Month: October 2017

Commonplace Book: What It Is and Why You Should Keep One

Commonplace Book: What It Is and Why You Should Keep One

Lately, I have started keeping a commonplace book again. When I was very young, I kept one for years (and would that I could figure out whatever happened to it!), but fell off the practice when I started high school back in 2005 and haven’t really done anything like it since then. Now, don’t think a commonplace book is like a journal or a diary, because it’s not. A commonplace book is not the place for introspection and personal reflection – rather, it is “a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits.

What this basically means is it’s a catchall for anything you might see or hear in the great wide world that catches you eye and makes you think, “Hm. That was good.”

You write it down in your commonplace book for future reference.

My commonplace book is currently being housed in my No. 5 Autumn Rose traveler’s notebook from The Foxy Fix, and is a collection of many things, to include:

  • quotes
  • poetry
  • lists of books I’ve read this year
  • books I want to read in the future
  • a reference guide for Sarah J. Maas’ bibliography
  • definitions of words I did not recognize
  • complete passages from books I’m reading
  • brief research on topics I was unfamiliar with
  • a list of poets I’d like to read

All of this is kept in no particular order. I write on the next blank page, in whatever style and ink suits me. Right now, there’s a ton of passages from Libba Bray’s Lair of Dreams (part 2 of a series, which you can buy here and here if you so desire – it’s YA fantasy set in 20th century NYC and I highly recommend it, Libba Bray is a wordsmith of the highest caliber!) because I swear to all the high heavens that woman is a silver tongue if I’ve ever seen one.

As mentioned, it also is a place to collect vocabulary words (I know – you thought vocabulary words ended in middle school. Let me be the first to tell you it is never too late to expand your vocabulary!). For example, here are some of the words I’ve recorded:

  • pneumatic
  • copacetic
  • sycophant
  • crepuscular
  • nihilism
  • bromide
  • incandescent

No, I won’t tell you the definitions. Look them up and add them to your own commonplace book!

But why should you keep one?

Well, to start off with, nearly all of history’s greatest figures (and many of your normal, regular citizens) have kept a version of a commonplace book. A la Wikipedia, “[Commonplace] books were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator’s particular interests.”

It’s a place for you to refer back to in the future, should you find yourself in need of inspiration. It makes reading and writing inseparable activities – while you’re reading, you’re taking notes. You’re writing in the margins. You’re underlining passages and dog-earing pages and making exclamatory statements next to particularly surprising passages. Then, when you’re done, you copy it over into your commonplace book. In this way, reading is no longer a passive activity – it is active, intellectual, and engaging. You are given the opportunity to reflect upon what you’re reading, rather than to just absorb it and move on.

Granted, not all of us are readers, and that’s fine. For those of you who aren’t, a commonplace book is simply a handy depository for things you find on the line that might be inspiring or thought-provoking. How many of us screenshot things we see on Facebook or instagram because we thought it was particularly indicative and representative of something going on in our lives, only to have that screenshot lost forever in the depths of our camera rolls, never to be seen or thought about again?

With a commonplace book, you copy that screenshot over, which in and of itself will make you reflect upon what about the passage or the quote or the meme that inspired you in the first place. Then, it’s readily available for future use and reference, whatever that use or reference may be. You will no longer have to scroll through endless selfies and dog photos to find the screenshot you’re looking for.

If you’re into this kind of thing, a commonplace book can also serve as a record for the future. In this digital, electronic age, few things are written down by hand anymore. But the longevity of our digital files is currently unknown – will this blog post survive the passage of time? Will anything we do online survive?

Sure, provided future generations continue to have access to electricity, computers, and high-speed internet.

We know, however, that the written word, pen-and-paper, notebooks, are all able to survive through time, albeit in various states of disrepair upon their discovery. In fact, we have used commonplace books from both the greats and the normals to get an idea of what people were thinking about and reading and doing and writing and feeing for hundreds of years. They have provided us with so much insight into the past and have proven to be an invaluable resource for historians all over the world.

