Suddenly Craving Chowda

Okay, so my impulse buy  Slimline Boston just arrived.

“f-ing right!”

Obviously, I haven’t had time to play with it or “move in” yet, but here is a quick first impression:

“it’s wicked pink”

I would describe this as a darker, more blue-hued pink than any of the other Filo’s I have. Below you can see it piled on top of a Deep Pink Domino A5 (my current fave shade of Filofax pink) and my hot pink Otterbox iPad Mini case for comparison.

It’s almost a Raspberry. Not quite there, but almost. When I do the full review I will show it against virtually all the pink Filo’s I own. And trust me, that’s kind of become A LOT while you guys weren’t looking, so…be ready.

“flat, right outta da bohx”

The leather is quite nice, very soft and pliable without being floppy, but as Laurie said in her review, I was very disappointed that considering what I paid for this baby (even on sale from Pens & Leather) it has cheap feeling fabric inside rather than leather.

The Filofax website describes the Boston this way, “This classic design is both elegant and sophisticated, and is crafted in luxury Nappa leather. Each Boston is marked with a silver metal ‘f’ – the assured sign of impeccable quality. Boston is the perfect chic accessory.

Um…using words like “elegant”, “sophisticated”, “luxury” and “impeccable quality” and then slapping an el cheapo fabric liner inside is a wicked pissah.

I dunno. I’m tryin here, I really am. But I’m not actually FROM Boston.

Anyway, the interior of a Finsbury feels nicer for crying out loud. Come on Filofax…if you’re going to charge us for a high-end binder, don’t skimp on materials.

Here’s a shot of the embossing inside the front cover. Yes, the leather is “deluxe”. Thing is…the whole thing isn’t leather.

As was mentioned in the comments to Laurie’s review, the leather is a bit cushy.  So while this binder is called a Slimline, at 1 1/2″ thick, I don’t know how slim I’d consider it.

And that’s without a pen (or pens…it has 2 loops) in the pen loop. Yikes.

The rings appear to be typical for a Slimline, at about 1/2″.

The back does have a cool, full length slip pocket that could be quite useful for a checkbook register, if one were going to use this as a planner/wallet combo…which is my plan.

“or put your dollahs here for when you go to the packie”

So all in all…is this a nice binder? Yes. Do I feel it’s worth the premium price? Faaaaack no.  Filofax is getting a bit out of hand with their penchant for fashion over function, and is charging us an awful lot of money for increasingly shoddy product quality. This is a $60 binder; $70 tops, given it’s crappy fabric lining.

Right now on Filofax USA you can snag a brown Holborn Slimline on sale for $59.50. If that came in actual colors, I’d have gone with that over this in a crack whore’s heartbeat.

That being said, will I return it? I have no idea at this point. I like the odd color and none of the Slim’s or Compacts on the market right now really float my boat, so I’ll have to go home, set it up, play with it a bit and see.

Stay tuned for a full review of use, and mega pink comparison!


Go Big or Go Home

Alright, I know I said I hoped to go smaller rather than larger with my 2013 planner, but then one night last week, something happened.

Something wonderful.

The iPad Mini I got up at 3:00 in the morning to pre-order back in…whenever that was… arrived in all it’s feather light, distractingly beautiful glory.

I was lounging on my sofa, playing with it (blog review to come on that soon, promise!) and wondering if Filofax would come up with a planner/holder for it, like they recently have for the, ahem, “MaxiPads”.

The Mini is roughly the same size as a Filofax Personal and only slightly smaller than an A5 page, and so I was pondering which size planner they would use for it, A5 like with the “Maxi” or Personal just to be different?  And more importantly, if they did create a planner & case for the Mini, would I actually buy one?

ipad mini with smart cover in comparison to the note pad on a filofax a5

Then I had an “aha moment” and went into the Filo bin for the glorious Ochre Malden so kindly and awesomely gifted me by Erin. Would, I wondered, the Mini fit in the pocket intended for a note pad inside the back?


And it even accommodated the Smart Cover.

This, as the saying goes, was about to change everything.

I had dubbed around with the A5 a few weeks prior, but ended up back in my trusty Personal  with FC inserts after one measly day because I couldn’t figure out workable diary pages for it.

