I have the best husband in the world. He and I visited New Orleans in early December for a friend's 50th birthday celebration. While there, we stopped in an antique shop, Royal Antiques, on Royal Street. While there, I looked at this beautiful antique English stationery box. I fell in love.
When I got home, I called the store to order it. However, it had already been sold. And then on Christmas day...voila! It was given to me by my husband.
Many people who collect items such as this don't use them. They are meant only to be looked at and admired. However, I disagree with that approach. I have mine front and center on my desk and am enjoying the heck out of it. Every time I use it, I feel like a character from Downton Abbey.
There are so many wonderful compartments -- the calendar function, the elastics for stamps/postcards to be displayed, the secret compartment for special items, two inkwells for my fountain pen ink, a beautiful key that opens and closes the box. And the craftsmanship is unlike anything you will find now. I feel incredibly fortunate to have such a piece and to be able to use it every day.
A few months ago, I ordered a Samorga organizer insert for one of my handbags. I had seen them promoted on Instagram and by one of my favorite YouTubers - Grit and Glamour. And being the organization-fanatic that I am, I had to try one for myself.
If you get irritated by the contents of your purse falling to the bottom of your bag, causing you not to find anything, then you need to invest in one of these handbag organizers.
Samorga designs their organizers for specific bags. And they offer a variety of fun colors so that you can match the insert to the interior lining of your bag. They are made of felt, so they are not heavy and don't add a lot of weight to your bag.
As you can see above, the insert fits perfectly in my Louis Vuitton Graceful bag. And I selected an insert that matches almost perfectly with the lining of my bag.
Boy, do I love these planners. The one on the right is a late 1980's Filofax TravelFax in genuine pigskin leather. It is missing its snap on the button closure. It has a wonderful, orange patina and the leather is incredibly soft from years and years of wear. I purchased this planner before my backpacking trip to Europe during my junior year in college (circa 1988). The planner housed my passport, boarding tickets, Eurail passes, notes from my travels, currency and so much more. I absolutely adore this thing and will never get rid of it. It brings back a flood of memories every time I pick it up.
The brown planner is the first planner I had out of school and in my first professional job. My father bought this for me. He had my initials put on the front, which I thought was very classy! It's a Daytimer made of genuine cowhide. My dad was a huge Daytimer fan, so he introduced me to the system. I used this planner for a year or two before I realized that I needed a larger planner for my day to day use. No matter how hard I have tried over the years, I am a personal size or an A5 size planner gal. I just have too much to write!
As I recall, the Daytimer format is very user-friendly. However, as I've gotten older, I prefer the ring system to the spiral bound system. I like the flexibility of the ring system.
Two years ago, I ordered bespoke engraved stationery from Nancy Sharon Collins Stationer in New Orleans. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Nancy Collins created a custom cypher for me (shown above) and together we selected the perfect pink - Precious Peonies - for the cypher. The border is another shade of pink - Unspoken Love. The letterhead is 6 x 9. The second photo shows the back of the stationery. I love how the engraving looks on the flip side.
I also ordered a custom French-fitted case to hold the stationery and envelopes. The case is made of aubergine silk and has a turquoise silk lining. Every time I pull out a piece of stationery from the box, I feel like the Queen of England. Luxury at its finest.
After two years of pretty constant use, I am about to run out of stationery. So it's time to decide what format I want to use for the next few years. I have enjoyed the 6 x 9 size, but I'm thinking I may want to change to a notecard format. I try and write at least one handwritten letter a week. And I want the recipient to feel special when he/she receives it. Is a notecard any less special than a piece of stationery? Am I overthinking this? I would love your comments.
Since I was young, I have always kept cards, letters and other mementos that celebrate milestones in my life. For years, I have used a journal like the one pictured above to house all types of things. I purchased this Kate Spade journal from Papyrus. Not only is it beautiful, but it is functional. I regularly pull this journal off my bookshelf and review the contents. It is fun to look at notes my children have written to me over the years. And to read cards my husband has given me for various holidays and anniversaries. And I even have some older photos of the kids thrown in. I imagine a time once I'm no longer on this earth, that my kids will find these journals (I have many of them) and will enjoy reminiscing about their mom and her life. I think that is one of the great things about paper and handwritten notes...you can keep them for future generations to read and enjoy.
If you decide to try a keepsake journal, my biggest piece of advice is to put the keepsake item in the journal quickly after receiving it. That way it won't get lost.
I purchased these super-cute notecards from a local retailer, Sally Mack. Eighty-five cards come to a package, and I bought 3 packages. So I will be using these for a while. They are the perfect size for a quick note to a friend, a kind thought packaged in a lunch box or a note left on someone's pillow. I decided to package 5 of the cards with a bow and send them to some friends. I'm hoping it's a nice "pick me up" for the recipients. The cards are made by efrancespaper.com.
As many of you know, I visited France in June. The first few days of the trip I was in Paris. And I was able to visit a number of stationery stores. It was pure Heaven. During one of my visits to Melodies Graphiques, I picked up this beauty. It's a 100% cotton notepad made by Amatruda (La Carta di Amalfi) in Italy.
The paper is exquisite. Almost too good to write on. I haven't used it yet, because I don't want to blemish it. I love looking at it in a pristine condition.
But the real reason I purchased it is the cover. It's an old map of parts of Paris. I thought it would be a perfect memento to remember the trip.
I am loving this portfolio from Leatherology. Not only is the color divine, but the leather feels incredibly soft. And the texture is a bit pebbly. When you open it, there are two larger pockets for 8 1/2 x 11 documents, as well as three smaller pockets. Two are perfect for business cards (yes, I still use them!) and the other is a nice size for receipts, etc. I use this portfolio to hold my rose-colored MacBook Air. And the portfolio/laptop fit comfortably in my handbag when I am traveling to and from work. The portfolio protects my laptop, but it also houses any 8 1/2 x 11 documents that I need to transport.
