Philofaxy AllStars Guest Post by Kanalt17: Bag, Bag, Bag – and Another Bag!

Thanks to Zoe for allowing me to guest post on her wonderful blog!

Today I am writing about my latest bag acquisitions.  (Lord knows, there’s probably more, but these are the ones I’m going to talk about today.)

First, my new pen bag.

I bought this little bag at Barnes & Noble when I was there last.  I didn’t need a pen bag, wasn’t looking for one.  But the owls caught my eye (I love owls).  And canvas is pretty durable, so I figured, why not.  Obviously, I keep my pens in here.

There is plenty of room for my pens, pencils, and highlighters.

You can read about the brand of pens and how I color code here.

There are actually two compartments in the bag—the bigger portion (where I keep my pens) and a smaller portion (where I keep a white out roll).

On the back of the bag, there are two snaps.

This allows you to snap the two sides together, making a (what would seem) smaller bag.

I suppose this is meant to make it easier to put into a tote or work or travel bag, but I felt that it was too difficult to get my pens out using the bag this way.  I keep it open and flat.  I don’t carry this pen bag with me—it stays on my desk and when I’m planning and/or working, it’s out in the open, giving me easy access to all of the pens I might need.  However, the bag is slim enough that I can easily place it into a tote bag or travel bag when I need to.

Bag number 2 is my summer bag—the LeSportsac Carryall Tote.

I bought this bag after buying my first Carryall Tote.  It’s perfect for work—it’s so roomy, I can fit everything I need and then some.

And unlike my brown tote, this floral one provides a light, spring/summer feel, perfect for—you guessed it—spring and summer.  Since I’ve already reviewed the style itself, I’ll just go over what’s in it.

Here we have (from left to right, top to bottom) my iPad, The Happiness Project (I’m not currently reading this, but I do always carry a book with me, I just didn’t have my current one handy, so this is a stand-in for the purpose of the post), my Coach wallet, my rain hat (I don’t like to carry umbrellas—it’s one more thing for me to hold—but I do need something to keep my glasses from getting wet, which prevents me from seeing), my LeSportsac “essentials” bag (see review of this below), Ms. Plum, a Vera Bradley wallet (contains my store rewards cards and various coupons), a tote bag that rolls up small (I use this if I have a ton of items to bring home/return to the library), my sunglasses, my new iPhone, gum, a pen for whenever I might need one, and my keys (note the Vermont “Moo” key chain—it’s also a bottle opener—one always needs to access beer quickly, though not at work).

Moving on!

The “essentials” bag that I mentioned above is the LeSportsac Boxed Travel Cosmetic bag.  Note the stitching on the front.

It has a top main zippered compartment and a front zippered pocket.

When I read that the inside was pink, I was a little nervous, as I’m not a pink person.  But upon arrival, I was happy to see that it’s a very muted and calm pink.

I call it my “essentials” bag because there is absolutely no makeup in it.

Inside is a sample size of deodorant (a lady must always smell fresh), Purell (for when you need to be clean), lotion (for when you need to moisturize), Advil (for when you have pain), Tide stain stick (no stains here!), a toothbrush (fresh breath is preferred—but fear not, I don’t brush my teeth in random places), a hair clip, a sample compact mirror (to check that there’s nothing in my teeth or up my nose), floss (for when you see food stuck in your teeth upon using said mirror), Chapstick (an item I can’t and don’t live without), toothpaste for said teeth brushing, and a hair brush.

The front pocket holds lady items—no one wants to see that, so we’ll be skipping the details here.

Let’s just say that these are all things I cannot live without carrying with me.

Once full, my tote bag still has plenty of room for other items.

I can still toss (and do) a sweater for the day (my office is ridiculously cold), a DVD, CD or audiobook that needs to be returned to the library, and other items (sometimes an extra pair of shoes if I’m going out after work).

That’s quite a lot!

We now come to our fourth and final bag for this post, my new autumn weekend bag.

This is yet another LeSportsac tote, the Medium Travel Tote to be exact.  I bought this little beauty off of eBay.  I love this style for the weekend, as illustrated by my previous post of a different pattern.