But this was different. My A5 2013 refills had yet to arrive at that point, so I was kluging together reject inserts from the storage bin rather than setting up a new planner. Big difference.

And now I had the Mini to factor in as well. I was pretty excited to get my planner mojo on.

My only beef was that, although I love the Ochre Malden – it is one of my fave Filo’s of all time  (the OLD ones…before they went all crinkly and stiff) – I am very much into color right now.

Ochre is, of course, very subtle and neutral. I thought I could maybe jazz it up on the inside, and that would be enough for whatever is going on with me that is making me crave hot pink like a pregnant woman craves pickles and ice cream.

Once I got all moved in, however, a couple things became apparent. One was that the color (or, in this case, the lack thereof) wasn’t gonna cut it for me. Is it a beautiful planner? Hells yes. But I’m not in the mood for beautiful & vintage lately…I’m in the mood for BRIGHT.

The second was that a fully loaded leather A5 planner with an iPad Mini in the back pocket was simply going to be too heavy and cumbersome for me to want to carry around. So while I could carry the Mini around in it, in real world use I probably never would.

Right. Back to the Hot Pink Domino I went. And all felt right with the world once again.

You may remember this planner as my former Fit-o-Fax. So yeah, I gave up any attempts at fitness (for now) and decided to hell with trying to play Dr. FrankenFilo and create a Mini holder when I already have both an Otter Box Defender case and a  Smart Cover for the thing.

Anyway…less talk, more pictures! Here’s what I came up with for the Hot Pink Domino:

same binder…new sticker : )

isn’t it pretty?! ***love***

Here’s the inside front. A card my Mum gave me in the ID pocket, some business cards, a few stickers. The usual.  See the orange, pink and green sticky flags tucked into that bottom pocket?  More on those later.

My start page is a transparent flyleaf with the old Goddess sticker from the Fit-o-Fax. I liked it and didn’t want to waste it when I peeled it off the front, so I just stuck it here. Still seems fitting ; )

The green & orange jot notes are a couple of my favorite quotes right now. I like seeing them when I first open my binder.

Now comes my monthly overview.

I have to highlight the actual month so I don’t get confused (I’m blonde you know) and I don’t care for the week starting on Monday, but hey, I can deal. And although I really, seriously prefer to have tabbed months,  Filofax seems to insist that our repeated cries for them in fact mean “Please release more crappily put together and/or hideous, useless designer binders and leave us in the dark ages with inserts that are never updated”.

So, no tabbed months, but I am going to try using a 2nd Page Marker so that I can at least easily flip to the current month and see if that does the trick. Right now I have all of 2012 and 2013 included, but once January comes, 2012 will exit stage left.

Next I have my first three tabs:

Capture – the GTD universal capture tool. Just some graph paper for jotting down stuff, sketching, whatever is needed to capture anything and everything. Items in the capture section are temporary. They either get done & crossed off quickstyle or moved somewhere else.

To Do – since I’m using weekly inserts, I figured a section of To Do pages might come in handy. Generally I like my tasks on my daily view, but there isn’t much room on a weekly sheet. Overflow can go here if the new strategy for tasks (which I really am going to get to in a minute) ends up a massive fail.

Quotes – I am a self-confessed quote junkie. By far the most blank note sheets go here. When this section is filled up, the sheets get removed and put into my Commonplace Book ( a plain ol’ Moleskine notebook).

Now, smack dab in the middle of the book, come my diary pages. Having them in the middle (theoretically – I need to fill up the sections with more blank sheets first) makes them easier to write on.

I’ve started the diary section with a Transparent Flyleaf. This serves both as a divider of the calendar from the last note sheet in the Quote section, and as a dashboard for sticky  notes and flags. Remember those flags from the inside front cover? Bazinga!

the dashboard gets its own colored flag…so it sticks out beyond the subject tabs and i can see the damn thing

In reviewing how I most use my planner in preparation for deciding what I was going to change for 2013, I noticed that I have a lot of recurring items. Most of my meetings are the same every month and aside from the day to day minutia, a lot of what I have to do in a given week repeats as well.

This was why the weekly pages weren’t working before; I wasted too much of the scant writing space on repetitive items (mostly tasks) and ended up with no room to write in anything else that I needed to.

Hence my new and, I think, pretty exciting STICKY FLAG SOLUTION !!!

