I love handwriting. It's been important to me since I was in middle school. I've always cared how my handwriting looks. So, I've always been on the search for the perfect pen. And over the years, prior to discovering fountain pens, I gravitated to rollerballs and gel pens. I also enjoyed using Le Pens due to their fine writing points.
But a few years ago, I was introduced to fountain pens at Crazy Alan's Emporium, a local stationery/pen/planner/office supply shop. He carries a large supply of fountain pens from manufacturers Pilot, Lamy, Cross and many more. He also has both new and preowned fountain pens. Some vintage, some just old. But I love going in there and learning about the new releases.
I believe I purchased my first fountain pen from this store, and I've been hooked ever since. My go-to daily pen is a Pilot Decimo. It is part of the vanishing point line and is the perfect size for my relatively small hands. Here is a great article that summarizes both the Vanishing Point and Decimo.
If you are tempted to try a fountain pen for your everyday carry, I highly suggest you give this line a try. The Decimo is reasonably priced (approximately $125-$150), and you can use a converter or ink cartridge. I prefer to fill a converter with the ink of my choosing, but if you haven't done it before, it can take a little time. And be prepared to get ink on your fingers! But for me, that is part of the fun.
Another reason I enjoy fountain pens is the large array of inks to choose from. Currently, I am using the Namiki 100th anniversary mini bottle ink set. And I'm using the violet ink. Every time I write, it makes me smile.
While in Paris earlier this summer, I was introduced to Louise Carmen traveler's notebooks. The company had a kiosk in Bon Marche, and it was hard not to fall in love with the product.
Above is the notebook I purchased. Even after less than two months, the patina is beautiful. I've decided that this notebook will be used when I travel. It's the perfect set up for travel documents, passports and note taking.
On the left side of the notebook, my boarding passes fit perfectly. And they are easily accessible when I'm in line at the airport.
On the right side, there is a deep pocket (underneath the flap). It holds my passport perfectly. And I like that there is a thin traveler's notebook in the middle to take quick notes while I'm in a new place. It's all right there for me...easily accessible and well-organized.
And to top it off, I had the notebook personalized with my initials. It's the perfect souvenir to remember my Parisian travels.
Today I decided to use two older A5 notebooks for uses other than my daily planner. I am excited because I love using such beautiful pieces for other areas of my life.
In the above photo, the top planner is an A5 Van der Spek Touch Me in black. I've had it for a few years, but haven't used it for a while. Initially, I ordered it as my daily planner, but I found it a bit too big for my daily use. So it's been sitting on my shelf. Until today! Now I have made it my reference library for my office. It houses business cards that I need to keep, but don't need to carry with me every day. Gift ideas for the holidays. And my Thanksgiving shopping list and the menu for dinner (always good to plan early). It includes all the things I need to keep track of, but don't need in my daily planner. It sits on my desk and is easy to reference.
The second planner I have put into use is an A5 Filofax Malden in fuschia. I have always loved this planner, but it's too big for my daily planner. Now, it is the notebook I use for my Bible study, which I do each morning and evening. It also houses words of inspiration from my kids, verses I want to memorize and anything I want to study when reading the Bible.
In the above photo, you can see the A5 Malden, my Bible (blue) and my Five-Minute Journal. I highly recommend the Five-Minute Journal. It is to be completed each morning and night. It forces you to focus on what you are thankful for, what good things happened during the day and what you would have changed if given the chance. I find it reminds me of all the wonderful blessings in my life.
I am happy to announce that my online store is open and ready for business. These four Filofax Malden beauties (personal size) are the first four items for sale. And the black one has already sold!
I will be posting another planner to the store site later today. It is a Gillio Giramondo in navy blue (photo above).
This past week I met with Sophia, handle Excessive_planner on Instagram, for a planner meet-up. This was my first meet-up and I learned a great deal. Sophia is a fan of Gillio and Van der Spek and brought a few of her planners for me to see. The one I fell in love with is below.