I love the three zipped pockets on the front.

There’s plenty of room inside to carry what I need to during the weekend (basically, everything I carry during the week minus the iPad, the book, the hat, and the roll-up tote bag).  What’s neat-o about this find is that it comes with a matching cosmetic bag.

I probably won’t use it with this bag because I’ll more than likely be using the essentials bag from above—it’s easier to move one essentials bag from tote bag to tote bag rather than moving all of that little stuff.


So that’s it for now.  It sounds like I’ve bought out LeSportsac, but really these purchases were made over the course of several months.  I’m sure there will be another bag purchase before the end of the year (but, maybe not).  We shall see.

In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of “What’s In My Bag.”

**Note: I am in no way affiliated with or getting kickbacks from Barnes & Noble or LeSportsac.  I just happen to like their products.**


Wow, thank you so much for this fantastic guest post!!  I have me some bag envy going on for sure!! And now I must go check to go see if there is anything in my teeth….

Love: Just Do it

Love and I…well, we have had a tumultuous relationship.

When I was young I was all about love; I was fearless – I loved everyone. My parents, my family, my little schoolmates, the people in my neighborhood. I imagined the world was full of only good things and that, if I was a caring, kind, loving little girl nothing but care, kindness, goodness and love would come back to me.

Sweet, but naive.

As I grew, I still loved. Only far, far more cautiously and there were many a time I refused to give myself over to love out of fear.

Fear of rejection, fear of pain, fear of humiliation, fear of loss of power, fear of loss, period. I mean, Nazareth wasn’t kidding – love does hurt. A lot of the time loving means ending up in pain one way or another.

Since my last divorce I have given a lot of thought to love. I always thought of it as something…a gift…that you sort of bestowed upon the person that you love. A feeling that was more about them than about you, really. Something that started within you, but that ended up this external part of yourself that was handed over to someone else, and you kind of had to trust that they would do right by it.

Which of course, few do.

I’ve had a small number of relationships since then and, while I felt varying degrees of something for the men I was with, I can’t say I loved any of them. To be honest I questioned whether or not that was because my gut knew they weren’t going to end up working out in the long run, because I was broken and could no longer love as I used to, or because I had come to a place in my life where I was subconsciously choosing not to put myself in line for any more hurt.

I have always said, you can’t un-learn things. Once you experience enough heartbreak, loss, devastation, etc you can’t regain that childlike innocence that allows you to just open your heart without hesitation and let the love pour out.

Or, I couldn’t anyway.

What I have come to realize as I discover love again for the first time in a very many years, is that love isn’t at all what I thought it was…

Love actually has nothing to do with it’s object and everything to do with it’s source.

Love isn’t a thing we fling out of ourselves, only to attach to another person in the hopes of some….I don’t know...result. It has nothing to do with action or behavior or circumstance. And it has nothing to do with fear either.

It is not about condition. All of that fear and expectation stuff is conditional. It treats love as though it were an “if/then” statement when really is is just the opposite.

The other night I told my boyfriend that I love him for the first time. I think he probably knew how I felt about him already…I’m not a very subtle person…but although I had felt the actual words pushing against my teeth for some time, I had been biting them back.

I’m not sure why exactly. I didn’t want to scare him perhaps, didn’t want it to somehow feel like an obligation,  I didn’t want to embarrass him, I didn’t know what I’d do if it, you know, didn’t go over well.

But as I lay there in the dark silence and felt it circling in my mouth, wanting to be made real in the speaking of it, I got to thinking…this isn’t dependent on him; isn’t dependent on anything really. It is purely and simply how I feel. And if a zillion years of therapy has taught me one thing it is that feelings aren’t right or wrong – they just are.

And you know what? I wanted him to know it. Plain and simple.

While it is a validating thing to be told by someone you are close to that they in fact love you –  and I certainly wanted him to feel that validation –  it was as important that I validate myself; that I accept the emotion by giving voice to it. Yes, heart, it is perfectly alright to feel what you are feeling.