Recurring tasks and meetings will now go on colored sticky flags.

Green for bills (money), bright pink for meetings (hot) and orange for tasks/reminders (danger…of forgetting, lol).

here you can see this week. errands i want to run but realistically may or may not get to on that day, go on the sticky flags

When the item is completed, it can either get moved forward to the next time it will be due or, if that is TBD, it can go back to the dashboard staging area.

Since my meetings repeat but can often get moved around due to holidays or someone or other being out sick, using the sticky flag to “hold the spot” is perfect – if the meeting moves, it’s simple to just relocate the flag to the new date/time (with the added bonus that my page stays neat).

a couple of upcoming meetings in december. will they happen when they’re supposed to? probably. but if they don’t…no scribbling or white out needed

Once the meeting happens, I can write it in, as a record that it happened (in case I have to refer back).

I’m especially stoked about using this new strategy for bills. I have a slew of them and since I exclusively do online banking, I don’t get any paper statements in the mail.

Every month I get bill notifications via email and, up till now, have been writing in my planner when they are due. Then I write in “pay such and such” on the day I need to make the online payment in order for it to post to the account in time.

Now I can just use sticky flags : )

When the bill is paid, the flag can go back to the dashboard or, if its one of those bills that recur on the exact same day each month, it can just get carried forward to the following month.

For those “throw away” tasks that are sort of one-off’s,  I just use a standard, run of the mill sticky note.

ye olde tyme thanksgiving sticky list in progress

Then, at the end of the day when I review to make sure everything I needed to accomplish got done, I can write in the key items so that I have a record of them, and toss the sticky note.

It sounds rather psychotic, I know, but believe it or not it actually WORKS.

Not everything I set out to do in a given day actually needs to be logged in my planner; I just have to remember to do them. So the stuff that I do want to log gets logged, the rest gets tossed and my pages stay uncluttered.

Because I’m using weekly pages, I can fit an entire year in my book (which I really like) and it’s a hell of a lot easier to move flags around than it is to scratch stuff out and re-copy it several times, lemme tell ya!

Okay, back to my set up.  After my diary pages, come three more tabs. These are for my writing.

I have one for each blog I run and the last is for general writing gigs I’ve got lined up, or am trying to line up. If I have my way, eventually my writing will be in such demand that it will require it’s own Filofax ; )

Next just comes the note pad. Stuff that isn’t really worthy of  sticky flag or list of its own go here. Generally they are things that don’t have a due date, but that I want to remember to do or look up or whatever.

The best part about giving up on the Malden and using the Domino is the stretchy pen loop (actually, it’s “loops”, as in there are two; however I only use the one in the back) that will accommodate my beloved new Coleto 4-banger.

I have a smokey grey one (but I don’t do grey anymore it seems) and a pink one, but the pink  was “wrong” for the hue of the Domino and drove my OCD batshit crazy.

Yeah, I know.

JetPens called this baby “soft green”. But don’t kid yourself…it’s damn near yellow. I am, however, unfazed. It’s bright and spring-y and sufficiently compliments my favorite Life is Good sticker of all time…so, well, life is…you know, good and stuff : )

That’s the new A5 set up my peeps. What do you think? Do you have any predictions for the new sticky note/flag concept? Got feedback or tips to make a good planner even better?

Anyone care to place bets on how soon I go back to Personal? Bahahahaha!

Let ‘er rip in the comments…………………….

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

Okay, I’m finding it both humorous and also somewhat…disturbing that so many of us are having journal angst today. Mostly humorous.

For those of you  who clicked on this blog because you thought the title indicated you would see a gopher doing customer service,  a cat attempting a science experiment or a dog trying drive or do hair or some such, let me get you up to speed on what you’ve inadvertently stumbled into.

First, I wrote this post.  Then Laurie replied with this post.  In it, she asked some very valid questions (which naturally got me over-thinking my already over-thought conundrum) and pointed me to this series of posts about journaling that I somehow had missed previously, but that got me to thinking YET MORE about this whole mess.

Confused yet?

Me too.

The central question that struck me as though I’d been slapped (in a good way Laurie…in a good way) was “What do I want my journal to be?”

Whoa.  Never thought of that.

