The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2012-10-07

Friday, October 12, 2012

How can I have such an extensive to do list and forget to shower?

I watched Kate's Video a few days ago and it got me thinking.  Something about the way I do things was nagging at me  since  watching and it's snowballed into a reevaluation of how I use calendar stickers.


She referred to a post I wrote earlier this week (here) where I talked about using a tab and a 'topic' sticker for advanced planning.  This works very well because important appointments don't get lost in life's shuffle.

I've missed quite a few important things in my life (and paid  insane amounts of money for Doctor's appointments I failed to show up for ) because I forget about them, so now within a very short time of making them, I fill in dates on my Dodo week on two pages diary.

Filofax a5 compared with a Midori Traveler's Notebook
(The 2013 dairy is available now by the way....)

Despite not missing them anymore they seemed to catch me unawares.   That's when I started adding top tabs; at least I could see what was closing in on me without going through future pages constantly.  

When I watched how she uses tabs and calendar stickers I realized I could do something similar to help with daily things.   I have a lot of problems with the normal daily stuff I need to get done which is why I write so much on my to-do lists.

My Creation with "100 Cameras in 1"

I think there are a lot of reasons but the main ones  are: I'm a poor time manager and I get side-tracked easily.  I write a lot of things down because the repetition helps but it's not as effective as it could be when I fail to account for how long each thing will take.  The other issue is it doesn't include things I do (or should do) every day.   

I may intend to take a shower first thing in the morning but then the side-tracked part comes in and before I know it I've been awake in excess of eight hours (still unshowered) and find I've spent a crazy amount of time mindlessly googling, watching videos,  reading blogs, and playing Angry Birds.

I go into a panic because the things I wrote to do that day,  I really DO need to get done ... Guess what loses?  The shower, the putting on make-up, the taking my vitamins, the laundry, the vacuuming... The me stuff.  

  Missing a shower  doesn't seem like a big deal and not wearing make-up is even less of a  deal.   And what's really going to happen if I miss my vitamins and don't vacuum the house on any given day?  Each thing is pretty minor but altogether they feel a lot like I'm not taking good care of myself.

And that needs to change.

There are things that make me feel good about myself and all of them get tossed overboard when my day gets busy (or Angry Birds is calling me like a Siren with a megaphone).  

I haven't worked out the specifics but I know Kate is right; it has to do with using these effectively. 


As soon as I have a handle on how I'll post on it but for now I'm just relieved to have some forward motion in the area of self-care.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Filofax Shootout: A5 Finsbury vs. A5 Malden

I use both my A5 Filofaxes.  I only use one at a time but switch back and forth so my  posts show both of them in use.  I had a request for a comparison and decided to do it because while there are similarities in design there are subtle differences worth considering before a purchase.

Both are in Filofaxes current line and available.  Although they don't make the emerald green finsbury it comes in some wonderful colors.  It's currently selling for US $99.


The Finsbury has a very wide color line, I think only the Domino's have had more variety.  You can still find discontinued colors on eBay and some are very coveted (Think: Aqua!)

The Malden line is currently available for US $145 but for me the colors are a bit of a downer.  I really like the clear, bright rainbow that is the Finsbury line.  


The Finsbury leather is described as 'soft cow leather printed with a traditional "rambling" grain' and the Malden leather is described as 'Vintage-look buffalo leather.'   There are a lot of strong opinions on the Malden leather regarding how much it feels like leather .   I don't mean the way natural leather varies but more like is it even leather at all?

I've seen some described very leather-like with a  natural,  soft  finish while other descriptions seem to show a more synthetic 'hand' and overall appearance.

malden vs. finsbury

Mine definitely has a Naugahyde vibe.

The A5 Malden is listed at 9 1/4" x 7 3/4" with six 1" rings while the Finsbury is 9 1/4" x 8" with six 1 1/4" rings.   I took a picture to show the difference in the width.  Just an FYI I haven't noticed a difference in ring size so, hmmm.  Don't know about this.

malden vs. finsbury

The front inside covers are similar; both have a zip pocket, a longer slide pocket (two on the Malden) and horizontal credit card slots.   

malden vs. finsbury

Both layouts are useful  (although many people prefer vertical card slots) but the Finsbury's stiffness make all the slots less useful.  

malden vs. finsbury

The zipper pocket on the finsbury is under the front side pen loop and it's hard to get things in and out.  I don't think the problem is the pen loop but the absence of gusseting on the pocket.  It's so tight there's almost no point in having this feature because it doesn't really provide any space.  Even putting flat things in there is a chore.  

malden vs. finsbury

The same goes for the slide pocket.  

malden vs. finsbury

While many people don't like the floppy factor of the Malden this flexibility makes the binder space much more usable.  Zipper sections open much wider...

malden vs. finsbury

As do the slide pockets.

malden vs. finsbury

The Malden has the same leather inside and out while the Finsbury has a coordinating fabric.   The only issue with that is fabric wears faster and stains are harder to remove.   Also the fabric isn't the same quality as the early Filofax fabric which looked classier and wore better.  Over the years these quality details have deteriorated quite a bit and the internal fabric areas on the Malden feel quite course when compared to say, my Personal Portland from decades back.