This is a Special Nomad (Travelers Notebook) from VDS. The material is Touch Me Noir. @inkimperfections created this special edition and it is brilliant. It is meant to be used as a wallet, journal and planner. Sophia shared her set up with me, and I have to admit I was envious. How convenient to have one item that serves three purposes. Currently, I have my planner (a L'Agenda Moderne in close to an A5 size), my Louis Vuitton wallet and I have a separate Gillio Apunto planner that I use to take notes (personal and business uses). That's a lot to carry in one handbag. I think the biggest question for me is whether I could adapt from a true planner set up to a nomad set up for planning purposes. And I wonder if having my wallet incorporated into my planner is the best set-up for me. I like to compartmentalize things, and combining two very important parts of my life might be more unsettling than helpful.
Above is a photo of the planners Sophia and I brought to the meet-up. The VDS Special Nomad is in the upper left corner. And my current L'Agenda Moderne planner is the orange one to the right of the Nomad. The others include a number of Gillios and VDS planners, as well as a Louise Carmen traveler notebook that I recently purchased during my trip to Paris (orange notebook at the bottom of the photo with my initials - PJZ). The Louise Carmen traveler notebook is only used when I travel. It houses my passports, boarding passes and other travel documents. It also includes a journal that I can use to capture thoughts/ideas while I'm visiting new places. And it's a wonderful keepsake from my travels to Paris.
And here is Sophia. I'm thrilled to meet someone else who is as passionate and interested in the planner world as I am. And our hope is to get together again next month and share more planner insights. Thank you for taking the time to meet, Sophia.
One of the great things about the planner community is that there is a planner for every life stage a person goes through. I have evolved in the type of planner I use. In college, I purchased my first planner, a Filofax Travelfax. I bought it in preparation for my junior semester abroad in Europe. It wasn't meant to keep my schedule or todo lists. Its only purpose was to hold my travel documents, passport, credit cards and cash. And I absolutely loved using it. It's patina still looks beautiful. However, it is pretty fragile now. It is made of pigskin leather. Pigskin??? I don't hear of planners being made with that anymore.
In my early twenties, my father purchased the Daytimer Planner system for me to use in my first job out of college. It was professional-looking and the leather was cowhide. I used this system for years. Eventually, though, I required a larger format for day-to-day use.
Since then, I have used a number of planners - Filofax, Gillio, Van der Spek and now L'Agenda Moderne. Each planner has its unique look and feel. And I try and change my planner every 2-3 months so that most of my planners get use. I also just like change. Using a new format and new inserts makes me happy. But I have to be particular because I only use a fountain pen, and I find that the Filofax inserts don't hold fountain pen ink very well.
My daughter, Parker, is almost 18 years old. And she is a creative soul. Last year, she used a bullet journal as her planner for school. But this summer, because of her busy and fragmented schedule, she recognizes the need for a more structured look and feel. However, being 18, the luxuriousness of Gillio, Van der Spek and L'Agenda Moderne seemed inappropriate. I believe those are brands you purchase once you are making your own money and can reward yourself. So, when I was introduced to the Cloth & Paper brand, I thought this may be a perfect set up for her.
The above planner arrived in my monthly subscription box from Cloth & Paper. If you're not familiar with the service, you can subscribe for a monthly delivery of stationery, pens or both stationery and pens. I am registered for the stationery and pens package. This black, vegan agenda arrived last week. It came with July inserts, stickers, a pen holder (the clever device you see above) and a bunch of gel pens.
The inserts are cleanly designed. And the format works perfectly for Parker. And the pen holder, while not my style, is edgy and unique - perfect for an 18-year old design student.
So, most of June's package went to Parker. But that's okay. I'm thrilled she enjoys using a paper planner. And I'm looking forward to seeing what fun goodies arrive in July!
I am in LOVE.
Last week I visited Paris with my family. It was an amazing few days before we left for Brittany and visited a number of French villages on bikes. But while in Paris, I went to Bon Marche. If you've never been there, you MUST go if you are a lover of all things stationery. Their selection of planners, stationery, fountain pens and inserts was impressive. I could have spent hours there. But I was with family, so I had to limit my browsing to 30 minutes.