In my last post I had framed it more in terms what I didn’t want it to be…not like a series of lame FaceBook posts (had ramen for dinner, wicked tired today, omg my new iPad Mini just came), not like a synopsis of the news headlines of the day, certainly not fodder for blackmail, and not merely an amalgam of stupid factoids mixed with things I’m grateful for.

But what did I want it to be?

Short answer? I had no frigging idea.

And after reading Laurie’s comments about not wanting her journal to be an emotional dumping ground, and concerns about other individuals possibly getting their grubby mitts (my words, not hers) on archived journals in which such deeply personal information was logged at some point in the future, well, that made me want to throw up a little.

I have bins of old journals in storage, chock full of the kind of stuff anyone who found them posthumously could certainly use to come to the conclusion that I was one helluva crazy biatch.  I am SOOOOOOO burning those. I mean,  of all the legacies I hope to leave behind…that ain’t one of ’em. Though, it may be unavoidable at this point, who knows.

But I digress.

One thing I do have sorted out as a result of all this, is the Gratitude List. In her comment, Laurie pointed me to a pretty magenta weekly Moleskine. I kinda dug the weekly format and got the idea that it might be small enough to tuck into a pocket of whatever planner I end up using.

It wasn’t.

However, her suggestion did lead me to this  Moleskine weekly soft cover planner/notebook that will fit. The layout is a little different than the one she suggested, but since it has all 7 days on the left page (unlined and with no time slots) and a full sheet of note paper on the right, I thought I could keep a running weekly list of things I’m grateful for on the note page and at the end of each day, transfer the single most significant item over the daily section. Probably with a sticker or two for good measure.

So “Gratitude on the Go” is officially solved. I actually prefer the new weekly w/daily highlight idea better than my original idea of just writing a daily list, and the flexible cover and smaller size (3.9″  x 5.4″) will allow it to slip into either a Personal or Compact Filo, which means I don’t have to carry yet another book around with me. Yay!

That leaves my Planner and my Journal.

I suppose what I would like my journal to be (in light of the fact that somebody may find it and read it when I’m dead) is a record of my growth, self-discovery, epiphanies and life lessons. Things that perhaps I would pass on to a child if I had one. Not necessarily all sunshine and roses…because life isn’t…but what I’ve learned, the things I felt mattered.

Yeah. That’s what I want. And I still think I can achieve that with a nice blank book.

I also really liked Marcia’s comment about using a special symbol to note  in her planner the days she writes in her journal. Genius! Totally stealing that idea. Thank you Marcia : )

Now we’re down to just figuring out my planner. And hey, I’m an old pro at dubbing around with that, so I’m pretty confident that between now and December 31st I’ll come up with something.

And you know I’ll post about it ; )

Wow you guys…thank you all for your great comments and for rallying to the cause! Phew, it was kind of exhausting wasn’t it?!  But it sure was fun!!

Stay tuned for deets on what planner I go with for the New Year, and how the new journal & Gratitude books work out……..


Journals, Planners and Lists…Oh My!

As the year winds to a close, I find my life – as usual – in a state of flux.

Not only did my job take a drastic (but very positive) turn at the end of Q3, adding a lot more to my plate, but I’ve also started a 2nd part time job and am also making a go of breaking out with my writing.

All of this has made my planner rather a mess, and left me contemplating how I’m going to uncoil the serpent that is my life on paper, and lay it all out straight.

I’m a journaler. I have been keeping a personal journal since I was a child and my mother bought me my first Diary. It was a small, ridiculously girly hard bound book with a tiny gold key.

In it, I wrote about my horse, whatever crush I was in the midst of on any given day and how much I hated math.

Today I still write faithfully every day in my journal. I no longer have a horse, my affections stopped  swaying with the winds a long time ago…and I still hate math.

For several years, I have used a Moleskine Daily large hard cover book for my journal. The dated format harnessed the power of my OCD for good (for once) and drove me to write every day. They have good quality paper and are easily archived.


Here’s the thing though – I’m one of those people who also do a bit of journaling in my Day Planner. I track stuff in my Filofax (weather, mood, the BF’s schedule, whether or not I took my vitamin, flossed my teeth, stuff like that) and jot down notable events (moon phases, tarot stuff, etc).

