Hello, my pretties. Brace yourselves.

I am about to put down some words about things that are NOT depressing. Or whiny. Pretty exciting.

Back in September, someone in the vintage Coach collectors Facebook group posted something about planners. Like the old-school Filofax kind with calendars in them. And she mentioned that there were VIDEOS of people showing their planners on You Tube. I was all “what?” People WATCH these videos?! AND she said there were entire Facebook groups about PLANNERS. I figured everyone just used their phone and post it notes like I did. Mind = blown.

So of course I had to go find one of those videos.

Long story short: I found a planner made by Gillio, since one of the Coach gals mentioned that brand, and THAT led me to Midori travelers’ notebooks. Huh, I thought. Now THIS is pretty cool.

Midoris do not have rings. They are long and skinny and made out of leather – notebook covers. They have elastic bands inside that hold “inserts” that can be whatever you want them to be. Midori makes various ones, but just like the covers themselves (called fauxdoris by some people) you can now find all kinds of inserts and notebook covers on Etsy. There are calendars, journals, fitness trackers, meal planners, sketchbooks, bullet journals, more calendars – you name it, there is an insert for it or someone willing to make you one. The funny thing is I made something very similar to this when I sewed a cover for a spiral notebook – I had no idea things like this actually existed.

I went down the rabbit hole, people.

My first notebook was not an actual Midori brand notebook, but a lovely yellow one made by Perfect Papier on Etsy. I love that notebook. Then when The Geek went to Japan, which is the holy land for stationery supplies, he brought me back an ACTUAL Midori, which I’ve been using for about 3 weeks now. I also tracked down a limited edition Pan Am blue Midori that I used for Thanksgiving and Christmas planning – (I plan to use that every year so I don’t to reinvent the wheel each year.)

Midori and Nahe pen case
Midori and Nahe pen case

There is a learning curve to this system, and that is part of the beauty of it – it is infinitely customizable. I’ve switched things up several times when something just wasn’t working. Some folks get very scrapbooky with their notebooks – lots of stickers and stamps and washi tape. That’s just not for me – way too much going on and I don’t do cutesy. I tried some inserts with colored paper but swapped them out for the standard Midori inserts (a gridded one, a thin paper one, and their dated weekly calendar). I decided I like the minimal, consistent look, though I have added some Kandinsky stickers and bit of washi here and there.

I just set it up for 2016 yesterday. First look – a list of what I would like to do in the new year – maybe if I see it every day, I’ll actually do it? One can dream.


Midori weekly calendar with Pan Am 2016 stickers
Midori weekly calendar with Pan Am 2016 stickers

I switched out the bullet journal-style journal, and moved this calendar to the front. I found I was duplicating too many things between the calendar and the journal.


Now I have this brain dump/tracker/projects/miscellaneous insert instead of the bullet journal.

Everything journal
Everything journal

One aspect of the Bullet Journal I did keep was the collections idea – that group of post-its of things I wanted to remember is now kept in here instead, in tidy little indexed lists. There are lists of music, books, screen, restaurants to try, college info, gift cards, words I like.20151230_083517



For future planning, I’ve got this monthly insert I ordered from Frasizzle on Etsy.

excuse the bad photo!

I’ve also got a plastic zipper pocket and a slip pocket for pens and papers. I made a pocket for bigger things out of a file folder that I stick in the back. Speaking of pens, that’s a whole other rabbit hole, but currently my favorites are a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, a Pentel Tradio .05, a Pentel Hybrid Technica .03 and a Pilot Hi-Tec .04.

I still use my phone to log appointments or plans that The Geek needs to see so we can be synced. But I no longer record things on there that I forget about because I never see it again- it’s all in the notebook. I use this thing every day. There is something soothing about putting pen to paper, about arranging it just so, adding little bits to it that make me happy when I see it or use it. The textile nature of it appeals to me; the coldness of the phone never did. The warmth and softness of the leather, the smooth brightness of the paper, the rythym of the pen making the words – I get that.

And I combined my Coach habit with my new notebook habit not too long ago and made a Field Notes-sized notebook to use as a wallet/notebook on days when I don’t want to drag it all with me.

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The Geek even has his own notebook – I got him a green Perfect Papier cover when I got my yellow. He follows more of a strict Bullet Journal system in his. And for 2016 he’ll be switching to an undyed leather cover that I made him for Christmas. I’ve got more leather left so I’m going to make myself one too. Next up: a custom Van der Spek Nomad that should be coming in January from Amsterdam thanks to a Christmas bonus. And then a Naked Cow cover at some point.

At first, I couldn’t understand why anyone would need more than one notebook, but now I get it – they’re like purses. When you get bored of one, you can move into another. And since purses are what started this whole thing, that makes perfect sense.



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