Suddenly, swallowing it back seemed to me as though I was telling myself it was a thing to be hidden. And if you know me at all, you know I’m a cards on the table kind of girl. So why had this card been so different? I had no answer.

I realized it wasn’t as much about whether or not he was “ready to hear it”, as it was about the fact that I was ready to say it.

My mom always said to never, ever, EVER say the L word first. And that is a direct quote by the way, she was not a big proclaimer of love, it was always the L word. Toward the end of her life that changed, as it often does with people face to face with mortality, but her “rule” always stuck in my head. And amazingly enough I have abided by that rule.  I will say it back if I feel it, but I have never uttered it first.

Her message was that there is too much risk involved in saying it…at all, let alone first. Once you say you love someone, they can hurt you in all kinds of heinous ways. It’s like rolling over and exposing one’s soft pink underbelly and hoping that the bearing of teeth that results is a smile and not the show of fangs before evisceration.

No disrespect to my mother, but I don’t buy that line of reasoning anymore. Love is something entirely new to me now. It isn’t risk. It isn’t a means to an end. It’s not, “I love you. You love me too? Great. Phew, glad that’s over with, now let’s move on to X and Y and then blah, blah, blah, Happily Ever After”.

Love isn’t relationship, per say, it is relating. It is a verb not a noun. It moves; it is a continuum. It changes. It is not a thing of certainty…andwe want it so to be a thing of certainty and security in our society.

But there is no real security or predictability in life – everything is always in a state of flux or growth. Life flows. Love does too. Love isn’t possession or attachment or a condition or an end point…it’s freedom.

No conditions. Love me too, or don’t. That information is not going to alter what I feel.

My mum had her analogy about when you “just know” about a person being the one, remember that? Well, I have an analogy of my own for you too now I think:

Love is like breathing.

There is no, “should I take this breath?”, “what will happen if I exhale?”, “what if the air is cold and it hurts my lungs?”, “I hope I don’t look foolish breathing”, “is this the right time for me to breathe?”

You don’t think about it…there are no prerequisites for breathing, no conditions…you simply do it because it is a natural part of being alive.

Just like love. Love is an outpouring of your bliss, it is the opening of your heart. It is the sharing of the song of your very being! And sharing feels so joyful to us – and so we share.

Sharing for sharing’s sake and with no other motive. Not for any reason other than because it feels so damn good!

Exhale…bliss.  Inhale…joy.

Perhaps it isn’t love that is so different now; perhaps it is me. But either way I can say this, let go of the fear, quit over thinking it…if you love somebody tell them. Maybe they’ll look at you funny, maybe they’ll run screaming in the other direction, or maybe you’ll discover that they love you too.

Does it really matter? I submit that it does not. Love because you can’t not. Because loving is a gift you give yourself and to all the world, really. Love because you’re alive! Don’t worry about it. Just feel it.

And by all means ENJOY it.

Mama Always Said…

My mother was one helluva woman. I wish each and every one of you could have met her, I really do. Because once you met her, you never forgot her.

One way or another ; )

When I was growing up, she was struggling with cancer (the cancer that ultimately got her…but she only let it take her on her terms…and it took 40 years), she was running her own advertising business, and she was raising me alone.

She did all this, by the way, with only one functional arm.


So she was too busy with the serious matters of life to give me advice about boys, explain the birds and the bees, muse about falling in love. Stuff like that I had to learn about on my own as I went along.

I know what you’re thinking.  This explains a LOT.

Anyway, Mum always had fine taste and liked a well-appointed home. She enjoyed moving us around a lot; buying houses and redecorating them and then, when she got bored (and was healthy enough) selling them. I suppose this was her modicum of control in a world in which she had so little over her own body.

Often times, all of our furnishings would also be sold off, as they would not fit in with whatever new style she was applying to the new house.

But she had this once piece of art…a sculpture…that she always kept. And no matter where we lived, that statue’s place was the same, on her bedside table.