Kind of a lame, journal “divide and conquer” strategy that ends up taking up more room that I want in my planner, yet not feeling worthy of the Moleskine.  I miss that feeling of opening up a fresh blank page and giving free rein to my pen. But, with only that one page to use, there isn’t much room to actually write. Muse. Ponder. That kind of thing. So I mostly just keep it to the facts ma’am. Work kicked my ass. Gave up and switched back to iPhone. The gecko ate 7 crickets. Stuff like that.


Before I discovered Moleskine, I just used a blank book for my journal and not to toot my own horn, but some pretty intense, amazing stuff got written down when I had as many pages as I wanted upon which to spill my stream of consciousness. I didn’t write every day, however, and as ‘life got tougher’ (as the old Excedrin commercial used to say) I wrote less and less. Actually, during the times I probably needed to the most, I hardly wrote at all.

So the blank book gave me the freedom that I needed, but I ended up abusing that freedom and stopped writing. Then the Mole gave my journaling back a sense of structure, but inadvertently sucked away its soul.

What, I ask you, is a girl to do?

For 2013 I’m going to have faith (in myself) that keeping to a daily schedule for the past few years has instilled in me the habit to write on a regular basis and I’m going to take the leap and go back to a blank book again. I may not write every day but which do I want more, a trivial accounting of mundane things kept every day for the sake of keeping it every day, or actual real quality writing that, while it may not come daily, has depth and genuine meaning behind it when it does come?

At first I thought this would be such an awesome idea that I would also keep my Gratitude List in there too. But that is something I want to continue to commit to every day, so perhaps it doesn’t belong in my journal.

What about in my planner?

Oy, don’t even get me started on what my planner situation is going to be next year! I’m still working on that one, and I’m hoping to go smaller rather than larger with it, so no room for the Gratitude List there.

So what I’m thinking is, pick up a pocket size daily Moleskine and use that for my Gratitude List. Only for that. There, structure will come in handy.  Heck, I could even toss it in my handbag for gratitude on the go.

Are three books too much? The journal would obviously stay at home. I actually kinda like the “Gratitude on the Go” idea. And if I kept journalesqe stuff actually in my journal and therefore out of my planner, I might even be able to go back to my beloved Compact next year.

What do you guys say? Am I over-thinking this (big surprise there, as I tend to over-think pretty much everything)? Or am I onto something here?

Do you keep a journal and/or a gratitude list? And if so, are they separate entities or one and the same?

Are any of you keeping all of this in one book? Journal, planner, whatever mindful practice floats your boat…the works? How the heck do you do it??!!

Chime in in the comments : )

Philofaxy All Stars Guest Post by Lime Tree: Filofax Swap – A Classy Attempt

Finally here I am at Zoe’s blog!

Back in the days when the PhilofaxyAllStarTeam released we both agreed to exchange posts about our Health/Fitness Filofax.

Great idea, huh? You probably have read her guest post here on my blog. It was a very popular one and I keep receiving visitors on that one 🙂

Well, two months passed by and here I am with my Fit-o-fax, right?


My orange Domino is still looking at me waiting for those exercise trackers and food logs. I am just not into getting healthy these days! 😀

Seriously, I need to get to it, but as it may happen after the Holiday splurge *any excuse* I thought I should get going on something different for sweet Zoe.

So here I am following my journey of bouncing around Filofaxes. As we do, ya know? 🙂

My latest update on that can be found at Vanjilla’s blog, and to pick up where I left, I present you my Filofax Swap 5 – A Classy Attempt starring Almond Slimline Amazona:

Very classy isn’t it?

Yeah, I pet it, opened/closed, and played with it a lot! I mean way too much. and at work!

One of the days I literally had to “put it away” like an addicting candy box just so I could stop poking it and concentrate on getting stuff done.

At work, inside a drawer to help me “behave”

Well, although I had a great time touching and sniffing at it, I managed to get even further into my planner fail while we were hanging together.

So, let’s talk about it! (when a relationship doesn’t work, you need to talk about it, right?)

As you can see, for a slimline it was holding quite a lot:

But it didn’t really hold what I needed.

I could fit tabs for blog, notes and possibility – as you can obviously read:

 Than the next row I managed to add 5 more tabs.