It may be a little ambitious to think that my personal recordings of things that I like might be found one day in the future and serve as the logbook of a generation (ha!), but I still like to record these things as much for posterity’s sake as for my own.

And that’s totally fine!

If nothing else, it leaves a physical record for future generations of my own family to look back and see what I, personally, was doing and thinking and feeling. I have a series of journals my mom kept when I was a baby, nothing important was said in them, just documentations of my day and my first words and my first steps and the foods I liked and things of that nature, but those notebooks are precious to me because they were written by a member of my family and because they provide insight into a time of life that I don’t remember (being that I was an infant at the time, obviously).

It’s a little awe-inspiring to think that someone from my future may look upon my notebooks in the same fashion.

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A Spoiler-Free Book Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

A Spoiler-Free Book Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

It took me longer to finish this book than I’d like to admit. My grad school classes started back in September and I jumped on board that gravy train hard, but things finally started to slow down a little over the past two weeks so I was really able to get in some quality time with my books and OH MY GOD I am still so obsessed with the world that Sarah J. Maas has created within these novels. Heir of Fire was no exception to the rule that states I will love every S.J. Maas book I read. Here’s what Celaena looks like when I picture her:

Fan art I found on the line – I assure you, this is not something I would ever have the capacity to create

Celaena Sardothien is such a fucking badass. It is so hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea that she is literally a teenager. I cannot fathom having experienced everything she has gone thru in he life up to this point, and I guess that’s part of what makes her such a badass. I have to say, though, she inspired me to start getting my shit together with my fitness goals, and I’ve been back to working out regularly for a while because I tell myself, “Celaena would do it, don’t be a wiener.”

Again – not my art. Just Calaena as I see her in my head after the battle with the Valg.

There is just so much character and plot development going on in this story. I love who Celaena is molding into. I love watching her grow and mature as a character. I love that she’s not stagnant. I love watching Dorian’s and Chaol’s relationship develop. I fucking LOVED the introduction of Aedion – would not ever have seen his plot twist coming, but maybe that’s just me. When I picture Aedion in my head, he looks like this:

Next to Aedion, though, my favorite new character that was introduced in this book was Rowan Whitethorn. OMFG. I just can’t with these Fae males in these books they are literally killing me. I love watching Aelin and Rowan’s relationship grow and develop over the course of the book (and that twist ending!!!). I’m so excited to see where the pair of them go in the next few books!

Rowan Whitethorn (not my art)

Honestly I could take-or-leave the subplot going on with the witches right now. I’m not super interested in anything they’re doing, although I do like Manon as a badass kind of female character. That’s probably my favorite part about these books – all the female characters kick ass on a regular basis. They don’t need their men to come rushing in to save them – they do perfectly well on their own. That was one of my only complaints about the ACOTAR series – Feyre consistently had the males rushing in to save her from her dumb decisions. Not that Aelin/Caleana doesn’t make dumb decisions (she does) but she figures out how to fix them on her own.

Friggin’ Rowan Whitethorn dude

But this is probably my favorite line from the whole book. The dynamic with Maeve was so fascinating. Imagine facing down and outright defying a queen as ancient and powerful and knowledgable as Maeve. I literally got chill bumps when I read this passage of the book, dog-eared the page, highlighted, the whole nine yards. “She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.” Ughhhhhh got chills again. So much love for this book and this quote.

 

Overall: 5/5 would recommend. Will definitely be completing the series and also buying the novella. NOW I NEED THE NEXT ACOTAR BOOK TO COME OUT COME ON SJ MAAS LET’S GOOOOOO.