It was called “The Kiss” (not Rodin’s version) and it depicted a man, standing vertically, kissing  a woman swept off her feet, so that she was horizontal to him. They were only joined by the embrace of their arms, and their lips.

I’m probably not doing it justice with my description, but I’ve searched for a Google image of it and I am at a loss to find it, so you’ll have to use your imaginations.

One day when she was recovering from a round of chemo, I was hanging out with her watching a movie on her bed and I asked her about that sculpture. I was just starting to notice boys and I was curious…was this what it felt like when you fell in love?

She said it was.

I asked if she had ever felt like that when a man kissed her.

She said she had.

I, as yet un-kissed, got goosebumps and pressed her for more.

She was a lady and did not divulge (until she was dying…then I got the whole story…but that, my friends, is a post for another day).

It was at that moment she passed on to me her one and only bit of wisdom where the heart is concerned:

When you meet “the one” you will just know. You will know it with the same certainty that you know you have a nose on your face. There will be no doubt. No question.

And so began my own wait for the moment when I would “just know”.

I don’t subscribe to the belief that we have a single soul-mate; one person who completes us, one and one alone who we are meant to be with. My mother did, but I do not.

What I believe is that people come into our lives (as well as leave them) for a purpose far, far grander than “happily ever after”. They come and they go to teach us things; bring us what we need so that we may grow and evolve and one day perhaps complete ourselves.

Sometimes those gifts nurture us and feed us and we blossom into someone far more glorious for having known them. Other times we are refined as by fire, and at the time we just feel devastated and charred, but gradually we come to realize that in fact the chaff of us was all that was burned away, and now we are stronger.

There was one time in my life that I was kissed and felt as though I was the woman in the sculpture. It was the first time the man who was to become my 2nd husband kissed me.  I thought that meant I had found “the one”. I thought I “knew”.

And maybe I had…maybe he was. Then.  As I said, I don’t believe love is like Highlander – there can, in fact, be more than one over the course of a lifetime.

But here is what I do know: even if you “just know”, we are all still only human. Imperfect, fragile, free moral agents who are all works in progress, dealing with our own issues and walking our own unique paths. Even if you do find “the one”, you or they, or some external factor, or a combination of things, can screw it up and make it end.

I know this because, floaty kiss or no floaty kiss, hubby #2 and I are no longer together. He is somewhere married to another woman, happy and content. I am here living my life, also happy and content.

Truth be told, that feeling of levitation when someone kisses you is probably more about lust than it is about love. Sorry artists, musicians, poets… don’t mean to be a buzz kill, but I suspect a lot of pretty, exciting, breathtaking things are misinterpreted as love when they really have to do with regions a lot lower down than the heart.

Point is, I believe that, just like everything else in life, true love is a process. As we as individuals grow and change, so does what we look for in a mate. So does what we can offer as a mate. I think “just knowing” starts with self-knowing.

Love is not finite. Love is the beginning of the journey…the journey itself…and the destination.

At 46, that’s what the statue represents to me. Not some fairytale-esque magic kiss but rather the feeling that love, this love that you’ve found, is not possession or restriction or rules or dependency; it is the ultimate freedom.

One of the last things my mother said to me before she left this earth was, “It’s up to you now, to carry the torch”.

I knew what she meant…it’s difficult to quantify in a blog post, but it has to do with the light of the strength and spirit passed down from  woman to  woman in our lineage. To keep her alive by passing on her stories, just as she passed on to me the stories of those that came before her. To take generations of wisdom given by our family’s mothers to their daughters; which she made her own, and in turn to make it my own.

I think Mum was right. I think when we meet someone who is right for us, there is a deep, instinctual part of our hind brain that really does spark. Some je ne sais quoi that draws us to them like a magnet. But as much as I enjoy a good kiss, to me there is far more to the story.

All of that being said, what, then, does it mean to me to “just know”? I will hold that torch up proudly and tell you…

…For me it is this

Walking in the door, looking him in the eyes and feeling like I had known him forever. But still feeling my heart pound with the anticipation of meeting him for the very first time.

The absolute gut knowledge that I can be 100% who I am with him no matter what, quirks and all.