First one for journaling (the smiley face) for when I am not home and don’t have my gorgeous Baroque with me. Second one (the check mark) for to-do lists, third one (circle) for health stuff…

  Fourth for movies, books and music (again when I am away from my Baroque – I usually transfer the pages or the notes when I get home) and fifth for shopping lists.

When I was using Chamomile it was a pain in the butt to be transferring over the weekly sheets as I run out of them so quickly.

Obviously the slimline wouldn’t make that process any easier, it rather became more frequent. Adding to the fact that I wasn’t even liking my layout AND the wonderful colorful post by Imy, I ended up with this:

 Writing by hand on the top of the page the current week and writing to-dos.

Not practical to plan ahead at all. I liked the color paper thou and kept on that “system” till…well today.

For daily thoughts and more detailed to-dos I would do exactly the same, a blank colored page.

And to find them I used a tab with an arrow:

 and for the month a grid:

Now, besides the fact that I can’t put a month’s worth of weekly pages inside the organizer, there are three more draw backs to it:

1- The left pocket is one of those loose ones (not sure how it is called), so every time I opened/closed it, the sticky notes would rub on that pocket and bend the corners. Here is the pocket:

with the sticker I got from Rori at our mini-MeetUp 😉

I then had to flip the flyleaf backwards so the sticky notes wouldn’t get damaged. Like this:

It is not handy, I tell ya.

2- The leather scratches very easy. There is a scratch from the zipped plastic envelope on the leather! I guess the leather is too delicate.

See, I carry the plastic envelope in the back of it all as I use the stuff in there just once in a while (receipts, stamps, etc). But, it made some marks on that sensitive Amazona leather:

The pic is not showing it well, but it is very noticeable in person! Really!
Not that I am picky or anything…. 😀

 So once I realized this was happening I folded and tucked in a paper in the back pocket so it would in between the zipper and the leather like this:

Not pretty, huh?

Well, moving on.

3- The Filofax curse: Pen Loop!

When I got this organizer, the pen loop was just like new, super flat against the cover.
I almost never put pens in the pen loops because I know they don’t fit but for some reason I decided to experiment on that one. I SO REGRET DOING IT!

First, as you can see just like Chamomile, once the pen is placed, it falls right on top of the tabs:

So to close it, I need to pull it to the side and then release the elastic:

It works, and somehow the pen finds its way around the tabs:

I used like that for a while but it got old as every single time I opened the organizer, the pen was stuck in a few tabs and I had to pull it out again.
I then decided to go back to no-pen in the pen loop and what happens?
The darn thing stretched out and now the organizer won’t close all the way even without the pen!

How annoying is that?

Ah! And that reminded me of another thing! So we are now into the is 4th issue already!

Ya know, I never really like the way clasp closures look. And by that I mean all Filofax clasp closures.  So  I have been always obviously drawn to slimlines and Dominos as they look like simple notebooks.

Shocking news is that I SO MISSED a clasp closure on this one! I now have a total different respect for that little leathered-button thingy.

Without that EVERYTHING got into my Filofax! Really, everything!
I always put the organizers with the “opened” side facing up as random papers that are not stored on pockets or the plastic envelope may fall off. In this case because there was nothing holding the whole organizer together EVERYTHING I carelessly toss into my purse  would fall inside of it! Pens, coins, other random papers and the worse – keys! I almost flipped when I saw my keys bending all my pages INSIDE my Filofax.

I now love clasp closure!

On a side note, just so I don’t offend my slimline feelings, I need to say that this organizer is totally GORGEOUS! the color, the texture… I really struggled taking my hands off it!  Only for keeping my life together, that beauty wasn’t of much help! 😀

Well, sweets….are you still there? Thank you for reading it all the way!

I have been in an open and shameless planner failure for a while now and of course, need to figure something out before the new year starts.  I can’t live off to-do lists on a day-to-day basis. Planning is crucial!

Keep your fingers crossed that my next update will be a much more organized one! Because that’s what this is all about, right? 🙂

Smooches to you all and thank you sweet Zoe for hosting me here! ❤

————————-> Keep tuned for Filofax Swap 6 – Never giving up! —————————>

Never give up indeed! Thanks to the glorious and illustrious Lime Tree for such a great post with such yummy pictures! I’m sure we all feel the pain of the ongoing planner conundrum…keep the faith girl…we all know you’ll come up with something epic : )