The pen loops on both are all leather.  The Malden's front side pen loop is quite large.  My Lamy pen fits without stretching which is impressive.  The Finsbury's loops are all much smaller.  (My Finsbury was bought used and is an older model.  It's possible they changed the pen loop size on the newer one's...)

malden vs. finsbury

Both had the Filofax 'F' on the spine and they are similar widths.  Both have contrasted stitching which is much less noticeable on the Finsbury because of the color variations in the binder.   I know a lot of people like the contrasting color on the Malden but I'm not a huge fan.  It gives the planner a more casual vibe and I don't think it adds anything to the design but I realize this is a very personal preference.

malden vs. finsbury

The back inside cover of both have a notepad slot but I don't use one in either.  The back Finsbury pocket has the same problem as the front.  Much too difficult then it should be to get things in and out.  It really is suited for just a notepad that stays put.  Since I don't use one, it's a bit of a bummer.

malden vs. finsbury

The Malden being a much softer material allows for maximum stuffage.   In the Finsbury you can add a few items if you want too but with the Malden you can easily overfill it and  still see what you have in there and get stuff out.  

Overall, I'm a fan of both although neither is without design and materials issues.  The Finsbury line is much more appealing to me in many ways but because of the flexible nature of the Malden it's so much more usable. 

 I'm a much bigger fan of the Finsbury Leather and colors but ultimately  it's the Malden's usable space that tips the scale for me.   Since both are similar in overall and ring size it's the  subtle differences in how useful the other features are that point me in the Malden's direction.  Pretty is great but ultimately what  I'm buying is a tool to organize my life not a fluffy part dress. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DIY Filofax Future Project Insert, personal size.

~The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen~ Lee Iacocca 

I need an insert  for fleshing out future projects effectively. When I begin considering a multi-step project I default to over-thinking out of the gate.   It doesn't work well for me because large projects need room to grow and time for thoughtful consideration as they evolve into something workable.

 I  wanted an insert that would help slow down my natural inclination to write every random thought that pops in.  For more  linear thinkers writing everything that occurs to them is probably productive, for me it's a time bomb to the project.  Writing all my thoughts at the get-go leaves me exhausted by the scope of the project and I give up before I start.  

When I start this kind of list on an open page I over plan and reach burn out before I've started what ever it was I wanted to accomplish.  Also, free-verse planning doesn't leave time for consideration.  I get more successful results if I tackle large projects in steps with a few general ideas first and gradually focus in.

I wanted a page for the initial planning phase that would reflect this type of progression. Something with limited space; just  a few project ideas and  a couple o' bullet points.  

This page gives me a visual reminder to keep it simple at first.  There is space for five main projects and room for an idea or two.  This insert is for a Personal Filofax because so many people requested that size and I'd never made any.

If you try this please let me know how it works and if you have any thoughts on page ideas let me know.  I'd love some more ideas.  You can click on the image to get a full size version or I can send the file it that's easier for you.

 “Paper is to write things down that we need to remember. Our brains are used to think.”Albert Einstein 

Notes on the printer settings: These sheets print best on a heavier ink setting, I didn't like the result on 'normal' but that may have something to do with my printer.   I also added a 2 mm border in my print dialog box since I didn't add one to the image itself.  


Monday, October 8, 2012

Holiday Wish List: Stationary Geek Edition

I've added a few more things to my Filofax slash Stationery Holiday Wish List (other list is here) and it's very clear to me; I'm a total Office Supply Geek.  If there was a T-Shirt that said just that...  I'd be on my list too.

Number one is something I don't have and totally want;  The Polaroid  Pogo.

It's a teeny mobile printer that works wirelessly with your phone and it's perfect for what I'm doing in my new Passport Midori Traveler's Notebook.  This amazing little thing will will print your photos (2"x3") wirelessly  with a Bluetooth-enabled  phone.

It's similar in size to a mobile phone and since I can carry an A5-sized Filofax in my purse I can carry this little thing with no problem!

Number 2 - I'm still hunting near and far for an older (more first generation-ish) A5 Leather Filofax.  They rarely, if ever, come up on eBay US so I've taken to looking globally but I'm still having trouble; I don't really have a handle on what the oldest A5's were called or when they were made.  I've seen a few older ones but all have the newer ring mechanism.  

