Runner, Filofax (standard layout) and DayTimer.

All I can say is…I’m going to try each in the Regency and see which contender wins the bout.

Take a gander at the poll and let me know which one YOU think will win…..

Guest Post – Music Makes My World Go ‘Round

Today we have a guest post from the amazing and illustrious Steve, in which he discusses his love of music.  Read on…I know you will enjoy it as much as I did!

“My love of modern pop music dates back to my childhood. I have a very vague recollection of going to see the film ‘Hard Day’s Night’ at the cinema, which would have been about 1964, I was only 5 then hence why I say vague. I was born ‘across the water’ in Bebington, which is the other side of the River Mersey from Liverpool, where the Beatles thing all sort of exploded during my childhood, although I don’t remember much about them apart from their appearances on TV.

The first album I can recall buying was by Simon and Garfunkel, although I’m not sure why I bought it, may be it was to impress a girl I knew at the time!  Anyway my musical interest sort of laid dormant for a couple of years or so. Then a friend of mine introduced me to the guitar, he was in a band and I went along to see them play a few times. I bought my own guitar and tried to learn how to play it, not very well I may add.

One of the first guitar pieces my friend Peter tried to teach me was the lead guitar from a Steely Dan track off of their album ‘Can’t Buy a Thrill’ called ‘Reelin’ in the Years’ which I feel I’m doing now! I literally tied up my fingers in knots learning that one track. I can just about remember how to play some of it still, but not at the speed required!

Oh I wish I had access to You Tube back then:

Anyway I digress.

I got to quite like Steely Dan, their music seemed to appeal to my taste, the lyrics never made a lot of sense, but that was by the by. I bought their albums all through the 1970’s on LP and enjoyed every one. I was listening to the best session musicians in the business, may be I should have started with something that was less of a challenge, but it was the tuneful guitar that appealed to me. It wasn’t just a loud noise if you listened for long enough you could hear and isolate each player’s contribution.

My love of Steely Dan caused me to expand my list of artists and there was rarely a weekend when I wasn’t hanging out in some of the back room second-hand record shops in Birkenhead or the music stores in Liverpool, which included a small and new shop called ‘Virgin Records’. They somehow seemed to have LP’s cheaper than the normal stores I went to. What I didn’t know at the time was they imported the LP’s from other countries avoiding tax on them and so they were always cheaper in there.

I recall buying Supertramp – Crime of the Century in Virgin Records and noticing when I got home that the sleeve notes where in Spanish, which I couldn’t read, but I wasn’t worried I loved the music on that album. Listening to a crackly LP track trying to make out what the train announcer says on ‘Ruby’ which I never managed until I got the album on CD years later!

My collection slowly grew, I also started to go and see bands live in Liverpool when I was about 14 or 15, dashing back down through the city when the concert had finished to catch the last boat across to Birkenhead. I enjoyed the listening to bands playing live and seeing how the concerts where technically organized.

As I approached 16 I was still not sure what I wanted to do for a career, but radio or electronics engineering looked interesting, so at 16 I left home to get a job as a trainee radio technician in Milton Keynes. My record collection was initially left at home until I moved to different accommodation and then it joined me again and started it’s growth again.

Move on a few years to about 1985 and the music CD had hit the scenes and the players had become affordable. I had by this time got about 200 LPs in my record collection. I would have loved to have just replaced them all over night with CD versions, but I couldn’t afford to do that and also not all my LP’s where available on CD at that point in time.

So I started going through my collection picking out the albums I really liked gradually replacing them with CD’s. By this time I had also got a better hi-fi system to listen to my music as well. I still had my guitar but I wasn’t playing it as often by this time, I got more enjoyment from listening to professional players.

It wasn’t however until the advent of iTunes that I started to notice that what I was listening to on a regular basis had started to form a pattern. So I retraced my steps and started to look at the release dates of some of my favourite albums. And here they are:

  • Can’t Buy a Thrill – Steely Dan – 1972
  • Exile on Main Street – Rolling Stones – 1972
  • Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd – 1973
  • Sheet Music – 10cc – 1973
  • Selling England by the Pound – Genesis – 1973
  • Buckingham Nicks – Buckingham Nicks – 1973
  • Band on the Run – Wings – 1973
  • Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield – 1973
  • Countdown to Ecstasy – Steely Dan – 1973
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John – 1973
  • Sheer Heart Attack– Queen – 1974
  • Pretzel Logic – Steely Dan – 1974
  • The Impossible Dream – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – 1974
  • Crime of the Century – Supertramp – 1974
  • Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac – 1975
  • The Best of the Doobie Brothers – Doobie Brothers – 1976
  • Aja – Steely Dan – 1977
  • Rumours – Fleetwood Mac – 1977

Yes you have by now spotted the large concentration of albums from 1973!  As I moved in to the 1980’s, so my musical taste did expand beyond the later albums of some of these groups and singers, but not all of them. But I attribute these albums as being the foundations of my taste in music.

Music plays quite a big part of my life; I must listen to more hours of music in a day than I watch TV in a week these days.  You can follow what I’m listening to on my Last.FM account.

Thank you Steve for that fantastic guest post! All I can do is envy that LP collection! I’m off to buy some new music from iTunes as a result of your list : )

Re-Kendal My Love

Okay so here’s the thing:  if someone as planner-centric as myself should happen to coincidentally  stumble upon a system that actually, you know, WORKS and stuff…a sort of restlessness begins to rear its ugly head.

And I do mean ugly.

Through years of various trials, tribulations and gross overspending, I have arrived at the following planner conclusions –

1. If I were Goldilocks, then Filofax Personal size would be my “just right” porridge.

Despite my almost constant, niggling desire to find a way to make Pocket size work…and flatly ignoring my writer’s craving for the wide open spaces of the A5, I always come back to Personal and the balance of enough page real estate in a light & portable package.