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Foxy Fix Southwestern Santa Fe No. 5 Single Set

Foxy Fix Southwestern Santa Fe No. 5 Single Set

Yesterday, I came home to a HUGE happy mail haul!!! I had a golden envelope from the BST that contained my Mystery Sale Sugar Coconut (!) with white stitching and white elastic. The sweet lady who sold it to me included A METRIC SHIT-TONNE of extras from a The Planner Society kit, to include:

  • floral washi tape (!)
  • floral vellum (!!!!!)
  • like four new B6 inserts
  • a vinyl dashboard w/ adhesive top-loading pocket attached to it
  • some kind of glitter card that is cool but I have no clue what to do with LOL
  • AND (my personal favorite, because I’m into this shit) a sweet hand-written note from the seller (I get off on hand-written notes so hard – I still send physical birthday cards in the mail to all my friends)

I ALSO got my orders from KatyLusCreations (the adorable burlap bow clip) and TabbyCatClips (OMFG the elephant planner charm!!!!!) on Etsy

AND LAST BUT MOST CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, THE ONE WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR:

NO. 5 SOUTHWESTERN SANTA FE SINGLE SET FROM THE FOXY FIX OMFG!!!

Aforementioned adorable elephant planner charm because elephants are my all-time favorite animal ever

Let me just take a minute to say that I absolutely love structured leather that ages and patinas with use so if you’re not into that, this leather is almost certainly not going to be your style. 

Ok. Moving right along. The Foxy Fix blog describes this leather collection as being “a full grain leather with all natural range markings that include scars, color variation, light and dark markings as well as markings that are not natural and are from the tanning process and production. A beautiful high end vegetable tanned leather that develops in character. Made in the U.S.A.” I have had this FN in my possession for exactly 10 hours and 34 minutes, and I can already see scuff marks and scratches on the cover. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING. In fact, I love it. I’m still kicking myself for having sold my old original Rowena 6.5 (even though I literally would have no use for that size FN) just because it aged and gained character so well.

This is not a floppy leather. It is very thin (think 1.8 – 2.0 mm), but very structured, and it molds around my inserts just fucking beautifully. The outside is very smooth and is kind of reminiscent of maybe some kind of horse tack (?), while the inside is almost scratchy feeling (definitely not the soft, suedey feel that you find inside the Boss Babe or Sugar collections). I can already tell that the Santa Fe is going to hold up beautifully over time and just get better and better as she ages, so I’m super stoked to start putting her to use.

I’ve already waxed sentimental in the past about the glory of the single-strap FN, so I’m not really going to go into that here, except for to say y’all stop bitching about getting your single-straps in the Mystery Sales if you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen there are so many people who have literally never got anything in the Mystery Sales because y’all are all snatching up four and five and six FN per size and then complaining when they all come in as singles even though Foxy Fix is very blatantly saying the Mystery Sale price is 50% off the price of a single in that size and why the hell would anyone expect Foxy Fix to load up their Mystery Sales specifically with fully-loaded couture items WTAF y’all are killing me over here.

Phew. Okay. Got that off my chest.

Now for the minor changes I’ve made on the inside.

As I said before, the lady who sold me her Mystery Sale Sugar Coconut single-strap included a ton of extras. This precious floral vellum was one of the extras. I’ve never used vellum before and would never have purchased any on my own, but it is so nice and adds a little extra ~pop~ to my FN. This particular vellum actually says “Finances” on the back, but because I don’t use a finance insert I just turned it upside down so the blank side was on the front and rolled with it lol.

Vellum! Who knew?

She also included this 2017 calendar insert from PaperPenguinCo, a shop I’ve already raved about in the past, but I’ve never purchased one of her calendar inserts. I really like the intention behind the monthly calendar I’ve been using for the past few months, but I am such a visually-minded planner that I need to see this layout to really make sense of it all in my mind. I’ve already ordered my 2018 calendar insert from LightsPlannerAction and it’s a traditional calendar insert, so I had planned to make the switch in January but when I saw this in my golden envelope, I immediately sat down and filled it out and moved right in. Featuring the aforementioned floral washi tape (I fucking love floral anything).

More vellum. This one worked out because I do have an insert that I use specifically for note-taking throughout my day (outside of my regular rapid-logging insert). Super cute. Love vellum. Ugh. Also on the left are some freebie stickers that came in the package from KatyLusCreations – definitely will be ordering from her shop again, if only because her mascot is an elephant and she sent an elephant sticker and everything has elephants on it and I am obsessed with elephants. <3

This is the back of my last dashboard, with an adhesive top-loading pocket attached. These are some little stickers from The Planner Society. Not too sure yet what I’m going to do with them, I’ve never used stickers in my planning before, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

Outside of everything featured here, I also got a No. 5/B6 dot-grid insert from The Foxy Fix. I haven’t tried it yet, and I’m not sure what kind of use I’ll put it to, but when I figure something out I’ll definitely let you know.

