The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2012-09-16

Friday, September 21, 2012

Comparing the Midori Traveler's Notebook to an A5 Filofax

While an A5 Sized Filofax is the perfect size for me, I did explore other options before taking the leap to a planner that large, which admittedly can be a bit of a tome to carry around.  

I tried a personal size Filofax first and it's got much more schlepability.  

My  A5  Filofax binder clocks  in at about seven and a half inches wide and almost nine inches tall (the inserts are smaller) which puts them firmly on the other side of portable for a lot of people.   

Add in the heft  from stuffed to busting 30 mm rings and it can feel more  like a brick then a diary.  But for me it's the size that works.

I did try other planner options before taking the A5 plunge.  Filofax Personal Pages (3.75 inches across x 6.75  tall) kind of fence me in.  To accommodate their writing space I altered my handwriting and diary style but it never felt natural.  When the large Moleskine didn't turn out customizable enough I tried the Midori Traveler's Notebook from Japan. 

There are a lot of very positive things about the Traveler's Notebook and some negatives as well.   I found the writing space very comfortable and the paper is dreamy.   For someone who can't carry around an  A5 but finds the personal size too small it's a great compromise.  The Traveler's Notebook is close in size lengthwise to my A5 binders as you can see here....

BeFunky Instant 2 on iPhone

But about half the width.

BeFunky Instant 2 on iPhone

This makes it lighter and easier to stash away in a purse or coat pocket. 

BeFunky Instant 2 on iPhone

If you need  rings, nope. There are none in the Midori.   Inserts, accessories, and stray papers slide under an stretchy cord that runs down the center lengthwise.  If you really like rings this would be a deal breaker, but the Traveler's Notebook is pretty configurable.  Midori sells a kit to replace all parts except the binder itself so I foresee having this planner forever.  

I'm very comfortable writing in it too.  Even though the width of the pages is similar to the Personal size, they are A5 in length.  In fact,  you can hole punch Midori inserts for use in a Filofax A5.

 If you have one with a back pocket like the Finchley you can slide the insert right in.

You can even slide the whole binder back there.

It fits!

BeFunky Instant 3 on iPhone

The Binder is a single piece of beautiful leather with an elastic cord to hold inserts and a placeholder.  There are no pockets but you can buy sticky backed pockets for the inside covers and even though I thought, no way are they going to stay on - They have been on over a year.

The Traveler's Notebook lays flat but the inserts are another story.  It's a lot like writing in a bound journal.  

BeFunky Instant 2 on iPhone

There are many inserts to choose from and the paper takes ink wonderfully.  But unless you' re in Japan, there is limited product availability.  Midori  does have an English website but does not ship to the US (HUGE MINUS!) and that limits what you can get.  How much you can customize your notebook with Midori products depends on what you can find from an online seller that ships to your country.

BeFunky Instant 2 on iPhone

Of course, you can customize in tons of ways yourself - I used an old skeleton key here...

BeFunky Instant 2 on iPhone

And a smaller one hangs off the bookmark.

BeFunky Original on iPhone

Midori sells tags and charms for the outside stretchy cord (that holds the notebook closed)  but I used a vintage button.

BeFunky Instant 2 on iPhone

This is one of my favorite inserts and is usually stocked where I shop.   It's a 2 month undated planner that has one page per day as well as two at a glance monthly pages.   I really like this insert and I love the paper, it's sturdy but elegant.  It's not as smooth as Clairefontaine paper but it has a translucent elegance about it.

BeFunky Instant 3 on iPhone

There are several types of pockets, zips and slots...  

BeFunky Instant 1 on iPhone

All are flexible and feel like good quality.

BeFunky Instant 1 on iPhone

I love the credit /business card inserts.  They are thick, pliable, are large enough for credits cards and are double-sided.    The front and back of each side is a separate card slot.  In this picture there are three card slots, if I turn this page over it would show three more.  

BeFunky Instant 3 on iPhone

Total there are 12 distict card slots on this insert, so even if you only put in one card per space, it's roomy.  

BeFunky Instant 1 on iPhone

The Traveler's Notebook  leather  is vegetable tanned and  handmade in  Thailand. Vegetable tanning is a time consuming process that produces a beautiful finish, that's a  plus and a minus.  While absolutely lovely it doesn't have the durability and colorfastness of a commercial process.  Contact with water should be minimized.  

If you're someone who frets over nicks, dings and scratches this might not be for you.  I've found the whole aging process to be lovely and it enhances the leather but the lived in look isn't for everyone!

As an aside, I used Nivea to clean/condition it once or twice and some of color came off.  It also changed the finish some what.  The next time I'm going to purchase Saddle Soap.  

Saddle soap contains mild soap, softening ingredients, and beeswax.  It's gentle and the beeswax leaves a nice sheen which I think is similar to the one it came with.