Feeling inherent trust. Which is a big deal because I am not what one would refer to as a trusting individual. Especially of things with penises.

Taking my profile off after 4 days of emails and texts because that thing in my cavewoman brain was sparking before I even laid eyes on him.

Knowing that I could give this man what is left of my poor, trembling, bruised heart…now more scar tissue than muscle…and he would cup it in his hands as though it were treasure, and make it all pink and new again.

The fact that I, who no longer sleeps, slumber like a baby safe and secure and impervious to anything bad, when I lay next to him. And when he curls up around me and I hear his breathing change as he drifts off, I know with absolute certainty the meaning of peace.

Being with him is as easy, comfortable and rejuvenating as being alone. And, if able to choose, in any given moment I would rather be with him than without him.

The kind of man he is inspires me to strive to be the best woman I can be.

His neck smells like home…

There isn’t one single thing about him I wish were any different than it is today. There are no “buts” (he’s a nice guy, but…I really like him, but…I could see a future together, but….none of that). I like everything that makes him, him.  Just as he is.

Saying goodbye to him, if it had a sound, would be that of pulling Velcro apart.

When I see him, heck, when I so much as think about him, I smile. The kind that starts by curling the lips and ends by lighting up the eyes.

His presence in my life has reminded me that I can feel, that I can hope, that life really is worth living, that the universe may take stuff away but it also gives us some pretty amazing things too and that I can, in fact, still love.

That I would, without a moment’s hesitation, take on the weight of the world if it meant taking if off of him. I would stand in the midst of the fire hand in hand with him. And I would, by sheer force of will, make it go out.

Because he isn’t merely the nose on my face (to use my mother’s analogy), he is my phone booth; when he came into my life I was but an ordinary woman. Now, because of him, I feel as though I have superpowers. I feel free.

I feel like I can fly.

Just like that woman in the statue….

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…..

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 : )

What’s In My Bag – Fossil Hanover Crossbody

Last night I saw the cutest cross-body bag in one of my local shops.  Now, generally I am a purveyor of rather large, rather expensive bags (Coach, Dooney & Bourke, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Channel, Gucci and Prada…you get the idea) but sometimes you just want a decent bag for everyday that won’t cause apoplexy if it gets wet or damaged or stepped on.

I have a tendency toward black bags too.  So if anything in the list above isn’t Louis Vuitton, assume it’s black.  Because it is.

Last weekend I was doing some power shopping.  It was hot out and schlepping my big, black, Marc Jacobs hobo was becoming cumbersome. A few hours in my shoulder was aching and my lower back was throbbing.

“What I need”, I thought to myself, “is a small, lightweight, cross-body bag I can carry at times like this”.

Fast forward to the Mall last night and the extraordinarily fortuitous sale I stumbled upon of Fossil bags.  The Fossil Hanover Cross-body seemed to fit the bill, had an abundance of pockets and compartments for its size and even looked reasonably cute on.








Believe it or not I went for the Cognac color. Yes, they did have black, but I thought for summer (and since I am deeply committed to my aqua Filofax Finsbury…no matter which size I decide to use on a given day) I would give this natural saddle tan a try.

Here it is full of my stuff…








That is my beloved iPhone 4 sticking out of the perfectly sized cell phone pocket.

Now for the contents…









Can you believe all of this fits in such a compact bag?!  I couldn’t.  But I sure am pleased that it does.  For the record, this little number holds just about the same amount as the Coach tote bag I was carrying as a work bag. The only thing I could fit in the Coach tote that I can’t in here are file folders.  And since those don’t come shopping with me, I’m ok with that.

In the bag you will find:

My aqua Personal size Filofax Finsbury (obviously the Pocket fits even better and the A5 won’t fit at all)

iPhone 4 & earbuds

Hand sanitizer, Neosporin To Go (because I am a klutz and frequently injure myself), a couple hair elastics, Altoids

Bliss Problem Salved, Clinique Superbalm (in “Currant” if you care), Burts Bees lip balm, Boscia Blotting Papers, Sephora mirror

Fossil Key-per wallet (also on mega sale & I thought a cute, colorful, summery compliment to the bag)

Coach sunglasses

Looking at this photo it has just dawned on me I have lost my car keys, which are missing from the shot…but no matter…the blog must go on!