Cora’s 4th and Rory’s 1st Birthday Party!

Cora’s 4th and Rory’s 1st Birthday Party!

This weekend, a sweet friend of mine let me come out to her babies’ birthday parties and take all the photos my heart desired. I ended up snapping about 1,500 photos that I gave to her on a jump drive (two jump drives, actually) as David’s and my birthday gift to her and the babies.

Probably my favorite part about this whole day was being able to watch Courtney and Alexx interact with their babies and just be able to be in the moment, rather than trying to capture the moment themselves. None of these photos have been edited by me in any way, shape, or form, but I think so many of them still turned out so well!

Here are some of my absolute favorites from this weekend:

 

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Plan With Me: October 2017

Plan With Me: October 2017

We have officially entered the fourth quarter – where has this year gone? Yesterday it was January. Is this what getting old feels like?

I heralded the new month with gluten-free pancakes, coffee, and this brand-spanking-new-to-me no. 5 Wanderlust Butterscotch single that I found on the buy-sell-trade boards on Facebook. Wanderlust Butterscotch has been a unicorn Foxy of mine since I found Foxy Fix in June 2016, and I am so thrilled to have finally got my hands on one!

As you may or may not have come to expect at this point, I’ve made some minor changes to my FN system as we move in to October. I couldn’t keep my hands off the Butterscotch once she came in, so I’ve moved Autumn Rose to the shelf for the time being. The good part is that because I only use no. 5/B6, I can switch out covers whenever I like!

I also found three separate $5 Etsy gift cards in my email last week – the only catch was I had to use them on three separate purchases, so I bought a bunch of paper clips and a planner charm that all totaled under $5 with shipping and ended up with free accessories! The dot clip and the bow clip pictured here are from PugPaperCo – my other clip and charm haven’t arrived yet. 🙁

Haven’t made any changes to my monthly going into October – just the addition of that cute little clip. Lots of birthdays this month but school has slowed down so I’m super stoked about that! Insert, as always, from PristinePaperie.

Weekly inserts have had one minor change – the addition of washi tape! One stripe of tape across the top of the page to add a little color – ha! I’ve also dropped down from two classes to one for the rest of the semester, and that is a welcome change! Insert found at LightsPlannerAction.

Dailies are still found in the Muji B6 grid notebook, but are now marked with that cute little bow clip from PugPaperCo (link above). This layout just works for me, so why would I change it?

I covered the Muji notebooks with some scrapbook paper – looks cute on the outside, less cute on the inside. 😀 But I’m still happy with how it turned out! The left insert above is still where I write my non-date-specific notes and keep my grocery lists and other miscellaneous information. The right insert is a new addition for the fourth quarter, something I’m trying out to see how I like it. More info below!

I saw Leuchtturm’s Some Lines A Day notebook on the Goulet Pens website a while back and loved the idea. I’ve always liked the concept of journaling but have never been able to be consistent with it. I didn’t want to buy a whole new notebook just for this, especially when I’m not into A5 size at all anymore, so I popped an extra Muji insert into my FN, titled it Some Lines A Day, and am going to try my hand at just writing a sentence or two each day about what happened. I think it will be a neat thing to look back on later, provided I can keep up with it!

Gratuitous photos of the Butterscotch because OH MY GOD look at that texture and pebbling I just love it so much. Pine tree gold-embossed on the spine. Ignore that weird smudge on the desk.

Ancora Imparo gold embossed on the cover – this means, “I am still learning,” which I think is appropriate given my current stage in life. If you were on the fence about buying a Butterscotch (or any of the Wanderlust leathers – I have a Wanderlust Licorice micro wallet that has held up beautifully to the beating it inevitably takes as a wallet), let this be the nudge that pushes you over!

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