I search around all the time and find great stuff but no A5's to speak of.  Just an FYI, if you're searching for a pocket size there's a Pocket Portland on eBay Uk.  I have a personal sized one and it's got the best, softest leather I've ever felt.

There's 9 days left to the auction and the starting bid is £12.75 but the Buy it Now price is £19.99. Shipping is free in the UK and only £8.50 to the US.

Number 3 is all things  stationary.  First a new a place I  found, The Zakka Shop. Their stationary section is AMAZING but so is their other stuff!  If you go visit them look around at all the sections.

I kind of love the 'I will always make time for you planner.  It's A-5 ish at H 8.2″ x W 5.8″.    From the site: :These are the best planners on earth! With a place to carry a pen, extra pockets to stash things, perforated grid paper in the back for handing off notes, as well as the monthly/weekly sections themselves, every last detail has been considered. The dates of these planners run from September 2012 to December 2013. Perfect!"

Scroll through the inside images and prepare to be dazzled.

I kinda love this tape dispenser (they have a cassette tape too). It's made of wood and is too cool for school!  

And since planners are my primary addiction, here's another!

 This one is more a personal size at 4″ x 5.7″ x 0.8″.  From the site: " These compact volumes look sweet enough on the outside, but inside are the makings of an organized life! These yearly free planners (meaning you fill in the dates) have sections to keep your appointments by year, month, and week, while also including sections to help you keep track of your spending, and your heart (via lined and blank note sections). Staying organized has never been so charming."  

Love the inside of these...

Now this Pen holder is adorable and looks like I can slide it onto my Filofax.  I can't tell for sure but it looks like an option for bigger pens.  You just slide it onto the front cover  and you'll always have a handy place to put your pen back.

From  The Japanese Gift Market I found these sticky notes.
Because a day without sticky notes is like a day without dessert; I could do without it but why would I want to?

Looking at the size of these  Decole Rulers I think they would be perfect page markers for a Personal Size Filofax.  Personal size paper is 3.75 inches x 6.75 inches and the rules length is  6.1 inches.

Of course my family doesn't read my blog so they will never know about all of this and I'm seeing a new bathrobe in my future.

But it's nice to dream...


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oooops, I enabled myself...

Last week I posted about (and ordered) some planner stickers   The ones I ordered from came already!

I buy (an insane amount of) stickers because of their adorable-factor and yes, I love them to pieces but 'need' would be a strong word to describe why I got them.  These I do need  because the one's I got free are dwindling and they help me visualize long term planning.

I don't use them on Filofax pages directly but attach them to the Martha Stewart by Avery Tabs

I've gotten a number of things from the Martha line and while much of it is very nice and all of it is well designed these are the biggest success.


I attach a calendar sticker to the to the top (plus add a coordinating one for some je ne sais quoi).  Looking at these perched across the top allows me to see what's up in the future.


The new stickers are a bit smaller than the one's I got for free.


New one's on the left.


That's an advantage because the Martha Stewart tabs are cut in a  fancy-shmancy way across the top and with smaller stickers there's less to lop  off the top corners.

I ordered two sets; the Calendar Planning Stickers and the  Mom Calendar Planning Stickers.


The sets are HUGE.  Each has two large sheets;  one has 760 individual stickers, the other an amazing 1,232.  In fact there are so many I could use them ON my planner pages and still have them for a good long time.

They cost a (VERY) affordable $1.99 each.  Math isn't my thing but this one is easy.  For $3.98 I got nearly two-thousand stickers and there was nothing added for shipping. (Try coupon code SASFS12 for free shipping.  It worked for me, but don't know if it's still active)

Plus they came in less then a week!


Graphically they are very appealing to me.


Bright but not necessarily day-glo (which kinds of gives me a headache) and there is some text but not a lot.  I want to be able to glance at them and know what I'm looking at without reading.  Just using an icon confuses me. I'll pick some icon that makes sense to me but when I look at it again I haven't got a clue to what I was thinking when I picked it.


There are so many different subjects included but, for me, I could have done without the mom set which has a majority of school specific topics.


They strike me as more academic then mom, per se.


I understand why they are like this but I would have liked to see at least some 'home' related things.  That said, this  set would be great if you have kids in school and I think they would be wonderful for a student.  Most kids get a yearly planner and these would be a wonderful (Think: Stocking Stuffer) gift.  Or for yourself if you're still in school.   

If I still had a kid in school I'd find them more useful and I think even if the mom set would work for you it isn't really complete without the other set.

But at $3.98 the two sets together are a steal!  Buy them now before they realize most people would pay twice that much!


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