Anyway, not too shabby, eh?!  Considering the price point (hint – the Finsbury cost more on clearance) and the fact that it is all leather, and nice supple leather at that, I am quite happy with it.

And there you have it.  Handbag du jour,  a la Zoe : )


Apples and Oranges

This title is going to apply to two topics:

1. A quick comparison between eReading on a Kindle 3 and an iPad 2, and

2. My first impressions of Weight Watchers

Kindle 2 vs. iPad 2 as eReaders –

I love to read. I love books, I love the feel and smell of paper books, I collect certain authors in hard cover, and no matter how awesome you make an eReader I am always going to have paper books. Period.

However, there are undeniably times when having books in electronic form comes in very handy…thus my interest in eReaders.

I had a second generation Kindle and liked it well enough, but didn’t really care for the navigation and the white color of the device was sort of distracting to the page. So when I found myself not really using it that often (and actually preferring to purchase the trashy summer novel in paperback rather than electronic form) I knew it was time to sell it.

Enter Kindle 3. Grey device, more intuitively laid out navigation…sold! I bought one for myself and never looked back. Somehow much more desirable size to carry around (even though it isn’t really that much smaller than its predecessor) and with the price point, there was no need to resist.

Now that I have my birthday iPad however, I find the Kindle once again falling into disuse. There are a million and one reasons why, as a dedicated eReader, Kindle beats the ever-living snot out of an iPad (the weight of the thing being the first to come to mind) but the fact of the matter is this: the iPad does oh-so-much-more than allow me to eRead. So that is the gadget I cart around with me now, rather than the Kindle.

As much of a uber geek as I am, no way I’m lugging around both, know what I’m saying?

Happily, there is always a market for a pristine, latest generation Kindle, so I easily sold mine for full retail to an office-mate.

But back to my practical comparison…

Truly they are Apples & Oranges. You can’t really “compare” them per se, as each excels at different things, but nor is this a full-fledged review of either, so we’ll just go with comparison for now because I’m lazy.

The Kindle 3 is a MUCH smaller, lighter device than an iPad. Holding it in your hand to read is effortless, while the iPad gets heavy after a while unless you rest it on something. This really isn’t an issue for me, as I tend to read seated most of the time and can rest it on my meaty thigh.

The iPad screen isn’t worth a damn outside in the sunlight. I plan to investigate an anti-glare screen protector this weekend and will let you know if that makes any discernible difference. I have one on my iPhone and it works spectacularly, however I don’t do any long-term reading on my iPhone either.

The other side of that coin, of course, is that I can read without having a light on because the screen is back-lit. This is handy for reading in bed or other times you’re in a poorly lit environment.

The Kindle’s eInk technology is really unbeatable if you are going to read outside, say at the beach. Again, not an issue for me since I would personally bring neither device to the beach for fear of sand infiltration and/or thievery. I prefer to either swim, walk, forage for shells, people watch or sleep at the beach, so I seldom read and if I do it is generally a magazine (behind which I hide and pretend to read so that I can perform the aforementioned people watching surreptitiously).

I took the iPad out onto my deck over the weekend to read The Daily (more about that later in the section where I totally gush about how phantasmagorical the iPad is) and struggled to read in the bright sunlight, even under my patio umbrella.

Happily, being more than an eReader, I turned off the screen, cranked up some tunes and chilled with my iced tea undaunted.

It’s been said a zillion times, but now I can tell you from experience – if you want strictly an eReader, go for the Kindle hands down. But if reading electronic documents is only one of the bangs you want for your buck, hold out for an iPad.

Now to the part where I rave about the iPad.