BeFunky Cooling 1 on iPhone

 The Midori Traveler's Notebook feels like quality top to bottom, inside and out. The inserts are well thought out and durable and it's design is simple and elegant.

There are only a few binder options; this size in brown or black and a limited edition camel color.  And the passport size that I just ordered which runs 3.75 inches by 5.25 (closed).    The initial binder purchase comes with the binder, a blank insert and, a cotton dust bag.

The Traveler's notebook is usually priced around fifty dollars but you have to factor in the cost of inserts (from just a few dollars to about fifteen for the pen attachment).  Still, I think it's a bargain for something of quality with a  timeless design.  I can't imagine feeling out of place anywhere carrying this binder - It's got a little black dress quality about it; neither under or overdressed... And always fashionable.

You can purchase a Midori Traveler's Notebook at Maido, Baum-Kuchen, Resor The Journal Shop  and Tabiyo, as well as eBay and Amazon.


Filofax as objet d'amour

A lot of people ask if I take my A5 Filofax with me.   I do, not all the time but frequently.

I love hotels w/ @starbucks. They make you coffee at 5 am with a smile #marriott #starbucks

Here it is at the Marriott checking out the Sunday Paper and sharing a Venti Starbucks with me.


And about a week ago we went to the dentist.  Oh! What a time we had...

Wednesday I was feeling a bit down, dunno why.     Nothing helped and I spent most of the day in Funk City, New Jersey.

Late in the evening I brought in the big guns; retail therapy and decided on a new planner.  I don't need a(nother)  new one but retail therapy is about exciting impulsiveness  (i.e. Going to the market to buy canned corn and a new toilet brush isn't retail therapy), not need. 

From the very first moment, decades ago, that I held the Portland Personal I felt a rush.  It was perfect in every way,  gift wrapped in sumptuous leather and promising  me a better life. And  cracking open a new Filofax still does that to me. (Or does it?) 

I decided on The Midori Traveler's Notebook, passport size.  I have the regular one and coveted the small one for a long time.  

Clicking 'buy' didn't get me out of my funk because for real, I felt like I was cheating on Filofax.    People who love Filofax are very brand loyal and those that love 'em just do.  

So what was I doing buying a Midori Traveler's Notebook?  

I'm really not sure.  

Sometimes when you love something you hang in there despite clues that there's trouble in Paradise.  You focus on to the good times and ignore signals that something's just not right until one day it dawns on you;  your objet d'amour doesn't quite appreciate you the way you expected.  

Or love you back.

At the moment I'm not breaking up but recent experiences have given me  pause and I'm going to wait and see how it all shakes out.  

BeFunky Instant 2 on iPhone

Part 2 is coming soon; a compare and contrast of the Filofax vs. The Traveler's Notebook.  Part 3 will be ready when I get the smaller one.  


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What's in the Jolly Green (Finsbury) Giant today

I haven't done a video in a while so I remedied that this morning.

Hope you enjoy it!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Note to self.... Get off the couch

I spend more time planning then doing.  It's a problem. I plan so extensively there's no time left over to actually get anything done.  

 I know planning is good, even Winston Churchill thought so.  His famous saying, 'Failing to plan is planning to fail'  is the Holy Grail of planning statements to many.  

But I do plan. Oh, do I plan.. But nothing was really working.

I posted a  Tweet  last week about this, it's been on my mind a lot I guess....

And that is my problem in a nutshell; planning isn't doing.  

I really enjoy the process of using a Filofax ; from the binders themselves to turning the pages, I'm hooked.   But I can't spend so much time in the planning phase that I never move beyond thinking about getting stuff done.

 While planning points me in the direction of #Done, it doesn't move me closer to it. Finishing requires active participation, movement... an end game.   Which brings me to this tweet:

Reaching goals (and finishing tasks) requires three things; planning, doing and an end.   This was on my mind all last week as  I watched myself move to-do's farther down the week, day after day.  Each daily list got longer and longer and by this morning the to-do list  was so long I was ready to bag the day and go back to bed. 

Without a time frame  my to-do list is more a running commentary on my life and not a step in the direction of streamlining.  

As an aside,  I have a problem with not completing things  in a timely manner.  Tasks I loathe I  do in parts so they drag on forever.  I hate unloading the dishwasher so I do a few dishes at a time.   It feels never ending that way...

Same issue with the laundry; there's the thinking about doing it, the sorting, the washing, the drying and the dreaded putting it all away.  That's usually wear I stall.

Things end up on my dresser, folded and ready to be put away for... um, days if I'm being honest.

This morning I made myself some rules and made them my first  Filofax page, front and center.

And because intending to follow the rules is as bad as planning without doing, I took my own advice.  I did a few things I needed to do, totally finished them all and crossed them off the list.

It's before 11 a..m and I got more things done  in the last few hours  then I did all last week.   And the two things I was really dreading took less then 20 minutes to cross off.   And I wrote this post besides.

#Notetoself:  Just get off the couch and do  it.


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