2.  The marriage of purse & planner  in one (using my Malden) is so spectacular, I can’t think of one good reason to go back to carrying  a separate wallet & agenda around.

Like, ever.

I cannot tell you much I love this in mere words.  **wipes tear**  It is THAT good.

3. Don’t hate me, but I’ve got my inserts figured out too.  It’s a full year of week on 2 pages (with tabbed months of course) for overview and one month at a time (the current month) of day on 2 pages for detail. This can be accomplished in multiple designs with either DayTimer or Franklin Covey.

For 2012 I’ve ordered a set of each – DayTimer in original green & white (in case the new year dawns and I’m feeling minimalist and professional) and Franklin Covey in “Her Point of View” (in case I wake up January 1st 2012 and feel pretty).

So, with the great mysteries of the ages settled, what the heck am I going to blog about?!

Glad you asked.

Last night a random planner synapse fired in my wine-addled brain, and I remembered someone posting a question on Philofaxy about training a Kendal to lay flat.

Which translated in my mind to something along the lines of, “Blah, blah, blah, Kendal, blah, blah, blah” repeating over and over until I was forced by the mental din to rise from my sofa, rummage through the Filofax bin and unearth my own black Kendal Personal.

For no particular reason whatsoever, I decided to see whether it worked or failed as a purse/planner.

That was quite possibly the longest and most babbling intro to a blog post in the history of humanity.

But anyway, as it turns out, the Kendal makes a fantastic purse/planner.  Here’s why:

Although there are only three of them, the credit card pockets inside the front cover have curved edges, making it very easy to gain access to the cards, while still covering them enough to keep them secure. Cash can slip into the full length pocket behind the card slots like so.

3 credit card slots, curved for easy access

The mesh zip pocket inside the back cover is also a genius wallet feature.  Not only does it hold plenty of coins, but I can see what/how much change I have.  The zipper pull is not recessed and very easy to get at. I haven’t fumbled once trying to unzip it.  Which is saying a lot actually.

Mesh zip pocket in the back is perfect for loose change

Finally, the exterior slip pocket on the outside of the Kendal might just be my favorite feature. If I ruled the world (or ran Filofax) Personal binders would also come with that wonderful exterior “wallet pocket” that Pocket size binders have. But since nobody asks for my input at design time (yet…) this will do nicely.

Love, love, LOVE this exterior pocket!

All in all, this Filo may rival my beloved Malden for top billing as a purse/planner combo.

(May. I said may. Not does.  May. Calm down Malden-o-philes…for I am still one of you!)

The oiled leather of the Kendal is super durable; any scratches simply buff out with the natural oils from your fingers.  And who can resist that yummy leather scent?! This Filo has the best bang for the aroma buck in the opinion of this schnoz.

SO…I decided it would be cool to test drive a new Personal Filo every now and then…and rate it on performance as a purse/planner.

Today’s result:  Kendal as Wallet = WIN!!

Head over to the Flickr set for more pix and comment-y fun.

What’s (Not) In My Bag

With summer winding down, the days growing shorter and the nights crisper, this  seemed like as good a time as any to start thinking about my Fall handbag.

Like many of my fellow Philofaxers, my interest obsession lies not only with planners, but also with handbags.  As in, the entire closet of my home office is filled with them.

Yes, I said filled.

While I have a precious few the likes of Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci and Prada, the winters here in Massachusetts can be nasty, salty and long so I tend toward the good ol’ work horse of Coach when summer wanes.

Black Coach.

You may ask (and many have), “How many black handbags does one woman need?” The answer?  All of them.

This mentality is going to fly in the face of what I am about to say next but hey, I never promised to make any sense.

Normally, I am one who carries a large bag packed to the back-breaking gills with…um…everything.  Should I be caught unawares, I suspect I could survive the Zombie Apocalypse with nothing but the contents of my handbag and the extra layer of fat on my thighs.

But today I saw this wonderful post.

Heavens.  To.  Mergatroid.

When I got back into my chair (because I fell out of it immediately upon reading Ev-yan’s amazing blog) I decided right then and there that this time when I changed my handbag, things would be different.

Oh so different.

I swung open my closet with a mind toward choosing the smallest actual bag (meaning not a clutch or wristlet) I owned as the one I would carry throughout Autumn. A vintage Coach Legacy, which I have had since the 1980’s, practically jumped out of its dust bag and into my arms.  Of course, I had forgotten I had it because I have such a plethora of bags (see what I mean about flying in the face? I told you I’m a woman of extremes…)

But I digress.  Back to the handbag…

I was so scared of letting go as I dumped out the innards of my summer bag knowing only a fraction would make the cut that I was trembling.

Or…was that more a quivering of excitement? It’s true, I carry around a ton of stuff “just in case”. It’s cumbersome.  It hurts my back.  And half the time I can’t even remember what’s in there anyway because I NEVER USE MOST OF IT.

“I can do this”, I thought. “I can let go.  I can live in the moment.”

So I took a few deep breaths and let ‘er rip.  Without mercy I carefully and thoughtfully picked what exactly I NEEDED in my bag. Not to be ready for anything, but just to be….me.

Here then, is what is in my Fall handbag (head over to Flickr for all the deets):

Yup, that's ALL that is in my bag!

A view inside.

More importantly, here is what is NOT in it ~

Fear, obsessive control, worry, anxiety, pessimism, hyper-preparedness…and “what if”.

What if.  Perhaps the heaviest load of them all.

Fall hasn’t even officially started yet, but by leaving useless stuff and pointless fears behind…I feel lighter, freer and somehow, more  genuinely prepared than ever : )