The thing is so incredible…it really is. For media consumption in general, you can’t go wrong. Yes, I have eBooks (or should I say, iBooks) but I also have my magazine subscriptions IN COLOR. Currently just Vanity Fair and Allure but still…no more piles of magazines I don’t know what to do with after I’ve read them. Even the ads are interactive and (dare I say it) fun.

The Daily, a news app specifically designed for the iPad is insanely cool. Yes, you have to pay to subscribe to it ($0.99 per week…yes that’s right, I said per WEEK) but it has new content – you guessed it, daily – and is akin to, but better than, a USA Today type newspaper.  I love it.  Well worth a buck a week in my opinion. It even has a daily crossword & Sudoku. And there are no strings, so if you get bored with it, you simply don’t renew for the following week.

I have games (don’t even get me started on Angry Birds or you will die of old age as I go on and on and on about that particular addiction), I have an app that lets me access and watch whatever cable TV channels I pay for at home. From anywhere with WiFi. Which means I can catch up on Nurse Jackie in Panera as I nosh on my overpriced, foofy lunch.

I can Tweet, update and moderate this very blog, read up on all my favorite blogs by you guys, check in on Facebook (ok not Facebook…”Friendly” which is the App Store’s version of Facebook for iPad, but you get the idea), email, read work documents (which lets face it, I don’t…but I could if I wanted to), listen to music, watch a full length feature movie, show off a slide show of Sophie or do my banking. I’m sure there are things I’ve left out, because it is pretty overwhelming to think about all the possibilities for this device, but pretty much whatever you can imagine doing, there is indeed an app for it.

So yeah, I’m not that annoyed that reading on it outside in the sunlight sucks.

Oh, another thing I can do on my iPad (this is going to be a segue, so hold on tight) is calculate WW Points or add stuff to my WW Points Tracker for the day.

My First Impressions of Weight Watchers –

See, I told you it was a segue.

I have now been on Weight Watchers (WW for short) for 4 days. Today being day #4.  I must say it sucks a whole lot less than I thought it would.

Since you eat your own food I didn’t have to change my grocery shopping habits (just what I bought) and dare I say it has saved me money already.

Saturday night I went out with my girlfriends and had one glass of wine (4 points) and seltzer with lime (0 points) for the rest of the night…and had as much fun as I always have, but without the day-after headache.  Sunday I skipped my usual movie night with pizza (which I generally put down all by myself, thank you very much) and had air popped popcorn instead (a measly 2 points for an entire bag).

This morning I got up a bit early, went to the grocery store, bought my work food for the entire week and brought it in with me. Again, saving myself not only precious Points, but also even more precious dollars.

I know it is impossible, but even after a mere four days I feel as though I am losing. My pants feel looser. I have WAY more energy throughout the day and much to everyone’s glee (and frankly amazement), I am in a far, far better mood.

I can’t quantify that “feels like I’m losing” comment, as I am holding to the instruction to only weigh yourself once per week, consistently at the same day/time of day, and that ain’t happening until Friday…but I will certainly let you know what it shows then.

Turns out, this isn’t torture at all.  Huh.

And the part I really dreaded, the tracking of everything I put in my mouth, isn’t that bad either. It took an initial time investment to enter what I generally eat (or, what I will be eating going forward) into the favorite food database on Friday night, but that was actually pretty interesting and I did it on my laptop while watching television, so I can’t complain.

This is typically a task I would obsess psychotically too much over, but since there is an iPhone app (sadly not an iPad specific app yet, though you can use the iPhone app on it…it just appears smaller and more pixellated on the large screen) I don’t need to.

The app has a handy Points calculator for seeing what stuff will “cost you” in your daily Points allotment if you choose to eat it, as well as the Points Tracker, which will tell you what you have left for the rest of the day once you do consume something. There is a huge database of restaurant food and brand names, so this part of the process really can’t be an excuse for failure.

Sneakily, they have made fruits and veggies zero Points. My co-worker said this was not the case formerly. So if you’ve used your Points budget for whatever meal you’re on, and you are still hungry but don’t want to blow the rest of your day, you are trained to reach for a piece of fruit (or, as I type this, raw carrot sticks…zero points…HOLLA!!!!) as opposed to that bag of chips.