Above is the planner I regret not buying. It's a L'Agenda Moderne. It's size is approximately 7 x 8 1/2 inches (looks close to an A5 size). It has five rings. And the inserts are beautiful and perfect for a fountain-pen.
I did buy the L'Agenda Moderne planner in the lower left corner (in above photo). It is the less-expensive version of the three, and I am thoroughly enjoying using it. While it is a bit larger than the A6 size I have been using for almost a year, it is flatter/less bulky and I am really enjoying the larger space to write in.
I also love the clean lines of the planner. The inside front cover has seven business card slots and one large vertical pocket that spans the height of the planner. I am using the pocket for receipts. The back cover has two vertical pockets. It has a minimalist design look, which to me is very French.
The inserts are well-designed and beautiful. I am using a week on two pages format. And I have developed a weekly task list that I insert in between the two pages per week. It is working quite well. I also have a number sections in the back of the planner for information I use weekly.
The display at Bon Marche was lovely. If you are ever in Paris, I highly recommend you visit. And let me know when you are visiting. I will give you some money so you can buy me the planner I regret not buying.
In my current planner set up (Gillio B6 size), I am using 5 different insert companies. FIVE. I had never really thought about it before, but when you rely on your planner everyday, it's important to have a set up that you enjoy using. And it needs to be easy to reference. The above photo is part of my weekly calendar set up. I recently went from a day on-a-page to a week on-two-pages format. It's been an adjustment, but I am liking it. The inserts are from Gillio. I really like that the paper works well with fountain pens. And the stock isn't too heavy, nor too light, in weight.
I use the above inserts for my weekly Personal and Business todo lists. I date the top of the page and then title the left hand column "Business", and the right hand column "Personal." I place this insert in the middle of my week on-two-pages layout. This insert is from Brooklyn Grace. I just recently learned about this company, and have only used the inserts for two weeks. But so far, I like the quality of paper. I just wish my fountain pen worked better with the paper stock. The ink bleeds a bit.
My monthly dividers are cardboard and pink! And they are from Cloth & Paper. Next time I will order her plastic monthly dividers because I'm seeing some wear on the cardboard, but I do enjoy the pop of color!
These are my tried and true Filofax inserts. I've used them for years. In the back of my planner, I keep a bunch of information: grocery lists for the week, Thanksgiving shopping lists/menus for the past four years, Christmas shopping lists, etc. All of these are on Filofax inserts.
I also have Cloth & Paper subject dividers that I use in the back of my planner. These are for Passwords, Boards I serve on and My Investments. I like how the title is at the top of the planner (called a vertical insert), as opposed to being on the side (horizontal insert).
I enjoy writing letters and sending holiday cards. And in order to do so, I have to have an up-to-date address list of friends and family. In the past, I have used my phone to keep track of mailing addresses, but a few years ago I invested in a Gillio address book. And now I feel like the Dowager Countess of Grantham from Downton Abbey. The book has the most luscious leather cover. And inside are high-quality plastic sleeves to house the fountain pen quality paper inserts. Everything about the book is beautifully constructed. It brings me joy each time I pick it up to use it.
In addition to my daily planner, I also use a Gillio Appunto for note-taking. Everyday, I carry the Appunto with me to work. When I am in meetings, this is the notebook I use to capture important reminders/todos/next steps. The Appunto is divided into two sections: professional meetings and personal/family meetings. This way, I have one notebook with all my important notes from all areas of my life. My daily planner, on the other hand, is used for scheduling appointments and keeping track of my running task list each week.
The Appunto has a fantastic layout. The back pocket houses colored pens that I used to decorate the various pages of my notebook. I denote a new section of notes by titling the section in a different colored pen. That way, it's easy to discern one meeting's notes from another, and it's more fun to look at.
The front and back panel of the notebook houses a number of slots for business cards, and post its. And there is a zippered pocket to keep extra fountain pen ink cartridges.
And I love the color combination -- gray and pink. It's a soothing color combination that I never get tired of looking at.