I continue to use my LV agenda, and I love how the two pieces compliment one another. The agenda is my work horse. It holds my calendar, project lists, notetaking journal, my pen, my todo list and any important bills/receipts that I need to keep track of. But my agenda doesn't accommodate 8 1/2 x 11 documents, so the portfolio is a perfect place for those things.
I love carrying, wearing and being around beautiful things. I definitely believe what Helena Bonham Carter said, "I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art."
It's been a week since I received my large LV agenda. And I LOVE it. Prior to receiving it, I was worried about the following:
-It would be too large to carry in my handbag (I carry my agenda everywhere!).
-It would be heavy.
-The agenda wouldn't lay flat.
I am happy to report that none of these things are true. It comfortably fits in my LV MM Neverfull and doesn't considerably increase the weight of my bag. And it lays flat on my desk. As you can see in the above photo, it isn't too chunky either. I keep a fair amount of information in the agenda, but not enough to make it difficult to carry around.
When I open my agenda, the first thing I see is a business card holder from Cloth & Paper. Instead of using it for business cards, I use it to store stamps, highlighter stickers, and a variety of other stickers.
The next section of my agenda is my daily calendar. It's a week on two pages format. I ordered some Cloth & Paper undated calendar pages, but I think I am going to go back to my L'Agenda Moderne a week on two pages format. I prefer the paper stock and the design of the pages. The only unfortunate thing is that I have to order them from Paris. My weekly todo list is on a Cloth & Paper template. I place my weekly todo list in between my week on two pages inserts. That way, I have my calendar and my todos all together.
After my calendar, I have five dividers from 8Lotus. The dividers are frosted plastic. They add a nice elegance to the agenda, as opposed to a clear or paper divider. My dividers include "school calendar", "projects", "passwords", "letters to write" and "blog planning." I ordered a passwords insert from 8Lotus. It is a well-designed format and perfect for someone (like me) who needs to carry around a number of passwords.
Next, I have some fun L'Agenda Moderne maps. I enjoy looking at these when I travel. And the maps are followed by Filofax business card holders. This is where I keep any business cards that I need regular access to, as well as photos of my family, ID cards, etc.
I like to carry colored pens with me. I use them to address my handwritten letters (I strive to send at least one a week.). And I use a colored pen to cross of my todos as I do them. My favorite brand is Le Pen. I like the variety of colors and the fine tip. The zippered pouch has 3 Le Pens and also some of my favorite family photos. Originally, I had this pouch, as well as the other business card holders in the front of my agenda. However, when I closed my agenda, they would stick out of the agenda. They were too long. So, I moved them to the back of my planner. And the agenda looks much neater now when it is closed.
The last thing in my agenda is a Cloth & Paper notebook. I use this in both my work and personal meetings to take notes. The notebook cover is incredibly smooth and has a high quality paper with a dot grid format. And my Pilot Decimo pen fits snugly in the pen loop.
I am really enjoying this agenda. It is a beautiful piece and I genuinely enjoy carrying it.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the set up of my planner. Over the years I've used primarily a personal size, an A5 size or an A6 size. Most recently, I have been using a really wonderful agenda from L'Agenda Moderne, a French planner company. The top photo shows this brand. I visited Bon Marche in Paris last month and took this photo in the store. I ended up buying the orange planner in the bottom left corner. The size is not quite an A5. It's a bit shorter, but the same width as an A5. And I am loving it. It fits very nicely in my handbag, and the inserts are beautifully designed. I love having the extra space to write and take notes. The size accommodates the phase of life I'm in right now. I have a lot going on -- I'm managing an existing business, launching a new business, getting ready for my daughter's senior year in high school and eventual departure for college, spending time growing my Paper, Pens & Planners passion and exploring the next phase of life with my husband. I was using an A6 planner, but found that it didn't provide enough space for my notes, appointments (not just for me, but for my kids too) and the assortment of odds and ends I need to carry with me each day. The only downside is that the company doesn't market to the US. And getting inserts to fit this particular size of planner is very difficult. While I would welcome the chance to order additional planners and inserts for this brand of agenda, it is not at all convenient and is proving to be more difficult than I realized it would be.
So, on Friday I ordered a preowned Louis Vuitton large agenda from Fashionphile. It was $200 off the retail price and is in very good condition. It is supposed to arrive tomorrow. I decided to go with this model for a variety of reasons: 1-a number of IG planners carry this model and give rave reviews; 2-the LV large agenda keeps its value quite well; 3-the LV canvas and monogram are beautiful; 4-the agenda accommodates Cloth & Paper inserts which I am really into right now. The biggest downsides I anticipate are: 1-the size (I hear it is a very large agenda); 2- based on photos I've seen, some of the LV agendas don't lay flat (I'm hopeful the large one does); 3- it doesn't have business card slots, but I've ordered business card sleeves, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Over the next week or so, I will set up the new LV planner and do a blog post showing my set up. I have ordered a bunch of materials from Cloth and Paper for this agenda: a week on two pages vertical layout inserts (this is my day to day planning tool for appointments); frosted plastic dividers for the 5-6 sections I use in a planner -- Cleaning, Letters to Write, Passwords, Blog Planning, Todo Templates; a few business card sleeves since the agenda doesn't have a place for business cards; a chic black folder to put at the front of the agenda for receipts and other pieces of random paper that need to be kept; a plastic sleeve for my various stickers, stamps and other planning tools; and two writing journals (one for business notes and the other for personal items).
Stay tuned to hear how it all comes together.