If I get distracted and power through my bag of carrot sticks the worst that will happen to me is I will end up with very keen eyesight. Not so if I get distracted and blast through an entire bag of chips.

For this half of the post Apples & Oranges is about healthy snacking.

See what I did there?

Also underhandedly, physical activity gains you points. Granted not many, but my morning half-hour jaunt with Sophie gets me 2 Points. Now, were I to go over my daily food Points allotment, I could use those 2 exercise Points to break even. Or, I can bank them for the week and, since Sophie & I walk ever day, I could save them up and have 10 Points worth of wine on the weekend.

Wait until I get back to my strength training three times a week…that’ll help my wine allowance fo shizzle.

So while you’re not paying attention, you are figuring out how to work exercise into your day so that you can drink wine, and relying on fruits and veggies as snacks.


In all seriousness though, it really isn’t a bad program to be on. In fact, you could argue that it is better to be mindful of what we fuel our bodies with just anyway.

I, for one, have certainly not been fueling it very well lately and weight aside, if I can get back into healthy habits, have more energy and FEEL BETTER well then, this will have been well worth the effort.

Maybe by this time next year there will be a Weight Watcher’s ad featuring an awkward blonde girl holding a Filofax, surrounded by dogs with their heads cocked in agony (because she can’t sing to save her own life) in place of Jennifer Hudson!

But if I were you, I wouldn’t hold your breath ; )

What’s the Point

This post isn’t about planners, sorry. Or should I say you’re welcome, if you were getting kind of bored with all the Malden jabber.

Which knowing you, you probably weren’t.

It started out to be about a new section in my planner devoted to the fact that I have just signed up for Weight Watchers.

Yes…yes I did.

I discovered to my horror at my annual girlie exam this week that I have put on quite a bit of weight since last year. And by quite a bit I mean enough to make me gasp audibly and fight back tears.

Of course, I did have an injury to contend with that benched me for longer than anticipated – mostly because I ignored my doctor’s initial recommendations for crutch time, then got bored with physical therapy and quit after the second visit, and started working out three months sooner than I was supposed to (which of course led to a re-injury), blah, blah, blah I’ve been a couch potato for an entire year.

But those are all excuses. Point of fact is, I now weigh the most I have in my entire life.

Not cool.

I work with a woman who had great success on Weight Watchers and I saw the food she ate every day. This woman did not diet; rather she just learned to eat differently. She wasn’t crabby, she seemed to feel satiated and I even saw her put down a bagel and shmeer now and then. Yet she still managed to lose well over 50 lbs.

Knowing my penchant for pasta, cheese, red meat, chocolate and alcohol would sabotage any self-imposed efforts…at least initially…I decided I needed something  more structured.

And some accountability. Let’s face it, Sophie could care less if I’m shoving bean sprouts in my mouth or spray cheese, so long as I give her some. Her “will work for food” attitude is all enabler, all the time.

Even after we go for a nice walk, she makes me get an ice cream to share with her. I mean she FORCES me to. She’s cute but she’s just no help.

So, I joined for three months. I figure by then I will be in the swing of healthier living and won’t need to be watched over by any weight loss mother hens.

Initially, I got all excited to set up a section in my Filofax to track everything and of course write a blog post about it.

But wouldn’t you know, the new Points Plus system is largely digital. All the major platforms now have apps with handy Points calculators and food databases and the like. Far be it from me to track everything the old-fashioned way when they’ve gone and made an iPhone app and a “Kitchen Companion” app for my beloved iPad.

Okay, that one is all shopping ideas, menus and recipes…and we all know I refuse to cook…so it probably won’t see a whole lotta use, but hey. At least I know it’s there.

I had planned to post my start weight and body measurements here.

Then I threw up in my mouth a little at the thought.

I’m not going to get into the numbers here because, frankly, I’m disgusted with myself for letting things get so out of hand. However I will blog weekly to let you know how the program is going, at what rate I’m losing…

…and how much I miss whoopie pies.

Wish me luck!